Michael Cohen strikes plea deal, admits lying about Russia project
(Politico) — Cohen admitted Thursday to a criminal charge of making false statements to Congress, with prosecutors saying he deliberately minimized the extent of discussions with Trump about a Moscow-based real estate project and obscured the fact that conversations about the proposed development continued well into the 2016 presidential campaign.
Chinese mega-mogul Jack Ma, and the plan for a mind-control future
— The greatest feature of the car, explained the proud representative, is that its media panel, linked to the user’s smartphone, reads patterns of movement, food choices and potentially even photos and comments, and then crosses this with millions of data sets to make predictions about what the user might like to eat and how they might like to travel there or have the food travel to them. In short, the new citizen outsources part of their decision-making processes, and maybe even part of their desire, to Alibaba. Our very impulses are mapped and planned in advance. The triangulation between data, predictive technology and desire could be the single most important relationship taking us into the dystopian smart city future.
Prisoners extorted $500,000 from troops using dating apps
… “Operation Surprise Party,” an effort launched in 2017 by a collaboration of military and civilian law enforcement agencies to foil a prisoner-led extortion, money laundering and wire fraud scheme that “cost 442 service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps from across the United States more than $560,000 in financial loss,” a Wednesday NCIS release said.
— Army officials and South Carolina law enforcement revealed in October that prison inmates posing on dating applications as women in the same age bracket as the targeted soldier were allegedly duping service members into wiring cash following nude photo text message exchanges.
…. But shortly after swapping photos with the inmate, the unsuspecting soldier would receive a text from another phone number, one belonging to a completely different prisoner, who would then pose as the fictional girl’s father or law enforcement official.
— “The ‘father’ then notifies the victim that the female is under the age of 18,” the warrant stated. “The father will typically state that he will leave law enforcement out of the equation if the victim agrees to pay for various things like cell phone replacement, counseling, hospital treatments, etc.”
—> The cash is ultimately deposited into the prisoners’ “Jpay” accounts, which are run on tablets SOLD TO THEM at exorbitant prices by the prison profit industry. Nothing weird about that at all…
The surprising way plastics could actually help fight climate change
Joseph Rollin, Postdoctoral Researcher in Bioenergy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Jenna E. Gallegos, Postdoctoral Researcher in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado State University
In The Conversation
— Petro-plastics aren’t fundamentally all that bad, but they’re a missed opportunity. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Switching from petroleum-based polymers to polymers that are biologically based could decrease carbon emissions by hundreds of millions of tons every year. Bio-based polymers are not only renewable and more environmentally friendly to produce, but they can actually have a net beneficial effect on climate change by acting as a carbon sink. But not all bio-polymers are created equal.
Supremes may actually wake up and limit power of cops to seize property
—> Ya know, like it says in the Constitution …
— The Supreme Court left little doubt Wednesday that it would rule that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help an Indiana man recover the $40,000 Land Rover police seized when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.
— A decision in favor of 37-year-old Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana, also could buttress efforts to limit the confiscation by local law enforcement of property belonging to someone suspected of a crime. Police and prosecutors often keep the proceeds.
‘Talent Wants Transit”
Companies Near Transportation Gaining The Upper Hand
— One of the important criteria in Amazon’s high-profile search for a second (and third) corporate headquarters was access to public transportation for the company’s employees. The company chose Queens, N.Y. and Arlington, Va. for its new HQ2s — both locations will be near subway stops. And a new study finds Amazon is not alone in this regard; businesses all over the country increasingly want to be near bus and train lines, as they struggle to attract and keep top talent in a tight labor market.
— A case in point is McDonald’s, a company that owes its enormous success to people driving their cars. After all, the fast food giant sells millions of meals through drive-thru windows.
— For decades, McDonald’s made its corporate home in a sprawling campus in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, Ill.; a location that was pretty much only accessible by car.
— A few months ago, McDonald’s traded the lawns, trees and ponds of their suburban home for sidewalks, concrete, glass and steel and moved into a new corporate headquarters building, just west of downtown Chicago. It’s within walking distance of a stop on two Chicago Transit Authority “L” lines, two Metra commuter rail stations, several bus stops and it’s easy to get to by bicycle.
Belch! Makers of lousy beer agree to keep making lousy beer
Courthouse News Service
— “Pabst will continue to offer Pabst Blue Ribbon and the rest of our authentic, great tasting and affordable brews to all Americans for many, many years to come.”
(Pause for laughter)
— Pabst brought the lawsuit to the door of MillerCoors claiming it violated a contract between the companies by planning to end a longstanding partnership through which MillerCoors brews Pabst’s beer.
— The partnership began in 1999 in order to keep Pabst afloat.
Court rules for wine sellers in interstate shipping dispute
Courthouse News Service
— In a victory for out-of-state alcohol sellers, the Seventh Circuit said Wednesday an Illinois law prohibiting those retailers from shipping liquor to in-state consumers “smacks of protectionism” and may not be lawful under the constitutional amendment that repealed Prohibition.
— Illinois law prohibits any out-of-state business from obtaining a license to ship beer, wine or spirits to Illinois consumers.
Europe to Ukraine: Drop dead
— European leaders rebuffed calls from Ukraine for greater support against Russia on Thursday, after Kiev urged NATO to send ships into waters disputed with Moscow.
Drug overdoses push US life expectancy down
Jeez, maybe I shouldn’t have bought that gun, episode #55,673
Idiot relative shoots, kills boy, 9, on Thanksgiving
Police: Man shoots son after fight over kneeling NFL players