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(Wired)   NSA looks up from your sex chat logs long enough to declare its water bill Top Secret   ( wired.com) divider line
    More: Asinine, NSA, Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Data Center  
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3850 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2014 at 2:15 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



16 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2014-03-19 01:28:38 PM  
Water as a Quantum Computing Device
 http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-03745-0_30

They are probably working on a general solution to cracking PGP.
 
2014-03-19 01:56:46 PM  
I worked with a guy who used to work for the NSA as a cryptanalyst. I'd read an article somewhere about how the NSA had classified Top Secret the amount of toilet paper they purchase for Ft. Meade. I thought that was ridiculous, and so I asked him if knew what the thinking was behind these kinds of (apparently) idiotic over-classifications.

He explained (but did not agree) thusly: During the cold war, the number of employees that the NSA had was considered a national security issue. It was further thought that the Soviets could back-calculate how many people worked there by knowing how much TP they went through. Remember, at the time, (80s, early 90s) very few people outside the DOD and Intelligence Community had even heard of the NSA, which for a long time went by the nickname No Such Agency.

I didn't RTFA, but I'm guessing it's the same kind of thinking.

I suppose it stems from the fact that they have or had people sitting in rooms scribbling on paper trying to figure out how many people work in the Kremlin by how many toilet flushes there are per hour.

...or something.
 
2014-03-19 02:18:16 PM  
So, someone needs to Snowden it. We have to stop allowing this claim of secrecy to become so common.
 
2014-03-19 02:21:06 PM  
How many enhanced interrogations could they possibly be doing?
 
2014-03-19 02:24:35 PM  
img.fark.netimg.fark.net
 
2014-03-19 02:25:05 PM  

Target Builder: How many enhanced interrogations could they possibly be doing?



lightsinthedarknessdotcom.files.wordpress.com
We have ways of making you talk.

/It's not the number of enhanced interrogations, it's how you go about them.
 
2014-03-19 02:28:26 PM  
FTA:

"There are many different ways to cool a data center," says Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. "Without knowing more about he actual facility then I don't think anyone's going to give you solid [computing capability] numbers."

This is the NSA.  You can pretty much assume they're using the state-of-the-art solution that would use the least amount of water.

To be honest, this seems like a reasonable redaction.  Doubly so since a fringe group is already trying to cut off their water supply, because that's a great application of statute right there.
 
2014-03-19 02:28:37 PM  
www.socialbookshelves.com

Cooling is essential ... otherwise, you know, bad things
 
2014-03-19 02:56:37 PM  

Jaymark108: FTA:

"There are many different ways to cool a data center," says Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. "Without knowing more about he actual facility then I don't think anyone's going to give you solid [computing capability] numbers."

This is the NSA.  You can pretty much assume they're using the state-of-the-art solution that would use the least amount of water.

To be honest, this seems like a reasonable redaction.  Doubly so since a fringe group is already trying to cut off their water supply, because that's a great application of statute right there.


This is a reasonable redaction. No one really needs to know how much water their data center uses unless they are trying to get a handle on what kind of gear is running in there. The state of the art solutions use very densely packed processing units, which produce a lot of heat. These machines are usually water- or liquid nitrogen-cooled. A/C is not enough for a large farm of them. The amount of water used is easier to conceal than liquid nitrogen.

About such matters, the NSA is no more secretive than Google. Google moved into a co-lo data center I used once. They leased half the facility and walled it off. All equipment was brought in in the dead of night. Armed guards patrolled the area 24x7. Workers there would talk to no one. They had to fist go through the facility's very tight security and then again through Google's to access the area. Nothing would be taken in or out. No one at the facility would even talk about Google. Nothing about Google could be seen in the facility NOC. A separate Google NOC was built out in a secure area. And this was just a minor satellite facility for them.
 
2014-03-19 02:56:44 PM  
They don't want to you to know how much Fluoride they're pumping into the water system man, think it out

/i just wanted to get the delusional theory out of the way early
 
2014-03-19 03:13:05 PM  

JackieRabbit: Jaymark108: FTA:

"There are many different ways to cool a data center," says Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. "Without knowing more about he actual facility then I don't think anyone's going to give you solid [computing capability] numbers."

This is the NSA.  You can pretty much assume they're using the state-of-the-art solution that would use the least amount of water.

To be honest, this seems like a reasonable redaction.  Doubly so since a fringe group is already trying to cut off their water supply, because that's a great application of statute right there.

This is a reasonable redaction. No one really needs to know how much water their data center uses unless they are trying to get a handle on what kind of gear is running in there. The state of the art solutions use very densely packed processing units, which produce a lot of heat. These machines are usually water- or liquid nitrogen-cooled. A/C is not enough for a large farm of them. The amount of water used is easier to conceal than liquid nitrogen.

About such matters, the NSA is no more secretive than Google. Google moved into a co-lo data center I used once. They leased half the facility and walled it off. All equipment was brought in in the dead of night. Armed guards patrolled the area 24x7. Workers there would talk to no one. They had to fist go through the facility's very tight security and then again through Google's to access the area. Nothing would be taken in or out. No one at the facility would even talk about Google. Nothing about Google could be seen in the facility NOC. A separate Google NOC was built out in a secure area. And this was just a minor satellite facility for them.


Combine water usage with what can be seen of the cooling towers and it is possible to calculate how many watts of cooling are available.  From there it isn't too difficult to figure out how much computing horsepower they have there, well, it could be mostly storage.  It's probably mostly storage.  Hold on, there's a knock at the door.
 
2014-03-19 03:33:23 PM  

dramboxf: I suppose it stems from the fact that they have or had people sitting in rooms scribbling on paper trying to figure out how many people work in the Kremlin by how many toilet flushes there are per hour.


Pretty much.
There were brilliant spooks on both sides of the cold war and seemingly unimportant details (like flushing)  can give away secrets. Like not only the number of people in a building but also when the changes of shift happen or when the fewest number of people are working.
So You might know when it was best to start some shiat because of when the Kremlin was taking a shiat.

 If we know how much water goes in to this data center and when, I supposed you could guess at how much computing power is in each building and what its peak load times are.  Maybe from there you can sort out exactly what each stack of computers is doing by comparing it with customers phone records or other things.
Learn enough about the utilities, you'd have a roadmap to who's getting spied on and how.

/Or you could just pay a guy like Snowden.
/If he spilled secrets for the lulz, there's probably a dozen more that do it for the cash.
 
2014-03-19 03:36:05 PM  
"Armed with this information, one could then deduce how much intelligence NSA is collecting and maintaining."

I'll just assume the answer is: all of it.
 
2014-03-19 03:44:51 PM  
If only I had sex chat logs for the NSA to peruse.

Suck it, NSA! I showed you!
 
2014-03-19 05:29:21 PM  
I had a tour of the NSA's Tordella computer center at Ft. Meade several years ago.  Part of the tour involved feeling the cooling intake and output pipes at the bottom of a rack unit. Pretty dramatic difference.  But we were told the cooling fluid wasn't water but something more like dry-cleaning fluid.  The folks manning the desk even had a vial of it for us to look at.  (Also got to see dockmaster---thought that was cool.)
 
2014-03-19 08:09:16 PM  
And while you wonder about the water bill. They keep up with there other nonsense.
 
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