The House speaker emerged from the White House after a 90-minute meeting with President Obama saying, "They will not negotiate." Democrats said they would confer with Republicans, but after they open the government.
After the Boston Marathon bombing, Storyful helped journalists verify that a popular YouTube video was actually an eyewitness account. But it doesn't stop there — the company also hopes to change the "Wild West" model of news organizations using citizen journalists' uploaded content free.
Beyond voicing frustration, the traditional Republican power players on Capitol Hill and in the business community haven't been able to do much so far to end the current congressional standoff.
Scientists have figured how DEET repels mosquitoes. The finding has led the researchers to candidate repellents that are safer and cheaper than DEET and may provide new weapons against mosquito-borne scourges, such as malaria and dengue fever.
Hackers are forming straight-laced companies and selling their services for big bucks to the very businesses that are most afraid of them. And as the demand for hacking grows, the once-dark art is becoming a 9-to-5 day job with a public and a private sector, even corporate recruiters.
From NSA Recruit to Corporate Recruiter
Vincent Liu is, at age 31, one of America's most well-regarded hackers.
As a kid in Kentucky, Liu broke into video games. At 16, he met the National Security Agency in an online chatroom. The NSA was recruiting high school kids with a knack for computers, math, or foreign languages.
"A friend of a friend online introduced us," Liu says. "I had no interest in it. I thought it was some sort of weird spy agency thing."
But when they offered to pay for college, Liu signed up.
"I've still never met the person who introduced me to the NSA, which is the weird thing,” he chuckles.“But I guess it was real."
Today, Liu is the recruiter. He started his own firm of hackers for hire. Bishop Fox, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has about 40 employees.
And Liu is looking for more. This summer he went to a series of hacker conferences in Las Vegas, headhunting top-notch talent.
"You’re not going to put a resume on Monster.com and find that person," he says. "Those people are in extremely high demand. They’re very valuable. They command salaries well into the six figures."
Liu says his firm never felt the pinch of the recession because, as cyber crime grows, so does demand for services. Their fees range from $50,000-$200,000.
Liu and his team have hacked into Fortune 100 manufacturing companies. They've downloaded employee names and license plate numbers, and created ID cards to swipe themselves into data centers. But his website doesn’t list the companies who hire him.
"People have gotten up, stopped the meeting and said, quote, you’ve gone too far," Liu explains. "We’ve stolen plans for military equipment."
Demand is Growing
Liu isn’t the only one capitalizing on the demand for cyber security.
Search the term “hacker for hire” on Google and you get websites like NeighborhoodHacker.com. They have a 1-800 number, and offer to crack into email and Facebook accounts and investigate cyber predators.
But the old guard in cyber security says industry growth has clear downsides.
Richard Schaeffer is retired from the NSA, and is now a senior advisor at the Chertoff Group. When Schaeffer began in 1975, he recalls being one of 150 people hired at the NSA.
"They hire a thousand people a year now," he says. "The unemployment rate for cyber professionals is zero."
According to one industry report, there are 340,000 jobs in cybersecurity. Schaeffer says given the explosion, people like the famed NSA consultant Edward Snowden are not an anomaly.
And, according to Schaeffer, while the Pentagon has strict quality controls, the private sector -- like a 1-800 number to hire a hacker -- does not.
"We have practitioners out there being paid more, given more responsibility than their skill level deserves. And so mistakes are being made," he says.
Before hacking ever became a job description, there was an annual reunion for the underground, called DEFCON. Today, DEFCON has fewer anarchists, and more people just looking for a job.
C.J., who wouldn’t give his last name, is an elder here.
"It's become almost a professional culture now, less of the guys on skateboards and more of the guys in suits walking around," he says. "It’s kind of bad because money doesn’t count for everything."
Vinnie Liu agrees that the money has changed things, by making hacking a business. But Liu says that's a good thing. More money and higher pay values the people, like him, who are good at this.
“Some of us have mortgages and families and kids you know, and that’s the lifestyle some of us want to lead.”
Residents of the St. Louis area don't all agree on which politicians to blame for the government shutdown, but they do agree that they're doing a lousy job and should have their pay suspended.
The Washington, D.C., university, which is arguably the country's most prominent historically black institution of higher education, has been buffeted by a tough economy and dissent among its leadership.
Since most fish contain some amount of mercury, public health officials suggest that pregnant women limit their intake to 12 ounces a week. But fresh research suggests current recommendations may be too cautious, and that fish may not be a huge source of mercury for expecting moms. Still, some doctors remain cautious.
Instead of castigating all of Congress over the latest fiscal stalemate, President Obama is focusing his ire on Tea Party Republicans. That's energized Democrats, who are more unified than they've been in a long time. Still, that doesn't mean that they're making any headway in ending the shutdown.
Houston's Mission Control is still talking to the astronauts circling the globe in the International Space Station. But most other phone lines are down, and NASA says the shutdown could deter launches of other spacecraft and slow repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope if something goes wrong.
The director of national intelligence says that with 70 percent of spy agency staff on furlough, essential staff are being stretched thin.
The crash between a tour bus and a tractor trailer has also shut down I-40 in both directions, east of Knoxville.
Author Malcolm Gladwell has this thing he does with his books: He takes conventional wisdom, turns it inside out, and finds a twist or an angle that makes you think about it differently.
His latest, "David and Goliath," explains why underdogs can win ... if they realize they're not really underdogs.
On why Gladwell wanted to talk about underdogs in his latest book:
"We're obsessed with them. Why do we return again and again to the subject of seemingly lopsided conflicts? So one, I wanted to explain that obsession. And two, I thought the ways in which we misread these conflicts are symptomatic of something deeper, which is I don't think that we have a good sense of what an advantage really is. Or a disadvantage. We have those categories mixed up, and I wanted to kind of sort through them and say, 'Things that we have thought were real advantages actually aren't, and things that we think of as overwhelming obstacles actually are incredibly useful.'"
On the success of David Boies, a trial lawyer diagnosed with dyslexia:
"Here we have one of the greatest lawyers in the country, and he is profoundly dyslexic. He reads basically one book a year. He finds reading difficult and painful. Think about that for a moment, he's a lawyer! He's in a profession that has reading at its absolute core. When I talked to him, I said, 'How did you become such a successful lawyer in spite of this disability?' And he said, 'not in spite, I became a successful lawyer because of this so-called disability.' And he explained to me how he spent his life compensating for this."
"He learned how to listen, and he also developed an extraordinary memory. So he would sit in school, and he didn't take notes, he sat and listened to the teacher and remembered everything that was said. Those two skills turned out to be far more useful than you'd think in getting through school, but more importantly, when he becomes a trial lawyer, what's being a great trial lawyer all about? It's about listening very closely to what the person you're cross-examining is saying and being able to summon that in the moment. So he's famous for confronting the witness and saying, 'Three days ago, you said the following thing.' He'd been working on those skills his entire life."
On what happens when 'Davids' become 'Goliaths':
"I talk about these categories as if they're static, and they're not. Microsoft is a great example ... was a classic underdog, was nimble, fast-moving, audacious, all those things that underdogs are, they are not anymore. They are now a massive Goliath encumbered by all of the weaknesses of giants. Slow-moving, lumbering, lacking imagination. It's very difficult for individuals or institutions who were once 'David' to understand they are no longer 'Davids.' In the present world, where adapting to new changes and technologies quickly and effectively is so important, what's wrong with being smaller? Isn't that an advantage?"
The U.S. was responding to a lawsuit by Google and Microsoft, demanding more information be made public. When the government makes national security requests for user data — like the content of email — it also comes with a gag order.
It's National Kale Day, folks. That prompts the question: Has the kale love gone too far? As we make kale the health halo food du jour, we risk turning it into the Gwyneth Paltrow of the vegetable world — a perceived goody two-shoes that, deservedly or not, everyone loves to hate on.
Let’s say you wanted to take your dog out on Union Street in San Francisco’s Marina district. First, you pick up Fluffy where you left her that morning -- at the Moulin Pooch “dog boutique and villa.” And while it would be nice to stick around for “Yappy Hour,” there are plenty of other places to find treats. So we’ll head down the street, to Le Marcel Dog Bakery.
“It’s a full-scale bakery for dogs,” says owner Aki Zubovic. “We have 60 different treats for dogs, all made on location by our pastry chef. Birthday cakes come in four different sizes, two flavors."
This is just one street, one tiny slice of the dog services the Bay Area has to offer. There’s a dog-u-mentary photographer and an animal communicator. There are dog reiki practitioners and dog massage therapists. And, this being San Francisco, there are of course entrepreneurs.
Just a few years ago, Anna Gil was a corporate attorney. And she needed somewhere to bring her basset hound, Truman, while she was at work. She saw an opportunity, and in 2009, she opened Dogpile Dogs daycare. Now, she watches between 80 and 100 dogs a day. And she knows all of them by name.
“I retired from Genentech to open this place, and my life savings essentially is into this place,” says Gil. “So I’m very grateful and thankful that it has worked out.”
Gil doesn’t advertise. But she’s attracted so much business that for a while she had to stop accepting new dogs, just to keep the numbers manageable. And she’s earned enough money to start expanding.
“We’re going to open a senior oasis for the dogs,” she says. “A sundeck, gentle sloping steps, wide so they can sleep on them.”
The boom in dog services has also caught the attention of tech startups. Rover and DogVacay, based in Seattle and L.A., are Airbnbs for your dog. Swifto, based in New York City, calls itself the Uber of dog walking. And then there's San Francisco-based Whistle: a little device you can attach to your dog’s collar that records how much she’s moving around each day, and an app that monitors her health trends over time.
“The number one concern for any owner is their dogs’ well-being and their happiness,” says Ben Jacobs, the company’s CEO. “It’s phrased in terms of health but also emotion.”
And our emotions influence how we use our wallets. Whistle launched this month with around 20 employees, and $6 million in startup capital.
People are told that if you want to get a point across, look your audience straight in the eyes. But that works only if the person already agrees with you, a study finds. When people don't share the speaker's opinion, looking them in the eye may actually make them less likely to change their minds.
Herman Wallace, who spent more than four decades in solitary confinement after his conviction on murder charges related to a 1972 prison riot, is now suffering from liver cancer. A U.S. district judge in Louisiana ruled that Wallace had not received a fair trial.
Could government agents really get access to all your private data in less than a minute? Experts say no but warn we are moving in that direction.
One of the things the government does -- when it’s not shut down -- is collect, analyze and publish economic information. Here are some things that won’t get released or collected -- at least for as long as the shutdown continues.
The retail sales report, factory orders, international trade statistics, and what Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, calls “the big daddy of all the economic indicators”: the September employment report. It’s supposed to come out Friday, but as happened the last time the government closed shop in December 1995, the jobs report may be delayed.
All this data is important for investors.
“I think it’s a big jump to say we’re going to miss a huge trend in the pace of recovery by missing just a couple days of data,” says analyst Keith Davis with Farr Miller and Washington.“But if [the shutdown] stretches on for two or three weeks, investment advisors like ourselves are going to be running blind,” he says.
“We’re going to have to make investment decisions without knowing how fast the recovery is going, whether it’s decelerating or accelerating,” Davis adds.
The data vacuum is likely to make markets volatile.
“After a few weeks, it starts creating a lot of uncertainty, and investors will be skittish,” says Chris Thornberg, founding partner at Beacon Economics.
The data that’s not getting collected now, like inflation or jobs for October, may never get collected if the government closure drags on.
There is non-government data out there, but economist Low says that in the past few months, it has painted a misleadingly strong impression of the economy.
“To some extent, we use data to determine how strong the economy is, and from that market interest rates are determined,” he says. “If we were forced to rely on private sector data, interest rates would be quite a bit higher than they are now.”
In a growing economy, investors would shift away from the safe haven of Treasury bills, so those bond prices would decline, thus raising their yield, or effective interest rate. (Mortgage-backed-securities would then have to compete with that higher yield, and so mortgage rates would have rise. Read more about that dynamic here.)
Typically, the economy doesn’t fluctuate wildly in a short span of time, so a few missed data releases in normal times isn’t the end of the world.
“The problem,” says Justin Wolfers, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an economics professor at the University of Michigan, “is if we’re about to face abnormal times -- and Congress appears to be trying to make times abnormal – we won’t be able to see it immediately obviously in the data and possibly not quickly enough to change course on policy.”
So basically, we can’t tell how bad the government shutdown is for the economy because of the government shutdown.