Saturday, January 11, 2014

Maybe Target wasn't the only target?
Neiman Marcus says hackers may have stolen payment card data
Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus said on Friday that hackers may have stolen customers' credit and debit card information, the second cyber attack on a retailer in recent weeks.
The data breach comes after Target Corp on Friday said an investigation found a cyber attack compromised the information of at least 70 million customers, in the second-biggest retail cyber attack on record.
Neiman Marcus does not know the number of customers affected by the intrusion, company spokesperson Ginger Reeder said.
Neiman Marcus said its credit card processor alerted the retailer in December about potential unauthorized payment card activities and the U.S. Secret Service is investigating.
A third-party forensics firm confirmed the cyber-security intrusion on January 1, the company said.
Reeder declined to comment if the breach was related to the Target cyber attack.

(Related) Another downside of keeping quiet. ...and doing what is expected? (Also lots of comments from knowledgeable people.)
Target: Names, Emails, Phone Numbers on Up To 70 Million Customers Stolen
… the company still has not disclosed any details about how the attackers broke in. This lack of communication appears to have spooked many folks responsible for defending other retailers from such attacks, according to numerous interviews conducted by this reporter over the past few weeks.
… The reason Target is offering ID theft protection as a result of this breach probably has more to do with the fact that this step has become part of the playbook for companies which suffer a data breach. Since most consumers confuse credit card fraud with ID theft, many will interpret that to mean that the breached entity is somehow addressing the problem, whereas experts tell me that this offer mainly serves as a kind of “first response” to help the breached entity weather initial public outrage over an intrusion.

Interesting way to analyze their conclusions. Find several interested parties and ask them for brief articles. Could be a way to collect Blog posts, I'll have to consider it!
Just Security has been holding a “mini forum” on the Report of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. The following list contains the current posts in this series.
  1. Julian Sanchez, How Limited is 702?
  2. Marty Lederman, The “Front-Page Rule”

The full article reads like very “bad scifi” but consider just this snippet...
Rory Carroll describes the future after attending CES 2014:
For those who think the NSA the worst invader of privacy, I invite you to share an afternoon with Aiden and Foster, two 11-year-old boys, as they wrap up a Friday at school. Aiden invites his friend home to hang out and they text their parents, who agree to the plan.
As they ride on the bus Foster’s phone and a sensor on a wristband alert the school and his parents of a deviation from his normal route. The school has been notified that he is heading to Aiden’s house so the police are not called. [Why would the school call the police rather than Mom & Dad? It gets worse... Bob]
Read more on The Guardian.

It allows anyone to become an instant stalker. Instead of “Hey little girl!” now you can say “Hey Sally Jones. Your dad asked me to take you to your dance class.” (I'm sure the cop on the beat would like an App like this.)
Stalker-friendly app, NameTag, uses facial recognition to look you up online
… The makers of a new app, "NameTag," say that their facial-recognition software is actually supposed to make the world a much more connected place, but given that the app can spot a face and wirelessly match it up to social media profiles, all without giving people the option to opt out, let's go with stalker-friendly.
According to the app's developer,
NameTag links your face to a single, unified online presence that includes your contact information, social media profiles, interests, hobbies and passions and anything else you want to share with the world.
… The reason there's no opt-out or opt-in is going to sound familiar to those who've read about other stalker-enabling apps such as Girls Around Me.
Namely, NameTag is drawing on publicly available information.

Oh, good. So far, the government has been immune from such silly laws. Anyone giving odds this will pass the Senate?
Pete Kasperowicz reports:
The House passed the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, H.R. 3811, in a 291-122 vote. Sixty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, ignoring arguments from party leaders that the bill was a “messaging” vote meant to discourage people from signing up for insurance.
The one-sentence bill says that no later than two business days after any security breach on an ObamaCare site is discovered, “the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide notice of such breach to each individual.” Republicans said that under current law, the government is not required to notify people if their information is put at risk.
Read more on The Hill.

I don't see these as competing Blogs, I see them as resources! This is the broad list of nominees.
7th Annual Blawg 100

Looks like the broadcast TV guys are pushing hard.
Supreme Court to hear case on Aereo's broadcast TV streaming
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a battle between TV broadcasters and Aereo, a startup that streams television over the Internet, as the final step in a case that could have broad implications for the future of online TV services.
The TV networks and broadcasters asked the Supreme Court to take the case after a federal court in New York ruled last year that Aereo’s service wasn’t breaking copyright law.
… The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to use the cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. If the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to consumers and the cloud industry are chilling,” he wrote.
At present, Aereo is available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Baltimore. It has plans to expand its US$8-per-month service to additional cities in 2014. The video recording service is available for an additional $4 per month.

(Related) How LA see's the world.
Supreme Court and Aereo: A Betamax ruling for the 21st century?
Having ducked the question once, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether the principles outlined in the landmark 1984 Sony Betamax ruling apply when devices in the home give way to services in the cloud.

One of my students just wrote a similar paper, with very different conclusions.
Paper – The Shooting Cycle – A Study of Mass Shootings in America
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 10, 2014
The Shooting Cycle - Josh Blackman, South Texas College of Law; Shelby Baird, Yale University, January 5, 2014. Connecticut Law Review, Vol 46, 2014.
“The pattern is a painfully familiar one. A gunman opens fire in a public place, killing many innocent victims. After this tragedy, support for gun control surges. With a closing window for reform, politicians and activists quickly push for new gun laws. But as time elapses, support decreases. Soon enough, the passions fade, and society returns to the status quo. We call this paradigm “the shooting cycle.” This article provides the first qualitative and quantitative analysis of the shooting cycle, and explains how and why people and governments react to mass shootings. This article proceeds in five parts. First, we bring empirical clarity to the debate over mass shootings, and show that contrary to popular opinion, they are fairly rare, and are not occurring more frequently. Second, relying on cognitive biases such as the availability heuristic, substitution effect, and cultural cognition theory, we demonstrate why the perception of risk and reaction to these rare and unfamiliar events are heightened. Third we chronicle the various stages of the shooting cycle: tragedy, introspection, action, divergence, and return to the status quo. During the earlier stages, emotional capture sets in, allowing politicians and activists to garner support for reform. But, after the spike, soon support for reform fades, and regresses to the mean. Fifth, with this framework, we view the year following the horrific massacre in Newtown through the lens of the shooting cycle. We conclude by addressing whether the shooting cycle can be broken.”

For my Math students (and fellow Math teachers)
Wolfram Alpha Examples for Students and Teachers
Colleen Young's Mathematics, Learning and Web 2.0 is a good blog to subscribe to for practical, do-now mathematics instruction ideas. When you visit her blog make sure you click the "Wolfram Alpha" tab under which you will find seven slideshows containing examples of how students can use Wolfram Alpha. The examples correspond to questions posted on her mathematics blog for students.
If you haven't used Wolfram Alpha before or you're trying to introduce it to people who have not used, take a look at the following Planet Nutshell explanation of how Wolfram Alpha works and what makes it different from Google search.
[Be sure to check the slideshows which illustrate many examples. Bob]

The school already has a 3D printer. But I want one of these!
– 3D printing describes a host of technologies that are used to fabricate physical objects directly from CAD data sources. In 3D chocolate printing, chocolate is melted, tempered and deposited into 2D cross-section on a substrate like a printer printing a 2D image onto paper. The substrate is then lowered by a layer thickness and the deposition process repeats layer-by-layer to form a solid 3D chocolate product.

The perfect website!
– is a simple site which features a button entitled “Make Everything OK”. If you are having a particularly bad day or feeling not so well, just click the button, and the site will inform you that it is in the process of “making everything OK”. It is a fun website with no real other use than to amuse if you are not in the best of moods.

News for those of us who are easily amused.
The Obama Administration issued guidelines for student discipline, urging schools to use law enforcement as a “last resort.” The guidelines, reports The New York Times, are “a response to a rise in zero-tolerance policies that have disproportionately increased the number of arrests, suspensions and expulsions of minority students for even minor, nonviolent offenses.”
… The California Institute of Technology has adopted an open access policy for its faculty’s scholarship.
… The LAUSD iPad saga continues! According to KPCC, “only 208 of the district’s 800 schools have the network capacity to support every student and teacher having an iPad.” A great example of the 7 Ps.
The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn't even include loans. 

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