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Nanotechnology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jul 282015
 

Nanotechnology (“nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology[1][2] referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Until 2012, through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars, the European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars.[3]

Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally very broad, including fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.[4] The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale.

Scientists currently debate the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials,[5] and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.

The concepts that seeded nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his talk There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct manipulation of atoms. The term “nano-technology” was first used by Norio Taniguchi in 1974, though it was not widely known.

Inspired by Feynman’s concepts, K. Eric Drexler used the term “nanotechnology” in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity with atomic control. Also in 1986, Drexler co-founded The Foresight Institute (with which he is no longer affiliated) to help increase public awareness and understanding of nanotechnology concepts and implications.

Thus, emergence of nanotechnology as a field in the 1980s occurred through convergence of Drexler’s theoretical and public work, which developed and popularized a conceptual framework for nanotechnology, and high-visibility experimental advances that drew additional wide-scale attention to the prospects of atomic control of matter. In the 1980s, two major breakthroughs sparked the growth of nanotechnology in modern era.

First, the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 which provided unprecedented visualization of individual atoms and bonds, and was successfully used to manipulate individual atoms in 1989. The microscope’s developers Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.[6][7] Binnig, Quate and Gerber also invented the analogous atomic force microscope that year.

Second, Fullerenes were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl, who together won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.[8][9] C60 was not initially described as nanotechnology; the term was used regarding subsequent work with related graphene tubes (called carbon nanotubes and sometimes called Bucky tubes) which suggested potential applications for nanoscale electronics and devices.

In the early 2000s, the field garnered increased scientific, political, and commercial attention that led to both controversy and progress. Controversies emerged regarding the definitions and potential implications of nanotechnologies, exemplified by the Royal Society’s report on nanotechnology.[10] Challenges were raised regarding the feasibility of applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, which culminated in a public debate between Drexler and Smalley in 2001 and 2003.[11]

Meanwhile, commercialization of products based on advancements in nanoscale technologies began emerging. These products are limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials and do not involve atomic control of matter. Some examples include the Silver Nano platform for using silver nanoparticles as an antibacterial agent, nanoparticle-based transparent sunscreens, and carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles.[12][13]

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Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Astronomy  Comments Off on Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 282015
 

Astronomy is a natural science which is the study of celestial objects (such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth, including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation. A related but distinct subject, physical cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole.[1]

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. The early civilizations in recorded history, such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Nubians, Iranians, Chinese, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy and the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.[2]

During the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of astronomical objects, which is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented toward the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.

Astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena and Amateur astronomers have made and contributed to many important astronomical discoveries.

Astronomy (from the Greek from astron, “star” and – -nomia from nomos, “law” or “culture”) means “law of the stars” (or “culture of the stars” depending on the translation). Astronomy should not be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects.[5] Although the two fields share a common origin they are now entirely distinct.[6]

Generally, either the term “astronomy” or “astrophysics” may be used to refer to this subject.[7][8][9] Based on strict dictionary definitions, “astronomy” refers to “the study of objects and matter outside the Earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties”[10] and “astrophysics” refers to the branch of astronomy dealing with “the behavior, physical properties, and dynamic processes of celestial objects and phenomena”.[11] In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, “astronomy” may be used to describe the qualitative study of the subject, whereas “astrophysics” is used to describe the physics-oriented version of the subject.[12] However, since most modern astronomical research deals with subjects related to physics, modern astronomy could actually be called astrophysics.[7] Few fields, such as astrometry, are purely astronomy rather than also astrophysics. Various departments in which scientists carry out research on this subject may use “astronomy” and “astrophysics,” partly depending on whether the department is historically affiliated with a physics department,[8] and many professional astronomers have physics rather than astronomy degrees.[9] One of the leading scientific journals in the field is the European journal named Astronomy and Astrophysics. The leading American journals are The Astrophysical Journal and The Astronomical Journal.

In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye. In some locations, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that possibly had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as in understanding the length of the year.[13]

Before tools such as the telescope were invented, early study of the stars was conducted using the naked eye. As civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Greece, India, China, Egypt, and Central America, astronomical observatories were assembled, and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Most of early astronomy actually consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the universe, or the Ptolemaic system, named after Ptolemy.[14]

A particularly important early development was the beginning of mathematical and scientific astronomy, which began among the Babylonians, who laid the foundations for the later astronomical traditions that developed in many other civilizations.[15] The Babylonians discovered that lunar eclipses recurred in a repeating cycle known as a saros.[16]

Following the Babylonians, significant advances in astronomy were made in ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world. Greek astronomy is characterized from the start by seeking a rational, physical explanation for celestial phenomena.[17] In the 3rd century BC, Aristarchus of Samos estimated the size and distance of the Moon and Sun, and was the first to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system.[18] In the 2nd century BC, Hipparchus discovered precession, calculated the size and distance of the Moon and invented the earliest known astronomical devices such as the astrolabe.[19] Hipparchus also created a comprehensive catalog of 1020 stars, and most of the constellations of the northern hemisphere derive from Greek astronomy.[20] The Antikythera mechanism (c. 15080 BC) was an early analog computer designed to calculate the location of the Sun, Moon, and planets for a given date. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.[21]

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Kovalam – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jul 222015
 

Kovalam is a beach town by the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala, India, located around 16km from the city center.[1]

Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees.

Kovalam first received attention when the Regent Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore constructed her beach resort, Halcyon Castle, here towards the end of the 1920s. Thereafter the place was brought to the public eye by her nephew the Maharaja of Travancore.[2] The European guests of the then Travancore kingdom discovered the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination in the 1930s. However, Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon in the Hippie Trail. This exodus started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in all India.[3]

Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17km coastline, the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach

Detour past Kovalam junction to land on Samudra Beach which is to the north of Ashoka Beach. One has the option to walk along the sea-wall too.The sight of the waves lashing on the rocks below is awesome. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.[6]

The larger of the beaches is called Light House Beach for its 35 metre high light house which towers over it atop Kurumkal hillock. The second largest one is Hawah Beach named thus for the topless European women who used to throng there. It was the first topless beach in India.[citation needed] However topless bathing is banned now except in private coves owned by resorts. Visitors frequent these two beaches. The northern part of the beach is known as Samudra Beach in tourism parlance. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn’t have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and Monazite. The normal tourist season is from September to May. Ashoka beach is also the part of Kovalam beach.

There are a large number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a mosque. The Proposed International Trans shipment Terminal at Vizhinjam is also close to Kovalam.

Kovalam was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. It still has a high status among tourists, who arrive mostly from Europe and Israel.[citation needed] Kovalam is finding a new significance in the light of several Ayurvedic salons, and recuperation and regeneration resorts which provide a wide variety of Ayurvedic treatments for tourists.[7]

Kovalam assembly constituency is part of Trivandrum (Lok Sabha constituency).[8] The assembly constituency of Kovalam is represented by Jameela Prakasham of Janatha Dal. She defeated the sitting MLA Adv. George Mercier.[9][10]

Hawwah beach (Eves beach)

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Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jul 212015
 

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes “well-born” from eu, “good, well” and genos, “race, stock, kin”)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4][5] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.[6] Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advancements in gene editing (e.g. CRISPR).[7] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a “social philosophy”that is, a philosophy with implications for social orderis not meant to be definitive, and is taken from Frederick Osborn’s journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”.[8]

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as Ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in Britain[9] and spread to many countries, including the United States and most European countries. In this period eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaustthe murder by the German state of approximately 11 million peoplewhen many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them Sweden and the US, continued to carry out forced sterilizations for several decades.

A major critique of eugenics policies is that regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction.

The idea of eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12] The idea of eugenics to decrease the birth of inferior human beings has existed at least since William Goodell (1829-1894) advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[13][14]

However, the term “eugenics” to describe the modern concept of improving the quality of human beings born into the world was originally developed by Francis Galton. Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Galton believed that desirable traits were hereditary based on biographical studies.[15] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained a controversial concept.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources.[18] Organisations formed to win public support, and modify opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, included the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907, and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen, and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[19] Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[20] It has roots in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[21] Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries, including Belgium,[22]Brazil,[23] Canada,[24]Japan, and Sweden.[25]

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, in Sweden the eugenics program continued until 1975.[25] In addition to being practised in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Its political aspects involved advocating laws allowing the pursuit of eugenic objectives, such as sterilization laws. Its moral aspects included rejection of the doctrine that all human beings are born equal, and redefining morality purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “less fit” races.

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. At this point in time, eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments and influential individuals and institutions. Many countries enacted[34] various eugenics policies and programmes, including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, and genocide. Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive or restrictive, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labelled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance. The methods of implementing eugenics varied by country; however, some early 20th century methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, the segregation or institutionalization of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and their mass murder. The practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many of the discriminatory eugenics laws were largely abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[36] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a population] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[37] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[38] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, government practices of compulsive sterilization continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly 2,000 persons were involuntarily sterilized.[39] China maintains its forcible one-child policy as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation in order to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[40][41][42] In 2007 the United Nations reported forcible sterilisations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[43] During the years 200506 to 201213, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[44]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[45] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[46] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[47]

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NATO and Russia watch one another closely in Eastern …

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO and Russia watch one another closely in Eastern …
May 232015
 

Sweden scrambled fighter jets to intercept two Russian military planes that flew too close to Swedish airspace.

With Russia flexing its muscles, three of its Baltic neighbors — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have asked NATO to permanently deploy ground troops as a deterrent.

Russian fighter jets are being watched closely by NATO as the country flexes it’s muscle in the air.

CBS News

On Europe’s Eastern frontier, NATO F-16s and Eurofighters drill for something they’re doing more and more, intercepting Russian military aircraft flying too close for comfort to European airspace.

A cockpit video shows NATO jets shadowing Russian planes, which often try to stay invisible by turning off their transponders.

Play Video

The Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets to escort Russian bombers away from U.K. airspace, an encounter that one analyst described to Charlie …

We watched the NATO pilots practice from a military transport plane. But last years in the Baltic states, they did this for real more than 150 times, a nearly four-fold increase on 2013.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

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Apr 142015
 

Last December, I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to meet with multiple European tech companies, web hosts, and other infrastructure providers. The topic of intelligence agency backdoors and US corporate involvement with such policies came up more than once, often in not-entirely-friendly ways. Its therefore refreshing to see the head of the NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, state up front that the NSA isnt interested in a backdoor solution to digital surveillance. Instead, he wants a so-called front-door solution which could be even worse.

Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldnt be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyones files it would need Googles support.

I dont want a back door, Rogers, the director of the nations top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.

The first problem with Rogers proposed front-door solution is that its a meaningless feel-good measure given the current regulatory structure of our national security system. Before the Snowden leaks, Google, Microsoft, and other digital providers were forbidden from disclosing that theyd received national security letters, even in aggregate. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that Yahoo went to bat for users, challenging the legality and authority of the NSA and lost, every time.

Giving half a key to Google or Yahoo would be meaningless unless the company possesses the authority to refuse to use it. In theory, the court system offers robust oversight of how such capabilities are used. In practice, the FISA court has operated more like a rubber stamp body than an organization devoted to judicial oversight. The government, as a whole, doesnt currently have a great track record of respecting suspects rights the FBI is on record as ordering local police departments to drop cases rather than disclose how secret stingray hardware may have been used in ways that fundamentally violate those suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

The other systemic problem with Rogers suggestion is that it assumes a degree of trust between corporations and government at a time when such good feelings are at an all-time low. The NSA has demonstrated no practical ability to differentiate between friend and foe. Its decision to hoover up data running across Googles transatlantic cables may have been legal, but it illustrated a total lack of respect for Google and a willingness to resort to extrajudicial methods when it was convenient.

The NSA could avoid this problem by sharing the key with government-appointed escrows rather than corporations, but this simply hides the process from public view. Thats already extremely problematic.

The technological problems with the NSAs front-door policy are formidable. The divide the key among trusted parties, approach isnt new the NSA proposed exactly this method of securing its ill-fated Clipper Chip in the early 1990s. At the time, the newly-formed EFF and other consumer advocacy agencies battled the NSAs proposed system, noting that it exposed citizens to increased surveillance while providing no assurance that the cryptographic standard, dubbed Skipjack, was actually secure.

Many of these questions would remain in any escrow system the government dreamed up today. The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity adviser at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technologies. Theres no way to do this where you dont have unintentional vulnerabilities.

Hackers, generally speaking, dont go after the code itself or attempt to brute-force it instead, they work to compromise the organizations that hold the keys, or find other avenues of attack. Splitting the key into parts is only an advantage if the parts cant be combined or analyzed for clues to the final key structure. In order to function properly, every escrow needs to be secure, and every one-time access key needs to be destroyed.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

Nato | Define Nato at Dictionary.com

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Apr 082015
 

[ney-toh] /ne to/

IPA Syllables

an organization formed in Washington, D.C. (1949), comprising the 12 nations of the Atlantic Pact together with Greece, Turkey, and the Federal Republic of Germany, for the purpose of collective defense against aggression.

Origin of NATO Expand

N(orth) A(tlantic) T(reaty) O(rganization)

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British Dictionary definitions for NATO Expand

North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an international organization composed of the US, Canada, Britain, and a number of European countries: established by the North Atlantic Treaty (1949) for purposes of collective security. In 1994 it launched the Partnership for Peace initiative, in order to forge alliances with former Warsaw Pact countries; in 1997 a treaty of cooperation with Russia was signed and in 1999 Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic became full NATO members

Word Origin and History for NATO Expand

acronym of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was set up in 1949.

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NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015 – Video

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Apr 032015
 



NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015
On Monday 30 March 2015 the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence in Brussels.

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NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015 – Video

NASA Invites Public to April Hubble 25th Anniversary Events

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Apr 022015
 

GREENBELT, Md., April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years of science this April 2015 with a variety of events open to the public around the U.S. Here is a sampling of events happening this month in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. Some events charge admission.

The IMAX movie, “Hubble 3D” has re-opened at select theatres across the U.S. and showings continue in April. Hubble images come to vast, three-dimensional life and take audiences through the telescope’s 20-year existence and puts them in orbit with astronauts during the latest servicing mission. For more information and the trailer, visit: http://hubblesite.org/hubble_20/imax_hubble_3d/

Hubble will be featured at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space museum in Washington throughout April. For details and dates: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/calendar/Index.cfm?month=4&year=2015

From April 23 to May 2, a Hubble imagery exhibit called “Heaven’s Carousel,” created by the European Space Agency will be at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

On April 23 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. EDT, NASA will unveil the official Hubble 25th anniversary image at the Newseum in Washington. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, and Hubble Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, will speak about Hubble’s achievements.

On April 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Smithsonian’s NASM Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia will hold a Family Day Event with astronauts. For information: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/detail.cfm?id=15779

On April 25, Hubble information and displays will be featured at a table during the University of Maryland Day at College Park, Maryland. For information: http://www.marylandday.umd.edu/

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASAand ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center inGreenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute(STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASAby the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For more information about the Hubble telescope and other upcoming events, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

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NASA Invites Public to April Hubble 25th Anniversary Events

NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q & A Session – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q & A Session – Video
Apr 012015
 



NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q A Session
Question and Answer session following the NATO Secretary General's address to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence in Brussels (30…

By: NATO

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NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union on new security challenges

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Mar 312015
 

BRUSSELS NATO’S secretary-general wants more joint action with the European Union to face the security challenges coming from Russia and the violent Islamic extremism plaguing some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Jens Stoltenberg told a European Parliament hearing Monday that NATO and the EU should combine efforts to make member countries more “resilient” to the so-called hybrid brand of warfare that Western governments accuse Russia of waging in Ukraine. Along with military force, hybrid warfare includes cyber-attacks, the use of social media, deception and disinformation.

The NATO secretary-general also said the EU should assist friendly countries to its south and southeast like Jordan to combat the spread of Islamic extremism.

Stoltenberg told European lawmakers that “the time has come to spend more on defense.”

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NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union on new security challenges

Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania – Video

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Mar 292015
 



Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania
A convoy of NATO military vehicles on its way from Estonia to Germany arrived in the Lithuanian town of Marijampole, Tuesday as part of a 1770-km (1100-mile) tour through six European countries….

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Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania – Video

NATO's new perils

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Mar 262015
 

Brussels – The NATO alliance seems stuck at a crossroads on Ukraine, unsure whether to move toward greater confrontation with Russia or accept the deadlocked “frozen conflict” that has emerged there.

It’s a unified morass, at least, with President Obama sharing the reluctance of European leaders to escalate the crisis by providing defensive weapons to Ukraine or tightening sanctions against Russia. The U.S. tacitly backs the decision made by European leaders here late last week to maintain the status quo – and link any easing of sanctions to implementation of the Minsk agreement that has brought a shaky truce in Ukraine.

The policy impasse was illustrated by Gen. Philip Breedlove, the NATO commander. I asked him Sunday at a conference here whether arming Kiev, which he reportedly favors, would be stabilizing or destabilizing. He indicated that he favored sending weapons, saying: “I do not think that any tool of U.S. … power should necessarily be off the table.”

But Breedlove noted the ambiguity of the policy choice: “Could it be destabilizing? The answer is yes. Also, inaction could be destabilizing.” That answer was a snapshot of the alliance’s dilemma. Breedlove spoke at the Brussels Forum, organized by the German Marshall Fund, of which I’m a trustee.

The problem is that it’s hard to see how current sanctions policy will lead to a true de-escalation, unless Russian President Vladimir Putin has a sudden conversion. Russian analysts here say it could take years for sanctions to bite so much that they force a policy change.

Leaving aside whether a Russian economic breakdown would really be in the West’s interest, sanctions may have a perverse outcome in the near term: Rather than encouraging Putin and his cronies to change course, they may instead empower the most corrupt and conservative forces in Russia.

Sanctions had just this unintended outcome in Iraq during the 1990s, when controls that were meant to punish the regime of Saddam Hussein enfeebled the mass economy but enriched elite regime cronies who could evade sanctions. Russians here warned that just such a process may be underway in Russia.

NATO has learned to live with frozen conflicts near its borders, such as between Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; and between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Diplomatic efforts to resolve these disputes have been underway for years, with little progress.

But a frozen conflict with Russia itself would be considerably more dangerous. The status quo, with Ukraine vulnerable and sanctions continuing, would mean increasing isolation and impoverishment of a Russian economy that was foundering long before Putin annexed Crimea and triggered reprisals. Russians can probably live with a declining economy – their ability to endure suffering is part of the Russian national identity – but this course seems likely to produce a Russia that’s ever more lawless, unsteady and prone to violence, internally and externally.

The Brussels Forum discussions explored another dilemma for NATO: As a conventional military alliance, it is ill-prepared for the “hybrid warfare” Russia has waged in Ukraine, which has been closer to a paramilitary covert action to support proxy forces than to a traditional military attack. Breedlove acknowledged this problem, and said that NATO needed to mount an “all of government” response to Moscow, including information operations and other tools that are traditionally used by intelligence agencies or foreign ministries, not military alliances.

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NATO's new perils

BITCOIN FILTER #37 GREECE THE SKIDS – Video

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Mar 252015
 



BITCOIN FILTER #37 GREECE THE SKIDS
It's more macro economic soap opera mayhem this week from the European Union, the likes of which we have not seen since Cyprus in 2013. Have you learned the word Grexit yet? If this is all…

By: consensus Reality.io

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BITCOIN FILTER #37 GREECE THE SKIDS – Video

Madeira Islands Open gets new summer dates on European Tour

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Mar 252015
 

Updated MAR 24, 2015 5:44p ET

LONDON

The European Tour says it has rescheduled the Madeira Islands Open for July 30 to Aug. 2 after it was cancelled last week because of extreme weather.

Strong winds, dense fog and heavy rain on the Portuguese island left the Clubs de Golf Santo da Serra flooded, with only the first round completed.

Keith Waters, chief operating officer of the European Tour, says “given the important of the Madeira Islands Open… we were very keen to reschedule the tournament.” It is the second straight year the competition has been interrupted by bad conditions. Last year, it was reduced to 36 holes because of heavy fog.

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Madeira Islands Open gets new summer dates on European Tour

Madeira Islands Open Canceled Because of Bad Weather

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Mar 222015
 

Organizers canceled the Madeira Islands Open because of continuing bad weather on Sunday.

In a statement on the European Tour website, chief operating officer Keith Waters said “we are already in discussions with the club and the sponsors to reschedule the event for another week” later this season.

Heavy winds and rain sweeping the Portuguese island for the previous three days did not let up, leaving the Clube de Golf Santo da Serra flooded.

Organizers had already reduced the tournament to 36 holes on Saturday in an effort to salvage the European Tour event.

The field was only able to complete the first round on Saturday, with Denmark’s Joachim B. Hansen leading by one stroke.

This is the second straight year weather has disrupted the tournament.

Last year, heavy fog during the first three days forced organizers to reduce it to 36 holes.

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Madeira Islands Open Canceled Because of Bad Weather

Passport king helps poor nations turn citizenship into a resource

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Mar 152015
 

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters A view of beaches just outside the main capital Basseterre June 13, 2009. The Caribbean’s small island states resist natural hurricanes year after year, but they are fighting to stay afloat in a global economic storm that is battering the world’s rich and poor nations alike. Picture taken June 13, 2009.

In 2006, the tiny Caribbean state of St. Kitts and Nevis was in deep trouble. Its sugar plantations had closed a year earlier, gang violence had given it the dubious distinction of having one of the worlds highest murder rates, and only two governments on Earth were more indebted. A three-hour flight south of Miami, the country of 48,000 people was more or less unknown. Certainly, the two specks of volcanic rock in the middle of the West Indies werent of much interest to the worlds rich. St. Kitts and Nevis had run a citizenship-by-investment programhad sold passportssince 1984, but it didnt get much attention and was never a moneymaker.

Then a Swiss lawyer named Christian Kalin showed up.

Thanks to Kalin, St. Kitts has become the worlds most popular place to buy a passport, offering citizenship for $250,000 with no requirement that applicants ever set foot on the islands sun-kissed shores. Buyers get visa-free travel to 132 countries, limited disclosure of financial information, and no taxes on income or capital gains. The program became so successful that St. Kitts emerged from the global financial crisis far ahead of its neighbors in the Caribbean. Its been a complete transformation, says Judith Gold, head of an International Monetary Fund mission to the country.

Just as Kalin put St. Kitts on the map, Bloomberg Markets will report in its April 2015 issue, the reverse is also true. It made his reputation. Before St. Kitts, Kalins firm, Henley & Partners, was an obscure wealth management and immigration consultancy, and Kalin was working out of a small branch office in Zurich. Tall, with a runners build, Kalin was known as a researcher, he says, not the hard-nosed dealmaker hes become. His claim to fame was having edited a 766-page guide to doing business in Switzerland, a tome found in every one of the countrys embassies.

Soon, prime ministers from around the world were seeking Kalins advice, in the hope he could reproduce the magic of St. Kitts, where he effectively created a resource out of thin air for a nation that had few. Many countries allow wealthy foreigners to buy residency cards through what are called immigrant investor programs, but before the financial crisis, St. Kitts and another Caribbean island called Dominica were the only ones selling citizenship outright. Since then, another five countries have gotten into the game. More are coming.

Kalin advised the governments of Cyprus and Grenada, which established citizenship-by-investment plans in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Also in 2013, he designed a program very much like St. Kittss for Antigua and Barbuda. In 2014, Kalin crafted a plan for Malta, the smallest member of the European Union. Pretty much every government that has even contemplated this has talked to us, he says. In St. Lucia, a task force is considering proposals from Henley and other firms. Albania, Croatia, Jamaica, Montenegro, and Slovenia are looking at programs, too.

The bottom lineits a phrase Kalin uses oftenis that more states are open to making citizenship rights available through investment, he says. And it makes a lot of sense. Why not give citizenship to people who contribute a lot to the country?

Since revamping the St. Kitts program in November 2006, Kalin has built Henley into the biggest firm in an industry turning citizenship into a commodity. Investors spent an estimated $2 billion buying new passports last year alone, and Kalin predicts demand will grow along with the ranks of the wealthy in emerging countries. Its a question of mobility and also security, he says. If youre from a country thats politically unstable, where youre not sure what the future holds, you want to have an alternative.

Henley is privately held and Kalin wont discuss its revenue, but he says by the end of 2014, the firm had helped dozens of governments raise $4 billion in direct investment through citizenship or residency programs. It has also advised thousands of multimillionaires on where and how to buy a passport of convenience, collecting fees and commissions from all sides. Last year, at 42, Kalin became Henleys chairman.

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Politics: 'Free speech' defenders are endorsing homophobia

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Mar 142015
 

When SBS flatly refused to broadcast an ad for a Christian lobby group which claimed same-sex marriages would force children to miss out on a mother or a father during their Mardi Gras coverage, a few commentators argued that the decision was a hasty blow against free speech.

Not least of them was out gay Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, who describes the ad as distasteful and inappropriate, but insists it should still have screened.

Below, Melbourne secondary school teacher Alexandra OBrien disagrees. How comfortable would these free speech! defenders be if we were talking about a racist ad instead?

It blows my mind when I see people using the old right to free speech argument on social media as if this right gives companies and individuals the power to incite hate and fear, especially when using mass media outlets, such as the channel 7 and 9 anti-gay marriage ads which ran during Sydney Mardi Gras.

Im not going to endorse the institution of marriage here (hell nah), however lets get one thing straight for all of you closeted bigots out there who cry free speech when someone points out the homophobic, or perhaps racist or sexist comment that you are secretly supporting: No one, and I mean no one, has the right to cause further harm to an already oppressed, marginalised and vulnerable group.

There is no question that the LGBTIQ community, especially its youth, need protection, not condemnation.

In relation to the anti-marriage equality ads, the Australian Christian Lobby was happy to twist the statistics of one peer-reviewed study to suit their agenda, but in doing so they neglected that in a large queer specific study by The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre in partnership with The University of Western Sydney it was found that 33% of LGBTIQ youth have committed self harm, 64% have been verbally abused, 42% have thought about self-harm and suicide, 16% have attempted suicide and 18% have been physically abused. There is no question that the LGBTIQ community, especially its youth, need protection, not condemnation.

The old saying goes that a lie will go around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on and so yes, there is cause for restrictions of this so-called right to freedom of speech, and that is when it is being used to cause harm to oppressed and vulnerable people. Lets look to the European Convention on Human Rights who states that freedom of expression may be subject to restrictions or penalties and dont freak out, in Australia these restrictions come in the form of laws such as the sex discrimination act, telecommunications law (to avoid menacing, harassing or offensive communication), and the offensive language in public act. These are all restrictions in place to protect not to endanger.

According to The Guardian commentator Nesrine Malik however, there is a loophole. She argues that those who fancy themselves defenders of free speech must be consistent in their absolutism, and stand up for offensive speech no matter who is the target. So, where are the ad campaigns demoting and attacking interracial marriage, or indigenous rights and equity, or perhaps womens and childrens rights to safety? surely any such campaigns would be valid and protected by the virtuous freedom of speech argument? Oh wait, no they are not, because the general population understands them to be unethical and harmful.

So, to you bigots who hide behind your self-entitled right to freedom of speech, let the rest of us never forget the golden rule: When you defend something, you are actually endorsing it.

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Politics: 'Free speech' defenders are endorsing homophobia

Nato head tells David Cameron: We are counting on your leadership

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Mar 132015
 

We appreciate the leadership that the UK shows in the Alliance, and we count on leadership also in the future, Mr Stoltenberg said.

In the same press release, Nato said he would be meeting Michael Fallon to ensure important decisions from the Wales summit last year were being implemented.

A central outcome of the summit was a promise for all European allies to recommit to spending 2 per cent of their GDP on defence a long-standing obligation.

At the time the Prime Minister called on those countries below the mark to meet the obligation within a decade and signed a pledge saying Britain would aim to continue to hit the 2 per cent mark.

In a separate development, Mr Cameron appeared to admit the difficulty in justifying why a government should protect aid spending during austerity while not ring-fencing defence.

Pushed by the Financial Times on how the Prime Minister could say defence was more about deployability of forces than raw spending numbers while enshrining legal aid spending in law, Mr Cameron reportedly said: Its a fair point.

No 10 spokesperson said of the meeting between Mr Cameron and Mr Stoltenberg: The Prime Minister explained that the UK would continue to meet the 2 per cent target this financial year and next, but decisions beyond this would be made in the next Spending Review.

The Secretary General said he appreciated the UKs leadership within the Alliance and that the Government was using its defence spending to focus on investment in new capabilities.”

Last month two former Nato heads warned that Mr Cameron will embolden Mr Putin and Islamic terrorists if he reneges on a commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who left the post as Nato general secretary last year, and his predecessor Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said cutting defence after the election would strength Britains enemies.

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Nato head tells David Cameron: We are counting on your leadership

NATO's third front: Defense spending

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Mar 122015
 

Sasa Kavic | Reuters

An Italian sailor from the frigate “Alieso” removes a cover from a cannon in the Black Sea port of Varna, Bulgaria, March 9, 2015.

“[NATO] feels more highly relevant to contemporary challengesmore so than it has been since the end of the Cold War,” said Kathleen McInnis, a NATO and coalition warfare expert at Chatham House, a London-based policy institute. She explained that despite geopolitical worries that pervade much of Europe, many member states have struggled to make increased defense spending politically palatable.

Problems with military funding have plagued the alliance for years, but they are becoming more serious as threats on the periphery of Europe grow.

“The geopolitical reality surrounding Europe and surrounding NATO is changing so much, it’s not clear that NATO members can waffle their way through this again,” McInnis explained.

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An agreement struck during the NATO summit in Wales last September reaffirmed members’ commitment to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. The declaration said that NATO countries already meeting that spending levela group that included only the United States, United Kingdom and Estoniawill continue to do so. And it said that nations under that 2 percent bar will halt spending declines and move toward the guideline within a decade.

Although the 2 percent level may seem arbitrary, it is “probably the absolute minimum modern countries can pay” in order to maintain adequate security, according to Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

But, as the European Leadership Network, a U.K.-based think tank, noted in a recent paper, at least six countries in NATO are expected to decrease their military spending: the U.K., Germany, Canada, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria.

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NATO's third front: Defense spending




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism