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Hotel Chain Provides Free Rooms For Doctors And Nurses Fighting Coronavirus In NYC

New York City has quickly discovered that it is time to act united.

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Hotel Chain Provides Free Rooms For Doctors And Nurses Fighting Coronavirus In NYC
Photo Credit: Four Seasons Hotel

Lana Eucalyptus, The Mind Unleashed

The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City announced Wednesday they are opening their rooms for medical workers free of charge. The luxury hotel is located in Manhattan Billionaire’s Row and has responded to the governor’s call to action.

On March 24 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke to the media at the Javits Convention Center calling for action on the part of business leaders.

A crisis shows you a person’s soul,” Cuomo announced. “The weaknesses explode and the strengths are emboldened.”

The governor has called for an aggressive national strategy for testing, school closures, and hospital surge capacity to slow and mitigate the impacts of CoViD-19. He has also recently decided all non-essential businesses state-wide must close in-office personnel functions until further notice.

Ty Warner, the chairman and owner of Ty Hotels and Resorts, stood for the challenge.

H. Ty Warner earned his wealth through the success of the hit children’s toy line Ty Beanie Babies and in 1999 he bought New York’s Four Seasons Hotel for $275 million. Years later he pleaded guilty to money laundering millions into Swiss Banks and lying to the IRS.

The Four Seasons Hotel has been awarded 56 Five-Stars by Forbes Travel Guide, the highest honour from the guide. And for the fifth year in a row, the hotel has received the most Five-Star ratings awarded to a hotel brand in a single year. With many locations around the world, the company encompasses 44 hotels, ten spas, and two restaurants.

Many of those working in New York City have to travel long distances to and from their homes after putting in 18- hour days,” Warner said. “They need a place they can rest and regenerate.”

Several medical facilities are located within a 30 block radius of the luxury hotel. These include Bellevue, Weill Cornell Medical Center, NYU Langone, and Mt. Sinai. There is still no word on which facilities will be using the free rooms.

New York holds approximately a third of the nation’s confirmed coronavirus cases. The anxiety has heightened in the crowded city and more people are looking for leaders to whom they can depend on in this time of uncertainty. Longer work days in addition to facilities overloaded with CoViD-19 patients has increased pressure on the healthcare industry.

Each and every hand willing to help can greatly relieve the overwhelming situation which now faces the nation. New York City has quickly discovered that it is time to act united.

By Lana Eucalyptus | Creative Commons |

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A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Is Happening During The Full Moon This June

On June 5th and 6th, the Strawberry Full Moon will also pass through the faint outer shadow of the Earth, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse.

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Penumbral Lunar bbc
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

(TMU) – On June 5th and 6th, the Strawberry Full Moon will pass through the faint outer shadow of the Earth, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse, the second of four penumbral lunar eclipses this year. Weather permitting, those of you in Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the South Eastern areas of South America might notice the Moon turn slightly darker, or seem less bright, during the maximum phase of the eclipse. A penumbral lunar eclipse can be subtle and sometimes difficult to distinguish from a normal full moon.

While June’s Strawberry Full Moon eclipse may be visible from start to finish from some areas – a total of 3 hours 18 minutes – other areas will only experience the Moon rise or set during the eclipse. Check the time of the Full Moon eclipse in your city or town by clicking here, and set that time aside to watch the event. Unfortunately, for North America and most of South America, this event will be happening below their horizon.

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A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth aligns between the Full Moon and the Sun, blocking the Sun’s rays from reaching the Full Moon.

A total eclipse occurs when Earths umbra – the central, dark part of its shadow – obscures all of the Moon’s surface. During a partial eclipse only a part of the Moon’s surface is obscured by Earth’s umbra. A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when Earth’s faint penumbral, outer shadow falls on the Moon, like the one we already experienced on January 10th and are what the remaining three lunar eclipses will be this year on June 5th, July 5th and November 31st.

The early Indigenous people of North America kept track of the seasons and lunar months by naming them according to events during that time. June’s Full Moon is either the last full moon of spring, or the first of the summer, and is called the “Strawberry Moon”. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the name originated with Algonquin tribes in eastern North America – and was used as a signal to gather the ripening wild strawberries. Colonial Americans adopted some of the indigenous moon names and applied them to their own calendar system – which is still used today.

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Trump To Sign Social Media Executive Order After Threatening To Shut Down Platforms

US President Donald Trump might be one of Twitter’s most active users, but he has had harsh words for the social media platform this week.

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Trump signs executive order threatening social-media companies after Twitter fact-checked his tweets
Photo Credit: Financial Times

(TMU) – US President Donald Trump might be one of Twitter’s most active users, but he has had harsh words for the social media platform this week, after the site fact-checked one of his claims about voting by mail.

Trump even went so far as to threaten to “strongly regulate” or even potentially shut down social media websites for attempting to interfere with political speech and election results.

This is the first time that Trump has been fact-checked on the site, as public figures are often given a pass in circumstances like this because their comments are a matter of public discourse, as offensive as they may be at times, but increased calls for the moderation of Trump’s tweets have led to increased scrutiny over his profile.

President Trump was so incensed by the actions against his profile that he is now promising to sign an executive order in regards to content moderation on social media sites.

“These platforms act like they are potted plants when [in reality] they are curators of user experiences, i.e. the man behind the curtain for everything we can see or hear,” an administration official familiar with the issue told Politico on Wednesday night.

While the content of the executive order is not entirely clear, some have speculated that it could be related to a 1996 statute that protects these companies from lawsuits. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives tech companies a limited legal liability for user-generated content, which is a great thing at face value, but it also protects these companies from any legal action for “taking good-faith efforts to curb illicit material.”

In the years since, frequent conflicts have arisen over content moderation, while “good faith efforts” and “illicit Material” are still poorly defined, allowing these companies to remove content based on arbitrary whims, which are often directed by personal politics, and the temperaments of advertisers.

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey defended the site’s actions on Wednesday night, saying that he was not censoring Trump, but providing other sources so people could look deeper into the issue. He also said that the site will continue to fact check the information that they find to be incorrect or disputed, especially when it comes to elections.

“Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves,” he said.

He also says that he will be taking full responsibility for the company’s actions and will be willing to admit mistakes if any are made.

Last year, Twitter announced it would ban all political ads from its platform. At the time, Dorsey said that he believed online reach for political messages “should be earned, not bought.”

Mark Zuckerberg responded to the controversy this week also, saying that Twitter made the wrong call, and falsely claimed that Facebook takes a hands-off approach to moderating political content.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that,” Zuckerberg said.

While Twitter is traditionally less aggressive with content moderation than Facebook when it comes to issues like foreign policy, police brutality, or nudity, they have become very serious about policing hate speech and political misinformation.

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NSA’s Social Network Mapping Is More Vast, Omnipresent And Horrifying Than Snowden Revealed

This is shocking, and represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens.

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Photo Credit: Britannica

(TMU) – Most people know by now about the surveillance abuses perpetrated by the NSA earlier this century, but a new book about Edward Snowden suggests that the metadata collection programs introduced to us through previous whistleblowers and disclosures are part of a “live, ever-updating social graph of the US” that is ongoing and far vaster than we previously imagined.

The revelations come from journalist Barton Gellman, who described the content of his new book Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State for Wired. The article, entitled “Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network,” catalogues Gellman’s attempts to reveal more details about the programs Snowden first disclosed to the world.

What he found shocked him and, he says, represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens.

Gellman says that originally he wanted to understand more about the logistics of the NSA phone records. The Snowden archive hints at but does not explain the details of the agency’s project pipelines.

The main thoroughfare of data collection, Stellarwind, was a domestic surveillance program launched by Vice President Dick Cheney only weeks after 9/11. He mandated that all operatives and subordinates conceal the program from FISA Court judges and Congress, stamping it with the most covert of government classifications, ECI, “exceptionally controlled information.”

Stellarwind facilitated Mainway, the NSA’s prized social network mapping tool which conscripted telephone data companies like AT&T and Verizon into secretive–and financially lucrative–data collection contracts negotiated by Special Source Operations.

But even this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Mainway program codified two important but (until now) obfuscated surveillance and data mining objectives: contact chaining and precomputation.

Contact Chaining

While the NSA long maintained that their surveillance programs merely stored untraced metadata that could help investigate the activities of known terrorist operatives, we now know that the agency was actively leveraging and exploiting the data to build an almost mind-bogglingly complex, next-generation social graph. As described by Gellman, this tool combined the concepts of “six degrees of separation” (or six degrees of Kevin Bacon, if you prefer) and a pre-COVID19 model of contact tracing.

Termed contact chaining and first deployed during the manhunt and investigation of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a new suite of software tools used the NSA’s intercepted communications (read, our personal information), including voice, video, email and chat text, attachments, pager messages, etc. to build a cutting-edge form of data analysis that can algorithmically parse data records to illustrate indirect relationships between any and all intelligence assets (read, us).

According to Gellman, Mainway turned into “the queen of metadata, foreign and domestic, designed to find patterns that content did not reveal…[and] identify, track, store, manipulate and update relationships” to create a global graph, an integrated graphical map, representing the “movements and communications” of virtually everyone on Earth.

Named “the Big Awesome Graph,” or “the BAG” for short, this tool was the principal data harvesting tool in the umbrella directive of “Large Access Exploitation.” It “mapped the call records as “nodes” and “edges” on a grid so large that the human mind, unaided, could not encompass it.”


The NSA’s Mainway program sought to use its newly and somewhat hastily assembled software to continuously contact chain profiles on all global citizens. The FBI commandeered over a billion new records each day from the telephone companies and the NSA ingested that info to “get a head start on everyone.

Termed precomputation, the idea was and is to create a “constant, complex…7×24…live, ever-updating social graph,” called Graph-in-Memory, of every US citizen and a large number of non-citizens and international citizens.

Gellerman writes:

“All kinds of secrets—social, medical, political, professional—were precomputed, 24/7…a database that was preconfigured to map anyone’s life at the touch of a button.”

He maintains that only 22 top officials had the authority to order a so-called contact chain. However, the dangers of such power abound.

In its post-9/11 sprint to “to dominate the global communications infrastructure,” the NSA opened a veritable Pandora’s box, whereby “governments at all levels [may use] the power of the state most heavy-handedly, sometimes illegally, to monitor communities disadvantaged by poverty, race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status.”

Gellman observes that “nearly anyone in the developed world can be linked to at least one fact in a computer database that an adversary could use for blackmail, discrimination, harassment, or financial or identity theft.”

“The latent power of new inventions,” Gellman writes, “no matter how repellent at first, does not lie forever dormant in government armories.”

In other words, if you’re worried about contact tracing in the age of Covid-19, worry no more: that ship has long sailed.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons |

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Couple Builds Amazing Shipping Container Home For Debt-Free Living

The tiny house movement has grown in popularity over recent years, and now it makes more sense than ever.

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Couple Builds Amazing Shipping Container Home For Debt-Free Living

No matter the size or location, home is where the heart should be. Whether it’s a mansion in the suburbs, a city apartment with a view or a cottage by the sea, it won’t be home unless you love living in it.

However, because the current pandemic situation is resulting in economies tanking and millions of people losing their jobs, and perhaps even their homes in the process, downsizing and off grid living is becoming a viable option for many.

The tiny house movement has grown in popularity over recent years, and now it makes more sense than ever..

Jaimie and Dave, a couple from Cowlitz County, made the decision to get out of the debt and mortgage trap before the current situation changed the world we know and decided to create a new home with shipping containers.

Using two containers, one of 20ft and a 40ft one, they created a beautiful home and filled it with everything they need, including love and joy.

Jaimie said, “…We thought, how hard is it to stick a couple of containers together? It’s like Legos, right?”

The couple found and bought a small piece of land in an ideal setting and went about transforming the two metal boxes into a beautiful home, and they did it all themselves. From top to bottom, the structure, plumbing, electrical wiring, welding, and all the construction work and fittings cost around $80k. It’s DIY at its best – and they saved a fortune on labour costs. Of course, it was a big help that Dave was proficient at metal work.

The couple’s home is not off-grid, which meant they needed all the usual permits and they got them all with the support of the county, even though their home’s design and the building materials were not the usual run of the mill variety. Once the plans for the house got approved, everything was processed in record time.

Once they estimated the cost to build their home, they reserved Friday to Sunday for building and Monday to Thursday for working at their jobs. They were able to move in after just ten months, even with a medical emergency in between, when Dave suffered a spontaneous intra-cranial haemorrhage.

When Jaimie arrived home, she saw Dave halfway up the driveway, ‘’I could tell by the way his face was that he’d had a stroke or a seizure or something,” she explained.

It took a while for Dave to be ready to continue on with the build but they didn’t give up, and after a lot of therapy and Jaimie’s support, Dave was ready to finish the job. Turns out, getting back into the process of the build was an important part of Dave’s mental and physical recovery.

The finished result is simply stunning. The home has a beautiful upstairs bedroom opening onto a patio with a view to live for! The downstairs area has a spacious lounge, a kitchen with all the bells and whistles, a pantry and a bathroom. All this framed by tall forest trees and their landscaped garden, their own little Eden in the making.

According to Jaimie the whole process was a valuable lesson:

 “I think what this has taught us about ourselves is that we can do things that are really, really hard that, if we do them together, we can definitely accomplish it,” she said.

After they had moved into their home, they landscaped the garden and also built a workshop… and they’re not done. They’d like to link the house and workshop with a suspension bridge and also build a zip line!

Couple Build Amazing Shipping Container Home For Debt-Free Living

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