'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




NEW BOOK:

The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
By WAYNE MADSEN
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

EXCERPTS:

From the Introduction


One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

*

An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

*

The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

*

As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

SELECTED ENTRIES

Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           Homily: 5th Sunday of Lent - Lazarus        
    God’s love is often described as a Divine flow of love and grace - movement that is never restricted. Nothing we say or do changes the love that is poured out upon us by God. It is unmerited in every sense – freely given to all. The only thing we have to do is be willing to accept and trust and share in the flow of that love. So during Lent we have been examining our lives to see what blocks that flow - in other words, to examine our personal garbage. Thus shifting through our hurts and wounds and addictions so that we can be present and aware and participating in that ever present flow. And today's gospel gives deeper insight on the fully human and fully divine side of Jesus Christ and his relationship to the community and the importance of our active participation. What does that look like? And what is the ending of this story that is often missed, but key in bringing forth the good news?
              Dow Dogs May Be Barking Up The Right Tree        
    An investment strategy that has been derided by some money managers and academics as overly simplistic, once again, proved to be best in show last year. The Dogs of the Dow strategy produced a capital gain of 26.59% in 2006 plus a dividend kick of 4.77%, handsomely beating the Dow Jones Industrials gain of 16.3% and yield of around 2.2%. The strategy, popularized by Michael O’Higgins in his 1991 book “Beating the Dow,” consists of simply buying the 10 highest-yielding dividend payers in the Dow Jones Industrials, holding them for a year, and then buying the new crop of dogs. Proponents call it an easy way to handsomely outperform the average fund manager most years with an easy, do-it-yourself strategy. Critics call it an overly simplistic approach with hidden costs and risks that has outperformed only because of “data mining” - searching for statistical anomalies and then assuming they will work in the future. “The starched shirt and suspender crowd in New York are pretty savvy, and it’ll take a bit more to beat them than this,” said finance Professor Grant McQueen of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. “It’s a competitive world, and to think you’ll get rewards without doing homework is naive.” Source: Scottrade News, Jan 3, 2007
              Popular Science: "The Future of Space Travel"         

    Popular Science offers a “Special Edition” mag “The Future of Space Travel”, 96 pages, from Times Books.

    There are many short illustrated articles in 5 parts, “Places We’re Going”, “How We’ll Get There”, “How We’ll Survive There”, “Other Tools of Exploration.”.

    There is a wide variety of interesting information. One fact is that Proxima Centauri, in a 3-star system that is the closest to the Earth, may have a rocky planet in the “GoldiLocks” zone. The shortest time that it is technologically possible to send a robotic probe on a photon light sail with laser accelerator would be about 20 years, which means it would take 24 years to get the photos and information back as to what the planet looks like.  It is about 8000 times as far to this star system as it is to Pluto.



    The other most interesting section is “The Everyday Life of an Astronaut”.  This would be very important for a voyage to Mars, for example.  It raises questions as to who would go:  what about childless or single people?  The long exposure to zero gravity is bound to cause physical deterioration, so this is not a place for pretty preppies.  Essential body functions are different.  You bathe with soap that does not have to be rinse off but stays on the skin to disintegrate. Without gravity, it is hard for your body to sense when it needs to urinate.
     
    There is an artist’s closeup of Europa on page 8, a closeup on Pluto on p. 16.  There is an article on space mining on p. 16.  I didn't see any discussion of Titan.


              Awaiting The BLSBS        

    Though there will be some data released as we type this update, the most significant number will be released tomorrow with the latest BLSBS. How the "market" perceives this number will go a long way toward determining where we end the week and where prices may be headed in August.

    read more


              absolute-abs-workout.com – The Ultimate Guide to Keeping A Journal        
    The absolute-abs-workout.com – The Ultimate Guide to Keeping A Journal Homepage Shaun here again, and this time I’ll be examining absolute-abs-workout.com – The Ultimate Guide to Keeping A Journal. I have spent a lot of time researching this product and although I haven’t yet used it, I can say that my evaluation is extremely comprehensive, [...]
              Prisoners for Profit - The Shame of Puppy Mills        
    It was summer when I visited puppy mills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the last few years, the area has become a hub for large scale commercial dog breeding operations. And although the Midwest still ranks as containing the highest number of dog breeding operations, the concentration of puppy mills in Lancaster County is unparalleled.

    Accompanying me was a Humane Society of the United States investigator who had monitored the Pennsylvania mills for years. He knew the county well, and had seen not only the proliferation of puppy mills in the area, but at the same time, the increased press and public attention in their operations.

    Driving through the pastoral landscape, it seemed impossible that animal suffering could exist amidst such beauty. This illusion was quickly shattered with my first view of a puppy mill. For years, I had seen and studied photos of infamous facilities, but nothing prepared me for seeing the real thing with my own eyes.
    We approached a farmhouse from the road and turned onto a muddy lane. Rounding the corner, we didn't even have to get out of the truck to see or hear what awaited us. Rows of dilapidated cages were lined up outside a barn. Stopping the truck, my throat constricted with shock. Dogs were crammed three or more to a small cage which were elevated over mounds of feces. Matted fur covered their eyes as they rushed towards the front of their cages, barking at uninvited visitors. Their plight was so dramatically different than the dogs I knew, the dogs who lie lazily in afternoon sun, waiting for their next meal or walk. No, these dogs were here for a purpose and only one purpose: to make money.

    We saw many mills that day. Posing as buyers, we were able to handle and examine some of the puppies. Many seemed sickly, disoriented, and underweight. And when we were allowed to see their mothers, or sneaked onto a farm to view the conditions, the hopelessness of their lives weighed on me like a heavy load that rests on my shoulders even to this day.

    Dogs hold a special place in our hearts. Domesticated thousands of years ago, they were chosen to be our protectors, companions, and best friends. And although we have betrayed our responsibility towards them in many ways, none is so distressing or disturbing as the puppy mill.

    The term "puppy mill," coined in the mid-to-late sixties to describe large scale commercial dog breeding facilities, has only recently arrived in the mainstream vernacular. It is a term that some claim is sensational and manipulative. The word "mill" refers to an operation that churns out dogs in mass, using female dogs as nothing more than breeding machines. The term conjures images of dogs crowded in wire cages, living in their own wastes, shivering from the cold, or baking in the heat. Tragically, this vision is not far from reality. Most people, not just those interested in animal protection, are shocked when confronted with the bleak images of dogs housed and bred in puppy mills. But in the 5,000 puppy mills found across the country, thousands of dogs are bred and raised for profit, valued not for their companionship or loyalty, but for the cold hard cash they bring.

    Many consumers possess an image of puppies at a family farm, lovingly raised and cared for. Others may not even think about where a pet store puppy comes from. Drawn to a pet store window by a bin of wriggling puppies, the furthest thing from a customer's mind is the origin of these cute bundles of fur. But by buying a puppy, often for a price of $500 or more, the consumer is unknowingly supporting a cycle of abuse that begins at the puppy mill.

    What the consumer can't see is the puppy's mother, imprisoned miles away, pregnant again, her body being used to produce more money-making puppies. Starting at six months, she is bred every heat cycle. She is often weak, malnourished, and dehydrated. Rarely, if ever, is she provided with veterinary care. She cannot maintain her productivity past her fourth or fifth year. After that, she is nothing more than a drain on the mill's operation and must be disposed of. If she's lucky, she'll be humanely euthanized. More often than not, she will be shot or bludgeoned to death. Discarded, her wasted body will lie forgotten in a local landfill or garbage dump.

    This is the picture the pet stores will never show. And until recently, the ugly truth of puppy mills has been hidden. But when problems with many of the puppies bought at pet stores across the country began to surface, consumers and animal lovers alike began asking hard questions. Puppies with seizures, parasites, infections, bacteria, and behavioral problems were being seen far too often to be merely coincidental.
    Puppy mills and the pet store industry have begun to feel this scrutiny. They insist that it doesn't make good business sense to sell sick puppies or house breeding females in less than humane conditions. But evidence gained after years of documentation and investigation directly conflicts with these assertions. In addition, those small scale breeders who do treat their animals humanely, who raise them in their homes or in small, cleanly kept kennels, do not usually make a profit off their dogs. It is virtually impossible to breed in a humane fashion and make money at the same time. Although a pet store may sell a puppy for $500 or more dollars, most commercial breeders can only get around $35 per dog from a broker who in turns sells to the pet store for around $75. In order to make a profit and cover costs, corners must be cut, and puppies must be churned out at a furious rate. The cut corners are the animals themselves: their housing, their health, their cleanliness. Inherent in the profit-making mills is the sacrifice of humane standards in order to make a profit.
    What protection, if any, do these dogs and their puppies have? On the state level, puppy "lemon laws," existing in a handful of states including New Jersey and California, seek to offer consumers protection against buying sick puppies. Although these laws do chip away at the production of sick puppies, they do not address the inherent problem of the whole system: the selling of dogs for profit.

    The federal level offers even less hope. The current system not only allows the continuation of a business that makes money off the backs of dogs, but fails in its responsibility to provide even a basic quality of life for dogs in puppy mills. Originally passed in 1966, the federal Animal Welfare Act was amended in 1970 to include in its provisions the oversight of large scale commercial dog breeding facilities. Regulations were written with the intention of ensuring the proper care, feeding, housing, and veterinary care for the thousands of dogs found in puppy mills across the country. Mandated by law to enforce these regulations is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But with a shortage of inspectors responsible for overseeing these facilities, the agency has developed a reputation for failing to meet its mandate.
    Not only have outsiders criticized the agency's ability to enforce the Act in relation to puppy mills, but several internal reviews have also illustrated the gross inadequacies existing at the federal level. Recently, a damning internal review conducted by the USDA's own office of the Inspector General of the agency's South Central Regional Office offered a bleak picture. The South Central Office, responsible for overseeing the majority of this country's puppy mills, was found to be sorely lacking in its ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. The report found that the office failed to respond to complaints from the public, failed to report a large number of blatant violations of the law, and that supervisors told inspectors not only where and when to inspect, but instructed their staff not to write up too many violations of problematic facilities. USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, embarrassed by the report's finding, has demanded the development of an internal plan to respond to the crisis within the agency.

    The USDA is also feeling the heat over the puppy mill issue from members of Congress. After receiving constituent mail on puppy mills, Congressman Glenn Poshard (D-Il) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), sprung to action. Working with The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection organizations, they gathered over 100 signatures from members on both side of Capitol Hill in a letter to Secretary Glickman expressing concern about the problems found in puppy mills across the country. Sent late last summer, the letter has caused anxiety within the USDA.

    This Spring, the agency will consider enacting stronger regulations covering puppy mills as well as examining ways in which their enforcement powers can be increased. Although any change in the way puppy mills are regulated is an improvement, and stiffer rules may even shut down or discourage potential operators from opening a facility, the changes will not directly eliminate the mills themselves. Until the demand for mass-produced pet store puppies decreases, there will always be a buck to be made in the production of dogs.

    Rachel A. Lamb is Director for Companion Animal Care at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in Washington, DC.

    Dog Training
              How Plastic We've Become        

    Our bodies carry residues of kitchen plastics

    Food for Thought

    In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one word…plastics."

    Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment—and in our bodies.

    A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)—the building block of one of the most widely used plastics—laces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.

    Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.

    And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).

    For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.

    Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.

    Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.

    The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown product—the compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."

    On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.

    Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight—or one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."

    No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (µg) per kilogram bodyweight, he says—or some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.

    Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.

    Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.

    And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.

    By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lower—down by at least 50 percent—after Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.

    Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."

    Kids appear most exposed

    Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.

    This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notes—such as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.

    The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 µg/liter) and adults (2.5 µg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.

    The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."

    Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).

    There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.

    In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individuals—men and women—seen at a fertility clinic in Boston.

    In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.

    The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancy—such as a change in diet or metabolism of BPA—really alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.

    If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.

    Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.

    What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the rat—and, according to some preliminary data, in humans.

    Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


              Kommentar zu Docs & Demo von Anne Poe        
    Fixed Geocoder error by putting quotes around address as in your example. Still cannot understand why text file appears after clicking download button. Tried 5 different suggestions on determining is Apache is server but nothing worked. Can you explain in simple terms what to do to get GPS download to give me a gpx file? Thanks
              Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 560 Radeon RX 560 4GB GDDR5        

    Normale prijs: € 229,00

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 156,00


              An Argument for Change in Tobacco Treatment Options Guided by the ASAM Criteria for Patient Placement        
    imageTobacco use is a major threat to public health in the United States, and the number one cause of preventable death. Although most smokers try to quit unaided, robust data indicate that pairing behavioral support to US Food Drug Administration-approved cessation medications significantly increase cessation rates. Those who do receive assistance in quitting usually receive very low intensity treatment, regardless of the severity of their dependence or their medical and environmental circumstances. This is in stark contrast to how other substance use disorders are treated, where there are varying levels of care depending on addiction severity and biopsychosocial circumstances. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) developed a formal algorithm for assessing substance use disorders and determining the optimal level of care. The ASAM Patient Placement Criteria are regularly used to determine the appropriate level of care for all substance use disorders except tobacco. This paper will review key aspects of the ASAM dimensions of care and placement levels, with emphasis on how they apply to tobacco use and present case examples of typical smokers who would benefit from a higher intensity of tobacco dependence treatment. We also present current barriers to reimbursing healthcare providers for these services. We conclude with a commentary and discussion regarding recommendations for improvements in tobacco dependence treatment care.
              108 is Great!!        
     Snip:

    "Grant DePorter, who insists destiny and numerology will propel the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, pointed his phone at the scoreboard behind the left-field wall at Wrigley Field, started recording and put his theory to test.

    It was was Oct. 7, Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. Javier Baez, the Cubs’ second baseman, was at the plate facing Johnny Cueto, the Giants’ starting pitcher.

    DePorter’s video showed Cueto’s pitch count — 107 at that point in the game — just moments after DePorter predicted that Baez would hit a home run on pitch 108."



    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/cubs/2016/10/24/world-series-108-years-1908-harry-caray/92693996/


    Personal notes:

    One tidbit already sticks out worth noting: Charles Webb Murphy (born January 22, 1868 in Wilmington, Ohio – died October 16, 1931 in Chicago). My father was born on 1/22/25 - 57 years after Charles Murphy was born. My father turned 57 in 1982 which was the year my wife turned 23. 

    My father and mother first lived at 1311 Chicago Avenue here in Evanston - after they got married in Montana where my mother is from. 1311 is an amazing non-prime number for it's the result of multiplying 23 and 57 - 2, 3, 5, 7 are first 4 prime numbers after ONE (1). If you examine the digits of pi you will find that beginning at digit 1311 you will find 8989 which factors into 101 prime X 89 prime. 

     89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4. Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart. 

    Why is 89 so important to the current World Series? Well do the math: the 2016th World Series is the 112th which is the sum of 23 "I (9) Am (14)" and 89 which is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4. 

    Much of the Cubs loaded young talent were born in between 1992 and 1994 - which means they came into their 23rd "I (9) Am (14)" season of life just as the Cubs surged into the new light of this recent historic run. 2389 is a prime number composed of those 2 special prime numbers and it just happens to be the Leo (356th) prime number. 

    Examining the Digits of pi: 

    The string 108 occurs at position 2,534 counting from the first digit after the decimal point. The 3. is not counted. 2534 factors into 181 prime X 14. 181 is the prime of We (55) Are (195) One (655) = 905 = 181 prime X 5. You could say that the year 1991 provided a foundation for the current Cubs run for all of the young Cubs players were born in 1992 or beyond. 1991 = 181 prime X 11.

    Speaking of 181 X 11 (1991).....when you combine 181 and 11 it forms the number 18111 which mirrors 010811 and 1811. Our Lord was born on 8/11 in 6 BC. When you correct for the 2334 days in BC time that he lived the "corrected year" becomes Year 1. 010811 corresponds to Year 1, Month 8, Day 11. Charles Murphy's numerical age (NA) on 10/25/16 - Day ONE (1) of the 112th World Series was 54333 which factors (partially) into 18111 X 3.

    Another note on Charles Murphy (born January 22, 1868 in Wilmington, Ohio – died October 16, 1931 in Chicago):

    His Numerical Age (NA) was 23277 which is isn't a prime number but is composed of 23 prime and 277 prime.  

    23 corresponds to I (9) Am (14) which is our Lord's original name and title given to Moses on Mt. Sinai - "I Am...the Lord thy God..." Exodus 20:2. 

    277 is the highest prime factor of this phrase "Divine Love" as follows: 

    Divine (494955) Love (3645) = 498600 = 277 prime 1800. 

    So you could say that Charles Murphy - even for as much as he was a "hated man" - lived a Numerical Age that corresponds to the phrase "I Am Divine Love." 

    23277 factors into 7759 prime X 3 prime. 

    7759 days prior to January 22, 1868 - Charles Murphy's birth - we arrive at October 25 in the year 1846 which was EXACTLY 170 years prior to October 25, 2016 which was Game ONE (1) of the 2016 World Series. 

    If we move ahead 23277 "I Am Divine Love" days from October 25, 1846 we will arrive at July 19, 1910.  This is a significant date for a few reasons: 

    1) 7/19 is always 23 "I (9) Am (14)" days from August 11th, the Divine Birthdate

    2) 7/19 (719) corresponds to "Christ The Lord God GO" - which mirrors "Chicago" as follows: 

    Chi (389) is the Greek letter "X" which stands for "Christos" which is where the English "Christ" originated from

    Ca (31) is the prime of The (285) Lord (3694) God (764) = 4743 = 31 prime X 153

    GO (76) 

    Chi-Ca-GO = Chicago (3893176) 

    Christ (389912) The (285) Lord (3694) God (764) Go (76) = 394731 = 719 prime X 549. 

    3) The Year 1910 = 191 prime X 10 which is the prime of God (764) = 191 prime X 4.

    https://www.angio.net/pi/bigpi.cgi 

     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murphy_(baseball)
              Ground Man - Rogers Group, Inc. - Tennessee        
    With over 105 years of success in mining, asphalt production and highway construction, we are committed to operational success. Rogers Group, Inc....
    From Rogers Group, Inc. - Wed, 09 Aug 2017 02:11:44 GMT - View all Tennessee jobs
              Equipment Operator-Quarry - Rogers Group, Inc. - Tennessee        
    With over 105 years of success in mining, asphalt production and highway construction, we are committed to operational success. Rogers Group, Inc....
    From Rogers Group, Inc. - Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:19:30 GMT - View all Tennessee jobs
              Comment on The Crypto stock that’s better than GBTC by brvalentine        
    Mining crypto is for immediate cashflow. Big thing on deck is Sentinel roll-out. Whether the PP works out is YTBD and a year or so away.
              Comment on The Crypto stock that’s better than GBTC by ghostface        
    Was there recently some insider purchases on the open market? He supposedly got into mining to learn the crypto currency/blockchain business with plans to use that in circling back to security. So far just his secure phone idea. Not sure if this will all pan out but if we compare blockchain excitment to 1999 dot com bubble where there were new ipos and re-imagined stale companies adding dot com to their name and stocks galore exploding higher every day. Under the current situation there is a a dearth of choices on the securities front with a lot of money still learning and wanting to chase any crpto/blockchain story. The money has yet to rush into the limited stocks offering a home to the demand imo. I had forgotten about this one. Thanks for the heads up.
              CD-i 180 adventures        
    Over the last week I have been playing with the CD-i 180 player set. There’s lots to tell about, so this will be a series of blog posts, this being the first installment.

    The CD-i 180 is the original CD-i player, manufactured jointly by Philips and Sony/Matsushita, and for a score of years it was the development and “reference” player. The newer CD-i 605 player provided a more modern development option but it did not become the “reference” player for quite some years after its introduction.

    The CD-i 180 set is quite bulky, as could be expected for first-generation hardware. I have added a picture of my set to the Hardware section of the CD-i Emulator website; more fotos can be found here on the DutchAudioClassics.nl website (it’s the same player, as evidenced by the serial numbers).

    The full set consists of the CDI 180 CD-i Player module, the CDI 181 Multimedia Controller or MMC module and the CDI 182 Expansion module. The modules are normally stacked on top of each other and have mechanical interlocks so they can be moved as a unit. Unfortunately, I do not have the CDI 182 Expansion module nor any user manuals; Philips brochures for the set can be found here on the ICDIA website.

    Why am I interested in this dinosaur? It’s the first mass-produced CD-i player (granted, for relatively small masses), although there were presumably some earlier prototype players. As such, it contains the “original” hardware of the CD-i platform, which is interesting from both a historical and an emulation point of view.

    For emulation purposes I have been trying to get hold of CD-i 180 ROMs for some years, there are several people that still have fully operational sets, but it hasn’t panned out yet. So when I saw a basic set for sale on the CD-Interactive forum I couldn’t resist the temptation. After some discussion and a little bartering with the seller I finally ordered the set about 10 days ago. Unfortunately, this set does not include a CDI 182 module or pointing device.

    I had some reservations about this being a fully working set, but I figured that at least the ROM chips would probably be okay, if nothing else that would allow me to add support for this player type to CD-i Emulator.

    In old hardware the mechanical parts are usually the first to fail, this being the CDI 180 CD-i Player module (which is really just a CD drive with a 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal). A workaround for this would be using an E1 or E2 Emulator unit; these are basically CD drive simulators that on one side read a CD-i disc image from a connected SCSI hard disk and on the other side output the 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal. Both the CDI 180 and E1/E2 units are controlled via a 1200 baud RS232 serial input “RS” signal.

    From my CD-i developer days I have two sets of both Emulator types so I started taking these out of storage. For practical reasons I decided to use an E1 unit because it has an internal SCSI hard disk and I did not have a spare one lying around. I also dug out an old Windows 98 PC, required because the Philips/OptImage emulation software doesn’t work under Windows XP and newer, and one of my 605 players (I also have two of those). Connecting everything took me a while but I had carefully stored all the required cables as well and after installing the software I had a working configuration after an hour or so. The entire configuration made quite a bit of mechanical and fan noise; I had forgotten this about older hardware!

    I had selected the 605 unit with the Gate Array AH02 board because I was having emulation problems with that board, and I proceeded to do some MPEG tests on it. It turns out the hardware allows for some things that my emulator currently does not, which means that I need to do some rethinking. Anyway, on with the 180 story.

    In preparation for the arrival of the 180 set I next prepared an disc image of the “OS-9 Disc” that I created in November 1993 while working as a CD-i developer. This disc contains all the OS-9 command-line programs from Professional OS-9, some OS-9 and CD-i utilities supplied by Philips and Microware and some homegrown ones as well. With this disc you can get a fully functional command-line prompt on any CD-i player with a serial port, which is very useful while researching a CD-i player’s internals.

    The Philips/Optimage emulation software requires the disc image files to include the 2-second gap before logical block zero of the CD-i track, which is not usually included in the .bin or .iso files produced by CD image tools. So I modified the CD-i File program to convert my existing os9disc.bin file by prepending the 2-second gap, in the process also adding support for scrambling and unscrambling the sector data.

    Scrambling is the process of XORing all data bytes in a CD-ROM or CD-i sector with a “scramble pattern” that is designed to avoid many contiguous identical data bytes which can supposedly confuse the tracking mechanism of CD drives (or so I’ve heard). It turned out that scrambling of the image data was not required but it did allow me to verify that the CD-I File converted image of a test disc is in fact identical to the one that the Philips/Optimage mastering tools produce, except for the ECC/EDC bytes of the gap sectors which CD-I File doesn’t know how to generate (yet). Fortunately this turned out not to be a problem, I could emulate the converted image just fine.

    Last Thursday the 180 set arrived and in the evening I eagerly unpacked it. Everything appeared to be in tip-top shape, although the set had evidently seen use.

    First disappointment: there is no serial port on the right side of 181 module. I remembered that this was actually an option on the module and I had not even bothered to ask the seller about it! This would make ROM extraction harder, but I was not completely without hope: the front has a Mini-DIN 8 connector marked “CONTROL” and I fully expected this to be a “standard” CD-i serial port because I seemed to remember that you could connect standard CD-i pointing devices to this port, especially a mouse. The built-in UART functions of the 68070 processor chip would have to be connected up somewhere, after all.

    Second disappointment: the modules require 120V power, not the 220V we have here in Holland. I did not have a voltage converter handy so after some phone discussion with a hardware-knowledgeable friend we determined that powering up was not yet a safe option. He gave me some possible options depending on the internal configuration so I proceeded to open up the CDI 181 module, of course also motivated by curiosity.

    The first thing I noticed was that there were some screws missing; obviously the module had been opened before and the person doing it had been somewhat careless. The internals also seemed somewhat familiar, especially the looks of the stickers on the ROM chips and the placement of some small yellow stickers on various other chips.

    Proceeding to the primary reason for opening up the module, I next checked the power supply configuration. Alas, nothing reconfigurable for 220V, it is a fully discrete unit with the transformer actually soldered to circuit board on both input and output side. There are also surprisingly many connections to the actual MMC processor board and on close inspection weird voltages like –9V and +9V are printed near the power supply outputs, apart from the expected +5V and +/–12V, so connecting a different power supply would be a major undertaking also.

    After some pondering of the internals I closed up the module again and proceeded to closely inspect the back side for serial numbers, notices, etc. They seemed somewhat familiar but that isn’t weird as numbers often do. Out of pure curiosity I surfed to the DutchAudioClassics.nl website to compare serial numbers, wanting to know the place of my set in the production runs.

    Surprise: the serial numbers are identical! It appears that this exact set was previously owned by the owner of that website or perhaps he got the photographs from someone else. This also explained why the internals had seemed familiar: I had actually seen them before!

    I verified with the seller of the set that he doesn’t know anything about the photographs; apparently my set has had at least four owners, assuming that the website owner wasn’t the original one.

    On Friday I obtained a 120V converter (they were unexpectedly cheap) and that evening I proceeded to power up the 180 set. I got a nice main menu picture immediately so I proceeded to attempt to start a CD-i disc. It did not start automatically when I inserted it, which on second thought makes perfect sense because the 181 MMC module has no way to know that you’ve just inserted a disc: this information is not communicated over 180/181 interconnections. So I would need to click on the “CD-I” button to start a disc.

    To click on a screen button you need a supported pointing device, so I proceeded to connect the trusty white professional CD-i mouse that belongs with my 605 players. It doesn’t work!

    There are some mechanical issues which make it doubtful that the MiniDIN connector plugs connect properly, so I tried an expansion cable that fit better. Still no dice.

    The next step was trying some other CD-i pointing devices, but none of them worked. No pointing devices came with the set, and the seller had advised me thus (they were presumable lost or sold separately by some previous owner). The only remaining option seemed to be the wireless remote control sensor which supposedly uses RC5.

    I tried every remote in my home, including the CD-i ones, but none of them give any reaction. After some research into the RC5 protocol this is not surprising, the 180 set probably has a distinct system address code. Not having a programmable remote handy nor a PC capable of generating infrared signals (none of my PCs have IrDA) I am again stuck!

    I spent some time surfing the Internet looking for RC5 remotes and PC interfaces that can generate RC5 signals. Programmable remotes requiring a learning stage are obviously not an option so it will have to be a fully PC-programmable remote which are somewhat expensive and I’m not convinced they would work. The PC interface seems the best option for now; I found some do-it-yourself circuits and kits but it is all quite involved. I’ve also given some thought to PIC kits which could in principle also support a standard CD-i or PC mouse or even a joystick, but I haven’t pursued these options much further yet.

    Next I went looking for ways to at least get the contents of the ROM chips as I had determined that these were socketed inside the MMC module and could easily be removed. There are four 27C100 chips inside the module, each of which contains 128Kb of data for a total of 512Kb which is the same as for the CD-i 605 player (ignoring expansion and full-motion video ROMs). The regular way to do this involves using a ROM reading device, but I haven’t gotten one handy that supports this chip type and neither does the hardware friend I mentioned earlier.

    I do have access to an old 8 bit Z80 hobbyist-built system capable of reading and writing up to 27512 chips which are 64Kb, it is possible to extend this to at least read the 27C100 chip type. This would require adapting the socket (the 27512 is 28 pins whereas the 27C100 has 32 pins) and adding one extra address bit, if nothing else with just a spare wire. But the Z80 system is not at my house and some hardware modifications to it would be required, for which I would have to inspect the system first and dig up the circuit diagrams; all quite disappointing.

    While researching the chip pinouts I suddenly had an idea: what if I used the CD-i 605 Expansion board which also has ROM sockets? This seemed an option but with two kids running around I did not want to open up the set. That evening however I took the board out of the 605 (this is easily done as both player and board were designed for it) and found that this Expansion board contains two 27C020 chips, each containing 256Kb of data. These are also 32 pins but the pinouts are a little different, so a socket adapter would also be needed. I checked the 605 technical manual and it did not mention anything about configurable ROM chip types (it did mention configurable RAM chip types, though) so an adapter seemed the way to go. I collected some spare 40 pin sockets from storage (boy have I got much of that) and proceeded to open up the 180 set and take out the ROM chips.

    When determining the mechanical fit of the two sockets for the adapter I noticed three jumpers adjacent to the ROM sockets of the expansion board and I wondered… Tracing of the board connections indicated that these jumpers were indeed connected to exactly the ROM socket pins differing between 27C100 and 27C020, and other connections indicated it at least plausible for these jumpers to be exactly made for the purpose.

    So I changed the jumpers and inserted one 180 ROM. This would avoid OS-9 inadvertently using data from the ROM because only half of each 16-bit word would be present, thus ensuring that no module headers would be detected, and in the event of disaster I would lose only a single ROM chip (not that I expected that to be very likely, but you never know).

    Powering up the player worked exactly as expected, no suspicious smoke or heat generation, so the next step was software. It turns out that CD-i Link already supports downloading of ROM data from specific memory addresses and I had already determined those addresses from the 605 technical manual. So I connected the CD-i 605 null-modem cable with my USB-to-Serial adapter between CD-i player and my laptop and fired off the command line:

    cdilink –p 3 –a 50000 –s 256K –u u21.rom

    (U21 being the socket number of the specific ROM I chose first).

    After a minute I aborted the upload and checked the result, and lo and behold the u21.rom file looked like an even-byte-only ROM dump:
    00000000  4a00 000b 0000 0000 0004 8000 0000 0000 J...............
    00000010 0000 0000 0000 003a 0000 705f 6d6c 2e6f .......:..p_ml.o
    00000020 7406 0c20 0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 t.. ............
    This was hopeful, so I restarted the upload again and waited some six minutes for it to complete. Just for sure I redid the upload from address 58000 and got an identical file, thus ruling out any flakey bits or timing problems (I had already checked that the access times on the 27C100 and 27C020 chips were identical, to say 150ns).

    In an attempt to speed up the procedure, I next attempted to try two ROMs at once, using ones that I thought not to be a matched even/odd set. The 605 would not boot! It later turned out that the socket numbering did not correspond to the even/odd pairing as I expected so this was probably caused by the two ROMs being exactly a matched set and OS-9 getting confused as the result. But using a single ROM it worked fine.

    I proceeded to repeat the following procedure for the next three ROMs: turn off the 605, remove the expansion board, unsocket the previous ROM chip, socket the next ROM chip, reinsert the expansion board, turn on the 605 and run CD-i Link twice. It took a while, all in all just under an hour.

    While these uploads were running I wrote two small programs rsplit and rjoin to manipulate the ROM files into a correct 512Kb 180 ROM image. Around 00:30 I had a final cdi180b.rom file that looked good and I ran it through cditype –mod to verify that it indeed looked like a CD-I player ROM:
      Addr     Size      Owner    Perm Type Revs  Ed #  Crc   Module name
    -------- -------- ----------- ---- ---- ---- ----- ------ ------------
    0000509a 192 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 fba055 copyright
    0000515a 26650 0.0 0555 Sys a000 83 090798 kernel
    0000b974 344 0.0 0555 Sys 8002 22 b20da9 init
    0000bacc 2848 0.0 0555 Fman a00b 35 28611f ucm
    0000c5ec 5592 0.0 0555 Fman a000 17 63023d nrf
    0000dbc4 2270 0.0 0555 Fman a000 35 d6a976 pipeman
    0000e4a2 774 0.0 0555 Driv a001 6 81a3e9 nvdrv
    0000e7a8 356 0.0 0555 Sys a01e 15 e69105 rp5c15
    0000e90c 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f25f23 tim070
    0000e994 420 0.0 0555 Driv a00c 6 7b3913 tim070driv
    0000eb38 172 0.0 0555 Driv a000 1 407f81 null
    0000ebe4 102 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 cf450e pipe
    0000ec4a 94 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f54010 nvr
    0000eca8 96 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 17ec68 icard
    0000ed08 1934 0.0 0555 Fman a000 31 b41f17 scf
    0000f496 120 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 61 dd8776 t2
    0000f50e 1578 0.0 0555 Driv a020 16 d0a854 u68070
    0000fb38 176 0.1 0777 5 8001 1 a519f6 csd_mmc
    0000fbe8 5026 0.0 0555 Sys a000 292 e33cc5 csdinit
    00010f8a 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 6 041e2b iic
    00011012 152 0.0 0555 Driv a02c 22 e29688 ceniic
    000110aa 166 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 c5b823 ptr
    00011150 196 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 a0e276 cdikeys
    00011214 168 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 439a33 ptr2
    000112bc 3134 0.0 0555 Driv a016 11 faf88d periic
    00011efa 4510 0.0 0555 Fman a003 96 a4d145 cdfm
    00013098 15222 0.0 0555 Driv a038 28 122c79 cdap18x
    00016c0e 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 35f12f cd
    00016c94 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 d2ce2f ap
    00016d1a 130 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 1586c2 vid
    00016d9c 18082 10.48 0555 Trap c00a 6 5f673d cio
    0001b43e 7798 1.0 0555 Trap c001 13 46c5dc math
    0001d2b4 2992 0.0 0555 Data 8020 1 191a59 FONT8X8
    0001de64 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 c5ed0e dd
    0001deea 66564 0.0 0555 Driv a012 48 660a91 video
    0002e2ee 62622 0.1 0555 Prog 8008 20 ec5459 ps
    0003d78c 4272 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 9f3982 ps_medium.font
    0003e83c 800 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c1ac25 ps_icons.clut
    00040000 2976 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 0a3b97 ps_small.font
    00040ba0 7456 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 764338 ps_icons.clu8
    000428c0 107600 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 7b9b4e ps_panel.dyuv
    0005cd10 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 2a8fcd ps_girl.dyuv
    00065730 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 e1bb6a ps_mesa.dyuv
    0006e150 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 8e394b ps_map.dyuv
    00076b70 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c60e5e ps_kids.dyuv

    File Size Type Description
    ------------ ------ ------------ ------------
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.rom Unknown CD-i system ROM
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.mdl Unknown CD-i player
    cdi180b.rom 512K unknown.brd Unknown board
    Of course cditype didn’t correctly detect the ROM, player and board type, but the list of modules looks exactly like a CD-i player system ROM. It is in fact very similar to the CD-i 605 system ROM, the major differences are the presence of the icard and *iic drivers, the absence of a slave module and the different player shell (ps module with separate ps_* data modules instead of a single play module).

    It being quite late already, I resocketed all the ROMs in the proper places and closed up both players, after testing that they were both fully functional (insofar as I could test the 180 set), fully intending to clean up and go to bed. As an afterthought, I took a picture of the running 180 set and posted it on the CD-Interactive forums as the definitive answer to the 50/60 Hz power question I’d asked there earlier.

    The CD-i Emulator urge started itching however, so I decided to give emulation of my new ROM file a quick go, fully intending to stop at any major problems. I didn’t encounter any of those, however, until I had a running CD-i 180 player three hours later. I reported the fact on the CDinteractive forum, noting that there was no pointing device or disc access yet, and went to a well-deserved sleep. Both of these issues are major ones and those I postponed for the next day.

    To get the new player type up and running inside CD-i Emulater, I started by using the CD-i 605 F1 system specification files cdi605a.mdl and minimmc.brd as templates to create the new CD-i 180 F2 system files cdi180b.mdl and maximmc.brd. Next I fired up the emulator and was rewarded with bus errors. Not unexpected and a good indicator of where the problems are. Using the debugger and disassembler I quickly determined that the problems were, as expected, the presence of the VSR instead of VSD and the replacement of the SLAVE by something else. Straightening these out took a bit of time but it was not hard work and very similar to work I had done before on other player types.

    This time at least the processor and most of the hardware was known and already emulated; for the Portable CD-i board (used by the CD-i 370, DVE200 and GDI700 players) both of these were not the case as they use the 68341 so-called integrated CD-i engine which in my opinion is sorely misnamed as there is nothing CD-i about the chip, it is just the Motorola version of an 68K processor with many on-chip peripherals in remarkably similar to the Philips 68070 in basic functionality.

    Saturday was spent doing household chores with ROM research in between, looking for the way to get the pointing device working. It turned out to be quite involved but at the end of the day I had it sort of flakily working in a kludgy way; I’ll report the details in a next blog post.

    Sunday I spent some time fixing the flakiness and thinking a lot about fixing the kludginess; this remains to be done. I also spent time making screenshots and writing this blog post.

    So to finish up, there is now a series of 180 screenshots here on the CD-i Emulator website as reported in the What's New section. A very nice player shell, actually, especially for a first generation machine.

    I will report some ROM and chip finds including new hopes for replacing the missing pointing device in a next blog post.
              Hunted and Hunter, Part IX        
    “We’ve been spotted!” Brannigan’s voice said over the comms. The Cutlass turned hard, pressing me against the restraints of my seat. “Call’s gone out, two hours ‘til full militia arrives.” I reached over and started the two hour timer on my mobiGlas. That was our window for getting in and out. “Looks like the decoys did their job, the pilot said. "Only two Gladii and a Cutlass in our way. Light defense, but we’re still in for a ride." One of the mercs pulled himself into the turret chair, hitting the button that raised it up to the controls. “Here we go!” shouted the merc sitting next to me as the ship banked again. Everyone wore almost identical airtight combat suits, but the personalized markings on the side of his helmet told me it was Vin, one of the younger mercs. The turret opened fire above, and staccato reverberations echoed through the hull as the twin guns belched fire. I caught a glimpse out the small porthole of the Banu vessel, trailing behind out of harm's way but still close enough to fire off its large guns. The Cutlass’ shields shimmered as a few rounds impacted, but nothing got through. The turret swiveled around to track one of the passing ships. “Scrapped one Gladius,” the merc manning it shouted with a whoop. “Missiles!” shouted the pilot. “Hold on!” A few dull thuds sounded as flares launched, then the ship spun around with a wrenching twist. I was sure we were about to get torn to pieces by a swarm of hunting missiles any second, and suddenly felt like the ship was a metal coffin. But the seconds passed, the ship completed its maneuver, and no missiles hit. “Evaded,” the pilot said, then accelerated the ship back around into the action. “Enemy Cutlass down.” “Yehaaa!” shouted Vin. Another barrage of bullets slammed the shields, then the shield died, and a trio of small holes suddenly appeared in the hull as rounds punched through the armor. There was a rushing of air that dropped to silence except for the reverberations through the hull. “We’ve been hit,” the pilot said over the comms. A weight slumped against my shoulder, I turned and saw Vin, still strapped into his seat, but with a large hole torn through his combat armor. Blood poured out like a fountain, spreading over the suit and chair and deck. Across from us Ajax pulled himself out of his restraints, despite the silent protests of those around him. He crossed over and knelt beside Vin, pulling bandages from his pack as he did so. But he didn’t apply them, it was already too late. After a silent fury, he clicked his comm on. “Man down.” A moment later the Cutlass banked again, sending Ajax sprawling across the floor. The other mercs grabbed him and kept him from tumbling more. A few seconds later the report came across that the final enemy had been destroyed. But it was a sullen celebration as the ships turned and headed for the planet, the limp body of Vin still slumped in the chair. I glanced at my mobiGlas. 1:57 left. The whole battle had lasted less than three minutes.  The air streamed back into the cabin as the Cutlass descended into the planet's atmosphere. After a few minutes the ship leveled off, wind whipping past the hull breaches. The ship settled down, hovering a short ways above the ground as the rear door lowered. "Everyone, go!" came the command. I unstrapped myself from the chair and hoisted my rifle, then followed the other mercs out of the ship. "We'll get her patched up and ready for pickup," the pilot said as the ramp closed up and the ship rose away. "Good hunting." We were standing in a clearing amongst a sparse, wooded area on a slight rise. Several hundred meters down the slope, partially obscured by the thin trees, sat a small mining town. Dawn was still an hour or so away, and two small moons glistened in the sky. It would have seemed peaceful, but for the gunfire that broke out almost as soon as we started down the slope. Energy bolts zipped through the trees, snapping branches and kicking up dirt. We quickly ducked behind the cover of trees, but the shots were so wild it almost wasn't necessary. "Charlie team on the ground," Ajax said over the comms. "On the ground and under fire. Looks like they've decided to put up a fight." "Understood," Brannigan's voice responded. "Alpha team touching down now, half a click north of the target. Pup, see what you can do about softening them up for us." I peered around the tree trunk at the town through the scope on my Behring CSS, a much lighter gun than the LR-620 and better for mobility. The village looked like a formula built frontier mining town. Squat, rugged buildings not so much built as placed, standard constructions produced in bulk and shipped out from factory worlds to be assembled where needed. The population couldn't have been more than a few hundred. The only unique building was the loading complex on the near side of town, a small pad and storage building topped with an AA turret. Several dozen of the inhabitants were rushing through the streets, armed with shotguns and a few rifles. One of the defenders stood in the shadow of a building, firing a MaxOx at the treeline. At this distance he'd have to get very lucky to hit anything with that. My bullet hit him in the thigh, and he fell. He'd survive, but was out of the fight. "Charlie team, move forward. Pup, stay here and keep us covered." The five mercenaries moved down the slope, keeping in the cover of the trees. I swept over the town with my scope. At first glance each building was the same as the next, but as I searched the outlines for armed defenders I noticed the small decorations and unique bits that made them homes. Their homes. And they were fighting to defend them. Even the coldness of the chems running through me couldn't bring me to shoot them, but I could still keep them from shooting back. Another man appeared around a building and raised a rifle. I shot the dirt in front of him, and he jumped back. A head appeared over another building, but it disappeared again as soon as my shot pinged off the roof beside him. Ajax and his five mercenaries safely reached the edge of the trees. "Charlie in place." "Beta in place," another merc chimed in. "Delta ready," a third said. "Remember," Brannigan said, "keep casualties to a minimum. Take them alive. Now take down that gun." An Ursa rover broke over the ridge to the north of town, turret firing at the buildings. The defenders ran, retreating back towards the center of town. Charlie team moved out of the treeline under cover of the barrage and quickly set up an ARM missile launcher. "Ready to fire," Ajax said a moment later. "Light up the target." I flipped on a laser on the side of my rifle and pointed it at the AA turret. "Target lit." A plume of smoke shot up from the ARM, a missile rising into the air and arcing down to the turret. A shield around the turret flared and died as the missile hit, then the turret itself erupted in flame as a second missile struck. "Target down," Ajax confirmed. "Air's clear." A figure appeared around the side of a building, a rifle pointed at the launcher. He was young, a teenage kid firing wildly. I buried a bullet into the ground at his feet, kicking up dirt around him, but he kept firing. Another shot whizzed by his head, but he didn't care. The other mercs were firing back, he was going to get himself killed. There was nothing else to do. My third bullet ripped through his knee. He fell back and out of sight. "Porter's hit," Ajax said. "It's bad. Moving back to the trees to stabilize him." "Draconis, rain fire on them." Brannigan's voice was cold, anger seething just beneath the surface. The Redeemer rose over the hill, turret lighting up first one house, then the next on the edge of town. It hovered over the town, the small arms fire doing nothing to its shields, firing back with devastating results at any that tried. It was over quickly. Under such a barrage the defenders had no choice but surrender. Smoke rose from the ruined shells of buildings as the townsfolk put down their guns and the mercenaries moved in. 1:26.
              Hijinks        
    “7.5% silver, 8% copper, 15% nickel…” Kilorn reads off his mobiGlas display - his fancy new mining-focused mobiGlas that he was quite proud of. He had been hoping for a greater concentration of silver but decided this would be fine to test out the new mining system he’d bought for his Dragonfly.  He was pretty sure he was going to fly slow as shit once the saddlebags were all filled up… but Kilorn certainly didn’t have the money for a Prospector yet. It’d have to do. Jumping on his forest green Dragonfly, Kilorn fires up the small craft and starts up the small mining drill, focusing on the area scanned by his mobiGlas. Due to this being a very small scale mining operation there wasn’t a ton of operator involvement… Kilorn’s mind wandered.  Where did it wander you might ask?  Well… he was only 19 so naturally his thoughts drifted towards girls.  Or, really, girl.  Norah. Norah is Kilorn’s best friend, partner in crime, and also the gorgeous girl he was crazy about.  Was she aware of that third note?  Not so much. Kilorn drifted away from consciousness briefly while deep in thought about his friend. “Kilo!” He was startled awake by someone shouting his nickname and his Dragonfly being shoved a few feet.  Struggling to get his bearings, he whipped his head around to glare at the perpetrator and his vision was filled with the beautiful mischievous grin of his friend. Norah sat astride her deep purple Dragonfly, sporting a rainbow coloured flight suit and long black hair that flew wildly in the wind as she rode.  Purple leather boots, one of which was fresh off having booted his saddlebag, adorned her feet and served to complete her ensemble. “Race me.  Last one to the ravine pays for dinner tonight.” “Norah… my Dragonfly is covered in mining equipment.” “Excuses.  Your propulsion is tuned and you have more experience.” “Fine.” Kilorn rapidly retracted the mining equipment and took off across the savannah-like terrain, pushing his Dragonfly to the limit. Despite his head start Norah had reacted quickly and was not far behind. They dodged and weaved around rock outcroppings, occasionally losing sight of each other for several seconds. BAM! Norah didn’t even recall the sounds of crunching metal.  She woke up with a pounding headache and good deal of confusion.  Kilo’s concerned face loomed over her. Norah’s ears were ringing… she could tell Kilo was trying to talk to her but she couldn’t hear at first. Finally she understood him and replied, “Kilo… Kilo, I think I’m okay.  Head hurts a bit though.  What… what happened?” A soft look came upon Kilorn’s eyes and he said, “We both came around that cliff at the same time from opposite directions. I don’t think either of us saw it coming.  We hit each other and unfortunately you got the worst of it… thrown from your ride.” Despite the pain and confusion, the look in Kilo’s eyes tugged at her.  It didn’t help when moments later he carefully removed her helmet and gently touched her face. Moments later Kilo leaned in to kiss her and all Norah could do… all she wanted to do really in that moment, was relax and return the affection. Kilorn pulled back and looked a bit guilty and worried. “Norah… I’m sorry.  Probably last thing you need at this moment.  Let’s get you to the medical unit.” “No Kilo, it was nice.  Thank you.  But yeah, my head isn’t feeling great.” Carefully Kilorn helped Norah to her feet and gently placed her on the back of his green Dragonfly.  After helping her get her helmet back on, he climbed on and began nursing his damaged ride back to the settlement. After a few minutes he felt Norah slump over and he stopped quickly, though carefully. “Norah?!” He jumped off and looked at her face closely… she was barely conscious.  Seeing no other alternative, Kilorn repositioned her gently on the front seat of the Dragonfly and then climbed on behind her, wrapping one arm protectively around her and using the other to start and navigate his craft. Kilorn pushed the Dragonfly faster, trying to get back as quickly as he could without crashing again. Despite repeated attempts, calling her name and shaking her lightly, he couldn’t get her to rouse. Spotting the settlement up ahead, Kilorn pushed the craft a bit faster though it groaned a bit in response. Pulling up outside the medical unit, he lifted Norah into his arms and quickly carried her inside. --- Hours later Kilorn had nearly lost his mind with worry. Finally a doctor strode out to see him, “Your friend is doing well…” A huge sigh of relief exploded from his chest. “Norah had some minor head trauma but we were able to take care of the damage.  You can come see her, she’s asking for you.” Wearing a bright smile Kilorn accompanied the doctor to Norah’s room and he rushed to her bedside. “I’m so glad you’re okay Norah!  I was so worried.  How’s your head?” “My head is feeling much better thanks to the doc.  I also need to thank you Kilo, I really appreciate you taking care of me.” “You would do the same for me.  Besides, I want another kiss.” The two shared a bright smile and then Norah chimed in, “Fine.  Once we get my purple beast fixed up we’ll really see who can be first to the ravine.  I win, I get to kiss you.  You win, you get to kiss me.” A deep chuckle was followed by, “Deal!”
              Home        
    Home. Where is home. We’ve had a few, us humans. Earth. I guess it all started there. Earth was home; still is, to some. But what about our other planets? What about Mars? Terra? Are they home? Our houses are homes. Or are our homes houses? Either way, I‘d have to have one for it to be one. Now… my Prospector. She’s a home. She’s my home. Where is she though… HA! Who’m I kidding?! She’s right where she ought to be, under my hands, mining! Just me and my Prospector, my Napanee, floating through space. Just floatin’. Minin’. Who needs a ‘home’. --- There’s a feeling one has, when they look at something completely extraordinary that they’ve been seeing their entire life. The feeling someone who lives on the coast gets every morning when they wake up and look out over the ocean. The feeling the best poker player in the ‘Verse gets when he wins the Galactic Invitational for the thirteenth time running. The feeling a mother gets when she has her seventh child. The feeling a 30 year veteran gets during another Vanduul raid. It is perfectly described in one word. ‘Enh.’ The word comes with a shrug, that kind of nonchalant noncommittal shrug that says, well… it says ‘enh’. The word and the shrug go together, like a jam and cheese sandwich eaten by someone with no taste buds. That word and shrug, though, they perfectly embodied the feelings running through Anoty’s head as he looked up through the asteroid field, looked up at all the other small rocks with their small domes, owned by the other prospecting families. Dozens of asteroids of different shapes and sizes and colours, all floating aimlessly, drifting lazily, through the cold black of space. Like cheerios floating in milk when you’ve eaten most of the cheerios and there are just a few left. Except that they weren’t all clumped together like they do in milk, but kept kind of separate in the milk instead, like how asteroids in space float kinda together but not really too close. Anoty had just started the metaphor segment of his English schooling. It was a work in progress. He sat in his room in his house under the force dome and missed his dad. Well, not his house, it was his mothers’ house. But it was his dad that he missed. He remembered his mom, four years ago, sitting him down and saying his dad was dead. That he’d taken the prospector out on a mission, that he’d got himself blown up by raiders. That the UEE had called her, said there wasn’t even a semblance of the ship anymore, or of his dad, the wreckage was so bad. Anoty sat on his bed, thinking. Thinking about his dad, and where he’d got to. Thinking of home. Wondering why his dad hadn’t thought home was with him. For Anoty, home wasn’t in the asteroid belt. Here he was stuck inside a dome on a gyrating asteroid orbiting a small planetoid in one of the most breathtaking displays of orbital dynamics that human eyes have ever seen, a literal stellar stereotype, the distant planetoid hazy through its fuchsia-tinged atmosphere, the closer asteroids and their domes spinning and revolving in a gravitational ballet of the highest magnitude, all seen from a dusty dirt rock with a horizon of infinity. Home was a place where his mom was still happy, and where his dad hadn’t left. --- Shaer hated home. Home was bills. Home was stress. Home was memories. Home was a son who played games all day, who couldn’t get his basic schooling figured out. He’d failed English, math, astronomic, piloting, farming, law, chemistry, and every other conceivable course she could download from the central UEE home-school repository. And every one of those downloads cost credits. To Shaer, home was in default. To Shaer, home was a lifeless rock, completely mortgaged out to pay for a ship for a low-life scum of an ex husband who’d taken the ship and left, sticking her with an idiot child, a worthless rock, and no way to pay the bills. To Shaer, home was the last straw. The final blow in a lifetime of blows. She’d wanted to go to the inner planets, visit Terra, Earth, Mars. She’d wanted to see the ‘Verse, to see where humanity came from. She thought about that, as she smashed the control-panel for the dome, causing the power to fail and the safety-net between the house and the black void of space to come crashing down. She’d always wanted to see Earth, especially. Learn where she’d come from; where everyone had come from. As the air rushed away from those that needed it most, raging like a hurricane, loud as a summer storm, quiet as a whisper, and then silent as death, Shae thought of Africa, of how she’d always wanted to see it. To see where Humanity had come from. To see something that truly was home. --- Anoty, in his panic and confusion, in the terrible, aching last gasps of life, thought of his father, knew that he would come back, that he would save Anoty and his mom. --- Home SWEET home, Dale said, patting the Prospector on the dash. He’d dropped off a load of trellium ore at the refinery, picked up a nice young thing to keep his mind and… other parts… occupied, and was headed back into the black. He’d checked the news. Life was good. Home was wherever he wanted. There was nothing left to hold him back.
              Leir        
    ‘I’m not sure how he managed to do it.  How did he convince me?  Brian can be such a pain.  Now I’m down here getting shot at over some stupid crystals.’ Just a sample of the thoughts running around inside Dan Locke’s mind as his MISC Prospector “Erebus” worked away on collecting shards from the glacier blue crystal formations. An audible warning accompanied by a pale flashing yellow light on the control panel indicates that one of mining storage pods has been filled.  Leaving the Erebus in automatic mode, Dan climbs out of his seat and dons his old beaten up armour.  He pats his ever-present Arclight pistol on his hip and climbs out of the ship. Dan digs out an un-expanded empty storage pod, and then proceeds to detach and secure the full pod.  A small crane helps him lower the heavy storage container down to the ground.  During this entire exercise, Dan continually checks over his shoulder for any… visitors. Finally, after securing the empty mining pod to the Erebus, Dan begins climbing back into his ship when a flurry of laser bolts slam into the rocks, shrubs, and ground around him. Looking up, Dan gazes upon a trio of Dragonflies flown by… those who would rather he was not on Leir III.  The Outsiders, Sand Nomads, Sand People - call them what you will. Returning fire, the Prospector pilot takes cover in the entrance to his ship.  Crouching there in the doorway, Dan had just enough time to mutter, “Brian… you ass.  This is your fault.” Dan closely watches the three Dragonflies, keeping track of their movements despite the incoming fire.  It’s obvious they are surrounding him. Thankfully one of the nomads comes a little too close and a flurry of shots from Dan’s Arclight tear through him to even the odds slightly. Less thankfully... one of the remaining Dragonflies has positioned itself perfectly and opens up a torrent of fire on the Prospector entry.  Dan tucks himself tightly inside the door and ponders his predicament. Surely the other Dragonfly pilot would be attempting to steal the resources he worked so hard to extract. Mid way through Dan formulating a plan of action, a faint rumbling can be heard… growing louder.  Dan’s face sprouts a satisfied smile. Suddenly the stream of weapons fire engulfing the Erebus doorway ceases and the sounds of the Dragonfly in question turning to flee can be clearly picked out. Suddenly, the distinct sound of a larger ship’s laser cannon rings out.  Peering out the door, Dan watches as Brian’s trusty Hull B - the “Knarr” - mows down the fleeing Dragonfly with its twin laser cannons. The Knarr now spins with surprising agility and lights up the other Dragonfly which had just begun its attempt at strategic retreat. Moments later, the Knarr sets down nearby the Erebus. Dan, huge smile on his face, strides towards the newly arrived cargo ship.  Brian meets him at the bottom of the ramp and wraps his best friend up in a brief but genuine hug. “Dan! How are you making out?” Dan continues to wear his grin as he punches Brian solidly in the shoulder, “I’m alright.  Thanks to you.  Though… I was in this mess because of you.  So thanks for at least holding up your end.” Brian’s smile matches his friend’s, “Yeah I know this place can be a bit of a hot zone but those crystals will bring in some good credits!  Should be great for jewelry or holograms.” “Always about the credits eh?  No matter the risks.” “Well, sometimes you have to take the risk.” “Fair enough.  Now… enough of this rambling.  Let’s load up the Knarr and get both of us out of here before their friends come looking for them!” The pair work diligently to load the full Prospector mining pods from Erebus onto the Hull B framework, breaking briefly a couple times to tell jokes and pass along news. Now ready to depart their separate ways for the moment, the two friends embrace once more. “Dan, don’t be a stranger.  I’ll front you 20,000 credits now and I’ll send you the rest of your cut once I have it all sold.  Thanks for joining me in this.” “Don’t mention it Brian… things got a little hairier than I would have liked, but you came through in the end in that department.  Let me know how the sales go and have a safe trip!” “Will do!  Let me know the next time you need an assist from ol’ Knarr here.” Several minutes later the pair of MISC ships ease off the ground and slowly head away from Leir III and on to new destinations with new opportunities.
              Tic-Talk Tonight: Elias Portwin        
    Welcome to the newest edition of Tic-Talk, the transcript that follows is the full interview as conducted by Indira Nooyi with our guest interviewee, Elias Portwin, captain and operator of the Bolide. Interview was carried out at the Central Advocacy Detention Centre in the Ferron system on February 14, 2947. Indira Nooyi(IN): Good evening and welcome to another edition of Tic-Talk, I’m your host for the evening Indira Nooyi and with me tonight I have the captain and operator of the mining ship, the Bolide. Thank you for granting us this interview, Mr. Portwin. Elias Portwin(EP): Uh… It’s my pleasure ma’am. It’s just good to be able to tell my side, you know? IN: Indeed and we are looking forward to giving you the opportunity to tell your side. Now… Mr. Portwin, please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you become a miner? A few personal details of that nature. EP: I’m from Tram, on Asura, here in Ferron. Things are tough there… but there’s still a lot of mining know how to go around.  My family were some of the lucky ones, still have a bit of money. My parents made a living off of refurbishing and selling used mining equipment. I worked with my folks until I had enough credits for my beautiful Bolide. IN: Thank you. For those folks unfamiliar with the events that have brought you here tonight. Could you in your own words give our viewing audience a little backstory on what happened? EP: Well, ya see, I’d had a few run-ins with the Chomper crew. They were always tailin’ me, because I actually know how to find the veins. They’re a gang of talentless thieves, they are. Anyhow, I had uncovered this beauty cluster of platinum asteroids here in Ferron and I was ‘bout to start up my drillin’ when along came the fuckin’... wait, can I swear? IN: Well, this is a live feed and would prefer if you kept it to a general tone in terms of language, please continue. You mentioned a vein of platinum... EP:  Yeah… yeah. I’d found some nice platinum asteroids out on the ragged edges of Ferron. Along came Chomper to try to push me out. Ya see, Orions have weapons. Not much a little Prospector like Bolide can do to defend a claim. I sure don’t have the credits to hire mercs. I had had enough, ya know? It’s hard enough gettin’ by out there in the black all by your lonesome without a monstrosity like that breathin’ down your neck. So I decided to do something about it. IN: I see, but Ferron is a system open to trades like miners such as yourself to scout and claim these precious resources. So the Chomper, Orion mining vessel, had equal opportunity and rights to chase the same veins of resources you yourself were. I guess my question would then be, did you consider what it would mean for yourself if you decided to take the situation into your own hands? EP: With all due respect Ms. Nooyi, I don’t think you know what it’s like out there. Code among miners is that if you discover a claim and are actively mining, that’s yours. Full stop. They just waltzed in there throwing their weight around… like they always do. Did I consider what it would mean when I ruffled their feathers? Honestly, not really ma’am. I was angry and fed up. IN: Such rash action has in turn brought you into Advocacy custody waiting to hear whether or not charges are going to be laid against you or more than likely what charges will be brought forward. So in your eyes, was it worth it in the end? EP: You don’t pull your punches, do ya miss? I… well, you know, at the time it was pretty rewarding to finally get a chance to stand up for myself.  But I know it was wrong.  And was it worth it, really? No… not in the end. IN: Just for the record, do you know of or are you acquaintances with the Chomper’s captain? I know in some of these industries you run across the same people from time to time. It wouldn't take much to build a small personal grudge if one was rubbed the wrong way on a prior occasion. EP: Yeah, I know him. As I said, we’ve had some run-ins. He’s always on me because I’m good… makes the life of his crew easy to use me as a dowsing rod. We’ve had words… many times. I was tired of bein’ used. IN: It would then not be much of a stretch to say that this was more or less a simmering pot ready to boil over. I can understand how frustrating this whole situation could have been for you and in the end I think you can probably count yourself lucky no lives were lost during this incident. Now that we heard your version of events in your own words, I would like to just get some clarification on how things unfolded. To my knowledge, it was stated that you maneuvered an asteroid into the Chomper which then caused significant damage. Could you please elaborate for me not only how you managed that but what gave you the idea in the first place? EP: Yes ma’am. Well, you see… I love the Bolide but she comes equipped with just the one set of small guns up front. Not much protection and completely useless to actually attack anything. So I had to come up with somethin’ more… improvised. I discovered awhile back that if you pour energy into your front shields and are very gentle with the initial contact, you can actually push asteroids with the Bolide. I settled her nose into an impact crater on an asteroid about half the size of the Orion. I poured my power into shields, engines, and a bit into the tractor to keep the rock tight to the shields… and I pushed it right into Chomper. Those Orions are like freakin’ space whales. They can’t move worth sh… uh… worth anything. It smashed right into them, wrecked their engines before they could do anything about it. I knew I want you to know… I knew it wouldn’t destroy them. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to push back a bit… stand up for myself. IN: Since you’ve now had a chance to tell your side of the story, what was your reasoning for accepting this interview? Aren’t you concerned the information you gave today can be used to incriminate you? EP: Ms. Nooyi, I haven’t hidden anything. The sensor data from Chomper, the sensor data from Bolide. It’s clear what happened. I’m not going to avoid punishment. I hope that the judge in my case will take into account the history involved but there’s no need to try and twist the truth. I’m glad no one was hurt. I just wanted a chance to tell folks my side of what happened. Thank you for giving me that chance ma’am. IN: Thank you for sitting down with me this evening, I do wish you the best of luck going forward. I’m Indira Nooyi and this has been another edition of Tic-Talk, thanks for joining us and see you next week.
              Water rorting continues in the Murray-Darling Basin aided and abetted by the NSW Nationals        

    And local government and commercial interests in the Murray-Darling Basin have the hide to cry that they are water deprived and should be allowed to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment until that coastal system is a pale shadow of its vibrant self.

    The Guardian, 4 August 2017:

    The New South Wales regional water minister, Niall Blair, has quietly granted himself the power to approve illegal floodplain works retrospectively.

    A Wentworth Group scientist, Jamie Pittock, has accused the NSW government of actively undermining the Murray-Darling basin plan as revelations have continued about the state government’s management of the river system.

    Since Four Corners report raised allegations of water theft and secret meetings between a senior NSW water bureaucrat and a small number of irrigators,Blair is under increasing pressure over his water responsibilities.

    This followed Daily Telegraph reports that the Nationals MP had been urging his Liberal colleague, the environment minister, Gabrielle Upton, to change the Barwon-Darling water-sharing plan retrospectively to favour large irrigators. He said the change was needed because of an error in the rules.

    It has now come to light that Blair gazetted a Barwon-Darling valley floodplain management plan which gives him power to approve flood works built illegally even if they do not comply with requirements prior to the plan.

    Under clause 39 of the new Barwon-Darling valley plan, a flood work that does not comply can be approved if “in the minister’s opinion” it is for an access road, a supply channel, a stock refuge or an infrastructure protection work
    .
    A spokesman for WaterNSW said three relevant applications from the Barwon-Darling region had been received since the change but none had yet been approved.

    The NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham called on the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to remove the water portfolio from the National party after the regulation changes came to light.

    “This is disgraceful example of the National party giving away free water to their big irrigator mates,” Buckingham said. “Many of these areas are so flat that even a 10 to 20cm bank can divert a huge amount of water into an irrigation dam and away from natural waterways.

    “It’s a massive gift of water to the big irrigators. If we want to recover the water in the future then taxpayer will have to hand over huge amounts of compensation for what were illegal constructions.”

    A spokeswoman for Blair said the gazettal was a “significant legacy issue” required to create a process where unapproved works could be properly and transparently assessed. She said to be considered, works must not have been previously refused and would still need to be assessed under certain criteria.

    “Supply channels are one of the types of existing works that clause 39 indicates that we will accept application for,” the spokeswoman said. “Just because they are existing, doesn’t mean that they will be approved, just that they can apply. This approach is being rolled out through all floodplain management plans.”

    Pittock, an associate professor in the Fenner school of environment and society at the Australian National University, said the revelations showed NSW was systematically white-anting the Murray Darling plan.

    “The ‘rule error’ and other questionable dealings between wealthy irrigators, government officials and politicians in NSW highlight how the intent of the basin plan can be frustrated by those hostile to its implementation at the state level,” he told Guardian Australia.

    “Changes of regulations in NSW have allowed irrigators to take erstwhile environmental flows by allowing greater pump capacity and earlier extraction based on river heights such that commonwealth-purchased environmental water in Queensland in not ‘shepherded’ through New South Wales to the lower Murray.

    “Consequently towns like Broken Hill, pastoralists and Aboriginal communities, as well as the environment, have been starved of water.


              Still feel unhappy with the Turnbull Government's policies on underground, land surface and marine waters? So you should        

    “Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by "excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water.” [US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]

    Every Northern Hemisphere Spring this dead zone occurs in the Gulf of Mexico and increases in size over time.



    It is only one of more than 400 hypoxic areas world-wide which were mapped in 2008.


    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Andrew H. Altieri et al, 2017, Tropical dead zones and mass mortalities on coral reefs:

    Oxygen-starved coastal waters are rapidly increasing in prevalence worldwide. However, little is known about the impacts of these “dead zones” in tropical ecosystems or their potential threat to coral reefs. We document the deleterious effects of such an anoxic event on coral habitat and biodiversity, and show that the risk of dead-zone events to reefs worldwide likely has been seriously underestimated. Awareness of, and research on, reef hypoxia is needed to address the threat posed by dead zones to coral reefs.

    Degradation of coastal water quality in the form of low dissolved oxygen levels (hypoxia) can harm biodiversity, ecosystem function, and human wellbeing. Extreme hypoxic conditions along the coast, leading to what are often referred to as “dead zones,” are known primarily from temperate regions. However, little is known about the potential threat of hypoxia in the tropics, even though the known risk factors, including eutrophication and elevated temperatures, are common. Here we document an unprecedented hypoxic event on the Caribbean coast of Panama and assess the risk of dead zones to coral reefs worldwide. The event caused coral bleaching and massive mortality of corals and other reef-associated organisms, but observed shifts in community structure combined with laboratory experiments revealed that not all coral species are equally sensitive to hypoxia. Analyses of global databases showed that coral reefs are associated with more than half of the known tropical dead zones worldwide, with >10% of all coral reefs at elevated risk for hypoxia based on local and global risk factors. Hypoxic events in the tropics and associated mortality events have likely been underreported, perhaps by an order of magnitude, because of the lack of local scientific capacity for their detection. Monitoring and management plans for coral reef resilience should incorporate the growing threat of coastal hypoxia and include support for increased detection and research capacity.

    Anyone still in favour of allowing an expansion of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, Queensland?

    Anyone still comfortable with the amount of agricultural/industrial run-off into the Great Barrier Reef, marine protected areas and Australian coastal waters, which is allowed under state and federal policies?

    It’s not just our rivers and aquifers which are suffering from political inaction and vested interest greed.

    BACKGROUND

    The Australian Government’s OzCoasts website states:

    A reduction in dissolved oxygen concentrations is amongst the most important effects of eutrophication on aquatic organisms [4]. Hypoxia can cause direct mortality, reduced growth rates and altered behaviour and distributions of fish [4] and other organisms. In addition, bottom-water hypoxia can interact with elevated water temperatures at the surface to produce a "temperature-oxygen squeeze" effect, which can greatly reduce the amount of summer habitat available for some species [12]. Eggs and larvae of fish (and crustaceans) may be particularly susceptible to this effect because these life history stages are less able to avoid unfavourable conditions, and because they live in near shore areas, such as estuaries, where too-high water temperatures and too-low oxygen conditions often occur [5]. Changes in fish assemblages and crustaceans in response to hypoxia and & anoxia can render these organisms more susceptible to fishing pressure, and can increase the abundance of non-targeted species in by-catch [4].

    Dissolved oxygen status also influences the uptake or release of nutrients from sediment. When oxygen is depleted, the nitrification pathway is blocked, and efficiencies may be lowered. As a consequence, more nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorous) are released from the sediment in bio-available forms [7]. These nutrients help to sustain algal blooms, and therefore continue the supply organic matter to the sediments [7]. With organic matter (energy) diverted from invertebrate consumption to microbial decomposition, the natural pattern of energy flow is altered, and pelagic and opportunistic species are favoured [8]. Indeed, an increased ratio of planktivore:demersal fish biomass is an important effect of eutrophication [11]. Low bottom water oxygen concentrations are also conducive to the build-up of toxic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas, which can also be harmful to benthic organisms and fish. Even short-lived anoxic events can cause the mass mortality of fish and benthic organisms [10].

    Overall, anoxic and hypoxic events can cause large reductions in the abundance, diversity and harvest of fish in affected waters [4], and can contribute to an overall loss of bio-diversity[9]. However, the extent to which bottom water anoxia causes declines in overall fish production depends on a balanced between the negative and positive and effects of eutrophication in the full spectrum of habitats within the system [4]……

    Major research institutions, universities and government (local and State) agencies gather oxygen data for specific research studies. Some information on anoxic and hypoxic events in Australian coastal waterways was compiled during the National Land & Water Resources Audit. In most cases, no data was available. However, localised or short-lived periods of hypoxia were reported in the Derwent and Huon estuaries (TAS) and in the Tuggerah Lakes (NSW). Prolonged and extensive anoxia is experienced in the Gippsland Lakes.

    Note:

    Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia.

              Why are we still refusing to fully honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have to the land in Australia?        

    It doesn’t matter to the Turnbull Government that science declares that Aboriginal Australia has existed since time immemorial or that indigenous culture has existed on this continent longer than any other culture which is now part of multicultural Australia -  it stubbornly refuses to genuinely honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have with the land.

    June 15, 2017

    MEDIA RELEASE
    14 June 2017
    Traditional Owners slam passage of Native Title amendments
    Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine have expressed profound disappointment at the passage of Attorney General Brandis’ amendments to the Native Title Act, stressing that while Mabo’s legacy has been diminished they will continue to fight for their rights.
    Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018.
    “Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.
    “Senator Brandis has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.
    “This swift overturning of a Federal Court decision, without adequate consultation with Indigenous people, was a significant move, not a mere technical consideration as the Turnbull Government has tried to make out.
    “It is appalling and false for George Brandis to pretend that by holding a ‘workshop’ with the CEOs of the native title service bodies, he has the unanimous agreement of Traditional Owners across Australia. No amount of claimed ‘beseeching’ by the head of the Native Title Council, Glen Kelly, can disguise this.
    “The public were not properly informed about the bill, and nor were Indigenous people around the country, who were not consulted and did not consent to these changes.
    “We draw the line today. We declare our right to our land. There is no surrender. There is no land use agreement. We are the people from that land. We’re the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country, and we are in court to prove that others are usurping our rights”, he said.
    Spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says, “Whatever else this change does, we know that the Turnbull Government went into overdrive for Adani’s interests.
    “Brandis’ intervention in our court case challenging the sham ILUA was about Adani. Most of what Senator Matt Canavan had to say in argueing his ill-informed case for native title changes was about Adani. The Chairman of Senate Committee inquiring into the bill, Senator Ian McFarlane, referring to the native title amendments as “the Adani bill” was about Adani. And the PM telling Chairman Gautam Adani that he’d fix native title was about Adani”.
    “We are continuing to fight Adani in court and our grounds are strong. If anyone tells you this is settled because the bill was passed, they are lying”, she said.
    Adrian Burragubba says, “The Labor Opposition seems to understand this, even though they supported passage of the bill. Senator Pat Dodson went so far as to say this bill does not provide some kind of green light for the Adani mine, as some suggest.
    “Pat Dodson acknowledged that W&J have several legal actions afoot against Adani and we are glad that in the midst of this dismal response to the rights of Indigenous people some MPs, including the Greens who voted against the bill, recognise the serious claim we have to justice.
    Mr Dodson said in the Senate that: “most of this litigation will be entirely unaffected by the passage of this bill. In particular, there are very serious allegations of fraud that have been made against Adani regarding the processes under which agreements with the Wangan and Jagalingou people were purportedly reached. And those proceedings, which may impact on the validity of any ILUA, will only commence hearings in March next year. Other legal action is also underway, including a case challenging the validity of the licences issued by the Queensland government.”
    This week researchers from the University of Queensland released a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.
    For more information and to arrange interviews:  Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.


              Obama to join ranks of our roadless forest heroes?        

    I had the honor Monday of joining two of my heroes — former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck and U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva from Arizona — to share with reporters what steps we would like to see the Obama Administration take to protect our nation’s roadless forests. Recent court rulings favored by President Bush and his oil-and-gas-industry cronies have inserted what we hope is just a temporary sliver into protection for areas that play a critical role in improving the quality of life for people and safeguarding habitat for wildlife.

    Grijalva, chairman of the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, noted that our incoming president is already a champion of these values. Obama co-sponsored legislation that would permanently protect America’s unroaded forests when he was a senator and he often mentioned their importance as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s set to take office in a week, The Wilderness Society and many of our friends in the conservation community including the Pew Environment Group can move from addressing the question of whether a new president will protect these pristine forests to how he will do so.

    Our immediate focus is on asking the new administration to make it a lot more difficult for the still Bush-heavy Forest Service to approve any projects that would destroy the integrity of our roadless forests. This can be accomplished by stipulating that any destructive activities such as road building, logging, oil and gas development, and mining be reviewed by an Obama appointee rather than allowing such decisions to be made by the Forest Service at the local level.

    There are two other items we will work with the administration to accomplish in the short-term. (The phrase “working with the administration” is a refreshing change after the last eight years.) As we all told reporters yesterday, we would like President Obama to:

    • Require the Department of Justice to vigorously defend our roadless forests in the various on-going court cases that we hope will result in a victory for the millions of people who care so deeply about roadless areas.
    • End the temporary exemption from the national roadless rule that Bush placed on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

    All three of the principles I’ve mentioned here are expressed in The Roosevelt Resolution, a request to help our forests that honors the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. By clicking on the link above, you can also listen to yesterday’s press conference so that you can hear directly from the roadless rule architect, Mr. Dombeck, and one of our most courageous public lands advocates, Rep. Grijalva.

    I don’t think it will take you long to discern why they’re heroes of mine, or why protecting our roadless forests is so close to all of our hearts.


              Co-ops Offer Family-Friendly Housing, Yet Face an Uncertain Future        
    I am writing a short series, “Cities for Families” to showcase how local governments, non-profits, and the private sector are building a family friendly city. This fourth and final edition spotlights the non-profit sector, examining how the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC and other partners achieved this goal with the First Avenue Athletes Village Housing […]
              How Mosaic Manages Environmental Impacts of Fertilizer Mining        

    To gain practical skills for sustainability management, join us at the COMMIT! Forum in DC October 11-12 2017 By Gina-Marie Cheeseman There are over seven billion people in the world and every one of them needs to eat to live. Feeding a growing world population means that crop yields have to be improved. Fertilizers are important […]

    The post How Mosaic Manages Environmental Impacts of Fertilizer Mining appeared first on CR Magazine.


              Comment on Goddesses and Rape: The Issue is That we Have Raped Devotion Itself! by Ram Swamy        
    [If I dont answer I am in trouble? LOL. How so? Will send some bouncers to teach me a lesson?] Funny! I am not that invested in your blog that I will go to such lengths! Once again you misunderstand! The trouble is your own, your written word decries belief, yet you believe in Shiva, hence the trouble…can’t have your cake and eat it! [Who I think is Shiva? How will that matter? You seem to have decided who he is] How do you know I have decided who he is? I haven’t elaborated on Shiva, just asked you a question. Your apprehension at being possibly caught out in an indefensible position leads you to make this statement perhaps? [In the Yogic lore, Shiva is not a “god” at least not in the way people have made him out to be.] Shiva is a god! Ask a 100 and a 100 will say that. Just because you consider him to be a yogi and not a god doesn’t make it so! You may say whatever to relieve yourself of the label of a believer, because in your own words you described a believer as: Believer (and Non-believer) – He has not seen God, but he believes or doesn’t believe there is such a thing as god. Too bad you decry believers and you yourself are proven to be one. Actually you better fit your definition of “lost!” Let’s review what you said about the lost: Lost – One who says he doesn’t believe but also doesn’t seek and oscillates between belief and non-belief depending on audience. (definition by Desh, about Desh who says he doesn’t believe but oscillates between belief and non-belief.) [My Guru has said he manifests Shiva] There is so much fun to be had with people who claim such things and those who believe in people who make these claims. You get first prize for being a believer. Just like those Abrahamic religions and evangelicals you decry in your posts, this claim is no different. If god does not exist, then what is being manifest? Here, I guess you will believe in this then? And if you don’t, then why not? If your guru can manifest Shiva, then why can’t these people manifest the holy spirit? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gEEL_d39rM&w=560&h=315] [you are smart enough to play me with your patronize/troll process in the hope that you can “play to the gallery”] I have no clue as to what you mean by this! How do you feel I am patronizing you? I am flat out criticizing you and your duality! If you read our past conversation, I have not made a single assumption myself, I asked you for your definitions, asked you questions (which you tried to ignore as well) and when they contained a discrepancy based on what you actually preach, I am laying it bare for you to see. I don’t understand how that is patronizing? And trolling? I have read your blog and interacted with you for a while now! So that accusation doesn’t stand. This is always your last defense, you add people as friends, post your views on your wall for them to see and when the poor souls object to your views and aren’t able to object particularly well or articulate their thoughts as well as you, you bash them with “spamming” your wall! Of being a troll! Sure, if that makes you happy then label me what you will, doesn’t affect me at all! As for playing to the gallery, this is your platform, I don’t know anyone here, it isn’t as if I am trying to impress your readers! I am happy to comment on your posts via email if you wish, then there is no “playing to the gallery!” Maybe you should turn on moderation for your comments, then you can keep mine offline and respond to me by email if you feel I am somehow undermining you? Or maybe if you don’t want random people reading your blog, just keep a private diary with your thoughts? To put yourself out there, and then call people who disagree with you trolls and such is reminiscent of our soon to be President! [As for how I treat people who are simply stuck in a needless oneupmanship – maybe to show how relevant you are in your eyes by arguing stuff that you have neither contemplated on or looked at carefully and directly – it has nothing to do with any spiritual work.] You are describing yourself! This is by you and for you. This is how you come across, preaching spirituality while railing against those who you deem to be believers. Thinking you are superior to others because you have studied spirituality! One can’t study it by reading JK and imbibing his language and mannerisms. Spiritual work cannot exist where there is ego. Ego is the very opposite of spirituality! And your stores of the former are formidable. This is what prompts me to speak on your posts, specially those under the spiritual section as it all rings so hollow. This is as much as I can do to hold a mirror up to you. The rest Desh, is for you to ponder or discard.
              Don't Bring Back Glass-Steagall        

    An issue that has a tendency to come into the public consciousness from time to time is bringing back Glass-Steagall. Initially repealed in 1999 by the Financial Services Modernization Act, primarily known as the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, the law that separated commercial and investment banking has received renewed support with both party platforms during last year’s presidential election calling for it to be reinstated.

    There may be good intentions behind this desire, but the belief that the law would reduce recessions or prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail” is at best misguided and unnecessary while at worst it will cause unforeseen problems for the financial system.

    As stated above, Glass-Steagall is a law that requires a separation between commercial and investment banking in the financial sector. It was instituted in the 1930s during the great depression by Sen. Carter Glass (D-Va.) and Rep. Henry Steagall (D-Ala.) in the hopes that it would prevent banks from making risky decisions in the market. At the time, “more than 600 banks failed each year between 1921 and 1929,” so there was a serious desire to curb that.

    However, from the 1960s onward, the legislation faced erosion with congressional legislation and the Supreme Court rulings changing key sections of the bill, including reducing limitations on security purchases, the abolition of interest caps, and increased deference to regulatory agencies for the legislation. The most prominent and controversial change to the legislation came from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed sections 20 and 32 of the legislation.

    To be clear, it did not eliminate many security limitations put on banks, but it did eliminate several restrictions by “allow[ing] for affiliations between commercial banks and firms engaged principally in securities underwriting, as well as interlocking management and employee relationships between banks and securities firms.”

    Such a move has received heavy criticism since Democratic President Bill Clinton signed it into law. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has held the repeal and alleged deregulation of the financial sector as responsible for the 2008 recession. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also stated, “Since core provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act were repealed in 1999, a culture of excessive risk-taking has taken root in the banking world, placing the financial security of millions of hardworking American taxpayers at risk.”

    Unfortunately, there are certain problems with the narrative that deregulation and the repeal of Glass-Steagall specifically caused the recession. First off, there is no history of deregulation in the past two decades in the financial sector. As was noted by the Mercatus Center, the number of banking regulations actually consistently grew between 1999 and 2008 despite the Glass-Steagall repeal which puts a major hole in the deregulation narrative.

    With that in mind, the Glass-Steagall legislation itself had very little to do with the 2008 financial recession. However, many of the institutions that had failed were not actually affected by the legislation period. Also, most of the institutions that did fail either received government incentives to provide risky loans (especially in providing housing loans to people who could not afford them), were still heavily regulated, and received guidelines or incentives from the central government for those risky loans.

    In addition, there is also evidence that Glass-Steagall did not reduce the banking failures during the depression which it was allegedly supposed to address. For an example, Canada did not pass a Glass-Steagall law during the recession despite facing similar issues to the US. Overall, Canada saw its GDP fall by 40 percent between 1929 and 1939, but not a single bank failed during the depression years and its banking system remained mostly intact.

    Another important point to keep in mind is that Glass-Steagall barely impacted the failing banks. Most of the banks that were failing were smaller in nature and had trouble diversifying due to government regulation. The banks that Glass-Steagall would have impacted were not the ones going under. In the end, Glass-Steagall would barely have the impact its proponents claim it would.

    Beyond that, the most replacing Glass-Steagall could do is stifle the banking industry. Some economists have speculated that the repeal softened the blow because it allowed more diversification of the market. Since less diversified firms made up for a larger number of failures during the 2008 financial crisis and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco credited diversification with being the reason Canada did not face bank failures during the depression, this does provide evidence that may have been a possibility.

    At the same time, the increased diversification has allowed more opportunities. Economists Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Warren Gibson noted that banks like Wells Fargo and discount broker Charles Schwab opened up more services and opportunities for their customers at lower prices while former Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Illi.) noted that it would limit liquidity and make it harder to buy and sale assets. Overall, the unproven benefits of the legislation seem to not be worth the potential cost.

    This may seem surprising, but the US was the only country in the industrialized world to separate investment and commercial banking. The desire remains to prevent the creation of banks that are “too big to fail” but it seems to have largely failed to address that and has prevented useful diversification. Bringing it back will not prevent another crisis nor prevent banks from going under.


              Kansas City Actors Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Staff for Shepard's A LIE OF THE MIND        

    Kansas City Actors Theatre has completed casting for its production of Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind," the second show of its thirteenth season, which will run from September 13th to October 1st at the H&R Block City Stage in Union Station. The production will be directed by Cinnamon Schultz and will star Forrest Attaway, Hillary Clemens, Merle Moores, Gary Neal Johnson, Brian Paulette, Jan Rogge, Christina Schafer and Jake Walker. The production team includes Bret Engle (scenic designer), Bill Christie (properties designer), Gretchen Halle (costumer designer), Ashley Kok (lighting designer), Jonathan Robertson (sound designer), and Kyle Dyck (technical director). The production will also feature the original music of local band The Country Duo (Kasey Rausch & Marco Pascolini).

    "A Lie of the Mind" is the story of two families connected by marriage and an irreversible act of violence. It is a play marked by Shepard's measured humor, heart, and steady eye in examining humanity's potential for both compassion and destruction.

    Winner of the Drama Desk Award and The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play, "A Lie of the Mind" is generally considered to be among the greatest works of Shepard, who passed away at the age of 73 in July. "[He] was arguably one of the greatest American Playwrights of his time," says director and Kansas City Actors Theatre artistic board member Cinnamon Schultz. "In my opinion 'A Lie of the Mind' is his best, and it's extremely personal writing."

    Kansas City Actors Theatre is excited to feature this powerhouse collection of actors. "The story deserves eight gifted actors giving it their heart and soul," says Schultz. "When you combine words that come from the heart with the dedication and talent we've assembled here, it would give any director goosebumps."

    Performances will take place at Union Station's H&R Block City Stage. Previews start September 13th, opening night will be September 16th and performances will conclude on October 1st. Audience talk-backs will follow performances on September 17th, September 20th, and September 29th.

    Tickets are between $15 and $40 and are available by contacting the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at www.kcactors.org.


              ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 11        

    Hilary Gadsby

    QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle    
    Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-11-identity-problems-fan-principle : accessed 25 May 2016).

    The FAN Principle referred to in this lesson is looking at friends, associates and neighbours to help find information pertinent to the person we are researching.

    Common names can be a particular problem. I have the surnames SMITH and WARD in my husband's family and ROBERTS in mine.
    However some surnames can be a problem in particular localities as many are what we call locational surnames and were adopted from the place where the family lived when surname usage started.

    I have recently started a One Name study of the surname ROSLING and I shall use an example from this.
    The origins of the family I have been researching appear to be in Lincolnshire, England, as far as the current level of research in the UK has shown. 
    (My research is at an early stage and earlier records may uncover different origins as I am aware of this surname elsewhere in Europe and it could have been introduced to Lincolnshire from an early invasion)

    The name Peregrine Rosling would not be considered to be a difficult name to research as both first and surname are not common. However if you know the family the first name Peregrine is one that has been used by several generations.



    This shows the results of a general search for this name at Find My Past



    Peregrine Rosling born in Swinstead, Lincolnshire, England has been particularly problematic to follow.There are 2 persons who show on the census records with the same year and place of birth. 

    How do I distinguish who belongs to which family?


    I have looked at the other census records 



    This Peregrine has a wife Eliza who was born in Morton Lincolnshire and appears to be living in the same house with Ann and Edward Rosling could they be close relations.


    This Peregrine has a James Mettam widower living with him and his wife Elizabeth he is described as Father of Peregrine and Elizabeth was born in Swinstead. Was his wife Elizabeth Mettam?

    The registers held at Lincolnshire Archives have been scanned and digital images are now available to view on the Find My Past website.



    Looking at the Baptisms for the parish of Swinstead this is what I have found 
    Parish Baptism Register 1813-1871 Swinstead, Lincolnshire
    Page 18 No 143 13 Feb 1825 Peregrine son of Peregrine and Ann Rosling Swinstead Labourer
    Page 17 No 136 27 June 1824 Peregrine son of Robert and Sarah Rosling Swinstead Farmer

    So the first Peregrine could be the son of Peregrine and Ann Rosling?
    What was his wife's maiden name?

    It is likely that both marriages were registered in the Bourne registration district as all these birthplaces and residences are in this district.
    Fortunately Lincolnshire has had many of the marriages transcribed and the indexes can be downloaded. (This link may not be working but I have a copy I downloaded)

    I have extracted those of interest and they can be found here.

    So how do I confirm I have the correct Peregrine in each family as I now have 3 of them marrying in Swinstead within 10 years. Can I find the one who married in 1846 in the 1851 census and where his wife was born.


    So I have discovered the maiden name for each wife and where the wife was born. Each Peregrine had a father with a different first name so I can now have more confidence that I connect each of them and any descendants to the correct family.

    Spouse
    Birthplace of Spouse
    First name of Father
    Christening Date
    Name of Spouse Father
    Eliza
    Morton
    Peregrine
    13 Feb 1825
    Charles Wilson
    Elizabeth
    Swinstead
    Robert
    27 June 1824
    James Mettam
    Elizabeth Jane
    Castle Bytham
    William
    1820?
    Robert Glenn


    When I have done more work on my one name study I will be able to piece together more about how these families are related. The older Peregrine has not been found in the register of baptisms for Swinstead.

    I have started to explore other parish records for this area for information.
    Every piece of the puzzle is important to ensure we are looking at the right person in that record. 

    I have further work to do so that I can discover more about the family of Ann the wife of Peregrine and mother of the younger Peregrine. Having discovered her maiden name and birthplace I find there are at least 2 possibilities for her baptism. Determining who the possible siblings are and what happened to them may help me discover which baptism and family are most likely to be her. I suspect this will involve a lot more analysis of what the records show and I may need to work with unfamiliar records but understanding the importance of who is in the community will help me pull together the clues.


              ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 2        

    Hilary Gadsby

    QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof    
    Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-2-sources-vs-information-vs-evidence-vs-proof : accessed 18 March 2016).

    Only this last week in the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) I have been part of we were discussing Primary and Secondary sources. Primary being original, contemporary records and Secondary being hearsay and writings of others. However this classification may not truly reflect the nature of the source.
    Within a document information may exist which is first hand knowledge alongside other second hand or hearsay. Each piece of information and the assertion or claim that is made must be evaluated for its ability to be used as evidence supporting a proof.
    A strong proof is only as good as the building blocks, that is the evidence, that is used in its construction.




    In my example from Lesson 1 I had a person who I had gathered some information about and whom I suspected would be someone listed in the 1939 register. I set out with the intention of finding her to support the theory that she was still alive in 1939. If I found her I might also be able to ascertain more information about where she was living her date of birth and possibly who was living with her.

    Using the diagram above let us see what I have here.
    Source = Find my Past Website Index and scanned images of pages of the 1939 Register with some redaction.

    Evaluation = Original page as digital image, Index is a derivative created recently

    Information = Other than the address in 1939 the name, occupation and date of birth in the register are reliant on the veracity of the person giving the information, which should generally be the individual or a close relative, though it could be someone unrelated. The information about the date of birth cannot be primary as it is being recorded sometime after the date.

    Evidence = Whilst the information in the digital images can be used to form part of a proof none of it can be considered to be more than an assertion. We have no means of determining the absolute truth.
    Assertions from other sources may be combined with the ones from this source to build what we may call our current hypothesis, proof or conclusion. 
    Conflicting information should not be ignored but discussed in a proof statement or argument.

    In discovering the correct person in the register the analysis of the information supports what is already known. 
    The conclusions drawn should meet the genealogical proof standard. Should further research be needed, collecting the evidence together will allow us to interpret what we may need to find, to meet the requirement of thorough research.

    Whilst I endeavour to look at everything I find I may have not always been diligent. 
    Evidentia can help with this analysis and as I work through rebuilding my tree I will be using it to assist with building the evidence into a strong proof. It will at least provide me with some idea as to where the evidence is weak or if I need to look for more information.

    At each stage of processing a source and its contents we need to decide whether what we find is convincing, or may contain an error, and these considerations must be included in any discussion of the evidence we are using to support our conclusion.

    Nothing is absolute anything can contain an error which is why no single piece of evidence is enough to support our conclusions.





              Centre asks states to prepare for monsoon failure        
    Teaser: 
    Policy matters this week
    A community well (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

    Centre urges states to gear up for possible monsoon failure

    The agriculture ministry has ordered all the states and union territories to prepare themselves for a possible monsoon failure and operationalise their drought mitigation strategies. For this, the states and union territories have been permitted to earmark 25 percent of funds under centrally-sponsored schemes as flexi-funds for using them for the mitigation of natural calamities. Also, the ministry has allowed the states to expand the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in order to tackle loss of production in the event of a disaster.  

    Government rejects funds to Gujarat's SAUNI yojana

    On technical grounds, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has rejected the request to fund the Gujarat government's Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI). As per the CWC, the detailed project report for the scheme lacks key details in relation to technical feasibility. Along with expressing concerns about the Gujarat government's failure to consult Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and other concerned states, the CWC has also raised questions over the water storage calculation for the project. However, after getting rejected by the Centre, the state government has decided to fund the project on its own. 

    Ramgarh dam encroachment: HC notice to Rajasthan government

    The Rajasthan high court has issued notice to several authorities in the state against the encroachment on the catchment areas of the Ramgarh dam in Jaipur. In 2004, the court had ordered the state authorities to demarcate the catchment area of the Ramgarh dam and declare it a no-construction zone. Further to this notice in 2012, the court ordered to remove the encroachment on the catchment areas but no action has been taken in this regard; even the demarcation of the catchment areas is yet to be done. 

    Telangana to tackle its water crisis using four waters concept

    Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation (TWRDC) has launched the Jal Doots programme in which 50 volunteers of various NGOs will educate farmers, members of small help groups and gram panchayats across 600 villages in the state on various recharge and water harvesting structures. The basis of the programme is the ‘four water’ concept (ground, surface, soil moisture and rainwater) that aims to conserve each drop of water. The programme will encourage farmers to build soak pits at home, farm ponds in field and adopt various conservation methods like tank renovation, silt application and drip and sprinklers for irrigation.

    India ambitious to mine mineral wealth of the oceans

    The Ministry of Earth Sciences has decided to embark on the ambitious Deep Sea Mission. The project, worth Rs 10,000 crore, aims to explore and mine mineral wealth beneath the ocean floor. The project is expected to begin by the year-end in 2017. According to the ministry, the project would be beneficial to the country as it will provide deep ocean energy, deep sea fishing and minerals. 

    This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 8 - 14, 2017. Also, read the news this week.

     

    Languages: 
    Don't Show In All Article: 

              Now, Narmada is also a living entity        
    Teaser: 
    Policy matters this week
    Narmada river (Source: Wikipedia commons)

    Following Ganga and Yamuna, Narmada river also gets living entity status

    The Madhya Pradesh cabinet has passed a resolution declaring Narmada river as a living entity in order to control pollution, illegal mining on the river banks and to save the river from depletion. The conservation programme for the river has already been started and the government is planning to initiate the conservation of other rivers like Kshipra, Gambhir, Ken, Betwa and Kali Sindh with public participation soon. Also, considering the new status of the river, the state government will be drafting a bill for the Narmada river to ensure strict legal action against those polluting the river. 

    Fine of Rs 1 lakh for dumping e-waste near Ramganga: NGT

    The National Green Tribunal has announced a fine of Rs 1 lakh as compensation on those found dumping e-waste on the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. A committee has also been constituted to immediately remove the waste lying on the river bank and to submit a detailed report within two weeks. Also, it has come to the notice of the tribunal that the Ramganga river which is a tributary of the Ganga carries a BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) load of 128 tonnes per day and is heavily polluted due to the discharge from various industries. Moreover, the officials have turned a blind eye to the river's pollution and no action has been taken against the violators. 

    West Bengal government creates a hurdle to the success of Namami Gange

    The Namami Gange project is facing a roadblock as the West Bengal's chief minister Mamta Banerjee has refused to attend meetings to discuss riverfront development projects in the state under the Centre’s flagship programme. So far, no work has been initiated towards the riverfront development of Gangasagar, Belur and Dakshineswar due to the non-cooperation from the state. Along with this, the state government has shown apprehensions towards the linking of Manas-Sankaosh-Teesta-Ganga rivers that aims to benefit Assam, West Bengal and Bihar in irrigation, drinking water crisis and flood control. 

    Centre approves Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project 

    The Central Water Commission (CWC) has approved the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project worth Rs 30,000 crore that aims to utilise the Chambal river water for tackling drinking and irrigation requirements of 13 parched districts of the state. The 13 districts include Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Swai Madhopur, Baran, Jhalawar, Jaipur, Tonk, Dausa and Alwar. Following the CWC approval, the state government is planning to prepare a detailed project report in the coming weeks and will also seek national status for the project.

    SC notice to Kerala over maintenance work on Mullaperiyar dam

    With respect to the maintenance work on the Mullaperiyar dam, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Kerala government for creating hurdle in the repair works. The notice has been issued following a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government which has been given the right to maintain the dam while Kerala will take care of its security. The 120-year-old Mullaperiyar dam has been an issue of contention between both the states. In 2014, however, the Tamil Nadu government was allowed to raise its height to 152 feet after strengthening measures were taken on the dam.

    This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 2 - 7, 2017. Also, read the news this week.

     

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    Don't Show In All Article: 

              Now a human, Ganga receives its first legal notice        
    Teaser: 
    Policy matters this week
    Ganga near Gadmukteshwar (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

    After becoming a human entity, Ganga river receives first legal notice

    The Uttarakhand high court has issued the first legal notice to the Ganga river, which was accorded human status recently. The court has sought a response from the river for allowing construction of a trenching ground in its land in village Khadri Khadag without consulting the villagers. Along with the river, a notice has been issued to the union government, central and state pollution control boards and the Rishikesh municipality. The court has ordered the respondents to file a reply before May 8.

    Water conservation programme for Bundelkhand launched

    The water ministry has launched a water conservation programme for Bundelkhand for drought-prone areas in the region. Under the programme, the ministry has proposed to build thousands of percolation tanks, small check dams or nala bunds and recharge pits in both, the UP and MP regions of Bundelkhand. The programme aims to effectively improve groundwater conditions in stressed blocks of Bundelkhand, ensure sustainability of resource, participatory approach in groundwater management and institutional strengthening.

    Jharkhand-West Bengal water-sharing dispute: Centre to intervene

    An inter-state water dispute is arising between Jharkhand and West Bengal over sharing of water from four common river basins. The dispute is over the the 1978 water agreement which was signed between the undivided Bihar and West Bengal governments. While Jharkand has blamed its counterpart for not building dams on the river as promised, on the other hand West Bengal has refused to do so, citing the impacts the projects will have on its irrigation facilities. However, in order to resolve the matter, the central government will be helping the two states “re-do” the water-sharing agreement. 

    Odisha government decides to withdraw land allotted to POSCO

    The state industrial infrastructure development corporation (IDCO) has decided to withdraw the 1,880 acres of land allotted to POSCO to set up its 12 MTPA capacity steel plant and has also informed the South Korean company of the same. The state government and POSCO had signed an agreement to set up a steel plant worth Rs 52,000 crore but the project had to be stopped due to agitations from local villagers. However, there is news that the state government is planning to reallot the land to some other prospective investor.

    Provide potable water to mining-hit village: HC to Goa government

    The Bombay High Court has ordered the Goa government to ensure clean drinking water to villagers of Sonshi in North Goa's Sattari sub-district. Along with this, the court has also ordered the state to come up with a solution to pollution issues in the region caused by transportation of iron ore by trucks from mining leases. Earlier this month, the village was in the news after 45 residents were arrested for protesting against water pollution due to iron ore transportation.

    This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 25 - May 1, 2017. Also, read news this week.

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              The Labor Day Fire        
    A fire started today in Emerson Gulch, which is off of Four Mile Canyon and three-tenths of a mile south of Gold Hill, Colorado. According to my parents, who are currently 4 miles north of Ward, the winds have reached 70-80 mph blowing north-northeast. The Longmont Times-Call reports that a fire truck and three structures have burned so far. Gold Hill is being evacuated, along with fire crews.
    Here is a photo published by the Longmont Times-Call:



    Here are some photos of the foothills that I took in the last hour:




    Notice the contrast between the sky towards the Flatirons to the south and the sky northward. That wind is blowing pretty hard to keep the smoke from traveling south.


    I am currently quite involved in Gold Hill—apart from the friends who live there, I am conducting an oral history project on the Gold Hill community and I also work as a waitress at the Gold Hill Inn.


    Gold Hill is one of the most unique mountain communities in Colorado. Founded in 1859, it celebrated its sesquicentennial last year. The town is a National Register of Historic Places District, and it is an important cultural resource for the study of Colorado mining history.

    More than anything, Gold Hill is a place where the residents strive to maintain their sense of history and place. They run the Gold Hill School, which has been in operation since 1873, and the Gold Hill Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and maintaining the town's heritage. They have fought to keep their streets unpaved and their school open when the Boulder Valley School District sought to close it. Gold Hill residents spend their evenings at the Gold Hill Inn, where they play music and drink in the dining hall.

    The Gold Hill School, which serves residents of Gold Hill and Ward and teaches children k-5:


    The Gold Hill Inn (right) and the Bluebird Lodge (left):


    My recent history research is about how the Gold Hill community maintains and understands its heritage. As someone whose life is framed and punctuated by thoughts of history, and who believes that the study of history is essential to understanding humanity, the Gold Hill community's approach to heritage is especially heartening. And now we can only wait and see if this important cultural resource--this incredibly unique place--will survive. There is something particularly painful about the threat of annihilation to such a powerfully historic community.
              Cuneiform Writing        
    Inside the Cuneiform Writing EduKit

    Using a stylus and a plasticine tablet, students are introduced to ancient Mesopotamian writing. Activities include writing simple sentences in cuneiform and examining a reproduced ancient cuneiform tablet.

    Contents: 

    Cuneiform writing utensils, cuneiform tablet and student activity booklets.

    Level: 

    Junior
    Intermediate

    Best Grade Connections: 

    Grade 4

    Subject: 

    History
    Social Studies

    Available Languages: 

    English

    Case Category: 

    A - Mini

    Case Size Information: 

    46 cm x 38 cm x 16 cm

    Weight: 

    12 lbs

              EQUIPMENT FINANCING        
    Equipment financing




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    Not able to pay out cash is quite normal and generally the need to search out for an equipment finance company is the finest option. In searching for Equipment financing you will want to have a crystal clear understanding of what your business requires in the way of tools and equipment and how your cash flow will enable you to purchase it.


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