Saturday, November 26, 2011

Big Brother's Tolkien Fandom, OWS Protester's Alan Moore Fandom (Link Round-Up 11/26/11)

[via MetaFilter]

Alan Moore on protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks
"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction."
Reddit users looking to create an alternate, censorship-free internet
Mesh networks are designed to allow users to connect to one another directly instead of to a centralized Internet service provider. Universities like John Hopkins and Purdue have experimented with building mesh network technologies, and the State Department and the One Laptop Per Child program have both developed their own versions of mesh networks to either circumvent censorship in foreign regimes or, in OLPC’s case, connect users who don’t have access to Internet service providers.
Pakistan closes NATO supply routes after accidental friendly fire
"This will have a catastrophic effect on Pakistan-U.S. relations. The public in Pakistan are going to go berserk on this," said Charles Heyman, senior defense analyst at British military website 
Other analysts, including Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, predicted Pakistan would protest and close the supply lines for some time, but that ultimately "things will get back to normal."
Banned neuro-toxic nerve gas used in Tahrir Square
Rashes, epileptic-type convulsions, temporary blindness and coughing up blood are among the symptoms being reported by Egyptian protesters who have fallen victim to a potentially lethal form of neuro-toxic nerve gas reportedly being deployed by security forces. 
After almost a week of protests against the ruling military junta left some 41 people dead, several sources claim scores have died from gas asphyxiation, while thousands more have received medical treatment after possibly being exposed to an agent known as CR gas.
Bankers arrested after siphoning millions of euros from Latvia, Lithuania 
Vladimir Antonov, 36, and a Lithuanian partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, 53, were detained Thursday on an arrest warrant issued by investigators probing alleged fraud and money laundering at his banks in the Baltic states, Lithuanian prosecutor Tomas Krusna told reporters.   
The Bank of Lithuania said late Thursday that his bank there, Snoras Bank, will be liquidated, calling it the best solution for country's financial system and economy, which were jolted after the bank was nationalized and its operations halted.
Palantir, the Tolkien-inspired War on Terror search engine for U.S. Intelligence groups
An organization like the CIA or FBI can have thousands of different databases, each with its own quirks: financial records, DNA samples, sound samples, video clips, maps, floor plans, human intelligence reports from all over the world. Gluing all that into a coherent whole can take years. Even if that system comes together, it will struggle to handle different types of data—sales records on a spreadsheet, say, plus video surveillance images. What Palantir (pronounced Pal-an-TEER) does, says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner (IT), is “make it really easy to mine these big data sets.” The company’s software pulls off one of the great computer science feats of the era: It combs through all available databases, identifying related pieces of information, and puts everything together in one place. 
“We were watching the government spend tens of billions on information systems that were just horrible,” Lonsdale says.“Silicon Valley had gotten to be a lot more advanced than government contractors, because the government doesn’t have access to the best engineers.”

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