The daily irrelevant si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:13:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:13:09 +0000 [Quote:]

Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version.

Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras, mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price.

One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday.

The second hard-coded password is for the root account that could be used to take full control of the camera over Telnet. The researchers established that the password is static based on its cryptographic hash and, while they haven’t actually cracked it, they believe it’s only a matter of time until someone does.

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Most dangerous GoPro Footage – captured in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:26:42 +0000

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Mobsters ran a fake U.S. Embassy in Ghana for 10 years, flying the flag and issuing visas for $6,000 Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:15:30 +0000 [Quote:]

For a decade, an American flag flew outside a battered pink building in Ghana’s capital city, welcoming out-of-town visitors who, once inside, found a photo of President Obama hanging on the wall. Signs confirmed to travelers — who had been bused in from the most remote parts of West Africa — that they had arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Accra.

The “consular officers” working there were not Americans, but they spoke English and Dutch and issued official-looking visas and identification papers. They charged their customers $6,000.

Billboards and fliers advertised the official services.

But there was nothing official about them. The real U.S. Embassy in Accra is white, not pink, and it sits on a large piece of land inside security fences in one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

The battered building with the flag and Obama picture was a fake — ran by Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings and a Ghanaian lawyer practicing immigration and criminal law, the State Department said in a statement.

“For about a decade it operated unhindered,” the statement said. “The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored.”

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US elections: broken machines could throw Michigan recount into chaos Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:47:55 +0000 [Quote:]

Broken polling machines may have put vote counts in question in more than half of Detroit’s precincts and nearly one-third of surrounding Wayne County, possibly throwing the Michigan recount into chaos.

If the discrepancies can’t be solved by recounting every paper ballot in question by hand, a recount in those precincts simply won’t happen.

Even the average banana republic has a better vote counting system than the US has…

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Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:51:46 +0000 [Quote:]

At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further.

In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades.

That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases.

It’s this concern that the new study validates. “Our analysis provides empirical support for the long-held concern that rising temperatures stimulate the loss of soil C to the atmosphere, driving a positive land C–climate feedback that could accelerate planetary warming over the twenty-first century,” the paper reports.

This, in turn, may mean that even humans’ best efforts to cut their emissions could fall short, simply because there’s another source of emissions all around us. The very Earth itself.

*shrug* Ah well, we had a good run1.



1 we did not actually have a good run

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Google, democracy and the truth about internet search Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:33:06 +0000 [Quote:]

Last week Jonathan Albright, an assistant professor of communications at Elon University in North Carolina, published the first detailed research on how rightwing websites had spread their message. “I took a list of these fake news sites that was circulating, I had an initial list of 306 of them and I used a tool – like the one Google uses – to scrape them for links and then I mapped them. So I looked at where the links went – into YouTube and Facebook, and between each other, millions of them… and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“They have created a web that is bleeding through on to our web. This isn’t a conspiracy. There isn’t one person who’s created this. It’s a vast system of hundreds of different sites that are using all the same tricks that all websites use. They’re sending out thousands of links to other sites and together this has created a vast satellite system of rightwing news and propaganda that has completely surrounded the mainstream media system.

He found 23,000 pages and 1.3m hyperlinks. “And Facebook is just the amplification device. When you look at it in 3D, it actually looks like a virus. And Facebook was just one of the hosts for the virus that helps it spread faster. You can see the New York Times in there and the Washington Post and then you can see how there’s a vast, vast network surrounding them. The best way of describing it is as an ecosystem. This really goes way beyond individual sites or individual stories. What this map shows is the distribution network and you can see that it’s surrounding and actually choking the mainstream news ecosystem.”

Like a cancer? “Like an organism that is growing and getting stronger all the time.”

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Euro Patent Office prez ‘a disgrace to France’ Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:43:00 +0000 [Quote:]

President of the European Patent Office (EPO) Benoit Battistelli is a disgrace to his country, the French National Assembly heard Wednesday.

“La présence du Français Benoît Battistelli à la tête de l’Office nuit aujourd’hui gravement à l’image de notre pays,” stated MP Philip Cordery in an address to the secretary of state for industry, Christophe Sirugue.

The extraordinary personal attack comes as a number of politicians, media organizations and staff unions across Europe have joined a growing chorus of criticism against the civil servant for continued attacks on his own workers.

For over a year, Battistelli has held several key members of the EPO staff union in disciplinary hearings and on restricted pay, claiming that they had been intimidating other employees. Last month, he took the momentous decision to fire the union’s former secretary, Laurent Prunier, despite an explicit resolution of the EPO’s governing Administrative Council telling him not to do so.

Those outside EPO senior management claim Battistelli’s accusations are baseless, that the disciplinary procedures are a sham and the staff are being targeted for resisting Battistelli’s reform efforts, many of which give him greater personal power over the international organization.

Support for that perspective came this week from the International Labour Organization Administration Tribunal (ILO-AT), which reviewed two EPO decisions to deny challenges to disciplinary hearings ordered by the president.

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Satanic Temple Says Texas’s New Rules on Fetal Burial Violate Their Religious Freedom Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:12:28 +0000 [Quote:]

In December, Texas will impose new rules requiring all fetal remains to be buried or cremated, a sneaky way to impede abortion access and make patients feel just a little worse, all at the same time. The Satanic Temple, the nation’s best and foremost trolls, declared today that under federal religious freedom laws, their members must be granted immunity from the new rules.


“Texas health officials are baldly imposing the view that the fetal tissue is elevated to personhood—a religious opinion that conflicts with our own,” Greaves is quoted as saying. “If Texas is going to treat the disposal of fetal tissue differently from the disposal of any other biological material, in contradiction to our own religious beliefs, they need to present a compelling state interest for doing so. Of course, there is no such state interest, and it’s perfectly clear the demand for fetal tissue burial is a punitive measure imposed by sadistic theocrats. It’s clear these officials deem harassment an acceptable form of pushing their misguided religious agendas.”

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Mnuchin’s former bank comes under scrutiny Thu, 01 Dec 2016 19:33:39 +0000 [Quote:]

The foreclosure practices of Steve Mnuchin’s former bank, OneWest, are coming under scrutiny now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected him for Treasury secretary.

Mnuchin and his business partners at OneWest bought the remains of the failed mortgage lender IndyMac in 2009, during the height of the housing crash. IndyMac had been shut down by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for giving out high risk mortgage loans, Politico reports.


One of the cases involved the bank filing a foreclosure on the Lakeland, Fla. home of a 90-year-old Ossie Lofton in 2014, Politico reports.

Lofton, who had taken a reverse mortgage at the time, was billed for $423.30 by the bank after some initial confusion over insurance coverage, the news outlet reported. Lofton sent a check for $423.00, coming 30 cents short of the billed amount.

When the bank sent the Florida woman another bill for 30 cents, Lofton accidentally sent a check for three cents, which resulted in the bank filing for foreclosure in November, according to the report.

The foreclosure was contested by Florida Rural Legal Services, which asked for a jury trial last month.

Lynn Drysdale, the attorney representing Lofton, called the bank’s actions “criminal.”


While Mnuchin’s nomination for Treasury has been criticized on the left, it has been met with praise in other quarters. Industry groups and Republican lawmakers have hailed his private sector experience, calling him a perfect choice to help implement Trump’s agenda.


“It was a disaster dealing with those people,” Rex Shaffer says. “We’d have a different person every time we called in.” He counted 33 OneWest employees, in all, and each one would give him “a different story.”

Facing threats that their home would be auctioned off, the Schaffers finally got through to a OneWest vice president. According to Rex Shaffer, the VP said, “I’m going to get you a 60-day extension on the sale date, so we can work this thing out.” That was on Feb. 17, 2011. But the next day, the Schaffers’ house was sold without their knowledge. “We didn’t even know it — didn’t have the faintest idea,” Rex Shaffer says.

They voted for Donald Trump, but Rose Schaffer says they’re praying he doesn’t choose Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary. “If he can’t run his own little bank,” she asks, “how can he handle a large thing for the United States?”

Drain the swamp… so your rich friends can build a pool to swim in…

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Donald Trump’s Reckless Phone Call With Pakistan’s Leader Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:15:17 +0000 [Quote:]

There are few foreign policy topics quite as complicated as the relationship between India and Pakistan, South Asia’s nuclear-armed nemeses. Any world leader approaching the issue even obliquely must surely see the “Handle With Care” label from miles away, given the possibility of nuclear conflict.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, however, doesn’t seem to have read the memo, injecting a pronounced element of uncertainty about the position of the world’s only remaining superpower on this most complex of subjects in a call with the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


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How to Hide $400 Million Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:28:22 +0000 [Quote:]

A few weeks after she realized her husband was finally leaving her, Sarah Pursglove flew down to the Bahamas to figure out how much money he really had. Like many women married to very wealthy men, she didn’t know much about the family accounts. Her husband, a Finnish entrepreneur named Robert Oesterlund, had sworn to a Canadian court that his immediately calculable “net family property” totaled just a few million dollars. Pursglove was skeptical. She could come up with several family purchases worth more than that off the top of her head. There was the 165-foot yacht, Déjà Vu — that cost a few million dollars a year just to keep on the water. There was the $30 million penthouse at the Toronto Four Seasons, which was still being renovated. It wasn’t their only home. The Déjà Vu wasn’t even their only yacht.

It’s interesting that, other than Switzerland and Luxembourg, almost all of the offshore tax havens are protectorates of either the UK or the US. But leaders in the UK and the US can do nothing about them, sorry, it’s just an impossible problem to deal with, we have no idea how these rogue entities keep their good standing in the world financial system and there’s no possible way we can cut off financial relationships with them, it’s just not possible, hey look over there.

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Judge who told alleged rape victim to ‘keep her knees together’ should lose his job, committee recommends Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:12:05 +0000 [Quote:]

A judicial committee is calling for the removal of a Canadian judge who asked an alleged rape victim why she could not “keep her knees together”.

Justice Robin Camp’s comments, including that “pain and sex sometimes go together“ in a 2014 rape trial, were strongly condemned by sexual assault victims and advocates.

Alberta’s minister of justice complained to the national judicial council.

Mr Camp acquitted the accused, but the verdict was overturned and a new rape trail was ordered. The verdict is expected in January.

The committee called for an inquiry into the controversial comments towards the 19-year-old plaintiff, who Mr Camp mistakenly referred to as “the accused” several times during the trial.

She was allegedly raped on a bathroom sink, and he had told her that she could have prevented her attack “by sinking her bottom down into the basin”.

He should have kept his lips together. Maybe if he sinks his bottom into the bench, he won’t be removed from it.

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UK-NL Cyber security showcase Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:51:01 +0000 img_9626

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Despotism (1946) Sun, 27 Nov 2016 18:57:42 +0000

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Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture? Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:52:40 +0000 [Quote:]

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that Donald Trump could be elected president, but I was. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, two of the most liberal places in the country. But even online, I wasn’t seeing many signs of support for him. How did that blindness occur? Social media is my portal into the rest of the world — my periscope into the communities next to my community, into how the rest of the world thinks and feels. And it completely failed me.

In hindsight, that failure makes sense. I’ve spent nearly 10 years coaching Facebook — and Instagram and Twitter — on what kinds of news and photos I don’t want to see, and they all behaved accordingly. Each time I liked an article, or clicked on a link, or hid another, the algorithms that curate my streams took notice and showed me only what they thought I wanted to see. That meant I didn’t realize that most of my family members, who live in rural Virginia, were voicing their support for Trump online, and I didn’t see any of the pro-Trump memes that were in heavy circulation before the election. I never saw a Trump hat or a sign or a shirt in my feeds, and the only Election Day selfies I saw were of people declaring their support for Hillary Clinton.

To be clear, I’m not blaming the algorithms for what I assume to be their role in augmenting my worldview. They did exactly what I told them to do, blocking out racist, misogynist and anti-immigrant comments, hiding anyone who didn’t support Black Lives Matter, all with such deftness that I had no idea that a candidate who ran a campaign on exactly those values had gained enough popularity to win the election. But considering that more than 40 percent of our country’s population consumes news on Facebook, finding alternative perspectives shouldn’t have been that hard. I knew about Eli Pariser’s theory on filter bubbles, or the idea that online personalization distorts the type of information we see, and even so, I still chose to let algorithms shape how I perceive the world. Everything I could want to see is available at my fingertips, and yet I didn’t look.

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Russian Propaganda Machine Was Indeed Behind Fake News Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:08:51 +0000 [Quote:]

A week ago, we noted that people were beginning to connect the dots, and that there was strong circumstantial evidence that the Russian propaganda machine was behind much of the fake news that circulated during the recent campaign. Now, two different groups of researchers—working independently—have confirmed those suspicions.

The sophisticated effort relied on an army of bots, dozens of fake websites, countless social media accounts, numerous teams of paid human “trolls,” and a huge number of “useful idiots”—a Cold War-era term for those who unwittingly assisted Soviet propaganda efforts. Experts suggest that, given what they are up against, Facebook and Google may have a harder time than they think when it comes to eliminating fake news.

There is no way to quantify the impact of Russia’s efforts to disrupt the election, and so no way to know if they swung it for Donald Trump. However, between the false news stories, and the Wikileaks dumps, and the hacking of state voter databases, there is a nonzero chance that the President of the United States was effectively chosen by Vladimir Putin. (Z)

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign is being urged by a number of top computer scientists to call for a recount of vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to a source with knowledge of the request.

The computer scientists believe they have found evidence that vote totals in the three states could have been manipulated or hacked and presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday.
The scientists, among them J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the Clinton campaign they believe there is a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners, according to the source.
The group informed John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines, which the group said could have been hacked.
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George Takei: They interned my family. Don’t let them do it to Muslims. Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:46:39 +0000 Quote

The Constitution and the government exist in large measure to protect against the excesses of democracies. This is particularly salient when, in an atmosphere of fear or mistrust, one group is singled out and vilified, as Japanese Americans were during World War II and as Muslim Americans are today. How terrible it is to contemplate, once again, that the government itself might once more be the very instrument of terror and division. That cannot happen again. We cannot allow it.

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The Count Censored Tue, 22 Nov 2016 10:38:19 +0000

An abortion doctor on Trump’s win: ‘I fear for my life. I fear for my patients.’ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 10:14:02 +0000 [Quote:]

It seems irrational, but the people now in charge of our national government are not rational people. They have expressed their hatred for the work I do for women. It doesn’t matter that I am a citizen and a physician. I feel that I am subject to hostile, unrestrained arbitrary power.

In fact, one week ago I received a chilling letter from Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the most ferociously anti-abortion member of Congress, who chairs the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

The letter demanded that I submit a wide variety of documents, including patient medical records in cases of gestations greater than 22 weeks. I have until Nov. 21 to comply.

The panel is looking for evidence that I am selling “baby body parts.” It has the power of subpoena and can cite me for contempt of Congress if I don’t comply by the deadline.

It is frightening. It is a witch hunt.

I am a physician helping patients, and I am being treated like a criminal.

Here is his full reply:




(303) 447-1361




Honorable Marsha Blackburn

Chairman Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives Of the Committee on Energy and Commerce House of Representatives 2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-6115

Representative Blackburn:

This is in response to your letter of November 2, 2016 addressed to “Warren Hern.”   That is me, but to you, I am “Warren M. Hern, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.”   Your decision to deny my professional identity as a physician at the very beginning of your letter displays your intention to denigrate and to disparage my legitimate status as a medical professional in order to further your partisan goals in the matter addressed by your letter.

During the past century, we have had tragic experience with the tactics of totalitarian governments that begin their assertion of discriminatory power by first denying the legitimate identity and status of individuals for political purposes.  Your intentional omission of my professional and academic credentials has an ominous echo in the past.  Either that, or it just displays your ignorance and lack of basic courtesy.   I think it is all of the above.

In the first paragraph of your letter, you refer to “second and third trimester abortionists.”   What is a “second and third trimester abortionist?”  Please define these terms for me.  Why do you address such a letter to me?   I am a physician.   Throughout my professional life as a physician, I have devoted myself to treating and to helping women not only in the United States but throughout the Western hemisphere, often without compensation.

The term “abortionist” is a vicious, despicable, anti-abortion propaganda term intended to slander the person to whom it is applied.  Your use of this grotesque term clearly displays your sectarian and punitive purposes, which are the opposite of any attempt to find truth, but rather to punish those you don’t understand.    Your clear and unabashed purpose is to obstruct women seeking abortions, to control their lives, and to crush physicians who help them.   You are using the coercive power of the State to impose your own religious and partisan beliefs upon those who do not share them.   This is the antithesis of American society and constitutional democracy.  We fought the American Revolution to rid ourselves of this oppressive, pestilential and authoritarian practice.  Did you know that?   Look it up.

The premises of your demands of records from me are:

a)    I am trafficking in fetal tissue and that I have contracts for this.

b)    Babies are born alive at my office.

c)    That I sell fetal parts for money.

d)    That I have committed crimes in my activities helping my patients,

and e)    The confidential medical records of my patients are public records available for your obsessive prurient review.

All of these outrageous and preposterous assumptions are patently false.

Nothing that happens in my office is relevant to your “investigation,” a term which, in this context, is simply a euphemism for “persecution.”

There have been legitimate requests for fetal tissue from my patients by law enforcement authorities, who are seeking to prosecute individuals who committed crimes against those patients such as rape, incest, or child sexual abuse.  We comply readily with these requests as a matter of social justice, professional courtesy and legal necessity.   There is no charge for this service, performance of which I consider to be in the public interest.

From time to time a patient terminating a pregnancy in my office for reasons of catastrophic fetal abnormality requests that we send fetal tissue to a specialized laboratory for study to determine accurately the cause of the fetal abnormality.   On these occasions, we receive no money from anyone in filling these requests.  To the contrary, there are costs that we personally absorb.

Fetal tissue research has been conducted in medical laboratories for decades, and this has resulted in medical progress helping millions of people.  Your vicious, mindless attacks on this research and those who have assisted with it betray your medieval, ignorant, anti-scientific attitudes that present a real and present danger to our society.

Your unfounded fantasy that there are babies born alive in my office is itself anti-abortion pornography.   It does not happen.   My patients request my assistance in helping them terminate a pregnancy safely so that a live birth does not occur, and there are no exceptions to this outcome.   Your demand displays a total ignorance of the medical and surgical procedures that take place in my office and in other clinic or hospital-based abortion services.   Your demand is calculated to impugn and otherwise slander the professional reputation of physicians, such as myself, who are helping women manage an acute medical and emotional crisis that affects their lives in the most profound way.   You make this situation more unbearably worse for them by your “investigation” that is not only cruel but ignorant as well.   The fact that you are doing this for crass political purposes and partisan advantage is abhorrent.    Many of my patients request my assistance in terminating a desired pregnancy for reasons of catastrophic fetal abnormality that causes great pain and anguish for the woman and her family.   Your insistence on making a political spectacle of this activity and holding physicians like me up for public humiliation is cruel and unconscionable. It is inhuman.

You surely must have better and more constructive legislative tasks to perform.  Your pathological obsession with this matter is alarming.   You cannot be oblivious to the fact that a clear majority of Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose abortion under safe conditions performed by qualified practitioners.  A large proportion of pregnancies in this country are terminated by safe abortion, saving many women from the horrible deaths that occurred before abortion was legal in the United States.   It is one of the great public health success stories of the past century.  You and your Republican colleagues would force women back to the humiliation, fear, and suffering of back-alley abortions.  You should be ashamed.

You and your Republican colleagues oppose the availability of safe abortion.  Yet it is a matter of record that, in your fanatical zeal to control women’s reproductive lives in every respect and restrict their most personal freedom, you also oppose the free, ready and available access to safe and effective contraception.  The $1.59 million dollars that you are spending for this fraudulent “investigation” would pay for nearly 2,000 young women to have safe and effective long-acting contraception (LARC) that would prevent unwanted pregnancies.   Even the most obtuse can see that such access would dramatically and immediately reduce the number of abortions.   Your blindness to this, and your hypocrisy and political cynicism, is appalling.

The vast majority of the people in this world live in countries where abortion is permitted.  Safe abortion services and effective contraception are fundamental and essential components of women’s health services.  You and your Republican colleagues would put us behind all other modern nations in women’s health care.

I am determined to give my patients the safest possible medical care in a humane and dignified environment that supports their emotional and social needs to the fullest extent possible.   I have a superior staff of nurses, counselors, and other health professionals who are dedicated to help these women and their families.

Your sordid exploitation of this activity for political purposes places all of us – patients, physicians, and all members of my staff – at risk of violent retaliation by anti-abortion fanatics.   You know this.  This is not some paranoid fantasy.  A number of physicians specializing in abortion services have been assassinated, on at least one occasion in the physician’s church, and numerous other people, including an off-duty police officer and one physician’s bodyguard, have been murdered in cold blood by anti-abortion fanatics, each assassin a so-called “peaceful” anti-abortion protester up until the moment of the murder.

When is the last time you ever spoke out and condemned these senseless and spineless murders?

You and your Republican Party are vigorously allied with a violent terrorist movement that threatens the lives of women, their families, and health care workers.   As part of this sham “investigation,” your letter to me and letters to other physicians constitute a program of target identification for anti-abortion assassins.   You can deny this, but it is a fact.

Your “investigation” is legislative harassment that endangers our lives.  The blood of any of us who are assassinated is on your hands.

In fact, your Select Investigative Panel is a callous, delusional witch hunt that is very much in the tradition of Republican abuse of power most hideously exemplified by Joseph McCarthy sixty-five years ago in his rampage of destruction of lives and reputations.   Your Republican contemporaries in the House of Representatives waste millions of taxpayer dollars on these destructive and pointless “investigations” of their political opponents.   You pick on women, particularly poor women, and doctors.  Everyone knows that women of means will always be able to obtain abortions.  What a shameless coward you are.

Your despicable “investigation” is in the historical tradition also of the witch hunts of medieval Europe and colonial America, the Spanish Inquisition, and other faith-based government programs of sectarian persecution.   You will join them and Joe McCarthy in the history of the darkest of times in our Nation’s past.   It is also in the disgraceful Republican tradition over the past forty years of exploiting the abortion issue and the lives and anguish of women in order to gain political power.   You have succeeded.   You now have, with total Republican control of all three branches of the federal government, your Supreme Republican, Donald J. Trump, who has all the instincts and characteristics of a brutal fascist dictator.   You have given him unrestrained total power.  The rest of us will live in fear under his authoritarian regime.

In your letter, you state that you are including instructions for preparation of the documents that you demand.  There are no such instructions.  In any case, your demands are unreasonable and outrageous. Last, to comply with any such instruction would be in violation of my Fifth Amendment rights under the nited States Constitution and a breach of confidentiality of my doctor-patient privilege.


Warren M. Hern, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Cc:  Hon. Jan Schakowsky, Ranking Member, Select Investigative Panel of the           Committee on Energy and Commerce

Hon. Fred Upton, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce,           U.S. House of Representatives

Hon. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

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Well, now you can cross “watch a hippo fart” off your list of things to do before you die. Mon, 21 Nov 2016 13:19:44 +0000

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Surveillance camera compromised in 98 seconds Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:58:35 +0000 [Quote:]

Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, on Friday documented his experience setting up a $55 JideTech security camera behind a Raspberry Pi router configured to isolate the camera from his home network.

According to Graham’s series of Twitter posts, his camera was taken over by the Mirai botnet in just 98 seconds.

The author of curl is getting tech support email from car owners Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:47:33 +0000 [Quote:]

Modern cars have fancy infotainment setups, big screens and all sorts of computers with networked functionality built-in. Part of that fanciness is increasingly often a curl install. curl is a part of the standard GenIVI and Tizen offers for cars and is used in lots of other independent software installs too.


The main effect is that normal end users find my email address via the curl license text in products in cars to a higher degree. They usually find it in the about window or an open source license listing or similar. Often I suspect my email address is just about the only address listed.

This occasionally makes desperate users who have tried everything  to eventually reach out to me. They can’t fix their problem but since my email exists in their car, surely I can!

Grace Hopper – Nanoseconds Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:44:13 +0000

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Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:25:46 +0000 [Quote:]

For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.

Security contractors recently discovered preinstalled software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. The American authorities say it is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence.

International customers and users of disposable or prepaid phones are the people most affected by the software. But the scope is unclear.

Here’s what companies like Google, Facebook and Apple lost when Trump’s win killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:24:46 +0000 [Quote:]

The giant international trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership died last week. It was supposed to be the largest regional trade deal in history.

The TPP itself was a massive 30-chapter lawbook that would have freed access to markets for things like car manufacturing, data storage, online commerce, intellectual property and medicines.

Hoards of technology and media companies supported the trade deal. Google was pro TPP. As was Microsoft, Apple and Facebook. The Motion Picture Association of America supported it too. The deal would have allowed them to make it easier to store user data across borders, offer stricter copyright protections and clamp down on digital pirating.

President-elect Donald Trump positioned his opposition to the trade deal as one of the defining issues of his campaign. He compared the TPP to the North American Free Trade Agreement of the 1990s that allowed U.S. manufacturers to move jobs to Mexico.


Here’s what American technology companies would have gotten had the deal been finalized.

  • The TPP’s e-commerce chapter included the world’s first set of international trade rules that would have barred governments from blocking how companies share data across national borders. The internet works by freely moving data across the world. It’s how an artist in Mexico is able to have a fanbase in the U.K. just by posting a video on YouTube. Now governments can impose laws on how data is ferried outside of their country, potentially blocking content and balkanizing the internet. On the flip side, technology companies cooperate with digital surveillance operations across borders too, and the TPP would have muddled the way countries would have been able to pass national privacy laws.
  • In many of the participating countries it is not currently illegal to break the digital rights management, a digital lock that technology companies can add to their products to prevent piracy, tinkering and repair. But DRM is easy to circumvent, and hackers as well as media pirates have found ways to break to digital locks to make pirated copies of movies and music. In the U.S., it’s illegal to break DRM under copyright law, and the TPP would have expanded that internationally. Several countries would have had to make bans for repairing or tinkering with software or devices if DRM was circumvented, which would have been a win for the digital music and movie industry’s battle against piracy, as well as device manufacturers.
  • Six of the twelve participating countries would have expanded their copyright terms an additional 20 years. Under the TPP, it would have taken over 70 years for a copyrighted work to enter the public domain, which is what happens when a song or film is so old that it’s legal to access it for free.
  • Tech companies also were in favor of the TPP’s ban on “forced localization,” or laws that require a company to keep its citizens’ user data stored within its borders. Technology companies oppose these statutes on the grounds that they inhibit their increasingly cloud-based business models. When a country requires that data generated in the country stay stored within its borders, tech companies are forced to build data centers there in order to do business. Forced localization could also open a technology company or website to being compelled to follow a country’s censorship laws by dint of operating servers there.
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Powerful backdoor/rootkit found preinstalled on 3 million Android phones Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:22:39 +0000 [Quote:]

Almost three million Android phones, many of them used by people in the US, are vulnerable to code-execution attacks that remotely seize full control of the devices, researchers said Thursday.

Until recently, the flaw could have been exploited by anyone who took the time to obtain two Internet domains that remained unregistered despite being hardwired into the firmware that introduced the vulnerability. After discovering the vulnerability, researchers from security ratings firm BitSight Technologies registered the addresses and control them to this day. Even now, the failure of the buggy firmware to encrypt communications sent to a server located in China makes code-execution attacks possible when phones don’t use virtual private networking software when connecting to public hotspots and other unsecured networks.

We’re going to get at least four years of articles like this Sat, 19 Nov 2016 21:32:08 +0000 [Quote:]

It is statistically suspicious that in every state where Donald Trump pulled off an upset, he won it by right around one percent, just what he needed to win it, no more and no less. Results don’t naturally play out that way. The final tallies in Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvnia, and Michigan read like someone went through and nudged each of them just over the mark so Trump would win them, but didn’t want to arouse too much suspicion by giving him any larger of a victory in those states than he needed.


In order to believe that the official vote tallies are legitimate, you have to accept that all of the above legitimately happened: African-Americans in the south went from turning out in droves for Hillary Clinton in the primary to not caring if she won the general election. Donald Trump got perhaps seventy percent of the same-day voting in Florida. The polling averages were wrong for the first time in modern history. Trump beat his poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to fall below them. Clinton fell below her poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to beat them. In every state where Trump pulled off a shocking upset victory, he just happened to do it with one percent of the vote. And in an election that everyone cared particularly deeply about, no one really turned out to vote at all. I can accept any one of the above things happening as an isolated fluke. I cannot accept all the above happening. And so for once in my evidence-driven career, I’m left to believe that the conspiracy theorists are right: the vote tallies are rigged.

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Fake News Outperformed Real News From August to November Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:17:52 +0000 [Quote:]

Speaking of fake news stories, BuzzFeed has conducted an analysis of the political news stories that were shared on Facebook during the campaign. The results were…sobering. Of the 15 million shares from August 1 to Election Day that they examined, 8,711,000 were of fake news stories, compared to 7,367,000 of actual news stories. The fake news thus handily outperformed the top 20 legitimate news sources (NYT, CNN, etc.) Interestingly, the trend only took hold around the time that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were officially nominated; until then the real news had the upper hand by a large margin.

More People Died from Overdoses in 2014 Than Car Crashes, Says Report Thu, 17 Nov 2016 23:09:57 +0000 Quote

According to a new report from US surgeon general, nearly 21 million Americans are struggling with substance abuse and only one out of ten are receiving treatment, ABC reports. That’s more people than are currently diagnosed with any type of cancer.

The report is the first of its kind to dive into the country’s addiction epidemic and is on par with the one released to the public during the AIDS/HIV crisis. It found that in 2014, approximately 50,000 Americans died from an opioid, alcohol, or other drug overdose, whereas only 32,744 died from car accidents. Of the 50,000 overdoses that year, nearly 30,000 of them were caused by heroin or prescription opioids.

Meanwhile, we’re fools watching fools parading their foolishness.

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