Monday, July 07, 2008

WMDs in Iraq, CIWS, and Bugs Making Petrol

WMDs Found in Iraq
Here’s another story you’re not likely to hear much about either. The Associated Press reported yesterday that U.S. forces have just completed a top secret operation that involved the removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” from Iraq. Here’s an excerpt from the AP report:
“The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program - a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium - reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

“The removal of 550 metric tons of ‘yellowcake’ - the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment - was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions. …

“And, in a symbolic way, the mission linked the current attempts to stabilize Iraq with some of the high-profile claims about Saddam's weapons capabilities in the buildup to the 2003 invasion. Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger - and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims - led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration.”



More Good News
Last week, the news reported that the city of San Francisco was in the government’s crosshairs over its absurd sanctuary policies for illegal aliens. A series of reports by the San Francisco Chronicle documented how the city was shielding drug dealers and even using taxpayer dollars to fly illegal alien crack dealers back to their native countries rather than turning them over to federal authorities for prosecution. Mayor Gavin Newsom, now entertaining a run for governor, has evidently had an epiphany on the issue and declared that the city would no longer shelter illegal aliens with drug convictions.

The Washington Post noted last week that federal authorities with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency detained a San Francisco probation officer in the Houston airport earlier this year who was evidently trying to put two juveniles on a plane to Honduras. Joseph Russoniello, the U.S. attorney for San Francisco, said, “…San Francisco for all intents and purposes is running its own department of immigration. It’s had its own foreign policy, so having its own immigration policy is the next step.” Thankfully, that policy may be about to end! More located HERE.




New ABM Defenses are Old: Phalanx C-RAM
One area of clear progress for the Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS) system is on land. Back in June 2005, "Phalanx R2D2s to Counter Land Mortars" drew attention to the US Army's land-based version, imaginatively known as the "Land-based Phalanx Weapon System" and also known as C-RAM or Centurion. Unofficially, many refer to them as "R2D2s," after the Star Wars robot they resemble. Originally developed to defend US bases against mortar attack, these adapted weapons could also provide defensive options against the kinds of rocket attacks encountered in Round 1 of Israel's recent war with Hezbollah, Iran & Syria.

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Once a threat is detected, audio and visual alarms sound to warn exposed soldiers. A fire-control subsystem predicts the mortar's flight path, prioritizes targets, activates the warning system, and provides cueing data to defeat the mortar round while still in the air.

The Phalanx then fires explosive rounds that self-destruct if they do not hit a target, removing the danger of falling 20mm bullets coming back to earth and killing people in the base itself or in nearby populated areas.

C-RAM/Centurion has been deployed by the USA, and Britain (and possibly Israel in a land-based anti-rocket role).

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Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol
Silicon Valley is experimenting with bacteria that have been genetically altered to provide 'renewable petroleum'

“Ten years ago I could never have imagined I’d be doing this,” says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive, as he squints into the late afternoon Californian sun. “I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But the people I talk to – especially the ones coming out of business school – this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into.”

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

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Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

More on this article located HERE


ME: You know, I have been telling my neice that genetic engineering of "bugs" like these will solve many of our problems in the near future; from plastic bags and bottles to oil needs. I have studied this area long and hard and looking at the article above (and several others I have seen), I was right......


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