How not to talk to each other.

As I try to talk and reach out, here is what confronts me so.

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I watched with dismay as my friend JP posted so many mean things while she was at the Inauguration.  This is what JP says, and it is challenging to hear:

“A crazy woman from Washington didn’t understand why women could support Trump and I set her straight!”

During the Inauguration JP bragged that Bikers for Trump would lock down DC and using the language of the ALT Right bragged that Chris Cox and his 200,000 strong vigilante crew eat “Snowflakes for Breakfast.”   But she complained about the K Street Protesters and media asserting that their threats of violence was the reason why the Inauguration was not well attended.

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“Message to Woman’s Marchers- Give the next generation of women a head-start in equality and understanding, self-respect and strength of character by sending the girls and young women in your life to a single-sexed high school or college that will teach her what you marched about & for today!”

But then she writes:  “today is also the day when hypocrisy must end; when bias must be cast out and when we look for the good in each other.  People who claim they want unity and respect for women and for this country are marching in protest of a man whom millions of women supported.”  She decided that the best way to bring unity was to glare at protesters.

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But who was leading 8 years ago.  Remember when President Obama was delivering a nationally televised speech to Congress a mere 8 1/2 months into his first term, and South Carolina representative, Joe Wilson, shouted out “You Lie!” on live television?   Why was that the new norm?

Not long after, when Republicans regained control of Congress, Mitch McConnell (R)(Ky.), specifically stated that “my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.” He actually said that. In the midst of a financial meltdown, skyrocketing oil prices, terrorism in the middle east, and impending global catastrophe from climate change, the Congressional leadership put “intentionally obstructing the president” as the single most important issue for Congress to address. Whether Mr. McConnell was serious or just being glib doesn’t matter – the message was that Republicans had a deep dislike of Barack Obama and would do everything in their power to undermine his authority.

Don’t forget about the “birther” movement that launched Trump’s political career claiming that Obama was not American -that he was actually born in Kenya, and his birth certificate from Hawaii was forged. Or the constant insistence that Obama is actually a Muslim, despite his clear and unambiguous relationship with Christianity. Or the attempt to label him as a “communist,” although many of his policies are more to the right of Eisenhower, including his bail-out for banks, the auto industry, and the pushing through of his signature Trans-Pacific Partnership – all pro-business, right-of-center endeavors. And while occasionally being referred to as a monkey, or ape, or other racially incendiary comparison to lower level primates.

The language cannot help Americans reunite.  I heard these words over the last three days, and I had to look up what they mean.

Beta:  Alpha males are leaders, like Trump; beta males are portrayed as weak and emasculated.

Crybaby, whiny: Anyone who disagrees with them or their preferred candidate, particularly protesters and people who complain that the alt-right is embracing racism and anti-Semitism.

Cuckservative, cuck: The term “cuckservative” originated in the alt-right. It’s a portmanteau of “conservative” and “cuckold” used to describe Republicans who are perceived to be emasculated or “selling out.” Frequently shortened to “cuck,” the term has come under scrutiny for its racist implications.

Human biodiversity: Despite the fact that many say racism is at the heart of its platform, the alt-right is very sensitive about being called racist. They use the term “human biodiversity” as a more scientific-sounding way of referring to issues of race.

Libtard: The alt-right revels in the rejection of “political correctness,” so embracing an outdated term for a person with an intellectual disability (“retard”) serves the purpose of insulting liberals.

Masculinist: A word meant to embody the opposite of feminist, celebrating “manliness” and the traditional “heroic” nature of men. To the alt-right, “masculinist” principles are ones that serve and advocate for men. Critics say they primarily reinforce antiquated gender roles.

 

Multiculturalism (as a derogatory term): A major component of the alt-right platform is white supremacy and nationalism. “Multiculturalism” is used as a negative term for the blending of multiple cultures, as opposed to celebrating the supposed superiority of Western European culture.

Neoreactionaries: Also known as NRx and the “Dark Enlightenment.” A group of people who call for stripping away anything other than supposedly rational thought, as opposed to a “feelings first” mentality. They advocate for libertarianism, traditional gender roles and neofascism.

Political correctness: Anything that challenges an alt-right person’s right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in any way they want to say it. According to the alt-right, political correctness is responsible for most of society’s ills, including feminism, Islamic terrorism and overly liberal college campuses.

Snowflake: Short for “special snowflake,” a pejorative for an entitled person. Most people protesting Trump are “snowflakes,” according to the alt-right, as are anti-Trump celebrities and most liberals.

SJW: Short for “social justice warrior,” this insult is mostly reserved for young women who try to argue on behalf of liberal or feminist ideas.

White genocide: What many alt-right members feel is the natural conclusion of liberalism and pro-immigrant policies.

Please reconcile for me why being American demands upon me and people who believe like I do to turn the other cheek?   We have a President who models escalation; how can American resist division?

I do not have the answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are Marching!

350 women attorneys are flying from Colorado to march in D.C. on January 21, 2017, and Beth Klein Boulder Attorney is preparing to be invigorated and inspired to stand up for the rights of all.  The buzz is that this march is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history. The Women’s March now has almost 200 progressive groups, large and small, signing on as supporting partners. The issues they represent are as varied as the environment, legal abortion, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, a free press, affordable healthcare, gun safety, racial and gender equality and a higher minimum wage. Donald Trump’s ceremony may take a back seat to our protest.  I hope so.

I will be documenting the voices of the marchers and the event this week.  So please engage!

It’s never happened that so many people have gathered in opposition to a new administration on day one.

But it is the correct response to a man who has smashed decorum and frightened millions.

 

Beth Klein Boulder Muses – can synthetic ivory save the elephants?

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Beth Klein Boulder Attorney and Synthetic Ivory

Last night I had a dream about replacing natural ivory with a synthetic. (As I regress to my kindergarten self, my imagination is getting stronger and my curiosity is off the charts.) After all, we have perfect synthetic diamonds, synthetic fish, and synthetic fur. Why not synthetic ivory – chemically identical and pure?  Vegan ivory?  Sustainable ivory?

I am posting this to find a team to explore this idea. Please contact Beth Klein, Boulder Attorney if you are interested in this exploration and project.

The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, African and Asian elephants. The chemical structure of the teeth and tusks of mammals is the same, regardless of the species of origin.

Legal hunting and illegal poaching of elephants is big business. Despite preserving lands and having armed guards (both great ideas), poachers are still killing elephants at an extinction pace because of the demand. But there is a darker side to this trade that fuels militant Islamic groups.

Elephant Action League (EAL) recently completed a two-year investigation into illegal poaching in Africa. And it led to al-Shabab, the Islamic militant group in Somalia that raided and occupied Nairobi’s Westgate Mall for several days last month.

Al-Shabab is buying illegal ivory from poachers, says EAL. They documented an estimated one to three tons of ivory going into Somalia each month through al-Shabab traders. That is “enough to fund of up to 40 percent of the monthly salary of Shabab’s estimated 5,000 fighters.”

You can hear the radio interview here.

“And they really need money, because many of the low-level Shabab people are driven by money concerns, as much as ideology,” he said. “For Shabab, ivory is just a commodity, like kidnapping, like charcoal, like shaking down small business owners. Compared to other kinds of sources, it’s a relatively easy source of funding, so thousands of people will risk their lives to get it.”

EAL says that poaching has a more profound effect on people than most suspect.

“The human toll of the ivory trade is much wider and deeper than al-Shabab. It’s not just about terrorists making money, it’s not just about the rangers dying trying to protect the elephants and the rhinos and other wildlife. It’s about entire local communities getting exploited by this market. It’s about widows and orpans, it’s about child soldiers, it’s about weapons bought to poach,” he said. “I think it’s time for the international community to face the broad spectrum of those side effects of the ivory trade.”

Tusks are used for decoration and remedies. What if, we could duplicate the formula and satisfy the market with a man-made ivory. Ivory keys on pianos have been replaced. Plastics worked for a while. Why not evolve?

Ivory consists mainly of dentine (inorganic formula Ca10(PO4)6(CO3)·H2O, one of the physical structures of teeth and tusks. We know the 3D layering of the structures of different animals. Tusks have a minor peripheral component, the cementum, a soft derivative of enamel, and a main core of dentine which is ivory. Dentine is composed of a matrix of particles 5-20 microm in diameter in a ground substance containing dentinal tubules about 5 microm in diameter with a center to center spacing of 10-20 microm. Here is an in-depth article from NIH.  So much work has been done.

Can we use a 3D printer to print ivory that looks so natural that a carver will chose it over the real thing?

Who can make Ca10(PO4)6(CO3)·H2O in shapes of enormous trophy sized tusks?  Bigger than what is natural?

Can manufacturing of Ca10(PO4)6(CO3)·H2O jobs be created to replace hunting and poaching?

Can a market for synthetic ivory be created in the countries that demand the product as the better alternative?

Who knows the right people to bring this into existence and see what impact we can have?

Please contact Beth Klein, Boulder Attorney.

The Influence of Phillip Dick & Trumpism

philip-k-dick-prediction-fuNot far from my home, the remains of Phillip Dick rest in Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, (section K, block 1, lot 56) where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane.  No crowds come to honor him as they do Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France. Ironically, Phillip Dick was one of the world’s most influential writers and thinkers who is deserving of our thanks.

I wanted to write an electronic memorial to him. When you read the names of his works, there is nothing else that needs to be added to describe his contribution to literature through battles with suspicion of propaganda and government, loneliness, drug abuse, depression and schizophrenia.

“I’m not much but I’m all I have.”

“My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.”

“Don’t try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.”

But, during these days as we watch America being degraded by a president elect, Phillip Dick’s words have even deeper meaning.   In “The Man In The High Castle,” Philip Dick wrote about how people judge competing narratives as true or false in the context of what we already believe is true.

In High Castle, he asks us to imagine a world where Nazi power triumphed in WW2, and a world in which the narrative of history was written by the victor. If we lived in that world, how would we know that the lies spun by a Nazi government were not the truth?  Until we see how stories are used to shape our perceptions and reality, we’re vulnerable to continued manipulation. But once we can think critically about the ways that narratives are constructed, and the various agendas they serve, we can begin to assess objectively our own beliefs.

What is red, what is blue, what is real?

We have now seen how a mass communication disinformation campaign can elevate a Putin Puppet to the highest power in a competing state, and to have millions of supporters simply repeat the mantra.  The context of hatred of a conservative or a liberal view now dominates the common hatred of national threats.

Now, with these manipulations, hating or not listening to a competing political view is more important than working together.  The Machiavellian common enemy which typically binds a nation, has now been turned inward upon the US.  If there is a legacy of the Trump movement, it is simply that.  Trumpism is moving a nation to implode by false narratives that are accepted as reality in the context of the right and wrong of red and blue.

“Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”

  • Blade Runner
  • Total Recall based on the short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,”
  • Confessions d’un Barjo (1992), titled Barjo in its English-language release, a French film based on the non-science-fiction novel Confessions of a Crap Artist.
  • Screamers (1995), based on the short story “Second Variety”, directed by Christian Duguay
  • Minority Report (2002), based on the short story “The Minority Report”, based on the 1953 story “Impostor,”
  • Paycheck (2003), directed by John Woo and starring Ben Affleck, based on Dick’s short story of the same name.
  • A Scanner Darkly (2006), directed by Richard Linklater and starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Next (2007), directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Nicolas Cage, loosely based on the short story “The Golden Man”.
  • Radio Free Albemuth (2010), directed by John Alan Simon loosely based on the novel “Radio Free Albemuth”.
  • The Adjustment Bureau (2011), directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon, loosely based on the short story “Adjustment Team”.
  • The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second Variety.
  • The Man in the High Castle for the BBC, in the form of a mini-series.[51] A pilot episode was released on Amazon Prime in January 2015 and Season 1 was fully released in ten episodes of about 60 minutes each on 20 Nov 2015

Phillip Dick was a twin, and his sister Jane died in childbirth.  Her death influenced his placement of the protagonist in two simultaneous realities themes in many of his works.

He believed that existence is based on internal human perception, which does not necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as “an acoustic pantheist.  After studying metaphysical realms, Dick came to the conclusion that the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether it is truly there.  He constantly asked the question: “What is an authentic human being?”  And themes of mental illness, religious, medical and recreational drug use, and divine experiences permeate his work.

In 1974 he had a mystical experience that helped calm his horror of the world, and he wanted to communicate the structure of the calm to others in Vast Acting & Living Intelligence Systems (VALIS).  He felt that something intervened to heal his mind and give him a sense of beauty of the world amid the insanity.

“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”

Following Orders was impossible for him as he explains in a 1979 interview.

He found that science fiction gave him the means for true expression, but felt that it became silly putty over time without an identity.

How he measured men was based upon acts, not celebrity or wealth.  My favorite quote is:

“The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.

Shortly before his death Philip offered a list of his own prognostications to be published in the collection Book of Predictions.  Here’s what he predicted courtesy of the PKD Otaku fan zine, issue number 11.  Fill in the blanks yourself about whether any of these modern day quatrains occurred.

1984
The U.S. will perfect a system by which hydrogen, stored in metal hydrides, will serve as a fuel source, eliminating a need for oil.

1985
By or before this date there will be a titanic nuclear accident either in the U.S.S.R. or in the U.S., resulting in shutting down all nuclear power plants.

1986
Such satellites as HEAO-2 will uncover vast, unsuspected high energy phenomenon in the universe, indicating that there is sufficient mass to collapse the universe back when it has reached its expansion limit.

1993
An artificial life form will be created in a lab, probably in the U.S.S.R., thus reducing our interest in locating life forms on other planets.

1995
Computer use by ordinary citizens (already available in 1980) will transform the public from passive viewers of TV into mentally alert, highly trained, information-processing experts.

2010
Using tachyons (particles that move backward in time) as a carrier, the Soviet Union will attempt to alter the past with scientific information.

Now is the time to question the nature of our reality and to stand in principles broader than making the “other” right or wrong.  Thank you  Phillip for cementing these words in story so that perhaps people will create something together rather than invest billions of dollars to destroy capable leaders and ourselves with words and binary codes.

 

 

Turkey, ISIS and the PKK.

 

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict is an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups that want a separate Kurdish nation or greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.  The main rebel group is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan).    The insurgency is mainly in southeastern Turkey and the Kurdish region in Iraq.   What follows is a very simplistic summary of the conflict.

The conflict between the Turks and the Kurds began in 1984.  Former French ambassador to Turkey Eric Rousseau estimated in addition to the 35,000 people killed in military campaigns, 17,500 were assassinated between 1984, when the conflict began, and 1998. An additional 1,000 people were reportedly assassinated in the first nine months of 1999. According to the Turkish press, the authors of these crimes, none of whom have been arrested, belong to groups of mercenaries working either directly or indirectly for the security agencies.

Since the 1970s, the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for the thousands of human rights abuses against Kurdish people.  The judgments are related to systematic executions of Kurdish civilians, forced recruitments, torturing, forced displacements, thousands of destroyed villages, arbitrary arrests, murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists. The PKK was responsible for a number of civilian deaths, even though this number is lower than those perpetrated by the government. The number of total civilian deaths perpetrated by the PKK between 1989 and 1999 was determined as 1,205 by the independent Uppsala One-Sided Violence Dataset.

On December 29, 2012, Erdoğan said that the government was conducting negotiations with jailed rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan. Negotiations initially named as Solution Process (Çözüm Süreci).  Assassination of three Kurdish PKK administrators in Paris and the bombings of the Justice Ministry of Turkey and Erdoğan’s office at the Ak Party headquarters in Ankara nearly derailed the peace process.   But despite these attacks on March, 21 2013, a cease-fire that included disarmament and withdrawal from Turkish soil began the conclusion of the 30 year old conflict.

On April 23, 2013, the PKK announced that it would be withdrawing all its forces within Turkey to Northern Iraq.  Constitutional and legal changes towards the recognition of human rights of the Kurds starts simultaneously with withdrawal.

In October 2014, riots erupted in various cities in Turkey after ISIS sieged Kobane. The Kurds accused the Turkish government of supporting ISIS.The conflict between Turkey and PKK escalated following the 2015 Suruç bombing attack on progressive activists, which was blamed on a Turkish ISIL-affiliated group. Turkey bombed alleged PKK bases in Iraq and PYD bases in Syria’s Kurdish region Rojava, effectively ending the cease-fire.

Violence soon spread throughout Turkey. Many Kurdish businesses were destroyed and branches of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were also attacked. There are reports of civilians being killed in several Kurdish-populated towns and villages. In the spring of 2016 the violence increased and in May, a Turkish Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter was shot down by a PKK-fired Russian made MANPADS.

During the winter there is typically a lull in the violence.  But three conditions indicate that in the Spring of 2017 indicate that the violence may increase:  the deadlock in peace talks , polarised antagonists who believe a military solution is possible, and competition over northern Syria in which both sides are seeking maximum outcomes and competing for US support.

After the attempted coup in July 2016, the violence of PKK tactics increased with the use of  improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and kidnapping, assault and killing of political figures.   Ankara has matched the PKK’s ramp up in tactics, convinced that the group could be defeated militarily. “Ankara has declared an ‘all-out war’, intensifying military operations and advancing its domestic crackdown against alleged PKK supporters,” the ICG stated, citing the recent arrests of pro-Kurdish mayors, the closure of Kurdish media outlets, and the arrests of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers.

In 2016, Turkey suffered 18 major terror attacks, most of which were carried out by the PKK, its affiliate group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), and ISIS.  In addition to its fight against the PKK and ISIS, Turkey has also, simultaneously, put forward a strong fight against the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), as well as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which carried out the July 15 coup attempt.

In 2017, the Turkish government is expected to continue its offensive against the PKK locally and in its cross-border operations, which may include an expansion of cross-border operations into northern Iraq, to fight PKK targets, including the Qandil Mountains and Sinjar, in addition to the expansion of Operation Euphrates Shield into areas held by the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the PYD, in northern Syria.

In his recent speeches, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has particularly voiced that 2017 will be the worst year yet for the PKK.

“I say clearly that these are their good days. After April, they will be surprised to see what is happening to them, as their end will come soon. We will decisively continue our fight during the winter,” Interior Minister Soylu said on Dec. 8, during his visit to the eastern Van province.

The PKK, distanced itself on the Reina New Years nightclub attack.  “No Kurdish forces have anything to do with this attack,” it said in a statement. “The Kurdish freedom fight is also the fight for democratization of Turkey. That’s why we won’t target innocent and civilian people.”

ISIS took responsibility for the bombing.

No end is in sight for the armed conflict between these three groups.

 

 

 

Trump’s Stuxnet & Flame Primer

 

bromance-between-trump-and-putin

The romantic idea that war is handled by fleets of ships, planes, and other heavy metal manned by uniformed heroes is becoming part of the past.  Now, a USB stick can be more effective than a bomber.   And we are all part of the new system of war and espionage.  Every electronic device with which we interact provides behavioral data to Google, Facebook,  the NSA and the imaginary 400 pound man in bed in a basement.

It is no secret that Trump has a very limited knowledge of computers – except for his 7th grader mastery of bullying on Twitter.  He says “”I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.”  Actually, people (other than the fake news issue) do know what is going on.  And thus, this writing on Stuxnet and Flame as a rudimentary primer on the sophistication of cyber warfare the day the first power grid was attacked in the US by the Russian Federation.

A code associated with the Russian hacking operation named the Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration was found in a laptop associated with the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.  This discovery occurred after Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence shared the Grizzly Steppe malware code with executives from 16 sectors nationwide, including the financial, utility and transportation industries. Vermont utility officials identified the code within their operations and reported it to federal officials Friday.  The discovery reveals the vulnerabilities of the nation’s electrical grid. And it raises fears in the U.S. government that Russian government hackers are actively trying to penetrate the grid to carry out potential attacks.  You can read the official paper here.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said ,“Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety,” Shumlin said in a statement. “This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.”

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said, “This is beyond hackers having electronic joy rides — this is now about trying to access utilities to potentially manipulate the grid and shut it down in the middle of winter,” Leahy said in a statement. “That is a direct threat to Vermont and we do not take it lightly.”

And it started with Stuxnet.

Stuxnet is a militarized malicious computer worm for which no organization or state has officially admitted responsibility. The worm was at first identified by the security company VirusBlokAda in mid-June 2010.  It is believed to have been used to infect and destroy Iranian uranium production and to render Syrian radar systems unless in Operation Olympic Games during which Syria’s infant nuclear facilities were destroyed by undetected bomber planes.

Anonymous US officials claimed the worm was developed during the Bush administration to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with what would seem like a compounding accidents over a long period of time and to demoralize the Iranians. In May 2011, the PBS program Need To Know cited a statement by Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, in which he said, “we’re glad they [the Iranians] are having trouble with their centrifuge machine and that we – the US and its allies – are doing everything we can to make sure that we complicate matters for them”

Stuxnet specifically targets programmable logic controllers (PLCs).  PLCs platform automation of electromechanical processes such as those used to control machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or centrifuges for separating nuclear material.  It seeks out Siemens Step 7 software through the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Four zero-day flaws were exploited. A zero-day (also known as zero-hour or 0-day or day zero) vulnerability is an undisclosed computer-software vulnerability that hackers can exploit to adversely affect computer programs, data, additional computers or a network.

Stuxnet reportedly compromised Iranian PLCs causing the fast-spinning centrifuges to tear themselves apart.  Stuxnet reportedly ruined almost one fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

Stuxnet has three modules: a worm that executes all routines related to the main payload of the attack; a link file that automatically executes the propagated copies of the worm; and a rootkit component responsible for hiding all malicious files and processes, preventing detection of the presence of Stuxnet.

Stuxnet is said to be introduced to the target environment via an infected USB flash drive plugged into a computer.

The worm then propagates across the network, scanning for Siemens Step7 software on computers controlling a PLC. In the absence of either criterion, Stuxnet becomes dormant inside the computer. If both the conditions are fulfilled, Stuxnet introduces the infected rootkit onto the PLC and Step7 software, modifying the codes and giving unexpected commands to the PLC while returning a loop of normal operations system values feedback to the users.

Operation Olympic Games was a covert and still unacknowledged campaign of sabotage by means of cyber disruption, directed at Iranian nuclear facilities by the United States and likely Israel. As reported, it is one of the first known uses of offensive cyber weapons.

Started under the administration of George W. Bush in 2006, Olympic Games was accelerated under President Obama, who heeded Bush’s advice to continue cyber attacks on Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz. Bush believed that the strategy was the only way to prevent an Israeli conventional strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Stuxnet has not been useful in North Korea because the computer systems are secured and the ability to introduce even an infected thumb drive is zero.

Stuxnet and cyber warfares’ potential supersede conventional treaty mandated inspections and weapon proliferation.   In cyber warfare, entire power grids, chemical plants and transportations systems can be turned against their own nation of residence.

And now Flame has been detected.  Flame appears to be a new generation of Stuxnet, and when it infects computers, it turns each computer into a bluetooth transmitter of all keystrokes, electronic communications including video chats such as Google hangouts, Skype and Face Chat.  It also has a kill command which wipes all traces of the malware from the computer.

Its discovery was announced on 28 May 2012 by MAHER Center of Iranian National, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Kaspersky Lab[6] and CrySyS Lab of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Flame “is certainly the most sophisticated malware we encountered during our practice; arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found. Flame can spread to other systems over a local network (LAN) or via USB stick. It can record audio, screenshots, keyboard activity and network traffic. The program also records Skype conversations and can turn infected computers into Bluetooth beacons which attempt to download contact information from nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices.”

If all electronic devices that interact with the internet and communications systems are indeed blue tooth transmitters, clearly people know what is “going on” with whom and may be able to predict behavior with the behavioral data mining giants of Facebook and Google.

 

 

Creativity and Boredom.

alma-deutscher

Alma Deutsche gets her musical ideas when she’s about to go to sleep or when she’s waking up, but primarily “by skipping with this skipping rope,” she says.  “I don’t actually skip but I wave it round like this and I tell stories in my mind. Very often a melody just springs into my head. And then I run back and write it down in my notebook,” she says.  “You see it has to be just this kind of skipping rope, with shining tassels and sparkles. Other ropes don’t work at all.”

The child prodigy, who could play the piano at two, the violin at three and could read music before she could read words, swings the rope to help her think up the melodies that have already made her a world-famous composer and performer, and a favourite of musical giants such as Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim.

“I used to use sticks but I didn’t want to wave them in someone’s eye,” Alma says. “I’d get into a terrible panic if I couldn’t find the right kind of stick, if it wasn’t ‘swing-ey’ enough.

A skipping rope was much nicer to swing around — I got more melodies and thought of more stories with it. I think it’s to do with the swinging movement and being outside, running around with the wind in my hair.”

Alma does not have a smart phone, a computer, or a TV.  She reads 100 or more books a year, and she composed an opera at age 11 that opens in Vienna today.

On December 29 the full-length version of Cinderella, Alma’s first opera — composed when she was 10 — will have its world premiere in Vienna under the patronage of Zubin Mehta. It follows a chamber version performed by a string quintet without scenery in Israel in July. “This will be at a completely different level, with a full orchestra, costumes and sung in German,” she explains. At the moment she doesn’t speak German and is desperate to learn it, “so I can understand my own opera”.

Her opera protagonist is a Cinderella who is smart and who wrote a song.  The Prince heard and loved the song and searches the kingdom for the girl who can correctly finish the musical phrase he sings.

She considers electronic media a waste of time and that TV ruins the mind.  She also feels that it would interrupt her access to the music in her brain.

Alma is home-schooled. Her father has said that Alma had hoped she would learn to read on her first day at the local school and how frustrated she became. They quickly realised the limitations an ordinary school would impose on her immense gifts, but not just her abilities to play instruments, to sing and to compose.

“I learn here in one hour what would take five hours in school,” she says. She spends each morning practising violin or piano, listening to music or working on her compositions. She writes in notebooks or uses a Sibelius music software programme because it’s faster.

She paints, does ballet or goes to gym classes with other home-schooled children in the afternoons, leaving plenty of time to play, skip and twirl with her rope in the garden — the Deutschers have sensibly invested in bulk supplies of sparkly skipping ropes from Amazon.

Please enjoy her music for a few minutes.

Recently, James Taylor spoke about his need for “empty time.”

Every time I sit down and play, there’s a possibility that a chord change or a chord progression will become a song.

You get in a cage somewhere without any distractions. One of the things I found this time is that I actually need a week of defended empty time before lyrics really start to come through.

t used to be that I could find a place near my home, set up all my notebooks and recorders and my guitar, and work away from three hours before lunch and two hours after lunch, maybe take a long walk. Now I find I actually have to drive a couple of hours away from home and set up camp for a whole week, and after a couple of days, things start to flow.

 

Taylor says that a great deal gets done in “empty time.”

It turns the idea that smart people never get bored on its head.    Maybe we all need some boredom.