Articles, Page 7 of 211
The last time the Army downsized was under the Clinton administration in the 90s, which largely resulted in a military culture known as zero defect that nearly everyone involved absolutely abhorred. Arguments went both ways regarding those personnel cuts with many of the negative ideas coming to light again.
Why? The Defense Department recently send a number of early service termination notices to Army Captains worldwide … to include those still actively engaged in ENDURINGFREEDOM. This particular action, of course, has drawn enormous ire. At least the Clinton administration downsized a peace-time force whereas these cuts take place while combat operations are still underway.
One of the keys to being able to conduct an illegal activity in the unforeseeable future of course is to have established a life pattern that suggests plausible deniability. The Internet is rife with opportunities to do dark and devious things … but the first rule of hacking is not to shit where you eat. But perhaps that’s not always a possibility. Should you open your home network for public use NOW as a means of establishing a precedent that somebody else could have conducted the malicious activity later?
There’s of course great risk to doing this – somebody very well may actually use your connection for illegal activity or other questionable activity. But, depending on how serious you are about establishing plausible deniability, this could be a good thing. It’s not without precedent already. Comcast is already on a roll converting people’s home WiFi routers (their company’s equipment of course) into public access points. People have also long volunteered their home connections to be Tor exit nodes.
You’ve probably seen the video already from everyone sharing it on Facebook. But somebody flew a private drone through a Fourth of July fireworks display and captured some pretty awesome video inside the explosions. Of course, doing something like this is in violation of all kinds of safe operating practices and no doubt against the law. Uses like this are probably going to further limit and restrict private drone even more than the recent FAA rules that classify toy drones as illegal.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Reading some American history the other day, I was struck by how similar the story of how Texas came to be part of the USA in the 1840s was to how the Crimea came to be part of Russia this year.
Confident that I am not the first to see this I Googled Crimea as the Russian Texas and sure enough I found that link and the same idea being promoted by the Russians. How I love history when it contradicts our illusions about ourselves.
There are significant differences, the prime one being that the Russians living in the Crimea had been there for centuries, and so were not put there in order to assist the annexation by Russia. Indeed they went there first to kick out the Turks in 1774 and the Crimea remained an integral part of the Russian state until it was given to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (part of the USSR) by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. The ethnic Russians living there had no need to change their loyalty or nationality throughout that process.
There is another interesting historical parallel with Nazi Germany.
Regardless of who you are, nobody likes the IRS. A few years back, a brouhaha emerged about potentially targeted activities against a particular political leaning. Regardless of your side, either liberal or conservative, the subsequent shenanigans should make everyone mad. Really? Of the folks at the center of the investigation, none of the individuals can produce ANY of their emails especially from the specific window of time in question? Of course, it got better when the IRS claimed that coincidentally all of those hard drives were also recycled. None of their activities can be handwaved away as a simple mistake, the Federal Records Act of 1950 is more than 60 years old and federal employees are very aware of their requirement to maintain them.
Everyone’s favorite President for world peace, “not being Bush”, and whatnot is sending advisers to Iraq. Why? The group ISIL, (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham or Levant), has been running rampant across Iraq sacking city after city on their movement towards Baghdad. Iraqi security forces have basically been either non-resistant or flat out surrendered without a fight to the ISIL forces. Even more depressing for the post-US force pullout is that ISIL has overrun several Iraqi military bases and gained control of American weapons, vehicles and munitions left for the Iraqis amongst other military grade facilities.
SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the American POW from Operation Enduring Freedom, has been freed after negotiations where he was traded for five prisoners out of Guantanamo. Although his recovery aligns with the military’s mantra to never leave a Soldier behind, the story of how he became a POW in the first place casts quite the controversy over his future.
Running barefoot became more popular in western culture with the introduction of the “five finger” shoes from Vibram. The company recently lost a class-action lawsuit attesting their shoe’s campaign was based entirely upon false hype. A large part of the barefoot running movement was based on the idea that the human body evolved the way it did, running barefoot, and is therefore most adept at doing so. And, of course, the record breaking runners from Africa tend to run barefoot as well. But recent studies began to cast doubt on the idea showing that essentially people who haven’t been running that way, aren’t getting any benefit from doing the switch.
It always starts small and innocuous. Russia begins with a simple measure to ban profanity in media such as music, television and movies. Not too big a deal, but definitely a control mechanism nonetheless. Additionally, the country is going to initiate control measures over the Internet, starting specifically in the blogosphere by requiring real name registration presumably to enable future squashing of dissent. One of the country’s bloggers comments, “On the one hand, the Russian government says the Russian people are the best. On the other hand, it doesn’t trust the people.”
Almost two decades ago, the Monica Lewinsky / Bill Clinton affair was the big news in the United States leading up to a presidential impeachment. Obviously politics and society have changed significantly since then. So when Monica re-emerged in a recent Vanity Fair article talking about the incident from long ago, it makes one wonder a few things …
- Coincidentally timed to weaken a Clinton 2016 campaign?
- Looking to self promote?
- Does America care about this sort of thing anymore?
Do you take vitamin supplements?
There are certainly all kinds of vitamins and minerals the body needs, there’s no doubting that. But the doubting camps have been beating this drum for years – 2013 and 2011 were the most recent occurrences. I myself hadn’t really noticed until last year’s news recurrence, but it did make me wonder what the OmniNerds thought on the matter.
I came across an article on Wired today that I found somewhat interesting regarding ethics and autonomous vehicles. Essentially, if an autonomous vehicle determines that a crash is unavoidable … how should it be programmed to handle the situation? This one is somewhat akin an earlier OmniNerd discussion including the Trolly Problem. The difference, however, is that decision is made on the fly by a subjective human whereas an autonomous vehicle will be following a deterministic set of rules that basically determines who is least valuable. Does that qualify as pre-meditated murder? Would programmers be liable?
When it comes to violins and aficionados, the Stradivaris instruments are considered the de facto standard for exquisite sound. Or are they? A study involving professional violinists allowed each to play on twelve different instruments that included a collection of new and old – with five Stradivaris mixed in. The musicians were blindfolded and permitted to use each violin for an hour in a concert hall. In the end, although the sample size was small, the results favored the newer, modern violins over the classic Stradivaris.
One metric used to justify Shakespeare’s work as literary genius is the unique (not volume) word count. One, apparently bored, coder [Matt Daniels] decided to put rap and hip hop artists against Shakespeare by using song lyrics. Stereotypically, rap and hip hop music don’t exactly make one think “genius” or “literary mastermind.” For scaling purpose, Daniels ran word analysis against Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth, As You Like It, Winter’s Tale, and Troilus and Cressida whereupon he compared it to the gamut of various music artist’s songs. While Shakespeare does thoroughly trounce most of his competition, there were plenty of artists that, using the unique word count metric, best him mightily.