- first, let's introduce ourselves to modern diplomacy though some videos
Popular Videos - Diplomacy & Lecture
A History of Diplomacy with Madeleine Albright
21st century diplomacy - DFAT - who are we, and what do we do
Henry Kissinger on Foreign Policy and the Art of Diplomacy - Overview of History (1994)
EU Diplomacy in Theory and Practice
The Power of Diplomacy US and EU Approaches -- Madeline Albright
TEDxKrakow - Charles Crawford - The Physics of Diplomacy
TEDxTbilisi - Amb. Diana Janse - The New Face of Diplomacy
Empire - Diplomacy, Obama and the Middle East
UN-FIT FOR PURPOSE Kevin Rudd, Former Australian Prime Minister
- at times, you look at everything and it feels like we're still playing the game of kings, queens, bishops, empires, etc... The only difference is that the names have changed. We're just contesting jobs and wealth transfer? Read between the lines and it's become pretty obvious that there is a tussle going on. Moreover, it's clear that there are groups that see it as a 'zero sum' game. If you aren't winning then you can be only losing
Wikileaks ‘benefited Russia at expense of West’ - NYT claims
Keiser Report - Simple Sleight of Monetary Hand (E961)
Democrats urge Hillary to ‘cut off Clinton Foundation’
- one of the things I don't understand about the present path of economic development (neo-liberalism, free trade, etc...) is that we've trod this exact same pathway before prior to the previous World Wars. If that's the case and all factors point toward us possibly heading to another World War why are we taking the same road (just a case of least worse solution again?)?
- some lectures about free trade if you're interested in the debate between it and protectionism
Counting the Cost - Free trade v Protectionism - 24 Jul 09
The Free Trade Versus Protectionism Debate
Milton Friedman - Free Trade Vs Protectionism
Trump vs Friedman - Trade Policy Debate
- one of the things with gold is it's a pre-defined bailout position. Normally, when there is a collapse we will go after the bare necessities and in this respect it's interesting how gold has played such a crucial role in he past... What if people decide that the bail out position is not gold though? Those who banked on gold being the correct choice are in trouble. Better to simply spread your bets?
Jim Rickards - “There Will Be A War On Gold”
- if you examine the way some things work it still feels like we're still stuck with colonial perspectives at times? I guess that's why it's called neo-colonialism?
- based on what I've been hearing the original 'Cold War' and this set of circumstances there were more people calling for an agreement of sorts of those in the Western alliance and those who are on the opposite side
Stephen F. Cohen - Searching for Common Ground in U.S.-Russian Relations
‘We’re in a new Cold War’ – Stephen Cohen on mounting US-NATO military on Russia border
CrossTalk - Containment 2.0 (ft. Stephen Cohen & John Mearsheimer)
CrossTalk - Universal Bogeyman
Russia debate sparks fiery exchange between Amanpour and Cohen
The Other 'N' Word (Nukes) and the New Cold War...
The Media's Dangerous anti-Russian Jingoistic Game (w_ Prof. Stephen Cohen)
Russian Foreign Ministry’s glamorous spokeswoman takes RT crew on unique behind the scenes tour
- the EU's defenselessness is a moot point if Russia is not a genuine threat? Either way, I think most people acknowledge the fact that we need to recover some of the offshore money. The other interesting perspective is this. Look at debt loads for states around the world and think about the economics of how the way the world should work versus how it actually works (fundamental versus actual). Russia is pretty safe if you think about potential for future growth. In fact, based on natural resources and landmass alone it probably has the largest 'headroom' for growth? The obvious issue with anyone investing there is the 'corruption' problem (which Russia openly admits to) as well as the trust issue. Look deep enough and it becomes obvious that this isn't about money and influence alone. There are some trust issues that need to be overcome if the world order is going to be altered in way that embraces co-operation rather than coercion
- obvious question is does hedgemony equal world peace?
- the way in which capitalism works Russia and China works only makes more sense if you examine the way it works in the West and then contrast it. At the moment, the West has a strong favoritism towards the private sector versus Russian and China where control is more skewed towards that of the state. The irony is that both systems have their own relative faults. With the continued collapse of capitalism across much of the world and the nature of neo-liberalism and free flow of capital governments are beholden to giant corporations and if they can't find a way in to skew the rules to hold them in line we're going back towards a more 'feudal' perspective of the world because governments will no longer be able to pay their own bills at some point (unless you can write the rules in such a way that it will keep things fair. That is unlikely though if we examine the way capitalism actually works in many parts of the world). The irony is that free flow of capital makes it more likely that removal of critical elements in the overall tower could cause the whole thing to collapse. As indicated in the past though general (and military superiority) helps ensure that people will pay their bills if there is a crisis even if the terms may be unfair? Russia and China situation means that private corruption is more likely to be 'heavily dealt with' (prison, confiscation, death even, etc...) but the corruption is more likely to occur in the state (since that is where the balance of power lies). If the people in charge are benevolent and ideologically pure there is a chance that things could actual be better though in their system? If not, you're way worse off...
Keiser Report - Lesser Evil Voting (E959)
- open admission that there are limits to our 'Rules Based Order'?
Threat of Nuclear War Is Not Fear Porn
- some commentary about the mainstream media in the alternate media. Some of it is pretty funny
Keiser Report - Lesser Evil Voting (E959)
- after watching a variety of media for a while it becomes obvious why some of it feels so extreme sometimes. They may simply be searching for a story that isn't really there? The irony with some foreign media is that they are staffed by people who basically want change in their home country. They aren't necessarily pushing forth a particular foreign agenda. They've simply used foreign media as a soap box to further their own personal ideals?
 Lawsuit Against DNC, Army Misplaces Trillions, #NoDAPL Bigger Than Expected
BREAKING - CBS News Finally Admits Election Could Be Rigged Easily
How YOU Can Stop Debbie Wasserman Schultz - Interview w_ Tim Canova
7 Reasons Bernie Voters Should STILL Be Excited
- obvious issue with this is that if the money is required we're better off but where does our economic growth come from? Part of me is thinking about a 'stagnant money' tax (you could argue that zero and negative interest rates are in effect the same thing but if you set it up correctly it shouldn't?). If you simply park money offshore (for a large amount of time) and don't invest it, use it to employ people, spend it on goods and services, etc... then we should have the means to recoup it whether via taxation or other mechanisms? It's just worthless if it simply sits off shore (though it does help if that country uses it to lend against which is often the case in cases such as Switzerland, Lichtenstein, etc...). It's also mechanism to ensure that trickle down economics ultimately does work the benefit of everyone and facilitates progress by reducing the possibility of 'capital buildup' which has been outlined by critics of 'capitalism' as it currently stands? Obvious problem is stock price crashes if this does occur?
Apple won't pay the €13bn unpaid tax to Ireland - Max Keiser
- the way you think the world works versus the way it actually works can be depressing at times
- watch the way in which diplomacy, statecraft, covert operations work, etc... and you'll see that a lot of the time people are simply forced to make a 'least worse' decision or set of circumstances. It's part of the reason why politics appears so negative at times?
- GDP growth stagnating over time with exception of Africa (over latest period)?
- you have to admit that there's a funny side to this. Imagine if all sealine countries started building artificial islands? Neo-Pangaea?
- I can't see a way how the West can avoid war and still maintain it's 'lead role' unless it figures out a way to genuinely trade their way out of their declining position. Read between the lines and it's becoming clear that both the United States and China are 'too big to fail' to a certain extent. We need to live with our present circumstances for at the least a short period into the future
- from time to time there are those who are fiercely critical of present alliances/arrangements. The fact is is that in the case of Australia (and many other middle to lower powers) we are limited by by something (such as our infrastructure, population, natural resources, etc...). Since we can't expand it we can't pursue a larger population size which means that we can't have a larger economy which means that we can't defend ourselves without having to resort to nuclear weapons or factoring in advanced technology (which is expensive) which means that ultimately means that Australia (and other middle to lower powers) must always cede sovereignty to an external, stronger power. Ultimately, this means that the only genuine, natural candidates for superpower status are the United States, China, Russia, India, Europe, and possibly other regional groups such as the African Union and ASEAN (if they got their act together and ultimately became borderline or actual superstates). The only other way to enter this group is to bio-engineer your own land to better maximise the benefits of it
- never got into this stuff until recently. Feels like there is an impact but not sure about how much
- we need better propulsion systems to travel greater distances in space
Future of space travel - Russia first to successfully test clean pulse-detonation rocket engine
- the perenial 'doom loop' security issue once more. As long as we want back doors into our technology (and we don't want to do, can't do on the actual ground/leg work) we're doomed to a mass surveillance world
- until recently didn't understand this 'doom loop' scenario either. You need to be 'sensationalist' to attract traffic whether as a politician or a journalist now?
Alex Jones Responds To Hillary Clinton's Attack
- honestly don't know what to say here. Multi-vitamin tablets with 'caffeine'?
- there obviously has to be a way of facilitating the flushing of caffeine out of your system
Natural Cures for Insomnia
How a low-intensity PEMF system can treat insomnia and reduce stress
Insomnia and Secrets to a Better Night's Sleep
- some comedy relief with our friend, Ted E. Bare
- bit of jargon but useful if you want to know the difference between the 'Classic Hornet' and 'Super Hornet' fighter jets
- I think a lot of people are just 'over it' now. The thing that always lurks at the back of the mind of every single citizen is how often (if ever) government agencies (of any country) overstep their 'lines of demarcation' (as dictated by the constitution)? Over and over again, you always wonder whether or not this system is the best we can get or the best that the people in charge think we can get?
- the frustrating thing for me is even if you have the ability to audit code you still can't do anything about it in a lot of circumstances due to closed source business models and the fact that you need to get on with life. People just don't have the time to watch over everything. In a way, you have to be frustrated with governments who believe that think that having a 'backdoor' in everything is more worthwhile than having better human intelligence sources? Think about how much everyone loses out with regards to lost intellectual property, security, etc... I would love to see whether or not we are getting value for money from the massive surveillance state that we seem to be in? Didn't realise that these programs were just a continuation of ones what happened during some war period from way back when?
- interesting project if you ever wondered what Windows perhaps looked like 'under the hood'?
- is it just me or does a burkini look a lot like a hooded scuba diving suit?
- if you've been around the FOSS world long enough you'll realise that there are so many tools out there now that it becomes virtually impossible not to have to learn new things regularly. 'Gradle' is this latest tool for me
Get packages and dependencies for installing offline
- some generative/algorithmic music resources that I looked at for some projects I've been working on
generative midi music source code
midi music generator source code
midi file processing source code
midi file open source
JcgMusic - A Java port of cgMusic
user@machine:~/jcgmusic$ javac com/springworldgames/jcgmusic/SongCreatorApplication.java
Note: Some input files use unchecked or unsafe operations.
Note: Recompile with -Xlint:unchecked for details.
user@machine:~/jcgmusic$ javac -Xlint com/springworldgames/jcgmusic/SongCreatorApplication.java
user@machine:~/jcgmusic$ java com.springworldgames.jcgmusic.SongCreatorApplication
Perl and MIDI: Simple Languages, Easy Music
python midi file generator open source
perl midi file kit
python midi generative music
python generative music code
./bytebeats0.py | sox -r 8000 -b 8 -c 1 -t raw -e unsigned-integer - -d
Welcome to camp-python-music
open source python midi translation software
- a lot of free interesting medial contentresearch online now. Do you trust Dr YouTube/Google/Vimeo though? LOL
- this is brilliant actually when you think about it. I wonder whether one day in the distant future we recycle our garbage and turn it into new rooms of our home?
- the obvious question is how do you intercept and communicate with a drone (particularly a completely anonymous one)?
- if you're a content maker one wonders how this would change the world? At the moment, once you've figured out how to gather exposure then it's a matter of converting this into a commercially viable operation. This would change things drastically even if only the top traffic sites were to receive a portion of re-directed traffic revenue. As an aside, even if Google is the largest copyright infringer in the world I wonder how that would effect infrastructure spending if a lawsuit against them was successful to force them to remove all copyrighted material off of the Internet? Would we be better off overall or worse off?
- you have to admit sometimes there are a lot of websites out there that 'push the boundaries'. Interesting perspective...
- if you've been watching the Chinese they've been doing a lot of work on heavy lift aircraft. This is just the latest
- sounds more like a 'secret scheme' to make money? Not much different to 'predictive programming' in PSYOPS to be honest
Oprah on The Secret
Beyond 'The Secret' - Law Of Attraction better explained
The Secret (Greek Subtitles)
- be curious to know how many start ups are like this out there?
- some of the experiments that have been done just seem crazy (if true)?
LSD Experiment - 'Schizophrenia Psychosis Induced by LSD25' 1955 CIA Funded (MKULTRA)
- can't help but feel the US elections are a lot more entertaining than other ones around the world?
- one of the strangest things about Iranian media is that in spite of the fact that there is a general bias against the West all political candidates in the US presidential race are actually getting coverage. Western media seems pretty focused on the Clinton Vs Trump battle?
- interesting the dynamic between the bulls and bears
Interview: BRICS bank essential to break stranglehold of U.S. dollar
- the Russians have some interesting pieces of new defense equipment including some stealthy ships (which would be the Russian equivalent of the US LCS naval ship)?
- EQ cloning for sound engineers
- The FBI and Department of Homeland Security recommend the “Run, Hide, Fight” plan. When a shooting occurs, it is only natural for many folks to freeze or forget what they should do. “Run, Hide, Fight” provides an easy to remember plan for survival.
First, if you are able to safely get away from the shooter, do so. Once away from the scene, prevent others from going toward the shooter and call 911.
Second, if you can’t safely run away, hide. Barricade doors and turn lights off. Take cover behind large objects and try to be as silent as possible.
Third, and finally, if you cannot safely run or hide, be prepared to fight. Improvise weapons and commit to defending yourself.
- Russian Communists have prepared a bill that would ban election candidates from changing their names shortly before the polls, claiming the move would prevent the use of so-called ‘doppelgangers’ and the deceit of millions of voters.
State Duma MP Vadim Solovyov has told Izvestia daily that the initiative had been prompted by Communist Party opponents’ use of the old ‘doppelganger’ trick in the current parliamentary campaign. In particular, one person running as an independent in Central Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Region has the same first and last name as popular Communist candidate Denis Voronenkov. Even a brief check can prove that this man changed his name after the start of election campaign, and before that he worked as a watchman in a company affiliated with one of the other candidates. The incident is not unique: Solovyov said that in Nizhny Novgorod Region alone the Communist Party is facing at least 10 such opponents.
- Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) has allowed robot experts to develop robots that could function as a massage therapist, pain inflictor, animal killer, nuclear plant cleaner and sex machine. In Australia, a company developed a bricklaying robot that could build a house in two days.
Fastbrick Robotics, a company based in Perth, says Hadrian, the bricklaying robot, could do the job of building houses – which normally takes a human bricklaying team four to six weeks – cheaper. Besides cutting the cost by about 10 percent, Hadrian builds a stronger and better insulated home.
Named after the Roman emperor who started in the year 122 to build a stone wall which stretched over 75 miles across Northern England, Hadrian 105 the robot could lay 225 bricks an hour. The same volume of bricks would take human workers half a day to do.
Despite Fastbrick’s description of the robot as a 3D automated robotic bricklaying technology, it is not the same as 3D printing technology since the bricks are already made. The process excludes extrusion or sintering of raw materials. Using a computer-aided design, Hadrian’s work falls under additive manufacturing since material is being deposited one layer at a time.
Developed by Mike Pivac, CEO of the company, and his cousin Mark Pivac, creator of Hadrian and chief technology officer, the two would be in the US next week to talk to potential partners on a marketing trip, reports Business Insider.
To help explain to partners how Hadrian works, the company released a video. The automated process begins with bricks fed onto a conveyor belt which travels along a long robotic arm or telescopic boom.
It is then gripped by a clawlike device which lays the bricks out methodically, directed by a laser guiding system. The structure should never be touched by human hands until the brick shell is finished and the other elements of the house need to be added.
- The games will also be broadcast on national television and Russian state media has already kicked off the usual extensive coverage of the event. State news agency RIA Novosti reports that these military-themed Olympic Games will feature 54 tank crews and 50 air force crews, as well as anything from naval, to sniper to cook teams. The international attendance gives the impression that Russia has friends in the world with equally formidable militaries.
“The games are an element of a soft-power strategy to show to closely allied state, like Belarus and Kazakhstan, that there are all these countries who are a link in the same chain,” Sutyagin says. “It is a political game and it sends a message not only to the Russian population but abroad. It intends to show that Russia is not alone, that it can reach areas of the world unsatisfied with Western policy, sure. But it is also a very important example of soft power. It is the idea if you come to sit with people, to talk and exercise and compete with them, you're less isolated so you don’t see them via crosshairs.”
Of course the message to many Russians, especially young men, will clearly indicate a gloried image of the military the Kremlin has long cultivated. According to Sutyagin the broadcast is intended not only as a concentrated recruitment effort and but also part of a wider strategy to highlight military valor at a time when economic strife is high among citizens and allies alike.
- The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.
In the beginning it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States itself. It works like this: the United States decides what it wants Russia to do and communicates its wishes, expecting automatic cooperation. Russia says “Nyet.” The United States then runs through all of the above steps up to but not including the bombing campaign, from which it is deterred by Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The answer remains “Nyet.”
- "The multilateral institutions set up after World War II were all centered around the U.S. dollar. The IMF lends loans in the U.S. dollar and they have to be paid back in the same currency. About 80 percent to 90 percent of international trade is denominated in the U.S. dollar," the expert said.
"Therefore, the BRICS and the NDB can try and make operations in their own currencies, such as the renminbi or the real. It will foster the use of other currencies, which is important for the international monetary system," he added.
Another interesting aspect is that the BRICS nations are ready to share some of their international reserves to help each other out at difficult moments, said Martarello de Conti, referring to the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a reserve pool worth 100 billion dollars to be set aside for liquidity measures and crisis protection.
"When one of them is in crisis, they will have access to these reserves instead of seeking credit from the IMF, which imposes many constraints. We can set our own criteria for sharing these reserves, without depending on the IMF," he said.
The NDB's potential, the expert said, is not limited to the five BRICS countries. "The idea is to invite other countries in Latin America, Africa and even Greece to join the NDB. All the periphery countries can see the NDB as an important source of funds, in parallel of the World Bank."
Besides, closer BRICS collaboration can bring its member countries closer together, Martarello de Conti said, citing the example of the China-Brazil cooperation.
"Chinese investment is very important for Brazil as it can be a source of demand for our economy to rebound," he said, urging the two countries to work together on infrastructure.
- Mr. Maasdorp explained that NDB’s funds to Africa could increase if more African members join the lender, after it opens up to new members, within the next 20 months. When it expands, the BRICS countries would dilute their share to 55 per cent, and developing countries or middle income countries would take up another 25 per cent. The rest 20 per cent would be open for the developed countries. “African countries can join and take advantage of this situation, and proportionally increase fund flows to the continent, as 80 per cent of the shareholding would be held by the emerging markets and the developing countries,” Mr. Maasdorp observed.
- CHINA is on the brink of launching a groundbreaking new satellite capable of conducting quantum experiments in space, leading some to predict it will usher in the beginning of a new space race.
The world will be watching very closely after the Chinese-led satellite launches in August. If it proves successful in carrying out the quantum experiments, China is expected to follow it with many more in a bid to create a super secure network that uses an encryption technique based on the principles of quantum communication.
The reason world powers will be paying such close attention is that quantum-enabled spacecrafts are able to provide communication pathways that are completely unhackable. While the technology has been trialled on the ground over short distances, the capability to do so across the globe would be a huge game changer — it holds the promise of a world with completely secure digital communication.
Most of the encryption used over the internet for services such as online banking relies on mathematical functions that are very difficult to be reversed and that’s what makes the encryption effective. It’s easy to encrypt but very difficult for someone to find ways to decrypt it.
However with advances in computing, that won’t always be the case.
By employing the laws of quantum physics scientists have been working on a new way of transmitting information so that it is impossible for it to be covertly hacked — and China is about to send it into space.
- The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued a series of new federal laws relating to IT crimes, including a regulation that forbids anyone in the UAE from using virtual private networks (VPN) to secure their web traffic from prying eyes.
The new law states that anyone who uses a VPN or proxy server can be imprisoned and fined between 136,000-$545,000 if they are found to use VPNs fraudulently.
Previously, the law was restricted to prosecuting people who used VPNs as part of an internet crime, but UK-based VPN and privacy advocate Private Internet Access says that the law has now changed to enable police in the UAE to go after anyone who uses VPNs to access blocked services, which is considered to be fraudulent use of an IP address.
VPNs are services that allow users anywhere in the world to connect to a private network on the internet. These are useful for online privacy, as they hide the user’s actual location.
However, they can also be used to circumvent region restrictions on content – such as tricking Netflix US into thinking that foreign users are based in that country, or bypassing state censorship in China or Turkey to access services like Twitter and Facebook or even pornographic websites. VPNs are also often used in conjunction with the Tor anonymity network to access websites hidden on the Dark Web.
At the moment, a large number of people residing in the UAE utilise VPNs in order to access popular apps that are inaccessible from within the Gulf nation like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Viber, which are messaging and voice apps that make use of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to deliver voice calls over the internet for free.
VoIP “over-the-top” apps have long been a thorn in the sides of telecoms operators around the world because consumers no longer need to pay international calling rates to speak to their loved ones – they can just speak to them on Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber or Snapchat.
But the UAE is one of the first governments in the world to actually regulate on behalf of and for its telecoms companies in order to help them stem the loss of revenue from VoIP apps.
- One day in Melbourne, when the sun was out and the birds were singing, Matt opened an email and was greeted with a video of a man wanking.
The man was him.
"There I was in all my glory," he told triple j's Veronica & Lewis.
He had been hacked. A 'ransomware' program had infected his computer allowing the hackers to film him through the webcam. He had been filmed in a compromising situation.
Now they wanted money.
"There was an email saying they were going to release footage to all my Facebook friends and people I worked with if I don't pay them money."
"Initially I laughed."
He wrote back. He told them to do their worst and release the footage. But then they replied with a screenshot of his Facebook friends, and personal details from his website. He realised the threat was serious. They asked for $10,000. He began negotiating.
- New enterprises and “cathedral projects” are now being invested in and more must follow, said Hawking. He described these as “the modern equivalent of the grand church buildings, constructed as part of humanity’s attempt to bridge heaven and Earth.”
“These ideas are started by one generation with the hope a future generation will take up these challenges.”
These could help address a number of “global and serious” issues like “climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.”
Hawking warned that failing to deal with these issues would hand a victory to “the forces that contributed to Brexit, the envy and isolationism not just in the UK but around the world that spring from not sharing.”
“If we do this, then there is no limit to what humans can achieve together.”
- Vladimir Putin has reshuffled the jobs of top officials ahead of elections in September, but the Kremlin has said the two events are unconnected.
"It is a regular rotation conducted by the head of state, which is aimed at increasing effectiveness in some cases, and at fixing problems in other cases when the situation is not satisfactory," the president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Seven governors, one ambassador and presidential envoys have been removed from their posts as well as the head of Russia's customs service. At least six of them have been given other jobs.
"The Russian system means that you can almost never fire anyone," said Ekaterina Schulmann, a political analyst. "You have to find another place for someone unless the person is arrested. So you have to move them from one place to the other like in a game. This is a complicated process and makes it likely that several decisions will be made at once."
- It has been reported and has also been denied that WikiLeaks "was launched with documents intercepted from Tor." Julian Assange recently told students at Cambridge the Internet is "not a technology that favors freedom of speech" or "human rights." He added, "Rather it is a technology that can be used to set up a totalitarian spying regime, the likes of which we have never seen."
If the government wants us to use Tor, does that make it bad thing? No. Tor can be used by good guys as well as by bad guys. Tor's not perfect, but I still think the more people who use Tor as an anonymity tool, the better for everyone. If you want anonymity and privacy, the best thing to do is to encrypt.
I highly recommend going to Cryptome and reading more and well as checking out the tor-talk thread for March.
- A Florida-based company won U.S. government permission on Wednesday to send a robotic lander to the moon next year, the firm's founder said, marking the first time the United States has cleared a private space mission to fly beyond Earth’s orbit.
The Federal Aviation Administration's unprecedented go-ahead for the Moon Express mission also sets a legal and regulatory framework for a host of other commercial expeditions to the moon, asteroids and Mars.
As approved by the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation, the privately held Moon Express, headquartered in Cape Canaveral, plans to fly a suitcase-sized lander to the moon for a two-week mission in 2017, said the company founder and chief executive Bob Richards.
The spacecraft will carry a number of science experiments and some commercial cargo on its one-way trip to the lunar surface, including cremated human remains, and will beam back pictures and video to Earth, the company said.
Before now, no government agency was recognized as having authority to oversee private missions beyond Earth's orbit, though a 1967 international treaty holds the United States responsible for any flights into space by its non-government entities.
So far, only government agencies have flown spacecraft beyond the orbit of the Earth.
To address the conundrum, the FAA, which already exercises jurisdiction over commercial rocket launches in the United States, led an interagency review of the Moon Express proposal, which included steps the company would take to ensure compliance with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
“It’s been a very steep mountain,” Richards said in a telephone interview. “We had to lay the track at the same time that we wanted to do the mission.”
Other companies are expected to soon follow the same framework.
Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies, plans to fly a spacecraft to Mars in 2018, a mission that raises a host of issues dealing with protecting potential indigenous life on the planet from contamination by Earth microbes.
Among other private space ventures in the works are missions to mine asteroids, operate science labs and repair and service satellites.
Because the A-10 has specific capabilities for protecting soldiers in combat, it has many defenders within the Air Force. Some brass have attempted to silence their voices.
“If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it … anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason,” Maj. Gen. James Post, then vice commander of Air Combat Command, told a group of pilots in January 2015.
This concept of “treason” appears to be part of the Air Force’s culture, an ethos that abhors the more difficult and dangerous mission of providing close air support and brands anyone who disagrees with its doctrine of strategic bombing — one that dates back to the 1920s — as a traitor.
Way back when the Air Force was known as the Army Air Service, it believed it could identify vital cogs in an enemy’s infrastructure that, once destroyed with with “pinpoint” bombing raids, would compel the enemy to surrender.
- “It is commonly assumed that flying birds maintain environmental awareness and aerodynamic control by sleeping with only one eye closed and one cerebral hemisphere at a time. However, sleep has never been demonstrated in flying birds,” the researchers wrote.
The study found that the birds slept roughly 42 minutes per day, which is a fraction of the more than 12 hours of sleep they normally get while on land.
“In addition to establishing that birds can sleep in flight, our results challenge the view that they sustain prolonged flights by obtaining normal amounts of sleep on the wing,” the researchers wrote.
Sometimes the birds were in a way half a sleep: one hemisphere of their brains would be awake to detect potential threats with the respective eye open.
“The frigatebirds may be keeping an eye out for other birds to prevent collisions much like ducks keep an eye out for predators," said lead researcher Niels Rattenborg.
But the birds were also at times able to keep both brain hemispheres asleep without crashing.
What remains unclear is why the birds maintain such low amounts of sleep, even at night when they don’t need to be alert to hunt.
“Why we, and many other animals, suffer dramatically from sleep loss whereas some birds are able to perform adaptively on far less sleep remains a mystery,” Rattenborg said.
- For example, it is well-known that Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company, has set up a startup to provide the engineering talent that Hillary Clinton would need to win the forthcoming US presidential election. Hence there is no prize for guessing what Schmidt, a very powerful man in the Google hierarchy, would like the average US voter to read on the Web.
It is also well-known that the word search means different things to Google and the average person: two people can search for the same term and get startlingly different results, purely due to the fact that they have different interests - what is known as the filter bubble.
Recent digital advertising statistics have shown that Google and Facebook dominate. The acceleration of the use of proprietary web page formats is only going to increase that domination.
The AMP format is not closed but given that pages built to that spec load faster, they will also figure higher in Google search rankings. Which increases the probability of someone clicking on them.
With every move made by the bigger Web players, it looks like independent publishers, who are actually responsible for most of the readable content, will be gradually shut out.
What these predatory outfits will do when content disappears altogether is left to be seen.
- And if Kalisch thinks that people are naive enough to believe that separating names from the remainder of a person's data means that the two cannot be correlated, then he is living in a fool's paradise.
As the online newsletter Crikey pointed out yesterday, (paywalled) it is child's play to tie so-called "anonymised data" to an individual.
The publication has been a harsh critic of the name retention policy and has called on Australians to boycott the census altogether.
It is remarkable that no politician has come out and criticised this high-handedness. iTWire has written to the Labor Party and the Greens and also contacted independent Andrew Wilkie. Neither party deigned to even reply, while an aide of Wilkie's responded and provided some inane government advice that had been sent to him when he asked the government about it after one of its constituents had approached him.
One thing is sure: this time, the ABS hoped for better quality data than ever before. Given the bid to invade people's privacy, the data is likely to be much worse. And for that, Kalisch will have only himself to blame.
- Luckily, we are still human, and humans are surprisingly good at breaking habits, given enough will power.
People are starting to wake up and taking time out from their devices. The numbers for teens and the 16-24s are especially encouraging.
Among these younger age groups, almost 15 percent said they had done a digital detox in the last week, and about 10 percent said they had "gotten clean" in the last year.
About 40 percent of people said they felt more productive after having detoxed, 26 percent "found it liberating" and 31 percent said they "enjoyed life more." However, 10 percent said they "felt lost without it" and 7 percent said they felt "cut off." One percent said they "found it stressful" being offline.
So what about you? Would you try a digital detox?
About a third of people asked by Ofcom said they would not even consider it.
And who can blame them? August 6 marks yet another significant date in the history of the World Wide Web, and you've got to be online for that.
“Libya was destroyed by the United States and its allies, with the United States leading in terms of policy and in terms of coordination with the military activities,” DeBar said.
“It was an unconventional war on Libya with the US Air Force and NATO allies providing air support and the ground troops being comprised of al-Qaeda fighters and other irregulars that were trained and armed by the US, but the Qataris, including Qatari command and control on the ground. There were Qatari regulars in uniforms that were commanders of the fighters that were documented as well as Qatari arms that were captured and displaced on the YouTube,” the journalist said.
Nearly five years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a failed state, with the central government holding no sway over the country.
Obama has authorized the Pentagon to open a new military front against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Libya after the fledgling government there asked for help with precision targeting inside the coastal city of Sirte.
DeBar said Gaddafi was deposed because he “was well into the process of helping to organize a United States of Africa, an integrated African polity and economy, and was offering to bankroll it with Libya’s wealth.”
“That was something that would run counter to the US plans, now actualized by installing AFRICOM (the United States Africa Command) on the continent, essentially re-colonizing Africa,” he added.
“AFRICOM, which is the command and control structure of the African command that is embedded in 35 African countries now at the highest level of the military, essentially establishes US military control over Africa,” the analyst stated.
“In other words, the US’s first African American president, and the son of a Kenyan, helped the United States re-colonize Africa. Muammar Gaddafi was a major impediment to that effort, and he was raped and killed by US proxies for his trouble,” he concluded.
- For the first time Russia has offered New Delhi its IL-78MD-90A, which is a modernized version of the Il-76MD-90A military transport, also known as the IL-476," the unnamed source told Izvestia.
Negotiations with Russia follow India’s decision not to buy six Airbus 330 MRTT (multi-role tanker transport) due to the high cost. Airbus won the delivery tender in 2015, but last week the Indian government withdrew the tender.
“The main reason for the cancellation of the tender is the very high life-cycle cost which was not calculated properly in the beginning,” the Financial Express cited the government’s letter to Airbus.
The six aircraft would have added to the existing fleet of an equal number of Russian IL-78s acquired by India in the 2000s.
If the Russian-Indian talks succeed, it will be the first contract to supply the Il-78MD-90A. The new aerial refueler aircraft is a modernized version of an IL-76 transporter. It has a modified wing, new engines and control system, a higher load capacity and volume of transported fuel.
The tanker aircraft can carry up to 110 tons of fuel and refuel a jet from the rear and from its wings. Three aircraft may be refueled in the air simultaneously. The modular air fuel system allows the tanker to be easily converted into a conventional transport aircraft.
The new Il-78MD-90A aircraft will be tested in 2017, and only after that it could be sold to customers, said a source in the aviation industry.
- Several interesting themes arise repeatedly in these narratives; notably, a sense of post-Soviet rootlessness and Soviet nostalgia. To the casual observer, a longing to return to an oppressive regime seems like the highest form of masochism. But reading about the suffering and uncertainty of the 1990s from the viewpoint of those who actually lived it, rather than through the rosy lenses of Western optimism, makes the wistfulness of Homo sovieticus seem plausible even to outsiders. Though widely praised in the West, and initially by many Soviets, Gorbachev’s legacy in Russia has become heavily tarnished. “I hate Gorbachev because he stole my Motherland… Instead of a Motherland, we live in a huge supermarket,” one person remarks, also tapping into a common source of resentment—the ostentatiousness of new capitalism. Many challenge the narrative of the 1990s as a liberating period in history. “I wouldn’t call it a beautiful time, I’d say it was revolting,” comments another speaker.
Nostalgia for the Soviet Union—even, in some instances, the Stalin era—is common throughout Alexievich’s collection. Despite the knowledge of Stalin’s crimes, a mentality still exists that suggests, in the words of one anonymous interviewee, “without Stalin and Stalin’s Party, we would have never triumphed.”
- The head of a Russian business association has proposed a ban on higher education abroad for the children of Russia’s civil servants, claiming the move would help domestic schools and also increase the number of “real patriots” in the country.
“I hold that a ban on studying in foreign institutes and universities for children of Russian civil servants would help many people to give a new estimate to the quality of modern education in Russia,” Rakhman Yansukov, the president of the Association for Development of Business Patriotism, wrote in an address quoted by TASS.
“I also think that the knowledge received by the officials’ children in Russian educational establishments would become a guarantee that they develop into real patriots of their country,” Yansukov added.
The agency reported that Yansukov had sent the letter to major media outlets and also to State Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin and the heads of four caucuses in the Russian lower house.
Yansukov did however allow for a number of exceptions from the ban, such as for practical training abroad for no longer than six months or lifting the ban in cases when the desired education can be only received in a foreign institution.
- Addicts are victims of a cruel disease in which their brains are literally incapable of making rational decisions. That’s part of the nasty paradox of addiction: The addicts cannot trust their own thoughts, which tell them that getting high takes primacy over all other self-interests—jobs, relationships, health. That is why people who love addicts have to intervene—to try to persuade addicts to supplant their own judgment with that of their loved ones, and get into treatment. It’s a tough ask and a delicate, tricky business that demands deep compassion for the addicts, who are lost in their own heads and whose judgment is severely compromised.
- Facebook and Google combined direct 80 percent of all online traffic. This power has forced industries and publishers to adapt at a moment’s notice. The latest example of this is Facebook’s aggressive attempt to squash clickbait. Publishers shouldn’t lose sleep about Facebook’s growing power just yet — because all Facebook is trying to do is keep their users as happy as possible.
- Three agents - one from the CIA, another from the FBI, and the last from the KGB - are tasked with finding a rabbit in the woods. All three venture into the forest, and return after a day.
The CIA agent returns empty-handed, and declares, "After a thorough investigation, I have concluded that the rabbit does not exist."
Also empty-handed, the FBI agent reports, "The target resisted, so I gunned it down."
However, for some reason or another, the KGB agent appears with a handcuffed and visibly injured bear. The bear says, "I am a rabbit. My mother and father were rabbits."
- “The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now, neither of them is acceptable,” he said. “Trump is helping (Clinton) to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”
- "The anonymity, instaneousness and wide ranging reach of the Internet and social media make it a dangerous tool in the hands of persons who see themselves as caped crusaders or whistleblowers, or alternatively want to humiliate or "troll" other members of the community for the purpose of gratifying their own wishes or fears of for the purpose of gaining attention."
- According to the New York Federal Reserve, 14% of the U.S. population lives in households that have “negative” wealth. In other words, these are households that have more debts piled up than assets. But it is the composition of debt that is also very telling... Negative wealth households have a whopping 47% of debt in student loans, while positive houses have just 6%.
- Mr Carr warned that if Trump was not elected this year, his presidential nomination could be the harbinger of what's to come for the US.
"It may not be this Trump," he said. "It could be the Trump in four or eight years' time, as America goes through the throes of losing whatever's left of its industrial self and becomes a society shaped by global forces that Washington can't control."
- Beijing not only failed to criticise his destabilising behaviour, it also intervened at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to prevent criticism of Kim for breaching a UN Security Council resolution. At the same time, Beijing last week started to punish South Korea for defying China.
In staccato, planned appearances in China by South Korean actors and singers were abruptly cancelled. The share price of South Korean entertainment firms fell by 5 to 25 per cent on Friday in response. At the same time, planned mass company trips to South Korea for Chinese workers were cancelled, aimed at damaging the South Korean tourist sector.
These are undeclared Chinese economic sanctions against South Korea for acting in its own defence. Unfortunately, this is just the latest piece in the emerging picture of China as the great neighbourhood bully.
Beijing is hitting out at countries that defy it – the running tally of countries subject to Chinese bullying now includes the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia in the South China Sea, Japan in the East China Sea and South Korea on the Asian landmass.
North Korea is a deeply troubling rogue state, but we already knew that. The new and disturbing source of regional bullying is a much bigger and more serious power – China. "This shows China's true face," a South Korean official told me on condition of anonymity. "If it can happen once it can happen again – Koreans will now think twice about future investment in China."
This is an emerging pattern that is troubling every capital across the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
- China will eventually be able to compete with and even one day surpass Russia in the military aviation industry. The Chinese have a lot of money and they are willing to spend it on developing their capabilities. The Chinese are also more than willing to steal any technology that they don’t already possess—and that helps save development time and money. Moreover, now that they have more or less picked Russia clean of any useful technological innovations, Beijing is focusing on raiding the U.S. defense-aerospace sector for American technical knowhow.
But ultimately, China is clearly hamstrung by a lack of indigenous innovation and horrendously bad quality controls—one of the many reason Beijing continues to fail in it is efforts to build a working jet engine. Until Beijing perfects jet engines, its aerospace industry will not be able secure customers independent of Russia.
- The euro can be saved and should be saved, but saved in a way that creates the shared prosperity and solidarity that was part of the promise of the euro. The euro was a means to an end, not an end in itself—and a flexible euro would address some significant fundamental problems. For all the emotions that the euro has brought on, for all the commitments that have been made to preserve it, in the end, the euro is just an artifice, a human creation, another fallible institution created by fallible people. It was created with the best of intentions by visionary leaders whose visions were clouded by an imperfect understanding of what a monetary union entailed. This was perhaps understandable: nothing like it had been tried. The real sin would be for Europe not to learn from what has happened in the past two decades.
- Although there are certainly heightened privacy and security risks of accidental loss or malicious misuse with storing names and addresses, the deliberate privacy invasion starts with the use of that data to create a Statistical Linkage Key (SLK) for each individual, to use in linking data from other sources.
Please don't believe that SLKs offer anonymity. SLKs are easy to generate, with the same standard used across multiple datasets. For example, Malcolm Turnbull would be known by the SLK URBAL241019541 in the type of datasets the ABS wants to match Census data against, including mental health services (yes, mental health!) and other health records, disability services records, early childhood records, community services records, as well as data about housing assistance and homelessness.
Anyone with access to these types of health and human services datasets can search for individuals by generating and searching against their SLK. All you need to know is their first and last names, gender and date of birth.
Now tell me that privacy will be absolutely protected if census data is coded and linked using an SLK as well.
Never mind four years; the ABS could destroy all the actual name and address data after only four days or four seconds – but if they have already used it to generate an SLK for each individual census record, the privacy damage has been done.
I know that I could give the ABS misinformation instead. Say my name is Boaty McBoatface and that I am a 97-year-old man living with eight wives, that I have 14 cars, my language at home is Gibberish and that my religion is Jedi. Giving misinformation is a common, rational response by about three in ten people who want to protect their privacy when faced with the collection of personal data they have no choice about. Of course, that is also a crime in relation to the census, but at least that one maxes out at an $1,800 fine.
But I won't do that, because I do believe in the integrity of the census data. I don't want people to have to give misinformation in order to protect themselves. We shouldn't be placed in that position.
- The newly released emails became immediate fodder for Donald Trump’s campaign and other critics, who’ve charged the Clintons with using the foundation as a vehicle to peddle influence and employ top aides between campaigns while reaping positive headlines for its charitable work.
“It’s called pay for play,” Trump said at a rally Wednesday. “And some of these [revelations] were really, really bad and illegal. If it’s true, it’s illegal. You’re paying and you’re getting things.”
Ethicists tended to agree that while there may be no evidence of a deliberate violation of Clinton’s pledge, the emails underscored the blurry lines between the globe-spanning charity and Clinton’s work as the nation’s top diplomat.
“The Clinton Foundation was taking money from anybody who would give it, and the biggest contributions were from people who had business before the State Department,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.
“They didn’t follow the pledge. … I don’t think anyone in the foundation sought to deliberately violate the pledge, I just don’t think they cared about it,” he added.
- Chinese investors have been on a buying spree over the past years, taking stakes in a number of western cinema operators and movie companies.
Dalian Wanda - the world's biggest cinema operator - owns both AMC Entertainment and the Carmike cinema chains in the US.
Last month AMC bought the Odeon & UCI Cinema Group, bringing it under Dalian control.
The Chinese company, led by China's richest man Wang Jianlin, earlier this year also took over Legendary Entertainment, the US maker of blockbuster hits such as Jurassic World, the Dark Knight Batman trilogy and Godzilla.
- The sequence numbers can be used by malicious attackers but given that there are nearly four billion random sequences, it is well nigh impossible to guess them.
The UCR researchers found a vulnerability, which they call a side channel, in the TCP stack used by Linux that allows attackers to guess the sequence numbers if they know the IP address of the two parties that are communicating with each other.
This means that an attacker can track users' online activity, terminate connections with others and inject material into their communications. The attack is fast and reliable, often taking less than a minute and succeeding in about 90% of cases.
Research team leader Yue Cao was quoted as saying: "The unique aspect of the attack we demonstrated is the very low requirement to be able to carry it out. Essentially, it can be done easily by anyone in the world where an attack machine is in a network that allows IP spoofing.
"The only piece of information that is needed is the pair of IP addresses (for victim client and server), which is fairly easy to obtain."
- Norwegian officials have warned they could block any attempt by the UK to rejoin the European Free Trade Association after Brexit.
Some Brexit supporters have suggested rejoining the Efta - which is made up of the non-member European countries with close links to the EU - would be a way for the UK to maintain its free trade links with the Europe while honouring its referendum commitment to leave.
But joining the Efta requires the agreement of all its current members Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland - giving the Scandinavian nation a veto.
Shortly after the vote on 23 June, Norway’s European affairs minister, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, told the Aftenposten newspaper: “It’s not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organisation. It would shift the balance, which is not necessarily in Norway’s interests.”
- "As we offer people more powerful controls, we’ll also begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software," the company said in a blog post.
It said it would be introducing better ad controls because, "what we’ve heard is that people don’t like to see ads that are irrelevant to them or that disrupt or break their experience. People also want to have control over the kinds of ads they see".
Facebook vice-president for ads and business platform, Andrew Bosworth, wrote: "As a result of what we’ve learned, we’ve introduced tools to help people control their experience, improved how we decide which ads to show and created new ad formats that complement, rather than detract from, people’s experience online."
The use of ad-blocking software has boomed recently. According to the Wall Street Journal, estimates by trade body the Interactive Advertising Bureau show that 26% of US Internet users use ad blockers on desktop devices.
- The claims of a foreign hand would be greatly strengthened if the ABS make their router and web-server logs — suitably anonymised, e.g. only the first three octets of IPv4 addresses — available for analysis by independent third parties. These need not be publicly available, but at least they should be provided to respectable and trustworthy outsiders who were not involved in setting up their site.
If this cannot be, or is not, done, then there are sufficient grounds to suspect that the ABS and the government are merely offering excuses for poor planning and testing.
Another fact arguing against the government excuses is the website digitalattackmap.com which shows clearly that there was no significant DDoS targeted at any website in Australia on census night.
This site tracks only big DDoS attacks, but any attack capable of taking down the census website should have been big enough to show up there. To put it another way, if it wasn't big enough to show up there, then it would not have been big enough to take down the census site.
- Russia and WikiLeaks just keep crossing paths. In WikiLeaks' current form, the organisation has taken roles in disseminating information about geopolitical events at a critical time in which such information could shift events in the field. Instead of simply providing transparency, the information can be used to confuse or be wilfully misinterpreted – particularly if networks of bloggers, tweeters and meme generators recirculate it.
- Long ago in the Land of the Free, if you wanted to start a saloon, you rented a space and started serving booze.
You didn’t have to go through years of petitioning a bunch of bureaucrats for permits and licenses.
If you weren’t qualified or good enough at your job, your reputation would suffer and you’d go out of business.
This is the way it used to be for just about every industry and profession.
It wasn’t until 1889 that the US Supreme Court ruled in Dent v. West Virginia that states had the right to impose “reasonable” certifications or licenses for various professions.
At first, most states only licensed physicians, dentists, and lawyers.
In fact, by 1920, only about 30 occupations in the US required any sort of licensing.
By the 1950s, about 5% of US workers required a license to perform his/her job.
Today that number has risen to 30%, and climbing.
Some of our modern examples are completely insane.
According to the Brookings Institute, the state of Nevada requires 733 days of training and a $1,500 fee for a license… just to become a tour guide.
Over in Michigan, it takes 1,460 days of education to become an athletic trainer.
45 other states have license or certification requirements for athletic trainers. All fifty states have licenses for barbers and cosmetologists.
36 states require licenses for make-up artists. 34 states license milk samplers. And a mere 33 states license auctioneers.
These license requirements continue to grow, along with the overall level of rules and regulations in the Land of the Free.
- A tiny, mystery planet located on the far side of Neptune is breaking all the rules and leaving scientists baffled.
Niku, named after Chinese word for ‘Rebel’, has a diameter of just 200km (120 miles), is 160,000-times smaller than Neptune and behaves like no other similarly-sized planet in the Solar System.
This trans-Neptunian object orbits the Sun in a retrograde direction, meaning it rotates in the opposite direction to the Sun’s rotation. The angle it takes for this unusual orbit is at 110 degrees to the flat plane of the Solar System, on which other planets move around the Sun.
- Arun Prakash, who served as chief of the Indian Naval Staff, evaluated the aircraft in 1999 before the purchase from Russia. The retired admiral said: "There are the only two fighters — MiG-29K and Sukhoi-33 — in the world capable of operations from a Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery, a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier like INS Vikramaditya. There is no better fighter available to replace the MiG-29K."
However, Prakash is highly critical of what he called the "lethargy" by the Russians in the manufacturing and maintenance of the aircraft.
On problems with the engine, the CAG report said: "Since induction in February 2010, 40 engines (62 percent) of twin-engined MiG-29K have been withdrawn from service/rejected due to design-related defects."
Additionally, the serviceability of the warplanes was low, ranging from 21.30 percent to 47.14 percent, according to the report.
"The roots of these problems (serviceability and defects) lie in the extremely poor quality control in the Russian military-industrial complex and dismal product support being rendered by the Russian industry to the Indian Navy for the past 25 years," Prakash said. "This is in spite of the fact that the development of the MiG-29K has been totally funded by the Indian Navy."
On how the aircraft could affect combat worthiness of the Navy, the CAG report said: "The service life of MiG -29K is 6,000 hours or 25 years (whichever is earlier) but the deficiencies and snags in the aircraft is likely to reduce the operational life of the aircraft, thereby affecting combat worthiness of [the Indian] Navy."
Detailing the defects of the engine on MiG-29K, the report noted that "even as the RD-33 MK engine (mounted on MiG-29K) was considered an advancement over the engine of the MiG-29K, its reliability remains questionable."
- "It is not moral, not acceptable and not sustainable that the top one-tenth of one percent now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, or that the top one percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income. That is unacceptable. That must change," Sanders had said in one of his speeches.
- A tropical fish rumored to feast on male genitalia is being dumped by pet owners into Michigan lakes, and conservationists aren’t happy about it.
The pacu fish is an all-devouring, or omnivorous, species native to South America and is closely related to the razor-toothed piranha.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the month of July has become “synonymous with reports of anglers landing pacus” while fishing in the state’s lakes.
They suspect pet-owners are discarding the fish when their tanks are no longer able to house the growing creature.
While the one-meter (3.2ft) long fish can weigh up to 11kg (25lb), it is the river dweller’s frighteningly powerful jaws that make it distinctive in the underwater world. It’s gnashers have been described as "human-like” - square, blunt dentures designed to crush up a mixed diet of fruit, nuts and vegetation as well as shellfish and insects.
The fish’s surprise discovery in Michigan waters is not expected to harm the local environment, as they will likely die during the area’s severe winter. However, their impact may become more serious with climate change, warns Michigan’s wildlife department.
- Education Minister Simon Birmingham says he wants to overhaul higher education funding to stop universities churning out graduates in fields where they will struggle to get a job.
Senator Birmingham, who is consulting on higher education reform, said a "key part" of his thinking was how to remove incentives for universities to enrol an excessive number of students in profitable courses such as law.
He also compared universities calling for more government funding to "petulant toddlers" demanding more chocolate from their parents.
Senator Birmingham said vice-chancellors had told him privately that they use courses such as law - which have high fees but are popular and relatively cheap to teach - as "profit centres" for their universities.
Profits from these degrees are used to subsidise research or to teach more expensive courses such as veterinary science and dentistry.
"We have to have a look at how the financial incentives the government has in place actually drive behaviour by the universities in their decision in how many people to enrol in different disciplines," Senator Birmingham told an education conference in Melbourne on Friday.
- News emerged this week that Microsoft has bungled things to the extent that its so-called golden key for secure boot — a key that disables the feature — had leaked through its own carelessness.
In other words, the genie is out of the bottle, and the two researchers, known by their pseudonyms MY123 and Slipstream, who cracked the technology, are pretty confident that the story is now over.
Secure boot is a feature of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the replacement for the motherboard firmware or BIOS.
Microsoft implemented it for Windows 8, in a manner that prevented booting of other operating systems on machines which have secure boot enabled. This restriction is imposed through the use of cryptographic keys.
Alongside this there are secure boot policies that come into play during the boot process. These are signed by Microsoft and can be installed on a computing device only by using an utility that has been, again, signed by the folk at Redmond.
For internal testing, Microsoft created another policy, which would disable secure boot when installed in the firmware of a device. However, this was inadvertently shipped with some devices and the rest, as people are wont to say, is history.
- While police and government surveillance of protests, including monitoring of cellphone use, is well-documented, efforts to block signals at protests remains an oft-repeated, but never proven, rumor.
It may be impossible to definitively prove that authorities are using cellphone “jamming” technology, but journalists working with both mainstream and independent media reported unusual difficulties accessing the internet during recent protests at the gates of the Democratic National Convention, consistent with the effects this very real technology could have.
During the protests outside the DNC, which I covered for MintPress News, I experienced this personally, with my internet connection behaving suspiciously near the convention’s security fences and entrance gates, often abruptly blocking my tweets and other communication. The same was true for every other journalist I spoke with who covered the protests.
“It’s scary for me as a journalist because that’s how state suppression of events occurs,” said Desiree Kane, a freelance journalist and direct action organizer who covered the Republican National Convention for MintPress and also took part in protests in Philadelphia.
“That’s exactly how it happens is you block communications of what might be going down,” she added.
- According to at least one electronics warfare officer of the US Air Force, there are ways of getting around the guidance problem. The two main challenges to using low-frequency radars to guide weapons – the width of the radar beam and the length of the pulse – can be solved using signal processing, retired USAF Colonel Mike Pietrucha told Majumdar.
The pulse can be compressed using frequency modulation, Pietrucha said, noting the technology to do this has been around since the 1980s. Using phased radar arrays with electronically controlled beams solves the problem of directional or azimuth resolution. This is the engineering behind the US Navy’s Aegis system, which is found on the Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
With the aid of such a ground or ship based guidance system, even an “antiquated” missile such as the S-75 “Dvina” (SA-2 in NATO parlance) could be used to blast stealthy jets right out of the sky. A missile equipped with its own guidance system – for example, an infrared sensor – would be even more dangerous to the fifth-generation US jets, wrote Majumdar.
US stealth fighters have already run afoul of 1960s-era air defenses. In March 1999, during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, one air defense battery in central Serbia shot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter with S-125 “Neva” missiles. The Nighthawk, which was praised as a revolutionary weapon system after the 1991 Gulf War, was retired from service in 2008. Pieces of its wreckage are still on display at the Belgrade Aviation Museum.
Unlike the F-117’s angled design, both the F-22 and the F-35 have sleek lines intended to make radar detection harder while keeping the aircraft relatively maneuverable.
- At least 15 percent of people with depression don’t get relief from conventional treatments such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.
In a recent trial, researchers studying a small group of people with difficult-to-treat depression saw an improvement in symptoms and even full remission when they treated certain metabolic deficiencies.
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