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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 13369 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #150 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 08:20am »

Science Daily

Unusual Electrons Go With the Flow
ScienceDaily (July 14, 2010) —

On a quest to discover new states of matter, a team of Princeton University scientists has found that electrons on the surface of specific materials act like miniature superheroes, relentlessly dodging the cliff-like obstacles of imperfect microsurfaces, sometimes moving straight through barriers.

The Princeton work represents the first time such behavior of electrons has been tracked and recorded, and hints at the possibilities of speeding up integrated circuits that process information by flow of electrons between different devices. The new materials potentially could break the bottleneck that occurs when metallic interconnects get so small that even the tiniest atomic imperfection hinders their performance.

Physics professor Ali Yazdani and his team observed the extraordinary physics behavior in a "topological surface state" on a microscopic wedge of the metal antimony. The work is reported in the July 15 issue of Nature.

Normally, electron flow in materials is impeded by imperfections -- seemingly slight edges and rifts act like cliffs and crevasses in this microscopic world, blocking electrons in their path. Recent theories, however, predict that electrons on the surface of some compounds containing elements such as antimony can be immune to such disruptions in their flow. The connectivity in their flow, Yazdani said, stems from a special form of electron wave that seemingly alters the pattern of flow around any imperfection.

Many of the "topological" materials, such as antimony, have been important in the world economy; however, their unusual surface conduction previously had not been examined. Part of the challenge had been the difficulty in measuring the flow of electrons just at the surface, a task that was accomplished by the Princeton group using a specialized microscopy technique that enables precise visualization of electrons at the surface of materials.

"Material imperfections just cannot trap these surface electrons," said Yazdani, whose pioneering explorations of the behavior of electrons in unusual materials in his Jadwin Hall laboratories has consistently yielded new insights. "This demonstration suggests that surface conduction in these compounds may be useful for high-current transmission even in the presence of atomic scale irregularities -- an electronic feature sought to efficiently interconnect nanoscale devices."

An electron is a subatomic particle that carries a negative electric charge. It orbits an atom's nucleus and is bound to it by electromagnetic forces. Electrons can hop between atoms in a limited number of materials, such as crystals, and move freely in their interior or on the surface.

These free electrons are responsible for the generation of electric current, playing a central role in numerous applications related to industry, science and medicine, including providing the current for modern electronic devices. For most metals, electrons in the interior carry most of the electrical current, with the electrons at the surface being only weakly mobile.

At a given temperature, materials possess a measurable conductivity that determines the intensity of electric current. Metals such as copper and gold are good conductors, allowing for the rapid flow of electrons. Materials such as glass and Teflon, with structures that impede electron flow, are poor conductors. The atoms of metals have a structure allowing their electrons to behave as if they were free, or not bound to the atom.

The work by the Princeton team is part of an ongoing inquiry into materials called topological insulators -- substances that act as insulators in their interior while permitting the movement of charges on their boundary. In a phenomenon known as the quantum Hall effect, this behavior occurs when there is a perpendicular magnetic field applied to the material. And, in work conducted internationally by several researchers -- including a group led by Princeton physics professor Zahid Hasan -- a new type of topological insulator has been uncovered in which this behavior occurs even when there is no magnetic field present.

The crystals for the work were grown in the laboratory of Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry at Princeton.

The antimony crystal used in the experiment led by Yazdani is a metal but shares the unusual surface electron characteristics with related insulating compounds.

Because the electrons are able to move freely on the surface of the experimental material regardless of the shape of that surface, the material has a "topological surface state," Yazdani said. Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with spatial properties that are preserved despite the deformation, like stretching, of objects. In that regard, a doughnut and a coffee cup can be viewed as topologically the same because they both are essentially areas with holes in the middle.

With lab instruments, the team was able to measure how long electrons are staying in a region of the material and how many of them flow through to other areas. The results showed a surprising efficiency by which surface electrons on antimony go through barriers that typically stop other surface electrons on the surface of most conducting materials, such as copper.

Authors on the paper include: Yazdani; postdoctoral fellows Jungpil Seo and Haim Beidenkopf; graduate student Pedram Roushan; and, along with Cava, his former postdoctoral fellow Yew San Hor, who is now at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Yazdani's team worked in the specially designed Princeton Nanoscale Microscopy Laboratory, where highly accurate measurements at the atomic scale are possible because sounds and vibrations, through a multitude of technologies, are kept to a minimum. They used a powerful scanning tunneling microscope to view electrons on the surface of the antimony sample.

In such a microscope, an image is produced by pointing a finely focused electron beam, as in a TV set, across the studied sample. Researchers gently scan the microcope's single-atom sharp metal tip just above the surface of the material being studied. By monitoring the quantum "tunneling" of electrons flowing from the needle into the sample, the instrument can produce precise images of atoms, as well as the flow of electron waves.

The experiment, Cava said, "shows for the first time that the theoretically predicted immunity of topological surface states to death at the hands of the ever-present defects in the atomic arrangements on crystal surfaces is really true."



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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714162141.htm

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« Reply #151 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 12:34pm »

That UFO from China story just keeps going.



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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #152 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 1:24pm »

on Jul 18th, 2010, 9:39pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
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Just add hubby, dogs and water and you have our day today



Then it must have been a nice day for sure. smiley
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #153 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 2:30pm »

Hey Phil!
It was a really nice day.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #154 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 3:05pm »

Excellent video, I like how this one is beginning.
L E V I A T H A N
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #155 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 6:54pm »

Hey Phil and DrDil,

It is nice to have a members thread section. If I had a way to serve coffee I would. grin And thanks for those photos DrDil. They are striking. I would wonder, then run, if I saw them overhead around here. Anytime you want to post anything feel free. The more the merrier.

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #156 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 6:56pm »

on Jul 19th, 2010, 3:05pm, Icarus99 wrote:
Excellent video, I like how this one is beginning.
L E V I A T H A N


Hello Icarus99,
Glad you liked the video. Feel free to post videos or anything you want, any time. As I said, the more the merrier!
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #157 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 6:57pm »

WOC, you can take a look at my own interpretations of similar images at my blog site, but remember it is only the beginning and these things take time.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #158 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 7:16pm »

on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:57pm, Icarus99 wrote:
WOC, you can take a look at my own interpretations of similar images at my blog site, but remember it is only the beginning and these things take time.


Great site Icarus99. And thanks for the share button. I'm one of those twitterers that likes to tweet sites that are interesting.
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« Reply #159 on: Jul 19th, 2010, 7:56pm »


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r.i.p. little buddy
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« Reply #160 on: Jul 20th, 2010, 07:32am »

Phantoms and Monsters

Monday, July 19, 2010
Readers Respond: The Interdimensional Sasquatch

A few months ago, I posted a poll that posed the question ‘What is Bigfoot / Sasquatch?’ To my surprise, 26% of the 574 participants answered they believed this creature was an interdimensional or extraterrestrial being. Are we at a point where people are open minded enough to accept that a hominid species may very well not be of our time or planet?

I posed this question to my readers and challenged them to make their case. Again, I was surprised at the amount of response I received. A total of 112 emails, with well thought out theories and opinions, were received in a three day period.

I was sent a link to a piece written by Nick Redfern that referenced a woman named Jenny Burrows, who had a remarkable tale about a creature she claimed to have encountered in a particularly dense area of Seattle woodland: nothing less than a fully-grown Saber-Tooth Tiger.

According to Jenny, she had been walking through the woods with her pet Labrador dog, Bobbie, when it suddenly stopped in its tracks, whined loudly, and dropped to the ground, shaking.

Thinking that it had possibly had a seizure, Jenny quickly bent down to comfort her pet, and could then see that the dog was staring intently to its left. Following the gaze of the dog, Jenny was horrified to see moving in the undergrowth what looked like a large cat – “like a mountain lion, but much bigger.”

That the creature was possibly a mountain lion filled Jenny with dread; however, that dread was amplified to stratospheric proportions when its face could clearly be seen; including the two huge teeth that were the absolute hallmark of the Saber-Tooth Tiger.

As Jenny said to me, with much justification: “You don’t have to work in a zoo or a museum to know what a Saber-Tooth Tiger looks like: everyone knows.”

It was then, however, that Jenny’s story became even more bizarre.

As the cat loomed fully into view and out of the confines of the bushes and undergrowth, she could see that its body seemed to be semi-transparent and that, “the bottom of its front paws were missing.”

Jenny concluded, she told me, that what she was seeing was not a still-living Saber-Tooth at all. Rather, she thought, it was “the ghost of a Saber-Tooth” that was haunting its old pathways and hunting grounds – thousands of years after its physical death. http://www.mania.com/lair-beasts-sabertooth-terror_article_110846.html

Could it be true? Are ghostly creatures really roaming our planet? Perhaps the idea is not as far-out as it might seem. Though it is likely that this may have been a residual spirit of a once living creature, it may also be a manifestation of a non-terrestrial or interdimensional being. Our world cultures possess thousands of cryptid and humanoid legends that have been told for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. Is there a chance that we are chasing real entities that slip in and out of our plane of existence?

I was told of the experiences of a well known veteran Sasquatch investigator in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains who stated that he was watching one of these creatures walk away from him and then suddenly disappear. The terrain did not offer cover or camouflage and there was no direction that the creature could have taken without being seen. There were no caves or holes for the Sasquatch to duck into…it just vanished.

Rick Phillips posted an interesting reference in his blog recently. Jonathan Downes, of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, first coined the term Zooform in 1990 and maintains that many of these phenomena result from complex psychosocial and sociological phenomena, and suggests that to classify all such phenomena as ‘paranormal’ in origin is counterproductive. Thoughtform may be understood as a ‘psychospiritual’ complex of energy or consciousness manifested either consciously or unconsciously, by an individual or a group. Thoughtform are understood differently and take on different forms. Rick makes a reference that anomalies and paranormal entities might fall into the category of Temporary beings. Temporal characters that represent ideas, such as the Bigfoot type entities that were reported on the Skinwalker ranch or, for that matter, any type of Bigfoot, Mothman or Chupacabras. Could these entities be IDEAS? Could they be ideas that transform into temporal characters - like memes? Here’s is a link to the entire post - http://barfstew.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-what-bigfoot-is-theories-in-reply-to.html

S.A. Robinson, a self-described ‘armchair Bigfoot researcher’ states that it’s understandable that a subject as odd as this one, with the supposition that there is an enormous hairy creature that lives in forests around the country without being clearly photographed, videotaped or fully understood, should attract a good deal of divisiveness and even infighting. When proponents of the 'flesh and blood' camp mix with those who favor a 'magical' explanation, it can sour both sides from the real objective, which is to prove conclusively this entity's existence.

The principle of the simplest explanation, usually being the correct one, stands up in terms of building theories, but it should not be used as an arbiter between two opposing theories…and so we are left with the two camps.

He continues to explain that because of the similarities between our current understanding of the UFO phenomenon and that of Sasquatch, the fleeting visual aspect (most reports lasting less than a few seconds) the high strangeness (UFO’s and Bigfoot moving at extreme speed often with disregard to physics) and with lack of much physical evidence (some trace material like radioactive soil or some unusual hair), not to mention the seeming invulnerability of both phenoms to physical attack (no UFOs or BF downed by gunfire) the link between Bigfoot and UFO encounters must fall into a similar category.

Why, in these modern times, with so much technology, do we not have a full accounting of everything in our animal kingdom? Some will cite the case of the Coelacanth fish as evidence of an evolutionary throwback that, due to it’s extreme habitat, was thought to be extinct until it was brought to fresh, modern speculation in a fishing net. To suggest that Bigfoot falls into this same explanation is to say that we have not really looked deeply enough into the woods. I refute this suggestion, as we have the ability to see nearly every square foot of the planet in high detail from space through satellite technology. We have a military/industrial complex that can ferret out any heat-producing organism of human size (or larger) with FLIR equipped cameras, and despite the large tracts of uninhabited land on the North American continent, humans have traipsed on so much of it that over the past fifty to one hundred years we have compiled perhaps several thousand decent eyewitness reports of weird footprints, strange sounds and sightings of the giant hairy extra-human entity.

A subscriber states that just because we don't understand how Bigfoot move in and out of another dimension or what their purpose is, doesn't rule out this possibility. He has questioned a variety of people that channel interdimensional beings and every time the answer turns out that Bigfoot are indeed interdimensional beings as well. There are many other beings that can move in and out of another dimension including fairies, gnomes, sprites, and others. Indigenous people worldwide will verify this as they have strived to maintain to keep their connection to earth and the natural beings while the ‘civilized’ world has nearly completely lost touch. Only young children and intuitive adults are able to see/feel these beings as they move in and out of other dimensions. It’s time for us to wake up to this possibility regardless of what conventional wisdom and science has to say about the matter. The evidence is there…time to become open to a broader perspective. Sharon Lee's latest blog in reference to 'Mr.Mike' and his possible ability to see beyond the naked eye may be a very good example of this theory - http://bigfootlives.blogspot.com/2010/07/ghost-of-bigfoot-and-mr-mike.html

Well known paranormal investigator Jon-Eric Beckjord’s theories sum up much of the argument. He believed that Bigfoot and similar cryptids may be interdimensional beings that can occasionally take physical form for brief periods of time, but have the ability to ‘fade out’ and pass through ‘wormholes’, possibly to other dimensions or parallel universes. He reported to have had one of the creatures speak to him using telepathy, communicating the words ‘We're here, but we're not real, like what you think is real’. Beckjord claimed that such entities may be able to actually disappear into thin air, or even shapeshift.

Beckjord maintained that the interdimensional hypothesis may possibly, if proven, explain why there are thousands of alleged Bigfoot creature sightings each year, yet no dead zoological physical body is ever found. To evidence these ideas, Beckjord accumulated a large collection of enlarged photographs that he says show, among other things, ‘half-Bigfoots’ and ‘invisible Bigfoots’, or possible aliens. The forms are often found in situations where the camera picked up images not seen by the witnesses, often due to distance. According to Beckjord, the images show primates, carnivores and beings not readily identified within known zoological classifications that resemble descriptions of aliens submitted to investigators.

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/readers-respond-interdimensional.html

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« Reply #161 on: Jul 20th, 2010, 07:35am »

New York Times

July 20, 2010
U.S. and S. Korea to Conduct War Games Next Week
By ELISABETH BUMILLER

SEOUL, South Korea —The United States and South Korea announced on Tuesday that a series of large-scale military exercises would begin next week in the waters off Japan and Korea as a show of force and “first step” in trying to deter North Korea from acts of aggression in the region.

The exercises, to be conducted from Sunday to Wednesday, are to include an American aircraft carrier, the George Washington, as well as some 20 ships and submarines, 100 aircraft and 8,000 men and women from the American and Korean armed services.

Adm. Robert F. Willard, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, acknowledged to reporters in Seoul that there was no guarantee that the show of force would stop North Korea from repeating what an international investigation concluded was the sinking of South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March, which killed 46 sailors.

But he said that “the choice that our respective commanders in chief have made is a show of force is a first step in deterring North Korea from doing this again.”

Later exercises are to be conducted in the Yellow Sea, which is on the other side of the Korean Peninsula, but Admiral Willard and American defense officials would not say whether they would include the George Washington, a nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that is one of the largest warships in the world. China has objected that the exercises will be too close to its coastal area on the Yellow Sea and therefore a form of intimidation, but Admiral Willard dismissed the Chinese reaction.

Asked if he was concerned, Admiral Willard replied: “No, I’m not concerned. If I have a concern vis-a-vis China, it is that China exert itself to influence Pyongyang so that incidents like the Cheonan don’t happen in the future.”

China, which is North Korea’s most important ally and biggest trading partner, has so far not embraced the conclusion of the investigation that North Korea was responsible for the attack.

The United States and South Korea made the announcement about the exercises after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with South Korean’s defense minister, Kim Tae-young, on Tuesday afternoon.

“This exercise will demonstrate the resolute will and capabilities of both the South Korean and U.S. militaries,” said Gen. Han Min-koo, chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a statement released by the South Korean military. “Based on our defense readiness, we will instantly retaliate against any provocation from now on and wrap up our operation at the scene of the provocation.”

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/world/asia/21military.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #162 on: Jul 20th, 2010, 07:41am »

Washington Post

Posted at 12:24 AM, 7/20/2010

National Security Inc.

In June, a stone carver from Manassas chiseled another perfect star into a marble wall at CIA headquarters, one of 22 for agency workers killed in the global war initiated by the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The intent of the memorial is to publicly honor the courage of those who died in the line of duty, but it also conceals a deeper story about government in the post-9/11 era: Eight of the 22 were not CIA officers at all. They were private contractors.

To ensure that the country's most sensitive duties are carried out only by people loyal above all to the nation's interest, federal rules say contractors may not perform what are called "inherently government functions." But they do, all the time and in every intelligence and counterterrorism agency, according to a two-year investigation by The Washington Post.

What started as a temporary fix in response to the terrorist attacks has turned into a dependency that calls into question whether the federal workforce includes too many people obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest -- and whether the government is still in control of its most sensitive activities. In interviews last week, both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta said they agreed with such concerns.

The Post investigation uncovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America created since 9/11 that is hidden from public view, lacking in thorough oversight and so unwieldy that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

It is also a system in which contractors are playing an ever more important role. The Post estimates that out of 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, 265,000 are contractors. There is no better example of the government's dependency on them than at the CIA, the one place in government that exists to do things overseas that no other U.S. agency is allowed to do.

Private contractors working for the CIA have recruited spies in Iraq, paid bribes for information in Afghanistan and protected CIA directors visiting world capitals. Contractors have helped snatch a suspected extremist off the streets of Italy, interrogated detainees once held at secret prisons abroad and watched over defectors holed up in the Washington suburbs. At Langley headquarters, they analyze terrorist networks. At the agency's training facility in Virginia, they are helping mold a new generation of American spies.

Through the federal budget process, the George W. Bush administration and Congress made it much easier for the CIA and other agencies involved in counterterrorism to hire more contractors than civil servants. They did this to limit the size of the permanent workforce, to hire employees more quickly than the sluggish federal process allows and because they thought - wrongly, it turned out - that contractors would be less expensive.

Stars engraved on the wall of the CIA represent people who died in the line of duty. Eight stars represent private contractors killed since 9/11.

Nine years later, well into the Obama administration, the idea that contractors cost less has been repudiated, and the administration has made some progress toward its goal of reducing the number of hired hands by 7 percent over two years. Still, close to 30 percent of the workforce in the intelligence agencies is contractors.

"For too long, we've depended on contractors to do the operational work that ought to be done" by CIA employees, Panetta said. But replacing them "doesn't happen overnight. When you've been dependent on contractors for so long, you have to build that expertise over time."

A second concern of Panetta's: contracting with corporations, whose responsibility "is to their shareholders, and that does present an inherent conflict."

Or as Gates, who has been in and out of government his entire life, puts it: "You want somebody who's really in it for a career because they're passionate about it and because they care about the country and not just because of the money."

Contractors can offer more money - often twice as much - to experienced federal employees than the government is allowed to pay them. And because competition among firms for people with security clearances is so great, corporations offer such perks as BMWs and $15,000 signing bonuses, as Raytheon did in June for software developers with top-level clearances.

The idea that the government would save money on a contract workforce "is a false economy," said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior CIA official and now president of his own intelligence training academy.

As companies raid federal agencies of talent, the government has been left with the youngest intelligence staffs ever while more experienced employees move into the private sector. This is true at the CIA, where employees from 114 firms account for roughly a third of the workforce, or about 10,000 positions. Many of them are temporary hires, often former military or intelligence agency employees who left government service to work less and earn more while drawing a federal pension.

Across the government, such workers are used in every conceivable way.

Contractors kill enemy fighters. They spy on foreign governments and eavesdrop on terrorist networks. They help craft war plans. They gather information on local factions in war zones. They are the historians, the architects, the recruiters in the nation's most secretive agencies. They staff watch centers across the Washington area. They are among the most trusted advisers to the four-star generals leading the nation's wars.


The role of private contractors
As Top Secret America has grown, the government has become more dependent on contractors with matching security clearances. Launch Gallery »

So great is the government's appetite for private contractors with top-secret clearances that there are now more than 300 companies, often nicknamed "body shops," that specialize in finding candidates, often for a fee that approaches $50,000 a person, according to those in the business.

Making it more difficult to replace contractors with federal employees: The government doesn't know how many are on the federal payroll. Gates said he wants to reduce the number of defense contractors by about 13 percent, to pre-9/11 levels, but he's having a hard time even getting a basic head count.

"This is a terrible confession," he said. "I can't get a number on how many contractors work for the Office of the Secretary of Defense," referring to the department's civilian leadership.

The Post's estimate of 265,000 contractors doing top-secret work was vetted by several high-ranking intelligence officials who approved of The Post's methodology. The newspaper's Top Secret America database includes 1,931 companies that perform work at the top-secret level. More than a quarter of them - 533 - came into being after 2001, and others that already existed have expanded greatly. Most are thriving even as the rest of the United States struggles with bankruptcies, unemployment and foreclosures.

The privatization of national security work has been made possible by a nine-year "gusher" of money, as Gates recently described national security spending since the 9/11 attacks.

With so much money to spend, managers do not always worry about whether they are spending it effectively.

"Someone says, 'Let's do another study,' and because no one shares information, everyone does their own study," said Elena Mastors, who headed a team studying the al-Qaeda leadership for the Defense Department. "It's about how many studies you can orchestrate, how many people you can fly all over the place. Everybody's just on a spending spree. We don't need all these people doing all this stuff."

Most of these contractors do work that is fundamental to an agency's core mission. As a result, the government has become dependent on them in a way few could have foreseen: wartime temps who have become a permanent cadre.

Just last week, typing "top secret" into the search engine of a major jobs Web site showed 1,951 unfilled positions in the Washington area, and 19,759 nationwide: "Target analyst," Reston. "Critical infrastructure specialist," Washington, D.C. "Joint expeditionary team member," Arlington.

"We could not perform our mission without them. They serve as our 'reserves,' providing flexibility and expertise we can't acquire," said Ronald Sanders, who was chief of human capital for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence before retiring in February. "Once they are on board, we treat them as if they're a part of the total force."

The Post's investigation is based on government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials. Most requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns.

The investigation focused on top-secret work because the amount classified at the secret level is too large to accurately track. A searchable database of government organizations and private companies was built entirely on public records. [For an explanation of the newspaper's decision making behind this project, please see the Editor's Note.]

----

The national security industry sells the military and intelligence agencies more than just airplanes, ships and tanks. It sells contractors' brain power.

more after the jump
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/national-security-inc/

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« Reply #163 on: Jul 20th, 2010, 07:52am »

Telegraph

North Korea executes cabinet official in charge of talks with South
North Korea executed a former Cabinet official who was in charge of talks with South Korea, the latest death sentence for a North Korean official over policy failures.

Published: 10:37AM BST 20 Jul 2010

Kwon Ho Ung – Pyongyang's chief delegate from 2004 to 2007 for high-level talks with the South's then liberal government – was executed by firing squad, according to reports in Seoul, citing a source in Beijing.

Lee Jong-joo, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman, said she could not confirm the report, and the National Intelligence Service, South Korea's top spy agency, said it was checking it.

The two Koreas held Cabinet-level talks – the highest regular dialogue channel between them – several times a year to discuss boosting exchanges and easing tension across the world's most heavily fortified border. The last round was held in 2007.

Mr Kwon was the former chief councillor of the North's Cabinet, but it was not clear what about his policy would have prompted his execution.

The execution comes as tensions between the two Koreas simmer over the March sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea. North Korea has denied involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

Relations between the Koreas have been particularly rocky since a pro-US, conservative government took office in Seoul in early 2008 with a tough policy on Pyongyang.

The report said it had not confirmed when and where RM Kwon was executed. The allegation follows other reported executions of North Korean officials for policy blunders.

In March, the North executed two senior economic officials over a botched currency revamp that forced markets to close temporarily and fuelled social tensions, according to a Seoul-based media outlet.

The North redenominated its won in December as part of efforts to fight inflation and reassert control over its burgeoning market economy. That reportedly sparked unrest after many North Koreans were stuck with piles of worthless bills.

It is not unprecedented for the communist regime to execute officials for policy failures. In the 1990s, North Korea publicly executed a top agricultural official following widespread famine


more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/7899961/North-Korea-executes-cabinet-official-in-charge-of-talks-with-South.html

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« Reply #164 on: Jul 20th, 2010, 07:58am »

Telegraph

The Active Denial System: the weapon that's a hot topic
The US army says its new 'pain ray’ hurts but does no lasting damage. Its critics would beg to differ.

By Ed Cumming
Published: 11:27AM BST 20 Jul 2010

The Active Denial System or ADS, recently deployed for the first time in Afghanistan.

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'It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them… I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.” Since the first appearance of the “heat-ray” in H G Wells’s The War of the Worlds, ray guns have been a staple feature of science fiction: the classic sign of overwhelming technological superiority. But they are no longer fiction. Last month, Lt Col John Dorrian admitted that the US military’s brand-new Active Denial System (ADS) had been shipped to Afghanistan, the first time it has been present in an active theatre of war. According to the top brass, it is a “non-lethal, directed-energy, counter-personnel weapon”. Among the troops, however, its favoured description is rather shorter: “the pain ray”.

Compared with most military vehicles, the device looks relatively harmless – like one of the broadcasting trucks you see outside big sporting events: an anonymous-looking military transport with what appears to be a square satellite dish mounted on top. But it contains an extraordinary new weapon, capable of causing immense discomfort from half a mile away without – its makers claim – doing any lasting damage.

The ADS works by projecting a focused beam of 3.2mm wave electromagnetic radiation at a human target. This heats the water and fat molecules on the skin, causing their temperature to rise by up to 50C. Philip Sherwell, a Sunday Telegraph reporter who tried out the ADS in 2007, describes it as “unbearably uncomfortable, like opening a roasting hot oven door”. The immediate instinct is to escape the beam and seek cover – at which point the effect subsides.

In some quarters, the ADS has been hailed as the future of crowd control. Kelley Hughes, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD), which oversaw its development, says that “the ADS provides our troops with our most advanced, non-lethal escalation-of-force option. It will support a full spectrum of operations ranging from non-lethal methods of crowd and mob dispersal, checkpoint security, area denial and clarification of intent.”

Although its operational parameters are classified, the JNLWD says that the ADS has a range of up to 500m, 10 times greater than current non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets. The technology has been in development for two decades, and has cost well in excess of $60 million. Each device costs $5 million, and safety testing has been ongoing for 12 years.

Mindful of the terrible publicity Tasers and other crowd-suppression techniques have received, the JNLWD has been at pains to stress its emphasis on testing.

“There have been more than 11,000 exposures, on over 700 volunteers,” says Hughes. “There have been six independent reviews. It has completed formal legal and treaty compliance laws. There is an 80-hour training course for using it. I am truly confident in the technology.”

Despite this, the journey to the battlefield has been far from smooth. In 2007, with the situation in Iraq at its most volatile since the invasion, US forces requested the presence of the ADS. It was never sent. Indeed, The Daily Telegraph has learnt that it has now been recalled from Afghanistan, without being fired in anger. A spokesman said that “no decision had been made” as to its future deployment, even though it seems unlikely that the Pentagon would have shipped a new weapon to an active war zone if it didn’t mean to use it at some point.

What are the problems? Well, Dr Jürgen Altmann, an expert in non-lethal weapons from the University of Dortmund, has observed that although the Army’s test subjects were permitted 15-second intervals between exposure, this might not be the case in real life. The ADS, he says, “provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. If incurred over more than 20 per cent of the body, these are potentially life-threatening, and require intensive care in a specialised unit. Without a technical device that reliably prevents re-triggering on the same subject, the ADS has a potential to produce permanent injury or death.”

Other problems come from the limitations of the device itself. Rain, snow and fog hamper its effectiveness, and it can be blocked by highly reflective materials such as aluminium foil. In many situations – particularly in busy crowds – working out the right range will be complicated, and there is also the possibility of targets finding themselves unable to move out of the path of the beam. Hughes offers an uncertain defence: “The target includes sensors to see the whole beam path. An operator would immediately see if a person was unable to move out of the way.”

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7900117/The-Active-Denial-System-the-weapon-thats-a-hot-topic.html

Crystal

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