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02 May 2011 16:22


Politics: Counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan gives more info on bin Laden killing

  • Insider insight into bin Laden mission: As stated by Obama administration counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, the U.S. would have claimed bin Laden alive if possible, but the al-Qaeda leader and his allies started a firefight that led to his death. He also said that President Obama and his aides were watching the operation in real time in the White House Situation Room, which he called “clearly very intense.” No kidding! Brennan also revealed that there are, in fact, photos of bin Laden’s corpse, but the White House has not yet decided whether to release them — a sensitive decision to be sure. source

20 Apr 2011 23:48


Tech: Soon, your Kindle will replace your library card

Amazon is rolling out some great new features to Kindle users, including book lending and access to 11,000 public libraries. No word on when they’ll be out, though. source

27 Jan 2011 14:38


U.S.: Terror threat level warnings to get a functional overhaul

  • The alerts will be specific to the threat. They may recommend certain actions, or suggest   looking for specific suspicious behavior. And they will have a specified end date.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano • Speaking on the topic of the oft-maligned terror threat level scale imposed following 9/11 (you know the one, orange=bad, red=really bad), Napolitano claimed that the future system of warning Americans about terrorism risks will be more informative. The old system, which merely stated the risk with no contextual information, was often accused of being vague and unhelpful. source

09 Jun 2010 10:05


U.S.: The military is freaking about the dude who leaked to Wikileaks

  • If he really had access to these cables, we’ve got a terrible situation on our hands. We’re still trying to figure out what he had access to. A lot of my colleagues overseas are sweating this out, given what those cables may contain.
  • An American diplomat • Discussing the potential awfulness of Wikileaks releasing  260,000 diplomatic cables that jailed Specialist Bradley Manning reportedly gave to the site. Manning had a fairly high level of access; there might be some fairly sensitive information in the wires. Manning, by the way, is the dude that leaked the 2007 clip that showed a bunch of Iraqi citizens getting killed, along with two Reuters employees. Why couldn’t Bradley have just gotten into quarterbacking football games like his old brothers Peyton and Eli? source

06 Apr 2010 10:39


World: Wikileaks’ role: Intermediary for journalists and sources

  • We take care of the source and act as a neutral intermediary and then we also take care of the publication of the material whilst the journalist that has been communicated with takes care of the verification.
  • Wikileaks director Julian Assange • Explaining the site’s role in providing information to the world. Essentially, they’re not pretending to be journalists. But they also realize that sensitive information often can’t pass directly between a source’s hands and a journalist’s, due to its sensitive nature. So, they find it, host it anonymously, and break it to the world (and take the crap that comes along with it, including contacts from the U.S. government). It’s great for the free flow of information, as has been proven by the just-released video of two Reuters staffers getting killed. source

14 Mar 2010 22:03


U.S.: Obama’s presidency talks transparency, but doesn’t walk the walk

  • One year is too early to render a final judgment on how far President Obama can move the government toward openness, but this Audit finds that much more pressure and leadership will be necessary, both inside and outside the government.
  • National Security Archive general counsel Meredith Fuchs • Regarding the findings of the private group during the first year of the Obama administration. While the president claimed that his administration would focus on transparency, an audit by the organization finds that the various portions of the government are very slow in processing FOIA requests (some requests are 18 years old!), and most government agencies haven’t increased the number of information releases during Obama’s presidency. Interesting. source

11 Jan 2010 10:44


Politics: Gawker has a couple of ideas on journalism worth heeding

  • one Newspapers are wasting their time covering time-sensitive information long after it happened.
  • two Websites should do some of their own reporting instead of relying on newspapers to do it for them.
  • three Both sides should stop being angry at each other and find some freaking common ground. source

07 Jan 2010 10:55


Tech: A good percentage of human beings already going viral

  • 8% of DNA in human beings comes from a virus source

06 Jan 2010 10:21


Tech: Former Apple marketing guy: They used controlled info leaks

  • The way it works is that a senior exec will come in and say, ‘We need to release this specific information. John, do you have a trusted friend at a major outlet? If so, call him/her and have a conversation. Idly mention this information and suggest that if it were published, that would be nice. No e-mails!’
  • Former Apple Senior Marketing Manager John Martellaro • Regarding how Apple lets information about its products – like a certain slate-type thing that a bunch of people are freaking about – leak to the press. Essentially, it won’t leak on its own, but the leaks are controlled and totally part of the plan to build hype around the product. And if you haven’t noticed, it largely works like a charm. source

02 Jan 2010 17:36


Biz: Debit vs. credit: Some quick notes on using bank cards

  • With the new credit laws taking place in February and later this year, now’s a good time to start thinking about how to react to the changes now. As a result, debit cards will be in heavier use. But before you get started, here are some things to consider:
  • Introductory points:
  • 40% of credit card users pay their balances monthly – something important to note. Paying off said debt can help you avoid some of the larger interest charges
  • opt-in a change coming to overdraft fees in mid-year; the often-costly fees on debit accounts are responsible for $25-$38 billion each year in bank profits
  • Usage tactics:
  • debit Debit cards are easier for many consumers to acquire, and are a good cash replacement. They’re better to use for small purchases, but tend to have many fees.
  • credit The better your score, the better the credit. It’s easy to rack up heavy debt, but when used properly, they’re advantageous for larger purchases in particular.
  • Safety considerations:
  • In cases of theft By and large, you have more protections with credit – Visa and MasterCard protect consumers from all liability above $50. Debit cards will credit accounts as well, but it’s up to the bank, who takes responsibility for the loss.
  • In cases of disputes Again, users of credit have the legal advantage here – if a charge is disputed, you don’t have to pay while the charge is disputed. With debit cards, this is in the hands of the banks, not the consumer.
  • General protip If you use a debit card to make a purchase, don’t use the PIN. Instead, sign for the purchase. You get many of the same protections you would with credit cards, and you pay fewer fees for the privilege.
  • Other things to consider:
  • scores Paying back credit cards has a direct effect on your FICO score – important for large loans.
  • benefits Overall, you get stronger benefits – such as points – with credit cards than debit cards.
  • buffer Debit overdraft fees can come in handy if you’re short, but they can quickly add up. source