Tag Archives: MIT

Iranian puppets

Saudi Arabia has been under attack for a while, yet the latest one has been the hardest hit for now. 26 people were injured in a drone attack on Abha Airport. The fact that it is 107 Km away from the border gives rise that this is not the end. Even as we see: “a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters”, I wonder if they were really Houthi or members of Hezbollah calling themselves Houthi. In addition, when we see: “the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch” as the Saudi government stated this, I am not 100% convinced. The supply yes, the presence is another matter. There is pretty hard evidence that Iran has been supplying drone technology to Lebanon and they have been training Hezbollah forces. I think this is a first of several operations where we see Hezbollah paying the invoice from Iran by being operationally active as a proxy for Iran. It does not make Iran innocence, it does change the picture. the claim by Washington “Iran is directing the increasingly sophisticated Houthi attacks deep into Saudi territory” is more accurate as I see it. It changes the premise as well as the actions required. From my point of view, we merely need to be able to strike at one team, if anyone is found to be Lebanese, Saudi Arabia can change the premise by using Hezbollah goods and strike Beirut – Rafic Hariri International Airport with alternative hardware. Lebanon stops being the least volatile country in the Middle East and it would stop commerce and a few other options at the same time. I wonder how much support they get from Iran at that point. I believe in the old operational premise to victory

Segregation, isolation, and assassination, the tactical premise in three parts that is nice and all solving; It can be directed at a person, a location, or even an infrastructure, the premise matters. It is time to stop Hezbollah, that part is essential as it does more than merely slow down Houthi rebels, it pushes for Iran to go all in whilst being the visible transgressor, or it forces them to back off completely; that is how I personally see it.

So as we see the Pentagon rally behind diplomatic forces, I cannot help but wonder how it is possible for 15 dicks to be pussies? For the non-insiders, it is comprised of the 7 joint chiefs of staff, the septet of intelligence (Army, Navy, Air force, Marine, FBI, CIA and NSA) and of course the National Security Advisor. It is time to change the premise, it really is. It is also a must to proclaim ourselves to either the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or Iran and I will never proclaim myself towards Iran (a man must keep some principles).

We can be all angry find a solution to erase them. As I see it, my version is more productive in the end. They are targeting close to the border as much as possible, this implies that their hardware has limitations. Even so to merely rely on anti-drone and some version of an Aveillant system is economically not too viable, it will merely make some places (like airports more secure). When we look around we see that there are 6 ways to take care of drones.

  1. Guns, which requires precision and manpower
  2. Nets, same as the first, yet a net covers an area better chance of results and a chance to get the drone decently unharmed, or retrieve enough evidence to consider a counter offensive
  3. Jammer, a two pronged option, as the connection fails most drones go back to their point of origin giving the option of finding out who was behind it.
  4. Hacking, a drone can be used for hacking, but the other way is also an option if the drone lacks certain security measures, optionally getting access to logs and other information
  5. Birds of Prey (Eagle, Falcon), A Dutch solution to use a bird of prey to hunt a drone, an Eagle will be 10 times more deadly than a drone, Eagles are a lot more agile and remaining as fast all the time.
  6. Drones, Fighting drones with drones is not the most viable one, however these drones have paint guns which would hinder rotor function and speed, forcing gravity and drag to be the main issues for the drone.

The issue is not merely how to do it, but the specifics of the drone become a larger issue. An Eagle and most solutions will not work against the MQ-9 Reaper drone (to name but an example), yet Hezbollah and Iran rely on the Qods Mohajer (optionally the Raad 85), which when considering the range is the more likely suspect. What is important to know is that these devices requires a certain skill level, hence there is no way that a Houthi forces could have done this by themselves. It required Hezbollah/Iranian supervision. There the option of jamming and drones with a paint gun would work, if a jammer gets shot onto the drone, it will give them a way to follow, paint can have the same effect whilst at the same time limit its capabilities. If the drone is loaded with explosives and set for a one way trip there is a lot less to do, yet the paint could still impact its ability if there is enough space left, if the paint is loaded with metal it could light it up making it a much better target. All options that have been considered in the last few years in anti-drone activities, the question is how to proceed now.

I believe that inaction will no longer get us anywhere, especially when Hezbollah is involved. That is the one speculative part. There is no way that Houthi rebel forces have the skills; I believe that Iran is too focussed on having some level of deniability, hence the Hezbollah part. It is entirely probable that Iranian forces are involved, yet that would be the pilot and with the range, that pilot would have been really close to the Yemeni border making Abha airport a target, yet unlikely that more inland another target would be available to them.

Knowing that gives more options, but also makes it harder to proceed, the earlier five methods mentioned are direct, there is one other option, but I am not discussing it here at present as it optionally involves DoD classified materials (and involves DARPA’s project on Machine learning applied intelligence to the radio spectrum) and lets not put that part out in the open. It is actually a clever program conceived by Paul Tilghman, a graduate from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), an excellent school that is slightly below MIT and on par with UTS (my creative stomping grounds).

It is a roadmap that needs to be followed, I am all for bombing Hezbollah sites, unlike the earlier mentioned group of 15, I prefer my level of evidence to be a little higher as such the Tilghman solution is called for, after that, when we get that we can address the viability of Beirut and Tripoli with 2500 lbs hardware donations, depending on the evidence found mind you, we can make adjustments, as some materials would have needed to be shipped to Yemen either directly or via Lebanon and in all honesty, I am of the mind that Iran would not have done this directly. Proxy wars require a higher level of deniability to remain proxy wars; as such we need the hardware as evidence.

And even as we see: “Mohamed Abdel Salam, said the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia’s “continued aggression and blockade on Yemen”. Earlier in the week, he said attacks on Saudi airports were “the best way to break the blockade”” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/12/yemen-houthi-rebel-missile-attack-injures-26-saudi-airport) we need to realise that this is growing and potentially a lot larger than before. Even as we acknowledge that the forces have withdrawn from the harbour, we have no insight on where they went, there is no indication that they have stopped fighting, merely that they are at the moment inactive, a status that can change at any given moment.

Add to that the threat (or is that the promise) by Tehran who decided to “threaten to resume enriching uranium towards weapons-grade level on 7 July if US sanctions are not lifted or its European allies fail to offer new terms for the nuclear deal“, here my answer is ‘What deal?‘, there is enough indication that enriching never stopped, but was merely scaled down to 95% of previous effort, as such there is no need to offer more incentives that will only be broken. As such my strategy to seek out Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah forces) to take away the proxy options of Iran, they must either commit 100% or back down, at present their fear is having to commit fully to this and change the stage of proxy war to actual war, and as such my strategy makes sense. They have no hope of winning as too many government would be willing to align with Saudi Arabia (that might make them surprised and happy as well), and a united front against Iran is what Iran fears, because Turkey would have no option but to cut ties out of fear what happens when we are done with the other Iranian puppets.

It is perhaps the only side where I disagree with James Jeffrey (US special representative for Syria engagement), I do not believe that it is a “hegemonic quest to dominate the Middle East“, I believe that Iran knows that this is no longer an option, yet bolstering foundations of a growing alliance is the best that they hope for and here Iran merely facilitates in the urge to state to Syria (the government and its current president) in the voice of ‘You owe us, we helped you‘, it is slightly pathetic and merely the voice of a used car salesman at present. As more of the proxy war becomes open and proven Iran is backed into a corner, it makes Iran more dangerous, but it also forces them to act, not through proxy and I am decently certain that Iran has too much to lose as present, especially as Russia denied them the S-400 solution.

Even as Gevorg Mirzayan (an expert in Middle East and a leading analyst at the agency Foreign Policy) is getting headlines with ‘‘Dumping’ Iran Would Be Mistaken, Since Russia Doesn’t Know What The US Will Offer In Return‘, we see that the stage is a valid question, but there we also see the answer. the direct (and somewhat less diplomatic) answer is “Never set a stage where a rabid dog can call the shots“, the more diplomatic answer (by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov) was “Russia has not received any requests from Iran for delivering its S-400 air defense systems” is nice, and it puts Iran in a space where they need to admit to needing this kind of hardware, yet on the other side, Russia realises that Iran is driven to flame the middle East and down the track if its alliance is too strong, takes Saudi Arabia out of consideration for several lucrative Russian ventures and they know it.

All these elements are in play and in place, so segregating and isolating Hezbollah limits the options of Iran, making it an essential step to pursue. Interesting is that these steps were firmly visible as early as last year August, and that group of 15 did little to bolster solutions towards truly isolating Iran, that Miaow division was optionally seeking milk and cream and finding not that much of either.

So the time is now essential moving to critical to take the options away from Iran, we let Lebanon decide whether they want to get caught in a room painted in a corner with no directions remaining, at that point they become a real easy target.

That was not hard was it?

Happy Friday and remember, it will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so make the most of it.

 

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Will there be any Ivy League left?

I always understood that a decent education was essential in getting a good job, nowadays that is not a given, with several graduate degrees and a master, I am finding that at some point age discrimination is pretty overwhelmingly everything in the commonwealth. So when we get the juice on what makes for a good university, the LA Times article (at https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-college-admissions-scandal-target-letters-20190503-story.html) are some universities actually as good as they are cracked up to be? When they admit students through bribery and other means, does that not give a clear case that the overall result of these students imply that they no longer have the best?

The accusation: “The 33 parents charged in the scandal so far are accused of paying $15,000 to $75,000 per child for rigged college entrance exams, and $100,000 to $400,000 per child for an athletics recruiting scam.” is a two edged blade. To what extent was the university part of the admittance? The second part is which deserving student was there for removed from consideration? There is a third, mainly how much additional funds will be shoved into some directions for these students to actually graduate?

The third one is a consideration that is set on very thin ice. Beyond the admittance part, there is actually no evidence of any kind that wrongdoing was done, and when we consider the amount of people trying to get into Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the case could be made that beside a very small greed driven group within the universities, there is a mere showing at best that this merely involved a few rotten apples at best, but how can we be certain?

You see, there is more to “Federal prosecutors have sent a letter to Yusi Zhao, whose parents paid $6.5 million to the consultant at the heart of the college admissions scandal, informing the former Stanford student she is a possible target of their investigation, a person familiar with the matter said“, we can accept that there is a clear case of timing that is to be played, but it goes beyond that, the fact that “Neither Zhao nor her parents have been charged in the case that has ensnared 50 people, including Hollywood actresses and financiers“, I personally would argue (based on not having seen any evidence) that them either not being investigated, or having avoided the trap in the first place implies (emphases on implies) that they have had clear intent of not getting caught, the innocent always get trapped initially, only the aware avoid all set traps. Yusi Zhao is the daughter of Chinese billionaire Tao Zhao and the implied fatherly side was seen in the New York Post (at https://nypost.com/2019/05/03/meet-the-posh-billionaire-family-entangled-in-admissions-scam/) only two days ago. To be honest, I would be able to relate to “But Yusi “Molly” Zhao’s pharma tycoon dad once bragged that he has no time for rich kids who “don’t rely on their own abilities.”“. Yes, the amount of stupid rich kids that squandered the family fortune, there are plenty of examples and an exponential more examples in the Hollywood film script department. You want to give your kids a leg up by getting them a good education, yet there are more good educators beyond the Ivy league, There are excellent universities in Illinois, California (Berkeley to name one), Columbia, Indiana and Florida. Plenty have highly desired degrees, so why would someone spend $6.5 million when $125K does it; merely because Mark Zuckerberg attended Stanford? People can’t be that dim can they? Well, they can but they end up not being billionaires that is the short and sweet of it.

The problem is not merely the kids of the 33 parents; the issue is that the overall value of the universities involved would find an impact down the line. Will there be the impact when they graduate on the papers that they publish? Will academia go with the statement that as the position was fraudulently acquired, whatever they publish would be scrutinised as non-valued? You might laugh at that, but that is a much bigger issue than we think. Anyone who had to present and upload there papers for grading, having it checked for plagiarism, we all sweated when the number get above a certain point.

  • Did we make a mistake?
  • Are all our references correctly in place?
  • Did someone copy our work?

We get the weirdest fears, often all undeserving, but every university has forever been hammering down on plagiarism, so when one of their papers ends up being a tad too high on the checking software scale, will the thought be they got into the university fraudulently? So they might go with the old stage of having more likely than not copied other work. It sounds crazy, but is it?

It is that much of a leap? If a non-sailor can get into a sailing position with help of a fund supported coach (John Vandemoer), staged as a competitive sailor, what else could have happened? I was (to some degree) a sailor myself, yet I could not hold a candle to some real sailors and she gets in under the radar with full sails unfurled? I believe that this should be regarded as a signal that more was going on.

The news is spreading like wildfire and as we get most of the information we saw in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/05/03/she-paid-college-consultant-million-get-her-daughter-into-stanford-she-said-she-was-tricked/)

Here too we see the emphasis on “No members of the Zhao family have been charged, and they are not mentioned in court papers. But when U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling announced the arrests in March, he said one family had paid $6.5 million. The Los Angeles Times first reported that it was the Zhao family that had paid the seven-figure sum — far more than anyone else charged in the scheme“, I personally still have the feeling that someone who has been able to avoid all mention has worked much more with intent than the others, now I could be wrong, but the old truth that to avoid a trap you need to know one is there seems to be central in all this, more important. Yet the reference that the LA Times had was missing, how it all started (at https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-morrie-tobin-college-admissions-scandal-20190331-story.html), how Morrie Tobin, regarded to be a crooked Finance exec, and when Andrew Lelling gave the media “Our first lead in this came during interviews with a target of an entirely separate investigation, who gave us a tip that this activity might be going on,” we get to see “The tip led investigators to a soccer coach at Yale University, who, in turn, pointed them to William “Rick” Singer, the college admissions consultant who would confess to being the mastermind of the admissions racket. With Singer’s cooperation, FBI agents set about building cases against dozens of the wealthy parents on his client list as well as people at universities across the country Singer allegedly paid to help students cheat their way into school.” within the short time that follows, we see 33 parents and 17 others to be the target of a court case that will impact several Ivy League Universities and even as this was from one tip, the rest will be squawking like goose to get away with as little damage as possible, as such we cannot tell how far this will go, but it will hit others, I have very little doubt on that front.

My reasoning is this, this has been going on for a while, and the way that the amount of money has been moved around implies that the people involved are not on their first milk run. The ABC quote: “Prosecutors said Huffman, 56, made a $15,000 contribution to Singer’s foundation in exchange for having an associate of Singer’s in 2017 secretly correct her daughter’s answers on a college entrance exam at a test centre Singer controlled” gives rise to that. Not merely the fact that she did it, but somehow she was contacted or she contacted a party involved, the fact that the SAT scores were ‘corrected’ in the window available implies that the system is larger spread and available to a larger worried audience (read: parents in fear that their kids will not be good enough). The term ‘associate of Singer‘ also implies that this man had fingers in many American Pie’s and to keep it a secret to the degree it was requires cooperation on certain levels, secrets like these tend to get out in the civil world, the fact it did not is an implication by itself.

There is optionally the fact that this kid went to a test centre that Singer controlled is up for debate whether that was merely fortunate for Huffman. If there is one issue, than it is the issue that there is every change that the kids will now walk with a mark on their life, a mark they optionally did not want, require or ask for.

God help us from overprotective parents at times.

 

 

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Fruity tech sides ignored

We have seen plenty of events in the last few days, some we will side one way, and the next the other way. some of these issues are not black and white, they are grey at best and we can no longer decide which shade of grey we are looking at, even less decide if there are 50 shades of them. We see places like the Sydney Morning Herald give us: ‘Facebook is turning into an Apple lookalike‘, whilst CNBC gives us: “Facebook’s revenue miss means more ads could flood user timelines“. I believe that this goes beyond a mere notion of ‘Facebook growth slows as Zuckerberg says developed countries are saturated‘, which we get from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/30/facebook-quarterly-report-revenue-growth). Yes there definitely is saturation, but there is also a growing resentment from the users themselves. You see, Facebook is no longer about the users, it is no longer about what we want, Facebook is about telling us what we want and the resentment group is starting to grow, perhaps soon enough on an exponential scale. This is what I would call the precursor to collapse. Facebook did this to its self and that is not even considering the Cambridge Analytica element in the equation. When I start Facebook I want to see my timeline as a timeline, I need it chronologically as I have friends and family all over the world, so time zones are important here. Yet every time I start Facebook on desktop or mobile, it resorts to what gets the most visibility, it is about the most interactions hoping that it will lead to more engagement, but that is now more and more less likely to be the case as users have evolved. They know what to look for and when to look. Facebook is about traffic pressure and does not seem to care on what the users want and that saturated group is starting to look for other places where they can get what they need. It ends up not being good news for Facebook and they are hurting themselves more and more by not considering their users and placing them first, they place traffic pressures for the need of enhanced advertisement first and the people are now backing away.

So when the Guardian treats us to: “Zuckerberg cautioned that revenue could slow in the future“, I merely see the truth as it should be which is “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future“, they are not the same.

And even as we are told: “Last week, the company announced that the war room team had detected and deleted 82 pages, groups, and accounts, all found to be part of an Iranian disinformation campaign targeting voters in the US and UK” it seems merely the top of the iceberg and even as I have no real notion of what they think is a war room, but there are doubts on what Facebook thinks it is and what it actually should be from a few directions.

To continue that it would seem important that I use the quotes from last May when Bloomberg gave us: “At the end of April, Al-Ahed’s website linked to an Arabic Facebook page with more than 33,000 followers. Content on the page included a video of masked snipers targeting Israeli soldiers. Another Al-Ahed Facebook page had more than 47,000 followers, and one in English had 5,000. Facebook’s policies prohibit material that supports or advances terrorism. The company’s definition of the term, published last month for the first time, includes a ban on nongovernmental organizations that use violence to achieve political, religious, or ideological aims. It specifies that such groups include religious extremists, white supremacists, and militant environmental groups. Facebook also says content that violates its policies is “not allowed” on the site.

Now consider this site (at https://www.memri.org/reports/hizbullah-reveals-drones-and-missile-museum-jihadi-tourism-south-lebanon), whilst we see: “In August 2018, for the first time, Hizbullah revealed drones and the short-range 75-kilometer Khaibar missile that it used during the July 2006 war with Israel. These are on display as part of a new exhibition held at the organization’s “Museum for Jihadi Tourism” (also known as the “Mleeta Tourist Landmark”) in Mleeta, South Lebanon, to mark 12 years since the war. Reports about these new exhibits and others were published in various Hizbullah media“, also consider “the head of Hizbullah’s media department, ‘Ali Daher, told the organization’s news website Al-‘Ahed that, until recently, the museum had displayed only old-generation drones, but now drones of several generations, which can carry out a variety of missions, are on display. The report stated that Hizbullah has a fleet of advanced drones stamped with the emblem of the organization’s “aerial force,” which first came into operational use during the July 2006 war“. That place also shows missiles used on targets last year (‘liberating’ Al-Juroud in 2017). So in this my short and direct message to Mark Zuckerberg is (as diplomatically as I could presently possibly muster): ‘Do you have a fucking clue what you and your war room are NOT achieving?‘ You see the Memri.org group has over one hundred and seventy eight thousand followers on Facebook mind you! As martyrs are ‘heralded’ and optionally ‘recruited’ via a non-profit organisation there is no issue? Who exactly are they effing kidding here?

Now we must be careful, as MEMRI also gives us: “Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) 2018 Manama Dialogue, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said: “Israel is one of the countries in the region… Maybe it is time that Israel had the same privileges and duties as other countries.” Bin Abdullah said that the Torah and the Israelite prophets emerged in the Middle East and that there had even been Jews in Medina. He stated that improved relations between Israel and its neighbours can be accomplished“, which could be seen as a monumental step, yet there is still an issue. I will agree that the shades of grey become increasingly hazardous for everyone here, so painting with one brush will not bode well for everyone, yet Yesterday they also gave us: ‘Palestinian Columnist In Qatari Daily Calls For Armed Struggle Against Israel‘, which can be read (happily or not) on Facebook at this very moment (I did just so roughly 221 seconds ago). So there is a lot on Facebook that is out of whack. And with “He called on Fatah to take up arms, and on Hamas to expand its struggle against Israel to the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora” we can see how roughly 178,633 followers were kept up to date (optionally picking up arms against the state of Israel) less than 24 hours ago. It seems to me that Facebook is mopping the floor and forgot to shut off the water tap before commencing the mopping, so we can see that this is going anywhere ever, and in that process they are going nowhere anytime soon. How is that for recognition? You Markie Mark Zuckerberg!

Oh and by the way Mark, feel free to reward me for bringing this to your attention with a 4.2 GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 27″ iMac 3TB and a new iPad Pro Cellular and Wi-Fi 1TB (12.9 Inch) with Keyboard and pen (preferably both with Apple Care). I mean let’s face it; you just had a sweet deal of 128 Million dollars by selling 5 million shares just in time. There is nothing like spreading the wealth (or at least recognise the fact that you have become a little lost for now).

You see, being fruity is all good and fine, yet when you neglect the need of your users the game changes. You will merely be feeling the pressures of less and less forward momentum as you neglected their direct desires and their indirect needs and this group is actually increasing so much faster than you can imagine. With every semester as students are connecting through international exchange programs, at that point their time line need changes as well, because not every exchange student goes to MIT, Stanford or Berkeley. Some will go to the Luleå University of Technology (the Swedish version of MIT) where we see only 75,000 in the entire city, or perhaps Örebro University, a place you might not know, it merely has 107,000 people living there, yet Örebro University has a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that is ahead of the curve by a comfortable space. In addition, Örebro University is in the lower part of the top 2% of all the universities on the planet. So whilst you, Mark Zuckerberg, you seem to be focussing on the 2 billion daily users. You are seemingly trying to build engagement pressure. You will of course fail as you are also (seemingly) forgetting that these 2 billion users all staged in segments to some degree and in that you seemingly forgot the (roughly) 5,324,883 niche groups that are a large chunk of Facebook as a whole. So whilst you focus on a net that captures all the people, the mazes of that net are getting too large and you will start to lose all the sardines, after which you will lose the herrings, then the eels, and so on. I hope that you get the idea of the danger you have put Facebook in. You have been so upset with a net that captures all the fish that you completely forgot on why the fish were there in the first place. It was not just a new deep blue sea, it was a comfortable place for fish and as you have been removing that part, you will see the shoals swim away. There is logic referring to fish. You see when we see “Any group of fish that stays together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling. About one quarter of fish shoal all their lives, and about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives.” In this TJ Pitcher gave us an article in 1992 on the behaviour of Teleost Fishes; it is on Page 363 if you are really curious. So whilst we concentrate on a net capturing them, your teams forgot to focus on the reason that they were there. Most for union, some for connection, some for protection and some just to swim and all these niche groups are the reasons for these fishes to remain together, yet some shoals unite and are what is seen as ‘about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives‘, yet they will move from shoal to shoal and that is where these niche markets become increasingly important. Google+ figured that part of the equation out within the first 30 days, so as you are placing pressure on your 2 billion users, you forgot all about the basics and you could be losing a lot more faster and sooner than you think and that is where my prediction “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future” becomes more than a reality, it will be optional prophecy and it could have been avoided a long time ago. It almost feels like me and Mark Zuckerberg are opposites to some degree (and in some ways, especially financially) not the greatest place for me to be, but I believe in my path, that is how I roll.

Naval Extremism

Let’s take a look at an extremely fictive setting that is based on the truth, so as the story begins, a story I wrote and thought up myself mind you: “There is always an upbeat path in looking at ‘new’ technology. In the age of now, as I got bored, the need for entertainment was nigh and highly needed. So as I got the details on the USS Pennsylvania (via a documentary), my mind went racing. I always had a soft spot for Submarines. Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in Operation Petticoat might have been the first starting that interest; they were in the end not the only inspiration. There was the Hunt for Red October on the CBM Amiga (as well as the silver screen with Sean Connery). It is especially interesting to see the development of submarines from WW2 onwards. So as I looked at my initial solution to remove the Iranian navy from every equation, I decided to think through on how a submarine could be used to deploy such solutions. It is not a hard task and it seems applicable to do so, so it was not really a challenge. Then I got the idea to apply my solution in another way. The technology of the fibre torpedo gave me the idea, not to blow up a submarine, but to incapacitate it. The only problem at present is that the solution will not work on a submarine at full speed, so it is basically not a solution (yet). Now my mind focusses on solving problems and I like that. It does not matter what kind of puzzle it is. The less I know, the more I can learn; it is applied engineering and design in one cool patent package. At this time my engineering knob is 99% active and likely merely 1% efficient; I look at the video and remember the Russian VA-111 Shkval, a torpedo that goes like a bat out of hell (200 knots) at whatever they need to hit. The fact that this puppy can be nuclear is not a good thing for any submarine to meet, so I look at this puzzle and wonder how to make it less efficient. It takes an hour to come up with the craziest idea and I do not expect it to work because someone in any navy would have had that idea as well, or so I would believe. Yet what if no one had ever looked at this solution? Now consider that the Russian VA-111 Shkval uses GOLIS autonomous inertial guidance, giving me the idea in the first place , as we are confronted with the stage of Go-Onto-Location-in-Space, we see that this has the flaw of requiring a stationary or near-stationary target, and in a war condition a submarine getting fired on is like a virgin shouting that she is in heat, if she stays stationary she is going to get screwed, so movement is pretty essential at this point. This is where I had the craziest idea of releasing a cylinder behind the submarine, roughly 500 KG with copper and liquid (preferably solid) Oxygen (or Nitrogen) and let pressure blow it apart (nothing heat related), the water around it would freeze and the copper would likely transfer it stronger as well as making the object more solid, solid enough for the lump to take the hit and not the submarine. OK, it is the craziest idea and it might not ever work, yet it took me less than 30 minutes to come up with the idea after watching one History channel episode on the USS Pennsylvania” Now we go back to Facebook and we see a whole range of iterations ignored by the makers themselves. They have been so growth oriented that they forgot all about quality orientation, a part that is my only conclusion as we see the failings in the app and desktop side of the matter. It goes further as we see the evolution of people now getting judged on their social media profile, a stage where Facebook is completely ignoring the two sides in every person (a fun and a work related side), yet the people are not tailored to, and that is seen as more and more young new worker bees are leaving Facebook unattended to a bigger degree (and for longer times) and they are focusing more on LinkedIn and optionally learning that Twitter has what they need to a much better degree. All niches falling away, all niches selling other waters that look, feel and sense like the other deep blue sea, the deep blue sea they once thought they were in. A staged exit for all the people looking for what they need, for what they desire whilst Facebook has been focussing on what they thought their subscribers wanted and desired for the benefit of the selling of ads that the bank account of Mark Zuckerberg (et al) required, all versions of perceived and proclaimed truths whilst the fish in the Facebook database no longer experience it to be.

For a better term, Facebook lost the Googlyness it once heralded and there are sharks around who desperately needs to trim Facebook, because the strength is had with 2 billion, the strength of having a true global opinion customer base was just too scary for some of the political players and the sharks are circling the Facebook net that is showing more and more weakness at present. It is a risk of catering to the goals that were outside of the perception of the fish in the net. Fruity and techie can remain yummy for all the players, yet it will require a massive adjustment. When you consider that both Sony and Microsoft made claims in 2011/2012 on what was to come and that never really happened to the degree that the people might have hoped for. Now also consider that Facebook has 2 billion users and that other sources give us that more than 1.2 billion people are playing games worldwide, part of them is a group of 700 million who play online games. When you realise that, and you see that Facebook only touched on that to the smallest of degrees, when you realise that gaming social media is as isolated as it gets, how many balls did Mark Zuckerberg drop? And to be clear I am not talking about the two he should have on a biological level. I have watched on a massive oversight, one of the biggest niches on the planet.

It is a stage where 16% of the entire planet plays games, optionally up to 60% of all Facebook users. When we realise that, what other avenues is Facebook not investigating? Like the shoals of fish, gamers are part of several flocks, moving from flock to flock, yet staying in that same part of the ocean, how long until Facebook realises that the fish they had moved to another ocean? If gaming brings comfort to so many people, is it not weird that Facebook is not trying to appease such a large title dedicated group? Once we realise that we are all seeking a place of comfort where we can be ourselves, where we can unwind, does the failure of the current version of Facebook still makes sense to too many? Have we become complacent or are we merely too lazy to look around for the players that actually are customer engagement oriented?

You tell me!

 

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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The Good, the Bad, and North Korea

This article is late in the making. There is the need to be first, but is that enough? At times it is more important to be well informed. So let’s start with the good. The good is that if there is a nuclear blast, North Korea need not worry. The game maker Bethesda made a management simulator called Fallout Shelter. You can, on your mobile device manage a fallout shelter, get the goods of food, energy and water. Manage how the people procreate and who gets to procreate. Fight off invaders and grow the population to 200 people, so with two of these shelters, North Korea has a viable solution to not become extinct. The bad news is that North Korea has almost no smart phones, so there is not a device around to actively grow the surviving community. Yes, this matter, and it is important to you. You see the Dutch had some kind of a media tour around 2012. There were no camera’s allowed, still the images came through, because as the cameras were locked away, the military and the official escorts were seemingly unaware that every journalist had a mobile with the ability to film. The escorting soldier had never seen a smartphone before in his life. So a year later, we get the ‘fake’ news in the Dutch Newspaper (at https://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/noord-korea-beweert-smartphone-te-hebben-ontwikkeld-niemand-gelooft-het~a3493503/) that North Korea finished ‘their’ own local smartphones. This is important as it shows just how backwards North Korea is in certain matters.

The quote “Zuid-Koreaanse computerexperts menen dat hun noorderbuur genoeg van software weet om cyberaanvallen uit te voeren, zoals die op banken en overheidswebsites van eerder dit jaar. Maar de ontwikkeling van hardware staat in Noord-Korea nog in de kinderschoenen“, stating: “South Korean computer experts believe that their northern neighbour knows enough of software to instigate cyber-attacks, such as those on banks and Government websites earlier this year. But the development of hardware in North Korea remains in its infancy“. I believe this to be a half truth. I believe that China facilitates to some degree, but it is keeping its market on a short leash. North Korea remains behind on several fronts and that would show in other fields too.

This is how the two different parts unite. You see, even as America had its hydrogen bomb in 1952, it did not get there in easy steps and it had a massive level of support on several fronts as well as the brightest minds that this plane had to offer. The same could be said for Russia at the time. The History channel of all places gives us “Opponents of development of the hydrogen bomb included J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. He and others argued that little would be accomplished except the speeding up of the arms race, since it was assumed that the Soviets would quickly follow suit. The opponents were correct in their assumptions. The Soviet Union exploded a thermonuclear device the following year and by the late 1970s, seven nations had constructed hydrogen bombs“, so we get two parts here. The fact that the evolution was theoretically set to 7-10 years, the actual device would not come until much later. The other players who had nowhere near the academic and engineering capacity would follow close to 18 years later. That is merely an explosion, something North Korea is claiming to consider. With the quote “North Korea’s Foreign Minister has said the country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific“, we need to realise that the operative word is ‘may‘. Even then there will be a large time lapse coming. Now, I am not trying to lull you into sleep. The fact that North Korea is making these steps is alarming to a much larger scale than most realise. Even if it fails, there is a chance that, because of failed safety standards, a setting that is often alien to North Korea, wherever this radiation is, it can impact the biological environment beyond repair; it is in that frame that Japan is for now likely the only one that needs to be truly worried.

All this still links together. You see, the issue is not firing a long range rocket; it is keeping it on track and aiming it precisely. Just like the thousands of Hamas rockets fired on Israel with a misfiring percentage of 99.92% (roughly), North Korea faces that same part in a much larger setting. You see ABC touched on this in July, but never gave all the goods (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/north-korea-missile-why-it-is-so-difficult-to-intercept-an-icbm/8684444). Here we see: “The first and most prominent is Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, which the US has deployed in South Korea. THAAD is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight — that is, as the ballistic missile is re-entering the atmosphere to strike its target. The second relevant system is the Patriot PAC-3, which is designed to provide late terminal phase interception, that is, after the missile has re-entered the atmosphere. It is deployed by US forces operating in the region, as well as Japan.” You see, that is when everything is in a 100% setting, but we forget, North Korea is not there. You see, one of the most basic parts here is shown to undergrads at MIT. Here we see Richard C. Booton Jr. and Simon Ramo, executives at TRW Inc., which would grow and make military boy scouts like Northrop Grumman and the Goodrich Corporation. So these people are in the know and they give us: “Today all major space and military development programs recognize systems engineering to be a principal project task. An example of a recent large space system is the development of the tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS) for NASA. The effort (at TRW) involved approximately 250 highly experienced systems engineers. The majority possessed communications systems engineering backgrounds, but the range of expertise included software architecture, mechanical engineering, automatic controls design, and design for such specialized performance characteristics as stated reliability“, that is the name of the game and North Korea lacks the skill, the numbers and the evolved need for shielded electronic guidance. In the oldest days it would have been done with 10 engineers, but as the systems become more complex, and their essential need for accuracy required evolution, all items lacking in North Korea. By the way, I will add the paper at the end, so you can read all by yourself what other component(s) North Korea is currently missing out on. All this is still an issue, because even as we see that there is potentially no danger to the USA and Australia, that safety cannot be given to China and Japan, because even if Japan is hit straight on, it will affect and optionally collapse part of the Chinese economy, because when the Sea of Japan, or the Yellow sea becomes the ‘Glowing Sea’, you better believe that the price of food will go up by 1000% and clean water will be the reason to go to war over. North Korea no matter how stupid they are, they are a threat. When we realise just how many issues North Korea faces, we see that all the testosterone imagery from North Korea is basically sabre rattling and because they have no sabres, they will try to mimic it with can openers. The realisation of all this is hitting you now and as you realise that America is the only player that is an actual threat, we need to see the danger for what it is, it is a David and Goliath game where the US is the big guy and North Korea forgot their sling, so it becomes a one sided upcoming slaughter. It is, as I see it diplomacy in its most dangerously failed stage. North Korea rants on and on and at some point, the US will have no option left but to strike back. So in all this, let’s take one more look, so that you get the idea even better.

I got this photo from a CNN source, so the actual age was unknown, yet look at the background, the sheer antiquity that this desktop system represents. In a place where the President of North Korea should be surrounded by high end technology, we see a system that seems to look like an antiquated Lenovo system, unable to properly play games from the previous gaming generation, and that is their high technology?

So here we see the elements come together. Whether you see Kim Jong-un as a threat, he could be an actual threat to South Korea, Japan, China and Russia. You see, even if everything goes right, there is a larger chance that the missile gets a technology issue and it will prematurely crash, I see that chance at 90%, so even as it was fired at the US, the only ones in true peril are Japan, South Korea, Russia and last China, who only gets the brunt if the trajectory changes by a lot. After which the missile could accidently go off. That is how I see it, whatever hydrogen bomb element they think they have, it requires a lot of luck for North Korea to go off, because they lack the engineering capacity, the skills and the knowhow and that is perhaps even more scary than anything else, because it would change marine biology as well as the aftermath as it all wastes into the Pacific ocean for decades to come. So when you consider the impact that sea life had because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the longest time, now consider the aftermath of a bomb hundreds of times more powerful by a megalomaniac who has no regards for safety procedures. That is the actual dangers we face and the only issue is that acting up against him might actually be more dangerous, we are all caught between the bomb and an irradiated place. Not a good time to be living the dream, because it might just turn into a nightmare.

Here is the paper I mentioned earlier: booten-ramo

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Targeting the FBI

Do not worry, the FBI is not under attack from any hostile force, in this particular case it is me who will be on the offensive regarding statements made in 2014. Let me explain why. To get to the start of this event, we need to take a step back, to be a little more precise we need to turn to the moment 645 days ago when we read that Sony got hacked, it got hacked by none other than North Korea. It took me around an hour to stop laughing, the stomach cramps from laughter are still on my mind when I think back to that day. By the way, apart from me having degrees in this field. People a lot more trustworthy in this field, like Kim Zetter for Wired Magazine and Kurt Stammberger from cyber security firm Norse. The list of sceptics as well as prominent names from the actual hacking world, they all had issues with the statements.

We had quotes from FBI Director James Comey on how tightly internet access is controlled there (which is actually true), and (at https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/update-on-sony-investigation) we see “the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions“. I am pretty sure that the FBI did not expect that this would bite them down the track. This all whilst they rejected the alternate hack theory that Cyber Intelligence firm Norse gave (at http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/fbi-rejects-alternate-sony-hack-theory-113893). Weirdly enough, the alternative option was no less than ten times more possible then the claim that some made. Another claim to have a giggle at came from Homeland Security, the quote was “The cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment was not just an attack against a company and its employees. It was also an attack on our freedom of expression and way of life“, which is a political statement that actually does not say much. The person making it at the time was Jeh Johnson.

You see, this is all coming to light now for the weirdest of reasons. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/21/north-korea-only-28-websites-leak-official-data). The subtitle gives us “Apparent error by a regime tech worker gave the world a rare glimpse into the few online sources of information available“, so one of these high profile worldly infamous hackers got a setting wrong and we get “But its own contribution to the world wide web is tiny, according to a leak that revealed the country has just 28 registered domains. The revelation came after one of North Korea’s top-level name servers was incorrectly configured to reveal a list of all the domain names under the domain .kp“, you see, here we see part of the fun that will now escalate.

In this I invite NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey to read this, take note, because it is a free lesson in IT (to some extent). It is also a note for these two to investigate what talents their agencies actually have and to get rid of those who are kissing your sitting area for political reasons (which is always good policy). When  the accused nation has 28 websites, it is, I agree not an indication of other internet elements, but let me add to this.

The need to prototype and test any kind of malware and the infrastructure that could actually be used against the likes of Sony might be routed via North-Korea, but could never originate there. The fact that your boffins can’t tell the difference is a clear given that the cyber branch of your organisations are not up to scrap. In that case it is now imperative that you both contact Major General Christopher P. Weggeman, who is the Commander, 24th Air Force and Commander, Air Forces Cyber (AFCYBER). He should most likely be at Lackland Air Force Base, and the phone number of the base is (210) 671-1110. I reckon setting up a lunch meeting and learn a thing or two is not entirely unneeded. This is not me being sarcastic, this is me telling you two that the case was mishandled, got botched and now that due to North Korean ‘expertise’, plenty of people will be asking questions. The time requirement to get the data that got taken was not something that happened overnight. For the simple reason that that much data would have lit up an internet backbone and ever log alarm would have been ringing. The statement that the FBI made “it was unlikely that a third party had hijacked these addresses without allowance from the North Korean government” was laughable because of those pictures where we saw the Korean high-command behind a desktop system with a North Korean President sitting behind what is a mere desktop that has the computation equivalent of a Cuisena Egg Beater ($19.95 at Kitchen Warehouse).

Now, in opposition, I sit myself against me. You see, this might just be a rant, especially without clarification. All those North Korean images could just be misdirection. You see, to pull of the Sony caper you need stimulation, like a student would get at places like MIT, Stanford, or UTS. Peers challenging his solutions and blocking success, making that person come up with smarter solutions. Plenty of nations have hardware and challenging people and equipment that could offer it, but North Korea does not have any of that. The entire visibility as you would see from those 28 domains would have required to be of much higher sophistication. You see, for a hacker, there needs to be a level of sophistication that is begotten from challenge and experience. North Korea has none of that. Evidence of that was seen a few years ago when in 2012 in Pyongyang I believe, a press bus took a wrong turn. When some reporters mentioned on how a North Korean (military I believe) had no clue on smartphones. I remember seeing it on the Dutch NOS News program. The level of interaction and ignorance within a military structure could not be maintained as such the military would have had a clue to a better extent. The ignorance shown was not feigned or played, meaning that a technological level was missing, the fact that a domain setting was missed also means that certain monitoring solutions were not in place, alerting those who needed to on the wrongful domain settings, which is essential in regards to the entire hacking side. The fact that Reddit and several others have screenshots to the degree they have is another question mark in all this last but not least to those who prototype hacking solutions, as they need serious bandwidth to test how invisible they are (especially regarding streaming of Terabytes of Sony data), all these issues are surfacing from this mere article that the Guardian might have placed for entertainment value to news, but it shows that December 2014 is a very different story. Not only does it have the ability to exonerate the

We see a final quote from Martyn Williams, who runs the North Korea Tech blog ““It’s important to note this isn’t the domain name system for the internal intranet,” Williams wrote. “That isn’t accessible from the internet in any way.”” which is true to some extent. In that case take a look to the PDF (at https://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-usa-07/Grossman/Whitepaper/bh-usa-07-grossman-WP.pdf) from WhiteHat security. On page 4 we get “By simply selecting common net-block, scans of an entire Class-C range can be completed in less than 60 seconds“, yes, I agree you do not get that much info from that, but it gives us to some extent usage, you see, if something as simple as a domain setting is wrong, there is a massive chance that more obscure essential settings on intranet level have been missed, giving the ‘visitor’ options to a lot more information than most would expect. Another matter that the press missed (a few times), no matter how Time stated that the world was watching (at http://time.com/3660757/nsa-michael-rogers-sony-hack/), data needs to get from point to point, usually via a router, so the routers before it gets to North Korea, what were those addresses, how much data got ported through?

You see, the overreaction from the FBI, Homeland Security, NSA et al was overly visible. The political statements were so out in the open, so strong, that I always wondered: what else? You see, as I see it, Sony was either not the only one who got hacked, or Sony lost something else. The fact that in January 2015 Sony gave the following statement “Sony Entertainment is unable to confirm that hackers have been eradicated from its computer systems more than a month after the film studio was hit by a debilitating cyber-attack, a report says“, I mentioned it in my article ‘Slander versus Speculation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/03/slander-versus-speculation/). I thought it was the weirdest of statements. Basically, they had almost 3 weeks to set up a new server, to monitor all data traffic, giving indication that not only a weird way was used to get to the data (I speculated on an option that required it to be an inside job), yet more important, the fact that access had not been identified, meaning it was secured gave way to the issue that the hackers could have had access to more than just what was published. That requires a little bit more explanation. You see, as I personally see it, to know a transgressor we need to look at an oversimplified equation: ‘access = valid people + valid systems + threats‘ if threats cannot be identified, the issue could be that more than one element is missing, so either you know all the access, you know all the people and you know the identity of valid systems. Now at a place like Sony it is not that simple, but the elements remain the same. Only when more than one element cannot be measured do you get the threats to be a true unknown. That is at play then and it is still now. So if servers were compromised, Sony would need a better monitoring system. It’s my personal belief (and highly speculative) that Sony, like many other large companies have been cutting corners so certain checks and balances are not there, which makes a little sense in case of Sony with all those new expansions corners were possibly cut and at that point it had an IT department missing a roadmap, meaning the issue is really more complex (especially for Sony) because systems are not aligned. Perhaps that is the issue Sony had (again this is me speculating on it)?

What is now an issue is that North Korea is showing exactly as incapable as I thought it was and there is a score of Cyber specialists, many of them a lot bigger then I will ever become stating the same. I am not convinced it was that simple to begin with, for one, the amount of questions the press and others should have been asking regarding cloud security is one that I missed reading about and certain governmental parts in the US and other nations have been pushing for this cheaper solution, the issue being that it was not as secure as it needed to be, yet the expert levels were not on par so plenty of data would have been in danger of breaching. The question I had then and have now a lot louder is: “Perhaps Sony showed that cloud server data is even less secure than imagined and the level required to get to it is not as high as important stakeholders would need it to be“. That is now truly a question that matters! Because if there is any truth to that speculation, than the question becomes how secure is your personal data an how unaware are the system controllers of those cloud servers? The question not asked and it might have been resolved over the last 645 days, yet if data was in danger, who has had access and should the people have been allowed to remain unaware, especially if it is not the government who gained access?

Questions all worthy of answers, but in light of ‘statements made’ who can be trusted to get the people properly informed? Over the next days as we see how one element (the 28 sites) give more and more credible views on how North Korea was never the culprit, the question then becomes: who was? I reckon that if the likely candidates (China, Russia, UK and France) are considered there might not be an issue at all, apart from the fact that Sony needs to up their Cyber game, but if organised crime got access, what else have they gotten access to?

It is a speculative question and a valid one, for the mere reason that there is at present no valid indication that the FBI cyber unit had a decent idea, especially in light of the official response towards cyber security firm Norse what was going on.

Could I be wrong?

That remains a valid question. Even when we accept that the number of websites are no indication of Intranet or cybersecurity skills, they are indicative, when a nation has less websites than some third world villages, or their schools have. It is time to ask a few very serious questions, because skills only remain so through training and the infrastructure to test and to train incursions on a WAN of a Fortune 500 company is not an option, even if that person has his or her own Cray system to crunch codes. It didn’t make sense then and with yesterday’s revelation, it makes even less sense.

Finally one more speculation for the giggle within us all. This entire exercise could have been done to prevent ‘the Interview’ to become a complete flop. You know that movie that ran in the US in 581 theatres and made globally $11,305,175 (source: Box Office Mojo), basically about 10% of what Wolf of Wall Street made domestically.

What do you think?

 

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This planet has been drained!

That was the voice in my head, as I was reading the article ‘Lab-grown leather is coming, but is the industry ready for it?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jul/10/lab-grown-leather-modern-meadow-ceh-suzanne-lee). The voice in my head is from a forgotten gem called ‘Conquest: Frontier Wars‘ by UBI soft. It is an amazing game (but that is not what this is about), in the game, when you have mined all the resources and the planetary resources have gone to 0, you can hear the Caleron AI state ‘This planet has been drained’. So what does that have to do with growing leather?

Consider the, what I would personally regard as an incorrect quote: “the supply of leather is dwindling as fewer people eat meat, with the US cattle population dropping by 32% in the last few decades“. I feel fairly certain that the amount of people of a carnivorous nature has not dwindled down, the mere fact is that fewer and fewer people can afford a decent steak (or lamb chop for that matter). That does not dwindle stocks, there is more in play than just the mere numbers of cattle (but that is a discussion for another time).

You see, the quote that matters is “As the supply of cow hides declines, could a lab-grown alternative fill the supply gap?“, it is shown under a photo of two men going through mountains of leather. The article is an interesting read and my contemplations started in earnest when I read “The Company is experimenting with cultured animal cells and tissues to create an alternative biomaterial to traditional leather. This lab-grown leather could offer a more sustainable alternative and even a possible long-term bridge for the gap in supply and demand“. Now on the premise it seems interesting, a grown form of leather, which means that cattle need not be slaughtered for the mere need of their hides. A new substance that could imbue fashion, accessories and other leather items for whatever reason.

Yet, in there I also see a clear danger that the article does not dwell upon. Perhaps it is as I am not talking on the numbers of cattle, Stephanie Hepburn might focus on the emerging market and just look at that part, which is fair enough. Yet the dangers of this new market would potentially be staggering and as such, how relaxed should we get?

Now, I am not really considering “materials made from leather waste – as leather. That could make it a harder sell for alternative materials claiming to be leather” from UK Leather Federation director Kerry Senior. He makes a fair point as spokesperson of the leather federation. I would stand on his side as I have had my fill with junk shoes from Australia, claiming it to be a leather shoe, only to learn that they usually survive no more than 4 months. So, that part I get. That still does not invalidate the path that some are walking on, the dangers that they would possibly introduce are many times more truly dangerous. Bad shoes are not dangerous, they are a mere irritation.

No, the first danger is seen in this quote “Ben Wurgaft, a historian based at MIT who is writing a book about laboratory-grown meat, applauds Modern Meadow’s ambitions but says that, given the speed at which fashion changes, the company’s success depends on whether it can scale up quickly“. It is not the applauding that matters, it is ‘whether it can scale up quickly‘ which could end up being the killer. Now let’s be clear, there is no immediate danger. That part we get from “Lee admits that the company still has a long way to go in terms of research and development, producing the leather, and being able to provide product samples“, which means it is still in research and there is no given timeline when the danger comes to town.

The final paragraph gives us a clear indication that the dangers are of a future nature, which is stated through “Even if the technology has advanced since he last saw samples and even if it could be usable as an alternative to leather, Senior doesn’t think it will be made in sufficient quantity or at a cost to be a viable option for most brands. It is interesting work, and the technology that is being developed could very well be the future for many products, Senior says. He adds, though: “I suspect it will be a distant future.”

So we know that even though there is a danger, there is no immediate one. Yet, what danger is there? For that part of the equation we need to look at the academic paper (at http://pub.epsilon.slu.se/1170/1/Avhandling_nr_070.2006_Tryckfil.pdf). It is titled ‘Recycled Biowaste as a Source of Infection‘, which is a 2006 PhD paper by Leena Sahlström. If the title was not unsettling, then consider the abstract which gives us “Biowaste and sewage sludge can be used as a fertiliser and soil amendment in agriculture. However if not treated efficiently before use, such products can contain microbial pathogens that pose a health risk for humans and animals“.

Here we get the first light onto the dangers we are about to expose ourselves to. You see, growing leather is one thing, which remains a lesser noble cause. Yet, the danger can be perceived in ‘whether it can scale up quickly‘, the moment this milestone is reached and True Grown Leather becomes a part of our lives, we will see an exploding need for this product, especially as we are looking at a market that might be no sooner than a decade away. What will you think will happen when the option is there? The industry will be all about upscaling product for maximised revenue and quicker return on investment, which is also a fact, because the ROI will take centre stage for producers. This also means that tweaking the process of production will be a very first issue, which will give us additional worries.

Now we add the second part from the abstract “vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) were frequently isolated from sewage sludge. PFGE and PhenePlate analyses showed that both VRE and Salmonella spp. were capable of persisting for some months and up to two years, respectively, in the sewage sludge. Thus sewage sludge may act as a reservoir of Salmonella spp., VRE and other pathogens“, which now implies that Biowaste could become at the core a sustaining factor for Salmonella and other pathogens is the danger that remains pushed into the shadows.

Because we have seen decades of evidence where mass production will take precedence over health and safety. For that you need look no further than the nearest Bangladeshi sweatshop, and that is just for T-Shirts, what do you think will happen when bio waste enters those premises? I know we need to shed 80% of the planets population, but can we all agree that a more humane solution needs to be found?

Still, the dangers are coming and to some extent they are already here, the additional growth from new emerging ‘solutions’ to what I perceive to be an ego based need is seen in “Antimicrobial resistant bacteria are clonally spread but a further dimension to the growing problem is horizontal gene transfer, where resistance genes may be transferred between bacteria of the same species or to other bacterial species or genera (Klare et al., 2003)“, so are we move away from the Samsonite Aluminium or the canvas duffel bag, as we look so much more ‘travelled’ with a leather duffel bag and backpack, we are pushing for a solution that gives us more and more antimicrobial resistant bacteria, yes, and we really truly need additional antimicrobial resistant bacteria in our life (add sarcastic undertone for dramatic effect).

It is that danger we see growing, not growing in the future, already growing now, which means that other bioware mass produced products will just push the events of danger forward, faster and towards more deadly niche events.  So, if  you read a new article next week regarding safely cleaning biowaste, remember that the academic paper I refer to is already 9 years old and so far, the countering of these dangers have been substandard. How active do you think Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and China are in countering biowaste? That is the additional question, because Biowaste has the ability to survive for a very long time, whilst the infusion of more biowaste is going on, on a daily basis. So how does this translate to dangers?

You might consider that there is no danger where you are, if that is your mindset, then consider the following part from the paper of Leena Sahlström on page 19 “The use of avoparcin, an analogue to vancomycin, which was previously used as a growth promoter in animal husbandry and is the believed cause of the common occurrence of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) in European livestock, was prohibited in Sweden in the early 1980s. Despite this, there is still a rather high frequency of VRE in Swedish sewage (Iversen et al., 2002). Because of the way WWTPs work, using bacterial adhesion to particles in their treatment process (Godfree & Farrell, 2005), it is expected that VRE are found in sewage sludge as well“, so even after a ban close to 20 years before the event, it turned out that a rather high amount of VRE was detected in Swedish sewage, simply because of the way Waste Water Treatment Plants work. The danger found another way and as such it becomes mobile and procreative. You see I am a man of reasonable goofiness’, so when I consider the option that there is creation like procreation, if successful, only me and possibly one other get to be the party that requires a working solution. However, in the case of biowaste, the creators will place a burden on hundreds and perhaps even thousands of potential victims and in a greying population, a vast growing population of Antimicrobial resistant bacteria whilst no medicinal or antibiotics will be available, we would be digging our future straight into graves and urns.

Now, the last parts are all subjective and all based on a market that is not there yet, but more importantly, we are in an age where the law has been subjugated to the need of industry and profit for such a long time, there is a need for a true overhaul of the law an regulations in dealing with biowaste. The one element ignored in all this is that biowaste should be shunned as directly and strongly as biological warfare. Because it will get out of control and the consequences might not be stopped, because that side did not get the proper funding.

So even as we consider the very first line in the abstract by Leena Sahlström “Biowaste and sewage sludge can be used as a fertiliser and soil amendment in agriculture“, what happens when the VRE has infected the crops it is growing faster? What can we at that point rely on? All fair questions and at present there is no true long term answer or solution, so adjusting the law becomes paramount, so that places remain to have a future.

 

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