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πŸ”— Room 641A

πŸ”— United States/U.S. Government πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Mass surveillance πŸ”— Espionage πŸ”— California πŸ”— California/San Francisco Bay Area πŸ”— Telecommunications

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency, as part of its warrantless surveillance program as authorized by the Patriot Act. The facility commenced operations in 2003 and its purpose was publicly revealed in 2006.

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πŸ”— 112 Gripes About the French

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— International relations πŸ”— France πŸ”— Military history πŸ”— Military history/North American military history πŸ”— Military history/United States military history πŸ”— United States/Military history - U.S. military history πŸ”— Books πŸ”— Military history/World War II

112 Gripes About the French was a 1945 handbook issued by the United States military authorities to enlisted personnel arriving in France after the Liberation. It was meant to defuse the growing tension between the American military and the locals.

The euphoria of victory over Germany was short-lived, and within months of Liberation, tensions began to rise between the French and the U.S. military personnel stationed in the country, with the former seeing the latter as arrogant and wanting to flaunt their wealth, and the latter seeing the former as proud and resentful. Fights were breaking out more often, and fears were raised, even among high officials, that the situation might eventually lead to a breakdown of civil order.

Set out in a question-and-answer format, 112 Gripes about the French posed a series of well-rehearsed complaints about the French, and then provided a common-sense rejoinder to each of them β€” the aim of the authors being to bring the average American soldier to a fuller understanding of his hosts.

It has recently been republished in the United States (ISBN 1-4191-6512-7), and in France under the title "Nos amis les Français" ("Our friends the French"), ISBN 2-7491-0128-X.

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πŸ”— Bert Sutherland Has Died

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Biography

William Robert Sutherland (May 10, 1936 – February 18, 2020) was an American computer scientist who was the longtime manager of three prominent research laboratories, including Sun Microsystems Laboratories (1992–1998), the Systems Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC (1975–1981), and the Computer Science Division of Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc. which helped develop the ARPANET.

In these roles, Sutherland participated in the creation of the personal computer, the technology of advanced microprocessors, the Smalltalk programming language, the Java programming language and the Internet.

Unlike traditional corporate research managers, Sutherland added individuals from fields like psychology, cognitive science, and anthropology to enhance the work of his technology staff. He also directed his scientists to take their research, like the Xerox Alto "personal" computer, outside of the laboratory to allow people to use it in a corporate setting and to observe their interaction with it.

In addition, Sutherland fostered a collaboration between the researchers at California Institute of Technology developing techniques of very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI)Β β€” his brother Ivan and Carver MeadΒ β€” and Lynn Conway of his PARC staff. With PARC resources made available by Sutherland, Mead and Conway developed a textbook and university syllabus that helped expedite the development and distribution of a technology whose effect is now immeasurable.

Sutherland said that a research lab is primarily a teaching institution, "teaching whatever is new so that the new can become familiar, old, and used widely."

Sutherland was born in Hastings, Nebraska on May 10, 1936, to a father from New Zealand; his mother was from Scotland. The family moved to Wilmette, Illinois, then Scarsdale, New York, for his father's career. Bert Sutherland graduated from Scarsdale High School, then received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and his master's degree and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); his thesis advisor was Claude Shannon. During his military service in the United States Navy, he was awarded the Legion of Merit as a Carrier ASW plane commander. He was the older brother of Ivan Sutherland. Bert Sutherland died on February 18, 2020, aged 83.

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πŸ”— Capitol Hill's mystery soda machine

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— United States/Washington - Seattle πŸ”— United States/Washington

Capitol Hill's mystery soda machine was a Coke vending machine in Capitol Hill, Seattle, that was in operation since at least the early 1990s until its disappearance in 2018. It is unknown who stocked the machine.

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πŸ”— ACTA will force border searches of laptops, smartphones for pirated content

πŸ”— United States/U.S. Government πŸ”— United States πŸ”— International relations πŸ”— Law πŸ”— Law Enforcement πŸ”— United States Public Policy πŸ”— Pirate Politics πŸ”— International relations/International law πŸ”— United States/U.S. Public Policy πŸ”— Trade

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was a proposed multilateral treaty for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the United Nations.

The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries that are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.

Industrial groups with interests in copyright, trademarks and other types of intellectual property said that ACTA was a response to "the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works". Organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and International Trademark Association are understood to have had a significant influence over the ACTA agenda.

Organisations representing citizens and non-governmental interests argued that ACTA could infringe fundamental rights including freedom of expression and privacy. ACTA has also been criticised by Doctors Without Borders for endangering access to medicines in developing countries. The nature of negotiations was criticized as secretive and has excluded non-governmental organization, developing countries and the general public from the agreement's negotiation process and it has been described as policy laundering by critics including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Entertainment Consumers Association.

The signature of the EU and many of its member states resulted in widespread protests across Europe. European Parliament rapporteur Kader Arif resigned. His replacement, British MEP David Martin, recommended that the Parliament should reject ACTA, stating: "The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties". On 4 July 2012, the European Parliament declined its consent, effectively rejecting it, 478 votes to 39, with 165 abstentions.

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πŸ”— Stellar Wind (code name)

πŸ”— United States/U.S. Government πŸ”— United States

"Stellar Wind" (or "Stellarwind") was the code name of a warrantless surveillance program begun under the George W. Bush administration's President's Surveillance Program (PSP). The National Security Agency (NSA) program was approved by President Bush shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks and was revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times in 2004. Stellar Wind was a prelude to new legal structures that allowed President Bush and President Barack Obama to reproduce each of those programs and expand their reach.

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πŸ”— Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Crime πŸ”— Television πŸ”— Chicago πŸ”— Illinois πŸ”— United States/American television

A broadcast signal hijacking of two television stations in Chicago, Illinois was carried out on November 22, 1987, in an act of video piracy. The stations' broadcasts were interrupted by a video of an unknown person wearing a Max Headroom mask and costume, accompanied by distorted audio.

The first incident took place for 25 seconds during the sports segment of WGN-TV's 9:00 p.m. news broadcast; the second occurred around two hours later, for about 90 seconds during PBS affiliate WTTW's broadcast of Doctor Who.

The hacker made references to Max Headroom's endorsement of Coca-Cola, the TV series Clutch Cargo, WGN anchor Chuck Swirsky; and "all the greatest world newspaper nerds", a reference to WGN's call letters, which stand for "World's Greatest Newspaper". A corrugated panel swiveled back and forth mimicking Max Headroom's geometric background effect. The video ended with a pair of exposed buttocks being spanked with a flyswatter before normal programming resumed. The culprits were never caught or identified.

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πŸ”— Inverted totalitarianism

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Politics

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin coined the term inverted totalitarianism in 2003 to describe what he saw as the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin analysed the United States as increasingly turning into a managed democracy (similar to an illiberal democracy). He uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to draw attention to the totalitarian aspects of the American political system while emphasizing its differences from proper totalitarianism, such as Nazi and Stalinist regimes.

The book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012) by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco portrays inverted totalitarianism as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics bests politics. Every natural resource and living being is commodified and exploited by large corporations to the point of collapse as excess consumerism and sensationalism lull and manipulate the citizenry into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government.

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πŸ”— Arcosanti

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Architecture πŸ”— Urban studies and planning πŸ”— United States/Arizona

Arcosanti is a projected experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in Yavapai County, central Arizona, 70Β mi (110Β km) north of Phoenix, at an elevation of 3,732 feet (1,130 meters). Its arcology concept was posited by the Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri (1919–2013). He began construction in 1970, to demonstrate how urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact on the earth. He taught and influenced generations of architects and urban designers who studied and worked with him there to build the proposed "town".

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πŸ”— Area code 710

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Telecommunications

Area code 710 is a special area code, reserved to the federal government of the United States in 1983. As of December 2006, it had only one working number, 710-NCS-GETS (710-627-4387), which requires a special access code to use.

See Government Emergency Telecommunications Service for more information on this service.

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