Thursday, October 10, 2013

One of our favorite topics.
Why America Wants Drones That Can Kill Without Humans
… Though they do not yet exist, and are not possible with current technology, LARs are the subject of fierce debate in academia, the military and policy circles. Still, many treat their development as inevitability. But how practical would LARs be on the battlefield?
Heather Roff, a visiting professor at the University of Denver, said many conflicts, such as the civil war in Syria, are too complex for LARs. “It’s one thing to use them in a conventional conflict,” where large militaries fight away from cities, “but we tend to fight asymmetric battles.

How public are public servants?
They lost in court last month, and now the union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies has lost again in its bid to block the Los Angeles Times from publishing sheriff’s deputies’ background screening files. Jill Cowan reports:
“You’d have to be blind not to recognize there’s tension between privacy, public safety and the 1st Amendment,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michelle R. Rosenblatt said during a hearing on the matter. “There always has been, and there perhaps always will be.”
Rosenblatt sided with The Times in striking down a complaint filed by a union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
Read more on the Los Angeles Times.
[From the article:
Attorneys representing the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs had alleged that 500 files containing personal information were unlawfully obtained. They contended that a Times reporter was illegally in possession of stolen property.
"There's no case law at all that says the receipt of stolen property does not apply to the press," said Elizabeth Gibbons, an attorney for the union.
She added that the injunction's intent was not to stop The Times from writing about the department's hiring practices, but rather to prevent it from disclosing information that violates employees' privacy.
For the last year, The Times has reported on the department's hiring of employees who had personal ties to top officials, including Sheriff Lee Baca, despite histories of violence or past legal scrapes.

I imagine the government lawyers are still getting paid?
Wow. I didn’t expect this.
Josh Gerstein reports that the government’s request for a stay due to the government shutdown in EFF’s litigation in First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency was denied.
Read more on Politico.

It is useful to have this information when investigating an incident. Absent an incident, it just builds a database. Would that be purged if nothing happens?
Talk about chilling free speech!
Rebecca Glenberg writes:
From 2010 until last spring, the Virginia State Police (VSP) maintained a massive database of license plates that allowed them to pinpoint the locations of millions of cars on particular dates and times. Even more disturbing, the agency used automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to collect information about political activities of law-abiding people. The VSP recorded the license plates of vehicles attending President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, as well as campaign rallies for Obama and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. (Documentation of this program, disclosed in response to an ACLU of Virginia public records request, can be found here.) These practices starkly illustrate the need for tight controls on government use of technology for surveillance purposes.
Read more on ACLU.

e-Singatures. They've been around for years!
Hello Sign Puts an End To "Print, Sign, Scan"
Hello Sign is a tool that I've featured in the past, but I've used it so much lately that I feel like I need to share it with everyone again. For a variety of reasons over the last couple of weeks I have received a ton of email attachments that I've needed to sign and return to their senders. Every time that I've received one of an attachment needing my signature I haven't printed or scanned one piece of paper. Instead, I've used the Hello Sign Chrome app.
On your computer you can use Hello Sign to record your signature by using your mouse or by importing a picture of your signature. Then whenever you need to sign a document just upload it to Hello Sign and apply your stored signature. You can email your newly signed document directly from Hello Sign.

For my Ethical Hackers... Some people never change the default password.
Resetting Your Device? Find the Default Username and Password
Someone performed a factory reset on their wireless router and now they’re calling you for help.
… If your friend is resorting to resetting their devices because they can’t remember their own passwords, you might want to suggest a password manager app.
Covering 391 vendors with 1600 passwords, you should be able to find what you’re looking for — for most household computing purposes, as well as many work-related situations. The site also breaks things down by version number of the hardware as well.
The list covers not only devices, but different applications and software packages as well.
… If you’re just trying to help your friend get back into an application or website they forgot their password for, you might try one of these 6 Free Password Recovery Tools for Windows.

It can't hurt!
– emails you with a photo and GPS location whenever someone tries to unlock your phone with the wrong password. Find out if someone is trying to unlock your phone or locate the thief that has stolen it. It’s a completely silent and invisible operation. No warnings are shown to the thief. There is little to no impact on the battery.

For my students. Definitely. Especially for those 9:00AM classes. (Attention Ethical Hackers! I saw that sly smile. Don't you dare!)
– enables you to schedule a wakeup call to your mobile phone. Unlike many other similar services, this one accepts international numbers. And to combat abuse, it tells you in advance that a call has been scheduled, with the option to cancel the wakeup call and even block your number from the system permanently. The call consists of a short automated message, and premium features can be unlocked for a short fee

The perfect article for some smart people I know?
Get the Right People to Notice Your Ideas
… It’s a common question: why bother to blog (or use other forms of social media) when it’s so hard to build a following, and you may toil in obscurity for years before finding an audience?
The first strategy is to write about the people you’d like to connect with (or the companies you’d like to work for).
Next, consider proactively sharing articles you create.
Finally, pursue a “ladder strategy” for your content,
As Chris Brogan’s experience shows, it can take years for your readership to grow organically. It’s unlikely that you’ll be “discovered” right away by a top CEO or VC trawling the Internet. But even from Day One, you can begin to reach key players if you’re strategic about the individuals and ideas you cover, proactively share your content (instead of waiting for others to stumble across it), and seek new and bigger outlets to feature your work. Before long, you won’t need to be discovered; the right people will already know who you are.

Something my Statistics students won''t get in their English classes... (And something my Data Analysis students can profit from)
How to Bet Money on the Nobel Prize in Literature
Ladbrokes is right 50 percent of the time without even knowing the names of the authors the Swedish Academy is considering. How do you do it?
That’s not us; that’s the power of the betting market. The way people are betting changes the odds for any given author such that the one who’s winning turns out usually to be the one they’ve selected. We find that the betting market is a great measure of public opinion because people are actually putting money behind their beliefs. All we do is put the initial list together and then manage the markets as we do a sporting event. It’s the same as football or horse racing, really.
OK, so how do you put the list together?
We read literary blogs, book reviews, Twitter—

How to make a losing team truly dangerous.
NFL Bettors Don't Know What to Do With the Biggest Spread of All Time
Las Vegas bookmakers are calling this Sunday’s game between the undefeated, record-breaking, naked-bootlegging Denver Broncos and the defeated, drown-your-sorrows, sorry-you-have-to-see-this Jacksonville Jaguars the most lopsided NFL game ever, with the Broncos favored by as many as 28 points. The matchup stretches the margins of NFL disparity and, so far, is baffling bettors.

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