Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6901 on: Jun 25th, 2012, 08:37am »
Exclusive: India allows use of Iran ships for oil imports
By Nidhi Verma Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:31am EDT
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has allowed state refiners to import Iranian oil, with Tehran arranging shipping and insurance, from July 1, keeping purchases of over 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) flowing after European sanctions hit insurance for the cargoes, government and industry sources said.
India, one of Iran's biggest crude buyers, has just secured a waiver from U.S. sanctions which target Tehran's nuclear ambitions by cutting imports over 20 percent.
But European sanctions that come into effect from July 1 ban insurers and reinsurers from covering shipments of Iranian oil, leaving buyers in Asia - Iran's biggest market - struggling for cover.
Around 90 percent of the world's tanker fleet is covered by Western-based protection and indemnity (P&I) clubs, which insure against personal injury and environmental clean-up claims.
Among other Asian buyers of Iran oil, Japan will provide sovereign guarantees for Iranian shipments, China has asked Iran to deliver the crude while South Korea will halt imports from July.
"Yes, we have allowed them to buy oil from Iran on CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) basis," said a senior shipping ministry official.
Unlike private refiners, India's state-run companies need government permission to import oil on a CIF basis as federal policy requires them to favor Indian insurers and shippers by buying only on a Free on Board (FOB) basis.
India aims to buy 310,000 bpd of oil from Iran under contracts during the fiscal year from April to March, which includes 100,000 bpd of purchases by Essar Oil, the only private customer.
The United States earlier this month extended exemptions from its tough, new sanctions on Iran's oil trade to seven more economies including India but China remains vulnerable.
Indian state insurers led by General Insurance Corp (GIC) had agreed to provide $50 million of cover for the ships carrying Iran crude from July but this has been delayed as the insurance regulator has not yet given its approval.
The Shipping Ministry has said it has "no objection" to refiners buying oil from Iran on a delivered basis "for 6 months with effect from July 1, 2012 or until GIC provides P&I/H&M (Hull and Machinery) cover or U.S., EU sanctions are lifted; whichever occurs earlier," said a source privy to the letter.
A source at a refining firm also confirmed receipt of the letter.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) had already switched to insuring the oil with Iran Insurance Company, as its policy lapsed and local insurance companies refused to extend the cover, wary of the sanctions.
It remains unclear, however, how much crude Iran can actually export as it is using most of its vessels for storing crude as exports decline ahead of the new sanctions. The International Energy Agency estimates Tehran's exports have fallen 40 percent since the start of the year.
In addition, the Iranian tanker fleet is mostly Very Large Crude Carriers whose draught is too deep for Indian ports.
Indian state-refiners buy Iranian oil in Aframax and Suezmax tankers.
In July, state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp is planning to buy a Suezmax cargo while MRPL seeks to buy five Aframax cargoes. Purchase volumes fluctuate from month to month.
IOC, the country's biggest refiner, was not planning to buy any cargo from Iran in July, a company source said earlier.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Jo Winterbottom and William Hardy)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6902 on: Jun 25th, 2012, 08:45am »
What NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Discover By Adam Mann June 25, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: Space
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory is on its way. In a little more than a month, the 1-ton rover, which launched in November, will descend to the Martian surface.
The nuclear-powered robot is designed to make spectacular new discoveries about the Red Planet. It will drill and analyze the Martian soil to search for signs of water, past or present, and determine whether or not the planet was ever able to support life.
MSL dwarfs its immediate predecessors, the rovers Spirit and Opportunity and could almost crush the first Martian rover, Sojourner, beneath one wheel. Bringing a robot this large down safely necessitates a never-before-attempted landing system, though the increased size has let scientists pack 10 state-of-the-art instruments aboard and should allow the robot to rove farther than any before.
“Every time we land a new rover on Mars, our ability to understand the surface increases tremendously,” said geologist John Grotzinger of Caltech who is the project scientist for the mission.
While scientists don’t know exactly what new findings await the rover, they have good ideas of what they want to look for. The first few weeks of MSL’s life on Mars are already planned out in detail and after the mission starts in earnest, researchers have a number of targets they are eager to explore.
Here, Wired takes a look at MSL’s game plan after it gets its wheels on the ground on Aug. 5, and the early discoveries scientists are hoping to make.
MSL’s sky crane represents a brand new way to get a rover down to the surface of Mars. When the lander approaches the ground, it will fire rockets and hover 25 feet over the surface and then gently lower the robot down on wires. This landing system represents the limits of current technology, making MSL the largest mass to ever touch down on the Red Planet.
The new method doesn’t ruffle the science team too much.
“We’re actually really excited about the fact that we’ve got this guided entry capability,” said Grotzinger, adding that it allowed researchers to pinpoint their landing site with greater precision than ever. “People get nervous about sky crane, but it’s really a better landing system from a safety point of view.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6903 on: Jun 25th, 2012, 08:49am »
Originally published June 24, 2012 at 9:52 PM Page modified June 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM
Brotherhood victory in Egypt leaves Israel wary of fallout
Although Egypt's first Islamist president is a critic of the Camp David accords, he said Sunday he will abide by the nation's commitments. Cautious Israeli leaders plan to watch what he does, especially on Gaza.
JERUSALEM — The election of an Islamist as president of Egypt has heightened concerns in Israel about the future of relations between the two countries — ties that have been increasingly tested since the overthrow of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
But the worries raised by the victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi were masked Sunday in a carefully worded official response expressing readiness for continued contacts with the new Egyptian leadership and stressing the importance of the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace accord.
"Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of the presidential elections," said the statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. "Israel looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is a joint interest of both peoples and contributes to regional stability."
With so much still unknown about what powers Egypt's new president will have and the future role of the military in ruling the country, Israeli officials and analysts were wary of drawing swift conclusions from Morsi's victory.
While Morsi on Sunday declared that his government would abide by Egypt's international commitments, including the Camp David peace treaty with Israel, he has a long record of opposition to Egyptian-Israeli ties. Morsi has called Israelis "vampires" and has criticized the accord as a one-sided pact that Israel has failed to honor, particularly its provisions regarding the Palestinian issue.
The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is deeply unpopular in Egypt, although the Egyptian military has for 30 years honored the treaty, serving as the bulwark protecting a critical American concern in the Middle East.
The treaty has been denounced in post-revolutionary Egypt as a legacy of the Mubarak era, and Israel has become the occasional target of street protests.
A mob stormed the Israeli Embassy last year, forcing the withdrawal of the Israeli ambassador after a border incident in which Israeli troops killed five Egyptian officers. The Israeli forces were pursuing gunmen who had infiltrated from Egypt and carried out an attack that left eight Israelis dead.
Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., said Sunday his recent conversations with Morsi in Cairo suggest the president-elect understands "the importance of Egypt's post-revolutionary relationships with America and Israel."
Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy, said Brotherhood officials have not indicated an intention to scrap the treaty, which has made Egypt among the top recipients of U.S. aid since it was signed in 1979.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip Palestinian enclave, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood's ascent to power in Egypt has raised hopes that Gaza's relations with its powerful southern neighbor will improve.
Mubarak collaborated with Israel in a blockade of Gaza. The blockade, first imposed after Hamas-linked gunmen captured an Israeli soldier in 2006, was tightened the following year when Hamas violently seized power in the seaside strip.
Israel said the blockade was needed to prevent arms shipments to Hamas. Under heavy international pressure, Israel lifted some limits two years ago and Egypt eased travel restrictions after Mubarak's ouster.
Morsi hasn't said what plans he has for dealing with Gaza, which shares a 15-kilometer (nine-mile) border with Egypt, which ruled Gaza from 1948 to 1967.
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is a Pan-Arabic movement that favors creation of a Muslim state that encompasses the entire Middle East. It has never given up that goal, but as it gains official power in Egypt, winning parliamentary elections and now the presidency, it has indicated pragmatic willingness to accept the existence of Israel.
Although some Brotherhood leaders have said they will never meet with an Israeli official, they have been careful to say they would not cancel the treaty.
Like many other Egyptians, they favor amendments — primarily to allow more Egyptian troops into Sinai. Israel has already permitted an increase of troops there, demanding that Egypt bring violent extremists under control.
Since the demise of Mubarak, Israel has watched the security situation in Sinai deteriorate into lawlessness.
Armed gangs are believed to control wide swaths of territory, smugglers have helped thousands of African migrant workers sneak into Israel and various Arab militant groups, some believed to have ties to al-Qaida, operate freely.
Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, said the Egyptians would "have a lot to lose" if they canceled the peace, including Western investment and billions of dollars in U.S. aid. Even so, he warned, the treaty was not safe.
In the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of joyous Palestinians took to the streets after the result was announced. Gunmen fired automatic weapons in the air, and mosque loudspeakers reverberated with prayers. Some revelers handed out candy on street corners.
"Today is new era for us in Gaza. The days of suffering due to the Egyptian authorities are over, said Rawhi Talab, 51, a food-store owner.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh phoned Morsi to congratulate him on becoming Egypt's first Islamist president. "This is a victory for all Arabs and Muslims, and this is God's promise to his believers," the Hamas leader said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a secular leader who governs in the West Bank, also congratulated Morsi. "The president expressed his respect for the choice of the great Egyptian people," according to a statement from the official Wafa news agency.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, an Israeli Labor Party legislator and former defense minister who had close ties to Mubarak, said he believed that Morsi "will very quickly reach the conclusion that the peace treaty is a strategic interest of Egypt no less than Israel's.
"People in Egypt are looking for a livelihood, and if he wants to maintain Egypt's financial resources, he will have to abandon the path of confrontation with Israel," Ben-Eliezer said, adding that Israel should work to maintain its cooperation with Egypt's military.
Compiled from The Washington Post, The Associated Press, McClatchy Newspapers and the Los Angeles Times
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6904 on: Jun 25th, 2012, 08:54am »
Uploaded by eagle4life69 on Oct 27, 2011
Double Barreled Vengeance
Original Air Date: April 21, 1951
Host: Andrew Rhynes
Show: The Gene Autry Show
Gene Autry (Self) Champion (Gene's Horse)
Fuzzy Knight (Sagebrush - Sidekick) Nan Leslie (Yvette Wilson) Raymond Hatton (Slinger) Bill Kennedy (Sheriff Tom Lash) Gregg Barton (Gus, Card Player in Checked Shir) Reed Howes (Replaced by Ingram (credit only)) Holly Bane (Dusty - Livery Station Henchman)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6905 on: Jun 26th, 2012, 07:09am »
CEO exhorts lawmakers to stand ground on Russia bill
By Erik Wasson 06/25/12 08:20 PM ET
A prominent international investor who has been instrumental in the push for human-rights legislation related to Russia is exhorting lawmakers to stand their ground against White House and business efforts to weaken the bill.
Bill Browder, the CEO of London’s Heritage Capital Management, is visiting Capitol Hill this week in an effort to solidify support for legislation that would punish Russians involved in the death of attorney Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Magnitsky, a friend of Browder’s, died in a Russian holding cell after testifying against officials accused of corruption.
The human-rights bill, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and strongly supported by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), would try to apply visa restrictions and financial sanctions to those accused in the Magnitsky killing, and might force the State Department to publicly name and shame them.
“The story is so shocking that once you hear it, you can’t help but want to do something about it,” Browder told The Hill.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will convene Tuesday to mark up legislation. To the surprise of some business lobbyists, the panel intends to link the human-rights measure to another, time-sensitive bill that would grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia.
The PNTR bill must pass Congress by August if U.S. exports are to avoid a competitive disadvantage when Russia joins the World Trade Organization.
Passage of a strong Magnitsky bill is not assured. The Obama administration has qualms with it, and has been pushing a provision that would allow the State Department to keep secret the names of people targeted for human-rights abuses.
Browder blasted the administration’s resistance, comparing it to the way former U.S. administrations failed to confront South African apartheid in the 1980s.
“This blew up in their face,” he said. “Every executive body in every government of the world has the same approach: Don’t pick a fight with the Russians. Every administration had the same approach with South Africa, until the anti-apartheid movement got going.”
Browder wants lawmakers to secure a commitment from State that the 60 Russians accused of abuses in the Magnitsky case will be sanctioned.
“If this administration’s intent is honorable … then they should make it clear and public upfront that the Magnitsky 60 are not going to be made classified and not going to be excluded because of national security.”
There is also opposition in the House to linking the Magnitsky bill to the trade-relations vote, including from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.).
Browder has met with Camp and said he is “sympathetic” to the Magnitsky story and might help in getting the bill through the House, either in parallel with the trade bill or ahead of it.
Browder said he came to Washington this week to settle House uneasiness with the bill, counter administration foot-dragging and quell big-business efforts to gut it.
He’ll be aided in that effort Tuesday by the release of a short movie, “The Magnitsky Files,” that will recount, in graphic detail, the treatment the attorney received in Russia.
“The bill is pretty much going in our favor, but what this is going to do is shame anyone who is arguing against the bill,” Browder said of the film. “There are some people who argue we should just do business and look the other way when you see a murder. And you just can’t do that.”
Juleanna Glover, a former adviser to George W. Bush and McCain who is now an adviser at the Ashcroft Group, is assisting Browder in the lobbying push.
They have faced opposition from business lobbyists, who succeeded in limiting the scope of the bill to Russia after a lobbying blitz led by the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC). They are also grappling with public threats from the Russian government over the bill.
Browder, who has decades of experience doing business in Russia and has been banned from visiting the country over his human-rights crusade, said the Kremlin’s threats of retaliation are mere bluster.
“If you have read the words of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in the last three days, he is now backtracking on this highly hostile approach that the Russian ambassador has been taking. He’s essentially saying this is not that big a deal; he’s attributing it to American politics,” he said.
He said arguments by big business that the “agent clause” could be used to persecute American companies with only limited ties to any abuses — such as Microsoft or IBM, which might have supplied software or computers to companies employing abusers — ring hollow.
“That’s not going to happen. That’s a straw man,” he said.
Browder is more open to compromise on whether the bill should apply to abuses outside Russia, although he personally thinks it should apply widely.
“I know the administration is desperately against global application,” he said.
On the core issue of punishing those whom Browder believes cruelly killed his friend, the London investor gives no ground.
“How much money is it worth to look the other way when you have these types of facts, when a young man has been tortured to death by named corrupt individuals that we are trying to ban?” he said. “The first people who should be shamed is any business group that says this shouldn’t be done. … Whatever their business is, they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6906 on: Jun 26th, 2012, 07:14am »
Computer Analysis of EEG Patterns Suggests a Potential Diagnostic Test for Autism at Two Years Old
ScienceDaily (June 25, 2012)
Widely available EEG testing can distinguish children with autism from neurotypical children as early as age 2, finds a study from Boston Children's Hospital. The study is the largest, most rigorous study to date to investigate EEGs as a potential diagnostic tool for autism, and offers hope for an earlier, more definitive test.
Researchers Frank H. Duffy, MD, of the Department of Neurology, and Heidelise Als, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children's Hospital, compared raw EEG data from 430 children with autism and 554 control subjects, ages 2 to 12, and found that those with autism had consistent EEG patterns indicating altered connectivity between brain regions -- generally, reduced connectivity as compared with controls.
While altered connectivity occurred throughout the brain in the children with autism, the left-hemisphere language areas stood out, showing reduced connectivity as compared with neurotypical children, consistent with neuroimaging research. Findings were published June 26 in the online open-access journal BMC Medicine.
Duffy and Als focused on children with "classic" autism who had been referred for EEGs by neurologists, psychiatrists or developmental pediatricians to rule out seizure disorders. Those with diagnosed seizure disorders were excluded, as were children with Asperger's syndrome and "high functioning" autism, who tend to dominate (and skew) the existing literature because they are relatively easy to study. The researchers also excluded children with genetic syndromes linked to autism (such as Fragile X or Rett syndrome), children being treated for other major illnesses, those with sensory disorders like blindness and deafness and those taking medications.
"We studied the typical autistic child seeing a behavioral specialist -- children who typically don't cooperate well with EEGs and are very hard to study," says Duffy. "No one has extensively studied large samples of these children with EEGs, in part because of the difficulty of getting reliable EEG recordings from them."
The researchers used techniques developed at Boston Children's Hospital to get clean waking EEG recordings from children with autism, such as allowing them to take breaks. They used computer algorithms to adjust for the children's body and eye movements and muscle activity, which can throw off EEG readings.
To measure connectivity in the brain, Duffy and Als compared EEG readings from multiple electrodes placed on the children's scalps, and quantified the degree to which any two given EEG signals -- in the form of waves -- are synchronized, known as coherence. If two or more waves rise and fall together over time, it indicates that those brain regions are tightly connected. (Duffy likens coherence to two people singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" together. If they can see and hear each other, they are more likely to sing in synchrony -- so their coherence is high.)
In all, using computational techniques, the researchers generated coherence readings for more than 4,000 unique combinations of electrode signals, and looked for the ones that seemed to vary the most from child to child. From these, they identified 33 coherence "factors" that consistently distinguished the children with autism from the controls, across all age groups (2 to 4, 4 to 6, and 6 to 12 years).
Duffy and Als repeated their analysis 10 times, splitting their study population in half different ways and using half to identify the factors, and the other half to test and validate them. Each time, the classification scheme was validated.
"These factors allowed us to make a discriminatory rule that was highly significant and highly replicable," says Duffy. "It didn't take anything more than an EEG -- the rest was computational. Our choice of variables was completely unbiased -- the data told us what to do."
The researchers believe the findings could be the basis for a future objective diagnostic test of autism, particularly at younger ages when behavior-based measures are unreliable. Their most immediate goal is to repeat their study in children with Asperger's syndrome and see if its EEG patterns are similar to or different from autism. They also plan to evaluate children whose autism is associated with conditions such as tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome and extremely premature birth.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6907 on: Jun 26th, 2012, 07:17am »
June 26, 1974: Supermarket Scanner Rings Up Historic Pack of Gum By Randy Alfred June 26, 2012 | 12:00 am Categories: 20th century, Inventions
1974: A supermarket cashier scans a multipack of chewing gum across a bar-code scanner in Troy, Ohio. It’s the first product ever checked out by Universal Product Code.
Some readers may be unable to remember when grocery clerks had to put price stickers on nearly every item in the store. And retail cashiers had to read a price tag by eye and key in the price by hand. But that’s the way things were. The process was not only laborious, but it left the store manager with no idea of how much of each of thousands of different products had been sold and how much remained in stock.
There were four main methods of keeping tabs of inventory: Look for empty spots on the shelves and in storerooms, conduct a labor-intensive inventory during overnight downtime every week or so, take whatever the chain-store regional managers wanted to send you, or just guess. Good guessers at the local level got promoted to make regional guesses.
Even so, the supermarket bar code was a long time coming. It was an idea that needed to find a practical technology as well as appropriate application for it.
Drexel University graduate students Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland began working in 1948 on a retail-checkout system that would keep track of inventory. They started with ink patterns that would glow in ultraviolet light. Expensive. Hard to make the ink long-lasting.
Woodland left Philadelphia to work on the problem at his grandfather’s apartment in Florida. He thought Morse code would be a good way to mark inventory, but optical readers would require the checker to line up the code at a specific angle. Not practical.
While on the beach one day, Woodland punched some dots and dashes into the sand, then idly lengthened them into vertical lines and bars. Voilà! Those elongated marks would be readable from nearly any angle.
Woodland and Silver coupled this with an idea from movie technology: Lee de Forest’s 1920s sound-on-film system. They used light from a very hot 500-watt bulb to reflect off the printed lines and create patterns that could be read by a photomultiplier tube.
It worked, but it was too big, it was too hot, computers were still enormous and expensive, and lasers hadn’t been invented yet. The duo tweaked the tech, using bull’s-eye patterns instead of lines, for better readability. And they patented it. IBM was interested, but didn’t offer the inventors enough money. They eventually sold the patent to Philco, which later sold it to RCA.
Sylvania came up with a system of color bars in the 1960s and ’70s to mark railroad freight cars, but it didn’t work well. Meanwhile, a company called Computer Identics started building an industrial bar-code system for factories, but it could only handle two-digit numbers.
RCA, using the Woodland-Silver patent, tested a bull’s-eye code reader in 1972-73. The big problem was the ink smearing in the direction the printing press had run. Smears made those circles hard to read. With a bar code, you just had to set up the press to run in the direction of the lines, so they wouldn’t smear side-to-side.
For that and other reasons, the RCA system lost out to an IBM laser-reader system when the supermarket industry settled on standards in 1973. After much testing, the first commercial location in Troy, Ohio, was selected because it was near Dayton, home of NCR, which designed the checkout counter.
So, at 8:01 that fateful June morning, shopper Clyde Dawson grabbed a 10-pack (50 sticks) of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum from his shopping cart at the Marsh supermarket, and cashier Sharon Buchanan made the first UPC scan. The cash register rang up 67 cents (three bucks in today’s money). Retail history was made. The pack of gum itself is now displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
The entire check-out counter cost $10,000 ($44,000 today). The scanner itself cost $4,000 ($17,600 today). Scanners from the same company now cost just 1 percent of that (a trifling quarter-percent when adjusted for inflation).
The initial high costs weren’t recovered as quickly as promoters of the system predicted. But a network effect eventually took hold: The more products that had UPC codes, the more labor and consumer time was saved. And the more stores used the system, the lower the cost of the hardware, encouraging more stores to sign on, and so forth.
Today, retailers use the UPC codes not only to look up prices and control inventory, but to track individual consumer preferences, by credit card number or discount-club membership. The checkout computer can spit out coupons for products it thinks you might buy, and sellers can tailor their commercial pitches and strategize future marketing campaigns.
Besides the UPC code for retail goods, bar codes are now used all over the place: Rental-car companies put them on bumpers to track their fleets, airlines track luggage, shippers track packages, researchers track animals, NASA monitors heat tiles on its shuttle fleet, and fashion houses stamp bar codes on their models to make sure the right model wears the right parts of the right outfit at the right time in the fashion show.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6908 on: Jun 26th, 2012, 07:21am »
Canada Ramps Up Arctic Arsenal Jun. 25, 2012 - 10:03AM By DAVID PUGLIESE
OTTAWA — The Canadian Forces’ push to boost its presence in the Arctic is fueling the need for new equipment, ranging from stealthy snowmobiles to UAVs that can operate in the remote region.
Other companies are preparing to bid on the Canadian Army’s project to buy a new fleet of all-terrain vehicles for operations in the north.
The Army’s commander, Lt. Gen. Peter Devlin, said efforts to improve Arctic capabilities are progressing well, and that 800 Canadian soldiers conducted exercises in Norway in February and March. But increasing presence in such regions will require support from industry with new equipment, as well as help with logistics.
A new Arctic training base is set to be built, and plans are underway for construction of a new fleet of Arctic and offshore patrol ships at a cost of 3 billion Canadian dollars ($3 billion), as well as a 700 million-Canadian dollar Polar-class icebreaker.
“The challenge in operating in the north is that it costs big bucks,” Devlin said. “You have to transport yourself there, and then there are additional costs tied to fuel, tied to how syou feed yourself, tied to water, tied to sanitation.”
But defense companies are lining up to bid on the potential contracts.
Northrop Grumman has made a presentation to the Canadian government about selling a fleet of Global Hawk UAVs capable of patrolling the Arctic.
Canada has a plan to eventually purchase UAVs, but Northrop’s proposal would see the acquisition of Global Hawks outside of that project. Canadian government sources said the purchase is being consi-dered by the Conservative Party government as a way to show it is delivering on its promise to project Canada’s sovereignty over its Arctic territories.
Northrop official Dane Marolt said the company has proposed the purchase of at least three UAVs, dubbed Polar Hawks.
“One Polar Hawk can fly the entire Northwest Passage five or six times in a single mission,” said Marolt, director of international business development for the company’s Global Hawk program.
“With three aircraft, you can do coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That gives you situational awareness of what’s going on, so if something’s identified, then action can be taken by the government,” Marolt said.
The price would be about $150 million to $170 million for each UAV, plus long-term maintenance.
Armored Vehicle Proposals
The Army has an Arctic capability project underway called the medium all-terrain vehicle. Canada already operates the Hägglunds Bv206, a tracked armored vehicle built by a Swedish subsidiary of Britain’s BAE Systems.
“We have a re-life package for that or separately we have the BvS10,” said Jim Reid, BAE’s business development director for Canada.
Reid said such vehicles could play more than just a role in the Arctic.
“It’s not just about the snow. It actually gives you a capability to do other things,” he said, noting that the BvS10 has been used in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.
General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada and ST Kinetics, a Singapore firm, also have their eye on the Army project. They’ve joined forces to promote the Bronco New-Generation Marginal Terrain Vehicle.
No cost details or timelines have been released on the Army project.
The country’s decision to build a fleet of Arctic and offshore patrol vessels, as well as a new Polar-class icebreaker, has sparked discussions between the Army and Arktos Developments, Surrey, Bri-tish Columbia.
The company builds the Arktos amphibious craft, and company President Bruce Seligman said the government is interested in placing those onboard the patrol vessels and icebreaker.
The craft originally was designed to evacuate people from oil rigs, and it can carry 52 in that mode. Arktos has sold 21 amphibious craft so far, mostly to the oil and gas industry.
Seligman said in the Canadian situation, the Arktos could be used as a “connector” to transport people from ship to shore.
The Special Operations Forces Command also has an eye on developing equipment for the Arctic.
In August 2011, the Department of National Defence informed industry it was interested in the development of a prototype snowmobile for covert military operations in Canada’s Arctic. The department’s science branch, Defence Research and Development Canada, has reserved 500,000 Ca-nadian dollars to develop a prototype gas-electric hybrid vehicle.
The government has told industry that existing gas-powered engines are too noisy for covert operations, and it wants a snowmobile with a silent mode that could be activated when necessary.
The special operations forces are interested in acquiring such a vehicle, military sources said. It is expected that a prototype can be developed by next March.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been pushing for an increased military presence in the Arctic for several years.
“Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic; we either use it or lose it,” Harper said in July 2007, after he announced the patrol ship program. “And make no mistake — this government intends to use it.”
He has cited the presence of oil, gas and minerals in the country’s Arctic region, resources he labeled as critical to its economic growth.
Canada also is creating a 500-member Army response capability for the Arctic, and it is expanding the Canadian Rangers, a reserve force made up of First Nations and Inuit personnel.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6909 on: Jun 26th, 2012, 4:28pm »
Here is your chance to send ET a message.....
Possible Alien Message to Get Reply from Humanity
Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer Date: 25 June 2012
If there's something you'd like to say to aliens, now's your chance. The Wow! signal, a mysterious radio transmission detected in 1977 that may or may not have come from extraterrestrials, is finally getting a response from humanity. Anyone can contribute his or her two cents — or 140 characters, to be exact — to the cosmic reply via Twitter.
All tweets composed between 8 p.m. EDT Friday (June 29) and 3 a.m. EDT Saturday (June 30) tagged with the hashtag #ChasingUFOs will be rolled into a single message, according to the National Geographic Channel, which is timing the Twitter event to coincide with the premiere of the channel's new series, "Chasing UFOs."
Then on Aug. 15, exactly 35 years after the Wow! signal was detected, humanity's crowdsourced message will be beamed into space in the direction from which the perplexing signal originated.
"We are working with Arecibo Observatory to develop the best way to encrypt the transmission," said Kristin Montalbano, a spokeswoman for the National Geographic Channel. "Earlier transmissions have focused on simplicity, whereas this one will rely more on creating a complex but noticeable pattern, hopefully standing out from other random, natural noise.
"More than likely we will be using binary phase codes," or sequences of 1s and 0s.
The Wow! signal is the only blip of incoming data to have stood out from the noise in the four decades that astronomers have been scouring the heavens for signs of life — an effort known as the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, or SETI. The Big Ear radio observatory at Ohio State University picked up the intense 72-second radio transmission coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. At its peak, the transmission was 30 times more powerful than ambient radiation from deep space, prompting the volunteer astronomer Jerry Ehman to scrawl "Wow!" next to the data on a computer printout, giving the signal its name.
No one knows whether the seemingly unnatural signal really was beamed toward us by aliens, and despite great effort, scientists have never managed to detect a repeat transmission from the same spot in the sky. Thirty-five years on, the Wow! signal remains a complete mystery. It is hoped alien scientists — if they do, in fact, exist — will have better luck decoding humankind's reply.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6912 on: Jun 27th, 2012, 08:51am »
Wed, 27 Jun 2012 06:52:10 GMT
Divers face equipment failure near Baltic Sea UFO
London, Jun 27 (PTI) Mystery continues to shroud over the UFO-shaped object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, as divers exploring it claim that their equipment stops working when they approach within 200 metres of the circular object.
Professional diver Stefan Hogerborn, part of the Ocean X team which is exploring the anomaly, said their cameras and satellite phone refuse to work when directly above the object, but they continue to work once sailed away.
"Anything electric out there -- and the satellite phone as well -- stopped working when we were above the object. And then we got away about 200 meters and it turned on again, and when we got back over the object it didn''t work," the Daily Mail quoted him as telling Sweden''s NTD TV.
Diver Peter Lindberg said: "We have experienced things that I really couldn''t imagine and I have been the team''s biggest skeptic regarding these different kind of theories.
"I was kind of prepared just to find a stone or cliff or outcrop or pile of mud but it was nothing like that, so for me it has been a missing experience I must say."
The unidentified object was first found in May last year.
Sonar picture of the object resembled the famed Star Wars ship the Millennium Falcon, generating worldwide speculation.
During this visit, the team noted a 985-foot flattened out "runway" leading up to the object, implying it skidded along the path before stopping but no true answers are clear.
The mysterious object, which is raised some 10-13ft above the seabed and about 60 meters in diameter, is surrounded by a strange rock formation that expedition team can not explain.
They also found soot-covered rocks that encircled an egg-shaped hole which went into the object at its centre, and the team has no idea what it means.
"I am one hundred percent convinced and confident that we have found something that is very, very, very unique," Dennis Asberg, one of the team members, said.
"If it''s a meteorite or an asteroid, or a volcano, or a base from, say, a U-boat from the Cold War which has manufactured and placed there -- or if it is a UFO... Well honestly, it has to be something."
While the Ocean Explorer team is understandably excited about their potentially earth-shattering find, others are slightly more sceptical and are questioning the accuracy of the sonar technology.
In the past, such technology has confused foreign objects with unusual -- but natural -- rock formations.
A further dive will take place in the coming weeks.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6913 on: Jun 27th, 2012, 09:02am »
House to authorize civil court action against Holder in contempt vote
By Pete Kasperowicz 06/27/12 09:31 AM ET
When the House votes Thursday on a resolution finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, it will also consider a related resolution that gives the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee the authority to seek civil court judgments enforcing subpoenas against Holder.
The subpoena resolution, H.Res. 706, gives that committee the authority to "initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings in any federal court of competent jurisdiction" to seek judgments affirming that Holder must "comply with any subpoena" related to the House Republicans' investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.
The resolution gives House Republicans another tool to pressure Holder and the Obama administration to hand over Fast and Furious documents that the GOP has been seeking for more than a year. Republicans have charged that Fast and Furious allowed guns to leave the United States, some of which may have been used in the shooting of an American border agent.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and other Republicans have indicated that civil action against Holder could be needed if he continues to block access to Fast and Furious documents.
In the meantime, the contempt resolution against Holder already makes a criminal referral in the case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. It instructs the House to certify the committee's report documenting Holder's refusal to hand over documents to the U.S. Attorney for D.C., "to the end that Mr. Holder be proceeded against in the manner and form provided by law."
House Republicans have repeated that votes against Holder will not be needed if the Obama administration agreed to release the documents they seek. However, the administration said last week that it was asserting executive privilege over those documents.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House Rules Committee is expected to approve a rule for floor debate and voting on both the contempt resolution and the civil court resolution, setting up votes on Thursday.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6914 on: Jun 27th, 2012, 09:07am »
Alleged Mumbai plotter confirms Pakistan involved: India
By D. Jose THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:11am EDT
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (Reuters) - India said on Wednesday that a man arrested on suspicion of helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks had "confirmed" during interrogation that Pakistan was involved.
India has repeatedly accused its neighbor and arch rival of some degree of involvement in the attacks on its financial capital that killed 166 people and of acting too slowly in arresting those responsible.
The latest tit-for-tat underscores the fragility of ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors despite the resumption of peace talks broken off after the Mumbai attacks and warming trade relations.
However, India on Tuesday emphasized that talks between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries, scheduled for July 4-5 in New Delhi, would go ahead as planned.
Indian police arrested Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari at Delhi airport on June 21, accusing him of helping coordinate the attack by 10 gunmen of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group from a "control room" in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
"He has confirmed that he was in the control room and he has named a few people who were in the control room," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said of Ansari, despite the fact he has yet to be charged, let alone found guilty.
"So that confirms our suspicion that it was an organized effort which had some kind of state support. The argument that it was non-state actors who were behind the 26/11 massacre is no longer valid. We've always said that some state support was there for these people."
Indian media reported on Wednesday that members of Pakistan's ISI military intelligence agency were also in the control room at the time of the attack and supplied the plotters with laptops that enabled them to communicate with the attackers via an Internet voice service.
It was not possible to independently verify the information, which was sourced to Indian security officials.
Indian officials have in the past accused members of the ISI of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, although on Wednesday Chidambaram did not directly blame the intelligence agency.
Islamabad swiftly rebutted the latest charge. Rehman Malik, an adviser to Pakistan's prime minister on interior affairs, said there was no record of Ansari having entered the country legally.
"What I am saying is, let's stop the blame game," he told a news conference in Islamabad.
"At that point in time (the Mumbai attacks), Pakistan was blamed, that perhaps the state was involved. But we proved, not only to India, but to the world, that non-state actors were involved, not the state."
Pakistan routinely denies Indian accusations of Pakistani involvement in militant attacks on Indian soil.
Ansari's arrest casts a fresh spotlight on Pakistan's history of backing militant groups as a tool of foreign policy. Pakistan's ISI nurtured the emergence of the LeT in the early 1990s to serve as a proxy to fight Indian forces in Kashmir.
Pakistan denies backing militant groups, but experts believe the security establishment maintains a relationship with LeT.
(Reporting by D. Jose; additional reporting by Qasim Nauman in Islamabad; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Ross Colvin and Nick Macfie)