Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm off on another rant triggered by Syria. Sorry. Apparently, Russia now dictates (has veto power over?) US strategy. Our “line in the sand” seems to lead to Geneva, where Russia tells us what is acceptable and how to sell it to our citizens. If we won't take action when a dictator starts exterminating his people, what does that mean for Iran, North Korea, and others? What does it say to our allies like Israel?
John Kerry: U.S., Russia Reach Deal On Syrian Chemical Weapons
… Kerry and Lavrov said they agreed on the size of the chemical weapons inventory, [Bad reporting? They wouldn't need to ask for a list if they knew what Syria had. Bob] and on a speedy timetable and measures for Assad to do away with the toxic agents.
… The U.S. and Russia are giving Syria just one week, until Sept. 21, to submit "a comprehensive listing, including names, types and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities."
… U.S. and Russia agreed that Syria had roughly 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons agents and precursors, including blister agents, such as sulfur and mustard gas and nerve agents like sarin.
These officials said the two sides did not agree on the number of chemical weapons sites in Syria.
… "There is an agreement between Russia and the United States that non-compliance is going to be held accountable within the Security Council under Chapter 7," Kerry said. [In other words, we have agreed not to act unilaterally? Bob]
… Obama retains the right to launch military strikes without U.N. approval to protect American national security interests. [But not to respond to Assad gassing his citizens. Bob]

No one likes this guy. Is that a good reason to identify everyone who used his anonymous services? (The reporting gets a little biased too)
FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack
It wasn’t ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors.
… The new details emerged in local press reports from a Thursday bail hearing in Dublin, Ireland, where Marques, 28, is fighting extradition to America on charges that Freedom Hosting facilitated child pornography on a massive scale. He was denied bail today for the second time since his arrest in July.
… Tor hidden services are used by sites that need to evade surveillance or protect users’ privacy to an extraordinary degree – including human rights groups and journalists. But they also appeal to [are appealing to Bob] serious criminal elements, child-pornography traders among them.
… On August 4, all the sites hosted by Freedom Hosting — some with no connection to child porn — began serving an error message with hidden code embedded in the page. Security researchers dissected the code and found it exploited a security hole in Firefox to identify users of the Tor Browser Bundle, reporting back to a mysterious [unidentified Bob] server in Northern Virginia.
… Donahue also said Marque had been researching the possibility of moving his hosting, and his residence, to Russia. “My suspicion is he was trying to look for a place to reside to make it the most difficult to be extradited to the U.S.,” said Donahue, according to the Irish Independent. [Under the circumstances, not a bad idea. Bob]

(Related) Meanwhile, on the other side of the world...
Kim Dotcom’s Mega-Lawsuit Could Make Him a Multi-Millionaire Again
… Court filings released this week show Dotcom and associates have made good on a threat last year to sue police and the country’s main spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, for the SWAT-style raid in which Dotcom and the others were arrested a year and a half ago.
The New Zealand government appealed a ruling last year that granted Dotcom the right to sue, but lost last March. Court documents filed in the High Court earlier this year, but not made public until this week, lay out Dotcom’s case that the police were excessively invasive and aggressive in conducting the raid, and used NSA-like spy systems to place him under covert surveillance.
“The case will show how the Five-Eyes spy cloud, X-Keyscore and PRISM were utilized in our copyright case,” Dotcom tells WIRED. “Remember, I’m not a terrorist.”
… The U.S. government is accusing Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, of running a criminal conspiracy that made hundreds of millions of dollars by letting users share copyrighted files online. The Justice Department seized the company’s many domain names, servers and assets at the time of the raid, and is seeking extradition of Dotcom from New Zealand to the United States for trial.
… Citing GCSB documents, Dotcom’s lawyers allege the spy agency illegally intercepted Dotcom, family members’ and associates’ communications since at least December 16, 2011.
GCSB was not, at the time, permitted to spy on legal permanent residents like Dotcom, but the New Zealand government has since legalized such surveillance.

For the Graphic Design students. Watch the video!
Software turns 2D objects 3D; lets you 'reach into' photos; bends your mind
Modeling products in three dimensions can be a time-consuming process. It's easy enough for humans to identify the presence of 3D objects in 2D scenes, but extracting these with algorithms is tricky. A new system developed by a team of researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and Tel Aviv University aims to simplify the process by using a technique to pull out 3D shapes and objects from regular photos.

For me
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