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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 149658 times)
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5685 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 10:36am »

on Dec 7th, 2011, 7:09pm, Swamprat wrote:
Suicide by piranha

Canoe-leap lad, 18, savaged by fish

By HARRY HAYDON

A TEENAGER is believed to have committed "suicide by piranha" after leaping into a river infested with the flesh-eating fish.

Fisherman Oscar Barbosa, 18, bled to death after jumping out of his canoe.

He suffered dozens of bites to his throat and face on Bolivia's Yata River, local police chief Daniel Cayaya revealed.

He believed Oscar — from Rosario del Yata in the north east of the country — meant to kill himself.

Mr Cayaya said the teenager knew the river well and would have been aware that it is swarming with red piranhas at this time of year. He added that Oscar was thought to be drunk.

The 14-inch fish have razor sharp teeth and hunt in packs to strip their prey of flesh. They are known to devour large snakes and even jaguars in minutes.

Fatal attacks on humans are rare. But swimmers at a river beach in Brazil were attacked by hundreds of piranhas in September.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3983692/Suicide-by-piranha.html


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« Reply #5686 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 10:40am »

New York Times

December 7, 2011
Military Flexes Its Muscles as Islamists Gain in Egypt
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers said Wednesday that they would control the process of writing a constitution and maintain authority over the interim government to check the power of Islamists who have taken a commanding lead in parliamentary elections.

In an unusual briefing evidently aimed at Washington, Gen. Mukhtar al-Mulla of the ruling council asserted that the initial results of elections for the People’s Assembly do not represent the full Egyptian public, in part because well-organized factions of Islamists were dominating the voting. The comments, to foreign reporters and not the Egyptian public, may have been intended to persuade Washington to back off its call for civilian rule.

“So whatever the majority in the People’s Assembly, they are very welcome, because they won’t have the ability to impose anything that the people don’t want,” General Mulla said, explaining that the makeup of Parliament will not matter because it will not have power over the constitution.

He appeared to say that the vote results could not be representative because the Egyptian public could not possibly support the Islamists, especially the faction of ultraconservative Salafis who have taken a quarter of the early voting.

“Do you think that the Egyptians elected someone to threaten his interest and economy and security and relations with international community?” General Mulla asked. “Of course not.”

The military’s insistence on controlling the constitutional process was the latest twist in a struggle between the generals’ council and a chorus of liberal and Islamist critics who want the elected officials to preside over the writing of a new constitution.

Just three weeks ago, Cairo erupted in a week of bloody protests set off in part by the military’s attempts to claim permanent powers to intervene in civilian politics and to enshrine in the constitution protection from public scrutiny. Under intense pressure, the military appeared for a time to back down.

But the setting of the general’s remarks — an extraordinary question-and-answer session for an invited group of eight American journalists and one British journalist, without any Egyptian news organizations — indicated that he was also talking to Washington. The Obama administration joined the calls of Egyptian activists for the generals to turn over power “immediately” to a civilian government, and the generals have expected that the threat of an Islamist takeover at the polls might now give Washington pause.

It was unclear if the council planned to ever deliver such a message to the Egyptian public or political parties. Egyptian activists were as incensed that the council laid out its plans to foreigners first as they were by its reassertion of control.

“This is an attempt to stage a coup, and nobody wants it — even the people who are against the Islamists,” said Negad el-Borai, a human rights activist in Cairo.

He accused the military council of playing liberals and Islamists against one another in an effort to preserve its own power. “This is madness,” he said. “They are deciding to push the country toward a broad civil war.”

Saad el-Katanti, secretary general of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, told The Associated Press that his party also believed that the constituent assembly should be broadly representative of all segments of the population. “Why does the council want to interfere?” he said.

General Mulla, for his part, insisted that he respected the fairness and integrity of the election, which began in November and will continue in stages until January. But, he said, “In such unstable conditions, the Parliament is not representing all the Egyptians.”

He also appeared to escalate a mounting confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that is Egypt’s best-organized political force, over control of the interim government.

The Brotherhood, whose political party emerged as the biggest winner in the early election returns, with about 40 percent of the vote, have demanded that the Parliament take over the right to name or dismiss a prime minister; General Mulla insisted that the prime minister would continue to report to the military council.

Although the military’s previous plans for the transition had called for Parliament to pick 100 members of a constituent assembly that would draft the constitution, General Mulla made clear that the military council no longer intended to allow that.

“The majority of the People’s Assembly will not be the only one represented in the constituent assembly,” he said, at times questioning the essential premise that an elected body could represent the general public. “We have a lot of other factions such as workers, farmers, engineers and doctors who are not in Parliament.”

General Mulla insisted that the military council would not intervene directly in the constitutional process, or name individuals to the drafting committee. Instead, he said the council would appoint a civilian advisory council of party representatives as well as artists and intellectuals. This group would make suggestions to the military council while also representing the military council to Parliament.

“They should represent all the Egyptian people, and no one can really oppose this demand,” he said.

He acknowledged that the military’s latest timetable for the transition left only about a month for the drafting of a constitution between the seating of a Parliament and the beginning of a presidential race. But he appeared to believe that the old Egyptian Constitution — built for one-party rule, lacking clear separation of powers or judicial independence, clogged with traces of Nasserite socialism — might not need much fixing.

“A lot of legislators are saying that we have a very good Constitution and a very unique one except for only Chapter 5, about the presidential elections, so we will only amend this chapter,” he said.

Asked if the military would eventually submit to public parliamentary oversight of its budget, General Mulla appeared to find the idea ridiculous, saying he knew of no military whose budget was public.

Asked if the military might intervene in civilian politics in the future, however, he was more circumspect. “The armed forces won’t intervene in the political life of Egypt since the people will consent in the parliamentary bodies,” he said. After the adoption of new government institutions, he said, “there will be no need to intervene.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/world/middleeast/egyptian-general-mukhtar-al-mulla-asserts-continuing-control-despite-elections.html?ref=world

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« Reply #5687 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 10:48am »

Wired

NASA Rover Spots Unambiguous Evidence for Water on Ancient Mars
By Adam Mann
December 7, 2011 | 8:09 pm
Categories: Space


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NASA’s Opportunity rover has seen a mineral on Mars that could only have formed in the presence of liquid water.

“This is the single most powerful piece of evidence that water once flowed on Mars that has been discovered,” said planetary scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University during a briefing at the 2011 American Geophysical Union meeting on Dec. 7. “There’s no ambiguity about this.”

Researchers have found a bright vein of gypsum, a mineral that could only have been deposited by water. The finding suggests that billions of years ago warm water flowed through underground fractures in the rocks.

The gypsum vein — which scientists spotted last month and nicknamed “Homestake” — is approximately the width of a human thumb and about 16 to 20 inches long. It was spotted along the rim of Endeavor Crater, where Opportunity is currently roving, in a ridge named Cape York.

“As soon as we got to Cape York, it felt as if we moved into fundamentally new geological terrain,” said Squyers. “It was something we had never seen before.”

Many of the previous minerals cited as evidence for water on Mars could also have origins that didn’t require water. And one of the previously discovered minerals, known as Jarosite, could have only formed in highly acidic water. The new finding, as well as satellite data suggesting the presence of clays in Endeavor, would favor a source of water that is much more neutral, which might have been more favorable to life on ancient Mars.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/evidence-water-mars/

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« Reply #5688 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 10:59am »

Deadline Hollywood

‘Coronation Street’ Celebrated Via Live Musical ‘Street Of Dreams’
By NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor
Thursday, 8 December 2011 00:01 UK
Tags: Coronation Street, Coronation Street: Rogues Angels Heroes & Fools, ITV Studios, SMG Europe, Street Of Dreams

Hey Bet Lynch fans: Get out your beehives and your baubles. While U.S. daytime TV is going through a seismic shift, Britain’s longest-running serial is about to give new meaning to the term “soap opera.” Coronation Street will be celebrated in a “major live musical event” beginning in March in Manchester.

Reckless Entertainment in association with ITV Studios and SMG Europe have announced Street Of Dreams, a live tribute to the show based on the 50th anniversary album Coronation Street: Rogues, Angels, Heroes & Fools, which featured the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The show will be hosted by mega-Corrie fan Paul O’Grady, who will guide the audience through momentous events in the show’s history, bumping into well-loved characters with guest stars paying homage to famous roles. Writer, composer and lyricist Trisha Ward is behind the musical, with BAFTA-winning film and stage vet John Stephenson directing.

The show will come replete with a 25-piece orchestra, a West End cast and choreography from Olivier Award-winner Stephen Mear. So my question is: Where were these folks when Guiding Light was fading?

http://www.deadline.com/2011/12/coronation-street-soap-opera-reckless-entertainment-itv-studios-street-of-dreams/

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« Reply #5689 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 11:02am »

The Hill

Corzine to tell House panel he doesn't 'know where the money is'

By Peter Schroeder and Ian Swanson
12/08/11 09:11 AM ET

A contrite Jon Corzine will apologize Thursday in testimony to a House panel for the bankruptcy of MF Global, but will say he doesn’t know the whereabouts of $1.2 billion in missing customer funds.

“I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date,” Corzine will say, according to his prepared tesimony.

Corzine says in his testimony that there were an “extraordinary number of transactions during MF Global’s last few days” and that he did not know where there were operational errors at MF Global or whether banks and counterparties have held onto funds that should rightfully have been returned to MF Global.

He also said he was stunned when he learned of the missing funds.

Corzine, a former U.S. senator and governor from New Jersey, says in his testimony that he was appearing before the House Agriculture Committee with great sadness, which he said paled in comparison to the losses and hardships of employees and customers of his former company.

“I sincerely apologize, both personally and on behalf of the company, to our customers, our employees and our investors, who are bearing the brunt of the impact of the firm’s bankruptcy.”

Corzine indicated in his testimony that he would try to answer questions from lawmakers. Some thought the former senator would be likely to plead the Fifth Amendment and avoid answering questions given legal issues swirling around MF Global.

“Many people in my situation would almost certainly invoke their constitutional right to remain silent,” he said. “Nonetheless, as a former United States senator who recognizes the importance of congressional oversight, and recognizing my former position as former chief executive officer in these terrible circumstances, I believe it is appropriate that I attempt to respond to your inquiries.”

While the panel, as well as two other committees, recently decided to subpoena Corzine to force his appearance, he maintained that he would have come voluntarily, had the hearings been pushed back to January so he could review records and “be more helpful to the committee.”

Media reports have indicated that MF Global was sunk primarily by billions of dollars in investments in troubled European debt, and that Corzine was the primary advocate of the move.

Corzine said that he “strongly advocated” such positions, but that MF Global’s board was not a “rubber stamp” for his decisions, and other officials were well aware of the strategy.

Corzine also detailed the extent of his interactions with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler, who has recused himself from the bankruptcy fallout, given the two worked together at Goldman Sachs and later on the Senate Banking Committee.

Some lawmakers have asked tough questions of whether the CFTC could have seen the MF Global collapse coming, and Gensler’s decision to recuse himself only after the bankruptcy.

Corzine said he participated in conference calls with other officials from MF Global and the CFTC, but otherwise interacted directly with Gensler on “only limited occasions.”

He said he had a few private meetings with Gensler and other CFTC officials, and their paths also crossed at conferences and academic lectures. In addition, the two interacted at a September wedding of a mutual friend, but Corzine said no business or regulatory matters were discussed.

This story was updated at 9:50 a.m.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/198079-corzine-to-tell-house-panel-he-doesnt-know-where-the-money-is

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« Reply #5690 on: Dec 8th, 2011, 11:04am »





Please be an angel





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http://www.soldiersangels.org/



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« Reply #5691 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 07:27am »

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« Reply #5692 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 08:16am »

Good morning cld2011,
Thank you for that beautiful picture.
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« Reply #5693 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 08:29am »

New York Times

December 9, 2011
Video Rekindles Mystery Surrounding Former F.B.I. Agent Missing in Iran
By BARRY MEIER

The mystery surrounding the disappearance nearly five years ago of a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in Iran was rekindled Friday with the release of a hostage videotape showing him alive as of a year ago.

In the video, the former agent, Robert A. Levinson, is shown sitting in a makeshift cell looking gaunt and wearing a threadbare shirt. Mr. Levinson, who worked as a private investigator after retiring from the F.B.I., disappeared in March 2007 while on Kish Island, a resort in the Persian Gulf.

In the tape, which was received by Mr. Levinson’s family last November, the former F.B.I. agent states that he has been held in captivity for three and a half years but does not identify his captors. The tape was the first sign he was still alive.

“I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me,” he said on the tape as Arabic-sounding music played on a soundtrack. “Please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something.”

The footage of the former agent was included with a larger videotape that was released Friday on the family’s Web site in which Mr. Levinson’s wife, Christine, and one of the couple’s seven children, appeal for his release. The decision by federal officials to publicize the tape a year after it was sent to the family by e-mail indicates that investigators have made little progress in their search for the former agent, said people briefed on the inquiry.

In their videotape, Mrs. Levinson and her son David make no mention of the Iranian government. Instead, they direct their requests to Mr. Levinson’s captors and urge them to contact his family again.

“My mother has received your messages,” David Levinson said. “Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.”

Asked about the timing of the tape’s release, an F.B.I. spokeswoman, Jacqueline Maguire, said in a statement: “The video was not previously released due to ongoing investigative initiatives. The investigation to locate Mr. Levinson continues, as the U.S. government continues to work to find him and bring him home safely.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Levinson’s family received another e-mail containing photographs of him wearing what looks like orange prison garb and with a full beard. The F.B.I. was able to trace the various e-mails back to Internet cafes in either Pakistan or Afghanistan but not back to the person or group that created them, said the people briefed on the inquiry.

Mr. Levinson was 59 when he went missing on Kish Island where he had gone to meet with an American fugitive known as Dawud Salahuddin. Mr. Salahuddin has lived in Iran since 1980 when he fled there after assassinating a former aide to the Shah of Iran outside his home near Washington. Mr. Levinson’s family and American officials have said that Mr. Levinson went to Iran to investigate cigarette smuggling for a private client.

Iranian officials have consistently denied knowing anything about the circumstances of Mr. Levinson’s disappearance or what happened to him afterward. During a 2010 trip to the United States, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said his government was willing to help American officials investigate Mr. Levinson’s case.

Since then, at least two meetings have taken place between American and Iranian officials about Mr. Levinson, but they have not yielded any progress, according to people briefed about them.

While not discussing the tape, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indirectly referred to it earlier this year when she announced that American officials had evidence that Mr. Levinson was alive.

Last year, The New York Times reviewed the hostage tape showing Mr. Levinson, but at his family’s request withheld its publication.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/world/middleeast/video-shows-robert-levinson-ex-fbi-agent-missing-in-iran.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #5694 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 08:33am »

LA Times

Scientists excited over hints of finding elusive 'God particle'

Scientists eagerly await data that may prove the existence of the Higgs boson, which is key to understanding mass in the universe. Or the hints may be a false alarm.

By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
December 9, 2011

Scientists are quivering with anticipation — flying halfway around the world for a close-up view of the action and devouring the latest updates from the blogosphere the way some girls track the doings of Justin Bieber.

Careers hang in the balance. Not to mention a cache of chocolate handed out by the folks who award Nobel Prizes.

All the fuss is over an elusive subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, which is key to understanding mass in the universe. No one has ever presented proof of its existence, but that may be about to change.

"There will be people who will see years of work and things for which they got tenure consigned to the dustbin of history," said MIT theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, who believes that the particle's days of anonymity are numbered.

Hundreds of researchers are sifting through data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, which sends beams of protons hurtling toward one another at nearly the speed of light. They are hoping that some of the collisions produced telltale tracks of the Higgs boson — and thus provide a key piece of experimental confirmation of the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes how subatomic particles interact to form the basic building blocks of the universe.

Teams at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, will make a preliminary announcement about their search next week. Scientists expect to get a general indication of whether the Higgs is what they think it is — or not.

The Higgs boson lies at the heart of a fundamental question: Why is there mass in the universe?

Physicist Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh and other theorists came up with a possible answer 47 years ago, suggesting that particles gain mass by traveling through a particular type of energy field. It came to be known as the Higgs field; the process by which mass is created, the Higgs mechanism. There also had to be a particle associated with the field: the Higgs boson.

Ferreting out the Higgs — which has earned the nickname "God particle" — had been beyond the capabilities of the world's atom smashers. That was a major reason why CERN built the $5-billion Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile loop buried nearly 600 feet underground.

Scientists think they know what the tracks of the Higgs should look like. Once formed, the Higgs decays almost instantaneously into other subatomic particles that physicists can spot at the collider.

The tricky part is figuring out whether the tracks really are evidence of a Higgs boson — or just unrelated noise.

"You have to determine that it is the Higgs bomb and not some shrapnel from the background," said Vivek Sharma, a UC San Diego physicist who heads up one of the two search teams at CERN. To tell the difference, he added, requires painstaking analysis of data from trillions of collisions.

Just getting to the point where that work became possible has been a tall order, and some physicists are more than a little impatient.

"It slowly drives you crazy," said UC Davis theoretical physicist John Gunion, who began work on his textbook, "The Higgs Hunter's Guide," in 1983. "You wonder, am I going to be dead before they find this damn thing?"

Leon Lederman, who coined the term "God particle" in a 1993 book of the same name, wrote that he had really wanted to call it the "Goddamn Particle," but his publisher wouldn't let him. He knows a thing or two about finding subatomic particles — he won the Nobel Prize with two others in 1988 for discovering subatomic particles known as the muon neutrino and the bottom quark.

The LHC began its Higgs-hunting experiments in 2010. It has been unexpectedly productive this year, generating 400 trillion proton-proton collisions, almost six times more than expected. The more collisions scientists can study, the more confident they can be that their results are statistically sound.

At a scientific meeting this summer in France, researchers from Sharma's team, known by the acronym CMS, and a rival group, known as ATLAS, presented early results. Both groups had seen hints of the particle, fueling speculation that the search was coming to an end.

But a month later, CERN physicists at a meeting in Mumbai, India, reported that the Higgs signals were getting weaker, setting off another flurry of excitement — this time focused on the possibility that the Higgs did not exist after all.

Now the pendulum has swung back: This week, rumor had it that the Higgs signals had strengthened again.

The allure of the Higgs has spread beyond scientists. When Sharma gave a speech at UC San Diego about the Higgs search in January, more than 400 people — including elementary school children, engineers from nearby tech companies and retirees — showed up at the auditorium, which seated only about 200. The dean of physical sciences couldn't find a seat.

But no one is more excited than physicists.

"We have hundreds of people literally working day and night," said Guido Tonelli, the Italian physicist who serves as CMS spokesman. "It is one of the most exciting moments in my lifetime."

Gunion, who doesn't work directly on the experiments, made a two-week pilgrimage to CERN this fall to see the goings-on with his own eyes.

"One wants to be where the action is," he said. "We've all been fooling around with all these ideas for many years now. What we really want is an answer."

For those who can't travel to Geneva, the Web is the place to track the Higgs search. CMS and ATLAS upload public results to their home pages and the physics website arXiv. Researchers post talks and PowerPoint slides. Blogs attempt to demystify the data as they trickle out.

Peter Woit, a senior lecturer in mathematics at Columbia University in New York, is the author of the particle physics blog Not Even Wrong. He created a frenzy in April when he published an internal communication from the ATLAS team suggesting that it had detected the Higgs. (ATLAS later released data showing that it had not.)

"I'm writing the blog for other people who are obsessed," he said.

If the particle doesn't materialize in the LHC data, it wouldn't necessarily mean the entire Standard Model is wrong. But it would mean that physicists would have to imagine a different sort of Higgs — or a combination of many different Higgses. They'd also have to figure out how to use the LHC to look for them.

Woit said he would prefer to see the Higgs remain elusive.

"The depressing thing would be if we found the Higgs and it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do," he said. "Then life will be really boring."

Wilczek, on the other hand, would like to see the latest rumors — that CERN scientists are about to report strong but not definitive indications for the existence of the Higgs — prove true.

Back in 2005, he and MIT colleague Janet Conrad, an experimental physicist, made a friendly wager: If the Higgs is found, Conrad has to give Wilczek ten of the chocolate coins that are served at Nobel Prize award ceremonies in Stockholm; if the Higgs remains hidden, Wilczek has to give Conrad 100 chocolates.

The stakes reflect Wilczek's confidence in the Higgs. "It's just a matter of letting the accelerator run long enough," he said.

Sharma said he was just looking forward to a resolution either way so he could stop commuting between Geneva and San Diego.

"I could care less if Higgs exists or not," he added. "It's a crime scene for me. I'm searching for something. If it exists, we'll find it. If not, we won't."


http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-higgs-boson-search-20111209,0,311628.story

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« Reply #5695 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 08:39am »

Wired Danger Room

Mercs May Run Air Missions on Afghan-Pakistan Border
By Spencer Ackerman
December 9, 2011 | 6:30 am
Categories: Mercs


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Barely two weeks after a NATO helicopter disaster killed 24 Pakistani troops, the skies above the Afghanistan-Pakistan border may get even more dangerous. The State Department’s Islamabad embassy is hiring a contractor to coordinate air operations along the border to stop the flow of drugs and insurgents. Just what a tense situation calls for.

The new “aviation adviser” will oversee both the State Department’s “fleet of … aircraft” in Pakistan, which isn’t very often discussed, and provide “aviation support” to the Pakistani Frontier Corps, which patrols the tribal areas. The “end game” of the adviser’s mission is “interdicting the movement of illegal drugs, arms and people across the border,” not exactly a diplomatic specialty.

It’s unclear what kind of aircraft the State Department has in Pakistan. It’s also unclear whether the State Department will help the Frontier Corps maintain its own aircraft or actually provide air support for the corps, a much more dramatic step. Either way, the department’s call for the “aviation adviser” comes at a time when U.S. generals accuse the Frontier Corps of helping insurgents attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Judging from a contract solicitation released on Thursday, the aviation adviser’s life in Pakistan will be a rugged one. The adviser “must be able to independently perform fieldwork in remote areas for extended periods without assistance,” the contract reads. “Some field sites have been declared hazardous duty locations by the Department of State due to hostile activities of armed groups within Pakistan and therefore pose significant risk to the incumbent while at these sites.”

And the operations themselves do not sound very diplomatic. The Frontier Corps has long possessed a mandate to stop the flow of drugs across the border — and performed pretty badly, from the U.S.’s perspective. Not only is the border porous for insurgents, but two Pakistani factories produce a total of 400,000 metric tons annually of ammonium nitrate, a material commonly found across the border in Afghan homemade bombs.

Into that breach steps contractors for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In the past, the bureau has provided aviation support in Colombia, another partner nation racked by narcoterrorism. In Colombia, the bureau merely trained the Colombian military in air operations; judging from the job solicitation, missions in Pakistan sound more, um, direct.

It also comes at the intersection of two trends. First, the State Department is beefing up its security contractor presence in Pakistan: It put out a call last week for Pakistani embassy guards. Second, the relationship between Washington and Islamabad is spiraling downward after last month’s helicopter accident, with the very Frontier Corps that the aviation adviser will work with getting yanked off the border.

State is about to send even more security contractors into that hostile environment. What could go wrong?

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/merc-fly-pakistan/

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« Reply #5696 on: Dec 9th, 2011, 08:49am »

Deadline Hollywood

Are These The Most Anticipated 2012 Films?
By NIKKI FINKE
Friday December 9, 2011 @ 5:58am PST
Tags: 2012 Most Anticipated Films

Thousands of film fans responded to the survey, which was posted on Fandango.com during the first weeks of December. According to male moviegoers, the most anticipated blockbuster of 2012 will be Warner Bros’ The Hobbit, while for females, it’s Summit’s Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. When it comes to remakes, men are most anticipating Sony’s Total Recall while women are most looking forward to Warner Bros’ The Great Gatsby. Several studios are missing from these lists, so it looks like some marketing departments have to play catch-up in the coming months:

THE MOST ANTICIPATED BLOCKBUSTER IN 2012:

According to Men:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros)
2. The Avengers (Marvel/Disney)
3. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros)
4. The Bourne Legacy (Universal)
5. Men in Black III (Sony)

According to Women:

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Summit)
2. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate)
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros)
4. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros)
5. The Avengers (Marvel/Disney)

THE MOST ANTICIPATED REMAKE IN 2012:

According to Men:

1. Total Recall (Sony)
2. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony)
3. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros)
4. Snow White And The Huntsman (Universal)
5. Mirror Mirror (Relativity)

According to Women:

1. Snow White And The Huntsman (Universal)
2. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros)
3. Mirror Mirror (Relativity)
4. Total Recall (Sony)
5. The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony)

http://www.deadline.com/2011/12/are-these-the-most-anticipated-2012-films/

Crystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5697 on: Dec 10th, 2011, 08:18am »

Comcast is coming out this morning because my computer connection is stinko! Hopefully I'll be back later today to post.

Crystal


The Comcast guy was really nice. We have to get a new router. It will be here Tuesday.
« Last Edit: Dec 10th, 2011, 12:49pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5698 on: Dec 10th, 2011, 09:49am »

Google may be compromising national security
– all in the name of better mapping technology.


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New satellite images posted on Google Maps reveal a secret air base in Yucca Lake, Nev., where drones (circled, either a Predator or a Reaper) and even the top secret RQ170 are reportedly tested.

At Google Maps, anyone can search for the names of military bases and zoom in to see airstrips and possibly even top-secret military drones like the RQ-170 Sentinel lost in Iran last week. Aviation website Flight Global has done just that, and claims to have found the secret airstrip at Yucca Lake, Nev., used for testing the RQ-170.

The Google Maps site shows satellite images of either a Predator or Reaper drone on the airstrip, although Flight Global says the RQ-170 was tested there as well -- information that’s surely of interest to the Iranian military, said Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force colonel.
“Iranians would be most interested in operational bases because that tells them how we fly our surveillance missions,” Leighton told FoxNews.com.

Sure enough, other Nevada military bases at the Tonopah Test Range like the Creech Air Force Base are also viewable at Google Maps. With this information, anyone -- even foreign military -- can look up satellite images to inspect secret U.S. spy planes.

“Google is making public what was once the sole province of the military and intelligence community, making this a brave new world for the intel agencies as well,” he said.

Google did not immediately return FoxNews.com requests for comments.

The largely unknown RQ-170 drone from Lockheed Martin made headlines in recent days when it was lost in western Iran. Experts say the drone is the most advanced model yet with high-definition cameras, sensors that can scan for nuclear armaments, and an advanced stealth shell that hides the plane from detection.

On Thursday, a senior U.S. official exclusively confirmed to Fox News that the crashed drone shown on Iranian state television is indeed a fully intact RQ-170 Sentinel.

Leighton told FoxNews.com that Google has the right to show these images to the public, but they should decide not to because they comprise military operations.

And the issue is now heating up even more.

Most satellite images are delayed and do not show current military research, military sources told FoxNews.com -- though none were willing to go into more detail.

Is it legal?

The debate over satellite imagery of top secret bases has raged for some time. Previous satellite images showed a secret military base near Denver and in Pakistan's Balochistan province, where images of the Shamsi Airfield showed Predator drones sitting on a parking ramp, ready for deployment.

Yet, with the bleeding-edge RQ-170 lost in Iran, there are new questions about how these images could aid countries that are hostile to the U.S. -- and now possess military technology.

Leighton said the U.S. military has previously blocked Google employees from capturing images at military bases for the Google Earth program, which requires close-up photography.

Dr. John Michener, chief scientist at security firm Casaba, doesn't see a problem with Google Maps showing spy plane imagery. He says national laws do not apply above the atmosphere, and the mass public now has access to the same satellite images used by governments for decades.
His advice to the U.S. government?

"Get used to it," Michener told FoxNews.com. “You know when the satellites are overhead. You can take countermeasures to hide portable stuff.”

At the same time, Michener says there would be a problem in terms of security if the government decided to filter through "deep-packet inspections," ultimately inserting code onto the Web that blocked access to secret images.

That would drive Google to add encryption to the images -- something Michener says may be inevitable.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/10/could-google-reveal-secret-spy-drone-lost-in-iran/#ixzz1g9AeYetc
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5699 on: Dec 10th, 2011, 12:47pm »

Hey Swamprat! cheesy


New York Times

December 10, 2011
Thousands Gather in Russia to Protest Legislative Elections
By ELLEN BARRY

MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of Russians gathered peacefully in central Moscow on Saturday to shout “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed the square where it was held, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank, and organizers repeatedly cleared a footbridge out of fear it would collapse. It was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s.

The crowd united liberals, nationalists and Communists, a group best described as the urban middle class, so digitally connected that some were broadcasting the rally live using iPads held over their heads. The police estimated the crowd at 25,000 while organizers put the figure much higher, at 40,000 or more.

The rally was a significant moment in Russia’s political life, suggesting that the authorities have lost the power to control the national agenda. The event was too large to be edited out of the evening news, which does not report criticism of Mr. Putin, and was accompanied by smaller demonstrations dozens of other cities, including St. Petersburg.

The government calculated that it had no choice but to allow the events unfold. There was a large police presence, including rows of troop carriers, dump trucks and bulldozers, but remarkably when the crowd dispersed four hours later, no detentions had been reported.

On Saturday many in the crowd said the event was a watershed moment.

“People are just tired, they have already crossed all the boundaries,” said Yana Larionova, 26, a real estate agent. “You see all these people who are well dressed and earn a good salary, going out onto the streets on Saturday and saying, ‘No more.’ That’s when you know you need a change.”

Calls for protest have been mounting since parliamentary elections last Sunday, which domestic and international observers said were tainted by ballot-stuffing and fraud on behalf of Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia. But an equally crucial event, many said, was Mr. Putin’s announcement in September that he would run for the presidency in March. He is almost certain to win a six-year term, meaning he will have been Russia’s paramount leader for 18 years.

Yevgeniya Albats, editor of the New Times magazine, said that the gathering was the most striking display of grassroots democracy that she had seen in Russia, and that the involvement of young people was a game-changer. When Mr. Putin revealed his decision to return to the presidency, a full six months before presidential elections, she said, “this really, really humiliated the country.”

“Today we just proved that civil society does exist, that the middle class does exist and that this country is not lost,” Ms. Albats said.

The authorities had been trying to discourage attendance, saying that widespread protests could culminate in a disaster on the scale of the Soviet collapse, which occurred 20 years ago this month. Officials have portrayed the demonstrators as revolutionaries dedicated to a violent, Libya-style overthrow. Mr. Putin last week said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had set off the wave of activism by publicly criticizing the conduct of the parliamentary elections.

“She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin said. “They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”

The demonstration’s organizers have put forward several demands: the immediate release of prisoners arrested last week in connection with the protests; the scheduling of new parliamentary elections; the ouster of Vladimir Y. Churov, who runs the Central Election Commission; investigation of election violations; the registration of so-called nonsystem opposition parties, ones that have been unable to win seats in Parliament or put forward presidential candidates.

Speakers said they would give the Kremlin two weeks to satisfy the demands, and hold another large protest on Dec. 24.

Aleksei Navalny, a popular blogger who has helped mobilize young Russians over the last year, sent an address from the prison where he is serving a 15-day sentence for resisting the police. Mr. Navalny was arrested Monday night after the first of three demonstrations.

“Everyone has the single most powerful weapon that we need — dignity, the feeling of self-respect,” read the address, which was delivered by a veteran opposition leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov. “It’s impossible to beat and arrest hundreds of thousands, millions. We have not even been intimidated. For some time, we were simply convinced that the life of toads and rats, the life of mute cattle, was the only way to win the reward of stability and economic growth.”

“We are not cattle or slaves,” he said. “We have voices and votes and we have the power to uphold them.”

The blogosphere has played a central role in mobilizing young Russians this fall. During the parliamentary campaign, Russians using smartphones filmed authority figures cajoling, bribing or offering money to their subordinates to get out the vote for United Russia. More video went online after Election Day, when many Russians in their 20s camped out in polling stations as amateur observers.

“The Putin system, over many years, repeats the same mistakes and ignores public opinion,” said Leonid Gigen, 26. “We have a lot of evidence. A lot was shot on video. And then Medvedev says these videos are fake,” a reference to President Dmitri A. Medvedev. “But people saw it themselves, because they voted.”

The ruling party, United Russia, lost ground in last Sunday’s election, securing 238 seats in the next Duma, compared with the 315, or 70 percent, that it holds now. The Communist Party won 92 seats; Just Russia won 64 seats; and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party won 56 seats.

The vote had come to be seen as a referendum not only on United Russia but also on Mr. Putin and his plans to stay on as Russia’s paramount leader. Mr. Putin remains by far the country’s most popular political figure — the independent Levada Center reports his approval ratings at above 60 percent — but that approval has been diminishing gradually despite the authorities’ efforts to shore it up.

It seems unlikely that the authorities will accede to the protesters’ demands. A deputy chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission told the Interfax news service that the final report on the election results was signed Friday, and that he saw no reason to annul them.

“The elections are declared valid, and there is no reason for any other assessment,” the official, Stanisav Vavilov, said. “There is no reason to revise the results of the elections.”

One of the few official remarks on the gathering on Saturday came from Andrei Isayev, the deputy secretary of the presidium of the general council of United Russia, who told demonstrators that they risked becoming “cannon fodder.”

“Do not allow yourself to become a pawn in the hands of those who want to destroy our country,” he said.

Michael Schwirtz, David M. Herszenhorn and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/world/europe/thousands-protest-in-moscow-russia-in-defiance-of-putin.html?_r=1&hp

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