Oh.. just some stuff. LHC discovers new matter possibly. Why Neocons are wrong about Everything. And UFO’s over Hawaii this summer? Sponsored by NASA? yes.

I will actually post backwards to the way I described it above. The new matter discovered is in terms of Physics a stunning revelation. The Neo Cons did get us involved in the two worst wars in US History.. Certainly the longest wars in this Countries History. I will argue by the time it is said and done the most devastating in terms of  damage in multiple possible ways to veterans returning home and the soldiers actively in  the war zone.  I will talk about this amazing story on UFOs being flown over Hawaii.. You guessed it. By NASA.

 

UFO’s over Hawaii. This summer guaranteed. NASA is about to start new project. A flying saucer project. 

 

 

nasa-developing-flying-saucer-for-mars

 

Holidaymakers in Hawaii may get a shock this summer, according to NASA’s intelligence, as a flying saucer will fly over the beaches of Hawaii.

However, the disc is not extra-terrestrial, it will be launched from a U.S. Navy facility in Kauai in June as part of a project which will one day see the spacecraft, if successful, carry heavy loads of equipment and eventually people, to Mars, according to Science Recorder.

A Low Density Supersonic Decelerator will launch the disk-shaped object.  It has been designed to slow down upon entering the rather thin atmosphere of Mars by using inflatable technology, replacing the usual system, which requires deployment of a parachute.

Martian air has a thinner density compared to Earth’s atmosphere, measuring about one per cent as dense.  This makes it difficult for vehicles traveling at supersonic speed to stop and land effectively on Mars.

The crafts design uses a giant parachute, while using a decelerator resembling a balloon that is attached to the entry vehicle.  As the speed of the capsule increases, the decelerator rapidly inflates – slowing the capsule down so that its parachute can deploy for a safe landing.

To recreate the atmosphere on Mars, NASA’s research team will lift the vehicle equipped with the decelerator system 22 miles above the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, using a high-altitude balloon.

The craft will then fire a rocket to bring the saucer to an altitude of 180,000 feet.  Gravity will bring the rocket back to earth, where the system is expected to inflate and then momentarily release the parachute.

http://www.designntrend.com/articles/12634/20140411/nasa-testing-flying-saucer-spacecraft-bound-for-mars.htm

NEOCONS wrong about Everything?

Slate columnist Reihan Salam has an important message: He still believes in neoconservatism. He concedes, more or less, that the past 13 years of United States foreign policy have been a hideous spectacle of strategic, tactical, and moral failure, all perpetrated in the name of neoconservative ideas. “Given all of this,” he asks, “why am I still a neocon?”

The answer—albeit Salam’s unintentional answer—is that he’s a neocon because he is a sloppy thinker who is deeply confused about history and how the world works. This is a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion of America’s role in global affairs. Neoconservatism is a fantasy, and fantasies are hard to abandon:

Why do I still believe that the U.S. should maintain an overwhelming military edge over all potential rivals, and that we as a country ought to be willing to use our military power in defense of our ideals as well as our interests narrowly defined? There are two reasons: The first is that American strength is the linchpin of a peaceful, economically integrating world; and the second is that we know what it looks like when America embraces amoral realpolitik, and it’s not pretty.

Goodness, ideals! Our ideals, lately, have led to our national spy corps running an open-ended international program of mass surveillance and paramilitary war, featuring kidnapping, torture, and robot-assisted assassination. In Afghanistan, one of the countries where we have most actively worked on pinning together a peaceful world, aid workers and journalists are being shot by the locals for simply being associated with the West. Meanwhile Russia, despite the undeniable appeal of a world led by the United States, has begun de-integrating territory from the Euro-American sphere of influence.

Presumably Vladimir Putin is reacting to President Obama’s relative lack of strength, now that neoconservative ideas are in eclipse. Yet the American military, despite reports of its imminent demobilization, is immense and well funded. Salam addresses this:

You may have seen one of those charts illustrating how much the U.S. military spends on defense vs. other countries. Slate recently ran just such a chart to show that America’s 2012 defense spending surpasses that of China, Russia, the U.K., Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, and Brazil combined. The implicit message of these charts is “Wait a minute, you guys—doesn’t this seem like overkill?” There is no question that there is waste in the U.S. defense budget, and that our military could deploy resources more effectively.

But these charts are misleading insofar as they gloss over a pretty important fact, which is that personnel costs are much higher in rich countries than in poor ones. Stack up the U.S. against the same list of countries on health or education spending and you’ll find that we spend an impressive amount in those domains too.

The actual charts. 

spending

http://gawker.com/why-be-a-neocon-because-you-like-being-very-wrong-abou-1561275136

The Physics Particle that cannot be explained by any models. A new form of Matter of all things?

Be prepared for the word tetra quark.

Since the spectacular discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the gigantic particle accelerator outside Geneva, have suffered a bit of a drought when it comes to finding new particles. In a welcome relief, the LHCb collaboration, who run one of four large experiments at the LHC, have announced one of the most genuinely exciting observations to come out of the 27km super-collider so far – an exotic particle that cannot be explained by current theories.

In the early 1930s physicists had a clean picture of the subatomic particles that make up our world. Every known atom has a tiny nucleus at its heart surrounded by a cloud of electrons, and each nucleus was made out of varying numbers of protons and neutrons. However, as the decades wore on a number of new, and somewhat unwelcome, particles were discovered, at first in detectors studying particles from outer space and later in particle-collider experiments.

By the 1950s, dozens of apparently elementary particles had been discovered, causing frustration among physicists who often brandish an inability to memorise a list of facts as a badge of honour. The famous physicist Enrico Fermi perhaps best expressed the mood of his colleagues in an infamous remark:

Young man, if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist.”

Help came in the 1950s when physicists came up with a new model that explained most of these particles as being made up of a small number of truly elementary particles. Borrowing a line from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (a book that is even harder to understand than quantum field theory), Murray Gell-Mann dubbed these new particles “quarks”.

By the late 1960s the existence of quarks had been verified experimentally. We now know that there are six in total – the up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top quarks, along with six antiquarks (their anti-matter copies).

The quark model neatly explained all these peculiar particles. Protons, neutrons and many others besides are made of three quarks, belonging to a family known as baryons. Alternatively, a quark and an antiquark can pair up to form a meson.

Since then the quark model has been extremely successful, and is now a cornerstone of our understanding of particle physics. It was only at the turn of the millennium that some strange results started to suggest that the model might be incomplete. Until 2003 quarks had only been seen in twos or threes, but then a number of particles that looked like combinations of four quarks started to reveal themselves.

In 2008 the Belle Collaboration in Japan reported the observation of a new exotic particle – the unfortunately drably named Z(4430) (where  for its negative charge). This has a mass that places it in a dense forest of charmonium states – particles that are made up of a charm quark and a charm antiquark. Crucially though, the Z is electrically charged whereas all charmonium states must be neutral, clearly marking it out as something unusual.

After a careful analysis of data from 25,000 decays of mesons resulting from more than 180 trillion collisions at the LHC in 2011 and 2012, the new announcement confirms the existence of Z(4430) with extremely high confidence. The particle was observed with an overwhelming significance of 13.9 sigma, well above the usual 5 sigma threshold required to declare a discovery. LHCb also went further than Belle by measuring the spin and parity of Z(4430), two quantum-mechanical properties that give a firm handle on the internal makeup of the particle.

The observation by LHCb is important because few physicists will take a result seriously until it has been seen by two independent experiments. This is why hundreds of millions of Euros were spent building two large detectors at the LHC. The observation of the Higgs boson by two independent teams, ATLAS and CMS, was what really convinced the scientific community that the particle was real.

This result is the clearest evidence yet of the existence of a tetraquark

http://www.newstatesman.com/sci-tech/2014/04/large-hadron-collider-has-made-another-exciting-quantum-discovery

From another source.

A long-sought fugitive has been caught at the world’s largest particle accelerator. Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider confirm that a provocative particle called Z(4430) actually exists – and it may be the strongest evidence yet for a new form of matter called a tetraquark.

Quarks are subatomic particles that are the fundamental building blocks of matter. They are known to exist either in groups of two, forming short-lived mesons, or in threes, forming the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. Researchers have suspected for decades that quarks might also bind together in quartets, forming tetraquarksMovie Camera, but they have not been able to do the complicated quantum calculations necessary to test the idea.

“Our computers aren’t yet big enough to solve the theory from first principles,” says Thomas Cohen at the University of Maryland in College Park. That means no one knows if the laws of physics should allow matter to clump together to form the still hypothetical tetraquark. But the latest sighting at the LHC means we are closer than ever to finding out.

“The main argument about Z(4430) was, does it exist or not?” says Tomasz Skwarnicki at Syracuse University in New York, who is a member of the team that carried out the latest work. “We came and said Z(4430) is real.”

Belle v Babar

The newly nabbed Z(4430) is one of a handful of suspectedtetraquarks that have been found in recent years. It was first reported by the Belle detector at the KEKB accelerator in Tsukuba, Japan, in 2008. But the particle’s existence was questioned after the BaBar detector at the SLAC accelerator in Menlo Park, California, subsequently failed to find it.

Now the LHCb experiment, which sits at the LHC along with the experiments that spotted the Higgs boson, has analysed 10 times as much data as either Belle or BaBar and says it has found as many as 4000 of the particles.

“It’s a very good piece of work,” says BaBar spokesman Michael Roney. It seems that the particular way BaBar searched for the particle reduced its chances of a sighting. “We didn’t have enough data to have the full sensitivity,” he says.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25402-lhc-spots-particle-that-may-be-new-form-of-matter.html?cmpid=RSS|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news#.U0fAUOZdXjY

Enhanced by Zemanta

What did Pakistan Know about Bin Laden and when.

I have wondered this exact question since the alleged killing of Bin Laden. I say alleged because as a lay citizen there has not exactly been what you would call proof ever presented. They have made the photos off limits… They have never released the DNA for independent testing. They buried him at sea seeming the day after he was apparently or allegedly shot.

Pakistan had to know that Bin Laden was there. It is a uncomfortable truth since it raises many troubling questions about our Money flowing there and they are playing both sides almost without question. How do you live very close to the Capital of Pakistan and a town that houses the largest military academy in the Country and not know he lives miles if not yards away.

From the New York Times article this weekend.

What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

The small, untidy entrance on the street to one of those madrasas, the Jamiya Islamiya, conceals the size of the establishment. Inside, a brick-and-concrete building three stories high surrounds a courtyard, and classrooms can accommodate 280 students. At least three of the suicide bombers we were tracing had been students here, and there were reports of more. Senior figures from Pakistani religious parties and provincial-government officials were frequent visitors, and Taliban members would often visit under the cover of darkness in fleets of S.U.V.s.

One of many madrasas in Quetta in 2008.
ALEX MAJOLI / MAGNUM
We requested an interview and were told that a female journalist would not be permitted inside, so I passed some questions to the Pakistani reporter with me, and he and the photographer went in. The deputy head of the madrasa denied that there was any militant training there or any forced recruitment for jihad. “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad,” he said. “All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.” He ended the conversation. Classes were breaking up, and I could hear a clamor rising as students burst out of their classrooms. Boys poured out of the gates onto the street. They looked spindly, in flapping clothes and prayer caps, as they darted off on their bikes and on foot, chasing one another down the street.

The reporter and the photographer joined me outside. They told me that words of praise were painted across the wall of the inner courtyard for the madrasa’s political patron, a Pakistani religious-party leader, and the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. This madrasa, like so many in Pakistan, was a source of the Taliban resurgence that President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders had long been warning about. In this nondescript madrasa in a poor neighborhood of Quetta, one of hundreds throughout the border region, the Taliban and Pakistan’s religious parties were working together to raise an army of militants.

“The madrasas are a cover, a camouflage,” a Pashtun legislator from the area told me. Behind the curtain, hidden in the shadows, lurked the ISI.

The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.

Clearly Pakistan was endorsing and encouraging the Taliban in an attempt apparently to control Afghanistan.

Islamabad is a green, tranquil home for civil servants and diplomats, but for several days it resounded with gunfire and explosions. Crowds of worried parents arrived from all over the country to try to retrieve their children. The Red Mosque leaders tried to make the students stay. “They said if the women and others die, the people will take their side,” one father told me, and I realized then how premeditated this all was, how the girls were pawns in their plan to spark a revolution.

A week after the siege began, there was a ferocious battle. Elite Pakistani commandos rappelled from helicopters into the mosque and were raked with machine-gun fire. Perched in the mosque’s minarets and throughout its 75 rooms, the militants fought for 10 hours. They hurled grenades from bunkers and basements, and suicide bombers threw themselves at their attackers. The commandos found female students hiding in a bricked-up space beneath the stairs and led 50 women and girls to safety. Ghazi retreated to a basement in the compound. He died there as the last surviving fighters battled around him.

More than 100 people were killed in the siege, including 10 commandos. The ISI — despite having a long relationship with the mosque and its leaders, as well as two informers inside providing intelligence — played a strangely ineffective role. In a cabinet meeting after the siege, ministers questioned a senior ISI official about the intelligence service’s failure to prevent the militant action. “Who I meet in the evening and what I discuss is on your desk the next morning,” one minister told the official. “How come you did not know what was happening a hundred meters from the ISI headquarters?” The official sat in silence as ministers thumped their desks in a gesture of agreement.

“One hundred percent they knew what was happening,” a former cabinet minister who attended the meeting told me. The ISI allowed the militants to do what they wanted out of sympathy, he said. “The state is not as incompetent as people believe.”

Finally Bin Laden

It took more than three years before the depth of Pakistan’s relationship with Al Qaeda was thrust into the open and the world learned where Bin Laden had been hiding, just a few hundred yards from Pakistan’s top military academy. In May 2011, I drove with a Pakistani colleague down a road in Abbottabad until we were stopped by the Pakistani military. We left our car and walked down a side street, past several walled houses and then along a dirt path until there it was: Osama bin Laden’s house, a three-story concrete building, mostly concealed behind concrete walls as high as 18 feet, topped with rusting strands of barbed wire. This was where Bin Laden hid for nearly six years, and where, 30 hours earlier, Navy SEAL commandos shot him dead in a top-floor bedroom.

After a decade of reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan and tracking Bin Laden, I was fascinated to see where and how he hid. He had dispensed with the large entourage that surrounded him in Afghanistan. For nearly eight years, he relied on just two trusted Pakistanis, whom American investigators described as a courier and his brother.

People knew that the house was strange, and one local rumor had it that it was a place where wounded Taliban from Waziristan recuperated. I was told this by Musharraf’s former civilian intelligence chief, who had himself been accused of having a hand in hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad. He denied any involvement, but he did not absolve local intelligence agents, who would have checked the house. All over the country, Pakistan’s various intelligence agencies — the ISI, the Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence — keep safe houses for undercover operations. They use residential houses, often in quiet, secure neighborhoods, where they lodge people for interrogation or simply enforced seclusion. Detainees have been questioned by American interrogators in such places and sometimes held for months. Leaders of banned militant groups are often placed in protective custody in this way. Others, including Taliban leaders who took refuge in Pakistan after their fall in Afghanistan in 2001, lived under a looser arrangement, with their own guards but also known to their Pakistani handlers, former Pakistani officials told me. Because of Pakistan’s long practice of covertly supporting militant groups, police officers — who have been warned off or even demoted for getting in the way of ISI operations — have learned to leave such safe houses alone.

The split over how to handle militants is not just between the ISI and the local police; the intelligence service itself is compartmentalized. In 2007, a former senior intelligence official who worked on tracking members of Al Qaeda after Sept. 11 told me that while one part of the ISI was engaged in hunting down militants, another part continued to work with them.

Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.

Fantastic article… If you want to understand the dynamics in place and how things went down you have to read this.

New York Times. What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

>

NSA hunts down System Administrators.

The disclosures keep coming. Edward Snowden in a TED talk last week that the worst was still yet to come. My fear is that people are too apathetic to it already. The vast majority of people simply do not care we have been turned into a police state where our every thought and movement is tracked and added to our file in some supercomputer located in Utah.

I am not sure how we got to the point where the NSA is actively going after System Admins? This is very far from the stated intent to protect us from the next terrorist attack. It has been clear for awhile for those paying attention that the NSA is actively trying to weaken and spy on the entirety of the Internet. They have weakened cryptographic standards and have placed devices to spy on input and output from the largest of the large internet companies. Everyone from Microsoft to Google to Facebook to Apple and everyone in between has been targeted. The news they are going directly after the people responsible for keeping entire systems of computers operational should be scary as hell for any number of reasons. As I mentioned hoe far the NSA has deviated from the stated intent of this entire witch hunt which was to protect the homeland from another terrorist attack.

SYS ADMIN

Across the world, people who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order – and this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National Security Agency for simply doing their jobs. According to a secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.

The document consists of several posts – one of them is titled “I hunt sys admins” – that were published in 2012 on an internal discussion board hosted on the agency’s classified servers. They were written by an NSA official involved in the agency’s effort to break into foreign network routers, the devices that connect computer networks and transport data across the Internet. By infiltrating the computers of system administrators who work for foreign phone and Internet companies, the NSA can gain access to the calls and emails that flow over their networks.

The classified posts reveal how the NSA official aspired to create a database that would function as an international hit list of sys admins to potentially target. Yet the document makes clear that the admins are not suspected of any criminal activity – they are targeted only because they control access to networks the agency wants to infiltrate. “Who better to target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” one of the posts says.

The NSA wants more than just passwords. The document includes a list of other data that can be harvested from computers belonging to sys admins, including network maps, customer lists, business correspondence and, the author jokes, “pictures of cats in funny poses with amusing captions.” The posts, boastful and casual in tone, contain hacker jargon (pwn, skillz, zomg, internetz) and are punctuated with expressions of mischief. “Current mood: devious,” reads one, while another signs off, “Current mood: scheming.”

The author of the posts, whose name is being withheld by The Intercept, is a network specialist in the agency’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, according to other NSA documents. The same author wrote secret presentations related to the NSA’s controversial program to identify users of the Tor browser – a privacy-enhancing tool that allows people to browse the Internet anonymously. The network specialist, who served as a private contractor prior to joining the NSA, shows little respect for hackers who do not work for the government. One post expresses disdain for the quality of presentations at Blackhat and Defcon, the computer world’s premier security and hacker conferences:

It is unclear how precise the NSA’s hacking attacks are or how the agency ensures that it excludes Americans from the intrusions. The author explains in one post that the NSA scours the Internet to find people it deems “probable” administrators, suggesting a lack of certainty in the process and implying that the wrong person could be targeted. It is illegal for the NSA to deliberately target Americans for surveillance without explicit prior authorization. But the employee’s posts make no mention of any measures that might be taken to prevent hacking the computers of Americans who work as sys admins for foreign networks. Without such measures, Americans who work on such networks could potentially fall victim to an NSA infiltration attempt.

The NSA declined to answer questions about its efforts to hack system administrators or explain how it ensures Americans are not mistakenly targeted. Agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an email statement: “A key part of the protections that apply to both U.S. persons and citizens of other countries is the mandate that information be in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with U.S. Attorney General-approved procedures to protect privacy rights.”

As The Intercept revealed last week, clandestine hacking has become central to the NSA’s mission in the past decade. The agency is working to aggressively scale its ability to break into computers to perform what it calls “computer network exploitation,” or CNE: the collection of intelligence from covertly infiltrated computer systems. Hacking into the computers of sys admins is particularly controversial because unlike conventional targets – people who are regarded as threats – sys admins are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a post calling sys admins “a means to an end,” the NSA employee writes, “Up front, sys admins generally are not my end target. My end target is the extremist/terrorist or government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of.”

The first step, according to the posts, is to collect IP addresses that are believed to be linked to a network’s sys admin. An IP address is a series of numbers allocated to every computer that connects to the Internet. Using this identifier, the NSA can then run an IP address through the vast amount of signals intelligence data, or SIGINT, that it collects every day, trying to match the IP address to personal accounts.

“What we’d really like is a personal webmail or Facebook account to target,” one of the posts explains, presumably because, whereas IP addresses can be shared by multiple people, “alternative selectors” like a webmail or Facebook account can be linked to a particular target. You can “dumpster-dive for alternate selectors in the big SIGINT trash can” the author suggests. Or “pull out your wicked Google-fu” (slang for efficient Googling) to search for any “official and non-official e-mails” that the targets may have posted online.

Once the agency believes it has identified a sys admin’s personal accounts, according to the posts, it can target them with its so-called QUANTUM hacking techniques. The Snowden files reveal that the QUANTUM methods have been used to secretly inject surveillance malware into a Facebook page by sending malicious NSA data packets that appear to originate from a genuine Facebook server. This method tricks a target’s computer into accepting the malicious packets, allowing the NSA to infect the targeted computer with a malware “implant” and gain unfettered access to the data stored on its hard drive.

“Just pull those selectors, queue them up for QUANTUM, and proceed with the pwnage,” the author of the posts writes. (“Pwnage,” short for “pure ownage,” is gamer-speak for defeating opponents.) The author adds, triumphantly, “Yay! /throws confetti in the air.”

In one case, these tactics were used by the NSA’s British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, to infiltrate the Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom. As Der Speigel revealed last year, Belgacom’s network engineers were targeted by GCHQ in a QUANTUM mission named “Operation Socialist” – with the British agency hacking into the company’s systems in an effort to monitor smartphones.

While targeting innocent sys admins may be surprising on its own, the “hunt sys admins” document reveals how the NSA network specialist secretly discussed building a “master list” of sys admins across the world, which would enable an attack to be initiated on one of them the moment their network was thought to be used by a person of interest. One post outlines how this process would make it easier for the NSA’s specialist hacking unit, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), to infiltrate networks and begin collecting,
“tasking,” data:

The Intercept

>

Map shows what losing Crimea means to Ukraine

This map from the Washington Post does a good job in general in showing what Ukraine is losing in respect to Crimea.

20140322-112232.jpg

map

Ukraine signs EU trade Pact

The whole fiasco started in the Ukraine because a vast majority of Ukrainians wanted tighter relationship and trade with the EU. Yanukovych ignored what the people wanted and signed a deal with Moscow for trade. The protests started almost immediately after.

updated 2:52 PM EDT 03.21.14
Ukraine signs EU trade pact amid crisis
By Laura Smith-Spark. Nina Dos Santos and Frederik Pleitgen, CNN
SHARE THIS

A A A (resize font)
Brussels (CNN) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political elements of a trade pact with the European Union on Friday, even as Russian lawmakers finalized annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

The signing in Brussels signals Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine — and carries additional symbolic force because it was the decision by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in November to ditch the trade pact in favor of closer ties with Russia that triggered the protests that led to his ouster in February and spiraled into the current crisis.

It also comes a day after the European Union and the United States slapped sanctions on Russian lawmakers and businessmen; Russia responded with its own list of sanctions against a number of U.S. lawmakers and officials.

In another sign of defiance, Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by the speakers of both houses of Parliament, signed a treaty Friday finalizing the accession to Russia of the Crimea region and its port city of Sevastopol.

The upper house unanimously approved ratification of the treaty a day after Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, passed it by an overwhelming margin.

Russia’s moves to annex Crimea, following a contested referendum last weekend in the Black Sea peninsula, have turned a confrontation with Europe and the United States into the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.

In a sign that Western sanctions are already weighing on Russian authorities, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Friday in Moscow that the government will have to pay more to borrow money, state news agency ITAR-Tass said.

Russia “will look at our oil and gas revenues. If the situation is like it is now, we will probably have to give up external borrowings and cut domestic ones,” Siluanov said.

Yatsenyuk: EU speaking in one voice

Moscow has doggedly pursued its own course even as Western leaders have denounced its actions as violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and a breach of international law.

CNN article discussing EU deal

;

The Air Sea Battle Concept. The plan for War with China.

I have covered this in some detail last year. This blog was linked to be the Yale Journal of International Affairs. I basically covered what the author of the article was suggesting. He could not believe someone had actually signed off on this concept. This is how the US plans to have a war with China should that time come.

The US military today faces an emerging major operational challenge, particularly in the Western Pacific Theater of Operations (WPTO). The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ongoing efforts to field robust anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities are threatening to make US power projection increasingly risky and, in some cases and contexts, prohibitively costly. If this occurs, the United States will find itself effectively locked out of a region that has been declared a vital security interest by every administration in the last sixty years. It will also leave longstanding US allies and partners vulnerable to aggression or, more likely, subtle forms of coercion. Consequently, the United States confronts a strategic choice: either accept this ongoing negative shift in the military balance, or explore options for offsetting it. This paper does just that. It offers a point-of-departure concept designed to maintain a stable military balance in the WPTO, one that offsets the PLA’s rapidly improving A2/AD capabilities. We have titled this concept “AirSea Battle,” in recognition that this theater of operations is dominated by naval and air forces, and the domains of space and cyberspace.
The Unprovoked Challenge
For well over half a century, the United States has been a global power with global interests. These interests include (but are not limited to) extending and defending democratic rule, maintaining access to key trading partners and resources, and reassuring those allies and partners who cooperate with the United States in defending common interests. The United States’ ability to project and sustain military power on a large scale has been, and remains, essential to this endeavor.
During much of the Cold War the Soviet Union posed a serious military challenge to US power-projection capabilities. Fortunately, the two superpowers managed to avoid a major war. Nonetheless, the US military’s unsurpassed ability to project and sustain large forces overseas was demonstrated in limited wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, as well as in numerous other, smaller contingencies. In the decade or so following the Soviet Union’s collapse the US military’s power-projection capabilities in defense of the nation’s interests were effectively unchallenged.

This state of affairs is almost certainly ending, with significant consequences for US security. With the spread of advanced military technologies and their exploitation by other militaries, especially China’s PLA, the US military’s ability to operate in an area of vital interest, the Western Pacific, is being increasingly challenged. While Beijing professes benign intentions, it is an old military maxim that since intentions can change overnight — especially in authoritarian regimes — one must focus on the military capabilities of other states.

Currently there is little indication that China intends to alter its efforts to create “no-go zones” out to the second island chain, which extends as far as Guam and New Guinea. Unless Beijing diverts from its current course of action, or Washington undertakes actions to offset or counterbalance the effects of the PLA’s military buildup, the cost incurred by the US military to operate in the Western Pacific will likely rise sharply, perhaps to prohibitive levels, and much sooner than many expect.

Article on Air Sea battle concept

PDF on Air Sea Battle Concept
PDF on Air Sea Battle Concept

The Yale Journal of International Affairs article on Air Sea Battle Concept

Yale Journal of International Affairs article

Do you see where my blog is listed?

Here is the article I wrote that gets mentioned

Drakeequation

How long before computers are smarter than humans ?

Just finished reading a fascinating article about machine learning and at what point will computers be smarter and more able then human beings. The time is approaching quickly. Moores Law states computer processing ability doubles every two years.

“””””””Moore’s law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The law is named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who described the trend in his 1965 paper.[1][2][3] His prediction has proven to be accurate, in part because the law is now used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.[4]”””””””

Moores Law in Wikipedia

This article is about Google and Ray Kurzweil. Specifically it is about the fact they have recently acquired some of the biggest firms in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. It is reported they are working on the Manhattan Project of AI.

20140223-120632.jpg

The article.

“””””””””””But then everyone’s allowed their theories. It’s just that Kurzweil’s theories have a habit of coming true. And, while he’s been a successful technologist and entrepreneur and invented devices that have changed our world – the first flatbed scanner, the first computer program that could recognise a typeface, the first text-to-speech synthesizer and dozens more – and has been an important and influential advocate of artificial intelligence and what it will mean, he has also always been a lone voice in, if not quite a wilderness, then in something other than the mainstream.

And now? Now, he works at Google. Ray Kurzweil who believes that we can live for ever and that computers will gain what looks like a lot like consciousness in a little over a decade is now Google’s director of engineering. The announcement of this, last year, was extraordinary enough. To people who work with tech or who are interested in tech and who are familiar with the idea that Kurzweil has popularised of “the singularity” – the moment in the future when men and machines will supposedly converge – and know him as either a brilliant maverick and visionary futurist, or a narcissistic crackpot obsessed with longevity, this was headline news in itself.

But it’s what came next that puts this into context. It’s since been revealed that Google has gone on an unprecedented shopping spree and is in the throes of assembling what looks like the greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth; a laboratory designed to feast upon a resource of a kind that the world has never seen before: truly massive data. Our data. From the minutiae of our lives.

Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find, or at least, rates. It made headlines two months ago, when it bought Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces spectacular, terrifyingly life-like military robots, for an “undisclosed” but undoubtedly massive sum. It spent $3.2bn (£1.9bn) on smart thermostat maker Nest Labs. And this month, it bought the secretive and cutting-edge British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for £242m.

And those are just the big deals. It also bought Bot & Dolly, Meka Robotics, Holomni, Redwood Robotics and Schaft, and another AI startup, DNNresearch. It hired Geoff Hinton, a British computer scientist who’s probably the world’s leading expert on neural networks. And it has embarked upon what one DeepMind investor told the technology publication Re/code two weeks ago was “a Manhattan project of AI”. If artificial intelligence was really possible, and if anybody could do it, he said, “this will be the team”. The future, in ways we can’t even begin to imagine, will be Google’s.

There are no “ifs” in Ray Kurzweil’s vocabulary, however, when I meet him in his new home – a high-rise luxury apartment block in downtown San Francisco that’s become an emblem for the city in this, its latest incarnation, the Age of Google. Kurzweil does not do ifs, or doubt, and he most especially doesn’t do self-doubt. Though he’s bemused about the fact that “for the first time in my life I have a job” and has moved from the east coast where his wife, Sonya, still lives, to take it.
Bill Gates calls him “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence”. He’s received 19 honorary doctorates, and he’s been widely recognised as a genius. But he’s the sort of genius, it turns out, who’s not very good at boiling a kettle. He offers me a cup of coffee and when I accept he heads into the kitchen to make it, filling a kettle with water, putting a teaspoon of instant coffee into a cup, and then moments later, pouring the unboiled water on top of it. He stirs the undissolving lumps and I wonder whether to say anything but instead let him add almond milk – not eating diary is just one of his multiple dietary rules – and politely say thank you as he hands it to me. It is, by quite some way, the worst cup of coffee I have ever tasted.

But then, he has other things on his mind. The future, for starters. And what it will look like. He’s been making predictions about the future for years, ever since he realised that one of the key things about inventing successful new products was inventing them at the right moment, and “so, as an engineer, I collected a lot of data”. In 1990, he predicted that a computer would defeat a world chess champion by 1998. In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov. He predicted the explosion of the world wide web at a time it was only being used by a few academics and he predicted dozens and dozens of other things that have largely come true, or that will soon, such as that by the year 2000, robotic leg prostheses would allow paraplegics to walk (the US military is currently trialling an “Iron Man” suit) and “cybernetic chauffeurs” would be able to drive cars (which Google has more or less cracked).

His critics point out that not all his predictions have exactly panned out (no US company has reached a market capitalisation of more than $1 trillion; “bioengineered treatments” have yet to cure cancer). But in any case, the predictions aren’t the meat of his work, just a byproduct. They’re based on his belief that technology progresses exponentially (as is also the case in Moore’s law, which sees computers’ performance doubling every two years). But then you just have to dig out an old mobile phone to understand that. The problem, he says, is that humans don’t think about the future that way. “Our intuition is linear.”

When Kurzweil first started talking about the “singularity”, a conceit he borrowed from the science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge, he was dismissed as a fantasist. He has been saying for years that he believes that the Turing test – the moment at which a computer will exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human – will be passed in 2029. The difference is that when he began saying it, the fax machine hadn’t been invented. But now, well… it’s another story.”””””””””””

Further

“”””””””””””But then he predicts that by 2045 computers will be a billion times more powerful than all of the human brains on Earth. And the characters’ creation of an avatar of a dead person based on their writings, in Jonze’s film, is an idea that he’s been banging on about for years. He’s gathered all of his father’s writings and ephemera in an archive and believes it will be possible to retro-engineer him at some point in the future.

So far, so sci-fi. Except that Kurzweil’s new home isn’t some futuristic MegaCorp intent on world domination. It’s not Skynet. Or, maybe it is, but we largely still think of it as that helpful search engine with the cool design. Kurzweil has worked with Google’s co-founder Larry Page on special projects over several years. “And I’d been having ongoing conversations with him about artificial intelligence and what Google is doing and what I was trying to do. And basically he said, ‘Do it here. We’ll give you the independence you’ve had with your own company, but you’ll have these Google-scale resources.'”

And it’s the Google-scale resources that are beyond anything the world has seen before. Such as the huge data sets that result from 1 billion people using Google ever single day. And the Google knowledge graph, which consists of 800m concepts and the billions of relationships between them. This is already a neural network, a massive, distributed global “brain”. Can it learn? Can it think? It’s what some of the smartest people on the planet are working on next.

Peter Norvig, Google’s research director, said recently that the company employs “less than 50% but certainly more than 5%” of the world’s leading experts on machine learning. And that was before it bought DeepMind which, it should be noted, agreed to the deal with the proviso that Google set up an ethics board to look at the question of what machine learning will actually mean when it’s in the hands of what has become the most powerful company on the planet. Of what machine learning might look like when the machines have learned to make their own decisions. Or gained, what we humans call “consciousness”
I first saw Boston Dynamics’ robots in action at a presentation at the Singularity University, the university that Ray Kurzweil co-founded and that Google helped fund and which is devoted to exploring exponential technologies. And it was the Singularity University’s own robotics faculty member Dan Barry who sounded a note of alarm about what the technology might mean: “I don’t see any end point here,” he said when talking about the use of military robots. “At some point humans aren’t going to be fast enough. So what you do is that you make them autonomous. And where does that end? Terminator?”

And the woman who headed the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the secretive US military agency that funded the development of BigDog? Regina Dugan. Guess where she works now?

Kurzweil’s job description consists of a one-line brief. “I don’t have a 20-page packet of instructions,” he says. “I have a one-sentence spec. Which is to help bring natural language understanding to Google. And how they do that is up to me.”

Language, he believes, is the key to everything. “And my project is ultimately to base search on really understanding what the language means. When you write an article you’re not creating an interesting collection of words. You have something to say and Google is devoted to intelligently organising and processing the world’s information. The message in your article is information, and the computers are not picking up on that. So we would like to actually have the computers read. We want them to read everything on the web and every page of every book, then be able to engage an intelligent dialogue with the user to be able to answer their questions.”””””””””

Guardian article on Google, Kurzweil and AI

Fascinating

I think this article raises interesting questions. Are we morally at a point when we can deal with the consequences of machines being smarter and more able then we are. Who is going make these decisions? Will computers at some point decide they no longer need humanity? At what point does a company such as google become too powerful? In many ways are we playing god and designing things that will be so far superior to humans that it does away with the very things that make is human? I could go on and on with hypothetical questions. This is such an amazingly interesting subject.

Kasparov vs Big Blue

“””””””””””Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov was a pair of famous six-game human–computer chess matches, in the format of machine and humans, versus a human. In this format, on the machine side a team of chess experts and programmers manually alter engineering between the games.

The matches were played between the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue with a team of IBM programmers and chess experts who directed and reprogrammed the machine between games on the one side, and the World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov on the other side.

The first match was played in February 1996 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kasparov won the match 4–2, losing one game, drawing in two and winning three.

A rematch was played in 1997 – this time Deep Blue won 3½–2½.”””””””

Wikipedia entry and matches between Kasparov and Big Blue

A .pdf “How much longer can Man match the machine”.

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kibitz91.pdf

How much longer can man match the machine

20140223-123348.jpg