body~politic

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia Is Building A 600-Mile 'Great Wall' To Shield Itself From ISIS - Business Insider

Saudi Arabia Is Building A 600-Mile 'Great Wall' To Shield Itself From ISIS - Business Insider



The border zone now includes five layers of fencing with watch towers, night-vision cameras, and radar cameras.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-is-building-a-600-mile-great-wall-to-shield-from-isis-2015-1#ixzz3OxQ0R3SZ





Beachbody on Twitter: "In honor of the final season of Parks and Recreation, here is one of our favorite moments from the show so far. http://t.co/AHtIrTKpGH"

Beachbody on Twitter: "In honor of the final season of Parks and Recreation, here is one of our favorite moments from the show so far. http://t.co/AHtIrTKpGH"

Rothbardian on Twitter: "Communism yesterday and today. http://t.co/q2CBms5crd"

Rothbardian on Twitter: "Communism yesterday and today. http://t.co/q2CBms5crd"





IWF on Twitter: "A MD couple is being investigated for letting their kids WALK HOME FROM THE PARK. http://t.co/1XgPjI7xYR via @IWF http://t.co/9ijD4Uelm6"

IWF on Twitter: "A MD couple is being investigated for letting their kids WALK HOME FROM THE PARK. http://t.co/1XgPjI7xYR via @IWF http://t.co/9ijD4Uelm6"

Janie Johnson on Twitter: "Who are liberals saving the word “evil” for - if not these women stoners & beheaders?” #tcot #Hannity @seanhannity"

Janie Johnson on Twitter: "Who are liberals saving the word “evil” for - if not these women stoners & beheaders?” #tcot #Hannity @seanhannity"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

quote dojo on Twitter: "Not everyone likes sports. Gandhi and Malcolm X come to mind. ~Jay Mohr #sports"

quote dojo on Twitter: "Not everyone likes sports. Gandhi and Malcolm X come to mind. ~Jay Mohr #sports"





Flexible spinal cord implants will let paralyzed people walk

Flexible spinal cord implants will let paralyzed people walk



EPFL's spinal cord implant prototype
Doctors dream of helping the paralzyed walk through implants that stimulate their spinal cords, but current technology makes that impossible; these stiff, unnatural gadgets usually end up damaging or inflaming nervous tissue over time. Swiss researchers may have just solved this problem once and for all, though. Their bendy e-Dura implantcombines flexible electrodes (made of platinum and silicon microbeads), cracked gold electronic tracks and fluidic microchannels to deliver both electrical impulses and chemicals while mimicking the spine's movements and avoiding friction. Paralyzed rats in lab tests could both walk again after a few weeks and keep wearing their implants after two months.
It'll be a while before e-Dura implants go into human field trials and reach hospitals. With that said, scientists believe the technology's potential extends well beyond overcoming spinal cord injuries. It could treat epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, not to mention reduce chronic pain for numerous conditions. This isn't a cure, strictly speaking, but it would let many people regain mobility (and some semblance of a normal life) without complications or having to resort to external devices like exoskeletons.

Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature? | Motherboard

Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature? | Motherboard



SimCity players have discussed a variety of creative strategies for their virtual homelessness problem. They’ve suggested waiting for natural disasters like tornadoes to blow the vagrants away, bulldozing parks where they congregate, or creating such a woefully insufficient city infrastructure that the homeless would leave on their own.
You can read all of these proposed final solutions in Matteo Bittanti's How to Get Rid of Homelessness, "a 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called 'homeless scandal' that affected 2013's SimCity."
"I started to find the discussion about homeless in SimCity way more interesting thanSimCity itself because people were talking about the issue in a very—how can I say, not racist, not classist, but definitely peculiar way," said Bittanti, a visiting professor at IULM University in Milan who spent seven years teaching in the Bay Area.
Bittanti collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of these messages exchanged by players on publisher Electronic Arts' official forums, Reddit, and the largest onlineSimCity community Simtropolis, who experienced and then tried to "eradicate" the phenomenon of homelessness that "plagued" SimCity.
An excerpt from the book, in which 1ButtonDash has had it up to here with these pests.
SimCity's homeless people are represented as yellow, two-dimensional, ungendered figures with bags in tow. Their presence makes SimCity residents unhappy, and reduces land value. Like many other players, Bittanti discovered the online discussions when he was searching for a way to deal with them.
At first, players wondered if they were having so much problems with the homeless in their cities because of a bug in the game. Like many of 2014's big-budget games that launched in broken or barely-functional statesSimCity originally would only work if players connected to EA's servers, which repeatedly crashed under the load of players. It seemed possible that the homeless problem in SimCity was simply a mistake.
"Has anyone figured out a easy way to handle the homeless ruining those beautiful parks you spend so much money on?" asks one player on EA'​s site. "Create jobs, either through zoning or upgrading road density near industry, that helped me a lot," another player suggests.
In this quick Yo​uTube guide, a player suggests eliminating the two crucial factors that make homeless flock to your city: abandoned residential buildings, and garbage, "which they live off." 


In which an emotionless robot reads the books table of contents.
By removing the aesthetic markers of online forums—author’s signatures, side banners, avatar pictures, and so on—Bittanti's book recontextualizes the discussion to reveal what players and the game are saying about homelessness.
"I have Community College and a University, plenty of police coverage, yet I still have a city with homeless ALL OVER..... so what the fix for this or do I just not worry about it?" asks a player on Simtropolis.
For Bittanti, it's impossible not to see the connections between the homeless problem in the Bay Area and the way it's portrayed in SimCity.
"That is, can we fix homelessness in SimCity, or because we haven't fixed homelessness as a problem in real life, therefore we are bound to lose?" Bittanti asked. "Is SimCity a reflection of what's happening in reality, and therefore is very realistic, or is it a programming issue?"
Bittanti says that it's impossible to distinguish between videogames and America in the same way that Jean Baudrillard thought it was impossible to distinguish between Disneyland and America. The book, he told me, is about simulation and its discontents, the unexpected convergence and collapse between reality and simulation.
"To me video games are the so-called 'real America,'" he said. "The real America operates according to a video game logic, and that game logic is neo-liberalism, and that absolutely manifests in San Francisco, that to me is the epicenter of inequality. In San Francisco you either have a Tesla and you drink a seven dollar cappuccino or you're homeless in the streets."
In A New American Dream, Bittanti documents San Francisco's homeless with Google Street View.
The SimCity series, and SimCity 4 in particular, is Bittanti's favorite game of all time. He even edited a collection o​f essays about it, including one by Neil G​aiman. If you choose to believe the creation myth, Maxis co-founder Will Wright came up with the idea while working on another game in 1989, Raid on​ Bungeling Bay. When he discovered that the tools he was using to build the levels were more fun than the game itself, SimCity was born, and the incredibly ambitious desire to frame reality through a simulation has carried it ever since.
When Maxis started talking about rebooting the franchise by making it prettier, simpler, and moving it online, devoted fans like Bittanti were worried. "They trivialized and simplified the game for the Facebook generation, for people who don't have the patience to spend hours and hours building a city. They had a vision, and some very good ideas, but it all came crashing down."
Bittanti thinks SimCity still matters a lot because it's a failure, and that it should teach us how to incorporate real life issues into simulations. It's all fun and games when developers are imitating Michael Bay and other Hollywood action movies, but when they tackle real issues, the programming and design disciplines that served them in the past don't cut it.
"Issues like homelessness require an approach that is beyond algorithms. It's beyond technological reasons. It requires psychology, anthropology, philosophy. It really shows the limit of the video game."
A limited run of 99 copies of How to get Rid of Homeless is available from Bittanti's Concrete Press via Amazon. Volum​e I is $150 and Volu​me II is $70. 

DC Admits Obamacare for Congress Scheme Unlawful - Breitbart

DC Admits Obamacare for Congress Scheme Unlawful - Breitbart



They didn’t fess up willingly, but after we applied the appropriate pressure, government officials responsible for operating the Washington, D.C. Obamacare “Small Business Exchange” have finally admitted that Congress is taking advantage of health benefits its members and staff are not entitled to claim.

At least 12,359 members of Congress, congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents currently purchase health insurance in D.C.’s Small Business Exchange, even though Congress far exceeds the D.C. law’s 50-employee limit for participating in the exchange. That’s why we filed a lawsuit in October on behalf of Kirby Vining, a D.C. taxpayer, against the D.C. Health Exchange Authority.  In a court filing, the D.C. government conceded that, under D.C. law, the U.S. Congress is not permitted to obtain insurance through the District’s Small Business Exchange. But members of the political class, true to form, do not believe the rules apply to them. How do we know?
Our lawsuit cites applications filed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate with the D.C. Exchange Authority.  The applications, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, show that the House and Senate claimed to have only 45 employees each.  They also show that the House and Senate attested to having “50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.”  Congress employs upwards of 20,000 people.  D.C. law limits participation in the exchange to small businesses having fewer than 50 full-time employees.  The applications also falsely state that the House and Senate are “local/state governments.”  The “electronic signature” section of the application includes the following language: “I’ve provided true and correct information to all the questions on this form to the best of my knowledge.  I know that if I’m not truthful, there may be a penalty.”
The actual names of the signatories were blacked out by the D.C. Exchange in the documents Judicial Watch obtained. If nothing else, the political class knows how to cover its tracks. But on November 7, 2014, the Exchange Authority filed a Motion to Dismiss in which it clearly admits that the law does not allow Congress to participate in its Small Business Exchange. Here’s the key paragraph:
The Health Benefit Exchange Authority was created by the District of Columbia Council under the ACA, and authorized to operate a SHOP Exchange [“Small Business Health Options Program”] in the District through which qualified small businesses could access health coverage for employees. By limiting the SHOP Exchange to “small employers” with an “average of not more than 50 employees during the preceding calendar year,” D.C. Code 31-3171.01 prevents Congressional enrollment in the D.C. Shop Exchange because Congress does not fall within the definition of “small employer.” [Emphasis added]
But just because the D.C. government now admits it knows what’s right doesn’t mean it intends to do what’s right. Remarkably, District officials now argue that federal bureaucrats in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) could override the District’s laws (and, implicitly the Affordable Care Act).  As our attorneys point out in the JW response, Congress plainly knows how to block or reverse D.C. laws. The D.C. law that created the Small Business Exchange is completely consistent with, not preempted by, federal law. And if it is “preempted,” it can’t be undone by a bureaucrat ignoring the Affordable Care Act at the Office of Personnel Management. This Obama power grab is not constitutional and cannot be used to change federal law or “force” a local government to ignore the rule of law.  Unfortunately, from the D.C. government’s point of view, this case is not about logic, reason and honesty.
We are asking the court, on behalf of Mr. Vining, to:
(a) declare the House and the Senate’s participation in the Small Business Exchange to be unlawful; (b) enjoin Defendants from continuing to allow the House and the Senate to participate in the Small Business Exchange, or at a minimum, from expending further taxpayer funds on the House and Senate’s participation in the Small Business Exchange; (c) issue a writ of mandamus ordering [District officials] to deny the House and the Senate further participation in the Small Business Exchange . . .”
We are pushing ahead even as the opposing side pushes back.  On December 12, 2014, we filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss on behalf of Vining.  The D.C. Exchange then filed a Reply to the Opposition on December 22, 2014. So, the legal battle continues to rage. In the meantime, you might want to check with your local congressman and senators about what they think about the possible fraud now being committed to provide illegal health insurance to Congress.  You can point them to our documents and demand accountability.

UK prime minister wants backdoors into messaging apps or he’ll ban them | Ars Technica

UK prime minister wants backdoors into messaging apps or he’ll ban them | Ars Technica




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