Oh, FEMA. It’s hard to top those formaldehyde Katrina trailers, but this comes close. The agency has begun sending letters to thousands of people who received disaster aid asking for its money back, reports AP. Specifically, FEMA says it mistakenly doled out $22 million to victims of tornadoes, floods, etc., since 2005, and it’s obligated by law to get the money back. The agency is still reviewing old cases, including Katrina cases, meaning the total could rise.
One example: An Arkansas couple whose home was ruined in a 2008 flood received $27,000 that year to make repairs. In March of this year, FEMA informed them they had 30 days to pay it all back. "That money really helped," says the homeowner. "And now they want the check back like we’ve been sitting on it for all this time. It makes no sense." Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas agrees, and he’s pushing a bill to give FEMA the legal leeway to waive debts that arose from its own mistakes. "This is not the victim’s fault," Pryor says. "They did nothing wrong. They just followed FEMA’s directions."
DARPA’s mirror-killing membrane could change astronomy, allow total global surveillance 2013 12 06
When it launches in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will let us see deeper into the universe than ever before. Its enormous eye is centered around 18 octagonal mirrors which assemble to form the largest telescope mirror ever built, but someday even the James Webb Telescope (formerly the Next-Gen Space Telescope) will outlive its usefulness — and then what ...
The Nightwatchman: Crime-predicting robot aims to patrol our streets and schools 2013 12 06 Get Ready. They’ll be watching.
These new robots that are an unnerving mix between Star Wars’ R2-D2 and Doctor Who’s Daleks, are being touted as the new way to "monitor, map, and secure" the humans around them.
The robots are purported to replace security guards and watchmen, in a bid to reduce labor costs and streamline surveillance.
A company in California ...
Microsoft’s Smart Bra Will Monitor Mood & Reduce Overeating 2013 12 06 Microsoft is designing a “smart bra” that will monitor women’s health by tracking their heart rate, her emotional state, whether or not she is over-eating and more.
Sensors in the bra detect when the wearer is bored, stressed or discouraged and send a warning signal to the woman’s smartphone that she should caution from making bad food choices.
In a paper entitled, ...
“Saint” Mandela? Not So Fast! 2013 12 06 President Barack Obama has compared him to George Washington. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews heralded him as “perhaps the world’s greatest hero.”
The Las Vegas Guardian Express dispensed with the “perhaps,” declaring in headline: “Nelson Mandela World’s Greatest Hero.”
Others have christened him “the greatest man of the 20th century.” Many revere him as “the savior” of South Africa. School children worldwide read books, ...
The Legacy of Nelson Mandela: A Dissenting Opinion 2013 12 06 Nelson Mandela, rights activist, political icon and former president of South Africa, dies age 95
There is no doubt that Nelson Mandela suffered for his cause of an end to bloody apartheid, racial segregation and government oppression in South Africa:
[Mandela was a] South African anti-apartheid revolutionary as well as a politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa ...