TIME Research

Prolonged Breastfeeding Linked to Higher IQ and Wealth in Adulthood

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New research suggests that breastfeeding newborns longer helps enhance brain development

Children that breastfeed for longer periods end up smarter, more educated and wealthier in adulthood, according to a new study.

According to research published in the Lancet Global Health journal, children who breastfeed for at least 12 months scored almost four points higher on IQ tests, attended school for a year longer and made 15% more money at 30 years old, when compared with their peers who suckled for less than a month.

Researchers in Brazil surveyed almost 3,500 individuals born in the state of Pelotas in 1982 about their breastfeeding habits.

The study’s authors say the uptick in intelligence is likely tied to the presence of long-chain saturated fatty acids present in breast milk that are essential for brain development.

“Our finding that predominant breastfeeding is positively related to IQ in adulthood also suggests that the amount of milk consumed plays a role,” said lead author Bernardo Lessa Horta, a professor at Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil.

[Science Daily]

TIME intelligence

CIA Director Says ISIS Not Islamic, But ‘Psychopathic’

John Brennan
Richard Drew—AP CIA Director John Brennan addresses a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Friday, March 13, 2015.

"We need to expose just how murderous and psychopathic these individuals are"

CIA Director John Brennan has defended the White House’s efforts to avoid using the word “Islamic” to describe extremist terror groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

At a question and answer session at the Center for Foreign Relations in New York City on Friday, Brennan said using “Islamic” or “Muslim” to describe ISIS militants gives them “the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all.”

“I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to them,” Brennan said.

President Barack Obama has come under fire from some conservative commentators and politicians for not identifying the extremists with the religion they claim to represent. Addressing the criticism head on at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism last month, Obama said that those who use the religious descriptors are peddling a “lie” that helps ISIS recruit Muslims to its cause.

An estimated 20,000 foreign fighters, including several thousand from Western countries, have traveled to the region to join ISIS, which has proven adept at using social media to reach a global audience. Brennan announced last week a sweeping reorganization of the CIA that included the creation of a new “Directorate of Digital Innovation” devoted to cyber operations.

At the talk on Friday, which was hosted by CBS News’ Charlie Rose, Brennan warned that defeating ISIS’s capabilities and appeal will “take years.”

“We need to expose just how murderous and psychopathic these individuals are,” he said.

TIME intelligence

Former CIA Chief Petraeus to Plead Guilty to Mishandling Classified Materials

Former CIA Director David Petraeus Speaks At USC Dinner For Veterans And ROTC Students
Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images Former CIA director and retired four-star general General David Petraeus makes a public speech at the University of Southern California dinner for students Veterans and ROTC students on March 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Stunning downfall for America's former top general

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The U.S. Department of Justice says former CIA Director David Patraeus has agreed to plead guilty to mishandling classified materials.

A Justice Department statement says a plea agreement has been filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Associated Press was not immediately able to access the documents.

The agency says the former top Army general was charged with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The statement says Petraeus had signed an agreement pleading guilty to the single criminal count.

Petraeus’ lawyers David Kendall and Robert Barnett in Washington declined to comment.

The case was filed in Charlotte, the hometown of Paula Broadwell, the general’s biographer and former mistress.

TIME National Security

U.S. Intel Chief: Roughly 40 Americans Have Returned From Syria

Director Of Nat'l Intelligence James Clapper Speaks At Council On Foreign Relations
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 2, 2015 in New York City.

James Clapper said the U.S. faces more global challenges than at any time in his half-century career in the intelligence community

About 40 Americans have returned from the jihadist battlefields of Syria — but they don’t pose a threat to American security, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Monday.

Clapper said during a question-and-answer session at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City that about 180 Americans have attempted to travel or have succeeded in traveling to Syria since the ongoing conflict began. But he said the Americans who have returned went for “humanitarian purposes or some other reasons that don’t relate to plotting” and they have not shown “nefarious” intentions.

“If they come back, and they are not involved in plotting, or don’t have nefarious purpose, that’s their right and privilege as an American citizen to come back,” Clapper said. The office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

About 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 countries are believed to have gone to Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has seized large swaths of territory. That has raised fears of radicalized fighters returning to carry out attacks in their home countries.

Last week, the FBI arrested three Brooklyn men and charged them with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Two of the three men allegedly planned to travel to Syria, and the FBI said the men had discussed coordinating possible domestic attacks.

On Monday, Clapper said the U.S. faces more global challenges than at any time in his half-century career in the intelligence community.

“I’ve been in one capacity or another in the intel business for 52 years, and I don’t remember a time when we have been beset by more crises and challenges around the world and the diversity of these crises and challenges than we have today,” said Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general. That comment came days after he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 2014 was the most lethal year for global terrorism on record.

In 2014, 13,000 attacks killed 31,000 people around the world, up from 11,500 attacks and 22,000 killed a year earlier, Clapper said at the Senate hearing on Thursday. Fifty percent of those attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan — and ISIS was responsible for more of the attacks than any other group.

Clapper clarified on Monday that the terror assessment he gave Congress was not at odds with a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry, who drew criticism for telling a House subcommittee last week that global violent conflict is lower than it has ever been, saying that Americans were “safer than ever.”

Kerry “was thinking of a different context,” Clapper said. “What he was thinking about was the more cataclysmic case in point of — case with the Cold War. And he’s right; in that context we are a safer country. But I was looking at more the here and now, you know, what happened in 2014 and what kind of what we project out in the next year.”

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 25

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The U.S. wants to hack your phone because it doesn’t have the real spies it needs.

By Patrick G. Eddington at Reuters

2. Eight universities account for half of all history professors in the U.S. How did that happen?

By Joel Warner and Aaron Clauset in Slate

3. Bill Gates is investing in low-tech impact entrepreneurs in India.

By David Bank in Entrepreneur

4. “Liquid biopsy” can detect cancer from a few drops of blood.

By Michael Standaert in MIT Technology Review

5. Let’s build the infrastructure to make microfinance institutions into true innovation hubs.

By Jessica Collier in Medium

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME technology

Obama’s New Plan for Online Security Faces Some Big Questions

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Washington on Feb. 11, 2015.
Yin Bogu—Xinhua Press/Corbis U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Washington on Feb. 11, 2015.

President Obama wants Corporate America to work more closely to fend off hackers, but his new plan won’t achieve much unless he can get Congress to work more closely with him.

At a tech conference at Stanford University Friday, Obama is expected to provide more details about a new federal cyber intelligence unit which is designed to better coordinate the analysis of various online threats.

The White House’s plan hinges on the idea that companies should unite in the face of a common threat. The basic idea is that if Anthem, Sony or Home Depot—all companies that have suffered major cyber attacks recently—shared in real-time how their defenses were breached, then other companies and the federal government would be better able to stop similar attacks.

To that end, Obama’s executive order is expected encourage companies to set up voluntary, information sharing and analysis organizations (ISAOs) to help other companies and the U.S. government disseminate information about cyber threats more quickly, according to a White House statement. (That part of the White House’s plan is not totally new. Voluntary Information Sharing and Analysis Centers, ISACs, already exist within many sectors, although in most industries, they’re flimsy at best.)

Senior industry figures as well as advocates and lawmakers concerned about consumer privacy say that while the Obama plan might sound good, it’s riddled with problems. They suggest that emphasizing rapid-fire, real-time information sharing raises a host of major legal questions ranging from privacy to anti-trust issues.

For example, analysts say that the kind of threat that companies would share at these new ISAOs are likely to include customers’ personal information. Privacy advocates say that such information would have to be carefully stripped-out or redacted before it could be shared—a process that would seriously slow down information-sharing efforts and give companies a reason not to share information that may get them in legal trouble later.

The White House, for its part, has gone the opposite route: it has proposed legislation that would legally shield companies sharing cyber threat information at ISAOs, but Congress hasn’t bitten. The executive action is expected to further that effort.

Others opposed to the Obama plan worry that the data shared at ISAOs could include highly-confidential or proprietary information about a company’s security system, which raises anti-trust questions. If two competing companies share proprietary information under the guise of sharing cyber-threat information, are they technically colluding with each other?

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers are opposed to the president’s plan because it suggests that the federal government would play too big of a role in the private sector by encouraging companies to communicate with government-monitored clearinghouses. “Unilateral, top-down solutions will not solve America’s cyber problems,” said Speaker John Boehner’s spokesperson, Cory Fritz, in a statement.

The White House has played down concerns about the new executive action, emphasizing that participating in the ISAOs would be entirely voluntary, that protecting civil rights would be a key component of the new sharing framework, and that companies would simply be encouraged to develop a common set of standards for better combatting cyber threats. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel has said that the federal government can’t prevent cyber threats on its own and needs the private sector to take an active role in improving its own policies and sharing information.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to speak at the conference at Stanford today, although top Google, Yahoo and Facebook executives have said that they will not attend. Their cooperation, as well as Congress’, will be the key to whether Obama’s ambitious new agenda actually happens.

TIME intelligence

Obama to Limit Data Collection by Intelligence Agencies

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
Getty Images The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

Modest reforms will also establish White House oversight over surveillance of foreign leaders

Intelligence agencies will have to delete extraneous data on private citizens and limit storage of data on foreigners to five years, the Obama administration is expected to announce Tuesday, as part of a new batch of modest restrictions on intelligence gathering efforts.

The reforms will also initiate regular White House reviews over surveillance programs targeting foreign leaders, the New York Times reports. President Barack Obama abruptly cancelled one such program targeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2013, after leaked documents revealed that the National Security Agency had tapped her cell phone records.

However, the administration stopped short of addressing the scope of the NSA’s collection of “metadata” on cell phone records, which sparked a controversy after it was revealed that the program encompassed millions of Americans’ cell phone records.

Read more at the New York Times.

 

TIME intelligence

Activist Defiant After Sentencing Over Stratfor Hacking

Nikki Loehr—freebarrettbrown.org Activist and journalist Barrett Brown was sentenced to five years in prison.

Barrett Brown, the activist, journalist and one-time associate of hacktivist collective Anonymous who has become an online cause célèbre, isn’t going to let prison silence him.

He was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for threatening a federal agent on YouTube and interfering with a federal investigation related to the 2011 hack of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. On Friday, he told TIME that he planned to use his sentence to document American prison life from the inside.

“There’s things that go on there that they don’t want to talk about,” Brown told TIME in an interview from prison Friday, “so this is a great opportunity.”

Brown characterized his sentence as part of a larger problem in the United States of unjust laws and misconduct on the part of prosecutors and law enforcement.

“The prosecutor said one thing that was accurate—that I don’t have respect for the laws in this country,” he told TIME. “We have a situation in which the only way we can survive as a free nation is if our laws are not enforced.”

Brown, 33, was sentenced Thursday to five years and three months in prison and ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution and fines on charges stemming from his connection to the hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor in 2011. During the prosecution, he drew support from journalist Glenn Greenwald, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and liberal philosopher Noam Chomsky among others on a website called “Free Barrett Brown.”

In a statement released to journalists immediately after his sentence was handed down, Brown sardonically hailed the ruling as “Good news!”

”The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex,” he said, thanking the government for providing “free food, clothes and housing as I seek to expose wrongdoing by the Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system.”

Brown was arrested in 2012 and initially charged with aggravated identity theft and, most notably, with trafficking in stolen goods because he posted a link online to information others had pilfered in the Stratfor hack, including internal emails and credit card numbers. The latter charge drew widespread condemnation from civil rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the charge “a serious threat to press freedom” in a statement condemning the sentence. The stolen goods and identity theft charges were later dropped and Brown pleaded to three lesser crimes: accessory after the fact, interfering with an FBI investigation and threatening an FBI agent. The last charge resulted from YouTube rants a visibly distraught Brown posted that included threats to an FBI agent investigating Brown and his mother. The bulk of his sentence is a result of that threat.

In a statement to the judge before his sentence was handed down, Brown called the videos “idiotic” and expressed contrition over what he characterized as a lapse in judgment. “Although I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive,” Brown told the court in a prepared statement. In that statement and in conversation with TIME Friday, Brown accused prosecutors and law enforcement of repeatedly committing perjury over the course of his case.

Including the more than two years Brown has spent in prison since his arrest he could serve an additional three years, though he is reported to be up for supervised release after one year.

“I’m a very monastic individual anyway. I spend a lot of time reading and writing,” Brown told TIME. “People don’t want to be in prison of course but some people benefit from it. Dostoyevsky. Solzhenitsyn. I’m one of those people.”

TIME intelligence

U.S. Journalist Receives Five Years in Jail for Linking to Hacked Data

Europe Hacking Startfor
Cassandra Vinograd—AP The home page of the Stratfor website is seen on a computer monitor in London Wendesday Jan 11, 2012.

Barrett Brown must also pay $890,000 in restitution

An American journalist loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacking collective was sentenced to 63 months in jail by a Dallas federal judge on Thursday for linking to hacked data from private global intelligence firm Stratfor in 2011.

Barrett Brown, 33, initially faced a sentence of over 100 years until he pled guilty last year to three reduced charges of obstructing a police search, issuing online threats and involving himself in the sharing of Stratfor data, reports the BBC.

“The government exposed me to decades of prison time for copying and pasting a link to a publicly available file that other journalists were also linking to without being prosecuted,” Brown said in a statement before the hearing.

Free speech activists allege Brown’s prosecution is based on his investigations into U.S. cybersecurity and intelligence contractors. He created Project PM in 2010 to probe intelligence leaks on a crowdsourcing platform.

“The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex,” Brown said in a public statement after the sentencing, according to The Guardian.

The hacker responsible for the Stratfor data breach, Jeremy Hammond, 30, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.

TIME intelligence

U.S. Cracked North Korea’s Computer Systems

Kim Jong Un North Korea
KCNA/Reuters North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a pair of binoculars as he guides the multiple-rocket launching drill of women's sub-units under KPA Unit 851, in Pyongyang in this undated photo released on Dec. 30, 2014.

It reportedly happened before the devastating Sony hack

Comments by top U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, that blamed North Korea for the Sony Pictures cyberattack were apparently rooted in a top-secret penetration of North Korea’s computer systems by the National Security Agency, according to The New York Times — a report independently confirmed by NBC News.

The Times reported that the penetration occurred before the hack of Sony, but U.S. intelligence officials would not discuss the report Sunday or confirm its details. But the Times report says the evidence gleaned from the U.S. penetration of North Korean government hackers’ activities persuaded Obama and other top officials that North Korea was behind the attack…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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