Around the web

A Hacker in Every Server…


From Business Week

Most gamblers were still asleep, and the gondoliers had yet to pole their way down the ersatz canal in front of the Venetian casino on the Las Vegas Strip. But early on the chilly morning of Feb. 10, just above the casino floor, the offices of the world’s largest gaming company were gripped by chaos. Computers were flatlining, e-mail was down, most phones didn’t work, and several of the technology systems that help run the $14 billion operation had sputtered to a halt.

Computer engineers at Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) raced to figure out what was happening. Within an hour, they had a diagnosis: Sands was under a withering cyber attack. PCs and servers were shutting down in a cascading IT catastrophe, with many of their hard drives wiped clean. The company’s technical staff had never seen anything like it.

“This isn’t the kind of business you can get into in Iran without the government knowing”

Christopher Hitchens, Three Years Gone, Rewrites the Ten Commandments…


What Choice Do We Have?

From Charles Hugh Smith

The bottom line for the vast majority of us is that there is an extremely high price to be paid for independence from fealty to the State or Corporate America.

It’s jolly good fun to discuss alternatives to the doomed status quo, but what choice do most of us have to participating in the current system, even if we loathe it? The lack of choice is of course a key characteristic of the status quo– if alternatives were plentiful, how many would opt out of Corporate America and the Financial Nobility’s manor house of debt servitude?

The absence of alternatives results from several interacting dynamics.The first is false choice, the illusion of choice that enables the Powers That Be to claim we live in a democracy that is also a meritocracy where anyone can rise to the top if they follow the prescribed pathway: a four-year university degree, followed by a graduate degree, and so on.

Degrowth, the Book…

From David Bollier

In industrialized societies, where so many people regard economic growth as the essence of human progress, the idea of deliberately rejecting growth is seen as insane.  Yet that is more or less what the planet’s ecosystems are saying right now about the world economy. It’s also the message of an expanding movement, Degrowth, that is particularly strong in Europe and the global South.

A few months ago I b logged about the massive Degrowth conference in Leipzig, Germany, that attracted 3,000 people from around the world. The basic point of the discussions was how to get beyond the fetish of growth, intellectually and practically, and how to transform our idea of “the economy” so that it incorporates such important values as democracy, social well-being and ecological limits.

The Media Is Focusing On the WRONG Senate Torture Report… The Real Question is WHY We Tortured, Which Leads Directly To WHO Is Responsible…


From Washington’s Blog

The Big Torture Story Everyone Is Missing…

While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn’t address the big scoop regarding torture.

Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S.  torture program.

Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:

Put Those Police Cameras on Bankers…

From Jesse Jackson

Recently, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power.

The gesture turned to chants — “Hands up; Don’t Shoot” in demonstrations across the country. Protesters shut down major thoroughfares from Manhattan to Chicago to Los Angeles to decry the Staten Island grand jury that refused to indict the policemen who killed Eric Garner, turning his plea — “I can’t breathe” — into a call for justice.

In these cases, there was no cross examination and thus no indictments. “Justice” rings hollow across the nation. Injustice reins.

These demonstrations, largely by young and remarkably multi-racial crowds, are not the first. They were preceded by Occupy Wall Street, indicting the 1 percent and spreading to hundreds of cities. They were foreshadowed by the dreamers, children demanding the right to come out of the shadows of the undocumented.

Facts about the Chokehold Killing of Eric Garner…

From Washington’s Post

Bipartisan Condemnation

The first thing to note about the police killing of Eric Garner in New York is that – despite what you may have heard – this is not a partisan issue.

Fox News commentator Judge Napolitano says that the Grand Jury should have indicted the NYPD police officer who applied the lethal chokehold for excessive force…

George W. Bush said that the grand jury decision was “hard to understand.”

And the Christian Science Monitor notes:

How Silicon Valley Created America’s Largest Homeless Camp…

From National Journal
Thanks to Todd

Living in “The Jungle” means learning to live in fear. Especially after dark, when some people get violent. The 68-acre homeless camp in South San Jose is considered the largest in the United States. It’s a lawless place.

“When something goes wrong, you have to have some kind of backup,” says Troy Feid, pulling out a machete that he carries up his sleeve at night. “Just having it says ‘Don’t mess with me.'”

Feid, an unemployed union carpenter, lives in a fortress of netting and plastic tarp with a cat named Baby. He’s one of the 278 people who’ve claimed a spot in the thicket of cottonwood trees along Coyote Creek. He first moved here four years ago when he ran out of work.

The 53-year-old carpenter made good money at the height of the Silicon Valley construction boom in the 1980s and ’90s. He built movie theaters and installed ceilings in the new offices of high-tech companies that put San Jose and the rest of Santa Clara County on the map.

“All the buildings around here, you know, I probably worked on them,” said Feid, who was making up to $35 an hour in those days. Then came the dot-com crash in 2000, bankrupting dozens of Internet companies and drying up construction work. Feid lost his apartment and bounced around for years, living in people’s garages as he remodeled their homes. In 2009, a friend kicked him out and Feid found himself on the streets. All he had was his motorcycle and a few tarps.

Our Beef Shouldn’t Be With Cows…


From Civil Eats

For years, beef has been Public Enemy Number One for environmentalists and health advocates alike. Headlines warn that livestock production, particularly for cattle, poses the worst environmental risk than anything else in the world, and that eating red meat can substantially increase your chance of dying from heart disease or cancer.

If you’re like most good food advocates, calling for a drastic reduction in beef production is a no-brainer. Right?

Nicolette Hahn Niman, vegetarian rancher, environmental lawyer, and wife of Bill Niman, founder of the eponymous Niman Ranch, lays out a compelling case in her new book Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production. As she sees it, if we want to fight climate change, we may want to actually raise more cattle.

Fourty-Four Hands. Twelve Hundred Udders.


From Eating Asia

We heard it before we saw it, a high-pitched whine originating from somewhere a mile or so up the road. On a cloudless evening Dave and I were driving back to Van after a day exploring back roads to the south of the lake. It was mid-June, the start of yayla season, when villagers take their sheep and goats — or send them with hired shepherds — to high pasture. Earlier, descending from a craggy peak where we’d hiked through new grass and skirted clumps of leftover snow we saw signs of a shepherd’s camp: upturned milk pails left to dry on the banks of a stream. Further on, we’d pulled off the road to give way to an elderly man, his wife and their son leading a hundred or so sheep, a few goats and several dogs to their summer camp.

The Glossy Magazines of the Islamic State…

From The Baffler

Every organization now peddles its ideology the same way that Nike and MTV do–mass media. Stormfront is a notorious website for (mostly) American neofascists. The North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) has a website. The American Socialist Party is on Twitter. And for those who like to dive deep, there are, in what has come to be defined against the norm of limited character count, “long reads.” The National Rifle Association has an internet-accessible magazine called First Freedom. The Catholic Laity has a magazine. So do terrorists. Al Qaeda has its own journal.

And so does the Islamic State. Already on its fourth issue (PDF), the glossy, English-language magazine Dabiq takes its title from an Armageddon myth set in a Northern Syrian town of the same name. As one might expect, the magazine serves as both recruitment tool for potential jihadist and public relations organ—it explains the group’s cause, and takes swipes at ideological opponents. It contains brutally honest propaganda, with pieces blending calls for the murder of unbelievers with the group’s boasts of offering medical assistance to children with cancer. The design is slick—sophisticated, even—full of maps and color photos. Each magazine, which can be found in digital edition on the Internet Archive, comes with an intricately designed cover that announces the particular theme of that issue.

A two-century fight for the small, the local and the beautiful…

wbWendell Berry

From Transition Voice

Twentieth-century America witnessed the blossoming of Agrarianism as an intellectual and cultural movement. Its roots lay within the mythos of the early American Republic, which cast the self-sufficient yeoman farm family as the foundation of ordered liberty. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1785:

Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty by the most lasting bonds.

Similar early celebrations of Agrarianism came from Jean Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (Letters from an American Farmer, 1782) and John Taylor of Caroline (Arator, 1813). Such paeans to the largely self-sufficient family farm reflected certain realities of that era. In the fateful year of 1776, about 90 percent of all Americans resided on farms and plantations. Despite the rapid growth of factories and cities in the next century, the number of farms and persons on farms continued to grow, reaching peaks – respectively – of 6 million and 31 million in 1917.

Fukushima: Twice as much Fukushima radiation near California coast than originally reported — Gundersen: Multiple plumes now along west coast…



Twice as much Fukushima radiation near California coast than originally reported; Highest levels found anywhere in Eastern Pacific — Scientist: Very little we can do… It’s unprecedented… God forbid anything else happens — Gundersen: Multiple plumes now along west coast… Will be coming “for century or more” (AUDIO)

Seattle Post Intelligencer, Nov 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Mike Priddy, supervisor of Washington’s Environmental Sciences Section [wrote] in an email exchange today: “… if the water has radioactive material in it at any level, coming into contact with it will cause the contamination to transfer. That said, the levels… pose no real health affects… whether you come in contact with the water or somehow casually ingest itThe levels I have seen in seawater are interesting from a scientific point of view, but well below health concerns.”

KHUM, Nov. 12, 2014 — Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (10:00 in): In winter time… offshore waters might move inshore… I’m hoping to get samples… as this plume moves its way maybe on to shore.

Take Two Show, Nov. 14, 2014 — Host: The thing that I read that did do a good job of reassuring me was a comparison to a dental x-ray. Maybe tell us that one? Buesseler: We’re comparing to a dental x-ray because that’s something people experience and choose to do… The risk is never zero, any additional radioactivity can cause additional cancers… There’s really very little we can do once its in the ocean. Fukushima was an unprecedented event… God forbid something happens today, it’s pretty unstable off Japan.

Meeting Tonight 11/20/14 Regarding MendoVito proposal to build 3,000 to 4,000 houses in McDowell Valley, off State Route 175…


Meeting Reminder: 7 pm at Shipley Hall, Hopland Research Station

A complete presentation of the project will be made Thursday at the Rod Shippey Hall, at the UC Extension Center, 4070 University Road in Hopland.

More Info:

Pre-Registering Required: Call Amber at the extension center, at 744-1424 ext. 101 or visiting HERE  to ensure space is available. Lewenz and four other staff members involved in the project will be in attendance.





The Instability Express…


From James Kunstler

The mentally-challenged kibitzers “out there” — in the hills and hollows of the commentary universe, cable news, the blogosphere, and the pathetic vestige of newspaperdom — are all jumping up and down in a rapture over cheap gasoline prices. Overlay on this picture the fairy tale of coming US energy independence, stir in the approach of winter in the North Dakota shale oil fields, put an early November polar vortexcherry on top, and you have quite a recipe for smashed expectations.

A Guide to the Good Life: The Best Life Hacks from the Ancient Stoics…


From Lifehacker

This book is really for everyone—whether you’re philosophically-minded or not. It’s all about being happier and having more control over how you react to life’s difficulties. And don’t we all have those, to some extent?

Even if the term “ancient philosophies” puts you to sleep, Irvine does a good job of making the topic accessible to just about anyone, at least once you get past the history portion of the book. Some of the tricks you may heard of, some you may not—and some may seem like common sense. But the Stoics (and Irvine) have a way of putting them into words that can really motivate you.

What You’ll Get

In Irvine’s opinion, everyone should have a cohesive “philosophy of life” to follow, and his goal is to present one with A Guide to the Good Life. But you don’t have to think of this book as a massive life change. Most of the tips can easily fit into any modern lifestyle, and are even compatible with many major religions, whether you’re a Christian or a Zen Buddhist. So, while you can think of it as a philosophy of life, I prefer to think of it as a collection of “tips and tricks” from some very smart, very old people.

The book is broken up into three parts, each of which is broken up further by subject:

Kill For God…


Bill Nye: Climate Change 101




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