Archive for June 2013

collecting intelligence on groups or individuals that pose problem

June 28, 2013

France also has “little ears” in order to swipe a wide range of informations through a keywords filtering system

This system is operated by the General Department for Foreign Security (DGSE)

France is not part of the Anglo-Saxon Echelon program

With the French system, everything is likely to be scrutinized: phone calls, emails, text messages

The communications taking place in the country are not affected.

The French philosophy is to collect intelligence on groups or individuals that pose problem, not to listen to anyone.

interception of private correspondence on the Internet or mobile networks are subject to strict supervision

2 kinds of the claims:

– those made in the context of a criminal investigation

– the administrative interceptions carried out on behalf of the intelligence services, through their ministry.

the administrative interceptions are performed by the Inter-ministry control group (GIC).

they are authorized by Matignon if they involve the national security, the safeguard of the essential elements of the scientific and economic potential of France, or the prevention of:

– terrorism,

– crime

– organized delinquency

– restoration or maintenance of dissolved political groups

in the latter context, the Central Department of Home Intelligence (DCRI) may use wiretaps to identify and dismantle potential terrorist cells

Sometimes the DCRI enlists the help of the DGSE, which has its own listening system. The latter is the Foreign Intelligence Service. It has a major center of tapping in Domme, Dordogne, and multiple antennas installed overseas and in several African countries linked to France by defense agreements such as Djibouti.



So Roy Lichtenstein is now a “classic”

June 26, 2013

Today Roy Lichtenstein is considered as one of the “stars” of the pop movement as well as a great master of American painting.

But after a few years performing to the forefront of pop art, Lichtenstein goes well beyond.

It was quickly seen as a postmodern artist since he cited in his works the artists and styles of art history

Then, in the last years of his life, returning to the kinds of naked and landscape, it became almost a tradition painter.

So Roy Lichtenstein is now a “classic”

But what makes the strength of his art  is also the amused distance, sometimes critical without becoming cynical, he held both on himself and on arts, from its beginnings to the end of his life.


more long-haul, full-truckload drivers quit every year than there are trucks of that type on the road

June 26, 2013
a new approach to organize and route truck transportation that could save millions of dollars, improve the quality of life for thousands of truck drivers and make freight transportation far more efficient.
In truck transportation, some of the existing approaches include:
– “point to point,” in which one driver stays with a full load all the way to its often-distant destination;
– “hub and spoke” systems in which less-than-full loads are changed at selected points;
– and “relay” networks in which the drivers change but the load stays on the truck.
None of these systems by themselves are ideal for long-haul transport.

Some truck drivers often spend two to three weeks on the road between visits back home.

This difficult lifestyle often leads them to quit their job as a result.

That turnover problem is sufficiently severe that more long-haul, full-truckload drivers quit every year than there are trucks of that type on the road.

Disillusionment with existing approaches led to a shortage of 125,000 truck drivers in 2011
The hub and spoke system is among the most popular with drivers because they get home much more frequently, but it can be costly and inefficient for full-truckload transportation. Relay networks make sense in theory but are difficult to implement.
The new approach combines the relay system and the point-to-point system for full-truckload transport.
a new mathematical approach to optimize the design of the dispatching system for the movement of goods and to minimize the impact on drivers:
Compared to point-to-point, this system should cut the length of trips a driver makes by about two-thirds, and get drivers back to their homes much more often. It can also keep loads moving while drivers rest, and because of that save significant amounts of money on the number of trucks needed to move a given amount of freight.
The computer optimization determines the best way to dispatch loads and tells where to locate relay points, and how different loads should be routed through the relay network


the sad memory of Fantine from Les Miserables is back

June 25, 2013

Struggling against the crisis in Spain, some women sell their hair to supplement their income.

A bitter taste of deja vu where the sad memory of Fantine from Les Miserables is back.

Victor Hugo was inspired by the news items of his time.

In a country like Spain where the painful dreams of Providence disintegrate in front of the unfulfilled promises of liberalism, one can find an echo of the indictment of the writer concerning the inheritance of poverty and women.

As if replaying the same story in the heart of our liberal democracies, the same tragedy that combines social law and moral law in a bad way, extends its shadow again.

The same misery of all time, forces women to sell shares of themselves.


Saying, “There goes the zebra” while visiting the zoo helps a child learn the word “zebra” faster than saying, “Let’s go to see the zebra.”

June 24, 2013

By using words to reference objects in the visual environment, parents can help young children learn new words

About the quality of non-verbal clues to word meaning during interactions between parents and children learning to speak:

saying, “There goes the zebra” while visiting the zoo helps a child learn the word “zebra” faster than saying, “Let’s go to see the zebra.”

Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later

Children’s vocabularies vary greatly in size by the time they enter school

preschool vocabulary is a major predictor of subsequent school success

the number of words youngsters hear greatly influences their vocabularies

Parents with higher socioeconomic status—those with higher income and more education—typically talk more to their children and accordingly boost their vocabularies

that social economic status did not have an impact on quality. Parents of lower social economic status were just as likely to provide high-quality experiences for their children as were parents of higher status

the number of words parents used was not related to the quality of the verbal exchanges

how much parents talk to their children (quantity), and how parents use words in relation to the non-verbal environment (quality) provided different kinds of input into early language development.

parents who talk more are, by definition, offering their children more words, and the more words a child hears, the more likely it will be for that child to hear a particular word in a high-quality learning situation,

higher-income families’ vocabulary advantage comes from a greater quantity of input, which leads to a greater number of high-quality word-learning opportunities

Making effective use of non-verbal cues may be a good way for parents to get their children started on the road to language



LIA: its high-powered computing machine is a delight for young InfoSec engineers

June 23, 2013

France now has the means for launching computer attacks, that is to say the ability to destroy or cripple computers and networks considered hostile. And not just to penetrate them for purposes of espionage. This is called “lutte informatique active” (for active cyber-war): LIA.

LIA is entrusted to the DGSE (General Directorate for External Security) and the armed forces, who have pooled their resources.

The technical direction of the DGSE has one of the most powerful computers in Europe.

Their installation, in Alluets-le-Roi (Yvelines, near Paris), needed to divert an electrical power line, to prevent short-circuits in the surrounding villages.

This high-powered computing machine is a delight for young engineers, recruited from outside schools for contracts of three or six years, before being hired by the private sector.

Within the administration of Defence, where thousands of jobs are removed, because of the economic crisis, the staff of engineers working at cyberdefence tasks increase of 350 over the next military planning law (2014-2019) with a budget of about 250 million.

Abroad, only two series of cyber attacks are relatively documented. Those conducted by the United States during the Olympic Games against Iranian nuclear facilities, with the invaluable assistance of the Israeli services. And those carried out in retaliation for the summer of 2012, by the cyber branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against Saudi Aramco.



Despite all the IT security risks, people still are better off with than without their medical devices

June 23, 2013
malicious actors can gain access to devices ranging from pacemakers to insulin pumps, with potentially fatal results
The US Food and Drug Administration this month warned manufacturers to step up their vigilance, saying it has learned of “cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents that could directly impact medical devices or hospital network operations.”
Officials say they know of no deliberate hacking of medical devices.
implantable devices like cardiac defibrillators, which could be reprogrammed by hackers who get into system’s wireless network.
the greater risk is from malware that accidentally gets into a device rather than the attacks in fictionalized programs
from a range of 10 to 15 meters (30 to 50 feet) the credentials needed to interrogate the individual implants remotely, could be retrieved.
in addition to implanted devices, hospital equipment such as monitoring systems, scanners and radiation equipment are connected to networks which could have lax security, creating similar security holes. Some heart and drug monitoring systems use open Wi-Fi connections that can be hacked
The vast majority of medical devices in hospitals I’ve been to use Windows XP or Windows 95. These are extremely vulnerable to computer malware
Attacks or insertion of malware could affect things like radiation therapy, or devices which mix nutrients for intravenous delivery
a strategy just based on antivirus or firewalls could be insufficiently effective.
Despite all the risks, people still are better off with than without these devices.
The chance of a targeted malicious attack against someone’s medical device is extremely low, and the last thing we want is for people to lose faith in these life saving devices