U.S.

Arms apeal with larms

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The madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with U.S. President Richard Nixon’s foreign policy. He and his administration tried to make the leaders of hostile Communist Bloc nations think Nixon was irrational and volatile. According to the theory, those leaders would then avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response.

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The author finds that perceived madness is harmful to general deterrence and is sometimes also harmful in crisis bargaining, but may be helpful in crisis bargaining under certain conditions.

{ British Journal of Political Science | Continue reading }

black smoke shells fitted with computer chips { Cai Guo-Qiang, Wreath (Black Ceremony), 2011 }

This is Rooshious balls. This is a ttrinch. This is mistletropes. This is Canon Futter with the popynose.

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For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software.

The Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.

But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company’s devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages. […]

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concludes. […]

The program had limits. America’s main adversaries, including the Soviet Union and China, were never Crypto customers.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

related { How Big Companies Spy on Your Emails }

Everywhere erriff you went and every bung you arver dropped into, in cit or suburb or in addled areas, the Rose and Bottle or Phoenix Tavern or Power’s Inn or Jude’s Hotel or wherever you scoured the countryside from Nannywater to Vartryville or from Porta Lateen to the lootin quarter

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On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it was charging four members of China’s People’s Liberation Army with the 2017 Equifax breach that resulted in the theft of personal data of about 145 million Americans.

Using the personal data of millions of Americans against their will is certainly alarming. But what’s the difference between the Chinese government stealing all that information and a data broker amassing it legally without user consent and selling it on the open market? Both are predatory practices to invade privacy for insights and strategic leverage. […]

Equifax is eager to play the hapless victim in all this. […] “The attack on Equifax was an attack on U.S. consumers as well as the United States,” [Equifax’s chief executive] said. […]

According to a 2019 class-action lawsuit, the company’s cybersecurity practices were a nightmare. The suit alleged that “sensitive personal information relating to hundreds of millions of Americans was not encrypted, but instead was stored in plain text” and “was accessible through a public-facing, widely used website.” Another example of the company’s weak safeguards, according to the suit, shows the company struggling to use a competent password system. “Equifax employed the username ‘admin’ and the password ‘admin’ to protect a portal used to manage credit disputes,” it read.

Though the attack was quite sophisticated — the hackers sneaked out information in small, hard to detect chunks and routed internet traffic through 34 servers in over a dozen countries to cover their tracks — Equifax’s apparent carelessness made it a perfect target.

According to a 2019 class-action lawsuit, the company’s cybersecurity practices were a nightmare. The suit alleged that “sensitive personal information relating to hundreds of millions of Americans was not encrypted, but instead was stored in plain text” and “was accessible through a public-facing, widely used website.” Another example of the company’s weak safeguards, according to the suit, shows the company struggling to use a competent password system. “Equifax employed the username ‘admin’ and the password ‘admin’ to protect a portal used to manage credit disputes,” it read.

The takeaway: While almost anything digital is at some risk of being hacked, the Equifax attack was largely preventable.

{ NY TImes | Continue reading }

related { The End of Privacy as We Know It? }

related { The FBI downloaded CIA’s hacking tools using Starbuck’s WiFi }

This is the Hausman all paven and stoned, that cribbed the Cabin that never was owned that cocked his leg and hennad his Egg

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Many New Yorkers are familiar with the iconic Waldorf Astoria, which sits on Park Avenue. But they might be surprised to learn that this is the second iteration of the luxury hotel. The original was located along Manhattan’s fashionable Fifth Avenue, and the structure took up the entire block between 33rd and 34th streets. But in late November 1929 — after the stock market had crashed and the slow slide into the Great Depression began — workers began demolishing it. […] The demolition of the old hotel, completed by the winter of 1930, made way for the construction of the ultimate expression of the city’s architectural ambitions: the Empire State Building.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

The original hotel started as two hotels on Fifth Avenue built by feuding relatives. The first hotel, the 13-story, 450-room Waldorf Hotel, designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the German Renaissance style, was opened on March 13, 1893, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street, on the site where millionaire developer William Waldorf Astor had his mansion. […]

On November 1, 1897, John Jacob Astor IV opened the 17-story Astoria Hotel on an adjacent site, and leased it to Boldt. The hotels were initially built as two separate structures, but Boldt planned the Astoria so it could be connected to the Waldorf by an alley. Peacock Alley was constructed to connect the two buildings,[21] and the hotel subsequently became known as the “Waldorf-Astoria”, the largest hotel in the world at the time.

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The Mookse had a sound eyes right but he could not all hear

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Now we learn that San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott gave the approval to General Electric to outfit 4,000 new “smart street lights” with cameras and microphones in 2017. […]

The City paid $30 million for the contract. But the larger issue is that General Electric has already made more than $1 billion dollars selling San Diego residents’ data to Wall Street.

The City of San Diego gave what appears to be unrestricted rights to the private data, according to the contract. […]

San Diego is now home to the largest mass surveillance operation across the country.

General Electric and its subsidiaries* have access to all the processed data in perpetuity with no oversight.

{ California Globe | Continue reading }

photo { Brad Rimmer }

Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine.

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[We] discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media. […]

Titles like the East Michigan News, Hickory Sun, and Grand Canyon Times have appeared on the web ahead of the 2020 election. These networks of sites can be used in a variety of ways: as ‘stage setting’ for events, focusing attention on issues such as voter fraud and energy pricing, providing the appearance of neutrality for partisan issues, or to gather data from users that can then be used for political targeting. […]

Some of these mysterious, partisan local news sites publish physical newspapers and many have minimal social media presence. At first, they do not  appear to be owned by the same network or organization, but a number of clues suggest that they are intimately linked. Our analysis demonstrates the links between the networks by identifying shared markers, such as unique analytics tokens, server IP addresses, and even shared design templates and bylines on articles. Further, the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for many of these websites—but not all—suggest they are part of Locality Labs, LLC. 

{ Columbia Journalism Review | Continue reading }

still { Martin Kersels, Pink Constellation, 2001 }

Three billionaires – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett – collectively have more wealth than 160 million Americans. The world’s 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50%.

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Vermin Love Supreme is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush, and has said that if elected President of the United States, he will pass a law requiring people to brush their teeth.

He has campaigned on a platform of zombie apocalypse awareness and time travel research, and promised a free pony for every American.

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Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk.

The U.S. government is in the midst of forcing a standoff with China over the global deployment of Huawei’s 5G wireless networks around the world. […] This conflict is perhaps the clearest acknowledgement we’re likely to see that our own government knows how much control of communications networks really matters, and our inability to secure communications on these networks could really hurt us.

{ Cryptography Engineering | Continue reading }

related { Why Controlling 5G Could Mean Controlling the World }

a jungle of love and debts and jangled through a jumble of life in doubts

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{ Overnight, Gem Spa was transformed into SchitiBank | more | ThanksTim }

Fear causes the organism to seek safety and may cause a release of adrenaline, which has the effect of increased strength and heightened senses such as hearing, smell, and sight

In the first study [2010] of its kind, officials scoured the city’s subway system to discover what accounts for the perennial presence of rodents, a scourge since the system opened more than a century ago. […] Rodents, it turns out, reside inside station walls, emerging occasionally from cracks in the tile to rummage for food. The legend of teeming rat cities tucked deep into subway tunnels is, in fact, a myth. The electrified tracks, scientists said, are far too dangerous. […]

“They can fall 40 feet onto a concrete slab and keep running,” said Solomon Peeples, 86, a former director of the city’s Bureau of Pest Control Services. “We’re no match for them, as far as I’m concerned. Man does not stand no chance.” […]

Nothing quite excites a rat like a station’s “refuse room,” a storage space for bags of garbage waiting to be hauled away. For rodents, the room is “a restaurant,” as Dr. Corrigan called it, and he recommended that the transportation authority install poison bait in the rooms for a more surgical strike. (Currently, the authority places poison only on the tracks.) […]

Dr. Corrigan told health officials that while rats were a problem in the subways, the rodents inhabited many other public spaces, particularly parks. “Virtually all of New York,” he said, “is vulnerable to this uncanny mammal.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

New York has always been forced to coexist with the four-legged vermin, but the infestation has expanded exponentially in recent years, spreading to just about every corner of the city. […] Rat sightings reported to the city’s 311 hotline have soared nearly 38 percent, to 17,353 last year from 12,617 in 2014. […]

One key reason rats seem to be everywhere? Gentrification. The city’s construction boom is digging up burrows, forcing more rats out into the open, scientists and pest control experts say.

Milder winters — the result of climate change — make it easier for rats to survive and reproduce. And New York’s growing population and thriving tourism have brought more trash for rats to feed on.

Rats once scurried in the shadows but now they frolic brazenly in broad daylight. […] Parents at an Upper West Side playground said rats jumped into the sandbox where their children played, though the vermin have been cleared for now.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Traps. Poison. Birth control. Dry ice. And now, what city officials are touting as a high-tech solution: drowning. […] a bucket that would lure the rodents and send them plunging to their deaths in a mysterious vinegary concoction. The toxic potion, according to its maker, Rat Trap Inc., prevents them from rotting too quickly and emitting a stink. […]

Mr. Adams said he wants to install the newfangled traps, which cost between $300 and $400, in several locations in Brooklyn. If successful, he said he would look to expand the methodology citywide.

The pilot program has already hit one snag. Mr. Adams’s office initially placed five boxes in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall, but one was disabled by a very large rat. “It was so big it broke the spring mechanism in the box so that it was no longer functioning,” said Jonah Allon, Mr. Adams’s spokesman.

{ MSN/NY Times | Continue reading }

his buildings needed to be the biggest, the grandest, the tallest (in the pursuit of which he skipped floors in the numbering to make them seem higher)

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studies have shown that America has been getting more narcissistic since the Seventies […] one study found narcissistic traits to be rising as quickly as obesity, while yet another showed that almost one-third of high school students in America in 2005 said that they expected to eventually become famous.

{ Rolling Stone | Continue reading }

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows.

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In mid-1947, a United States Army Air Forces balloon crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Following wide initial interest in the crashed “flying disc”, the US military stated that it was merely a conventional weather balloon. Interest subsequently waned until the late 1970s, when ufologists began promoting a variety of increasingly elaborate conspiracy theories, claiming that one or more alien spacecraft had crash-landed and that the extraterrestrial occupants had been recovered by the military, which then engaged in a cover-up.

In the 1990s, the US military published two reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed object: a nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

photo { W. Eugene Smith, Untitled [man holding bottle, S-shaped foam form emerging from it], Springfield, Massachusetts, 1952 }