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R.I.P., GOP: How Trump Is Killing the Republican Party

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 21:57 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

There was a time in this country – and many voters in places like Indiana and Michigan and Pennsylvania are old enough to remember it – when business leaders felt a patriotic responsibility to protect American jobs and communities. Mitt Romney’s father, George, was such a leader, deeply concerned about the city of Detroit, where he built AMC cars.

But his son Mitt wasn’t. That sense of noblesse oblige disappeared somewhere during the past generation, when the newly global employer class cut regular working stiffs loose, forcing them to compete with billions of foreigners without rights or political power who would eat toxic waste for five cents a day.


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  1. “Then they hired politicians and intellectuals to sell the peasants in places like America on why this was the natural order of things. Unfortunately, the only people fit for this kind of work were mean, traitorous scum, the kind of people who in the military are always eventually bayoneted by their own troops. This is what happened to the Republicans, and even though the cost was a potential Trump presidency, man, was it something to watch.”

  2. I feel sick whenever politicians say American workers need more training to compete with farmers in China. I guess we need to learn how to survive on rice and grubs.

Mad Max: Fury Road vs Mad Max Trilogy

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 13:49 by John Sinteur in category: News


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EU’s top court: APIs can’t be copyrighted, would “monopolise ideas”

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 12:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that application programming interfaces (APIs) and other functional characteristics of computer software are not eligible for copyright protection. Users have the right to examine computer software in order to clone its functionality—and vendors cannot override these user rights with a license agreement, the court said.

The case focuses on the popular statistical package SAS. A firm called World Programming created a clone designed to run SAS scripts without modification. In order to do this, they bought a copy of SAS and studied its manual and the operation of the software itself. They reportedly did not have access to the source code, nor did they de-compile the software’s object code.

SAS sued, arguing that its copyright covered the design of the SAS scripting language, and that World Programming had violated the SAS licensing agreement in the process of cloning the software.

The EU’s highest court rejected these arguments. Computer code itself can be copyrighted, but functional characteristics—such as data formats and function names—cannot be. “To accept that the functionality of a computer program can be protected by copyright would amount to making it possible to monopolise ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development,” the court stated.

Perhaps we should get the EU Court to look at the Oracle vs Google case…


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How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 11:51 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did. He leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, collecting the phone calls and emails of virtually everyone on Earth who used a mobile phone or the internet. When this newspaper began publishing the NSA documents in June 2013, it ignited a fierce political debate that continues to this day – about government surveillance, but also about the morality, legality and civic value of whistleblowing.

But if you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you have to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.

Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored.

“The government spent many years trying to break me, and the more I resisted, the nastier they got,” Drake told me.

Drake’s story has since been told – and in fact, it had a profound impact on Snowden, who told an interviewer in 2015 that: “It’s fair to say that if there hadn’t been a Thomas Drake, there wouldn’t have been an Edward Snowden.”

But there is another man whose story has never been told before, who is speaking out publicly for the first time here. His name is John Crane, and he was a senior official in the Department of Defense who fought to provide fair treatment for whistleblowers such as Thomas Drake – until Crane himself was forced out of his job and became a whistleblower as well.

His testimony reveals a crucial new chapter in the Snowden story – and Crane’s failed battle to protect earlier whistleblowers should now make it very clear that Snowden had good reasons to go public with his revelations.


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Making History Sucks

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 11:49 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

I won a big FOIA victory, and all I got was this stupid police state.


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Uber knows when your phone is about to run out of battery

Posted on May 23rd, 2016 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Uber knows when the battery on your phone is running low – and that you are more likely to pay higher “surge” prices for a car as a result.

The taxi-hailing app captures a huge amount of data on all its users, and the company’s head of economic research Keith Chen has revealed how Uber uses that to inform its business strategy.

Speaking to NPR’s Hidden Brain programme, Mr Chen said the amount of battery users had left was “one of the strongest predictors of whether or not you are going to be sensitive to surge” – in other words, agree to pay 1.5 times, 2 times or more the normal cost of a journey.


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What kind of person is dumb enough to become a Scientologist?

Posted on May 21st, 2016 at 18:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Naturally his audience would laugh nervously at all of his speedfreak “jokes”, because if they didn’t chuckle at the Master’s unfunny remarks it meant that they weren’t “in” on something. You see how this sort of anxious dipshit groupthink might work? They were all so invested in not looking like fools that they became the biggest fools of all.


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Fox ‘Stole’ a Game Clip, Used it in Family Guy & DMCA’d the Original

Posted on May 21st, 2016 at 13:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Just when you think you’ve seen every ridiculous example of a bogus DMCA-style takedown, another steps up to take the crown. This week’s abomination comes courtesy of Fox and it’s an absolute disaster.

 


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Feel Me

Posted on May 19th, 2016 at 17:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

 

[Quote:]

Only recently has brain science fully grasped that skin and touch are as rich and paradoxical as any other part of our humanity. Touch is the unsung sense -the one that we depend on most and talk about least. We know the illusions that our eyes or ears can create. But our skin is capable of the same high ordering and the same deceptions. It is as though we lived within a five- or six-foot-tall eye, an immense, enclosing ear, with all an eye or ear’s illusions, blind spots, and habitual mistakes. We are so used to living within our skins that we allow them to introduce themselves as neutral envelopes, capable of excitation at the extremities (and at extreme moments), rather than as busy, body-sensing organs. We see our skins as hides hung around our inner life, when, in so many ways, they are the inner life, pushed outside.


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Politician claims porn tabs a malware experiment, then finds God

Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 23:25 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The Republican, who is vying for Virginia’s 8th district, posted a screenshot of his computer to his Facebook page about a call he had received from a staffing agency, but failed to check what other browser tabs he had open.


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Comments:

  1. Democrats = dick pics. Republicans = porn.

    Conclusion? Democrats are better endowed.

CIA ‘mistakenly’ destroys copy of 6,700-page US torture report

Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 23:05 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The CIA inspector general’s office has said it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a comprehensive Senate torture report, despite lawyers for the Justice Department assuring a federal judge that copies of the documents were being preserved.

The erasure of the document by the spy agency’s internal watchdog was deemed an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general, according to Yahoo News.

One intelligence community source told Yahoo News, which first reported the development, that last summer CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document.


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  1. Why do these top government agencies accidentally delete files when corporations have at least 2 to 3 backups of their data? Given that it is the government, I suppose this question is moot.

Cyanide & Happiness

Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 14:25 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]


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Charles Koch’s Disturbing High School Economics Project Teaches ‘Sacrificing Lives for Profits’

Posted on May 18th, 2016 at 11:36 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

“The charge that sways juries and offends public sensitivities … is that greedy corporations sacrifice human lives to increase their profits.Is this charge true? Of course it is. But this isn’t a criticism of corporations; rather it is a reflection of the proper functioning of a market economy. Corporations routinely sacrifice the lives of some of their customers to increase profits, and we are all better off because they do. That’s right, we are lucky to live in an economy that allows corporations to increase profits by intentionally selling products less safe than could be produced. The desirability of sacrificing lives for profits may not be as comforting as milk, cookies and a bedtime story, but it follows directly from a reality we cannot wish away.”


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Comments:

  1. Nasty.

Indefinite prison for suspect who won’t decrypt hard drives, feds say

Posted on May 17th, 2016 at 15:24 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

US federal prosecutors urged a federal appeals court late Monday to keep a child-porn suspect behind bars—where he already has been for seven months—until he unlocks two hard drives that the government claims contain kid smut.

The suspect, a Philadelphia police sergeant relieved of his duties, has refused to unlock two hard drives and has been in jail ever since a judge’s order seven months ago—and after being found in contempt of court. The defendant can remain locked up until a judge lifts the contempt order.

The government said Monday he should remain jailed indefinitely until he complies. The authorities also said that it’s not a violation of the man’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination because it’s a “foregone conclusion” that illegal porn is on the drives and that he is only being asked to unlock the drives, not divulge their passcodes.

“This is not a fishing expedition on the part of the government,” federal prosecutors told the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals of Philadelphia.

The suspect has not been charged with any child-porn related crimes

Not charged, but, yeah, foregone conclusion. Guilty until proven innocent. Ever notice how it’s always either child pornography or terrorism that these things are used?

“It’s not self-incrimination because we already know you’re guilty”. That’s a scary argument…


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Comments:

  1. What’s the statute of limitation for child-porn?

A priest….

Posted on May 17th, 2016 at 15:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

A well-known Catholic priest in Ireland — who was vocally homophobic in his sermons — has been outed for

You know where that’s going, no need to post even the full sentence.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Armagh confirmed to Irish News that Coyle is taking a temporary leave of absence, though the statement stopped short of explaining why

 


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Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism

Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 17:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

What does this rule change mean for you? In short, domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. FBI agents don’t need to have any “national security” related reason to plug your name, email address, phone number, or other “selector” into the NSA’s gargantuan data trove. They can simply poke around in your private information in the course of totally routine investigations. And if they find something that suggests, say, involvement in illegal drug activity, they can send that information to local or state police. That means information the NSA collects for purposes of so-called “national security” will be used by police to lock up ordinary Americans for routine crimes. And we don’t have to guess who’s going to suffer this unconstitutional indignity the most brutally. It’ll be Black, Brown, poor, immigrant, Muslim, and dissident Americans: the same people who are always targeted by law enforcement for extra “special” attention.


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  1. But will they be able to keep our restrooms safe?

ODDLY SATISFYING VIDEO COMPILATION

Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 12:16 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Updating a classic

Posted on May 16th, 2016 at 12:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In 1944, the Office of Strategic Services—the predecessor of the post-war CIA—was concerned with sabotage directed against enemies of the US military. Among their ephemera, declassified and published today by the CIA, is a fascinating document called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual (PDF). It’s not just about blowing things up; a lot of its tips are concerned with how sympathizers with the allied cause can impair enemy material production and morale

[..]

So it occured to me a week or two ago to ask (on twitter) the question, “what would a modern-day version of this manual look like if it was intended to sabotage a rival dot-com or high tech startup company”? And the obvious answer is “send your best bad managers over to join in admin roles and run their hapless enemy into the ground”. But what actual policies should they impose for best effect?


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  1. Encourage your executives to read airline magazines. They’ll soon find a new hot productivity improvement paradigm that they’re hire an expensive consulting company to implement…

Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area Exposed

Posted on May 15th, 2016 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

Jeff Harp, a KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent said, “They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment. I mean, there’s microphones that are planted in places that people don’t think about, because that’s the intent!”

FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures and at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse without a warrant to record conversations, between March 2010 and January 2011.

Federal authorities are trying to prove real estate investors in San Mateo and Alameda counties are guilty of bid rigging and fraud and used these recordings as evidence.

 

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

Frank Zappa


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MitM with sslsplit

Posted on May 13th, 2016 at 20:12 by John Sinteur in category: News

IMG_8507

 

I did a little experimenting with sslsplit and man-in-the-middle attacks.

What surprised me was the amount of OTHER traffic I saw on this stock Samsung tablet. The amount of tracking that is going on is insane.


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  1. Surprised? On an Android, unless you root and control each and every app, you are an open target. Even that is not fool proof. The default should be no access unless granted. Best to use a firewall on the device and know how to configure it.

Lego-Driven Robot Programmed To Hack Gesture-Based Security

Posted on May 12th, 2016 at 20:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

A DARPA-funded report titled “Robotic Robbery on the Touch Screen” published recently in the journal ACM Transactions on Information and System Security looks at gestural authentication through the eyes of a more sophisticated hacker. It presents two Lego-driven robotic attacks on a touch-based authentication system—one is based on gestural statistics collected over time from a large population of users and the other is based on stealing gestural data directly from a user. Both were pretty effective.

“Both attacks are launched by a Lego robot that is trained on how to swipe on the touch screen,” the paper explains. “Using seven verification algorithms and a large dataset of users, we show that the attacks cause the system’s mean false acceptance rate (FAR) to increase by up to fivefold relative to the mean FAR seen under the standard zero-effort impostor attack.”


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Live Taping of “The Axe Files” with Jon Stewart, hosted by David Axelrod

Posted on May 11th, 2016 at 23:28 by John Sinteur in category: News

If you have an hour… no wait. TAKE an hour.

 


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Exclusive: Technicians from SWIFT left Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers – police

Posted on May 10th, 2016 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Bangladesh’s central bank became more vulnerable to hackers when technicians from SWIFT, the global financial network, connected a new bank transaction system to SWIFT messaging three months before a $81 million cyber heist, Bangladeshi police and a bank official alleged.

The technicians introduced the vulnerabilities when they connected SWIFT to Bangladesh’s first real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, said Mohammad Shah Alam, the head of the criminal investigation department of the Bangladesh police who is leading the probe into one of the biggest cyber-heists in the world.

“We found a lot of loopholes,” Alam said in an interview in Dhaka. “The changes caused much more risk for Bangladesh Bank.”

He and a senior central bank official said the SWIFT employees made missteps in connecting the RTGS to the central bank’s messaging platform.

The technicians did not appear to have followed their own procedures to ensure the system was secure, according to the Bangladesh Bank official, who said he was not authorized to publicly comment because of the ongoing investigation.

 


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European Parliament Orders MEP To Take Down A Video About His Attempt To Visit The ‘Reading Room’ For Trade Documents

Posted on May 9th, 2016 at 17:19 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

It’s not exactly great filmmaking, but it does show how he has to give up his electronics and sign a document before entering the room (quickly, so as not to allow anyone to see what’s in there). And then he comes back out after being handed a document saying that it’s also against the law for him to copy down anything from the draft text verbatim. He expresses his concern about how ridiculous this is and is told to take it up with someone else, who then tells him that he should be happy that MEPs can even view the document at all within the EU Parliament, and that this is a “great achievement.”

This is, of course, already pretty ridiculous. And then it got more ridiculous because the European Parliament demanded that Flanagan take down the video, something he is refusing to do:

 

According to a news report, the EU Parliament claims it wants the video taken down to protect the name of a staffer, but Flanagan points out that staffer names are already public.

(video mirrored from youtube)


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Trump’s Putin Fantasy

Posted on May 8th, 2016 at 17:41 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Trump correctly says that Putin respects strength. But of course Putin prefers weakness, which is what Trump offers. As Putin understands perfectly well, the president of the United States has standing in Russia, and enjoys far superior power to the president of Russia, only insofar as he or she mobilizes the moral and political resources of a rule-of-law state. It is precisely Trump’s pose of strength that reveals his crucial vulnerability. As anyone familiar with Russian politics understands, an American president who shuns alliances with fellow democracies, praises dictators, and prefers “deals” to the rule of law would be a very easy mark in Moscow. It is unclear how much money Trump has, but it is not enough to matter in Russia. If he keeps up his pose as the tough billionaire, he will be flattered by the Russian media, scorned by those who matter in Russia, and then easily crushed by men far richer and smarter than he.

Putin has been accordingly circumspect in his return of Trump’s wooing. For him Trump is a small man who might gain great power. The trick is to manipulate the small man and thereby neutralize the great power. In his annual press conference last December, after hearing six months of praise from Trump, Putin said that he welcomed Trump’s idea of placing US-Russian relations on a more solid basis, and characterized Trump as “flamboyant, talented, without a doubt”. It is hard to miss the ambiguity of “flamboyant”, but Trump chose to miss it.

The next day Trump seemed pleased. Perhaps having been misadvised about what Putin actually said, Trump said that, “When people call you brilliant it’s always good”. After suggesting that killing journalists was normal, he concluded warmly that “I’ve always felt fine about Putin, I think that, you know, he’s a strong leader, he’s a powerful leader, he’s represented his country”. Not long after that, Trump defended Putin from the official British inquiry into the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. Trump’s reasoning was that Putin “said he didn’t do it”. In March Trump said that Putin was a stronger leader than the president of the United States. For a crumb of praise from Putin, Trump has presented criminality as normal and sold out his own head of state.


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Panama Papers source: ‘Several major media outlets’ turned down leaks

Posted on May 7th, 2016 at 10:26 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Intriguingly, the source hinted that prominent media outlets were approached and offered the trove of data before Süddeutsche Zeitung and the ICIJ, but turned it down. (We’ve written here about how the leak to Süddeutsche Zeitung happened.) Wikileaks, too, apparently showed no interest.

“The media has failed,” the source said. “Many news networks are cartoonish parodies of their former selves, individual billionaires appear to have taken up newspaper ownership as a hobby, limiting coverage of serious matters concerning the wealthy, and serious investigative journalists lack funding.”

“The impact is real: in addition to Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ, and despite explicit claims to the contrary, several major media outlets did have editors review documents from the Panama Papers. They chose not to cover them.

“The sad truth is that among the most prominent and capable media organizations in the world there was not a single one interested in reporting on the story. Even Wikileaks didn’t answer its tip line repeatedly.”


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Comments:

  1. The mainstream media have almost always been rich people’s toys. Didn’t anyone realize that Citizen Kane was reality-based?

Hillary’s latest email lie didn’t even last a week

Posted on May 7th, 2016 at 10:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked her outright: “Have you been contacted — or your representatives contacted — by the FBI to set up an interview” over her e-mail mess?

Clinton gave a flat “no.”

Two days later, news broke that the FBI has already interviewed Clinton’s closest confidant, Huma Abedin, and other top aides. And officials close to the probe say Hillary’s to be interviewed in the next few weeks — which means she’s surely been contacted.

Not technically a lie, because they contacted her team of lawyers, and not her representatives. Nita Lowey (D) is the Representative for New York’s 17th district. I highly doubt the FBI is contacting her. And Huma is more like a close friend than a representative, so she doesn’t count. Or the FBI didn’t contact anyone, just a person working with the FBI.

Or maybe it depends upon what the meaning of the word “is” is.


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The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time | TIME

Posted on May 7th, 2016 at 8:28 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Think of the gear you can’t live without: The smartphone you constantly check. The camera that goes with you on every vacation. The TV that serves as a portal to binge-watching and -gaming. Each owes its influence to one model that changed the course of technology for good.

It’s those devices we’re recognizing in this list of the 50 most influential gadgets of all time.

 

A good list to have long arguments over with a pint of beer in hand…


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Comments:

  1. I agree, but far too many trivial things. Where is the electric drill, the chainsaw, the blender, the hair dryer 🙂

 I have the destructive force of 3651.6 megatons

Posted on May 6th, 2016 at 20:47 by John Sinteur in category: News

So be warned.


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Comments:

  1. I once calculated the danger in a Snicker’s bar. In pure calories, it’s just 280kcal. But in atomic power? It’s 1.3 x 1012kcal. You can check my math at https://www.fogbound.net/archives/2005/07/17/ban-snickers-bars/

  2. OOh. that didn’t format right. 1.3 x 10 ^ 12 is what I meant.

Boaty McBoatface to Bear David Attenborough’s Name, and the Web Pouts

Posted on May 6th, 2016 at 20:09 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Under ordinary circumstances, naming a polar research ship after the naturalist David Attenborough would have made perfect sense.

But these were not ordinary circumstances, because in announcing on Friday that the vessel would carry Mr. Attenborough’s name, the Science Ministry in Britain chose to disregard the opinion of the 124,000 people who voted for a different name in an online poll: Boaty McBoatface.

[..]

If the people’s will was ignored, their voice was heard: The name Boaty McBoatface will live on as a high-tech remotely operated submarine that will collect data and samples.

“We’re ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew,” Mr. Johnson said.


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