Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Discussing "Goodfellas" on Opperman

I'm back on the Opperman Report, this time discussing the various highlights from my "Goodfellas" series.

Topics broached included the curious history of Resorts International, a gaming interest with extensive ties to the US intelligence community and organized crime that Donald J. Trump became CEO of in 1986; Trump's sinister political mentor, attorney Roy Cohn; Cohn's links to the Profumo Affair and how this scandal disgraced globalist elements of the Tories while sparing those eventually linked to the Pinay Circle/Le Cercle; the presence of so many descendants of key figures of the Round Table movement figures, especially those linked to the Cliveden Set, in Le Cercle; Roy Cohn's links to the long reputed Son of Sam cult; the overlap between said cult and various Christian Identity terrorists; the possibility Manson was a follower of identity "theology"; the far right connections of the Process Church of the Final Judgment; the credibility of Maury Terry; the many sex scandals Cohn's longtime private detective Thomas Corbally appears in; the Mueller probe as an instrument to silence Cohn's former associates; Roger Stone and NXIVM; and of course the Company and Kentucky Derby days. In other words, its quite an epic chat that Ed and I have.

The interview can be found here.

The articles that this interview is based upon include:

Goodfellas: The Hidden History of Resorts International
Goodfellas: The Dark Tower and Beyond Part I
Goodfellas: The Dark Tower and Beyond Part II
Goodfellas Part III: Viva Las Vegas
Goodfellas Part IV: Lavender Mafia Edition
Goodfellas Part V: The Bedroom Dick
Goodfellas Part VI: Cliveden Games
Goodfellas Part VII: Jack and Bobby
Goodfellas Part VIII: Sons of Cohn

A big thank you to Ed for having me back on. I hope everyone enjoys the chat. As always dear readers, stay tuned.


The Doors - The End (original)

Published on Oct 4, 2010
Doors song The End full and uncensored                                                         The lyrics are, as followin, This is the end, beautiful friend This is the end, my only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I'll never look into your eyes, again Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free Desperately in need, of some, stranger's hand In a, desperate land Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain And all the children are insane, all the children are insane Waiting for the summer rain, yeah There's danger on the edge of town Ride the King's highway, baby Weird scenes inside the gold mine Ride the highway west, baby Ride the snake, ride the snake To the lake, the ancient lake, baby The snake is long, seven miles Ride the snake, he's old, and his skin is cold The west is the best, the west is the best Get here, and we'll do the rest The blue bus is callin' us, the blue bus is callin' us Driver, where you taken us The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on He took a face from the ancient gallery And he walked on down the hall He went into the room where his sister lived, and, then he Paid a visit to his brother, and then he He walked on down the hall, and And he came to a door, and he looked inside Father, yes son, I want to kill you Mother, I want to... C'mon baby, take a chance with us C'mon baby, take a chance with us C'mon baby, take a chance with us And meet me at the back of the blue bus Doin' a blue rock, on a blue bus Doin' a blue rock, c'mon, yeah Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill This is the end, beautiful friend This is the end, my only friend, the end It hurts to set you free But you'll never follow me The end of laughter and soft lies The end of nights we tried to die This is the end

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Online Piracy Is More Popular Than Ever, Research Suggests

A broad and detailed report from piracy tracking outfit MUSO shows that visits to pirate sites went up last year. The company recorded more than 300 billion visits in 2017, which suggests that "piracy is more popular than ever." TV remained the most popular category and most pirates prefer streaming over torrents or direct downloading.
Despite the growing availability of legal options, online piracy remains rampant. Every day pirate sites are visited hundreds of millions of times.
Piracy tracking outfit MUSO has documented the piracy landscape with data from tens of thousands of the largest global piracy sites.
In its latest report, the company recorded more than 300 billion visits to pirate sites last year alone. This is an increase of 1.6 percent compared to 2016.
More than half of all these visits (53%) are going to streaming sites, making that the most popular piracy tool. Torrent sites and direct download portals still have a significant user base, but follow at a respectable distance.
Most of the pirate visits came from the United States, followed by India and Brazil. Despite the various pirate site blockades, the UK also secured a spot in the top ten, ranked at the bottom with nine billion visits.
The top ten list favors large countries and with this in mind, there is a large player missing. China, which is often portrayed as a country where piracy is rampant, ended up in 18th place with ‘only’ 4.6 billion visits.
Visits per country
# Country Billion visits
Data from Muso
1 United States 27.9
2 Russia 20.6
3 India 17.0
4 Brazil 12.7
5 Turkey 11.1
6 Japan 10.6
7 France 10.5
8 Indonesia 10.4
9 Germany 10.2
10 United kingdom 9.0
Muso tracks piracy trends across various media categories and has spotted some interesting trends. TV-shows remain the most popular among pirates with 106.9 billion visits last year, followed by music (73.9 billion) and film (53.2 billion).
Mobile piracy is on the rise as well. For the first time, more people were accessing pirated TV content via mobile devices (52%) where desktops used to be the favorite device. In the music category, this difference is even more pronounced, with 87% using mobile devices.
Last year desktops were still preferred among movie pirates, but MUSO expects this will change in 2018.
According to MUSO co-founder and CEO Andy Chatterley, these data show that piracy remains a sizable threat, something we also hinted at in the recent past.
“There is a belief that the rise in popularity of on-demand services – such as Netflix and Spotify – have solved piracy, but that theory simply doesn’t stack up. Our data suggest that piracy is more popular than ever,” Chatterley says.
While it’s hard to make historical comparisons without good data, it’s clear that piracy is still rampant. And with more people coming online year after year, the potential audience keeps growing.
Also, it is worth noting that the total piracy landscape is even larger than MUSO shows. In recent years many people have switched to pirate streaming boxes. These are not included in MUSO’s dataset, which relies on data provided by SimilarWeb, among other sources.
That said, the overall conclusion that the piracy audience is massive, and not to be ignored, remains the same.
“The piracy audience is huge and yet for the most part, it’s an opportunity that’s completely ignored,” Chatterley says.
“It’s important that the content industries embrace the trends emerging from this data, not only in strategic content protection, but also in understanding the profile of the piracy ‘consumer’ for better business insight and monetizing these audiences,“ MUSO’s CEO adds.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Image result for dark overlord pic

Remember that Dark Overlord hack of emails claiming information about 9/11? The hacking group claims to have uncovered a "treasure trove" of information about insurance company lawsuits regarding 9/11, which it would release to people paying the ransom (in Bitcoins). Well, a second tranche of emails has been released, and Russia, it seems (if no one else), is paying attention. Mr. V.T., Mr. T.H., and Mr. G.B. found these articles:

When I first blogged about this emerging story, I held out the view that this could be a significant development, in spite of the fact that the information in the first layer of releases did not seem all that significant. A peculiarity of the story is that while the hack seems to have been done by "professionals," the platform - Windows - left many cyber-security people mystified. What I find intriguing is that Russian media, as exemplified by the Sputnik and RT articles linked above, seems to be the only major media still paying attention. The question is, why? We'll get back to that.

But first, consider the interesting interpretation offered by Gary Miliefsky in the Sputnik interview:

Sputnik: Some guests have been saying that the fact that it is insurance companies might make it interesting, in that they tend to ask questions, that the lawyers ask questions that might be rather interesting.
Gary Miliefsky: Yes, you see the insurance companies who paid out claims, then filed these alternative lawsuits where they're saying we want to get paid back. Let's say there was a manufacturing defect in a car and your insurance company covered it for you, they may go after the car manufacturer. So these documents are very similar in that they're showing insurance companies trying to recoup their losses for payments for 9/11, and in the recouping of their losses, the questions that will be uncovered are "who did they sue?", "why did they sue them?", "what information was uncovered in these lawsuits?", "did they get their money back and who paid them?".
Sputnik: How valuable is the data released by the hackers?
Gary Miliefsky: It seems extremely valuable and I think that if continued layers come out, it will start to paint a post-9/11 picture of how huge claims are paid and reimbursed, and what parties are involved, there're a lot of big names in these documents.
Sputnik: Will it provide the public with more information that will differ from what we know about 9/11?
Gary Miliefsky: It might paint a bigger picture and it may provide some alternative information or some newer pieces of data that was (sic) never before made public, for whatever reason. (Italicized emphasis added)

So what's the message, if indeed there is one? This is where it gets interesting, and it may shed some light on why Russia is covering this story, when no one else seems interested (or, if they are interested, why they might be "prohibited" from doing so). Russia, as I outlined in my 9/11 book, Hidden Finance, Rogue Networks, and Secret Sorcery, was one of those nations - along with Germany, Israel, Jordan, &c - that was passing warnings to the USA that something drastic was about to happen on American soil. In fact, it was Russia that not only passed along confidential warnings, but wrote openly about the possibility prior to the attacks. In July  of 2001, Pravda ran an article by the Russian economist Dr. Tatyana Koriagina, who stated that America would be attacked on its own soil, but that the attack would come from a "network" of a very few people with assets in the trillions of dollars. That information was first uncovered by the late Jim Marrs, who duly reported it in his books about 9/11. Again, Russian Federation President Putin was the one world leader that G.H. Bush contacted that day. Since that event, Russia has sent other messages which few are paying attention to, like Sergei Glazyev's warning that Russia's problems weren't really the "Nazis in Kiev, but the Nazis in Washington."

The mere fact that Russia was warning of the attacks prior to their occurrence means that Russia is watching Dr. Koriagina's "group" closely; and that means, quite simply, that Russia "knows something" which, for whatever reason, it is not saying, but rather, dropping "hints" and "clues" from time to time, not the least of which in my opinion are Mr. Putin's constant challenges to the dogmas of globaloneyism and his constant use of the word "partners" in reference to the Western Powers, a word for which he is often challenged in Russia for being "too weak" and "appeasing" to the West. But Mr. Putin's choice of this word is, if nothing else, an assertion of his central point: Russia will not be a subsidiary or a franchise of the western financial hustlers; it will be a full and sovereign equal. In the context of the remarks in Sputnik, another message is being sent: there is real information in those documents capable of painting a "bigger picture" and of providing "alternative information or newer pieces of data," with the added tidbit that "there're a lot of big names in these documents."

So what's my high octane best speculative guess? Russia already knows what's in those documents, and it does not want the story to die in the hopes that that information will come out, which saves it the difficulty of having to reveal it itself. And of course, there's always the possibility that there is some sort of connection between Russia and the Dark Overlord hackers.

The Oumuamua Conundrum

“It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.”

Richard P. Feynman
When studying about the most notable scientific stories of the XXIst century, future students will probably giggle when trying to memorize a peculiar word found in their books: Oumuamua.
Recognized as the first object of unquestionable interstellar origin to ever intrude into our solar system –we know this because of the highly eccentric orbit it displayed in contrast to the ecliptic plane that most bodies in the system follow when orbiting around the Sun– Oumuamua was discovered in October of 2017 by Robert Weryk at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, and ever since it has continued to puzzle scientists because its shape and behavior was even weirder than the name it was assigned to (it means “first distant messenger” in Hawaiian).
Oumuamua moved like a comet, and yet it didn’t produce the characteristic tail of these icy bodies. To make things even more confusing, the varying light emitted by this not-comet suggested Oumuamua was at least 10 times as long as it was thick. How could this ‘interstellar baton’ retain its fragile form for so long?
And then there was the final insult to our knowledge about errant astronomical bodies, observed in June of last year: new data from the Hubble telescope confirmed Oumuamua’s velocity had increased during its rendezvous with the inner solar system, in ways that could not be explained by simple celestial mechanics and gravitational influences.
Astronomers paused their collective hand from scratching their collective head only to make that hand into an angry fist when they read a truly bold and controversial paper co-written in November of last year by Abraham Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department, and his postdoctoral student Shmuel Bialy. The paper was very rigorous in its math and the scientific assertions it proposed, and at the same time it did something no-one else in the scientific community dared to do: Suggest Oumuamua was in fact an ancient solar sail built by an extraterrestrial civilization and deliberately sent to intercept our solar neighborhood.
American-Israeli theoretical physicist Abraham (Avy) Loeb
American-Israeli theoretical physicist Abraham (Avy) Loeb
Last week the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an excellent interview with Loeb, which not only helps to explain in layman terms why Oumuamua is a true anomaly, but also highlights the many problems arising from the way the academic community tends to behave when confronted by a scientific mystery: with an a-priori contempt for any kind of novel ideas, especially when it comes to the possibility about alien life. An arrogant ‘it can’t be therefore it isn’t’ attitude that is even more prevalent –ironically enough– among the scientists more directly involved with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). It’s almost as if we are so certain there’s no one else out there, we keep on looking for signs we’re not alone without really expecting to find any.
Not only that, but Loeb points out the kind of fear prevalent among his colleagues of making their ideas public, if they happen to be too ‘heretical’:
“The article I published was written, in part, on the basis of conversations I had with colleagues whom I respect scientifically. Scientists of senior status said themselves that this object was peculiar but were apprehensive about making their thoughts public. I don’t understand that. After all, academic tenure is intended to give scientists the freedom to take risks without having to worry about their jobs. Unfortunately, most scientists achieve tenure – and go on tending to their image. As children we ask ourselves about the world, we allow ourselves to err. Ego doesn’t play a part. We learn about the world with innocence and honesty. As a scientist, you’re supposed to enjoy the privilege of being able to continue your childhood. Not to worry about the ego, but about uncovering the truth. Especially after you get tenure.”
In the interview, Loeb explains to the Haaretz reporter that Oumuamua is probably shaped like a flat pancake instead of a cigar. Not only that, but its relative velocity compared to the average speed of all the stars in the region suggests this ‘distant messenger’ was at ‘relative rest’ until the solar system reached its position while traveling around the center of the Milky Way. Read that last sentence again until it sinks in.
But how to explain the biggest mystery of all –Oumuamua’s sudden and inexplicable acceleration once it entered the inner solar system? “The only hypothesis I could think of,” Loeb says, “is a push from solar radiation pressure. For that to work, the object would have to be very thin, less than a millimeter thick, in other words a type of pancake. In addition, the Spitzer Space Telescope found no evidence of heat emission from the object, and that means that it is at least 10 times more reflective than a typical comet or asteroid. What we have, then, is a thin, flat, shiny object. So I arrived at the idea of a solar sail: A solar sail is a spaceship that uses the sun for propulsion. Instead of using fuel, it is propelled ahead by reflecting light. In fact, it’s a technology that our civilization is developing at this very time.”
How solar sails work
I urge you to read the interview in its entirety. In the end,  I feel whether Loeb is correct or not about Oumuamua, and it was not in fact an ancient probe sent by an advanced civilization tens of thousands of years ago, is not the most important thing about the paper he and his student wrote. As the scientific director of Project Starshot which studied the possibility of deploying solar sails traveling at one-fifth the speed of light, critics could very well argue he’s falling into an ‘anthropomorphization’ of this astronomical anomaly, attributing aliens with the same kind of technology we’re currently trying to develop –then again, SETI is also guilty of the exact same thing, insisting our hypothetical galactic neighbors would only bother to communicate with us using radio transmissions.
No, the value in Loeb’s hypothesis is that it helped to highlight how in the cutting-edge areas of Science, we tend to punish innovative thinking instead of encouraging it. Scientists are being conditioned to stick to what is accepted by the status quo in order to protect their careers. Only the older scientists who are sufficiently shielded from professional suicide by having already achieved enough recognition, or won enough prizes and medals, are the ones brave enough to dare to say “what if” out loud. With that kind of rationale, we are less likely to make any major breakthroughs.
“If you’re not ready to find exceptional things, you won’t discover them. Of course, every argument needs to be based on evidence, but if the evidence points to an anomaly, we need to talk about an anomaly. Who cares if this anomaly appeared or did not appear in science-fiction books? I don’t even like science fiction.”
Loeb’s colleagues are still detecting mysterious fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from the deepest reaches of the Universe. Nobody knows what originates them, but suggesting they could be actual transmissions of artificial origin is not considered kosher among ‘serious’ researchers. Likewise, NASA is getting prepared to probe the surface of Mars in search of microbial fossils, and yet the debate involving meteorite ALH 84001, discovered in Antarctica more than 20 years ago, rages on. The findings of the scientists who suggested the microscopic structures found inside the meteorite were signs of Martian life were flat-out rejected by most of the scientific community –this at a time when even considering the possibility that Mars had had water in its ancient past was simply preposterous.
Meteorite ALH 84001. Signs of Martian fossils?
Perhaps schools should teach the future generations of scientists and thinkers to dare to be wrong more often. Instead of waiting ’til they get tenure and secure retirement.
  • Link: If True, This Could Be One of the Greatest Discoveries in Human History
    An artist’s rendering of Oumuamua. “It waited in place, like a buoy in the ocean, until the ‘ship’ of the solar system ran into it.”  An artist’s rendering of Oumuamua. “It waited in place, like a buoy in the ocean, until the ‘ship’ of the solar system ran into it.” ESO / M. Kornmesser

    If True, This Could Be One of the Greatest Discoveries in Human History

    The head of Harvard's astronomy department says what others are afraid to say about a peculiar object that entered the solar system
    “I don’t care what people say,” asserts Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department and author of one of the most controversial articles in the realm of science last year (and also one of the most popular in the general media). “It doesn’t matter to me,” he continues. “I say what I think, and if the broad public takes an interest in what I say, that’s a welcome result as far as I’m concerned, but an indirect result. Science isn’t like politics: It is not based on popularity polls.”
    Prof. Abraham Loeb, 56, was born in Beit Hanan, a moshav in central Israel, and studied physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as part of the Israel Defense Forces’ Talpiot program for recruits who demonstrate outstanding academic ability. Freeman Dyson, the theoretical physicist, and the late astrophysicist John Bahcall admitted Loeb to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, whose past faculty members included Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. In 2012, Time magazine named Loeb one of the 25 most influential people in the field of space. He has won prizes, written books and published 700 articles in the world’s leading scientific journals. Last October, Loeb and his postdoctoral student Shmuel Bialy, also an Israeli, published an article in the scientific outlet “The Astrophysical Journal Letters,” which seriously raised the possibility that an intelligent species of aliens had sent a spaceship to Earth.
    The “spaceship” in question is called Oumuamua. For those who don’t keep up with space news, Oumuamua is the first object in history to pass through the solar system and be identified as definitely originating outside of it. The first interstellar guest came to us from the direction of Vega, the brightest star in the Lyra constellation, which is 26 light-years from us. In the 1997 film “Contact,” it’s the star from which the radio signal is sent to Jodie Foster.
    Oumuamua was actually discovered by a Canadian astronomer, Robert Weryk, using the Pan-STARRS telescope at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii. “Oumuamua” is Hawaiian for “first distant messenger” – in a word, “scout.” It was discovered on October 19, 2017, suspiciously close to Earth (relatively speaking, of course: Oumuamua was 33 million kilometers away from us when it was sighted – 85 times farther than the moon is from Earth).
    Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department.
    Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department. Moti Milrod
    Whereas all the planets, asteroids and meteors that originate within the solar system more or less circle what is called the Ecliptic plane, that of our sun, since they were formed from the same disc of gas and dust that rotated around itself, Oumuamua entered the solar system north of the plane, in an extreme hyperbolic orbit and at a speed of 26.3 kilometers per second faster relative to the motion of the sun.
    A reconstruction of its trajectory shows that Oumuamua traversed the ecliptic plane on September 6, 2017, when the sun’s gravity accelerated the object to a velocity of 87.8 kilometers per second. On September 9, the object passed closer to the sun than the orbit of Mercury. And on October 14, five days before it was discovered in Hawaii, the object passed 24.18 million kilometers away from Earth, or 62 times the distance from here to the moon.
    What does it feel like to sit next to colleagues in a university lunchroom a day after publishing an article arguing that Oumuamua may actually be a reconnaissance spaceship?
    Loeb: “The article I published was written, in part, on the basis of conversations I had with colleagues whom I respect scientifically. Scientists of senior status said themselves that this object was peculiar but were apprehensive about making their thoughts public. I don’t understand that. After all, academic tenure is intended to give scientists the freedom to take risks without having to worry about their jobs. Unfortunately, most scientists achieve tenure – and go on tending to their image. As children we ask ourselves about the world, we allow ourselves to err. Ego doesn’t play a part. We learn about the world with innocence and honesty. As a scientist, you’re supposed to enjoy the privilege of being able to continue your childhood. Not to worry about the ego, but about uncovering the truth. Especially after you get tenure.”
    Without tenure you wouldn’t have published the article?
    “I suppose not. It’s not just the tenure. I’m head of the astronomy department, and founding director of the Black Hole Initiative [an interdisciplinary center at Harvard dedicated to the study of black holes]. In addition, I’m director of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. So it could be that I’m committing image suicide, if this turns out to be incorrect. On the other hand, if it turns out to be correct, it’s one of the greatest discoveries in human history. For us to make progress in understanding the universe, we need to be credible, and the only way to be credible is to follow what you see, not yourself. Besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen to me? I’ll be relieved of my administrative duties? This will bring the benefit that I’ll have more time for science.”
    ‘Gravitational pushes’
    The first friend from another solar system stirred great excitement among scientists, but its form and behavior also raised multiple questions.
    “It was subjected to observation, but not enough,” Loeb told me with disappointment, when I met with him in Tel Aviv at the end of December. “It was only under consecutive observation for six days, from October 25 to 31 – namely, a week after its discovery. At first they said, Okay, it’s a comet – but no comet tail was visible. Comets are made of ice, which evaporates as the comet approaches the sun. But we didn’t see a trail of gas or dust in Oumuamua. So the thinking was that it must be an asteroid – simply a chunk of stone. But the object rotated on its axis for eight hours, and during that time its brightness changed by a factor of 10, whereas the brightness of all the asteroids that we’re familiar with changes, at most, by a factor of three. If we assume that the light reflection is constant, that means its length is at least 10 times greater than its thickness.
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    “There are two possibilities in regard to this extreme geometry,” Loeb continues. “One is that it’s in the shape of a cigar, the other than it has the shape of a pancake. The truth is that the same observers who examined Oumuamua’s light variation reached the conclusion that if it receives a lot of gravitational pushes during the voyage – which is reasonable, because it spent a lot of time in interstellar space – its shape is pancake-flat. Subsequently additional qualities were discovered, such as its origin.”
    I wrote above that Oumuamua originated at Vega, but that’s not completely accurate: The universe is a vast place, and even at Oumuamua’s velocity – a velocity that no human spaceship has achieved – a voyage from Vega to the solar system would take 600,000 years. But in the meantime, Vega is orbiting the center of the Milky Way, like the sun and all the other stars, and it wasn’t in that region of the heavens 600,000 years ago.
    Oumuamua's route through the solar system.
    “If you average the velocities of all the stars in the region,” Loeb explains, “you get a system that’s called the ‘local standard of rest.’ Oumuamua was at rest relative to that system. It didn’t come to us. It waited in place, like a buoy on the surface of the ocean, until the ‘ship’ of the solar system ran into it. To make things clear, only one of 500 stars in the system is as much at rest as Oumuamua. The probability of that is very low. After all, if it were a stone that was simply hurled from a different solar system, we would expect it to have the velocity of its star system, not the average velocity of all the thousands of stars in the vicinity.”
    However, the biggest surprise came last June, when new data from the Hubble Space Telescope showed that the mysterious object had accelerated during its visit to the inner solar system in 2017 – an acceleration that is not explained by the sun’s force of gravity.
    Acceleration of that sort can be explained by the rocket effect of comets: The comet approaches the sun, the sun warms the ice of the comet and the ice escapes into space in the form of gas, an emission that makes the comet accelerate like a rocket. But the observations did not reveal a comet tail behind Oumuamua. Moreover, gas emission would have brought about a rapid change in the rate of the object’s spin, a change which was also not observed in practice, and it also might have torn the object apart.
    If it wasn’t comet outgassing, what force caused Oumuamua to accelerate? It is precisely here where Loeb enters the picture. According to his calculations, Oumuamua’s acceleration was caused by a push.
    “The only hypothesis I could think of,” he relates, “is a push from solar radiation pressure. For that to work, the object would have to be very thin, less than a millimeter thick, in other words a type of pancake. In addition, the Spitzer Space Telescope found no evidence of heat emission from the object, and that means that it is at least 10 times more reflective than a typical comet or asteroid. What we have, then, is a thin, flat, shiny object. So I arrived at the idea of a solar sail: A solar sail is a spaceship that uses the sun for propulsion. Instead of using fuel, it is propelled ahead by reflecting light. In fact, it’s a technology that our civilization is developing at this very time.”
    Bottles in space
    Avi Loeb definitely knows a thing or two about solar sails. In 2016, the physicist and venture capitalist Yuri Milner, together with Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg and others, established Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative to accelerate solar sails to one-fifth the speed of light in order to explore the neighboring solar system, Alpha Centauri, which is four light-years away from us. Loeb was appointed the project’s scientific director.
    “The first question we asked is whether a sail like Oumuamua could survive billions of years in the Milky Way – and we discovered that it could. Being hit by interstellar dust or gas won’t wear it down. Afterward, we tried to calculate the acceleration a solar sail would cause in an object [such as a ship or probe], and we found that the acceleration is consistent with that of Oumuamua.
    “We have no way of knowing whether it’s active technology, or a spaceship that is no longer operative and is continuing to float in space. But if Oumuamua was created together with a whole population of similar objects that were launched randomly, the fact that we discovered it means that its creators launched a quadrillion probes like it to every star in the Milky Way. Of course, the randomness is significantly reduced if we assume that Oumuamua was a reconnaissance mission that was deliberately sent to the inner solar system – namely, to the habitable region where life would be feasible. But we need to remember that humanity didn’t broadcast anything tens of thousands of years ago, when the object was still in interstellar space. They didn’t know there was intelligent life here. Which is why I think it’s just a fishing expedition.”
    Fishing for what?
    “I don’t know. I love walking along the seashore when I’m on vacation, like here in Tel Aviv, and looking at the seashells with my daughters. Occasionally we find a glass bottle among the shells. In my opinion, the ‘bottle’ needs to be investigated. Until now we were looking for signatures of alien cultures in radio broadcasts, because we developed that technology in the last century. But another way is to look for a message in a bottle. Humanity launched Voyager 1 and 2, which are already in interstellar space. They’re messages in bottles. And in this century there will be a great many systems to which a great many bottles will be sent, and at far greater velocities.”
    Like Breakthrough Starshot?
    “Exactly. Our goal is to accelerate solar sails to one-fifth the speed of light, so that they will reach Alpha Centauri within 20 years. And the reason is clear: I am 56 years old, and Yuri Milner is 57. At that speed we will be able to see the pictures in our lifetime. Of course, the sails will continue on their way long after Milner and I are no longer around, maybe after none of us will still be here. It’s possible that space is filled with sails like these and we just don’t see them. We only saw Oumuamua because this is the first time we’ve had technology that’s sensitive enough to identify objects of a few dozen to hundreds of meters in size from the illumination of the sun. In three years, the building of the LSST telescope will be completed. It will be far more sensitive than Pan-STARRS and certainly we will see many more objects that originate outside the solar system. Then we’ll find out whether Oumuamua is an anomaly or not.
    “The importance of my article lies in attracting the attention of astronomers so that they will use the best telescopes and look for the next object, and will even plan an encounter with it in space. The current propulsion technology doesn’t offer us the possibility to chase after Oumuamua. The visitor comes for dinner, goes out into the street and disappears in the dark. It’s possible we will never know what it was looking for.”
    But the project Breakthrough Listen used a radio telescope and listened to Oumuamua with amazing sensitivity, to the point of being able to receive a call from a regular mobile phone, from within the object. But we heard nothing.
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    “When I suggested to Milner that we listen to Oumuamua, back in November 2017, we knew that the chance of picking up something was poor to nonexistent. Because even if a signal had been sent, it wouldn’t necessarily have been sent in our direction – it would be in the form of a ray. In other words, even if this explorer broadcast back to its operators, we wouldn’t necessarily have seen that. We also wouldn’t know which frequency it was broadcasting on. And it’s also possible that it wasn’t broadcasting all the time, but only at particular times. And maybe there’s no longer anyone for it to broadcast to.”
    Okay, this object was silent, but if they’re out there, why haven’t we heard any radio signals directed at us? We’ve been listening to the expanses of space for decades and hearing only the blood pounding in our ears.
    “If to judge by our own behavior, it seems to me that the likeliest explanation is that civilizations develop the technologies that destroy them. There’s a length of time during which a culture is still careful – for example, not to get into a nuclear war. But consider that if the Nazis had developed nuclear weapons, human history might have led to mass destruction. And there are, of course, asteroids and there’s global warming and plenty of other dangers. The technological window of opportunity might be very small. Sails like these are launched, but they no longer have anyone to broadcast back to.”
    ‘We are primitive’
    In other words, to Enrico Fermi’s paradox – “Where is everybody? – you reply: “Dead.”
    “Definitely. Most of them. Our approach should be an archaeological one. In the same way we dig in the ground to find cultures that no longer exist, we must dig in space in order to discover civilizations that existed outside the planet Earth.”
    Isn’t it easier, and therefore more scientific, to assume that we are alone until it’s proved otherwise?
    “No. Anyone who claims that we are unique and special is guilty of arrogance. My premise is cosmic modesty. Today, thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, we know that there are more planets like Earth than there are grains of sand on all the shores of all the seas. Imagine a king who manages to seize control of a piece of another country in a horrific battle, and who then thinks of himself as a great, omnipotent ruler. And then imagine that he succeeds in seizing control of all the land, or of the entire world: It would be like an ant that has wrapped its feelers around one grain of sand on a vast seashore. It’s meaningless. I assume that we are not the only ants on the shore, that we are not alone.”
    That’s speculation. You don’t know that for certain.
    “The search for extraterrestrial life is not speculation. It’s a lot less speculative than the assumption that there is dark matter – invisible matter that constitutes 85 percent of the material in the universe. The dark matter hypothesis is part of the mainstream of astrophysics – and it is speculation. Life [elsewhere] in the universe is not speculation, for two reasons: (a) We exist on Earth; and (b) There are a great many more places that have physical conditions similar to Earth. Science contains many examples of hypotheses that haven’t yet been borne out by observations, because science progresses on a basis of anomalies, on a basis of phenomena that aren’t amenable to conventional explanations.”
    But there’s a vast difference between the search for dark matter and the search for extraterrestrial life. You wouldn’t have been interviewed on “Good Morning America” about an article dealing with dark matter.
    “Because there’s extensive science-fiction literature about contact with advanced civilizations, and not about dark matter. So what? Most scientists talk about a search for primitive life, but there’s a taboo on the search for intelligent life. Maybe I don’t understand that. After all, the only place where primitive life exists, namely Earth, also has intelligent life – if we’re actually intelligent. Our science is not healthy. I asked a scientist who’s researching objects in the Kuiper belt, a senior astronomer who discovered a large number of the objects there, if he had discovered changes in their brightness originating in artificial light. He replied, ‘Why search? There’s nothing to search for, it’s clear that their brightness will change like light that’s reflected back naturally from the sun.’
    “If you’re not ready to find exceptional things, you won’t discover them. Of course, every argument needs to be based on evidence, but if the evidence points to an anomaly, we need to talk about an anomaly. Who cares if this anomaly appeared or did not appear in science-fiction books? I don’t even like science fiction.”
    A raw, telescopic image of Oumuamua. The first visitor in history from outside our solar system?
    A raw, telescopic image of Oumuamua. The first visitor in history from outside our solar system? ESO / O.Hainaut
    Come on, now. You don’t like science fiction?
    “No. When I read a book that contradicts the laws of nature, it bothers me. I like literature and I like science, but the combination bothers me.”
    So as a boy you didn’t read “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke? Because it really recalls the encounter with Oumuamua.
    “No. What occupied me were the basic problems of life.”
    The origin of life? Its distribution in the universe?
    “Life itself, our life as human beings. I read books of philosophy, mainly existentialism. I was born in a moshav, and every afternoon I collected eggs and on weekends I would drive the tractor into the hills, to read there. I loved nature. I liked being alone. I don’t have a footprint on the social networks. I think of ideas when I’m alone in the shower. And I never thought about being famous. I wrote a scientific article that was published in a scientific journal. I didn’t even issue a press release. Two bloggers found the article in an archive, and it went viral.”
    And how did you feel about being a viral scientist? The report about your piece was obviously the most popular space article in the past year.
    “I took advantage of the media exposure to explain the uncertainty of the scientific process. The populist movements in the United States and Europe rest in part on the fact that the public has lost faith in the scientific process. That’s why people deny global warming, for example. One of my interviewers in Germany said, ‘There are scientists who maintain that it’s a mistake to go public when you’re not yet certain.’ Those scientists think that if we reveal situations of uncertainty, we won’t be believed when we talk about climate change. But the lack of credibility is due precisely to the fact that we show the public only the final product. If a group of scientists closet themselves in a room, and then emerge to deliver a lecture on the result as though to students, people won’t believe them – because they won’t have seen the doubts, they won’t have seen that there weren’t enough data in the earlier stages.
    “The right way is to persuade the public that the scientific process is a normal human activity, that it’s no different from what a police detective does or a plumber who comes to fix a drainpipe. Scientists are considered an elite, because they themselves create that ivory tower artificially. They say, ‘The public doesn’t understand, so there’s no need to share with them. We’ll decide among ourselves what’s right, and then we’ll tell the politicians what needs to be done.’ But then the populist politician says, ‘Only the elite say that, they are hiding other things from us.’ Because there’s a leap to the stage of conclusions and policy. The differences of opinion in the scientific community are what lend humanity to the scientific process, and humanity lends credibility.”
    If we do actually discover that we’re not alone in the universe, what effect would that discovery have on our life, do you think?
    “A huge effect. They will probably be more advanced than we are, given that our technology developed only recently. We will be able to learn a great deal from them, about technologies that were developed across millions and billions of years. And it could be that this is the reason we haven’t yet identified extraterrestrial intelligent life: because we are still primitive life that doesn’t know how to read the signs. As soon as we leave the solar system, I believe we will see a great deal of traffic out there. Possibly we’ll get a message that says, ‘Welcome to the interstellar club.’ Or we’ll discover multiple dead civilizations – that is, we’ll find their remains.”
    And that will be the good news? Because, if there are a lot of civilizations more developed than ours that were liquidated or that liquidated themselves, that’s not a good sign for the future.
    “It will be an excellent sign. It will give us second thoughts about what we are doing here and now, so that we will not share the same fate. We need to comport ourselves much more decently and less militantly with one another, to cooperate, to prevent climate change and to settle in space. That should lead to a good place. The basic question is whether people are good, at the foundation.”
    And what’s the answer, in your view?
    “I believe they are. As soon as it becomes clear that there really have been many civilizations that have become extinct, I believe that people will learn the right lesson. And if we discover remnants of advanced technologies, they will prove to us that we are only at the start of the road; and that if we don’t continue down that road, we will miss a great deal of what there is to see and experience in the universe. Imagine if cavemen had been shown the smartphone you’re using to record me. What would they have thought about this special rock? Now imagine that Oumuamua is the iPhone, and we are the cavemen. Imagine scientists who are considered the visionaries of reason among the cavemen looking at the device and saying, ‘No, it’s just a rock. A special rock, but a rock. Where do you come off claiming it’s not a rock?’”

Saturday, January 12, 2019

CLASSIFIED: The most powerful investor you never heard of  ~ hehe & don't fer~geet ta fill out yer "controller files" ...that's fb boys & girls Huh ! 

Pre IPO Swap New York, NY 1/12/2019

Did you know that the CIA has its own Venture Fund?  And did you know that Venture fund was key in starting Facebook and Google?  As explained in the book Splitting Pennies – the world is not as it seems.

For many readers especially on Zero Hedge this comes as no surprise, as you are well aware of the octopus that wraps its tentacles around the globe.  But it may surprise you how active In-Q-Tel is and how chummy they are with the rest of the VC community.  It’s as if they are just another VC, but with another purpose.  Let’s look at some of the stats, from Crunchbase:

Here’s a list of recent investments…
If you dig back you won’t see Google or Facebook on there – which is company policy for retail consumer investments that can impact the public (it’s kept secret behind an NDA).  Here’s how it works – In-Q-Tel may invest in your startup but there’s a big catch.  First, you have to sign an NDA which is enforced strongly – that you are not to disclose your partner.  Second, you must agree to ‘cooperation’ when it comes to information sharing now or down the road, such as location data on people using Facebook, Google, or other systems – perhaps only to feed it into a big data brain at Palantir.  Or perhaps for more street level surveillance.  The surveillance is known by fact, not conspiracy theory – but by fact – due to the disclosure of classified documents by Edward Snowden.  If it were not for Snowden, we could only guess about this.  The name of the main program is PRISM but there are many others.

For those in the VC community that are deep in the know- the “Deep VCs” like Peter Thiel for example, the Snowden revelations would come as no surprise.  MUST READ – No Place To Hide – the story of the NSA, PRISM, and Snowden (written by Greenwald).
But for others, it may come as a surprise that not only the CIA has its own VC fund, but that it sits on many corporate boards alongside many Wall St. firms and other VCs. 

And of course, they always do well.

Let’s consider the doors they opened for Google, or in the case of Google it was more like the doors that were closed.  Google was not the best search engine, it was not superior technology – it wasn’t even really very good.  It just became a monopoly and crushed the competition.  Many wonder how they were able to do it, and that this is part of the Entrepreneur “Magic” that few have.  Well we can say in the case of Google there was no Magic they had a helping hand from a friend in the deep shadows.  Google wanted to become huge – the CIA wants information (they always do, so we don’t use the past tense ‘wanted’).  So it was a cozy and rational partnership – in exchange for making the right handshakes at the right time, allowing Google to become a global behemoth, all they needed to do was share a little information about users.  Actually, a lot of information.  No harm in that, right? 

But in doing so Google violated itself as well as prostituted its model and its users.  Google still does this and is not nearly as flagrant as its brother Facebook, however Google shares more detailed ‘meta data’ which is actually more useful to Echelon systems like Palantir that rely on big data, not necessarily photos of what you ate for breakfast (but that can be helpful too, they say). 

The metaphor is making a deal with the devil; you get what you want but it comes at a price.  And that’s the price users pay to Google – they get service ‘free’ but at a huge cost, their privacy.  Of course – this is all based on the concept of Freedom which really does exist in USA.  You don’t have to use Google – there are many alternatives like the rising star Duck Duck Go:

But who cares about privacy; only criminals, hackers, programmers, super wealthy (UHNWI) and a few philosophers.

Google remains the dominant search platform and much more.  Google exploits niche by niche even competing with Amazon’s Alexa service. 

The argument here is that Google wouldn’t be Google without the help of the CIA.  This isn’t our idea it’s a fact, you can read about it here on

Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.  The intelligence community hoped that the nation’s leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

There you have it – Google is the child of the digital revolution of the surveillance state.  Why spy, when you can collect data electronically and analyze with machine learning? 

The new spy is the web bot.

And the investors in Google did well – so that’s the investing story that matters here.  It pays well to have friends in high places, and in dark places.  Of all the investments In-Q-Tel made, almost all of them have done very well.  That doesn’t mean that Palantir is going to grow to the size of Google, but it does provide natural support should a company backed by In-Q-Tel run into problems. 

By the time Facebook came out, digital surveillance was already in the n-th generation of evolution, and they really stepped up their game.  In the creepiest examples, Facebook doesn’t necessarily (and primarily) collect data on Facebook users – it does this too.  But that’s just a given – you don’t need to perform surveillance on someone who gives all their data to the system willingly – you always know where they are and what they are doing at any given moment.  The trick is to get information about those who may try to hide their activities, whether they are real terrorists or just paranoid geniuses. 

How does Facebook do this?  There are literally hundreds of programs running – but in one creepy example, Facebook collects photos that users take to analyze the environment surrounding.  Incidentally, the location data is MUCH MORE accurate than you see on the retail front end.  So you get the newspaper and see a gift in your mailbox for your birthday – you take a photo because the ribbons are hanging out.  What shows up in the background?  All kinds of information.  What the neighbor is doing.  License plate of the car driving by.   Trash waiting to be picked up by the street.  A child’s toy left by the sidewalk.  You get the picture.  Facebook users have been turned into sneaky little digital spies!  While they are walking around with their ‘smartphones’ (should be called ‘dumbphones’) scrolling their walls and snapping photos away – they are taking photos of you too.  That means, Facebook collects data for the CIA about users who don’t have Facebook accounts.  This is the huge secret that the mainstream media doesn’t want to tell you.  Deleting your Facebook account will do nothing – every time you go out in public you are being photographed, video recorded, and more – all going into big data artificial intelligence for analysis.

But here’s the best part.  You own it!  The CIA may have a bad reputation but it is part of the US Government, and thus – profits go back to the Treasury (those which are declared) or at least they are supposed to.  Considering this, why is there a stigma about even talking about In-Q-Tel when in fact we should be more involved in any US Government operation when it is technically owned by the people and funded by taxpayers?  Meaning, do taxpayers have rights to know what goes in in taxpayer funded entities, like In-Q-Tel?  The big difference between In-Q-Tel and the CIA is that In-Q-Tel functions just like any other VC – they disclose most of their investments, they attend conferences, they accept business plans.  You can literally submit your idea to In-Q-Tel and get funding.  Of course, like any VC there’s a very small chance of being funded. 

So what’s an investor’s take on this story?  In-Q-Tel is not Freddie Mac there is nor a quasi-government entity; it’s not an NGO and there is no implicit guarantee that In-Q-Tel’s deals will do any better than Andreessen Horowitz.

However, their deals do very well.  Companies they fund not only have the backing of the CIA explicitly, it’s not only about business – it’s about national security!  Under that guise, it’s no wonder that companies like Google and Facebook rocket to the top.

We are not suggesting that investors double down on In-Q-Tel bets.  We are only suggesting that at a minimum, we follow what they do.  It’s a data point – a good source of information.  And the best part is that it’s public. 

Their most recent investment is in a virtual reality company in Boca Raton, FL called Immersive Wisdom:

Immersive Wisdom® is an enterprise software platform that allows users to collaborate in real-time upon diverse data sets and applications within a temporal and geospatially-aware Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality space. Immersive Wisdom is hardware-agnostic and runs on VR, AR, as well as 2D displays.  Regardless of geographic location, multiple users can be together in a shared virtual workspace, standing on maps, with instant access to relevant information from any available source. Users can simultaneously, and in real time, visualize, fuse, and act upon sensor inputs, cyber/network data, IoT feeds, enterprise applications, telemetry, tagged assets, 3D Models, LiDAR, imagery and UAV footage/streaming video, providing an omniscient, collaborative view of complex environments.  Immersive Wisdom also acts as a natural human interface to multi-dimensional data sets generated by AI and machine learning systems. The platform includes a powerful SDK (Software Developer Kit) that enables the creation of customer-specific workflows as well as rapid integration with existing data sources/applications.

Cool stuff for sure – but it’s in early stages.  Pre IPO Swap suggests real Pre IPO ‘unicorns’ not because of size, but because of the right mix of risk and reward." style="color:#0d2e46; text-decoration:underline">See why we think so in our pitch.

In any analysis, it’s worth watching In-Q-Tel, which is a top source of funding and investment data we watch on">" style="color:#0d2e46; text-decoration:underline">Pre IPO Swap.

To get real-time updates on companies like this, companies that In-Q-Tel invests in -">">follow our blog free.