U.S. Navy Recruits Gamers to Help in Piracy Strategy

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Published: 18 May 2011,  07:15

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Navy is turning to the wisdom of the crowd to forge military strategy, inviting the public to join an online game in which Somali pirates have hijacked commercial ships.

The Office of Naval Research plans this month to launch theU.S. military’s first online war game to draw on the ideas of thousands of people instead of the traditional strategy session held inside the Pentagon’s offices.

The approach “is designed to produce ideas and potential solutions to our toughest problems and challenges,” Lawrence Schuette, director of innovation at Office of Naval Research, told AFP.

“Piracy off the Horn of Africa has been an enduring problem that has many stakeholders. We selected this topic for the pilot scenario,” Schuette said.

The scheduled starting date for the project had to be delayed by a month as about 9,000 people have signed up, instead of the 1,000 that planners expected, officials said.

The Navy hopes the project will take advantage of a wide range of expertise not only from military officers but also academics, politicians and technology specialists, he said.

Exert:  Read more at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6541908&c=SEA&s=TOP

Tengu says: OK all you geeks! Stop drooling!

Nobody is going to get to take out a skiff filled with pirates using a 50 cal. machine gun remotely controlled from their X-box – not yet anyhow, but this article offers food for thought on a number of levels.

First and foremost, it is a long overdue attempt to tap into the imaginations and creativity of the vast numbers of gamers out there, most of whom have very little in the way of credentials, academic or otherwise, but who eat, drink, sleep and live gaming, and who can be sure to have come up with ideas that would never occur to a conventional naval war planner.

It goes almost without saying that the vast majority of those ideas will be unworkable, impractical, illegal, immoral or all of the above – but some of them won’t be, and when those are found, cleaned up and put to practical use, interesting things are bound to happen.

Then there is the point of cyberspace as a war-fighting medium, which apparently is not getting anywhere near the level of serious consideration in the United States as it is in China, North Korea and apparently quite a few other countries.

Just how seriously is theUnited Statestaking the threat of cyber-war? Does anyone know?

We can hope that they are taking it extremely seriously, and we are just not hearing about the successes, but I fear that is simple wishful thinking. The apparent ease at which US Department of Defense computers have been penetrated, and the massive amounts of data that have been and are being swiped, leads me to believe that we are definitely on or ahead of the power curve — and that needs to change.

Part of the reason we are not, in my massively humble opinion, is that we are not, nor have we ever (to the best of my knowledge) made proper use of our vast numbers of stay-at-home, pimple-faced, chicken-necked, coke-bottle-glasses GEEKS – many of whom would break into a sweat lifting anything heavier than a glass of Pepsi, but who are absolute Titans at hacking, slashing, cyber-burning, etc.

OK, not totally. A Strategy Page story from Jan. 20, 2011 states, in part, “The American government has provided $30 million dollars for hackers seeking to create software that will enable people to evade Internet surveillance and censorship.”

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20110120.aspx

Now, that’s a step in the right direction, but it is a long way from the kind of attack dog mode we need to combat the aggressive cyber-warriors of our potential enemies and thereby do unto them, before they do unto us.

What we need is a new uniformed service branch (and won’t the geeks have fun designing their uniforms) that will focus on, plan for and be prepared to wage full-fledged cyber-based warfare. Once it’s in place, we should track down the most nasty, malignant, tricky hackers we can find, and sign them up! In other words, pay them to piss out of the tent instead of in it.

Oh sure… there will be a lot of problems at first, and riding herd on a bunch of cyber warriors is bound to be harder than herding cats. But it’s something that needs to be done!

Tokyo Tengu 

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Muslims file suit over antiterror investigation (Japan)

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A group of 14 Muslims has filed suit against the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments, demanding 154 million yen in compensation for violations of privacy and religious freedom after police antiterrorism documents containing their personal information were leaked onto the Internet.

The lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court accused the Metropolitan Police Department and the National Police Agency of systematically gathering their personal information, including on religious activities and relationships, merely because they are Muslims.

The lawsuit also alleged that after the information was leaked last October, the MPD failed to take sufficient action to prevent its spread.

In late November, a Tokyo-based publisher released a book carrying the leaked documents.

After the leak, “The plaintiffs were presumed to be international terrorism suspects. They were forced to leave their jobs and live apart from their families,” the petition filed Monday at the court claimed.

The MPD has said it is highly likely the leaked documents included internal information from its Public Security Bureau, and has been investigating the leak on suspicion of obstruction of police operations since December.

At a Monday press conference in Tokyo, one plaintiff said: “It’s been six months since the leak, but there’s been no [official police] apology. I haven’t been able to see my family and my life is full of anxiety.”

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110517004955.htm

This will fly… just like a lead toolbox.  

Every now and then, in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, Muslims in Japan or their sympathizers have tried to play the victim card that has been used so successfully in the United States and Europe, only to find out that the Japanese people (as a whole) are totally indifferent to their bruised feelings and tender sensibilities, and that their “rights” as foreign residents are nowhere near as comprehensive as they are in Western countries.

I expect this will get tied up in the lower courts for several months, causing the plaintiffs enormous legal fees, but essentially going nowhere, while at the same time it will be ignored by 90% of  the Japanese news media and public. They might eventually get a token settlement (three to five years from now) which will then be appealed, but even that is unlikely.

Do the Japanese police keep a close eye on Muslims here?  You better believe they do — with the full approval of  virtually the entire nation, I might add.  In fact, I am wondering whether the “leak” that resulted in this suit was intentional — aimed at letting the Muslims in Japan know just how closely they are watched.

That, I believe, would be a typically indirect Japanese way of putting pressure on the community as a whole, and thus encourage them to shun dangerous activists.

Tengu Times

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OK Gentlemen! Here’s your chance!!!

Japan: Great disaster prompts more women to seek marriage(needs a sturdy hubby
Asahi Shimbun  | 05/15/11 | Chikako Numata and Misako Yamauchi. 

 Great East Japan Earthquake prompts more women to seek marriage

A growing number of (Japanese) singles, particularly women in urban areas, are scrambling to find marriage partners after the country’s worst natural disaster in postwar years has forced them to think about their lifestyles and the future.

“I am more worried about my future and now realize how important it is to have a family,” a 30-year-old female company employee in Tokyo said. “I want to form a bond with others.”

The woman said her experiences after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake spurred her to rethink her lifestyle. It took her six hours to walk to her apartment on the night of the quake after the trains and subways stopped, and she had trouble falling asleep amid the subsequent aftershocks.

So, the woman signed up for a matchmaking service during the Golden Week holidays earlier this month.

(Excerpt) Read more at asahi.com …

Tengu says:

The  Great East Japan Earthquake was the most significant event to occur in this nation since the end of World War II, and the social ramifications are going to be felt for many decades to come.

Perhaps it took a disaster of this magnitude to shake the 30-some generation out of its comfortable apathetic existence.  

One thing is absolutely certain — there is going to be a baby boom in Japan beginning around the middle of next January.

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The journey of a thousand miles, etc…

Chinese Carrier Lacks Fighters

Chinese

By David Axe

May 5, 2011

As noted by Douglas Paal here over the weekend, in recent weeks, the Chinese navy has taken big steps toward deploying its first aircraft carrier, underscoring the nation’s rapid ascent as a world power. Twelve years after Beijing purchased the incomplete Russian aircraft carrier Varyag, the 60,000-ton vessel — renamed Shi Lang— is reportedly on track to begin sea trials this summer. Shi Lang‘s first planes are nearly ready, too. In late April, the first J-15 fighter, an unlicensed copy of the Russian Su-33, appeared in navy colours.

A seaworthy vessel and operational naval fighters will provide the backbone of the Chinese navy’s evolving carrier force. But they are not, in themselves, adequate for a useful carrier force. Leaving aside the huge manpower, planning and logistical demands of a modern aircraft carrier, there are additional hardware needs that China hasn’t yet met.

— Snip —

Read more at:

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/05/05/chinese-carrier-lacks-key-aircraft/

 Tengu says…

Over the last several years, there have been a number of stories about the imminent arrival of the Shi Lang – if indeed that is the name the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) eventually gives her – on the world’s oceans.  And, with tiresome predictability, many of my fellow United States Navy veterans scoff and jeer at the idea of a Chinese-operated aircraft carrier, gleefully predicting doomsday scenarios as the PLAN aviators master the difficult techniques necessary for taking off and landing on a ship at sea, as well as the thousands of other lessons that must be learned before a ship and crew mesh in harmony into a fully operational weapons system.

Surprisingly, one of the reasons for their ridicule is that it has taken the Chinese so long to get the Shi Lang out of port and onto the high seas, with the unspoken assumption being that they are not making a serious effort, and that even if she somehow does manage to sail, she will do so badly and be vexed with the same problems that have plagued her putative sister ship, the Russian Navy’s Admiral Kutnezsov.

If anyone reading this article harbors opinions like these, I suggest that it’s time to wake up and smell the jet exhaust.

The PLAN is serious.  They have money, they have national backing, they have patience, and what they can’t invent or buy, their spies have proven very capable of stealing.  In the nine years that have past since the ex-Varag arrived at the Dalian Naval Shipyard, the PLAN has been working slowly but steadily on rebuilding the vessel from the inside out.

Once commissioned, it’s going to be more of the same. I foresee very limited actual operational deployments for the ship initially, although there will be some. She is going to be a training ship and a test bed for equipment and doctrine, at least for the first couple years, but once they shake out the bugs, she will be a potent addition to the Chinese military presence inSoutheast Asia, theIndian Oceanand off the coast ofAfrica.

But that is just the beginning. Within the next three years, I expect to see the three to five hulls based roughly on the Shi Lang laid down, and those ships will be built much quicker. They will probably include some interesting ideas that we haven’t thought of, or didn’t consider workable.

For example, one of the limiting factors in the ski-jump configuration of the Shi Lang (as well as a number of other smaller carriers) is that it relies solely on aircraft engine power to launch aircraft, which limits takeoff weight and is unsuitable for anything but nimble fighter type aircraft. Accordingly, I foresee that in the follow-on ships, at least one steam or electromagnetic catapult will be installed, possibly two, to give them the ability to launch tankers and Airborne Early Warning and Command (AEW&C) aircraft.

In addition, I will go further out on the limb and say I expect the Chinese to experiment heavily with rocket assisted take-off (RATO) packs on the Shi Lang, both to boost in-flight endurance and to increase the amount of ordnance they can get into the air.

It’s interesting to note that, until the F/A-18, the USN scoffed at the strike fighter concept, even though the F-4 had proved that it was possible for an aircraft to do both fighter and attack roles as far back as the Vietnam era, but with the limited hanger and flight deck space available on the Shi Lang, it’s a certainty that is what they will adopt. And, while it remains to be seen if the J-15 is going to be sufficiently adaptable for that role, if can be adapted, it will be.

At the bottom line, I do not think that we should make any judgments about how good/bad the PLAN is going to be at carrier operations based on how bad the Russians have been. The Chinese are clever, industrious, hard working –and their shipyard workers and sailors are not addicted to vodka bottles.

They’re going to be a long time learning the ropes, but they WILL learn the ropes. You can take that to the bank.

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Want to cut your own throat? – Support Unions

In the News Columns section of the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman takes on the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over last month’s heavy-handed attempt to force Boeing to open a second Dreamliner Line in Washington State – rather than in South Carolina where they have already spent $1 billion building a plant, and plan to hire about 1000 non-union workers.

You can read his piece here.  It’s quite interesting:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-oped-0515-chapman-20110515,0,1660164.column

Chapman covers all the points about why Boeing made that decision – which I think is completely rational and will ultimately prevail at the Supreme Court level – so I won’t recap all his points here.  I will say, however, that it is becoming increasingly obvious that unions themselves and their role in free societies needs to be reexamined.

Let me be clear on this, however, I am not anti union per-se.  Organized labor almost always starts from real needs and good intentions.  It is the nature of human beings to be greedy, and it is a virtual certainty that any company that is not watched carefully will eventually end up under the control of unethical people who will do whatever they can to maximize their profits, regardless who or what gets hurt in the process.

Yet no one seems to realize that the same point holds true for the greedy people that manage to gain power in the unions themselves, or realize that as soon as a union gets big enough to require a paid staff to manage its affairs, its purpose inevitably shifts from representing the workers and instead becomes ensuring its own survival and growth.

A wise man once noted that “whenever you have people who are paid to feed the poor, you will have people who will not be paid if there are no poor people to feed.” If you change the words just a little bit, you can come up with a sentence that makes every bit as much sense.  “Whenever you have people who are paid to fight management in the defense of workers, you will have people who will not be paid if there is nothing to fight about – so they always manage to find something.”

And boy-howdy do they! The IAM has managed to shut down Boeing five times since 1977, including a 58-day walkout in 2008 that cost the company more than $1.8 billion. This despite the fact that Europe’s Airbus has made massive inroads into what was once a totally American market and the Chinese are dead serious about breaking into international air travel as well.

Now maybe I am being a bit cynical here, but I very seriously doubt that the issues Boeing’s machinists went to the picket lines for warranted those strikes and their intendment damage to the company.  An aviation machinist’s lot may not be a carefree dance through the marigold fields, but it’s scarcely the grimy sweatshop environment of yesteryear either.

Nevertheless, the demands keep coming.  Better pay, more vacation time, better this, more that – each presented by the unions to the workers as life-or-death, line-in-the-sand, absolutely make-or-break must haves, because without a carefully maintained sense of crisis and conflict between workers and management, the workers might wise up and wonder just why the hell they need a union!

You’d think that maybe a little light would go off in people’s heads when Richard Branson of  Virgin Atlantic Airways said flat out “If union leaders and management can’t get their act together to avoid strikes, we’re not going to come back here again.”

Er… nope!

Well, I gather management is trying, hence their decision to open the second 787 line in a “right-to-work” state when the unions flatly refused to consider a no strike agreement.

This brings us to last month’s decision last month by the NLRB to collaborate with the IAM in charging  that Boeing’s decision violated the rights of union workers in Washington. However, when viewed through cynical eyes it’s completely obvious what is actually at stake.

You see, despite the fact that not one single union worker would be losing his or her job in Washington due to the opening of the South Carolina line (indeed, Boeing has hired more than 2,000 workers in Seattle since the decision to open the second Dreamliner line), union commissars and apparatchiks are in total panic over the idea of well-paid, well-treated machinists and aerospace workers operating a line in a state where they would not be required to cough up a significant portion of their hard-earned money to union coffers.

Look at Detroit!  The American automobile industry is in total shambles and the blame for that can be laid directly at the feet of the United Auto Workers (UAW) who made it impossible for American-made vehicles to compete – not only with imports, but with American-produced foreign brands assembled in “right-to-work” states.

The UAW killed Detroit.  Motown is no mo!

The IAM just might manage to kill off the American aircraft manufacturing industry the same way because if it becomes unprofitable for an industry to build their product in one location, they really have only two alternatives.  They can either shut down, or they can move somewhere else.

If the IAM and the NLRB do manage to keep the South Carolina line from opening, I would not be surprised in the slightest if Boeing starts investigating the possibility of opening a subsidiary overseas.  Say inJapan, maybe?

Think it won’t happen?  I’m not so sure.  If I was an official of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), I would be looking very carefully at ways to entice Boeing into setting up shop there.

In the aftermath of this year’s  Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan’s industrial sector is in turmoil, but the nation still has vast numbers of hardworking, well-educated machinists, a sound industrial base and a proven reputation for producing high quality products.  You can also bet that the Japanese government would fall all over itself to offer choice locations with alluring tax breaks.

And, while labor costs would not be significantly lower than in the United States, and may actually be higher in some cases, Japanese workers are not stupid enough to cut their own throats by walking off the job for a few nice-to-have goodies when their entire industry and thus future livelihood is in peril.

Think about it.

Tengu Times


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IMF Head Arrested Over Hotel Sex Attack

Slate | May14, 2011 | Daniel Politi
Sun May 15 2011 17:04:10 GMT+0900 (Tokyo Standard Time)

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was pulled from an airplane moments before it was supposed to depart and was being questioned Saturday night regarding a sexual assault against a hotel maid. Strauss-Kahn, a likely French presidential candidate, was removed from the first-class section of a Paris-bound Air France flight at JFK airport in New York and was taken into custody. He has not been charged but formal charges are expected to be filed Sunday morning. “He is being arrested for a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment,” according to a New York Police Department spokesman.

-snip-

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/05/14/imf_sex_attack_dominique_strauss_kahn_arrested_over_maid_assault.html

Europeans are so sophisticated…  Tengu

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Tengu 天狗 Merry Pranksters of the spirit world (among others)

Tengu = Japanese hiragana pronunciation of TENGU, the Slayer of Vanity
Tengu
TENGU
The Slayer of Vanity

Origins:  India + China + Japan

Tengu 天狗 are mountain and forest goblins with both Shinto and Buddhist attributes. Their supernatural powers include shape-shifting into human or animal forms, the ability to speak to humans without moving their mouth, the magic of moving instantly from place to place without using their wings, and the sorcery to appear uninvited in the dreams of the living.

The patron of martial arts, the bird-like Tengu is a skilled warrior and mischief maker, especially prone to playing tricks on arrogant and vainglorious Buddhist priests, and to punishing those who willfully misuse knowledge and authority to gain fame or position. In bygone days, they also inflicted their punishments on vain and arrogant samurai warriors. They dislike braggarts, and those who corrupt the Dharma (Buddhist Law).

The literal meaning of Tengu is “Heaven 天” and “Dog 狗.” In Chinese mythology, there is a related creature named Tien Kou (Tiangou 天狗), or “celestial hound.” The name is misleading, however, as the crow-like Tengu looks nothing like a dog. One plausible theory is that the Chinese Tien Kou derived its name from a destructive meteor that hit China sometime in the 6th century BC. The tail of the falling body resembled that of a dog, hence the name and its initial association with destructive powers.

Read more  at:

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/tengu.shtml

And that’s all cool… BUT

Tengu was a screen-name before there were even screens.  Letters, memos, posters and other amusing tidbits bearing the 天狗 signature were the bane of Imperial bureaucrats of bye-gone days.  They poked fun at pompous bosses.  Jeered at stupid policies. Laughed at the amusing news of the day… and generally helped the working stiffs to keep their sanity in a manner not unfamiliar  to anyone who has worked for any large organization.

Let’s see if I can keep up the tradition!

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