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Comment Re:grain of truth? (Score 1, Flamebait) 413

("America has no functioning democracy at this moment"--former U.S. president Jimmy Carter). What data on the U.S. population should be legally in government hands? Note that the telecom companies like ATT, verizon and sprint have large stores of domestic call records. Google yahoo and microsoft have a good sized chunk of our emails, documents and search quarries. JP morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, wells fargo and citigroup have most of our credit card and loan data. Should this data, domestic call records and all, also be in the hands of the federal government? Does Google have more up to date information about flu outbreaks than the Center for Disease Control? Is it unreasonable to suspect that Goldman Sachs has better data on the U.S. economy than say the treasury department and federal reserve? A recent foia request by propublica for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a time period that the TV station had aired a friendly documentary on the NSA resulted in the following response from the NSA (the supercomputing powerhouse) "There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately.... [the system is] a little antiquated and archaic." A former employee of the department of labor statistics said that the department's entire data set fits on a single hard drive. Note that in the 90â(TM)s the IRS was still using vacuum tube technology. The National Security Agency in the last couple of years just started building modern data centers in Utah. There is abundant evidence provided by the Thomas Drake prosecution and the 9-11 commission report that information management is a problem in the intelligence community. Does google have better information management technology than the NSA? If corporations do have better data on the U.S. economy and population than the U.S. government doesn't it make sense to be governed by these corporations, ie government sachs? Is it not true that he who has the information has the power? And of course doesn't that create a clear âoemoral hazardâand âoeregulatory captureâ situation as the corporations are run by the 1%? Regulatory capture is basically when the cops and judges are owned, the book "13 bankers" goes over the issue for wall street. Isnâ(TM)t corporate control of government part of what occupy wallstreet activists protested? What is reasonable in terms of government and corporate transparency and secrecy laws and what data on the U.S. population should the government have access to? What information should citizens have about their governments and corporations? Is U.S. law clear and consistent? In any logically inconsistent system one can arrive at any conclusion one likes--selective prosecution and "interpreting" the law. What is the role of the media in all this? A former NSA coworker noted to me that U.K.'s GCHQ can, by U.K. law, perform surveillance on U.S. citizens without a warrant and the U.K. shares that intelligence with the U.S., the English speaking countries have a cozy intelligence sharing agreement sometimes called "five eyes." An effective surveillance laundering strategy. Also, less friendly countries than the U.K. would be interested in data on the U.S. population in order to, for example, strategize a propaganda campaign. If foreign countries can "copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems" of the JSF (F-35) they can probably get their hands on our call record data and possibly a lot more. Is it a good situation for foreign governments to have more information on the U.S. population than the U.S. government has? On related issues you could see the google tech talk "secret history of silicon valley"--basically defense spending built much more of silicon valley than venture capital. There is pretty good evidence that the majority of U.S. tech gets its start as gov contracts (IBM and the contract for the 1890 census, Oracle and the CIA contract, Sun Micro and darpa money). A little less related but important for U.S. foreign policy is "the Israel Lobby" by vpro backlight. Links below. Secret history of silicon valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo Israel lobby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N294FMDok98

Comment Re:Wow! (Score 1) 314

Don't HFT strategies constantly submit and cancel bids very rapidly in order to gain market information and so naturally decrease bid/ask spread? Where this might hit the buy and holders is by distorting the market, for instance the last 6 years of s&p market volatility has been on the high side. Coincidentally, volatility increases the profitability of most HFT strategies. I've also heard a HFT guy argue for the value of price discovery produced by HFT, to that I ask do the value of things in the real world really change that much on such short time scales? Couldn't those engineers and quants have there time allocated much more productively for the benefit of others, or are they really that worthless?

Comment Re:Surveillance (Score 3, Interesting) 212

Also see Jane Harman, U.S. congresswoman, who was taped making a deal with the Israel lobby to influence the "Justice" department on the Lawrence Franklin espionage case. Franklin was found guilty of passing top secret classified documents about U.S. policy on Iran to Israel and sentenced to over 12 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced to only 10 months house arrest. Bradley Manning on the other hand is only accused of handing over secret documents, no top secret ones, to wikileaks and yet is facing far more severe punishment and his motives are arguably to expose illegal acts rather than to aid a foreign power. A clear example of double standards in the U.S. "justice" system.

Comment Re:Conspiracy! (Score 0) 659

it is a combo of several problems. admin charges which includes insurance overhead is about 30%. most of the countries that do a lot better then us have substantial gov involvement, so your focus on gov involvement seems misplaced. according to census bureau docs on average work 50 hrs a week, not really that intense. residency is the ball crusher.

Comment Re:Conspiracy! (Score 1, Interesting) 659

What we get for our money: U.S. life expectancy is the lowest of any first world country (40th) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy ditto for U.S. infant mortality rates (34th) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate The U.S. is number 1 in health care spending as a percentage of gdp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_(PPP)_per_capita One of several reasons for the high cost of U.S. health care is that the U.S. pays it's doctors more as a percentage of GDP than any other country http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/how-much-do-doctors-in-other-countries-make/ Basically, we get crap but we pay through the nose. Unfortunately we may need societal failure to change anything, bring on the guillotines!

Comment Re:Is this article some kind of a joke? (Score 0) 268

the Intelligence Community is not authorized to collect on US Persons, except where allowed by law or authorized by a properly adjudicated warrant from a court of law. I know people on Slashdot don't like to believe this, and prefer to imagine that the sole purpose of the Intelligence Community is spying on our own citizens instead of, you know, doing the jobs they've been charged to do.

I spent two years working at the NSA and while there a coworker (from GCHQ) noted that U.K.'s GCHQ can, by U.K. law, perform surveillance on U.S. citizens without a warrant and the U.K. shares that intelligence with the U.S., the English speaking countries have a cozy intelligence sharing agreement, sometimes called "five eyes." Pretty big loophole in the privacy laws. Realistically, even if a warrant is required the NSA has plenty of friendly judges willing to sign warrants when asked, it is not that strong an oversight. Also, large multinational corporations (DOW, coca-cola) have substantial influence over the U.S. government so when multinationals fund surveillance of U.S. citizens it is as if the federal gov is doing the surveillance.

Comment incarceration or bureaucracy (Score 0) 191

Sometimes there just ain't enough work to keep all the bees busy and out of trouble, so might as well create another layer of bureaucracy, it's either that or build more prisons, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. Also, wonder if they have any serious mole problems in the intelligence agencies, for instance Israel has a good deal of interest in what the U.S. military does, getting more data on employees might help with mole problems, not just whistle-blowers. Definitely would be better if there was much less secrecy in the U.S. gov in general, help with fraud.

Comment hypocrisy of Drake prosecution (Score 0) 104

What does this say about the hypocrisy of the Thomas Drake prosecution, a guy just trying to point out some of the mismanagement in DOD IT that he was privy to? http://natsecurityeb.blogspot.com/2010/10/thomas-drake.html or what former CIO Kundra said about an IT cartel controlling U.S. gov IT. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9218466/Outgoing_federal_CIO_warns_of_an_IT_cartel_?taxonomyId=13&pageNumber=1

Comment Re:Not just an IT problem (Score 0) 198

The regulations accumulated like that as the result of some grievously bad deal that happened a long time ago on a project you've never heard of.

those regulations accumulated often as a result of the actions of lobbyists, those rules funnel money in the direction of the contractor. The regulations you site for the burger would have been written by the contract that wanted to supply the $200 burger and who has the lobbying power and inside friends to make it happen. You make the false assumption that the rules were written in good faith, they were not.

Comment Re:Not just an IT problem (Score 0) 198

You sure the contractors lobbyist makes sure "the government" wants the double cheese burger in a way no one else wants it? "the government" ends up meaning some high level government employee who wants to cash in on the revolving door to the contractor. In the end watch where then money flows cause that is who is fucking shit up.

Submission + - Predicting Revolt with Bayesian Model Averaging (foreignpolicy.com)

feynmanfan1 writes: "Jay Ulfelder, a Political Scientist and SAIC (the wonderful folks who gave us Trailblazer and NY CityTime) refugee just wrote an article for Foreign Policy Magazine about using Bayesian Model Averaging to forecast popular uprisings like those during the 'Arab Spring.'

Quote from Jay Ulfelder's blog:
"What’s needed to do this particular analysis better is higher-resolution data on dynamics of nonviolent rebellion. That kind of data would allow us to differentiate more subtly between situations like Egypt’s and, say, Sudan’s. Some scholars are doing excellent work right now using software to turn news reports into event data that should enable kind of analysis, but to the best of my knowledge, we’re not there yet."

This is somewhat similar to what financial companies have been doing for some time, automating the processing and analysis of financial news. If the target country uses social networks on the internet, perhaps data from there or data from search engine queries and financial transactions would be useful. The data may be hard to get but that's what the National Security Agency is for."

Submission + - Tesla will discontinue the Roadster (yahoo.com) 3

Attila Dimedici writes: Tesla has announced that their business model has failed. Their basic idea was to sell a boutique electric car to fund the development of a regular consumer electric car. With this announcement they are saying that they did not sell enough of the Roadster to make producing it profitable. If that is the case, it is only a matter of time until Tesla closes its doors. I think this is a shame because I thought their approach was the most likely to create a successful fully electronic car. Although it is possible that the technology they have developed will allow the existing car companies to develop successful fully electronic cars, it is a shame that Tesla has failed to become a successful car manufacturer.

Submission + - UK police integrate their data (bbc.co.uk)

biodata writes: Following the murder of two school girls in 2002 a review of disparate unconnected police data resources recommended the production of a national database. Now the database is in production, it is reported that the details of approximately one in four people in the UK are on the database, including criminals, victims, and those questioned but not charged in connection with crime. The father of one of the murdered school girls welcomed the new database.

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