Archive | September 21, 2013

The Surveillance State Killed BlackBerry, and the Same Fate Awaits Other Tech Giants

blackberry_deathvia chycho

Being from Canada, interested in technology and the markets, and a privacy advocate, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM), has been on my radar for a number of years, so I would like to add my two cents regarding its demise (2, 3, 4, 5).

The two most important things we need to keep in mind about the “timeline of the company from RIM to Blackberry” are that: first, “when phone systems failed in New York and DC on 9/11, it was the BlackBerry network that provided backup communication”; second, contrary to popular belief, apps were never meant to be the feature selling point for its products, it was its security and privacy, the way it encrypted communication across its network that made it the only game in town.

In 2010, when governments threatened to “block encrypted BlackBerry corporate e-mail and messaging services if its security agencies were not granted access to them”, BlackBerry’s reply was:

“RIM also said it has drawn a firm line by insisting that any capabilities it provides to carriers for ‘lawful’ access purposes be limited by four main principles: Such access has to be legal, it must not exceed access imposed on RIM’s competitors, it does not change the security architecture for Blackberry enterprise customers, and does not require a country-specific deal that does not conform to RIM’s global standard for lawful access.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard or read a single word about this from the pundits on mainstream media, that BlackBerry’s selling point was its guarantee to privacy, i.e., its network was so secure that even BlackBerry didn’t have access to its users emails, which made the company what it was.… Read the rest

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America’s First Climate Refugees

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 12.20.28 PMSusan Goldenberg writes at the Guardian:

Sabrina Warner keeps having the same nightmare: a huge wave rearing up out of the water and crashing over her home, forcing her to swim for her life with her toddler son.

“I dream about the water coming in,” she said. The landscape in winter on the Bering Sea coast seems peaceful, the tidal wave of Warner’s nightmare trapped by snow and several feet of ice. But the calm is deceptive. Spring break-up will soon restore the Ninglick River to its full violent force.

In the dream, Warner climbs on to the roof of her small house. As the waters rise, she swims for higher ground: the village school which sits on 20-foot pilings.

Even that isn’t high enough. By the time Warner wakes, she is clinging to the roof of the school, desperate to be saved.

Warner’s vision is not far removed from a reality written by climate change.

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How Cops Are Vetted For Aggression & Insensitivity | Interview with Capt. Ray Lewis

abby

Abby Martin remarks on the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, highlighting a recent Reuters poll showing that only 15% of Americans are satisfied with the government’s effort to prosecute Wall Street bankers, and speaks with former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis about why he chose to protest in-uniform at Occupy.

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Dinosaur Feathers Discovered in Amber

dino-feather-1Having grown up in the era when T. Rex was depicted walking completely upright and triceratops was considered a proper dinosaur, I’m still trying to come to terms with the idea of them having feathers.

Via Discover:

Instead of digging through rocks and rubble to find fossils, a group of Canadian paleontologists decided to dig through museums’ amber collections instead. Their unique approach paid off when they discovered feathers and never-before-seen structures, which they think are something called dinofuzz.

Keep reading.

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NSA Chief’s “Information Dominance Center” Designed To Look Like Star Trek

ifWe are officially living in someone else’s fantasy. The Verge writes:

Foreign Policy describes NSA head Keith Alexander’s data-processing “Information Dominance Center” in Virginia as a high-tech homage to Star Trek.

Alexander reportedly had his operations center redesigned to mimic the Enterprise bridge, “complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed.”

“The Center’s primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies,” says a paper by designers DBI Architects. “The futuristic Commander’s console gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship.”

The officials and lawmakers who were apparently treated to presentations at the center, however, seemed duly impressed. “Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says an officer who helped coordinate the visits.

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Coincidence Control Network: Ep. 52 – Groovin’ with L. Ron

Coincidence Control Network: File #052 – Grooving with L Ron

ccnimage

This week: Area 51 ain’t no thang, bring on Area 52!, Diana conspiracy: The people say ‘meh’, L Ron Hubbard: Jazz Legend, Some Space News from the mouth of Kim Monaghan, and Film Taaaalk.

PersonnelJoe Nolan, Kim Monaghan, Joseph Matheny, and Ken Eakins

Linkywotsitnows:

Area 51 declassified Link

Too old. Don’t care – Link

L. Ron Hubbard’s musical hubbub -Link

Black hole action – Link

Interludes

April March, BS 2000, The Apollo Stars, and Cloroform

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Anaesthesiologists Claim Evidence Of Third State Of Consciousness

state of consciousnessVia Live Science, supposedly unconscious patients under certain dosages of general anaesthesia exist in a zombie-like state in which they can respond to commands, yet have no impulses of their own and feel nothing:

New findings point to the possibility of a state of mind in which a patient is neither fully conscious nor unconscious, experts say.

This possible third state of consciousness, may be a state in which patients can respond to a command, but are not disturbed by pain or the surgery, according to Dr. Jaideep Pandit, anesthetist at St John’s College in England.

Pandit dubbed this state dysanaesthesia, and said the evidence that it exists comes partly from a recent study, in which 34 surgical patients were anesthetized, and had their whole body paralyzed except for their forearm, allowing them to move their fingers in response to commands.

In the patients who responded to the doctor’s command by moving their hand, the doctors took it as a sign of consciousness, and increased the anesthetic dose.

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Banned Books Week 2013

The team at Disinformation has long supported Banned Books Week. The 2013 week is nearly upon us (September 22-28) and once again you can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-out:

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs—a continuous reading of banned/challenged books—as part of their activities. For the third year in a row, readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel.

The criteria has been updated since 2012. Submit your video by filling out this form.

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