Despite continuous requests for more student seating in the Horseshoe, OSU President E. Gordon Gee said he wants to see more support for other Buckeye sports before he will consider upping the allotment of student football tickets. With that goal in mind, the university announced in late August it will move 800 of the student seats at the Schottenstein Center from behind the baskets to behind the benches and scorer’s table for some men’s basketball games in the upcoming season. “We need to create an environment in which our basketball programs have the same kind of intensity as our football program or other things,” Gee told The Lantern on Oct. 6. “So we needed to make the change, too, because the students made a very important point to me, ‘Well you know if you’re just sitting behind there and (they) have you sitting there in the middle, you’re not a very good fan, Mr. President.’” Gee took the students’ words to heart, as he and fellow faculty members will vacate their previous seats behind the benches for all-Big Ten contests and an additional non-conference game this season to make room for what Gee hopes to be a more boisterous NutHouse student section. “Now I have every expectation that we’re going to have a ring of fire around our court and I’ll be very disappointed if every game is not sold out by our students,” Gee said. So far, so good. When men’s basketball tickets were released last week, tickets sold out in two hours. Although the 1,400 tickets available to students this year were a drop from last year’s total, senior forward David Lighty said the move could provide a big boost for the team. “I think that’s going to help us out a lot,” Lighty said. “We feed off the crowd. Big plays happen and they are loud and rowdy. … That’s just going to get us excited. I think it’s going to be a good thing for us.” Schools such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University already have a similar type of seating arrangement. Lighty said he is glad OSU pulled the trigger on the adjustment. “You go to Michigan State and they have a whole student section in the bottom bowl, and my parents are sitting with the students going crazy,” Lighty said. “It’s a more suitable atmosphere for college basketball and something that gives the fan a better experience and makes them want to come and get more excited.” As the students move closer to the action than ever before, senior guard Jon Diebler said he hopes they will have the arena rocking. “I think we have a great student fan base,” Diebler said. “I think they are excited about the new seating because I think they might feel more into the game instead of being on the ends.” Having become accustomed to verbal lashings from opposing student sections, junior guard William Buford said he hopes the seating change will entice the Buckeye students to return the favor to visiting squads. “I don’t really pay attention to them too much, but I hope that it will mess with the opposite team,” Buford said. “We get dogged everywhere we go, so they need to do something.”
Whether it was an apparent knee injury at Michigan State or a hit to the head versus Purdue, then-sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller made Ohio State football fans hold their breaths last season on multiple occasions when he had to leave the field due to injury. Miller went through another injury scare Tuesday during the Buckeyes’ ninth practice of the spring football season. The reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year was slow to get up following a hit during a team scrimmage near the end of practice. Following Tuesday’s practice, coach Urban Meyer said his junior quarterback was also hit during practice Thursday and is dealing with a sore rib. Miller was clearly unhappy about the hit – it occurred after the ball was out of his hands – and he approached the defensive sideline to confront a teammate before being restrained by coaches. He returned to throw more passes later in the scrimmage. Meyer said he was glad to see his quarterback’s competitive side even after the hit. “I like quarterbacks that want to go get in a street fight and go after it,” Meyer said. “That’s not probably the time to do it, but he’s a competitor. So you’re asking what kind of reaction would I want out of a quarterback? … That’s better than the opposite, (to) just lay on the ground and curl up … He’s a tough kid.” Offensive line issues Junior offensive lineman Antonio Underwood suffered a torn ACL during practice Thursday, Meyer said Tuesday. Meyer said it is a shame that Underwood suffered the injury, which will sideline him for at least a portion of the 2013 season. “For the first time in his career, he’s made a real push,” Meyer said of Underwood. “He’s going to have surgery, and we’ll see what happens, but he was having a heck of a spring.” Meyer said Underwood was “fighting his way into the rotation.” “He was in the top eight (offensive lineman on the depth chart),” Meyer said. Losing Underwood is not Meyer’s only concern with his offensive line. Meyer and the Buckeyes are still trying to determine their starter at right tackle where they are replacing last year’s starter, Reid Fragel, whose OSU career concluded last fall. Meyer said no one has established himself as a starter yet at the position, but it is currently a three-way competition between sophomore Taylor Decker, redshirt sophomore Chase Farris and redshirt freshman Pat Elflein. “That’s the hardest position to make a jump,” Meyer said of the right tackle position. Meyer said Decker, who was the early favorite to start, is “probably a little ahead of where Fragel was” at this point in the spring football season last year, as Fragel was still transitioning to the position after playing his first three OSU seasons at tight end. Meyer said Decker needs to make the same strides that Fragel did last season. Offense and defense compete in scrimmages The offense and defense competed against one another in a scrimmage to conclude Tuesday’s practice, which the offense won on a touchdown pass to the right rear corner of the end zone from redshirt senior quarterback Kenny Guiton to redshirt sophomore tight end Nick Vannett. Points were awarded to the offense for first downs and touchdowns and to the defense for stops and forced turnovers, but Meyer declined a request to explain the scoring system. “That’s between me and Mick (Mickey Marotti, assistant athletic director for football sports performance),” Meyer said. Other scrimmage highlights included a 51-yard field goal made by senior kicker Drew Basil and a deep-ball interception returned past midfield by sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves, though Reeves was also beaten for a couple of deep pass completions. The Buckeyes had a scrimmage Saturday as well, which Meyer said the defense won. The Buckeyes will practice twice more this week on Thursday and Saturday, with Saturday’s practice being the program’s second annual Student Appreciation Day, which is open to students and begins at 11 a.m. OSU has five more spring practices between this week and next week leading up to the LiFESports Spring Game, which will be played April 13 at 1 p.m. in Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Digital photograph and online media powerhouse Getty Images today announced that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $2.4 billion. The deal has been approved by the Getty Images board of directors but still requires approval form the company’s stockholders.Getty Images in January hired Goldman Sachs Group to explore the company’s financial options. As part of the deal—which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2008—Hellman & Friedman will assume $305 million of Getty’s debt.According to Getty Images co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein, the company’s board of directors “thoroughly evaluated” the company’s strategic alternatives and determined that the deal with Hellman & Friedman is in the best interest of stockholders because “it provides them with superior and certain value.”Getty Investments and company co-founder and chairman Mark Getty, who collectively hold about 15 percent of Getty Images shares, have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction, according to the company.
Irish airline Aer Lingus has rejected a takeover bid from IAG, the parent company of British Airways, on Thursday saying that the offer undervalued its worth.In a statement, Aer Lingus confirmed the rejection, considering the amount of media speculation the offer from International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) caused.”The board has reviewed the proposal and believes it fundamentally undervalues Aer Lingus and its attractive prospects … there can be no certainty that any offer will be made nor as to the terms of any offer. Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action,” said Aer Lingus in a statement.IAG – run by Willie Walsh, former chief executive of Aer Lingus – had offered to takeover Aer Lingus on 14 December for a reported $1.42 billion. “International Consolidated Airlines Group notes the recent movement in the share price of Aer Lingus and confirms it submitted a proposal to make an offer for the company, which has been rejected by the board of Aer Lingus,” said IAG in a statement.The offer price wasn’t mentioned by either party. However, the Financial Times cited people familiar with the matter as saying that the deal was valued at $1.42 billion.Aer Lingus has become a potential takeover company as rival Ryanair, its biggest shareholder, is set to lose an appeal in a UK court to sell 29.9 percent stake in the company.Ryanair has been asked to sell its stake in Aer Lingus by the UK competition authorities but Aer Lingus has been resisting it, according to The Financial Times.If Ryanair decides to appeal in a higher court, the acquisition process could be delayed.The Irish government owns 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus and said that it would be ready to sell its stake for the right price.Other shareholders of Aer Lingus include UAE’s national carrier Etihad, which holds 4 percent. Experts say that the Aer Lingus takeover would be perfect for IAG.”A takeover would fit from an IAG position, but the airline would have challenges if it returns with another bid: there could be regulatory concern or challenges from other airlines on competition grounds – but not a show-stopper. Aer Lingus has been successful even against a difficult economic climate in Ireland, and a deal would give IAG an even stronger network position at Heathrow,” aviation analyst John Strickland told The Guardian.
Additional IGP Rowshan Ara. File photoThe body of additional IGP Rowshan Ara, killed in a road crash in Kinshasa, Congo on Monday, were brought home on Thursday morning, reports UNB,A Turkish Airways flight, carrying the body, landed at Dhaka airport around 5:00am, said AIG (Media) of police headquarters Md Sohel Rana.Her first namaz-e-janaza was held at Maghbazar Noatola Jam-e-masjid around 10:00am.The second namaz-e-janaza will be held at Maghbazar Wireless Jam-e-masjid around noon and a third one at Rajarbagh police lines SI Shiru Mia auditorium after Johr prayers, said Rana.Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, IGP Javed Patwary, public security division secretary, and members of police, relatives, friends and well-wishers of the deceased will attend the janaza, he said.She will be laid to rest at Azimpur graveyard.Rowshan Ara was killed in a collision between a civilian lorry and the vehicle carrying her and others on the way to the Medal Parade of Bangladesh Formed Police Unit.
India’s biggest offering of organic products ranging from food, fabrics and furniture to wellness, personal care and solar products is being held at Dilli Haat, INA in the national Capital. Organised and sponsored by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development as an annual affair, the ‘Women of India Festival 2016 – Organic Products’, celebrates and promotes women entrepreneurs from across India. The Women of India Festival 2016 was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on October 14. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe main aim of the Festival is to support and encourage women and women-led groups that promote organic farming, thus supporting their local community’s economy, creating jobs and keeping farmers thriving, in addition to spreading awareness about the benefits of organic products with the motto, “Eat Healthy, Live Healthy”. The Women of India Festival of Organic Products is also intended to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in it and boost the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for producers of organic products from remote corners. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveManeka Gandhi, who is also widely recognized as an environmentalist and animal activist, explains the importance of making the shift to organic.“Organic foods have been proven to contain far more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than similar foods produced with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives. Organic farming relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and natural methods of pest control,” she said.“Organic plants and food crops have also been found to contain higher amounts of salicylic acid which fights bowel cancer and the hardening of arteries responsible for heart conditions, strokes and other ailments. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants to fight stress and disease, but pesticides inhibit the plant’s ability to produce salicylic acid,” she added. The exhibition has more than 220 stalls selling organic produce. Until the October 23, people will also get the opportunity to taste a variety of home-cooked and organic food at Dilli Haat.Over 400 women entrepreneurs from Leh to Kanyakumari and from Kohima to Kutch, have come together with their organic products, such as fabrics, dyes and dresses, cosmetics, household products, organic ice cream, aromatherapy products, and many other products.
21Feb Rep. Griffin: Priorities include car insurance reform, job training, better roads and broadband State Rep. Beth Griffin this week announced priorities for the 2019-20 term including lower car insurance rates, improved mental health services and skilled trades training, and investments in road repairs, rural broadband and drinking water systems.Griffin joined House Republicans in unveiling priorities for the two-year term in an action plan called “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan.” Griffin, from Mattawan, was a member of the special committee that helped select the priorities.“My focus continues to be on what matters most to families and taxpayers in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties,” Griffin said. “I will fight to help families keep more of their hard-earned income while investing in top priorities including job growth, schools and the systems our communities need to protect residents and function at their best. This plan will help lead to solutions making our daily lives better and our future brighter.”Griffin’s priorities include:Lower car insurance rates. Griffin supports reforms to drive down costs for Michigan drivers, who now pay the highest average premiums in the nation.Investments to improve schools and skilled trades programs. Griffin continues to support increasing investments in K-12 education, with a heightened emphasis on helping students and workers gain skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing economy.Road and bridge repairs. Michigan is spending more than ever before on road repairs, which Griffin supports along with efforts to maximize the return on taxpayer investments.Safe drinking water systems. Michigan is a national leader in efforts to detect and eliminate PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water. Griffin supports these efforts and is fighting for permanent solutions to provide clean drinking water in affected communities such as the City of Parchment and Cooper Township.Expanded broadband access in rural areas. Griffin continues to advocate for technology upgrades to boost communication and internet access for students, job providers and families across Michigan.Improved mental health services. Building on a special House task force from last year, Griffin will push for policies expanding access to mental health services – particularly for students and senior citizens – so they may live happier and independent lives.The House action plan is available at www.gophouse.org/leading-the-way/..Griffin is in her second House term representing the 66th District. ##### Categories: Griffin News,News
‘Best of British’ on-demand service Cirkus has acquired BBC dramas Peaky Blinders and Death Comes to Pemberley as part of a wide-ranging output deal with Endemol.The agreement gives Cirkus access to Endemol’s drama, comedy and entertainment shows and includes the upcoming BBC World War I drama The Ark, plus library shows such as Prisoner’s Wives, Public Enemies and Secret Diary of a Call Girl.Cirkus already has similar deals in place with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, BBC Worldwide and All3Media International. The service launched last year.“This deal enormously strengthens our programme offering building on the unrivalled range and depth of the best of British TV available to Cirkus,” said Cirkus co-founder Hugh Williams. “Endemol’s significant investment in new programmes, particularly drama, means that Cirkus can now provide a greater range of top British titles on-demand than anyone else.”Cathy Payne, CEO of Endemol’s sales arm Endemol Worldwide Distribution, said Cirkus would become an “increasingly important vehicle for the international distribution of British television programmes and we’re looking forward to sharing in its success”.Williams negotiated the deal with EWD’s sales director, Nordics, Holly Winder and executive director, Europe Mark Lawrence.
Here’s Looking at You, KidBy Doug Hornig, Senior EditorLovers of liberty have seemingly had a good bit to celebrate over the past two weeks.First, there was an unprecedented outpouring of negative public sentiment about the Congressional bills SOPA (House) and PIPA (Senate); they are legislation that would have thrown a large governmental monkey wrench into the relatively smooth-running cogs of the Internet. Millions of Americans signed online petitions against the bills (I did) after seeing websites’ various protests. Google shrouded its search page in black; Wikipedia, and Reddit went dark entirely (although Wikipedia could be accessed if one read the information available via clicking the sole link on its protest page); Facebook and Twitter urged users to contact their representatives; and many other core Internet businesses also raised their voices in opposition.Such was the outpouring of dissent that even Washington, D.C. had to listen. The bills, which a week earlier had seem assured of swift passage, suddenly turned to poison. Supporters, forced to concede that the public really was pissed off this time, fled. Leadership in both houses tabled the legislation, pending further review and revision.But before we get too self-congratulatory, however, it’s wise to note that this victory dish is probably best enjoyed with a serving of caution. As Casey Extraordinary Technology editor Alex Daley summed up the situation for us here at Casey Research: “Be sure this will come back again, likely post-election, and snuck through as part of a bigger package. It arrests power from the judiciary, and the legislature likes nothing more than to thumb its nose at those ridiculous judges and all their due process this and Constitution that. It will eventually pass, just not like this.” We can’t now go to sleep on this one.Second, on Monday the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that police may not attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car without a search warrant. This is a landmark decision, to be sure, but one that was carefully circumscribed by the justices. The placing of the device constituted a physical intrusion on the suspect, they wrote, and thus was impermissible. Left unruled upon was the larger question of tracking someone’s movements when there was no physical violation, as would be the case when, say, police access signals from a GPS-enabled smartphone. Though it wasn’t directly addressed, the concurring opinions strongly suggest that the justices might be more sharply divided on that issue.A lapse of vigilance in these matters would be a mistake.Since both of them are tech-related, and also since it’s January, this is probably a good time to review how individual freedom fared over the past year vis à vis the technology of surveillance in general.But before I do, I need to make a couple of things clear.Where We StandAt Casey Extraordinary Technology, we are not technophobes. We don’t think that it would be a good thing to retreat to the woods and live out our days spearing game and cooking it over fires. Quite the contrary. We’re technophiles who appreciate what tech has done to improve human living conditions, and we believe that it holds the key to the solution of many, if not all, of our present problems. We like to err on the side of hope.In addition, we understand that society has a powerful interest in maintaining a certain level of order. It’s intolerable that personal disputes should be settled by gun battles in the streets or that serious infringements on the rights of others – whether it be physical crimes such as robbery, rape, or murder, or non-physical ones like fraud – should be ignored. The most ardent libertarian would generally agree that a government ought to have the authority to prevent or punish the aggression of one individual upon another and to enforce contracts freely entered into. Thus tradeoffs with our basic right to do as we see fit must be made if man’s worst impulses are to be deterred.That said, the tricky part is deciding where to draw the line between reasonable and overzealous laws and enforcements. Surveillance technology is at the center of this debate. It’s good and getting ever better. Even the most law-abiding of citizens have been subjected to steadily increasing levels of governmental – as well as private sector – watchfulness over their daily lives. That has occurred with no indication that the public is yet prepared to say, “Enough. This is where we draw that line in the sand.”The past year was no exception. I won’t go into developments I’ve already written about, such as the growth of the TSA’s VIPR operations, last summer’s lemonade-stand busts, the ghastly E-Verify proposal , and the Fed’s Social Listening Program. But the sad truth is that there are plenty more from which to choose. Space considerations permit a close examination of only a few, but a liberty-oriented legal foundation provides a quick overview of the year.It‘s a Bird, It‘s a Plane, It‘s…… a drone.Remote-controlled drone aircraft, like the famed Predator, have become a staple of the nightly news. We see them launching missiles against terrorists, conducting spy missions over Pakistan, patrolling the borders looking for drug smugglers and alien infiltrators. Now we’re going to have to get used to seeing them in the skies over, well, all of us.Yes, those same Predator drones are being used increasingly by local law enforcement in the US.That was unknown to most Americans before late last year, when the great North Dakota cattle-rustling incident hit the press. It seems that back in June, six neighbors’ cows had the misfortune to wander onto a 3,000-acre farm in eastern North Dakota owned by the Brossart family, whose members allegedly belong to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an anti-government group that the FBI considers extremist and violent.When the sheriff attempted to reclaim the cows, the family refused to give them up, ordering him off its property at gunpoint. A 16-hour standoff ensued, with the sheriff requesting the usual reinforcements: state highway patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. But he also called nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base and asked for help from a $154 million MQ-9 Predator B drone, normally used to secure the Canadian border for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).Long story short, the drone silently surveilled the farm from two miles up, relaying information from its sophisticated sensors as to what the Brossarts were doing. When the surveillance showed that the family members had put their weapons down (yes, it can see that well at that distance), the authorities moved in, neutralizing the Brossarts and making the first known, drone-assisted arrests of US citizens.Law enforcement was pleased, perhaps rightly so. No blood was spilled. Another Ruby Ridge was avoided. The cows – street value $6,000, but now rather a bit more costly – were recovered.But that was just the beginning. Local North Dakota police say they have used the Grand Forks Predators to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have also used Predators for domestic investigations, officials admit. And Michael Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, says that Predators are flown “in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.” [emphasis mine]Who knew?Apparently not Congress, for one. Spokespersons for Customs, which owns the drones, claim there is legal authorization for this usage because it was clearly indicated in the purchase request for the Predators that one purpose was “interior law enforcement support.” But those four words sailed right by Congresswoman Jane Harman – Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee at the time the drone purchases were approved – who insists that “no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police.” So this expanded civilian use of military surveillance hardware came about with no new law, no public discussion, not even a written regulation… just a few words buried in a budget request that no one in charge of approving it noticed.There will be mission creep here, as there always is. Expect drones to gather data on any large political demonstration, for example – only, to be fully accurate, you won’t be noticing them above you. They fly too high and are too silent for that.Internet SurveillanceIn addition to SOPA/PIPA, there is PCIP. SOPA/PIPA were about shutting down Internet sites that the federal government deems offensive. PCIP is about gathering information.As is so often the case with “well-meaning” legislation, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981, or PCIP) is allegedly aimed at something about which all agree. Nobody argues against shielding kids from pornographers.Not that the problem addressed isn’t real. The Internet has proven to be a fertile stalking ground for sexual predators. As a society, we have already agreed to a certain level of cyber-entrapment, allowing police to run online sting operations against those who are actively targeting kids. If that catches some innocent people in the net, so be it. The public majority is willing to accept such collateral damage so long as the real bad guys are found and put away.And yes, H.R. 1981 also contains some non-controversial provisions. Stricter punishment for interstate commerce transactions that promote child porn? Sure. Bolstering laws to protect child witnesses? No problem.But, as always, the details are alive with devils. PCIP is also about pre-crimes – i.e., it entails gathering evidence before any crime is committed… perhaps even before said crime is contemplated. The goal is that, in the event of an arrest, supporting online records can quickly and easily be subpoenaed.In order to accomplish that, everyone must be considered a potential criminal. Everyone.What PCIP will mandate is that Internet providers keep detailed records about each one of us, including: name, address, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, all Internet activity for the previous 12 months (something sure to be extended after the first successful busts), and any IP addresses assigned to you – without a search warrant, court order, or even the slightest suspicion of criminal activity.In other words, the government is proposing to expand the ranks of de facto private-sector cops, the same way that banks are now forced to report any “suspicious financial activity.” The legislation would enlist – nay, require – ISPs to compile detailed dossiers on every citizen, and to have them readily accessible for whatever “crime-fighting” or other purposes authorities want them. This thereby saves federal government officials the trouble and expense of doing it themselves. It’s breathtaking. You almost have to admire the elegance of their solution to the universal ‘Net surveillance problem that’s vexed them for some time.No wonder the Electronic Frontier Foundation has scornfully tabbed this the “Data Retention Bill,” warning that the stored data “could become available to civil litigants in private lawsuits – whether it’s the RIAA trying to identify downloaders, a company trying to uncover and retaliate against an anonymous critic, or a divorce lawyer looking for dirty laundry.” And in a grotesque illustration of the law of unintended consequences, the EFF adds: “These databases would also be a new and valuable target for black hat hackers, be they criminals trying to steal identities or foreign governments trying to unmask anonymous dissidents.”H.R. 1981 sailed through the House Judiciary Committee in late July of last year but is yet to be voted on (although it was slated for “expedited consideration” in mid-December). Will it provoke the kind of public outcry directed against SOPA? Don’t count on it. What politician in his or her right mind would dare oppose legislation that “protects kids from pornographers?”Reverse SurveillanceMeaning: when we turn the cameras on the government.In a sense, we are all now street journalists. Most famously, the name “Rodney King” would mean nothing to anyone today but for a bystander with a cell phone camera. As these devices have become all but ubiquitous, we ordinary citizens now have an unprecedented ability to record crimes in progress, regardless of what side of the law the perpetrators are on.Or do we?While police understandably have welcomed citizen recordings that help them with their cases, they are again understandably not so sanguine when they themselves are the potential lawbreakers. And they’re hitting back. People filming unfolding events are routinely ordered away from the scene by the police, even if they happen to be standing on their own private property – and threatened with arrest if they don’t put the camera away.Considering the First Amendment to the Constitution, that’s been a bluff… at least until recently.Now authorities are asserting their right to charge video- or audiographers of police events with crimes ranging from obstruction of justice to eavesdropping to illegal wiretapping.So far, to their credit, the courts have been mostly unsympathetic. In August, a jury acquitted a Chicago woman who used her cell phone to secretly record a conversation with police investigators about a sexual harassment complaint she was filing against the department. Also in August, the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in favor of the defendant in a case involving a complaint filed by a Boston man who filmed the scene of an October 2007 arrest on his cell phone, only to be arrested himself and charged with a violation of Massachusetts wiretapping laws.In Illinois in September, a judge threw out five eavesdropping indictments – which carried maximum penalties of 15 years in prison on each count – against a man who had recorded conversations with local police officers who he claimed were harassing him on his own property. In a stinging rebuke to the prosecution, the judge wrote, “A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties. Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information.”So far, so good. Still, these kinds of busts are on the rise nationwide. Even if they’re all laughed out of court, the mere threat of arrest (and the potential concomitant bodily harm) is often enough to make most people think twice about the wisdom of challenging a police order.And, truthfully, would you trust the current Supreme Court – a majority of which has consistently supported government rights over that of citizens – to rule correctly on this?Target: Casey Research!One of the most ominous developments for us personally crawled out from under its rock in November. Again without any public debate, DHS unleashed its National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like: The NOC’s Office of Operations Coordination and Planning is going to collect information from news anchors, journalists, reporters, or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”Thus Washington, D.C. unilaterally grants itself the right to monitor what you say. Doesn’t matter if you’re the New York Times, Brian Williams, a basement blogger, an online whistleblower, or known government critics like ourselves. They’re gonna take note of your utterances and file them away for future use.Journalists are not the only targets, by the way. Also included among those subject to this surveillance are government officials (domestic or not) who make public statements; private-sector employees who do the same; and “persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest,” however large that umbrella might be.At Casey Research, we’re not about to engage in self-censorship just because some bureaucrat somewhere has nothing better to do than watch what we’re saying. They’re welcome to it, and we’ll save them the trouble of archiving it; most of it’s preserved on our website, anyway.The larger speculation is: what’s the endgame here?Data Storage CapacityBack in 1997, I wrote an article entitled Here‘s Looking at You, which examined the ways in which big government was encroaching upon our private lives. The piece was published in February 1998 in a very popular national men’s magazine. (In my defense, I hasten to add that these glossy periodicals were among the very few public outlets, before Casey Research was born, for journalists who wrote about such “fringe” topics.)As I was writing this piece you are now reading, I couldn’t help but take a look back fourteen years. It seems almost like a prehistoric era… before 9/11, the PATRIOT Act, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drones, “free-speech zones” at political conventions, wall-penetrating radar, iPhones, and wholesale government monitoring of email and phone conversations, among a zillion other things. Heck, even the Internet was still more or less a novelty: I found that I had cautioned readers to be mindful of an insidious newfangled thing called “cookies.”The tech of today is light-years more advanced. But even back then, I was concerned. And I predicted where I saw the trend heading. Naturally enough, not all of my predictions came to pass – I was certain for instance that by now we’d have a national ID card – but unfortunately, most of them did.The reason I bring this up here is not to tout myself as particularly prescient. It’s to note something of actual importance. In 1998, I could still maintain that our saving grace was that data-storage capabilities were way insufficient for the total surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans and probably would be for a long time to come.How wrong I was.It is already technologically feasible for governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.Before long, it’ll also be financially feasible to archive it, according to a sobering report published last December by the Brookings Center for Technology Innovation.The report concludes that: “Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders. These enormous databases of captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine, enabling state security services to retroactively eavesdrop on people in the months and years before they were designated as surveillance targets. This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution.”Emphasis mine. Consider the implications.The key, according to the Brookings report: “Over the past three decades, [data] storage costs have declined by a factor of 10 approximately every 4 years, reducing the per-gigabyte cost from approximately $85,000 (in 2011 dollars) in mid-1984 to about five cents today.” Using GPS, mobile phone and WiFi inputs, “identifying the location of each of one million people to [a 15-foot] accuracy at 5-minute intervals, 24 hours a day for a full year could easily be stored in 1,000 gigabytes, which would cost slightly over $50 at today’s prices.” Fourteen cents a day to archive the collective movements of any selected million of us.Phone calls? “The audio for all of the telephone calls made by a single person over the course of one year could be stored using roughly 3.3 gigabytes. On a per capita basis, the cost to store all phone calls will fall from about 17 cents per person per year today to under 2 cents in 2015.”Video storage takes far more space, of course, and there are also major logistical problems involved in managing such a huge amount of data. But the point is made. Technological innovation will provide the tools. And as soon as government can do something, they invariably will do it.InvestingThese few examples, winnowed from hundreds of others I could cite, testify to a mushrooming new industry in the US, what some have called the cyber-industrial complex.It’s big business. How big we don’t know, because much of it is shrouded in either government or corporate secrecy. The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest, twice a Pulitzer winner and one of the few true investigative journalists in America still working inside the mainstream media, published some groundbreaking work on the subject in the summer of 2010. If you haven’t read it already, you should. The website is dynamic, with regular updates posted on the subject and reader input invited.Several other recent probes also have opened the shadowy surveillance world to a little more light. You can check out some of the latest techniques and which companies are implementing them at The Surveillance Catalog published by the Wall Street Journal and The State of Surveillance: The Data,published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.Perhaps in your browsing you’ll find some publicly traded companies that will attract your investment interest. For our part, at Casey Extraordinary Technology we prefer to seek out companies that are engaged in changing our world for the better rather than the worse. Those are the ones you’ll find in our portfolio.In the end, we must acknowledge that technological advancement, especially at the rate we’re experiencing it in the present era, is bound to spawn evil applications along with the good. But we’re optimists here. We believe humanity is in a long-term uptrend, with technology setting torches on the path to a better life.But that all depends on keeping people free. That’s why we will continue to expose – and oppose – government efforts to stifle innovation, creativity, and personal liberty. I’m not holding my breath but perhaps eventually Washington, D.C. will get the point, and follow our lead.Bits & BytesPolice Frisking from a Distance (Technology Review)In keeping with the surveillance and Big Brother theme of today’s issue, heres a story about how the NYPD is developing a device with the Department of Defense that could essentially frisk people from up to 75 feet away. The device measures terahertz waves (the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared), which are naturally emitted by people and objects and pass through nonconducting materials like clothes, so scanners sensitive to them can reveal guns and other hidden objects. Obviously, the announcement by the NYPD that it is developing such a scanner – and plans to mount them on cars to capture images of basically everything within a certain range – has sparked privacy concerns since its general use would seem to be a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.Apple Astonishes Again (Apple)Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter yesterday, and the numbers shattered what could have been considered lofty expectations. The stock is currently up 6.3% from Tuesday’s close. Record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion smashed the Street’s expected $39.14 billion by more than 18%. Meanwhile, net income rang in at $13.06 billion, which translated into earnings of $13.87 per diluted share, or nearly 37% above the consensus estimate EPS of $10.16. Apple’s run over these past few years has been nothing short of remarkable. This is a company that now has a market capitalization over $415 billion, and it just posted quarterly revenue growth of 64% sequentially and 73% year over year. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen. Eventually, growth will slow; it has to. But that doesn’t mean that 2012 won’t turn out to be a great year for the consumer electronics juggernaut given its recent gains in smartphone market share, an announcement about the iPad 3 coming soon, the iPhone 5 perhaps arriving by summer, and an iOS-based TV launch maybe at the end of the year.Hacking the Hackers (Technology Review)An innovative security software company called Mykonos is taking a new approach to protecting PCs and websites. Instead of acting like a locked door to shut hackers out, Mykonos Software instead invites hackers in through a fake entrance and plays tricks on them until they give up. The idea is to take a lot of the automated tools hackers often use out of the game and waste the assailant’s time, thereby changing the economics of attacking websites, according to company CEO David Koretz. “We have the ability to hack the hacker,” says Koretz.
While nuclear power continues to be vilified politically, its economic realities remain unchanged. With many nations already dependent upon nuclear energy for a significant portion of their base load energy requirements and others building and planning new nuclear power plants, those economic realities point to a blossoming boom in uranium. Casey Research Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa explains it all in this interview with Uranium Investing News. While the news looks very rosy for investing in the uranium sector, not every company is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are developing now. To make the most of them, energy investors need to focus on only the best of the best players in this sector; and they need to understand the international dynamics involved. To help accomplish this, Casey Research has brought together some of the best minds in the uranium sector and natural-resource investing today, including policy makers of some of the most important countries. They include: Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, Spencer Abraham, and Rick Rule. The resulting webinar, titled The Myth of American Energy Independence: Is Nuclear the Ultimate Contrarian Investment? premiers Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. It is a must-see presentation. Learn more and sign up for the webinar now.