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Daily Archives: September 11, 2015

NH Public Library retracts access to TOR after DHS intervention

techdirt – First Library To Support Tor Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email –  “Since Edward Snowden exposed the extent of online surveillance by the U.S. government, there has been a surge of initiatives to protect users’ privacy. But it hasn’t taken long for one of these efforts — a project to equip local libraries with technology supporting anonymous Internet surfing — to run up against opposition from law enforcement. In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations. Soon after state authorities received an email about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security. “The Department of Homeland Security got in touch with our police department,” said Sean Fleming, the library director of the Lebanon Public Libraries. After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project. “Right now we’re on pause,” said Fleming. “We really weren’t anticipating that there would be any controversy at all.” He said that the library board of trustees will vote on whether to turn the service back on at its meeting on Sept. 15. Used in repressive regimes by dissidents and journalists, Tor is considered a crucial tool for freedom of expression and counts the State Department among its top donors. But Tor has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement; National Security Agency documents made public by Snowden have revealed the agency’s frustration that it could only identify a “very small fraction” of Tor users…”

New Blood Pressure Findings from Landmark NIH Study

NIH News release: “More intensive management of high blood pressure, below a commonly recommended blood pressure target, significantly reduces rates of cardiovascular disease, and lowers risk of death in a group of adults 50 years and older with high blood pressure. This is according to the initial results of a landmark clinical trial sponsored by… Continue Reading

Bing Translator

“Microsoft Translator is built on more than a decade of natural-language research at Microsoft. Rather than writing hand-crafted rules to translate between languages, modern translation systems approach translation as a problem of learning the transformation of text between languages from existing human translations and leveraging recent advances in applied statistics and machine learning. So-called “parallel… Continue Reading

IEA releases Oil Market Report for September

News release 11 September 2015 “The latest tumble in the price of oil, which hit a six-year low in August, is expected to cut non-OPEC supply in 2016 by nearly 0.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) – the biggest decline in more than two decades, the IEA Oil Market Report for September informed subscribers. Lower output in the United… Continue Reading

Former CBO Director on Dynamic Scoring and Budget Estimates

“Dynamic scoring”: Why and how to include macroeconomic effects in budget estimates for legislative proposals by: Douglas W. Elmendorf “Including macroeconomic effects in budget estimates for certain legislative proposals would improve the accuracy of those estimates and would provide important information about the economic effects of those proposals. Moreover, if certain key conditions were satisfied,… Continue Reading

Paper – Crisis in Student Loans

A crisis in student loans? How changes in the characteristics of borrowers and in the institutions they attended contributed to rising loan defaults. Adam Looney, U.S. Treasury Department; Constantine Yannelis, Stanford University, September 2015. “This paper examines the rise in student loan delinquency and default drawing on a unique set of administrative data on federal… Continue Reading