Black Ops. Should we be worried?

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Here’s what the public is allowed to know:

  1. The NSA, a Defense Department agency created in 1952, falls under the category of a “black” program in the federal budget, a term applied to classified efforts. It’s assumed the annual budget is somewhere around 10 US billion dollars. (others say it could be closer to 30 billion)
  2. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT).
  3. The NSA’s domestic spying program, known in official government documents as the “President’s Surveillance Program,” (“The Program”) was implemented by President George W. Bush shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
  4. When the NSA’s spying program was first exposed by the New York Times in 2005, President Bush admitted to a small aspect of the program—what the administration labeled the “Terrorist Surveillance Program”—in which the NSA monitored, without warrants, the communications of between 500-1000 people inside the US with suspected connections to Al Qaeda. But other aspects of the Program were aimed not just at targeted individuals, but perhaps millions of innocent Americans never suspected of a crime.
  5. Telecommunications companies also allowed the NSA to install sophisticated communications surveillance equipment in secret rooms at key telecommunications facilities around the country. This equipment gave the NSA unfettered access to large streams of domestic and international communications in real time—what amounted to at least 1.7 billion emails a day, according to the Washington Post. The NSA could then data mine and analyze this traffic for suspicious keywords, patterns, and connections. Again, all of this was done without a warrant in violation of federal law and the Constitution.
  6. The Washington Post was the first journalist to report on Snowden’s documents. He said the U.S. government urged him not to specify by name which companies were involved, but Gellman decided that to name them “would make it real to Americans.”[117] Reports also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ.[115][118] The initial reports included details about the NSA call database, Boundless Informant, and of a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand the NSA millions of Americans’ phone records daily,[119] the surveillance of French citizens’ phone and Internet records, and those of “high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.”[120][121][122] XKeyscore, an analytical tool that allows for collection of “almost anything done on the internet,” was described by The Guardian as a program that shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements: “I, sitting at my desk [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”[123]

    The NSA’s top-secret black budget, obtained from Snowden by The Washington Post, exposed the successes and failures of the 16 spy agencies comprising the U.S. intelligence community,[124] and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. private tech companies for clandestine access to their communications networks.[125] The agencies were allotted $52 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.

The above information is from various sources on the internet and reveals the extent to which the United States of America will go to protect its citizens. Whether you agree or not, there are people who have made it their life-long work to keep America safe from harm. The author of the Code Raven Series believes that one of these people is a PATRIOT named Luke Raven. Real life is often stranger than fiction.

If you’re curious how this fictional character began his career, read Code Raven. It’s free for the US and the UK this week on Amazon. There are five novellas follow in the series and a sixth novel will be out fall of 2018.

Disclaimer: Of course, this author states emphatically that the entire Raven Group prequel and the ensuing series of novellas are works of fiction. Any resemblance to characters living or dead is entirely coincidental. 

CODE RAVEN-2

The Founders Of The World’s Five Largest Companies All Follow The 5-Hour Rule

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Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Warren Buffett. Jeff Bezos. Larry Page. They are all polymaths too.

by Michael Simmons, Serial Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author, Contributor To Fortune, Forbes, HBR, Time, & Many More

(reblog from Thrive Global)

The founders of the five largest companies in the world — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, and Jeff Bezos — all share two uncommon traits. After studying self-made billionaires for many years now, I believe that these two traits are responsible for a lot of their wealth, success, impact, and fame. In fact, I put so much faith in these two traits that I’ve used them in my own life to start companies, be a better writer, be a better husband, and achieve financial security.

Here are the two traits:

  1. Each of them is a voracious learner.
  2. Each of them is a polymath.

Let’s unpack these two terms, and learn a few simple tips for using them in your own life.

First, the definitions. I define a voracious learner as someone who follows the 5-hour rule — dedicating at least five hours per week to deliberate learning. I define a polymath as someone who becomes competent in at least three diverse domains and integrates them into a skill set that puts them in the top 1% of their field. If you model these two traits and you take them seriously, I believe they can have a huge impact on your life and really accelerate your success toward your goals. When you become a voracious learner, you compound the value of everything you’ve learned in the past. When you become a polymath, you develop the ability to combine skills, and you develop a unique skill set, which helps you develop a competitive advantage.

By Bill Gates’ own estimate, he’s read one book a week for 52 years, many of them having nothing to do with software or business. He also has taken an annual two-week reading vacation for his entire career. In a fascinating 1994 Playboy interview, we see that he already thought of himself as a polymath:

PLAYBOY: Do you dislike being called a businessman?

GATES: Yeah. Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking. Business isn’t that complicated. I wouldn’t want to put it on my business card.

PLAYBOY: What, then?

GATES: Scientist. Unless I’ve been fooling myself. When I read about great scientists like, say, Crick and Watson and how they discovered DNA, I get a lot of pleasure. Stories of business success don’t interest me in the same way.

The fact that Gates considers himself a scientist is fascinating given that he dropped out of college and had spent his whole life in the software industry at that point.

Interestingly, Elon Musk doesn’t consider himself a businessman either. In this recent CBS interview, Musk says he thinks of himself as more of a designer, engineer, technologist, and even wizard.

The list goes on. Larry Page has been known to spend time talking in depth with everyone from Google janitors to nuclear fusion scientists, always on the lookout for what he can learn from them.

Warren Buffett has pinpointed the key to his success this way: “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

Jeff Bezos has built his whole company around learning on a massive scale via experimentation and has also been an avid reader his whole life.

Finally, Steve Jobs famously combined various disciplines and looked at it as Apple’s competitive advantage, going so far as to say:

“Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that makes our hearts sing.”

And, of course, the founders of these five companies aren’t the only massively successful individuals who share these two traits. As I’ve written about before, if we expanded the list to a sample of other self-made billionaires, we quickly see Oprah Winfrey, Ray Dalio, David Rubenstein, Phil Knight, Howard Marks, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Charles Koch, and many others share similar habits.

Why would some of the busiest people in the world invest their most precious resource — time — into learning about topics seemingly unconnected to their fields, like fusion power, font design, biographies of scientists, and doctors’ memoirs?

Each of them commands organizations of thousands of the smartest people in the world. They’ve delegated almost every task in their lives and businesses to the best and brightest. So why have they held on to this intense amount of learning?

After writing several articles attempting to answer these questions, this is what I’ve ultimately come to:

At the highest levels, learning isn’t something you do to prepare for your work. Learning is the most important work. It is the core competency to build. It’s the thing you never delegate. And it’s one of the ultimate drivers of long-term performance and success.

As I came to this realization, I wondered: Why isn’t it obvious that we should all become voracious learners and polymaths throughout our whole lives given that we live in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, advanced-knowledge economy? Why does the average person think of deliberate learning as an optional thing to do on the side?

I think it’s because of three strong messages we’ve all been taught — in school, in college, and in general society — that may have been true in the past but are definitely no longer true. Here’s how these three lies break down:

  • Lie #1: Disciplines are the best way to categorize knowledge.
  • Lie #2: Most learning happens in school/college.
  • Lie #3: You must pick one field and specialize in it.

These beliefs are so insidious that they’ve destroyed our intuition about learning and knowledge, and they ultimately hold us back from creating the success we want. If we can become aware of them, we can rectify them, just as the most successful people in the world have done.

To continue with this insightful article please go to THRIVE GLOBAL (Arianna Huffington founder of  HuffPost) for more!

 

Redefining your Relationship with Phone

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Have you ever left the house without your cell phone and gone completely crazy about it?

This is a scary good blog… I especially loved #5 Practice trial separations!

Read the entire article by following the link at the bottom. Thanks to Himanshi Shukla and her blog The Caged Bird Sings. 

Here’s a checklist to give you something to think about.

  1. Reframe the way you think about it: Most of us think that mobile phones are status symbols, cool, trending, a pleasure gaining or time pass machine. After a tiresome, boring day at the office, you think that phone lets you relax. When you don’t give enough time to your phone, anxiety surrounds you. All you need to feed now onwards is “spending more time on my life”, instead of “spending less time with my phone”.
  2. Ask yourself what you want to pay attention to. The people who design apps desperately want your attention. Have you ever wondered, why so many social media apps are free? It’s because the advertisers are the customers, and it is your attention that is being sold. Now ask yourself, what’s your priority in life and where do you want to direct your attention.
  3. Know that you’re a master and not a slave: A master is one who can have complete control over his instincts, while a slave is controlled by his instincts. If you can understand this difference, you’ll not waste time on social media, despite having apt data services and all the apps on your phone. Remember you have to use your phone and not get used to it or by it.
  4. Create speed bumps: It’s amazing how we often pick up our phones “just to check”, then look up 20 minutes later wondering how time flies. One solution is to create “speed bumps” which are some obstacles that you’ll create yourself that’ll feed your subconscious mind and ensure that whenever you pick up your phone, it is a result of a conscious choice. A good example is setting a lock screen that reminds you.
  5. Practice trial separations: Leave your phone at home while going on a walk. Stare out of the window while commuting, instead of using your phone. Pay attention to your craving. What does it feel like in your body? Keep checking and observing it. Slowly, it’ll fade away by its own.
  6. Use technology to protect yourself from technology: Time cracking apps like Moment, Quality, OFFTIME, etc measure how much time you’re spending on your screen. Results might surprise you!
  7. Use the sight of other people on their phones as a reminder: Believe it or not, just like yawns, the habit of using the phone is contagious too. Whenever you see someone else using their phones, you can use it as a cue to take a deep breath and relax, and know that you’re a master!
  8. Get existential about it: If all else fails, consider your own mortality. How many people you think are going to grieve on their deathbeds that if only they’d spent some more time using their phones? Keep on asking this question again and again to yourself. This is your life. How much of it do you want to spend on your phone?

Thanks, HIMANSHI SHUKLA

JUSTIFIER OF #THE_ROAD_NOT_TAKEN BUT STILL A BEWILDERED PERSON LOST IN HER OWN WORLD…

via Redefining your Relationship with Phone