Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6615 on: May 2nd, 2012, 5:32pm »
The government wants to know what it doesn't know
By Mark Gibbs, Network World April 23, 2012
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."-- Donald Rumsfeld
The problem with the U.S. government not knowing what it wants to know, as well as worrying that it doesn't know enough to know what it doesn't know, is that said government has the power to try to find out. And when I write "power" I mean resources and motivation that make our government . . . the best that money can buy . . . effectively unstoppable.
In 2005 the New York Times exposed the Bush administration's secret authorization in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on communications within the U.S. (prior to this order, the NSA was restricted to intercepting overseas communications only).
Despite a huge public outcry and legal action started by the ACLU and the EFF, rather than stopping or even slowing the warrantless wiretapping program the NSA has expanded and accelerated enormously. If you should doubt the seriousness of these intelligence gathering projects consider the NSA's Utah Data Center.
With a $2 billion budget, 1 million square feet of data center, and a claimed storage capacity of a yottabyte, the Utah Data Center will be pushing the envelope of Big Data.
In case you're wondering what a yottabyte might be, a recent Wired article about the Utah Data Center explained, "A yottabyte is a septillion bytes — so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude." If a septillion doesn't help, consider that a yottabyte equals 10 followed by 24 zeros worth of bytes.
To give that figure a bit more perspective, it has been estimated by Cisco that by 2015 the Internet will generate something around 966 exabytes (something less than a zettabyte or 10 to the 21) of data annually. The Utah Data Center will be able to store 1,000 times that volume! And to analyze it and crack encrypted content they have computers that, it is claimed, are capable of exaflop (10 to the 18 floating point operations per second) performance.
This power and capacity combined with the ever expanding surveillance network means that pretty much everything you write, everywhere you go online, every YouTube video you watch, every Facebook posting you make, every cellphone call you make or receive (including from where and to whom and where the recipient is), every text you send and receive, every public place you walk through ... it will all be captured, stored, analyzed, categorized, and filed ... quite possibly forever.
What you should be worried about is -- and I know I've said it before but it bears repeating -- mission creep, the inevitable over-reach by the government when they have control of massive and highly detailed data. Just consider how law enforcement, with the complicity of the cell service providers, has abused cell phone tracking turning tracking into an on-demand, everyday activity.
I'd put money on a future government initiative that will require access into corporate networks to provide deeper monitoring than can be done externally. Hell, that might already be underway! It might and how would you know if it was? It would be something you don't know you don't know.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6616 on: May 3rd, 2012, 08:29am »
"This power and capacity combined with the ever expanding surveillance network means that pretty much everything you write, everywhere you go online, every YouTube video you watch, every Facebook posting you make, every cellphone call you make or receive (including from where and to whom and where the recipient is), every text you send and receive, every public place you walk through ... it will all be captured, stored, analyzed, categorized, and filed ... quite possibly forever."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6617 on: May 3rd, 2012, 08:35am »
New York Times
May 2, 2012 Foul Play Ruled Likely in Case of Spy Found Dead in Bag By JOHN F. BURNS
LONDON — Deepening the mystery surrounding the death of a reclusive MI6 agent found doubled up inside a padlocked duffel bag in his London flat, a coroner said on Wednesday that it was unlikely that the case would ever be solved, but that the “balance of probabilities” suggested that he had been unlawfully killed. Scotland Yard reacted immediately by saying it would continue its efforts to hunt down the killer.
After an eight-day inquest that has thrown an uncomfortable spotlight on MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, the coroner, Dr. Fiona Wilcox, said the death of Gareth Williams, 31, a Welsh-born mathematician involved in top-secret code-breaking work, appeared to have been “unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated,” — a phrase that legal experts said meant that he was either killed, that someone assisted in a suicide plot or that somebody fled after a sex game went wrong.
Dr. Wilcox said she was “satisfied” that some “third party” had been involved in getting Mr. Williams into the bag, probably while he was alive. This person, she said, probably then locked the bag and carried it to the empty bathtub in the government-owned apartment in the upscale district of Pimlico, where the body was discovered a week after Mr. Williams died.
Dr. Wilcox noted that three pathologists working separately had been unable to determine, because of the body’s decomposition, whether Mr. Williams was poisoned or asphyxiated. She described other evidence as being inconclusive to the point that it was unlikely that the mystery “would ever be satisfactorily explained.”
Still, she said, she was “satisfied that on the balance of probabilities Gareth was killed unlawfully.” The conclusion seemed certain to give fresh currency to conspiracy theories, including some that attribute the death to Russian secret service agents or to militants from Al Qaeda.
The coroner said that it remained a “legitimate line of inquiry” whether MI6 or other secret agencies were involved in the death. She criticized MI6 for what she called its shortfalls in handling the case, including a delay of a week by Mr. Williams’s MI6 manager in reporting that he was missing from work. Pathologists said their work was impeded by the delay, which resulted in such advanced decomposition that they were unable to obtain any decisive forensic clues.
Dr. Wilcox played down suggestions that facets of Mr. Williams’s private life had led to his death, including his interest in bondage Web sites, cross-dressing, transvestite performances and what were described at the hearing as “autoerotic experiences,” specifically a condition known as claustrophilia, involving sexual thrills from being confined in enclosed spaces.
Dr. Wilcox also said she was disinclined to believe that Mr. Williams had committed suicide, a theory encouraged by a newspaper clipping found in his flat that canvassed the most common regrets that people have on their deathbeds. She said he had shown no other signs of depression. As for his purported interest in bondage, she said, she would have expected more than the four visits to bondage sites that were traced on his computers.
As for the $30,000 in high-fashion women’s clothing and shoes found in his flat, and a bright orange woman’s wig, Dr. Wilcox said this was more likely to reflect the interest in fashion he showed by attending a six-week fashion course, and his liking of manga parties, a pastime borrowed from Japan that involves wearing extravagant costumes.
The case has been an awkward experience not only for MI6 but also for an associated agency that was Mr. Williams’s primary employer, the Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s principal electronic surveillance and code-breaking center. After 10 years working at the unit’s base outside London, Mr. Williams was on a three-year transfer to MI6’s London headquarters, working on the application of new code-breaking technologies, when he died. But it was the MI6 chief, John Sawers, who attended Mr. Williams’s funeral and who delivered an unusual apology for the delay in reporting Mr. Williams missing that was read to the inquest by an MI6 lawyer.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6619 on: May 3rd, 2012, 09:02am »
Two Amazing Real-Life Spider-Men Defy Common Sense By Laura Hudson May 3, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: Oddball
Skyscraper climbers Dan Goodwin (left) and Alain Robert. Photos: Boris Roessler/Corbis; Suzanne Vlami/AP
American Dan Goodwin and Frenchman Alain Robert have a lot in common: They’re both skyscraper climbers who have defied common sense (and the law) to ascend some of the tallest man-made structures in the world with no safety nets—and occasionally while dressed as Spider-Man. So who’s the bigger superhero of the architectural climb? Here’s how they measure up.
Alain Robert age 49
When he was 19 Robert took a 50-foot fall while rock climbing that fractured his skull, shoulders, chest, and hands and left him in a coma for five days. Nonetheless he went on to become one of the most famous rock and urban climbers in the world.
Buildings climbed: 120+ (above, Robert on the Skyper, Frankfurt, Germany)
Tallest building climbed: Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2,716.5 feet, the tallest building in the world)
Death-defying moment: Twenty stories from the top of Sears Tower, a thick fog covered the building in moisture, turning its surface into a superslick “vertical ice rink” that nearly sent Robert skating off the side. Inspirations: Zorro, Robin Hood
Dan Goodwin age 56
In 1980 Goodwin witnessed a hotel fire claim 85 lives. After suggesting rescue techniques to a fire chief, he was told that he had no business giving advice until he had climbed a high-rise building. Six months later, Goodwin scaled Sears Tower.
Buildings climbed: 10 (No. 6, the World Trade Center, left)
Tallest building climbed: CN Tower, Toronto, Canada (1,815 feet)
Death-defying moment: After fire commissioner William Blair threatened to “kill” him if he climbed another building in Chicago, Goodwin claims, he was blasted with a fire hose on the 37th story of the John Hancock Center until the police and mayor intervened.
Inspirations: Bruce Lee, Carlos Castenada, John Lennon, Steve Jobs
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6620 on: May 3rd, 2012, 09:07am »
Bin Laden not "puppet master": U.S. report on seized documents
WASHINGTON | Thu May 3, 2012 10:02am EDT
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was not the "puppet master" of jihadi groups around the world and was burdened by what he saw as their "incompetence," according to an analysis of documents seized from his hideout in Pakistan.
The Combating Terrorism Center, a privately funded research center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, posted on its website on Thursday some declassified documents taken in the raid on bin Laden's house in Abbottabad in which he was killed by U.S. forces a year ago. (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/)
"On the basis of the 17 declassified documents, Bin Ladin was not, as many thought, the puppet master pulling the strings that set in motion jihadi groups around the world," a report on the documents by the Combating Terrorism Center said. "Bin Ladin was burdened by what he saw as their incompetence."
The center spells bin Laden's name as Bin Ladin.
The al Qaeda leader who was the subject of an intense manhunt after the September 11, 2001, attacks "was unimpressed by the recent trend of American populist jihad" and did not hold American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in high esteem, the report said. Awlaki was killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike last year.
Awlaki is mentioned in one letter, assessed to be from bin Laden who writes, as translated: "I hope that he be informed of us still needing more information from the battlefield in Yemen, so that it is feasible for us, with the help of God, to make the most appropriate decision to either escalate or calm down."
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Jackie Frank)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6622 on: May 4th, 2012, 07:42am »
Originally published Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:36 AM
Amateur sleuth helps stop National Archives thefts
By JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press
When J. David Goldin saw the recorded interview of baseball great Babe Ruth for sale on eBay he knew something was wrong. There was only one original record of that 1937 interview of Ruth on a hunting trip, and Goldin had donated it to a government archive more than 30 years ago. Now someone was auctioning it off, the winning bid just $34.75.
"I took one look at the record label and I said, `holy smokes, that's my record,'" said the retired radio engineer.
From his home in Connecticut, filled with antique radios and tape reels, Goldin launched an amateur sleuthing effort that helped uncover a thief ripping off the country's most important repository of historical records. The heist turned out to be an inside job. The culprit was the recently retired head of the video and sound branch of the National Archives and Records Administration - the government agency entrusted with preserving such documents as the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
On Thursday, a judge in Maryland sentenced the thief, Leslie Charles Waffen, to a year and a half in prison and fined him $10,000. Waffen, who had worked at the National Archives for 40 years, acknowledged stealing thousands of sound recordings from the archive. Prosecutors said more than 1,000 were sold on eBay in thefts that started as early as 2001. The stolen recordings ranged from a recording of the 1948 World Series to an eyewitness report of the Hindenburg crash.
It was Goldin's meticulous record-keeping and some sleuthing worthy of a modern-day detective drama, however, that brought Waffen to authorities' attention and helped catch him.
The 69-year-old Goldin's interest in radio began when he was a teenager. He taped his first broadcast at age 14 and studied radio production at New York University before working for CBS, NBC and other networks.
At the same time, he became passionate about preserving radio's history. He started creating his own archive of sound recordings, in the early days storing records under the bed in his small apartment in the Bronx.
These days, Goldin has a computer catalog for sorting through his holdings, more than 100,000 programs in all. He paid to have the system custom designed for him in the 1980s and estimates he's spent hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining and archiving broadcasts. Rows of neatly organized boxes of tape reels fill the basement of his Sandy Hook, Conn., home, which he shares with his wife Joyce, three dogs and 917 antique radios.
Now retired, he spends his days preserving recordings by transferring them from their original metal, glass and plastic records to tape. He cleans up the sound with a bank of equipment that takes up part of his living room and makes his catalog available on his website. He says he has enough uncataloged recordings to last the rest of his life.
Once Goldin has listened to and copied the recordings, however, he doesn't need the original discs. That's one of the reasons why he asked the National Archive in the 1970s if it wanted the originals, most of them radio broadcasts from the 1930s and 1940s. The archive said yes, and Goldin donated thousands of recordings ranging from political speeches and interviews to Congressional hearings. Then, he says, he mostly forgot about them.
In September 2010, however, he typed one of his routine searches for records into eBay and saw the Babe Ruth recording for sale.
Goldin wasn't sure what was happening. He wrote to the National Archives. Were they getting rid of old material? If so, he wanted his records back. He got a call a few days later. No, the archive hadn't sold anything. The record was missing, and it seemed likely it had been stolen.
Goldin turned over the information he had, including documentation of his donation. He knew the eBay seller with the Ruth record was going by the name "hi-fi-gal" and lived in Rockville, Md.
Then Goldin did some detective work of his own. He ordered a different recording from "hi-fi-gal," and when it arrived he traced the package's return address. It came back as the home of Leslie Waffen, the man who had accepted Goldin's donation to the Archives more than 30 years earlier.
"I was kind of puzzled at the beginning and then disappointed when I discovered it was Les Waffen," said Goldin, who added the men hadn't stayed in touch.
With that information and more, federal officials obtained a search warrant and raided Waffen's home, carting away two truckloads of materials. Late last year, Waffen pleaded guilty to stealing government property. He and his lawyer have declined to talk to reporters.
Soon after his guilty plea, however, Waffen wrote an apology letter to friends and colleagues, saying he was "deeply ashamed and embarrassed" by his actions. But he denied that the records he took and sold, valued at more than $80,000, were "unique or of significant historical value." Waffen said most of what he sold was considered duplicative or excess. In the 1980s, the archive had made copies of at least some of the recordings on reel to reel tapes, just as Goldin had.
On Thursday, Waffen told Judge Peter Messitte that he rationalized that some of the material he stole had been preserved in another form. He said his conduct was fueled by a sense of self-importance and an obsession with recordings, and he acknowledged he "gave in to the temptation."
"I violated, personally, the archivists' code of ethics," he said.
The judge said Waffen stole unique and irreplaceable records, and his actions eroded the public's trust in the National Archives. Getting all the recordings back could take years and may be impossible.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6623 on: May 4th, 2012, 07:47am »
Israel To Receive Fourth Dolphin Sub May 2, 2012 - 05:47PM By Barbara Opall-Rome
TEL AVIV — Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg, commander of the Israel Navy, and senior Defense Ministry representatives were in Germany on May 2, most likely to prepare for receipt of Israel’s fourth nuclear-capable Dolphin submarine.
Israel’s Walla website reported that Rothberg and a delegation led by retired Maj. Gen. Udi Shani, director-general of Israel’s MoD, were meeting with German counterparts in Kiel, home of the shipbuilding division of Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
The German shipyard has been under contract with the government of Israel since 2005 for the fourth and fifth submarines of the Israeli Navy’s planned six-submarine fleet. Under that 2005 deal, Germany agreed to underwrite one third of construction costs.
A contract for a sixth submarine was recently signed, with Berlin agreeing to subsidize $180 million, about a third of hull construction costs.
When asked about the Israeli online report, a former Navy officer said Israel’s official receipt of the submarine does not mean the vessels will immediately set sail for Navy headquarters in Haifa Bay. According to the retired officer, the submarine could remain in Germany for several more months for systems integration and sea trials.
In an interview earlier this year, a senior Navy commander said the service hoped to declare its fourth Dolphin submarine operational in early 2013, with the fifth German-built submarine slated for operational deployment in 2014.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6625 on: May 4th, 2012, 08:11am »
Third Person Exits NBC Over Misleading Edit Of Zimmerman’s 911 Audio
By THE DEADLINE TEAM Thursday May 3, 2012 @ 9:01pm PDT Tags: George Zimmerman, NBC News, Today Show, Trayvon Martin
A third person involved with a misleadingly edited recording of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to police in the Trayvon Martin case is no longer employed by NBC News. TV Newser reported today that Luciano was dismissed after an investigation that also led to the firing of a still-unidentified Miami-based NBC News producer.
In a segment for the Today show on March 22, the New York Times reported today, Luciano used the misleadingly edited version of Zimmerman’s 911 call that had been broadcast previously on Miami NBC affiliate WTVJ. In a cascading repetition, yet another correspondent, Ron Allen, used the misleading audio in another story a few days later.
Luciano is the third journalist to have lost their job over this story. WJTV reporter Jeff Burnside was also fired for his role in broadcasting the misleading audio. WTVJ said when Burnside was fired last week that its edited audio was a separate incident from the Today report on the NBC network.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6626 on: May 4th, 2012, 09:19am »
Published on May 4, 2012 by StephenHannardADGUK
Officials of Novgorod the Great are investigating reports of an unidentified flying object, that apparently came down near an array of TV towers.
Many residents in the town have confirmed seeing UFOs, or bright objects in the sky, over a period of days in the area. One witness states that the UFOs are coming from a nearby lake, "Everybody knows about the aliens in our lake, but they do nothing, they are harmless".
Officials are mounting a full investigation into the incident and have cordoned off parts of the dense woodland close to the town where witness's claim they saw the object descend, not far from the TV towers at Yaroslav's Court. At this point it is unclear whether the UFO crashed or was a controlled landing, further reports are pending.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6627 on: May 4th, 2012, 11:30am »
New 'Unknowns' Hacking Group Hits NASA, Air Force, European Space Agency
Matt Liebowitz, Staff Writer Date: 03 May 2012
A new hacking group calling itself "The Unknowns" has published a list of passwords and documents reportedly belonging to NASA, the European Space Agency and the U.S. Air Force, among other high-profile government targets.
The group's Pastebin post, released yesterday (May 1), includes names and passwords reportedly belonging to NASA's Glenn Research Center as well as the U.S. Military's Joint Pathology Center, the Thai Royal Navy, Harvard University, Renault, the Jordanian Yellow Pages and the Ministries of Defense of France and Bahrain.
Softpedia reports that the hackers also posted screenshots of some of the sites they breached, and that although the post was made public yesterday, some of the hacks date back to March.
NASA's Glenn Research Center and the U.S. Military's Joint Pathology Center did not respond to requests for comment by SecurityNewsDaily.
In its message, The Unknowns explained the impetus for their exploits, and warned they could have caused much more damage than they did.
"Victims, we have released some of your documents and data, we probably harmed you a bit but that's not really our goal because if it was then all of your websites would be completely defaced but we know that within a week or two, the vulnerabilities we found will be patched and that’s what we're looking for."
The hackers said they are "ready to give you full info on how we penetrated threw [sic] your databases," and told the affected organizations to contact them.
SecurityNewsDaily contacted The Unknowns through the address the group posted, email@example.com, but did not receive a response.
The Unknown's "hacking-for-good" stance is similar to that of Malicious Security (MalSec), a newly formed Anonymous spinoff that, ostensibly for "ethical purposes," leaked email addresses and passwords from several Romanian banks and government organizations.
EP#12: Kevin Randle; A Different Perspective; Ufology
Kevin D. Randle has, for more than thirty years, studied the UFO phenomena in all its various incarnations. Training by the Army as a helicopter pilot, intelligence officer and military policeman, and by the Air Force as both an intelligence officer and a public affairs officer, provides Kevin with a keen insight into the operations and protocols of the military, their investigations into UFOs, and into a phenomenon that has puzzled people for more than a century.
Randle has written extensively on UFOs beginning in 1973 with articles in various national magazines. He has published many books about UFOs starting with The UFO Casebook in 1989 and has continued to write to this day. Kevins latest book is, "Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky" available from Amazon. Note: The framerate on this episode is choppy due to a software error, we apologize for the lack of quality.