[News] strange happenings of 2015

Yeah. You read right. This is for everything that doesn't have anything to do with Eva.

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Postby soul.assassin » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:45 am

View Original PostRay wrote:Will there be an Avatar/Legend of Korra themed land?

If not then I'll pass.


It would be a great loss for Viacom if they didn't.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11915962/Glass-walkway-3500-feet-up-cracks-under-tourists-feet.html

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Postby cyharding » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:58 pm

I would count this as strange: [url]http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.3258764/renoir-haters-protest-outside-boston-museum-1.3258769[/url]

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Postby robersora » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:52 am

^
I can't help, but think this is a parody.
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Postby StarShaper7 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:04 pm

The "God Hates Renoir" sign reeks of irony. The whole protest does, but that one pretty much confirmed it for me.

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:17 pm

If you haven't heard about Krystyna Skarbek, then you need to educate yourself.

Basically...she's the real life inspiration for Vesper Lynd.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby Ray » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:43 pm

Good Morning America just released a few precious minutes of the over 48 hours of improv Robin Williams did for Aladdin.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/never-before-seen-robin-williams-830922
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Postby Shamsiel-kun » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:44 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:I'm fairly certain this will be the start of Cold War Part II


You're late to the party, it started a while ago. And I'm not entirely sure by whom. The US seems to be as interested in spreading disinformation as Russia is.

Also ongoing is CryptoWars II.

And how will the US react to the bombing of Safe Harbour? TIPP looks like a clusterfuck already...

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Postby NemZ » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:51 pm

View Original PostShamsiel-kun wrote:Also ongoing is CryptoWars II.


Man, I feel bad for Snowden. Poor guy put himself out there to blow the lid off this nonsense and the general public's response to the news that Big Brother was absolutely real was a resounding 'meh'. :facepalm:
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:57 pm

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Man, I feel bad for Snowden. Poor guy put himself out there to blow the lid off this nonsense and the general public's response to the news that Big Brother was absolutely real was a resounding 'meh'. :facepalm:


We already passed the Patriot Act, so it's not like we didn't know. Snowden decided to play with fire and got torched. That's what happens when you provoke a lion with no escape route; guy got what he deserved. And the hilarious irony of it all is that he now gets to spend the rest of his days in a state that's the very antithesis of his supposed morals. High comedy, that.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:01 pm

It's generally more complicated than that, most people don't care that they're being monitored, most people don't have anything to hide or don't think they're interesting enough, and while that's all true for the most part, it's not like Big Brother is collecting all this metadata to track which national coffee chain you go to get your morning coffee. The real meat of what's going on, and especially the whistle-blowing docs, is comsec, which has changed drastically over the last decade. The encryption thing is really just a necessary part of the much bigger equation.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:14 pm

The Patriot Act created a legal pathway for specific, targeted digital surveillance in parallel to that needed for a search or landline phone tap. What Snowden showed was that the NSA had been doing this long before there was such a legal avenue and went beyond the strictures of the law, gathering info on damn near everyone everywhere all the time as well as intentionally making public data security weaker for their own purposes. There is no justification for treating innocent people like criminals just because they can.

It's not comedy, it's tragedy. Snowden should be national hero, not an international fugitive.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:29 pm

View Original PostNemZ wrote:The Patriot Act created a legal pathway for specific, targeted digital surveillance in parallel to that needed for a search or landline phone tap. What Snowden showed was that the NSA had been doing this long before there was such a legal avenue and went beyond the strictures of the law, gathering info on damn near everyone everywhere all the time as well as intentionally making public data security weaker for their own purposes. There is no justification for treating innocent people like criminals just because they can.


They really aren't. What they're doing is treating innocent people like data points, and ignoring them in favor of the people who are actually on their radar. The fact that it's metadata is important: they aren't spying on us, they're just using metadata in conjunction with matrix analysis and such to track down foreign nationals who really do want to create mayhem in the West. And, in post-PA America, what they're doing is legal. Congress can feign ignorance all they like, but that was what they wanted the NSA to do from the beginning and everyone in the spy business knows it.

It's not comedy, it's tragedy. Snowden should be national hero, not an international fugitive.


Putting lives in danger for his own self-aggrandizement? Pass, thanks. Snowden's no innocent whistleblower; he got himself hired for the express purpose of doing exactly what he did. That's not heroic, it's fuckin' espionage. His did have the virtue of being more responsible about leaking the info than Chelsea Manning was, but he still got everyone running around like headless chickens squawking about what might happen in theory rather than what the agency was actually doing with the information it was collecting (hint: it's a lot less nefarious than it's made out to be).
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Postby pwhodges » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:35 pm

I'll content myself with saying that while I see what you are saying there, I do not fully accept it. That is probably indeed how they are using most of the information they have; but I still believe they have more than they should, leaving the potential for misuse clearly in place.

Also:
And, in post-PA America, what they're doing is legal.

[url]http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/07/nsa-phone-records-program-illegal-court[/url]
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Postby NemZ » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:43 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:metadata


Metadata used in aggregate is in some ways far more invasive than just intercepting the message. don't pretend you don't know this already. and NSA collection practices have been ruled illegal, so no, they are not. A simple google search can back that up, do your own homework.

Putting lives in danger for his own self-aggrandizement?


Snowden very intentionally wanted the story to be the focus, not himself, and worked with reputable news outlets directly to try and keep what was released focused and socially responsible. Try again.

(hint: it's a lot less nefarious than it's made out to be).


How can I really trust that when what they do is all in secret while not trusting the people they're supposed to be protecting, all while flouting legal checks on their authority?
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:47 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:I'll content myself with saying that while I see what you are saying there, I do not fully accept it. That is probably indeed how they are using most of the information they have; but I still believe they have more than they should, leaving the potential for misuse clearly in place.


That is theoretically true. However, I can tell you, as someone who works for the U.S. federal government, that what we are legally forced to do (or refrain to do) and what we are legally allowed to do (or refrain from doing) are only the hard limits of our powers. There are also soft limits that are defined through policy, which is less well-known to the public. These limits tend to be enforced internally both because there are outside elements sniffing around and because internal politics mean that missteps tend to be seized upon (and we have avenues for reporting such anonymously, which means that unless everyone in a particular section is in on the bad behavior it just doesn't last long).

So yes, in theory the NSA has the ability to spy on U.S. citizens, but in practice they don't really do it since that's a damn good way to get fired.

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Metadata used in aggregate is in some ways far more invasive than just intercepting the message. don't pretend you don't know this already. and NSA collection practices have been ruled illegal, so no, they are not. A simple google search can back that up, do your own homework.


It's been ruled illegal now, in an appeals court. That's a matter of debate, though, and before Snowden went public they had a good faith argument that what they were doing was authorized by the PA. Appellate disagreed, others up the chain may not. But regardless, they weren't breaking the law -- just (arguably) exceeding the authority granted them by the PA. Not the same thing.

How can I really trust that when what they do is all in secret while not trusting the people they're supposed to be protecting, all while flouting legal checks on their authority?


How can a spy agency operate effectively if it's not operating in secret? How can they trust you (or any of us) when they don't know who we're talking to? Don't act like there's a hard bright line here, because we all know there's not. The Agency has to balance secrecy with transparency, and that is very hard to manage. The courts realize this, which is why this is an ongoing conversation and not an open and shut case.
Last edited by Bagheera on Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Monk Ed » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:58 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:So yes, in theory the NSA has the ability to spy on U.S. citizens, but in practice they don't really do it since that's a damn good way to get fired.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/27/nsa-employee-spied-detection-internal-memo

"It also reveals limited disciplinary action taken against NSA staff found to have abused the system. In seven cases, individuals guilty of abusing their powers resigned or retired before disciplinary action could be taken. Two civilian employees kept their jobs – and, it appears, their security clearance – and escaped with only a written warning after they were found to have conducted unauthorised interceptions."
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Postby NemZ » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:07 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:they weren't breaking the law -- just (arguably) exceeding the authority granted them by the PA. Not the same thing.


Sure, sure. I didn't break into that house, I was just exceeding my authority to walk on the public sidewalk in front of it by several yards and a locked physical barrier. Honest mistake, surely.

How can they trust you (or any of us) when they don't know who we're talking to?


Suspicion should come after evidence, not before. This paranoid mindset is directly counter to our criminal code's presumption of innocence.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:12 pm

View Original PostMonk Ed wrote:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/27/nsa-employee-spied-detection-internal-memo

"It also reveals limited disciplinary action taken against NSA staff found to have abused the system. In seven cases, individuals guilty of abusing their powers resigned or retired before disciplinary action could be taken. Two civilian employees kept their jobs – and, it appears, their security clearance – and escaped with only a written warning after they were found to have conducted unauthorised interceptions."


I said U.S. citizens, Monk. All of those cases involved foreign nationals (that doesn't make it alright, of course, but it does mean the claim that the NSA is spying on its own citizens is unsubstantiated). And while we're doing quotes:

"The NSA's director, Gen Keith Alexander, referred to the 12 cases in testimony to a congressional hearing on Thursday. He told senators on the intelligence committee that abuse of the NSA's powerful monitoring tools were "with very rare exception" unintentional mistakes.

"The press claimed evidence of thousands of privacy violations. This is false and misleading," he said.

"According to NSA's independent inspector general, there have been only 12 substantiated case of willful violation over 10 years. Essentially, one per year.""

And frankly, when seven out of nine people with violations wind up losing their jobs I would say the notion that no action was taken doesn't hold up.

That's a pretty darn good record for a national agency operating on this scale.

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Suspicion should come after evidence, not before. This paranoid mindset is directly counter to our criminal code's presumption of innocence.


There is evidence, and plenty of it. Opsec is not a matter of paranoia, just due diligence. If they make everything public that means anyone can read it, including our enemies (and y'know, we do actually have some).
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:50 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:just due diligence.


Gathering information through extralegal avenues in sweeping collections that don't discriminate between targets and then holding onto that info they legally shouldn't have in the first place just in case it becomes useful later is a damn far way from due dilligence. It's treating the public as suspects you just don't have a crime to pin on them yet.
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Postby TehDonutKing » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:07 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:[Exposing espionage is] not heroic, it's fuckin' espionage.

Oh.
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