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"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." -- Marshall McLuhan, 1969

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR
Topic: International Relations 3:47 pm EDT, Jul 27, 2010

The WikiLeaks, from what we have seen so far, detail power, interest and reality as we have known it. They do not reveal a new reality. Much will be made about the shocking truth that has been shown, which, as mentioned above, shocks only those who wish to be shocked. The Afghan war is about an insufficient American and allied force fighting a capable enemy on its home ground and a Pakistan positioning itself for the inevitable outcome. The WikiLeaks contain all the details.

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR

SpyTalk - CIA applicant's arrest tops wave of China spy cases
Topic: Security 11:57 am EDT, Jul 21, 2010

A young Michigan man was quietly arrested last month and charged with lying on a CIA job application about his connection with Chinese intelligence, a case that drew virtually no attention outside his home state.

Glenn Duffie Shriver, 28, of Georgetown Township, Mich., tried to conceal $70,000 in payments from the Beijing government and denied his “numerous” meetings with Chinese intelligence officials, according to the government’s indictment.

The indictment doesn’t say what kind of work he was seeking at the CIA. It could not be learned if Shriver had yet entered a plea.

I wonder if the media is going to start paying more attention to downright huge amount of Chinese espionage going on. They were all over the Russian spy bust...

SpyTalk - CIA applicant's arrest tops wave of China spy cases

Scientists baffled by unusual upper atmosphere shrinkage
Topic: Science 2:11 am EDT, Jul 18, 2010

An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently shrank so much that researchers are at a loss to adequately explain it, NASA said on Thursday.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! RUN!

Scientists baffled by unusual upper atmosphere shrinkage

Tea Party memes I'd love to start...
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:28 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2010

1) Privatize the State Department! The market could do a better job.

2) No more corrupt police departments. Instead, bodyguard vouchers!


Mild earthquake felt across DC region
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:46 am EDT, Jul 16, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Montgomery County at 5:04 a.m. Friday.

The epicenter was in Gaithersburg near the intersection of I-270 and Route 124 (39.145°N, 77.222°W), USGS reported in a preliminary finding. Its depth was 3.1 miles.

I slept right through it.

Mild earthquake felt across DC region

What it's like to own an Apple product - The Oatmeal
Topic: Humor 12:58 pm EDT, Jun 18, 2010

... in a nut shell.

What it's like to own an Apple product - The Oatmeal

CAP's Spill Response Recomendations
Topic: Current Events 5:33 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2010

The several media outlets have been commenting on CAP's role in the spill aftermath:

If you want to see where President Barack Obama’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster is heading, try following the urgings of the Center for American Progress.

The liberal think tank with close White House ties appears to have more influence on spill policy than the president’s in-house advisers. On May 4, for instance, the CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, called on the president to name an independent commission to look at the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On May 22, he did just that.

On May 21, CAP president, John Podesta, privately implored White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the spill response. A week later, the White House announced that Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen would hold daily briefings on the spill, wherever he would be on any given day.

On May 26, Weiss said the White House needed to demand that BP immediately set up an escrow account with billions of dollars from which claims for Gulf state residents would be paid out.

Monday’s headlines proclaimed the president’s latest get-tough stand: BP needs to set up a billion-dollar escrow account.

What’s next, Mr. Podesta?

Funny you should ask! Here is Dan's latest laundry list:

Take charge of the clean up

* Put the National Guard—along with other military branches—in charge of cleaning up BP oil and begin planning for a tropical storm response as soon as possible since storm season began June 1
* Appoint the remaining commissioners to the Bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
* Create a comprehensive BP oil disaster information clearinghouse at so that all information is in one place rather than dispersed on each separate agency website

Demand more help from BP

* Demand that BP provide more transparency to their efforts and allow media access to all contaminated areas
* Stop BP, Transocean, and Halliburton from spending money on their own or American Petroleum Institute lobbyists, ads, or campaign contributions, and instead dedicate all funds to clean up and compensation

Provide health and economic aid to people in the gulf region

* Put the government, not BP, in charge of the immediate and long-term public health response
* Establish a $10 billion escrow account for damages, which is less than half the profits BP earned in the last 15 months
* Eliminate the oil spill liability cap of $75 million for damages from an oil spill
* Establish a Gulf Recovery Fund, a nongovernmental, nonprof... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Chinese hackers launch “virtual jihad” against South Korea boy band fans | The Observers
Topic: Computer Security 4:24 pm EDT, Jun 11, 2010

Dozens of website and forums that mention South Korean pop music have been hacked by Chinese web users. Why? Because of a stampede outside a Korean boy band's gig in Shanghai, which hackers say made a fool out of China.

The gig took place in the South Korea pavilion at the Shanghai Expo on 30 May. The band, "Super Junior", attracted thousands of fans, who queued for hours to get one of the 5,000 promised tickets.

For reasons unknown, only 2,000 people were allowed in. So outraged were the thousands of devoted supporters left outside the pavilion, that they began a massive protest, allegedly trying to stampede a human police barrier and clawing at officers.

Chinese web users - in particular World of Warcraft players - took to the net to express their outrage over the "braindead" behaviour of the fans, known as K-fans. After much condemnation, it was decided that the forums and websites of pop bands and fans should be hacked. The plan, or self described "jihad", came into action on Wednesday evening, and within an hour, it was reported that "all forums liked by Korean pop fans have now been blasted".

Some 24 hours after the offensive, and many of the 40 hacked pages, along with their varying degrees of offensive warnings, Chinese flags and porn, are still in place.

Ok, that's funny. :)

Chinese hackers launch “virtual jihad” against South Korea boy band fans | The Observers

TaoSecurity: "Untrained" or Uncertified IT Workers Are Not the Primary Security Problem
Topic: Computer Security 2:58 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2010

I really like Richard Bejtlich. He is one of the few security bloggers that truly gets practical infosec.

There's a widespread myth damaging digital security policy making. As with most security myths it certainly seems "true," until you spend some time outside the policy making world and think at the level where real IT gets done.

The myth is this: "If we just had a better trained and more professional IT corps, digital security would improve."

This myth is the core of the story White House Commission Debates Certification Requirements For Cybersecurity Pros.

My opinion? This is a jobs program for security training and certification companies.

Here's my counter-proposal that will be cheaper, more effective, and still provide a gravy train for the trainers and certifiers:

Train Federal non-IT managers first.

What do I mean? Well, do you really think the problem with digital security involves people on the front lines not knowing what they are supposed to do? In my opinion, the problem is management who remains largely ignorant of the modern security environment. If management truly understood the risks in their environment, they would be reallocating existing budgets to train their workforce to better defend their agencies.

Let's say you still think the problem is that people on the front lines do not know what they are supposed to do. Whose fault is that? Easy: management. A core responsibility of management is to organize, train, and equip their teams to do their jobs. In other words, in agencies where IT workers may not be qualified, I guarantee their management is failing their responsibilities.

So why not still start with training IT workers? Simple: worker gets trained, returns to job, the following conversation occurs:

Worker to boss: "Hey boss, I just learned how terrible our security is. We need to do X, Y, and Z, and stop listening to vendors A, B, and C, and hire people 1, 2, and 3, and..."

Boss to worker: "Go paint a rock."

Instead of spending money first on IT workers, educate their management, throughout the organization, on the security risks in their public and private lives. Unleash competent Blue and Red teams on their agencies, perform some tactical security monitoring, and then bring the results to a class where attendees sign a waiver saying their own activity is subject to monitoring. During the class shock the crowd by showing how insecure their environment is, how the instructors know everyone's Facebook and banking logins, and how they could cause professional and personal devastation for every attendee and their agency.

We need to help managers understand how dangerous the digital world is and let them allocate budgets accordingly.

I also like the fact that he frequently compliments my friends on their work. :)

TaoSecurity: "Untrained" or Uncertified IT Workers Are Not the Primary Security Problem

Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters | The Onion
Topic: Humor 6:23 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2010

LONDON— As the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico entered its eighth week Wednesday, fears continued to grow that the massive flow of bullshit still gushing from the headquarters of oil giant BP could prove catastrophic if nothing is done to contain it.

The toxic bullshit, which began to spew from the mouths of BP executives shortly after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April, has completely devastated the Gulf region, delaying cleanup efforts, affecting thousands of jobs, and endangering the lives of all nearby wildlife.

Though no one knows exactly how much of the dangerous bullshit is currently gushing from BP headquarters, estimates put the number at somewhere between 25,000 and 70,000 words a day.

"We're looking at a truly staggering load of shit here," said Rebecca Palmer, an environmental scientist at the University of Georgia, who claimed that only BP has the ability to stem the flow of bullshit and plug it at its source. "And this is just the beginning—we're only seeing the surface-level bullshit. It could be years before we sift through it all and figure out just how deep this bullshit goes."

Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters | The Onion

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