People across San Diego are mourning the death of 13-year-old Jose Montaño. The South Bay student died Sunday morning after battling a rare form of brain cancer for three years.
“It’s been almost like a movie, like surreal, pinch me, I think I’m asleep,” said his father, Jose Montaño Sr., from their home near Imperial Beach on Monday evening.
Jose touched the community with his selfless acts. Two years ago, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he had a playground built for his school.
When he was undergoing chemotherapy, he walked around Rady Children’s Hospital with a wagon, giving out snacks to patients and their families.
“We always say, you know, help others and love thy neighbor and all those things, but he was just natural. He was just born that way,” said Montaño.
Suddenly it’s dusty in here…
A routine inventory at the prestigious French research body Institut Pasteur in Paris revealed it has lost some 2,300 tubes containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus.
“I suspect that over the past eight months, many companies have taken a real hard look at their existing policies about tipping off the U.S. government,” he said. “That’s the price you pay when you’re acting like an out-of-control offensive adversary.”
On Sunday, a man shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he shot and killed a third person. Police arrested a suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, who shouted “Heil Hitler” after he was taken into custody.
Cross, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a well-known right wing extremist who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Now let’s do the thought experiment in which instead of shouting “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Only two days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, this simple switch of words would surely have greatly increased the extent and type of coverage the incident received.
Yet the death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)
In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).
By contrast, terrorists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 23 people in the United States since 9/11.
In case you’ve somehow missed this latest round of Internet idiocy, here’s what went down: Sunday night, a Dutch teenager identified only as “Sarah” infamously tweeted a threat at American Airlines. (“hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye,” she wrote. Hilarious!) She then promptly made the account private and insisted it was all a joke — “I’m so stupid, I’m scared,” she wrote at one point — but not before American reported her name and IP address to authorities, leading to her arrest in Rotterdam on Monday.
You’d think that would warn off other pranksters, but the opposite has actually been true. In fact, at least a dozen other people have threatened American or, oddly, Southwest, an unrelated airline, under the guise of a “prank” or “joke.”
In April last year, East Timor instituted arbitral proceedings against Australia at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’) in relation to a dispute arising under the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (‘CMATS Treaty’). Timor Leste (as East Timor is formally known) alleges that the CMATS Treaty is invalid because Australia engaged in espionage in the course of negotiating the Treaty. As noted by Matthew Happold in an earlier EJIL:talk! post, Timor Leste has also initiated proceedings against Australia the International Court of Justice in respect of the seizure of documents by Australian authorities from the offices of the Australian lawyer who is acting for Timor Leste in the PCA arbitration. Indeed, the ICJ is holding hearings, this week, on Timor Leste’s request for provisional measures that will require Australia to give up to the custody of the Court all documents and data seized by Australia pending disposal of the ICJ case and to give assurances that ‘it will not intercept or cause or request the interception of communications between Timor-Leste and its legal advisers’.
The details of the arbitration before the PCA have not been made public, so it is difficult to form any clear assessment of the precise international law issues that arise. However, from public statements and media reports, it seems that Timor Leste is alleging that the CMATS is invalid because “Australia did not conduct the CMATS negotiations in 2004 in good faith by engaging in espionage”. According to the lawyer for Timor Leste, during the negotiations for the CMATS Treaty, Australian intelligence services inserted listening devices into the wall of Timor-Leste’s negotiating room under the guise of an Australian aid program concerning renovation and construction of cabinet offices. The lawyer for Timor-Leste has likened the behaviour of the Australian intelligence services to insider trading. The PCA case is particularly interesting as it might be the first case in which a state seeks invalidity of a treaty on the ground that the other treaty party acted fraudulently in the negotiation of the treaty. The case raises the question whether states not only have an obligation to negotiate treaties in good faith but whether breach of the obligation to negotiate in good faith amounts to a ground for invalidity of a treaty.
So, any country looking for an out in any treaty with the USA, the NSA behavior is an easy way…
The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the prestigious public-service medal for a series of stories that exposed the National Security Agency’s massive global surveillance programs.
A team of 28 Post journalists, led by reporter Barton Gellman, shared the public-service award with the British-based Guardian newspaper, which also reported extensively about the NSA’s secret programs. Both Gellman and Glenn Greenwald, then the Guardian’s lead reporter on the NSA pieces, based their articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who has fled to exile in Russia, lending a controversial edge to this year’s awards.
Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of π and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do?
If ever you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be glad of the work of Vincent Dumoulin and Félix Thouin at the Université de Montréal in Canada. These guys have worked out how to calculate an approximate value of π using the distribution of pellets from a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, which they assume would be widely available in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
It’s a rather unusual museum.
All it has on display is a few pebbles of glass, a chunk of concrete about the size of a milking stool and a dilapidated, abandoned ranch house.
This museum is open to the public only 12 hours a year – 6 in spring; 6 in autumn. Admission is free, if you’re willing to drive out into New Mexico’s vast, barren and beautiful Jornada del Muerta Desert.
It’s called Trinity Site. It made a lasting impact on our entire world. It’s where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated.
The pebbles of glass on display used to be sand pebbles, but were baked into glass when sucked up into the massive fire ball that lit up this dark desert at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945.
Visitors are permitted at this earth-shattering site between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October. There’s no guide, no speeches, no ceremony, but some photos hang on the steel mesh fence topped with barbed wire circling ground zero.
A military security guard will issue you an information pamphlet after checking your photo identification 27 kilometres from the site.
Meanwhile, the FBI fiercely resists any efforts at Congressional oversight, especially on whistleblower matters. For example, four months ago I sent a letter to the FBI requesting its training materials on the Insider Threat Program. This program was announced by the Obama Administration in October 2011. It was intended to train federal employees to watch out for insider threats among their colleagues. Public news reports indicated that this program might not do enough to distinguish between true insider threats and legitimate whistleblowers. I relayed these concerns in my letter. I also asked for copies of the training materials. I said I wanted to examine whether they adequately distinguished between insider threats and whistleblowers.
In response, an FBI legislative affairs official told my staff that a briefing might be the best way to answer my questions. It was scheduled for last week. Staff for both Chairman Leahy and I attended, and the FBI brought the head of their Insider Threat Program. Yet the FBI didn’t bring the Insider Threat training materials as we had requested. However, the head of the Insider Threat Program told the staff that there was no need to worry about whistleblower communications. He said whistleblowers had to register in order to be protected, and the Insider Threat Program would know to just avoid those people.
Now I have never heard of whistleblowers being required to “register” in order to be protected. The idea of such a requirement should be pretty alarming to all Americans. Sometimes confidentiality is the best protection a whistleblower has. Unfortunately, neither my staff nor Chairman Leahy’s staff was able to learn more, because only about ten minutes into the briefing, the FBI abruptly walked out. FBI officials simply refused to discuss any whistleblower implications in its Insider Threat Program and left the room. These are clearly not the actions of an agency that is genuinely open to whistleblowers or whistleblower protection.
In the first partial results from Afghanistan’s Afghanistan’s presidential election, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has emerged as the early leader, but he is far from crossing the 50 percent vote threshold needed to win outright, according to the country’s election commission.
A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.
The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.
Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.
The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.
“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”
That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.
I’d give him some water, but he’d probably only turn it into wine.
A novice asked of master Bawan: “Say something about the Heartbleed Bug.”
Said Bawan: “Chiuyin, the Governor’s treasurer, is blind as an earthworm. A thief may give him a coin of tin, claim that it is silver and receive change. When the treasury is empty, which man is the villain? Speak right and I will spare you all blows for one week. Speak wrong and my staff will fly!”
The novice thought: if I say the thief, Bawan will surely strike me, for it is the treasurer who doles out the coins. But if I say the treasurer he will also strike me, for it is the thief who takes advantage of the situation.
When the pause grew too long, Bawan raised his staff high. Suddenly enlightened, the novice cried out: “The Governor! For who else made this blind man his treasurer?”
Bawan lowered his staff. “And who is the Governor?”
Said the novice: “All who might have cried out ‘this man is blind!’ but failed to notice, or even to examine him.”
Bawan nodded. “This is the first lesson. Too easily we praise Open Source, saying smugly to each other, ‘under ten thousand eyeballs, every bug is laid bare’. Yet when the ten thousand avert their gaze, they are no more useful than the blind man. And now that I have spared you all blows for one week, stand at ease and tell me: what is the second lesson?”
Said the novice: “Surely, I have no idea.”
Bawan promptly struck the novice’s skull with his staff. The boy fell to the floor, unconscious.
As he stepped over the prone body, Bawan remarked: “Code as if everyone is the thief.”
Four years ago Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, abruptly canceled America’s biggest and arguably most important infrastructure project, a desperately needed new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Count me among those who blame his presidential ambitions, and believe that he was trying to curry favor with the government- and public-transit-hating Republican base.
Even as one tunnel was being canceled, however, another was nearing completion, as Spread Networks finished boring its way through the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Spread’s tunnel was not, however, intended to carry passengers, or even freight; it was for a fiber-optic cable that would shave three milliseconds — three-thousandths of a second — off communication time between the futures markets of Chicago and the stock markets of New York. And the fact that this tunnel was built while the rail tunnel wasn’t tells you a lot about what’s wrong with America today.
Who cares about three milliseconds? The answer is, high-frequency traders, who make money by buying or selling stock a tiny fraction of a second faster than other players. Not surprisingly, Michael Lewis starts his best-selling new book “Flash Boys,” a polemic against high-frequency trading, with the story of the Spread Networks tunnel. But the real moral of the tunnel tale is independent of Mr. Lewis’s polemic.
Think about it. You may or may not buy Mr. Lewis’s depiction of the high-frequency types as villains and those trying to thwart them as heroes. (If you ask me, there are no good guys in this story.) But either way, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to save three milliseconds looks like a huge waste. And that’s part of a much broader picture, in which society is devoting an ever-growing share of its resources to financial wheeling and dealing, while getting little or nothing in return.
Nahshon Shelton didn’t want to pay the 22-cent tax on his $1.79 two-liter of Pepsi on Saturday afternoon, Chicago Police said.
So he allegedly pulled a blue-steel Intratec .22-caliber submachine gun out of his Gucci satchel inside the convenience store in the 4000 block of West Madison Street where they tried to make him pay it — and he threatened to kill everyone there, a prosecutor said.
This “is my neighborhood, I’m tax exempt!” he would later allegedly tell the cops. “Man, you know what, I’ll keep it real. I had to put them in their place.”
Instead of droning on about our hallowed democracy to parties of visitors who can smell the bullshit from the age of eight, Westminster guides should be administered with a truth serum before taking tours. “There is a bafflingly important but unattractive man who didn’t get laid until he was 35,” they might point out, “and there’s the researcher who has never worked anywhere normal and is going to have his hand on her leg at 9.32pm tonight. And over there is someone whose Louis Quatorze patio furniture you paid for.”
In the end, the overwhelming sense of Westminster the public now has is one of entitlement, so it’s no surprise to find that it is sexual as well as financial.
China and Afghanistan share a border. The Wakhan Corridor, a slender panhandle only 40 miles wide, reaches between Tajikistan and Pakistan to touch Afghanistan’s eastern border.
Because China does not use conventional time zones, that border requires the greatest time change of any international frontier — travelers must reset their watches by 3.5 hours.
Accurate maps are crucial to pinpointing the source of the Ebola virus and preventing it from spreading. But the only maps in Guinea were topographic charts – useless for understanding population distribution. Desperate for information, they enlisted an online army to help.
MSF asked a digital mapping organisation called Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to build them a map of Guéckédou, a city of around 250,000 people in southern Guinea, where the outbreak is concentrated.
As of 31 March, online maps of Guéckédou were virtually non-existent, says Sylvie de Laborderie of cartONG, a mapping NGO that is working with MSF to coordinate the effort with HOT. “The map showed two roads maybe – nothing, nothing.”
Within 12 hours of contacting the online group, Guéckédou’s digital maps had exploded into life. Nearly 200 volunteers from around the world added 100,000 buildings based on satellite imagery of the area, including other nearby population centres. “It was amazing, incredible. I have no words to describe it. In less than 20 hours they mapped three cities,” says de Laborderie.
Women who have sex before marriage should be hanged, says senior politician in India’s Socialist Party
Mulayam Singh Yadav, the head of India’s Socialist (Samajwadi) Party, said he would get rid of a recently introduced law that handed death sentences to repeat rape offenders, because it was not uncommon “for boys to make mistakes”.
Referring to a recent case from Mumbai in which three men were sentenced to death for carrying out two gang rapes, Mr Yadav told an election rally that rape happens because women lead men on.
“Boys will be boys. Following a girl-boy fight, the girl complains she was raped,” he said.
“The solution is this: any woman, whether married or unmarried, who goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.”
(while he wears a silk tie, cotton shirt and wool jacket)
And the bible is on the wrong side of morality, equality, math, science, logic, consistency, and the very basics of strory-telling.
CEOs make easy targets for politicians eager to be seen as populist champions. Last year, average total compensation for Canada’s 100 highest-paid corporate CEOs was $7.9 million. That’s 171 times more than the average pay of their workforces. (The U.S. figure is 354 times. In Britain it is 133 times.)
Fairness and common sense dictate that no man or woman is “worth” 171 times the value of those in the front lines, where the day-to-day work gets done.
Nor is it explainable that in the 1980s, when Nortel Networks Corp. was pioneering the fibre optics that are the backbone of today’s Internet and Magna International Inc. was placing the bets that would make it the world’s third-largest auto-parts maker, the pay ratio was about 20 to 1.
Have CEOs become 151 times smarter since then? Consider the tragedies of Lac Megantic and the oil-spill catastrophe wrought by BP PLC in the Gulf of Mexico, the implosion of Wall Street that triggered the Great Recession or the demise of Nortel through chronic incompetence and the answer is obvious.
This is cartel-like behaviour by a class of executives, in my opinion.
Student: “Bullies are attacking me”.
Principal: “You’re just making stuff up with no proof”.
Student: “I have video that I secretly recorded of them bullying me”.
Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no?
Alas, no… (pdf)
The Heartbleed announcement should be taught in Technical Writing courses.
Note that not all code, even in the same project, is equally exposed. It’s tempting to say it’s a needle in a haystack. But I promise you this: Anybody patches Linux/net/ipv4/tcp_input.c (which handles inbound network for Linux), a hundred alerts are fired and many of them are not to individuals anyone would call friendly. One guy, one night, patched OpenSSL. Not enough defenders noticed, and it took Neel Mehta to do something.
We fix that, or this happens again. And again. And again.
No more accidental finds. The stakes are just too high.
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