Review: Counterterrorism and Open Source Intelligence

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Terrorism & Jihad
Amazon Page

Uffe Kock Wiil (ed)

5.0 out of 5 stars , Innovative, Technical, Leverages Open Sources to the Fullest July 27, 2011

Springer needs to make it clear to Amazon that the book ships from a US-based warehouse. I have urged the lead editor and conference organizer to ask Springer to correct the error. The book is available within the US and should be delivered within the week once Springer corrects the way the book has been registered on Amazon. I anticipate that a paperback version will be offered at a more affordable price for individuals–this is the library or institutional “trade” price.

I am very glad to see the publisher make use of Look Inside the Book, and encourage all interested parties to use that feature and study the table of contents. I have to articulate my profound respect for the conference organizer and senior book editor and for those contributing to this book, all of whom I met at the conference for which this content was created.

I have never seen a better collection of scientific and mathematical approaches to leveraging open sources of information to identify precursors and patterns of terrorism. This is an original book, and the first major effort of the new counterterrorism center at the University of Southern Denmark.

Including my alternative perspective, as one other senior participant put it, “makes our job harder.” One reason I particularly like Nordic professionals is because of their integrity. There is a great deal of intelligence and total integrity in this book; it is an honor for me to have been included. I am not competent in the way the other authors are, and my regard for their pioneering is unlimited.

Also just published, very US centric but a really original study, is No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger Security International). I have provided a lengthy review at the Amazon page for that book.

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Review: A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures — A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique

5 Star, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page

Thomas R. Flannagan, Kenneth C. Bausch

5.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Workbook 49 Problems, 10 Clusters, & Software,July 22, 2011
This is a very reasonably priced workbook that can also be purchased in bulk (presumably at the standard 50% discount) from the publisher, and I certainly do recommend it as a toolkit for any level–undergraduate to postgraduate to professional–discussion about how to apply holistic analytics to complex problem sets.I rate it as a five for its intended purpose, but absent references to other critical supplements that I link to below, it is a four by which I mean it cannot comprise the sole text for teaching. As an endeavor in systemic thinking and a new tool for teaching systemic thinking, it is a six.Although I am generally hostile to software as a panacea that obscures more than it illuminates (especially if the assumptions buried in the code are flawed), I give the authors the benefit of the doubt, and would seek to integrate their endeavor with those of Medard Gabel, the State of the Future project, and other emerging efforts to create functional hybrid networked governance systems.Ambassador John McDonald provides the foreword, and I pull two quotes from him:QUOTE (vii): The theories are not particularly useful to develop predictive models.

QUOTE (viii): This is the book to prepare for the messy multi-layered, multi-faceted, personal, political real world of applied activism.

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Review: The World Sensorium — The Social Embryology of World Federation 1946

5 Star, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Education (Universities), Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Priorities, Public Administration, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

Oliver L. Reiser

5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem–Easy to Read, A Foundation Book for World Brain and Global Game, May 22, 2011
I bought this book on a whim, sensing that despite its 1946 publication date it might be inspirational and I have been *very* glad to go through this. It was a half-century ahead of its time. This book, which does cite H.G. Wells and World Brain (Adamantine Classics for the 21st Century), is a wonderful core reading for any age including high school but certainly going all the way to PhD programs. I consider it a SUPERB start to any semester of dialog in this domain.

Quick overview and appreciation by the chapter:

Review: Reality Is Broken–Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

6 Star Top 10%, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Best Practices in Management, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Diplomacy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Survival & Sustainment, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

Jane McGonigal

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star for Concept–Ignores Past Pioneers–Energizes Us All

February 28, 2011

I took the time to read all of the reviews to date, and was reminded again of the chasm between those who understand technology and its possibilities, and those who do not. Being among the latter, in part because I am a veteran of 30 years of watching the US Government waste trillions over that period on too much badly designed technology (government specifications, cost plus) for the wrong reasons and generally without a positive outcome [the Internet being an exception], I must respect–as the author respects with her obviously counter-ripostive editorial interview here at Amazon–both the importance of getting a grip on reality, and the importance of being more respectful of past pioneers, such Buckminster Fuller (RIP) and Medard Gabel (co-creator with Fuller of the analog World Game, creator of the architecture for the digital EarthGame(TM), and recent contributing editor to Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond (Volume 1), and Russell Ackoff [e.g. Redesigning Society (Stanford Business Books) as well as John N. Warfield [e.g Societal Systems: Planning, Policy and Complexity (Wiley Series on Systems Engineering & Analysis). And then there are the 55 authors in Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, including Ms. Jan Watkins, Doug Englebart, Mark Tovey. In short, the WORST thing one can say about this book is that the author has had an immaculate conception to her great credit, but one that could have been vastly better grounded had she done her homework and a multi-disciplinary literature review, something her PhD committee evidently did not consider necessary.

Having said that, this book is without question a 6+, a ranking achieved by the top 10% of the non-fiction books and DVDs I have reviewed here at Amazon (1692 not counting this one). This is a world-changing book, and while the author has benefited from a fabulous personality and personal presence, and first rate representation and promotion, when read carefully and completely and placed in the context of all that is about us today, the originality, relevance, and imminent potential of this book and the ideas in this book cannot be denied. The author does not do what Medard Gabel has done–provide the architectural underpinings for the digital EarthGame(TM) and global to local holistic “dashboards” that integrate the ten high-level threats to humanity, the twelve core policies, the true costs of every good and service–she is still at the “one of” level rather than the meta level–but if she can reach out to Medard Gabel and others and actually harness not just the cognitive surplus of the crowds, but the contextual pioneering of those who have spent decades before her thinking and doing in this arena, then she will be the righteous public face of what I am starting to call “Open Everything: from Autonomous Internet to Global Panarchy.”


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Review (DVD): The Social Network

6 Star Top 10%, Change & Innovation, Communications, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

Jesse Eisenberg

5.0 out of 5 stars Six Star Special–The Essence of the Emerging Era

January 27, 2011

I was very glad to have a chance to see this movie on an airplane, and it was everything others had led me to believe. For myself, it captured the essence of what Peter Drucker calls the mono-maniac. I found the over-all blend of academic banality, personal eccentricities and genius, inter-personal egos and intentions, and the final financial settlements to be totally engrossing.

In many ways I consider Facebook to be the anti-thesis of Google; the first is earnest and personal despite some warts, and a self-made network–the second is secretive, mathematical, went corporate, and lost its soul in the process–as well as its direction.

Review: Business War Games–How Large, Small, and New Companies Can Vastly Improve Their Strategies and Outmaneuver the Competition

5 Star, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Force Structure (Military), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Society, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Leadership, Public Administration, Strategy
Amazon Page

Ben Gilad

5.0 out of 5 stars Core Reference Introducing Hindsight Games

January 11, 2011

Not a single one of the other reviews mentions “hindsight games” which come at the end in Chapter 12, where Ben Gilad, whom I know and admire, properly lists Helen Ho and Matthew J. Morgan as the authors.

At the age of 58 with 30+ years as an intelligence professional behind me, very little catches me by surprise but this is one of those exquisite “ahas.” For me, the insights into hindsight games as a means to retrospectively identify strategic, operational, tactical, and technical junctures, where participants can reflect on what they knew, what they did not know, what they had wish they had known, and how they might advise the next generation to state its intelligence requirements differently–for me this is an intellectual gold strike.

I have never heard of any of the war colleges or strategy centers or major corporations or NGOs doing hindsight games. This for me is HUGE, and Ben Gilad's integrity is high-density–although the plan of the book properly puts the chapter at the end, after his concepts and doctrine and methods for business war games are outlined, this is the chapter that every one of the eight tribes (academic, civil society, commercial, government, law enforcement, media, military, non-profit or non-governmental) should be thinking about.

Hindsight games are a perfect means of both debriefing out-going executives and mission area specialists, and of transferring lessons learned from one generation to another in a super-professional manner.

I am reminded of Kristan Wheaton's still relevant book, The Warning Solution : Intelligent Analysis in the Age of Information Overload, and believe that would make an excellent HindSight Game pre-read, pulling in seniors and mission area specialists to talk about what proper warning and better intelligence might have allowed them to do these past twenty years.

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Review: A Cross-Polity Survey (1963)

5 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Economics, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Insurgency & Revolution, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

Arthur S. Banks (Author), Robert B. Textor (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars

Set a Standard, Modern Version Urgently Needed

December 16, 2010

When I was a graduate student in the 1970's, “Banks & Textor” was the bible, and I could not have done my first graduate thesis on revolution without its inspiration. This reference taught me how to “operationalize” from a pre-condition of revolution (e.g. concentration of wealth) to specific measurable factors within a society (e.g. a mix of per capita income and spread).

As I just wrote in a commentary on the gap between rich and poor in the US,

In the 1970's an era when “whole systems” thinking tried to flourish only to be crushed by the emergent merger of the two-party tyranny and Wall Street, there was a vital comparative international studies reference, “Banks & Textor,” or more properly, Arthus S. Banks and Robert B. Textor, A Cross-Polity Survey (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1963). We strongly suspect that today the USA would be qualified a failed state, certainly so if the 1% of the population hoarding the bulk of the wealth were isolated as an extraneous factor contributing little of value to the larger economy while siphoning off one fifth of the asset value through legalized financial crime. There is clearly a need for a return of the Banks & Textor model, but with the added sophistication of distinguishing between negative factors of domestic production (excessive concentration of wealth, legalized mortgage clearinghouse, Wall Street derivative, and Federal Reserve fraud, prison factories and prisons, hospitals, and marginalized enterprises among others).

I would love to see a great university somewhere take on the magnificent challenge of recreating this great work, but modernized to include the Internet factor, measures of openness across all fronts (see my Gnomedex ketone, “Open Everything”) and so on.

This book is still priceless, it was the gold standard in its time, we need it now more than ever, but completely redone and modernized.

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See Also:

A Cross-Polity Survey (Free Download)

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