Man Steals $4.8m from Boss, Puts $1m of it Into in-app Buys

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After embezzling some $4.8 million from his employer over the course of seven years, a California man who then had more money than he knew what to do with squandered $1 million on in-apps buys – purchases tied to the playing Game of War, a mobile strategy game for Apple devices. It’s likely that, after he’s sentenced in May, 2017, Kevin Lee Co will have an ample amount of prison time to regret his actions. He was convicted earlier this year on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, according to the BBC.
Mr. Co had worked for a distributor of Caterpillar equipment for two years when, in early 2008, after being named head of the accounting department, he devised a scheme to skim the money from the company’s accounts. His account grew progressively richer until March, 2015, when his fleecing was discovered.
Aside from his Game of War in-app buys, Co reportedly spent heavily on luxury cars, plastic surgery and season tickets for two San Francisco-based sports teams.

‘Probably bet on them, as well!

Throw Something Away In Mumbai, Win Free WiFi Time

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A five-year-old startup in Mumbai, India is aiming to help keep discarded “stuff” off its home city’s street by rewarding users of its WiFi Trash Bins with free WiFi access. Called ThinkScream, the idea behind the company’s initial product was “to solve everyday problems in an innovative way, one solution as a time,” company co-founded Raj Desai told The Economic Times of India.

The company’s 4.5-foot (1.4 m) tall plastic bins are equipped with an LED screen that produces an access code when someone tosses something in the bin. Desai told The Times that the bins employ several technologies “to enable this seemingly simple function; The first is the WiFi technology, which is optimized to make sure that all codes work in sync; The second is the technology used for motion sensing totrace thee movement of the trash as it hits the bin; The last is to link the motion sensor with the WiFi network for a seamless operation,” he explains.

The company premiered the bins at a music festival in 2014 to provide attendees easy access to WiFi. Since then, ThinkScream has hooked up to similar networks in retail stores and at trade shows. They’ve also received queries from companies seeing the bins as offering a great branding opportunity, but that was never the premise behind the product’s creation, Desai says. “It was always to trigger positive changes in deepp-seated behavior around public cleanliness in India,” he declares.

Though no timetable has been announced, the company’s aim is to eventually see their bins set up alongside streets.

NC Legislature Likely to Repeal HB 2 – ‘The Bathroom Law’ – In Special Session on Tuesday

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North Carolina license plates say that their state was  “first in flight” because the Wright Brothers made the first manned flight there in 1903 — 113 years ago —  on December 17.

North Carolina last month elected a new governor to replace Pat McCrory. As the latter leaves the stage, he is asking the state legislature to “consider” repealing his legend-making “bathroom law”, which insists people use the public relief facility intended for people of the sex they were born as.

Odds are they will do so, at a special session tomorrow (Tuesday), for at least a couple of very good reasons: [1] The state has lost untold millions in income and many thousands of jobs as several major sports organizations pulled their national tournaments out of the state and at least a few companies intending to move there decided not to, and [2] HB2, widely seen as an anti-LGBT bill, made North Carolina a national laughing stock because of its blatantly biased, discriminatory nature.

The special session was announced Monday by Governor-elect Roy Cooper, shortly after the Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 vote to rescind the LGBT ordinance that prompted HB 2. The council vote came after late night lobbying by Cooper himself, the Greensboro News & Record reported. Council member Julie Eiselt said the Governor-elect called her at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night.

Clearly the about-to-be governor wants to work at bringing some of those tournaments – including the NCAA’s women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s basketball, baseball, and men’s and women’s soccer and tennis – back to the state. Currently the state’s attorney general, Cooper on Monday released a statement saying, “Enough is enough; We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

Star Athlete Aubrey Lewis Died 15 Years Ago Yesterday

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Yesterday (December 10) was the 15th anniversary of the death of Aubrey Lewis, a star athlete (who may or may not have cheated his way onto his high school football team) and a member, in 1962, of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) class to include blacks.

Wikipedia reports how he may have stretched the truth to get on his high school football team: “When he first tried out for the Montclair (New Jersey) Mounties team, a doctor performing a physical exam detected a rapid heart rate. Lewis, who had had a heart murmur since childhood, said, ‘Oh, I ran all the way here from my house.’ He was allowed to play.”

During his football career there, he scored 49 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 4,900 yards while helping lead his team to two state championships. He also played on undefeated basketball teams, The New York Times noted in his obituary.

It’s no wonder he was offered scholarships by 200 colleges!

He chose Notre Dame, where, after using the same ‘trick’ as he had to get on his high school team (he told the college doc he’d run to the exam all the way from his dorm), he played halfback for two years. He also participated in track and field events, and set state records in three different events – and was the first black to be named captain of a sports team at Notre Dame.

He was chosen to play professionally in the 1958 player draft, but an ankle injury prevented him from pursuing that career path.

Unable to play football any longer, he took up teaching, back in his home state of New Jersey. He taught in his hometown (Montclair) as well as Newark and Patterson before, in 1962, he was recruited by the FBI, becoming a member of that agency’s first class to include African Americans.

Five years later, he was offered a position at Woolworth’s as an executive recruiter. He remained with that company, rising to the rank of senior vice president, until he retired in 1995.

Shortly thereafter, though, that heart murmur caught up with him, and eventually contributed to his death in 2001. He was 66.

NIH Director Plays Guitar/Cello Duet With Famed Cellist Yo Yo Ma

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People in distinguished positions occasionally get to have extraordinary experiences: Going very, very special places, or meeting people whose lives are somehow magical.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently had such an experience when he, a self-described “amateur guitar picker,” spun a duet with world-renowned classical cellist Yo Yo Ma. They played what Dr. Collins described as, in his blog on the NIH web site, “a creative interpretation of the traditional song, ‘How Can I Keep From Singing?’”

The occasion was when Mr. Ya visited NIH for its annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, where he participated in conversation on the intersection of music and science.

The blog post said:

Brain Arias Involved in Playing MusicBefore the rapt audience at the NIH Clinical Center’s Masur Auditorium, Ma demonstrated various ways to interpret the notes and dynamics of Bach, opening the door to the fascinating topic of the neuroscience of music. As you can see in the image [above], when a person plays a violin or other musical instrument, a variety of areas throughout the brain are activated. [1] Another recent study suggests that the human brain possesses its own “music room” in the cerebral cortex, composed of populations of neural cells that are selectively dedicated to processing the sounds of music, as opposed to sounds of speech. [2] What’s more, neuroscientists have found that certain brain cells release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control reward and pleasure, both before and during the times that people listen to musical passages with the power to give them ‘the chills’.”

Another topic raised by Ma was how the open exchange of information has served to accelerate progress not only in biomedical research, but in the making of world-class string instruments. We even touched upon the question of why music exists: what evolutionary advantage might it have provided to Homo sapiens as a species? Perhaps it was a way for social groups to join together around a common purpose and improve their chances of survival?

Alas,” Dr. Collins said, “we could reach no firm conclusions on such a complicated topic in the short time allotted. Maybe we can pick up that conversation—and pluck a few more strings on our instruments—at another time!”

Alas, indeed! Those are some deep issues, issues that deserve the investment of more money this country can afford in grants, etc. – and that’s before the new president is spending part of his time in Washington. (He seems to want to run things from the ‘Gold House’, the one with his name on it on Fifth Avenue in New York City.)

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Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.

Significant Roman Inscription Found On Mediterranean Rock Off Israel

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A large rock discovered on the Mediterranean seabed off Israel earlier this year has on its surface a 1,900-year old inscription naming a Roman ruler of Judea whose identity was unknown to modern researchers. The inscription bears the name Gargilius Antiques and mentioning the province of Judea, The Times of Israel reported yesterday (Dec. 1).

The paper said that archaeologists have been able to determine that Antiques ruled over the Judean province before the 132-136 A.D. Bar Kochba (or Kockba) Revolt of Jews against the Romans. Also known as the Third Jewish-Roman War, or the Third Jewish Revolt, this one was finally put down by a massive Roman force led by Sextus Julius Severrus, Wikipedia says.

The rock hearing Antiques’ name was discovered by Jewish divers working with the University of Haifa. Believed to be the base of a statue, the rock was found last January during a maritime excavation at the Tel Dor archaeological site. The city of Tel Dor was an important Roman port that was active until at least the 4th century, The Times said.

The rock, measuring 70 by 65 centimeters and weighing over 600 kilograms, was covered in sea creatures when it was discovered, according to Haaretz.

Not only were we able for the first time to identify with certainty the name of the ruler who oversaw Judea in the critical years the Bar Kochba revolt; this is also just the second time that the mention of Judea has been discovered in inscriptions traced back to Roman era,” said Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau of Haifa University, who was in charge of deciphering the text.

Antiques’s name was first found in an inscription some 70 years ago, but mention of the territory he ruled over was not preserved.

At seven lines, the text discovered this year, Yasur-Landau said, “is the longest discovered in maritime excavations in Israel.”

It is missing a portion but is believed to read: “The City of Dor honors Marcus Paccius, son of Publius, Silvanus Quintus Coredius Gallus Gargilius Antiquus, governor of the province of Judea, as well as […] of the province of Syria, and patron of the city of Dor.”