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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, December 9, 2016

Signs of the Times (December 9th, 2016)

 Signs of the Times (December 9th, 2016)

Here is the latest madness coming from the modern world 

WARNING: Sensitive Content!!

5 Year Old Child Given OK to Start Sex Change in Australia

An Australian court has approved a controversial parental request to allow a 5-year-old child, born male but described as intersex in media reports, to undergo gender reassignment surgery and identify as female. BBC News reported that the child is known only as Carla, and identifies as a girl despite lacking female sex organs.

The Family Court was reportedly told that Carla was born with “female-appearing genitalia” and exhibited “stereotypically female” behavior, such as never wanting to be referred to as a male, and preferring “female toys, clothes and activities.” A surgery will now be performed to remove the gonads from inside the child’s body. Medical experts reportedly testified in court that the surgery would remove the risk for the child developing tumours, and suggested that the surgery should take place before puberty. READ MORE


These 2 toys are spying on your kids

Playthings record, collect private conversations of young children

The Electronic Privacy Information Center previously has complained to the federal government about Web-linked devices that allow companies to spy on Americans.
It has raised concern about the “Internet of Things,” through which “always on” devices such as smartphones, DVR machines and televisions that respond to voice commands are interconnected.
Now it’s turning its attention to My Friend Cayla.
That’s a doll offered by Genesis Toys.
The company declined comment to WND, but it boasts on its website: “My Friend Cayla is a beautiful 18″ interactive doll that offers hours of imaginative play! Cayla can understand and respond to you in real-time about almost anything. Ask her questions about herself, people, places, and things. She’s the smartest friend you will ever have.”
The doll’s features prompted EPIC to file a landmark complaint Tuesday with the Federal Trade commission about “toys that spy.”
The allegation is that such toys put children under intense and constant surveillance, violating federal privacy law.
The group said Genesis Toys, and the company that monitors children’s comments, Nuance Communications, “unfairly and deceptively collect, use, and disclose audio files of children’s voices without providing adequate notice or obtaining verified parental consent in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act … the COPPA Rule, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”
“It is incumbent upon the Federal Trade Commission to take action in this matter, and to enjoin Genesis Toys and Nuance Communications from such unlawful activities.”
See the games at the WND Superstore that don’t have a company listening in to your children’s conversations.
The complaint alleges the toys “are deployed in homes across the United States without any meangingful data protection standards.”
“They pose an imminent and immediate threat to the safety and security of children in the United States.”
The complaint says that, by design, the toys “record and collect the private conversations of young children without any limitations on collection, use, or disclosure of this personal information.”
Joining EPIC in the request were the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer’s Union and the Institute for Public Representation.
The complaint also names the toy maker’s i-QUE Intelligent Robot.
The companion paperwork for My Friend Cayla requests permission to access the hardware, storage, microphone, Wi-Fi connections and Bluetooth on users’ devices, but it fails to disclose to the user the significance of obtaining the permission, said the complaint, which seeks a court order to stop the privacy invasion.
“After establishing a Bluetooth connection with the Cayla and/or i-Que doll, the mobile application connects the doll to the Internet. The Cayla and i-Que applications record and collect conversations between the dolls and children. A child’s statements are converted into text, which is then used by the application to retrieve answers using Google Search, Wikipedia and Weather Underground.”
Some of the pre-programming includes promotions for Disney, such as Cayla telling children her favorite movie is “The Little Mermaid” and her favorite song is “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen.”
It also is pre-programmed to tell children stories and play games.
Among the details it seeks during signup are the child’s name, parents’ names, favorite program and meal, location of school, favorite toy and “the place I live in.”
Nuance openly admits in its terms of service: “We may use the information that we collect for our internal purposes to develop, tune, enhance, and improve our products and services, and for advertising and marketing consistent with this privacy policy. By using Nuance products and services, you acknowledge, consent and agree that Nuance may collect, process, and use the information that you provide to us and that such information shall only be used by Nuance or third parties acting under the direction of Nuance, pursuant to confidentiality agreements, to develop, tune, enhance, and improve Nuance services and products.”
EPIC noted, however that Nuance services and products also “include biometric solutions sold to military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”
“The failure to employ basic security measures to protect children’s private conversations from covert eavesdropping by unauthorized parties and strangers creates a substantial risk of harm because children may be subject to predatory stalking or physical danger,” the complaint warns. “This injury could not reasonably be avoided because children and parents receive no indication that the doll is connected to a device via Bluetooth.
“This failure to employ basic security measures to prevent unauthorized Bluetooth connections is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition. Therefore, Genesis’ inadequate security measures with respect to My Friend Cayla and i-Que’s Bluetooth technology constitutes unfair acts or practices in violation of [federal law],” it said.
WND previously reported when the FTC said developers of applications for smart phones need to tell consumers their spy software can monitor them.
“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” is the basic handbook on how American arrived at the point of being a de facto police state that essentially ignores the Constitution.
“These apps were capable of listening in the background and collecting information about consumers without notifying them,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at that time. “Companies should tell people what information is collected, how it is collected, and who it’s shared with.”
The FTC said its letters “warn the app developers that if their statements or user interface state or imply that the apps in question are not collecting and transmitting television viewing data when in fact they do, that the app developers could be in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.”
Previously, the group spotlighted Mattel’s “Hello Barbie,” a WiFi-connected doll with a built-in microphone.
“Hello Barbie records and transmits children’s conversations to Mattel, where they are analyzed to determine ‘all the child’s likes and dislikes.’ … Kids using ‘Hello Barbie’ won’t only be talking to a doll, they’ll be talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial,” EPIC said.
Samsung’s Internet-connected SmartTV also has a built-in mic that always is on and “routinely intercepts and records the private communications of consumers in their homes.”
“When the voice recognition feature is enabled, everything a user says in front of the Samsung SmartTV is recorded and transmitted over the Internet to a third party regardless whether it is related to the provision of the service.”
Then there’s Microsoft. Its voice and motion recorder called Kinect “is now installed in Xbox video-game consoles.”
“The Kinect sensor tracks and records users’ voice and hand gestures when users say the word ‘Xbox’ followed by various permissible command options.”

DAYS OF LOT: Argentine judge rules woman can marry her own stepdaughter

An Argentinian judge created quite a precedent, and an uproar, when he overrode the country’s Civil Code and authorized a woman to marry her stepdaughter. The unusual love story began when a woman – the two women’s names are being withheld by the court system – married a much older man who had a daughter from a previous marriage who was nearly the same age as her.
After her husband’s death in 2010, just four months after their wedding, the stepmom got closer with the daughter, and the two eventually started a romantic relationship, El Pais newspaper reported. However, when last month the couple decided to formalize their relationship, they were denied a marriage license based on portion of the Civil Code. READ MORE

Naked selfies used as collateral for Chinese loans

Hundreds of photos and videos of naked women used as collateral for loans on a Chinese online lending service have leaked onto the web, highlighting regulatory problems in the fast-growing peer-to-peer marketplace.
A 10-gigabyte file posted on the internet exposed the personal details of more than 160 young women who were asked to provide the explicit material to secure money through online lending platform Jiedaibao.
Launched by JD Capital in 2015, Jiedaibao allows lenders to operate anonymously but requires borrowers to reveal their real names when making transactions.
Loan amounts and interest rates can be customised to meet the needs of users -- often people who have a hard time accessing loans through more traditional financial institutions, like banks.
Interest on the "nude loans" reached an astonishing 30 percent a week, according to the Global Times newspaper.
Lenders told female borrowers that if they failed to repay the loans, their nude photos would be sent to their families and friends, whose information was also required for some transactions, the article said.
Material in the file put on the web last Wednesday showed some borrowers also promised to repay loans with sexual favours, according to screen captures posted on social media websites.
In a statement on its official Twitter-like Weibo account, Jiedaibao said it had tracked down the accounts of several borrowers through photos and ID information circulated online and had frozen the suspected lenders' accounts.
"The 'nude loans' deals were mainly initiated and completed offline, and Jiedaibao only played the role of a money transfer platform in the deals," the statement said.
The case is not the first time online P2P businesses have been connected to potentially embarrassing photos.
In November, Alipay, the payment platform of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, was criticised after a set of photos showing female users in seductive poses was leaked on social media.
The photos were originally posted in Alipay's newly launched social media feature called Circles, which allows only women to post photos, and had obscene comments from male users.
China has nearly 2,600 platforms described as P2P businesses, according to one industry estimate, with transactions valued at around $150 billion last year.
Beijing has been particularly worried about P2P lending and in August it tightened regulations by setting a borrowing limit of one million yuan for individuals.
It also required platforms to supply and verify the information of both borrowers and lenders, and provide credit assessment, financial consulting and conflict resolution services.

Illinois Commission Panel Says Christian-Owned Bed & Breakfast Must Host Gay Weddings

A decision forcing a Christian-owned bed and breakfast to pay a same-sex couple $30,000 for refusing to host their wedding ceremony will stand. A 3-member panel of the Illinois Human Rights Commission refused to hear an appeal in a decision compelling TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast to pay a fine for declining to host a gay wedding on their property, although they have hosted opposite-sex weddings in the past. TimberCreek owner Jim Walder told The Christian Post that
they took issue with the panel decision and were planning to appeal to the full state Human Rights Commission. “Citizens should only decide not to obey a law after much thought and only in extreme circumstances,” said Walder. “In our opinion, forcing a small business with one employee to host gay marriage which violates the owners sincerely-held Biblical belief that marriage is between one man and one woman is an extreme circumstance, especially when marriage has been understood for thousands of years to be a union between one man and one woman.” READ MORE 


New App allows you to scan people’s Face’s and reveal everything about them

Blippar is an app that uses your smartphone’s camera to reveal more about the world through augmented reality . Today, the company behind the app has announced that facial recognition will be introduced so you can scan other people and
reveal their profile. Billed as the world’s first facial recognition for phones. The profiles are strictly an opt-in only experience, meaning members of the public have to go through a process to get their faces recognised and turned on before they become “blippable”. They can switch their profiles ‘on’ and ‘off’ as they wish. READ MORE


UK: Outrage as school starts grading PARENTS on how well they are supporting their kids

Adults are marked A to D based on how well they are supporting their kids and even get called into the headmistress’ office if they are falling behind.
Greasley Beauvale Primary School in Nottinghamshire say the controversial move has helped to push up educational standards.
But some furious parents have slammed the concept as “ludicrous” and said teachers should be focusing on their children instead of judging them.
Mums and dads can get marked down if they fail to attend school events - such as parent’s evenings, school plays and other extra curricular activities.
They are put into one of four categories: A, for those who are actively involved and highly supportive; B, parents who work effectively with the school; C, do little to support their child’s learning; and D, for parents who do nothing to support their child’s learning.
One mum-of-one, who did not wish to be named, said: “They’ll have us all wearing dunces hats next. It’s absolutely ludicrous.




Football Coaches at Pennsylvania School Told to Stop Praying With Players Following Complaint

Football coaches at a school in north central Pennsylvania have been instructed to stop joining in pre-game prayers with players after a prominent professing atheist group recently contacted the school district to complaint about the practice.
According to reports, a resident of Danville contacted the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to advise that coaches and players at Danville High School had been praying and singing praise songs together prior to
football games. A video had circulated on social media showing the team singing the Rich Mullins tune “Our God Is an Awesome God.” “This tradition of Christian prayer and worship songs reinforces the otherness of students like my children who are non-Christian,” another parent, Shakil Afridi, told the Sunbury Daily Item. “My friends who tend to be non-Christian or progressive Christians and some social justice Catholics are disgusted by this.” READ MORE


School district bans Santa Claus, religious imagery before Christmas

In a move to show respect to all religions, a school district in Oregon has decided to ban religious-themed decorations in the classrooms during the holidays. The decision, which was revealed on Tuesday, bans decorations with images such as Santa Claus, according to KATU. The school district released a notice to staff:
“You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.” READ MORE


California regulates cow farts

GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm.
The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.
Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.
Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.
"If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming," said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.
Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.
Since the passage of its landmark global warming law in 2006, California has been reducing carbon emissions from cars, trucks, homes and factories, while boosting production of renewable energy.
In the nation's largest milk-producing state, the new law aims to reduce methane emissions from dairies and livestock operations to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030, McCarthy said. State officials are developing the regulations, which take effect in 2024.
"We expect that this package ... and everything we're doing on climate, does show an effective model forward for others," McCarthy said.

Satanic display causes controversy at Boca Raton holiday fest…

A Satanic display is causing controversy in Boca Raton on the day the city will celebrate its holiday parade. Now, some local interfaith clergy members are coming together to take a stand. The display is in Sanborn Square off Federal Highway, right next to a nativity scene. At some point between the pentagram going up in the park yesterday and early this morning, it appears someone spray-painted over the symbol and the banner next to it.
The man behind the display is Preston Smith. The city of Boca Raton gave him a permit to put up the display and the Freedom from Religion Foundation provided a Bill of Rights banner that accompanies the pentagram. In a statement, Smith said in part, “Love trumps hate. READ MORE


Parents were going to cut off son financially, so he cut them up instead

 The parents of a 28-year-old man planned to cut their son off financially, but he allegedly cut them up before they could.

Joel Michael Guy Jr. was arrested Wednesday for killing his parents, Joel and Lisa Guy, after Thanksgiving in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Both parents were found dismembered on Monday, with body parts scattered throughout the house, according to WBIR. Their remains were discovered after Lisa’s concerned co-workers visited to check on her.
It is believed that Guy Jr. stayed in his parents’ home for some time after they were brutally murdered. He eventually returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he lives. He was taken into custody Wednesday morning at his apartment.
Guy told authorities he visited his parents on Thanksgiving because he needed money. His parents reportedly had other plans, and were going to tell him they wanted to cut him off, WATE reported.
Joel and Lisa Guy suffered multiple stab wounds and their remains appeared to have been placed in an acid-based solution. Police said the scene was “very gruesome.”
“It would be described as horrific,” Michael MacLean, a police officer with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, told WBRZ.

Britain’s first ‘3-parent baby’ could be born next year 

The first British ‘three-parent baby’ could be born as early as next Christmas after the controversial mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) was given the green light by scientists on Wednesday.
An independent panel of experts have recommended “cautious adoption” of the treatment for women who are in danger of passing on devastating, and often fatal, genetic disorders to their children.
They said “significant progress had been made” to improve the reliability of the procedure, but warned that patients “should be made aware that there can be no guarantee of safety and efficacy.”
Babies born after MRT would effectively have three genetic parents. A tiny proportion of their DNA would come from their mother, father and a third person, a female egg donor, to replace abnormal genes in the mitochondria.
3-parent babies: Britain first to legalize radical DNA treatment
Mitochondria only hold around 0.1 percent of a person’s DNA, which is always inherited from the mother.
Abnormal mitochondrial DNA can lead to potentially fatal conditions affecting vital organs, muscles, vision, growth and mental ability. Such defects are said to affect one in 4,000 people.
Following the scientists’ recommendation, it is highly likely Britain’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilization and Embryo Authority (HFEA) will give the go-ahead for the therapy.
It will consider the issue at a meeting on December 15, when it will decide whether clinics may make applications to offer the treatment.
If it agrees with the scientists, the first women could undergo therapy as early as March or April next year. The women would act as guinea pigs and have their experiences written up in scientific journals.
A team at the University of Newcastle, which pioneered the work, hopes to treat up to 25 women per year with National Health Service (NHS) funding.
Critics say MRT could eventually lead to the creation of “designer babies” and eugenics, that the risks of the procedure are not fully known, and that the therapy would alter the DNA of an embryo in a way that could be passed on to future generations.
Dr. David Clancy, from the faculty of health and medicine at the University of Lancaster, said the technique is “currently imperfect.”
He told Sky the risks could lead to as many as one in 30 women receiving the therapy giving birth to a child with an inherited disease.
Last year, the UK became the first country in the world to legalize mitochondrial replacement after MPs and peers voted in favor of allowing it.
The first baby to be born using the technique was delivered in Mexico in April. The baby boy was reportedly healthy, experts said in September.

Scientists close to creating Living Computer with ‘Human Brain’

Engineers at the University of Massachusetts are developing microprocessors which mimic biological synapses – the nerve cells which pass messages across the human body. The science fiction-style project is being undertaken by Joshua Yang and Qiangfei Xia, professors of electrical and computer engineering at the US college. Their work focuses heavily on
memristors – a computer component which could change science forever, switching the focus from electronics to ionics. Ionics, unlike electronics, is not dependent on a power source. It essentially has a memory, so even if it loses power it can remember what it was doing before and continue the action.  READ MORE

Dating App Tinder Offers 37 Gender Identity Options

Tired of boring, binary gender options on your dating app? Lucky for you, Tinder has added dozens of new gender preferences! The dating app, which boasts over 20 billion “friendships, marriages, relationships,” now offers 37 gender identity options. You read that right, 37 options! Among the selections listed are “transgender female,” “transsexual male,” “agender” and genderqueer.” And if 37 is still too few, Tinder now includes the possibility of writing in your own gender term.
Tinder CEO Sean Rad worked with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and transgender Tinder users after reports that the transgender community had been experiencing some harassment on the platform, USA Today reported. “Gender is a complex conversation—it’s an ongoing dialogue,” Rad stated, referencing Tinder’s progress on the matter. READ MORE

TradCatKnight asks the question yet again...