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[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Science Shopping: Seattle Socialists Commission New Minimum-Wage Study After Dismissing Unfavorable Results of First One

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City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

Dan Springer  reports: When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

Sawant, a former economics professor at Seattle Central Community College who ran for office as a Socialist, accused the UW team of “ideologically editorializing.” She and Mayor Ed Murray then contacted Michael Reich, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

As soon as Seattle politicians knew the University of Washington study found raising Seattle’s minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour led to a 9-percent cut in hours worked and an average of $125 less earned each month, they commissioned Reich to do his own study and then criticized UW’s research.

According to emails obtained by Fox News, Reich was given a deadline by Murray. His work was to be completed just before the University of Washington team announced its results. Vigdor, the director of the study, shared with city council staffers the preliminary results of the research and provided a timeline for when it would be made public. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Violence Punctuates UW Talk by Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos

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 report: One man was shot and wounded, several people were hit with paint and officers avoided flying bricks outside the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on Friday night, where Breitbart News editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos addressed a crowd on President Trump’s Inauguration Day.

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A chaotic confrontation between ticket-holders and protesters started early in the evening in Red Square with shouts and fights. Authorities reported a man in the crowd had been shot in the abdomen. Medics took him to Harborview Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, the Seattle Fire Department said.

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Yiannopoulos, who came at the invitation of the university’s student College Republicans club, briefly left the stage to confirm the shooting. Minutes later, he returned, saying, “If we don’t continue, they have won.” The crowd cheered.

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The event was free but was sold out by reservation. His talk, which mocked liberals to big laughs and was greeted with a standing ovation, began just after 8 p.m.

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Earlier, Jessie Gamble, president of UW College Republicans, said she feared no one would be able to make it into the 700-seat auditorium because of skirmishes. Police formed a line outside to help ticket-holders get in, but protesters surrounded them. As the speech was about to begin, the lower seats in the hall were more than half-filled. The lower tier holds about 530 people, and the upper tier was not used.
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Once the speech ended, police told the audience to remove their pro-Trump hats and other gear before leaving the lecture hall. Officers escorted the crowd out through an underground parking garage as a crowd of about 250 people remained outside the building.

Gayle Hammersley, a UW student, stood with friends in the middle of Red Square holding a sign that displayed her
opposition to the speech. “We’re not OK with fascism and racism,” she said. “I don’t think this should be allowed.”e28d36d0-df89-11e6-a8c8-942486583938-300x576

Jimmy Michalee came up from Auburn with friends to hear the speech. He was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, but he said he was a libertarian, and voted for Gary Johnson. He said he didn’t agree with the crowd’s tactics to try to shut down the speech, and believed everyone had a right to speak his or her mind.

[Read the full story here, at The Seattle Times]

Ava Meier, a Pierce College student, called Yiannopoulos “the most fabulous villain on the internet.”

“We’re so politically correct, he’s a breath of fresh air,” she said.

The provocative far-right editor’s controversial tweets resulted in his being banned for life from using Twitter.

People began lining up for the speech late in the afternoon. The crowd began clashing about two hours later, when a group of people dressed in black showed up and forced its way to the front of the line. One man waved a black-and-red anti-fascist flag, and another shouted to the people in line: “Go back to Bellevue, rich kids!”

“White power,” one side shouted.

“Nazi scum,” the other side responded.

Some officers wore riot gear and carried batons. Crowds outside started throwing bricks and other items at officers, and several people were hit with blue paint.

Mara Kage, a University of Washington student from Brazil, held a sign with the word “respect” on it. She said Yiannopoulos, like Trump, was inciting hateful speech. Read the rest of this entry »


Open ‘Safe Places’ in Seattle, King County for Heroin Use, Task Force Says

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A task force is recommending the creation of sites in King County to provide medical supervision for people using illegal drugs like heroin, which would be the first in the U.S.

Vernal Coleman reports: The task force formed to help fight a heroin epidemic in the Seattle area has recommended the opening of public, supervised sites where addicts can use heroin.

The sites, supported by both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would be the first of their kind in the country.

“If it’s a strategy that saves lives … then regardless of the political discomfort I think it is something we have to move forward,” Constantine said during a Thursday news conference.

Murray said he would support establishing the sites if it can be done “in a way that reduces the negative impacts” on neighborhoods.

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The recommendations released Thursday call for a pilot program to establish two “community health-engagement locations” in targeted areas where users can inject heroin under medical supervision as an alternative to public restrooms, alleys and homeless encampments like The Jungle.

[Read the full story here, at The Seattle Times]

The committee called for putting one site in Seattle, and another outside of the city in an area where a high number of heroin overdoses have been recorded.

“One of the driving ideas behind this is creating a safe space where we can get people the medical, prevention and treatment services already provided elsewhere,” said Brad Finegood, committee co-chairman and assistant director of the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: #BlackLivesMatter Subreddit Turns Private After Sanders Rally

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A Black Lives Matter’s subreddit turned to private after it got overwhelmed with criticism for what happened at the Sanders event.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a packed crowd Saturday night at the University of Washington campus about his commitment to criminal justice reform as liberal-huhwell as addressing income equality.

“When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one activist called the crowd ‘white supremacist liberals,’ according to event participants.”

Sanders gave his talk to a cheering audience of about 12,000 inside a university pavilion a few hours after he was shoved aside by several Black Lives Matter activists who are calling for changes to the criminal justice system. The women were screaming at Sanders to let them speak. Sanders eventually left the Saturday afternoon event at Westlake Park in Seattle without giving his speech.

A Black Lives Matter’s subreddit — r/BlackLivesMatter — turned to private after it got overwhelmed with criticism for what happened at the Sanders event.

[Activists who hijacked Bernie Sanders’ Seattle rally push #BowDownBernie hashtag]

[Anti-Free Speech Warriors Shut Down Guest Socialist: Bernie Sanders Leaves Seattle Stage After Event Disrupted by #BlackLivesMatter]

[Also see – SEATTLE: Bernie Sanders Loyalists Captured, Imprisoned, Sent to White People’s Reeducation Camps]

[More – Seattle Says #BowDownBernie (Not Parody)]

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“We are not the BLM. We are a sub aggregating links about BLM. What do we have to do with BLM organization/media or the events in Seattle? Nothing. Read the rest of this entry »


More Power Please: Wi-Fi That Charges Your Gadgets Is Closer Than You Think

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 writes: It’s easy to take Wi-Fi for granted (as long as you have the password). But what if it did more than facilitate your Pinterest habit? What if instead of just connecting your devices to the Internet, it charged them as well, no wires required?

That’s the promise of new research from a team at the University of Washington, which has developed what it’s calling a “power over Wi-Fi” system that can recharge batteries through the air, from up to 28 feet away.

“If we wanted to just blast as much power as we possibly can, that would kill your Wi-Fi, because you’d have power on the channel all the time. We optimized the router so that we can deliver what seems like, to the sensor, constant power without impacting your Wi-Fi too much.”

— Bryce Kellogg, a researcher on the project.

The system comprises just two components; an access point (a router), and custom-built sensors. “The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power,” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project. “The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router.” In other words, it achieves power over Wi-Fi in a way that both works with pre-existing hardware, and doesn’t interfere with your Internet connection one bit.

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“Instead of having continuous power on one of your Wi-Fi channels, we split it among your three non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels. That allows us to deliver about the same amount of power without impacting any one channel very much.”

Those are two important distinctions. As Popular Science notes, Energous already sells a device that transmits power through the air through RF signals. It requires entirely new, dedicated hardware, though, and loses the Wi-Fi aspect. The UW research, meanwhile, can coexist with traditional Wi-Fi routers, pushing both data and energy simultaneously. Or, more accurately, efficiently harnessing the energy that your router already puts out. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] LUCKY STRIKE: Lightning Strikes Two Jets on Approach to Sea-Tac Airport

Mid-Air Scare When Lightning Strikes 2 Planes Over Seattle 

SEATTLE —  reports: Some of the people on their way into Seattle Wednesday evening got quite the hello from Mother Nature as lightning struck two different jets as they approached Sea-Tac Airport.

“We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness. I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine.” 

University of Washington student Owen Craft was out in the University District trying to film lightning strikes as a thunderstorm moved through and caught the two massive bolts as they passed through the planes’ fuselage.

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“Airplanes themselves are prepared for this kind of stuff and have the mechanics to manage lightning strikes. We did not receive any reports of precautionary landing alerts from any pilots Wednesday night either.”

—  Sea-Tac Airport public relations manager Perry Cooper, to ABC News

“I was stunned for a second because I couldn’t believe what I just saw,” Craft said. “After the second (plane) got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!”

One of those planes was an Alaska Air Flight 515 inbound from Orange County while another was Alaska Air Flight 731 that was coming into Seattle from Houston. Kim Dodge was sitting in Row 9 on the right side of that plane when the bolt hit.

“I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second. There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn’t.”

— Passenger Kim Dodge, who was sitting in Row 9

“We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness,” she said. “I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine.”

She said it looked like the bolt exited right below the wing.

“Instantly a sound, a plane move and a flash of light; probably the worst turbulence you’ll ever feel for 2 solid seconds,” said Anthony Porter. “It got people pretty shook up.”

— Anthony Porter, on the Orange County flight that was also hit by lightning

“I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second,” she said. “There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn’t.”

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“We landed safely,” Dodge said. “It was startling.”

Anthony Porter was on the Orange County flight that was also hit by lightning:

“Instantly a sound, a plane move and a flash of light; probably the worst turbulence you’ll ever feel for 2 solid seconds,” said Anthony Porter. “It got people pretty shook up.”

But Porter said aside from the moments surrounding the strike, the flight was totally normal.

“It was alarming, but it was so quick, people knew something happened, but no one knew what happened,” he said. “It was a direct hit and 5 seconds before and 5 seconds after — smooth sailing, there was no turbulence.” He said the plane landed without further incident.

While being struck by lightning would sound frightening to those on board, airplane lightning strikes are not that uncommon and the jets are built to withstand the jolt. Read the rest of this entry »


Global Panic Time Out: West Coast Warming Linked to Naturally Occurring Changes

For the LA TimesTony Barboza writes: Naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century, a study has found.panic-man

“Changing winds appear to explain a very large fraction of the warming from year to year, decade to decade and the long-term.”

The analysis challenges assumptions that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been a significant driver of the increase in temperatures observed over many decades in the ocean and along the coastline from Alaska to California.

Changes in ocean circulation as a result of weaker winds were the main cause of about 1 degree Fahrenheit of warming in the northeast Pacific Ocean and nearby coastal land between 1900 and 2012, according to the Shocked woman on telephoneanalysis of ocean and air temperatures over that time.

— Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research

The study, conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington, was published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »


The National Women’s Soccer League’s Domestic Violence Problem: Hope Solo Arrested, Jailed, in Family Abuse Scandal

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Soccer superstar Hope Solo was arrested early Saturday for allegedly striking her sister and her nephew at a Kirkland home. U.S. Soccer released a statement: “We are aware of the situation. At this point, we don’t have any further comments.”

Jennifer Sullivan reports: Just before 1 a.m., Kirkland police responded to a 911 call about a disturbance in the 10600 block of 124th Ave N.E. The male caller had reported that a woman at the residence was hitting people and no one could get her to stop or leave the house, according to an account of the incident released Saturday by police.

“There was a big party going on at her house. It was an out-of-control situation.”

— Kirkland Police Lt. Mike Murray

Officers arrived and immediately heard the disturbance inside. They entered the house and contacted several people, including Seattle Reign goalie Hope Amelia Stevens (Solo), who officers said appeared intoxicated and upset.

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“There was a big party going on at her house. It was an out-of-control situation,” Kirkland Police Lt. Mike Murray said Saturday.

“Solo, 32, was arrested and booked into the South King County detention facility. She is being held without bail on two counts of investigation of fourth-degree domestic-violence assault.”

Officers reported that they could see injuries on Solo’s 17-year-old nephew and Solo’s sister. After hearing statements from those involved, officers said they determined Solo was the primary aggressor and appeared to have instigated the assault.

The Reign released a terse statement Saturday on the late-night arrest: “We are aware of the situation regarding Hope Solo and are currently gathering information. We have no further comments at this time.”

Solo, 32, was arrested and booked into the South King County detention facility. She is being held without bail on two counts of investigation of fourth-degree domestic-violence assault. She will have a mandatory court appearance Monday at Kirkland Municipal Court.

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“Hope is not guilty of any crime,” attorney Todd Maybrown said in an email. “In fact, our investigation reveals that Hope was assaulted and injured during this unfortunate incident. We look forward to the opportunity to present the true facts in court and to having this matter behind Hope very soon.” Read the rest of this entry »


Magma Rising in Washington State’s Mount St. Helens Volcano

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SEATTLE (Reuters) – Eric M. Johnson reports:  Magma levels are slowly rebuilding inside Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington state that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, although there was no sign of an impending eruption, U.S. scientists said.

The roughly 8,300-foot volcano erupted in an explosion of hot ash and gas on May 18, 1980, spewing debris over some 230 square miles and causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. Entire forests were crushed and river systems altered in the blast, which began with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Times Reports: Arrests, Two Shootings in Post Super Bowl Celebrations

Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

It’s not a party unless someone goes to the hospital

Looks like I spoke too soon.

  reports:

Seahawks fans in Pioneer Square celebrated their team’s Super Bowl XLVIII victory against the Denver Broncos on Sunday…

Two men were shot and wounded near the massive celebration in Pioneer Square. Bottles and rocks were thrown at Seattle police, and the windows of businesses were broken out, said police spokesman Mark Jamieson

“We pushed the crowd south to disperse them. It was effective,” Jamieson said.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Inside the Earthquake: Seattle Seahawks Fans Rock Stadium Again

There are a lot of sports and news stories about the noise levels at CenturyLink Field when the Hawks are playing a home game, but there’s nothing like a subjective first-person report with a shaky video camera, in Personal Reaction to Beast Quake 2011. It only captures a fraction of what it must be like (it’s the first few seconds that count, really, the rest of the video is post-climactic) but that first few seconds are a good capture of what it’s like to be there.

YouTube: Vanessa Kesseler

(AP)  Seismologists say Seahawks fans shook the ground under Seattle’s CenturyLink Field during Saturday’s defeat of the New Orleans Saints, causing another fan-generated earthquake.

The scientists believe the small earthquake during a Marshawn Lynch touchdown was likely greater than Lynch’s famous “beast quake” touchdown run three years ago, which also came against New Orleans during a playoff game.

Read the rest of this entry »


Roar, Rumble, and Rain: Seattle to Challenge Another NFL Outdoor Stadium Noise Record

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The SeahawksSaints playoff game: I’m watching this live. The deafening noise, and abnormally stormy conditions in Seattle should make for a high-volume, high-turnover contest. The seismometer reading should be interesting.

Tim Newcomb writes:

The last time the New Orleans Saints visited Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, the 12th Man made enough commotion to register a 1-to-2-magnitude earthquake. That number could intensify for the playoffs Saturday, and the Seahawks will have the equipment in place to record it. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network is placing two seismometers inside the downtown stadium.

Now we’ll see just how unhinged the 12th Man can get.

 The reputation of CenturyLink’s noise took off in 2011 when fan reaction to a Marshawn Lynch 67-yard playoff touchdown run registered on the University of Washington’s seismic network. That run, dubbed the “Beast Quake” in Seattle, set a standard for fans, matched only this year when Seahawks faithful set the Guinness World Record for noise at an outdoor stadium twice — first in September and again in December after the Kansas City Chiefs crowd stole it from them.

Read the rest of this entry »


Scrooged: The ‘War on Good Cheer’ Targets NORAD’s Beloved Santa Tracker Tradition

NORAD’s Santa Tracker: Fanciful ‘Fighter Jet Escort’ for Santa Under Fire from Child Psychologists and Public Health Experts?

NORAD’s Santa Tracker is a volunteer effort since 1955, a cherished baby boomer-era Christmas tradition right up there with watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

 (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

(OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time before some humorless finger-wagging scolds indulged their paranoia and accused the government of sponsoring a harmful military-industrial brainwashing campaign against children (to induce them into military service later in life?) and succeeded in getting the media to pay attention.

I think we should celebrate when these imaginary grievances make national news. It reveals how silly the academics, psychologists, and culture warriors can get. When allowed to walk outside of their University offices and talk to members of the press, without supervision, they unintentionally provide us with comedy gold.

Unknown-1One of the advocates of this campaignAmy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, should be fired given a toy airplane, a basket of candy canes, some cupcakes, and a yo yo. Then taken on a trip to the zoo, then taken out for an ice cream, and read a bedtime story. She deserves a happy childhood, but perhaps didn’t get one. I propose that we bury her in love, kindness, and holiday cheer, ’cause she needs it. Send her an email, let her know what you think.

Without NORAD’s official protection, securing North American airspace for Santa and his reindeer, Santa’s annual global delivery route–and Santa himself– could be at risk! I hope the fine men and women at NORAD ignore the Scrooges and screwballs, and continue their volunteer efforts to keep Santa’s supply routes open and safe! Props to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, for standing his ground in this (manufactured) controversy. A fictional controversy about an imaginary NORAD mission. It’s perfect.

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Some child advocates are upset that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is providing Santa Claus with a fighter jet escort around the globe in this year’s tracking program.

Since 1955, NORAD Tracks Santa has been operated by the joint U.S.-Canada command.  Its purpose is to provide children with information and details about Santa’s whereabouts as he drops off presents around the world.

This year’s program depicts Santa flying over snow-capped mountain peaks with a military aircraft keeping up with him on either side.

Read the rest of this entry »


Beat the Crackdown: How Google Hopes to Defy Countries Blocking Internet Freedom

Two Iranian women surf the Internet at a cafe in Tehran, Iran, in September, when authorities briefly lifted blocks on social networks and then restored them. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP file

Two Iranian women surf the Internet at a cafe in Tehran, Iran, in September, when authorities briefly lifted blocks on social networks and then restored them. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP file

Erin McClam writes:  Google hopes a little browser tool will help change the world.

The company that revolutionized Internet search is now unveiling a sort of online underground tunnel — a way for people in restrictive countries like Iran and Syria to get around digital censorship and surveillance.

Ebrahim Noroozi / AP file

Ebrahim Noroozi / AP file

The idea behind the tool — essentially a button for browsers — called uProxy, is simple: People in countries such as the United States provide their trusted friends a secure connection so that they can see and use the unrestricted Internet.

Google showed it off earlier this week at a conference called “Conflict in a Connected World.” Google also rolled out technology to map cyberattacks around the world, including by repressive governments.

The innovations, from a division of the company called Google Ideas, come at a time when the Internet, and social media in particular, is playing an increasing role in popular upheaval around the world, most notably in the Middle East.

Read the rest of this entry »


Amanda Knox: Just Another UW Student?

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Linda Byron reports: For many college kids, standing out in the crowd is something to strive for — to be a star athlete, a student government leader, or even the host of the craziest parties.

But after four years in a jail in Italy, Amanda Knox would be just fine if she could blend into the crowd at the University of Washington — and so far, she tells KING 5‘s Linda Byron, her fellow students and instructors are just fine with that. [Photo Gallery]

“I don’t look at people and think, ‘You’re going to be mean to me.’ In fact, most people are very nice,” Knox said of what it’s like to be back on campus. “I’m not hiding who I am. I’m not running around in a disguise.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Wikileaks In A Box: SecureDrop Is WhistleBlower Communication Tool For Media

[Image Credit: Flickr User Electronic Frontier Foundation]

Image Credit: Flickr User Electronic Frontier Foundation

 reports: In an effort to protect government whistleblowers from unprecedented levels of surveillance, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has launched SecureDrop, an anonymous submission tool for secure communications between sources and journalists. SecureDrop accepts encrypted documents and tips from sources and facilitates communication without putting journalists in jeopardy of having to reveal sources under the threat of imprisonment.

The need for security is heightened given the Obama Administration’s aggressive prosecution of leakers under the Espionage act. Last Spring, for instance, the Justice Department seized the phone records of AP journalists involved in reporting a foiled bomb plot in Yemen.

“One of the reasons that the Obama administration has prosecuted so many whistleblowers is that there’s an easy way to find digital trails of how journalists meet sources and talk to them,” said Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director, Trevor Timm. “We need to figure out a way for journalists to talk to sources without that fear.”

SecureDrop was originally the project of fallen hacktivist, Aaron Swartz (then called DeadDrop). The project has since been updated to account for recent National Security Agency spying revelations, though the organization reminds reporters than nothing is 100% secure. The code base is open source and has been vetted by security experts from the University of Washington [PDF].

Freedom of the Press Foundation has even offered to help outlets install the rather complex encryption tool. Learn more about it here.

 TechCrunch


Researcher controls colleague’s motions in first human brain-to-brain interface

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain. Stocco’s right index finger moved involuntarily to hit the “fire” button as part of the first human brain-to-brain interface demonstration. Images: Univ. of Washington

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain. Stocco’s right index finger moved involuntarily to hit the “fire” button as part of the first human brain-to-brain interface demonstration. Images: Univ. of Washington

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain. Stocco’s right index finger moved involuntarily to hit the “fire” button as part of the first human brain-to-brain interface demonstration. Images: Univ. of WashingtonUsing electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the UW campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.

While researchers at Duke Univ. have demonstrated brain-to-brain communication between two rats, and Harvard researchers have demonstrated it between a human and a rat, Rao and Stocco believe this is the first demonstration of human-to-human brain interfacing.

“The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,” Stocco said. “We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.”

The researchers captured the full demonstration on video recorded in both labs. The following version has been edited for length.

Read the rest of this entry »