NSA Installing Spyware on Laptops

Is this real life or a generic Hollywood thriller about secretive, all-powerful governments? A new report based on leaked NSA documents details how the agency intercepts laptops purchased online, re-routes them to secret warehouses, and installs spyware.

Berishafjolla/Wikimedia CommonsBerishafjolla/Wikimedia CommonsThe report comes from Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s largest news weeklies. According to the paper:

If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO [a division of the NSA responsible for hacking] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called "load stations," agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

The division tasked with installing spyware – Tailored Access Operations (TAO) – allegedly works in conjunction with the CIA and FBI to locate and ultimately spy on targets.

It is still unclear exactly who the agency is spying on: the NSA documents don’t provide information on the scope of the program or who is subject to being targeted.  In an interview with Der Spiegel, NSA officials issued a statement claiming that TAO’s "work is centered on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection." However, given the NSA’s history of dishonesty regarding its domestic surveillance, it could be premature to assume that the agency is only installing spyware on foreign targets’ devices.

One document revealed that these operations rank among the agency’s “most productive.”

These revelations come in light of a security expert’s presentation to German computer scientists on how easily the NSA could hack into iPhones and turn it into a spying device. He called it “wrist-slittingly depressing.”

NSA officials did not respond to specific questions about the agency’s practices or mission.

Earlier this week, the ACLU sued for details on the NSA’s surveillance activities and what protections it affords to Americans. 

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  • Bam!||

    Assuming the NSA is only targeting foreigners (a big assumption, as noted in the post), this is the type of spying should be doing: Targeted instead of dragnet.

  • PapayaSF||

    Exactly.

  • Arkanabar Ilarsadin||

    This is the reason that The Amnesiac Incognito Live System (TAILS) was developed and gets over 350 hits/day at Distrowatch.com. Also, wait till they start making this software standard on routers.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you don't let them spy on people, then they won't know if the person is someone who should be spied on.

  • GILMORE||

    +1 haystack with potential needles in it

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    The spyware they let you find, you mean.

  • GILMORE||

    (cue ominous soundtrack!
    BOM BOM BOM BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM)

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Without further information that suggests this program is being abused (yeah, I threw up a little when I wrote that), this seems like a perfectly legitimate spy tactic. It's what I would do if I was in the spy business and had the resources.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    They shouldn't have to do this. Archer would just go on a rampage.

  • PapayaSF||

    I've read that what they do is often really, really high-end. Things like replacing hard drive firmware, so that even reformatting the drive won't change anything. Or installing hardware spyware in a custom-made plastic case that looks just like the original.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You seem to "have read" a lot of things.

    Have you heard about them trapping the ghosts in the motherboard so they can be released out the microphone jack to give the target a heart attack?

  • PapayaSF||

    Yes, I have read lots of things, asshole, but I don't have time to provide links for everything all the time. I believe it's here in the video.

  • PapayaSF||

    And perhaps you don't know how such things work, but a piece of spy hardware does not have to be physically plugged into a computer in order to work. One placed near a motherboard can pick up useful signals. Hiding it inside the plastic of a case would do it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Which is not what the article says they're doing.

    You either have the document Der Spiegel claims to have or you have nothing. Pick one.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Damn. Now I have to burn my laptop.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Given our own sovereign habits, the resistance to using switches from the likes of Huawei doesn't seem quite so xenophobic now, does it?

  • Irish||

    Everyone at MSNBC is literally insane.

    And by the way, Ed, what's interesting, the right-wing has said, 'Look, the grandson of Mr. Robertson happens to be an adopted biracial child.' What difference does that make? The man who plunged a plunger deep into the behind of Abner Louima was himself dating a black woman when he did that heinous act. So there is no one-to-one correlation between particular domestic intimacy with a black person or a person of color and the behavior that you manifest that is either just or unjust. So all of this stuff is being brought up as a result of this.

    I don't know what it is about conservatives adopting black children that brings out the crazy in MSNBC anchors, but it is making me grin ear to ear.

  • 2ndClassProle||

    Well, when their whole world consist of the other side being racist, they go into bezerker mode when reality hit them in the face.

    Makes me smile, too.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    RIP 2013.

  • JW||

    When you think about it, we are simultaneously experiencing both a happy new year and not experiencing a happy new year, at the quantum level.

  • Dweebston||

    Brickbats and other assorted h&r revelry will ring in the first, so I can assure you we will not long be having a happy new year.

  • JW||

    Dude. You gotta get quantum.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm currently passing kidney stones and I can assure that this is NOT a happy new year. It fucking sucks, actually.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Ouch. Stay strong, brother. You will get through this.

  • Lucy121||

    Privacy is more important now than ever before. We may not be able to hide from the NSA, but we can stop using sites like Facebook and Google. Just think about it. If you care so much about your privacy, if you are outraged by all of the NSA spying, then WHY are you using facebook and google. Those companies are just as bad, if not worse, than the NSA. This is why I advocate using privacy-based sites such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, HushMail, etc.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Private companies use my data to target their advertising to my tastes, thus improving my experience while making a profit.

    The government uses my info against me.

  • ||

    Hushmail? Really?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Waaaa:

    The crisis prompted by the Ice Storm of 2013 should serve as another warning of the perilous course of human society as the extraction and burning of fossil fuels continues apace and global temperatures rise in consequence.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Are there still people pushing Climate Change? I thought that theory had been completely discredited?

  • JW||

    How can a completely non-falsifiable claim be discredited?

    Climate change: heads I win, tails I win.

  • Dweebston||

    A climate scientist and avowed skeptic of the alarmism (if not the phenomena) of global warming marries the science of climate to the science of economics.

    The result is a wordy slog (because Hayek) and a technical slog (because climate science), but a lovely departure from the consensus crowd nonetheless.

  • Dweebston||

    Reading into the comments, I came across

    Economics is largely game theory and physical sciences such as climate science do not follow game theory

    which hilariously misses both Hayek's point and Curry's synthesis, but pretty aptly captures the pretense of knowledge.

  • Ted S.||

    I thought up in Ontario they burned hydro.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The sharply vacillating temperatures we've had in the midwest and mid-atlantic are actually consistent with warming of the Pacific. They don't prove the trend of course, but it's not as simple as some think it is.

  • Agammamon||

    Try telling that to the alarmists.

  • ||

    So what are we celebrating again? Something about the Earth completing 99.939% of its orbit around the Sun?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Tuesday night.

  • ||

    It's an excuse to get drunk and do drugs and maybe get laid. Take it.

  • ||

    Well put. Although I would find drinking and trying to get laid easier if this cold I've been stuck with all day would ease up.

  • ||

    Take some pseudephedrine and some ibuprofen and have some drinks and see how you feel.

    Jesus, it's only 7:10 here. I guess I'm playing video games until it's time to go out.

  • ||

    Yeah I'm still going out later, it just sucks having a cough and runny nose.

  • ||

    Take some dextromethorphan and some diphenhydramine too, then. And at least for me, alcohol tends to alleviate a lot of symptoms.

    Damn, now I want to take some drugs. Maybe I should. A benzodiazapene would be nice...

  • William of Purple||

    Ecclesiastes 2
    1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

    4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

    10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
    My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
    11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
    everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.
  • ||

    Ecclesiastes 11:9

    Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

    Seems like a fair warning.

  • ||

    This Alka Seltzer non-drowsy cold medicine seems to be working, so I am good to go. But I'll probably be going easy on the alcohol tonight, I've been feeling foggy all day.

  • RishJoMo||

    Encrypt EVERYTHING! get to know encryption, and USE encryption!

    www.BeinAnon.tk

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    +1

  • ||

    You would say that, pedobear.

  • ||

    OT: Is Hydrogen Sonata worth reading?

    and when i say reading I mean buy and read.

  • ||

    Do you like Banks? If so, you will want to read it. It is a Banks book, and reads like one. If you are a Banks fan, you will know exactly what I mean. If you have never read Banks before, you might want to start with something like Player of Games instead.

  • ||

    I am a Banks fan but I am souring on his later works.

    The last two books before Hydrogen Sonata were horrible. Nothing like Player of Games, Use of Weapons or Inversion.

    Basically I am wondering if it is as good as his earlier stuff. Will I get anything special out of it or is it the same crap as Matter and Surface Detail?

  • ||

    If you didn't like Matter and Surface Detail you will have the same problems with Hydrogen Sonata. I liked it but I like all his stuff, but I could definitely see it was in the same vein as his latest novels.

    Read The Owner series by Neal Asher instead, or for older but great violent scifi action, read Christopher Rowley's Starhammer.

  • ||

    I just read "The Departure" and I am a bit upset about Asher's Population Bomb bullshit.

    "Oh noz 12 billion people...oh well I guess it is OK for me to kill a genocidal amount of them as they are all going to die anyway"

    How the fuck do you get to 12 billion people when according to Asher the earth's carrying capacity is 6 billion? Nevermind that 12 billion is unlikely and that the ocean, which covers 2/3rds of the planet, and Australia and the Sahara desert can be used as farmland with the type of technology described in the book. And don't tell me it is because of the tyrannical wasteful government as at least 3 times Asher wrote that even without government waste 6 billion people were going to die.

    I will admit to getting a sinful joy with all the massive murders of evil bureaucrats....but after that dessert I feel it is not meaty enough.

  • PapayaSF||

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I don't see why she's special - I assume there's some political angle somewhere given all the people who die in prison every year but will never be afforded any such privileges... but irregardless, she's out.

    The government, through the FBOP, requested her urgent release and a federal judge agreed: here's the article.

  • PapayaSF||

    Perhaps she's special because to Holder and Obama, there are "no enemies on the left."

  • JW||

    Stewart has written to the judge, saying she doesn't want to die in "a strange and loveless place" and wants to go home.

    But that's a fine ending for the people that could have been killed in the bombings she tried to facilitate.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I'm sure NSA would love to do this, but the story is a little stinky. First there's the fact that the main document they're relying on is supposedly labeled both "top secret" AND "not for foreigners", which is quite redundant and sounds like a fibber laying it on a bit thick.

    More problematic are the logistics of this supposed operation. How in the world could they do this if, for example, the targeted person paid for overnight shipping, or even 2-day shipping? There's just not enough time for the diversion. And since a laptop package is almost certainly going to have a tracking number, they're going to need random employees of the delivery company to be in on the fix.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    nuke a burrito for me at your "new year's eve party" prof

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    NYE parties are for drunks, whores, and glibsters. What a stupid holiday.

  • William of Purple||

    not invited to any party's then?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Wonder why?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Jumping to conclusions are we? I was invited to parties, just chose not to go cause I find the whole thing not entertaining at all but hoary in the extreme.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Lots of fun. Jeesh!

  • Agammamon||

    So, not invited to any parties then? Fuck, that's pathetic. Even *I* got invited to parties and I have no friends.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not sure why it's important to you whether random strangers on the internet got invited to parties, but believe what you will.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I don't know all of the top secret classifications, but this:

    "top secret" AND "not for foreigners" is likely accurate.

    Recall other docs released showing that the NSA is actively working with other intel agencies in Germany, France, and others.

    With those reciprocal agreements - the people working in IT/operations will likely interact with their international counterparts fairly consistently - including receiving the same (or close to the same) briefings, presentations, priorities, status updates, etc, etc.

    Additionally, since the NSA can only do this "legally" inside the US, and most intelligence classifications require "need to know" - there's really no reason to share this info with international counterparts. Because them knowing doesn't help in any way and each additional person who does know increases the risk of public exposure.

    So it seems logical they might have specific things labeled just like this as a reminder to those seeing it to not share with their int'l colleagues.

    As to how, even with two day shipping, they could be successful at in-transit computer modifications - for one possibility is using other data streams, they see when the target purchases the computer.

    Then they build the hacked computer while the client waits for the "build time" before shipping. Then they just intercept and replace.

    & considering what they forced computer companies to do, they can likely push UPS/Dell/others as well... so possibly much easier than that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    While that's an interesting idea, I doubt NSA has the logistical ability to have every laptop currently in production in stock just in case one of their quarries places an order. And in any case Der Spiegel's supposedly leaked documents clearly state that the shipment is intercepted, opened, and modified, not that the shipment is replaced. If those documents are wrong or fabricated, then there is no evidence for this NSA activity.

    & considering what they forced computer companies to do, they can likely push UPS/Dell/others as well... so possibly much easier than that.

    They'd have to do this with every company selling laptops (or at least most of them) and/or produce fake tracking information. That's going to require a seriously big-ass conspiracy.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    They could go to the computer, intercepting it in UPS/Fed Ex warehouses overnight while waiting to be shipped.

    Not rocket surgery.

  • PapayaSF||

    Why is fake tracking information so difficult?

    And how many different laptop cases are there these days? Not models, cases, because many models use the same case. How hard would it be to order one of each, fabricate some counterfeit cases, and wait for Achmed to order a Dell or Asus or whatever? Intercept the shipment, open the box, swap the case, reassemble, and on it goes. If I had the resources of the NSA, I'm sure I could do that.

  • IDPNDNT||

    If all else fails there's always blaming it on UPS and telling them to keep their mouths shut.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Waiting. At. Customs.

    I've had no fewer than 2 computers shipped from China (Apple often ships straight from the factory, especially custom orders) that have been held up in customs, 1 of them for many days.

  • Pi Guy||

    Well, you are the mad libertarian guy. Ergo, you're suspicious.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm surely on many lists in many places. Not because I'm dangerous or can be conceived as any kind of threat in any real sense of the word, mind you, but because I have a long paper trail of yelling and cussing about government. To the powers that be, exercising my 1A right makes me a threat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Heh. The more we discuss this the smaller the set of laptops the NSA is supposedly bugging gets. I've ordered way too many laptops in my life yet not one of them has required international shipping post-order.

  • Agammamon||

    Actually its two *separate* classifications.

    If, some time in the future the Top Secret classification were downgraded or removed it could still be NoForn.

    Confidential/Secret/Top Secret is only *one* classification system we use.

    Along with that spectrum and compartmentalization (having a Secret/Top Secret clearance doesn't get you access to *everything* at that level, some stuff is further classified under keywords you have to be authorized for) it can also be Official Use Only (for example).

  • ||

    How in the world could they do this if, for example, the targeted person paid for overnight shipping, or even 2-day shipping?

    What makes you think targets order expedited shipping often enough that it would matter?

  • Agammamon||

    I can only imagine that the overnight shipping charges to 'cave in the mountains of Afghanistan' must be mind boggling.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So we're talking about spying on foreigners only?

    You guys are racing around in circles.

    If it's only orders by foreigners or transactions crossing international borders that are affected, I'm not seeing the cause for outrage.

  • Frank_Carbonni||

    Top Secret and Not For Foreigners have separate meanings.

    Top Secret means that it's the highest level of classification.

    Not For Foreigners means that no foreigners are allowed to view the material.

    You might think the Top Secret automatically means that foreigners would be excluded from access, but that is not the case. Canadian intelligence and military officials have the blueprints for American EWS technology because of it is part of NORAD. British military officials had access to the design of American nuclear warheads during the Cold War. Israeli military officials have access to American SAM technology since there is a lot of cooperation between the US and Israel in air defense technology development.

    Something that would be restricted to Americans only would include stealth technology. Another thing would be operations in allied countries. For example if the second-in-command of Mossad is secretly working with the CIA the US would want to keep that a secret. Or if the US has tapped the phones in the Australian embassy. Some information might not be too damaging to national security so it might be given a lower classification like Confidential, but still have Not For Foreigners.

    Tulpa, this isn't exactly insider information. It's pretty well known to anyone who has basic knowledge of how intelligence agencies work. So I find it ironic that you speak so smugly on such matters when you know so little.

  • Godwin||

    NOFORN is a handling caveat, since classified material is often shared with other countries, and foreign military officers will work with the US military intelligence units/shops.

  • Godwin||

    Hmmm, I guess I need to learn to read further along before replying...

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    THis party rocks.
    Wayne's World is so cool

  • ||

    Well, I will be seeing a movie and then watching fireworks near Disneyland. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve everyone!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Well, folks, soon we will be celebrating the January 1 holiday - the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ.

    http://www.byzcath.org/

    How do you plan to celebrate? Perhaps with the help of our friend J S Bach -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdoDhgV2JKg

  • db||

    I bet most of the weirdos here will celebrate with a slab of deep dish and some ST:TNG re-runs.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Happy New Year no matter how celebrated (so long as it's NAP compliant).

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Happy New Year to you Eduard and to all H&R.

  • db||

    I think I'll go outside and fire off a mag from my M16. Should I aim straight up, or into the hillside?

  • William of Purple||

    aim at a cop's house.

  • db||

    I'd like to stay out of jail. So the hillside it is.

  • Dweebston||

    (so long as it's NAP compliant)

    What's your stance on firing off a few rounds into the air? I spent a bit earlier arguing about freefall and terminal velocity, but couldn't quite bring myself to defend the practice.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    What's terminal velocity of a bullet? I'd think it high enough to leave a mark.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Mythbusters did it a long time ago. Of the rounds tested (which included at least a 9mm and I think a rifle, but I can't recall exactly) the terminal velocity was small enough that a bullet at that speed did not penetrate a pig carcass. It was demonstrated that a bullet fired near vertical loses its spin and tumbles, rendering it largely non-lethal, though this is not a consideration for a ballistic trajectory.

  • Dweebston||

    We ended up plugging in some numbers with some major assumptions (the bullet only travels a mile high, weighs 10g) and came up with under 200J of kinetic energy, which I gather is sub-lethal for most guns. Granted, I know guns even less well than I know basic physics equations, and apparently it's vastly different if the gun is fired at an appreciable angle.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    In Wikipedia's article on the subject of terminal velocity it says that a 30.06 round has a TV of about 90 m/s, which is about 10% of the fastest muzzle velocity they list in the corresponding article. This would be an impact energy of 40.5 J (10g bullet, 90 m/s), which is only about 1% of the listed muzzle energy.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Gah, that's .30-06, of course.

  • Dweebston||

    I'll defer to you, yours sounds better. TBH until recently I'd totally bought into the notion of lethal falling bullets taking out strangers, but got to thinking about the limited mass plus the low velocity relative to being chemically propelled... something seemed off.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    The thing is that falling bullets do kill people, it's just that they're falling from lower heights and angles closer to horizontal. I would venture that this is because the drag of a bullet in such a trajectory suffers much less from drag than one than one shot straight up, and as a result it doesn't lose much of the horizontal component of its original velocity. Spin from rifling probably has a lot to do with it; this doesn't seem to be an issue for duck hunters.

    Incidentally, if it's correct the energy above from a bullet at terminal velocity is much less than that of a world-class fastball.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Either way I don't recommend it, however - but I'm pretty strict about firearm safety these days.

  • Dweebston||

    Absolutely. Even if the bullet lands safely, the neighbors flipping their curtains portend police officers and bad times for the new year.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Just one more-

    Doing some back of the envelope (literally) calculations is interesting. If we assume that the vertical component of velocity goes to terminal velocity by the time it reaches impact (regardless of angle) and that the horizontal component is constant throughout the flight, we can figure impact velocities for any angle, with a sampling as follows (angles measured from the horizontal axis):
    Muzzle velocity: 490 m/s

    0 deg: 490 m/s
    30 deg: 433 m/s
    45 deg: 357 m/s
    60 deg: 261 m/s
    75 deg: 156 m/s
    80 deg: 124 m/s
    85 deg: 100 m/s
    90 deg: 90 m/s

    Regardless of lethality, I would not choose to take a bullet impact at any of these speeds.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I didn't follow my own assumptions for the zero degree shot. If I had it would have been 498 m/s, which would only hold for a time of flight exceeding three seconds.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If we assume that the vertical component of velocity goes to terminal velocity by the time it reaches impact (regardless of angle) and that the horizontal component is constant throughout the flight

    Why would we assume either of those things? Terminal velocity is pretty high for something as aerodynamic as a bullet so gravity needs to be acting on it for a long time after the trajectory peaks. Plus air resistance is going to have a huge impact in the horizontal direction since that's where most of the initial velocity is.

  • Dweebston||

    Forget about it, Tulpa. It's napkin math.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Ptshaw. I just use my sleeve.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    90 meter/second = 201 mile/hour

    With the mass of a 30.06 bullet, that's gotta be damn near lethal. If not, it's gonna leave a hell of a mark.

  • Dweebston||

    Probably, but keeping in mind the mass of the object, the actual kinetic force imparted is pretty low. Maybe not enough to break a car window, much less punch through skull. Xenocles seems much better versed in the physics than I am.

    Speaking of which, do you post over at Popehat, X?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That's me.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Wiki says 10 grams for the bullet. I'm sleepy, but as far as I can tell that's an energy (.5*m*v^2) of 40.5 J (because 10 g = 0.01 kg). That's a shockingly tiny amount of energy compared to many other impacts known to be survivable (like a fastball, figured at 450 J for 100 mph). Shot placement always counts, though, and I have not accounted for things like the aspect of the bullet, which could affect penetrating ability.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    It really is getting late. Eyes are blurry and I can see now I misread the muzzle velocity, which is in fact 890 m/s.

    Anyway, you can re-run the numbers if you wish as necessary. Sqrt(90^2 + (890 cos(angle))^2) would be the formula.

  • Dweebston||

    Jesus, those numbers get... expeditiously large with only small increments (declinations?) in angle.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's a shockingly tiny amount of energy compared to many other impacts known to be survivable (like a fastball, figured at 450 J for 100 mph).

    The fastball's impact is spread over a much larger area, which is key. Similarly, an 18 wheeler (80,000lb ~ 36,200 kg) travelling at 1 MPH (0.45 m/s) has about 3620 J of KE, which is pretty close to the muzzle KE of 30-06. Obviously getting hit by a very slow 18 wheeler is far less damaging than taking a 30-06 at point blank range.

  • Dweebston||

    But the comparison is between muzzle velocity and terminal velocity of an identical object, which makes the KE measurements relevant.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Er, I was talking about the comparison between fastball and bullet.

  • Dweebston||

    Right, that's trivia.

  • ||

    I don't have any math handy, but we had people die in sector from falling rounds every time anything happened in Iraq. When they won the Asia Cup, one of our guys was in a shower trailer, and a round came through the roof and went through his hand.

  • Ted S.||

    I presume everybody will be rooting for Michigan State to win the Rose Bowl? :-)

  • William of Purple||

    and Arsenal and the Red Wings?

  • db||

    I'd love to see a hockey team play a soccer team at just about anything. The carnage would be sweet.

  • William of Purple||

    Walcott flattened by Bertuzzi at the blue line .. Samuelsson takes a shot, Sagna dives, and past Szczesny for the goal!

  • Dweebston||

  • np||

    Regarding the idea this is legitimate just because it's targeted. It is not. It is not even ethical. By what right do they have to violate the property of others? People advocating this have a totally statist mindset. They are advocating that some groups of people be given powers beyond rights that everyone as individuals have.

    The only way such an act is justified is if the target himself has violated the rights of others. Essentially the act would be in pursuit of restitution (which includes more than monetary compensation). However, what if the NSA or whoever does this was wrong? Would they not be criminals themselves? Ah, but you say bu, but.. but how else could they do their job? I should remind you that a job that violates rights, or specifically individual liberty, is never a legitimate job. The answer is all acts government take would be speculative. Why make an exception for government?

    What does targeted, local or foreign, have to do with anything?

    If you think I stole your TV and bust down my doors, and it turns out you were right, then you were justified. BUT if you busted down my doors and it turns out you were wrong, then you yourself have just committed a crime. It doesn't matter if you're an agent of the state.

  • anarch||

    restitution (which includes more than monetary compensation)

    In what more than monetary compensation would restitution consist? (Not a hostile question.)

  • np||

    The entire ANT catalog of backdoors and devices is here: http://leaksource.wordpress.co.....-firmware/

  • PapayaSF||

    Attention, Tulpa! See especially: HOWLERMONKEY, IRATEMONK, JUNIORMINT, MAESTRO-II, TRINITY, SURLYSPAWN, COTTONMOUTH-I (and -II and -III), and RAGEMASTER.

    Jerk.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Justice Sotomayor, who is scheduled to drop the new year ball, has enjoined the HHS mandate in a Colorado case. Happy New Year, indeed!

  • Dweebston||

    Buzzfeed covers it, with predictable commentary.

    Katie Watkins
    Has anyone involved in this considered that "birth control" isn't just for controlling birth? I take it to control my chronic migraine and would hate for someone else to use their "religious freedom" to refuse to cover it.

    Yep. Let's overturn the first amendment in favor of the latest amendment: no employer shall fail to cover an employee's birth control to safeguard against migraines.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    But then a Jehovah's Witness employer could refuse to cover blood transfusions.

  • Dweebston||

    Let them take it to court and suss it out. Better yet, let's divorce employers from health insurance altogether rather than compromise one of our foundational premises.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Don't ever say that again. The world is not ready for such... such dangerous nonsense.

  • Dweebston||

    Well, divorce is a contentious issue.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Don't most plans that object to contraception cover it when indicated for other problems?

  • ||

    It's hilarious how clear Tulpy-poo makes it that he has no idea what he's talking about.

    Happy New Year everybody.

  • Redmanfms||

    Yes, it is.

    I'm still perplexed that people respond to him or Bo-Bo. Tulpa and Bo-Bo come here to argue, even about things they know nothing about.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Amazing that no one can actually argue against my points when I know so little about what I'm talking about.

    Still waiting for someone to explain how NSA is bugging a laptop that I get overnight shipping on, and providing fake tracking info without requiring a big-ass conspiracy including employees at every level of the package carrier. Maybe I'm wrong and it's impossible to get a laptop via expedited shipping?

  • William of Purple||

    I've been drunk for 100% of 2014
    Good start!

  • Hyperion||

    Feliz Ano Novo, amigos.

  • Dweebston||

    Prosit Neujahr! according to google.

  • Hyperion||

    You one those fureners or sumthin? We don't take kindly round here...

  • Hyperion||

    Anyway, I don't have any idea how to pronounce that second word..., is it like 'new'-'jar'? What language is that?

  • Dweebston||

    I punched in the German translation. I took a few years in high school and kann ein bissien verstehen, but less and less as the jahren go by. Someday.

    I'm guessing it's close to newyar, if memory serves.

  • Hyperion||

    Strange that English is actually supposed to be Germanic in origin, doesn't sound remotely similar.

  • Dweebston||

    See, I think it's all appropriation and a bizarre combination of freewheeling grammatical structures and bizarre stickler rules that makes English sui generis among Western languages. I'm not at all qualified to articulate an opinion on the subject, but German impressed on me the ease of regimenting syntax and concatenating nouns, neither of which English excels at. Their only pitfall, at least as far as I got, was sticking to gendered articles, something I despised then and now.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Something happened in 1066 that had something to do with that.

    Old English, which was closer to the German languages of the time, is essentially a foreign language for a modern English speaker. The classification of modern English as "Germanic" is a result of linguists' inflexible classification schemes which can't handle multiple inheritance.

  • Dweebston||

    Well, that makes the German linguistic ancestry seem a lot less... of anything.

    Taxonomy of any stripe seems like a subject for pedants. I give up.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well, there is a lot of Germanic stuff in English. A more accurate taxonomy would cast English as "Romance-Germanic" to indicate the heavy French influence.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Happy New Year MSTers.

  • Dweebston||

    Y tu, from Nuevo México. Land of entrapment enchantment!

  • Hyperion||

    I am the last one standing, yo wussies of the world! Everyone has crashed on me... and so .... I drink alone!

  • Floridian||

    I'm still standing but I don't think it counts since I'm at work. GAWD I hate being on call during the holidays.

  • ||

    I just got home and I'm completely sober.

  • ||

    I'm still standing! There can be only one!

    Naw, I cheated, it's 10 am here.

  • C. Anacreon||

    You're just a piker.
    I'm still up in the continental USA.
    Of course it's only 0130 here, not really that late for NYE.

  • ||

    Well, apparently you are the winner. Please accept this laurel and a hearty handshake.

  • ||

    Wow, I just now realized that was a Laurel and Hardy reference.

  • DWC||

    Here is your new fucking internet age where the free exchange of information changes everything for the good.

  • ||

    Here's a 30C3 talk by Jacob Appelbaum which covers this in part, as well as a whole lot of other NSA electronics exploits.

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