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Intelligence ties between UK and US in jeopardy

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 22:58 by John Sinteur in category: News


Intelligence ties between London and Washington have been jeopardized by a British court’s disclosure that a terrorism suspect was beaten and shackled in U.S. custody, diplomats and security officials said Wednesday.

Fears in the United States that Britain can no longer be trusted with secrets is prompting an urgent assessment of relations between the allies and – according to some sources – has already slowed the flow of sensitive information from the U.S.

So the UK can’t be trusted with US secrets and US can’t be trusted with detainees. Sounds like they’re made for each other.

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Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 21:41 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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New Poll Shows Support for Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 18:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


As the Obama administration proposes repealing the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that a majority of the public support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

There’s less support, however, for allowing homosexuals to serve openly.


The results highlight the importance of wording on the issue. In a test, half of the poll’s respondents were asked their opinion on permitting “gay men and lesbians” to serve, and the other half were asked about permitting “homosexuals” to serve.

The wording of the question proved to make a difference. Seven in 10 respondents said they favor allowing “gay men and lesbians” to serve in the military, including nearly 6 in 10 who said they should be allowed to serve openly. But support was somewhat lower among those who were asked about allowing “homosexuals” to serve, with 59 percent in favor, including 44 percent who support allowing them to serve openly.

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NASA Scientists Plan To Approach Girl By 2018  | The Onion

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 18:49 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

NASA Scientists Plan To Approach Girl By 2018 

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Remember This The Next Time You Talk To The Banks…

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 18:00 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

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  1. I hope Obama sees this one.

Colbert Follows Fox News’ Example On Climate Change: ‘It Is Dark Outside’ So ‘We Can Only Assume The Sun Has Been Destroyed’

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 17:26 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
We’re Off to See the Blizzard
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Skate Expectations
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Unusually Large Snowstorm
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

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Michael Pollan on Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 17:19 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself

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Bank of America forecloses on house that couple had paid cash for

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 17:00 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Charlie and Maria Cardoso are among the millions of Americans who have experienced the misery and embarrassment that come with home foreclosure.

Just one problem: The Massachusetts couple paid for their future retirement home in Spring Hill with cash in 2005, five years before agents for Bank of America seized the house, removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors, according to a lawsuit the couple have filed in federal court.

Early last month, Charlie Cardoso had to drive to Florida to get his home back, the complaint filed in Massachusetts on Jan. 20 states.

The bank had an incorrect address on foreclosure documents — the house it meant to seize is across the street and about 10 doors down — but the Cardosos and a Realtor employed by Bank of America were unable to convince the company that it had the wrong house, the suit states.

Isn’t trespass something you go to jail for? Why aren’t these bankers behind bars?

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Chip and PIN

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 12:32 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

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Chip and PIN

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 12:29 by John Sinteur in category: Security


Mark Bowerman, spokesman for UK Payments Administration, acknowledged the Cambridge researchers’ paper, but rejected their conclusions.

“We are taking this paper very seriously, as maintaining excellent levels of card security is paramount,” he said. “However, we strongly refute the allegation that chip and PIN is broken.”

Really? You don’t call this broken? What planet do you live on?

What can we do as customers to protect ourselves from our banks?

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Chip-and-PIN is broken

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 9:51 by John Sinteur in category: Security


The flaw is that when you put a card into a terminal, a negotiation takes place about how the cardholder should be authenticated: using a PIN, using a signature or not at all. This particular subprotocol is not authenticated, so you can trick the card into thinking it’s doing a chip-and-signature transaction while the terminal thinks it’s chip-and-PIN. The upshot is that you can buy stuff using a stolen card and a PIN of 0000 (or anything you want). We did so, on camera, using various journalists’ cards. The transactions went through fine and the receipts say “Verified by PIN”.

It’s no surprise to us or bankers that this attack works offline (when the merchant cannot contact the bank) — in fact Steven blogged about it here last August.

But the real shocker is that it works online too: even when the bank authorisation system has all the transaction data sent back to it for verification. The reason why it works can be quite subtle and convoluted: bank authorisation systems are complex beasts, including cryptographic checks, account checks, database checks, and interfaces with fraud detection systems which might apply a points-scoring system to the output of all the above. In theory all the data you need to spot the wedge attack will be present, but in practice? And most of all, how can you spot it if you’re not even looking? The banks didn’t even realise they needed to check.

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New National Security Distraction: Arabic Language Students

Posted on February 12th, 2010 at 8:37 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Security


Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nick George, a Pomona College student who was detained and aggressively interrogated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities, by the FBI and by Pennsylvania police when he tried to board a plane carrying Arabic language flash cards.

You heard right: Not liquids, not matches, not a bomb. Flash cards.

George, a physics major who’s studying Arabic, was pulled aside for secondary screening at the Philadelphia International Airport as he tried to go through security. When he emptied his pockets, the inspector saw his flash cards and he was arrested, handcuffed, locked in a cell for hours and aggressively questioned. Because of some flash cards.

The following exchange took place between George and a TSA supervisor who questioned him:

TSA Supervisor: You know who did 9/11?

George: Osama bin Laden.
TSA Supervisor: Do you know what language he spoke?
George: Arabic.

At that point, the TSA supervisor held up George’s flash cards—which had words such as “to smile” and “funny” and on them—and said: “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?”

Ah, the smoking gun.

Nobody had better tell the TSA about Arabic numerals.

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