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Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:50 PM PST

GBCW -- Signing Off

by Dry Observer

Please delete my account here at Daily Kos.

Thank you in advance.


Random Hacks of Kindness, a grassroots effort of problem solvers looking to find powerful-yet-inexpensive solutions to major problems, is now underway worldwide. Originally brought together in 2009 by the combined resources of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank, RHoK draws from a very deep pool of talent beyond those founding organizations.

"RHoK works by bringing together experts in development and volunteers with a broad set of skills in software development and design. The goal is to produce practical open source solutions to development problems." CNN covers the latest gatherings here.

The open-source movement is best known for its work in assembling major software projects (such as Linux). But open-source advocates have become increasingly involved in trying to solve practical, real-world problems beyond the field of software alone -- for example, the OpenFarmTech project, which strives to put open-source designs for all major farm and manufacturing devices into the public's hands, so that "the means of production" can be owned by all.

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

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In my last article on the intelligence coup scored against the al Qaeda network, I pointed out that many of its members could be turned into de facto agents and informants for the United States... without their cooperation or even their knowledge. The U.S. Government's ability simply to track the movements and actions of individuals is incredibly formidable -- assuming its intelligence and law-enforcement organizations know who to track and where to find them.

Obviously, the intel in that 2.7 terabytes of data is probably vast and incredibly significant, giving American forces an overabundance of potential surveillance targets. But the technology already available for tracking "persons of interest" has improved dramatically, as can be seen in this Wired article -- covering technologies from tracking scents to quantum dots.

I should point out that the linked article only covers a handful of potential ways to track an individual. A host of other methods exist, ranging from traditional techniques to other cutting-edge options not normally associated with police or spy work.

Rest assured, the people tracking al Qaeda are familiar with most if not all of these tools, and if they are not using all of them... it is only because too much of the network is folding up (or becoming utterly compromised) too fast.


From my blog, Future Imperative:
As the death of Osama bin Laden sinks in around the world, attention has focused on the 2.7 terabytes of data recovered in the assault. One terabyte being roughly 2,000 hours worth of video or 220 million pages of text, these de facto archives seem significant.

Although analysts have remarked on the value this intelligence could represent, even given some duplication of files and redundant material, outside observers may have made some inaccurate assumptions about how valuable these records really are.

While normally information about cells, agents, leadership and couriers would normally be incredibly important, especially on this scale, there is another factor in play beside which these details, while still critical, seem to pale.

This would be... the donor list.

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Alright. Not all of the JODI numbers totaling oil production for January, 2011 are in yet, but the OPEC numbers are.

Those numbers are not good.

JODI indicates that OPEC's production dropped from 30,342,000 barrels of crude oil in December, 2010 to 27,926,000 barrels in January, 2011 -- a fall of roughly 8% in one month.

Now, the good news is that OPEC's December production numbers were apparently revised in the last month, showing a slight improvement over their November numbers, instead of a slight decline.

The very, very bad news is...

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A study has found that acetylated resveratrol can protect cells exposed to radiation and help prevent death. Resveratrol can be found in many places, including your local health food or drugstore, but I am not sure how or in what dose you would combine it with acetyl if you were trying to duplicate these effects.

Would n-acetyl-cysteine work? Acetyl-l-carnatine?

I have no idea. Be advised.

But given how many of the world's nuclear plants are built in earthquake zones, or are otherwise threatened by everything from major civil disorder to rising sea levels, this seems to be information well worth knowing. And the question I raised above, well worth answering.

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Japan, as is becoming increasingly clear, is facing an incredible crisis as one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, followed by a massive tsunami, has led to critical damage to several reactors in the quake-stricken region, including as many as three reactor meltdowns and a risk to several hundred thousand spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Meanwhile, in seemingly unrelated economic news, high-risk national bonds sold by a number of European economies are now rolling over and have to be refinanced, in spite of the fact that a few of the countries offering them appear to be on the verge of bankruptcy and that the Japanese government -- the main buyer at the last round of European national-debt sales -- will now need to sell a great many assets, such as bonds, to deal with its staggering problems at home.

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Please don't panic.

But in light of the National Emergency President Obama just declared with regards to Libya, there's a bit more to be said.

First, probably the most responsible thing governments can be doing right now, before all else, is making sure that crops get planted in the Northern Hemisphere before any large agricultural producers can be truly rattled by sharp changes in oil's price or availability. If they are working behind the scenes to do this, well, good for them.

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I've been weighing the figures discussed here and here on my site, and have come up with at least one slightly more positive interpretation of the Saudi numbers -- not enough to avert the main threat if the 14% drop in global output in the month of December is both real and in any way sustained, but enough to perhaps change the options for at least some nations going forward.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been quoted as saying, in effect, that he has ordered some new finds kept in the ground for the sake of his nation's children and their future.

 While I am not entirely convinced that such a significant Saudi shortfall as 4.9% in one month is simply being "kept in the ground" any more than it was entirely consumed by the Saudi people, the dire global oil situation suggests one strong possibility other than a catastrophic collapse in the nation's production.

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Something (now edited) I wrote on another forum in reply to a comment on my oil-production post discussing the figures put out by OPEC, the UN, APEC, the IEA and others indicating a 14% drop in worldwide oil production in the month of December alone...

"This has got to be a typo, this much drop in output."

I really, really hope so.

But again, I wouldn't bet my life on it.

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Seven international organizations, including the International Energy Agency, APEC, the United Nations Statistics Division and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), have been keeping public data on global oil production and exports in the name of transparency in this strategic industry. They call this effort the  Joint Organisations Data Initiative  or JODI. The last set of figures they published said some very disturbing things.

As noted by  Bloomberg News , the first thing they noted was that in the month of December, 2010, OPEC's exports dropped 2% as the result of a 4.9% drop in exports by Saudi Arabia. Word was put that the shortfall was entirely the result of a rise in internal demand. Yet that is a staggering rise in demand for only one month's time. However much Saudi demand impacted their monthly exports, most of that fall was almost certainly the result of a drop in their overall oil production.

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Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:07 PM PST

Because the Future Is Coming Fast

by Dry Observer

I am reactivating this Future Imperative  site  for a number of reasons, but most importantly because the future itself seems even more pressing, more imminent and more radical than it did five years ago. There are many powerful forces at work in the world today, and this blog will be looking more and more at the currents that are seemingly invisible, but which can rise up like a surfer's wave or shift into a deadly riptide. And unlike the tides you find at the seashore, these powers are neither charted nor widely understood.

Indeed, many people do not even realize some of them exist. This blog will be about more than just enumerating the problems, however, but ways they can best be dealt with. But in order to meet these challenges, we must first know that they exist, be able to take their measure.

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