Mon 4.23



Senate weakens, backs Pompeo for Sec/State
The Hill
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced Monday he will back CIA Director Mike Pompeo‘s nomination as secretary of State.

The Rolls-Royce concept of a self-navigating cargo ship.

Self-navigating ships on the horizon, 
but US is asleep in the wheelhouse
— The day in which unmanned “ghost ships” ply the seas laden with cargo is fast approaching. But don’t expect the drone vessels to be flying a U.S. flag.
— The United States is not among the global hotspots where a revolution in autonomous commercial shipping is unfolding. One needs to look to places like Norway, Finland, Singapore and China to observe the competition for unmanned shipping.
— A shipyard in Norway will soon begin building a 237-foot battery-powered electric container ship that will operate with nary a sailor aboard by 2020.

Nope, N. Korea is not going to negotiate away its nuclear weapons
Joshua H. Pollack, editor, The Nonproliferation Review 
Kim says: “the victory … was won and thus the struggle of the Korean people who worked hard with their belt tightened to acquire a powerful treasured sword for defending peace was successfully concluded and the firm guarantee by which our descendants can enjoy the most dignified and happiest life in the world was provided.”
— So. Does the completion or perfection of a nuclear arsenal as a “firm guarantee” for the security and well-being of posterity sound like a prelude to unilateral disarmament? Or does it sound like the precise opposite?

Retired military brass: Say no to torture, kill Haspel nomination
The Hill
— Dozens of retired U.S. military generals and officers on Monday issued a letter urging senators to reject President Trump’s nominee for CIA Director.
— In a letter posted on Human Rights First, the retired officials expressed concerns over Gina Haspel’s involvement in “enhanced interrogation” programs under the Bush administration. Those programs and the techniques used are now widely considered torture.
— “We do not accept efforts to excuse her actions relating to torture and other unlawful abuse of detainees by offering that she was ‘just following orders,’ or that shock from the 9/11 terrorist attacks should excuse illegal and unethical conduct,” the officials wrote.

Twilight dreams
M.I.T researchers focus on hypnagogia, a key to creativity

— Hypnagogic consciousness has been coveted by some of the most brilliant scientific and artistic minds in history. Thomas Edison, Edgar Allen Poe, Vladimir Nabokov, Mary Shelley, Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, August Kekule, and Richard Wagner all expressed their fascination with hypnagogia and claimed that their experiences in this twilight zone of the mind resulted in sudden bursts of creativity or mental clarity. The idea that “conscious access to underlying, unconscious forces” is at the root of creativity was also echoed and reformulated in a more scientifically rigorous way by the Nobel biophysicist Eric Kandel in the 90s.

Google won’t remove “deepfake” videos of Melania, Ivanka “porn”
But the problem goes much deeper than an embarrassed White House
Vice News
— However, the potential threat from deepfake videos goes far beyond porn. From turbocharging the fake news problem to undermining democracies and inciting violence, the ability to depict anyone saying anything has potentially catastrophic implications.”
— “[Deepfakes] will significantly exacerbate the already existing problem we’ve got with disinformation undermining self-governance, democracy and the rule of law,” said Bobby Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas and former White House adviser.

CBD oil studies to focus on relief of anxiety, addiction
— Proponents of CBD’s use in treating medical conditions and ailments hope the findings of studies now underway will help change that thinking about its legal classification — and its potential benefits.

China slammed for “men only” jobs
— Leading Chinese firms including e-commerce giant Alibaba were heavily criticised Monday for gender discrimination in job adverts in a new report which said the landscape for the female workforce in China was deteriorating.
— The report by Human Rights Watch, entitled “Only Men Need Apply: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China”, details a host of offenses by private companies and public bodies, from issuing “men only” job ads to requests for women applicants to be “trim” and “aesthetically pleasing”.

Crocodile tears
Professor who mined data for Cambridge Analytica
tries to redeem his sorry ass on 60 Minutes

CBS 60 Minutes
he asked Facebook users to take a survey he designed from which he built psychological profiles meant to predict their behavior.
— He failed to disclose that what he was really after was access to their friends, tens of millions of people he could not otherwise reach easily. And that he was doing the survey for Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, that used the material to influence people on how to vote.
…  “at the time I thought we were doing everything that was correct. You know, I was kinda acting, honestly, quite naively. I thought we were doing everything okay.”

Revealed: Amazon’s secret plan to build home robots
— It’s unclear what tasks an Amazon robot might perform. People familiar with the project speculate that the Vesta robot could be a sort of mobile Alexa, accompanying customers in parts of their home where they don’t have Echo devices. Prototypes of the robots have advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car.

The Well-Regulated Militia …
How the crazed Waffle House shooter got his guns back
— Cops took away Waffle House shooter’s 4 guns … but they gave the guns to his father … who returned them to his son.
— >>> Shooting suspect arrested near his home AP

One of his victims, DeEbony Groves, was a senior on the dean’s list at Belmont University & a basketball player … also killed were Taurean Sanderlin, 29, Joe R. Perez, 20,  and Akilah Dasilva, 23.  DeEbony Groves is pictured below via a tweet from her sister.

Foreign students snub US
New foreign student enrollment in the U.S. dropped by 3 percent during the 2016-17 school year, and that decline is projected to double this school year, data show. At the same time, universities overseas are seeing increases as high as the double digits. The decline in foreign students enrolling in American colleges is just the latest evidence of Trump’s immigration policies shutting doors in America.

Sean Hannity’s secret $90 million real estate empire
The Guardian
— His ownership hidden by shell corporations.
— Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticized Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate. In January 2016, Hannity said there were “millions more Americans suffering under this president” partly because of foreclosures.
— Hannity amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development, although he regularly rants against government programs.

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