I was actually surprised to see this printed on a mainstream site, especially an investment publication.
Charismatic president Hugo Chavez, 58, died of respiratory complications caused by pelvic cancer on Tuesday evening in Venezuela.
Or did he?
The announcement of Chavez’s death came hours after vice president, and now interim president Nicolas Maduro, met with Venezuela’s top political leaders and military brass to discuss the president’s ever-worsening health condition. At the time, Maduro apparently suggested that someone may have deliberately infected Chavez with cancer or some other agent that made him deteriorate, according to CNN. Maduro went so far as to call Chavez’s death an assassination, according to The Washington Post.
Stories of Chavez being essentially poisoned by the CIA have been around since his first tumor was reported back in 2011. Even controversial drama-loving Chavez himself wondered out loud if it were possible. To which the U.S State Department public affairs staff responded with a “that’s reprehensible”. What else are they going to say? You caught us?
For the sake of argument, we can say Maduro said no such thing about Chavez. Does one actually get injected with cancer? I mean, even if you did, your immune system would have to already be compromised already. We have cancer cells floating in our bodies all the time. They get destroyed, hopefully, on a daily basis.
But since Chavez announced he was heading to Havana for cancer treatment, conspiracies of a U.S. involvement began immediately. Chavez egged them on, if not outright got them rolling.
For those who can understand Spanish, this video of Chavez talking to the military questioned whether the U.S. was infecting rival leaders in Latin America with cancer. He said he found it an odd coincidence that major leaders south of the border, from Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Dilma Rousseff, his handpicked successor, to the president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, all got cancer around the same time. And now…it was Chavez’s turn.
“I find it very strange. It is hard to explain,” he says in the video.
Of course, most of this has fallen on deaf ears. Even the video itself got under 10,000 viewers. And Hugo Chavez is, since Lula left office, the most famous politician in Latin America. He”s far from an unknown. The conspiracy angle has not caught fire.
The death of Chavez did not really rally the left outside of his home base. In Latin America, Lula was seen as the more charismatic, if not more practical leader of South America. Chavez was a firebrand, stoking Cold War rhetoric with Washington. As Latin American politics goes, Chavez was the anti-American.
So it is not surprising that here at home, the harshest critics of good, old fashion Yankee imperialism came out Wednesday in notes circulating in email in-boxes nationwide that Chavez may have been the victim of a U.S. plot to get rid of him once and for all. And while the left in the United States send out Viva Chavez, Viva La Revolucion kudos to the most reviled leader in Washington other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the right wing, in their usual lust for kindness, is busy expression their sheer joy that the man is gone.
The Daily Caller wrote in an op ed by Christopher Bedford that “No, the U.S. didn’t kill Chavez. But we should have.”
Tea Party Republicans called him a tyrant, expressed relief that he was no longer a “force” to reckon with. Force quotes are mine, not his. Because, really, was Chavez a force to reckon with anywhere outside of Venezuela?
Meanwhile, there is a relative calm in Venezuela according to press reports and investment sources on the ground in Caracas. The market expects Maduro to be elected within 30 days.
Unless the CIA gives him cancer.
To see this printed in Forbes goes to show that even if there’s a hedge of truth to the “cancer” meme, the attitude of the public is “meh” and “What’s the deal ?” “The U.S. Government assassinates people on a daily basis.”
And goes to show how over-rated Chavez was to begin with.
By now most folks have heard about the Google and Verizon deal to create a multi-tiered Internet and eliminate Net Neutrality. That news alone is disheartening.
Now there’s proof that Google is going to end street privacy, under the guise of ‘street mapping’:
Citing a German news report, Techeye.net reports that Google has purchased small UAV “microdrone” aircraft manufactured by Germany’s microdrone GmbH, perhaps for use to augment the company’s Street View mapping data. Techeye says:
The UAVs being flogged are mini helicopters with cameras attached that can be flown about all over the place. They’re quiet and resemble sci-fi UFOs for the vertically challenged alien.
They can fly up to 80km per hour, so Microdrone CEO Sven Juerss suggests they’ll be brilliant for mapping entire neighbourhoods really quickly and relatively cheaply.
Even before Google started data mining on open web networks itsStreet View operations were controversial, with Google Maps picking up on people who didn’t exactly want their faces plastered all over the internet. With the kind of high-angle aerial shots this sort of kit can achieve, it boggles the mind as to the sort of images that may be accidentally captured.
Our take: Skepticism is warranted, and outrage is probably premature.
Our understanding is that FAA certification procedures for civilian UAVs operating in domestic airspace are not yet in place, so it is not clear that the regular operation of such UAVs would be legal — never mind prudent from a privacy or public-relations point of view.
Meanwhile, the Techeye report, while fascinating, is also single-sourced, with the news of the UAV sale to Google coming from the manufacturer of the UAV — which is to say, he’s hardly a disinterested conduit for information. There has been no confirmation of the sale from Google, so far as we know. (Indeed, Forbes reports a Google spokesperson says, “”This was a purchase by a Google executive with an interest in robotics for personal use.”)
So, while curious and exciting, Telstar Logistics suggests keeping cool pending further information about Google’s plans and the regulatory environment that may or may not make such plans viable.
We’ll keep our eyes in the skies, but in the meantime, here’s some nifty footage of the Microdrone in action, during which we can see just how adept the tiny aircraft is at peeking into the windows of private homes.
Google once had a motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”
I think it might be safe to say that the definition of evil either changed, or Google doesn’t adhere to that particular motto any longer.
Well, this was bound to happen, the partnership of Google and the ultimate spy agency, the NSA.
The world’s largest Internet search company and the world’s most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity.
Under an agreement that is still being finalized, the National Security Agency would help Google analyze a major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks, according to cybersecurity experts familiar with the matter. The objective is to better defend Google — and its users — from future attack.
Google and the NSA declined to comment on the partnership. But sources with knowledge of the arrangement, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans’ online communications. The sources said the deal does not mean the NSA will be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts or that Google will be sharing proprietary data.
The partnership strikes at the core of one of the most sensitive issues for the government and private industry in the evolving world of cybersecurity: how to balance privacy and national security interests. On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair called the Google attacks, which the company acknowledged in January, a “wake-up call.” Cyberspace cannot be protected, he said, without a “collaborative effort that incorporates both the U.S. private sector and our international partners.”
But achieving collaboration is not easy, in part because private companies do not trust the government to keep their secrets and in part because of concerns that collaboration can lead to continuous government monitoring of private communications. Privacy advocates, concerned about a repeat of the NSA’s warrantless interception of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, say information-sharing must be limited and closely overseen.
“The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?” said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization of current and former intelligence and national security officials that seeks ways to foster greater sharing of information between government and industry.
On Jan. 12, Google took the rare step of announcing publicly that its systems had been hacked in a series of intrusions beginning in December.
The intrusions, industry experts said, targeted Google source code — the programming language underlying Google applications — and extended to more than 30 other large tech, defense, energy, financial and media companies. The Gmail accounts of human rights activists in Europe, China and the United States were also compromised.
So significant was the attack that Google threatened to shutter its business operation in China if the government did not agree to let the firm operate an uncensored search engine there. That issue is still unresolved.
Google approached the NSA shortly after the attacks, sources said, but the deal is taking weeks to hammer out, reflecting the sensitivity of the partnership. Any agreement would mark the first time that Google has entered a formal information-sharing relationship with the NSA, sources said. In 2008, the firm stated that it had not cooperated with the NSA in its Terrorist Surveillance Program.
Sources familiar with the new initiative said the focus is not figuring out who was behind the recent cyberattacks — doing so is a nearly impossible task after the fact — but building a better defense of Google’s networks, or what its technicians call “information assurance.”
One senior defense official, while not confirming or denying any agreement the NSA might have with any firm, said: “If a company came to the table and asked for help, I would ask them . . . ‘What do you know about what transpired in your system? What deficiencies do you think they took advantage of? Tell me a little bit about what it was they did.’ ” Sources said the NSA is reaching out to other government agencies that play key roles in the U.S. effort to defend cyberspace and might be able to help in the Google investigation.
These agencies include the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Over the past decade, other Silicon Valley companies have quietly turned to the NSA for guidance in protecting their networks.
“As a general matter,” NSA spokeswoman Judi Emmel said, “as part of its information-assurance mission, NSA works with a broad range of commercial partners and research associates to ensure the availability of secure tailored solutions for Department of Defense and national security systems customers.”
Despite such precedent, Matthew Aid, an expert on the NSA, said Google’s global reach makes it unique.
“When you rise to the level of Google . . . you’re looking at a company that has taken great pride in its independence,” said Aid, author of “The Secret Sentry,” a history of the NSA. “I’m a little uncomfortable with Google cooperating this closely with the nation’s largest intelligence agency, even if it’s strictly for defensive purposes.”
Go to the site ‘Ignorance Is Futile‘ and you will get an education on Google and the plans to make it “God on Earth.”
Joining with the NSA is just another step toward accomplishing that goal.
Kiss what’s left of your privacy good-bye, the Panopticon is coming!
NWO Population Control Propaganda / Commercial Space Venture Uses Old Soviet Tech with Conflict of Interest?
The human-haters among us will surely rejoice in this article:
Leading figures from science and environmentalism have backed a call for population restraint policies to be adopted by every state worldwide as part of the battle against climate change.
The Optimum Population Trust says today (August 17, 2009) that the climate change talks which will culminate at Copenhagen in December must ensure that all countries adopt non-coercive policies to limit and stabilise population growth. Family planning programmes in poorer countries should be treated as “legitimate candidates for climate change funding”. Empowering women to control their own fertility would also have major humanitarian benefits for the poorest women and children in the world.
Successful population policies, which answered the unmet need for family planning, could mean nearly three billion fewer people in 2050, a difference equivalent to 44 per cent of current world population (6.8 billion), OPT says. “All environmental problems, and notably those arising from climate change, would be easier to solve with a smaller future population.”
Figures endorsing the statement include broadcaster and film-maker Sir David Attenborough; Professor Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1960s classic The Population Bomb; Gaia scientist James Lovelock; Jonathon Porritt, chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission until last month and a former director of Friends of the Earth; and Professor Chris Rapley, formerly head of the British Antarctic Survey.*
Roger Martin, chair of OPT, said: “The fact that such eminent individuals, several of them OPT patrons, have personally endorsed our statement should act as a wake-up call to those involved in the Copenhagen process. At the very least it should spur negotiators to start taking population growth seriously as a major driver of climate change. There’s not much point in labouring mightily to cut our carbon emissions if hard-won improvements are then routinely drowned out by rising numbers of people.”
The woman holding the placard stating “Kill Yourself” says it all, doesn’t it?
So far, people like her fit right in the elitists’ plans to spread this vile misinformation.
But there might come a day when they are considered ‘useless eaters’ by the same criminals they once embraced!
Feh! And it’s people like them who scoff at space programs!
Hmm, not only does Bigelow Aerospace figure on launching a stripped down version of NASA’s Orion capsule in 2013, a company named Excalibur Almaz Limited plans on updated old top-secret Soviet space technology to launch capsules and a small, manned space station in 2013:
An international company announced plans to launch a commercial space venture using spacecraft designed for a once classified Russian space program. Excalibur Almaz Limited plans to offer week-long orbital space flights beginning as early as 2013 with updated 1970’s era Reusable Return Vehicles, designed for flying to the USSR’s top-secret Almaz space station. Excalibur Alamaz’s press release said they would be “taking a big leap beyond the sub-orbital flight market targeted by most other private space companies.”
Excalibur Almaz (EA) is currently updating the spacecraft to conduct crew and cargo space missions for private individuals, corporations, academic institutions and national governments.JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia originally built the spacecraft and EA has purchased both the rockets and modules for the Almaz space station, which was never flown. The RRVs went through nine flight tests, with two RRVs flown to orbit several times.
EA Founder and CEO Art Dula said, “Through cooperation with NPOM and with the support of leading space contractors around the world and an exceptionally strong management and advisory team, EA is in a unique position to initiate a new era of private orbital space exploration.”
Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov, advisor to EA in Russia, said, “With this announcement, the dream of private orbital space exploration may become a reality in the very near future.”
Former NASA astronaut LeRoy Chiao, a current member of the Augustine Commission, is the Executive Vice President for EA. (emphasis mine)
EA is headquartered in Isle of Man, British Isles, and support contractors are located in Moscow, Tokyo, Houston and Los Angeles.
EA’s spacecraft will consist of two parts: an RRV and an expendable service module to provide crewmembers with room to comfortably operate during spaceflight. EA said they will “update the Almaz RRVs with flight-proven technologies where appropriate, while retaining tested legacy systems to ensure safety and economy of operation. A critical feature of the RRVs is their reusability, which will reduce logistical, overhead and program costs for commercial access to space.”
EA plans for its spacecraft to be compatible with a number of launch vehicles and capable of being launched from worldwide sites.
I find it interesting that a former astronaut, and current member of the Augustine Commission is Executive Vice President of this company.
Can anyone spell “c-o-n-f-l-i-c-t o-f i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t ?”
As the world plunges further into economic chaos and war being brought about by the world’s elites (few of which actually realizing they shot themselves in the foot), scientific endeavors funded by tax dollars have either reached a rather dystopian turn, or have gone to research that encourage an inward turning of human interests.
But there are still people who dream of an interstellar future for mankind and Paul Gilster is one of them.
In yesterday’s post on his Centauri Dreams site, the dream of finding planets around our closest interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, still is on the front burner and not about to be snuffed out yet:
Finding Earth-like planets around any star would be a stunning feat, and either Kepler or CoRoT may deliver such news before too long. But how much more exciting still if we find a planet like this around a star as close as Centauri B? After all, the Centauri stars are our closest stellar neighbors, close enough (a mere 40 trillion kilometers!) to conjure up the possibility of a robotic mission there and, if we play our propulsion cards right in the future, perhaps a manned trip as well.
Gregory Laughlin (UC-Santa Cruz), on the other hand, armed with a planet hunter’s insights, a passion for the Centauri system, and a realization that patience could tease out faint signals like these, traded ideas with Debra Fischer (San Francisco State) on the possibility of devoting years to an Alpha Centauri search. Fischer is now hard at work, using a telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. She works with a decommissioned spectrometer and other vintage equipment. Call it ‘Alpha Centauri on the cheap.’
On the cheap indeed, most money tied up in astronomical research is done either in NASA, DARPA, Pentagon with a little thrown toward Seth Shostak’s way.
It may take promising early data to get even this modest setup funded after National Science Foundation funds run out in November, but we’ll take the funding problem one step at a time. For now, the precision work continues, with software Fischer herself coded being used to filter out distortions of weather, instrumentation and stellar activity on the target stars to hunt for the minute shifts in wavelength that could signal the breakthrough discovery. If she pulls this off, Fischer’s patience may become legendary.
This is the only good thing about the advanced programming being developed by Microsoft and Google, the ability to clean out distortions made by the atmospheric glare, pollution, dust and lights from cities.
Actually, Microsoft and the Google-Plex are writing these programs to enhance their own new telescopes they are building for Google-Moon and Google-Mars in order to sell more realistic VR tourist jaunts to folks sitting in their Panopticon/Matrix prisons, er…living rooms.
Alright, maybe that’s a little paranoid. But with most of our tax money going to the Pentagon, DARPA and the growing domestic “spy on the public because there’s terrorists there” industry, I think we all should be a little paranoid.
It’s shaping up to be that if we’re going to the stars, it just might be folks like Branson and Musk pushing the envelope because there’s money to be made.
And if I remember right, most of Heinlein’s characters hated the government snooping in their privacy.
As this year is getting under way, national and world news offers little in change, yet.
This past Friday (1/2), Wall Street wonks give a positive, though cautious analysis about the new year’s stock markets around the world, giving a boost to Asian and Eurozone exchanges this morning; (Asia)http://www.cnbc.com/id/19832390/ , (Eurozone)http://www.cnbc.com/id/19794221/ .
I’m not buying into this meme, due to the fact that in alot of states, state governments are levying more taxes and cutting services to low, middle income folks and not raising taxes on the rich folk. According to New York State governor, David Paterson, raising taxes on the rich is “unpalatable” and to be used as a last resort; http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/nyregion/21millionaire.html.
Leona Helmsley would approve.
On the world front, Zionist Israel is continuing its pogrom on the Palestinians, killing hundreds of civilians in order to get at Hamas “terrorists”; http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jan2009/gaza-j05.shtml .
World opinion is against Israel, of course, and using civilians as human shields is a shitty way for Hamas to get their message across. And of course, the Israeli government is backed wholeheartedly by Bu$hco, who is raking up mega-monopoly-money via the military-industrial-congressional complex from the slaughter not only in Gaza, but world-wide.
So what’s with a little exit plan profit taking?
The incoming Obama administration’s meme of spreading fiat currency around the country for infrastructure, school and green tech is hitting rough ground as some in Congress say that there’s not enough time to get an economic plan together by the Inauguration, but by the middle of February instead; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/us/politics/05spend.html?bl&ex=1231304400&en=99a6130dae16eb41&ei=5087%0A .
There’s plenty more news I can comment on, but I still want the focus to remain on science and science-fiction in this ezine.
Have a good week folks and remember to convert to gold!
The works of science-fiction author Philip K. Dick are the most authentic articles of modern prophecy since Nostrodomus.
Many of his works have made it to the movie theaters over the past 26 years, ‘Blade Runner’ (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), ‘A Scanner Darkly’, ‘Paycheck’, ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Minority Report’ to name a few.
Like most geniuses however, PKD suffered from episodes of paranoia and delusions, possibly from premature birth and a death of a twin sister when they were five weeks old. Dick often refered to her as his ‘phantom twin’, which was a recurrent theme through-out his writing career.
But Dick would say his illnesses were from the ‘visions’ and ‘possessions’ he suffered during the 1970s. Oddly, some of his best writing was produced during this time.
Throughout February and March 1974, he received a series of visions, which he referred to as “two-three-seventy four” (2-3-74), shorthand for February-March 1974. He described the initial visions as laser beams and geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and of ancient Rome. As the visions increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live a double life, one as himself, “Philip K. Dick”, and one as “Thomas”, a Christian persecuted by Romans in the 1st century A.D. Despite his history of drug use and elevated stroke risk, Dick began seeking other rationalist and religious explanations for these experiences. He referred to the “transcendentally rational mind” as “Zebra”, “God” and, most often, “VALIS“. Dick wrote about the experiences in the semi-autobiographical novels VALIS and Radio Free Albemuth.
At one point Dick felt that he had been taken over by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. He believed that an episode in his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was a detailed retelling of a story from the Biblical Book of Acts, which he had never read.
In time, Dick became paranoid, imagining plots against him by the KGB and FBI. At one point, he alleged they were responsible for a burglary of his house, from which documents were stolen. He later came to suspect that he might have committed the burglary against himself, and then forgotten he had done so. Dick himself speculated as to whether he may have suffered from schizophrenia.
However paranoid Dick became, his powers of predictive deduction were not diminished. If anything, they increased with time.
One such item, although he initially wrote about it in 1965, is becoming reality now in this time period, courtesy of DARPA, the Pentagon’s best friend:
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVE: The Gandalf program is an advanced technology and development and demonstration program that is seeking solutions to the functions of radio frequency (RF) geolocation and emitter identification using specific emitter identification (SEI) for specific signals of interest. The ultimate goal of the Gandalf program is to enable a set of handheld devices to be utilized to perform RF geolocation and SEI on RF signals of interest to the Gandalf program. The specific goals and performance objectives associated with RF geolocation and SEI for the Gandalf system are classified.
The basic idea is that a group of agents or troops could carry a hand-held gadget that could pick out the phone of a specific person, and then target that person.
Philip K. Dick had a unique understanding of the military mind, and he called this one in his wonderful 1965 novel The Zap Gun. He called this process of targeting a single individual needle-eyeification:
“The final solution,” Febbs said, “in my opinion, in n-e weapons.” N-e: that signified the esoteric term, used in Wes-bloc’s weapons circles such as the Board which he now (God in his wisdom be praised!) belonged to, needle-eye. And needle-eyeification was the fundamental direction which weapons had been taking for a near half-century. It meant, simply, weapons with the most precise effect conceivable. In theory it was possible to imagine a weapon – as yet untranced of by Mr. Lars himself, still – that would slay one given individual at a given instant at a given intersection at one particular given city in Peep-East. Or in Wes-bloc, for that matter…
God, how clearly he could conceive it in his own mind!
Now my question is this, “Is this a case of art imitating life, or life imitating art?”
Is the US Government purposely using the genius of a dead science-fiction author to create the weapons of oppression to be used against its citizens?
Or was P.K. Dick a latter-day prophet, tortured by visions he could barely understand and was trying to warn a future world of dangers that only demons in hell could dream up?