Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Who's on First? Another Ruling on Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

On Tuesday, another court handed down an opinion on the now hopelessly confused issue of privacy of cellphone tracking data. This time it was the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit with a decision which gives law enforcement officials the ability to search a suspect's record of whereabouts without a warrant. Expanded information about this case, and others which have been offered on this site over the past 18 months is provided below.

(New York Times, July 30, 2013)

(EPC Updates, March 10, 2012)

Comment: The nation now has a hodge-podge legal view of cellphone location tracking determined by, ironically, the location of the case. Ultimately, the only way this thing is going to get sorted out is in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NGA-NJVC Disaster Response Tests Continue

Since early this year, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has been funding a study which is examining potential ways to quickly standup IT infrastructure in support of a disaster response outside the U.S. (see also, this blog: NGA and Geospatial Community Explore Using the Cloud for Disaster Response). In early June, that effort entered its second and final phase with NGA IT provider, NJVC, serving as project lead. Also part of the team: Google. More below:   

(NJVC News Release, July 9, 2013)

Comment: Time for me to go when I need to read a news release twice to visualize who is doing what to whom...

Photo credit: NGA

Monday, July 29, 2013

Aerostats to Defend Washington, DC

In May of last year, this blog reported on tethered blimps known as "aerostats" that were being used for area surveillance in Afghanistan and Iraq. As part of that discussion, consideration was given to some point in the future when aerostats might be similarly deployed domestically to thwart made-made disasters, or to enhance situational awareness when responding to natural disasters (See: Is There a Surveillance Aerostat in Your Future?). Last week it was announced that future will be here sometime next year when two such ligther-than-air surviellance systems called JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System) will go airborne over Washington, DC. Use? Defense against cruise missile attacks.

(National Journal, July 26, 2013)

Comment: Whenever the JLENS goes airborne, watch for howling about invasion of privacy. As most readers of this site know, that is normally a camp where you will find me. However, on this issue, my thinking aligns with this effort. After 9/11, the U.S. government was lambasted for its "lack of imagination" when it came to stopping the events of that day. Here, someone is thinking outside the box and sees the potential for folks who mean to do us harm using a combination of now readily available technologies in a way that could mimic the attacks of 9/11 - except there would be no need to have manned air-frames.

Picture credit: Popular Mechanics

Friday, July 26, 2013

Frustration Friday - Things Just Aren't the Way They Should Be

Ah, frustration...happens to me every time I check my stocks. "What the heck? That was supposed to be a "no-brainer money-maker" and it has lost 1/2 its value. Dang it!" Or some such nonsense. Which is always followed by the salt in the wound routine - I sell - and then the stock promptly goes up, up, up. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. But then again, I really can't make that claim if others are dealing with similarly frustrating circumstances.  What do you say we take a look around: 

I'll See Your Waze, and Raise You a Locationary: Where is it all going to stop? I'm guessing when either Google or Apple buys the other, and Esri does nothing but sell landscape planning software. Until then, it looks like lots of frustration ahead as Apple tries to bring local ground truth to its maps by using a new approach - buy, buy, buy before Google beats them to "it" (whatever that might mean): 

(New York Times, July 19, 2013)

Airplanes YES, Drones NO: OK, so it was a prank - and a good one at that. But, let's consider: A guy in an airplane clocking your speed is OK, but a camera in a drone doing the same thing is not OK? Hmmm. Better yet - the prankster, whoever he or she might be, is in violation of the law for using humor to bring a serious issue to the forefront. Plenty of frustration to go around with this one:

(CBS SF Bay Area, July 19, 2013)

Meter This: Nothing like getting put out of business by an app. That's worth fighting over. So this story has frustration on both sides of the equation - one side fighting entrenched bureaucracy - the other side fighting change. More below:

(New York Times, July 21, 2013)

Bankruptcy? No Worries: What do you mean I'm out of money, I still have checks in my checkbook? The frustration for many known as Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing (aka, "a financial disaster") has brought scrutiny to the checkbooks of other cities. Based on city employee cost per resident, the poster child for the next default is....drum roll please....Washington, DC. Map in article below tells all:

(Washington Examiner, July 22, 2013)

Long Ways From Home: 900 million miles from home, alone, and flipping cold like you wouldn't believe. How about that for frustrating? Didn't seem to bother NASA's Cassini spacecraft much as it snapped a few pics of home - which should put any frustrations in life you might perspective...(we are the bright dot).

(LA Times, July 22, 2013)

Here's Hoping You Have a Frustration Free Weekend!

Photo credits:
Airplanes YES, Drones NO: KPIX
Long Ways From Home: NASA

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Next HIFLD Meeting: 4-5 September, NGA Campus East in Springfield, Virginia

It's been a while since we've done an announcement about a Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Work Group (HIFLD) meeting - but this one is definitely worth the Internet real estate.  Here are the details:

Date: 4-5 September, 2013


Subject: The purpose of this meeting is to hold the HSIP Gold and Freedom Feedback Session and focus on Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Applications and Online Services. This meeting will be held in-person and via webinar. It will consist of UNCLASSIFIED-FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO) level information and Classified SECRET information.   

Full Meeting Information: Expanded details, security pass information, access to a pre-event questionnaire, and event registration are available by logging into the HIFLD website (, or by using links in the event announcement that opens when using the link below:

Questions: Casey Theisen, 703-377-9684, and/or the HIFLD Support team at

Comment: According to the HIFLD website, HSIP data sets are slated for release in August. Consequently, this will be an excellent opportunity to provide feedback on a "fresh off the press" version of what is supposed to be the nation's best understanding of "where".  If you can't contribute to the discussion in person, the webinar approach is an excellent alternative! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

EIA Releases Energy Map for Disasters

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released a significant upgrade to its interactive energy map for United States which was first launched last fall. In addition to now showing the locations and capacity of energy terminals, refineries, production sites, power plants and much, much more, real-time weather can be overlaid to help users understand the potential impact of major weather events (primarily hurricanes). Five different base maps can be used for the background layer. Links below for more:

Comment: A BIG thanks goes out to Joella Givens over at our companion Linkedin site for finding this story.  For those who understand the concept of SWEAT for disaster response (Services, Water, Energy, Accessibility, and Tele-comms), this map is an absolute gold mine. By having command of those five elements of geospatial information during a disaster - you'll be well on your way to having excellent situational awareness.  So, fantastic job by EIA for nailing down one of the five, well in advance of big, bad and ugly! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Value of Making Geospatial Data a Public Asset

Earlier this year, the MetroGIS Policy Board of the Twin Cities began considering steps to remove restrictions on the sharing of geospatial data.  As part of those deliberations, the Board was provided with a formal presentation and 20-page report drafted by the MetroGIS Data Producers Work Group. A detailed talking points document was also offered for review. In each case, these items promote the idea that geospatial data owned by government should be made freely available to the public if government truly wants to maximize value.  Use the links below to review these items:

Comment: While not all points about return on investment found in these items apply equally across the U.S., the core of what's here does.  This is especially true with regard to the Emergency Services Sector (ESS).  Since disasters don't know administrative boundaries, efforts like this that encourage the flow of geospatial data across those boundaries go a long way toward creating accurate situational awareness for the ESS. Congratulations to the development team for their superb effort putting together these items!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards Mapping Tool

Last week FEMA released a news bulletin which highlights two reports and an online mapping tool recently released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The focus of these efforts is providing Emergency Managers with a better understanding of probability of hurricane-induced coastal change. The first report assesses the U.S. coastline from Florida to North Carolina, while the second covers Virginia to New York. Per the release, the mapping tool is described as follows:
The new online mapping tool, based on a USGS state-of-the-art model, will allow community planners and emergency managers to focus on a specific storm category and see the predicted coastal change in their area. This information may help with decisions ranging from changes to building codes and locations for new construction, to determining the best evacuation routes for future storms.
More via links below:

Comment: Nice job by FEMA letting the Emergency Management community know that the venerable USGS has a lot to offer the world of Respond, Recover, Mitigate, and Prepare.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feed Me Friday: Everybody's Hungry

Since...umm, smack, smack, Hostess Twinkies, ah, ummmm, lick, smack, hit the shelves earlier this week, lick, wipe, I really don't, umm, have much to say, smack, except - give me another one.  And off we go:

I'll Have a Burger, Fries and Battery: Last time I went through a fast-food drive through, I did not see GPS battery on the menu.  Could be an issue for a recently funded program that will be using GPS tracking to figure out "food shopping patterns" for motor vehicle entrapped Americans. In my mind that amounts to tracking trips to Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy's, blah, blah, blah, versus tracking those to Albertson's, Kroger, Safeway, etc. I mean seriously, why would anyone ever get involved in preparing raw food stuffs?:
(CNS News, July 18, 2013)

I'm Late for Dinner!: I don't need no stinking radar detectorlaser jammer, or jamming plates because I've got a state government car and I'm late for dinner! Pedal to the metal!  Seems a few folks in Colorado state government have been caught at: "Do as I say, not as I do":

(Denver Post, July 13, 2013)

Ford Truck Engines Snack on HydrogenBoeing Phantom Works rolled out the Phantom Eye a couple years ago (video below) but only earlier this year did the drone begin undergoing rigorous flight testing. That is, provided anything powered by a Ford Ranger truck engine could ever participate in an event classified as rigorous. Especially while that St. Paul Plant reject is munching on hydrogen. Way of the future - first one booked for a ride is the U.S. Missile Defense Agency:

(AIN Online, June 14, 2013)

Cube Steak Anyone?: I got confused about this story when I picked it out of the heap and now it's too late to back out. I thought it was about cube steaks and now come to find out it's about cube sats. More than a few of them are up there going around, maybe someday one of them will be yours. Pass the ketchup:

(NBC News, July 14, 2013)

One Man's Space Junk, Is Another Man's Dinner: Anyone who has ever been to the land of the world's most gifted artisans will get this one. The day after something comes falling out of the sky and hits the ground in the Philippines (typical a military airplane crash), there won't be a shred of anything left at the impact site. That's because all the metal (and everything else) has been hauled off by the locals and re-crafted into some of the most beautiful objects ever created by man - which will then be sold at a market "in the vill".  Now, you too can join the hunt for manna from heaven by monitoring the skies for potential collisions. Only this time those events will be happening a wee bit higher up there:

Hope You Have a Satiating Weekend!

Lead photo: Hostess Brands LLC

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GIS Touted for Disaster Response at ESRI User Conference

At the Esri User Conference 2013 which recently concluded in San Diego, California, attendees had the opportunity to hear from variety of well-placed individuals about the power of GIS for disaster response. A leading advocate on this topic was Brigadier General John Heltzel of the Kentucky National Guard. As Director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management during a series of significant natural disasters that hit the state over the past several years, BG Heltzel has been able to witness first-hand the unmistakable value GIS brings to a response. Others contributing their personal experiences to the discussion included business executives and industry experts. More below:

(xconomy, July 15, 2013)

Comment: Little doubt Esri is an exceptionally well run company that has a near monopoly in the desktop GIS world. Last year the company cleared $912 million. So the fact a company like Esri is helping promote the use of GIS for disaster response goes a long way toward helping the cause. Thanks!

Graphic: Environmental Systems Research Institute

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dogs as Sensors

It's not Google Glass for dogs, but  that's probably where this effort is ultimately headed. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have been hard at work on creating FIDO: Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations. Through the use of a small backpack computer equipped with a variety of pull toys, service dogs will be able to communicate nuances about circumstances to their owners. Initial development of the project has focused on guide dogs and those employed for bomb sniffing. With regard to this last category, consideration is also being given as to how a dog could be remotely monitored and controlled with this technology. More below:

(Christian Science Monitor, July 16, 2013)

Comment: More proof that we are headed toward a world where everything is going to be a sensor...

Photo credit: Before It's News

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Serious Game at Rochester Institute of Technology

Professors and students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York were recently featured in several trade publications for their efforts to develop a geospatial based game for the Emergency Services Sector.  With a HAZMAT event as the game's focal point, participants get to see the impact of their decisions unfold spatially as they respond to a series of sequential scenarios. A combination of commercial and open source software was used to create a user-friendly interface which could accommodate individuals without any GIS training. More below:

(GCN, July 8, 2013)

Comment: Good to see - looking forward to hearing about follow-on advances in this effort!

Lead graphic: esri

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garmin First to Offer a Portable Heads-Up-Display

As a once proud owner of a 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, I can tell you that having your driving information displayed on a Heads-Up-Display (HUD) is an absolute joy. Now, Garmin is preparing to roll-out a product that will do the same, plus a whole bunch more in any car. Garmin HUD is a portable display unit that uses a bluetooth connection to your smartphone's GPS and navigation program to provide information in a way now only available in some very expensive rides. More below:

(PCMag, July 8, 2013)

(Garmin News Release, July 8, 2013)

Comment: In addition to the public safety value derived from potential wide spread use of this technology by the public, as previously described on several posts on this blog, HUD technology is also starting to be leveraged to support the Emergency Services Sector (ESS). Consequently, anything that helps move along adoption of the technology, will go a long way toward building awareness and acceptance in the ESS. All great developments. 

Lead photo: Garmin    

Friday, July 12, 2013

Foreign Intrigue Friday: The Geospatial Adventures of Edward Snowden

Pretty amazing, don't you think? One minute Edward Snowden is a nobody tron tweaker, and the next minute his existence is headline news around the world - pretty much all managed while sitting in a Moscow airport no man's land (ha). Anybody want to wager how many gallons of truth serum have been pumped through his arteries by now? Apparently, it was at least enough to make the Russians rethink some technologies... 

Pass Me the Whiteout: As the story goes, a few years after the USMC introduced the earliest forms of word processing, they did an efficiency study. Finding?  Word processing was actually slowing down the administrative process. Why? Everyone was now expecting documents to be perfect and the technique of "pen-and-ink" changes for mistakes went out the window. I'm guessing that's EXACTLY why Vladimir Putin has opted to bring back the typewriter to the Kremlin...

(The Telegraph, July 11, 2013)

Third Floor Window, Please: I gotta believe that by now Mr. Snowden's travel bag of clothes is starting to get a little ripe. Not to worry!  Some wily American entrepreneurs have already figured out how to fix the problem.  Whether it's the 3rd floor or the 20th, they are going to make sure his clothes are delivered sparkling clean before he heads off to do some slogging through the swamps of South America!

(NBC10 Philadelphia, July 10, 2013)

Plotting His Escape: Courtesy of another despicable American invention called the Internet, Mr. Snowden has undoubtedly been carefully considering his next airport of temporary residency.  Pssst - I have information from a highly reliable source that the map below is the one he has been studying.  It's hard to see, but he has great glasses:

How's Your French? Since Mr. Snowden has shattered the "electronic anything comfort factor" for all kinds of folks - the always inventive French have come up with an absolutely brilliant solution for our future situational awareness needs. I'll let one of the promoters of this fabulous brand new technology explain (well, sort of): 

(MapPrinter Blog, July 1, 2013)

Full Circle: It would appear Mr. Snowden might have a little tougher time navigating his way out of the Moscow airport than most folks thought would be the case. That's because a rocket with three Russian GLONASS GPS satellites didn't make it to where it was going. Ooopps. Seems like a figurative parallel for this whole darn mess, don't you think?

(RT, July 2, 2013)

Here's Hoping You Have a Booming Good Time This Weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Montana Has Nation's First Cell Phone Tracking Law

What no other state or the Federal government has been able to do - Montana has done. Recognizing that cellphone data provides a wealth of information about an owner's whereabouts, earlier this year Montana became the first state in the Union to require a search warrant before law enforcement can review the location tracking information associated with an individual's cell phone. Although Montana was the first to take this step, several more are not far behind.  More below:  

(New York Times, July 2, 2013)

Comment: Yup, those country folk out there in Montana don't know nuttin about those new-fangled miniature walkie-talkie things. Come on all you sophisticated legislator types out there in Washington, D.C. - time to catch up!

Lead Graphic: U.S. Geological Survey

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blood in the Streets - Sierra Club Wins in the California Supreme Court!

Back in February of 2012, we started following a legal case of great importance to the nation called Sierra Club v. County of Orange (California). Crux of the matter? Orange County, California claimed a state law which required California units of government to turn over public records for the cost of duplication did not apply to GIS data because it was one of several protected "computer mapping systems". Consequently, the County was entitled to charge for government developed GIS data (OC Landbase) as it saw fit. In this case, the price tag was $475,000. On Monday, July 8, 2013, the California Supreme Court reversed the previous 4th District Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Orange County. As a result, GIS data owned by all parts of California government - is now public record available for the cost of duplication. More below:     

(EPC Updates, February 11, 2012)

(California Supreme Court, July 8, 2013)

Comment:  On many different levels, this is fabulous news!  It's long past the time when units of government across the nation should have realized that using GIS data as a revenue generator is unacceptable. For the very reason that GIS data is critical to the functioning of modern government, it has already been paid for through taxes. Thus, the real value in the data going forward is not in some additional monetary gain to government, but what can be done with it in the hands of the public!

A big thanks to reader Cory Martin for the steer to this development!

Monday, July 8, 2013

GIS Related EMI Courses for FY-2014

Last week FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) released its course schedule for Fiscal Year/FY-2014 (October 1, 2013 - September 30, 2014). Courses offered which include a geospatial component, help Emergency Managers learn how GIS can serve as a force multiplier, or focus on FEMA's mitigation planning software HAZUS, include:

  • (E/L 948) Situation Awareness and Common Operating Picture 
  • (E/L 143) Advanced Situational Awareness/Common Operating Picture 
  • (E/L 313) Basic HAZUS-MH 
  • (E/L 317) Comprehensive Data Management for HAZUS-MH 
  • (E/L 170) HAZUS-MH for Hurricane 
  • (E/L 172) HAZUS-MH for Flood 
  • (E/L 174) HAZUS-MH for Earthquake 
  • (E/L 176) HAZUS-MH for Floodplain Managers 
  • (E/L 179) Application of HAZUS-MH for Disaster Operations* 
  • (E/L 190) ArcGIS for Emergency Managers* 
  • (E/L 296) Application of HAZUS-MH for Risk Assessment

* Proposed requirement for several recently released FEMA Geographic Information Systems (GIS) position qualifications.  See this post: NEWS FLASH: FEMA Proposes Position Qualification Standards for GIS Personnel!

For your convenience, a schedule for the above courses and additional information can be found using the links below:

Comment: In FY-2014, as was the case in FY-2013, available dates for most EMI courses with a geospatial flavor are front loaded to the first half of the year (starting in October 2013). So apply early if you would like to attend.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Real Courage Looks Like

237 years ago, with nothing more than hope for a better future to offset the certainty of a bloody flight with the most powerful nation on earth, 56 men signed a document that concludes with the following sentence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
  John Hancock
  Samuel Chase
  William Paca
  Thomas Stone
  Charles Carroll of Carrollton
  George Wythe
  Richard Henry Lee
  Thomas Jefferson
  Benjamin Harrison
  Thomas Nelson, Jr.
  Francis Lightfoot Lee
  Carter Braxton
Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

EPC Updates will be on vacation until Monday, July 8th.  Truly hope your 4th of July Holiday is the best!

Painting: John Trumbull, 1819; U.S. Captial Rotunda/graphic by wikipedia

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Google Glass Update

Lately it seems like Google can't catch a break. Shortly after reports broke that its acquisition of Waze was being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, the U.K.'s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced Google would have to delete all U.K. wi-fi data it had collected during its Street View effort. Developments which came on top of the hot potato Google was already dealing with: Google Glass. Although more than a few stories have recently come forward about the positive aspects of the product, the preponderance of what the public has been reading is negative. By story line, here's a review of the past couple of months:

(New York Times, June 19, 2013)

(USDailyVoice, June 6, 2013)

(New York Times, May 17, 2013)

(New York Times, May 6, 2013)

Comment: With five out of the six stories above, some might say the New York Times has been unduly harsh on Google Glass.  However, that charge is probably more akin to the age old saying about slaying the messenger. Closer to reality is the issue of cutting edge technology pushing the limits of what the public will accept and what laws need to address - and then a newspaper writing about it. In any case, it's clear this topic has a long way to run before the societal limits on the technology will be known.  Stay tuned.