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.

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