Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday 04-29-11

Pub singer's 'racism' arrest over Kung Fu Fighting performance

imon Ledger says he fears he will end up with a criminal record for performing the 1974 disco classic at a seafront bar on the Isle of Wight on Sunday after two people walking past apparently took offence.

The 34-year-old, from the island, regularly features Carl Douglas’s 1974 number one hit in his set when he performs at the Driftwood Beach Bar in Sandown.

But after striking up the melody in front of customers at the weekend he noticed a man of Chinese origin walking past with his mother, making gestures at him and taking a picture on his mobile phone.

He said that he later received a telephone call from police - while he was dining in a Chinese restaurant - asking him to meet officers about the incident.

He was then arrested and questioned before being bailed.

Police Confront Broward Judge at Gunpoint

Broward Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes, her sister and her sister’s family says they were ordered at gun point by several Broward Sheriffs Deputies on Easter Sunday to come out of her sister’s home with their hands up.

It was no evening of peace for the Deerfield Beach family, who’d just finished dinner with friends and family, and sent extra Easter dinner to a needy family connected with their church. Then, at 8:20 p.m., police got a call about a possible burglary next door. But a bad address caused police to go to the wrong home.

“Do I feel safe?” asked Carmita Scarlett, the homeowner and sister of Judge Holmes. "No, absolutely not. No, no. So much confusion, so much anger. So much, almost like, resentment. You know, ‘you made the mistake and,’ I told them, ‘I'm the victim and you're upset with me?’”

The call to police said there might be a burglar inside 235 Southwest 4th Street. But there is no 235. Only 236 and 230.

Arriving police outside spotted someone inside 230 – Neville Scarlett was in the kitchen cleaning up the Easter dinner plates - and thought he might be the burglar.

Multimedia Weird News Photos
Weird News Photos Rock Stars: Then and Now
Rock Stars:
Then and Now More Multimedia He was not.

Moments earlier, the same person who called police also called the Scarlett’s to warn them about a possible burglar outside. Fearful, Carmita lowered the kitchen window shade. That’s when she heard someone hit the window with something metallic. She says she saw a gun pointed directly at her.

"There's a man with a gun and he's going to shoot me!!" yelled Carmita. “I thought it was the robber!" Her sister, Judge Holmes, came running to the kitchen. The judge carries a legal firearm and immediately pulled it out and held it in her hand.

"She said ‘Who are you!? What are you doing?!’ He said ‘this is BSO.’ She said, ‘this is Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes!!’” Carmita said.

"'I'm the owner of this home. I'm Carmita Scarlett. Why are you at my home?’ I kept saying that. They said ‘put your hands up and come outside,'" she said.

Judge Holmes, perhaps borrowing from real life conflict she sees in her own courtroom, immediately cautioned deputies that she was armed so there’d be no misunderstanding.

"They said, ‘Come out with your hands up!’ She said, ‘I am Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes. I am armed.'"

They all slowly went out through a side door. “She was putting the gun down. They yelled, ‘put the gun down! Put the gun down!’ Right there, the cop had his gun pointed at her.”

Judge Holmes, surrounded by deputies with guns drawn, slowly put the gun on the grass, announcing it as she went. She was holding a cell phone in the other hand. When she began to place that on the ground, police began yelling.

"When she went to put that down, they yelled, ‘Get away from the gun!’ She said ‘everybody calm down. I'm putting my cell phone down’."

At that point, a higher-ranking deputy recognized her and called on his team to lower their guns, according to Carmita.

“The one that first recognized her, he picked the gun up, opened it up, took the bullets out, he started giving her a speech: ‘Judge Holmes, you know, these guys may not know who you are. I know who you are. This could have been so different.’ And my sister said, ‘everyone of ya'll know me. Ya'll been before me’.”

Oh my, what an Easter Sunday Carmita had. She and her husband and granddaughter have seen stuff like this on TV and never believed it. "There's no way that cops would really - because I've never had a run in with the cops - really go in and do stuff like that," she said.

And now what does Carmita believe?

"Oh God.” She buries her face in her hands.

It was a communication meltdown from the beginning. The neighbor across the street originally called police to say she thought there was a burglar in the home of Pastor Brown across the street because the caller thought she saw lights going on and off. Instead, police went to the house next door, the Scarlett's home.

Judge Holmes, one of the very few black judges in Broward County, saw justice from a whole new perspective. Tuesday night she was in her courtroom conducting a late–running trial and would not comment.

Judge Holmes has hired former U.S. Attorney and old friend Kendall Coffey, who says they're concerned about what happened but won't say whether she is considering legal action. He cautioned against reading too much into the fact that she brought him in to represent her and field questions while she’s in trial.

A BSO spokesman wouldn't comment Tuesday night but did confirm the timeline, address and original burglary call. Police in South Florida often say they routinely must make certain people confirm who they say they are before lowering their weapons.

But Carmita was downright angry. Remember the man outside her kitchen window who pointed a gun at her? Still wearing her pajamas and footies, she approached him afterward. “I said ‘you had a gun pointed at me!’ He said ‘because I felt threatened.’ I said ‘threatened how?'"

She said other officers explained to her that they have families, too, and they want to make it home alive each night. But she says they did so in a condescending way, lecturing her as if she’d done something wrong.

“I know no one apologized, OK? And, to me, if you want to make amends for something, you want to make peace, you apologize, you shake, you leave, you say ‘I'm sorry,’" she said. "And, you know, the cop that had his gun on me, he said ‘well, I was fearing for my life.’ I said ‘really! You were fearing for your life? Really?’ He said ‘forget it - I'm out of here.'"

Carmita says she just wanted someone that night to apologize.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday 04-28-11

A police state isn’t the answer
Posted on April 26, 2011
Recently an innocent homeowner had his door kicked in, was thrown down the stairs and called a child pornographer and a pedophile by the police.

The homeowner was innocent.

The response across the board has been, “Secure your WiFi or this could happen to you!”


There is no legal or moral imperative to secure a WiFi access point. Open APs are common. Lots of people like to share their Internet access and many businesses use them to attract customers. Do you suppose that if the offending IP had been traced to a Starbucks there would have been a midnight raid?

This was a result of poor investigation by the police. The proper response is to hold the police responsible and accountable for their mistakes. The “secure your wifi” response is that of a police state. “Don’t do anything that looks guilty or you’ll get the midnight door kick!”

I’m not interested in making the cops job’s easier. There is no crime so heinous that we should allow the innocent to be invaded in their homes. If some evidence gets destroyed or the guilty sometimes go free then that’s just the cost of being secure in your home. We pay lip service to the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty, but midnight raids by militarized police put the lie to that.

At least the KGB were polite enough to knock on the door at midnight.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday 04-27-11

National Firearms Heritage Month / Teach A Friend To Shoot Weekby GirlsWithGuns » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:48 am

I am proposing a campaign to make July National Firearms Heritage Month and the first week of July "Teach A Friend To Shoot" week. The concept behind this is that July 4th is Independence Day and the birth of our country would have been impossible if the RKBA did not exist. This right is still important today to keep us safe as a Nation and to preserve our form of government and the unique liberties we enjoy as a nation of free men and women. Over the years I have found, as many of you have, that the best cure for fear of firearms is a day at the range. In addition, it is highly evident that college students and women in particular are a voting demographic who's knowledge of guns and the shooting sports is limited to what they see on TV, movies and the evening news. In addition, students are often influenced by teachers and professors who are rabidly against self defense. Not a flattering view at all.

If each of the grass roots RKBA organizations launches a program to promote this idea we could have a positive impact on the general public's view of gun owners. It would mean a coordinated effort in contacting gun stores, ranges and general memberships. The ranges and gun stores could offer promotions at their discretion and individuals could teach friends to shoot or introduce them to their favorite shooting sport by taking them to a match. Private ranges could have a "Welcome Day" where they invite the community in to see what shooting sports are all about or offer firearms safety courses, concealed carry courses, etc. It would be up to each range, store, or person exactly how to celebrate, but they should all be encouraged to report back about the events and the responses.

Individuals can and will play an instrumental role in the promotion of this by encouraging their local gun stores and clubs to participate and pointing out that it will mean increased sales and a greater voting base when new firearms laws are proposed. Education is always the key, in so many ways. Safety is paramount and a firearms safety course is the perfect place to start.

Public perception is our biggest friend and also our biggest enemy. This would offer a viable and inexpensive way to positively effect that perception.

Pat Webb
Virginia Coordinator
Second Amendment Sisters

Another cool tool

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday 04-26-11

NY case underscores Wi-Fi privacy dangers
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn't need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

That new wireless router. He'd gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.

"We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night," the man's lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, "Doldrum."

"No, I didn't," he insisted. "Somebody else could have but I didn't do anything like that."

"You're a creep ... just admit it," they said.

Law enforcement officials say the case is a cautionary tale. Their advice: Password-protect your wireless router.

Plenty of others would agree. The Sarasota, Fla. man, for example, who got a similar visit from the FBI last year after someone on a boat docked in a marina outside his building used a potato chip can as an antenna to boost his wireless signal and download an astounding 10 million images of child porn, or the North Syracuse, N.Y., man who in December 2009 opened his door to police who'd been following an electronic trail of illegal videos and images. The man's neighbor pleaded guilty April 12.

For two hours that March morning in Buffalo, agents tapped away at the homeowner's desktop computer, eventually taking it with them, along with his and his wife's iPads and iPhones.

Within three days, investigators determined the homeowner had been telling the truth: If someone was downloading child pornography through his wireless signal, it wasn't him. About a week later, agents arrested a 25-year-old neighbor and charged him with distribution of child pornography. The case is pending in federal court.

It's unknown how often unsecured routers have brought legal trouble for subscribers. Besides the criminal investigations, the Internet is full of anecdotal accounts of people who've had to fight accusations of illegally downloading music or movies.

Whether you're guilty or not, "you look like the suspect," said Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, who said that's just one of many reasons to secure home routers.

Experts say the more savvy hackers can go beyond just connecting to the Internet on the host's dime and monitor Internet activity and steal passwords or other sensitive information.

A study released in February provides a sense of how often computer users rely on the generosity — or technological shortcomings — of their neighbors to gain Internet access.

The poll conducted for the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that promotes wireless technology standards, found that among 1,054 Americans age 18 and older, 32 percent acknowledged trying to access a Wi-Fi network that wasn't theirs. An estimated 201 million households worldwide use Wi-Fi networks, according to the alliance.

The same study, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that 40 percent said they would be more likely to trust someone with their house key than with their Wi-Fi network password.

For some, though, leaving their wireless router open to outside use is a philosophical decision, a way of returning the favor for the times they've hopped on to someone else's network to check e-mail or download directions while away from home .

"I think it's convenient and polite to have an open Wi-Fi network," said Rebecca Jeschke, whose home signal is accessible to anyone within range.

"Public Wi-Fi is for the common good and I'm happy to participate in that — and lots of people are," said Jeschke, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that takes on cyberspace civil liberties issues.

Experts say wireless routers come with encryption software, but setting it up means a trip to the manual.

The government's Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends home users make their networks invisible to others by disabling the identifier broadcasting function that allows wireless access points to announce their presence. It also advises users to replace any default network names or passwords, since those are widely known, and to keep an eye on the manufacturer's website for security patches or updates.

People who keep an open wireless router won't necessarily know when someone else is piggybacking on the signal, which usually reaches 300-400 feet, though a slower connection may be a clue.

For the Buffalo homeowner, who didn't want to be identified, the tip-off wasn't nearly as subtle.

It was 6:20 a.m. March 7 when he and his wife were awakened by the sound of someone breaking down their rear door. He threw a robe on and walked to the top of the stairs, looking down to see seven armed people with jackets bearing the initials I-C-E, which he didn't immediately know stood for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"They are screaming at him, 'Get down! Get down on the ground!' He's saying, 'Who are you? Who are you?'" Covert said.

"One of the agents runs up and basically throws him down the stairs, and he's got the cuts and bruises to show for it," said Covert, who said the homeowner plans no lawsuit. When he was allowed to get up, agents escorted him and watched as he used the bathroom and dressed.

The homeowner later got an apology from U.S. Attorney William Hochul and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak.

But this wasn't a case of officers rushing into the wrong house. Court filings show exactly what led them there and why.

On Feb. 11, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees cybersecurity enforcement, signed in to a peer-to-peer file sharing program from his office. After connecting with someone by the name of "Doldrum," the agent browsed through his shared files for videos and images and found images and videos depicting children engaged in sexual acts.

The agent identified the IP address, or unique identification number, of the router, then got the service provider to identify the subscriber.

Investigators could have taken an extra step before going inside the house and used a laptop or other device outside the home to see whether there was an unsecured signal. That alone wouldn't have exonerated the homeowner, but it would have raised the possibility that someone else was responsible for the downloads.

After a search of his devices proved the homeowner's innocence, investigators went back to the peer-to-peer software and looked at logs that showed what other IP addresses Doldrum had connected from. Two were associated with the State University of New York at Buffalo and accessed using a secure token that UB said was assigned to a student living in an apartment adjacent to the homeowner. Agents arrested John Luchetti March 17. He has pleaded not guilty to distribution of child pornography.

Luchetti is not charged with using his neighbor's Wi-Fi without permission. Whether it was illegal is up for debate.

"The question," said Kerr, "is whether it's unauthorized access and so you have to say, 'Is an open wireless point implicitly authorizing users or not?'

"We don't know," Kerr said. "The law prohibits unauthorized access and it's just not clear what's authorized with an open unsecured wireless."

In Germany, the country's top criminal court ruled last year that Internet users must secure their wireless connections to prevent others from illegally downloading data. The court said Internet users could be fined up to $126 if a third party takes advantage of their unprotected line, though it stopped short of holding the users responsible for illegal content downloaded by the third party.

The ruling came after a musician sued an Internet user whose wireless connection was used to download a song, which was then offered on an online file sharing network. The user was on vacation when the song was downloaded.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday 04-25-11

(Farm) Fishing for Profits
Jeff Opdyke (April 20, 2011)

I strolled across the wet concrete floor, enveloped in a humid cloud of ocean smells, dressed in business attire and holding a video camera. All the Noryangjin shopkeeps took a moment to examine the oddly out-of-place tourist.

It’s one of my travel habits in Asia … I stroll through wholesale fish markets. For fun. This one, the Noryangjin Fish Market, was in Seoul, South Korea, where I visited earlier this year on a research trip.

I like these venues because they’re a small peek into the local culture that few tourists take time to see. And the collection of sea-critters is often as bizarre as it is educational.

But I have an investor’s rationale as well: I see vast profit potential in fish.

The Emerging Middle Class: Fishing for Better Food
In the West, as jobs evaporate, paychecks shrivel and monetary chieftains sap the value from currencies like the U.S. dollar, it’s hard to believe the world is a wealthier place.

But spend some time in the developing world as I do every year, and you understand why the 21st century belongs to Asia, parts of Africa and Latin America. The middle class is rising in those markets, particularly in Asia. And the people there have increasing amounts of discretionary income, even as most Americans have less.

One of the truisms of rising income is that people with more money pursue more-healthful foods. That means protein. And increasingly that means fish.

Global per-capita fish consumption hit a historic high of 17 kilos in 2008, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. For some perspective, per-capita consumption in the 1960s was less than 10 kilos. It has risen every decade since.

Today, fish represents about 16% of the global population’s annual protein intake, and it provides more than 1.5 billion people with as much as 20% of their animal-protein consumption.

Those trends are clearly headed higher.

Each year through 2030, roughly 30 million people will join the middle class. That’s more than half a billion new people with the money to afford better protein in their diet. And in many parts of the developing world, fish happens to be more affordable than beef, lamb and other higher-priced proteins. That makes fish all the more-relevant in the parts of Asia where “middle class” defines people earning as little as $10 a day.

But where will all this fish come from? The opportunity for investors lies in the answer to that question.

Farming for Profits in Fish Farms
The quantity of the world’s wild-caught fish – about 90 million metric tons annually – has barely budged since 2001, according to UN statistics. That reflects decades of overfishing running headlong into aggressive, multi-year governmental efforts to restore the depleted stocks through protective quotas.

Instead, the fish the world consumes is increasingly coming from aquaculture – basically, fish farms.

Those farms now supply about 53 million metric tons of fish annually, up from about 7 million metric tons in 1980. That growth is projected to continue at a rate of between 6% and 8% a year, ultimately surpassing wild-caught fish as the dominant source of fish-protein sometime in the next seven years or so.

That’s the kind of trend you want to hook into as an investor.

Owning equity in a fish farm lets you participate in the ongoing expansion of the world’s middle class and the growing desire for better food.

China has schools of fish farms all over the country. But I would much rather be in the heart of the industry, in Norway, where you find many of the largest, multinational fish-farming companies.

Outside of Asia, Norway is the most significant fish-farming country in the world. And investing there gives you exposure to the Norwegian krone, one of my three preferred currencies (along with the Chinese yuan and the Singapore dollar).

The Norwegian fish-farming stock I’d point you to is Cermaq (OSL:CEQ). It trades in Oslo under the symbol CEQ. (You can trade Norway directly in the U.S. through EverTrade, Fidelity, and Schwab.)

Cermaq owns about 6% of the farmed-fish market globally, producing mainly salmon in Norway, Canada and Chile. The company also controls about 35% of the global market for fish feed, giving us an additional tie to the growing demand for fish protein.

The company in 2010 reported its best year ever. Demand for salmon has surged in recent years, even as supply has stagnated – the result being that salmon prices are rising globally.

The operations in Chile will drive profits even higher this year. Chile struggled with a disease outbreak a few years ago that reduced supply dramatically. The outbreak has passed and Cermaq’s operations are expected to return to normal this year.

Cermaq shares trade at about 100 krone (US$18.62) and fetch just seven times expected earnings. The stock also plates up a nice dividend yield in the 5% range.

Ultimately, the world is hungrier for fish. Cermaq benefits from that reality.

Until next time, keep a global view …

Jeff D. Opdyke
Editor, Emerging Market Strategist

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday 04-24-11

Happy Resurrection Day

Trust the only honest and trustworthy place to keep your treasure

Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Termites Devour $222,000 in Indian Rupees Stored in Bank Safe

LUCKNOW, India - Termites can eat you out of house and home, and at a bank in northern India, not even steel is safe.

Police say termites devoured $222,000 in rupees that bank officials thought were tucked safely away in a steel bank chest in a reinforced room.

Police are investigating the bank for negligence.

Ineresting video, worth the watching at:

Online I.D.January 10, 2011 9:24 PM

The Federal Government says it's taking steps to make the internet safer. Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, discusses the Obama administration's plan to create an internet identification system for Americans.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday 04-22-11

Apple, Google Collect User Data .

Apple Inc.'s iPhones and Google Inc.'s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.

Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people's locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

What They Know
A Wall Street Journal investigation into the world of digital privacy.

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Security Analyst Samy Kamkar's Website
.In the case of Google, according to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. It also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier.

Google declined to comment on the findings.

Until last year, Google was collecting similar Wi-Fi data with its fleet of StreetView cars that map and photograph streets world-wide. The company shut down its StreetView Wi-Fi collection last year after it inadvertently collected e-mail addresses, passwords and other personal information from Wi-Fi networks. The data that Mr. Kamkar observed being transmitted on Android phones didn't include such personal information.

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..Apple, meanwhile, says it "intermittently" collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours, according to a letter the company sent to U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) last year. Apple didn't respond to requests for comment.

The Google and Apple developments follow the Journal's findings last year that some of the most popular smartphone apps use location data and other personal information even more aggressively than this—in some cases sharing it with third-party companies without the user's consent or knowledge.

Apple this week separately has come under fire after researchers found that iPhones store unencrypted databases containing location information sometimes stretching back several months.

Google and Apple, the No. 1 and No.3 U.S. smartphone platforms respectively according to comScore Inc., previously have disclosed that they use location data, in part, to build giant databases of Internet WI-Fi hotspots. That data can be used to pinpoint the location of people using Wi-Fi connections.

View Full Image


Apple's iPhone.
.Cellphones have many reasons to collect location information, which helps provide useful services like local-business lookups and social-networking features. Some location data can also help cellphone networks more efficiently route calls.

Google also has said it uses some of the data to build accurate traffic maps. A cellphone's location data can provide details about, for instance, how fast traffic is moving along a stretch of highway.

The widespread collection of location information is the latest frontier in the booming market for personal data. Until recently, most data about people's behavior has been collected from personal computers: That data generally can be tied to a city or a zip code, but it is tough to be more precise. The rise of Internet-enabled cellphones, however, allows the collection of user data tied with much more precision to specific locations.

This new form of tracking is raising questions from government officials and privacy advocates. On Wednesday, Rep. Markey sent a follow-up letter to Apple asking why the company is storing customer-location data on its phones.

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."Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information of its users to ensure that an iPhone doesn't become an iTrack," Rep. Markey said in a statement.

Google previously has said that the Wi-Fi data it collects is anonymous and that it deletes the start and end points of every trip that it uses in its traffic maps. However, the data, provided to the Journal exclusively by Mr. Kamkar, contained a unique identifier tied to an individual's phone.

Mr. Kamkar, 25 years old, has a controversial past. In 2005, when he was 19, he created a computer worm that caused MySpace to crash. He pled guilty to a felony charge of computer hacking in Los Angeles Superior Court, and agreed to not use a computer for three years. Since 2008, he has been doing independent computer security research and consulting. Last year, he developed the "evercookie"—a type of tracking file that is difficult to be removed from computers—as a way to highlight the privacy vulnerabilities in Web-browsing software.

The Journal hired an independent consultant, Ashkan Soltani, to review Mr. Kamkar's findings regarding the Android device and its use of location data. Mr. Soltani confirmed Mr. Kamkar's conclusions.

Transmission of location data raises questions about who has access to what could be sensitive information about location and movement of a phone user.

Location Matters
View Full Image
.Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether smartphone applications illegally obtained or transmitted information such as location without proper disclosures, the Journal reported in April, citing people familiar with the matter.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said the office "had concerns" about using cellphones to collect Wi-Fi data and has expressed those concerns to Google. "The whole issue of the tracking capabilities of new mobile devices raises significant privacy issues," she said.

The business of collecting location information begain in 2003, when Boston-based Skyhook Inc. launched and began the practice of "wardriving"—cruising around in cars to collect information about Wi-Fi hotspots. Comparing the names and signal strengths of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots against a database allows for a cellphone's location to be determined within 100 feet, in many cases, Skyhook says.

"For the first four or five years, people thought we were nuts," said Ted Morgan, Skyhook's founder and CEO. "We invented this whole concept of driving around and scanning for Wi-Fi and tuning these algorithms."

In 2007, Google began building its own Wi-Fi database, using the StreetView cars. Last year, Apple switched from using Skyhook and began creating its own database of Wi-Fi points for use on its newest phones, although it still uses Skyhook data for older phones and Macintosh computers.

Skyhook's Mr. Morgan says the company attempts to protect users' privacy by collecting data via cellphone only when a person requests location from its servers—for instance when they are actively looking at a map. Each time a user requests location, the information is encrypted and gathered without any identifying user numbers, Mr. Morgan says. That means Skyhook can't follow a person from one location to the next, he says.

Google seems to be taking a different approach, to judge from the data captured by Mr. Kamkar. Its location data appears to be transmitted regardless of whether an app is running, and is tied to the phone's unique identifier.

In its letter to Congress last year, Apple said that it only collects location data from people who use apps that require location. It doesn't specify how often a person must use the app for intermittent collection to occur.

Apple also said in the letter that it collects Wi-Fi and GPS information when the phone is searching for a cellular connection. Apple said the data it transmits about location aren't associated with a unique device identifier, except for data related to its mobile advertising network

Apple gathers the data to help build a "database with known location information," the letter says. "This information is batched and then encrypted and transmitted to Apple over a Wi-Fi Internet connection every twelve hours (or later if the device does not have Wi-Fi Internet access at that time)," the company wrote in the July letter to Congress.

The letter, which is available on Rep. Markey's website, became newsworthy this week in light of findings from two researchers who uncovered a file on iPhones that keeps a record of where the phone has been and when it was there. The file is unencrypted and stored by default.

The discovery of this location file touched off a furor among iPhone owners who could see for the first time a trove of location data about themselves stored on their phones. The researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, said that they had no evidence that the file was being transmitted to Apple.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday 04-20-11

Job center blasted for giving capes to unemployed

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida officials are investigating an unemployment agency that spent public money to give 6,000 superhero capes to the jobless.

Workforce Central Florida spent more than $14,000 on the red capes as part of its "Cape-A-Bility Challenge" public relations campaign. The campaign featured a cartoon character, "Dr. Evil Unemployment," who needs to be vanquished.

Florida's unemployment agency director asked Monday for an investigation of the regional operation's spending after the Orlando Sentinel published a story about the program. State director Cynthia Lorenzo said the spending appeared to be "insensitive and wasteful."

Workforce Central Florida Director Gary J. Earl defends the program, saying it is part of a greater effort to connect with the community. The agency says it served 210,000 people during its last fiscal year, placing nearly 59,000 in jobs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday 04-17-11

New Avian Speed Champion Job 9:10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. A peregrine falcon diving toward its prey reaches a relative speed of 200 body- lengths per second. This is close to the 207 body-lengths that the space shuttle travels as it enters our atmosphere. Thus, the peregrine falcon was thought to easily be the fastest dare-devil bird on Earth. Scientists have now discovered that a little pink male hummingbird called Anna’s Hummingbird is the real Top Gun among the birds. As part of its mating ritual, a male hummingbird will try to impress a female with his speed and acrobatics. First, the male will fly up to about 90 feet above the ground. Then, he begins a power dive. As he nears the female, he pulls up, ascending again. During that near-miss pull-up he experiences more than nine times the force of gravity. His relative speed during descent is 385 body-lengths per second. That’s almost twice the peregrine falcon’s relative speed, it’s faster than the space shuttle entering the Earth’s atmosphere and is more than twice the relative speed of a jet fighter running with afterburners! The wonders of God’s creation are still being discovered, and Creation Moments still loves to make them known to our listeners. But God’s greatest wonder is His love for us though His Son, Jesus Christ. We are thankful that this wonder is revealed to us in the Bible.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday 04-16-11

So much for free speech, something about power corrupting...? TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security Washington (CNN) -- Don't like the way airport screeners are doing their job? You might not want to complain too much while standing in line. Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists, CNN has learned exclusively. And, when combined with other behavioral indicators, it could result in a traveler facing additional scrutiny. CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially "high risk" passengers at the nation's airports. Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity. But one addresses passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes. It reads: "Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures." TSA officials declined to comment on the list of indicators, but said that no single indicator, taken by itself, is ever used to identify travelers as potentially high-risk passengers. Travelers must exhibit several indicators before behavior detection officers steer them to more thorough screening. But a civil liberties organization said the list should not include behavior relating to the expression of opinions, even arrogant expressions of opinion. "Expressing your contempt about airport procedures -- that's a First Amendment-protected right," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you." "It's circular reasoning where, you know, I'm going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that's evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it's simply inappropriate," he said. The TSA says its security programs are informed by real-world situations and intelligence. Indeed, the immigration agent who refused to let the alleged "20th hijacker" into the United States in 2001 later testified that the man's arrogant behavior contributed to his suspicions. Agent Jose Melendez-Perez told the 9/11 commission that Mohammed al-Qahtani "became visibly upset" and arrogantly pointed his finger in the agent's face when asked why he did not have an airline ticket for a return flight. But some experts say terrorists are much more likely to avoid confrontations with authorities, saying an al Qaeda training manual instructs members to blend in. "I think the idea that they would try to draw attention to themselves by being arrogant at airport security, it fails the common sense test," said CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. "And it also fails what we know about their behaviors in the past." The 9/11 commission's report says that "none of the checkpoint supervisors (on September 11th) recalled the (successful) hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening." But, it says, an airline ticket agent that checked in hijacker Mohammed Atta says Atta "reacted negatively when informed in Portland (Maine) that he would have to check in again in Boston." Atta "clenched his jaw and said ... with some irritation, 'They told me one step check-in,'" he recalled. The ticket agent recommended the United States hire "behavior profilers ... the way they do overseas," the report says. Rafi Ron, former director of security at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, said an arrogant complaint about security is a legitimate factor to consider. But officials also should be suspicious of effusive praise, he said. "The other end of the spectrum is almost as bad, although it is maybe less offensive," he said. The TSA is expanding the behavior detection program, formally known as SPOT, for Screening Passengers by Observation Technique. Currently, some 3,000 uniformed behavior detection officers are deployed at about 175 airports. President Obama is calling for an additional 175 such officers in his 2012 budget proposal, and the TSA is expected to spend a total of $1.2 billion on the program over the next five years. In recent years, the TSA has also expanded the scope of the program. Originally intended to look only for suspected terrorists, the program now also seeks to ferret out possible criminals in airports. Many details of the program are publicly available. According to a Government Accountability Office report, uniformed behavior detection officers typically work in two-person teams at airport checkpoint lines, looking for behaviors that are on the SPOT checklist, each of which is assigned a numerical value. The officers sometimes initiate casual conversations with passengers, particularly if a passenger is exhibiting behaviors on the SPOT checklist. In most instances, the Accountability Office said, the conversation resolves the suspicion. But if both behavior detection officers agree that observed indicators exceed a predetermined numerical threshold, the person is referred to additional screening, which can involve more questioning and physical searches of a person or property. If the person's behavior escalates, accumulating more points based on the SPOT checklist, the officers can refer the person to local law enforcement for investigation. After the law enforcement investigation, the TSA officials determine whether to allow the passenger to board the flight. The Department of Homeland Security says the program is successful, telling Congress last week that, in a recent test comparing behavior detection officers to random screening procedures, the officers were 50 times more likely to refer people they checked to local law enforcement, and about 4.5 times as likely to identify people with prohibited items or fraudulent documents. Taken together, such officers are nine times more likely to identify "high risk" passengers than random screening, the department said. "SPOT identifies high-risk travelers at a significantly higher rate then random screening," Larry Willis of the department's Science and Technology Directorate testified. But one member of the study's Technical Advisory Committee said the study did not establish the program's scientific validity. "The advisory committee has not been asked to evaluate the overall SPOT program, nor has it been asked to evaluate the validity of indicators used in the program," Philip Rubin testified to Congress last week. Advisory committee members were not shown the list of behavioral indicators, he said. "My concern is that if I'm a member of the public and I hear (Willis') testimony, it sounds like the SPOT program has been validated," Rubin told CNN. He said that while large numbers of people were screened, very little criminal activity was detected, and the numbers may not be statistically significant. "The hit rate is so low on this, it could turn out to be a random glitch," he said. The Government Accountability Office also criticized the study, saying TSA's records are incomplete and the study is not designed to answer the big question people have about the program: Does it work? The study "is not designed to fully validate whether behavior detection can be used to reliably identify individuals in an airport environment who pose a security risk," the agency said. Members of Congress also expressed concern about the number of "false positives" -- people flagged for additional screening that resulted in nothing being found. For every person correctly identified as a "high risk" traveler by (the behavior detection officers), 86 were misidentified, Willis said. At random screening, for every person correctly identified, 794 were misidentified. The TSA does not track the number of arrests, convictions or exonerations of people that are referred to law enforcement, he said. The ACLU's German, who has not seen the behavioral indicators list, said he fears the indicators "are being used simply as a proxy for racial profiling or other inappropriate police activities." The number of people arrested at airport checkpoints for immigration violations suggests the behavior detection officers are profiling, he said. Thirty-nine percent of the 1,083 people arrested during the first four and a half years of the program were arrested because they were illegal aliens, according to the Government Accountability Office. Experts agree that the fact that there is an extremely small number of terrorists makes it hard to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral observation programs. The Accountability Office said it looked at 23 occasions in which 16 individuals -- people later charged with terrorism-related activities -- passed through high-threat airports. None is known to have been identified. But it is not known if the behavior detection officers were working at the time, the agency said. Stephen Lord of the Accountability Office is recommending the TSA study airport videos of those instances. "We believe such recordings could help identify behaviors that may be common among terrorists, or could demonstrate that terrorists do not generally display any identifying behaviors," Lord said. Nearly half of US meat tainted with drug-resistant bacteria, study suggests PHOENIX -- There may be scores of drug-resistant bacteria lurking in your grocery meat aisle. A study Friday by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, found that Staphylococcus aureus -- bacteria that causes most staph infections including skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning -- was present in meat and poultry from US grocery stores at "unexpectedly high rates." Researchers found nearly half of the meat and poultry samples, 47 percent, were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria, 52 percent, were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics. For the study, researchers looked at 136 samples involving 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 grocery stores in five cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Flagstaff, Ariz., and Washington, D.C. "For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial," Dr. Lance B. Price, senior author of the study, said in a statement. "The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today." According to the findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, "are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans." "Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics -- like we saw in this study -- that leaves physicians few options," Price said. Experts say although Staph can be killed with proper cooking, it still may pose a risk to people who handle food improperly or who cross-contaminate various ingredients in the kitchen. For more on this story, please go to Fox News.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday 04-12-11

Thermal Cameras Show Too Much? April 11, 2011 2:35 PM BOSTON (CBS) – A thermal imaging project in the city of Boston has been put on hold because of privacy concerns. Boston officials had hoped to have aerial and street-level photos taken across about four square miles of the city this winter using infrared cameras that would show heat loss in the city homes. Officials planned on sharing the photos and analysis with homeowners, and were hoping the findings would increase enrollment in efficiency programs and also create business opportunities. But, the project hit a snag when the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts raised concerns that the infrared cameras would reveal information about what’s going on inside the homes. Sagewell’s cameras can take up to 20,000 images of homes per day. Despite the concern, towns outside of Boston have not had any problems with the program. Utilities and environmental groups from Springfield and Hamilton are in the process of initiating the same project in their communities.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday 04-11-11

Pelosi: Anti-Net Neutrality Bill Isn't Going Anywhere Even as the House voted to repeal federal Internet access rules Friday, top Democratic policymakers called free and open communications a vital part of American democracy. Speaking at Free Press’s National Conference for Media Reform, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was pleased by Democratic opposition to the GOP-backed resolution, which cleared the House Friday afternoon. The resolution would nullify Federal Communications Commission net neutrality regulations that aim to prevent Internet service providers from blocking certain websites. “No one should be guarding the gate on the Internet,” Pelosi said. She said despite the House vote, the resolution isn’t likely to gain support in the Senate. “I don’t think this bill is going anyplace,” Pelosi predicted. Critics of the regulations say they unnecessarily interfere in the private market. Republicans who sponsored the House legislation argued that the FCC overstepped its authority to enact rules that aren't needed. Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps, who voted to enact the rules in December but advocated for more stringent measures, said net neutrality is one of many communications principles that must be protected. Free access to information and communication “is not just about entertainment,” Copps told the conference. “It goes to the heart of the future of Democracy.” He called for more regulations based on the public interest, including an “honest-to-God licensing system” to ensure that broadcasters are filling the public need. Fellow Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn agreed that the public must be “very vigilant” in protecting free and open communication networks, especially as more and more people move beyond simply enjoying wireless technology, to fully depending on it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday 04-10-11

Shocker! On his own, judge demands homeschool student IDs A Mississippi state judge has issued an order to public school attendance officers in his judicial district to provide the names of all homeschoolers there, prompting alarm at the Home School Legal Defense Association, which fights for the rights of homeschooling worldwide. The order apparently is because the judge himself wants the information, as there appeared to be no case, motion or dispute prompting the request. The HSLDA, which was alerted by its members in the 13th Chancery Court district in Mississippi, where Judge Joe Dale Walker issued the order, immediately sought and obtained a stay of the order from the state Supreme Court. Have you considered homeschooling? For a very limited time, get 19 FREE gifts when you subscribe to "The Old Schoolhouse" magazine! The judge's order noted that the "cause" for the order "came on for hearing on the court's own motion," but the HSLDA said apparently no hearing ever was held – and the order is the only document in the court file. It also has no case number, the organization said. Spokeswoman Beverly Kraft of the state court system told WND that the issue as it was presented to the state Supreme Court was a "confidential" case about which no documents, no information and no explanation was available. The HSLDA said the order is highly unusual and could provide a "chilling" effect on not only homeschoolers but any group whose members' names may at some point be demanded by a judge. The organization said the state Supreme Court ordered a stay in all proceedings in the case in which Walker demanded the names of all homeschoolers in his district. The order instructed Walker to explain to the higher court by April 18 exactly what's going on. There was no explanation for why the judge issued the original demand for homeschoolers' information. "At this time it is uncertain how the Supreme Court will proceed after receiving Judge Walker's response," the organization said. "It may simply issue an order disposing of the case or may require legal briefs and/or oral arguments before issuing a final decision. "In any event, we will keep members advised of the status of the case." An attorney for the group, James Mason, told WND that in the years he has worked with homeschool issues, he never before has seen such an order. "It's a very chilling prospect," he said. "The plain fact is if judges start behaving this way – [targeted could be] people who attend churches or synagogues [or other groups]." "That would have a chilling effect on freedom of association, and the exercise of other freedoms," he said. A judge in a similar order could demand the names of patriot organizations, tea party groups, Democrat groups, GOP groups or even labor, teacher or parent groups. HSLDA said that after attendance officers at the schools got the order, they notified homeschoolers, enclosing a copy of the judge's order. "The letters cited the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and asked the families to notify the attendance officer by April 8, 2011, if they intended to initiate legal action to prevent release of the protected information sought by Judge Walker," HSLDA said. The notice from the HSLDA to its members said the judge also wanted the addresses of all homeschoolers in Smith, Lawrence, Covington, Simpson and Jefferson Davis counties. Walker's order listed no parties but only said "RE: HOMESCHOOL." "We believe that Judge Walker's order is an inappropriate use of judicial power," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA. The state's court website says chancery courts "have jurisdiction over disputes in matters involving equity; domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws. Land records are filed in Chancery Court." The chancery courts also are given jurisdiction in juvenile matters in counties that have no county court.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday 04-09-11

Man Sexually Transmits Insect-Borne Disease to Wife

Scientists think they may have documented the first case of a sexually transmitted insect-borne disease, according to a study in Emerging infectious disease.

By early September, Chilson Foy became ill – she also had a headache with hypersensitivity to light, muscle pains and chills. The Foy’s children did not get sick. The couple said they started to feel better within a week, except for the joint pains.

The Foys took their case to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab for insect-borne diseases in Fort Collins, Colo., and the scientists there
were just as stumped. Foy and Kobylinski both tested positive for dengue fever, but Chilson Foy did not. However, a medical entomologist at the University of Texas Medical Brach at Galveston, Andrew Haddow, had another theory – the Zika virus.

Since Foy had kept serum samples frozen, he had a colleague of Haddow’s run tests and sure enough, the samples came back positive for Zika.

According to Foy’s study, the circumstantial evidence for Chilson Foy’s sexual transmission is strong.

“Patients 1 and 3 reported having vaginal sexual intercourse in the days after patient 1 returned home but before the onset of his clinical illness,” he wrote.
Foy said there are hints in other literature that sexually transmitted mosquito-borne viruses are possible. Boars who were infected with Japanese encephalitis shed the virus in their semen, and when female pigs were artificially inseminated with the boars’ semen they also became infected.

Haddow said most cases of the Zika virus are mistaken for dengue fever, which is mostly found in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday 04-08-11

The pot calling the Kettle black, i think US Warns of Gov'ts Trying to Control the Internet US report cites worrying trend of governments increasingly trying to control the Internet A State Department report notes how the revolutions of the Middle East have been aided by the Internet, but points to another trend occurring simultaneously: governments fighting the power of the Internet. The department's annual human rights report says governments around the world are "spending more time, money and attention in efforts to curtail access to these new communications outlets." It says more than 40 governments are blocking their citizens' access to the Internet through regulatory restrictions and technologies "designed to repress speech and infringe on the personal privacy of those who use these rapidly evolving technologies." The report released Friday singles out countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam and China as egregious examples.
Neat fire extinguisher

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday 04-06-11

Paraplegic faces jail in violent citizen’s arrest Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe is pressing ahead with a felony assault charge that could put a paraplegic grandfather in the slammer for up to 10 years for whacking his 3-year-old granddaughter’s alleged molester with a Louisville slugger after setting a trap for his arrest. As a result of 57-year-old Martha’s Vineyard computer salesman Frank Hebert’s unconventional citizen’s arrest, Joshua A. Hardy, 27, of Middleboro, now faces child molestation charges in a second case out of Wareham involving another little girl, authorities tell the Herald. “I’m not a hero, that’s for damn sure,” Hebert, his voice cracking, said last night. “I’d do it again tomorrow, knowing the consequence. I didn’t have a choice. A 10-year-old kid could take me. This is not about me. This is about a tiny child. I would never tell her I took a risk for her. I’d tell her I loved her.” Hebert, left confined to a wheelchair with only partial use of his arms after a car crash in Falmouth a decade ago, was summonsed to Edgartown District Court on March 25 and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He said he was advised by a judge to get an attorney and is due back in court May 2 for a pretrial conference. O’Keefe refused to discuss Hebert’s prosecution last night, saying only, “It’s a case that will take place in court and that will be the appropriate time for public comment.” Hardy, meanwhile, is being held at the Plymouth County House of Correction on $125,000 cash bail. Assistant Plymouth District Attorney Bridget Norton Middleton said Hardy was arraigned Feb. 23 in Wareham District Court on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, one count of enticing a child and one count of disseminating obscene material. A subsequent investigation into separate accusations, Middleton said, led to Hardy being charged last month by Wareham police with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 based on incidents alleged to have occurred Jan. 7 and Jan. 17 involving another alleged victim. Hardy’s Taunton attorney, Jean Marie Whitney, did not return multiple calls seeking comment. Hebert’s granddaughter is the child of his life partner’s daughter, but he considers her his kin. The child goes by a different name and her mom married the accused last summer. Hebert claims it was over Christmas that the tot began asking her grandparents to protect her. On Feb. 22, Hebert said his partner took her daughter and granddaughter, who were visiting, back to the mainland to talk to police, while he lured Hardy to his Mac PC Sales and Service shop in Vineyard Haven. Hebert said “fear” prompted him to bring a baseball bat to the rendezvous and call state police to back him up. Hebert said he pointed the bat at Hardy and ordered him to stay seated until police arrived, but Hardy, he said, stood up and laughed at him — and that’s when he used the bat. “All I had was a 39-inch-long baseball bat,” he said. “I never intended to hit him. If I was a standing man, I wouldn’t have brought a bat, but without it, I am a bloody ragdoll.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday 04-05-11

Definition of insanity: Create a $1.65 Trillion Deficit and cut $33 billion Banks, credit-card issuers warn of email breach NEW YORK (AP) - With the possible theft of millions of consumer email addresses from an advertising company, several large companies have started warning customers to expect fraudulent emails that try to coax account login information from them. A dozen companies said over the weekend that hackers may have learned their email addresses because of a security breach at a Dallas-based company called Epsilon that manages email communications. Among the affected companies are banks like Capital One Financial Corp., Barclays Bank, U.S. Bancorp and Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and retailers like Best Buy Co., TiVo Inc., Walgreen Co. and Kroger Co. The College Board, the not-for-profit organization that runs the SATs, also warned that a hacker may have obtained student email addresses. Walt Disney Co.'s travel subsidiary, Disney Destinations, sent emails warning customers on Sunday. Epsilon said Friday that its system had been breached, exposing email addresses and customer names but no other personal information. The email addresses could be used to target spam. It's also a standard tactic among online fraudsters to send emails to random people, purporting to be from a large bank and asking them to login in at a site that looks like the bank's site. Instead, the fraudulent site captures their login information and uses it to access the real account. The data breach could make these so-called "phishing" attacks more efficient, by allowing the fraudsters to target people who actually have an account with the bank. Epsilon sends more than 40 billion emails annually and has more than 2,500 clients.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday 04-04-11

Buying Silver to Combat the Vampire Craze Dominic Frisby of Money Morning newsletter quotes Nick Laird of Sharelynx as saying that the situation in silver is such that "since 1950, almost 925,000 tonnes have gone into demand with 570,000 tonnes of this having come from production. This leaves a shortfall of 350,000 tonnes, which has come from central bank sales, stockpiles and scrap. This deficit equals approximately 16 years of production." Even more surprisingly, as statistics go, the deficit in silver "is equal to the entire global production of silver in 1982!" which you'll notice is already punctuated with an exclamation point, as everybody can see the exceptional, startling, scary nature of the statistic! Jeff Clark in his essay "How Much More Demand Can Silver Handle?" here at The Daily Reckoning, notes that "The numbers for silver demand are starting to make some market-watchers nervous. The US Mint sold over 6.4 million silver Eagles in January, more than any other month since the coin's introduction in 1986." Well, playing the devil's advocate, I say that "Maybe it's because economic things are worse than at anytime since 1986, and there are so many more vampire-related things in the popular media than there were in 1986, so it is only natural to expect more people to be buying silver!" Mr. Clark, obviously having been instructed to ignore me, ignores me, and goes on to trump my stupid theory with the awesome fact that "China's net imports of silver quadrupled in 2010, to 122.6 million ounces, roughly 13.7% of global production." Already "mine production can't meet worldwide demand," and since I never hear of central banks dis-hoarding silver, nor of any stockpiles of silver being drawn down, maybe that is why he says, "the only way demand gets fulfilled is from scrap supply." As to what this means in precise dollars and cents, I don't know, but he may be giving us a hint when he reminds us to "Remember that silver rose over 3,646% from trough to peak in the last precious metals bull market; it's up about 630% in our current run. A return matching the 1970s advance would push the price to $152." From $33 an ounce to $152 an ounce? Wow! That seems like investing at its best, while the truth is that the gains in silver just get better from there, because the evil Federal Reserve is going to keep creating more and more money from there, which explains why I was spending more and more time alone in the Mogambo Big, Bad Bunker (MBBB) a few weeks ago, nervously watching the Federal Reserve creating another $28 billion in credit, which means that the Fed is creating more inflation in prices, which means that the time when people get desperate is not far away. And this $28 billion in bank credit turned, seemingly magically but actually just a coincidental accounting thing, into $26 billion in cash with which to buy $26 billion in government debt! All in One Freaking Week (OFW)! Astounding! The reason I bring this up is because it means, We're Freaking Doomed (WFD) to die a horrible, horrible economic death because of inflation in prices that must necessarily result from all this creation of new money, which is obvious once you strip away all the confusing jargon, acres of spreadsheets and idiot editors rejecting your work with caustic comments like, "Utter trash" and, "Thank you for your recent submission. However, we have no present need for worthless ramblings of a paranoid lunatic." Paranoid lunatic, eh? Ha! Sharp Junior Mogambo Rangers (JMRs) are instantly on alert at a "dog that didn't bark" - as in this case the sentence fragment "to die a horrible, horrible economic death because of inflation in prices that must necessarily result from all this creation of new money" did not end with an exclamation point, or two, or three, as would seem to be indicated. The reason is that the long-forecasted inflation, which the use of an exclamation point would indicate as an impending calamity, is not only impending, but it is here, which does merit an exclamation point thusly! I involuntarily looked around the bunker in a kind of scared paranoia when I read The 5-Minute Forecast boiling it down to, "Wholesale prices jumped 0.8% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Producer Price Index has now jumped 3% over the last four months. And no, that's not an annualized figure." Suddenly feeling nervous and paranoid again, The 5 continues, "Note that the PPI headline number is for 'finished goods' - stuff that's ready to be sold direct to consumers. In the category of 'crude goods,' the figures are far worse - up 3.3% in January, and up a staggering 15.8% over the last four months." This is the ugly start of the price inflation horror that results from the horror of the Federal Reserve creating so excessively much money, and if ever there were a clearer signal to buy gold and silver with the last of your Federal Reserve Note money, I never heard of it. And I am a guy who has heard many, many things over his lifetime that will curl your hair, or, if already curled, straighten, and I am not even talking about any of that REALLY scary stuff about genetic mutants being manufactured for the Pentagon (which is under control of UFOs from outer space) that are computer-controlled and can shoot laser beams ("zzzzt!") out of their eyes. And if that last stuff turns out to be true, too, then it will be just one more reason, on top of the other thousands of reasons, to buy gold, silver and oil, and which would perhaps add just that little bit extra jollity to your jaunty step as you realize, as you walk along, "Whee! This investing stuff is easy!" The Mogambo Guru The Daily Reckoning 11-3#ixzz1IJaMVNLu

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday 04-03-11

New museum to use science to tell Bible's history WASHINGTON — A new multimillion-dollar, high-tech, interactive museum of the Bible was announced Thursday amid 130 artifacts of the Good Book in a private exhibition at the Vatican Embassy. The exhibit was a sampler of Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant treasures from the future museum's 10,000 manuscripts and texts, one of the world's largest biblical collections. Some were as old as pages of the gospel in the Aramaic of Jesus' time, as political as the only Bible edition ever authorized by the U.S. Congress, as treasured as first editions of the majestic King James Version (KJV), displayed near the king's own seal. These will form the basis for "a public museum designed to engage people in the history and the impact of the Bible," said museum sponsor Steve Green, an evangelical businessman and owner of Oklahoma City-based nationwide craft chain Hobby Lobby. The Green family has amassed the world's largest collection of ancient biblical manuscripts and texts including his favorite: the 1782 Aitken Bible authorized by Congress. While the location and architecture, even the museum's name are still in the works, 300 highlights of the Green Collection will go on tour beginning at the Oklahoma Museum of Art on May 16. The traveling exhibit, called Passages, will move to the Vatican in October and New York City by Christmas. The announcement was made at the Vatican Embassy to highlight the Catholic contribution to the best-loved English text, the 1611 KJV, which draws about 80% of its majestic language from an earlier translation by a Catholic priest. Meanwhile, scholars at 30 universities worldwide are burrowing into rare texts from the collection and pioneering technology that enables them to bring out the ancient words in the most faded and printed-over manuscripts, Scott Carroll said. He is director of the collection and research professor of manuscript studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. One of Carroll's earlier efforts to make the ancient world accessible led to a standing exhibition at the Smithsonian on his online education program that enabled students in 35 countries to "join" an excavation of the oldest monastery in the world. His primary focus has been finding and authenticating ancient manuscripts that can deepen — or alter — "our understanding of the word of God. The Bible didn't come from the sky as tablets handed to Moses on Mount Sinai and then wind up in a hotel desk drawer," Carroll said. "The Bible is not in a lockbox. It changes across time," he said, pointing to the earliest known manuscript fragment of Genesis, a section of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a Jewish Torah (the five books of Moses) from the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and more. Passages will also address the dramatic struggles behind the texts, as translations are a matter of life, death and eternal fate to believers. The illustrated frontispiece of one King James Edition shows the king flanked by people who would be burned at the stake within 10 years. "Translating a Bible is a soap opera of moving political and spiritual parts," Carroll said. There are already U.S. museums centered on the Bible. The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., was established by the conservative evangelical group Answers in Genesis to walk people through a literal reading of the Bible. The same group is launching a Noah's Ark theme park, set to open in 2014 in northern Kentucky. And the Museum of Biblical Art in Manhattan was established by the American Bible Society, which has a Christian evangelizing mission. Green and Carroll say their museum, opening by 2016, has no theological agenda. "Think of the great new science museums that take you inside how things work or the Folger Library's public and scholarly center for Shakespeare. This will be our approach to the Bible. It's a museum, not a ministry," Carroll said.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday 04-02-11

BLACK LAWMAKERS SUE TO DISSOLVE CITIES THAT ARE TOO 'WHITE'... The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ 03/28/2011 Katie Leslie Posted on Friday, April 01, 2011 7:31:54 AM by RobertClark The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Georgia seeking to dissolve the city charters of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills. Further, the lawmakers, joined by civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, aim to dash any hopes of a Milton County. The lawsuit, filed in a North Georgia U.S. District Court Monday, claims that the state circumvented the normal legislative process and set aside its own criteria when creating the “super-majority white ” cities within Fulton and DeKalb counties. The result, it argues, is to dilute minority votes in those areas, violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. “This suit is based on the idea that African Americans and other minorities can elect the people of their choice,” said Democratic State Sen. Vincent Fort. The Office of the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General declined comment pending further review of the case. Rep. Lynne Riley, R-Johns Creek, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “disrespectful to the citizens of these cities who are most satisfied with their government.” Riley was active in creating Sandy Springs and the subsequent cities while serving as a Fulton County commissioner. “These jurisdictions were based on geography and nothing else,” she said. “We haven’t seen any evidence of any disadvantage based on the creation of new cities. We’ve watched the Fulton County budget continue to grow … to say there was damage done by this creation, there are no facts to support that, and I would reject it.” Lead attorney Jerome Lee, of Taylor Lee & Associates, said the suit is novel. “The Voting Rights Act forbids a state from doing anything that affects the voting rights of minorities, except with a permissible purpose,” he said, citing the redistricting that takes place when the census documents population shifts. “In this case, it’s different because the state actually went outside the normal redistricting process and created these cities that have no meaningful state purpose.” According to the 2010 census, Fulton County is 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent black. About 54 percent of DeKalb County residents are black, and 33.3 percent are white. Sandy Springs, created in 2005, is 65 percent white and 20 percent black. Milton, formed a year later, is 76.6 percent white and 9 percent black. Johns Creek, also formed that year, is 63.5 percent white and 9.2 percent black. Chattahoochee Hills, formed in 2007, is 68.6 percent white and 28 percent black, while Dunwoody, created in 2008, is 69.8 percent white and 12.6 percent black. Emory University law professor Michael Kang said the case is unique because the Voting Rights Act focuses on redistricting, whereas this lawsuit challenges the legality of cities. Kang, who has not reviewed the case in its entirety, said the plaintiffs will likely have to show evidence of discriminatory purpose to have a strong claim. Kane said the case has interesting implications. “If we look at this realistically, there is some white flight going on. The creation of these Sandy Springs-type cities enables white voters to get away from black voters,” he said. “It does strike me that the Voting Rights Act might have something to say about this, but it’s unknown what the courts will say about it.” Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker had not reviewed the suit, but he said he doesn’t believe it has merit. “This discussion was debated even back then [when the city was formed], and it failed to pass muster back then, so I don’t know why it would be different today,” he said. “It seems the clock has run on this issue.” Lee expressed hope that the involved parties could work out a compromise outside of dissolution of the cities. “There is a fundamental issue here that needs to really be addressed. I don’t know who the person is to forge the path forward. In theory it’s our governor and commander in chief, but I don’t know if anyone is willing to risk the political capital necessary to sit down and hammer out a solution on this,” Lee said.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday 04-01-11

Expects inflation? What planet is he living on, it is here already. Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon expects inflation U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday. The world's largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors. Still, inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate." Along with steep increases in raw material costs, John Long, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, says labor costs in China and fuel costs for transportation are weighing heavily on retailers. He predicts prices will start increasing at all retailers in June. "Every single retailer has and is paying more for the items they sell, and retailers will be passing some of these costs along," Long says. "Except for fuel costs, U.S. consumers haven't seen much in the way of inflation for almost a decade, so a broad-based increase in prices will be unprecedented in recent memory." Consumer prices — or the consumer price index — rose 0.5% in February, the most since mid-2009, largely because of surging food and gasoline prices. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose a more modest 0.2%, though that still exceeded estimates. The scenario hits Wal-Mart as it is trying to return to the low across-the-board prices it became famous for. Some prices rose as the company paid for costly store renovations. "We're in a position to use scale to hold prices lower longer ... even in an inflationary environment," Simon says. "We will have the lowest prices in the market." Major retailers such as Wal-Mart are the best positioned to mitigate some cost increases, Long says. Wal-Mart, for example, could have "access to any factory in any country around the globe" to mitigate the effect of inflation in the U.S., Long says. Still, "it's certainly going to have an impact," Long says. "No retailer is going to be able to wish this new cost reality away. They're not going to be able to insulate the consumer 100%." The Next Stock Market Crash Courtesy Of… Sean Hyman (March 30, 2011) Every few months, I take a trip back to south Arkansas where I was raised, to visit some of my friends and family. My relatives there all know what I do for a living, so they usually want to “talk markets” with me. I don’t mind. Watching markets is not just a job for me – it’s my hobby. So I’m always happy to listen as they give me their opinions on stocks. On my last trip home, I noticed something interesting. All my relatives were saying the same thing. They are all thinking about buying stocks again! But wait…it gets better… When I got back to Dallas just two weeks ago, all my friends at my Church were also talking about buying stocks for the first time since before the recession. And frankly, their timing couldn’t be worse… Why the Crowds Always Lose! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20 years in the markets, it’s when “the masses” all think the same thing, they are all wrong altogether. It’s because the crowds wait too long. They want a long period of confirmation before they feel comfortable risking their money in the stock market. They watch the financial news media talk about how stocks are going up, up and away. And day after day, they sit on the sidelines, waiting for the “perfect” time to enter the market. By the time they get up the nerve to enter the market once again, it’s usually a market top. (That means the big professional investors are about to dump their shares.) That’s exactly what’s about to happen here. I see a major stock market correction, or even a crash, coming. Today, I want to share with you the ONE tangible thing that pushes stocks to their breaking point. It’s the same catalyst that should knock stocks over a cliff this year. …Oil prices. Historically, whenever oil prices rise to a certain point, it forces a stock market correction. You can check it out on the chart below. (The S&P 500 is charted in red and oil is charted in blue.) Once Oil Tops $100, it Becomes Too Much for Stocks to Handle!

In the chart above, I’ve drawn a horizontal black line at the $100 a barrel level. As you can see, once oil hit that level, stocks plummeted. It’s pretty easy to see why… Large Corporations, Small Businesses and the Retail Consumers Can’t Afford $100 oil! When oil prices climb, everything costs more to produce and ship. Imagine the increased costs that FedEx and UPS must handle when oil surges. Imagine how much more Wal-Mart’s huge network of 18-wheelers must pay in gas to transport goods all over the country. Not only that, but think about all the small business owners who are just trying to keep their books in the black and recover from the last couple tumultuous years. When oil prices were at $33 a barrel, it lowered their fuel costs and their overall business expenses. But as oil costs have almost tripled in less than two years, it’s brought about an added tax on their business through higher fuel costs. Think about the retail consumers who must pay more for gasoline. They are just trying to mind their own business and provide for their families. But now it’s costing them $80 to $100 a week just to get to and from work (or up to $400 a month). New income stream pays 22-times more than treasuries Discover how to start collecting a steady stream of checks, as much as $757- $1,535, every month. $100+ Oil Takes Billions of Dollars Out of the Retail Market Each Month Imagine the “ripple effect” high oil prices have over 100 million U.S. workers when they have to take an extra $400 out of their paychecks each month just to pay for gas. That’s a ton of people who will be spending less in the retail market place on everything else. Suddenly our “consumer driven” economy slows to a standstill as large corporations, small business owners and even the “average Joe” gets pummeled by higher oil prices. If oil holds here at these horrific levels for any length of time, it will put a huge dent in consumer spending. That could tip us into another recession while stocks fall from the sky. I bring all of this up now because oil prices have largely held above $100 a barrel for an entire month now. The turmoil in the Middle East keeps jacking up oil prices. It’s not just Libya either. Things keep heating up in Yemen, Oman, Syria, Bahrain, etc. Some oil production facilities have suffered damage from the war, while others have simply had to evacuate their oil workers for safety’s sake. There doesn’t seem to be a “quick fix” to these problems either. Even if someone found a way to stop the violence tomorrow… it would still be months to a year before all oil production returned to normal. So is there a great chance that oil will hold at lofty levels for an extended period of time? Definitely. $100 Oil Will Force Foreign Currencies to Sell on the Cheap Stocks in Europe, Japan and U.S. are already feeling this pain from higher oil prices. All three of these countries have already started showing signs of weakness for the past two months as oil prices have soared and held above $100 a barrel. If this all continues (and I believe it will), then stocks will have a severe correction shortly. We’ll see “stock market sensitive” currencies like the Aussie dollar fall with the major stock indexes. That will force some incredible discounts in foreign currencies if you’re buying for the long-term. In effect, falling stock prices will mean that plenty of the most fundamentally strong currencies on the planet will be selling on the cheap. So get ready for the “full effects” of high priced oil to slap the markets in the face soon. When it happens, get ready to load up on foreign currencies at severe discounts. Have a Nice Day! Sean Hyman Editor, Currency Cross Trader Blog: P.S. If you’re buying and holding currencies for the long-run, the best thing you can do is invest in high-yielding currencies that will produce income as stocks continue to fall. My colleagues and I have devised a special “accelerator income” strategy that lets you invest in foreign currencies – and earn high monthly interest for your trouble.