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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 154359 times)
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« Reply #8460 on: May 10th, 2013, 09:30am »






Strange lights (UFO?) May 2013
by James Rickman

Published on May 9, 2013

"anyone got a logical explanation for this? these aren't northern lights, it's in the southern hemisphere"

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« Reply #8461 on: May 11th, 2013, 08:26am »









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« Reply #8462 on: May 12th, 2013, 09:14am »

New York Times

May 11, 2013

Review of 50 Brooklyn Murder Cases Ordered

By FRANCES ROBLES and N. R. KLEINFIELD

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office has ordered a review of some 50 murder cases assigned to an acclaimed homicide detective, an acknowledgment of mounting questions about the officer’s tactics and the legitimacy of the convictions.

The office’s Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.

The development comes after The New York Times examined a dozen cases involving Mr. Scarcella and found disturbing patterns, including the detective’s reliance on the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions and his delivery of confessions from suspects who later said they had told him nothing. At the same time, defense lawyers, inmates and prisoner advocacy organizations have contacted the district attorney’s office to share their own suspicions about Mr. Scarcella.

The review by the office of District Attorney Charles J. Hynes will give special scrutiny to those cases that appear weakest — because they rely on either a single eyewitness or confession, officials said. The staff will re-interview available witnesses, and study any new evidence. If they feel a conviction was unjust, prosecutors could seek for it to be dismissed.

“People will look for blame,” said John O’Mara, who leads the Conviction Integrity Unit. “Our goal isn’t to look for blame. Our goal is to correct injustice.”

Mr. Scarcella’s name surfaced in March after a judge freed David Ranta, who had spent 23 years in prison after being convicted of murdering a rabbi. Prosecutors determined that Mr. Ranta’s conviction resulted in large part from flawed police work by Mr. Scarcella and a partner, including failing to pursue a more logical suspect. An investigation found they removed violent criminals from jail to let them smoke crack cocaine and visit prostitutes in exchange for incriminating Mr. Ranta. A witness also said Mr. Scarcella told him who to choose in a lineup.

Mr. Scarcella, 61, who retired from the police force in 1999, said he was surprised to learn of the review.

“Are you kidding me?,” he said Saturday in an interview.“Wow. This is quite a bit of a shock. Let them look at my convictions. I will help them if they need me. I don’t know what else to say. I expect he will find nothing,” he said.

He has maintained that he did nothing wrong.

“I couldn’t sit with my family the past 30, 40 years if I had hurt an individual,” he said in a previous interview. “I never fudged a lineup in my life. I never, ever took a false confession.”

He suggested that, following the Ranta news, those he put away believe that “Scarcella is the get-out-of-jail-free key.”

Pressed about specific cases, he said he could not recall many details and that he was being unfairly singled out.

“I have to be a pretty smart guy to lock someone up, get it through the D.A.’s office, get it through a trial and jury, and convict a guy,” he said. “I’m not that smart. It’s not a Louie Scarcella show.”

The questions about Mr. Scarcella stem from the sordid decades when the city saw as many as six homicides a day, and the police and the district attorney struggled to keep up.

Interviews with dozens of lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses and suspects, as well as a review of legal documents, suggest a detective who followed his own rules.

The new developments have proved embarrassing for Mr. Hynes, who is seeking re-election to his seventh term this fall. Although many of Mr. Scarcella’s cases date back to Mr. Hynes’s predecessor, Elizabeth Holtzman, his office has for years aggressively fended off appeals and denied public records requests from inmates who believe they were wrongly targeted by Mr. Scarcella.

Ms. Holtzman said Saturday, “I support a review of these cases.”

A Common Eyewitness

Teresa Gomez, a drug addict born in Trinidad who spent her nights on the streets of Crown Heights, seemed to have a knack for witnessing homicides Mr. Scarcella was assigned to, prompting lawyers to call her “Louie’s go-to witness.”

In the late 1980s, Ms. Gomez testified that she saw a drug dealer, Robert Hill, commit two separate murders. Both times, she was the only eyewitness.

In the first trial, she said she was hiding in a closet in a crack den, watching through a keyhole in the door, and saw Mr. Hill put a pillow over a man’s head and shoot him. Mr. Hill’s cousin said the family later hired an investigator and found no keyhole in the closet door.

Mr. Hill was acquitted.

In the second trial, Mr. Hill was accused of shooting a man on a Crown Heights street corner and then, curiously, putting the dying man inside a livery cab and ordering the driver to take him to the hospital.

Ms. Gomez’s testimony was so belligerent that the judge threatened to strike it in its entirety. She contradicted the evidence in several ways, including the direction the shot was fired and the color of the cab. She even admitted she lied during the first trial.

Yet Mr. Hill was convicted.

“I was kind of no good, but I wasn’t a killer,” Mr. Hill, now 52, said in an interview at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

Mr. Hill and his family say they are convinced he had been railroaded by Mr. Scarcella, and believe the detective coached Ms. Gomez on her testimony.

They said in interviews that they were startled when Ms. Gomez surfaced again, this time at the trial of Mr. Hill’s stepbrothers, Darryl Austin and Alvena Jennette, who were accused of killing a man for his money.

Transcripts show Ms. Gomez, who claimed to see the killing from a nearby street corner and decided to follow the killers home because she was “nosy,” gave muddled answers that contradicted the other eyewitness.

Jurors were deadlocked and leaning toward acquittal, according to court records. They complained of moldy sandwiches, and the judge pressed them to try harder. Three hours later, they returned with a conviction. Mr. Austin died in prison of lung disease, while Mr. Jennette, 49, was released in 2007 after serving 21 years. “The whole neighborhood knows we didn’t kill that guy,” he said.

As for Ms. Gomez, he said, “I don’t know anyone who ever witnessed three, four or five homicides, unless you were doing them.”

The Legal Aid Society said recently that Ms. Gomez’s repeated role is so troubling that it plans to review homicide appeals of that era to see how many mention her.

Mr. Scarcella said she testified in at least six cases and had nothing but praise for her.

“God bless her,” he said. Though he said he did not recall many specifics of the cases that involved her, he “stood by her 100 percent.” She died years ago, in what acquaintances said was a hit-and-run accident.

Witnesses back then were elusive. Yet Mr. Scarcella could not explain Ms. Gomez’s verbosity and ubiquity. He said he would give her cigarettes and some food money, but that was it.

George Duke, a former supervisor of Mr. Scarcella’s who speaks highly of him, said he thinks Ms. Gomez was among several prostitutes whom the police paid $100 per murder for information. But when they were obviously lying, Mr. Duke said, he would not use them in that case.

A prosecutor’s view of Ms. Gomez is available in an Internet posting on a cigar-smokers forum. Neil Ross, a former assistant district attorney who is now a Manhattan criminal court judge, prosecuted the two Hill cases. In a 2000 posting, he reminisced about a cigar he received from the “legendary detective” Louis Scarcella as they celebrated in a bar after the Hill conviction.

In the post, Mr. Ross said that the evidence backed up Ms. Gomez but acknowledged, “It was near folly to even think that anyone would believe Gomez about anything, let alone the fact that she witnessed the same guy kill two different people.”

Mr. Ross declined to comment, citing judicial ethics rules. “That is horrible,” Mr. Scarcella said about the post. “I don’t know what else to say.”

His Own Way

Mr. Scarcella grew up in Bensonhurst and his father, Domenick, was a police officer. The young Scarcella served six years in the Navy, and joined the police force in 1973. He became a detective in 1981, and in 1987 transferred to the Brooklyn North homicide squad. During off hours, he moonlighted as a Coney Island carnival barker.

His day job was nonstop. All told, Mr. Scarcella estimates he was the lead investigator on around 175 homicides and had a role in at least another 175. After he left the police force, he served as a schools investigator and a dock builder.

Some lawyers who crossed paths with Mr. Scarcella said they thought he imagined himself a crusader who created his own rules.

“He had a gregarious, funny, wonderful personality,” said Martin Marshak, a defense lawyer who represented clients in several cases in which, he said, Mr. Scarcella threatened witnesses. “N.Y.P.D. and prosecutors thought he was one of the best homicide detectives. The only problem was he never followed the rules.”

He added, “I don’t want to say he manufactured witnesses, but he got people to say what he wanted them to say.”

The Police Department would not comment on Mr. Scarcella or make his personnel record available.

more after the jump:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/nyregion/doubts-about-detective-haunt-50-murder-cases.html?hp&_r=0

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« Reply #8463 on: May 12th, 2013, 09:17am »

Reuters

IRS official knew in 2011 of 'Tea Party' targeting: watchdog report

By Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West

WASHINGTON | Sun May 12, 2013 7:01am EDT

(Reuters) - A senior Internal Revenue Service official knew in 2011 that IRS agents were giving extra scrutiny to conservative Tea Party groups, according to documents from a watchdog office obtained by Reuters on Saturday.

In a scandal that has already embarrassed the IRS and become a distraction for the Obama administration, a report from the Treasury Department's Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) was expected to be issued publicly next week on the IRS practice, who knew about it and when.

As more information emerged over the weekend, the White House said President Barack Obama was concerned about the conduct of a few IRS employees.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "If the inspector general finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, the president expects that swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct."

The TIGTA report finds that Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS's tax-exempt groups unit, knew of the extra scrutiny as early as June 2011.

On Friday, in remarks that triggered a storm of controversy, Lerner publicly apologized at a legal conference in Washington for what she termed "inappropriate" targeting by the IRS of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

She said the practice was confined to an IRS office in Cincinnati and that it was "absolutely not" influenced by the Obama administration. She said none of the targeted groups was denied tax-free status.

The TIGTA report was requested last year by Republican Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of a congressional investigative panel, after he accused the IRS of targeting conservative groups.

TIGTA has found that the IRS singled out groups with the words "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their names for closer scrutiny, according to a TIGTA document.

IRS CHIEF DENIED KNOWLEDGE

In March 2012 in congressional testimony, then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the IRS was not making it harder for conservative groups to become tax-exempt.

Shulman stepped down at the end of 2012 when his term ended. Steven Miller was named acting head of the agency.

The IRS said in a statement on Saturday that the TIGTA report was correct. The statement said officials in the IRS exempt organizations division knew of the screening and that "IRS senior leadership did not have this level of detail."

The statement said that while "mistakes were made," there "were not partisan reasons behind this."

Although part of the executive branch, the IRS is considered an independent agency and officials try to stay out of politics.

According to the TIGTA document, the IRS was singling out the conservative groups as early as March 2010.

The document says managers in the "determinations unit" told specialists to be on the lookout for applications from organizations linked to the Tea Party, a political movement that favors smaller government and fewer and lower taxes.

CHANGING CRITERIA

The IRS screening criteria were broadened in July 2011 to cover "organizations involved with political, lobbying or advocacy" seeking tax exemption, according to a TIGTA timeline of events.

Further broadening of the criteria occurred in January 2012 and again in May 2012, the document said.

Issa has vowed to investigate the matter and the House committee he chairs has the power to issue subpoenas. At least one other congressional panel intends to hold hearings, giving Republicans multiple opportunities to hammer the agency and the White House over the affair that had been brewing for months.

Lerner said IRS agents in Cincinnati targeted conservative groups "without talking to managers." The staffers were trying to deal with a crush of applications for tax-exempt status by using key words to get through the paperwork faster, she said.

About 300 applications were initially flagged for closer scrutiny. Of those, 75 were chosen for that treatment based on the presence of the key words in their names.

THOUSANDS OF APPLICATIONS

Each year the IRS reviews as many as 60,000 tax-exempt applications from groups ranging from charities to labor unions. Some are classified as 501(c)(4) groups after the section of the tax code that makes them tax-exempt. Such organizations can collect money from anonymous donors and spend it on advertising.

To get and keep their tax-exempt status, 501(c)(4) groups cannot endorse a political candidate or a political party.

The number of groups seeking 501(c)(4) status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, coinciding in part with the surge of Tea Party enthusiasm. In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its "Citizens United" decision lifting government limits on corporate spending in federal elections.

Consumer groups have been pushing the IRS to clarify the standards for "social welfare organizations," as they are known in Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, to ensure that they are not abusing their tax-exempt status.

(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Writing by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Xavier Briand and Bill Trott)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/12/us-usa-tax-irs-teaparty-idUSBRE94A0FJ20130512

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« Reply #8464 on: May 12th, 2013, 09:22am »

Telegraph

Man goes on bulldozer rampage

A man in a bulldozer-like vehicle has gone on a rampage in the US state of Washington, damaging homes and cutting off electricity to thousands.

4:20PM BST 11 May 2013

Barry Alan Swegle, 51, used a bulldozer-like vehicle to damage property and an electricity pole in a dispute with neighbours.

Four homes in Washington's Olympic Peninsula were badly damaged and one home was knocked off its foundations.

An electricity pole was also pushed down by the International Harvester TD-25 machine, cutting off electricity for thousands in the area.

A neighbour in the area told the Peninsula Daily News that the driver "just went nuts".

Mr Swegle was arrested and held over malicious mischief. No one was injured in the incident.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/weirdnewsvideo/10051266/Man-goes-on-bulldozer-rampage.html

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« Reply #8465 on: May 12th, 2013, 09:31am »







UFO Hovers and Speeds off, Aug 2012,Vancouver WOW!!

Published on May 11, 2013

I forgot about this sighting last year. I captured this brilliant UFO just above my apartment in Night Vision. It was captured using my first cheap DVR reason for the quality but nevertheless the object slowly moved across the sky directly above Vancouver and then speeds off at incredible speeds changing directions 3 times before I lose it....could this still be a satellite or ISS, unfortunately I did not check at the time..but did seem odd ...comments or help debunking this would be great..as I have never seen an object with this presentation ever again...so its puzzling !,

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« Reply #8466 on: May 12th, 2013, 10:28am »

Incurable Disease Threatens US Citrus Crop

Marc Lallanilla, LiveScience Assistant Editor
Date: 10 May 2013

Florida's $9 billion orange crop, the largest in the world after Brazil's, may not survive an incurable disease that threatens to wipe out citrus groves throughout the United States.

The disease, known as "citrus greening" or huanglongbing, is caused by a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The bacteria are spread from tree to tree by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, The New York Times reports.

A tree affected by citrus greening may not show symptoms for years. Eventually, however, the leaves turn yellow and fall, while the tree's fruit fails to mature, falling to the ground prematurely before the tree slowly dies.

"We have got a real big problem," Vic Story, a lifelong Florida citrus grower, told The Times. "It's definitely the biggest threat in my lifetime, and I'm 68. This is a tree killer."

There is no known cure for citrus greening (which also affects grapefruit, lemons and other citrus crops), despite the best efforts of numerous research labs. The Candidatus bacteria is so devastating to citrus crops that it was classified as a bioterror weapon in 2003, The New Yorker reports.

A global blight

Though the Sunshine State is now the most critically affected — all 32 of Florida's citrus-growing counties have reported the disease — the blight has also been found in California, Arizona, Texas and other states. China, Mexico and Brazil are also grappling with infestations.

And it keeps coming: Between 1985 and 2003, officials intercepted 170 cases of Asian citrus psyllids entering U.S. ports on plant material, according to a report from the University of California, Davis, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

"The industry that made Florida, that is synonymous with Florida, that is a staple on every American breakfast table, is totally threatened," Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida told The Times. "If we don't find a cure, it will eliminate the citrus industry."

http://www.livescience.com/30050-citrus-greening-destroy-orange-crop.html
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« Reply #8467 on: May 12th, 2013, 2:57pm »

on May 9th, 2013, 09:30am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Science Daily

World's Most Extreme Hearing Animal: The Greater Wax Moth

May 8, 2013

— Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have discovered that the greater wax moth is capable of sensing sound frequencies of up to 300 kHz – the highest recorded frequency sensitivity of any animal in the natural world.

Humans are only capable of hearing sounds of 20kHz maximum, dropping to around 12-15 kHz as we age, and even dolphins, known exponents of ultrasound, can’t compete as their limitations are around 160 kHz.

The research, conducted at the University’s Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, has identified the extraordinary sensory characteristics of the moth, paving the way for developments in air-couple ultrasound.

Dr James Windmill, who has led the research at Strathclyde, said: “We are extremely surprised to find that the moth is capable of hearing sound frequencies at this level and we hope to use the findings to better understand air-coupled ultrasound.”

“The use of ultrasound in air is extremely difficult as such high frequency signals are quickly weakened in air. Other animals such as bats are known to use ultrasound to communicate and now it is clear that moths are capable of even more advanced use of sound.

“It’s not entirely clear how the moths have developed to be able to hear at such a high frequency, but it is possible that they have had to improve the communication between each other to avoid capture from their natural predator – the bat – which use similar sounds.”

The research findings will allow the Dr Windmill and his colleagues to further develop their understanding of ultrasound and how to transmit and receive ultrasonic pulses travelling in air.

With frequency sensitivity that is unparalleled in the animal kingdom, this moth is ready for any echolocation call adaptations made by the bat in the on-going bat–moth evolutionary war.

Dr Windmill’s multi-disciplinary research team is now working to apply the biological study of this, and other insect ears to the design of micro-scale acoustic systems. It is hoped that by studying the unprecedented capabilities of the moth’s ear, the team can produce new technological innovations, such as miniature microphones.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508092830.htm

Crystal


Hi Crystal, impressive little bug there! I wonder if this moth might be used in mega earthquake/tsunami warning systems. These events give off early superfast soundwaves carried around the globe, through the atmosphere, allowing for maximum alert times (10-20 hours) IF detected. Of course the moth needs to be trained to recognize and react to the specific soundwaves.


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Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.

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« Reply #8468 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:10am »

on May 12th, 2013, 10:28am, Swamprat wrote:
Incurable Disease Threatens US Citrus Crop

Marc Lallanilla, LiveScience Assistant Editor
Date: 10 May 2013

Florida's $9 billion orange crop, the largest in the world after Brazil's, may not survive an incurable disease that threatens to wipe out citrus groves throughout the United States.

The disease, known as "citrus greening" or huanglongbing, is caused by a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The bacteria are spread from tree to tree by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, The New York Times reports....

http://www.livescience.com/30050-citrus-greening-destroy-orange-crop.html


Good morning Swamprat cheesy

Thank you for that article. Hope you had a good weekend.

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« Reply #8469 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:12am »

on May 12th, 2013, 2:57pm, purr wrote:
Hi Crystal, impressive little bug there! I wonder if this moth might be used in mega earthquake/tsunami warning systems. These events give off early superfast soundwaves carried around the globe, through the atmosphere, allowing for maximum alert times (10-20 hours) IF detected. Of course the moth needs to be trained to recognize and react to the specific soundwaves.


purr


Purr!

Good to "see" you laugh

I can't train our dogs so I'll leave the moth training to a "moth whisperer".

Crystal


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« Reply #8470 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:14am »

Reuters

Top U.S. admiral puts cyber security on the Navy's radar


By John O'Callaghan
SINGAPORE | Mon May 13, 2013 8:02am EDT

(Reuters) - Cyber security and warfare are on par with a credible nuclear deterrent in the defense priorities of the United States, the U.S. Navy's top admiral said on Monday, after the Pentagon accused China of trying to hack into its computer networks.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, told Reuters the defense department's cyber program had continued unabated despite the political gridlock about the U.S. budget deficit and enforced spending cuts in other areas.

"The level of investment that we put into cyber in the department is as protected or as focused as it would be in strategic nuclear," Greenert said in an interview in Singapore just before the start of the three-day Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington (link.reuters.com/dam97t).

"It's right up there, in the one-two area, above all other programs."

For the U.S. Navy, cyber security is critical because its ability to coordinate ships, planes and personnel depends heavily on computer networks and satellites.

"We've got to understand how to defend them, how to exploit them ourselves and how to, as necessary, be able to do offensive effects," said Greenert, who will attend this week's IMDEX Asia maritime defense show in Singapore.

"Many people who look at the future of warfare say it's bound to start in cyber. The first thing you'd want to do is shut down their sensors, interrupt their power grid, confuse them ... and presumably guard against that kind of thing and recognize if it's starting."

The U.S. Navy has enjoyed advantages in traditional sea, undersea and air warfare but times have changed, he said.

"In the cyber domain, a lot of people - civilian hackers, anybody - can get into this," Greenert said.

The Pentagon, in its annual report to Congress on China, cited "state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage" to benefit Chinese defense industries, military planners and government leaders.

Last week's report, for the first time accusing the Chinese of trying to break into U.S. defense computer networks, said the cyber snooping was a "serious concern" that pointed to a greater threat because the "skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks".

Beijing dismissed the report as groundless. The People's Daily, regarded as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, said later that "the United States is the real 'hacking empire' and has an extensive espionage network".

Greenert, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. military felt the need to go public about China due to a "threshold of frustration".

Beyond China, he said Iran has a "deliberate and emerging" cyber capability, Russia is "very advanced" and North Korea is "more in the development stage".

HIGH TECH AND OFF THE GRID

The security of satellites is paramount as they underpin nearly all U.S. military functions with communications, target and weather data, along with warning of missile launches.

Washington is keeping a close eye on Chinese activities in space after an intelligence report last year raised concerns about China's growing ability to disrupt U.S. military and intelligence satellites.

"You want to develop satellites that have a cryptological effect or impact so that they are hardened against jamming," Greenert said.

As a contingency in case satellites are jammed, contaminated with a computer virus or hit by a missile or a directed-energy weapon, he said the Navy was going "back to the future" by looking at high-frequency relays used during the Cold War.

"That part of the electromagnetic spectrum is still out there. It's not as well traveled as it used to be so it's actually cleaner," he said. "We're actively working on that."

The energy blasted from ships by radar and satellite systems is "like a beacon", Greenert said, making reduction of the electronic "signature" a key part of the Navy's cyber strategy.

Using radar in targeted patterns, changing frequencies and using lower energy levels and shorter pulses are all part of the plan to stay stealthy - along with shutting down the systems quickly when in "mission control" mode.

"It's like quitting smoking. You've got to learn to get off this addiction to constant information to and from," Greenert said. "Going off the grid can be a good thing."

(Editing by Ron Popeski)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/13/us-usa-defence-cyber-idUSBRE94C0B320130513

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« Reply #8471 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:18am »

New York Times

Chinese Creating New Auto Niche Within Detroit

By BILL VLASIC

Published: May 12, 2013

DETROIT — Dozens of companies from China are putting down roots in Detroit, part of the country’s steady push into the American auto industry.

Chinese-owned companies are investing in American businesses and new vehicle technology, selling everything from seat belts to shock absorbers in retail stores, and hiring experienced engineers and designers in an effort to soak up the talent and expertise of domestic automakers and their suppliers.

While starting with batteries and auto parts, the spread of Chinese business is expected to result eventually in the sale of Chinese cars in the United States.

“The Chinese are well behind the Japanese when they hit our shores 30 years ago,” said David E. Cole, a founder of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “They lack the know-how, and they’re coming here to get it.”

As businesses sprout up with little fanfare, Chinese companies seem to be trying to avoid the type of public opposition experienced by the Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda in the 1980s, when the sudden influx of foreign cars competing head-on with cars from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler was perceived as a threat to American jobs.

In contrast to the Japanese, Chinese auto companies are assiduously avoiding the spotlight. Last year, the biggest carmaker in China, Shanghai Automotive Industries, opened new offices in suburban Detroit without any publicity, which is almost unheard-of in an industry that thrives on media coverage.

But China’s growth in the American auto industry is drawing notice in Washington. Last year, the Obama administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization that China’s government was unfairly subsidizing the production of some parts shipped to America. And the country’s inroads into American-made batteries and electric vehicles have drawn scrutiny because that sector of the industry has been heavily subsidized by the United States government.

The American industry’s overall resurgence has drawn a growing Chinese population to Detroit, with Chinese-owned suppliers bringing executives from their country and American automakers adding new talent. About 50,000 Chinese, many of them engineers and other professionals who work at General Motors and the Ford Motor Company, live in the metropolitan area.

Business networks are growing too. The Detroit Chinese Business Association boasts a flourishing membership, and counts about 100 Chinese-owned businesses, mostly auto-related, in the region.

The Ford Chinese Association, with 650 white-collar workers, predominantly from mainland China, has become one of the largest employee groups at the company. Its president, Raymond Xu, recalled that in 1999, when he came to Detroit to attend college, there were very few Chinese in the area.

“I think people are going to get more and more comfortable with it,” Mr. Xu said.

Typical of the Chinese expansion are the nondescript offices of Changan Automotive in an industrial park in the suburban city of Plymouth. Changan, a major carmaker in China, set up a research center to better understand the structural chassis of a vehicle — then hired about 20 Detroit engineers, some of whom had been laid off from Detroit’s auto companies, to staff the project.

“Most of the engineers are very young in China,” said Hong Su, the Changan executive heading the American facility. “They know how to make vehicles, but they don’t know how to develop them.”One of his employees is Alan Wall, 54, a former contract engineer at Chrysler who lost his job during the recession.

“It was an opportunity,” he said. “And those tend to come from a company that is trying to expand.”

Last year, China exported about $13 billion in automotive goods to the United States — tires, wheels and radios that are sold as replacement parts — according to AlixPartners, a consulting firm.

But many Chinese suppliers are pursuing direct business with the Detroit car companies, which now get many of their most common parts from low-wage nations like Mexico. One supplier, Brilliance Auto, an industrial giant with about 500,000 employees in the city of Shenyang in northeast China, is still an underdog in Detroit, trying to crack an intricate network of suppliers that have long relationships with G.M. and the other carmakers.

“We have been exporting our parts to North America for 15 years for the aftermarket,” said Dongbin Chen, a Brilliance executive, referring to retail sales of replacement parts. “Now our biggest opportunity is with G.M. and the other big companies.”

more after the jump:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/business/global/chinese-automakers-quietly-build-a-detroit-presence.html?hp&_r=0

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« Reply #8472 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:23am »

Science Daily

Improving Communication During Disasters

May 13, 2013 — A small armband which can be attached to the injured. An information board containing a complete visual record of events. This is technology helping to improve communications during major national disasters.

Debates about emergency responses to acts of terrorism, natural disasters and major accidents are no strangers to the media. Every accident is followed by a discussion about who was responsible, who was to blame, and what might have been done better.

"After the events on Utøya on 22 July 2011, there was a great willingness to improve on all counts," says SINTEF researcher Jan Håvard Skjetne. "But there was perhaps too much focus on the police and terrorism angle," he says. "It's too easy for us to focus exclusively on events such as the recent Boston bombings, but we must be aware of all situations in which accidents take place -- such as avalanches, explosions and transport disasters. In these situations, we should be concentrating on the sharing of information between the police, fire and health services" says Skjetne.

Skjetne is Project Manager for "BRIDGE" -- a major EU project which is addressing emergency response collaboration during disasters, and is looking into how technology can help to improve response strategies.

Information is being lost

"First close your eyes, turn your back, pull a plastic bag over your head and hide behind a curtain. Then try to hold a conversation with someone standing some distance behind you and speaking an unfamiliar dialect. Now you can begin to understand how difficult it is to communicate by radio," says police inspector Bjørn Danielsen. Danielsen is employed at the Norwegian Police Academy and has used this illustration during debates addressing effective communication. At present it is a fact that information during accidents can only be shared by people actually talking to each other. Skjetne is one of many who believe that information doesn't have to be transmitted only by telephone and radio. "Things can go haywire and a lot of information can be lost," he says. "In order to plan the transport of casualties out of a disaster area, the preparation of reception centres, and the saving of lives, it will be essential to provide information about how many people are injured -- and how seriously," says Skjetne. "Can some of the injured wait for help? Are some of them dying? How many are uninjured? "It is in such situations that we can envisage the use of technical systems which establish closer links between the police, health and fire service crews," he says.

Shared information

During a major disaster, where a lot is happening and chaos rules, it is important that the emergency services have a shared awareness of the situation. This is why Norwegian researchers have now established a system which provides a visual overview of events taking place at the scene of the disaster. Information can be shared between the various units deployed by the emergency services, using tablets, PCs and large information boards. "This is a geolocation-based system which assembles all available data and displays them on a map," says Skjetne. In this way, all information can be made available both to, and shared between, personnel out in the field, and to those staffing the emergency centres where response coordinators can control operations from their desks.

How many injured?

Together with the other partners in the EU project, the researchers have also participated in looking at the problem from the other end. We have now established an initial concept designed to ensure that hospitals work better together. The German Fraunhofer research centre has produced a small armband which can be attached to the injured following an accident. The armband is part of an electronic system which sorts and prioritises the injured -- a so-called triage system similar to that used by Norwegian accident and emergency personnel today. With the help of a colour coding system on the armbands, emergency response personnel can label groups of patients depending on the seriousness of their injuries. For example, urgent cases are indicated by those wearing red armbands.

"The system we are talking about is very simple, but can be extended to include pulse measurements, ECG, etc.," says Skjetne. "The key here is that all injured persons are given a unique identification tag, and in this way it is possible to follow an injured person from the scene of the accident to the hospital," he says. He refers to a statement made by the health services: "If there are more than five injured persons following an accident, we lose track of where these are located and what is happening to them."

Olav Eielsen heads the regional emergency medical expertise centre RAKOS established by the Helse Vest health trust in Stavanger. He is a supporter of the new triage system which will soon be tested as part of a major Norwegian exercise to be held outside Stavanger in September.

Closed systems must be opened

Jan Håvard Skjetne is in no doubt that it will be a long-term task to implement a shared emergency response apparatus in Norway. Major financial and organisational differences across Norway make this work highly problematic -- complicated by the fact that all the relevant response services are coordinated by different agencies; the fire services by the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB), the police by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and the health service sector by the various municipal and county council authorities.

In order for these services to be able to share information, help is needed to open up the in-house systems they currently employ. At present, the fire department employs the LOKUS system which notifies it of the location of all its emergency vehicles. The health services can trace the movements of all its ambulances within its own system, but none of these systems share any information.

Learning from major exercises

Each year, major exercises are organised which give the emergency services the opportunity to train for accident situations such as train collisions, in which the injured may lie scattered across the scene of the accident, or avalanches in steep mountain terrain during which tracker dogs and rescue teams are searching for casualties.

SINTEF has interviewed 40 emergency service managers to tap into their views on risk, opportunities, and the weaknesses of exercises. All those interviewed raised the issues of exercises, and intense and repeated training. Even the best instructions have no value if there are no opportunities to train in "real-life" situations. At a recent SINTEF seminar addressing this issue, Ann Christin Olsen-Haines from the DSB caused a stir when she challenged what we really get from these exercises. "If it is true that when our colleagues ask the following day "how did the exercise go?," and those involved reply "OK, everyone had a good day," then this cannot be good enough," she says. "An exercise must have a pre-defined objective -- we must be clear about what we intend to get out of it in advance. In this way we can might have the opportunity to learn something," says Olsen-Haines.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513083056.htm?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmost_popular+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Most+Popular+News%29

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« Reply #8473 on: May 13th, 2013, 08:27am »







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« Reply #8474 on: May 14th, 2013, 09:13am »

CBC News


Russia detains U.S. diplomat accused of being CIA agent

Ryan Fogle was carrying disguises, large sum of money when he was detained, Moscow says

The Associated Press

Posted: May 14, 2013 9:44 AM ET

Russia's security services say they have caught a U.S. diplomat who they claim is a CIA agent in an attempt to recruit a Russian agent.

Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight, the FSB said in a statement Tuesday. Fogle was handed over to U.S. consular officials, the FSB said.

Despite the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still maintain active espionage operations against each other. Last year, several Russians were convicted in separate cases of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.

The detention of Fogle, however, appeared to be the first American diplomat accused of spying in about a decade and seemed certain to aggravate already strained relations between the two countries.

Russian state television showed pictures of a man said to be Fogle, wearing a baseball cap and what appeared to be a blond wig, lying face down on the ground. The man, now without the wig, was also shown sitting at a desk in the FSB offices. Two wigs and packages of 500 euro notes were among the items displayed on a table.

No immediate comment was available from the U.S. Embassy. Ambassador Michael McFaul, who was doing a question-and-answer session on Twitter when the detention was announced, said he would not comment.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it has summoned McFaul to appear on Wednesday in connection with the detention.

In Washington, the White House referred questions about the detained diplomat to the State Department. There was no immediate response from the State Department.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/05/14/russia-us-diplomat-cia-agent.html?cmp=rss

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