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Details of a plot to kill Occupy Houston leaders won’t be released after a federal court upheld the FBI’s claim that the documents are legally exempted from the Freedom of Information Act.
The FBI argued information was withheld, including 12 of 17 relevant pages, to protect the identity of confidential sources who were “members of organized violent groups,” according to Courthouse News Service.
A heavily-redacted FBI document first revealed a Houston plot “to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.”
However the plotter’s identity is redacted.
Ryan Shapiro, a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and historian, filed several requests for documents pertaining to the Houston plot in 2013. In response, the FBI said they had no such relevant records, so Shapiro sued, accusing the bureau of an inadequate search.
Tag Archives | MIT
via Boing Boing:
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Dan Purcell, one of Swartz’ lawyers, writes about the spiteful and unreasonable charges that led to his suicide—and MIT’s gutless support of his prosecutors.
I am a lawyer in San Francisco with a firm called Keker & Van Nest. I was one of Aaron’s lawyers in his criminal case, in 2012 and early 2013.
I didn’t know Aaron that well, and our interactions were always colored by the fact that he didn’t really want to be talking to me. I was a criminal defense lawyer after all, and the only reason we knew each other was because he was facing a federal criminal indictment under the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) for computer fraud.
Those of you who knew Aaron don’t need me to tell you what kind of person he was. Brian Knappenberger’s excellent movie, “The Internet’s Own Boy,” will tell you more about Aaron than I could.
The fine folks at Open Culture have unearthed another treasure: A 1962 recording of Aldous Huxley lecturing on visionary experiences. I’m guessing albums like these were the TED talks of their day. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed it, but you can listen to it here.
Having transplanted himself from his native England to California in 1937, he eventually achieved great regard among the region’s self-styled intellectuals and spiritual seekers, giving talks at such mystically high-in-the-zeitgeist places as Hollywood and Santa Barbara’s Vedanta temples and even Big Sur’s famous Esalen Institute. But the prolific speech-giver also went farther afield, to far squarer venues such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, in 1962, he recorded the album Visionary Experience: A Series Of Talks On The Human Situation:
Natalie Wolchover writes at Quanta:
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Why does life exist?
Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.”
From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy.
Everyone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways. Just look at Big Oil. We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world. Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind. Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion). Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit. Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone. For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at. Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.
However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest