Not for the anti-intellectual of heart.
(h/t Reggie Watts)
Be seeing you!
Think of it as Less Than Two Months To Avert An Extinction Level Event:
Humankind’s Most Dangerous Moment: Fukushima Fuel Pool at Unit 4. “This is an Issue of Human Survival.”
Global Research, September 20, 2013
We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.
Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.
Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.
The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.
According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.
The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.
Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.
Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.
Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”
Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.
For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.
You can sign the petition at: http://www.nukefree.org/crisis-fukushima-4-petition-un-us-global-response
If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.
The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.
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Copyright © 2013 Global Research
Posts Good Enough For My Godmother
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|Invasion of the Privacy Snatchers II - or, how I never learned to stop worrying and love my cell phone -- a faustian mashup|
Every smartphone or other device with mobile communications capability (e.g. 3G or LTE) actually runs not one, but two operating systems. Aside from the operating system that we as end-users see (Android, iOS, PalmOS), it also runs a small operating system that manages everything related to radio. Since this functionality is highly timing-dependent, a real-time operating system is required.
This operating system is stored in firmware, and runs on the baseband processor. As far as I know, this baseband RTOS is always entirely proprietary. For instance, the RTOS inside Qualcomm baseband processors (in this specific case, the MSM6280) is called AMSS, built upon their own proprietary REX kernel, and is made up of 69 concurrent tasks, handling everything from USB to GPS. It runs on an ARMv5 processor.
With this in mind, security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann of the University of Luxembourg set out to reverse engineer the baseband processor software of both Qualcomm and Infineon, and he easily spotted loads and loads of bugs, scattered all over the place, each and every one of which could lead to exploits - crashing the device, and even allowing the attacker to remotely execute code. Remember: all over the air. One of the exploits he found required nothing more but a 73 byte message to get remote code execution. Over the air.
You can do some crazy things with these exploits. For instance, you can turn on auto-answer, using the Hayes command set. This is a command language for modems designed in 1981, and it still works on modern baseband processors found in smartphones today (!). The auto-answer can be made silent and invisible, too.
While we can sort-of assume that the base stations in cell towers operated by large carriers are "safe", the fact of the matter is that base stations are becoming a lot cheaper, and are being sold on eBay - and there are even open source base station software packages. Such base stations can be used to target phones. Put a compromised base station in a crowded area - or even a financial district or some other sensitive area - and you can remotely turn on microphones, cameras, place rootkits, place calls/send SMS messages to expensive numbers, and so on. Yes, you can even brick phones permanently.
|"Free Will," a faustian original|
|click to enlarge|
Nazi book burning memorial, Göttingen. Photo by chrisjtse on Flickr.
Google+ and the right to use an alias
While it is true that many trolls are anonymous, in this day of free accounts like Gmail's, registering a plausible-sounding pseudonym is as easy as registering a legal name. The same goes for spammers, as a look through your Trash folder at the end of a day can easily prove.
Perhaps those who never use a pseudonym might think about the issue as many do about privacy: If you are doing nothing wrong, then why do you need privacy or a pseudonym?
Well, to start with, under the law of the United States and many other countries, using an alias is completely legal so long as you are not using it to commit fraud. A few other restrictions apply in many jurisdictions -- for instance, you generally can't use an alias to cause confusion between you and a celebrity, or use an obscene or racist name. However, generally speaking, even common law names (ones that are not officially registered, but are widely used) take on a certain legal acceptance, just as a common law relationship assumes many of the privileges and obligations of a registered marriage.
Even more importantly, the right to use a pseudonym can be a protection for a surprisingly wide variety of people. A recent article begun by Skud on the Geek Feminism wiki entitled "Who Is Harmed by a 'Real Name' Policy?" gives so many examples that it immediately convinced me that my fuzzy, unexamined thoughts about pseudonyms needed to be revised.
With the help of reader comments and revisions, Skud lists dozens of people who might benefit from using a pseudonym. They include people who face discrimination, bullying, harassment or assault, including women and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) people, and people with disabilities and other minorities. Others include people with non-mainstream views, survivors of abuse, victims of crimes, those accused of crimes, political dissidents, whistle-blowers, the famous seeking anonymity, or people whose online activity is limited as a condition of their employment.
For these and other legitimate reasons, tens of thousands -- possibly millions -- might choose a pseudonym. And whether anyone thinks they should, in many countries they have a right to, regardless of whether Google employees or anyone else thinks they should. It's really that simple.
And let's not even go into the fact that anonymous writing has a long and often honorable history, such as the debates over the American Constitution that resulted in the Federalist Papers.
As Skud summarized to me, to all appearances, "Google's names policy is short-sighted and discriminatory, and their processes and communication about it are a complete train wreck."
Yet, despite the short-terms problems it is causing many people, perhaps Google's name policy will be a long-term, indirect benefit. Especially if Google refuses to back down or clarify, these events may make people think twice before entrusting their on-line future to Google or to any other corporation via cloud services.
Even more importantly, it may alert other people -- as it did me -- to why the use of pseudonyms online is not a fringe concern. Instead, it's a right that should be defended by anyone who cares about the freedom of the Internet.
Who Are We?
Numerous people have asked us who writes Washington's Blog and why we write under a pen name.
In fact, some of the leading writers have used pen names.
As one of the best financial writers - Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge - points out (edited slightly for readability):
Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks), anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the United States. Used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka publius) to write the Federalist Papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume.
Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech.
Like the Economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker - as it should be. We believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn't.
I am a busy professional, a former adjunct professor, an American and a family man. I am post-partisan: I don't think either the Republican or Democratic parties represent the interests of the people as opposed to the big banks, major corporations, and the military-industrial complex.
But my background is less important than the fact that I provide links to document everything I say, so you can check its accuracy for yourself.
"Wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen." Quote by Heinrich Heine, Nazi book burning memorial, Göttingen. Photo by David Little Reynard on Flikr.