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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 92053 times)
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« Reply #3720 on: Apr 21st, 2011, 2:42pm »

Washington Post

Gates says Obama has approved use of armed Predator drones in Libya

By Associated Press, Thursday, April 21, 3:17 PM

WASHINGTON Pentagon chief Robert Gates says President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drone aircraft in Libya.

Gates told a Pentagon news conference that the Predator is an example of the unique U.S. military capabilities that Obama is willing to contribute to a coalition military campaign in Libya, while other countries enforce a no-fly zone.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright, speaking alongside Gates, said the first Predator mission was scheduled for Thursday but it was scratched due to poor weather. Cartwright said the Predators allow low-level precision attacks on Libyan government forces.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gates-says-obama-has-approved-use-of-armed-predator-drones-in-libya/2011/04/21/AFy72vJE_story.html?hpid=z1

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« Reply #3721 on: Apr 21st, 2011, 7:27pm »

WTF?

Huffington Post

9/11 Responders To Be Warned They Will Be Screened By FBI's Terrorism Watch List (EXCLUSIVE)

First Posted: 04/21/11 04:24 PM ET
Updated: 04/21/11 05:22 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- A provision in the new 9/11 health bill may be adding insult to injury for people who fell sick after their service in the aftermath of the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks, The Huffington Post has learned.

The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBIs terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.

Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.

Its a requirement that was tacked onto the law during the bitter debates over it last year.

The letter from Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, informs medical providers and administrators that they should begin letting patients know before the new program kicks in this July.

This is absurd, said Glen Kline, a former NYPD emergency services officer. Its silly. Its stupid. Its asinine.

Its comical at best, and I think its an insult to everyone who worked on The Pile and is sick and suffering from 9/11, said John Feal, a former construction worker who lost half a foot at Ground Zero and runs the advocacy group Fealgood Foundation.

The provision was added in an amendment by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) during the heated debate over the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee last May.

Sept. 11 responders in the committee room at the time mostly shook their heads at the move, which Democrats accepted on a voice vote after battling to bar other amendments on abortion and immigration that might have killed the bill.

But suddenly the point is no longer just a strategic concession to get a law passed.

As doctors and administrators begin acting on the federal instructions, participants in the 9/11 treatment and monitoring programs will soon be told that their names, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data will be provided to the FBI to ensure they are not terrorists.

Howard's instructions include a sample letter to responders designed to minimize alarm.

Although neither we nor [the Centers for Disease Control]/NIOSH anticipate the name of any individual in the current Programs will be on the list, CDC/NIOSH is expressly required by law to implement this particular requirement of the Act, it says.

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to working with you and ensuring that you continue to receive uninterrupted services under the new WTC Health Program, it concludes.

Feal, who counts hundreds and first responders in his foundation's membership, predicted the letters would not go over well.

When cops and firefighters get this at home, theyre going to hit the roof, he said.

Kline, who sits on the Fealgood Foundations board, said he personally wasnt offended, but couldnt think of a good reason for cops and firefighters to be screened by the FBI in order to keep getting treatment.

I mean, who are we even talking about -- the undocumented workers who cleaned the office buildings? wondered Kline Thursday. We know who all the cops, firefighters and construction workers were. Theyre all documented.

Is the idea that a terrorist stayed to help clean up? And then stayed all these years to try and get benefits? he asked. In all the things Ive seen out of Washington, this probably takes the cake.

Some are more understanding.

Do we want terrorists getting money? No, said Anthony Flammia, a former NYPD Highway Patrol officer and Sept. 11 responder. How do you know if there were any terrorists there? Where they there as observers, watching? Probably.

But he noted that his perspective likely would not be shared, especially if people whose names are similar to actual terror suspects get flagged, as happens with air travelers.

Ive got nothing to hide, so its no big deal for me, but theres got to be safeguards in place to protect the people who are innocent, Flammia said. Its going to be controversial, he added. Its probably going to create an uproar, but I think it will dissipate. I hope they're ready to answer people's questions.

Congressman Stearns said in a statement that his intent was to answer exactly the questions raised by Flammia.

This amendment was adopted in the full Energy and Commerce Committee without opposition and it merely requires that the names of those receiving health benefits be cross-checked with the terrorist watch list to ensure that no terrorists get these benefits, Stearns said.

These benefits are not just for our first responders; nearly anyone who was in the vicinity or worked on a cleanup crew afterward is eligible, he noted.

The prohibition is included in two parts of the bill. One specifically covers responders, while the other deals with all survivors, including office workers, bystanders and residents.

Feal acknowledged that the terrorist screening has to be done because it is the law, and that the letters have to go out.

But he holds Stearns responsible, as well as several other Republicans who were hostile to the 9/11 bill, and tried to tack all manner of amendments onto it.

I think Congressman Stearns is stabbing at pettiness. Hes a buffoon, Feal said. We get sicker and die, and theyre going to disseminate a letter wondering whether were terrorists or not. ... I think everybody needs to start showing a little more compassion.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/21/911-responders-screened-for-terror-ties_n_852198.html

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« Reply #3722 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 08:23am »

Washington Post

The dollar, less almighty: Big investors see possible long-term currency weakness

By Steven Mufson
Thursday, April 21, 8:41 PM

Last month, Warren Buffett went shopping abroad.

He flew to South Korea for a factory opening and called the country a hunting ground for investments. He also pronounced post-earthquake Japan a buying opportunity, and then traveled on to India, where he said he was eyeing more acquisitions.

This is Buffetts way of betting against the U.S. dollar. Armed with about $38 billion of cash at Berkshire Hathaway, he can use dollars now to buy companies that will generate profits in other currencies for years to come. (Buffett is a director on the Washington Post Co. board.)

I would recommend against buying long-term fixed-dollar investments, Buffett said at a public appearance in New Delhi. If you ask me if the U.S. dollar is going to hold its purchasing power fully at the level of 2011 five years, 10 years or 20 years from now, I would tell you it will not.

Buffett isnt alone. Some of the most successful investors in the United States and the biggest money management funds are worried that trade deficits, big budget deficits and the possibility of renewed inflation will make the U.S. dollar a weak currency compared with others around the world. On Thursday, the dollar fell to an 181 / 2-month low against the euro.

Bill Gross, chief executive of the giant bond investment firm Pimco, said its flagship Total Return Fund has 8 percent of its assets a historic high in issues denominated in currencies other than the dollar. Earlier this year, the fund dumped its entire holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds, according to disclosures.

The United States is one of the serial abusers of deficits and inappropriate budgets and finance, Gross said in an interview. Do the headlines in terms of debt ceilings and 10 percent budget deficits and the back-and-forth between Republican and Democratic orthodoxies, does that matter? Sure it does. Its not confidence-inducing.

Gross said the decline of the dollar is part of a longer-term trend Pimco calls the new normal.

We are in this new-normal type of economy in which the developing world is growing at a far faster pace than the developed world, he said. And growth tends to be reflected in terms of currency value.

The dollar may still have more room to decline against other currencies. Gross noted that the currencies of many Asian economies are still 50 percent or more below their levels before the Asian currency crisis of 1997.

In March, the dollar adjusted for inflation hit its lowest point against major U.S. trading partners currencies since its value was allowed to fluctuate in January 1973, according to Federal Reserve data.

This is the true measure of what the dollars worth, said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economics professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. It shows what you can buy with the U.S. dollar.

A weak dollar isnt necessarily a bad thing, Rogoff said it can make the United States more competitive, bolster exports and help domestic companies that are vying against imported goods here in the United States.

It effectively would be playing the China card against China in a battle for manufacturing jobs.

Gross cautions investors that in the short term the dollar might not get much weaker than it has already.

Its not necessarily as great a bet to be short the dollar and long something else as it was 12 months ago, he said, adding that if you are betting against the dollar, you still get a green light, though 12 months ago it was a brighter shade of green.

Yet some analysts say the dollar could face a rocky patch in the next few months and tumble further as Congress and the White House struggle over raising the debt ceiling and forging a budget for the 2012 fiscal year.

One of our key themes is that there is a chance for an expedited decline in the U.S. dollar, said Daryl Jones of the research and consulting firm Hedgeye. The way the calendar is lining up in Washington, there will be opportunities for global currency traders to vote against the dollar.

If the dollar were to lose its status as the worlds reserve currency which means that most international transactions and commodities are priced in dollars that could raise costs for the U.S. economy.

One element slowing the decline of the dollar is that currencies are in a race to the bottom. U.S. debt and deficit problems are not much worse than those of many other nations. Japan has debts equal to roughly twice its gross domestic product. Britain is hobbled by similar deficits and is slashing spending. And the euro zone is crumbling at the edges, from Greece to Portugal and from Ireland to Spain. Meanwhile China, whose currency is pegged to the dollar, is wrestling to tame rising inflation.

Jones says, however, that the United States is worse off by many measures. He pointed out in his morning note to clients Thursday that the ratio of the U.S. deficit to the countrys GDP is only slightly lower than Sierra Leones. He also says that Britain is tackling its deficit, bolstering the pound. And China is taking on inflation by increasing reserve requirements for banks.

Moreover, the U.S. deficits seem likely to continue for years. Under current law, the federal government will run deficits totaling $4.5 trillion over the next five years; by 2021, the federal debt held by the public would soar to $19 trillion, up 75 percent from 2011, according to the Office of Management and Budgets 2012 proposal.

Many fund managers say the only way out of that box is a weaker dollar, reducing the value of the massive amount of U.S. debt held by foreigners and increasing the value of American investments abroad, such as Buffetts.

Countries like the United States do race to the bottom, said Gross, though he added that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner would never say so. A weaker currency makes them more competitive and reduces the burden of debt, Gross added. Americans own about half of the outstanding federal debt, but Gross said the rest is owed as Tennessee Williams would say, to strangers, outside the U.S. If the United States can devalue the value of those dollars that they owe, then all the better.

Asked by Bloomberg News whether the U.S. dollar is still one of the safest assets, famed currency trader and fund manager George Soros said: Well, it is considered to be riskless. But its really a question of the degree that you may have inflation in the future. Because . . . one of the ways in which you can reduce the burden of debt is by having some degree of inflation.

While Soros added that he did not think there were any great inflationary pressures in the United States now, he did worry about the difficulty of maintaining a modest degree of inflation without letting it get out of control.

Concerns about inflation and financial instability in general have helped drive up the price of gold to record levels, above $1,500 an ounce. Some analysts also say the weak dollar is one reason why the cost of crude oil, which is priced in dollars, has been approaching record levels. On Thursday, a barrel of oil settled above $112.

But Rogoff warned against reading too much into short-term currency movements. For example, he said, the Japanese yen has increased in value since the earthquake.

I think at the end of the day that the tsunami was not helpful to Japanese deficits or anything else, he said. Thousands of academic papers have shown that its very, very hard to explain short-term movements.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-dollar-less-almighty-big-investors-see-possible-long-term-currency-weakness/2011/04/19/AFxVaKLE_story.html?hpid=z1

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« Reply #3723 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 08:27am »

Telegraph

CIA 'tried to frame Bulgaria for John Paul II assassination attempt'

America's Central Intelligence Agency attempted to frame Bulgaria for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II to discredit communism, a new book has alleged.

By Matthew Day
Warsaw 3:10PM BST
21 Apr 2011

"Kill the Pope: The Truth about the Assassination Attempt on Pope John Paul II" said the CIA drew up a story of Communist conspiracy after America's top diplomat circulated a request for material to use against the Communist bloc.

John Paul II was seriously injured after being shot four times at close range by Turk Mehmet Ali Agca on May 13, 1981.

Based on visits Agca made to Sofia, the theory that Bulgaria's communist secret service, and perhaps even the KGB, lay behind the attack emerged about a year after the incident and have now become broadly accepted.

But the book's authors dismiss all this.

"There is no evidence that Bulgaria had anything to do with the attack on the pope," said Marco Insaldo, a journalist with the Italian paper La Repubblica who co-wrote the book with Turkish journalist Yasemin Taskin. The authors said they had based their claims on 20 years of research.

"The Bulgarian connection is the creation of the CIA." He argued that Agca, who belonged to an outlawed ultra-nationalist and pro-Islam Turkish group called the Grey Wolves, tried to kill the pope purely because of his and the group's fanatical anti-Western ideology.

Agca's visits to Bulgaria, Mr Insaldo explained, were due to flourishing links between the Grey Wolves and Bulgarian organised crime, and that the CIA was aware of this.

"Alexander Haig, then secretary of state, had asked the CIA to find anything that could be used against the communists," said Mr Insaldo. "The CIA knew the Grey Wolves had connections with Bulgaria through organised crime and that Agca had visited so when he tried to kill the pope they were very smart and exploited the connection."

Michael Ledeen, an American foreign policy expert, supported the theory in a series of articles in the New York Times and on the NBC television network one year after the attack.

Mr Insaldo also alleged that Italian secret services, in co-operation with the CIA, forced Agca to confess to a Bulgarian connection: a confession the Turk later retracted.

The Italian journalist added that during one of the many meetings he and co-author had with Agca the Turk said "the attempt wasn't complicated", which he regards as hint that the Bulgarians were not involved.

But Judge Ferdinando Imposimato, who led an investigation into the assassination attempt, dismissed the new book as "rubbish".

In an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita he maintained that the communists were behind the attack. They had looked on with alarm at the way the Polish-born pope had galvanised the anti-communist opposition in his native land and feared his influence could spread unless he was silenced.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/8466560/CIA-tried-to-frame-Bulgaria-for-John-Paul-II-assassination-attempt.html

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« Reply #3724 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 08:35am »

Wired Danger Room

This Man Is Not an Agent of Self-Aware Killer Drones
By Spencer Ackerman
April 22, 2011 | 8:42 am
Categories: Drones


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Dick Stottler is the 47-year old founder of a California software company specializing in artificial intelligence. The Air Force wants him to teach its drones to anticipate the movements of human pilots. Which raises an obvious question: is he preparing the robots to rebel against their human masters?

No, I am not, Stottler promises. He doesnt look forward to the robot apocalypse, other than the fact that such things are not technologically possible. A robot sympathizer would want us to think that, of course. But lets drop it for now.

The Air Force recently gave Stottler Henke Associates $100,000 to deliver a software package that can keep drones from colliding into human-piloted planes as they take off and land. Stottlers proposal, called the Intelligent Pilot Intent Analysis System, models pilots behavior in manifested and predicted scenarios: how they take off, how they land, how they maneuver in between. It also incorporates information from Air Traffic Control and guidance for specific runways. All that will determine for the drone it will mean when a plane veers close or the trajectory of the two planes might portend a crash.

Put simply, its analogous to getting a drone to think like a pilot, getting into his head. And its a big step for drone autonomy. Were encoding that knowledge that human pilots have, what theyre going to do, Stottler says.

The model cant do everything, Stottler concedes. It has limited ability to deal with anomalous or erratic pilot behavior. Theres an allowance for a damaged plane and the softwares algorithms incorporate procedures from Air Traffic Control for an aircraft in trouble. Still, if a pilot were to do something unusual unexpected we have nothing to say about that, Stottler says.

A Michigan-based company also designing an algorithm for drones to anticipate pilot behavior, Soar Technology, declined a request for an interview.

For all the effort to increase a drones autonomy, the project Stottlers working on is limited to how the drones behave when taking off and landing. While Stottler wrote in his proposal that his algorithms are directly applicable to finding terrorists and smugglers, its application on the current project wont be.

In short: it wont teach a drone to fire its missiles on its own. Which from the perspective of humanity is auspicious, considering the expansion of the militarys reliance on drone war, as demonstrated by Thursdays announcement that Predators will stalk Libya.

The military is pretty conservative, old school, he says. When it comes to firing weapons, they always want to have a man in the loop.

Stottler estimates that even if his software convinces the Air Force to choose his company for the second phase of the contract, it wont get situated aboard a drone for another three and a half years. That suits him fine. Ive always been interested in autonomous aircraft, he says. Its a cool intersection of two things for me: aircraft and robotics. Hmm and just when it seemed like he wasnt a Cylon agent

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/04/this-man-is-not-an-agent-of-self-aware-killer-drones/#more-45086

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« Reply #3725 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 11:06am »

Hollywood Reporter

Masi Oka Lands Script Deal at Syfy (Exclusive)
9:00 AM 4/22/2011
by Marisa Guthrie


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The former "Heroes" star will collaborate with writer Alex Sabeti on "The Correctors," a time-travel, Inception-esque project.

Masi Oka is teaming up with writer Alex Sabeti (Art of Cool) on an Inception-esque pilot script for Syfy.

The Correctors follows two agents of the Exceptions Bureau who are dispatched to a parallel universe where they inhabit the bodies of their identical selves in order to stop events from occurring.

The time-travel elements and changing the course of history were key in the plot of NBCs now-defunct Heroes, where Oka played a Hiro Nakamura, who could bend the space-time continuum.

Sabeti and Oka developed the story and Sabeti will write the script with Masi attached to star and executive produce. Sabeti and Oka are repped by UTA and The Collective, which will executive produce the project along with its clients.

Osa has had a recurring role on CBS Hawaii Five-0 this season.

Syfy has become a player in ad-supported cables scripted arena. Last Januarys bow of Being Human was the nets most successful winter scripted series since Battlestar Galactica in 2005. The show, an adaptation of the popular BBC series, averaged 1.9 million viewers per episode.

In July, Syfy will launch a new Monday-night scripted block with new seasons of Eureka, Warehouse 13 (Syfys most-watched series averaging 3.4 million viewers last season) and new drama Alphas, while Haven returns Friday, July 15.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/masi-oka-lands-script-deal-181147

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« Reply #3726 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 11:13am »

Geek Tyrant

22 April 2011
Details Revealed on Star Trek: Federation
by Venkman

It was revealed recently that filmmaker Bryan Singer pitched a new Star Trek TV series called Star Trek: Federation, but it ultimately never happened, which is a shame because it sounds like it would have been a really good series. Singer is a big Trek fan and he even appeared in an uncredited role on Star Trek: Nemesis.

According to a great report from TrekMovie, in 2005 Singer was having dinner with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and director Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise) one night. During that dinner the three of them started talking about the idea of pitching a new Star Trek series that would fill the gap left by Star Trek: Enterprise, which had just been cancelled. So Burnett recruited screenwriter Geoffrey Thorne (Leverage) to help create a 25-page series proposal outlining the show, and what it would be.

According to Burnett "they wanted to create an allegory both to the decline of the Roman Empire as well as to the 21st century 'American Empire' which had started showing strains. The premise has a new threat facing the Federation with a brand new USS Enterprise (and a brand new Kirk) trying to return Starfleet to the glory days." Here is an excerpt from the document:

The Federation hasn't had a flagship in over two hundred years. They haven't done anything either scientifically or in terms of exploration that comes near the deeds done in the long ago Age of Expansion.

There is no sense of true unity in the Federation and unity will be required if these new aliens return in force. The people need a symbol to remind them who they are, what they mean to each other and that there are prices to be paid for living in paradise.

They need, in short, a sense of Enterprise

- from "Star Trek: Federation" series proposal

I love what the plan was for this series and it really is a shame that it never happened. They wanted to tell more complex serialized stories, and they wanted to take Star Trek back to it's roots telling "compelling stories about our world today instead of just telling stories more about the Trek universe itself." That's what the original Star Trek series was, it told stories about what was happening in our world but in a fun sci-fi setting.

Here's the plan that was laid out for the series:

Let STAR TREK breathe.

Let it return to the marketplace in the hands of people willing to write the sort of stories that confront and entertain todayfs audiences. Letfs grapple again with the issues of the day- issues of diversity, government power, gender frictions, a controversial war on foreign soil, and a host of other things. Embrace modern television storytelling techniques. Most importantly, as with the original STAR TREK and THE NEXT GENERATION audiences must recognize the world they live in today in the far-flung future, then take the showfs concepts and lessons with them back into their everyday lives.

The great strength of STAR TREK is the very Universe in which itfs set. The Characters. The Starships. The Aliens. The stories.

Gene Roddenberry himself provided the perfect example how to create a wildly successfully new STAR TREK series

Acknowledge what's come before, but then set your stage far enough in the STAR TREK future when everything old is new again.

Turn the STAR TREK Universe upside down. Shake vigorously.

So how did they plan to shake it up?

Utopia as a goal is like the fire in a nuclear engine.

Utopia in practice is stagnation; it's dry rot; eventually it's death. Which is precisely where we find the United Federation of Planets a few centuries after the last Age of Discovery.

Here are some key changes in the Star Trek universe six centuries after Picard.

Earth's Humans have become "fat and happy" but this has led to complacency where humans are "giving up exploration for incremental colonization and focusing more on the rightness of their own cultural view over all others"

Many younger members of the UFP have left, eschewing this "human-centric" Federation

Vulcans have been disengaging from the Federation and have reunified with the Romulans, spending most of the last 3 centuries focused on creating a new "joined society" overseen by two "quasi-religious clerics who rule according to logic and what is best for their unified peoples, combining Romulan Machiavellian politics with Vulcan logic.

Bajorans have withdrawn from the Federation to become insular in order to focus on their religion and communing with the Prophets. Bajor is now "like a planet sized Tibet", handing over all temporal concerns to the Ferengi

The Klingons have undergone a "massive reformation" moving away from their Viking-like brawling to become a "civilization of warrior mystics" akin to the Tang Dynasty), now flying "sleek" and "serene" ships and while they maintain diplomacy with the Federation they have returned to expanding the Empire via conquest

The Cardassians have transformed into a "society of artists and philosophers" who now "walk the path" and are now dedicated to a philosophy with "the view of the galaxy as a place created solely to test the faithful."

The Ferengi are no longer a "joke" but have become "quite powerful". Equality for females (including a female Nagus) is "the only concession they have made to progress" and with "the Greater Federation's cashless society as a restriction, the Ferengi Alliance is now able to shine in its full capitalist glory." The Ferengi are also making big bucks marketing the Bajoran religion around the galaxy, including pilgrimages to the Bajoran Wormhole.

Starfleet has been reduced to a "mere peace-keeping force" protecting fringe worlds from aliens and from fighting each other, with starships are old and spread out too thin.

A new ruthless and power enemey called "The Scourge" is also thrown into the mix. They confronted the Federation ship USS Sojourner and this was the key pivot point of the story. The ship is lost along with two colonies and the one survivor becomes a key player in the future of the Federation.

Lieutenant Commander Alexander Kirk is the only survivor of the Sojourner Incident, as it's come to be known in the press. And he has no clear memory of the events themselves. Attempts to help him remember cause him to become irrational and violent. All he has is images of carnage and death and a hidden malevolent presence lurking behind it all. When called before his superiors, he paints a picture of the enemy that is scarcely believed and which, if true, might tip the already fracturing Federation Alliance into true collapse.

So according to TrekMovie this incident leads Vulcan, Bajor, Betazed and other members to pull out of the Federation leaving it with just twenty systems and surrounded by the Klingons, Ferengi, Cardassians, etc. Kirk is also drummed out of the service.

After all this happens an admiral jumps in and commissions a new USS Enterprise to be built. This would be the first Enterprise to exist in over 300 years. The mission will be publicized as a traditional return to the era of exploration and discovery, but the real mission will be to find the truth behind "The Scourge" and to save the Federation.

Now why in the hell did this series never happen!? This would have been great! It could have ended up being one of the best series if they did it right, it sure sounds like they were on the right path. I love where they wanted to take this universe, it would have breathed new life into a franchise that a lot of people love, and given us something completely new and different to enjoy. It's just such an interesting and compelling concept. I'd like to think that there's still hope for this series, that there's still a chance that it could happen. Unfortunately it most likely won't.

There is still a ton of details over at TrekMovie: http://trekmovie.com/2011/04/16/exclusive-details-excerpts-from-star-trek-federation-series-proposal/
that you should go check out if you haven't already. There's some great stuff there, including a break down of characters and short descriptions of the first four episodes.

What do you think of this Star Trek: Federation series concept?

http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/22/details-revealed-on-bryan-singers-star-trek-federation-serie.html

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« Reply #3727 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 12:35pm »

Swiss Atom Smasher Breaks World Record

By Clara Moskowitz
Published April 22, 2011
LiveScience

The world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, has set a new world record for colliding two beams of more particles together than ever before.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN physics lab in Geneva, Switzerland, has been operating since 2009, slowly ramping up its power levels and the intensity of its particle beams. Beam intensity is measured in luminosity, which corresponds to how many particles in this case protons are packed into each beam. The more protons that are accelerated along LHC's 17-mile long (27-km) loop, the greater the chances that two protons will smack into each other head on.

The LHC set the new beam intensity world record around midnight Geneva time on April 22. It reached a luminosity of 4.67 x 1032 cm-2s-1, greater than the previous world record of 4.024 x 1032cm-2s-1, which was set by the world's second-largest atom smasher, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron collider in Batavia, Ill., in 2010.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/22/swiss-atom-smasher-breaks-world-record/

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« Reply #3728 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 3:10pm »

on Apr 22nd, 2011, 12:35pm, Swamprat wrote:
Swiss Atom Smasher Breaks World Record

By Clara Moskowitz
Published April 22, 2011
LiveScience

The world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, has set a new world record for colliding two beams of more particles together than ever before.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN physics lab in Geneva, Switzerland, has been operating since 2009, slowly ramping up its power levels and the intensity of its particle beams. Beam intensity is measured in luminosity, which corresponds to how many particles in this case protons are packed into each beam. The more protons that are accelerated along LHC's 17-mile long (27-km) loop, the greater the chances that two protons will smack into each other head on.

The LHC set the new beam intensity world record around midnight Geneva time on April 22. It reached a luminosity of 4.67 x 1032 cm-2s-1, greater than the previous world record of 4.024 x 1032cm-2s-1, which was set by the world's second-largest atom smasher, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron collider in Batavia, Ill., in 2010.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/22/swiss-atom-smasher-breaks-world-record/



Thanks Swamp. And a Good Friday to you.
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« Reply #3729 on: Apr 22nd, 2011, 3:14pm »

American Chronicle

Insight, understanding not always found in official reports, documents

Steve Hammons
April 22, 2011 (This article originally appeared on the Transcendent TV & Media and the Joint Recon Study Group sites.)

Sometimes things like government documents, news accounts and scientific investigative reports don't always convey the deeper potential of forward-leaning research into human perception and awareness, as well as other interesting phenomena.

For example, the open-source files on Project STAR GATE provide plenty of educational information about research into extrasensory perception (ESP), anomalous cognition, remote viewing and transcendent warfare.

Much of this material seems quite helpful. And, it seems to be associated with several other types of anomalous, unconventional and leading-edge topics.

ESP research with dolphins seems particularly fascinating. Other studies indicated that humans might be able to perceive across time. Actually, there are several other aspects of "integrative perception," "complementary cognition" and "transcendent power" that appear to open up new potential for many people around the world.

When we see these kinds of approaches in real-life practice, they may take many forms. While many modern researchers try to use scientific methods other examples follow another path. They may be rooted in ancient understanding.

In my novel "Mission Into Light," published in 2001, elderly Navajo and former U.S. Marine Corps "Code Talker" Joe Bear is thinking about his association with the Joint Reconnaissance Study Group, a 10-person joint-service military and civilian team based in San Diego. The son of Joe's former World War II buddy is now an Air Force colonel and commanding officer of the group.

Below is an excerpt from "Mission Into Light," Chapter 10, called "Navajo Intel."

CHAPTER 10, NAVAJO INTEL

Joe Bear and his wife Maggie had returned to their home in the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of Arizona. Their visits with friends in San Diego had been fun, but the trip was tiring. He still drove his pickup the full distance to San Diego and back.

He felt a need to make arrangements with certain friends. Code Talker friends. But for now, he sat on his front porch.

Joe thought about the things he'd seen and done in his time on Earth. As a young man, he and other Navajo Code Talkers were part of the networks of OSS, intelligence, and cryptography experts fighting the Japanese military in the Pacific. The Code Talkers went on dangerous missions and were often near, on or behind the front lines. Many of them did not make it back to the Navajo Nation alive.

The Code Talkers still alive sometimes got together. Some of them belonged to the VFW post in Gallup, New Mexico, just across the Arizona state line. A small modest museum in a Kayenta restaurant displayed memorabilia about the Code Talkers.

And yet, Joe often felt his duty as a Marine was not yet done. Old OSS and intelligence buddies from World War Two kept in touch from all over the country. Some of them helped put together the meeting they had planned.

Tom O'Brien was the son of one of his old Marine buddies. Grown up from the boy Joe remembered. And now an Air Force colonel in charge of an intelligence and research team in San Diego. Joe had a feeling this group was going to accomplish something good.

As he was thinking about these things and looking out toward the rocky hills in the distance, his wife Maggie opened the front door and came out on the porch with lunch time plates of mutton stew and two glasses of cold lemonade.

She put the food and glasses on the table nearby and silently sat down next to him. They had raised two sons, now grown and married with children of their own. Joe and Maggie were the grandparents of three girls and two boys.

They lived comfortably in a newer double wide factory-built home that had all the amenities. A satellite dish on the roof brought in dozens of TV stations to the new thirty-two-inch TV their sons had given them last Christmas.

Joe and Maggie had lived almost their entire lives on the Navajo reservation. When Joe was recruited for the Marines at age nineteen, Maggie went to San Diego briefly to be near him. Joe had often sent her letters from strange places in the Pacific, and the letters were frequently edited by military censors for security reasons.

Maggie took bites of the stew, sipped on her lemonade and reached over to touch Joes hand.

"What are you thinking about, old man?"

"Oh, those people on Thomas O'Brien's team in San Diego. I think about what they are doing and what they might accomplish. I feel hopeful, but sometimes worried," he told her as he picked up his lemonade and took a sip.

"They have enemies, don't they, Joe?"

"Yes, wife, they do. Dangerous enemies."

"They're are coming up for your meeting?"

"Yes. We're going to take them to that old kiva in the hidden canyon we discovered. Maybe it has some power from the ancient times," Joe speculated.

Maggie would also attend as well as their two sons, who would help with all the guests.

"Eat your stew, old man. It's getting cold."

Joe reached out and took the nearby plate and a fork. He held the plate of mutton in his lap and started to eat. He'd been eating mutton since he was a small child.

As a young boy he helped his family with the herd of sheep the family had. Both Maggie's and Joe's mothers, like many Navajo women, used the wool to weave beautiful clothes and blankets on old-style traditional looms.

Joe remembered the horses and dogs the family had when he was a boy. It was a good life. They lived in a traditional hogan back then. No modern kitchens, bathrooms, and carpet in those days.

Many Navajo families still lived in hogans, or kept one nearby their more modern homes. Even today, many did not have electricity or phones.

As they finished their lunch, Maggie started to clear away the dishes to take them inside to the kitchen.

Joe then made some phone calls to a couple of friends and confirmed a sweat ceremony for that afternoon. These men had known each other since childhood and through World War Two service in the Pacific. After the war, they had grown older, raising families, living out their lives on the Navajo Nation and sometimes traveling around the Four Corners area and the Southwest.

From their home in the Navajo Nation, they had watched the turbulence of the Cold War and Vietnam years shake the larger society of the United States. Assassinations, racial troubles, terrorist threats, had come and gone. They had also witnessed abuse of natural resources, extinction of animals and plants, weather changes, and natural disasters. Technology had made quantum leaps in their lifetimes.

INNER VISION

Later that afternoon, Joe and three friends met at a small hut-like sweat lodge. The rocks to be used for the sweat lodge were sitting on a campfire outside. Using a shovel, the four each carried one large, hot rock to the center of the small hut, then sat in a circle. From a bucket inside, water was poured on the rocks, causing great clouds of steam, and filling the lodge with heat.

Joe had suggested the meeting, and he led the proceedings.

"Great Spirit of all life, hear our words. We seek guidance from You. Our friends and our people want Your Path to be made clear."

The four good friends then began a song, an ancient song of special medicine words. More water was added to the hot rocks. White clouds of steam again filled the air.

Joe closed his eyes and listened to his friends' songs. Sometimes they took turns, or joined one another as the feeling moved them.

After twenty minutes or so, Joe started to see something in his mind's eye.

Clouds. White clouds against a deep blue sky. From inside the clouds, something stirred. Joe tried to see what was inside, but could not. Then he relaxed, and watched, and waited.

Very slowly, a large, white bison stepped out of the cloud and looked straight at Joe. The huge animal then looked down, and gestured with his front leg, as if pointing down. In Joe's vision, he looked down and saw the shape of the continent of North America. The bison then spoke to him.

"See how the land has changed, my brother."

And Joe saw North America as it was long ago. Thick forests across all of the eastern half of the continent and into the central plains. This was the land long before the Europeans discovered it.

The only humans were the thousands of native tribes, clans, communities, and families. These people had spread and populated the continent from coast to coast, and from the frozen north to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

This vision triggered many feelings in Joe Bear. Strange feelings were swirling inside him. Sadness, grief, anger. But something else was moving him. The white bison again was looking at him, as if trying to communicate.

Joe tried to focus his vision on the face, the horns, the powerful body of the buffalo. The animal was calm and looked at Joe again, then started to glow, radiating a strange light. It again spoke to Joe.

"My brother, beautiful days are ahead. Nature and the Spirit have brought us along this river of life. Our land will be beautiful again."

The buffalo was happy, Joe thought. That was a good sign.

The bison then gestured again to him.

more after the jump
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/231448

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« Reply #3730 on: Apr 23rd, 2011, 07:31am »

New York Times

April 22, 2011
New Time Warp for Doctor Who
By BRIAN STELTER

The namesake character in Doctor Who can travel through time and space, but he cannot outrun the Internet.

When new episodes of that long-running BBC science-fiction drama were broadcast in Britain last year, executives at the BBC America cable channel observed a major spike in illegal file sharing of the show in the United States. Some stateside fans, it seemed, were unwilling to wait the two weeks between the British and American premieres. Many other Who fans who did wait were frustrated by online spoilers on blogs and Twitter.

The BBCs solution is to compress time and space. Taking a page from the same-day worldwide premieres of blockbuster films, the new season of Doctor Who will start on Saturday not just in Britain, but in the United States and Canada too.

Frankly, there are compelling reasons to do it more quickly, said Perry Simon, the general manager for channels at BBC Worldwide America, citing an opportunity to make the telecasts feel like worldwide events for fans. But the main reason relates to online piracy.

The moment it airs in the U.K., its open season for pirates around the world, Mr. Simon said. Its the dark side of living in a global media village.

The simultaneous broadcast date is a boon to American audiences, who have typically waited months or even years for British series to be shown in the United States. Other television networks are also rethinking their release strategies to address both the potential for the stealing of shows and the potential for spoilers.

AMC arranged for its international partner to start the first season of The Walking Dead in dozens of countries almost simultaneously last fall. Executives there said such a premiere was unprecedented.

I think youll see a lot more of that, Gale Anne Hurd, an executive producer of The Walking Dead, said at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas last week.

Like Mr. Simon, she cited piracy as a primary reason. While I think fans very much want to do the right thing, she said, theyre not going to wait months and months and months for something that theyre that eager to watch.

Like The Walking Dead, Doctor Who has a fervent base of fans, many of whom write about each episode on Twitter and other social networking Web sites. At the Las Vegas conference, Chloe Sladden, the director of media partnerships at Twitter, cited the Doctor Who release-date strategy as an example of social medias possibly affecting programming decisions.

Thats because the Internet overcomes time-zone borders. Twitter data in the United States indicates that there are fewer tweets about the West Coast broadcasts of television shows than about East Coast broadcasts.

Population differences aside, a theory postulated by Twitter is that people are less interested in chatting online about a show when they know that the same chat has already occurred three hours earlier. Twitter, Ms. Sladden said in an e-mail, emphasizes one shared experience.

Mr. Simon said the so-called online water-cooler trend contributed to the decision to speed up the Doctor Who telecasts. While they will not happen at the same hour in each country, they will at least happen on the same day. Theres a tremendous amount of social media interest in all of our programming, particularly Doctor Who, and we want to tap into all of that, he said.

In the first episode of the new season, the sixth since the franchise was restarted in 2005, the Doctor zips to the United States for the first time another reason BBC America executives were keen to compress the scheduling. Steven Moffat, who took over as the lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who about a year and a half ago, said the characters also wound up on a 17th-century pirate ship and on an asteroid in coming episodes.

The BBC is splitting up the 13-episode season into two halves, with the first ending in June, and the second picking up in the fall.

By then, the bicontinental schedule will have been interrupted by an American holiday. BBC America is running old episodes of Doctor Who on Memorial Day weekend because television viewing levels are generally low that weekend so the June episodes will be a week behind Britain.

Mr. Simon said BBC America was working on collapsing the window of time between local and global premieres of other shows too. Episodes of The Graham Norton Show are now shown in the United States only a week after they are in Britain.

Piracy continues to be televisions dirty little secret, he said. The bigger the show, the bigger the secret.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/23/arts/television/doctor-who-us-premiere-will-not-be-delayed.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #3731 on: Apr 23rd, 2011, 07:38am »

Telegraph

Gang member's chest tattoo leads to murder conviction

A gang member has been convicted of murder after police used the man's chest tattoo to prove his guilt.


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Anthony Garcia with a tattoo of the scene of the unsolved murder at a liquor store in Los Angeles
Photo: EPA



By Our Foreign Staff
10:53PM BST 22 Apr 2011

The murder of 23-year-old John Juarez had remained unsolved since January 2004 when he was gunned down outside an off-licence in Pico Rivera, a Hispanic area 11 miles south-east of Los Angeles.

In 2008, LAPD Sergeant Kevin Lloyd however solved the case when he noticed a mugshot of Rivera 13 member Anthony Garcia. He was arrested in October 2008. Police officers then got a confession when they posed as gang members in his jail cell and listened to Garcia brag about the shooting.

In the mugshot, a bare chested Garcia, 25, displayed his elaborate tattoo, which was effectively a retelling of the murder scene.

The body art included the scene outside the off licence, Mr Ed's Liquor, the words "Rivera Kills", in reference to the gang, and an illustration of a helicopter firing guns at the victim, who was depicted as Mr Peanuts. Garcia's nickname is "Chopper", while Juarez belonged to a gang called Pico Nuevo, nicknamed "peanuts", but rival gangs.

"It's shocking to see someone was so audacious to put the crime scene on his chest. Plus factor in he put, 'Rivera Kills' above that," deputy district attorney Brock Lunsford said.

Garcia is due to be sentenced next month. Mr Lunsford said he potentially faces 65 years to life in prison.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8469251/Gang-members-chest-tattoo-leads-to-murder-conviction.html

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« Reply #3732 on: Apr 23rd, 2011, 07:44am »

Wired Threat Level

Biden Death Threat Case: Minnesota Man Says Hes Not Guilty Anymore
By David Kravets
April 22, 2011 | 4:50 pm
Categories: The Ridiculous, Threats


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Vice President Joe Biden (David Lienemann/White House)


A Minnesota man who admitted trying to frame his neighbor by sending threatening e-mail to Vice President Joe Biden using the neighbors Wi-Fi now wants to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that he himself was framed.

The imprisoned defendant, Barry Ardolf, wrote the judge presiding over his case Thursday that he was innocent, that his attorney coerced his plea, and that he was sleep-deprived and sharing a cell with a double murderer who was terrorizing me, when he pleaded guilty to six charges of computer hacking and child porn in December. He faces decades behind bars pending an unscheduled sentencing hearing.

Ardolf, following a dispute with his neighbor, allegedly hacked into the neighbors Wi-Fi, set up Yahoo e-mail accounts in his neighbors name, and then sent e-mail to Biden reading in part I swear to God Im going to kill you!

The 45-year-old would have soon been freed from prison if he had taken an earlier 2-year plea deal.

He balked at the deal in June, and the prosecution added more charges, (.pdf) including identity theft and two child-porn accusations. The new counts alleged that, in addition to the Biden threat, Ardolf sent e-mail from his neighbors account to that same neighbors co-workers. One of the messages contained child pornography, according to the indictment.

In the end, he pleaded guilty to six charges in December, and now claims hes innocent.

Among other things, he contends he has an alibi, that the authorities never spent any resources investigating anybody else, and there was no chain of custody with the data evidence.

Finally, he argues, theres evidence his neighbor actually framed him (.pdf).

If granted another trial, I can show the jury the possibility that [the neighbor] used my Wi-Fi to send fabricated evidence to my computers. That certainly leads to a credible doubt that Im guilty. It reinforces the framed argument my former attorney suggested.

Your honor, he wrote U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank, I say that it is not a waste of resources if an innocent man is not convicted of a crime.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/04/ardolf/

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3733 on: Apr 23rd, 2011, 08:02am »

Geek Tyrant

23 April 2011
by Brian S.

The New UNO III Street Bike is a Transformer!


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This new hi-tech UNO III streetbike is really more than meets the eye! In fact just call it a Segwat in disguise. The UNO III can transform from a motorcycle (actually a three-wheeled sports bike, but the back two wheels are very close together) to a two-wheel dicycle that resembles a Segway personal transporter.

The UNO III has internal gyros to maintain stability while in the two wheel mode (Uno Mode), just like the Segway. In the mode below the U3 is able to maneuver very easily making tight turns without taking up much space. It is possible to drive this urban vehicle around an office, taking it down a hallway or up an elevator. This is the mode to be in for small spaces or when there are crowds around.

As your speed increases, the third wheel on the U3 automatically folds out and the rear wheels slide back. It actually transforms into a streetbike, right while you are driving it, all without losing stability or control. The motorcycle mode is ideal when you are driving on the street and want to achieve the higher speeds. In the motorcycle mode it is able to go fasterup to 30 miles per hour. Yeah, it doesn't go very fast but it's still cool. Transform!


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http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/23/the-new-uno-iii-streetbike-is-a-transformer.html


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« Reply #3734 on: Apr 23rd, 2011, 08:10am »

Yet "How I Met Your Mother" won't die!!!

Hollywood Reporter

'Blue Bloods' Creators Depart After One Season
10:34 PM 4/22/2011
by Philiana Ng



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Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green have exited the rookie CBS drama, toplined by Tom Selleck.
If and when Blue Bloods returns for a second season, the people leading it behind the scenes will be very different.

Thats because series creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green have parted ways with the drama, which centers on a family of New York cops led by Tom Selleck as a police commissioner, a source familiar with the situation confirms. Both have worked together on shows like Southland, The Sopranos and Northern Exposure.

The show is in the midst of a transition with a search for a new showrunner. Though it has been speculated that Burgess and Green departed due to differences in opinion with other parties on changing the format to act more as a procedural, that is apparently not the case. The duos exit follows veteran showrunner Ken Sanzels (Numb3rs) departure last August, who is executive producing Robert De Niros CBS pilot Rookies.

The series, which has three more episodes to air this season, has performed solidly in its Friday time slot. Its latest episode, Model Behavior, drew 10.7 million viewers and a 1.6 in the adults 18-49 demographic. The network also put Bloods on Wednesday for four weeks as a test run earlier this year, getting a slight boost in the ratings.

CBS has not officially announced a second season pickup.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/blue-bloods-creators-depart-one-181582

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