Monday, February 18, 2008

Metro Police Consider Purchasing UAV's

Military sources say new generations of insect
or bird-sized UAV's are in development at Area 51.

Technology that's been perfected in the war against terror could soon find its way into the hands of local police.

George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter
Updated: Feb 15, 2008 09:13 PM

I-Team: Local Police Consider Purchasing UAV's
Metro confirms that it's looking into the purchase of high tech drones that could be tracking your moves from the sky.

While it's not a done deal yet, the I-Team has learned the unmanned crafts are already zipping around above our heads.

Like every other segment of society, it will be a high tech future for lawmen. Metro police are not only looking at how and when to use sophisticated drones, but also other electronic doohickeys that will be bad news for bad guys.

UAV's aren't just spy platforms anymore. In Iraq and Afghanistan, weaponized drones not only look for bad guys, but they can also take them out.

Predators and other UAV's were tested and perfected at Nellis and Creech air bases. Some of the missions overseas are still remotely piloted from southern Nevada.

Military sources say new generations of insect or bird-sized UAV's are in development at Area 51. And now, the expertise honed on Nevada military ranges has filtered into the civilian sector.

In 2004, Lew Aerospace conducted a test flight in Las Vegas as a demo for the FBI. One of Lew's birds were launched from Caesars Palace.

Few, if any, people on the ground noticed as it zipped among the hotels, but judging what the UAV saw, its value to law enforcement has already been proven.

"We have flown for the FBI, we have flown for Norad, we have done border patrol work. Typically, UAV's are used wherever there is the three D's: dull, dangerous, or dirty work," said Lew Aerospace V.P. of Operations, Sandy Mangold. Read story here.

What do you think? Should Metro be flying unmanned planes over Vegas?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 10 Ancient Capitals

Premier Cities of the Ancient World

1.) Cahokia

Photo Credit: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park, courtesy of State of Illinois, NPS photo

With upwards of 30,000 inhabitants at its peak in about 1100 AD,
Cahokia, Illinois remained North America's first and biggest real
city until the Northeast's population exploded in the late 18th
century. This urban center of the Mississippi culture had
organized leadership, commerce and a penchant for
mound-building. Monk's Mound, the largest at 100 feet tall,
dominates the site and was probably a mighty foundation
for the home of the resident spiritual leader.

2.) Xi'an

Photo Credit: Terracotta Warriors inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, 3rd century BC

The Chinese city of Xi'an was the central stronghold for all of the
country's most important ancient dynasties going back 3,000 years.
Tourists flocking to see the city's Terra Cotta Army, 6,000 unique
and life-size statues buried to protect the tomb of the great Zhou
emperor Qin Shi Huang, has made Xi'an famous in modern times.
That will only multiply when the emperor's sprawling mausoleum,
rumored to hold invaluable treasures and rivers of mercury, is finally
opened by archaeologists.

3.) Great Zimbabwe

Photo Credit: Jan Derk

At 1,800 acres in breadth and the only one of its kind in Africa,
the complex of Great Zimbabwe confounded early European
colonialists, who couldn't believe that sub-Saharan peoples
were capable of its creation. They were, in fact, and built the
complicated structures sometime after 1200 AD, when a wide-
reaching empire of about 20,000 Shona cattlemen ruled the area.

4.) Thebes

Photo Credit: Stockxpert

Most people think of Cairo and the Great Pyramids when they
think of ancient Egypt, but the heartbeat of the magical
pharaonic dynasties actually beat much further up the Nile at
Thebes. Thebes was the ruling capital of ancient Egypt during
its most dominant eras, beginning with the Old Kingdom 4500
years ago, and is home to two of its most revered temples at
Karnak and Luxor. Most of Egypt's holy rulers are also buried
nearby in the famous Valley of the Kings.

5.) Tenochtitlan

Photo Credit: Tenochtitlan, looking east. From the mural painting at the
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. Painted in 1930 by Dr Atl.

Legend--and bits and pieces of historical fact--indicates that
Tenochtitlan was once the world's biggest and most beautiful city.
The capital of the great Aztec empire, which eventually morphed
into today's Mexico City, had about 300,000 inhabitants when
Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1521. Despite being built atop
a lake according to the wishes of an important Aztec deity, ancient
engineers made Tenochtitlan as efficient as any city in Europe
with a complex system of causeways and canals.

6.) Cuzco

Left: Machu Picchu

Photo Credit: Stockxpert

Peru is the cradle of civilization in the Andes. Many cultures have
come and gone. But even though a culture may have vanished,
its influence tended to live on in myth, in continued traditions,
and in evocative ruins. All roads in the Incan empire once lead to
Cuzco, bustling capital in the Andes Mountains from the early
1400s until its discovery by European explorers in 1532.
To retreat from the big city, Incan kings would head to their
summer home of Machu Picchu further up in the mountains.

7.) Babylon

Photo Credit: A 16th century depiction of the Hanging
Gardens of Babylon (by Martin Heemskerck)

Famous for its "wondrous" hanging gardens, the ancient
Mesopotamian city of Babylon had as turbulent a history as
its location in present-day Iraq suggests. Everyone from the
ancient Assyrians to Alexander the Great wanted to get their
hands on this strategic location, and it would become the
capital for many ruling groups over a period of several
thousand years. King Nebuchadnezzar II, creator of the
gardens, led the city during its splendid architectural heyday
around 600 BC.
The Babylonian civilization, which endured from the 18th until
the 6th century BC, was, like the Sumerian that preceded it,
urban in character, although based on agriculture rather than
industry. The country consisted of a dozen or so cities,
surrounded by villages and hamlets. At the head of the
political structure was the king, a more or less absolute
monarch who exercised legislative and judicial as well as
executive powers. Under him was a group of appointed
governors and administrators. Mayors and councils of city
elders were in charge of local administration.

8.) Constantinople

Hagia Sophia at sunset. Photo © Helen Betts

Today it's shared by two continents as the Turkish city of
Istanbul, but ancient Constantinople never once had to share
the spotlight after Rome fell from grace in the 4th century AD.
From that date through the Middle Ages, Constantinople was
Europe's largest and richest city, becoming the center of the
new Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and finally the
Ottoman Empire. Art and learning flourished in its universities
and cathedrals, including the spectacular Hagia Sophia.
Unfortunately nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia,
which was built on this site in the fourth century by Constantine
the Great. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and the
founder of the city of Constantinople, which he called
"the New Rome." The Hagia Sophia was one of several great
churches he built in important cities throughout his empire.
Following the destruction of Constantine's church, a second
was built by his son Constantius and the emperor Theodosius
the Great. This second church was burned down during the Nika
riots of 532, though fragments of it have been excavated and
can be seen today.Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form
between 532 and 537 under the personal supervision of Emperor
Justinian I.

9.) Athens

Reproduction of Ancient Athens, about 120 AD.

Democracy, math, philosophy, the Olympics...what didn't come out of
Athens, the ethereal capital of ancient Greece? Athens fought long and
hard, in conflicts on the sea and on land, to become leader of all Aegean
city-states by the early 5th century BC. It celebrated its victories by
building great temples like the Parthenon, the iconic symbol of art
and architecture in ancient Greece. A plague--likely typhoid fever--
contributed to the empire's fall.

10.) Rome

Photo courtesy and ©1997 Leo Curran, Maecenas: Images of Ancient Greece and Rome

The Romans invented concrete. The concrete was poured into wooden forms or molds. Due to these molds, arches could be built. The Romans used concrete arches to construct great buildings like the Colosseum. The concrete was also used to create domes like the Pantheon. They also used concrete to build the underwater port facilities at Caesarea in Israel. It's impossible to stroll through modern Rome and not bump into reminders of its ancient past. The Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon, just to name a few, are lasting testaments to the capital of an empire once made up of 2.5 million square miles, three continents and about 100 million people. The empire reached its zenith in 117 AD, when the emperor Trajan ruled from Rome and months-long gladiator games were held to celebrate the city's glory.

Go to LiveScience

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tiger country may now be elsewhere

February 10, 2008 12:00am

A TASMANIAN tiger sighting in Victoria
has reignited the theory that the species
may have been introduced to the
mainland before it became extinct in
this state.
Victorian farmer Harry Cook owns a property
bordering the Otway Ranges south of Melbourne.

Late last year he was with a mate inspecting
crop damage caused by rabbits when they
spotted three wedge-tailed eagles circling the paddock.

"They were circling over an animal -- we got
within 12 foot of it.

It was about the size of a large dog with
a very long tail that was sticking
straight up in the air as if it was fending
off the wedgies," Mr Cook said.

"There were white stripes on its chest and it
had a boofy head with round ears and the
side of the muzzle was white."

He copped a lot of flak for reporting the peculiar
sight, but not because no one believed him.

"Farmers around here told me I had broken the
code of silence -- that they had seen things too,
but as soon as it is reported all the townies come
with their rifles trying to shoot it."

Mr Cook is not alone in experiencing such a sighting.

A former engineer, who did not want to be named,
said he saw a dog-like animal in his headlights near
Torquay in May 2006.

He described it in minute detail, from its slender
body and fluid movements to the prison bar
"salt and pepper" coloured stripes on its flanks.

"I can guarantee you there is a feral animal of
some sort out there with short hair and stripes
on the side; if someone says that description
matches a tiger than I would say it is a tiger,"
he said.

Read more here

Some pictures of the Thylacine: The color picture is of a stuffed animal.

This big mouthed beauty is known both as "Tasmanian Tiger" and "Tasmanian Wolf" being a marsupial the animal was neither.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Turning physics on its ear

Has college dropout done
the impossible and created
a perpetual motion machine?

Feb 04, 2008 04:30 AM
Tyler Hamilton
Energy Reporter

Thane Heins is nervous and hopeful.
It's Jan. 24, a Thursday afternoon,
and in four days the Ottawa-area native will travel to Boston where
he'll demonstrate an invention that
appears – though he doesn't dare
say it – to operate as a perpetual
motion machine.

The audience, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn, could either
deflate Heins' heretical claims or
add momentum to a 20-year obsession that has broken up his marriage and lost him custody of his two young daughters.

Zahn is a leading expert on electromagnetic and electronic systems. In a rare move for any
reputable academic, he has agreed to give Heins' creation an open-minded look rather
than greet it with outright dismissal.

It's a pivotal moment. The invention, at its very least, could moderately improve the efficiency of induction motors, used in everything from electric cars to ceiling fans. At best it means a way of tapping the mysterious powers of electromagnetic fields to produce more work out of less effort, seemingly creating electricity from nothing.

Such an unbelievable invention would challenge the laws of physics, a no-no in the rigid world of serious science. Imagine a battery system in an all-electric car that can be recharged almost exclusively by braking and accelerating, or what Heins calls "regenerative acceleration."

Read more here

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

男性時尚休閒風 - Société Générale

IT Failure Allows "Rogue Trader" Debacle?

By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service
Monday, February 04, 2008 7:40 AM PST


The huge losses reported by French bank Société Générale,
apparently caused by a rogue trader with inside knowledge
of the bank's procedures, don't necessarily point to an IT
systems failure but rather to poor management of those
systems, analysts say.

The bank has accused 31-year-old employee Jerome Kerviel
of creating a fraudulent trading position in the bank's
computers that ultimately caused it to lose around
€4.9 billion (US$7.3 billion).

Kerviel achieved this by, among other things, misappropriating
computer passwords, the bank said. It has revealed few other
technical details of what caused the losses.

Vital but Routine

Management of passwords, including rescinding the old
passwords of employees who move to different positions
within the bank, or modifying the level of access those
passwords allow, is often a task given to the lowest-level
IT worker.

"It's dull and routine 99 percent of the time, but a vital backstop,
" said Bob McDowall, senior analyst at the TowerGroup.
Senior IT managers should conduct more frequent reviews
of password policies, he said.

In some cases, it may not have been the security of the
passwords themselves that posed a problem, but rather
the access those passwords allowed, said Ian Walden,
professor of information and communications law at
Queen Mary, University of London.

Organizations tend to think of access as being binary in nature:
you get access to it all, or you don't, Walden said. In reality,
there are many more levels of access. "In modern, complicated
systems, the granularity has to be much more sophisticated."

Read it here.

Jérôme Kerviel, incensed

Jérôme Kerviel, incensed for what he termed "over reactions"
by Societe Generale, said "what I did while performing my
fiduciary obligations were financial strategies that were
approved prior to their implementation by my superiors
at Societe Generale."

Kerviel, appearing with famed defense attorney Johnny
Cochran who spoke on Kerviel's behalf briefly outlined
some of those strategies. Cochran said "Jérôme invested
the monies in a very solid manner. Those strategies
obviously did not perform as well as we hoped they
would but you can't blame a guy for a couple of things
that stumbled."

Jerome Kerviel Addressed
Reporters from His Car

Cochran was asked by reporters to provide more information
and he had this to say. "Jérôme invested some fairly modest
amounts with some Britain based bookies and certain Sicilian
businessmen wagering that within a year the US invasion of
Iraq would be a total success and all troops would be out of
that county and the whole middle eastern region would be
completely stable. He also bought some three billion shares
of Enron Corporation because the shares were only a penny,
and he thought they would emerge from oblivion."

Cochran conceded that perhaps Jérôme's biggest miscalculation
was that Osama bin Laden would be captured.

Read the rest of the story: here

Top 10 Poisonous Plants - that might be in your yard!

Narcissus is about the least toxic of the top 10

These cheerful yellow and white harbingers of spring,
aka daffodils and jonquils, are actually mildly toxic if
the bulbs are eaten in large quantities (Narcissus
pseudonarcissus is shown). Some people confuse
them for onions. Daffodil bulb diners tend to experience
nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. A doctor might
recommend intravenous hydration and/or drugs to stave
off nausea and vomiting if symptoms are severe or the
patient is a child.

Rhododendron is a lot more scary!

Rhododendrons and azalea bushes (a variety of rhododendron),
with their bell-shaped flowers, look great in the yard come
springtime, but the leaves are toxic and so is honey made from
the flower nectar. Eating either from these evergreen shrubs
makes your mouth burn, and then you'll probably experienced
increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea and a tingling sensation
in the skin. Headaches, weak muscles and dim vision could follow.
Your heart rate could slow down or beat strangely, and you might
even drop into a coma and undergo fatal convulsions. Before that,
doctors will try to replace your fluids and help you breath more
easily and administer drugs to bring back your normal heart rhythm.

(Editorial note: There are several plants on this list that I didn't
know were toxic, and I've been around a long time, for safety
please check the rest of the article...)

To learn more click here

Ashley Rose Orr - age 17 - actress and singer

Ashley Rose Orr was born on November 11, 1990
in Denville, New Jersey, the third of 5 children.
She has a big brother Michael, now 21, sister Jenna
age 20, younger brother Jordan age 11 and
little brother Tyler age 1.

Ashley began acting professionally at age 6
when she played the part of Gretl, on Broadway,
in "The Sound of Music" .

She has also played on Broadway in "Les Miserables"
and "Annie Get Your Gun".

Ashley not only played Shirley Temple in ABC's
"Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story"
when she was 9, but also had the starring role
as Carrie in Showtime's movie "Carry Me Home".

Ashley has appeared in numerous Television series
and many commercials, has done over 100 jingles
as well as doing voice overs and animations.

Ashley loves to sing and dance and is currently
pursuing her musical interests as well as acting.

Click here for Ashley's website.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Species Success: Rhinos Recover

By Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 04 February 2008 04:31 pm ET

A white rhino munches grass. African rhino populations have rebounded after nearly going extinct. Credit: stock.xchng

After nearly disappearing from the planet, African white and black rhinos have made a healthy recovery, according to a wildlife advocacy group.

In the 1990s, these species had been poached almost to extinction for their valuable horns. But thanks to anti-poaching efforts, as well as the cooperation of local communities, African rhinoceros populations are on the rise.

"We have seen an increase in rhino populations of at least five percent per year over the last decade, which is encouraging," said George Kampamba, coordinator for World Wildlife Fund International’s African Rhino Program.

In 1997, there were 8,466 white rhinos and 2,599 black rhinos living in the wild. Today, there are 14,500 white rhinos and nearly 4,000 black rhinos.

"There's been a healthy increase in rhino numbers," said Petra Fleischer, fundraising manager of Save the Rhino International. "It’s the combined effort of anti-poaching work and monitoring to get a better picture of populations, environmental education, government strategies and community involvement. International funding is important, too."
Fleischer said getting local African people involved has been critical.

Read the story: here

Alberta UFO buffs say extraterrestrials are controlling our minds

Are UFOs using mind control? Alberta oil sands said to be part of plot

By Armando Duke

(AXcess News) Houston - UFO sightings in Canada are on the rise and so are the number of organizations springing up, especially in Alberta where the vast oil sands deposits are said to be led by extraterrestrial forces who are using mind control to manipulate Canadians into thinking its ok to develop those resources.

Calling it an "an apparent manipulative extraterrestrial virtual reality illusion" (there's a mouthful), a story in Canada's socialist newspaper, The Canadian, which recently launched as a 'socially progressive and cross-cultural' publication, absurdly published this story about UFO mind control that thumbs its nose at the Harper government for permitting what it called "an inorganic cyborg-like "artificial intelligence" that has sought to use its 'mechanical consciousness' to warp the quality-of-survival instincts of humanity."

The writer of this dribble builds his case around a book written by Dr. John Lash, who bases his claim of extraterrestrial mind control around Gnosticsm, which pre-dates Christianity. Basically, Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings. Lash attempts to interpret that into meaning extraterrestrials are controlling our minds - as 'those who know and are superior' the writer implies - are little green men from Mars who somehow are manipulating the whole of Canada and its government into thinking the Alberta oil sands' development won't harm what the writer of the National Canada story calls a "forested area, consisting of vibrant ecosystems of trees, streams teeming of fish, and land-bound wildlife like rare birds."

Scene from oil sands region of Alberta CanadaI should point out that he has a beautiful photo of tree-filled mountains as the backdrop of a river flowing by. Obviously, the writer's never been to the Alberta oil sands north of the Ft. McMurray area which looks more like a moonscape scene of scrub-brush-covered wasteland that even Moose won't trudge over, as shown here.

But the premise that UFO sightings are prevalent over Alberta and on the increase is of interest to this journalist. Perhaps the area reminds extraterrestrials of home, who knows, only the number UFO sightings in the area is on the rise - but that might be attributed to a sharp increase in population since the oil sands boom began. Housing in Ft. McMurray is at a premium because of it and with more people flooding into the area, chances are they're going to be witnessing more strange events and lights in the night skies over Alberta.

Read story here

Apparently our neighbors to the North don't know about tinfoil hats!