US started bugging Angela Merkel’s phone in 2002

The US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone since 2002, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine…The German publication claims to have seen secret documents from the National Security Agency which show Mrs Merkel’s number on a list dating from 2002 – before she became chancellor.

Her number was still on a surveillance list in 2013…

The nature of the monitoring of Mrs Merkel’s mobile phone is not clear from the files, Der Spiegel says.

For example, it is possible that the chancellor’s conversations were recorded, or that her contacts were simply assessed.

Germany is sending its top intelligence chiefs to Washington in the coming week to “push forward” an investigation into the spying allegations, which have caused outrage in Germany…

A close ally of Mrs Merkel told the BBC that she was personally very hurt by the idea of being spied on by American friends.

The chancellor is said to be shocked that Washington may have engaged in the sort of spying that she had to deal with while growing up in Communist East Germany…

A unit called Special Collection Services, based in the US embassy in Pariser Platz in Berlin, was responsible for monitoring communications in the German capital’s government quarter…

Similar units were based in around 80 locations worldwide, according to the documents seen by Der Spiegel, 19 of them in European cities.

With friends like this, Angela Merkel doesn’t really need enemies, now, does she?

Just for shits and giggles – think about the public relations types, the soothers, smoothers and spin doctors who front for the array of professional politicians infesting what could be a simple federal bureaucracy functioning on behalf of the people of this nation. They’re trying to come up with new excuses every week for the previous week’s lies – because all the crud Ed Snowden walked away with gets another release from one or another of the few newspapers with the courage to print the truth, every week.

Consider that if George W was bugging Merkel’s phone, he certainly agreed to do the same to Gerhard Schröder, then chancellor, and Joschka Fischer, leader of the Green Party. Although it’s always fun to note that American conservatives never seem to trust anyone to be conservative enough – especially them furriners.

And another lie is revealed. And another.

HOAX testing firm says dumb people use Internet Explorer

According to a new report, dumb people are more likely to use Internet Explorer than smart people. It’s a finding so apparently defamatory that the company responsible for the statement is allegedly being threatened with a lawsuit by inflamed Internet Explorer aficionados.

Online psychometric testing company AptiQuant, based out of Canada, turned its analytical skills to a group of more than 100,000 individuals in an effort to determine the IQ scores associated with various Web browser users. Over a period of around four weeks, the company gave a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) to users looking for free online IQ assessment tests, then recorded the results and browsers used for all participants above the age of 16.

Across the board, the average IQ scores presented for users of Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9 were all lower than the IQ scores recorded for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Camino, and Opera users.

Humorously enough, those using Internet Explorer with the Chrome frame built-in actually ranked third in IQ scores among this browser list. Opera users reported the highest average IQ score – hovering around the 120 to 130 range, which is a bit higher than the WAIS test’s population mean of 100 (and standard deviation of 15).

AptiQuant’s report notes that the only statistically significant difference in IQ scores occurred between Internet Explorer users and their counterparts. There was not a significant difference in IQ scores between non-IE browser users, even though these users, in aggregate, reported a higher average IQ score than IE users…

“I just want to make it clear that the report released by my company did not suggest that if you use IE that means you have a low IQ, but what it really says is that if you have a low IQ then there are high chances that you use Internet Explorer,” said CEO Leonard Howard.

Uh, OK.

UPDATE: This turned out to be a hoax.

U.S. to decide – if we’re allowed to decide – to eat redesigned fish

Two fish the same age. Same-size portions on the dinner plate? No differences.

U.S. health officials are set to rule on whether a faster-growing, genetically engineered fish is safe to eat in a decision that could deliver the first altered animal food to consumers’ dinner plates.

The fish, made by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc, is manipulated to grow twice as fast as traditional Atlantic salmon, something the company says could boost the nation’s fish sector and reduce pressure on the environment.

But consumer advocates and food safety experts are worried that splicing and dicing fish genes may have the opposite effect, leading to more industrial farming and potential escapes into the wild. Side effects from eating such fish are also unknown, with little data to show it is safe, they say…

There are no data which say, however, that eating these fish is unsafe at all. The rest is pundit-babble.

The small Massachusetts-based biotechnology company is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to sell its salmon, called AquAdvantage, to fish farmers nationwide.

If given the green light, the salmon could be followed by the company’s engineered trout and tilapia…

“This is an Atlantic salmon in every measurable way,” said Aqua Bounty Chief Executive Ronald Stotish. “When you look at the fish, it’s impossible to see the difference.”

And that’s the kicker. As it is with GM beef or pork – or any other genetically-engineered animal protein that’s moved far enough along towards production to sit on a platter before the FDA.

My enviro brothers and sisters have one serious question to answer before this old political insurgent is convinced to back their fears. Prove to me you can come up with any test which can differentiate between the engineered protein and the stuff swimming past my kinfolk’s farm up on PEI. Let’s cook it and eat it, smell it and taste it, feed it to test animals for several years [again?] and show me where it’s different.

Then, I won’t think you’re wasting my time – and that of a public who could use a break on the cost of good food.

SarahPAC takes in $733,000 – donates $10,000 to candidates

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who’s leaving public office in two weeks, raised nearly $733,000 since starting a federal political action committee.

Documents filed Monday with the Federal Elections Commission show Palin, who pledged to keep her hand in politics even though she’s stepping down as governor, has donated $10,000 to federal candidates through SarahPAC, USA Today reported. Her political action committee was established in January.

Palin gave $5,000 each to Arizona Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who tapped her to be his running mate during the 2008 presidential election, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

SarahPAC ended June with nearly $457,000 cash on hand, USA Today reported.

Maybe Levi knows exactly what he’s talking about, eh?