California Invested Heavily in Solar Power. Now There's so Much That Other States are Sometimes Paid to Take It
On 14 days during March, Arizona utilities got a gift from California: free solar power.

Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines.

It happened on eight days in January and nine in February as well. All told, those transactions helped save Arizona electricity customers millions of dollars this year, though grid operators declined to say exactly how much. And California also has paid other states to take power.
california  arizona  solarpanels  electricity  energy  overcapacity  surplus  2017 
july 2017
Will China Save the American Economy?
Dewang visits this Ohio town because it’s the home of the American factory he built for his Chinese company, Fuyao Glass. He spent $700 million in 2014 to rehabilitate a shuttered General Motors plant, where Fuyao now makes automotive glass that it sells to U.S. automakers. Fuyao employs 2,000, the majority of whom are Americans. “This place could be the next General Motors if it’s done right,” an employee named Larry Yates, who worked at the GM plant for 25 years, told me. “I want to see them do well and succeed.” Hundreds of Chinese executives work here, too, and, having brought their families from China, are buying homes and cars and enrolling their children in local schools.

Chinese investors are investing heavily in the United States. In 2016, Chinese businesses spent $46 billion on foreign direct investment in the United States, a threefold increase from the $15 billion they spent in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm that analyzes global investment trends. Chinese-owned firms now support more than 140,000 jobs nationwide, nine times as many as in 2009.
china  usa  investors  investment  society  work  2017 
july 2017
Inside Microsoft's AI Comeback
Yoshua Bengio has never been one to take sides. As one of the three intellects who shaped the deep learning that now dominates artificial intelligence, he has been catapulted to stardom. It’s a field so new the people who can advance it fit into one room together, and everyone—from tech startups to multinational conglomerates and the department of defense—wants a share of their minds.

But while his peer scientists Yann LeCun and Geoffrey Hinton have signed on to Facebook and Google, respectively, Bengio, 53, has chosen to continue working from his small third-floor office on the hilltop campus of the University of Montreal. “I want to remain a neutral agent,” he says as he sips rust-colored licorice water, which he pours from a carafe that acts as a weight for the mess of papers cluttering his desk.
ai  yoshuabengio  microsoft  2017 
july 2017
Mark Zuckerberg Again Defends Government Giving People Free Money
Zuckerberg said he supported Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend, which pools money from the state's oil revenue and returns it to residents at the end of the year. In 2016, that dividend amounted to $1,022 per eligible resident.

He used his experience at Facebook to explain how the economics of human condition can change for the better if people are given a basic income to live off, such as the Permanent Fund Dividend in Alaska.
universalbasicincome  markzuckerberg  alaska  economics  economy  2017 
july 2017
San Francisco is Burning
A series of strange and unsettling fires in the Mission District have people wondering: Are the city’s landlords using arson to drive out low-income tenants? And is this the deadly endgame of gentrification and tech-boom greed?
sanfrancisco  gentrification  arson  crime  murder  landlords  2017 
july 2017
The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard of
On a heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the massive headquarters of a spy agency few know exists. Even Barack Obama, five months into his presidency, seemed not to have recognized its name. While shaking hands at a Five Guys hamburger restaurant in Washington in May 2009, he asked a customer seated at a table about his job. “What do you [do]?” the president inquired. “I work at NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” the man answered. Obama appeared dumbfounded. “So, explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…” he said, unable to finish the name. Eight years after that videotape aired, the NGA remains by far the most shadowy member of the Big Five spy agencies, which include the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Despite its lack of name recognition, the NGA’s headquarters is the third-largest building in the Washington metropolitan area, bigger than the CIA headquarters and the U.S. Capitol.

Completed in 2011 at a cost of $1.4 billion, the main building measures four football fields long and covers as much ground as two aircraft carriers. In 2016, the agency purchased 99 acres in St. Louis to construct additional buildings at a cost of $1.75 billion to accommodate the growing workforce, with 3,000 employees already in the city.
surveillance  usa  privacy  nga  2017 
april 2017
Say Goodbye to Google: 14 Alternative Search Engines
There was a point not that long ago when you could easily divide people between those that used Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and AltaVista. Now it’s got to the point where if you’re not using Google, you’re not really using the internet properly.

Right now though maybe we should be paying more attention to the alternatives. Maybe our daily lives and, for some of us, careers shouldn’t need to balance on the fickle algorithm changes of the world’s most valuable company.

Let’s see what else is out there in the non-Google world. It’s not that scary, I promise. Although you may want to bring a coat.
search  alternatives  google  bing  duckduckgo  quora  dogpile  vimeo  yandex  boardreader  wolframalpha  ixquick  askcom  slideshare  addictomatic  creativecommonssearch  giphy  2016 
april 2017
Commodore 64 Programming #1: A Quick Start Guide to C-64 Assembly Programming on Windows
I noticed that a lot of people are creating graphical programs to the Commodore 64 again, so I decided to let you know of the tools I use, and how you can use them to create C-64 apps in Windows. I might write more articles on C-64 programming if there’s an interest for it. If you want more, let me know by writing a comment to this article

Note: You do not need to own a Commodore 64 to create programs. In this article, I’m going to use a cross assembler and an emulator.
c64  programming  assembly  windows  howto  tutorial  2011 
april 2017
Whistleblower Uncovers London Police Hacking of Journalists and Protestors
The existence of a secretive unit within London’s Metropolitan Police that uses hacking to illegally access the emails of hundreds of political campaigners and journalists has been revealed. At least two of the journalists work for the Guardian .

Green Party representative in the British House of Lords, Jenny Jones, exposed the unit’s existence in an opinion piece in the Guardian. The facts she revealed are based on a letter written to her by a whistleblower.

The letter reveals that through the hacking, Scotland Yard has illegally accessed the email accounts of activists for many years, and this was possible due to help from “counterparts in India.” The letter alleged that the Metropolitan Police had asked police in India to obtain passwords on their behalf—a job that the Indian police subcontracted out to groups of hackers in India.
surveillance  privacy  security  greatbritain  india  scotlandyard  2017 
april 2017
Who Will Remember You in 100 Years?
I was out walking in the Stockholm forest cemetery a few days ago. I often take an hourlong walk in the middle of the day to clear my head a bit. The forest cemetery is large and beautiful, and I often go here to enjoy its tranquility. As I was walking along one of the outer edges of one of the outer graveyeards, I saw a small path leading into the forest. I had never noticed this path before, and I was a bit intrigued, so I followed it.

After a short walk I came into a clearing. Groups of old, uprooted, gravestones were all around me. Gravestones taken away from the cemetery. As I examined them closer, I noticed that most of them were from 1961 or so – around 60 years old.
life  cemetaries  graveyards  headstones  memory  relatives  famouspeople  livelife  happiness  death  2017 
april 2017
Snowden’s Box
It was a frigid winter, and the Manhattan loft was cold — very cold. Something was wrong with the gas line and there was no heat. In a corner, surrounding the bed, sheets had been hung from cords to form a de facto tent with a small electric heater running inside. But the oddities didn’t end there: when I talked to the woman who lived in the loft about her work, she made me take the battery out of my cell phone and stash the device in her refrigerator. People who have dated in New York City for any length of time believe that they’ve seen everything — this was something new.
snowden  network  whistleblowers  story  background  2017 
april 2017
Artificial Intelligence is Ripe for Abuse, Tech Researcher Warns: 'A Fascist's Dream'
In her SXSW session, titled Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fascism, Crawford, who studies the social impact of machine learning and large-scale data systems, explained ways that automated systems and their encoded biases can be misused, particularly when they fall into the wrong hands.

“Just as we are seeing a step function increase in the spread of AI, something else is happening: the rise of ultra-nationalism, rightwing authoritarianism and fascism,” she said.

All of these movements have shared characteristics, including the desire to centralize power, track populations, demonize outsiders and claim authority and neutrality without being accountable. Machine intelligence can be a powerful part of the power playbook, she said.
ai  machinelearning  fascism  donaldtrump  faceception  facebook  sxsw  2017 
april 2017
OECD Better Life Index
There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.
oecd  life  society  statistics  index  comparison  tool  visualization  reference 
april 2017
Americans are Pretty Skeptical That Hard Work Will Pay Off
Hard work is often touted as the key American virtue that leads to success and opportunity. And there’s lots of evidence to suggest that workers buy into the belief: For example, a recent study found that Americans work 25 percent more hours than Europeans, and that U.S. workers tend to take fewer vacation days and retire later in life. But for many, simply working hard doesn’t actually lead to a better life.
society  worklife  success  inequality  entrepreneurs  2017 
april 2017
The Major Advancements in Deep Learning in 2016
Deep Learning has been the core topic in the Machine Learning community the last couple of years and 2016 was not the exception. In this article, we will go through the advancements we think have contributed the most (or have the potential) to move the field forward and how organizations and the community are making sure that these powerful technologies are going to be used in a way that is beneficial for all.
ai  machinelearning  progress  advancement  2016 
december 2016
U.S. Life Expectancy Declines for the First Time Since 1993
For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year — a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.

Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death.
usa  health  lifeexpectancy  decline  2016 
december 2016
The 289 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List
Since declaring his candidacy for president last June, Donald Trump has used Twitter to lob insults at presidential candidates, journalists, news organizations, nations, a Neil Young song and even a lectern in the Oval Office. We know this because we’ve read, tagged and quoted them all. Below, a directory of sorts, with links to the original tweets.
donaldtrump  insults  civility  behaviour  indecency  rudeness  impoliteness  badmanners  2016 
december 2016
Vancouver Tax Pushes Chinese to $1 Million Seattle Homes
Just a few days after Vancouver announced a tax on foreign property investors, Seattle real estate broker Lili Shang received a WeChat message from a wealthy Chinese businessman who wanted to sell a home in Canada and buy in her area.

After a week of showings, he purchased a $1 million property in Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle. He soon returned to buy two more, including a $2.2 million house in Clyde Hill paid for with a single cashier’s check.
vancouver  seattle  realestate  housing  prices  chinese  investors  gentrification  2016 
december 2016
Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps
Dorothea Lange — well-known for her FSA photographs like Migrant Mother — was hired by the U.S. government to make a photographic record of the “evacuation” and “relocation” of Japanese-Americans in 1942. She was eager to take the commission, despite being opposed to the effort, as she believed “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.”

The military commanders that reviewed her work realized that Lange’s contrary point of view was evident through her photographs, and seized them for the duration of World War II, even writing “Impounded” across some of the prints. The photos were quietly deposited into the National Archives, where they remained largely unseen until 2006.
usa  concentrationcamps  japanese  japan  ww2  history  internmentcamps  photos  racism  2016 
december 2016
'Once in a Lifetime Find': Dinosaur Tail Discovered Trapped in Amber
The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists.
Xing Lida, a Chinese paleontologist found the specimen, the size of a dried apricot, at an amber market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.
dinosaurs  china  find  paleontology  history  2016 
december 2016
China Has Now Eclipsed US in AI Research
Humanity may still be years if not decades away from producing sentient artificial intelligence. But with the rise of machine-learning services in our smartphones and other devices, one type of narrow, specialized AI has become all the rage. And the research on this branch of AI is only accelerating.

In fact, as more industries and policymakers awaken to the benefits of machine learning, two countries appear to be pulling away in the research race. The results will probably have significant implications for the future of AI.
china  usa  ai  machinelearning  investment  competition  2016 
december 2016
Tests Confirm That Germany's Massive Nuclear Fusion Machine Really Works
At the end of last year, Germany switched on a new type of massive nuclear fusion reactor for the first time, and it was successfully able to contain a scorching hot blob of helium plasma.

But since then, there's been a big question - is the device working the way it's supposed to? That's pretty crucial when you're talking about a machine that could potentially maintain controlled nuclear fusion reactions one day, and thankfully, the answer is yes.

A team of researchers from the US and Germany have now confirmed that the Wendelstein 7-X (W 7-X) stellerator is producing the super-strong, twisty, 3D magnetic fields that its design predicted, with "unprecedented accuracy". The researchers found an error rate less than one in 100,000.
germany  nuclear  nuclearfusion  stellerator  energy  power  science  2016 
december 2016
Apple to Start Publishing AI Research to Hasten Deep Learning
Apple Inc. will allow its artificial intelligence teams to publish research papers for the first time, marking a significant change in strategy that could help accelerate the iPhone maker’s advances in deep learning.

When Apple introduced its Siri virtual assistant in 2011, the company appeared to have a head start over many of its nearest competitors. But it has lost ground since then to the likes of Alphabet Inc.’s Google Assistant and Inc.’s Alexa.

Researchers say among the reasons Apple has failed to keep pace is its unwillingness to allow its AI engineers to publish scientific papers, stymieing its ability to feed off wider advances in the field.
apple  ai  machinelearning  research  researchpapers  2016 
december 2016
When Oil is No Longer in Demand
When it comes, what might a terminal decline in the use of oil mean for the industry, governments and the world at large? The biggest turmoil would be felt in oil-dependent developing countries. As Jason Bordoff, of Columbia University’s Centre on Global Energy Policy, notes, the social stresses now evident in budget-strapped petrostates such as Venezuela and Nigeria are a hint of things to come. Gulf countries would accelerate their efforts to diversify their economies away from oil, as Saudi Arabia is already doing. America might rethink its “oil-for-security” geopolitical bargain with that country. Lower oil revenues could increase instability in places like Iraq.
oil  economy  electriccars  usa  greatbritain  venezuela  iraq  saudiarabia  nigeria  2016 
december 2016
NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) is a professional open source system to create Windows installers. It is designed to be as small and flexible as possible and is therefore very suitable for internet distribution.

Being a user's first experience with your product, a stable and reliable installer is an important component of successful software. With NSIS you can create such installers that are capable of doing everything that is needed to setup your software.

NSIS is script-based and allows you to create the logic to handle even the most complex installation tasks. Many plug-ins and scripts are already available: you can create web installers, communicate with Windows and other software components, install or update shared components and more.
nsis  installer  windows  software  development  free 
december 2016
CS Video Courses
List of computer science courses with video lectures.
programming  computerscience  tutorials  video  courses  lectures  learning  free 
december 2016
The End of the Anglo-American Order
One of the strangest episodes in Donald Trump’s very weird campaign was the appearance of an Englishman looking rather pleased with himself at a rally on Aug. 24 in Jackson, Miss. The Englishman was Nigel Farage, introduced by Trump as “the Man Behind Brexit.” Most people in the crowd probably didn’t have a clue who Farage — the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party — actually was. Yet there he stood, grinning and hollering about “our independence day” and the “real people,” the “decent people,” the “ordinary people” who took on the banks, the liberal media and the political establishment. Trump pulled his face into a crocodile smile, clapped his hands and promised, “Brexit plus plus plus!”
donaldtrump  nigelfarage  angloamericanorder  newworldorder  politics  nato  europe  europeanunion  eu  usa  greatbritain  2016 
december 2016
Crypto 101
Crypto 101 is an introductory course on cryptography, freely available for programmers of all ages and skill levels.
cryptography  free  course  learning 
december 2016
Germany’s Chinese Investment Problem
In the conflict between Beijing, Berlin and Brussels over skyrocketing investment by Chinese firms in European high-tech industries, China has a major advantage: It has a plan.

Germany doesn’t. Neither does the European Union.

While trade experts warn that a recent spending spree by Chinese companies — many of them supported by the Chinese government — will harm the competitiveness of European business in the long-term, Berlin and Brussels are struggling to come up with a political response.
germany  china  industry  investment  industrialespionage  spying  madeinchina2025  politics  2016 
december 2016
Intro to Machine Learning
Machine Learning is a first-class ticket to the most exciting careers in data analysis today. As data sources proliferate along with the computing power to process them, going straight to the data is one of the most straightforward ways to quickly gain insights and make predictions.

Machine learning brings together computer science and statistics to harness that predictive power. It’s a must-have skill for all aspiring data analysts and data scientists, or anyone else who wants to wrestle all that raw data into refined trends and predictions.

This is a class that will teach you the end-to-end process of investigating data through a machine learning lens. It will teach you how to extract and identify useful features that best represent your data, a few of the most important machine learning algorithms, and how to evaluate the performance of your machine learning algorithms.
machinelearning  ai  free  course  udacity 
december 2016
Microsoft Bets Its Future on a Reprogrammable Computer Chip
In December of 2010, Microsoft researcher Andrew Putnam had left Seattle for the holidays and returned home to Colorado Springs. Two days before Christmas, he still hadn’t started shopping. As he drove to the mall, his phone rang. It was Burger, his boss. Burger was going to meet with Bing execs right after the holiday, and he needed a design for hardware that could run Bing’s machine learning algorithms on FPGAs.

Putnam pulled into the nearest Starbucks and drew up the plans. It took him about five hours, and he still had time for shopping.

Burger, 47, and Putnam, 39, are both former academics. Burger spent nine years as a professor of computer science at the University of Texas, Austin, where he specialized in microprocessors and designed a new kind of chip called EDGE. Putnam had worked for five years as a researcher at the University of Washington, where he experimented with FPGAs, programmable chips that had been around for decades but were mostly used as a way of prototyping other processors. Burger brought Putnam to Microsoft in 2009, where they started exploring the idea that these chips could actually accelerate online services.
microsoft  microcontrollers  chip  ai  performance  fpga  hardware  2016 
december 2016
The Code That Took America to the Moon was Just Published to GitHub, and it’s Like a 1960s Time Capsule
When programmers at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory set out to develop the flight software for the Apollo 11 space program in the mid-1960s, the necessary technology did not exist. They had to invent it.

They came up with a new way to store computer programs, called “rope memory,” and created a special version of the assembly programming language. Assembly itself is obscure to many of today’s programmers—it’s very difficult to read, intended to be easily understood by computers, not humans. For the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), MIT programmers wrote thousands of lines of that esoteric code.
space  moonlanding  sourcecode  opensource  apollo11  programming  history  2016 
december 2016
Will the Church Apologize to Indians for Their Brutality in Goa and Kerala?
A few days ago, the Catholic Church apologized for its role in the genocidal Rwandan civil war, which claimed between 5-10 lakh lives. Although apologies by the Catholic Church have become increasingly common in recent years, they do draw attention to the destructive and villainous role played by the Church as an organization in the past. From destroying the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, to siding with Hitler in exterminating the Jews, from enslaving Africans during the Slave trade to slaughtering protestants, the Church has a dark, malevolent past, drenched in blood of the people who it crushed under the banner of ‘spreading civilization’ and ‘spreading the gospel’. In some ways, European powers of yore, especially the Spanish and the Portuguese, were not unlike the ISIS and Saudi Arabia of today, governed as they were by religious laws, where the Monarch took it upon himself to spread the Church’s agenda. The history of Spain and Portugal is filled with instances of forced conversions, torture, executions, all in the name of preventing heresy and adhering to Church’s dogma. While the destruction and havoc unleashed by the Spaniards and the Portuguese in Africa, Asia and Americas is commonly ascribed to the imperialistic policies of these empires, the fact remains that the empires were guided by the Church in devising their policies and executing them. Thankfully, now that the Church has recognized its destructive role, it is probably time for it to extend its apologies to a place closer home. The coast of western India holds in its bosom, dark and sinister secrets. Between the 16th and the 18th century, Portuguese imperialists, fired by their faith, unleashed unspeakable savagery on natives. Many were killed, burnt at the stake, driven away from their homes and many others forced to renounce the faith of their ancestors and accept a foreign religion. This is the story of desolation of Kerala and Goa by the Portuguese.
religion  christianity  catholicchurch  india  portugal  spain  apology  goa  kerala  mistreatment  2016 
december 2016
Can Sweden Tackle the Throwaway Society?
Would you stop throwing things away and get them repaired instead, if it were cheaper to do so?

The Swedish government likes to think its citizens would, and is putting the idea into practice.

The country's Budget for 2017 will cut the VAT rate charged on minor repairs to things like bicycles, shoes and clothes.

Tax refunds will be offered to people who get their white goods repaired, like washing machines and dishwashers.

The VAT rate will be cut from 25% to 12%, and the tax refund will let people reclaim half the labour cost of a repair to white goods and kitchen stoves.

The idea of encouraging people to be less wasteful in their everyday lives has been promoted by the Swedish Green party, which is a partner in the country's ruling minority coalition government, along with the Swedish Social Democrats.
sweden  recycling  repair  bicycles  shoes  clothes  washingmachines  dishwashers  politics  sustainability  2016 
december 2016
India is Displaying Classic Signs That Foreshadow Fascism
India is in churn. To what end, it is too early to say. And as with everything else about the country, the process is neither uniform nor universal nor consistent. But in churn it is undoubtedly. Traditional social equations, religious identities, political activism, and nationalism are all in overhaul mode. So much so that the emerging country may, in a few years, seem unrecognizable.

Many observers recoil at the seeping of Hindutva (Hinduness) into the national consciousness. A provocatively titled piece in The New York Times by author Pankaj Mishra began thus, “Brexit, Erdogan, Putin and now Trump. Something is rotten in the state of democracy… The stink first became unmistakable in India in May 2014, when Narendra Modi, a member of an alt-right Hindu organisation inspired by fascists and Nazis, was elected prime minister.” The emerging country may, in a few years, seem unrecognizable.
india  politics  fascism  narendramodi  bjp  nationalism  authoritarian  2016 
december 2016
Why a Strengthening Dollar is Bad for the World Economy
THE world’s most important currency is flexing its muscles. In the three weeks following Donald Trump’s victory in America’s presidential elections, the dollar had one of its sharpest rises ever against a basket of rich-country peers. It is now 40% above its lows in 2011. It has strengthened relative to emerging-market currencies, too. The yuan has fallen to its lowest level against the dollar since 2008; anxious Chinese officials are said to be pondering tighter restrictions on foreign takeovers by domestic firms to stem the downward pressure. India, which has troubles of its own making (see article), has seen its currency reach an all-time low against the greenback. Other Asian currencies have plunged to depths not seen since the financial crisis of 1997-98.
usdollar  worldeconomy  economy  globalism  economics  donaldtrump  usa  2016 
december 2016
This is a guide that I wrote to improve the default security of my website, which has a certificate from LetsEncrypt. I'm choosing to improve HTTPS security and transparency without consideration for legacy browser support.
https  ssl  encryption  security  configurations  letsencrypt  bestpractices  howto 
december 2016
Wikipedia Doesn't Need Your Money - So Why Does it Keep Pestering You?
Wikipedia claims that the donations are needed to keep the site online. Guilt-tripped journalists including Heather Brooke and Toby Young have contributed to Wikipedia in the belief that donations help fund operating costs. Students, who are already heavily in debt, are urged to donate in case Wikipedia "disappears".

But what Wikipedia doesn't tell us is that it is awash with cash - and raises far more money each year than it needs to keep operating.
wikipedia  wikimedia  donations  funding  fundraising  administration  2012 
december 2016
Free public domain audiobooks.
audiobooks  publicdomain  free  website 
december 2016
Jerry Kaplan
Jerry Kaplan is widely known as an Artificial Intelligence expert, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, educator, bestselling author, and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies, and teaches at Stanford University.
jerrykaplan  futurist  future  ai  author  website 
december 2016
Another Canadian Uni Hit by Ransomware, Students Told to Keep Windows PCs Away
Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, has confirmed it has been hit by a ransomware infection that crippled some of the Windows machines on its main campus.

Systems at the university started to go down on Tuesday, and its IT department reported that email, network drives and the central university student portal had all crashed. It warned those students using Windows PCs not to access the system.
ransomware  carletonuniversity  canada  windows  security  hacking  2016 
december 2016
Open Whisper Systems
Open Whisper Systems is both a large community of volunteer Open Source contributors, as well as a small team of dedicated grant-funded developers. Together, we're working to advance the state of the art for secure communication, while simultaneously making it easy for everyone to use.
security  privacy  mobilephones  encryption  opensource  chat  messaging  talk 
december 2016
Hackers are Holding San Francisco's Light-rail System for Ransom
Computer screens at MUNI stations displayed a message: "You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key( ,Enter."
hacking  lrt  sanfrancisco  russia  security  ransomware  2016 
december 2016
China’s Great Leap Backward
The political climate is darkening. “China is experiencing the most sustained domestic political crackdown since Tiananmen Square.” Those days are gone. Every week or two the Chinese press carries warnings, more and more explicit, by President Xi Jinping and his colleagues that dissent is not permissible and the party’s interests come first. Also this year, the government banned foreign-owned media—that is, all media beyond its direct control—from publishing anything in China without government approval. It cracked down on several publications (notably the business magazine Caixin and the Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekend) that for years had mastered the art of skirting government controls.
china  society  dictatorship  politics  oppression  religion  economy  military  conflicts  2016 
november 2016
Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President
The globe is dotted with such potential conflicts. Mr. Trump’s companies have business operations in at least 20 countries, with a particular focus on the developing world, including outposts in nations like India, Indonesia and Uruguay, according to a New York Times analysis of his presidential campaign financial disclosures. What’s more, the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders.

In an interview with The Times on Tuesday, Mr. Trump boasted again about the global reach of his business — and his family’s ability to keep it running after he takes office.

“I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world,” Mr. Trump said, adding later: “I don’t care about my company. It doesn’t matter. My kids run it.”
donaldtrump  conflictofinterest  corruption  business  businesspractice  insiderinformation  politics  2016 
november 2016
German Cities are Solving the Age-Old Public Toilet Problem
Paying businesses to allow access to their toilets, rather than trying and failing to maintain public ones on the street, is such an obvious and such a brilliant idea.
germany  society  public  washrooms  business  progressive  2016 
november 2016
California Today: More Than 100 Million Trees Are Dead. What Now?
California’s trees are dying at an alarming rate.

Late last week, the U.S. Forest Service said an aerial survey revealed that 36 million additional trees had died while in the grip of persistent drought, bringing the total since 2010 to more than 102 million.

Those numbers have startled California officials and scientists while adding urgency to a long-simmering debate over what should be done about it.

The tree deaths have been concentrated in the southern and central Sierra Nevada, but experts warn of increasing deaths in forests all the way up to the Oregon border.
california  trees  climatechange  environment  2016 
november 2016
Finland Set to Become First Country to Ban Coal Use for Energy
Finland could become the first country to ditch coal for good. As part of a new energy and climate strategy due to be announced tomorrow, the government is considering banning the burning of coal for energy by 2030.

“Basically, coal would disappear from the Finnish market,” says Peter Lund, a researcher at Aalto University, and chair of the energy programme at the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council.

The groundwork for the ban already seems to be in place. Coal use has been steadily declining in Finland since 2011, and the nation heavily invested in renewable energy in 2012, leading to a near doubling of wind power capacity the following year. It also poured a further €80 million into renewable power this past February.
finland  coal  ban  progressive  globalwarming  environment  energy  2016 
november 2016
Everyone Who Can Now See Your Entire Internet History, Including the Taxman, DWP and Food Standards Agency
* British Transport Police
* City of London Police
* Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
* Competition and Markets Authority
* Criminal Cases Review Commission
* Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
* Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
* Department for Transport
* Department for Work and Pensions
* Department of Health
* Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
* Financial Conduct Authority
* Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
* Food Standards Agency
* Food Standards Scotland
* Gambling Commission
* Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
* Health and Safety Executive
* HM Revenue & Customs
* Home Office
* Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
* Information Commissioner
* Metropolitan Police Service
* Ministry of Defence
* Ministry of Defence Police
* Ministry of Justice
* National Crime Agency
* NHS Business Services Authority
* NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
* Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
* Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
* Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
* Office of Communications
* Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
* Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
* Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
* Police Service of Northern Ireland
* Police Service of Scotland
* Royal Air Force Police
* Royal Military Police
* Royal Navy Police
* Scottish Ambulance Service Board
* Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
* Secret Intelligence Service
* Security Service
* Serious Fraud Office
* Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust
greatbritain  surveillance  government  agencies  lawenforcement  privacy  security  2016 
november 2016
I Had a Health Crisis in France. I’m Here to Tell You That ‘Socialized Medicine’ is Terrific
On Sunday, March 29, 2015, two days after my 54th birthday, I came very close to dying. I was sitting in an armchair in my Paris apartment, reading a newspaper, when I became dizzy. The next thing I knew, my heart was beating violently. When the paramedics arrived, it was racing at 240 beats per minute.

I was taken to Lariboisière, a major hospital in the north of Paris. In the intensive care unit, I learned that I had been born with a defective aortic valve. Basically, I’d been walking around my entire life with a ticking time bomb in my chest. How could I not have known? In high school, I ran track and played football; every summer, my wife and I took long hikes in the Swiss Alps. But an experienced nurse was not surprised. “With your condition,” she said, “the first symptom is often sudden death.” OK, I replied, what’s the second symptom?

So began my sojourn in the French healthcare system. In the United States, opponents of the Affordable Care Act often raise the nightmarish specter of European “socialized medicine.” For what it’s worth, here is a brief account of my experience with a single-payer system in the face of a life-threatening crisis.
france  healthcare  american  experience  2016 
november 2016
How Can I Protect Myself from Government Snoopers?
The UK has just passed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, at the third attempt, and it will become law by the end of the year. The bill was instigated by the then home secretary, Theresa May, in 2012. It is better known as the snooper’s charter.

Jim Killock, the director of Open Rights Group, described it as the “most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy”. It more or less removes your right to online privacy.

The law forces internet service providers to keep a record of all the websites – not the actual pages – you visit for up to a year. It also obliges companies to decrypt data on demand and gives government security services the power to hack your computers, tablets, mobile phones and other devices.
greatbritain  surveillance  privacy  tools  countermeasures  2016 
november 2016
Privacy Experts Fear Donald Trump Running Global Surveillance Network
Privacy activists, human rights campaigners and former US security officials have expressed fears over the prospect of Donald Trump controlling the vast global US and UK surveillance network.

They criticised Barack Obama’s administration for being too complacent after the 2013 revelations by the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and making only modest concessions to privacy concerns rather than carrying out major legislative changes.

The concern comes after Snowden dismissed fears for his safety if Trump, who called him “a spy who has caused great damage in the US”, was to strike a deal with Vladimir Putin to have him extradited.

Snowden, in a video link-up from Moscow with a Netherlands-based tech company on Thursday, said it would be “crazy to dismiss” the prospect of Trump doing a deal but if personal safety was a major concern for him, he would not have leaked the top-secret documents in the first place.
donaldtrump  nsa  surveillance  snowden  vladimirputin  privacy  security  2016 
november 2016
Trump's Stock in Contentious Dakota Access Pipeline Company Raises Concern
President-elect Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and pipeline opponents fear his investments could affect any decision he makes on the $3.8-billion project.

Trump's 2016 federal disclosure forms show he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. That's down from between $500,000 and $1 million a year earlier.

Trump also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

While Trump's stake in the pipeline company is modest compared with his other assets, ethics experts say it's among dozens of potential conflicts that could be resolved by placing his investments in a blind trust, a step Trump has resisted.
donaldtrump  conflictofinterest  corruption  business  businesspractice  pipeline  insiderinformation  politics  2016 
november 2016
Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest
THE NEW Trump Tower in Worli, a buzzing district of Mumbai, looks like any building site but its marketing sells a dream. A golden structure soars to the sky alongside a picture of Donald Trump. He is—potential residents are assured—the gold standard around the globe, a dealmaker without peer who operates across the gateway cities of the world and the man who built the American dream. Until a few days ago the developer, Lodha, carried a message on its website: “Congratulations Mr President-elect”. But now that a storm has blown up over the possible conflicts of interest between the various operations of Mr Trump’s group and his new job, it has been deleted.

The self-embellished legend is of a global tycoon. In a kind of mirror image, outraged suspicion is mounting that the Trump Organisation could morph into a vast global network of cronyism. America has been treated to reports of multi-billion dollar projects across the planet, to photos of Mr Trump glad-handing businessmen and to images of exotic, Trump-branded buildings standing like monuments to the decay of American ethics. Paul Krugman, a left-of-centre economist, has suggested that the Trump family could reap $10bn while its patriarch is in office.
donaldtrump  conflictofinterest  corruption  business  businesspractice  insiderinformation  politics  2016 
november 2016
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
Preteens and teens may appear dazzlingly fluent, flitting among social-media sites, uploading selfies and texting friends. But they’re often clueless about evaluating the accuracy and trustworthiness of what they find.

Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website, according to a Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college. The study, set for release Tuesday, is the biggest so far on how teens evaluate information they find online. Many students judged the credibility of newsy tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a large photo was attached, rather than on the source.
society  internet  news  criticalthinking  2016 
november 2016
Australia’s Hypersonic Plane for a New Space Race
Woomera has remained in use as a military test range for artillery, missiles and aircraft but now Smart is using the isolated site to test a brand new generation of scramjet spacecraft.

Developed in the 1960s, and first successfully flown in the ’90s, scramjets are air-breathing engines that only work at hypersonic speeds – greater than five times the speed of sound or Mach 5. Like jet engines, scramjets pull in air, and use it to burn fuel to produce thrust. Whereas jets use turbines to compress the air, however, scramjets have no moving parts. Instead, the hypersonic speed of the aircraft is enough to compress air within the motor.
australia  scramjet  space  satellites  2016 
november 2016
Linux Security Distros Compared: Tails vs. Kali vs. Qubes
If you're interested in security, you've probably already heard of security-focused Linux distros like Tails, Kali, and Qubes. They're really useful for browsing anonymously, penetration testing, and tightening down your system so it's secure from would-be hackers. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of all three.

It seems like every other day we hear about another hack, browser exploit, or nasty bit of malware. If you do a lot of your browsing on public Wi-Fi networks, you're a lot more susceptible to these types of hacks. A security-focused distribution of Linux can help. For most of us, the use cases here are pretty simple.
security  privacy  linux  tails  kali  qubes  os  2014 
november 2016
Surveillance Self-Defense Against the Trump Administration
Trump has repeatedly shown utter disrespect for the rule of law. He doesn’t believe in freedom of religion. He advocates torture. He has said he’ll instruct his Justice Department to investigate Black Lives Matter activists, and it’s likely he’ll appoint Rudy Giuliani, of New York City’s racist and unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” fame, as his attorney general to do the investigating. The New York Times also reports that “Mr. Trump still privately muses about all the ways he will punish his enemies after Election Day.”

With Trump eager to misuse his power and get revenge on his perceived enemies, it’s reasonable to conclude there will be a parallel increase in abuse of power in law enforcement and the intelligence community. Activists who put their bodies on the line trying to protect basic rights — freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civil rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, privacy rights — will face the brunt of it.

Thanks to 16 years of relentless and illegal expansion of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, Trump is about to have more tools of surveillance at his disposal than any tyrant ever has. Those preparing for the long fight ahead must protect themselves, even if doing so can be technically complicated.

The best approach varies from situation to situation, but here are some first steps that activists and other concerned citizens should take.
donaldtrump  surveillance  protection  encryption  privacy  security  howto  2016 
november 2016
Yiwu: The Chinese City Where Christmas is Made and Sold
I’m a few hours away from Shanghai and I’ve not seen daylight for over three hours. I’m also hopelessly lost. I’ve been trying to get out of this place for the last 45 minutes, but the vast labyrinth of corridors and stores all look identical. I’m surrounded by artificial trees, baubles, fake snow, felt Santa hats, and animated LED reindeers. All I hear is festive music. I’m trapped in my worst Christmas nightmare, and it is only August. A hot, sticky day in August. For a moment, it feels like I may never escape, doomed to spend the rest of my life in a never-ending Santa’s Grotto.

I’m at the Christmas level of the International Trade Market in Yiwu, around 300 kilometres (187 miles) south of Shanghai. According to Xinhua, the state-run news agency, more than 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in Yiwu, a significant proportion of which is sold at this enormous wholesale market. As I discovered, Christmas is made in Yiwu. That tree lighting up your lounge. Those decorations hanging from the ceiling. That novelty stocking filler you bought for your child. Chances are they came not far from where I am standing.
yiwu  china  manufacturing  christmas  capitalism  2014 
november 2016
An Insider's View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America
As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: "Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.
politics  donaldtrump  powerbase  republicanparty  supporters  racism  ignorance  christianity  evangelicalchristians  2016 
november 2016
CSS Reference
Learn by example: is a free visual guide to CSS. It features the most popular properties, and explains them with illustrated and animated examples.
webdev  css  reference  visualization  learning 
november 2016
Heavy Screen Time Rewires Young Brains, For Better And Worse
The debate centered on a study of young mice exposed to six hours daily of a sound and light show reminiscent of a video game. The mice showed "dramatic changes everywhere in the brain," said Jan-Marino Ramirez, director of the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"Many of those changes suggest that you have a brain that is wired up at a much more baseline excited level," Ramirez reported. "You need much more sensory stimulation to get [the brain's] attention."

So is that a problem?

On the plus side, it meant that these mice were able to stay calm in an environment that would have stressed out a typical mouse, Ramirez explained. But it also meant they acted like they had an attention deficit disorder, showed signs of learning problems, and were prone to risky behavior.
games  technology  children  brain  effects  research  2016 
november 2016
National Security Agency Said to Use Manhattan Tower as Listening Post
From a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan, the building at 33 Thomas Street, known as the Long Lines Building, looks like nothing less than a monument to the prize of privacy.

With not a window in its walls from the ground up to its height of 550 feet, 33 Thomas looms over Church Street with an architectural blank face. Nothing about it resembles a place of human habitation, and in fact it was built for machines: An AT&T subsidiary commissioned the tower to house long-distance phone lines. Completed in 1974, it was fortified to withstand a nuclear attack on New York, and the architect made plans to include enough food, water and generator fuel to sustain 1,500 people for two weeks during a catastrophic loss of power to the city.

Now, an investigative article in The Intercept and an accompanying 10-minute documentary film, “Project X,” opening on Friday at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, say the building appears to have served another purpose: as a listening post code-named Titanpointe by the National Security Agency. The article and film say that Titanpointe was one of the facilities used to collect communications — with permission granted by judges — from international entities that have at least some operations in New York, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and 38 countries.
nsa  newyork  manhattan  buildings  att  spying  surveillance  unitednations  imf  worldbank  titanpointe  skidrowe  laurapoitras  henrikmoltke  2016 
november 2016
5 Horrible Things I Found Out When I Made a Video Game
01. The Industry Doesn't Really Encourage Innovation
02. Surprise: Everything Takes 70 More Steps
03. There's No "Good" Way To Make Money
04. Your Game Has Enemies
05. There's A Covert Industry That Exists Only To Leech Money
gamedev  gameindustry  business  insights  experience  2016 
november 2016
Assange, Back in News, Never Left U.S. Radar
In June 2011, Ogmundur Jonasson, Iceland’s minister of the interior at the time, received an urgent message from the authorities in the United States. It said that “there was an imminent attack on Icelandic government databases” by hackers, and that the F.B.I. would send agents to investigate, Mr. Jonasson said in a telephone interview.

But when “eight or nine” F.B.I. agents arrived in August, Mr. Jonasson said, he found that they were not investigating an imminent attack, but gathering material on WikiLeaks, the activist group that has been responsible for publishing millions of confidential documents over the past three years, and that has many operatives in Iceland.

Mr. Jonasson asked the agents to leave, he said, because they had misrepresented the purpose of their visit.
julianassange  wikileaks  iceland  fbi  rejection  2013 
november 2016
How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?
Thanks to Edward Snowden's disclosures, we know that the current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. The repeated harassment and prosecution of dissidents, sources, and journalists in the US and elsewhere provides confirmation. We need to reduce the level of general surveillance, but how far? Where exactly is the maximum tolerable level of surveillance, which we must ensure is not exceeded? It is the level beyond which surveillance starts to interfere with the functioning of democracy, in that whistleblowers (such as Snowden) are likely to be caught.
richardstallman  surveillance  privacy  security  foss  2013 
november 2016
So You Want to Be a Hero? The Digital Antiquarian
Rule #1 is “The Player Must have Fun.” It’s trivially easy for a game designer to “defeat” players. We have all the tools and all the power. The trick is to play on the same side as the players, to tell the story together, and to make them the stars.

That rule is probably the biggest differentiator that made our games special. We didn’t strive to make the toughest, hardest-to-solve puzzles. We focused on the characters, the stories, and making the player the star.
games  history  gamedev  2016 
november 2016
Playing with History: What Sid Meier’s Video Game Empire Got Right and Wrong About ‘Civilization’
The pleasure of Sid Meier’s Civilization series is that it is at once tantalizingly grand and endearingly granular. The game’s approach to the past has always been playful. Abe Lincoln can lead war-bands against Mahatma Gandhi’s phalanxes. The Aztecs can build the first nuclear bomb. Every version of the game begins with the same wide-open promise: a settler, a worker, a few tiles of visible land, and an ocean of darkness—all the ingredients of a world ready to be discovered and made anew.

Few gaming experiences take you on such a sweeping journey while demanding nit-picking, almost fussy attention to detail. Surveying the arc of human history, you trundle your armies over cities, settle continents, and shape the destiny of a people. And yet the work of the game is more managerial than magisterial. You learn “technologies” like Ceremonial Burial, tweak tax rates, build sanitation infrastructure, feed and placate a fickle citizenry. The alchemy of the Civilization series has always been found in this balance of scales, embedding the smallest decisions in the largest accomplishments.
games  game  civilization  sidmeier  history  gamedev  review  2016 
november 2016
The Myth of RAM, Part IV
It is obvious that a lot of people misunderstood the point of my article. So in this special-edition installment I will try to answer some of the misunderstanding and criticism. Here we go!
programming  memory  linkedlist  performance  2014 
november 2016
The Myth of RAM, Part III
It used to be true that a CPU was much slower than RAM. Generally, it was much quicker looking something up in memory than computing it. Lookup tables for sines and logarithms where standard practice - but no more. CPU performance have increased far more rapidly than RAM speeds and latency. Modern CPU:s spend most of their time waiting for RAM. This is why we have the many layers of cache. This is a trend I am sure will continue for quite a while, and that is why I believe it is important to revisit old truths.
programming  memory  linkedlist  performance  2014 
november 2016
The Myth of RAM, Part II
In the previous article I measured random memory accesses and found them to roughly follow O(√N). But why? Obviously the direct culprit is the cache hierarchy. With smaller problem sizes we can use the quicker caches. As my memory consumption goes up, I have to rely on slower and slower memory to get the job done, ultimately swapping to disk.

Now you may be thinking that this is all trivial. Surely I (or someone richer than me) could purchase enough fast L1 type memory to fit all the data, and that would yield a flat graph of O(1) memory accesses. Sadly, 6 GiB of L1 memory is not only expensive, but would also be way more than could fit on a CPU die. It would need to be further away, increasing the latency of the data. And if the problem grew even more we would need even more RAM taking up even more space requiring it to be even further from my CPU, making it slower still. But how much slower? Let’s do some thinking.
programming  memory  linkedlist  performance  2014 
november 2016
The Myth of RAM, Part I
If you have studied computing science, then you know how to do complexity analysis. You'll know that iterating through a linked list is O(N), binary search is O(log(N)) and a hash table lookup is O(1). What if I told you that all of the above is wrong? What if I told you that iterating through a linked list is actually O(N√N) and hash lookups are O(√N)?

Don't believe me? By the end of this series of articles you will. I will show you that accessing memory is not a O(1) operation but O(√N). This is a result that holds up both in theory and practice.
programming  memory  linkedlist  performance  2014 
november 2016
How We Make Money at Stack Overflow: 2016 Edition
I’m Nick Craver, and you may remember me from my posts about how Stack Overflow does deployment, how we do hardware, and how we built our architecture.

What I haven’t explained yet, and what remains a mystery to most developers I meet, is how we make money. I want to do this now not only to answer this frequently asked question, but because it’s my and Stack Overflow’s belief that being relentlessly open and honest with our community can be nothing but good. That extends to normally sticky situations like finances, and it’s why we’ve created projects like the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator to make our salary processes transparent.
nickcraver  stackoverflow  business  revenue  businessmodel  2016 
november 2016
Meet PoisonTap, the $5 Tool That Ransacks Password-protected Computers
The perils of leaving computers unattended just got worse, thanks to a newly released exploit tool that takes only 30 seconds to install a privacy-invading backdoor, even when the machine is locked with a strong password.

PoisonTap, as the tool has been dubbed, runs freely available software on a $5/£4 Raspberry Pi Zero device. Once the payment card-sized computer is plugged into a computer's USB slot, it intercepts all unencrypted Web traffic, including any authentication cookies used to log in to private accounts. PoisonTap then sends that data to a server under the attacker's control. The hack also installs a backdoor that makes the owner's Web browser and local network remotely controllable by the attacker.
hardware  security  poisontap  hacking  tool  usb  raspberrypi  computers  2016 
november 2016
A “Nation-state” Used Wikileaks to Influence the US Election, the Head of the NSA Says
The head of the US’s National Security Agency said Nov. 15 that a “nation-state” consciously targeted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to affect the US election.

In response to a question, Michael S. Rogers, a Naval officer and NSA director since 2014, said on stage at a Wall Street Journal conference that Wikileaks was furthering a nation-state’s goals by publishing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s presidential campaign weeks ahead of the election.

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s minds, this was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect,” he said.
nsa  hillaryclinton  russia  email  hacking  wikileaks  elections  usa  2016 
november 2016
Microsoft Fortifies Commitment to Open Source, Becomes Linux Foundation Platinum Member
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today announced that Microsoft has joined the organization at a Platinum member during Microsoft’s Connect(); developer event in New York.

From cloud computing and networking to gaming, Microsoft has steadily increased its engagement in open source projects and communities. The company is currently a leading open source contributor on GitHub and earlier this year announced several milestones that indicate the scope of its commitment to open source development. The company released the open source .NET Core 1.0; partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10; worked with FreeBSD to release an image for Azure; and after acquiring Xamarin, Microsoft open sourced its software development kit. In addition, Microsoft works with companies like Red Hat, SUSE and others to support their solutions in its products.
microsoft  linux  goodwill  linuxfoundation  member  2016 
november 2016
Hunting Submarines with Magnets
Submarines rely on stealth to do their jobs, whether that is sinking enemy ships or hiding nuclear-tipped missiles beneath the ocean. The traditional way of hunting them is with sonar. Modern sonar is extremely sensitive. But modern submarines are very quiet, and neither side has gained a definitive upper hand.

There are other options. Submarine-spotting aircraft carry “magnetic anomaly detectors” (MAD) which pick up disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by a submarine’s metal hull. Those disturbances are tiny, which means MAD is only useful at ranges of a few hundred metres.

There may, though, be a better way. Thanks to something called the Debye effect, it might be possible to hunt submarines using the magnetic signatures of their wakes. Seawater is salty, full of ions of sodium and chlorine. Because those ions have different masses, any nudge—such as a passing submarine—moves some farther than others. Each ion carries an electric charge, and the movement of those charges produces a magnetic field.
usa  russia  submarines  detector  detection  magnetism  military  ingenious  2016 
november 2016
Iran's Great Wall Is Now Buried and Forgotten
In northwestern Iran, running for almost 200 kilometers from the southeastern shores of the Caspian Sea to the mountains of Bilikuh in the east, lies the remains of the Great Wall of Gorgan—once the largest defensive structure ever built.

It protected the ancient kingdoms of the region from raiding parties who would sweep down across the plains and deserts to the north. It was several meters high, and impressively thick, providing a secure imperial frontier, and was buttressed by 40 permanently garrisoned fortresses containing tens of thousands of soldiers.
iran  greatwallofgorgan  gorgan  caspiansea  bilikuhmountains  history  wall  defense  2016 
november 2016
The Spy Who Added Me on LinkedIn
Evgeny Buryakov woke up to a snowstorm. On the morning of Jan. 26, 2015, his modest brick home in the Bronx was getting the first inches of what would be almost a foot of powder, and Buryakov, the No. 2 executive at the New York branch of a Russian bank, decided to skip work and head around the corner to a grocery store to buy supplies for his family of four. As the 39-year-old Russian bundled into his winter gear and closed the front door of his house behind him, he didn’t realize he would never set foot in it again.

Since the Buryakovs’ arrival in New York in August 2010, they had seemed like any other immigrant family in the melting-pot Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale. Of average height and build, Evgeny’s only curious feature might have been his near-obsessive taste for McDonald’s. The kids in nice weather played in the sandbox out back, next to the clothesline where their mother, Marina, liked to hang their laundry. While Evgeny commuted to the 29th floor of a Manhattan high rise, she shuttled the children to a nearby parochial school and to afternoon activities like karate. The two nuns who lived next door watched the family parrot while the Buryakovs went on ski vacations.
usa  russia  espionage  newyork  professionals  spies  2016 
november 2016
Britain has Passed the 'Most Extreme Surveillance Law Ever Passed in a Democracy'
The law forces UK internet providers to store browsing histories - including domains visited - for one year, in case of police investigations.
surveillance  greatbritain  law  privacy  security  isp  2016 
november 2016
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