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"Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow

"Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow
Monday, October 14, 2013

In a Democracy Now! special, we spend the hour with four former U.S. intelligence officials — all whistleblowers themselves — who have just returned from visiting National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden in Russia. They are former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake, and former U.S. Justice Department ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack, now of the Government Accountability Project. On Wednesday, the group presented Snowden with an award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. "In our visit, we told Edward Snowden that he had begun the debate by disclosing to American citizens what was going on — this massive spying upon American citizens," Rowley says. "We were happy to tell him the debate has begun, but he is very concerned, and this is actually the reason he has sacrificed so much: He wants to see these laws, these secret interpretations of the law, I should say, fixed."

--video at the link--



Red Bull Stratos FULL POV - Multi-Angle + Mission Data

Here is the remarkable video of Felix Baumgartner's jump. It is absolutely awe-inspiring:

Chronicle: The government shutdown has halted evaluation of a promising new global forecast model

The government shutdown has halted evaluation of a promising new global forecast model
Eric Berger
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There are reports that Congress is closing in on a deal to end the government shutdown, and from the perspective of the hurricane science community an end soon is critical.

While the National Hurricane Center has remained open to issue forecasts, the tropical cyclone research arm of the federal government, the Hurricane Research Division, as well as the Earth System Research Laboratory, have been closed.

Who cares, you say?

According to one Florida hurricane scientist I spoke to this week, “A lot of what we do next season starts right about now. We’ll evaluate how the models performed, and assess some of the newer models. This time frame is crucial for the new models that we’ll be using next year. A delay now will impact us for next year. It will not allow us to make improvements. And delay right now will affect us in moving forward as we hoped.”



Baker: Republicans are delusional about US spending and deficits

Republicans are delusional about US spending and deficits
The story of out-of-control debts and deficits is just plain wrong. US deficits have fallen in the past four years

Dean Baker
theguardian.com, Monday 14 October 2013 08.30 EDT

It is understandable that the public is disgusted with Washington; they have every right to be. At a time when the country continues to suffer from the worst patch of unemployment since the Great Depression, the government is shut down over concerns about the budget deficit.

There is no doubt that the Republicans deserve the blame for the shutdown and the risk of debt default. They decided that it was worth shutting down the government and risking default in order stop Obamacare. That is what they said as loudly and as clearly as possible in the days and weeks leading up to the shutdown. In fact, this is what Senator Ted Cruz said for 21 straight hours on the floor of the US Senate.

Going to the wall for something that is incredibly important is a reasonable tactic. However, the public apparently did not agree with the Republicans. Polls show that they overwhelmingly oppose their tactic of shutting down the government and risking default over Obamacare. As a result, the Republicans are now claiming that the dispute is actually over spending.

Anywhere outside of Washington DC and totalitarian states, you don't get to rewrite history. However, given the national media's concept of impartiality, they now feel an obligation to accept that the Republicans' claim that this is a dispute over spending levels.



This is an interesting read, but nothing new.

David Byrne: 'The internet will suck all creative content out of the world'

David Byrne: 'The internet will suck all creative content out of the world'
The boom in digital streaming may generate profits for record labels and free content for consumers, but it spells disaster for today's artists across the creative industries

David Byrne
The Guardian, Friday 11 October 2013 10.53 EDT

Awhile ago Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead got some attention when they pulled their recent record from Spotify. A number of other artists have also been in the news, publicly complaining about streaming music services (Black Keys, Aimee Mann and David Lowery of Camper van Beethoven and Cracker). Bob Dylan, Metallica and Pink Floyd were longtime Spotify holdouts – until recently. I've pulled as much of my catalogue from Spotify as I can. AC/DC, Garth Brooks and Led Zeppelin have never agreed to be on these services in the first place.

So, what's the deal? What are these services, what do they do and why are these musicians complaining?

There are a number of ways to stream music online: Pandora is like a radio station that plays stuff you like but doesn't take requests; YouTube plays individual songs that folks and corporations have uploaded and Spotify is a music library that plays whatever you want (if they have it), whenever you want it. Some of these services only work when you're online, but some, like Spotify, allow you to download your playlist songs and carry them around. For many music listeners, the choice is obvious – why would you ever buy a CD or pay for a download when you can stream your favourite albums and artists either for free, or for a nominal monthly charge?

Not surprisingly, streaming looks to be the future of music consumption – it already is the future in Scandinavia, where Spotify (the largest streaming service) started, and in Spain. Other countries are following close behind. Spotify is the second largest source of digital music revenue for labels in Europe, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Significantly, that's income for labels, not artists. There are other streaming services, too – Deezer, Google Play, Apple and Jimmy Iovine of Interscope has one coming called Daisy – though my guess is that, as with most web-based businesses, only one will be left standing in the end. There aren't two Facebooks or Amazons. Domination and monopoly is the name of the game in the web marketplace.



Here is an interesting blog post that is referenced by Byrne's article: it illustrates how little internet services actually pay the content creators:

June 24, 2013
My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make From a Single T-Shirt Sale!

As a songwriter Pandora paid me $16.89* for 1,159,000 play of “Low” last quarter. Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission. But still.

Soon you will be hearing from Pandora how they need Congress to change the way royalties are calculated so that they can pay much much less to songwriters and performers. For you civilians webcasting rates are “compulsory” rates. They are set by the government (crazy, right?). Further since they are compulsory royalties, artists can not “opt out” of a service like Pandora even if they think Pandora doesn’t pay them enough. The majority of songwriters have their rates set by the government, too, in the form of the ASCAP and BMI rate courts–a single judge gets to decide the fate of songwriters (technically not a “compulsory” but may as well be). This is already a government mandated subsidy from songwriters and artists to Silicon Valley. Pandora wants to make it even worse. (Yet another reason the government needs to get out of the business of setting webcasting rates and let the market sort it out.)

Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Pandora get off the couch and get an actual business model instead of asking for a handout from congress and artists? For instance: Right now Pandora plays one minute of commercials an hour on their free service. Here’s an idea! Play two minutes of commercials and double your revenue! (Sirius XM often plays 13 minutes and charges a subscription).

I urge all songwriters to post their royalty statements and show the world just how terrible webcasting rates are for songwriters.


Posted by davidclowery


In case, the song mentioned in the above blog post is unknown to you:

From Uncle Sam To All The Brave Tea Party Patriots Out There...

2013 Nobel Prize in Physics: Higgs and Englert

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider"


Here is some information on all those who were working on this topic:

1964 PRL symmetry breaking papers

In 1964 three teams proposed related but different approaches to explain how mass could arise in local gauge theories. These three, now famous, papers were written by Robert Brout and François Englert,[1][2] Peter Higgs,[3] and Gerald Guralnik, C. Richard Hagen, and Tom Kibble,[4][5] and are credited with the theory of the Higgs mechanism and the prediction of the Higgs field and Higgs boson. Together, these provide a theoretical means by which Goldstone's theorem (a problematic limitation affecting early modern particle physics theories) can be avoided. They show how gauge bosons can acquire non-zero masses as a result of spontaneous symmetry breaking within gauge invariant models of the universe.[6]

As such, these form the key element of the electroweak theory that forms part of the Standard Model of particle physics, and of many models, such as the Grand Unified Theory, that go beyond it. The papers that introduce this mechanism were published in Physical Review Letters (PRL) and were each recognized as milestone papers by PRL's 50th anniversary celebration.[7] Additionally, all of the six physicists were awarded the 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for this work.[8]

On 4 July 2012, the two main experiments at the LHC (ATLAS and CMS) both reported independently the confirmed existence of a previously unknown particle with a mass of about 125 GeV/c2 (about 133 proton masses, on the order of 10−25 kg), which is "consistent with the Higgs boson" and widely believed to be the Higgs boson.[9]



Here are some animated views of some of the data from CERN:

Here is Higgs' original paper: http://prl.aps.org/pdf/PRL/v13/i16/p508_1

Here is Englert's and Brout's original paper: http://prl.aps.org/pdf/PRL/v13/i9/p321_1

Here is Guralnik's, Hagen's and Kibble's original paper: http://prl.aps.org/pdf/PRL/v13/i20/p585_1

Regarding all the experimentalists working at CERN (who also deserve tremendous credit):

Nobel prize: well done Higgs theorists but what about the experimenters?
Full credit to Higgs and Englert for Cern Large Hadron Collider discovery, but the Nobel falsely promotes view of 'lone genius'

I'm sitting in the meeting hall in Marrakesh, looking at a screen where the webcast of the Nobel physics prize has just been broadcast. Around me are a few hundred colleagues, members of the Atlas collaboration. Atlas, along with CMS, is one of the two big experiments at the Cern Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which announced the discovery of a Higgs boson on 4 July last year.

When the prize was announced, in Swedish, the cheers drowned out the Swedish version of the citation, but we could see Atlas, CMS and the LHC mentioned in the text and that felt good. All went quiet again for the English version and Gunnar Inglemann's quick summary, followed by a longer presentation, including one of those excellent animated gifs (ok they showed the CMS one, but here's the Atlas one and more explanation).

Prizes, eh? I guess they serve a purpose, and François Englert and Peter Higgs certainly deserve this. I, and the rest of Atlas, congratulate them wholeheartedly – and I hope Prof Higgs is enjoying his caravan holiday too!

But (and there is a "but" prizes only give one view of how science is done. They encourage the idea that the typical manner of progress in science is the breakthrough of a lone genius. In reality, while lone geniuses and breakthroughs do occur, incremental progress and collaboration are more important in increasing our understanding of nature. Even the theory breakthrough behind this prize required a body of incrementally acquired knowledge to which many contributed.



Perchance all those in the groups at CERN who are responsible for underpinning the above theory with experimental data deserve next year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

Culture: No late-night shopping please, we’re French

Latest update: 03/10/2013
No late-night shopping please, we’re French

The battle to buy late at night in the City of Lights – and perhaps even shop on the Lord’s Day – got more intense in France this week with the war over working hours gripping a major French retail chain.

On Tuesday, the management of French retail giant Monoprix announced that stores which stayed open until 10pm in several French cities – including Paris – would now close at 9pm.

The change in working hours follows an internal agreement between France’s largest trade union and the Monoprix management pending an appeal lodged by Groupe Casino, which owns Monoprix, in a French court.

As the case works its way through the courts, with unions and management scrapping over France’s strict labour laws, consumers in French cities will have an hour less of shopping time to stock up on anything from basic foods to household electronics.



BSOD and (Updated in Republican Red) RSOD: Any Key or CTRL+ALT+DEL?

Note that there is a slight difference in the Capitol dome's position and also a slight difference in the WARNING text.

Happy Birthday, NASA!

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