U.S.A. ranks 41 in Freedom of Press

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When it comes to Freedom, we think about U.S.A. as the Land of the Free. Liberty has always been a major point in our lives and we believe our Country is the most privileged of all.

Well, maybe in the past. Nowadays we must realise that things have changed, many countries can be considered as free, independent, democratic. What about freedom of press? Well, we rank only 41, behind countries as Germany, Portugal, Chile or Spain… and only one above Burkina Faso. Let’s take a look:

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

Impressive. Amazing. Disappointing. We should maybe re-think about what the United States of America have become or our Lady Liberty won’t be proud of us at all.

Nevertheless, don’t worry, we are in good company: France, Japan and Italy rank even lower.

Source: Reporters without borders.

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New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish Gills

New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish GillsImage: Andrew Gillis/University of Cambridge
Jennifer Ouellette, Gizmodo

Over a century ago, scientists discarded a proposed theory that human limbs evolved from gills, given the lack of evidence in the fossil record. That theory is being revisited in light of new genetic results just published in the journal Development.

Human beings inherited many features from creatures that lived hundreds of millions of years ago, and we still carry those genetic imprints. Our hands, for instance, evolved from prehistoric fish fins, and scientists can trace our skin and teeth to prehistoric reptiles. Now scientists at the University of Cambridge have performed experiments on the embryos of skates that point to a possible evolutionary connection between the gills of those fish and our limbs.

Skates are “cartilaginous fish,” along with sharks and rays, which means their gills are protected by skin flaps. Those flaps in turn are held up by arches made out of cartilage. And a key feature of those arches are appendages called branchial rays that fan out much like fingers.

 Back in 1878, a German anatomist named Karl Gegenbaur speculated that paired fins (and, ultimately, limbs) evolved through a gradual transformation of the gill arch—much like the vertebrae in the human backbone, each of which is a little bit different, but nonetheless based on a common ground plan. It made sense, but nothing in the fossil record lent support to his hypothesis, so it was summarily discounted.
New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish GillsKarl Gegenbaur’s sketch of corresponding parts of the human hand to forelimbs (1870). Public domain.

The Cambridge researchers approached the question from a different angle. Whereas Gegenbaur based his conclusions on anatomical analysis, they focused on what the underlying molecular mechanisms might be for such a connection. “Gegenbaur speculated that gill arches and fins/limbs were evolutionarily related because they appear to be built according to a common ground plan,” lead author Andrew Gillis told Gizmodo. In contrast, “We’ve identified a molecular feature that could be a key part of that ground plan.”

That key is a gene colorfully dubbed Sonic hedgehog, known to play an important role in determining the form and number of digits, and making sure everything is in the right place. Early on in the developmental stage of mammalian embryos, it’s the Sonic hedgehog gene that helps determine where the thumb and pinky finger will be on the hand, for instance. As the embryo grows, Sonic hedgehog makes sure everything keeps growing until it reaches full size.

New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish GillsImage: Andrew Gillis/University of Cambridge

That’s how it works in mammals, anyway. But how does the gene function in skate embryos? To find out, Gillis et al. tweaked the gene to inhibit its expression at various stages of development.

The result: Disrupt the gene expression early on, and you’ll get those finger-like branchial rays forming on the wrong side of the skate embryo’s gill arch. Inhibit it later in development, and they’ll form in the right spot, but there are fewer of them.

In other words, the underlying mechanism seems to be the same.

“The extent of the similarities here is compelling,” University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin (author of Your Inner Fish) told Gizmodo. “Those rays are really behaving like digits developmentally. Essentially what [Gillis] is seeing is that some of the genetic processes that build and pattern gill rays are fundamental to the formation of limbs with fingers and toes. That is a very interesting insight.”

So does this mean that Gegenbaur was right all along? It’s not quite that cut-and-dried, according to Gillis. Perhaps fins and the branchial rays of gills evolved independently, but use the same underlying mechanism. Alternatively, fins and gills might be completely unrelated, and just happen to use a couple of the same genes. Gillis is hopeful that his research will help distinguish between these two scenarios, as we learn more about the genes involved in the development of shark and skate gills—and how they interact with, and regulate, each other.

Or maybe it’s time to give Gegenbaur his due and accept that fins (and, ultimately, our own limbs) did evolve from gills. In that case, uncovering evidence in the fossil record is the only way to know for sure. And as Shubin observed, “A fossil with transitional morphologies between gills and limbs would be quite amazing to see.”

Breivik just won part of a human-rights case against the government

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Business Insider

Breivik, a Norwegian mass murderer has won part of a human-rights case against the government.

The right-wing extremist who was responsible for the deaths of 77 people in Norway in July 2011, sued the Norwegian government after his arrest and imprisonment for having violated his human rights.

An Oslo district court has now ruled that the Norwegian government did indeed violate Breivik’s rights as they breached an article prohibiting degrading treatment of prisoners under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ruling cited that authorities did not give enough attention to Breivik’s mental health when determining his conditions in prison. The court also ordered the Norwegian government to pay Breivik’s legal costs of $41,000 (331,000 kroner).

During his 2011 killing spree, Breivik detonated a bomb in Oslo and then went on a shooting spree on a nearby island in which dozens of teenagers at a camp were killed.

Breivik claimed during his initial trail in 2012 that he was “a military commander in the Norwegian resistance movement and Knights Templar Norway.”

His attacks were aimed at stopping the spread of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration into the country.

skienReutersGeneral view of a cell inside Skien prison, south of Oslo, February 12, 2016.

After his initial trial in 2011, Breivik has been held in isolation in a luxurious prison cell.

According to Agence France Presse, Breivik’s cell has three rooms, “one for living, one for studying, and a third for physical exercise — as well as a television, a computer without internet access and a game console. He is able to prepare his own food and do his own laundry.”

However, Breivik and his lawyer are suing Norway, claiming the state has violated two clauses of the European Convention on Human Rights, thus violating his human rights in prison.

skienReutersGeneral view of the gym at Skien prison, south of Oslo, February 12, 2016.

Breivik maintains that Oslo’s treatment of him violates the clauses against “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and also the clauses guaranteeing prisoners the right to respect for “private and family life” and “correspondence,” AFP notes.

A Norwegian court supported Breivik’s case of suffering under “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” but the court dismissed his claim or having his right to see and correspond with his family as having been violated.

As Fusion notes, his complaints stemmed from the fact that Breivik is essentially being kept in isolation. His cell is set off from the rest of the prison complex, isolating him from the other prisoners. He also infrequently has guests, causing his main human interaction to be with his guards. His mail is also censored.

This isolation has apparently taken a psychological toll on him, Breivik’s lawyer told AFP.

Breivik has previously stated that he has been forced to strip 880 times in total while a prisoner, Reuters reports.

skienReutersGeneral view of a cell inside Skien prison, south of Oslo, February 12, 2016.

However, Breivik has had a history of complaining about his life in prison. As The New Yorkerreported in 2015, Breivik has complained about everything in prison, ranging from how his room had a PlayStation 2 instead of a PlayStation 3 and the quality of the rubber pen he is allowed to write with in his cell.

Breivik’s complaints, including his near complete isolation, would be hard to square with the American view of prisons. Prisons in Norway are nearly unimaginably luxurious, with the aim being rehabilitation instead of penalization. The prisons include vocational classes, video-game consoles, well-prepared kitchens, and in some cases even recording studios with instruments.

Many of these luxuries are unavailable to Breivik, however. Still, he is currently serving only a 21-year sentence for his crime, which is the maximum sentence under Norway’s penal system.

In 2033, at the end of his sentence, Breivik will be evaluated to see if rehabilitation has been successful. If it is judged to have not been, his sentence can be extended for five-year increments indefinitely.

Tempi: Solidarity with Armenians needed to impede war

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NEWS.am

Voices of solidarity with Armenians are needed – not to win the war but to impede it, the article in the Italian Tempi newspaper reads.

“In the night from April 1 to 2, the Azerbaijani attack was launched, with bombardments, tanks and occupation of villages. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh showed resistance. An unstable truce has been established currently. But the Azeris, who have returned from ISIL detachments in Syria, are unlikely to withdraw from their “craft”.

The war makers can be named differently: irredentists, supporters of independence or reconquest supporters. Each of the two sides can call out for their help the principles of international law. People and army of a Christian nation stand on one side, that of the Muslim one standing on another.

We can’t allow the situation to remain uncontrolled:  there is a big difference in the military potential in favor of Azerbaijan. Besides, it’s known – including from the Russian sources – that the fighters have returned from the Syrian Raqqah, having been joined by the Turkish Grey Wolves fighters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated: “We pray our Azerbaijani brothers will prevail in these clashes with the least casualties. We will support Azerbaijan till the end”.

Does “till the end” mean till the final solution of the Armenian cause? Weren’t half million Armenian victims enough?

There are 3.5 million Armenians in Armenia now, 10 million of them being in the entire world (30,000 Armenians in Italy, nearly equal to the number of Jews residing in the country). They are the successors of the extermination survivors. There are about 150,000 of them in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Every time the solution to the conflict seems close, something happens. The hand of Turkey is felt behind this, which wants to dispute the current world order, feeling upsides with Russia.

The problem of Azerbaijani refugees remains, which the Baku government – rich with oil and natural resources – constantly keeps unresolved, almost the way the Arabs used and continue using the Palestinians against Israel.

Meanwhile search for a solution is underway, it’s important to hear voices of solidarity with our brothers by civilization and culture, the Armenians. Not to win the war, but to impede it”.

Japan earthquake: tens of thousands flee in fear of aftershocks and volcanoes

The Guardian

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from earthquake-hit southern Japan as dozens of aftershocks struck and officials monitored nearby volcanoes for signs of activity.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned there are likely to be strong aftershocks for the next week and advised people to stay away from any buildings that look unstable.

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There are also concerns about volcanic activity in the wake of the quake. The island of Kyushu, where the earthquake happened, is a highly volcanic area. A level 2 warning – meaning people should not approach a volcano’s crater – has been in place for Asosan in Kumamoto prefecture on the island since November 2015.

Rescuers dramatically pulled an eight-month old baby girl from a collapsed house in Mashiki early on Friday. Video footage provided by the National Police Agency showed the baby gently carried away in a blanket by helmeted rescuers from the rubble of the home.

The girl whose name has not been released, reportedly did not suffer any injuries. Her mother, grandfather, grandmother, and older brother were in the living room and kitchen of the home as she slept in another room on the first floor when the quake shook the southern island of Kyushu.

The family members, who all managed to escape, tried to rescue the baby but the house collapsed.

A baby is carried away by rescue workers in Mashiki town.
A baby is carried away by rescue workers in Mashiki town. Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

The town, in Kumamoto prefecture, was the hardest hit by the quake and suffered eight of the nine deaths.

Head teacher Sosuke Tanaka hosted about 300 people at West Hiroyasu elementary school, which was turned into an evacuation centre, and said many in Kumamoto suffered a sleepless night. “We saw earthquakes through the evening, so many did not manage to get a proper night’s rest,” he said. About 120 aftershocks have been observed since the initial earthquake, more than 15 of which measured 3 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale.

A local resident rests with a pet dog at an evacuation center after an earthquake in Mashiki town.
A local resident rests with a pet dog at an evacuation centre after an earthquake in Mashiki town. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

At the Mashiki gymnastics centre, Yoko Marume said more and more people have been evacuating since the earthquake. “We had about 200 overnight, but now, I would say there are about 500,” she told the Guardian. “People have been gathering here from across the city, it’s a big space. Most are shaken, many believe that their houses could fall down.”

Junko Seto, an 80-year-old woman, told the Asahi Shimbun: “My husband returned to our house to see how things looked, and he says there isn’t room to stand because of the mess caused.”

“I want to go home and get things in order, but with the aftershocks I am too scared to go home yet.”

Japan’s Self Defense Forces have entered Hiroyasu, in a mountainous region of Kumamoto prefecture, to inspect the damage caused to roads and housing by the earthquake. “There has been significant damage to wooden housing around here,” Tanaka told the Guardian.

The stonewall of Kumamoto Castle is damaged by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake in Kumamoto city.
The stonewall of Kumamoto Castle is damaged by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake in Kumamoto city. Photograph: Yusuke Ogata/AP

Rations of bread and water were distributed to evacuees in the early hours of Friday. Marume said lunch boxes had arrived for evacuees at the gymnastics centre.

The initial temblor measured a maximum 7 on the Japanese intensity scale, equivalent to the force of the 1995 Kobe disaster and the March 11, 2011, earthquake in east Japan. So far, however, the damage caused in Kyushu seems low in comparison.

A spokeswoman for the JMA said: “We are watching closely, but we have seen no change in Asosan or other volcanoes since the earthquake.”

Sakurajima, in neighbouring Kagoshima prefecture, erupted in February.

Armenia FM: Karabakh will never be part of Azerbaijan

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News.am

YEREVAN. – Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian has clarified which document is currently on the bargaining table of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement.

In an interview with the Public Television of Armenia, the FM noted that the working documents are considered those which have been subject to consideration by the sides. The documents, which it hasn’t been possible to reach progress on, are deposited with the OSCE Headquarters in Vienna.

“The document which hasn’t yet been deposited is the Kazanian one. All the other comments are superfluous,” the FM noted.

In his words, there are different ideas, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: the most important thing is that Karabakh will never be part of Azerbaijan. This idea stands out in all the documents, the FM stressed.

Responding to the question on the appropriateness to continue the talks when one of the parties tries to turn them into a farce, Nalbandian recalled that the entire international community urges to return to the bargaining table. “Neither the war, nor military actions can solve this issue. The history shows that after wars the parties return to bargaining table, sometimes having deteriorated their positions. I think nobody needs a new war. It’s necessary to find a way to settlement through talks,” the FM noted.

Man accidentally ‘deletes his entire company’ with one line of bad code

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Ok, this IS weird AND dangerous. Remembers me of Y2K and all that stuff which took our crap for a few months back in 1999. We depend more and more on networks, data storage and computers. What if a bad code destroyed not only one company, but all the datas in the Cloud, blocking banks and other essential services? Would it be possible, or not?

The Independent

A man appears to have deleted his entire company with one mistaken piece of code.

By accidentally telling his computer to delete everything in his servers, hosting provider Marco Marsala has seemingly removed all trace of his company and the websites that he looks after for his customers.

Mr Marsala wrote on a forum for server experts called Server Faultthat he was now stuck after having accidentally run destructive code on his own computers. But far from advising them how to fix it, most experts informed him that he had just accidentally deleted the data of his company and its clients, and in so doing had probably destroyed his entire company with just one line of code.

The problem command was “rm -rf”: a basic piece of code that will delete everything it is told to. The “rm” tells the computer to remove; the r deletes everything within a given directory; and the f stands for “force”, telling the computer to ignore the usual warnings that come when deleting files.

Together, the code deleted everything on the computer, including Mr Masarla’s customers’ websites, he wrote. Mr Masarla runs a web hosting company, which looks after the servers and internet connections on which the files for websites are stored.

That piece of code is so famously destructive that it has become a joke within some computing circles.

Normally, that code would wipe out all of the specific parts of the computer that it was pointed at. But because of an error in the way it was written, the code didn’t actually specify anywhere – and so removed everything on the computer.

“I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers,” wrote Marco Marsala. “Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm -rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line.”

Mr Marsala confirmed that the code had even deleted all of the backups that he had taken in case of catastrophe. Because the drives that were backing up the computers were mounted to it, the computer managed to wipe all of those, too.

“All servers got deleted and the offsite backups too because the remote storage was mounted just before by the same script (that is a backup maintenance script).”

Most users agreed that it was unlikely that Mr Marsala would be able to recover any of the data. And as a result his company was almost certainly not going to recover, either.

“I feel sorry to say that your company is now essentially dead,” wrote a user called Sven. “You might have an extremely slim chance to recover from this if you turn off everything right now and hand your disks over to a reputable data recovery company.

“This will be extremely expensive and still extremely unlikely to really rescue you, and it will take a lot of time.”

Others agreed that perhaps Mr Marsala was on the wrong forum.

“You’re going out of business,” wrote Michael Hampton. “You don’t need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer.”

Many of the responses to Mr Marsala’s problem weren’t especially helpful – pointing out that he could have taken steps to stop it happening before it did.

“Well, you should have been thinking about how to protect your customers’ data before nuking them,” wrote one person calling himself Massimo. “I won’t even begin enumerating how many errors are simultaneously required in order to be able to completely erase all your servers and all your backups in a single strike.

“This is not bad luck: it’s astonishingly bad design reinforced by complete carelessness.”

Mr Marsala’s problem is far from the first time that someone has accidentally destroyed their own system by missing a mistake. Indeed, responses to his post mostly referenced a similar thread posted two years ago, with the headline “Monday morning mistake”.

That error saw someone accidentally lose access to their entire server, after they didn’t notice a stray space in the code.