cats, cat signals, games, internet freedom

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Darkest Place on the Internet

The Darkest Place on the Internet Isn't Just for Criminals | Wired Opinion | " . . . But what if lots of ­people started using Darknets some of the time? Having a parallel Internet—or better yet, many parallel ones—could be terrifically useful. You could run your main social life on Facebook on the Clearnet but duck into Hyperboria or a Tor-­hidden service for socializing and reading and writing that you don’t want hoovered up by spy agencies or ad networks. We need fresh ideas for the way we hang out online, and Darknets fit the bill. If you’d like to read more about my thoughts on this, meet me on Hyperboria. I’m thinking of starting a blog." (read more at link above)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Welcome to the Police State of the Bush-Obama era

Definition of Police State

Woman Forced To Strip And Serve Jail Time For Overdue Ticket -

One comment (of many):
"We the People have allowed brutality to creep into local policing. It started with the torture of enemy combatants in Iraq & Guatanamo. We sanction drone strikes that kill civilians. We turn away when the NSA scoops all our communications. We've allowed the creation of for-profit prisons, which actively lobby politicians and judges for more prisoners. (1 of every 100 americans is in jail.) We've allowed the police to militarize their weaponry and start buying tanks for civilian patrol. . . . We allow extended detention of American citizens at border crossings. This is the result. The entire country and culture must reject this or it will continue on this trajectory. Time to be brave." (source:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cat Signal: STOP WATCHING US NSA, October 26 Rally is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us get the message out that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications. Join the movement at

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit civil liberties law and advocacy center that has been fighting the NSA's unconstitutional spying for years. Learn more at

About the rally October 26 at Washington DC -
Right now the NSA is spying on everyone's personal communications, and they’re operating without any meaningful oversight. Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 571,000 people from all walks of life have signed the petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA.

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.

Who we are is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. We came together in June 2013 to demand the U.S. Congress investigate the full extent of the NSA's spying programs. Go here to read our letter to U.S. Congress demanding accountability and reform.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Internet Freedom Declines in the US and World in 2013

Freedom on the Internet 2013 by country (image courtesy of Freedom House).
Freedom on the Internet 2013 by country (image courtesy of Freedom House)

Freedom on the Net 2013
Most Free
1. Iceland
2. Estonia
3. Germany
4. United States
5. Australia
Least Free
1. Iran
2. Cuba
3. China
4. Syria
5. Ethiopia

Report: Internet Freedom Declines Worldwide: " . . . The yearly report listed 34 countries as having a decline in Internet freedom, including Vietnam, Ethiopia, India, the United States and Brazil. The United States slipped on the list of countries with the greatest degree of Internet freedom, largely due to surveillance activities revealed by Edward Snowden. But the U.S. remains among the top five countries for Internet freedom. The report also lists the most commonly used types of Internet controls, which range from blocking and filtering to physical attacks on people. Freedom House says people were beaten, attacked or tortured in 26 countries, often in retaliation for exposing human rights abuses. Several countries employ commentators to post online and manipulate discussions by discrediting government opponents, spreading propaganda and defending government policies while not disclosing that they work for the government."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brazil, Scary proposal to regulate Internet

Andres Oppenheimer: Brazil’s proposal to regulate Internet is scary - Andres Oppenheimer - " . . . . Rousseff’s call for “multilateral mechanisms” to regulate the Internet should not be automatically dismissed, because there are some aspects of the Internet — such as electronic spying, child pornography or financial fraud — that will require some form of international oversight. But putting that task in the hands of the United Nations, where China, Russia and its authoritarian friends wield enormous power, is a very bad idea. It would allow these countries to do abroad what they do at home: censor what people can read or watch on the Internet. You are right to be angry about electronic spying, President Rousseff, and you may be right about the need to set some international guidelines to stop it. But allowing the United Nations to take the lead on this would most likely give too much power to governments, and too little to freedom-of-expression and other private sector and civil society groups. It would mark the end of freedom of expression on the Internet for the part of the world that still enjoys it." (read more at link above)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mark Twain Theory, "Cat would be quicker"

A New Theory on "Mark Twain" : "Kevin Mac Donnell, a book dealer and scholar in Austin, Texas, found the potential source while searching Google Books for unknown pieces of Twain’s writing. To his astonishment, one of the hits led to a mention of “Mark Twain” in the humor journal Vanity Fair — one of the author’s early influences — two years before he adopted it. In a burlesque titled “The North Star,” the sketch reports a farcical meeting of Charleston mariners who adopt a resolution “abolishing the use of the magnetic needle, because of its constancy to the north.” These characters include a “Mr. Pine Knott,” (a pun for dense wood), “Lee Scupper” (a drain), and “Mark Twain,” (shallow depth in shipboard jargon). “I wasn’t looking for what I found. I stumbled across it,” Mac Donnell said in a phone interview. With a flair for folksy humor that made Twain famous, he also added that “you could train a cat to do what I did. You could train a garden slug to do what I did, but the cat would be quicker.”"

The Cat would be quickest!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lack of Privacy, NSA, Destroying the Economy

Lack of Privacy Destroys the Economy | Washington's Blog: . . . As 4Chan’s founder noted:

[Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg’s totally wrong on anonymity being total cowardice. Anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, raw way,” Poole said, adding that the internet allows people to “reinvent themselves” as if they were moving home or starting a new job.“The cost of failure is really high when you’re contributing as yourself,” he said.
Moreover, trust is key for a prosperous economy. It’s hard to trust when your government, your internet service provider and your favorite websites are all spying on you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

US Intelligence, Attempts to Break Tor Anonymity

U.S. Intelligence Defends Attempts to Break Tor Anonymity Network - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD: " . . . . The ironic part is that Tor was invented at the U.S. Naval Academy as a project meant to help activists overseas evade surveillance by officials of repressive regimes. A good amount of its funding has come from the NSA’s parent agency, the U.S. Department of Defense."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Reporters fight back against Obama and His War on Leaks

Fighting fire with fire . . . the best is yet to come . . .

In Obama’s war on leaks, reporters fight back - The Washington Post: "Sanger, who has worked for the Times in Washington for two decades, said, “This is most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.” Many leak investigations include lie-detector tests for government officials with access to the information at issue. “Reporters are interviewing sources through intermediaries now,” Barr told me, “so the sources can truthfully answer on polygraphs that they didn’t talk to reporters.”. . . ."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Senator Rand Paul, NSA, National Security

Senator Rand Paul on the NSA Scandal & Military Sexual Assault - The Takeaway: ""People have said the NSA leak has jeopardized our national security—I think sort of the opposite," Paul tells The Takeaway. "I think the fact that we've had the intelligence director lie to us about the program really does more to jeopardize our security because now we've lost faith. We've lost faith in the intelligence community that they will tell either Congress or the American people the truth.""

Monday, October 7, 2013

Internet Regulation, Net Neutrality

Internet Regulation - C-SPAN Video Library: Telecommunications law experts and open Internet advocates profiled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit case, Verizon v. Federal Communication Commission. The case focuses on net neutrality, and whether the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to regulate Internet service providers under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. "Net neutrality is a policy that requires Internet providers to allow content providers equal access to networks rather than giving preference to certain types of traffic. (video at link above)

Friday, October 4, 2013

China, free trade zone, freedom for some

Facebook, other banned sites to be open in China free trade zone: report | Reuters: Facebook, Twitter and other websites deemed sensitive and blocked by the Chinese government will be accessible in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cats, Balthus, Met's New Exhibit

Cat Enthusiasts Will Love The Met's New Exhibit - Business Insider: "At age 8, Balthus "posed with his pet cat for a watercolor by his mother," museum officials said. At age 11, Balthus recorded in 40 ink drawings called "Mitsou" his "adventures" with a stray cat . . . . "'Mitsou' was just one of many examples of cats' enduring "force and presence in the artist's work and life," the museum said. . . ."

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