Friday, May 9, 2008

Readings 5-9-08

NASA announces that it's going to make an announcement:

WASHINGTON -- NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.

via MonkeyFilter


DOJ announces indictment of international arms dealer for conspiracy to kill Americans and related terrorism charges
NEW YORK—Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michele M. Leonhart, the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced today the unsealing of an indictment against international arms dealer Viktor Bout, a/k/a Boris, a/k/a Victor Anatoliyevich Bout, a/k/a Victor But, a/k/a Viktor Budd, a/k/a Viktor Butt, a/k/a Viktor Bulakin, a/k/a Vadim Markovich Aminov, for, among other things, conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the FARC) -- a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia -- to be used to kill Americans in Colombia.

via Cryptome


How to defeat terrorism without terrorizing ourselves
Before September 11, said Sheehan, the United States was "asleep at the switch" while Al Qaeda was barreling down the track. "If you don't pay attention to these guys," said Sheehan, "they will kill you in big numbers." So bin Laden's minions hit U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, they hit the Cole in 2000, and they hit New York and Washington in 2001—three major attacks on American targets in the space of 37 months. Since then, not one. And not for want of trying on their part.

What changed? The difference is purely and simply that intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the military have focused their attention on the threat, crushed the operational cells they could find—which were in fact the key ones plotting and executing major attacks—and put enormous pressure on all the rest.

"I reject the notion that Al Qaeda is waiting for 'the big one' or holding back an attack," Sheehan writes. "A terrorist cell capable of attacking doesn't sit and wait for some more opportune moment. It's not their style, nor is it in the best interest of their operational security. Delaying an attack gives law enforcement more time to detect a plot or penetrate the organization."

Terrorism is not about standing armies, mass movements, riots in the streets or even palace coups. It's about tiny groups that want to make a big bang. So you keep tracking cells and potential cells, and when you find them you destroy them. After Spanish police cornered leading members of the group that attacked trains in Madrid in 2004, they blew themselves up. The threat in Spain declined dramatically.

It looks like Al-Qaeda is a bit overrated, Osama bin Goldstein notwithstanding.

Beware the counterterrorist-industrial complex.

via Schneier on Security

Chernobyl Watch: Biofuel from Chernobyl Contaminated Lands
I had many doubts when I first heard about this plan. My first thought was, great - let’s do this and use our cars to spread Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout around the world! However, after researching this issue further, I have found some potential benefits.

Currently, scientists estimate that the contaminated lands in Belarus will not be safe for cultivation of food for 300-600 years. Greenfield feels that through repeated harvests of specific types of grain for ethanol feedstock, the land could become safe for food production in as little as 60 years. Prime crops candidates are wheat and sugar beet.

We need to watch the Chernobyl situation closely and minutely. It is a singular opportunity to learn a great deal about the long-term effects of this type of disaster.

As informed citizens we should be aware of this information in regard to consideration and degree of support for future uses of nuclear technology.

Let's not sleep on this one. This knowledge might come in handy someday.

Chernobyl and Eastern Europe

Mind Control by Cellphone
Although a cell phone is much less powerful than TMS, (transcranial magnetic stimulation) the question still remains: Could the electrical signals coming from a phone affect certain brainwaves operating in resonance with cell phone transmission frequencies? After all, the caller's cerebral cortex is just centimeters away from radiation broadcast from the phone's antenna. Two studies provide some revealing news.

Interesting stuff, but this article more absorbed my thoughts by making me wonder why journalists often feel the need to play the "tinfoil hat" card for a hook?

The amazing story behind the 256 year-old man
By his own admission he was born in 1736 and had lived 197 years. However, in 1930 a professor and dean at Minkuo University by the name of Wu Chung-chien, found records “proving” that Li was born in 1677. Records allegedly showed that the Imperial Chinese Government congratulated him on his 150th and 200th Birthdays.

So the question is, had he forgotten his own birthday? Was this even the same Li Ching-Yun?

via mental_floss

--- Is Stonehenge Roman?
Were the Romans rather like English Heritage, people who abhor untidiness, and when they came to Stonehenge, they found a somewhat decrepit monument in need of tender loving care, and said: Oh these wretched druids, they never look after their ancient monuments properly – we had better send along a gang to tidy it up and pay due respects to whatever gods were originally worshipped there? But just how extensive was this tidying up? How much of the plan of Stonehenge that has come to us is due to Roman interference?

via Technoccult



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