Saturday, January 04, 2014

Apparently there is no need for an “adversary” to justify withholding. Even when they do it for me, they don't need to tell me what they are doing. Even when they ignore their own lawyers, they don't need to tell me what they aren't doing. Perhaps they are the “Secret Police?”
From the good folks at EPIC:
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that the FBI may withhold a memo prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel concerning the law governing “exigent letter” requests to telephone companies for call records. The decision affirmed an earlier opinion that the memo was privileged advice, and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom information Act. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the memo was “working law” and not simply advice from government lawyers. However, the Court of Appeals found that the FBI had not itself adopted the advice of government lawyers. In a different case where the Department of State followed the guidance of Justice Department lawyers, EPIC filed a “friend” of the court brief in support of the New York Times and the ACLU and argued for the release of opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel. For more information, see EPIC v. NSA: Cybersecurity Authority and EPIC: New York Times v. DOJ.

“...there being no objections before the court...” Also, any “Cost/Benefit Analysis” conducted in Washington starts with the political value, which exists only in the eye of the office holder.
From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:
On several prior occasions, the Director of National Intelligence has declassified information about the telephony metadata collection program under the “business records” provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. Section 1861 (also referred to as “Section 215”), in order to provide the public a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program. Consistent with his prior declassification decisions and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, DNI Clapper has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the court renewed that authority on January 3, 2014.
Read more on ODNI
In related news, Jaikumar Vijayan reports:
The National Security Agency (NSA) has often claimed that its data collection programs have helped thwart dozens of terrorist plots in the U.S. But an analysis of one such program, the NSA’s controversial bulk telephone records collection initiative, suggests that the cost of running and maintaining the effort may far outweigh any benefits.
Read more on Computerworld.

Only 250? Not as popular as my petition to bring back student flogging.
David Meyer writes:
Around 250 leading academics from around the world have decried the online spying activities of U.S. and European intelligence services in an “Academics Against Mass Surveillance” manifesto, published on Friday.
Read more on GigaOm.

Apparently this is an increasingly common topic of debate. This might help.
UK Gov’t Guide – Bring your own device (BYOD)
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 2, 2014
“Bring your own device is a term which refers to when employees use their personal computing devices (typically smart phones and tablets) in the workplace. Permitting devices which you do not have sufficient control over to connect to the corporate IT systems can introduce a range of security vulnerabilities and other data protection concerns if not correctly managed. This guidance explores what you need to consider if permitting the use of personal devices to process personal data for which you are responsible. Bring your own device guidance (pdf).”

Unfortunately, it only works new-to-old. I propose a “geezer translator” so my students can look up such useful and exciting phrases as “the bee's knees” and “RTFM.”
Crowd-sourced online dictionary maintains status as archive of new terms
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 3, 2014
A Lexicon of the Internet, Updated by Its Users By JENNA WORTHAM- “Urban Dictionary has become a real-time archive for new and slang terms, particularly those that have risen because of social media and the Web.”
[From the article:
It has even become a source for judges trying to figure out the latest slang.

I might integrate this into my website class...
Vagrant: A Quick, Effortless Way to Create Virtual Machines for Local Web Development
If you’ve ever worked on a Web development project, you know just getting started can be tough. Even if you’re just making a simple WordPress widget, you’re going to need a WordPress instance to work with. That often means working on one somewhere in the cloud, or maybe setting up a local Web server. And if you’re collaborating with anyone, they’ll have to create exactly the same setup, too.
That’s annoying, but it gets worse: If you happen to be working on more than one project at the same time, and both projects use slightly different stacks (different Web servers, versions of PHP, etc.) you may find yourself with a lot to keep track of. Thankfully, there’s a better way: Meet Vagrant, a free and powerful way to create project-specific virtual machines.
… You basically spin up a VM that runs your Web server and any related scripts, but your project folder is outside the VM. So you can use whatever text editor and browser you usually work with, and don’t have to put up with a slow VM GUI. The VM just does the heavy lifting: It runs a local Web server and serves whatever files you need.
The appeal is ease of use: Once you have a Vagrant box configured for your project, when it’s time to get coding, you simply go to the project folder and type vagrant up. This boots up the VM, and off you go. When you’re done, shut the VM down with vagrant halt and that’s it – nothing polluting your hard drive and system configuration, it’s all self-contained.

This ought to drive my students crazy! I can't wait to try it.
– is about algebra in the real world. See how professionals use math in music, fashion, videogames, restaurants, basketball, and special effects. Then take on interactive challenges related to those careers. Get the Math combines video and web interactivity to help middle and high school students develop algebraic thinking skills for solving real-world problems.

… The Kansas Board of Regents will reconsider its new social media policy, in the wake of controversy over the policy’s reach and anti-free speech implications.
Under it, a university chief executive officer can discipline employees, up to termination, for social media communications that affect the university's ability to carry out its functions.
But faculty and education groups have criticized the policy, saying it is too broad and will stifle free speech.
… Version 2 of the Peeragogy Handbook – a guide for tech-enhanced collaborative learning, edited by Howard Rheingold – was released January 1. And released into the public domain to boot.
… PandoDaily reports that Neverware has raised $3 million in equity funding. The startup makes a virtualization device that helps schools use old computers like they were new ones.
… Barbara Ericson has compiled data on the 2013 Computer Science AP exam. Among her findings: “No females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.” And “11 states had no Black students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.”
You can download the spreadsheet from

Funny, We're already teaching most of these... Infographic
The 5 Degrees Of The Future

Dilbert explains why I bring cookies.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Apparently yesterday was another of those “nothing interesting happened” days...

9News had a segment on this “hack,” making it sound like the scam-du-jour. It's been around for a while (note the date on Bruce's article) but apparently not worth fixing?
Gift Card Hack
December 8, 2006
This is a clever hack against gift cards:
Seems they take the cards off the racks in stores and copy down [Now they take photos with their smartphones Bob] the serial numbers. Later on, they check to see if the card is activated, and if the answer is yes, they go on a shopping spree from the store's website.
What's the security problem? A serial number on the cards that's visible even though the card is not activated. This could be mitigated by hiding the serial number behind a scratch-off coating, or opaque packaging.

I'm thinking that Centennial Colorado can be the home of the new “Centennial Dollar!” Current exchange rate is $5 per “CD” (Big discount if you convert a $10,000 or more...)
Kanye West-inspired currency 'to launch soon'
… Virtual currencies are often linked to the purchase of illegal items, namely drugs, thanks to transactions being extremely difficult to trace.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Are there Best Practices for my Ethical Hackers? Somewhere between notifying the 'target' and making the exploit public must be alerting the tech media and user group blogs to bring public pressure.
Remember how I posted about how some frustrated researchers at Gibson Security had gone public with a SnapChat vulnerability that the firm allegedly hadn’t addressed?
Well, now it seems 4.6 million SnapChat users’usernames and phone numbers have been leaked.

Chris Ziegler reports:
The individual or team claiming responsibility for SnapchatDB has responded to The Verge‘s requests for comment the morning after the database went online, containing a leaked collection of some 4.6 million apparent Snapchat usernames and partial phone numbers. “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed,” they say. “Security matters as much as user experience does.”
Read more on The Verge.
Violet Blue writes that this incident shows that responsible disclosure has failed, while Marcia Hofmann and I both noted that perhaps the FTC and/or California Attorney General should investigate SnapChat’s response to the responsible disclosure:
GMTA RT @marciahofmann: I hope @FTC & @calagharris look into Snapchat’s failure to respond to responsible disclosure.
Dissent Doe (@PogoWasRight) January 2, 2014

Even if it doesn't exactly automate the lawyering function, it does cut the time and money that used to be spent in backroom analysis.
Law firms look for an edge in leveraging big data with innovative applications
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
How new tech can help lawyers rethink their jobs in the big data age, Derrick Harris: ”The legal profession has undergone a lot of unpleasant changes since the Great Recession struck in 2008. New data-analysis technologies and a new approach to thinking about data could help firms operate leaner, meaner and better.”
[From the article:
… Last year, for example, we wrote about a software vendor called Recommind that uses machine learning to do what it calls predictive coding, a process that saves firms time and money by helping lawyers sort through all those files to figure out which ones are relevant.
… We’ve covered another company, PureDiscovery, that applies semantic analysis techniques to e-discovery documents in order to achieve largely the same result.
Lex Machina is a startup that aims to give intellectual property attorneys statistical data that could help them make better decisions about their cases.
… The “big” part of big data gets a lot of attention, but for most industries and companies — law firms included — the variety part is probably the most important aspect. Data isn’t just about numbers anymore. Our Structure Data conference in March is focused on just this idea — that every document, social media post, photo, video, website, and pretty much anything is now a source of data just waiting to be analyzed and turned into information.
For example, people do a lot of talking on social media today, so maybe a lawyer could use something like ScraperWiki to download a witness’s Twitter connections and activity (check out what I’ve done with it here, here and here). There are free tools like etcML (and paid services like AlchemyAPI) that can analyze any type of text file, be it tweets or email logs, to determine sentiment or extract key concepts.
And even for more-traditional numerical data (say, for example, a record of car accidents and locations that might be relevant to a personal injury case) there is no shortage of easy tools available to help analyze and visualize it. Tools like make it easy to actually extract data from websites (say, the changes in price for real estate listings over time) and turn it into tables.

Just a small part of the “Personal Budget” spreadsheet I make my Excel students create.
2012 Edition of AAA’s Your Driving Costs brochure
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
“AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon. Clearly, that is no longer the case. In 2012 the average costs rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. AAA’s analysis covers vehicles equipped with standard features and optional equipment including automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, antilock brakes and cruise control. Rising fuel prices are a key factor in this year’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ study. Paying more at the pump is not only increasing the operational costs of vehicles, but it’s also affecting depreciation values. [For some reason, those 8 miles per gallon monsters aren't as popular as they used to be. Bob] With the growing appeal of more fuel efficient vehicles, small sedans are experiencing less depreciation and are holding their value longer, while there is a rise in depreciation costs of less fuel-efficient vehicles.”
  • See also this AAA news release – “With today being the last day of 2013, the national retail average price of gasoline continues to hover just above the same date last year, and motorists will almost certainly ring in 2014 with the highest price on record for New Year’s Day. This will be the fifth consecutive January 1 that Americans have paid more at the pump than the year prior and the fourth straight year with a new record to start the year. The national average prices to begin 2011, 2012 and 2013 were $3.07, $3.28 and $3.29 respectively.”

Something for my Statistics students.
Digest of Education Statistics, 2012
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
“The 48th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.”

Apparently a useful tool for the basics, but I prefer to use pizza for teaching fractions (I grew up with a lot of Italian friends)
Thinking Blocks - Model Math Problems on iPads, Interactive Whiteboards, and in Your Browser
Thinking Blocks is a nice site for elementary and middle school mathematics teachers. Thinking Blocks provides interactive templates in which students use brightly colored blocks to model and solve problems. As students work through the problems they are provided with feedback as to whether or not they are using the correct sequence to solve each problem. There are templates and problems for addition, multiplication, fractions, and ratios. You can also develop your own problems using the modeling tool.
Thinking Blocks is also available as a set of four free iPad apps.

An Infographic for my students! (Note that you can barely see the bottom line.)
The Hierarchy Of Digital Distractions

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Probably “old school” crooks who didn't want to be bothered with that newfangled technology (laptops and thumb drives). No doubt they were looking for paper records rather than Backup files. Note that even your Backups should be encrypted!
Lawyers for Actelis Networks have notified the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office of the theft of two safes containing some Human Resources files with personal information.
In their notification dated December 13, they explain that two safes with password-protected files were stolen on December 7 or 8. The theft was reported to law enforcement.
Files in the safe contained employment-related records and records pertaining to the business, including individuals’ names, contact information, and Social Security numbers.
AN’s Human Resources department is located in Fremont, California, but the notification doesn’t actually say where the theft occurred.
Those affected were notified by letter on December 14 and were advised how to protect themselves. They were also offered free credit monitoring services.

What is the strategy here? Security used to mean you had to prove your laptop was in fact a computer and not a container for weapons. That was reasonable. Now it seems we are looking for the occasional very stupid terrorist or pornographer who carries (obvious) incriminating files across the border. The obvious counter is to store all your work in the Cloud (or email all your data to yourself) and keep only a copy of the Constitution on your laptop and your lawyers phone number on your phone.
From the ACLU:
BROOKLYN – A federal court today dismissed a lawsuit arguing that the government should not be able to search and copy people’s laptops, cell phones, and other devices at border checkpoints without reasonable suspicion. An appeal is being considered. Government documents show that thousands of innocent American citizens are searched when they return from trips abroad.
“We’re disappointed in today’s decision, which allows the government to conduct intrusive searches of Americans’ laptops and other electronics at the border without any suspicion that those devices contain evidence of wrongdoing,” said Catherine Crump, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the case in July 2011. “Suspicionless searches of devices containing vast amounts of personal information cannot meet the standard set by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Unfortunately, these searches are part of a broader pattern of aggressive government surveillance that collects information on too many innocent people, under lax standards, and without adequate oversight.”
The ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed the lawsuit in September 2010 against the Department of Homeland Security. DHS asserts the right to look though the contents of a traveler’s electronic devices, and to keep the devices or copy the contents in order to continue searching them once the traveler has been allowed to enter the U.S., regardless of whether the traveler is suspected of any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen who had his laptop searched and confiscated at the Canadian border; the National Press Photographers Association, whose members include television and still photographers, editors, students and representatives of the photojournalism industry; and the NACDL, which has attorney members in 25 countries.
Abidor was travelling from Montreal to New York on an Amtrak train in May 2010 when he had his laptop searched and confiscated by customs officers. Abidor, an Islamic Studies Ph.D. student at McGill University, was questioned, taken off the train in handcuffs, and held in a cell for several hours before being released without charge. When his laptop was returned 11 days later, there was evidence that many of his personal files had been searched, including photos and chats with his girlfriend.
In June, in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request, DHS released its December 2011 Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact Assessment of its electronics search policy, concluding that suspicionless searches do not violate the First or Fourth Amendments. The report said that a reasonable suspicion standard is inadvisable because it could lead to litigation and the forced divulgence of national security information, and would prevent border officers from acting on inchoate “hunches,” a method that it says has sometimes proved fruitful.

Interesting groups of people. Perhaps a future Privacy Foundation speaker or two?
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 31, 2013

The Constitution and its Amendments define SOME of our rights of citizens. Clearly they need to change as we determine that those rights change. Technology merely enables new ways to violate our rights. The Amendment need not change, but we do need to recognize the new threats.
Jennifer Granick writes:
When should courts follow legal precedent and when should the law change? This is a debate that underlies this month’s contrary decisions about the constitutionality of government collection of telephone call metadata under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. And despite this week’s dual holdings in favor of the government—on this issue and on the issue of laptop border searches—a judicial consensus may be emerging that the Fourth Amendment must evolve along with technology and government surveillance capabilities.
Read more on Just Security.

It's the unpredictable ones that concern me.
Phil Lee writes:
If you thought that 2013 was a big year for privacy, then prepare yourself: it was only the beginning. Many of the privacy stories whose winding narratives began in 2013 will continue to take unexpected twists and turns throughout 2014, with several poised to reach dramatic conclusions – or otherwise spawn spin-offs and sequels.
Here are just a few of the stories likely to dominate the privacy headlines in 2014:
Read his predictions on Privacy and Information Law Blog. if we see one here in Colorado, it's a target.
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the research sites, the agency said.

(Related) A much more interesting and detailed paper on the drones in our future.
DOD Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 31, 2013
“The purpose of this Roadmap is to articulate a vision and strategy for the continued development, production, test, training, operation, and sustainment of unmanned systems technology across DoD. This Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap establishes a technological vision for the next 25 years and outlines actions and technologies for DoD and industry to pursue to intelligently and affordably align with this vision.”
“Executive Summary - Unmanned systems continue to deliver new and enhanced battlefield capabilities to the warfighter. While the demand for unmanned systems continues unabated today, a number of factors will influence unmanned program development in the future. Three primary forces are driving the Department of Defense’s (DoD) approach in planning for and developing unmanned systems.
1. Combat operations in Southwest Asia have demonstrated the military utility of unmanned systems on today’s battlefields and have resulted in the expeditious integration of unmanned technologies into the joint force structure. [Military vs. CIA? Bob]
2. Downward economic forces will continue to constrain Military Department budgets for the foreseeable future. [CIA has the budget Bob]
3. The changing national security environment poses unique challenges. A strategic shift in national security to the Asia-Pacific Theater presents different operational considerations based on environment and potential adversary capabilities that may require unmanned systems to operate in anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) areas where freedom to operate is contested. [China isn't going to like drones overflying “their islands.” Bob]

Sizing up the competition. I like their “site of your choice” option for some classes.

I'm doomed. I was hired to teach Computer Security, with a promise that I could teach a few Business courses as well, but for the last year all I've been scheduled for is math, math and more math. Apparently my students think I can make it understandable. I'm doomed. (Maybe I just point them to good resources?)
NRICH - An Excellent Source of Math Lesson Activities
At the end of yesterday's post of ten resources for high school and middle school math teachers I asked for suggestions for additional resources. This morning Colleen Young (whose blog is a must-read for math teachers) emailed me with the suggestion of NRICH.
NRICH is a provider of mathematics curricula and lesson plans covering everything from basic addition through advanced algebra and geometry.
On NRICH you can find dozens of posters to download and print. Each of the posters displays a mathematics "trick" or challenge question. Teachers can download and print any of the posters in the collection. Each poster in the collection is linked to a problem page that contains notes for teachers using the posters.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pew – Social Media Update 2013
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 30, 2013
“Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. These are among the key findings on social networking site usage and adoption from a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.”

Might be amusing, until we get a real emulator.
iPadian: The iOS Simulator For Windows
… iPadian is a free iPad simulator for PCs running Windows XP or higher. It overlays itself on your desktop and requires no installation, you simply download the file from the iPadian website or, extract the archive and run the ipadian.exe file. It launches an alternative desktop that looks and feels like an iPad home screen.
… The application is ad-supported, so you will occasionally see JavaScript pop-up ads.
It is not possible to download apps from iTunes since iPhone, iPad and iPod apps are encrypted with Apple’s FairPlay DRM technology. What the guys at iPadian have done is to create a custom app store that currently contains slightly over 300 hundred popular apps, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Angry Birds, Cut The Rope and many more.
… iPadian is not an iOS emulator in the same way that BlueStacks emulates Android. We are yet to see a real emulator with access to Apple’s App Store. At the most, iPadian simulates the look and feel of an iOS device and at the least it’s like using iOS skins for Windows, with the added bonus of actually being able to use a couple of popular apps. But, despite this, it has no touch-screen support so you won’t be able to use a touch-screen monitor on Windows 8. For now you are limited to point-and-click with the mouse.

I'll update my Math Resources handout.
By Request - Ten Helpful Resources for Middle School and High School Math Teachers

For my Android-packing students. Open Office can write files in Microsoft Office formats.
– is the world’s first port of OpenOffice for Android. You can view, edit, export office documents using full features of the OpenOffice. AndrOpen Office has 6 components – Writer (a word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation graphics), Draw (drawing), Math (equation editor), and Base (database).

Monday, December 30, 2013

Typical or government inefficiency?
Nic Rigby of the BBC reports on the cost to the U.S. of investigations involving U.K. hackers:
Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, Suffolk, was arrested in October over charges which include allegations he hacked the US Department of Energy (DoE) computers. A report says personal information on 104,000 people could have been taken. It says dealing with the fall out of this cost $3.7m.
And the Gary McKinnon incident cost the U.S. another $2.1m to pay for staffing “to help correct the problems and deal with the aftermath.”
Read more on BBC.

What's a good set of Policies and Procedures worth?
I've drafted dozens of them, including the form set currently available from the Texas Medical Association. On average, I've probably charged around $5,000 to $10,000 for a worked-over set of policies (including adaption to the client's specific needs, assisting with risk analysis, adding in forms for BAAs and NoPPs, etc.). That's a lot of money for some clients, and many balk at a price tag that high.
But what is the set worth? If you're Adult & Pediatric Dermatology in Massachusetts, the number is $150,000. APDerm lost a flash drive with PHI on it: as far as anyone knows, nothing happened to the PHI. But, the loss triggered an OCR investigation, which uncovered that APDerm hadn't adopted policies and procedures. That failure triggered a $150,000 fine.

Ignorant politicians.
This statement in an OpEd in the Des Moines Register by Anthony Gaughan, associate professor of law at Drake University, gave me pause:
The greatest threat to your privacy is not posed by the NSA. It’s posed by hackers, thieves and corporations.
So what do you think is the single greatest threat to privacy?

“Da world, she change!” Keeping up is hard.
Orin Kerr points us to this interesting post by law professor Miriam Baer:
As I ready myself for teaching a new semester of Criminal Procedure I (often known as the “investigation” course, as opposed to the Crim Pro II “adjudication” course, which ostensibly covers everything from “bail to jail”), I cannot help but think how much the course — and my syllabus – has changed in the last year or so, and how much it is likely to change over the next 24 months.
Just two years ago, the discussion of whether police action constituted a “search” would have been answered primarily by asking whether the action intruded upon an individual’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Today, however, it would be unthinkable not to also ask whether the action interefered with the individual’s property rights.
A few years ago, if one taught the “third party doctrine,” one likely referred to it as an established yet disfavored doctrine that drew the ire of civil libertarians and privacy scholars, but whose implementation continued largely without challenge.
Read more on Prawfsblawg.

Do these actually work? Where can I find studies?
Sancheska Brown reports:
Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday the Government is considering introducing a National Identification Card as well as charging persons who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in an effort to deal with the country’s long standing illegal migration problem.
Read more on Tribune242.

You don't need to know these facts, but infographics are relatively painless and addictive.
10 Amazing Facts About Google You Probably Didn’t Know

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It would move the cost of storage from the NSA budget to the far less efficient individual carriers. I can see this appealing to politicians who seems to believe that “If a thing is worth doing, we should do it as inefficiently as possible.”
Phone companies say 'no way' to storing phone data for NSA
… Major phone companies argue that being required to store metadata for an extended period of time for the NSA would be costly, time consuming, and risky, according to a report from The Washington Post on Saturday.

It's not a crazy as it sounds. Think of “HealthBook” as very similar to FaceBook, but without the bad privacy decisions. Business opportunity?
We’d all be better off with our health records on Facebook
A Facebook user’s timeline provides both a snapshot of who that user is and a historical record of the user’s activity on Facebook. My Facebook timeline is about me, and fittingly, I control it. It’s also one, single profile. Anyone I allow to view my timeline views my timeline—they don’t each create their own copies of it.
… In medical records: The “about” section would be a snapshot of the patient’s health and background. It should include the patient’s age, gender, smoking status, height, weight, address, phone number, and emergency contact information; the patient’s primary care provider; and insurance information. This section would include a summary list of the patient’s current diagnoses and medications, as well as family history. And importantly, both the doctor and the patient would be able to add details.

(Related) On the other hand...
Facebook Is ‘Dead and Buried’ to Teens, and That’s Just Fine for Facebook
Anthropologist Daniel Miller has been studying British teens, and he has a dire message for Facebook: The social network is “dead and buried” to Britain’s 16-to-18-year-olds because they’re “embarrassed even to be associated with it.”
In a recent article for academic clearinghouse The Conversation, Miller shares preliminary findings from a 15-month ethnographic study of social media in eight countries, and explains that Facebook is “so uncool” to teens because their parents and other family members are using it to keep tabs on them.
You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion,” Miller writes. “Young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.”

This is interesting. Take an old document and translate it to use new technology.
Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 28, 2013
Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright’s Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas’s nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century.”

Could explain why students fail my math classes...
New research suggests that people even solve math problems differently if their political ideology is at stake
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 28, 2013
“Everybody knows that our political views can sometimes get in the way of thinking clearly. But perhaps we don’t realize how bad the problem actually is. According to a new psychology paper, our political passions can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills. More specifically, the study finds that people who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs. The study, by Yale law professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues, has an ingenious design. At the outset, 1,111 study participants were asked about their political views and also asked a series of questions designed to gauge their “numeracy,” that is, their mathematical reasoning ability. Participants were then asked to solve a fairly difficult problem that involved interpreting the results of a (fake) scientific study. But here was the trick: While the fake study data that they were supposed to assess remained the same, sometimes the study was described as measuring the effectiveness of a “new cream for treating skin rashes.” But in other cases, the study was described as involving the effectiveness of “a law banning private citizens from carrying concealed handguns in public.”

Easier than a garage sale?
– is the fastest, most efficient way to list items to online marketplaces like eBay. It simplifies and demystifies the process of listing items, and can be used on any smartphone, tablet, or desktop. WorldLister intuitively guides you step-by-step and generates a complete, attractive listing.

Might be a useful tool for my Website students!
– is a tool to take existing HTML webpages off the web, extract the main content, and turn it into Markdown so you can store it as plain text. Whether you keep your notes in raw Markdown, or render them into HTML or Rich Text for another organizer, Marky will give you clean markup and easy-to-edit notes.

I'm not sure my students would be interested in “games from ancient history.”
Hundreds of Classic Console Games Can Now Be Played Online, Free
Thanks to the good people at the Internet Archive, classic console video games like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Asteroids, Dig Dug, and Pac Man are now fully playable online. The games, released as the Internet Archive Console Living Room, are also available for free downloads. They don't have sound yet, but the archive promises to get that up and running soon. And even though the collection isn't complete at this point, the archive promises to expand it "in the coming months." Because the archive has versions of each game available in an browser-based emulator, you can jump right in to the game of your choice without downloading any specialized software.
… For instance: the archive contains ET: The Extra Terrestrial, a game so bad that someone made a documentary about its failure. On the other hand, there's always Frogger, which is still excellent.
Some of the games even come with the original manual, which if nothing else, gives a good glimpse at the conceptual imagination behind the very sparse graphics game designers had to work with at the time.

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