Calif. governor signs smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill into law - August 25, 2014 (CNET)
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the so-called “kill switch” bill — introduced in February by State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon — on Monday, after it passed the state legislature earlier this month. A smartphone kill switch enables an owner to lock down a phone if it is stolen, rendering it inoperable. A spokesperson from Brown’s office said the governor was not available for comment. (Will the government be able to kill a smartphone without the user’s permission?
Captured Russian troops ‘in Ukraine by accident’ - August 26, 2014 (BBC)
Ten Russian soldiers captured in eastern Ukraine crossed the border “by accident”, Russian military sources are quoted as saying. Ukraine has released video interviews of some of the seized paratroopers. The incident comes as the Ukrainian and Russian leaders have held their first-ever bilateral talks in Belarus.
‘Robo Brain’ will teach robots everything from the Internet - August 25, 2014 (Phys.org)
Robo Brain – a large-scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources – is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. The information is being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format that robots will be able to draw on when they need it.
French Economy Minister: Enough With German Austerity - August 25, 2014 (Business Insider)
Deficit-reduction measures carried out since the 2008 financial crisis have crippled Europe’s economies and governments need to change course swiftly or they will lose their voters to populist and extremist parties, Montebourg told a socialists’ meeting in eastern France.
Do we live in a 2-D hologram? New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe - August 26, 2014 (Phys.org)
A unique experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe – including whether we live in a hologram. Much like characters on a television show would not know that their seemingly 3-D world exists only on a 2-D screen, we could be clueless that our 3-D space is just an illusion. The information about everything in our universe could actually be encoded in tiny packets in two dimensions.
Obama Administration admits it is reviewing arms shipments to Israel during conflict - August 15, 2014 (Washington Free Beacon)
The Obama administration confirmed on Thursday reports that it had, in an unusual move, proactively stepped in to hold up arms shipments to Israel for further review as the current conflict in the Gaza strip continues. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed to reporters the accuracy of reports published in both the United States and Israel revealing that the White House was subjecting to further review Israeli requests for ammunition shipments, which typically have not needed explicit White House approval.
Malaysia cracks down on teen for ‘liking’ Israel - August 14, 2014 (I24News)
A Malaysian teenager is being investigated by police for sedition after “liking” a pro-Israel Facebook posting, sparking outrage over perceived growing intolerance in the Muslim-majority country. The 17-year-old student in the northern state of Penang had “liked” a post that declared “I love Israel” and featured a picture of the Jewish state’s flag, Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi was quoted as saying Wednesday by Malaysian media. The youth is subject to three years in prison.
U.S. to force Israel’s hand in Gaza? - August 19, 2014 (Accuracy in Media)
“The US offering to Hamas to “guarantee” Israeli commitments to any agreement signed? As if anyone needed proof of the Obama administration’s antipathy to Israel, here it was in black and white. If any party needed a commitment to enforce its agreements in any deal, it would have been Hamas, which has been known to break every commitment it ever made.”
Do recently discovered buried coins shed light on the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew?
Do recently discovered buried coins shed light on the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew? - August 13, 2014 (Bible Study and Christian Life)
On this past Tuesday came news that archaeologists digging near the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv Highway had uncovered a cache of ancient Jewish buried coins. The inscription and images on the 114 bronze coins allow us to date them precisely to 70 CE—the exact year that the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. In the midst of this turbulent time, a Jewish person saw fit to place the money in a small ceramic box and bury it for safekeeping.
Islamic State claims it executed American photojournalist James Foley - August 19, 2014 (Washington Post)
The Islamic State militant group claimed Tuesday to have beheaded an American photojournalist in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. A video posted on YouTube, later removed, purported to show the execution of James Foley after he recited a statement in which he called the U.S. government “my real killers.” A second prisoner, said to be Steven Joel Sotloff, like Foley an American journalist who disappeared while covering Syria’s civil war, then appears in the video. The masked executioner, speaking in English with what sounds like a British accent, identifies Sotloff and says that “the life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.” U.S. intelligence officials said they were still evaluating the video and could not immediately authenticate it.
Obama Authorizes Airstrikes in Iraq - August 07, 2014 (The New York Times)
U.S. president Barack Obama authorized limited air strikes against ISIS militants in northern Iraq (NYT) to prevent the killing of religious minorities and any threats to U.S. personnel and interests in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Erbil. The United States began to drop relief supplies (Reuters) to Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants. The move marks the first time the United States has taken such steps for military action since the militants began an offensive in June that overran swathes of northern and western Iraq and declared a “caliphate” in captured areas of Iraq and Syria.
Maliki’s Bid to Keep Power in Iraq Seems to Collapse - August 12, 2014 (The New York Times)
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s defiant fight to retain power in Iraq appeared to collapse on Tuesday after his former backers in Iran, the military and his own party all signaled that he could no longer expect their support.