After three tours in Iraq, U.S. Marine Sgt. Andre Leon was used to brutal shootouts with enemy fighters and expected more of the same in Afghanistan.
A gadget site Taste Test week wouldn’t be complete without a hat tip to that fictional food-creating staple of the Star Trek universe, the replicator.
An Apple manager has become a co-chairman of the group standardizing HTML, giving the company a higher-profile role in a crucial time for development of the language used to build Web pages.
The World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Working Group had been led by IBM’s Sam Ruby and Microsoft’s Chris Wilson. Wilson has stepped down and is being replaced by two others, Paul Cotton, who manages Microsoft’s Web services standards team, and Maciej Stachowiak, who manages Apple’s WebKit WebApps team, according to an e-mail announcement by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee.
“Why three co-Chairs?” Berners-Lee asked in the note. “Clearly, there is a lot of work to do. Sam, Paul, and Maciej bring particular skills to the job (whether it is Maciej’s experience with WebKit or Paul’s with Working Group processes).”
The standardization process is complicated, though, with a complex back-and-forth between the standards group and browser makers trying new features on their own.
A Burmese government crackdown on powerful ethnic militias that have challenged its rule for more than 60 years has driven 10,000 refugees into neighboring China, prompting a rare rebuke from Chinese authorities, the Burmese regime’s key allies.
Tiny robots the size of a flea could one day be mass-produced, churned out in swarms and programmed for a variety of applications, such as surveillance, micromanufacturing, medicine, cleaning, and more. In an effort to reach this goal, a recent study has demonstrated the initial tests for fabricating microrobots on a large scale.
The long arm of the cybercrime gang allegedly behind some of the biggest data breaches — TJX, Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford Bros., and 7-Eleven — may be connected with yet another major hack: that of a network of Citibank-branded ATM machines.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
New York City
June 8, 1968
On behalf of Mrs. Robert Kennedy, her children and the parents and sisters of Robert Kennedy, I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the world. We loved him as a brother and father and son. From his parents, and from his older brothers and sisters – Joe, Kathleen and Jack – he received inspiration which he passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He was always by our side.
Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and lived it intensely.
A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some words about his own father and they expressed the way we in his family feel about him. He said of what his father meant to him: “What it really all adds up to is love – not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order, encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it.
“Beneath it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and who needed help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off.”
This is what Robert Kennedy was given. What he leaves us is what he said, what he did and what he stood for. A speech he made to the young people of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation in 1966 sums it up the best, and I would read it now:
“There is a discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; and millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich; and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere.
“These are differing evils, but they are common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows.
“But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a tirne – that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
“Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.
“Our answer is to rely on youth – not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress. It is a revolutionary world we live in; and this generation at home and around the world, has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived.
“Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the thirty-two-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal.
“These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
“Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.
“For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.
“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.
“Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.”
This is the way he lived. My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.
As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
LG Electronics (LG), a global leader and technology innovator in mobile communications, and Nortel have demonstrated the world’s first 3GPP standards compliant active handover of a data transmission between a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network and a CDMA network.
LG contributed to the demonstration by developing a CDMA/LTE device, the M13. LG has been focusing on developing CDMA/LTE devices and equipment since 2006 to drive the next generation of mobile technology, achieving prominence with the unveiling of the world’s first modem chipset for 4G LTE devices in December 2008.
With employees spread across five continents, effective mobile communications are essential for Illumina, a San Diego, CA-based biotechnology company that designs breakthrough tools for genetic analysis. Using iPhone, sales reps can track customers, executives can manage employees, and everyone can stay in touch. And soon Illumina will make it possible for consumers to carry their personal genomes with them on iPhone.
Over two days in July, we flew in members of the Wave engineering team to go deep on various aspects of federation and the APIs, and we taped all the talks so that remote developers can hear what they had to say. The slides are linked from the API media gallery and the protocol site, but we’ve also embedded links and a player below for you here. Enjoy!
* Google Wave Hackathon Intro (with Lars’ Sept. 30th announcement)
* Google Wave APIs Overview
* Exploring the Java Robot API
* Google Wave Federation Day Intro
* Google Wave Federation Architecture Overview
A super-bright star is gradually going dim, and scientists want YOU to help them find out why.
For nearly 200 years, astronomers have been wondering why the star epsilon Aurigae turns down its light once every 27 years. Based on careful observations of the star’s periodic dimming, scientists believe that the supergiant star must have a mysterious companion that blocks its light periodically. But they still don’t know what that companion is.
Epsilon Aurigae’s next dip in brightness starts this fall, and telescope technology has come a long way since the star’s last eclipse in 1982-84. This time, astronomers are also hoping they’ll have the help of thousands of extra eyes: Starting today, a collaborative project called Citizen Sky is asking amateur astronomers to help solve the mystery of epsilon Aurigae.
“The star is too bright to be observed with the vast majority of professional telescopes,” astronomer Arne Henden of the American Association of Variable Star Observers said in a press release, “so this is another area where public help is needed.”
Because the star is so bright, even the most basic equipment — including the naked eye — can provide useful data. Normally the star can be seen from fall to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, even in urban areas with lots of light pollution. But beginning this fall, epsilon Aurigae is expected to gradually dim until it has lost half its light by early winter. The star will be dim during all of 2010 and then bounce back to its usual brightness by summer 2011.
Citizen Sky participants are being asked not just to collect data on the star’s brightness, but also to join in on other aspects of the scientific process. A three-year grant from the National Science Foundation will provide funds to recruit and train a team of citizen scientists, who will be taught to analyze data, create and test their own hypotheses and even to write up their results.
Scientists are hoping observations of this year’s eclipse will identify the star’s curious companion, as as well resolve the mystery of a second perplexing object that appears to be headed for the star. “To make things even more fun, we also have some evidence of a substantial mass, perhaps a large planet, spiraling into the mysterious dark companion object,” astronomer Robert Stencel of Denver University said in a press release. “Observations during the upcoming eclipse will be key to understanding this and predicting what will happen if the putative planet does eventually fall into the star.”
I’d like to add my voice to the stream of complaints about the iPhone App Store, but before I say anything critical, I have to promise one thing. No matter how annoyed I get, I will not stop developing for Apple’s platforms or using Apple’s products as long as they continue to produce the best stuff on the market. I never forget how deeply Apple cares about making their users happy, and that counts more than how they treat their developers. Besides, when I have a problem with a friend, I don’t threaten to boycott our friendship until they change, so I’m not going to do that to Apple either.
Having said that, I have only one major complaint with the App Store, and I can state it quite simply: the review process needs to be eliminated completely.
Does that sound scary to you, imagining a world in which any developer can just publish an app to your little touch screen computer without Apple’s saintly reviewers scrubbing it of all evil first? Well, it shouldn’t, because there is this thing called the World Wide Web which already works that way, and it has served millions and millions of people quite well for a long time now.
Oh, but you say that iPhone apps are different, because they run native code and can do scary things that web pages can’t? Again, you’re wrong, because iPhone apps are sandboxed and have scarcely any more privileges than a web app. About the only scary thing they can do outside the sandbox is access your address book, but Apple can easily fix that by requiring they ask permission first, just like they must do to track your location.
The fact is this: Apple does not have the means to perform thorough quality assurance on any app. This is up to the developer. We have our own product managers and quality assurance testers, and we are liable to our users and the courts if we do anything evil or stupid. Apple may catch a few shallow bugs in the review process, but let’s face it, the real things they are looking for are not bugs, but violations of the terms of service. This is all about lawyers, not quality, and it shows that the model of Apple’s justice system is guilty until proven innocent. They don’t trust us, and I resent that, because the vast majority of us are trustworthy.
I shouldn’t have to argue for why it is better to assume people are innocent until proven guilty. There are plenty of successful platforms out there which free developers to publish anything, but punish them if they do something harmful. This allows developers to move fast, fix bugs immediately, get feedback from users at a very low cost. Any bug that Apple finds after their two week delay would have been found by users on day one, and fixed on day two. I’d rather have a bug in the wild for one day than have an app in the review queue for two weeks.
If you think that all apps should be held prisoner by Apple until proven safe, you should also be able to convince yourself that this is how the web should work. Perhaps I am just spoiled by my many years of web development. The next time I create a web app I will probably feel a little guilty when I upload the files to my web server, knowing that I didn’t have to ask the web police to review the app first to make sure I wasn’t evil.
(I should probably add the disclaimer that the opinions expressed here are my own, and not my employer’s.)
In a speech at the Marine Corps Association Foundation dinner in Virginia last month, Central Command boss Gen. David Petraeus broke the ice with an age-old bit of comedy, comparing the grimy plights of ground soldiers with the comparatively comfortable lives led by many Air Force aviators. But the jab sparked an angry protest — and some rushed damage-control by Petraeus’ handlers.
“A soldier is trudging through the muck in the midst of a downpour with a 60-pound rucksack on his back,” Petraeus’ joke began:
‘This is tough,’ he thinks to himself. Just ahead of him trudges an Army Ranger with an 80-pound pack on his back. ‘This is really tough,’ he thinks. And ahead of him is a Marine with a 90-pound pack on, and he thinks to himself, ‘I love how tough this is.’ Then, of course, 30,000 feet above them … an Air Force pilot flips aside his ponytail. Now, I’m sorry — I don’t know how that got in there. I know they haven’t had ponytails in a year or two. And [he] looks down at them through his cockpit as he flies over. ‘Boy,’ he radios his wingman, ‘it must be tough down there.’
Harmless, sure. But tell that to the Air Force Association, the old-school lobbying group that fought tooth and nail to preserve the F-22 fighter and staunchly represents traditional Air Force values. AFA was pissed. Petraeus’ praising words for deployed airmen, elsewhere in his speech, “do not alleviate the offensiveness — and un-jointness — of his later comments,” a new AFA editorial asserted. “They are symptomatic of the long-held belief of many ground commanders that air power is no longer, if it ever was, relevant.”
In an apparent effort to head off a wider outcry, Central Command scrubbed the jab from its transcript of Petraeus’ comments. You can see an unedited video of the speech here.
Personally, I think AFA is missing the joke’s most politically charged implication. Petraeus said aviators haven’t had ponytails in a “year or two.” What happened a year ago? Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a clean sweep of the Air Force, removing the air service’s two top officials, and clearing the way for a wide range of reforms that have made the Air Force more relevant to today’s ground wars.
In July, the Air Force launched a program to buy 100 small, inexpensive, “light” fighters for “strike, armed reconnaissance and advanced aircraft training in support of Irregular Warfare.” The attack planes will be part of a new, counterinsurgency-optimized wing that can rapidly dial between bombing bad guys and training local pilots to defend their own countries. As Gen. Norton Schwartz, the air service’s top officer, said in April, there is a “legitimate need” for lighter, smarter forces in the traditionally techy Air Force.
But the Air Force should have realized this, four years ago. From 2005 to 2007, there was a flood of papers and studies from the Air Force’s academic institutions, advocating the adoption of light fighters and other forces for small wars. Air Force generals’ myopic focus on the F-22 stealth fighter blinded them to the signs, emerging from within the air service, that smaller, cheaper planes were what we really needed.
The Air Force’s delay in buying light fighters echoed the Army’s and Marines’ heel-dragging on adopting the blast-resistant MRAP trucks that have saved so many lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some front-line soldiers and Marines were begging for MRAPs as early as 2005. It took two years for the Pentagon to finally fund the tough trucks.
The Air Force’s internal light-fighter advocacy seems to have begun with a December 2005 paper written by Maj. Arthur Davis, a student at the Air Command and Staff College in Alabama. Davis’ paper, “Back to the Basics: An Aviation Solution to Counter-insurgent Warfare,” examined “past examples of the use of air power in counterinsurgent warfare” in order to shed light “on the United States’ current failings in both equipment and doctrine as it wages this type of war.”
In short order, several officers followed up on Davis’ paper. Maj. Brett Blake found today’s “F-15Es and F-16s … simply not cost effective” for current wars. David Peeler, now a lieutenant colonel, examined which light fighters might be most effective and affordable, and compared their price and performance to the A-10 close-air-support jet. Maj. Max Weems chided the Air Force for its “nasty habit of forgetting the hard-learned lessons of irregular operations.”
Despite the growing body of research and advocacy, the Air Force brass all but ignored the need for a light fighter. “Given the Air Force’s pre-occupation with procurement of the F-22A advanced fighter aircraft, little attention is placed on obtaining a platform with specifications aimed at counterinsurgency operations,” Peeler wrote.
But then came Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Last year, Gates fired the officials who were the F-22’s biggest supporters, ended the F-22 buy at 187 copies, and freed up nearly a billion dollars for new counterinsurgency planes. In short, Gates finally acknowledged what mid-ranking Air Force officers had known for years: that the air service needed to think and act differently to win today’s wars.
One of the clearest signs of the danger that the Iranian presence poses in Latin America is the decision by president Ahmadinejad to name one of the masterminds of the 1994 AMIA bombings as minister of defense.
Ahamd Vahidi, who at the time of the bombing was the head of the Quds Force, is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, asking for his arrest for his part in the worst terrorist attack in Latin America. He was deputy defense minister in Ahmadinejad’s first government, and is now being promoted. Seven other senior Iranian officials are subject of Interpol Red Notices as well.
Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who has spent years investigating the case (and presenting enough evidence to Interpol to get the Red Notice issued), called Vahidi “a key participant in the planning and of having made the decision to go ahead with the attack.”
“It has been demonstrated that Vahidi participated in and approved of the decision to attack AMIA during a meeting in Iran on August 14, 1993. Iran has always protected terrorists, giving them government posts, but I think never one as high as this one,” Nisman told the Associated Press.
Given Iran’s rapidly-expanding and largely opaque diplomatic presence in Latin America and the history of Iranian diplomatic missions in housing Quds Force special operatives and Hezbollah, this is a bad sign indeed.
With a large and unmonitored diplomatic presence in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, Iran has positioned itself for spreading mischief throughout the region. It is not happenstance that these resources are being spent in a continent where Iran has historically had no presence, no cultural affinity and no strategic interests.
What it does have is a marketable expertise in asymmetrical warfare, intelligence gathering and terrorism, and a shared hatred for the United States with Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega.
And crossing Iran can be dangerous.
Argentina’s crime, in the eyes of Iran at the time, was to refuse to cut off the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran. The result was Iranian retaliation.
For a fascinating look at the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah, see this fascinating translation of two statements, one by Hezbollah and one by a senior Iranian official, of their mutual dependence and structure.
As one can read, Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy commander, says “the Imam Khamenei (Iran’s highest authority) is the one who “decides general guidelines for us, which free us from blame and give us legitimacy.”
So it was in the AMIA bombings. The Iranian leadership (including Vahidi) decided on the action, and franchised out the actual execution to Hezbollah, with the resulting 85 people dead.
Ahmadinejad’s willingness to spend precious political capital internally and externally by naming Vahidi to a highly public post shows how important it is for his regime to keep their ability to execute state terrorism operational at a very high level. (He has dismissed protests of Vahidi’s naming to the cabinet as part of “a Zionist plot).
This is not an accidental nomination, but one that should set off alarm bells across Latin America.
As stated by Albert Schweitzer, life is about:
As such, I thank God, country, family, blood brothers, and those with similar hopes, dreams, goals, and objectives for their support and assistance with my life. For also allowing me the ability to offer counterintelligence and counter-terrorism analysis and consulting. For also allowing me to pursue as a hobby the creation of analysis application that would utilize iPhone 3.1 Platforms and Web 2.0 to 3.0 Platforms (analysis application would be able to harness computer modeling and intelligence analysis to help intelligence analyst investigate threats and changes in any environment.)