Friday, May 26, 2017
Micro Versioning System (MVS), Random Stuff, and More
- recently, built my own Micro Versioning System (using BASH funnily enough). Download it here:
- details are as follows:
# Increasingly, RCS and newer versioning systems are no longer being
# installed on newer systems and some of the newer versioning system
# too frustrating to work with. This is particularly the case for
# some of the major online ones which are painful to setup, use, and
# sometimes offer not much more security then you can establish by yourself.
# Hence, I built my own Micro Versioning System (MVS). It's obviously
# extremely simple and is designed for single person use but it does the
# job. Just modify the relevant variables (repo_dir and work_dir).
# Usage should be reasonably self explanatory. May build a more complete
# and higher performance system down the track for multiple users?
# - repo_dir is structured as (1.00, 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, etc...)
# - work_dir can be anywere that you want as long as it's relatively clear
# of extraneous files. You'll need to make additions to exclusion lists
# in this script if not
# - I copy mvs.sh to anywhere that I want and run it from there rather
# then installing but what you do is up to you
# That said, you can structure things anyway you want as long as you
# understand it yourself.
# It's obviously designed to be easily extendable but it's also obvious that
# many of the functions of a more professional versioning system are already
# included. Clearly, it's designed for smaller projects that are based
# around text based files (may change/extend this at another time) though.
# Hit the 'q' button from time to time if the program/script seems unresponsive
# (it's just the way the less command works). I built this in a very short
# amount of time so things mightn't be as smooth as they could be.
# As this is the very first version of the program it may be VERY buggy.
# Please test prior to deployment in a production environment.
- noticed a massive spike in traffic over the last few days again (a few thousand extra new people daily. Happens out of the blue from time to time...)? Anyhow, hi to all these new folks!
- animal news roundup
Looking for good deals Cows stroll into mall in Russia
- if you're interested in geo-politics then you should probably take a look at and fund Newsbud Media
Brzezinski’s Worst-Case Scenario - Russia-China Alliance
- latest in defense
No govt in Syria for us to co-operate with - Pentagon
Kim Jung Un Getting Desperate
Polls In The Gutter, Trump Tries Bombing Syria Again
North Korea launches ballistic missile of unknown type, third test in month
North Korea panic - Media hysteria over new missile test
Can Trump solve the Middle East conflict - Inside Story
'They're evil losers!' - US President Trump on terrorists behind Manchester Attack
'Arena blast worst to hit north of England' - UK PM May
CrossTalk - Now, Manchester
‘Intelligence on attack seemingly leaked by US, it must be stopped’ – Manchester mayor
- if you listen in to a lot of this stuff I honestly don't think a lot of people know/think that they are doing something wrong (from all perspectives)?
Vault7 ‘Athena’ - WikiLeaks publishes new CIA leaks as case against Assange dropped
Ex-CIA Chief - Snowden neither hero, nor traitor but very troubled young man
- the obvious issue is if they can't make the Internet a safe place what happens next? If you listen to Eugene Kaspersky he sounds a lot like something out of the movies. His accent is so indelibly Russian and strong...
- I came up with this idea/worked on this a long time ago... I called the concept algorithmic masking and hybridised it with automated research analysis techniques...
- latest in science and technology
How Facebook And Twitter Impact You Mental Health
Counting the Cost - WannaCry - A new era of cyber security
Facebook Doesn't Get Facebook
- anyone notice that there have been lot of plane problems (in the US in particular) of late?
- wonder whether Open Sourcing of selling off the code would be a viable option (the code base should have been changed drastically by now. Guess it would cut into the revenue of Microsoft though if they could find someone else to upgrade older versions of Windows for them though...)?
- latest in finance and politics
CrossTalk - Bullhorns Theorizing
Keiser Report - Debt & Taxes in the Age of Trump (E 1073)
Has Russia US Made A Deal - Syria for Ukraine
Balanced or biased British media's coverage of Corbyn - The Listening Post (Full)
Will the sun shine on Moon's South Korea – Inside Story
'They want me to fight China. It’s gonna be a massacre!' - Duterte to RT (FULL INTERVIEW)
'No rape accusation,' typical secret services ploy - ex-CIA officer on Assange case
Full Interview - Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More
BREAKING! Look What Julian Assange Just Dug Up After Comey's Firing!
Duterte - 'West is just double talk, I want more ties with Russia & China’
5 Countries That Kick Ass When It Comes to Health Care!
'Drive them out!' - Trump speaks on terrorism during first overseas trip as POTUS
Fox News Accidentally Reveals The Grand Lie Of Capitalism
Keiser Report - 'Long Live Trump!' (E1074)
Why the US has changed its tune on the yuan
Philippines says it will reject all aid with conditions
- have been looking at free alternatives obviously to AWS and Azure. My gut feeling is that there aren't really any and that I'll have to combine multiple online services to get what I want. Most of them require a credit card to sign up (even if only on their free trials). Else, I could build my own (have built a lot of the code required code in the past. Would take a very short amount of time to get something up and running...)
amazon web services free alternative
free online web hosting
highest traffic websites online
- if you've tried any of the online sales platforms most of them offer most of them offer a free teir, a free trial period, but often require a you to spend something. They offer you an online store, a simple button you can place on your website, etc... Feels like you can get anything you want free on the Internet at times as long as you know where to look?
free online stores
- you've probably seen the new banner ad running across the top of this blog. Yes, there actually are companies out there offering free web hosting!
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- Thousands of fish from several different species have died in a massive fish kill in two rivers in the US state of Maryland, with officials saying the aquatic environment was robbed of oxygen by toxic algal bloom.
Maryland Department of the Environment investigators told The Baltimore Sun that they believe a toxic algae known as ‘Karlodinium venifecum’ is to blame for the deaths of about 10,000 fish in the Gunpowder and Bird rivers.
Fish kills are localized die-offs of fish populations and the most common cause is reduced oxygen in the water due to algae bloom, drought, overpopulation, or an increase in water temperature.
They can be caused by diseases or parasites, but such cases are less frequent. Mass fish kills are more common in the summer, when warm weather and sunlight fuels algae blooms, and are often the first visible signs of environmental stress in a body of water.
- “There is an expression in China – the love for beauty is common to all men,” defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Thursday, following a more official response published in the PLA Daily a few days ago, where it said the Liaoning was on its way to conduct an exercise.
“Our Liaoning is both mighty and pretty. If people are interested in it, they can look at it from afar, or peep at it. As long as they don’t break relevant laws and rules, or hinder navigational safety and freedom, we don’t care,” he added.
Although this close shave with Japan appears to be the first, the Liaoning has already engaged in military drills in the South China Sea, where several nations are engaged in a territorial dispute.
Japan recently announced a record rise in spending to beef up its maritime capabilities in the face of a potential Chinese or North Korean threat.
- State-run Sberbank has written off loans taken out by the victims of the Russia’s Tu-154 airplane crash last Sunday, according to Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov.
The minister confirmed victims’ relatives will have to apply either through Sberbank or offices assigned by the Defense and Labor Ministries.
Sokolov said that he will negotiate with other Russian banks to do likewise.
Sberbank will provide compensation payments to the victim’s families during the New Year holidays, said the minister.
“Some branches will work during the holidays to implement the payments, the work won’t stop even after January 1,” said Sokolov.
Earlier this week, Russia's Sogaz insurance company said it will pay compensations to the families of the military officers. Russia’s Social Insurance Fund will financially support the families of the victims as well.
Russia’s VTB24 bank has also taken steps to support the relatives by paying extra compensation. The lender said it will write off the debts as well.
- As reported earlier today, amid the sweeping sanctions unveiled by Obama in response to Russian "hacking" of the elections, President Obama ordered the shut down, or rather confiscation, of a Russian-owned compound on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Obama gave Russia 72 hours to leave the 45-acre property, which the Soviet government bought in 1972.
Live video shot from NBC Washington on Thursday afternoon showed multiple unmarked cars on the perimeter of the property. Officials appeared to set up an antenna and lights at each entrance. Intelligence officials tell NBC News the property was used for work to monitor the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and another NSA building on Kent Island.
In what amounted to the strongest retaliation against Russia by the U.S. in decades, the administration also sanctioned two Russian intelligence services as well three companies officials said aided them, while expelling 35 diplomats. The administration also denied access to a recreational compound in Queen Anne's County that officials said had been used for "intelligence collection activities."
Why the focus on the Maryland compound? Here is a brief history of the property in question, courtesy of Baltimore Sun.
The 45-acre site on the Eastern Shore waterfront near Centreville was purchased by the Soviet Union in 1972, a State Department official said. Its ownership was not a secret — it has been widely covered by news organizations for decades — and Russian officials have previously said the site has been used as a retreat for diplomats and their families.
- Syndicated radio host Larry Elders recently blasted the decision on Fox News as just another effort to indoctrinate students with the notion that "America is nothing more than a series of incidents that oppress people, whether it's Native Americans or women or blacks or Hispanics or Asian people."
"According to a lot of professors, the founding fathers are a bunch of old rich white guys who owned slaves," syndicated radio host Larry Elder said Monday on "Fox & Friends." "As a result, they're no longer relevant."
"I call this the access of indoctrination. Schools have long since passed the line from education to indoctrination, and this is one more step toward that."
"Kids are learning that America is nothing more than a series of incidents that oppress people, whether it's Native Americans or women or blacks or Hispanics or Asian people," he said. "That's what they're learning."
Meanwhile, the chair of GWU's history department told the school's newspaper that the move was nothing more than an effort to cater to the university's snowflakes who may be saddened by the burden of being forced to take a U.S. history course.
Katrin Schultheiss, the chair of the history department, said faculty made the changes to the requirements largely due to enrollment pressures. She said by becoming more flexible and more responsive to students’ interests, the department hopes to recruit students who might not have decided to major in history otherwise.
“I think the main gain for students is that they have a great deal more flexibility than they had before, and they can adapt it to whatever their plans are for the future,” Schultheiss said. “Whatever they want to do, there’s a way to make the history department work for them.”
- "What do you mean, 'Where did I get the gun?'" Mladen can't really understand why I would ask that question. He is almost 30 and the pistol has been among the household effects of his Belgrade apartment since he can remember. It is an old Yugoslavian version of the famous Soviet Tokarev TT-33, with a communist star engraved in the grip. "The pistol is from the front. My old man was in the army and got it as a present. He didn't have a gun permit, but who had something like that in the 1990s? Those were hard times, you always had to carry something for protection," explains Mladen, who doesn't want to read his real name in the news.
Historic gun culture
No one knows just how many illegal weapons Serbians are hiding in their homes. Even authorities give vague estimates, ranging anywhere from 200,000 to 900,000. Experts suggest that those numbers are conservative. The weapons concerned are handguns, assault rifles, bombs - even anti-tank grenades. Add to that another 1 million legally registered sport and hunting firearms, as well as yet another 1 million weapons in the hands of the army, police and private security companies. The internet portal gunpolicy.org estimates that the United States is the only country in the world that has more guns per capita than Serbia.
Most of the weapons are leftovers from the bloody wars that raged in the 1990s after the fall of Yugoslavia - in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Not even the regular armies bothered to bureaucratically administer the inventories of their arsenals back then. When violence erupted, mercenaries and those with a desire to fight arrived on the scene, and no questions were asked. After the wars, some 4 million illegal guns were said to have remained in circulation in the seven republics of the former Yugoslavia - most of them in Serbia.
- American policy towards Russia since 2000 has been a catastrophe. It misjudged Moscow’s visceral response to cold war defeat. It failed to learn from its disastrous adventure in Afghanistan. It recklessly pushed Nato and the EU into eastern Europe, where Russian sensitivities have always been strong. Finally America allowed itself to be humiliated by Russia in Syria.
Back in 2009, Obama promised to “reset” relations with Moscow. In this too he failed. The US has taunted, provoked and sanctioned Russia to absolutely no advantage. It has merely forestalled the role that trade and contact should play in opening up Russian society to outside influence. It has diminished opposition to Putin and driven Russia back to autocracy. America (with western Europe) has encouraged Moscow’s worst inclinations, and made Europe more dangerous as a result.
That said, Putin has made his friend, and comrade in mendacity, Donald Trump, look a fool just when he might use his favour. A president-elect can hardly trust Moscow’s word before the entire Washington security apparatus. Trump would be wise to move on, perhaps proposing a new international treaty regime to police inter-state hacking and curb the threat of cyberwar.
Except, what is the point? As Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks have showed, an electronic secret is a contradiction in terms, whether personal or governmental. There can be no such thing. Perhaps we shall need those diplomats after all.
- Moscow is likely to maintain a mixed fleet of fourth and fifth-generation fighters for the foreseeable future. One of the reasons is cost—fifth-generation aircraft are expensive. “I think there will be a mix even in U.S. since the USAF intends to keep F-16s flying until 2040s, as I understood and definitely there will be a mix in China,” Kashin said. “It seems no one can afford to maintain an air force consisting of only fifth-gen fighters. Too costly and redundant for most missions.”
Indeed, Kashin foresees the future Russian Air Force having three tiers to deal with different types of threats. “On the bottom, Su-25 upgrades and the MiG-35. In the middle, the Su-30 and 35. And some T-50s on top,” Kashin said.
“The departing President Obama is betting on the US’ reputation as a civilized country that guarantees succession in its policies when the highest officials are replaced. This is the kind of agony not even experienced by lame ducks, but by political corpses,” Kosachev said in comments with TASS.
He also noted that when Russia introduces reciprocal measures, it should consider that they would come into force under a different administration that might cancel Obama’s unfriendly policies.
- Miller: It would have been nice to find that MBAs were more effective and responsible managers than their counterparts without the degree. At worst, we expected no effect.
Alas, that was not the case. CEOs with MBAs made up a quarter of our sample and in the three years after they appeared on a magazine cover, their firms saw a market value decline that was 20 per cent greater than that of firms run by non-MBAs. This performance gap remained significant even seven years after a cover story.
In addition, MBAs' expenditures on acquisitions were almost twice those of non-MBAs, after factoring in all our control variables, such as firm size and leverage. And in the year prior to their cover stories, the MBAs' firms had lower levels of cash flow and inferior returns on assets, which suggests that MBAs tended to pursue costly rapid growth.
Did the MBAs in your study get raises?
Yes. Despite their poorer performance, their compensation increased more than that of non-MBAs after their cover stories ran. On average, the MBAs saw their compensation rise about 15 per cent faster than non-MBAs' in the three years after a cover story ran, and they were paid about $1 million more each year.
Your study goes back to 1970. Are there more CEOs with MBAs today? Has an MBA become more important to business success?
MBAs are far more common now than in 1970. Today the percentage of CEOs who have them exceeds 30 per cent, whereas in the '70s it was about 12 per cent, and in the '80s and '90s about 20 per cent.
Does business school promote self-serving behaviour?
It could be that. Many MBA programs emphasise bottom-line performance, financial and accounting measures and levers, stock prices, competition, and personal economic success. They place less emphasis on creative and scientific skills, intrinsic job satisfaction, social contribution, and the ethical treatment of stakeholders.
On the other hand, it might be not the curricula but self-selection that explains our findings. Perhaps people with self-serving proclivities are more inclined to go into business programs than, say, the arts or sciences.
Also, our results could be driven in part by how others react to CEOs' behaviour. Research suggests that making acquisitions is a more hazardous strategy than growing organically, and it may be that investors are more apt to penalise firms that grow by buying other firms.
Most important is that we do not claim that an MBA education causes CEOs to behave in negative ways. Our analysis establishes only association, not causality. We took pains to make that point in the paper.
How can organisations combat self-serving behaviour?
A good culture can reduce it. The values reflected in company goals, HR practices, socialisation rituals, and how a company deals with its stakeholders will help ensure that the right kind of CEO – MBA or not – is appointed. Cultures also determine the criteria against which CEOs are evaluated.
Isabelle Le Breton-Miller and I have been studying "thick cultures" in long-lived family businesses. There, an MBA degree is unlikely to have any bearing on CEOs' strategic conduct and their tendency to manage for the long run.
Incentive systems are also important. When CEOs are rewarded disproportionately for short-term performance, it reinforces exactly the kind of behaviour we found. Tying pay to long-term results, financial as well as nonfinancial, is probably the way to go.
- Russia's normal response to what it considers aggressive actions from the West is to act reciprocally - and asymmetrically.
When an American adoptive father was acquitted for the manslaughter of a Russian toddler - the baby died of heatstroke after being left in a parked car for nine hours - Russian authorities responded with a draconian law banning adoptions by American families. And when, in 2005, three children of Russian diplomats were assaulted in Warsaw, three Poles found similar troubles in Moscow.
"The logic is that you can't do anything to Russia without the expectation that the exact same thing will happen to you," says Fyodor Lukyanov, an expert close to the Russian foreign-policy elite.
- "I've never heard of any black market stuff going on. I think Australians are a bit too open and honest to do that."
That certainly seems to be the case within the tight-knit AFOL community, which operates according to its own strict moral code.
The prime prohibition, however, isn't against theft so much as penny-pinching. Building with any brand of cheap Lego-lookalike bricks is LUG anathema. Anybody found using them at Brickvention, Markovski said, would be "banned and walked out".
But there is another, more prosaic barrier to black market trade among dedicated Lego enthusiasts: it's all a bit pointless. People with skill and a big enough collection of bricks can build pretty much any in-store Lego set without actually having to buy it. It's a practice known as "re-piecing".
However, there are a couple of very special, very rare Lego sets where this is impossible. That's when prices start to climb alarmingly – and, perhaps, the temptation to cut them by fair means or foul arises.
"There is one particular set that is probably the single most expensive set that's available on the market, which is an Ultimate Collectors' Set Millennium Falcon," Peebles said.
"That was released around nine years ago. To get one new in the box is over $7000. You can't re-piece it because there are two components in it that were only released in that set. Either of those components would sell for $300 or $400 for just one piece of Lego.
"That sort of thing would certainly have a market in the AFOL community, but a model like the Ninja wouldn't. If someone was to offer me the big Lego MCG that's currently in at Myer [in central Melbourne], I'd probably turn it down. It's all glued, so I'd have no use for it."
- Now, I thought I'd throw the question to the OzBargain audience. I got some good points of view last time I asked, so I expect more of the same. I could only be bothered looking for Melbourne information, as if I looked for other cities I'd have 700% more work to do for a forum post when I'm supposed to be working.
Reasons why I think we're in a real estate bubble:
Low to no wage growth ABS Data
Inflation similar to wage growth RBA Data
House price growth doubles inflation and wage growth on the most conservative measure, quadruples it on the real growers REIV data
So what I see, and correct me as I know you will if I'm wrong, is that the only improvement in earnings for average Melbournian comes from inflation. While at the same time, housing prices were bid up at 4x the rate of wage growth. I'm going to vote "yes", it's a bubble. The largest determinant of price is the market's ability to sustain those prices. We're not all doctors and lawyers, and most of us can't afford a place in Melbourne anymore. I just can't see how this is sustainable.
Go on then, educate me.
- Reminds me of a joke I heard....
Why is it that when you talk to God, it's called praying, but when God talks to you, it's called schizophrenia?
- To be finite is to be a small part of infinity.
We humans are finite or partial and possess only finite minds, therefore we cannot comprehend nor grasp the whole which is infinity, God’s domain. And because God Himself is infinite and not finite, He is thus whole and perfect, thereby not partial; ergo He’s uncreated in His infinity.
However, because we’re created (i.e., plucked out of infinity), thus limited, finite, and partial, we cannot fathom anything that is not created, just the way we cannot truly fathom God’s perfection because of our imperfection.
Consequently, we, finite, imperfect, and partial beings, know and understand only in part, but one day we will know and understand fully – when we are reattached to the Eternal Lord in His infinity (or eternity), from hence we came.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away… Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully…” 1 Corinthians 13: 9,10,12
- The silver lining is that Chinese officials have blamed Taiwan for creating the recent diplomatic trouble rather than accuse Trump, and many believe he will be more accommodating to China once in office. That remains to be seen. "We're ready. If Taiwan wants to make trouble so can we. Let's hit them hard," said an official in Beijing who meets regularly with China's most senior military officers, including those who work directly with President Xi Jinping.
"We can hold exercises close to Taiwan, and show them the damage we could cause. Taiwan will have to give in then," the official added, citing a recent conversation with one of the military officers. Unless, of course, Taiwan doesn't "give in", and instead pushes for further diplomatic ties with the US.
But the worst-case scenario would be an economic blockade of the small, but crucial in global technological supply-chains island.
A retired senior officer who maintains contacts with the PLA told Reuters that China probably wouldn't need to fire any missiles to bring Taiwan to its knees. China is Taiwan's largest trading partner, and Taiwan runs a huge trade surplus with China, worth $27 billion in 2015.
"We can just cut them off economically. No more direct flights, no more trade. Nothing. Taiwan would not last long," the officer said. "There would be no need for war."
He added that any Western economic blockade of China put in place in the event of war with Taiwan would also be damaging to China, already dealing with a slowing economy. What is disturbing is that China has already considered the implications of a scenario in which a conventional war on Taiwan is declared.
As for the American response, a US defense official told Reuters that Chinese actions had been more provocative in the past month, since Trump won the U.S. election and made comments about Taiwan, and culminated this month when a Chinese naval flotilla headed by its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, took part in drills that took it around Taiwan. It remains unclear who, how and why tensions surrounding Taiwan will be defused in the near future.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an epidemic that shows no signs of relenting. In 2013, an estimated 24.7 million people in the region were living with HIV, accounting for 71% of the global total. Worldwide, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2015, according to UNAIDS.
While the disease cannot be cured, it can be prevented from spreading through a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), where people who are at a very high risk for HIV can take HIV medicines daily to lower the chances of becoming infected.
“PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.” A daily dose of PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Getting patients to take the drug daily, a problem with most chronic diseases, is critical for preventing HIV effectively.
- In an essay titled “The Future of Mankind,” British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) laid out three possibilities: “The end of human life,” “a reversion to barbarism” or “unification of the world under a single government.” He saw the third as the only alternative to either of the first two. For better or worse, our fate would be settled, he said, “before the end of the present (20th) century” — within 50 years of the time of writing.
- AFRICA HAS SEEN the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops of any region of the globe over the past decade, according to newly released numbers.
In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the U.S. Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces — Navy SEALs and Green Berets among them — deployed abroad were sent to Africa, according to data supplied to The Intercept by U.S. Special Operations Command. That total ranks second only to the Greater Middle East where the U.S. is waging war against enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
“In Africa, we are not the kinetic solution,” Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, told African Defense, a U.S. trade publication, early this fall. “We are not at war in Africa — but our African partners certainly are.”
That statement stands in stark contrast to this year’s missions in Somalia where, for example, U.S. Special Operations forces assisted local commandos in killing several members of the militant group, al-Shabab and Libya, where they supported local fighters battling members of the Islamic State. These missions also speak to the exponential growth of special operations on the continent.
As recently as 2014, there were reportedly only about 700 U.S. commandos deployed in Africa on any given day. Today, according to Bolduc, “there are approximately 1,700 [Special Operations forces] and enablers deployed… at any given time. This team is active in 20 nations in support of seven major named operations.”
Using data provided by Special Operations Command and open source information, The Intercept found that U.S. special operators were actually deployed in at least 33 African nations, more than 60% of the 54 countries on the continent, in 2016.
- In March 2015, one of the largest nuclear-powered warships in the world was “sunk” by one of the smallest.
The Saphir, a French nuclear attack submarine, reportedly penetrated the defenses of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and scored simulated torpedo hits on her. The incident, originally reported by the French Navy, was later suppressed.
On March 4th, 2015 the French Navy announced in a blog post that the submarine Saphir (“Sapphire”) had simulated stalking and killing the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Not only was the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier simulated sunk but an unknown number of her escorts. The post was later removed without comment from the blog.
Here’s what the world knows: according to the French navy blog post (saved and reproduced by the RP Defense blog), the exercise between Saphir and the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group took place before an operational deployment. According to the French navy, the carrier strike group included several Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine.
According to U.S. Naval Institute News, Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) departed Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Station Mayport on March 5th for a Middle East deployment. CSG12 included the carrier Roosevelt, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy and Arleigh Burke class destroyers Winston S. Churchill, Forrest Sherman, and Farragut from Destroyer Squadron 2 provided escort.
- SWIMMERS are being warned of gastro risk at Melbourne beaches because recent heavy storms have washed poo into Port Phillip Bay.
Environmental Protection Victoria’s website has listed 21 of the 36 beaches it monitors around the bay as having poor water quality on Monday, meaning the water is not suitable for swimming.
The EPA’s Anthony Boxshall says waste has washed into the bay following last week’s heavy storms and the more recent, lighter rainfall.
“We have indicators we look for (in water tests), which is an indicator of faecal contamination, which is a really nice way of saying poo,” Dr Boxshall told ABC News 24 on Monday.
“It’s bird poo, it’s horse poo, it’s cow poo and it’s people poo.
“It is everything that washes in from the streets, and everything that comes out through the storm water system.”
Swimmers who ingest contaminated water have a higher risk of getting gastroenteritis and other illnesses, particularly the elderly and children.
- "Stop!" a Hungarian guard shouts at a man approaching a border station. "Muslim?"
"No, Christian," the man replies.
"That's fine then," says the border guard. "Hang on …" the guard does a double-take. "Very Christian?"
"Of course not! Just a nominal, superficial Christian. No solidarity, no brotherly love, and none of that Jesus and pope silliness."
"Ah, good then. Come in."
- Rick Carver: Don't be soft. Do you think America give a flying rats ass about you or me? America doesn't bail out the losers. America was built by bailing out winners. By rigging a nation of the winners, for the winners, by the winners.
- Retired Divisional Admiral Türker Ertürk, former head of Turkish Naval Academy, the US nuclear weapons stored in Turkey are not controlled by Ankara as under the existing agreement, the US keeps possession of and provides security for the bombs wherever they are.
Thus, he noted, in case of any military conflict it could be used against his home country. C-130 Hercules transport aircraft at US Airbase at Ramstein. © Flickr/ Kenny Holston Teacher vs. US Base: 'If Germany is Really Independent, It Must Close Ramstein' "Turkey maintains no control over the nukes deployed on the Turkish territory. Ankara can’t use it for its own defense however it may easily become a target in case of any clash between the US and Russia, for example," he told Sputnik.
- The British military’s secretive internet trolling unit has failed to meet its recruitment targets despite a high-profile campaign, according to new figures.
Freedom of information requests by the Register show that the much-hyped unit is 40 percent understrength.
The unit is meant to be 448-strong with 182 full-time service personnel combined with 266 reservists. The current strength is just 276.
- Washington was told: "Hezbollah possesses over 20,000 rockets ... Hezbollah was preparing for a long conflict with Israel in which it hopes to launch a massive number of rockets at Israel per day. A Mossad official estimated that Hezbollah will try to launch 400-600 rockets and missiles at Israel per day – 100 of which will be aimed at Tel Aviv. He noted that Hezbollah is looking to sustain such launches for at least two months."
- Under Keen's prescription, both are limited to how much they can borrow, which means the bidder with the most savings is the one who wins.
"I want to cut off the asset bubble lending. When you look at the empirical data overwhelmingly it's leverage that determines asset prices. You have this positive feedback loop between lending and asset prices and that's how you get the bubbles we've got. These guys are making money by creating Ponzi schemes."
While Keen believes his radical policy prescriptions should happen, he has little illusions that they necessarily will. But the fault lines of years of conventional policymaking has brought the developed world to an impasse of high debt and low growth. Something may have to give.
- Two Russian warships have docked at a port in the Philippines, potentially foreshadowing an era of enhanced military ties between Manila and Moscow as a gap widens between the Philippines and the United States.
Russia’s anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma docked at Manila’s South Harbor on Tuesday for a week-long visit.
During the stay, the military authorities of the two countries intend to discuss joint measures to combat terrorism and piracy in the region, RT reported on Wednesday.
Moscow has also expressed willingness to conduct joint military drills in the region with Philippine forces in the future.
“In the future, maybe we can have military exercises so we can help you and share with you our knowledge to deal or solve the problem with piracy and terrorism,” said Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet deputy commander, at a Tuesday press briefing.
Mikhailov, who is leading the Russian naval delegation to Manila, said Russia can be instrumental in developing the Philippines’ naval capabilities in the future.
“The Russian Navy can help with different equipment, which we can demonstrate to you right here, or in the future in the sea during the military exercises, and also at exhibitions,” he said. “From our side, we can help you in every way which you need.”
- The downside is that the MiG-35 sacrifices range and weight for agility. The jet has greater range than its predecessors, but is still at at the low end of the “high/low mix,” an organizing theory in which a larger number of cheap fighters balance a smaller number of expensive and more heavily armed, long-range warplanes.
On the high end of the mix is Russia’s heavier Flanker from designer Sukhoi, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. F-15 Eagle. The MiG-29/35 loosely corresponds to the F-16. Keeping with these limitations, the MiG-29 — and thus the MiG-35 — originated as a point and area defense fighter designed to operate close to home.
In addition to a 30-millimeter cannon, the jets can carry high off-boresight missiles such as the AA-11 Archer and others on nine hardpoints, posing a lethal threat to modern Western warplanes. But again, the planned numbers are few.
The MiG-35’s most noteworthy improvement is its Zhuk-MA AESA radar, an active electronically scanned array — which is a critically important part of the jet.
Pilots in a modern aerial battle take great risks by switching on their active radars, as their signals can alert an enemy pilot before the return signal is strong enough for the radar’s operator to “see.” AESA radars effectively make it more difficult for enemy pilots to detect the initial signal. They also have greater resistance to electronic jamming.
An OLS-UEM electro-optical-infrared device serves as MiG-35’s passive search-and-track sensor, which might be able to detect emissions from U.S. stealth planes, if Russian defense trade press accounts are to be believed. The MiG-35 comes in single-seat and two-seat variants.
Another improvement is the MiG-35's smokeless RD-33MKB engines, making the plane harder to track within visual range. The jet isn’t stealthy like China’s FC-31, another new fighter featuring engines that do not emit smoke, but it’s an important upgrade for dogfighting … which the Fulcrum already excels at.
The problem is that for all its time in development, the MiG-35 has struggled to find foreign buyers apart from Egypt.
That’s a sore point for Mikoyan, as the firm’s MiG-29 is one of the world’s most common fighters. The venerable company is a giant in decline since its Soviet heyday, and the Russian air force’s meager purchase can be understood in part to help keep Mikoyan afloat.
Likewise, Russia operating a handful of MiG-35s helps promote the fighter abroad, as buyers are more likely to choose a proven design. But the company still faces tough competition from Western firms offering fighters that are just as — if not more — agile, with sensor suites Russia cannot match.
And for governments that want better multi-role capabilities on heavier airframes while still buying from Russia, there are always Sukhois.
- NEW DELHI — India will invite global competitive bids to select a foreign single-engine fighter to be made in India, said Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Addressing a news conference here, Parrikar said the final selection for a western partner to provide a single-engine fighter for the Indian Air Force will depend on transfer of technology terms and the pricing proposed by the original equipment manufacturer.
Parrikar disclosed another single fighter line will be done under the Strategic Partnership model that will be announced later this month.
"We will submit a new acceptance of necessity proposal for new single engine fighters to Ministry of Defense in the next four months, and will request to fast-pace this new program," a senior IAF official said. "IAF will put up a demand for 200 new single engine fighters to be made in India, which will easily cost around $45 million apiece without weaponry."
The Strategic Partnership concept was mooted by MoD's Aatre Committee, which in its April 2016 report recommended appointment of select few private sector companies be designated as SPs.
However a top MoD official said selection of an Indian private company to manufacture single engine fighters will only be approved by the cabinet by the end of 2017. Thereafter a global bid will be floated, with expectation that Lockheed Martin of US and Saab of Sweden will pitch the F-16 Block 70 and Gripen, respectively.
- Why is it that people assume that as soon as the F-35 light up their radars, all targeted aircraft will automatically detect them? Did I miss the memo where the Russians have defeated LPI radar? It would seem that other than the fact the SU-35's are going to get hammered, in this scenario, climbing up to altitude from their on-the-deck approach, that their first indication of F-35s is not going to be detecting the APG-81, but rather AIM-120C seekers going active.
As an aside, the LPI feature of the F-35's APG-81 radar is a characteristic that all AESA radar's possess, isn't it? The SU-35's radar is a PESA, correct? Does a PESA have a similar LPI characteristic?
That's because people don't understand radar technology at all and think about radars of 1960s and 70s. They don't understand things like LPI or LPD or even how low RCS really benefits.
LPI is a large collection of different features and not just one feature. There are things like wide operating bandwidth, frequency hopping, spread spectrum, low sidelobes, high duty cycle, irregular scan pattern, very high sensitivity, complex and adaptive waveforms, coherent detection etc. PESA and even MSA radars can have some LPI features, but they have some serious limitations. Even B-2 had PESA LPI radar, but the PESA is limited to low power applications to have good LPI features. Higher powered PESA radars like used in Sukhois have much poorer LPI features because of narrow bandwidth and lower duty cycles. Of course even high powered PESA radars have some LPI features, but can't have anywhere near similar capabilities as AESA can have. AESA tech is also pretty broad and early AESAs were very limited compared to what latest systems can offer. The difference between even the best PESA and latest AESA is huge when it comes to LPI/LPD performance. We are talking about something like an order of magnitude difference in detection range.
- "Big changes can come in small packages," reminds author of Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss. "To dramatically change your life, you don't need to run a 100-mile race, get a PhD, or completely reinvent yourself. It's the small things, done consistently, that are the big things."
Philanthropist and author Tony Robbins adds that we cultivate change with these small things by starting "at the root: a shift in perspective".
"It's these small changes that can lead to shifts in behaviour, and cumulate over time to create one massive transformation."
To shift perspective and cultivate courage to change and grow in the face of challenge, Michaela Haas, author of Bouncing Forward: Transforming Bad Breaks into Breakthroughs suggests many methods. These include anchoring with the breath, identifying unhelpful patterns, practicing compassion and daring to explore.
- It’s likely that much of the western left-infected by liberalism and obsessed with identity politics and political correctness will mark the centenary of the October revolution this year with a smirk and say ‘nothing to do with us, mate’ and get on with writing their love letters to Hillary Clinton. But there are, I believe, important lessons to be learnt from the strategy employed by Lenin in 1917 – and the left dismisses them at its peril.
As was the case one hundred years ago, a corrupt, arrogant, and hideously out-of-touch establishment lies teetering on the brink. As was the case one hundred years ago, the gap between rich and poor is truly staggering. Only last January, Oxfam revealed that half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 62 people. Yes, that‘s right – 62.
But unlike 100 years ago, it’s the populist right – and not the left – that’s making all the headway. Instead of embracing working-class populism and positioning themselves at the forefront of anti-establishment protests as Lenin and the Bolsheviks did in 1917, the liberal-dominated western left of today seems scared of proletarian rebelliousness, and has instead sided on issue after issue with the neo-liberal militarist establishment.
We see this in the liberal-left’s attachment to parliamentarianism, and the failure to promote more democratic ways of organizing society e.g. the greater use of referenda, the introduction of workers’ councils and peoples’ assemblies and elected people’s courts (interestingly the attachment to Parliamentarianism didn’t seem to apply to Ukraine in 2014 when many ‘liberal-leftists’ in the West supported the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government).
We also see it in the way that ‘bread-and-butter issues’ which affect the everyday lives of ordinary people are largely ignored with the focus instead on fighting culture wars and promoting wars of ‘liberal intervention’ in the Middle East, which only benefit elite interests.
The fact is that the liberal-left is as detached from working-class concerns today as were the ‘reformist left’ opponents of the Bolsheviks in 1917 – who could only say: “Please wait for the Constituent Assembly elections” when millions of Russians were starving. Lenin was under no illusions about ‘liberal democracy’ and who it benefited. “Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich – that is the democracy of capitalist society,” he wrote in 1917.
He knew that Russian involvement in the war had to end. That land had to be given to the peasants without delay. That Russia’s economy had to be radically restructured. His slogan of “Peace! Bread! Land!” resonated throughout the country.
You don’t have to be a Bolshevik, or even a socialist, to admire Lenin’s clarity and sense of purpose.
“In 1917 it was the Bolshevik mastery of the ‘fact’ that was decisive,” says Christopher Hill. “The party knew exactly what it wanted, what concrete concessions to make to different social groups at any given stage, how to convince the masses of population by ‘actions’, its own and their own.”
The centenary of the October revolution and the ‘Ten Days That Shook The World,’ should galvanize the genuine left into action. But if the liberal cuckoos-in-the-nest have their way, it will be the right who once again forge ahead, with working-class support, in 2017.
- The NBN, the metadata retention scheme, the release of personal data that could be easily identified... the bungles are legion. But Turnbull and his minions still rush headlong into the new world of big data, driven by neoliberal thinking that every function of government can be run at a profit.
There is a mistaken belief in many government circles that an inefficient operation — in the case cited above, Centrelink's inability to monitor welfare recipients — will suddenly become efficient the moment things are digitised.
The reality could not be more different. As those with even basic common sense are aware, what results is that the inefficiency is magnified.
A little learning is a dangerous thing. Sadly, Australia's Government, headed by the agile and innovative Turnbull, appears to be unaware of this.
- Statistics reveal that Washington dropped more bombs in 2016 than it did the previous year. The US dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries, a little over 3,000 more than were dropped in 2015.
The lion’s share of these explosives fell in Syria and Iraq, according to an analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), with both nations sustaining over 12,000 bombs each. Currently the US is leading an international coalition of forces against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, carrying out air operations to stop jihadists.
"As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing US ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power." the CFR report read. "Whether this strategy 'works'—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested." Some 79 percent of bombs used against Daesh were dropped in Syria, a total of 24,287, though some have questioned the reported numbers as multiple bombs that could constitute a single airstrike. Jan. 20, 2009.
Despite a campaign promise to end US involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan, Obama approved a surge of troops in the country, which sustained 1,337 US bombs in 2016, nearly 400 more than the previous year. Currently, there are 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan, more than Obama envisioned would be left, according to his deployment slowdown plans.
- The plant has been able to overcome the expense for stripping out the CO2 from flue gas by using a new chemical. Though it is only marginally more efficient than amine - the chemical of choice for carbon capture and storage - its inventors, Carbonclean, claim it needs less energy, is less corrosive and also needs less machinery.
Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals now has the new machinery installed and used the CO2 from its own boiler to produce baking soda, a chemical used in manufacturing glass, sweeteners, detergents and paper products.
The report quoted the company's managing director, Ramachandran Gopalan, as telling BBC Radio 4: "I am a businessman. I never thought about saving the planet. I needed a reliable stream of CO2, and this was the best way of getting it."
The people behind Carbonclean are chemists from the Indian Institute of Science at Kharagpur. They failed to find a financial backer in India and instead set up shop in London's Paddington district under the UK's plan to welcome entrepreneurs.
Carbonclean chief executive Aniruddha Sharma was quoted as saying: "“So far the ideas for carbon capture have mostly looked at big projects, and the risk is so high they are very expensive to finance. We want to set up small-scale plants that de-risk the technology by making it a completely normal commercial option."
- The point is, the elites do not necessarily need to spend the incredible amount of energy required to spy on each individual. When people form into ideological groups their behavior becomes much easier to predict. Through macro-analytics, the establishment can simply watch the traffic numbers of conservative and liberty sites to see how quickly a population is adopting that mindset, or abandoning it. They can read these social movements in advance and move to intercept or co-opt.
Even if everyone in a given population found a way to use the web anonymously, this would do nothing to prevent the establishment from collecting wider analytic data and traffic data.
The best strategy for defusing this weapon at the fingertips of the elites would be a decentralized internet; an internet in which analytics are not collected or cannot be collected. Whether this can be done using existing internet infrastructure or if it would require the freedom minded to start all over from scratch, I do not know. All I know is that while the existing system is indeed useful to liberty advocates as a means to spread information and to counter disinformation, it is also highly useful to the elites as a means to view and predict mass behavior. It is a trade-off, and it is hard to say who is getting the better part of the trade.
For the establishment, though, the internet is quickly becoming, for all intents and purposes, the all seeing eye.
- Other teachers who spoke to Fairfax Media confirmed the level of demands and administration work in the UK is significantly higher and that tough conditions in the London suburbs can be confronting but that it can be a rewarding experience.
"The idea of teaching in the UK is fantastic, but the reality is very hard," said Ms Liddell-Lum.
"Marking every child every day, that is a massive ask. It can be a great opportunity for career progression, but you have to be prepared to do the hard work".
- Ukroboronprom, Ukraine’s nationalized defense industry conglomerate, announced a partnership agreement between the Ukrainian defense manufacturer Ukroboronservis and the U.S. company Aeroscraft to produce in Ukraine a variant of the U.S. M16 assault rifle.
“The M16 project was conceived some time ago, as the Ukrainian armed forces, border guards, and National Guard will with time switch to NATO standards,” Aeroscraft founder and CEO Igor Pasternak said during a Jan. 3 press conference in Kyiv.
The M16 variant Ukraine will produce is called the WAC47.
The catch: The WAC47 uses Soviet ammunition, not the standard NATO 5.56×45 mm cartridge.
However, the Ukrainian production of Soviet-caliber M16s plan is a first step toward adopting NATO military standards—a goal Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko directed the military to achieve by 2020.
The WAC47 can be modified to use NATO ammunition, and “switching calibers” was one of the reasons Ukroboronprom listed to justify its decision to build its M16 variant.
“For our country and the Ukrainian army, M16 production in Ukraine is a real step towards Euro-Atlantic structures,” Ukroboronprom said in a statement published to its website.
By the time Ukraine fully adopts NATO military standards, its military will have a stockpile of M16s that can be modified to use NATO ammunition.
According to Ukroboronprom, interoperability problems Ukrainian troops have faced while on joint operations with NATO troops spurred the decision to produce the American assault rifle.
- Palestinian militant group Hamas has given classical espionage a modern twist, according to Israeli authorities.
On Wednesday, Israel's intelligence officials told reporters they had unearthed a Hamas plot to spy on Israeli soldiers by posing as women online and hacking their smartphones.
Officials said Hamas militants would track down soldiers on Facebook, pose as women and send photos to their mobile phones. The end goal was to lure soldiers and persuade them to install a chat application that would grant access to their smartphone.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said that dozens of Israeli soldiers had fallen for the ruse, though namely low-ranking ones.
"It had potential for great damage," he said. "Until now, the damage was minimal. But we wanted to prevent it from happening." He suggested that Hamas militants were seeking to gather information on army maneuvers and weaponry in the Gaza area.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum refused to comment on the allegations.
Soldiers with a lonely heart
In a presentation to reporters, officials showed photos Hamas allegedly used, belonging to real women, many of whom wore swimsuits or sunglasses, alongside copies of flirtatious text messages.
One example exchange presented to reporters included a "woman" messaging a soldier, saying "Just a second, I'll send you a photo, my dear," before a picture of a blonde in a bathing suit popped up on the screen. The "woman" then suggested the solider download "a simple app that lets us have a video chat." The app would instead grant the Hamas soldier on the other end access to the phone's camera and microphone.
A video clip showed an Israeli soldier, whose face was covered to protect his identity, telling of a friendship he had struck up with a woman who approached him on Facebook.
"The connection got stronger with time," he said, adding he was persuaded to download the app, which did not work.
"Suddenly I discovered that she isn't a girl. She is Hamas," the soldier said.
- Life is tough if you are a male northern quoll: you spend your life ferociously searching for a mate, fighting off other males only to die after sex - and all before your first birthday.
- Heavy rains across Central Australia have brought about the ephemeral phenomenon of tiny shield shrimps hatching from years of obscurity in the middle of the desert.
Yet these shrimps are more sea monkey than edible foodstuff.
"They're not a true shrimp," expert Michael Barritt told ABC Radio Darwin.
"So forget about prawns and that sort of look. They look a bit shrimp-ish but have this big shield across the tip of their bodies."
- "Tillerson's claim that China's control of access to the waters would be a threat to 'the entire global economy' is simply ludicrous. No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation. On the other hand, Australia's prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war."
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