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National Security

Haiti People Finder: Technology in Chaos

Google is offering a “Person Finder” solution for websites to help folks stay in touch with those who are missing in the Haitian earthquake disaster.

This simple code allows you to have a I’m am Lost I am Found kind of solution to any website (though it is acting up a bit at the moment).

Here is the code:

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    style="border: dashed 2px #77c"></iframe>

Some other interesting tech bits today:

Haitian Twitter information.

CrisisCamp, using technology to help those in need, are meeting in many US cities.

Full list of Navy ships being sent to Haiti

USCG Cutters off the coast of Haiti

I put together a list of Navy vessels being sent to Haiti.  Quite an armada.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

USS Bataan (LHD 5)

USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43)

USS Carter Hall (LSD 50)

USS Underwood (FFG 36)

USS Kearsarge

USNS Comfort (T-AH-20)

USS Higgins (DDG-76)

USS Normany (CG-60)

USCG Forward

USCG Valiant

USCG Mohawk

USCG Tahoma

Damage to the ports in Haiti

Canadian Navy

HMCS Athabaskan

HMCS Halifax

Tracking the Haiti rescue flights and radio traffic online

FlightAware has great visuals of the rescue effort

For those who want to get some really specific details of what is going on in Haiti, you can turn to some web interfaces to some rather old school technology.

Firstly, the Military Communications Bloggers are doing an amazing job tracking all the rescue traffic on the radios going in and out of Haiti.  MilComm bloggers often transcribe the radio traffic they hear, and as it is straight ‘from the horse’s mouth’ it’s also usually about 30-60 minutes ahead of the television reports.  For example, you can read this traffic from a monitoring station in Charleston South Carolina.  Rescue planes are on the ground, recovering the wounded, and the lights are on at the airport.

  • 1940Z 9007.0 CANFORCE 2343 p/p via TRENTON MILITARY to WING OPS. WING OPS passes 1345Z overhead damage assessment of Port-au-Prince. E/O imagery shows no structural damage to airfield or terminal. Electrical equipment not working. E/O imagery shows little to no damage to port facility. WING OPS estimates 10 aircraft en route with the same ETA. CANFORCE 2343 gets WX for Port-au-Prince, Homestead, Providenciales Airport, and Jags McCartney IAP
  • 2024Z 9007.0 CANFORCE 2343 p/p via TRENTON MILITARY to 613-XXX-XXXX for SITREP regarding deployment last night of 2 CH-146s from 430 Squadron at Cold Lake to Haiti. First 2 are yellow and follow on is green. Ground party needs SITREP for fuel and force protection needs
  • 2223Z 7527.0 CG 1501 (HC-130, CGAS Clearwater) p/p to D7 Miami Ops. Still on deck Port-au-Prince with 40+ PAX on board and still loading. They are bringing PAX in vans at 10-20 at a time. They also report 2 USAF C-130s on deck and a Lynden Air Cargo C-130. Runway lights are working

There are also some Ham Radio operators working Haiti, relaying communications between families in the US and in Haiti.  You can also listen to streaming radio stations from Haiti (though most are offline right now).  Some of the Ham Radio is being rebroadcast via Teamtalk online streams and other streaming media solutions.

Flight tracking websites can show you the status of all aircraft inbound for Port Au Prince (MTPP) but this is based on the flight plans filed in the US, not necessarily the actual number of planes coming in from various countries.

Haiti Internet Radio has a list of stations broadcasting, many of which are on backup connections and still on the air despite all that has happened.

Finally, there are several sites that track “Where Are the Carriers“–daily updates of the location of our country’s aircraft carriers.

UPDATE:  Google has published some interesting satellite photos of the destruction using the Geoeye/Google satellite.

Twitter reactions to the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama

10 minutes of watching Twitter reactions and you can crack up laughing.

@Newsweek: The Nobel Peace Prize is finished… It’s like a Teen Choice Award for old people.

@thesarcastro Giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is like calling Dakota Fanning a MILF.

@KanyeInterrupts Yo Obama, I see u winnin and I’ma let u finish but NELSON MANDELA WAS THE BEST NOBEL PEACE PRIZE RECIPIENT OF ALL TIME!

@popego: “Sure, President Obama’s got a Nobel. But did he get a Google Wave invite?”

Nobel Prizes now available on eBay. Get urs today. #fb

GOP furious about Obama Nobel Prize; apparently they were rooting for Rio to win

@jacko2323 Great news: I just won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for “making a great martini”

@mlynch22 First tweet ever, just wanted to let everyone know I jut won the Nobel Prize for Economics for successfully changing my PIN number! Whoo!

@zwichenzug Nobel for Physics, too, based on his deadly accurate 3-point shot skills.

@MikeDrucker Obama winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his progress as president is an inspiration to all of us who slept in today.

@ameereydc Nobel peace prize today….Heisman tomorrow.

What’s wrong with this picture, aka the ‘real’ threat to the National Security Agency

The NSA is our first line of cyberdefense, the wars of the future. The most advanced technology we have fighting to keep us safe from the threats we will face in the years to come.

So what’s up with this picture? This is a Google Street view of the NSA building up at Fort Meade. The NSA, fortress of the future, is actually a fortress SURROUNDED BY GIANT BOULDERS. A technology (rocks) as old as time and a defense strategy (circling the rocks) that’s nearly as ancient.

It really makes you wonder about what threat we are facing.


Another day, another human rights activist dead in Russia

This is getting to be a bit repetitive…


The head of a children’s charity was found shot dead in Chechnya today, a day after she and her husband were abducted by armed men.

The bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzhabrailov were found in the boot of a car in a suburb of the capital Grozny, the human rights group Memorial said. The murder of Ms Sadulayeva comes less than a month after a gang kidnapped and killed Natalia Estemirova, another prominent rights activist in the turbulent southern Russian region.

chechenRamzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, will likely face some additional pressure after this latest killing.  Kadyrov is often accused of removing some of his opponents, and the head of the charity where Sadulayeva worked recently accused Kadyrov of orchestrating a campaign of murder and intimidation.

How to build a radio while in a Japanese POW camp

radioFascinating interview here about how some British POW’s cobbled together a radio receiver while in the middle of the jungle from random spare parts they had lying about the prison.



The resistors were another problem. We found out that we could use the impurities in some of the tree wood and the bark, particularly cinnamon bark which was available by getting through the wire only about 2 feet and we could normally pinch that while the Japanese sentry was moving around.


    We used a piece of string with the material rubbed on it from the burning of the cinnamon bark with some impurities in it (we didn’t have a chemical analysis); we weren’t very fussed because most grid-leak resistors were about a megohm or thereabouts and we had no means or any way we could measure a megohm, so it was largely a trial and 

error thing to see if it would work. We made a number of these bits of string and tied them round different things to dry 

them out to get the thing going. Eventually about an inch, three quarters of an inch to an inch, was about the right order of things to get about a megohm resistance. They were the two main things.


I wonder if POWs today would have the same skill set. Heck many folks don’t even learn morse code anymore.

Moscow subway system notes huge drop in passengers.

img24I guess when you are unemployed there really isn’t the need to go anywhere.

Moscow’s chandelier-adorned metro, ranked as one of the world’s busiest, said passenger numbers had fallen by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2009 from the same period last year.

The number of people travelling on the Stalin-era system has fallen by an average of about 700,000 a day in April and May, said Moscow metro chief Dmitry Gayev.

It is a pretty subway system.  The turnstiles however, can kill.  If you mess up pulling your card out of the system expect to be impaled by those things.

Digging up the World War I dead

The British military has commenced a recovery operation of British and Australian soldiers who fell in northern France but were never given a proper burial.  The remains will be recovered, sorted and a proper individual military funeral will be given for all the fallen.

GSG-9 Rescue Mission of Somali pirate hostages called off at last minute by US

01020151103600Der Spiegel is breaking an interesting story about a failed rescue mission of German hostages held by Somali pirates.  


Last Wednesday, at approximately 7 p.m., the government’s key state secretaries were sitting around the birch conference tables in the situation room, where they had met almost daily for the past three weeks to address a crisis brewing off the coast of Somalia. The officials were there to manage one of the biggest secret operations in postwar German history. Elite members of the GSG-9 police force were on the verge of boarding a German freighter, the Hansa Stavanger, which had been kidnapped by Somali pirates.

The Americans had lent the Germans one of their ships, the USSBoxer, to use as their flagship in the planned attack — and a fleet of German Navy vessels flanked the enormous helicopter carrier. The ships had been patrolling near the Hansa Stavanger for days, waiting just beyond the horizon to evade detection on the pirates’ radar screens.


But eventually it turned out that the Americans called off the mission.  The attempted rescue would likely be a bloodbath and a disaster–possibly even a suicide mission for the rescuers.  It’s also going to start a debate in Germany as to the abilities, or lack thereof, of the German military and law enforcement.

Pretty good read.  Worth checking out.

What’s so special about this variant of Swine Flu

k5657-3i1There has been some interesting tidbits dripping out about the new Swine Flu that is making its way around the world.  Already there is speculation that this was cultured in a laboratory and not naturally occurring, and some do wonder if it is a biological warfare agent or even an attempt on Barrack Obama’s life, but the reason is not alarmist conspiracy theories but due to the nature of this virus:


There are eight genes in the flu virus. According to Dr Hay, this new one has six genes from swine flu viruses already known to have been circulating in the US, and two from swine flu viruses from Europe and Asia. The US swine flu virus genes in this new virus are themselves mixtures of swine flu, bird flu and human flu viruses – what’s described as a classic “re-assortment” – a combination feared most by those watching for a flu pandemic. Experts around the world have been warning for years that this is inevitable.


I do kind of wonder how the virus from Europe, Asia and the US all ended up together.  Or maybe it is some sort of mutation that created something that looks like all the regional variations.  This will be interesting to watch.

(as for my preventive measure–no burritos for the time being and maybe I’ll stock up on some shotgun shells).