Sep 122013
 

California first to get electronic license plates?

Easier to track?

The California State Senate approves a bill that would allow for a pilot program to test digital license plates. Will it involve tracking?

 

C/Net News
by Chris Matyszczyk
September 7, 2013

 

Yes, sort of an iPad on your car's rear. (Credit: KCRA-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Yes, sort of an iPad on your car’s rear.
(Credit: KCRA-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

 

California is the home of everything that’s new, exciting, and, well, accidentally nefarious.

It’s a delight, therefore, to hear that we here in the Golden State might be the first to get electronic license plates.

Yes, the young and the restless of tech will be able to have their new “TE$LA1″ plate beamed directly to their car.

What could be more moving? I am beaming at Ars Technica for discovering that a bill has passed the California State Senate, allowing for a pilot program to launch the scheme.

If the Governor signs the bill, 0.5 percent of Californians might enjoy this perk quite soon.

They can look forward to rolling down their beautiful hills and having the word “EXPIRED” suddenly appear on their backside. (The car’s, that is.)

What fun it will be to see Ferraris with the word “STOLEN” — or Priuses with the word “TASTELESS.”

Actually, I’m not sure that last one will be an option. Even so, the sheer instancy and convenience will fascinate many.

The suspicious (which ought, these days, to include most people) might wonder whether these license plates — which very probably will be accessed through a mobile data network — will let the powers that be know where people are, yes, all the time.

The bill doesn’t seem clear about this. What is clear is that the company that operates the system will have access to everyone’s location.

That company is Smart Plate Mobile, which doesn’t appear to have so much as a Web site currently.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney Lee Tien told Ars Technica that the DMV would hopefully not have access to location information.

However, we all know how porous digital walls can be.

As with so many digital creations, the weak spot for people is the convenience. Some interviewed by KCRA-TV said they’d pay extra in order to not stand in the DMV line.

And so, yet more personal information might be traded to save a few minutes of boredom.

Direct Link:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57601846-71/california-first-to-get-electronic-license-plates-easier-to-track/

Jun 242013
 

FBI’s ‘dark side’ to go on display at ‘Whitey’ Bulger trial

REUTERS
by Richard Valdmanis
June 24, 2013

Accused Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger (L) and his girlfriend Catherine are shown during their arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles, California in this June 23, 2011 courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Bill Robles/Artist)

Accused Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger (L) and his girlfriend Catherine are shown during their arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles, California in this June 23, 2011 courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Bill Robles/Artist)

 

BOSTON (Reuters) –

The jury in the murder and racketeering trial of accused mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger will hear on Monday from a former FBI supervisor who admitted he and another agent used to swap secrets with the notorious Winter Hill Gang.

John Morris, who supervised the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s local organized crime squad during the Winter Hill’s bloody rampage in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s, helped its members elude arrest and silence so-called rats, threatening to implicate them in crimes.

Prosecutors will now call him to testify against Bulger, 83, who is accused of killing or ordering the murders of 19 people while at the helm of the gang as it ran extortion and gambling rings, and settled scores.

 

FILE - This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Bulger's trial began Wednesday, June 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston, where he is charged with playing a role in 19 killings during the '70s and '80s while allegedly the boss of the Winter Hill Gang. (AP Photo/ U.S. Marshals Service, File)

FILE – This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James “Whitey” Bulger, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Bulger’s trial began Wednesday, June 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston, where he is charged with playing a role in 19 killings during the ’70s and ’80s while allegedly the boss of the Winter Hill Gang. (AP Photo/ U.S. Marshals Service, File)

The accused gangster’s story has captured Boston’s imagination for decades and inspired the Academy Award-winning 2006 film “The Departed.”

On Friday, jurors got their first inside glimpse of the FBI’s reported double-dealings with members of Winter Hill.

Special Agent James Marra, an investigator with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, detailed how Bulger and his associate Stephen Flemmi signed on as FBI informants in the 1970s and ’80s.

Both men were overseen by FBI agent John Connolly, who has since been convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice and murder for tipping off the gang’s leaders of efforts to arrest them as well as for identifying informants.

Morris, expected to take the witness stand at the ongoing trial on Monday, was Connolly’s supervisor. He was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony in 1998 federal court hearings.

Prosecutors alleged that Connolly told Bulger and Flemmi in 1982 that another Winter Hill associate, John Callahan, was being investigated in connection with another murder carried out by the gang.

Callahan later died at the hands of Winter Hill’s “Executioner,” John Martorano, who confessed to the killing and said Bulger ordered the hit to keep Callahan from talking.

Connolly was sentenced in 2009 to 40 years in prison for the murders, with Judge Stanford Blake saying he had “crossed over to the dark side.”

Prosecutors have said Bulger fled Boston after a 1994 tip from Connolly. He eluded arrest for over 16 years before FBI officials tracked him down in June 2011, living with his girlfriend in a seaside apartment in Santa Monica, California.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.

Prosecutors are also preparing to submit as evidence the 700-page file that the FBI developed on Bulger in the years when the agency claims he served as an informant.

Through his attorney, Bulger denied ever being an informant, insisting that he paid the corrupt FBI agent for information but never provided any of his own.

Jurors on Monday also are set to hear from Karen Smith, the daughter of Edward Connors, a Boston bar owner who was shot dead in a phone booth in 1975, allegedly because he bragged about helping the Winter Hill Gang kill another man.

Martorano has testified that Bulger and Flemmi were the gunmen in Connors’ murder.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Barbara Goldberg, G Crosse)

Direct Link:  http://news.yahoo.com/fbis-dark-side-display-whitey-bulger-trial-050159776.html

 

Jun 122013
 

RFID tracking armbands forced on all residents near California music festival


Natural News

by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
June 8, 2013

  RFID tracking armbands forced on all residents near California music festival


RFID tracking armbands forced on all residents near California music festival

(NaturalNews)

Local residents living within a one-mile radius of the venue for the popular Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which takes place annually in Indio, California, got an advanced preview of the emerging American police state this year. According to a recent report by the Los Angeles Times (LAT), the Coachella’s use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands to track attendees has been extended beyond just ticket holders to residents living around the Empire Polo Field where the festival takes place, even though forcing these tracking chips on the public is against the law.

Security for Coachella seems to get ramped up just a little bit more every year, and this was especially true this year as the festival began around the same time as the occurrence of the Boston Marathon false flag event. Reports indicate that local police now rove the premises of Coachella with intimidating attack dogs, and force individuals to submit to invasive searches and TSA-style pat downs. But these and other ridiculous security theater measures are now being used on people not attending Coachella, but who merely live in the vicinity of the festival.

“No one can so much as get within a mile of the Empire Polo Field, where Coachella is held, without wearing one,” writes Todd Martens for LAT, referring to the RFID wristbands that were originally employed as a deterrent for ticket counterfeiters. “Local residents, whose homes surround the polo field, also have to wear one just to get to their houses … (and) homeowners must also register their cars.”

But are these liberty-crushing protocols actually required? Not according to the law, they aren’t. But because so few people understand and take responsibility for their right to privacy, for instance, or their right to travel freely without obstruction, such authoritarian mandates proceed unchecked. Like with the TSA, the wristbands are touted as a way to improve safety and security at Coachella, so the vast majority of people who attend the event, as well as those who live around it, gleefully submit to such measures without protest.

“Police check points will vary from one quarter mile to one mile outside of the festival perimeter,” explains the Coachella website about its so-called requirements. “You cannot pass through the police vehicle checkpoints without your wristband properly applied on your wrist.”

Hitler set up illegal checkpoints prior to shoveling millions of people into ovens

Police vehicle checkpoints, huh? It would be interesting to conduct a survey to see how many Coachella attendees are aware of the fact that police vehicle checkpoints are actually illegal according to Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Even worse, one has to also wonder how many of these same individuals are aware of the fact that the mass deployment of illegal police vehicle checkpoints were a prelude to the rise of the Nazi tyranny and mass murder machine.

“It’s not clear by whom, or by what authority, nearby residents or their guests and visitors could be ‘required’ to wear devices each of which transmit a unique tracking ID number any time it is requested by private parties,” explains PapersPlease.org. “Will we see controls and RFID person and vehicle tracking requirements like this next year on Patriots Day for everyone who lives, works, shops, visits, attends political meetings or religious services, or passes through the area within one mile of the Boston Marathon route?

It may seem like a relatively harmless safety measure to some, but mandatory RFID wristbands and illegal police vehicle checkpoints are gradually paving the way to complete and total police state tyranny. If the American people do not stand up now to oppose this growing police state machine, it will eventually squelch all our freedoms in every facet of life, not just at occasional music festivals.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.papersplease.org

http://www.latimes.com

http://www.ibtimes.com

 

Direct Link:  http://www.naturalnews.com/040688_Coachella_music_festival_RFID_trackers_Fourth_Amendment.html

Jun 072013
 

IRS Official in Star Trek Spoof Apologizes for Lavish Conference


FOX News & Reuters

by Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West
June 6, 2013

 IRS Official in Star Trek Spoof Apologizes for Lavish Conference


IRS Official in Star Trek Spoof Apologizes for Lavish Conference


WASHINGTON –  

A top official at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Thursday acknowledged that it was “embarrassing” how much the tax agency spent on training videos, including a Star Trek spoof, and other lavish expenses during a 2010 conference in California.

Faris Fink, commissioner of the agency’s small business and self-employed division, told lawmakers the videos, which cost more than $50,000 to produce, were well-intentioned but in hindsight inappropriate.

“It’s embarrassing. I apologize,” said Fink, who played the character Spock in the Star Trek parody that included a tax-themed skit. “I regret the fact that they were made.”

The IRS, already under a cloud of scandal related to the targeting of conservative groups, this week faced fresh criticism over a Treasury watchdog report on wasteful spending.

The report released on Tuesday found that the IRS used money originally intended for hiring enforcement employees to partially fund a $4.1 million conference in Anaheim, California, that included luxury hotel rooms and a speaker paid $17,000 to talk about leadership through painting.

Republican Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee holding the hearing on Thursday, accused the IRS of grossly mismanaging taxpayer money with conference spending that was “at best maliciously self-indulgent.”

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, said he was up at 3 a.m. watching the Star Trek video trying to find a way the cost could be justified.

“I swear I do not see the redeeming value,” Cummings said.

The tax agency has been under fire since early May, when IRS official Lois Lerner publicly acknowledged that IRS workers had inappropriately targeted Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status for intense scrutiny, and apologized for the behavior.

Multiple congressional committees and the Justice Department have since opened probes into the matter, but it is still unclear exactly who initiated the targeting and what the motivation was behind it.

Republicans have accused the IRS of following direction from Washington, but current and former top IRS officials have denied that there was any political motivation.

Instead, they say the Cincinnati office made a poor choice in using criteria such as “Tea Party” and “patriots” to sift through a flood of applications for tax-exempt status.

President Barack Obama denied knowing about the targeting before Lerner’s apology on May 10 and has since fired Steven Miller, who was the acting head of the IRS. Lerner has been put on administrative leave.

On Wednesday, two IRS staffers were suspended because of the conference spending scandal.

Congressional staff members briefed on the matter said two employees – including one working on Obama’s healthcare initiative – were disciplined for improperly accepting gifts at the Anaheim conference.

- Reporting by Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West
- Writing by Karey Van Hall
- Editing by Doina Chiacu

 

RELATED: VIDEO LINK OF STAR TREK PARODY… YOU PAID $50,000. Dollars for This!

Direct Link:  http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/06/06/irs-official-in-star-trek-spoof-apologizes-for-lavish-conference/

 

May 222013
 

Google unveils superfast quantum computer that could cure diseases, stop global warming and even learn to drive a car

Daily Mail / UK
by Victoria Woollaston
May 16, 2013

Google has bought a quantum computer from Canadian makers D-Wave. The computer is 3,600 faster than normal computers and could be used to tackle disease, climate change and develop more sophisticated robots. The two companies are launching the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab in Nasa's Ames Research Centre, California to help unlock the computer's power

Google has bought a quantum computer from Canadian makers D-Wave. The computer is 3,600 faster than normal computers and could be used to tackle disease, climate change and develop more sophisticated robots. The two companies are launching the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab in Nasa’s Ames Research Centre, California to help unlock the computer’s power

 

  • The D-Wave computer is 3,600 times faster than a normal computer
  • It’s classed as a ‘quantum computer’ because it uses qubits that can be perform multiple calculations at the same time
  • These faster speeds mean it can tackle more complex problems, such as disease, climate and robotics

Google has bought only the second commercial quantum computer ever made.

It can perform tasks 3,600 times faster than normal computers and the two organisations are hoping to use it to find cures for diseases, fix climate problems and help robots better understand human speech.

The company is hoping to unlock the power of the computer, which was built by Canadian company D-Wave, at the new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, housed at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California.

 

A D-Wave 128-qubit processing chip. Unlike 'bits' found in normal computers that can only be on or off at any one time, qubits can also be in a 'mixed state' between these points. This means quantum computers such as the D-Wave range can peform single tasks much faster than normal computers, and perform multiple tasks at once, much more efficiently

A D-Wave 128-qubit processing chip. Unlike ‘bits’ found in normal computers that can only be on or off at any one time, qubits can also be in a ‘mixed state’ between these points. This means quantum computers such as the D-Wave range can peform single tasks much faster than normal computers, and perform multiple tasks at once, much more efficiently

 

The D-Wave One was first announced in May 2011 by the company based in Burnaby, British Colombia.

It was developed with financial backing from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

D-Wave One was bought by defence group Lockheed Martin in 2011 as part of a multi-year contract in a bid to try and solve some of its more challenging computational problems. 

Google has now bought the D-Wave Two.

D-Wave computers run on a 128-qubit processor.

Normal computers are digital and use bits to transfer information and perform tasks. 

As a comparison, PCs found in homes run on 32-bit or 64-bit processors.

The ‘bits’ in modern-day computers can only ever been in an active, or an inactive state; running at one or zero.

This means that a single ‘bit’ is either on or off at any one time and they can only perform calculations individually.

Qubits work differently and can be on, off, or in a mixed state in between.

As a result, qubits are able to be in multiple places at the same time and this means they are capable of performing single tasks faster, and performing multiple tasks more effectively.

Normal computers are digital and use bits to transfer information and perform tasks.  As a comparison, PCs found in homes run on 32-bit or 64-bit processors. The 'bits' in modern-day computers can only ever been in an active, or an inactive state; running at one or zero. This means that a single 'bit' is either on or off at any one time and they can only perform calculations individually. Qubits work differently and can be on, off, or in a mixed state in between. As a result, qubits are able to be in multiple places at the same time and this means they are capable of performing single tasks faster, and performing multiple tasks more effectively.

Normal computers are digital and use bits to transfer information and perform tasks.
As a comparison, PCs found in homes run on 32-bit or 64-bit processors.
The ‘bits’ in modern-day computers can only ever been in an active, or an inactive state; running at one or zero.
This means that a single ‘bit’ is either on or off at any one time and they can only perform calculations individually.
Qubits work differently and can be on, off, or in a mixed state in between.
As a result, qubits are able to be in multiple places at the same time and this means they are capable of performing single tasks faster, and performing multiple tasks more effectively.

Google could use the D-Wave quantum computer to further develop the technology in its self-driving cars. This is the view the cars currently see. Future designs, created using the quantum computer, could better navigate the roads and react to obstacles in a more similar way to how human brains can

Google could use the D-Wave quantum computer to further develop the technology in its self-driving cars. This is the view the cars currently see. Future designs, created using the quantum computer, could better navigate the roads and react to obstacles in a more similar way to how human brains can

The D-Wave quantum computer could be used to help robots understand human speech and lead to more sophisticated robotic designs, like the Terminator in the classic sci-fi film

The D-Wave quantum computer could be used to help robots understand human speech and lead to more sophisticated robotic designs, like the Terminator in the classic sci-fi film

 

Tasks that would take normal computers years to complete can be processed in seconds using quantum computers like the D-Wave.

The D-Wave works closer to how the human brain works, but without the margin of human error.

As a result, Google wants to put the computer to work on complex tasks everyday computers have been unable to solve.

This includes developing cures for diseases, tackling the changes to Earth caused by climate change, better developing voice-activated technology and more.

In August last year, a team of Harvard University researchers were able to use the D-Wave One to solve the largest protein folding problem ever, using the quantum computer.

Protein folding is a complex system found in all living things involving amino acids.

Google in particular could use the technology to improve the reaction times and processing speeds of its self-driving cars, or develop its Google Glass technology – a wearable computer that responds to motion and voice controls.

To unlock this power, and test the computer’s potential, the two organisations have launched the Quantum Artifical Intelligence Lab at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre based in California.

D-Wave is also working on a Vesuvius quantum computer that will run on a 512-qubit processor.

 

Direct Link:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2325371/Google-unveils-superfast-quantum-cure-diseases-stop-global-warming-learn-drive-car.html