David Bowie, Musical Genius, Dies at 69

Monday, 11 January 2016 12:55 Written by
David Bowie, Musical Genius, Dies at 69

David Bowie has died after a battle with cancer, his rep confirmed to Billboard. He was 69. "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief," read a statement posted on the artist's official social media accounts. 

The influential singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday. His artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater, Bowie created the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

Zarif to U.S. senators: You are ignorant of international law

The Iranian foreign minister on Monday reacted to an open letter to Iran’s leaders by 47 U.S. Republican senators who had warned Tehran that any nuclear deal that the Islamic Republic signs with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office. Mohammad Javad Zarif said the letter lacks “legal validity” and shows that the signatories of the letter are “ignorant of international law”. “In our view this letter has no legal validity and is just a propaganda scheme,” Zarif noted. The letter proved that “like” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu these senators “are opposed to any deal”.

SCOTUS: Citizens United is destroying America

Saturday, 28 February 2015 16:20 Written by
SCOTUS Seal

At the time that the ruling was delivered, Kennedy’s faith that access and influence would not corrupt the system was exceeded in curiousness only by his belief that the American people would feel similarly. But as the years have passed, and as studies showing the U.S. to be a donor-run system akin to oligarchy have gone mainstream, his declaration has begun to make a bit more sense. Just so long as “the electorate” is defined as the lobbying industry and its clients, his prediction looks downright clairvoyant.

America's Most Profitable

Sunday, 05 May 2013 11:23 Written by
America's Most Profitable

Successful companies frequently rely heavily on just one product for the majority of their sales and profit. Because each product represents such an outsized share of their respective company’s revenue, the products’ tremendous margins are the foundation of the company’s profit.  The most profitable products tend to rely on the power of their brand, which can command a premium price and sell extraordinary numbers of units.

What are the most profitable?  And why...

Facebook Cuts Deals to Track Your Online Activity

Facebook has announced that it’s teaming up with four of the world’s largest corporate data brokers to “enhance” the ad experience for users. Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai obtain information gathered about users through online means (such as through cookies when users surf the web) as well as through offline means (such as through loyalty cards at supermarkets and product warranty cards).

Through the new relationship with Facebook, companies will be able to display advertisements to Facebook users based on data that these data brokers have on individuals. In practical terms, this means that limiting how much information you put on Facebook is not enough to limit how ads are targeted to you on Facebook.

Secrets of a Veteran Consultant

Monday, 15 April 2013 14:31 Written by
Secrets of a Veteran Consultant

After many years of professional consulting — serving stakeholders from the server room to the board room — I moved into management and encountered fresh perspective. I learned things that I wished someone had told me early in my career. I became a stakeholder and ate the proverbial dogfood. And along the way, I learned things that are worth sharing. I hope these “secrets” resonate with someone (as I believe they would have resonated with me 20 years ago).

The simplicity and candor of these secrets may surprise you...

Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Friday, 15 March 2013 13:33 Written by
Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, announced yesterday that they’re even more certain than they were last summer (like, more than 99.999999999 percent sure) that they've seen a Higgs boson particle—even if it’s not the Higgs boson particle.

Why does it even matter? Well, let's start with, this is a discovery that could potentially change our entire understanding of how the universe works. So, to avoid being a complete nub on this issue, what do you need to know and what can you say if someone brings up the subject?

Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:05 Written by
Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Significant flaws in Microsoft Operating Systems and programs are becoming a smaller portion of the total. Secunia reports that 86 percent of active vulnerabilities in 2012 affected third-party products such as Java, Flash and Adobe Reader. In 2007, third-party vulnerabilities made up less than 60 percent of the total.

On the plus side, the dangerous window between discovery of a vulnerability and creation of a patch is getting smaller. Secunia reports same-day patch availability for 80 percent of these threats in 2012, up from a bit over 60 percent in 2007. 

American Catholics Support Same-Sex Marriage

Friday, 08 March 2013 12:46 Written by
American Catholics Support Same-Sex Marriage

American voter support for same-sex marriage is inching up and now stands at 47 - 43 percent, including 54 - 38 percent among Catholic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Church leaders are out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today, all Catholics say 52 - 40 percent. Men say out of touch, 54 - 37 percent, while women agree by a smaller 49 - 43 percent margin. 

This compares to a 48 - 46 percent statistical tie among all voters on same-sex marriage December 5 and reverses the 55 - 36 percent opposition in a July, 2008, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Among all adult Catholics, 52 percent say the Church is moving in the right direction, while 31 percent say it is going in the wrong direction.

Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:40 Written by
Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

"Tell no one, compromise everyone" -- Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities in software for 10 months on average before details of the holes surface in public, according to a new study based on a paper [PDF] on the research - Before We Knew It: An Empirical Study of Zero-Day Attacks In The Real World.

Two researchers from Symantec Research Labs identified 18 zero-day attacks between 2008 and 2011, and 11 of them were previously undetected. “A typical zero-day attack lasts 312 days on average and that, after vulnerabilities are disclosed publicly, the volume of attacks exploiting them increases by up to five orders of magnitude,” the researchers noted.

Romney and Obama MobiApps Threaten Your Privacy

Saturday, 01 September 2012 10:58 Written by
Romney and Obama MobiApps Threaten Your Privacy

John Leyden at The Register reports that security experts uncovered privacy concerns in mobile applications available from both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. Researchers at GFI Software examined the Android versions of both products and are alarmed at the invasive nature of the offerings.

Obama for America and Mitt’s VP request permissions, access to services and data and demonstrate capabilities beyond product expectations.  Each of the apps cross-posts on users' behalf and report back to base.  More alarmingly, both apps slurp the details of users' contacts and log location data. The Romney app even requests permission to record audio for unspecified purposes.

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