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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 44083 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8220 on: Mar 26th, 2013, 10:10am »

Wired


White House Can’t Afford Its Shapeshifting Alien Reptile Guards

By Robert Beckhusen
03.26.13
6:30 AM





A shapeshifting reptile from outer space guards President Obama, according to a new conspiracy video. Yet according to the White House, the extraterrestrial heft behind Obama’s protection detail is a mere allegation — and one that congressionally mandated budget cuts would have to ax, anyway.

If you believe the video above, recently posted to YouTube, the White House deployed at least one reptile guard as recently as this month. The narrator, using a text-to-speech program, suggests a bald-headed G-Man protecting Obama during his March 4 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee “could be a shapeshifter alien humanoid working for the powers that be, caught in a high-definition video during an event of the Zionist cabal.”

Could be. It’s certainly fodder for Tinfoil Tuesday, Danger Room’s occasional look at the internet’s most insane conspiracy theories.

The White House dismissed the alien bodyguards as too costly in this era of budgetary austerity. “I can’t confirm the claims made in this video, but any alleged program to guard the president with aliens or robots would likely have to be scaled back or eliminated in the sequester,” Caitlin Hayden, the chief spokeswoman for the National Security Council, e-mails Danger Room. “I’d refer you to the Secret Service or Area 51 for more details.” We are journalistically obligated to observe that this isn’t a flat denial.

Check out the evidence for the reptiles-from-space theory. The video’s narrator teases: “Even though at first sight he looks like the average Secret Service spook, a series of odd features on his head, face, plus a very strange behavior and creepy movements suggest something else.” Next, another view of the agent — from another angle at a distance and in low lighting — makes him appear slightly different. His head is still swiveling back and forth, with his eyes on the crowd. “His ears, his nose, his chin, cheekbone, jaw and mouth are no longer looking human at all,” the narrator observes.

Conclusion: The agent must be “shapeshifting into some sort of reptilian, nonhuman form,” since that’s a logical explanation. The narrator suggests technology used by the agent to keep his true identity hidden might have glitched out. All this is new evidence of a collaboration between a conspiratorial elite and “at least one extraterrestrial race” that is “pulling the strings of mankind.”

Crucially, the narrator hasn’t figured out just what kind of alien is guarding the president. Is it an “actual reptilian humanoid?… Is he an Annunaki?” That’s a reference to the ancient Babylonian deities who some conspiracy theorists believe were ancient aliens who built the ziggurats for a mysterious purpose. “Is he a tall, grey bio-android?” The White House didn’t answer.

Not everyone’s convinced. Also keeping tabs on the agent are the followers of the “Grand Order of Draco Slayers,” which mirrored the video on its YouTube channel, and which touts itself as a “magical order of spiritual warriors dedicated to the eradication of the reptilian/illuminati current and the full restoration of humankind’s liberty and spiritual inheritance.” The group called the agent a “weird humanoid,” but stopped short of alleging reptilian infiltration. One commenter believes the agent could be a “genetically engineered super soldier or a human-animal hybrid.”

To believe any of this, you’ll have to discard all contradictory evidence. The narrator instructs you to ignore the low lighting; doesn’t mention the abrupt shift to a different camera angle; and asks the viewer to “disregard all the distortions and image artifacts caused by post-editing zooming.”

But still: alien guards. They’ve gotten a raw deal through the sequester. The White House didn’t clarify if its reptilian Secret Service agents are subject to the furloughs without pay affecting federal employees. But say this for the automatic budget cuts: They may have prevented Obama from falling into the clutches of an intergalactic conspiracy — that is, if the president wasn’t in on it from the start.

Spencer Ackerman provided additional otherworldly aid.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/secret-service-reptile-aliens/

Crystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8221 on: Mar 26th, 2013, 10:13am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Ohio prosecutor drops charge against Pa. groundhog

By DAN SEWELL
Associated Press

CINCINNATI —

Phil is off the hook.

A winter-weary Ohio prosecutor who filed a tongue-in-cheek criminal indictment against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog over his "prediction" of an early spring dropped the charge Tuesday. Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said Punxsutawney Phil has a "defense with teeth in it" since the animal's handler is taking the blame.

The Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, attracts worldwide attention each year. But when Gmoser filed his indictment last week after snow was forecast to fall after the official start of spring, renewed attention made it feel like Feb. 2 all over again.

Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, said Monday the furry prognosticator had actually predicted six more weeks of winter, but he mistakenly announced an early spring because he failed to correctly interpret Phil's "groundhog-ese."

"Now it turns out, Punxsutawney Phil is little more than a scapegoat," Gmoser wrote in the dismissal.

That's a sharp contrast to last week, when Gmoser had written: "Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early."

Deeley said Tuesday that going after the groundhog probably gave prosecutors some relief from their challenges in bringing murderers, drug dealers and other criminals to justice, and that Phil seemed nonplussed by the charge.

"No, he's not worried," Deeley said. "He's getting three square meals a day, and a lot of rest."

He also said the community appreciated all the extra publicity, which he said "you couldn't put a dollar figure on." Gmoser's office said he had also received hundreds of calls.

Deeley wanted to be sure Tuesday he wouldn't be the prosecutor's next target, but Gmoser said it was time to move on.

"Truly, I have really serious work to do in Butler County," he said from his office in Hamilton, some 25 miles north of Cincinnati, even as snowflakes dropped from the skies. "Let's end it on a high note."

He assured Ohio's lesser-known fuzzy forecaster, Buckeye Chuck, he won't face prosecution for his own erroneous prediction. Chuck, it turned out, was granted immunity after agreeing to cooperate with the state.

"I'm kind of done with animal cases," Gmoser said. "Maybe another prosecutor can go after the Easter Bunny." --

Associated Press writer Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020642518_apusgroundhogsfallibleforecast.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8222 on: Mar 26th, 2013, 10:17am »






Published on Mar 25, 2013

~

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8223 on: Mar 26th, 2013, 11:43am »

on Mar 26th, 2013, 10:10am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired


White House Can’t Afford Its Shapeshifting Alien Reptile Guards

By Robert Beckhusen
03.26.13
6:30 AM





A shapeshifting reptile from outer space guards President Obama, according to a new conspiracy video. Yet according to the White House, the extraterrestrial heft behind Obama’s protection detail is a mere allegation — and one that congressionally mandated budget cuts would have to ax, anyway.

If you believe the video above, recently posted to YouTube, the White House deployed at least one reptile guard as recently as this month. The narrator, using a text-to-speech program, suggests a bald-headed G-Man protecting Obama during his March 4 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee “could be a shapeshifter alien humanoid working for the powers that be, caught in a high-definition video during an event of the Zionist cabal.”

Could be. It’s certainly fodder for Tinfoil Tuesday, Danger Room’s occasional look at the internet’s most insane conspiracy theories.

The White House dismissed the alien bodyguards as too costly in this era of budgetary austerity. “I can’t confirm the claims made in this video, but any alleged program to guard the president with aliens or robots would likely have to be scaled back or eliminated in the sequester,” Caitlin Hayden, the chief spokeswoman for the National Security Council, e-mails Danger Room. “I’d refer you to the Secret Service or Area 51 for more details.” We are journalistically obligated to observe that this isn’t a flat denial.

Check out the evidence for the reptiles-from-space theory. The video’s narrator teases: “Even though at first sight he looks like the average Secret Service spook, a series of odd features on his head, face, plus a very strange behavior and creepy movements suggest something else.” Next, another view of the agent — from another angle at a distance and in low lighting — makes him appear slightly different. His head is still swiveling back and forth, with his eyes on the crowd. “His ears, his nose, his chin, cheekbone, jaw and mouth are no longer looking human at all,” the narrator observes.

Conclusion: The agent must be “shapeshifting into some sort of reptilian, nonhuman form,” since that’s a logical explanation. The narrator suggests technology used by the agent to keep his true identity hidden might have glitched out. All this is new evidence of a collaboration between a conspiratorial elite and “at least one extraterrestrial race” that is “pulling the strings of mankind.”

Crucially, the narrator hasn’t figured out just what kind of alien is guarding the president. Is it an “actual reptilian humanoid?… Is he an Annunaki?” That’s a reference to the ancient Babylonian deities who some conspiracy theorists believe were ancient aliens who built the ziggurats for a mysterious purpose. “Is he a tall, grey bio-android?” The White House didn’t answer.

Not everyone’s convinced. Also keeping tabs on the agent are the followers of the “Grand Order of Draco Slayers,” which mirrored the video on its YouTube channel, and which touts itself as a “magical order of spiritual warriors dedicated to the eradication of the reptilian/illuminati current and the full restoration of humankind’s liberty and spiritual inheritance.” The group called the agent a “weird humanoid,” but stopped short of alleging reptilian infiltration. One commenter believes the agent could be a “genetically engineered super soldier or a human-animal hybrid.”

To believe any of this, you’ll have to discard all contradictory evidence. The narrator instructs you to ignore the low lighting; doesn’t mention the abrupt shift to a different camera angle; and asks the viewer to “disregard all the distortions and image artifacts caused by post-editing zooming.”

But still: alien guards. They’ve gotten a raw deal through the sequester. The White House didn’t clarify if its reptilian Secret Service agents are subject to the furloughs without pay affecting federal employees. But say this for the automatic budget cuts: They may have prevented Obama from falling into the clutches of an intergalactic conspiracy — that is, if the president wasn’t in on it from the start.

Spencer Ackerman provided additional otherworldly aid.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/secret-service-reptile-aliens/

Crystal





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Oh My Gawd!
















I've seen that face on MARS!
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8224 on: Mar 26th, 2013, 9:05pm »

Harry Potter-Like Invisibility Cloak Works (in a Lab)

Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 25 March 2013

A miniature version of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak now exists, though it works only in microwave light, and not visible light, so far.

Still, it's a nifty trick, and the physicists who've created the new cloak say it's a step closer to realizing the kind of invisibility cloak that could hide a person in broad daylight.

The invention is made of a new kind of material called a metascreen, created from strips of copper tape attached to a flexible polycarbonate film. The copper strips are only 66 micrometers (66 millionths of a meter) thick, while the polycarbonate film is 100 micrometers thick, and the two are combined in a diagonal fishnet pattern.

The creation is a departure from previous attempts to create invisibility cloaks, which have aimed to bend light rays around an object so that they don't scatter, or reflect off it, a technique that relies on so-called bulk metamaterials.

Instead, the new cloak uses a technique called mantle cloaking to cancel out light waves that bounce off the shielded object so that none survive to reach an observer's eye.

"When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation," study co-author Andrea Alu, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement.

In lab tests, Alu and his colleagues successfully hid a 7-inch-long (18 centimeters) cylindrical rod from view in microwave light. They said the same technology should be able to cloak oddly shaped and asymmetrical objects, too.

"The advantages of the mantle cloaking over existing techniques are its conformability, ease of manufacturing and improved bandwidth," Alu said. "We have shown that you don't need a bulk metamaterial to cancel the scattering from an object — a simple patterned surface that is conformal to the object may be sufficient and, in many regards, even better than a bulk metamaterial."

In principle, the same kind of cloak could be used to hide objects in the visible range of light, as well, though it may work only for teensy-tiny objects, at least at first.

http://www.livescience.com/28171-invisibility-cloak-physics-light.html
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« Reply #8225 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:22am »

on Mar 26th, 2013, 11:43am, Austin Popper wrote:
I've seen that face. I know I've seen that face.



















Oh My Gawd!
















I've seen that face on MARS!


grin

Thanks for that laugh Austin! Good morning.

Crystal



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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8226 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:27am »

on Mar 26th, 2013, 9:05pm, Swamprat wrote:
Harry Potter-Like Invisibility Cloak Works (in a Lab)

Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 25 March 2013

A miniature version of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak now exists, though it works only in microwave light, and not visible light, so far.

Still, it's a nifty trick, and the physicists who've created the new cloak say it's a step closer to realizing the kind of invisibility cloak that could hide a person in broad daylight.

The invention is made of a new kind of material called a metascreen, created from strips of copper tape attached to a flexible polycarbonate film. The copper strips are only 66 micrometers (66 millionths of a meter) thick, while the polycarbonate film is 100 micrometers thick, and the two are combined in a diagonal fishnet pattern.

The creation is a departure from previous attempts to create invisibility cloaks, which have aimed to bend light rays around an object so that they don't scatter, or reflect off it, a technique that relies on so-called bulk metamaterials.

Instead, the new cloak uses a technique called mantle cloaking to cancel out light waves that bounce off the shielded object so that none survive to reach an observer's eye.

"When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation," study co-author Andrea Alu, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement.

In lab tests, Alu and his colleagues successfully hid a 7-inch-long (18 centimeters) cylindrical rod from view in microwave light. They said the same technology should be able to cloak oddly shaped and asymmetrical objects, too.

"The advantages of the mantle cloaking over existing techniques are its conformability, ease of manufacturing and improved bandwidth," Alu said. "We have shown that you don't need a bulk metamaterial to cancel the scattering from an object — a simple patterned surface that is conformal to the object may be sufficient and, in many regards, even better than a bulk metamaterial."

In principle, the same kind of cloak could be used to hide objects in the visible range of light, as well, though it may work only for teensy-tiny objects, at least at first.

http://www.livescience.com/28171-invisibility-cloak-physics-light.html



Good morning Swamprat cheesy

Thank you for that article.

Crystal

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« Reply #8227 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:32am »

Telegraph

Two-headed shark discovered

Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the first-ever two-headed bull shark.


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12:48AM GMT 27 Mar 2013

A study carried our by experts at Michigan State University confirmed the shark was a single shark with two heads, rather than conjoined twins.

"This is certainly one of those interesting and rarely detected phenomena," said Michael Wagner, the university's assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife.

"It's good that we have this documented as part of the world's natural history."

Prof Wagner and his team used MRIs to reveal the shark had two distinct heads, hearts and stomachs, with the remainder of the body joining together at the back to form a single tail.

The two-headed bull shark found in the Gulf of Mexico on April 7, 2011 after a fisherman cut into the uterus of adult shark and discovered the baby.

It was brought to the marine science department at Florida Keys Community College and then taken to the Michigan University for further analysis.

It is thought similar creatures may have died before being born.

"You'll see many more cases of two-headed lizards and snakes," said Prof Wagner. "That's because those organisms are often bred in captivity, and the breeders are more likely to observe the anomalies."

The case was publicised in the Journal of Fish Biology.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9956132/Two-headed-shark-discovered.html

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« Reply #8228 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:35am »

Wired

Brain Scans Predict Which Criminals Are Most Likely to Reoffend

By Greg Miller
03.26.13
3:40 PM

Brain scans of convicted felons can predict which ones are most likely to get arrested after they get out of prison, scientists have found in a study of 96 male offenders.

“It’s the first time brain scans have been used to predict recidivism,” said neuroscientist Kent Kiehl of the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who led the new study. Even so, Kiehl and others caution that the method is nowhere near ready to be used in real-life decisions about sentencing or parole.

Generally speaking, brain scans or other neuromarkers could be useful in the criminal justice system if the benefits in terms of better accuracy outweigh the likely higher costs of the technology compared to conventional pencil-and-paper risk assessments, says Stephen Morse, a legal scholar specializing in criminal law and neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. The key questions to ask, Morse says, are: “How much predictive accuracy does the marker add beyond usually less expensive behavioral measures? How subject is it to counter-measures if a subject wishes to ‘defeat’ a scan?”

Those are still open questions with regard to the new method, which Kiehl and colleagues, including postdoctoral fellow Eyal Aharoni, describe in a paper to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The test targets impulsivity. In a mobile fMRI scanner the researchers trucked in to two state prisons, they scanned inmates’ brains as they did a simple impulse control task. Inmates were instructed to press a button as quickly as possible whenever they saw the letter X pop up on a screen inside the scanner, but not to press it if they saw the letter K. The task is rigged so that X pops up 84 percent of the time, which predisposes people to hit the button and makes it harder to suppress the impulse to press the button on the rare trials when a K pops up.

Based on previous studies, the researchers focused on the anterior cingulate cortex, one of several brain regions thought to be important for impulse control. Inmates with relatively low activity in the anterior cingulate made more errors on the task, suggesting a correlation with poor impulse control.

They were also more likely to get arrested after they were released. Inmates with relatively low anterior cingulate activity were roughly twice as likely as inmates with high anterior cingulate activity to be rearrested for a felony offense within 4 years of their release, even after controlling for other behavioral and psychological risk factors.

“This is an exciting new finding,” said Essi Viding, a professor of developmental psychopathology at University College London. “Interestingly this brain activity measure appears to be a more robust predictor, in particular of non-violent offending, than psychopathy or drug use scores, which we know to be associated with a risk of reoffending.” However, Viding notes that Kiehl’s team hasn’t yet tried to compare their fMRI test head to head against pencil-and-paper tests specifically designed to assess the risk of recidivism. ”It would be interesting to see how the anterior cingulate cortex activity measure compares against these measures,” she said.

“It’s a great study because it brings neuroimaging into the realm of prediction,” said clinical psychologist Dustin Pardini of the University of Pittsburgh. The study’s design is an improvement over previous neuroimaging studies that compared groups of offenders with groups of non-offenders, he says. All the same, he’s skeptical that brain scans could be used to predict the behavior of a given individual. ”In general we’re horrible at predicting human behavior, and I don’t see this as being any different, at least not in the near future.”

Even if the findings hold up in a larger study, there would be limitations, Pardini adds. “In a practical sense, there are just too many ways an offender could get around having an accurate representation of his brain activity taken,” he said. For example, if an offender moves his head while inside the scanner, that would render the scan unreadable. Even more subtle strategies, such as thinking about something unrelated to the task, or making mistakes on purpose, could also thwart the test.

Kiehl isn’t convinced either that this type of fMRI test will ever prove useful for assessing the risk to society posed by individual criminals. But his group is collecting more data — lots more — as part of a much larger study in the New Mexico state prisons. “We’ve scanned 3,000 inmates,” he said. “This is just the first 100.”

Kiehl hopes this work will point to new strategies for reducing criminal behavior. If low activity in the anterior cingulate does in fact turn out to be a reliable predictor of recidivism, perhaps therapies that boost activity in this region would improve impulse control and prevent future crimes, Kiehl says. He admits it’s speculative, but his group is already thinking up experiments to test the idea. ”Cognitive exercises is where we’ll start,” he said. “But I wouldn’t rule out pharmaceuticals.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/brain-scans-predict-which-criminals-will-reoffend/

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« Reply #8229 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:38am »

Philly.com

UFO memo is FBI's most viewed

By Sam Wood, PHILLY.COM
Posted: March 26, 2013

It's little wonder. An FBI memo noting the alleged recovery of three UFOs in New Mexico is the law enforcement agency's most requested and viewed document. By far.

Not that you need to make an official request. The truth is out there. It's available to anyone who navigates to the FBI's website.

Dated Mar. 22, 1950, and addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the memo relates a third-hand claim as told to an FBI agent.

The person, whose name is redacted, told the agent that an Air Force investigator had told him "high-powered radar" had jammed the steering mechanism of three "flying saucers" causing them to crash to Earth.

The memo reads:

"They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots."

Despite the dramatic account, the memo abruptly states that its writer, Washington-based agent Guy L. Hottel, declined to investigate. "No further evaluation was attempted," Hottel wrote.

There's little mystery to the memo. It's connected to a 60-year-old hoax. And it bears the traces of at least seven generations of whisper-down-the-lane.

The International Business Times reported in 2011:

"The memo was the end of a long chain of tale-telling. The Hottel memo repeats a story from the Wyandotte Echo, a legal newspaper in Kansas City, Kansas, in January of 1950, which was repeated to Guy Hottel by an Air Force investigator who read the story (and pasted into a memo himself. Such practices were common in the days before scanning documents was possible and memos had to be typed out). That news story draws from the account of a Rudy Fick, a local used car dealer."

Fick had heard the story from two men who had heard it from a radio station advertising manager who had heard it from a con man. (Whew!)

The con man, Silas Newton, sold a treasure-finding device called a "doodlebug." And he claimed his dooglebugs were the best because they were constructed with alien technology, according to the International Business Times.

The FBI, which wrote about the memo yesterday, did not elaborate on the hoax element of the story. But the agency's post links the Hottel memo to the FBI file on 1947's so-called Roswell incident - if only because both files are publicly available in the agency's vault. It notes that the FBI rarely investigates reports of extraterrestrial sightings.

Said the FBI:

"For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents - at the request of the Air Force - to verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn't think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it."


http://articles.philly.com/2013-03-26/news/38043632_1_fbi-memo-fbi-agent-washington-field-office

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« Reply #8230 on: Mar 27th, 2013, 09:42am »

Japan Times

U.K. no stranger to mysterious deaths of exiled ex-Soviets

27 March 2013

LONDON – The death of 67-year-old Boris Berezovsky has raised questions about the safety of oligarchs as opposition figures back in Russia who have been making the U.K. their home. Here are some other U.K. incidents involving figures from — or involved with — the former Soviet Union:

Alexander Litvinenko: Litvinenko, a former KGB agent turned critic of the Kremlin, died after ingesting polonium in his tea at a London hotel in 2006. His family blames the Russian state for orchestrating his death, and British authorities have named former KGB officer and Russian lawmaker Andrei Lugovoi as their chief suspect. The Kremlin — and Lugovoi — deny being behind the poisoning, which drew headlines worldwide.

Badri Patarkatsishvili: Patarkatsishvili, an associate and confidant of Berezovsky’s, died in his mansion in southern England in February 2008. Police initially said his death appeared suspicious but authorities later ruled the billionaire had succumbed to heart failure. Patarkatsishvili was active in Georgian politics, retained a small army of bodyguards, and often said he feared he would be targeted in an assassination attempt.

Alexander Perepilichnyy: Perepilichnyy was found dead outside his plush home in southern England last November. He had been in possession of documents that allegedly blew the lid off a Russian tax fraud involving dirty money being funneled into Swiss bank accounts. Postmortems have so far failed to determine how the 44-year-old died. In a recent report, the BBC said he had a checkup and was given a clean bill of health only months before his death.

Stephen Curtis: Described by author Mark Hollingsworth as “the lawyer who knew too much,” Curtis died when his helicopter crashed in poor weather on its way to his 19th-century retreat in southern England in March 2004. Investigators ruled that the crash was an accident, but Curtis was a big player in the murky world of Russian banking and had recently been receiving death threats.

German Gorbuntsov: Russian businessman Gorbuntsov was shot six times in London’s financial district in March 2011. Gorbuntsov — who survived — blames disgruntled business associates for the attack. So far no one has been brought to justice.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/27/world/u-k-no-stranger-to-mysterious-deaths-of-exiled-ex-soviets/#.UVMFBiPn-1s

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« Reply #8231 on: Mar 28th, 2013, 09:36am »

Wired

Something Other Than Adaptation Could Be Driving Evolution

By Brandon Keim
03.28.13
9:30 AM

What explains the incredible variety of life on Earth? It seems obvious. Evolution, of course! But perhaps not the evolution most people grew up with.

Some ecologists say the theory needs an update. They’ve proposed a new dynamic driving the emergence of new species, one that doesn’t involve adaptations or survival of the fittest.

Give evolution enough time and space, they say, and new species can just happen. Speciation might not be an evolutionary consequence of fitness differences and natural selection, but a property intrinsic to evolution, just as all matter has gravity.

“Our work shows that evolution wants to be diverse,” said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. “It’s enough for organisms to be spread out in space and time.”

In a March 13 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, Bar-Yam and his co-authors, Brazilian ecologists Ayana Martins at the University of Sao Paulo and Marcus Aguiar at the University of Campinas, modeled the evolution of greenish warblers living around the Tibetan plateau.

The warblers are what’s known as a ring species, a rare phenomenon that occurs when species inhabit a horseshoe-shaped range. Genes flow around the ring, passing between neighboring populations — yet at the ring’s tips, the animals no longer interbreed with one another.

By the usual standards, these end populations have become new species. According to the researchers’ model of the process, no special adaptations or differences in reproductive fitness are needed to explain — or at least to computationally replicate — the greenish warblers’ divergence.

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/neutral-biodiversity/

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« Reply #8232 on: Mar 28th, 2013, 09:39am »

Seattle Times

Originally published March 28, 2013 at 5:11 AM
Page modified March 28, 2013 at 6:43 AM

U.S. sends nuclear-capable B-2s to tense South Korea

By HYUNG-JIN KIM and SAM KIM

Associated Press

In a show of force following weeks of North Korean bluster, the U.S. on Thursday took the unprecedented step of announcing that two of its nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped munitions on a South Korean island as part of joint military drills.

The announcement is likely to further enrage Pyongyang, which has already issued a flood of ominous statements to highlight displeasure over the drills and U.N. sanctions over its nuclear test last month. But there were signs Thursday that it is willing to go only so far.

A North Korean industrial plant operated with South Korean know-how was running normally, despite the North's shutdown a day earlier of communication lines ordinarily used to move workers and goods across the border. At least for the moment, Pyongyang was choosing the factory's infusion of hard currency over yet another provocation.

U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement that the B-2 stealth bombers flew from a U.S. air base in Missouri and dropped munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home. It was unclear whether America's stealth bombers were used in past annual drills with South Korea, but this is the first time the military has announced their use.

The statement follows an earlier U.S. announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in the joint military drills.

The announcement will likely draw a strong response from Pyongyang. North Korea sees the military drills as part of a U.S. plot to invade and becomes particularly upset about U.S. nuclear activities in the region. Washington and Seoul say the drills are routine and defensive.

North Korea has already threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul in recent weeks. It said Wednesday there was no need for communication in a situation "where a war may break out at any moment." Earlier this month, it announced that it considers void the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.

But Pyongyang would have gone beyond words, possibly damaging its own weak finances, if it had blocked South Koreans from getting in and out of the Kaesong industrial plant, which produced $470 million worth of goods last year.

South Korean managers at the plant reported no signs of trouble Thursday.

Analysts see a full-blown North Korean attack as extremely unlikely, though there are fears of a more localized conflict, such as a naval skirmish in disputed Yellow Sea waters. Such naval clashes have happened three times since 1999.

The Kaesong plant, just across the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that separates the Koreas, normally relies on a military hotline for the governments to coordinate the movement of goods and South Korean workers.

Without the hotline, the governments, which lack diplomatic relations, used middlemen. North Korea verbally approved the crossing Thursday of hundreds of South Koreans by telling South Koreans at a management office at the Kaesong factory. Those South Koreans then called officials in South Korea.

Both governments prohibit direct contact with citizens on the other side, but Kaesong has separate telephone lines that allow South Korean managers there to communicate with people in South Korea.

Factory managers at Kaesong reached by The Associated Press by telephone at the factory said the overall mood there is normal.

"Tension rises almost every year when it's time for the U.S.-South Korean drills to take place, but as soon as those drills end, things quickly return to normal," Sung Hyun-sang said in Seoul, a day after returning from Kaesong. He is president of Mansun Corporation, an apparel manufacturer that employs 1,400 North Korean workers and regularly stations 12 South Koreans at Kaesong.

"I think and hope that this time won't be different," Sung said.

Technically, the divided Korean Peninsula remains in a state of war. North Korea last shut down communications at Kaesong four years ago, and that time some workers were temporarily stranded.

North Korea could be trying to stoke worries that the hotline shutdown could mean that a military provocation could come any time without notice.

South Korea urged the North to quickly restore the hotline, and the U.S. State Department said the shutdown was unconstructive.

North Korea's latest threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang. North Korea's moves at home to order troops into "combat readiness" also are seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong Un, who took power after his father's death in December 2011, strengthens his military credentials.

The Kaesong complex is the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. Other rapprochement projects created during a previous era of detente stopped as tension rose in recent years.

At the border Thursday, a trio of uniformed South Korean soldiers stood at one side of a gate as white trucks rumbled through, carrying large pipes and containers to Kaesong. At Dorasan station, a South Korean border checkpoint, a green signboard hung above the trucks with the words "Kaesong" and "Pyongyang" written in English and Korean.

The stalled hotline, which consists of two telephone lines, two fax lines and two lines that can be used for both telephone and fax, was virtually the last remaining direct link between the rival Koreas.

North Korea in recent weeks cut other phone and fax hotlines with South Korea's Red Cross and with the American-led U.N. Command at the border. Three other telephone hotlines used only to exchange information about air traffic were still operating normally Thursday, according to South Korea's Air Traffic Center.

In 2010, ties between the rivals reached one of their lowest points in decades after North Korea's artillery bombardment of a South Korean island and a South Korean warship sinking blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. A total of 50 South Koreans died.

There is still danger of a confrontation or clash. Kim Jong Un may be more willing to take risks than his father, the late Kim Jong Il, said Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea expert at Korea University in South Korea.

Although North Korea has vowed nuclear strikes on the U.S., analysts outside the country have seen no proof that North Korean scientists have yet mastered the technology needed to build a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on a missile.

President Park so far has outlined a policy that looks to re-engage North Korea, stressing the need for greater trust while saying Pyongyang will "pay the price" for any provocation. Last week she approved a shipment of anti-tuberculosis medicine to the North.

Since 2004, the Kaesong factories have operated with South Korean money and know-how, with North Korean factory workers managed by South Koreans.

Inter-Korean trade, which includes a small amount of humanitarian aid sent to the North and components and raw materials sent to Kaesong complex to build finished products, amounted to nearly $2 billion in 2012, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020656164_apaskoreastension.html

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« Reply #8233 on: Mar 28th, 2013, 09:54am »

Scientific American

Cloud Warriors: U.S. Army Intelligence to Arm Field Ops with Hardened Network and Smartphones

A big step up from wireless radios, modified smartphones could help operatives identify the enemy and disseminate allegiance shifts, and even provide a drone’s-eye-view of the battlefield

By Larry Greenemeier
28 March 2013

The U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Corps wants to equip its field operatives with a pocket-size tool they can use to locate and identify adversaries, and then disseminate that information to nearby troop commanders as quickly as possible. Their tool of choice—a modified Google Android smartphone with specialized apps, a setup none too different from the ones so many civilians use for multitasking in their daily lives.

Military Intelligence, which has issued basic Android smartphones to a small number of its operatives in the past two years, is testing new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android sets loaded with software—known collectively as Windshear—that could send and receive biometric, GPS and other data via a secure mobile “cloud” network. Another key feature under consideration as part of Windshear would give operatives access to streaming video taken by drones overhead, something not available today to troops on the ground.

Smartphones and a secure, real-time connection to data are necessities if the U.S. military is to stay a step ahead of its adversaries, says Lt. Col. Jasey Briley, a retired Army intelligence officer acting as a consultant on the Windshear project. Whereas the Army has for at least the past decade used mobile devices to perform biometric identification, those instruments were only as effective as the data they contained. “The photos and fingerprints in the databases are not updated in real-time,” he adds. “This is where Windshear could provide an advantage—it’s always being updated.”

A squad or company entering a village in Afghanistan, for example, needs the latest information regarding that location before they arrive, including whether it is friendly to U.S. troops or has recently switched allegiance, says Briley, who last served as a senior intelligence officer with the 18th Airborne Corps before retiring in May 2012 and becoming CEO of JBB Group, an intelligence and security services firm.

Troops have long had access to real-time communications via wireless radios, but a smartphone could send and receive digital photos of enemy combatants known to be operating in a particular location. “In the past that basic information might have been copied over the radio or the squad wouldn’t get it at all,” Briley says. The Army has also used satellite phones, but that technology has not trickled down to the squadron level, much less to individual soldiers. “It’s an expensive piece of equipment and it’s expensive to get the satellite signal,” he adds.

As anyone who has lost cell phone coverage during an emergency knows, a mobile phone is only as reliable as its network. Keeping smartphones operational in remote areas without much of a telecommunications infrastructure is not easy. There are many locations—such as the tribal zone straddling the Afghan–Pakistani border—where a cell signal cannot reach, Briley says. In many field operations soldiers communicate via vehicle-mounted cell towers, although sometimes those soldiers must venture into rugged terrain and leave their vehicles behind. In such cases, he adds, the soldiers can download maps and other useful information before venturing too far from the mobile cell tower.

Windshear would not solve connectivity problems in such cases, but it will enable broader data sharing when soldiers can sync up with the cloud. Windshear operates on a smartphone just like an app from a user’s perspective, says AJ Clark, president of Thermopylae Sciences+Technology, the Arlington, Va., provider of Web-based geospatial software used to build Windshear. Yet the software is actually an “app container”—tapping on the Windshear screen icon brings up a new screen filled with more specialized apps that change automatically based on a soldier’s location, mission and specific military specialty.

Military Intelligence first evaluated Windshear’s ability to deliver cloud-based biometrics, facial recognition, reporting and ID scanning capabilities as part of the May 2011 U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Empire Challenge, a showcase for emerging military technologies. The Army might further scrutinize the software and smartphones as part of a Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) in 2014, one of a series of semiannual, solider-led tests of commercial and custom-designed technology that could be used to improve the Army’s tactical network. This would be different from previous field testing because the NIE is a formal event where many different Army systems come together to see how a new system holds up in a replicated field environment, Clark says, adding that “systems nominated for NIE testing can be fast-tracked to the field if they are positively received by the soldiers.”

Windshear also plays into the U.S. Department of Defense’s larger “mobile device strategy,” which they outlined in May 2012. (pdf) This plan lays out a number of scenarios in which smartphones, tablets and other modified mobile consumer electronics might assist the military. Field units could maneuver in unfamiliar environments with help from real-time maps that soldiers annotate and share with other troops via their handheld devices. Engineers would be able to take digital pictures of mechanical parts, using those images to order replacements via the cloud. Another possibility: Military health care providers could diagnose injuries as well as remotely access lab results from the field.

Getting soldiers to embrace new mobile gadgets will not be a problem. “Our young soldiers grew up with smartphones—they’re the ones really pushing the technology onto the battlefield.” Briley says. “When you introduce something like this, they’re like, What took you so long?”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=us-army-intelligence-cloud-smartphone

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« Reply #8234 on: Mar 28th, 2013, 10:02am »







UFO airport PARIS

Mickaël Mulder

Published on Mar 28, 2013

UFO filmed flying airport PARIS-Charles de Gaulle...

~

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