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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 80193 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #5985 on: Jan 18th, 2012, 08:24am »

LA Times

Iran undecided on nuclear warhead, Israeli report says
January 17, 2012 | 10:56 pm
by Edmund Sanders


REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM -- Iran's government is fighting for its survival amid unprecedented political and economic pressure caused by international sanctions and internal opposition. But even as it moves to improve its nuclear capability, it has not yet made the final decision to build a nuclear warhead.

That's the Israeli intelligence assessment that U.S. officials will hear this week during security meetings with U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Israeli media reports.

The conclusions may signal that a possible Israeli airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities is not as imminent as some believe. But U.S. officials remain concerned that Israel may act alone in attacking Iran's nuclear program, possibly sparking a regional war.

This week's visit is part of the Obama administration's effort to address Israel's growing anxiety about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, where leaders have frequently called for the destruction of Israel.

The Israeli intelligence assessment found that U.S.-led economic sanctions -- and the threat of more to come -- are hitting ordinary Iranian pocketbooks and devastating the Iranian currency, according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

At the same time, internal political and religious battles are eroding the government's stability, raising doubts about its performance in parliamentary elections in March.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made contradictory statements in recent weeks about the sanctions policy. He has praised the success of economic sanctions in comments to international audiences but labeled them inadequate at home.

Israel, which has been a nuclear power for decades, though officially unacknowledged, has said it might attack Iranian nuclear facilities, but such a decision remains controversial.

Instead, analysts say Israel and U.S. intelligence agencies are probably behind a series of covert assassinations, facility explosions and computer viruses that have hampered Iran's nuclear program over the last two years. U.S. officials denied that they were involved in an assassination last week of a nuclear scientist in Tehran. Iran blamed on the attack on Israel, which declined to comment.

Although Israel, the U.S. and their allies say Iran's nuclear program aims to develop a weapon, Tehran contends that it is intended only for peaceful purposes.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/01/iran-undecided-nuclear-warhead-weapan-israeli-intelligence-report.html

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« Reply #5986 on: Jan 18th, 2012, 08:29am »

Telegraph

Costa Concordia: captain ‘says he tripped and fell into lifeboat’
18 January 2012
By Nick Squires, Giglio and Victoria Ward in Sorrento

The captain of the crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, has reportedly said the reason he was in a lifeboat while thousands of panic-stricken passengers and crew were trying to evacuate was because he “tripped” and fell into the rescue craft.

Mr Schettino told investigating magistrates in Grosseto, on the Italian mainland, that he ended up in the lifeboat by accident.

During three hours of interrogation on Tuesday, he reportedly said: “The passengers were pouring onto the decks, taking the lifeboats by assault. I didn’t even have a life jacket because I had given it to one of the passengers. I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60 to 70 degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That’s how I found myself there.”

He said he got stuck in the lifeboat for an hour before it was lowered into the water off the coast of Giglio island.

Also with him was Dimitri Christidis, the Greek second in command of the Concordia and Silvia Coronica, the third officer, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

“Suspended there, I was unable to lower the boat into the sea, because the space was blocked by other boats in the water.

The captain confirmed that he took the cruise liner close to Giglio’s rocky coast in order to give a ‘salute’ to an old colleague, a former Costa Cruises captain named Mario Palombo.

“It’s true that the salute was for Commodore Mario Palombo, with whom I was on the telephone. The route was decided as we left Civitavecchia but I made a mistake on the approach. I was navigating by sight because I knew the depths well and I had done this manoeuvre three or four times. But this time I ordered the turn too late and I ended up in water that was too shallow.

“I don’t know why it happened, I was a victim of my instincts.”

Once he had reached dry land and was allowed to leave the harbour master's office, Schettino's primary concern was to buy some socks.

Ottavio Brizzi, a taxi driver on the island of Giglio, said he picked him up at 11.30am on Saturday and took him the 400 yards to the Bahamas Hotel.

"It was a very short journey, no more than 30 seconds if that," he said. "He didn't say very much apart from asking me where he could buy some dry socks. He looked very cold and scared - he looked like a beaten dog."

Mr Schettino has been accused by one of the officers on board the Costa Concordia of skippering the ship "like a Ferrari" driver.

"If I had to make a comparison, we got the impression that he would drive a bus like a Ferrari," Martino Pellegrino told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.

Salvage work was expected to begin on the ship later on Wednesday, as hopes faded that any more survivors would be rescued. The search was suspended early on Wednesday morning after the ship shifted on the rock. 24 people remain missing, while 11 people have so far been found dead.

Mr Pellegrino said Capt Schettino was an "authoritarian" who was often "inflexible" in the way he commanded the giant liner as it cruised the Mediterranean.

Mario Palombo, a former Costa commander and colleague of the captain, said: "I've always had my reservations about Schettino. It's true, he was my second in command, but he was too exuberant. A daredevil. More than once I had to put him in his place."

It was reported that a month ago the captain insisted on setting sail from Marseilles in 60 knot winds, despite the reservations of his officers.

But other colleagues came to his defence. Michele Miccio, another officer on the ship, said Capt Schettino had forged "a brilliant career" with Costa Cruises.

The captain's sister, Giulia Schettino, said he had been unfairly subjected to "mud-slinging" and said the accusations against him had not yet been proved.

"My brother will demonstrate that he had no responsibility for what happened," she said.

Italians have been transfixed by the release of dramatic audio tapes in which furious Coast Guard officials questioned why he was in a lifeboat rather than commanding the evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew once it ran aground.

At one point a Coast Guard official, Gregorio De Falco, told him: "Get the ---- back on board." The phrase has been seized on by Italians on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and has been printed on T-shirts.

Capt Schettino arrived at his home near Sorrento, south of Naples, in the early hours of Wednesday, having been released from prison and placed under house arrest by an investigating judge.

He had been held in custody in prison in Grosseto, in Tuscany, since being arrested on Saturday, hours after the giant cruise ship ran aground on Giglio.

A judge, Valeria Montesarchio, ruled that he should be allowed to remain under house arrest as he awaits trial on accusations of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship.

The 52-year-old captain denied the allegations through his lawyer.

"The captain defended his role on the direction of the ship after the collision, which in the captain's opinion saved hundreds if not thousands of lives," Bruno Leporatti said. "The captain specified that he did not abandon ship."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/9022170/Costa-Concordia-captain-says-he-tripped-and-fell-into-lifeboat.html

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« Reply #5987 on: Jan 18th, 2012, 08:38am »

Defense News

F-35C Tailhook Design Blamed for Landing Issues
Jan. 17, 2012
By DAVE MAJUMDAR



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Lockheed Martin has traced issues with the F-35C's tailhook problem to design and is correcting it, the company said. / Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin has traced the U.S. Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter’s troubles with catching a carrier’s arresting gear wires to the tailhook design.

Efforts to fix the problem are well underway, a top company official said.

“The good news is that it’s fairly straight forward and isolated to the hook itself,” said Tom Burbage, Lockheed program manager for the F-35 program. “It doesn’t have secondary effects going into the rest of the airplane.”

Moreover, the rest of the design of the tailhook system, which include the doors and bay that conceal the device and other ancillary hardware, is sound, Burbage said.

“What we are trying to do is make sure that we got the actual design of the hook is optimized so that it in fact repeatedly picks up the wire as long the airplane puts itself in position to do that,” he said.

A preliminary review has already been completed and was done in conjunction with the Naval Air Systems Command and F-35 Joint Program Office.

Burbage said the hook system is already being modified in accordance with the new test data.

“We’re modifying the hook to accommodate what we found so far in test,” Burbage said. “The new parts, we expect to have them back in the next couple of months.”

Tests with the newly modified tailhook should start at Lakehurst, N.J, in the second quarter of this year, Burbage said.

That will give the F-35 program another set of data to study to make sure the new design works as promised. However, until those tests are done, there is no ironclad guarantee that the redesign of the tailhook will work, but Burbage said he is confident of that the modified design will be successful.

“The big test for this airplane is not until the summer of ’13 when we take the Navy jet out to the big deck carrier and do actual traps at sea,” Burbage said.

Burbage dismisses claims that the F-35C will be unable to land on a carrier as falsehoods.

“That’s patently not true,” he said.

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group, Fairfax, Va., said the claim that the F-35C could never land on a ship was always highly dubious.

“They turned the YF-17 into a carrier plane, why couldn’t they correct carrier-hook problems here?” he said. “This does not appear to be a killer problem.”

Flight testing is designed to uncover and fix problems with a new aircraft, Aboulafia said.

“This is the kind of problem that might come out during the flight testing of a carrier-based plane,” he said.

Aboulafia added that the F-35 is an extremely ambitious program with its three variants — technical problems are par for the course.

The reason the problem with the hook arose in the first place is because of the inherent constraints of building a stealth fighter, said Burbage. The F-35 is the first naval stealth fighter and as such, Lockheed had the unique challenge of designing the jet with a tail-hook that had to be concealed when it’s not being used.

Because the tail-hook has to fit within the outer mold line of the F-35, the device had to be fitted further forward on the jet’s ventral surface than on other naval aircraft, Burbage said. The result is that the hook behaves differently than on previous fighters like the F/A-18.

In an ideal world, an arresting-hook will catch a wire 100 percent of the time, however in the real world that doesn’t happen due to various dynamic forces, the veteran former Navy test pilot said.

In the case of the F-35, one of those dynamic forces includes the way the wires react when the jet passes over them. The wire reacts in a sine wave pattern, Burbage said. “The time differential between when the main gear rolls over the cable and the time the hook picks up the cable on a more convention airplane, there is more time for that wave to damp out,” he said. “In the case of the F-35, one of our design constraints is that hook just has to be closer to the main landing gear than on a conventional aircraft because of the requirement to hide it inside the airplane.”

Another factor that effects landing on a carrier is the sheer force of the impact from a carrier landing. Unlike conventional land-based aircraft, naval aircraft don’t flare on landing. While the landing is on a more precise spot, it causes the tail-hook to oscillate vertically- which increases the chances that it won’t catch a wire, Burbage said. The dampening of that motion has to be tweaked, he said.

The shape of the hook itself also has an effect on the probability of catching a wire, he added. All of these are being tweaked to increase the chances that the F-35C will catch a wire on a carrier’s deck.

“We’re doing a redesign of the hook to increase the probability the hook will engage the wire a high percentage of the time,” Burbage said.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120117/DEFREG02/301170010/F-35C-Tailhook-Design-Blamed-Landing-Issues?odyssey=tab

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5988 on: Jan 18th, 2012, 10:49am »

on Jan 18th, 2012, 08:29am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Costa Concordia: captain ‘says he tripped and fell into lifeboat’

Also with him was Dimitri Christidis, the Greek second in command of the Concordia and Silvia Coronica, the third officer, according to La Repubblica newspaper.



So did all three of these heroes trip and fall into the boat, or was the captain seeing his senior officers off when he "tripped", or what? rolleyes
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« Reply #5989 on: Jan 18th, 2012, 6:00pm »

on Jan 18th, 2012, 10:49am, Festivus wrote:
So did all three of these heroes trip and fall into the boat, or was the captain seeing his senior officers off when he "tripped", or what? rolleyes


Hey Festivus,

I was amazed that he gave that explanation. If you are going to lie at least try to make it plausible! rolleyes

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5990 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 07:16am »

on Jan 17th, 2012, 3:59pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Phil!

I don't pay too much attention to numbers. I may develop an interest, you never know. 5050 is fun!
I also don't think we're all gonna croak in December. Hope I'm right on that one. grin

Crystal

edit to add:
Now you got me going Phil, page 400

I've missed that we're already on page 400! Wow!! shocked

Don't know if it has any meaning and if it does I hope it's a good thing.

on Jan 18th, 2012, 10:49am, Festivus wrote:
So did all three of these heroes trip and fall into the boat, or was the captain seeing his senior officers off when he "tripped", or what? rolleyes

LoL! If that's not fishy...!! shocked grin
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« Reply #5991 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:15am »

on Jan 19th, 2012, 07:16am, philliman wrote:
I've missed that we're already on page 400! Wow!! shocked

Don't know if it has any meaning and if it does I hope it's a good thing.


LoL! If that's not fishy...!! shocked grin


Good morning Phil! cheesy

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« Reply #5992 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:19am »

LA Times


Britain admits to Cold War style espionage using 'fake rock'
January 19, 2012 | 4:56 am
by Janet Stobart

REPORTING FROM LONDON-- In a rare admission of espionage reminiscent of the Cold War years, a former British government official admitted that a fake rock discovered in 2006 by Russian FSB secret services in a Moscow park concealed a listening device planted by British spies.

Speaking on a three-part BBC documentary series starting Thursday -- Putin, Russia and the West -- Jonathan Powell chief of staff at the time to Labor prime minister Tony Blair said, "the spy rock was embarrassing, they had us bang to rights. Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose."

The rock and activity around it of men passing then picking up and handling the rock, was filmed by hidden Russian TV cameras and widely broadcast at the time, the Russian commentary identifying them as English. The film then showed the rock taken apart to reveal the delicate listening mechanism inside.

The Russian regime waited for some time before claiming publicly that it was a British device.

After the episode Russian leader Vladimir Putin did not expel the men who were the suspect spies but ordered a crackdown on several western funded NGOs claiming they were a front for western government intervention in Russia’s internal affairs.

A Russian-British diplomatic row followed.

Tony Brenton, British ambassador at the time said in a BBC radio interview Thursday that the consequeneces of the rock episode were “a considerable headache."

"The Russians chose their time carefully and it was politically very damaging,” Brenton said. “It was unfortunate that one of the people involved was also dealing with our relations with Russian non-governmental organizations and therefore the Russians were able to use the rock incident to launch accusations against the support we were giving to Russian non-governmental organizations.”

Brenton added that UK-Russian relations were deteriorating at the time and the incident “led us down the route which led us to the Litvinenko murder…to attacks on me personally, to attacks on BP and Shell.”

In November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security service officer turned investigative journalist, died in a London hospital of radiation poisoning from polonium. His journalism targeted corruption inside the Russian government and in a deathbed statement he accused Vladimir Putin of being in involved his death.


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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/01/britain-admits-cold-war-style-espionage-fake-rock.html

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« Reply #5993 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:26am »

Telegraph

Cruise disaster: quest for his violin cost ship's entertainer his life

A Hungarian musician who worked as an entertainer on the Costa Concordia died in the disaster after apparently delaying his escape to retrieve his violin.

By Nick Squires
6:50AM GMT 19 Jan 2012

Sandor Feher, 38, had helped children put on life vests but returned to his cabin to find his instrument, Jozsef Balogh, a fellow musician said. Mr Feher was named as one of the dead on Wednesday.

The search for possible survivors or more bodies was suspended Wednesday morning after instruments attached to the stricken ship showed it had moved nearly 5ft. Divers had been hoping to gain access to the fourth deck, where most of the bodies have been located.

There are fears that bad weather and rough seas today could shift the massive vessel and possibly send it plunging down a rock slope to a depth of 300ft.

A Dutch salvage firm, Smit, says it is ready to start pumping out the ship’s 500,000 gallons of diesel and oil, but Corrado Clini, the Italian environment minister, said the operation would not start until the search for the 22 people still missing was finished.

The relations of two of the missing – an Indian man and a Peruvian woman – arrived on the island of Giglio but hope is fading fast that anyone else will be found alive, given the freezing conditions and the fact that much of it is submerged.

Divers have found the spot where the $450 million cruise liner struck rocks, after the captain steered it too close to shore. After impact, the captain swung the ship around and grounded it on rocks near Giglio’s harbour.

Satellite tracking information showed that the ship sailed even closer to Giglio’s rocky shore last summer. Lloyd’s List told the BBC that the ship passed within 750ft of the island on Aug 14. Richard Meade, the editor of Lloyd’s List, said: “The company’s account of what happened, of the rogue master taking a bad decision, isn’t quite as black and white as they presented originally. This ship took a very similar route only a few months previously and the master would have known that.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/9023859/Cruise-disaster-quest-for-his-violin-cost-ships-entertainer-his-life.html

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« Reply #5994 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:33am »

Wired Danger Room

Air Force’s Top Brain Wants a ‘Social Radar’ to ‘See Into Hearts and Minds’
By Noah Shachtman
January 19, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: Air Force

Chief Scientists of the Air Force usually spend their time trying to figure out how to build better satellites or make jets go insanely fast. Which makes Dr. Mark Maybury, today’s chief scientist, a bit of an outlier. He’d like to build a set of sensors that peer into people’s souls — and forecast wars before they erupt.

Maybury calls his vision “Social Radar.” And the comparison to traditional sensors is no accident, he tells Danger Room. “The Air Force and the Navy in this and other countries have a history of developing Sonar to see through the water, Radar to see through the air, and IR [infrared] to see through the night. Well, we also want to see into the hearts and the minds of people,” says Maybury, who serves as the top science advisor to the Air Force’s top brass.

But Social Radar won’t be a single sensor to discover your secret yearnings. It’ll be more of a virtual sensor, combining a vast array of technologies and disciplines, all employed to take a society’s pulse and assess its future health. It’s part of a broader Pentagon effort to master the societal and cultural elements of war — and effort that even many in the Defense Department believe is deeply flawed. First step: mine Twitter feeds for indications of upset.

“We’re supposed to provide ISR,” says Maybury, using the military acronym for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. “But our constituents [say], ‘Don’t just give me a weather forecast, Air Force, give me an enemy movement forecast.’ What’s that about? That’s human behavior. And so [we need to] understand what motivates individuals, how they behave.”

Maybury, dressed in his preferred outfit — a double-breasted black blazer and silver, rectangular glasses — discussed his Social Radar notion as part of a 90-minute interview in his Pentagon office, his native Massachusetts accent growing thicker as the discussion drew on. An artificial intelligence and language processing specialist, he’s been working for the military, on and off, since the mid-1980s. But as the counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan wore on, he found himself drawn further and further into what he calls the “human domain” of combat.

In the last few weeks, the Pentagon may have downgraded counterinsurgency in its strategy revamp. But the need to spot potential troublespots early — and to understand how American actions might impact those restive populations — clearly isn’t going away. U.S. special forces are still training foreign armies (and impacting the people of those countries). The Shadow Wars continue — from Yemen to Pakistan to Mexico. And the geopolitical chess match with China will require deep knowledge of all of the pieces on the board.

Using biometrics, Social Radar will identify individuals, Maybury noted in his original 2010 paper on the topic for the government-funded MITRE Corporation. Using sociometrics, it will pinpoint groups. Facebook timelines, political polls, spy drone feeds, relief workers’ reports, and infectious disease alerts should all pour into the Social Radar, Maybury writes, helping the system keep tabs on everything from carbon monoxide levels to literacy rates to consumer prices. And “just as radar needs to overcome interference, camouflage, spoofing and other occlusion, so too Social Radar needs to overcome denied access, censorship, and deception,” he writes.



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It sounds almost laughably ambitious. And Maybury agrees the notion may be more of a long-term “organizing metaphor” than a particular program. Yet the building blocks are already being set in place, Maybury insists. In his original paper, Maybury notes that there are efforts underway at the MITRE Corporation that could help make a Social Radar real. For instance, there’s the “Forum and Blog Threaded Comment Analysis (FABTAC)” project, which analyzes online discussions “for intelligence and operations.” There’s “Exploring Soft Power in Weblogistan,” which developed “foundational Farsi and Dari language processing tools to enable analysis of large volumes [of] social media content.”

Most importantly, the language processing specialist says, new tools are coming online to perform what’s called “sentiment analysis” — identification of whether a particular status update is positive or negative. Analyze those sentiments in the aggregate, to see if people are generally content, and associate those feelings with particular geographic regions, and Maybury believes you’ve got the start of a Social Radar. He’s even developed a mock-up of a “Social Radar” desktop, complete with a “heat map” for tracking relative happiness.

The Air Force’s chief scientist isn’t alone in this effort. Over three years, the Pentagon has spent more $125 million on dozens of projects meant to better quantify, model — and, eventually, foresee — the human, social, cultural, and behavioral dimensions of conflict. Several of these “HSCB” systems are now in use in U.S. military units across the globe. Darpa’s Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS), for one, is being expanded to cover six of the Defense Department’s geographic commands, covering 175 different countries. Yet within the Pentagon, there are deep divisions over the program’s efficacy.

“Project supporters have marshaled evidence to demonstrate the validity of its approach,” notes one recent internal review of HCSB projects, “while critics have pointed to deficiencies in the scorekeeping method that exaggerate the accuracy of ICEWS forecasts.”

Well-respected retired generals and top military officials have rejected as hopeless the idea that human societies can be effectively modeled, or that human behavior can really be forecasted. “They are smoking something they shouldn’t be,” retired Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper famously quipped to Science magazine when this push began.

“We do better than human estimates, but not by much,” one Pentagon-funded predictioneer admitted.

Maybury is quick to push back on the criticism. “Just like nobody could imagine seeing through the night or seeing through water, nobody can imagine seeing attitudes. And actually, in my view, that’s very much a future reality,” he says.

Yet Social Radar is only the beginning of the Air Force’s effort in the area. The service is boosting its foreign language skills. Maybury wants his more traditional sensors to get better at spotting human behavior. “If I’ve got a radar combined with an [standard camera] combined with an IR, maybe I can tell what kind of action a human is performing,” he says.

The Air Force Research Lab is funding a study by San Francisco State University psychology professor (and former U.S. Olympic Judo Team coach) David Matsumoto to find “universal markers of deception.”

And in a presentation about the Air Force’s “contributions” to HCSB efforts, Maybury even lists “Metropolitan Area Persistent Sensing” — city-wide spying — as well as “micro munitions that limit collateral damage” and “non lethal directed energy weapons.” Accompanying the words is a picture of the weapon from the Air Force’s allegedly non lethal arsenal. It’s a ray gun that shoots invisible cousins of microwaves which make people feel like they’re being blasted by an open furnace.

Maybury admits these weapons are not, strictly speaking, part of the Defense Department push to better understand the human aspects of conflict. But “preservation of human life is a premium when one is attempting to generate support of the local population, stability and security while not increasing grievances,” he emails.

Perhaps a fully-functioning Social Radar will be able to gauge the impact of such a weapon on people’s allegiances. But it’s worth noting that, in 2010, when the heat ray was sent to Afghanistan for testing, commanders there shipped it back home without squeezing off a shot.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/01/social-radar-sees-minds/

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« Reply #5995 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:38am »

Seattle Times

January 19, 2012 at 6:30 AM
Page modified January 19, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Ice storm creating treacherous conditions

Freezing rain in the Seattle area has created treacherous conditions for drivers and has closed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

By Jack Broom
Seattle Times staff reporter

The National Weather Service issued an "ice storm warning" for much of the Puget Sound area Thursday morning as rain began falling, then immediately freezing, making a challenging commute even more treacherous.

Streets and highways were slick, all three runways at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were closed. Nearly all major school districts in the area were closed.

Thousands of homes and businesses around Western Washington were without power after trees and limbs heavy with snow fell into power lines.

Some relief could come as early as midday as temperatures gradually rise, with a high of 37 forecast for Seattle.

In Snohomish County, about 4,000 homes and businesses were without power as of 5 a.m., down from 10,000 overnight. Snohomish County PUD spokesman Mike Thorne said the outages were scattered around the county, mostly in rural areas. Most were caused when falling trees or branches, heavy with snow, hit power lines.

Puget Sound Energy had 10,000 customers without power Wednesday night, most of them in Thurston, King and Pierce counties. Another 21,000 homes and businesses had power restored during the day.

Slick roads were creating hazards throughout the area. Early Thursday, three lanes of northbound Interstate 5 near I-405 in Snohomish County were closed by a collision.

In Seattle, Transportation Department trucks were out spreading salt and de-icer.

In Oregon, rising water from heavy rains swept a car carrying at least two people into an overflowing creek in the Willamette Valley community of Albany. The two people escaped and authorities searched for others who might have been in the car, fire officials said. Early reports indicated that a child was missing, but fire officials said there were too many conflicting accounts be sure. A search was suspended until daylight.

As of Wednesday night, the Washington State Patrol had responded to 261 collisions in the preceding 21 hours, Trooper Guy Gill said. No fatalities were reported.

"I saw a guy in my rear mirror," Gill said earlier. "I saw headlights and taillights and headlights and taillights again as he spun around off the road."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017278326_weather20m.html

Crystal


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« Reply #5996 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:42am »

The Wrap

Sunk! How Hollywood Lost the PR Battle Over SOPA

Published: January 18, 2012 @ 3:19 pm
By Sharon Waxman

In the space of a couple of days, Hollywood and its content creators lost the public relations war over Internet piracy SOPA legislation -- which now appears poised to crumble into a million bits of dust.

Wow.

The messaging industry never had control of the message.

The tech guys found a simple, shareable idea -- the Stop Online Piracy Act is Censorship -- made it viral, and made it stick.

Hollywood had Chris Dodd and a press release. Silicon Valley had Facebook.

It shouldacoulda been a fair fight. But it wasn’t.

It seems that Hollywood still does not realize that it is in the information age. Knowledge moves in real time, and events move accordingly. The medium is the message in a fight like this.

Five days ago, almost nobody knew or cared about SOPA. But with lightning speed, the leviathans of the Internet, including Google and Facebook and Wikipedia, managed to brand this battle as Bad and mobilize millions of followers.

By Wednesday morning as Wikipedia went dark, the SOPA is Censorship message was on the cover and home page of every news outlet around the country. By midday, four senators and one member of Congress had backed off the legislation.

What was Hollywood doing? By midday the MPAA sent a press release – a press release! - with background information that offered the following:

“The PROTECT IP Act: Combating Online Infringement; Creating American Jobs, Promoting America’s Economy, Protecting American Consumers.”

Are you kidding me?

I’m not saying Chris Dodd did a great job speaking out on the subject (he didn’t), but honestly – that’s not how you reach people today.

Why didn’t Hollywood grab the tools of the Internet to explain that when artists get ripped off, everybody loses?

Why didn’t anyone call Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to post a hilarious, viral video that would make the point?

And where was the Creative Coalition when you needed it?

I’m not saying who is right and who is wrong in this fight. I’m just saying it’s a debate that has two sides. And it was news to me that the legislation only defines a website in violation as a website that is dedicated to infringing copyright.

Look, it’s never ideal when the government steps in to regulate speech of any kind. In fact, it’s exactly what Jack Valenti and the MPAA successfully fought decades ago, in adopting a voluntary movie ratings system and beating back attempts to have the government regulate.

But some heads have got to roll here. Hollywood showed today that it is completely clueless in leveraging the tools of the 21st Century.

The content creators who drive the business of the MPAA companies were failed by those companies today.

http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/sunk-how-hollywood-lost-pr-battle-over-sopa-34547

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« Reply #5997 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:46am »

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« Reply #5998 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 08:49am »

Hey! Where the heck is Swamprat? Hope everything is okay Swamp.

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« Reply #5999 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 11:49am »

on Jan 19th, 2012, 08:42am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
The Wrap

Sunk! How Hollywood Lost the PR Battle Over SOPA

Published: January 18, 2012 @ 3:19 pm
By Sharon Waxman

In the space of a couple of days, Hollywood and its content creators lost the public relations war over Internet piracy SOPA legislation -- which now appears poised to crumble into a million bits of dust.

<snip>

Hi Crystal,

I think this was a real wake-up call for Hollywood, it seems as if they believed congress would just roll over and comply with their demands and whilst I certainly don’t champion Google (as a business) I believe they are the main reason for this being blocked so easily.

I guess the pressure will be once again applied to ISP’s to release IP addresses of illegal uploaders/downloaders but as long as they (i.e. the ISP’s) continue to put the customer first I can’t imagine the laws changing any time soon.

Happy days!! grin


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