Archive for November, 2012


WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning gives evidence for first time

    Bradley Manning

    Bradley Manning steps out of a security vehicle as he is escorted into the courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

    After 917 days in military captivity, the world finally heard on Thursday from Bradley Manning, the army soldier accused of being the source of the largest leak of government secrets in US history.

    In a dramatic opening half-hour of testimony on the third day of the pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade military base in Maryland, Manning spoke at length for the first time about the period after his arrest in May 2010.

    Manning detailed the trauma he experienced at the hands of the US military while he was incarcerated for having allegedly handed hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

    His defence lawyer, David Coombs, drew a life-sized representation on the courtroom floor of the 6ft by 8ft cell in which Manning was held at the Quantico base in Virginia after he was brought to the US.

    Manning seemed initially nervous but relaxed into his subject. He described a breakdown he had in Kuwait in the days after his arrest. “I was in a pretty stressed situation,” Manning said. “I had no idea what was going on with anything. I was getting very little information.

    “I began to really deteriorate. I was anxious all the time about not knowing anything, days blend into night, night into days. Everything became more insular.”

    Manning described how his guards stopped taking him out of his cell, preventing any interaction with other detainees. “I didn’t have a good understanding of the reasons. Someone tried to explain to me but I was a mess. I was starting to fall apart.”

    He claimed that two or three times a day his guards would give him a “shakedown”. This involved taking him out the cell, then tearing apart everything he had in the cell.

    Coombs asked Manning whether he had any recollection of an incident on 30 June 2010, when he had lost control of himself to the extent that doctors had to intervene. “He was screaming, babbling, banging his head against the cell,” said Coombs.

    Manning replied: “I knew I had just fallen apart, everything is foggy and hazy at that point.”

    The soldier said he thought he would die in Kuwait. “I remember thinking I’m going to die. I thought I was going to die in a cage,” he told the hearing.

     

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    Robocod: Homeland Security adds underwater drones to their arsenal with robots based on fish

    • Flexible body and fins allow it to dart around the water like a real fish

    By Daniel Miller

     

     

    The new robot, named BioSwimmer, is actually based not on a cod but a tuna which is said to have the ideal natural shape for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).

    Scroll down for video

    Fishy business: Homeland Security's latest drone - the BioSwimmer - unmanned underwater vehicle is based on a tunaFishy business: Homeland Security’s latest drone – the BioSwimmer – unmanned underwater vehicle is based on a tuna

    Its ultra-flexible body coupled with mechanical fins and tail allow it to dart around the water just like a real fish even in the harshest of environments.

    And while it does have a number of security applications, this high maneuverability makes it perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankers.

    Other potential missions include inspecting and protecting harbors and piers, performing area searches and military applications.

    BioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spaces.

    It is being developed by Boston Engineering Corporation’s Advanced Systems Group (ASG) basesd in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Trials: The BioSwimmer's flexible body and mechanical fins make it extremely maneuverable Trials: The BioSwimmer’s flexible body and mechanical fins make it extremely maneuverable

     

    The fish-like design makes BioSwimmer perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankersThe fish-like design makes BioSwimmer perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankers

     

    BioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spacesBioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spaces

    David Taylor, program manager for the project at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Fox News: ‘It’s all about distilling the science. It’s called ‘biomimetics.

    ‘We’re using nature as a basis for design and engineering a system that works exceedingly well.

    ‘Tuna have had millions of years to develop their ability to move in the water with astounding efficiency. Hopefully we won’t take that long.’

    BioSwimmer is also capable of operating in high viscocity fluids such as crude oil, which could make it a valuable tool for off-shore drilling operations.

    It can be controlled by an operator using a laptop computer but is also being designed to function autonomously.

    AGS Director Mike Rufo added: ‘It’s designed to support a variety of tactical missions and with its interchangeable sensor payloads and reconfigurable Operator Controls, and can be optimized on a per-mission basis.’

     

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    Originally posted on misebogland:

     

     

    Even after the election, the Romney campaign still doesn’t get it. Mitt Romney’s 47% remark at a fundraiser haunted his campaign more than any other issue. Matched with similar remarks that he liked to “fire people” or that “corporations are people,” Romney constantly confronted the belief that he didn’t understand the problems of ordinary Americans. The Romney campaign could never overcome that obstacle. Now it appears that was because they didn’t really understand it.

    Stuart Stevens, a top strategist for Romney, wrote in the Washington Post how wonderfully transformational the Romney campaign was. Stevens tries to present Romney as a dark horse for the nomination because the Republican Party elders never liked Romney and Romney trailed in the polls to about every Republican presidential candidate at one time or another.

    Was Stevens in the same campaign that the rest of us remember? Romney was the favorite for…

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    Originally posted on SwissChiropractic's Blog:

    Butter’s gotten a bad rap.  Until the 1950s, butter was a traditional staple on everyone’s dinner table.  But then a professor named Ancel Keys published research that tied the consumption of saturated fat to heart disease.

    In 1956, American Heart Association representatives appeared on television warning people about fat and the danger of coronary heart disease.  Butter consumption took a nosedive and margarine was suddenly the spread of choice in homes across the country.  More than 50 years later, many butter substitutes are available on store shelves.  But are they really any healthier than the butter they’ve replaced?

    Margarine—the first butter substitute—is made from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil from plant oils such as sunflower, cottonseed, rapeseed (canola), soybean and safflower.  Hydrogenation is necessary to give liquid oils a solid quality at room temperature.  However, this process of hydrogenation creates those dangerous trans fats everyone has heard about.  Guess…

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    Originally posted on Shane Cloud:

    I’ve been browsing the web lately and have come across countless earthquake and volcanic activity. Here is a few sources of some events that are happening all over the world and this list isn’t all them. Is the Earth telling us it’s time for a change? Or could it be caused by man-made technology?

    latest (Nov 2012) | Oct 2012 | Sep 2012 | archive

    Thursday, Nov 29, 2012

    The Tolbachik fissure eruption at night, two areas of activity can clearly be seen. KVERT

    The Tolbachik fissure eruption at night, two areas of activity can clearly be seen. KVERT

    Photo showing the southern area of activity. Lava flows from the northern part of the activity can been seen on the upper right. KVERT

    Photo showing the southern area of activity. Lava flows from the northern part of the activity can been seen on the upper right. KVERT

    On 29 November, the Tokyo VAAC reported that ash plumes from Tolbachik…

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    Originally posted on Shane Cloud:

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    Scientists have developed a bug which produces pure gold.

    The team at Michigan State University says that they found the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans is able to take so-called liquid gold (gold chloride, a toxic chemical found in nature) and turn it into 24-karat gold.

    The process has been named microbial alchemy – and that’s exactly what it appears to be.

    “Microbial alchemy is what we’re doing – transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable,” said Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.

    Unfortunately for the world gold markets, it’s not possible to reproduce the experiment on a larger scale because it isn’t cost effective. As such while the researchers might be able to take toxins and turn them into gold, they’ll still come out behind overall.

    The result of their research is actually an artwork, named “The Great Work of…

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    Originally posted on Mountain Republic:

    Agency head refuses to appear at transportation hearing

    Steve Watson
    Infowars.com

    The TSA has refused to attend a House Transportation hearing this week, with agency head John Pistole personally refusing to appear and declaring that the Congressional Committee has “no jurisdiction over the TSA”.

    The hearing, schedule for Thursday, will be held by the Subcommittee on Aviation, a part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (TIC). It is titled HOW BEST TO IMPROVE OUR NATION’S AIRPORT PASSENGER SECURITY SYSTEM THROUGH COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS.

    Headed by Rep. Thomas Petri, it will “examine the impact that the regulations and policies of the Transportation Security Administration have on aviation passenger experience and the free flow of aviation commerce,” according to a brief on the subcommittee’s website (PDF).

    The TIC’s website indicates that TSA head John Pistole has been asked to testify at the hearing. However, a statement issued on the

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    Originally posted on Socio-Economics History Blog:

    • Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault! 
      by Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, guardian.co.uk  
      Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US and EU ‘complicity’ through weapons sales 
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      A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.
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      The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their “complicity” through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.
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      The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former…

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