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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 98290 times)
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« Reply #2625 on: Jan 18th, 2011, 3:11pm »




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« Reply #2626 on: Jan 18th, 2011, 3:18pm »








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« Reply #2627 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 08:39am »

New York Times

January 18, 2011
U.S. Shifts Focus to Press China for Market Access
By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER

WASHINGTON — A year ago, the fight over how China’s cheap currency was hurting American companies in marketplaces at home and abroad was shaping up to be the epic battle between the world’s biggest power and its biggest economic rival.

But when President Hu Jintao walks into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with President Obama on Wednesday to face a group of 18 American and Chinese business leaders, much of the clash will be about a new economic battlefield — inside China itself.

A series of trade restrictions imposed by the Chinese government within China, including administrative controls, requirements to transfer sophisticated technology, state subsidies to favored domestic companies and so-called indigenous laws meant to favor homegrown businesses, have angered many American manufacturing and high-tech companies, which are rapidly finding themselves cut out of the world’s fastest growing market.

The result is that the two countries have to resolve a wider range of economic tensions, including what American multinational corporations see as a deteriorating environment for investing and making money in what has become the world’s second largest economy.

So it is no longer just a fight over cheap Chinese textile, electronic and toy imports. China won that battle years ago. Now the question — reminiscent of trade tensions with Japan in the 1980s — is whether General Electric and Microsoft and other American companies that dearly want to expand into China’s rapidly expanding markets will find themselves beaten at their own game by Chinese companies, backed by the Chinese government, “competing at every point in the technology spectrum,” said Eswar Shanker Prasad, a former economist with the International Monetary Fund who now teaches trade policy at Cornell University.

Myron Brilliant, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “It’s no longer just a question of Nucor complaining about dumping,” referring to the American steel manufacturing company that has accused China of selling steel fasteners and bolts at below-market prices abroad. “Those concerns may not be going away, but the noise out there now has additional voices. The voices are not just low-cost products coming here; the competition is about China’s marketplace.”

For Mr. Obama, the shift gives him stronger backing from American businesses for a tougher approach to China when he sits down with Mr. Hu. The Chinese president arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon for two full days of high-level meetings that began with a private dinner at the White House on Tuesday evening.

“The business community has historically been the bastion of support for the U.S.-China relationship,” said Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, in an interview. “Now that support is more qualified.” Mr. Froman said that Mr. Obama and American officials would be “underscoring the importance of addressing these issues if we’re going to have a level playing field.”

American companies have always had a love-hate relationship with China — with the manufacturing companies in the South and steel companies in the Midwest urging the government to take tough action against China, and advanced manufacturers and high-tech companies that want access to the Chinese marketplace pressing for a more conciliatory tone.

Now, both sides seem to want the administration to get tough. Last year, Jeffrey R. Immelt of G.E. complained to a meeting of business leaders in Rome that it was getting harder for foreign companies to do business in China, and he expressed a growing irritation that China was protecting its own national companies at the detriment of American companies.

Google last March moved its Chinese service out of mainland China to avoid censorship rules. The American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing has also complained that is members are facing an increasingly difficult regulatory environment.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner signaled the Obama administration’s stance in a speech last week, when he said that the United States would grant China more access to high-tech American products and expand trade and investment opportunities within the United States only if China opened its own domestic market to American products. That push for market access, administration officials said, will be at the top of Mr. Obama’s agenda with Mr. Hu, both during their one-on-one meetings and when they meet with the business leaders.

American multinational corporations, experts said, are hurt by Chinese regulations that openly favor Chinese companies over foreign ones for government contracts. These rules, which are intended to stimulate technological innovation in China, have the effect of cutting American and other non-Chinese companies out of many of the big contracts there.

“U.S. companies have issues with China in many different business sectors,” said John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington. “But if I were to point to one single issue over the last year, it has been China’s innovation policies and how they link to government procurement.”

Under pressure from the United States and other countries, the Chinese have paused in their rollout of the rules. But Beijing has not scrapped them, and the administration will raise the issue again this week with Mr. Hu.

Mr. Frisbie also pointed to intellectual property rights as another “existential issue” for software developers and movie producers. There is some evidence of progress on this issue: at a meeting in Beijing last month, the Chinese government pledged to use only properly registered software in government offices.

As important as these issues are, some economists argue that they pale when compared with the distortions caused by an undervalued currency. While nationalistic rules that favor Chinese companies affect technology and entertainment giants, China’s cheap currency undercuts tens of thousands of small-scale American manufacturers — companies that still make their products at home.

“The small mom-and-pop companies, which are getting crushed by the renminbi, you never hear from them,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, an expert on the Chinese economy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “They don’t really have a voice. They just shrink and go out of business.”

While the renminbi, China’s currency, has risen 3.6 percent against the dollar since China loosened its link to the dollar last June, Mr. Lardy estimates that it is still undervalued by 15 percent to 17 percent on a trade-weighted basis.

Mr. Geithner has argued that it is in China’s self-interest to allow its currency to rise, to curb building inflationary pressures in the Chinese economy. The Chinese government has also declared that it wants to reduce the share of exports in overall economic growth.

But Mr. Lardy said he was skeptical that the Chinese would take the advice, given that they had not accelerated the rise in the currency last fall, when inflation began heating up. And in the wake of a financial crisis that originated in the United States, he said, China would be even less inclined to listen to economic prescriptions from Washington.

“They learned that the advice they’ve been getting from previous Treasury secretaries wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on,” Mr. Lardy said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/world/asia/19prexy.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #2628 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 08:43am »

Reuters

Saudi ends Lebanon mediation, says country at risk

By Mariam Karouny
BEIRUT | Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:56am EST

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had abandoned mediation efforts in Lebanon between Shi'ite Hezbollah and Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri over the killing of his father and warned that the country's future was at stake.

Regional power Saudi Arabia and Syria had worked for months to resolve a dispute between Hezbollah and Hariri over indictments in the 2005 killing of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, which are widely expected to accuse Hezbollah members.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom had abandoned its efforts and that the situation in Lebanon was "dangerous."

"If the situation reaches separation or partition of Lebanon, this means the end of Lebanon as a state that has this model of peaceful cohabitation between religions and ethnicities and different groups," he told Al Arabiya television.

"It would be a loss for the whole Arab nation."

Despite the declared withdrawal by Saudi Arabia, a powerful regional player and close supporter of Hariri, other countries were continuing efforts to find compromise.

Analysts however say no compromise or breakthrough could happen without backing from Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally.

Ministers from Qatar and Turkey were holding a second day of talks in Beirut, after meeting Hariri and Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday.

"(Saudi Arabia is saying) it is not part of the negotiation process lead by Turkey and Qatar," Okab Sakr, a parliamentarian close to Hariri told Reuters. "Because its efforts collided with obstacles (inside Lebanon). So they are saying let the Turkish and the Qataris do (what they can) and it supports any efforts aimed at protecting Lebanon."

Turkey, fast emerging as a regional force with links to the Europeans, Americans and even the Israelis, may play a neutral, moderating role alongside Qatar, a wealthy gas-exporting Gulf state trying to punch above its diplomatic weight.

Hezbollah ministers and their allies brought down Hariri's government last week, saying his rejection of their demands to cut Lebanon's links to the U.N.-backed tribunal which issued the indictment on Monday had thwarted the Saudi and Syrian efforts.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, denies any role in the 2005 killing and has said it will not allow any of its members to be handed over to the tribunal.

SECURITY, ECONOMY WORRIES

Hezbollah and its allies have said they would treat the political deadlock differently once the indictment was released, suggesting they would take a tougher stance after it was issued.

Fears that Hezbollah might repeat moves in May 2008, when gunmen took over parts of West Beirut, were raised on Tuesday by the deployment of black-clad groups of men across the capital.

"We think that the situation is in a very dangerous stage and the country is heading toward (problems) on the streets which means dividing the country," Sakr said.

Finance Minister Raya Hassan said a protracted political deadlock or a "security crisis" would hurt the economy, and the cost of insuring Lebanon's debt against restructuring or default rose sharply on Wednesday to its highest since May 2009.

Lebanon's five-year credit default swaps rose 13 basis points to 330 points, according to Markit, a day after Standard & Poor's ratings agency cut the country's outlook.

Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said there was little chance of breakthrough because positions remained entrenched.

"It will not lead to anything because Hariri will not change his mind. It is all a waste of time," he said. "Last week (the mediation) collapsed, so what would make it work this week?"

(Writing by Dominic Evans; additional reporting by Amran Abocar in Dubai and Isabel Coles in London; Editing by Diana Abdallah)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70I37Y20110119

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« Reply #2629 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 08:48am »

Wired

Arrr! Pirates Take Up to $12 Billion Worth of Booty
By Spencer Ackerman
January 18, 2011 | 4:00 pm
Categories: Terrorists, Guerillas, Pirates


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Image: Arun Ganesh/National Institute of Design, Bangalore/WikiMedia


Don’t let the dilapidated fishing boats or the rusting AK-47s fool you. Pirates mean serious business. A maritime industry group crunched the numbers and found that the measures companies and governments take to avoid and combat the piracy threat cost between $7 billion and $12 billion every year.

The One Earth Future Foundation’s Oceans Beyond Piracy project documents exploding costs in piracy-related actions (.pdf). Ransoms paid to Somali pirates totaled $238 million in 2010 — the worst year for piracy on record, according to the International Chamber of Commerce.

The average payout to ransom a hijacked ship was $5.4 million last year, up from just $150,000 in 2005. (Wired magazine analyzed the Somali pirate business model in 2009.)

And ransoms aren’t even the lion’s share of piracy’s costs to global maritime commerce. Insuring ships passing near piracy-prone areas like the Gulf of Aden costs between $460 million and $3.2 billion. Naval presence to protect merchant shipping costs another $2 billion.

Regional economies lose up to $1.25 billion annually. Rerouting ships to less pirate-prone waters costs up to $3 billion. (Hat tip: GCaptain.)

Oceans Beyond Piracy readily admits that its estimate is imprecise. Piracy doesn’t have a clear impact on every economic measurement related to global maritime shipping. The overall economic downturn imposes its own costs on everything from insurance to local business impact.

What’s more, it’s “difficult to quantify the value of … world seaborne trade in monetary terms,” according to the International Maritime Association. But it’s undoubtedly massive: One figure the association provides shows that the operation of maritime ships — and there are 50,000 commercial vessels on the seas — produces $380 billion in freight rates, itself equivalent to 5 percent of global trade.

About 90 percent of all global trade comes to your local store from the seas. That helps explain how a ragged band of pirates operating off the Somali coast can have such a disruptive impact.

And that in turn explains the lucrative opportunities available antipiracy businesspeople. BAE Systems is marketing one of its shipboard laser dazzlers as a tool to blind pirates before they can take your ship hostage.

Private security firms have begun defending ships from pirates, although that carries its own insurance costs. Ships that have been through the traumatic experience of a pirate-jacking, like the Maersk Alabama, have placed nonlethal acoustic weapons on deck to shoo pirates away.

All these are symptoms of the broader problem of instability and economic collapse in the Gulf of Aden. Navies from a variety of countries have dispatched ships to the gulf. But naval analyst Raymond Pritchett tweets that piracy has been allowed to fester because “$12 billion is chump change to the shipping industry.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/arrr-pirates-take-up-to-12-billion-worth-of-booty/

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« Reply #2630 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 08:52am »

Wired Threat Level

Two Charged in AT&T Hack of iPad Customer Data
By Kim Zetter
January 18, 2011 | 4:12 pm
Categories: Crime, Hacks and Cracks

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com


Two suspects have been charged with federal crimes for allegedly hacking AT&T’s website last year to obtain the personal data of more than 100,000 iPad owners.

Daniel Spitler, 26, of San Francisco, California, was charged in New Jersey on Tuesday with one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. Andrew Auernheimer, 25, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was charged in Arkansas for the same crimes.

Last summer the two allegedly contacted Gawker to report that a hole in AT&T’s website allowed anyone to access data on iPad owners, including government and military officials, corporate CEOs and media executives who purchased iPads.

The personal data included e-mail addresses and ICC-IDs – a unique identifier that’s used to authenticate the SIM card in a customer’s iPad to AT&T’s network.

The leak snagged the details of dozens of elite iPad early adopters such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, anchorwoman Diane Sawyer of ABC News, New York Times CEO Janet Robinson and Col. William Eldredge, commander of the 28th Operations Group at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel also appeared to be among the victims, Gawker reported, as were dozens of people at NASA, the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and other government offices.

The iPad was released by Apple in January 2010. AT&T provided internet access for some iPad owners through its 3G wireless network. Customers had to provide AT&T with personal data when they opened their accounts, including their e-mail address, billing address and password.

Gawker reported at the time that the website vulnerability, which AT&T fixed, was discovered by a group calling itself Goatse Security, which authorities say included Spitler and Auernheimer.

The two allegedly wrote a script to harvest the data from AT&T’s website and apparently shared their script with others before AT&T patched the vulnerability.

AT&T maintained that the two did not contact it about the vulnerability, which legitimate security researchers often do prior to publicly disclosing a vulnerability. Instead, AT&T learned of the problem from a “business customer.”


According to the complaint filed by the Justice Department (.pdf) against the two suspects, the script they allegedly wrote spoofed the behavior of an iPad to AT&T’s server to harvest data on about 120,000 customers:

a. The Account Slurper was designed to mimic the behavior of an iPad 30 so that AT&T’s servers were fooled into believing that they were communicating with an actual iPad 30 and wrongly granted the Account Slurper access to AT&T’s servers.

b. Once deployed, the Account Slurper utilized a process known as a “brute force” attack — an iterative process used to obtain information from a computer system — against AT&T’s servers. Specifically, the Account Slurper randomly guessed at ranges of ICC-IDs. An incorrect guess was met with no additional information, while a correct guess was rewarded with an ICC-IDle-mail pairing for a specific, identifiable iPad 30 user.

After disclosing the hack to Gawker, the two did little to hide their identity. Auernheimer, who goes by the handle “Weev,” bragged about the attention the breach was getting on his blog, authorities say.

Oh hey, my security consulting group just found a privacy breach at AT&T[. ] . . . [T]his story has been broken for 15 minutes, twitter is blowing the fuck up, we are on the forntpage of google news and we are on drudge report (the big headline)[.]

Last November, he also allegedly sent an e-mail to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey, discussing the data breach. “AT&T needs to be held accountable for their insecure infrastructure as a public utility and we must defend the rights of consumers, over the rights of shareholders,” Auernheimer allegedly wrote. ”I advise you to discuss this matter with your family, your friends, victims of crimes you have prosecuted, and your teachers for they are the people who would have been harmed had AT&T been allowed to silently bury their negligent endangerment of United States infrastructure.”

The opinionated hacker also gave an interview to The New York Times on August 3, 2008 in which he stated: “I hack, I ruin, I make piles of money. I make people afraid for their lives. Trolling is basically internet eugenics. I want everyone off the internet. Bloggers are filth. They need to be destroyed. Blogging gives the illusion of participation to a bunch of retards…. We need to put these people in the oven!”

According to the criminal complaint, a confidential informant helped federal authorities make their case against the two defendants by providing them with 150 pages of chat logs from an IRC channel where Spitler and Auernheimer allegedly admitted conducting the breach to tarnish AT&T’s reputation and promote themselves and Goatse Security.

Spitler: I just harvested 197 email addresses of iPad 3G subscribers there should be many more … weev: did you see my new project?

Auernheimer: no

Spitler: I’m stepping through iPad SIM ICCIDs to harvest email addresses if you use someones ICCID on the ipad service site it gives you their address

Auernheimer: loooool thats hilarious HILARIOUS oh man now this is big media news … is it scriptable? arent there SIM that spoof iccid?

Spitler: I wrote a script to generate valid iccids and it loads the site and pulls an email

Auernheimer: this could be like, a future massive phishing operation serious like this is valuable data we have a list a potential complete list of AT&T iphone subscriber emails



Spitler: I hit fucking oil

Auernheimer: loooool nice

Spitler: If I can get a couple thousand out of this set where can we drop this for max lols?

Auernheimer: dunno i would collect as much data as possible the minute its dropped, itll be fixed BUT valleywag i have all the gawker media people on my facecrook friends after goin to a gawker party

At one point the two discussed the legal risks of what they were allegedly doing:

Spitler: sry dunno how legal this is or if they could sue for damages

Auernheimer: absolutely may be legal risk yeah, mostly civil you absolutely could get sued to fuck

At the same time, others on the IRC chat allegedly discussed the possibility of shorting AT&T’s stock.


Pynchon: hey, just an idea delay this outing for a couple days tommorrow short some at&t stock then out them on tuesday then fill your short and profit

Rucas: LOL

Auernheimer: well i will say this it would be against the law … for ME to short the att stock but if you want to do it go nuts

Spitler: I dont have any money to invest in ATT



Auernheimer: if you short ATT dont let me know about it

Spitler: IM TAKIN YOU ALL DOWN WITH ME SNITCH HIGH EVERYDAY

In the wake of news stories about the breach, they allegedly discussed their failure to report the vulnerability to a “full disclosure” mailing list, as well as the opportunity to push their Goetse Security business as a result of the breach:


Nstyr: you should’ve uploaded the list to full disclosure maybe you still can

Auernheimer: no no that is potentially criminal at this point we won

Nstyr: ah

Auernheimer: we dropepd the stock price

Auernheimer: lets not like do anything else we fucking win and i get to like spin us as a legitimate security organization

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/att-hack/

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« Reply #2631 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 08:56am »

Defense News

China Restores Soviet Aircraft Carrier: Expert
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Published: 19 Jan 2011 08:21

BEIJING - China has nearly finished restoring an old Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998, which will be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously built ship, an expert said Jan. 19.

The Varyag, a Kuznetsov-class carrier, was originally built for the Soviet navy, but construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Its immense armored hull, with no engine, electrics or propeller, was bought by China in 1998 and towed from Ukraine's Black Sea coast to China.

"They have fixed the inside at 100 percent," said Andrei Chang, head of the Kanwa Information Centre, which monitors China's military.

According to Chang, the renovation process has included fixing the boilers, electricity, electronic systems, living quarters and engines. The hull and deck of the ship have also been refurbished, other experts have said.

China has never officially announced it was renovating the 990-foot long aircraft carrier.

The carrier, currently based in the northeast port of Dalian, could make its first sea trip "very soon," Chang told AFP, adding the refurbishment of the ship had taken place "at unexpected speed."

But he said the ship's radars still needed work, and the fighter planes that will train on the carrier are still being tested.

The refurbished ship will be used as a model for China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier, which, unlike the Varyag, will be nuclear-powered. Construction on this ship could start soon, he said.

The modernization of China's army has caused concern abroad.

Last week, the Chinese military sent its first stealth fighter - the J-20 - into the skies, just as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Beijing to patch up frayed defense ties.

Around the same time, Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that China's new weapons program, including the J-20, appeared to be directed against the United States.

The PLA - the largest army in the world - is hugely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a big military budget boosted by the nation's runaway economic growth.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=5489543&c=ASI&s=SEA

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« Reply #2632 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 09:00am »

Defense News

Report Reveals Undisclosed F-35 Problems
By DAVE MAJUMDAR
Published: 18 Jan 2011 17:12

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An F-35B Joint Strike Fighter descends to a vertical landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Jan. 6.
A report says more problems have been found with the F-35 program, but officials say they are well on their way to fixing the issues.
(Phaedra Loftis / Lockheed Martin)



The F-35 Lightning II strike fighter has previously undisclosed problems with its handling, avionics, afterburner and helmet-mounted display, according to a report by the Pentagon's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

Both the U.S. Air Force F-35A variant and U.S. Marine Corps' F-35B model experienced "transonic wing roll-off, [and] greater than expected sideslip during medium angle-of-attack testing," the report said.

The report also says that various components are not as reliable as expected.

Additionally, the Pratt and Whitney F-135 engine has encountered an afterburner "screech," in which airflow disruptions cause severe vibrations, preventing the engine from reaching maximum power. That problem has delayed some required testing.

According to the report, the program has already begun efforts to fix the problem. Pratt and Whitney officials were not immediately available for comment.

Further, the report indicates problems with the aircraft's helmet-mounted display (HMD). Unlike many previous aircraft, the F-35 does not have a cockpit-mounted head-up display; the pilot instead views critical data projected on the helmet visor.

The report does not elaborate on the nature of the problems, but says they must be solved before the Block 2 mission systems software can be tested. Currently, the program is testing preliminary Block 0.5 and Block 1 mission systems software. Block 2 would incrementally increase the aircraft's capabilities and would be followed by the fully mission-capable Block 3 software.

A Lockheed Martin official could not immediately describe the technical problems with the display.

"The F-35 air system advances Helmet Mounted Display technology to capabilities not flying today on any other tactical platform. With this advancement in technology come challenges that the program is actively managing. The challenges are being worked with the supplier," said Lockheed Martin spokesman John Kent.

"While there are no current plans to change suppliers, options are being considered in parallel that mitigate the most stressing issues. Flight testing is proceeding with the HMD installed and used with no safety of flight concerns."

The report also calls for the Block 3 mission system software to be tested on a simulated battlefield because existing test ranges are not adequate to test the F-35's sensor arrays.

"Open-air testing is constrained by range limitations that are incapable of providing realistic testing of many key capabilities provided by Block 3 aircraft," the report says.

The report also calls for the aircraft's On-Board Inert Gas Generations System, which generates inert gases to prevent oxygen building up inside the fuel tanks, to be redesigned.

"The OBIGGS system fails to inert the fuel tank ullage spaces throughout the combat flight envelopes evaluated," the report says.

The report recommends program officials redesign the OBIGGS system "to ensure that the fuel tank ullage volume oxygen concentrations are maintained below levels that sustain fire and/or explosion throughout the combat flight envelopes."

These issues are in addition to the known difficulties with the B-model aircraft's insufficiently strong structural bulkhead and problems with auxiliary air inlet doors on the aircraft's top surface.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=5484169&c=AME&s=AIR

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« Reply #2633 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:12am »

I received this in an email this morning. It's the signature line:

Go Green - Recycle CONGRESS!!



grin

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« Reply #2634 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:27am »

ABC News

Suicides Still A Problem for U.S. Army
Drop in Active Duty Suicides Offset
By Big Jump in National Guard and Reserve Suicides

By LUIS MARTINEZ
19 January 2011

Army statistics to be released Wednesday will show
the first annual decrease in suicides among active
duty soldiers in six years. But the news is tempered
by a significant increase in the number of suicides
among Army reservists and National Guardsmen who
are not on active duty.

Without providing specific numbers, Army officials
tell ABC News that the number of suicides among
active duty soldiers for calendar year 2010 will be
less than 2009's record high of 162. Through
November, 2010, 144 active duty suicides had
already been recorded, National Guardsmen and Army
reservists mobilized to active duty are included in
this number.

But a tough year was made even tougher by the sharp
increase in 2010 in the number of suicides among
National Guardsmen and Army reservists not on
active duty.

The Army keeps a separate record of suicides among
Army reservists and National Guardsmen who have
not been mobilized and are not on active duty.
Through November, 2010, there were 122 suicides
among these citizen soldiers. That's a significant
increase over the 82 suicides among this group in
2009.

Taken together, the 266 total Army suicides through
November, 2010 is already higher than the 244
suicides for all of 2009.

The increase has been of mounting concern to senior
Army officials who worry about the access to mental
health professionals these reservists may not have in
the civilian sector.

Reducing the number of suicides within the ranks is a
top priority for the Army, but there are no easy
answers as to what might lead a soldier to turn to
suicide.

The reduction in the number of active duty suicides
last year marks the first time since 2004 that there has
not been an annual increase in their numbers.

The number of active duty suicides rose steadily to
record highs the last two years despite significant
Army-wide efforts to raise awareness among soldiers
and improvements in access to mental health
professionals.

Suicide Prevention High Army Priority

Last summer Army vice Chief of Staff General Peter
Chiarelli described to ABC's Christiane Amanpour on
"This Week" how difficult it is to track possible trends
that might explain the suicides among active duty
soldiers.

"Some of the things that we're seeing in suicides is
60% of our suicides take place with our soldiers who
are in their first term of enlistment," said Chiarelli. He
added, "There are a third to two-thirds that are
occurring back home and about a third that are
happening in theater (Iraq or Afghanistan)."

Whatever the reasons, the Army has mounted
significant suicide-prevention campaigns to help
soldiers spot the warning signs of suicidal behavior
among their ranks. The latest campaign is called
"Shoulder to Shoulder: I Will Never Quit on Life" and
includes a 15-minute training video that features candid
interviews with soldiers who have attempted suicide.

The Army has also partnered with the National Institute of
Mental Health for a first of its kind five-year, $50-million
research program to better understand why some soldiers
are choosing suicide.

When the training video was released this summer, Chiarelli
said in a separate ABC News interview that any progress in
reducing Army suicides can be uneven. "It is extremely frustrating
because even when you see the numbers go down in a month it
really doesn't offer you anything," said Chiarelli. "I mean, there's
still a needless loss of life that takes place."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/suicides-problem-us-army/story?id=12643318&page=1

Crystal
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« Reply #2635 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 1:00pm »






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« Reply #2636 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 1:48pm »

Tucson Citizen

The legend of the lost DeGrazia paintings buried in the Superstition Mountains

by Cherlyn Gardner Strong
January 18, 2011


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Superstition Mountains


Thousands of treasure hunters make the trek every year to the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The majority of those seek out riches in gold, obsessed with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.

Others, however, focus their search on supposedly buried paintings.

According to legend, 18 paintings were buried in the mountains by the artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, shortly after he infamously burned 100 paintings in protest of the IRS in 1976.

The claim of the buried paintings was made publicly in 1990 by a man named Bob Ward. According to Ward, he was a close friend of DeGrazia’s and accompanied him to the mountains. He said that each painting was rolled and placed in a watertight tube with both ends sealed. The tubes were bundled groups of three, then buried in six separate spots within the same area. Ward’s encoded map surfaced on various websites over the years, which might lead to these paintings valued at a million dollars apiece.

Some, however, say that Ward was never a close friend of DeGrazia’s and that he simply sought to profit from the creation of a tall tale to sell a book. A couple of others have surfaced to say that the legend is real, but provide differing details than Ward’s.

Another friend of DeGrazia’s, Jerry Ogle, is one of those who insists that the legend is real. In the decade that I’ve known Ogle, he maintains that he knows exactly where the paintings are. He isn’t able to divulge the location, since decades have passed and he can’t quite recall. Instead, he has insisted that I provide him with a mule and drop him off at a specific starting point of a dangerous journey that could take days. A journey that he says must be made alone. My conscience won’t allow me to risk the life of an elderly man who doesn’t even know how old he is. I would guess that he’s somewhere in his 80s. I also guess that he’s telling the truth, or at least the truth as he recalls it.

Ogle is also known by many with nickname of “Two Guns” in DeGrazia’s circle of friends. He is easily recognized by those who have seen Ted DeGrazia’s low-budget Western film, “End of the Rainbow”. In that 27-minute film, Ogle plays one in a group of bandits who kidnap DeGrazia and a lady friend. The bandits force the captives to lead the group to a cache of buried paintings. The lady friend is played by Sammi Smith (singer of the 70s hit single, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”). At the film’s end, the bandits locate the “treasure”. Ogle’s character declares the paintings “junk”, and slashes them with a knife in disgust.

Some who have seen this film think that it is a treasure map in itself, which they say is vital in locating the paintings.

Well, that is unless real life has been confused with fantasy.

It is entirely possible that Ogle’s memory recalls the paintings and premise featured in the film, rather than a real-life buried treasure. DeGrazia himself once described Ogle as an imaginative child-like soul in the book, “World of DeGrazia”. With that assessment, I’ll have to agree.

Other friends of DeGrazia’s hold a firm grasp on their own version of events, keeping the legend alive. Based on those accounts, the search is still on.

Treasure hunters will continue to scour the Superstition Mountains each year, in search of the lost DeGrazia paintings said to be worth $18 million.

http://tucsoncitizen.com/paranormal/2011/01/18/the-legend-of-the-lost-degrazia-paintings-buried-in-the-superstition-mountains/

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« Reply #2637 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 5:23pm »

About D*mn time too!

Military Avenue

Department Begins Project for Vietnam War Veterans
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 – More than three decades after the war’s end, the Defense Department has begun a project to pay tribute to the nation’s Vietnam War veterans.

The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration was spawned from the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.


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“It was a very important time period for veterans, because most Vietnam veterans as a whole never received the homecoming that our troops receive now,” said Army Lt. Col. Hunter Holliday, public affairs officer for the commemoration.

At the center of the project is a website, “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration,” at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com, which will serve as a clearinghouse for information on the war once it is fully functional, a milestone expected this spring.

Information gleaned from the website is expected to be used for myriad purposes, such as to chronicle facts, provide educational materials, and offer resources for a commemorative partners program, Holliday said.

The partners program will comprise guidance and materials for agencies, veterans groups, local government and nongovernment organizations to conduct their own Vietnam War commemoration activities.

The website is expected to play a major role in the campaign, said Jeff Wilson, who handles marketing for the project, noting it will be highly interactive and will include content on historical events, a timeline, photos, documents, video and audio. A calendar will list major Defense-sponsored events.

The website offers a prelude of activities and ceremonies to:

-- Honor Vietnam War veterans and their families -- including prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action -- for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.

-- Highlight Armed Forces service during the Vietnam War, in addition to contributions made by government and private organizations.

http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/

http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/Department+Begins+Project+for+Vietnam+War+Veterans+-36129.aspx

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2638 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 6:18pm »

It's time to bring most of our boys home.

There is no winnable objective in Afghanistan.

I forget just how many foreign bases we have, but most of them are no longer necessary.

South Korea I understand, but I'm hard pressed to come up with another.
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« Reply #2639 on: Jan 19th, 2011, 7:45pm »

on Jan 19th, 2011, 6:18pm, murnut wrote:
It's time to bring most of our boys home.

There is no winnable objective in Afghanistan.

I forget just how many foreign bases we have, but most of them are no longer necessary.

South Korea I understand, but I'm hard pressed to come up with another.


From your mouth to God's ear Mur!
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