U.S. funded anti-government hip-hop music in Cuba

The U.S. government financed a four-year effort to promote Cuba’s rap music scene as part of an effort to promote democracy on the communist-run island, federal officials confirmed on Thursday.

“It seemed like a good idea to support civil society,” said Matt Herrick, spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which financed the secretive program.

Into the great wide open

IN 1990 John Latham, a cloud physicist, published a short article in Nature under the headline “Control of Global Warming?” It argued that if low-lying maritime clouds were made a bit brighter, the Earth could be cooled enough to make up for the increased warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases. The brightening was to be achieved by wafting tiny sea-salt particles up into the clouds from below; by acting as “cloud condensation nuclei” (CCN) they would increase the number of water droplets in the clouds, and thus the amount of sunlight they reflect out into space. Latham calculated that a square kilometre of cloud might be kept bright with just 400 grams of spray an hour. And finding out if it was really that easy might be straightforwardly tested. “It seems feasible”, Dr Latham wrote, “to conduct an experiment in which CCN are introduced in a controlled manner into marine stratus.”

Retailers Using Science To Shape Shopping Experience

Retailers are trying to get into customers’ brains and they now have the technology to do it. It’s called consumer neuroscience and companies are getting valuable shopper intel that can shape the shopping experience.

To get a firsthand look we went shopping at Betsy Jenney on Newbury Street with Dr. Carl Marci of Boston-based Innerscope Research. I was given glasses with a special camera to track my eye movements and sensors were attached to my fingers to keep tabs on the electricity in my skin.

U.S. agency offers legal immunity to Ebola vaccine makers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday offered liability protections to drugmakers rushing to develop Ebola vaccines and urged other countries to follow suit.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell made the announcement as part of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in a move aimed at encouraging the development and availability of experimental Ebola vaccines.

The vending machine of the future is here, and it knows who you are

The Luce X2 Touch TV vending machine, which was debuted to industry professionals in Hertfordshire in October, is claimed to be the first in the world to use facial recognition technology.

The machines are able to identify and greet a user, remember a person’s preferences and even refuse to vend a certain product based on a shopper’s age, medical record, dietary requirements or purchase history.

‘Rectal Hydration': Inside the CIA’s Interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The CIA waterboarded its gold-star detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 183 times in a single month to force him to reveal potential further strikes, according to the Senate’s 500-page report Tuesday on CIA interrogation techniques.

The campaign — which also included tactics with such evocative names as “rectal rehydration” and “attention grab” — was largely fruitless and took place while the CIA plotted to block FBI access to Mohammed, the report says.

The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture

The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture

The Senate Report on the C.I.A.’s Torture and Lies

The world has long known that the United States government illegally detained and tortured prisoners after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and lied about it to Congress and the world. But the summary of a report released Tuesday of the Senate investigation of these operations, even after being sanitized by the Central Intelligence Agency itself, is a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach.

UK to establish £15m permanent Mid East military base

Britain is to establish its first permanent military base in the Middle East since it formally withdrew from the region in 1971.

The base, at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, will host ships including destroyers and aircraft carriers.

The UK said it was an “expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint” and would “reinforce stability” in the Gulf.

The World Cracks Down on the Internet

On Thursday, Freedom House published its fifth annual report on Internet freedom around the world. As in years past, China is again near the bottom of the rankings, which include sixty-five countries. Only Syria and Iran got worse scores, while Iceland and Estonia fared the best. (The report was funded partly by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Department of State, Google, and Yahoo, but Freedom House described the report as its “sole responsibility” and said that it doesn’t necessarily represent its funders’ views.)

Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet

December 3, 2014 | By Maira Sutton

When state officials seek to censor online speech, they’re going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever.

The copyright law that state actors most often invoke is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA was the first major digital copyright law passed in the United States, creating strict procedural rules for how and when a copyright holder can claim that uploaded content infringes on their copyright. US-based tech companies that receive these infringement notices must comply with these rules to receive their safe harbor—the protection they have from being liable for hosting unlawful user content.