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News Round Up [July 11, 2017]

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The Last Stand


U.S. request for Alaska voter information now on hold

Alaska Dispatch News by Nathaniel Herz

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said Monday that the state will not turn over its voter data to President Donald Trump's election and voter fraud commission after the commission itself put its request on hold because of a lawsuit.

Walker's administration had previously said it would turn over public voter data to the commission, which has drawn criticism from civil rights groups that argue its work is aimed at voter suppression. Officials in other states had refused to comply with the request whatsoever, but Alaska officials said they would only withhold private voter information like Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

On Monday, the commission emailed state officials to say its request was on hold until the resolution of a request for a temporary restraining order tied to a federal lawsuit, filed last week by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. [Source]

BC fires affect Ketchikan internet

KRBD by Leila Kheiry

Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division Manager Ed Cushing said KPU experienced a system slow-down when the Williams Lake fire consumed parts of the cable KPU connects to for internet service.

Cushing said usually when service through the Canada connection is interrupted, the system automatically reroutes all traffic to KPU’s undersea connection to Seattle. But, because the Canadian connection wasn’t completely severed – just slowed down – the KPU system didn’t reroute.

“Our network just continued to send what’s akin to several freeways worth of traffic onto a one-lane road,” he said.

KPU sent out an alert on Saturday via social media warning customers of potentially slow service. Cushing said technicians also quickly started manually rerouting traffic onto faster roads. [Read the rest]

Texas Will Soon Allow People To Carry Swords In Public


Come September 1, Texans will be able to carry swords and other long knives in public.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 1935, which allows any weapon with a blade longer than 5.5 inches to be carried in public. That would allow swords, daggers, machetes, stilettos, long knives – including the Bowie knife – and spears to be carried in public.

However, the blades won't be allowed in schools, churches, hospitals and establishments that rake in over 51% of their revenue through the sale of alcoholic beverages. Private businesses also have the freedom to prohibit such blades from their premises.

Those under the age of 18 will also be prohibited from carrying blades longer than 5.5 inches if they're not under parental supervision. [Full Story]


DO NOT USE YOUR FINGER PRINTS AS A PASSWORD, IT WILL BE HACKED!


Credit card machines and point-of-sale devices are favorite targets of malicious hackers, mainly because the data stolen from those systems is very easy to monetize. However, the point-of-sale industry has a fairly atrocious record of building insecure products and trying to tack on security only after the products have already gone to market. Given this history, it’s remarkable that some of these same vendors are now encouraging customers to entrust them with biometric data.

Credit cards can be re-issued, but biometric identifiers are for life. Companies that choose to embed biometric capabilities in their products should be held to a far higher security standard than those used to protect card data.

For starters, any device that requests, stores or transmits biometric data should at a minimum ensure that the data remains strongly encrypted both at rest and in transit. Judging by Avanti’s warning that some customer biometric data may have been compromised in this breach, it seems this may not have been the case for at least a subset of their products.

I would like see some industry acknowledgement of this before we start to see more stand-alone payment applications entice users to supply biometric data, but I share Dunker’s fear that we may soon see biometric components added to a whole host of Internet-connected (IoT) devices that simply were not designed with security in mind. [Read the rest]

To Open or Not to Open The 1,650-Year-Old Speyer Wine Bottle?


Contemporary historians have been debating for a few years now if they should open the Speyer wine bottle, which is believed to be the world’s oldest bottle of wine. The Pfalz Historical Museum in Germany has been home to the legendary 1,650-year-old bottle that is sealed with wax and contains a white liquid.

Even though the oldest evidence of wine production was found in Armenia around 4100 BC, it would be safe to say that Western tradition of producing and drinking wine most likely started in the territory of Classical Greece, when people drank it during breakfast. A person who didn't drink wine in ancient Greece was considered a barbarian and the Greeks worshiped Dionysus as the God of wine and partying.

It’s no secret that the older a bottle of wine is, the better its contents will taste. In this case, however, the Speyer Bottle is so old that many experts doubt if its wine is drinkable. Widely considered as the oldest known liquid wine recovered from any archaeological site, the bottle has been dated between 325 and 350 AD.

Although it was analyzed by a chemist during the First World War, the bottle was never opened. A splash of olive oil and a seal of hot wax has kept the white wine liquid down in the 1,650 years since it was made. The wine bottle has been on display at the Pfalz Historical Museum for more than a century and though it is a curious artifact no research team dares to open it. [Full Story]

Harvard: Unvaccinated Children Pose Zero Risk


A Harvard immunologist has written an open letter explaining why unvaccinated children pose no risk to their vaccinated counterparts.

Dear Legislator:

My name is Tetyana Obukhanych. I hold a PhD in Immunology. I am writing this letter in the hope that it will correct several common misperceptions about vaccines in order to help you formulate a fair and balanced understanding that is supported by accepted vaccine theory and new scientific findings.

Do unvaccinated children pose a higher threat to the public than the vaccinated?

It is often stated that those who choose not to vaccinate their children for reasons of conscience endanger the rest of the public, and this is the rationale behind most of the legislation to end vaccine exemptions currently being considered by federal and state legislators country-wide. You should be aware that the nature of protection afforded by many modern vaccines – and that includes most of the vaccines recommended by the CDC for children – is not consistent with such a statement. I have outlined below the recommended vaccines that cannot prevent transmission of disease either because they are not designed to prevent the transmission of infection (rather, they are intended to prevent disease symptoms), or because they are for non-communicable diseases. People who have not received the vaccines mentioned below pose no higher threat to the general public than those who have, implying that discrimination against non-immunized children in a public school setting may not be warranted.

IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) cannot prevent transmission of poliovirus. Wild poliovirus has been non-existent in the USA for at least two decades. Even if wild poliovirus were to be re-imported by travel, vaccinating for polio with IPV cannot affect the safety of public spaces. Please note that wild poliovirus eradication is attributed to the use of a different vaccine, OPV or oral poliovirus vaccine. Despite being capable of preventing wild poliovirus transmission, use of OPV was phased out long ago in the USA and replaced with IPV due to safety concerns.

Tetanus is not a contagious disease, but rather acquired from deep-puncture wounds contaminated with C. tetani spores. Vaccinating for tetanus (via the DTaP combination vaccine) cannot alter the safety of public spaces; it is intended to render personal protection only.

While intended to prevent the disease-causing effects of the diphtheria toxin, the diphtheria toxoid vaccine (also contained in the DTaP vaccine) is not designed to prevent colonization and transmission of C. diphtheriae. Vaccinating for diphtheria cannot alter the safety of public spaces; it is likewise intended for personal protection only.

The acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine (the final element of the DTaP combined vaccine), now in use in the USA, replaced the whole cell pertussis vaccine in the late 1990s, which was followed by an unprecedented resurgence of whooping cough. An experiment with deliberate pertussis infection in primates revealed that the aP vaccine is not capable of preventing colonization and transmission of B. pertussis. The FDA has issued a warning regarding this crucial finding.[1]

Furthermore, the 2013 meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors at the CDC revealed additional alarming data that pertussis variants (PRN-negative strains) currently circulating in the USA acquired a selective advantage to infect those who are up-to-date for their DTaP boosters, meaning that people who are up-to-date are more likely to be infected, and thus contagious, than people who are not vaccinated.

Among numerous types of H. influenzae, the Hib vaccine covers only type b. Despite its sole intention to reduce symptomatic and asymptomatic (disease-less) Hib carriage, the introduction of the Hib vaccine has inadvertently shifted strain dominance towards other types of H. influenzae (types a through f).These types have been causing invasive disease of high severity and increasing incidence in adults in the era of Hib vaccination of children. The general population is more vulnerable to the invasive disease now than it was prior to the start of the Hib vaccination campaign. Discriminating against children who are not vaccinated for Hib does not make any scientific sense in the era of non-type b H. influenzae disease.

Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus. It does not spread in a community setting, especially among children who are unlikely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as needle sharing or sex. Vaccinating children for hepatitis B cannot significantly alter the safety of public spaces. Further, school admission is not prohibited for children who are chronic hepatitis B carriers. To prohibit school admission for those who are simply unvaccinated – and do not even carry hepatitis B – would constitute unreasonable and illogical discrimination.

In summary, a person who is not vaccinated with IPV, DTaP, HepB, and Hib vaccines due to reasons of conscience poses no extra danger to the public than a person who is. No discrimination is warranted.
[Read the rest]


Read More: News Round Up [July 10, 2017]

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