The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

The audit shows that the N.S.A. considered most of the incidents to be errors—“operator error” or “computer error.” There were a lot of typos; that’s darkly funny, if you’re in the right mood. But “error” is a bit of a dodge. It includes categories like “did not follow standard operating procedures”—by mistake?—“training issues” and “workload issues.” Also, too-broad search terms, like “any communications that mentioned both the Swedish manufacturer Ericsson and ‘radio’ or ‘radar.’” What that seems to mean is that a great deal of private American communications are swept into databases because the N.S.A. has people who work for it who don’t follow the rules, don’t know the rules, or are assigned tasks in a way that just leads to rules being broken. That is a structural scandal, not a mistake. Amy Davidson, Breaking the Rules Thousands of Times at the N.S.A.

Egypt politicians discuss sabotaging Ethiopian dam on live TV | Al Akhbar English

Egyptian politicians holding talks with President Mohammed Mursi Monday were unwittingly broadcast on live TV brainstorming ideas to sabotage an Ethiopian dam.

Seated around a large table, the politicians thinking this was a closed meeting began to suggest ways to stop Ethiopia from diverting the Blue Nile for a massive dam project.

Ayman Nour, head of the liberal Ghad Party, suggested spreading rumors that Egypt was buying military planes in order to put “pressure” on Ethiopia, he said.

He also suggested Cairo send political, intelligence and military teams to Addis Ababa because “we need to intervene in their domestic affairs.”

Yunis Makhyun, who heads the extreme Islamist Nur Party, said the dam constituted a “strategic danger for Egypt,” requiring Cairo to support Ethiopian rebels “which would put pressure on the Ethiopian government.”

An aide to Mursi later apologized after for failing to inform politicians that they were live on air.

“Due to the importance of the topic it was decided at the last minute to air the meeting live. I forgot to inform the participants about the changes,” presidential aide for political affairs Pakinam El-Sharkawi wrote on Twitter. “I apologize for any embarrassment caused to the political leaders.”

The meeting, a huge embarrassment both for the presidency and the opposition members who attended, caused a storm of ridicule and anger in the media.

“A scandal in front of the world,” read the headline of the independent daily Al-Tahrir.

Popular talk show host Reem Magued, who aired parts of the meeting on her show, said: “It’s true that we asked for transparency from the government but not like this, not to the point of scandal.”

Ethiopia has begun diverting the Blue Nile 500 meters from its natural course to construct a $4.2 billion hydroelectric project known as Grand Renaissance Dam.

The first phase of construction is expected to be complete in three years, with a capacity of 700 megawatts. Once complete the dam will have a capacity of 6,000 megawatts.

Egypt believes its “historic rights” to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile’s flow and give it veto power over upstream projects.

But a new deal was signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allowing them to work on river projects without Cairo’s prior agreement.

The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

Google Glass is like one camera car for each of the thousands, possibly millions, of people who will wear the device – every single day, everywhere they go – on sidewalks, into restaurants, up elevators, around your office, into your home. From now on, starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life. You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it.

And that, my friends, is the experience that Google Glass creates. That is the experience we should be thinking about. The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience – it’s the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.

Just think: if a million Google Glasses go out into the world and start storing audio and video of the world around them, the scope of Google search suddenly gets much, much bigger, and that search index will include you. Let me paint a picture. Ten years from now, someone, some company, or some organization, takes an interest in you, wants to know if you’ve ever said anything they consider offensive, or threatening, or just includes a mention of a certain word or phrase they find interesting. A single search query within Google’s cloud – whether initiated by a publicly available search, or a federal subpoena, or anything in between – will instantly bring up documentation of every word you’ve ever spoken within earshot of a Google Glass device.

This is the discussion we should have about Google Glass. The tech community, by all rights, should be leading this discussion. Yet most techies today are still chattering about whether they’ll look cool wearing the device.

(Source: azspot)

61-y/o Tennessee man murdered by police in a drug raid on the wrong house

ftpnyc:

L E B A N O N, Tenn.

A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house.

Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.

The two officers, 25-year-old Kyle Shedran and 24-year-old Greg Day, were placed on administrative leave with pay.

John Adams was watching television when his wife heard pounding on the door. Police claim they identified themselves and wore police jackets. Loraine Adams said she had no indication the men were police.

“I thought it was a home invasion. I said ‘Baby, get your gun!,” she said, sitting amid friends and relatives gathered at her home to cook and prepare for Sunday’s funeral.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95475&page=1#.UFyEea4c13W

(via anarcho-queer)

US Apologizes for Fake-Bomb Panic in Norway

The US State Department has officially apologized today for causing a city-wide panic in Oslo, Norway forcing the evacuation of the nation’s royal palace and much of the city’s downtown after the discovery of a fake bomb on an embassy vehicle.

The bomb had been placed on the vehicle as part of a training drill, and then they forgot it was there until security guards discovered it when the vehicle was trying to reenter embassy grounds.

The discovery sparked a full scale security alert, leading to special forces deployments around the embassy and panic in the surrounding area. A car bomb in downtown Oslo was the beginning of last year’s massacre by Anders Breivik, and security was needless to say spooked by the discovery.

The State Department expressed “regret” for the disturbance but defended the calls to panic after the discovery, saying it proves that they “take any potential threat seriously,” even one they invented themselves.

(Source: jayaprada)

futurejournalismproject:

BBC Syria Coverage Uses Wrong Photo from Wrong Country and Wrong Year
The BBC published the photo above yesterday to illustrate the massacres taking place in Houla, Syria.
Problem is, the photo was taken by Marco di Lauro south of Baghdad in 2003.
Via the Telegraph:

Mr di Lauro, who works for Getty Images picture agency and has been published by newspapers across the US and Europe, said: “I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what happened in Syria and I almost felt off from my chair.
“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.
“Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam. “What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.”
He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image without consent, adding: “What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre.”

FJP Pro Tip: a reverse image search could have flagged this photo in seconds. Where to do it? We use Google Image Search (instead of typing a search term in the text box select the camera icon which allows you to either enter the URL of an image or upload one) and Tineye (the process is the same).
Image: An Iraqi girl jumps over the body bags containing skeletons found in the desert south of Baghdad. Marco di Lauro, 2003.

futurejournalismproject:

BBC Syria Coverage Uses Wrong Photo from Wrong Country and Wrong Year

The BBC published the photo above yesterday to illustrate the massacres taking place in Houla, Syria.

Problem is, the photo was taken by Marco di Lauro south of Baghdad in 2003.

Via the Telegraph:

Mr di Lauro, who works for Getty Images picture agency and has been published by newspapers across the US and Europe, said: “I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what happened in Syria and I almost felt off from my chair.

“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.

“Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam. “What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.”

He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image without consent, adding: “What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre.”

FJP Pro Tip: a reverse image search could have flagged this photo in seconds. Where to do it? We use Google Image Search (instead of typing a search term in the text box select the camera icon which allows you to either enter the URL of an image or upload one) and Tineye (the process is the same).

Image: An Iraqi girl jumps over the body bags containing skeletons found in the desert south of Baghdad. Marco di Lauro, 2003.

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

ALEC Exposed, for 24 Hours

When Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R- 56) introduced a bill in November calling on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685), she made an embarrassing mistake. Rep. Burgin was introducing a bill she had received from the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.  A bill written by the Tax Foundation, corporate members of ALEC’s ‘Tax and Fiscal Policy task force” and a group founded and funded by major corporate interests, including the billionaire Koch brothers.

image: bergin alec bill

All ALEC model resolutions contain a boilerplate paragraph, describing ALEC’s adherence to free market principles and limited government.  When legislators introduce one of ALEC’s bills, they normally remove this paragraph. Sometimes (but only sometimes) legislators will make some slight alterations to anALEC model bill,perhaps to include something specific to them or to their state. Rep. Burgin didn’t do that.  Instead she introduced a bill that was the same as the model word-for-word, forgetting even to remove the paragraph naming ALEC and describing its principles.

(Source: sarahlee310)