The secret ‘war’ in cyberspace

Wired online magazine has a very interesting article about the National Security Agency and its shadowy world.  If the information it provides is correct, it looks as if the widely reported fears about Chinese cyber-espionage and cyber-offensive capability are matched, if not exceeded, by what this country’s been doing for years.  Here’s an excerpt. (General Keith) Alexander runs the nation’s cyberwar efforts, an empire he has built over the past eight years by insisting that the US’s inherent vulnerability to digital attacks requires him to amass more and more authority over the data zipping around the globe. In his telling,

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The economic death spiral worsens

Two very powerful articles have just nailed down the points I’ve been making for years about government deficit spending and the Fed’s disastrous QE (quantitative easing) program, which is the only thing that’s allowed the US government to borrow endlessly to fund its deficits. First, Reuters reports that the Bank for International Settlements has restated the orthodox perspective on debt, and pointed out how urgently governments need to get their financial house in order.  Since central banks make up the BIS to begin with, this is a stinging rebuke to the Fed and the Eurozone financial institutions in particular. The

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A bamboo train???

I’ve ridden the rails in much of Africa, and I thought I’d seen just about the worst, most ramshackle, most unstable rails, rail cars and locomotives one could imagine. I was wrong! How do they stop the local animals (particularly hungry ones) from joining them? That was frequently a problem in Africa! Peter

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Charities – or corrupt enterprises?

The Tampa Bay Times, in collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting, has published a list of what it calls ‘America’s Worst Charities‘.  Overall, these organizations collected $1,350.9 million last year (yes, that’s $1.35 billion, if you want to put it that way).  Of that astonishing sum, no less than $970.6 million (almost a billion dollars, or almost 72% of the total amount raised) was paid to professional fundraisers as commission.  Only $380.3 million (fractionally more than 28% of the total amount raised) was paid to the 50 charities involved;  and of that, a mere $49.1 million (less than 4%

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Remember that wrecked PBY Catalina?

In November last year I wrote about the shot-up wreck of a PBY Catalina flying-boat on the shores of Saudi Arabia, and how it got there.  I had to piece the story together from a number of different sources. Now, in a very long and picture-heavy article, the good people at Vintage Wings of Canada have given the ‘backstory’ of the development of the ‘flying yacht’ version of the PBY, and what happened to the wrecked example in Saudi Arabia. They’ve amassed a great deal more information than I was able to find.  It’s a great story, and highly recommended

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Immigration reform – yet another crony-capitalist, progressive boondoggle

Let’s be quite clear what’s really at the root of the current push for ‘immigration reform’.  There are two reasons.  First, it’s a handout to big business, which wants more and cheaper labor.  Second, it’s an attempt to create yet another group of reliably liberal/progressive/Democratic Party voters.  There are no other valid reasons for it to be pushed so hard right now. You want evidence of that?  There’s plenty.  Let’s start with the Congressional Budget Office‘s assessment of the so-called ‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013‘. CBO reports that S. 744 would have only a marginal

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Doofus Of The Day #710

Today’s award goes to the director of a Nike commercial starring Tiger Woods.  You don’t give instructions like that to someone like him! The incident dates from 2006, but I only just came across the footage.  Still, better late than never! Peter

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Greedy governments . . . and a potential cure?

Janet Daley writes in the Telegraph about the rise of greedy governments. David Cameron said something last week that was the precise opposite of the truth – by which I do not mean, obviously, that he told a deliberate falsehood. What he did was simply relay the perversely inverted logic that has become conventional wisdom. What the Prime Minister said was: “If you want a low-tax economy, you have to collect the taxes that are owed.” When what he should have said, of course, was: “If you want to collect the taxes that are owed, you have to have a

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Slices of ammo?

Photographer Sabine Pearlman has taken a series of images of 900 rounds of sectioned ammunition in a bunker in Switzerland. I presume the rounds were sectioned by Swiss armament technicians, investigating their construction and components. She writes:  “I was originally intrigued by the ambiguous nature of the subject matter.  The cross-sections reveal a hidden complexity and beauty of form, which stands in vast contrast to the destructive purpose of the object.  It’s a representation of the evil and the beautiful, a reflection of the human condition.” There are more images at the link, and at Ms. Pearlman’s Web site.  Interesting

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