Sunday, May 04, 2014

I wonder if correcting punctuation counts as a “modification?”
Annual FISA Report Shows Decrease in Surveillance Orders, Questions About Scope Remain
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 3, 2014
EPIC: “The Department of Justice has published the 2013 FISA Report. The brief report provides summary information about the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In 2012 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted 1,789 FISA orders and 212 “Section 215″ orders. In 2013, there were 1,588 requests to conduct FISA surveillance, with 34 modifications. The FISC also granted 178 business record orders under Section 215, with 141 modified by the court. The significant number of modified orders indicates that the government’s initial applications are too broad. For example, the controversial NSA Metadata program, was authorized by the surveillance court under a modified order. It is possible that in 2013 the court authorized other bulk collection programs. For more information, see EPIC: FISC Orders 1979-2014 and EPIC: FISA Graphs.”

Very interesting article. Shows just how smart Mark Zuckerberg is.
Inside Facebook's brilliant plan to hog your data
Personal data is the new currency.
Companies want to get information about people -- their location, age, relationships, interests, preferences and much more -- because when they have that information they can offer more powerful, more monetizable apps and services and can make money with high-priced personalized ads.
But people want to prevent companies from getting their personal information for fear of being exploited, surveilled, abused and sold out.
It's in the context of this tension that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week announced a new offering called Anonymous Login. It's one of the most ingenious ideas Facebook has ever had.
Here's how it's supposed to work: If you provide your personal data to Facebook, you can then install and use apps that support Anonymous Login without giving your personal data to the app maker, at least initially.
In other words, a mobile app that supports Facebook Anonymous Login would allow logged-in Facebook users to interact with the app as if they had supplied their personal information, even if they hadn't actually done so.
Facebook says the feature provides "anonymity." But that's not accurate, because you do have to tell Facebook who you are. And it's not "pseudonymity," either, because you're not using a surrogate identity.
… When he announced Facebook Anonymous Login, Zuckerberg seemed to imply that people wouldn't use apps indefinitely without ever divulging their personal details. He implied that once you've decided to trust or use an app, you'll be expected to agree to have personal information collected by the app maker. "Even if you don't want an app to know who you are yet," Zuckerberg said -- note the word yet -- "you still want a streamlined process for signing in." It's a way to "try apps without fear," he said -- note the word try.
… Why Anonymous Login is brilliant
The future success or failure of Facebook depends entirely upon the company's ability to make increasing amounts of money on advertising.
In the past five years, advertising-centric companies like Facebook made most of their money by selling ads that would be seen inside desktop PC Web browsers.
Two trends are changing all that. Users are spending far more time with mobile devices like smartphones. And when they use smartphones, they're spending nearly all of their time using apps, not mobile Web browsers.
So if Facebook is to keep growing its advertising revenue, it must sell ads inside mobile apps.
… Meanwhile, you can be sure that Facebook's own apps -- including the Facebook app, Instagram, WhatsApp, Moves, Messenger, Facebook Camera, Paper and others -- will be collecting every scrap of user data possible.
… If mobile app developers want to sell contextual ads, they'll have to come to the companies that have all the data, as well as the ad network to serve up highly personalized ads. And that will be Facebook (and a small number of competitors, especially Google).

This might be the tool I've been looking for. If it grabs data from market quotes for example, I can analyze trends automagically. Get it while it's still FREE!
– by using’s desktop app you can turn any website into a table of data or an API in just a few minutes without writing any code. What can you do with that info? For a start, you can download it and export it as JSON, CSV, HTML, or XLS. You can also mash it, integrate it, mix it, store it, and share it.

This is a good one for the tool kit.
– Windows 8 is slowly becoming more and more accepted, but there are still pre-installed programs which Microsoft thinks you need. Windows 8 App Remover helps you remove the crud you don’t want, to make space for the stuff you do want.

For my Statistics students.
Call Box: Reader wonders if long Census Bureau survey is legit
Dear Call Box: I received an American Community Survey purporting to be from the U.S. Census Bureau. It has a lot of personal questions, such as how many times you’ve been married, how much you pay in utilities, how many rooms are in your house, how long it takes to get to work and if anyone living there has difficulty dressing or bathing. I was going to throw it in the trash, but it says I am required by law to fill it out and can be fined. Is it legitimate?
Dear C.J.: It is, indeed, legitimate, but you are not alone in your reaction. Others have complained on Internet websites that the 28-page survey is an invasion of privacy and have signed themselves as incensed, indignant, shocked or suspicious....

For all my students.
Standalone Google Docs And Sheets Apps Launched On iOS And Android
While users could edit documents and spreadsheets through Google Drive before, Google is now carving that functionality out and splitting it into two separate apps: Docs and Sheets.
Drive is still used to store, view, and organize your files, but Docs and Sheets will do the editing and have improved offline support so that you can create documents and spreadsheets without an Internet connection, and they will simply sync up the next time you get a connection. Google says that the a Slides app is coming soon.
… You can download these news apps on Google Play (Docs, Sheets) or the Apple App Store (Docs, Sheets).
Just getting started with Google Drive? You may want to check out our article on how to use Google Drive to capture your great ideas and never lose them.

Perhaps my students could get the Denver franchise! Commercial Drones!!!
– is a very peculiar business where you pay them $5 and they will tell you to stand in a certain location at a certain time. Then at that time, you will receive a jafflechute. What is that? A sandwich on a parachute floating down to you. We kid you not. Based in Melbourne, but coming to the US.

My students probably won't care, but I like to run these by them anyway, just to see what sticks. Slideshow (for no apparent reason) with links.
Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

Stuff to quote from so you sound like you know what you're talking about? (Note that they can't count)
3 Places To Get Free Full-Text Scientific Studies
PLOS stands for the Public Library of Science. They’re a non-profit aimed at creating a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature. Lots of awesome research can be found with a quick search at PLOS.
PNAS (spell it, don’t say it!) is the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (of the US). Not all of the content on the site is available for free, but there sure is a substantial portion that you don’t need to pay for. See what parts of the site are available to non-subscribers here.
eLife Sciences
eLife is trying to approach science publishing with a fresh look. While still peer-reviewed, their process is a little bit different than for other scientific journals. They’ve chosen to make their journal open-access as a part of their initiative to make science publishing more effectively benefit science and scientists.
HighWire is an ePublishing platform for scientific research from Stanford University. They offer a huge list of free online full text articles on their site. Of note, their list is limited to journals published online with the assistance of HighWire Press, but they still have a TON of content available for your perusal. As of this writing, they were assisting with the online publication of 2,353,407 free full-text articles and 7,133,903 total articles. There are 40 sites with free trial periods, and 104 completely free sites. 276 sites have free back issues, and 1359 sites have pay per view.

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