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+ - Terrorism expert on the incomplete investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Terrorism expert Charles Blair's article is in time for the April 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Blair examines the evidence and concludes that '...turf battles among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Secret Service, and local law-enforcement' were a big part of the failure to intercept the plot by Timothy McVeigh and others to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In addition, these same turf battles led to the derailment of the post-blast investigation. Blair examines evidence that shows the plot may have originated, or at least been supported by, a Christian Identity commune 150 miles from Oklahoma City. Information obtained 'from a confidential informant only a few months before the bombing made plain that the Murrah building likely was being targeted, 'but this information was largely ignored. Blair makes the case that domestic terror attacks from the far right are still a very real possibility, something we especially should be concerned about as the anniversary of the bombing approaches: 'To them, April 19 is a hallowed date reflecting the oppressive forces of the New World Order, 'when the forces of darkness attacked the forces of light.'"
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+ - Killer Robots in Plato's Cave->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Mark Gubrud writes about the fuzzy definitions used to differentiate autonomous lethal weapons from those classified as semi-autonomous: 'After all, if the only criterion is that a human nominates the target, then even The Terminator...might qualify as semi-autonomous.' Gubrud wants a ban against autonomous hunter-killer weapons like the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and the canceled Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System, and vague definitions surrounding autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons will allow weapons that should be classified as autonomous but aren't. Existing definitions draw a 'distinction without a difference' and 'will not hold against the advance of technology.' Gubrud prefers a definition that reduces autonomy to a simple operational fact, an approach he calls 'autonomy without mystery.' In the end, Gubrud writes, 'Where one draws the line is less important than that it is drawn somewhere. If the international community can agree on this, then the remaining details become a matter of common interest and old-fashioned horse trading.'"
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+ - The myth of going off the grid->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Dawn Stover uses Elon Musk's announcement that Tesla will soon be unveiling plans for a battery that could power your home as a starting point to explore the idea that "going off the grid" is going to solve climate change. 'The kind of in-house energy storage he is proposing could help make renewables a bigger part of the global supply. But headlines announcing that a Tesla battery “could take your home off the grid” spread misconceptions about what it takes to be self-sufficient—and stop global warming.' Stover worries that shifting responsibility for solutions to climate change from governments to individuals creates an 'every-man-for-himself' culture that actually works against energy solutions and does little to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, 'smart grid' technology would be much more efficient: 'With a smarter grid, excess electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines could be distributed to a network of on-the-grid home and car batteries. Some utilities have also experimented with using home water heaters as an economical substitute for batteries:' Good points about the economic and climate consequences of going off-grid."
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+ - The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "The biggest extinction event in planetary history was driven by the rapid acidification of our oceans, a new study concludes. So much carbon was released into the atmosphere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quickly, that marine life simply died off, from the bottom of the food chain up. That doesn’t bode well for the present, given the similarly disturbing rate that our seas are acidifying right now."

+ - U.S Pens $200 Million Deal for Massive Nuclear Security Focused Supercomputer->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "For the first time in over twenty years of supercomputing history, a chipmaker has been awarded the contract to build a leading-edge national computing resource. This machine, expected to reach a peak performance of 180 petaflops, will provide massive compute power to Argonne National Laboratory, which will receive the HPC gear in 2018.
Supercomputer maker, Cray, which itself has had a remarkable couple of years contract-wise in government and commercial spheres, will be the integrator and manufacturer of the “Aurora” super. This machine will be a next-generation variant of its “Shasta” supercomputer line.
The new $200 million supercomputer is set to be installed at Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility in 2018, rounding out a trio of systems aimed at bolstering nuclear security initiatives as well as pushing the performance of key technical computing applications valued by the Department of Energy and other agencies."

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+ - Nuclear Energy: Is plutonium reprocessing poised for growth, or on death's door?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "What looks to be a very thorough debate on whether plutonium processing is a viable option for nuclear energy is taking shape at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Some observers believe that plutonium reprocessing is on the verge of an expansion, while others argue that the end of the practice is in sight. The risk of nuclear proliferation has always been the chief objection to reprocessing, but proponents argue that today, with uranium enrichment technology more easily available, reprocessing no longer represents an efficient route toward nuclear weapons. Supporters also tout the energy security that reprocessing could provide to nations without indigenous uranium sources and the reductions in high-level nuclear waste that reprocessing might achieve. Taking into account issues ranging from proliferation to nuclear waste to cost, how should nations approach plutonium reprocessing?"
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+ - Details: Why the framework nuclear agreement with Iran is good for both sides->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Ariane Tabatabai breaks down the details of the framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 that was announced Thursday. It appears to be better than most analysts expected, with positive outcomes for both sides. It truly seems historic: 'A number of these steps will, in effect, be irreversible. They will not just limit Iran’s nuclear capability for 10 to 15 years, but will reshape it entirely and indefinitely.'"
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+ - How nuclear weapon modernization makes it more likely that nukes will be used-> 2

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "John Mecklin has an astonishingly good piece detailing exactly how nuclear weapons modernization is kick-starting a new arms race, and how modernizing these weapons to make them more accurate and stealthy puts the world at even greater risk of nuclear war: 'Their very accuracy increases the temptation to use them.' The issue is not getting very much attention, but the patience of the non-nuclear states is wearing thin, and a breakthrough in public awareness may be on the horizon: 'The disarmament debate is likely to make this spring’s NPT conference a contentious one and just might be loud enough to make the public aware that a new type of nuclear arms race is unfolding around the world.' If you read nothing else on nuclear weapons, read this."
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+ - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists introduces the Doomsday Dashboard->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "You probably know the hand on the Doomsday Clock now rests at 3 minutes to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has launched a pretty cool little interactive Dashboard that lets you see data that the Bulletin's Science and Security Board considers when making the decision on the Clock's time each year. There are interactive graphs that show global nuclear arsenals, nuclear material security breaches, and how much weapons-grade plutonium and uranium is stored (and where). The climate change section features graphs of global sea level rise over time, Arctic sea ice minimums. atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and differences in global temperature. There's also a section for research on biosecurity and emerging technologies. A fun little interactive feature."
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+ - Don't let fears of a "bad" nuclear deal with Iran kill a good one->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Ariane Tabatabai has been in Lausanne for the Iran Talks and posts a column that wonders what critics of a deal with Iran mean when they talk about the US accepting a "bad" deal: 'They accuse the White House of pursuing a “bad deal,” but have little concrete to say about what they find problematic with the agreement under discussion.' Good overview of what is known so far about the proposed agreement and what it all means."
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+ - Top-secret U.S. replica of Iran nuclear sites key to weapons deal->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Paul Richter at the LA Times has a very cool article describing replicas of Iran's nuclear facilities that the US operates in order to study what Iran's technical capabilities are. 'Using centrifuges acquired when Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2003, as well as American-built equipment, the government has spent millions of dollars over more than a decade to build replicas of the enrichment facilities that are the pride of Iran's nuclear program.' Fascinating stuff."
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+ - US Asks Vietnam To Stop Russian Bomber Refueling Flights From Cam Ranh Air Base 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Reuters reports that the United States has asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use its former US base at Cam Ranh Bay to refuel nuclear-capable bombers engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region. General Vincent Brooks, commander of the U.S. Army in the Pacific, says the Russian bombers have conducted "provocative" flights, including around the U.S. Pacific Ocean territory of Guam, home to a major American air base. Brooks said the planes that circled Guam were refueled by Russian tankers flying from the strategic bay, which was transformed by the Americans during the Vietnam War into a massive air and naval base. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the airport at Cam Ranh was first used for staging Il-78 tankers for aerial refueling of Tu-95MS bombers in January 2014. Asked about the Russian flights in the region, the State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington respected Hanoi's right to enter agreements with other countries but added that "we have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region."

Cam Ranh is considered the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia. North Vietnamese forces captured Cam Ranh Bay and all of its remaining facilities in 1975. Vietnam’s dependence on Russia as the main source of military platforms, equipment, and armaments, has now put Hanoi in a difficult spot. Russia has pressed for special access to Cam Ranh Bay ever since it began delivering enhanced Kilo-class submarines to Vietnam. "Hanoi is invariably cautious and risk adverse in its relations with the major powers," says Carl Thayer. "The current issue of Russian tankers staging out of Cam Ranh pits Russia and China on one side and the United States on the other. There is no easy solution for Vietnam.""

+ - Here's what will happen if Putin actually dies Read more: http://tomnichols.net->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Nichols, a Russia expert at the Naval War College, covers the wild rumors about Vladimir Putin's strange disappearance over the last week. A terrific read: 'Is Vladimir Putin dead? Who knows? What’s clear is that something has been going on in Moscow for at least a week, and whatever it is, the Kremlin prefers that it remain a secret. Russian reporters — a vastly more intrepid and courageous group than their colleagues in most countries — have been razzing Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov by alluding to Boris Yeltsin’s famous disappearances, and Peskov, usually an able front man, seems a bit wrong-footed at the moment.'"
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+ - How about some humor to go with your Iran negotiations?-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "In a worldwide news exclusive, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists can report that Iranian nuclear negotiators have shocked their American counterparts by announcing—after months of haggling over the minutiae of uranium enrichment—a 180-degree change in their negotiating position...'"We have thrown in the towel. All the Americans have to do is follow a treaty they helped write back in the Beatles era. It should be simple."'"
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