Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Sunday Edition (.003)


The NTD Sunday Edition (.003) is now available!

• You likely don’t know much about the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Though it keeps a low profile, this is the court the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency go to when they want permission to put someone under surveillance. And they don’t get turned down, according to Reuters, citing a Justice Department memo. In 2015 the court received and approved 1,457 requests from the FBI and NSA. There were a bit fewer requests in 2014, but all of those were approved as well.

The surveillance requests are for email or telephone intercepts. If granted, which is apparently always, they generally are carried out with the assistance of Internet telecommunications service providers.

• It's a good thing to take a young animal and raise it after it is weaned. If you give it a portion of your time and play with it, talk to it, feed it, groom it, you'll have a loyal friend and you've done something to raise the awareness of the universe (As if you knew any better how to be a dog than your own dog or cat. if you don't get what I'm saying, give it a little thought. A dog is just a dog...). A dog can provide protection, mostly as an early warning system, but also as a deterrent to strangers. Companionship is a good enough reason to have a pet, in any case.

We like to say cats are different than dogs and while that statement can be true, cats are useless objects of affection in most households who may be encouraged to go after rodents and varmints but otherwise do nothing to contribute. If the word cat above can be interchanged equally with the word dog in your household situation, then you realize your dog is as useless as a cat.

They are, however, objects of our affection and our attention. We form relationships with them and attribute human qualities to them. They are living things with their own touch of consciousness and deserving of our sympathy and respect.

• 2016 Hugo Awards nominees. I couldn't find my name. There must be some kind of mistake!

NOVEL
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

NOVELLA
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

Ah! There it is!
NOVELETTE
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb2015)
“Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
“Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
“What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

SHORT STORY
“Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
"The Commuter" by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
“If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
“Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

• A compulsive desire to look at something that horrifies you -- like a horror film or an injury -- is called cacospectomania.

• Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump warned against “the false song of globalism” in a major foreign policy address on Wednesday in an escalation of his rhetoric rejecting the current framework of international coalitions.

“We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism,” Trump promised during a speech in Washington.

“I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down,” he claimed. “And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs.

“The nation-state remains the true foundation of happiness and harmony.”

Trump’s comments are among the most vivid depiction yet of his profound doubt in the framework of global institutions that have dominated the globe since the end of World War II.

• An international team of scientists have verified the existence of what is believed to be the second-largest subglacial lake on the planet -- second after Lake Vostok. They also found what they think is an immense canyon system below Antarctica. And, buried deep within it, a subglacial lake 90 miles long.


The scientists are inferring the lake's presence from subtle patterns they've observed in the ice. To confirm whether or not the lake exists, another team of American and Chinese scientists have flown a plane mounted with ice-penetrating radar over the area to get recordings. They're going to meet up in May to share the data.

If the recordings confirm it exists, the lake will be part of an immense 680-mile canyon system buried under the ice. Current measurements put the lake at about 87 miles long and 12 miles wide.

This isn't the first lake scientists have found trapped under the ice.

Another lake, Lake Vostok, is even larger than this new potential lake, measuring in at a whopping 160 by 30 miles and covered in nearly 13,000 feet of ice. There are other lakes too, including Lake Whillans and Lake Ellsworth.

Scientists are excited about these undiscovered lakes because they have the potential to be full of weird, isolated creatures.

In 2013 an American team drilled over 700 meters into Lake Whillans, another Antarctic lake. They found thousands of different types of microbes as well as crustaceans and even fish living in the brutal, cold darkness.

These are organisms that might have not had any contact with the outside world since they were covered in ice over 15 million years ago.

If scientists were able to find that many new creatures that by drilling down into other lakes, it's definitely possible that more strange, unseen critters could be living in this newly discovered lake as well.

• If I hear Purple Rain one more time this week, I'm going to get distracted. Prince was diagnosed with AIDS just six months before his death. So, there was, uh, that too along with him being addicted to painkillers.

• During Connecticut’s April 26 primaries, pro-gun Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump received more votes in Newtown than anti-gun Hillary Clinton.

Newtown, where Sandy Hook Elementary School is located, became the epicenter of the gun control movement following Adam Lanza’s questionable December 2012 attack on the school.

According to the Newtown Patch, pro-gun Trump received “1,564 votes” from Newtown voters, while anti-gun Clinton received “1,362 votes.”

• The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a rule that will allow federal judges to issue warrants permitting the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to hack and surveil computers outside of their jurisdiction. The rule was proposed by the Department of Justice in 2014.

Prior to the decision, Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure authorized search and seizure by law enforcement only within their own jurisdiction. Approved amendments to the code now permit the FBI and others to hack into computers and seize data, even if that computer’s actual location “has been concealed through technical means” such as Tor, software that enables anonymous communication over the internet.

“As it stands, the proposed amendment allows the FBI to use a wide array of invasive (and potentially destructive) hacking techniques where it may not be necessary to do so, against a broad pool of potential targets that could be located virtually anywhere,” Ahmed Ghappour wrote for Just Security on September 16, 2014.

In the summer of 2015, the FBI used its network investigative technique (NIT) hacking tool to gain control of an alleged child pornography bulletin board, Playpen, operating on the so-called dark web.

An FBI complaint described the site as “the largest remaining known child pornography hidden service in the world.” After the FBI seized the server running the site in Lenior, North Carolina, it ran the site from its own servers in Newington, Virginia, and used NIT to infect around 1,300 computers.

NIT forces a computer to perform a number of tasks, including covertly uploading files, emails, photographs, and other data. It can even activate a computer’s microphone and camera.

“NITs come in all sorts of different forms, and have been used since at least 2002,” notes Joseph Cox, writing for Motherboard. “Malware has been delivered to bomb threat suspects via phishing emails, and the FBI has also taken over hosting services and surreptitiously exploited a known bug in Firefox to identify users connecting with the Tor Browser Bundle.”


The FBI’s initiative, dubbed “Operation Torpedo,” used a single warrant to target a large number of computers. “We’re not talking about searching one or two computers. We’re talking about the government hacking thousands of computers, pursuant to a single warrant,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Supreme court ruling and hacking practices by the FBI are not limited to child pornograpy. In a number of cases, the agency has surveilled individuals and organizations engaged in legal political activities, most notably during its COINTELPRO operation that supposedly ended in the 1970s.

More recently, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force targeted “peaceful political activists for harassment and building files on constitutionally-protected political activities and associations that have nothing to do with terrorism or other criminal activity,” the ACLU reported in 2012.

The FBI’s attempt to force Apple to build a backdoor to circumvent encryption on its popular iPhone reveals the government considers piracy and anonymous communication a threat to its ability to surveil and potentially target political activists.

“From the Pentagon to the FBI and all the way down to our state and local law enforcement, the message is clear: dissent is a threat that must be neutralized, and surveillance is the first step towards maintaining the status quo,” writes Privacy SOS, a website highlighting the activities of the surveillance state.

The FBI will continue to rationalize its behavior by insisting it is going after terrorists and child pornographers, but as the above case demonstrates, the agency often engages in criminal activity in order to entrap victims.

The same can be said for its program of enticing and entrapping people, often the mentally ill, into committing terrorist acts they would have otherwise not engaged in without encouragement by informants and undercover agents.

• Sadiq Khan, a Muslim lawmaker from Britain’s opposition Labor Party, is the strong favorite to win London’s mayoral election on Thursday after a bitter contest marked by religious tensions and accusations of racism.

Polls show Khan, the son of a bus driver, is as much as 20 percentage points ahead of rival Conservative Zac Goldsmith in the race to run one of the world’s top financial centres. If he wins, he will succeed current Conservative mayor Boris Johnson to become the first Muslim to head a major western capital.

• Feminism is stupid and destructive to society. Do I have to prove it? Or do we have to talk about it? Check out this vid. Feminism is an offshoot of communism and has done more to fragment and destroy American society than anything Obama has done. Strong words, huh? Food for thought.

• Lastly, check this out: Obama appointed John Brennan to be CIA Director. Apparently, John Brennan converted to Wahabbism while he was assigned to the CIA Bureau in Saudi Arabia. Don't believe me? Even Snopes.com says it is unconfirmed and for Snopes to admit that much, well...

2 comments:

  1. Brennan is a great security risk!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Denney, we've got so many bad guys in positions of responsibility that it can't be by coincidence.

    ReplyDelete