Sunday, December 23, 2012

I think this is likely to be more effective than putting police officers in every school. I do hope they tell us what words and phrases to look for...
New York Cops Want to Catch Future Mass Shooters Online—Before They Snap
December 22, 2012 by Dissent
Andrew Tarantola reprots:
The recent school shooting in Newtown, CT is proving a watershed moment for American gun control efforts—public opinion is quickly coalescing in favor of stringent regulation proposals while civic leaders scramble to respond to the outcry. But fear not New Yorkers, the NYPD has a plan—wait for potential killers to mention their murderous intentions on Facebook.
According to NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, the department’s top intelligence officers met Thursday to brainstorm over ways to prevent tragedies such as the Sandy Hook incident. As Kelly explains, this is what they came up with,
The techniques would include cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings. The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.
Read more on Gizmodo. In related coverage, CBS reports:
“And what we’re talking about is publicly available websites, chatrooms, that sort of thing,” Kelly said, adding that algorithms could be used. That will enable us to use, perhaps, commonly used terms that are used by people engaged in this sort of activity,” he said.
“The techniques would include cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,” Kelly said.
So although the technique could be applied to e-mails, that’s not what they’re proposing (yet?). I really don’t see how this is any different than what DHS proposed earlier this year in terms of scanning social media. If something’s public, it’s public, but if they try to access non-public communications (and I include e-mail because I reject Third Party Doctrine), then they should be required to obtain court approval based on some reasonably articulated suspicion.

Single-Click Double-Tap Murder
Gun control is on many minds this week, but let’s not talk about guns. Let’s talk about drones. (With a reported 300 million guns in private hands in America already, it’s probably too late for gun control anyhow.) Drones are to nation-states what assault rifles are to psychotic mass murderers. Worse yet, the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time until alpha insurgencies like Hezbollah and the Zetas have their own fleets of armed or kamikaze drones.
But surely sober, thoughtful, serious people make these decisions, you may say, aided by the fabled disposition matrix. If so, there are a few points you need to keep in mind:
  1. If you think drone warfare is going to stay limited to the relatively checked-and-balanced trigger fingers of the U.S. military, you are living in one of the more astoundingly deluded dreamlands of recent times. China has its own deadly military drones already — oh, and it’s selling them to pretty much all comers.
  2. If you think drone warfare of tomorrow will be as tame and limited as today’s, again, you’re dreaming. We’ve moved on from the Altair of military drone technology to maybe the Apple II. Imagine what the metaphorical ultrabooks will look like.
  3. Most of all, if something is easier, it will be done more often, with less consideration. That’s basic, fundamental human nature. That’s why Amazon patented one-click shopping. Conversely, the more obstacles and inconveniences you put in the way, the less inclined people will be to go down that road — or at least, the bigger the reward at the end of it has to be. And that’s why military drones scare me even before they get into the hands of people who don’t much care about innocent lives.

Our friends at the DoJ will put this is their “We need laws like these!” folder.
"Israel is to attempt, again, to pass a bill that authorizes police officers to issue warrants to Internet service providers to block or restrict access to specific websites involved either in gambling, child pornography or copyright infringement. [Are these the three worst sins you can commit on the Internet? Bob] The bill itself proposes that such administrative procedures shall be clandestine and that court decisions shall be made ex-parte, where some of the court's ruling will not be even dislosed to the owner of the website, and the court may hear and use inadmissible evidence."

Speaking of “Mission Creep,” is this a new initiative from the RIAA?
Mumford & Sons Warn Against ‘Unauthorized Lending’ of Their CD
A lot of people heard Mumford & Sons this year. The London-based folkie foursome played 15 cities in the U.S. this summer, ruled Spotify (they were one of the top 20 most-streamed bands of 2012), and their album Babel was the biggest debut of the year, selling 600,000 copies in its first week. With numbers like that, it seems like Mumford & Sons really want people to hear their super-earnest brand of roots rock. They just don’t want anyone to loan their record to you.
Hidden in the fine print on the back of Babel is an odd provision that clearly states: “The copyright in this sound recording and artwork is owned by Mumford & Sons. Warning: all rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.” Most of that all seems legit, but “lending”? Since when can’t people let friends borrow their records?

This is interesting.
December 21, 2012
Every library in the US. An easy search from One Address. The Ultimate Reference Desk!
"At Library.US, you can search across America and quickly find any US library: public, state, academic, Presidential and even law libraries. Browse by name of your local library, by city/state/zip, or by type of library, and let America’s Address give you instant access to the information you need."

For my friends with High School Seniors ready for college... Looks like University of New Mexico is cheapest and it's in walking distance!
December 21, 2012
WSJ - Public School, Big Tab - Searchable database
"The cost of attending public colleges is rising faster than the cost of private colleges, as states reduce funding. This graphic shows the published tuition and fees for state residents in 2012-13, and in 2006-07, for 72 public universities with substantial research activity, including many state “flagship” schools."

Another handy-dandy tool...
… if you are looking for something that lets you not only create presentations but also to share them online, you should check out a tool called Presentation Tube.
… The presentations you create can then be directly uploaded to Presentation Tube where people can stream it as a video. The video presentation can also be embedded on other websites or shared on social networks.

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