Friday, September 22, 2017

Trump's Uncle John's Lifelong Interest in Insulation of Rotating Electrostatic Machines In High Vaccuum



pbs |  Dr. John G. Trump, an electrical engineer with the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, was called in to analyze the Tesla papers in OAP custody. Following a three-day investigation, Dr. Trump concluded:
His [Tesla's] thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.
Just after World War II, there was a renewed interest in beam weapons. Copies of Tesla's papers on particle beam weaponry were sent to Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. An operation code-named "Project Nick" was heavily funded and placed under the command of Brigadier General L. C. Craigie to test the feasibility of Tesla's concept. Details of the experiments were never published, and the project was apparently discontinued. But something peculiar happened. The copies of Tesla's papers disappeared and nobody knows what happened to them.

In 1952, Tesla's remaining papers and possessions were released to Sava Kosanovic´ and returned to Belgrade, Yugoslavia where a museum was created in the inventor's honor. For many years, under Tito's communist regime, it was extremely difficult for Western journalists and scholars to gain access to the Tesla archive in Yugoslavia; even then they were allowed to see only selected papers. This was not the case for Soviet scientists who came in delegations during the 1950s. Concerns increased in 1960 when Soviet Premier Khrushchev announced to the Supreme Soviet that "a new and fantastic weapon was in the hatching stage."

Work on beam weapons also continued in the United States. In 1958 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a top-secret project code-named "Seesaw" at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to develop a charged-particle beam weapon. More than ten years and twenty-seven million dollars later, the project was abandoned "because of the projected high costs associated with implementation as well as the formidable technical problems associated with propagating a beam through very long ranges in the atmosphere." Scientists associated with the project had no knowledge of Tesla's papers.

In the late 1970s, there was fear that the Soviets may have achieved a technological breakthrough. Some U.S. defense analysts concluded that a large beam weapon facility was under construction near the Sino-Soviet border in Southern Russia.

The American response to this "technological surprise" was the Strategic Defense Initiative announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Teams of government scientists were urged to "turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete."

Today, after a half-century of research and billions of dollars of investment, the SDI program is generally considered a failure, and there is still no realistic means of defense against a nuclear missile attack.

Sonora Series 4500 Aero Trump


airminded |  The 'aeros' themselves look not much like any real airships that flew later; they are more spherical than elongated and so not streamlined. (It's tempting to read the image at the top of this post as showing an airship from the front and below, but comparing it with his other paintings in fact it's a side, or 'Flanck' in Dellschau's idiosyncratic English, view.) Then there's the 'Lifting Fluid', suppa, with its wonderful properties. There are only a few possible lifting gases, and the only ones not discovered by the 1850s are neon (which is only just viable) and (much better) helium, both of which are very rare on Earth and difficult to extract. It's conceivable that they could have been discovered earlier than we currently believe, but it would require a substantial of resources to produce enough for use in airships (as is well known, Germany was forced to use hydrogen for its airships in the 1930s due to a US embargo on helium exports). And again, we would then have to accept that this discovery was then forgotten for decades, like the secret of the aeros themselves. The improbabilities are piling up alarmingly.

[Dellschau] illustrates a remarkable number of designs -- maybe as many as 100 -- for airships with names such as Aero Mio, Aero Trump, Aero Schnabel and Aero Mary. (There's even an Aero Jourdan.) All were powered by a secret formula that Dellschau called both "supe" and "suppe"; it could both negate gravity and drive the ships' wheels, side paddles and compressor motors.
One drawing tells the story of Adolf Goetz's Aero Goeit, recklessly commandeered by an unskilled pilot; the airship got tangled in a Sequoia tree, and the interloper died of a broken neck. Another cautionary tale involves Jacob Mischer, a pilot who went down in flames in the Aero Gander; Dellschau hints that he was sabotaged by other club members, who suspected him of using the aircraft to make money by hauling cargo.
But most of the airships' flights were safe -- and great fun. Dellschau depicts his aviators enjoying hot breakfasts, and delights in enumerating the ships' clever gadgets. He often bedecked his watercolor paintings with little press clippings -- from Scientific American, the Houston Chronicle and an unidentified German-language newspaper -- that recount air disasters; Dellschau called them "press blooms." Against paintings of the Sonora club's successes, the clippings seem intended as an ironic counterpoint.
Dellschau never seems to explain why the club worked so hard to protect its secrecy, but he shows the members going to great lengths to do so. By day, the Aero Goeit was disguised as a gypsy wagon, so it could travel open roads undetected. Dellschau writes that a club member was banned from developing a machine because he'd talked to outsiders. And of course, even years after the club disbanded, many of Dellschau's own comments are rendered in code. Apparently, whatever it was that he had to say was too private even for his own notebooks.
The first and most obvious thing to note is that the capabilities of these aircraft are far in advance of the technology of the day. The first airship flight was made by Henri Giffard in France in 1852; with only three horsepower and a speed of about six miles an hour it was unable to fly into the wind. His subsequent attempts to build bigger and more powerful airships failed. A decade later, in what is perhaps the closest known parallel to Dellschau's Aeros, Solomon Andrews flew the Aereon, a weird balloon/airship hybrid with three gas envelopes, over Perth Amboy, New Jersey. At about the same time, according to Dellschau, the Sonora Aero Club had perfected controlled, powered, lighter-than-air flight and many of its machines were secretly flying in California's skies -- after which they disappeared, leaving no trace in the documentary record. This is incredible and in fact not credible.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

NYMZA and the Second Reich


HoustonPress |  In 1969, Mary Jane Victor was an art history student at the University of St. Thomas -- and a regular patron of the O.K. Trading Center. She remembers being amazed to come across the scrapbooks. 

At the university art department, Victor was working for art patron Dominique de Menil, a Schlumberger heiress famous for her eye for surrealists and the primitive art that inspired them. Victor promptly told de Menil about her find and put her in touch with the junk dealer. Soon after, the heiress paid Washington $1,500 for four of the earliest notebooks. 

"Dellschau for her was an eccentric," recalls Steen. "She had a wonderful affinity for eccentrics." Half joking, she told Steen she was especially drawn to the coded phrase "DM=X" scrawled across the top of many drawings. She thought DM stood for "Dominique de Menil." And the rest somehow equaled her own death. 

Soon after de Menil acquired the notebooks, she exhibited some of their leaves in "Flight," a University of St. Thomas show on the subject. And it was there that Pete Navarro, one of the most dogged investigators of Dellschau's mysteries, first encountered the aeros. 

Navarro, a Houston commercial artist, was intrigued by UFOs, especially by a mysterious rash of airship sightings near the turn of the century, not long before Dellschau began his drawings. Navarro read about the St. Thomas exhibition one morning at the breakfast table. And when he saw Dellschau's drawings, he felt there had to be a connection to the sightings. 

Ufologists believe that between November 1896 and April 1897, thousands of Americans in 18 states between California and Indiana saw a curious dirigible-like flying machine floating eastward. No physical evidence of a ship or a designer has ever surfaced, but newspapers such as the New York Times, Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Daily Express and Chicago Tribune devoted space to the sightings. In this century, authors Daniel Cohen and William Chariton have published books on the subject. 

The mysterious craft was first spotted on November 17, 1896, by R.L. Lowery, near a brewery in Sacramento, California. According to various newspaper reports, the craft seemed to travel eastward. In spring, it was spotted in Texas. 

At 1:16 a.m. on April 17, 1897, the Reverend J.W. Smith saw what he thought was a shooting star in the night sky of Childress, Texas, then decided it was really a flying machine. Eventually he recognized it as the much-discussed cigar-shaped airship. 

Four days after Smith's UFO sighting, the Houston Daily Post gave a lengthy account of his and other spottings of the same airship, a 30-foot-long skiff-shaped contraption outfitted with revolving wheels and sails. 

Jim Nelson, a farmer from Atlanta, Texas, recalled glimmers of red, green and blue lights and "a glaring gleam of white light" that shone directly in front of the airship. In Belton, a crowd witnessed the same vehicle the next night. They claimed its pilots spoke loudly as they flew overhead, but the ship's velocity was so great, their words were lost in the wind. 

According to other newspaper accounts, witnesses managed to talk with the pilots. Sometimes townspeople even came upon the crew members, who were apparently making repairs to their marvelous machine and were willing to chat. 

In 1972, three years after de Menil bought her four notebooks, Pete Navarro learned that more Dellschau notebooks were collecting dust at Washington's junk shop. Nobody wanted them, so Navarro gave the dealer $65 for one book. Hooked by what he saw, he returned and offered $500 more for the remaining seven. 

Navarro tried to sell four of the notebooks to de Menil; she chose not to buy them -- perhaps because she liked the work in her own notebooks better. De Menil owned some of Dellschau's earliest notebooks and believed that they included his best work. As the artist aged, his works grew looser, more expressionistic; de Menil seems to have preferred his earlier precision.  
 
But for Navarro, the notebooks weren't about artistic quality; they were pieces of a historical puzzle. He visited Helen and Tommy Britton, cousins of Leo Jr. Helen promised she'd try to find more books and pictures of Dellschau that were hidden around the family's old house, but she died before she could locate anything. Navarro also talked to Tommy Britton, who was a preteen when Dellschau died. Now in his 80s, he may be the last living relative who remembers Dellschau. (Britton couldn't be reached for this story.) 

After culling a vast number of such press clippings, Navarro created an elaborate map of every Texas sighting and wrote several papers. Some are on file at the Houston Public Library's Texas archive; others are available on the Internet at www.keelynet.com. In "The Mysterious Mr. Wilson and the Books of Dellschau," co-written with UFO enthusiast Jimmy Ward, Navarro posits a connection between Dellschau's clandestine society and a mysterious pilot named Hiram Wilson mentioned in an article by the San Antonio Daily Express on April 26, 1897, about a local airship sighting. The article identifies the airship's occupants as Wilson, from Goshen, New York; his father, Willard H. Wilson, assistant master mechanic of the New York Central Railroad; and their co-pilot C.J. Walsh, an electrical engineer from San Francisco. 

In that story, Hiram Wilson divulged to witnesses that his airship design came from an uncle. Navarro believes that the uncle could have been another Wilson -- the Sonora club member Tosh Wilson mentioned in one of Dellschau's watercolors. According to Navarro, Dellschau's coded messages say that Tosh searched seven years to rediscover suppe, the lost fuel, and finally succeeded. 

Navarro has found no trace of a Hiram Wilson residing in Goshen. But he does offer evidence of his presence at 1897 airship sightings in Greenville, Texas (on April 16); near Lake Charles, Louisiana (on April 19); near Beaumont, Texas (April 19); Uvalde, Texas (April 20); Lacoste, Texas (April 24); and Eagle Pass, Texas (April 24). 

On April 28, the Galveston Daily News ran the headline "Airship Inventor Wilson." The article reported the inventor's encounter with one Captain Akers, a customs agent from Eagle Pass. Akers told the newspaper that Wilson "was a finely educated man about 24 years of age and seemed to have money with which to prosecute his investigations." 

Based on such reports, Navarro proposes several scenarios. Perhaps the ship spotted near San Antonio had been flown by both Hiram and Willard Wilson. Or perhaps each pilot was steering his own airship across Texas. (This would explain why witnesses living a distance from one another offered simultaneous sightings of a man who identified himself as Wilson.) Navarro also speculates that one of these Wilsons was the same Tosh Wilson who had once belonged to the Sonora Aero Club. In that scenario, Tosh would have been reliving the glory days Dellschau could only illustrate in his notebooks.

To confirm the aero club's activities, Navarro has traveled to Sonora, talked to historians, searched the newspapers and even visited all the cemeteries. He found nothing. At times, he says, he couldn't help thinking that Dellschau made everything up.

Eventually, whether the Sonora club was a dream or real stopped mattering to Navarro. One day, he remembers being absorbed by a passage inscribed in one of the drawings: "Wonder Weaver, you will unriddle my writings." Navarro grew convinced that he and his brother, Rudy, "were weaving wonders." He says of Dellschau, "Maybe we had similar minds."

To crack Dellschau's 40-symbol code, Navarro enlisted the help of his brother, Rudy, and a couple who spoke German. He says the effort took only one month, but he won't release the key or a literal translation.

Navarro will talk only about the same phrase that enchanted de Menil: "DM=X." To Navarro, it stands for "NYMZA," an acronym for a secret society that controlled the Sonora club's doings. Based on Navarro's papers, some ufologists have speculated that NYMZA was controlled by -- what else? -- aliens; Navarro doesn't buy that theory.

Navarro explains that he's saving his best stuff for his collaborator, Dennis Crenshaw, who's writing a book called The Secrets of Dellschau. But Steen, at the Menil, isn't convinced that Navarro really deciphered the symbols. Steen once asked Navarro to translate the code; Navarro would tell him the meaning of only a couple of sentences.

Navarro is clearly torn between showing off and keeping secrets. He's compiled a voluminous scrapbook titled "Dellschau's Aeros." He proudly showed it to me. It's full of wild code translations and weird exegeses on the aeros and oddments that Dellschau just stuffed, unbound, in the notebooks: cartoons, a photocopy of Dellschau's marriage certificate, letters, maps, clippings and more clippings about all manner of harebrained inventions. There's even a picture of Otto, Bavaria's Mad Monarch.

The Sonora Aero Club


theatlantic |  It was the time of Gold Rush, and people of every nationality were pouring into California in search of that earth that would make them rich.

The settlement of Sonora, about 130 miles east of San Francisco, was booming. It was there, in the saloon of one of the local boarding houses, that a group of men would get together every Friday night and talk of dreams. Well, just one dream, really: human flight.

They called themselves the Sonora Aero Club and, over time, they counted some 60 members, possibly many more. Their ranks included great characters, such as Peter Mennis, inventor of the Club's secret "Lifting Fluid," later described as "a rough Man, whit as kind a heart as to be found in verry few living beengs," despite being "adicted to strong drink" and "Flat brocke." The Aero Club's rules: Roughly once a quarter, each member had to stand before the gathered group and "thoroughly exercise their jaws" in telling how he would build an airship.
On one night in 1858, a man by the name of Gustav Freyer stood to present his invention: the Aero Guarda, an airship surrounded by a sort of hamster-wheel cage that would protect its passengers upon landfall. Freyer was a highly educated mechanic, and he waltzed up to the blackboard, took the chalk in hand, and began.

"Brothers," he said. "You all know I am not quite a professor." He looked at his fellow airship enthusiasts and continued: "I give you a nut to crack. My idea is to put a guard fence all around the machine to fall -- land -- easy and always safe, to keep some of you smarties from falling out." His contraption, he argued, would somersault upon hitting water, in such a way that the passengers would always "stay perpendicular, I mean head up on the floor of the hold."

He drew a sketch on the board and declared his work done.

"Well," he concluded, "now some of you have to pay the treat for me. Tell ya the truth, I am busted and dry as a fish!" And they bought him a beer, lifted up their glasses, and toasted his good health.

Or perhaps they didn't. Perhaps Gustav Freyer never stood up among his comrades and proposed this ridiculous design. Perhaps there was no Gustav Freyer, no Friday nights at the saloon talking about flight, no clink of the glasses to celebrate a new-fangled airship design.

Perhaps the Sonora Aero Club never existed at all.

Charles August Albert Dellschau


designobserver |  Sometime in the mid-1960s, a junk dealer in Houston, Texas acquired 12 large notebooks that had been thrown out to the curb after a house fire. Filled with mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings, the journals were eventually discovered at the junk shop in 1969 by art history student Mary Jane Victor. Victor attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she worked with art patron Dominique de Menil. After telling Menil about the books, Menil purchased four of the notebooks for the (then) hefty sum of $1,500, and included them immediately in an exhibition at Rice University in Houston. Pete Navarro, a local graphic artist and mystery enthusiast, upon seeing the exhibition — eventually acquired the remaining books, studying them obsessively for more than 15 years. Navarro eventually sold the remaining books to museums and galleries.

It turns out that the drawings/watercolors were the work of one Charles August Albert Dellschau (1830 - 1923). Dellschau was a butcher for most of his life and only after his retirement in 1899 did he begin his incredible career as a self-taught artist. He began with three books entitled Recollections which purported to describe a secret organization called the Sonora Aero Club. Dellschau described his duties in the club as that of the draftsman. Within his collaged watercolors were newspaper clippings (he called them “press blooms”) of early attempts at flight overlapped with his own fantastic drawings of airships of all kind. Powered by a secret formula he cryptically referred to as “NB Gas” or “Suppa” — the “aeros” (as Dellscahu called them) were steampunk like contraptions with multiple propellers, wheels, viewing decks and secret compartments. Though highly personal, autobiographical (perhaps!), and idiosyncratic, these artworks could cross-pollinate with the fiction of Jules Verne, Willy Wonka and the Wizard of Oz. The works were completed in a furiously creative period from 1899 to 1923, when air travel was still looked at by most people as almost magical. Newspapers of that period were full of stories about air travel feats and the acrobatic aerial dogfights of WWI were legend.

Researchers have found no account of a Sonora Aero Club, not in Texas or California. So was this simply a fantasy-fueled creative exercise by a retired man smitten with the wonders of flight? There were numerous accounts of pre-20th century UFOs in the Houston area — so perhaps Mr. Dellschau had witnessed something that ignited his simmering creative soul? The best we can do is speculate on the mystery and be thankful for the Houston junk dealer who saved a piece of art history.

All works are watercolor, pencil and collage on paper, approx. 17 x 18 inches, Images are from various public and private collections, supplied by Stephen Romano, Brooklyn, NY. A book on the images is forthcoming at the end of March from Marquand Books/D.A.P.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Removing Kaspersky Is A Recipe For Cybernetic Pearl Harbor....,



I just renewed and enlarged my commitment for three years. Once you've looked at/tried all the competing products, including new-fangled "end-point security agents" and other such falderol and balderdash - in the end - there can be only one. Kaspersky is easily the best. Accept no substitutes!

strategic-culture |  On September 18, the US Senate voted to ban the use of products from the Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab by the federal government, citing national security risk. The vote was included as an amendment to an annual defense policy spending bill approved by the Senate on the same day. The measure pushed forward by New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen has strong support in the House of Representatives, which also must vote on a defense spending bill. The legislation bars the use of Kaspersky Lab software in government civilian and military agencies. 

 On September 13, a binding directive issued by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, ordered federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from government computers over concerns the Russia-based cybersecurity software company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence. All federal departments and agencies were given 30 days to identify any Kaspersky products in use on their networks. The departments have another 60 days to begin removal of the software. The statement says, «The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks». The Russian law does not mention American networks, nevertheless it is used as a pretext to explain the concern.

Similar bans against US government use of Kaspersky products have been suggested before. In 2015, Bloomberg News reported that the company has «close ties to Russian spies».

According to US News, scrutiny of the company mounted in 2017, fueled by U.S. intelligence assessments and high-profile federal investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. This summer, the General Service Administration, which oversees purchasing by the federal government, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. In June, a proposal prohibiting the US military from using the company's products was reportedly included in the Senate's draft of the Department of Defense's budget rules. US intelligence leaders said earlier this year that Kaspersky Lab was already generally not allowed on military networks.

WarSocialism Overcame Trump's Insurgency


moonofalabama |  It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.
Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t.
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones. 
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did.
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.

Julian Assange To Testify With Russia Information In Exchange For a Pardon?


washingtonexaminer |  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said someone leaked information about his call this week with White House chief of staff John Kelly, possibly to undermine his ability to speak directly with President Trump about WikiLeaks.

The Republican congressman from California spoke with Kelly on Wednesday regarding his recent meeting with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in London, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday evening, and broached a possible trade.

Rohrabacher reportedly used the word "deal" in his conversation with Kelly and said Assange would get a pardon or "something like that" in exchange for information files on a data-storage device showing that Russia did not hack Democratic emails that WikiLeaks published last year during the 2016 campaign.

"He would get nothing, obviously, if what he gave us was not proof," Rohrabacher told Kelly, according to the Journal.

Rohrabacher said after his August meeting with Assange that WikiLeaks could disprove the conclusion of U.S. spy agencies that Russia was responsible for hacking Democratic emails, and that he would seek a meeting with Trump to discuss the information.

Rohrabacher told the Washington Examiner on Friday evening that he would not confirm quotes attributed to him, and said nobody in his office was responsible for disclosing the call.

"I have honored the confidentially of a very important business-related call," he said, speculating that someone inside the White House or within U.S. intelligence agencies leaked the call.

"I don't know who it is, all I know is I'm up against an array of very powerful forces, including the intelligence services and major newspapers that are basically allied with the liberal Left who have every reason to undermine communication on this issue," he told the Washington Examiner.

"Look, there are very powerful forces at work," he added. "We've got the NSA, the FBI and the CIA, all of whom confirmed a major lie that was being used for political purposes and a lie that was repeated and repeated in order to undercut our new president."

Rohrabacher said White House leaks to the press are particularly bad during Republican presidencies, as staffers attempt to ingratiate themselves with reporters, and he's not ruling that out as an explanation.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Endgame is a US with the Military Effectively in Charge


tomdispatch |  By Michael T. Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of 14 books including, most recently, The Race for What’s Left. He is currently completing work on a new book, All Hell Breaking Loose, on climate change and American national security. Originally published at TomDispatch

Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

Think of this as the new face of homeland security: containing the damage to America’s seacoasts, forests, and other vulnerable areas caused by extreme weather events made all the more frequent and destructive thanks to climate change. This is a “war” that won’t have a name — not yet, not in the Trump era, but it will be no less real for that. “The firepower of the federal government” was being trained on Harvey, as William Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in a blunt expression of this warlike approach. But don’t expect any of the military officials involved in such efforts to identify climate change as the source of their new strategic orientation, not while Commander in Chief Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office refusing to acknowledge the reality of global warming or its role in heightening the intensity of major storms; not while he continues to stock his administration, top to bottom, with climate-change deniers.

Until Trump moved into the White House, however, senior military officers in the Pentagon were speaking openly of the threats posed to American security by climate change and how that phenomenon might alter the very nature of their work.  Though mum’s the word today, since the early years of this century military officials have regularly focused on and discussed such matters, issuing striking warnings about an impending increase in extreme weather events — hurricanes, incessant rainfalls, protracted heat waves, and droughts — and ways in which that would mean an ever-expanding domestic role for the military in both disaster response and planning for an extreme future.

That future, of course, is now.  Like other well-informed people, senior military officials are perfectly aware that it’s difficult to attribute any given storm, Harvey and Irma included, to human-caused climate change with 100% confidence. But they also know that hurricanes draw their fierce energy from the heat of tropical waters, and that global warming is raising the temperatures of those waters. It’s making storms like Harvey and Irma, when they do occur, ever more powerful and destructive.  “As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating,” the Department of Defense (DoD) bluntly explained in the Quadrennial Defense Review, a 2014 synopsis of defense policy. This, it added, “may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities” — just the sort of crisis we’ve been witnessing over these last weeks.

As this statement suggests, any increase in climate-related extreme events striking U.S. territory will inevitably lead to a commensurate rise in American military support for civilian agencies, diverting key assets — troops and equipment — from elsewhere. While the Pentagon can certainly devote substantial capabilities to a small number of short-term emergencies, the multiplication and prolongation of such events, now clearly beginning to occur, will require a substantial commitment of forces, which, in time, will mean a major reorientation of U.S. security policy for the climate change era.  This may not be something the White House is prepared to do today, but it may soon find itself with little choice, especially since it seems so intent on crippling all civilian governmental efforts related to climate change.

The Fruits of 20th Century American WarSocialism


thesaker |  We are hard-coded to be credulous and uncritically accept all the demonization of Nazis and Soviets because we are Jews and White Russians. Careful here, I am NOT saying that the Nazis and Soviets were not evil – they definitely were – but what I am saying is that we, Jews and Russians, are far more willing to accept and endorse any version of history which makes the Nazis and Soviets some kind of exceptionally evil people and that, in contrast, we almost instinctively reject any notion that “our” side (in this case I mean *your* side, the American one since you, unlike me, consider yourselves American) was just as bad (if only because your side never murdered Jews and Russians). So let’s look at this “our/your side” for a few minutes.

By the time the USA entered WWII it had already committed the worse crime in human history, the poly-genocide of an entire continent, followed by the completely illegal and brutal annexation of the lands stolen from the Native Americans. Truly, Hitler would have been proud. But that is hardly all, the Anglo invaders then proceeded to wage another illegal and brutal war of annexation against Mexico from which they stole a huge chunk of land which includes modern Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico! Yes, all this land was illegally occupied and stolen by your side not once, but TWICE! And do I even need to mention the horrors of slavery to add to the “moral tally” of your side by the time the US entered the war? Right there I think that there is more than enough evidence that your side was morally worse than either the Nazis or the Soviets. The entire history of the USA is one of endless violence, plunder, hypocrisy, exploitation, imperialism, oppression and wars. Endless wars of aggression. None of them defensive by any stretch of the imagination. That is quite unique in human history. Can you think of a nastier, more bloodthirsty regime? I can’t.

Should I even mention the British “atrocities tally”, ranging from opium wars, to the invention of concentration camps, to the creation of Apartheid, the horrors of the occupation of Ireland, etc. etc. etc.?

I can just hear you say that yes, this was horrible, but that does not change the fact that in WWII the USA “saved Europe”. But is that really so?

To substantiate my position, I have put together a separate PDF file which lists 5 sources, 3 in English, 2 in Russian. You can download it here:

I have translated the key excerpts of the Russian sources and I am presenting them along with the key excerpts of the English sources. Please take a look at this PDF and, if you can, please read the full original articles I quote. I have stressed in bold red the key conclusions of these sources. You will notice that there are some variations in the figures, but the conclusions are, I think, undeniable. The historical record show that:
  1. The Soviet Union can be credited with the destruction of roughly 80% of the Nazi military machine. The US-UK correspondingly can be credited with no more than 20% of the Allied war effort.
  2. The scale and scope of the battles on the Eastern Front completely dwarf the biggest battles on the Western Front. Battles in the West involved Divisions and Brigades, in the East they involved Armies and Groups of Armies. That is at least one order of magnitude of difference.
  3. The USA only entered the war a year after Stalingrad and the Kursk battle when it was absolutely clear that the Nazis would lose the war.
The truth is that the Americans only entered the war when it was clear that the Nazis would be defeated and that their real motive was not the “liberation of oppressed Europe” but to prevent the Soviets from occupying all of Europe. The Americans never gave a damn about the mass murder of Jews or Russians, all they cared about was a massive land-grab (yet again).
[Sidebar: By the way, and lest you think that I claim that only Americans act this way, here is another set of interesting dates:
Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 6 and 9, 1945
Soviet Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation: August 9–20, 1945
We can clearly see the same pattern here: the Soviets waited until it was absolutely certain that the USA had defeated the Japanese empire before striking it themselves. It is also worth noting that it took the Soviets only 10 days to defeat the entire Kwantung Army, the most prestigious Army of the Japanese Empire with over one million well-trained and well-equipped soldiers! That should tell you a little something about the kind of military machine the Soviet Union had developed in the course of the war against Nazi Germany (see here for a superb US study of this military operation)]
Did the Americans bring peace and prosperity to western Europe?

To western Europe, to some degree yes, and that is because was easy for them: they ended the war almost “fresh”, their (stolen) homeland did not suffer the horrors of war and so, yes, they could bring in peanut butter, cigarettes and other material goods. They also made sure that Western Europe would become an immense market for US goods and services and that European resources would be made available to the US Empire, especially against the Soviet Union. And how did they finance this “generosity”? By robbing the so-called Third World blind, that’s all. Is that something to be proud of? Did Lenin not warn as early as 1917 that “imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism”? The wealth of Western Europe was built by the abject poverty of the millions of Africans, Asians and Latin Americas.

But what about the future of Europe and the European people?

There a number of things upon which the Anglos and Stalin did agree to at the end of WWII: The four Ds: denazification, disarmament, demilitarisation, and democratisation of a united Germany and reparations to rebuild the USSR. Yes, Stalin wanted a united, neutral Germany. As soon as the war ended, however, the Anglos reneged on all of these promises: they created a heavily militarized West Germany, they immediately recruited thousands of top Nazi officials for their intelligence services, their rocket program and to subvert the Soviet Union. Worse, they immediately developed plans to attack the Soviet Union. Right at the end of the WWII, Anglo powers had at least THREE plans to wage war on the USSR: Operation Dropshot, Plan Totality and Operation Unthinkable

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Promise and Peril of Immersive Technologies


weforum |  The best place from which to draw inspiration for how immersive technologies may be regulated is the regulatory frameworks being put into effect for traditional digital technology today. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in 2018. Not only does the law necessitate unambiguous consent for data collection, it also compels companies to erase individual data on request, with the threat of a fine of up to 4% of their global annual turnover for breaches. Furthermore, enshrined in the bill is the notion of ‘data portability’, which allows consumers to take their data across platforms – an incentive for an innovative start-up to compete with the biggest players. We may see similar regulatory norms for immersive technologies develop as well.

Providing users with sovereignty of personal data
Analysis shows that the major VR companies already use cookies to store data, while also collecting information on location, browser and device type and IP address. Furthermore, communication with other users in VR environments is being stored and aggregated data is shared with third parties and used to customize products for marketing purposes.

Concern over these methods of personal data collection has led to the introduction of temporary solutions that provide a buffer between individuals and companies. For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s ‘Privacy Badger’ is a browser extension that automatically blocks hidden third-party trackers and allows users to customize and control the amount of data they share with online content providers. A similar solution that returns control of personal data should be developed for immersive technologies. At present, only blunt instruments are available to individuals uncomfortable with data collection but keen to explore AR/VR: using ‘offline modes’ or using separate profiles for new devices.

Managing consumption
Short-term measures also exist to address overuse in the form of stopping mechanisms. Pop-up usage warnings once healthy limits are approached or exceeded are reportedly supported by 71% of young people in the UK. Services like unGlue allow parents to place filters on content types that their children are exposed to, as well as time limits on usage across apps.

All of these could be transferred to immersive technologies, and are complementary fixes to actual regulation, such as South Korea’s Shutdown Law. This prevents children under the age of 16 from playing computer games between midnight and 6am. The policy is enforceable because it ties personal details – including date of birth – to a citizen’s resident registration number, which is required to create accounts for online services. These solutions are not infallible: one could easily imagine an enterprising child might ‘borrow’ an adult’s device after-hours to find a workaround to the restrictions. Further study is certainly needed, but we believe that long-term solutions may lie in better design.
Rethinking success metrics for digital technology
As businesses develop applications using immersive technologies, they should transition from using metrics that measure just the amount of user engagement to metrics that also take into account user satisfaction, fulfilment and enhancement of well-being. Alternative metrics could include a net promoter score for software, which would indicate how strongly users – or perhaps even regulators – recommend the service to their friends based on their level of fulfilment or satisfaction with a service.

The real challenge, however, is to find measures that align with business policy and user objectives. As Tristan Harris, Founder of Time Well Spent argues: “We have to come face-to-face with the current misalignment so we can start to generate solutions.” There are instances where improvements to user experience go hand-in-hand with business opportunities. Subscription-based services are one such example: YouTube Red will eliminate advertisements for paying users, as does Spotify Premium. These are examples where users can pay to enjoy advertising-free experiences and which do not come at the cost to the content developers since they will receive revenue in the form of paid subscriptions.

More work remains if immersive technologies are to enable happier, more fulfilling interactions with content and media. This will largely depend on designing technology that puts the user at the centre of its value proposition.

This is part of a series of articles related to the disruptive effects of several technologies (virtual/augmented reality, artificial intelligence and blockchain) on the creative economy.


Virtual Reality Health Risks...,


medium |  Two decades ago, our research group made international headlines when we published research showing that virtual reality systems could damage people’s health.

Our demonstration of side-effects was not unique — many research groups were showing that it could cause health problems. The reason that our work was newsworthy was because we showed that there were fundamental problems that needed to be tackled when designing virtual reality systems — and these problems needed engineering solutions that were tailored for the human user.

In other words, it was not enough to keep producing ever faster computers and higher definition displays — a fundamental change in the way systems were designed was required.

So why do virtual reality systems need a new approach? The answer to this question lies in the very definition of how virtual reality differs from how we traditionally use a computer.

Natural human behaviour is based on responses elicited by information detected by a person’s sensory systems. For example, rays of light bouncing off a shiny red apple can indicate that there’s a good source of food hanging on a tree.

A person can then use the information to guide their hand movements and pick the apple from the tree. This use of ‘perception’ to guide ‘motor’ actions defines a feedback loop that underpins all of human behaviour. The goal of virtual reality systems is to mimic the information that humans normally use to guide their actions, so that humans can interact with computer generated objects in a natural way.

The problems come when the normal relationship between the perceptual information and the corresponding action is disrupted. One way of thinking about such disruption is that a mismatch between perception and action causes ‘surprise’. It turns out that surprise is really important for human learning and the human brain appears to be engineered to minimise surprise.

This means that the challenge for the designers of virtual reality is that they must create systems that minimise the surprise experienced by the user when using computer generated information to control their actions.

Of course, one of the advantages of virtual reality is that the computer can create new and wonderful worlds. For example, a completely novel fruit — perhaps an elppa — could be shown hanging from a virtual tree. The elppa might have a completely different texture and appearance to any other previously encountered fruit — but it’s important that the information used to specify the location and size of the elppa allows the virtual reality user to guide their hand to the virtual object in a normal way.

If there is a mismatch between the visual information and the hand movements then ‘surprise’ will result, and the human brain will need to adapt if future interactions between vision and action are to maintain their accuracy. The issue is that the process of adaptation may cause difficulties — and these difficulties might be particularly problematic for children as their brains are not fully developed. 

This issue affects all forms of information presented within a virtual world (so hearing and touch as well as vision), and all of the different motor systems (so postural control as well as arm movement systems). One good example of the problems that can arise can be seen through the way our eyes react to movement.

In 1993, we showed that virtual reality systems had a fundamental design flaw when they attempted to show three dimensional visual information. This is because the systems produce a mismatch between where the eyes need to focus and where the eyes need to point. In everyday life, if we change our focus from something close to something far away our eyes will need to change focus and alter where they are pointing.

The change in focus is necessary to prevent blur and the change in eye direction is necessary to stop double images. In reality, the changes in focus and direction are physically linked (a change in fixation distance causes change in the images and where the images fall at the back of the eyes).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Artificial Intelligence is Lesbian


thenewyorker |  “The face is an observable proxy for a wide range of factors, like your life history, your development factors, whether you’re healthy,” Michal Kosinski, an organizational psychologist at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, told the Guardian earlier this week. The photo of Kosinski accompanying the interview showed the face of a man beleaguered. Several days earlier, Kosinski and a colleague, Yilun Wang, had reported the results of a study, to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggesting that facial-recognition software could correctly identify an individual’s sexuality with uncanny accuracy. The researchers culled tens of thousands of photos from an online-dating site, then used an off-the-shelf computer model to extract users’ facial characteristics—both transient ones, like eye makeup and hair color, and more fixed ones, like jaw shape. Then they fed the data into their own model, which classified users by their apparent sexuality. When shown two photos, one of a gay man and one of a straight man, Kosinski and Wang’s model could distinguish between them eighty-one per cent of the time; for women, its accuracy dropped slightly, to seventy-one per cent. Human viewers fared substantially worse. They correctly picked the gay man sixty-one per cent of the time and the gay woman fifty-four per cent of the time. “Gaydar,” it appeared, was little better than a random guess.

The study immediately drew fire from two leading L.G.B.T.Q. groups, the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, for “wrongfully suggesting that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to detect sexual orientation.” They offered a list of complaints, which the researchers rebutted point by point. Yes, the study was in fact peer-reviewed. No, contrary to criticism, the study did not assume that there was no difference between a person’s sexual orientation and his or her sexual identity; some people might indeed identify as straight but act on same-sex attraction. “We assumed that there was a correlation . . . in that people who said they were looking for partners of the same gender were homosexual,” Kosinski and Wang wrote. True, the study consisted entirely of white faces, but only because the dating site had served up too few faces of color to provide for meaningful analysis. And that didn’t diminish the point they were making—that existing, easily obtainable technology could effectively out a sizable portion of society. To the extent that Kosinski and Wang had an agenda, it appeared to be on the side of their critics. As they wrote in the paper’s abstract, “Given that companies and governments are increasingly using computer vision algorithms to detect people’s intimate traits, our findings expose a threat to the privacy and safety of gay men and women.”

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kevin Shipp: The Deep State and the Shadow Government


activistpost |  “The shadow government controls the deep state and manipulates our elected government behind the scenes,” Shipp warned in a recent talk at a Geoengineeringwatch.org conference.

Shipp had a series of slides explaining how the deep state and shadow government functions as well as the horrific crimes they are committing against U.S. citizens.

Some of the revelations the former CIA anti-terrorism counter intelligence officer revealed included that “Google Earth was set up through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and InQtel.” Indeed he is correct, the CIA and NGA owned the company Google acquired, Keyhole Inc., paying an undisclosed sum for the company to turn its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. Another curious investor in Keyhole Inc. was none other than the venture capital firm In-Q-Tel run by the CIA according to a press release at the time.

“The top of the shadow government is the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency,” Shipp said.

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the “central node” of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

In the shocking, explosive presentation, Shipp went on to express that there are “over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S.” that formed after 9/11. There are “1,291 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

He also detailed how Congress is owned by the Military Industrial Complex through the Congressional Armed Services Committee (48 senior members of Congress) giving those members money in return for a vote on the spending bill for the military and intelligence budget.

He even touched on what he called the “secret intelligence industrial complex,” which he called the center of the shadow government including the CIA, NSA, NRO, and NGA.

Shipp further stated that around the “secret intelligence industrial complex” you have the big five conglomerate of intelligence contractors – Leidos Holdings, CSRA, CACI, SAIC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. He noted that the work they do is “top secret and unreported.”

Alfred W. McCoy: Pentagon Wonder Weapons For World Dominion


tomdispatch |  Ever since the Pentagon with its 17 miles of corridors was completed in 1943, that massive bureaucratic maze has presided over a creative fusion of science and industry that President Dwight Eisenhower would dub “the military-industrial complex” in his farewell address to the nation in 1961. “We can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense,” he told the American people. “We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions” sustained by a “technological revolution” that is “complex and costly.” As part of his own contribution to that complex, Eisenhower had overseen the creation of both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, and a “high-risk, high-gain” research unit called the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, that later added the word “Defense” to its name and became DARPA.
 
For 70 years, this close alliance between the Pentagon and major defense contractors has produced an unbroken succession of “wonder weapons” that at least theoretically gave it a critical edge in all major military domains. Even when defeated or fought to a draw, as in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s research matrix has demonstrated a recurring resilience that could turn disaster into further technological advance.

The Vietnam War, for example, was a thoroughgoing tactical failure, yet it would also prove a technological triumph for the military-industrial complex. Although most Americans remember only the Army’s soul-destroying ground combat in the villages of South Vietnam, the Air Force fought the biggest air war in military history there and, while it too failed dismally and destructively, it turned out to be a crucial testing ground for a revolution in robotic weaponry.

To stop truck convoys that the North Vietnamese were sending through southern Laos into South Vietnam, the Pentagon’s techno-wizards combined a network of sensors, computers, and aircraft in a coordinated electronic bombing campaign that, from 1968 to 1973, dropped more than a million tons of munitions — equal to the total tonnage for the whole Korean War — in that limited area. At a cost of $800 million a year, Operation Igloo White laced that narrow mountain corridor with 20,000 acoustic, seismic, and thermal sensors that sent signals to four EC-121 communications aircraft circling ceaselessly overhead.

At a U.S. air base just across the Mekong River in Thailand, Task Force Alpha deployed two powerful IBM 360/65 mainframe computers, equipped with history’s first visual display monitors, to translate all those sensor signals into “an illuminated line of light” and so launch jet fighters over the Ho Chi Minh Trail where computers discharged laser-guided bombs automatically. Bristling with antennae and filled with the latest computers, its massive concrete bunker seemed, at the time, a futuristic marvel to a visiting Pentagon official who spoke rapturously about “being swept up in the beauty and majesty of the Task Force Alpha temple.”

However, after more than 100,000 North Vietnamese troops with tanks, trucks, and artillery somehow moved through that sensor field undetected for a massive offensive in 1972, the Air Force had to admit that its $6 billion “electronic battlefield” was an unqualified failure. Yet that same bombing campaign would prove to be the first crude step toward a future electronic battlefield for unmanned robotic warfare.

In the pressure cooker of history’s largest air war, the Air Force also transformed an old weapon, the “Firebee” target drone, into a new technology that would rise to significance three decades later. By 1972, the Air Force could send an “SC/TV” drone, equipped with a camera in its nose, up to 2,400 miles across communist China or North Vietnam while controlling it via a low-resolution television image. The Air Force also made aviation history by test firing the first missile from one of those drones.

The air war in Vietnam was also an impetus for the development of the Pentagon’s global telecommunications satellite system, another important first. After the Initial Defense Satellite Communications System launched seven orbital satellites in 1966, ground terminals in Vietnam started transmitting high-resolution aerial surveillance photos to Washington — something NASA called a “revolutionary development.” Those images proved so useful that the Pentagon quickly launched an additional 21 satellites and soon had the first system that could communicate from anywhere on the globe. Today, according to an Air Force website, the third phase of that system provides secure command, control, and communications for “the Army’s ground mobile forces, the Air Force’s airborne terminals, Navy ships at sea, the White House Communications Agency, the State Department, and special users” like the CIA and NSA.

At great cost, the Vietnam War marked a watershed in Washington’s global information architecture. Turning defeat into innovation, the Air Force had developed the key components — satellite communications, remote sensing, computer-triggered bombing, and unmanned aircraft — that would merge 40 years later into a new system of robotic warfare.