Think It’s Hot Now? Just Wait
By HEIDI CULLEN
Aug 20 2016
July wasn’t just hot — it was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And this year is likely to be the hottest year on record.
Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, as heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change last year found that three of every four daily heat extremes can be tied to global warming.
This map provides a glimpse of our future if nothing is done to slow climate change. By the end of the century, the number of 100-degree days will skyrocket, making working or playing outdoors unbearable, and sometimes deadly. The effects on our health, air quality, food and water supplies will get only worse if we don’t drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions right away.
U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business
By Lee Fang
Aug 19 2016
The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.
Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.
In particular, the arms industry — both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun, think-tank experts and lobbyists – is actively pressuring NATO member nations to hike defense spending in line with the NATO goal for member states to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.
Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”
Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”
Speaking to investors at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse in June, Stuart Bradie, the chief executive of KBR, a military contractor, discussed “opportunities in Europe,” highlighting the increase in defense spending by NATO countries in response to “what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine.”
The National Defense Industrial Association, a lobby group for the industry, has called on Congress to make it easier for U.S. contractors to sell arms abroad to allies in response to the threat from Russia. Recent articles in National Defense, NDIA’s magazine, discuss the need for NATO allies to boost maritime military spending, spending on Arctic systems, and missile defense, to counter Russia.
Many experts are unconvinced that Russia poses a direct military threat. The Soviet Union’s military once stood at over 4 million soldiers, but today Russia has less than 1 million. NATO’s combined military budget vastly outranks Russia’s — with the U.S. alone outspending Russia on its military by $609 billion to less than $85 billion.
And yet, the Aerospace Industries Association, a lobby group for Lockheed Martin, Textron, Raytheon, and other defense contractors, argued in February that the Pentagon is not spending enough to counter “Russian aggression on NATO’s doorstep.”
Think tanks with major funding from defense contractors, including the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council, have similarly demanded higher defense spending to counter Russia.
Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush now serving on the board of Raytheon, a firm competing for major NATO military contracts, has argued forcefully for hiking defense budgets and providing lethal aid to Ukraine. Hadley said in a speech last summer that the U.S. must “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” adding that “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags.”
An Indiana City Is Poised To Become The Next Flint
By Alex Zielinski
Aug 15 2016
Akeeshea Daniels first suspected something was off when her two toddlers came down with scarlet fever. It was 2004, and she just moved her family into a spacious public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana.
“I looked it up. Scarlet fever hasn’t been a problem since the ‘50s,” she said. “It was something straight out of a history book.”
But when she brought her concerns to the East Chicago Housing Authority — the manager of her public housing complex— she was brushed off.
“A Pandora’s Box has been opened. Why have they waited this long to tell us?”
“They told me it was my fault for not cleaning well enough,” she said. “I had toddlers! I was cleaning every day. And then things kept happening.”
The next decade was rife with mysterious family health issues: Ear infections, upper respiratory problems, throat infections. Her son was put on ADHD medication when he was seven. At any time, Daniels or one of her three children were sick with something they couldn’t kick. Just last month, Daniels took her now-18-year-old son to the emergency room for severe stomach cramps, and left with no better understanding of what was wrong.
It wasn’t until the last week of July that Daniels got her answer, in the form of two letters.
The first, sent by the Environmental Protection Agency, told her that the soil surrounding her home had been contaminated with toxic levels of arsenic and lead since at least 2014. The second, penned by East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, informed Daniels that she and hundreds of fellow residents in the West Calumet Complex where she lives would be “temporarily relocated” due to the public health risk. The following day, the city posted a notice that the entire WCC complex was going to be demolished after tenants leave.
“Everyone is afraid. A Pandora’s Box has been opened. Where are they moving us? Who is paying for it? Are my children safe?” Daniels asked. “Why have they waited this long to tell us?”
As of yet, no public agency has been able to sufficiently answer these questions.
Perhaps it’s because they have to go back half a century to trace the start of this toxic contamination. For decades, the WCC, a neighboring elementary school, and some hundred private homes in Calumet neighborhood have all sat atop soil heavy with lead and arsenic.
Some environmental law experts say the national attention on Flint may have finally ignited action in East Chicago, where residents like Daniels finally learned the scope of the issues with their soil just two weeks ago. The EPA office responsible for East Chicago, Region 5, is the same one that oversaw Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water system.
But these are hardly the only communities with long-ignored contamination tucked into low-income neighborhoods.
The unfolding health emergency in East Chicago is a window into a larger environmental justice crisis playing out in neighborhoods across the country. And the historically minority, lower-income residents of the Calumet neighborhood will suffer the consequences.
IPv6 Now Dominant Protocol for Traffic Among Major US Mobile Providers
Aug 21 2016
“Major Mobile US Networks Pass 50% IPv6 Threshold,” reports Mat Ford, Technology Program Manager at the Internet Society (ISOC). In an announcement published in the World IPv6 Launch website, Ford writes: “In our year-end blogpost in December of 2015 we highlighted the enormous progress that IPv6 deployment had made in 2015 by obtaining aggregated data from our sources for the four major US mobile providers (Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Sprint Wireless, AT&T Wireless) … At that time, in aggregate, these providers were delivering 37.59% of their traffic over IPv6 to major IPv6-capable content providers. … we just passed a major milestone. IPv6 is the dominant protocol for traffic from those mobile networks to major IPv6-capable content providers.”
Where Are NSA’s Overseers on the Shadow Brokers Release?
By Marcy Wheeler
Aug 19 2016
As Rayne has been noting, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released a set of NSA hacking tools. The release is interesting for what it teaches us about NSA’s hacking and the speculation about who may have released so many tools at once. But I’m just as interested by Congress’ reticence about it.
Within hours of the first Snowden leak, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers had issued statements about the phone dragnet. As far as I’ve seen, Adam Schiff is the only Gang of Four member who has weighed in on this
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also spoke with Mary Louise. He said he couldn’t comment on the accuracy of any reports about the leak.
But he said, “If these allegations were true, I’d be very concerned about the impact on the intelligence community. I’d also obviously want to know who the responsible parties were. … If this were a Russian actor — and again, this is multiple ‘ifs’ here — we’d have to ask what is causing this escalation.”
Say, Congressman Schiff. Aren’t you the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and couldn’t you hold some hearings to get to the bottom of this?
Meanwhile, both Feinstein (who is the only Gang of Four member not campaigning for reelection right now) and Richard Burr have been weighing in on recent events, but not the Shadow Brokers release.
The Shadow Brokers hack should be something the intelligence “oversight” committees publicly engage with — and on terms that Schiff doesn’t seem to have conceived of. Here’s why:
The embarrassing story that the VEP doesn’t work
Whatever else the release of the tools did (and I expect we’ll learn more as time goes on), it revealed that NSA has been exploiting vulnerabilities in America’s top firewall companies for years — and that whoever released these tools likely knew that, and could exploit that, for the last three years.
That comes against the background of a debate over whether our Vulnerabilities Equities Process works as billed, with EFF saying we need a public discussion today, and former NSA and GCHQ hackers claim we ignorant laypeople can’t adequately assess strategy, even while appearing to presume US strategy should not account for the role of tech exports.
We’re now at a point where the fears raised by a few Snowden documents — that the NSA is making tech companies unwitting (the presumed story, but one that should get more scrutiny) or witting partners in NSA’s spying — have born out. And NSA should be asked — and its oversight committees should be asking — what the decision-making process behind turning a key segment of our economy into the trojan horse of our spooks looks like.
Mind you, I suspect the oversight committees already know a bit about this (and the Gang of Four might even know the extent to which this involves witting partnership, at least from some companies). Which is why we should have public hearings to learn what they know.
Did California’s congressional representatives Dianne Feinstein, Adam Schiff, and Devin Nunes sign off on the exploitation of a bunch of CA tech companies? If they did, did they really think through the potential (and now somewhat realized) impact it would have on those companies and, with it, our economy, and with it the potential follow-on damage to clients of those firewall companies?
Envisioning Bitcoin’s Technology at the Heart of Global Finance
By NATHANIEL POPPER
Aug 12 2016
A new report from the World Economic Forum predicts that the underlying technology introduced by the virtual currency Bitcoin will come to occupy a central place in the global financial system.
A report released Friday morning by the forum, a convening organization for the global elite, is one of the strongest endorsements yet for a new technology — the blockchain — that has become the talk of the financial industry, despite the shadowy origins of Bitcoin.
“Rather than to stay at the margins of the finance industry blockchain will become the beating heart of it,” the head of financial services industries at the World Economic Forum, Giancarlo Bruno, said in a statement released with the report.
The blockchain originally referred to the database where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and stored.
Unlike existing financial ledgers or databases used by banks and other institutions, the blockchain is updated and maintained not by a single company or government. Instead it is run by a network of users. It’s akin to the way Wikipedia is maintained by users around the globe.
Initially, bank executives shied away from endorsing Bitcoin because it had been used for drugs and crime. Now, however, many have focused on ways to create blockchains without using Bitcoins for transactions in any way.
This is attractive because blockchains — or “distributed ledgers,” as they are often described — could offer a new way to move money and track transactions across borders and other networks in a more secure, transparent and effective way than the current system.
Distributed ledgers are often viewed as most attractive to industries with businesses that lack a central institution they can trust to keep their records.
The World Economic Forum report notes that most developments are likely to happen behind the scenes. So consumers won’t see the changes to infrastructure, but the changes could lead to cheaper and faster financial services. The report says the technology could help improve both mainstream transactions, like global payments and stock trading, and lesser-known areas like trade finance and contingent convertible bonds.
The 130-page report from the forum is the product of a year of research and five gatherings of executives from several major institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Visa, MasterCard and BlackRock.
The report estimates that 80 percent of banks around the world could start distributed ledger projects by next year. Large central banks are also studying how the blockchain will alter the way money moves around the globe.
[Note: This comment comes from a reader of Dave Farber’s IP List. DLH]
From: John Day <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: August 22, 2016 at 5:26:30 AM GMT+9
To: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re Five myths about the Web
I have to concur with Russell. As Dave knows, we were there at the time. Pouzin’s work pre-dates Hendricks and the ARPA people were very much involved with Pouzin’s team before 1972, when CYCLADES was turned on. There was a lot more cross-fertilization going between NPL, CYCLADES, and the APRA groups between 1970 and 1975 and beyond.
——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Andrew Russell <
Date: Monday, August 22, 2016
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] Five myths about the Web
Dave, Dewayne –
I wrote the “5 myths” in question. Please see inline (and forward as you see fit) –
On Aug 21, 2016, at 2:57 PM, Dave Farber <
Begin forwarded message:
From: Hendricks Dewayne <
Date: August 22, 2016 at 2:00:00 AM GMT+9
To: Multiple recipients of Dewayne-Net <
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] Re: Five myths about the Web
[Note: This comment comes from friend Gerald Steinback. DLH]
Aside from conflating the internet and the ‘Web’…
I had a conversation with the editors about making this distinction very clear – and I actually had in my mind people on Farber’s list reading it and rolling their eyes. Apparently the WaPo does this with other articles as well. To nip it in the bud, I wrote a little thing that the editors, alas, didn’t include, since I think I was already over my word limit:
“The difference between the Internet and Web is a little bit like the difference between train tracks and individual cars. The Internet is the tracks: a system that lots of different cars can use, as long as they conform to certain basic standards. The Web is an application that consists of pages that ride (like train cars) on top of the Internet to deliver a great variety of things. The Web is one of many applications that use the Internet; other common applications include email, video or audio conferencing tools like Skype, file sharing tools like Dropbox, or online gaming platforms like Xbox or PlayStation.”
Myth No. 2 –
“But the Web’s origins are distinctly European…”
“The American protagonists of Internet development at ARPA, Cerf and Kahn, worked closely with European researchers and built on the concepts of French computer scientist Louis Pouzin.”
Edson Hendricks refutes this –
and describes some of his adventures in a children’s book –
Jones, Leanne (2011). It’s Cool To Be Clever, The story of Edson C. Hendricks, the genius who invented the design for the Internet.
I’ve been in this business (Internet history) for a few years, and I have never heard of Edson Hendricks, or that children’s book. It sounds like a delightful read. It’s interesting to see how Hendricks’ wikipedia page writes Bob Kahn out of the story, but I suppose you would need to take that up with Bob Kahn. Wikipedia also has a page about a guy who says he invented email.
OTOH, here’s some background about Pouzin (
) and something from the Internet Hall of Fame (
). And anyone who knows a little bit about the events in question might also recognize the names and nationalities of Derek Barber, Donald Davies, or Gerard LeLann. I suppose people can make up their own minds about this one.
And this in Myth No. 4 –
“Even companies that lead the “sharing economy,” such as Uber and Airbnb, have massive capital expenditures and valuations that rival those of industrial giants such as Ford and General Motors.”
Massive capital expenditures??? Linking to the article shows that Airbnb has a $25B+ valuation but has only spent $250M since 2008. Uber and Airbnb both shift the cost of capital to their ‘contractors’, the people who *own* their houses, *own* their cars, pay their *own* insurance costs,…
I wonder how many minutes Ford or General Motors could survive with a budget of $5M per year.
Fair enough. The point I was trying to make is that, given the choice between an industrial capitalist firm or one designed on a commons-based peer production model, I would rather buy a car from the industrial capitalist. But, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
Five myths about the Web
By Andrew L. Russell
Aug 19 2016