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Australian License Plates Can Now Include Emoji

As of March 1, drivers in Queensland, Australia will be able to include one of five emoji in their license plates — a startling break from tradition.

License to Emoji

It’s the natural evolution of the vanity license plate: emoji.

As of March 1, drivers in Queensland, Australia will be able to include one of five emoji in their license plates: laughing out loud, winking face, sunglasses, heart eyes, and the classic smiley face.

“For quite some time we’ve seen that you can support your favourite team or your favourite town with a symbol on your number plate,” Royal Automobile Club of Queensland spokeswoman Rebecca Michael told 7News Brisbane. “And using an emoji is no different.”

Cool Sunglasses Face

If you drive a vehicle in Queensland, you can pre-order your own customized plate right now on the website of government-approved plate vendor Personalised Plates Queensland (PPQ.)

Drivers will like need to pay a fee somewhere between $160 to $500 in Australian dollars to get the new emoji, according to 7News.

Mo’ ‘Mojis, Mo’ Problems

One problem remains: police could be thrown off by the unusual new plates.

“How do you write down the emoji in your number plate after an accident?” Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts asked the Brisbane Times.

READ MORE: Queensland drivers set to get emoji number plates [new.com.au]

More on license plates: A “Smart” License Plate: To Buy or Not to Buy?

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Australian License Plates Can Now Include Emoji

Google: Secret Nest Microphone “Never Intended to Be a Secret”

Earlier this month, Google inadvertently revealed that its home security device, Nest, contained a secret microphone. Now it says secrecy was a

End of an Error

People who use Google’s home security device, Nest Guard, got some surprising news earlier this month when the company announced that the device could now be used as a smart assistant.

That was startling because Google Assistant devices use voice recognition, and the company had never disclosed that Nests had built-in microphones. Now the search giant is admitting they do — and saying its failure to mention the microphone was an “error.”

Telescreen

According to the spokesperson, the microphones were never enabled and had been added to Nest devices in case the company decided to implement sound-based features. The spokesperson described a hypothetical use to Business Insider in which a Nest Guard might detect the sound of broken glass during a break-in.

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” a Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Tuesday. “That was an error on our part.”

Ministry of Search

Google has a fraught history with privacy advocates. In 2010, for instance, it got busted sweeping up Wi-Fi data with its Street View cars. And earlier this year, France fined the tech giant $57 million for privacy violations. And now, framing a secret microphone hidden in customers’ homes as an “error,” whether or not the microphone was active, doesn’t click.

Google acknowledging wrongdoing is a nice start, but there are no brownie points to be had for framing the company’s decision as an error only after it came to light anyway.

READ MORE: Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was ‘never supposed to be a secret’ [Business Insider]

More on Google: Google Wins Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Technology

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Google: Secret Nest Microphone “Never Intended to Be a Secret”

Vampire Clinic That Sold Young Blood to the Wealthy Closes Shop

Bad Blood

Ambrosia Health, the controversial clinic that sold transfusions of young, healthy people’s blood, has “ceased patient treatments,” according to the company’s website.

The decision to stop taking patients comes after an official statement from FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb this week, which described the company’s practices as a dangerous scam.

Dr. Acula

Ambrosia claimed its transfusions of a younger person’s blood could reverse health problems and extend a person’s life — a controversial and unproven notion.

The company never published the results of its self-funded clinical experiments, and recent evidence suggests that these transfusions could have been dangerous from the start.

Vampire Empire

It’s unclear whether Ambrosia plans to resume operations in the future or if the FDA’s warning rang the company’s death toll. Futurism reached out to the company with questions, and this article will be updated if we hear back.

Either way, the wealthy will need to get their controversial medical treatments somewhere else for the time being.

READ MORE: ‘Young blood’ company Ambrosia halts patient treatments after FDA warning [NBC]

More on Ambrosia Health: The FDA Warns: Transfusions of Young Blood Are a Dangerous Scam

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Vampire Clinic That Sold Young Blood to the Wealthy Closes Shop

Bangladesh Declares “War on Pornography,” Blocks TikTok

The Bangladeshi government is scrubbing the internet of porn. But it's also monitoring people's personal social media accounts for provocative images.

Porn Ban

Over the past week, Bangladesh has blocked tens of thousands of sites and apps and is policing the social media accounts of celebrities in an effort to scrub the nation’s internet of pornography.

The porn purge comes as part of the government’s push to crack down on adult-oriented content like porn and gambling, which originated with a November decision in Bangladesh’s High Court, according to Al Jazeera.

Declaring War

“I want to create a safe and secure internet for all Bangladeshis, including children,” said Mustafa Jabbar, Bangladeshi posts and telecommunications minister. “And this is my war against pornography. And this will be a continuous war.”

That war on porn also seems to involve micromanaging the lives of celebrities. The Bangladeshi government recently ordered a local actress to delete what it determined were provocative pictures from her various social media accounts, Al Jazeera reports.

“We are monitoring the local Facebook profiles, YouTube channels and websites, also,” Jabbar said. “A few of them were taken down for having obscene content. We advised a few others not to post anything that goes against our social norms.”

Behind Seven Proxies

So far, internet service providers have complied with the government’s demands. But the nation’s porn hungry internet users can still access porn with a little technological wizardry.

A Bangladeshi official confirmed that the country’s new regulations can be skirted using a virtual private network or mirror websites, according to Al Jazeera.

READ MORE: Bangladesh blocks 20,000 websites in anti-porn ‘war’ [Al Jazeera]

More on censorship: Google Is Censoring Search Results to Hide Russian Corruption

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Bangladesh Declares “War on Pornography,” Blocks TikTok

EPA: Low Doses of Toxins, Radiation Could Actually Be Healthy

The EPA has proposed a rule change that would trade a cautious approach to regulating low-doses of chemicals for one that's far more flexible. 

Toxic Changes

In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for how it studies the health impacts of low doses of chemicals, trading in a previously cautious approach for one that’s far more flexible.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published a deep dive into the work that went on behind the scenes to get this proposed rule change added to the Federal Register — and the damage it could do to public health if adopted.

Current Standard

For decades, according to the LA Times’ excellent explainer, U.S. federal agencies have adhered to what’s known as the linear no-threshold model when regulating and studying toxic chemicals and radiation. This model assumes that if a substance is harmful at any level, it’s harmful at all levels, with the level of harm increasing or decreasing depending on the level of exposure.

This model ensured that the public wouldn’t be exposed to potentially harmful substances even if research didn’t conclusively prove that a low level of exposure would, in fact, be harmful.

That was important because, in some cases, various studies of the same chemical at the same low dose have reached different conclusions. One might assert that the low dose is harmful, another that it has no effect, and still another that the dose is actually beneficial to the human body, a phenomenon known as hormesis.

Hormesis D’oeuvre

It’s true that some dangerous substances really are beneficial at low doses. Small doses of tamoxifen, for example, can help treat breast cancer, but at higher doses, the chemical can actually cause uterine cancer.

However, while hormesis might be useful in a clinical setting, it’s not an effective way to regulate chemicals that could reach the public at large, according to David Jacobs, a public health professor at the University of Minnesota.

“There is no way to control the dose a person gets from an industrial or agricultural chemical,” Jacobs told the LA Times. “It’s not being doled out in pills and monitored by a physician who can lower it if the patient isn’t responding well.”

The Holy Grail

On April 30, the EPA posted a proposed rule titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” for comment in the Federal Register. It removes linear no-threshold as the default model for estimating low-dose impacts, instead giving the EPA the authority to test other models, including hormesis.

Ten months later, the EPA has yet to announce a final date for deciding on the proposed rule. But if it’s adopted, public health experts told the LA Times they expect it to “tie the EPA up in knots” and possibly even result in new standards for everything from our air to our drinking water.

“Industry has been pushing for this for a long time,” David Michaels, a professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University, told the newspaper. “Not just the chemical industry, but the radiation and tobacco industries, too.”

“This is industry’s holy grail,” he concluded.

READ MORE: Scientist Says Some Pollution Is Good for You — a Disputed Claim Trump’s EPA Has Embraced [Los Angeles Times]

More on the EPA: The EPA Just Removed Climate Change From Their Climate Change Website

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EPA: Low Doses of Toxins, Radiation Could Actually Be Healthy

Elon Musk: Teslas Will Be Fully Self-Driving By Next Year

Full Autonomy

According to Elon Musk, Tesla’s cars are nearly ready for fully autonomous driving.

“I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year,” Musk told Cathie Wood and Tasha Keeney of ARK Invest in a podcast on Tuesday. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year.”

Car Naps

By next year, you’ll be able to take a nap behind the wheel, Musk claimed in the same interview.

“My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year,” he said.

And he’s willing to stand by his words: “I would say I am of certain of that,” he said. “That is not a question mark.”

Big Promises

Musk is no stranger to making big promises. As it stands right now, Tesla’s Autopilot can make lane changes, and navigate highway ramps — but it still can’t handle most other roads.

In October, Tesla dropped the “full self-driving” mode from the Model 3, with Musk claiming it was “causing too much confusion” in a tweet.

The race to have cars take over all driving functions is on. Alphabet’s Waymo launched a robo-taxi service in Arizona in December.

But even Waymo’s cars require human safety drivers to take control on multiple occasions throughout a single ride.

READ MORE: Elon Musk Promises a Really Truly Self-Driving Tesla in 2020 [Wired]

More on Tesla: Teslas Are Getting a “Party and Camping Mode”

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Elon Musk: Teslas Will Be Fully Self-Driving By Next Year

India Just Swore in Its First Robot Police Officer

Indian police just swore in KP-Bot as a sub-inspector. The robot police officer will work behind the front desk and direct visitors as needed.

RoboCop

India just swore in its first robotic police officer, which is named KP-Bot.

The animatronic-looking machine was granted the rank of sub-inspector on Tuesday, and it will operate the front desk of Thiruvananthapuram police headquarters, according to India Today.

Action Figure

The robot was welcomed aboard with a salute from Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala. India Today reports that the robot “responded with a perfect salute,” which presumably just means that it didn’t karate chop its own head off in the process.

Aside from the symbolic gesture of integrating robotics into the police force, KP-Bot doesn’t do much. At the moment, it can sit behind a police station’s front desk, recording complaints and directing visitors to the correct department as needed.

It can also salute at higher-ranked officers, according to India Today. In the future, it may be integrated with facial recognition software or the capability to detect bombs.

Quit While Ahead

KP-Bot is also for some reason gendered, with Assistant Deputy of police Manoj Abraham explicitly declaring that the inanimate object is a woman.

“Women empowerment and gender equality were kept in mind while deciding on the gender of the first robot,” said Loknath Behra, the Director General of Police. “Also, the fact that most front office jobs are managed by women was considered.”

READ MORE: India’s first RoboCop: Kerala Police inducts robot, gives it SI rank [India Today]

More on police robots: Dubai Wants Robots to Make up 25% of Its Police Force by 2030

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India Just Swore in Its First Robot Police Officer

Automakers Could Give Police Control Over Your Self-Driving Car

The relationship between law enforcement and self-driving cars is still in flux, but some are suggesting we give let police control self-driving cars.

More Q’s Than A’s

We still have a lot of questions to answer before autonomous vehicles can go mainstream: Who’s at fault if an AV has an accident? Should people need licenses to ride in a self-driving car? How should an AV decide between running over a dog or a cat?

On Wednesday, Bloomberg published a story focused on yet another question — how should AVs interact with law enforcement? — and the solution might involving ceding control of your car to cops.

Police Power

The Bloomberg story notes the Dec. 2018 incident in which an intoxicated driver fell asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla with Autopilot engaged. The vehicle led police on a seven-minute chase down a freeway before officers were able to compel the Tesla to stop by essentially boxing it in.

This is the kind of problem AV manufactures and law enforcement want to avoid, and that could mean programming AVs to pull over as soon as they detect flashing police lights behind them, a protocol already adopted by Waymo.

Bloomberg even suggests that officers forced to exit their vehicles might be able to instruct other AVs to reroute away from an area “with a couple of taps on a handheld device.”

Driver Rights

Letting law enforcement control a car presumably owned by a citizen seems like murky legal territory.

Even if legal, it would be easy to see how some people might be opposed to police being able to give instructions to their car — especially if the car is programmed to follow police orders over that of the driver and the driver isn’t doing anything illegal.

Some critics have also noted how hackers might be able to exploit any ability for police to control AVs.

It’s still too early to say whether any of the measures proposed in the Bloomberg piece will become the standard for navigating interactions between AVs and law enforcement. But given that we could have fully autonomous vehicles as soon as next year, we have no time to waste figuring out an answer to this lingering question.

READ MORE: Someday Your Self-Driving Car Will Pull Over for Police [Bloomberg]

More on driverless cars: It Took Seven Minutes to Pull Over a Drunk and “Unresponsive” Tesla Driver

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Automakers Could Give Police Control Over Your Self-Driving Car

Samsung Just Revealed a $1,980 Folding Smartphone

Galaxy Fold

Korean tech giant Samsung officially announced its take on the growing foldable smartphone trend at its Galaxy Unpacked event today in San Francisco: the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The device will go on sale for $1,980 on April 26.

We first got a glimpse of the device in November, but the brand has likely been working on the concept for almost half a decade.

Serious About Multitasking

The Galaxy Fold will unsurprisingly pack some serious power, with a high resolution 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display. When it’s folded in half — Samsung referred to that as “phone mode” — the display size is reduced to only 4.6 inches.

It’ll also pack an impressive 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of on-board flash storage.

Foldable Future

Competitors include Royole and Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. The latter is developing a smartphone that folds on both sides, like a birthday card.

The device seems to be a little awkward to use in phone mode, but when unfolded, the Galaxy Fold could be a worthy replacement for a seven-inch tablet.

READ MORE: Samsung’s foldable phone is the Galaxy Fold, available April 26th starting at $1,980 [The Verge]

More on foldable smartphones: Xiaomi Teases Flexible Smartphone That Folds Like a Card

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Samsung Just Revealed a $1,980 Folding Smartphone

Scientists Used Gene Therapy to Cure Deafness in Mice

A new gene therapy tested on mice can treat a specific kind of congenital deafness by repairing a faulty inner-ear protein.

Three Deaf Mice

About half of the time someone is born totally deaf, it’s because of their genetic makeup. Those people are typically treated with cochlear implants, but now researchers from Europe and the U.S. are looking at gene-based treatments as well.

Deaf mice treated with a new kind of gene therapy developed the ability to hear almost as well as healthy mice, according to research published Tuesday in the journal PNAS — findings that suggest gene therapies may someday help with previously-untreatable conditions.

Ear Genes

The mice had what’s called DFNB9 deafness, the type that accounts for between two and eight percent of gene-related cases of human deafness. In DFNB9 deafness, a protein called otoferlin can’t perform its usual role of transmitting sound information gathered by the fine hairs in the inner ear.

But after altering the deaf mice’s genomes with specially-crafted viruses, the mice were able to hear almost as well as mice that were born with functioning otoferlin.

Step One

Even after altering the same specific gene in mice as what causes DFNB9 deafness in humans, it’s too soon to say that these gene-editing viruses can be used to treat people. There’s a long road between animal experiments and human clinics.

There’s more reason to be wary of this treatment. According to a conflict of interest statement in the PNAS article, one researcher from the University of Florida stands to profit if this virus-based technology takes off — so it’s worth waiting to see if the work holds up in further studies.

READ MORE: Gene therapy durably reverses congenital deafness in mice [Pasteur Institute Newsroom via MedicalXPress]

More on gene therapy: New CRISPR Gene Editing Experiment Slows Down Hearing Loss

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Scientists Used Gene Therapy to Cure Deafness in Mice

New Research: Earth’s Atmosphere Extends Well Beyond the Moon

Data collected by NASA and ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory reveals that Earth's gaseous layer extends up to 391,000 miles away from Earth.

The Geocorona

A light layer of hydrogen atoms called the geocorona separates Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. And it extends far beyond Earth — much farther than previously believed.

Data collected by NASA and the European space agency’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a spacecraft that launched in 1995 to study the Sun, suggests that this gaseous layer extends up to 391,000 miles (630,000 km) from Earth — which, strikingly, is 50 times Earth’s diameter and almost twice the distance to the Moon.

Water Vapor

And that’s a big deal, because planets with traces of hydrogen in their atmospheres have a much higher chance of containing water on the surface.

“This is especially interesting when looking for planets with potential reservoirs of water beyond our Solar System,” explained Jean-Loup Bertaux, co-author of the paper on the new research and former principal investigator at ESA, in an official press release.

Empty Space

Unfortunately, those extra hydrogen atoms won’t be particularly useful for future missions to the Moon.

“On Earth we would call it vacuum, so this extra source of hydrogen is not significant enough to facilitate space exploration,” said Igor Baliukin of Russia’s Space Research Institute and lead author of the paper.

But they could make future astronomical observations more accurate by allowing astronomers to take the hydrogen atoms and their associated ultraviolet wavelengths into account.

The revelation symbolizes a big win for the SOHO team. “This discovery highlights the value of data collected over 20 years ago and the exceptional performance of SOHO,” said Bernhard Fleck, SOHO project scientist at ESA.

READ MORE: Earth’s atmosphere stretches out to the Moon — and beyond [ESA]

More on Earth’s atmosphere: The European Space Agency’s New Ion Thruster “Breathes” Air

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New Research: Earth’s Atmosphere Extends Well Beyond the Moon

Lawyer: People Could Try to Sell the Apollo Moon Footprints

Air and Space Law professor Michelle Hanlon argues that if we don't draft new laws, the destruction of landmarks that happens on Earth will repeat in space.

Interplanetary Heritage

Right now, there’s no legal framework preventing people from destroying or selling culturally-important landmarks in space.

For instance, as space travel becomes more common, an opportunistic someone could find a way to steal and auction off the first bootprints left on the moon by Neil Armstrong, warns University of Mississippi Air and Space Law professor Michelle Hanlon in an essay published Friday in The Conversation.

Earthly Precedent

Hanlon cites damage to landmarks like the Pyramids of Gaza or Terracotta Army by tourists who break off pieces to take home as evidence that people can’t be trusted to preserve landmarks of their own volition.

“There is no law against running over the first bootprints imprinted on the moon,” Hanlon wrote. “Or erasing them. Or carving them out of the moon’s regolith and selling them to the highest bidder.”

Rising Chorus

Places like Stonehenge and ancient cave paintings are protected as part of the U.N.’s World Heritage List. If landmarks in space are to survive as more nations and companies develop the capacity to leave the planet, Hanlon believes that leaders need to be proactive and protect those landmarks before anything goes wrong.

Hanlon is just one of many to recently call for more comprehensive or updated space laws. Right now, the various laws and treaties that pertain to outer space are a bit of a mess. Hopefully, before trips to the moon become commonplace, someone can sort them out.

READ MORE: Protecting human heritage on the moon: Don’t let ‘one small step’ become one giant mistake [The Conversation]

More on space law: Four Legal Challenges to Resolve Before Settling on Mars

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Lawyer: People Could Try to Sell the Apollo Moon Footprints

Introduction to Political Philosophy | A Libertarianism …

Most political debate is superficial. If you want superficial debate, you need only turn on cable news. Political philosophy is for people who want to understand and debate the deep questions.

People debate whether its more just for the rich to pay a 40% or 38% marginal tax rate. They rarely ask the deeper questions: Why should we be forced to pay taxes at all?

People debate whether we should speed up the process for immigrants to become nationalized, or how many skilled immigrants we should allow in. They rarely ask the deeper questions: Why should we divide the world into nation-states with strict territorial borders in the first place? If I want to hire a Haitian to clean my house, why should the rest of you be allowed to stop me?

People debate whether congressional districts are gerrymandered or whether voters should be required to show ID. They rarely ask the deeper questions: Why should our fellow citizensmost of whom know nothing or less than nothing about politicsget to decide who gets to lead the country? Why not instead, say, limit the right to vote to people who can pass the US citizenship exam, or who show a basic understanding of economics and history?

People debate whether a too-big-to-fail corporation should get a bail out. They debate whether a local government should use its power of eminent domain to transfer land from poor people to General Motors. They rarely ask the deeper questions: Why should we allow limited-liability corporations to exist in the first place? Why should anyone be able to claim land as her own? Why not instead hold that the world and all its resources belong to all us equally?

People debate whether the American police are too brutal and violent, and what can be done to make the police force more civil. But they rarely ask the deeper questions: Why should we create governments in the first place? A government claims a monopoly on the use of violence to create and enforce rules. If it would be bad for, say, Walmart or Target to become monopolies, why would we want a monopoly on the coercive power? Why shouldnt I be allowed to choose which police force will protect me, just as I can choose where to shop for clothes or food?

Political philosophy is the branch of philosophy that asks and attempts to answer these deeper questions. There are many other questions: Which matters more, individuals or the community as a whole? What kind of government, if any, ought we have, and what should it be permitted and forbidden to do? Do we have any moral obligation to obey our governments laws and commands? What rights do people have, and why? Should be people be allowed to own private property? If they dont have enough property to live well, should the government provide it through tax-funded welfare programs? Should people be free to choose what to eat, how to live, what to worship, what to say, or on what terms they will work? Is it important that everyone have equal opportunity to succeed? Should we make sure everyone ends up equally successful? Should people be allowed to emigrate freely? When, if ever, is war justifiable? Whats more important, liberty or equality? And what exactly is liberty, anyways? Of all the ways people could be equal, which, if any, matter from the standpoint of justice?

We manage to live together peacefully (more or less) because we accept and live by commonly accepted rules. I dont show up at your house to drink your beer, and you dont snatch my car out of the parking lot. When we come to a four-way stop sign, we all know what to do. I dont tell you not to let your kids play Minecraft, and you dont forbid me from letting mine have ice cream. You dont force me to attend your church, and I dont force you to stay away from yours.

Our lives are governed by many such rules, most of which we rarely notice or think about. Economists refer to the various rules of social life as institutions. Institutions are the rules of the game that structure our lives together. For example, if you think about it, democracy and monarchy are really a set of rules about who gets to make the rules. The institution of marriage is a set of rules about how to allocate and control property, children, and sex. The institution of private property is a set of rules about who gets to use, modify, trade, and destroy various external goods.

The main goal of political philosophy is to determine the standards by which to judge different institutions good or bad, just or unjust.

Some people might think they dont have much need of political philosophy: Who cares about wishy-washy obtuse notions of justice? Im a pragmatist. I just want to know what works.

But this isnt a way of avoiding political philosophy; its a way of being dogmatic about it. After all, before we can just do what works, we have to know what counts as working. I look at a system in which both the poor and the rich are getting richer and think, Its working! A friend looks at that same system, sees the income gap between the poor and rich growing, and thinks, Its not working. We can both pound the table and call ourselves pragmatists. But at the end of the day, were divided not by our lack of pragmatism, but by our different political philosophies.

John Rawls, an eminent twentieth-century political philosopher, Rawls says that theories of justice are about assigning the rights and duties and determining the proper distribution of benefits and burdens of social cooperation.1 What make different political philosophies distinct from one another is what rights and duties they think people ought to have, what principles they think determine the proper distribution of benefits and burdens ought to be, and most fundamentally, what they regard as a society.

The purpose of this primer in political philosophy is to introduce you to some of the major theories of justice, to see some of the arguments philosophers have adduced for and against these theories, and, ultimately, to help you be more thoughtful and rigorous in your own thinking. My goal is to supply you with questions more so than answers.

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What Is Libertarianism?

The Supreme Court ruled that President Obama's recess appointments to fill openings in the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional. Was he abusing his power? This made us wonder, what sort of powers does the president actually have?

Learn More:Obama Recess Appointments Illegal, Supreme Court Findshttp://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2...Justices say presidents can only make recess appointments when the Senate says it's in recess.

Presidential Powershttp://nationalparalegal.edu/conlawcr...Find out what powers the president actually has.

Supreme Court Says Obama's NLRB Recess Appointments Were Unconstitutionalhttp://www.businessinsider.com/obama-...The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Barack Obama's recess appointments to fill slots on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 were unconstitutional. _________________________

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What Is Libertarianism?

Libertarianism | Uncyclopedia | FANDOM powered by Wikia

This word salad has more paradoxes and contradictions built into it than a time machine.

Libertarians

Libertarians, more commonly known as Lolbertarians, are ashamed of the fact that the vast majority of the world's politicians today are fat, ugly fugly vampires nurturing themselves by sucking the free spirit out of the back bones of ordinary citizens through methods of merging government power with corporate power, growing the police state at an alarming rate, and bailing out multi billionaire bankers and Wall Street investors who would otherwise fail in a free market society.

Libertarians therefore do not want to continue pretending that our politicians are democratically elected leaders. As such, many American libertarians are currently trying to flee the growing fascistic elements of their corporate-controlled government and reckless military-industrial-complex-turned-police-state, by making a mass exodus to locations as far away from the political power centers as possible (sometimes even leaving America for obscure and remote parts of the world such as rural Iceland), where only the raccoons will hear their loud cries for liberty; because by now they realize that hiding from Big Brother by going off the grid, and living deep underground with no internet or contact with the outside world is the only real option left to protect their right to privacy.

The essence of libertarianism is that governments should stop controlling people's lives and should instead let individuals take care of themselves as if they were actually grown-up adults and not babies sucking off the teat of the nanny state, constantly whining about their inability to cope in the modern world just because they can't see their own hand held out in front of their face past the the smog on a bad in Beijing, or because their drinking water is flammable. More-or-less intelligent people with free will should be capable of making their own decisions about what products to buy and what sorts of lifestyles are worth endorsing through the free support (or withdrawal) of their dollars. This is in direct opposition to the current practice of the IRS taking Americans' dollars through force to pay for bailouts of wealthy people, or to pay for endless overseas wars which Americans neither support nor know anything about since they are too busy playing Farmville or watching football on 72" LCD screens anyway.

Libertarians believe that if you are dumb enough to shop at Wal-mart and fat enough to eat at McDonald's, then that is obviously your problem and not theirs when you have a heart attack on the highway six meters in front of them. Those kinds of people can go die of diabetes in their sweat stained lazy-boy chairs with barbecue grease dribbling down their triple chin as their illiterate mongoloid children run around barefoot without the benefit of tax-payer funded health care or public schools, because obviously these sorts of people should not be encouraged to have any more children, but should still have to flip the bill for their own sterilizations. Some people call this view elitist, but Libertarians just call it the bitter truth of reality.

Libertarians despise the government because the trolls that run it abuse their power while for some strange reason believe that the people running corporations are all descendents of Ghandi. Well, actually no, they couldn't give a shit about Ghandi either, as he was obviously just another fame whore bent on "saving the world" and thus winning all the awards and accolades that go along with being The Great Philosopher of World Peace, and thus was no morally different than a CEO who happens to derive his/her personal reward in the form of money that is freely offered by consumers who obviously find merit in the product or service being offered. One protesters hunger strike is just another board member's impromptu diet. Be it world peace or Pepsi, consumers shape the world they want through the goods or services they demand. At some point it appears that people started to desire Pepsi more than World Peace, though this is obviously not the fault of Pepsi.

Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism are often confused by Brits who want to take cheap shots at the foundations of American political philosophy, and who are in denial about history and the happy fact that Americans won their little Revolutionary War and are, duh, winning! Or at least were winning up until the last few decades before the state grew too big and the masses became dumbed-down because state education does not encourage people to think for themselves and be strong willed, free thinking individuals who remember where their country came from in the first place. As such, Brits often partake in a bit of sadistic glee in watching our national downfall unfold.

Classical Liberalism started as people attempting to free themselves from authority, which at that time meant the British Monarchy. As soon as a new old authority came along in the form of corporations the Federal Reserve (see Rothschilds), Classical Liberals realized that Americans were now going to be wage slaves no matter what economic policies the federal government enacted. People against Authority later changed their name to Libertarians once the idea of big government authoritarianism somehow became synonymous with being "progressive". Why this happened, the classical liberals will probably never know. Later, capitalists Republicans realized that Libertarianism protects the rights of individuals to property ownership and the free market system, though they paid little attention to the civil liberties aspect of libertarianism which is actually far more fundamental to the philosophy than economics. Anti-Authoritarians have since tried to use the word Anarchist to escape the capitalists Republicans finally, but the capitalists Republicans still trying to be one step ahead tried to use Anarcho-Capitialism, though the Libertarians called them out on that move too, and dubbed the term "neo-cons".

A libertarian in mating season

The typical "modern libertarian" is an anti-government, beer-drinking, crack-smoking, gun-toting, bomb-making, orgy-participating, porn-loving, South Park-watching, straight, male, American "don't fuck with me" motherfucker who lives with his mom and hates the state. Cheap sex, deadly flavors of the evil weed known as pot, and the latest and greatest style of handguns being available in every convenience store wouldn't concern a libertarian in the least. Nor would it really bother them all that much if the government cut costs by shutting down all the prisons and laying off the military. Libertarians are also known for opposing those evil commies and Arab types who seek to tyrannize the world with economic and personal repression based on dumb statist values and compassion paid for with other people's money. This includes, in the U.S.: the Democrats, Republicans, Ron Paul, Rand Paul and the Quakers; and in Canada: the Liberals, NDP, Greens, and Mounted Rangers.

Libertarianism is believed to have started in early 1884 when founding fathers John Locke and Thomas Jefferson decided to spice up their liberal values in order to impress Ayn Rand with whom they both were in love. When Miss Rand chose to propose to L Ron Hubbard instead, the two gentlemen founded the libertarian principle Anything Goes, lost their marbles and tried to assassinate Mr. Hubbard, an attempt that failed when John Locke sneezed, being allergic to gun powder.

Libertarians oppose the Iraq War, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on War, and most other wars except wars with their allies. Because, to quote Lysander Spooner, "War is the health of the state," and Libertarians are about having the state be atrophied and diseased whenever possible. Therefore, ironically, they support the War on the State - which, they assure us, will be launched "any day now."

Likewise, Libertarians oppose the war on kiddie porn. For one thing, kiddie porn studios are capitalistic, consistently turning handsome profits, which is what America is supposed to be about, Constitutionally at least; and they consistently employ nubile Americans over swarthy, chubby foreigners, so it is an America-first stance. Further, the war on kiddie porn is the stuff of victimless crimes, which Libertarians oppose at every turn. The kid already having been exploited, one more copy of a video is not going to do anyone any additional harm.

Indeed, the Libertarian Party website for a long time had a section devoted to choice kiddie porn. This was removed abruptly when the party's interest in "unlimited consumer choice" gave way to the obvious benefit of posturing about "filthy paedo scum who should be strung up with the commies," Republicans leading the way for Libertarians, as happens more than a little.

Indeed, Libertarians, who often wear shoes made by 5-year-old Siberian enslaved orphans, have scant grounds to complain about films being made around 14-year-old Danes whom their own government doesn't see fit to protect. Not that we would want it to.

1992 Libertarian Candidate for President

Contrary to popular belief, Libertarians don't support anything and are avid complainers. Mostly consisting of PO'ed Republicans, the party is often criticized by socialists/democrats/commies for support for the well-known evil capitalism and not putting in enough community service hours. Libertarians claim that capitalism is vilified wrongly, but no one listens. They scream and shout for full freedom to do as you will so long as it doesn't infringe on the ability for others to do as they please. This has prompted some badass one-liners, such as the slogan "Your rights end where mine begin" and bringing back the "Don't tread on me" flag.

In short, if you don't like capitalism and freedom, then move to China and be happy in squalor, as China is famous for strictly regulating and controlling private businesses, especially the production of toys and milk, and for maintaining ridiculously high wages for the workforce, especially for those spoiled 8-year-olds.

Other less popular views:

To honor the sacred Libertarian cause, industrial-metal pioneer Oscar Wilde and his partner in crime, the famous novelist Trent Reznor, wrote these immortal lyrics of protest, which have been set to a famously stirring melody.

When the Libertarians come to townEverything will turn upside downNo one will wear a frownWhen the Libertarians come to town

The government will shrink to naughtYour coffee will always be hotAnd it will be the cheapest you've ever boughtWhen the Libertarians come to town

You won't have to pay income taxesNo need to worry about downsizers' axesThe best companies will send you faxesWhen the Libertarians come to town

The invisible Hand of Nature will keepEvery business exec and veepOn the straight and narrow, and we all will reapPeace and plenty when the Libertarians come to town

The free market will improve every schoolChild geniuses will become the ruleOur learning will make every nation droolWhen the Libertarians come to town

When the Libertarians to Washington comeThe streets will clear of vandal and bumPimps and pushers will get to runSafe and legal businesses for everyoneWhen the Libertarians come to town

Send in the Libertarians...Send in the Libertarians...Won't someone, please, send in the Libertarians...Sob.

A libertarian protesting to support big business.

A Libertarian can be one of two people. The type of Republican you never see, named Fat-Cats, or the type of Democrats you don't want to see, named Politically Active Hippies. All forty-nine party members are difficult to find. There are very specific instructions in order to catch one.

It is a well-known fact that since most Libertarians are engineers and IT guys, they rule the internet. However, in real life, their unkempt appearance and breath that smells of stale coffee and halitosis (a fake disease concocted by Listerine) means that they usually are not taken seriously.

However, it is mainly their near anarchistic anti-regulatory fault that you get so much ads and fake news.

There is a train of thought popular with the religious right that tends to regard Libertarians as a bunch of self-centered, tax-avoiding uncharitable atheist Scrooges, but this is far from the case. In 2008, for example, the Libertarian funded "Give A Shit For The Starving Africans" foundation managed to raise 333,000,000 cubic tonnes of pot brownies which was duly shipped to the poorer areas. Reactions to this display of generosity were very positive, especially among Libertarians.

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New Theory: The Universe is a Bubble, Inflated by Dark Energy

A mind-bending new theory claims to make sense not just of the expanding universe and extra dimensions, but string theory and dark energy as well.

Dark Energy

A mind-bending new theory claims to make sense not just of the expanding universe and extra dimensions, but string theory and dark energy as well.

According to the new model, proposed in the journal Physical Review Letters by researchers from Uppsala University, the entire universe is riding on an expanding bubble in an “additional dimension” — which is being inflated by dark energy and which is home to strings that extend outwards from it and correspond to all the matter that it contains.

Breaking It Down

The paper is extraordinarily dense and theoretical. But the surprising new theory it lays out, its authors say, could provide new insights about the creation and ultimate destiny of the cosmos.

In the long view, though, physicists have suggested many outrageous models for the universe over the years — many of which we’ve covered here at Futurism. The reality: until a theory not only conforms to existing evidence but helps explain new findings, the road to a consensus will be long.

READ MORE: Our universe: An expanding bubble in an extra dimension [Uppsala University]

More on dark energy: An Oxford Scientist May Have Solved the Mystery of Dark Matter

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New Theory: The Universe is a Bubble, Inflated by Dark Energy

Poll: Two Thirds of Americans Support Human Gene Editing to Cure Disease

The majority of U.S. adults would support gene editing embryos to protect babies against disease, according to a new poll.

Human Gene Editing

The majority of U.S. adults support human gene editing to protect babies against disease, according to a new poll.

But they wouldn’t support gene edits that make babies smarter or taller, according to the new research by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which polled about a thousand U.S. adults this month to learn about public attitudes toward genetic engineering.

Deep Divides

The AP research found that 71 percent of respondents support gene editing to protect a baby from an inherited condition, and 67 percent support reducing the risk of diseases like cancer.

But just 12 percent would be okay with tampering with intelligence or athletic ability, and only 10 percent would consider altering physical characteristics like eye color or height.

CRISPR Drawer

Questions about using technologies like CRISPR to gene edit human embryos gained immediacy last month, when Chinese scientists claimed to have edited the genes of two babies in order to protect them against HIV — a move that prompted an international outcry, but also questions about when the technology will be ready for human testing.

“People appear to realize there’s a major question of how we should oversee and monitor use of this technology if and when it becomes available,” Columbia University bioethicist Robert Klitzman told the AP of the new research. “What is safe enough? And who will determine that? The government? Or clinicians who say, ‘Look, we did it in Country X a few times and it seems to be effective.

READ MORE: Poll: Edit baby genes for health, not smarts [Associated Press]

More on human gene editing: Chinese Scientists Claim to Have Gene-Edited Human Babies For the First Time

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Poll: Two Thirds of Americans Support Human Gene Editing to Cure Disease

Rerouting Nerves During Amputation May Reduce Phantom Limb Pain

Nerve cells could be rerouted to help prevent phantom limb pain

Begone Ghost

If you’ve never had to feel pain in a limb you no longer have, consider yourself lucky.

“Phantom limb pain” is a sensation of pain and muscle tension in a limb which isn’t actually attached to the body anymore. Roughly 60% to 80% of amputees feel some sort of phantom limb pain after their procedure. The effects, beyond being painful, can be outright debilitating for some people.

Now, doctors from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have discovered that a procedure originally meant to help with advanced prosthetic devices may also reduce or prevent phantom limb pain entirely.

Un-Nerving

Primary targeted muscle reinnervation or TMR, the process of rerouting nerves cut by amputation into surrounding muscle, was originally developed to help patients have better control of upper-limb prosthetics. Normally the procedure is performed month or even years after an initial amputation. By performing TMR at the time of amputation, however, doctors can tie up loose ends (so to speak) helping to prevent pain.

Over the course of three years, surgeons performed 22 TMR surgeries on below-the-knee amputees. None of the patients have developed neuromas, or pinched nerves, and six months later only 13 percent of patients reported having pain.

Attaching severed nerves “allows the body to re-establish its neural circuitry. This alleviates phantom and residual limb pain by giving those severed nerves somewhere to go and something to do,” said Dr. Ian Valerio, division chief of Burn, Wound and Trauma in Ohio State’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Sweet Relief

By making TMR surgery a normal part of amputation procedures, doctors may be able to prevent a lifetime of pain for patients and later enable them to have more precise control over prosthetic limbs. In the United States alone there are approximately 185,000 amputations annually, according the Amputee Coalition. Developments, like those made by Valerio and team, will go a long way toward helping new amputees and those who use advanced prosthetic devices.

READ MORE: Rerouting nerves during amputation reduces phantom limb pain before it starts [EurekAlert]

More on Advanced Prosthetics: Electronic Skin Lets Amputees Feel Pain Through Their Prosthetics

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Rerouting Nerves During Amputation May Reduce Phantom Limb Pain

Experts: Stop Adding Cancer-Causing Chemicals to our Meats

Burgers full of beef and bacon are facing a new threat from cancer causing chemicals.

Bringing Home The Bacon

Experts in the UK are smoking mad over a lack of regulation surrounding food additives which may be leading to increased rates of cancer in people who eat processed meats.

Meat has had a mighty difficult go of things since a concerning 2015 World Health Organization report which reclassified processed meats as Group 1, carcinogenic to humans. The news that your crispy bacon might be causing cancer was met with mixed reactions. But scientists in the UK are now suggesting there may be a way to have your bacon and eat it too.

Nasty Nitrites

Part of the problem may center around the meat industry’s use of nitrites as preservatives. Nitrites are used as both a preservative and color fixture, ensuring meat has a pinkish hue, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A coalition led by Queen’s University professor Chris Elliott claims there is a “consensus of scientific opinion” that adding nitrites to cure meats can cause an increased risk of cancer in humans and leading to 6,600 cases of bowl cancer in the UK. Coalition members, like cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra, are calling upon the UK government to stop the use of nitrites are preservatives.

“Government action to remove nitrites from processed meats should not be far away. Nor can a day of reckoning for those who dispute the incontrovertible facts. The meat industry must act fast, act now – or be condemned to a similar reputational blow to that dealt to tobacco,” Malhotra said to The Guardian.

Home Of The Whopper

In the United States, nitrites are considered to be a safe food additive by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established guidelines on the recommended limit for nitrite and sodium nitrite additives.

“To meat or not to meat” may be a question one has to decide for one’s own self. Thankfully, we may be about to get many more plant-based meat alternatives that seem almost like the real thing, even as debates rage whether plant-based alternatives should be allowed to be called meat.

READ MORE: Stop adding cancer-causing chemicals to our bacon, experts tell meat industry [TheGuardian]

More on Meat: Think Big Oil’s a Problem? “Big Meat” Emits More Greenhouse Gas Than Most Countries

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Experts: Stop Adding Cancer-Causing Chemicals to our Meats

Google Wins Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Technology

Google won a key Illinois lawsuit that has long been a barrier to big tech companies' use of facial recognition software.

Apple Of My Eye

After weeks of notoriety and backlash, Google has scored a legal victory allowing it to keep a close watch on users of Google products.

On Saturday, a U.S. District Judge in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit filled against the internet giant which alleged that Google violated users’ right to privacy by using facial recognition technology without their consent. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2016, was the result of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, one of the strictest biometric security laws in the nation. It requires tech companies to obtain explicit permission from Illinois citizens in order to make any biometric scans of their bodies.

Facebook and Snapchat are facing similar challenges from the law, but Google’s victory could signal a new era in the use and development of facial recognition technology.

“Concrete Injuries”

In his dismissal of the case, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang cited the lack of “concrete injuries.” In the legal realm this means either physical damage or damage to one’s reputation which actually exists. In short, Chang’s conclusion was that despite not asking permission, Google’s use of the plaintiff’s photos didn’t result in any physical harm or damage to their reputation and was therefore legal. The cases against Facebook and Snapchat are still pending, but Google’s win could provide lawyers with some ammunition in defending the other two tech giants.

Big Brother

Facial recognition technology may take center stage in increasingly common debates about the intersection of advanced technology and rights to personal privacy.  Still, development continues despite the technology’s imperfections and warnings from other tech executives calling for stricter legal guidelines.

Facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly common in everyday life, cropping up at airports and even Taylor Swift concerts. Yet, as we continue to decide who has what right to our data and why, big technology companies are moving quickly to decide our future for themselves.

READ MORE: Google wins dismissal of facial recognition lawsuit over biometric privacy act [TheVerge]

More on facial recognition: Microsoft President Warns Of “1984” Facial Recognition Future

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Google Wins Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Technology


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