Listening to every word.

In my case that is usually less than 10.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) hacked the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, according to secret documents leaked to The Intercept by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

All mobile communications are private because of an encrypted connection between an individual’s cellphone and the wireless carrier’s network. The key to decrypt that communication is in every phone’s SIM card.

Once US and British agents stole the encryption keys from the SIM manufacturer, the government agencies gained the ability to secretly monitor voice and data cellular communications from 450 wireless network providers without the approval of telecom companies or foreign governments. They could intercept and decrypt all communications, if they chose to.

It would help if occasionally he would say something nice.

Barack Obama doesn’t even like America.

Rudy Giuliani is in the stocks for saying that he does not believe that President Barack Obama “loves America.” He said this at a small, private dinner for Scott Walker, who probably will not be inviting Giuliani to very many events in the near future.

Geez … Fortunately we still have ISIS.

DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat

Does this include the Obamacare taxes?

Expect many … many more protests.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ government yesterday forced through an unpopular bill imposing large-scale liberalization of the French economy without a parliamentary vote. Instead, Valls used the anti-democratic provision 49-3 of the French Constitution, which allows the executive to force the National Assembly to either adopt the bill or bring down the government.

An attack on musical instruments?

If We Decide to Keep Fannie Mae Around…

Oh please … break them up and sell them off.

I’ve repeatedly said since 2009 that the further in time we get from the crisis, the greater the probability that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would survive in some form. Such looks like an ever-increasing likelihood. I’m occasionally asked if there are any reforms that would make Fannie & Freddie acceptable. I’m tempted to say “no.”

In the spirit of lively debate, I submit the following changes to address most of the flaws in the government sponsored enterprise (GSE) model that would also allow the companies to survive in some form.

Another compromise in cyber security.

Image of tourist using navigation app on mobile phone courtesy of Shutterstock.Visa will begin asking card holders to opt in to a new service in April 2015 which it says could help reduce credit card fraud by tracking customers’ smartphones whenever they make a purchase.

Called Visa Mobile Location Confirmation, the service uses the location features of smartphones and other mobile devices to pinpoint where consumers are at the time of credit or debit card transactions.

When a cardholder’s mobile device is in the same location as the payment transaction, the issuing financial institution “can more confidently approve the transaction,” Visa said.

The software – which Visa will make available to banks and credit card issuers for use in their mobile apps – also uses a cardholder’s location to identify when they are traveling outside of their typical “home territory,” according to the Associated Press.

Another step in facial recognition.

A breakthrough in facial recognition technology means that computers will soon be able to boast greatly improved success at detecting faces in images, in spite of those faces being tilted or partially blocked.

On Tuesday, Sachin Farfade and Mohammad Saberian at Yahoo Labs in California and Li-Jia Li at Stanford University revealed a new approach to the problem of spotting faces at an angle – including upside down – even when partially occluded.

As the researchers describe in their paper, face detection has been of keen interest over the past few decades.

Good idea.

Water-storing crystals known as hydrogels can effectively deliver pesticide bait to invasive Argentine ants, quickly decimating a colony, a study finds. “When you drop hydrogels on the ground next to a colony, the ants really go crazy. It’s like a big party,” the lead author said. “This has great potential for managing invasive ants in other agricultural systems and natural environments. You could treat a whole vineyard using hydrogels.”

Hide on the Internet.

It’s become apparent that anyone – hackers or the government – could be spying on your web activities. Take back your privacy with these simple steps.

Probably since they’ve done such a wonderful job with the QE money.

Tech investors have gone to war against banks

This is pretty much all that is being talked about in the tech world.

NSA Suspected of Spreading Super-Resistant Malware

Good idea.

This Wireless Explosives Detector Is the Size of a Postage Stamp

Still one step ahead of the law.

Intuit: Anti-fraud Improvements by IRS Fuel Up To 3700 Percent Rise in Phony State Filings

Scam artists stole billions of dollars last year from the U.S. Treasury by filing phony federal tax refund requests on millions of Americans. But as Uncle Sam has made this type of fraud harder for thieves to profit from, the crooks have massively shifted their focus to conducting refund fraud at the state level. Or at least according to Intuit Inc., the makers of TurboTax: The company says it believes that shift is responsible for a whopping 3700 percent increase in fraudulent state tax refund filings this year in some states.

Household debt … still considerably better than national debt.

Limpet teeth? Who knew?

Limpet teeth might be the strongest natural material known to humans, a new study has found. Limpets — small aquatic snail-like creatures with conical shells — have teeth with biological structures so strong they could be copied to make cars, boats and planes of the future.

Going just as planned.

Dec. 26, 2014, was strike three for Pamela Weldin.

The day after Christmas, Weldin, of Minatare, Neb., had logged on to Facebook to find a message from a friend of hers. Included in the note was a link to an article from the Omaha World-Herald announcing that CoOportunity Health, a nonprofit health insurance company offering plans in Nebraska and Iowa, had been taken over by state regulators. …

…For Weldin, 58, the insurer’s liquidation marked the third time she would lose her health insurance under Obamacare, the third time she would head to to shop for coverage, and the third time she would have to purchase a brand new plan.

… as if I didn’t have enough to read …

There is another search engine that is though.

Just a few days before I wrote that article, on 11 February, user Virgil Griffith went onto the Tor-talk mailing list and announced Onion City, a Dark Web search engine for the rest of us.

What could go wrong?

Real estate investment euphoria is widespread. An asset class for which Wall Street has provided little useful information – residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) – is especially vulnerable if this euphoria is misplaced.

Let’s look at the history of the RMBS market and the fundamentals behind these securities today.

Extortion is not a deal.

Don’t count on McConnell to make a deal on immigration

Just when you thought everything was going wrong.

Play ball! #BaseballBegins today

Pitchers and catchers start reporting to camps

Wonder if any ‘feminists’ will speak up?

Perverted ISIS militants are trying to score Viagra to fuel their lust for “brutal and abnormal” sex, according to a shocking report from activists in the terror group’s main Syrian stronghold.

The supposedly ultra-conservative Muslim fundamentalists have been forcing women in the city of Raqqa to marry them and engage in savage sex acts that result in hospital treatment, the report says.

The jihadists also buy kinky lingerie — described in the report as “strange underwear” — for their reluctant brides, according to the “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently” activist group.

“A large section of ISIS members suffer from sexual anomalies and brutal instinctive desire for sex,” the group wrote on its website.

There’s still hope.

A federal judge late Monday temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive action designed to shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen wrote that 26 states that filed a lawsuit against the action would “suffer irreparable harm” without a preliminary injunction and that the constitutional question must be decided before the administration can move forward with its plans.

“Once these services are provided, there will be no effective way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube should Plaintiffs ultimately prevail on the merits,” Hanen wrote

Geez …