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09-03-2015 Politics
Obama secures Iran nuclear deal with Barbara Mikulski vote

Washington (CNN)In a major victory for President Barack Obama, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced support for the Iran nuclear deal Wednesday, providing the White House the votes it needs to prevent Republicans from scuttling the agreement.

The announcement means that at least 34 senators -- the number required by the Constitution to sustain a veto -- will back Obama's expected veto of a Republican resolution to disapprove of the deal. Mikulski is retiring at the end of her term.

While majorities of both the GOP-controlled House and Senate are poised to vote against the agreement, supporters of the multinational accord that aims to curb Iran's nuclear weapons program are also hoping to get the 41 votes needed to filibuster the bill and prevent it from even getting to a final vote in the Senate.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the administration will continue to try and push support for the deal past the 34 votes they now have "until the last moment."

"Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president's veto to be upheld," Kerry told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "That is not satisfactory for us. We do want to try to go further. We'll continue to persuade."

That prospect upsets some Republicans who believe the historic agreement deserves a final up-or-down vote.

Nearly all Republicans have come out against the agreement, arguing it sets up weak standards for international inspectors to monitor whether Iran is complying with the agreement and would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons in a few years.

But only two Democratic senators -- Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey -- have announced they oppose it. The Senate's 54 Republicans would need four more Democrats to join them in opposing the deal to end the filibuster and send the bill disapproving of the deal for a vote.

The agreement, which took years for the so-called P5+1 -- the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia -- to broker, has been the subject of intensive lobbying by both sides. Ultimately, opponents' multimillion-dollar campaign failed to resonate with enough of the Democratic lawmakers it was targeting.

Votes are expected after lawmakers return from a summer recess next week but before Sept. 17, the statutory deadline for Congress to act on the deal. But GOP leaders have not announced when those votes will take place.

House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Cory Fritz said the White House shouldn't be celebrating.

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Source: CNN

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09-03-2015 Science&Technology
Amazon Gets Serious About Dash Buttons

Amazon is really trying to make this Dash Button thing happen. The Web retail giant on Wednesday launched the "next phase" of the program, which will provide Prime members with free buttons.

For the uninitiated, Amazon on March 31 introduced Dash Buttons, which let you re-order things you always use—like paper towels, laundry detergent, coffee, and water—with a simple press. While some initially thought it was an April Fools' Joke, Amazon is serious about the idea and said today that the response from customers and partners has been "overwhelmingly positive."

The program was initially an invite-only affair, but Amazon opened it up to all Prime members in late July, selling each Dash Button for $4.99. But to encourage more people to try them out, Amazon has kicked off a new pricing offer which basically makes the buttons free. Prime members will have to initially pony up $4.99 for each Dash Button, but Amazon will give you the fiver back after your first button purchase.

The company is also launching 11 new brands for the Dash Button with new product categories like gum, trash bags, and nutritional supplements. The list of new brands includes Ice Breakers Mints, Orbit Gum, GREENIES Dental Chews and GREENIES Pill Pockets Treats, Hefty Trash and Storage Bags, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, Ziploc, Depend, Finish Dishwashing Detergent, Digestive Advantage Probiotic Supplements, Dixie tableware products, and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100 percent Whey Protein.

With these new additions, the Dash Button is available for 29 different brands covering more than 500 products you might want to purchase with the press of a button. "I like how easy it is to order commonly used items quickly. In my case, baby wipes," one customer said, according to Amazon. "When I notice I am getting low on the wipes I can very easily and quickly order more by simply pushing a button. A simple push button is much easier to operate than getting the computer or phone out, especially when holding a baby in the other hand."

To ensure that your pet or child does not accidentally order you thousands of boxes of Huggies, you'll get an alert on your phone to confirm purchases. You also can't order another until the first order is delivered.

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Source: PC Mag

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09-03-2015 Society
Hungary Becomes a Flashpoint as Europe’s Migrant Crisis Escalates

BUDAPEST—Hungarian authorities struggled Wednesday to keep control of the tide of migrants hoping to head to Germany, as a standoff ground on at Budapest’s central train station and the overwhelmed city said it would open a new site to receive the hundreds who have converged there.

Hungary—on the periphery of the European Union—has been hit particularly hard by the crisis, but there were developments around the continent. Overnight, passenger train traffic in the English Channel tunnel was disrupted for hours after migrants were spotted on the tracks near the train station in France’s Calais. Authorities in Austria and Hungary said they had rescued migrants who were being smuggled in vans.

The EU has been hard-pressed to handle the flow of desperate migrants, hampered by competing national interests and difficulty enforcing bloc-wide rules as migrants attempt to cross borders in search of better prospects in wealthier countries. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive, said Wednesday it would present proposals for a plan to share asylum seekers across the bloc before an emergency meeting Sept. 14, a key part of what Brussels hopes will be a more coordinated response. Hungary has taken an especially tough tack, trying to restrict travel options for those without valid visas and enforce a European regulation that prevents migrants from seeking asylum in multiple jurisdictions. Authorities cleared out hundreds from Keleti international train station Tuesday, sparking a protest outside the building that continued through Wednesday as hundreds of demonstrators chanted “Freedom!” and “Germany!” More

Eurostar Services DisruptedbBy Migrants on Calais Tracks At Least 12 Syrian Migrants Drown Off Turkish Coast Austrian Police Save Afghan Migrants EU to Propose to Share Asylum Seekers

“I am hungry, I am thirsty, why can’t we go to the trains?” asked one 30-year-old, who said he was from Aleppo, Syria.

Police kept the station’s entrances blocked to migrants even if they had valid tickets and registration papers. Other travelers were allowed into the building through side entrances and train services were normal.

At a small train station on the outskirts of Budapest, a group of migrants refused to change for a train headed in the direction of a refugee camp in Debrecen, a town in eastern Hungary, police said. They demanded to go to Germany. Some held up their children and walked along the rails in protest, police said.

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Source: The Wall Street Journal

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09-03-2015 Environment
One image shows why NASA is launching a new mission to study the melting Arctic

Even as president Obama visits Alaska to highlight the impacts of climate change, NASA is launching a new research program to study Alaska and the Arctic, work that could help us better understand some of the potential climate “feedbacks” that could be occurring as a result of worse wildfires, thawing permafrost and the loss of ice.

The agency calls the program, to be dubbed ABoVE — Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment — a “major field campaign.” It will send teams of scientists out into the field in Alaska and Canada, but also draw on NASA’s strength in satellites and remote sensing to get a better handle on what is happening to the the remote world above the Arctic Circle. Twenty-one initial field research projects have been green-lighted as part of an eight to ten year campaign, which is being launched out of NASA’s Terrestrial Ecology Program.

“The Arctic really is the canary in the coalmine,” says NASA’s Charles Miller, deputy science lead to the ABoVE project. “Things are changing in the Arctic at least twice as fast as the global average, and the systems in the Arctic, from the ecosystems to the sea ice to the permafrost, are thought to be very very susceptible to these environmental impacts.”

President Obama Tuesday focused attention on one change in particular that has reverberating effects — the loss of Alaska’s glaciers, which not only harms natural features that are crucial to the state’s tourism industry, but also has many attendant environmental consequences.

“There is a growing appreciation of how glacial melt, permafrost melting, and warmer and drier conditions are driving both insect outbreaks and wildfires, and this collective response to a warming climate is what is giving urgency” to the new research endeavor, says Doug Morton, an Earth scientist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

To underscore the dramatic changes, Morton pointed to the following map, which is based on data from NASA’s GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites, twin instruments that circle the Earth and measure the tug of gravity from below. Areas with variations in mass cause the satellites to become closer to or more distant from one another, and this can be measured with high precision.

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Source: The Washington Post

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09-03-2015 Science&Technology
Google self-driving car hit again, so heads up Austin drivers

SAN FRANCISCO – If Google’s self-driving car test program is proving anything, it’s the obvious. Humans can’t drive as efficiently as computers.

That would be appear to be the explanation for yet another rear-end collision suffered by a Google autonomous car last month, as reported by the company this week in its ongoing monthly updates on its six-year-old program.

Other news in the blog post included the announcement that a few of Google’s pod-like prototypes will soon be joining the company’s gizmo-strapped Lexus SUVs for extensive testing on the on the streets of Austin, Texas. The bulk of Google’s testing has been on going near its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Among the challenges facing Google’s new Texas-based fleet are dealing with an abundance of deer and processing information from horizontal road signs. So far, Google has tested its autonomous cars for more than a million miles, in an effort to pack its database with as many real-world driving situations as possible. Hitting the streets has meant getting hit. Google’s self-driving cars have been in 16 accidents to date, 12 of them rear-end collisions and all them the fault of human motorists, according to data the company provided to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The latest took place on Aug. 20. A self-driving Lexus was approaching a Mountain View crosswalk without a stoplight when it detected a pedestrian stepping into the road. The autonomous vehicle immediately began braking, but the onboard safety driver decided to intervene and brake more firmly. As the car stopped, it was hit from behind by a motorist who was busy changing lanes at the same time. Typically, such accidents are deemed the fault of the person doing the colliding, as he or she should have allowed for more of a gap between the vehicles.

What's interesting is that in the report, program lead Chris Urmson notes that after analyzing the accident data afterward engineers determined that while Google’s human driver followed protocol by taking control in an emergency situation, had the car been left to brake on its own it would have done so less violently and edged up closer to the sidewalk. “In other words, our software might have created some extra margin in a situation where fractions of inches and seconds mattered,” Urmson writes. “(Software) could do the math on many complicated factors all at once … and make an extremely nuanced braking calculation. … We’re putting this down as an officially interesting moment in self-driving car history.”

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Source: USA Today

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09-03-2015 Science&Technology
Don't be fooled by Sony's 4K smartphone; it's 100% hype

I love Sony. Even when Sony is failing, I love the Japanese company because it designs some of the best consumer electronics products money can buy. Heck, even Steve Jobs admired Sony's ethos. But the company's newly announced Xperia Z5 Premium Android smartphone and its world's first 4K display is completely outrageous and virtually indistinguishable from a smartphone with a lower-resolution QuadHD or Full HD display — to the naked eye, at least. Here's how Sony's press conferences at big tech trade shows like CES and IFA work: A Sony executive hops on stage and talks about all the amazing new gadgets they're announcing. The hall is filled and hundreds of seated and standing press. If you're a vet, you'll know to pack your bags up right as he/she is wrapping up and make way to the curtained "hands on" areas where all the new gadgets are.

I was one of those seasoned tech reporters. I was quick and nimble and didn't even sit down (I couldn't because I was almost late). As soon as Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said he was putting on one last video reel, I bolted for the hands-on area to be amongst the first to touch the Z5 Premium and gaze at its 4K display.

I wasn't quick enough because dozens of other reporters had the same idea. And so I had to wait — wait until the ones who got there first finished playing around with the phones so I could take my photos, coddle it myself and write my own hands-on article. See the photo above? It's a frantic scene and everyone is antsy. Everyone wants to touch the phones. Reporters were recording video, taking photos and Periscoping the Xperia Z5 Premium and touting how amazing the 4K display was — only they weren't looking at a 4K display. They were all looking at the Xperia Z5, the 1080p full HD model. I'm not even going pretend like I didn't get fooled either. Because I did. When it was finally my turn to go "hands on" with the device, I didn't feel like I could see the 4K resolution, but I was swept up in the excitement all around me. I was one of the lucky members of the press to feast his eyes on a 4K smartphone. Holy f*cking yeah!

After handing the Z5 off to the next dude, I floated around the hands-on table to shoot photos of the Xperia Z5 Compact, which is unmistakably smaller, thicker and comes in brighter colors. Then I realized something, the Z5 Premium was being displayed under the glass to show off its luxury colors: chrome, gold and black. It really didn't help that the Z5 and Z5 Premium look so similar in terms of design.

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Source: Mashable

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09-03-2015 Environment
New Species of Ancient 'River' Dolphin Lived in the Ocean

The fossilized remains of a new species of ancient river dolphin that lived at least 5.8 million years ago have been found in Panama, and the discovery could shed light on the evolutionary history of these freshwater mammals. Play Video A new study shows dolphins are even smarter than we thought! Hemera/Thinkstock

Researchers found half a skull, a lower jaw with an almost complete set of conical teeth, a right shoulder blade and two small bones from a flipper. The fossils are estimated to be between 5.8 million and 6.1 million years old, making them from the late Miocene epoch, researchers said in a new study.

The ancient river dolphin, named Isthminia panamensis, was calculated to be more than 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, according to the study. [Deep Divers: A Gallery of Dolphins] Creatures That Live On Dolphins And Whales: Photos

The ancient mammal was discovered on the Caribbean coast of Panama, at the same site where other marine animal fossils have been found, which suggests that I. panamensiswas also a saltwater species, the researchers said.

I. panamensis is the only fossil of a river dolphin known from the Caribbean, the researchers said in the study.

"We discovered this new fossil in marine rocks, and many of the features of its skull and jaws point to it having been a marine inhabitant, like modern oceanic dolphins," study lead author Nicholas Pyenson, a curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. Living Fossils: Animals From Another Time: Photos

But despite dwelling in the salty waters of the Caribbean Sea, I. panamensis is actually more closely related to modern-day freshwater river dolphins, the researchers said. In fact, "Isthminia is actually the closest relative of the living Amazon river dolphin," study co-author Aaron O'Dea, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, said in a statement.

Only four species of river dolphins exist today (although one, the Yangtze river dolphin, is now likely extinct), all living in freshwater or coastal ecosystems. All of these river dolphins moved from marine to freshwater habitats, developing broad, paddlelike flippers; flexible necks; and heads with particularly long, narrow snouts as they evolved, according to the study. These adaptations allowed the river dolphins to better navigate and hunt in winding, silty rivers, the researchers said.

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Source: Discovery News

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09-03-2015 Politics
Kentucky Clerk Turns Away Another Gay Couple Seeking Marriage License

MOREHEAD, Ky. — Maintaining her stand against same-sex marriage, a Kentucky clerk on Wednesday rejected a gay couple’s request for a marriage license and braced for a Thursday morning hearing before the federal judge who will decide whether to declare her in contempt of court.

The Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, spent much of Wednesday morning in her private office, but she emerged to deny the marriage license sought by Robbie Blankenship and Jesse Cruz, a couple from Ohio.

“What authority do you have under the United States Supreme Court?” Mr. Blankenship called out as Ms. Davis left the scene of reporters, demonstrators, deputy clerks and law enforcement officials. “None.” “You are a disgrace,” he continued. “You are a disgrace.” Continue reading the main story Related Coverage

Kim Davis, an elected clerk, at work in Rowan County, Ky. Kim Davis, a Local Fixture, and Now a National SymbolSEPT. 1, 2015 Same-sex marriage supporters, left, and opponents, right, faced off Tuesday at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky. Kentucky Clerk Denies Same-Sex Marriage Licenses, Defying CourtSEPT. 1, 2015

Ms. Davis’s decision came as little surprise to the people gathered in and around the courthouse here. The episode continued the clash of beliefs that has played out in Rowan County after Ms. Davis, citing her Apostolic Christian faith, defied the federal courts and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Ms. Davis, who was elected last year, has also refused licenses to heterosexual couples.) Judge David L. Bunning, of the United States District Court in Ashland, will hear arguments on Thursday morning on whether Ms. Davis should be held in contempt. On Tuesday, lawyers for couples in a lawsuit to force Ms. Davis to issue the licenses asked Judge Bunning, an appointee of President George W. Bush, to fine Ms. Davis.

“Plaintiffs do not seek to compel Davis’ compliance through incarceration,” the lawyers wrote in a court filing. “Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform, Plaintiffs urge the Court to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’s immediate compliance without further delay.” Lawyers representing Ms. Davis could file a response in court on Wednesday. But in a statement on Tuesday, Ms. Davis said she would not change her position, which has made her a simultaneously revered and reviled figure.

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Source: The New York Times

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09-02-2015 Politics
Clerk defies U.S. high court, denies gay marriage licenses

A Kentucky county clerk, defying a new U.S. Supreme Court decision and citing "God's authority," rejected requests for marriage licenses from same-sex couples on Tuesday in a deepening legal standoff now two months old.

Citing her religious objections, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court in June ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry under the U.S. Constitution.

On Monday the same court rejected Davis' request for an emergency order allowing her to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples while she appeals a federal judge's order requiring her to issue them.

Eight people filed a federal lawsuit against Davis in July challenging her office's policy of not issuing marriage licenses to any couples – gay or straight.

The couples on Tuesday filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court, seeking fines but no jail time for the clerk. They also filed a motion asking the judge to clarify that Davis must issue licenses to everybody, not just the four couples in the case.

While issues related to gay marriage have risen in courts in several states, the American Civil Liberties Union said the organization was unaware of any other U.S. county clerk refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

"The vast majority of the country has been in compliance with the law without incidence. She's an outlier,” ACLU national spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said of Davis.

During a call with attorneys for both sides, Bunning ordered Davis and her deputies to appear in federal court in Ashland, Kentucky, on Thursday, said Joe Dunman, attorney for one of the couples who had sued.

Last month the judge said Davis had to live up to her responsibilities as county clerk despite her religious convictions.

Dunman said Davis' office rejected a request on Tuesday for a marriage license from same-sex couple April Miller and Karen Ann Roberts, his clients.

Will Smith and James Yates, another same-sex couple, also were denied a license on Tuesday, their attorney Kash Stilz said. A third same-sex couple, David Ermold and David Moore, also were denied a license.

"We were denied again," Moore said in a text message. "We spoke with Kim again and it was a very heated exchange."


Neither Davis' office nor her attorneys could be reached immediately for comment, but Kentucky Public Radio quoted her as saying on Tuesday that she made the decision to continue denying marriage licenses "under God's authority."

Davis also told a gay couple she turned away, "I just want you all to know that we are not issuing marriage licenses today," according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Source: Reuters

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09-02-2015 Politics
New Zealand unveils final four flag designs. Country says: ‘Hmm.’

Four designs in a contest to replace New Zealand's national flag with something that's a little less Union Jack-y were unveiled this week. And now, New Zealanders are pondering a big question: Do you like 1) silver ferns, 2) silver ferns, 3) a Maori symbol based on silver ferns, or 4) silver ferns?

Out of more than 10,000 designs submitted by the public, the finalists presented by the government's campaign appeared awfully similar to many New Zealanders and flag enthusiasts. Two of the finalists -- those featuring that fern and the Southern Cross in different color schemes -- were even designed by the same person.

People appeared to have a mixed reaction to the choices, the first that will be put to a public vote:

Morgan Avery @themorgan I don't WANT to keep the current #nzflag, but the options are no damn good. 7:38 PM - 31 Aug 2015 4 4 Retweets 4 4 favorites

tiny ruins @tinyruins the only thing to look forward to is @iamjohnoliver's reaction #nzflag 7:47 PM - 31 Aug 2015 18 18 Retweets 29 29 favorites

Sudhvir Singh @sudhvir Room full of Scandinavians laughing at our #nzflag choices ???? 7:27 PM - 31 Aug 2015 9 9 Retweets 23 23 favorites

Don't say we didn't try to help you fix this, New Zealand. The designs were revealed in advance of two referendums: The first, later this year, will allow voters to choose among the four finalists seen above. And the second, planned for March, will ask voters to choose between the current national flag and whichever design wins the first referendum.

Earlier, the country had announced a "long list" of 40 potential designs. One of those designs was disqualified from the contest because of a copyright claim, the government's flag contest site notes.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has wanted to change New Zealand's flag for awhile, and he sees the contest as a way to offer his country a chance to remove the Union Jack -- which many read as a symbol of the country's colonialist roots -- and replace it with something else that is representative of the country.

"A great flag is timeless and communicates swiftly and potently the essence of the country it represents," the panel leading the selection process wrote in a letter announcing the long list. "A flag should carry sufficient dignity to be appropriate for all situations in which New Zealanders might be represented. It should speak to all Kiwis. Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flags’ symbols, colour and stories."

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Source: Washington Post

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09-02-2015 Science&Technology
Google Chrome will start blocking Adobe Flash ads today

Flash ads will be paused by default, and advertisers just have to hope users will voluntarily decide to play them.

Internet ads that use Adobe Flash will be blocked on Google Chrome as of Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Google has chosen to do this because Flash technology increases page-loading times and kills battery more quickly, overall decreasing the quality of the Chrome experience. The Flash ads will still be available, but users will have to click on them to get them to play.

In the first quarter of 2015, Chrome displayed over a third of Flash ads, according to data collected by Sizmek, an ad management technology firm. This move by the company will likely persuade advertisers to stop using Flash technology altogether.

Both Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau suggest HTML5 technology as an alternative. It provides similar functionality, but with a more efficient performance. Scott Cunningham, IAB’s vice president of technology and ad operations, says that “HTML5 is the way forward, and that has become clearer and clearer.”

The digital media industry is becoming more concerned about the possibility that people will be able to bock Internet ads completely as Apple works to make it easier for its users to do so on mobile devices.

Source: Fortune

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09-02-2015 Religion
Muhammad Quran Story Fake? World's Oldest Muslim Holy Book Predates Official Founding Of Islam

The world's oldest Quran may predate the accepted founding date of Islam by the Muslim prophet Muhammad, according to radiocarbon dating carried out by experts at the University of Oxford. The U.K. researchers said the Quran fragments found last month were created between the years 568 A.D. and 645 A.D.

"This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran's genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven," Keith Small of Oxford's Bodleian Library told reporters. "If the dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Quran — or at least portions of it — predates Mohammed, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s."

Muhammad is generally believed to have lived between 570 A.D. and 632 A.D. Muslims view the Quran as a divine scripture revealed by God. The Arabic word "Quran" means "the Recitations" or "the Revelations."

Muhammad is said to have founded Islam sometime after 610 A.D. The first Muslim community was founded in Medina, in present-day Saudi Arabia, in 622 A.D. The first known formal text of the Quran was created in 653 A.D. after Muhammad's death. Before that, the work had circulated through oral tradition and had been written down on stones, leaves, parchment and bones.

“It destabilizes, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Quran emerged,” historian Tom Holland told The Times of Israel about the new findings. “And that in turn has implications for the historicity of Muhammad and [his followers].”

Others, however, said the new tests don't necessarily mean the Quran predates Muhammad. "If anything, the manuscript has consolidated traditional accounts of the Quran's origins," said Mustafa Shah of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

The two pages from Islam's holy book were discovered in a library at the University of Birmingham in England last month. They had been mistakenly bound in a Quran dating to the seventh century. The fragments written on either sheepskin or goatskin were part of a collection of 3,000 Middle Eastern texts taken from Iraq in the 1920s.

Source: International Business Times

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08-26-2015 Science&Technology
Set the Mood With Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit

Philips wants to help you set the mood. The company today introduced the Philips Hue wireless dimming kit—a no-installation, straight-out-of-the-box solution for dimmable light.

Each kit comes with a Philips Hue white light bulb and portable, battery-operated dimmer switch, so you don't need to call an electrician, or even move from the sofa, to add a little mood lighting. Just screw in the bulb and press the dimmer switch to adjust the brightness. The multi-use contraption also serves as a normal wall switch, or a remote control that can be placed anywhere in the house. Plus, the new Philips Hue wireless dimming kit can control up to 10 Philips Hue white lights at the same time—even if the bulbs were already installed in your home. Using a Philips Hue bridge, consumers can connect any compatible products in their house to the new dimmer switch. "Not only does the kit show how simple it is to have clever products in your home, but like all Philips Hue products it is entirely future-proof," said Leonardo Avezzano, product marketing director of Philips Hue. "With the kit, anyone is able to begin enjoying the simplicity of modern dimming." The €39.95 ($45.65) Philips Hue wireless dimming kit is available next month in Europe; individual Philips Hue white bulbs will also be on sale for €19.95 ($22.79).

Source: Pc Mag

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08-24-2015 Cars
The BMW HOMMAGE Series: models, honors and uniqueness

BMW Hommage: models launched so far – some little history

In case you haven’t paid close attention to BMW for the past few years, the brand does this cool and original thing of launching from time to time unique models that pay tribute to a number of BMW’s best models out there. And if you step out of your cave, and into our mancave, you can check out below what beauties BMW released so far.

BMW M1 Hommage

The first in the series of Hommages, this model debuted back in 2008 to honor the 30th anniversary for the M1 model from BMW at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, an Italian gathering hosting.

The model displayed a mix of retro elements with new modern ones and a wide body style. Just like the M1 prototype back in 1972, the BMW M Hommage had the brand badge placement, the metallic bronze paint and a louvered rear window. The BMW designers did a good job with the side mirrors, wheels, front grille and bumper, which had been unseen on a BMW model up to that moment. While the fans were looking for the perfect BMW supercar, this one was as close as it could get. The model remained non-functional though, lacking an engine and an interior, having only working lights and steering. In turned out in the end that BMW was using the Hommage Concept to test its styling success for the then upcoming i8. Everyone can see now that the i8 is very similar to the Hommage Concept, with squinty headlights, a short rear deck and the gap between the C-Pillad and the rear fender.

Anyhow, BMW’s Hommage Concept became one of the brand’s most beautiful models and led to the birth of the i8 models. The i8 is quite different from what we were expecting after the M1 Hommage reveal. Without being the mid-engined supercar fans were hoping for, it represented the spiritual successor to the M1. And even if the M1 Hommage Concept did not become another super M1 model, maybe BMW produced something better.

You can see the car at the BMW Museum in Munich if you’re interested in a BMW face-to-face & you can also check it out below, placed next to the original M1 and the 1972 Turbo Concept. BMW 328 Hommage

As the BMW 328 is thought to be one of the best looking cars of the 1930s, BMW could not neglect this particular model and decided to produce a tribute to it.

The German carmaker honored the 1930s sports car with an exciting new show car called the BMW 328 Hommage, which was fitted with modern technology and design cues reminiscent of the classic built 75 years ago. The BMW 328 Hommage Concept was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy and it was either a breathtaking tribute to an automotive styling icon or a caricature of a dead beaver. And we were there to witness it!

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Source: In Auto News

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08-24-2015 General
France train shooting: 'Instinct' led US passengers to react

A US passenger who tackled a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris said survival instinct led him to react. Off-duty US airman Spencer Stone said he had just woken from a deep sleep when he saw the gunman and moved to restrain him on Friday. His friend, Alek Skarlatos, a member of the US National Guard, said the gunman appeared to have no training. French authorities say the suspect, Moroccan national Ayoub El-Kahzzani, 25, has links to radical Islamism. French police are questioning the gunman who was flagged up to French authorities by their Spanish counterparts in February 2014. He is reported to have lived in France, Spain, and Belgium and to have travelled to Syria. Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris The French are enthralled by the three Americans who acted so swiftly to stop the Thalys gunman. In their news conference Sunday afternoon at the US embassy in Paris, they came over as archetypes of American masculine virtue: handsome, strong, modest. Deep in the French gene, there is something that responds positively to this. It is the same spirit that is so grateful - 70 years on - for the American sacrifice in the Normandy landings: a recognition of the American capacity to join moral clarity with swift, decisive action. Recognition, but also not a little envy. The press has made much of the fact that while the three Americans - and their ally the British businessman Chris Norman - have been feted with news conferences and all the rigmarole of instant fame, the Frenchman who also played a heroic part has preferred to remain anonymous. It is a source of national pride - and a relief - that it was not just les Anglo-Saxons who "had a go". Viewpoint: New anti-terror approach needed Profile: Ayoub El-Khazzani What we know line Mr Stone, Mr Skarlatos and a third American, Anthony Sadler, have been hailed as heroes for their actions on Friday, and were giving a press conference at the US embassy in Paris. It was the first appearance before the cameras for Mr Stone, who has been treated in hospital and was wearing a sling because of injuries to his thumb. Asked what led him to react, he replied "survival". "I turned around and I saw he had what looked to be an AK-47 and it looked like it was jammed or wasn't working and he was trying to charge the weapon. "Alek just hit me on the shoulder and said 'let's go' and ran down, tackled him. We hit the ground." Friday's incident began when a French passenger tried to enter a toilet, encountered the gunman and tried to overpower him. It is thought this passenger may have since requested anonymity.

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Source: BBC

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08-24-2015 Politics
On birthright citizenship, Scott Walker takes yet another stance: Don’t change the Constitution

GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker appears to have yet again shifted his stance on allowing the children of illegal immigrants to automatically gain U.S. citizenship.

In an interview on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday morning, Walker said he does not want to alter the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States… are citizens of the United States." Nearly a week ago, Walker said he wants to end birthright citizenship, and he would not say then whether he agrees with the 14th Amendment.

"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Walker about birthright citizenship, eventually asking: "You're not seeking to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment?"

"No," Walker said. "My point is any discussion that goes beyond securing the border and enforcing laws are things that should be a red flag to voters out there who for years have heard lip service from politicians and are understandably angry."

A national debate over birthright citizenship erupted last weekend when GOP front-runner Donald Trump proposed ending it. Many GOP candidates have taken a firm position on the issue, but Walker has given various answers that appear to show a stance that's ever changing.

Walker said Monday that he supports ending birthright citizenship, then said later in the day that the problem could be addressed by enforcing other laws. On Tuesday, a prominent donor confronted Walker on the topic and walked away satisfied that the candidate wouldn't do away with birthright citizenship. On Friday, Walker said he didn't have a position on the issue. Then Sunday, Walker said he does not want to alter the 14th Amendment.

Walker's campaign staff insists that the candidate's position on birthright citizenship has not changed at all this past week. You be the judge. Here's what Walker has said — or not said — on the issue:

Monday, Aug. 17, early morning: Walker says his immigration stances are "very similar" to those of Trump.

In an interview on Fox News on Monday morning, Walker said his positions are "very similar" to those proposed by Trump, although he does not specifically address birthright citizenship.

Monday, mid-morning: Walker says "even Harry Reid" has problems with birthright citizenship.

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Source: The Washington Post

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Top 100 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 The Wall Street Journal / United States
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The People's Daily / China 7 The Daily Telegraph / United Kingdom 8 USA Today / United States
9 Los Angeles Times / United States 10 El Mundo / Spain 11 La Repubblica / Italy 12 The Times of India / India
13 Bild / Germany 14 Corriere della Sera / Italy 15 The Examiner / United States 16 The Independent / United Kingdom
17 El País / Spain 18 The Financial Times / United Kingdom 19 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia 20 Daily News / United States
21 Chicago Tribune / United States 22 Le Monde / France 23 Marca / Spain 24 Hürriyet / Turkey
25 Die Welt / Germany 26 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 27 The Sun / United Kingdom 28 New York Post / United States
29 The Age / Australia 30 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 31 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 32 The Washington Times / United States
33 Die Zeit / Germany 34 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 35 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand 36 The Onion / United States
37 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 38 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 39 The Chicago Sun-Times / United States 40 Al-Ahram / Egypt
41 Le Figaro / France 42 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 43 The Hindu / India 44 Houston Chronicle / United States
45 The Seattle Times / United States 46 Libération / France 47 The Globe and Mail / Canada 48 De Standaard / Belgium
49 The Irish Times / Ireland 50 The Toronto Star / Canada 51 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 52 Mercury News / United States
53 The Australian / Australia 54 The Denver Post / United States 55 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 56 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea
57 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 58 Aftonbladet / Sweden 59 Kommersant / Russia 60 Bangkok Post / Thailand
61 Star Tribune / United States 62 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 63 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 64 Dawn / Pakistan
65 El Universal / Mexico 66 The Miami Herald / United States 67 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 68 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India
69 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States 70 Sports Nippon / Japan 71 L'Equipe / France 72 Die Presse / Austria
73 Detroit Free Press / United States 74 Neue Zürcher Zeitung / Switzerland 75 Clarín / Argentina 76 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
77 The Sacramento Bee / United States 78 China Daily / China 79 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 80 AS / Spain
81 The Baltimore Sun / United States 82 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany 83 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 84 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan
85 Boston Herald / United States 86 The Dallas Morning News / United States 87 The Times / United Kingdom 88 Newsday / United States
89 Orlando Sentinel / United States 90 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 91 Taipei Times / Taiwan 92 The Hindustan Times / India
93 The Economic Times / India 94 Kompas / Indonesia 95 The Observer / United Kingdom 96 Jornal de Notícias / Portugal
97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 98 ABC / Spain 99 Le Soir / Belgium 100 The Kansas City Star / United States

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