He’s apparently trying really hard to beat Rob Ford in the Canadian Goodwill Ambassador of the Year contest. Starting a war beats beating your wife any day.
A little before 3pm New York time this afternoon, the NYPD tweeted out a seemingly innocuous three sentences, asking people to share photos taken with NYPD members and include the hashtag #myNYPD.
The good news is that that hashtag is now trending. The bad news is that it’s trending.
While a few people shared the sorts of pictures the NYPD was hoping for, the thousands who think much less highly of the department—including the Occupy Wall Street movement—responded with cheeky, stark, and even gory photos of apparent police brutality.
A 19-year-old man was caught on camera urinating in a reservoir that holds Ortland’s drinking water on Wednesday, according to city officials.
Since then, the city has been draining 38 million gallons of water from Reservoir 5 at Mount Tabor Park in southeast Ortland.
see what I did there?
Well 4/20 came and went, and it seemed like the world didn’t burn down (even if it burned). Seeing the success of decriminalization in Colorado and Washington state, as well as the destructiveness of the War on Drugs, a lot of people would like to say a thing or two to the drug czars in charge. Watch Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) do exactly that and then some.
The highlights of his mic drop:
And the whole smackdown:
I think I’ve found my new ringtone
In an uncompromising and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, his first public remarks since he was linked to the program in 2007, James Mitchell was dismissive of a Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture in which he features, and which is currently at the heart of an intense row between legislators and the agency.
The committee’s report found that the interrogation techniques devised by Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, were far more brutal than disclosed at the time, and did not yield useful intelligence. These included waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation for days at a time, confinement in a box and being slammed into walls.
But Mitchell, who was reported to have personally waterboarded accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains unrepentant. “The people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time,” he said. “You can’t ask someone to put their life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them in the press 10 years later.”
You want some hindsight? How about this?
In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
VC for the people – “It’s just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don’t.”
- Swiss To Pay Basic Income 2,500 Francs Per Month To Every Adult – “A date for the vote itself is yet to be confirmed, however, it could take place before the end of this year, depending on the decision of the Swiss government.”
- Larry Summers on forwarding the Doozer economy – “In short, a Doozer economy in which we should stop worrying about making a viable return on investment relative to the wider social benefits of that investment is probably best.”
- The Rise of Anti-Capitalism – “THE unresolved question is, how will this economy of the future function when millions of people can make and share goods and services nearly free? The answer lies in the civil society, which consists of nonprofit organizations that attend to the things in life we make and share as a community.”
- It’s OK To Be Lazy – “I’m heavily invested in the notion that idleness, laziness, and procrastination are vital to the full flowering of human life. (If they aren’t, I’m fucked.)”
- Developing the Developed World – Peter Thiel on getting from 0 to 1 (and then from 1 to n…)
- The Google X-Factor – “Process reflects: 1) optionality, 2) via negativa, 3) magnitude of correctness (not frequency), 4) financial returns will reflect a power law, and 5) extraordinary performance comes only from correct non-consensus forecasts.
- Chart of the Week: How metro areas drive the U.S. economy – “It probably should come as no surprise that most U.S. economic activity is concentrated in metropolitan areas. What may be surprising, and what the map above shows so clearly, is just how concentrated in a handful of big metros the U.S. economy is.”
- Wealthiest Households Accounted for 80% of Postrecession Rise in Incomes – “A recent article by Labor Department senior economist Aaron Cobet highlights the sharp disparity between the wealthiest and poorest Americans in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 recession. ‘While average income has returned to pre-recession levels, income gains have been distributed unevenly,’ Mr. Cobet said. The economist mined Labor Department data to show that the top 20% of earners accounted for more than 80% of the rise in household income from 2008-2012. Income fell for the bottom 20%.”
- “Capital” and “labour” – ” ‘Looking at the 21st-century economy through the filter of the Marxist categories of ‘capital’ and ‘labor’ is not particularly insightful…’ ‘capital’ and ‘labour’ don’t necessarily map neatly into profits and wages, nor onto ‘workers’ and ‘capitalists’. Wages of workers and bosses can both be a share of the return on capital.”
- Why wouldn’t people want to reduce inequality? – “Why might this be? I’ve explored one answer to this question, which I’ll term ‘feedback in opinion formation.’ Everyone who’s ever held a microphone too close to a speaker knows what feedback is. It turns out that the same mechanism is at play in how we all form opinions, thanks to the degree to which our choices are all connected.”
One of these classes is real. Two are made up.
Pick the one that’s not made up!
Stellar fusion in 2048 style
A new study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and the Icy Worlds team at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis — called “submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life” — the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture.
There is a quote from you in this context that concerns me. In 2009 you said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” The essence of freedom is precisely the fact that I am not obliged to disclose everything that I am doing, that I have a right to confidentiality and, yes, even to secrets; that I am able to determine for myself what I wish to disclose about myself. The individual right to this is what makes a democracy. Only dictatorships want transparent citizens instead of a free press.
Against this background, it greatly concerns me that Google – which has just announced the acquisition of drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace – has been seen for some time as being behind a number of planned enormous ships and floating working environments that can cruise and operate in the open ocean. What is the reason for this development? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to find this alarming.
Historically, monopolies have never survived in the long term. Either they have failed as a result of their complacency, which breeds its own success, or they have been weakened by competition – both unlikely scenarios in Google’s case. Or they have been restricted by political initiatives.
Another way would be voluntary self-restraint on the part of the winner. Is it really smart to wait until the first serious politician demands the breakup of Google? Or even worse – until the people refuse to follow?
On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”
I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.
The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden’s question and mine here.)
Clapper’s lie – to the Senate and to the public – was a major motivating force behind my decision to go public, and a historic example of the importance of official accountability.
In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial – and we’ll get to them soon – but it was not the president’s suspiciously narrow answer that was criticised by many pundits. It was that I had chosen to ask a question at all.
Nigel Evans, who is £130,000 out of pocket after being cleared of sexual assault, has said he regretted his previous support for cutting legal aid.
The Ribble Valley MP had previously condemned the rising cost of legal aid and admitted he would probably have voted for the last round of cuts in 2011 had he not been Deputy Speaker at the time.
He said he was stunned to learn he would have to pay his legal fees even if he was acquitted – plus value added tax. Mr Evans, whose life savings have been wiped out, has pledged to campaign on the issue after his return to the Commons.
“It’s only when you go through these sorts of trauma that you see the first-hand consequences of that,” he told ITV News.
From Benoni Lanctot’s Chinese and English Phrase Book (1867), phrases for English-speaking employers of Chinese-Americans:
- Can you get me a good boy?
- He wants $8.00 per month.
- He ought to be satisfied with $6.00.
- When I find him useful, I will give him more.
- I think he is very stupid.
- Do you know how to count?
- If you want to go out, you must ask me.
- Come at seven every morning.
- Go home at eight every night.
- This lamp is not clean.
- See that the money is weighed.
- If there is any thing short, I will make him pay the difference.
- Take this plate away.
- Change this napkin.
- Did you prepare any toast?
- The tea is too strong.
- Make me a pigeon pie.
- Get a bottle of beer.
- Please carve that capon.
- Tell the cook to roast it better next time.
- This wine glass is not clean.
- The cook is very strange.
- Sometimes he spoils the dishes.
- Tell the cook to fry some pancakes.
- Don’t burn them.
- He did very bad last time.
- I want to cut his wages.
- This tea is very bad.
- Get out of the way.
- Don’t speak with me.
- Who gives you permission?
- Don’t be lazy.
- You ought not to do so.
- Pick this up.
- This is nothing to you.
- He is fit for nothing.
- That belongs to me.
- Carry it up stairs.
- You ought to be contented.
Phrases for Chinese speakers:
- Good morning sir.
- When shall I begin?
- I beg your pardon.
- Lunch is on the table, sir.
- I beg you to consider again.
- It is my duty.
- Sir, what will you have for dinner to-day?
- You must excuse me.
- You must not strike me.
What is the probability, given that Ross painted a happy tree, that he then painted a friend for that tree?
Recently declassified documents reveal new details about Project AZORIAN: a brazen, $800-million CIA initiative to covertly salvage a Soviet nuclear submarine in plain sight of the entire world.
The story begins in March 1968, when a Soviet Golf II submarine — carrying nuclear ballistic missiles tipped with four-megaton warheads and a seventy-person crew — suffered an internal explosion while on a routine patrol mission and sank in the Pacific Ocean, some 1,900 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. The Soviets undertook a massive, two-month search, but never found the wreckage. However, the unusual Soviet naval activity prompted the U.S. to begin its own search for the sunken vessel, which was found in August 1968.
The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN. The U.S. intelligence community commissioned Howard Hughes to construct a massive vessel — dubbed the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE) — to recover the sub. The ensuing salvage operation, which began in 1974, was only a partial success; the U.S. was planning to embark on a second attempt when, in 1975, the story was leaked to the press, and the operation was canceled.
To my credit, I only got 5/13…eww!
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
Just days after assuming his new post as Director of the National Security Agency, Central Security Service and U.S. Cyber Command, Adm. Mike Rogers was overheard complaining about massive privacy violations, as he’s been unable to stop his wife from going through his e-mails.
The four-star admiral — a specialist in cryptology and cyber warfare — said that despite routinely changing his password, clearing his browser cache, and implementing other routine security measures, his wife was still somehow able to see the most intimate details of his life with just the click of a button.
“I swear, every few hours I’m getting a phone call [from Dana] asking me why I started subscribing to updates from the new Captain America movie, or got a Google calendar alert about lunch with [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper when I’m supposed to be taking her to the Mall to see the cherry blossoms,” Rogers was heard saying, according to a highly-placed source at the Rogers’ home.
“I don’t know if I would use the word ‘nosy,’ but seriously, can’t I have just one private conversation around here?”
People across San Diego are mourning the death of 13-year-old Jose Montaño. The South Bay student died Sunday morning after battling a rare form of brain cancer for three years.
“It’s been almost like a movie, like surreal, pinch me, I think I’m asleep,” said his father, Jose Montaño Sr., from their home near Imperial Beach on Monday evening.
Jose touched the community with his selfless acts. Two years ago, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he had a playground built for his school.
When he was undergoing chemotherapy, he walked around Rady Children’s Hospital with a wagon, giving out snacks to patients and their families.
“We always say, you know, help others and love thy neighbor and all those things, but he was just natural. He was just born that way,” said Montaño.
Suddenly it’s dusty in here…
A routine inventory at the prestigious French research body Institut Pasteur in Paris revealed it has lost some 2,300 tubes containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus.
On Sunday, a man shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he shot and killed a third person. Police arrested a suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, who shouted “Heil Hitler” after he was taken into custody.
Cross, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a well-known right wing extremist who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Now let’s do the thought experiment in which instead of shouting “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Only two days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, this simple switch of words would surely have greatly increased the extent and type of coverage the incident received.
Yet the death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)
In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).
By contrast, terrorists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 23 people in the United States since 9/11.
In April last year, East Timor instituted arbitral proceedings against Australia at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’) in relation to a dispute arising under the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (‘CMATS Treaty’). Timor Leste (as East Timor is formally known) alleges that the CMATS Treaty is invalid because Australia engaged in espionage in the course of negotiating the Treaty. As noted by Matthew Happold in an earlier EJIL:talk! post, Timor Leste has also initiated proceedings against Australia the International Court of Justice in respect of the seizure of documents by Australian authorities from the offices of the Australian lawyer who is acting for Timor Leste in the PCA arbitration. Indeed, the ICJ is holding hearings, this week, on Timor Leste’s request for provisional measures that will require Australia to give up to the custody of the Court all documents and data seized by Australia pending disposal of the ICJ case and to give assurances that ‘it will not intercept or cause or request the interception of communications between Timor-Leste and its legal advisers’.
The details of the arbitration before the PCA have not been made public, so it is difficult to form any clear assessment of the precise international law issues that arise. However, from public statements and media reports, it seems that Timor Leste is alleging that the CMATS is invalid because “Australia did not conduct the CMATS negotiations in 2004 in good faith by engaging in espionage”. According to the lawyer for Timor Leste, during the negotiations for the CMATS Treaty, Australian intelligence services inserted listening devices into the wall of Timor-Leste’s negotiating room under the guise of an Australian aid program concerning renovation and construction of cabinet offices. The lawyer for Timor-Leste has likened the behaviour of the Australian intelligence services to insider trading. The PCA case is particularly interesting as it might be the first case in which a state seeks invalidity of a treaty on the ground that the other treaty party acted fraudulently in the negotiation of the treaty. The case raises the question whether states not only have an obligation to negotiate treaties in good faith but whether breach of the obligation to negotiate in good faith amounts to a ground for invalidity of a treaty.
So, any country looking for an out in any treaty with the USA, the NSA behavior is an easy way…
The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the prestigious public-service medal for a series of stories that exposed the National Security Agency’s massive global surveillance programs.
A team of 28 Post journalists, led by reporter Barton Gellman, shared the public-service award with the British-based Guardian newspaper, which also reported extensively about the NSA’s secret programs. Both Gellman and Glenn Greenwald, then the Guardian’s lead reporter on the NSA pieces, based their articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who has fled to exile in Russia, lending a controversial edge to this year’s awards.
Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of π and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do?
If ever you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be glad of the work of Vincent Dumoulin and Félix Thouin at the Université de Montréal in Canada. These guys have worked out how to calculate an approximate value of π using the distribution of pellets from a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, which they assume would be widely available in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
It’s a rather unusual museum.
All it has on display is a few pebbles of glass, a chunk of concrete about the size of a milking stool and a dilapidated, abandoned ranch house.
This museum is open to the public only 12 hours a year – 6 in spring; 6 in autumn. Admission is free, if you’re willing to drive out into New Mexico’s vast, barren and beautiful Jornada del Muerta Desert.
It’s called Trinity Site. It made a lasting impact on our entire world. It’s where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated.
The pebbles of glass on display used to be sand pebbles, but were baked into glass when sucked up into the massive fire ball that lit up this dark desert at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945.
Visitors are permitted at this earth-shattering site between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October. There’s no guide, no speeches, no ceremony, but some photos hang on the steel mesh fence topped with barbed wire circling ground zero.
A military security guard will issue you an information pamphlet after checking your photo identification 27 kilometres from the site.