an exercise in miscellany

Archive for the ‘technology & innovatons’ Category

East India Company

In history, technology & innovatons on July 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

eastindia1aThe East India Company (also known as the East India Trading Company, English East India Company, and after the Treaty of Union, the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China. The Company was granted an English Royal Charter, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies, the largest of which was the Dutch East India Company. After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honorable East India Company, and abbreviated, HEIC; the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company, and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahādur, “brave”/”authority”).

via East India Company

Project Oxcart

In operations and projects, technology & innovatons, wild card on April 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

a-12-oxcartThe Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by Lockheed‘s famed Skunk Works, based on the designs of Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. The A-12 was produced from 1962 to 1964, and was in operation from 1963 until 1968. The single-seat design, which first flew in April 1962, was the precursor to both the twin-seat U.S. Air Force YF-12 prototype interceptor and the famous SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft’s final mission was flown in May 1968, and the program and aircraft retired in June of that year. Officially secret for over 40 years, the A-12 program began to be declassified by the CIA in 2007.

Lockheed A-12

Parkinson’s Law

In technology & innovatons, wild card on March 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

doc literaly bound in red tapeParkinson’s law is the adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as part of the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

The current form of the law is not that which Parkinson refers to by name in the article. Rather, he assigns to the term a mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Much of the essay is dedicated to a summary of purportedly scientific observations supporting his law, such as the increase in the number of employees at the Colonial Office while Great Britain‘s overseas empire declined. He explains this growth by two forces: “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and  “Officials make work for each other.” He notes in particular that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done”.

via Parkinson’s Law

Operation Shady Rat

In operations and projects, technology & innovatons on December 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm

operation-shady-rat “Operation Shady RAT”–a years-long campaign of hacking and cyber-espionage that’s targeted the U.S. government, the U.N., the International Olympic Committee, and numerous other agencies and corporations worldwide.

So far, most of the evidence gathered seems to point to China as the likely perpetrator behind Shady RAT. But the U.S. and the West also have other potential cyber-enemies to be wary of. Here’s a breakdown of the five most likely parties with the resources and the will to carry out similar campaigns.

via 5 Potential Cyber-Enemies

Memex

In history, technology & innovatons on October 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

The memex (a portmanteau of “memory” and “index”) is the name of the hypothetical proto-hypertext system that Vannevar Bush described in his 1945 The Atlantic Monthly article “As We May Think” (AWMT).

Bush envisioned the memex as a device in which individuals would compress and store all of their books, records, and communications, “mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.” The memex would provide an “enlarged intimate supplement to one’s memory”. The concept of the memex influenced the development of early hypertext systems (eventually leading to the creation of the World Wide Web) and personal knowledge base software.

via Memex

Swarm Intelligence

In technology & innovatons, words & phrases on April 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

Swarm intelligence (SI) is the collective behaviour of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial. The concept is employed in work on artificial intelligence. The expression was introduced by Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang in 1989, in the context of cellular robotic systems.

SI systems are typically made up of a population of simple agents or boids interacting locally with one another and with their environment. The inspiration often comes from nature, especially biological systems. The agents follow very simple rules, and although there is no centralized control structure dictating how individual agents should behave, local, and to a certain degree random, interactions between such agents lead to the emergence of “intelligent” global behavior, unknown to the individual agents. Natural examples of SI include ant colonies, bird flocking, animal herding, bacterial growth, and fish schooling.

The application of swarm principles to robots is called swarm robotics, while ‘swarm intelligence’ refers to the more general set of algorithms. ‘Swarm prediction’ has been used in the context of forecasting problems.

via Swarm intelligence

Parasocial Interaction

In technology & innovatons, words & phrases on March 15, 2012 at 6:22 am

Parasocial interaction (or para-social relationship) is a term used by a social scientist to describe one-sided, “parasocial” interpersonal relationships in which one party knows a great deal about the other, but the other does not. The most common form of such relationships are one-sided relations between celebrities and audience or fans.

via Parasocial interaction

Superdollar

In technology & innovatons, wild card on January 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

A superdollar (also known as a superbill or supernote) is a very high quality counterfeit United States one hundred-dollar bill, alleged by the U.S. Government to have been made by an unknown organization or government. Various groups have been suspected of creating such notes, and international opinion on the origin of the notes varies. The U.S. Government believes that these notes are most likely being produced in North Korea. Other possible sources include Iran or criminal gangs operating out of China. The name derives from the fact that the quality of the notes exceeds that of the originals. Some have estimated that 1 in 10,000 bills is a counterfeit of the quality ascribed to supernotes.

via Superdollar

Fusion center

In technology & innovatons on September 19, 2011 at 7:22 am

fusion center is a terrorism prevention and response center, many of which were created under a joint project between the Department of Homeland Security and theUS Department of Justice‘s Office of Justice Programs between 2003 and 2007. They have been criticized for Mission Creep, and linked to violating the Civil Liberties of law abiding citizens. The fusion centers gather information not only from government sources, but also from their partners in the private sector. They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), Department of JusticeUS Military and state and local level government. As of July 2009, the Department of Homeland Security recognized at least seventy-two fusion centers. One such fusion center has been involved with spying on anti-war and peace activists as well as anarchists in Washington State.  Fusion centers may also be affiliated with an Emergency Operations Center that responds in the event of a disaster. State and local police departments provide both space and resources for the majority of fusion centers. The analysts working there can be drawn from DHS, local police, or the private sector. A number of fusion centers operate tip hotlines and also invite relevant information from public employees, such as sanitation workers or firefighters

via Fusion center

Esperanto

In technology & innovatons, words & phrases on August 27, 2011 at 11:12 am

Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (Esperanto translates as ‘one who hopes’), the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, theUnua Libro, in 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages.

via Esperanto