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The successful launch marks the next step in an ambitious space program that aims to send a Chinese astronaut to the moon.
BEIJING — China’s first moon rover set off slowly Sunday to travel across the right eye of the Man in the Moon, leaving the first wheeled tracks on the moon’s surface in nearly 40 years.
No quote emerged to rival “one giant leap for mankind,” but with one loud confirmation by mission control — “the probe landed safely” — China established its status Saturday night as the third nation ever to achieve a “soft-landing” on the moon.
Two weeks after its launch from southwest China, the Chang’e 3 lunar probe, named after a moon goddess, made a careful descent that was reported live on state television. Only the USA and former Soviet Union have previously made soft landings on the moon, whereby the spacecraft and equipment remain intact and operable.
Further celebrations followed Sunday morning as its major cargo, a solar-powered lunar rover named Jade Rabbit after the goddess’ pet, rolled down a ramp and set off on a three-month mission to hunt for natural resources and conduct geological surveys.
This is where the issue of Phil Schneider comes in. He is a UFO whistleblower who spent his short life saying what was, when he said it, seemed outlandish. We are now putting so many of his 30 year old technologies into use, so many are now public or at least to the advanced defense community that more and more of us accept all of it.
The US State Department has become the world’s leading user of ediplomacy. Ediplomacy now employs over 150 full-time personnel working in 25 different ediplomacy nodes at Headquarters. More than 900 people use it at US missions abroad.
Ediplomacy is now used across eight different program areas at State: Knowledge Management, Public Diplomacy and Internet Freedom dominate in terms of staffing and resources. However, it is also being used for Information Management, Consular, Disaster Response, harnessing External Resources and Policy Planning.
In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms. In other areas, like Knowledge Management, ediplomacy is finding solutions to problems that have plagued foreign ministries for centuries.
The slow pace of adaptation to ediplomacy by many foreign ministries suggests there is a degree of uncertainty over what ediplomacy is all about, what it can do and how pervasive its influence is going to be. This report – the result of a four-month research project in Washington DC – should help provide those answers.
ROBERT STEELE: Fergus Hanson of Australia has done a truly superb job of describing the considerable efforts within the Department of State to achieve some semblance of electronic coherence and capacity. What he misses–and this does not reduce the value of his effort in the slightest–is the complete absence of strategy or substance within State, or legitimacy in the eyes of those being addressed. If the Department of State were to demand the pre-approved Open Source Agency for the South-Central Campus, and get serious about being the lead agency for public intelligence in the public interest, ediplomacy could become something more than lipstick on the pig. The money is available. What is lacking right now is intelligence with integrity in support of global Whole of Government strategy, operations, tactics, and technical advancement (i.e. Open Source Everything).
[Editor’s note: This is the first in a new column series from the pragmatic visionaries at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development for edtech digest]
“The availability of technologies to youth is its own instructor.” –Nobelist Herbert A. Simon (June 15, 1916 – February 9, 2001), Author of Science of the Artificial and a Father of Artificial Intelligence
EXTRACT: TOYS MIRROR WHAT’S NEXT IN TECHNOLOGY
In the same way that Erector Sets were patterned after the technologies of the third phase of the industrial revolution, the LEGO MindStorms kits reflect the structure of emerging technology and careers in the 21st Century. In 2006, Nano Quest from FIRST Robotics enabled students to program LEGO robots to mimic biological, chemical, and physical systems across micro-, meso-, and nano-scales.
I have begun drafting my portion of the new Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Routledge, 2013), it is a chapter early on entitled “The Craft of Intelligence.” I pick up where Allen Dulles and Sherman Kent left off. My graphic on Intelligence Maturity captures the essence of my thinking at the strategic level, but of course there is more to come, including the desperate need to restore integrity to all that we do.
In 1988 I ghost-wrote for the Commandant of the Marine Corps an article that he enhanced and signed, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s.” At that time my focus was on the difference between the conventional threat and the emerging unconventional threat.
Now my focus is on the purpose and process of intelligence as decision-support. We must — we will — move from secret intelligence for the few to open intelligence for the many; from expensive centralized largely worthless intelligence to free and low-cost distributed intelligence relevant to every person at every level on every issue; from intelligence as window-dressing for channeling $80 billion a year to banks and corporations, to intelligence as an integral element of every aspect of a Smart Nation.
This article is completely out of touch with reality and the authors have not bothered to familiarize themselves with the literatures pertinent to their endeavor. Out of 89 cited sources 12 are non-intelligence-related prior publications of the lead author, 1 is a prior publication of the second author, and 11 are ostensibly about intelligence but truly marginal selections. So 12% sources on the subject, 13% self-citation, and 75% escoteric psycho-babble irrelevant to the actual challenge. As an intelligence professional, I am offended that two ostensibly erudite individuals would dare to publish this trype without even a semblance of understanding of the subject under discussion.
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.
One of the most pervasive features of computing culture are algorithms, the sets of processes or instructions contained in computer code that determine how a particular task will be completed. While algorithms power everything from your automatic coffee maker to your smart phone, because they are frequently hidden from their users, it can be easy to ignore these algorithms and their impact on how we gain access to information.
One of the areas where algorithms have the most impact is on our information search and retrieval practices. Online search is dominated by complex searching algorithms, the most well-known of which is Google’s PageRank. While there are many different ways of thinking about these search algorithms, from the standpoint of digital literacy it is fascinating to see the extent to which these alogrithms have been accepted as reliable stand-ins for other forms of information seeking. One reason for this substitution is that they are, on the whole, quite good at finding and serving us the information that we want. Another is the long-standing cultural assumption that computers (and many other forms of technology) are objective means of accessing information.
Discussed this the other day with a couple of like minded folks, one noted that his Apple devices are synched when he walks into the house, his son’s is synched with all his school work when he enters a classroom. There is little use of Word or like minded products, the school uses YouTube, Twitter, etc.
With the advent of iPad into the business market (the Air Force just
jettisoned its paper flight manuals for pilots and replaced them with
Blue screen of death fades into the sunset. Enjoy.
Please join me for the retirement party for the productivity software suite.
Our good friend word/spreadsheet/presentation has been an exemplary employee, even as he gained a few pounds as contact management, calendaring, and all sorts of other bits and pieces of the office routine were piled on. And while we can have fun arguing about which was the first such software product (Framework in 1984, Lotus Symphony at about the same time), we can all agree that Microsoft Office started occupying the corner office in 1989. So thank you very much for your service. Here’s your gold watch. Now go play some golf.
It’s hard to believe that a nearly 30-year-old product is still synonymous with office productivity during a period that has included the rise of the Internet, smartphones, cloud computing, and Facebook. So with the retirement party over, what’s the shape of the new office suite?
Phi Beta Iota: Microsoft is now officially brain-dead. The departure of Ray Ozzie was its final heart attack. OpenBTS, Twitter, Hypothes.is, and Wiki-think Wiki-work are all moving in interesting directions. Microsoft was an industrial-era “stand-alone” approach to human productivity, and it retarded the world for decades because of its hostility to third-party vendors and its constant mutation of Application Program Interfaces (API) as predatory toll-booths.
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.
Somalia has been steadily slipping from global media attention over the past few months. The large scale crisis is no longer making headline news, which means that advocacy and lobbying groups are finding it increasingly difficult to place pressure on policymakers and humanitarian organizations to scale their intervention in the Horn of Africa. I recently discussed this issue with Al-jazeera’s Social Media Team whilst in Doha and pitched a project to them which has just gone live this hour.
The joint project combines the efforts of multiple partners including Al-Jazeera, Ushahidi, Souktel, Crowdflower, the African Diaspora Institute and the wider Somali Diaspora. The basis of my pitch to Al-jazeera was to let ordinary Somalis speak for themselves by using SMS to crowdsource their opinions on the unfolding crisis.
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I am often reminded of what my friend Anand Giridharadasof the New York Times wrote last year vis-a-vis Ushahidi. To paraphrase:
They used to say that history is written by the victors. But today, before the victors win, if they win, there is a chance to scream out with a text message, a text message that will not vanish, a text message that will remain immortalized on a map for the world to bear witness. What would we know about what passed between Turks and Armenians, Germans and Jews, Hutus and Tutsis, if every one of them had had the chance, before the darkness, to declare for all time:
Joseph Stiglitz (the Nobel prize winning economist) has a great new article: “The Book of Jobs“(behind Vanity Fair’s paywall, sorry). In it, he makes a convincing case that the first global depression was caused by a process similar to what we are seeing today (I’m very happy somebody in the social sciences is actually attempting to show how technological change was a driver of the first depression, it’s about time). Here it is in a nutshell:first depression, it’s about time).
Technological change in the form of the internal combustion engine (cars, tractors, trucks) improved transportation and farm productivity. This led to an agricultural revolution that impacted a huge percentage of the US population.
Farm productivity soared and prices dropped. This forced many farmers into bankruptcy and led to a steady migration of people from rural to urban locations driving down incomes/demand.
The downward pressure on incomes this caused resulted in a protraced economic depression that only ended when the US and Europe mobilized/nationalized every segment of the economy during WW2 (put everyone to work, trained them, etc.).
Design with the Other 90%: CITIES features sixty projects, proposals, and solutions that address the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rise of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. Divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper and Access—to help orient the visitor, the exhibition shines the spotlight on communities, designers, architects, and private, civic, and public organizations that are working together to formulate innovative approaches to urban planning, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, nonformal education, public health, and more.
Comment: Design for the other 90% is a great ‘movement’ but the sponsorship of this event (Citi & Rockefeller Foundation) + UN makes for an unsettling partnership when considering the divide between “the 1%” & “the 99%” and the questions behind the intentions of having their names affiliated with “helping the poor.” I would hope that those within those organizations who can genuinely make a difference are not trumped by those looking to exploit those in poverty.