Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Canada and Stephen Harper bark unusually loud against Russia

Does anyone care what Canada says or thinks on the world stage? Probably no one. Maybe not even the Canadians themselves. Hence it seems both strange and amusing when from time to time Canada/Harper shout loudly against Russia and Vladimir Putin, as if trying to catch the attention of the world's public and politicians, and as if trying to make themselves feel important and relevant, and perhaps, as if acting on the order of their masters - the US - which wants to carefully "spread out" the rhetoric against Putin/Russia so as to make it look like there is a broad coalition/consensus against Putin/Russia rather than a lone, loud voice of America. America knows all too well that Canadian politicians will be more than happy to receive this two minutes of fame granted by their masters, and thus by making the Canadians do some of the rhetoric, America is able to preserve some of its own diplomatic/political capital.
  • A related post by me on FB, Dec'13 [link 1] [link 2]
  • A related post by me on FB, Oct'14 [link 1] [link 2]
  • Canada Imposes More Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine, Feb'15 [link]
  • Canada's Harper Warns Russia That G-7 Prepared to Continue Sanctions, Mar'14 [link]
  • Canada warns Russia it won't rejoin G7 with Putin in power, Jun'15 [link]
  • Canada expands anti-Russian sanctions, calls for ‘real peace’ in Ukraine, Jun'15 [link]

Monday, October 26, 2015

Geotagged photos make revenge porn much more potent, by revealing the precise location of victims

Almost every photo clicked today - whether using a camera, a feature phone or a smartphone - is geotagged. Most likely almost everyone shares these geotagged photos [whether directly using, for example, email, or otherwise using social networking services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.] without knowing or caring about the geolocation information present in these photos. It can be said with supreme confidence that services such as Facebook devour this information hungrily, attempting to serve both content and advertisements that are ever more "relevant" to the user [raising the odds of him spending money and/or ceding control of himself to Facebook/US government, bit by bit].

Geotagged photos will also significantly increase privacy invasions for revenge porn victims [primarily young females], since photos distributed/leaked with geolocation information intact inside will allow precise tracking of these victims.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Facebook photos, posts, etc., can play an important role in income tax investigations

As an example, people merrily post photos, videos, etc., of their foreign and domestic trips on social platforms such as Facebook. Government agencies such as the one tasked with investigating proper income tax payment can obtain valuable information from the stuff posted by people on these social networking websites. For example, if someone has posted a hundred photos of his 21-day trip to South America on FB, but hasn't declared/disclosed the purchase of international air tickets, foreign currency, etc., then these photos can serve as a conclusive evidence against him.

So it seems that governments can, and perhaps will, start using data uploaded to social networking websites for not only criminal investigations, but also for other, less serious purposes.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

China is being kept/left behind the US because of, among other things, this

China is being held back because of inefficiency and wastage. Look at how much time, money, fuel and other resources are being wasted in such traffic jams. These people could've/should've utilized this time and this money for either work or leisure. However they did nothing in this time. The fuel spent in this jam did no useful work. And so on. This is not development. This is sheer wastage, and it's keeping China back, although it might seem to profit oil companies.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Is it possible to smuggle a small-sized nuclear bomb to the US via a visiting presidential plane?

Just wondering. Could Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example, carry a small-sized nuclear weapon to the US in his presidential Il-96 aircraft, to be secretly handed over to GRU's Spetsnaz assassins covertly operating in the US? I'm not sure if this is possible, but it doesn't seem unfeasible.

Putin could get this done while visiting the US for a UN meeting. He could hand over the package while staying at his hotel.

Update [Dec'15]: Just watched The Peacemaker. Smuggling of an atomic bomb into the US using inviolate diplomatic baggage is also shown in this movie.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

NYT and other MSM outlets have used "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" in a vulgar manner

This so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been a frequently and widely used "source" on Syria by almost every major Western and Western-supported news outlet, including The New York Times. A search on NYT shows that it occurs on no less than 1,715 different pieces of content produced by NYT.

It's a fact that this sophisticated-sounding "Observatory" is run by one man, and even calling this one-man outlet an "organization" is a stretch. Using his information as a primary and key source in hundreds of articles by dozens of major newspapers isn't just irresponsible, it is blatant and malicious propaganda. More so because the major Western newspapers which so frequently quote the SOHR never explain why they trust and use this "source", or how does the SOHR get its information. Western media continues to quote SOHR as if it's a sophisticated and trustworthy source of on-the-ground information on Syria, using sentences such as "...the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in a statement...". What observatory? What reporting? What statement? The SOHR is actually a one-man blog with zero credibility, unless you're trying to fool hundreds of millions in the general public and dozens of governments.

More disturbingly, the NYT and others can sometimes give the reader an illusion that more than one source is reporting the same news, making the reader feel that the information is likely to be correct, whereas in reality all the roots go back to this one-man blog.

What can one decipher and infer from all of this? Only one thing. That the NYT is fully in bed with the CIA, Pentagon, and others, as a powerful media propaganda branch of these institutions.

Update [24-Oct-15, 24-Nov-14]: More SOHR trash here and here.

Update [23-Jan-16]: More SOHR shit here on Reuters. It's all Western propaganda packaged as authentic news.

Update [23-Dec-16]: SOHR called out as an unreliable [and likely biased] one-man outfit.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Netflix is one of those few online video platforms which can challenge Google's YouTube

In order to successfully challenge Google's seemingly-insurmountable YouTube, at least the following three qualities are needed:
  • Massive technology infrastructure to upload, transcode, search and stream user-generated videos.
  • Large user base running into tens of millions, which is interested in watching movies/videos.
  • A popular brand name.
I strongly feel that among the few contenders that seem to have the ability to successfully mount a challenge to YouTube, Netflix has a prominent position. Its technological infrastructure and capabilities cannot be questioned, considering its existing business. Equally importantly, it has a massive, paying customer base, and this customer base can be used to both upload user-generated videos [like YouTube] and to watch these same videos [either supported by ads or included alongside the customer's premium Netflix streaming subscription package].

Update [9-Jun-17]: Amazon [especially], Facebook [especially], and also Microsoft can mount a challenge to YouTube.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Europe already has a great, European-made alternative to Google - it's called Yandex

Much has been made of Europe's desire [and in particular of France] to have its own Web search engine, to [rightfully] reduce the dependence on America's Google and Bing, for cultural, economic and even national security reasons. Barring one product, there aren't decent European alternatives to American search giants. If dirty politics and foreign policy had not come in the way, the quest of Europeans for a European search engine would have [happily] ended long back at the one exception - the great search engine called Yandex.

Yandex, a powerful search engine from the exemplary computer scientists, programmers, mathematicians and researchers at Yandex LLC [the topmost technology company of Russia] is also available in English [apart from some other languages], and brief usage quickly indicates to anyone that it's a very good search engine.

Europe doesn't need Quaero. What Europe needs is more localized versions of Yandex [French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, etc.]. European nations such as France, Germany, etc., could've setup local branches of Yandex, and could've funded these local branches instead of trying to reinvent the wheel from scratch in the very costly game of Web search.

Update [3-Oct-17]: Qwant is wrong when it says that it is the only European search engine.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Tupolev Tu-144 and Concorde could've had military applications too

The two main assets of the Tupolev Tu-144 [world's first supersonic passenger airliner] and Concorde were their supersonic speed, and the capacity to transport 100-140 passengers. It immediately becomes clear that there's a potential military application here, especially since no contemporary military transport place is supersonic. These two birds, if revived, can introduce the ability to transport men and machines of military to distant places at supersonic speeds, something that's unique to these planes at this moment. There's no other way today to rapidly transport 100-140 men of military that's faster than what these two planes provide/provided.

On a second thought, modified versions of these two planes could also have been used as supersonic bombers [for free-fall bombs, carpet bombing]. Modified versions could've been designed such that these could drop free-falling bombs through a door that would open at the bottom of the fuselage. Similarly, it might have been possible to "drop" cruise missiles such as the BrahMos from such modified-for-warfare planes, assuming that the recoil to the airframe during the drop/launch is negligible.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

It's far more easy for Russia to conduct airstrikes in Syria, than it is for US, et al.

The simple reason why it's much more easy for Russia to conduct aerial strikes in Syria, than it is for the West, is that for Russia/Syria, both IS/ISIL/ISIS and the so-called rebels are enemies, whereas the West wants to strike only IS/ISIL/ISIS, and wants to preserve the extremists/terrorists who are opposed to the Syrian President.

As a consequence, the West has to take extreme care when conducting aerial bombing/strikes in Syria. In contrast, Russia, in coordination with the Syrian Arab Army, can strike anywhere where there is armed opposition to the legitimate Syrian government - whether it's from IS/ISIL/ISIS or from the terrorist rebels financed and supported by the West.