Author Archive | James Curcio

Michael Hastings Feared That Someone Had Tampered With His Car

indexFrom Salon:

War correspondent Michael Hastings, who died in a car crash in April, had reportedly become concerned that his car had been tampered with in the days leading up to his death, and asked friend Jordanna Thigpen to borrow hers, according to new profile in the LA Weekly.

From the report:

Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. “Nothing I could say could console him,” Thigpen says.

One night in June, he came to Thigpen’s apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems.

“He was scared, and he wanted to leave town,” she says.

The next day, around 11:15 a.m., she got a call from her landlord, who told her Hastings had died early that morning.

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Hacks continue as FBI claims to have dismantled Anonymous

From GlobalPost:

001-anonymous-maskThe FBI is declaring victory over Anonymous in a series of statements claiming the hacker collective is no longer able to carry out large, successful operations because most of its “largest players” have been arrested or detained by US law enforcement authorities.

“Has anyone seen my leg? I’m in pieces over here!” tweeted one Anonymous-affiliated account. “SHOUTOUTZ TO ALL TEH DISMANTLEZ CREWZ OUT THERE IN SCARED OF TEH FBI LAND LOLOLOLOL,” tweeted @OpLastResort, an account managed by Anons closely associated with the collective’s most recent hacks.

The @OpLastResort account then dumped a large amount of information stolen from what appear to be servers used by the FBI’s Regional Forensics Computer Laboratory (RFCL). A large amount of the information appears to have been scrubbed from computer files as early as January of this year. Such data can only be obtained with direct access to servers.

Personal information from the data can also be taken and used in “social engineering” and phishing attacks to gain further access to secure information.

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Elon Musk Proposes ‘Hyperloop’; Expects Others to Build It

From Modern Mythology:

California has been working up the gumption to build itself a bullet train for about five years now. It will cost tens of billions of dollars, and will be finished no sooner than 2028. A week ago, Musk proposed a solution that is not only cheaper than the proposed bullet train, but better in pretty much every conceivable way. His plan, in really stupidly simple terms, is to build a gigantic closed-circuit blowgun. Yeah, it sounds totally ridiculous, but that’s mainly because I described it in a ridiculous way. The plan itself actually makes a lot of sense.

Here’s the actually puzzling part, at least to me. Musk went ahead and proposed this wild thing, even wrote up a 52-page technical document about it, but he’s got no intention of lifting a finger to actually build it. Yes, people are constantly coming up with ways for the government to run itself better.

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The Day The Clown Cried

001the_sad_clownAn overview of the function of clown archetypes over at Modern Mythologyincluding new leaked scenes from Lewis’ infamously ill-conceived “unreleased” movie, The Day The Clown Cried.

The Day the Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. The film was met with controversy regarding its premise and content, which features a circus clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. The Day the Clown Cried has become somewhat infamous among film historians and movie buffs as a film that has never officially been released. (See above for recently leaked scenes.)

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U.S. Directs Agents to Cover Up Program Used to Investigate Americans

DEAFrom Reuters:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011.

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Former NSA Chief on Spy Program: It’s Real, and It’s Spectacular

o-NSA-PHONE-RECORD-COLLECTION-facebookJust in case the cognitive dissonance wasn’t already large enough on the story-and-counterstory around programs such as XKEYSCORE and PRISM, formed NSA head Michael Hayden jumps into the ring:

Last week, the Guardian published a series of leaked documents revealing new details about an NSA surveillance program called XKEYSCORE. The newspaper said that the program enabled the agency to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals,” and secret slides dated 2008 showed how people could be deemed a target for searching the Web for “suspicious stuff” or by using encryption.

Following the disclosures, Hayden appeared on CNN to discuss the agency’s surveillance programs. The general, who directed the NSA from 1999 through 2005, was remarkably candid in his responses to Erin Burnett’s questions about the Guardian’s XKEYSCORE report. Was there any truth to claims that the NSA is sifting through millions of browsing histories and able to collect virtually everything users do on the Internet?

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Megalodon: Myths and Misinformation

From Modern Mythology:

001-800px-Carcharocles_megalodon_10315

There is an 85 foot shark lurking in the depths off the Cape, and it’s Photoshopped as hell.

For many of those that caught the Sharknado meets Blair Witch atrocity of MegalodonWil Wheaton’s comments probably feel familiar – this very discussion occurred in the room as we watched with mild amusement and growing disgust – as it raises a larger question of where the burden of responsibility lies for stations such as Discovery or the History Channel, which has aired any number of dubious “documentaries.” (Whatever it was, It Was Aliens.)

Why bother getting upset about yet another stupid “found footage” fake documentary passed off as real? Isn’t that pretty much par for the course on cable these days?

And then I realized why I was (and am) so angry: I care about education. I care about science. I care about inspiring people to learn about the world and universe around us.

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Cybernetic Society and Its Reflections in Science Fiction

01-Cybernetics-Norbert-Wiener

Norbert Wiener, author of “Cybernetics,” a 1948 book in which he develops a theory of communication and control.

Jason Stackhouse writes on Engineerjobs:

Our own attempts to design centrally planned economies yielded only brittle, crushingly totalitarian states, Stalinist nightmares of fiat rule, corruption, and dehumanization. Yet the dream persists: a planned, smoothly-functioning world, responding rationally to evolving conditions, shepherding resources for the benefit of humanity.

Can engineers do better? As it turns out, we can – and almost did, 40 years ago.

The Foundation and the Culture

Many science fiction fans advance Star Trek as an example of such a planned, internally harmonious society. While Trek is many things, it’s not the best example of a cashless utopia – money, graft, and greed rear their heads the moment our crew leaves the ship.
Star Trek Utopia

Star Trek’s crew was not quite a Cybernetic Society.

Better representations can be found in the works of Isaac Asimov and Iain Banks.

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Clark: Making Duchamp’s Fountain Look Like A Urinal

Gonzmomentary.com just announced that “Clark: A Gonzomentary” has been accepted by the Philly Independent Film Festival.

Clark: A Gonzomentary will premier Friday June 28th, 2013, 5pm EST at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia PA. But you can watch the full early release of the movie on YouTube.

Some new outtake videos:

Clark explains why he creates phallic art.

Beyond The Art: Clark on Clark.

Beyond the Art: JC on JC.

Beyond the Art: Tito on Tito.

Beyond the Art: Daniel on Daniel.

The progression of an artist’s work.

Method acting.” (Handcam)

Dick guy.” (Behind the scenes handcam)

Hallucinogenic Minisode.

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A PRISM of Uncertainty: My Story And I’m Sticking To It.

From Modern Mythology

As anyone that hasn’t been under a rock for the past week knows, this “PRISM thing” has blown up all over the internet. Which is a good thing — privacy is something that people should be concerned about, and discuss.

Take a look at some of the other information that came to light in the past few days:

The fictional journalistic “this may or may not be true”:

The following article should be treated as strictly hypothetical. It has been editorialized to simplify the content in certain areas, while maintaining as much technical detail as we can offer. Companies named in this article have been publicly disclosed, or used in example only. This piece should not be taken necessarily as fact but as a working theory that portrays only one possible implementation of the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM program as it may exist today.

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