These studies should be required reading for anyone who still wonders why the Arab and Muslim world remains so angry at America and its allies.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn’t secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams “in the clear” — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America’s drones see.
Source: Washington Times
Facing off in last week’s foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney nodded in agreement with much of what President Obama has done with his powers as chief executive — including a full-on embrace of the president’s claim to sole authority to expand drone strikes to kill terrorist suspects.
The Republican presidential nominee has reserved the right to deploy U.S. military power to world hot spots, as Mr. Obama did in Libya, and to greenlight unilateral action against Iran. To the dismay of civil liberties activists, he has shifted his position on indefinite detention, agreeing with the president that U.S. citizens deemed “enemy combatants” are not entitled to habeas corpus.
While regularly complaining about Mr. Obama’s use of unilateral authority, such as his appointment of policy “czars” and issuing waivers to let states opt out of federal welfare law rules, Mr. Romney has made clear he takes issue not so much with the president’s powers themselves, but with how those powers have been used during the past four years.
Monday, October 29, 2012
- the Nuclear Plants can withstand relatively high winds
- storm surge will not likely do much damage to the nuclear power plants themselves
- but some plants will likely suffer loss of off-site power (as happened at Fukushima)
- at that point, the plant will automatically "scram", control rods will go into the cooling pool real quickly and the nuclear chain reaction will stop
- when the power transmission lines are lost, the nuclear power plant needs to reduce power production quickly
- with loss of off-site power, diesel generators must turn on in order to provide the power needed to cool the fue pools
- some plants have 2 diesel generators and some plants have 3 diesel generators
- as the Nuclear plant operates, it requires off-site power to operate the pumps
- when a nuclear power plant shuts down, as much as 5% of the decay heat remains
- diesel generators are required to keep the plant cool
- we have to hope that those diesel generators operate when needed, because that is the last line of defense against meltdown
- when a plant "scrams" that's a sudden shutdown and a severe jolt to the system
- it would be better if operators shutdown the plant ahead of time
- there are 26 nuclear power plants in the area where Hurricane Sandy is likely to hit
- nuclear reactors are not designed to cool the spent fuel pools from the diesel generators
- so, the design of most nuclear plants requires that off-site power be restored quickly in order to keep the spent fuel pools cool
- if the spent fuel pools heat up, tremendous humidity is generated
- the fuel pool building structures are not designed to
- a fuel pool takes time to reach boiling point
- some of the 26 reactor sites have recently refueled, so they have hot fuel rods in their fuel pools and could reach boiling point within a couple of days
- it is likely that off-site power will be lost at quite a few of the 26 sites
- the chance of a diesel generator failing is less than 1 in 100
- so a plant with two generators has a 1 in 10,000 chance of both diesel generators failing
- there was a very important report from Japan regarding the radiation in the Pacific Ocean
- Bentic organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean floor are not seeing a decline in the amount of radiation
- so the message is that the fish in Japan are still contaminated
- the other, more important conclusion is that radiation must still be leaking into the ocean
- TEPCO is building a wall into the ocean 100 feet deep to prevent leakage into the idea, but that will not be completed until 2014
- the fuel pool will not be completed until 2015
- this is the worst nuclear leak into the ocean in history and continues to leak into the ocean
- assuming that there is no further damage from earthquakes or storms, water management will eventually become a problem
- a football field sized waste water storage area is rapidly filling up
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Source World Net Daily
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
There are seven nuclear plants that are potentially at risk and the NRC is monitoring the Frankenstorm conditions closely.
Nuclear plants in the projected path of Hurricane Sandy include North Anna and Surry in Virginia, Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, Hope Creek and Salem in New Jersey, Indian Point in New York and Millstone in Connecticut. The NRC is considering enhancing inspector coverage of these reactors.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Source: Russia Today
A handful of international election monitors have touched down in the US to swing by polling places next month when voters cast ballots for the president, but officials in the state of Texas have issued them a warning: you’re not welcome.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott has sent a scathing letter to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, threatening to arrest any of the election auditors that have been dispatched to America to ensure that voters won’t be disenfranchised, discriminated against or intimidated when they take to the polls on November 6.
Source: The Raw Story
Nobel award-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said Wednesday that President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had failed to mention the housing market recovery because both were afraid of upsetting big banks, who are major campaign contributors.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
U.S. Military Dependent Detained and Put on 'No Fly List' by Customs Enforcement in Hawaii is Now Free to Fly
Wade Hicks Jr. was hitching a ride on a military transport to see his active duty wife in Japan and ended up being stranded in Hawaii because the government put him on a "No Fly List". Hicks has a security clearance, concealed carry permit, and recently passed an FBI background check when he purchased a firearm. No explanation was provided and Hicks can only speculate that maybe he was placed on the list because of his vocal opposition to government policies and the fact that he is a 9/11 "truther".
Source: Hawaii Reporter
Half way through his journey from San Francisco to Japan aboard a military flight, during what was supposed to be a brief stop over on Oahu, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agent, accompanied by two heavily armed military guards, informed Hicks he was on the "No Fly List." The agent told Hicks he would have to find other means of transportation off our remote Pacific island, which was 2,500 miles from where he started.
Hicks was stunned when he was ordered by the federal government not to board a commercial or military flight,and he began desperately looking for a way to travel back home via boat or private plane. Not wanting to borrow $40,000 to take a chartered flight home,or spend weeks traveling back to the Mainland by boat, he contacted local veterans' organizations,Hawaii's governor and legislators, his congressmen and the media for help.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune
In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem-solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
This really is turning out to be a fascinating election season. I'm paraphrasing a bit, but The Liberals over at Alternet seem to be a little worried that one of Obama's broken promises from the last election might loose him this election. The theory goes that those who prefer decriminalizing marijuana may sway their votes away from Obama towards Gary Johnson. You see, despite promising not to, Obama has allowed the DOJ and DEA to raid and prosecute legally operating medical marijuana dispensaries across the country. Since Colorado is among the fastest growing legal medical marijuana markets and a tightly contested swing state, Gary Johnson might benefit from the voter sentiment in favor of the "regulate is like alcohol" ballot initiative. I think might be a bit of a stretch, but if you believe the polls, a few percentage points could statistically make or break Obama's re-election.
Here in the center of the Intermountain West, we have polls showing a nail-bitingly close race between the Democratic and Republican nominees for president. We have a chief election official, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who has tried both to engage in mass voter purges and to block the mailing of ballots to eligible voters , all while openly saying a “good election” is one in which “Republicans win.”
On the ballot, we also have a headline-grabbing ballot initiative about marijuana legalization and a popular former two-term governor of a neighboring state, Gary Johnson, running a Libertarian Party presidential candidacy.
Once again, the FBI appears to have aided a would-be terrorist in plotting a terrorist attack, providing fake explosives and then carrying out the fake attack so that charges could be filed. This man is reported to have initially wanted to kill a high-ranking government official, but the FBI encouraged him to attempt a bombing on the Fed building in New York instead.
Source: New York Times
A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man has been charged with conspiring to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The entire plot played out under the surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department as part of an elaborate sting operation, according to court papers.
The man,Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who arrived in the United States in January on a student visa,tried to make contacts and recruit people to form a terrorist cell to help him carry out an attack,according to a criminal complaint in the case. But one of these recruits was an F.B.I. informer, who later introduced him to an undercover F.B.I. agent who helped him with the plot.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
This appeal could have a significant impact on the Drug War and upon those who are incarcerated for Marijuana possession. A huge percentage of law enforcement dollars are spent on the fight against Marijuana and it's abose. If the medical benefits of Cannabis are acknowledged by the Federal government then Cannabanoids would all have to be reclassified as Schedule II or III and the DEA would have more difficulty with justification of many of their enforcement activities including their raids upon legally operating dispensaries.
The classification of marijuana as a drug with no medical value appears increasingly at odds with the opinions of many doctors who attest to the medical benefits of the drug,and of patients,who take advantage of dispensaries in the 17 states where they are now legal. A 1970 House report initially recommended that Congress classify marijuana as Schedule I on the grounds that uncertainty remained about the effects of the drug,and suggested the classification “at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”
A number of highly addictive and potent drugs,such as cocaine,opium poppy,morphine and codeine,are listed as Schedule II,designated for those drugs that have a high potential for abuse and dependence,but which have “a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.” And the synthetic version of THC,known as dronabinol,is listed as Schedule III,even though THC is the ingredient in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Does managed coastal realignment create saltmarshes with 'equivalent biological characteristics' to natural reference sites?
Keywords: Atriplex portulacoides ; dyke breach; habitat creation; managed retreat; redox potential; salt-marsh restoration; succession
1. Coastal saltmarshes provide distinctive biodiversity and important ecosystem services, including coastal defence, supporting fisheries and nutrient cycling. However, c. 50% of the world's coastal marshes are degraded or have been lost, with losses continuing. In both Europe and North America, there is a legal requirement to create habitats to substitute for losses. How well do created habitats replicate natural salt marshes?
2. We compared plant communities and environmental characteristics of 18 deliberately realigned (managed realignment, MR - between 1 and 14 years old), 17 accidentally realigned (AR, 25–131 years old) sites with those on 34 natural reference saltmarshes in the UK.
3. Halophytic species colonized individual realignment sites rapidly, attaining species richness similar to nearby reference marshes after 1 year. Nevertheless, the community composition of MR sites was significantly different from reference sites, with early-successional species remaining dominant, even on the high marsh.
4. The dominance of pioneer species on the low and mid-marsh may be because, at the same elevation, sediments were less oxygenated than on reference sites. Sediments were well oxygenated on the high marsh, but were often drier than on natural marshes.
5. Overall community composition of AR marshes was not significantly different to reference marshes, but the characteristic perennials Limonium vulgare, Triglochin maritima, Plantago maritima and Armeria maritima remained relatively rare. In contrast, the shrub Atriplex portulacoides was more abundant, and its growth form may inhibit or delay colonization by other species.
6. Synthesis and applications. Marshes created by managed realignment do not satisfy the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive. Adherence to the Directive might be improved by additional management interventions, such as manipulation of topographic heterogeneity or planting of mid- and upper-marsh species. However, given the inherent variation in natural saltmarshes and projected environmental change, policies that require exact equivalence at individual sites may be unachievable. More realistic goals might require minimum levels of a range of ecosystem functions on a broader scale, across catchments or regions.
Source: The Guardian
Russ George, a controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.
Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a "blatant violation" of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.
Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.
Scientists are debating whether iron fertilisation can lock carbon into the deep ocean over the long term, and have raised concerns that it can irreparably harm ocean ecosystems, produce toxic tides and lifeless waters, and worsen ocean acidification and global warming.
Silvia Ribeiro of the international technology watchdog ETC Group which first discovered the existence of the scheme said, "It is now more urgent than ever that governments unequivocally ban such open-air geoengineering experiments. They are a dangerous distraction providing governments and industry with an excuse to avoid reducing fossil fuel emissions."
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Source: Russia Today
Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons will center on whether or not an individual can buy copyrighted material outside the United States, then resell it inside the US. The first-sale doctrine, established 1908, permits individuals to sell copyrighted products to others. According to the doctrine, the copyright holder only has control over the first sale. But for products manufactured abroad – which include almost all popular electronics, including those Chinese-made gadgets consumers are so used to swapping annually – this law is being challenged.
The trial, which begins October 29, follows a Thai student at Cornell University's choice to buy his textbooks abroad. Noticing that the books, required for class, were cheaper in Thailand, Supap Kirtsaeng had his relatives gather and mail them to him. Eventually, the graduate student began selling those books online at a profit.
Watch Live: http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/
Chuck Yeager achieved Mach 1 in the experimental X-1 plane on this day in 1947. Today, Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to at least 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. His attempt to survive extreme atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers. This jump procedure may someday be repeated in a space exploration or space tourism emergency. So the data collected today could help save lives.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The idea would be to place an asteroid at Lagrange point L1, a site where the gravitational pull of the sun and the Earth cancel out. This point is about four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.
The researchers suggest outfitting a near-Earth asteroid with a "mass driver," a device consisting of electromagnets that would hurl asteroid-derived matter away from the giant rock. The mass driver could serve both as a rocket to push the asteroid to the L1 point and as an engine to spew out sun-shielding dust.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Source: CBS News
Modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world's most popular grain.
Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," he said on "CBS This Morning." "This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there's a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It's not gluten. I'm not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I'm talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year."
Asked if the farming industry could change back to the grain it formerly produced, Davis said it could, but it would not be economically feasible because it yields less per acre.
Source: The Guardian
Paddy Roy Bates, who occupied an abandoned fort in the North Sea and declared it the sovereign Principality of Sealand with himself as its prince, has died aged 91, his son said on Wednesday.
Michael Bates said his father died on Tuesday at a care home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's.
In the 1960s, inspired by the "pirate radio" movement, Bates set up Radio Essex on an offshore fort. When that was closed down, he moved in 1966 to Fort Roughs, a disused second world war platform in international waters about seven miles off the coast.
As our economic future becomes increasingly bleak, the threat of widespread food riots becomes increasingly real. This essay describes failures of SNAP and the EBT cards as a likely catalyst for such riots.
In my scenario, the initial riots begin spontaneously across affected urban areas, as SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) and other government welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function. This sudden revelation will cause widespread anger, which will quickly lead to the flash-mob looting of local supermarkets and other businesses. The media will initially portray these “food riots” as at least partly justifiable. Sadly, millions of Americans have been made largely, or even entirely, dependent on government wealth transfer payments to put food on their tables.
A new social contract has been created, where bread and circuses buy a measure of peace in our minority-populated urban zones. In the era of ubiquitous big-screen cable television, the internet and smart phones, the circus part of the equation is never in doubt as long as the electricity flows. But the bread is highly problematic. Food must be delivered the old-fashioned way: physically. Any disruption in the normal functioning of the EBT system will lead to food riots with a speed that is astonishing. This will inevitably happen when our unsustainable, debt-fueled binge party finally stops, and the music is over. Now that the delivery of free or heavily subsidized food is perceived by tens of millions of Americans to be a basic human right, the cutoff of “their” food money will cause an immediate explosion of rage. When the hunger begins to bite, supermarkets, shops and restaurants will be looted, and initially the media will not condemn the looting. Unfortunately, this initial violence will only be the start of a dangerous escalation.
Unlike the US, Canada tends to suppress "free speech" when that speech is deemed hateful and potentially harmful.
Source: Russia Today
The US pastor who hosted “International Burn a Quran Day” had his anti-Islam signs seized and was denied entry in Canada on Thursday.
Florida Pastor Terry Jones, 60, announced two years ago that he would burn 200 Korans on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although he did not burn the holy Islamic books that day, he burned copies of the Koran in March 2011 and in front of his church in April 2012.
On Thursday Terry, together with fellow pastor Wayne Sapp and his wife Stephanie Sapp, had planned to attend Freedom Showdown, an inter-faith debate outside of the Ontario Legislature. Jones had been invited to speak on the lawn concerning the topic, “Islam is not compatible with Western society.” The event was in response to the controversial YouTube video, “Innocence of Muslims,” which sparked protests throughout the world.
There are many unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act, but perhaps one of the worst is the likely shift in the availability of full-time jobs as employers try to control the increase of their labor costs. Publicly traded companies have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits and that will likely motivate them to reduce the number of full-time workers to avoid the requirement to pay for employee healthcare.
Source: The Huffington Post
The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting costs from President Barack Obama's health care law.
Darden Restaurants Inc. declined to give details but said the test is only in four markets across the country. The move entails boosting the number of workers on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Scientists have been trying to understand why the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes appear to be decelerating and a new theory could have a profound impact on calculations of space travel across our galaxy and eventually the universe.
The Pioneer spacecrafts aren't slowing down — they're moving exactly as the physical laws would predict. But because space is expanding, and because the Pioneer probes are so faraway,we've been getting the false sense that they're slowing down. Physicists,it now appears, haven't been plugging in all the relevant variables into their calculations.
Source: Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and the four others, all held in British jails, will soon join hundreds of other Muslims tried in Article III federal courts in the United States over the last decade. Fair trials are unlikely. A disturbing pattern of gross infringements on basic civil liberties, put in place in the name of national security, has poisoned our legal system. These infringements include intrusive surveillance, vague material support charges, the use of prolonged pretrial solitary confinement, classified evidence that the accused cannot review, and the use of political activities, normally protected under the First Amendment, to demonstrate mind-set and intent. Muslims caught up in the Article III courts are denied the opportunity to confront their accusers and to have their religious and political associations protected, and they rarely find a judge courageous enough to protect their rights. These violations of fundamental civil liberties will not, in the end, be reserved exclusively for Muslims once the corporate state feels under siege. What is happening to them will happen to the rest of us.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
DHS pilots will fly drones after as little as one day of training and this is intended to increase public safety?
Source: Russia Today
The Department of Homeland Security will be testing a variety of drones in US air space and their solicitation request requires that all drones be equipped with Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensors, as well as the technology to sniff out certain chemicals from thousands of feet from above. The UAV must also have an integrated laser designator, can be hand-launched by a single person and must be able to be remotely managed by a pilot with only one day of training.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Source: LA Times
People in the United States imagine that drones fly to a target,launch their deadly missiles with surgical precision and return to a U.S. base hundreds or thousands of miles away. But drones are a constant presence in the skies above the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan,with as many as six hovering over villages at any one time. People hear them day and night. They are an inescapable presence,the looming specter of death from above.
And that presence is steadily destroying a community twice the size of Rhode Island. Parents are afraid to send their children to school. Women are afraid to meet in markets. Families are afraid to gather at funerals for people wrongly killed in earlier strikes. Drivers are afraid to deliver food from other parts of the country.
Source: Wired - Danger Room
At the Virginia Military Institute, Romney will portray Obama as well-intentioned but naive when confronting the world. “We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds,” Romney will say, according to the advance text provided by his team. That means putting Iran “on notice” that it can’t have a nuke; ensuring the Syrian rebels get weapons to overthrow Assad (sort of, more on that in a second); signing free trade deals; and, crucially, coaxing the Middle Eastern upheaval in a pro-American direction. And for perhaps the first time in his campaign, Romney has a huge opportunity to make this case, as the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi stands as perhaps the greatest intelligence and security failure of the Obama administration.
But more often than not, Romney accepts the policy framework that Obama created. On Iran, he’ll propose “new sanctions” and to “tighten the sanctions we currently have,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Iran policy (along with cyberattacks). On Afghanistan, he “will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. On Libya, Romney will “support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Libya policy. Perhaps most surprisingly, Romney will recommit to negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine, which was a cornerstone of Obama’s Mideast policy before it crumbled into dust.