Articles, Page 10 of 215
They’ve been called the Sailing Stones of Death Valley and mystified people for over a century. Essentially, large boulders were found over the years to move significant distances while leaving telltale tracks in their wake. But no other evidence existed near the stones to identify how they moved or what moved them.
And then a couple of scientists went and ruined the mystique for everyone with their witchcraft “moving picture boxes” that captured the whole thing in action. Essentially, the land would freeze over and surface water beneath the rock allowed it to move and slide. Well, their video in conjunction with the GPS tracking aids (because the rocks were prone to just disappearing on their parole officer) killed the mystery definitively.
When the Space Shuttles were retired, America turned overseas to support its continued involvement in the space program. The dependence even went as far as military and intelligence agencies requiring the use of Russian rocketry to push equipment into space. Nevertheless, the successes of commercial endeavors like SpaceX with successful docks to the International Space Station proving it could be done affordably, America is finally financing a return to an independent space program again with nearly $7B. Both Boeing and SpaceX emerged as contract winners for NASA’s effort to rely on domestic, commercial resources for an all American space program.
Physicists at Harvard have brought humanity one step closer to bringing the light saber to our kitchen cutlery sets. Of course, the full details on constructing your own light saber are behind a pay wall. The basic ingredients are simple and can probably be acquired through Amazon. You will require a vacuum chamber, rubidium, laser beams, and near absolute zero temperatures along with some other small components. While laughing maniacally, the scientists blasted the rubidium cloud with the lasers causing the photons to entangle whereupon the light began to act as either a flowing liquid or frozen solid. Rather than going down in the scientific journal saying, “Holy shit – eat my science you Yale motherfu**ers!”, Dr. Andrew Houck made a far more eloquent comment, “It’s something that we have never seen before. This is a new behavior for light.”
Not too long ago, America provided the only known trial vaccines [ZMapp] against Ebola to some patients in Africa. After those successes, even more experimental vaccines are coming on-line now from additional countries as well. But support to the growing Ebola outbreak in Africa is about to expand even more. President Obama has announced plans to deploy 3000 military servicemen into Africa to construct and operate treatment centers for Ebola victims headquartered out of Liberia.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the Wife Excuses From Sex excel worksheet. The story goes that a man dumped his wife after she kept turning him down for sex, whereupon he documented the reasons. She in turn, posted the excel document to Reddit which has fueled arguments across the Internet. Women, of course, are calling his list juvenile and supporting the wife. Meanwhile, men are popping up everywhere arguing in favor of the man saying their wives often slough them off for the same reasons just as frequently.
The .50BMG bullet is huge. It’s huge enough that researchers have been able to work all kinds of technologies into them such as RDX explosives. DARPA has recently upped the ante with what they call the EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance) guided .50BMG bullet!! The round is modified as a 4" projectile with an optical sensor on the nose, guidance circuits, in-flight adjustment controls and power to effectively let snipers routinely hit targets over a mile away with greater ease. Imagine the future … laser guided, armor penetrating, RDX filled .50BMG rounds for “hunting” and “alien invasion disaster prep.”
Hass McCook is an Oxford MBA that’s put together an interesting series of articles on the true costs and environmental impacts of various monetary systems – Bitcoin, gold, fiat currency, and the banks that handle them.
The last time the Army downsized was under the Clinton administration in the 90s, which largely resulted in a military culture known as zero defect that nearly everyone involved absolutely abhorred. Arguments went both ways regarding those personnel cuts with many of the negative ideas coming to light again.
Why? The Defense Department recently send a number of early service termination notices to Army Captains worldwide … to include those still actively engaged in ENDURINGFREEDOM. This particular action, of course, has drawn enormous ire. At least the Clinton administration downsized a peace-time force whereas these cuts take place while combat operations are still underway.
One of the keys to being able to conduct an illegal activity in the unforeseeable future of course is to have established a life pattern that suggests plausible deniability. The Internet is rife with opportunities to do dark and devious things … but the first rule of hacking is not to shit where you eat. But perhaps that’s not always a possibility. Should you open your home network for public use NOW as a means of establishing a precedent that somebody else could have conducted the malicious activity later?
There’s of course great risk to doing this – somebody very well may actually use your connection for illegal activity or other questionable activity. But, depending on how serious you are about establishing plausible deniability, this could be a good thing. It’s not without precedent already. Comcast is already on a roll converting people’s home WiFi routers (their company’s equipment of course) into public access points. People have also long volunteered their home connections to be Tor exit nodes.
You’ve probably seen the video already from everyone sharing it on Facebook. But somebody flew a private drone through a Fourth of July fireworks display and captured some pretty awesome video inside the explosions. Of course, doing something like this is in violation of all kinds of safe operating practices and no doubt against the law. Uses like this are probably going to further limit and restrict private drone even more than the recent FAA rules that classify toy drones as illegal.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Reading some American history the other day, I was struck by how similar the story of how Texas came to be part of the USA in the 1840s was to how the Crimea came to be part of Russia this year.
Confident that I am not the first to see this I Googled Crimea as the Russian Texas and sure enough I found that link and the same idea being promoted by the Russians. How I love history when it contradicts our illusions about ourselves.
There are significant differences, the prime one being that the Russians living in the Crimea had been there for centuries, and so were not put there in order to assist the annexation by Russia. Indeed they went there first to kick out the Turks in 1774 and the Crimea remained an integral part of the Russian state until it was given to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (part of the USSR) by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. The ethnic Russians living there had no need to change their loyalty or nationality throughout that process.
There is another interesting historical parallel with Nazi Germany.
Regardless of who you are, nobody likes the IRS. A few years back, a brouhaha emerged about potentially targeted activities against a particular political leaning. Regardless of your side, either liberal or conservative, the subsequent shenanigans should make everyone mad. Really? Of the folks at the center of the investigation, none of the individuals can produce ANY of their emails especially from the specific window of time in question? Of course, it got better when the IRS claimed that coincidentally all of those hard drives were also recycled. None of their activities can be handwaved away as a simple mistake, the Federal Records Act of 1950 is more than 60 years old and federal employees are very aware of their requirement to maintain them.
Everyone’s favorite President for world peace, “not being Bush”, and whatnot is sending advisers to Iraq. Why? The group ISIL, (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham or Levant), has been running rampant across Iraq sacking city after city on their movement towards Baghdad. Iraqi security forces have basically been either non-resistant or flat out surrendered without a fight to the ISIL forces. Even more depressing for the post-US force pullout is that ISIL has overrun several Iraqi military bases and gained control of American weapons, vehicles and munitions left for the Iraqis amongst other military grade facilities.
SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the American POW from Operation Enduring Freedom, has been freed after negotiations where he was traded for five prisoners out of Guantanamo. Although his recovery aligns with the military’s mantra to never leave a Soldier behind, the story of how he became a POW in the first place casts quite the controversy over his future.