Fear of Arctic War Grows, Danish and Russian Fleets Clash – Copenhagen, 23 June 2017

June 08 2008 / by Cronos
Category: Economics   Year: 2017   Rating: 6 Hot

Copenhagen has admitted Danish warships were responsible for the sinking of the Russian frigate Czar Putin in the Arctic Sea. The commander of the Danish Destroyer Prince Frederik declared the vessel was in Danish territorial waters off the coast of Greenland and had ignored multiple warnings.

The Danish press release also stated it regretted the sinking of the ship and the loss of the Russian crew and that first shots were meant as deterrence only. Once the Russians started returning fire there was no other option than to target the ship itself, concluded the press release. Russian warships of the Northern Fleet are steaming up towards the area from bases all over Russia while the US is doing the same to come the aid of their Danish ally. (cont.)

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Rising Oil Prices Fueling Broad Economic Disruption

May 29 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

With crude oil hovering at an all-time high of $130/gallon people all over the globe are feeling the pain and starting to react in different ways.

Some are finally choosing to drive less frequently. CNN reports that “compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less—that’s 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it ‘the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.’”

Others are increasingly making the switch to higher-mileage and hybrid vehicles.

In Europe, where environmental taxes roughly double the cost of gas, groups of French and British workers are demanding public assistance by staging protests .

A few particularly pinched and pro-active folks in rural regions are shifting around their work week and travel schedule. According to the Wall Street Journal “a handful of small towns and community colleges are switching to four-day workweeks in an effort to help employees cope with the rising gasoline prices, and could soon be joined by some larger local governments.”

And of course there are the enterprising individuals who’ve decided that enough is enough and that it’s time to take drilling for oil into their own hands.

This is just the beginning. (cont.)

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21st Century wars: soldiers, weapons, powered by nanotech

May 08 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Security   Year: General   Rating: 13 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

The world faces an estimated 70 percent chance of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack in the next decade, according to analysts surveyed in a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee study.

During the Cold War, the possibility of a nuclear battle that could kill every American made it imperative to avoid conflict. But today, we are still not safe. A suicide bomber hiding a weapon of mass destruction in a suitcase could murder a million Americans; twice as many as died in both twentieth century World Wars combined.

Though some believe the eventual solution to ending today’s terrorist threats lie in improving the welfare of have-nots, former Defense Advanced Research Project Agency manager, Dr. Robert Popp, says we must also get better at intelligence. “We need more Arabic speakers, more experts who understand tribal relations, and more diplomats to capture audiences on Al Jazeera.”

However, military leaders do not believe that technology will eliminate the worlds disgruntled anytime soon, so many want to improve their fighting machines now, and are turning to the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), a creative group that has produced such far-out ideas as “portable lab-on-a-chip” and “wireless power.” Its partners include traditional weapons companies like Raytheon and DuPont, and new nano businesses like Zyvex and Nano C.

What kinds of innovative military developments are on ISN’s drawing board? First, let’s glimpse at planned improvements for our soldiers; then examine some of the futuristic weapons being considered. (cont.)

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Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 4: Hackers Attack

April 20 2008 / by Fictionthis
Category: Economics   Year: 2020   Rating: 6 Hot

Breaking News – 9.35 AM NASDAQ Trading house web service is down due to a non-confirm cyber attack. Stay tunned for more details.

Breaking News – 9.55 AM A cyber attack has been confirmed on NASDAQ trading house. FBI will hold a press conference at 10.30 AM

Breaking News – 10.15 AM Worst fears of cyber attack confirmed. Billion of untraceable dollars feared missing.

The $1.5 billion scam was confirmed today by the FBI Director Malcolm Casey. He stated that in the early hours of the morning, the carbon trading wing of the NASDAQ was hijacked and billions of dollars worth of transactions have been made on behalf of fake energy companies. The attack lasted for less than 10 minutes when the web security team picked up the intrusion. While more then a billion dollars have been recovered in reverse transactions, more then $250 million have been lost.

Director Casey has also stated that the notorious hacker community claimed responsibility for this latest attack, warning them that responsible parties will be found and brought to justice. Shortly after his speech a chain email circulated the globe with the simple message – “Crime Pays”.

Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 3: The ID Card

April 18 2008 / by Fictionthis
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 4 Hot

Cross-posted from the blog of new fiction-focused startup fictionthis.com.

National ID cards were introduced in 2011.

At first they were simply embedded in passports, containing personal ID data. Second Generation ID Data chips were designed to have uploading capabilities and contained even more data, including criminal and medical records. Third generation ID Chips had an option to be inserted under your skin and gave access into your ID data base in any government institution, which made forgetting or losing your license or social security details a thing of the past.

For military personnel it was compulsory to have it inserted. Unauthorized access to military installations was simply non-existent from that moment on. Generation Four chip nicknamed “Quattro Access” became an instant hit with the younger generation. It allowed access to personal finance as well as personal storage space to share music, files and photos. (cont.)

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Terrorist WMD attack likely within decade, say analysts

April 11 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Security   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

The world faces an estimated 70 percent chance of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack in the next decade, according to national security analysts surveyed for a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee study.

More than half of the 85 analysts contacted believed one or two new countries would acquire nuclear weapons within five years, and five more will obtain them in ten. They counted technology sharing between terrorist groups among activities that posed the greatest dangers, and attacks by terrorists as more likely than those posed by rogue states.

Committee Chair Senator Richard Lugar said that though the U.S. may be successful in building new democracies, we are not safe from small, fanatical terrorist cells that could possibly get their hands on nuclear materials.

How great is this risk? During the Cold War, the possibility of a nuclear war that could kill every American made it imperative to do anything possible to avoid conflict. Today, the consequence of even a single nuclear weapon exploding in a U.S. city is almost beyond imagination.

Terrorist’s armed with one nuclear bomb could murder a million people – killing in one day nearly twice as many Americans as died in both twentieth century World Wars combined.

A WMD attack on the U.S. would have catastrophic consequences for other countries too. Researchers at RAND, a government think tank, estimated that a nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach in California would cause immediate indirect costs worldwide of more than $3 trillion and, the shutting down of U.S. ports would cut world trade by 10 percent. (cont.)

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Growing smartphone use will have dramatic impact on disaster response

April 09 2008 / by GuestBlogger
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 11 Hot

By W. David Stephenson
This piece was originally posted here on Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al.


Smartphones now account for 10% of all cell phone sales, according to research released Monday at the Smartphone Summit in Vegas (and their sales are about to overtake those for laptops). When that happens, I’m predicting that, among the huge changes having data storage with you at all times will mean, will include major differences for disaster management and terrorism survival.

This is an issue near and dear to me. Those with long memories may remember that I got my start in homeland security creating a series of “Terrorism Survival” modules (I no longer maintain them, sadly, since the sales were never enough to justify the expense) that could be downloaded to your smartphone. Users could navigate from the broadest category of preparations or response to extremely detailed information in only 3 clicks. In a worst-case scenario, where users weren’t able to communicate at all, they still had the most important information literally in the palms of their hands (I calculated that having the same information in the original paper forms would have required that each time you left the house in the morning you’d have to heft a 300+ page bundle — and when things went to hell in a handbasket you’d still have to figure out where in that bundle the relevant information was located!). (cont.)

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Car Catcher Nets May Help End Chases

April 08 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

All those live car chases we see on television may be coming to an end. A company called Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation that specializes in pop-up safety nets for all sorts of vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, UAV’s) has now developed a car catcher that can safely stop cars moving at speeds up to 50 mph. Check out the demonstration video:


I can easily see such devices built into LA highways, perhaps at narrow on- and off-ramps, or used sporadically at strategic locations all across the town. They would also work great as a non-lethal form of ambush in war zones – although shooting out or puncturing tires is probably a more effective way to go.

Combined with increasingly popular automobile kill switches that can remotely disconnect an engine from its fuel supply, devices like these nets have the potential to make the roads quite a bit safer, as well as to deter a good amount of auto theft.

Of course, one possible counter to that is to simply train robots to steal cars instead, or simply hack the car systems.

Mini Helicopter to Hit Market in 2009 or 2010

April 08 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

Check out this fully functional new co-axial helicopter set to go into production sometime in 2009 or 2010. The manufacturer, Wieland Helicopter Technologies, says it plans to build versions that seat 1-5 passengers as well as a UAV which I’m sure the U.S. government will load up with machine guns and send into battle.

Awesome New Infrared Camera, Cloak of Darkness Loses Potency

April 02 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 6

NEC has unveiled a powerful new infrared camera that can extrapolate the thermal signatures of objects with absolutely no light present – a big breakthrough that will result in vastly better night-vision for consumers everywhere.

Showcased at the 2008 Security Show in Tokyo, the new HX0830M1 camera has been a bit hit due to the “variety of applications including security- for intruder detection, disaster relief- for searching for victims; and vision enhancement- for use in aircraft, ships, and motor vehicles”, according to Diginfonews .

Further adding to the appeal, the HX0830M1 can be used to collect temperature distribution data, which will help to keep people out of harm’s way “in high voltage environments or very high places”.

To truly grasp the night-time resolution enabled by this new product, you’ve gotta wath the following video:


It’s only a matter of time until we, or our robotic self-driving cars, will employ such infrared technology to augment our vision whenever we encounter darkness. In which case it seems like darkness itself, barring deliberate obfuscation, may be on the way out.

Second Life on the Hill: U.S. House Members Seek to Understand Virtual Worlds

April 01 2008 / by Marisa Vitols
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 10 Hot

The following is a summary of the key moments that transpired during the U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet hearing on Virtual Worlds held April 1, 2008. This marked the first ever simulcast of a Congressional hearing into a virtual world – a truly historic moment.

Spanning the positive uses of virtual worlds (entrepreneurial, non-profit, educational, and other purposes) as well as the security implications (terrorism, child protection, privacy and illegal activities) the first-of-its-kind hearing finally came to a close at 11:15 AM this morning after nearly two full hours of position statements and riveting Q&A.

Subcommittee members’ opening speeches covered general statistics, implications, applications and potential futures of virtual worlds. Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey of Massachusetts (pictured second) noted that virtual worlds often permit people to do things that are often impossible in real life, thus empowering individuals and that virtual worlds are at the cutting edge of web 2.0 applications. As per the future of virtual worlds, the Chairman said that virtual worlds are steadily becoming more commonplace and therefore policymakers will have to continue to monitor them as they grow further while upgrading national infrastructure to foster the positive utilities of such worlds.

Congressman Stearns of Florida (pictured third) cited an interesting statistic in his opening remarks, that 40% of men and 50% of women see virtual friends as equal or better than their real-life friends. He found this a bit unsettling, and elucidated his concern for sexual predators and con-men inevitably finding their way into virtual worlds, as they did the internet.

Congresswoman Harman of California echoed many of the same positive implications of virtual worlds, but seemed most concerned with the use of virtual worlds by Islamic militants, noting that a “clear-eyed understanding is essential” in helping fight this new wave of “transient terrorism.”

(cont.)

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English Group Now Lobbying Against Warbots

April 01 2008 / by Accel Rose
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 7

In what appears to be the first concerted effort to keep robotic warriors off the battlefield, an English lobbying group named Landmine Action “hopes to ban autonomous killing robots in all 150 countries bound by the current land mine treaty”, reports Jason Mick over at Daily Tech .

Richard Moyes, Landmine Action’s director of policy and research, explains, “That decision to detonate is still in the hands of an electronic sensor rather than a person. Our concern is that humans, not sensors, should make targeting decisions. So similarly, we don’t want to move towards robots that make decisions about combatants and noncombatants.”

The organization hopes to sway the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International, two leading organizations in war ethics lobbying. Landmine Action is spurred on by Sharkey’s comments, including his statement that, “We should not use autonomous armed robots unless they can discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. And that will be never.”

Never say never, Richard.

While the regulation of battlefield robots may make sense on some levels, it seems completely illogical to discount the possibility that robots will eventually, probably within 10-20 years, get better at discriminating between warriors and civilians than us humans. Systems that can swiftly determine human behavior and motivations based on readings are a distinct near term possibility – and that’s just one technology out of many that could prove his statement false.

(cont.)

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