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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 45293 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #1170 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 08:45am »

Wired Threat Level

Alleged HDCP Encryption Crack Is No Pirate Bonanza
By David Kravets September 15, 2010 | 6:48 pm | Categories: Miscellaneous

Hollywood studios and the maker and licensing authority of the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection standard were scrambling Wednesday to determine whether a so-called “master key” to the anti-piracy encryption technology has leaked onto the internet.

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This is a part of the alleged HDCP "master key" code.
HDCP is a copy-protection technology that encrypts high-definition video traveling between set-top boxes and televisions. The technology, built by Intel, was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2004, and is a standard feature in televisions, cable boxes, satellite receivers and Blu-ray players in much of the modern world.

A purported master crypto key for HDCP appeared Monday on the clipboard site Pastebin, and has since been mirrored on hundreds of other websites, in a scene reminiscent of the 1999 crack of the CSS Content Scrambling System that once protected DVDs from copying.

“We are investigating whether this is real or a rumor,” said Howard Gantman, a Motion Picture Association of America vice president, in a telephone interview Wednesday.

That sentiment was echoed by an Intel spokesman. “We are still investigating the facts behind the stories on this. Until we’ve completed that, we don’t have more to say than this,” wrote Tom Waldrop in an e-mail.
But even if the code is real, it might not immediately foster piracy as the cracking of CSS on DVDs did more than a decade ago. Unlike CSS, which could be implemented in software, HDCP requires custom hardware. The threat model for Hollywood, then, isn’t that a hacker could use the master key to generate a DeCSS-like program for HD, but that shady hardware makers, perhaps in China, might eventually create and sell black-market HDCP cards that would allow the free copying of protected high-def content.

“You could make a device that would impersonate a TV, that would receive the bits and save them to a hard drive,” said Paul Kocher, chief scientist at Cryptography Research in San Francisco. “I don’t think it is going to have an impact on Hollywood’s bottom line anytime soon.”

Kocher suspected somebody in the business of making HDCP-compatible devices, who had access to at least 50 individual keys, was able to reconstruct the master key — if it turns out to be real.

“This was bound to happen, soon or later,” Kocher said.


http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/no-pirate-bonanza/

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« Reply #1171 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 08:53am »

LA Times

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Swizzle sticks make a new stir
There's more history to these cocktail-stirring devices than Don Draper could imagine. They're collectibles as well as connections to the past.

Swizzle sticks reflect a range of memorable places and experiences. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
September 16, 2010

"Mad Men," the Emmy-winning cultural phenomenon, has sparked renewed interest in yet another quirky artifact from its era. In addition to slim suits, lunchtime cocktails and cigarettes, the 1960s mark the glory days in the history of the swizzle stick — and Don Draper's Old-Fashioned would've been considered unfinished, even uncivilized, without one.

Today, these mini-pop-culture icons are emerging as entertaining and valued collectibles. Tangible connections to the past, they're terrific conversation pieces and come in an infinite variety of dazzling shapes and colors.

The swizzle stick's origin can be traced to its first appearance on sugar plantations in the West Indies in the 1600s as a small branch used to stir a refreshing rum elixir called "Switchel." It seems we've never stopped using them. Queen Victoria was known to use a stirring rod to chase bubbles out of her Champagne, quietly avoiding any embarrassment from those pesky fizzy gasses.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-swizzle-stick-20100916,0,6723869.story

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1172 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 11:51am »

on Sep 15th, 2010, 4:06pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Phil!!! cheesy
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Hello, Crystal! smiley

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« Reply #1173 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 7:06pm »

Thank you Phil. Gorgeous!
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« Reply #1174 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 7:08pm »



Please be an angel

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« Reply #1175 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 7:12pm »





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« Reply #1176 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 7:15pm »





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« Reply #1177 on: Sep 16th, 2010, 8:18pm »


Journalism makes news with coverage of UFOs, ETs
Steve Hammons September 13, 2010 (This article originally appeared on the Transcendent TV & Media site.)

The subject of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial beings seems to steadily be gaining more credibility in mainstream media outlets, thanks to increasingly responsible journalism.

In the Sunday, Sept. 12, edition of Phoenix's The Arizona Republic daily newspaper, an excerpt from the new book by journalist Leslie Kean was printed in the "Viewpoints" section of the paper.

Kean's book "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record" has been praised by scientists and others who have looked carefully at this subject.

On pages B-11 and 12, the Sunday Republic printed an excerpt from the book that dealt with the 1997 so-called Phoenix lights incident, which is of special interest to Republic readers in Phoenix and throughout Arizona.

Accompanied by a large beautiful photo of deep space was the article headline, "What if we are not alone in the Universe?" Two sidebar articles that carried over on page B-12 were brief Q & A pieces discussing the topic with Kean and former Arizona governor Fife Symington who has stated he saw a huge craft overhead that night.

By applying professional journalistic standards to this interesting yet unconventional topic, the Republic stands out as a model of forward-leaning journalism.

Coverage of the general topic of UFOs and extraterrestrials includes relevance not only to everyday current events such as the launch of a new book, but is specific to science journalism, society, education, human development and the creative community involved with media such as TV and film.

NBC's upcoming series "The Event" beginning Monday, Sept. 20, looks like it will be a good example of creative media treatment of this topic.

And, the Republic sets a good example for other media outlets, reporters and journalism students, such as those at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU's new downtown Phoenix campus.

EXCERPT ON PHOENIX INCIDENT

Of course, what particularly interested Phoenix citizens and Arizonans was the excerpt from Kean's book on the 1997 sightings. Sections from the excerpt can help us get a better grasp of that interesting night:

"It was March 13, 1997, a pleasant spring evening in Arizona, clear and still. Countless families were outside in larger-than-usual numbers gazing at the sky because Comet Hale-Bopp was to be visible that night."

"Instead, beginning about 8 p.m, they were provided with an even more astounding aerial spectacle: a series of massive, eerily silent craft gliding overhead."

Note that she says "a series" of craft. This is because there were reports that more than one strange craft flew over the Phoenix metro region's "Valley of the Sun" that night.

"One central object moved from the north, southeast across the state, traveling about 200 miles from Paulden to Tucson, passing near Phoenix and surrounding communities. It was on display from 8:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Many hundreds – more likely thousands – saw it that night."

"Police phone lines were jammed, and Luke Air Force Base was overwhelmed with calls. Reports of sightings from around the state flooded the lines at the National UFO Reporting Center, a well-known Seattle-based repository for UFO reports cited in the Federal Aviation Administration manual."

"Even so, air-traffic controllers apparently did not register the strange objects on radar. Although descriptions of the array of lights differed, one overriding characteristic prevailed: The craft was massive; it was a solid object, not merely lights; and it often appeared to be low in the sky, blocking out the stars behind it."

Kean also makes a statement that we may want to consider carefully, because she reports only on information that is public knowledge.

"No government officials were dispatched to investigate or respond to questions from alarmed and awestruck citizens. To put it bluntly, the federal government failed to react to the presence of something huge and unknown invading restricted airspace over a capital city in the United States."

Would any of us be surprised if, in fact, the U.S. Defense Department, NASA or elements of the intelligence community did discreetly investigate this case? Would it surprise us if they had additional knowledge of what happened that night, but keep it classified?

Kean also provides an interesting overview of local and national media coverage of the incident.

"Minimal coverage was provided at the time of the incident by the media, even in Phoenix, with a few local papers and news stations making note but few following up." Kean said.

"Three months later, on June 18, that all changed when USA Today brought the case into the national spotlight with a front-page story. It was further catapulted onto the network evening news when the sightings were covered, although minimally, by ABC and NBC, and became known as the Phoenix Lights."

QUESTIONS, ANSWERS, MORE QUESTIONS

In one of the two Q & A sidebar articles, Kean addresses the call for a federal government office to investigate UFOs. And again, it seems natural for us to speculate about the many reports of longstanding and robust U.S. government research and monitoring of this situation, possibly beginning in the World War II era. Such a group or several groups may have been created decades ago.

Q: Why are you pushing for creation of a government agency to investigate UFOs?

A: Even if there is only a 5 percent chance we are actually witnessing visitations from another planet, why would we not want to find out? How could we turn away from the possibility of making that kind of discovery? And so far we have, because we haven't been proactive and put resources into getting to the bottom of the mystery. Such a discovery could significantly change our perceptions of ourselves and impact the evolution of our civilization - no matter what it turns out to be.

Q: Which U.S. agency would you like to see take oversight of such investigations?

A: I have a feeling it will end up somewhere within the Department of Defense, but we really don't know yet. Our vision is that once this agency is established - a small office that would not cost much - it can work on making resources available to scientists. I'm convinced scientists who are smart enough to build 5-mile particle accelerators to smash atoms while discovering what's going on in distant galaxies are also smart enough to develop a methodology involving the necessary technology to determine what these things are that are repeatedly being documented in our airspace. [End of Kean Q & A]

The Republic's brief Q & A with former governor Symington was also interesting. The article noted that, "Symington, a pilot and former Air Force officer, has become a national figure in the debate over UFOs ever since revealing in 2007 that he had seen a massive, delta-shaped craft 10 years earlier - the so-called Phoenix Lights."

Q: Could you describe your own experience in seeing a UFO in 1997?

A: Whatever it was, it was huge and lumbered quietly across the Valley. It had embedded lights and was really fascinating. Apparently, it traversed from the northwestern part of the state and came right across the Valley and headed southeast.

Thousands of people saw it. I made the comment at the time that maybe Boeing or some other operation had something going in the Skunk Works. The only problem with that was it was bigger than anything I had ever seen. And if we were developing some sort of secret aircraft, why would we be flying it over metropolitan Phoenix?

I went (looking for it) when all the hoopla was on the radio. I drove down to (Squaw Peak, now Piestewa Peak) off Lincoln. There were a bunch of people out there; everybody saw it. I drove home and Ann (his wife) looked at me and said, "You look like you've seen a ghost." And I said, "Well, I'm not sure what I saw, but it wasn't a ghost."

Q: If you speculated, what was that craft? Extraterrestrial?

A: I think that's the only explanation left. It shouldn't be a surprising conclusion. Even the great minds of this world, like Stephen Hawking, recently wrote that the universe is a big place, that the mathematical odds that there is life in the universe, that civilizations much more advanced than ours exist, are very high. (Hawking) made a wry comment, though. He said we better be careful about what we wish for because you just never know if they will be hostile.

Q: Did your sighting change your philosophy of life?

A: I've always been open to the idea, never looked at it with a sense of ridicule. If wayfarers in space are passing by our planet occasionally, I'm such an optimist that I think they are probably quite likable ... [End of Symington Q & A]

Symington makes some key points about whether ET visitors might be friendly or hostile. If there has been secret research into this situation over the decades, maybe someone somewhere knows the answers. It could be that some visitors could be friendly, while others might be hostile. Some might have agendas that are neither, but would be very strange to us.

As the public considers these interesting possibilities, it seems clear that more examples of responsible and professional journalism on this topic will be helpful for us on many levels.

NOTE TO READERS: Please visit the Joint Recon Study Group and Transcendent TV & Media sites and have a look around:
http://tvtranscend.blogspot.com/
http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com/

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/184669

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« Reply #1178 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 08:52am »

io9

Children as young as four can understand irony
by Alasdair Wilkins

Anybody hoping to sneak some withering sarcasm past an unsuspecting little brat is going to be sorely disappointed. Even the littlest of children can understand irony. Turns out children really aren't so different from us after all.

Being able to understand non-literal communication is a crucial phase in a child's development, and the development of a sense of humor is one of the best indicators of that ability. Until recently, psychologists had believed that it was only around 8 to 10 years old that children became able to understand ironic statements and to use irony themselves.

But a new study pushes that date back to a much younger age - which might mean the parents of young children will want to reconsider what their child can and can't understand. Psychologist Stephanie Alexander of the University of Montreal explains why her new research has found such a startlingly different result:

"Previous studies concluded that irony wasn't understood before the age of eight or ten. However, these studies were mostly done in a laboratory setting and mostly focused on sarcasm. We examined children at home and took into consideration four types of non-literal language: hyperbole, euphemism, sarcasm and rhetorical questions."

I can't tell you how awesome it is that sarcasm is a serious area of investigation for psychologists. (And no, I'm not being sarcastic when I say that - come on, even a four year old could tell you that!) The study focused on 39 families with very young children, and both parents were asked to use these different forms of irony with their boy or girl.

Alexander and her colleagues found that children gain a full working knowledge of irony by the age of six, but certain forms of irony - hyperbole in particular - could be understood by kids as young as four. In over half the families, sarcasm was the best understood type of irony.

The relatively high understanding of hyperbole and sarcasm might have to do with when they tend to be used. The researchers discovered that those two are use most often in positive situations, while euphemisms and rhetorical questions are reserved for conflicts between parents and child. They also found that mothers favor rhetorical questions when dealing with children ironically, but fathers are fond of sarcasm. (Speaking purely from personal experience...that sounds about right.)

Alexander says she hopes parents will consider this when dealing with their young children:

"Children's understanding of complex communication is more sophisticated than we believed in the past. If parents are conscious that by age four a child can take a remark literally, especially in situations of conflict, using appropriate language can help defuse a potentially explosive situation."

British Journal of Developmental Psychology: http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/026151008X401903

http://io9.com/5639388/children-as-young-as-four-can-understand-irony

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« Reply #1179 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 08:58am »

New York Times

September 17, 2010
Clash Over Peru Irrigation Project Kills One
By REUTERS

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) — The police and demonstrators opposed to an irrigation project in the south of the country clashed Thursday, killing one man and injuring 18, as President Alan García faced a new conflict over natural resources in Peru’s surging economy.

The skirmish occurred before dawn in the town of Espinar, 400 miles south of Lima, officials in Peru’s human rights office said. Police officers fought with protesters who contended that the Majes-Siguas II irrigation project would leave Espinar without water, said Silvio Campana of the human rights office, which tries to mediate conflicts. The man who died was a bystander, officials said.

The irrigation project calls for a dam and water system capable of irrigating 95,000 acres of agricultural land in the region of Arequipa.

Peru’s government has encouraged the growth of the petroleum industry and of export-oriented agricultural farms to diversify the economy, which has traditionally depended on mining. The economy is forecast to grow by about 7 percent a year.

But conflicts over natural resources have weighed on Mr. García, whose disapproval rating is nearly 60 percent. Last year, three dozen people died in a clash over land in the Amazon jungle where indigenous tribes oppose oil exploration.

Water is a sensitive issue in Peru, because desert covers its Pacific coast, where most of the population lives, and its Andean glaciers are melting because of climate change.

While the government has issued a decree guaranteeing the population’s water supply, residents of Espinar were upset that the state investment agency awarded a concession on Monday for the irrigation project to a private consortium called Angostura-Siguas without taking into account their concerns.

“The Province of Espinar has its own needs that have never been considered,” said Néstor Cuti, who leads the group of protesters and wants Mr. Garcia’s prime minister to open negotiations to end the standoff.

“With this concession we are condemned to have a lack of water for life,” Mr. Cuti said.

Prime Minister José Chang said the protests must stop for the government to agree to begin negotiating.

Mr. Chang said protesters had tried but failed to take over the nearby Tintaya copper mine, which is owned by the global metals firm Xstrata. Tintaya is an important mine in Peru, which is the world’s No. 2 copper-producing nation.

“We are sure we will be able to reach a solution that will be just for the town of Espinar,” Mr. Chang told reporters.

Finance Minister Ismael Benavides, who was sworn in Tuesday by Mr. García, represented the government’s investment agency as the head of its water projects at a ceremony on Monday when the contract was awarded.

“I understand the worries about water among the people,” Mr. Benavides said Thursday on RPP radio. But he added, “This project is going to generate 150,000 or 200,000 jobs, and I’m sure much of them will go to Espinar.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/world/americas/17peru.html?_r=1&ref=world

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« Reply #1180 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 09:05am »

Guardian

Pakistani politician's murder brings Karachi to standstill
Imran Farooq, senior figure in city's dominant party, stabbed to death near his home in London

Declan Walsh in Islamabad, Vikram Dodd and David Batty guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 September 2010 10.40 BST

Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, ground to a halt this morning after an exiled senior official from its dominant political party was stabbed to death in a north London suburb.

Streets were deserted, schools and businesses shuttered and buses taken off the roads in the aftermath of the death of Imran Farooq, a senior figure with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, yesterday afternoon.

Farooq, 50, was attacked by an unidentified assailant near his home on Green Lane in Edgware at about 5.30pm. Paramedics treated him on the scene for stab wounds and head injuries but he was pronounced dead an hour later.

Farooq had been living in London since 1992 when he fled murder and other charges in Pakistan at a time when the MQM was engaged in a violent battle for control of Karachi.

Farooq, who denied the charges, claimed political victimisation. He sought asylum in the UK along with his party leader, Altaf Hussain. Yesterday's killing coincided with Hussain's birthday celebrations, which were cancelled.

Pakistani television showed a distraught Hussain mourning the loss of his colleague in London. "God please grant us patience to bear this loss," he said as a supporter mopped tears from his face.

Party officials in Karachi, Pakistan's financial and business hub, declared a 10-day period of mourning as people awaited indications of whether Farooq's killing had political links.

Previous political killings have inspired riots and shootings between rival factions, many of whom are heavily armed.

Farooq Sattar, who leads the party inside Pakistan, said the killing was "one of the biggest tragedies in the MQM's history". He expressed confidence that "since this tragedy has taken place in London, investigations will take place there and the culprit will be arrested".

Another senior MQM official said he saw an "element of conspiracy" in the killings and suspected a political assassination.

Farooq was a top MQM leader and a close ally of Hussain, whom he befriended during their days in student politics in the late 1970s. He served as the party's chief official but was said to have been absent from politics for the past two years.

His home in Edgware is close to the office block from which Hussain, who has British citizenship, effectively runs his party – and by extension large swaths of Karachi.

Analysts said they were keeping an open mind as to the identity of Farooq's killer. The MQM has long-standing rivalries with ethnic Pashtun and Sindhi parties in Karachi, with political killings often followed by tit-for-tat shootings.

It was not clear which Pakistani political force would have the ability to strike on a quiet London street – or why they would want to, given Farooq's relative inactivity of recent years.

The MQM has occasionally been rocked by internecine violence, and has a sometimes deadly rivalry with a faction known as MQM-Haqiqi, which was once supported by Pakistani intelligence.

Hussain says he cannot go back to Pakistan for fear of assassination, although he recently hinted at a return.

Metropolitan police detectives are trying to secure CCTV footage from the part of north London where Farooq lived.

Diplomatic sources expressed shock about the killing. One said Farooq was obviously killed by an enemy, but it remained to be seen whether the motive was personal, or to do with rivalry within his party or hatred of the MQM.

Farooq claimed in November 1992 that he was wanted dead or alive and this gave "licence and impunity to every individual in Pakistan to assassinate me".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/17/pakistani-politician-murder-karachi-standstill

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« Reply #1181 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 09:12am »

Guardian

Christine O'Donnell praises Tolkien's women
Tea Party candidate O'Donnell said modern women should embrace JRR Tolkien's much-maligned female characters as role models
by Alison Flood guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 September 2010 09.38 BST

JRR Tolkien might have been described as misogynistic by some critics for creating only a handful of female characters among the hundreds of males in his fantasy epic Lord of the Rings, but if ultra-conservative Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell is to be believed, the author actually "offers insight into what it means to be a woman" in the novel.

From "the gentle and hopeful Arwen in whose presence everything becomes peaceful" to Belladonna Baggins, who is "content, even utterly satisfied, in the role of a wife and mother", O'Donnell - who beat the Republican establishment favourite in Delaware in the US primaries yesterday - praised Tolkien's depiction of "the mysterious creature called the woman" in a 2003 essay.

His "portrayal of women in Lord of The Rings is bold and courageous. The bittersweet complexities of true womanhood are daringly depicted in each of the female characters," O'Donnell claimed, pointing to elf princess Arwen, elf queen Galadriel, Eowyn of Rohan and Frodo Baggins's ancestor, Belladonna Took.

"Tolkien critics have accused the creator of Middle Earth of being anti-woman, even archaic, when viewed through today's politically correct lens of gender roles," wrote O'Donnell. "Some critics claim that Tolkien's serene version of femininity is offensive to the modern female viewer. As a modern female viewer, I find the assumption itself offensive. Just because women can be warriors doesn't mean they have to be. Everything about Tolkien's Arwen is tranquil, serene, calming. These qualities are part of the charm of the womanhood she expresses. There are many types of women in the world. Arwen represents one of them. She represents a pillar of calm that is a source of strength for her man. Her great contribution to the war is the strength she provides to the future king."

But, continued O'Donnell, pointing to the "more down to earth" Eowyn, "this is not to say that Tolkien's ideal woman is necessarily pure and angelic". "Conflicted and free-spirited, one can easily imagine Eowyn with a wicked case of PMS, which is part of why we love her. Still, she remains feminine bearing a sense of pride and dignity," she wrote.

And although "budding feminists" have said that Eowyn had to disguise herself as a man to go and fight Sauron's forces, actually, says O'Donnell, "Tolkien elevates womanhood; it is specifically her gender that allows her to triumph" and beat the Witch-King. "Thou Fool. No living man may hinder me!" he tells her. Eowyn replies: "No living man am I," and kills him.

"When we first met Eowyn, she was conflicted about the fire inside of her. For her whole life she was expected to behave like Arwen, though she desired to take an active role in stopping the downward changes occurring in her country. When this wasn't permitted, the wild spirit in her was stifled and gave way to bitterness and despair. It is only when she reconciles her femininity with her warrior spirit that the torment is gone, and her true womanhood is discovered," said the pro-gun, anti-abortion candidate. "Perhaps Tolkien is showing us that all types of femininity are valid. Obliterating one in favour of the other is destructive to all. Each type of woman is crucial to the wellbeing of a healthy community


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/16/christine-odonnell-tolkien-women

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« Reply #1182 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 09:18am »

Wired Danger Room

'Batman’ Prepares To Join The Air Force
By Spencer Ackerman September 16, 2010 | 10:52 am | Categories: Air Force

Grappling hooks attached to siphon electricity from low-hanging power lines. Computers mounted onto a commando’s chest plate. Communications gadgets small enough to fit into gear pouches worn around the waist. The Air Force is actually preparing its special operators to act (and outfit themselves) more like the Batman.

Since 2004, the Air Force has worked to reduce the physical load of gear carried by its Special Operations Forces — the superheroes who seize hostile airfields and rescue captured troops behind enemy lines. Those airmen are often weighed down on these missions, lugging as much as 160 pounds worth of stuff. Since much of the bulk comes from their communications gear, the Air Force opted to cut out heavy batteries to power it, fueling the gear through methanol fuel cells that get lighter as the charge dies. That allows elite airmen to essentially wear their gear like a scaffold, a concept the Air Force calls a “Human Chassis.”

Except a human chassis isn’t a cool enough name.* So the program, pursued at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, bears a moniker that strikes fear into the heart of villains everywhere. It’s the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge (just go with it). Yes: the BATMAN.

Adam Hadhazy of Tech News Daily has a great piece reporting on the program from inside Wright-Pat’s, uh, Batcave. He finds that the BATMAN program rolls with its character concept with astonishing consistency. There may not be a rubber-nipple-equipped Batsuit, nor a trusty butler. In fact, the prototype Air Force outfit used to test out the gear is more garage nightmare than Hollywood blockbuster. But BATMAN does come equipped with a Bat Hook: a grappling hook that special operators can throw onto power lines in order to charge up their battery-powered communications equipment.

According to a program engineer, the Bat Hook came about after a special operator observed that it would be “really cool” to design “‘Something like what Batman has on his belt that he can take out and wing it up to a power line and get power,’” he tells Hadhazy. Bob Kane could not have said it better.

Then there’s the on-board chest computer, a laptop that relays logistical information and fits right into the chest plate. One imagines the next-gen BATMAN will use a tablet instead, as the program is already at work on a 2.0 version. Hadhazy reports that one of the next projects for the design team is to go wireless, replacing cumbersome cables connecting the commo gizmos to airmen’s rucksacks with secure frequencies. The wires are Adam West; secure wi-fi is Christian Bale.

Of course, if fearsome communications equipment is the direction in which the Air Force is trending, ironclad comic-book history suggests that the real next step is for the BATMAN program to invent the all-seeing Brother-Eye, an artificial intelligence mounted in a satellite orbiting earth. (Only to watch it spiral out of control, sure, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.) Until then, we’ll settle for elite airmen embracing their superhero status.

* This is a matter of some dispute. Attentive fans of the first Terminator film will recall that Cyberdyne Systems Model T-101 gets described by time-traveling soldier Kyle Reese as a metal chassis covered in organic tissue. That means a plausible alternative template for the BATMAN program would be the TERMINATOR — It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. It absolutely will not stop, ever! Until you are dead! — provided someone could figure out what the acronym might stand for. Anyone want to take a crack at that in comments?

Illo, Photo: USAF

photos after the jump
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/09/batman-prepares-to-join-the-air-force/

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« Reply #1183 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 4:27pm »

More on "The Denver Initiative":


http://devoid.blogs.heraldtribune.com/11196/revisiting-those-far-out-firefighters/

The Sarasota Herald Tribune

Devoid


September 17th, 2010 02:30pm

Revisiting those far-out firefighters


by Billy Cox

On Oct. 5, the Denver League of Women Voters will sponsor what will surely be the most unusual referendum anywhere this election season — whether or not to form an extraterrestrial affairs commission.

Listed on the ballot as Initiative 300, it asks voters to approve an organization formed to “help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles.”

Initiative 300 is the off-again on-again brainchild of Denver resident Jeff Peckman, whose previous claim to fame is a “metatron technology” gizmo designed to mitigate the effects of stress-inducing electromagnetic frequencies in households. That, plus his support of hideously controversial self-proclaimed alien abductee Stan Romanek, which landed Peckman a national audience on David Letterman two years ago.

Peckman tells De Void he has neither the inclination nor the credentials to sit on an ET affairs panel. Nor does he advocate a specific agenda for said panel, beyond moving grass-roots conversations to an overdue formal setting. More broadly: “We need to remove the stigma and ridicule of UFO sightings and contact or personal abductions.”

Critics say Peckman’s “exopolitics” are synonymous with stigma/ridicule. Which may be true. On the other hand, since the panel is supposed to be supported by private funds without costing a dime to taxpayers, De Void hopes Initiative 300 passes just for the sheer exo-entertainment hell of it. If that happened, the only thing it’d mean is that one American city — Denver — finally caught up with some of its employees’ training manuals.

UFO nerds probably know this mission-statement quote by heart: “If the apparent visits by alien beings and their space vehicles should pose any type of threat, it will, as always, be the fire service that is called upon to provide the first line of life-saving defense and disaster mitigation.”

That, of course, comes from the Fire Officers’ Guide to Disaster Control, Second Edition 1992. Co-authored by William Kramer and Charles Bahme, this 600-page tome updated the 1978 edition and covers everything from earthquakes and volcanoes to hazmat and riots.
And within this widely circulated bible for contingency planning is a 41-page section titled “Enemy Attack and UFO Potential.” It was appropriately inspired by congressional legislation during the Apollo era, the same year — 1969 — Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain came out. That’s when NASA was given the authority to quarantine anyone or anything that has been “extraterrestrially exposed.” The authors wondered “Could it be applied to anyone who has had a UFO encounter?”

Thus, with its acknowledgement of UFOs’ potential for shutting down power grids, disrupting communications, causing radiation burns and paralysis, and even disabling military assets (“While pursuing UFOs, military aircraft have disappeared in mid-air, exploded and suffered harassment”), the Fire Officers’ Guide took a proactive approach to the problem. One might quarrel with the authors’ conclusions, but not their motivations. Kramer was the district fire chief for Cincinnati and chaired the University Open National Learning Educational Consortium. Bahme, the former deputy fire chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department and author of numerous fire-control articles, was also a lawyer who knew a thing or two about liability.

If Initiative 300 fails and a UFO encounter actually impacts large numbers of Americans, don’t worry. Emergency responders — and NASA — have had our backs for years.

Comments

1 Comment

1. September 17th, 2010 4:41 pm

Billy, you might have just saved the world, again! The historic 8-page voter education newspaper on Initiative 300 does mention the Fire Officer’s Guide, but without the astonishing quotes you’ve got in your article. I’ll reference your article at http://www.extracampaign.org where the 8-page voter education can be viewed as well. It’s packed with other facts and quotes.Fortunately, one of the fire chiefs in Denver told me last year of his own sighting of an alien craft that he saw during his youth. So he knows to take the issue seriously.

by Jeff Peckman

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1184 on: Sep 17th, 2010, 5:26pm »

This is a fun site that I just stumbled on. Monstropedia.
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http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

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