[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround NetHappenings Mailing List

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[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround, Inc.
NetHappenings Mailing List copyright 1989
Educational CyberPlayGround Blog:
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*Link to the Educational CyberPlayGround
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Dear NetHappenings Reader,
Happy Labor Day  looking forward to getting back into the groove.
enjoy,
<ECP>
FBI Radio: Public Service or Self-Serving?
http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/02/fbi-radio-public-service-self-serving/
FBI radio began in 1965, according to the FBI. The first series was called “FBI Washington” and aired on ABC. In 1990, it was reformatted and renamed “FBI This Week.” Since then, more than 1,200 one-minute spots have aired.
Awesome-radio – a curated list of radio resources and information
https://github.com/kyleterry/awesome-radio
My exploration into CB radio. And radio in general. A curated list of awesome radio resources. Inspired by awesome-*. I recently pulled out my CB radio and installed it in my truck. This inspired me to create an open source repository of all the radio related resources I found helpful and my notes on the subject. This project is aimed at hackers who enjoy all aspects of radio communication. While a lot of this technology isn’t usable by citizens and is heavily regulated by the FCC, just knowing anything about it is special. I’ve been interested in learning the ins and outs of radio, as well as hearing stories, new and old.
Hackers Build a Skype That’s Not Controlled by Microsoft call;ed TOX
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/tox/
Android security mystery – ‘fake’ cellphone towers found in U.S.
http://www.welivesecurity.com/2014/08/28/android-security-2/
“What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases.” says Goldsmith. “Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that’s listening to calls around military bases? The point is: we don’t really know whose they are.” What has come as a surprise is how many “interceptors” are in active use in the U.S., and that their purpose remains mysterious.
The VME Dominator™ is a real time GSM A5.1 cell phone interceptor. It cannot be detected. It allows interception of voice and text. It also allows voice manipulation, up or down channel blocking, text intercept and modification, calling & sending text on behalf of the user, and directional finding of a user during random monitoring of calls. The VME Dominator is far superior to passive systems in being able to intervene and manipulate calls and sms, working with up to 4 base stations concurrently, and up to 20 users in the system at any one time.
Shenzhen trip report – visiting the world’s manufacturing ecosystem
http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2014/09/01/shenzhen-trip-r.html
While intellectual property seems to be mostly ignored, tradecraft and trade secrets seem to be shared selectively in a complex network of family, friends and trusted colleagues. This feels a lot like open source, but it’s not. The pivot from piracy to staking out intellectual property rights isn’t a new thing. The United States blatantly stole book copyright until it developed it’s own publishing very early in US history. The Japanese copied US auto companies until it found itself in a leadership position. It feels like Shenzhen is also at this critical point where a country/ecosystem goes from follower to leader.
Russian gas giant Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller , Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attend a ceremony marking the welding of the first link of “The Power of Siberia” gas pipeline outside Yakutsk in eastern Siberia yesterday as construction of the US$20.8 billion pipeline that will bring gas from the country’s far east to China began. Work on the Chinese section is due to start 2015.
MICROSOFT Corp has been granted a 20-day deadline by a Chinese regulator to explain why it held back on its “not fully disclosed information” regarding Windows and Office suite sales.
Hong Kong’s Basic Law
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GV04A20140831
China’s rubber-stamp parliament is expected on Sunday to endorse the framework for Hong Kong’s first direct leadership election, due in 2017. But Beijing is likely to only allow two or three “patriotic” candidates, with no open nominations. That will anger pro-democracy activists who have threatened civil disobedience, potentially disrupting Hong Kong’s major financial hub.
China rules out full democracy for Hong Kong
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=341720115
Pro-democracy activists take to the streets of Hong Kong after China rejects their demands for free elections.
Hong Kong police arrest 19 in pro-democracy scuffles
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GX06V20140902
Hong Kong police said on Tuesday they arrested 19 people during scuffles with pro-democracy activists prompted by China’s decision not to allow the Asian financial hub to choose its next leader.
Fast food workers plan biggest US strike to date over minimum wage
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/sep/01/fast-food-strike-minimum-wage-workers-protest
Workers from McDonald’s, Burger King and other chains to hold walkout protest on Thursday as battle to unionize escalates. America’s fast food workers are planning their biggest strike to date this Thursday, with a nationwide walkout in protest at low wages and poor healthcare.
Bank of America seeks to void verdict in $1.27 billion ‘Hustle’ case
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GS2OL20140828
Bank of America Corp on Thursday asked a federal judge to throw out a jury verdict finding it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit that resulted in a $1.27 billion penalty.
Several Swiss banks pull out of U.S. tax program:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GV09X20140831
At least 10 Swiss banks have withdrawn from a U.S. program aimed at settling a tax dispute between them and the United States, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag said on Sunday, quoting unnamed sources.
Management dictating their own terms
http://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-wolf/
The Wolf: You’ve heard of the 10x engineer, but I am here to tell you about the Wolf. They are an engineer and they consistently exhibit the following characteristics:
Man builds 3D printed concrete castle in his own backyard
http://www.3ders.org/articles/20140826-minnesotan-world-first-3d-printed-concrete-castle-in-his-own-backyard.html
2.6m historic pictures posted online
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28976849
The Civil Rights Movement web site
http://www.crmvet.org/
continues to collect documents, stories, and biography of Civil Rights Movement workers. One document IS folklore. This leaflet hits every stereotype you’ve every heard of but, it IS  folklore from Birmingham AL
http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6106_bham_racist-leaflet.pdf
Our Use of Little Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/09/01/344043763/our-use-of-little-words-can-uh-reveal-hidden-interests
The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program that Pennebaker and his students built in the early 1990s has, like any computer program, an ability to peer into massive data sets and discern patterns that no human could ever hope to match. Specifically, what Pennebaker found was that when the language style of two people matched, when they used pronouns, prepositions, articles and so forth in similar ways at similar rates, they were much more likely to end up on a date.
Georgia State University Library releases Library Instruction Recorder plugin as Open Source
http://homer.gsu.edu/blogs/library/2014/08/29/georgia-state-university-library-releases-library-instruction-recorder-plugin-as-open-source/
As part of its commitment to the free culture movement, Georgia State University Library is pleased to announce the initial release of the Library Instruction Recorder (LIR). LIR is a free, open source WordPress plugin that allows librarians and library staff to record and report on library instruction sessions.
Recent research on leadership barriers for women working in tech
http://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/insane-double-standard-for-tech-women.html?cid=sf01002
BBC begins kids coding push with Bitesize and TV shows
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28984411
The BBC has published computer programming study guides, quizzes and other support materials on its Bitesize site to coincide with the new computing curriculum’s introduction in England. The broadcaster also revealed several programming-themed children’s TV shows will be broadcast in the autumn. The BBC described the move as an “early start” to a wider coding initiative planned for next year.
The Serif Readability Myth August 29, 2014 / Kas Thomas
http://author-zone.com/
I’ve been involved in publishing all my life, and like many others I’ve always accepted as axiomatic the notion that typefaces with serifs (such as Times-Roman) are, in general, are more readable than non-serif typefaces (e.g., Helvetica). It never occurred to me that there was any doubt about the matter whatsoever. Were the monks who invented serifs and other text ornamentations merely engaging in idle doodling? Weren’t they consciously intending to increase the legibility of the important documents they were transcribing?
How I Start: Go With Peter Bourgon
http://howistart.org/posts/go/1
Go is meant to be simple, but sometimes the conventions can be a little hard to grasp. I’d like to show you how I start all of my Go projects, and how to use Go’s idioms. Let’s build a backend service for a web app.
Download videos from YouTube (and mores sites)
https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/
youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites. It requires the Python interpreter (2.6, 2.7, or 3.3+), and it is not platform specific. We also provide a Windows executable that includes Python. youtube-dl should work in your Unix box, in Windows or in Mac OS X. It is released to the public domain, which means you can modify it, redistribute it or use it however you like. You can also contact us on the irc channel #youtube-dl(webchat) on freenode.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Ricardo Garcia Gonzalez
Under the Microscope
[print edition title; the online title was “As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics”]
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/technology/the-boon-of-online-data-puts-social-science-in-a-quandary.html
Scholars are exhilarated by the prospect of tapping into the vast troves of personal data collected by Facebook, Google, Amazon and a host of start-ups, which they say could transform social science research. Once forced to conduct painstaking personal interviews with subjects, scientists can now sit at a screen and instantly play with the digital experiences of millions of Internet users. It’s the frontier of social science — experiments on people who may never even know they are subjects of study, let alone explicitly consent. “This is a new era,” said Jeffrey T. Hancock, a Cornell University professor of communication and information science. “I liken it a little bit to when chemistry got the microscope.”
Greenhouse gas fear over increased levels of meat eating
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29007758
Research from Cambridge and Aberdeen universities estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate. That will make it harder to meet global targets on limiting emissions. The study urges eating two portions of red meat and seven of poultry per week. However that call comes as the world’s cities are seeing a boom in burger restaurants. The research highlights that more and more people from around the world are adopting American-style diets, leading to a sizeable increase in meat and dairy consumption.
A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.
Saving America’s honeybees
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28983709
In the past 60 years the number of honeybee colonies has fallen from six million beehives in 1947, to just 2.5 million today, according to the White House. in June, President Obama launched a taskforce to protect the honeybee. The White House is investing $50m into research and action to stem the decline, improve habitats and promote better education around the issue.
Waking the Dead: Bringing Extinct Species Back to Life
http://longnow.org/revive/what-we-do/passenger-pigeon/
The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback This is the first project to revive an extinct animal using its museum-specimen DNA. Once it succeeds, the techniques will be applicable to hundreds of other extinct species.
Google ‘discourages’ old browser use
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29012038
For some the only way to get to the 2014 search page was to change their browser’s basic configuration to make Google think it was more up-to-date than it actually was. A Google engineer joined the discussion and explained that the change was not the result of a bug. “It’s working as intended,” said a Google staffer called “nealem”.
What Browser Am I Using?
http://whatbrowser.org/
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XRay, first step in understanding how personal data is being used on web services

New tool makes online personal data more transparent

8/18/14 Columbia Engineering researchers develop XRay, first step in understanding how personal data is being used on web services like Google, Amazon, and YouTube

New York, NY—August 18, 2014—The web can be an opaque black box: it leverages our personal information without our knowledge or control. When, for instance, a user sees an ad about depression online, she may not realize that she is seeing it because she recently sent an email about being sad. Roxana Geambasu and Augustin Chaintreau, both assistant professors of computer science at Columbia Engineering, are seeking to change that, and in doing so bring more transparency to the web. Along with their PhD student, Mathias Lecuyer, the researchers have developed XRay, a new tool that reveals which data in a web account, such as emails, searches, or viewed products, are being used to target which outputs, such as ads, recommended products, or prices. They will be presenting the prototype, which is designed to make the online use of personal data more transparent, at USENIX Security on August 20. The researchers have posted the open source system, as well as their findings, online for other researchers interested in studying how web services use personal data to leverage and extend.
“Today we have a problem: the web is not transparent. We see XRay as an important first step in exposing how websites are using your personal data,” says Geambasu, who is also a member of Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering’s Cybersecurity Center.
We live in a “big data” world, where staggering amounts of personal data—our locations, search histories, emails, posts, photos, and more—are constantly being collected and analyzed by Google, Amazon, Facebook, and many other web services. While harnessing big data can certainly improve our daily lives (Amazon offerings, Netflix suggestions, emergency response Tweets, etc.), these beneficial uses have also generated a big data frenzy, with web services aggressively pursuing new ways to acquire and commercialize the information.
“It’s critical, now more than ever, to reconcile our privacy needs with the exponential progress in leveraging this big data,” says Chaintreau, a member of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering’s New Media Center. Geambasu adds, “If we leave it unchecked, big data’s exciting potential could become a breeding ground for data abuses, privacy vulnerabilities, and unfair or deceptive business practices.”
Determined to provide checks and balances on data abuse, XRay is designed to be the first fine-grained, scalable personal data tracking system for the web. For example, one can use the XRay prototype to study why a user might be shown a specific ad in Gmail. Geambasu and Chaintreau found, for example, that a Gmail user who sees ads about various forms of spiritualism might have received them because he or she sent an email message about depression.
Developing XRay was challenging, say the researchers. “The science of understanding the use of personal web data at a fine grain—looking at individual emails, photos, posts, etc.—is largely non-existent,” Geambasu notes. “There really isn’t anything out there that can accurately pinpoint which specific input—which search query, visited site, or viewed product—or combination of inputs explains which output. It was clear that we needed to come up with a new, robust auditing tool, one that can be applied effectively to many different services.”
How it Works
“We knew from the start that our biggest challenge in achieving transparency would be scale—how do we continue to track more data while using minimum resources?” Chaintreau says. “The theoretical results were encouraging, but seemed too good to be true. So we tested XRay in actual situations, learning from experiments we ran on Gmail, Amazon, and YouTube, and refining the design multiple times. The final design surprised us: XRay succeeded in all the experiments we ran, and it matched our theoretical predictions in increasingly complex cases. That is when we finally thought that achieving web transparency at large is not a dream in a distant future but something we can start building toward now.”
The current XRay system works with Gmail, Amazon, and YouTube. However, XRay’s core functions are service-agnostic and easy to instantiate for new services, and they can track data within and across services. The key idea in XRay is to use black-box correlation of data inputs and outputs to detect data use.
To assess XRay’s practical value, the researchers created an XRay-based demo service that continuously collects and diagnoses Gmail ads related to a set of topics, including various diseases, pregnancy, race, sexual orientation, divorce, debt, etc. They created emails that included keywords closely related to one topic and then launched XRay’s Gmail ad collection and examined the targeting associations. XRay’s data is now available online to anyone interested in sensitive-topic ad targeting in Gmail.
“We’ve just started to peek into XRay’s targeting data and even at this early stage, we’ve seen a lot of interesting behaviors,” Geambasu says. “We know that we need larger-scale experience to formalize and quantify our conclusions, but we can already make several interesting observations.”
The researchers note that (1) It is definitely possible to target sensitive topics in users’ inboxes, including cancer, depression, or pregnancy. (2) For many ads, targeting was extremely obscure and non-obvious to end-users, which opens them up to abuses. (3) The researchers have already seen signs of such abuses, for instance, a number of subprime loan ads for used cars targeting debt in users’ inboxes. Examples of ads and their targeted topics can be found on the XRay website.
The tool can be used to increase user awareness about how their data is being used, as well as provide much needed tools for auditors, such as researchers, journalists, and investigators, to keep that use under scrutiny. Geambasu and Chaintreau, who recently won a Magic Grant from the Brown institute for Media Innovation to build better transparency tools, have made the XRay prototype available for auditors at http://xray.cs.columbia.edu.
“Our work calls for and promotes the best practice of voluntary transparency,” says Chaintreau, “while at the same time empowering investigators and watchdogs with a significant new tool for increased vigilance, something we need more of every day.”

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[CreoleTalk] Tenth Creolistics Workshop: Call for Papers

Call for papers
Tenth Creolistics Workshop: “Innovations” – with special attention to parallels between creole and sign language creation
Aarhus University, Denmark, 8-10 April 2015
http://www.creolisticsX.dk
Background of the Creolistics Workshop
The Creolistics Workshop, which has previously been held in London (UK), Amsterdam (NL), Giessen (D) and Aarhus (DK), has a long tradition for being a forum of exchange and inspiration in the creolistics community. For the tenth edition, the main focus will be on innovations, primarily in creoles and sign languages, but also in other types of languages where contact has played an important role.
Creole studies have traditionally focused on continuation and universals, discussing for instance the contributions of the lexifiers and substrates. In past decades, an important body of literature in creolistics has been produced with the goal of weighing the influences from the various contributing languages to creole formation. However, much less attention has been given to innovations, in particular lexical, semantic, syntactic and typological aspects that cannot easily be attributed to the known input languages.
Therefore, the aim of this workshop will be to shift the focus from a historical approach to creoles to a more cognitively-oriented framework whose primary goal will be to explain why certain strategies and structures are innovated and selected in the creation of new language varieties, while others are not.
As sign languages have been argued to show social and structural commonalities with creoles, special attention is given to Deaf Sign Languages.
 
Parallels between creole and sign language creation
The idea that sign languages can be considered creole languages is based on a variety of factors, and is often linked to the particular sociohistorical circumstances under which they emerged and evolved. Especially since the documentation of the genesis of Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL), where researchers pointed out the sudden development of the language going through a process reminiscent of an initial pidgin stage with subsequent creolization, sign language students have looked at creole studies for inspiration. With few exceptions, this inspiration was more or less unidirectional. The time now seems ripe to cross-fertilize creole studies with research on Sign Languages.
There are several areas of similarity between creoles and sign languages: both are created and innovated from the bottom up, that is, the first generation of (new) sign language users modify, create and unify word signs and structures, just as may have happened in the genesis of creole languages. 90% of deaf children are born in hearing families, which means that the children will be better signers than their parents – just like, at some point in history, children creole speakers were.
There are also structural similarities between signed and spoken languages, such as aspect-dominance, preverbal marking of tense-mood-aspect, the marking of existentials with a verb meaning possession and the use of a sentence-final completive marker.
Furthermore, there are sociolinguistic similarities in that both types of languages are minority languages with low prestige, often lacking recognition and whose speakers and signers themselves belong to stigmatized communities.
Finally, both creole languages and sign languages have been diffused between areas, even between continents, for instance American Sign Language has its roots in French Sign Language rather than being the result of a local creation. Similarly, West African Pidgin English and Caribbean English creoles are historically connected, and several other pidgins/creoles are known to have spawned several daughter languages (e.g. the different Melanesian Pidgin Englishes).
One goal of Creolistics X is to bring together the field of creole studies together with that of sign linguistics so as to establish possible connections between the two types of languages, centering around the theme of innovations. Specifically, the development from pidgin to creole as compared to that from home-signs to full-fledged sign language offers an interesting and potentially fruitful research venue, with possible implications for, among others, general theoretical linguistics and evolutionary linguistics.
 
Call for papers
For this workshop, we would like to invite contributions from scholars working on creoles and sign languages from a diachronic or synchronic perspective. We welcome especially papers that deal with outcomes of contact situations where innovative expansions of the grammatical system can be observed, compared to earlier stages or to the contributing languages. We define innovations here broadly so as to encompass any distinction that is found neither in the lexifier, nor in the substrate languages.
Particularly welcome are contributions which touch upon the commonalities between sign languages and creoles, so that possible underlying cognitive mechanisms common to both language types, regardless of the modality they use, can be identified. Other topics of potential interest include, but are not limited to, how innovations spread and diffuse within a community (from ontogeny to phylogeny), or studies that investigate possible links between creole language and sign language genesis.
In the traditional spirit of openness of preceding Creolistics Workshops, other topics in the area of pidgin and creole languages will also be welcome.
 
Abstracts
The length of abstracts should not exceed 500 words. Please send your anonymized abstract to creolisticsX@gmail.com – remember to provide the name(s) of the author(s) and affiliation in the mail itself, not on the abstract. The deadline for submitting your abstract is on October 1, 2014. Notification of acceptance can be expected around November 1, 2014.
 
Homepage
http://www.creolisticsX.dk
On the homepage, you will find pratical information in connection with the event, as well as a bibliography of studies linking sign languages and creoles.
 
Sign language interpretation will be available for presenters at the conference.
Local organization
Julie Bakken Jepsen
Peter Bakker
Finn Borchsenius
Aymeric Daval-Markussen
Carsten Levisen
Eeva Sippola
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CreoleTALK Mailing List
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Linguistics/

NSA's automated hacking engine offers hands-free pwning of the world

NSA’s automated hacking engine offers hands-free pwning of the world
With Turbine, no humans are required to exploit phones, PCs, routers, VPNs.
by Sean Gallagher – Mar 12 2014, 3:20pm EDT
Since 2010, the National Security Agency has kept a push-button hacking system called Turbine that allows the agency to scale up the number of networks it has access to from hundreds to potentially millions. The news comes from new Edward Snowden documents published by Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald inThe Intercept today. The leaked information details how the NSA has used Turbine to ramp up its hacking capacity to “industrial scale,” plant malware that breaks the security on virtual private networks (VPNs) and digital voice communications, and collect data and subvert targeted networks on a once-unimaginable scale.
Turbine is part of Turbulence, the collection of systems that also includes the Turmoil network surveillance system that feeds the NSA’s XKeyscore surveillance database. While it is controlled from NSA and GCHQ headquarters, it is a distributed set of attack systems equipped with packaged “exploits” that take advantage of the ability the NSA and GCHQ have to insert themselves as a “man in the middle” at Internet chokepoints. Using that position of power, Turbine can automate functions of Turbulence systems to corrupt data in transit between two Internet addresses, adding malware to webpages being viewed or otherwise attacking the communications stream.
Since Turbine went online in 2010, it has allowed the NSA to scale up from managing hundreds of hacking operations each day to handling millions of them. It does so by taking people out of the loop of managing attacks, instead using software to identify, target, and attack Internet-connected devices by installing malware referred to as “implants.” According to the documents, NSA analysts can simply specify the type of information required and let the system figure out how to get to it without having to know the details of the application being attacked.
<snip>