On Friday, Wired Magazine posted an article about how to equip your cat to scout out free Wi-Fi in your neighborhood. Some very smart people simply have too much time on their hands.
The article reports:
Late last month, a Siamese cat named Coco went wandering in his suburban Washington, DC neighborhood. He spent three hours exploring nearby backyards. He killed a mouse, whose carcass he thoughtfully brought home to his octogenarian owner, Nancy. And while he was out, Coco mapped dozens of his neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks, identifying four routers that used an old, easily-broken form of encryption and another four that were left entirely unprotected.
Unbeknownst to Coco, he’d been fitted with a collar created by Nancy’s granddaughter’s husband, security researcher Gene Bransfield. And Bransfield had built into that collar a Spark Core chip loaded with his custom-coded firmware, a Wi-Fi card, a tiny GPS module and a battery—everything necessary to map all the networks in the neighborhood that would be vulnerable to any intruder or Wi-Fi mooch with, at most, some simple crypto-cracking tools.
Obviously, a wandering cat can pick up more than fleas.
Seriously, this is one of many reasons that your home Wi-Fi network should have a password.
I think cynicism might be popular right now. That’s not really the problem–the problem is that it is justifiable. Yesterday Big Government posted an article on a new crony capitalism scandal that is breaking. This scandal is a further development in the LIghtSquared scandal I wrote about initially on September 17 (rightwinggranny). My initial problem with the scandal was that it endangered our soldiers, but it seems that there is a whole lot more to it than that.
The article at Big Government reports:
Harbinger Capital Partners LLC hedge fund just acknowledged its highly political founder Phillip Falcone and other key executives have received “Wells Notices”. Such communications are normally sent by the Securities & Exchange Commission to a target for fraud just before the Justice Department launches a civil and or criminal case. Although the Wells Notice appears to relate to allegations that Mr. Falcone used his hedge fund customers cash as his personal slush fund; an indictment of Mr. Falcone will also inflame the swirling crony capital investigation by the Congress of White House pay-to-play donations in support of a $14 billion scheme to siphon off part of the U.S. military and civilian Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)’s dedicated wireless bandwidth by a start-up company Mr. Falcone controls, called LightSquared.
There are a lot of layers to this scandal, and I suggest that you follow the link and read the article at Big Government, but I will attempt to highlight it here. LightSquared was going to create a new wireless network from an area of bandwidth on the fringe of the safety zones for military and civilian GPS’s. Obviously GPS coordinates are vital to our military. After corporate officers made large donations to Democrat organizations in 2010, the bandwidth standards were relaxed enough for their project to move forward. There were Congressional hearings to determine whether the project would endanger our military, and there were some questions as to whether corporate executives’ testimonies were influenced by the White House.
The article at Big Government concludes:
With Phillip Falcone potentially about to do the perp walk and Congress already geared up for crony capitalist investigations of Solyndra and MF Global; the White House and several of the Executive Department agencies may have a very busy schedule over the next few months trying to figure out what they didn’t know and when they didn’t know about LightSquared. The miraculous timing of the release of this crucifying technical report will inflame Congressional suspicions that only crony capitalism could have allowed a proposal that would have disrupted navigation systems on cars, boats, tractors and planes to come so close to approval.
Washington is not Chicago. It’s time to vote out the people who are trying to make it Chicago.
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On Thursday The Daily Beast posted a story about a Congressional investigation into a satellite broadband company named LightSquared. On Friday, Big Government carried the story. The question involved in the investigation is whether or not the White House pressured a Air Force General to change his testimony before Congress to help a corporation that happened to be a large democrat party donor.
The Daily Beast reports:
According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, officials said.
Big Government supplies some of the specifics:
Gen Shelton told members of Congress that the GPS satellite constellation operates in a “quiet neighborhood” in terms of bandwidth, and it’s this lack of interference that helps shield the GPS system from harmful interference in its critical operations. The LightSquared project would be the equivalent of a rock band moving into the neighborhood and blasting its music. All the testing the military did on LightSquared’s systems indicated major disruptions in the GPS system.
The Daily Beast further reports:
The White House confirmed Wednesday that its Office of Management and Budget suggested changes to the general’s testimony but insisted such reviews are routine and not influenced by politics. And it said Shelton was permitted to give the testimony he wants, without any pressure.
The fact that the General was asked to alter his testimony at all in a way that could put the American military at risk is a disgrace. Crony capitalism is becoming a serious problem in this White House. The voters are beginning to make it clear that Chicago politics is not appreciated in Washington.