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Mobile Technology News, February 28, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Windows 8.1 update said to arrive when XP ends
    Mark your calendars. Early April promises Windows updates as well as the end of support for Windows XP.
  • Lotus F1 Team looks to tech to win
    Lotus F1, technology, and the quest for trophies
  • VIDEO: Richard Stallman Discusses Freedom and Technology

    On Thursday, February 20th, HuffPost Code hosted Dr. Richard Stallman in collaboration with The New York Tech Meetup and Cooper Union. Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and creator of The GNU operating system.

    The event began at 7:00 pm when Stallman took the stage, declining to wait for an introduction. His speech, entitled “A Free Digital Society”, detailed 10 threats to our freedom. The talk commenced with the topic of surveillance, which prompted Stallman to attack companies like Facebook and Google as well as the State. He cited Apples’ microphones which can be activated remotely, the US government’s vulnerable voting system and the video cameras in every New York Taxi that send images to the “Thug Department” as being particularly egregious examples. Stallman continued to denounce large tech companies and the government throughout his two-and-a-half hour speech.

    The talk was focused on Free Software. Stallman’s primary goal is to promote the use of Free Software to save democracy. In this context, Free refers to Liberty, not price. Stallman said, “The user controls the program or the program controls the user.” In the interest of freedom, Stallman encouraged the crowd to reject the use of mobile phones, run Free operating systems like GNU/Linux and refrain from accessing websites and media that require the use of proprietary software or may contain malware.

    Stallman suggested a few solutions to address the threats facing society. For instance, Free Software may alleviate individual threats to freedom, but how are those that contribute to Free Software compensated? Stallman proposed an anonymous cash “tipping” system to generate small payments to websites when they’re visited. However, this solution is far from viable because there is no truly anonymous cryptocurrency to enable these payments. Stallman placed minimal emphasis on his own solutions, citing his belief that the government is responsible for providing people with decent lives, especially since jobs are being eliminated.

    Throughout the talk, Stallman helped lighten the mood with a barrage of clever puns and amusing anecdotes. While explaining his feelings about Open Source Software, he lamented how he is often called the Father of Open Source even though he fundamentally disagrees with the movement. He said,

    “If I’m the Father of Open Source, it was conceived through artificial insemination using stolen sperm without my knowledge or consent.”

    There were over 700 people in attendance, and for many it was their first time hearing Stallman speak. The Meetup group had mixed reviews; there’s no denying Stallman’s contributions to technology, but it is challenging to sit through one of his speeches. He does not use any visual aids, he can be harsh when answering questions and he refuses to shorten his speech or stop for any reason, even if the crowd thins. He is unapologetically focused on delivering his message. Ryan VG, one of the attendees, posted his thoughts on the NY Tech Meetup page,

    “In a culture of overtly positive and inspirational talks, Stallman’s perspective was refreshingly absent of bravado and brought an extremely relevant and timely perspective on our rights in a digital society.”

    During the Q&A session, an audience member praised Stallman’s efforts and told him that he helped technology to evolve. Stallman quickly replied, “I’m trying to give people freedom and if I have any effect on the evolution of computing, that’s a byproduct.”

    HuffPost Code is committed to covering this continued dialogue. To register for updates on the next event, visit code.huffingtonpost.com.

  • VIDEO: Will we still use mobiles in 20 years?
    Industry experts at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona look forward to the phones of the future.
  • Nasty Rejection Letter Goes Viral
    (CNN) — When you’re a city’s “Communicator of the Year” and have hailed yourself as a “passionate advocate” for job-seekers, you probably ought not blast one of those job-seekers in a snide, dismissive e-mail.
  • IBM laying off up to 25 percent of 'hardware' division
    Big Blue confirms it’s commencing workforce cuts, but declines to put a number on the job losses. A source tells CNET the layoffs entail up to 25 percent in the Systems and Technology group.
  • Dartmouth Student Says She Was Sexually Assaulted After Website 'Rape Guide' Named Her
    A Dartmouth College freshman said she was sexually assaulted weeks after another student named her in an Internet message board “rape guide,” raising questions about the Ivy League school’s handling of the website.

    The post that students have labeled a “rape guide” appeared last month on the anonymous message board Bored@Baker, which is not affiliated with the college, but is restricted to those with a Dartmouth email address. The post named the woman, noted she lives in the Choates residence complex, and explained how to make her want to perform oral sex. “If not have her do it anyways,” the post said. Within weeks, there were more than three dozen references on the message board to “Choates Whore.”

    After the “rape guide” post, the woman was sexually assaulted at a fraternity party, she said.

    “For the first time in months, I started feeling safe,” the woman wrote later in a private group on Facebook. “I went out last week and got assaulted at the first and only house I went to. Then I got told it happens all the time. I hope that maybe someone reading this will do something, because I have no one to turn to.”

    The student who wrote the “rape guide” was removed from campus and faces judgement by the the college community standards process. The young woman said she did not report the assault to authorities, but is frustrated the college did not do something about Bored@Baker, especially since she was targeted by similar posts last fall that included her photo.

    “I was completely disgusted and afraid and I didn’t know how to react,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, told The Huffington Post.

    Dartmouth’s Greek leaders and college administrators issued statements condemning the message board post. Horrified alumni discussed it online and hundreds of students gathered on the Dartmouth Green one night this month in solidarity with sexual assault victims.

    Blocking the website for Dartmouth students isn’t realistic, said college spokesman John D. Cramer.

    “The college doesn’t control or support it, nor, given the nature of the Internet, do we have the capacity to block access,” Cramer said. Referring to the “rape guide” author, Cramer added that “the language and views expressed by this individual don’t reflect the Dartmouth community.”

    The website has caused problems at the Hanover, N.H., school in the past. In April 2013, posts disparaged protesters called “Real Talk Dartmouth” aiming to raise discussion of campus sexual assault. The vitriol and death threats posted online led the college to cancel classes for a “Day of Dialogue,” an unpopular move among students at the time.

    The student who was raped last month said she happened to be in the audience last April, when those Real Talk protesters disrupted an event for prospective students, shouting that the college had a sexual violence problem that was not being dealt with. “I felt like if they needed to go to that extent to make their voices heard, I did think maybe Dartmouth does have a problem,” the student said.

    No one was punished for the online threats against the Real Talk advocates, and the college refused requests to block Bored@Baker from the school’s WiFi, according to Nastassja Schmiedt, a protester who left the school after the spring 2013 term.

    The college is aware of the website’s impact. Theater professor Peter Hackett recalled administrators in 2011 trying to persuade against a performance he was planning because, in part, the performers would be attacked on the message board.

    The controversy over the message board comes as sexual violence is at the forefront of campus debate.

    Dartmouth is one of 41 colleges and universities under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for potential violations of Title IX, a federal law forbidding gender discrimination. The college also faces a Clery Act complaint filed by students and recent alumni, alleging violations of the campus security law through underreporting of sexual violence, hazing and bias incidents.

    Earlier this school year, five of the nine members of the Panhellenic Council — a student group overseeing sororities — announced they would not participate in sorority rush during the winter term, saying the school and the Greek system must do more to deal with sexual assault and harassment.

    Panhellenic Council Vice President Michelle Khare said she felt like the Greek system wasn’t a “safe place” for women.

    “Morally, the five of us don’t feel capable of putting more girls into a system like this,” Khare said. “We just can’t do that until the system is fixed and heals.”

    The Panhellenic Council women demanded reforms, , including the expulsion of students found guilty of rape “immediately with absolutely no exceptions,” and including past offenses in the adjudication process. The administration should include “a list of resources and pertinent phone numbers” on every class syllabus to combat “a lack of dissemination of information for members of campus who have been sexually assaulted or raped,” the women said.

    Documents provided by Dartmouth show that from 2010 to 2013, sexual violence cases accounted for 4 percent of 107 student “major misconduct” cases. In those sexual violence cases, two students were “separated or resigned” from the college, two students were suspended, two were placed on probation, and four were found “not responsible.”

    The college decided last month to incorporate language of “rape” or equivalent wording into the student handbook and to enforce a policy that students found responsible for non-consensual sexual penetration will be expelled.

    Dartmouth is arranging a conference this summer on sexual assault co-hosted by University of Massachusetts Boston professor David Lisak, an expert on campus rape, and Dartmouth president Phil Hanlon.

    The school announced a new sexual assault center on campus on Feb. 7, and is hosting a series of public meetings with Hanlon called “Moving Dartmouth Forward.” Among other topics, the meetings will discuss campus safety. It spent $1.1 million on initiatives devoted to sexual assault, high-risk drinking and campus climate in the last three years, according to spokesman Justin Anderson.

    “What we do here is not going to result in sexual assault being totally eradicated, that’s not a realistic goal,” Anderson said. “What is realistic is getting people to come forward.”

    Hanlon declined interview requests, but issued a statement promising to tackle these issues.

    “Student life is one of my top priorities as president, and I am committed to working with the Dean of the College, students, faculty and staff to foster a safe, productive and healthy environment for all students in all settings at Dartmouth,” Hanlon said in the statement.

  • 'Electric Eel' Condom Promises To Improve Your Sex Life
    An electric condom in early stages of development just might take safe sex from analog to digital.

    Last March, Bill and Melinda Gates challenged innovators worldwide to invent the “Next Generation Condom” — one that wouldn’t diminish the quality of sensations felt during sex. Notable entries included a condom made from collagen derived from beef tendon claiming to approximate human skin, and a condom that actually tightens during intercourse. But none of these really give the jolt some may be looking for.

    Last week, Georgia Tech students Firaz Peer and Andrew Quitmeyer introduced their “Electric Eel” condom on IndieGogo, which they describe as an “open-source digital condom prototype using electrodes and soft-circuitry.” In laymen’s terms, it supplies mild vibrations — a “digital” rather than “physical” enhancement to the standard condom, as the creators put it.

    While battery-operated devices can be a woman’s best friend, the words “voltage,” circuitry” and “electricity” are rather terrifying to anyone with a vulva. But for men, the threadlike electrodes running throughout the condom, concentrated in the underside of the shaft, provide the type of stimulation condom-less sex can’t.

    The condom is still in very early stages of development, and Quitmeyer and Peer are performing most tests on a cloth-sheath version, pictured above, which potential users can try out to get a feel for the sensations. The electric currents are manipulated by a microcontroller connected to the condom and operated by the user, or by “various Internet APIs” accessed from a mobile device. Start brainstorming ways to explain your CondomApp.

    Despite considerable anecdotal evidence to the contrary, the commonly-held assumption that sex without a condom is more pleasurable often prevents their use. But with STDs being an increasingly global concern, eschewing safe sex for perceived better sex is an alarming trend. Can a dubiously realized electric condom inspire a worldwide shift in attitudes about safe sex? Not necessarily. But the degree to which talented innovators have taken up the condom-improvement mantle is encouraging, and getting some latex in Silicon Valley could give safe sex an upgrade.

    We look forward to seeing which condom earns the Gates Foundation’s $1 million prize. If indeed it is the “Electric Eel,” may we recommend a lubricated version, “Electric Slide”?

    [h/t Refinery 29]

  • U.S. Moves One Step Closer To Offshore Drilling Along East Coast
    The oil and gas industry is one step closer toward drilling off the East Coast of the United States after a decades-long moratorium.

    On Thursday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its final environmental impact review on the effects of geological and geophysical activities to explore energy resources along the Atlantic seaboard, including controversial seismic airgun testing. Energy companies could receive permits to hunt for oil and gas deposits off the East Coast — specifically from the coast of Delaware down to central Florida — “perhaps in the coming months,” according to a report from Breaking Energy.

    Seismic airguns use massive blasts of compressed air to map underground deposits of hydrocarbons. The blasts can be 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine, according to the advocacy group Oceana. The noise can be deadly for marine mammals, causing crippling hearing loss, disruption of feeding and beach strandings. Conservationists are particularly worried about the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which migrates off the East Coast twice a year and which numbers only about 500.

    Story continues below:

    The BOEM identifies a slew of mitigation strategies to combat adverse impacts on wildlife, including efforts to avoid collisions between animals and exploration vessels, temporary closure of areas during the migration of the North Atlantic right whale, and improved monitoring of marine mammals during seismic testing.

    But environmental groups still lambasted the report, calling it a “death sentence” for thousands of whales and dolphins.

    “Imagine dynamite going off in your neighborhood every 10 seconds for days, weeks, and months on end,” Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, wrote in a blog post. “Now imagine that you depend on your hearing to feed, mate, communicate, and do just about everything else necessary for survival. That’s the situation that endangered whales, commercial fish, and other marine wildlife are facing with today’s announcement.”

    It could be years before any oil is brought up due to the lack of infrastructure, but Southern politicians and the oil industry have been pushing for development as the White House prepares the country’s 2017-2022 ocean energy exploration plan. In 2010, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Obama administration effectively banned offshore drilling along the Atlantic seaboard until 2017. The move, just months after his administration had ended a 30-year ban on the practice, surprised both environmentalists and oil companies.

  • Google's So Helpful It Tells You Where To Buy Drugs
    A block in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., was identified as the borough’s “drug section” by Google Maps, the Village Voice reported Thursday.

    A Redditor found the apparent mistake and posted it to the site, asking others how it could have happened. People speculated that the “drug section” was most likely the creation of someone toying with Google’s MapMaker product — just one of the ways the powers that be at Google build out their complex maps database.

    drug brooklyn

    While the original map had “drug section” written along part of West 8th Street, that’s since been removed. (Gothamist has a screenshot.) However, as of Thursday afternoon, typing “drug section” into Google Maps for Brooklyn still pinpointed the corner of Bay Parkway and West 8th.

    When asked how he or she came across the apparent mistake, the Redditor who posted the map wrote, “I was getting directions to a Guatemalan restaurant on Ave O and it said ‘turn left at the drug section.'”

    Some on the Reddit thread sounded off on whether they thought the area really was the nexus of drug transactions in Brooklyn, saying it’s actually pretty “quiet,” while one person speculated the marker was put there by “an actual drug dealer who was looking to promote business.”

    Bensonhurst was, however, recently cited as one of the three South Brooklyn neighborhoods suffering from a heroin problem.

    When asked about the mistake, a Google spokesperson told Gothamist, “Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’re aware of the issue and are working to fix it.”

  • Everyone Will Have Self-Driving Car By 2026, Analyst Says
    Adam Jonas isn’t Nostradamus, but the Morgan Stanley analyst is predicting the road to complete vehicle autonomy will begin in 2026. What’s more, he says the technology will eventually reach 100 percent market penetration two decades later.

    If Jonas is to be believed, that means we’ll all be passengers in our cars pretty soon.

    In a report to analysts earlier this week, Jonas said his company sees “autonomous cars contributing $5.6 trillion in economic savings globally.”

    A chart from the report outlines the beginnings of an autonomous car “utopia,” wherein autonomous cars will overcome liability and infrastructure issues, in 2026. Prior to 2026, Morgan Stanley predicts our cars will be able to be driven autonomously, but the driver will need to remain attentive in the case of an emergency, as the infrastructure for autonomous cars will not be fully developed.

    Not every day you see a chart like this in a street research piece. $TSLA pic.twitter.com/P4wD5TtDUH

    — Conor Sen (@conorsen) February 25, 2014

    But Jonas isn’t the only individual predicting a promising future for autonomous cars: Two research studies in August 2013 revealed similar predictions.

    Navigant Research, a market research firm, wrote that “by 2035, sales of autonomous vehicles will reach 95.4 million annually, representing 75% of all light-duty vehicle sales.” Meanwhile, the research firm ABI Research believes half of all new cars will be autonomous by 2032.

    But not everyone sees complete vehicle autonomy entering the marketplace as quickly.

    In December, independent research organization Victoria Transport Policy Institute released a report that outlined the state of vehicle autonomy in the future, noting:

    The analysis indicates that some benefits, such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the 2020s or 2030s, but most impacts, including reduced traffic and parking congestion (and therefore road and parking facility supply), independent mobility for low-income people (and therefore reduced need to subsidize public transport), increased safety, energy conservation and pollution reductions, will only be significant when autonomous vehicles become common and affordable, probably in the 2040s through 2060s, and some benefits may require prohibiting human-driven vehicles on certain roadways, which could take even longer.

    Then again, autonomous cars may come even earlier than any of these studies suggest; Nissan believes it will have an autonomous car on sale in 2020.

    Whatever year autonomous cars finally come to market, it seems very likely we’ll be able to let our cars do our driving in the very near future.

  • Supreme Court Session Purportedly Revealed In YouTube Video

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A protest group has posted what appears to be the first video of the Supreme Court taken inside the courtroom with the court in session.

    The Supreme Court forbids cameras and all other electronic devices, but members of the protest group 99Rise appear to have shot video on two separate occasions since October.

    The more recent footage captures a courtroom protest on Wednesday by a man the court identified as Noah Newkirk of Los Angeles. A 99Rise news release posted online says group co-founder Kai Newkirk was the person who called on the court to overturn its 2010 Citizens United decision. Police hustled him out of the courtroom and charged him with disturbing the proceedings.

    The protest was the first to disrupt an argument session in more than seven years, since the court heard an abortion dispute in late 2006.

    The first part of the video, which runs just over two minutes, seems to come from Oct. 8, when the court heard argument in McCutcheon v. FEC. That case about contribution limits has yet to be decided and is the court’s first major foray into campaign finance law since the Citizens United decision.

    “I rise on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder,” Newkirk said on the video. “Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon.”

    Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the court is reviewing the video and courtroom screening procedures.

    Spectators, lawyers and reporters must pass through a metal detector before entering the courtroom, and it sometimes is triggered by innocent items, including belts, shoes and watches.

  • Now You Can Catch All The 'Pokemon' On Netflix
    Gotta catch ’em all!

    Break out your badges and your trusty Pokedex, Pokemon is headed for Netflix!

    If you’ve missed watching Pokemon trainer Ash, and his uber cute sidekick Pikachu travel the road fighting and capturing other Pokemon (and you’ve already finished all of “House of Cards”) then let “Pokemon” be your next binge-watching adventure.

    Beginning March 1, Netflix subscribers can watch the first season of the “Pokemon” animated series (known as “Indigo League”) and also episodes from the season known as “Pokemon: Black & White.” Pokemon movies, “Pokemon the Movie: Black – Victini and Reshiram” and “Pokemon the Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom,” will also be available.

    Better start training your Squirtle now!

    If you need to be reminded the awesomeness of “Pokemon,” watch the inspiring theme song below:

    Now make sure you watch or you’ll make Pikachu all sad:

    tv show gifs

  • Christina Grimmie's Audition On 'The Voice' Will Wreck You In The Best Possible Way
    While many online may already be familiar with Christina Grimmie, a talented teenage singer who has made a name performing on YouTube, she’s now able to reach a national television audience on NBC’s “The Voice.” This past Tuesday, Grimmie and completely blew them (and us) away with her audition!

    Watch this video above, posted by The Voice, to see Grimmie perform Miley Cyrus’ hit single, “Wrecking Ball,” and win over the judges and audience within seconds of singing this incredible rendition of the song.

  • How Can We Balance the Risks and Rewards of New Technologies?

    The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies released its annual list of breakthrough technologies. The list highlights 10 trends in technological advancement that could offer innovative solutions to a range of pressing global challenges. As a member of the council that compiles the list each year, I’m excited to see technologies here that could be truly transformative. At the same time, realizing the benefits they offer will require a good dose of responsible innovation mixed in with the technologies each trend represents.

    Some of the trends — computers that can read and interpret brain signals, and screen-less displays that project images directly on to a person’s retina, for example — may seem straight out of a science-fiction movie. Others, such as nanostructured carbon composites and grid-scale energy storage, have been evolving for a while. However, each trend represents breakthroughs that are poised to underpin significant economic, social and environmental impact soon.

    That said, in today’s complex and interconnected world, their sustainable development and use also hinges on understanding how they might harm people and the environment, and how people’s perceptions and assumptions might affect their development trajectories. This is where an increasingly sophisticated understanding of sustainable innovation is needed. While scientists and engineers are masters at demonstrating what is technologically possible, it is society that ultimately decides which technologies succeed and which do not.

    The World Economic Forum Top 10 technology trends push us far beyond the realms of what we are used to — this is why they are so exciting and inspiring. To be sustainable though, the complex engineering they represent must be integrated with an understanding of how to develop and use them safely and effectively.

    Take for example advances in human microbiome therapeutics, which involve modifying or even re-engineering bacteria naturally found in humans to prevent or treat health conditions. Using our own bacteria to cure ailments and protect against disease may sound better than pumping our bodies with medications. But unless we get a good handle on the potential downsides of messing around with the bacteria that are part and parcel of how our bodies work, it’s going to be tough to get effective microbiome therapies off the ground.

    Not all of these trends are so esoteric or seemingly inaccessible to consumers. For instance, consumer technologies such as relatively inexpensive screen-less displays are just around the corner. The Glyph, for example, is a screen-less display that is poised to transform personal video displays. This is a tremendously exciting technology that could potentially revolutionize how we receive and work with visual information. Its potential extends far beyond videos and gaming to changing how we visually interact with complex data. But its long-term success — like the success of other technologies on the top 10-list — will depend on getting the social as well as the technological and economic calculus right. Achieve this, and the power exists to transform good ideas into agents of change in a world that is hungry for technologies that help to solve problems and make lives better.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum to mark the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2014 (in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan. 22-25). The Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils consists of more than 80 select groups of experts, each focused on key topics in the global arena, that collectively serve as an advisory board to the Forum and other interested parties, such as governments and international organizations. Read all the posts in this series forecasting global trends for 2014 here.

  • UNC Class Gets Screwed By Duke Fan, Entire Google Doc Of Notes Replaced With Meme Image
    The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill beat rival Duke University in men’s basketball last week, prompting students to celebrate by running through the streets going crazy. But the following week, when students got back to work, the undergrads in one history class discovered someone messed with their notes.

    On Tuesday, a UNC student posted on the Facebook page “Overheard at UNC”: “Someone deleted all the information in the History 107 midterm google doc and posted this instead..”

    duke unc

    Obviously, the UNC students believe it was a Duke student. Although some theorized it could be a capybara.

    UNC students reported being able to rectify the loss of the notes, though it’s unclear whether they used revision history or had simply backed up offline.

    Of course, UNC students can rest easy on having the win in the actual basketball game, but the two schools have a long history of pranking each other. In 2012, the UNC student government attempted to mock Duke on Twitter, only to have their grammar mistake called out. Last year, UNC fans stole the Blue Devil mascot’s head and placed Chapel Hill’s fight song in the Duke hymnals.

    [h/t TotalFratMove]

  • Watch This Man Age Over The Course Of Nearly 25 Years
    We wish we had the ability to focus on a single project for as long as this guy has.

    Artist Karl Baden, who teaches photography at Boston College, has taken a photo of himself every single day since Feb. 23, 1987.

    The video above shows him aging over the course of nearly 25 years. (The clip features photos taken through Nov. 3, 2011.)

    “I actually first had the idea for the project as a student in 1975,” Baden, 61, told HuffPost on Thursday. “I began the project when I was 34.”

    Those interested can see all 9,534 photographs — those taken through April 1, 2013, anyway — in chronological order on his blog. (Baden admits he’s fallen a few months behind on the project, as “life has a tendency to intervene.”)

    The video above doesn’t include every photo over the 24 year, 8 month time period, Baden points out. But although he did a little editing for the sake of brevity, the video “probably contains 2,000-2,500 stills,” he said.

    Bravo, sir.

    (hat tip Storyful)

  • Man Charged With Hacking The Federal Reserve
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A British man has been charged with hacking into computer servers belonging to the U.S. Federal Reserve, and then widely disclosing personal information of people who use them.

    Thursday’s charges against Lauri Love were announced four months after he was arrested in England, and accused by U.S. and British authorities of hacking into various U.S. government computer systems, including those run by the military.

    According to the latest indictment, Love, who is in his late-20s, worked with other hackers from October 2012 to February 2013 to infiltrate the Federal Reserve’s system.

    The Suffolk resident allegedly used a hacking method called a “sequel injection” to access names, email addresses and phone numbers, and then post the stolen information to a website he controlled after a prior hacking.

    Prosecutors said Love boasted about his activity in a chatroom under names such as “peace” and “Smedley Butler,” once saying he planned to “drop another little federal reserve bomb,” meaning he would disclose confidential information.

    “Lauri Love is a sophisticated hacker,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York said in a statement. “We place a high priority on the investigation and prosecution of hackers who intrude into our infrastructure and threaten the personal security of our citizens.”

    The extent of the theft was not immediately clear.

    Last February, the Fed said one of its internal websites had been breached briefly, after a claim that hackers linked to the group Anonymous stole and published personal information on more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives.

    Thursday’s grand jury indictment charges Love with one count each of computer hacking and aggravated identity theft.

    He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the hacking charge and another two years on the identity theft charge, if convicted.

    A lawyer for Love could not immediately be reached. Jim Strader, a spokesman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia, declined to elaborate on the new charges. The U.K. Serious Frauds Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    In the earlier case, investigators said Love and three unnamed co-conspirators, including two in Australia and one in Sweden, infiltrated thousands of systems, including those of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, the space agency NASA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Criminal charges in that case were filed with the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Love has not entered a plea.

    The New York case is U.S. v. Love, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00126. The Virginia case is U.S. v. Love, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, No. 13-mj-00657.

    (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by James Dalgleish and Gunna Dickson)

  • Laurie Kilmartin Is Live Tweeting Her Father's Last Days… And It Is Heartbreakingly Funny
    “Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward — and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.”

    Kurt Vonnegut, St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, April 19, 1980

    Comedian and “Conan” writer Laurie Kilmartin is, at the time of this posting, watching her father pass away. She and her mother and sister are doing all of the things that families often do when a loved one is in their last days: they’re helping him to the bathroom, organizing visits with grandchildren, professing their love again and again, reassuring him it’s ok to go, watching and waiting, waiting, waiting.

    And the one other thing they’re doing is laughing.

    The reason we know what Kilmartin is going through is because she has been live tweeting the entire experience. And before you tsk-tsk the whole thing as another sad emblem of “the way the world is now,” you should go back and look at the posts. If you’ve ever lost a parent, you will most likely relate. If you have yet to, you may find something that will one day help you cope with your own loss.

    Among the myriad tweets are wry observations of the day-to-day business of dealing with a sick parent…

    Every day, I set a new goal of not seeing Dad’s genitals when I help him off the toilet.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 26, 2014

    …bittersweet revelations about the promises one makes…

    just promised Dad I’d be nice to Mom. Damnit.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 26, 2014

    …realizations that your political differences will become fond memories…

    How I check that I’ve put Dad’s hearing aids in correctly. Whisper “testing, testing, Obama is a Muslim,” then look for the thumbs up.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 26, 2014

    …and painful truths…

    Hard to leave Dad’s side. I am drawn to him like a moth to a flame (that’s about to go out)

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 26, 2014

    To scroll back through Kilmartin’s feed is to be drawn into one of the most poignant moments in a person’s life and find yourself awestruck by the complexity of emotions at such a time. It is also a master class in how humor heals, how it can shepherd a person, even a whole family, from a life with a father/husband to a life without one.

    Hospice says to reassure the loved one that they can go, that we will be ok. So me sobbing “Dad, don’t fucking leave me!” was frowned upon.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 27, 2014

    Ultimately, every tweet Kilmartin sends out seems to be, at its heart, just another way of saying, “I love you, Dad” as loudly as she can, the echo of which has struck a chord with many:

    Everyone, head back over to @anylaurie16‘s feed. Death and hilarity. Wow.

    — Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 27, 2014

    @pattonoswalt @anylaurie16 Pure perfect humanity.

    — Kelly Carlin (@kelly_carlin) February 27, 2014

    Laughing and crying at the same time reading the past few days of @anylaurie16 timeline. ๐Ÿ™‚ and ๐Ÿ™

    — Nina L. Diamond (@ninatypewriter) February 27, 2014

    Other comedians have found similarly, if not as immediately, poignant ways of dealing with the loss of a parent. In her book of autobiographical essays Lizz Free Or Die, Lizz Winstead writes about a posthumous joke her father played on her and her four siblings. In his 2010 special, You Should Have Told Me, Paul F. Tompkins talks about the death of his mother and the worst thing you can say to someone offering you their condolences at a funeral. And in her recent show, You’re Doing Great! A Bold-Faced Lie, New York comedian Sharon Spell recounts the death of both of her parents, just 18 days apart.

    But the rawness of Kilmartin’s moment-by-moment account puts our perception of comedy to the ultimate test. Certainly, many will feel it inappropriate. But when facing the loss of a parent, the concept of appropriateness is probably the first thing to go out the window.

    Me? Not much, just watching someone breathe.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 27, 2014

    You can follow Laurie Kilmartin on twitter at anylaurie16. But be warned:

    Heads up, new followers. After my Dad passes on, I’m going on a dick joke cleanse.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 27, 2014

    Finally, here’s a photo of Kilmartin’s parents she tweeted several days ago:

    55 years pic.twitter.com/ZcaPVtzGd0

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) February 23, 2014

    That thing you’re now experiencing is all of the feelings… just go with it.

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