On this day in 44 BC, members of the Senate of Rome decided that they had had enough of Julius Caesar’s power grab. His being declared ‘Dictator For Life’ – basically the first Roman Emperor – and his packing the Senate with his cronies among other things.

So, they decided to take matters into their own hands and kill him.
Personally. The hard way.

We in the West are still dealing with the aftermath of that event which precipitated exactly opposite of what the assassins wanted – to restore the Republic – and began a series of civil wars that ended up with a real Roman empire.

Oh and NotoriousRBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is 86.

Report: Home Assistants with ‘Moral AI’ Could Call Police on Owners

I’ve got an easy solution.
Just don’t have this crap tech in your house. I see no reason for a world like ‘Farewell to the Master’ or ‘Colossus, the Forbin Project.

The Daily Mail reported that home assistants could soon report their owners to the police for breaking the law based on a “Moral A.I.” system, if the ideas of academics in Europe are implemented.
The newspaper reported that academics at the University of Bergen in Norway discussed the idea of a “moral A.I.” for smart home assistants, like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, during a conference.

Moral A.I. would reportedly make home assistants have to “decide whether to report their owners for breaking the law,” or whether to stay silent.

“This would let them to weigh-up whether to report illegal activity to the police, effectively putting millions of people under constant surveillance,” the Daily Mail explained, adding that Dr. Marija Slavkovik, who led the research, “suggested that digital assistants should possess an ethical awareness that simultaneously represents both the owner and the authorities — or, in the case of a minor, their parents.”

“Devices would then have an internal ‘discussion’ about suspect behaviour, weighing up conflicting demands between the law and personal freedoms, before arriving at the ‘best’ course of action,” the Mail noted.

House conservatives urge Trump admin to declare cartels terror organizations

Not a bad idea for use on our side of the border (we’ve got plenty of room in Gitmo) , but I think they watched ‘Day of the Soldado’ too many times. We start any kind of significant operations inside Mexico  – and that’s where the cartels live and breathe – and that government is not going to simply stand aside.

Drug cartel operations have made a mockery of our laws, flooded our streets with deadly illicit drugs, and endangered our citizens for years; now, two conservative lawmakers want the Trump administration to give them the same treatment as terror groups.

House Freedom Caucus members Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, announced Wednesday that they would send a letter asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to designate dangerous drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The letter claims several cartels already meet the three criteria for FTO designation and makes the case that it would give law enforcement even more tools to combat the cartels’ deadly, dangerous, and destructive operations:

“Numerous drug cartels employ terrorist tactics that clearly fit this definition,” it reads. “These groups use terror to intimidate and advance their agenda. They threaten the stability of governments across the globe.”

“These cartels have utilized barbaric tactics including those adopted by ISIS and al Qaeda – murdering and torturing innocents, destabilizing countries and assassinating members of law enforcement,” reads a press release from Green’s office. “Moreover, they threaten our homeland security. Our communities suffer from the powerful and dangerous drugs cartels make available to our citizens. Fentanyl and heroin overdoses have taken thousands of lives.”

One last thing to remember, on this day in 1945, around 30,000 U.S. Marines and Naval and Coast Guard forces invaded the island of Iwo Jima.
Within days that number exceeded 60,000 engaged in combat on that little scrap of rock.
The Japanese had an estimated 21,000-24,000 troops there.
The battle officially ended 6 weeks later.

An interesting note, is that the the Imperial Japanese Army troops actually inflicted a greater number of total casualties on us than we did on them.

 

 Pentagon Releases RFP for ‘Optionally Manned’ Bradley Replacement.

No one there obviously hasn’t seen the Terminator movies, or they have seen them and are merely minions of  SkyNet, or SkyNet has already taken over and is operating independently.

The Pentagon seeks industry feedback on the draft request for proposals for Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) vehicle.

The U.S. Army on 31 January posted a request for proposal (RFP) on Federal Business Opportunities for OMFV combat vehicle that will be designed for and used by military forces to maneuver Soldiers in the future operating environment (FOE) to a position of advantage, in order to engage in close combat and deliver decisive lethality during the execution of combined arms maneuver.

In a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Website, the army called on companies to submit their plans to develop pre-production prototypes of new combat vehicles.

The Next-Generation Combat Vehicle – OMFV must exceed current capabilities while overmatching similar threat class systems. It must be optimized for dense urban areas while also defeating pacing threats on rural (open, semi-restricted and restricted) terrain and be characterized by the ability to spiral in advanced technologies as they mature.

Since its inception, the NGCV-OMFV program has represented an innovative approach to Army acquisition by focusing on delivering an essentially new capability to the Armor Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs) while under a significantly reduced timeline, as compared to traditional acquisition efforts. This will be achieved by leveraging existing material solutions with proven capabilities coupled with new technologies to meet the requirements

Today in U.S. military history: The Great Raid

The raid by soldiers of the 6th Ranger Battalion and Alamo Scouts along with over 200 Filipino guerrillas, conducted a surprise attack on the Cabanatuan prison camp.

500 Allied prisoners, many of them survivors of the Bataan Death March were rescued from almost certain murder by their Japanese guards as the invasion of the island of Luzon progressed since October of the previous year.

 

PETER JACKSON’S RESTORED WWI FOOTAGE UNDERSCORES THE FLACCIDITY OF TODAY’S CULTURE
Can any culture raise ‘rough men’ ready to defend it against a ruthless enemy when it cannot even fix in the minds of its developing youth what their sex is?

I think a big part of the reason such has happened is that the better part of two generations were killed, most – and most significantly because they would have fathered more of the next generation – in the first World War, where modern maneuver tactics hadn’t been developed yet.

In the span of 100 years, Britain has gone from producing men who were so eager to fight and die for their country that 16-year-olds lied about their age to enlist when the minimum age was 19, to teaching primary school boys that they can have periods just like girls and offering feminine hygiene products in boys’ bathrooms. This phenomenon isn’t unique to the U.K. U.S. colleges, like the University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Brown University offer menstrual products in their men’s rooms, in the name of “menstrual equity” and as a sop to a miniscule “transgender” population.

Can any culture—British, American or any other—raise “rough men” ready to defend it against a ruthless enemy when it cannot even fix in the minds of its developing youth what their sex is? What would Winston say?

Humanity Will Slam a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid in a Few Years to Help Save us All

Humans are preparing to punch the solar system — but in self-defense, not anger.

It’s all part of a NASA mission in development called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART. Unlike most spacecraft the agency has launched to date, DART isn’t about gathering scientific data and learning more about how the universe works. Instead, it’s NASA’s first planetary-defense mission.

MIT Figured out a Way to Shrink Objects to Nanoscale.

Fantastic Voyage, here we come?

Birth Of An Idea
A new nanotech breakthrough comes courtesy of a material you’d likely find in any nursery.

A team from MIT has figured out a way to quickly and inexpensively shrink objects to the nanoscale. It calls the process implosion fabrication, and it all starts with polyacrylate — the super-absorbent polymer typically found in baby diapers.

Size Matters
According to the MIT team’s paper, published Thursday in Science, the first step in the implosion fabrication process is adding a liquid solution to a piece of polyacrylate, causing it to swell.

Next, the team used lasers to bind fluorescein molecules to the polyacrylate in a pattern of their choosing. Those molecules acted as anchor points for whatever material the researchers wanted to shrink to the nanoscale.

You attach the anchors where you want with light, and later you can attach whatever you want to the anchors, researcher Edward Boyden said in an MIT news releaseIt could be a quantum dot, it could be a piece of DNA, it could be a gold nanoparticle.

The researchers then dehydrated the polyacrylate scaffold using an acid. That caused the material attached to the polyacrylate to shrink in an even way to a thousandth of its original size.

Shrink Away
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of implosion fabrication is its accessibility — according to the MIT press release, many biology and materials science labs already have the necessary equipment to beginning shrinking objects to the nanoscale on their own.

Thought Police: British Cops Are Building AI Program That Will Stop Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed

Minority Report was a short story made into a movie.
Both put the idea of ‘pre-crime’ in the crap-for-brains category.

A dystopian future awaits humanity if we cannot realize the dangers of programs such as the one the British police are working on. The cops want to create an artificial intelligence program the will somehow stop crimes before they’ve been committed, aka, the thought police.

Police in the United Kingdom are piloting a project that uses artificial intelligence to determine how likely someone is to commit or be a victim of a serious crime. These include crimes involving a gun or knife, as well as modern slavery, New Scientist reported on Monday. Ironically, the police creating the program don’t see government as modern slavery, yet that’s exactly what it is.

The West Midlands Police department is heading the trial project through the end of March 2019. They are expected to have a prototype at that time. There are eight other police departments reportedly involved as well, and the hope is to eventually expand its use to all police departments in the UK.

Click Here to Kill Everybody

The internet is powerful, but it is not safe. As “smart” devices proliferate the risks will get worse, unless we act now.

From driverless cars to smart thermostats, from autonomous stock-trading systems to drones equipped with their own behavioral algorithms, the internet now has direct effects on the physical world. While this computerized future, often called the Internet of Things, carries enormous potential, best-selling author Bruce Schneier argues that catastrophe awaits in its new vulnerabilities and dangers. Forget data theft: cutting-edge digital attackers can now literally crash your car, pacemaker, and home security system, as well as everyone else’s.

In Click Here to Kill Everybody, Schneier explores the risks and security implications of our new, hyper-connected era, and lays out common-sense policies that will allow us to enjoy the benefits of this omnipotent age without falling prey to the consequences of its insecurity. From principles for a more resilient Internet of Things to a recipe for sane government oversight, Schneier’s vision is required reading for anyone invested in human flourishing.

Pentagon Plans to Deploy Space-Based Missiles.

The Pentagon is studying the deployment of space-based missiles and new sensors to counter the growing threat of high-speed missile attacks from China and Russia, senior defense officials said Tuesday.

Michael Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said a network of 1,000 missile interceptors deployed on satellite launchers, could be built for $20 billion—not at a cost of hundreds of billions as critics of space weapons assert.

Griffin, a long-time missile defense expert, said missile threats are increasing and space-based defenses are needed to counter the threats.

China has conducted “dozens” of tests of a new hypersonic missile that is designed to strike the United States, he said, and Russia also is moving ahead rapidly in building maneuvering hypersonic missiles.

“We just can’t do what we need to do in missile defense without space,” Griffin said during a conference on Capitol Hill.

Current missile defense sensors based on ground and at sea are not designed to detect hypersonic missiles that travel at speeds over 7,000 miles per hour.

Those sensor—radar and other electronic systems—also have limited capabilities against other types of missiles such as intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Current missile defense interceptors are designed to attack missiles in the middle course of their flight.

“In brief, we do not have systems today that give us globally, comprehensive, persistent, timely, multi-mode awareness of what is going on on earth, everywhere, all the time. We don’t have that,” said Griffin, who is a key defense leader for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ drive to produce more lethal and agile military forces.

These Stunning Designs Show What Our Future on Mars Might Look Like.

A recent contest challenged participants to create utopian designs of future human Mars settlements, and their creations are stunning.

In the HP Mars Home Planet Rendering Challenge, over 87,000 people from all over the world flexed their creative muscles to design the perfect colony on the Red Planet. Last summer, when HP launched the challenge, the participants started working on their designs, and the winners were announced on Aug. 14.

This challenge wasn’t just about creating a pretty, futuristic-looking, idealistic Martian colony. Indeed, the designs also had to show how the settlements would support 1 million colonists. The surface of the Red Planet is harsh, with an extremely thin atmosphereintense radiation and dust storms that occasionally envelop the planet. [Mars Ice Home: A Red Planet Colony Concept in Pictures]

The participants’ designs were judged on originality, creativity, rendering quality and Mars physics (or how the design would realistically work on the actual Martian surface), HP included in a statement. The designs must take into account atmospheric conditions, gravity, the soil, the surface terrain, radiation, drinking water, and air, the statement added.

Buzz Aldrin slams ‘First Man’ for not showing US flag during moon landing.

Legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin took a swipe at the upcoming movie “First Man” late Sunday for its director’s decision not to show the planting of the American flag on the moon during the historic 1969 mission.

Aldrin, 88, who was the second man to step on the moon, behind crewmate Neil Armstrong, posted historical photos of the flag-planting and added the hashtag “Proud to be an American.”

Armstrong, who died at age 82 in 2012, is the subject of “First Man,” which stars Ryan Gosling and is scheduled to hit theaters next month.

In previous posts Saturday, Aldrin shared photos of himself wearing a T-shirt with the tagline “Buzz Aldrin, Future Martian” that shows an astronaut planting the American flag on the Red Planet.

SJWs Lose It After Peter Dinklage Cast As ‘Filipino.’ There’s Just One Problem.

Dinklage, an accomplished actor who happens to have dwarfism, will play Villechaize in an upcoming HBO movie called “My Dinner with Hervé.” The “Game of Thrones” star has been accused of “whitewashing” because Villechaize was supposedly half-Filipino.

Except he wasn’t.

Villechaize was actually French, and was of German and English descent. But because he looked like he may have been Filipino — and Wikipedia told them so — social justice warriors accused Dinklage of “yellow face.”

Your Phone Is Listening and it’s Not Paranoia

A couple years ago, something strange happened. A friend and I were sitting at a bar, iPhones in pockets, discussing our recent trips in Japan and how we’d like to go back. The very next day, we both received pop-up ads on Facebook about cheap return flights to Tokyo. It seemed like just a spooky coincidence, but then everyone seems to have a story about their smartphone listening to them. So is this just paranoia, or are our smartphones actually listening?

According to Dr. Peter Hannay—The senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterisk, and former lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University—the short answer is yes, but perhaps in a way that’s not as diabolical as it sounds.

For your smartphone to actually pay attention and record your conversation, there needs to be a trigger, such as when you say “hey Siri” or “okay Google.” In the absence of these triggers, any data you provide is only processed within your own phone. This might not seem a cause for alarm, but any third party applications you have on your phone—like Facebook for example—still have access to this “non-triggered” data. And whether or not they use this data is really up to them.

Whispering some sweet nothings to my phone
“From time to time, snippets of audio do go back to [other apps like Facebook’s] servers but there’s no official understanding what the triggers for that are,” explains Peter. “Whether it’s timing or location-based or usage of certain functions, [apps] are certainly pulling those microphone permissions and using those periodically. All the internals of the applications send this data in encrypted form, so it’s very difficult to define the exact trigger.”

He goes on to explain that apps like Facebook or Instagram could have thousands of triggers. An ordinary conversation with a friend about needing a new pair of jeans could be enough to activate it. Although, the key word here is “could,” because although the technology is there, companies like Facebook vehemently deny listening to our conversations.

With this in mind, I decided to try an experiment. Twice a day for five days, I tried saying a bunch of phrases that could theoretically be used as triggers. Phrases like I’m thinking about going back to uni and I need some cheap shirts for work. Then I carefully monitored the sponsored posts on Facebook for any changes.

I’d never seen this ad for “quality clothing” until I told my phone I needed shirts
The changes came literally overnight. Suddenly I was being told mid-semester courses at various universities, and how certain brands were offering cheap clothing. A private conversation with a friend about how I’d run out of data led to an ad about cheap 20 GB data plans. And although they were all good deals, the whole thing was eye-opening and utterly terrifying.

Peter told me that although no data is guaranteed to be safe for perpetuity, he assured me that in 2018 no company is selling their data directly to advertisers. But as we all know, advertisers don’t need our data for us to see their ads.

Peter went on to say that just because tech companies value our data, it doesn’t keep it safe from governmental agencies. As most tech companies are based in the US, the NSA or perhaps the CIA can potentially have your information disclosed to them, whether it’s legal in your home country or not.

So yes, our phones are listening to us and anything we say around our phones could potentially be used against us. But, according to Peter at least, it’s not something most people should be scared of.

Flood hits German zoo, sparks fear of lions, tigers on loose; bear shot dead

BERLIN — Two lions, two tigers and a jaguar were thought to have escaped their enclosures Friday at a zoo in western Germany, sparking a massive search by police and warnings to residents to stay indoors. Hours later, authorities said those animals had, in fact, never left their cages.

A bear, however, was shot dead after flooding triggered by heavy rains swept away the fencing for its enclosure, allowing it to escape.

Andreas Kruppert, the mayor of the town of Arzfeld, said the confusion arose because volunteers using a drone were unable to find the carnivores, prompting fears they had all escaped the zoo in Luenebach, near Germany’s borders with Luxembourg and Belgium.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord

On April 14, 1775, Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth to disarm the rebels, who had supposedly hidden weapons in Concord, and to imprison the rebellion’s leaders. Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were actually the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.  They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston.  The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Dr. Joseph Warren alerted the colonists of this.  The Patriot colonists had received intelligence weeks before the expedition which warned of an impending British search, and had moved much, but not all, of the supplies to safety.  They had also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and information was rapidly supplied to the militia.

The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. The militia were outnumbered and fell back. Other British colonists, hours later at the North Bridge in Concord, fought and defeated three companies of the king’s troops. The outnumbered soldiers of the British Army fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory.

More Minutemen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the British regulars as they marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Smith’s expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Hugh, Earl Percy. A combined force of fewer than 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown.

The British failed to maintain the secrecy and speed required to conduct a successful strike into hostile territory, yet they did destroy some weapons and supplies. Most British regulars returned to Boston. The occupation of surrounding areas by the Massachusetts Militia that evening marked the beginning of the Siege of Boston.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Concord Hymn described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the “shot heard ’round the world”.

Alarmists Resurrect Theory That Global Warming Is Making Winters Colder

The Day After Tomorrow was released 14 years ago,
and they still can’t let it go.

Research purports to bolster theories that man-made warming is leading to colder U.S. and European winters, but buried in the paper is an admission undercutting its findings.

The study, published in a “Nature Communications” January 2018 issue, claimed historical data showed an East Coast cold snap is two to four times more likely when the Arctic is abnormally warmer than when the pole is colder. It’s not a widely accepted theory among climate scientists, but the study’s made the rounds in the media, touted as more evidence man-made warming is making U.S. winters colder.

The study “basically” confirmed “the story I’ve been telling for a couple of years now,” the study’s co-author, Rutgers University scientist Jennifer Francis, said. “This is no coincidence” and that “it’s becoming very difficult to believe they are unrelated,” Francis, who’s regularly cited in the media during intense cold snaps, added.

That theory resurfaced this winter during a prolonged cold snap in the eastern U.S., which lasted from around Christmas 2017 to mid-January. Cold and snow pummeled the northeast, and former Vice President Al Gore claimed it was the product of man-made warming. Francis’s new study confirms that theory, she said.