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Self-service key-making machines: Keys are no longer secure


New technology makes it much easier to duplicate keys, which is definitely both a plus and a minus. It is also inevitable.The best security for your house key is to not give it to anyone. Valets should only get a car key. House keys can be duplicated by scanning them with a smartphone. So can some car keys.

MinuteKey kiosks, available across the country, don’t care if your key says ‘Do Not Duplicate.’ MinuteKey never even sees the inscription. Stick the key part in the slot and it’ll make a perfect key in about a minute. It’s completely self-service. I’ve used MinuteKey. It’s quick, easy, and fun to watch the keys being made.

KeyMe scans keys with a smartphone

KeyMe scans keys with a smartphone. Their kiosks make keys from the scans.

KeyMe, a new iPhone app, takes that one step further. Scan your keys with your iPhone and it saves it for you on a digital keyring. You can order keys through the app or make one at their kiosks using the scans.

Apps like KeyMe and KeysDuplicated haven’t exactly created the requirement that our physical keys be kept as secret as our digital ones. But they have democratized the security threat: Now even a lockpicking noob like me can demonstrate the danger of letting keys leave their owner’s control.

In a way, says Weyers, that’s a good thing. “The effect of services like KeyMe will be positive: People are now starting to understand that it only take a couple of seconds to duplicate a key,” he says. “We lock nerds already knew that. Now the normal public is catching on.”

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UN against War Crimes, US not so much


U.S. alone in vote against investigation of crimes against humanity  

Is there any doubt that Israelis and Palestinians have been committing war crimes and crimes against each other’s humanity for decades?

Objectively, that seems to be a plain fact, with particular relevance to Israel, whose existence was made possible by, among other things, acts of terror. Nowadays Israel objects, with no apparent sense of irony, when Palestinians seeking their own state also resort to acts of terror. Terrorism is a tactic of the relatively weak (as is non-violence) that sometimes seems to produce the desired result, as did Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 that left 91 dead.

Weighing the merits of war criminals on any side is a fool’s game. But those playing this game include almost everyone involved with the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, as each pretends to ride a moral high horse that no longer exists, if it ever did.

Logically enough, under present conditions of mostly indiscriminate killing, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva met inspecial session to consider this war crimes question on July 23. The council reviewed and later adopted a resolution captioned: “Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The council issued a four-page assessment of regional conditions and approved one decision:

… to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after…. [emphasis added]

The 47-member council voted 29-1 in favor of the resolution, with 17 members (11 of them European) abstaining. The lone vote against the commission of inquiry was the United States. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are members of the council.

The U.S. opposition to the Human Rights Council investigating violations of international law comes just months after another UN human rights agency issued a report highly critical of more than two dozen human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. Some of these violations continue unabated, such as prisoner treatment at Guantanamo, widespread surveillance of citizens everywhere, drone assassinations, and racial injustice by police and prisons. For the United States, these abuses are all well known and they express basic policy choices. The U.S. Senate provided a recent example.

100 U.S. senators approve Israeli war crimes, in advance

Senate Resolution 498 was introduced by Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on July 10 with 79 co-sponsors and the caption: “Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Not surprisingly, the resolution provided plenty of opportunity for super-supportive senatorial Israel-bloviating. Even though the resolution text is a mix of Israeli propaganda and variously false assertion, no senator was moved to object, even to factual errors. No senator offered any amendment. On July 17, the resolution passed the Senate by unanimous consent, with no debate, resolving that the Senate:

(1) reaffirms its support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;

(2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;

(3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and

(4) calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

There you have it: the unanimous consensus of the United States of America.

During the entire time this resolution was pending, Israel was bombing Gaza with little military impact, and the cost of hundreds of civilian dead. Gaza is small, 139 square miles (the size of Detroit), with the same population density as Boston. With no authority other than force, Israel has issued warnings or orders to Palestinians to leave almost half of Gaza, with a predictable dislocation of thousands of people.

Gaza, with a population of about 1.8 million, is, for all intents and purposes, just a large concentration camp. Gaza’s borders are closed and Gaza has been under siege by Israel for years (also a human rights violation). Gaza is about ten times the size of the Warsaw Ghetto (1940-1943), where more than 400,000 Jews suffered under the Nazis, at first cooperatively. When the Jews had had enough and the uprising began in 1943, the Germans responded with overwhelming force, going block-by-block blowing up houses and wiping out virtually all the residents.

Just a few hours after the United State Senate unanimously passed its resolution giving Israel the green light to do whatever it wanted to anyone it fingered as a bother, Israel’s invasion of Gaza began.

There is blood on every United States senator’s hands

By passing resolution 498 unanimously, the U.S. Senate signaled unambiguously that it had not only lost its mind, it had gone out of its way to abandon any mindful approach to endless war in the Holy Land.

By framing an intractable, multi-faceted struggle for human rights as having only one dimension – Israeli self-defense – the world’s greatest deliberative body has deliberately declared itself brain dead. No one seriously questions Israel’s rights, but not one of these self-important senators was willing to acknowledge that the right to self-defense is not Israel’s alone.

By citing “unprovoked rocket fire,” and nothing else, 100 senators have demonstrated their unwillingness to exercise complex, reality-based thinking. Certainly, as the UN Human Rights Council acknowledges again and again, Hamas rockets represent another war crime ­– but that doesn’t cancel decades of Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

By calling for a one-sided ceasefire, every U.S. senator offers evidence of an apparent willingness to call for other fantasies, perhaps elves and unicorns as peacekeepers. None of them has actually called for real peacekeepers.

By telling the Palestinians how to govern themselves, a unanimous Senate has revealed its corruption, dishonesty, and imperial mindset. In 2006, Hamas won an election more competitive than some senators ever face, but the U.S. as the great defender of democracy refused to accept the election results (of course this was after the 2000 American election, so the precedent was there).

By what right do the U.S. and Israel seek to dictate how Palestinians or any other people seeking self-determination choose to govern themselves? Who decided that the Palestinians should be the kaffirs of Israeli apartheid? If no one will hold the U.S. or Israel to account for their war crimes or crimes against human rights, why would they stop committing them? Why would they even acknowledge committing them?

The U.S. Senate, like the White House, acts as if calling someone else a “terrorist organization” (S. Res. 498) ends the argument, even when those making the call are themselves in the midst of carrying out terrorist acts. This is the ultimate expression of impunity, the sense that one’s worst actions will have no bad consequences.

Much of the world believes that the United States and Israel behave with just such a sense of impunity. And that’s one of the deeper concerns embedded in the Human Rights Council’s commission of inquiry, to probe all violations “with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.” That begins to sound like international justice. No wonder the United States opposed it.  

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back toReader Supported News.


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World’s largest solar-wind hybrid installation


A Jamaica law firm has installed an 80 kw hybrid solar-wind array on the roof of their office. It is expected to save $2 million over its 25 year lifespan and uses small vertical turbines and solar PV.

The installation incorporates 50 of WindStream’s SolarMill devices. The different SolarMill models each comprise one or more solar panels and three or more turbines

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Who shot down MH17 over Ukraine?


Are Ukraine and Gaza both part of the same war? 

The same day that Israeli tanks crossed into Gaza, to continue killing civilians and the occasional Hamas fighter, MSNBC  decided to ignore the Israeli invasion in favor of wall-to-wall coverage of the presumed shoot-down of Malaysian Airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Why would MSNBC make a choice that looks so much like propaganda?

The last time the Israelis invaded Gaza, in 2009, more than 100 Palestinians died for each Israeli killed. The 13 dead Israelis were soldiers on the attack, the 1,400-plus dead Palestinians were mostly civilians with nowhere safe to go. That hasn’t changed much.

The last time someone in Ukraine shot down a civilian airliner, on October 4, 2001, the Kiev government killed 78 people on a Russian plane flying in an international airway to Russia from Israel. Kiev denied the shoot-down for nine days before acknowledging that it was probably responsible for “an accidental hit from an S-200 rocket fired during exercises” in Crimea. Ten years later, Kiev issued a report denying this explanation, without offering a new one.

What’s happening these days in both Ukraine and Gaza shares some ugly and dangerous aspects. In both places, quasi-proxies of the United States are on the offensive. The Kiev government’s assault on separatist-held areas has been as lethal for civilians as Israel’s assault on Gaza (but the war in Ukraine goes almost unreported). Both the governments of Ukraine and Israel prefer to use force against weaker opponents, rather than mediating long-standing, legitimate issues on both sides. Both Ukraine and Israel are protected by the same patron, the U.S. government, with its apparent determination to dominate both regions, at whatever human cost is necessary to those who live there.

Even the propaganda spinning through much of the media is the same for both, focusing on a demonized caricature of an enemy, whether Hamas or Putin/Russia.

What do we know, and how do we know it with any certainty?

The MH17 shoot-down story broke with a quote from Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko calling it a “terrorist attack.” Any time someone uses the word “terrorist” to characterize anything, it’s a red flag signaling manipulation. In Poroshenko’s mouth, “terrorist” is also routine Kiev propaganda that always refers to the Ukrainian separatists as “terrorists,” and usually “pro-Russian” as well. Despite the obvious unreliability of accepting any Kiev version of events as accurate, the U.S. government (including president Obama and vice president Biden) and American media ran with unconfirmed and unconfirmable formulations.

MSNBC especially reiterated the Kiev story about Russian missiles and how the Russians must have either done it or trained the separatists to do it. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and others presented it, there was no other possibility. Not even asked was the question: does the Kiev government have the same surface to air missile capability? That seems like a pretty basic question to go unasked in the midst of a story developing with little reliable evidence. Especially since the answer is that Kiev has the same missiles.

Why hasn’t Kiev released air controller conversations with MH17? Kiev released dubious tapes of purported Russians taking credit for the shoot-down. Why hasn’t the U.S. (or anyone else with satellites) released satellite coverage of the shoot-down?  One reason, posed byRobert Parry, might be:

What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers.

This is the sort of careful, information-based speculation that Parry regularly takes mainstream media to task for avoiding. Using the conventional means-motive-opportunity analysis, the Kiev military quickly becomes one of the obvious suspects. Not only has the Kiev military shot down an airliner before, shooting down MH17 and blaming it on the separatists could prove useful.

Additionally, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, the man in charge of the military, is Andriy Parubiy, who achieved his position after the Kiev coup in February. Parubiy was among the more militarized elements of the Euromaidan protests and has a long history of neo-Nazi activity. (As Parry pointed out, the Washington Post quoted Parubiy as a source without mentioning any unpleasant truth about him.)

Is there enough evidence yet to indict anyone? 

A week after the shoot-down, it’s not at all clear who’s responsible, or even if it was a deliberate act.

The Russian government is maintaining a relatively low profile, while seeming to behave appropriately – calling for a neutral investigation, voting with everyone else at the United Nations (despite Samantha Power’s over-the-top ranting and raving and all but banging her shoe on the table).

Nobody calls the Donetsk People’s Republic government particularly competent, or even much of a government, but they’ve managed to get some things right ­ – retrieving and properly refrigerating most of the bodies, turning over the black boxes (which are red) to the Malaysian government, allowing increased access to international investigators (including Australians). To get the black boxes, the Malaysian government in effect recognized the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic ­– something even the Russians haven’t done.

The Kiev government has both withheld relevant evidence and put out scare stories unsupported by evidence. Given that MH17 went down in a war zone where the Kiev government has been on the offensive, one might expect Kiev to call for a ceasefire to allow for a safer clean-up. Instead the offensive continues, on the ground, in the air, and out of the mouth.

The U.S. government continues to fulminate and froth, but can’t seem to think of anything actually helpful to do, unless withholding evidence is helpful.

Kiev air controllers diverted MH17 about 200 miles to the north, over the Donetsk war zone. When the pilot asked to fly at 35,000 feet, the air controllers ordered him to fly at 33,000 feet. Part of the political attack on Russia is the claim that Russia provided the missilesthat shot down MH17, which Kiev and Washington say they knew in advance. This raises the question of why MH17 was ordered to fly within range of known missiles with a range up to 70,000 feet.

The conventional international lemming view still being pushed by the U.S. and others is that somehow Putin is responsible for whatever happened and Putin can fix it. This is even less credible than arguing that Obama is responsible for whatever Ukraine or Israel does, and Obama can fix that.   

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back toReader Supported News.

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Armed self-defense by blacks during the civil rights movement


This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible

Standing behind Martin Luther King in the South were considerable numbers of heavily armed blacks who weren’t about to let the Klan terrorize them. This history of armed self-defense stretches back to the days of slavery. Voter registration drives in the South signed up far more voters when they were protected by armed blacks. Even MLK had guns. His house was described as an “arsenal.” He was a huge moral force. However, implicit in his nonviolence was “if you don’t deal with me, then you’ll have to deal with the crazies standing behind me” like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.

According to Charles E. Cobb’s revelatory new history of armed self-defense and the civil rights movement, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, Canton and the rest of the South could not have been desegregated without people like C.O. Chinn, who were willing to take the lives of white people and were thus known as “crazy Negroes” or, less delicately, “bad niggers.”

Cobb does not discount the importance of nonviolent protest, but he demonstrates with considerable evidence that desegregation and voting rights “could not have been achieved without the complementary and still underappreciated practice of armed self-defense.”

Cobb concludes from these and many other examples of black armed self-defense that the current tendency among liberals to think of gun rights as a cause championed by racists is wrong-headed. Though “largely associated with the conservative white Right…there was a time when people on both sides of America’s racial divide embraced their right to self-protection, and when rights were won because of it.”

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What a crock. Smartphone-controlled crock pot


Tell me again why I need to control a crock pot remotely. The Belkin wi-fi crock pot costs $130, 3-4 times more than your basic paleolithic crock pot, which force users to agonizingly walk over to it to adjust the controls. The Belkin frees you from such horrors. In fact, to set the timer you have to use the smartphone app because the crock pot doesn’t have a timer that can be manually set. This is progress?

If something can be controlled remotely it doesn’t mean it needs to be or there is any advantage in doing so.

But I did have an incident where I checked the app to see how much time had elapsed, and got an error message saying, “Your slow cooker has been off for an unknown period of time. Your food may be unsafe for consumption.” I was actually home at the time, so I went to my kitchen to see if the cooker was off, but it was still on, though it appeared to be temporarily disconnected from Wi-Fi.

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Brit secret service funded pedophile groups to blackmail them


Moloch demanded child sacrifices

This explains why pedophile activity by high-ranking people in Britain was never prosecuted. The government helped finance pedophile groups so the pedophiles, who were powerful politicians, could be blackmailed. The abused and raped children of course were of no concern to anyone. This shows the degeneracy of the ruling class and how law enforcement is just not very concerned with protecting people but rather with protecting power. J Edgar Hoover engaged in the same type of blackmail in the US. NSA almost certainly is doing it too. We are governed by monsters.

British security services infiltrated and funded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange in a covert operation to identify and possibly blackmail establishment figures, a Home Office whistleblower alleges.

The former civil servant has told detectives investigating the activities of paedophiles in national politics that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch was orchestrating the child-sex lobbying group in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Naked Capitalism has more.

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Michigan Urban Farming Institute


Out of apparent ashes comes Detroiters who are taking what they having and creating something better from it. The Michigan Urban Farming Institute has a production urban farm, training center, demonstration urban farm, shipping container house, and are rebuilding a distressed apartment so it is habitable again.

We believe that challenges unique to the Michigan community (e.g., vacant land, poor diet, nutritional illiteracy, and food insecurity) present a unique opportunity for community-supported agriculture. Using agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability, and community—while simultaneously reducing socioeconomic disparity—we hope to empower urban communities.

Jetson Green has details on the prefab shipping container home being built by MIUFI with help from GM.

The GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant is joining forces with the non-profit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to build a homestead out of shipping containers. They plan to turn a shipping container into a sustainable home that will also come with a plot of farming land to cultivate. The home will be designed by TAKD Design and built by the Integrity Building Group of Detroit.

The shipping container they will use to build this home was donated by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. It measures 40 feet by 10 feet, which will yield 320 square feet of living space that will be taken up by 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen/dining area.cthouse

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SF Bay Area housing prices in bubble fueled by startups, stock options


One million for a no-view 2 bdr apartment in SF highlights the real estate bubble currently enveloping San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Prices are driven by play money. Startups get huge funding even though they have no possibility of profits for the forseeable future. Those who work at tech companies often get stock options. In both cases they take what is essentially free money for them and bid up real estate prices. High housing prices drive out even those making good money. It makes the market unstable. It will end, because all bubbles end. This time is not different. It will end when something causes the hot money to stop flowing it. Sue and I are moving to Vegas from San Jose soon. Housing prices are the primary reason. We want to own a house again and can’t afford it here. From Wolf Richter, who lives in and loves SF.

In the current climate, hundreds of transactions, large and small, take place every month, including a slew of IPOs. That’s the great hot-money-transfer machine. And San Francisco sits at the receiving end. There are some drawbacks, however. Number one, it won’t last. It just prepares the way for the next bust. Number two (and in the interim), it forces out real businesses with real revenues and profits. And it drives out people who find themselves – though well-employed – financially unable to live here any longer.

Another reason we are moving is the sanctimonious odor emanating from all those “disruptors” is becoming unbearable. No, your iPhone app to track social media scores across multiple platforms is not and never will be a game-changer.

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NSA can’t find relevant data because it captures all data, including junk


The federal government approach of vacuuming up every speck of data because it might need it someday is useless, counterproductive, and does nothing to stop terrorism. NSA itself has admitted it has no way of quickly and accurately using the data it stores, saying maybe it will one day. It won’t and it can’t. This approach is a waste of time and money. Worse, this is the approach taken by all federal agencies. They are storing massive amounts of data on us in incompatible formats, not sharing with each other. It’s a Tower of Babel. Perhaps we should be thankful they are so inept.

The insurmountable problem NSA and the rest face is attempting to store data which arrives in hundreds of thousands of incompatible formats (which are subject to change at a moment’s notice) then being able to retrieve it reliably based on a few snippets of information. Fugetaboutit. It can’t be done quickly, if at all, and certainly not done accurately and without security breaches.

Here’s an example. NSA get a whisper an evildoer named Bob Morris is plotting something nefarious. How many Bob Morris’ are there in the US? Thousands. Are they sure the Bob Morris is question isn’t using an alias or spoofing an identity? I get about 50 emails a month that were clearly meant for another Bob Morris. The probability of false positives is high when trying to make sense of data stored in a zillion different formats. Storing massive amounts of data is relatively simple compared to make sense of it. And even that isn’t easy. If a Belgian phone company changes its data formats then NSA has to change how it stores that data yet still make all previous data from the phone company retrievable too. Multiply that by the probably hundreds of times data formats change on a daily basis worldwide and you have an unwieldy mess that probably collapsed under its own weight years ago into gibberish. Emphasis added

“No wonder the government can’t find needles in the haystack—it keeps storing irrelevant hay,” [Fred] Cate, [a law professor at Indiana University] told me “Even if the data were fresh and properly secured, how is collecting all of this aiding in the fight against terrorism? This is a really important issue because it exposes a basic and common fallacy in the government’s thinking: that more data equates with better security. But that wasn’t true on 9/11, and it still isn’t true today. This suggests that US transportation security officials are inefficient, incompetent, on using the data for other, undisclosed purposes. None of those are very encouraging options.”

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Bob Morris


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