Finally, a good reason to buy an iPhone – the new data encryption

Finally there is a good reason to buy an iPhone – the new data encryption that will be coming soon. The new encryption will not allow anybody but the owner, including police, CIA, NSA or anybody else, access to the iPhone’s data.

Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information.

The move, announced with the publication of a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for iOS 8, it said in the new privacy policy.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web site. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

As the new operating system becomes widely deployed over the next several weeks, the number of iPhones and iPads that Apple is capable of breaking into for police will steadily dwindle to the point where only devices several years old — and incapable of running iOS 8 — can be unlocked by Apple.

It doesn’t mean, though, that your data stored elsewhere isn’t accessible to the spies. Remember the iCloud? Don’t us it unless you want the spies to have your data!

Apple will still have the ability — and the legal responsibility — to turn over user data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which typically includes backups of photos, videos, e-mail communications, music collections and more. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information will have to adjust settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud.

Apple’s new privacy policy comes less than five months after the Supreme Court ruled that police in most circumstances need a search warrant to collect information stored on phones. Apple’s action makes that distinction largely moot by depriving itself of the power to comply with search warrants for the contents of many of the phones it sells.

The move is the latest in a series in which Apple has sought to distinguish itself from competitors through more rigorous security, especially in the aftermath of revelations about government spying made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year.

The Square, Monroe, Wisconsin

We drove down to Monroe, Wisconsin again a of couple weeks ago and whenever we go there I have to visit the town square to take a few pictures. At the center of the square is the Green County courthouse and around the square you find some nice shops and places to eat. One of the shops’ windows offered a nice reflection of the courthouse so I snapped it. People in Green County are very proud of their Swiss immigrant heritage and their cheesemaking. In fact, this coming weekend, Sept 19-21 is the 100th Cheese Days festival. If you’re feeling a little hungry I definitely recommend Baumgartner’s (if you’re not planning to kiss anyone the rest of the day go for the Limburger with a thick slice of red onion on rye) and Pancho and Leftys (don’t pass up the nachos with smoked pulled pork).

Oversupply of STEM workers yet Big Tech wants more high tech visas

There’s an interesting commentary in US News about the enormous number of American scientists and engineers (often called STEM workers) who can’t find work. At the same time the so-called “masters of the universe” who own and run America’s highest of the high tech companies continue to urge congress to approve more visas for techies from abroad. The “masters of the universe” say they can’t find engineers and scientists. American universities, however, train twice as many tech graduates as there are jobs available. And, according to the commentary cheaper guestworkers in IT take 2/3 of all new jobs. Yet, it appears to many that all Big Tech wants is a lower cost of labor. This isn’t a new concern.

All credible research finds the same evidence about the STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job. The real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for our best STEM graduates: The National Institutes of Health, for example, has developed a program to help new biomedical Ph.D.s find alternative careers in the face of “unattractive” job prospects in the field. Opportunities for engineers vary by the field and economic cycle – as oil exploration has increased, so has demand (and salaries) for petroleum engineers, resulting in a near tripling of petroleum engineering graduates. In contrast, average wages in the IT industry are the same as those that prevailed when Bill Clinton was president despite industry cries of a “shortage.” Overall, U.S. colleges produce twice the number of STEM graduates annually as find jobs in those fields.

Cries that “the STEM sky is falling” are just the latest in a cyclical pattern of shortage predictions over the past half-century, none of which were even remotely accurate. In a desert of evidence, the growth of STEM shortage claims is driven by heavy industry funding for lobbyists and think tanks. Their goal is government intervention in the market under the guise of solving national economic problems. The highly profitable IT industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince Congress and the White House to provide its employers with more low-cost, foreign guestworkers instead of trying to attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent residents. Guestworkers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases.

The “Job Market Monitor” finds more details about this problem.

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don’t actually exist.Capture d’écran 2014-09-16 à 10.02.17

Academic institutions graduate an overabundance of biomedical Ph.D.s — and this imbalance is only getting worse, as research funding from the National Institutes of Health continues to wither…

American science couldn’t survive without this shadow labor force of some 40,000 postdocs. But only about 15 percent will get tenure-track jobs, heading a lab like the one where Hubbard-Lucey works today. This was not at all what she expected when she started down this path a decade ago…

In fact the situation hasn’t gotten better. It’s worse. Support for biomedical research has declined by more than 20 percent in real dollars over the past decade. And even in good times, postdocs had a raw deal.

The entire system is built around the false idea that all these scientists-in-training are headed to university professorships.

“That’s obviously unsustainable,” says Keith Micoli, who heads the postdoc program at the NYU Medical Center. “You can’t have one manager training 10 subordinates who think they are all going to take over that boss’ position someday. That’s mathematically impossible.”

I personally know a number of people who after spending five years obtaining a PhD in a biomedical field couldn’t find work and eventually went to a voc-tech college to get certificates in occupational therapy, nursing and IT fields. Honestly, it’s shocking.

Morning photo: Insta-fall!


A beautiful opportunity for photographers but the cold so early makes me shiver. No snow expected here but we are looking at 38 degrees tonight.

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Can ya feel it?

FRISCO — Right on time, Mother Nature is changing wardrobe, from the bright greens of summer to the even more dazzling array of golds, reds and yellows that mark the transition of seasons in the High Country. Even the light takes on a different quality as the sun’s rays have to make it through a thicker slice of the Earth’s atmosphere. This year’s aspen show looks to peak around late September and early October, but some areas are already changing fast in the high country. Don’t miss the show!

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America consumes 80 percent of all prescription painkillers sold globally


A sick people?

Originally posted on Christian Patriots:


(NaturalNews) Many Americans would argue that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth, a beacon of freedom and hope for the rest of the world to emulate. But when it comes to mental and physical quality of life here in the States, America appears to rank near the bottom, as evidenced by the nation’s massive and growing addiction to pharmaceutical drugs and painkillers.

Though it often isn’t talked about, Americans consume most of the pharmaceutical drugs produced for the entire world, even though we represent a mere 5 percent of the global population. And when it comes to painkillers, Americans consume a staggering 80 percent of the global supply, with doctors prescribing more than 259 million scripts for painkillers annually.

These figures suggest that, behind the facade, Americans as a whole suffer from far more pain and disease than much of the rest of the world. Either…

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The Personnel is Political


Well worth your time.

Originally posted on Corey Robin:

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees today voted 8-1 not to reinstate Steven Salaita.

Trustee James Montgomery, who last Friday publicly broached his misgivings about the university’s decision to hirefire Salaita, was the sole vote on behalf of Salaita. Though Montgomery had originally signed a statement supporting Chancellor Wise, he said, “I’m just someone who has the humility to be able to say that I think I made a mistake and I don’t mind saying it.” Here is his eloquent testimony.

Needless to say, the vote today sucks, and there is no use sugar-coating it. While it’s testament to the movement we’ve mounted that the Board was forced to publicly confront this issue, and that we managed to persuade one trustee to change his mind (from reports I’ve heard, other trustees did as well, but they are student trustees who have no voting power), our power and…

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Border Patrol spends $700,000 / house for its agents in an Arizona town

wastedmoneyWasting our money is a special skill Big Government seems to be very proud of. The latest Big Waste is the $700,000 per house spent to build houses in a small border town in Arizona where the average house price is less than $90,000, according to a CBS News report.

The federal government wasted millions of dollars in building a housing project for Border Patrol agents in Arizona near the Mexican border, spending nearly $700,000 per house in a small town where the average home costs less than $90,000, a watchdog report found.

The analysis by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection overspent by about $4.6 million on new houses and mobile homes in the small town of Ajo southwest of Phoenix. The agency has spent about $17 million for land, 21 two- and three-bedroom houses and 20 mobile homes. Construction was completed in December 2012.

Customs and Border Protection paid about $680,000 per house and about $118,000 per mobile home, according to the report. The average home cost in Ajo is $86,500.

And the Feds aren’t finished wasting the money. They plan another fiasco nearby.

The report says Customs and Border Protection did not “adequately justify” hiring the U.S. General Services Administration, a government agency, to manage the project, and that it overpaid the agency by about $3 million in unspent funds.

CBP also increased funding for the project seven times without providing reasons for the increases or explaining how the money was spent.

The government plans to build more houses in Lukeville, which is near Ajo. [italics added]


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