Christopher Herman 12:05pm Feb 27
    When everyone is "tied into" their phone, it will be much easier to "tie people down" to a microchipped buying and selling system...
    The Challenge of Turning Phones into Credit Cards - TrustedReviews - TrustedReviews
    The Challenge of Turning Phones into Credit Cards - Mobile Phone Review - We speak to Visa and get the low down from security companies as Near Field Payments look set to change the world.

    "Low-quality" sites could also (eventually) be determined to be those which are controversial or challenge the government or other entrenched entities...

    Google on Thursday announced a change to its search algorithm that reduces rankings for low-quality sites.
  • Christopher Herman
    "Over the past three days,the TV show "Jeopardy!" featured a showdown between a clever IBM computer system called Watson and the two greatest "Jeopardy!" champions. Watson won handily. It won the preliminary practice round, tied Monday's opening round, and won by large margins on Tuesday and Wednesday. The point has been made: Watson can compete at the championship level—and is making it more difficult for anyone to argue that there are human tasks that computers will never achieve.

    "Jeopardy!" involves understanding complexities of humor, puns, metaphors, analogies, ironies and other subtleties. Elsewhere, computers are advancing on many other fronts, from driverless cars (Google's cars have driven 140,000 miles through California cities and towns without human intervention) to the diagnosis of disease.

    Watson runs on 90 computer servers, although it does not go out to the Internet. When will this capability be available on your PC? The ratio of computer price to performance is now doubling in less than a year, so 90 servers would become the equivalent of one server in about seven years, and the equivalent of one personal computer within a decade. However, with the growth in cloud computing—in which supercomputer capability is increasingly available to anyone via the Internet—Watson-like capability will actually be available to you much sooner.

    Given this, I expect Watson-like "natural language processing" (the ability to "understand" ordinary English) to show up in Google, Bing and other search engines over the next five years.

    With computers demonstrating a basic ability to understand human language, it's only a matter of time before they pass the famous "Turing test," in which "chatbot" programs compete to fool human judges into believing that they are human. "
    In The Wall Street Journal, futurist Ray Kurzweil writes that artificial intelligence is developing much more rapidly than most of us realize.

    Christopher Herman


    "The recent victory of an IBM computer named Watson over human contestants on the TV show "Jeopardy!" has produced a flood of commentaries to t...he effect that computer understanding now equals—or perhaps even exceeds—human understanding. Thinking computers, at last.

    But this interpretation rests on a profound misunderstanding of what a computer is, how it works, and how it differs from a human brain.

    A digital computer is a device that manipulates formal symbols. These are usually thought of as zeros and ones, but any symbols will do. An increase in computational power is simply a matter of increasing the speed of symbol manipulation. A computer's effectiveness is a function of the skill of the programmers designing the program.

    Watson revealed a huge increase in computational power and an ingenious program. I congratulate IBM on both of these innovations, but they do not show that Watson has superior intelligence, or that it's thinking, or anything of the sort.

    Computational operations, as standardly defined, could never constitute thinking or understanding for reasons that I showed over 30 years ago with a simple argument.

    Imagine that a person—me, for example—knows no Chinese and is locked in a room with boxes full of Chinese symbols and an instruction book written in English for manipulating the symbols. Unknown to me, the boxes are called "the database" and the instruction book is called "the program." I am called "the computer."

    People outside the room pass in bunches of Chinese symbols that, unknown to me, are questions. I look up in the instruction book what I am supposed to do and I give back answers in Chinese symbols.

    Suppose I get so good at shuffling the symbols and passing out the answers that my answers are indistinguishable from a native Chinese speaker's. I give every indication of understanding the language despite the fact that I actually don't understand a word of Chinese.

    And if I do not, neither does any digital computer, because no computer, qua computer, has anything I do not have. It has stocks of symbols, rules for manipulating symbols, a system that allows it to rapidly transition from zeros to ones, and the ability to process inputs and outputs. That is it. There is nothing else.

    This thought experiment carries over exactly to Watson. But instead of working in Chinese symbols, Watson has proven adept at responding to "Jeopardy!" questions phrased in English.

    All the same, as in the original Chinese room, the symbols are meaningless to Watson, which understands nothing. The reason it lacks understanding is that, like me in the Chinese room, it has no way to get from symbols to meanings (or from syntax to semantics, in linguistic jargon). The bottom line can be put in the form of a four-word sentence: Symbols are not meanings.

    Of course, Watson is much faster than me. But speed doesn't add understanding. This is a simple refutation of the idea that computer simulations of human cognition are the real thing.

    If the computer cannot understand solely by manipulating symbols, then how does the brain do it? What is the difference between the brain and the digital computer? The answer is that the brain is a causal mechanism that causes consciousness, understanding and all the rest of it. It is an organ like any other, and like any other it operates on causal principles.

    The problem with the digital computer is not that it is too much of a machine to have human understanding. On the contrary, it is not enough of a machine. Consciousness, the machine process that goes on in the brain, is fundamentally different from what a computer does, which is computation. Computation is an abstract formal process, like addition.

    Unlike computation, actual human thinking is a concrete biological phenomenon existing in actual human brains. This is as opposed to Watson, which is merely following an algorithm that enables it to manipulate formal symbols.

    Watson did not understand the questions, nor its answers, nor that some of its answers were right and some wrong, nor that it was playing a game, nor that it won—because it doesn't understand anything.

    IBM's computer was not and could not have been designed to understand. Rather, it was designed to simulate understanding, to act as if it understood. It is an evasion to say, as some commentators have put it, that computer understanding is different from human understanding. Literally speaking, there is no such thing as computer understanding. There is only simulation."

    Mr. Searle is professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
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    Yesterday at 6:36am ·

    Christopher Herman

    via John Frahm
    Store tactical military data on distributed servers, accessible through networked computers or mobile devices? Ask most officers about cloud computing and...

    Christopher Herman

    "The Do Not Track Me Online Act, introduced by Representative Jackie Speier, would direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create standards for a nationwide do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to opt out of online tracking and the sharing of consumer data among online businesses.

    Websites and ad networks that did not honor the opt-out requests would be subject to unfair or deceptive business practice complaints at the FTC, or enforcement actions by state attorneys general.

    Speier, a California Democrat, also introduced a bill Friday that would allow consumers to prohibit their banks and other financial institutions from sharing personal information with third parties."
    A U.S. lawmakers introduces a bill to create an online do-not-track tool for all U.S. Internet users.
    Christopher Herman
    "Legislation introduced in the Senate this week would broadly criminalize leaks of classified information. The bill (S. 355) sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) would make it a felony for a government employee or contractor who has authorized access to classified information to disclose such information to an unauthorized person in violation of his or her nondisclosure agreement.

    Under existing law, criminal penalties apply only to the unauthorized disclosure of a handful of specified categories of classified information (in non-espionage cases). These categories include codes, cryptography, communications intelligence, identities of covert agents, and nuclear weapons design information. The new bill would amend the espionage statutes to extend such penalties to the unauthorized disclosure of any classified information.

    (Another pending bill, known as the SHIELD Act, would specifically criminalize disclosure — and publication — of information concerning human intelligence activities and source identities. Both bills were originally introduced at the end of the last Congress, and were reintroduced this month.)"
    Legislation introduced in the Senate this week would broadly criminalize leaks of classified information. The bill (
    • Christopher Herman If this is the reaction to the Wikileaks, it would suggest that the theory about the Wikileaks coming from the U.S. government itself can be dismissed...
      February 17 at 9:52am ·


    Henry Makow's official web site. Exposing Feminism and the New World Order
    Christopher Herman
    I pretty much assume that everything I'm writing has the possibility of being seen by someone or that it may be or has been or will be monitored by someone at some point...on the other hand, as with the satellite surveillance systems, there... are simply not enough people to process the intel that is being produced by the machines. Currently, the system is used to tag people who are perceived as threats, but the execution of this system is not very efficient. Eventually, the definition of who an enemy of the state is will broaden, to especially include those opposed in word or deed to the man of perdition, and the machines will have evolved to the point where they can process the information intelligently...See More
    February 17 at 8:51am ·
    Christopher Herman
    "How do you shut down the Internet in an entire country? “People have talked about a ‘kill switch,’ but that is not realistic,” said Jim Cowie, founder and chief technology officer of Renesys Corp., a company that analyzes how the Internet is performing worldwide. “What is most likely is that somebody in the government gives a phone call to a small number of people and says, ‘Turn it off.’ And then one engineer at each service provider logs into the equipment and changes the configuration of how traffic should flow.” According to Cowie, larger Internet service providers who sell service to smaller providers have access codes which allow for sending and receiving transmissions (traffic flow). Block the codes and transmission stops, as it did in Egypt, where by Friday evening, Renesys reported, “93% (of the ISPs) were offline.”"
    Should citizens be concerned with legislation that allows an Internet kill switch?

    Christopher Herman http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9207980/The_Internet_kill_switch_that_isn_t

    February 3 at 4:16pm ·
    Christopher Herman

    Last year, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman made the following statement to CNN’s Candy Crowley….

    “Right now Ch...ina, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too.”See More
    February 7 at 1:50pm ·

    Christopher Herman

    "“The government routinely overclassifies information,” so the mere fact that something is classified is not sufficient to establish that its unauthorized disclosure is prohibited by law, according to a defense motion (pdf) that was filed last week in the case of former State Department contractor Stephen Kim."
    Christopher Herman
    "Morillon names three factors that likely pushed Egypt back online: First, Egypt’s government faced the embarrassment of ignoring international pressure, including from its fairweather friends in the U.S. State Department, to restore its Internet. Second, its economy suffered from its self-imposed Internet exile; Just two days ago, the country shut down its last Internet working service provider, Noor, which hosted many banks and multi-nationals including Coca-Cola and Egypt Air."
    Even for authoritarians, controlling the Internet isn't as easy as it seems.
    Christopher Herman
    "Here’s an ominous development that is likely to pass almost unnoticed: a congressman requesting that the federal government identify to him everyone who has made a request under the Freedom of Information Act."
    Here’s an ominous development that is likely to pass almost unnoticed: a congressman requesting that the federal government identify to him everyone who has made a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
    • Christopher Herman ‎"The requester is Darrell Issa, the new head of the House Oversight Committee. He of course paints his initiative in benign terms—he just wants to make sure the government isn’t dragging its feet in answering public queries. But it’s hard to accept that at face value, without at least considering the corporate interests that backed the GOP takeover in November, and Issa’s ascension to this powerful position."
      January 31 at 8:02am ·
  • Christopher Herman
    NewscastMedia.com - By 2014 all Americans will be required to have electronic health records that will contain their biometric information including weight, height and body mass index.
    • Christopher Herman
      ‎"by Joseph Ernest July 20, 2010

      Newscast Media -- By 2014, all Americans will be required to have electronic health records (EHR) which will include their height, weight and body mass index (BMI). This is part of the healthcare bill that ...Obama recently signed, and the Department of Health and Human Services has finally finished tying all the loose ends.

      U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "This will push our entire health care system forward," as she compared the advent of electronic health records to electronic banking. "Health information technology promises to bring that same transformation, convenience and reliability to the health care system," she said.

      The Obama administration warned that health care providers, including doctors and hospitals, must establish "meaningful use" of EHRs by 2014 in order to qualify for federal subsidies. If they do not comply, they will risk getting penalized in the form of diminished Medicare and Medicaid payments. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology.

      To give you a little insight into how this works is, everybody will be issued a National Healthcare ID card that has an embedded RFID

      (Radio Frequency Identification) chip in it. Rather than get a card, some could choose to have the chip implanted in their body, perhaps the wrist, shoulder, or wherever the recipient feels comfortable with it.

      This chip will have all your biometric information in it like fingerprints, face recognition, iris recognition and so forth. It's purpose is to tie together your health records, bank accounts, financial records, credit history, criminal history and can track your movements throughout the country, just in case you attempt to hide from the government.

      The government says the reason the RFID chip will have all this information is to pre-qualify who can afford what type of health services. In essense once the chip is scanned and it is deemed that you have enough money in your bank account to cover medical treatment, you won't have to wait in line. If you don't have the money, they can instantly pull your credit file using the chip, and determine how much credit to extend to you and at what interest rate, just like they determine the amount of student loans when you file electronically.

      The whole purpose is to move us into a cashless society. In the coming cashless society you won't have to send in your 1040-EZ forms to file taxes because the government will automatically withdraw taxes from your account using the trackable chip. If you refuse to comply, they can simply turn off your chip and you won't be able to buy or sell, since all transactions will be electronic. So while on the surface this looks like it will just be used for electronic health records, it will permeate every area of your life."
      See More
    Christopher Herman
    "Russ Feingold, a staunch defender of the rule of law and the only senator to vote against the ominous USA Patriot Act, recently lost his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate to a Tea Party-backed Republican. From the start, Feingold warned that the massive 342-page piece of legislation would open the door to graver dangers than terrorism – namely, America becoming a police state. He was right."
    Recently by John W. Whitehead: Red Light Cameras: Safety Devices or One More Step Toward a Surveillance State?
    Christopher Herman
    January 25, 2011 Santiago, Chile US General George S. Patton is often credited with saying “No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.” Perhaps Patton was correct. But a lot of poor bastards had a significant impact on security policies by blowing themselves up for their cause. Yesterd
    Christopher Herman
    ‎"...every time there is an attack on civilian targets, governments come out in force against the threat. When someone tries to explode his shoe, everyone has to take his/her shoes off. When someone tries to explode his underwear, everyone ...has to go through a body scanner.

    The Russian bombing yesterday proved that these reactive tactics are completely ineffective, akin to training to fight the last war.

    Soft targets are everywhere, and if government agencies make it too difficult to blow up a plane, attackers will blow up the airport. If they can’t blow up an airport, they’ll blow up a bus station… sports stadium… grocery store… you name it.

    Each reactive policy measure only serves to solidify the attackers’ convictions, erode the freedoms of the innocents, and divide the nation into to distinct sides– those who would rather have their freedom and take a chance on safety, and those who are willing to relinquish their freedom in exchange for the illusion of security.

    Politicians will always side with the latter, expanding their domain and redefining ‘security’ so that it encompasses the widest possible range of human activities.

    Going to a ball game? Security. A nightclub? Security. No more financial privacy? It’s for your security. Listening to your phone calls? Also for your security. Protesting against the politicians? You’re a security risk. 90-year old woman in a wheelchair? Frisk her, she’s a security risk.
    These measures are all readily accepted by society because voters will ask for, and allow, these types of politicians and policies."
    See More
    Christopher Herman
    Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura joins list of travelers suing TSA and DHS over privacy violations and warrantless searches after a November 2010 incident, with Janet Napolitano and John Pistole also named as defendants. by Kelly Holt
    Christopher Herman
    The CIA, Mind Control, and the Unabomber...
    The scariest thing I ever did in college was read 1984 while taking the standard Psych 101 class. It was absolutely shocking to me the way most people can be manipulated into doing just about whatever you want if you have a good enough understanding of how the mind works. The marketing industry know

    Christopher Herman

    "The Department of Homeland Security has released a trio of chilling PSA video clips in which ordinary everyday activities are characterized as signs of potential terrorism, with the public being indoctrinated to assume the role of domestic spies reporting on their friends and neighbors as America sinks deeper into a decaying police state."
    Paul Joseph Watson | Homeland Security prepares to entrench the total occupation of America.
    Christopher Herman ‎"Following the January 1st implementation of the stasi-style “See Something, Say Something” campaign, in which Americans were urged to report “suspicious activity” by means of Orwellian telescreens placed at Wal-Mart checkouts which played a looped message from Janet Napolitano, the DHS announced that the program was set to be expanded to include 9,000 federal buildings, as well as sports stadiums, businesses and communities in general."
    Christopher Herman
    via John Frahm
    The CIA is "out of control" and often refuses to cooperate with other parts of the national security community, even undermining their efforts, said former National Security Agency head William Odom, according to a recently released record of a 9/11 Commission interview."The CIA currently doesn't wo
    Christopher Herman
    By Stephen Lendman Directed energy weapons include lasers, high power microwave, and millimeter wave ones among others. A relevant December 2007 Department of Defense (DOD) report called them a “transformational game changer in military operations, able to augment and improve
  • Christopher Herman
    Defense agencies have complied with a recommendation to prohibit the use of military survival training techniques -- such as waterboarding -
    Christopher Herman
    "The cost of sequencing complete human genomes has been falling by about a factor of 30 per year over the last six years, the JASONs said. As a result, “it is now possible to order your personal genome sequenced today for a retail cost of under ~$20,000″ compared to around $300 million a decade ago. “This cost will likely fall to less than $1,000 by 2012, and to $100 by 2013.”"
    The technology for sequencing human DNA is advancing so rapidly and the cost is dropping so quickly that the number of individuals whose DNA
    Christopher Herman
    "Under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, "this loss of privacy allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee's body ... but also to open and examine what they find," the state court said in a 5-2 ruling."
    The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday to search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they're carrying when taken into custody. Under U.S....
    Christopher Herman
    ‎"The majority, led by Justice Ming Chin, relied on decisions in the 1970s by the nation's high court upholding searches of cigarette packages and clothing that officers seized during an arrest and examined later without seeking a warrant f...rom a judge.

    The dissenting justices said those rulings shouldn't be extended to modern cell phones that can store huge amounts of data.

    Monday's decision allows police "to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee's person," said Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, joined in dissent by Justice Carlos Moreno.

    They argued that police should obtain a warrant - by convincing a judge that they will probably find incriminating evidence - before searching a cell phone.

    The issue has divided other courts. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco ruled in May 2007 that police had violated drug defendants' rights by searching their cell phones after their arrests. The Ohio Supreme Court reached a similar conclusion in a December 2009 ruling in which the state unsuccessfully sought U.S. Supreme Court review.

    The Ohio-California split could prompt the nation's high court to take up the issue, said Deputy Attorney General Victoria Wilson, who represented the prosecution in Monday's case.

    "This has an impact on the day-to-day jobs of police officers, what kind of searches they can conduct without a warrant when they arrest someone," she said. "It takes it into the realm of new technology."

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that a police department did not violate an officer's privacy when it read text messages he had sent on a department-owned pager.

    Although the court has never ruled on police searches of cell phones, Wilson argued that it has signaled approval by allowing officers to examine the contents of arrestees' wallets without a warrant.

    The defense lawyer in Monday's case was unavailable for comment.

    Monday's ruling upheld the drug conviction of Gregory Diaz, arrested in April 2007 by Ventura County sheriff's deputies who said they had seen him taking part in a drug deal.

    An officer took a cell phone from Diaz's pocket, looked at the text message folder 90 minutes later, and found a message that linked Diaz to the sale, the court said. Diaz pleaded guilty, was placed on probation and appealed the search.


    Christopher Herman
    "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kicked off the Mind’s Eye Program earlier this week. The program’s focus is the development of smart cameras that can actually think for themselves. These systems will not just watch us but will also be able to analyze visual data-sets and assign significance to that data."
    Jason Douglass | DARPA kicks off development of cameras with artificial 'visual intelligence'.
  • www.prisonplanet.com
    Not content with depicting children being slaughtered in the name of preventing non-existent global warming, climate change alarmists have embarked on a new propaganda campaign lecturing us all about how we will be forced to live in a planned-opolis, where car use will be heavily restricted, CO2 emi
    Christopher Herman
    Thanks to John Frahm for pointing this out...
    Judge Andrew Nepalitano speaks about why the Patriot Act is unconstitutional and why he endorses Ron Paul
  • www.theatlantic.com
    In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower famously identified the military-industrial complex, warning that the growing fusion between corporations and the armed forces posed a threat to democracy. Judged 50 years later, Ike’s frightening prophecy actually understates the scope of our modern system—and the dangers
  • Christopher Herman
    "According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center."
    The largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses...
  • Christopher Herman
    "The White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday issued a detailed memorandum (pdf) elaborating on the requirement to conduct an initial assessment of agency information policies and to initiate remedial steps to tighten security. Agency assessments are to be completed by January 28."
    The Obama Administration is moving to increase the security of classified information in response to the massive leaks of classified documents
    Christopher Herman
    ‎"The Wikileaks model for receiving and publishing classified documents exploits gaps in information security and takes advantage of weaknesses in security discipline. It therefore produces greater disclosure in open societies, where secur...ity is often lax and penalties for violations are relatively mild, than in closed societies. Within the U.S., the Wikileaks approach yields greater disclosure from those agencies where security is comparatively poor, such as the Army, than from agencies with more rigorous security practices, such as the CIA.

    What this means is that Wikileaks is exercising a kind of evolutionary pressure on government agencies, and on the government as a whole, to ratchet up security in order to prevent wholesale compromises of classified information. If the Army becomes more like the CIA in its information security policies, or so the thinking goes, and if the U.S. becomes more like some foreign countries, then it should become less vulnerable to selective security breaches.

    The government’s response to this pressure from Wikileaks, which was entirely predictable, is evident in the new memorandum circulated by OMB, which calls on agencies to address “any perceived vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or gaps in automated systems in the post-WikiLeaks environment.” See “Initial Assessments of Safeguarding and Counterintelligence Postures for Classified National Security Information in Automated Systems,” Office of Management and Budget, January 3, 2011.

    In an attachment to the OMB memo, the National Counterintelligence Executive and the Information Security Oversight Office provided an 11-page list of questions and requirements that agencies are supposed to use in preparing their security self-assessment. “If your agency does not have any of the required programs/processes listed, you should establish them.”"
    See More
    January 4 at 11:56am