The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) | Threat Level Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever. Pages: 1 2345View All
US judge orders hundreds of sites "de-indexed" from Google, Facebook After a series of one-sided hearings, luxury goods maker Chanel has won recent court orders against hundreds of websites trafficking in counterfeit luxury goods. A federal judge in Nevada has agreed that Chanel can seize the domain names in question and transfer them all to US-based registrar GoDaddy. The judge also ordered "all Internet search engines" and "all social media websites"—explicitly naming Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google—to "de-index" the domain names and to remove them from any search results. The case has been a remarkable one. How were the sites investigated? That was good enough for Judge Kent Dawson to order the names seized and transferred to GoDaddy, where they would all redirect to a page serving notice of the seizure. The US government has made similar domain name seizures through Operation In Our Sites, grabbing US-based domains that end in .com and .net even when the sites are located abroad. Why wait for SOPA?
Think You're Anonymous? Google Analytics May Prove Different It's no exaggeration to say that, sometimes, anonymity is a matter of life and death. Which is why it's important to know just how trivial it is to track down an "anonymous" blogger using their Google Analytics code. Andy Baio, who runs the popular linkblog Waxy.org posted Wednesday about using simple tools like eWhois and Statsie to unmask several bloggers. Baio says that tracking down a blogger by GA is less likely than by IP address or another slip-up, but "it's also more accurate. Hundreds or thousands of people can share an IP address on a single server and domain information can be faked, but a shared Google Analytics is solid evidence that both sites are run by the same person." How He Did It You'd think that this would take some serious sleuthing techniques right? Basically, Baio plugged the anonymous domains into eWhois: Using a sample of 50 anonymous blogs pulled from discussion forums and Google news, only 14 were using Google Analytics, much less than the average.
The Civil War, Part 1: The Places - In Focus Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue (now available online). Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. As brother fought brother and the nation's future grew uncertain, the public appetite for information was fed by these images from the trenches, rivers, farms, and cities that became fields of battle. Today's collection is part 1 of 3, covering the places of the Civil War: the battleships, prisons, hospitals, urban centers, and rural pastures where history was made. Tomorrow's installment features some of the people involved in the conflict, and on Friday I'll be sharing some of the amazing three-dimensional stereographs of the war. Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: A March, 1863 photo of the USS Essex.
Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details... Imagine if the US government, with no notice or warning, raided a small but popular magazine's offices over a Thanksgiving weekend, seized the company's printing presses, and told the world that the magazine was a criminal enterprise with a giant banner on their building. Then imagine that it never arrested anyone, never let a trial happen, and filed everything about the case under seal, not even letting the magazine's lawyers talk to the judge presiding over the case. And it continued to deny any due process at all for over a year, before finally just handing everything back to the magazine and pretending nothing happened. But, in a story that's been in the making for over a year, and which we're exposing to the public for the first time now, this is exactly the scenario that has played out over the past year -- with the only difference being that, rather than "a printing press" and a "magazine," the story involved "a domain" and a "blog." Okay, now some details.
Daily Infographic | A New Infographic Every Day | Data Visualization and Design | page 4 If you’ve been keeping up with the trends then you’ve probably moved on from Vaporwave and have started listening to Beach Goth by this point. If not you’re probably very confused, maybe even angry that people are coining such ridiculous names and you’ve only just now started listening to Witch House (c’mon it’s 2014 get with the times). With people exclaiming “Punk is dead!” while being nostalgic for the “real hip-hop” they weren’t even around for, it’s easy to see why someone would get the impression that this is all very silly and pointless. So what is the point? Well there’s the notion that these labels help describe the music, but even that has a tendency to fall short and totally give someone a wrong impression of an artist before they ever get the chance to listen to them. As demonstrated by this infographic, at least one saving grace of genre labels is their use in archiving music history. Be sure to click the link below for the full sized interactive version. [Via] Bom Dia! [via]
Why Arctic sea ice shouldn't leave anyone cold - Arctic Sea Ice The sea ice is leaving us a bit more every year. It's time to start contemplating its absence, which is why I teamed up with Kevin McKinney to write an extended version of the shorter piece you might see pop up here and there. Because you know, disappearing sea ice isn't without consequences. The first world in ancient Norse mythology, Niflheim, sounds just like the Arctic ice. …sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47 [million years before the present], following a pronounced decline [in carbon dioxide concentrations]… Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2–3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Since modern humans are just 200,000 years old, the ice might as well be eternal. But not unchanging. Polyak et al. continues: Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred... But that has changed. And if it does? But what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. Images used:
How the US Justice Department legally hacked my Twitter account | Birgitta Jónsdóttir Before my Twitter case, in which the US Department of Justice has demanded that the social media site hands over personal information about my account which it deems necessary to its investigation of WikiLeaks, I didn't think much about what rights I would be signing off when accepting user agreement in my computer. The text is usually lengthy, in a legal language that most people don't understand. Very few people read the user agreements, and very few understand their legal implications if someone in the real world would try to use one against them. Many of us who use the internet – be it to write emails, work or browse its growing landscape: mining for information, connecting with others or using it to organise ourselves in various groups of the like-minded – are not aware of that our behavior online is being monitored. Profiling has become a default with companies such as Google and Facebook. This notion needs to change.
Siri, Read My Mind: Did Hackers Just Build a Brain-Powered iPhone? If you believe this video — and that's a big if — the era of thought-controlled phones has begun. A pair of hobbyist hackers claim to have taken Siri, the iPhone 4S feature that obeys voice commands, and turned it into an app that obeys brainwave patterns. "It works! It really works! It's so freaking amazing," Josh Evans and Ollie Hayward announced Tuesday on the blog they created to chronicle what they call "Project Black Mirror." In the accompanying YouTube video, Evans wears EEG pads on his forehead and squints in concentration. The hackers explain that they used the EEG pads to record the "signature brain patterns" of 25 Siri-based commands. That means their system doesn't necessarily know what a person is thinking, but it knows that certain electrical activity in the brain translates to certain commands. The Case For It's hardly an implausible system. Scientists at the Honda Research Institute unveiled a technology in 2009 that makes its robot, Asimo, responsive to thought commands.
Can we expect the economy to keep growing? If we read the financial pages, economic growth seems to be viewed as the “normal” situation to which economies inevitably return. But is it really? If we look back over the past 50 years, or even over the past 100 years, economic growth has predominated. Over the longer term, we know that people have become more prosperous, and that world population has grown. Let’s think about this a little further. The question is really where we are now, relative to the hard limits that we know must exist. What is needed to produce goods and services? If we are going to have an economy, we will need goods and services. 1. 2. 4. Once we start moving to larger numbers of people, some type of financial system is needed. Has Economic Growth Always Been Possible? If we look back through history and pre-history, what we see is a long struggle against limits of various kinds. Many societies have collapsed, as documented by Jared Diamond and by Joseph Tainter. Forces that Have Enabled Economic Growth to Date
Why the Jones Supreme Court Ruling on GPS Tracking Is Worse Than It Sounds - Rebecca J. Rosen - Technology While the justices unanimously agreed police violated a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights, the Court split on whether the government can track you without a device. Last fall the Supreme Court heard a case concerning whether police in Washington DC were in violation of the Constitution when they tracked the car of a suspected drug dealer's wife using a GPS device they installed on the car. Today the Court decided that the police did violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from "unreasonable search and seizures" and it did so unanimously. But that's about the extent of the Justices' agreement. They split among three different opinions, and that of the majority -- authored by Justice Scalia and signed by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Sotomayor -- is as narrow as can be, resting on the specifics of this particular case but saying little as to whether GPS tracking is more broadly permissible. Perhaps they shouldn't have to, is Alito's response.
13 Tech Tools for a Paper-Free Life Ari Meisel is co-founder at Less Doing, where he works on making every task in life and business more efficient. He used self-tracking to overcome Crohn's Disease and compete in Ironman France. You can follow him on Twitter @liontex and read his blog at arimeisel.com. I was recently working on a real estate development project, and the mountain of paperwork that was produced and wasted was heartbreaking. Every time the plans changed, an oversized set of prints was made — a copy for the owner, the builder, the engineer, and one for the town building department. We’re talking about 60 sheets of paper that might have garnered four minutes of attention, and were then discarded. The point is that using paper is inefficient, it’s bad for the environment and it locks us down, preventing mobility. The following services, apps and gadgets aim to completely eliminate the need for paper in your life.
Solve For X - George Washington Carver - R. Buckminster Fuller - Arthur C. - Marie Curie - Albert Einstein One Per Cent: FBI releases plans to monitor social networks Jim Giles, consultant UPDATE: The FBI refused to answer specific questions from New Scientist, but did provide a statement on the scope and legality of the software it wishes to build: "The intent is to view publicly available open source, non-private social data that is readily available on the open internet. The application will not focus on specific persons or protected groups, but on words that relate to "events" and "crisis," and activities constituting violations of federal criminal law or threats to national security. Examples of these words will include lockdown, bomb, suspicious package, white powder, active shoot, school lock down, etc. The FBI uses publicly available open source information to identify immediate or emerging threats to national security or violations of federal criminal laws, to provide situational awareness and to establish a common operating picture. (Image: Patrick George/Ikon Images/Getty)