Some articles to read:
That's all for now. More conference calls...
On our trip to Ravinia Park Sunday afternoon, we brought along a cookie White House "because it's a project," according to the person who purchased it. A team worked diligently through the pre-concert picnic and constructed this:
The concert included Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," which is notable because the War of 1812 was not the best time for the Executive Mansion. (Of course, that's not the war Tchaikovsky was writing about.) So the trip home actually didn't go so poorly, but the South Portico suffered some damage:
We will not be eating this thing. But it was fun to put together, and only cost $4.
Posting has been slow because I've been in a place that looks like this:
Tomorrow I've got some photos of my recent trip to Minneapolis and an unexpected project that some friends completed at Ravinia Park.
A University of Texas at Austin student found a pointed protest against concealed-carry on campus:
As she recalls, the pundits on the radio were talking about how there is no conceivable solution to gun violence, that mass shootings are just something that we’re going to have to learn to live with in America.
“I felt like, you know, what a bunch of dildos,” [student Jessica] Jin says. “They were taking the safe route and not wanting to say anything that would piss anybody off or be too divisive. They act like there’s no solution or steps that we can take.”
Jin complained to friends about those dildos she heard on the radio. Speaking of dildos, she remembers telling them, I bet you can’t even brandish a dildo in a classroom in Texas without getting into trouble. “They challenged me to look up the laws,” Jin says. “And so I did. I went to the school rule book, and sure enough, they follow the state obscenity clause.” At the University of Texas at Austin, “it’s a misdemeanor to openly brandish or distribute these objects that portray the human genitalia in turgid form.”
And so Cocks Not Glocks was born: a protest to openly brandish and distribute dildos on August 24, the first day of classes at the University of Texas at Austin. Jin and her fellow activists plan to hand out several thousand phallic objects in order to protest the new campus-carry policy mandated by the state.
It really says something about Texas that they think dildos are worse than firearms in classrooms. I hope Jin's protest gets noticed.
Ravinia Park on Sunday, work and other things on Saturday...no time to blog. There will be photos and more description soon.
Day two of Certified Scrum Master training starts in just a few minutes (more on that later), so I've queued up a bunch of articles to read this weekend:
Training begins again...
The Justice Department announced today that it's ending private prisons because, it turns out, they suck:
In making the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates cited new findings by the Justice Department's inspector general, who concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately contracted prisons reported more incidents of inmate contraband, higher rates of assaults and more uses of force than facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
"They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and ... they do not maintain the same level of safety and security," Yates wrote in a memo Thursday.
Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, nonetheless said the Justice Department announcement represented a "major milestone in the movement away from mass incarceration."
"It has been a stain on our democracy to permit profit-making entities to be handed the responsibility of making determinations of individual liberty," Mauer said in a prepared statement. "Today's action moves us closer to a moment when government can once again assume this important responsibility."
I'm with Mauer. There are some things from which taking profits is simply immoral, and housing prisoners is one. Just watch the last season of Orange is the New Black for an only-slightly-exaggerated view.
This is one of those ways that President Obama is leaving the campsite better than he found it. Good.
Courtesy of Scott Hanselman. I actually learned a few things.
Via Bruce Schneier, the NSA lost control of a crap-ton of hacking tools sometime before 2013, and managed to stop the bleeding only after discovering Edward Snowden's leak:
The exploits themselves appear to target Fortinet, Cisco, Shaanxi Networkcloud Information Technology (sxnc.com.cn) Firewalls, and similar network security systems. I will leave it to others to analyze the reliability, versions supported, and other details. But nothing I've found in either the exploits or elsewhere is newer than 2013.
Because of the sheer volume and quality, it is overwhelmingly likely that this data is authentic. And it does not appear to be information taken from compromised targets. Instead, the exploits, binaries with help strings, server configuration scripts, 5 separate versions of one implant framework, and all sort of other features indicate that this is analyst-side code—the kind that probably never leaves the NSA.
From an operational standpoint, this is not a catastrophic leak. Nothing here reveals some special "NSA magic." Instead, this is evidence of good craftsmanship in a widely modular framework designed for ease of use. The immediate consequence is probably a lot of hours of work down the drain.
But the big picture is a far scarier one. Somebody managed to steal 301 MB of data from a TS//SCI system at some point between 2013 and today. Possibly, even probably, it occurred in 2013. But the theft also could have occurred yesterday with a simple utility run to scrub all newer documents. Relying on the file timestamps—which are easy to modify—the most likely date of acquisition was June 11, 2013 (see Update, however). That is two weeks after Snowden fled to Hong Kong and six days after the first Guardian publication. That would make sense, since in the immediate response to the leaks, as the NSA furiously ran down possible sources, it may have accidentally or deliberately eliminated this adversary’s access.
So, yeah. The NSA had a bigger problem than Edward Snowden until he broadcast his leak and sent their plumbers into overdrive. And even then, they didn't properly secure the data.