The Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. Spring Break 2015.
Spring Break 2015~Cruise.
By: Lindsey Kendrick
By: Lindsey Kendrick
Provided by Engadget
Apparently, the NSA’s massive surveillance program wasn’t a first: it was modeled after a precursor that ran from 1992 until 2013. According to USA Today, that program was called USTO, because it monitored almost every American’s calls from the US to other countries. It was a joint initiative by the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which began as a way to keep tabs on Colombian drug cartels and their supply routes. Since then, it grew in scope (thanks in part to a powerful computer provided by the Pentagon) to cover all international calls made to around 116 countries worldwide, including Canada, Mexico, parts of Asia and Europe, and most of Central and Southern America. The group was only dissolved after Edward Snowden came public with the NSA’s secrets in 2013.
USA Today says this is the US government’s first known effort to gather intelligence on its citizens en masse. USTO didn’t exactly listen or record phone calls, though — instead, it asked carriers for phone call metadata, which contains numbers contacted, the time they were called and the duration of those conversations. Agents then used those to link data they got from other means, allowing them to piece together various information, such as drug distribution networks. The logs also didn’t include names, but the team could easily link numbers to particular people by cross-referencing data.
These documents were transferred over a private network and came in like clockwork, that details were usually just a few days old when they reached the agents. USA Today’s report didn’t specify all the carriers involved, but mentioned that Sprint “expressed reservations” about participating in 1998 (the company was basically told it had no choice) and that AT&T was likely one of them, as well.
The DEA didn’t allow anyone else, not even the FBI or the NSA to access its logs in the beginning. But over time, it gave other law enforcement agencies access to its database, especially after 9/11. Eventually, in an effort to keep this program hidden, the DEA’s Special Operations Division started passing on intel to prosecutors and feds as “tips” that they could act on. When Reutersblew the lid off that practice in 2013, it gave this scenario as an example: A field agent would get a call from an informant, telling him to intercept a particular van at a certain time and location. However, that agent wouldn’t be allowed to tell the court about the tip. Instead, he would have to reconstruct the case and find a way to arrive to the result without mentioning the DEA’s participation.
After USTO was put to a stop post-Snowden revelation — all records were reportedly purged — DEA agents had to start getting call records via more difficult means. Now, they have to send carriers subpoenas daily to get those logs, and only for numbers already linked to drug trade or other crimes.
Reuters, USA Today
By: Robert Trudell
(PRWEB) March 21, 2015
One in four Americans didnt read a single book last year. And more than half of U.S. teens dont read for pleasure, ever. Meanwhile, research shows that readers are better able to communicate and better equipped to deal with feelingsboth their own and other peoples. Exposure to literature also breeds empathy, spurs compassion, and fuels success, according to Freedoms March cover story.
While statistics vary, writes author Michael Brennan, virtually all studies indicate that reading in this country is on the decline. The sharpest fall is among young people and students, but across all age and economic groups, the number of people who read for enjoyment, or as a primary source of information, is dwindling.
Also in the March issue of Freedom Magazine:
High & Dry: Californias San Joaquin Valley produces 25 percent of Americas food on just one percent of the nations farmland. The region is in its fourth straight year of drought, and facing a second year of zero water allocation. But while the crops are withered and the land is fallow, the people who farm Californias Central Valley are not. They fight to survive, and for a very basic human right: access to water.
Search & Rescue: When a gas explosion reduced a Mexico City maternity hospital to rubble, the Scientology volunteer ministry rushed to help. So did one very brave 11-year-old boy.
Bitter Pill: Does Big Pharma buy trials? The slippery ethics of for-profit clinical testing in Africa, India and much closer to home.
Freedom Magazine is committed to accurate and accountable reporting. Freedom is the voice of the Church of Scientology and reflects its stance that responsible journalism and the free flow of information are the lifeblood of all great societies.
Published since 1968, Freedom addresses issues, not politics. It seeks out and illuminates solutions to societys problems. Freedom proudly serves as a media watchdog, protecting the exchange of free ideas on which democracy relies. Freedom further spotlights the Church of Scientology-sponsored human rights, social betterment, and volunteer works, thereby advancing its purpose of safeguarding and promoting the rights of all.
Full Freedom Mission Statement
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Freedom Magazine: People Who Read are a Dying Breed
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What’s Going On With Bitcoin In Mexico – Video
By: Bryan Ingersoll
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Coronado Islands 2 14 2015 – Video
The U.S. National Security Agency may have been planting surveillance software into hard drives and other essential computer equipment sold around the world for more than a decade through a shadowy organization known as the Equation Group, a respected cybersecurity researcher says. The revelation, if true, indicates that operators within the NSA have been collecting far more information on the spy agencys behalf than previously thought.
The Equation Group manipulated hard drives manufactured by Toshiba, Seagate, IBM, Western Digital and others dating back as far as 2001, researchers at the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said Wednesday. Equation has also proven able to reprogram a machines firmware, meaning that hackers were able to monitor even the most mundane activity on tens of thousands of individual PCs without their owners knowledge.
Privacy experts say the disclosures highlight the need for international companies to do more to protect customers from evolving threats to their online security.
Existence of the Equation Group, believed to be made up of 60 or so actors, was first revealed at Kasperskys annual security summit in Mexico on Feb. 16. Kaspersky on Wednesday released further information that strongly links the organization to the NSA.
The dense technical language in the Kaspersky report essentially argues that spies were able to install malicious software into computer hard drives that activate again and again each time the computer powers on.
Researchers found source code that makes reference to STRAITACID, STRAITSHOOTER, and BACKSNARF_AB25. Those names bear a remarkable resemblance to BACKSNARF and STRAITBIZARRE, two malware campaigns used by NSAs Tailored Access Operations team and first revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Costin Raiu, Kasperskys lead researcher on the project, told Reuters that while the Equation Group was able to steal files on any of the infected computers, they assumed full control only of computers used by high-value targets. Disk drive firmware, which was infected in this hack, is the second-most valuable space on a computer for hackers (after a microprocessors input/output system), the news outlet reported.
The Equation Group appears to rely on the programs EquationDrug and GrayFish for its espionage operations.
Its important to note that EquationDrug is not just a Trojan, but a full espionage platform, which includes a framework for conducting cyberespionage activities by deploying specific modules of selected victims, stated a version of the report updated Wednesday. The architecture of the whole framework resembles a mini-operating system with kernel-mode and user-mode components carefully interacting with each other via custom message passing interface.
Again, Kaspersky did not officially pin the Equation Group on the NSA, but pointed out links that are hard to dismiss as coincidence.
By: Gabriel Traveler
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Going from Mexico to the Belize Islands by Boat – Video
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Bitcoin reaches Mexico! – Video
Knowing how to buy Bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM is a good skill to have as the digital currency goes mainstream.
Today about 82,000 merchants accept Bitcoin – more than double the number just one year ago.
As more merchants accept Bitcoin, there’s a growing need to buy Bitcoin “on the go.” That’s why the number of Bitcoin ATMs has exploded over the past year.
At the start of 2014, there were just four Bitcoin ATMs on the entire planet. Now there are 350. Almost half of those are in North America (105 in the United States, 60 in Canada, 4 in Mexico).
And Bitcoin ATMs aren’t just clustered in places like New York and San Francisco. Both of those cities do have six Bitcoin ATMs. But so does Kansas City.
You can find a Bitcoin ATM in Birmingham, Ala., as well as Boise, Idaho.
Bitcoin ATMS are turning up in bars, restaurants, and shopping malls across America.
Baltimore, where Money Morning makes its home, has one in historic Fells Point at a bar called Bad Decisions. And people are using it.
“When I first put it in here I thought it would just collect dust, but we get about three transactions per day,” said Bad Decisions owner John Reusing. He installed the Bitcoin ATM at the urging of the Baltimore Bitcoin Meetup group, which gathers once a month at the bar.
Most of those who use the Bitcoin ATM at Bad Decisions do so regularly. Some buy as much as $1,000 worth of bitcoin at a time, Reusing said.
How to Buy Bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM
By: Lapaz Mexico Travel and Leisure
On the face of it, Pain and Misery is just about the worst name you could give a racehorse. This is not to trample on an owners first amendment rights to freedom of speech and its more creative expressions (as upheld in The Jockey Club vs. Mike Pegram in the naming of Isitingood). But this is 2015, for Petes sake, and the tolerance for any whiff of a cold-hearted attitude toward the welfare of the animal has pretty much evaporated.
Furthermore, its not as if Pain and Misery is going away anytime soon. In his first race as a 3-year-old last weekend, which was also his first race for trainer Richard Mandella, the racy brown gelding just missed winning the $75,000 Baffle Stakes at about 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside course at Santa Anita. He was caught in the last jumps by Bench Warrant, who was coming off a pretty good effort to Lord Nelson and Texas Red in the San Vicente, in a race that put some life in a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Pain and Misery was ridden by young Flavien Prat, who did not as Trevor Denman suggested at one point during his call of the race drop his whip in the heat of the battle. To Mandella it didnt matter much, since his expectations were modest, and he was pleased with both horse and rider.
He came here from New Mexico during the fall meet at Del Mar, Mandella said. But he needed to back off a little before he could go forward. After that he came along really good. I needed to get a race into him, and the 6 1/2 on the turf was the only thing around. He did it really well, so now we can think about something like the San Felipe with him.
The San Felipe Stakes, on March 7, is the next major West Coast stop on the Kentucky Derby Express. Pain and Miserys pedigree by Bob and John out of a Running Stag mare suggests that the 1 1/16 miles of the San Felipe should be no sweat, and if he can handle the dirt at Zia Park he will love the stuff at Santa Anita.
This is a sweetheart of a horse, Mandella said. Good-natured. Does everything right. Just a pleasure to be around.
Which begs the question why does such a nice horse have to be burdened with such a terrible name? In a column from his collection This Was Racing, Joe Palmer held forth on the naming of horses for reasons both naughty and nice. He brought up a fellow who called one of his horses Ugly Mary and another Losing Clon.
He approached this on a practical level, Palmer wrote. He said with those names female hunch players would not bet on them, and he would get better odds when they won.
Of course, this is both sexist and wildly incorrect, unless female hunch players make up considerably more of the pari-mutuel pools that weve been led to believe. Pain and Misery went off at 10-1 in the Baffle, but the price could be blamed more on the uncertain 2-year-old form he brought to town from New Mexico, by way of Zia Park, where he won a maiden race and then the Governors Cup last fall for trainer Henry Dominguez.
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Hovdey: Success may win over Pain and Misery
CANCUN, MexicoThe last two years have been filled with revelations about NSA surveillance activities and the sophisticated spy tools the agency uses to take control of everything from individual systems to entire networks. Now it looks like researchers at Kaspersky Lab may have uncovered some of these NSA tools in the wild on customer machines, providing an extensive new look at the spy agencys technical capabilities. Among the tools uncovered is a worm that appears to have direct connections to Stuxnet, the digital weapon that was launched repeatedly against centrifuges in Iran beginning in late 2007 in order to sabotage them. In fact, researchers say the newly uncovered worm may have served as a kind of test run for Stuxnet, allowing the attackers to map a way to targeted machines in Iran that were air-gapped from the internet.
For nearly a year, the researchers have been gradually collecting components that belong to several highly sophisticated digital spy platforms that they say have been in use and development since 2001, possibly even as early as 1996, based on when some command servers for the malware were registered. They say the suite of surveillance platforms, which they call EquationLaser, EquationDrug and GrayFish, make this the most complex and sophisticated spy system uncovered to date, surpassing even the recently exposed Regin platform believed to have been created by Britains GCHQ spy agency and used to infiltrate computers belonging to the European Union and a Belgian telecom called Belgacom, among others.
The new platforms, which appear to have been developed in succession with each one surpassing the previous in sophistication, can give the attackers complete and persistent control of infected systems for years, allowing them to siphon data and monitor activities while using complex encryption schemes and other sophisticated methods to avoid detection. The platforms also include an innovative module, the likes of which Kaspersky has never seen before, that re-flashes or reprograms a hard drives firmware with malicious code to turn the computer into a slave of the attackers. The researchers, who gave WIRED an advance look at their findings and spoke about them today at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Mexico, have dubbed the attackers the Equation Group and consider them the most advanced threat actor theyve seen to date.
The researchers have published an initial paper on their findings and plan to publish more technical details over the next few days, but theres still a lot they dont know about the Equation Groups activities.
As we uncover more of these cyber espionage operations we realize how little we understand about the true capabilities of these threat actors, Costin Raiu, head of Kasperskys Global Research and Analysis Team told WIRED.
Although the researchers have no solid evidence that the NSA is behind the tools and decline to make any attribution to that effect, there is circumstantial evidence that points to this conclusion. A keywordGROKfound in a keylogger component appears in an NSA spy tool catalog leaked to journalists in 2013. The 53-page document detailswith pictures, diagrams and secret codenamesan array of complex devices and capabilities available to intelligence operatives. The capabilities of several tools in the catalog identified by the codenames UNITEDRAKE, STRAITBAZZARE, VALIDATOR and SLICKERVICAR appear to match the tools Kaspersky found. These codenames dont appear in the components from the Equation Group, but Kaspersky did find UR in EquationDrug, suggesting a possible connection to UNITEDRAKE (United Rake). Kaspersky also found other codenames in the components that arent in the NSA catalog but share the same naming conventionsthey include SKYHOOKCHOW, STEALTHFIGHTER, DRINKPARSLEY, STRAITACID, LUTEUSOBSTOS, STRAITSHOOTER, and DESERTWINTER.
Other evidence possibly pointing to the NSA is the fact that five victims in Iran who were infected with Equation Group components were also key victims of Stuxnet, which was reportedly created and launched by the U.S. and Israel.
Kaspersky wouldnt identify the Iranian victims hit by the Equation tools, but the five key Stuxnet victims have been previously identified as five companies in Iran, all contractors in the business of building and installing industrial control systems for various clients. Stuxnet targeted industrial control systems used to control centrifuges at a uranium-enrichment plant near Natanz, Iran. The companiesNeda Industrial Group, Kala Electric, Behpajooh, CGJ (believed to be Control Gostar Jahed) and Foolad Technicwere infected with Stuxnet in the hope that contractors would carry it into the enrichment plant on an infected USB stick. This link between the Equation Group and Stuxnet raises the possibility that the Equation tools were part of the Stuxnet attack, perhaps to gather intelligence for it.
But the newly uncovered worm created by the Equation Group, which the researchers are calling Fanny after the name of one of its files, has an equally intriguing connection to Stuxnet.
It uses two of the same zero-day exploits that Stuxnet used, including the infamous .LNK zero-day exploit that helped Stuxnet spread to air-gapped machines at Natanzmachines that arent connected to the internet. The .LNK exploit in Fanny has a dual purposeit allows attackers to send code to air-gapped machines via an infected USB stick but also lets them surreptitiously collect intelligence about these systems and transmit it back to the attackers. Fanny does this by storing the intelligence in a hidden file on the USB stick; when the stick is then inserted into a machine connected to the internet, the data intelligence gets transferred to the attackers. EquationDrug also makes use of the .LNK exploit. A component called SF loads it onto USB sticks along with a trojan to infect machines.
Country singer Martina McBride will kick off a Feb. 14 celebration to honor U.S. military families when the Carnival Freedom arrives at its new home port near Houston.
The Freedom will join two other Carnival ships, the Triumph and Magic, in Galveston next month. The three are expected to carry more than 600,000 passengers from Texas each year, a Carnival statement says.
Last April, Freedom underwent a $70-million upgrade to add the cruise line’s signature Funship 2.0 features.
The Valentine’s Day event will bring military families selected by the nonprofit organization Operation Homefront onto the ship while it’s in port to stay overnight, eat at on-board restaurants and take advantage of activities. McBride will sing at an outdoor concert held on one of the ship’s top decks.
Carnival also plans to donate $100,000 to the organization that gives financial and other help to military families in need.
But back to the ship.
The Freedom was in dry dock in the Bahamas from April 19 to May 3. The company added the first Dr. Seuss Bookville as part of its Seuss at Sea program. Children can read books and play games in Bookville as well as meet the Cat in the Hat at a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast or watch a Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade.
Other upgrades include additional restaurants such as BlueIguana Cantina (Mexican), EA Sports Bar and a vintage cocktail bar called the Alchemy Bar.
The Freedom sets sail on a six-day cruise from Galveston to Mexico on Feb. 15. The ship then will sail on four- to seven-day cruises to the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida.
Info: Carnival Cruise Lines, (800) 227-6482
A SuperDraco engine. which Elon Musk’s SpaceX company says will provide its Dragon spacecraft with the capability to perform on target propulsive landings anywhere in the solar system–including Mars.(Photo: SpaceX)
SAN FRANCISCO — Billionaire Elon Musk wants humans to settle on Mars, and he’s looking to hire a passel of engineers in Seattle to help him get there.
Musk has publicly said he wants to colonize Mars. As the CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), he’s got a company to do it.
In an interview published Tuesday, Musk told Bloomberg News that SpaceX’s efforts to build a commercial satellite business will give the company the know-how and the infrastructure to make eventual Mars shots and a colony possible.
The cult of Elon Musk: Tesla founder comes to Detroit
While SpaceX’s headquarters are in Hawthorne, Calif., south of Los Angeles, the company is also beefing up its engineering offices in Seattle.
Musk predicted the office will eventually employ “several hundred people, maybe a thousand people.”
Washington governor Jay Inslee was practically giddy in a tweet about the possibility. “Welcome to WA, @SpaceX. We’re ready to support @elonmusk’s next revolutionary endeavor!”
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By: Marey Medoss
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Sarasota, Florida (PRWEB) January 06, 2015
In November 2013, Jeremy Bates sought treatment from Dr. Greco for knee pain due to earlier bilateral ACL replacements and cartilage damage from sports-related injuries. Two weeks post CRP, Bates was snowboarding pain-free near his home in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Love it! I feel like a brand new kid, like a teenager! Bates said about his first procedure. I was skiing every day and snowboarding without a hiccup at all.
A few months later, Bates was on the move: hiking from New Mexico through snow-covered mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to Canada. Following his CDT achievement, Bates was back at Greco Medical Group in Sarasota praising Dr. Greco for keeping his 38-year old, post-NFL knees on the road.
“I feel good, certainly not like I’ve had knee problems and ACL surgery,” said Bates. “This procedure eliminated the bone-on-bone pain. I’m active. I don’t feel 38. I hiked 2,900 miles of rough terrain without any knee issues because of CRP.”
Dr. Greco is a leader in Regenerative Medicine, cutting-edge procedure called Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP), an advanced, purified and proprietary form of Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment.
We didnt just go out last year and buy a machine to process PRP and hang out a sign that says We do PRP. We have decades of combined experience with all forms of PRP and we treat the WHOLE patient. We optimize their baseline medical condition and correct metabolic or hormonal problems before we treat to maximize our patients results. It is all-natural, made by you, for you. No drugs are need and we have had miraculous results, said Dr. Greco.
Dr. Jon Greco of the Greco Medical Group in Sarasota Florida has for many years been a pioneer in the field of regenerative medicine and PRP treatments. He has had remarkable success helping athletes and non-athletes avoid costly and painful surgeries with breakthrough technologies that restore healthy joints, tendons and ligaments, and relieve neck and back pain.
Dr. Greco uses PRP technology to successfully treat neck/back pain, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, patellar tendonitis, hip tendonitis and more injuries and aches for weekend warriors and anyone who suffers from chronic pain. Dr. Greco can be reached at 941-952-3300.
By: Bren Treat
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Anarchast Ep. 182 Juan S. Galt: The Supernet and Anarchapulco! – Video