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A Look at the NSA's Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool

Koreantoast Re:I wonder (154 comments)

That's a silly statement. They're government bureaucrats. At least in the United States, you never join the bureaucracy if your goal is to make money. Even contracting for the government, while better paying than direct government employment, still pales compared to more lucrative areas of the economy, especially for the skill sets we're talking about.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Koreantoast Retraining Won't Be Enough for Unemployed Miners (712 comments)

I'm REALLY curious as to what they expect to replace the coal mining business with in the middle of rural West Virginia. Even assuming you could retrain all those workers, that simply leaves an entire army of now skilled workers sitting in towns that have had their economy completely decimated by the elimination of coal. One doesn't simply regenerate a brand new, magic economy there from scratch. Even something as basic as building a new factory, say a solar panel factory, would require not just the cost of building the factory, but the infrastructure to support said factory (roads, water, power, rail links, etc.), and $50B is not going to cover the cost of doing that for 87,000 workers.

about a month ago
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China Deploys Satellites In Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

Koreantoast Better Question: Why Did It Take the PRC this Long (142 comments)

Yes, just in case you haven't been following all the coverage from the last three or four days, the United States has been providing a large amount of satellite data, even leveraging their missile launch detection system to search for possible explosions. The more interesting question is why it took the Chinese this long to provide satellite imagery to search for a plane full of primarily their own citizenry in its own region.

about a month ago
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US Intelligence Officials To Monitor Federal Employees With Security Clearances

Koreantoast Will They Monitor Congress & Their Staff? (186 comments)

This program is probably focused on members of the bureaucracy, but I wonder if they're going to cover another very significant group of government officials with security clearances: Members of Congress and their staffs. A lot of your leaks happen over on Capitol Hill after all. Then again, I'm going to take a guess that they will very vocally and aggressively oppose this action and play the separation of powers card to shield themselves from this new effort.

about a month ago
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In Ukraine, Cyber War With Russia Heating Up

Koreantoast Sophisticated tools - "Russian Stuxnet" Ouroboros (256 comments)

The Financial Times [Paywall] is reporting that a highly sophisticated cyberweapon known as Ouroboros is being used to infect, monitor and potentially attack Ukrainian computer networks including government systems. Forensics mark it as being Russian developed, and the article compares it to Stuxnet in terms of sophistication and capability (though it is not related to that specific software). Websites are small potatoes, nothing more than spray paint on a wall. This appears to be more more like explosives, designed to take out targeted infrastructure.

about a month and a half ago
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Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

Koreantoast Why Glasses vs. Cell Phones or Cameras (921 comments)

I think an important distinction needs to be made about the difference between Google Glasses versus cellphones, cameras and other more traditional recording devices. With the latter, it's relatively obvious if someone is recording you: the item's lenses are pointed at you. If the cellphone is in their pocket or angled at my feet, it's easy to see it's not pointed at me. It's also easy for me to verify if they are recording me on a cellphone or not, just simply flip the thing around and take a look. With Google Glasses, I have no idea if a person looking at me is simply looking or is actually recording. There's no indication, and it's not quick to spot check; they have to go through the process of actually removing the glasses and showing me. It creates uncertainty on whether or not I'm being recorded, and therefore, creates unease.

That being said, this event seems to be just as much about the whole Techie vs. "Traditional" San Francisco debate which is a whole different can of worms.

about 2 months ago
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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

Koreantoast Problem is Employee Leaves After Training (491 comments)

Companies have scaled back on on-the-job training because the moment they invest heavily in an employee, said employee will jump ship to another firm. A lot of times too, it's not even for more money, it's for a more prestigious company, hotter product, etc. Why bother trying to train in house talent when they're going to jump ship? Better to just look for someone who is qualified to do the job from the get go.

about 2 months ago
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US War Machine Downsizing?

Koreantoast Infrastructure, Education Underfunding Myth (506 comments)

First, I'm going to say I'm all for reductions in military spending. No objections drawing down the military machine and redeploying those funds to more productive uses for the economy.

However, I do want to address what I view as the misinterpretation that the United States is somehow starving infrastructure and education spending. Contrary to popular belief, the US dumps huge amounts of resources into both. The US spends 3.3% of its GDP on infrastructure, on par with nations like Canada and Germany. In education, the US spend $1,000B a year in education spending, ~$200B more a year on education than on all combined defense, veteran and civil defense spending. I don't think the question for the United States is whether or not the government spends sufficient resources, but it's more a question of how those resources are allocated and spent. It's a question of geographic and socioeconomic distribution as well as effectiveness of spending.

about 2 months ago
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Google Fiber Pondering 9 New Metro Areas

Koreantoast Just Supporting Already Strong Tech Cities (172 comments)

It's good to see some real competition, but it's disappointing that most of the locations chosen are simply further upgrading areas that already have a large tech presence. In some ways, it almost feels like it's further growing the gap between technologically advanced cities and the rest of the country.

about 2 months ago
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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Koreantoast Re:They're finally going to do something. (325 comments)

This is true, but I would add that there is a real calculus that the Chinese are doing, and if North Korea's new leadership pushes too hard, the Chinese government may find that they'd be better off "forcefully advocating" for new North Korean leadership. The nuclear weapons and recent violent altercations are already making the Chinese uneasy, especially since they give China's neighbors more excuses to pour money into military upgrades... upgrades that can also be used to contest Chinese military supremacy in the region. The Kim Jong Un's recent purges of pro-Chinese factions in the government isn't exactly currying favor either.

about 2 months ago
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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Koreantoast Non-Interventionist is BS; China no Different (325 comments)

No, it's China's view that the DPRK's internal affairs are none of its business until China feels that the DPRK is no longer worth propping up. China is out for China's interest, and they are more than happy to interfere when it's in their national interest, no different than any other major global power. They may not currently have the force projection capabilities that other nations had, but just the sheer number of weapons they've shipped during the PRC's short history to pro-Chinese insurgencies and governments shows that they are not above this game. Perhaps the most blatant was the punitive campaign they launched against Vietnam in 1979, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and "scorched earth" in the northern half of Vietnam, all because the Vietnamese had the audacity to stop the massacres of the pro-PRC Khmer Rouge.

Yet for now, as much of a headache that the DPRK is for China, they put up with them because all of the other options are much less desirable for China (anarchy from regime collapse, war on its frontier, millions of refugees).

about 2 months ago
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US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index

Koreantoast Arbitrary - USA Still about 2006, 2011 Rankings (357 comments)

When one bothers to actually look at the data, the rank for the United States is still higher than its ranking in 2006, 2007 and 2011. Since 2002, the United States press freedom has bounced back and forth between the 20s and 50s. This is not to say that there isn't merit to the deficits in press freedom that Reporters Without Borders points out; there are very legitimate concerns being raised about recent efforts by the current administration to crack down on leakers and whistleblowers. Yet because Reporters Without Borders is regularly changing their methodology, you can't really use the data to make a true comparison of any nation's change in rank beyond very broad generalizations. Here's a good story in the Washington Post that makes this point.

about 2 months ago
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'The Color Run' Violates Agreement With College Photographer, Then Sues Him

Koreantoast They Didn't Even Humor Him with an Insulting Offer (218 comments)

What makes this particular case even crazier is that they didn't bother to humor him with the sort of token, small dollar amount that most, more established companies will offer when this sort of thing arises (and in this case, the photographer might have actually accepted). Nope, they went straight for the lawsuit.

about 2 months ago
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Target's Internal Security Team Warned Management

Koreantoast Now You Have an Example to Point to! (236 comments)

Can't speak to Target, but for future people who are in this predicament, now you have a great case study and example to point to!

about 2 months ago
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An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Koreantoast Do people even know what a co-op is? (479 comments)

Given everyone raving about evil corporate profits, I wonder if half the commentators even know what a cooperative is. If one simply reads the article, they can see that the members of this co-op are negotiating to try and come up with a better solution.

about 3 months ago
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An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?

Koreantoast Re:I wouldn't mind the free market (479 comments)

Except the ISP we're talking about here already is a co-op.

about 3 months ago
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NYT: NSA Put 100,000 Radio Pathway "Backdoors" In PCs

Koreantoast Re:Americans (324 comments)

You realize of course what you are proposing is effectively a declaration of war against nearly every major power, essentially stating that diplomatic relations should be severed with the United States, China, Russia and even other EU member states.

about 3 months ago
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If I Had a Hammer

Koreantoast Variation of Das Kapital Overproduction Paradox (732 comments)

I would point out that this argument feels a lot like a variation on Karl Marx's overproduction paradox in capitalist societies. Marx's focus on cause was a little different, he viewed that there would be too many goods ultimately driving down profits and triggering needs for efficiency, but the cycle essentially becomes the same - competition forces increased efficiency to produce products, but increased efficiency reduces labor required and thus fewer employed people who can afford said products. Then, companies are forced to become even more efficient to improve margins, but that just leads to further unemployment and greater numbers of people who can't afford said products. Those issues were partially offset historical circumstance (global warfare) and by the creation of new industries that can partially absorb some of the unemployed (tech boom), but ultimately, the trend seems to still be on the same trajectory.

about 3 months ago
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The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Koreantoast Color on President, Congress Hides Biggest Point (341 comments)

All the dust kicked up by talk on the President and Congress probably misses one of the key pieces of Gates' excerpt, his critique of the United States being "too quick to reach for a gun" in times of crisis.

Wars are a lot easier to get into than out of. Those who ask about exit strategies or question what will happen if assumptions prove wrong are rarely welcome at the conference table when the fire-breathers are demanding that we strike—as they did when advocating invading Iraq, intervening in Libya and Syria, or bombing Iran's nuclear sites. But in recent decades, presidents confronted with tough problems abroad have too often been too quick to reach for a gun. Our foreign and national security policy has become too militarized, the use of force too easy for presidents.

Today, too many ideologues call for U.S. force as the first option rather than a last resort. On the left, we hear about the "responsibility to protect" civilians to justify military intervention in Libya, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere. On the right, the failure to strike Syria or Iran is deemed an abdication of U.S. leadership. And so the rest of the world sees the U.S. as a militaristic country quick to launch planes, cruise missiles and drones deep into sovereign countries or ungoverned spaces. There are limits to what even the strongest and greatest nation on Earth can do—and not every outrage, act of aggression, oppression or crisis should elicit a U.S. military response.

This is particularly worth remembering as technology changes the face of war. A button is pushed in Nevada, and seconds later a pickup truck explodes in Mosul. A bomb destroys the targeted house on the right and leaves the one on the left intact. For too many people—including defense "experts," members of Congress, executive branch officials and ordinary citizens—war has become a kind of videogame or action movie: bloodless, painless and odorless. But my years at the Pentagon left me even more skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories or doctrines that suggest that war is anything other than tragic, inefficient and uncertain.

about 3 months ago
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Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War?

Koreantoast Historically, laws always thrown out for guerillas (317 comments)

Should be noted that even back during the Napoleonic era, organized armies struggled with rules and regulations how to deal with irregular forces. The term guerrilla after all came from that era. They struggled with how to treat such individuals and were forced into the same messy counterinsurgency campaigns that you see today (perhaps even uglier since there were less restraints on just outright torching villages and massacring civilians). This wasn't just limited to the French or that time either: you saw this with just about every major civilization throughout the world and most of history as a continuous problem up until today. Any laws or conventions were always thrown out when dealing with unconventional forces, with organized armies feeling "freed" of constraints when dealing with them.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Under Armour-Lockheed Designed Suit Blamed for Poor US Speedskating Perfomance

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 2 months ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "The United States surprisingly poor performance in speedskating, despite strong performances in recent World Cup events, has been blamed in part on an untested speedskating suit. The Mach 39, designed through a joint venture between Under Armour and Lockheed Martin, was supposed to provide Team USA with a high tech advantage, using advanced fluid dynamic models and dimpled surface to disrupt air flow and improve comfort. Instead, performances have been disastrous thus far, with athletes going as far as modifying their suits at the Olympics to try and reverse their fortunes. The suits have caused enough concerns that US Speedskating is taking the unusual step of seeking special dispensation from International Skating Union to ditch the high tech suits and switch back to their old uniforms. Teams are normally required to keep the same equipment through the entire Games. Insert jokes and comparisons to Lockheed's more famous product, the JSF, here."
Link to Original Source
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Silicon Valley's Ultimate Exit: Techno-Utopia or Tea Party with Better Gadgets?

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 6 months ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "Welcome to the next round of the anarchist vs. statist debate: Stanford's Balaji Srinivasan has made a radical proposal of a "techno-utopia", the dream of entire countries, driven by technology, that are free of the "Paper Belt", i.e. paperwork driven, traditional governments like those in Washington D.C. He proposes an anarchist, technologically-driven, "opt-in" utopia free of pre-existing systems and requirements led by innovators in Silicon Valley. Srinivasan presents Peter Thiel's proposed floating tech incubator and Elon Musk's plans for a Mars colony as "good starts." Needless to say, the concept has also drawn significant criticism, with Valley Wag comparing the idea to the "Tea Party with better gadgets." The author, Nitasha Tiku, says that such a concept ignores the fact that Silicon Valley's success were built upon government infrastructure and funds and that many of the newest concepts are simply thin facilitators on top of a more heavily regulated system. Slashdotters, where do you stand?"
Link to Original Source
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Arrested Chinese Blogger "Confesses" on State TV, Praises Censorship

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 7 months ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "As part of a broader, chilling Chinese crackdown on Internet dissent, Chinese blogger Charles Xue, appeared on Chinese state television in handcuffs on Sunday, denouncing his blog and praising government censorship. He "confessed" to becoming drunk on the accumulated power of his Weibo blog, which peaked at 12 million followers, and confessed to recklessly spreading unverified rumors and slander, disrupting social harmony and becoming a vent of negative emotion on mainstream society. He also praised new government legislation cracking down on Internet freedom, stating how dangerous the Internet would be if left uncontrolled by the government. Xue was arrested on prostitution solicitation charges though his television confession did not discuss those charges. His arrest was also suspiciously around the same time as a broader government sweep that picked up other Chinese Internet activists."
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Analysis Makes Case that Gladwell's Culture & Air Crashes Analysis Badly Fla

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 9 months ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "As a recent Slashdot article showed, interest in Malcolm Gladwell's theory on the impact of culture on airline crashes has come up again following the tragic accident of Asiana Flight 214. Yet how good was Gladwell's analysis of the Korean Air Flight 801 accident which is the basis of his theory? A recent analysis by the popular Ask a Korean! blog shows serious flaws in Gladwell's presentation: ignorance of the power dynamics amongst the flight crew, mischaracterizations of Korean Air's flight accident record (three of the seven deadly incidents characterized as "accidents" were actually military attacks or terrorism) and manipulative omissions in the pilot transcripts to falsely portray the situation. "Even under the most kindly light, Gladwell is guilty of reckless and gross negligence. Under a harsher light, Gladwell's work on the connection between culture and plane crashes is a shoddy fraud." Perhaps Gladwell should have asked a Korean before the chapter."
Link to Original Source
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Somali Al Shabaab Live Tweet Attack on UN Development Program Compound

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 10 months ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "In another interesting example of the increasing use and sophistication of social media by non-governmental organizations, the Somali-based Islamic insurgency al-Shabab live tweeted their latest attack, a suicide assault against a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) facility in Mogadishu which left 15 dead. During the event, they denounced UNDP, tweeting during the attack that the UN is "a merchant of death & a satanic force of evil, has a long inglorious record of spreading nothing but poverty, dependency & disbelief" and proceeded to mock newly appointed UN Representative Nicholas Kay who is to arrive in Somalia later this month. Also of note is their initiation of communications with various press entities including the AP, BBC and IHS Janes through Twitter. Hat tip to Foreign Policy magazine for the story."
Link to Original Source
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Sterile Environment Causing Increase in Allergies

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about a year ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found in the United States that immigrant children born in the developing world are are less likely to develop allergies, ranging from food allergies to hay fever to eczema, than those born in the US, and long term, foreign born immigrants are more likely to develop allergies over time versus their peers back in the developing world. This phenomenon isn't particular to the US either: studies done in other industrialized nations show a similar pattern. Scientists hypothesize that people in the developing world benefit from greater exposures to infections and microbes, and that the cleaner, more sterile environment in the industrialized world has weakened people's immune systems, making them hypersensitive to otherwise harmless particles. Has the Western world gone too far in creating a sterile society, swinging the pendulum to the point where now it hurts their health?"
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North Korea's Satellite Is Out of Control

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about a year ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "

After failing miserably on numerous occasions, North Korea has finally put a satellite in orbit. But according to US officials, it is now "tumbling out of control." This is bad news, and more bad news, covered in a double layer of extra bad news.

According to US officials, it appears that North Korea's new satellite has failed to achieve a stable orbit and is now "tumbling out of control." The greatest danger is the threat of it colliding with another satellite, adding to the growing debris field around the earth. A separate Gizmodo article provides links for tracking the current location of the satellite."
Link to Original Source

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The coming end of "free content" news?

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 2 years ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased 63 newspapers and plans to purchase more over the next few years, noted during an interview that the current free content model is unsustainable and will likely continue pushing toward more electronic subscription models. This coincides with moves by other newspaper companies like Gannett and the New York Times which are also erecting paywall systems. Buffett notes that newspapers which focus on local content, their unique product, would succeed even if they lose subscribers because their services are irreplaceable. Is this the beginning of the end of "free content" for local news?"
Link to Original Source
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Asian Nearsightedness Due to Time Spent Indoors Studying

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 2 years ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "A rather amusing study completed in Australia shows that the rate of myopia amongst East Asian children may be driven in large part due to the lack of sunlight from being indoors too often, i.e. studying.

"Scientists say an epidemic of myopia, or nearsightedness, is sweeping through Asian children, and is likely due to students’ spending too much time indoors studying and not enough time outside in the sunlight.

It has long been thought that nearsightedness is mostly a hereditary problem, but researchers led by Ian Morgan of Australian National University say the data suggest that environment has a lot more to do with it."


On a more serious note, the study found that rates of myopia are higher amongst Caucasians in the UK versus Australia where the former gets less sunlight."

Link to Original Source
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US deploys "heat-ray" in Afghanistan

Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Koreantoast (527520) writes "The United States military has deployed Raytheon's newly developed Active Denial System (ADS), a millimeter-wave, "non-lethal" heat-ray to Afghanistan. The weapon generates a "burning sensation" that is supposedly harmless, with the military claiming that the chance of injury is at less than 0.1%; numerous volunteers including reporters over the last several years have experienced its effects during various trials and demonstrations. While US military spokesperson Lt. Col. John Dorrian states that the weapon has not yet been operationally used, the tense situation in theater will ensure its usage soon enough. Proponents of ADS believe the system may help limit civilian deaths in counterinsurgency operations and provide new, safer ways to disperse crowds and control riots, but opponents fear that the system's long-term effects are not fully known and that the device may even be used for torture. Regardless, if ADS is successful in the field, we'll probably see this mobile microwave at your next local protest or riot."
Link to Original Source
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Koreantoast Koreantoast writes  |  about 7 years ago

koreantoast (527520) writes "An article in the British newspaper "The Independent" states that a limited study done by Landau University has found a possible link that the radiation from cell phones is interfering with the navigation system of bees, leading to the collapse of many commercial bee hives in the United States and Europe. The implications are serious: with the disappearance of a large number of bee hives, farmers will be unable to pollinate many of their crops, leading to shortages of many agricultural products. Although there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to confirm this link, the possibility is worrisome."

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