For South Korean, Chinese and American intelligence services to have failed to pick up any clues to this momentous development — panicked phone calls between government officials, say, or soldiers massing around Mr. Kim’s train — attests to the secretive nature of North Korea, a country not only at odds with most of the world but also sealed off from it in a way that defies spies or satellites.
Phi Beta Iota: There is a huge disconnect between how the US secret intelligence community spends money, and what it produces. 4% “at best” of what a major commander needs to know, and nothing for everyone else. Until the secret world has leadership focused on requirements definition, collection management, holistic analytics, multinational information-sharing and sense-making, and direct constant support to decision-makers at all levels across all issue areas, it will continue to administer (not mange, not lead) the world’s most expensive Potemkin Village.
A new program can find and compare relationships in complicated data without having to be asked specific queries
Are there subtle patterns lurking in data that can foretell of a coming financial-system crash? What can explain the variations in sports-star salaries? How about the complex relationship between genes and certain diseases? Scientists in various fields have been searching for better ways to analyze large piles of data for such patterns, but the difficulty has always been that they need to know what they’re looking for in order to find. A new software program, described in the latest issue of Science, is designed to find the patterns in data that scientists don’t know to look for.
David Reshef, one of the scientists behind MINE, as the program is called, explains, “Standard methods will see one pattern as signal and others as noise. There can potentially be a variety of different types of relationships in a given data set. What’s exciting about our method is that it looks for any type of clear structure within the data, attempting to find all of them. … This ability to search for patterns in an equitable way offers tremendous exploratory potential in terms of searching for patterns without having to know ahead of time what to search for.” MINE compares different possible relationships (including linear, exponential, and periodic) and returns those that are strongest.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) rose to prominence in an era of uncontested budget growth (including a borrowed trillion dollars a year) and uncontested airspace. That era is now over.
There will still be a place for mico-UAVs, especially in direct support of small unit operations, but neither the US military nor the US secret intelligence world consider infantry solutions to be “expensive enough” to be worth doing well.
For those who lack the sophistication to hack control over a UAV and force its undamaged landing, Electromagnetic Pulse rays remain the generic counter-measure that will proliferate rapidly.
Pakistan: Any unmanned aerial vehicles, including US UAVs, entering Pakistani air space will be treated as hostile and shot down per a new defense policy, a senior Pakistani official said on 10 December.
Comment: Pakistani forces lack the capabilities to execute the directive as announced, but the loss of one or two drones would be enough to curtail the program because of the expense from multiple aircraft losses. The program is not sustainable in contested airspace. This declaration has been coming for a very long time.
Algeria-US-France: For the record. US and French unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will not be allowed to fly over Algeria’s southern airspace to counter weapons smuggling from Libya, according to El Khabar newspaper. Algeria will increase its reconnaissance of UAV air surveillance operations.
Comment: The Iranians will be quick to disseminate any insights they developed in downing a US reconnaissance drone. Algeria might not yet have Iran’s insights but it is showing that it is open to Iranian help.
This is fascinating at multiple levels. Neither Google nor Facebook have been effective at helping humans “make sense,” now it appears that Twitter–perhaps combined with Hypothes.is–just might be a hair away from creating the skeleton of the World Brain.
Twitter is revamping the service with personal Twitter profile pages, a new timeline that includes rich media and other related informationembedded into tweets, and easier search for information based on @ symbols (usernames) and hash tags.
Talking at Twitter’s unfinished new headquarters building in San Francisco, founder Jack Dorsey and CEO Dick Costolo explained that the changes are meant to make Twitter more accessible to everybody.
Their three goals:
Expose the “universe within every tweet.” Tweets aren’t just 140 characters — there’s also context like retweets and replies, and embedded content like videos, images, and songs. Today, accessing this material still feels like opening a “side drawer,” said Costolo.
Make Twitter less obscure to use. Today, the @ and # symbols are too obscure — people don’t know what they mean. This contributes to a lot of people visiting Twitter but not really participating actively. The redesign surfaces these symbols and makes them the gateway to find out more infrmation about people and topics on the surface.
Share it with everybody. The world has 7 billion people. Most of those people are “not yet on Twitter,” said Costolo. The redesign will roll out to mobile devices simultaneously, and is streamlined to load up to 500% faster.
The trick is doing this without adding too much complexity. As Dorsey put it, “simplification is the key here.”
Phi Beta Iota: Variants of this stuff are for sale at Brookstone and Best Buy. The US has consistently refused to be serious about emission control, downlink security, and real-time processing. This is a “disaster” only to the degree that it reveals–once again–how immature the US “intelligence” archipelago of fiefdoms actually is.
Phi Beta Iota: Our first impression has been that Iran has downed the UAV with an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) beam. This is much cooler. As with the Taliban in Afghanistan able to hijack the downlinks, the Iranians simply hijacked the entire aircraft. From where we sit, the Chinese (who ride electric power circuits into “isolated” computers) and the Iranians [Persians, more PhDs per capita than most] are laughing at us, while the Russians simply ignore us. Newsflash for the Pentagon: our technology is not that great. Classifying the idiot vulnerabilities does not work–something we have been pointing out for twenty years.
Bob Seelert, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide (New York):When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it.
Equal Voice! Break the Corporate Mega-Media Dictatorship by Reintroducing the Wagner-Hatfield Amendment
The Wagner-Hatfield Amendment was a proposed amendment to the Communications Act of 1934, sponsored by senators Robert F. Wagner, Democrat, of New York and Henry D. Hatfield, Republican, of West Virginia. The amendment would have reserved 25% of all radio stations for non-profit radio broadcasters, including universities. The amendment was enthusiastically supported by educators. Of course it was vigorously attacked by the for-profit radio lobby.
The amendment almost passed but was defeated. If the amendment were reintroduced and passed, it would effectively break the corporate mega-media monopoly. Universities would be more likely than corporations to give alternate voices a chance to be heard.
Using the internet to challenge the corporate mega-media view of things is an admirable use of the internet. But why should we accept that inherent disadvantage? Reintroduce the Wagner-Hatfield amendment and pass it, and the disadvantage will disappear overnight. There were no TV stations when the amendment was proposed. But today it would have to include them to be fair. If universities had their own TV stations they could reach far more people than the average blog. And if they had of had equal access to media since 1934, American history might be quite different.
“Equal Voice” should become an issue of emergent democracy. The average voter doesn’t have an equal voice even with their elected representatives, because campaign contributions talk louder. And media outlets have an even louder voice than politicians, who are limited to C-SPAN and periodic coverage by mainstream media of things like press conferences and State of the Union addresses. The public voice is effectively stifled by the arrangement.
No. Equal voice needs to mean equal access to media! That’s the only way voters will ever be able to effectively challenge a system that is stacked against them. All we need is a little volume so that our voices can be heard as loudly as the collective voice of mega-media corporations. The Wagner-Hatfield amendment might be just the crowbar we need to pry an opening in the iron wall of corporate mega-media control and give disenfranchised American voters the voice they have long been denied.
For entities around the globe, identifying potential fraud and corruption activities in large volumes of data has historically been difficult and quite costly. More often than not, the rich insights within that data may be difficult to identify by traditional means and remain hidden.
Against this backdrop, practitioners are turning to visual analytic tools and techniques. Graphically representing and exploring data can bring clarity to executives’ concerns and to performance improvement opportunities.
Visual analytics tools and techniques, including social networking diagrams, link analysis, geospatial analysis and tree maps, can help to focus investigations on particular activities and connect disparate pieces of information to form a cohesive story. Entities should consider equipping their personnel to employ these techniques to meet the growing challenge of reducing corruption, fraud, waste and abuse in the enterprise.
Download the PDF below to learn more. Two versions are provided to accommodate your viewing preferences: a standard version for printing and a screen version for reading on your computer or mobile device.
Phi Beta Iota: This is not new–they are roughly fifteen years behind Dr. Bert Little, who pioneered this work for the Department of Agriculture, virtually eradicating crop insurance fraud ($4 million invested stopped $80 million a year in fraud). Dr. Little received a Golden Candle Award at OSS ’94 and continues to do extraordinary detection of corruption with clever computing across the Texas A&M University System.
“These people, amongst others, have been Mendes, Kissis and Konos (and the 13 other tribes of Sierra Leone), they have been Serbo-Croats, Bosnians, Kosovars, Albanians, Unizzahs, al-Ribads, al-Zobaids, Kurds, al-Montifig (and the other tribal groups of the nearly 40 that make up Iraq), Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbecks (and the other 6 ethnic groupings that make up Afghanistan’s rich tapestry of population), they have been Sunni, Shia, Orthodox, Agnostic, Christian, Catholic; they have been farmers, politicians, police, administrators, businessmen, narco khans, war lords, men, women and children. In fact you can divide them in any one of a hundred or so different ways but the only certainty is that all of these groups and people will exhibit behaviour, that may appear utterly irrational but for better or worse will have profound effects upon the manner in which military missions are conducted.”
The book is based on a paper written in 2009 for the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. The tale of the lone Afghan farmer sowing seeds in a field near the Kajaki Dam should be a warning to those from the developed world who underestimate the intelligence of people just because they don’t speak English or have grown up without electricity and running water.
This book will have utility for anyone working in military, peacekeeping, policing or any other other cross cultural situation.
Much has been said about the Occupy movement’s lack of demands and vision. Some say it will have no impact unless it makes demands and organizes to make sure those demands are met.
Others respond that the People should just take charge of their democracy rather than petitioning official powers-that-be to do this and that. Still others say that any list of demands – any effort to focus OWS more narrowly and explicitly – could weaken the movement because Occupy Together is a broadly inclusive initiative that’s about (a)changing whole systems and/or (b)creating microcosms of a better society in the occupation zones and/or (c) stimulating transformational conversations out in society at large and/or (d) passionately building and forcefully demonstrating the Power of the People to resist illegitimate, corrupt authority.
Others note that the disturbing lack of demands spreads OWS’ surprising impact through a “blank slate effect” – OWS becomes a mystery or a mirror into which diverse individuals and groups project their various desires, hopes, frustrations, and agendas. Furthermore, that mystery helps by enhancing the movement’s uncommon anarchic power that makes it so hard for authorities and others to figure out how to control, undermine or use it. Others insist that a shared vision – articulating what the 99% actually want – would be much more powerful than focusing on a laundry list of demands that many 99%ers might well disagree with. Simultaneously, many Occupiers are chronically frustrated with all this talk and want Action!! Their more thoughtful colleagues reply that pulling so many diverse people together in consensus requires taking the time to hear each other and generate collective wisdom.
What a stark difference from the Tea Party movement. Patriots holding American flags have orderly events with poignant messages about liberty and freedom and then leave in an orderly fashion. Contrast that with the Occupy Wall Street miscreants! Arrests, rapes, flag burnings, pro-communist chanting, garbage, incessant drumming, filth, profanity and lots and lots of losers who still don’t really know why they’re there!
Phi Beta Iota: We find this upsetting and disgusting. Mindful of the protection of free speech, and mindful of the deep legitimate grievances that most (99%) of US citizens and even global citizens have against what the US Government has done in our name, the flag does not represent the US Government, it represents We the People. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is a mix of four parts: anarchists and undercover provocateurs; local only; alternative direct democracy; and electoral reform act and other tangible change agents seeking a national unity approach. OWS is already facing twin challenges from police departments over-funded by the Department of Homeland Security (using borrowed money), and a massive corporately-funded disinformation campaign seeking to cast them as irresponsible and even dangerous. As a movement, we find OWS to be as responsible as it is possible to get–they have the intelligence and the integrity that the US Government lacks. However, they have not learned the art of counter-intelligence and internal security, and will continue to suffer from this kind of gratuitous and totally uncalled for stomach-turning crap (pun intended).