Research Shows Ritalin Causes Long-Term Brain Injury

April 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

By John Lavitt 04/14/14

Via THE FIX

Though still in the research phase, a new study showed that the ADHD drug can potentially cause clinical depression and damage to the frontal lobes.

bored kid.jpg

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 According to a study reported by the American College Of Neuropsychopharmacology, long-term use of the popular ADHD drug Ritalin can potentially result in serious brain injury.

Chemically similar to cocaine, the short-term side effects of Ritalin include “nervousness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headache, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and psychosis.” It was thought that Ritalin had limited long-term effects, but a past study recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed this not to be the case.

Lead researcher, Prof. Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo explained how “clinicians consider Ritalin to be short-acting. When the active dose has worked its way through the system, they consider it all gone.” What proved problematic to Baizer was that the research conducted “suggests that [Ritalin] has the potential for causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function.”

Another study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that Ritalin causes physical changes in neurons in reward regions of mouse brains and these effects were similar to the long-term side effects of cocaine. When placed together, the three studies implied that the long-term side effects of Ritalin include both the onset of clinical depression and potential brain injury to the frontal lobes.

As reported in The New York Times, three million children in this country take drugs for ADHD. In the past 30 years, there has been a 2,000 percent increase in the consumption of drugs for attention-deficit disorder. Among many children, the abuse of Ritalin has become commonplace. When their peers are prescribed these drugs, peer pressure leads to abuse.

The result of the damage done by Ritalin in the brain is similar to frontal lobe syndrome. Over time, frontal lobe syndrome can render a person increasingly incapable of inhibiting impulsive behaviors. In addition, such damage contributes to the onset of clinical depression.

Young people are more vulnerable than adults to the negative side effects of Ritalin because their brains are still actively forming and are becoming delineated. It would seem that any battle against drugs needs to begin by eliminating the all-too-common thread of prescribing ADHD drugs like Ritalin to children in the United States.

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Facebook accused of tracking all users even if they delete accounts, ask never to be followed

March 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

In Case you didn’t know….. Overthrow Facebook!

London Independent

A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed.

Academic researchers said that the report showed that the company was breaking European law with its tracking policies. The law requires that users are told if their computers are receiving cookies except for specific circumstances.

Facebook’s tracking — which it does so that it can tailor advertising — involves putting cookies or small pieces of software on users’ computers, so that they can then be followed around the internet. Such technology is used by almost every website, but European law requires that users are told if they are being given cookies or being tracked. Companies don’t have to tell users if the cookies are required to connect to a service or if they are needed to give the user information that they have specifically requested.

But Facebook’s tracking policy allows it to track users if they have simply been to a page on the company’s domain, even if they weren’t logged in. That includes pages for brands or events, which users can see whether or not they have an account.

Facebook disputes the accusations of the report, it told The Independent.

“This report contains factual inaccuracies,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The authors have never contacted us, nor sought to clarify any assumptions upon which their report is based. Neither did they invite our comment on the report before making it public.

“We have explained in detail the inaccuracies in the earlier draft report (after it was published) directly to the Belgian DPA, who we understand commissioned it, and have offered to meet with them to explain why it is incorrect, but they have declined to meet or engage with us. However, we remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to update their work in due course”.

The report does not have any legal standing, and was written by independent academics.

With respect to its European data, Facebook is regulated by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who checks that Facebook is acting within the EU’s Data Protection Directive. As part of that regulation, Facebook is regularly audited.

Facebook has a page on its site that gives users’ information about cookies and how they are used on the network. The company makes clear that cookies are used for the purposes of advertising and other functions, and that users can opt out of such tracking if they wish to.

Congress Pushes Obama-backed National Biometric ID for Americans

March 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Not to say that Federal ID isn’t used now, as is “E – Verify” … This is what we call the “Immigration Dialectic”

 

After largely failing to prod state governments into developing a national identification system known as “REAL ID,” Republican lawmakers in Congress are once again pushing an Obama-backed scheme that would force every American to have a national ID card containing sensitive biometric data. The controversial plan, embedded in an immigration-enforcement bill, has been in the works for years, but has consistently been met with stiff opposition from liberty-minded grassroots organizations and activists. While the plan has failed in previous Congresses thanks to a groundswell of opposition, critics of the measure say that without prompt action, the unconstitutional scheme could soon become a reality.

The legislation, officially dubbed the “Legal Workforce Act” (H.R. 1147), is ostensibly aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining jobs in the United States. Among the most troubling elements highlighted by critics, though, is that the bill would purport to mandate a national ID card for every American as a condition of working. It would also force every employer in America to purchase and use so-called “E-Verify technology” to check with Washington, D.C., as to whether potential employees have government permission to work. Finally, it would create a massive federal database containing sensitive data on virtually every person in the country — a database that could easily be expanded to include even more information.

  

While establishment lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem fond of the measure, critics are sounding the alarm about the bill and its implications for liberty. In an e-mail to supporters urging them to help crush the unconstitutional legislation, for example, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), in his capacity as chairman of Campaign for Liberty, warned that the national ID scheme would be a nightmare. Among other concerns, the two-time GOP presidential contender noted that it would allow federal bureaucrats to include biometric information — potentially including fingerprints, retinal scans, and more — that could and likely would be eventually used as a tracking device. It would also make it illegal for anyone to work in the United States without obtaining the national ID.

“Every time any citizen applies for a job, the government would know — and you can bet its only a matter of time until ‘ID scans’ will be required to make even routine purchases, as well,” Dr. Paul warned, adding that “statists in both parties have been fighting to ram their radical national ID-database scheme into law” for years. “In fact, this scheme was a key portion of the infamous so-called ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ bills both parties have tried to ram through.” Now, Paul said, the statists believe they have found a way to impose their national ID: Drop the amnesty provisions and focus on immigration “security.”

According to Dr. Paul, a constitutionalist who served in Congress for more than 20 years, the term “security” is being used as “nothing more than a buzzword meant to trick Americans from all over the country into thinking that Congress is finally going to seal our southern border.” In reality, though, it means something much different. “The ‘security’ members of both parties in the U.S. House want doesn’t target any U.S. border,” Paul added. “Instead, it’s meant to create an all-out police state within them.”

Paul also warned that the national database required for the ID regime could easily expand to include information on gun ownership, medical records, political affiliation, and “virtually anything else at the stroke of a President’s pen.” In fact, the stakes are so high, he said, that this type of battle is often decisive in “whether a country remains free or continues sliding toward tyranny.” Existing abuses such as lawless NSA spying, IRS harassment, and more offer further evidence that the feds cannot be trusted with such Orwellian tools to track, monitor, and ultimately control Americans.

Despite the dangers, the legislation has already been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, getting a vote just three days after it was introduced — and the markup took place before the text of the bill was even available online. “The speed with which this bill was rushed through Committee means the House leadership is very serious about passing this bill into law as soon as possible,” warned Paul, urging Americans to fight back immediately to prevent the bill from passing. He also warned about potential “bipartisan compromises” that could be even worse than the original.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who has a dismal 54 percent in the Freedom Index, a tool provided by this magazine that scores lawmakers’ votes based on adherence to the U.S. Constitution they all swore to uphold. The controversial bill already has dozens of co-sponsors in the House, too. It is being publicly touted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who claimed it would bring the “nation’s employment eligibility system into the 21st century,” as well as chief sponsor Smith.

“The Legal Workforce Act turns off the jobs magnet that attracts so many illegal immigrants to the United States,” Rep. Smith said in a statement promoting the measure, ignoring the fact that amnesty and the porous borders have been crucial in encouraging illegal immigration. “The bill expands the E-Verify system and applies it to all U.S. employers. Equally important, the American people support E-Verify,” Smith argued, citing polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly support stronger laws to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants. “This bill is a common-sense approach that will reduce illegal immigration and save jobs for legal workers. It deserves the support of everyone who wants to put the interests of American workers first.”

The bill also has the support of several major lobbying powerhouses — including some, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that are infamous for their support of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Other organizations backing the bill include immigration enforcement-focused Numbers USA, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, and several others. However, in the past, similar national-ID schemes have met with major opposition from groups including Downsize DC, the Rutherford Institute, the American Policy Center, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, the Republican Liberty Caucus, the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, Conservative Republican Women, and many more.

In a letter to lawmakers about the same legislation in the 112th Congress (2011-2012), that broad coalition of organizations blasted the bill as an affront to freedom and the Constitution. Among other concerns, they said it “violates individual civil liberties such as the right to work and free speech; mandates a costly job-killing regulatory burden that cripples small business; requires employers to become enforcement agents of the federal government; and encourages identify theft of law-abiding citizens.” The bill should never have even left committee, according to opponents.

“It is anathema to limited government, the right to privacy, free enterprise and prosperity,” the coalition said in the letter to members of Congress. “It violates the philosophy of the Constitution and intent of the Framers by subordinating the liberty of citizens to the administrative convenience of government. And the Founding Fathers would have rebelled against such a staggering Federal intrusion into every workplace in the nation and our personal civil liberties.”

As The New American reported as far back as 2010, the same plot to impose a national ID on America has been pushed before by some of the leading Big Government-mongers in Congress. The “bipartisan” amnesty-national ID legislation pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and backed by Obama in 2010 eventually failed due to a massive uprising against legalizing illegal immigrants. Back then, though, promoters of the biometric national ID scheme were boasting about their machinations.

“Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here,” wrote Graham and Schumer in a joint op-ed promoting their legislation. “We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card.” At the time, Obama called the proposal “a promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward.”

With the amnesty provision now out of the more recent bill — Obama is using executive decrees funded by the GOP Congress in a bid to provide amnesty anyway — analysts say the national ID plot stands a much greater chance of coming to fruition. In addition to being unconstitutional by virtue of the fact that the Constitution grants no power over identification systems to the federal government, history shows that national ID schemes are dangerous and very often abused by authorities. Considering the U.S. government’s track record, Americans can be sure that, if the plot becomes law, the ID regime will be eventually be abused as well.

If solving the illegal immigration crisis is truly the goal, there is a much simpler solution. Rather than foisting an unconstitutional national ID scheme on Americans and building a massive database, Congress could stop funding Obama’s amnesty decrees and ensure that the borders are secure. For that to happen, though, Americans who value liberty and the Constitution must get involved.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com

Related articles:

Obama & Co. Want National Biometric ID

Obama’s Internet ID Plot Being Tested in Two States

Candidate for Fla. Governor Gets Self Arrested to Fight REAL ID

Ohio Refuses to Enforce REAL ID Standards

State vs. Federal: The Nullification Movement

Oklahoma Woman’s Fight Against Real ID Moves Forward

Obama Plans for Federal Internet “Identity Ecosystem”

Put CCTV in EVERY home: Householders should help us trap burglars, says Scotland Yard chief

March 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

We have them here in the USA… They are called I phones, security systems, and Computers. In every home …..

London Daily Mail

Bernard Hogan Howe said people installed their CCTV cameras too high
This meant only the tops of the criminals’ heads were caught on film
Families should install their own cameras to help catch burglars, he said
The Met chief said Britain needed more cameras to help fight crime

Homeowners should consider fitting CCTV to trap burglars, the country’s most senior police officer declared yesterday.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said police forces needed more crime scene footage to match against their 12million images of suspects and offenders.

And he called on families and businesses to install cameras at eye level – to exploit advances in facial recognition technology.

But privacy campaigners condemned the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s suggestion.

‘The proposals on increasing the amount of privately owned CCTV cameras are quite frankly Orwellian and risk turning members of the public into an extension of the police,’ said Renate Samson of Big Brother Watch.

‘Private CCTV is completely unregulated. Recommending greater use of CCTV to gather more images of people’s faces – often innocent people’s faces – undermines the security of each and every one of us.’

She pointed out that a House of Commons committee had on Saturday released a report on the problems with facial recognition.

Labour MP Andrew Miller said: ‘We were alarmed to discover that the police have begun uploading custody photographs of people to the police national database and using facial recognition software without any regulatory oversight. Some of the people had not even been charged.’

Sir Bernard said most cameras were mounted high to keep them out of harm’s way and to give an overview of a crime area.

He was speaking after Beverley Turner, wife of Olympic rower James Cracknell, challenged him on LBC Radio on whether CCTV could be used to catch burglars.

Her house was burgled while she and her children were sleeping and footage from a neighbour’s CCTV camera was too grainy to identify the thieves.

When Miss Turner asked if more cameras were needed in homes and businesses, Sir Bernard replied: ‘Yes. We’ve got a strategy to encourage people to move their cameras down to eye level.

‘Facial recognition software has got better, and we can now apply it to images of burglaries, and then compare them with images we take when we arrest people.

‘What we need to be able to do is to be able to compare that photograph with the images we have of people committing a crime.

‘Taking the tops of their heads is not that helpful for facial recognition which relies on the eyes and the configuration of the area around the nose and the mouth. So we’re trying to get people to, ideally, add a camera at face level.

‘If anyone listening has a business, think about installing a new one – they’re relatively cheap. If you can’t buy one, could you think about moving it?’ Covert cameras disguised as clocks, clothes hooks, mirrors and even thermometers can be bought for as little as £40.

They have been responsible for an avalanche of ‘peeping Tom’ prosecutions involving footage taken in changing rooms, offices and toilets.

Many bookmakers use them to identify robbers or fraudsters.The Green peer Baroness Jones said it was wrong to encourage householders to follow suit. ‘It threatens to undermine people’s confidence and inject fear in the place where they should feel most secure,’ she said.

‘I’m not sure it will make anyone feel any safer and the use of facial recognition technology remains largely untested and unproven.’

Research from the College of Policing last week revealed CCTV only modestly cuts crimes such as vandalism and car theft and is useless in stopping violence.

Experts said better street lighting and neighbourhood watch schemes were more valuable.

Aaron Bradford, 18, broke into Rosalinde Potter’s house in Yelverton, Devon, for a third time in the middle of the afternoon but was disturbed when she returned at 2.40pm.

She saw the house had been ransacked and called police unaware that Bradford was still in her home and when police arrived he stayed quiet in his hiding place.

But what he did not know is that Ms Potter had installed CCTV cameras after being victim to burglaries in the past.

Armed with a poker, Aaron Bradford, 18, looks around one of the rooms of after hiding for 13 hours

Armed with a poker, Aaron Bradford, 18, looks around one of the rooms of after hiding for 13 hours

She said: ‘We were all in the room while he was there – me, a police officer, another officer taking fingerprints, my partner. He was within arms reach of all of us.

‘There’s a shelf inside and I assume he was sitting there like a gnome holding a fishing rod. He’s slim but 6ft tall so I think that’s the only way he could have done it.

‘We went into the spare room with the police three times while he was sat inside there. I went back into the room myself later too. It’s very disturbing to think that someone might actually want to hit me with a poker.

‘It took me three weeks before I could even sleep at night just thinking someone could be in the house.’

The cameras filmed him as he tried to make a getaway with a laptop and camera, brandishing a poker at 4am once his victim had gone to bed.

In one clip that Ms Potter released, Bradford can be seen going into a room where he stands for a short while before turning a light on.

He surveys the room, turns the light off and then using the glow from his mobile phone he carefully tiptoes around.

He was arrested nearby and identified by the CCTV footage, which showed him entering the house on one day – and then leaving it on the next.

After his arrest police found the stolen laptop in a bag that Bradford had with him.

 

The Science Behind Human-Controlled Weather (Basic 101 version)

February 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

 

Next Gov

It hasn’t been an enjoyable winter for much of the United States. Record snowfall has blanketed cities like Boston, while below-freezing temperatures and relentless wind chills have sent shivers all the way from Chicago to Atlanta.

At times like these, some people start wondering whether humans can combat the cold in ways other than by wearing layers and cranking up the heat. What if, one daydreams, we could break apart the clouds that produce rain and snow and wintry mixes? What if we could control the weather for once?

It’s possible—sort of. The process of weather modification comes up in conversation again and again, often in debate (over who—governments or private companies—should do the modifying, what the health effects might be, etc.). Usually, it comes up simply when we’re in need of better weather.

Like on wedding days, for example. The U.K.-based luxury company Oliver’s Travels has announced a weather-modification service that would burst clouds and guarantee clear skies by using cloud seeding, a process that encourages precipitation, before their clients’ big days. The company only requires three weeks to study and alter the weather at the wedding site—and $150,000 in payment.

The announcement baffled Bruce Boe, the vice president of meteorology at Weather Modification, Inc., a North Dakota-based company that researches and carries out cloud seeding for farms in need of rainfall. I reached out to Boe, who has studied storms and flown aircrafts since 1974, to find out whether cloud seeding could in fact create sunny skies—and by extension, reverse winter freezes in the future.

Looking over the Oliver’s Travels package, Boe told me it’s impossible to guarantee perfect weather. “We don’t believe there’s a way to reliably prevent precipitation,” he said. “We’re a little surprised someone else thinks they can.”

There are too many obstacles to controlling the weather, he explained. Only some clouds allow for successful seeding, and weather patterns have remained difficult to predict, even with the help of our best forecasting instruments. The scale of the Earth’s atmosphere is far too great to tamper with—at least for now. (Oliver’s Travels didn’t respond to an interview request, but the company says in a blog post that “new technology and research have produced reliable results that make cloud seeding a dependable activity.”)

Most important, cloud seeding can only produce so many forms of precipitation: Glaciogenic seeding creates ice by using a nucleating agent (silver iodide, which attracts water) to accelerate a cloud’s development. Hydroscopic seeding involves jumpstarting droplet formation and making droplets bigger, leading to rainfall.

“Think of it as applied cloud physics,” Boe said. “It’s not really modifying the weather, but modifying the precipitation processes in clouds.”

In fact, even the scientists who invented cloud seeding quickly realized total weather modification would be too far-fetched a goal. In 1946, the General Electric chemist Vincent Schaefer experimented with creating precipitation, using dry ice to form crystals. He then worked with Bernard Vonnegut—yes, Kurt’s brother—to develop silver iodide, that compound that increased the size of water droplets and induced rain and snow indoors. They were excited enough at the start: In a 1993 interview with the American Meteorological Society, Schaefer recalled how he felt during his successful dry ice experiment:

It was a very warm, humid day and I was using my chamber very actively… I decided to cool it down by putting some dry ice in it. And the instant the dry ice got into the supercooled cloud, everything was ice crystals. So I could see I had the answer. It was a serendipitous event… I knew I had something pretty important.

I demonstrated this at a number of scientific meetings, and everybody got quite excited about it. Harry Wexler [the then-chief scientist for the U.S. Weather Bureau] came up to me, and said, ‘You know, about 10 years ago I was calibrating thermometers in a cold chamber using dry ice, and I wasn’t smart enough to realize I had something important.’ Because he had everything I had, but he just didn’t observe.

As research moved forward, however, Schaefer and Vonnegut saw weather modification become less about modifying weather and more about enhancing it. “At first, they thought, ‘Ah, we’re going to be able to control the weather,'” Boe said. “We’ve learned since then that, well, it’s not as possible as we thought.”

Even so, because of its science-fiction-like possibilities (controlling the weather is a superpower, after all), weather modification has always led to aspirational inventions and promises of clear skies. Boe cited hail cannons, which claim to stop hailstorms by generating shockwaves. They’ve been used often throughout Europe since the early 20th century, but have no evidence of actually suppressing hail.

That’s not to say the decades since Schaefer and Vonnegut’s dry-ice experiments have been for naught. Though complete weather modification may never be possible, Boe explained the technology involved has leapt forward. In 1978, for example, he navigated planes through clouds without GPS and used carbon-dioxide pistols to catch cloud droplets on glass slides. He had to later bring those slides to a lab, where he could examine them under microscopes.

Today, he uses optical array probes, diodes, and lasers that show in real time the size, shape, and number of particles in a cloud while he flies. And before taking off, he can simulate the cloud seeding to select the right clouds. It’s not only more efficient, but more accurate as well. Which, as Boe put it, helps him and his team understand weather patterns and cloud science first, before they can tackle the possibilities of complete weather modification.

“We’re pushing ahead on all these fronts, and it’s an exciting time to be in the field,” he said. “I’m just still waiting for the day when we quit calling it ‘weather modification,’ and start calling it what it is: cloud modification.”

UPDATE 2016: Car Hacking Report Refuels Concerns About Michael Hastings Crash

February 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

 

Those still wondering what really happened in gonzo journalist Michael Hastings’ fiery demise likely sat up straight during 60 Minutes’ recent piece on how hackers can hijack the controls of a car.

 

Who What Why

After Hastings died in a bizarre one-car crash along a straight Los Angeles street, former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke noted the accident was “consistent with a car cyber attack” and that it was easy to hack cars. It seems he was right, as 60 Minutes demonstrated in a chilling fashion.

In the segment, a nervous Lesley Stahl smashed into safety cones on a driving course after two men using a laptop computer remotely commandeered her brakes. Former video game developer Dan Kaufman, who’s now working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, set up the demonstration.

In trying to figure out what kinds of attacks enemies might be plotting on American soil, government agencies are learning the same techniques. To wrest the controls from Stahl, a hacker dialed in through the vehicle’s OnStar system to first busy up the computer, then planted code that allowed it to reprogram the control systems. Kaufman stood by giving driving orders to the hackers.

The demonstration underscored what Clarke, counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said after Hastings’ crash. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard,” he said. “So if there were a cyber attack on the car—and I’m not saying there was—I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.” Clarke added that the LAPD was unlikely to have the tools necessary to detect such an attack, particularly after a fire.

No Crowbar Needed, Just an iPad

One thing is clear: Drivers are at risk.

In a stinging report released this week, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Markey slammed car companies for their failure to protect car owners  from hackers and intrusive data collectors who might seize control of increasingly computerized vehicles. “Automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber-attacks or privacy invasions,” he said.

Much of the report focuses on how car computers can be used to collect driving history, from where a car is parked to where it traveled. But it also reveals hackers’ ability to remotely turn, stop and accelerate cars. Markey’s report notes that car companies can now disable vehicles if owners fall behind on their payments. Burglars can exploit the same vulnerabilities.

WHY? Cui Bono?

Hastings’ work as a thorn in the side of government and the 33-year-old journalist’s death in an unusual crash in June 2013 immediately triggered speculation. A witness reported seeing Hastings’ new silver Mercedes C250 coupe speeding down a Hollywood street before dawn when it bounced, slammed into a tree and burst into flames.

Shortly before Hastings’ death, he sent what was described as a “panicky” email to friends expressing concern that associates were being interviewed by “the Feds.” He also wrote that he was onto a big story and needed to “get off the radar for a bit.” His 2010 story for Rolling Stone in which Stanley McChrystal skewered the White House and its strategy in Afghanistan led to the general’s resignation.

The FBI denied Hastings was the target of any investigation, yet a Freedom of Information Act request later unearthed an FBI file on Hastings. Hastings also told a neighbor he thought someone had been tampering with his car. At the time of his death he was working on an article about CIA director John Brennan.

The Los Angeles Police Department concluded that the crash was an accident and did not involve foul play. The coroner’s report also declared Hastings’ death, ascribed to “massive blunt force trauma,” as accidental, and revealed that there were trace amounts of marijuana and amphetamine in his system, though neither was considered a factor in the crash. The report noted that Hastings’ family had been trying to convince him to go into detox.

Just an Accident?

Hastings’ widow, who hired a private investigator to examine all the evidence, at least publicly labeled the crash an accident. “You know, my gut here, was that it was just a really tragic accident,” Elise Jordan said in an interview two months after Hastings’ death.

“I’m definitely suspicious about the crash,” Montana state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov told WhoWhatWhy. The Republican legislator has introduced a bill, which he says was inspired in part by Hastings’ work, to bar state government agencies from accessing servers to get reporters’ notes.

Like Markey, Zolnikov is also concerned about risks posed by increasingly high-tech cars, which he described as “computers without protections.”

If that’s the case, then the information superhighway and highways have merged dangerously.

Read the Entire story @ Who What Why

Government employee piloted drone that crashed at White House (Mystery ‘device’ found )

January 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Government employee piloted drone that crashed at White House | 26 Jan 2015 | A government employee told the Secret Service that he lost control of a small drone before it crashed on the grounds of the White House shortly after 3 a.m. on Monday, officials said. The man, not identified by the government, has been “been fully cooperative” and “initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device,” the Secret Service said in a written statement. The pre-dawn incident triggered an early morning lockdown of the White House perimeter and revived concern about the security of the presidential home.

Secret Service investigating small drone on White House grounds –Mystery ‘device’ found on White House grounds | 26 Jan 2015 | The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a “device,” described as a small drone, found on the grounds of the White House, a White House official said Monday, and Press Secretary Josh Earnest said early indications are that the device does not pose an ongoing threat. The Secret Service is sweeping the White House grounds on Monday morning looking for anything else that might be on the ground. Flying drones is illegal in the District of Columbia.

N.S.A. Tapped Into North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack / Defector Lied About His Story of Captivity

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

N.S.A. Tapped Into North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack, Officials Say | 18 Jan 2015 |The trail that led American officials to blame North Korea for the destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November winds back to 2010, when the National Security Agency scrambled to break into the computer systems of North Korea. The American spy agency [in violation of international law] drilled into the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers and penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies, according to former United States and foreign officials, computer experts later briefed on the operations and a newly disclosed N.S.A. document.

 

Prominent North Korean Defector Lied About His Story of Captivity, Said to Be ‘Still Lying’ | 18 Jan 2015 | He was the [CIA] poster boy for human rights atrocities in North Korea; a soft-spoken survivor of the North’s cruel gulags who eventually met such dignitaries as John Kerry in his campaign to focus attention on the North’s abuses. Now, that survivor fabulist, Shin Dong-hyuk, is retracting central facts of his widely reported life story, memorialized in a 2012 book, “Escape from Camp 14,” by a former Washington Post reporter that has been published in 27 languages. Mr. Shin’s latest account has raised its own questions. “He is still lying,” said a North Korean defector who said he was in Camp 18 from 1967 to 1988 and would speak to journalists only on condition of anonymity because he still had family members in the North.

CENTCOM Twitter, YouTube hack traced to Maryland, home of the NSA

January 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

CENTCOM Twitter, YouTube hack traced to Maryland, home of the NSA –Goal is to ensure passage of Orwellian CISPA (now CISA), the spying gift, to the NSA/US corporations | 12 Jan 2015 | The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Pentagon’s command for its forces in the Middle East were hacked Monday, according to U.S. Central Command. The command’s Twitter and YouTube sites “were compromised for approximately 30 minutes,” a statement released by CENTCOM said…A Twitter account from a group identifying itself as Anonymous said Monday it had tracked the source of the hack to Maryland, but that was not confirmed by official sources.

 

MSM Version (USA TODAY)

 

WASHINGTON — The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Pentagon’s command for its forces in the Middle East were hacked Monday, according to U.S. Central Command.

The command’s Twitter and YouTube sites “were compromised for approximately 30 minutes,” a statement released by CENTCOM said. “These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers, and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further. CENTCOM’s operational military networks were not compromised, and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command.”

“We view this as little more than a prank,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “No (Pentagon) systems or computers were compromised.”

Shorty after 10 p.m. ET, CENTCOM announced “We’re back” in a tweet from it’s Twitter account.

Tampa-based Central Command oversees U.S. forces battling militants in Iraq and Syria, as well as its troops in Afghanistan. Along with the U.S. Special Operations Command, it is located at MacDill Air Force Base.

A group calling itself the CyberCaliphate claimed responsibility for the hack.

A Twitter account from a group identifying itself as Anonymous said Monday it had tracked the source of the hack to Maryland, but that was not confirmed by official sources.

Social media accounts, such as those on Twitter or YouTube, are routinely hacked, said Tim Junio, a Stanford University information security expert. “It is usually the result of guessing at passwords or the answers to security questions,” he said.

Though a Twitter account is easier to break into than a Pentagon computer, it’s not trivial, said Jim Penrose, a former National Security Agency computer security expert now with Darktrace, a British security firm.

“There’s been a lot of effort to increase Twitter’s security in the past few months,” he said. A user coming in from a different Internet address would have to answer multiple security questions to be able to change the password on the account and keep legitimate CENTCOM staffers out.

Rosetta Probe Touches Down On Speeding Comet

November 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Let the Corporate Mining begin!

Sky News

The head of the European Space Agency hails “a big step for human civilisation” as Philae sends signals from the comet surface.

The Rosetta mission has successfully landed a probe on a comet moving at 34,000mph in a historic first for space exploration.

Scientists cheered and punched the air in the European Space (ESA) control room when they received confirmation that the Philae lander was sending signals from the comet.

ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain told a delighted audience: “This is a big step for human civilisation.”

Staff at the Lander Control Center 300 million miles away in Cologne said information they were receiving suggested the probe had made a “soft, gentle” landing.

Picture from instruments on the Philae Lander

Philae’s ROLIS camera captured the final stages of the probe’s descent

But they said they were investigating data that indicated Philae’s anchor “did not shoot” as planned, casting doubt over whether the probe was properly fixed to the comet.

Anchoring is necessary because gravity on the comet is 100,000 times weaker than on Earth so the potential for “bounce-back” is a major challenge.

00:00/01:42

Video: How Will Rosetta Mission Work?

There was a nail-biting wait of seven hours between the probe’s detachment from the Rosetta orbiter at 9am UK time and touchdown on the comet’s icy surface.

Philae had to negotiate a distance of 22km (14miles) between the orbiter and the comet and land on the 4km (2.4miles) wide lump of ice and dust as it hurtled through space.

There had been concerns after a problem with the lander’s active descent system emerged overnight and for a while put the final approach in jeopardy.

00:00/01:27

Video: ‘Singing’ Comet Reveals Space Song

A thruster intended to counteract rebound at touchdown could not be activated – meaning latching onto the comet was completely dependent on the dishwasher-sized probe’s harpoon and ice screw system.

But confirmation of the successful landing came at 4.04pm UK time when ESA operations tweeted: “RECEIPT OF SIGNAL FROM SURFACE European Space Agency receiving signals from @Philae2014 on surface of comet #67P/CG #cometlanding.”

In the final phase of the mission scientists said they were surprised to find the rock – called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – was “emitting a song”.

00:00/00:23

Video: Good Luck From Captain Kirk

The Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) said it believed the comet was releasing particles into space which were becoming electrically charged and causing fluctuations in its magnetic field.

The £1bn mission is designed to analyse the composition and density of a comet to better understand the origins of our solar system.

The Rosetta mission blasted off from French Guiana in March 2004 and has travelled more than four billion miles to reach its target.

Scientists used gravity to act as a catapult, plotting co-ordinates which took the orbiter around the Earth three times and Mars once.

They even placed the spacecraft into deep space hibernation to conserve energy – it woke up after 31 months when it passed close to the Sun and was charged by solar rays.

Chief scientist Matt Taylor said the analysis of the data from the surface, together with Earth-based observations, could provide our most detailed ever snapshot of a comet.

00:00/02:50

Video: Rosetta: See How Philae Will Land

It is believed that comets which formed over four billion years ago could hold the key to how Earth was ‘seeded’ with water and organic matter, providing the building blocks for life.

Mr Taylor told Sky News: “This particular class of comet, Jupiter class comets, showed a similar flavour of water to what we see on Earth so possibly comets could have delivered the Earth’s oceans, so water – and ultimately us, because we are made of water.”

 

 

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