Category Archives: Science & technology

Smart phone apps drain battery and enable you to be tracked

smart phone apps

The term “app” is short for “application software”.

Apps for smart phones are getting more numerous and more popular by the day. A May 2012 comScore study reported that during the previous quarter, more mobile subscribers used apps than browsed the web on their devices: 51.1% vs. 49.8% respectively. Market research firm Gartner predicted that 102 billion apps would be downloaded in 2013 (91% of them free), which would generate $26 billion in the U.S., up 44.4% on 2012’s $18 billion.

If you have apps on your cell phone, you should know that those apps come with costs.

Karl Denninger writes for The Market Ticker, Nov. 26, 2015, that “free” apps aren’t really free:

The price is that they want to advertise to you.  Location-based advertising is more-accurate in terms of value to the advertiser in that it’s more likely to result in a sale.

There are at least two problems with apps:

  1. Apps drain battery power: Denninger writes: “If you’re wondering why your phone dies so fast, that’s a big part of the reason. If you have 20 apps on your device that all do this that’s 20x every five minutes or so . . . that these apps all pull your location and send it to “momma”.  Every one of those instances consumes both battery power and network bandwidth, which . . . is something you’re paying for.
  2.  Apps give the companies your location data: Denninger writes, “Do not believe for a second that this sort of misbehavior is isolated or uncommon.  All of the social messaging apps do it, including Facebook and others.  But the offenders aren’t limited to apps like Facebook; they’re also things like Walmart’s app, which continually pulls location data once started.  Even worse are games, which almost-universally do this sort of thing.Some of these apps are extremely persistent, such as Charity Miles . . . . ; these will hammer on location requests, including trying to use the GPS repeatedly, if you’re in a location without a clear view of the sky.  This is extremely bad for your power consumption because the GPS chip is one of the most-hungry in your phone when it comes to power budget. . . .

    This data can be trivially used to identify you with specificity along with your daily habits.  It requires no linkage to your device ID or a login to do so either; all it requires is a bit of time.  Within a few days or weeks it is trivially easy to know exactly who you are and since there is a unique device ID associated with each of these data points it’s not even slightly difficult to link it to your characteristics.  While this might not link it to a name that doesn’t matter.

    And this brings me to the real risk: You have absolutely no idea nor control over who has this data, who’s keeping it, for how long (the presumption has to be “forever”) and who it’s being given or sold to.”


Man demands abortion after surrogate learns she’s having triplets

Well this turned into a terrible situation, especially for one of the babies.

Melissa Cook/Photo via NY Post

Melissa Cook/Photo via NY Post

A Georgia man hired Melissa Cook (age 47) for $33,000 to have a child by in-vitro fertilization using his sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor. The woman, from California, was implanted with three embryos. The “dad” became overwhelmed when he learned she was having triplets — and demanded the woman abort one of the fetuses while threatening her with financial ruin, Melissa claims.

“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” Melissa Cook told The Post. They learned she was having triplets when the embryos babies were around 8 or 9 weeks. He almost immediately began to raise concerns, and they have grown increasingly threatening, she said.

Cook, a mother of four — including her own set of triplets — is now 17 weeks pregnant. She also had a fifth child as a surrogate. According to California law, aside from life-threatening exceptions, fetuses babies can’t be aborted once they become “viable,’’ or around 20 weeks.

The dad’s lawyer, Robert Warmsley, says “the dad understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce,” which he wrote in a Friday letter to Cook, who has never met the sperm donor.

Apparently they have an agreement, hence the threat of financial harm. “As you know, his remedies where you refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, are immense [and] include, but are not limited to, loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children [and] medical costs associated with any extraordinary care the children may need,” the lawyer warned.

The surrogate  received another letter from Warmsley on Tuesday urging her to schedule a “selection reduction” — abortion of one of the fetuses babies — by day’s end.

Cook wrote an emotional letter to the dad, “The doctor put in three healthy embryos . . . The chances were high they were all going to take. You knew I was 47 years old. If you knew you only wanted two babies, then why put in three embryos?” According to her contract, Cook is entitled to her $33,000 pregnancy fee for one baby, plus an additional $6,000 for each additional child.

Given the pressure she’s under, Cook said she was wavering on her decision to keep all three babies. “I have to reduce. I’m scared. I don’t want to suffer,” said Cook, who is split from her husband and lives in Woodland Hills, Calif. (What about the baby’s suffering?)

Jennifer Lahl, head of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a group that opposes surrogacy, said the Cook case is the first she’s aware of in which a surrogate mom has gone public to expose the pressure she’s under to undergo an abortion.

The dad’s lawyer declined comment to the New York Post.


Delta executives consider 8 year old’s idea to improve plane safety

A future engineer in the making? Clever young man!

Ben's idea/Photo via Consumerist

Ben’s idea/Photo via Consumerist

Fox reports that a young airplane enthusiast received a welcome surprise from a Delta executive after sending the airline a series of suggestions on how to improve safety in the event of a crash.

Ben Treider, 8, watched a show about planes mysteriously disappear, which included a segment about the disappearance of Malaysia’s MH370. After watching the show, “I felt a little sad,” Ben told

Ben put his sadness to good. Right away this young inventor got to work, designing an emergency aircraft system he believes would make it easier to locate planes in the event of an ocean crash.

Ben’s mom, Laura Treider, helped her son pen a letter to Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “We could have a system that has neon orange balloons that rise up to the surface when the plane crashes in the sea,” reads the letter. “And there would be stones at the bottom so they would stay there. The balloon wouldn’t be light enough to float up into the air, and it would have reinforced rubber to withstand a lot of pressure.” Ben’s drawing of his design (shown at top), clearly indicates how the balloon would hold a radio frequency transmitter to make the aircraft easier to locate.

Laura served in the Air Force with her husband and says her son has been fascinated with planes from an early age. “He’s always been interested in aviation, particularly in the design of military airplanes,” she said.

A few weeks after Ben sent out his letter he received a special package from John E. Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance. In addition to sending two model airplanes—which Ben says he quickly assembled—the young inventor got branded pencils and pens and a personal note commending his design.

“…I work with many Delta people, The Federal Aviation Administration, and airplane manufactures to solve problems such as airline tracking in an emergency. There are lots of experts thinking about ideas just like you send us. I will make sure to share your planes with them!” wrote Laughter.


Hillary Clinton is “often confused”

Shocker, not.

Huma Whispers

An email from Huma Abedin about Hillary was revealed yesterday. The State Department emails were obtained by Judicial Watch. Huma is seen warning another aide that Clinton is “often confused.”

clinton confused email

Judicial Watch explained in a press release:

Judicial Watch today released more than 35 pages of emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin revealing that Abedin advised Clinton aide and frequent companion Monica Hanley that it was “very important” to go over phone calls with Clinton because the former Secretary of State was “often confused.”  The emails, from Abedin’s “” address, also reveal repeated security breaches, with the Secretary’s schedule and movements being sent and received through Abedin’s non-governmental and unsecured Clinton server account.  The emails document requests for special State Department treatment for a Clinton Foundation associate and Abedin’s mother, a controversial Islamist leader.

The Abedin email material contains a January 26, 2013, email exchange with Clinton aide Monica Hanley regarding Clinton’s schedule in which Abedin says Clinton is “often confused:”

This comes as no surprise to us here at FOTM. We’ve reported about her health before. In August the National Enquirer reported Hillary was said to have multiple sclerosis and a series of strokes.

In October, author Edward Klein (who wrote “Unlikeable – The Problem with Hillary“, stated that Hillary had been “frequently plagued” by “blinding headaches” and a series of strokes over the course of the campaign.

There was also reports in May 2014 that Hillary was brain damaged. You won’t get any arguments from me about that! But heaven help us if we do elect this woman and she has some serious health issues.

Hillary Clinton what difference does it make


FCC won’t force Google and Facebook to stop tracking you

I quite Facebook over a year ago and don’t miss it one bit. And I stay far, far away from Google.


NY Post: US regulators rejected an effort on Friday to force Google, Facebook and other popular websites to honor “Do Not Track” requests from users, in a setback for digital privacy advocates. The FCC dismissed a petition that would have required Internet giants to let consumers opt out of having their online activity tracked.

The FCC said it “has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers,” or companies that provide content and services over the Internet. Yet you have to wonder what their (the government’s) true intentions are given that they must be aware of Facebook’s policy which allows third parties (themselves) like the CIA, FBI, NSA etc. to collect information from your computer, phones and other devices where you access Facebook.

You would think that you could submit a “Do Not Track” request to tell a website not to collect information and some web sites do honor “Do Not Track” requests, but doing so is largely voluntary.

The Consumer Watchdog group is on top of this fight.  “It’s outrageous that users of Google and Facebook, which has a billion users, won’t have the same online privacy protections as AT&T and Verizon,” Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, told Reuters. Court said his group may file for reconsideration before the FCC, and that it would continue to seek Do Not Track legislation in Congress.

Two peas in a pod...

Two peas in a pod…

As the government’s top consumer protection body, you’d think the FCC would protect consumer rights. Yet it’s apparent that Facebook and Google are working with the government to massively spy on American and foreign citizens.

See also:


Frightening: Alzheimer’s can be transmitted

Alzheimer’s disease is now considered a “prion disease” by some scientists.

Prions, short for proteinaceous infectious particles, are misfolded proteins that carry the ability to trigger further proteins to misfold, leading to debilitating brain disorders, including:

  1. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease).
  2. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the human form of mad cow disease.
  3. Scrapie in sheep.
  4. Alzheimer’s.

Prions are unique in being an infectious agent without any genes, unlike viruses or bacteria. They are extremely tenacious, sticking to metal surfaces of surgical instruments and surviving the high temperatures and chemical agents that kill off infectious viruses and microbes.

A new scientific study found that Alzheimer’s disease can be a transmissible infection, albeit rare, which is inadvertently passed from one person to another during certain medical procedures.


Steve Connor reports for the UK Independent, Sept. 10, 2015, that a study of eight people who were given growth hormone injections when they were children, has raised the disturbing possibility that Alzheimer’s can be transmitted under certain circumstances when infected tissues or surgical instruments are passed between individuals.

The eight adults, aged between 36 and 51, all died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), aka the human form of mad cow disease, after receiving contaminated hormone injections as children. Autopsies on their brains also revealed that seven of them had the misfolded proteins associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is unheard of for people in this age group to have such proteins.

The scientists did not find the “tau” protein tangles associated with the later stages of the disease, which means the seven individuals did not have full-blown Alzheimer’s, although they may well have developed it had they not died of CJD.

The study, published in the journal Nature, eliminated other possible reasons for the presence of these so-called amyloid-beta (A-beta) proteins and came to the conclusion that they were most probably transmitted as protein “seeds” in the growth-hormone injections.

Professor John Collinge, head of neurodegenerative diseases at University College London, said at a press conference that until now, it was thought that Alzheimer’s occurred only as a result of inheriting certain genetic mutations causing the familial version of the disease, or from random “sporadic” events within the brain of elderly people. “What we need to consider is that in addition to there being sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and inherited or familial Alzheimer’s disease, there could also be acquired forms of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Collinge explained there can be three different ways that Alzheimer’s — what he calls “protein seeds” — can be generated in your brain:

  1. Spontaneously, as “an unlucky event as you age.”
  2. A faulty gene.
  3. Exposure “to a medical accident” as described above in the cases of transmissible Alzheimer’s. Collinge emphasized that “this relates to a very special situation where people have been injected essentially with extracts of human tissue. In no way are we suggesting that Alzheimer’s is a contagious disease. You cannot catch Alzheimer’s disease by living with or caring for someone with the disease.

The findings have raised questions about the safety of some medical procedures, possibly including blood transfusions and invasive dental treatment, which may involve the transfer of contaminated tissues or surgical equipment. It is well-established that the prion proteins behind CJD and Alzheimer’s stick to metal surfaces, such as metal surgical tools, and can survive extreme sterilization procedures such as steam cleaning and formaldehyde.

There is also the question of whether Alzheimer’s disease could be passed on in blood transfusions, given that animal experiments have shown this to be possible. Professor Collinge said:

“Epidemiological studies have been done in the past looking for links between Alzheimer’s disease and blood transfusions and they have not shown an association. Certainly with vCJD, which is the form of CJD associated with mad-cow disease, there is infectivity found in the blood and there have been four documented cases in the UK of vCJD from a blood donor who went on to get vCJD, so it can occur. Certainly there are potential risks in dentistry where it is impacting on nervous tissue, such as root-canal treatments and special precautions are taken for that reason… If you are speculating whether A-beta seeds are transmitted at all by surgical instruments one would have to consider whether certain types of dental procedures might be relevant.”

But in a statement issued later, Dr. Collinge clarified that more research was needed before any conclusions could be drawn about any potential risks in current medical or dental treatments:

“Our findings relate to the specific circumstance of cadaver-derived human growth hormone injections, a treatment that was discontinued many years ago. It is possible our findings might be relevant to some other medical or surgical procedures, but evaluating what risk, if any, there might be requires much further research. Our current data has no bearing on dental surgery and certainly does not argue that dentistry poses a risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Between 1958 and 1985 some 1,848 people in Britain, mostly children, received growth hormone injections made from tens of thousands of homogenized pituitary glands derived from the brains of human cadavers. The NHS switched to synthetic growth hormone in 1985 when scientists realized that pituitary-derived hormone could be a route for transmitting CJD. Up to 2000, there were 38 known cases of “iatrogenic” CJD resulting from growth hormone injections in the UK, but this figure is likely to rise further because of the exceptionally long incubation period of the disease.

Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, played down the significance of the research on transmissible Alzheimer’s saying that it was a small study on only eight samples: “There is no evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted in humans, nor is there any evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted through any medical procedure. I can reassure people that the NHS has extremely stringent procedures in place to minimize infection risk from surgical equipment, and patients are very well protected.”

Doug Brown, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, concurred with Davies: “While these findings are interesting and warrant further investigation, there are too many unknowns in this small, observational study of eight brains to draw any conclusions about whether Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted this way. Injections of growth hormone taken from human brains were stopped in the 1980s. There remains absolutely no evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious or can be transmitted from person to person via any current medical procedures.”

But UCL Professor of Neuroscience John Hardy disagrees. He said: “I think we can be relatively sure that it is possible to transmit amyloid pathology by the injection of human tissues which contain the amyloid of Alzheimer’s disease. Does it have implications for blood transfusions? Probably not, but this definitely deserves systematic epidemiological investigation.”

Scientists emphasised that the new evidence is still preliminary and should not stop anyone from having surgery. They have also stressed that it is not possible to “catch” Alzheimer’s by living with someone with the disease.

See also “Smoking is a major contributing factor of Alzheimer’s“.


Proposed UN Tribunal of Climate Justice threatens U.S. sovereignty, while Antarctica ice is increasing, not melting

The Christian Science Monitor reports that a new NASA study found that Antarctica has been adding more ice than it’s been losing, challenging other research, including that of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that concludes that Earth’s southern continent is losing land ice overall.

In a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, researchers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Maryland in College Park, and the engineering firm Sigma Space Corporation offer a new analysis of satellite data that show a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001 in the Antarctic ice sheet, “slowing” to a net gain of 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

The study’s authors say these findings challenge current explanations for sea level rise, much of which is attributed to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica from “global warming.”

One of the authors, Dr. Zwally, said, “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away…. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”


Notwithstanding the fact that Antarctica has been gaining, not losing, ice, the climate change activists are proceeding with their agenda.

Leo Hohmann reports for WND that at the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 11, participating nations have prepared a treaty that would create an “International Tribunal of Climate Justice” giving Third World countries the power to haul the U.S. into a global court with enforcement powers.

According to the proposed draft text of the climate treaty, the tribunal would take up issues such as “climate justice,” “climate finance,” “technology transfers,” and “climate debt.”

The UN climate tribunal will bypass Congress. Policies once left to sovereign nations could be turned over to the U.N. tribunal if the U.S. and its allies approve the proposed deal in Paris during the summit.

Read the proposed treaty here.

See also: