Monday, December 16, 2013

Sometimes it's “please stay a bit further from my carrier.” Sometimes it's “stay out of my ADIZ.” Sometimes it's “how far are you prepared to go?”
U.S., Chinese warships narrowly avoid collision in South China Sea
… The incident came as the USS Cowpens was operating near China's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing's declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone farther north in the East China Sea, a U.S. defense official said.
Another Chinese warship maneuvered near the Cowpens in the incident on December 5, and the Cowpens was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision, the Pacific Fleet said in its statement.

Scam du jour? Dissent's checklist would make an interesting flowchart.
Over on, a number of people are reporting that they have received notification letters for the Maricopa Community Colleges breach, but that they’ve never attended the college and have no idea why they’re receiving letters.
Today, I got an email about a breach reported on this site ( I’m redacting it, but it says:
Dear Dissent,
I found your web site when I was investigating a letter from the above doctor. In the letter, he claims that his laptop was stolen and “my” records may be on his laptop. I don’t know this doc.
In the meantime, the letter offers me free “” services.
This looks like spam, but much classier. Do you know about this?
Thanks for your diligence.
Under HITECH’s breach notification rule, breached entities must include a phone number where you can call for more information about what data a breached entity held on you. If you ever receive a breach notification letter and have no idea who the entity is or why they have data on you, call them and ask. If the phone number is for the credit monitoring service and they can’t answer your question about how the doctor got your information, call the doctor’s office directly and ask them to explain how/why they have information on you. If they won’t tell you, remember that you can file a HIPAA complaint with HHS using HHS’s online complaint system.
And don’t hesitate to google the name of any free credit monitoring service you are being offered if you suspect spam or something evil. The service mentioned in this correspondent’s email is a legitimate service, but if you’re leery that you’re being sent to a site that could steal your personal information, just check first to make sure they’re on the up and up.

You may change your mind, but Facebook never does. You have no privacy on Facebook.
Jennifer Golbeck writes:
…We spend a lot of time thinking about what to post on Facebook. Should you argue that political point your high school friend made? Do your friends really want to see yet another photo of your cat (or baby)? Most of us have, at one time or another, started writing something and then, probably wisely, changed our minds.
Unfortunately, the code that powers Facebook still knows what you typed – even if you decide not to publish it. It turns out the things you explicitly choose not to share aren’t entirely private.
Read more on The Age.

Would a surveillance video taken by a nearby business be an educational record? How about a school video of students patronizing a nearby business?
Copies of footage from surveillance cameras are not confidential educational records, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Utah chapter says. Canyons School District didn’t agree, but the SPJ hopes the Utah Court of Appeals will.
Last week, the Utah Headliners filed an amicus brief with the court, seeking to prevent what it says could be a wrongful expansion of FERPA privacy. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,
[From the article:
The plaintiff, Roger Bryner, requested copies of surveillance footage under Utah’s open records law to see if the footage showed his son in a fight with another student. When his request was denied under FERPA, he filed a complaint in district court and lost.
The school district maintains the footage is protected because it is maintained by the district and identifies the students. The Utah Headliners argue the footage is not maintained by an educational institution and is not, in fact, an educational record at all.
A surveillance recording is used to maintain the physical security and safety of an educational institution,” attorney David Reymann wrote in the SPJ chapter’s amicus brief. “It is akin to a law enforcement record, which is expressly excluded from the definition of ‘education record’ under FERPA.”
… “If a surveillance recording is held to be an education record merely because it contains identifiable images of students, so might a videotaped recording of a school play, or footage of a football game, or a byline picture in the school newspaper, or even a yearbook photograph,” Reymann wrote.

Oh goodie, a privacy kerfuffle!
By Divonne Smoyer and Aaron Lancaster write:
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has understandably been the focus of much attention in the data privacy world. The FTC is considered by many to be the primary U.S. data privacy regulator, and this blog has gone so far as calling the FTC the U.S.’s de facto data protection authority (DPA). We respectfully disagree. The FTC is facing unprecedented challenges, while state attorneys general (AGs), who have similar—and in some instances greater—authority, are taking more and more steps to protect the privacy of their citizens.

Any record of students talked out of this type of psychotic event? For my statistics students.
Active Shooter Events 2000-2013 – ABC Action News
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 15, 2013
“The FBI defines ‘active shooter’ events as incidents where a gunman arrives on a scene intending to commit mass murder. They can include events that result in no fatalities. The data on this page represents the most complete compilation of events tracked by Texas State University’s Dr. Peter Blair that have been publicly released. [Does this suggest there are some that have not been “publicly released?” Bob] To select data sets – mapped and sortable [Active Shooter Map, Details, Shooting Location, Total Victims Shot By Year, Active Shooters by Age, Increase by Years, Active Shooter Search, Active Shooter Analysis] use the drop down menu for details.”

(Related) For my Criminal Justice students
Paper – Firearms and suicides in US states
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 15, 2013
Firearms and suicides in US states, International Review of Law and Economics, Volume 37, March 2014, Pages 180–188. Justin Thomas Briggs and Alexander Tabarrok. Department of Economics, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
  • Empirical study of firearm possession and suicides at the state-level over 2000–2009.
  • Firearms are found to be very strongly related to firearm suicides, as expected.
  • Firearms are also found to be strongly related to overall suicides, despite evidence for substantial substitution in method of suicide.
  • There is evidence for a diminishing effect of guns on suicides as ownership levels increase.
  • The results hold using instrumental variables estimation, a variety of measures of gun ownership, and across a variety of sets of controls.
“Firearms play a unique role in public discourse. The US Constitution protects the right to bear arms. For some, this right represents an important safeguard against tyranny. For hunters and sportsmen, firearms enable a vibrant recreation. Firearms also play an important but largely unknown role in self-defence. [You would think the NRA (if no one else) would gather statistics on self defense... Bob] Yet in 2010, the latest year for which there are complete figures, there were 19,392 suicides, 11,078 homicides, and 606 accidental deaths by firearm, in addition to 73,505 non-fatal injuries by firearms (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Unfortunately, even basic information such as how many households own firearms is irregular and partly as a result there is little scientific consensus on how firearms influence violent injuries. Although the effect of firearms on homicides has been a topic of recurring debate, less attention is often given to suicide, despite there being more deaths attributable to suicide than to homicide. This may be in part because people view suicide as a private decision only affecting friends and family of the deceased, although this impact should not be minimized. But many psychological studies find that suicides are frequently impulsive decisions [as are most school shootings? Bob] (e.g. Simon et al., 2002), and that less than 10% of suicide survivors go on to successfully re-attempt suicide over the long term (Owens et al., 2002). Few suicides appear to be considered choices. In this study we specifically explore the relationship between firearm ownership rates and rates of suicide, using a newly constructed dataset covering US states from 2000 to 2009. We utilize all data from the first state-level representative survey of gun ownership, as well as four other proxies thereof, including one new to the literature. In addition, we will develop instruments for firearm ownership rates.”

My competition?
CreativeLIVE Launches Unique 24/7 Live Education Broadcast For Free Classes
CreativeLIVE is taking a lead with its 24/7 live online education broadcast network. What’s more noteworthy about the classes on offer is that they will be completely free. CreativeLive will host live classes on five free channels: Art & Design, Business & Money, Maker & Craft, Music & Audio and Photo & Video. The round-the-clock classes, seven days a week, will help you switch on your learning wherever you are in the world.
Live broadcasts of instructor led classes is just a step away from prominence. Google recently launched Helpouts with live video as the instructional medium; Google’s offering is a mixed bag with both free and priced classes. CreativeLIVE already has an engaged community with 2 million students in 200 countries worldwide who together have consumed 1 billion minutes of free education. The educational site says an average student watches more than 3 hours of content.
The company also has a freemium model – those who miss the live broadcasts can purchase the recorded courses.

A quick way to create a “Here's how” GIF. NOTE: Source code available!
– allows you to record a selected area of your screen and save as a animated GIF. Two versions are available (both included in a single .exe) – Legacy and Modern. The languages are English, Spanish, and Portuguese. If you choose to record with the cursor, remember that, in the editor, the cursor will not appear. Just move the window around to record what you want.

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