Daily Digest 2/3 - Raging Against The Robots, Drone Home
Operation Delirium (Chris M.)
Ketchum, an unreconstructed advocate of chemical warfare, believes that people who fear gaseous weapons more than guns and mortars are irrational. He cites approvingly the Russian government’s decision, in 2002, to flood a theatre in Moscow with a potent incapacitating drug when Chechen guerrillas seized the building and took eight hundred theatregoers hostage. The gas debilitated the hostage takers, allowing special forces to sweep in and kill them. But many innocent people died, too. “It’s been looked at by some skeptics as a kind of tragedy,” Ketchum has said. “They say, ‘Look, a hundred and thirty people died.’ Well, I think that a hundred and thirty is better than eight hundred, and it’s also better, as a secondary consideration, not to have to blow up a beautiful theatre.”
Drone Home (jdargis)
They've certainly transformed the U.S. military: of late the American government has gotten very good at extending its physical presence for the purpose of killing people. Ten years ago the Pentagon had about 50 drones in its fleet; currently it has some 7,500. More than a third of the aircraft in the Air Force's fleet are now unmanned. The U.S. military reported carrying out 447 drone attacks in Afghanistan in the first 11 months of 2012, up from 294 in all of 2011. Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has executed more than 300 covert drone attacks in Pakistan, a country with which we're not at war. Already this year there are credible reports of five covert attacks in Pakistan and as many as eight in Yemen, including one on Jan. 21, the day of Obama's second Inauguration. The Pentagon is planning to establish a drone base in northwestern Africa.
Mr. Rajoy also insisted that his party had no connection to the $29 million amassed in Swiss bank accounts by a former party treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, who has been at the heart of the widening corruption scandal. His party, Mr. Rajoy said, “never gave orders to open accounts in a foreign country.”
Raging (Again) Against the Robots (jdargis)
Throughout the 20th century, science fiction writers created pop culture touchstones about technological tyranny. Among the most resonant is Kurt Vonnegut’s 1952 “Player Piano,” about a dystopia in which mechanization has displaced the lower classes and assigned the world’s wealth to engineers and managers.
“They pushed me very hard to restart the plant,” said Lotfi Benadouda, the Algerian plant executive whom the militants singled out as the man in charge. “Their objective was to move the hostages to the plant. They wanted to get to the factory with the hostages, and explode it.”
In all, leases for 114,932 acres of federal land across Colorado are being auctioned off next month — a tiny piece of what Mr. Obama lauded during last year’s campaign as a historic effort to increase domestic natural-gas production. Those holes have to be drilled somewhere, and the move to lease public lands in this valley has stirred a fierce debate, one that has aligned Republican residents more closely to the government’s plans than Democrats.
Exposed livestock "are making their way into the food system, and it's very worrisome to us," Bamberger says. "They live in areas that have tested positive for air, water, and soil contamination. Some of these chemicals could appear in milk and meat products made from these animals."
"Seventy per cent of the world's available water is used for irrigation," Radulovich tells SciDev.Net. He says there are fears that water supplies will run out because of rising demand. In addition, climate change is increasing uncertainty over rainy seasons and higher temperatures mean that crops need more water, he says.
Using lake water can avoid the wastage that results from traditional irrigation, Radulovich says.
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