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The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
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. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives. 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. The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.

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PageRank Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.) Page C has a higher PageRank than Page E, even though there are fewer links to C; the one link to C comes from an important page and hence is of high value. If web surfers who start on a random page have an 85% likelihood of choosing a random link from the page they are currently visiting, and a 15% likelihood of jumping to a page chosen at random from the entire web, they will reach Page E 8.1% of the time. CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday that his national security team has been receiving payments from the U.S. government for the past 10 years. Karzai confirmed the payments when he was asked about a story published in The New York Times saying the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags. During a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, where he was on an official visit, Karzai said the welcome monthly payments were not a "big amount" but were a "small amount," although he did not disclose the sums. He said they were used to give assistance to the wounded and sick, to pay rent for housing and for other "operational" purposes. He said the aid has been "very useful, and we are grateful for it."

The Surveillance Catalog - The Wall Street Journal As the Internet has grown to handle more data, monitoring companies have had to keep up. Interception now can mean taking all the traffic from the Internet backbone and funneling it through devices that inspect the packets of data, determine what is inside them, and make decisions about whether to copy them for law enforcement. Senate Wants the Military to Lock You Up Without Trial Here’s the best thing that can be said about the new detention powers the Senate has tucked into next year’s defense bill: They don’t force the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial. They just let the military do that. And even though the leaders of the military and the spy community have said they want no such power, the Senate is poised to pass its bill as early as tonight. There are still changes swirling around the Senate, but this looks like the basic shape of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Someone the government says is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaida or an associated force” can be held in military custody “without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

IBM's Quantum Computers Could Change The World (Mostly In Very Good Ways) 101010: That's the number 42 represented in binary, which is the mathematical way today's binary computers see every single piece of information flowing through them, whether it's a stock price, the latest Adele track, or a calculation to generate an MRI of a tumor. But now IBM believes it's made progress in developing quantum computers, which don't use binary coding. It is not overstating the matter to say this really may be the ultimate answer in computing machines. Quick, mop your brow and don't worry: The science isn't too hard to grasp and the revolution, when it comes, could rock the world. In a very good way.

Chinese Drones Will Use Genetic Algorithms to Learn to Hunt For Submarines China usually holds its military hand very close to the vest--that, or things "mysteriously" leak that it doesn't (does) want the world to know about--so we're left to wonder why the People's Republic has decided to publish this in the journal Advanced Materials Research. Nonetheless, it's pretty interesting. Chinese navy researchers have plans for a new submarine hunting scheme that uses ship-launched UAVs running genetic algorithms. Genetic algorithms narrow down a range of possibilities to an optimal solution much the way evolution does (at least in a simplified sense)--by weeding out the weaker offspring and mating the best with the best to create stronger candidates.

A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93% An Uneven Recovery, 2009-2011 By Richard Fry and Paul Taylor During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the mean net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data.

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.

Can TSA's scans give you cancer? Is government covering up disease 'clusters'? By Daily Mail Reporter Updated: 21:20 GMT, 28 June 2011 Cancer fears? A traveller undergoes a full body scan performed by TSA agents in Denver in 2010 (file photo) Claims that the government is covering up 'clusters' of cancer among Transport Security Administration workers have sparked fears the agency's airport scanning machines could pose a risk to travellers. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has gone on the attack against the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security after securing a selection of government emails in a Freedom of Information request. Executive director Marc Rotenberg told media that documents show that the government 'has not been forthcoming with the public about the true extent of radiation risk with the airport body scanners.'

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