31.12.15

NEWS  |  Saudis Plan Unprecedented Subsidy Cuts to Counter Oil Plunge  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Saudis Plan Unprecedented Subsidy Cuts to Counter Oil Plunge  |  Rigzone: "Confronting a drop in oil prices and mounting regional turmoil, Saudi Arabia reduced energy subsidies and allocated the biggest part of government spending in next year’s budget to defense and security.

Authorities announced increases to the prices of fuel, electricity and water as part of a plan to restructure subsidies within five years. The government intends to cut spending next year and gradually privatize some state-owned entities and introduce value-added-taxation as well as a levy on tobacco.

The biggest shake-up of Saudi economic policy in recent history coincides with growing regional unrest, including a war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling pro-Iranian Shiite rebels. In attempting to reduce its reliance on oil, the kingdom is seeking to put an end to the population’s dependence on government handouts, a move that political analysts had considered risky after the 2011 revolts that swept parts of the Middle East.

“This is the beginning of the end of the era of free money,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based consulting firm Cornerstone Global Associates. “Saudi society will have to get used to a new way of working with the government. This is a wake-up call for both Saudi society and the government that things are changing.”"



'via Blog this'

5.12.15

At Least 32 Dead in Worst Offshore Disaster since Piper Alpha - Oil and Gas News

At Least 32 Dead in Worst Offshore Disaster since Piper Alpha - Oil and Gas News: "Oil and Gas People has learned that at least 32 People are dead in what has been hailed one of the worst offshore disasters since Piper Alpha.

The incident in the Caspian Sea yesterday happened on Platform 10 on the Guneshli field offshore Azerbaijan. It is believed severe weather ruptured a gas line causing an explosion and huge fire that engulfed the platform.

Rescue was hindered due to 8m waves and strong winds. Just a few hours after the incident and as Oil and Gas People were getting reports of people trapped in lifeboats blown against the platform, a spokesman for the State Oil Company (SOCAR) went on record saying that everyone had been safely evacuated. The region is notorious for controlling the media and very little information has been released by SOCAR who have declined to take our calls."



'via Blog this'

3.12.15

SWAT Drill in San Bernardino?

Yesterday evening, everything was about 3 people in an SUV, with one rolling out of the SUV and being arrested by police. Also, once the SUV was surrounded, one person was dead, and the other alive and possibly in custody.

This morning, there is nothing at all mentioned about that. It sounds like an extraction gone wrong...and possibly this family set up as patsies.

BREAKING: SWAT Team Drill Turns into REAL Mass Shooting Scenario in San Bernadino, CA

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/breaking-swat-team-drill-turns-real-mass-shooting-scenario-san-bernadino-ca/

25.11.15

Russian foreign minster calls plane downing ‘planned provocation’ - The Washington Post

Russian foreign minster calls plane downing ‘planned provocation’ - The Washington Post: "Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday warned that the “damage will be hard to repair.” Russian officials have raised possible responses such as a ban on Turkish airlines or canceling a proposed gas pipeline between the two countries."



'via Blog this'

6.11.15

FireEye Shares Tank 14% After Hours On Sales Miss | TechCrunch

FireEye Shares Tank 14% After Hours On Sales Miss | TechCrunch: "Cybersecurity and malware protection company FireEye on Wednesday reported its third quarter sales were $165.6 million, compared to the $167.13 million Wall Street expected.

Despite missing on sales, the company’s losses were not as high as analysts expected. Wall Street thought the company would lose 45 cents per share, but instead the company posted a loss of 37 cents per share.

Investors have overlooked FireEye’s losses in the past due to healthy revenue growth. However that growth has slowed in recent quarters, causing shares to plummet. Today’s low sales number sent stocks diving 14 percent in extended trading."



'via Blog this'

8.10.15

Activist Group Pushing For Removal Of New Orleans’ Monuments Tied To #BlackLivesMatter | The Hayride

Activist Group Pushing For Removal Of New Orleans’ Monuments Tied To #BlackLivesMatter | The Hayride: "An activist group seeking the removal of four Confederate-related monuments in New Orleans apparently has ties to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The group “STAND With Dignity” is a partner group under the “New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice” group, which often holds rallies comprised for immigrant and illegal immigrants demanding the state to cease deportations.

STAND With Dignity often uses Twitter to promote the hashtags #BlackWorkersMatter and #BlackLivesMatter. And they usually get what the want.

Most recently, the group was successful in lobbying the New Orleans City Council to increase the city’s minimum wage to $10.55 per hour, a plan bound to hurt businesses across the city, as it has happened in Seattle, Washington."



'via Blog this'

VIDEO: An Interview With Andy Weir, The Author Of “The Martian” | The Hayride

VIDEO: An Interview With Andy Weir, The Author Of “The Martian” | The Hayride: "Reason.TV did this, and it’s well worth your time for a number of reasons.

First, before we even get into the meat of Weir’s subject matter and the question of sending people to Mars (and within that, how and why it could be done), the story of how Weir wrote the Martian might be the most interesting part of the interview.

The book actually came about as a series of blog posts. Weir posted chapters of it on his website in serial form, and as he says he ended up with 3,000 factcheckers giving him feedback as he went along. And eventually his readers drove him to make an e-reader version of The Martian, then to post it at Amazon in a Kindle version – which took it from being free to costing 99 cents and Weir pocketing 30 cents in royalties for each copy, and that ultimately resulted in it becoming a bestseller, his finding a literary agent and ending up with a movie deal."



'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  Angered by Air Strikes, Turkey's Erdogan Warns Russia on Energy Ties  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Angered by Air Strikes, Turkey's Erdogan Warns Russia on Energy Ties  |  Rigzone: " President Tayyip Erdogan, angered by Russian incursions into Turkish air space, has warned Russia there are other places Turkey could get natural gas and other countries that could build its first nuclear plant.

Russian aircraft twice entered Turkish air space at the weekend as Moscow carried out air strikes in Syria. Turkish F-16 jets have also been harassed by Syrian-based missile systems and unidentified planes since then.

"We can't accept the current situation. Russia's explanations on the air space violations are not convincing," the Turkish daily Sabah and other media quoted Erdogan as telling reporters as he flew to Japan for an official visit.

Russia's air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad's forces have shifted the balance of power in the Syrian conflict and dealt a blow to Turkey's aspirations of seeing Assad removed from power.

But beyond protesting, there is little Turkey can do."



'via Blog this'

2.10.15

Today, all stores in the US should accept chip-and-PIN cards. Yeah, right. | Ars Technica

Today, all stores in the US should accept chip-and-PIN cards. Yeah, right. | Ars Technica: "On top of this, the US credit card industry isn't fully upgrading to the most secure version of EMV. Although new credit cards will have a chip that generates a new code every time the card is used at a terminal, guarding those cards from fraudsters who collect credit card numbers wholesale and reuse them on counterfeit credit cards, card users are also encouraged to set up a PIN and input that number after every transaction.

But issuers like J.P. Morgan Chase and Discover will still allow customers to use a signature to authenticate transactions, and signatures can be forged more easily than PINs. "US bank executives said they are choosing the signature version so customers won’t be burdened at the checkout line to remember a new four-digit code," the Wall Street Journal reported in January. Julie Conroy, research director for retail banking at Aite Group, told CreditCards.com that "It will probably take two to three years to fully convert to chip-and-PIN.""



'via Blog this'

7.9.15

Study: Are we shifting to fewer, weaker Atlantic hurricanes? - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Study: Are we shifting to fewer, weaker Atlantic hurricanes? - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social: "Other scientists either reject the study outright or call it premature.

"I think they're pretty much wrong about this," said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, who also specializes in hurricane research. "That paper is not backed by a lot of evidence."

Emanuel doesn't believe in the cycle cited by the researchers or the connection to ocean temperature and salinity. He thinks the quiet period of hurricanes of the 1970s and 1980s is connected to sulfur pollution and the busy period that followed is a result of the cleaning of the air. And Jim Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said cooler water temperatures earlier this year might be due to Atlantic dust, and August temperatures there have risen."



'via Blog this'

1.9.15

Egypt to keep Eni's find for itself, stiffening gas race in the Middle East

Egypt to keep Eni's find for itself, stiffening gas race in the Middle East: "Egypt plans to keep all the natural gas produced at a giant field Eni SpA found off its Mediterranean coast to itself, heightening competition among gas producers in the Middle East and Africa.

“This field is now in competition with the ones in Cyprus, Israel, Mozambique, Tanzania and Iran,” Thierry Bros, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in Paris, said Tuesday by e-mail. “But as we are short of growing demand, especially in Europe, and short of money, only projects that will find a win-win solution with buyers will go ahead.”

Eni on Sunday said the deep-water deposit in the Zohr Prospect in the Shorouk block may hold 30 trillion cubic feet of fuel, making it the biggest gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea. “All the production will go to internal consumption,” Hamdy Abdel Aziz, director of the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry’s information department, said by phone from Cairo. The field’s reserves can meet Egypt’s needs for more than 10 years, he said.

Gas output in Egypt has been declining since 2011 as the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule curtailed investments in exploration and production. Local demand for electricity, most of it generated by gas, is rising by more than 7% a year, and the most populous Arab nation, with almost 87 million people, started buying liquefied natural gas cargoes this year from companies including Noble Group Ltd, BP Plc and Vitol SA."



'via Blog this'

Louisiana School-To-Prison Pipeline Breaks, Spilling Hopeless Kids Into Swamp | THE PUSH POLE

Louisiana School-To-Prison Pipeline Breaks, Spilling Hopeless Kids Into Swamp | THE PUSH POLE: "America’s crumbling infrastructure took another hit today when the pipeline connecting Louisiana’s schools to its prison industrial complex busted, sending poor, under-educated teens sprawling into empty swampland in Avoyelles Parish."



'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  Canada's Alberta Forecasts Record Budget Deficit  |  Rigzone

Apparently NOT where all the money is anymore...



NEWS  |  Canada's Alberta Forecasts Record Budget Deficit  |  Rigzone: "The Canadian province of Alberta, which has been hammered by falling crude prices, is forecasting a record budget deficit of C$5.9 billion ($4.49 billion) this year, which could increase to C$6.5 billion, Finance Minister Joe Ceci said on Monday.

Alberta, home to Canada's oil sands and the largest source of U.S. crude imports, has struggled with a sharp drop in revenue as global oil prices tumbled over the last 12 months.

But the province said its revenue forecasts were C$44.3 billion - about C$1 billion higher than forecast in part due to the newly elected left-leaning NDP government's decision to increase corporate income tax rates from 10 to 12 percent.

Spending was also higher than forecast in the first quarter due to climate-related incidents, including agricultural drought relief and wildfire fighting costs, according to the report.

At a news conference, Ceci noted that the numbers were based on oil price projections from the end of July - prior to a further dramatic drop in crude - and could be updated in an upcoming budget, scheduled to be introduced in October."



'via Blog this'

9.7.15

NEWS  |  Azerbaijan President Open to Snam Taking Stake in TAP project  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Azerbaijan President Open to Snam Taking Stake in TAP project  |  Rigzone: "Azerbaijan is open to Italian gas infrastructure group Snam taking a stake in the project to build the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, President Ilham Aliyev said on Thursday.

"Why not? If someone would allocate its shares to other companies I don't see any problems," Aliyev said when asked about Snam's possible investment in TAP.

He spoke in English to reporters during a visit to Milan's EXPO international trade fair.

Snam CEO told Reuters in an interview in June the company was ready to evaluate buying 20 percent of TAP."



'via Blog this'

8.7.15

Native Advertising: Find out who unfriended you on Facebook - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Trending now: Find out who unfriended you on Facebook - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social: "Have you ever searched Facebook for a former classmate, friend or fling only to find that they’ve deleted you from their social network?

A new app is offering Facebook users a gentler way of finding out they’ve been banished from an ex-friend’s list.

The appropriately titled ‘Who Deleted me on Facebook’ app allows you to track the exact moment a friend clicks that dreaded “unfriend” button. It’s free for Apple and Android devices.

The app is rising in popularity because it’s the first time Facebook users have been given a simple option to see who has ditched them as a friend. It has reportedly experienced outages in the past few days due to the extra attention."



'via Blog this'

2.7.15

Russia-Turkey gas pipeline deal at risk of stalling due to price dispute

Russia-Turkey gas pipeline deal at risk of stalling due to price dispute: "Russia’s plan to build a new $15 billion pipeline to Turkey is at risk of delay because of a fight over gas prices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

State-run OAO Gazprom and its Turkish counterpart Botas had a six-month period to agree on prices for gas supplies between the two countries, which expired on Monday. The Ankara-based company now has the right to take the matter to international arbitration, three of the people said, asking not to be named because the information is private.

The dispute over prices means there’s no immediate prospect of signing a binding pact for the new pipeline, the second between Russia and Turkey. An agreement could now be delayed until at least October, two more people said, also asking not to be identified.

The delay is a blow to President Vladimir Putin’s plan to use the new link to ship gas to Turkey and onto Europe, bypassing existing pipelines in the Ukraine. He proposed the project last year after the European Union, which gets about 30% of its gas from Russia, blocked a similar link through Bulgaria.

Gazprom doesn’t plan to prolong a gas-transit contract with Ukraine after 2019 and the EU would have to accept the new route, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in April.

Putin Order

Things changed last week, however, suggesting uncertainty about the Turkey pipeline. Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said Putin ordered the company to discuss transit with Ukraine before the contract expires.

Gazprom’s press office and Turkey’s Energy Ministry declined to comment."



'via Blog this'

Ukraine halts Russian gas purchases as talks on deal fail

Ukraine halts Russian gas purchases as talks on deal fail: "Ukraine halted purchases of Russian natural gas after its bigger neighbor took away most of a price discount and declined to sign a three-way accord with the European Union through the winter heating season.

Ukraine’s gas company NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy won’t buy gas from Russia as of Wednesday and will continue purchases from the EU, Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said.

Russia’s offer to reduce the discount Ukraine receives to contract prices by 60% in the third quarter wasn’t fair, he said by phone after talks with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak and the European Commission’s vice president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic.

“Naftogaz halts purchase of Russian gas till supply conditions are agreed on,” the company said in a statement after the trilateral talks ended on Tuesday. “Transportation of gas through Ukraine to Gazprom’s European customers will continue in full, according to the contract terms.”

An agreement between the two former Soviet allies would reduce the risk of supply disruption for the EU, which gets 10% of its gas through pipes crossing Ukraine from Russia. Payment disputes between the two countries disrupted transit flows to Europe in 2006 and 2009 during freezing weather."



'via Blog this'

China wary of closer Russia energy ties, ex-Cnooc economist says

China wary of closer Russia energy ties, ex-Cnooc economist says: "China is wary of expanding energy investments in Russia because closer ties with the Kremlin could harm its relations with the U.S., according to a former researcher at China’s biggest offshore explorer.

The government in Beijing isn’t prepared to jeopardize economic links with the U.S., said Chen Wei Dong, who resigned as chief researcher for China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s Energy Economics Institute in May. The U.S. is viewed as a “global” partner while Russian ties are regional, he said.

Russia is turning to Asian markets after President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea led the U.S. and Europe to impose sanctions, including oil and banking restrictions. Russia’s biggest energy exporters are targeting China, the world’s largest consumer, yet progress on supply deals has stalled after crude and gas prices declined."



'via Blog this'

Ex-CNN anchor survives wild motel shootout

Ex-CNN anchor survives wild motel shootout

http://nypost.com/2015/07/01/ex-cnn-anchor-survives-wild-motel-shootout/

29.6.15

Puerto Rico governor says island can't pay public debt - Business Insider

Puerto Rico governor says island can't pay public debt - Business Insider: "Puerto Rico's governor is warning that the island can't pay its $72 billion public debt, delivering another jolt to the recession-gripped US territory as well as a world financial system already worrying over Greece's collapsing finances.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla is hoping to defer debt payments while negotiating with creditors, spokesman Jesus Manuel Ortiz said Sunday night.

"There is no other option," García said, according to The New York Times. "I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics; this is math.""



'via Blog this'

26.6.15

NEWS  |  Nigeria's President Dissolves State Oil Company Board  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Nigeria's President Dissolves State Oil Company Board  |  Rigzone: "Nigeria's new President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved the board of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday as a first step to cleaning up the oil industry in Africa's biggest economy.

Inaugurated on May 29, Buhari came into power on an anti-corruption platform and a pledge to make the oil sector more transparent. Oil represents 80 percent of the government's revenues but the slide in crude prices since last year has left it struggling to pay its bills.

"The president has said he will clean up the oil sector. That is the beginning of the clean up," Buhari's spokesman, Femi Adesina, said.

The government may be losing money through opaque contracts in which crude oil worth billions of dollars is given to traders in exchange for refined imports, mainly gasoline, international and domestic watchdogs have said."



'via Blog this'

25.6.15

USAA Leads $24 Million Round For Connected Car Platform Automatic | TechCrunch

USAA Leads $24 Million Round For Connected Car Platform Automatic | TechCrunch: "Automatic, the connected car platform whose sensor and app combination is sometimes referred to as a “Fitbit for your car,” announced this morning $24 million in Series B funding, led by the investment arm at USAA, a top insurance and financial services provider for military families, which today counts 11 million members. Also participating in the round were new investors CDK Global, and Comcast Ventures, who join existing investors Y Combinator, RPM Ventures, Anthemis Group, Amicus Capital and angels Mark Goines, Jared Kopf, Rob Chandhok and Dan Rose.

The company had never publicly announced its funding, but combined with earlier rounds, Automatic now says that it has raised $32 million in total.

Automatic, which competes with a variety of connected car services including Dash, CarMD, Torque, Zubie, and many more, initially focused only on collecting data from your vehicle by way of a car adapter that plugs into the diagnostics port (OBD-II port). This allows it to gather information from your car’s on-board computer which is then shared with the Automatic smartphone app over Bluetooth. With the app, drivers can track their miles driven, MPG, fuel expenses, and more, plus take advantage of features like emergency crash response assistance and a parked car locator, for example."



'via Blog this'

24.6.15

A Definite Urgenda: Netherlands loses landmark global warming case, ordered to cut emissions | Ars Technica

Netherlands loses landmark global warming case, ordered to cut emissions | Ars Technica: "In a landmark case that may set a very important precedent for other countries around the world, especially within Europe, the Dutch government has been ordered by the courts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

The ruling came from a class-action lawsuit that was brought before the Dutch courts by Urgenda in 2012. The case, rather magnificently, was based on human rights laws. Specifically, Urgenda asked the courts to "declare that global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius will lead to a violation of fundamental human rights worldwide," and that the Dutch government is "acting unlawfully by not contributing its proportional share to preventing a global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius."

Today, a Dutch court at The Hague ruled in favour of Urgenda, ruling that the Netherlands' plans to cut emissions by only 14-17 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 were illegal. Moreover, the wording used by the judges in the ruling is incredibly strong and clear-cut: “The state should not hide behind the argument that the solution to the global climate problem does not depend solely on Dutch efforts ... Any reduction of emissions contributes to the prevention of dangerous climate change and as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead in this.”"



'via Blog this'

22.6.15

Searchers find body of missing ex-White House chef - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Searchers find body of missing ex-White House chef - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social: "Searchers have found the body of a former White House chef who had been missing for more than a week after going hiking in the New Mexico mountains, authorities said.

The body of 61-year-old Walter Scheib was found Sunday night near a hiking trail in mountains in the Taos area, the New Mexico State Police said.

"The body was discovered off the immediate trail," a State Patrol statement said.

Authorities did not provide a cause of death or any other details about the discovery, saying rescuers were still gathering information and more details would be released later.

Scheib was White House chef for 11 years under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and recently moved from Florida to Taos."



'via Blog this'

2.6.15

On Opening Day Of Hurricane Season, Dozens of Armed Cajuns Head Out Into Gulf | THE PUSH POLE

On Opening Day Of Hurricane Season, Dozens of Armed Cajuns Head Out Into Gulf | THE PUSH POLE: "Upon learning that June 1st was the first day of hurricane season, dozens of Cajuns ventured into open water in hopes of bagging a category 5.

The first few days of hurricane season are always the busiest for residents of South Louisiana. While the rest of the gulf coast stocks up on batteries and bottled water, Cajuns take a pro-active approach by purchasing bullets and tiny styrofoam hurricane decoys.

Because of the rate of coastal erosion in Louisiana, bayou residents do not even have a place to evacuate to. The nearest shelters are above I-10, and nobody is willing to endure 18 hours of traffic just to catch scabies from a Denham Springs Ramada.

This forces many people to take matters into their own hands by trying to take out hurricanes before they reach landfall. "



'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  Mighty Aphrodite: Offshore Cyprus  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Mighty Aphrodite: Offshore Cyprus  |  Rigzone: "The Aphrodite gas field located off the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea represents a lucrative opportunity for the country, which has run into financial hardship over the last few years. Here, Rigzone takes a look at how the project is set to develop.

Discovered in 2011 in Block 12 of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), results from drilling evaluation work indicate that Aphrodite contains a mean estimate gross resource of about 4.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).


The majority stake in Aphrodite is held by Texas, U.S.-based energy firm Noble Energy Inc., which controls a 70-percent portion of the find. Noble also drilled the initial Cyprus A-1 well at the site using the Noble Homer Ferrington (DW semisub). Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, both of which are subsidiaries of Israel's Delek Group, each hold 15 percent of Aphrodite."



'via Blog this'

H.R.3361 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): USA FREEDOM Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

H.R.3361 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): USA FREEDOM Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress: "Title VII: Sunsets - (Sec. 701) Amends the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to extend until December 31, 2017 (thereby aligning the expiration date of the following provisions with the expiration date of provisions under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008), specified authority concerning: (1) the production of business records and other tangible things, (2) roving electronic surveillance orders, and (3) a revised definition of "agent of a foreign power" to include any non-U.S. person who engages in international terrorism or preparatory activities (commonly referred to as the "lone wolf" provision). (Currently, such provisions are scheduled to expire on June 1, 2015.)"



'via Blog this'

29.5.15

Part of why the public is allowing the destruction of Liberty

My Title IX Inquisition http://m.chronicle.com/article/My-Title-IX-Inquisition/230489/?key=HG4gdAI5NSFLM31gZT8SZD0GandvYk4nZXdIbnkjbl9WEA%3D%3D

23.5.15

Disney’s Research Lab Figures Out How To Put Words In Your Mouth | TechCrunch

We are in trouble now!



Disney’s Research Lab Figures Out How To Put Words In Your Mouth | TechCrunch: "Here’s another absurd one out of Disney’s research labs. We’ve seen them build adorable robots to draw on beaches, 3D printers that make huggable objects out of felt, and make spinning tops out of seemingly impossible shapes.

Their latest trick? Using algorithms to make people say things they didn’t actually say."



'via Blog this'

How one US Embassy staffer allegedly sextorted hundreds from his desk | Ars Technica

How one US Embassy staffer allegedly sextorted hundreds from his desk | Ars Technica: "An American staffer at the United States Embassy in London has been accused of running a sextortion scheme—amazingly, primarily from his heavily monitored, government-owned work computer. Despite this, the embassy’s network security protocol apparently failed to flag the man’s behavior.
The suspect, Michael C. Ford, was arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 17 as he was flying back to London with his wife and son. The criminal complaint against him was unsealed the following day"



'via Blog this'

12.5.15

Cops must now get a warrant to use stingrays in Washington state | Ars Technica

Cops must now get a warrant to use stingrays in Washington state | Ars Technica: "Law enforcement officials in Washington state will now be required to get a warrant before deploying a stingray, according to a bill that was signed into law by the governor on Monday after unanimously passing both houses of the state legislature.
Washington’s law, which takes effect immediately, is not the first in the United States, but it may impose the most stringent requirements.

A handful of states, including Virginia, Minnesota, and Utah have similar laws on the books. Washington’s, though, imposes extra requirements that compel police to describe the technology and its impact in detail to judges—presumably despite any nondisclosure agreement that those agencies may have with the FBI and the dominant manufacturer of the devices, Harris Corporation. Both the FBI and Harris have previously refused to respond to Ars’ direct questions.

FURTHER READING


ROBBERY SUSPECT PULLS GUILTY PLEA AFTER STINGRAY DISCLOSURE, CASE DROPPED
"What's the point of gathering evidence if you're not going to use it?"
The secretive surveillance devices are not only used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones, not just the target phone. Stingrays typically spoof a cell tower and force phones to connect to it, often by making the handset step down to 2G, which does not require encryption."



'via Blog this'

“I’ll never ask for another pain pill again”: ℞ database damage in Utah | Ars Technica

“I’ll never ask for another pain pill again”: ℞ database damage in Utah | Ars Technica: "For the most part, attorney Tyler Ayres practices criminal law in Draper, Utah. If you Google him, the first result reads “Utah DUI Attorney.” But recently, Ayres has grown into a de facto voice against the third-party doctrine and Utah’s drug database, a combination allowing authorities to access citizens' prescription drug histories nearly carte blanche. Ayres has represented at least a dozen people with unforeseen issues because of this arrangement. The worse abuse he’s seen involves two of his clients: Candy Holmes and Russell Smithey.

FURTHER READING


THE BIG DRUG DATABASE IN THE SKY: ONE FIREFIGHTER’S YEAR-LONG LEGAL NIGHTMARE
Authorities dig through prescription med databases thanks to pre-digital age precedent.
Both Holmes and Smithey have extensive criminal histories. In a recent interview, Smithey conceded that he was an intravenous drug user and has since completed a drug court program. In 2011, his partner, Holmes, was picking up her prescription at a pharmacy near their home in Vernal, Utah. Both Holmes and Smithey regularly took Oxycodone and Methadone.
Ben Murray, an officer with the Vernal City Police Department, watched this Holmes encounter with the pharmacist, according to Smithey, and confirmed by deposition documents. Murray says that “she was so intoxicated that she couldn’t even get her money out.”

Smithey tells the story differently.

He says Murray saw Holmes take some of the medication and get into her car to drive home. It would have taken longer than the drive home for the pills to set in, he explains. Either way, the undisputed facts are that Murray contacted dispatch and Holmes was arrested in her driveway after failing a sobriety test."



'via Blog this'

The big drug database in the sky: One firefighter’s year-long legal nightmare | Ars Technica

The big drug database in the sky: One firefighter’s year-long legal nightmare | Ars Technica: "In May 2013, when an investigator called local firefighter paramedic Ryan Pyle down to police headquarters in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, Pyle guessed it had something to do with the morphine.

Fire crews had recently discovered that drug vials had been tampered with at several different stations, the morphine removed and replaced with some other liquid. The find prompted a police investigation of all 28 Unified Fire Authority fire stations and the replacement of every narcotic stored in them, according to Jeremy Robertson, president of fire union local #1696.

But Pyle hadn’t worked at the specific stations under investigation. What could he add?

“Do you know why you’re here?” a police officer asked Pyle when he arrived.

“I wish I did, but I don’t,” Pyle said.

The officer explained that, during the investigation of the morphine theft, Pyle’s personal prescription drug records had been pulled from Utah’s Controlled Substances Database. Pyle was being accused not of stealing morphine but of prescription drug fraud. The allegation doesn't necessarily involve selling pills; instead, authorities believed that Pyle had visited multiple doctors in order to obtain narcotics.

But the detective investigating the case had pulled far more than Pyle’s records; he had actually pulled the prescription records of all 480 employees of the local fire authority, sifting through the sensitive health information of firefighters, paramedics, and clerical staff, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Such prescription information could reveal whether the workers had anxiety disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, or AIDS. It could reveal if an individual identified as transgender or suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."



'via Blog this'

NEWS  |  CEO: Colombia's Ecopetrol Oil Output Rises Due to Fewer Bomb Attacks  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  CEO: Colombia's Ecopetrol Oil Output Rises Due to Fewer Bomb Attacks  |  Rigzone: "Oil output at Colombia's state-run oil producer Ecopetrol SA has been higher than expected so far this year due to fewer bomb attacks on its pipelines, Chief Executive Officer Juan Carlos Echeverry said on Monday.

The average non-consolidated output of 722,000 barrels per day to date is above the company's target for 710,000 barrels in 2015.

The output is also above the average 713,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter of last year, when the company posted an 844 billion peso ($353.88 million) loss. Ecopetrol reports first-quarter 2015 results on Tuesday after markets close.

Average non-consolidated output, which does not include Ecopetrol's stake in other oil companies or subsidiaries, was 705,000 barrels per day for all of 2014.

Echeverry said the company was benefiting directly from peace negotiations between the government and leftist FARC rebels, which he said had cut bomb attacks on its oil pipelines to four so far this year from 45 by this time in 2014."



'via Blog this'

1.5.15

RIGZONE - Azeri SOCAR Assumes Statoil's Pipeline Project Operating Rights

RIGZONE - Azeri SOCAR Assumes Statoil's Pipeline Project Operating Rights: "Norway's Statoil handed over its commercial operating rights on the gas-carrying South Caucasus Pipeline project to Azeri state energy firm SOCAR on Friday after completing the sale of its 15.5 percent stake to Malaysia's Petronas.

The signing ceremony took place in the Azeri capital Baku.

Statoil said it had transferred its 15.5 percent stake in the Shah Deniz production-sharing agreement and a stake of the same size in the South Caucasus Pipeline Company (SCPC) to Petronas.

It also sold a 12.4 percent share in the Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company (AGSC).

"Following this transaction the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, will assume operatorship of AGSC and commercial operatorship of SCPC as of 1 May 2015, which have both previously been held by Statoil," Statoil said in a statement.

The South Caucasus Pipeline project is also known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Pipeline."



'via Blog this'

24.4.15

Technology

Technology: "Germany's intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of "selectors"—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested."



'via Blog this'

22.4.15

RIGZONE - China Defends Vessels' Actions Against Philippines in South China Sea

RIGZONE - China Defends Vessels' Actions Against Philippines in South China Sea: "China on Wednesday defended the actions of its vessels in the disputed South China Sea after the Philippines accused China's coast guard of using water cannon on Philippine fishing boats and urged Manila to increase its "education" of its fishermen.

Filipino fishermen said that China's coast guard boarded their fishing boats and threw away fish catch and fishing gear last week after spraying them with water in a disputed shoal in the South China Sea."



'via Blog this'

27.3.15

Technology

Technology: "A federal appeals court is having second thoughts about its decision frowning on the US Navy for scanning every computer in the state of Washington accessing Gnutella, a large peer-to-peer network.

The September decision (PDF) thwarted a child pornography prosecution that began when a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent in Georgia discovered the illicit images on a civilian's computer in Washington state. The agent was using a law-enforcement computer program called RoundUp to search for hashed images of child pornography.

Following the court's 3-0 decision, the Department of Justice petitioned for a rehearing. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday to revisit the dispute with a larger, 11-judge panel."



'via Blog this'

RIGZONE - BP Sees TANAP Gas Pipeline Project Deal within Two Months

RIGZONE - BP Sees TANAP Gas Pipeline Project Deal within Two Months: "TBILISI, March 25 (Reuters) – British oil major BP expects to sign a deal with the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project within two months to become a stakeholder in the multi-billion dollar project that aims to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian gas.

Chris Schlueter, BP country manager for Georgia, told Reuters on Wednesday that all main documents were signed last week.

"We are very, very close ... That has been very good progress over the last week and a half ... I think (we will sign the deal) within the next two months," Schlueter said on the sidelines of the Georgian Oil, Gas, Energy and Infrastructure conference in the capital Tbilisi.

BP said in 2013 it wanted a 12 percent stake in the TANAP project. Azeri firm SOCAR holds a 58 percent stake in TANAP, while Turkish pipeline firm Botas raised its stake to 30 percent from 20 percent in 2014.

TANAP envisages carrying 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world's largest gas fields, which is being developed by a BP-led consortium.

The pipeline will run from the Turkish-Georgian border to Turkey's border with Bulgaria and Greece. The preliminary cost of the pipeline has been estimated at $10-$11 billion.

Schlueter said the BP-led consortium was on track in Georgia and Azerbaijan with its works on the project, despite the decline in global oil prices.

"Of course, we are tightening our belts ... But there is no change to commitments in our operations," he said.

He added the consortium planned to spend about $6 billion in 2015 on the Shah Deniz II and the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (SCPX) projects.

The TANAP project was inaugurated last week and the 1,850 km (1,150 mile) pipeline's construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 and start deliveries of gas from Shah Deniz II to Europe in 2019."



'via Blog this'

RIGZONE - Cyprus Draws Norway Parallel After Latest Gas Quest Failure

RIGZONE - Cyprus Draws Norway Parallel After Latest Gas Quest Failure: ""There are similar instances in Norway where three licensing rounds were unsuccessful, but the fourth showed that it was the richest deposit," he said."



'via Blog this'

Total, DNO keep pumping oil and gas in Yemen after airstrikes

Total, DNO keep pumping oil and gas in Yemen after airstrikes:



'via Blog this'

22.1.15

Treasury’s Lew lists oil, gas producers as prime tax-reform target - Oil & Gas Journal

Treasury’s Lew lists oil, gas producers as prime tax-reform target - Oil & Gas Journal:



"He said, “For instance, oil and gas producers are rewarded with a number of special-interest tax breaks that unfairly reduce the taxes of oil companies far below what other industries, like retail and manufacturing, pay on their earnings.”



An American Petroleum Institute official immediately challenged the secretary’s characterization.
“[He] needs to get his facts straight,” API Tax and Accounting Policy Director Stephen Comstock said. “America’s oil and gas companies pay considerably more in taxes than the average manufacturing company. And we use the same kind of cost-recovery deductions that are available to every other industry to reinvest money back into the economy.”"



'via Blog this'

5.1.15

1.1.15

North Korean student and son of executed Kim Jong-un uncle's aide on run from Pyongyang agents in France: diplomats

North Korean student and son of executed Kim Jong-un uncle's aide on run from Pyongyang agents in France: diplomats

http://zite.to/1I20uJ1

"Elizabeth Warren Is Our 2014 Legislative Badass Of The Year, Obviously Duh"

So she complains a lot...but what does she actually accomplish? This furthers the notion that all you need to do is squawk a lot & people will think you are doing good for them.

Elizabeth Warren Is Our 2014 Legislative Badass Of The Year, Obviously Duh

http://zite.to/1zBlZvO

Why I think Greece will leave the eurozone this year or soon thereafter

Why I think Greece will leave the eurozone this year or soon thereafter

http://zite.to/1trYt2j