Daily Archives: November 17, 2012

Coldest Winter In 100 Years On Way

A severe bout of cold weather looks to be heading Britain’s way

express.co.uk | Nov 17,2012

By Nathan Rao

A severe bout of cold weather looks to be heading Britain’s way

BRITAIN will grind to a halt within weeks as the most savage freeze for a century begins.

Temperatures will fall as low as minus 20C in rural areas, forecasters warned last night, while heavy snow and “potentially dangerous” blizzards will close roads and cripple rail networks.

James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: “We are looking at some of the coldest and snowiest conditions in at least 100 years. This is most likely to occur in the December to January period with the potential for widespread major snowfall across the country.

“Parts of the North, Scotland and eastern England are likely to experience a run of well below average temperatures, which will include some potentially dangerous blizzard conditions at times.”

He warned the South faces a bout of “unusually heavy snowfall” in December.

Leon Brown, meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said snow could arrive as early as next weekend, with temperatures falling to minus 5C in the North.

“There is a 30 per cent risk of some snow over lower levels in Scotland on Friday.”

But before the big freeze arrives the problem will be torrential rain and strong winds gusting up to 80mph. The Met Office last night issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain in parts of the North-west on Monday and Tuesday.

FEMA shelters in northeast resemble police state prison camps

. . .
(NaturalNews) Doom, gloom and despair is growing in the Northeast in the weeks following Superstorm Sandy, as winter sets in with thousands of New Yorkers and New Jersey residents still reeling from the loss of their homes and property.

For many, the despair has grown into an intense anger, as tent cities set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency begin to resemble prison camps. Moreover, the aftermath of Sandy is a story the mainstream media is largely ignoring, unlike Hurricane Katrina. (http://www.alternet.org)

Stressed residents who spoke to the Asbury Park Press talked bitterly about the cold, harsh conditions in tent cities with Blackhawk helicopters buzzing overhead.

“Sitting there last night you could see your breath,” Brian Sotelo, a Seaside Heights resident who was at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River with his wife and three kids a half-hour before the shelter opened as superstorm Sandy approached last week, told the small press. “At (Pine Belt) the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive).”

This is where people start falling through the cracks

Sotelo is at a makeshift shelter that is called – ironically – “Camp Freedom.” But no one there feels free or secure – or comfortable.

“The elections are over and here we are. There were Blackhawk helicopters flying over all day and night. They have heavy equipment moving past the tents all night,” he said, an apparent reference to the difficulty he and his family – and other camp dwellers – have in trying to relax and get some rest.

Reported the paper: “Welcome to the part of the disaster where people start falling through the cracks.

. . .
FEMA Camp “Prison like” tent city NOW erected in NJ while NY considers turning jails into homes

We suppose the paper was lucky to get any interview at all; no media is allowed inside “Camp Freedom,” which also serves as a base of operations for power company workers who are not from the area. Until recently, the camp was also a shelter where first responders, construction and utility workers could take a break, though the compound now contains a full-time shelter that is being maintained by the state Department of Human Services.

During the interview with the Asbury Park Press, Sotelo scrolled through pictures he took inside the camp as his wife, Renee, huddled for warmth inside their late-model Toyota Corolla which was stuffed with personal belongings, as they drove through the snow and slush to talk about what they have been through. Images he showed the paper included lines of outdoor porta-potties, of snow and ice penetrating the bottom of a tent, and of an elderly woman sitting alone, huddling beneath a blanket.

“All the while, a black car with tinted windows crests the hill and cruises by, as if to check on the proceedings,” the paper reported.

‘Everybody is angry over here’

Sotelo said “residents” of the tent city have recently become so frustrated with their situation, they are doing all they can to let the outside world know – but are being thwarted at every turn by the powers that be.

For instance, he says, officials have tried to stop camp dwellers from taking pictures, turned off the WiFi and have told residents they can’t charge their cell phones due to a lack of power.

“My six-year-old daughter Angie was a premie and has a problem regulating her body temperature,” Sotelo said. “Until 11 (Wednesday) night they had no medical personnel at all here, not even a nurse. After everyone started complaining and they found out we were contacting the press, they brought people in.”

“Every time we plugged in an iPhone or something, the cops would come and unplug them. Yet when they moved us in they laid out cable on the table and the electricians told us they were setting up charging stations. But suddenly there wasn’t enough power,” he continued.

Sotelo said there was a foot of water in his home when he was forced to leave. Now, he wonders why he isn’t allowed to return.

“Everybody is angry over here. It’s like being in prison,” he said.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037977_FEMA_shelter_prison_camp_police_state.html#ixzz2CR0amP13

Obama’s ‘secret’ cyber security law may allow ‘military deployment within the U.S.’

rawstory.com | Nov 15, 2012

By Stephen C. Webster

. . .
The FOIA was filed in response to an article that appeared in The Washington Post this week, claiming that Obama issued a secret directive shortly before the elections that empowers the military to “vet any operations outside government and defense networks” for cyber security purposes.However, because the exact text of the directive remains a secret, nobody can really say exactly what it does. That was somewhat disconcerting to American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Michelle Richardson, who told Raw Story on Wednesday that without the text, “it’s hard to see what they mean.”

In their FOIA, EPIC attorneys Amie Stepanovich and Ginger McCall go even further, arguing that the directive is tantamount to the president issuing a “secret law” that may enable “military deployment within the United States” in order to vet network security at companies like AT&T, Facebook, Google and others. And indeed, the Post‘s article seems to substantiate that concern, explaining that the order will help “finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties.”

But that’s literally all anyone outside of the chain of command knows about this order, McCall told Raw Story Thursday afternoon. “We don’t know what’s in this policy directive and we feel the American public has the right to know.”

“The NSA’s cyber security operations have been kept very, very secret, and because of that it has been impossible for the public to react to them,” Stepanovich added. “[That makes it] very difficult, we believe, for Congress to legislate in this area. It’s in the public’s best interest, from a knowledge perspective and from a legislative perspective, to be made aware of what authority the NSA is being given.”

Such an order, reportedly issued last month, may have actually overridden Congress concerns amid a debate on cyber security. Senate Democrats failed on Wednesday to pass a cyber security bill that would have put the civilian-run Department of Homeland Security in charge of the nation’s cyber defenses instead of the military-run National Security Agency. Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill even though it had the support of 51 senators, in a move The New York Times described as “setting the stage” for executive action to safeguard the nation’s network infrastructure.

“Our concern is buttressed by an earlier FOIA request that we submitted, when [NSA Director] General Keith Alexander had been asked a few questions [during his confirmation hearing] that he did not answer publicly,” Stepanovich said. “He submitted answers in a private, classified supplement, which we also do not have publicly available. There was a question about the monitoring of private communication networks. Whatever answer he gave is not public, but it may implicate now what the NSA is attempting to do.”

DARPA looks to Android to control wearable, battlefield Predator Vision system

extremetech.com | Nov 16, 2012

By John Hewitt

Smartphones and tablets have been taking the military by storm. In short order they have proven that they can do a better job in many areas than special purpose systems, some of which have been under development for fifteen or more years. Now DARPA has issued a public proposal for the development of an Android-based system that can integrate multiple camera streams and send the processed data to helmet- or rifle-mounted displays, as well as to fellow combatants and central command centers.

Operating under codename PIXNET (Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization), the project includes a mandate to optimize size, weight, power, and cost, attributes (known as SWaP-C in military-speak). It also calls for the helmet- or weapon-mounted cameras to collect data across the entire visual and IR spectrum. Composite images are then to be created by fusing this data and delivering it to displays that can be viewed in direct sunlight or discreetly in darkness. Fused images with data overlays have been likened to “Predator Vision” from the famous science fiction movie.

Systems which additionally incorporate face recognition technology would allow ground troops to tag potential foes as hostile or neutral, and share the data with fellow troops on the network. New techniques from the frontiers of neuroscience and computer vision may additionally be used to automatically pick out threatening targets, reducing the mental strain on war fighters.


A few clues to creating hardware that is more SWaP-C were hinted at in the proposal. These include better designs for apertures, focal plane arrays, packaging, and materials science. The cost of the system has been prefigured at $3300.00 for a projected demand of 10,000 units per month. It is interesting to note that most of the basic building blocks for the technology exist and are in active use on the battlefield. The problem DARPA is facing can be summed up in one beastly word: noninteroperability. Most of the current hardware has dedicated functionality, operates in isolation of other instruments, and cannot effectively share data.

Having first looked to the iPhone 4S and iPad to address the problem with an odd set of adapters and apps, known as the Special Operations Apps/System for Optical Attachments, or [SOA]2 (pictured above), PIXNET is now looking to Android to solve the interoperability issue.

Exactly how this Predator Vision system is to integrate with existing army communication infrastructure is not made entirely clear. The 4th Brigade Combat Teams of the 10th Mountain Division presently in Afghanistan have, for example, brought along customized Android-powered Motorola Atrix devices. They are part of a communications program known as Nett Warrior. Troops will be able to transmit data in a series of relays using Rifleman radios connected to the Atrix devices. General Dynamics has also been recently tapped to furnish over 2,000 Nett Warrior radios to begin delivery in early 2013.

Rifle with Tablet mountCommercially available Ku-band Satcom has been commonly used by the army for real-time data and video communications. It can provide voice-over-IP, dynamic IP, and videoconferencing, as well as access to classified and unclassified networks. It appears that dedicated satellite communications will always be required for longer range communication, backup, and security in the absence of commercial coverage, but the on-board radios in Android devices may eventually be utilized at least for local communications. Apps written to use the smartphone’s radio should be easier to upgrade and transfer to new Android hardware as it is deployed in the field.


The old model in which the military obtains its instruments under the oversight of decades-long projects is now almost entirely gone. The new model is using off-the-shelf components which can work together and be easily replaced. The public sector has long benefited through spin-off of military technology (see: Changing the world: DARPA’s top inventions), and this trend is likely to continue into the smartphone age, only now both sides will be working with greater cooperation to drive the state-of-art forward.