Cold and clear this Wednesday morning on California’s north coast as we wheedle our way through this work week — we’re just under freezing right now, but hope to make at least a 50-degree high later today.
Just weathering the weather before winter.
We had a power outage yesterday afternoon, so I wasn’t able to post my news digest/thingy and spent the evening reading by candlelight — a first. And as if on bong cue, the power went out at 4:20 p.m.
Dude, that’s too cool…
(Illustration found here).
However, last night the power came from the skies over Tucson, Arizona, in the form of a meteorite explosion.
Frantic eyewitnesses across the state called local news outlets to report what they saw.
The explosion shook Tony Kubrak’s house, too, he told CNN affiliate KGUN, which received a flood of calls and hundreds of posts to its Facebook page.
Kubrak went outside to check it out.
“I see this tremendous, white, bright light in the western sky. And it was just … it was absolutely enormous, I couldn’t believe it.”
The spectical is part/parcel of normal: People around the world can enjoy what bedazzled Arizonans until at least Monday, NASA said. The Geminid meteor shower this year will be “rich in fire balls.”
The air-shower show is suppose to last late until Sunday.
And some workers at the NSA says President Obama is lacking in manly-balls in not giving more love to the agency’s hard-working nerds — from the Washington Post:
Morale has taken a hit at the National Security Agency in the wake of controversy over the agency’s surveillance activities, according to former officials who say they are dismayed that President Obama has not visited the agency to show his support.
A White House spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, noted that top White House officials have been to the agency to “express the president’s support and appreciation for all that NSA does to keep us safe.”
“The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it’s been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions,” said Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006.
“They feel they’ve been hung out to dry, and they’re right.”
A former U.S. official — who like several other former officials interviewed for this story requested anonymity because he still has dealings with the agency — said: “The president has multiple constituencies — I get it. But he must agree that the signals intelligence NSA is providing is one of the most important sources of intelligence today.
“So if that’s the case, why isn’t the president taking care of one of the most important elements of the national security apparatus?”
Former officials note how President George W. Bush paid a visit to the NSA in January 2006, in the wake of revelations by the New York Times that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance on U.S. soil beginning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous,” Brenner said.
“There’s been nothing like that from this White House.”
Morale is “bad overall,” a third former official said.
“The news — the Snowden disclosures — it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” he said.
“It’s become very public and very personal.
Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’
And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”
Boo-hoo. And remember, too, they’re still whining about the messenger, not the message. And what have these cry babies been doing? Spying on everybody and everything.
And the latest:
The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using “cookies” and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency’s internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government.
The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations.
The Internet is vast in ways no country’s clandestine security apparatuses could have anticipated: there’s simply no way to police it all.
But that hasn’t stopped the NSA and CIA from poking around in interactive entertainment back corners and alleyways, trawling games like World of Warcraft and Second Life for cyber-ne’er-do-wells, according to a new report jointly published by the New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica.
Everyone who carries a cellphone generates a trail of electronic breadcrumbs that records everywhere they go.
Those breadcrumbs reveal a wealth of information about who we are, where we live, who our friends are and much more.
And as we reported last week, the National Security Agency is collecting location information in bulk — 5 billion records per day worldwide — and using sophisticated algorithms to assist with U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.
The NSA doesn’t just have the technical capabilities to collect location-based data in bulk.
A 24-page NSA white paper shows that the agency has a powerful suite of algorithms, or data sorting tools, that allow it to learn a great deal about how people live their lives.
Those tools allow the agency to perform analytics on a global scale, examining data collected about potentially everyone’s movements in order to flag new surveillance targets.
And the off-shoot of these NSA cry babies?
Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo! joined together on Monday to ask the U.S. government to “take the lead” in changing how government surveillance is done around the world.
AOL, which owns The Huffington Post, also signed the letter.
“We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens,” the eight companies wrote.
“But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.”
Documents from Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, appeared to show that the agency has direct access to major tech companies’ servers, although the companies said they had never knowingly provided the government with such a backdoor.
With the exception of Twitter, which only went public last month, all the companies that signed the letter have increased in stock market value since Snowden’s leaked documents were first reported by The Washington Post and The Guardian in June.
But that doesn’t mean the revelations of NSA snooping, which have continued to trickle out, aren’t a potential threat to their future growth.
“If you’re a company overseas, you’re wondering (1) is the NSA snooping? or (2) is there some back door built into the technology that may allow someone else to snoop? That’s the biggest issues people have with cloud-based services,” Young said.
So actually, no one gives a shit about your hurt feelings, NSA nerds. Just because we know a way-small bit of what the NSA is doing, doesn’t make us want to give you guys a kiss. If a guy cheats on his wife, but she don’t know, is he really cheating?
Go somewhere else and cry a river.