Three more months of bulk telephone surveillance
Consistent with prior declassification decisions, in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has declassified the fact that the government’s application to renew the program was approved yesterday by the FISC. The order issued yesterday expires on September 12, 2014.
I read about the extension in a news report via Politico, see too the Twitter update below. That was sourced from ICONTHERECORD, to my surprise.
Is Tumblr now being used as the Intelligence Community’s official channel for statements to the press?
Adding to the confusion is the greater media coverage of government initiatives to end warrantless surveillance of the public, that is, us. Three amendments to the annual DoD Appropriations Act 4870 sailed through the House of Representatives, initiated by former Swarthmore College physics lecturer Rush Holt a.k.a. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12):
- funding to expand the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection Directorate
- prohibiting funds from being used to subvert or interfere with the integrity of NIST cryptographic standards
- "prohibiting any warrantless search of the 702 databases – the massive government databases, created by the NSA and first disclosed by Edward Snowden, that contain records of the emails and phone calls of millions of innocent U.S. citizens" AND "prohibiting the NSA and CIA from compelling companies to install backdoors – such as vulnerable software or hardware – into their products.”
The amendment activity took place yesterday, along with the the Clapper announcement. The Clapper announcement is fait accompli whereas the three measures introduced by Rep. Holt have a long haul ahead, with Senate and presidential approval needed before becoming a reality.
CIA FOIA down
For additional drama, the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) web site was hacked and offline for an hour yesterday morning. There was no defacement. Oddly, no one other than diligent investigator Jason Leopold, me and ungovrnd (my Twitter friend) seemed to notice or care. Jason called the CIA by telephone, and they regained control of foia.cia.gov quickly enough.
I cannot imagine a more inane h4x0r target!
CIA FOIA is unequivocally good! Why undermine and interfere with their good work?! I have screen shots, if any Intelligence Community On The Record minions are curious.
You might have looked at the above picture and thought, “Oh, a family of normal distributions!” And… you would be wrong. The distributions above are forms of the Cauchy distribution which has a wider peak and fatter tails than the normal distribution.
The Cauchy distribution
Although it is a bell-shaped curve its mean and variance are undefined. Due to the equation through which the probability distribution function is defined, it is not possible to calculate the moments needed to get the mean or variance, nor is it possible to calculate any other finite moments. The Cauchy distribution has many uses, e.g. being part of the solution to Laplace’s Equation on the upper half plane…though it stands as a classic pathological example in probability and statistics.
A classic pathological example in probability and statistics
It is generally recognized that creating a profitable quantitative trading strategy is difficult. Most putative strategies are likely not profitable even without considering trading costs. Writing buggy code, conducting questionable simulations, or performing faulty statistical tests, on the other…
End of the world in movies
Vortice Futurista Blu I and II| Original pencil drawings circa 1930 via thirdorgan:
Giacomo Balla, Italian, 1871-1958
Indigo blue whorls evoke fluid dynamics. Graceful arcs drawn in bold strokes on heavily textured ecru paper are almost tactile.
Navier-Stokes : partial differential equations strong enough to guide two tons of aircraft steel into the stratosphere, yet sufficiently elegant to outline delicate vortex curvature that is undeniably feminine.
Al dinamismo della vita moderna 1920
The artist himself had something rather different, and more culturally sophisticated in mind. Giacomo Balla wrote this passage, Vortice di rose - Motivo in 1920, at a time of great optimism. The Great War was over, European arts and sciences were flourishing, and Black Tuesday was still a decade in the future.
The following, from what I can infer, is a sweeping commentary on the contrast between luminous modern design versus the ponderous stuffiness of the anciene régime.
L’uomo moderno è portato verso il colore. E cosa è stata la pittura futurista dal suo inizio sino ad oggi se non una ricerca di decorativismo cromatico astratto? Ed è perché la nostra arte è essenzialmente decorativa che noi oggi ci orizzontiamo verso l’arte applicata all’industria. Questa forma di arte ci avvicina molto alle masse e può essere compresa e sentita da tutti. Infatti in Inghilterra vi sono già salotti arredati futuristicamente. In Italia no.
Non riesco a comprendere come persone del cosiddetto mondo intellettuale possano ancora vivere in appartamenti arredati nell’antiigenico stile rococò o le antipatiche dorature dei stili Louis e possano ancora ammirare e deliziarsi degli arazzi che beavano gli sguardi delle belle castellane e dei trovatori del ‘400. È l’ambiente che plasma l’uomo. Alle sale vecchie e polverose, risuonanti il rosicchio dei tarli, e invitanti al dolce far niente, noi sostituiremo ambienti vivificatori, pieni di luci, colori, di forme adeguati alla intensità, alla praticità ed al dinamismo della vita moderna.
Emphasis mine, on the remarkable characterization of English design sensibility as superior to traditionalist Italy, still mired in the style of 18th century rococo, Louis Quinze and lol, unicorn hunt tapestries!
Offsets involve protecting certain areas as compensation for development in others. Offsets are now allowing developments that would previously have been refused due to the environmental damage they cause.
Offsets should be a very last resort for those attempting to conserve biodiversity…some areas — notably, those listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites — should never be developed in return for offsets…One example raised repeatedly is the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which conservation groups fear is under threat from oil extraction. For this, there are no offsets… “It is becoming what we feared — a licence to trash.”
for the cruise company Rotterdam Lloyd. Circa 1935.