Category Archives: INTELLIGENT AIMS

THE OLD SNAFFLEFU

Excellent. I also like Snafflefu.

That’s when you’re attempting to lift something off your mark and he suddenly spots ya, calls in the embassy guards, and all hell breaks loose.

Or variantly, when you’re trying to get away from the embassy (because you just boosted something valuable off the foreign ambassador) and your reins break, your horse spits his bit, and then throws you to boot.

That’s a real snafflefu too… lol!

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Word of the Day: Snaffle

Pronunciation: /SNAFF-ul/

Definition: (verb, noun)

1) to obtain especially by devious or irregular means.
2) take (something) for oneself, typically quickly or without permission.
3) (on a bridle) a simple bit, typically a jointed one, used with a single set of reins.

Etymology: mid 16th century (denoting a bridle bit): probably from Low German or Dutch; compare with Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snavel ‘beak, mouth’ The verb (mid 19th century) is perhaps a different word.

Word of the day from my buddy Troy.

STOLEN?

“Stolen,” eh?

Secret Service hunts for stolen laptop with Trump Tower floor plans

A Secret Service laptop containing sensitive information about Trump Tower, details about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and other national security secrets was swiped from an agent’s motorcycle in Brooklyn, police sources said Friday.

The computer was taken Thursday morning from the driveway of agent Marie Argentieri’s Bath Beach home, the sources said.

The thief drove up to Argentieri’s home around 8:40 a.m., walked right up to her Bajaj motorcycle and took the items. He was then caught on video fleeing the scene on foot, sources said.

Argentieri told investigators that the laptop held sensitive information about national security, the floor plans for Trump Tower, evacuation protocols and details about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.

While none of the info pertains to White House officials or foreign leaders, she said it could ultimately compromise national security. Sources told The Post that the laptop cannot be remotely erased or traced.

A black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it was also taken — along with an access keycard, several lapel pins that Secret Service agents are required to wear when protecting the president and other sensitive documents, sources said.

An agency-issued radio, used for closed-circuit communications between agents, was also among the stolen items, according to Politico.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that an employee was the victim of a criminal act in which our Agency issued laptop computer was stolen,” the agency said in a statement Friday.

“Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information. An investigation is ongoing and the Secret Service is withholding additional comment until the facts are gathered.”

The NYPD is assisting the agency in their investigation. It is unclear if the theft was targeted or simply a random act.

The black bag and some other items were later discovered at nearby Poly Prep HS by the head of security, Carol Bongnan, and returned to Argentieri.

But the laptop and lapel pins were still missing as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, sources said.
Sources said somebody had brought left it at the school.

Thursday’s heist is just the latest in a long line of public embarrassments for the Secret Service in recent years.

A Congressional investigation in 2015 found that it had transformed into an “agency in crisis” — entrenched in low morale, heavy boozing and dimwitted security decisions.

In Sept. 2014, President Barack Obama’s Secret Service detail allowed a security guard with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery into an elevator with him for a photo.

Two years after that, a pair of agents allegedly got drunk and interfered in a bomb investigation outside the building.

In 2014, a man was able to bypass Obama’s security detail and speak to him by pretending to be a congressman.

Most recently, two agents came under investigation after snapping selfies with President Trump’s 8-year-old grandson, Donald III, last weekend.

WHO’D A THUNK?

Well, I’ll be darned. Who’d a thunk it, huh?

Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon card games and role-playing games are more than entertainment — they’re inspiration for the CIA.

David Clopper, senior collection analyst with 16 years’ experience at the CIA, also serves as a game maker for the agency. From card games to board games, Clopper creates games to train CIA staffers including intelligence agents and political analysts for real-world situations.

“Gaming is part of the human condition. Why not take advantage of that and incorporate into the way we learn?” Clopper said Sunday at a games-themed panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive technology festival. Clopper and other CIA officers discussed how the agency uses games to teach strategy, intelligence gathering and collaboration.

Related: SXSW coverage: Why Facebook tracks internet outages around the world

Clopper, who began making training programs based on popular tabletop games in 2008, described some of his creations for the CIA.

In “Collection,” Clopper’s first CIA game, teams of analysts work together to solve international crises against a ticking clock. His second title, “Collection Deck,” is a Pokémon-like card game in which where each card represents either an intelligence collection strategy or a hurdle like red tape or bureaucracy.

cia collection game

For instance, a player could lay out a card to collect intelligence via satellite photos, but an opponent could block them by playing a “ground station failure” card. It’s meant to mimic situations analysts might run into in their actual work.

Related: Congressman: We need a National Guard for cybersecurity

Also speaking on the panel was Volko Ruhnke, who is an intelligence educator at the CIA and a freelance game designer. Ruhnke said he is particularly interested in one type of game: a simulation tabletop game to train analysts and help with analytic tasks. It could help forecast complex situations by forcing players to handle multiple scenarios simultaneously.

Ruhnke himself created a commercial board game to simulate the Afghanistan conflict and walk players through military, political, and economic issues in the region. It gives players “a much more dynamic understanding of the issues of modern Afghanistan,” Ruhnke said, adding that a similar game could be of use internally at the CIA as well.

Old school games are the main inspiration for popular training programs — for now. But analysts expect to be using virtual reality gaming in training programs soon. Multiple branches of the military have used VR training for years, immersing service members in real life experiences through visual and audio simulations.

“The sooner we can get involved in using VR in games, the better,” Rachel Grunspan, Chief Strategy Officer at a digital innovation organization inside the CIA, said during the panel discussion.. “You want to get their heads inside the intelligence question you’re trying to answer, and VR does an amazing job doing that.”

TRAPPIST IN SPACE

Astronomers discover 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star

Story highlights

  • Seven Earth-sized planets have been found orbiting an ultracool dwarf star 40 light-years away
  • The planets are temperate, meaning they could have liquid water
  • The researchers believe this is the best place outside of our solar system to look for life

(CNN)Astronomers have found at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The findings were also announced at a news conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

This discovery outside of our solar system is rare because the planets have the winning combination of being similar in size to Earth and being all temperate, meaning they could have water on their surfaces and potentially support life.
“This is the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around the same star,” said Michaël Gillon, lead study author and astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium.
The seven exoplanets were all found in tight formation around an ultracool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Estimates of their mass also indicate that they are rocky planets, rather than being gaseous like Jupiter. Three planets are in the habitable zone of the star, known as TRAPPIST-1e, f and g, and may even have oceans on the surface.
The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.

The researchers believe that TRAPPIST-1f in particular is the best candidate for supporting life. It’s a bit cooler than Earth, but could be suitable with the right atmosphere and enough greenhouse gases.
If TRAPPIST-1 sounds familiar, that’s because these researchers announced the discovery of three initial planets orbiting the same star in May. The new research increased that number to seven planets total.
“I think we’ve made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there,” said Amaury Triaud, one of the study authors and an astronomer at the University of Cambridge. “I don’t think any time before we had the right planets to discover and find out if there was (life). Here, if life managed to thrive and releases gases similar to what we have on Earth, we will know.”
Life may begin and evolve differently on other planets, so finding the gases that indicate life is key, the researchers added.
“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “Answering the question ‘are we alone?’ is a top science priority, and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”
And as we’ve learned from studying and discovering exoplanets before, where there is one, there are more, said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Seager and other researchers are encouraged by the discovery of this system because it improves our chances of finding another habitable planet, like Earth, in the future, by knowing where to look.

What we know

The planets are so close to each other and the star that there are seven of them within a space five times smaller than the distance from Mercury to our sun. This proximity allows the researchers to study the planets in depth as well, gaining insight about planetary systems other than our own.
The seven planets of TRAPPIST-1 compared with Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Starting closest to the star and moving out, the planets have respective orbits from one and a half to nearly 13 Earth days. The orbit of the farthest planet is still unknown.
Standing on the surface of one of the planets, you would receive 200 times less light than you get from the sun, but you would still receive just as much energy to keep you warm since the star is so close. It would also afford some picturesque views, as the other planets would appear in the sky as big as the moon (or even twice as big).
On TRAPPIST-1f, the star would appear three times as big as the sun in our sky. And because of the red nature of the star, the light would be a salmon hue, the researchers speculate.
The researchers believe the planets formed together further from the star. Then, they moved into their current lineup. This is incredibly similar Jupiter and its Galilean moons.
Like the moon, the researchers believe the planets closest to the star are tidally locked. This means that the planets always face one way to the star. One side of the planet is perpetually night, while the other is always day.
What the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like.

Based on preliminary climate modeling, the researchers believe that the three planets closest to the star may be too warm to support liquid water, while the outermost planet, TRAPPIST-1h, is probably too distant and cold to support water on the surface. But further observation is needed to know for sure.

How the discovery was made

TRAPPIST-1 barely classifies as a star at half the temperature and a tenth the mass of the sun. It is red, dim and just a bit larger than Jupiter. But these tiny ultracool dwarf stars are common in our galaxy.
They were largely overlooked until Gillon decided to study the space around one of these dwarfs.
The researchers used a telescope called TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) to observe its starlight and changes in brightness. The team saw shadows, like little eclipses, periodically interrupting the steady pattern of starlight. This is called transiting. The shadows indicated planets, and further observation confirmed them.
In July, the team was able to determine that two of the closest planets to the stars had atmospheres that were more compact and comparable to those of Earth, Venus and Mars by observing starlight through the planets’ atmosphere.
By using a global network ground-based telescopes like TRAPPIST and space-based telescopes like Spitzer, the researchers continued looking toward the TRAPPIST system and were able to determine the orbital periods, distances from their star, radius and and masses of the planets.

What’s next

Over the next decade, the researchers want to define the atmosphere of each planet, as well as to determine whether they truly do have liquid water on the surface and search for signs of life.
Although 40 light-years away doesn’t sound too far, it would take us millions of years to reach this star system. But from a research perspective, it’s a close opportunity and the best target to search for life beyond our solar system.
“If we learn something now, it can determine if we looked in the right place,” Gillon said.
In 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will launch and be positioned 1 million miles from Earth with an unprecedented view of the universe. It can observe large exoplanets and detect starlight filtered through their atmosphere.
The researchers are also searching for similar star systems to conduct more atmospheric research. Four telescopes named SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) based in Chile will survey the southern sky for this purpose.
This star system will probably outlive us because this type of star evolves so slowly. When our sun dies, TRAPPIST-1 will still be a young star and will live for another trillion years, Gillon said. After we are gone, if there is another part of the universe for life to carry on, it may be in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
“This is the most exciting result I have seen in the 14 years of Spitzer operations,” said Sean Carey, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California. “Spitzer will follow up in the fall to further refine our understanding of these planets so that the James Webb Space Telescope can follow up. More observations of the system are sure to reveal more secrets.”

THE TERMS OF THE ACTION

Words are the materiel of the mind and the swords of the soul.
Yet let the Wise-Man beware. Only the simple-minded fool and the utterly naive wordsmith could ever assume mere words must shape the world to high outcomes.
A good and proper word is a sharp blade in the hands of a capable and clever man, but action is the arm that wields such a weapon.

 

from Human Effort

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

I’D CONFIRM TILLERSON

I’D CONFIRM TILLERSON

I’ve been watching the confirmation hearings on Tillerson today. To listen to him speak, and I have been listening to him carefully, and from my own experiences with Russia and the Russians, the man knows exactly what he is talking about regarding the Russians and Putin. And there is a very good chance that he gets China and the Chinese as well. He may even be canny about the Iranians.

He is certainly an outright genius compared to effeminate, impotent, naive, and wholly ineffectual Kerry.

Additionally the man is extremely intelligent and a superb observer of others. I can easily see how he became CEO of Exxon-Mobil. In my opinion Trump made an excellent choice here and absent any real evidence to the contrary I’d confirm him immediately.

There is but one way to advise – by example.

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