Archive for December, 2013

National Security Reports – December 2013 Update

Global Forecast 2014 — U.S. Security Policy at a Crossroads (CSIS); The Department of Energy’s Unclassified Cyber Security Program – 2013 (DoE, OIG); Arctic Strategy November 2013 (Department of Defense); Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study (CIA); At the N.Y. Fed: Managing the Risk of Catastrophes—Protecting Critical Infrastructure in Urban Areas; United States and Afghanistan’s Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement, November 2013 (Council on Foreign Relations); Disaster Risk Management: A Gender-Sensitive Approach is a Smart Approach (Brookings); U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2013 Annual Report to Congress; ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com; Snowden and Greenwald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets (Rolling Stone); Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations (Essential Information); and  Semantics of Cyber Warfare (Bond University).

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Economic Crisis – December 2013 Update

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Translations of Greek and Roman Authors

For those who need reliable translations of Greek and Roman writers, the following sites should prove of great value: Early Church Fathers  (from 100AD to 600AD); Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome (full text and selections from many authors); Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Greece (full text and selections from many authors); Internet Classics Archive (59 authors, 441 works); and Loeb Classical Library Books Online (hundreds of volumes); and Early Christian Writings (including Gnostic works among others).

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39 Vehicles Named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

If you are looking for the safest vehicles to lease/buy, the IIHS has just brought out its list of cars that exceeded or matched its strict criteria for crash safety.

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Major Changes to Jersey City’s Pension System

Some of the provisions of A4536 are listed below. The bill

“Raises the minimum age of eligibility for ERS’ deferred, service, or early retirement benefit from the age of 60 to the age of 65;

Increases the number of years of service necessary for service retirement from 20 years to 25 years;

Raises the number of years of service necessary for early retirement from 25 years to 30 years;

Reconfigures the retirement benefit penalty for insufficient service time from 1/12 of 1% for each month preceding age 60 to 3/12 of 1% for each month preceding age 65;

Expands the averaging period in calculating a final salary for determining retirement benefits from three years to five years; and

Maintains State-Administered Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) membership for new employees under the age of 40 who are members of PERS based on prior employment.

For current and new members of ERS, the bill makes the following changes to ERS benefits:

Reduces the percentage of the Consumer Price Index used for the calculation of cost-of-living adjustments from 100% to 50%;

Authorizes the purchase of up to three years of service credit, at full cost, for qualified employment rendered before becoming an ERS member, subject to restrictions.  Qualified employment includes public in-State employment that was eligible for credit in a State-administered retirement system or military service in the United States Armed Forces.

Changes conditions attached to member loans from ERS to comply with the federal Internal Revenue Code” (Statement)

The bill was voted out of the Assembly, passing by a 79-0-1 tally. It next goes to the Senate under S3096; it is identical in wording to the Assembly bill.

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EdTech Reports – December 2013

The State of Digital Divides from Pew Internet gives the latest information on who does and does not use the internet and why. Demographic characteristics , along with educational attainment, are among the factors that play a major role in accessing the digital world. Wireless Networks: Technological Challenges and Policy Implications shows the inherent difficulties with mobile telecommunications versus landlines: “As a result, wireless networks adopt different approaches to error correction and congestion management than do wireline networks, which results in significantly heavier network management in ways that violate the Internet’s commitment to the absence of per-flow state and its supposed adherence to the absence of prioritization.”(abstract) Does that mean that the increasing reliance on wireless devices might have an effect on provision of services to schools? A Compendium of MOOC Perspectives, Research, and Resources is pretty self-explanatory; it contains numerous current references. How “flipped classrooms” are turning the traditional school day upside down from PBS says it all, don’t you think? Penn GSE Study Shows MOOCS Have Relatively Few Active Users, With Only a Few Persisting to Course End results from tracking one million course takers enrolled in sixteen classes offered by Coursera.

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The Presidential NSA Committee Report

Called Liberty and Security in a Changing World, the report from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology calls for forty-six recommendations based upon certain core principles outlined in the beginning of this 300+page document.(14+) In essence, the NSA is to limit its data mining (27, 38); in addition, the report proposes that the NSA stop undermining encryption.(24, 220) This report comes right after a federal judge excoriated the government over its data collection, calling it a violation of the Constitution.(Klayman vs. Obama, 62)  The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post provide informative analyses.

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