Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

Government Computer News:

The research organization for U.S. intelligence agencies is looking to fund projects designed to yield revolutionary innovations in intelligence collection.

That organization, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), has asked industry and academia through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)  to propose research that dramatically improves the value of collected data. IARPA said it plans to give out multiple awards for the research and isn’t interested research for topics that are already being ongoing IARPA programs.

The effort is being run by IARPA’s Office of Smart Collection. The office is one of three parts of IARPA that handles that organization’s high-risk, high-payoff research.

In the announcement, IARPA said it’s looking for research “to dramatically improve the value of collected data from all sources.” The organization is interested in:

  • Innovative ways to identifying novel sources of new information
  • New ways to assess collection systems for improved performance
  • Sensor technologies that better the reach, sensitivity and power for collection of broad signal or signature types
  • Tagging, tracking, and location techniques
  • Electrically small antennas
  • Agile architectures that distill useful information at the collection and
  • Innovative ways to ensure the veracity of data collected from multiple sources.

IARPA said it will accept proposals until through September 30, 2011. The resources available for research depend on the quality of the proposals and the availability of funds, IARPA said.

Technology Review:

Europe’s Plan to Simulate the Entire Planet

The ‘Living Earth Simulator’ will mine economic, environmental and health data to create a model of the entire planet in real time.

When it comes to global crises, we’re not short of complex systems that look close to the edge: the climate, the food supply, energy security, the banking system and so on. Add to this the threat of war in many parts of the world and the possibility of global pandemics and it’s a wonder that anybody gets out of bed in the morning.

Science has certainly played an important role in understanding aspects of these systems but could it do more?

Today, Dirk Helbing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich outlines an ambitious project to go further, much further.

Helbing’s idea is to create a kind of Manahattan project to study, understand and tackle these techno-socio-economic-environmental issues. His plan is to gather data about the planet in unheard of detail, use it to simulate the behaviour of entire economies and then to predict and prevent crises from emerging.

Think of it as a kind of Google Earth for society. We’ve all played with Google’s 3D map of the Earth that uses real data to reveal not only the town where you live and work but your home and back garden too.

Imagine a similar model that uses in real time things like financial transactions, health records, travel details, carbon dioxide emissions and so on to build a model of not just the planet but the entire society that populates it. Helbing calls it ‘reality mining’.

This model will be capable not only modelling the planet in real time but of simulating the future, rather in the manner of weather forecasters.

Helbing’s simulator will look for economic bubbles and collapses, warn of global pandemics and suggest how to tackle them, it will model and predict the outcome of regional conflicts and determine the effect of our behaviour on the climate. He even wants to create ‘situation rooms’ in which global leaders can view and manage crises as they occur.

This Google-Earth-on-steroids is to be called the Living Earth Simulator and Helbing’s plan is to have it working by 2022 at a cost of a cool EUR 1 billion, funded by the European Commission. He’s even assembled an impressive team to help, including partners from most of the top universities in Europe.

So what to make of this plan and it’s ambition. At first glance, it seems a somewhat worrying, even frightening, vision of the future. A Living Earth Simulator will change how we see ourselves and our planet in ways that are hard to imagine right now.

There’s no question that we need to better understand the global nature of the society we live in and the effects that it has on the planet. We also need to know how to leverage the benefits of these global systems while limiting the downsides they can generate.
This capability is coming whether we like it or not. Clearly, the computing infrastructure of the near future will be increasingly capable of such a task.

The great worry, of course, is that it will not be the great public universities and government-funded research institutes that complete this task. The huge benefits of a Living Earth Simulator will make it a valuable tool for insurance companies, financial traders, global businesses and even search engines.

It’s not hard to imagine a company like Google wanting and even building such a model. And if that seems hard to swallow, there are plenty of organisations that may be even less palatable operators of such a system. Imagine a Goldman Sachs Earth Simulator or one run by the People’s Liberation Army. EUR 1 billion is just a small fraction of the money these organisations play with.

When viewed through that prism, it seems clear and even necessary that such a project is publicly funded and managed. Should the European Commission agree, Helbing, who is a world leader in the new science of techno-socio-economic studies, may well be the man who leads it.

A Living Earth Simulator is coming, one way or another, perhaps even to your living room or mobile communicator. The only question is who builds it.

Ref: The FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator

An application that lets users point a smart phone at a stranger and immediately learn about them premiered last Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Developed by The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), a Swedish mobile software and design firm, the prototype software combines computer vision, cloud computing, facial recognition, social networking, and augmented reality.

“It’s taking social networking to the next level,” says Dan Gärdenfors, head of user experience research at TAT. “We thought the idea of bridging the way people used to meet, in the real world, and the new Internet-based ways of congregating would be really interesting.”

TAT built the augmented ID demo, called Recognizr, to work on a phone that has a five-megapixel camera and runs the Android operating system. A user opens the application and points the phone’s camera at someone nearby. Software created by Swedish computer-vision firm Polar Rose then detects the subject’s face and creates a unique signature by combining measurements of facial features and building a 3-D model. This signature is sent to a server where it’s compared to others stored in a database. Providing the subject has opted in to the service and uploaded a photo and profile of themselves, the server then sends back that person’s name along with links to her profile on several social networking sites, including Twitter or Facebook. The Polar Rose software also tracks the position of the subject’s head–TAT uses this information to display the subject’s name and icons for the Web links on the phone’s screen without obscuring her face.

“It’s a very robust approach” to facial recognition, says Andrew Till, vice president of marketing solutions at Teleca, a mobile software consulting company in the United Kingdom. “It’s much, much better than what I’ve previously seen.”

*Witness Nazi’esque Irony.

Posted: November 25, 2009 in 2008

Wow. ClimateGate has been off the hook. I have so much to say, yet far more to paste. I’ve been following this closely, and heavily involved in research and debate since it broke Friday, just not here, instead at I’m nearing posting master compendiums of all the nasty. This is so big, and has been such an important event, that I wasn’t about to just repost some other summarization of a story that will be unfolding all the way into next year. Between ClimateGate, and RonPaul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act, to audit the Fed for the first time in 95 years, I’m motivated again. I never gave despite, lack in original research and puiblications, I was amongst the first to know about the ClimateGate. In the meantime, I had to post something after watching this clip:

After about half way, they have an Environmentalist extremist commentator who would be a dictator had he the power:

For the record, one could hardly be much more of a critic of Fox News than I, but honestly, I find little fault in the comments and reactions of the very proper Brit doing the interview.

So for comparison, I’ll provide an example of a Zionist extremist, attacking true Jewish Rabbi’s, for opposing the Zionist political movement:

“Your children should piss on your bones”, the Zionist extremist said, to the Jewish Rabbi’s. Note the pointing finger chaoticly towards the face, as presented by the rabid environmentalist in the first clip.

Oh, dear, according to this video, for using the Nazi argument, I might be a Nazi. The irony is that Hitler the Nazi was a progressive, but I dont disagree that O’Reilly is also heavily Nazi’esque in posture. In fact, I have in mind for some time now a major anaysis comparing the propaganda of today’s US Republican & Democrat schemes to the ultimate in Nazi propaganda, referencing things I’ve written against the Neocon’s during the BushCo. era, but that is for another day.

The irony here is that in searching for ‘nazi debate’ or ‘nazi argue’ I didn’t find many results to correlate my argument here. In fact, thsi is the bes tmy search results came up with:

Irony goes into overdrive, as if anything today’s Obama is the closest thing to a ‘national scoialist’ the US has ever had, yet they would denounce him for being half black. Liberals would laugh at these people as dumb rednecks, silly sheep following Hitlers dream, but the irony doesnt escape this instance either, as todays Liberals worship Obama the progessive as bad as the Bush worshipping Neocons ever did. Humanity is like a trainwreck in hypocrisy and subservience.

But wait, this collection of Nazi’s are actually milder tempered than the others in theother video examples I posted.

Memory Hole:

“Army Surveillance of Civilians: A Documentary Analysis” by the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate (1972). Posted online by The Memory Hole. (Thanks to Susan Maret, coeditor of Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings.)

Click here to download the report [PDF | 9 meg | 104 pp]

Background info from the report’s preface:

“The following report by the Subcommittee staff analyzes certain computer print-outs and publications generated in the course of the Army’s domestic intelligence program.”

“The overwhelming majority of the reports pertain to the peaceful activites of nonviolent citizens lawfully exercising their constitutional rights of speech, press, religion, association, and petition.”

“These files confirm what we learned first from former intelligence agents – that Army intelligence, in the name of preparedness and security, had developed a massive system for monitoring virtually all political protest in the United States. In doing so, it was not content with observing at arms length; Army agents repeatedly infiltrated civilian groups. Moreover, the information they reported was not confined to acts or plans for violence, but included much private information about peoples’ finances, psychiatric records, and sex lives.”

“The size of these and other data banks confirms that the Army’s domestic intelligence operations did not begin with the Newark and Detroit riots of 1967. The events of that summer only expanded activities which had been going on, in varying degrees of intensity, since 1940, and which has its roots as far back as World War I.”