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Submission + - NSA probed fewer than 300 phone numbers in 2012 - broke plots in 20 nations (ap.org)

cold fjord writes: Yet more details about the controversy engulfing the NSA. From CNET : "Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained how the program worked without violating individuals' civil rights. "We take the business records by a court order, and it's just phone numbers — no names, no addresses — put it in a lock box," Rogers told CBS News' "Face The Nation." "And if they get a foreign terrorist overseas that's dialing in to the United Sates, they take that phone number... they plug it into this big pile, if you will, of just phone numbers — it's like a phonebook without any names and any addresses with it — to see if there's a connection, a foreign terrorist connection to the United States." "When a number comes out of that lock box, it's just a phone number — no names, no addresses," he said. "If they think that's relevant to their counterterrorism investigation, they give that to the FBI. Then upon the FBI has to go out and meet all the legal standards to even get whose phone number that is." " From the AP: " ... programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records ... the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege.... both NSA programs are reviewed every 90 days by the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the program, the records, showing things like time and length of call, can only be examined for suspected connections to terrorism, they said. The ... program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways. "
Data Storage

Submission + - Can a regular person repair a damaged hard drive? (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "There's a lot of FUD when it comes to self-repairing a broken hard drive. Does sticking it in the freezer help? The oven? Hitting it with a hammer? Does replacing the PCB actually work? Can you take the platters out and put them in another drive? And failing all that, if you have to send the dead drive off to a professional data recovery company, how much does it cost — and what's their chance of success, anyway? They're notoriously bad at obfuscating their prices, until you contact them directly. Joel Hruska — who recently had an important drive die (without any up-to-date backups!) — tries to answer these questions and strip away the FUD over at ExtremeTech."

Submission + - Average office workers burn as much energy as hunter-gatherers (www.nhs.uk)

gezb writes: The BBC is reporting the findings of an anthropological study published in PloS that found, contrary to received wisdom, members of a Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe, burned off the same amount of energy in a day as a typical Western. This lead to some excitable headlines in some UK tabloids, such as ‘ Good news for couch potatoes.

However, the always excellent Behind the Headlines have done a takedown of the story and found that burning energy won’t automatically make you fit."

Other relevant links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18985141

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0040503

Submission + - Scientists Reconstruct Brains Visions Into Video (gizmodo.com)

Keldrin_1 writes: Scientists at UC Berkeley have found a way to turn a human's brain activity into digital video. The tech obviously has a long way to go, but this is still an impressive step. Sample vid is on the site.

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