Saturday, December 06, 2014

This article quotes a couple of emails from GOP. I think North Korea has better translators than whoever wrote these emails.
Hackers Target Sony Again With Email To Staff Threatening Their Families
Sony staffers, reeling from a devastating hacking scandal, have received threatening emails from self-alleged hackers called the "Guardians of Peace" or GOP, reports USA Today.
Those emails allegedly threaten employees' families if they don't support GOP's goals.

For my Computer Security class. What do you think of a bank that does not find and implement this “Best Practice?”
Treasury Dept: Tor a Big Source of Bank Fraud
A new report from the U.S. Treasury Department found that a majority of bank account takeovers by cyberthieves over the past decade might have been thwarted had affected institutions known to look for and block transactions coming through Tor, a global communications network that helps users maintain anonymity by obfuscating their true location online.
The findings come in a non-public report obtained by KrebsOnSecurity that was produced by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a Treasury Department bureau responsible for collecting and analyzing data about financial transactions to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.

Brief clash, but amusing.
Yesterday, Just Security editor David Cole spoke with United States Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner about the value of privacy. The short and fascinating discussion, part of a Georgetown University Law Center event on Cybercrime and the Fourth Amendment, can be found here.
PCWorld also provided additional reporting on the event, with more details on their respective positions. Posner has taken a consistent line on the relative value of privacy in the context of data collection. In 2005, he said:
The collection, mainly through electronic means, of vast amounts of personal data is said to invade privacy. But machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy. Because of their volume, the data are first sifted by computers, which search for names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., that may have intelligence value. This initial sifting, far from invading privacy (a computer is not a sentient being), keeps most private data from being read by any intelligence officer.

(Related) Same conference anyway...
Brian Donahue reports:
Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice announced on Thursday the creation of a new team within its Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) during a talk at a Georgetown Law conference titled, “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations.” Known as the Cybercrime Unit, the team is tasked with enhancing public-private security efforts.
Caldwell made sure to distance herself, the new cybercrime unit, and the Justice Department as a whole from what she described as the overarching misconception that privacy is an afterthought in the DOJ.
Read more on ThreatPost.

(Related) Similar to Judge Posner's conclusions.
Owen Bowcott reports:
Britain’s legal regime governing mass surveillance of the internet by intelligence agencies does not violate human rights, a tribunal has ruled.
But the investigatory powers tribunal said (IPT) it had identified one area where it had concerns about whether there were adequate legal safeguards.
Read more on The Guardian.

Ethics huh? Is there a difference if the data is big?
The Ethics of Big Data in Higher Education
“Data mining and predictive analytics—collectively referred to as “big data”—are increasingly used in higher education to classify students and predict student behavior. But while the potential benefits of such techniques are significant, realizing them presents a range of ethical and social challenges. The immediate challenge considers the extent to which data mining’s outcomes are themselves ethical with respect to both individuals and institutions. A deep challenge, not readily apparent to institutional researchers or administrators, considers the implications of uncritical understanding of the scientific basis of data mining. These challenges can be met by understanding data mining as part of a value-laden nexus of problems, models, and interventions; by protecting the contextual integrity of information flows; and by ensuring both the scientific and normative validity of data mining applications.”

(Related) PDF
Code of practice for learning analytics

An interesting article in the Internet of Things
Things’ Are Heating Up: What’s New in the Internet of Things
… Before we can reach that future of 200 billion or more networked objects, developers will have to deal with a host of on-the-ground challenges. At the recent BizTech@Wharton conference, panelists from the venture capital business, hardware start-ups and emerging software companies shared their experiences as pioneers in the Internet of Things — and they even brought some of their newest devices along.
… The goTenna device, which resembles a high-end pen case with a small strap attached, can be paired with a smartphone to enable people — in the words of goTenna’s website — “to communicate without any need for central connectivity whatsoever — no cell towers, no Wi Fi, no satellites — so when you’re off-grid you can remain connected.” The catch, of course, is that it only enables communication with another goTenna-equipped device, and the range is only a few miles, [More than Wifi or cellphones. Bob] but sometimes, that sort of person-to-person connectivity is just what you need.

How do smart people react when they see what Putin is doing? Perhaps we could hire a few?
Russia's Brain Drain Is Astounding

No doubt the Republicans will blame Obama.
China Just Passed U.S. as World's Largest Economy
Market Watch recently reported: "For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet ... The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A."

Interesting. Perhaps I can use the results of this study to make my students go away.
Remote Workers Viewed as More Productive
… While there has long been a perception that employees who work from home don't work as hard as those in an office, perceptions are shifting, according to a study from Dell and Intel. More than half of employees globally now believe that their peers who work from home are just as productive, or more productive, than those in the office.
Remote employees also feel like they get more done from the comfort of their own home. Of those who spend any time working from home, half believe they are more productive there than in the office, while 36 percent think they are equally as productive in both locations. Just 14 percent of those surveyed believe they get less done when working from home.

How (not) to market a Presidential candidate? I'd love to see how some of those Tweets evolved before they were released. (Not that either the original or the “fully vetted” version would reflect the candidate's opinion.)
22 people had to approve Romney tweets
Aides to Mitt Romney’s presidential team in 2012 are airing their frustrations with the campaign, alleging that tweets had to be approved by nearly two dozen people by the end of the race.
“So whether it was a tweet, Facebook post, blog post, photo — anything you could imagine — it had to be sent around to everyone for approval,” former Romney campaign aide Caitlin Checkett told Daniel Kreiss, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in a new academic paper.
“Towards the end of the campaign that was 22 individuals who had to approve it,” Checkett said.
Zac Moffatt, the Romney campaign’s digital director, cracked that they had “the best tweets ever written by 17 people.”
… The Obama campaign’s digital team had significant autonomy to push out content to supporters. That allowed them to respond nimbly to news events, according to the paper, in a way the Romney campaign found more difficult.

(Related) I'm not sure where we teach this skill...
The 7 Attributes of CEOs Who Get Social Media
… Five years ago, when boards were searching for a leader, social media competency wasn’t even on the radar. Now, according to the board members and CEOs we interviewed for our book, a strong social presence is often high on the list of factors they consider when vetting CEO candidates.

Perhaps I can have my students sing their presentations?
Collaboratively Create Music and Vocal Recordings On Almost Any Device
Soundtrap is a web-based platform for collaboratively creating music and vocal recordings. On Soundtrap you can create music from scratch by using their built-in virtual instruments. If you have your own instruments to record, you can use the microphone on your laptop to record yourself playing. Students who have Midi devices can record to Soundtrap too. Of course, you can just turn on your device's microphone to record a vocal track. After recording your tracks you can blend them together in the Soundtrap editor.
Soundtrap offers a collaboration option. Click the "collaborate" tab to in the Soundtrap editor to invite others to edit with you. Soundtrap will work in the Chrome web browser on a laptop, iPad, Chromebook, and Android tablet. A Chrome app is also available.
Soundtrap's free plan allows you to store five tracks in your account. You can download all of your creations as MP3 files.
Applications for Education
The best way for students to avoid any worries about copyright infringement when creating a multimedia project is to use audio tracks that they've created. Soundtrap could be a great tool for that purpose. Soundtrap's collaboration option could be a great solution when students working on a group project need to develop spoken tracks.

Very cool. Starts with his birth certificate...
The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Online
Princeton University Press proudly presents The Digital Einstein Papers, an open-access site for The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, the ongoing publication of Einstein’s massive written legacy comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. The site presents all 13 volumes published to date by the editors of the Einstein Papers Project, covering the writings and correspondence of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) from his youth to 1923. The volumes are presented in the original language version with in-depth English language annotation and other scholarly apparatus. In addition, the reader can toggle to an English language translation of most documents. By clicking on the unique archival identifier number below each text, readers can access the archival record of each published document at the Einstein Archives Online and in some cases, the digitized manuscript. Approximately 7,000 pages representing 2,900 unique documents have been digitized thus far. The site will present subsequent volumes in the series roughly two years after original book publication.”

Weekly wacky...
FBI agents took some 20 boxes of documents from LAUSD offices in what looks to be a federal grand jury investigation into the deal with Pearson, Apple, and the district. It's unclear if LAUSD or one of the companies is the target of the criminal investigation.
… Lest you think LAUSD is the only one with ed-tech shadiness: “An audit by the New York City comptroller’s office found what it called “grossly inaccurate” record keeping at the Education Department, where more than 2,000 computers and tablets at a sample of department locations were either unused — still swaddled in their original wrapping — or could not be located at all,” reports The New York Times.
… The University of Florida will pay $7 million to Colorado State University for its football coach, the “largest such buyout in college football history.”

Resources for my Math students.
Calculators & Tools

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