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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 92966 times)
Swamprat
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« Reply #4365 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 4:13pm »

TG DAILY

New type of aircraft flies like a UFO


Posted on Jun 22nd 2011 by Emma Woollacott

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Austrian research firm IAT21 has unveiled a radically new type of aircraft that could render the helicopter obsolete.

D-Dalus can 'approach as gently and silently as a hot air balloon', say its developers, hover, rotate in any direction and fly as fast as a jet.

Unlike VTOL aircraft or helicopters, it can easily cope with poor weather or the lurching deck of a ship.

The propulsion system consists essentially of four sets of contra-rotating disks, each driven at 2,200 rpm by a conventional aero-engine. The disks are surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered using servos, allowing thrust in any direction.

This allows it to launch vertically, hover in a fixed position in the air and travel or rotate in any direction. It can even 'glue' itself to the deck of a ship by thrusting upwards.

Apparently, it's easier to fly than a helicopter, with a simple joystick control, and can be repaired by your average car mechanic. Because there are no external moving parts such as rotor blades, it has 360 degree vision. A sense-and avoid system means it can fly through small spaces or hover right next to a rock face or wall.

Initially, the designers say they expect the propulsion system to be used for robot drones in search and rescue missions and the like.

But, they add, in trials it looks as if larger versions are actually more efficient and less complex, meaning there's no reason why it couldn't be used in passenger aircraft.
They also envisage it being used as a hovering platform to load and unload ships.

Right now, the biggest version can only lift a payload of 70kg, although IAT21 is now working with the UK's Cranfield University on a larger, more powerful version.
See: http://start.d-dalus.at/?page_id=7

http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-features/56778-new-type-of-aircraft-flies-like-a-ufo
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« Reply #4366 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:00am »

on Jun 22nd, 2011, 4:13pm, Swamprat wrote:
TG DAILY

New type of aircraft flies like a UFO


Posted on Jun 22nd 2011 by Emma Woollacott

User Image
Austrian research firm IAT21 has unveiled a radically new type of aircraft that could render the helicopter obsolete.

D-Dalus can 'approach as gently and silently as a hot air balloon', say its developers, hover, rotate in any direction and fly as fast as a jet.

Unlike VTOL aircraft or helicopters, it can easily cope with poor weather or the lurching deck of a ship.

The propulsion system consists essentially of four sets of contra-rotating disks, each driven at 2,200 rpm by a conventional aero-engine. The disks are surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered using servos, allowing thrust in any direction.

This allows it to launch vertically, hover in a fixed position in the air and travel or rotate in any direction. It can even 'glue' itself to the deck of a ship by thrusting upwards.

Apparently, it's easier to fly than a helicopter, with a simple joystick control, and can be repaired by your average car mechanic. Because there are no external moving parts such as rotor blades, it has 360 degree vision. A sense-and avoid system means it can fly through small spaces or hover right next to a rock face or wall.

Initially, the designers say they expect the propulsion system to be used for robot drones in search and rescue missions and the like.

But, they add, in trials it looks as if larger versions are actually more efficient and less complex, meaning there's no reason why it couldn't be used in passenger aircraft.
They also envisage it being used as a hovering platform to load and unload ships.

Right now, the biggest version can only lift a payload of 70kg, although IAT21 is now working with the UK's Cranfield University on a larger, more powerful version.
See: http://start.d-dalus.at/?page_id=7

http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-features/56778-new-type-of-aircraft-flies-like-a-ufo


Looks like a UFO too. Thanks Swamprat. And a good morning to you! cheesy

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« Reply #4367 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:07am »

Epoch Times

Cuban and American Crocodiles Hybridizing in Wild
By Ginger Chan
Epoch Times Staff
Created: Jun 22, 2011 Last Updated: Jun 22, 2011

Scientists have genetically confirmed that the critically endangered Cuban crocodile has been hybridizing with a species of American crocodile in the wild.

This will make conservation of the species a bit more challenging, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology.

The Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is known to breed with the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in captivity and the two species were suspected to do the same in the wild, which has now been proven to be the case.

Cuban crocodiles were hunted for almost a century until the 1960's. Experts estimate that a population of 3,000 resides in the Zapata swamp and another smaller group in the Lanier Swamp, although exact numbers are undetermined.

The team of researchers analyzed DNA from 89 wild Cuban and American crocodiles from several Caribbean islands and Central America. They found that not only have Cuban crocodiles and American crocodiles in Cuba mated, but that the two species are even more closely related than previously realized.

Genetically, the Cuban crocodile and the American crocodile in Cuba are actually only one percent different. Meanwhile, the American crocodile in Cuba and American crocodiles in Central America are eight percent different genetically.

The authors emphasize that the Cuban crocodile is a distinct species and that its successful conservation requires recognition that hybridization in the wild might lead to the loss of the pure parental populations.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/science/cuban-and-american-crocodiles-hybridizing-in-wild-58033.html

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« Reply #4368 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:12am »

LA Times

Fugitive Boston mobster arrested on Westside

FBI arrests James 'Whitey' Bulger, sought in 19 slayings, and his girlfriend, in Santa Monica.

By Andrew Blankstein and Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times
11:12 PM PDT, June 22, 2011

Legendary Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who has been on the run for more than 15 years, was arrested Wednesday in Santa Monica, multiple law enforcement sources told The Times.

Bulger, 81, fled Boston in late 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with at least 19 killings, racketeering and other crimes that spanned the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. He headed an organized crime group that allegedly controlled extortion, drug deals and other illegal activities in the Boston area.

His companion, Catherine Elizabeth Greig, 60, was also arrested.

The FBI initially declined to confirm Bulger's arrest when contacted by The Times but later issued a statement saying he and Greig were in custody and scheduled to appear Thursday in federal court in downtown Los Angeles. Bulger had been on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitive list, and the agency had offered a $2-million reward for his arrest.

FBI agents took the two into custody without incident at a home after authorities received a tip, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. Other details surrounding his arrest were unclear Wednesday night.

The arrests came as the FBI launched a media campaign in 14 cities to help determine Bulger's whereabouts. Los Angeles was not one of the cities.

Bulger was believed to have been traveling with Greig for the last several years, according to the FBI. Petite with blue eyes, Greig was a dental hygienist by occupation. Authorities say she dyed her hair to disguise her appearance. The media campaign was aimed at women in their 60s, the same demographic as Greig, in hopes of developing leads.

Authorities said Bulger initially fled after being tipped by John Connolly Jr., an FBI agent who used Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of racketeering in May 2002 for protecting Bulger and another reputed crime boss and FBI informant, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Bulger was the subject of several books and helped inspire "The Departed," the 2006 Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, who played a Bulger-like character.

In 2000, an unconfirmed sighting of Bulger was reported in Orange County. A man told authorities he believed he saw Bulger outside a Fountain Valley hair salon where a woman who may been Greig was having her hair done.

The last credible sighting of him was in London in 2002, the FBI said. He was believed to have altered his appearance and traveled extensively through Europe, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

photos after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0623-whitey-bulger-20110623,0,3111204.story

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« Reply #4369 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:20am »

Telegraph

Briton to attend 26 festivals in one month

A 36-year-old Londoner is attempting to set a new world record by visiting 26 European music festivals in a month.

11:40AM BST 23 Jun 2011

Greg Parmley, a music journalist, will travel through 13 countries on his motorcycle, attending festivals as diverse as Metalcamp – a Slovenian event featuring bands such as Death Angel and Trollfest – and the Montreux Jazz Festival, starring the likes of Sting and Carlos Santana.

He will be reporting twice a week for Telegraph Travel for the duration of his trip, describing the festivals he attends and his two-wheeled journey across Europe.

Mr Parmley’s odyssey begins tomorrow at Glastonbury. On Saturday he will head to the Graspop Metal Meeting in the Belgian town of Dessel.

Over the next month he will visit some of the best festivals in Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, before ending his adventure at the High Voltage Festival in London.

Guinness World Records has agreed to open a new category for the trip: Most Festivals Visited in 30 Days.

“I was trying to think of an excuse to get out of the office and on to a motorbike, and then I started joining the dots around festivals in Europe,” said Mr Parmley. “No one has ever attempted to visit this many before, although there may well be a good reason why not! I’ve always been a huge festival fan, but I may have gone a little overboard this time.”

Greg Parmley’s first blog will be published tomorrow at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8593892/Briton-to-attend-26-festivals-in-one-month.html

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« Reply #4370 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:23am »

Wired Danger Room

Obama Won’t Use Troops to Save Afghan Hellhole (Drones, Maybe)
By Spencer Ackerman
June 22, 2011 | 8:00 pm
Categories: Af/Pak

The biggest news out of President Obama’s Afghanistan speech isn’t the 10,000 troops he’s withdrawing this year. It’s what Obama will — and won’t — do with the forces he’s leaving behind. Namely: the president won’t send the remainder of the surge troops into eastern Afghanistan, which has become the country’s most buck-wild region.

It’s part of a new attempt to put the uniformed military on a much tighter leash than it had in Afghanistan or Iraq. Welcome a new phase of the war, micromanaged from the White House, and heavy on the killer robots.

Here’s what the war’s going to look like instead from July 2011 to 2014, when the Afghans are supposed to take over combat: drones, drones, training Afghans, commando raids, and drones. The military build on its momentum in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, Obama aides say. But outside of that, this is going to be a counterterrorism strategy — with a lot of troops.

“The next fighting season is going to be about consolidating gains, not necessarily moving to other parts of the country,” a senior administration official who would only speak on background tells Danger Room. “And it’s going to be about transitioning and partnering, not necessarily the U.S. and ISAF [NATO's International Security Assistance Force] bearing the brunt of the burden.”

That’s a big pushback against a move the military wanted to make — back into eastern Afghanistan, the central front of the war until 2009. Last week, the Washington Post confidently reported that the military command was eyeing the east next. Not if the White House has anything to say about it.

“We don’t anticipate replicating what we did in the south in the east,” the senior administration official says. “We don’t believe that’s necessary.”

Eastern Afghanistan didn’t enjoy the fruits of either of Obama’s troop surges. While Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus focused on southern Afghanistan, al-Qaida’s allies in the Haqqani Network, based over the Pakistani border in North Waziristan, drove up violence in the east, as Danger Room’s David Axe personally experienced this spring. There were nearly 900 insurgent attacks in March 2011, nearly double the assaults in March 2010.

“The east is clearly the most dangerous part of the country now,” says retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, a former Afghanistan commander.

But it won’t be mass numbers of troops who’ll confront it. It’ll be flying robots and commandos. “We have a capability in the east to target the Taliban and the Haqqani [Network] in the east,” the official says. That is: drones and Special Operations Forces. The war in eastern Afghanistan will resemble the war in Pakistan.

Gen. John Allen, whom Obama tapped to command the war, better know what he’s in for. He’ll have “a degree of flexibility” over how to cut 10,000 troops this year and 23,000 by September 2012. (Why, that’s right in time for an election!) But Obama pointedly did not say in his speech that withdrawals will proceed as “conditions on the ground” merit — his allowance to Petraeus for preparing for the initial withdrawals, as well as to his commanders in Iraq.

“We felt it’s very important to send a signal that we’re serious about transition to the Afghans, so they’re going to have to step up, and that we’re serious about reducing the numbers of our forces,” the senior administration official says. “And it’s frankly, not necessary to have this number of forces in Afghanistan to achieve our objectives.”

We wrote on Tuesday that Obama needed to explain how his drawdown supports “reconciliation” peace talks with the Taliban — the last political strategy standing for Afghanistan. But Obama’s speech didn’t come close. It mentioned reconciliation, but didn’t condition troop reductions on it. So what, then, compels the Taliban to negotiate seriously if it sees the U.S. unilaterally withdrawing?

“The biggest leverage [on] the Taliban for reconciliation is the SOF [Special Operations Forces] operations targeting their mid-level leadership,” the official says, and the growth of the Afghan security forces.

But the Afghan forces still walk off the job in great numbers, according to their top U.S. trainer. The Joint Special Operations Command, however, honed their skills for the Osama bin Laden kill by hunting Haqqani and Taliban members. And it’s at least arguable that it took conventional forces attacking them in Helmand and Kandahar “to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for the first time in the ten-year war,” Barno says.

But Obama’s showing that’s not a primary concern for him. Troop reductions are. “Pulling back is a strategic objective,” the official says, “not just a tactical objective.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/06/obama-wont-use-troops-to-save-afghan-hellhole-drones-maybe/#more-49920

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« Reply #4371 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:30am »

St. Louis Today

Earth to Del Taco: Don't leave us
By Tim Logan
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:01 am


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It rises from South Grand Boulevard like some kind of red-rimmed flying saucer, a neon UFO serving 99-cent bean and cheese burritos into the wee hours of the morning.

And something about that combination of funky architecture and cheap food made the South Grand Del Taco a cause célèbre on Wednesday — as word spread that the building's owner hopes to demolish it and erect something presumably less distinctive.

As that news filtered out, St. Louis University students and alums issued howls of protest on Twitter. Local preservationists mobilized to save what they call a classic midcentury building. And by late Wednesday, a Facebook group called "Save St. Louis Del Taco" had drawn 1,942 members.

"Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that so many people feel like that about that building," said Matt Batchelor, a St. Charles man who created the Facebook group on a whim Tuesday night.

All this for a low-slung former gas station on the corner of Grand and Forest Park Avenue that houses a tired-looking fast food joint that has been in bankruptcy court for 18 months. The building's owners — developers who lease it to a Del Taco franchise — have said they want to knock the thing down and replace it with new, more pedestrian-oriented retail space. In fact, a lawyer for developer Rick Yackey told the city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority at a meeting Tuesday that two "national chain restaurants" have signed letters of intent for the new space.

They will be good, said the attorney, Sarah Davis, of Husch Blackwell. But they won't be Del Taco.

And whatever replaces it probably won't be as visually unique. The building, initially a Phillips 66 gas station, was built in 1967 as part of the bigger Council Plaza project. With its 120-foot circular roof, accented with long fluorescent lights over a wide apron of blacktop, it was "a very inspired gas station," said local architectural historian Michael Allen.

"It really gives the whole complex an architectural signature," Allen said. "It's this colorful and creative anchor that has become an enduring symbol."

As a home to commerce, though, it has been less successful, despite its late-night popularity with SLU students.

Phillips gave way to Naugles, a fast-food Mexican chain that eventually merged with Del Taco. The Chesterfield-based franchise that owns the store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2009. Soon after that, Yackey's group moved to evict them, but a judge allowed the store to stay put for the time being.

Now, according to bankruptcy court filings, the franchise's two remaining stores, the South Grand site and one on McCausland Avenue, are up for sale — $150,000 for both. Neither the owners nor their attorney returned calls Wednesday.

Yackey didn't return calls, either. Nor did Davis. And city officials didn't respond to requests to see the specific redevelopment plan.

At Tuesday's meeting, Dale Ruthsatz, a staffer for the St. Louis Development Corp., said the new building would be 3,500 to 7,000 square feet, depending on demand, and would be designed to improve the streetscape on that busy corner.

Alderman Marlene Davis, whose ward includes the site, said she generally agreed with the plan, though she hadn't been briefed on its specifics since a broader plan for neighboring Council Towers was approved in 2008. The area needs more shopping opportunities, she said, and, barring unusual circumstances, people have the right to tear down buildings that they own.

"I support the development plan that (Yackey) showed me, which includes new retail," she said. "I'm not part of the decision-making process of what you may keep or change."

But that doesn't mean City Hall has had its last word on Del Taco.

The owners could get approval to demolish the building in one of two ways. Aldermen could approve an ordinance specifically authorizing the tear-down. Or Yackey could apply for a demolition permit, which would require approval by the city's Preservation Board, because the Del Taco is part of the Council Plaza historic district.

A new ordinance would likely need to be introduced Friday for aldermen to approve it before they break for summer — and the agenda for Friday's meeting is published 24 hours in advance.

Whatever path the owners take, Allen said he and other preservationists plan to fight demolition. In recent years the city has allowed a number of buildings that are unique — if not so old — to be knocked down, from the Arena to the San Luis Apartments. Watching those sort of cultural icons go, Allen said, is frustrating, and destructive to the fabric of the city.

"Yet there's very little concern on the part of city government to do anything to keep them," he said.

With the wave of support for this trippy taco joint, he hopes that, just maybe, Del Taco will be different.

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_2f7157f0-0435-5999-8ecf-7e8595af8372.html

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« Reply #4372 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:38am »




Please be an angel

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http://www.soldiersangels.org/


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« Reply #4373 on: Jun 23rd, 2011, 11:19am »

Oldest Art in America? Researchers Find Ancient Mammoth Carving

Published June 23, 2011
| Associated Press

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AP Photo/Smithsonian
This bone fragment with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, at least 13,000 years old and found in Vero Beach, Fla. may be the first of its kind found in North America, a new study reports.


WASHINGTON – Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," said Dennis J. Stanford, curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, who was a co-author of the report.

They hunted these animals, Stanford explained, and "you see people drawing all kinds of pictures that are of relevance and importance to them."

"Much of the real significance of such finds is in the tangible, emotional connection they allow us to feel with people in the deep past," said Dietrich Stout, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the research team.
The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

"There was considerable skepticism expressed about the authenticity of the incising on the bone until it was examined exhaustively by archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, materials science engineers and artists," lead author Barbara Purdy of the University of Florida said in a statement.

The bone was found by a fossil hunter near a location, known as the Old Vero Site, where human bones were found side-by-side with the bones of extinct Ice Age animals in an excavation from 1913 to 1916.

It was heavily mineralized, which prevented standard dating, Stanford explained. But mammoths and mastodons had died out in the Americas by 13,000 years ago, so it has to be older than that. "It could be quite early," he added.

But the researchers wanted to be sure it was not a modern effort to mimic prehistoric art. They compared it with other materials found at the site and studied it with microscopes, which showed no differences in coloration between the carved grooves and the surrounding material. That, they said, indicated that both surfaces aged together.

In addition, the researchers said, there were no signs of the material being carved recently or that the grooves were made with metal tools.

"It either had to be carved from direct observation when the animals existed or has to be a modern fake" and "all indications are that the carving is the same age as the bone," said anthropologist Christopher J. Ellis of the University of Western Ontario, who was not part of the research team.
It does appear to be the first American depiction of a mammoth or mastodon, said anthropologist David J. Meltzer of Southern Methodist University.

"I think the authors did a reasonable job making the case for the piece being genuine," added Metzger, who was not part of the research team.

The new discovery was made by James Kennedy, a fossil hunter, in 2006 or 2007. Kennedy noticed the image in 2009 when he was cleaning the bone and he then contacted researchers who began their study of the artifact.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/23/image-ancient-mammoth-or-mastodon-found-on-bone/#ixzz1Q753onnx
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« Reply #4374 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:27am »

on Jun 23rd, 2011, 11:19am, Swamprat wrote:
Oldest Art in America? Researchers Find Ancient Mammoth Carving

Published June 23, 2011
| Associated Press

User Image
AP Photo/Smithsonian
This bone fragment with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, at least 13,000 years old and found in Vero Beach, Fla. may be the first of its kind found in North America, a new study reports.


WASHINGTON – Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," said Dennis J. Stanford, curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, who was a co-author of the report.

They hunted these animals, Stanford explained, and "you see people drawing all kinds of pictures that are of relevance and importance to them."

"Much of the real significance of such finds is in the tangible, emotional connection they allow us to feel with people in the deep past," said Dietrich Stout, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the research team.
The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

"I think the authors did a reasonable job making the case for the piece being genuine," added Metzger, who was not part of the research team.

The new discovery was made by James Kennedy, a fossil hunter, in 2006 or 2007. Kennedy noticed the image in 2009 when he was cleaning the bone and he then contacted researchers who began their study of the artifact.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/23/image-ancient-mammoth-or-mastodon-found-on-bone/#ixzz1Q753onnx



This is fantastic! Thanks Swamprat for posting it.

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« Reply #4375 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:29am »

BoingBoing

The Spooks' Style Guide: FOIA'd!

Rob Beschizza at 12:00 AM Monday, Jun 13, 2011

The National Security Agency generates lots of reports. Though we do not get to read these communiques, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we know the standards its authors are expected to maintain. The NSA has a style guide—a Strunk and White for spooks—which we're delighted to publish here for the first time.

Most of the document is an alphabetized compendium of ambiguous, easily-misused or otherwise troublesome words. As style guides go, it's standard fare: more interesting than the grammar tips are clarifications on obscure intelligence terms and the usage examples, which often lean toward military operations, geopolitics, killings and diplomacy.

photos and article after the jump
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/13/nsastyleguide.html

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« Reply #4376 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:38am »

LA Times

EU ties fray over debt crisis, border control

The dream of a common future for the continent fades as some countries worry about being yoked to shaky economies and others rethink their open borders.

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2011
Reporting from Flensburg, Germany


Erik Holm Jensen slips between countries without a thought or a passport.

He drives from Denmark into northern Germany as smoothly as an American going from Delaware to New Jersey. There's no hassle at the border, no guards to stop him on his way to the office. If he blinks, he misses the modest sign indicating that he's crossed from one country into another.

Such seamless travel is one of the European Union's greatest achievements in its pursuit of a stable, prosperous continent built in the lingering aftermath of World War II. The other is the wad of euros in Jensen's wallet, which the 60-year-old business consultant can use in 17 nations.

But these twin pillars of Europe's grand project are now under assault. Unfettered movement and the single currency have become the subject of bitter dispute, pushing tensions to their highest point in years and making the European Union look increasingly like an oxymoron.

Countries including Denmark, France and Italy have raised hackles recently by considering the reintroduction of checks of some kind along their borders. The euro faces a debt crisis that poses the gravest threat to its existence since it was launched nine years ago, with political infighting preventing the EU from mounting a swift, effective response.

Faith in the dream of a united, richer, happier continent — fueled by the easy optimism of most of the last decade, when the region's economy was booming — appears to be dwindling.

"Europe is a little bit in shock," said Ulrike Guerot, an analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations. "We need to figure out whether the project of political union and greater integration still stands."

That prospect has been most severely undermined by the euro crisis, which has produced major cracks within the 27-nation EU.

Even as debt-laden Greece, Ireland and Portugal lined up for humiliating bailouts, EU leaders have squabbled for more than a year over how to deal with the mess and keep it from spreading to the bigger Eurozone economies of Spain and Italy.

Ironically, the common currency that was meant to unite Europe is dividing it instead, with fiscally disciplined northern countries such as Germany and the Netherlands growing more resentful of being on the hook for their southern counterparts' imprudence.

Although not everyone would go as far as the German magazine Der Spiegel, whose cover this week featured a portrait of the euro atop a coffin draped with the Greek flag, skepticism toward Europe's most ambitious experiment in forging a common future is not hard to find.

"It can indeed be a burden to be part of the European Union," said Thomas Dehler, a 44-year-old entrepreneur in Berlin. "I've often asked myself why the deutschemark was abolished in the first place.... Economic union wasn't the right way."

But he added, "We can't take it back anymore. Now we have to grit our teeth and get to it."

Such disenchantment isn't that surprising in the economic powerhouse of Germany.

But disillusionment with the EU is also rife in Greece, a beneficiary of the club's largess. Anti-EU graffiti and banners in downtown Athens shout the frustrations of people who see the austerity and pain demanded of them in exchange for help as both punitive and a recipe for economic suicide, not recovery.

"I believe Greece belongs to Europe. Its interests are anchored there," said Nikos Branidis, 37, an unemployed mathematician. "Do I believe, though, in European integration? Not anymore. It was supposed to be a process of coming together but instead has proven to be just a union driven by monetary interests."

Waning enthusiasm spans the continent. In an EU-wide survey last year, only 49% of people said membership was a good thing, close to its lowest level of support in a decade. Nearly 20% saw membership as a drag on their country. The poll was taken in May 2010, and the euro's troubles have only worsened since. Three countries have applied for bailouts, with one of them, Greece, desperately needing another one; private creditors holding Greek bonds are under pressure to take a hit; and tens of thousands of anti-austerity protesters have flooded the streets of Madrid and Athens.

European solidarity is in shorter supply now than a year ago. In Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, for example, populist right-wing parties have made significant electoral gains, led by politicians who often spout "Euroskeptic" rhetoric about being yoked to countries they deem too different or irresponsible.

"European integration was a top-down [enterprise]: If you build it, they will come," said Hugo Brady, an analyst with the London-based Center for European Reform."People did make use of the benefits it brought. But it didn't mean that they moved any closer culturally or on the organization of society. We have some commonality, but we're not as alike as people thought."

Even if the euro pulls through its crisis, the trauma of the experience will probably cool the dreams of ever-closer cooperation and expanding European power, Brady said.

"We're likely to see the emergence of a generation of politicians who are likely to see the EU as far more limited in the things it can do," he said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that the EU will disappear, just that member states will not be as interested in the benefits of cooperation for a time."

As the crisis continues, tempers grow short. During the continent's recent outbreak of E. coli-related illnesses, Germany quickly blamed it on cucumbers from Spain, which reacted furiously when the accusation turned out to be misplaced. Talk in Madrid of suing German officials subsided only after the EU agreed to offer compensation to Spanish farmers.

National interests still trump European ones, a truth laid bare by the rising disputes over borders.

Currently, 22 EU countries, plus three not in the union, allow unrestricted movement between them; enter one and the rest are open to you, with no need to clear further border checks. The liberalization has been a huge success, loved (mostly) by residents and visitors alike.

No wholesale rollback of the system is on the horizon. But two months ago, France and Italy, alarmed over a surge in immigrants fleeing unrest in North Africa, called for the reintroduction of temporary border controls in special cases. The idea ignited a firestorm of protest from fellow EU countries worried over the consequences of such a move.

And next week, Denmark is set to approve a controversial measure to reestablish a permanent customs presence along its borders with Germany and Sweden, largely at the insistence of an influential right-wing anti-immigrant party. The proposal has strained relations between Copenhagen and Berlin.

Here in Flensburg, a town of 90,000 people just inside the German border, residents are used to the Danes who come to buy lower-priced liquor, get their cars repaired for less and receive cheaper dental care. Workers in either country commute to jobs on the other side.

"Walls have come down, and it has become easier and easier to live and work wherever you want to," said Jensen, the business consultant, who works with an association of border merchants. "We are afraid that this will be a step back."

The Danish government insists that its plan to beef up policing operations for contraband such as drugs and guns won't impede the free flow of people.

"It has nothing to do with the control of persons and passports. Illegal trafficking of goods is a very real concern for the Danish population, and the Danish government is responding," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, adding, "If you look at the facts of the agreement, it really shouldn't be that controversial."

But it is. Wolfgang Buschmann, the mayor of Harrislee, another German border town, warned against underestimating the psychological effect of customs booths sprouting up again where only grass and asphalt are today.

"It's a question of the heart," Buschmann said. "Now we are going to build up a new frontier in our thoughts, and that's dangerous.

"We have worked so hard to get closer to each other, and now we are going to separate," he said. "It makes no sense."


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-europe-fraying-20110624,0,4546268.story

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« Reply #4377 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:41am »

Wired

June 24, 1947: They Came From … Outer Space?
By Tony Long
June 24, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Politics, Space Exploration


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Kenneth Arnold


1947: Pilot Kenneth Arnold sights a series of unidentified flying objects near Washington’s Mount Rainier. It’s the first widely reported UFO sighting in the United States, and, thanks to Arnold’s description of what he saw, leads the press to coin the term flying saucer.

Arnold was an experienced pilot with more than 9,000 hours of flying time. He had diverted from his flight plan — Chehalis to Yakima, Washington — to search for a Marine Corps C-46 transport plane reported down in the Cascades near the southwest slope of Mount Rainier. A sweep of the area revealed nothing, and Arnold resumed his original course.

As Arnold recalled, the afternoon was crystal clear, and he was cruising at an altitude of 9,200 feet. A minute or two after noting a DC-4 about 15 miles behind and to the left of him, he was startled by something bright reflecting off his plane. At first he thought he had nearly hit another aircraft but as he looked off in the direction the light had come from, he saw nine “peculiar-looking” aircraft flying rapidly in formation toward Mount Rainier.

As these strange, tailless craft flew between his plane and Mount Rainier and then off toward distant Mount Adams, Arnold noted their remarkable speed — he later calculated that they were moving at around 1,700 mph — and said he got a pretty good look at their black silhouettes outlined against Rainier’s snowy peak. He later described them as saucer-like disks … something the gentlemen of the press glommed on to very quickly.

At the time, Arnold said, the appearance of these flying saucers didn’t particularly alarm him, because he assumed they were some kind of experimental military aircraft. If they were, nobody in the War Department (soon to be merged into the Department of Defense) was saying.

In fact, the official Army Air Corps position was that Arnold had either seen a mirage or was hallucinating. He insisted he was perfectly alert and lucid, adding that he was not a publicity hound, either. He also invited both the Army and the FBI to investigate. The Army sent a couple of officers out to talk with Arnold. Even though they concluded that “a man of [his] character and apparent integrity” almost certainly saw what he claimed to have seen, the Army’s initial verdict remained unchanged.

As Arnold’s story leaked out, other people stepped forward to say they had seen the objects, too. The most credible report may have come from a United Airlines crew, which reported seeing nine similar disk-like objects over Idaho only 10 days after Arnold’s sighting.

Whether Arnold actually saw something or not, the resulting publicity touched off a worldwide spate of UFO sightings. Barely two weeks after Arnold’s flight, the Roswell story broke, and UFO hysteria was on.

Was it the power of suggestion that led to all these sightings, or was 1947 a peak travel year for little green men? You decide.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/06/0624first-flying-saucer-sighting/

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« Reply #4378 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:45am »

Deadline Hollywood

EMMYS: 'Fringe's Jeff Pinkner & Joel Wyman
By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Thursday June 23, 2011 @ 9:30pm PDT
Tags: Fox Fringe, Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman

Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman are more than just co-showrunners of the Fox science fiction hour Fringe. They’re also the gatekeepers of its genre-expanding premise that’s been described as a hybrid of The X-Files, Altered States, and The Twilight Zone. Despite being a critical darling through much of its first 3 seasons, however, the series has come up short with the TV Academy, generating only Emmy nominations in 2009 for special effects and 2010 for sound editing. Its stars Anna Torv, Josh Jackson and John Noble remain otherwise unrecognized from Emmy (though Noble just this week won a Critics' Choice Television Award). Pinkner and Wyman spoke with Deadline TV Contributor Ray Richmond about the show’s distinct sensibility and its third season:

DEADLINE: How was the decision made to introduce to Fringe the premise of having the action alternate between parallel universes this past season?

JEFF PINKNER: One of the things we’d said to our studio and network partners from the beginning is, this is very much a series that has to move forward and keep changing in order to be successful. It’s an unfolding story as opposed to a condition. It isn’t about a hospital where bodies come through or a police precinct with suspects. We knew early on that the series and saga involved two universes. But it was important
to let it unfold relatively slowly, to have it open up to characters and viewers over time as opposed to the middle of season one. Because we knew it was a pretty heady concept.

JOEL WYMAN: In Jurassic Park, by the time you see the dinosaurs, you already were introduced to the idea of a fly stuck in amber. The table is set long before to you get to that place of wonder, so when you finally reach it you’ve accepted it as being real. We felt that was important to establish for Fringe as well, to first set up the desires and intentions of the characters and let the wonder of this world unfold in front of them before going full-on to that alternate universe.

DEADLINE: It’s always a big risk to change up your creative game when you’re already an established show. You were asking the audience to in essence accept utterly different personas for the same character.

WYMAN: We’re thrilled with how our fans have responded to it. But we were careful at the same time not to abandon any of our main characters. At the same time, we thought that if we were going to ask people to invest in these doppelganger characters, we’d best do it full-out as well, so viewers got to know them and spent enough time understanding their dilemmas.

DEADLINE: But your ratings numbers did slip from Season 2 to Season 3, going from a 2.8 with adults 18-49 to a 2.2. Of course, Fox also moved from Thursday to Friday nights midway through the season, which may have had something to do with it.

PINKNER: The numbers were of course a concern. The network and studio need to make money in order to keep us on the air. We get that. At the same time, we’ve never tried to design stories just to appeal to a larger audience. And the kind of storytelling we’re doing isn’t going to appeal to everyone no matter what we do?

DEADLINE: What kind of storytelling is that?

PINKNER: Well, basically humanistic science fiction. What we’ve discovered is, not everyone likes licorice but the ones who do really, really like it. That’s how our fans are, too. They followed us from Thursday to Friday night without a lot of drop-off, both live and on DVR.

WYMAN: But we understand we’re fighting very hard against the science fiction moniker. There’s a group of people who just say, ‘We’re not interested in that.’ We’re trying to work in metaphors and deliver a little bit of a movie each week, as well as finding deeper thematic elements than network TV normally tries to tackle.

DEADLINE: But was there any point during the past season when you had legitimate reason to worry that Fox might not renew?

PINKNER: You know, maybe out of naïvete, we weren’t that concerned that this would be the end of the journey for us. We did have an ending in place just in case. But we’re very fortunate to have legitimate fans at the network and the studio who are really upfront with us. They knew the story we were telling this past season and celebrated how bold we were trying to be on network television.

DEADLINE: How much does it bother you to always see the cable dramas getting awards hype while most network series don't?

WYMAN: The truth is that we watch those shows, too. We find the work that’s going on in cable to be astounding. If the acclaim and promotion they’re getting makes us feel anything, it’s motivation to maybe pave some new ground for network television. And it’s tough to pull off. Network TV, in a lot of ways, doesn’t have the ability to tell the same kind of story as they do on cable. You’re fighting to draw in an audience whose life is often too busy to schedule any appoint TV. We’re just hoping that people say, ‘Hey, Fringe is doing something different and going deeper than network TV usually tries to go.’

PINKNER: If there’s any frustration at all, it’s that there’s clearly a different expectation when you try to tell a story over 22 episodes than when you’re doing 10, 11 or 13 episodes.

DEADLINE: And, again, there’s the whole stigma of the science fiction label that you consistently need to overcome.

WYMAN: And the frustration is that we feel like we’re so much more than science fiction. We’re doing things through the eye of Fringe that are altogether new. Rarely do you get to tell a story about a three-way love triangle where two of the three people are the same person, as we did this past season.

DEADLINE: In terms of next season, will you be keeping the parallel universes conceit going? And what’s going to become of Josh Jackson’s character Peter?

PINKNER: Well, Peter no longer exists. All we’ll say is that in Season 4, we’ll very much see the consequences of what happened in Seasons 1, 2 and 3. What happens to Peter remains a very big question. But a new chapter will unfold next season. As it does every year on this show.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/emmys-fringes-jeff-pinkner-joel-wyman/#more-142969

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« Reply #4379 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 07:47am »

Reuters

Obama takes flak for tapping emergency oil reserves

By Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON | Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:27pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama took withering fire from the oil industry and Republicans for agreeing to release the nation's emergency oil supplies, a decision that senior officials said was prompted by the need to prop up the ailing economy.

Critics blasted the release of 30 million barrels of oil -- half of a global injection coordinated by the International Energy Agency -- as an ill-timed misuse of reserves at a time when U.S. supplies are relatively high, despite the loss of Libya's exports for the past three months.

Some OPEC officials went further, calling it a political ploy that ignored Saudi Arabia's promise to step up production and the fact that oil prices had already fallen sharply.

But the move fueled questions about the timing and catalyst for releasing the stocks, which in the past have been reserved to address abrupt disruptions like natural disasters.

DRIVING SEASON LOOMS

The Obama administration was also concerned about tight markets ahead of peak demand in the summer, when many Americans take to the roads for vacations. The jump in gasoline prices earlier this year was hurting Obama's support as the White House was gearing up for its re-election campaign.

"The cascade of bad economic news is poison for a president running for re-election," said Larry Sabato, political science professor at University of Virginia.

"But politics is about smoke and mirrors. This now allows the Obama administration to claim credit for the fall in oil prices," Sabato said.

Others said the move was a shot across the bow for the speculators that Obama has blamed for inflating prices, and for OPEC members who have resisted moves to pump more oil.

"We would suggest that today's action represents the first genuine, offensive use of the OECD's 'defensive oil weapon' to send an unforgettable message to OPEC and also to noncommercial players in the crude markets," said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners in Washington.

"I'M NOT SURE WE NEED MORE OIL"

The U.S. oil release is designed to help fill a gap in supply caused when political upheaval in Libya and Yemen choked off supplies of light, sweet crude, which initially sent oil prices higher.

But the IEA's 60 million-barrel release comes as U.S. oil prices have been on the decline since late April, falling nearly 20 percent since their U.S. peak at $113 a barrel. Thursday's announcement drove oil prices down almost 5 percent to below $91 per barrel.

"I'm not sure we need more oil. There's been weakness of demand and I don't see what the release of 60 million barrels of oil adds to the market," said Christophe Barret, oil analyst with Credit Agricole.

"It's the equivalent of two months Libyan production, so I'm not sure it will make much difference," Barret said.

The oil industry said the new supplies are not needed and are "ill-timed."

"There is no supply emergency," said Bill Bush, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, a group pushing for the Obama administration to speed up approvals to expand offshore drilling.

Republicans in Washington criticized the move, saying it would ultimately hurt American taxpayers.

"This action threatens our ability to respond to a genuine national security crisis and means we must ultimately find the resources to replenish the reserve -- at significant cost to taxpayers," said John Boehner, Republican leader in the House of Representatives.

IRAN-MOVE UNJUSTIFIED

The released stocks will complement added production promised by Saudi Arabia in the wake of the failed meeting, and IEA members will assess the impact on supplies after 30 days. Saudi Arabia has pledged to unilaterally pump more crude.

Deputy U.S. Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said while the U.S. saw "some positive indications" from major oil producers to increase oil output, there was still a gap in supply.

"We are concerned that there is tightness in the market," Poneman told CNBC. "That tightness required us to step up to the plate."

OPEC delegates from Iran and two Gulf states said coordinated release by the United States and the 28-member IEA is an unjustified interference.

"The oil price hasn't shot up to $150. There is no reason to do this. The market is not short of supply. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been raising production, but there have not been many buyers. The IEA is just playing politics with the U.S." one Gulf delegate told Reuters.

(Writing by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Tom Doggett, Timothy Gardner, Richard Cowan, Jeff Mason, Tabassum Zakaria, Matt Spetalnick, and Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Russell Blinch and Jim Marshall)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/23/us-usa-oil-obama-idUSTRE75M44D20110623

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