Georgia is closing the state archives to the public on November 1, 2012.

Extremely disturbing news.

Georgia is closing the state archives to the public on November 1, 2012.

 
Due to budget cuts, Georgia is closing the state archives to the public on November 1, 2012. They had already cut back to being open just two days per week. Now they will be open by appointment only. Extremely disturbing news. http://www2.wsav.com/news/2012/sep/13/breaking-georgia-closes-state-archives-ar-4538200/

Agency aims to rate mobile broadband service performance across the U.S.

Measuring Broadband America, that gauges residential broadband performance.

Agency aims to rate mobile broadband service performance across the U.S.

September 06, 2012
How fast is data access on your smartphone? The Federal Communications Commission wants to find out.

The agency announced plans Wednesday to measure the performance of wireless broadband services across the country. Under the program, called Measuring Mobile America, the FCC will work with major wireless carriers, research and public interest groups, and other parties to assess the performance of wireless services.
The program will be modeled after an existing initiative, Measuring Broadband America, that gauges residential broadband performance. In a report released in July, the FCC said consumers have used the data generated by that program for comparison shopping, leading to increased competition among service providers.
According to the FCC, the residential broadband survey has led to improvements in three areas: Internet service providers (ISPs) are making more accurate promises about network performance; ISPs are more consistent in delivering promised speeds; and consumers are subscribing to higher-speed tiers. [SNIP]
http://www.informationweek.com/government/mobile/fcc-to-measure-wireless-data-speeds/240006873

Unconstitutional Fishing Expeditions: The Massive Abuse Of Administrative Subpoenas By The Government

We are In The Matrix! We’ve seen increasing surveillance and abuse over the years, but it seems that any time people push back on these processes, they’re brushed off.

Unconstitutional Fishing Expeditions: The Massive Abuse Of Administrative Subpoenas By The Government

For years, we’ve talked about how the Justice Department has massively abused the “National Security Letters” (NSLs) process that lets it seek information from third parties without judicial oversight. At least with FBI NSLs, the FBI is required to release some (though not all) info on how they’re used, which is why we have some indication of how widely they’re abused. However, as Dave Kravets recently detailed in a fantastic article at Wired.com, the use of “administrative subpoenas” (NSLs are a form of administrative subpoena) allowing government officials to issue mandatory subpoenas to third parties with no oversight at all has become quite widespread. Even worse: most government agencies don’t seem to have any interest in revealing any data about them. In other words, if you thought the FBI was abusing NSLs, you should probably be even more concerned about some of these others administrative subpoenas.
< – >
It’s worth reading Kravets’ full article, even if it is depressing. What amazes me is that we let this kind of stuff continue unabated. We’ve seen increasing surveillance and abuse over the years, but it seems that any time people push back on these processes, they’re brushed off because “OMG!Terrorists!” or something along those lines. It’s sad that we, as a country, seem so accepting of the government taking away basic Constitutional rights if it just screams something about terrorists and crime.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120901/01010120237/unconstitutional-fishing-expeditions-massive-abuse-administrative-subpoenas-government.shtml

White House Announces Plans to Create a National Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering Master Teacher Corps

Number 116: August 7, 2012

White House Announces Plans to Create a National Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering Master Teacher Corps

On July 18, the Obama Administration announced the President’s plan for the creation of a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps.
“The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress,” states a White House press release.
The White House intends to engage teachers at all levels in this program, including those in elementary schools and those who teach at-risk students. Another key intent of this program is that Master Teachers will promote “deep learning over teaching to the test.” The White House intends to assess the effectiveness of the program by talking to educators as the Corps is designed and then developing metrics for evaluating its effectiveness with further input from educators.
Funding to improve STEM teaching and learning was included in the President’s budget request for the Department of Education. This funding, in the form of competitive grants, is intended to help school districts “implement high-quality plans to establish career ladders that identify, develop, and leverage highly effective STEM teachers.” The White House is hoping to work with Congress to eventually fund the program at the intended level of $1 billion over the course of a decade.
The President’s budget request for FY2013 includes a $5 billion request for funding a new program, the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project, aimed at re-envisioning the teaching profession. According to the White House Press Release:
“As part of the RESPECT project, the STEM Master Teacher Corps will be supported by the U.S. Department of Education, and established in collaboration with independent, non-profit organizations and local public-private partnerships between STEM-related businesses and industries and school districts.  Key parts of the plan include:
.  A rigorous selection of the best and brightest math and science teachers from across the country:  The STEM Master Teacher Corps will be established in 100 sites – each with 50 exceptional STEM teachers – and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. Accomplished teachers will be selected for the STEM Master Teacher Corps through a highly competitive process, based on demonstrated effectiveness in teaching one or more STEM subjects, their content knowledge, and their contributions to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning both within their schools and across the community of STEM teachers. The selection process will be administered locally or regionally, but aligned to a set of national benchmarks.
.  National recognition and rewards, including compensation to keep Corps members in the profession: STEM Master Teacher Corps members will benefit from a professional compensation structure that will make their profession more competitive with alternative careers, keeping the best teachers in the classrooms where they are needed. STEM Master Teacher Corps members will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary.  This recognition further raises the prestige of the Corps members, enabling America’s classrooms to attract and secure the best talent in the STEM education profession.
.  Corps members as a national resource, for their schools and for other STEM educators: STEM Master Teacher Corps members will be called to serve their profession and the nation, through an ongoing commitment to professional learning.  They will build a community of teaching practice where they live, helping students excel in math and science while taking on leadership and mentorship roles in their schools and communities.  Corps members will lead ongoing professional meetings and teacher development activities; assist their schools and school districts in evaluating and providing feedback to other teachers; and validate and disseminate effective practices to improve STEM instruction. They will participate in regular convenings to engage in professional development and share best practices; deepen their subject matter expertise; consult with experts in teaching and learning; and improve their instructional leadership and pedagogical content! skills.”

As of the July 27 deadline for applications, over 30 school districts submitted applications for funding which would go towards identifying and compensating “highly effective teachers who can model and mentor STEM instruction for their teaching peers, providing those teachers with additional compensation, recognition, and responsibilities in their schools.”
The STEM Master Teaching Corps stems from a key recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which called for a national STEM Master Teacher Corps “to recognize and help retain America’s most talented STEM teachers, build a community of practice among them, raise the profile of the STEM teaching profession, and leverage excellent teachers to collaborate with their peers to strengthen STEM education in America’s public schools.”
Aline D. McNaull
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
amcnaull@aip.org
301-209-3094

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Firefox, Opera allow crooks to hide an entire phish site in a link

Firefox, Opera allow crooks to hide an entire phish site in a link

By John Leyden
Posted in Malware, 3rd September 2012 15:52 GMT
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/03/phishing_without_hosts_peril/
A shortcoming in browsers including Firefox and Opera allows crooks to easily hide an entire malicious web page in a clickable link – ideal for fooling victims into handing over passwords and other sensitive info.
Instead, the malicious web pages can be stored in data URIs – uniform resource identifiers, not to be confused with URLs – which stuff the web code into a handy string that when clicked on, instructs the browser to unpack the payload and present it as a page.
It negates the need to find somewhere to secrete your malicious page, and once shortened using a service such as TinyURL, the URI can be reduced to a small URL perfect for passing around social networks, online chats and email. Crooks would still need to set up a server to receive data from victims, however.
Google’s Chrome browser blocks redirection to data URIs, and other browsers have limits on the volume of data that can be packed into URIs. Klevjer created a 26KB attack page that failed to load in Internet Explorer, but worked on both Firefox and Opera.
<snip>

Eight-minute video about NSA's warrantless spying operation

In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country.

Eight-minute video about NSA’s warrantless spying operation

Continue reading “Eight-minute video about NSA's warrantless spying operation”

What it takes to be an artist and "make it"

Are you ready to sign up for this?

“People who end up living their dreams are not those who are lucky and gifted, but those who are stubborn, resolute and willing to sacrifice.”
nyti.ms/SdiO87
___________________
And while I’ve got your attention, I want to talk about compromise.
Artists don’t.
I can’t stop watching “Newsroom.” One of the things I love about it is the critics hate it. But the ratings are good, it keeps soldiering on and it’s been renewed for another season. And sure, it defines the political and TV news issues, but it also brings up moral issues. Like values. And compromise.
They’re changing the format of the broadcast because the ratings tanked. Nancy Grace covered Casey Anthony and they didn’t and they lost half a million viewers overnight and the big boss is pissed and the honchos cave. Why? Because they want the debate. The Republican debate. It’s fifteen months ago, spring of ’11, and they want to have an impact.
This is what businessmen do.
This is not what artists do.
This is what politicians do. That’s why I keep scratching my head about D.C. Believe in what you want Republicans, but your job in Congress is to legislate, to move things forward, it’s a giant sausage factory and you’re on the line, work. But they won’t. They’re standing on ceremony, they’re hewing to their principles.
No one gets to do this in business. Not even Steve Jobs.
That’s why we revere artists. They’re above the fray.
But now the artists have become beholden to the businessmen. Or they’re businessmen themselves. Hell, if your goal is have a perfume and clothing line, you’re in the land of expedience. It’s not like you’re creating breakthroughs, you only want the money, the cold hard cash. Furthermore, these so-called “artists” listen to their labels, agents and managers, who are businessmen themselves, with different priorities. The way it works is the artist is on top of the pyramid, everybody works for him. But it hasn’t been that way in a very long time. Not since Tommy Mottola and his ilk made much more cash than any artist and every artist’s career seemed to last a nanosecond. The businessmen gained control of music and instead of fighting to get it back, the artists capitulated.
Which brings us back to the quote above. Most people don’t get a say. Because you’re not an artist. Maybe you can play your instrument and put your songs up on iTunes, but that doesn’t make you an artist, any more than playing sandlot ball makes you a major leaguer. Only a few people get to play in the big leagues. And if you think these are well-rounded friends to all, you’ve never met one. Successful artists are narcissists. Who only care about themselves and their careers. You come second. Whether you’re the girlfriend or the manager, it makes no difference. Hell, if you’re a manager you’re just a day away from getting fired. If you’re not moving the ball forward, you’re in jeopardy. Hell, you can be doing great work and still lose your job, because the artist is mercurial and impressionable.
Most people have no idea what it takes to make it. They think it’s about putting in 10,000 hours practicing in their bedroom. Hell, you’ve got to do that, but you’ve also got to live on ramen, eat from dumpsters, use and abuse your significant other and still probably not make it. Those who succeed have run a gauntlet akin to fighting a war. And once they’ve emerged triumphant no one is gonna take the fruits of their labor away. Artists sleep with one eye open, always fearful of falling down the ladder. Money isn’t enough, fame is just as important. They’re not satisfied to be retired in Florida at their mansion, they want and need you to pay attention. Forever.
The above quote comes from an essay in the “New York Times” from a professional bicycle racer. He doped. He explained why. You couldn’t win without it. Oh, he’s anti-doping now. But the point is he put in all that time, years of practice, and he wanted to win. So he shaved the edges.
Which is what artists do every single day.
If you think an artist is trustworthy, you’ve never met one.
If an artist has kids, he doesn’t spend much time with them.
An artist thinks only his opinion counts. Contradict him and you’d better have a lot of history and power, something the artist wants, or you’re banished.
Are you ready to sign up for this?
 
-anon