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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 91117 times)
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« Reply #6495 on: Apr 8th, 2012, 6:18pm »

LiveScience

Crisis for US Science Is Looming, Physicists Warn


Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 06 April 2012

ATLANTA — The United States is at risk of ceding its leadership in science, a number of physicists agreed Monday (April 2), though there was less of a consensus on a clear solution to the problem.

Five physicists shared their worries about America's scientific future during a panel discussion here at the April 2012 meeting of the American Physics Society, saying that governmental funding for science research is in crisis, and not enough U.S. students graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

"There are some facts and figures that are very disturbing, which show the United States might be losing ground in science and discovery, whereas other countries are gaining," Pushpa Bhat, a physicist at Illinois' Fermi Accelerator National Laboratory (Fermilab), said at a press conference preceding the panel. "We can't sit back and watch."

Bhat lamented the lack of cutting-edge physics facilities in this country. While many of the world's best instruments and experiments, such as Fermilab's Tevatron particle accelerator, used to be housed here, that frontier has moved elsewhere. For example, the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, is located at the CERN lab in Switzerland, while Illinois' Tevatron has shut down.

"There are things that the country will miss out on if we don’t have such facilities here," Bhat said.

However, she and other physicists also said that now is a time for greater international collaboration between scientists, and that other countries' gains are not necessarily our losses.
"I think science is largely impervious to national boundaries," said Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek of MIT. "The U.S. still has leading efforts in most areas of science, and attracts students from all over the world. But I don't think we take advantage of that resource, because we make it difficult for them to stay. I think for science, it's a tragedy."

Wilczek said that both America's immigration laws and its cultural attitudes toward foreigners could be more welcoming.
And the physicists acknowledged that scientists will have to confront a hard reality: There is simply less money for research in the current economy.

"We need to redouble our efforts to make sure the projects we select are of the highest importance and impact, and be on the lookout for new technologies and innovations that would allow us to do more of our science goals with more modest resources," said Timothy Hallman, associate director of science for nuclear physics at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Jim Siegrist, director of the Office of High Energy Physics in DOE's Office of Science, agreed.

"We need to find a way to do more science with a fixed amount of money," Siegrist said.

"I think it'd be easier just to have more money," Wilczek replied.

He argued that society doesn't adequately value and recognize the economic benefits of basic science.

"Think about how much the invention of the transistor is worth," Wilczek said."The fundamental science that went into that was understanding quantum mechanics, understanding the micro world. Bohr didn't get rich from it, Heisenberg didn't get rich from it. But society got rich from it." (Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg were two of the pioneers of quantum mechanics.)

A number of the scientists stressed the importance of communicating the value of science to the public.

"The science community can do so much more to engage on the policy side," said Neal Lane, a physicist at Rice University and a senior fellow in science and technology policy at the university's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "We are not connecting as well as we should."

"It looks like we are doing a lot of outreach, but it has not been effective," Bhat said. "Maybe we are always preaching to the choir. Maybe we should have scientists talk to Jay Leno."

Ultimately, most of the physicists expressed some optimism about the future, particularly given the major advances being made in understanding the universe and its tiny components, from dark matter and dark energy to exotic particles like the Higgs boson.

"It's really an exciting time for science, and I think that ultimately we'll win if we could just communicate that in a clear way," Siegrist said. "I think we can resonate with the decision-makers inside the beltway. There's plenty of science to do for the whole planet. We don't actually need to colonize the moon to have enough science to do."

http://www.livescience.com/11233-science-spending-federal-budget.html
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« Reply #6496 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 08:24am »

Good morning Swamprat. Thank you for that article. It is sad the way we don't teach the sciences to our kids. What are they learning in school anyway? I had to take government, science, music, history. They don't teach government anymore. What the ?

Crystal


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« Reply #6497 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 08:32am »

Washington Post

For agency, a loss of technology has had down - and upsides
By Lisa Rein
Monday, April 9 2012

The virus struck in an e-mail 80 days ago, flagged by a federal team that monitors cyber threats. The target was a small job-development bureau in the Commerce Department. The infiltration was so vicious it put Commerce’s entire computer network at risk.

To avert a crisis, the Economic Development Administration unplugged its operating system — and plunged its staff into the bureaucratic Dark Ages.

E-mail? Gone. Attachments, scans, Google searches? Until further notice, no such thing.

Employees became reacquainted with their neighborhood post office and the beep-squeak-hiss of the fax machine. The must-have office supply switched from iPhone to toner.

Twelve weeks offline and the longest intrusion into a federal network in recent history is still wreaking havoc.

“We don’t yet have any deeper understanding of what happened,” Commerce Secretary John Bryson said in an interview. “But we have the best resources in the federal government looking into this.”

The hackers so far have outrun those investigators.

The EDA gives grants to distressed communities out of six regional offices, with a small Washington presence. It has 215 employees, a tiny corner of the federal landscape.

But its crippled system is evidence that every government network is vulnerable to cyber attacks that could disrupt business and spread. The number of intrusions reported to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team exploded to 44,000 in fiscal year 2011 from 5,500 in fiscal 2007.

Most of the attacks were swatted away. Others were serious. In recent years, hackers have penetrated e-mail and other systems at the Defense and State departments and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and attacked another Commerce bureau that handles sensitive information.

Cyber experts have repeatedly pointed to a lack of system security at Commerce. The agency’s IT systems “are constantly exposed to an increasing number of cyber attacks, which are becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to detect,” Inspector General Todd J. Zinser wrote last year.

As outside IT experts have tried to isolate the virus and flush it away, the agency spent weeks building a new operating network from scratch that required servers and equipment and a complex security firewall to prevent another virus from working its way into the new system.

Business has limped along as employees are slowly being brought back online on the new network. The security team has not been able to eradicate the virus, and the hackers’ motives, whether economic espionage or something else, are unknown.

The bottom line for now: Make do.

The already long vetting process for grants has slowed. How fast, after all, could it move when paperwork had to be sent by snail mail?

In the field, the first sign of trouble was bouncing e-mails.

Jason Anderson, economic development director in Rochelle, Ill., was waiting for word on funding for a railroad spur that would connect a freight line with a new rail car plant under construction in his city 75 miles west of Chicago. He called the EDA’s Chicago office in late January.

“I said, ‘Is there a problem on your end?’ They said, ‘Yeah, there’s a problem. We’ve just had a major computer meltdown here in the Region 5 office.’ ”

He grew impatient. Rochelle’s unemployment rate hit 10 percent this year. He was hearing little from Chicago.

Then the official reviewing the city’s application did something very unbureaucratic. He gave Anderson his private cellphone number. “He would make sure if I needed an answer to a question I got it,” Anderson recalled. “Sometimes it was after 5 p.m. I was quite taken back by that, to be honest.”

The announcement for a $2.4 million award arrived in February — by fax.

People are rediscovering what it was like to scribble down a “When you were out” slip. They pick up the phone, calling congressional staff members, for example, to announce a grant in their districts. They meet potential clients face to face.

With their data frozen on infected PCs and no place in the field to scan federal forms, staff members have retyped hundreds of pages into word processors, key by key.

“If someone told me I wouldn’t have e-mail for this long, I would have said it’s not possible,” said Jane Reimer, a planner in the Denver office who manually processed hundreds of grant applications. “I thought it was my lifeline.”

Employees refer to the outage as “The Disruption.” At Commerce headquarters on Constitution Avenue NW, managers panicked at first. How would business get done?

“There were things like, ‘How are we going [to] do our payroll?’ ” external affairs chief Angela Martinez recalled. Work hours were submitted from local libraries, home computers or mobile phones. The payroll went out on time.

Employees were instructed to call their clients and ask how they wanted to communicate without the Internet.

“It may just be better instead of trying to fax someone 100 pages to decide it’s going to be in the mail,” said Philip Paradice Jr., director of the Atlanta office.

“It’s not necessarily something you look forward to in life,” he said. “But there’s a certain invigoration that’s come up. We’ve come up with workarounds.”

Some staff members in Washington were able to log onto servers at other Commerce Department sites, but in limited doses. The risk of spreading the infection was too great.

The technological blackout hasn’t been too hard for some staffers, though.

EDA is a slow-turnover place. Plenty of people there remember when they looked up a number in the Yellow Pages or an address on a map.

“In those days, we had secretaries and clerical people,” recalled Shirley Marshall, a project engineer in Denver who started in the agency’s West Virginia office in 1966. “We wrote reports and gave them to the secretary to type up. I’m sure living without the Internet has been easier for me than some younger employees.”

The agency is starting over, issuing employees new e-mail addresses and laptops on loan from the Census Bureau. A skeletal Web site was restored last week. Fax machines have been ordered for staff members who work from home. Scanning and attachments are off-limits for now, however, and files and e-mail from the infected computers have not been recovered. Bugs are slowly being worked out. With security concerns so high, logging into the new system is cumbersome, employees said.

No one, however, can deny that there has been an upside: Human contact.

“You pick up your phone and you get back to some human interaction,” said Chris Massengill of the Delta Regional Authority in Clarksdale, Miss., which works with the federal government to jumpstart development in the Delta, “which in my opinion is never a bad thing, especially for government.”


www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-agency-a-loss-of-technology-has-had-down--and-upsides/2012/04/08/gIQAvpAY5S_story.html?hpid=z3

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« Reply #6498 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 08:48am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Monday, April 9, 2012 at 3:48 AM

US Navy deploys 2nd aircraft carrier to Gulf

The U.S. Navy said Monday it has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region amid rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear program.

The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —

The U.S. Navy said Monday it has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region amid rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear program.

The deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group marks only the fourth time in the past decade that the Navy has had two aircraft carriers operating at the same time in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, said Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.

The two carriers will support the American military operations in Afghanistan and anti-piracy efforts off Somalia's coast and in the Gulf of Aden, said Derrick-Frost.

The warships also patrol the Gulf's strategic oil routes that Iran has threatened to shut down in retaliation for economic sanctions.

The deployment of the second aircraft carrier is "routine and not specific to any threat," Derrick-Frost added. She did say how long the Navy will keep the increased military presence in region.

It was in June 2010 that the U.S. had two carriers operating in the region. Before then, the carriers were deployed in March 2003 during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and in February 2007 in support of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Enterprise is based in Norfolk, Va. It is the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that is now on its last mission.

The Enterprise was commissioned in November 1961. The carrier is scheduled to be deactivated this fall.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017939975_apmlgulfusnavy.html

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« Reply #6499 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 08:56am »

Wired

April 9, 1959: America Meets Its 7 Original Astronauts
By Tony Long
April 9, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: 20th century, Space Exploration


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The Mercury Seven, or Original Seven.
They are (front row, left to right) Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr., Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, John H. Glenn Jr., M. Scott Carpenter,
(back row) Alan B. Shepard Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
photo: NASA



1959: The first seven astronauts selected to participate in NASA’s Project Mercury are introduced by the space agency at a press conference in Washington.

Dubbed the “Mercury Seven” by the press, those chosen were John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra and Donald “Deke” Slayton.

Project Mercury was the United States’ first manned space-flight program. Its mission: to put an American in orbit around the Earth. Shepard was the first member of the fraternity into space, aboard Freedom 7. Although reaching an altitude of 116.5 statute miles and attaining a top speed of 5,134 mph, he did not complete an orbit. That honor would fall to Glenn 11 months later.

All the astronauts, with the exception of Slayton, who was grounded because of a previously undiscovered heart condition, flew in Project Mercury. Grissom would be killed in 1967 with two other astronauts when a flash fire consumed their capsule during training for the first Apollo mission.

The story of the “Mercury Seven” was recounted in The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, which was later made into an entertaining, if rather fanciful, movie by the same name.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2012/04/april-9-1959-america-meets-its-7-original-astronauts/

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« Reply #6500 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 09:00am »

Deadline Hollywood

Sony Plans To Slash 10,000 Jobs: Reports

By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor
Monday April 9, 2012 @ 7:52am EDT
Tags: Kazuo Hirai, Sony

The total represents about 6% of its workforce, according to multiple reports apparently beginning with Japan’s Nikkei. About half of the layoffs will come from Sony’s chemicals and its flat-panel businesses. Development Bank of Japan has already agreed to buy Sony’s chemical products business. In addition a new government supported operation, Japan Display Inc, is picking up Sony’s unit that makes small- to medium-sized liquid crystal displays.

Sony’s new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, who just replaced Howard Stringer, had warned that he would have to take “painful” measures to turn around the consumer electronics giant, which said it would end its fiscal year with a loss.

http://www.deadline.com/2012/04/sony-plans-to-slash-10000-jobs-reports/

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« Reply #6501 on: Apr 9th, 2012, 09:46am »

"For agency, a loss of technology has had down - and upsides"

“As outside IT experts have tried to isolate the virus and flush it away, the agency spent weeks building a new operating network from scratch that required servers and equipment and a complex security firewall to prevent another virus from working its way into the new system.”

angry huh

Pretty sad when the government can't stay ahead of these hackers. Imagine what this is costing us taxpayers!
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« Reply #6502 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 09:41am »

on Apr 9th, 2012, 09:46am, Swamprat wrote:
"For agency, a loss of technology has had down - and upsides"

“As outside IT experts have tried to isolate the virus and flush it away, the agency spent weeks building a new operating network from scratch that required servers and equipment and a complex security firewall to prevent another virus from working its way into the new system.”

angry huh

Pretty sad when the government can't stay ahead of these hackers. Imagine what this is costing us taxpayers!


Good morning Swamprat!

It makes my hair stand on end thinking about the money the gov. wastes.

Crystal
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« Reply #6503 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 09:47am »

Chicago Sun Times

Norway killer found sane in new examination

By BJOERN H. AMLAND
Last Modified: Apr 10, 2012 09:02AM

OSLO, Norway — The right-wing extremist who confessed to killing 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in Norway is not criminally insane, a psychiatric assessment found Tuesday, contradicting an earlier examination.

The new conclusion comes just six days before Anders Behring Breivik is scheduled to go on trial on terror charges for the massacre on July 22, and could prompt prosecutors to seek a prison sentence instead of compulsory commitment to psychiatric care.

It conflicts with an earlier assessment, which found Breivik psychotic both during and after the attacks, and diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic.

The court will take both psychiatric assessments into account during the trial, which starts Monday and is scheduled to last 10 weeks.

The new assessment was made by psychiatrists Terje Toerrissen and Agnar Aspaas on a request from the court after widespread criticism against the first diagnosis.

“Our conclusion is that he is not psychotic at the time of the actions of terrorism and he is not psychotic now,” Toerrissen told The Associated Press.

The full report was confidential and the psychiatrists declined to give details on why they reached a different conclusion than the first team of experts that examined Breivik. They said they will present their reasoning when they testify in the trial.

Breivik has confessed to setting off the bomb in downtown Oslo, killing eight, and opening fire at a youth camp outside the Norwegian capital, killing 69. But he denies criminal guilt, saying the attacks were necessary in what he calls a civil war against Islam in Europe.

When prosecutors indicted Breivik on terror and murder charges last month, they cited the first assessment and said they would seek compulsory psychiatric care instead of imprisonment unless new information about his mental health emerged.

Breivik claims he’s not insane and wrote a letter to Norwegian media saying the first review was based on lies. He was “satisfied” when he learned of the conclusions of the second examination Tuesday, his lawyer Geir Lippestad said.

Lippestad said the new report means Breivik’s testimony will be crucial “when the judges decide whether he is insane or not.”

Asked whether Breivik will defend his actions in court, Lippestad said: “He won’t only defend it, he will also regret that he didn’t go further.”

After the attacks, Breivik told investigators that he was part of a right-wing militant group plotting to overthrow European governments in a “patriotic” revolution that would lead to the deportation of Muslim immigrants from Europe.

Police, however, found no trace of his so-called Knights Templar organization, and say he planned and carried out the attacks on his own.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/11815778-418/norway-killer-found-sane-in-new-examination.html

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« Reply #6504 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 09:53am »

Wired

Navy Grounds Drone Copter Fleet
By Katie Drummond and Noah Shachtman
April 10, 2012 | 9:23 am
Categories: Navy


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After two recent crashes, operations of the Navy's robo-copter will reportedly be suspended indefinitely.
Photo: U.S. Navy



Updated 10:21 a.m. with new information from the Navy.

In recent years, the Navy’s Fire Scout robotic helicopters have racked up quite a resume: Drug busts off the coast of Latin America, counter-piracy missions off the shores of Africa and even covert surveillance in the skies above Afghanistan. But now, the drone ‘copters are going on an indefinite hiatus.

Operations of the MQ-8B Fire Scout will be suspended “for the indefinite future,” after the robo-copters were involved in two recent crashes. The news was first reported by FlightGlobal.com, and confirmed by Danger Room.

On March 30th, off the coast of west Africa, a technical glitch kept one Fire Scout from being able to land on the U.S.S. Simpson. “After multiple approaches and exhaustive troubleshooting by operators, the aircraft was positioned a safe distance from U.S.S. Simpson and the flight was terminated,” the Navy says in a statement. The Fire Scout dropped into the ocean, and then was recovered by the ship’s crew.

Days later, on April 6th, another one of the robo-copters appears to have crashed during surveillance operations in northern Afghanistan. “The cause of the crash is unknown at this time,” according to the Navy. But “in light of the recent mishaps, the Navy has temporarily suspended Fire Scout flight operations for 14 air vehicles in inventory while system performance and operational procedures are reviewed.”

Until now, Navy admirals have been staunch supporters of the troubled robo-copters. Despite a series of mishaps, the Navy as recently as this past summer was still keen on adding even more Fire Scouts to their growing fleet. But that was before these most recent crashes.





In theory, at least, the Navy’s enthusiasm over the Fire Scouts makes sense. The spy drones can lift off and land from a ship’s moving deck, and offer a suite of reconnaissance tech — cameras, sensors and radar — designed to quickly relay info back to human personnel. In a short amount of time, the Fire Scout fleet has racked up 3,000 flight hours on deployment.

But the drones haven’t always performed like they should. In 2010, the Navy lost contact with a Fire Scout flying over test grounds in Maryland; the copter eventually drifted into the restricted airspace around Washington, DC. A damning Pentagon report issued last year noted that the Fire Scout had a mere 50 percent success rate while aboard the U.S.S. Halyburton, and actually failed all 10 of its test missions before being deployed the Afghanistan. The Pentagon’s testing chief, Michael Gilmore, concluded that the robo-copters couldn’t be trusted to ”provide time-sensitive support to ground forces” because of “fragile” data links between the Fire Scouts and personnel.

The robo-copters also have a recent history of crashes, most notably this past summer, when a Fire Scout was shot down over Libya. At the time, it looked like Navy brass would continue to advocate for the Fire Scouts, with Rear Admiral Bill Shannon dismissing that incident (and the Pentagon report) as overblown. The Fire Scouts’ flight time grew to around 400 hours per month. The Navy even asked Congress for funding that’d double their supply of Fire Scouts, and started tests that’d arm the robo-copters with laser-guided missiles.

For now, those plans seem to be on hold.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/04/fire-scout/

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« Reply #6505 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 10:02am »

Reuters

China, between a rocket and a hard place on North Korea

By Benjamin Kang Lim
BEIJING | Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:30am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - A joke circulating among officials in Beijing pretty much underlines the bind China is in over North Korea's plans to send a satellite into space.

North Korea's young ruler Kim Jong-un phones a Chinese leader to tell him about timing of the planned rocket launch. "When will it be?" asks the Chinese leader.

Kim replies: "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four..."

Beijing has received more notice than that - the launch is likely later this week - but a source close to China's top leadership and a Western diplomat have both said it nevertheless has little influence over Pyongyang and is in no position to block the event.

The United States, which has said the launch will give the unpredictable state an opportunity to test ballistic missile technology, wants Beijing to use its influence to halt the lift-off.

"China has pressured North Korea to abandon (the launch) because it adds new variables and gives the United States an excuse to return to Asia," the source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions.

"China does not want to see this because Beijing and Shanghai are within range" of North Korean ballistic missiles, he said, referring to China's political and financial capitals and providing further evidence that Beijing does not have fully warm and friendly ties with its unpredictable neighbor.

Critics however are convinced China, the main provider of food and energy aid to its isolated neighbor, could do more to force North Korea to scrap the launch.

Last month U.S. President Barack Obama urged China to use its influence over North Korea instead of "turning a blind eye", and warned of tighter sanctions if the reclusive state presses ahead with the launch.

On Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there were signs that North Korea may also be preparing for a nuclear test, its third.

"We believe in particular that China joins us in its interest in seeing a denuclearized Korean peninsula, and we are continuing to encourage China in particular to act more effectively in that interest" she said.

Nuland told reporters a third North Korean nuclear test "would be equally bad if not worse" than the rocket launch.

It would be in the interests of both China and North Korea at this juncture to say Beijing has little influence over Pyongyang.

But the countries have maintained warm relations despite tensions in recent years. Before his death last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited China four times between May 2010 and August 2011. His son Kim Jong-un, who is now leader of the autocratic state, is believed to have accompanied him on at least one of this trips.

The rocket that North Korea has readied for launch from a forested valley in its remote northwest will showcase its ability to fire a missile capable of hitting the continental United States.

Pyongyang insists the weather satellite launch will be a milestone to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Kim Jong-un's grandfather, North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung, and backing down now would be seen as sign of weakness at home. Nonetheless, Washington and Seoul suspect it is a ballistic missile test.

"They can't launch the thing without using ballistic missile technology which is precluded by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874," said Nuland, the U.S. spokeswoman. "So regardless of what they say about it, it's still a violation."

But sending rockets skyward to mark momentous events is a tradition shared by the Communist leaders of both China and North Korea. Having launched satellites in 1982 and 1987 to mark the death anniversary of Mao Zedong and in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 to coincide with Communist Party congresses, China is finding it difficult to convince North Korea to back down.

COMING-OUT PARTY

Pyongyang's move, analysts say, is also aimed at further consolidating the power of Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, who became the third member of his family to rule North Korea after his father's death last December.

"If Kim No. 3 requires a symbol of his authority, that rocket launch might be that symbol tied to the legitimacy of the (ruling) Korean Workers' Party," the Western diplomat said.

That authority could be challenged if China were to pressure Pyongyang over the rocket launch at this juncture. And Beijing does not want any instability that could arise from a weakened Kim Jong-un.

But the real issue may China's willingness to exercise influence rather than its ability to do so.

"The question is not if China has or doesn't have leverage to pressure Pyongyang. The question is whether it wants to exercise that pressure," South Korean political commentator Shim Jae Hoon said. "Any sign of displeasure shown by China at this time will not fail to have an impact on Kim Jong-un."

And in the end, China sees some value in the North Korean regime as a buffer against South Korea-U.S. military alliance.

"The worst case scenario troubling Beijing is the prospect of a democratic, capitalist South Korea reunifying the whole peninsula. China thinks this will bring U.S. military presence close to its border," Shim said.

China is caught between a rock and a hard place.

"It's troublesome. North Korea is difficult to control. We have no choice but to help them" by continuing to provide aid, the source with leadership ties said, adding that squeezing Beijing's food and energy lifeline to Pyongyang could lead to an exodus of North Korean refugees destabilizing China's northeast.

China's relationship with North Korea was once characterized to be "as close as lips and teeth" after they fought side-by-side against the United States and South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. But the two strayed apart after Beijing flirted with capitalist-style reforms -- seen by Pyongyang as a betrayal -- and recognized Seoul in 1992.

Deng Xiaoping, China's late leader, once quipped that dynastic succession is not a Communist tradition, riling Kim Jong-il who was poised to take over from his father, sources familiar with China's foreign policy said.

China takes great pride in transforming itself into an economic powerhouse from a backwater after just three decades of reform and is growing increasingly impatient with what it sees as an incompetent North Korean leadership which cannot feed its own people, the sources said.

"Our relationship with North Korea is no longer 'If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold'," a second source with leadership ties said, quoting a Chinese idiom. "Nowadays, the teeth keep biting the lips, and it's hurting."

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Don Durfee)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/10/us-korea-north-china-idUSBRE83902J20120410

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« Reply #6506 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 10:06am »

Yahoo news

UFO or hoax? Aerial video over South Korea stirs speculation

By Eric Pfeiffer | The Sideshow
9 April 2012





A new video has surfaced that some claim shows a saucer-shaped UFO zooming past the window of a passenger airplane flying over Seoul, South Korea.

In the video, the unidentified passenger is filming the otherwise uneventful view from the plane's window. Suddenly he makes a startled sound as the white saucer-like image comes into view.

Later in the video, the purported UFO image is magnified. Ultimately, it looks more like an ivory colored bowler hat than a piece of futuristic flying technology. Is this just bad computer-generated imagery (CGI) and a cheap hoax from a prankster or a genuine unidentified object caught on film?

The same writer who speculates on the origin of this object also recently wrote about video taken from one of NASA's live video feeds. In that video, three objects in a triangle formation appear on screen about five minutes into the video. Someone from NASA chimes in to say the object is actually a piece of foil, aka space junk, and that its reflection is giving the appearance of three objects in a triangle formation.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/ufo-hoax-south-korean-video-stirs-speculation-174017145.html

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« Reply #6507 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 10:29am »

New York Times

April 9, 2012
Even as Violent Crime Falls, Killing of Officers Rises
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN

WASHINGTON — As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: rising numbers of police officers are being killed.

According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008.

The 2011 deaths were the first time that more officers were killed by suspects than car accidents, according to data compiled by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The number was the highest in nearly two decades, excluding those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

While a majority of officers were killed in smaller cities, 13 were killed in cities of 250,000 or more. New York City lost two officers last year. On Sunday, four were wounded by a gunman in Brooklyn, bringing to eight the number of officers shot in the city since December.

“We haven’t seen a period of this type of violence in a long time,” said Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly of the New York Police Department.

While the F.B.I. and other law enforcement officials cannot fully explain the reasons for the rise in officer homicides, they are clear about the devastating consequences.

“In this law enforcement job, when you pin this badge on and go out on calls, when you leave home, you ain’t got a promise that you will come back,” said Sheriff Ray Foster of Buchanan County, Va. Two of his deputies were killed in March 2011 and two wounded — one of them paralyzed — by a man with a high-powered rifle.

“That was 80 percent of my day shift,” he said.

After a spate of killings in early 2011, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asked federal authorities to work with local police departments to try to come up with solutions to the problem.

The F.B.I., which has tracked officer deaths since 1937, paid for a study conducted by John Jay College that found that in many cases the officers were trying to arrest or stop a suspect who had previously been arrested for a violent crime.

That prompted the F.B.I. to change what information it will provide to local police departments, the officials said. Starting this year, when police officers stop a car and call its license plate into the F.B.I.’s database, they will be told whether the owner of the vehicle has a violent history. Through the first three months of this year, the number of police fatalities has dropped, though it is unclear why.

Some law enforcement officials believe that techniques pioneered by the New York Police Department over the past two decades and adopted by other departments may have put officers at greater risk by encouraging them to conduct more street stops and to seek out and confront suspects who seem likely to be armed. In New York and elsewhere, police officials moved more officers into crime-ridden areas.

“This technique has become more popular across the country as smaller departments have followed the larger cities and tried to prevent crime,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. “Unlike several decades ago, there is this expectation that police matter and that police can make a difference.”

Commissioner Kelly said, “We try to put those officers where there is the most potential for violence.” However, he pointed out that most of the officers who have been shot in New York since December were not part of a proactive police deployment but were responding to emergencies.

Some argue that the rise in violence is linked to the tough economy. With less money, some states are releasing prisoners earlier; police departments, after years of staffing increases, have been forced to make cutbacks.

“A lot of these killings aren’t happening in major urban areas,” said James W. McMahon, chief of staff for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “One of the concerns we are looking at is that a number of officers are being laid off or furloughed or not replaced.”

The police chief in Camden, N.J., J. Scott Thomson, whose force of 400 was cut by nearly half last year because of financing issues, said that having fewer officers on the street “makes it that much more difficult to create an environment in which criminals do not feel as emboldened to assault another person, let alone a law enforcement officer.”

The murder of a veteran officer last April in Chattanooga, Tenn., was typical of many of the 2011 episodes.

Sgt. Tim Chapin, a veteran nearing retirement, rushed to provide backup to officers who had responded to reports of a robbery outside a pawnshop and were under fire. Sergeant Chapin got out of his car and chased the fleeing suspect, who had been convicted of armed robbery. During the pursuit, the sergeant was fatally shot in the head.

As part of the F.B.I.’s efforts to prevent officer deaths, the bureau trains thousands of officers each year, highlighting shootings like the one in Chattanooga to teach officers about situations in which they are most vulnerable. Those situations are typically pursuits, traffic stops and arrests, said Michelle S. Klimt, a top F.B.I. official at its Criminal Justice Information Services Center in Clarksburg, W.Va., who oversees officer training.

“Every stop can be potentially fatal, so we are trying to make sure the officers are ready and prepared every single day they go out,” Ms. Klimt said. “We try and teach that every day you go out, you are going to be encountered with deadly force by someone trying to kill you.”

Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Joseph Goldstein from New York. John H. Cushman Jr. contributed reporting from Washington.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/us/defying-trends-killings-of-police-officers-are-on-the-rise.html?hp

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« Reply #6508 on: Apr 10th, 2012, 2:33pm »

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We honor Corporal Antonio Burnside, a member of 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion killed April 6th, 2012 in Afghanistan. Burnside was killed by small arms fire while part of a route-clearance team. We will never forget the sacrifice made by Corporal Burnside.

This album is a memorial to those members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We will never forget these Paratroopers who gave everything in the service of their country.

Heroes Remembered
(https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745968969#!/media/set/?set=a.10150184053638805.324407.96324593804&type=3)



https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745968969#!/1bct82

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« Reply #6509 on: Apr 11th, 2012, 08:22am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Suicide bombings killing 16 may signal surge in Taliban attacks

Suicide-bomber attacks in Helmand province and Heart, Afghanistan's second largest city, may be an ominous sign that the Taliban's spring offensive is at hand.

By ALISSA J. RUBIN
The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a further sign that the insurgents' spring offensive is under way, suicide bombers struck in western and southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 16 people, according to Afghan officials in Herat and Helmand provinces, where the attacks took place.

A Taliban spokesman claimed that Taliban fighters were responsible for the attack in Helmand.

Although in the past few years fighting has been more a year-round than seasonal affair, combat does pick up sharply in eastern Afghanistan and parts of the north as the deep snow begins to melt in the mountain passes and fighters and supplies can more easily enter the country.

It is early, however, to gauge the strength of this spring offensive because much local support for the Taliban comes from farmers — and they are too busy to fight because they are tending their poppy crops.

Afghan military commanders say they expect the ranks of Taliban fighters to swell once the poppy harvest is in, but they also expressed optimism about their ability to face them down.

In Herat, for instance, there have been numerous attempts by suicide bombers to attack targets, but they have failed, said Ghulam Mohayuddin Noor, the provincial spokesman. He said that government officials believe that the real target Tuesday was the provincial governor, who was scheduled to be traveling on the road where the attack took place.

Herat is the second most populous city in the country and a place that has seen relatively little violence in the past few years. Some of the attacks that do happen can be large-scale, however. In May there were two suicide bombings, one of them attacking the NATO provincial reconstruction team on the outskirts of the city. In February, after the mistaken burning of Qurans by U.S. soldiers at Bagram Air Base, there was a demonstration in the city in which several people were killed and many others wounded when a police truck filled with bullets exploded.

In Helmand province, where at least four police officers were killed in the district headquarters when the suicide bombers attacked, the bombing was an ominous sign that despite an enormous effort on the part of U.S. and Afghan forces, the area was not entirely secure. Helmand is scheduled to have thousands of U.S. Marines pull out over the next eight months in order to meet the goal of reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to pre-surge levels.

The attack on Musa Qala was the first in months since U.S. Marines had painstakingly cleared the district of Taliban fighters.

For several years, the Taliban had been so dominant in Musa Qala that they ran a parallel government, including a justice system and prisons. They allowed the growing of poppies, the source of opium, and there was a thriving narcotics bazaar when the Taliban were in control, said an elder, who asked not to be named.

The target may well have been the district police chief, who has fought staunchly against the Taliban. He was critically wounded in the blast and was taken to a NATO base for treatment, said Daoud Ahmadi, the provincial governor's spokesman.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017951724_afghanistan11.html

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