Stop Social Media Strip Searches

‘Homeland Security officials have started asking people to unlock their phones and computers and log into their social media accounts at routine border crossings, and Congress could make that practice permanent.

We need to stop this threat to our basic privacy rights before handing over all of your most personal information becomes as commonplace as removing your shoes to fly.

Let’s draw a line — sign the urgent petition: “Demanding warrantless access to our phones and computers at the border is an invasion of privacy and weakens our security. Ban this practice immediately.” …’

Source: New rules at the airport could force you to hand over your phone and passwords

Physicists Are Closing in on Intriguing Evidence For a Fifth Force Of Nature

The idea that inertial and gravitational mass are the same is known as the weak equivalence principle. It became a crucial issue when Einstein formulated his theory of general relativity around 1912-16, which rested on the central idea that the acceleration caused by gravity is the same as the acceleration of an object subject to the same force in free space. If that’s not true, general relativity won’t work.“

The equivalence principle is one of the basic assumptions of general relativity,” says Stephan Schlamminger, who works at the Mecca of high-precision measurement, the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “As such, it should be thoroughly tested. Tests of the equivalence principle are relatively cheap and simple, but could have a huge impact if a violation was found. It would be careless not to perform these experiments.

”If the weak equivalence principle fails, then there are two possibilities. Either Newton’s expression for the force of gravity between two masses (which is also what general relativity predicts if gravity and speeds are not extreme) is slightly inaccurate and needs tweaking. Or gravity might be fine as it stands—but there might be a new, fifth force that makes it look different. That fifth force would add to the four we already know to exist: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces that govern the interactions of subatomic particles inside atomic nuclei.

Whether we think about “modified gravity” or a fifth force is, says Fischbach, in the end just a semantic distinction. Either way, says Feng, there is “no reason at all that there can’t be a fifth force that we have not noticed until now.”

Source: Nautilus

The secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death

‘The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness – the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard – which is still defined by our victory in the second world war. One leading historian, who like most people I interviewed for this article declined to be named, stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch will be magnificent. “Oh, she will get everything,” he said. “We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it will really be over when she goes.” …’

Source: The Guardian

In any case, if you hear Sabres of Paradise’s Haunted Dancehall playing on the radio, go to a news source immediately.

The Oxford comma: A Maine court settled the grammar debate over serial commas with a ruling on overtime pay for dairy-truck drivers 

As an Oxford commadian, I consider this an important victory.

‘A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it hinged on one missing comma.Delivery drivers for local milk and cream company Oakhurst Dairy have been tussling with their employers over whether they qualify for overtime. On March 13, a US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers won their appeal and were found eligible for unpaid overtime. The case now can be heard in a lower court.

The profoundly nerdy ruling is also a win for anyone who dogmatically defends the serial comma…’

Source: Quartz