FOLKLIFE: Thais turn to 'child angel' dolls as economy struggles

Thais turn to ‘child angel’ dolls as economy struggles
A craze for lifelike dolls thought to bring good luck is sweeping Thailand, reflecting widespread anxiety as the economy struggles and political uncertainty persists nearly two years after a coup.
A Drug Smuggler’s Dream Come True: Thai Airline Will Now Sell Seats To Dolls
Passengers wanting to travel with their haunted doll companions
Fascinating! Apparently there’s a long and dark history to these dolls,
which began with necromancy and stillborn/aborted fetuses:

Some Clinton emails 'too damaging' to release

You can’t have someone as incompetant as this run a country
Official: Some Clinton emails ‘too damaging’ to release
Catherine Herridge
By Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne Published January 29, 2016 PrivacyBadger has replaced this AddThis button.
Clinton’s e-mail problems are worse than previously reported
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EXCLUSIVE: The intelligence community has deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging” to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.
The determination was first reported by Fox News, hours before the State Department formally announced Friday that seven email chains, found in 22 documents, will be withheld “in full” because they, in fact, contain “Top Secret” information.
The State Department, when first contacted by Fox News about withholding such emails Friday morning, did not dispute the reporting – but did not comment in detail. After a version of this report was first published, the Obama administration confirmed to the Associated Press that the seven email chains would be withheld. The department has since confirmed those details publicly.
The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton’s personal server.
Fox News is told the emails include intelligence from “special access programs,” or SAP, which is considered beyond “Top Secret.” A Jan. 14 letter, first reported by Fox News, from intelligence community Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”
The State Department is trying to finish its review and public release of thousands of Clinton emails, as the Democratic presidential primary contests get underway in early February.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, there is an exemption that allows for highly sensitive, and in this case classified, material to be withheld in full — which means nothing would be released in these cases, not even heavily redacted versions, which has been standard practice with the 1,340 such emails made public so far by the State Department.
According to the Justice Department FOIA website, exemption “B3” allows a carve-out for both the CIA and NSA to withhold “operational files.” Similar provisions also apply to other agencies.
Fox News reported Friday that at least one Clinton email contained information identified as “HCS-O,” which is the code for intelligence from human spying.
One source, not authorized to speak on the record, suggested the intelligence agencies are operating on the assumption there are more copies of the Clinton emails out there, and even releasing a partial email would provide enough clues to trace back to the original – which could allow the identification of “special access programs” intelligence.
There was no comment to Fox News from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General, or the agency involved. Fox News has chosen not to identify the agency that provided sworn declarations that intelligence beyond Top Secret was found in the Clinton emails.
The State Department was scheduled to release more Clinton emails Friday, while asking a D.C. federal court for an extension.
FBI investigators looking into the emails are focused on the criminal code pertaining to “gross negligence” in the handling and storage of classified information, and “public corruption.”
“The documents alone in and of themselves set forth a set of compelling, articulable facts that statutes relating to espionage have been violated,” a former senior federal law enforcement officer said. The source said the ongoing investigation along the corruption track “also stems from her tenure of secretary. These charges would be inseparable from the other charges in as much as there is potential for significant overlap and correlation.”
Based on federal regulations, once classified information is spilled onto a personal computer or device, as was the case with Clinton and her aides, the hardware is now considered classified at the highest classification level of the materials received.
While criticized by the Clinton campaign, McCullough, an Obama administration appointee, was relaying the conclusion of two intelligence agencies in his letter to Congress that the information was classified when it hit Clinton’s server — and not his own judgment.
Joseph E. Schmitz, a former inspector general of the Department of Defense, called the attacks on McCullough a “shoot the watchdog” tactic by Clinton’s campaign.
The developments, taken together, show Clinton finding herself once again at the epicenter of a controversy over incomplete records.
During her time as the first female partner at the Rose Law firm in Arkansas during the mid-1980s, she was known as one of the “three amigos” and close with partners Webb Hubbell and Vince Foster. Hubbell ended up a convicted felon for his role in the failure of the corrupt Madison Guaranty, a savings and loan which cost taxpayers more than $65 million. Hubbell embezzled more than a half-million dollars from the firm.
Foster killed himself in Washington, D.C., in July 1993. As Clinton’s partner in the Rose Law firm, he had followed the Clintons into the White House where he served as the Clintons’ personal lawyer and a White House deputy counsel.
Clinton’s missing Rose Law billing records for her work for Guaranty during the mid-1980s were the subject of three intense federal investigations over two years. Those records, in the form of a computerized printout of her work performed on behalf of Guaranty, were discovered under mysterious circumstances in the Book Room of the private White House living quarters.
The discovery of those records was announced during a blizzard in January 1996 by attorney David Kendall, who still represents Hillary Clinton. After Clinton testified before a grand jury, prosecutors concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt she committed perjury or obstruction of justice.
Despite Clinton’s recent public statements about not knowing how the technology works, at least one email suggests she directed a subordinate to work around the rules. In a June 2011 email to aide Jake Sullivan, she instructed him to take what appeared to be classified talking points, and “turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”
A State Department spokesman could not say whether such a fax was sent.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

Employee Data More Exposed Than Customer Data

Kelly Jackson Higgins reports: Dark Reading @cyberplaground

Midsized companies do a better job protecting their customer information than that of their own employees or their internal intellectual property, a new study found.

Nearly one-third of companies and organizations with 100- to 2,000 employees in the US, Canada, India, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia, say they don’t regularly encrypt their employees’ bank information, and 43% don’t always encrypt human resources files. Nearly half say they don’t routinely encrypt employee health information, according to the Vanson Bourne survey conducted on behalf of security vendor Sophos.

UK Appeals Court: Journalism is not terrorism

Journalism is not terrorism.

Criticism of the government is not violence | Trevor Timm

In a huge win for press freedom, a UK court of appeal ruled that the detention of journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, under the Terrorism Act violated his human rights as a journalist. Perhaps more importantly, though, the court rebuked the government’s unprecedented and dangerous definition of “terrorism” that would have encompassed all sorts of actions regularly made by law-abiding citizens.

Miranda was detained and interrogated for almost nine hours without a lawyer at Heathrow airport in 2013 while returning to his home in Brazil after visiting Academy award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras in Germany. He was assisting her and Greenwald’s reporting on the Snowden documents; Greenwald was working for the Guardian at the time.

The court overruled a part of a prior ruling, making clear that “the stop power [under the Terrorism Act], if used in respect of journalistic information or material is incompatible” with the European convention on human rights.

As Greenwald has already said, the court ruling is “an enormous victory, first and foremost for press freedoms, because what the court ruled is that the UK parliament can’t purport to allow its police to seize whatever they want to take from journalists by pretending it’s a terrorism investigation”.

Officers have used measure to randomly stop and question as many as 85,000 travellers a year at UK ports and airports.

He’s exactly right: journalists, or anyone working on behalf of newspapers for that matter, should not be worried about being detained, interrogated and having their source material confiscated for doing their job in a democracy.

But even more disturbing than the UK government’s willingness to detain a journalist in violation of his human rights is what they attempted to claim after Miranda’s detention to justify their actions. In arguing that they had every right to detain Miranda under the Terrorism Act in 2013, the government put forth a the radical and expansive definition of terrorism. Here is the government’s exact words from a court filing they made in November 2013:

Additionally the disclosure [of NSA/GCHQ documents], or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…

Think about the implications of that for a minute: terrorism was defined as publishing information designed to influence the government. That definition includes no mention of violence or even a threat of violence, which David Miranda never came anywhere near doing.

In other words, any opinion or action the government does not like could potentially have been decreed as “terrorism” under their warped definition. This type of sweeping authorization is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Russia, who regularly distort laws supposedly passed in the name of fighting terrorism to harass and detain journalists, human rights workers and dissidents. It’s also a practice that that the UK and US have spoken out repeatedly against in the last decade. (Back in 2013 the Guardian asked the US State Department to comment on the UK’s arrest of Miranda, but they declined, despite harshly criticizing other countries for using their terrorism laws in virtually the same way.)

Thankfully, the appeals court wholly dismissed this dangerous definition of “terrorism,” writing:

“The court of appeal ruling rejects the broad definition of terrorism advanced by government lawyers. The correct legal definition of terrorism, the court of appeal has now ruled, requires some intention to cause a serious threat to public safety such as endangering life”.

This episode shines a light on how unjust the Terrorism Act is to everyone who travels through London’s airport. It should be noted that the UK government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation made clear that, despite the Terrorism Act’s name, the government declares the “power to stop and question [under the law] may be exercised without suspicion of involvement in terrorism”. We also know that thousands of innocent people have been subjected to similar types of detainment in the past with almost no recourse afterwards.

Let’s hope that Miranda will re-ignite the debate about how pernicious and dangerous to human rights the Terrorism Act really is.

[Ed. note: Trevor Timm is executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Edward Snowden sit on the board of directors. ]

Hasbro marginalized or completely excluded the female characters.

Where’s Rey?

Sweatpants & Coffee by Michael Boehm

<snip> Would your son want to play with an action figure of Rey, the central figure in the latest Star Wars film? Would your daughter? It’s too bad they don’t have the choice; Hasbro, among other toymakers, left out the one key female figure in their The Force Awakens game sets. Hasbro says it was to preserve plot secrets, but an industry insider said the choice was deliberate. The insider, who spoke to Sweatpants & Coffee on condition of anonymity, said the decision to exclude Rey was based on marketing assumptions and not for plot reasons. Manufacturers of products that tie into popular movies have been in the news in recent months for appearing to favor male characters over female ones. Products featuring popular science fiction, fantasy, and superhero movies have marginalized or completely excluded the female characters.

The Star Wars: Monopoly game was released in September, months before the movie’s release, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance,” according to the statement. “Absolute rubbish,” said John Marcotte, founder of Heroic Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive strong role models for young women. “Hasbro is merely trying to save face. Monopoly is a game about buying and selling properties.

 Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider. “We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.” Lucasfilm did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The industry insider went on to describe how excluding female action characters has been a common yet frustrating trend over the past few years. “Diminishing of girl characters is common in the industry.  Power Rangers asked us to do it. Paw Patrol, too.”

It is not uncommon for female action characters to be excluded from toy product tie-ins, Marcotte concurred. He highlighted the most recent Avengers movie as an example. “

“Princess toy sales are in freefall. Disney can’t give away princess toys anymore,” according to the insider. And yet, the insider said, the directive is there: Maintain the sharp boy/girl product division. Marginalize girl characters in items not specifically marketed as girl-oriented. The toy industry is more gender-divided now than at any time in the past 50 years, according to Elizabeth Sweet, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Davis. </snip>

Perfect Anonymity – Get Cloned

Can you clone your loved one before they die  and pay for it using bitcoin?


Factory to clone cows, primates … and humans?

The Chinese scientist behind the world’s biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction, it has been revealed.
Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the north China port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of a million cloned cows a year by 2020.
But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun’s ambitions.
In the pipeline are thoroughbred racehorses, as well as dogs.
Boyalife is already working with South Korean partner Sooam and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to improve primate cloning capacity to create better animals for research.
It is a short biological step from monkeys to humans — potentially raising a host of moral and ethical controversies.
“The technology is already there,” Xu said.
The firm does not currently engage in human cloning activities, he said, adding that it has to be “self-restrained” because of possible adverse reaction.
But social values can change, he pointed out, citing changing views of homosexuality and suggesting that in time humans could have more choices about their own reproduction.
Xu, 44, went to university in Canada and the US, and has previously worked for US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
Presenting cloning as a safeguard of biodiversity, the Tianjin facility will house a gene bank capable of holding up to approximately five million cell samples frozen in liquid nitrogen — a catalogue of the world’s endangered species for future regeneration.
Sooam is already working on a project to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction by cloning cells preserved in the Siberian permafrost.
Sooam also recreates dead pet dogs, reportedly for US$100,000 a time.
Sooam founder Hwang Woo-Suk became embroiled in controversy a decade ago after his claims to be the first to clone a human embryo were discredited.
Hwang, who created Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2005, lost his university position, had two major papers retracted, and was accused of crimes ranging from violation of bioethics laws to embezzling research funds.
Earlier this year he was quoted in South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper saying that his firm was planning a joint venture in China “because of South Korea’s bioethics law that prohibits the use of human eggs.”
“We have decided to locate the facilities in China in case we enter the phase of applying the technology to human bodies,” he was quoted as saying.
For now, Xu seeks to become the world’s first purveyor of “cloned” beef, breeding genetically identical cattle that he promises will taste like Kobe and allow butchers to “slaughter less and produce more.”
There is controversy over whether cloned beef is safe — research by the US Food and Drug Adminstration says it is, but the European parliament has backed a ban on cloned animals and products in the food chain.
Han Lanzhi, a GMO safety specialist at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said Boyalife’s claims about the safety, scope and timeline of their operations were alarming.
“There must be strong regulation because as a company pursuing its own interests, they could very easily do other things in the future,” she said.

  • Yahoo Daily News – World’s biggest animal clone factory raises fears in China
    The world’s largest animal cloning factory is under construction in China, with plans to to churn out dogs, horses and up to a million beef cattle a year, reports said, prompting online fears Tuesday. The 200-million-yuan ($31-million) facility will include cloning laboratories and a gene bank, the official Xinhua news agency reported. It is being set up by Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife and South Korea’s Sooam…
  • Deccan Chronicle – China ‘clone factory’ scientist eyes human replication
    Beijing: The Chinese scientist behind the world’s biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans, he told AFP, and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction. Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020. But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun’s ambitions. In the factory pipeline are also thoroughbred racehorses, as well as pet and police dogs, specialised in searching and sniffing. Boyalife is already working with its South Korean partner…
  • IFL Science – China Is Building An Animal Cloning Factory
    The world’s largest animal cloning factory is currently under construction in northeast China. The facility, which is a joint Chinese-Korean venture, is being set up as a means to satisfy an increase in China’s demand for beef, with the eventual aim to turn out a million cattle a year. It also has plans to produce sniffer dogs destined for both the police force and customs agencies,…
  • Yahoo Daily News – China cloning pioneer offers vision of brave new world
    The Chinese scientist behind the world’s biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans, he told AFP, and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction. Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020. But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun’s ambitions. In the factory pipeline are also thoroughbred racehorses, as well as pet and police dogs, specialised in searching and sniffing. Boyalife is already working with its South Korean partner Sooam…
  • China Daily – Tianjin to build largest animal cloning site
    Tianjin is expected to build the world’s largest animal cloning factory next year for the cloning of beef and dairy cattle, dogs and racehorses, a leader in the stem cell and biological medicine industry said on Monday. Boyalife Group Ltd said that 200 million yuan ($31.3 million) will be invested in the factory after its…
  • The Daily Beast – This Mad Scientist Will Clone 100,000 Cows
    This year, a Chinese company plans to open a massive factory to clone 100,00 cows. Just how far will this mass reproductive technology go? Two decades after the birth of Dolly the sheep—the world’s first successfully cloned mammal—the year 2016 will likely see the rise of mass-produced animal clones, thanks to an enterprising and madcap scientist in China. Sometime in the next year, a company called Boyalife Genomics will open a massive factory in the coastal Chinese city of Tianjin, where it plans to clone 100,000 cattle per year—a way to address the Middle Kingdom’s rising appetite for beef. Eventually, the company aims to clone 1 million cattle a year, as well as other animals like…
  • Huffington Post – Chinese Firm Chief Executive Says Human Cloning Already Possible
    Boyalife Group, a Chinese cloning company, announced last month that it’s setting up shop in Tianjin, a northern port city, along with partner Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. By mid-2016, Boyalife said in a statement, Tianjin will be home to a fully functional animal cloning facility. Boyalife explains: The plant in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA), a government-sponsored business development park, will clone animals including sniffer…
  • Canberra Times – China to solve future food shortage by cloning cows in 2016
    More than 200 years ago, British economist Thomas Robert Malthus famously suggested that the earth would run out of food resources to feed a burgeoning global population. Now, thanks to advances in synthetic biology and genetic engineering, we could soon be talking about exponential increases in the earth’s food supply rather than the “arithmetical” increases predicted by Malthus. China, for example, is taking steps to genetically engineer its own food supply rather than growing it the boring old traditional way. In 2016, Boyalife Group plans to open a new commercial cloning facility in the northern China city of Tianjin to “manufacture” up to 1 million head of cattle…
  • Public Technologies – China to open cloning factory to produce more cattle (EFD – Europe of Freedom & …
    (Source: EFD – Europe of Freedom & Democracy Group) China is planning to open a ‘cloning factory’ which will aim to produce one million calves and other animals a year, including family pets.The £21m plant is backed by Chinese and South Korean biotechnology firms and will include cloning laboratories and a gene bank, Chinese news agencies reported.It will be based in the northern port of Tianjin and begin production next year, with an initial…
  • China Daily – Twice as nice or double trouble?
    A Chinese company plans to replicate cattle, racehorses, sniffer dogs and even departed family pets at ‘the world’s largest cloning facility’, but its success will depend upon whether the public can swallow its longstanding distrust of the controversial technique. Cheng Yingqi reports. Strawberries, bananas, pawpaw … anyone who has eaten these fruits recently will have tasted cloned foods, which have been sold unlabelled at supermarkets across the world since the 1980s. While people seem happy to eat cloned fruits, many draw the line at consuming cloned meat, so when the Boyalife Group in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, announced an ambitious plan to build what it described as “the world’s largest…
  • Topix – China – clone factory’ scientist eyes human replication
    The Chinese scientist behind the world’s biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans, he told AFP, and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction. Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020. ……
  • Hong Kong Standard – Human clones ‘already possible’
    Wednesday, December 2, 2015  Newsfeeds Contact Us About Us Archive Site Search Human clones ‘already possible’ Wednesday, December 02, 2015 ADVERTISEMENT If not for a possible public outcry, Boyalife Group would replicate humans – not just cows and other animals,…
  • Topix – China looks to clone horses at new centre
    The world’s largest animal cloning centre is being established in China, with plans to clone horses, beef cattle, and dogs. Boyalife Genomics, a subsidiary of Boyalife Group, which focuses on stem cell and regenerative medicine, will develop the $US31 million centre in the northern port city of Tianjin after signing an agreement with the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area . ……


Surveillance Law
Learn how police and intelligence agencies can access your data, and how the law (might) protect you! Hackers, attorneys, and concerned citizens are all welcome.
6 weeks of study
1-3 hours/week
Jonathan Mayer / Stanford University
It’s easy to be cynical about government surveillance. In recent years, a parade of Orwellian disclosures have been making headlines. The FBI, for example, is hacking into computers that run anonymizing software. The NSA is vacuuming up domestic phone records. Even local police departments are getting in on the act, tracking cellphone location history and intercepting signals in realtime.
Perhaps 2014 is not quite 1984, though. This course explores how American law facilitates electronic surveillance—but also substantially constrains it. You will learn the legal procedures that police and intelligence agencies have at their disposal, as well as the security and privacy safeguards built into those procedures. The material also provides brief, not-too-geeky technical explanations of some common surveillance methods.
Course Syllabus
I. Introduction
We will begin with a brief overview of how surveillance fits into the American legal system. We will also discuss how surveillance issues can be litigated.
II. The Basics of Surveillance Law
Next, we will review established police surveillance procedures. Using telephone technology as a simple starting point, we will work through various sorts of data that investigators might seek to access—and the constitutional and statutory safeguards on that data.
III. Applying Surveillance Law to Information Technology
Having learned the basics, we will turn to more modern technologies. We will discuss snooping on email, web browsing, and mobile phone location, as well as hacking into devices.
IV. Compelled Assistance to Law Enforcement
What happens when data is technically protected? In this section, we will talk about the government’s (limited) ability to mandate backdoors and to require decryption.
V. The Structure of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law
The law that applies to foreign intelligence activities runs parallel to the law that applies to police activities. We will compare the two systems of law and review key distinctions. The section places particular emphasis on Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, and Executive Order 12333.
VI. Controversial NSA Programs
In the final section, we will review the conduct and legality of controversial National Security Agency programs. We will discuss in detail the domestic phone metadata program, PRISM, and “upstream” Internet monitoring.
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The teacher of the surveillance law course, Jonathan Mayer, has now become the chief technologist for the Enforcement Bureau of the FCC.
Washington Post:
NY Times: