Sunshine Blogger Award, thank you Mel!


Sunshine Blogger Award

My dear blogging friend Mel has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Thank you so much for this kind gesture!

The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award are:

Thank and mention the blogger who has nominated you by linking to their blog.
Insert the logo of the Sunshine Blogger Award in the post.
Answer the eleven questions that are posed to you.
Nominate eleven bloggers [and link to their blogs].
Formulate eleven questions to be answered.
Indicate the rules of the nominations.

Mel’s questions, and my answers, are:

1. Which beach is the best?

The beach in Cuba where I saw a piping plover.

2. What are your favourite things associated with coastal?

Shorebirds.

3. Yellow or blue?

Both.

4. What seafood is your favourite?

Seaweed.

5. Sunshine or sundown?

Sunshine.

6. Anchor or ship wheel?

Anchor when the ship is at a beautiful place.

7. Sunflowers or seahorses?

Seahorses.

8. Seaside or the sea?

It depends.

9. House by the sea or house by the beach?

It depends.

10. What do you think of lighthouses?

My blog got the Lighthouse Award.

11. Do you think Spongebob Squarepants is a nautical nonsense or a hilarious cartoon?

A ‘spongebob fungus’ was discovered in Borneo.

My 11 questions are:

1. Who is your favourite artist?

2. Who are your three least favourite prominent people in politics?

3. Who are your three least favourite prominent people in business?

4. Which is your favourite bird species?

5. Which is your favourite mammal species?

6. What is the best thing which happened to you in 2019?

7. Which film did you see, but wish in retrospect you had not bothered to see?

8. Which book haven’t you read yet, but would like to read?

9. If you would be invited to make a space journey, then to which solar system planet would you like to go?

10. To which country where you have not been yet would you like to go?

11. If WordPress would stop, would you continue to blog elsewhere?

My 11 nominees are:

1. XOG-OGAAL

2. Nico’s Domain – Ignorance Is Bliss

3. Numansh

4. Inspirational Quotes

5. traveller with purpose

6. Environmental Systems and Societies

7. Graffiti Lux Art & More

8. Queen’s end

9. News from Ibonoco

10. Novas Namaste 365 Online

11. notestoponder

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Mystery Blogger Award, thank you showdonttell!


Mystery Blogger Award

My dear blogging friend showdonttell of the Just show, Dont tell blog has nominated Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Mystery Blogger Award.

Thank you for this kind gesture!

Thank you, Okoto Enigma, for creating this award!

The rules of the Mystery Blogger Award are:

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog

2. List the rules

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself

6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people

7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)

9. Share a link to your best post(s)

10. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

It is hard to say which of my blog posts I like best. I think

Three things about me:

1. I heard ring-necked parakeets call today.

2. The most visited pages/posts of my blog today are:

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 41
The origin of bats More stats 10
Swedish birds eating apples in winter More stats 10
Prehistoric sharks invented suction feeding, new research More stats 9
Origins of animals, plants, fungi, new research More stats 8
Donald Trump’s cronies profiting from Puerto Rico disaster More stats 8
Prehistoric Australian giant kangaroos, new research More stats 7
War profiteers accused of war crimes More stats 7
Trump’s Pentagon prepares mass internet censorship More stats 5
‘Stop Japanese militarist war flags at Olympics’ More stats 5

3. The most visited pages/posts of my blog this year are:

September 12, 2018 to Today

Showdonttell’s questions, and my answers, are:

Q1. What do you do when you are free?

Blogging; birdwatching; or other things 🙂

Q2. Would you kill your friend to save your life or sacrifice your own life for him?

I would not kill anyone, neither my friend nor myself.

Q3. If you had an assignment and a friend of yours was copying your idea, what would you do?

Depends on the situation.

Q4. If you had a choice of changing your past or seeking through your future, what would you choose?

I would prefer knowing about my future; especially if that future would not be immutable, giving me the chance to avoid bad things which I would not have known about otherwise.

Q5. If I give you a chance of being a part of a Sci-Fi movie and tell you to delete your site permanently for being a part, what would you do?

Then I would prefer not to be in the science fiction film; as I have worked at my blog since 2005 and have attracted millions of visits.

My five questions for my nominees are:

1. Who is your favourite musician?

2. Who are your three favourite people?

3. Which is your favourite bird species?

4. If you would be a playing card, would you prefer to be the joker, a king or a queen?

5. What is the best thing which happened to you in this year 2019?

My nominees are:

1. Casa Cal Domino

2. Decor Craft Design

3. Political.Bdnews

4. Jellis’ Blog

5. vatibangla24

6. Me.. Era !

7. Gehad’s Journey

8. INFJ PHD

9. Gaeun Diary

10. A Voice from Iran

11. cocinaitaly

Trump’s Pentagon prepares mass internet censorship


Diagram of the Semantic Forensics online censorship system sought by the United States Defense Department

This is a diagram of the Semantic Forensics online censorship system sought by the United States Defense Department.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

DARPA requests proposals for “Semantic Forensics” system

US Defense Department prepares for mass internet censorship

6 September 2019

The US military has issued a call for research proposals from technology partners for the development of an automated system capable of scanning the entire internet and locating and censoring content deemed as “false media assets” and “disinformation”. According to government documents, the requested solution would provide “innovative semantic technologies for analyzing media” that will help “identify, deter, and understand adversary disinformation campaigns.”

On August 23, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a solicitation for a so-called Semantic Forensics (SemaFor) program on the federal government business opportunities website. According to the bid specifications, SemaFor “will develop technologies to automatically detect, attribute, and characterize falsified multi-modal media assets (text, audio, image, video) to defend against large-scale, automated disinformation attacks.”

In other words, the US Defense Department is seeking a technology partner that will build a platform to enable the Pentagon to locate any content it identifies as an adversarial “disinformation attack” and shut it down. This technology will cover anything on the internet including web pages, videos, photo and social media platforms.

The documents released as part of the DARPA request say that the technology and software algorithms it is seeking would “constitute advances to the state of the art” that will be top secret and do not include “information that is lawfully publicly available without restrictions.”

Several recent media reports have pointed to the rise of government Internet shutdowns internationally as a mechanism of censorship, repression and control in response to growing political turmoil and mass protests. Based largely on data maintained by Access Now—an organization that “defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world”—these reports show a trend of dramatically accelerating Internet shutdowns over the past three years: here.

‘Russiagate conspiracy’ campaign based on double agent?


This video says about itself:

The Secrets Of The CIA‘s Iraq Media War

Media War (2003): How the CIA rewrote their intelligence to build support for the Iraq War.

Disturbing evidence suggests the CIA fed faulty intelligence to handpicked journalists to win support for the war against Iraq.

The defection of Iraqi engineer Adnan al Haideri in 2001 was a massive coup for the White House. “He was probably the single most significant defector who came out of Iraq”, states an INC spokesman. Al Haideri claimed to have been hired by Saddam Hussein to build facilities for testing WMD. His story was widely circulated and used to justify the war. Unfortunately, it now appears that his remarkable testimony was a lie. Not one of the hundreds of bunkers detailed by him has been found. “Al Haideri’s evidence is a perfect example of the kind of garbage that was disseminated by Ahmed Chalabi,”

a CIA-Iranian double agent

states former weapons inspector Scott Ritter. New information has also emerged about the way Al Haideri’s story was leaked to the media. “They misled us”, states Ritter “Thousands of innocent Iraqis perished in a war that didn’t need to be fought.”

One of the conspiracy theories used by the United States George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was that Iraq supposedly had ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

Another conspiracy theory of the George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was supposed Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA.

That lying theory was based on torture.

The Bush administration’s other conspiracy theory, on ‘Iraqi weapons of mass destruction‘, was based on a taxi driver’s gossip; and on Iranian-CIA double agent Ahmed Chalabi.

Now, more double agent news, this time about the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

New York Times: Main source for anti-Russia campaign may have been a “double agent”

11 September 2019

In a further exposure of the concocted claims of the New York Times and the Democrats of Russian “subversion” of the US political system, the Times acknowledged Tuesday that the key source used by the intelligence agencies to claim Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement “could be a double agent”.

On October 7, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions.”

According to this narrative, amplified by the Democratic Party and the New York Times itself, Putin personally intervened to try to get Donald Trump elected by directing the Russian state to steal incriminating emails from the Clinton campaign and release them to WikiLeaks for publication.

But this sweeping conspiracy theory, alleging a plot spanning continents involving Russia, a sovereign state, the Republican presidential nominee, and WikiLeaks, the world’s most famous dissident news organization, has fallen apart.

In August, a federal court dismissed a Democratic National Committee (DNC) civil suit against Trump, the Russian government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Now, the main editorial outlet driving the Democrats’ anti-Russia campaign has admitted that serious concerns were raised within the US intelligence establishment about the primary source behind its hyperventilating denunciations of Russian “meddling”. The Times reported that the source, later identified by the Russian press as Oleg Smolenkov, gained an “influential position that came with access to the highest level of the Kremlin.”

Smolenkov “became one of the CIA’s most important—and highly protected—assets”, according to the Times. CNN reported that he was able to photograph documents on Putin’s desk and send them to Washington.

The Times wrote: “The Moscow informant was instrumental to the CIA’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the CIA’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.”

There was just one problem. When the United States, concerned that media reports of Russian “meddling” might compromise their asset in the Kremlin, offered to exfiltrate their spy from Russia, where he risked a life sentence or execution if caught, he at first refused, leading to the conclusion that he might be a double agent, feeding false information to the Americans on behalf of elements within the Russian state.

The Times wrote that in 2016 “the source’s rejection of the CIA’s initial offer of exfiltration prompted doubts among some counterintelligence officials. They wondered whether the informant had been turned and had become a double agent, secretly betraying his American handlers. That would almost certainly mean that some of the information the informant provided about the Russian interference campaign or Mr. Putin’s intentions would have been inaccurate.”

The Times continued, “Some operatives had other reasons to suspect the source could be a double agent, according to two former officials, but they declined to explain further.” …

In the name of combating “Russian meddling”, politicians pressured American technology firms to undertake the most onerous program of political censorship in the history of the internet in the US. Accounts with millions of followers were deleted overnight, while Google manipulated search results to bury left-wing viewpoints.

There was a massive effort to poison public opinion against Julian Assange, the courageous publisher and exposer of war crimes. He was slandered by the Democrats and the Times as a Russian agent who colluded with Trump, setting the stage for his imprisonment.

More information will no doubt emerge about the background and possible motivations of Smolenkov. But regardless, the fact that the source behind allegations the newspaper breathlessly proclaimed as fact had serious credibility problems makes clear that the Times made no serious efforts to question, much less validate, its chosen political narrative.

This newspaper functions as a clearinghouse for unquestioned, unexamined dispatches from within the American intelligence apparatus. Its role in promoting the Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was not an aberration, but its modus operandi.

Mystery Blogger Award, thank you William!


Mystery Blogger Award

My dear blogging friend William of the Stories of Ecstasy blog has nominated Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Mystery Blogger Award.

Thank you for this kind gesture!

Thank you, Okoto Enigma, for creating this award!

The rules of the Mystery Blogger Award are:

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog

2. List the rules

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself

6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people

7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)

9. Share a link to your best post(s)

10. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

It is hard to say which of my blog posts I like best. I think this one is one of the best. And so is this one.

Three things about me:

1. I have good memories of Tilos island in Greece.

2. The most visited pages/posts of my blog so far today are:

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 35
Tony Blair prefers Boris Johnson to Corbyn More stats 12
Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, by Adam Keller More stats 12
Poison frog colours, new research More stats 10
Lake Constance birds, sad, some good, news More stats 9
Banjo, by Claude McKay, book review More stats 6
Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche’s abuse victim speaks More stats 6
Crabs eat dead fish, video More stats 6
Dutch ‘intelligence’ illegally spying on citizens More stats 6
Saudi video maker arrested for filming beheading of woman More stats 5
British Duke of York accused of sexual abuse More stats 5

3. The most visited pages/posts of my blog this month are:

August 4, 2019 to Today

William’s questions, and my answers, are:

1. For how much time you have been blogging now?

Since early 2005. I am on WordPress since December 2011. Before that, I was on two other blogging sites. Which were bought by big corporations which then killed them; so, I had to move twice.

2. What is an advice that you would like to give to other bloggers?

It seems easier for search engines to find your blog if you have a picture or a video on top of your blog post.

3. Would you rather sacrifice yourself for the whole world or sacrifice the world for yourself?

If I would sacrifice the whole world for myself, then there would be nothing for me to live for.

I might sacrifice myself for the whole world, but only if there would be a 100% cast-iron guarantee that then all wars would stop, that all global warming and other attacks on the environment would stop; etc.

4. Would you rather jump from a plane or would you rather eat a cockroach and a lizard?

Neither. I don’t weant to die an awful death. And cockroaches and lizards are interesting animals, which I would not eat.

5. What is one place that interests you the most?

The little auk nesting colony on Spitsbergen.

My five questions for my nominees are:

1. Who is your favourite artist?

2. Who are your three least favourite prominent people in politics or business?

3. Which is your favourite bird species?

4. If you would be a plant, would you then like to grow in a jungle or in a desert?

5. What is the best thing which happened to you in this year 2019?

My nominees are:

1. Medicare health blog

2. Stories of Ecstasy

3. Stephanie’s Book Reviews

4. HIPERBOLA

5. Just show, Dont tell

6. inspiration to reality

7. Eco-intelligent

8. freefashionexposure

9. startachim blog

10. Chaitanya’s Blog

11. dellartista

Dutch ‘intelligence’ illegally spying on citizens


This 30 December 2017 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Fuck Dutch mass surveillance: let’s have a referendum!

Forcing the Netherlands to publicly debate privacy and the intelligence agencies

Dutch intelligence agencies will soon be allowed to analyse bulk data of civilians on a massive scale, by intercepting internet traffic and through real-time access to all kinds of databases. They will also start hacking third parties.

My friends and I want to stop this. We started an action to enforce a referendum on the law. Surprisingly, it worked! How do we get most out of this opportunity?

In this talk I will discuss what the new spying law means for the Netherlands, how we campaigned to get 400k+ signatures, and the future course of the debate and campaign for the referendum (which is due in March).

Finally, I would like to do a call to action, nationally and internationally. The main concerns about the law are: the allowance of untargeted interception on a potentially massive scale. (Which the AIVD [Dutch secret service] is framing as not being mass surveillance, you judge for yourself.)

This sparked an outcry from human rights activists, journalists, doctors, and others. Also, the hacking of third parties is very uncool and has not yet been the subject of a strong public debate. Both edges of the political spectrum are supporting the initiative, which shows how the erosion of privacy affects us all.

Thus, our campaign tries to reach out to everyone. Now that the privacy debate is mainstream and #woke again, Team-Intelligence-Agencies is showing their teeth. But we’re biting back, even though we realize that we are five kids (and back-up) fighting something way bigger than ourselves. This means that we really need your support! You can help on so many levels that I won’t write them down, so I guess you should come see this talk.

The pro-privacy human rights activists won that referendum. However, the government sabotaged that result of the Dutch electorate voting.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Intelligence services AIVD and MIVD hacked too much satellite traffic and stored too much data, also from innocent citizens. The CTIVD regulatory agency writes this in a new report.

Moreover, information was not filtered quickly enough for information that is important for investigations. Again, unnecessary information from innocent civilians remained in secret service systems.

This involves communication via, for example, satellite telephones. In Friesland the services have a large monitoring station with which satellite traffic can be tapped.

Also, when hacking communication on radio channels, not everything went well. Information that was found to be irrelevant was not immediately destroyed.

New law

The findings cover the period between May 2018, when a new intelligence law came into force, and January this year. There was a lot of debate about the law: a majority [of the electorate] voted against in a referendum. The law was passed in amended form.

The new power to hack in particular internet traffic on a larger scale led to turmoil. That authority was not yet used during the CTIVD investigation. That is the case now.

Studying ancient paintings with computers


This 2013 video says about itself:

Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece (1 of 2)

Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece (closed), completed 1432, oil on wood, 11’ 5” x 7’ 6” (Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium). Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.

This is the sequel, about the altarpiece when opened.

From University College London in England:

AI uncovers new details about Old Master paintings

August 30, 2019

Artificial intelligence has been used to analyse high-resolution digital x-ray images of the world famous Ghent Altarpiece, as part of an investigative project led by UCL.

The finding is expected to improve our understanding of art masterpieces and provide new opportunities for art investigation, conservation and presentation.

Researchers from the National Gallery, Duke University and UCL worked with technical images acquired from the brothers Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, a large and complex 15th-century altarpiece in St Bavo’s Cathedral, Belgium.

The paper, ‘Artificial Intelligence for Art Investigation: Meeting the Challenge of Separating X-ray Images of the Ghent Altarpiece’, demonstrates how academics used a newly developed algorithm to study mixed x-ray images containing features from the front and back of the painting’s double-sided panels, which scientists have deconstructed into two clear images.

These images are part of a comprehensive set of high-resolution”We’d like to see the impact that the development of similar AI-oriented approaches will have on our ability to reveal other hidden features in a painting, such as earlier concealed designs,” he continued.

The Ghent Altarpiece originally consisted of twelve panels. The two wing sections, each originally made of four panels — painted on both sides — could be opened fully on feast days to reveal the four central panels. The painting has survived near destruction over the centuries and seizure by the Nazis in the 1940s.

X-ray images are a valuable tool for examining and restoring paintings as they can help to establish a piece’s condition and provide insights into an artist’s technique.

However, the penetrating nature of x-rays means that everything in its path will contribute to the resulting image, which is informative but can produce images that are difficult to interpret. This is particularly true for panels painted on both sides, or where an artist has re-used a canvas.

By separating the complex x-ray images, the new algorithm enables art historians, conservators and heritage scientists to better understand Old Master paintings, and the information revealed can help experts when protecting and restoring delicate pieces.

Deep learning approaches are now being used to address challenges arising in other sectors including healthcare, fintech, defence and security.

“This approach demonstrates that artificial intelligence-oriented techniques — powered by deep learning — can be used to potentially solve challenges arising in art investigation,” commented lead academic Dr Miguel Rodrigues (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering).

Hélène Dubois, Head of the Conservation Project of the Ghent Altarpiece, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) said: “The application of AI to x-ray image processing will provide very useful tools to decrypt complex technical images. The structural weaknesses of the wooden supports and of the ground and paint layers could be diagnosed with more precision.

“These images will also help to understand the brothers Van Eyck’s techniques and the changes carried out in the course of the successive execution of this unique masterpiece. This new development of the use of the traditional x-ray has great potential for countless applications in conservation of irreplaceable works of art.”

The Ghent Altarpiece Conservation Team and the scientists involved in this challenging project will next research how the algorithm may lead to new insights supporting their conservation work.

The research was funded by the EPSRC and the Simons Foundation.