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PoliticsHi Reddit! Bill Binney here to answer your questions – live from Amsterdam.

Jun 6th 2017 by IamBillBinney • 25 Questions • 194 Points

We will be departing from Brussels, Belgium on July 1st as a part of the Mongolia Charity Rally, and we will be driving 11,226 miles to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia all in the pursuit of delivering an ambulance to be used in rural Mongolia’s fledgling healthcare system. We purchased an Ambulance last week, and had it inspected by a mechanic. Besides a few minor issues, she’s almost prepped for the journey. Our tentative route is below. It currently takes us through 23 countries where 20 languages are spoken, and 16 different currencies are used. If you have any suggestions for places to go, things to pack, skills to learn, please let us know. Otherwise, ask away!

Ambulance Pics: http://imgur.com/a/VDOXl

Map Link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1z6OZelAjmG0or0FaG8_Np_eJ6_s&shorturl=1&ll=33.56433708701178%2C80.28338819999999&z=3

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneSmallSteppe/

Website: http://www.onesmallsteppe.com/

Edit: Sorry for the slow responses, the new puppy required some attention http://imgur.com/a/gQdJB

Edit 2: Thanks for all the support guys. We'll try to answer the questions as soon as possible. I honestly didn't even think we would make it off the "new" page. I added the donation page for those who are interested. https://www.youcaring.com/onesmallsteppeandgohelpcharity-693232

Edit 3: Here is our playlist. Add some songs if you like! https://open.spotify.com/user/2g3n/playlist/4IaDXkaE85Kwju2Tgao5eE?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

Edit 4: Due to numerous questions/comments, all donations and contributions we have received are going to a cash donation for the charity and towards the purchase price of the vehicle. All other expenses are coming out of our pockets.

Edit 5: Sorry guys, but it is getting pretty late here, and I've been at it for over 12 hours. I'll answer some more in the morning. Thanks for all the support!

Q:

Considering how over the past few decades, surveillance technology has been 'baked in' to our communications infrastructure - Is it even possible to turn it off?

Also, what is the likelihood of US domestic surveillance being co-opted by a foreign government?

A:

What was the most unexpected thing you learned about the country? Positive or negative....something unexpected.


Q:

How do you stay satisfied going over basic material year after year after exploring it in such depth in college?

A:

What is the hardest exercise you do that appears easy to the average person, and what is the easiest one you do that looks hard?


Q:

So I just google mapped it and it looks like the "fastest" route is only about 5300 miles. Why is it so important to more than double your mileage just to hit the 23 countries? You would go through 7 if you took this faster route (although a lot of Siberia)

A:

A VERY good question. It is possible, but requires a high degree of tech know-how to do it - both hardware and software. For example, need to check the luminosity down a fibre optic line in order to detect tap points and physically remove them. Also check hardware/software associated with it.

Likelihood of foreign takeover of US intel would be low because of the difficulty of knowing where to hack into the intel systems.


Q:

The most unexpected thing is that we are somehow conditioned to think of North Korea as very simple. As in people are hungry & poor & brianwashed. Then rich are like Kim Jong Un & his friends all partying and eating & drinking. NOT true. My students were the sons of elite, the creme de la creme of North Korea, but they were under the most strict control every second of the day. They had not been anywhere, outside their country certainly but also within their country, and they didn't know anything, their education thus far seemed to have been totally bogus and built only around the Great Leader. They had no freedom of any kind. Sure, they were of course better off than the rest of the country that suffers, famine-striken etc., but the elites also live under fear. What I am trying to say is that it's not black and white. The control / abuse happens in all level. Basically they are all victims. The entire country is a ladder / web of abuse and control.

A:

One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is continuously learning new things and new ways of presenting even the most basic material. People don't realize how much room there is for creativity in teaching math at all levels. The curriculum that I teach is quite broad and includes topics such as logic, geometry, combinatorics, and other areas of math. One of my favorite things to do is to take an "advanced" math topic and to come up with ways to give glimpses of it to young children.

I will give you an example. The triangle inequality is something that isn't typically covered in most math classes until high school geometry. I created an activity for 2nd and 3rd graders, in which they were able to not only explore but actually discover this "theorem" for themselves by playing with sticks of many different lengths and seeing which combinations of them can make a triangle and which ones cannot.


Q:

Well I broke my wrist 3 months ago and so doing a handstand is super difficult for me to do.

Those sideways pull-ups and front-levers are easy for me but look really hard! Because if you haven't trained for it they kind of are.

A:

The route was a little bit of a challenge to come up with. Obviously we aren't taking the fastest route, but we thought it would be the prime combination of both sight seeing, safety, and speed. Going the Northern route, we would possibly pass through Ukraine, and due to all the conflicts there, we decided against it. Also, if we went farther North, we would spend a lot more time in Russia, and with the visa requirements for Russia, we decided it was easier to stay in Russia for the shortest amount of time possible. However, we decided not to go as far South as some teams. There are a few who are going through Iran! As Americans, we decided that would not be a good idea. As for the twists and turns in our route that seem a little random. We will be visiting some friends along the way, but when you're 3000 miles away from home, 200 extra miles doesn't seem to far to visit an old friend. Thanks for the Question!

Edit: Thanks for the Reddit gold!


Q:

Hi Bill!

First I want to say I believe the world owes you a debt of gratitude for doing the right thing in a system that went off the rails. Without people like you, Thomas, and Edward, we still wouldn't know the true scope of the NSA's constitutional violations. We need intelligence services, but unchecked mass suspicionless surveillance is a cancer to a free society. Public servants with their hearts in the right place can safeguard the people and the constitution when all else has failed. Thank you for being one of the good guys.

Question 1: Warrantless mass surveillance typically drops off the public's radar after a few news cycles, and it's very abstract for most people to consider. Do you think the USA's national consciousness will ever care enough to hold the bad actors legally accountable, and address the core institutional problems?

Question 2: Some of us see commercial profit-based surveillance, such as from Facebook, Google, etc, as a threat to a free and open internet. Do you think we can build systems providing the advantages of those things, while also being robust against totalitarianism as governments increasingly pressure private industry into censorship and "sharing" data gathered during for-profit mass surveillance?

Question 3: Are there lessons you see in how Germany handled the aftermath of the Stasi era for modern day USA and the NSA?

A:

Hi Suki! I read your book this spring - thank you for writing your experiences; truly enlightening, and also, empathy-invoking. Would you ever go back to DPRK? Do you think you'd be allowed to? Any plans for more books?


Q:

What you are doing is inspiring.

One of the reasons I liked organic chemistry so much is because to me, it could be simplified into simple puzzles. I had imagined teaching them to my children when I one day had a family. I forgot about this until I read this.

A:

Any advice on getting strong enough to front lever? How long can you hold one? Also do you rock climb at all? If you built up finger strength i feel like you would crush it.


Q:

Have any of you seen Long Way Round? It's not an exact match to your trip, but the first few episodes touch on the difficulties regarding paperwork, border crossings, and check points. I'm rewatching the show now so it just came to mind while reading your title, but maybe the series could raise concerns you might not have considered and provide some helpful tips!

A:

To Number 1 No. Because there are too many people involved in all upper levels of government.

To Number 2 Yes. It requires a monitoring program to track everything on the network.

To Number 3 Yes, there is only one reason government collects data about everyone and it isn't good. It is done to maintain control over the population.


Q:

Hi, for now at least, I would not be allowed to go back, but more than that, even if I were allowed, which I could be in the future, I would probably not go because it would be too dangerous (in a different way than when I was there undercover for the book) and also because I would not feel that I would learn anything new, unless it could be under a different setting, which would be nearly impossible to find for the moment. And yes, there are more books at work:) Thanks for reading.

A:

Thanks. It's always great to hear when someone finds what I'm doing useful and inspiring. I am glad to have triggered this connection.


Q:

I climb v6-v8 and I can hold a 20 second front lever. Get ab slings and realllllly push your core on those!

A:

I actually came across that movie the other day. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but maybe we could get together as a group to watch it. It would probably be a good resource. Thanks for the suggestion!


Q:

There is an alleged whistleblower whose arrest was recently announced.

They allegedly were caught after printing a hard copy of documents while at work. They also allegedly emailed the publication while at work. Then confessed when questioned rather than waiting until a lawyer could be there. These don't seem to be ideal whistleblower practices.

Have workplace whistleblowing exposure techniques gotten more sophisticated, or was this most likely a one-off case of poor judgement and practices?

A:

What wildly held belief among your students surprised you the most?


Q:

Do you scream "It's DOCTOR Fradkin, NOT Miss Fradkin" and then throw an eraser at the offending child?

A:

When you're doing those pull-ups that landed you on the front page, which muscles are you NOT working out?


Q:

Yo I'm from Mongolia and that's really tight. I'll be there in August if you wanna meet up!

Unfortunately Mongolia is very much still a developing country that is having a hard time catching up to the modern world. There is political corruption, alcohol abuse is rampant and we are landlocked so we simply sell our natural resources with no infrastructure in place to adequately grow as a nation.

It's the least densely populated country in the world, and the country side is very old-fashioned. Outhouses, wells and farming.

Thanks for making the country a little better. :)

A:

I would say a one-off, poor judgement. Due to the poor quality of the report itself, this whole matter could be a ruse. I would strongly question the authenticity of the report.


Q:

There were so many things. They just learn totally upside down information about most things. But one thing I think most people do not realize is that they learn that South Korea & US attacked North Korea in 1950, and that North Korea won the war due to the bravery of their Great Leader Kim Il Sung. So they celebrate Victory Day, which is a huge holiday there. So this complete lie about the past then makes everything quite illogical. Because how do you then explain the fact that Korea is divided still, if actually North Korea "won" the war? One would have to question that strange logic, which they do not. So it's not so much that they get taught lies as education, but that that second step of questioning what does not make sense, in general, does not happen, not because they are stupid but because they are forbidden and also their intelligence is destroyed at young age. There were many many examples of such.

A:

In our school we actually go by first names and they call me Miss Sasha.


Q:

My calves... lmao

A:

Great to hear from you! We would definitely love to meet up once we reach Mongolia in early to mid August. Please PM us, and we can try to set something up.

We appreciate the great thoughts and love to see people from Mongolia seeing this as well. Thank you!


Q:

Do your instincts (or your sources within intelligence agencies) believe Russia 1) is responsible for the DNC leak/hack and/or 2) attempted to hack U.S. election systems in 2016?

A:

What kind of measures did you have to go through to make sure your notes or any other evidence of your actual work would never be discovered?


Q:

Thank you for what you do. I tutored math for college kids and found so many people who had been traumatized to hate math when they were young.

I remember one student in particular, Beth. Beth was planning to become an elementary teacher. That's very common for strongly mathphobic students like her. An elementary ed student has to take one, single basic math course, and that's all she wanted. She came to me every week to watch and coach her through homework.

At the end of the semester, she got a decent grade (an A or B), and I thought I'd never see her again.

But she turned up once in the next semester, not because she was having trouble in math, but because she'd missed a lecture and wanted to be very sure it was as easy as the book made it sound. I was startled to find she was taking another math course. Calculus even! What's a math avoider doing in Calculus?

It turned out, that my own love for math had caught on. She'd been exposed to a culture of math achievement and independence. I wouldn't hand her homework answers, but instead helped her find them.

That changed Beth's life.
She changed her major to mathematics.
Because of me, Beth changed the whole direction of her life.

Just telling the story brings tears to my eyes.

A:

No


Q:

How feasible will the upkeep of the ambulance be when it is in service in Mongolia? An ambulance that you cant get parts for isnt much help. Sorry to be a downer.

A:

No, not Russia, and if it was there would be direct evidence of it. Also, CIA using Vault 7 tools can make an attack it carries out look like it comes from another nation/party. The fact NSA does not provide a track for the packets reflecting fact of no hack attack means it was an insider job/leak. See Consortium News for related article.


Q:

I kept them all on USB sticks which I kept on my body at all times. I erased the trace off my computer every single time I signed off. I also created a document within a document so that my notes looked like a school material. I also created a back up copy on SD card which I hid in secret places in the dark, with the light off, just in case there were camera in the room.

A:

That is a wonderful story; thanks for sharing it. My coauthor actually grew up hating math because she found it formulaic and uncreative. Then she took a number theory course her freshman year of college, and was completely converted. Now she is a Computer Science professor at Columbia. I wrote a blog post about her story here: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/from-math-hater-to-mathematician-and-computer-scientist-the-story-of-allison-bishop/


Q:

Hahaha that's why I said it!

A:

Good question. So, actually, that is a struggle with any vehicle in Mongolia. Unfortunately, their vehicle market is quite not as up to par with other European and Asian nations. So, we attempted to find a vehicle that would be more common to find parts with while also being in the market we were purchasing it from (Ford Transit). This is also where the charity comes in. Our cash donation, deposits, and the charity's resources will be utilized to maintain it long after we are gone.


Q:

No, not Russia, and if it was there would be direct evidence of it.

Do you expect a developed country with at least a modicum of talented IT professionals to not be cautious of leaving any direct digital evidence? As you assuredly know, anyone can basically use a daisychain of IPs to obfuscate their origins.

CIA using Vault 7 tools can make an attack it carries out look like it comes from another nation/party

Yes, many agencies of many countries can possibly use falseflag options but it doesn't mean they do.

The fact NSA does not provide a track for the packets reflecting fact of no hack attack means it was an insider job/leak.

Anyone can fire up a TOR session and possibly hide their origins as you know. They can command a node, be it a PC or any tech device, then use it as a regular proxy or another TOR server, therefore obfuscating themselves even more, many times over. When you have the power of a nation state, this is very feasible. Also IP addresses within government domains are sometimes not public information, as you probably also know. It's a weak "security by obscurity" technique but if they published IPs of sensitive nodes, it invites any nation state to come knocking on the door.

I don't see how that's enough information to conclude it was an inside job. I'm not saying it was a country or any one person but until we have the information at hand, it's hard to conclude either way, which you seem to be doing. Maybe you know more about this than I but considering your answer here and below, I suspect you're not fully aware of network security as I thought. Could your bias against the institution that fired you be influencing some bias on your part?

It is difficult to know the true origin - must be able to trace the packets and look inside of them in order to know. Called Deep Packet Inspection.

But even packets can be changed en route, source and destination both as well as obfuscated by a litany of routes by using proxies and something as TOR. I don't know why you put so much influence on thinking this would be the proof.

A:

Were you ever in a situation where you had to act against your morals/beliefs to maintain your cover?


Q:

Presumably you have done a fair amount of teaching at the university level, but now you're doing curriculum development for K-5. My question is: At the university level, did you ever see common misconceptions or prevalent comprehension difficulties that you believe were rooted in educational problems that started as early as K-5? If so, what were they, and how are you addressing this in your curriculum?

A:

How long until you fully conquer gravity?


Q:

I can't help but notice your map showing you traveling through what appears to be North Ossetia and Inigushetia, what sort of precautions are you taking to handle the instability and corruption in these areas!?

A:

REF 1st Quote: That is one of the reasons we believe the CIA carried out the attack. Because no self-respecting spy agency would leave such an obvious trail.

REF 2nd Quote: Yes, but it doesn't mean they don't.

REF 3rd Quote: Guess what? NSA can track the TOR packets. That's why NSA has embedded trace-route programs on hundreds of switches all over the network to reconstruct the TOR network.

REF 4th Quote: It is true that Service Providers can change the IP's of originators and recipients of packets, but in doing so, when the packets reach the border gate to the next Service Provider, they convert them back to the originals, otherwise the packets get lost. This means we have to work out the formula for internal changes in packets and reverse it when moving to the border gate provider.


Q:

The premise of undercover journalism is a difficult one. Because you have to essentially "lie" to keep a cover. That is only used when the traditional methods cannot work, which is the case in some difficult topics such as investigating mafia or dictatorship etc. North Korea is one such place, there, traditional methods can even be collaborating in the regime's lie. So it's one exceptional circumstance where the undercover /embedded method can reveal the truth buried within lies. It was hard to be among the evangelicals however because I had to attend the sunday service (which was kept secret from students) at the dormitory, to keep my evangelical cover. The thing is, you have to set your own parameters of decency and integrity. Within my capability, I tried to remain as truthful as I could. I know it sounds odd to say that, but there is no real rule in this kind of independent investigative journalism where you take all the task / risk of finding sources / pursing it / jumping in there etc all on your own. So for me, I just tried as best as possible to be sincere despite the circumstances. But to be amongst such devout believers of fundamental Christianity, I found it difficult to maintain my pose, but I knew I had to, to be allowed to blend in. But I really struggled with it. It was very hard, I would say.

A:

In terms of my teaching, there was a big selection bias as they were Princeton math and science majors. However, I have met many adults, including highly successful ones, who've had math anxiety and lack of understanding of fundamental things in math.

One common misconception is that math is about memorizing facts and procedures and there is no creativity to it. Another one is that there is nothing more to math than just arithmetic.

In my curriculum, I show children that math is about looking for patterns, generalizing and problem solving. I also make sure to include many topics such as logic, geometry, and probability. Here are just a few examples of lessons with exploration in non-arithmetic topics: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/logical-fun-part-i/ https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/playing-with-symmetry-in-kindergarten/ https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/fibonacci-trees/


Q:

Couple months

A:

I haven't heard many specific situations in those areas, but I have heard about just general corruption in that area. Are there specific things that have happened recently? I have heard about Chechnya and the specific issues they are having there, so we are planning to avoid it. As far as precautions, we are driving through there as fast as possible, as we have no stops planned until Volgograd. Do you have any advice or suggestions? We have a lot to plan for, so any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.


Q:

Link to the Consortium News article, mentioned in Bill's reply: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/

A:

Are there any linguistic things/cultural habits that North Koreans do that the rest of us Koreans also do? Like the "aigoo" and the "oh moh moh" when surprised?


Q:

Thanks for your AMA, and for saying a number of very sensible things! I have an MS in Math, and I'm about to start my 19th year teaching math in [primarily] public high schools. I usually perk up when people start talking about curricula!

Are you[r students] under the same Common Core mandates as those at a public school? What I'm REALLY asking is whether your curriculum could be successfully applied under the constraints of a public school classroom?

I can't speak for all secondary math teachers everywhere, but my colleagues would LOVE to be able to teach students to love and see math how we love and see math. However, we feel boxed in by outside constraints.

A:

As a former really fat guy but still currently kinda fat guy who goes to the gym 4-5 nights a week, pull ups are the one thing I cannot succeed at. Do you have any recommendations from a broader view of what I can do to get to a point where I can do real pull-ups? Killer videos tho man keep it up!


Q:

Ya, I don't see why people are being so snarky about this. It's okay to help people and make an adventure out of it. Fuck the haters I think these guys are awesome

A:

People fear the loss of surveillance because they are conditioned to think data is intelligence, therefore more is better. Government is treating the population as Pavlov's dogs.


Q:

Generally it's the same. Yes, the accent is different & they have some phrasings and words that are different or feel quite old fashioned or war-related vocabularies, but in general the difference is almost regional where one has that in South Korea from region to region also, but when you are talking about the basic exclamation you cite, (when bumping into things or surprised) they are pretty much not that different.

A:

I'm sure that I have a lot more freedom than public school teachers. That said, certain elements and guiding principles of my curriculum could probably be applied in any classroom setting. I do feel fortunate to have a lot of freedom in what I teach.

It is great that you have a goal of teaching students to love math and I bet that it has a great impact on them.


Q:

Try doing negatives but for those of a heavier stature need to focus on building the tendons and muscles in isolation first because you'll get injured if you don't.

A:

I think you're awesome


Q:

There's not a cryptographer on the planet who would agree with you on this.

Because they deal in theory. In practice, the tools to decrypt your batshit crazy crypto technique don't exist. Yes, they may be theoretically "easy" to build, but they aren't built yet.

A:

What ESL teaching methods and approaches were favoured by schools in North Korea? Additionally, what kind of resources/texts were available for you to use in the classroom?


Q:

Okay, I'll ask the obvious question: Presumably with a PhD from Princeton you had a decent number of opportunities to teach and research at universities. Why did you choose to teach children and develop curriculum for kids in elementary school?

A:

How long has it taken you to build your strength as you have?


Q:

It depends how the funding goes. My next door neighbor does a charity event each year. This year he did a wing-walk, next year he plans to do bungee jumping off a bridge. He pays for the event out of his own pocket, and gets people to sponsor him - that extra money goes to charity.

I 100% agree, those people who raise £3k to "walk the great wall of china for charity" are raising £2k for a holiday and £1k for charity.

A:

Please read Friedman and Callihamos for a better understanding of cryptanalysis. It is a four volume set. Google it and you will find where you can buy it. Quite expensive, but well worth the investment. I think it is a great read.


Q:

Only those texts allowed in China. All that was pre-approved by the North Korean authority. I tried to install my own methods of essay writing and letter writing to investigate what they are really thinking, but that was not a part of the official text, but I insisted and got them approved by the North Korean authority called "counterpart".

A:

Here are the few main reasons: 1) I saw as a big area of opportunity. 2) I felt like I could make a bigger difference here than doing research at a university. 3) It is important to me personally because I am raising two daughters. 4) I realized I really enjoy doing it!


Q:

Since High School, I am 26 now so I would say about 10 years or a little more.

A:

Great thing to point out. /u/nough32/ hit the nail on the head. We are basically doing what your neighbor does.

To clarify, all of the donations/fundraising will be going towards a cash donation to the charity as well as to the purchase price of the vehicle. Once, a minimum of $1300 for a cash donation and the purchase price of the vehicle has been raised, the excess donations will then go towards making the cash donation larger for the charity (Go Help, a U.K. based charity).

All of our repairs, food, gas, hostels, and other personal expenses will be coming out of our pockets. Thank you again to everyone for the support!


Q:

Problem: it's in the self-interest of the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI to increase terrorism. And they do a marvelous job of it. The CIA drones wedding parties. A nameless agency (CIA, presumably) overrode the State Department's hold on the underwear bomber's visa while he was being held up for his connecting flight to the US; the hold was due to the terrorist's father (a respected banker) warning the US embassy in Nigeria. The nameless agency said it wanted to let this known terrorist into the country to see whom he would meet up with. Riiight, but even if true, it's retarded, because he was a frigging terrorist boarding a plane bound for the US! The bomb fizzled, which was good for the NSA/CIA/FBI, but if he had downed the plane, even better for them. Meanwhile, the FBI let go the Orlando shooter, the New Jersey bomber, the Boston bombers, and many other domestic terrorists after being warned by the terrorists' families or coworkers - or by foreign intelligence. These agencies consistently do the opposite of stopping terrorists.

Solution: eliminate the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI. They are the biggest threats to the United States of America.

A:

Hi Ms. Kim! As someone who is in the middle of “Without You There Is No Us” I am thrilled that you are doing an AMA for us, so thank you! My question is, while you were exhausted by the lies your students had no hesitation in participating in, were there any students in particular whom you felt was less into the shade of the regime? Or any student who has slipped up and revealed something that shouldn’t have been reveal to you? And I might as well: what was one of the most outrageous lies you remember your students telling you? Thank you so much once again!


Q:

Reason 4 is enough by itself. Excellent work forging your own path and making a difference your way. Especially being able to balance enjoying work and feeling purpose in it. I bet you'll change some lives in ways you'll never fully see! Good work miss Sasha. Er, I mean, doctor Fradkin.

A:

How was your strength in high school?


Q:

How do you get back? That's a long walk.

A:

I recommended (with others) to Obama (he ignored it) that hackers be cleared and authorized to inspect/audit any US Intel agency at any time. It didn't fly. Until auditing is embedded in Intel, nothing will change.


Q:

I guess the boys lying broke my heart because they were always so absurd. What was heartbreaking about it was because there was no logic to any of it. Once a smartest, savviest student pretended to go shopping within the campus (when there was no shop & he could not go outside) but he knew that I knew that there was no shopping happening. So why did he lie? It was the way very little children would lie to avoid the moment, not a 19 year old young man. Also the fact that very same young man was normally so bright & quick witted upset me more. What made it outrageous was not that they were lying but that they continued with these nonsensical lies that would be caught instantly. Why? That was complicated which I discussed in the book. What happens to human mind when you have been brought up inside outrageous lies for generations, where lies are encouraged, where lies have different weight or value, where lies become ways of a survival etc etc. . .I guess it was that disconnect that I found unacceptable and outrageous and horrible, because that disconnect was happening in my boys whom I loved and respected and adored. So I would have to say it was the disconnect that I found to be inhumanely imposed by their regime.

A:

Thank you for the kind words. I feel very fortunate for having the opportunity.


Q:

My brother was a rower and I competed against him doing pull-ups all the time, I would say about average for that age. Nothing special.

A:

None of us are runners, so we aren't planning to Forrest Gump and run cross continent. Ulaanbaatar is our final destination, and we just booked flights to fly back to London from Ulaanbaatar via Beijing. There are no direct flights unfortunately. It's around 16 hours with the layover so it's not bad. I have heard of a few people taking the Trans-Siberian railway from Ulaanbaatar back to Moscow and then flying from there.


Q:

every govt intel agency should be audited to ensure integrity of operations

What exactly do you think DoD, ODNI, HPSCI, SSCI, the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, FISC, DoJ, and NSA's OIG, OGC, and OoC do?

A:

What did you enjoy about NK?


Q:

do you make enough money to feed the said daughters and live a comfortable life? Serious question

A:

What is your drive to stay in shape? What goes through your head in those difficult moments when you don't want to work out but you have to?


Q:

How... How long did it take for you to figure out how to spell that?

Just kidding. Despite the naysayers, I agree, one of the points is to raise awareness, and donate a usable vehicle to a country in need of it. I look forwards to your pictures from your journey! Don't die!

A:

When I say "we", that means most of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and some others we know with intel backgrounds believe this.


Q:

"Enjoy" would not be the right word, I think. But I have great empathy for the place because they are suffering. I am American but I am also Korean, and as a Korean, I feel for the less privileged half. Also as a human being, I find the existence of the place and the inhumane treatment of the people there unacceptable. So it's not that I enjoy North Korea -- which I do not, I find the place to be horrifying -- but I am drawn to North Korea. But joy is of course there. My students I met there and fell in love with were all full of joy, because they were young and sweet and adorable and innocent and there were some fun times we shared, but they were also full of darkness, because of their society.

A:

I am gainfully employed and we are a dual-income household.


Q:

Oh shit this is a good one. My drive is for the people who can't do it. A best friend passed away about a month ago who I served with. He can no longer do it, so I do my best to go harder for the both of us. I am not perfect but I try as best I can.

A:

Thanks! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or our website to keep up with us this summer.


Q:

Mr Binney, big fan!

Did the knobs who raided your home and yanked(?) you out of the shower ever apologize?

What news outlets do you recommend?

If internet is disconnected, what options then?

Is shortwave radio still viable option?

A:

Was the experience frightening in any way?


Q:

Hi Sasha! Fellow math phd here. I find it interesting that people would frame your choices as selfish and wasteful-- to me that says everything about how many people, especially in America, frame math education (and education in general) as a field for people with "not enough" talent.

We should be thrilled that more subject experts are going into education. The potential for added value coming from even one person who really loves their subject is enormous. I'm sure many of us, who have either gotten our phds or work in a math-adjacent field, can credit that one teacher who inspired us along the way. I had teachers like that in 11th and 12th grade who really changed everything for me.

A:

Sorry for your buddy, man. Great reason to keep on keeping on - I'm super jealous. You look fantastic!


Q:

How much effort is required so that you all can get the necessary visa and passport stuff required? Otherwise it looks awesome!

A:

They never apologized. So now, I am supporting four separate lawsuits going after NSA/CIA/FBI/DOJ unconstitutional surveillance.

Check out Circa News - true investigative reporting without political bias.

Shortwave radio is still viable, even desirable if it can meet your needs for distance, line of site, etc. Go analog vice digital if you can.


Q:

Yes, frightening every second. Not because I was in Pyongyang, but because I was taking notes / writing the book in secret. For average people who visit Pyongyang for whatever organizational reason (that is not a place for a personal curiosity visit since it's basically a gulag positing as a country), it would not be frightening since everything's so controlled.

A:

Yes, it is definitely important to have those inspiring teachers. My love of math initiated from my father who is a math and physics high school teacher. He showed me the beauty and elegance of math from an early age by giving me lots of logic puzzles and having math conversations about everyday things. I also had a few really good math teachers in high school and college as well.

My coauthor, on the other hand, had some terrible math teachers in high school and grew up hating math. Luckily, one awesome professor in college made her fall in love with it, and she is now a Computer Science professor at Columbia. More of her story here: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/from-math-hater-to-mathematician-and-computer-scientist-the-story-of-allison-bishop/


Q:

Thank you!

A:

Surprisingly it was pretty easy! Of the countries we are going through, the only ones we needed to get visas for were Turkey and Russia. The Turkish visa was online, and it was instant approval. Russia was a little bit more paperwork. You need to get an invitation from a travel company and then you need to go get an actual visa from the consulate itself. Lucky for us one of the members of our team lives near the consulate in Houston. The hardest part for paperwork was the insurance on a car driven by 5 people all under 25...


Q:

How do you think the world will look 10 years from now regarding mass surveillance and internet privacy? What will be the greatest difference to today? Will our homes remain private? Or will we get spied on by household robots?

Theresa May wants more mass surveillance in the UK! What would you recommend her to do instead to fight terrorism?

A:

Do people in North Korea really see Kim jong un, Kim jong il, and Kim il-sung as essentially a god, or is it an act?

What do the people high in the workers party think of the western world?


Q:

This so much.

After getting my PhD (Sorbonne) I worked in my industry for a few years. The stress got to me so I quit and - no joke - got a job at the local McDonalds. I was much more happy. I did that for a few years, then started a few companies and retired by the age of 40.

Never underestimate happiness, the feeling of making a true difference, and zero career stress.

You go Sasha! Yeah!

A:

What exercises do you do for the legs?


Q:

Who do you think will be the first to breakdown and want to go home?

A:

If we do not move away from mass surveillance and bulk data acquisition, the Ïnternet of Things" will provide the government and business with unprecedented access to our private lives and everything we do every minute of every day.

All politicians want more money, more people, and more data so they can build an even bigger empire, despite continual failure to prevent attacks from occurring. So let's object to any process that rewards failure. STOP IT! We need smarter, more efficient ways to stop terror and criminal behavior. We also need to provide real oversight of the intel agencies and verification (auditing) to ensure rights are being protected. No data stored data collection on anyone without a warrant based on probable cause. By doing this, analysts and authorities are focused on the data most likely to prevent terrorist or criminal activity.


Q:

The difficulty of this question is that they are also human beings and complex. Sometimes it is possible to believe as well as not believe. They do see him as essentially a god, but some also don't. Sometimes these beliefs co-exist. My students were like this often with me. I was their enemy because I came from the western world as well as South Korea (which is their enemy) but then I was their teacher, the only one they saw everyday they relied on, so they loved me at the same time. And it is that conflict within their humanity vs the inhumanity of their world that makes North Korea exceptionally tragic. Also, imagine, they were brought up in that system for 3 generations. It is a bit like a cult religion, so even if you might have some doubts, it is literally the world they come from, the only world they know and are allowed to see and be in. So it's a bit like hating a father you also grew up to worship. It's as conflicted as that. Because they are not "brainwashed" or robots, the problem becomes far more complex. Yes, they view the western world as their enemy but a part of them might want to see it or feel a bit worshipping of it, but they live in a world that is not allowed so they cannot ever show it. So it's a combination of all those things.

A:

I don't know about the "zero" career stress, because I can by no means call my current job "stress-free", but I agree with you on everything else. I think that for many people, one of the hard parts is actually figuring out what it is that would make them happy. I feel fortunate to have found something that I feel so passionate about.


Q:

Pull-ups

A:

Definitely Murphy. He needs chocolate milk to keep his weight up, and I imagine there won't be much past Turkey. I foresee this leading to a mental breakdown, followed by a bit of arguing, followed by Murphy getting out of the ambulance and walking off into the middle of the Mongolian steppe never to be seen again...


Q:

So do you think data is worth more than gold? Will a country's wealth be determined by the amount of data stored in the future?

A:

What made you want to go undercover in North Korea considering all of the dangers?


Q:

It's strange; I think education is one of the best uses for a math degree, in terms of use to society. Certainly more impactful than theoretical research, and I'm speaking as someone who wants to become a category theorist.

A:

Uhhhhh, do you fuck with the war?


Q:

Will you keep the lights and siren on the whole trip?

A:

True to an extent, but I will always prefer gold because it is real and hard to fake.


Q:

You know. . .I don't really know. I could give all the usual answers how I was so tortured by the injustice there - which is true - and how I felt horrified watching so many separation that happened to families, including my own - which is also true. But the answer is a far more complicated one. So I recently wrote a long essay on this very topic for Lapham's Quarterly, which should be coming out any day now. So I will tweet that out when the piece comes out. I think it has something to do with fear. How that society is built on fear, and how fear can dictate us, and how we try to fight that fear in life. . .I know it's maybe a bit nonsensical in this AMA answer format, for which I apologyze. . .but the more accurate answer would be that I jumped in there because it was the most scary place in the world for me. . .if that makes any sense.

A:

I think that they both have their value to society. I felt more passionate about teaching children than about doing research, so that's what I pursued. I think that people should pursue their dreams to the extent that they can and then society will benefit from having more happy and satisfied people.


Q:

Lil Dicky!

A:

Unfortunately, that's probably not legal, but being bold students, we may or may not give it a try.


Q:

What are you up to nowadays?

A:

How did they feel about learning English? Resentful? Enthusiastic? Indifferent?


Q:

I'm in the midst of a math education degree and work as a private tutor for grades 7-12 , it seems like the broad underlying issue for most of my students is that they never really got on the math bandwagon when they were younger and have been playing catch up for years.

From your experiences and research, is this type of hangup as common as it seems in my experiences?

And a follow-up, in the same vein: what are the keys to getting students in the K-5 range genuinely interested in math? Or if not interested in math, at least not scared of it.

A:

How do you like your coffee?


Q:

I love that you guys are going to try and do something good but looking at that ambulance and then thinking ahead another 12000 miles...are you not just going to be delivering a piece of junk there? Why not just send them the money instead?

A:

Aside from suing the government, and calling them all idiots in public TV and radio, my friend Kirk Wiebe is with me here in Europe talking to the EU Parliament about mandating targeted approaches to Intel surveillance into law and protecting privacy. We must have privacy and security at the same time. Further, we are also helping companies here in Europe make that a reality.

Sooooo, now that NSA, CIA, FBI, GCHQ, BND et all know we are doing this, we would be happy to help them succeed as well. Right now we do not clear them for that knowledge. Don't you just love this!!!


Q:

They had no choice. This was what they were ordered to do, and they studied so diligently because they were obedient. It is a culture where they have to listen to the authorities. But little by little, they would show some frustrations. They found it hard. Their dictionaries were outdated, which translated Korean words to English, and they didn't like to use English dictionaries for definition. They found different accents by teachers (many were missionaries so from deep South, with Southern accents, or from New Zealand) difficult to understand. But these were just practical difficulties. Their real feelings about having to learn them? They couldn't really show it. They just felt worried that they were spending all their time learning English when their majors were within the field of science and technology

A:

I believe it's quite common.

I think that the key to getting K-5 students interested in math is by making it creative and letting them explore and discover concepts rather than imposing it upon them. You make it visual, you let them play with it.

For example, when we study nets of cubes, we actually build them with magformers and students figure out which ones can actually fold into a cube. When we study functions, they're not abstract but we literally put objects in and out of a "function machine." For example, I describe this activity here https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/kid-in-the-machine/, and there are many other such examples on my blog.

You also need to show them a wide range of topics. It is generally believed in our society that being good in math means being good at computation. However, there is so much more to math than arithmetic, and children should be shown that. I have students who struggle with arithmetic but are incredible at spacial reasoning or logic puzzles. They need to be shown that this is also math and given an opportunity to be successful at it.


Q:

Lots of cream and sugar

A:

The reason for delivering the car, is that the industry in Mongolia is far behind that of Europe and the US, so they can't just buy an ambulance. The ambulances have to be imported from somewhere else. While it might get a little beat up on the way there, we are having skid plates installed along with some other precautions to keep it in the best condition possible. The charity we are working with coordinates with the Mongolian government to approve the vehicles in order to make sure they are vehicles the government actually wants. Also, if the ambulance is going to be used in rural Mongolia where there are no roads, driving it there is a testament to the fact that it can actually do its job when it gets there. Thanks for the question!


Q:

Thanks to you and the other Whistle-blowers!!!

Any thoughts on a REAL 9/11 Commission (run by citizens, not politicians)?

9/11 is the original sin--Iraq/Afghan "wars" and CIA Torture, etc.

Until we overcome the lies surrounding what happened that day the USA will be on a path of war and destruction...and war profiteering, of course.

A:

Hi! Which do you like writing more? Nonfiction or fiction? Do you consider yourself a writer of "Korean-American" literature or does that tag/category bother you? I thought The Interpreter was a great novel; one of my favorites.


Q:

As a kid many people never saw the coolest things math does. Even teachers were not great at explaining the places math could take you. As a math major finishing my degree, I am seeing the amazing connections math has to everything.

Now that you have all this knowledge, how will you demonstrate to kids the wonder and far reaches of math to inspire them?

A:

Get ready for this one. Favorite supplement?


Q:

What made you decide to go north of the Caspian Sea instead of south, through Iran?

Sounds like you are well prepared anyway. I did the Mongol Rally in 2003 so I can confirm it's an awesome trip. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people do the same thing as you every year so you will have loads of support. Enjoy!

A:

Spot-on!


Q:

I am always torn between the two genres. But if I really had to choose, I guess my heart is with fiction. But nonfiction makes my brains flow perhaps in a really exciting way. And my nonfiction in general is literary that I get my fiction angst/fill through that way. I don't know which I "like" writing better. Writing is so torturous for me that it's only after finishing it or nearing the end that I can enjoy it:) No, I do not consider myself a Korean-American literature writer. That genre is an odd one for fiction writers. I guess one cannot help that in coming up with genres, but especially fiction, to be limited by my nationality or immigration history is uncomfortable. I guess I just want to be a "writer", period. Yes, The Interpreter -- so many years later, I myself still have a real soft spot for Suzy Park, so thank you.

A:

In the curriculum that i'm developing I make sure to cover a broad range of topics, from logic to probability theory, to geometry. I also make sure to have plenty of activities where they can explore and discover some of the math for themselves.

Here is an example, I recently did a lesson on logic using problems from Smullyan's book "What is the name of this book?" I was amazed at the freedom and depth of my students' thinking. They were really questioning all the assumptions and not just trying to look for "the one right answer."
Here is a post I made about the conversation: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/logical-fun-part-i/ and I describe many similar in spirit lessons on my blog.


Q:

Amino Energy

A:

Thanks for the question. Being students, we are on a tight budget, and from what we researched, the Iranian visa itself is quite expensive and they tax the vehicle itself as well. So, we decided that would be too costly. That would also require another visa to go through Turkmenistan. We are excited for the route we are taking though! Can't wait!


Q:

Why would the powerful desire to apply justice equally, when currently there is such extensive inescapable bias that the laws of the common do not even begin to apply to the laws of the elite? In other words, why would any system voluntarily surrender power to a weaker opponent, and can we expect all opponents in the future to act likewise?

A:

What advice would you have for the general public regarding "how to understand the world, especially the "other" who we have not personally encountered?" Specifically, in the age of infinite information, fake news, and polarized sources, how does the public sift through and make meaning of their world?


Q:

"Okay kids, today I'm going to tell you a story about Hoppity the Math Bunny.

Hoppity was hopping down the lane when he saw a book lying in the road! What sort of book was it? It was a book about math, kids! We love math don't we?

And what do you suppose that Hoppity read in the book, kids? He found out it was a book about graphs! What sort of graphs do you think he read about, kids? CLAW FREE graphs, that's right.

He read all about Dr Hadwiger who was a VERY smart man who lived in Switzerland! We love Switzerland, don't we? That's where they make chocolate and cukoo clocks isn't it?

So anyway, Hoppity read that Hadwiger’s conjecture states that every graph with chromatic number χ has a clique minor of size χ. Let G be a graph on n vertices with chromatic number χ and stability number α. Then since χα ≥ n, Hadwiger’s conjecture implies that G has a clique minor of size n.

And after reading that, Hoppity was so tired he lay down in the road, and fell asleep. Then he got run over by a truck. The End."

A:

Do you recommend rowing machines as an "at home" exercise? I do Jiu Jitsu, and do a little mountain biking, but I'm still in need of more core strength and (a lot of) conditioning. I'm 41, 6'3", about 240-250 lbs.


Q:

I had a friend do the London version of this rally. I have no questions but share a couple of tips if you'd like to read them.

1) get the European AAA-equivalent (ARC?) membership. You got the ambulance checked out, but it may not always cooperate.

2) Keep vodka bottles with you in Russia. For "gifts" (when official-types stop your vehicle). I have no idea about crossing borders with liquor, so maybe try to stock up fairly soon after crossing.

Friend's team ran out of gas, had the damn thing break down multiple times, and they even tipped it on its side in Mongolia after another truck coming head on at them was taking his half in the middle. I think it was a much older vehicle and I'm glad to see that Mongolia is enforcing some standards in these kinds of rallies. Best of luck to you!

A:

At some point, the People stand up for their rights and do what is necessary. Currently this is true and that is why I call the US Dept of Justice, the "US Dept of Just Us." Only the Elites like Hillary Clinton, Gen. Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and all others who have been violating the rights of citizens of the world enjoy protected status.


Q:

This is really relevant. Fake news seems to dictate our world now, but I do believe due to the rise of fake news (or the method in which they can travel has grown tremendously due to the internet & the ease / speed of the internet publishing), the need for the real in-depth news has also risen. So if you were to look around, you will see so much more information on almost everything. I do think this means we have to just look more. And also I think because of the policing that happens as the result of the surplus of info, we can't get away with bogus information anymore the same way. North Korea is a perfect example of there being so much junk out there posing as info. So then you have to check who is saying that, who is writing it, what do they know etc etc. In the past, the story of the "other" belonged solely to Orientalists, who basically imposed their colonial view of the "other." Much of that still goes on, but I hope with all the policing, we are enforcing more quality control, perhaps. So that you can't just claim yourself "expert" when you don't speak the language, or hardly had been to the place, etc. So in fact, the general public can in fact inform themselves more thoroughly and resposibly these days, if they care to.

A:

This looks familiar :-)


Q:

Get some ab straps. I owe a lot of my core strength to them!

A:

Those are some very good suggestions. The vodka bottles will definitely come in handy! Did they end up making it to the end?


Q:

What is the question that should be brought up more so us lay people can understand our country and world better? And what is the answer to that question?

A:

How long did it take between the time you had this idea and actually going through with it? (Apologies if you covered that in the book, it's been a while since I read it.)


Q:

I am sorry I assume you speak Russian but have you heard of Приключения Капитана Нулика? It's a math-based adventure book too. I was raised on it.

Edit: prepositions, or an alternate title Фрегат Капитана Единицы

A:

Do you have a story about a time when your muscles and ability to lift your body/ do crazy athletic shit came in handy in the real world? It looks cool in the gym and all, but has it ever come in clutch falling off a cliff or something practical? Thank you for your service !


Q:

Hey guys. My question: Do you want a beer? I literally live on your route (south Germany) and would happily invite you for one...

A:

We need to demand honest answers from our representatives. For example, Senator Wyden asked how many Americans are in intel databases. His answer from NSA in writing said, "We cannot tell you that, because it would be a violation of privacy rights of US Citizens. This is NOT an acceptable answer.


Q:

The whole idea for the literary nonfiction on North Korea came in February 2002 when I first went to Pyongyang for the 60th Birthday celebration of Kim Jong Il & wrote the NYRB cover essay. I realized then that an essay was just not enough, and there was just so much more I felt about this topic, also given my family background etc. From then on, it was trying to study the topic as thoroughly as I could, by literally researching it from afar and close, i.e. following defectors through the defection route, interviewing separated families, and situating myself in places where I could either go to North Korea or learn more in-depth stuff about it. Even my Fulbright research grant which allowed me to live in Seoul for 14 months in 2009 was for this book. As well as each visit that allowed me to get a different perspective. Understanding it from all sides was a key, and I felt that I had exhausted that by the time I lived there in 2011. So all in all, I would say about a decade.

A:

I have heard of it but haven't read it. Will check it out!


Q:

Actually the opposite, my over confidence got me a broken wrist 3 months ago...

A:

Heck yes. I'll PM you, and we could figure things out! Prost!


Q:

Hi Mr. Binney;

What question do you always wish people would ask you?

Thanks!

A:

Hello Ms. Kim.

I enjoy your Twitter posts and found your Guardian piece comparing the political chaos in Korea to the U.S. very enlightening. In your experience, what are the biggest misconceptions Americans have about either North or South Korea?


Q:

What was your go to hoagie from Hoagie Haven?

A:

Were you doin flips and shit or just fast pull ups for the ladies? Glad to see you can grip and everything well again it seems


Q:

Are you planning to change the oil a few times on the way?

A:

It would be, "Do you have to give up privacy to provide security?" The answer is absolutely not. Intel agencies of the free world should have adopted a targeted approach to data collection off the networks of the world. Since they did not take this approach, you can see in the tragic examples of Manchester and London, their approach is failing.


Q:

I think the biggest misconception goes back to the basic premise. Most Americans have no idea why there are two Koreas, or why there are 30,000 US soldiers in South Korea and why North Korea hates America so much. That very basic fact has been sort of written out of the American consciousness. By repackaging the Korean War as a civil war, it has now created decades of a total misconception. The fact that the US had actually drawn the 38th Parallel that cut up the Korean peninsula, not in 1950 (the start of the war) but in 1945 at the liberation of Korea from Japan is something that no Korean has forgotten -- that was the beginning of the modern Korean tragedy. That the first Great Leader (the grandfather of the current Great Leader) was the creation of the Soviet Union (along with the US participation) is another horrible puzzle piece that Americans have conveniently forgotten.

A:

This is going to sound blasphemous, but I was a Wawa girl.


Q:

Competing my third year for Ninja Warrior and they had this local competition where I just muscled up onto the thing and fell onto the concrete from about 14 feet up. The exact wrong way to do it!

A:

We will definitely have to change it at least twice. As far as I know, oil has to be changed about every 3,000 miles, and since we are going over 10,000, we should probably have to change it 3 times. I have seen pictures of people doing it in previous rallies, and they found some janky little car lift/bridge type thing so they could get under their cars. It's sure to be an interesting sight seeing five college age guys changing the oil on an ambulance.


Q:

Hi Bill! Couple quick questions for you.

1) We all know that communications tools and social media are routinely monitored by national-level intelligence agencies. Do you worry about three letter agencies getting involved with private actors who collect/analyze big data on an official or unofficial level?

2) Can we talk about attribution? When a major hack happens, we hear reports about it being traced to X or Y actor but we never hear how. Considering that an attacker can obfuscate traffic or make it appear to an analyst that it is coming from a specific source, how do we actually know who is attacking us?

For example, the Sony attack was "linked" to DPRK but I read the USCERT report and it looks like common American phrases were used as seeds and the attack vectors were unsophisticated. Things are looking similar with WannaCry but I haven't looked into that enough. Are we being lied to by the government to prevent a public freak out when people realize how easy it is to hit companies creating hundreds of millions in losses?

A:

Anyone know where can I find information regarding how the first great leader was a creation of the USA & soviets? I'd love to read about it


Q:

That's amazing ! There are not many people like you who are willing to follow what they believe in over making a lot of money! So mad respects for you ! Have you experienced a lot of people who criticised you over your decision/ tried to stop you?

A:

3rd year? what's the farthest you've gotten and what are your weak points on the course?


Q:

Prep it with full synthetic oil. 10k is a cakewalk for modern vehicles.

A:

Question 1 - Yes I worry - they are already doing this and getting paid for it by the government(s).

Question 2 - If the govt is telling you that country X is doing the attack, you have a 80% chance of that being a lie. It is difficult to know the true origin - must be able to trace the packets and look inside of them in order to know. Called Deep Packet Inspection.


Q:

That would be taking it out of the context to claim that first Great Leader was "created" by US. He was a soldier (protege of the Soviet), while US participated in that set up handpicking the US educated South Korean first president. US had drawn the 38th Parallel, and that division was trumpeted by the Cold War, two separate gov't formed by 1948 & war broke out in 1950. That is a very simplified version of the history of the two Koreas which most Americans don't remember and now wonder why they are in South Korea today and why is North Korea mad at them. If you are genuinely curious, there are many many books on this topic by serious historians.

A:

Typically, people have been very supportive. Also, people might not realize, I am still gainfully employed, just changed my focus.


Q:

The JUMPING SPIDER 3 times has taken me out. Hip flexor flexibility.

A:

Synthetic oil it is then! Thanks for the suggestion! Glad to hear it shouldn't be much trouble


Q:

Maybe some of this stuff is a bit hard to follow for "normal people"m especially those who haven't seen the film.

Can you guys perhaps recap:

1) WHAT do the USA/5EYES spying machine collect? 2) What do they do with all the data they collect?

A:

How much did u make as a teacher? Easy thing to get into (teaching English in N Korea)? Last one - any dangers associated with just teaching in N. Korea?


Q:

Could you be so kind as to explain the pros and/or cons between the former traditional educational model and the rising popularity of "common core"? I want to ride they hype train as it sounds like people love it but gosh darned if my ignorance just makes it look LONGER to do. Thank you!

A:

Can you confirm this redditors comment about Ninja Warrior: This show is bullshit.


Q:

wtf for?

Asking for a friend.

A:

They collect all data making up communications between limited numbers of people. Here is a representative list:

Videoconferencing Location information about people,
Phone calls Emails Chatter on the net SMS (texting) Financial transactions, including credit cards, etc Passive transponders (E-Z Pass etc) Travel manifests Web browsing VOIP/Skype... Social media

They also insert capture devices inside personal computers, routers, servers, etc.

Former Gen. Alexander, Director NSA said, "COLLECT IT ALL!"


Q:

It was an unpaid job. I believe every teacher was sponsored by their church. There is not a danger in teaching in North Korea, but this is a gulag nation, and America is their enemy, and there is no diplomatic relations between them, so if you are a teacher from the US, then, yes you are in danger, as evidenced by the recent hostage crisis where two American detained by North Korea (currently still held there) are from the university where I taught.

A:

First, what most people don’t realize is that the Common Core is not a curriculum but rather a set of standards of goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills that a student should obtain. These standards are quite reasonable, but how they’re implemented is another story. The content actually is very similar to what was there before .

And the main problem I believe is with the assessments. For example, the common core may list multiple ways to do simple addition or subtraction. Administrators see this and say, oh we must not only teach all 5 ways, but we must also test all 5 ways, and for that, we also need to give the ways names.

That is not the goal of the 5 ways though. The goal is to give children a choice and flexibility. The main failure of the common core, in my opinion is not giving support to administrators, teachers, and parents for implementing the standards.


Q:

Nothings perfect. It rained right before I went and I still had to go.

A:

Great question! I'm surprised it took this long to get that question directly. That's the first question all of our friends (and in particular our moms who think we're going to die) ask us. Actually though, we had some friends have the adventure of a lifetime doing a similar rally a couple of years back. We wanted to seek the same adventure but thought buying a car then junking it upon arrival seemed kind of wasteful. So, we sought to find something that had a charitable aspect to this. We then came across the Mongolia Charity Rally, which aims to help improve Mongolia's fledgling healthcare infrastructure by raising awareness in a unique manner (the wild adventure), raising funds, and donating a vehicle that had stringent requirements by the charity as well as Mongolian government to qualify. We found that this rally was perfect for us. We are aiding the Mongolian government in a manner out of the ordinary/other than simply donating cash. We are able to directly impact people and see it for ourselves while also having a fulfilling adventure of a lifetime.


Q:

Did Thin Thread use what we now call "sentiment analysis"? I've been interested in natural language processing and post-911, probably 1/2 of the NLP research I've read is some version of "sentiment analysis" (it is also possible I've just been too narrow in my research).

Also: the Bush administration hated all-things-Clinton and ended lots of anti-terrorism stuff (including NK getting nukes) just because it had a whiff of Clinton on it. Do you think this might have been the reason for Thin Thread getting canceled?

A:

In '92-93 I taught English in Prague in the Czech Republic. Eastern Europe had just been opened up from the communists. The sense of euphoria among the people was palpable. Hope exuded from everyone.

I taught businessmen and women who for the first time in their lives had freedom for their entrepreneurial spirit. They came to me every day with hopes and bottles of champagne.

I'm curious about the demeanor of your students. I cannot imagine 'hope' was anywhere around. How can one teach without hope? Thx and best wishes.


Q:

The way it's been implemented in my school district is by abolishing advanced math classes and putting everyone in the same math class, resulting in some really bored students who would be doing great in a higher math class but instead do poorly in a class that is mind-numbingly boring to them.

A:

Good attitude here I like it


Q:

Sounds like a really exciting journey. How long will it take you to complete? How many other groups will there be? Have you collected all of the funds you need?

A:

We did not use sentiment analysis or anything involving natural language processing, other than having an interest in content directly attributable to people of interest, like criminals, terrorists et al.

No, Thin Thread was cancelled because of money and big company interest to feed off the public teat.


Q:

I wasn't there to teach, so that was not what I was looking for. My students were so busy, every hour of their day was mapped out, so it leaves no time for thinking. I found that world to be without hope. That does not mean that there is no joy in moments. There are because human beings are resilient, and my students were very, incredibly humane and lovely and their youthful spirit was sparklingly beautiful. But there was no real time for them to celebrate any of it. They would relax a bit but the immediately hauled off to their many duties that all had to do with regime & great leader. There was no hope there. So I wrote down what I saw. But I do not know about other teachers who were there to teach, but if you read my book, you will see that the other teachers weren't mostly there to teach but there as a part of their fundamental evangelical missionary purpose.

A:

Unfortunately, the mind-numbingly boring classes are not benefiting anyone, advanced or not.


Q:

Nope!

A:

Right now we have planned for about 6 weeks with a little contingency included in there. We included about a day for each border crossing, because we were advised that after the EU each border crossing takes a very long time. After that we added an extra few days in Mongolia so that we could experience our final destination and to account for any breakdowns or other random problems. Last I heard there were around 10 groups participating. Many will be driving ambulances, and one team I heard was driving a fire truck! We have collected some funds from family and friends, but as a group of college students, we are searching for all the help we can get. If you're interested, the donation page is linked at the top of our Facebook page above, through the Donate Now button.


Q:

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego!?

A:

Does your book try to teach math abstractly or traditionally?

When I learned math in school they just told us operations and the rules to use them with.

But my love of math really started when I learned more pure constructs like functions as a means to map from a source set to a destination set.

I realized that all the rules that people found hard to remember came from these abstract principles, where they made sense, and we're not simply arbitrarily defined.

But abstract math also seems much more complex to reason about.

So to ask my question again in a different way, is your book teaching applied mathematics or pure mathematics?


Q:

Do you have any gymnastic, dance or performance background?

Some of the moves in the longer video where you show some amazing locking of position (fake stairs/steps) are the kind of moves people practice for ages.

You're like a super mime!

A:

How often are you stopping for bathroom breaks?


Q:

In Los Angeles.

A:

The book is doesn't teach math per say. It is first and foremost a fantasy with math intertwined. You wouldn't call the Phantom Tollbooth or Alice in Wonderland a math book, but there is certainly some math to be explored in the stories. Similarly with our book, you can make the experience of reading it as mathematical as you want. We also have a mathematical addendum that addresses the math concepts more directly.

There are many more details about this on the kickstarter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/419899136/funville-adventures-a-math-inspired-childrens-book


Q:

Haha I am an amateur rock climber so that helps!

A:

That is honestly a question I have never thought about haha. As found on bladderandbowel.org, the average person goes to the bathroom about 6-7 times a day. I would guess that means we'll need to stop about 4 times each day for at least 41 seconds: 10 to run to the bathroom, 21 to pee (the amount of time it takes every mammal to go to the bathroom no matter the size), and 10 to run back. That will add at least two whole hours of bathroom stops


Q:

Huh, I thought she was in San Diego.

A:

What are your favorite books that address math and logic?


Q:

What's your favorite flavor of Crayola?

A:

And 0 seconds for washing your hands


Q:

:)

A:

A few of my favorites are: The Number Devil, Cat in Numberland, What is the Name of this book? (and others by Smullyan), The Greedy Triangle, How big is a million?, How big is a foot?, books by Martin Gardner. I have more on a slightly outdated list on my blog: https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/kid-oriented-math-reads/


Q:

Red Brick Shit House

A:

It's the little things that we're clearly going to struggle with


Q:

Based on the information available today, do you believe Russia played a role in Donald Trump being elected?

A:

For parents of young children out there, what are some things you can do as a parent to encourage math literacy at a young age?


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Where'd you get that logo??? It looks awesome!


Q:

Absolutely not. Accusations against Trump are a red herring.

A:

First, make sure to do things that you yourself enjoy. Games and puzzles are a great way to inspire interest in mathematics. One of my favorites for young children is Tiny Polka Dot from Math4Love. Other favorites include SET, SWISH, Blokus, and puzzle from ThinkFun.

Also, read fun stories with math content. Two of my favorites that you can enjoy with fairly young children is The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and How Big is a Foot by Rolf Muller. Funville Adventures, the book that I coauthored, could be enjoyed by children as young as 5: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/419899136/funville-adventures-a-math-inspired-childrens-book

Also, I would encourage you to have math conversations with your children if you feel comfortable doing so. These don't have to be forced, but can just build on things they say or ask naturally. Here are some from my blog, which I had with my children at various ages (starting at around 4 with my older one and 2 with my younger one): https://aofradkin.wordpress.com/tag/tmwyk/


Q:

Consistency is key because you start to not see instant results and get discouraged. So stick with it!!

A:

First we had to come up with the name which probably took a month (We're a very indecisive group). Then since we chose One Small Steppe, we decided it need to be an astronaut. With that idea, we sent it off to one of our friends (Shoutout to Kat), and she made this masterpiece of a design!


Q:

What makes you think that?

A:

How long have you had your dog for? Could you tell us more about the dog?


Q:

How much beer do 5 Belgians need to go 10,000 miles?

A:

It is so because all we have seen are accusations based on suspicions. Not one iota of proof has been provided. The Dir. of National Intelligence - James Clapper - himself has said there is no evidence of collusion with Russia. So has Senator Feinstein.

See article here:

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/03/06/trump-russia-conspiracy-trap/


Q:

Mr. Binney, are you familiar with the radio program coast to coast am? Have you ever given an interview on the radio program? If yes, would you do another one in the near future? If not, would you you consider going on the show?

A:

You can still post pics and share info on the dog. We'd be okay with that.


Q:

How large would you estimate the size of your ambulance to be if its volume was measured in opossums?

A:

I have been on this program and discussed all the spy programs the agencies are using to commit mass surveillance, map locations, etc.


A:

about tree fitty


Q:

If you could recommend a book or two as mandatory public education, what would it be?

Thank you sir for your continued fighting!

A:

Does Gunny know you're famous?


Q:

The Shadow Factory, by James Bamford Spies for Hire, by Tim Shorrock

I have also heard from friends that these are good books to read:

Data and Goliath, by Bruce Schneier No Place to Hide, by Glenn Greenwald American Spies, by Jennifer Granick

A:

LMFAO, that was funny.


Q:

Although ThinThread (necessarily) relies on access to backbone communication links/cables, it does not rely on massive intake of content --- an opportunity to significantly reduce bulk collection, as A Good American explains. During a pre-screening in March 2016 you mentioned discussing ThinThread with governments including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and that Canada, Germany, Australia & New Zealand had 'picked it up'.

Q1 (to Bill): did any government, so far, indicate a willingness to consider replacing existing methods that rely on bulk collection with ThinThread (or a ThinThread-like model) -- and to then reduce or eliminate bulk collections? Or is ThinThread rather seen as an addition, and existing sigint collection upheld?

Q2 (to both Bill & Kirk): did any of the SSEUR countries, so far, consult Entity Mapping to implement ThinThread?

A:

What exercise regimen would you recommend to get close to the shape you are in now?

  • What's your diet, routine, etc.?

Q:

Q1: After leaving NSA in Oct 2001, we had no further communications with any other country's intelligence agency. We are working with the EU to improve surveillance techniques and to include privacy by design.

Q2: No, none of the SSEUR countries have attempted to contact us.

A:

My diet is just don't eat shit all the time. Put down the cookies once in a while but I don't count my Macros or get too into it.

Right now I am on a routine that is 500 pull-ups, 1 gallon of water, and 500 crunches a day for 30 days.. lol today is day 1 but successful so far!


Q:

[deleted]

A:

Do u even lift bro?


Q:

I do not get around much, so I don't have enough information to give you a good answer.

A:

I partake, on occasion.


Q:

hello ridiculously-photogenic-pull-up-rowing-machine-marine-guy! here are some awkwardly forward questions:

How tall are you and how much do you weigh?

What's the best fitness advice you've ever received?

What's the best fitness advice you'd give someone working on getting in shape?

Thanks!

A:

5'11" 175

Remember the guy who quit? No one does...

It's going to be hard at first and you'll want to quit but don't.


Q:

Have you ever been approached to make a ridiculous infomercial for like Mike Eckert's totally insane ridiculous rowing in the air workout?

A:

Hahaha no but I think you're on to something!


Q:

When's leg day?

A:

I just yawned.... I can't do leg day today...


Q:

What are you favorite basic exercises?

A:

Pull-ups, I hold the world record for most in 60 seconds


A:

lol yeah I had inflamed tendons for a week after that one!


Q:

How long have you been a Marine?

A:

4 years


Q:

If you had one story to tell people what would it be?

A:

My dad once told me while I was competing, he said, why not you. I couldn't give him an answer and I wound up winning.


Q:

Are you single?

A:

Nope!


Q:

What running regimen do you do/use?

Who is your inspiration for being a better athlete or person overall?

And what is your favorite base you've been stationed at?

Thanks!

A:

I am not the best runner but I can still make around an 18 min 3 mile. Short interval training to get the HR up helps!

I have met a lot of good and bad people and I choose to take the best qualities from them and try to inspire others. My dad would be someone I would like to be like as a person.

Iwakuni Japan!!


Q:

Does your dog enjoy showing off his bunghole as a general rule or was this a special treat just for us? 😜

A:

Just for you all ;)


Q:

You know none of those counted for your PFT, right?

A:

I could still push out 23 after that set.


Q:

Hello Mr. Eckert! I'm about to head into my freshman year at college and want to put my time in summer to good use, physically. I've gone to the gym to work out 4x a week but want a better routine instead of what I'm doing now. Could you share your routine me/ what you think would be good for an 18 year old guy? You look amazing btw holy moly

A:

I personally use Time as my coach. Everything is at the top of the minute and you just go till you drop. Specifically though it would take me a while to make a specific routine for you because I am a personal trainer as well. My website will be up soon and that will help you a lot so keep in touch!


Q:

How much can you bench?

A:

275 was my max, but now... after a broken wrist I haven't even tried.


Q:

How does it feel walking into a room knowing you could beat everyone in a fight?

A:

Hahaha well if the fight was pulling someone sideways then pretty damn good!