These webcams are here.
Siddarth Banga of the blog vision of sid has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.
Thank you so much for this generous gesture!
The award rules are, according to Siddarth:
Rules are simple, just nominate some other bloggers and ask them to answer a question asked by you; and tell about yourself, 7-8 things.
I will add:
Thank the person who nominated you.
Tell your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
Share the award on your blog.
Sid’s question is:
Once an enemy, always an enemy; comment.
My reply is:
Not always. Even neonazis can sometimes break with their evil ideology.
My new question for my nominees is:
What was the best reaction ever to your blog?
Seven facts about me are:
1. Which blog posts and pages attracted most visits to my blog today so far?
|Home page / Archives||23|
2. Which blog posts and pages attracted most visits to my blog this month?
|Home page / Archives||1,152|
3. Which blog posts and pages attracted most visits to my blog this year?
|Home page / Archives||16,531|
4. Which referrers referred most to my blog this year?
5. Which search terms brought most visits to my blog this quarter?
|cache:www.hsbc.co.uk/ hsbc bank of london||5|
|brunstad christian church||5|
6. There are so far 39,353 posts at my blog. In 40 categories; and 1,415 tags.
7. Ever since WordPress statistics about various countries started in early 2012, the country with most visits to my blog has been the USA with 620.128. Least visits came from Samoa, Eritrea, North Korea, Mayotte, and San Marino; with 1 each.
My nominees are:
5. just opinion
8. Nicolai Cull
9. Charme Haut
10. Sincerely, Tawm
12. Melissa Grace
16. mirjam pattiwael
By Andre Damon in the USA:
Google admits collaboration with illegal US drone murder program
8 March 2018
In another milestone in the growing integration between the military-intelligence complex and Silicon Valley, Google’s parent company Alphabet has confirmed that it has prosoftware to identify targets used in the illegal US vided government drone murder program.
Since initiating its drone assassination program in 2009, the United States claims to have killed close to 3,000 “combatants” in drone strikes. Internal military documents show that for every one person targeted by a drone strike, nine bystanders are killed, meaning that the true toll of the US military’s airborne terrorism campaign in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq potentially rises to the tens of thousands.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial, violates the constitutional guarantee of due process. It also violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort.”
Google’s complicity with the drone murder program implicates the company in the criminal activities of the US military, sparking outrage among employees after executives admitted the collaboration in an internal memo last week, according to a report by Gizmodo.
Sensitive to both the potential legal ramifications of its actions and to the hostility to America’s criminal wars both inside and outside the company, Google stressed in a statement that its collaboration “is for non-offensive uses only”, saying “the technology flags images for human review.”
But this absurd and unserious pretense, aimed to provide talking points to an uncritical, state-controlled media, is the equivalent of a Mafia getaway driver claiming he is not an accomplice to murder because he did not pull the trigger.
The US government has claimed the right to use drones to assassinate American citizens anywhere in the world, including within the borders of the United States. In 2011, the Obama administration assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, with a Predator drone strike in Yemen, then murdered his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, in another drone strike two weeks later.
Google’s partnership in such nefarious operations threatens it not only with legal sanction around the world, but also with serious commercial repercussions. The company’s decision to proceed despite these dangers points to the increasingly vital role of military contracts in the business operations of the major technology giants.
The Defense Department spent at least $7.4 billion on artificial intelligence programs last year, and is expected to spend even more this year, with much of that amount flowing to corporations like Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Nvidia, whose artificial intelligence capacities reportedly outstrip those of in-house Pentagon programs.
Over the past year, Google, Facebook and Twitter have all announced measures to censor the information their services present to users, promoting “authoritative” and “trusted” news outlets over “alternative” viewpoints, which include news outlets that expose and denounce US war crimes. Facebook, which of all the technology companies has been the most unabashed in its determination to censor its platform, has explicitly said it expects user engagement to drop as a result of its demotion of “viral” videos and promotion of “trusted” news sources, such as the New York Times.
As these companies expect some drop-off in consumer demand as they impose increasingly restrictive censorship measures, lucrative defense contracts are a means to pad their bottom line and align their financial interests ever more closely with the war-making and repressive operations of the American state.
The technology giants have moved to impose censorship measures at the same time that the Pentagon has concluded that it has found itself in an “AI arms race,” as the Wall Street Journal put it this month. Facing the rapid economic rise of substantial military powers, such as Russia and China, who are able to develop and implement new technologies without the massive logistical burden of the countless wars, overseas deployments, and destabilization operations engaged in by the United States. US military planners have come to the conclusion that the only way to retain the American military advantage in future conflicts is to integrate Silicon Valley into the warfighting machine.
The Pentagon has devised the so-called “Third offset” strategy to defeat the “pacing threat” from China by focusing on “autonomous learning systems, human-machine collaborative decision-making, assisted human operations, advanced manned-unmanned systems operations,” and “networked autonomous weapons” as the Economist recently put it in the cover story of an issue titled “The next war.”
This strategy revolves around the recruitment of the US private technology sector, which remains the most developed in the world. As the Economist put it, the United States “continues to dominate commercial AI funding and has more firms working in the field than any other country.”
Speaking at a conference last year, Marine Corps Col. Drew Cukor, the head of the so-called “Project Maven” in which Google is a key collaborator, declared the US in the midst of an “AI arms race,” adding, “Many of you will have noted that Eric Schmidt is calling Google an AI company now, not a data company.”
He added, “There is no ‘black box’ that delivers the AI system the government needs… Key elements have to be put together … and the only way to do that is with commercial partners alongside us.”
In order to streamline the reciprocal exchange between the technology giants’ vast computational power, artificial intelligence capabilities, and massive database of sensitive user data and the US military’s virtually limitless budget, the Pentagon has set up a series of partnerships with Silicon Valley. In 2015, the Pentagon set up a private-public funding vehicle known as the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), headquartered just minutes from Google’s main campus in Mountain View, California.
In 2016, the Pentagon set up an entity called the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, aiming to “bring the technological innovation and best practice of Silicon Valley to the US Military,” chaired by none other than former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Last fall, Schmidt complained about the reluctance of those working in the technology sector to collaborate with the Pentagon, bemoaning the fact, “There’s a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly.”
But beyond leveraging the tech giants’ artificial intelligence capabilities for guiding missiles and selecting victims, the open secret of the Pentagon’s collaboration with Silicon Valley is that, behind the scenes, vast quantities of sensitive, personal user data is likely being funneled to the Pentagon and intelligence agencies for the purposes of surveillance and targeting.
As Lt. Gen. John Shanahan, who is closely involved in Project Maven put it at a conference last year, “On the far end of the scale, you see Google. They don’t tell us what they have, unless anyone from Google wants to whisper in my ear later.”
The integration of companies like Google into what had previously been known as the military-intelligence apparatus is creating a vast system of state repression previously unknown in human history. Preparing for great-power conflict requires, as the Pentagon’s recently-released National Defense Strategy puts it, “the seamless integration of multiple elements of national power—diplomacy, information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and military.”
Censorship and surveillance are the linchpin of this emerging military-technology-intelligence nexus. As the United States prepares to wage “hot” wars against “peer” militaries such as Russia and China, the growth of domestic anti-war sentiment will be combatted through the use of mass censorship, aided by artificial intelligence, with political profiling on the basis of social media communications.
Google’s alliance with the military: The ruling class responds to social unrest in America: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Barred Owls are opportunistic predators with a diet ranging from rabbits to reptiles. From time to time, the male will even deliver fish and invertebrates (like this crayfish) to his partner in the nest!
Watch live at http://allaboutbirds.org/barredowls
Jim Carpenter, President and CEO of Wild Birds Unlimited, has hosted a camera-equipped owl box in his wooded backyard since 1999. Set more than 30 feet high against the trunk of a pignut hickory tree, this Barred Owl box was first occupied in 2006. Since then, the box has hosted several nests, including successful attempts since 2013.
The camera system was updated in 2013 with an Axis P3364-LVE security camera and microphone mounted to the side of the box and connected to Jim’s house via 200 feet of ethernet cable.
To keep predators like raccoons from investigating the nest, aluminum flashing was wrapped around the tree. An infrared illuminator in the box means you can keep track of the owls’ comings and goings throughout the night (don’t worry—the light is invisible to the owls).
Since the birds aren’t banded, we can’t tell whether this is the same pair as in past years. Although male and female Barred Owls look alike in their plumage, females can be up to a third bigger than males. You can also tell the difference between them by watching their behavior; only the female incubates the eggs and chicks, but the male is responsible for the bulk of the feeding, ferrying prey items to the incubating female, and sharing them with her inside and outside of the box.
Learn more about Barred Owls in our AllAboutBirds Species Guide here.
This video says about itself:
‘Orwellian censorship’: European Union rejects caricatures of leaders & policies for Brussels exhibition
15 September 2017
The EU has rejected 12 caricatures by Greek artists for a Brussels exhibition as the “inflammatory” cartoons mocking EU leaders and their policies allegedly go against “European values.” Organizers denounced it as an act of “violent censorship.”
By Kumaran Ira in France:
5 March 2018
In a new attack on free speech, the European Union (EU) is calling on major social media and Internet firms including Facebook, Twitter and Google to automatically and immediately censor online material.
On March 1, the EU Commission called on companies and EU states to ensure “the detection and removal of illegal content through reactive (so called ‘notice and action’) or proactive measures”. It also identified a vast amount of material targeted for censorship. According to the Commission, its recommendations apply to all forms of “content ranging from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement.”
“Considering that terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours of its appearance online, all companies should remove such content within one hour from its referral as a general rule”, it said.
The measures the EU is discussing would force companies to create programs, answerable to no one, to trawl the Internet and delete users’ content. This would consolidate censorship measures the EU proposed last year via the EU Internet Forum, which called on tech firms to work to develop automatic removal of online content.
The EU hailed moves in this direction that have already taken place. According to the EU, “Twitter reported that three quarters of the 300,000 accounts removed between January and June 2017 were deleted before posting their first Tweet. According to YouTube, more than 150,000 videos have been removed since June 2017. Once aware of a piece of terrorist content, Facebook removes 83 percent of subsequently uploaded copies within one hour of upload.”
The EU justified its policy with shopworn claims about the fight against terrorism. “While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before … we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens’ security, safety and fundamental rights”, said Digital Commissioner Andrus Ansip.
Press accounts of the latest EU demand for censorship cited the need, as the Guardian put it, to fight “extremist content on the web” that “has influenced lone-wolf attackers who have killed people in several European cities after being radicalised.”
The argument that EU censorship is aimed at so-called lone-wolf terrorists is a lie, above all because lone-wolf terrorists are largely a political fiction. The major terror attacks in Europe were carried out not by isolated individuals, but by members of Islamist networks active in NATO’s proxy wars in the Middle East, and who were actively watched and protected for that reason by European intelligence.
The organizers of terrorist attacks in France in 2015 and in Belgium in 2016 were well known to the intelligence services. The Kouachi brothers who led the Charlie Hebdo attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the leader of the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris, and the El Bakraoui brothers who carried out the 22 March 2016 Brussels attacks were all well known to European intelligence. They were allowed to travel freely and prepare their attacks, as their networks were intelligence assets operating under state protection.
Similarly, the links of the Islamic State [ISIS] militia to Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri and Manchester bomber Salman Abedi were well known to German and British intelligence, respectively, before they attacked. These attacks were seized on by the EU powers to intensify police-state measures that shred basic democratic rights, such as the state of emergency in France.
Now, the red herring of the fight against “lone-wolf” terrorists is serving as a pretext for yet further attacks on Internet freedom and freedom of speech.
These attacks are well advanced. The EU wants the same IT companies that work closely on Internet censorship with a wide variety of states, above all Washington and the US intelligence agencies, to use similar methods to trample on freedom of speech and other democratic rights in Europe. This is what emerged from recent remarks by Julian King, the EU Commissioner for Security.
Censorship like that being proposed by the EU, King said, is “not only possible, it’s being done already by a number of the larger platforms.” He called for “proactive measures to identify and remove illegal content, including automated means such as upload filters, where this is appropriate.” He also called on IT firms to cooperate with EU “member States, trusted flaggers and among themselves to work together and benefit from best practices.”
Such remarks are a warning. US politicians and IT firms have openly declared that they are seeking to carry out politically targeted censorship, aiming to promote “trusted” news outlets that function as little more than state propaganda outlets. Above all, these censorship measures are being implemented to restrict access to socialist and antiwar publications, such as the World Socialist Web Site, amid rising opposition to war and austerity among American workers and youth.
Last summer, the WSWS identified that a dramatic decline in its readership, together with that of other socialist, antiwar, and progressive web sites, resulted from Google’s implementation of a new algorithm aiming to promote “authoritative” news sources over “alternative” sources of information.
Now, under the guise of fighting “terrorist content”, the EU is similarly seeking to implement repressive measures to censor the Internet that are squarely aimed at rising social and political discontent internationally. Major European powers are already enacting similar censorship laws at the national level. Since January 1, the German Network Enforcement Law has been in effect, enabling Berlin to regulate and censor the Internet along similar lines as the Trump administration and its attack on net neutrality in the United States.
As the German ruling elite prepares a new coalition government between the Social Democrats and Christian democrats, the parties involved in the new government have called for strengthening the German armed forces and German influence worldwide, as well as major increases in military spending.
It is in this context—amid deep popular opposition to EU austerity and militarism, amid recent strikes across Europe, from German metalworkers and British rail workers to Romanian autoworkers—that the EU is seeking to set up the censorship of the Internet and social media.
Facebook and Sri Lankan government collaborate on social media censorship: here.
Susan of the fine literary S. E. Wigget blog has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you so much for this kind gesture!
The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):
1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Answer 6 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)
Susan’s six questions are:
1. How do you advertise your blog to others?
Put a picture or video on top of posts; which search engines seem to prefer.
2. How long do you spend blogging per week?
It depends. In some weeks, there is more inspiration and news than in others. And sometimes, there is less time for the Internet.
3. How many posts do you post per week, on average?
4. Which of your posts is your favorite so far?
A difficult question as there are many candidates.
Maybe this one.
5. Why did you choose to create the blog you did?
I started blogging in 2005 because it was a good alternative to e-mailing lots of people. Then, on ModBlog which does not exist anymore. For my motivation, see here.
6. Are pictures or words more important to you? Or are they equally important?
It depends. In some blog posts, the words are the most important. In others, the photos or the video. Usually, I start with the words. But sometimes, the picture or video which I add later turn out to be more important 🙂
My questions for my nominees are the same as Susan’s.
My nominees are:
5. Kana Wanders
6. The Nester
11. baby finch