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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chinese Nuclear Arsenal is Probably Bigger than Previously Estimated.

From an article concerning China's tunnel system to conceal its nuclear arsenal.
Most of the attention has focused on the 363-page study’s provocative conclusion — that China’s nuclear arsenal could be many times larger than the well-established estimates of arms-control experts.
Of course, since the Washington Post is a bastion of liberal group think, and thus heavily invested in undermining freedom and democracy, they understate the issue. According to this article:
They [the student researchers] spent three years translating secret military documents, scouring the internet and studying satellite images for clues – and concluded that China may have as many as 3,000 missiles, compared with general estimates of between 80 and 400.

"Iran is a rabid roque state."

Commentary from the Daily Mail, by Michael Burleigh. He notes the following regarding the "protesters" that stormed the British Embassy (or English Embassy if you are the President of the United States):
These protesters were clearly orchestrated by the Iranian regime, for the mayhem could never have taken place without sanction in a country where secret police stalk the streets, torture is endemic, criminals are executed in public and foreign embassies are closely guarded and monitored.

Far from being students, many of the thugs involved were elite members of Iran’s paramilitary Basiji brigades, a hard-core volunteer outfit under the control of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, who answer to the country’s top cleric, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It was his parliamentary claque that had just voted through the anti-British measures.
This Iranians, however, are risking a broader Middle-East conflict:
Indeed, many believe that Iran’s behaviour is so outrageous, and its nuclear capability now so dangerous, that a military strike is the only option left to the international community to bring the renegade nation into line.

Israel is already considering such action against Iran’s three main nuclear facilities, which are hundreds of miles apart: a Russian-built-and-staffed light water facility at Bushehr; a major underground uranium plant at Natanz; and two water facilities at Arak to convert uranium dioxide into weapons-grade plutonium.

Because these facilities are located in reinforced underground bunkers, it is highly likely that Israel would use special bunker-busting bombs to drill holes through the concrete, before dropping tactical ‘mini-nukes’ into them.

Since these secondary explosions would happen underground, Israeli experts claim there is no danger of radioactive fallout. The political fall-out, however, would be terrifying.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gliese 581g

Possibly the most Earth-like extrasolar planet discovered. (Video here). A brief article at the BBC news web-site. And more here. From the latter article:
The newly-discovered planet g, however, lies right in middle of habitable zone, they said.
The planet is tidally locked to the star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, while side facing away from star is in perpetual darkness.
One effect of this is to stabilize planet’s surface climates, according to Vogt.

Live Coverage of the Storming of the UK's Iranian Embassy from the Telegraph

(Link here). It provides a fairly good timeline of events.

Satellite Images of the Nov. 12 Iranian Blast and More on the Blast from Monday

Article from the Daily Mail showing satellite images from the earlier November 12, 2011, blast in Iran that is believed to have destroyed a missile facility. Also, some more on the explosion earlier this week that also apparently involved another weapons facility.

For those of you interested, here is an article from the Telegraph from yesterday regarding this most recent explosion.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Are Guns A Better Investment Than Gold?

Apparently they are when a country is sliding into civil war. From the American Interest:
Arms dealers in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley are making out like, well, bandits as unrest in Syria sends black market gun prices through the roof says this story in Lebanon’s Daily Star. Rocket grenade launchers appear to be the hottest investment grade item, with prices more than sextupling from $400 to $2500 in recent months. Kalashnikovs and M16s are also up sharply, with 75 percent appreciation on the Russian guns and 100 percent on the US model.
The author noted this sudden interest in purchasing weapons in Yugoslavia prior to the outbreak of civil war.
This is the pattern I saw at work in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus twenty years ago as ethnic groups geared up to butcher their neighbors and drive them from their homes; I will never forget the night a Georgian poet asked me how much guns cost on the Istanbul black market; he was arming himself against what he called the “Abkhazian menace.”
I made a note to myself at that time: when poets buy guns, tourist season is over. They are buying them now in Damascus; something wicked this way comes.
This story from the BBC also paints a picture of an insurgency actively collecting firearms through smuggling. "Fuelled by demand in Syria, the price for a black market Kalashnikov has gone up to $1,200 (£770) in Lebanon."

Pakistan Cuts Major Supply Route for NATO Troops

Pakistan, in protest of U.S. attacks on Pakistani allies (i.e., Islamic terrorists), has blocked a major supply route through Pakistan to our troops in Afghanistan. (Story here).
Pakistan is a vital land route for nearly half of NATO supplies shipped overland to its troops in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman said. Land shipments account for about two thirds of the alliance's cargo shipments into Afghanistan.

Hours after the raid, NATO supply trucks and fuel tankers bound for Afghanistan were stopped at Jamrud town in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, officials said.

The border crossing at Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province was also closed, Frontier Corps officials said.

A meeting of the cabinet's defense committee convened by Gilani "decided to close with immediate effect NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines," according to a statement issued by Gilani's office.

The committee decided to ask the United States to vacate, within 15 days, the Shamsi Air Base, a remote installation in Baluchistan used by U.S. forces for drone strikes which has long been at the center of a dispute between Islamabad and Washington.

The meeting also decided the government would "revisit and undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with US/NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence."

I've always considered the war in Afghanistan to be particularly dangerous for the United States because we have to rely on other nations, who are not allies, to allow us to traverse their territory to ferry troops and supplies into, or out of, Afghanistan. It has always had the possibility of ending up like the Battle of Dien Bien Phu--the key battle between France and the Viet Minh forces, where thousands of French troops were surrounded, cut-off, besieged, and eventually captured by the Viet Minh.

Mars Curiosity Rover Mission Launches.

(Story here).

Law Enforcement Distorted by the "Drug War"

Arresting people for assaults, beatings and robberies doesn't bring money back to police departments, but drug cases do in a couple of ways. First, police departments across the country compete for a pool of federal anti-drug grants. The more arrests and drug seizures a department can claim, the stronger its application for those grants.
"The availability of huge federal anti-drug grants incentivizes departments to pay for SWAT team armor and weapons, and leads our police officers to abandon real crime victims in our communities in favor of ratcheting up their drug arrest stats," said former Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Stephen Downing. Downing is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an advocacy group of cops and prosecutors who are calling for an end to the drug war.
The other incentive, and probably the most insidious, are drug forfeiture laws.
... Under civil asset forfeiture, police can seize property from people merely suspected of drug crimes. So long as police can show even the slightest link of drug activity to a car, some cash, or even a home, they can seize it. In the majority of cases, most or all of the seized cash goes back to the police department. In some cases, the department has taken possession of cars as well, but generally non-cash property is auctioned off, with the proceeds then going back to the department. An innocent person who has property seized must go to court and prove his property was earned legitimately, even if he was never charged with a crime. The process of going to court can often be more expensive than the value of the property itself.

Asset forfeiture not only encourages police agencies to use resources and manpower on drug crimes at the expense of violent crimes, it also provides an incentive for police agencies to actually wait until drugs are on the streets before making a bust. In a 1994 study reported in Justice Quarterly, criminologists J. Mitchell Miller and Lance H. Selva watched several police agencies delay busts of suspected drug dealers in order to maximize the cash the department could seize. A stash of illegal drugs isn't of much value to a police department. Letting the dealers sell the drugs first is more lucrative.
The problem is that by making drug arrests a revenue source, police shift resources from other law enforcement in order to maximize their cash flow.
On this point, the article notes:
At the same time, there's increasing evidence that the NYPD is paying less attention to violent crime. In an explosive Village Voice series last year, current and former NYPD officers told the publication that supervising officers encouraged them to either downgrade or not even bother to file reports for assault, robbery and even sexual assault. The theory is that the department faces political pressure to produce statistics showing that violent crime continues to drop. Since then, other New Yorkers have told the Voice that they have been rebuffed by NYPD when trying to report a crime.
And in Chicago:

The drug war's financial incentives appear to be having an effect. A drug offender is much more likely to be arrested in Chicago than he was 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. But kill someone in Chicago, and you're only about half as likely to be caught as you were in the early 1990s.
Reports about abuses of the drug forfeitures have been around practically since the laws were first enacted. This article will have little impact. Politicians want to look tough on crime, so they aren't going to do anything about the laws. Besides, law enforcement is a very powerful lobby; and, frankly, I think politicians are afraid to cross the police.

It is disturbing, as well, that police are refusing to take complaints about crimes, including violent crimes. It raises the issue of how do we really know if crime rates have fallen if there are incidences that are not even being counted.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Article with Graphics About the Mars Curiosity Probe

(Story here). Set for launch on Saturday.

Climate Scientists Deleted Data That Didn't Fit Their Model

When even the British newspapers admit that climate change has been faked, you know that there has been serious problems. More from the Climate Gate 2 emails.
Following on from the original 'climategate' emails of 2009, the new package appears to show systematic suppression of evidence, and even publication of reports that scientists knew to to be based on flawed approaches.

And not only do the emails paint a picture of scientists manipulating data, government employees at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are also implicated.

One message appeared to show a member of Defra staff telling colleagues working on climate science to give the government a ‘strong message’.

The emails paint a clear picture of scientists selectively using data, and colluding with politicians to misuse scientific information.
 Also:
Yet one of the newly released emails, written by Prof. Jones - who is working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - said: 'Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.

'I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.'

In another of his emails, he wrote: 'I’ve been told that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is above national Freedom of Information Acts.

'One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.'
(Note: this is a copy of a post from my Practical Eschatology blog).

Some Cosmic Rays May Come from "Superbubbles"

Now scientists may have pinpointed cosmic rays coming from a superbubble, one caused by powerful winds from clusters of young, massive stars punching into the surrounding molecular clouds of gas and dust.

The superbubble in question lies in the Cygnus X region of the sky, within the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. It was likely created by clusters of massive stars, such as the Cygnus OB2 association, a very large cluster about 4,500 light-years away. The cluster contains more than 500 stars, each more than 10 times the mass of our sun.

More on Climate Gate 2 ...

... from Watts Up With That. The real problem is that it ceased to be science and, instead, became a money making scheme (funding for the scientists, but the real money would have been from the carbon trading schemes that would only benefit the super rich) that relied on creating a cult following among the public.

Contact Reastablished with Russian Mars Probe.

As you may remember, the Russians recently had launched a Mars probe that was to obtain samples from one of Mars' moons and return to Earth. However, after launch, something went wrong, and ground controllers lost communication with the probe. Apparently communication has not been restored, but its not clear if the probe can be saved--it depends on whether the glitch was a software problem, or a hardware issue. (Story here).

2 Shot, 15 Peppersprayed, and It's Still Early -- Black Friday Violence (Updated)

From MSNBC. Oh, and I forgot to mention the possible explosive left in a breakroom.

Update: More incidents reported here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Over Interpreting the Twilight Series

I have to say that I have never read any of the Twilight Series books nor watched the movies. However, this article from Touchstone, which attempts to deconstruct the books as a Mormon apology seems too much. It reminds me of this "story" from the Onion on deconstructing a menu at a Mexican restaurant. Oh, and if there is some symbolic importance to meadows based on Mormon history and culture, it would more than likely be Joseph Smith's prayer in the sacred grove.

Ancient Coins Indicate that the Western Wall Built After Death of Herod

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence showing that the Western Wall of the temple site in Jerusalem was built after the death of Herod, confirming commentary from Josephus. The evidence is from four coins found in an ancient bath that was filled in to provide needed support for the wall.
The four bronze coins were stamped around 17 A.D. by the Roman official Valerius Gratus.

He preceded Pontius Pilate of the New Testament story as Rome’s representative in Jerusalem, according to Ronny Reich of Haifa University, one of the two archaeologists in charge of the dig.
Maybe this will help explain some incongruities in reports about being able to view the interior of the temple, and help place the actual location of the temple on the Mount.

Russian News Caster Flips Obama the Finger

Story here. It describes the scene:
Tatyana Limanova, an award-winning journalist from privately-owned Russian television channel REN TV, was reading a segment about the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference when she made the offensive symbol - just as she said the U.S. president's name.

She was looking down as she spoke about how Russian president Dmitry Medvedev would be assuming the head of the conference as part of the rotating chairmanship.
But as she read that the post was previously held by Mr Obama, she distinctly raised her arm - and then her middle finger,
There is a video at the link.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The U.S. Government May Be the Largest Supplier of Arms to the Drug Cartels

Article from Big Government citing statistics showing that the U.S. Government is the largest supplier of arms to the drug cartels. And we're not talking about the Gun Walker scandal or some similar plan to undermine Second Amendment rights. This is by the diversion of arms sold to the Mexican government, and possibly direct sales.
In recent months, allegations have surfaced that the State Department’s US Direct Commercial Sales Program and DDTC may have directly shipped arms to the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel’s hit squad. The Zetas were at one time trained and supplied with American weaponry by our own 7th Special Forces Group in the early 1990s.

Saudis Worried About Canadian Oil

The Saudis are worried about oil developments in North America. Oh, and another reason to not believe the peak oil scare.
While the green movement naively harbours hopes it will be able to shut down unconventional oil and gas development, in Saudi Arabia they are already contemplating a time when North American fossil fuel will replace their oil.
Looking past the din of protesters, state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco is resigned to the fact that its influence will wane because of the massive unconventional fossil-fuel development underway in North America.
Also:
But the oil chief's remarks reveal Saudi fears that the market dynamics are changing and its dominance over energy markets is under threat by new unconventional finds.
OPEC estimated in a recent report that global reserves of tight oil could be as high as 300 billion barrels, above Saudi Arabia's conventional reserves of 260 billion barrels, which are currrently seen as the second-largest in the world after Venezuela.
Global output of non-conventional oil is set to rise 3.4 million bpd by 2015, still dominated by oil sands, to 5.8 million bpd by 2025 and to 8.4 million bpd by 2035, when tight oil would be playing a much bigger role. By 2035, the United States and Canada will still be dominating unconventional oil production with 6.6 million bpd, the group forecasts.
Last year, even as the world consumed nearly 30 billion barrels of oil, not only was the industry able to replace this production but global petroleum reserves actually increased by nearly seven billion barrels, as companies increasingly turned toward higher risk areas, Al-Falih noted.
Breaking the oil cartel would be one of the best legacies that the United States and Canada could leave the world.

Climate Gate 2

More emails released by FOIA.org showing that it's the politics, not the science, that is settled. Story here. And more here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Much Spillover Violence From Mexico?

This article from Borderland Beat suggests that the amount of "spillover" violence from the Mexican drug war is greatly exaggerated.

CIA Spies Outed by Hezbollah

Hezbollah has identified and captured (and undoubtedly tortured and killed) CIA spies in Lebanon. This follows on issues in Afghanistan where an erstwhile CIA spy blew himself up killing several other CIA operatives.

Scientists Refute FTL Neutrinos

While a second team of scientists had confirmed measurements that seemed to indicate that neutrinos were traveling faster-than-light, other physicists are arguing it can't be so based on the energy of the neutrinos detected at the receiving end of the experiment.
They argue, on the basis of recently published studies by two top U.S. physicists, that the neutrinos pumped down from CERN should have lost most of their energy if they had traveled at even a tiny fraction faster than light.

But in fact, the ICARUS scientists say, the neutrino beam as tested in their equipment registered an energy spectrum fully corresponding with what it should be for particles traveling at the speed of light and no more.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Molecular Clock to Run Molecular Machines

Anyone familiar with modern electronics knows how important clocks are to digital controls and changing states. The same issue arises as to molecular machines. 
One of the challenges in developing advanced nanotechnology, sometimes called molecular manufacturing or productive nanosystems, is learning to control systems of molecular machines by using other molecular systems for timing and turning machines on and off. The more complex the desired output of a molecular machine system, the more different kinds of molecular machines that need to be controlled, and therefore the more complicated the problem of control systems. A molecular system to time molecular motion and production has been demonstrated by a team of scientists that includes Erik Winfree, co-winner of the 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in both the Theoretical and Experimental categories.
 This is an early effort, and there are still issues to be worked out, but this is an important development moving forward.

The Biggest Mysteries of Mars

A short run-down of the greatest astronomical mysteries of Mars, including why there are differences between Martian hemispheres, and whether there is water on Mars.

Some Great Pictures of the Northern Lights

I live too far south to see the Northern Lights, but love to see the pictures. Here are some really great pictures of the Northern Lights.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rewriting History About Honduras

      Perusing the Guardian's website today, I came across an article entitled "Honduras: America's Greatest Foreign Policy Disgrace" by Mark Weisbrot. After reading it, I had to wonder if I had somehow slipped through a hole in the space-time-imagination-continuum and into Oceania's Ministry of Truth. 

     Mr. Weisbrot writes:
So, when the Honduran military overthrew Zelaya in June of 2009, the Obama administration did everything it could for the next six months to make sure that the coup succeeded.
      Now, my memory was that, when Pres. Zelaya was legally removed from office, the Obama administration tried to bully Honduras into putting Zelaya back into power. A quick journey through the "way-back machine" (aka, an internet search) seemed to confirm this. From the July 2, 2009, Christian Science Monitor:
Sometimes, the whole world prefers a lie to the truth. The White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and much of the media have condemned the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya this past weekend as a coup d'état.

Back on July 6, 2009, Roger Simon wrote this:
Conflicting though reports may be, it’s certainly odd – or, on second thought, may be not that odd – that the current administration seems much more eager to jump on the Zelaya bandwagon (con sus amigos Chavez y Ortega) than they were to back the Iranian demonstrators – all this even though, as the WSJ points out: Mr. Zelaya’s violations of the rule of law in recent months were numerous. But the tipping point came 10 days ago, when he led a violent mob that stormed a military base to seize and distribute Venezuelan-printed ballots for an illegal referendum.
 (Emphasis in original). From the July 20, 2009 Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Zelaya was trying to use mob rule to undermine Honduras's institutions in much the same way that Mr. Chávez has done in Venezuela. But as Washington lawyer Miguel Estrada pointed out in the Los Angeles Times on July 10, Mr. Zelaya's actions were expressly forbidden by the Honduran constitution.
"Article 239," Mr. Estrada noted, "specifically states that any president who so much as proposes the permissibility of reelection 'shall cease forthwith' in his duties, and Article 4 provides that any 'infraction' of the succession rules constitutes treason." Congress had little choice but to take its next step. It convened "immediately after Zelaya's arrest," Mr. Estrada wrote, "condemning his illegal conduct, and overwhelmingly voting (122-6) to remove him from office."
Mr. Zelaya was shipped out of the country because Honduras believed that jailing him would make him a lightning rod for violence. Interim President Roberto Micheletti promised that presidential elections scheduled for November would go forward.
That might have been the end of it if the U.S. had supported the Honduran rule of law, or simply refrained from meddling. Instead President Obama and the State Department joined Mr. Chávez and his allies in demanding that Mr. Zelaya be restored to power. This has emboldened Venezuela.
And when Honduras balked at restoring Zelaya to power, the Obama administration retaliated by suspending visa services. The State Department issued the following:
The OAS Foreign Ministers mission is in Honduras seeking support for the San Jose Accord, which would restore the democratic and constitutional order and resolve the political crisis in Honduras. In support of this mission and as a consequence of the de facto regime’s reluctance to sign the San Jose Accord, the U.S. Department of State is conducting a full review of our visa policy in Honduras. As part of that review, we are suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services in the consular section of our embassy in Honduras, effective August 26. We firmly believe a negotiated solution is the appropriate way forward and the San Jose Accord is the best solution.
     Mr. Weisbrot concludes his "report" by writing:
When I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I never thought that his legacy in Central America would be the return of death-squad government, of the kind that Ronald Reagan so vigorously supported in the 1980s. But that seems to be the case for Honduras.
Well, I can't do an internet search to see if Mr. Weisbrot actually voted for Obama, but if this is as accurate as the rest of the article, Mr. Weisbrot must have voted for John McCain.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flesh Eating Heroin?

I've often thought that the anti-meth commercials went over the top in showing the effects of meth use--the sallow skin, sunken cheeks, and open sores. Apparently that is mild compared to a new drug, called "krokodil," developed in Russia and now spreading into other areas of Europe. 
Krokodil is a sickening cocktail of over the counter painkillers, paint thinner, acid and phosphorus. In some cases, petrol is also added.

The resulting mixture is called desomorphine - a derivative of morphine - and is extremely addictive.
More than that, it also rots the users flesh and kills their brain.
Dubbed 'the drug that eats junkies', it rots from the inside, causing such severe damage to tissue that users suffer from gangrenous sores which open all the way to the bone.
Also:
The drug, whose name means 'crocodile' - reportedly a reference to the way it turns users' skin scaly - also rots their brains.
I wonder if causes a craving to eat human brains?

Department of the Interior Backs Down On Shooting Ban? Not.

US News is now reporting that the Department of the Interior is backing down over the shooting ban. Of course, it isn't really. The Department is just going to come up with some different excuse. From the article:
However, the official said it is possible that areas previously used for target practice that are too close to houses or areas of urban growth could be put off limits. The new plan would be to provide shooters with a map or guide on where they can go for target practice nearby, said the official.
(Emphasis added).

So, the original plan was to not provide a map or guide to non-shooting areas?

Tests Seem to Confirm Neutrinos Can Travel Faster-Than-Light

Researchers at CERN have done further experiments to test the speed of their neutrinos, but making adjustments to the experiment to address concerns, and the results still indicate that the neutrinos are traveling faster-than-light. (More here).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More on Taking the High Ground

I had noted recently China's interest in achieving parity, and eventually dominance, in space. Here is more evidence that China wants to militarize space: attempts to hack American satellites.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

U.S. to Buy Entire Fleet of British Harriers

Due to cuts to its military, the British decided to ground their entire fleet of Harrier jump-jets. It is now reported that the U.S. Marine Corp is in the final stages of negotiating a purchase of all of the British planes--74 aircraft in total.

This Is What Happens When the Gravy Train Runs Dry

The Afghan president has apparently decided that the American gravy train is running dry.
Hamid Karzai has told a national gathering of Afghan elders that he will not sign a much-delayed military pact with the US until night raids by foreign forces come to an end, a demand that threatens to complicate the deal.
(Story here).

Recent Experiments with the Large Hadron Collider May Explain the Lack of Anti-Matter in the Universe

Report on some recent experiments that may explain why the universe is made of matter rather than antimatter.
The problem for physicists is that in the first second of the Big Bang matter - that's all the stuff around us - and anti-matter existed in equal quantities, but the anti-matter disappeared in an instant afterwards and no one knows why.

Now physicists at the atom-smasher in Switzerland believe they’ve found evidence of a particle that decays in a different manner to its anti-matter counterpart, which may eventually help explain what happened to all the anti-matter after the universe exploded into life.
 More analysis here.

Obama Pushing Shooters Off of Public Lands (Updated Nov. 17, 2011)

(Note: I have edited and revised my original post since it appears that the consensus is that this is a ploy by the Obama administration to play to its base. See, for example, here and here).

 U.S. News is reporting that new BLM rules would allow the BLM to close lands to recreational shooters on very vague grounds, to-wit:
When the authorized officer determines that a site or area on BLM-managed lands used on a regular basis for recreational shooting is creating public disturbance, or is creating risk to other persons on public lands; is contributing to the defacement, removal or destruction of natural features, native plants, cultural resources, historic structures or government and/or private property; is facilitating or creating a condition of littering, refuse accumulation and abandoned personal property is violating existing use restrictions, closure and restriction orders, or supplementary rules notices, and reasonable attempts to reduce or eliminate the violations by the BLM have been unsuccessful, the authorized officer will close the affected area to recreational shooting.
    The reason for this regulation has nothing to do with the stated aims in the regulation:
"It's not so much a safety issue. It's a social conflict issue," said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites "freak out" when they hear shooting on public lands.

    Hunters shouldn't think that they are going to be afforded any special dispensation. From the article:
If the draft policy is finally approved, some public access to Bureau lands to hunters would also be limited, potentially reducing areas deer, elk, and bear hunters can use in the West.
This will impact water fowl and upland bird hunting as well.

     Obviously, the first step is to fight this proposal on the political level. However, its doubtful that will be successful. According to the article:
But officials suggested to Whispers that no changes are being planned to the draft regulations.
 My concern is that this really has less to do with a second-amendment, gun control fight, than some groups of recreational users attempting to push shooters and hunters off of public land. There are plenty of people that own land that borders public land that really want that land for their own private use, who cry "horror" whenever someone tries to lawfully access that land. (Its the old joke that the definition of an environmentalist is someone that bought their cabin last year).  I have heard, and personally witnessed, dirt bikers harass and try to intimidate shooters lawfully using public land.

We, shooters and hunters, need to make these other groups understand that the bludgeon of government regulation can swing both ways. Safety and environment is just as good, if not a better reason to shut down access to public land for motorcycles and ATVs. The whole idea of public land is that it is public; as soon as one group is shut out, it ceases to be public, and becomes merely another form of private property. If the off-road enthusiasts, mountain bikers, hikers and campers, etc., won't support shooters and hunters in this--or, worse yet, stand behind this restriction--then they need to know that we, the shooters and hunters, won't stand behind them either; and maybe will even support closing public land to their access.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Beating Decline" and the Future of Warfare

Here is a great article called "Beating Decline" on issues and threats facing America in coming conflicts. However, while recognizing that the United States faces a temporary decline (perhaps worse than even the author realizes), he finishes on an overall positive note:

An American grand strategy is a necessity for this century. We could do without it during the splendid isolation of our early years, when the Monroe Doctrine was our sole strategic necessity. Our entry into world affairs with WWI was not accompanied by any reconsideration of national priorities in response to new strategic realities. We have spent much of the past century trying to skitter back into isolation rather than face up to our global responsibilities. After WWII we did have a strategy against the USSR – containment – but it was situational, not universally accepted, and failed when applied in other parts of the world.

A grand strategy will guarantee this country’s status into the 21st century and beyond. We need to consider what such a thing would look like – how it would serve our national interests, how it would utilize our technological advantages, how it would express the American character, American hopes, and American ideas.

Because the U.S. will be back. Our decline will not be permanent. Our enemies are deeply flawed and skating ever closer to the edge. Iran has an imploding population, a vanishing resource base, and a government of madmen (as the recently Quds Force assassination conspiracy reveals clearly enough). It will not be the same place in twenty years. China also faces a population crash thanks to its grotesque birth-control policies, centripetal tendencies involving abused minorities, and the inevitable showdown between political tyranny and economic freedom. The Russians will eventually learn the lesson of Al Capone: that blatant gangsterism will take you only so far. They are all facing problems the U.S. has already overcome or simply does not have.

We are demographically healthy, with an expanding but not exploding population. Our economy will return to full health once the mania for federal intervention is left behind. We will benefit from recent trade agreements that create a Greater American free-trade zone that encompasses every nation on the Pacific coast of the Americas, an 8,000-mile-long chain that is likely to become the richest trade bloc in the world32. Also acting in our favor is the beginning of a resource boom perhaps without parallel in our history. One example will suffice: the Marcellus Shale formation of the Northeast contains from 84 trillion to 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas33. That’s trillion with a “t.” (It also contains billions of gallons of liquid natural gas and ethane.)That alone makes the U.S. the natural gas equivalent of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran combined, and there’s more where that came from. We will begin to see the impact of our new resource base over the next twenty years, with full expression by mid-century.

It is not yet twilight for the United States. Our current drift is an interlude and not an epilogue. We are an old nation (with the second-oldest government on earth, behind the UK) but we are a young country. It is customary for the young to make mistakes, pick themselves up, and go on. We have made a lot of mistakes, but none of them are fatal. We are coming into our maturity, when we will do things differently. The American Century is dead and gone –bring on the American Millennium.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Terracotta" Lego Warriors "Unearthed"

Something lighthearted today. Amazing chalk art of Lego figures mimicking the famous Chinese terracotta warriors.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

China Continues to Take the Military Highground

In 1996, George and Meredith Friedman published their book, The Future of War. (Amazon link here; apparently there was a newer edition published in 1998). While the book recognized that weaker powers would have to rely on asymmetric warfare, the primary focus of the book was on the big wars--wars between the United States and other world or regional powers.

One of the major thesis of their book was, as more and more effort and cost is expended to protect a weapon system, that weapon system becomes obsolescent, or in their words, "senile." Protecting the weapon system become more important than the mission the weapon system was designed to accomplish.

Case in point is the aircraft carrier. Notwithstanding our involvement in ground wars, the United States is primarily a naval power. Our economy and military strength rely on projecting power over sea lanes. Our primary tool for doing this is the aircraft carrier. However, these ships have become more expensive (meaning we can afford fewer and fewer of them) while at the same time becoming more vulnerable to advances in missile and submarine technology. Aircraft carriers must now be protected by elaborate armadas of ships (such as the Aegis cruiser) and aircraft. The resources to protect aircraft carriers has reached the point that more resources are being expended to protect the weapon system than to accomplish the mission (which is merely to launch aircraft that deliver a few tons of ordinance to a target). They are obsolescent, and have probably been so since the early 1960s.

Is there a cheaper and more effective way to project power? The Friedmans postulated there was, by focusing on space based systems. The Friedmans envisioned precision weapons that would be delivered from or via space (such as hypersonic missiles). However, control of space is critical to this. They wrote:
Satellites in space have both altitude and safety. They can see far more than aircraft, and unlike aircraft, they are exceedingly difficult to shoot down--at least for the time being. They can also carry out a wide range of functions, from image reconnaissance to intercepting enemy signals and radar emissions to detecting rocket launches to relaying communications. Had these satellites not existed during the Gulf War or had they been destroyed, it is unlikely that war planners would have known the structure and weaknesses of the Iraqi air defense system and, therefore, could not have planned the campaign to destroy it. ...

Space is not only about reconnaissance. It is about communications as well. It is an extraordinary fact that virtually all communications within the theater of operations and between the theater and the United States were carried out via satellites. ...

If the Iraqis could have destroyed that system, most of the allied advantage would have dissipated. For the first time in history, the center gravity of a military operation was located outside the earth's atmosphere.

... Thus, to prevail against the United States, a future enemy must be able to ground U.S. precision weapons. Grounding these weapons means blinding them--which means, in turn, destroying or blocking America's space satellites. To protect these valuable assets against assault, the United States will need to defend by attacking.

(Friedman, pp. 303-304)(bold in original). They continue:

Control of space, and particularly control of strategic sectors of space, is becoming the foundation of military operations of the post-European epoch. A satellite launched into orbit asserted control simply by being there--nothing could threaten it. The next phase will go beyond assertion of control, to the denial of control. Reconnaissance satellites will be threatened by antisatellite systems, ranging from space destroyers of various sorts to systems for disrupting space-earth communications. Space control will then depend on the ability to defend one's own assets and destroy the enemy's.
(Friedman, pp. 355-56).

The Friedman's noted, at the time they wrote their book, that nations with the technical ability to challenge the U.S. in space did not want to, and the nations that would like to (such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea) were technologically unable to do so. This is changing, as noted in this article, China is determined to occupy and, eventually, dominate "the high ground."

China launched two satellites Wednesday as part of a decade-long rapid expansion of earth-monitoring capabilities that also buttress the country’s growing military prowess.

Yaogan-12, the primary cargo of the launch, is the twelfth model in a series of “remote sensing” satellites that many analysts believe are tasked with gathering military intelligence. China, which has never acknowledged a defense-related launch, claims that the satellite will be used for “scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.”

Piggybacking on the ride was Tianxun-1, a 35-kg micro-satellite with a low-resolution camera. A 2010 paper in China Science and Technology Review described the satellite’s design as “low-observable,” suggesting it may be a test bed for basic stealth technology that could make small satellites even harder to track from the ground.
 The article also mentions the Chinese shooting down a weather satellite in 2007, which was clearly both a test and a demonstration of its ability to target enemy satellites. However:

Though the price tags of Chinese reconnaissance satellites are not publicly known, they are thought to be a fraction of the cost of U.S. spy satellite programs, which frequently reach into the billions of dollars.
The relative low cost of Chinese satellite programs is complimented by a rapid launch tempo. Last year China successfully launched 15 rockets, matching the U.S. total for the first time. This year China may soar past that number.
There are a few considerations here. First, lower cost is certainly, to a certain extent, a result of China's currency manipulation. Thus, the reported costs are not necessarily the real costs. Second, China at this point may be more interested in obtaining a large space presence versus the quality of its presence. Third, China may be following a saturation strategy similar to that followed by the Soviet Union. (After WWII, the Soviets followed a strategy based on quantity over quality, believing that large numbers of soldiers, tanks, aircraft, etc., would be able to overwhelm smaller numbers of technically superior Western weapons. This strategy did not play out very well in the long run as demonstrated by the various Middle-East wars that have pitted Western versus Soviet equipment, including the various Israeli-Arab conflicts, and the wars against Iraq). That is, they may be pushing to place so many satellites, that the Unites States or Russia (being pretty much the only other powers with the technical ability to launch anti-satellite weapons) would not be able to shoot them all down.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Solar System May Have Had a Fifth Gas Giant At One Time

It’s believed that Jupiter at one stage was gravitating dangerously towards the centre of the solar system, where Earth and Mars lie, but then suddenly ‘jumped’ to an orbit further out, knocking our mystery guest out into deep space.

End of the European Union?

Investors.com is predicting the demise of the European Union. The relevant portion:
Alarmed at the speed of the EU's financial deterioration and by the prospect that Greece and other spendthrift nations could bankrupt the EU, French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to forge a "breakaway" group of nations within the EU — an EU Mini-Me on steroids.

The basic idea is to take the high-debt loser nations — Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others — and put them into a separate, Euro-ghetto confederation.

Meanwhile, France, Germany and a core of hardy, relatively responsible, mostly northern European nations will have their own EU rules, parliament and capital — a "union within a union," as Britain's Telegraph put it.
Well, good luck. It won't solve the underlying problems that have doomed the EU from the start. To wit: The EU has too many languages, too many cultures and too many economic preferences to make unity work. And it's all based on a model of cradle-to-grave welfare state spending that is now bankrupting its members.

The pressure to dismantle the EU will only grow. For a long time, the EU and its currency let Europeans believe the fiction that they were still a large, dynamic, growing economic bloc, not the stagnant, aging, welfare state they've become.

They now know their only hope is to dismantle infantilizing EU bureaucracy and return responsibility for finance and economics to national governments. The only question is, will they have the courage to do it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bypassing Democracy in Europe

I've posted before about how the ruling elite, both here and in Europe, simply want to bypass the democratic process as they cram more and more regulations and decisions down people's throats. 

This clearly showed up in the threats against Greece to force it to abandon a referendum on the European bailout. Arnold Kling noted this, commenting:
Again, this looks to me like elites circling the wagons. We are going to have TARP for Europe, laundered through the IMF. My guess is that the G-20-crats are trying to come up with an option that has the best chance of being approved by--or even better, bypassing--democratic legislatures.

It is hard to see this as anything other than the political class awarding itself a bailout.

We may be observing an international Crisis and Leviathan moment. It may represent a turn, and a decisive turn, toward world government freed from popular restraint.
"Charlemagne," at the Economist, commented today that this cannot go on indefinitely. He noted:
EUROPE has claimed the scalps of two leaders in almost as many days. First George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, promised to resign, and then Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi did the same. Both leaders have been in trouble for some time, but the immediate cause of their downfall is plain: the ultimatum they received from euro-zone leaders at the G20 summit in Cannes to reform their economies—or else.
While he largely dismisses the idea that Germany and France are bullying Greece and Italy, he acknowledges that where there is smoke, there may also be a fire:
Yet there is something to the critics’ charges. For many countries, such as Spain, the EU has been an anchor of democracy. But as the crisis persists, austerity drags on and the euro zone integrates to save itself, the legitimacy of the enterprise will suffer. The pain would be more acceptable if the creditors acted as if they believed they faced an existential threat. But rather than commit their full resources to the crisis, they are seeking to limit their liability. This raises a sense of double standards: one kind of democracy for creditors, another for debtors. Everybody must understand the constraints on Mrs Merkel. But Mr Papandreou commits a “breach of trust” if he calls a referendum.
Also:
Saving the euro requires more pain for some, more generosity from others and fundamental change for all. Is it worth it? Sooner or later, citizens must be asked. Without their support, no reform can last. And a real choice must include the option of leaving the euro. Now that this taboo has been breached, the euro zone should start thinking about how best to arrange the departure of those that cannot, or will not, live by Germanic rules.

U.S. Has Not Warmed During the Last Decade

Based on the latest, and presumably most accurate climate data, the average temperature in the United States has declined over the past 10 years.
Warming, for the USA seems pretty “stalled” to me in the last 10-15 years. Bear in mind that BEST uses the same data source for the USA, the USCHN2 data. Granted, this isn’t a standard 30 year climatology period we are examining, but the question about the last 10 years is still valid. “Aerosol masking” has been the reason given by the Team. Blame China.
Environmentalism is a religion that allows no heresy.

Russian Space Probe Stuck in Orbit (Updated)

A few days ago, I noted that the Russians had launched a space probe that was supposed to travel to Mars' moon, Phobos, and return material to Earth for testing. Unfortunately, something has gone wrong, and the probe is stuck in Earth's orbit. A decaying orbit at that.

Update: (Nov. 25, 2011) Communication has apparently been reestablished with the disabled probe. However, it is still not clear that the probe can be saved.

Decision on Keystone Pipeline Delayed until After Election

The Administration to looks out for the interests of one of its largest contributors--the Saudi royal family. Via Instapundit, Reuters is reporting that the Administration is punting the decision as to the Keystone Pipeline (intended to move oil from Canada to major oil refineries in the U.S.) until after the next election. This suggests to me that the President intends to deny approval for the pipeline, but doesn't want it to become a campaign issue.

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Increases

As any of us living in the real world know, the prices of food have sharply increased over the past couple of years. Up until recently, our ruling elites have poo-pooed inflation on food goods, hiding behind statistics showing only a slight rate of inflation (which, I suppose, is the case when the prices of houses are collapsing). Well, the latest indication of food inflation is a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation showing that the average costs of typical Thanksgiving foods--especially turkey--has increased since last year, and represents the biggest jump in 20 years. (Story here).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Size of the Grey and Black Markets

According to this article from Foreign Policy, the black and grey markets (which the author refers to as "System D," represents the largest economic growth sector in the world. (H/t Survival Blog).
Schneider presents his numbers as a percentage of the total market value of goods and services made in each country that same year -- each nation's gross domestic product. His data show that System D is on the rise. In the developing world, it's been increasing every year since the 1990s, and in many countries it's growing faster than the officially recognized gross domestic product (GDP). If you apply his percentages (Schneider's most recent report, published in 2006, uses economic data from 2003) to the World Bank's GDP estimates, it's possible to make a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the approximate value of the billions of underground transactions around the world. And it comes to this: The total value of System D as a global phenomenon is close to $10 trillion. Which makes for another astonishing revelation. If System D were an independent nation, united in a single political structure -- call it the United Street Sellers Republic (USSR) or, perhaps, Bazaaristan -- it would be an economic superpower, the second-largest economy in the world (the United States, with a GDP of $14 trillion, is numero uno). The gap is narrowing, though, and if the United States doesn't snap out of its current funk, the USSR/Bazaaristan could conceivably catch it sometime this century.

In other words, System D looks a lot like the future of the global economy. All over the world -- from San Francisco to São Paulo, from New York City to Lagos -- people engaged in street selling and other forms of unlicensed trade told me that they could never have established their businesses in the legal economy. "I'm totally off the grid," one unlicensed jewelry designer told me. "It was never an option to do it any other way. It never even crossed my mind. It was financially absolutely impossible." The growth of System D opens the market to those who have traditionally been shut out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evidence of an Ancient Civilization in the Sahara

Some more science news.
The team from the University of Leicester has identified the mud brick remains of the castle-like complexes, with walls still standing up to 13 feet (4 meters) high, along with traces of dwellings, cairn cemeteries, associated field systems, wells and sophisticated irrigation systems. Follow-up ground surveys earlier this year confirmed the pre-Islamic date and remarkable preservation of the sites.
"Satellite imagery has given us the ability to cover a large region. The evidence suggests that the climate has not changed over the years and we can see that this inhospitable landscape with zero rainfall was once very densely built up and cultivated. These are quite exceptional ancient landscapes, both in terms of the range of features and the quality of preservation," said Martin Sterry, who has been responsible for much of the image analysis and site interpretation.

Russia Launches Space Probe to Phobos

Russia has launched a probe that will travel to Mars orbit, then launch a lander to Phobos to recover material, that will be returned to Earth. (Story here).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eid al-Adha 2011

3 Million attend annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Story here).
Three million Muslim pilgrims today symbolically stoned Satan in a valley near the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mina - part of the last, and most dangerous, rite of the annual hajj.

In previous years the sheer number of people swirling around the pillars has led to stampedes - with 244 people killed in 2004 and 360 fatally injured the following year.

Saudi authorities subsequently built the current concrete complex to reduce the danger, and have so far not reported any injuries from this year's event.

Carlos the Jackal Goes on Trial

Carlos the Jackal goes on trial in France. Probably more remembered today for the books he inspired ("The Day of the Jackal" and "The Bourne Identity" for two examples) rather than what he actually did. However, he was very successful at keeping his identity secret, which partially accounted for his mystique. In fact, the plots of both books mentioned revolved around trying to figure out who he was.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More on the Decline of Violence

I may have been a little harsh in my comments on a possible decline in violence. Apparently, another author has also published a book exploring the same topic, although taking a different view as to why there has been a decline in violence. The Economist has published a review of both books. I still question whether violence has declined, based on how they can establish what the rates of violence are in nations or time periods where good criminal statistics are not kept, and whether they are correctly accounting for deaths by organized violence (warfare, pogroms, genocide, forced starvation, etc.).

Presumably they address those issues in their books. So the next question is why there would be a decline. I would suggest that the primary reason is increased risk for a would-be criminal. Methods of crime detection have increased--not only with the creation of professional police forces, but advances in forensics--making it more likely that a person will be caught.

I believe the social stigma has increased as well, creating a social risk for the would-be miscreant. While there has always been a social stigma to murder, the social stigma for other forms of violence has decreased. We've gone from a society where a misspoken word could lead to a fist-fight, to "zero tolerance" in school. (It would be interesting to see if suicide rates have increased, not that bullies increasingly must use psychological means of attacking and bullying their victims). Similarly, Professor Pinker includes slavery as part of his violence, based on what is in the article and the video interview. Obviously, while slavery still exists in Islamic nations in Africa and the Middle-East, it has otherwise been abolished.

The final risk factor, at least in the West, is that over the last several hundred years the ability of people to physically defend themselves has increased due to smaller and more effective firearms. In the United States, where concealed carry laws have passed, violent crime rates have decreased; those areas with strong gun controls have the worst violent crime rates. The same can be seen in Europe. For instance, gun violence has actually increased in Britain since it banned all handguns in the 1990s.

I've always though that the proof of a theory, however, is in how it handles anomalies. Mexico seems to evidence enough that whatever the reasons for declining violence, it can be ephemeral.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bendy Phones

Samsung apparently is close to releasing a phone using a flexible display. (Story here). Cool. Once they figure out how to roll one up, we will be able to merge the smart phone and tablet computer.

"The Case for Optimism"

With all the negative political and economic news, its easy to be pessimistic. So, I encourage you to read "The Case for Optimism" by John Podhoretz.

The Dismissal of Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller

It was reported today that Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, deputy commander for training Afghan security forces, has been relieved from duty for telling the truth about the Afghanistan government and its president, Hamid Karzai.

In explaining the decision, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen stated:
"The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission: bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan."
"The Afghan people are an honorable people"? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I guess if by "honorable," you mean easily offended.

As for "bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan," I'm not holding my breath. It is delusional to think that we can transform a backward, medieval Muslim society--one that thinks that child rape, and the maiming of women is "honorable"--into a modern, Western-style nation. They'll play along as long as the money flows, but no further.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Real Class War

Spengler (aka David Goldman) writes:
America is engaged in class war, but not of the sort one reads about in the mainstream press. The truly indigent - young African-American men, for example, most of whom are now unemployed - have little to do in this war. Large corporations for the most part are bystanders as well; they will make their peace with the victor. This is a war of survival between the productive middle class on one hand, and the dependents of the state on the other.
Read the whole thing.

Decline in Violence?

Steven Pinker, a Harvard University cognitive neuroscientist, argues in his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined that violence has been declining for centuries, and that we are less likely to die from violence now than at any other time in history. An interview with Dr. Pinker is here.(H/t Instapundit).

I haven't read the book, but in the interview, Dr. Pinker states that the decrease is due to "outsourcing" violence to the government--essentially the replacement of personal vendetta with formal systems of justice. He also attributes the decrease to increased trade and commerce.

I have to question Dr. Pinker's conclusions considering the increase in organized conflict and pogroms over the last 100 or 150 years. WWI, WWII, the purges under Stalin, the cultural revolution in China--each of these were responsible for tens of millions of deaths. The Holocaust, the Killing Fields, recent genocides in Darfur and other areas of Africa, the massacre of Armenians by the Turks, and the list goes on.

One-on-one violence may arguably have decreased over the past 150 years--although, in the United States, violent crime rates actually increased through the 1960's and 1970's, before starting to decrease in the 1990's. What we appear to have traded is unorganized violence for more frequent and widespread organized violence by state actors.

ACORN Presents the Face of Facism

ACORN's latest incarnation, New York Communities for Change (NYCC), is scrambling to implement damage control in response to a Fox News report linking ACORN to the Occupy protests, including that the NYCC was paying people to protest. (Story here). NYCC is not much into transparency--it has fired staffers, is shredding papers, and forbidding its staff from talking to Fox News reporters--but apparently is into surveillance. From the article:
NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices....
Also:
“People literally have to cover up the cameras on the back of their cellphones in the office.”
“Now there’s no texting in the office, no phone calls in the office. They tell us to take our phone calls out into the waiting room where there’s an intercom, and then they turn on the intercom to hear our conversations. They’re installing new cameras and speakers around the building so they can hear everything. 
NYCC obviously cares about its workers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big Brother Loves You

It is actually quite amazing how fast Western nations are adopting universal surveillance, with nary a peep of protest. I thought 1984 was supposed to be a warning, but apparently it is just a good idea. Two articles on this topic today:

First, the British media is reporting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing forward with a program to monitor Twitter and other social media sites. Is this some plan to help protect us from terrorist networks? No. It's to crush nascent protest movements. From the article:
The wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that have overturned three governments in the past year have prompted the U.S. government to start developing guidelines for culling intelligence from Twitter and other social media networks.
Plus this:
In New York police launched a specialized unit to focus on gleaning clues from social media websites.
The NYPD Disorder Control Unit recently brought together police from all five of the city’s boroughs to rehearse what the response would be 'should out-of-control riots break out here.'
 I think I will go listen to my Pink Floyd "Animals."


Meanwhile, also out today are reports that "Britain’s largest police force has been using covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network to intercept communications and unique IDs from phones or even transmit a signal to shut off phones remotely, according to the Guardian." (Link here).

Retesting FTL Neutrinos

Scientists will be re-testing the timing of neutrinos to see if they really are going faster than light. (Link here).
The physicists who claimed to see neutrinos moving faster than light are moving quickly to replicate their experiment, hoping to substantiate their results before submitting them for publication.