Monday, May 06, 2013

Today's Internets - Everything you say on the phone in America is being recorded.

""The Jews have the greatest powers of sorcery, and they make use of this tool," top Iranian official Mehdi Taeb said last week. 
He's right, we do."

"This ingenious technique for safeguarding books from falling in the bathtub was invented by redditor Crash-From-Space's 8-year-old daughter. The suction cup came from the plumbing aisle at Home Depot."

"In the mid-1970s, an investigation by the US Senate, conducted by the Church Committee, uncovered decades of serious, systemic abuse by the US government of its eavesdropping powers: listening in on the telephone calls of civil rights leaders, reading the mail of political opponents, spying on anti-war groups. The supposed lesson learned from this was that political leaders will inevitably abuse their surveillance powers if they are permitted to exercise them in the dark and without meaningful oversight. The "solution" was the enactment of a law - the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) - that made it a criminal offense for government officials to eavesdrop on the electronic communications of Americans without first obtaining a warrant from the newly created Fisa court...

From the start, the Fisa court was a radical perversion of the judicial process. It convened in total secrecy and its rulings were classified. The standard the government had to meet was not the traditional "probable cause" burden imposed by the Fourth Amendment but a significantly diluted standard. There was nothing adversarial about the proceeding: only the Justice Department (DOJ) was permitted to be present, but not any lawyers for the targets of the eavesdropping request, who were not notified. Reflecting its utter lack of real independence, the court itself was housed in the DOJ...

And, and was totally predictable, the court barely ever rejected a government request for eavesdropping. From its inception, it was the ultimate rubber-stamp court, having rejected a total of zero government applications - zero - in its first 24 years of existence, while approving many thousands. In its total 34 year history - from 1978 through 2012 - the Fisa court has rejected a grand total of 11 government applications, while approving more than 20,000..."

"It takes a special talent to combine abuse of asset forfeiture with a free speech violation, and to blow a wad of cash while doing it, but the federal government is certainly up to the task. In its crusade against the Mongols Motorcycle Club and the group's (allegedly) criminal activities, the Department of Justice decided to use asset forfeiture in an effort to seize the organization's distinctive logo of a stylized Mongol warrior on a motorcycle. The goal, apparently, was a symbolic victory that would strip the group's members of the right to use the image.

But an image is how you you present yourself, which would seem to be an exercise of First Amendment-protected free speech rights, isn't it? At least, that's how a federal judge saw it, right before he ordered the federal government to reimburse the motorcycle club's attorneys to the tune of $253,206.

So, the feds being the feds, they're just doubling down..."

“Homo sapiens has been on the planet for at least a hundred thousand years. In order to be Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most people having a life expectancy of about 25; famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that. For 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, it thinks, ‘That’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice, somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Let’s not appear to the Chinese where people can read, study evidence, and have a civilization. Let’s go to the desert and have a revelation there.’ This is nonsense. It can’t be believed by a thinking person.” - Christopher Hitchens

Why Beijing Could Win the Great China-America Showdown of 2030 | Danger Room | "The nine authors of “China’s Military & the U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2030,” released Thursday, stress that a full-blown shooting war is not in the cards. “The threat is not a war with China,” the report states. Rather, Washington and its close ally Tokyo could find themselves losing influence and disputed island territory to an increasingly unconstrained Beijing that  finds it can “win without fighting” owing to a combination of its own military rise and its rivals’ relative declines.

In any event, change of some sort is probably coming, the report authors say, although what change is unclear. The status quo –  a western Pacific comfortably dominated by the U.S. with its aircraft carriers, bombers and Marine regiments, with Japan playing a key supporting role and China steadily adding to its military arsenal while biding its time — is “unsustainable,” they claim..."

Mind. Blown.
"In February 2012, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek decided to go public with a strange and, he worried, somewhat embarrassing idea. Impossible as it seemed, Wilczek had developed an apparent proof of “time crystals” — physical structures that move in a repeating pattern, like minute hands rounding clocks, without expending energy or ever winding down. Unlike clocks or any other known objects, time crystals derive their movement not from stored energy but from a break in the symmetry of time, enabling a special form of perpetual motion..."

Oh, North Carolina...
"A teen in North Carolina had her picture pulled from her high school yearbook because it was of her…and her son. Caitlin Tiller and  her classmates were told to bring a prop that symbolized how they’d achieved the goal of graduation. Perhaps a football, a laptop, or a bong was more fitting than a little person that you pushed through your meat curtains. Caitlin said of her one-year-old son, “He helped me get to where I am today.” How a mistake conceived in the parking lot of a Chili’s helped her pass that trig final is a mystery. The school pulled the photo because they were afraid that it promoted teen pregnancy. I don’t know. I’m looking at Cailin and that baby and this might be the seven seconds of the day I’m actually not thinking about sex. Maybe the yearbook staff can take a picture of the 16-year-old mom and baby and put it on a condom wrapper you get with every yearbook. Boner killer win."

"...tabloid magazine In Touch and the Christian Post decry Kanye West’s failure to marry two time divorcée and soon to be baby mama Kim Kardashian.  The In Touch cover indignantly declares:
Humiliated Kim Discovers She’s Been Used
She thought Kanye would be her ticket to ultimate fame & fortune. Now divorced and desperate to wed, Kim realizes she’s been played as he refuses to propose...

All I have to say to Kanye is:
'18 years, 18 years
She got one of your kids got you for 18 years
I know somebody paying child support for one of his kids
His baby mamma’s car and crib is bigger than his
You will see him on TV any given Sunday
Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai'"

"Fasting and other ketogenic-like diets have been used to treat conditions like epilepsy for thousands of years. And in fact, a version of the keto diet has been traced back to 500 BC. Fast forwarding a bit, Dr. Rawle Geyelin gave a 1921 presentation to the American Medical Association in which he reported on the remarkable outcomes of several children who had benefited from fasting; his patients were having fewer seizures — and the effect appeared to be long-lasting. Geyelin continued this work, and he developed a tolerable and reproducible high-fat and low carbohydrate diet now formally known as the ketogenic diet. For the next two decades, it was used by physicians to minimize seizures in their patients. Once modern antiepileptic drugs were introduced, however, the practice declined dramatically. But interest in keto was renewed about 20 years ago as a number of scientists began to study it more closely — and not just for its ability to treat epilepsy. As we’re now learning, and despite its reputation as a “starvation” diet, a keto regimen has been shown to confer a variety of benefits...

The keto diet is being increasingly considered for the treatment of many neurological diseases and injuries, a list that includes Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and even traumatic brain injuries. The keto diet can also improve memory function in older adults with increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Neuroscientists attribute the keto diet’s brain-protective qualities to a number of things: Ketone bodies serve as an alternative source of energy during metabolic stress Ketosis diminishes the toxicity produced by glutamate acid, a problem when a brain injury happens It enhances GABA levels (γ-Aminobutyric acid) — an important inhibitory neurotransmitter It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities The diet protects against various forms of cell death Restricting carbs protects against oxidative- and glutamate-stress, among other things...

Meals, therefore, should mostly be comprised of protein and some healthy fats (like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados). A good rule of thumb is to follow the 60/35/5 rule in which 60% of calories come from fat, 35% from protein, and 5% from carbs. Protein should be set at about 1.5 to 1.75g of protein for every kilogram of your ideal body weight. For comparison, a typical Western diet is about 5-15% protein, 10-20 % fat, and 65-85% carbohydrates."

Oh, thank gods.  I may live forever.
Tip 602: How To Include Coffee In Your Diet When You Are Trying To Get Lean - Charles Poliquin: "1)    Association studies show the more coffee you drink a day, the lower your risk of death by all causes."

People can be awesome.

"Buried in the recent New York Times revelation that the CIA has been delivering bags of cash to Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a nugget of information that tells the whole story about just how self-defeating U.S. Afghanistan policy has been. It solves some riddles that mystified a lot of us at the time -- and constitutes an object lesson for the future.

The CIA's bag man was Muhammad Zia Salehi. In July 2010, this same Salehi was arrested by U.S.-mentored Afghan police officers, on charges of influence peddling. At the time, U.S. civilian and military officials had begun to grasp how damaging Afghan government corruption was to what they were trying to achieve in Afghanistan, and were beginning to take serious steps to counter it. Salehi's arrest was the climax of that process.  It was a dramatic success, an offshoot of months of painstaking investigation into a nearly billion-dollar sinkhole in Afghanistan's top private financial institution, Kabul Bank. The decision to develop the case had been run up the U.S. interagency flagpole. Senior U.S. officials, at last sensitized to the corruption problem and anxious for a test case, had approved it and were kept informed along the way. Afghan officials, too. Karzai himself had authorized the arrest. But before nightfall, Salehi made a phone call and Karzai reversed course, ordering his release. Charges were quickly dropped. This episode ended any serious U.S. anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. Which in turn ensured that all other efforts, all the sacrifice, would be in vain..."

"Be Bold." - "Never Leave the Playground."  
Stephen Jepson is amazing/awesome/inspiring.
Never too old.  Never too late.  Never give up.
"At age 72, Stephen Jepson is living proof of his philosophy of lifetime fitness called Never Leave the Playground. He rides a unicycle, juggles while balancing on a bongo board, throws knives and plays jacks with both hands, walks a tightrope, swam across Iowa’s Spirit Lake at age 66, and has won over 80 gold medals in swimming since age 65. And more. Much more. He knows the secret is to “just keep moving” through constant play, not exercise. He’s developed toys for all ages and degrees of physical fitness to use throughout our daily lives so we never have to leave the playground no matter where we are or what we’re doing."

"Newly published research from Norway suggests that a yoga program rapidly produces internal changes on a genetic level. The results help explain the well-documented health benefits of this ancient practice. “These data suggest that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately,” writes a research team led by Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo."

“How do Fortune 500 companies pay zero in taxes while college loans go up to 6 percent?…  This game is rigged.” - Elizabeth Warren

"...a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could...

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them? 
CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out. 
BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible. 
CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.

"All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak". On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that "all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored...

That every single telephone call is recorded and stored would also explain this extraordinary revelation by the Washington Post in 2010: Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want."

...Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were inaccessible to government intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama administration condemned this move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only to turn around six weeks later and demand that all forms of digital communications allow the US government backdoor access to intercept them. Put another way, the US government embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi agencies: that no communications can be off limits."

Of course.
"Global Witness welcomes a new audit recommending that the Liberian government take immediate action to address systematic gaps in compliance with laws on how its natural resources are allocated. The report, commissioned by LEITI, Liberia's groundbreaking transparency initiative, revealed that laws had been broken in virtually every natural resource deal since 2009. The findings, leaked to the press earlier this week,1 paint a picture of a country routinely ignoring its own laws in a rush to hand out natural resources to all comers. The audit also underlines the importance of independent oversight of how natural resources deals are made. Global Witness urges the Liberian government to quickly finalize and publish the report and take strong action to fully address its recommendations."

Reincarnation/writings on the Akashic Wall/Something else entirely...
"Getting my two and a half year old daughter out of the bath one night, my wife and I were briefing her on how important it was she kept her privates clean. She casually replied "Oh, nobody 'scroofs' me there. They tried one night. They kicked the door in and tried but I fought back. I died and now I'm here." She said this like it was nothing...

My 3 year old nephew was at my cottage. He's asked me numerous times about the "girl over there" while pointing at one of the back bedrooms. The place is small, and there is definitely nobody there so I just dismiss it as a really active imagination (he has lots of imaginary friends) . . . Then some friends are visiting and they have a daughter around the same age. She has never met my nephew. Twice in the one day she asked about the "pretty girl" while pointing at the exact same room. Definitely caught me out and I didn't know what to think . . . Then at Christmas my family was over at my place and my nephew points at a picture of my wife and asks if she is coming to visit us here or does she just stay at the cottage. My wife died ten years ago. Personally I don't really believe in paranormal stuff so it's probably just my logical brain putting together a bunch of kids ramblings but it definitely got my attention."
"When I was about 4, I would remember talking to "Mr.Peterson" whenever I was at my grandmothers house. He looked like a hobo from the great depression and had a guitar and sang me old timey blues, he told me that he died when he fell of a train he was riding whist drunk on moonshine. I stopped seeing him when I was about 6. Anyway, 6 months ago I found my dads old acoustic guitar and started playing, and my little cousin told me "Mr.Peterson is proud of you!" And left."

"Today, my 6-year-old daughter walked into the bathroom where I was grumbling about my weight. Seeing how upset I was, she took my hand and said, "Mom, you're not fat. You just look fat." FML

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