Category: Internet ID

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Frank Koch
The TPP is “NAFTA on steroids” and will do even greater damage to the economy and sovereignty of the United States. By Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.




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Fight for the Future

Last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the TPP’s intellectual property rights chapter and it is absolutely terrifying.

These are just a few of its most dangerous pieces:

  • Compel ISPs to take down websites without any sort of court order, just like SOPA. (Appendix Section I)

  • Extend the US’s copyright regime to require copyrights stand for life plus 70 years, preventing anyone from using works that belong in the public domain. (Article QQ.G.6)

  • Criminalize whistleblowing by extending trade secrets laws without any mandatory exemptions for whistleblowers or investigative journalists. (QQ.H.8)

  • End anonymity online by forcing every domain name to be associated with a real name and address. (Article QQ.C.12)

  • Make it illegal to unlock, modify, or generally tinker with a device you own. (Article QQ.G.10)

  • Export the US’s broken copyright policies to the rest of the world without expanding any of the free speech protections, like fair use. (Article QQ.G.17)

The worst part is that this is just one of the TPP’s 30 chapters.

The final text confirms our worst fears — click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

For years, governments have held critics of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in a perfect catch 22. Officials brushed off public outcry and concern by claiming that the dissenters didn’t have all the facts.

This was by design—the 12 country trade deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors by industry lobbyists and government appointees, and even now the text of the agreement is still classified.

But late last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the Intellectual Property chapter, meaning those excuses won’t work anymore.

We’re planning to go all out against the TPP, but the first step is to make sure Congress knows just how many people oppose the TPP.

Click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

Taking action today is just the beginning, because if all we do is send emails and make phone calls, Congress is not going to reject the TPP. Too many giant industries are seriously invested in making sure Congress ratifies the TPP.

If we’re going to win, we need to go big. Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

So take action right now. Contact your Congresspeople now and tell them to vote against the TPP. Then get ready to do more because we’re going to unleash some of our strongest campaigns ever.

Already we have plans to work with hundreds of different groups as a massive coalition to fight the TPP, coordinate gigantic on-the-ground protests in key cities across the country, and produce compelling content to spread the word to as many different audiences as possible just what is at stake in the TPP.

To do all that, we need your help — if you can, pledge to chip in $5 every month between now and when the TPP fight ends so that we can run our biggest, boldest, and best campaign yet.

Thanks for all you do,

P.S. Want to read the text of the chapter for yourself? Check it out on WikiLeaks here, or read their overview of it here. It’s long and complicated, so maybe you’ll see something that we didn’t. If you do, send us an email.

David Noyes


— Noam Chomsky has joined the chorus decrying the TPP, which has very little to do with free trade and is really about limiting regulation, helping corporate interests and imposing fiercer standards of intellectual property (to, again, largely benefit corporate interests).

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The Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is an “assault,” on working people intended to further corporate “domination,” according to author…
Elizabeth Mueller

Let me give you an example of what TPP could allow:

You are an independent journalist or blogger. You need content. Suddenly, all the pictures, videos, memes and articles become “private property.” You want to cite the video, where the now former NRC chairman turns whistleblower and says he’s adamantly anti-nuclear, after witnessing the damage at Fukushima. You can’t. A major news outlet owns the press conference video footage. You place a stupid cat meme on your page, withou

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Elizabeth Mueller's photo.


Frank Koch

A chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership released by WikiLeaks reveals potential violations of applicable U.S. environmental standards.

A chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership released by WikiLeaks reveals potential violations of applicable U.S. environmental standards. By Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Jennifer Hibberd
Ed Schultz led the coverage over the dangers of TPP. Finally, Congress and the media begin to realize the importance of stopping this bill. Larry Cohen joins.

‪#‎AceSecurityNews‬ says latest information and opinions from RT on the release of the “TTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade deal” documents together with download at this link PDF
Published time: November 13, 2013 17:36
Edited time: November 15, 2013 09:36

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#AceSecurityNews says latest information from RT on the release of the “TTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade…

Several major ISPs embroiled in a copyright lawsuit with an adult film copyright holder are appealing a ruling in the case that could permit hundreds of innocent subscribers to be harassed by copyright trolls.

The reversal was requested in papers [PDF] filed last week in the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia by Cox Communications; Bright House Networks, which is owned by Time Warner; and Verizon.

Wants subscriber names

In the case—AF Holdings v. Does 1-1058 and Cox Communications, et. al.—the copyright holders allege that 1058 “John Does” engaged in file-sharing through BitTorrent of a sexually explicit film.

As part of the discovery process in the case, AF Holdings wants Cox and the other ISPs to turn over to them personal information on the John Does. The order came from a federal district court judge, Beryl A. Howell, a former lobbyist for the RIAA and Senate staffer who worked on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a federal law aimed to protect the rights of copyright holders in cyberspace.

beryl howell federal district court judge
Judge Beryl A. Howell

The ISPs are asking the appeals court to overturn Howell’s decision ordering the disclosure of subscribers’ names as part of evidence discovery.

According to the ISPs, AF Holdings and its attorneys aren’t interested in obtaining the names of the alleged infringers to pursue their case in court, but in order to squeeze settlement money from the subscribers.


Read  Full Article Here

This serves as a strong warning to those who value their anonymity. If you aren’t already accessing the Internet through VPN or another deidentifying service, you may be ‘on the list.’ Go silent today! VPN is one effective option. I use TOR. VPN will allow you to use some services that TOR blocks to protect you, but VPN costs money and TOR is free.

Important Message From JWR: The FBI’s Cookie Caper and the VPN Imperative

It has just come to my attention that from August of 2011 to November of 2011, the FBI secretly redirected the web traffic of more than 10% of SurvivalBlog’s US visitors through CJIS, a sprawling data center situated on 900 acres, 10 miles from Clarksburg, West Virginia. There, the Feebees were surreptitiously collecting the IP addresses of my site visitors. In all, 4,906 of 35,494 connections ended up going to or through the FBI servers. (Note that this happened several months before we moved our primary server to Sweden.) Furthermore, we discovered that the FBI attached a long-lived cookie that allowed them to track the sites that readers subsequently visited. I suspect that the FBI has done the same to hundreds of other web sites. I find this situation totally abhorrent, and contrary to the letter of 4th Amendment as well as the intent of our Founding Fathers.

I recognize that I am making this announcement at the risk of losing some readers. So be it. But I felt compelled to tell my readers immediately, because it was the honorable and forthright course of action.

Working on my behalf, some volunteer web forensics experts dissected some cached version histories. (Just about everything is available on the Internet, and the footprints and cookie crumb trails that you leave are essentially there for a lifetime.) The volunteers found that the bulk of the FBI redirects were selected because of a reader’s association with “Intellectual Property” infringing sites like the now defunct Megaupload. But once redirected, you were assigned a cookie. However, some of these were direct connections to the SurvivalBlog site (around 4% of the total.) So if they had kept this practice up long enough and if you visited us enough times then the FBI’s computers would have given you a cookie. This has been verified with sniffer software.

Bad Cop, No Cookies

For your privacy, I strongly recommend that you disable cookies when web browsing. Here are some detailed instructions on how to do so for the most popular web browsers:
•Disabling Cookies in MS Internet Explorer
•Disabling Cookies in Firefox
•Disabling Cookies in Safari
•Disabling Cookies in Netscape
•Disabling Cookies in Google Chrome
•Disabling Cookies in Opera
•Disabling Cookies in Konqueror

But beyond that, more must be done to protect your privacy. You need to be proactive.

Install and Use VPN!

I am now imploring all SurvivalBlog readers to immediately install and use Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their computers. This will allow you to surf the Internet anonymously. Anyone that tries to track web site visitors e-mails will see your visit as originating from one of dozens of anonymous URLs in Europe, or elsewhere in the United States. (With most VPN services, you may pick the city of your choice.) With VPN active, your connection to the Web is “tunneled”, emerging at a far-distant IP address, and it it would be very difficult to track back to your home IP address. Setting up VPN takes just a few minute to accomplish. Once installed, you can set VPN to turn on automatically by default when you start your PC, Mac, or Linux computer. Most VPN providers charge $5 to $20 per month. You can toggle off VPN with the click of your mouse. (You will find this necessary if you visit any of the few web site that disallow overseas IP addresses, such as Netflix). But I recommend that you leave VPN turned on, as much as possible. Set it up to turn on each time that you start up your computer. It is crucial that you use VPN whenever you visit web sites, blogs, and forums that are deemed politically incorrect, or whenever you purchase storage food or firearms accessories on the Web. For those of you that are not tech savvy, ask a friend or relative under age 25 to set up VPN for you. It is not difficult.

Some recommended VPN service providers include:

  • StrongVPN ($55 to $240 per year. One of the most flexible in reassigning the far end of your tunnel on the fly. Superior speed.)
  • 12VPN ($79 per year.)
  • AceVPN ($55 per year. A bare bones service, but one of the least expensive.)
  • HideMyAss. (Just under $79 per year.)
  • PureVPN. ($75 per year for their basic service.)

(Some reviews of the various services are available here. )

Note that some of the lower cost services might see your connection speed suffer. Your Internet connect will seem noticeably slower than using your original ISP, alone.

It is my hope that in the next two months SurvivalBlog’s site visit map will shift substantially, giving the appearance that most of my readership has moved to Switzerland. Say “Ein Glück, dass wir den los sind” to the FBI’s snooping! It would warm my heart to soon see SurvivalBlog ranked as one of the most popular web sites for readers with Swiss IP addresses.

Beyond VPN

Because government agencies have access to lots and lots of computing power, VPN is not completely impenetrable. It is vulnerable to penetration during the key exchange phase. With the resources available to a state actor, sniffing the entirety of the traffic into and out of a web site is trivial these days. (They can use massively scalable horizontally-scaled virtual sniffers — i.e. using a visualization engine and a template they can keep adding more virtualized instances of a windows or Linux based sniffer program and not even impact the performance of the connections.) I believe that the next loop of the threat spiral in the privacy wars will be Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). But I must clarify that this will become important only for the most high profile media commentators, bloggers, and activists. This is because all the spook legions with all of the mainframe computers in the world simply cannot backtrack everyone’s VPN tunnels. (And, as VPN becomes more and more popular, this supposed goal will become even more elusive.) And if you are high profile, don’t worry. Some very bright people are already working on QKD. Stay tuned.

Our Liberty is Stake

I want apologize for the cost, inconvenience and time required in implementing the foregoing security measures. But you can sleep a little better, knowing that you’ve added a layer of anonymity to your Internet presence. We need to recognize that the early 21st Century is a delicate time for individual liberty. Technology is leapfrogging while at the same time databases are filling at an alarming rate. These databases could provide dossiers on demand, for nefarious purposes. How you vote and how you “vote with your feet” (physically or virtually) are both of tremendous importance. Pray hard. Choose wisely. Act accordingly.

P.S.: For those who are web software savvy, I had originally planned to post the latest version of the actual “foresee-alive.js” Javascript code that the FBI used to attach the cookies. But then it was pointed out to me that ironically, revealing this might constitute copyright infringement, opening me up to a intellectual property lawsuit. That has an odd sort of irony that got me thinking. This predicament somehow dovetails with two bits of history. The first instance is from the First World War: I have read that the U.S. Government paid patent license fees to Mauser before and during the hostilities of the Great War with Imperial Germany. This was because the M1903 Springfield rifle was correctly adjudged a patent infringement on the Mauser Model 1898. During the war, the patent payments continued, conveniently handled by Swiss bankers, acting as middlemen. The U.S. taxpayers paid Mauser of Germany about $1 per rifle plus additional penalties that would have eventually totaled $250,000 USD, up until the U.S. entered the war. It has also been rumored that some payments continued to arrive even after the U.S. Congress declared war on the Kaiser’s Germany. (We’ll have to wait for the release of Jon Speed’s next Mauser book to read the details.) This historical tidbit is just once notch below what happened two decades later when Germany’s Nazi regime had the temerity to sell full fare train tickets to some Jews, to cover the costs of their forced relocation to the designated ghettos before their planned extermination. Oh, but the Nazi bureaucrats were so conciliatory. They only charged children half fare to be sent to their deaths. (If you doubt this, then read the book Fathoming the Holocaust by Ronald J. Berger.)…mperative.html

Man Buys 1 Million Facebook Users’ Personal Information for $5


Anthony Gucciardi

How much is your personal information worth? How about a data set consisting of over 1 million individual’s personal information complete with their full legal name, personal E-mail address, and URL to their Facebook account as confirmation? According to one ‘mystery’ company that recently sold 1 million Facebook users’ personal information to a very surprised blogger, not very much at all. About $5, to be specific.

It all started when one blogger, a self-proclaimed seeker of ‘cheap’ deals that pertain to potentially useful or interesting subjects, stumbled across an offer for ’1 million Facebook accounts’ for $5. Skeptical but willing to try it out, the blogger purchased the list to be met with much surprise when he actually personally identified many of the users on the list to be people he actually knew personally. Complete with their personal E-mail address (which Facebook is supposed to keep ‘hidden’), full names, and a link to their page to verify, this blogger had stumbled across a major corporation’s dream come true.

According to the description from the seller of the list, the information was collected through Facebook applications and even checked monthly to ensure validity. The description stated:

“The information in this list has been collected through our Facebook apps and consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe… The list is checked and validated once a month so you won’t get a list full of invalid or duplicate email addresses… this list has a great potential for you.”

facebookuserdata Man Buys 1 Million Facebook Users Personal Information for $5

After purchasing the list and being amazed at its legitimacy, the IT blogger posted an entry detailing the event along with screenshots and a surprising follow-up. Using his personal E-mail provided when signing up for his Facebook account, Facebook’s ‘policy’ team member sent him an E-mail asking him to set up a call with the company. During the call, things got very concerning.

Facebook Rep: Send Us the File, Delete it, And Tell No One

Starting off with a warning to the blogger that the phone call was being recorded, the unnamed Facebook rep told the blogger to send them the file of the 1 million users’ information, delete it, and delete all traces of its mentioning off of his blog.

Not agreeing to censor the information, the blogger posted the quote from the phone conversation on his website:

“Now we would like you to send us this file, delete it, tell us if you have given a copy of it to someone, give us the website from which you bought it including all transactions with it and the payment system and remove a couple of things from your blog. Oh and by the way, you are not allowed to disclose any part of this conversation; it is a secret that we are even having this conversation”.

Proceeding to ask whether or not the rep would fill him in on what would be done by the company, the rep said that it was an internal issue and that he would not be allowed to know the result.

How Safe is Your Personal Information?

It has been known for years that Facebook’s very own terms of service allows for blatant privacy intrusions, and the company has been even caught syncing up with major third party corporations to track you online and offline. What has not been seen, however, is an event of this caliber taking place involving the average consumer. No longer are the days where major corporations were forced to buy your personal information and habits through terms of service changes and large volumes of cash.

Now, almost anyone can go online and buy 1 million E-mails, names, and Facebook URLs for a total of $5. In other words, you could purchase tens of millions of E-mails to spam or otherwise for a very inexpensive amount. What’s more is that criminals could also purchase this database for further malicious reasons. It’s no wonder that Facebook refuses to discuss the matter in any capacity, demanding that the blogger remove all content on the subject and pretend that it never happened.

If you absolutely cannot delete your Facebook, you can at least stop using apps on the platform that are known to be siphoning your personal information. Also be sure to use a Facebook specific ‘dummy’ E-mail when signing up and choose a nickname or alternative name that is not the same as your full legal name.

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

IT :  Internet News – Social Networks – Security -Internet ID-  Government

Facebook ID will give access to UK government websites

By John E Dunn, Computerworld UK



The UK Government is pressing ahead with potentially controversial plans that will let citizens to log on to a range of Government services using external digital identities such as Facebook, online banks and mobile phone accounts.Government-issued ID cards for UK citizens might have gone away but the Government sees digital identities from the private sector as the next best thing.

Offered as part of the Identity Assurance (IDA) programme floated in 2011, trusted identities could let people authenticate themselves for tax credits, benefits, car tax payments, passport applications and even student loans through the one-stop website.

In principle, almost any third party could be used as a personal identity as long as they have been passed fit as an IDA provider. Verification would be built into the system in the form of users’ mobile numbers and secondary security questions, reports have said.

The self-assessment and tax sites have not been mentioned by reports from the cabinet Office but applying the same system to this service might require some re-engineering ; at the moment, HMRC’s site uses tax payer reference numbers as the user name.


Motivation for the idea includes the 2013-14 roll-out of the universal credit benefit system by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the belief that access to online services won’t work well if users are expected to create yet another login they are likely to forget.”We want to enable people to be able to prove their identity online – if they choose to – without the need for any national, central scheme. This way the citizen remains in charge, not the state,” a Cabinet Office spokesperson was quoted as saying.

What that does, of course, is shift the security burden to those sites, which raises obvious security concerns. What if users don’t secure those logins well? Or use one login for a number of sites which are then undermined by a data breach?


One answer is introducing two-factor authentication although this doesn’t answer the issue of fake identities set up on third-party sites by criminals. The obvious answer to this is that providers will have to meet a stringent test. Current password systems used to access government services are not inherently secure.The plans have had a mixed reception.

“Governments around the world are rightly looking to social networks as one piece of the identity puzzle,” said Ping Identity director, Andi Hindle.


“This move will not only foster the adoption of online Government services, benefiting citizens, but also reduce the risks and costs associated with identity management for the UK Government.”Others had more reservations. “Although this is a fine scheme in principle and is backed by ministers the danger is that it could be side-lined and used as a fig leaf by the data-hungry government departments,” said No2ID general secretary Guy Herbert, quoted in The Independent.


Published on Jun 20, 2012 by

Activists criticize economic protest movement for ignoring the Occupation and condition of Palestinians living in Israel


Geoengineering could disrupt rainfall patterns

by Staff Writers
Brussels, Belgium (SPX)

Volcanic eruptions, such as the one of the Karymsky volcano (Russia) in 2004, release sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere, which has a cooling effect. Geoengineering an ‘artificial volcano’ to mimic this release could be a solution to global warming, but one that may have undesirable effects for the Earth. Credit: Photo by Alexander Belousov of the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

A geoengineering solution to climate change could lead to significant rainfall reduction in Europe and North America, a team of European scientists concludes. The researchers studied how models of the Earth in a warm, CO2-rich world respond to an artificial reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface. The study was published in Earth System Dynamics, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Tackling climate change by reducing the solar radiation reaching our planet using climate engineering, known also as geoengineering, could result in undesirable effects for the Earth and humankind.

In particular, the work by the team of German, Norwegian, French, and UK scientists shows that disruption of global and regional rainfall patterns is likely in a geoengineered climate.

“Climate engineering cannot be seen as a substitute for a policy pathway of mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” they conclude in the paper.

Geoengineering techniques to reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface range from mimicking the effects of large volcanic eruptions by releasing sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere to deploying giant mirrors in space. Scientists have proposed these sunlight-reflecting solutions as last-ditch attempts to halt global warming.

But what would such an engineered climate be like?
To answer this question, the researchers studied how four Earth models respond to climate engineering under a specific scenario. This hypothetical scenario assumes a world with a CO2 concentration that is four times higher than preindustrial levels, but where the extra heat caused by such an increase is balanced by a reduction of radiation we receive from the Sun.

“A quadrupling of CO2 is at the upper end, but still in the range of what is considered possible at the end of the 21st century,” says Hauke Schmidt, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany and lead author of the paper.

Under the scenario studied, rainfall strongly decreases – by about 15 percent (some 100 millimetres of rain per year) of preindustrial precipitation values – in large areas of North America and northern Eurasia.

Over central South America, all models show a decrease in rainfall that reaches more than 20 percent in parts of the Amazon region. Other tropical regions see similar changes, both negative and positive. Overall, global rainfall is reduced by about five percent on average in all four models studied.

“The impacts of these changes are yet to be addressed, but the main message is that the climate produced by geoengineering is different to any earlier climate even if the global mean temperature of an earlier climate might be reproduced,” says Schmidt.

The authors note that the scenario studied is not intended to be realistic for a potential future application of climate engineering. But the experiment allows the researchers to clearly identify and compare basic responses of the Earth’s climate to geoengineering, laying the groundwork for more detailed future studies.

“This study is the first clean comparison of different models following a strict simulation protocol, allowing us to estimate the robustness of the results. Additionally we are using the newest breed of climate models, the ones that will provide results for the Fifth IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Report,” explains Schmidt.

The scientists used climate models developed by the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre, the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace in France, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Norwegian scientists developed the fourth Earth model used.

Related Links
European Geosciences Union
Water News – Science, Technology and Politics

Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth

by Staff Writers
Berkeley CA (SPX)

The Earth may be approaching a tipping point due to climate change and increasing population. Credit: Cheng (Lily) Li.

A prestigious group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

“It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” warns Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of a review paper appearing in the journal Nature.

“The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.”

The Nature paper, in which the scientists compare the biological impact of past incidences of global change with processes under way today and assess evidence for what the future holds, appears in an issue devoted to the environment in advance of the June 20-22 United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The result of such a major shift in the biosphere would be mixed, Barnosky noted, with some plant and animal species disappearing, new mixes of remaining species, and major disruptions in terms of which agricultural crops can grow where.

The paper by 22 internationally known scientists describes an urgent need for better predictive models that are based on a detailed understanding of how the biosphere reacted in the distant past to rapidly changing conditions, including climate and human population growth. In a related development, ground-breaking research to develop the reliable, detailed biological forecasts the paper is calling for is now underway at UC Berkeley.

The endeavor, The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology, or BiGCB, is a massive undertaking involving more than 100 UC Berkeley scientists from an extraordinary range of disciplines that already has received funding: a $2.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and a $1.5 million grant from the Keck Foundation. The paper by Barnosky and others emerged from the first conference convened under the BiGCB’s auspices.

“One key goal of the BiGCB is to understand how plants and animals responded to major shifts in the atmosphere, oceans, and climate in the past, so that scientists can improve their forecasts and policy makers can take the steps necessary to either mitigate or adapt to changes that may be inevitable,” Barnosky said.

“Better predictive models will lead to better decisions in terms of protecting the natural resources future generations will rely on for quality of life and prosperity.” Climate change could also lead to global political instability, according to a U.S. Department of Defense study referred to in the Nature paper.

“UC Berkeley is uniquely positioned to conduct this sort of complex, multi-disciplinary research,” said Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for research. “Our world-class museums hold a treasure trove of biological specimens dating back many millennia that tell the story of how our planet has reacted to climate change in the past.

“That, combined with new technologies and data mining methods used by our distinguished faculty in a broad array of disciplines, will help us decipher the clues to the puzzle of how the biosphere will change as the result of the continued expansion of human activity on our planet.”

One BiGCB project launched last month, with UC Berkeley scientists drilling into Northern California’s Clear Lake, one of the oldest lakes in the world with sediments dating back more than 120,000 years, to determine how past changes in California’s climate impacted local plant and animal populations.

City of Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, chair of the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee, said the BiGCB “is providing the type of research that policy makers urgently need as we work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the Bay region to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. To take meaningful actions to protect our region, we first need to understand the serious global and local changes that threaten our natural resources and biodiversity.”

“The Bay Area’s natural systems, which we often take for granted, are absolutely critical to the health and well-being of our people, our economy and the Bay Area’s quality of life,” added Bates.

How close is a global tipping point?

The authors of the Nature review – biologists, ecologists, complex-systems theoreticians, geologists and paleontologists from the United States, Canada, South America and Europe – argue that, although many warning signs are emerging, no one knows how close Earth is to a global tipping point, or if it is inevitable. The scientists urge focused research to identify early warning signs of a global transition and an acceleration of efforts to address the root causes.

“We really do have to be thinking about these global scale tipping points, because even the parts of Earth we are not messing with directly could be prone to some very major changes,” Barnosky said. “And the root cause, ultimately, is human population growth and how many resources each one of us uses.”

Coauthor Elizabeth Hadly from Stanford University said “we may already be past these tipping points in particular regions of the world. I just returned from a trip to the high Himalayas in Nepal, where I witnessed families fighting each other with machetes for wood – wood that they would burn to cook their food in one evening. In places where governments are lacking basic infrastructure, people fend for themselves, and biodiversity suffers. We desperately need global leadership for planet Earth.”

The authors note that studies of small-scale ecosystems show that once 50-90 percent of an area has been altered, the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. This situation typically is accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity.

Currently, to support a population of 7 billion people, about 43 percent of Earth’s land surface has been converted to agricultural or urban use, with roads cutting through much of the remainder. The population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2045; at that rate, current trends suggest that half Earth’s land surface will be disturbed by 2025. To Barnosky, this is disturbingly close to a global tipping point.

“Can it really happen? Looking into the past tells us unequivocally that, yes, it can really happen. It has happened. The last glacial/interglacial transition 11,700 years ago was an example of that,” he said, noting that animal diversity still has not recovered from extinctions during that time. “I think that if we want to avoid the most unpleasant surprises, we want to stay away from that 50 percent mark.”

Global change biology

The paper emerged from a conference held at UC Berkeley in 2010 to discuss the idea of a global tipping point, and how to recognize and avoid it.

Following that meeting, 22 of the attendees summarized available evidence of past global state-shifts, the current state of threats to the global environment, and what happened after past tipping points.

They concluded that there is an urgent need for global cooperation to reduce world population growth and per-capita resource use, replace fossil fuels with sustainable sources, develop more efficient food production and distribution without taking over more land, and better manage the land and ocean areas not already dominated by humans as reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

“Ideally, we want to be able to predict what could be detrimental biological change in time to steer the boat to where we don’t get to those points,” Barnosky said. “My underlying philosophy is that we want to keep Earth, our life support system, at least as healthy as it is today, in terms of supporting humanity, and forecast when we are going in directions that would reduce our quality of life so that we can avoid that.”

“My view is that humanity is at a crossroads now, where we have to make an active choice,” Barnosky said. “One choice is to acknowledge these issues and potential consequences and try to guide the future (in a way we want to). The other choice is just to throw up our hands and say, ‘Let’s just go on as usual and see what happens.’ My guess is, if we take that latter choice, yes, humanity is going to survive, but we are going to see some effects that will seriously degrade the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.”

Related Links
University of California – Berkeley
Darwin Today At

Carbon storage ‘may cause small earthquakes’

US report finds injecting fracking wastewater underground can trigger seismic activity – with implications for CCS viability

Fracking for shale gas in Pennsylvania Brings Risks and Rewards

A hydraulic fracturing drill rig in Troy, Pennsylvania. Scientists don’t yet know why it appears storing fracking by-product underground carries a higher seismic activity risk than fracking itself. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground could give rise to small earthquakes, according to a new report from the US National Research Council.

But the authors said there was too little research to be firm on the findings, and called for more work to be done.

The report examined sites where hydraulic fracturing – the practice of blasting dense rocks apart with water, sand and chemicals in order to release tiny bubbles of natural gas trapped within them – had been used. The authors found that fracking in itself carries only a low risk of causing earthquakes of sufficient magnitude to be felt by people.

The finding comes despite a report into the only major shale gas fracking site in the UK, near Blackpool, that found two earth tremors – far too small to do any damage but enough to be felt in nearby villages – were directly linked to the fracking activities.

However, the US report did find evidence that where wastewater was injected underground as a by-product of fracking – a procedure not used in the UK – earthquakes could occur. It is not clear why injecting wastewater underground carries a higher risk of seismic activity than fracking in itself. But the finding has clear implications for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, because that process would also require the injection of large volumes of gas or liquid – in the case of CCS, carbon dioxide under high pressure.

The authors called for more research to show whether these problems occurred with carbon capture and storage and whether they could be avoided.

The report also noted that despite the potential for earthquakes, no significant damage had been caused by fracking in the US. However, some tremors have been felt – similar to those in the Blackpool region – and have given concern to local residents.

The scientists said: “Technologies designed to maintain a balance between the amount of fluid being injected and withdrawn, such as most geothermal and conventional oil and gas development, appear to produce fewer induced seismic events than technologies that do not maintain fluid balance.”

They recommended closer oversight of such activities.


Cyber Space

Napster Founders Launch Video Chat for Facebook

By Sophie Curtis,

Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, the founders of music-sharing site Napster, have launched a new browser-based video chat service called Airtime, that allows users to converse with friends and strangers via their Facebook networks.

An Airtime screen session. Source: Ben Baker/AirtimeIn some ways, Airtime is similar to Skype, enabling users to engage in one-to-one video chat with people they know. However, Airtime offers a split video-chat window, so that users can watch YouTube clips together while engaging in video chat.

Airtime also connects strangers based on location and shared Facebook interests. When users log on, they are not only presented with a list of friends they might want to talk to, but also a list of topics they might want to talk about, based on their Facebook “likes.”

By clicking on a topic, such as the TV show “Desperate Housewives,” the user is entered into a video chat with someone else who likes that show. Similar connections can be made on the basis of geographic location.

When the user no longer wants to talk to that person, they can press the Next button to move onto somebody different — a bit like Chatroulette, the once-popular online speed dating site which lost traction when it was overrun by users exposing their body parts.

Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning. Source: Ben Baker / Airtime”There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the internet,” said Parker. “All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know. That wasn’t always the case.

“As we move from a social graph to an interest graph, there are great possibilities for our world. That’s what we’re trying to tap into with Airtime,” he added.

The founders made the point that all users are anonymous until they decide to reveal themselves. However, a report in Forbes states that Airtime will monitor video interactions by taking “snapshots of users periodically to ensure site safety.”

Airtime has raised a total of $33 million (£21m) in funding from investors including venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Google’s venture arm, actor Ashton Kutcher and pop star

The new service was launched at an event in New York last week, attended by celebrities including Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, and Snoop Dogg. However, the event was reportedly riddled with technical glitches, leaving many of the attendees nonplussed.

Facebook already partners with Skype for video chat, and was rumoured to be interested in buying the voice-over-IP service, ahead of Microsoft’s acquisition.

10 Terrible Tech Laws That Have You in Their Bull’s-Eye

Think what Congress and state legislatures do is boring? Read on to see what Internet and/or privacy rights you might lose if some of this misguided legislation passes.

By Christina DesMarais, PCWorld

10 Terrible Tech Laws That Have You in Their BullseyeChild pornography, cyberbullying, online piracy–these are real-world problems that need solutions. But does legislating them away work?

You may think what your state capital or what Capitol Hill is up to is boring and not worth keeping tabs on. But see if you don’t get your juices flowing after reading how your tech freedoms could be reined in by some of the dumb bills we’ve pinpointed in this story.

If lawmakers don’t think through the implications of the legislation they create, they just muck things up further. In fact, this slew of bills at the national and state levels–as well as several international treaty proposals in the works–are outright stupid.

You should be concerned about some of these proposed changes to U.S. law–how will they infringe upon your privacy? And note that a couple of them are in negotiations behind closed doors without public input at all.

H.R. 1981: Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011

The Legislation: If passed, this legislation could force any business offering paid Internet access–airports, hotels, coffee shops, and ISPs–to keep records of users’ online activities, so that if the government ever wants to inspect them, it can.

Why It’s Terrible: Most people want to keep kids safe, but having the government spy on everyone who uses the Internet is not the answer. You’d think there would be other ways to catch perverts that don’t involve such a frightening infringement on the privacy of innocent people.

Status: H.R.1981 is out of committee; it has been placed on the calendar and is slated for discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives at some point.

Why You Should Care: Don’t let the title on this one fool you. H.R. 1981, if made into law, will let the government spy on and keep records of everything you do online.

Hawaii H.B.2288: Hawaiian Data Retention Bill

The Legislation: H.B.2288 would mandate that any company that provides Internet access in Hawaii–not only ISPs, but coffee shops, libraries and workplaces–keep two years of usage records, including the sites users visited and the IP addresses used.

Why It’s Terrible: We’re not talking about the long-term tracking of people suspected of a crime, but everyone who uses the Web in the entire state of Hawaii. Imagine if all that data got into the wrong hands or could be used against people in some way.

Status: The politician who proposed the bill, Rep. Kymberly Pine, an Oahu Republican and the House minority floor leader, backed down from the bill, and it’s been tabled.

Why You Should Care: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, whose motto is “Defending Your Rights in the Digital World,” says H.B.2288 “is one of the most poorly drafted pieces of data retention legislation” that it has ever seen.

New York State S.6779 and A.8688

The Legislation: These bills require a website administrator, upon request, to remove any anonymous comments unless the person who posted it “agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms his or her IP address, legal name, and home address.” It also requires that websites make visible in any section where comments are posted a contact number or e-mail address that people can use to put through removal requests.

Why It’s Terrible: According to EFF analyst Rebecca Jeschke, these bills are flatly unconstitutional. “We have a First amendment right to speak anonymously and certainly people who host their own websites can decide that they only want people to use their real names…But what you can’t do is have the government force people to speak using their real names. We have a history of anonymous speech here in the U.S. from The Federalist Papers through to today.”

Status: Both bills are still in committee.

Why You Should Care: Yes, folks who comment online can be rude and cyberbullying is a problem, but imagine how important discourse on a myriad of topics would decrease if people had to associate their names with them.

Trans Pacific Partnership

What It Is: U.S. negotiators are pushing for copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties. According to the EFF, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe.”

Why It’s Terrible: It’s even worse than ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and puts intellectual property governance in the hands of lobbyists. The EFF says the TPP will have a broad impact on citizens’ rights, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and global innovation. And again, this one is being forged largely without input from the public.

Status: The next round of TPP negotiations will be held in San Diego, California, on July 2-10.

Why You Should Care: SOPA backers such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), plus plenty of other corporate entities, are behind the TPP. For more ugly details about the TPP, visit the EFF, where you can use an automated action alert to tell your congressional representatives that you’re against the agreement.

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Legislation: This one isn’t new, but it’s bad enough to deserve a mention. The DMCA made it illegal to produce and share technology or services that circumvent digital rights management (DRM) technologies that keep you from using digital content in ways that content providers didn’t intend.

Why It’s Terrible: Instead of working against people stealing copyrighted content, DMCA is often used against consumers, scientists, and legitimate competitors. For instance, in 2009 Google said that more than half of the takedown notices it had received under the DMCA were sent by businesses targeting competitors and that more than one third were not valid copyright claims.

Status: The DMCA became law in 1998.

Why You Should Care: Clearly the DMCA didn’t do away with content pirating, or we wouldn’t still see Hollywood trying to push legislation like SOPA or ACTA.

Next: More bad bills (CISPA, SOPA, PIPA, and more).

How Quickly Can Your Password be Cracked?

Analysis: “Strong” isn’t a detailed password-rating; go for a quintillions possible combos, add a symbol.

By Kevin Fogarty, ITworld

Security breaches of mind-numbing size like those at LinkedIn and set crypto- and security geeks to chattering about weak passwords and lazy users and the importance of non-alphanumeric characters to security.

And insisting on a particular number of characters in a password is just pointless security-fetish control freakishness, right?

Nope. The number and type of characters make a big difference.

[ Stupid security mistakes: Things you missed while doing the hard stuff ]

How big? Adding a symbol eliminates the possibility of a straight dictionary attack (using, literally, words from a dictionary. Adding a symbol, especially an unusual one, makes it much harder to crack even using rainbow tables (collections of alphanumeric combinations, only some of which include symbols).

How big a difference to length and character make?

Look below and pick which password-cracking jobs you’d want to take on if you were a computer. The examples come from the Interactive Brute Force Password Search Space Calculator: at, the love child of from former InfoWorld columnist and freeware contributor Steve Gibson

How long would it take to crack my password: (Includes letters and numbers, no upper- or lower-case and no symbols)

Six Characters: 2.25 Billion Possible Combinations

  • Cracking online using web app hitting a target site with one thousand guesses per second: 3.7 weeks.
  • Cracking offline using high-powered servers or desktops (one hundred billion guesses/second): 0.0224 seconds
  • Cracking offline, using massively parallel multiprocessing clusters or grid (one hundred trillion guesses per second: 0.0000224 seconds

Ten Characters: 3.76 Quadrillion Possible Combinations

  • Cracking online using web app hitting a target site with one thousand guesses per second: 3.7 weeks.
  • Cracking offline using high-powered servers or desktops (one hundred billion guesses/second): 10.45 hours
  • Cracking offline, using massively parallel multiprocessing clusters or grid (one hundred trillion guesses per second: 37.61 seconds.

Add a symbol, make the crack several orders of magnitude more difficult:

Six Characters: 7.6 trillion Possible Combinations

  • Cracking online using web app hitting a target site with one thousand guesses per second: 2.4 centuries.
  • Cracking offline using high-powered servers or desktops (one hundred billion guesses/second): 1.26 minutes
  • Cracking offline, using massively parallel multiprocessing clusters or grid (one hundred trillion guesses per second: 0.0756 seconds

Ten Characters: Possible Combinations: 171.3 Xextillion (171,269,557,687,901,638,419; 1.71 x 1020)

  • Cracking online using web app hitting a target site with one thousand guesses per second: 54.46 million centuries.
  • Cracking offline using high-powered servers or desktops (one hundred billion guesses/second) 54.46 years
  • Cracking offline, using massively parallel multiprocessing clusters or grid (one hundred trillion guesses per second: 2.83 weeks.

Take Steve’s advice: go for ten characters, then add a symbol.

For more computing news, visit ITworld. Story copyright © 2011 ITworld Inc. All rights reserved.

‘Do Not Track’ Trend Draws Advertisers’ Ire

Analysis: Microsoft’s plan to make Do Not Track the default in IE10 has been killed dead by the ad industry. Anybody surprised?

By Dan Tynan, ITworld

It seems Microsoft’s decision to turn on the Do Not Track feature in its upcoming Internet Explorer 10 browser by default did not sit well with the online advertising community.

At first, the ad trackers whined really loudly. Then they threatened to hold their breath until they turned blue. When those things didn’t work, they decided to take their Do Not Track toys and go home. (See also “Do-Not-Track Tools: Hands-On Showdown.”)

As of today, the folks building the Do Not Track spec the ad industry and FTC are working to create decided to exclude browsers that have Do Not Track (DNT) turned on by default. The new proposed language [PDF] is here: “An ordinary user agent MUST NOT send a Tracking Preference signal without a user’s explicit consent.”

That means that any browser like IE10 will not be compliant with that spec, and thus its DNT settings will be ignored by the servers dishing out those ads and tracking cookies. Game over. That sound you hear is the fat lady gargling.

The DNT spec is being drafted by three highly respected privacy wonks – Peter Eckersley of the EFF, Jonathan Mayer of Stanford University, and Tom Lowenthal of Mozilla. But it’s pretty clear the ad industry is driving the bus here by refusing to even consider DNT as a default.

To recap the ad industry’s point of view here, if I may: Setting a browser to block tracking by default takes the choice away from consumers. Setting a browser to allow tracking by default doesn’t. That make sense to anyone else out there?

Now the proposed spec also offers a couple of options to be considered. One is that users can access Do Not Track options via some kind of menu option (the state of affairs as it exists today in the major browsers). The other option is that users are prompted the first time they use the browser to make a choice whether they want to be tracked or not.

Of the two, the latter is by far the more preferable. It is the only true way to obtain explicit consent for tracking. But I’d be shocked if the ad industry went along with that, either. Why? Because they know that a lot of people – maybe not a majority, but a large number – would say ‘Don’t track me, bro.’

In fact, according to a survey by Omnicom Media Group, more than 90 percent of Internet users know they are being tracked and would consider using a DNT feature. More than half say they want complete control over what’s being tracked.

(The folks at Ensighten, who make tag management systems for enterprises to help them comply with privacy requirements, have worked up a wicked cool infographic showing the Do Not Track story from all perspectives. You can view the whole schmear here.)

The ad industry is doing everything it can to look like it is playing along with the FTC’s desire to assuage concerns about online tracking, while putting as many barriers in front of consumers as they possibly can.

Whenever I write about Do Not Track (and I’m usually strongly in favor of that notion) I hear from sources in the online ad community who feel very strongly that I am advocating the demise of sites like ITworld and its ilk, if not the entire “free” Internet, by destroying the advertising model these sites rely on. (Though they apparently don’t feel strongly enough to attach their names to any of these statements.)

So I have a question for the ad guys in the audience. Let’s say a miracle happens and it’s suddenly easy for tens of millions of Netizens to say they don’t want their movements tracked across the Web by 800+ companies they’ve never heard of. Let’s say it’s even a majority of the people who go online.

What are you going to do – stop advertising on the Web? Are you going to take the $32 billion you spent last year on Internet ads and pour them into bus benches and billboards? I don’t think so. But you will pour more money into smart TVs and smart phones, where the tracking battles have yet to be fought.

This is why it’s important to set DNT straight now – and give consumers the right to Just Say No.

There’s another option, of course. Split the Internet into free and paid versions. Offer an ad-supported version where tracking is explicit and the surfing is free, and an option where privacy is guaranteed for a fee. Will people actually pay for stuff they’re used to getting for free? I don’t know.

But the fact is, we’re not getting this stuff for free. We are paying for it with our data. The ultimate price for that is something no one can put a dollar figure on.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynanmay have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasmor follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitterand Facebook.

Now read this:

Facebook’s ‘man in the middle’ attack on our data

Making Facebook private won’t protect you

Google’s personalized search results are way too personal

ITworld Today Newsletter

For more computing news, visit ITworld. Story copyright © 2011 ITworld Inc. All rights reserved.


Survival / Sustainability




A Comprehensive Supply List for Economic Collapse

by M.D. Creekmore (a.k.a Mr. Prepper)  

This guest post is by Bam Bam  and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

The article M.D. posted in last week’s Friday Miscellany on living conditions in Greece really hit home with me. I did a bit more research. There are food shortages. There are shortages of life-saving medications. There are concerns about the power grid. And if the electric grid goes down, clean water may not flow from the tap. In an economic collapse, debit cards may not work; cash will be king. Once awareness of the situation sets in, rioting, looting and violent crime will be the new norm.

If Europe collapses, the United States is sure to follow. This makes me nervous. And when I get nervous, I make lists. This is my best shot at formulating a comprehensive supply list for prepping. Sure, there are other lists on the Internet that claim to be comprehensive. And I have learned much from the lists that I have read. But I wanted to come up with my own list and present it to the Pack. And now for the 50 million dollar question: what have I missed?

If your debit card stopped working tomorrow, would you be ready? Let’s put our minds together and see if we can come up with a comprehensive list of items needed for survival. (I am assuming in what follows that I will not be bugging out. Hence, I have omitted discussion of my BOB.) Assuming you are staying put, what items would you definitely want on hand? Remember the motto: plan today because tomorrow your debit card may not work.

Please note that the order in which the following items are listed is not indicative of their perceived importance—i.e., I did not place cleaning supplies ahead of weaponry and hunting because I felt the former was more important than the latter. Each category is important, hence its inclusion on this list.

Comprehensive Supply List

1. Water Purification

  • Bottled Water
  • Canteen/Camelback
  • Rain Barrel
  • Water Bottle with Filter
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Pool Shock/Bleach
  • Kettle w/ Lid for Boiling Water
  • Propane Stove
  • Matches/Fire Starter
  • Charcoal and Sand
  • Mosquito Netting
  • Coffee Filters

2. Shelf Stable Foods

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Dry Milk
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cooking Oil
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Canned Goods
  • Spices
  • Condiments
  • Water Enhancers
  • Baking Essentials (Yeast, Salt, etc.)
  • Sprouting Seeds
  • Non-hybrid Garden Seeds

3. Hygiene Supplies

  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Dental Floss
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Shaving Supplies
  • Baby Wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Insect Spray
  • Sunblock
  • Lotion/Lip Balm
  • Manicure Set (Nail Clippers, Nail Brush, File)

4. First-Aid

  • First-Aid Kit
  • Extra Band-Aids
  • Dental Kit
  • Wound Care
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Listerine Mouth Rinse
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Respirator Masks
  • Latex Gloves
  • Scissors

5. Medications

  • Prescription Medication
  • Birth Control
  • Foot Care Products
  • Pain Reliever (Tylenol, Aleve, Aspirin, etc.)
  • Cold Medicine
  • Diarrhea/Constipation Medications
  • Antacid
  • Antibiotics
  • Allergy Medication
  • Vitamins/Supplements
  • EmergenC

Read Full Article Here



Why raise livestock when I can just hunt?

by M.D. Creekmore (a.k.a Mr. Prepper)  

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Chris J

When I bring up survival or preparedness to my friends, family, or co-workers, most just scoff and say things like “Well, I can keep food on my table by hunting.” Apparently, they think that they are the only ones with this idea, and that they will be in the woods alone to have their fill at nature’s table.

What they fail to understand is that others will be doing the same thing. They are right for the first few days of a disaster, when most people are not running out of food yet.

However, if the disaster lasts longer than a couple of weeks, all but the true survivalist will be out of food. Once their meager supplies of food are consumed or spoiled, the village will empty into the surrounding countryside. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other choice game will be hunted out within a few weeks. Hungry people will start turning to the less desirable table fare such as raccoons, possums, and rodents. This happened during the Great Depression in my home state of Tennessee.

Deer were made virtually extinct as poor families did their best to live off the land. A wildly successful restocking program in the sixties made deer available to everyone, but let the wood become the sole provider of food for just 5% of the people and you would see deer all but disappear again.

Even if you own thousands of acres, you won’t be able to keep every poacher off your land, and you can’t protect every wild animal that passes through your land. You can more easily protect livestock, though, because it is generally kept close to the farmstead and will rely on you for care.

Defending something in your yard is easier than defending something moving unseen through the woods a mile away. Livestock comes with its own set of issues for the survivalist, though. Most people don’t own enough land to have enough livestock to truly provide for them. In today’s modern agriculture, even large farms don’t raise all of their own animal feed. If the feed truck stopped running, would their livestock simply starve to death?

Below are a few suggestions and thoughts regarding putting food on your table during an extended crisis:




Read Full Article Here




A Cheap and Easy At-Home Survival Food

by M.D. Creekmore (a.k.a Mr. Prepper)  

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Kim B.

Many years ago, my family knew a gentleman in his late fifties whom was living off-the-grid. He had his own garden to supplement his grocery bill, used lanterns for lighting his home and outhouse, heated his home and cooked all of his food with a wood stove and even caught fish once or twice a week right from his own back yard setup.

In all the time that we knew him, normally running into one another at our local post office, we had visited his residence only once as we had not received an invitation until one special day in which he wanted us to see what he had just installed onto his land.

Taking him up on his invite, we drove to his house and upon arrival we received a smile and an outstretched hand. After a bit of conversation and explanation about how he was living he excitedly began to tell us that he turned a pickup canopy upside down and filled it with water which he let warm up for a few weeks before putting several Gold Fish in. He explained that he set it up so that if the fish were to die then he would know that the water was not safe to drink.

Although we have never seen him since, I have never forgotten him and I still think that his creativity was unique and interesting even though it may not have been a foolproof means of ensuring the safety of that water. Personally, I would not use a canopy because it is made of metal that may not be good for ingestion but I think that if he had lined it with the right materials he would have had something there.

Currently, I am preparing to return to an off-the-grid lifestyle on five acres and planning for a live food supply. To save myself some money, time and labor, I have decided to build a few four-foot long by four-foot wide, two-and-a-half to three-foot high, wooden frames in the style of boxes with the corners reinforced with two-by-two’s, line the bottom with several inches of sand and the interior with a thick food-grade plastic. To not only clean up the exterior but to give the walls a little extra support, which I know is not necessary as I have already built and used an identical tank for years, I will use some small concrete blocks all the way around.

Because there may be little to no usage of the grid for many people and stores may no longer have fish and other “cold” or “frozen” foods available, I have planned to fill a few tanks with Gold Fish of different ages so that when I want a fish dinner I can go to the tank, slide open a lightweight one-fourth inch Carpenter cloth-covered top frame that will help to keep vipers and other creatures out, and catch and supplement my diet with the oldest of them. Unless I have enormous tanks with hundreds of adults and babies in them, the supply will not be for eating from on a daily basis but will be there when truly needed.

Fish are cheap to feed, easy to care for and have quite a few offspring when the time comes due and, with proper quarantine, I should be able to keep many of the babies from being eaten by their grandparents and thus a food supply going and ready for another day.


Read Full Article Here




75% of Japan’s NW Pacific whale hunt unsold: official

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP)

Three-quarters of the tons of meat from Japan’s controversial whale hunt last year was not sold, despite repeated attempts to auction it, officials said on Wednesday.

The Institute of Cetacean Research, a quasi-public body that organises the country’s whaling, said around 75 percent of roughly 1,200 tons of minke, Bryde’s and sei meat from the deep-sea mission did not find buyers.

It is separate from the smaller coastal whaling programmes in northern Japan, whose meat still attracts buyers because it is fresh — as opposed to frozen — and sold in regions with deep whale-eating traditions.

The institute held regular auctions between November and March to sell frozen meat from creatures caught in Northwestern Pacific waters last summer. It was intended to promote whale consumption and increase revenue.

A spokesman for the institute blamed the “disappointing” auction results on food sellers wishing to avoid trouble with anti-whaling activists.

“We have to think about new ways to market whale meat,” he told AFP.

Japan exploits a loophole in the international moratorium on whaling allowing for lethal research.

Anti-whaling nations and environmentalist groups routinely condemn the missions as a cover for commercial whaling that they say threatens the population of the giant marine creatures.

Japan however says the research is necessary to substantiate its view that there is a robust whale population in the world.

Japan also argues that whaling is part of its tradition and accuses Western nations of cultural insensitivity. The country’s powerful fishing industry, as well as right-wing activists, have urged no compromise.

In a recent report, Japanese anti-whaling campaigners said the poor auction results confirmed that Japanese consumers no longer ate a lot of whale meat.

However, the public supports whaling missions, mainly as a demonstration of their outrage against anti-whaling groups which have harassed Japanese whalers, said a report by freelance journalist Junko Sakuma, released by the Iruka and Kujira (Dolphin and Whale) Action Network.

Sakuma, who studied the institute’s auction outcomes, said the top-grade whale meat from the Northwestern Pacific missions still attracted buyers.

But the low general demand for whale meat and Icelandic whale meat imports are creating oversupply, which in turn makes Japan’s whaling programme unsustainable, Sakuma said.

“Among (Japanese whaling officials) who continue research whaling by relying on Japanese sentiment that ‘anti-whalers are outrageous’, there must be people who are secretly thanking Sea Shepherd,” she said.

Sea Shepherd is a militant environmental group that has routinely attacked Japanese whalers on the high seas to hinder the hunt.

Related Links
Follow the Whaling Debate


Human Rights

Chinese Abortion Photo Causes Controversy

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by

An online photo of Feng Jiamei with her aborted 7-month fetus has sparked outrage in China over its one-child policy.


Articles of Interest

DARPA Spends $7 Million On Robot Avatar Project

DARPA hopes to create real-life “Avatars” in the near future.

Science fiction fans and robot fanatics are familiar with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States Government (more familiarly known as DARPA). They are also familiar with James Cameron’s largely successful movie, Avatar. When the two come together, the line between what is fiction and what is real gets blurred beyond all recognition.

Straight out of the movie, the agency has set aside a $7 million of its $2.8 billion budget to essentially create “autonomous bi-pedal machines” that a handling soldier is able to manipulate on the battlefield. This removes the soldier from the heat of battle, reducing real life casualties and adding a greater degree of safety when performing menial but essential tasks.

Some of these tasks include clearing buildings of enemy hostiles, handling the wounded on the field, and controlling other sentries in the area. DARPA robotics has certainly entertained the concept before, so creating unmanned ground troops may not be as impossible as it seems. While we certainly aren’t expecting to see any Jake Sully-controlled giant blue aliens anytime soon, it’ll definitely be interesting to see what DARPA comes up with in the following years.

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Lieberman puts deadline on cybersecurity bill, ‘take it up in July’ – The Hill’s Video.

Lieberman puts deadline on cybersecurity bill, ‘take it up in July’

By Brendan Sasso 06/13/12 05:17 PM ET

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) urged the Senate to pass his cybersecurity bill in a floor speech on Wednesday, warning that July could be the final opportunity to address the issue.

He predicted that the lame-duck session following the election will be consumed by budget and tax issues.

“The truth is, if we don’t take it up in July and see if we’ve got the votes … we’re not going to be able to pass this legislation in a way that’s timely and allows us to go to conference, reach an agreement and send the bill to the president,” Lieberman said.

Read more on The Hill’s Hillicon Valley blog.


Bamboo points way to green construction in Indonesia’s Bali

by Staff Writers
Sibang Kaja, Indonesia (AFP)

Strong, light and cheaper than steel poles, bamboo is ubiquitous across Asia as scaffolding.

So much so that in recognition of the material’s versatility, the Indonesian island of Bali has made it an emblem of sustainable construction, replacing buildings of concrete and steel with far greener alternatives.

An entire school, luxury villas and even a chocolate factory are the latest structures to rise from bamboo skeletons as the plant’s green credentials and strength are hailed.

The factory, which opened last year and produces organic drinking chocolate and cocoa butter, is the latest in a string of buildings on the island, including homes and businesses, to be built of bamboo.

Erected in the village of Sibang Kaja between the resort island’s smoggy capital Denpasar and the forests of Ubud, the factory is the initiative of specialty food firm Big Tree Farms, which claims the 2,550-square-metre (27,500-square-foot) facility is the biggest commercial bamboo building in the world.

“Bamboo is unmatched as a sustainable building material. What it can do is remarkable,” Big Tree Farms co-founder Ben Ripple, 37, told AFP.

“It grows far more quickly than timber and doesn’t destroy the land it’s grown on,” said Ripple, an American from Connecticut. “Our factory can be packed up and moved in days, so if we decided to shut it down one day, we’re not going to damage the rice paddies we sit on.”

The 100 hectares (247 acres) of paddies sit inside a so-called “bamboo triangle,” with the factory, school and villas standing at each of the three points.

Such ambitious bamboo projects in Bali are mostly driven by eco-conscious foreigners.

With studies showing construction to be one of the world’s least sustainable industries — eating up around half of the globe’s non-renewable resources — sustainable construction is slowly taking root around the world.

It is among the key topics for discussion at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which opens June 20 in Rio de Janeiro.

In Sibang, the tawny brown bamboo buildings with their grass thatched roofs appear to be rising from the earth.

The three-storey chocolate factory is pieced together using a complex system of scissor trusses and bolts, thanks to clever architecture.

It resembles the traditional longhouses found on Borneo island and was made with more than 18,000 metres (59,000 feet) of bamboo from Bali and Java.

At Sibang’s nearby Green School, the 240 students — most of them children of expatriates — learn in semi-outdoor classrooms decked with bamboo furniture.

The school, which opened in 2008 and was the magnet for the other two projects, has 25 bamboo buildings, the main one being a stilt-structure constructed with 2,500 bamboo poles, or culms.

“In Hong Kong and China, they make new skyscrapers of concrete and glass using bamboo scaffolding. But here, the workmen stood on steel scaffolding to build this bamboo building. That’s always seemed funny to me,” said Green School admissions head Ben Macrory, from New York.

“In most parts of Asia, bamboo is seen as the poor man’s timber.”

Not, however, in Sibang, where the bamboo villas that nestle between the palm trees are worth $350,000 to $700,000 each.

Like decadent treehouses for adults, they have semi-outdoor areas and include innovative bamboo flooring that resembles smooth timber and jellybean-shaped coffee tables made from thin bamboo slats.

Bamboo — technically a grass — has been used in building for centuries because of its impressive strength-to-weight ratio.

Jules Janssen, an authority on bamboo in the Netherlands, says that the weight of a 5,000-kilogram (11,000-pound) elephant can be supported by a short bamboo stub with a surface area of just 10 square centimetres (1.5 square inches).

One reason bamboo is so environmentally-friendly is the speed at which it grows, according to Terry Sunderland, a scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia.

“In China, eucalyptus can grow at three to four metres (10-13 feet) a year, which is very impressive for timber. But building-quality bamboo will grow between six and 10 metres (20-33 feet) in that time,” he said.

And unlike trees that rarely grow back once felled, bamboo will continue to produce new shoots even after cutting.

But even bamboo has its drawbacks.

Without intensive treatment, it is prone to rotting after exposure to water. It also catches fire relatively easily, which is why many countries limit bamboo structures to just a few storeys.

Ripple acknowledged that building with bamboo was not foolproof, but expressed optimism that the technology to protect it from the elements will improve.

“A friend we work with here always says bamboo needs a hat, rain jacket and boots,” he said. “We’re lacking on the rain jacket a bit, but we’re looking at non-toxic materials to give it some protection.”

Ecologists Call for Preservation of Planet’s Remaining Biological Diversity

by Staff Writers
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (SPX)

A grassland biodiversity study at NSF’s Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research site. Credit: David Tilman.

Twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 17 ecologists are calling for renewed international efforts to curb the loss of Earth’s biological diversity. The loss is compromising nature’s ability to provide goods and services essential for human well-being, the scientists say. Over the past two decades, strong scientific evidence has emerged showing that decline of the world’s biological diversity reduces the productivity and sustainability of ecosystems, according to an international team led by the University of Michigan’s Bradley Cardinale.

It also decreases ecosystems’ ability to provide society with goods and services like food, wood, fodder, fertile soils and protection from pests and disease.

“Water purity, food production and air quality are easy to take for granted, but all are largely provided by communities of organisms,” said George Gilchrist, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research.

“This paper demonstrates that it is not simply the quantity of living things, but their species, genetic and trait biodiversity, that influences the delivery of many essential ‘ecosystem services.”’

Human actions are dismantling ecosystems, resulting in species extinctions at rates several orders of magnitude faster than observed in the fossil record.

If the nations of the world make biodiversity an international priority, the scientists say, there’s still time to conserve much of the remaining variety of life–and possibly to restore much of what’s been lost.

The researchers present their findings in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

The paper is a scientific consensus statement that summarizes evidence from more than 1,000 ecological studies over the last two decades.

“Much as consensus statements by doctors led to public warnings that tobacco use is harmful to your health, this is a consensus statement that loss of Earth’s wild species will be harmful to the world’s ecosystems and may harm society by reducing ecosystem services that are essential to human health and prosperity,” said Cardinale.

“We need to take biodiversity loss far more seriously–from individuals to international governing bodies–and take greater action to prevent further losses of species.”

An estimated nine million species of plants, animals, protists and fungi inhabit the Earth, sharing it with some seven billion people.

The call to action comes as international leaders prepare to gather in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22 for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as the Rio+20 Conference.

The upcoming conference marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which resulted in 193 nations supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity’s goals of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The 1992 Earth Summit caused an explosion of interest in understanding how biodiversity loss might affect the dynamics and functioning of ecosystems, as well as the supply of goods and services of value to society.

In the Nature paper, the scientists review published studies on the topic and list six consensus statements, four emerging trends, and four “balance of evidence” statements.

The balance of evidence shows, for example, that genetic diversity increases the yield of commercial crops, enhances the production of wood in tree plantations, improves the production of fodder in grasslands, and increases the stability of yields in fisheries.

Increased plant diversity results in greater resistance to invasion by exotic plants, inhibits plant pathogens such as fungal and viral infections, increases above-ground carbon sequestration through enhanced biomass, and increases nutrient remineralization and soil organic matter.

“No one can agree on what exactly will happen when an ecosystem loses a species, but most of us agree that it’s not going to be good,” said Shahid Naeem of Columbia University, a co-author of the paper. “And we agree that if ecosystems lose most of their species, it will be a disaster.”

“Twenty years and a thousand studies later, what the world thought was true in Rio in 1992 has finally been proven: biodiversity underpins our ability to achieve sustainable development,” Naeem said.

Despite far-reaching support for the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity loss has continued over the last two decades, often at increasing rates.

In response, a new set of diversity-preservation goals for 2020, known as the Aichi targets, was recently formulated.

And a new international body called the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was formed in April 2012 to guide a global response toward sustainable management of the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems.

Significant gaps in the science behind biological diversity remain and must be addressed if the Aichi targets are to be met, the scientists write in their paper.

“This paper is important both because of what it shows we know, and what it shows we don’t know,” said David Hooper of Western Washington University, one of the co-authors.

“Several of the key questions we outline help point the way for the next generation of research on how changing biodiversity affects human well-being.”

Without an understanding of the fundamental ecological processes that link biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services, attempts to forecast the societal consequences of diversity loss, and to meet policy objectives, are likely to fail, the ecologists write.

“But with that fundamental understanding in hand, we may yet bring the modern era of biodiversity loss to a safe end for humanity,” they conclude.

In addition to Cardinale, Naeem and Hooper, co-authors of the Nature paper are: J. Emmett Duffy of The College of William and Mary; Andrew Gonzalez of McGill University; Charles Perrings and Ann P. Kinzig of Arizona State University; Patrick Venail and Anita Narwani of the University of Michigan; Georgina M. Mace of Imperial College London; David Tilman of the University of Minnesota; David A. Wardle of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Gretchen C. Daily of Stanford University; Michel Loreau of the National Centre for Scientific Research in Moulis, France; James B. Grace of the U.S. Geological Survey; Anne Larigauderie of the National Museum of Natural History in Rue Cuvier, France; and Diane Srivastava of the University of British Columbia.

Related Links
Darwin Today At


Cyber Space

Anonymous comments to be banned from the Internet?

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

The Internet is known for its seductive allure of anonymity, giving the individual the encouragement to speak one’s mind. In New York, a couple of lawmakers are planning on banning unidentified comments online. Anastasia Churkina brings us more from the streets of New York.

New York wants to ban online anonymity

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Many Internet users love the fact that they can speak out about certain issues under the blanket of Anonymity. Being able to secretively leave remarks online may soon be a thing of the past if New York lawmakers get their way and the notion is supposed to help thwart cyber-bullying going on online.So should we have the right to say what we want on the web without disclosing our personal information? News commentator T.J. Walker joins us to help answer that question.


Survival / Sustainability

Recycling Old Gasoline

Published on Jun 6, 2012 by

I was given @17 gallons of 4 year old gas from a friend when we changed out his fuel pump. I filtered the gas for later use. I found some gasoline from 2004 that was forgotten about and I added it to my mower for testing at 10%..

Homemade Florida Adobe Bricks DIY

Published on May 9, 2012 by

I show the basics of making adobe bricks with sand/dirt right out of my own back yard here in sunny Florida. I was able to make a strong brick using portland cement and sand/dirt. I also had sucess with mixing yard grass/weeds into the bricks. I failed making good bricks using horse manure and wood ashes, but I did suceed in proving that was not the right way on how to make ’em.



Hundreds march in Hong Kong over dissident’s death

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP)

At least 1,000 people marched through Hong Kong on Sunday over the death of Chinese dissident Li Wangyang, who was jailed for more than 22 years after the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests.

The demonstrators shouted slogans calling for justice for Li and condemning the “butcher regime” in Beijing, after the 62-year-old dissident died at a hospital in central China.

The protesters marched from central Hong Kong to the Chinese government’s liaison office, where they laid flowers and made insulting gestures.

According to the New York-based Human Rights in China, two of Li’s relatives found him on Wednesday morning strung up to a ward windowsill by a bandage wrapped around his neck, with his feet on the ground.

Li was under round-the-clock police surveillance in the hospital at the time, the group said.

He had been sentenced to 13 years in prison for “counter-revolutionary” crimes for organising workers in Shaoyang into an autonomous union during the 1989 Tiananmen protests, HRIC said.

He served 11 years and was released, but was given another 10 years’ jail in 2001 for “inciting subversion” after he tried to sue the authorities over prison mistreatment that left him disabled.

Thousands of people from China and around the world have signed an online petition calling on China to launch a public investigation into Li’s death.

University starts fund to honor slain Chinese student
Montreal (AFP) June 8, 2012 – Montreal’s Concordia University set up a fund Friday to honor a Chinese student whose appalling murder has sent shock waves across Canada and the world.

Lin Jun, a 33-year-old Chinese national studying in Montreal, was allegedly murdered, dismembered and filmed by Luka Rocco Magnotta, who was arrested this week in Germany and awaits extradition.

“This has been a very emotional and heartbreaking journey for the Lin family,” the university said.

The fund, which is open to the public for donations, would help Chinese students at Concordia as well as defray the expenses of the victim’s family, who have traveled from China to Montreal.

“Concordia is pleased to announce that we are establishing the Jun Lin Family Fund to provide financial assistance for the immediate needs of the Lin family. We are also creating the Jun Lin Award to benefit Chinese students studying at the university,” the administration said.

Concordia’s Chinese Students Association, which had already been collecting money to help the family, was pleased with the announcement.

“The university has good ways to help people donate. We’re happy about this,” Yan Shi, head of Concordia’s Chinese Students Association told AFP.

Yan Shi was part of a delegation that met Lin’s mother, father, sister and at the airport when they arrived late Tuesday.

Lin’s mother was stricken with grief and could barely contain her emotion upon her arrival, Yan Shi said.

“We have come to take you home,” his mother said of her son, sobbing.

Yan Shi told AFP that “the family is strong but his mother is still very emotional.”

“We don’t know how they feel inside. We can only imagine,” adding that the mother stayed in the hotel yesterday while the father and uncle met with authorities.

Donations to the fund can be made at

Related Links
China News from

International Aid Convoy Arrives In Gaza Strip

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Full Story:

A delegation of about a hundred pro-Palestine activists from several countries has arrived in the Gaza Strip in support of the besieged Palestinian people.

Stay up to date with the latest news:



Articles of Interest

Brazilian slum’s green oasis a boon to recycling

by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP)

Monkeys swinging from branch to branch, a special gardening section for children and stunning sea views.

This green oasis finds its home in an unlikely place: a former landfill for a Rio de Janeiro slum that has been turned into a park thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers.

The six-year-old project will be showcased at this month’s Rio+20 development conference, expected to draw thousands of delegates from around the world, including government officials and representatives from civil society, to this bustling Brazilian metropolis.

“People came here to get rid of old refrigerators, stoves, tires and even their dead dogs,” said Mauro Quintanilha, a musician and craftsman who started the initiative at the Vidigal favela. “There was a lot of trash and it stank.”

The 52-year-old recounted how, 300 years ago, three houses were built in this forested area that was technically considered a protected zone. At one point, city officials expelled the inhabitants.

But that did little to diminish the mountain of garbage that had a tendency of spreading to nearby residential areas. As in other Brazilian slums, dumpsters don’t do the rounds in Vidigal. And the area lacks other public services.

That’s when Quintanilha, who lived close by, stepped in.

Together with a group of 20 volunteers, he spent a year cleaning up the area, picking up each and every discarded scrap that could be recycled or repaired.

“With the help of friends, we started cleaning up until we got a garden with flowers and a kitchen garden,” Quintanilha said proudly.

“It was tough convincing people that this was no longer a dump,” he told AFP. “We really had to talk to them about it but now they’re helping us.”

The effort certainly paid off.

Today, monkeys swing from trees in the park where milk bottles serve as flower pots.

A special section nearby is dedicated to teaching children how to garden — although it hasn’t made six-year-old Joao Vitor reconsider his dream of becoming a soccer star.

International delegations to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development are expected to visit the park, reachable via a narrow staircase of old tires filled with rubble, on June 18.

Volunteers, such as Manoel Silvestre de Jesus, hope the attention will turn into funding that will help the group keep up the endeavor — and entice others to follow in their footsteps.

“I hope that Rio+20 will bring us partnerships to continue the work we started six years ago,” he said. “The favelas have so much hope in Rio+20… I hope the delegations who come will support us.”

The 58-year-old has converted 120,000 plastic bottles fished from the tons of trash that once rotted here.

Working out of his recycling studio, he has used some to decorate benches in the park. He turned others into an array of creations that he sells to slum residents for a little extra cash.

Vitor Alves de Souza shares the same passion for transforming trash into treasures.

“There’s wealth in our waste,” said the volunteer, 38.

There is certainly a lot of trash to sift through — and it is unlikely to dwindle any time soon.

In Brazil, less than 26 percent of the population recycle, although 86 percent consider it a personal duty, according to the IBOPE public opinion institute.

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Bilderberg 2012: were Mitt Romney and Bill Gates there?

Charlie Skelton
The Guardian

© Hannah Borno for the Guardian
A banner welcomes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the 2012 Bilderberg conference.

Another conference over. Charlie Skelton talks to some of the 800 activists outside the gates to find out what they learned

What a Bilderberg it’s been. Big names, big money, big decisions, big crowds. Somewhere around 800 activists outside the gates (up from about a dozen in 2009), and inside? Well, here’s what we learned.

A Mitt Romney attendance?

Four eyewitnesses on the hotel staff told me Willard Mitt Romney was here at Bilderberg 2012. My four eyewitnesses place him inside. That’s one more than Woodward and Bernstein used. Romney’s office initially refused to confirm or deny his attendance as Bilderberg is “not public”. They later said it was not him.

So, was he being crowned, or singing for his supper? Will Mitt Romney follow in the august footsteps of Clinton, Cameron and Blair to have attended Bilderberg and then shortly become leader? Four years ago, Senator Obama shook off his press detail and nipped (many think) into Bilderberg. This exact same hotel.

Did Romney have to get down on one knee in front of David Rockefeller? This sounds flippant, but it’s a serious question: has Bilderberg switched allegiance? Are they going to toss away Obama after just one term?

I put this question to author and Bilderberg expert Webster Tarpley. Is Wall Street going to throw its chips in with Romney? “I think there’s a frisson that’s gone through the ruling class against Obama,” he says. The leak we had from the flirty hotel staffer corroborated this. “They don’t seem to like Obama very much,” he said.

Tarpley’s conclusion is this: “They want Romney and Mitch Daniels, who will run together as moderate rightists.” Governor Daniels of Indiana was on the official list.

The official list is nonsense

The Washington Post saw Bill Gates come in. And I’ve got three eyewitnesses from inside who confirmed he was here. This is his ear:

You won’t see the names Mitt Romney or Bill Gates on the officially released Final List of Participants because, well, the list is a nonsense. It’s nothing like a complete list of people who attend Bilderberg. It’s a smokescreen, a bit of spin. So can we all, please, stop repeating it as gospel?

The Syrian war is on

© Carter Osmar
Bassma Kodmani of the Syrian National Council leaves Bilderberg 2012.

Attending Bilderberg 2012 as an ‘international’ participant was Bassma Kodmani.

So who is Bassma Kodmani? The answer to that question is also the answer to the question: what the hell is happening in Syria? This is where it gets interesting (and worrying) for Bilderberg followers.

Kodmani was at Bilderberg in 2008, the last time it was here in Chantilly. She is a member of the European Council on foreign relations – its parent group, the council on foreign relations, is a sort of über lobby group, a couple of rungs down from Bilderberg, but still hugely powerful.

There’s a lot of CFR/Bilderberg crossover. Honorary chairman of both is David Rockefeller; co-chairman of the CFR is Robert Rubin (he was here); and on the CFR’s board of directors are Fouad Ajami and Henry Kravis, both at Bilderberg 2012.

Bassma Kodmani is also the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative. This body, set up in 2004 by the CFR, is helping to steer “a comprehensive process” of “democratic reform” in the region. In 2005, the Syrian National Council came into being. Bassma Kodmani was a founding member, and is on the executive committee. Kodmani is one of the SNC’s two spokespeople, alongside Radwan Ziadeh (who has a flawless Washington pedigree – look him up). According to its website, the SNC is a non profit public policy research organization register in the District of Colombia and headquartered in Washington DC. Just up the road.

I asked Tarpley about Kodmani. He doesn’t mince words. “She’s a Nato agent, a destabilizer, a colour revolution queen. The fact that Kodmani was there is a scary one for Syria”, says Tarpley.

To those gathered outside, at least, it looks increasingly like, at this year’s Bilderberg, the war of regime change got signed off. In the airport lobby, on the way home from Bilderberg, I looked up at a TV monitor to see Bilderberg attendee and CFR board member Fouad Ajami talking about how Syria is about to become another Libya. That sound you can hear? It’s all those juicy defence contracts being scratched out around Chantilly. Fuel the jets and open the champagne, boys. We’re going in.

Occupy Bilderberg turned up

© Hannah Borno for the Guardian
Webster Tarpley meets Occupy Bilderberg.

A statement of support from Occupy London was read out at Occupy Bilderberg. A symbol of Anglo-American unity, like Bilderberg itself. The statement protested against (amongst other things): the rise of an undemocratic “technocracy” – a “network of cronies” in which financial “experts”, largely from the international banking community, who have been appointed rather than elected, are handed the reins of government.

So here you’ve got the (broadly speaking) liberal left protest movement, with its anti-corruption and pro-transparency agenda, finding common ground with US libertarians and an anti-Obama, anti-fascist, pro-union New Deal American like Webster Tarpley.

As Tarpley says: “Bilderberg creates a singularity, where a lot of seemingly disparate things come together.” That applies not just to the people inside – megabank money and government – outside the security cordon you’ve got Occupy Bilderberg rubbing shoulders with US veterans, German students who’ve flown over for the event, truckers from Michigan, Orthodox Jews, Ron Paul supporters, anarcho-syndicalists, academics and grandmothers.

Why? In the words of the statement from Occupy London: “the profound denial of a participatory, direct democracy which the Bilderberg Conference represents.”

Mainstream news turned up

Finally. The Washington Times sent Ben Wolfgang, the Guardian sent Ryan Devereaux and the Times of London actually tried to get a journalist inside – Alexandra Frean was turned away at the gates. But she tried. At least she tried. That’s a start. We can work with that.

Internet ID

© We are Change, Rhode Island
Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner.

There was speculation before the conference that on the Bilderberg agenda this year would be how to implement a unique EU internet ID. Who would be pushing that through? Step up Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner for digital agenda.

Presumably Eric Schmidt (Google) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) would have been sharing podium-space with Bill Gates at that session. That’s if there was one, of course.

Collin versus the new world order

I’m not sure global governance stands a chance against Collin Abramowicz. Here – by popular request – is a last blast from the frontline of the resistance:

Hopefully Collin and I will see you all again in 2013. You can email me at – if we had 800 this year, I think we could be having ourselves a party. The Bilderburgers are on me.