Tag Archive: University of New Hampshire


MercolaHealthyPets MercolaHealthyPets

February 24, 2014 |

By Dr. Becker

Today, I have a very special guest speaking with me over the phone. His name is Dr. Hubert Karreman, and he is the veterinarian at the Rodale Institute. The Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people.

Before he joined Rodale, Dr. Karreman founded Bovinity Health, a small company that provides natural veterinary products for large animal medicine. He also founded his own solo practice, Penn Dutch Cow Care, which he operated for 15 years as a holistic large animal practitioner.

Dr. Karreman now works primarily with certified organic dairy farmers as a consultant. He also lectures widely on natural treatment options for cows, which is the topic of our discussion today.

Entering Veterinary School: A Childhood Dream Comes Full Circle

I asked Dr. Karreman to talk a little about his career path as a large animal veterinarian. He replied that he grew up in the suburbs right outside Philadelphia, in Bala Cynwyd, PA. His dad was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Like many other children, Dr. Karreman wanted to be a veterinarian for cats and dogs when he grew up. He was very influenced by books by James Herriot (author of All Creatures Great and Small, among many others), which he read during elementary school and junior high.

When Dr. Karreman was in the eighth grade, the veterinarian his family used came to his school to give a talk about his profession, and Dr. Karreman was even more motivated toward his goal of becoming a DVM.

But when he eventually went away to college at the University of New Hampshire, he began as a biochemistry major. Then he did a bit of “wandering,” as many young people at that age do. He worked at a gas station during the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, which got him thinking about the earth’s resources. When he returned to school, he began learning about resource conservation. He took a soil science class, really got into soils, and declared that as his new major.

During his time at the University of New Hampshire, he completed a work-study program with the USDA Soil Conservation Service, as it was called back in the early 1980s. Dr. Karreman said it was really wonderful, fun work for a kid from the suburbs, surveying land for conservation practices on dairy farms in southeastern New Hampshire. He could always see dairy cows off in the distance and was drawn to them, but didn’t get the opportunity to interact with them while he was involved in soil conservation work.

Immediately upon graduation in June 1984, his desire to learn about dairy cows drove him to work as an apprentice on dairy farms. He mucked out cow stalls and did general farm labor for a pittance. Then in the winter of 1984-85, Dr. Karreman traveled to Holland to visit relatives. They weren’t farmers, but he told them, “I’d love to milk cows here in Holland or learn how.” So he started milking cows in Holland and was instantly addicted.

For the next six years, Dr. Karreman continued to work on farms. In 1988, he landed on an organic farm and was exposed for the first time to alternative medicine. He thought, “Wow, no way are these going to work, these little BB-sized white pellets in these round little bottles.” They were homeopathics. And then he saw them work, and one day it hit him like a bolt of lightning from God. Dr. Karreman says he almost heard a voice from above say, “Go to veterinary school.”

Suddenly, his childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian came alive again. He had to take some additional classes to get into vet school, and he knew he had to get really good grades this time around, unlike his University of New Hampshire grade point average! And as Dr. Karreman puts it, “Lo and behold, I got top grades and got in!”

Isn’t that a great story? I was exposed to homeopathy while studying wildlife rehabilitation at the age of 16. At that time, I couldn’t even pronounce the word “homeopathy,” nor did I understand it. But I saw that it worked amazingly well. It sounds like Dr. Karreman had a very similar experience with the use of homeopathy with dairy cows. I asked him what his exposure was to homeopathy in veterinary school.

Dr. Karreman explained that while in vet school he didn’t hide the fact that he was into organics and was interested in alternative medicine. And as he thinks back on it now, during his first two years of school while he was learning the basics, the professors he had were more open to discussions about alternative therapies than the actual clinicians who taught him in his third and fourth years.

After Vet School, Dr. Karreman Establishes a Satellite Practice with an Emphasis on Large Animal Homeopathics

Next, I asked Dr. Karreman where he began working after graduating from veterinary school. Did he go with a traditional practice? Or did he open his own practice so he could take a more integrative approach, using alternative treatments like homeopathy?

Dr. Karreman said that when he was a herdsman from 1988 to 1990 on a Biodynamic organic farm, he received training – as did other farmers in Lancaster and Chester counties in southeastern Pennsylvania – from Dr. Ed Schaefer. Dr. Karreman feels Dr. Schaefer is the best teacher of large animal homeopathics in the U.S.

When he was finishing up vet school, Dr. Karreman asked Dr. Schaefer if he would like him to set up a satellite practice in Lancaster County, since Dr. Schaefer was in Lebanon County. Dr. Schaefer agreed, but couldn’t pay Dr. Karreman much because he hadn’t planned for someone to offer to open a satellite practice for him! But as Dr. Karreman points out, “When my heart’s into something, I do it regardless of the pay.” He thinks a lot of veterinarians are like that.

While attending the presentations Dr. Schaefer gave to teach homeopathics, Dr. Karreman started meeting up again with many of the farmers he’d known during his years as an apprentice. As it turns out, he didn’t have to do much cold calling to get business for his satellite practice, because he’d made all those contacts years before. This was at a time when organics were really starting to take off, and the farmers he knew were like, “Hey, this is cool. This is Dr. Karreman. He’s just out of vet school. And he wants us to use homeopathics just like we all learned from Dr. Schaefer. This is great!” And things just sort of developed from there.

It’s really wonderful and unique how things ultimately fell into place. Dr. Karreman believes it was serendipity along with spiritual guidance. He feels he was put on his path when he heard those words from above, “Go to veterinary school” back in the late 1980s. Things have fallen into place almost every day since then.

Beyond Homeopathics to Multi-Potency Homeochords

I asked Dr. Karreman if when he started out, he practiced exclusively holistic medicine, or was it more integrative? Did he practice traditional veterinary medicine at any point?

He answered that interestingly, most vets who get into alternative medicine first spend many years practicing conventional medicine – antibiotics, hormones, steroids, etc. Eventually, they arrive at a place where they say to themselves, “I’m just not seeing the results I want to see,” or “I didn’t go to vet school just to use these two or three or four treatment protocols.” But in Dr. Karreman’s case, he actually went to vet school because he had already seen how well alternative therapies work.

But once he started practicing in 1995, he quickly hit sort of a glass ceiling with regard to homeopathics in the treatment of dairy cows. He wasn’t a classically trained homeopath. He refers to himself as a mongrel or mutt – an eclectic practitioner. He uses whatever it takes to get the healing response he’s looking for. That’s why when he attended vet school, he wanted to mix and match different modalities. Every case is different, and he knew that.

For example, let’s say a cow is fresh (has just given birth to a calf), hasn’t passed the afterbirth, and has pneumonia. She’s sunken-eyed and depressed. She’s obviously sick. Using homeopathic pyrogen alone isn’t going to get the same results as also giving IV fluids, perhaps some calcium (if she’s older), and maybe some other therapies as well. Dr. Karreman would try various combinations of treatments – whatever it took to initiate a healing response in the animal.

At that time, he might have been a little quicker to suggest antibiotics (than now). He personally had nothing against antibiotics, but most of the farmers he worked with were looking to use homeopathics rather than antibiotics. That’s where he started hitting the glass ceiling with homeopathics. At the time, Dr. Karreman happened to be reading a book by James Duke and Steven Foster called A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants (Eastern and Central North America) (Houghton and Mifflin, Boston, 1990).

He began reading that some plants, like caulophyllum (blue cohosh), arnica, and aconite, are also used in botanical medicine for roughly the same physical indications as in homeopathic medicine. He realized there was a lot of overlap. But physicians from the Eclectic school of medicine and native Indians would use actual botanical juice, but in small amounts — whereas homeopaths use only the energetic essence of the plant to treat similar conditions. So Dr. Karreman thought, “Why not use both?”

That was back in 1999 or 2000. Now when he uses homeopathics, he likes to use what he calls multi-potency homeochords. He still must “diagnose” (select) the correct remedy. He still needs to know what the remedies are called. But once he knows 3-4 indications, he knows what remedy is most appropriate. He then uses it in a multi-potency combination:mother tincture 1X, 2X,4X,12C, 30C and 200C – equal parts of ever increasing diluted and vigorously shaken original plant material.

Selecting the right remedy, and providing some of the juice plus some of the homeopathic energetic essence, in Dr. Karreman’s opinion, stimulates a deeper healing response than using just one or the other.

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 6 February, 2013 

MessageToEagle.com – After three years of puzzling over a striking “ribbon” of energy and particles discovered by NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) at the edge of our solar system, researchers may be on the verge of cracking the mystery.

In a paper published Feb. 4, 2013, in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers including Nathan Schwadron, an associate professor at UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space and department of physics, of the University of New Hampshire, propose a “retention theory” that for the first time explains all the key observations of this astrophysical enigma.

“If the theory is correct, the ribbon can be used to tell us how we’re moving through the magnetic fields of the interstellar medium and how those magnetic fields then influence our space environment,” Schwadron says.

A three-dimensional diagram of the retention region shown as a “life preserver” around our heliosphere bubble along with the original IBEX ribbon image. The interstellar magnetic field lines are shown running from upper left to lower right around the heliosphere, and the area where the field lines “squeeze” the heliosphere corresponds to the ribbon location. The red arrow at the front shows the direction of travel of our solar system. Image credit: Adler Planetarium/IBEX Team.

Read Full Article Here

WHALES AHOY

by Staff Writers
Cape Cod MA (SPX) J


The gliders are operated by Dave Fratantoni, a scientist in the WHOI Physical Oceanography Department. In use by oceanographers for about a decade, gliders move up, down, and laterally in a sawtooth pattern through the water by changing their buoyancy and using their wings to provide lift. They are battery powered and exceptionally quiet — a critical feature when collecting acoustic data. (Photo by Nick Woods, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Two robots equipped with instruments designed to “listen” for the calls of baleen whales detected nine endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine last month. The robots reported the detections to shore-based researchers within hours of hearing the whales (i.e., in real time), demonstrating a new and powerful tool for managing interactions between whales and human activities.

The team of researchers, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists Mark Baumgartner and Dave Fratantoni, reported their sightings to NOAA, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NOAA Fisheries Service, in turn, put in place on Dec. 5 a “dynamic management area,” asking mariners to voluntarily slow their vessel speed to avoid striking the animals.

The project employed ocean-going robots called gliders equipped with a digital acoustic monitoring (DMON) instrument and specialized software allowing the vehicle to detect and classify calls from four species of baleen whales – sei, fin, humpback, and right whales.

The gliders’s real-time communication capabilities alerted scientists to the presence of whales in the research area, in the first successful use of technology to report detections of several species of baleen whales from autonomous vehicles.

The oceanographic research project was underway from Nov. 12 through Dec. 5, operating in an area called the Outer Fall, about sixty miles south of Bar Harbor, Me., and 90 miles northeast of Portsmouth, NH. Right whales are thought to use this area every year between November and January as a mating ground.

Two gliders were deployed by Ben Hodges and Nick Woods, also of WHOI, on Nov. 12 from the University of New Hampshire’s 50-ft research vessel, the Gulf Challenger.

The vehicles surveyed the area for two weeks, sending data to the researchers every two hours via satellite, prior to the scientific team’s arrival Nov. 28 on the University of Rhode Island’s research vessel Endeavor. The gliders continued to survey for another week before being recovered by the Endeavor on Dec. 4.

“We put two gliders out in the central Gulf of Maine to find whales for us,” says Baumgartner, who specializes in baleen whale and zooplankton ecology. “They reported hearing whales within hours of hitting the water. They did their job perfectly.”

Using the gliders’s reconnaissance data and continued real-time updates, the science team was able to locate whales in just a few hours of searching. “We found our first right whale on the first day that we were surveying in decent weather conditions because the gliders were up there doing the leg work for us, to tell us where the animals were in real time,” says Baumgartner.

The innovative whale detection system provides conservation managers with a cost-effective alternative to ship- or plane-based means of identifying the presence of whales, and gives whale ecologists new tools for understanding large animals that spend most of their lives out of human eyesight below the sea surface.

 

Read Full Article Here

Environmental

Rising CO2 in atmosphere also speeds carbon loss from forest soils

by Staff Writers
Bloomington IN (SPX)

Wood Pile


The research was conducted at the Duke Forest Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment site in North Carolina, where mature loblolly pine trees were exposed to increased levels of carbon dioxide for 14 years, making it one of the longest-running carbon dioxide enrichment experiments in the world. Image courtesy Will Owens.

Elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide accelerate carbon cycling and soil carbon loss in forests, new research led by an Indiana University biologist has found. The new evidence supports an emerging view that although forests remove a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of the carbon is being stored in living woody biomass rather than as dead organic matter in soils.

Richard P. Phillips, lead author on the paper and an assistant professor of biology in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said that after nearly two decades of research on forest ecosystem responses to global change, some of the uncertainty has been lifted about how forests are storing carbon in the wake of rising carbon dioxide levels.

“It’s been suggested that as trees take up more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a greater amount of carbon will go to roots and fungi to acquire nutrients, but our results show that little of this carbon accumulates in soil because the decomposition of root and fungal detritus is also increased,” he said.

Carbon stored in soils, as opposed to in the wood of trees, is desirable from a management perspective in that soils are more stable over time, so carbon can be locked away for hundreds to thousands of years and not contribute to atmospheric carbon dioxide increases.

The research was conducted at the Duke Forest Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment site in North Carolina. At this site, mature loblolly pine trees were exposed to increased levels of carbon dioxide for 14 years, making it one of the longest-running carbon dioxide enrichment experiments in the world.

Researchers were able to calculate the age of the carbon cycling through the soil by growing roots and fungi into mesh bags that contained uniquely labeled soils. The soils were then analyzed for their organic composition.

The authors also report that nitrogen cycled faster in this forest as the demand for nutrients by trees and microbes became greater under elevated CO2.

“The growth of trees is limited by the availability of nitrogen at this site, so it makes sense that trees are using the ‘extra’ carbon taken up under elevated CO2 to prime microbes to release nitrogen bound up in organic matter,” Phillips said.

“What is surprising is that the trees seem to be getting much of their nitrogen by decomposing root and fungal detritus that is less than a year old.”

The two-fold effects of microbial priming, where microbes are stimulated to decompose old soil organic matter via an increase in new carbon and other energy sources, and the faster turnover of recently fixed root and fungal carbon, are enough to explain the rapid carbon and nitrogen cycling that is occurring at the Duke Forest FACE site.

“We call it the RAMP hypothesis – Rhizo-Accelerated Mineralization and Priming – and it states that root-induced changes in the rates of microbial processing of carbon and nitrogen are key mediators of long-term ecosystem responses to global change,” Phillips added.

“Most ecosystem models have limited representations of roots, and none of them include processes such as priming. Our results demonstrate that interactions between roots and soil microbes play an underappreciated role in determining how much carbon is stored and how fast nitrogen is cycled. So including these processes in models should lead to improved projections of long-term carbon storage in forests in response to global environmental change'” he said.

“Roots and fungi accelerate carbon and nitrogen cycling in forests exposed to elevated CO2” – by Phillips; IU and University of Gottingen (Germany) post-doctoral researcher Ina C. Meier; Emily S. Bernhardt of Duke University, A. Stuart Grandy and Kyle Wickings of the University of New Hampshire; and Adrien C. Finzi of Boston University – was published July 9 in the online early addition of Ecology Letters. Free access to the research article will be available until October.

Related Links
Indiana University
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

Grassroots approach to conservation developed

by Staff Writers
Urbana IL (SPX)

Flora And Fauna


Prescribed fire is applied on reserves, but grazing is typically excluded and herbaceous vegetation is often dominated by grasses. Credit: Ryan Harr. Ecological Society of America

A new strategy to manage invasive species and achieve broader conservation goals is being tested in the Grand River Grasslands, an area within the North American tallgrass prairie ecoregion. A University of Illinois researcher along with his colleagues at Iowa State and Oklahoma State Universities enlisted private landowners in a grassroots community-building effort to establish a more diverse landscape for native wildlife.

The Grand River Grasslands has three main problems that pose challenges to conservation efforts: invasive juniper trees, tall fescue, and heavy grazing of cattle. U of I ecologist Jim Miller and his team developed a new model for conservation that begins by raising landowners’ awareness of these problems and providing strategies, such as moderate livestock grazing and regularly scheduled controlled burns. Miller and his team identified landowners who are interested in trying something different – who will, in turn, transfer their newfound knowledge and understanding to larger groups of people in the region.

“We conducted a survey and learned that people recognize burning as a legitimate management tool but don’t have experience with it,” Miller said. “Most of the landowners have never participated in a controlled burn, so we’ve essentially lost a fire culture in much of that part of the country.”

Miller’s team invited landowners to hands-on educational field days at nearby nature reserves to show them how grazing and burning techniques work. They got experience with drip torches and learned how to work with the wind and moisture levels.

“We followed that up with a burn at one of the landowner’s savannahs that he was trying to restore,” Miller said. “It went really well and was a key step for us in our process because now we’re getting landowners to try these new strategies on their own properties.”

Miller said the next step in the model is to encourage the landowners to champion these new practices to the larger community. “They go down to the coffee shop and meet their neighbors and friends and tell them about the success they’re having with the new practices to control the juniper trees and tall fescue and how well their cattle are doing on these pastures. The neighbors start to pick up on this, and then we have the whole process repeat itself with a larger group of landowners.

“If we’re successful with this, we’ll start to see changes, not just on individual properties here and there for key landowners but over the whole landscape or the whole region,” he said.

According to Miller, the fastest-growing group of landowners in the area is non-traditional. They don’t live in the region or come from a farming background, but they instead buy land to hunt deer, turkey, quail, or maybe just to birdwatch. He said that on land with intensive cattle grazing, the cedars can be kept at bay.

“Without burning or grazing, the cedars will take over,” Miller said. “Trees seem like a good thing to wildlife enthusiasts, but they don’t see that their land will go from being an open grassland to a closed-canopy cedar stand in 20 to 25 years. Under those conditions, there are no deer, no turkey, no quail – it’s a biological desert, and it’s too late to do much with it. We think we can make the most inroads with the non-traditional owners.”

Juniper trees are invasive, largely due to fire suppression. Junipers are a fire-intolerant, woody plant. This particular species of juniper is also called eastern redcedar.

Although that may sound appealing for patio furniture or decking or biofuels, it’s not. Miller said there’s no market for this type of tree. The trees produce a prodigious seed rain that facilitates rapid colonization of an area when left unchecked. With a survey from aerial photography dating back to 1983, Miller estimated a 3 percent increase in cedar coverage per year.

Tall fescue, an exotic invasive plant that forms a monoculture, greens up early in the spring making it difficult to burn.

“Heavy stocking of cattle is an issue,” Miller said. “Cattle quickly reduce available forage to the point that some ranchers feed hay by July and August. That’s not quality habitat for grassland birds, which have seen the steepest declines in North America since we’ve been monitoring bird populations.” He said.

“There are at least two things necessary for this model to work: ecological potential in the landscape and some level of social readiness,” Miller said. “In the Grand River Grasslands, there is ecological potential, but landowners don’t all recognize that eastern redcedar trees are invasive. We’re working on that.”

Miller says that with conservation, you need a plurality, a variety of approaches, because one size doesn’t fit all.

“We’re providing a model or a road map for a different way of doing things in conversation,” Miller said. “We need to go beyond the traditional jewels-in-the-crown or fortress conservation models, characterized by national parks and other set-asides. Paying people to take their land out of production and creating state and national parks or reserves just aren’t enough. This model may not work everywhere, but in some landscapes we think this can work, and we’re trying to provide an initial example to demonstrate how it could work.

“It’s meant to be a dialogue between, our team, landowners, and other resource management professionals, such as biologists who work for the Department of Natural Resources – not us telling them what they need to do,” he said.

Frontiers in ecology and the environment: Nature reserves as catalysts for landscape change was published in The Ecological Society of America. Lois Wright Morton, David Engle, Diane Debinski, and Ryan Harr contributed. Photos were provided by Ryan Hart, Devin McGranahan, and Dave Engle.

Related Links
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

 

 

Eddies, not sunlight, spur annual bloom of tiny plants in North Atlantic

by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX)


File image.

On a recent expedition to the inhospitable North Atlantic Ocean, scientists at the University of Washington and collaborators studying the annual growth of tiny plants were stumped to discover that the plankton had started growing before the sun had a chance to offer the light they need for their growth spurt. For decades, scientists have known that springtime brings the longer days and calmer seas that force phytoplankton near the surface, where they get the sunlight they need to flourish.

But in research results published this week in the journal Science, scientists report evidence of another trigger.

Eric D’Asaro and Craig Lee, oceanographers in the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography, are among the researchers who found that whirlpools, or eddies, that swirl across the North Atlantic sustain phytoplankton in the ocean’s shallower waters, where the plankton can get plenty of sunlight to fuel their growth even before the longer days of spring start.

The eddies form when heavier, colder water from the north slips under the lighter, warmer water from the south. The researchers found that the eddies cause the bloom to happen around three weeks earlier than it would if it was spurred just by spring’s longer days.

“That timing makes a significant difference if you think about the animals that eat the phytoplankton,” said D’Asaro, the corresponding author on the paper.

Many small sea animals spend the winter dozing in the deep ocean, emerging in the spring and summer to feed on the phytoplankton.

“If they get the timing wrong, they’ll starve,” Lee said. Since fish eat the animals, a reduction in their number could harm the fish population.

Scientists believe that climate change may affect oceanic circulation patterns such as the one that causes the eddies. They’ve found some evidence that warm waters from the subtropics are penetrating further to the north, Lee said.

“If the climate alters the circulation patterns, it might alter the timing of the bloom, which could impact which animals grow and which die out,” he said.

Learning about the circulation of the ocean also helps scientists forecast changes in the ocean, a bit like meteorologists are able to forecast the weather, said D’Asaro.

The scientists didn’t set out to look at the kind of large-scale mixing that they found. In April 2008, Lee and co-author Mary Jane Perry of the University of Maine arrived in a storm-lashed North Atlantic aboard an Icelandic research vessel.

They launched robots (specially designed by Lee and D’Asaro) in the rough seas. A float that hovered below the water’s surface followed the motion of the ocean, moving around “like a giant phytoplankton,” said D’Asaro.

Lurking alongside the float were 6-foot-long, teardrop-shaped Seagliders, also designed at the UW, that dove to depths of up to 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet. After each dive, working in areas 20 to 50 kilometers, or 12 to 31 miles, around the float, the gliders rose to the surface, pointed their antennas skyward and transmitted their stored data back to shore via satellite.

The float and gliders measured the temperature, salinity and speed of the water, and gathered information about the chemistry and biology of the bloom itself. Soon after measurements from the float and gliders started coming in, the scientists saw that the bloom had started, even though conditions still looked winter-like.

“It was apparent that some new mechanism, other than surface warming, was behind the bloom’s initiation,” said D’Asaro.

To find out what, the researchers needed sophisticated computer modeling.

Enter first author Amala Mahadevan, with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who used 3-D computer models to look at information collected at sea by Perry, D’Asaro and Lee.

She generated eddies in a model using the north-to-south oceanic temperature variation. Without eddies, the bloom happened several weeks later and didn’t have the space and time structures actually observed in the North Atlantic.

In the future, the scientists hope to put the North Atlantic bloom into a broader context. They believe much can be learned by following the phytoplankton’s evolution across an entire year, especially with gliders and floats outfitted with new sensors. The sensors would look at the tiny animals that graze on the phytoplankton.

“What we’re learning about eddies is that they’re a critical part of life in the ocean,” said Perry. “They shape ocean ecosystems in countless ways.”

Related Links
University of Washington
Water News – Science, Technology and Politics

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Cyber Space

ONR Sensor and Software Suite Hunts Down More Than 600 Suspect Boats

by Staff Writers
Arlington VA (SPX)


File image.

A new sensor and software suite sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) recently returned from West Africa after helping partner nations track and identify target vessels of interest as part of an international maritime security operation, officials announced July 10. Researchers deployed the system, called “Rough Rhino,” aboard U.S. aircraft, ships and partner nation ships operating in waters off the coast of Senegal and Cape Verde.

Sailors and Coast Guardsmen could access and control the sensors both afloat and ashore, as well as share information in a real-time common operating picture.

“It provides a comprehensive maritime domain awareness picture for dark, gray and light targets-vessels that range from no electronic emissions to those that cooperatively report their name and positions, said Dr. Michael Pollock, ONR’s division director for electronics, sensors and networks.

Rough Rhino was responsible for finding targets during the most recent two-week African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) operation. The primary missions are aimed at assisting and building the host nation’s capability to interdict and counter narcotics, human trafficking and illegal fishing.

On any given day, the distributed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system tracked more than 600 targets, identified vessels of interest and culminated in 24 boardings by Gambian, Senegalese and U.S. maritime security teams. For future operations, Gambia and Senegal will continue to work with African partner nations to build and maintain maritime security and safety.

“Rough Rhino provided them one of the clearest maritime operational pictures that they’ve ever seen,” said Pollock. “They could detect, locate, quantify and confirm detailed activities of all vessels in their respective countries’ exclusive economic zones.”

AMLEP provided an opportunity to test the prototype Rough Rhino system in an operationally and tactically relevant environment, allowing designers and developers to see firsthand where the system needs improvement.

The system includes: radar, optics, electronic surveillance and integrated software modified and developed by ONR contractors and the Naval Research Laboratory. The system was installed on the Naval Research Laboratory’s VXS-1 P-3, USS Simpson and Senegalese ships SNS Poponguine and SNS Djiffere.

“The unique aspect to this project is how the research directly supports an ongoing operation and how we can immediately ingest operator feedback” said Pollock. He added that the software is constantly rewritten annually from the ground up to keep up with changing technology, sensor improvements, and fleet and operator needs.

To date, the system has participated in five major operations, including AMLEP 2011 and 2012. Participants particularly liked the system’s ease of use, requiring little training, and clarity, as well as its information storage and retrieval abilities, which can be used to support after-action reviews and legal prosecutions.

AMLEP is a joint mission conducted by the U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Naval Forces Africa, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area and multiple West African navies and coast guards. AMLEP is the operational portion of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative in which African navies employ their professional skill, knowledge and experience to combat crime at sea.

Since 2007, the U.S. Navy has worked alongside African partner navies and coast guards through a series of APS training events and regional exercises to improve maritime safety and security. Additionally, operations such as AMLEP provide participants with numerous opportunities to operate together and develop productive relationships through real-world situations.

Related Links
Office of Naval Research
21st Century Pirates

 

 

10 Crazy IT Security Tricks That Actually Work

By Roger A. Grimes, Infoworld

Network and endpoint security may not strike you as the first place to scratch an experimental itch. After all, protecting the company’s systems and data should call into question any action that may introduce risk. But IT security threats constantly evolve, and sometimes you have to think outside the box to keep ahead of the more ingenious evildoers.

And sometimes you have to get a little crazy.

Charles Babbage, the father of the modern computer, once said, “Propose to a man any principle, or an instrument, however admirable, and you will observe the whole effort is directed to find a difficulty, a defect, or an impossibility in it. If you speak to him of a machine for peeling a potato, he will pronounce it impossible: If you peel a potato with it before his eyes, he will declare it useless, because it will not slice a pineapple.”

The world of network security is no different. Offer a new means for IT defense, and expect to meet resistance. Yet, sometimes going against the wave of traditional thinking is the surest path to success.

In that vein, we offer 10 security ideas that have been — and in many cases still are — shunned as too offbeat to work but that function quite effectively in helping secure the company’s IT assets. The companies employing these methods don’t care about arguing or placating the naysayers. They see the results and know these methods work, and they work well.

Innovative security technique No. 1: Renaming admins

Renaming privileged accounts to something less obvious than “administrator” is often slammed as a wasteful, “security by obscurity” defense. However, this simple security strategy works. If the attacker hasn’t already made it inside your network or host, there’s little reason to believe they’ll be able to readily discern the new names for your privileged accounts. If they don’t know the names, they can’t mount a successful password-guessing campaign against them.

Even bigger bonus? Never in the history of automated malware — the campaigns usually mounted against workstations and servers — has an attack attempted to use anything but built-in account names. By renaming your privileged accounts, you defeat hackers and malware in one step. Plus, it’s easier to monitor and alert on log-on attempts to the original privileged account names when they’re no longer in use.

Innovative security technique No. 2: Getting rid of admins

Another recommendation is to get rid of all wholesale privileged accounts: administrator, domain admin, enterprise admin, and every other account and group that has built-in, widespread, privileged permissions by default.

When this is suggested, most network administrators laugh and protest, the same response security experts got when they recommended local Administrator accounts be disabled on Windows computers. Then Microsoft followed this recommendation, disabling local Administrator accounts by default on every version of Windows starting with Vista/Server 2008 and later. Lo and behold, hundreds of millions of computers later, the world hasn’t come crashing down.

True, Windows still allows you to create an alternate Administrator account, but today’s most aggressive computer security defenders recommend getting rid of all built-in privileged accounts, at least full-time. Still, many network admins see this as going a step too far, an overly draconian measure that won’t work. Well, at least one Fortune 100 company has eliminated all built-in privileged accounts, and it’s working great. The company presents no evidence of having been compromised by an APT (advanced persistent threat). And nobody is complaining about the lack of privileged access, either on the user side or from IT. Why would they? They aren’t getting hacked.

Innovative security technique No. 3: Honeypots

Modern computer honeypots have been around since the days of Clifford Stoll’s “The Cuckoo’s Egg,” and they still don’t aren’t as respected or as widely adopted as they deserve. A honeypot is any computer asset that is set up solely to be attacked. Honeypots have no production value. They sit and wait, and they are monitored. When a hacker or malware touches them, they send an alert to an admin so that the touch can be investigated. They provide low noise and high value.

The shops that use honeypots get notified quickly of active attacks. In fact, nothing beats a honeypot for early warning — except for a bunch of honeypots, called a honeynet. Still, colleagues and customers are typically incredulous when I bring up honeypots. My response is always the same: Spend a day spinning one up and tell me how you feel about honeypots a month later. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to try one.

Innovative security technique No. 4: Using nondefault ports

Another technique for minimizing security risk is to install services on nondefault ports. Like renaming privileged accounts, this security-by-obscurity tactic goes gangbusters. When zero-day, remote buffer overflow threats become weaponized by worms, computer viruses, and so on, they always — and only — go for the default ports. This is the case for SQL injection surfers, HTTP worms, SSH discoverers, and any other common remote advertising port.

Recently Symantec’s pcAnywhere and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol suffered remote exploits. When these exploits became weaponized, it was a race against the clock for defenders to apply patches or block the ports before the worms could arrive. If either service had been running on a nondefault port, the race wouldn’t even begin. That’s because in the history of automated malware, malware has only ever tried the default port.

Critics of this method of defense say it’s easy for a hacker to find where the default port has been moved, and this is true. All it takes is a port scanner, like Nmap, or an application fingerprinter, like Nikto, to identify the app running on the nondefault port. In reality, most attacks are automated using malware, which as stated, only go for default ports, and most hackers don’t bother to look for nondefault ports. They find too much low-hanging fruit on default ports to be bothered with the extra effort.

Years ago, as an experiment, I moved my RDP port from 3889 to 50471 and offered a reward to the first person to find the new port. Two people discovered the port right away, which was no surprise; because I told them what I did, it’s easy to discover the right spot. What blew me away is that tens of thousands of hacker wannabes, scanning my system for the new port using Nmap, didn’t realize that Nmap, if left to its own defaults, doesn’t look on nondefault ports. It proved that by doing a simple port move you significantly reduce your risk.

Innovative security technique No. 5: Installing to custom directories

Another security-by-obscurity defense is to install applications to nondefault directories.

This one doesn’t work as well as it used to, given that most attacks happen at the application file level today, but it still has value. Like the previous security-by-obscurity recommendations, installing applications to custom directories reduces risk — automated malware almost never looks anywhere but the default directories. If malware is able to exploit your system or application, it will try to manipulate the system or application by looking for default directories. Install your OS or application to a nonstandard directory and you screw up its coding.

On many of my honeypots, I install the OS to nondefault folders — say, in C:/Win7 instead of C:/Windows. I usually create the “fake” folders that mimic the real ones, had I installed the software and taken the defaults. When my computers get attacked, it’s easy to find complete and isolated copies of the malware hanging out in the C:/Windows/System32 folder.

Changing default folders doesn’t have as much bang for the buck as the other techniques mentioned here, but it fools a ton of malware, and that means reduced risk.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

DNSChanger Doomsday Threat Fizzled–Just as It Should Have

By Jared Newman, PCWorld

DNSChanger Doomsday Threat Fizzled--Just as It Should HaveNow that the feds have cut the lifeline for Internet users infected by the DNSChanger malware, we find that the result of that action wasn’t quite the “Internet doomsday” that some had predicted.

[Read: DNSChanger Malware: What’s Next?]

DNSChanger caused a panic because it was routing Internet traffic through rogue servers, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized and shut down in late 2011. The FBI was hosting surrogate servers to keep infected users online, but pulled the plug on Monday, forcing users to get clean or risk losing their connections.

But as of Sunday night, the FBI estimated that only 41,800 computers remained infected by DNSChanger, the Associated Press reports, and some Internet service providers are offering their own solutions to keep customers online. It’s safe to say the cutoff day has been free of catastrophes. “We’re not aware of any issues,” FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer told the Boston Globe.

The Warnings Worked

In light of the aftermath–or lack thereof–you might see this whole ordeal as overblown. But there’s another way to look at it: The information campaign worked.

As of February, half of all Fortune 500 companies owned computers infected with DNSChanger, and an estimated 350,000 computers around the world were still infected.

I first wrote about DNSChanger in April, but by then, the FBI’s original cutoff date had already passed. A federal judge extended the deadline from March to July because not enough people were aware of the situation.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

3 SHTF NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSES!!

Uploaded by on Feb 24, 2010

Sprouting is an easy and economical way to grow highly nutritional greens for your plate no matter where you live or what time of year it is. WHEAT, WILD RICE and SEEDS are SUPER nutritional, high yield, easy to store space savers POWERHOUSES.

EMERGENCY WATER FILTER SYSTEM SHTF

Uploaded by on Nov 8, 2010

How to make a emergency water filtering system for about $45.00. DIY build it yourself easy project for SHTF & WROL.


 

 

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

In my first year as a prepper, I made an enormous misstep. My wife and I live in an apartment, and I placed our hurricane preps in an outside closet off a connected patio. Things were great until winter. Then the frigid (for here) temperatures played havoc on the water containers in storage. They burst. Rusty cans. Not good. It did give me an excellent opportunity to refine our cache; a lesson through failure.

As Atlantic Hurricane Season 2012 gets started, I broke out the stockpile to review and share. From the outset, I should concede that Plan A is to get gone – evacuation. If the situation doesn’t appear too severe, we’ll stay and make use of our preps, if needed. That caveat being said…

Where to store:

A lot of people have superb plans for the pallets of pinto beans they plan to lay away. Fewer people consider where they’ll store it. Fewer people still have a glut of space in the house to dedicate to items that will – Lord willing – go untouched for some time. (Thus, the initial outdoor storage solution failure.) For my kit, I knew it had to be as compact as possible to store out of the way. This also factors into its portability should the need arise to relocate the stash or me.

Why to store:

We’re still not quite to the meat of the matter, but it’s important to understand why you’re putting away some supplies. This level of store is not meant to sustain you through the long winter months after the grid is down while you and “missus” fend off roving hordes, zombies, or other enemy du jour. This kit is for a number of days without power while other services are, largely, unaffected or restored with reasonable haste.

What to store:

This is what you’ve been waiting for. I’ve geared this kit to items that my wife and I already consume (to ease rotation), items that can be easily used or prepared, and items that are fairly stable on the shelf. This kit is meant to sustain two people for at least five days with filling meals 2-3 times per day. This kit is also intended for use after all other such resources have been consumed from the house.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Activism

Tibetan sets himself alight in China protest: group

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP)

A young Tibetan man set himself on fire near Tibet’s capital of Lhasa on Saturday, a rights group said, the latest in a series of protests against Chinese rule.

The fate of the 22-year-old man, whose name was given as Tsewang Dorjee, was unknown though there were reports he had died, London-based Free Tibet said in a statement on Tuesday.

Government officials could not be reached for comment.

With the latest incident, at least 41 people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China in protest at repressive government policies, according to activists.

The rights group said authorities have tightened security in Damxung county near Lhasa following the incident, detaining witnesses and cutting off communications.

On May 27, two men set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang temple, a renowned centre for Buddhist pilgrimage in the centre of Lhasa, in the first such incident to hit the city.

Lhasa was the scene of violent anti-Chinese government protests in 2008, which later spread to other areas inhabited by Tibetans, and authorities have kept the city under tight security since then.

Tibetans have long chafed under China’s rule over the vast Himalayan plateau, saying that Beijing has curbed religious freedoms and their culture is being eroded by an influx of Han Chinese, the country’s main ethnic group.

Beijing, however, says Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and have benefited from improved living standards brought on by China’s economic expansion.

China on Sunday started work on a 30-billion-yuan ($4.8-billion) tourism project in Lhasa, as it seeks to draw more travellers to the restive Tibet region.

Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

 

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