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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 44968 times)
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« Reply #7725 on: Dec 11th, 2012, 09:42am »

Wired

Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare
By Chloe Diggins and Clint Arizmendi
12.11.12 9:30 AM

It’s been fashionable in military circles to talk about cyberspace as a “fifth domain” for warfare, along with land, space, air and sea. But there’s a sixth and arguably more important warfighting domain emerging: the human brain.

This new battlespace is not just about influencing hearts and minds with people seeking information. It’s about involuntarily penetrating, shaping, and coercing the mind in the ultimate realization of Clausewitz’s definition of war: compelling an adversary to submit to one’s will. And the most powerful tool in this war is brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, which connect the human brain to devices.

Current BCI work ranges from researchers compiling and interfacing neural data such as in the Human Conectome Project to work by scientists hardening the human brain against rubber hose cryptanalysis to technologists connecting the brain to robotic systems. While these groups are streamlining the BCI for either security or humanitarian purposes, the reality is that misapplication of such research and technology has significant implications for the future of warfare.

Where BCIs can provide opportunities for injured or disabled soldiers to remain on active duty post-injury, enable paralyzed individuals to use their brain to type, or allow amputees to feel using bionic limbs, they can also be exploited if hacked. BCIs can be used to manipulate … or kill.

Recently, security expert Barnaby Jack demonstrated the vulnerability of biotechnological systems by highlighting how easily pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) could be hacked, raising fears about the susceptibility of even life-saving biotechnological implants. This vulnerability could easily be extended to biotechnologies that connect directly to the brain, such as vagus nerve stimulation or deep-brain stimulation.

Outside the body, recent experiments have proven that the brain can control and maneuver quadcopter drones and metal exoskeletons. How long before we harness the power of mind-controlled weaponized drones – or use BCIs to enhance the power, efficiency, and sheer lethality of our soldiers?

Given that military research arms such as the United States’ DARPA are investing in understanding complex neural processes and enhanced threat detection through BCI scan for P300 responses, it seems the marriage between neuroscience and military systems will fundamentally alter the future of conflict.

And it is here that military researchers need to harden the systems that enable military application of BCIs. We need to prevent BCIs from being disrupted or manipulated, and safeguard against the ability of the enemy to hack an individual’s brain.

The possibilities for damage, destruction, and chaos are very real. This could include manipulating a soldier’s BCI during conflict so that s/he were forced to pull the gun trigger on friendlies, install malicious code in his own secure computer system, call in inaccurate coordinates for an air strike, or divulge state secrets to the enemy seemingly voluntarily. Whether an insider has fallen victim to BCI hacking and exploits a system from within, or an external threat is compelled to initiate a physical attack on hard and soft targets, the results would present major complications: in attribution, effectiveness of kinetic operations, and stability of geopolitical relations.

Like every other domain of warfare, the mind as the sixth domain is neither isolated nor removed from other domains; coordinated attacks across all domains will continue to be the norm. It’s just that military and defense thinkers now need to account for the subtleties of the human mind … and our increasing reliance upon the brain-computer interface.

Regardless of how it will look, though, the threat is real and not as far away as we would like – especially now that researchers just discovered a zero-day vulnerability in the brain.

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/12/the-next-warfare-domain-is-your-brain/

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« Reply #7726 on: Dec 11th, 2012, 09:46am »

Seattle Times

Originally published December 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM
Page modified December 11, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Seattle retiree sentenced in 1957 murder case

Longtime Seattle resident Jack McCullough, 73, has been sentenced to life in prison in one of the oldest cold cases in U.S. history, the 1957 slaying of a 7-year-old girl in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough's attorney promised an appeal.

By Don Babwin
The Associated Press

SYCAMORE, Ill. — Friends and family who had all but given up on seeing anyone brought to justice for the murder of a young Illinois girl more than 50 years ago said they were at peace Monday after a former police officer from Washington state was sentenced to life in prison.

Jack McCullough, 73, was arrested July 1, 2011, at a retirement home in Seattle where he worked as a security guard. He was convicted in September in one of the oldest unsolved crimes in the U.S. to make it to trial.

He was sentenced in a small-town courtroom a few blocks from where Maria Ridulph played with a friend on Dec. 3, 1957, before she was grabbed, choked and stabbed to death in an alley. The 7-year-old's body was found months later in woods more than 100 miles away.

The little girl's friends and relatives didn't utter a sound or betray the slightest emotion as a silver-haired Jack McCullough stood, turned to them and proclaimed his innocence.

"I did not, did not, kill Maria Ridulph," said McCullough, who grew up in Sycamore and was 17 when Ridulph died. "It was a crime I did not, would not, could not have done."

Judge James Hallock admonished McCullough to face him, not the spectators, and a sheriff's deputy stood behind McCullough to block his view of relatives and a childhood friend of Maria's.

"He can say all he wants to say," Kathy Chapman, now 63, said afterward. "This finally puts this part of my life to a resting point."

Chapman had been playing with Maria in the snow when she went to get mittens, leaving her friend with a teen who had been giving them piggyback rides. When she returned, both were gone.

Chapman and others had waited 55 years for justice, and they made it clear they weren't going to let McCullough hurt or affect them again. When the sentencing was over, they simply walked out of court.

"I'm satisfied," said Charles Ridulph, Maria's older brother.

"This is all we could expect," Chapman added, referring to the life sentence. Illinois abolished the death penalty last year. "Now Maria is finally at peace."

Monday's hearing was the latest chapter in a case that started during a more trusting and innocent era when people across the country, and particularly in small towns like Sycamore, left doors unlocked and parents didn't give much thought to their children hopping on bikes and riding off with friends — or playing in their own front yards.

No crime like this had ever happened in Sycamore, and the abduction of a child was rare anywhere. Before the massive search ended with the girl's body found in a forest the next April, it was said President Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover asked for daily updates on the investigation.

In asking for the longest possible sentence, DeKalb County Assistant State's Attorney Victor Escarcida tried to capture just what McCullough did to the people in the courtroom, who were children themselves when the girl vanished.

"Jack McCullough left a lifetime of emotional wreckage in his wake," he said. "Jack McCullough made Sycamore a scary place. Now there was a true boogeyman living among them."

But nobody knew it was McCullough. Though he was one of more than 100 people who were briefly considered suspects, he had what seemed a solid alibi. On the day Maria vanished, he told investigators, he'd been traveling to Chicago for a medical exam before joining the Air Force.

McCullough spent years in the military, first in the Air Force and then in the Army. He worked as a police officer in Lacey, Thurston County, and Milton, Pierce County, according to a document of probable cause. He eventually settled in Seattle.

McCullough might have lived out his life quietly, but on her deathbed in 1994 his mother told McCullough's half-sister, Janet Tessier, that she'd lied to police when she supported her son's alibi.

Once a new investigation was launched, authorities went to Chapman, Maria's childhood friend, and showed her an old photograph of McCullough. A half-century later, she identified him as the teenager who came up to them that snowy day and introduced himself as "Johnny." McCullough's name was John Tessier in the 1950s. He changed his name in 1994, according to court documents.

Chapman and Janet Tessier both testified at trial.

McCullough did not. On Monday, he pointed to a white box that he said contained 4,000 pages of FBI documents that he said would prove he was not in Sycamore when Maria disappeared. His attorneys had argued during the trial that the material supported McCullough's alibi, but Hallock ruled it inadmissible because the people in the documents were dead and could not be cross-examined. On Monday, McCullough's attorney said there would be an appeal and that the FBI documents would be part of that appeal.

McCullough, who suffers from heart and blood-pressure problems, also was sentenced to five years for kidnapping — the maximum sentence for that crime in 1957. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years, his attorney said.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019878610_sentencing11.html

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« Reply #7727 on: Dec 12th, 2012, 10:04am »

Der Spiegel

12/11/2012

Whirlwind Rescue Helicopter Blows Trapped Deer Off Icy Lake

The firemen called out to rescue a deer trapped in ice on a lake near the town of Eutin in northern Germany had almost given up. The ice was too thin to hold the men, but strong enough to prevent the stricken animal from freeing itself.

Time was running out. It was Saturday afternoon and the light was failing. So the men took the difficult decision to summon a local hunter to put the animal, trembling with fright and cold, out of its misery. Just two weeks before Christmas.

"But the hunter refused to take the shot because of the risk of hitting someone on the opposite shore," a spokesman for the police in the city of Lübeck told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

That's when the deer's guardian angel appeared in the form of a passing police helicopter that happened to be in the area. "Its pilot had been listening to the police frequency and heard what was going on," the spokesman said. "He offered to help and had the idea of tilting the helicopter to create a strong downdraft. That literally blew the deer off the lake."

Once the animal had hit the shore, it got up and skipped off into the forest, apparently unhurt, the spokesman said.

The case may have set a precedent. "Every time a deer's in trouble somewhere, we're going to have to call in a helicopter now," said one policeman.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/german-police-helicopter-rescues-trapped-deer-from-frozen-lake-a-872184.html

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« Reply #7728 on: Dec 12th, 2012, 10:12am »

The Canadian

UFO: Holographic-like entity uncloaks over Antarctica

Date: 12 December 2012
Posted By : Edited by Raymond


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Hans G, a regular reader of UFO Sightings Daily managed to spot UFOs within the Continent of Antarctica on November 30, 2012 . The sighting occurred between 12:05-12:10 pm on that day, although Scott C. Waring only posted it on December 5, 2012.

The witnessing of this kind of UFOs is becoming an everyday affair with each day revealing more of the alien characteristic that were previously hidden for the human population. There have been many UFO sightings and recordings all over the Earth as well as around the Earth’s corona and even on Mars. So, this sighting of “Semi-cloaked UFOs” is not a one-off occurrence.

According to the report posted by Waring of UFO Sightings daily, the UFO sighting was made on Mawson Scientific station. Hans G, the witness who brought the sighting to the attention of the founder of the UFO reporting site did manage to obtain evidence of the UFOs on several screenshots. He also filmed the whole sighting. This is something Waring alluded to on his posted report on the even when he wrote that Hans G “He caught the UFO on several screenshots and a video.”

Unfortunately, like many other witnesses to alien events Hans G. must have been over-excited. “I was really excited to see a UFO and I was trying to work so fast that I didn’t see everything properly. As a result, I did not manage to obtain video footage that I could work with and present as evidence.” Waring did state something to this effect: “Sadly the video did not work.” Fortunately, for this veteran UFOlogists the screenshots he obtained from Hans G. were great. In fact Waring stated in his December 5, 2012 posting that “these shots are fantastic!”

Waring then goes on to describe what has been shown on the screenshots he obtained from the witness of the Antarctic UFO sightings. “As you can see, the objects in question appear as a semi-transparent disk that moves past the cam.” It is important to note that the “cam” in this case refers to the live web camera that was installed in Mawson Station in Antarctica.

Overall, there are six screenshots according to Waring. However, he only uploaded two of them that he considers “great captures.” The December 5th report also features edited video footage from the Australian Antarctica Division of that UFO sighting on Mawson Scientific Station. It is a great piece of the puzzle on the activities of aliens and UFOs on earth. Waring is therefore quite grateful to Hans G. for the heads up: “Thank you Hans for this report.”

one more screen shot of the sighting after the jump:
http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/ufo_extraterrestrials/2012/12/12/5075.html

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« Reply #7729 on: Dec 12th, 2012, 10:18am »

Reuters

North Korea launches rocket , raising nuclear arms stakes

By Jack Kim and Mayumi Negishi
Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:26am EST

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents.

The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

"The satellite has entered the planned orbit," a North Korean television news reader clad in traditional Korean garb announced, after which the station played patriotic songs with the lyrics "Chosun (Korea) does what it says".

The rocket was launched just before 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), according to defense officials in South Korea and Japan, and was more successful than a rocket launched in April that flew for less than two minutes.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said that it "deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit", the first time an independent body has verified North Korean claims.

North Korea followed what it said was a similar successful launch in 2009 with a nuclear test that prompted the U.N. Security Council to stiffen sanctions that it originally imposed in 2006 after the North's first nuclear test.

North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile-related technology under U.N. resolutions, although Kim Jong-un, the youthful head of state who took power a year ago, is believed to have continued the state's "military first" programs put in place by his late father, Kim Jong-Il.

North Korea hailed the launch as celebrating the prowess of all three members of the Kim family to rule since it was founded in 1948.

"At a time when great yearnings and reverence for Kim Jong-il pervade the whole country, its scientists and technicians brilliantly carried out his behests to launch a scientific and technological satellite in 2012, the year marking the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung," its KCNA news agency said. Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather, was North Korea's first leader.

The United States condemned the launch as "provocative" and a breach of U.N. rules, while Japan's U.N. envoy called for a Security Council meeting. However, diplomats say further tough sanctions are unlikely from the Security Council as China, the North's only major ally, will oppose them.

"The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences," the White House said in a statement.

U.S. intelligence has linked North Korea with missile shipments to Iran. Newspapers in Japan and South Korea have reported that Iranian observers were in the North for the launch, something Iran has denied.

Japan's likely next prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who is leading in opinion polls ahead of an election on Sunday and who is known as a hawk on North Korea, called on the United Nations to adopt a resolution "strongly criticizing" Pyongyang.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated that the rocket was a "peaceful project".

"The attempt to see our satellite launch as a long-range missile launch for military purposes comes from hostile perception that tries to designate us a cause for security tension," KCNA cited the spokesman as saying.

"STUMBLING BLOCK"

China had expressed "deep concern" prior to the launch which was announced a day after a top politburo member, representing new Chinese leader Xi Jinping, met Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, its tone was measured, regretting the launch but calling for restraint on any counter-measures, in line with a policy of effectively vetoing tougher sanctions.

"China believes the Security Council's response should be cautious and moderate, protect the overall peaceful and stable situation on the Korean peninsula, and avoid an escalation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told journalists.

Bruce Klingner, a Korea expert at the Heritage Foundation, said: "China has been the stumbling block to firmer U.N. action and we'll have to see if the new leadership is any different than its predecessors."

A senior adviser to South Korea's president said last week it was unlikely there would be action from the United Nations and Seoul would expect its allies to tighten sanctions unilaterally.

Kim Jong-un, believed to be 29 years old, took power when his father died on December 17 last year and experts believe the launch was intended to commemorate the first anniversary of his death. The April launch was timed for the centennial of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

Wednesday's success puts the North ahead of the South which has not managed to get a rocket off the ground.

"This is a considerable boost in establishing the rule of Kim Jong-un," said Cho Min, an expert at the Korea Institute of National Unification.

There have been few indications the secretive and impoverished state, where the United Nations estimates a third of people are malnourished, has made any advances in opening up economically over the past year.

North Korea remains reliant on minerals exports to China and remittances from tens of thousands of its workers overseas.

Many of its 22 million people need handouts from defectors, who have escaped to South Korea, for basic medicines.

Given the puny size of its economy - per capita income is less than $2,000 a year - one of the few ways the North can attract world attention is by emphasizing its military threat.

It wants the United States to resume aid and to recognize it diplomatically, although the April launch scuppered a planned food deal.

The North is believed to be some years away from developing a functioning nuclear warhead although it may have enough plutonium for about half a dozen nuclear bombs, according to nuclear experts.

It has also been enriching uranium, which would give it a second path to nuclear weapons as it sits on big natural uranium reserves.

"A successful launch puts North Korea closer to the capability to deploy a weaponized missile," said Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

"But this would still require fitting a weapon to the missile and ensuring a reasonable degree of accuracy. The North Koreans probably do not yet have a nuclear weapon small enough for a missile to carry."

The North says its work is part of a civil nuclear program although it has also boasted of it being a "nuclear weapons power".


(Additional reporting by Jumin Park and Yoo Choonsik in SEOUL; David Alexander, Matt Spetalnick and Paul Eckert in WASHINGTON; Linda Sieg in TOKYO, Sui-Lee Wee and Michael Martina in BEIJING,; Rosmarie Francisco in MANILA; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Robert Birsel)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/us-korea-north-rocket-idUSBRE8BB02K20121212

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« Reply #7730 on: Dec 12th, 2012, 10:27am »

Hollywood Reporter

India Sitar Legend Ravi Shankar Dies
9:08 PM PST 12/11/2012
by Mike Barnes


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Ravi Shankar and George Harrison in 1970


Ravi Shankar, a master of the sitar who brought the music of India to the Western world in the 1960s aided by a mystical collaboration with George Harrison, has died. He was 92.

Shankar died Tuesday at Scripps Memorial Hospital outside San Diego. His website said that Shankar was suffering from upper-respiratory and heart issues during the past year and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.

Harrison met Shankar in London in 1966 and visited India for six weeks to study sitar under him. A year later, Shankar performed a four-hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival and two years later played opening day at Woodstock.

Harrison organized the charity Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York in August 1971, in which Shankar participated, and the two toured and recorded an album later in the decade. The spiritual Harrison once called Shankar "the godfather of world music."

On Wednesday, the Recording Academy announced that Shankar is one this year's seven recipients of its Lifetime Achievement Award. On Dec. 5, the legendary musician and his sitar-playing daughter Anoushka (the wife of Atonement director Joe Wright) were each nominated for Grammy Awards in the world music category. Another daughter is American singer-songwriter Norah Jones.

In New Delhi, the Indian prime minister's office confirmed Shankar's death and called him a “national treasure.”

Shankar also collaborated with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane as he worked to bridge the musical gap between the West and East.

The Byrds heard Shankar's music when they shared a recording studio, and the group introduced Indian classical music to The Beatles. Harrison used a sitar to record the song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," but he sought out Shankar, already an icon in India, to teach him to play it properly.

The pair spent weeks together, starting the lessons at Harrison's house in England and then moving to a houseboat in Kashmir and later to California.

Gaining confidence with the complex instrument, Harrison recorded the Indian-inspired song “Within You Without You” for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band from 1967, helping spark the raga-rock phase of '60s music and drawing increasing attention to Shankar and his work.

Some of the era's biggest bands also incorporated the raga sound into songs, including The Rolling Stones ("Paint It, Black") and The Kinks ("Fancy," "See My Friends"). So did two of 1967's biggest one-hit wonders: The Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine" and Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)."

Shankar's popularity exploded, and he soon found himself playing on bills with some of rock's top musicians of the era.

The sitar became a touchstone of the burgeoning psychedelic rock scene. Although the audience for his music had hugely expanded, Shankar, a serious, disciplined traditionalist who had played Carnegie Hall, chafed against the drug use and rebelliousness of the hippie culture.

“I was shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly,” Shankar told Rolling Stone of the Monterey festival. "They were all stoned. To me, it was a new world."

In 1971, moved by the plight of millions of refugees fleeing into India to escape the war in Bangladesh, Shankar reached out to Harrison to see what they could do to help.

In what Shankar later described as “one of the most moving and intense musical experiences of the century,” the pair organized two benefit concerts at the Garden that included Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr.

The Concerts for Bangladesh, which spawned a chart-topping triple album and a film, raised millions of dollars for UNICEF and inspired other rock benefits, including the 1985 Live Aid concerts.

Shankar's final performance came Nov. 4 in Long Beach, Calif.

Ravindra Shankar Chowdhury was born April 7, 1920, in the Indian city of Varanasi.

At age 10, he moved to Paris to join the world-famous dance troupe of his brother Uday. During the next eight years, Shankar traveled with the troupe across Europe, America and Asia; he later credited his early immersion in foreign cultures with making him such an effective ambassador for Indian music.

During one tour, renowned musician Baba Allaudin Khan joined the troupe, took Shankar under his wing and eventually became his teacher through 7 1/2 years of isolated, rigorous study of the sitar.

In the 1950s, Shankar began gaining fame throughout India. He held the influential position of music director for All India Radio in New Delhi and wrote the scores for several popular films. He began writing compositions for orchestras, blending clarinets and other foreign instruments into traditional Indian music.

And he became a de facto tutor for Westerners fascinated by India's musical traditions.

He gave lessons to Coltrane, who named his son Ravi in Shankar's honor, and became close friends with Menuhin, recording the acclaimed 1967 album West Meets East with the American violinist. He also collaborated with flutist Jean Pierre Rampal, composer Philip Glass and conductors Andre Previn and Zubin Mehta.

“Any player on any instrument with any ears would be deeply moved by Ravi Shankar,” Byrds singer David Crosby said in the book The Dawn of Indian Music in the West: Bhairavi. "If you love music, it would be impossible not to be."

Shankar's personal life, however, was more complex.

His 1941 marriage to Baba Allaudin Khan's daughter, Annapurna Devi, ended in divorce. Although he had a decades-long relationship with dancer Kamala Shastri that ended in 1981, he had relationships with several other women in the 1970s.

In 1979, he fathered Jones with New York concert promoter Sue Jones, and in 1981, Sukanya Rajan -- who played the tanpura at his concerts -- gave birth to his daughter Anoushka.

He grew estranged from Sue Jones in the '80s and didn't see Norah for a decade, though they later re-established contact.

He married Rajan in 1989 and trained Anoushka as his heir on the sitar. In recent years, father and daughter toured the world together.

Shankar won three Grammys and was nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for his score for the best picture winner Gandhi.

"We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time," his family said in a statement. "Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music."

Survivors also include three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ravi-shankar-dies-401180

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« Reply #7731 on: Dec 13th, 2012, 10:21am »

New York Times

December 13, 2012

Japan Scrambles Jets in Island Dispute With China
By HIROKO TABUCHI

TOKYO — A Chinese military surveillance plane entered what Japan considers its airspace on Thursday, and Japan scrambled fighter jets in response, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.

The episode threatened to escalate tensions over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls and calls the Senkakus; the plane flew near the islands. China claims them as well and calls them the Diaoyus.

For months, patrol ships from the two countries have sporadically faced off in nearby waters, exchanging protests over loudspeakers and, on some occasions, sparring with water cannons.

Though Japan routinely sends jets to meet and monitor Chinese aircraft skirting its air space, the Japanese Defense Ministry said the episode was the first known violation of Japanese airspace by a Chinese plane in more than 50 years. Tokyo lodged a formal protest with Beijing, which swiftly retorted that it was the Japanese who had encroached.

The episode came just days ahead of national elections in Japan on Sunday that are expected to result in a change in government.

In an embarrassment for the current administration, Japan’s radar systems failed to detect the Chinese surveillance plane on Thursday morning, and Tokyo became aware of its presence only after a Japanese Coast Guard ship spotted it near the islands. By the time fighter jets were dispatched from the island of Okinawa, the Chinese plane was nowhere to be seen, a Defense Ministry official said.

With the Japanese jets yet to arrive, the Coast Guard ship’s crew radioed the Chinese plane, “Do not intrude into Japanese airspace,” And the aircraft’s crew responded, “This is Chinese airspace,” according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura called the Chinese actions “extremely regrettable.” Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of joint staff of Japan’s Self Defense Forces, said it was regrettable that the plane had entered Japanese air space unnoticed. “We are going to make sure this does not happen again,” General Iwasaki said.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said: “I want to stress that these activities are completely normal.”

“China requires the Japanese side stop illegal activities in the waters and airspace of the Diaoyu islands,” the spokesman said.

The Japanese Defense Ministry said it was only the third time foreign aircraft were known to have violated Japanese airspace since 1958, when Tokyo started keeping records of intrusions. A Soviet military jet entered Japanese territory in 1979 and a Taiwanese private plane in 1994, though neither incident led to confrontation.

With the Japanese elections just days away, public unease over China’s growing military shadow could provide a further boost for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which has promised to strengthen Japan’s military and is leading the governing Democratic Party in the polls. Public unease was increased when a rocket launched by North Korea on Wednesday flew over Japanese territory.


Hisako Ueno contributed reporting from Tokyo, and Bree Feng from Beijing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/japan-scrambles-jets-in-island-dispute-with-china.html?hp

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« Reply #7732 on: Dec 13th, 2012, 10:24am »

Wired

Pentagon Warns: ‘Pervasive’ Industrial Spying Targets U.S. Space Tech

By Robert Beckhusen
12.13.12 6:30 AM

In 2011, two Chinese nationals were convicted in federal court on charges of conspiring to violate the Arms Control Export Act after attempting to buy thousands of radiation-hardened microchips and sell them to China. The day the pair were sentenced to two years in prison for the plot, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, called it an example of how “the line between traditional espionage, export violations and economic espionage has become increasingly blurred.”

It’s also an example of the increasing number of military and space technology espionage cases being uncovered in the U.S. each year, according to a new report from the Defense Security Service, which acts as the Pentagon’s industrial security oversight agency. According to the report, first noted by InsideDefense.com, industrial espionage has grown “more persistent, pervasive and insidious” (.pdf) and that “regions with active or maturing space programs” are some of the most persistent “collectors” of sensitive radiation-hardened, or “rad-hard” microchips, an important component for satellites. And now with North Korea having successfully launched its first satellite, it’s worth taking a close look.

The report doesn’t single out any country for space-tech espionage, lumping the suspected origins of espionage plots together into regions such as East Asia and the Pacific. But according to the report, many espionage attempts arising in Asia reflect “coordinated national strategies” by governments that “perceive themselves as being surrounded by threats, including from each other.” Because of this, these governments desire to upgrade their armies and make themselves more self-sufficient. Front companies originating in Asia and involved in espionage have also attempted to sell technology to countries that are — wink — “hostile to U.S. interests.”

If it’s China the DSS is referring to as a “hostile” country, then it’s a bit unusual. As a rule, the U.S. normally takes pains not to characterize China, or most countries, like that, with exceptions such as North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Still, these are only hints, and it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where these cases are coming from. Twenty-three percent of espionage attempts from East Asia were “attributed to cyber actors and were non-specific in nature.” Attempts to acquire technology through front companies is also difficult to track. Governments and militaries in Asia use “complex and very opaque systems” to acquire American technology, and it can be hard to establish the identity of a government behind a shady front company with no specific connections.

These cases also have often little to do with classic espionage — like infiltrating spies into the Defense Department — or even smuggling. Instead, most are the seemingly more mundane ways to steal military secrets, such as seeking technology directly from the suppliers and then exporting the technology without a license.

In other words, the “spies” just ask defense, aerospace and technology companies for what they want, and hope the companies don’t ask too many questions. The spies also frequently appear to be representatives of what seem to be otherwise legitimate companies, but are actually fronts. They file Request for Information paperwork (or RFIs) to get details from the government about various technologies. There’s also a growing amount of “suspicious network activity” that can include malicious programs to infect sensitive databases.

Nowhere is this more true than for rad-hard microelectronics. These chips are frequently used in space, as they’re built with a greater number of transistors than other microchips, which helps protect them against the onslaught of extra-atmospheric radiation while in orbit. They’re super important to satellites and NASA space missions, for one. There’s also a growing number of cases targeted against other space technologies used in “processing and manufacturing” and directed-energy systems. In 2011, reports collected by the DSS on attempts to acquire sensitive rad-hard electronics increased by 17 percent, a pretty sizable jump.

It’s worth not overstating the espionage cases as a whole, though. Espionage cases against technologies that are targeted most often — information systems, lasers and optics, aeronautics and electronics — have not increased. But there is an increase in the overall number of reports. Some of that is probably just due to greater reporting of cases, and not necessarily more espionage. According to the DSS, the number of case reports increased by 65 percent from 2010 to 2011. The number of these reported cases that turned into “suspicious contact reports” increased by 75 percent, though. But that may just mean the DSS is getting better at spotting the espionage. And the only consistent data is a “relentless upward trend” in the number of cases.

The other question is how the espionage attempts break down across regions. It’s probably not surprising that the Asia-Pacific region counts for most: some 42 percent. The Defense Security Service also thinks it’s very likely the attempts to seize rad-hard chips will continue to increase, as ”the perceived need within this region for modern militaries combined with growing economies will very likely fuel the continued targeting of U.S. technologies,” the report notes. Combined with the Near East — or the Middle East and North Africa — the number jumps to 61 percent. The rest largely come from Europe and the former Soviet bloc.

It also shows just how spycraft is often rather humdrum. As opposed to the fantasy image of spies, the reality is often — like the two Chinese nationals arrested for violating an arms embargo — as simple as calling up a company for information. The result is that company’s trade secrets ending up in China or worse, North Korea, which is a nightmare for any business owner. But for the U.S. government, it’s a serious threat to national security.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/space-espionage/

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« Reply #7733 on: Dec 13th, 2012, 10:29am »

Kansas City Star

Posted on Fri, Dec. 07, 2012 09:02 AM

Seen Bigfoot in Kansas? TV show will investigate

By Beccy Tanner
The Wichita Eagle

The Animal Planet network will come to Kansas next month because the elusive Bigfoot has reportedly been seen tippy-toeing in our midst.

Sean Mantooth, a producer for the show “Finding Bigfoot,” confirmed Thursday the TV crew will come to the Wichita area in late January to film scenes in Kansas.

“I can’t discuss any specific elements of the show in Kansas, including the locations where we will be,” Mantooth said. “We don’t want people knowing where we will be and try hoaxing us or coming out to watch us.”

The hit TV show premiered in May 2011.

Followers of the show know each episode usually involves a town hall meeting in which people are invited to share their experiences of Bigfoot.

Kansas will be no exception.

A town hall meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 26 in the Wichita area, Mantooth said. The location has yet to be determined.

Kansans can meet with the crew: Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) president Matt Moneymaker, and researchers James "Bobo" Fay, Cliff Barackman and Ranae Holland.

“We want people to come out and we’ll listen to their stories,” Mantooth said.

A few weeks ago, an episode featured the crew exploring an area around Oklahoma City, finding a long strand of hair that was scientifically determined not to be human.

“There are lots of possibilities,” Mantooth said. “We do know it wasn’t human DNA.”

Could it have come from a buffalo?

“I will concede nothing,” Mantooth said.

What will the crew do in Kansas?

“We have a few tricks up our sleeve,” Mantooth said. “There have been ’squatch sightings. People will just have to tune in and watch.”

Sightings in Kansas?

Bigfoot in Kansas?

Well, maybe.

Consider these reports:

In 1978, the chief of police for Chetopa, in Labette County, reported finding 2 1/2 miles of animal-like tracks with footprints measuring 17 inches long and 5 5/8 inches wide.

In 1984, a Sedgwick County woman and her daughter reported being followed by a large animal as they walked along a dark, country lane.

An Aug. 15, 1869, article in the St. Louis Democrat reported that nearly every resident of Crawford County had seen a beast nicknamed "Old Sheff."

“Several times it has approached the cabins of the settlers, much to the terror of the women and children. . . . It has a stooping gait, very long arms with immense hands or claws; generally walks on its hind legs but sometimes on all fours."

In October 1978, The Wichita Eagle reported an 8-foot-tall, Bigfoot-like creature was seen twice in three weeks roaming by the Kansas Turnpike near Lawrence.

According to the Gulf Coast BigFoot Research Organization’s website, at least 13 counties in Kansas have reported Bigfoot sightings, including in Sedgwick, Harvey and Butler counties. The most recent sighting in Sedgwick County was in 2006. The website reported that a husband and wife were fishing on a boat at night on the Arkansas River when they felt they were being watched and heard a deep, guttural growl.

The self-funded group, which is not associated with Animal Planet, was formed in 1997 to research Bigfoot sightings in southern states and invites the public to submit sightings to the website. Members spend as much time as possible in the field with night vision equipment, infra red heat sensors and other equipment looking for Bigfoot or evidence, such as footprints, that Bigfoot exists.

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/07/3953364/seen-bigfoot-in-kansas-popular.html#storylink=cpy

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« Reply #7734 on: Dec 13th, 2012, 10:33am »

Hollywood Reporter

Why Studios Don't Pay to Make Movies Anymore (Analysis)

5:00 AM PST 12/13/2012
by Kim Masters

Hollywood film studios have evolved so dramatically during the past decade that it feels as though some are making movies almost reluctantly. As one producer puts it, "Studios are becoming marketing and distribution service companies." Aside from pre-branded franchises and sequels, asks another veteran producer, "What is our business about?"

The basic characteristics of a major studio seem simple: the ability to develop, finance, market and release films around the world. "That's not easy to do because it goes to [reaching] other cultures, other languages," says Disney Studios chief Alan Horn. But given the staggering costs of making and marketing films -- not to mention the fact every studio is now part of a larger entity that demands quarterly profits -- it's hardly surprising that nearly half of all studio films released in 2012 had a major financial backer footing at least part of the bill. And even with the partners, certain studios seem almost allergic to making all but the most surefire tentpoles.

A glance at the numbers conveys at least part of the story: Disney released 13 movies in 2012; 10 years earlier, it released 22. Sony Pictures released 31 titles in 2002 compared with 18 in 2012. Not every studio shows such a big drop-off; Fox and Universal have fluctuated in the past 10 years, but the source of the money behind those movies has changed.

Against that backdrop, THR asked executives, filmmakers and agents informally to evaluate the major studios in terms of their commitment to the movie business. Warner Bros. was ranked at the top of the list. The town is anticipating management changes in the weeks ahead but few expect its culture to change dramatically. Sony also was high on the list, but many note that it seems to be operating under tight fiscal constraints imposed by its troubled parent. At Fox, many saw a difficult culture under former co-chairman Tom Rothman, but it's not clear what to expect from Jim Gianopulos now that he's alone at the helm. There is uncertainty at NBCUniversal as well, since its owners at Comcast have openly shopped for new management and many believe the film studio simply is not a priority for the cable giant.

Disney also is a complicated equation. Some ranked its live-action studio low, arguing that it now makes films to sell merchandise or drive theme-park attendance. But Horn calls that "unfair." The studio is "the only one that has an identifiable brand that represents a relationship, a covenant with the audience," he says, noting that Disney also is the only major that fully finances all its pictures.

The other studio vying for last place in THR's survey is Paramount, which released only two small films this summer. Vice chairman Rob Moore says that has created the wrong impression. "Anyone can look at 2013 and see we are as much in the game as any other major," he says.

While the terms are debatable and some if not all of the studios are in transition, starting on the next page are charts of activity at the majors depicting how many movies each developed, financed and released in calendar year 2012.

more after the jump:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-fox-paramount-sony-fox-400727

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« Reply #7735 on: Dec 13th, 2012, 10:37am »




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« Reply #7736 on: Dec 14th, 2012, 10:41am »

Reuters

U.S. defense chief orders Patriot missiles to Turkey

By Phil Stewart
Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:50am EST

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order on Friday to send two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey with 400 American personnel to operate them, in a move by NATO members to bolster Turkey's defenses against the threat of Syrian missiles.

The order was signed shortly before Panetta arrived on an unannounced visit to Turkey to meet American troops stationed at the Incirlik Air Base, the last stop on a week-long trip that took him to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey, especially with potential threats emanating from Syria," spokesman George Little said.

NATO-member Turkey has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries' joint frontier and responded in kind when shells from the Syrian conflict came down inside its borders, fanning fears that the civil war could spread to destabilize the region.

The widely expected U.S. move follows similar steps by Germany and the Netherlands, which also said they will send two Patriot batteries. The three countries are the only NATO nations with the most modern type of Patriots.

Little declined to say where the U.S. batteries would be located and said the systems would be deployed to Turkey for an unspecified amount of time.

"We expect them to be deployed in the coming weeks," Little said.

NATO approved Turkey's request for air defense batteries on December 4, in a move meant to calm its fears of coming under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria.

The Patriot system is designed to intercept aircraft or missiles. NATO says the measure is purely defensive, but Russia, Syria and Iran have criticized the decision, saying it increases regional instability.


(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/14/us-syria-usa-patriot-idUSBRE8BD05R20121214

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« Reply #7737 on: Dec 14th, 2012, 10:47am »

Wired

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Failure
By Laura Hudson
12.14.12 6:30 AM

The Hobbit hits theaters today, the first of three movies that will translate the single volume by J.R.R. Tolkien into yet another film trilogy set in the world of Middle-earth. And if expanding one rather modest book into three epic movies sounded like a bad idea the first time you heard about it, that’s because it was.

This isn’t the first time that the story of The Hobbit has been distended beyond its original proportions in order to better coordinate with the narrative china pattern of Lord of the Rings. Tolkien himself once attempted to rewrite Bilbo’s story after the success of the Lord of the Rings novel series to darken its more playful tone, but ultimately gave up, realizing that the result “just wasn’t The Hobbit.” Director and producer Peter Jackson would have done well to come to the same conclusion, rather than attempting to recreate the Lord of the Rings trilogy with the nostalgic desperation of a college freshman trying to get back together with his high school girlfriend.

The problem with The Hobbit isn’t that it fails to be Lord of the Rings; it’s that it tries so unbelievably hard to be when it isn’t, not in its style, characters, or scale. The underlying quest in Lord of the Rings is nothing short of apocalyptic – if The One Ring is not destroyed, then the world of Middle-earth is lost — while The Hobbit deals with a band of dwarves attempting to retake their lost stronghold and reclaim their treasure from a dragon. It’s an adventure quest worthy of a D&D campaign, to be sure, but hardly the End of the World.

Nor is this band of dwarves the Fellowship. If you’re not a fan of the books, I doubt you’ll remember most of their names beyond their introduction, since they’re largely defined in Snow White visual terminology by descriptors like “fat,” ‘old” and “stupid.” They bring a lot more slapstick and song-singing to the screen than our previous party of adventurers, which is all perfectly symmetrical with the source material, but the rest of the film is so rooted in the same visual style and epic grandeur that defined the Lord of the Rings that it seems dissonant. It’s both funny and telling that The Hobbit never feels stranger than when it’s actually being faithful to the spirit of The Hobbit.

As has been noted elsewhere, the movie often feels more like a well-executed videogame than a cinematic experience, a feeling that isn’t helped by the surreal hyper-clarity of the 48-frames-per-second viewing experience, particularly during the underground confrontation with the Goblin King, who appears at a particularly dramatic moment like the very best miniboss of Middle-earth.

The action sequences have the look of epic clashes like the Battle of Helm’s Deep, but none of the heft, and above all, none of the tension or consequences. Largely interchangeable dwarves tumble down mineshafts and emerge unscathed, and no matter how many times they find themselves dangling by their fingertips over certain death (note: a lot of times), they never fall. Even if they did, you get the sense that they’d just drop off-screen and reappear at the start of the level.

And no fault of Sir Ian McKellan, who does his best to anchor the thin material with all of his considerable gravitas, but there are so many shots of knowing, squinty-eyed Gandalf laughing at the antics of his compatriots that it starts to feel like the same annoying cut scene we saw the last five times we played this game, not a sincere moment of warmth.

Rather than earning most of its emotional moments, The Hobbit settles for referencing them, hotlinking fan nostalgia with the fervor of the Star Wars prequels. The appearance of Saruman is positively Darth Vader-esque, telegraphing his future heel-turn so openly that you can’t even call it subtext. I know he’s going to turn evil. You know he’s going to turn evil. Everything from Gandalf’s face to the music cues knows he’s going to turn evil, unless of course you never saw those last three movies, in which case it’s just going to be weird and inexplicable. It’s a movie that desperately needs a “previously on Lord of the Rings” to explain everything that happens afterward, and makes me pity anyone who one day attempts to watch these movies in chronological order.

When it’s not busy dragging out its runtime with filler, The Hobbit is like a little kid tugging on your sleeve saying, “Do you remember the time when …?” It’s cute when you hear it the first time, and unbelievably tedious by the 15th or 20th. Hey, do you remember the time when Gandalf got trapped on the top of Isengard and he whispered to the moth and the giant eagle appeared to catch him? Well, what if that happened again, except we spent way more time watching him whisper to the moth and like, twenty eagles appeared and flew around forever? What the movie can’t do honestly or originally, it tries to do more, like an animal in a psych experiment frantically pushing a button that previously dispensed delicious food morsels.

The core misstep of The Hobbit is the confusion of form over content – it conflates the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with its shape, and attempts to make a simulacrum out of very different materials. The Hobbit is a fine story, a good story, but a much humbler one than the Lord of the Rings series by several measures. Making the former into the latter is a sort of reverse turducken: trying to hide something big inside of something small, with predictably disastrous results.

One of the most powerful ideas in Lord of the Rings was how its hero defied expectations of scale; even though Frodo was small and unassuming compared to his flashier, taller companions, those qualities didn’t disqualify him from being a hero – they made him the hero. He inspired us because he never needed to pretend to be any bigger than he was.

Putting a hobbit on a rack and stretching him to the size of a giant doesn’t make him a better hero. It doesn’t make this a better movie. If anything, it fails precisely because it runs counter to the spirit of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – the one that said size alone did not determine worth, and that being small was sometimes the very thing that made you great.

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/12/hobbit-review/

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« Reply #7738 on: Dec 14th, 2012, 10:50am »

Washington Post

Does it pay to know your type?

By Lillian Cunningham, Friday, December 14, 7:19 AM

Some grandmothers pass down cameo necklaces. Katharine Cook Briggs passed down the world’s most widely used personality test.

Chances are you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or will. Roughly 2 million people a year do. It has become the gold standard of psychological assessments, used in businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. Along the way, it has spawned a multimillion-dollar business around its simple concept that everyone fits one of 16 personality types.

Now, 50 years after the first time anyone paid money for the test, the Myers-Briggs legacy is reaching the end of the family line. The youngest heirs don’t want it. And it’s not clear whether organizations should, either.

That’s not to say it hasn’t had a major influence.

More than 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities and 200 government agencies in the United States use the test. From the State Department to McKinsey & Co., it’s a rite of passage. It’s estimated that 50 million people have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test since the Educational Testing Service first added the research to its portfolio in 1962.

The test, whose first research guinea pigs were George Washington University students, has seen financial success commensurate to this cultlike devotion among its practitioners. CPP, the private company that publishes Myers-Briggs, brings in roughly $20 million a year from it and the 800 other products, such as coaching guides, that it has spawned.

Yet despite its widespread use and vast financial success, and although it was derived from the work of Carl Jung, one of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century, the test is highly questioned by the scientific community.

To begin even before its arrival in Washington: Myers-Briggs traces its history to 1921, when Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, published his theory of personality types in the book “Psychologische Typen.” Jung had become well known for his pioneering work in psychoanalysis and close collaboration with Sigmund Freud, though by the 1920s the two had severed ties.

Psychoanalysis was a young field, and one many regarded skeptically. Still, it had made its way across the Atlantic not only to the university offices of scientists but also to the home of a mother in Washington.

Katharine Cook Briggs was a voracious reader of the new psychology books coming out in Europe, and she shared her fascination with Jung’s latest work — in which he developed the concepts of introversion and extroversion — with her daughter, Isabel Myers. They would later use Jung’s work as a basis for their own theory, which would become the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. MBTI is their framework for classifying personality types along four distinct axes: introversion vs. extroversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving. A person, according to their hypothesis, has one dominant preference in each of the four pairs. For example, he might be introverted, a sensor, a thinker and a perceiver. Or, in Myers-Briggs shorthand, an “ISTP.”

Everyone, they posited, fits one of the 16 possible combinations.

Today, organizations administer the personality test to employees, then use the results as a basis for training programs. The basic idea is that knowing your personality type, and those of others, will help you interact more effectively with colleagues and better identify your own strengths. In educational institutions, the test is often used to help identify potential career fields.

The testing process seems simple enough: a multiple-choice questionnaire, with a discussion afterward about what your personality type says about you. And yet behind it lies the elaborate business model and enormous marketing push that have enthroned MBTI in the pantheon of human resources programs.

Corporate America has its own religions, and one of them is Myers-Briggs.

How the work began

It was World War II, and Isabel Myers was thinking about peace.

War and peace, in fact, are what the family would come to describe as the true cause and effect of developing the Myers-Briggs indicator. World War II created a need for women to fill professional jobs on the home front. Having read Jung’s theories on type, Isabel Myers saw an opportunity to use personality testing as a way to identify women’s job proclivities on the basis of innate character traits rather than prior professional experience, which many women did not have at the time.

“What Isabel decided was, if she could give people access to knowing their psychological type, it would be a contribution to world peace,” says Katharine Myers, the daughter-in-law of Isabel Myers.

So Isabel had her mission. Soon her home filled with index cards mapping out her theory. Lots of index cards.

Isabel by that time was married, a mother herself and tending a home in Swarthmore, Pa. She found a helper for her project in Katharine Downing, now Myers, whom she paid to help her hand-copy personality types onto 5-by-8-inch cards. The young girl went to school with Isabel’s son Peter, an Eagle Scout.

“In eighth grade, I got a valentine in Morse code,” Katharine recalls. It’s one of her earliest memories of Peter, and the Myers family she would one day marry into. “And that was really the beginning of the rest of our lives.”

Then came the money

At 86 years old, Katharine and Peter are the last living copyright holders of his mother’s and grandmother’s legacy. CPP, however, is the exclusive publisher of the test.

“The folklore is that when it started it made about a thousand dollars,” says Jeffrey Hayes, chief executive of CPP. He won’t say precisely how much it makes today. Just “millions,” as he put it.

The number is more like $20 million in revenue a year.

The framework itself has barely changed since Katharine Cook Myers and Isabel Briggs created it decades ago, but in the meantime CPP has developed nearly 800 products related to the assessment — guides to interpreting your results, guides for coaching others on interpreting their results, guides for enhancing team-building based on everyone’s results — and translations of the material into 24 languages.

In addition to its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, CPP has offices in Singapore and Australia and distribution arrangements around the globe. “I like to refer to it as the CPP federation,” Hayes says.

Myers-Briggs, one of five major assessments that CPP publishes, is the company’s “flagship product — and should be,” according to Hayes.

Hayes began at CPP in 1987 as an assistant manager for customer service and worked his way up to co-president in 2004 and president and CEO in 2007. Even on the phone, you can tell he’s extroverted—the E in his ENTP type. “I attribute much of my success to my better understanding of myself through my Myers-Briggs,” he says.

MBTI is the most widely used personality assessment on the planet, but as Hayes says, “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.”

In the past 20 years, CPP has created a cadre of regional sales teams to pitch organizations on how they could use Myers-Briggs. The company also, according to Katharine Downing Myers, “has a lawyer in practically every country in the world looking for plagiarism — and there’s lots of it.”

Here’s how the business mod­­el works: It costs $15 to $40 for an individual to take a Myers-Briggs assessment, depending on the depth of the test and how fast a customer wants the results interpreted. Supplemental guides and tool kits quickly make the cost grow. Moreover, the only way to take the test is through a certified administrator. And the only way to become a certified administrator is to pay $1,700 for a four-day training class.

In short, CPP makes money off the test taker and the test giver.

Organizations administer the MBTI assessment to employees in one of two ways. They either pay for someone in their human-resources department to become certified, then pay the materials costs each time employees take the test. Or, they contract with certified, independent training consultants or leadership coaches.

Last year 2,500 Americans became certified to administer the Myers-Briggs.

They are part of a corporate-training industry that nets more than $50 billion annually. And for independent consultants in this field, paying to get your MBTI certification has become almost a base-line cost, a badge that companies all but require before contracting with you — even for work outside of Myers-Briggs testing. Tens of thousands of coaches and consultants hold that badge.

“They just want to see that you have it,” says Rebecca Dallek, a District resident who attended a spring MBTI certification course at the American Management Association’s offices in Arlington. After having two kids, Dallek made a career change from the educational technology industry to her own career coaching practice. She works with professionals, from federal employees to nonprofit workers to lobbyists. The $2,500 fee to CPP, she says, was quickly recouped.

To help new recruits, CPP provides a suite of informational guides and Power Point slides on its Web site that show how to pitch your services as a certified Myers-Briggs administrator. Coaches can increase the charge for the products at their discretion, but many provide them at face value and then turn a profit from fees for time spent working with the test takers and walking them through the results. There is no real industry standard for coaching rates, and hourly fees can run from $75 to $1,000.

more after the jump:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/myers-briggs-does-it-pay-to-know-your-type/2012/12/14/eaed51ae-3fcc-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_story.html?hpid=z1

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« Reply #7739 on: Dec 14th, 2012, 10:56am »

Telegraph

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Newport vigilante ninja

He desperately wanted to be like his favourite superheroes. But Tanis Baker’s efforts at fighting crime were more comic farce than comic book.

By Richard Alleyne
6:41PM GMT 13 Dec 2012

Patrolling his neighbourhood as a masked ninja to “strike fear” into local villains, it was he who ended up on the wrong side of the law. The self-styled “eyes and ears” of the right-thinking people was arrested for possession of a wooden sword.

The mild-mannered comic book fan, told a court he turned to crime-fighting after being mugged by a local gang and bullied at school.

Frustrated that his assailants had got away, he made himself a black martial arts costume complete with body armour and balaclava.

In an imitation of the film Kick-Ass, he then armed himself with smoke bombs and a home-made wooden Samurai sword.

The 21-year-old, who by day was a barman at a snooker hall, then crouched in the darkness in a nearby park ready to pounce on any troublemakers.

Locals said his heroic deeds included taking alcohol off under-age drinkers and literally “smoking out” any loitering gangs.

James Higgins, 17, who went to school with Baker, said he had seen him on the roof of Ringland library.

“The figure leapt from the building and landed on the sports field at the back,” he said.

“He was running across it and doing roly-polys. He’s been watching too many films.”

But Baker’s crime fighting days were cut short in September when he was spotted by a police officer .

Believing he was carrying a real Samurai sword, the officer called for backup and the police helicopter was scrambled and dog handler was called.

Baker, of Ringland, Newport, south Wales, fled into nearby Beechwood park and hid in bushes near the children’s play area.

He was arrested and led officers further into the park where he had hidden two rucksacks, one containing clothes and the other holding seven smoke grenades.

He told police in interview he was a "vigilante in a costume" and that he wanted to help people in trouble.

He said he believed he was the "eyes and ears" of the police on the streets and wanted to strike fear into criminals.

The probation officer who assessed him said Baker was a fan of American comic book superheroes.

His probation report said: "He seems to get confused between fantasy and reality and sometimes had trouble distinguishing between what was in comic books and what was real life."

The court heard that in real life Baker is no superhero but works as a barman in a snooker club in Newport, South Wales.

Louise Warren, defending, said: "Baker was bullied for many years and struggled growing up in his neighbourhood.

"He was attacked by a gang of youths while out with his sister a year ago, but police were unable to find the offenders.

"Since then Baker has wanted to help the police to protect society."

The court heard Baker was asked what he would do if he encountered a real crime and said he had not thought that far ahead.

Chairman of the magistrates Paul Lavin, said: "You may have thought you were helping but you caused a lot of trouble.

"Do not do this in future or else you'll be in big trouble."

He was given a 12-month supervision order and ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work. He declined to comment after the case.

However residents said that he had two sidekicks nicknamed the Alway Assassin and the St Julians Saboteur after nearby areas of the city.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9742744/Is-it-a-bird-Is-it-a-plane-No-its-the-Newport-vigilante-ninja.html

Crystal

edit for spacing
« Last Edit: Dec 14th, 2012, 10:57am by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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