an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Operation Popeye

In history, wild card on September 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

popeye-the-sailor-coloring-page07-source_7glOperation Popeye (Project Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a US military cloud seeding operation (running from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972) during the Vietnam war to extend the monsoon season over Laos, specifically areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation seeded clouds with silver iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful. The 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron carried out the operation to “make mud, not war.”

via Operation Popeye

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

Streisand Effect

In people, places, wild card on January 31, 2013 at 10:02 am

Streisand_Estate

The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.

Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters, to suppress numbers, files and websites. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.

Mike Masnick of Techdirt coined the term after Streisand, citing privacy violations, unsuccessfully sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for US$50 million in an attempt to have an aerial photograph of her mansion removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs. Adelman said that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the government sanctioned and commissioned California Coastal Records Project. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially; more than 420,000 people visited the site over the following month.

via Streisand effect

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

Luddite

In history, people, wild card on June 2, 2012 at 6:53 am

The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanized looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, that replaced them with less-skilled, low-wage labor, and which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. Eric Hobsbawm called machine wrecking: “collective bargaining by riot”. It had been used in Britain since the Restoration as, due to the scattering of manufactures throughout different regions, large-scale strikes were impractical.The movement was named after Ned Ludd, a youth who had allegedly smashed two stocking frames thirty years earlier, and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers.

via Luddite

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

Project Rainbow

In operations and projects on October 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

Project Rainbow was the name given by the CIA to a research project aimed at reducing the radar cross section of the Lockheed U-2 to reduce the chance that it would be detected and tracked by Soviet radars during its overflights of the USSR.  A large number of people had become aware of Project RAINBOW. To reduce the spread of information about the follow-on, the work was moved into a new project. Called “GUSTO,” only those with a need to know were cleared into it. The end result of GUSTO would be the Lockheed A-12 OXCART.

Project Rainbow