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Government

NSA Reveals More Than a Decade of Improper Surveillance 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.
An anonymous reader writes: On Christmas Eve, the NSA quietly dropped 12 years worth of internal reports on surveillance that may have broken laws, including reports that were illegally withheld and the subject of a FOIA lawsuit in 2009. "The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. ... In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst 'searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,' according to one report (PDF). The analyst 'has been advised to cease her activities,' it said. Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct. Last year, an analyst 'mistakenly requested' surveillance 'of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,' according to another report." Here's there list of reports going back to 2001.
Power

Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the betting-on-it dept.
Baldrson writes Kitco.com reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi's, palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago."

Comment: Matches my experience (Score 2) 130

by gweihir (#48657203) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

I frequently had papers rejected as "not new" without citation and then accepted elsewhere where they told me on request that they checked carefully and found the content was indeed new and interesting. My take is that this may also quite often be "reviewers" that are envious or trying to compete by putting others down, not only ones that are incompetent. Fortunately, I had nothing stolen by reviewers (after they rejected it) but I know people that had this happen to them. As the peer-review system is set up at this time, the best and the brightest need longer to get their things published, need much longer to get PhDs and have significantly lower chances at an academic career as a result. Instead those that publish a lot of shallow and/or meaningless incremental research get all the professorships, while barely qualifying as scientists. The most destructive result of this is that many fields have little or no real advancement going on as new ideas are actively squashed. After all, new ideas would show how abysmally bad at science the current position-holders are. But this is not new. Cranks like Newton had research by others squashed or suppressed, because it was better than his stuff. This is also the reason most scientific discoveries take about one research-career-length to go into actual use. The thing is that the perpetrators of the status-quo have to retire before their misconceptions and mediocre approaches can be replaced. Exceptionally stupid, but all too human.

Personally, I am now in an interesting industrial job, and I still do the occasional paper as a hobby. But I would strongly advise anybody bright against trying for an academic career. Wanting to do research right reliably ensures that you will not be able to do an academic career at all. The core ingredients for a scientific career are mediocrity, absence of brilliance, hard work and a lot of political maneuvering. Oh, and you must not care about doing good science!

Comment: Re:Not seeing the issue here (Score 1) 204

by gweihir (#48650267) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

I will never understand when it became ok for those charged with enforcing the law to lie without shame.

Then in court these professional liars are held up as the most credible of witnesses.

Which should tell you something about the actual purpose of law enforcement and "the law". Hint: It is not about truth, honesty or integrity.

Comment: Re:You can stop those type of attacks (Score 2) 340

You said "no level". Ever talked to somebody that handles highly classified data in some TLAs? No, did not think so. Sure, it is expensive, but you can keep any and all types of attackers out if you invest enough and have the right people defining processes and implementing controls, except for those attackers that can come to you and break down your door or those that can plant people with you long-term. This "there is no way to protect yourself" meme is just BS for the uninformed and has nothing to do with professional risk-management.

What Schneier is talking about is the setting of a large, commercial enterprise that must be profitable. And even there you can keep all that would find your data commercially valuable out, you just need to understand the business aspects of security. True, against resourceful fanatics, that may not be enough. But Sony did clearly not even have the basic level of protection they needed in place. My take is this was some random group of big-ego-mediocre-skill hackers that got lucky and that are now grand-standing. Remember LulzSec? If they were still active, this would be right up their alley.

Comment: Re:Best of 2009? May be, but we live in 2014. Righ (Score 1) 132

by gweihir (#48638043) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

I really do not care how _you_ waste your time. While it may be true you are in a dead-end job that you do not enjoy and "working" on you phone is your escape from it, I do enjoy my work and I like being efficient at it. I do realize that professional quality-level tools are not the right fit for most people and please, by all means, stick with your toy. As long as BB survives and puts out an actually useful phone now and then, I am fine. You cannot dominate the market with something that is actually really good, people are just too stupid for that.

"Don't talk to me about disclaimers! I invented disclaimers!" -- The Censored Hacker

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