This Woman Ate and Drank Nothing But Starbucks Products for an Entire Year


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

The Internet is no stranger to bizarre yearlong challenges — remember that guy who watched Julie and Julia every day for a year? Well, a woman in Seattle named Beautiful Existence (yup) just completed a challenge of her own by consuming nothing but Starbucks products for an entire year.

“I did it!” the 40-year-old mother of two wrote on her blog, where she’s been documenting the dining experience. And it wasn’t just difficult — it was also rather pricey. She said she spent between $500 and $600 a month on the coffee, pastries, packaged sandwiches and other Starbucks fare.

Now, if you’re anything like us, you’re now asking yourself, Why? Why did Beautiful Existence do this? 

“WHY? am I doing this challenge? Or WHY? will I do any challenge in the future? Because I LOVE being human and I LOVE the privilege of being able to ask the question…

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The NSA Is Building a Computer to Crack Almost Any Code


Originally posted on U.S.:

The National Security Agency is building a quantum computer designed to break almost every type of encryption in the world, including those used to protect banking, medical, business and government records.

Documents leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveal a $79.7 million research program to build a “cryptologically useful quantum computer,” the Washington Postreports. Such a supercomputer, if completed, would be able to break public key encryptions used both on secure websites and to protect state secrets.

But the documents provided by ex-NSA contractor Snowden suggest the NSA’s program — nicknamed Penetrating Hard Targets — is no closer to building a quantum computer than others in the private sphere. The NSA believes it is on track with similar efforts in the European Union and Switzerland, but most mechanical-engineering experts predict that quantum computer technology is at least five years away, and probably much longer without a major scientific breakthrough.

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Drones of the Future Will Make Own Decisions


Originally posted on U.S.:

Drones will eventually be equipped with stronger chemical weapons and able to make their own decisions, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In a 25-year roadmap for unmanned vehicles, the DoD revealed it hopes to increase drone capabilities in order to save money and better protect the nation’s skies. Currently, drones require extensive manpower on the ground in order to fly and follow precise commands. But in order to cut down on the expense of pilots, the DoD plans to build autonomous drones able to deviate from given missions to pursue a better target, by following a certain set of “laws” delineated by algorithms and advanced sensors.

Drones will also be able to hunt in “swarms” launched from an unmanned “mothership.” These so-called kamikaze drones will be programmed to crash into targets.

Other drones will be equipped with even more deadly chemical weapons.

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Marines Postpone Pull-Up Requirement for Female Recruits


Originally posted on U.S.:

More than half of the women in the Marines’ boot camp cannot complete three pull-ups, the minimum requirement for the New Year. The issue has forced the Marine Corps to delay the prerequisite as it tries to integrate thousands of women into combat roles by 2016, the Associated Press reports.

The delay has prompted some to question whether women have the physical strength to take on military jobs traditionally reserved for men. The Marines argue that pull-ups require the same muscular strength necessary to carry munitions, climb walls and perform other common military tasks.

But Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, told the Associated Press on Thursday.

For now, women will be able to choose whether their upper-body strength is graded on the pull-ups…

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$10.10 Minimum Wage Would Lift 4.6 Million Out of Poverty, Study Says


Originally posted on U.S.:

If Congress were to go through with the plan backed by President Obama to raise the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $10.10, 4.6 million people would rise above the poverty line, a new study says.

The raise in minimum wage would reduce the poverty rate by as much as 1.7 percentage points according to a study by University of Massachusetts – Amherst economist Arindrajit Dube, who explains in his Dec. 30, 2013 report:

“Starting from the current 17.5% poverty rate among the nonelderly population, the estimate suggests a 1.7 percent reduction in the poverty rate from a 39 percent increase in the minimum wage as proposed in the legislation.”

In the long-term, the plan would reduce the ranks of the nation’s poor by 6.8 million, according to the Huffington Post.

Even with those impressive results, Dube pointed out that increasing the minimum wage isn’t the most direct way to fight…

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Inside London’s Priciest Apartment Block: How the Superrich Are Changing World Cities


Originally posted on World:

We imagine we know how the unimaginably wealthy live—in a cocoon of bling and indulgence—but few of us get the chance to see for ourselves. The superrich hog a big chunk of the world’s commodities, including privacy. To slip uninvited into One Hyde Park, a run of four interlinked pavilions in London’s swanky Knightsbridge, you’d need to circumnavigate burly bowler-hatted doormen and a security system rumored to deploy iris-scanners among other high-tech bells and whistles. Curiosity about the place has soared along with its prices, with apartments selling at an average of $9,840 per square foot, around $1,150 above top dollar in New York, making this quite possibly the most expensive address on the planet.

What glitz must lie within its glass-and-steel exterior? Vanity Fair, refused access, quoted English style commentator Peter York: “The vibe is junior Arab dictator.”

A few weeks ago, I strolled through…

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In Cambodia, Three Dead As Garment Protests Turn Violent


Originally posted on World:

Update: 12:05 P.M., EST Jan. 3 

The true cost of global high street fashion is once again in the spotlight after at least four people were shot dead in Cambodia when protesting garment workers clashed with security forces.

Crowds numbering in the tens of thousands have been demanding higher wages over the past week, but events took a nasty turn Friday when workers brandishing sticks, rocks and petrol-bombs fought with police in the capital Phnom Penh. Rubble and burning debris littered the Veng Sreng factory district, according to Reuters.

(MORE: A Tale of Two Factory Disasters: What Cambodia Can Teach Bangladesh)

Tensions were already high after members of the elite 911 Paratrooper Brigade cracked down on a small demonstration outside a Korean-owned factory on Thursday. Soldiers bearing AK-47 rifles reportedly used steel pipes, batons and slingshots to attack the crowd. “It’s quite telling that the Special Forces…

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U.S. Sends More Embassy Personnel Out of South Sudan


China Seizes 3 Tons of Crystal Meth in Raid


Originally posted on World:

Chinese authorities have seized three tons of crystal methamphetamine in a massive raid on the southern village of Boshe, involving 3,000 police officers as well as helicopters and speedboats.

Boshe is notorious for narcotics production, supplying over a third of the nation’s crystal meth, with more than a fifth of its households linked to the trade.

The raid, which was carried out on Sunday, was part of “Operation Thunder,” a crackdown on illicit substances in Guangdong province. Since its launch on July 30, the initiative has seen 10,836 suspects detained and 8.1 tons of drugs seized.

[Reuters]

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Sin and Forgiveness 2


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SERMON:  “Repentance”

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SONG:  “The Old Rugged Cross