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The abysmal information security at Trump properties has probably already compromised US secrets

Propublica and Gizmodo sent a penetration-testing team to Mar-a-Lago, the Trump resort that has been at the center of series of controversial potential breaches of US military secrecy (for example, loudly discussing sensitive information about the North Korean missile launch in the club's full, public dining room); they discovered that it would be child's play to hack the Mar-a-Lago networks, and that indeed, the networks have almost certainly already been hacked. Read the rest

The 2020 Census is headed for a "train wreck" thanks to Trump's mismanagement

The once-a-decade census is the "largest civic action undertaken by the entire country," providing data that "affects every corner of America, determining where hundreds of billions of federal dollars flow annually, where businesses open new stores and which states gain—or lose—seats in the House of Representatives." Read the rest

Comey asked Justice Dept. for money and manpower to investigate Russia/Trump days before he was fired: NYT

Former FBI director James Comey asked the Justice Department for “a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election” right before Trump fired him, reports the New York Times. That would sure explain a lot about why Trump suddenly delivered the surprise sacking yesterday.

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Business is booming for the surveillance state

Surveillance companies like Axon hope to turn every law enforcement officer into a data-gathering drone for a bodycam surveillance database they privately control. Now ShotSpotter, a listening technology that triangulates gunfire in "urban, high-crime areas," announced a planned IPO. Read the rest

The 10 worst jobs in America right now

Not all careers are created equal. Take journalism, for example. High stress, low growth, very low pay. Why would anyone choose this field? (You're asking the wrong person.) According to CareerCast, who ranked the 200 most common jobs in America, journalism is a pretty crummy field to be in this year (as in, last place on the list).

CareerCast used metrics such as "growth outlook, income, environmental conditions and stress" as their basis in creating this list. Here is the methodology they used.

And now (...drumroll...), here are the 10 worst jobs of 2017:

1. Newspaper reporter (Median Salary: $37,820)

2. Broadcaster (Median Salary: $38,870)

3. Logger (Median Salary: $37,590)

4. Enlisted military personnel (Median Salary: $27,936)

5. Pest control worker (Median Salary: $33,040)

6. Disc jockey (Median Salary: $30,830)

7. Advertising salesperson (Median Salary: $50,380)

8. Firefighter (Median Salary: $48,030)

9. Retail salesperson (Median Salary: $22,900)

10. Taxi driver (Median Salary: $24,300)

And in case you're wondering, the very best job these days is that of statistician (Median Salary: $80,110). To see CareerCast's full list of 200 ranked jobs, click here.

Image: Israel Government Press Office Read the rest

How to defend yourself from hostile consumer drones, US Army Edition

The US Army has released "Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Techniques," a manual for soldiers and commanders who find themselves in the field fighting forces that use modified consumer drones to gather intelligence and project force against them. Read the rest

Turns out Star Trek redshirts are not likeliest to die

The Museum of Mathematics recently hosted James Grime's talk "Star Trek: The Math of Khan." He debunked a common stereotype about the show's security detail: redshirts are not the most likely crew to die. Read the rest

DHS will protect Americans from foreign marijuana

In an abrupt aboutface the Department of Homeland Security, which is not the Drug Enforcement Agency, has made some interesting statements about the evils of marijuana.

Sounds more like a customs and import tariff problem than immigration law enforcement.

Via Talking Points Memo:

In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday, DHS Secretary John Kelly said that marijuana was “not a factor” in the drug war (methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin were, he said). He seemed to change his tone Tuesday in a speech at George Washington University, according to a copy of prepared remarks provided by DHS.

“And let me be clear about marijuana. It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs,” Kelly said, adding: “Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books.”

“DHS personnel will continue to investigate marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law,” he continued. “CBP will continue to search for marijuana at sea, air and land ports of entry and when found take similar appropriate action.”

And marijuana possession, distribution and convictions thereof, Kelly said, would be considered “essential elements” for ICE “as they build their deportation / removal apprehension packages for targeted operations against illegal aliens. They have done this in the past, are doing it today, and will do it in the future.”

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How to: tickle a rat

In a new meta-analysis published in PLOS One, researchers from Purdue, Stanford and the Canadian Council on Animal Care look at the different techniques used to induce laughter in rats in order to improve their wellbeing and capture their laughter, which is delightful. Read the rest

IBM reports data breaches were up 566% (4B docs!) last year

Information security is a race between peak indifference to surveillance and the point of no return for data-collection and retention. Read the rest

Escalator malfunction leads to injuries and arrests

After an escalator malfunctioned and reversed its course at high speed, sending shoppers sprawling into a mall concourse, two engineers called in to investigate were themselves arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.

Why were the men arrested?

Officials had called in the two technicians, who work for Otis Elevator Company, to assist in investigations hours after the incident. The escalator had been shut down and all personnel involved in the investigation were ordered not to touch it. Late on Sunday night however, officials discovered that the escalator's auxiliary braking system had been reactivated, reported local media. Newspaper Apple Daily said the reactivation could have affected the escalator's computer data records. Officials ordered police to arrest the two men on the spot.

It's important that we realize there's nothing remotely funny about that video of screaming humans piling up at the foot of a haywire escalator.

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'A Border Agent Took My Sister and Me Into a Closet and Sexually Assaulted Us,' say teen sisters

Two sisters who were trying to escape violence and poverty in Guatemala for a better life “became so desperately lost trekking across the Texas desert that when they saw a U.S. Customs and Border Protection truck, they waved for help,” reports the Los Angeles Times. An officer in that truck later confined them by force, and sexually assaulted them, one by one.

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What's the difference between a CEO and a president?

Christopher Brown is a gonzo cyberpunk writer who delves into the real-world story of Saddam Hussein's Frank Frazetta collection, but by day he's a high-powered lawyer who's worked in government and the private sector (it's the intersection of these two Browns that penned his outstanding, forthcoming debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, which you should pre-order right now). Read the rest

Bavarian intelligence agency says Scientologists secretly took over one of the world's top art galleries

Bavaria's Verfassungsschutz -- "Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution" -- says that the Haus der Kunst, one of the world's top contemporary art galleries, was infiltrated by Scientologists who rose through the ranks, illegally discriminated against non-Scientologists when hiring, and waged psychological warfare against staff who were not members of the cult. Read the rest

Saudi King brings 506 tons of luggage on 9-day trip

There's carry-on and checked baggage, but what do you call luggage that weighs 506 tons, including two Mercedes limousines and two elevators? It's just a nine-day trip to Indonesia, but Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz isn't leaving any of his creature comforts behind.

According to the Washington Post:

The Saudi royal is expected to bring 459 metric tonnes (506 U.S. tons) of cargo with him on his trip — including two Mercedes-Benz s600 limousines and two electric elevators... The Jakarta Post reports that the Saudi group will total about 1,500 people, including 10 ministers, 25 princes and at least 100 security personnel.

But apparently this isn't excessive, relatively speaking.

While the Saudi king's colossal cargo hold may seem large, it is not necessarily out of scale with other world leaders. When President Barack Obama visited sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, he was accompanied by 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines, and hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents tasked with helping secure locations in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
It'll be the first time in 46 years that the King has traveled to Indonesia, and with that kind of packing checklist, it's a wonder he travels at all. Read the rest

Federal magistrate judge in Illinois rules that being forced to unlock your phone with a fingerprint could violate your rights

M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois's Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects' Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock their devices. Read the rest

American airbase personnel sent erroneous "Missile inbound -- seek shelter" warning

Last Tuesday, all wing personnel on the US Spangdahlem Air Base received a warning: "MISSILE INBOUND. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!" The warning was recalled eight minutes later. Read the rest

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