Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3152 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 08:24am »
New York Times
March 3, 2011 Qaddafi Forces Capture 3 Dutch Aircrew By MARLISE SIMONS and ALAN COWELL
THE HAGUE — Libyan forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi have captured three crew members of a Dutch naval helicopter who were rescuing European citizens, last Sunday, the Dutch Defense Ministry said on Thursday, the first report of foreigners being by held in Libya’s bloody and unfolding uprising.
Otte Beeksma, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said the pro-Qaddafi forces also captured two civilians being rescued — one Dutch, the other from an unspecified European country — who had since been released. Dutch officials decline to give personal details of the crew members while confidential negotiations for their release were underway.
The authorities had kept word of the capture a secret until a Dutch newspaper broke the story.
Mr. Beeksma, said the crew of a Lynx helicopter had landed in the coastal city of Sirte — a pro-Qaddafi stronghold — after flying from a navy ship, the HMS Tromp, anchored offshore. The helicopter was “surrounded by armed Libyan forces late on Sunday afternoon.”
The two people being evacuated were transferred to the Dutch Embassy in Tripoli on Sunday, but the crew and their helicopter were still being held. Mr. Beeksma did not identify the two people who were being rescued.
The use of military personnel in such operations is not limited to the Dutch authorities. Last weekend, British news reports said British special forces accompanied a rescue effort by the Royal Air Force to pluck oil workers to safety from remote desert encampments.
But, so far, there has been no indication of other military personnel being taken prisoner.
Mr. Beeksma, speaking in a telephone interview, said “intensive negotiations” were underway to secure the release of three naval personnel seized during what he called a consular operation.
Their capture came at a time when both sides in Libya’s turmoil insist there should be no foreign military intervention on the ground, although some rebels in the east have spoken in favor of airstrikes to cripple Colonel Qaddafi’s air force, which conducted bombing raids on Wednesday in fighting for the oil port of Brega.
But there was some concern that the three Dutch crew member could risk being used as propaganda tools, like a group of British Royal Marines captured in the Persian Gulf by Iranian forces in 2007 and paraded in front of the television cameras when they were released by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Marlise Simons reported from The Hague and Alan Cowell from Paris.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3153 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 08:26am »
New York Times
March 3, 2011 Oil Steadies and Markets Move Higher By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The financial markets calmed a bit on Thursday as oil prices declined and equity indexes regained their composure.
As Wall Street did on Wednesday, exchanges in Asia and Europe were encouraged by upbeat employment figures from the United States, which helped deflect some attention from worries about the impact of fighting in Libya on its oil production. The monthly survey from the ADP payrolls firm raised the optimism ahead of Friday’s report from the Labor Department, which often sets the market tone for a week or two after its release.
ADP’s finding that private companies added 217,000 jobs in February, well above the 180,000 analysts had predicted, has ratcheted up expectations about Friday’s figures. The consensus before the ADP survey was that American employers added around 175,000 jobs. Some analysts now think the actual figure could be up around the 250,000 mark.
“Bullish investors will be hoping the trend continues today,” a senior sales trader at IG Index, Yusuf Heusen, said.
Oil prices fell amid talk of an effort toward a mediated resolution to the conflict in Libya. Since the fighting started, crude supplies from Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been cut more than half.
Benchmark crude for April delivery was down $1.24 at $100.99 a barrel in electronic trading in New York. In London, Brent crude for April delivery was down $1.79 to $114.56 a barrel.
Equity indexes were higher. The FTSE 100 in London was up 1.4 percent, while the DAX in Frankfurt rose 1.5 percent. The CAC 4o in Paris was 1.5 percent higher.
Futures trading indicated that Wall Street was poised for a solid opening after Wednesday’s modest gains.
How Wall Street performs may hinge on some economic reports to be released Thursday. Particular focus will center on the weekly jobless claims data as well as the monthly non-manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management.
It is not just the United States in focus though. In Europe, all eyes have been on the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank.
The central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at the record low of 1 percent, but investors will be interested to see if the bank’s president, Jean-Claude Trichet, sounds a more hawkish tone over inflation in his news conference.
If he does, then the markets may move to price in a swifter-than-anticipated interest rate increase. Now the prevailing view is that there will not be a rate increase until the fourth quarter, even though inflation is running at 2.4 percent, above the bank’s goal of “close to but below” 2 percent.
“Given the problems in Europe, any decision on rates is unlikely at today’s rate meeting but of particular interest will be the tone of Trichet’s press conference and the bank’s outlook for inflation and growth forecasts going forward into 2011,” a market analyst at CMC Markets, Michael Hewson, said.
In Libya, the fighting has shut down oil production in many parts of the country. While Libya’s oil fields produce only about 2 percent of global demand, experts say the disruption is putting pressure on world supplies. The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that a power struggle had cut up to 1 million barrels per day of crude production, more than the group’s previous estimate of as much as 750,000 barrels per day.
Coupled with concerns that uprisings in the Arab world, which have already brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, could spread to other oil-rich countries in the Middle East, oil prices remain at elevated levels.
Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average climbed 0.9 percent to 10,586.02. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.3 percent higher to 23,122.42 but mainland Chinese shares fell on profit taking. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent to 2,902.98, while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1.6 percent to 1,272.00.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3156 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 08:34am »
UFO files: threat of alien invasion taken seriously by military
The police, armed forces and intelligence services were all mobilised after a "very successful" practical joke for a student rag week sparked fears of a real alien invasion, newly released secret files reveal.
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent 6:30AM GMT 03 Mar 2011
The authorities, including four local forces and a bomb disposal unit, swung into action after six "flying saucers" were found by members of the public in a perfect line across southern England.
But fears of a real "war of the worlds" incident petered out after examination of the "spacecraft" showed that it was an elaborate rag week hoax by engineering students.
The incident, which was taken seriously for a number of hours, took place in 1967 but has only just been revealed by secret UFO files released by The National Archives.
They show that early in the morning of 4 September the police and RAF were flooded with calls from the public reporting six small “flying saucers” that had been discovered in locations in a perfect line across southern England from the Isle of Sheppey to the Bristol Channel.
Four police forces, bomb disposal units, the army and the MoD’s intelligence branch were all mobilised, before it emerged the saucers were a hoax by engineering students from Farnborough Technical College.
The joke was only discovered after bomb disposal experts opened up one of the objects and found it was a fake.
The story emerged as part of the largest ever release of UFO files.
They also revealed a number of military sightings of UFOs, a claimed "alien abduction" in London and an unidentified aircraft shadowing a Lancaster bomber.
The extraterrestrial files reveal how the phenomenon was discussed at the highest level of government and security services worldwide, including at the United Nations (UN), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was even the subject of a debate in the House of Lords.
The previously-classified records show that in January 1979 – during the peak of the "Winter of Discontent" – in addition to discussions on trade union strikes, the House of Lords held a debate of the subject of UFOs – the only full debate on UFOs ever held in British Parliament.
The files reveal that in December 1977 the government used its influence to talk down a call by Grenada president, Sir Eric Gairy, for a UN agency to conduct research into UFO sightings.
Sir Eric eventually withdrew his proposal but continued his campaign for a full UN debate on UFOs – calling on the UN General Assembly to make 1978 "the year of the UFO".
One of the 35 newly-released files shows 15 unidentified aircraft were detected on radar approaching the UK between January and July 2001 in the months leading up to 9/11.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) received just one UFO report (with no radar corroboration) on September 11 itself.
A report from a man who believed he may have been abducted by aliens after seeing an unusual aircraft one evening and experiencing a period of "missing time".
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3157 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 08:41am »
Wired Danger Room
Is the Navy Trying to Start the Robot Apocalypse? By Adam Rawnsley March 3, 2011 | 7:00 am Categories: Drones
Whenever the military rolls out a new robot program, folks like to joke about SkyNet or the Rise of the Machines. But this time, the military really is starting to venture into robot-apocalypse territory: swarms of little semi-autonomous machines that can team up to manufacture complex objects (including, presumably, more robots).
That’s right, the only thing scarier than a swarm of intelligent military mini robots is a swarm of intelligent military mini robots in control of the means of production. And your Navy is hard at work on making it a reality.
The U.S. Navy recently issued a proposal for aspiring mad scientists to build it “a coordinated and distributed swarm of micro-robots” capable of manufacturing “novel materials and structures.”
This isn’t heavy industry, though. They want the robot swarm to use desktop manufacturing — a technology that allows you to “print” 3-D objects using equipment that can fit on your desk and be programmed with nothing more sophisticated than your own laptop.
In its more benign uses, desktop manufacturing takes the form of products like Makerbot, which lets users fabricate cool 3-D objects out of plastic. In the hands of intelligent robots, though, think of this more as the Easy-Bake Oven of the robot apocalypse.
The proposal says the mini manufacturers will be able to “pick and place, dispense liquids, print inks, remove material, join components” and “move cooperatively” to not just make things, but assemble them, as well.
And what exactly will they make? The Navy lists a number of examples like “multifunctional materials” and “metamorphic materials” but its mention of “programmable materials” really caught our ear.
Darpa, the Defense Department’s far-out advanced research wing, has previously experimented with “programmable materials” to create shape-shifting machines like the self-folding origami robot that can change into a small plane and boat.
Intel, one of Darpa’s partners on the research has suggested the technology could one day go further, making it able to “mimic the shape and appearance of a person or object being imaged in real time.”
So these mechanical swarms might eventually be capable of building other, shape-shifting robots? What could possibly go wrong?
Alcon Entertainment, the company behind The Blind Side, is looking to bring the world of Blade Runner back to the big screen.
The 1982 cult classic, which was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Harrison Ford, was based on a Philip K. Dick novel titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
The company is in final negotiations to acquire the film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic science-fiction thriller.
Alcon is getting the film rights from Bud Yorkin, who was an exec producer on the original movie. Yorkin will serve as a producer on the projects.
Alcon co-heads Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will co-produce. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEOs of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
The story is set in a future where man has created clones called replicants who are used for dangerous work. When the replicants rebel against their makers on a space colony, they are banned and hunted down.
The movie centered on Rick Dekard (Ford), a retired member of a police officer corps called blade runners who hunt down replicants on Earth. Dekard is called back to duty one more time to track six clones who escape a colony and come to Los Angeles.
Alcon seems to know it has a beloved movie property on its hands and promised to be mindful of that fact.
"This is a major acquisition for our company, and a personal favorite film for both of us," Kosove and Johnson said in a statement. "We recognize the responsibility we have to do justice to the memory of the original with any prequel or sequel we produce. We have long-term goals for the franchise, and are exploring multiplatform concepts, not just limiting ourselves to one medium.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3159 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 2:34pm »
Dude! Check out Hurley's upcoming guest appearance on Fringe
By Scott Edelman 2:28PM on Mar 3, 2011
Our friends (and our enemies, too) on Fringe are worried then when two universes meet, it'll be the end of at least one world. But when two sci-fi universes meet—like, say, when Lost and Fringe collide—it's cause for nothing but squee.
Fox—which has been churning out some killer promos to remind us to tune in Friday nights—has just released another one, and this time they've included a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it appearance by Lost's Jorge Garcia.
Fringe is taking the week off, but Garcia will be seen in a cameo role as a Massive Dynamic employee during next week's episode.
The numbers may have been cursed, but the promo below definitely isn't.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3161 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 3:07pm »
UFO investigator terminated from volunteer deputy post after ‘publicly contradicting’ official findings
by Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Mar. 03, 2011, under Extraterrestrials, UFO News, UFOs
A UFO investigator in Colorado has been terminated from his volunteer deputy post following a horse mutilation investigation.
Back in November 2010, Fox31 News in Denver posted an article about a strange horse mutilation incident at the Schneider family ranch in El Paso County, Colorado. The family found two of their horses dead and badly mutilated on their ranch last August. After the discovery, the family filed a report with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and called in paranormal investigator, Chuck Zukowski, to search for answers.
The horses were discovered with their throats slit and chests cut open. The genitals, tongues, and eyes of the horses were removed. The family stated that there were no footprints around the horses and no blood evident. Since El Chupacabra, humans, predators and satanic cults would leave footprints, Zukowski blamed UFOs, according to the report by Fox31 news.
Zukowski’s findings, as reported by bloggers and the media, were contradictory to the official findings of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, for whom Zukowski served in a volunteer capacity for for 8 years.
Following the posting of the original post in the Tucson Citizen in November, Zukowski blamed ‘bad journalism’ on the parts of Fox31 and the Tucson Citizen for misrepresenting his statements. He stated that the family and area ranchers believed that the horse mutilations were alien or military-related, but that his written findings always conclude as “unknown death”. Zukowksi referred to his publicly posted investigation findings for clarification, which were considered prior to the November posting. However, the statements attributed to Zukowski, as reported by Fox31, were included in the Tucson Citizen post, clearly attributing Zukiowski’s statements to the interview with Fox31.
The official findings from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department pointed to predators as causing the demise of the horses. Zukowski’s publicly available online report and statements made to the news media, does not come to the identical conclusion, which contributed to his termination Zukowski’s termination letter from the department states among other things: “The termination is a result of you conducting paranormal and unidentified flying object investigations into animal mutilations, and then publicly contradicting and being critical of official Sheriff’s Office investigations in a public forum.
Although you have claimed not to have represented yourself as a Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy, the media reports allude to you as “volunteer El Paso County Sheriff’s Department deputy.” This adversarial position, without having full knowledge of the information gathered by detectives, is unacceptable.”
Zukowski told NewsFirst5.com in an interview: “I know in the letter it says that I contradicted their statement, but I didn’t contradict them per se. Where I mentioned El Paso County Sheriff’s Department was wrong, I’ve never, ever done that.”
A fresh piece of information included in the Tucson Citizen‘s post from November, was the fact that Zukowski served as a volunteer deputy for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. This information was publicly available in his bio page, on his UFO investigation website, to outline his relevant experience. Although the information is now updated to read: “a former Reserve Deputy Sheriff with El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado”.
Ten days after the post on the Tucson Citizen, an article posted at the website thehorse.com, also identified Zukowski as a reserve deputy for the department. Zukowski told News5 that he never represented himself to the author as a reserve deputy.
Whether the information of Zukowski’s volunteer post with the department was found on the Tucson Citizen or Zukowski’s public website, was not stated in thehorse.com article.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3164 on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 5:14pm »
Arlington National Cemetery
Origin of "Taps"
During the Civil War, in July 1862 when the Army of the Potomac was in camp, Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield summoned Pvt. Oliver Wilcox Norton, his brigade bugler, to his tent. Butterfield, who disliked the colorless "extinguish lights" call then in use, whistled a new tune and asked the bugler to sound it for him. After repeated trials and changing the time of some notes which were scribbled on the back of an envelope, the call was finally arranged to suit Gen. Butterfield and used for the first time that night. Pvt. Norton, who on several occasions, had sounded numerous new calls composed by his commander, recalled his experience of the origin of "Taps" years later:
"One day in July 1862 when the Army of the Potomac was in camp at Harrison's Landing on the James River, Virginia, resting and recruiting from its losses in the seven days of battle before Richmond, Gen. Butterfield summoned the writer to his tent, and whistling some new tune, asked the bugler to sound it for him. This was done, not quite to his satisfaction at first, but after repeated trials, changing the time of some of the notes, which were scribbled on the back of an envelope, the call was finally arranged to suit the general.
"He then ordered that it should be substituted in his brigade for the regulation "Taps" (extinguish lights) which was printed in the Tactics and used by the whole army. This was done for the first time that night. The next day buglers from nearby brigades came over to the camp of Butterfield's brigade to ask the meaning of this new call. They liked it, and copying the music, returned to their camps, but it was not until some time later, when generals of other commands had heard its melodious notes, that orders were issued, or permission given, to substitute it throughout the Army of the Potomac for the time-honored call which came down from West Point.
In the western armies the regulation call was in use until the autumn of 1863. At that time the XI and XII Corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac and sent under command of Gen. Hooker to reinforce the Union Army at Chattanooga, Tenn. Through its use in these corps it became known in the western armies and was adopted by them. From that time, it became and remains to this day the official call for "Taps." It is printed in the present Tactics and is used throughout the U.S. Army, the National Guard, and all organizations of veteran soldiers.
Gen. Butterfield, in composing this call and directing that it be used for "Taps" in his brigade, could not have foreseen its popularity and the use for another purpose into which it would grow. Today, whenever a man is buried with military honors anywhere in the United States, the ceremony is concluded by firing three volleys of musketry over the grave, and sounding with the trumpet or bugle "Put out the lights. Go to sleep"...There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air."