Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Harvard (Bruce) gets it.
Cryptographer and Harvard Scholar – NSA broke Internet’s security for everyone
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 19, 2013
Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica: ”To say that there are a lot of people who are angry with the National Security Agency (NSA) right now would be an understatement. But the things that are getting the most political attention right now—such as the invasion of the privacy of American citizens and spying on the leaders of American allies—are just a fraction of the problem, according to cryptographer and Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society Fellow Bruce Schneier. At a presentation in a conference room inside the US Capitol on Friday, Schneier—who has been helping The Guardian review the trove of documents provided by Snowden—said that in its haste to “weaponize” the Internet, the NSA has broken its mechanisms of security. And those breaks—including the backdoors that the NSA convinced or coerced software developers to put into the implementations of their encryption and other security products, are so severe that it is now just a matter of time before others with less-noble causes than fighting terrorism will be able to exploit the holes the NSA has created. Schneier said that the vulnerabilities inserted into security products by the NSA through its BULLRUN program could easily be exploited by criminals and other nation-states as well once they are discovered. And the other attacks and surveillance methods used by the NSA “will be tomorrow’s doctoral theses and next week’s Science Fair projects.”

Not sure the FCC Chairman gets it...
FCC chairman: US phone system needs Internet makeover
The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to dial up an Internet update to the nation's telephone system.
New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced Tuesday that the commission will begin a "diverse set of experiments" next year aimed at replacing the telephone system's traditional phone lines with networks that are based on Internet Protocol. While many consumers already make phone calls on the Internet using voice over IP, which transmits large amounts of data in packet form, much of the nation's telephone infrastructure still employs less-efficient analog technology.
Wheeler, who won Senate confirmation as the commission's chairman late last month, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that he expects the commission to vote in January on a package of recommendations to speed the initiation of experiments and analysis of their outcomes, as well as consider the associated legal, policy, and technical issues.

I hope to see more of these...
Orin Kerr writes:
Yesterday afternoon, the DNI declassified an 87-page FISC opinion authored by Judge Kollar-Kotellythat had allowed a bulk Internet metadata collection under FISA’s version of the Pen Register statute,50 U.S.C. 1842. In plain English, the government published a previously-secret opinion that had allowed for the bulk collection of non-content Internet metadata under a statute that provides very low levels of privacy protection. The program is now defunct, but the opinion gives us another chance to analyze the quality of legal analysis produced by the FISC.
I’ve read the opinion, and I find its analysis quite strange. In this post, I’ll explain why I find the opinion a head-scratcher.
Read more on Lawfare.

Keep up, this one could have consequences. Some highlights from the article...
Just to keep everyone apprised on developments in the case this month:
LabMD filed a motion to quash 35 subpoenas that had been issued on one day. And on November 12, LabMD filed its motion to dismiss the FTC complaint with prejudice and to stay administrative proceedings.
… Although much of their argument mirrors Wyndham’s argument, LabMD also adds the argument that HIPAA and HITECH control or trump any authority FTC might have to regulate:
… In addition to arguing that Congress’s clear intention was that HIPAA (and HITECH) would control for the health care sector, and not the FTC, LabMD also argues that data security is a matter for the states:

Here's something from a very smart guy,talking about a subject I teach using tools he developed. If I'm lucky, I'll have it figured out in no time.
November 13, 2013
Computational knowledge. Symbolic programming. Algorithm automation. Dynamic interactivity. Natural language. Computable documents. The cloud. Connected devices. Symbolic ontology. Algorithm discovery. These are all things we’ve been energetically working on—mostly for years—in the context of Wolfram|Alpha, Mathematica, CDF and so on.
But recently something amazing has happened. We’ve figured out how to take all these threads, and all the technology we’ve built, to create something at a whole different level. The power of what is emerging continues to surprise me. But already I think it’s clear that it’s going to be profoundly important in the technological world, and beyond.

Might be a fun writing assignment...
How To Create Your Own Parody Facebook & Twitter Conversations
We’ve all seen them on Reddit, Imgur and elsewhere. Whether it’s hilarious parodies of historical events as if they took place on Facebook — like World War II — or fictional characters taking to the social network — like the characters of Harry Potter — it’s an incredibly entertaining way to bring history and creativity to the world of Facebook or Twitter. So what if you wanted to do this yourself?
There’s quite a few tools out there for doing just this — some of which will require you to login with your Facebook account, and others that don’t require any sign up at all. To find out more about how to create parody social media conversations, check out out the list below. If you need inspiration on how you can actually put these services to good use, check out which historical events are actually playing out on Twitter already.

An example of the dying art of cursive writing.
Google displays Lincoln's handwritten Gettysburg Address
Five known copies of the speech in Lincoln's handwriting exist, according to a Web site devoted to the 16th president. Google's new exhibit offers a look at one of those speeches, known as the Bancroft Copy.
Through Google's online exhibit, you can zoom in on every word of Lincoln's speech. The exhibit also displays the letter that the President wrote to George Bancroft, an American historian and diplomat, who had requested a copy of the speech. Documents and images about the Gettysburg Address complete the exhibit in an attempt to provide insight into one of the most celebrated speeches in American history.

(Related) Now days, it might have been a PowerPoint.
The Gettysburg Address as a Powerpoint

How the Media Would Have Covered the Gettysburg Address

For all my students.
Essential steps for securing your phone, and what else can be done to foil thieves

Did I mention that we have a 3D printer? I'm looking for a Lamborghini model...
– Meet 3D Builder, the best place to view, prepare, and print your 3D models on Windows 8.1-ready 3D printers. 3D Builder is a fun, easy to use, free app that helps you turn bits into atoms and explore the exciting world of 3D printing. It also includes a library of example 3D objects to get you started.

I read a lot of PDFs, so I need to try this.
– makes it easy to organize and manage your digital library. You’re on the move – and with PDF Stash so are your documents. Never worry about not having the document you need on your current computer. PDF Stash automatically keeps track of your place as you read and will resume where you left off. Bookmark important pages and organize your documents into folders for quick access.

(Related) A 3D marketplace?

Like, because, dude!
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet
Let's start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.
The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself.
I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
You probably know it better, however, as explanation by way of Internet—explanation that maximizes efficiency and irony in equal measure. I'm late because YouTube. You're reading this because procrastination. As the linguist Stan Carey delightfully sums it up: "'Because' has become a preposition, because grammar."

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