NASA finds most Earth-like planet to date

$175,000 to clean up after teen’s public urination in Portland

CIA psychologist who developed torture program defends tactics

A psychologist considered integral to crafting the CIA’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” tactics slammed an unreleased Senate report on CIA torture as inaccurate while defending his role in working with the spy agency amid a volatile era in US history.

In his first interview in seven years, James Mitchell told freelance reporter Jason Leopold, writing for the Guardian, that he has nothing to apologize for regarding his place in the post-9/11 abuse of prisoners that, as he points out, was legal at the time.

“The people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time,” he said. “You can’t ask someone to put their life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them in the press 10 years later.”

Number of cable ‘cord cutters’ continues to rise

TV and movie audiences have known for years that streaming services provide an on-demand viewing experience, but a new report has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Hulu and Netflix are now a legitimate threat for traditional cable companies.

Analysts at Experian Marketing Services published a study this week indicating that customers with high-speed internet access who have either never subscribed to cable or stopped subscribing to cable has increased by 44 percent, from 5.1 million households to 7.6 million, in a mere three years.

In 2013 alone, 6.5 percent of American households ended their reliance on cable or satellite services in favor of a streaming-only watching experience. That jump is more than the 4.5 percent of households who did the same in 2010.

US Special Ops forces committing suicide in record numbers

US special forces have been committing suicide at record levels for the last two years, the head of the US Special Operations Command (SOCom) admitted in a speech on Thursday. He blamed the high numbers on the length and difficulty of combat.

"There is a lot of angst. There’s a lot of pressure out there. My soldiers have been fighting now for 12, 13 years in hard combat. Hard combat,” Adm. William McRaven, the head of SOCom, said at a conference in Florida. “And anybody that has spent any time in this war has been changed by it. It’s that simple.”

Since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, military troops – including special forces units like Navy SEALs and Army Rangers – have endured multiple deployments. Military suicides increased across the board during that time, to the point that suicides (349) outpaced combat deaths (311) in 2012, according to a Guardian analysis in 2013.

Vermont Senate passes GMO food labeling bill

DARPA producing sea-floor pods that can release attack drones on command

The Pentagon’s research arm, DARPA, is developing robot pods that can sit at the bottom of the ocean for long stretches of time, waiting to release airborne and water-based drones to the surface upon an attack command.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently called for bids to complete the final two phases of its Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) program. The UFP operation is an effort to position unmanned systems around far-flung regions of the sea floor. The housing pods would be left in place for years in anticipation of the US Navy’s need for non-lethal assistance.

The UFPs would come equipped with electronic and low-power laser attack capabilities, surveillance sensors, and airborne and aquatic drones that would have the ability to act as decoys or offer intelligence and targeting data, Ars Technica reported.