Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday 11-28-14

Some worthwhile reading imo we can call this excepts day

Face Your Fear

We all have fears, both rational and irrational. Harness that fear rather than become paralyzed by it.

By  Matthew Allen               

What to do now to prepare your lawn or garden for winter

Cold weather's a-coming. We've already had some frosty nights, and most of our region stands a good chance of seeing a hard freeze Sunday night into Monday morning. Ideally, any overwintering houseplants are already safely back indoors -- but if you still have tender plants in pots outside, get them in ASAP.

Here is a skill that is fun to learn and easy to learn and could be valuable, it is knot tying  you can download it the following link

another interesting site is

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday 11-26-14

DHS Set to Destroy Governmentwide Network Surveillance Records

The Department of Homeland Security is poised to ditch all records from a controversial network monitoring system called Einstein that are at least three years old, but not for security reasons.
DHS reasons the files -- which include data about traffic to government websites, agency network intrusions and general vulnerabilities -- have no research significance.
But some security experts say, to the contrary, DHS would be deleting a treasure chest of historical threat data. And privacy experts, who wish the metadata wasn’t collected at all, say destroying it could eliminate evidence that the governmentwide surveillance system does not perform as intended.
The National Archives and Records Administration has tentatively approved the disposal plan, pending a public comment period.
According to Homeland Security’s rationale, there is "quickly diminishing value for most of the data collected pursuant to intrusion detection, prevention and analysis." A three-year retention period for reference purposes is sufficient, and "the records have no value beyond that point" but can be kept longer, if needed, appraisers said.
Incident reports, which include records on catastrophic cyber events, must be kept permanently.
The main driver for defining data retention policies, typically, is the cost of storing information indefinitely. 
The nonprofit SANS Internet Storm Center, which monitors malicious activity on the public Web, retains observation data for 12 years.
Older intrusion-detection records provide insight into the evolution of threats, said Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Technology Institute. Analysts there sometimes need even older data to answer today's research questions. 
"When we first started, our data was dominated by bots" -- networks of compromised computers -- "attacking common Windows services," he said. Then, a wider array of services started to come under attack, "and more recently, we do have data about the attack of devices -- Internet of Things -- as well as most recently attacks against big data systems." 
Ideally, Homeland Security’s intrusion records would be made available to the public in some form, Ullrich said.
"The Einstein data would likely be a goldmine for researchers, as it documents attacks against very specific networks in a consistent way over a large extent of time," he said. 
The records might show, for instance, attackers trying to guess host names, such as “,” that would give them total control over the Obamacare website, Ullrich said.
Storage costs in a commercial cloud likely would be reasonable, he added, ballparking the figure at $50 a month per terabyte of data.

Is This Another One of Those Coverups?
Some civil liberties advocates back Homeland Security’s move to expunge records that might contain individuals' metadata and communications as soon as possible. 
"Einstein is a network monitoring system and a lot of the data likely concerns user activity," said Ginger McCall, director of the Open Government Program at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "We would typically not want agencies to retain that data."

Yet, scrubbing the data presents an accountability challenge for department auditors.

“As a general matter, getting rid of data about people's activities is a pro-privacy, pro-security step,” said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But “if the data relates to something they're trying to hide, that's bad.”
It is possible the records could reveal the monitoring tools make mistakes when attempting to spot threats.
“Some of them are very smart and in fact, some of them try to learn and try to make guesses about things,” Tien said. By throwing out three-year-old records, “would you be getting rid of the very data that would allow [the Government Accountability Office] to say, 'Yes it works fine,' or, 'No it didn't work, but got better?'”
The root problem is a lack of transparency surrounding Einstein, he said, likening the situation to criticism of the National Security Agency’s secrecy around its signals intelligence sweeps.
“You're setting up this data collection system that tracks people when they are using government websites," Tien said. And you don't necessarily have to have that repository. When the government is capturing that information and holds it in its records, there is always a privacy issue. We want to be able to have evaluated it.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, intends to review the types of records set to be discarded. It is important for DHS to keep any Einstein records related to a breach, but if the records truly hold no worth, Democratic members do not see a problem with disposing of them, a minority committee staffer said.
DHS officials on Friday declined to comment beyond what was stated in the written rationale. 
The public has until Dec. 19 to request a copy of the records retention plan. Comments are due within 30 days of receipt.
Categories of Records Headed to the Trash Folder

Core Infrastructure -- Email, contact and other personal information of federal workers and public citizens who communicate concerns about potential cyber threats to DHS; "Suspicious files, spam and other potential cyber threats via an email network" exclusively used within DHS' Mission Operating Environment system. 

Intrusion Detection -- Network traffic data and alerts from government servers; this information includes the IP address, port address, timestamp and some red flags identified in network traffic; telltale signs, or signatures, of known malicious behavior; oddities in captured traffic, such as "an unusual number of hits," or sometimes, "known actors floating through multiple dot-gov" websites. Interactions with domain name system servers that translate website names like “” into numeric IP addresses.

Intrusion Prevention -- Indicators of known and unknown malicious activity agencies should be on the lookout for. 

Analysis -- Forensic imagery and files from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team containing malicious data for studying purposes; metadata from traffic "packet capture" analysis might contain email addresses and IP addresses; a database for supporting commercially available tools that allow US-CERT personnel to visualize relevant relationships "by presenting drilldown views of data with patterns, trends, series and associations to analyze seemingly unrelated data”; a segregated, closed computer network system for inspecting digital devices and their storage mediums; information about security vulnerabilities and threats in the form of actual malicious code submitted to US-CERT. 

Information Sharing -- Technical Web records, including operations and maintenance; content might include research, white papers, advertising for conferences and other published information for feds and the public; “CyberScope" reports on an agency's security posture required to comply with the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act; the website and data exchange portal; a repository for threat sightings and indicators.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday 11-25-14

CT Report Lays Groundwork for Nationwide Psychiatric Surveillance

Vivien Leigh and James F. TracyActivist Post

On November 21, 2014 the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate issued a 114-page report, Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School: Report of the Office of the Child Advocate (PDF), focusing on the ambiguous profile of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza that may become the basis for mental health practices throughout the United States.

With contributors including psychiatrists and academicians from education and social work departments, the publication comes just two months after the US Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education announced over $160 million in funding for widescale research and deployment of mental health initiatives in the nation’s public schools.[1]
“OCA began a comprehensive collection and review of records related to the life of AL,” the document’s preamble reads, “including his medical, mental health and education records, as well as un-redacted state police and law enforcement records.”(p. 6).

Among 37 “key findings,” the statement expresses concern over “siloed systems of education, physical health, and mental health care for children” that “strongly implicate the need to assist parents with understanding and addressing the needs of children with complex developmental and mental health disorders” (p. 9).

Mandatory mental health “screenings” and “evaluations” are recommended to remedy the potential threat of further “Adam Lanzas.”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday 11-24-14

This is a good project and is good common sense, I don't understand why it was not done on a grander scale already.

Norway to grow food crops in space

A new EU-funded research project is set to 'take-off' researching how food plants grow in space and how the horticulture could supply space travellers with oxygen and food.
The 10-year project called TIME SCALE will be led by Ann-Iren Kittang Jost, research chief at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.
The research team has not yet decided what plants they will try and grow, but are looking at tomatoes, lettuce and soybeans.
The Trondheim research unit has been trying to grow plants in space since 2006. Under the Norwegian research team's guidance, plant growing experiments were carried out at the International Space Station (ISS). The research focused on the flowering weed, Arabidopsis thaliana.
It is a complex journey of investigation for the scientists who must learn about the interaction of the plants to their new, very different environment.
"One of the big challenges is to administer exactly the right amount of water and nutrients to the plants in such little gravity,” said Kittang Jost to Science Nordic.
Researchers from the MELISSA space program believe a closed ecosystem can be fully functional in space by 2050. With this goal in mind, the Norwegian researchers' work is a critical part of giving space explorers the means to survive and eat in a self-sustaining fashion, many thousands of miles away from Earth.

James Bond-inspired LASER WATCH will burn through objects from a distance

The Apple Watch is already obsolete and it isn't even in the shops yet.
The reason is simple – it doesn't contain a laser that can actually burn stuff.
If that's what you're looking for in a smartwatch, forget about Apple and look towards the work of hobbyist Patrick Priebe.
He's knocked together what he describes as the "Bond-inspired laser watch" and it might well consign the Apple Watch to the bin of history.
That's because this isn't just some laser pointer that has been encased into a box and had a wrist strap attached to it.

No – the 1,500-milliwatt laser in this thing is powerful enough to pop a balloon or even light a candle.
Because the laser is so powerful, the battery on the watch will only last between 5 and 10 minutes. But that’s 5 minutes of awesome laser arson.
Which has got to be better than being able to read your emails or check stock reports on a tiny screen. Sorry, Apple.
So far, Patrick's watch is a limited edition of one, which he says took around 40 hours to make.
He reckons that he’d charge at least $300 (about £190) if he was to make any more.

All you'd need would be a wallpaper pasting table and some strong duct tape and you've got yourself a James Bond torture scene. Although we do not condone such behaviour. Mwah, ha, ha!
Priebe makes a habit of creating awesome-but-terrifying weapons. In September he showcased a homemade Iron Man glove that fires real rockets.
He's also made a Spiderman 'web shooter' and DIY Wolverine claws.
His YouTube channel is well worth browsing for more.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday 11-22-14

Well today I might as well post a few useful sites, at least imo.

This first one is an site that is publishing a bunch of PDF's called Ham Tips.

RCA Ham Tips

Click on the Volume Number or cover image to display the full issue in PDF format.

Unlike GE Ham News, this isn't quite a complete set of the RCA publications.  We're getting close but there are still a few holes in the collection. 

If you have one of the missing copies, please consider scanning and sending the images to me.  Use the best resolution capable of your scanner and software.  I can accept either a finished PDF document or individual pages scanned as JPG, TIFF, or probably most any image format.  Also, please let me know if you wish to be acknowledged on this web page for supplying an issue.

This next one is a group of old texts, it has a lot of good info.

It is called  Survivor Library

Basic knowledge of chemical formulas and processes are recorded in books from these periods ranging from the most basic industrial chemical needs through household materials in common use.
The Library in it’s entirety is a compendium of the Technological and Industrial Knowldge of the 1800 through early 1900s.
It is the knowledge needed to rebuild a technological and industrial infrastructure from scratch when the modern infrastructure ceases to function.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday 11-21-14

Walmart Augason Farms Long Term Storage Food

They don’t carry this at my local Walmart – I really like the Augason Farms Foods, but have to order mine directly from the manufacture, which isn’t bad because they offer free shipping on orders over $200.
Does your local Walmart carry Augason Farms products or other long-term storage foods?

Gecko-inspired tech allows man to climb glass wall
Stanford University researchers emulating Spider-Man's wall-crawling abilities turned to a different animal, the gecko, to inspire their sticky technology.

 The researchers, working with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, took inspiration from the toes of geckos to create the silicone pads that allowed a 154-pound man to scale an 11.5-foot glass wall.

 Each pad is worn on a climber's hand and is attached to a harness for the climber's foot.

 The team, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, said "microwedges" in the pads generate electrostatic Van der Waals forces that cause molecules to be attracted to each other.

 "The synthetic adhesion system creates a nearly uniform load distribution across the whole adhesive area, improving upon the adhesive-bearing structures of a gecko's toe and enabling a human to climb vertical glass using an area of adhesive no larger than the area of a human hand," the researchers wrote.

 The team said the technology could have applications in manufacturing and could replace suction power and chemical adhesives in some cases.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Im back for a while

Hello,  I'm back for a while.  I guess what is prompting me to get back into the blogging is Remus is stopping.  It really pains me to see him stop.   I have followed his site for quite a while.  Tip of the hat to him, it was a very nice run and I enjoyed reading the site.  I wish him all the best and am sorry to see him go.  I'm going to start a few days a week and then daily.  Thank you hanging in there appreciate the people that stayed faithful when I stopped.

Blighted harvest drives olive oil price pressures 

BEJA, Portugal (AP) -- If your favorite bottle of Mediterranean olive oil starts costing more, blame unseasonable European weather -- and tiny insects.
High spring temperatures, a cool summer and abundant rain are taking a big bite out of the olive harvest in some key regions of Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Those conditions have also helped the proliferation of the olive fly and olive moth, which are calamitous blights.
The shortfall could translate into higher shelf prices for some olive oils and is dealing another blow to southern Europe's bruised economies as they limp out of a protracted financial crisis.
"The law of supply and demand is a basic law of the market," said Joaquim Freire de Andrade, president of growers' association Olivum in Portugal's southern Alentejo region, the country's olive heartland. "It's a tough year."
Olive oil is big business in southern European Union countries. They are the source of more than 70 percent of the world's olive oil, bringing export revenue of almost 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) last year. The United States imported just over $800 million of that.
For some European growers, this year's harvest is a bust.
In Spain, the world's biggest producer, the young farmers' association Asaja says 2014 is "another disaster" after a calamitous harvest two years ago. Spain's output is forecast to plunge by more than 50 percent, with a drop of at least 60 percent in the southern Andalucia region.
Several factors have combined to hurt Spain. Trees are exhausted after last year's bumper harvest. Also, unusually high spring temperatures choked flowering. On top of that, some producers are battling swarms of olive flies and moths.
Consumers are already paying 1 euro a liter more for their olive oil, Asaja president Luis Carlos Valero says, though he doesn't anticipate a hefty price jump.
For celebrated Italian olive oil producers, "this is the worst year in memory," said Pietro Sandali, head of the Italian olive growers' consortium, Unaprol. The group expects a 35 percent drop in national production this year.
After heavy spring and summer rain, some growers didn't bother to harvest their meager crop. For some who did, the volume is low and the quality is poor.
"This crop is not to be remembered. This is a crop to be forgotten in every aspect," said Augusto Spagnoli, an organic olive grower from Nerola, about 50 kilometers from Rome, as he stood amid his 10,000 trees, some of which are more than 1,600 years old.
The bulk price for extra virgin oil from the benchmark Bari region has soared to 6 euros a kilogram -- up from 2.7 euros this time last year.
French growers say they face their most daunting crisis since a big freeze in 1956 decimated olive groves. This year's harvest was initially expected to fetch some 5,000 metric tons of olive oil but it may reach only 1,500 metric tons, according to the Inter-professional French Olives Association.
The big culprit there is a fly the size of a small ant. The fly pricks olives and places larvae inside, and the maggots tunnel through the fruit. The flies have long been a problem for olive oil producers, but the scale this year has astonished farmers.
"I'd never seen this and the older folks said they'd never seen such a proliferation of flies," said producer Laurent Belorgey, part of a third generation of olive growers at the 19th-century Domaine de la Lieutenante, south of Avignon.
In Beja, 180 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, producers deploy satellite technology on their high-tech farms these days but after generations they are still fighting age-old enemies: the olive fly and a fruit fungus that turns olives brown and makes them shrivel like prunes. Both blights have struck hard this year.
Portuguese growers are doing what the French have done: harvesting earlier and faster than usual before any more is lost. Since mid-October, a month earlier than usual, crews have been hurrying through the long ranks of olive trees that stretch to the horizon.
The workers follow a low, agile, space-age-looking vehicle that clamps the tree trunk and shakes it, briefly making the tree shimmer in a silver-green blur. Long black netting on the ground catches the falling olives.
Though less damaged, the younger fruit also yields less oil. "Farmers will be earning less this year," said Freire de Andrade, the Olivum association president.
Greek growers, however, anticipate windfall profits. Greece is the world's third-largest producer and is set to more than double its annual output, to 300,000 metric tons. That is good news for farms in places such as Crete and the southern Peloponnese region where Greece's acute financial crisis in recent years had left growers short of cash for maintenance and investment.
The predicted shrinkage in EU output should also be offset in part, experts say, by Spanish stocks left over from last year's record yield.

Cellphone tracking: Find an address? Easy. But new devices can calculate your altitude.

Cellphones long have doubled as tracking devices, capable of revealing your location to police, paramedics, even grocery stores looking to deliver coupons to nearby customers. But there’s a measurement cellphones once struggled to make: altitude.
No more.
Cellphone tracking is about to go vertical as the location-services industry, prodded by the U.S. government, solves the riddle of what experts call “the z vector.” Soon it will be possible to determine not only what building you and your phone are in but also whether you are on the first or 15th floor.

One key is the rapid spread of barometric-pressure sensors, which have become standard features in Apple’s iPhone 6 and several Android devices. More than 100 million of these smartphones already are in the hands of consumers, capable of making air-pressure readings that can be used to estimate a user’s altitude, to within a few feet.
The systems, though now used mainly for apps that users control, are part of a new generation of location technology that could collect altitude data from smartphones and use it to, for example, help rescue crews find people trapped in an office-tower fire. But privacy advocates warn that detectives, intelligence agencies and maybe hackers could gain the ability to map the three-dimensional movements of cellphone users with startling new detail.
Sensors in smartphones that measure air pressure can now determine the callers’s altitude.
An early glimpse at this tension is playing out at the Federal Communications Commission, which is updating its requirements for how wireless carriers handle 911 calls, 70 percent of which now come from cellphones rather than land lines. In a proposal that could be adopted as soon as January, the FCC would require wireless carriers to build more-precise location systems capable of finding callers anywhere, even in a multistory building.
The proposal has triggered a lobbying fight, with some public-safety groups supporting strict FCC rules and wireless carriers pushing for slower implementation and different technology. The outcome of that struggle is likely to determine the precision of the next generation of cellphone tracking and how quickly it arrives.
“This puts those of us in the civil-liberties community in a difficult position of opposing the creation of location services for emergency services, because we know the FBI will ask for it later and we don’t have the power to stop them when they ask for it later,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The FBI declined to comment on the location rules under consideration by the FCC, but the bureau’s own investigative guidelines say it can seek access to any information supplied to other government agencies. Previous generations of FCC location rules, though created for 911 services, eventually led to the FBI quietly gaining an expanded ability to track cellphone users.
The potential goes far beyond government uses, said Manlio Allegra­, chief executive of Polaris Wireless, one of the location-services­ companies experimenting with altitude measurements. Malls could use altitude tracking to monitor crowd flows and send coupons to the phones of customers walking past a shoe shop on the top floor. Multilevel casinos could monitor gamblers for security purposes. Companies could better keep tabs on the movements of their employees, especially those handling expensive products.
“It’s like a tidal wave,” Allegra said of the potential for three-dimensional­ tracking. “You upgrade the network, every performance [capability] on the network gets upgraded.”
From air to ‘z’
The technology works on a simple principle: Air molecules concentrate more densely at low altitudes than at high ones, causing measurable variations that follow predictable patterns. Even if overall barometric pressure at a certain location is shifting — say, as a hurricane approaches — the bottom floor of an office building will have higher pressure than the top one.
The air-pressure sensors built into the latest smartphones have sparked the development of a range of apps. Some help forecast the arrival of storms; others claim to alert anglers to when fish — which are said to prefer high, stable pressure — are biting.
The iPhone 6 includes a health app that uses changes in air pressure to estimate how many stairs a user climbs each day. Apps that help hikers navigate peaks and glider pilots track flights are increasingly using barometric sensors to measure altitude, something that GPS tracking technology struggles to do as quickly and accurately.
Australian glider pilot Peter Rundle built an Android app called GlideMate that maps longitude and latitude — the “x” and “y” vectors — while also showing the “z” vector of altitude based on air-pressure readings made by the smartphone.
GlideMate also tracks rates of ascent or descent, mimicking a device called a variometer and allowing him to leave some bulky gear behind when he flies. “It’s easier to just have one instrument that does everything,” Rundle said.
The Polaris Wireless altitude sensors work roughly the same way. During a demonstration for government officials on the seventh floor of FCC headquarters in September, amid the cluster of drab office buildings south of the Mall in Washington, a company employee carried a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone down several flights of stairs, said Allegra, the Polaris CEO.
Using software the company designed, the Samsung device measured the pressure shifts and relayed them to a server at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. The server then compared the readings with an atmospheric model of the area and reported the shifting altitude estimates to another device, as Allegra and the FCC officials looked on.
The proposed FCC rules would not endorse a particular location technology, but any new standards are likely to spur innovation as companies compete for the lucrative business of helping wireless carriers comply.
“We are committed to both improving public safety and protecting consumer privacy,” David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s public-safety and homeland-security bureau, said in a statement. “The goal of this proceeding is to use technological advancements in the marketplace to help first responders better locate 911 callers. We’ve sought public comment on our proposals, including any privacy implications, and will consider all input as we move forward.”
The four largest wireless carriers reached an agreement with two major public-safety groups last week, endorsing standards and a timetable less stringent than proposed by the FCC and relying on a different technology — using maps of WiFi and Bluetooth signals, as some commercial location services now do — for determining the address and altitude of a 911 caller.
Other groups are still pushing for air-pressure technology, arguing that it is more reliable and precise and could be implemented more quickly. “The [wireless] industry is basically trying to slow the train down,” said Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “That’s very troubling to us.”
Beyond GPS
A 911 call is unlike any other: A person dialing the number typically is seeking help from authorities to report a crime, fire or medical emergency. The dispatcher needs to know the location of the caller to direct the appropriate responders to the right place, even if the caller cannot or will not provide that information.
Several technologies, operating under existing FCC rules, already are capable of finding 911 callers based on data that flows through cellular networks, such as what cell towers phones are using and how quickly signals are reaching them. Increasingly, though, carriers also are activating the GPS chips in smartphones to determine the locations of callers and sending the results to dispatchers.
Yet some in the location-services industry, backed by coalitions of emergency workers, have argued that existing systems are flawed and imprecise. GPS tracking, for example, needs a clear line of sight to satellites, making them all but useless when somebody inside a building makes a 911 call.
“There needs to be privacy protections, but right now, for all the networks, that’s not the challenge,” said Jamie Barnett, a former top FCC official now lobbying for one of the location-services companies, TruePosition, and also for a coalition of emergency workers that the company is funding. “The question is, can the networks even find you?”
Many privacy advocates support the idea — in concept — of better location tracking for 911 calls but fear government overreach. The last time the FCC updated its location requirements for wireless carriers, several later agreed to provide that same data to the FBI.
The increasing use of GPS tracking, the privacy advocates say, offers a cautionary tale. Even if callers have turned off the capability on their smartphones, 911 systems are capable of remotely activating GPS functions and extracting precise locations.
This may cause little concern since somebody calling authorities typically wants to be found. But if smartphones are designed to include the ability to have their GPS tools activated remotely, there is no guarantee that others will not secretly take advantage of that feature. Users making 911 calls typically do not get notification that their smartphones have activated the GPS functions and reported the location to authorities.
Jim Dempsey, senior counsel to the Center for Democracy & Technology and a veteran of debates over FCC location rules, said privacy concerns could be lessened by requiring wireless carriers to build systems capable of transmitting altitude measurements only during 911 calls. “It’s not like the FCC is forcing anyone to design a mass surveillance tool of the future,” Dempsey said.
But Rundle, the Australian glider pilot and app developer, said location data generated for 911 calls will inevitably be collected by the government — and perhaps others — to track cellphone users.
“It’s the dilemma of today’s technology. You can’t make it hack-proof,” he said. “If somebody can program it, someone else can re-purpose it.”