Monday, July 15, 2013

In Colorado, only Second Class citizens are held accountable.
Guess who doesn't get radar tickets in Colorado? Politicians
… State senators and representatives in Colorado, for example, enjoy a little wheeze that surely saves them pocketfuls of change.
For, should they be caught by a photo radar device, speeding their way merrily down the freeway, they won't get a citation.
"How can this be?" you might mutter. Well, in Colorado, these politicians have special license plates. It's not enough for them to ride around in fancy cars. They have to be identified immediately as men and women of the people.
Yet, as CBS4 in Denver reports, these license plates don't appear in the DMV database.

I wonder how many in Congress have as much information?
Snowden reportedly has 'blueprint' on how NSA operates
Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency who leaked classified documents regarding the agency's surveillance programs, has very sensitive "blueprints" describing how the agency operates, a journalist close to the story told The Associated Press.
Snowden has "literally thousands of documents" that constitute "basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built" that could aid in duplication or evasion of NSA surveillance tactics, The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald told the news agency on Sunday.
"In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do," Greenwald said, who noted that he had last communicated with Snowden about four hours before the interview.
… Greenwald said the NSA "blueprints" don't represent a threat to U.S. national security but could be embarrassing to the government.
"I think it would be harmful to the U.S. government, as they perceive their own interests, if the details of those programs were revealed," Greenwald told the AP.

...and we already have people going after the Post Office for photographing our mail. What a country! (If this was the basis for a Class Action and they won, could we end the Income Tax as partial settlement?)
Foreign Surveillance and the Future of Standing to Sue Post- Clapper
CRS – Foreign Surveillance and the Future of Standing to Sue Post-Clapper – Andrew Nolan, Legislative Attorney, July 10, 2013
“Recent news accounts (and government responses to those news accounts) have indicated that the government is reportedly engaged in a surveillance program that gathers vast amounts of data, including records regarding the phone calls, emails, and Internet usage of millions of individuals. The disclosures to the media reportedly suggest that specific telecommunication companies have been required to disclose certain data to the government as part of the intelligence community’s surveillance efforts. The recent controversy over the reports of government targeting efforts comes months after the Supreme Court ruled in a case called Clapper v. Amnesty International. In Clapper, the Court dismissed a facial constitutional challenge to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on constitutional standing grounds. Specifically, the Clapper court found that the litigants, a group of attorneys and human rights activists who argued that their communications with clients could be the target of foreign intelligence surveillance, could not demonstrate they would suffer a future injury that was “certainly impending,” the requirement the majority of the Court found to be necessary to establish constitutional standing when asking a court to prevent a future injury.”

Coaltion of Good Government Groups Urge US Attorney General to Release Reports on Telephone Surveillance
“[On July 8, 2013] the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), along with 22 other good-government groups, sent a letter to the US Department of Justice urging Attorney General Eric Holder to make public any reports by Inspector General Michael Horowitz regarding the collection of Americans’ telephone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. If the Office of the Inspector General has not previously conducted a full review of this program, the letter asks it to do so. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the FBI to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for an order requiring the production of any tangible thing that is relevant to an authorized investigation to collect foreign intelligence or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Serious questions have been raised by lawmakers and legal experts about whether the recently revealed program, under which telephone companies are ordered to produce all of the telephony metadata for all of their subscribers, is consistent with the purpose or even the letter of Section 215.”

Something for my Risk Management students to ponder...
Global Risks Report 2013
“The Global Risks Report 2013 analyses 50 global risks in terms of impact, likelihood and interconnections, based on a survey of over 1000 experts from industry, government and academia. This year’s findings show that the world is more at risk as persistent economic weakness saps our ability to tackle environmental challenges. The report highlights wealth gaps (severe income disparity) followed by unsustainable government debt (chronic fiscal imbalances) as the top two most prevalent global risks. Following a year scarred by extreme weather, from Hurricane Sandy to flooding in China, respondents rated rising greenhouse gas emissions as the third most likely global risk overall. The findings of the survey fed into an analysis of three major risk cases: Testing Economic and Environmental Resilience, Digital Wildfires in a Hyperconnected World and The Dangers of Hubris on Human Health. In a special report on national resilience, the groundwork is laid for a new country resilience rating, which would allow leaders to benchmark their progress. The report also highlights “X Factors” – emerging concerns which warrant more research, including the rogue deployment of geoengineering and brain-altering technologies.”

My math students have a love/hate relationship with my puzzles...
Plus Magazine - Math Puzzles and More
Plus Magazine is a free online publication dedicated to introducing readers to practical applications of mathematics. Plus Magazine strives to reach that goal through the publication of mathematics-related news articles, podcasts, and mathematics puzzles designed around "real-life" scenarios.
Applications for Education
Plus Magazine's mathematics puzzles provide students with challenges of varying difficulty. Most of the puzzles include some type of real-world scenario as a framework for the challenge. The puzzles could make excellent extra credit problems at the end of a mathematics test.

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