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31 Jul 02:34

NSA reportedly planning to declassify details on secret surveillance programs

by Jacob Kastrenakes

More details about PRISM may be coming — but this time, from the NSA itself. Reuters reports that the US National Security Agency is planning to declassify documents that will shed light on the broad surveillance programs that whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked to the public in June. It's unclear exactly what programs the government is apparently planning to detail, but some of the documents are expected to include information on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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29 Jul 14:26

Baton Rouge police officers have been going undercover and arresting gay men for agreeing to have co

by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Baton Rouge police officers have been going undercover and arresting gay men for agreeing to have consensual sex, charging them with an "attempted crime against nature." The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated this crime more than a decade ago.


28 Jul 22:02

Kickstarter Project Canceled After Dude Spends All the Money

by Sam Biddle on Valleywag, shared by Max Read to Gawker

Kickstarter Project Canceled After Dude Spends All the Money

If you were thinking about donating some money to help Spike Lee get back on his feet, maybe think twice: this guy just raised over $120,000 to make a game, and then just walked away with all the money. Contrary to what The Crowd Economy preaches, strangers can still screw you.


28 Jul 21:26

Taliban Want Failed Assassination Target Malala to Stop ‘Smearing' Them

by Neetzan Zimmerman

Taliban Want Failed Assassination Target Malala to Stop ‘Smearing' Them

A Taliban rep has sent an open letter to Malala, the Pakistani teen activist who was targeted last year by Taliban gunmen in a failed assassination attempt, asking her to stop her "smearing campaign" against the militants who tried to kill her.


28 Jul 21:08

The Time The U.S. Gave Asylum to a Guy Who Leaked Classified Documents

by Adrian Chen

The Time The U.S. Gave Asylum to a Guy Who Leaked Classified Documents

Political asylum is a weird idea: One country gets to tell another country: We think your criminal is actually a hero and he can come live here, so buzz off. Pretty annoying if you're the country trying to get the criminal, and the U.S. is really pissed that some countries and human rights groups are helping out NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden, currently holed up in Moscow's airport, in his quest for asylum. After all, the U.S. would never think of shielding someone accused of illegally leaking another country's classified information, right?


28 Jul 19:42

July 25, 2013

28 Jul 18:28

MoDaCo.Switch enters public beta, gives indecisive HTC One owners both worlds

by Sean Buckley

MoDaCo.Switch enters public beta, gives indecisive HTC One owners both worlds

Can't decide between HTC One's native spin on Android and the Google Edition's vanilla build? Now you don't have to: MoDaCo.Switch is now officially available for public beta testing. True to its name, this custom firmware allows users to reboot the phone and switch into a different version of Android, making it easy to enjoy both Sense 5 and Google's stock AOSP Android build independently. It's more than a simple dual-boot, however, MoDaCo.Switch shares apps and data between both builds, which makes using them together a less jarring experience. The Beta still has some limitations of course; MMS and call log data isn't shared between ROMS and there seem to be some issues with fast boot. Still, if you're willing give it a spin, hop over to the adjacent source link to get started.

Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, HTC


Via: Liliputing

Source: MoDaCo

28 Jul 16:12

Sudden outbreak of measles linked to vaccine fears in the 1990s

by Casey Newton

Fears that vaccines cause autism led to an explosion of measles cases this year in southwest Wales, according The Wall Street Journal. Between November and July, 1,219 people in southwest Wales contracted the measles, compared with 105 cases in all of Wales in 2011, according to the report.

The Journal links the outbreak to a since-discredited 1998 study by the British doctor Andrew Wakefield, who speculated about a link between the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella and the growing number of autism cases. The study was heavily covered by the South Wales Evening Post, a local newspaper. By the end of 1998, the number of 2-year-olds who received the vaccine fell by 14 percent, compared with 2.4 percent in the rest of the country.


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28 Jul 16:10

FBI hair analysis may have falsely convicted thousands, including some on death row

by Aaron Souppouris

The FBI will examine hair sample evidence from more than 2,000 cases dating as far back as 1985. McClatchy reports that under the initiative the bureau will investigate cases in which hair samples helped secure convictions, including some that led to the death penalty. The US Department of Justice will waive its normal deadlines for appeal in order to give "wrongly convicted people a fair chance of review."

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28 Jul 16:05

The Postal Service talks about resurrecting a band from the dead after 10 long years

by Nathan Ingraham

The Postal Service had a pretty strange trajectory — Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, and Jimmy Tamborello (the sole creative force behind electronic music act Dntel) joined together to do a side project from their main acts in 2002 and 2003. The album, Give Up, didn't really register when it came out, the band played a small, short tour, and then the band members went back to their main gigs. However, over the next decade, the band slowly but surely built up passionate fanbase, thanks in part to the mythology behind it — Tamborello would mail Gibbard recordings for him to add vocals and guitar work to, hence the name. Slowly but surely, Give Up sold over one million copies and spawned a question that...

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28 Jul 16:03

Samsung ships twice as many smartphones as Apple, but smaller brands chipping away at lead: IDC

by Jeff Blagdon

As the smartphone market continues to grow, smaller companies are continuing to gain on the industry’s biggest manufacturers. That’s the message from research firm IDC, whose latest shipment estimates show a measurable market share drop of 1.8 percentage points for Samsung and 2.5 for Apple, whose respective shares now sit at 30.4 and 13.1 percent. For the first time, that means that Samsung is now shipping more than twice as many smartphones as its closest rival, with 72.4 million units to Apple's 31.2.

Despite the share drop from the two market leaders, the whole smartphone industry grew by over 50 percent from a year ago, says IDC. The biggest recipients were LG and Lenovo; both companies’ shipments grew over 100 percent during...

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28 Jul 16:02

Utah law preventing filming of animal rights abuses challenged in court

by Jeff Blagdon

A coalition of animal rights groups are looking to get Utah’s law banning the recording of agricultural facilities without consent taken off the books. PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and others filed suit in a Utah district court alleging that the controversial “ag gag” law violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Laws like the one in Utah are used by the agribusiness industry to prevent public relations fiascos like the one faced by Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in 2007. Undercover video of sick “downer” cattle being forced to slaughter with forklifts and cattle prods led to the largest beef recall in US history and bankrupted the plant. Last year,...

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28 Jul 16:01

The FBI has used drones for warrantless surveillance in the US in 10 different cases

by Carl Franzen

Earlier this year, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) publicly revealed for the first time in a hearing that it has been using drones to conduct surveillance operations inside the country, a striking admission, given that domestic drone is a subject of intense debate and there's still not a clear set of rules governing the practice. Now, under prodding from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the FBI has finally offered a few more details about its use of drones, namely, in how many cases it's deployed them and whether it has sought a search warrant for doing so. "Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in eight criminal cases and two national security cases," wrote Stephen D. Kelly, the...

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21 Jul 15:52

The CIA's New Black Bag Is Digital - By Matthew M. Aid

When the NSA can't break into your computer, these guys break into your house.
21 Jul 13:59

Apple has alienated two of the largest mobile carriers in the world

by Tero Kuittinen
Apple Carrier Relations AnalysisMTS, Russia's largest mobile operator, made a splash last week by announcing it will stop offering iPhones due to the high subsidies and marketing support demanded by Apple. Now both Vimpelcom and Megafon have followed suit and dropped the iPhone after their five-year contracts recently expired. It is perhaps worth noting that VimpelCom really is a powerhouse carrier — it is the sixth largest mobile operator in the world, with a substantial presence in Russia, Italy, Canada, Ukraine, Pakistan and more. Put another way, it's perhaps not the right kind of customer to tick off. MTS is no minnow, either, since it has more than 100 million subscribers and dominates the Central and Eastern European markets. Together, Vimpelcom and MTS count more than 300 million subscribers.

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20 Jul 11:04

McDonald's to Employees: Get a Second Job or Drop Dead

by Neetzan Zimmerman

McDonald's is under fire this week for launching a "budget planner" for employees that can best be summed up with the following maxim: If you don't want to end up homeless and possibly dead, get yourself a second job.



20 Jul 10:22

The FBI Has Found Scientific Errors in 27 Death Penalty Convictions

by Hamilton Nolan

The FBI Has Found Scientific Errors in 27 Death Penalty Convictions

The FBI has been reviewing thousands of criminal convictions in order to determine whether they may have been secured using faulty science. Now, 27 death penalty convictions are reportedly being questioned.



20 Jul 08:58

NBC Censors Video of Elizabeth Warren Taking CNBC to the Woodshed

by Neetzan Zimmerman

<3 Elizabeth Warren

Last last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered a masterful defense of her proposed update to the bank-regulating Glass-Steagall Act on CNBC's "Squawk Box," effectively shutting down co-anchor Brian Sullivan's claim that government can't do anything to rein in financial risk.



20 Jul 08:24

Silicon Valley's Stupid Name Problem, Visualized

by Sam Biddle on Valleywag, shared by Leah Beckmann to Gawker

Silicon Valley's Stupid Name Problem, Visualized

Bitly, Borkly, Barnly, Molestly, Strinkingly, Happily, Crappily, Maply, Morply, Dottly, Dootly, Godly, Angrily. It's bad enough when every new startup is just based on the one that came before it. Now they all sound the same, too.


19 Jul 21:42

Canadian telcos predict “bloodbath” as Verizon eyes entry

by Megan Geuss

In an earnings call Thursday, Verizon reported strong gains for its wireless business and also dropped a piece of news that has called our neighbors to the north to attention: Verizon confirmed that it is in an “exploratory” phase focused on expansion to Canada.

On the call, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo remarked, “If you look at the population of Canada, about 70 percent of that population is between Toronto and Quebec. That’s adjacent to the Verizon Wireless properties… it mirrors up exactly with what we launched here in the United States on the 700MHz [frequency].”

Shammo admitted that there would likely be regulatory pushback if Verizon were to pursue building a Canadian market, according to AllThingsD. The Financial Post cited recent rumors that Verizon might make its entry into the market by buying two Canadian telcos, Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, then growing from there.

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19 Jul 08:09

Dear Linus, STOP SHOUTING and play nice - says Linux kernel dev

by Gavin Clarke

'Professionalism' is passive aggressive bulls**t, replies Penguin king Torvalds

A Linux developer has blasted the kernel's chief Linus Torvalds, taking him to task for his famous potty mouth and brutal putdowns of his lieutenants.…

18 Jul 18:05

Here's how Elon Musk's Hyperloop might actually work

by Russell Brandom

Elon Musk has made his name on big ideas, whether it's space tourism or the electric car — but his latest project, mysteriously dubbed the Hyperloop, may be more revolutionary than anything he's done. It started with a simple promise: the ability to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour. As time went on, Musk added more. It would be low-friction, and use such minimal power that the entire thing could be run on electricity from solar panels installed above the tracks. It would use small pods, leaving "whenever you arrive" instead of cleaving to a schedule like an airliner. He's promised to unveil his alpha design for the project in just under a month's time, but already, observers are speculating on exactly how this...

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17 Jul 21:31

Voice of America could air in the US as anti-propaganda law is dropped

by Jacob Kastrenakes

The United States government operates an entire network of broadcasters that distribute news in languages from English to Uzbek, but an "anti-propaganda" law has prevented their news from being aired domestically — until now. Earlier this month a legal change went into effect that many are worried will enable government-run organizations like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe — all arms of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) — to distribute their federally-funded radio and TV shows to the unsuspecting public. But even with the change, major advocacy groups don't think that the government is planning to flood the airwaves with propaganda.

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16 Jul 04:46

The Hyperloop is coming: Elon Musk will reveal plans for new transport system on August 12th

by Carl Franzen

this better not be another segway


Elon Musk's vision for an entirely new form of transportation will be revealed to the world on August 12th. The founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors tweeted this morning that he would "publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12," and added "critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated." Musk has previously revealed just a few tantalizing details for the Hyperloop, which he's described as a "fifth form" of transportation — the first four being planes, trains, automobiles and boats.

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14 Jul 23:08

Dino-killing asteroid also triggered mind-blowing submarine landslides

by Scott K. Johnson

Try as we might, it’s difficult to imagine what it must have been like when the asteroid that ended the reign of the dinosaurs crashed into the Earth just off the modern-day Yucatán Peninsula. Clearly, it wasn’t pleasant, given the number of species that didn’t live through it. Unfathomable shockwaves would have ripped outward from the impact site, followed by widespread fires. Ash and dust blocked out the Sun and fell as a deadly blanket. The massive influx of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere then set off intense warming. It’s the kind of stuff that requires you to take the word “awesome” back from surfers so that you can use it for describing things that would make you wet your pants.

Thanks to a recent paper in Geology, you can add another jaw-dropper to that list: huge volumes of sediment along the entire northern slope of the Gulf of Mexico became destabilized and slid down into the ocean basin. And that’s only part of the story.

The researchers had reason to expect there would be undersea landslides (more on that in a bit), so they took advantage of publicly available data from 33 deep wells drilled by the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. They combined that information with seismic images of the region—which are a bit like sonar maps of the seafloor, except that they penetrate deep into the Earth, showing layers of sediment and rock.

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14 Jul 15:15

Colombia NSA’s 3rd most spied on country in Latin America

by Marcus Sales

"An undated document, named “Operation Silverzephyr” showed the NSA’s intent to build partnerships with private satellite operators, telephone and transmission networks."

nsa logo

Colombia has been the third largest priority for espionage in Latin America by US intelligence agency NSA, behind only Brazil and Mexico.

According to secret documents obtained by Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the NSA was responsible for a constant flow of intelligence gathering on Colombia and other Latin American countries dating back to 2008.

Between January and March of this year, O Globo claim that the United States conducted espionage in Latin America using two programs, known as prism and boundless informant.

Prism allowed access to web chats, e mails and voice mails through social media sites such as facebook, google and youtube. Boundless informant however, sought to develop corporate partners, in an effort to “extend their reach” and receive access to international communications.

An undated document, named “Operation Silverzephyr” showed the NSA’s intent to build partnerships with private satellite operators, telephone and transmission networks.

O Globo claim that the United States were not only interested in military affairs, but used these programs to access the “trade secrets” of targeted nations. For example the oil sector in Venezuela and the energy sector in Mexico.

The NSA used prism to track FARC movements in Colombia and maps of the NSA obtained by the Brazilian publication highlight the importance of Colombian operations since 2008.

It should be noted however, that Bogota and Washington have had strong co operation throughout this period in an offensive against the guerrilla group.

In 2008, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador were monitored via X – Keyscore. This program allows the NSA to track the number of differing nationalities in a country at one time through the language used in their e mails. Coincidentally or not, Colombia and Ecuador were in a diplomatic crisis at this time, after Colombia attacked a FARC camp in Ecuador without warning.

While the documents obtained by O Globo contain no specific numbers, the color scale indicates that of March 2012 and 2013, Colombia was considered as relevant an espionage target as Brazil and Mexico.


The post Colombia NSA’s 3rd most spied on country in Latin America appeared first on Colombia News | Colombia Reports.

14 Jul 12:03

The electrified brain: the power and promise of neural implants

by Russell Brandom

In 2007, in the middle of a 12-hour nursing shift at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, Rebecca Serdans noticed something was wrong. "It always starts with pain," she says — a hot, radiating pain growing from the base of her skull. Serdans suffers from a neurological disorder called dystonia that, when untreated, leaves her with debilitating muscle pain and movement problems. She keeps it in check with a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device. This pacemaker for the brain works by sending a steady electrical pulse into her globus pallidus. When it's functioning properly, this pulse lets her walk without tripping and move through the world without pain. Only now, years after it was installed, it wasn't working. She could feel it....

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13 Jul 21:01

Massive data collector Acxiom plans to reveal the dirt it has on you

by Jacob Kastrenakes

if our biggest competitor does it, i expect we will have to also soon


One of the biggest personal data collectors around is getting ready to open its vaults to the public. According to Forbes, you'll soon be able to request your personal files from Acxiom, a marketing company that holds a database on the interests and details of over 700 million people. That database reportedly holds information on consumers' occupations, phone numbers, religions, shopping habits, and health issues, to name a few. That data has traditionally been given only to marketers — for a fee, of course — but Acxiom has decided to let consumers peer into its database as well. Whether individuals will have to pay too is still up for debate, but it's been decided that a person can only view their own file.

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13 Jul 10:12

DARPA unveils 6-foot-tall humanoid robot Atlas for researchers to program and pilot

by Carl Franzen

It's not quite Terminator, but it's not that far off either: Check out Atlas, a new, 6-foot, 2-inch-tall humanoid robot designed for a contest being held by US Defense Department. The 290-pounds machine is being called "one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built," in no small part due to its 28 different hydraulic joints and freakishly good balance. Unveiled publicly for the first time earlier this week, it's the latest robot from Boston Dynamics, the company behind such internet robotic sensations as Petman (a robotic man) and AlphaDog (a robotic dog), both designed for the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). But unlike those previous robots, which were restricted to military and company usage,...

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12 Jul 10:57

Lies, damned lies, and popular beliefs

by Charlie Stross

i'd suspect the same applies here

By way of an afterwords on Monday's political blog entry, I'd just like to draw your attention to a worrying study that feeds into the issue of political failure modes. The Royal Statistical Society and Ipsos MORI commissioned a poll of public opinion on key social issues. Turns out that the British public are woefully misinformed:

* Teenage pregnancy: public discourse leads people to believe the level is 25 times higher than it actually is
* Crime: 58% don't realize that crime is actually falling
* Benefit fraud: most people think about 24% of social security payments are fraudulently claimed: the actual level of fraud is under 1%
* Foreign aid: more people think foreign aid is one of the top three budget items than the state pension (which accounts for ten times as much expenditure)
* Immigration: the average Brit thinks that 31% of the population are immigrants; even accounting for illegal immigration the figure is under 15%

Even assuming we can fix the damage inflicted on our democratic party system by the growth of the fourth party, how can we hope to elect governments that can engage constructively with actual social problems when the myths believed by the electorate deviate so wildly from the real picture? (And when those myths play so well in the mass media, because bad news makes for such good headlines?)