748: Lone Rat

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
August 16th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Patrick Seymour, David Young

Associate Executive Producers: Bnonymous, Timnonymous, David Lane

Cover Artist: Pewdiepie


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GPS Meteorite storm
Wild Sunspot Activity Looks Tamer in 400-Year Recount
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:33
Sunspots, the dark blemishes that speckle the surface of the sun, can appear and disappear daily, and scientists have been counting them for the last 400 years. Recently, a group of scientists revisited historical sunspot counts and came up with drastically lower numbers than previously reported, a finding that suggests the sun's activity has not varied as wildly as previously thought.
For over four centuries, both professional and amateur astronomers around the world have counted sunspots, even though it has only been in the last few decades that scientists have come to understand what causes these solar freckles. A project to keep track of daily sunspot numbers going all the way back to the early 1600s, called the Wolf Sunspot Number (WSN), is the longest still-running experiment in the world.
Counting sunspots on a given day seems like it should be a straightforward process, but scientists now say there were significant shortcomings in the methodology used in the WSN project. These scientists have done a complete historical recount that they are calling the Sunspot Number Version 2.0, which shows much more stable solar activity than was previously reported. The new results also suggest that increased solar activity is not directly responsible for recent rises in Earth's global temperature. [Photos: Sunspots on the Face of Earth's Closest Star]
Counting sunspotsImages used by astronomers to count sunspots usually show the sun as a very smooth, yellow sphere, dotted with inky black splotches where the light is blocked out. (Warning: These images are created using special devices, and you should NEVER look directly at the sun.) How to Safely Observe the Sun (Infographic)]
Scientists now know that sunspots are created by the sun's magnetic field, which loops and laces through the body of the sun like a gnarled ball of string. Sunspots sit on top of areas of strong magnetic activity, which can sometimes explode into solar flares or even coronal mass ejections, which spew hot, energetic particles into space (sometimes toward Earth). The number of sunspots can therefore tell scientists how magnetically active the sun was at any given time.
"In principle, [counting the number of sunspots] is very simple. You look at the sun, and you count the number of spots: one, two, three'..." said Leif Svalgaard, a scientist at the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory (HEPL) at Stanford University in California.
As it turns out, a number of variables can cause two observers to come up with different spot counts on the same day, including: the quality of the telescope or other observing apparatus used, geographic location, weather conditions, the vision quality of the observer, and personal opinion (such as when sunspots seem to blend together).
To find the true sunspot number (or get closer to it), scientists must account for those variables, said Svalgaard, who worked on the Sunspot Number Version 2.0 project. The project relied on historical records put down by astronomers going back to Galileo and his contemporaries. These sun studiers would either write down the number of sunspots, or record daily drawings of the sun's surface. The new project was led by Fr(C)d(C)ric Clette, director of the World Data Centre [WDC]''SILSO.
Both Svalgaard and Clette spoke at a media briefing at the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, last Friday (Aug. 7). They explained that, in addition to better accounting for variables that affect sunspot counting, the new project incorporated some historical data missing from the WSN.
Possible flaws in the WSN were identified in the 1990s when a group of scientists generated the so-called Group Sunspot Number (GSN), which counted only sunspot groups (scientists now know that sunspots in the same "group" are linked magnetically, but historically these groups were just identified by how closely together they were clustered). The GSN produced vastly different numbers compared to the WSN for several periods in history. The discrepancies were "too prominent for the two systems to continue to exist in disagreement," according to a statement from IAU.
The results of the recount have been published in a series of papers, the first of which was released at the end of 2014.
A drawing of the sun made by Galileo Galilei on June 23, 1613 showing the positions and sizes of a number of sunspots. Galileo was one of the first to observe and document sunspots.Credit: The Galileo Project/M. KornmesserClimate scienceThere is no doubt the sun's activity affects the Earth, but how it affects Earth's climate is an issue of intense debate, Clette and Svalgaard told Space.com.
Explosions of energy and material from the sun's surface can collide with the Earth and cause gorgeous auroras near the poles, but these collisions can also lead to electric surges in power grids. Scientists have shown that the sun's activity oscillates up and down in cycles lasting about 11 years. The sunspot data offers a unique opportunity for scientists to look back at more than 30 solar cycles, and search for patterns, Clette and Svalgaard said.
Based on the WSN, it appears that the sun's activity experienced a record low called the Maunder Minimum between 1645 and 1715, Clette explained during the media briefing. Sunspots were scarce during this time, and on Earth, global temperatures were also unusually cool. Some scientists took this as a sign that solar activity might be directly linked to, or even cause, temperature fluctuations on Earth.
"I think some people saw that and got that association in their heads," Svalgaard said.
In addition, the WSN showed a steady increase in sunspots over the last 300 years, with a peak in the late 20th century that has been "called the Modern Grand Maximum by some," according to the IAU statement. Some climate scientists took this as evidence that an increase in solar activity was driving the rise in Earth's temperature that has been observed after the Industrial Revolution, Clette said.
Solar Quiz: How Well Do You Know Our Sun?
Many of us take the sun for granted, giving it little thought until it scorches our skin or gets in our eyes. But our star is a fascinating and complex object, a gigantic fusion reactor that gives us life. How much do you know about the sun?
0 of 10 questions complete
Solar Quiz: How Well Do You Know Our Sun?
Many of us take the sun for granted, giving it little thought until it scorches our skin or gets in our eyes. But our star is a fascinating and complex object, a gigantic fusion reactor that gives us life. How much do you know about the sun?
The new sunspot count does not show the same increase in solar activity over the last 300 years reported in the WSN. Therefore, the new results "make it difficult to explain the observed changes in the climate that started in the 18th century and extended through the Industrial Revolution to the 20th century as being significantly influenced by natural solar trends," the IAU statement said.
Clette and Svalgaard told Space.com that the results will demand a significant change in perspective by many climate scientists. In addition, the two researchers say the findings support an emerging view that while solar activity does fluctuate, it is not unbounded. That is, it goes up and down but stays between a steady maximum and minimum. Overall, the sun appears to be relatively stable, which means its effect on Earth's climate doesn't fluctuate wildly over time.
"Without that stability, we wouldn't be standing here talking about it," Clette said. "The stability allowed life to emerge on this planet."
Follow Calla Cofield @callacofield. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
I got a buddipole
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''748, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1748^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
Domain from Mike Cole
Hey Adam,
I saw that the .show domains are available.
www.noagenda.show is permanently forwarded to www.noagendashow.com
Shut Up Slave!
FDA Approves OxyContin for Children as Young as 11 - NBC News
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 05:39
OxyContin was reformulated in 2010 to make it harder for addicts to crush the pills for a quick high. AP
Purdue reformulated OxyContin five years ago to make it harder for patients to crush the pills for a fast high. But the new use is still likely to be highly controversial, owing to the staggering death and illness figures attributed to opioids, which include Vicodin and Percocet in addition to OxyContin and other versions of oxycodone.
An average of 44 people die in the U.S. from opioids every day,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."Opioids are having a considerable impact on public health and safety in communities across the United States," Michael Botticelli, the Obama administration's director of National Drug Control Policy, told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime last month.
Opioids are responsible for almost 37 percent of all U.S. overdose deaths, Botticelli said '-- a figure that likely understates their real impact because "around one-quarter of death certificates do not list the drug responsible for [a] fatal drug overdose."
Read Michael Botticelli's Full Statement to Congress (PDF)Hertz said the FDA was putting strict limits on the use of OxyContin in children. Unlike adults, children must already have shown that they can handle the drug by tolerating a minimum dose equal to 20 milligrams of oxycodone for five consecutive days, she said."We are always concerned about the safety of our children, particularly when they are ill and require medications and when they are in pain," she said. "OxyContin is not intended to be the first opioid drug used in pediatric patients, but the data show that changing from another opioid drug to OxyContin is safe if done properly."
Next Gen GLITCH!
FAA Site Shows Flight Delays of 15 Minutes or Less - ABC News
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:20
Air traffic was snarled and passengers' tempers frayed on Saturday as many flights to and from airports throughout a large swath of the Northeast stretching from New York down to the Carolinas were delayed or cancelled.
As of about 9:30 p.m. general arrival and departure delays were 15 minutes or less, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Delay Information site. The information on the site reports general airport conditions and is not flight-specific.
The FAA blamed the problem on "technical issues" at an air traffic control center in Leesburg, Va. Around 4 p.m., the agency said the problem had been resolved, and that officials were working to lift any remaining orders to hold planes on the ground.
Delays began building about 9:45 a.m., according to FlightRadar24, a flight monitoring website. Flights bound for airports in the Washington area were some of the most affected, including Washington's Reagan National Airport and Dulles International, as well as Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.
By midafternoon, 50 percent of inbound flights and 42 percent of outbound flights had been cancelled at Reagan National, and delays were averaging about three hours, according to FlightRadar24. In Baltimore, 58 percent of inbound flights and 36 of outbound flights had been cancelled, and delays were averaging over an hour.
Flights departing from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York that normally flight over the Washington region as they head southward were also affected, although the FAA had said it was trying to route the flights around the affected area.
FAA officials had no immediate estimate of how many flights were affected, but FlightRadar24 spokesman Ian Petchenik said it was certainly in the hundreds.
The agency said in a statement that the snarl was the result of an "automation problem" at the Leesburg center. The center handles high-altitude air traffic for the affected region. The problem wasn't believed to be caused by any accident or hacking.
Information posted online by the FAA indicated there was a problem with the En Route Automation Modernization computer system, also known as ERAM, at the Leesburg center.
The FAA finished installing the troubled computer system in the last of 20 high-altitude traffic control centers earlier this year. The completion was years behind schedule.
"The FAA is continuing its root cause analysis to determine what caused the problem and is working closely with the airlines to minimize impacts to travelers," the agency said in a statement.
Miller Roberts, 40, of Dallas was trying to fly from Baltimore to Kansas City to set up a robotics display at the Missouri State Fair but was caught in a flight delay for more than four hours.
Roberts said he boarded a Southwest Airlines flight that was supposed to take off at 10 a.m., but he was still sitting on the plane, waiting after 2 p.m. But he said his fellow passengers were taking the delay in stride.
"I think everyone realizes this is out of our control," he said.
Roberts said he only heard one groan after the pilot's last announcement saying it would be another hour before they had an update on their flight status. The plane returned to the gate after the problems became clear, and passengers were allowed to get on and off for food or restroom breaks.
Kate Smith, of Bethesda, Maryland, was sitting on a JetBlue plane at Boston's Logan International Airport, trying to get home to her two cats after a vacation in Boston and Maine. Her flight was supposed to leave at 12:45 p.m., but the delays persisted by 2:30 p.m.
The pilot first announced the plane would be able to take off and fly at a lower altitude. But later, the pilot said there were too many flights at the lower altitudes and they would have to wait.
Smith said JetBlue was keeping passengers comfortable by providing snacks and drinks.
Follow Joan Lowy at http://www.twitter.com/AP'--Joan'--Lowy
ERAM FIASCO-Eram Development Is Reminiscent of Failed AAS Program | Business Aviation News: Aviation International News
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 04:13
Longtime FAA watchers will remember the FAA's advanced automation system (AAS), which was contracted in 1990 to replace the agency's venerable Host ATC system, which had entered service 20 years earlier. AAS was to be the answer to the controllers' every prayer, until it started to run into technical trouble. In fact, it encountered so much trouble that the FAA cancelled its development in 1994''reportedly at the strong urging of Congress''after expenditures had reached $2.6 billion, without clear indications of when it would achieve operational readiness or its final cost.
Fortunately, about $1.1 billion of the AAS program was salvaged, with its controller work stations transferred to the ARTCCs. But in the words of the then General Accounting Office (GAO), the ''FAA did not recognize the technical complexity of the AAS effort, realistically estimate the resources required, adequately oversee its contractors' activities, or effectively control system requirements.'' So the Host kept going, with upgraded computer systems.
Fast forward to 2002, with the FAA award of a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin for a new, $2.1 billion en route automation modernization (Eram) system, which would, upon completion of system deliveries at the end of 2010, ''replace and significantly enhance hardware and software at facilities that manage high-altitude air traffic.'' As the DOT Inspector General put it, ''Eram is a foundational component of FAA's NextGen, and is critical to meeting FAA's goals for increasing airspace capacity and reducing flight delays.'' In other words, there was no turning back.
Holding Up NextGen
By 2011, however, the IG reported that besides programmatic and contract management concerns (including paying the contractor more than $150 million in incentives even though Eram was at least $330 million over budget), testing at initial sites revealed significant software problems with the system's core capabilities for safely managing and separating aircraft. This pushed schedules well beyond original completion dates and cost estimates, with the result that the FAA let Eram's target completion date slip by four years to 2014, but estimated it needed an additional $330 million to achieve that goal. Separately, the IG estimated that the total cost growth could be as much as $500 million, with potential delays stretching to 2016.
By last year the IG was clearly losing patience, and it issued a 45-page strongly worded critique of the project''in terms reminiscent of the GAO's comments on AAS''and issued 13 firm ''recommendations.'' The IG expressed particular concern about the effect of Eram delays on NextGen's ADS-B, DataCom and Swim projects, each of which will require full Eram operation to function.
In its 2013 Eram report, published in August, the IG noted that its earlier reports had drawn the attention of the House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, which requested the IG to continue to monitor Eram progress and to identify key issues that could delay the program and affect NextGen initiatives.
The IG's 2013 report stated that the FAA had made considerable progress since its 2012 report, with 11 of the 20 sites relying on Eram for full-time operation, four operating on a part-time basis and four still dependent on Host, which is now 40 years old. However, those four''located in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Miami''are much more complex than the other sites and ''face unique challenges'' with site-specific software requirements that could delay their initial operations. The IG also noted that the FAA has become ''overly driven'' by the program schedule, causing some previous requirements, such as flexible and dynamic airspace, to be downgraded to ''enhancements.''
But a more pressing concern is the program budget. Eram's average monthly spending rate has been $21.2 million, and as of February this year $132.1 million remained in the budget with 18 months of work before its August 2014 schedule goal. The IG pointed out, ''If costs continue and the program spending rate does not drop significantly, the FAA will likely need additional funding to complete Eram.''
Finally, the FAA stated that should Eram funding be cut back by sequestration, the four sites operating part time and the four high-density locations not yet upgraded would operate with the old, but still dependable, Host.
FULLY REDUNDANT BACKUP SYSTEMS-Fact Sheet '' En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM)
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:18
April 29, 2015Contact: Tammy JonesPhone: (202) 267-3883, Email: Tammy.L.Jones@faa.gov
BackgroundThe computer system the FAA uses at its high altitude en-route centers is considered the backbone of the nation's airspace system. The system processes flight and surveillance data, provides communications and generates display data to air traffic controllers.
Several years ago, the FAA began replacing the legacy system known as the Host with a new, NextGen-enabling system known as En Route Automation, or ERAM.
ERAM provides core functionality for air traffic controllers, and the FAA designed it to support satellite-based systems such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast and data communication technologies. Working together, all of these systems will improve efficiency and enhance safety.
Lockheed Martin developed the ERAM system for the FAA. The system is now operational at 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers '' also known as en-route centers '' throughout the United States and at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Other FAA air traffic facilities, including Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities and towers, are connected to en-route centers via ERAM. The system also connects with the FAA's Command Center in Warrenton, Va., automated flight service stations, and other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
BenefitsERAM increases capacity and improves efficiency in the nation's skies. It enables en- route controllers at each center to track 1,900 aircraft at a time, while the legacy system could track up to 1,100 aircraft). Coverage extends beyond facility boundaries, enabling controllers to handle additional traffic more efficiently.
The system allows controllers to share and coordinate information seamlessly between centers, enabling the use of three-mile (rather than five-mile) separation. ERAM improves flight plan processing and enables automatic transitions between sectors and centers, even when planes divert from their planned course. This improves operational efficiency during bad weather and congestion.
ERAM provides many additional benefits over the Host, the 40-year-old legacy system it is replaced:
It is a long-term, cost-effective measure. The ERAM program replaces four legacy systems used in today's air traffic control centers, reducing the hardware operating and support costs, as well as the total number of software code lines and the cost of software maintenance.It provides more accurate tracking. The ERAM tracking function processes target reports from multiple radars, replacing the single radar tracker in the legacy system. This provides more reliable tracking in areas of partial radar coverage. An independent study the MITRE Corporation performed concluded that the ERAM tracker was more accurate than the legacy system in all cases. The ERAM tracker also processes Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data that is part of NextGen.It improves flight plan processing. The ERAM system significantly improves on flight plan processing. ERAM creates a 4-dimensional trajectory (3D plus time) of every flight from take-off to landing. The system uses this information to improve a controller's situational awareness in his or her airspace as well as the surrounding airspace, enabling better decision-making and safer, more efficient routing of aircraft along their flight path. The system can now warn controllers when aircraft are unexpectedly entering their airspace, and provides improved capabilities for handling military aircraft to ensure their training exercises and military missions do not interfere with civilian flights. Improvements in the automation function that transfers control of a flight from one controller to the next allow ERAM to control flights on fuel-efficient, direct routes in the sky.It provides advanced controller tools. ERAM takes advantage of the improved tracking accuracy and flight plan processing to create more accurate controller tools. Like today's system, ERAM detects conflicts between two aircraft, but is more accurate, reducing the number of missed alerts false conflicts. It also adds new capabilities to operate with variable separation standards, allowing the controller to separate aircraft in the most efficient manner possible, increasing airspace capacity. Work is underway to add new controller tools that allow more efficient airborne routing around convective weather, reducing fuel burn and improving airline schedule predictability. Other functions will allow airlines to take advantage of their on-board equipment (RNP/RNAV) to fly fuel-efficient routes, improve airspace safety, and reduce noise and emissions to protect the environment. FeaturesThe En Route Information Display System provides real-time aeronautical information, enabling more efficient data management.
A fully redundant backup channel precludes the need to restrict operations in the event of a primary failure. The backup channel also provides safety alerts and weather information not available on today's backup system.
ERAM has increased flexibility in routing around congestion, bad weather and other airspace restrictions. Automatic flight coordination increases efficiency and capacity.
GLITCH ERAM FAA-En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM)
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:16
As of March 27, 2015, En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) has replaced the 40-year-old En Route Host computer and backup system used at 20 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers nationwide. The transition to ERAM was one of the most complex, challenging, and ambitious programs deployed by FAA. In effect, this transition represented a live transplant of the "heart" of today's air traffic control system while maintaining safe and efficient flight operations for the flying public.
ERAM R-Side Sector
ERAM technology is the heart of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and the pulse of the National Airspace System (NAS), helping to advance our transition from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management.
ERAM is vital to the future of air navigation, providing the foundational platform required for FAA to enable NextGen solutions, via modernization programs such as System Wide Information Management, Data Communications, and Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast.
Going forward ERAM will provide benefits for users and the flying public by increasing air traffic flow and improving automated navigation and conflict detection services, both of which are vital to meeting future demand and preventing gridlock and delays.
ERAM increases capacity and improves efficiency in our skies. En Route controllers are able to track 1,900 aircraft at a time instead of the previous 1,100 flight capability. Additionally, now coverage extends beyond facility boundaries, enabling controllers to handle traffic more efficiently. This extended coverage is possible because ERAM can process data from 64 radars versus the 24 radar processing with the legacy Host system.
For pilots, ERAM increases flexible routing around congestion, weather, and other restrictions. Real-time air traffic management and information-sharing on flight restrictions improves airlines' ability to plan flights with minimal changes. Reduced vectoring and increased radar coverage leads to smoother, faster, and more cost-efficient flights.
For controllers, ERAM provides a user-friendly interface with customizable displays. Trajectory modeling is more accurate, allowing maximum airspace use, better conflict detection and improved decision making. ERAM substantially increases the number of flights that can be tracked. Two functionally-identical channels with dual redundancy eliminate a single point of failure. ERAM also revolutionizes controller training with a realistic, high-fidelity system that challenges developmental practices with complex approaches, maneuvers, and simulated pilot scenarios that are unavailable using today's system.
Air traffic controllers and facilities are the backbone of safe NAS operations, transporting the flying public to their destinations efficiently. With ERAM, controllers benefit from increased collaboration and seamless data sharing between Centers.
Kevin YoungERAM Program Manager(202) 267-0467
Flights Resume After Computer Glitch Causes Widespread Delays
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 02:18
Flights are starting to resume operations after an automation problem at an air traffic control center in Leesburg, Virginia caused hours-long delays Saturday for those going in and out of New York City, Baltimore and Washington.
The issue was resolved just after 4 p.m., according to the FAA. Reports of the delays began coming in around 11:30 a.m. The agency is working with airlines to return to normal operations and is trying to get to the root of what caused the automation issue.
The issue impacted planes already in the air. High altitude traffic was directed around the affected airspace, according to the FAA. Authorities said the issue has nothing to do with an accident or hacking.
Flights out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and BWI Marshall Airport are resuming to depart but delays are expected as the backlog clears. The outage limited flights in and out of the three airports earlier in the day. Delays were also reported at New York's La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Passengers are encouraged to check flight status with their airlines as many flights going in and out of the affected areas were cancelled or delayed.
American Airlines released a statement acknowledging the issue saying all of their East Coast flights were impacted. Southwest Airlines said its flights to and from D.C. area airports were affected.
Customers across the region reported being delayed due to the outage.
This is not the first time computer issues have led to flight delays.
In July, a network connectivity issue caused United flights across the world to be grounded causing widespread delays. The FAA described the problem as an automation issue. A similar problem affected some United flights in early June.
Patch has reached out to authorities for more information. Refresh this page for updates as they become available.
Image via Shutterstock
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Trending Across Patch
Pilots from Planes
The Self driving cars
Pipe dream it will work as well as humans
Just look at how cool we are at driving. All the coordinated inputs and anticipation of other driver's moves
After the non-human Driver comes the non-human Passenger!
You will be delivered your human needs and shiny toys at home by them
You will work from your pod.
You will be a happy Human Resource!
ASIDE: Centralized Air Traffic Control is CRAZY. UNDESIRABLE!
Grab the cloud and you rule the skies and the airways, possibly even the aircraft
Comey Ecryption
All Comey's solutions are fruitless. Encryption is ubiquitous
The solution is simple: WaterBoarding
Cyber Season!
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:50
A season for cyberBy Adam MazmanianAug 12, 2015The Senate plans to debate a major cybersecurity bill when it returns from its August recess, after failing to move the legislation before leaving town.
And a host of other cyber legislation is at varying stages of the legislative process, which could keep the topic on the agenda in both chambers for much of the rest of the year.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, approved 14-1 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is not a shoo-in to pass, although there appears to be widespread support for its basic goals. Senate leaders have agreed to allow 21 amendments to come to the floor, 11 from Democrats and 10 from Republicans. It isn't clear yet which of the more than 90 amendments offered by Senators will get a hearing.
CISA would provide a basic legal framework for companies to share information on cybersecurity threats with each other and with government. Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security would stand up an automated system to share alerts, threats, and defensive measures in real time. The bill also would give the Office of the Director National Intelligence a role in clearing classified threat indicators for sharing.
The White House has urged the bill's passage, more as a way to start the conference process than to indicate support for CISA as it stands. If passed, CISA would have to be merged with two House-passed measures that loosely track with the Senate legislation.
The National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement (NCPA) Act would make the Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at DHS the hub of information sharing, but doesn't have the "real time" alert function contained in the language of the Senate bill. The Senate language is a potential sticking point for privacy advocates, who argue that the real-time requirement will mean rushing threat information that includes irrelevant personally identifiable information into the system.
The Protecting Cyber Networks Act handles the intelligence side of cyber. It would authorize within the ODNI the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which was established by the administration. The CTIIC is charged with integrating and analyzing cyber threat information acquired by intelligence agencies, and sharing information with state and local governments. The bill also would give private companies the right to conduct defensive cyber operations on their networks, while restricting measures that are destructive to outside systems.
Both measures passed overwhelmingly in the House.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the architect of NCPA and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said his chamber has hit the mark where privacy and civil liberties are concerned.
"I encourage our colleagues in the Senate to take action and look forward to working together in conference to preserve and strengthen the current roles and responsibilities of civilian and intelligence agencies and reinforce efforts to ensure robust privacy protections," McCaul said in a statement released as the Senate was looking to pass CISA before leaving town for its August recess.
Protecting Dot-Gov
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a freshman lawmaker with private-sector cybersecurity experience and a background in intelligence, prefers the House approach, and also wants to do more to protect government networks.
"DHS should be the entity that's responsible for protecting the .gov domain and the center point for the interaction with private industry," he told Vice News at the Def Con hacking conference. As chairman of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Hurd has had a front row seat in responding to the recent hacks of government personnel data.
To respond, Hurd introduced the Einstein Act in late July. That bill would require DHS to offer protection capabilities for federal networks. It would formally authorize the Einstein network protection system currently deployed by DHS across federal agencies. The measure has been approved in committee and is awaiting action by the full House.
The Senate has its own Einstein bill. The Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act was reported out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 29. It would authorize DHS to run intrusion detection on any network in the .gov domain, and would provide new authorities to defend networks.
By some measures, the real action on cybersecurity will take place in the appropriations process.
The White House just released a fact sheet summarizing some of their key budget requests for cyber spending. They're looking for $9.5 billion at the Department of Defense for cyber operations, cyber forces, and network protection; $1.4 billion at DHS, including $480 million to expand Einstein coverage; $514 million for cyber investigations at the Department of Justice; $242 million for upgrades at the IRS; $262 million for the Department of Health and Human Services; $180 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs; and $187 million for the Department of Commerce.
Exclusive: Russian antivirus firm faked malware to harm rivals - Ex-employees | Reuters
Sat, 15 Aug 2015 16:13
By Joseph Menn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Beginning more than a decade ago, one of the largest security companies in the world, Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, tried to damage rivals in the marketplace by tricking their antivirus software programs into classifying benign files as malicious, according to two former employees.
They said the secret campaign targeted Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), AVG Technologies NV (AVG.N), Avast Software and other rivals, fooling some of them into deleting or disabling important files on their customers' PCs.
Some of the attacks were ordered by Kaspersky Lab's co-founder, Eugene Kaspersky, in part to retaliate against smaller rivals that he felt were aping his software instead of developing their own technology, they said.
"Eugene considered this stealing," said one of the former employees. Both sources requested anonymity and said they were among a small group of people who knew about the operation.
Kaspersky Lab strongly denied that it had tricked competitors into categorizing clean files as malicious, so-called false positives.
"Our company has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing," Kaspersky said in a statement to Reuters. "Such actions are unethical, dishonest and their legality is at least questionable."
Executives at Microsoft, AVG and Avast previously told Reuters that unknown parties had tried to induce false positives in recent years. When contacted this week, they had no comment on the allegation that Kaspersky Lab had targeted them.
The Russian company is one of the most popular antivirus software makers, boasting 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients. Kaspersky has won wide respect in the industry for its research on sophisticated Western spying programs and the Stuxnet computer worm that sabotaged Iran's nuclear program in 2009 and 2010.
The two former Kaspersky Lab employees said the desire to build market share also factored into Kaspersky's selection of competitors to sabotage.
"It was decided to provide some problems" for rivals, said one ex-employee. "It is not only damaging for a competing company but also damaging for users' computers."
The former Kaspersky employees said company researchers were assigned to work for weeks or months at a time on the sabotage projects.
Their chief task was to reverse-engineer competitors' virus detection software to figure out how to fool them into flagging good files as malicious, the former employees said.
The opportunity for such trickery has increased over the past decade and a half as the soaring number of harmful computer programs have prompted security companies to share more information with each other, industry experts said. They licensed each other's virus-detection engines, swapped samples of malware, and sent suspicious files to third-party aggregators such as Google Inc's (GOOGL.O) VirusTotal.
By sharing all this data, security companies could more quickly identify new viruses and other malicious content. But the collaboration also allowed companies to borrow heavily from each other's work instead of finding bad files on their own.
Kaspersky Lab in 2010 complained openly about copycats, calling for greater respect for intellectual property as data-sharing became more prevalent.
In an effort to prove that other companies were ripping off its work, Kaspersky said it ran an experiment: It created 10 harmless files and told VirusTotal that it regarded them as malicious. VirusTotal aggregates information on suspicious files and shares them with security companies.
Within a week and a half, all 10 files were declared dangerous by as many as 14 security companies that had blindly followed Kaspersky's lead, according to a media presentation given by senior Kaspersky analyst Magnus Kalkuhl in Moscow in January 2010.
When Kaspersky's complaints did not lead to significant change, the former employees said, it stepped up the sabotage.
In one technique, Kaspersky's engineers would take an important piece of software commonly found in PCs and inject bad code into it so that the file looked like it was infected, the ex-employees said. They would send the doctored file anonymously to VirusTotal.
Then, when competitors ran this doctored file through their virus detection engines, the file would be flagged as potentially malicious. If the doctored file looked close enough to the original, Kaspersky could fool rival companies into thinking the clean file was problematic as well.
VirusTotal had no immediate comment.
In its response to written questions from Reuters, Kaspersky denied using this technique. It said it too had been a victim of such an attack in November 2012, when an "unknown third party" manipulated Kaspersky into misclassifying files from Tencent (0700.HK), Mail.ru (MAILRq.L) and the Steam gaming platform as malicious.
The extent of the damage from such attacks is hard to assess because antivirus software can throw off false positives for a variety of reasons, and many incidents get caught after a small number of customers are affected, security executives said.
The former Kaspersky employees said Microsoft was one of the rivals that were targeted because many smaller security companies followed the Redmond, Washington-based company's lead in detecting malicious files. They declined to give a detailed account of any specific attack.
Microsoft's antimalware research director, Dennis Batchelder, told Reuters in April that he recalled a time in March 2013 when many customers called to complain that a printer code had been deemed dangerous by its antivirus program and placed in "quarantine."
Batchelder said it took him roughly six hours to figure out that the printer code looked a lot like another piece of code that Microsoft had previously ruled malicious. Someone had taken a legitimate file and jammed a wad of bad code into it, he said. Because the normal printer code looked so much like the altered code, the antivirus program quarantined that as well.
Over the next few months, Batchelder's team found hundreds, and eventually thousands, of good files that had been altered to look bad. Batchelder told his staff not to try to identify the culprit.
"It doesn't really matter who it was," he said. "All of us in the industry had a vulnerability, in that our systems were based on trust. We wanted to get that fixed."
In a subsequent interview on Wednesday, Batchelder declined to comment on any role Kaspersky may have played in the 2013 printer code problems or any other attacks. Reuters has no evidence linking Kaspersky to the printer code attack.
As word spread in the security industry about the induced false positives found by Microsoft, other companies said they tried to figure out what went wrong in their own systems and what to do differently, but no one identified those responsible.
At Avast, a largely free antivirus software maker with the biggest market share in many European and South American countries, employees found a large range of doctored network drivers, duplicated for different language versions.
Avast Chief Operating Officer Ondrej Vlcek told Reuters in April that he suspected the offenders were well-equipped malware writers and "wanted to have some fun" at the industry's expense. He did not respond to a request on Thursday for comment on the allegation that Kaspersky had induced false positives.
The former employees said Kaspersky Lab manipulated false positives off and on for more than 10 years, with the peak period between 2009 and 2013.
It is not clear if the attacks have ended, though security executives say false positives are much less of a problem today.
That is in part because security companies have grown less likely to accept a competitor's determinations as gospel and are spending more to weed out false positives.
AVG's former chief technology officer, Yuval Ben-Itzhak, said the company suffered from troves of bad samples that stopped after it set up special filters to screen for them and improved its detection engine.
"There were several waves of these samples, usually four times per year. This crippled-sample generation lasted for about four years. The last wave was received at the beginning of the year 2013," he told Reuters in April.
AVG's chief strategy officer, Todd Simpson, declined to comment on Wednesday.
Kaspersky said it had also improved its algorithms to defend against false virus samples. It added that it believed no antivirus company conducted the attacks "as it would have a very bad effect on the whole industry."
"Although the security market is very competitive, trusted threat-data exchange is definitely part of the overall security of the entire IT ecosystem, and this exchange must not be compromised or corrupted," Kaspersky said.
(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Tiffany Wu)
Metaverse Mod Squad In Big Demand - CNN iReport
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 23:41
I greatly admire people who start their own businesses in real life, and to have the initiative to start a business that is unique, creating a service that will very soon become essential and greatly in demand, is truly inspirational. I recently had the great pleasure of meeting avatar Twig Tomorrow (Amy Pritchard in real life) who is the Chief Executive Officer of a real life company called Metaverse Mod Squad (MMS). ( http://www.metaversemodsquad.com/) The Metaverse Mod Squad have crossed the real life/virtual world barrier and set up an office in SL London. I asked Twig to tell me exactly what the Mod Squad is all about. She told me 'Well our catchy catch phrase is that we are an avatar staffing firm for virtual worlds.' She continued 'But essentially we provide content moderation and community management, specializing in 3D spaces. I asked how many virtual environments the Mod Squad worked in, Twig told me 'We currently work in 4 different virtual world platforms and on approximately 8 different virtual worlds. Though that is expanding quickly.' By coincidence I had come across the Moderators (or Mods) a few months ago when I covered a story of a street parade in the Warner Bros Gossip Girl sim in Second Life. The Mods were doing a great job looking after both the sim and the SL residents. I asked Twig if clients like Warner Bros hired her company to solely to set the sims up for them. She said 'We come in at various stages of projects. We do quite a bit of pre-launch consulting in the virtual world space so that it is developed from the get go with an eye towards engaging users.' She told me 'But projects such as Gossip Girl here in SL, we came in after launch and changed things quite a bit to stress the community aspects of a space like this. Brand management is also a very important part of what we do.' Twig told me 'We are in worlds 24/7 interacting with users and customers. We convey our client's story to their fans/users/customers and in turn report back on trends, issues, likes, dislikes, etc.' she continued 'It is valuable information for our clients and in turn we are positioned to best tell their story and convey their message. You know, we formed MMS as a company to specifically address these concerns in a 3D space. I am an attorney, and so is our COO (Chief Operating Officer), but the majority of our management team has their roots in online moderation.' Twig said 'But it is SO much different in chat rooms and message boards, as opposed to interacting with a virtual person. The people that work in this space have to be clever, fun, smart, level headed and tireless - All at once!' I ask Twig how do they go about protecting and regulating their clients brands in the 3D worlds, she said 'We have technical tools that make the first level of management pretty easy, for instance a word filter can edit out language that would have a negative affect on the site and others. From there it is a bit like a camp counselor. We facilitate activities that tell the brand's story, but don't entirely dictate how fans use the space. If somebody is acting up, they are talked to. If they need a short time out, then we are able to do that. The last possible resort is removing them from the experience entirely. People populate communities because they have a common interest and that feeling of being a part of a group really works well to enhance a brand image.' I asked Twig how many people were involved in her company, she told me 'We have 6 employees and around 60 to 75 contractors. My guess is that will more than double in 2009, so much is going on in virtual worlds! And populating them with people - companies are finally realizing that that is the key to success, not necessarily spending every last dime on a beautiful space. Just having a friendly greeter when you first sign up, makes a really big difference.' The contractors are the Moderators and Twig explained that they are 'The people that interact with users, educate, promote the community, protect the brand, facilitate fun, and keep everything safe.' She said 'We hire people that are passionate about specific projects. We hire people that already believe in and love virtual worlds. We hire people that love working with children. We hire people that are specifically suited to certain subjects.' Twig told me 'For example, Harry Potter is one of our projects and we have hired FANATICS of the book and movie series. They are perfect because they know every word written and can really dig into discussions and keep it safe and fun for our client. IfIhad to jump in there, I would be clueless!' Twig invited one of her Moderators over to meet me, and an avatar named London MetaverseModSquad teleported into the office. Easily recognisable in her smart Mod outfit, London's job includes being a greeter for newbies, giving them clothes, showing them how to run their avatars and making introductions to other residents, as well as inviting them to events. London said 'it's important to make them feel welcome.' We all agreed that we remembered being new and how difficult it all was. So someone on hand like Moderator London to greet you would have been such a luxury. I asked Twig whose idea it had been to start the company in the first place and she told me 'Mine - But, I couldn't have started it by myself. I have co-founders that really pulled it together and were willing to do so. Mike Pinkerton, our COO, who I actually met here in SL. Susie South, our Chief Moderator and Pam Taggart, our Operations Manager. All of them took a huge leap of faith and we did it together. In fact, Twig told me that 'at the time Gossip Girl was launched, and in fact still now, there was no company that specialized in 3D moderation. We were recommended by a site developer who knew of us, which started a dialogue. That was literally 3 weeks after company formation. We were scrambling!' I wanted to know if there were any other companies that give a similar service to the MMS. Twig said 'No. There isn't anybody that does what we do, specifically. Mike is an attorney as well and we really are able to navigate community, social, design and regulations quite well. There are some moderation companies that I believe by accident work a bit in the space, but certainly not to the level of what we do.' Twig continued 'We attend all the virtual world conferences and we are the lonely staffing and service providers!' I asked Twig how she had decided the London sim would be the best location for her virtual office, she told me 'Well, when I was thinking about a name and look and theme for a standard MMS avatar, I really liked the "mod" theme, so I sort of went with it. Since London was the hub of the 60s mod culture, I looked for virtual offices here. Just did a search and landed on their doorstep. I have seen lots of changes here in the last year - it is a terrific sim.' And we are really pleased to have Twig and her team working in virtual London, I have experienced first hand how the Moderators work at the Gossip Girl sim, and they make sure everyone is happy, looking after new avatars and generally making the sim a fun place to be. There are an awful lot of Gossip Girl fans who are loyal to the sim, and it's all thanks to the brand Gossip Girl theme that Twig and her staff have created there. In fact I went over to see the Gossip Girl sim again today and bumped into Harp Thursday, one of the Moderators, who was busy talking to some of the residence. It looked like they were having fun getting ready for Christmas and I'm sure Harp will make sure that the holiday season is wonderful for everyone. Linden Labs have also taken an interest in Twig and her team, they have been invited to take part in 'Second Life View', with the Lindens flying them to real life San Francisco and joining a small panel of people to give their different perspectives of the virtual world. I would like to thank Twig for giving me such an interesting insight into her company and the wonderful work they do.http://slurl.com/secondlife/Knightsbridge/103/170/22What do you think of this story?Select one of the options below. Your feedback will help tell CNN producers what to do with this iReport. If you'd like, you can explain your choice in the comments below.
Be and editor! Choose an option below:
Federal Contracts to METAVERSE MOD SQUAD INC., FY 2000-2012, list of transactions
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 00:16
List of Individual Transaction for FY 2012 3Q * You can click on the column headers below to re-sort the search.
*Note: FY 2012 only includes data up through part of third quarter.Total transactions for fiscal year 2012: 1
Total funding (within this search) for the year: $203,372
List of Individual Transaction for FY 2011You can click on the column headers below to re-sort the search.
Total transactions for fiscal year 2011: 1Total funding (within this search) for the year: $193,687
List of Individual Transaction for FY 2010You can click on the column headers below to re-sort the search.
Total transactions for fiscal year 2010: 1Total funding (within this search) for the year: $0
Competition summary for entire search for fiscal year 2010:List of Individual Transaction for FY 2009You can click on the column headers below to re-sort the search.
Total transactions for fiscal year 2009: 1Total funding (within this search) for the year: $175,680
This search was done on August 13, 2015.
The contracts database is compiled from government data last released on 07/17/2012
This search result was produced as a project of the Center for Effective Government. The data was obtained from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) - Next Generation database via the U.S. government site Usaspending.gov.
Metaverse Mod Squad establishes European Operations Centre in Derry, creating 100 new jobs
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 23:51
Image by Harrison Photography.Pictured (L - R) are Minister Jonathan Bell and Mike Pinkerton, COO Metaverse.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell today announced Metaverse Mod Squad - a global provider of managed digital engagement services - is establishing an operations centre in Londonderry, creating 100 new jobs.
The US-owned firm's new centre, located at the City Factory, is a major part of Metaverse Mod Squad's expansion in Europe.
Announcing the investment, Jonathan Bell said: ''Metaverse is an innovative and dynamic company operating in a fast growth sector and I welcome its decision to choose Northern Ireland as the location for its new European operations centre.
''This is a good news story for Londonderry as the 100 new jobs will offer employment to a wide range of people, from those with technical and marketing experience to new graduates. Metaverse prides itself on providing a flexible working environment where employees will have opportunities to work on projects they are passionate about and have many opportunities for internal career progression.
''Metaverse Mod Squad joins an emerging technology and innovation cluster of companies which have chosen to set up in the region which is 6th highest in the UK for FDI jobs per head of population.
''Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company support of £250,000, to help with initial business priorities, including creating new jobs. This support, along with the quality pool of talent available here, helped Northern Ireland secure these new jobs against competition from the Republic of Ireland.''
Since 2007, Metaverse Mod Squad has been the service provider for Global 2000 companies, government and not-for-profit agencies. Technology, entertainment and gaming businesses have also relied on Metaverse to engage with their audiences and communities on a personal level across online, mobile, eCommerce, in-game, application, and social media channels.
Amy Ryan Pritchard, founder and CEO of Metaverse Mod Squad, said: ''Digital engagement is critical to a company's success and it's an area that is set to grow significantly over the next few years. While we have been successfully operating in Europe with our distributed network of Mods since 2008, our clients and prospects want us to have an even larger and more involved presence; Derry is the first and essential step in this plan. With a talented and skilled workforce, a vibrant tech community and a supportive business environment, Derry is the right choice for Metaverse.''
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion welcoming the jobs announcement said: ''I am delighted to welcome these high quality jobs to the city and district. This investment marks a growing confidence in our local economy and recognition of our skills base and reputation for innovation. This much needed investment will not only bring employment but it demonstrates the company's confidence in the city and region as a competitive and innovative place to do business.''
Sales and marketing, operations, accounting and services personnel based will be based in the new in centre.
For more information visit: http://www.metaversemodsquad.com.
Tianjin [email]
Hi Adam,
A quick update on the blast in my backyard (well, almost)
Besides the Calcium Carbide that was the likely cause of the blast (when firefighters unwittingly tried to put out the fire with water), it turns out the place (illegally) stored the highly water soluble Sodium Cyanide. 700 tonnes of it, enough to kill half of the population of the entire world!
Best regards,
Daniël Bos
AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale - The New York Times
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 02:47
PhotoThe National Security Agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. The agency has gotten access to billions of emails with the cooperation of AT&T.Credit Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty ImagesThe National Security Agency's ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.
While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as ''highly collaborative,'' while another lauded the company's ''extreme willingness to help.''
AT&T's cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.
Continue reading the main storyDocumentThese National Security Agency documents shed new light on the agency's relationship through the years with American telecommunications companies. They show how the agency's partnership with AT&T has been particularly important, enabling it to conduct surveillance, under several different legal rules, of international and foreign-to-foreign Internet communications that passed through network hubs on American soil.
The N.S.A.'s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.
One document reminds N.S.A. officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, ''This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.''
The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, were jointly reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica. The N.S.A., AT&T and Verizon declined to discuss the findings from the files. ''We don't comment on matters of national security,'' an AT&T spokesman said.
It is not clear if the programs still operate in the same way today. Since the Snowden revelations set off a global debate over surveillance two years ago, some Silicon Valley technology companies have expressed anger at what they characterize as N.S.A. intrusions and have rolled out new encryption to thwart them. The telecommunications companies have been quieter, though Verizon unsuccessfully challenged a court order for bulk phone records in 2014.
At the same time, the government has been fighting in court to keep the identities of its telecom partners hidden. In a recent case, a group of AT&T customers claimed that the N.S.A.'s tapping of the Internet violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. This year, a federal judge dismissed key portions of the lawsuit after the Obama administration argued that public discussion of its telecom surveillance efforts would reveal state secrets, damaging national security.
The N.S.A. documents do not identify AT&T or other companies by name. Instead, they refer to corporate partnerships run by the agency's Special Source Operations division using code names. The division is responsible for more than 80 percent of the information the N.S.A. collects, one document states.
Fairview is one of its oldest programs. It began in 1985, the year after antitrust regulators broke up the Ma Bell telephone monopoly and its long-distance division became AT&T Communications. An analysis of the Fairview documents by The Times and ProPublica reveals a constellation of evidence that points to AT&T as that program's partner. Several former intelligence officials confirmed that finding.
A Fairview fiber-optic cable, damaged in the 2011 earthquake in Japan, was repaired on the same date as a Japanese-American cable operated by AT&T. Fairview documents use technical jargon specific to AT&T. And in 2012, the Fairview program carried out the court order for surveillance on the Internet line, which AT&T provides, serving the United Nations headquarters. (N.S.A. spying on United Nations diplomats has previouslybeenreported, but not the court order or AT&T's involvement. In October 2013, the United States told the United Nations that it would not monitor its communications.)
The documents also show that another program, code-named Stormbrew, has included Verizon and the former MCI, which Verizon purchased in 2006. One describes a Stormbrew cable landing that is identifiable as one that Verizon operates. Another names a contact person whose LinkedIn profile says he is a longtime Verizon employee with a top-secret clearance.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, AT&T and MCI were instrumental in the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping programs, according to a draft report by the N.S.A.'s inspector general. The report, disclosed by Mr. Snowden and previously published by The Guardian, does not identify the companies by name but describes their market share in numbers that correspond to those two businesses, according to Federal Communications Commission reports.
AT&T began turning over emails and phone calls ''within days'' after the warrantless surveillance began in October 2001, the report indicated. By contrast, the other company did not start until February 2002, the draft report said.
In September 2003, according to the previously undisclosed N.S.A. documents, AT&T was the first partner to turn on a new collection capability that the N.S.A. said amounted to a '' 'live' presence on the global net.'' In one of its first months of operation, the Fairview program forwarded to the agency 400 billion Internet metadata records '-- which include who contacted whom and other details, but not what they said '-- and was ''forwarding more than one million emails a day to the keyword selection system'' at the agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. Stormbrew was still gearing up to use the new technology, which appeared to process foreign-to-foreign traffic separate from the post-9/11 program.
In 2011, AT&T began handing over 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day to the N.S.A. after ''a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,'' according to an internal agency newsletter. This revelation is striking because after Mr. Snowden disclosed the program of collecting the records of Americans' phone calls, intelligence officials told reporters that, for technical reasons, it consisted mostly of landline phone records.
That year, one slide presentation shows, the N.S.A. spent $188.9 million on the Fairview program, twice the amount spent on Stormbrew, its second-largest corporate program.
After The Times disclosed the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program in December 2005, plaintiffs began trying to sue AT&T and the N.S.A. In a 2006 lawsuit, a retired AT&T technician named Mark Klein claimed that three years earlier, he had seen a secret room in a company building in San Francisco where the N.S.A. had installed equipment.
Mr. Klein claimed that AT&T was providing the N.S.A. with access to Internet traffic that AT&T transmits for other telecom companies. Such cooperative arrangements, known in the industry as ''peering,'' mean that communications from customers of other companies could end up on AT&T's network.
After Congress passed a 2008 law legalizing the Bush program and immunizing the telecom companies for their cooperation with it, that lawsuit was thrown out. But the newly disclosed documents show that AT&T has provided access to peering traffic from other companies' networks.
AT&T's ''corporate relationships provide unique accesses to other telecoms and I.S.P.s,'' or Internet service providers, one 2013 N.S.A. document states.
Because of the way the Internet works, intercepting a targeted person's email requires copying pieces of many other people's emails, too, and sifting through those pieces. Plaintiffs have been trying without success to get courts to address whether copying and sifting pieces of all those emails violates the Fourth Amendment.
Many privacy advocates have suspected that AT&T was giving the N.S.A. a copy of all Internet data to sift for itself. But one 2012 presentation says the spy agency does not ''typically'' have ''direct access'' to telecoms' hubs. Instead, the telecoms have done the sifting and forwarded messages the government believes it may legally collect.
''Corporate sites are often controlled by the partner, who filters the communications before sending to N.S.A.,'' according to the presentation. This system sometimes leads to ''delays'' when the government sends new instructions, it added.
The companies' sorting of data has allowed the N.S.A. to bring different surveillance powers to bear. Targeting someone on American soil requires a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. When a foreigner abroad is communicating with an American, that law permits the government to target that foreigner without a warrant. When foreigners are messaging other foreigners, that law does not apply and the government can collect such emails in bulk without targeting anyone.
AT&T's provision of foreign-to-foreign traffic has been particularly important to the N.S.A. because large amounts of the world's Internet communications travel across American cables. AT&T provided access to the contents of transiting email traffic for years before Verizon began doing so in March 2013, the documents show. They say AT&T gave the N.S.A. access to ''massive amounts of data,'' and by 2013 the program was processing 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails a day.
Because domestic wiretapping laws do not cover foreign-to-foreign emails, the companies have provided them voluntarily, not in response to court orders, intelligence officials said. But it is not clear whether that remains the case after the post-Snowden upheavals.
''We do not voluntarily provide information to any investigating authorities other than if a person's life is in danger and time is of the essence,'' Brad Burns, an AT&T spokesman, said. He declined to elaborate.
Correction: August 15, 2015An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misstated the number of emails the National Security Agency has gotten access to with the cooperation of AT&T. As the article correctly noted, it is in the billions, not trillions.
By Julia Angwin,Charlie Savage,Jeff Larson,Henrik Moltke,Laura Poitras andJames Risen
Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson report for ProPublica.
A version of this article appears in print on August 16, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet On a Vast Scale .
Über Drivers
Clown Genius | Scott Adams Blog
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 07:05
Posted August 13th, 2015 @ 9:09am in #Trump#fox news#hypnosis#persuasion#negotiating
Like many of you, I have been entertained by the unstoppable clown car that is Donald Trump. On the surface, and several layers deep as well, Trump appears to be a narcissistic blow-hard with inadequate credentials to lead a country.
The only problem with my analysis is that there is an eerie consistency to his success so far. Is there a method to it? Is there some sort of system at work under the hood?
Probably yes. Allow me to describe some of the hypnosis and persuasion methods Mr. Trump has employed on you. (Most of you know I am a trained hypnotist and this topic is a hobby of mine.)
For starters, Trump literally wrote the book on negotiating, called The Art of the Deal. So we know he is familiar with the finer points of persuasion. For our purposes today, persuasion, hypnosis, and negotiating all share a common set of tools, so I will conflate them.
Would Trump use his negotiation and persuasion skills in the campaign? Of course he would. And we expect him to do just that.
But where is the smoking gun of his persuasion? Where is his technique laid out for us to see.
As I said in my How to Fail book, if you are not familiar with the dozens of methods of persuasion that are science-tested, there's a good chance someone is using those techniques against you.
For example, when Trump says he is worth $10 billion, which causes his critics to say he is worth far less (but still billions) he is making all of us ''think past the sale.'' The sale he wants to make is ''Remember that Donald Trump is a successful business person managing a vast empire mostly of his own making.'' The exact amount of his wealth is irrelevant.
When a car salesperson trained in persuasion asks if you prefer the red Honda Civic or the Blue one, that is a trick called making you ''think past the sale'' and the idea is to make you engage on the question of color as if you have already decided to buy the car. That is Persuasion 101 and I have seen no one in the media point it out when Trump does it.
The $10 billion estimate Trump uses for his own net worth is also an ''anchor'' in your mind. That's another classic negotiation/persuasion method. I remember the $10 billion estimate because it is big and round and a bit outrageous. And he keeps repeating it because repetition is persuasion too.
I don't remember the smaller estimates of Trump's wealth that critics provided. But I certainly remember the $10 billion estimate from Trump himself. Thanks to this disparity in my memory, my mind automatically floats toward Trump's anchor of $10 billion being my reality. That is classic persuasion. And I would be amazed if any of this is an accident. Remember, Trump literally wrote the book on this stuff.
You might be concerned that exaggerating ones net worth is like lying, and the public will not like a liar. But keep in mind that Trump's value proposition is that he will ''Make America Great.'' In other words, he wants to bring the same sort of persuasion to the question of America's reputation in the world. That concept sounds appealing to me. The nation needs good brand management, whether you think Trump is the right person or not. (Obviously we need good execution as well, not just brand illusion. But a strong brand gives you better leverage for getting what you want. It is all connected.)
And what did you think of Trump's famous ''Rosie O'Donnell'' quip at the first debate when asked about his comments on women? The interviewer's questions were intended to paint Trump forever as a sexist pig. But Trump quickly and cleverly set the ''anchor'' as Rosie O'Donnell, a name he could be sure was not popular with his core Republican crowd. And then he casually admitted, without hesitation, that he was sure he had said other bad things about other people as well.
Now do you see how the anchor works? If the idea of ''Trump insults women'' had been allowed to pair in your mind with the nice women you know and love, you would hate Trump. That jerk is insulting my sister, my mother, and my wife! But Trump never let that happen. At the first moment (and you have to admit he thinks fast) he inserted the Rosie O'Donnell anchor and owned the conversation from that point on. Now he's not the sexist who sometimes insults women; he's the straight-talker who won't hesitate to insult someone who has it coming (in his view).
But it gets better. You probably cringed when Trump kept saying his appearance gave FOX its biggest audience rating. That seemed totally off point for a politician, right? But see what happened.
Apparently FOX chief Roger Ailes called Trump and made peace. And by that I mean Trump owns FOX for the rest of the campaign because his willingness to appear on their network will determine their financial fate. BAM, Trump owns FOX and paid no money for it. See how this works? That's what a strong brand gives you.
You probably also cringed when you heard Trump say Mexico was sending us their rapists and bad people. But if you have read this far, you now recognize that intentional exaggeration as an anchor, and a standard method of persuasion.
Trump also said he thinks Mexico should pay for the fence, which made most people scoff. But if your neighbor's pit bull keeps escaping and eating your rosebushes, you tell the neighbor to pay for his own fence or you will shoot his dog next time you see it. Telling a neighbor to build his own wall for your benefit is not crazy talk. And I actually think Trump could pull it off.
On a recent TV interview, the host (I forget who) tried to label Trump a ''whiner.'' But instead of denying the label, Trump embraced it and said was the best whiner of all time, and the country needs just that. That's a psychological trick I call ''taking the high ground'' and I wrote about it in a recent blog post. The low ground in this case is the unimportant question of whether ''whiner'' is a fair label for Trump. But Trump cleverly took the high ground, embraced the label, and used it to set an anchor in your mind that he is the loudest voice for change. That's some clown genius for you.
Update: When Trump raised his hand at the debate as the only person who would not pledge to back the eventual Republican candidate, he sent a message to the party that the only way they can win is by nominating him. And people like to win. It is in their nature. And they sure don't want to see a Clinton presidency.
Update 2: And what about Trump's habit of bluster and self-complimenting? Every time he opens his mouth he is saying something about the Trump brand being fabulous or amazing or great. The rational part of your brain thinks this guy is an obnoxious, exaggerating braggart. But the subconscious parts of your brain (the parts that make most of your decisions) only remember that something about that guy was fabulous, amazing and great.
If you're keeping score, in the past month Trump has bitch-slapped the entire Republican Party, redefined our expectations of politics, focused the national discussion on immigration, proposed the only new idea for handling ISIS, and taken functional control of FOX News. And I don't think he put much effort into it. Imagine what he could do if he gave up golf.
As far as I can tell, Trump's ''crazy talk'' is always in the correct direction for a skilled persuader. When Trump sets an ''anchor'' in your mind, it is never random. And it seems to work every time.
Now that Trump owns FOX, and I see how well his anchor trick works with the public, I'm going to predict he will be our next president. I think he will move to the center on social issues (already happening) and win against Clinton in a tight election.
I also saw some Internet chatter about the idea of picking Mark Cuban as Vice Presidential running mate. If that happens, Republicans win. And I think they like to win. There is no way Trump picks some desiccated Governor from an important state as his running mate. I think Cuban is a realistic possibility.
I don't mean this post to look like support for a Trump presidency. I'm more interested in his methods. I'm not smart enough to know who would do the best job as president. There are a lot of capable people in the game.
In Top Tech Blog, robots are learning how to evolve on their own. I don't see any risk with that. Do you?
The good reviews for my book keep coming.
—CloseShare Clown Genius's comic on:Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Hillary 2016
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Hillary Clinton lies about emails again - Washington Times
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:59
In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of President Obama and the consent of congressional leadership from both parties and in both houses of Congress.
I did err in that column with respect to an arms dealer named Marc Turi. I regret the error and apologize for it. I wrote that Mr. Turi sold arms to Qatar as part of Mrs. Clinton's scheme to get them into the hands of rebels. A further review of the documents makes it clear that he applied to do so but was denied permission, and so he did not sell arms to Qatar. Other arms dealers did.
I also erred when referring to Qatar as beholden to Washington. In fact, Qatar is in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood and is one of the biggest supporters of global jihad in the world '-- and Mrs. Clinton, who approved the sales of arms to Qatar expecting them to make their way to Syrian and Libyan rebels, as they did, knew that. She and her State Department caused American arms to come into the possession of known al Qaeda operatives, a few of whom assassinated U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
When Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, asked Mrs. Clinton in January 2013 at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether she knew of any weapons coming from the United States and going to rebels in the Middle East, she denied such knowledge. She either has a memory so faulty that she should not be entrusted with any governmental powers, or she knowingly lied.
It gets worse.
It now appears that Mrs. Clinton was managing her war using emails that she diverted through a computer server owned by her husband's charitable foundation, even though some of her emails contained sensitive and classified materials. This was in direct violation of federal law, which requires all in government who possess classified or sensitive materials to secure them in a government-approved venue.
The inspector general of the intelligence community and the inspector general of the State Department each have reviewed a limited sampling of her emails that were sent or received via the Clinton Foundation server, and both have concluded that materials contained in some of them were of such gravity that they were obliged under federal law to refer their findings to the FBI for further investigation.
The FBI does not investigate for civil wrongdoing or ethical lapses. It investigates behavior that may be criminal or that may expose the nation's security to jeopardy. It then recommends either that indictments be sought or the matter be addressed through non-prosecutorial means. Given Mrs. Clinton's unique present position '-- as the president's first secretary of state and one who seeks to succeed him, as well as being the wife of one of his predecessors '-- it is inconceivable that she could be prosecuted as Gen. David Petraeus was (for the crime of failing to secure classified materials) without the personal approval of the president himself.
Let's be realistic and blunt: If the president wants Mrs. Clinton prosecuted for failing to secure classified materials, then she will be, no matter the exculpatory evidence or any political fallout. If he does not want her prosecuted, then she won't be, no matter what the FBI finds or any political fallout.
I have not seen the emails the inspectors general sent to the FBI, but I have seen the Clinton emails, which are now in the public domain. They show Mrs. Clinton sending or receiving emails to and from her confidante Sid Blumenthal and one of her State Department colleagues using her husband's foundation's server, and not a secure government server. These emails address the location of French jets approaching Libya, the location of no-fly zones over Libya and the location of Stevens in Libya. It is inconceivable that an American secretary of state failed to protect and secure this information.
But it is not inconceivable that she would lie about it.
Federal statutes provide for three categories of classified information. ''Top secret'' is data that, if revealed, could likely cause grave damage to national security. ''Secret'' is data that, if revealed, could likely cause serious damage to national security. ''Confidential'' is data that, if revealed, could likely cause some damage to national security. Her own daily calendars, which she regularly emailed about, are considered confidential.
Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly denied ever sending or receiving data in any of these categories. She probably will argue that an email that fails to use the terminology of the statute cannot be deemed classified. Here the inspectors general have corrected her. It is the essence of the data in an email '-- its potential for harm if revealed '-- that makes its contents classified and the failure to protect it a crime '-- not the use of a magic word or phrase in the subject line.
She is no doubt lying again, just as she did to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Yet the question remains: Why did she use her husband's foundation's computer server instead of a government server, as the law requires? She did that so she could obscure what the server recorded and thus be made to appear different according to history from how she was in reality. Why did she lie about all this? Because she thinks she can get away with it.
Will American voters let her?
Story Continues '†'
Hillary Clinton email probe turns to Huma - Rachael Bade - POLITICO
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 20:43
On Wednesday, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill waved off questions about how the two issues '-- the email server and Abedin's unusual work arrangement '-- may or may not have overlapped, accusing the right of playing politics with this line of inquiry.
''It's election season, and congressional Republicans are running the same series of plays, just on a different field,'' Merrill said in an email, later adding that Abedin maintained her security clearance while she worked as a State contractor.
Merrill said SGEs often have clearance and there's nothing unusual about her having such access. He also said that many government workers take on such contractor status, adding that Abedin had a green-light from State's legal and human resources departments to do so.
But Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists' project on government secrecy, said any former employee's potential access to secret materials could be problematic after they leave the government.
''What happens if [a former government employee] still retains access through a prior server, to information that was justified by a previous position? That's not supposed to happen '-- and that's one of the anomalies that are created by the private server,'' Aftergood said.
Classified materials with national security implications are supposed to be stored in a place where no one can gain access to them unless they have special clearance.
The FBI is currently probing Clinton's email arrangement, whereby the former secretary of state used her own technology based out of her New York home instead of an official government address that is required by transparency rules. A State inspector general, who is also looking at the matter, said top Clinton aides would likely also be questioned, though he wouldn't say who exactly.
At the same time, powerful congressional Republicans are probing Abedin's ''special government employee status,'' while suggesting that she may have had a ''conflict of interest.'' The Senate Judiciary Committee claims to have unnamed tipster who says Abedin is or has been investigated for criminal misconduct by the State Department inspector general regarding this very issue.
The government watchdog wouldn't comment on the accusations. And Abedin's legal team '-- which is separate from Clinton's '-- says it knows of no investigative reports that suggest such misconduct.
''We are aware only of an IG report focused on her maternity leave and vacation and we responded with a letter disputing the report's conclusions, which we gave to members of the media who requested it,'' her lawyers said in a statement. ''Obviously, if the report covered other things, our letter would have as well. The IG will have to respond as to his investigations.''
The latest revelations come just as Abedin, the vice chairwoman of Hillary for America, is projected to be taking on more responsibilities for thecampaign, heading up fundraisers and speaking to donors on Clinton's behalf.
Beyond allegations of conflict of interest, Senate Republicans in recent weeks leaked findings by the State Department inspector general that Abedin was overpaid nearly $10,000 for ''unused'' time off that she actually took but did not record while working at State '-- a finding her lawyers are currently challenging.
Abedin, who's been with Clinton for about two decades, started working for Clinton as a 19-year-old intern in the former first lady's office.
At State and during the 2008 campaign she was considered Clinton's ''body woman,'' never far from Clinton's side and often seen watching her boss intently, ready to scramble to her aid at any minute. Top politicians, and even Bill Clinton, would phone her to reach Hillary, and emails released in recent months showed she enjoyed access to Clinton at her private home, too, dropping items off on her counter and instructing her how to dress and keeping her schedule.
In 2013, news broke that Abedin had been given a special government employee status, allowing her to be simultaneously on the payroll for the philanthropic Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm founded by former Clinton White House adviser Doug Band. She previously had not disclosed the dual employment.
Abedin has said she stepped back from government work and became a contractor so she could be with her family and her newborn son. But since then, critics have questioned her about whether she had a conflict of interest while working at State and alongside close friends of the Clinton family.
For two years now, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a bullish Iowa Republican who's very active in a number of mundane executive branch oversight issues, has been asking for more details about her employment situation but has received little in the way of answers.
Huma Abedin goes over notes with Clinton during her visit to the newly opened University Teaching Hospital Pediatric Centre of Excellence, in Lusaka, Zambia, June 11, 2011. | AP Photo
He's recently escalated his demands for more information after a source told the panel that the State Department inspector general had probed Abedin not only for overpayment issues but also over a potential conflict of interest. The source was able to specify that Abedin and Band were on more than 7,000 emails together while she worked at State and detailed an apparent October 2013 letter to the FBI that clarified that the watchdog's probe was looking at potential criminal misconduct.
Abedin's lawyers believe many of the 7,000 emails are likely just Clinton schedules or other types of automatic notices that have both of their emails on a distribution list together, not direct communications.
Grassley has asked the FBI, State inspector general and State Department for more information about this probe '-- including whether it even exists.
He has also asked Abedin's lawyers about the matter but has not heard back.
''Much of the information sought by Senator Grassley's letter will need to be produced by the State Department and we have been in touch with State,'' Dunn said in an email.
Clinton on Monday declared under penalty of perjury that she handed over all her work emails to the State Department for record-keeping purposes; Abedin declined a judge's request to do the same.
Dunn said Abedin, who was among 10 State Department officials asked by their former agency to hand over any work-related messages on personal emails, expects to turn over all her official correspondence to the State Department by Aug. 28. On Wednesday, Dunn declined to say whether Abedin will then do the same as Clinton and swear under penalty of perjury that she has handed over all official records.
It is unclear whether all her official emails on Clinton's server were saved.
Exclusive '-- Donald Trump Expects to Face Vice President Joe Biden in General Election
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:08
NEW YORK CITY, New York '-- Should billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump win the Republican primary in 2016'--as he certainly wants to do'--he expects he will face Vice President Joe Biden in the general election since he thinks the current email scandal plaguing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will eventually knock her out of the race.
When asked in a wide-ranging interview with Breitbart News in his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower if he could envision a general election with him at the top of the Republican ticket and Vice President Biden leading the Democratic ticket, Trump said, ''I think so.''
''I think Hillary has got huge problems right now,'' Trump said, adding:
Is she going to make it? I hear this thing is big league. Why did she do it? You use the server? Because they're always looking to go over the edge, whether it's Whitewater or anything else. They always want to go over the edge. I'm just looking at it saying what the hell was she doing? You know what she was doing. She was guarding from the president seeing what she doing.
Trump said he thinks this email scandal will take Clinton down.
''It just looks like Hillary is going to not be able to run. It looks to me like that's what's going to happen,'' Trump told Breitbart News. He went on to say:
I think it's unlikely if you look at what she's done. What she's done is ten times worse than what General Petraeus did'--far more sensitive documents, top-of-the-line sensitive documents, far more of them. What she did is ten times worse. It destroyed him, so I don't see how she's going to possibly be able to run. It's pretty conclusive right now, too.
Trump previewed some of his policy framework, too, which his campaign is in the process of preparing to roll out. He also explained that most of the policy papers from most of the politicians running against him for president will never see the light of day, and explained how things actually get done ''in the real world.''
''Over the next number of weeks, once we get out of August, we'll be talking about taxes and tax policy,'' Trump told Breitbart News, also stating:
We'll be talking about healthcare policy. We have some really excellent things to come out. I'm already discussing military and plans. With all of that being said, in the real world, you don't just roll things out. You go out and you negotiate back and forth. It's a tug of war back and forth with all of these different people you have to get on board. So rolling anything out is a lot different than going in and getting everybody together. It's called leadership.
Trump compared how he would govern if elected President of the United States to how he's achieved success in real estate deals.
''When I bought Doral in Miami'--which was sought after by everybody, every developer in the country wanted it. I didn't say, 'Wow, I'm going to do a ten-point plan on how to buy Doral.' I went down, and I just fought like hell, and I got it,'' Trump said, adding:
I didn't sit down and say, ''Okay, I'll make a phone call at 7 in the morning, and then I'll do this, and then I'll get on a plane.'' It doesn't work that way. I went down and met with the people. I had lunch. I had dinner. I didn't leave. And I made a great deal. Same thing with Turnberry in Scotland, sold by people in Dubai. I met with them. I worked them. I didn't do a 14-point plan that says I'm going to make a phone call at 10:30. It doesn't work that way. So we have to get'--as you know, we've had no leadership in the country'--we have to get everybody on board. For doing that, you need compromise. You need back-and-forth. And it's not about a plan. It's about flexibility. You need flexibility. So you could put out a plan, but most of that plan comes back'--and you need flexibility to get it done. It can be done beautifully and in harmony and without executive orders all over the place.
Trump also told Breitbart News he's pleased he remains the GOP frontrunner after a failed attempt by Fox News anchors to wipe him out in the recent debate. He will be going to Iowa on Saturday and will be in New Hampshire on Friday evening.
''So I'm so honored because I went up in all the polls,'' Trump said when asked about the recent polls. ''In Iowa, I was in second place; now, I'm in first place. Now, the new polls came out from CNN; two of them came out where I'm in first place. It's such a great honor. I love the people of Iowa. Love the people of New Hampshire. I'm going to Iowa this weekend, and I'm going to New Hampshire on Friday'--which is tomorrow.''
The real estate magnate just wrapped up a massively successful trip to Michigan, where thousands came out to see him speak'--many of whom are not traditional Republicans. Trump thinks the big crowds that keep coming out to see him are coming because people want a leader like him to stop ''incompetent politicians'' from further destructing the economy of the United States:
People in this country are really smart. They're tired of watching incompetent politicians. They get it. They get it. They're tired of watching our country withering away under the leadership of incompetent people. They know I won't let that happen. I'm not going to let China continue to destroy us. I'm not going to let Japan and Mexico and all of these countries continue to destroy us. They get it. I'm going to be great to women. You know, all the health issues with women which Jeb Bush has just punted on'--which has been disgraceful'--the women's health issues are very important to me. I'm going to be so good on that. I say I'm going to win the women's vote, and I'm going to win the Hispanic vote. Already you're seeing Hispanics. That's been amazing what's going on. In Las Vegas, I won in the polls by a lot. It's amazing. But I think more than anything else, they're tired of watching incompetent people.
Trump told Breitbart News that the Rust Belt'--places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and others'--where blue collar American workers, many of them Ronald Reagan Democrats, are states he will certainly win if he wins the GOP nomination.
''Those are my states,'' Trump said.
Trump also said since his appeal goes beyond politics, he expects that should he win the nomination, he'll bring the GOP more states that Republicans traditionally haven't had much luck in.
''I believe we will win states that the Republicans were never even thinking about winning,'' Trump said.
Throughout the entire interview, which lasted about a half hour, Trump also kept pointing out that he thinks former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn't doing very well as a candidate. For instance, he discussed his appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News program'--handing this reporter a printout of a Variety magazine article from the outlet's senior editor, Rick Kissell, that laid out that Trump's hour-long interview on the show earlier this week pushed it to a four-month-high in ratings, and said Bush would never be able to do that.
''Hannity won the entire evening with my interview the other night,'' Trump said. ''He's not going to win it with Jeb Bush. You think he's going to win it with Jeb Bush? He's got $100 million, which means he's a puppet. You know that, right?''
Propaganda Watch: Listen to Two Russians Badly Impersonate CIA Spies to Pin MH17 on U.S. | Foreign Policy
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:13
Читайте эту статью на Ñусском.
Not all propaganda is created equal. For every piece of elegantly crafted misinformation meant to sway hearts and minds, there is spin so poorly produced that it borders on the absurd. Case in point, a comically bad audio recording released by the Russian tabloidKomsomolskaya Pravdaon Wednesday of two alleged CIA agents conspiring to bring down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
Complete with stilted greetings and cumbersome dialogue that sounds like both men are reading from a script, the recording opens with a series of conversations between the two alleged spies, identified as David Hamilton and David L. Stern. Throughout the recording, they discuss ''preparations'' for an operation that involves shooting down a plane with a surface-to-air missile and an eventual Plan B, which involves placing a bomb inside the plane '-- all for the purpose of staging a crash to discredit Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine and the Kremlin itself.
But you don't have to listen long to question the recording's authenticity. The men's accents are curious to say the least. One sounds British for half the recording until he switches to a more American accent. The other man does his best to hide his Russian accent, but it pops up at the beginning as he clumsily asks his co-conspirator, ''How are the preparations?'' But the most glaring hole is in the conversation itself. The men do not talk with each other like native English speakers and use turns of phrase that sound as if their dialogue was translated to English from Russian via Google Translate. Before signing off, the two say ''Luck!'' to each other, a common farewell in Russian.
The entire released recording can be heard below.
Conspiracy theories and propaganda of this magnitude are hardly new when it comes to the downing of MH17, which killed all 298 people on board. Immediately following the crash in July 2014,Ukraine and the West accused pro-Russia separatists of shooting down the plane with a Buk surface-to-air missile, which they say was likely supplied by Moscow.
Initially, Russian officials said the passenger plane was shot down by a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet. On July 21, 2014, Russia's Defense Ministry hosted a press conference and presented radar data that allegedly showed another aircraft near MH17 before it was shot down. The Russian Union of Engineers said wreckage indicated the plane was destroyed by heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. Russian media then gave heavy attention to a man claiming to be a Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev who said that two Ukrainian fighter jets had followed the airliner. After the Spanish controller was discredited, the Kremlin switched to a new theory '-- that the plane was hit by a missile launched from Ukrainian territory and fired by troops loyal to Kiev.
The latest theory coming out of the Russian media, and supposedly reinforced by the new recording, is that a bomb was detonated within the airliner and planted by Western agents. ''It really doesn't make any sense,'' Eliot Higgins, the founder ofBellingcat, an open source investigative journalism network, told Foreign Policy. Higgins and his team at Bellingcat have been debunking Russian theories around MH17 for over a year using open source information '--geolocating social media posts and videos and using satellite imagery to trace the movements of the Buk missile launcher seen in the area before and after the plane was shot down. Based on Bellingcat's research, Higgins believes that MH17 was most likely shot down by a Buk missile fired by Russia-backed separatists.''No other scenario has the same degree of evidence.''
Still, the case isfar from closedon MH17.The Joint Investigation Team, which comprises representatives from several countries, and the Dutch Safety Board are working on separate investigations into what downed the passenger plane. Dutch investigators said Tuesday that fragments of a suspected Russian missile system were found at the crash site in Ukraine. In a joint statement following the new evidence, the JIT and Dutch Safety Board cautiouslysaidthat ''the parts are of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17.''
A report by the Dutch Safety Board into the cause of the crash is expected by the end of October, while the separate international criminal investigation is likely to take several more months to complete.
On July 29, Russiavetoeda United Nations Security Council draft resolution '-- introduced by Malaysia '-- that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the passenger plane. Moscow said the measure was a biased and politically motivated propaganda move to implicate the Kremlin or the Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists.
Photo credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
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Bailout terms for Athens 'declare war' on Greek workers, say campaigners
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:52
Posted on August 13, 2015 by willyloman
from RT
Requirements attached to Greece's latest bailout package are ''extreme'' free market fundamentalism designed to punish ordinary Greek people, a leading social justice campaign has said.
After all-night negotiations in Athens, the European Commission (EC) came to an agreement with Greek representatives on Tuesday to provide Greece with an '‚¬85 billion (£95 billion) rescue loan.
UK campaign group Global Justice Now slammed the deal as an excuse for imposing radical economic restructuring on Greece, including privatization and deregulation measures.
The group's director, Nick Dearden, said it was one of the most radical examples of neoliberal reforms being forced on a country that the organization had ever seen.
''This package amounts to some of the most extreme 'free market' fundamentalism we've ever witnessed '' even by the standards of the International Monetary Fund programs imposed on Africa, Asia and Latin America in the 1980s,'' he told RT on Wednesday.
''In short, it says that Greece is up for sale, and its workers, farmers and small businesses will have to be cleared out of the way.''
[read more here]
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Filed under: Globalization, Economic Crisis ie. Disaster Capitalism, class warfare, economic terrorism, Riots in Greece, Neoliberalizing Greece, Fascism, Greek Elections 2015, Yanis Varoufakis, Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, Greek referendum
IMF IS OUT-Greece needs more debt relief after third bailout deal in five years, says IMF chief | World news | The Guardian
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:49
The EU flag flies in front of the Parthenon in Athens on Saturday. Eurozone finance ministers on Friday approved the first '‚¬26bn of a third bailout package to help rebuild Greece's economy. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/AP
Greece needs more significant debt relief from its creditors, the head of the International Monetary Fund said, after the bankrupt country accepted tough conditions to secure its third bailout deal in five years.
The first '‚¬26bn of a package worth more than three times that will be disbursed within days after the government in Athens grudgingly approved the agreement at the end of a marathon debate, and Germany backed down on its opposition to rescuing Greece.
However, the IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, told eurozone ministers the deal did not go far enough in tackling the woes of a country grappling with a steadily shrinking economy and a growing debt burden. ''I remain firmly of the view that Greece's debt has become unsustainable,'' Lagarde said. She called on Europe to make ''concrete commitments '... to provide significant debt relief, well beyond what has been considered so far''.
Related:Alexis Tsipras is down but far from out
Lagarde also said she will not commit the IMF to joining the latest bailout until the board has reviewed the agreement, probably in the autumn. Officials said they want to see more details about reforms, particularly to pensions, but the delay will also give European leaders time to consider their stance on debt relief.
Germany holds more Greek debt than any other eurozone country and has repeatedly rejected any ''haircut'' on what Athens owes, but is also keen to keep the IMF involved in the bailout.
German finance minister Wolfgang Sch¤uble reiterated his opposition to an outright writedown of the face value of Greek debt in an interview with Deutsche Welle published on Saturday. He also said the scope for milder forms of debt relief, like extending debt maturities, was ''not very big'', Reuters news agency reported.
But the IMF has taken an equally hard line, warning last month that, without an ''explicit and concrete agreement'' on debt relief, the fund will not participate in a new bailout.
According to analysis by the European commission, the European Central Bank and the eurozone bailout fund, Greece's debts will peak at 201% of national output (GDP) in 2016, but still be 160% in 2022. The IMF views a debt-to-GDP ratio above 120% as unsustainable.
The IMF is a key part of Europe's bailout plans because it can provide both funds that spare European countries some financial pain and a reputation for rigour that helps eurozone leaders convince financial markets and domestic parliaments that Greece will keep its commitments.
A parliamentary vote on the bailout package in Berlin on Wednesday is likely to expose fractures in Angela Merkel's conservative ranks. A key ally described IMF involvement as a ''condition'' for the support of his party, Reuters reported, although Green and Social Democrat support is expected to get the deal through.
''If there is no firm commitment from the IMF to participate in the third aid package, then we have a new situation,'' said Wolfgang Bosbach, a high-profile rebel on Greece from Merkel's CDU party.
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:50
Despite another media snowjob from Berlin, it is clear that without massive debt relief there will be no IMF participation in Bailout 3. But do Christine Lagarde's doubts go even deeper?
Some of you may have noticed this, most of you won't'....which is, I suppose, The Slog's raison d'ªtre '' if one is still deemed to exist '' viz? the spotting of bollocks zipping under the radar.
Here are my three verifiable observations on the latest Greek Marathon:
The vast majority of 'mainstream' Western media seem convinced that a deal has been signed and ratified to produce Greek bailout 3 '' which isn't a bailout, just further punishment, but park that for a minute. In fact, they are quite wrong: although the final, final, final Bundestag vote will probably approve it next Wednesday, THE IMF WILL NOT BE INVOLVED.For the last (roughly) ten days, the completely unofficial and unconstitutional eurogrope has been putting its spinners to work on '' you have to admit it '' an amazing job of introducing yet more tweaks, problems and sticking points to keep the emphasis 100% on Greek compliance. At times, when the huge IMF mammoth in the room has been raised by someone, releases go out saying that Christine Lagarde has been mollified by pushing back the time period of the debt. Yesterday, Lagarde scotched that once and for all. THE IMF IS NOT INVOLVED IN BAILOUT 3.Every time I have posted or tweeted this reality, swarms of know-alls have arrived to tell me I have alles falsch gegotten, and why don't I keep abreast of events, Gott in Himmel. It's official: THE IMF PLANS TO REVIEW FURTHER INVOLVEMENT IN OCTOBER, BUT IT IS NOT TAKING PART IN BAILOUT 3.The vastly improved Guardian newspaper (do enjoy your retirement, Alan) pointed this out in an excellent piece at 20.37 CET yesterday; and at 20:40 pm '' three minutes behind but infinitely more definitive and outspoken '' the indefatigable Frances Coppola did the same in a contribution at Forbes.
So as the eurogrope Greek protection racket swings the baseball bat once more for luck, I can confirm yet again that this is NOT an official Troika extortion. By all means call it something else '' a duodenal ulcer? a duet? Tryannosaurus Duopolous? '' but be in no doubt: this time, only two prongs are poking the Athenian buttock.
In reality, there are I suspect two factors inside Mme Lagarde's head. First, she doesn't believe either Berlin or its invented creature eurogrope want debt relief, they want Greek assets and sovereignty on a plate, so they can carpetbag the former, and toss the latter out of the eurozone when it suits them: it took Frufru a long time to get there, but better late than never. (To be fair to Chrissie, it took Syriza a long time to grasp this too).
Second however '' and perhaps infinitely more disturbing, but predictable '' through her still extant connections, Lagarde is party to where most of the bodies are in the EU. She knows how dire things are. And she's not in the business of throwing even worse money after bad. She may well feel (perhaps she has been told) that IMF money could be put to better use elsewhere. She is probably also aware that Alexis Tsipras has already told the Greek Parliament's speaker that he wants to book a Confidence Motion at the earliest opportunity.
In the meantime, I remain dejected and angry at the average Anglo-Brit's willingness to insist on continuing to see this blatantly corrupt heist as something the crooked, lazy Greeks had coming. ''Lassen-Sie nach Athens gehen'' is what I tend to suggest. Well, that and ''f**k off until you've read rather more about the timelines, players and medium-term history of all this, you morons''.
Yesterday at The Slog: Roll up roll up for the superdeflation cockfight of the century
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Burgemeester Calais dreigt grens open te gooien - Buitenland - TROUW
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:57
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Syrians begin boarding refugee ship on Greek island
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:29
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Kos: Greece sends cruise ship to help manage migrant numbers
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:25
The Venizelos has arrived in Kos.
The Greek government sent the 176-metre-long cruise ship to the eastern Aegean island to act as a temporary registration centre for thousands of stranded migrants.
With hundreds of refugees arriving in Kos every day, the new initiative aimsto help prevent recent, recurring clashes with the police.
''The problem will be solved when the European Union understands that there is a war in Syria and in other countries there are major economic problems,'' said George Kyritsis, the Mayor of Kos. ''And if they don't find a solution for those countries to end the problems over there then we will always have immigration problems in Europe.''
People could also be seen queueing to get into a stadium on the island, which is also acting as a reception centre. They are trying to obtain papers to enable them to move around within Greece and elsewhere.
Syrian refughee Naworas said:''I just want to complete my study. I just want to have (a) life and everybody wants that. They all ran out from the war, from death, so it is normal to see all these scenes, because everybody just wants to live.''
Damaged dinghies and flotation devices regularly wash up on the beaches of Kos providing further signs of the increased pressure cash-strapped Greece is under.
Backlash Grows in Washington Against ISIS Czar Allen's Intrigue with Erdogan of Turkey to Create Safe Haven for Terrorists and Decimate Kurdish Fighters
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:28
With Reports from Thierry Meyssan in Damascus and Michael Chiotinis in AthensWebster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.TARPLEY.net '' World Crisis RadioAugust 15, 2015
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Forty-four years ago, President Nixon effectively destroyed the successful system of fixed parities and gold settlement which had been created under the direction of Franklin D. Roosevelt at the international conference of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944. The Bretton Woods system was the most effective monetary arrangement in world history before or since. If the Bretton Woods fixed parities and narrow bands of fluctuation had been maintained, currency risk would have been kept to a minimum, and devices like the euro might not have been necessary. The world has been living amid the unstable rubble of Bretton Woods for these last 44 years. For full recovery from the current world economic depression, a new universal monetary conference or Bretton Woods II is required. Measures like China's devaluation of the yuan this week can easily destabilize a very weak world economy.
Thierry Meyssan, founder of the Voltaire Network organization and website and an advisor to the Syrian government, is a leading authority on world affairs. This week he reports on the secret US-Iran protocols linked to the public Iran nuclear accord, which the US Congress will vote on in September.
Meyssan argues that the secret agreements for US-Iranian cooperation will shift the center of warfare out of the Middle East north into the Black Sea, as part of the US return to a Cold War posture towards Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere. He adds that an included aspect might be less reliance by Washington on mini-states, micro-states, failed states, and war lords, and more use of traditional state vs. state confrontation.
ISIS Held U.S. Aid Worker as Sex Slave Before Death - NYTimes.com
Sat, 15 Aug 2015 02:54
DOHUK, Iraq '-- Somewhere in territory controlled by the Islamic State, Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker, was chained in a room with other female captives. The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, would regularly enter and lead Ms. Mueller away, her parents said.
''She would be gone for some time, taken to Baghdadi's room, and then she would come back crying, and tell the other girls what had happened,'' said her mother, Marsha Mueller, in a telephone interview on Friday, relaying the account of her daughter's rapes, shared with the family by United States officials.
The information, first published by the British newspaper The Independent, confirms reports that Ms. Mueller, 26, was a sexual slave of the Islamic State, which has created a system of organized rape of women considered infidels.
Details of her captivity, including her repeated rape by the leader of the organization, were pieced together by American officials based on interviews with two girls from the Yazidi religious minority enslaved alongside Ms. Mueller, her parents said.
Kayla Mueller
Matt Hinshaw / The Daily Courier, via Associated Press
''We were told that Kayla had to 'marry' Baghdadi, but we all understand what that means,'' said her father, Carl Mueller. ''She was his property.''
Ms. Mueller was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, in northern Syria. The Islamic State said she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike this past Feb. 6. The group sent her parents photographs as proof.
The parents, of Prescott, Ariz., said they first thought Kayla had become the sexual slave of a man known as Abu Sayyaf, an ISIS operative. But in June, they said, American officials told them she had been the captive of Mr. Baghdadi. The officials drew that conclusion partly by interviewing Abu Sayyaf's wife and a Yazidi slave seized in an American Special Operations raid on Abu Sayyaf's Syrian compound in May. He was killed.
Marsha Mueller said her daughter was a protector to the younger Yazidi girls. ''They looked at her as a mother figure,'' she said. She and her husband have established a humanitarian foundation in Kayla's name.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.
Agenda 21
Did The Mayor Of Los Angeles Just Poison The Entire County's Water Supply? | We Are Change
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 04:25
Los angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with the press last week to pour the last 20,000 of 96 million chemically treated black balls into Sylmar reservoir in los angeles.
The balls being used in Los Angeles are made of high density polyethylene and are coated with a chemical UV blocking agent, state officials claim the black balls will reflect the suns energy, they will also protect the water from dust, rain, birds and and chemical reactions caused by additives (fluoride and chlorine) put in the water, It is also expected to keep about 300 million gallons of water from evaporating each year, they also claim that they will not leach chemicals or affect water temperatures.
Retired LADWP biologist Brian White is the brainchild behind the use of the shade balls for water protection, the concept coming to him when he learned about the application of ''bird balls'' in ponds along airfield runways.
This 34 million dollar ''experiment'' is Mayor Garcettis response to California Gov. Jerry Brown declaring the water crisis a state of emergency in January, 2014, Critics claim the water shortage in california is due to mismanagement of resources by local government.
Nathan Krekula, biologist and operations manager at Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratory warned, ''I don't believe that in the long run this provides a good strategy in protecting the water. I believe that this will increase evaporations due to a greater surface area as well as providing a great place for bacteria to have a nice environment to grow protected from UV light that kills it. This system will require greater levels of water treatment that in the long run will require more money to ensure public safety.''
This ''shade ball'' technique has never been tested and the long term effects are unknown at this time. The fact that California officials are willing to spend 34 million dollars to test out a unproven method may give you a indication to why the state is $263 billion dollars in debt, which is about half the debt of the country of Greece.
Written by
Jeffrey Phillips
WeAreChange Los Angeles
Shadow Balls
Yes. Not only valid about the bacteria but also about the chemical exposure. Cancer rates will increase and men's testosterone will be suppressed.... The war on men!
Had FaceTime with Jeff yesterday. He knows the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and is going to talk to him about it as well as have a sorry done on it in TakePart. Jeff is also doing investigation into EPA over the river contamination and exposing the truth there also. I'll keep on top of this as he is relying on his team as at the moment he does not even have time to sleep with everything that happened at Participant.
A huge El Ni±o could devastate Southern California - LA Times
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 23:35
It started in October 1997 in Mexico, when a hurricane fueled by El Ni±o slammed into Acapulco, causing massive flooding and hundreds of deaths.
A few weeks later, storms started hitting Southern California. Mobile home parks in Huntington Beach flooded, forcing rescuers to use inflatable boats and a catamaran to rescue residents. Then in December, the skies opened up in Orange County in what meteorologists described as the biggest rainstorm in a century. More than seven inches fell in parts of south Orange County in one day. Mudslides destroyed hillside homes. Neighborhoods flooded. Major roads were made impassable by debris.
And that was just the beginning. Over the next few months, a series of powerful storms caused havoc, washing away roads and railroad tracks, overflowing flood control channels, causing 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California. The toll was far worse in Mexico, where Tijuana and other cities faced crippling flooding.
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The importance of the El Ni±o storm of 1997-98 is now coming into focus as scientists say the weather pattern is returning to Southern California with a vengeance.
The strengthening El Ni±o in the Pacific Ocean has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California.
The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that all computer models are now predicting a strong El Ni±o to peak in the late fall or early winter. A host of observations have led scientists to conclude that ''collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Ni±o.''
''This definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Ni±o,'' said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Ca±ada Flintridge.
The forecast is expected to heighten planning for potential flooding this winter.
Los Angeles County flood control officials are beginning to plan for the worst.
Officials say they'll have tens of thousands of catch basins cleaned out to hold mud, rocks and other debris that might spill out from saturated hillsides.
During the last El Ni±o, some residents living in flood-prone areas attempted to boost their flood insurance before the storms came.
The 1997-98 storms exposed weaknesses in the region's flood control systems, some of what officials have been trying to address in the last two decades.
Patzert said El Ni±o's signal in the ocean ''right now is stronger than it was in 1997,'' the summer in which the most powerful El Ni±o on record developed.
''Everything now is going to the right way for El Ni±o,'' Patzert said. ''If this lives up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem.''
Previous storms have shown vulnerability in the region's flood control system.
In 1980, rains caused the lower end of the L.A. River -- roughly from Vernon to Long Beach -- to reach its flood control capacity. The Army Corps of Engineers discovered that some of the most vulnerable portions of the river were protected only against much smaller storm and flood events -- the kind that could strike the region every 25 years.
The levees were raised by as much as 8 feet and the level of protection was increased so that the river could withstand the kind of flooding that could occur every 133 years. Construction of culverts was among the improvements that followed flooding in 1992.
More recently, improvements were made in Orange County and the Inland Empire by widening Santa Ana River channels and raising the Prado Dam.
Times Staff Writer Shelby Grad contributed to this report.
Another El Ni±o sign: Ocean temps hit highest level of the year
As El Nino grows, drought-stricken California braces for wild winter weather
It's critical El Ni±o hits Northern California. Why experts are growing optimistic.
Copyright (C) 2015, Los Angeles Times
NA-Tech News
IAB and Podcast Networks Test Ad Waters With Fall Upfront | Digital - Advertising Age
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 20:41
Podcaster Marc Maron at an AOL speaker series in May. Credit: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images The Interactive Advertising Bureau is testing the podcast marketing waters with a special fall upfront featuring 20-minute presentations from digital audio's big guns.
AdLarge, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac and WNYC will present to an audience at an IAB Podcast Upfront Showcase, where select advertisers and media buyers will be able to preview "the latest in innovative podcast programming" from the networks, according to the IAB.
"The whole point of the event is to test the market," said Carl Kalapesi, VP of industry initiatives, IAB. "We know there's a lot of interest."
Interest in podcast advertising has bubbled since last year's premiere of "Serial," the record-setting podcast whose MailChimp audio ads became a bit of a sensation. Podcasters and others are still working out kinks in the ad model, though, in an effort to broaden the format's appeal to marketers. The IAB released a digital audio buyer's guide in April, developed by its digital audio committee, aiming to set ad standards.
Momentum is hot, though, so why not debut the upfront alongside the spring TV upfronts and IAB's digital video-focused NewFronts? NPR, WNYC and WBEZ put on a podcast upfront in April, while IHeartMedia pitched advertisers on podcasts at a "Soundfront" the same month.
The Podcast Upfront Showcase just happened to work out with the IAB digital audio committee's calendar for early September, said Mr. Kalapesi, adding that the upfront's podcast partners had talked for a while about organizing a broad event to educate marketers, showcase content and bring the podcast industry together.
Podcast presenters include companies responsible for "Serial," "Freakonomics Radio," "Planet Money," "Slate's Political Gabfest," "TED Radio Hour," "This American Life" and "WTF with Marc Maron."
The showcase will be held Sept. 10 at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in Manhattan.
War on Ca$h
Government Attempts to Ban Cash? (what's most disturbing is why they're doing it) - MoneyWise 411
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 02:23
Recently, Louisiana became the latest state to attempt a massive ban on cash that would have resulted in making it illegal to use U.S. cash dollars in any secondhand transactions.
The law, called R.S. 37:1866, made it illegal to, say, go to a garage sale and buy a lawn mower with cash dollars. That's right: It would have prohibited American citizens from using legal U.S. tender.
After an outcry by critics who called the law unconstitutional, Louisiana ''amended'' the bill to remove the widespread ban.
RELATED:The strange reason America's ATMs are about to shut down'...
However, rather than end the ban completely, the state government chose instead to narrow the focus, making it illegal to exchange cash dollars for gold or any precious metals. This, of course, brings to mind the 1930s when FDR banned the private ownership of gold by U.S. citizens.
And it comes at the tail end of a multiyear push to restrict cash use by American citizens.
Already the states of Florida, Texas, and New York have removed tollbooths from highways. Plenty more have installed cashless parking meters and banned cash at dumps and other local facilities.
In fact, when one man tried to pay his mortgage in cash at a Bank of America, he was arrested. A reporter from the Daily Kos (a liberal blog) was accused of ''casing the bank'' when he showed up to report on the story.
And these are just the latest examples of an attempt to restrict cash from moving around in the U.S. economy.
SEE ALSO: Scandal Behind Obama's Digital Dollar?
Critics worry that this is ''Big Brother's'' latest effort to monitor its citizens more closely.
However, new revelations '' just leaked online '' show a radically different cause for this government push'... And one much more disturbing.
It would appear that there's about to be a massive shortage of cash in America.
In fact, according to research just made public, the U.S. may already have less cash on hand than the GDP of Finland (a country with about two-thirds of the population of New York City).
DEVELOPING: Senator: ''Go to the ATM'... draw out everything it will let you take''
And it would appear that is all about to end with a scenario that the highest levels of our government and banking system have warned would devastate the country.
Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, has gone on record to call it America's biggest economic risk.
A former official from the Treasury Department has described a scenario like this, saying, ''Literally, your ATM wouldn't work. You type in your code, no money comes out. You get your paycheck, you can't cash it.''
According to a video '' posted online HERE '' we're about to experience that firsthand. And very soon.
It comes from a private news and research network that usually reserves information like this for its private subscribers. How long the video will remain online we don't know. For the moment, it's available HERE (for FREE), and we'd strongly recommend you watch it right now.
Big Pharma
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder [email]
Hey Adam.
Just wanted to send you a quick note regarding your discussion about blind people and circadian rhythm disorders.
The term used is non24.
As a blind person, I have had this issue ever since childhood.
What happens is that your circadian rhythm free runs. Instead of a cycle, your body clock readjusts itself at random.
This is due to the fact that the brain is not getting the proper input it needs from light sources in order to regulate the body clock.
I have spent sleepless night after sleepless night reading books, listening to No agenda, etc, and being a zombified dead man during the day.
Most of us try and regulate using melatonin in order to maintain a "normative" sleep wake schedule.
As you said, the meds being advertised could be nothing more than a scam or a means of re purposing another medication who's patent is about to run out.
However, let it be known that non-24 is real, and many of us suffer with it daily.
In short, it fucking sucks balls.
Keep up the great work.
What's Behind the Secret Epidemic of Hypothyroidism
Sat, 15 Aug 2015 02:49
by guest blogger Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc, integrative medicine pioneer
Most of us don't ever think about our thyroid. This gland is located in the neck and produces hormones that regulate energy metabolism, control protein synthesis, and adjust the body's sensitivity to other hormones. The thyroid is also involved in detoxification, growth functions, immunity, and more. Given all of these critical actions, it makes sense to take care of such a precious and sensitive area of health. But, as noted, thyroid health is often just an afterthought, usually following a related diagnosis--if we give it any thought at all.
Unfortunately, this passive approach to thyroid health is not really helping us. Thyroids can be problematic, especially when we're exposed to toxins, chemicals, and environmental pollutants. Nearly 60 million Americans, mostly women, have some type of thyroid problem. People with thyroid issues often experience:Anxiety/irritabilityAchinessMuscle weaknessFatigueWeight fluctuationsHair lossCarpal tunnel syndromeTemperature sensitivityConstipationOther issues.As you can see, these symptoms are mostly nonspecific and could be caused by any number of issues. However, it's important to be alert to possible thyroid problems, which can increase the risks of heart disease, cancer, infertility, depression, and other serious conditions.What Can Go WrongThyroid conditions generally fall into three categories: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid disorders. The most common form is hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, which can lead to slowed metabolism, hormone imbalances, immune problems, muscle pain, weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and slow heart rate, among other issues. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, an overactive thyroid; however, the gland can't maintain such a fast pace and actually burns out over time, leading back to hypothyroidism. Autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which causes inflammation of the thyroid gland, can have an effect similar to hyperthyroidism--over-activity followed by burnout, leading to underactivity.
Why All the Thyroid Problems?Think about what the thyroid does. It regulates metabolism, the "pace of life," among other actions. Now think of all the demands we make on our metabolism. Our modern lifestyles are so frenetic, we hardly ever stop.
On a comparative level, this is especially true for younger women, who are often balancing career, family, and other interests. Statistically, we are seeing more and more hypothyroidism in women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Too many stressful demands are made on them, and when compounded with other factors like an increased toxin load or an unhealthy diet, the gland simply burns out. Adrenal fatigue is also closely related to low thyroid function; when the adrenals are exhausted, the thyroid will suffer, and vice versa.
So the first step in rejuvenating the thyroid is simply slowing down. This isn't just good for the thyroid. Give yourself the gift of rest and you'll notice the benefits on every level.
ToxinsThe thyroid is also extremely vulnerable to pesticides, heavy metals, and industrial pollutants. This is partly due to the fact that certain pesticides and common environmental toxins (chlorine, fluorine, and bromine) accumulate in the thyroid because they are chemically similar to iodine, which the thyroid naturally absorbs. Also, since the thyroid is a very fast metabolizer, it encounters more toxins. So a gentle, total-body detox to safely remove pesticides, heavy metals, and other risky chemical compounds is important for thyroid health.
The Truth about IodineIodine benefits us in a number of ways, including serving as a natural detoxifier. The thyroid absorbs iodine and, in doing so, replaces other toxins that may have accumulated, such as bromide, which is common in pesticides. Adequate iodine intake can be particularly important if you live near agricultural areas where heavy pesticide use is the norm, such as vineyards or apple orchards. Be careful with supplemental iodine though, as too much can also be a problem. Two to 3 milligrams (mg) of natural iodine supplementation a day is usually sufficient for people with hypothyroidism. For people who are extremely deficient, I recommend 12.5 mg. It's also important to avoid iodine if you have Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease) or hyperthyroidism, as use in these conditions can make the thyroid overactive.
Natural Support for a Healthy ThyroidA number of minerals contribute to thyroid health, including magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, and trace minerals. Specific herbs can also be helpful. Because many thyroid conditions are associated with inflammation, anti-inflammatory herbs are recommended. Traditional Asian herbs Prunella vulgaris (common selfheal), Radix scrophulariae (xuan shen), ningpoensis (Chinese figwort), Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), and Coleus forskohlii (Indian coleus) all benefit the thyroid.
I generally recommend avoiding soy, which can interfere with thyroid enzymes. Also, gluten sensitivity is often associated with thyroid problems, so adopting a gluten-free diet may help to normalize thyroid function.
Supplements that reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and remove toxins and heavy metals are also critical for thyroid health. One of the culprits in thyroid and other chronic health issues is a protein called galectin-3. At elevated levels, galectin-3 fuels chronic inflammation throughout the body. Controlling galectin-3 will do more than bolster thyroid health; the protein has been associated with cancer, heart disease, kidney ailments, and other conditions.
A proven way to combat the effects of elevated galectin-3 is with the dietary supplement, modified citrus pectin (MCP). This form of citrus pectin is enzymatically altered for absorption into the bloodstream. Multiple studies have shown that MCP binds and blocks excess galectin-3, controlling the protein's harmful effects throughout the body.
Even more importantly, MCP safely removes heavy metals and other toxins from the body--without affecting essential minerals. This specialized detox function is critical for thyroid health. Pectins have also been proven to remove radioactive particles from the body, and were given to victims of the Chernobyl disaster to help detoxify radioactive iodine-13--with good results. The number of thyroid cancers dropped in the groups with high-pectin diets.
The Big PictureIf you think you might have a thyroid issue, I always recommend working with a practitioner who is knowledgeable in this area, since thyroid problems can be tricky to diagnose and treat.
The diagnostic tests for low thyroid are not always accurate, and the physiology of the thyroid is complex. Some people make enough inactive hormone, but the body is not able to activate it. Or the body might make antibodies against its own thyroid tissue. These complex factors need to be sorted out in order to treat the imbalance properly.
Ultimately, many of the same methods we use to support thyroid health, especially detoxification, can enhance overall health as well. In combination with a proper diet emphasizing nutrient-dense whole foods and good lifestyle habits like regular exercise and healthy stress relief, these measures can support thyroid health and general wellness, offering greater energy and vitality over the long term.
Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc, integrates Western medicine with his extensive knowledge of traditional Chinese, Tibetan, Ayurvedic, homeopathic, and complementary medical systems. With more than 25 years of clinical experience and research, Dr. Eliaz has a unique holistic approach to the relationship between health and disease, immune enhancement, detoxification, and cancer prevention and treatment. For more information about his work, visit dreliaz.org.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com
No protests in DOD electronic health record award
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:20
Health IT
No protests in DOD electronic health record awardBy Adam MazmanianAug 14, 2015The deadline for protesting the Pentagon's multi-billion electronic health record contract award has passed, and none of the also-rans have filed, according to a Department of Defense spokesperson.
DOD announced that the team of Leidos, Cerner, and Accenture won the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract on July 29. The DHMSM program has the potential to cost about $9 billion over its lifecycle.
Going into the award, the team of IBM and Epic was considered the odds-on favorite to win. Epic is the U.S. market leader in health records, with about a 65 percent share. IBM added a set of big data services for clinical care, based on its Watson supercomputer. A team including health record vendor Allscripts alongside Hewlett Packard and Computer Sciences Corp. was also in the mix.
"After receiving a debrief from the government and careful consideration, CSC's Global Health Alliance did not protest the DHMSM award. CSC is a longstanding partner to the Department of Defense and strong supporter of military personnel and their families. As such, we wish the program much success and will move forward focused on the future," CSC spokesperson Carol Meyers said in an emailed statement to FCW.
IBM declined to comment.
Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters on a press call that the Pentagon was in a good position to weather any protests to the award.
"The thing that you have to do to -- first of all, successfully [to] survive a protest are to follow the rules that you put in place, and then to document that you did so. And I think in this program, we've done that very well," Kendall said. "The other thing, though, I think will be clear, there was -- although we had very viable bidders at the end, there's a clear best-value solution, here, for us. And I think that will be clear to the people that were not selected. So, I'm hoping there won't be a protest, but if there is, we're prepared to deal with it."
Program Manager Chris Miller said in comments at a DHMSM industry day in June 2014 that time for protests had been built into the process. In the absence of protests, DoD will move to begin fielding and testing the software. The initial deployment will reach eight facilities in the Pacific Northwest. It is expected to take several years for the software to be installed at more than 1,000 sites.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.
Nomophobia: A Rising Trend in Students | Psychology Today
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:15
Do you know this word? Nomophobia is a term describing a growing fear in today's world '-- the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact. Among today's high school and college students, it's on the rise. An increasing number of college students now shower with their cell phone. The average adolescent would rather lose a pinky-finger than a cell phone. A growing percentage text or tweet instead of actually talking to others.
Nomophobia is everywhere in industrialized nations. The term is an abbreviation for ''no-mobile-phone phobia,'' which was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office. The Post Office commissioned YouGov, a research organization, to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that nearly 53 percent of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they ''lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.''
The study found that about 58 percent of men and 47 percent of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9 percent feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. The study sampled 2,163 people. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they could not use their mobile phones. The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on par with those of ''wedding day jitters'' and trips to the dentist.
In the U.S., it's gotten worse'...
Sixty-five percent, or about two in three people, sleep with or next to their smart phones. (Among college students, it's even higher).Thirty-four percent admitted to answering their cell phone during intimacy with their partner. (Hey, what happened to valuing the person you are with in-person?)One in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone. (It's a good way to lose your sole and your soul).More than half never switch off their phone. (I'd call that an addiction).A full 66 percent of all adults suffer from ''nomophobia.''It's time to take a break
Whenever I find myself needing something in order to cope, I always check my lifestyle and my health. This may sound crazy, but my rule of thumb is that I don't allow myself to be brought under the control of anything. Outside of food, water and shelter, I guard myself against subjection to any addiction that begins to dictate my behavior. This includes technology. I recognize that cell phones, tablets, computers and other technology introduced in the future will make my life easier and enable me to work more efficiently. My principle, though, is this: Technology should be a servant, not a master.
So what should we do to model a balanced approach for students?Be sure there are daily times you turn off the cell phone and experience either face-to-face conversations or solitude.Balance screen time and in-person time each week. For every hour you invest in front of a screen, you invest in human contact.Try a technology fast every month, where you actually go for a day or more without a computer, tablet or phone. You'll feel liberated.Place your phone at least 15 feet away from you when you sleep at night. I realize you'll have to get up to push ''snooze,'' but it's safer this way.Block your day in time zones, where you spend time using technology, but also have blocks of time for organic, genuine interaction with people.Do you see signs of nomophobia? What else would you add to my list above?
Tasimelteon, a melatonin agonist for the treatment of insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. - PubMed - NCBI
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:09
Hardeland R. Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2009.
AbstractTasimelteon, developed by Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc under license from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, is a melatonin receptor agonist. Because of the high density of melatonin receptors in the circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, melatonergic actions can phase-shift circadian rhythms and promote sleep. Tasimelteon was effective in reducing sleep onset latency (in phase II and III clinical trials) and in resetting the circadian melatonin rhythm (in phase II trials), which indicated its potential suitability as treatment for jet lag, shift work and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Statistically significant improvements in sleep maintenance have also been observed with the drug. Tasimelteon has been claimed to be useful in the treatment of depression, and preclinical evidence in this respect is to be confirmed in a phase II clinical trial, which was ready to be initiated at the time of publication. It is plausible that the drug may be effective in the treatment of depressive disorders, at least those that are related to circadian dysfunction, and that it may attenuate sleep problems in depressed patients of different subtypes. A general suitability in mitigating other symptoms of major depressive disorder cannot be deduced from the actions of tasimelteon via the melatonin receptors MT1 and MT2. The drug is well tolerated, does not induce impairment of next-day functioning or dependence, and seems to be safe in short-term treatment; however, toxicological data would be required for assessing its long-term safety.
PMID19579175 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Vanda Pharmaceuticals Reports Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results - MarketWatch
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:07
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Vanda) VNDA, +1.50% today announced financial and operational results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.
"We are impressed with U.S. sales performance for both HETLIOZ and Fanapt" said Mihael H. Polymeropoulos M.D., Vanda's President and CEO, "further investments in the commercialization and life cycle management of our products set the stage for the next level of growth for Vanda."
Financial Highlights
Total net product sales for the second quarter of 2015 increased by 25% over the prior quarter to $27.6 million.A net loss of $5.4 million, or $0.13 per share, was recorded for the second quarter of 2015. This reflects a 75% decrease compared with a net loss of $21.6 million, or $0.64 per share, for the same period in 2014.Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities grew to $146.6 million as of June 30, 2015.HETLIOZ® (tasimelteon)
HETLIOZ® U.S. net product sales grew to $10.0 million in the second quarter of 2015, a 34% increase compared to $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2015.In July 2015, the European Commission approved HETLIOZ® (tasimelteon) for the treatment of Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24) in totally blind adults in the European Union (EU).HETLIOZ® life cycle management activities continue to progress with plans to initiate a Phase III study of HETLIOZ® for the treatment of jet lag during 2015.A HETLIOZ® interventional study for the treatment of Smith-Magenis Syndrome is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2015.During July 2015, HETLIOZ® patent number 9,060,995 ('995) was listed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Orange Book. The '995 patent expires in January 2033.Fanapt® (iloperidone)
Fanapt® U.S. net product sales grew to $17.6 million in the second quarter of 2015, a 20% increase compared to $14.7 million in the first quarter of 2015.Vanda expects to file a supplemental New Drug Application for Fanapt® with the FDA in the second half of 2015 to include the results from the long-term maintenance REPRIEVE clinical study in the Fanapt® package insert.Vanda expects to file for European regulatory approval of oral Fanapt® in the second half of 2015.Tradipitant (VLY-686)
Vanda expects to initiate a Phase II study in chronic pruritus in patients with atopic dermatitis in the fourth quarter of 2015, seeking to confirm the exploratory efficacy findings reported in the Phase II proof of concept study (2101).Non-GAAP Financial Results
Vanda Non-GAAP total revenues for the second quarter of 2015 were $27.6 million, compared to Non-GAAP total revenues of $3.1 million for the second quarter of 2014.
For the second quarter of 2015, Non-GAAP net loss was $0.4 million, or $0.01 per share, compared with a Non-GAAP net loss of $27.3 million, or $0.81 per share, for the same period in 2014.
Vanda provides Non-GAAP financial information, which it believes can enhance an overall understanding of its financial performance when considered together with GAAP figures. Refer to the sections of this press entitled "Non-GAAP Financial Information" and "Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Information".
2015 Financial Guidance
Vanda is updating its 2015 financial guidance and expects to achieve the following financial objectives in 2015:
Combined net product sales from both HETLIOZ® and Fanapt® of between $100 million and $115 million, compared to prior guidance of $95 million to $110 million.HETLIOZ® net product sales of between $40 million to $45 million.Fanapt® net product sales of between $60 million to $70 million, compared to prior guidance of $55 million to $65 million.Non-GAAP Operating expenses, excluding cost of goods sold, of between $100 million and $110 million, compared to prior guidance of $105 million to $120 million.Non-GAAP Operating expenses also excludes:
Intangible asset amortization expense of $13.0 million.Stock-based compensation of between $8.5 million and $10.5 million.Full U.S. HETLIOZ® Prescribing Information can be found at:www.hetlioz.com.
Full U.S. Fanapt® Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warnings and Important Safety Information can be found at:www.fanapt.com.
Conference Call
Vanda has scheduled a conference call for today, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, at 4:30 PM ET. During the call, Vanda's management will discuss the second quarter 2015 financial results and other corporate activities. Investors can call 1-800-708-4539 (domestic) or 1-847-619-6396 (international) and use passcode 40193344. A replay of the call will be available beginning Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 7:00 PM ET and will be accessible until Wednesday August 5, 2015, at 11:59 PM ET. The replay call-in number is 1-888-843-7419 for domestic callers and 1-630-652-3042 for international callers. The passcode number is 40193344.
The conference call will be broadcast simultaneously on Vanda's website, www.vandapharma.com. Investors should click on the Investor Relations tab and are advised to go to the website at least 15 minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary software or presentations. The call will also be archived on Vanda's website for a period of 30 days.
Non-GAAP Financial Information
Vanda believes that the Non-GAAP financial information provided in this release can assist investors in understanding and assessing the ongoing economics of Vanda's business and reflect how it manages the business internally and sets operational goals. Vanda's "Non-GAAP Total revenues" excludes the Fanapt® licensing revenue. Vanda's "Non-GAAP Selling, general and administrative expenses" and "Non-GAAP Research and development expenses" exclude stock-based compensation. Vanda's "Non-GAAP Net income (loss)" and "Non-GAAP net income (loss) per share" excludes the Fanapt® licensing revenue, stock-based compensation, intangible asset amortization and gain on arbitration settlement.
Vanda believes that excluding the impact of these items better reflects the recurring economic characteristics of its business, as well as Vanda's use of financial resources and its long-term performance.
This press release includes a projection of 2015 Non-GAAP Operating expenses, excluding cost of goods sold, a forward-looking Non-GAAP financial measure under the heading "2015 Financial Guidance". This Non-GAAP financial measure is determined by excluding cost of goods sold, stock-based compensation and intangible asset amortization. Vanda is unable to reconcile this Non-GAAP guidance to GAAP because it is difficult to predict the future impact of these adjustments.
These Non-GAAP financial measures, as presented, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies since not all companies may calculate these measures in an identical manner and, therefore, they are not necessarily an accurate measure of comparison between companies.
The presentation of these Non-GAAP financial measures is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for guidance prepared in accordance with GAAP. The principal limitation of these Non-GAAP financial measures is that they exclude significant elements that are required by GAAP to be recorded in Vanda's financial statements. In addition, they are subject to inherent limitations as they reflect the exercise of judgments by management in determining these Non-GAAP financial measures. In order to compensate for these limitations, Vanda presents its Non-GAAP financial guidance in connection with its GAAP guidance. Investors are encouraged to review the reconciliation of the Non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.
About Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. For more on Vanda, please visit www.vandapharma.com.
Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release, including, but not limited to, the guidance provided in the heading of this press release and under "2015 Financial Guidance" above, and statements regarding Vanda's clinical plans for HETLIOZ® and Tradipitant and Vanda's U.S. and EU regulatory strategy for Fanapt®, are "forward-looking statements" under the securities laws. Words such as, but not limited to, "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "plan," "project," "target," "goal," "likely," "will," "would," and "could," or the negative of these terms and similar expressions or words, identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations that involve risks, changes in circumstances, assumptions and uncertainties. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in Vanda's forward-looking statements include, among others: Vanda's ability to successfully commercialize HETLIOZ® for the treatment of Non-24 in the U.S. and Europe; uncertainty as to the market awareness of Non-24 and the market acceptance of HETLIOZ®; Vanda's ability to generate U.S. sales of Fanapt® for the treatment of schizophrenia; the timing and costs of Vanda's establishment of a sales and marketing, supply chain, distribution, pharmacovigilance, compliance and safety infrastructure to promote Fanapt® in the U.S.; Vanda's dependence on third-party manufacturers to manufacture HETLIOZ® and Fanapt® in sufficient quantities and quality; Vanda's limited sales and marketing infrastructure; the regulatory status of Fanapt® in Europe; Vanda's ability to successfully commercialize HETLIOZ® and Fanapt® outside the U.S.; Vanda's ability to defend and enforce any patent claims and other intellectual property rights; Vanda's ability to obtain the capital necessary to fund its research and development or commercial activities; the timing and costs of complying with the remaining post-marketing commitments and post-marketing requirements established in connection with the FDA's approval of Fanapt®; delays in the completion of Vanda's or its partners' clinical trials; a failure of Vanda's products to be demonstrably safe and effective; Vanda's expectations regarding trends with respect to its revenues, costs, expenses and liabilities; Vanda's failure to identify or obtain rights to new products; a loss of any of Vanda's key scientists or management personnel; limitations on Vanda's ability to utilize some or all of its prior net operating losses and orphan drug and research and development credits; the costs and effects of litigation; losses incurred from product liability claims made against Vanda; use of existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities and other factors that are described in the "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" sections of Vanda's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014 and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 which are on file with the SEC and available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Additional factors may also be set forth in those sections of Vanda's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, to be filed with the SEC in the third quarter of 2015. In addition to the risks described above and in Vanda's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the SEC, other unknown or unpredictable factors also could affect Vanda's results. There can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by Vanda will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, Vanda. Therefore, no assurance can be given that the outcomes stated in such forward-looking statements and estimates will be achieved.
All written and verbal forward-looking statements attributable to Vanda or any person acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to herein. Vanda cautions investors not to rely too heavily on the forward-looking statements Vanda makes or that are made on its behalf. The information in this release is provided only as of the date of this release, and Vanda undertakes no obligation, and specifically declines any obligation, to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Three Months Ended
Six Months Ended
June 30
June 30
June 30
June 30
($ in thousands, except per share amounts)
HETLIOZ® product sales, net
Fanapt® product sales, net
Fanapt® royalty revenue
Fanapt® licensing revenue
Total revenues
Operating expenses:
Cost of goods sold
Research and development
Selling, general and administrative
Intangible asset amortization
Total operating expenses
Income (loss) from operations
Other income
Net income (loss)
Net income (loss) per share:
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Weighted average shares outstanding:
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June 30, 2015
December 31, 2014
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents
Marketable securities
Accounts receivable, net
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
Total current assets
Property and equipment, net
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Total current liabilities
Milestone obligation under license agreement
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Stockholders' equity:
Common stock
Additional paid-in capital
Accumulated other comprehensive income
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Total stockholders' equity
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Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Information
Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Information
Three Months Ended
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June 30
June 30
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($ in thousands, except per share amounts)
Net income (loss)
Fanapt® licensing revenue
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Non-GAAP Net income (loss)
Non-GAAP Net income (loss) per share:
Basic and diluted
Weighted average shares outstanding:
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Fanapt® licensing revenue
Non-GAAP Total revenues
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excluding Cost of goods sold
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Stock-based compensation
Non-GAAP Research and development
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Stock-based compensation
Non-GAAP Selling, general and administrative
COMPANY CONTACT:Jim KellySenior Vice President & Chief Financial OfficerVanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.(202) 734-3428jim.kelly@vandapharma.com
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vanda-pharmaceuticals-reports-second-quarter-2015-financial-results-300120716.html
SOURCE Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Copyright (C) 2015 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
Out There
Apollo 14 Astronaut Claims Extraterrestrials Witnessed the First U.S. Nuclear Detonation and Tried to 'Keep Us From Going to War' | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:39
NASA Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell has been open about his views regarding extraterrestrial life and most recently he's claiming that UFOs interfered with military missiles and attempted to ''keep us from going to war.''
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell attends the premiere of 'In The Shadow Of The Moon' on September 5, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Steven A. Henry/Getty Images)
Speaking with the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mirror this week, Mitchell, who was the sixth man on the moon, said that other people have told him UFOs were present during the first U.S. nuclear weapons test in White Sands desert in New Mexico, and that ''ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth.''
Mitchell's latest comments come after the 70th anniversary of two atomic bombs being dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
He also told the tabloid that others have shared with him experiences of UFOs interfering with missiles later on.
''I have spoken to many Air Force officers who worked at these silos during the Cold War. They told me UFOs were frequently seen overhead and often disabled their missiles,'' he recounted to the Mirror. ''Other officers from bases on the Pacific coast told me their [test] missiles were frequently shot down by alien spacecraft.''
Nick Pope, a journalist who used to investigate UFO reports for the British Ministry of Defence, told the Mirror he thinks Mitchell is an ''honorable and truthful man,'' but added ''most of his information on this issue comes not from things he's experienced himself, but from things he's been told by others.''
''Clearly, because of who he is, he's had access to government, military and intelligence community personnel at the highest level, but because '-- quite understandably '-- he won't name his sources, we can't be certain these people were being straight with him, or indeed that they were privy to any classified information about UFOs,'' Pope told the tabloid newspaper.
He added that the idea of ''peace-loving extraterrestrials'' wanting to help save humanity is similar to the plot of a 1951 science-fiction film.
Pope also provided an alternative explanation for some of the UFO sightings.
''[...] some of these sightings are attributable to espionage activity involving secret spy planes or drones,'' he told the Mirror.
Apollo 14 Astronauts, (L-R) Stuart Roosa, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., And Edgar Mitchell, Speak To Personnel Aboard The Prime Recovery Vessel Through The Window Of The Mobile Quarantine Facility Following Their Recovery From The Pacific Ocean Feburary 9, 1971. Apollo 14 Splashed Down Precisely On Target Approximately 780 Nautical Miles Southeast Of America Samoa. Alan Shepard Died July 22, 1998. (NASA/Getty Images)
A couple of years ago, Bloomberg News spoke with Mitchell regarding his views on UFOs. He was described at the time as ''no dummy'':
While on active duty as a test pilot for the U.S. Navy, he completed an M.S. in aeronautical engineering at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a doctorate in aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mitchell also served in combat during the Korean War as a fighter pilot. In 1970, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Though he admitting to never seeing a UFO himself, Mitchell told Bloomberg people related to witnesses of the 1947 Roswell incident contacted him after his spaceflight in the 1970s.
''I was contacted by descendants of the original Roswell observers, including the person who delivered the child-sized coffins to the Air Force to contain alien bodies. Another was one of the children of the deputy sheriff who was patrolling traffic around the site,'' he told Bloomberg. ''There was also a military officer who was a friend of the families not involved in that particular operation, but who did share office space there. They all seemed credible with their stories that the bodies found were alien.''
Mitchell said he thinks the government might have engaged in a cover up because ''leadership officials thought people weren't ready to handle it.''
''But we are well past that now,'' he told Bloomberg.
Read the Daily Mirror's full story.
VIDEO-Elizabeth Warren Won't Rule Out Joining Bernie Sanders on Campaign Trail - VIDEO
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:23
Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the 72-year-old Vermont socialist is surging in the Democratic Primary against Hillary Clinton. A couple of weeks ago, Bill Curry of Salon wrote that ''Hillary Clinton is going to lose: she doesn't even see the frustrated progressive wave that will nominate Bernie Sanders'' and Huffington Post followed up with that sentiment in an article entitled ''Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In the Hearts and Minds of Democrats.''
The Washington Time reports that ''Sanders has drawn headlines for attracting packed crowds at campaign stops in Denver, Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, as well as for his rising poll numbers in early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire,'' with a recent CNN/WMUR New Hampshire primary poll showing Sanders pulling to within eight points of Clinton in New Hampshire.
Heartbroken when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-M) decided not to run for president in 2016, ''some hard-core lefties'' and progressives have shifted their attention to Sanders, ''who has been drawing massive crowds across the country'' according to a recent report by Mother Jones.
In an interview with the Boston Herald last week, Warren stated that she's not ruling out the idea of joining Sanders on the campaign trail, telling the Herald that it's ''too early to say,'' adding ''Bernie's out talking about the issues that the American people want to hear about. These are people who care about these issues, and that's who Bernie's reaching. I love what Bernie is talking about. I think all the presidential candidates should be out talking about the big issues.''
David Pakman discusses in the clip below that, ''[Warren] is saying she is not at all surprised that the Vermont Senator is surging in the polls and drawing a lot of enthusiastic in New Hampshire,'' adding that there is a lot of speculation as to whether she will endorse Clinton or another candidate who is ''more in line with Elizabeth Warren's actual political views '' Bernie Sanders.''
Pakman goes on to note that ''there's an argument to be made that Elizabeth Warren could be more effective as a senator than she ever could be as vice-president.''
What are your thoughts? Would you like to see Warren stay in the Senate or would you prefer a Sanders Warren ticket in 2016?
VIDEO-Morning Joe: Top Dems Tired of Hillary | MRCTV
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 06:15
Was our restaurant table bugged? Last night over date-night dinner, my wife, a perspicacious observer of the political scene and, yes, a Bernie backer, said she sensed that Hillary's moment had passed and that people were tired of her.
Cut to today's Morning Joe, and there were Donny Deutsch, Joe Scarborough and a reluctant Mika Brzezinski saying much the same thing: that powerful, influential Dems have come down with a bad case of Hillary fatigue. The context was talk that Al Gore might be jumping into the race.
VIDEO-CNN's Zeleny: Biden's 'Generally Excellent' Campaigner; 'Authenticity That Is Really Being Craved' | MRCTV
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 06:09
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny had some fawning words during Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360 for Vice President Joe Biden as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential campaign, referring to him as a ''generally excellent'' campaigner with an ''authenticity that is really being craved in this election cycle.''
As part of a segment on the possible run by Biden, host Anderson Cooper asked Zeleny to explain ''what do we know about him as a campaigner'' and ''how much of his calculus right now is based on what he perceives Hillary Clinton's abilities as a campaigner or lack of abilities as a campaigner are.''
VIDEO-Michael Rapaport: Trump Has An 'Old School, Slave Owner Mentality' | MRCTV
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 06:05
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Thursday on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, a panel discussed the 2016 presidential election on both the Republican and Democratic side, taking shots at both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the process. Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport slammed Donald Trump, suggesting he has a '' strong, old school, slave owner mentality.'' He added: ''[H]e told the Latinos, you're this, you're that, you're this and I'm gonna win your '' and you're gonna vote for me! That's slave owner 101, and people are like, keep going! Because the middle of the country is like, we feel the same way.''
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders Schools Bill O'Reilly on Socialism and 2016 Run - YouTube
Sun, 16 Aug 2015 01:52
VIDEO-William and Kate issue furious warning over paparazzi pictures of their children - Telegraph
Sat, 15 Aug 2015 02:57
Police found the man lying down in the boot of the vehicle attempting to shoot photos with a long lens through a small gap in his "hide".
Royal insiders say the Duke in particular is desperate that ''history should not repeat itself'' and wants to protect both Prince George and Princess Charlotte from the kind of intrusion that his mother Diana, Princess of Wales was subjected to.
The Duke has always believed paparazzi photographers in Paris were ultimately responsible for his mother's death in 1997, when her car crashed at speed in an underpass following a pursuit by photographers on mopeds.
The letter, sent to 24 worldwide media industry watchdog bodies, says it is clear that Prince George has become the "number one target" in the Royal Family for unscrupulous freelance photographers who sell their images abroad.
It states: "It is of course upsetting that such tactics - reminiscent as they are of past surveillance by groups intent on doing more than capturing images - are being deployed to profit from the image of a two-year-old boy.
''In a heightened security environment such tactics are a risk to all involved.
''The worry is that it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.''
It highlights the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's desire for their two young children not to have to "grow up exclusively behind palace gates and in walled gardens" and says they want them to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with others without being photographed.
The letter, signed by Jason Knauf, the Cambridges' communications secretary, states that such tactics have left the royal couple "concerned" about their ability to provide a harassment-free childhood.
It says: "They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children and they themselves enjoy doing so.
"But they know every parent would object to anyone '' particularly strangers '' taking photos of their children without their permission. Every parent would understand their deep unease at only learning they had been followed and watched days later when photographs emerged."
The letter thanks all British media organisations, and most of those in the Commonwealth and the US, for operating a policy of refusing to publish unauthorised photographs but said a "handful" of international organisations were still willing to pay.
It notes that such pictures are "usually dressed up with fun, positive language about the 'cute', 'adorable' photos and happy write ups about the family" and give no hint to the underhand tactics used to procure them.
In May, Kensington Palace warned the media against harassing the family at their home, Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
Letters stated that while members of the Royal Family and their guests are in residence they have "a more than reasonable expectation of privacy".
And last October, the couple started legal action against two photographers they accused of carrying out "surveillance" on Prince George.
Although the Duke and Duchess are prepared to take legal action, many foreign publications are now offering anonymity to the photographers to make it more difficult to pursue them.
Taking action against breaches of privacy in foreign courts can also be a lengthy and costly business.
A privacy case in the French courts which the Duke and Duchess took against a photographer who took topless pictures of the Duchess at a French villa during a holiday in 2012 is still rumbling on almost three years later.
VIDEO-British Lord appears in court over historical child sex abuse charges | euronews, world news
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:25
Lord Janner has appeared in court for the first time over historical child sex abuse charges.
The British peer faces 22 charges spanning the 1960s-80s.
The next hearing is set for September 1, where his lawyers are expected to say he is not fit to plead on grounds of his severe dementia.
VIDEO-Kos: Greece sends cruise ship to help manage migrant numbers | euronews, world news
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:24
The Venizelos has arrived in Kos.
The Greek government sent the 176-metre-long cruise ship to the eastern Aegean island to act as a temporary registration centre for thousands of stranded migrants.
With hundreds of refugees arriving in Kos every day, the new initiative aimsto help prevent recent, recurring clashes with the police.
''The problem will be solved when the European Union understands that there is a war in Syria and in other countries there are major economic problems,'' said George Kyritsis, the Mayor of Kos. ''And if they don't find a solution for those countries to end the problems over there then we will always have immigration problems in Europe.''
People could also be seen queueing to get into a stadium on the island, which is also acting as a reception centre. They are trying to obtain papers to enable them to move around within Greece and elsewhere.
Syrian refughee Naworas said:''I just want to complete my study. I just want to have (a) life and everybody wants that. They all ran out from the war, from death, so it is normal to see all these scenes, because everybody just wants to live.''
Damaged dinghies and flotation devices regularly wash up on the beaches of Kos providing further signs of the increased pressure cash-strapped Greece is under.
VIDEO-Jeb Bush, Hosted By Defense Contractor-Backed Group, Calls Iraq War "A Pretty Good Deal"
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 16:00
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said today that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein was a ''pretty good deal.''
Bush was speaking at an event sponsored by Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security (APPS), a group formed and backed by a number of people associated with major defense contractors.
Video of Bush's remark was posted online by an attendee of the event:
According to journalist Alan He, Bush also criticized efforts to reform the National Security Agency's dragnet metadata surveillance program, telling the audience, that it was a ''mistake to repeal the metadata provisions of the Patriot Act.''
As The Intercept previously reported, the APPS is advised by Raytheon's Stephen Hadley, BAE Systems' Rich Ashooh, former SAIC chief executive Walt Havenstein, among other defense contractors and defense industry lobbyists. APPS was formed earlier this year as a pressure group to ''help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy.''
APPS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, does not disclose its donor information. The chairman of the group, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a hawkish politician who has called for greater U.S. military involvement in a number of conflicts around the world, now works for a number of private interests, though he has refused to disclose them.
Costs associated with the war in Iraq, including medical treatment for war veterans, could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next decade, according to a study by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. The war killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civillians, as well as nearly 8,000 U.S. forces and contractors, according to the study.
The period following 9/11, including the war in Iraq, has been a boon for the defense contracting industry. From 2001 through 2010, the stock prices of major defense firms surged 67 percent as the U.S. increased defense spending to manage the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well new homeland security spending.
VIDEO-ULTIMATE TRUMP REMIXXX feat. Crazy Frog Bros. - YouTube
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:45
VIDEO- cia spies phone call mh17
Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:13
VIDEO-Watch Salma Hayek Eat Gross Things
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 23:38
OnWatch What Happens: LiveSalma Hayek took on the challenge of a gross game Andy Cohen threw her way. As made clear in the title of the game, "Will Salma Eat It?!?!" Hayek was presented with various unusual foods, like silk worms and frog, to see if she would actually ingest them.


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