Friday, December 30, 2016

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case

Source: Engadget

An Amazon spokesperson gave Engadget the following statement on the matter:

"Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

Echo only captures audio and streams it to the cloud when the device hears the wake word "Alexa."

Those clips, or "utterances" as the company calls them, are stored in the cloud until a customer deletes them either individually or all at once.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

Source: Washington Post

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

...

“I’ll be the first one to come out and point at Russia if there’s clear evidence, but there is no clear evidence — even now,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Trump transition team. “There’s a lot of innuendo, lots of circumstantial evidence, that’s it.”

...

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

Source: Boston Globe

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same?
...
Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.
...
He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

No Wi-Fi in schools but access to broadband internet is a human right

No Wi-Fi in schools but access to information is a human right, and that includes access to broadband internet.

So maybe every desk needs a wired ethernet connection? That's going to be very expensive.

Source: Jill Stein 2016

Dr. Stein said in response to a question about wireless internet in schools: “We should not be subjecting kids’ brains especially to that…

...a recent National Institutes of Health study that provided “some of the strongest evidence to date that such exposure [to the type of radiation emitted from cell phones and wireless devices] is associated with the formation of rare cancers…"
...
We believe that access to information is a human right, and that includes access to broadband internet.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rudy Giuliani admitted the 9/11 attacks were not motivated by "radical Islam"

Rudy Giuliani admitted (unintentionally?) to the public that the 9/11 attacks were not motivated by "radical Islam". Either that or he lied or he's insane. Are there other possible explanations?

Source: New York Daily News

“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack inside the United States” --Rudy Giuliani

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hackers Say They Hacked NSA-Linked Group, Want 1 Million Bitcoins to Share More

Source: VICE Motherboard

...
“How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? [...] We find cyber weapons made by creators of stuxnet, duqu, flame.”
...
The hackers referred to their victims as the Equation Group, a codename for a government hacking group widely believed to be the NSA.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

F.B.I. Steps Up Use of Stings in ISIS Cases

Undercover operations are now used in about 2/3 of prosecutions involving people suspected of supporting the Islamic State.

Source: New York Times

In recent investigations from Florida to California, agents have helped people suspected of being extremists acquire weapons, scope out bombing targets and find the best routes to Syria to join the Islamic State, records show.

... since February 2015, about 40 of 60 Islamic State prosecutions, or 67 percent, have been based on undercover operations.

FBI Agent Goaded Garland Shooter to “Tear Up Texas,” Raising New Alarms About Bureau’s Methods

Source: The Intercept

... an undercover FBI agent encouraged a would-be terrorist to “Tear up Texas” shortly before he opened fire on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas ...

... “Essentially, it suggests the government may be manufacturing the very threat it is supposed to be countering.”

... “But if you’re going to target potentially unstable, vulnerable individuals in undercover sting operations, you have to examine the potential consequences of having these types of discussions with them.”

... had they been more competent in their assault, the result could have been one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in recent U.S. history – an attack that was encouraged by the FBI.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Complex life may be possible in only 10% of all galaxies

Summary: 10 billion galaxies can support complex life

Source: Science

Of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, only one in 10 can support complex life like that on Earth, a pair of astrophysicists argues. Everywhere else, stellar explosions known as gamma ray bursts would regularly wipe out any life forms more elaborate than microbes. The detonations also kept the universe lifeless for billions of years after the big bang, the researchers say.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

US Air Force wants to plasma bomb the sky using tiny satellites

Source: New Scientist

USAF wants to do this more efficiently, with tiny cubesats, for example, carrying large volumes of ionised gas directly into the ionosphere.

As well as increasing the range of radio signals, the USAF says it wants to smooth out the effects of solar winds, which can knock out GPS, and also investigate the possibility of blocking communication from enemy satellites.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Anti-Russian rhetoric used by right for decades

@theintercept: The anti-Russian rhetoric Democrats are now using is identical to smear tactics used by America’s right for decades

Source: The Intercept

The Washington Post cited an intelligence official as saying that “the intelligence community . . . has not reached a conclusion about who passed the emails to WikiLeaks” and “We have not drawn any evidentiary connection to any Russian intelligence service and WikiLeaks — none”). Democrats not only treated this evidence-free conspiracy theory as Truth, but – following the Clinton campaign – proceeded to smear WikiLeaks as a Kremlin operation:

FBI probe of Clinton's emails prompted by espionage fears, secret letters say

Source: VICE

Section 811" referral from the Intelligence Community's Inspector General (ICIG).

The ICIG determined that classified, national security information in Clinton's emails may have been "compromised" and shared with "a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power."

It could include espionage, but it could also include negligence, inadvertence, or something else.... Section 811 does not assert a violation of criminal law."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gen. Allen Says Trump Could Cause 'Civil Military Crisis'

Source: ABC News

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen said that if Republican nominee Donald Trump becomes president and follows through on some of the things he’s said on the campaign trail, the U.S. could face a “civil military crisis, the like of which we’ve not seen in this country.”
...

"He's talked about needing to torture. He's talked about needing to murder the families of alleged terrorists," Allen said. "He's talked about carpet-bombing ISIL. Who do you think is going to carpet-bombed when all that occurs? It's going to be innocent families."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Thanks to Christians, After School Satan Clubs May Be Coming to an Elementary School Near You

Source: Patheos

Congress passed the Equal Access Act of 1984 to prevent the government from stoping the formation of after-school Bible clubs at public schools throughout the country. A Supreme Court decision in 2001 said public schools couldn’t discriminate on the basis of religion. Christians have been forming Good News Clubs at elementary schools to spread fundamentalist Christianity to little kids before they’re old enough to think critically.

Source: After School Satan

The Satanic Church plans to place an After School Satan Club in every school where the Good News Clubs, or other proselytizing religious groups, have established a presence.
After School Satan Clubs have initially offered to present curriculum at schools in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Pensacola, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Springfield, Tucson and Washington, DC. Their aim is to establish the presence of a contrasting voice that helps children to understand that one doesn’t need to submit to superstition in order to be a good person. These After School Satan groups will work the same way as Christian clubs. They’ll have outside sponsors, they’ll run a curriculum that’s appropriate for kids, and (most importantly) they’ll only form in districts where Good News Clubs already exist. This isn’t just about spreading Satanic values. It’s about showing Christians the law applies to everybody, and if they want access to public space, they have to accept that groups with whom they disagree will be there, too.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

“THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM IS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO” – AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GREEN PARTY’S JILL STEIN

Source: The Intercept

"... the lesser evil inevitably leads to the greater evil in the same way that Barack Obama lost both houses of Congress. He had two years with two Democratic houses of Congress – they could have passed any law that they wanted. They could have provided health care as a human right, they could have pulled back on these wars for oil and the war against terror, and the assault on immigrants, and assault on the press and our freedom of speech and privacy.  They could have done any of that. And what did they do? They bailed out Wall Street and installed Larry Summers, the architect of Wall Street deregulation. They’re not on our side."

"... we still need opposition politics and we need a voting system that allows us to have political opposition. If we don’t have political opposition in this country, it doesn’t matter what else we do: we are heading to tyranny, we are heading to fascism, and we’re heading to climate meltdown and nuclear confrontation."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Exclusive: White House to review ban on military gear for police - police leaders

Source: Reuters

The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters
...
At Obama's request, White House chief legal counsel Neil Eggleston will review the ban, ...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Judge dismisses Texas lawsuit over resettlement of Syrian refugees

Source: The Guardian

US district court judge David Godbey said the state failed to make ‘a plausible claim for relief’ in its lawsuit against the federal government and refugee charity

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Selling Space: Entrepreneurs Offer Dreams and Schemes in the Hope of Making a Buck Off the Cosmos

Source: Houston Press

Art Dula is the defendant in a $49 million fraud suit calling him a con artist with a warehouse full of antiquated space junk that was never meant to get off the ground.
Dula has allegedly created several shell companies under which he hid other people’s money. Investors were apparently convinced by his claims that he had acquired Russian space capsules which would be updated with Western technology and launched again. This is a fascinating and cautionary tale.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gun Control Would Not Have Prevented The Pulse Massacre in Orlando

Gun control would not have prevented the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Source: The Atlantic

Amar Mateen worked for G4S, the largest private security firm in the world and cleared four background checks, two with the company and two with the FBI.

Friday, April 29, 2016

John Kirby tried to deny Obama promised no “boots on the ground” in Syria

Source: The Intercept

State Department spokesperson John Kirby tried to deny that Obama had ever promised not to send “boots on the ground” there. The problem for Kirby was that Obama has repeated the promise at least 16 times since 2013

After reporters pointed out the mistake, Kirby tried to walk back his claim by defining the phrase “boots on the ground” to exclude special forces.

“I’m not disputing the fact that we have troops on the ground, and they’re wearing boots.”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Seven Dirty Words Supreme Court Ruling

While researching a ham radio project I found this court precident for words to flag and sensor.

Source: Wikipedia

George Carlin: cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, tits.

Lenny Bruce added: ass, balls

"To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts."

'shit', 'piss', 'fuck', 'cunt', 'asshole', and the phrases 'cock sucker', 'mother fucker', and 'ass hole'.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mass Surveillance Silences Minority Opinions According to Study

Government surveillance clearly represents a significant attack upon our freedom of speech. Dissenting opinions are critically necessary for healthy democracy.

Source: Washington Post

The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority. This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

... in the context of social media and the echo-chamber effect, in which we tailor our opinions to fit the online activity of our Facebook and Twitter friends. But this study adds a new layer by explicitly examining how government surveillance affects self-censorship.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Every RNC delegate is a Superdelegate

Source: Politico

On Friday, Haugland issued a new memo, insisting that he and all fellow RNC delegates can’t be bound under current rules. “That’s right. Every delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention is a completely free agent, free to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the convention in Cleveland in July,” he wrote. “Every delegate is a Superdelegate!”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bundyland - Two devout Mormon brothers have created a fantasy camp for commandos in Eastern Oregon.

Below are article excerpts that reveal more details about about how the Book of Mormon and the history of Mormonism have influenced and inspired the Bundys and others to occupy public lands and federal buildings in Oregon.

Source: Willamette Week

Bundy explaining his political system, called the five circles of authority, which laid out the power of local and federal governments under the authority of God.

Their ideology, a mash-up of radical Mormonism and militaristic fantasy, is a distillation of the frustration of people who've been marginalized by a world in which they do not fit. Like his brother, Ryan is a self-described devout member of the mainline Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Last week, he took part in private prayer sessions roughly every three hours—prayers led by Ammon.

"We pray mainly for safety, and deliverance," Ryan said. "Ammon's well-spoken, and very, very intelligent, so the men like when he leads us in [prayer]."

Their inspiration, Ryan Bundy said, comes straight from the Book of Mormon, specifically the story of Captain Moroni, a scriptural figure who rescues his people by raising a flag—called a "title of liberty"—against an evil force.

The Bundys are aware that the land they've seized appears to be part of old Mormon territory.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge lies at the northern boundary of the Mormon state of Deseret. LDS pioneers established Deseret in 1849, and church leaders, including Brigham Young, proposed its borders to Washington before accepting the smaller Utah Territory. Deseret was a vast space that extended into the land that is now southeastern Oregon—including a swath of Harney County.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

'No open carry' signs are likely to trigger next Texas gun debate

Source: Dallas Morning News

Business owners who want patrons to leave their weapons behind will have to post one new large sign and revise one they already have.

... regardless of what signs they post, will still be able to orally tell gun carriers they are not welcome. Sign specifications

Requirements for the signs that businesses must post if they want to bar the open carrying of handguns:

Must appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height.

— Must be in both English and Spanish.

— Must be displayed in a “conspicuous manner” at the property’s entrance.

— Must say: “Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly.