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Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

daveschroeder Re:Just tell me (463 comments)

No, it didn't. It was "some sort" of droplet transmission by monkeys in adjacent cages.

That is NOT -- repeat, NOT -- "airborne" transmission.

And no, it didn't go through the ventilation system; it was later learned that sick monkeys sneezing while they were being transported past well monkeys did indeed transmit the virus in this case.

It was also a completely different strain than the one we are talking about.

Airborne transmission occurs when an infectious agent is able to cling to particulates in the air and ride air currents for significant amounts of time, over significant distances, through ventilation systems, etc., long after the infected person who expelled the virus is no longer in the area.

Droplet transmission is NOT "airborne" transmission. It is projecting bodily fluids directly onto a well person in close quarters...usually less than 3 feet, but under optimal conditions, perhaps further. That is still not airborne transmission.

Furthermore, coughing/sneezing is probably one of the least effective ways to spread Ebola, even via droplets. Blood, feces, and vomit are the primary ways this will be spread. Yes, virus "could" be in saliva, mucous, semen, etc. But that's not the primary way Ebola spreads.

Airborne transmission would be very bad, but the Ebola virus is too large to spread this way. It would have to shed about 75% of its genome to be small enough for airborne transmission in sub-5um droplet nuclei that could ride on particulates. And if it did that, it wouldn't be "Ebola" anymore -- it would be something very different; perhaps still deadly, perhaps not, and so much different from what we are talking about right now that it is next to meaningless to discuss.

So, in closing: no, Ebola is not airborne.

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

daveschroeder What 20 years of research on pot has taught us (263 comments)

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

Read the full study in the journal Addiction

What twenty years of research on cannabis use has taught us

In the past 20 years recreational cannabis use has grown tremendously, becoming almost as common as tobacco use among adolescents and young adults, and so has the research evidence. A major new review in the scientific journal Addiction sets out the latest information on the effects of cannabis use on mental and physical health.

The key conclusions are:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use
- Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
- Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
- Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use
- Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
- Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular adolescent cannabis users are more likely to use other illicit drugs, but we donâ(TM)t know whether the link is causal.
- Regular cannabis use that begins in adolescence and continues throughout young adulthood appears to produce intellectual impairment, but the mechanism and reversibility of the impairment is unclear.
- Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or reporting psychotic symptoms in adulthood.
- Regular cannabis smokers have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis.
- Cannabis smoking by middle aged adults probably increases the risk of myocardial infarction.

Professor Hallâ(TM)s report is published online today in the scientific journal Addition.

about two weeks ago
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Texas Ebola Patient Dies

daveschroeder Re:Ebola is airborne (487 comments)

Wrong. Different strain, VERY bad source, did not happen through ventilation system. It happened to monkeys in adjacent cages without direct contact, through "some sort" of aerosolized transmission in very close quarters. I.e., droplets.

Fearmongers or people who think "the government" is "lying to stem panic" always trot out this story. It does NOT mean "Ebola is airborne".

It took Africa, with some of the worst healthcare, sanitation, and infrastructure in the world, 10 MONTHS to get to the ~7400 cases there are now. If it were airborne, it would be much, much worse. Ebola is not airborne; stop spreading your bullshit.

Thank you.

about two weeks ago
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Texas Ebola Patient Dies

daveschroeder Errata: slashdot mangled my reply... (487 comments)

...when trying to use the carat symbol. Fix here:

Airborne transmission occurs when an droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (under 5 um) to travel on dust particles, and can invisibly hang in the air or travel on air currents in large spaces long after someone has sneezed or coughed, and travel great distances, and can infect when breathed in.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Ebola is, or has been, spread in this way. In fact, the evidence is that Ebola is almost exclusively spread via direct contact with bodily fluids.

Droplet transmission (over 10 um) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

about two weeks ago
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Texas Ebola Patient Dies

daveschroeder He thought she had maliaria, not Ebola (487 comments)

Whether he lied or not, some accounts say that he believed the woman he aided had malaria, not Ebola. And the woman's family themselves may have lied to the people aiding them.

Ultimately, the biggest breakdown occured with the hospital, which was told twice that he had just traveled from Liberia on the first visit, and has since admitted this information was available to all providers. This has caused the tilt to the other extreme, with even the most innocuous cases of fever, adominal distress, and similar, with no travel or other history that would point to Ebola, being handled as such "out of an abundance of caution".

Keep in mind that viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are nothing new in the US. what happens in the United States with other fatal VHFs, that, like Ebola, are only spread via direct contact with bodily fluids and can be easily addressed in first world nations:

Hanta: http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/...

Marburg: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/previe...

Lassa: http://www.cdc.gov/media/relea...

Hanta is especially on point, as the US typically has dozens of cases -- and dozens of deaths -- each year, all of which are rapidly contained. The cases of "imported" VHFs, like has occurred with Marburg and Lassa, result in identification, isolation, and either the recovery or death of that person -- and that's the end of it.

Also, Ebola is NOT airborne. Ebola researchers will AT MOST say things like:

Peters, whose CDC team studied cases from 27 households that emerged during a 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, said that while most could be attributed to contact with infected late-stage patients or their bodily fluids, "some" infections may have occurred via "aerosol transmission."

"Those monkeys were dying in a pattern that was certainly suggestive of coughing and sneezing â" some sort of aerosol movement."

"May". "Suggestive". "Some sort".

Even if we change all of these statements to absolute certainty, it still does not translate to, "Ebola is airborne," in the meaning of "airborne" in the context of disease transmission.

Airborne transmission occurs when a droplet nuclei containing a virus (or bacteria) is small enough (10 μm) occurs when droplets of saliva or mucous (or even blood) containing the virus are projected during a sneeze or cough and and projected directly onto someone's eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes. This kind of transmission is usually within 3', and is NOT considered "airborne" transmission.

"Droplet" transmission can certainly occur with Ebola -- or any disease that spreads via bodily fluids and is present in saliva or mucous. VHFs are not airborne diseases, and a study of one strain where monkeys in adjacent cages sneezed on each other and passed the disease does not make it "airborne".

Being able to get something from having someone sneeze or cough droplets onto you and airborne transmission are very different things.

The quickest way to have a threat of possible airborne transmission of Ebola via mutation would be to not aid Africa in this fight, and let Africa fend for itself, creating an environment where the cases could skyrocket into the millions (due to Africa's infrastructure and inability to deal with the onslaught), thereby increasing the statistical likelihood of the feared airborne mutation -- which, if a foothold were to be gotten in the West as an airborne disease, would truly be a catastrophe worthy of fear and panic.

In reading much of the news coverage, online commentary, and this thread, this article struck me as very relevant:

http://www.nationaljournal.com...

Indeed, with the increasing numbers of Americans likely to believe that any major threat requiring government action is a result of at best government lies/failures, or at worse, an active plot to weaken America and/or strip rights from Americans, fighting any truly existential threat at home becomes almost impossible.

about two weeks ago
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Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

daveschroeder Re:What does it matter? (191 comments)

Every official query. Agents are allowed to search through that data at their whim. This was detailed by Snowden.

False. That is categorically, 100% false. That was people interpreted Snowden's claim to be, and that's not how it works. If you look at the nuance of Snowden's claims, even he himself has made various statements to the effect of, "Even if it's not being abused today, it could be in the future." Wow, no shit, Captain Obvious: ANY government power "could" be abused. And? I mean, really? That's why in a democracy we sort of have this thing called the "rule of law". And yes, we're imperfect, in all manner of ways. Again: And?

In the case of the phone call metadata, it has been approved and reauthorized every 90 days by all three branches of government -- the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, two different presidential administrations (which you could only believe are "the same" if you're one of those crazy libertarian types), and a total of 17 different federal judges, who have variously sat on the court whose single purpose and reason for being is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of FOREIGN intelligence collection. (I know all the protests: no, FISC is not a "rubber stamp" court; it is simply not an adversarial court, and armies of lawyers IC agencies don't even waste their time bringing forward requests that are likely to be denied.)

Only 22 people, in total, even have query access to the database, and this data has only been queried around 300 times. Each of those queries requires its own FISA order (to demonstrate the target is not a US Person, or if it is a US Person, that an individualized warrant exists for a legitimate foreign intelligence purpose), and EVERY query of any kind of SIGINT collection, of any kind, has a layer of daily audits. Every query. Ironically, the only people who had theoretical access to data without oversight -- if they wanted to violate their oath, their trust, the law, and the Constitution -- was system administrators. And now, because of Snowden, sysadmins can only conduct sensitive duties (such as entering datacenters or having physical access to anything beyond normal workstations) with another sysadmin (two-person integrity).

Yes, the capability they want against the terrorists is a complete panopticon of all activity. And the simple response is that no, they are not allowed to have that capability when it comes to US citizens. As per the constitution.

There is no way to have technical (or any) capabilities to collect against "only" the foreign targets without having the capability to collect against any target that is using the same systems, networks, and tools. The only distinction now is the US Person-status. That is the fundamental issue in the digital world, and the source of the fundamental misunderstanding of the United States' foreign SIGINT capabilities.

You're vastly oversimplifying the situation, beyond the fact you don't understand anything about SIGINT law, governance, or policy. Where, in the Constitution, does it say the government cannot have a CAPABILITY that COULD be used against Americans? (Hint: ANY government power "could" be used against Americans.) What is the difference, from a Constitutional perspective, of a foreign counterterrorism target using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. (which they do), and an American using those same tools? Do you see the problem, here? It's the PERSON, not the TOOL.

Your "solutions" -- which you don't even need to enumerate for me to guess -- would basically mean that all a foreign target has to do to subject himself to the same Constitutional and warrant protections that are reserved only for US Persons is to ENSURE his communications enter, touch, or traverse a US system or network. Right now that happens incidentally, or because US adversaries still find them to be the easiest methods to communicate, even if their comms might be using a US service, or a US-designed or -owned technology, or may enter the US, even if incidentally.

Given that foreign intelligence collection against non-US Persons fundamentally does not require a warrant, never has, and never will, what tools do you think enemies of the US would choose to use if suddenly you could wave a magic wand and require a warrant for Every. Single. Communication. of a foreign target using a US system? How would that work in, say, a sex chat room that terrorists happen to have chosen to communicate (it happens). Or a private web forum, hosted in the US (it happens). Or any number of US-based cloud and network providers? If you have a solution for how to have realtime or near-realtime access -- and yes, the (near-)realtime here is key, else SIGINT becomes worthless for all but a narrow set of strategic activities -- to only the bad guys while magically protecting everyone else using the same system, I would love to hear it.

about three weeks ago
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Studies Conclude Hands-Free-calling and Apple Siri Distract Drivers

daveschroeder Calling Captain Obvious (208 comments)

...and so do kids, passengers, arguments, the radio, the A/C controls, and anything else that takes your visual or mental attention away from the road in front of you.

This is surprising, how, exactly? Siri and similar are a hell of a lot better than texting and otherwise using your smart device in the normal, "non voice controlled" way.

about three weeks ago
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Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

daveschroeder Re:What does it matter? (191 comments)

Dude, do you know who Steven Aftergood is? You might want to look into his background. He's the Director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy and the last person who is going to inappropriately defend government for trying to keep something secret. And yes, Sen. Wyden was trying to get the DNI to reveal currently and properly classified information in open session.*

The fact of the matter is that for at least the last 35 years, phone call records, as a "business record" provided to a third party, do NOT have an expectation of privacy and are NOT covered by the Fourth Amendment. Unless and until the Supreme Court reverses Smith, that is the standing, factual law of the land.

Furthermore, the entire purpose of the BR FISA metadata collection isn't to "spy on Americans" -- it is to "collect the haystack", so to speak, that may LAWFULLY be collected, in order to have access to it when searching for bad foreign actors who may be physically operating within the US on US wireless carriers. And every query against that data requires a reasonable, articulable, and specific foreign intelligence nexus, with its own separate FISA order.

It's not NSA's job to second guess the law or its authorities. Its entire purpose is FOREIGN signals intelligence, and the fact that some people simply can't accept that won't be changed by any amount of commentary in forums like this. Foreign targets now exist in the same sea of global digital communications as you and everyone else â" there is no way to have the technical capability to target the one without having the same capability to target them all.

Which is why, again, in a democratic society based on the rule of law, it is what the LAW says that is paramount.

* For what it's worth, my own personal view is that Clapper wasn't even thinking of the phone metadata program when asked that question. He was thinking more broadly in terms of the foreign intelligence collection missions of 17 IC agencies, which can, do, and always will sometimes encounter the communications content of Americans during the execution of their duties. And the fact is, no matter how many little pissant isolated examples of someone intentionally abusing something, there is no systemic, policy, or enabling environment to illegally spy on Americans. If you want to believe there is, then there won't be any useful discussion between us. Is there room for improvement and transparency on some fronts? Sure. But intelligence requires secrecy in order to be effective, even in free and open societies.

about three weeks ago
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Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

daveschroeder Re:What does it matter? (191 comments)

But you can never "know" the discovery was incidental, under any construct, because you can always assume the government is lying -- with or without the Snowden disclosures. And we didn't learn from Snowden how collection is defined in a SIGINT context; electronic collection has been defined that way since at least 1982. I agree that the FBI (or any government agency) cannot engage another agency/country/etc. in order to skirt US laws...and I didn't say they should be able to, nor do I believe they did.

Furthermore, metadata is not content -- and even that data is only queried for specifically articulated counterterrorism purposes, which means it would have nothing to do with this case. Even now, no one has ANY idea whether NSA or any other agency was involved...the FBI could be hiding its own sources and methods, or could have even omitted information or made a mistake.

And the program has been challenged, and may ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court, which may decide that technology has changed so much since 1979 that this interpretation of the Smith v Maryland ruling is no longer a valid interpretation in the context of the Fourth Amendment. But unless and until that happens, it is factual to say that phone call records, as a "business record" provided to a third party, do not have an expectation of privacy and are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. That's not a value judgment, or an opinion, it is a legal fact.

And it's not NSA's job to second guess its own legal authorities (even though it extensively does that); its job is to conduct its missions, in what I would hope would be the most aggressive way possible within the law. Its mission isn't to figure out ways around the law, or the Constitution, or to spy on Americans without warrants. Its mission is to conduct FOREIGN SIGINT against US adversaries, nearly all of whom are non-US Persons outside the US, and the reality is that these targets coexist with innocent Americans and everyone else in the global web of digital communications. There is no way to avoid this reality.

about three weeks ago
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Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

daveschroeder Re:What does it matter? (191 comments)

Parallel construction isn't only about the NSA...it is any alternative construction of evidence to conceal a sensitive source or method that may have led to and/or assisted in the investigation. It's very old, and the only thing some legal experts say about it is that it MAY -- key word being may -- run afoul of evidentiary rules and discovery procedures. It's a very old concept, and as long as the alternate chain of evidence is completely supportable and nothing illegal occurred* to initiate the investigation in the first place, there is nothing at all wrong with it.

* Even IF it was NSA collection that led to the FBI tip, the incidental discovery of international narcotics trafficking, when discovered, is exempt. Furthermore, it doesn't necessarily need to be an NSA "tip"; it could be that they also brought an NSA (or other IC/DOD agency) resource to bear on the issue, and don't want to reveal that because it would reveal a sensitive intelligence capability, technique, source, or method. That, too, is not illegal. So while it's an interesting story, it is just that.

about three weeks ago
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Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes In FBI's Story

daveschroeder What does it matter? (191 comments)

So-called "parallel construction" isn't illegal or unconstitutional, and even IF -- and that's a very big if -- the initial tip came from "NSA", keep in mind that there has been a decades-old exemption for things like international terrorism and international narcotics trafficking when discovered during the course of legitimate foreign signals intelligence collection.

So, while you may not like it, nothing that is illegal or unconstitutional occurred here, and it is not the result of post-9/11 laws, or "new ways of interpreting the law", or anything else.

The simple fact is that legitimate foreign intelligence targets, to include terrorists and US adversaries who are mostly non-US Persons physically outside the US, share and use the same systems, networks, services, devices, software, tools, operating systems, encryption standards, and so on, as Americans and much of the rest of the world.

This is a simple, undeniable truth, and the only thing differentiating such traffic in the digital world is the status of the person(s) in communication -- i.e., whether they are or are not a US Person. That's it.

And guess what? The communications of US Persons WILL be encountered, and always have been, and we have a legal construct for how to deal with that, and that legal construct factually includes exemptions, again, for things like international terrorism and international narcotics trafficking.

And all of this is even IF it was "NSA" that tipped off anyone; it still could just be FBI somewhat clumsily protecting its own sources and methods...it doesn't have to be "spooks". In a free society governed by the rule of law, it is the LAW, not the capability, that is paramount.

And speaking of the law, the only person doing anything illegal here -- under our system and body of law, whether anyone agrees with it or not -- was Ulbricht.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

daveschroeder No sensible person ever though it was impossible (174 comments)

But even here, again, when you look at a typical OS X desktop system, now many people:

1. Have apache enabled AND exposed to the public internet (i.e., not behind a NAT router, firewall, etc)?

2. Even have apache or any other services enabled at all?

...both of which would be required for this exploit. The answer? Vanishingly small to be almost zero.

So, in the context of OS X, it's yet another theoretical exploit; "theoretical" in the sense that it effects essentially zero conventional OS X desktop users. Could there have been a worm or other attack vector which then exploited the bash vulnerability on OS X? Sure, I suppose. But there wasn't, and it's a moot point since a patch is now available within days of the disclosure.

And people running OS X as web servers exposed to the public internet, with the demise of the standalone Mac OS X Server products as of 10.6, is almost a thing of yesteryear itself.

Nothing has changed since that era: all OSes have always been vulnerable to attacks, both via local and remote by various means, and there have been any number of vulnerabilities that have only impacted UN*X systems, Linux and OS X included, and not Windows, over very many years. So yeah, nothing has changed, and OS X (and iOS) is still a very secure OS, by any definition or viewpoint of the definition of "secure", when viewed alongside Windows (and Android).

about three weeks ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

daveschroeder Re:What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (504 comments)

An oversimplification. The US, UK, and allies variously broke many cipher systems throughout WWII. Still the US benefitted from this.

What if the Germans were using, say, Windows, Android phones, SSL, Gmail, Yahoo, and Skype, instead of Enigma machines?

about a month ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

daveschroeder What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (504 comments)

I presume you wouldn't say it was "wrong" of the United States to crack the German and Japanese codes in WWII...

...so when US adversaries (and lets just caveat this by saying people YOU, personally, agree are legitimate US adversaries) don't use their own "codes", but instead share the same systems, networks, services, devices, cloud providers, operating systems, encryption schemes, and so on, that Americans and much of the rest of the world uses, would you suggest that they should be off limits?

This isn't so much a law enforcement question as a question of how to do SIGINT in the modern digital world, but given the above, and given that intelligence requires secrecy in order to be effective, how would you suggest the United States go after legitimate targets? Or should we not be able to, because that power "might" be able to be abused -- as can any/all government powers, by definition?

This simplistic view that the only purpose of the government in a free and democratic society must be to somehow subjugate, spy on, and violate the rights of its citizens is insane, while actual totalitarian and non-free states, to say nothing of myriad terrorist and other groups, press their advantage. And why wouldn't they? The US and its ever-imperfect system of law is not the great villain in the world.

Take a step back and get some perspective. And this is not a rhetorical question: if someone can tell me their solution for how we should be able to target technologies that are fundamentally shared with innocent Americans and foreigners everywhere while still keeping such sources, methods, capabilities, and techniques secret, I'm all ears. And if you believe the second a technology is shared it should become magically off-limits because power might be abused, you are insane -- or, more to the point, you believe you have some moral high ground which, ironically, would actually result in severe disadvantages for the system of free society you would claim to support.

about a month ago
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NSA Trying To Build Quantum Computer

daveschroeder Who would be surprised by this? (221 comments)

One of NSA's chief missions is breaking encryption. So (for the US folks among us) it's okay when it's the German or Japanese codes in WWII, but somehow sinister when the reality is that much of the world now shares the same tools, systems, services, networks, encryption standards, etc.?

In a free society governed by the rule of law, it is not the capability, but the law, that is paramount. And for all of the carping and hand-wringing about what NSA is doing because its capabilities continue to be laid bare, where is the worry about what states like China and Russia are doing?

about 10 months ago
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Mediterranean Sea To Possibly Become Site of Chemical Weapons Dump

daveschroeder They're destroyed first...that's the whole idea (174 comments)

The whole idea is that the chemical weapons are destroyed FIRST...they are being destroyed AT SEA, not "destroyed" by simply dumping them into the ocean.

The fact that the other blog entries hosted at the same site as TFA include:

- Rihanna Displays Illuminati Hand Gesture at Latest Music Award Performance

- SSDI Death Index: Sandy Hook 'Shooter' Adam Lanza Died One Day Before School Massacre?

- 15 Citizens Petition to Secede from the United States

- Will U.S. Troops Fire On American Citizens?

- Illuminati Figurehead Prince William Takes the Stage with Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift

- Has the Earth Shifted â" Or Is It Just Me?

- Mexican Government Releases Proof of E.T.'s and Ancient Space Travel ...should give you a hint as to the veracity of the content. (And yes, I realize it's simply a blog site with a variety of authors and content.)

As should the first comment, from "LibertyTreeBud", saying:

"Why not add it to some new vaccine? Or, perhaps add it to the drinking water and feed it to the live stock? These creatures will do anything for profits. Lowest bidder mentality rules."

What "creatures", exactly? The international organization explicitly charged with the prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons? What alternatives are people suggesting, exactly?

If you want a real article discussing this situation factually, not the tripe linked in the summary, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25146980

about a year ago
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Astronaut Chris Hadfield Performs Space Oddity On the ISS

daveschroeder Um... (212 comments)

...he's Canadian.

And stop being so cynical. Sometimes stuff can be cool without being "viral marketing".

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Journey

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  about 2 years ago

daveschroeder writes "After over 296 days in space, nearly 123 million miles traveled, Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) is making its final journey — on the streets of Los Angeles. The last Space Shuttle to be built, the contract for Endeavour was awarded on July 31, 1987. Endeavour first launched on May 7, 1992, launched for the last time on May 16, 2011, and landed for the final time on June 1, 2011. Endeavour then took to the skies aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), completing the final ferry flight and the final flight of any kind in the Space Shuttle Program era with an aerial grand tour of southern California escorted by two NASA Dryden Flight Research Center F/A-18 aircraft on September 21, 2012. This morning around 1:30AM Pacific Time, Endeavour began another journey, this one on the ground. All Space Shuttles have traveled via road from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA, to Edwards Air Force Base, but this time a Space Shuttle is taking to the streets of Los Angeles for the journey from Los Angeles International Airport to its final home at the California Science Center. Getting the shuttle through LA surface streets is a mammoth logistical challenge as it lumbers along at 2 mph to the cheers of onlookers. Watching Endeavour make the journey is a sight to be seen! Thank you, Endeavour!"
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Pandemic bird flu research published

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 2 years ago

daveschroeder writes "After a marathon debate over a pair of studies that show how the avian H5N1 influenza virus could become transmissible in mammals, and an unprecedented recommendation by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication, and its subsequent reversal, a study by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was finally and fully published today in the journal Nature. The full journal article: Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets."
Link to Original Source
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Stratfor Is a Joke, and So Is Wikileaks for Taking It Seriously

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 2 years ago

daveschroeder (516195) writes "Max Fisher writes in The Atlantic: "The corporate research firm has branded itself as a CIA-like "global intelligence" firm, but only Julian Assange and some over-paying clients are fooled. [...] The group's reputation among foreign policy writers, analysts, and practitioners is poor; they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight. [...] So why do Wikileaks and their hacker source Anonymous seem to consider Stratfor, which appears to do little more than combine banal corporate research with media-style freelance researcher arrangements, to be a cross between CIA and Illuminati? The answer is probably a combination of naivete and desperation."
Link to Original Source
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India mobile handset backdoor memo (probably) a fa

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 2 years ago

daveschroeder (516195) writes "In the wake of previous coverage alleging that Apple, Nokia, RIM, and others have provided Indian government with backdoors into their mobile handsets — which itself spawned a US investigation and questions about handset security — it turns out the memo which ignited the controversy is probably a fake designed to draw attention to the "Lords of Dharmaraja." According to Reuters, "Military and cyber-security experts in India say the hackers may have created the purported military intelligence memo simply to draw attention to their work, or to taint relations between close allies India and the United States." Apple has already denied providing access to the Indian government."
Link to Original Source
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Supreme Court unanimously upholds NASA JPL backgro

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 3 years ago

daveschroeder (516195) writes "Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been fighting background check requirements mandated under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) since 2007. HSPD-12 is designed to implement a "common identification standard for federal employees and contractors." A standard federal background check is a part of this process. This process is standardized by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), even for employees who have no access to classified information. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals provisionally agreed with the employees, and the case worked its way to the US Supreme Court. Now the justices have unanimously ruled that JPL scientists must submit to background checks if they want to keep their jobs. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his concurrence that, "The contention that a right deeply rooted in our history and tradition bars the government from ensuring that the Hubble telescope is not used by recovering drug addicts farcical," and continued that "that there is no constitutional right to 'informational privacy'.""
Link to Original Source
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Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 3 years ago

daveschroeder (516195) writes "The recent release of classified State Department cables has often been compared to the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg, the US military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers, has said he supports WikiLeaks, and sees the issues as similar. Floyd Abrams is the prominent First Amendment attorney and Constitutional law expert who represented the New York Times in the landmark New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713 (1971)) Supreme Court case, which allowed the media to publish the Pentagon Papers without fear of government censure. Today, Abrams explains why WikiLeaks is unlike the Pentagon Papers, and how WikiLeaks is negatively impacting journalism protections: "Mr. Ellsberg himself has recently denounced the 'myth' of the 'good' Pentagon Papers as opposed to the 'bad' WikiLeaks. But the real myth is that the two disclosures are the same.""
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Woman gets Ubuntu, drops out of school

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

das writes "A Wisconsin student recently ordered a new Dell laptop, planning to enroll in online courses at a local community college. However, she ordered her laptop with the Ubuntu Linux option. When she realized that it wouldn't ship with Windows, she called back Dell, which said there was still time to change her order. But she claims that Dell discouraged her, saying that "Ubuntu was great, college students loved it, it was compatible with everything I needed." So her computer arrived with Ubuntu. Then she realized that her Windows-only "Verizon High-Speed Internet CD" wouldn't load (no software needs to be loaded to use Verizon DSL), and unable to install Microsoft Office, a requirement for her online courses (the laptop shops with OpenOffice, fully compatible with Microsoft Office), she dropped out of the fall and spring semesters. This article — which prompted a firestorm of criticism — may be humorous, but it raises a bigger question about the acceptance of Linux. This computer, with Ubuntu, would handle everything she needs easily — email, web, and Microsoft Office-compatible documents. But when the perception is that Windows and its trappings are mandatory, how can that be reasonably countered?"
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New report on NSA released today

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

daveschroeder writes "George Washington University has today released a three volume history of its activities during the Cold War. Written by agency historian Thomas R. Johnson, the 1000-page report, "Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945-1989", details some of the agency's successes and failures, its conflict with other intelligence agencies, and the questionable legal ground on which early American cryptologists worked. The report remained classified for years, until Johnson mentioned it to Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian, at an intelligence conference. Aid and the George Washington University's National Security Archive joined forces to obtain the report — intended for internal agency consumption only — from the NSA. Two years later, an abstract and the three current volumes of the report are now available via the George Washington University National Security Archive in PDF format. Aid, a National Security Archive visiting fellow Matthew and author of the forthcoming history "The Secret Sentry: The Top Secret History of the National Security Agency", says Johnson's study shows "refreshing openness and honesty, acknowledging both the NSA's impressive successes and abject failures during the Cold War." A fourth volume remains classified."
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Insurrection Act back to the way it was in 1807

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

daveschroeder writes "Back in 2006, there was much controversy about changes to the Insurrection Act of 1807 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, giving the President additional specific abilities to deploy federal or state national guard troops within the United States during major public emergency situations. Some interpreted this as discarding the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, when the text of Posse Comitatus always contained an explicit exemption for "Act[s] of Congress", and the Insurrection Act had allowed the deployment of troops within the US by the President in certain exigent circumstances for two centuries. Nevertheless, the changes were met with criticism and misunderstanding. In any event, the changes have been repealed in their entirety several months ago, in Section 1068 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. This brings the text of all sections back to their original 1807 wording. There was a great deal of coverage about these changes when they occurred. Why is there not a similar level of coverage of the repeal, even months later?"
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Iran may shut down internet during election

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

daveschroeder writes "The Iranian government might block private access to the Internet for the general legislative election on March 14, two Iranian news outlets reported Monday. In 2006, the authorities banned download speeds on private computers faster than 128 kilobytes per second. The government also uses sophisticated filtering equipment to block hundreds of Web sites and blogs that it considers religiously or politically inappropriate. Many bloggers have been jailed in the past years, and dozens of Web sites have been shut down. It would appear that Iran's own government is more a threat to the nation's internet connectivity than the fragility of the undersea cable network. (Slashdot readers may recall assertions, dismissed by undersea cable experts, that the cable cuts were a deliberate attempt to sever Iran's connectivity, which, contrary to popular belief, also never happened.)"
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Apple issues warning on iPhone unlocking

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

daveschroeder writes "Today Apple issued a statement which says, "Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed." This does not include "hacking" the phone to install third party applications or ringtones, only unlocking the phone. This is because unlocking changes the baseband radio firmware, which is expected to be updated along with the next iPhone update to address other issues. Apple adds, "This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked. It's unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for...those consequences." While unlocking a phone is legal for an end user under a current DMCA exemption, the vendor is under no obligation to guarantee the phone will remain as such when official software updates are applied; many users of unlocked handsets simply never update the phone, but the iPhone is in a different category. It is likely that since the current unlocking mechanisms use a broader buffer overflow condition, this will also be fixed in the next software update.

Note to editors: the already-submitted story in the firehose is remarkably incorrect (has NOTHING to do with "hacking", just unlocking), so please don't accept it."
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iPhones not flooding wireless LAN at Duke

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dave Schroeder writes "On the heels of the recent story about iPhones flooding the wireless LAN at Duke, it has been determined that it wasn't iPhones at all. Duke has issued a statement explaining that the issue was a Cisco-based network issue, for which Cisco has provided a fix. MacDailyNews has more coverage and commentary, asking, "So, does Duke University owe Apple recompense for hundreds of damaging articles that blamed Apple's iPhone for Duke's Cisco problem?""
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Apple and AT&T announce iPhone service plans

daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

daveschroeder writes "Apple and AT&T today announced service plans for iPhone, 4 days before its release in the US at 6pm local time on Friday, June 29. The plans are $59.99/mo for 450 minutes, $79.99 for 900 minutes, and $99.99 for 1350 minutes, and all include unlimited data, 200 SMS messages, rollover minutes, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. Any other standard AT&T service plan may also be used. A two year service plan is required, with a $175 cancellation fee if terminated early. In addition, activations are done via iTunes, so only the hardware is purchased in the store. Interestingly, activation of a contract via iTunes is required to enable the iPod/syncing functionality of the phone as well. (It will remain to be seen whether there are workarounds for this for those who only want the iPod functionality of iPhone, and whether the iPhone is easily unlockable for those who wish to try it on alternate carriers, and so on.)"
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daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

das writes "Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted his thoughts on music, DRM, and online media distribution as a whole. Jobs provides a brief history of the iTunes Music Store, some breakdowns of the origins of music on iPods, and some arguments why Apple had to deploy iTunes Music Store commercial content with DRM. Jobs then goes on to offer some alternatives for going forward. The option he seems to support is abolishing DRM entirely, saying, "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. [...] Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. [...] [W]hat benefits do [music companies] get from selling [online] music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. [...] Convincing [a major music label] to to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly." It appears that Apple isn't interested in iTunes Music Store lock-in after all."
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daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

das writes "The US Justice Department says it is granting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, under FISA, authority to monitor the controversial domestic wiretapping program. "As a result of these orders, any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. [...] Accordingly, under these circumstances, the President has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote in the letter obtained by the Associated Press. All future requests will be routed through the FISA court, and the administration says it already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to a terrorist group."
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daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

das writes "On the same day as the launch of the Month of Apple Bugs (MOAB) (blog), Landon Fuller, a programmer, Darwin developer, and former engineer in Apple's BSD Technology Group, has launched an effort to provide runtime fixes for each MOAB issue as they are released. A fix has already been posted for the first issue. Additionally, security researcher and MOAB co-presenter Kevin Finisterre of Digital Munition has further outlined some of the motivations for MOAB. Perhaps a good name for the runtime fix project might be be the Month of Apple Fixes?"
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daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  about 8 years ago

daveschroeder writes "The Intel-based Xserve is now available for order and configuration on the Apple Store for retail and education/federal buyers. This quad-Xeon based 1U server features two dual-core Xeon 5100 Series processors at up to 3GHz, up to 32GB ECC RAM, up to 2.25TB internal SATA (or SAS) storage, dual GigE, dual 8-lane PCIe (one PCI-X), FireWire 400 and 800, USB 2.0, DB-9 serial, optional dual power supplies, and standard integrated graphics. The new Xserve starts at $2999 retail or $2699 education/government."
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daveschroeder daveschroeder writes  |  about 8 years ago

daveschroeder writes "Apple has just announced the upgraded MacBook Pro (15.4- and 17-inch models) with the Intel Core 2 Duo ("Conroe") 64-bit dual core processor. The standard hard drive sizes have been increased, a FireWire 800 port has been added to all models (again, reaffirming that FireWire, and specifically FireWire 800, is not dead, and that Apple responded to customer requests to add it to the 15.4-inch model), and the optical drive is now dual-layer-write-capable on all models. For detailed specs, see this page."

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