The CIA’s chief technology officer outlined the agency’s endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech on Wednesday.
Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira “Gus” Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos - and that the agency wants all of it.
"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."
Hunt’s comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt’s speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.
Concluding that they suffer from “significant constitutional infirmities,” a federal district court judge in San Francisco on Thursday struck down sections of federal law that allow the FBI to warrantlessly obtain private information under a gag order in the name of national security.
But U.S. District Judge Susan Illston temporarily put her order on hold to allow the government to appeal her decision, recognizing that a higher court should first be able to “consider the weighty questions of national security and First Amendment rights” at issue in the case. The authority of national security letters, government orders to communications providers to reveal user information, was vastly expanded in the post-9/11 Patriot Act. The federal government has made wide use of them in the name of the fight against terrorism.
In May 2011, the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation brought a lawsuit against the national security letter statutes on behalf of an unnamed telephone service provider, arguing that placing the company under a gag order violated its First Amendment rights. EFF also argued that the 2005 renewal of the Patriot Act provided too little judicial review for the secret letters.
Illston’s ruling vindicated EFF’s arguments.
"Basically the court declared the national security letter statute unconstitutional on the grounds that it improperly gagged the recipients," said Cindy Cohn, the group’s legal director. "Nothing changes in the short term, but it’s a very strong ruling."
National security letters have been under renewed scrutiny recently. Earlier this month, Google revealed that the federal government has asked for data on thousands of its users over the past four years.
“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”—Carl Jung
A brain-to-brain interface (BTBI) enabled a real-time transfer of behaviorally meaningful sensorimotor information between the brains of two rats. In this BTBI, an “encoder” rat performed sensorimotor tasks that required it to select from two choices of tactile or visual stimuli. While the encoder rat performed the task, samples of its cortical activity were transmitted to matching cortical areas of a “decoder” rat using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). The decoder rat learned to make similar behavioral selections, guided solely by the information provided by the encoder rat’s brain. These results demonstrated that a complex system was formed by coupling the animals’ brains, suggesting that BTBIs can enable dyads or networks of animal’s brains to exchange, process, and store information and, hence, serve as the basis for studies of novel types of social interaction and for biological computing devices.
A blaze raced through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, setting off a stampede that killed at least 245 people attending a university party, police and firefighters said. It appeared to be the world’s deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.
Witnesses said that a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the fire.
Police Maj. Cleberson Braida told local news media that the 245 bodies were brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria, at the southern tip of Brazil near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay
“According to D.T. Suzuki, one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers of the 20th century, Zen is not a system of philosophy, religion, mysticism, nihilism, or even Buddhism. He says, “Zen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance.” Then what is Zen? More importantly, what led D.T. Suzuki to teach Zen Buddhism in this way? This course will start by reading a number of popular books on Zen Buddhism in America, followed by a close analysis of their tenets. We will then move on to study Mahayana Buddhist philosophy and Daoist thought, which influenced the rise of Zen Buddhism. We will also explore Koan and Zazen meditation practices, Zen lineage, monasticism and Satori (Enlightenment) experience. Finally, the course will focus on late 19th and early 20th century Japanese Buddhist history, which is intimately tied to a particular interpretation of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki and other modern Zen masters in America.”
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”—Climate Change In Obama’s Second Inauguration Speech: ‘We Must Lead’
“If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death — or shall I say, death implies life — you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but feel yourself, not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. So, say in Hindu mythology, they say that the world is the drama of God. God is not something in Hindu mythology with a white beard that sits on a throne, that has royal perogatives. God in Indian mythology is the self, Satcitananda. Which means sat, that which is, chit, that which is consciousness; that which is ananda is bliss. In other words, what exists, reality itself is gorgeous, it is the fullness of total joy.”—Alan Watts
“There may be an intellectual element in Zen, for Zen is the whole mind, and in it we find a great many things; but the mind is not a composite thing that is to be divided into so many faculties, leaving behind nothing behind when the dissection is over. Zen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance. In this respect Zen is quite chaotic if you choose to say so. […] If I am asked, then, what Zen teaches, I would answer, Zen teaches nothing. Whatever teachings there are in Zen, they come out of one own’s mind. We teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way.”—D.T. Suzuki
I found it to be the harshest of truths, but what made you realize that you were wrong or too far into the fringes? I think that where you're at now and what you post definitely appeals to me, but I did think that what you were posting then was pretty potent as well. And wow I didn't know we're the same age, I hope to get to a place of being as hopeful as you seem to be now :)
Even if someone cannot see clearly, if they persist in their folly, they will naturally be self-corrected. It’s only if one gives up that they will be stuck in a static state.
1. Alienation (birth pangs), or having the sensation of being thrust into an unfamiliar world, or being a cosmic fluke. Emotions, and especially faith, is irrational. This was coupled with a repression of emotional energies, this was especially at my depression which peaked at age 12 when I had re-occuring thoughts of suicide. These thoughts resurfaced at age 17, but have since subsided since.
2. This is the stage I was in when I started my blog. Technotopianism. Humanity is OK, but only if we change to another socio-economic system based on controlling every aspect with rational control. This naturally fell out when it was painted utopianism, and I recognized it as such.
3. The mirror image (deep green ecology), which you mentioned in the first message. Technology and science, rational control, leads to the destruction of the environment and thus should be abandoned almost entirely. I say ‘mirror image’, because it was a reaction to my previous technotopianism and there was a heavy element of cognitive dissonance, or holding two contradictory philosophies at the same time. Another word, hypocrisy.
4. “Remembering” (could be called ‘tat tvam asi’,or Thou art that’ consciousness). The meaning of this saying, one of the Mahāvākyas (Grand Pronouncements) in Vedantic Sanatana Dharma, is that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena. This originally came with the recognition that both technology and ecological awareness are two opposing ends of the same continuum, and that both are necessary. This came through several visions of an original unity divided in two, later labeled as objective and subjective reality which was my conflict that I still remember asking when I was much younger (I don’t know the age, but it’s when I read an online book called ‘the Inner light of Consciousness’. Now, I recognize this as the middle way, or faith grounded in reason. This is my spiritual awakening, as to speak, or moving out of adolescence. Either extreme excludes the opposite. To believe anything is to limit experience. This is coupled with the egoic mental chatter slowly starting to fade into the background of eternal awareness, or ‘Now’. This, of course, is associated with a great sense of peace, compassion, and weightlessness.
“There is a wonderful story about a young man who checks into the monastery, full of juice and ready to be enlightened yesterday. He asks the abbot, “How long will it take me to be enlightened?” To which the abbot answers, “About ten years.” The young man says, “Ten years! Why ten years?” The abbot replies, “Oh, twenty years in your case.” The man asks, “Why do you say twenty years?” The abbot says, “Oh, I’m sorry. I was mistaken…thirty years.”
This is surprising to the mind because the mind always thinks of freedom, or enlightenment, as some sort of accumulation, and of course there is nothing to accumulate. It’s about realizing what you are, what you have always been. This realization is outside of time because it’s Now or never.”
Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. This report of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee concludes that the evidence for a changing climate has strengthened considerably since the last National Climate Assessment report, written in 2009. Many more impacts of human-caused climate change have now been observed. Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont have observed changes in their local climate that are outside of their experience. So, too, have coastal planners from Florida to Maine, water managers in the arid Southwest and parts of the Southeast, and Native Americans on tribal lands across the nation.
Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours, though in many regions there are longer dry spells in between.
Other changes are even more dramatic. Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the year, last later into the fall, threaten more homes, cause more evacuations, and burn more acreage. In Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and fall storms now cause more erosion and damage that is severe enough that some communities are already facing relocation.
Scientists studying climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with Earth’s climatic trends. Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources all confirm the fact that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming, precipitation patterns are changing, sea level is rising, and some types of extreme weather events are increasing. These and other observed climatic changes are having wide-ranging impacts in every region of our country and most sectors of our economy. Some of these changes can be beneficial, such as longer growing seasons in many regions and a longer shipping season on the Great Lakes. But many more have already proven to be detrimental, largely because society and its infrastructure were designed for the climate of the past, not for the rapidly changing climate of the present or the future.
Human beings show a peculiar ambiguity which somewhat resembles the particle-wave dichotomy of light and subatomic matter. In some situations, they can be successfully described as separate material objects and biological machines, whereas in others they manifest the properties of vast fields of consciousness that transcend the limitations of space, time, and linear causality. There seems to be a fundamental dynamic tension between these two aspects of human nature, which reflects the ambiguity between the part and the whole that exists all through the cosmos on different levels of reality.
In the broadest sense, what is presented as psychiatric symptom can be seen as an interface conflict between two different modes in which humans can experience themselves. The first of these modes can be called ‘hylotropic consciousness’ (matter oriented); it involves the experience of oneself as a solid physical entity with definite boundaries and a limited sensory range, living in three-dimensional space and linear time in the world of material objects.
The other experiental mode can be termed ‘holotropic consciousness’ (aiming for wholeness or totality); it involves identification with a field of consciousness with no definite boundaries which has unlimited experiental access to different aspects of reality without the mediation of these senses. Experiences in the holotropic mode systematically support a set of assumptions diametrically different from that characterising the hylotropic mode.
The more prosaic, the more dreadfully ordinary anyone or anything seems to be, the more I am moved to marvel at the ingenuity with which divinity hides in order to seek itself, at the lengths to which this cosmic joie de vivre will go in elaborating its dance. I think of a comer gas station on a hot afternoon. Dust and exhaust fumes, the regular Standard guy all baseball and sports cars, the billboards halfheartedly gaudy, the flatness so reassuring nothing around here but just us folks! I can see people just pretending not to see that they are avatars of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, that the cells of their bodies aren’t millions of gods, that the dust isn’t a haze of jewels. How solemnly they would go through the act of not understanding me if I were to step up and say, “Well, who do you think you’re kidding? Come off it, Shiva, you old rascal! It’s a great act, but it doesn’t fool me.” But the conscious ego doesn’t know that it is something which that divine organ, the body, is only pretending to be. When people go to a guru, a master of wisdom, seeking a way out of darkness, all he really does is to humor them in their pretense until they are outfaced into dropping it. He tells nothing, but the twinkle in his eye speaks to the unconscious “You know! You know!”
In the contrast world of ordinary consciousness man feels himself, as will, to be something in nature but not of it. He likes it or dislikes it. He accepts it or resists it. He moves it or it moves him. But in the basic super-consciousness of the whole organism, this division does not exist. The organism and its surrounding world are a single, integrated pattern of action in which there is neither subject nor object, doer nor done to. At this level there is not one thing called pain and another thing called myself, which dislikes pain. Pain and the “response” to pain are the same thing. When this becomes conscious it feels as if everything that happens is my own will. But this is a preliminary and clumsy way of feeling that what happens outside the body is one process with what happens inside it. This is that “original identity” which ordinary language and our conventional definitions of man so completely conceal.