Link to story: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2009256
Interesting moments are as follows. There are three projects for which software has been requested. One is for "researching the methods of intelligence in Internet centers and regional segments of social networks", another is for "researching the unofficial methods of management on the Internet", and finally work on "methods for advancing special information in social networks". So essentially, it's figuring out how to make certain information popular on social networks, and figuring out the dynamics and largely emergent social structures within these networks. These are designed to work together, ultimately with the bots capable of "massive dissemination of information in specified social networks using existing user accounts, with the goal of forming the public opinion".
Given that the SVR is behind this, it's likely that the intent, at least originally, is to use this abroad, not within Russia. The article says so and quotes a source saying ex-USSR countries would be the first target. That bit certainly looks realistic given the geopolitical situation there, with Russia essentially being in a state of low-key information warfare versus some former Soviet states.
Yep, on that note.
Being born in the USSR and growing up in ex-USSR, and being exposed to US-centric culture through the Internet, I've seen a fair amount of both. And it saddens me to see how Yuri Gagarin is mostly hailed as a Soviet/Russian hero and achievement, with Neil Armstrong being hailed as an American hero. Space travel is the single most spectacular thing achieved by mankind. Gagarin and Armstrong, as the first to fly in space and to walk on another celestial body, are heroes for all of humanity and should be remembered as such. What they did was - figuratively and literally - above countries and national borders. And the next person to join their league will be whoever first walks on Mars.
With Armstrong's death now, there's a sad feeling of manned space exploration being essentially over. I'm not alone among the geeky population to be fascinated and captivated by space travel, but I've recognized for a while now that the romantic visions are not going to come true anytime soon. 8 years from the first human in space to the first human on the Moon (with space programs that were competing, not cooperating), and nothing for the last 40 years. Just as the development of some areas, computers first and foremost, exceeded everyone's wildest dreams, space travel turned out to be far less impressive. The best we can expect for the next 2-3 decades at least is a Mars landing (largely by a country wanting to signal its might), and a small research outpost on the Moon.
So that's going on a rant, but Armstrong's death is sad in more ways than one.
I have a Sony reader and find that e-ink is far superior for books. A tablet has the same screen as the computer does. I've never liked reading large amount of text from the screen. A tablet display feels like a computer screen, an e-ink display feels like a book.
I would definitely recommend an e-reader for anything except technical literature. If you have PDFs with equations, flowcharts, illustrations and the like, they should be read on a tablet or proper computer. For fiction, e-ink is far superior.
More recent official statement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London:
"We are deeply shocked by British governmentâ(TM)s threats against the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian Embassy and their suggestion that they may forcibly enter the embassy.
This is a clear breach of international law and the protocols set out in the Vienna Convention.
Throughout out the last 56 days Mr. Julian Assange has been in the Embassy, the Ecuadorian Government has acted honourably in all our attempts to seek a resolution to the situation. This stands in stark contrast to the escalation of the British Government today with their threats to breakdown the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Instead of threatening violence against the Ecuadorian Embassy the British Government should use its energy to find a peaceful resolution to this situation which we are aiming to achieve."
Wikileaks isn't popular in the USA, but summaries of opinion polls say that in Australia 59% support Wikileaks, and in the UK where this is happening, 42% supported the diplomatic cable release and 44% believe the sexual charges are intended to get him extradited to the USA eventually. Those numbers are significant on the PR-meter.
There are a few misconceptions that crop up repeatedly. Keep mind though that IANAL.
The diplomat's vehicle isn't sovereign land of the sending country. In fact, neither is the embassy. The Ecuadorian embassy in the UK is still sovereign land of the UK, however, it is inviolable (Article 22 of the Vienna convention). Same article specifies that the vehicles can not be searched. But it's precisely this status of embassies - as opposed to them being sovereign land of the sending state as it's often believed - is, in my reading, what the UK uses to give itself the right to revoke unilaterally that status, under the act cited in the summary.
If the embassy has diplomatic vehicles parked within the premises and not across the street or elsewhere, Assange can get into one of those vehicles, with a diplomat, and drive somewhere, with the police not having the right to detain him. Problem for him is he'd have to get out at the airport or somewhere.
Another comment I saw repeated several times elsewhere is that Ecuador could grant Assange citizenship and diplomat status, making him immune. This is not so - the receiving nation must explicitly agree to acknowledge each member of the mission. Obviously Assange would never be acknowledged as a diplomat by the UK. From my understanding of international law, even if Assange was to become the President of Ecuador, he would still not be enjoying immunity as that applies on official visits of the head of state.
Anyway, his is getting interesting and rapidly heading somewhere. Ecuador is set to announce its decision on asylum in about 12 hours, the UK might be determined to act before then. If they do not, there might be drama around Assange trying to leave the UK. Unless, of course, he just stays holed up there indefinitely.
Most fitting username for a first post on this.
Truly sad, yet another of the sci-fi greats dying. I've had the pleasure of dining with Harry Harrison a few years ago, and in person he was every bit as funny as his works. Impressive how his very strong moral convictions come through in his books.
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.