The Hacking Blame Game, Spying TVs & How the Sun Could Hurt Fossil Fuels: Feb. 9, 2014‏

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Who’s Really Benefiting from the Alleged Chinese Hack Attacks by Curt Hopkins
The news that hackers stole 80 million people’s data from health insurer Anthem quickly led to the blame game, with favorite villain China making an early appearance. Just as swiftly, the government sprang into action to exploit the headlines and rally support for a bigger, more powerful security-industrial complex.

WHO

Brian Williams and the God Complex
Ken Auletta ponders Brian Williams’ decision to take himself of the air for a couple days while the dust settles around his cloudy memories of the Iraq War. Auletta suspects Williams could ultimately survive this scandal if it is contained to the helicopter tale. The real problem, according to Auletta, is the “networks’ marketing machines” which promote “their anchors as God-like figures” … and the way that transforms anchors into legends in their own minds.

The Democrats’ Dick Cheney
Politico profiles Obama’s Defense Secretary-designate Ashton Carter—a believer in Cheney’s 1% Doctrine who is often described as the Democrats’ “Dr. Doom.” If confirmed, Carter will take the helm of the Pentagon in the midst of growing crises—from Ukraine to the Islamic State to Yemen and the Horn of Africa. In hearings last week, Carter supported arming Ukraine. The changing of the guard at the Pentagon could portend a shift in Administration policy toward Russia. If nothing else, the coming of Carter—who holds a Ph.D. in nuclear physics—is a good sign for the nuclear weapons business. Carter is “a strong believer in a safe, secure and reliable nuclear arsenal.”

WHAT

HSBC Files Show How Swiss Bank Helped Clients Dodge Taxes and Hide Millions
The banking world is reeling from the impact of leaked secret account files from the Swiss arm of financial giant HSBC. The leak revealed questionable practices that included hiding money for dictators, drug dealers, arms dealers, politicians and celebrities. The total kept out of the reach of investigators and tax authorities by HSBC is somewhere north of $100 billion. The story was broken by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in cooperation with its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity, and its media partner, The Guardian newspaper. Stay tuned … the fallout is just beginning.

Samsung’s Smart TVs Are Collecting And Storing Your Private Conversations
It seems that while you are watching your “Smart TV” … it’s listening to you. Smart TVs are basically data collection devices, but fears that they are spies in your living room have been widely dismissed by the industry. Now, Samsung has let the cat out of the bag. Its privacy policy states quite plainly that their Smart TV collects and transmits your voice commands “to a third-party service that converts speech to text.” The South Korean manufacturer also warns users: “If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

WHY

Is Solar The Next Shale?
Against the backdrop of a declining oil market, lower coal production and fears of a failing shale boom, a new study by influential energy consulting firm Wood MacKenzie has determined that “no other technology is closer to transforming power markets than distributed and utility-scale solar.” The biggest impact could be on wholesale power markets, which rely on oil and gas for generation. The fear is that solar will have a “double whammy effect” because it reduces both the price and quantity of power sold by fossil fuel-powered plants. Here comes the sun. And it’s more than alright.

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