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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 1715 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4320 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:30am »

on Jun 17th, 2011, 4:41pm, Swamprat wrote:
OK, try a taste of this...... laugh


Japanese Scientists Create Meat From Poop

Published June 17, 2011
News Corp Australian Papers

Anyone up for some poop burgers?

Japanese scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda from the Okayama Laboratory certainly doesn't believe in human waste.
He thinks that's perfectly good protein you're sending out to sea, and he's found a way to extract it, mix it with steak sauce and create a fecal feast fit for a king.

And despite the downside of having to add soya to bind it all together, Prof Ikeda thinks there's no reason why we shouldn't all tuck into his turd burgers.

Why would he even think of it, you might ask.

Because Tokyo Sewage asked him to. Tokyo is swimming in sewage mud, it seems, and there's only one way it can save itself and that's eat it.

Prof Ikeda found the mud was loaded with protein due to the high bacteria content. Combine it with reaction enhancer and put it in a magical machine called an "exploder" and artificial steak comes out the other end.

According to Digital Trends, it's 63 percent protein, 25 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent lipids and 9 percent minerals.

"Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef," Digital Trends reports.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/17/japanese-scientists-create-meat-from-poop/#ixzz1PZT3OKrm



Wrong! Just Wrong! At that point go Vegan!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4321 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:32am »

on Jun 18th, 2011, 01:41am, danielaB wrote:
It was surprisingly true. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published a study about accident safety that found SUVs are growing to be less dangerous with time. Since the launch of electronic stability features, the previously top-heavy and roll-prone SUV is growing to be a thing of the past. With that, the Study finds SUVs safer than smaller cars in auto accidents and its an advantage for SUVs. smiley


Welcome danielaB,

I know I wouldn't drive a VW Bug anymore.

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« Reply #4322 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:35am »

New York Times

June 17, 2011
U.S. Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks
By SCOTT SHANE

WASHINGTON — Stephen J. Kim, an arms expert who immigrated from South Korea as a child, spent a decade briefing top government officials on the dangers posed by North Korea. Then last August he was charged with violating the Espionage Act — not by aiding some foreign adversary, but by revealing classified information to a Fox News reporter.

Mr. Kim’s case is next in line in the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks, after the crumbling last week of the case against a former National Security Agency official, Thomas A. Drake. Accused of giving secrets to The Baltimore Sun, Mr. Drake pleaded guilty to a minor charge and will serve no prison time and pay no fine.

The Justice Department shows no sign of rethinking its campaign to punish unauthorized disclosures to the news media, with five criminal cases so far under President Obama, compared with three under all previous presidents combined. This week, a grand jury in Virginia heard testimony in a continuing investigation of WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy group, a rare effort to prosecute those who publish secrets, rather than those who leak them.

The string of cases reflects a broad belief across two administrations and in both parties in Congress that leaks have gotten out of hand, endangering intelligence agents and exposing American spying methods.

But Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the fizzling of the Drake prosecution “ought to be a signal to the government to rethink its approach to these cases.” He said the government had many options for punishing leaks: stripping an official’s security clearance, firing him or pursuing a misdemeanor charge. Instead, it “has been leaping to the most extreme response, felony charges,” he said.

In particular, critics of the leak prosecutions question the appropriateness of using the Espionage Act, a World War I-era statute first applied to leaks in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. They say it is misleading and unfair to lump the likes of Mr. Drake and Mr. Kim with traitors like Aldrich Ames or Robert P. Hanssen, who sold secrets to the Soviet Union.

Few have taken a tougher public line against leaks than Gabriel Schoenfeld, whose 2010 book “Necessary Secrets” argues that the news media are far too cavalier about publishing classified information. But he, too, called the espionage label unfortunate.

“You’re accusing someone who’s doing something irresponsible and wrong,” said Mr. Schoenfeld, of the Hudson Institute in Washington. “But he might be a well-intentioned civil servant and he’s not trying to betray his country.”

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at American University, said the best option would be a new statute tailored to fit leaks to the media, perhaps allowing defendants to argue that information disclosed should never have been classified in the first place. But he said no such law could pass in the current climate.

The problems of perception that plagued the government’s pursuit of Mr. Drake, who claimed to be a whistle-blower exposing a costly National Security Agency boondoggle, may crop up again with Mr. Kim. His personal story as a brainy, up-by-the-bootstraps immigrant is compelling, even if the government is able to prove that he was far too candid in talking to a reporter about intelligence in 2009 and then lied to F.B.I. agents about the episode.

Arriving with his family from Seoul and settling in the Bronx at the age of 8, Mr. Kim excelled academically, earning degrees from Georgetown and Harvard and a doctorate from Yale. He worked for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Defense Department and the State Department, focusing on North Korea’s weapons programs and briefing then-Vice President Dick Cheney, among others.

“I had the highest regard for him,” said Paula A. DeSutter, Mr. Kim’s boss when she was an assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration. “He had native Korean language and he’d been doing this work forever.”

Mr. Kim rarely spoke with reporters and sometimes expressed alarm about leaks, colleagues say. But in March 2009, a State Department press officer asked Mr. Kim to speak about North Korea to a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, and the two began to talk and exchange e-mails. Mr. Kim sent some e-mails under an online pseudonym, “Leo Grace.”

On June 11, 2009, Mr. Rosen reported that “the Central Intelligence Agency has learned, through sources inside North Korea,” that Pyongyang was likely to respond to a United Nations resolution condemning its nuclear and missile tests with more tests and other measures. The news was no surprise, but C.I.A. officials were furious that a top-secret analysis had been leaked almost instantly, according to a former government official. (A Fox News spokesman said Mr. Rosen declined to comment.)

When F.B.I. agents questioned Mr. Kim, he claimed he had spoken to Mr. Rosen only once. He admitted to more contacts only after agents confronted him with evidence, according to court filings. His trial is probably months away; if convicted, Mr. Kim, 43, could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

If there were any doubts inside the administration about proceeding with the leak crackdown, they appear to have evaporated with the rise to prominence last year of WikiLeaks, which invites disclosures by the terabyte. The group’s efforts have only hardened officials’ conviction that leaks must be deterred with the threat of prison.

Lisa O. Monaco, a Justice Department official awaiting Senate confirmation as head of the department’s national security division, testified last month that “it would be my priority to continue the aggressive pursuit of these investigations” because leaks do “tremendous damage.” She noted that “twice as many” cases had been pursued in 18 months than in all previous administrations. No committee member questioned the effort.

For Mr. Kim’s sister, Yuri Lustenberger-Kim, a corporate lawyer, the charges against her brother are bitter recompense for his long service to American national security, and the espionage label is especially painful.

“My brother has spent all of his professional life trying to be a help to his country,” she said. “The idea that the prosecutors would think he would do, or did do, anything to hurt the United States is the farthest thing from reality they could charge.”

No matter what happens, she said, the charges already have been devastating for Mr. Kim, who has an 11-year-old son, and the rest of his proud immigrant family.

“This has sent my parents into deep sadness and anxiety, put more strains on Stephen’s marriage than a couple can bear, and ruined all he has worked for over his life,” she said.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/us/politics/18leak.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4323 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:38am »

Reuters

Afghanistan's Karzai confirms U.S. in talks with Taliban

By Emma Graham-Harrison and Hamid Shalizi
KABUL | Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:03am EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - The United States is in contact with the Taliban about a possible settlement to the near decade-long war in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday, the first official confirmation of U.S. involvement in negotiations.

Karzai said that an Afghan push toward peace talks had not yet reached a stage where the government and insurgents were meeting, but their representatives had been in touch.

"Peace talks are going on with the Taliban. The foreign military and especially the United States itself is going ahead with these negotiations," Karzai said in a speech in Kabul.

"The peace negotiations between (the) Afghan government and the Taliban movement are not yet based on a certain agenda or physical (meetings), there are contacts established."

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul declined immediate comment.

Karzai was speaking the day after the U.N. Security Council split the U.N. sanctions list for Taliban and al Qaeda figures into two, which envoys said could help induce the Taliban into talks on a peace deal in Afghanistan.

But despite hopes that talks with the Taliban could provide the political underpinning for the U.S. staged withdrawal from Afghanistan, the discussions are still not at the stage where they can be a deciding factor.

Diplomats admit there have been months of preliminary talks between the two sides, but the U.S. has never confirmed any contacts. And so little is known about the exchanges that they have been open to widely different interpretations.

There are also many Afghans, among them women's and civil society activists, who fear talks with the insurgents could undo much of the progress they have made since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban government.

The closest anyone in the U.S. establishment has come to publicly acknowledging efforts to kick-start talks was when Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this month there could be political talks with the Taliban by the end of this year, if the NATO alliance kept making military advances on the ground.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Afghanistan's neighbors are nervous about plans for a strategic partnership with the United States, which may include long-term bases on Afghan soil, Karzai also warned.

"The issue of strategic partnership deal with U.S. has caused tensions with our neighbors," Karzai said. "When we sign this strategic partnership, at the same time we must have peace in Afghanistan."

That is unlikely however, as the deal is expected to be concluded in months, and even the most optimistic supporters of talks expect the process to take years.

If successful, the deal might ease worries among those Afghans who fear the United States will pull out too quickly, leaving a weak, impoverished government to fend off militants, and those who worry the foreign forces they see as occupiers will never leave.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce next month how many troops he plans to withdraw from Afghanistan as part of a commitment to begin reducing the U.S. military presence from July and hand over to Afghan security forces by 2014.

The United States is on the verge of announcing a "substantial" drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday.

"There's going to be a drawdown. I am confident that it will be one that's substantial. I certainly hope so," the leading Senate Democrat said during an interview with PBS Newshour.

There currently are about 100,000 U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, up from about 34,000 when Obama took office in 2009.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/18/us-afghanistan-talks-idUSTRE75H0LS20110618

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« Reply #4324 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:43am »

LA Times

The rugged, tiny town south of Denver gives visitors a taste of different spiritual beliefs.

By David Kelly
Special to the Los Angeles Times
June 19, 2011

reporting from Crestone, Colo.

For thousands of years the high, arid San Luis Valley has spawned tales of the strange and the fantastic.

Native Americans called it the Bloodless Valley, setting aside their weapons as they made vision quests up sacred Blanca Peak, the great sentinel of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains whose bony spine winds dramatically from southern Colorado to Santa Fe, N.M.

Later inhabitants noted a peculiar energy attributed to a combination of wind, 8,000-foot altitude and an enormous aquifer beneath the highest high desert outside of Tibet. Some went further, claiming hidden UFO bases and mysterious portals where aliens enter and exit our world. All the while, the largest alpine valley on Earth became a magnet for eccentrics, dreamers and seekers.

People such as Cindy Santi — masseuse, tantricyoga practitioner and bartender at the Laughing Buddha Lounge in remote Crestone.

Shortly after I wandered in, she offered me a shot of Ormus, a milky drink not unlike seawater.

"It'll balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain," she said.

As I pondered the white glop, Santi broke into an unprompted riff on the divine.

"I'm not into God, I'm into helpful not harmful, useful not useless," she said. "So I don't have any morals. I'm just living in the moment."

I started to chime in but she had moved on.

"When you hear the guitar it's all sex, that's where the energy is coming from," she continued. "Anyone who plays the guitar knows that."

That drink was looking better, so I slugged it back — oddly refreshing with hints of low tide.

"You know what they say about Crestone, don't you?" Santi asked. "We're here because we're not all there."

With barely 1,500 inhabitants, this ruggedly handsome town four hours south of Denver, near the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, has emerged as one of the major spiritual centers of North America.

Home to some 23 religious retreats, Crestone allows you to spend weeks working on an ashram, studying Buddhism, ruminating on Taoism or soaking up the quiet of a desert hermitage. It's a vast spiritual buffet where dilettante and serious practitioner easily rub chakras. And if things go horribly wrong, it's one of the few places outside India where you can get cremated on a funeral pyre.

I drove into the Baca Grande, the huge chunk of mountain and forest where most residents and retreats are found, on a warm November afternoon. Deer lazily walked in front of my car. A group of teenagers gently shooed a reluctant herd from a basketball court.

Barely a mile in, I spotted the Stupa of Enlightenment with gray, spiraling peaks rising behind.

Anthony Reis circled the towering Buddhist monument.

"So much of the Southwest is like this —a gate or vortex or whatever you want to call it," said the self-described healer from Santa Fe. "I think all of that energy is concentrated in Crestone. You can experience a rock, a bush, a tree more intensely. This place talks to you."

Reis, 65, was headed for a retreat at the Vajra Vidya Tibetan Buddhist center and I went along. The retreat sat amid a canopy of juniper and pine, light filtering through fluttering prayer flags. A grand doorway led to a temple adorned with golden Buddhas and images of fierce deities.

Ani Seltong Dronma, a Buddhist nun by way of Kansas, greeted me in the kitchen.

"To really ripen and deepen in your practice you pretty much have to be in a situation like this removed from ordinary life," she said. "That is the hallmark of all religious traditions."

I wandered into the temple to hear a class taught by scholar David Fuqua.

"Everything is beginning and ending at every moment," he said gently. "Everything is impermanent so we have to reconstruct our world over and over again all the time."

While I tried to comprehend the details, Gabrielle Herbertson from Cuesta, N.M. grasped the big picture.

"When you come here you realize you are in the presence of something that is a blessing," she told me. "You are in the presence of compassion."

Crestone began as a mining community in 1880. In 1978, Canadian millionaire and former undersecretary general of the United Nations Maurice Strong and his wife, Hanne, bought the 200,000-acre Baca Ranch next to town.

"They wanted to do a different kind of development," said Mark Elliot, a British documentary filmmaker who moved in 22 years ago. "So they started giving land to religious groups."

The lure of free land and the haunting, Himalayan-like beauty attracted spiritual leaders from as far away as Tibet and Bhutan. Others fleeing urban or suburban America flowed in looking to start anew.

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Elliot said. "It was a wonderful place to raise my son. And if you are a practicing Buddhist, there is no better place to be than Crestone."

He urged me to visit the 41-foot-high Tashi Gomang Stupa containing relics of the Buddha himself. I drove up a badly rutted road, briefly stopping by a cascading brook with prayer flags strung across the water.

Andrea Joy Cohen, a doctor from Denver, sat there reveling in mountain and sun.

"I had heard about Crestone so I wanted to come and see it," she said. "I met a man in the forest who said this spot was sacred. I get the feeling people like that aren't uncommon here."

After more hairpin turns I reached the magnificent stupa and marveled at the view — miles of desert stretching to snow-capped peaks beyond. Dirt paths led to hidden meditation retreats and signs urged quiet.

By then it was nearly dusk, the Sangre de Cristo, or Blood of Christ, mountains, were turning crimson, and I had a date at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram to witness Diwali, the festival of lights.

The steps of the ashram were lined with candles burning in milk jugs. Inside, dozens of people sang traditional Hindu hymns accompanied by drum and harmonium, a keyboard with hand-pumped bellows.

"Hail, hail O king of sages, remover of the pain of thy devotees!" they sang, swaying ecstatically in the candlelight. A sweeping sense of joy filled the room, fueled by passionate tributes to Hindu gods sung almost entirely by non-Hindus.

I tracked down one of the singers, Alycia Chambers, in the kitchen. Her story, as I would discover, was typical Crestone.

"We lived in a tepee for nine years, moved into a yurt and now we are up to a straw bale," said the midwife and organic farmer. "It's not easy living here. Everyone has two or three jobs but you just simplify. It feels saner than the rest of the world."

I spent the night at the ashram and woke the next morning to find Ramloti, 61, the president, doing yoga in the dark. She was born Debra Wood in the San Fernando Valley and moved to an ashram in India where she was dubbed Ramloti or "caring vessel of God."

"People find love here and take it into the world," she said. "You don't need a church or temple. Everything you see is divine. Everything you see is God."

I considered this as I headed for the Nada Hermitage, a Carmelite Catholic retreat wedged between mountain and desert.

A handful of people sat inside the sparsely furnished chapel, eyes closed. I took a seat in back. As the minutes crawled by, the roiling sea in my head reluctantly calmed.

An hour later everyone opened their eyes.

"Lord shine on those who dwell in the darkness and the shadow of death," they chanted before filing out.

I joined them in the kitchen.

"There has always been a desire to go back to more hermetic prayer — silence, solitude and wilderness — and that's what we offer people," said Father Eric Haarer.

The center rents nicely furnished cabins for those craving isolation.

"Not everyone would be at home with the stillness," said lay leader Susie Ryan. "There are no filters. You are alone with your own thoughts. That's a lot to deal with."

My next stop was the Dharma Sangha Crestone Mountain Zen Center, a sprawling compound in a shady forest with a large meditation hall, dormitories and paths into the foothills.

"I am not interested in religion or spirituality," said Christian Dillo, the preternaturally calm associate director. "I want to be outside of categories. By meditating, by stopping thinking, we can be in the world while experiencing this unique moment."

It was a lot to digest — meditating in a desert chapel, contemplating impermanence, understanding the bliss of an empty mind and being swept up in ancient Indian hymns. Crestone was beginning to get under my skin.

I drove downtown to the Laughing Buddha, Crestone's only saloon and a place teeming with warm characters.

There was Harriet Johns, an elderly painter who lives in a box car. "It was a refrigerator car so it's insulated," she said.

And Barbara Barnett, a deep trance channeler, who just got water pumped into her house. "Before that I just sort of showered around," she explained.

Mayor Ralph Abrams scanned the menu, lingering briefly on the grass-fed yak burger before settling on a salad.

"This is not a commune, it's not an intentional community, it just is," he said. "The energy in this valley is what makes the spiritual practice so powerful." |

But it's also a hardscrabble place without the comforts of similar offbeat towns such as Ojai, Boulder, Colo., or Sedona, Ariz.

Abrams, who occasionally motors up the Amazon to consort with Peruvian shamans, welcomes seekers but warns against unrealistic expectations.

"As mayor I say, 'Come,' but it may not be what you think it is," he said. "On the other hand, if you are not real, it may make you real."


http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/features/la-tr-0619-crestone-20110619,0,7896388.story

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« Reply #4325 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:47am »

Scientific American

High Wired: Does Addictive Internet Use Restructure the Brain?

Brain scans hint excessive time online is tied to stark physical changes in the brain

By Dave Mosher
June 17, 2011

Kids spend an increasing fraction of their formative years online, and it is a habit they dutifully carry into adulthood. Under the right circumstances, however, a love affair with the Internet may spiral out of control and even become an addiction.

Whereas descriptions of online addiction are controversial at best among researchers, a new study cuts through much of the debate and hints that excessive time online can physically rewire a brain.

The work, published June 3 in PLoS ONE, suggests self-assessed Internet addiction, primarily through online multiplayer games, rewires structures deep in the brain. What's more, surface-level brain matter appears to shrink in step with the duration of online addiction.

"I'd be surprised if playing online games for 10 to 12 hours a day didn't change the brain," says neuroscientist Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who wasn't involved in the study. "The reason why Internet addiction isn't a widely recognized disorder is a lack of scientific evidence. Studies like this are exactly what is needed to recognize and settle on its diagnostic criteria," she says.

Defining an addiction

Loosely defined, addiction is a disease of the brain that compels someone to obsess over, obtain and abuse something, despite unpleasant health or social effects. And "internet addiction" definitions run the gamut, but most researchers similarly describe it as excessive (even obsessive) Internet use that interferes with the rhythm of daily life.

Yet unlike addictions to substances such as narcotics or nicotine, behavioral addictions to the Internet, food, shopping and even sex are touchy among medical and brain researchers. Only gambling seems destined to make it into the next iteration of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the internationally recognized bible of things that can go awry with the brain.

Nevertheless, Asian nations are not waiting around for a universal definition of Internet addiction disorder, or IAD.

China is considered by many to be both an epicenter of Internet addiction and a leader in research of the problem. As much as 14 percent of urban youth there—some 24 million kids—fit the bill as Internet addicts, according to the China Youth Internet Association. By comparison, the U.S. may see online addiction rates in urban youth around 5 to 10 percent, say neuroscientists and study co-authors Kai Yuan and Wei Qin of Xidian University in China.

The scope of China's problem may at first seem extraordinary, but not in the context of Chinese culture, says neuroscientist Karen M. von Deneen, also of Xidian University and a study co-author.
Parents and kids face extreme pressure to perform at work and in school, but cheap Internet cafes lurk around the corner on most blocks. Inside, immersive online game realities like World of Warcraft await and allow just about anyone to check out of reality.

"Americans don't have a lot of personal time, but Chinese seem to have even less. They work 12 hours a day, six days a week. They work very, very hard. Sometimes the Internet is their greatest and only escape," according to von Deneen. "In online games you can become a hero, build empires, and submerge yourself in a fantasy. That kind of escapism is what draws young people."

Out of sight of parents, some college kids further cave to online escapism or use gaming to acquire resources in-game and sell them in the real world. In a recent case Chinese prison wardens allegedly forced inmates into the latter practice to convert digital gold into cold-hard cash.

more after the jump
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-addictive-internet-use-restructure-brain

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4326 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:51am »

on Jun 17th, 2011, 4:38pm, Swamprat wrote:
Hey, if "they're" happy, I'm happy! grin

grin

It looks like real love when you check out the pics on his facebook-page. At least from his side. Don't know how that wood-things thinks about it.

on Jun 18th, 2011, 07:38am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Reuters

Afghanistan's Karzai confirms U.S. in talks with Taliban

By Emma Graham-Harrison and Hamid Shalizi
KABUL | Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:03am EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - The United States is in contact with the Taliban about a possible settlement to the near decade-long war in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday, the first official confirmation of U.S. involvement in negotiations.

Karzai said that an Afghan push toward peace talks had not yet reached a stage where the government and insurgents were meeting, but their representatives had been in touch.

"Peace talks are going on with the Taliban. The foreign military and especially the United States itself is going ahead with these negotiations," Karzai said in a speech in Kabul.

...

First step to finally pull out. That's good. It's about time!


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« Reply #4327 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:52am »

Wired Danger Room

When Secret Sats Spy on Us, Monsieur Legault Spies Back

By David Axe
June 17, 2011 | 12:00 pm
Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance


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Photo: Thierry Legault


From mysterious robotic space planes to giant spy satellites the size of school buses, space is teeming with secret American hardware meant to gaze down on insurgents, terrorists and, well, everybody on the third rock from the sun.

For mere proles like you and me, it can be hard to get a straight answer from the Air Force, NASA and other space-faring agencies about precisely what is up there, what it’s doing and where exactly it all is at a given moment.

Now a pair of enterprising Frenchmen have decided to answer at least one of those questions for themselves, using a modified consumer-grade telescope, a small motor, a hand-held controller and a video camera. The result is a do-it-yourself satellite tracker capable of recording the movements of America’s most secretive spacecraft.

Two years into their little science project, Thierry Legault and Emmanuel Rietsch have managed to record the International Space Station, the X-37B space plane and the Keyhole and Lacrosse spy satellites, the kind probably used to peer into Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound.

“In mid-2009, I have decided to adapt my Takahashi EM400 [telescope mount] for motorized satellite-tracking,” Legault, pictured above, wrote on his website. He fitted a Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain 10-inch telescope to the mount and teamed up with Rietsch to design a system for slowly and precisely rotating the mount to follow a distant, orbital object.

“More tricky than expected” is how Legault described the creation of the custom rotation system, which attaches a motor to the mount and, in the beginning, used a radio joystick for controlling the motor. Apparently cued by the global network of amateur satellite spotters, profiled by Wired in 2006, Legault would hunt for orbital objects using the telescope, switch on the video camera, and then use the joystick to keep the targeted spacecraft in the frame.

But there was a problem. “Despite this performing tracking system and hours of training on airplanes passing in the sky, keeping the spaceship inside a sensor of a few millimeters at a focal length of 5000mm and a speed over 1°/s needs a lot of concentration and training,” Legault wrote.

So last year Rietsch devised a new computer program, called Videos Sky, to move the telescope automatically. Now Legault uses a second telescope to “scout” for spacecraft, gets the 10-incher into place, peering at a spot the satellite is on course to pass through, and activates the computerized tracker once the target is in view. Legault has helpfully uploaded a video depicting the whole tracking process, as seen by the main telescope.

Plus, what Legault and Rietsch are doing is legally aboveboard. The effort is actually no more illegal than standing on a public street and looking around really carefully. But considering how hard the intelligence community works to keep details of its space arsenal under wraps, it’s not hard to imagine the two Frenchmen have pissed off a lot of spooks unaccustomed to having regular people spy back.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/06/when-secret-sats-spy-on-us-monsieur-legault-spies-back/

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« Reply #4328 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 07:54am »

on Jun 18th, 2011, 07:51am, philliman wrote:
grin

It looks like real love when you check out the pics on his facebook-page. At least from his side. Don't know how that wood-things thinks about it.


First step to finally pull out. That's good. It's about time!


http://www.wimp.com/freshpaint/


Good morning Phil! cheesy

From your mouth to God's ear! Let's bring our troops home.

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« Reply #4329 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 12:41pm »

World's Oldest Light Bulb Still Burning After 110 Years

Published June 18, 2011
FoxNews.com

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Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department
A frame from the Livermore-Pleasanton Dire Department's bulbcam shows the oldest lightbulb in the world, still glowing after all these years.


It may not glow brightly, but it sure glows consistently.

A light bulb hanging in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department has been burning steadily for exactly 110 years, according the Centennial Bulb website. Since the "Centennial Bulb" was first turned on, the stock market crashed and was reborn, the nuclear age began, two World Wars were fought, cars and planes were developed … and through it all the bulb kept burning.

How exactly it stays lit remains something of a mystery, Lynn Owens, who is in charge of the light bulb centennial committee, told Time magazine.

"Nobody knows how it's possible. It's a 60-watt bulb and it's only turned on for about four watts, but nobody knows why it keeps burning ... We've had scientists from all over the country look at this light bulb," Owens said.

On June 18, the bulb celebrates its 110th year of illumination -- a fact documented extensively by Guinness World Records. But even beyond its staggering powers of endurance, it's hardly an ordinary bulb.

According to the bulb's website http://www.centennialbulb.org/ (it's probably the only light bulb in the world to boast one) the "Shelby Bulb" was donated by Dennis Bernal to the Livermore Volunteer Fire Department , and is actually a somewhat different style bulb invented by Adolphe A. Chaillet and made by the Shelby Electric Company.

In the Shelby bulb, a coiled filament and funky design burn brighter and last longer than the Edison bulb -- as evidenced by Livermore "centennial" bulb.

Just see for yourself: The bulb's website features a "bulbcam" where you can watch it silently glowing away.

Sure, it's not as interesting as the paint-drying webcam or the grass-growing cam. But it confirms that, like the Energizer bunny, that bulb just keeps on glowing.

In a 2010 interview with the Daily Mail, bulb protector Steve Bunn ascribed the light's success to good old fashioned engineering.

"They certainly don't make them like this anymore, it's a real sign of how some things were better made in the past," he said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/18/worlds-oldest-light-bulb-still-burning-after-110-years/#ixzz1PeM8H1ei
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« Reply #4330 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 7:25pm »

Hey Swamprat! Happy Grandpa day tomorrow!

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« Reply #4331 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 8:25pm »

Washington Post

Japan finds hot spots in areas that seemed safe
By Chico Harlan, Saturday, June 18, 5:42 PM

OHARA, Japan — One hundred days into the nuclear emergency here, Japan is learning that danger doesn’t recede in tidy concentric circles centered on the damaged nuclear plant.

As officials bolster efforts to map the nuclear fallout with daily and sometimes hourly readings, they have found that radioactive particles concentrate in random hot spots — curling with the wind, collecting along mountainsides and raising fresh problems for residents who thought they were a safe distance from danger.

Japan’s evacuation map now resembles not a circle but a paw print, with a growing number of finger-like projections. On Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano recommended the evacuation of several emerging hot spots beyond the government-ordered 12.5-mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. These hot spots — some as far as 35 miles from the facility — could receive more than 20,000 microsieverts of radiation in a year, surpassing the internationally recognized limit for adult exposure, Edano said.

Instead of basing its evacuation recommendations on simple geography, the government is now opting for a hyper-detailed evaluation that underscores the randomness of radioactive patterns. On Saturday, the government said new hot spot areas would be analyzed on a house-by-house basis, a tacit acknowledgment that the formula for projecting long-term exposure relies too much on estimation and should not be the sole factor in determining whether residents stay or leave.

As Ohara residents like Ichiro Tani, 62, and Toyoaki Matsushita, 54 — longtime friends — now know, estimating one’s radiation risk is a fraught undertaking. In their mountainside town, a cluster of 120 households about 19 miles from the plant, levels fluctuate drastically within a few blocks.

One resident, Toshihiko Nakano, ordered a Ukraine-made dosimeter and walks every Saturday from house to house, recording the measurements.

In one front yard: 3.65 microsieverts per hour.

In another: 11.3 microsieverts per hour.

The local government began paying serious attention to this area only on May 1. That’s when Minamisoma, the closest city to Ohara, began daily radiation monitoring, with two workers making eight-hour driving tours, stopping at 36 predetermined places.

Every afternoon about 1:30, the local government crew arrives at an abandoned gravel lot just a stone’s throw from Tani’s house. On Thursday, as Tani and Matshushita smoked cigarettes nearby, the workers held a dosimeter one centimeter above the ground, then recorded the digits. They repeated the process, holding the dosimeter one meter above the ground.

“What have we got today?” Tani asked.

“It’s even higher today than normal,” one of the workers said.

The number, taken from waist-level: 3.76 microsieverts per hour.

“Oh, pretty big,” Tani said.

For Tani and his neighbors, these numbers no longer seem like industry-speak abstractions. But they have struggled to put the figures into context — a common problem during these last months as the government has issued reams of data but little practical information.

Take any of these hourly numbers, Tani knows, and you can easily scare yourself. Multiply by 24 (for hours in a day), then multiply by 365 (for days in a year), and the number always soars above the 20,000 microsieverts per year.

“But that’s the simple way to calculate it,” Tani said. “I don’t know the formula.”

Stuck with an estimate

Authorities at Japan’s education and science ministry devised a formula to turn hourly rates into yearly ones. Their formula, spokesman Hirotaka Oku said, assumes that a person spends eight hours daily outdoors and the remaining 16 hours in a “wooden structure,” and that indoor radiation levels decrease by 60 percent.

But here’s where things get more complicated. During the first few weeks of the crisis, there was scant information about what, precisely, was happening. With power out and machinery malfunctioning at Fukushima, Japan’s nationwide radiation monitoring system did not work as designed, a recent government report said. Only last month did Japan confirm the full meltdown of three reactors at the plant. It also recently doubled its estimate of the radioactive material released during the accident.

Japanese authorities feel comfortable applying their formula to dates since May 25 — radiation levels have held steady in recent weeks — but they are forced to estimate radiation exposure during the first 74 days of the crisis, which started with an explosion on March 12. The government projects that anybody in Tani’s neighborhood received 6,600 microsieverts during that time.

Its projection for total annual exposure in Ohara: 23,800 microsieverts.

That’s far less than the 250,000 microsieverts allowed for emergency situation nuclear workers in Japan. But it is the equivalent of almost 500 chest X-rays or 120 New York-to-Tokyo flights.

Pondering the numbers

These days, Tani hears conflicting advice. His wife talks about wanting to leave. His closest neighbors evacuated one day after the disaster and haven’t returned.

Sometimes, Tani plays with the numbers in his head. He left town for two weeks in March, so maybe he escaped the worst fallout. Indoor exposure rates can vary depending on the type of roof one’s house has. Plus, who stays outdoors eight hours a day?

Edano said Thursday that Japan would try to be flexible for those in hot spot regions. The country wouldn’t force evacuations, just recommend them, he said.

“But it is natural for residents to feel anxious,” Tani said. “If you have the right mind, you don’t stay here.”


Special correspondents Sachiko Iwata and Akiko Yamamoto contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/japan-finds-hotspots-in-areas-that-seemed-safe/2011/06/18/AG2PYkaH_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

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« Reply #4332 on: Jun 18th, 2011, 8:43pm »

Thanks, Crystal! tongue
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« Reply #4333 on: Jun 19th, 2011, 07:26am »

TNT's "Falling Skies" debuts tonight at 9:00pm

http://www.tnt.tv/series/fallingskies/



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« Reply #4334 on: Jun 19th, 2011, 07:28am »

New York Times

June 19, 2011
Backlog of Cases Gives a Reprieve on Foreclosures
By DAVID STREITFELD

Millions of homeowners in distress are getting some unexpected breathing room — lots of it in some places.

In New York State, it would take lenders 62 years at their current pace, the longest time frame in the nation, to repossess the 213,000 houses now in severe default or foreclosure, according to calculations by LPS Applied Analytics, a prominent real estate data firm.

Clearing the pipeline in New Jersey, which like New York handles foreclosures through the courts, would take 49 years. In Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois, it would take a decade.

In the 27 states where the courts play no role in foreclosures, the pace is much more brisk — three years in California, two years in Nevada and Colorado — but the dynamic is the same: the foreclosure system is bogged down by the volume of cases, borrowers are fighting to keep their houses and many lenders seem to be in no hurry to add repossessed houses to their books.

“If you were in foreclosure four years ago, you were biting your nails, asking yourself, ‘When is the sheriff going to show up and put me on the street?’ ” said Herb Blecher, an LPS senior vice president. “Now you’re probably not losing any sleep.”

When major banks acknowledged last fall that they had been illegally processing foreclosures by filing false court documents, they said that any pause in repossessions and evictions would be brief. All of the major servicers agreed to institute reforms in their foreclosure procedures. In April, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other regulators gave the banks 60 days to draw up a plan to do so.

But nothing is happening quickly. When the comptroller’s deadline was reached last week, it was extended another month.

New foreclosure cases and repossessions are down nationally by about a third since last fall, LPS said. In New York, foreclosure filings are down 85 percent since September, according to the New York State Unified Court System.

Mark Stopa, a St. Petersburg, Fla., specialist in foreclosure defense, has 1,275 clients, up from 350 a year ago. About 75 clients have won modifications, dismissals or sold their properties for less than they owed. All the other cases are pending.

“Banks aren’t even trying to win,” said Mr. Stopa, who charges his clients an annual fee of $1,500.

J. Thomas McGrady, the chief judge of Florida’s Sixth Circuit, which includes St. Petersburg, agreed. “We’re here to do what we’re asked to do. But you’ve got to ask. And the banks aren’t asking,” he said.

A spokesman for Bank of America said, “Any suggestion that we have a strategy to delay foreclosures is baseless.” A Wells Fargo spokeswoman blamed changes in state laws governing foreclosure for any slowdown. A GMAC spokeswoman said it was following “regulatory and investor expectations.” JPMorgan Chase declined to comment. Servicers said some of the decline in foreclosures could be traced to an improved economy.

There are many reasons that foreclosure, which has been slowing ever since the housing bubble burst, has been further delayed in many states.

The large number of cases nationally — about two million, plus another two million waiting in the wings — have overwhelmed many lenders and the courts.

Lenders, who service loans they own as well as those owned by investors, tried to circumvent the time-intensive process by using “robo-signers” who mass-produced documents, many of which made inaccurate claims. When the bad practices were discovered last fall, the lenders were forced to revisit hundreds of thousands of cases.

Over the last two years, most defaulting homeowners were people who had lost their jobs. Housing analysts say these homeowners are more likely to hire a lawyer and fight repossession than borrowers who had subprime loans that swelled beyond their ability to pay.

Judges these days are also more inclined to scrutinize requests for eviction rather than automatically approve them. The so-called foreclosure mills — law firms that handled many of the suits for the banks — are in retreat under law enforcement pressure. And some analysts suggest that banks are reluctant to take too many houses onto their books at any one moment for fear of flooding a shaky market.

In New York, lenders seeking to repossess face additional hurdles. The legislature has mandated that borrower and bank meet to discuss terms under the auspices of the court, but these conferences have turned out to be anything but brief or simple. Instead of one conference, 10 are often needed, court officials say.

And many foreclosure lawyers seem unable to meet a requirement, made last October by the New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, to affirm the accuracy of their documentation.

“The affirmation has had a pretty chilling effect,” said Ann Pfau, New York’s chief administrative judge. “The attorneys for the banks tell us they can’t get through to the right people at their clients who can verify the information.”

Last September, before the documentation crisis, nearly 1,500 New Yorkers lost their houses as a result of foreclosure, according to LPS. The average over the last six months: 286. That is far lower than at any point since the recession began.

Similar foreclosure cases can have different fates. To increase their odds of staying put, the foreclosed who can afford it are hiring lawyers, a move that can drastically slow down a case.

Mr. Stopa, the Florida lawyer, said he divided his clients into three groups. Some are unemployed or disabled and just getting by. Others are able to save money and improve their financial situation as their case drags on. The third group are those who have strategically defaulted. They can afford to pay but are taking advantage of the banks’ plodding pace. Often the members of this group rent out the foreclosed home and keep the proceeds.

Though delays in foreclosure might seem like a gift to those behind on their mortgage, the foreclosed themselves do not necessarily feel that way.

Margaret Bellevue waited nervously in a Miami courtroom early this month. She and her husband, Roland, an architect, are among 97,000 households facing foreclosure in Dade County, where the average time to foreclose is 738 days and climbing, according to LPS data.

Ms. Bellevue was on her third lawyer in a case that has stretched on as many years. “A friend of mine got her mortgage lowered through a modification,” Ms. Bellevue said. “I’d like to do that too.”

When her case came up, the judge told the lawyers they should try to work out a deal. They huddled outside the courtroom and agreed to meet again.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/business/19foreclosure.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
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