Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
August 30, 2007
Iraqis Have Missed Most Of Congress' Goals, GAO Says
Report Says 13 Of 18 Benchmarks Unfulfilled
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Congressional auditors have determined that the Iraqis have failed to meet the majority of political and military goals laid out by lawmakers to assess President Bush's Iraq war strategy.
The Government Accountability Office will report that at least 13 of the 18 benchmarks to measure the effect of the U.S. troop increase in Iraq are unfulfilled. It comes ahead of a Sept. 15 deadline for Bush to report on the situation eight months after he announced the plan, three officials familiar with the matter said.
The officials, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public, also said the administration is preparing a case to argue that Congress ordered the GAO to use unfair, "all or nothing" standards when compiling the document.
The GAO is to give a classified briefing about its findings to lawmakers today. It is not clear when its unclassified report will be released, but it is due Sept. 1 amid a series of assessments called for in January legislation that authorized Bush's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Iraq. There are now more than 160,000 troops in Iraq.
Among those Bush will hear from are the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus; and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker.
"While we've seen progress in some areas, it would not surprise me that the GAO would make this assessment given the difficult congressionally mandated measurement they had to follow," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council.
The GAO is expected to find that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has met only modest security goals for Baghdad.
The White House declined to comment on the specific findings of the GAO report.
An internal White House memo says the report will claim the Iraqis have failed on at least 13 benchmarks. It says the criteria lawmakers set for the report allow no room to report progress, only absolute success or failure. The memo argues that the GAO will not give a "true picture" of the situation because the standards were "designed to lock in failure," according to portions of the document read to the AP by an official who has seen it.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Geoff Morrell previewed the administration's response. "The standard the GAO has set is far more stringent," he said. "Some might argue it's impossible to meet."
Sunday, August 26, 2007
since our last National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in January 2007. The steep
escalation of rates of violence has been checked for now, and overall attack levels across Iraq have fallen during seven of the last nine weeks. Coalition forces, working with Iraqi forces, tribal elements, and some Sunni insurgents, have reduced al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s (AQI) capabilities, restricted its freedom of movement, and denied it grassroots support in some areas.
However, the level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high; Iraq’s sectarian groups remain unreconciled; AQI retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks; and to date, Iraqi political leaders remain unable to govern effectively. There have been modest improvements in economic output, budget execution, and government finances but fundamental structural problems continue to prevent sustained progress in economic growth and living conditions.
Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military."
I can only hope that we do draw down and then spend some of the money we are wasting on Iraq on science, R&D and education in America.
NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends of the galaxy's strong galactic bar. NGC 1672 is a prototypical barred spiral galaxy and differs from normal spiral galaxies in that the spiral arms do not twist all the way into the centre. Instead, they are attached to the two ends of a straight bar of stars enclosing the nucleus.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
General Science Magazines:
21st Century Science and Technology Magazine challenges the assumptions of modern scientific dogma, including quantum mechanics, relativity theory, biological reductionism, and the formalization and separation of mathematics from physics.
American Scientist Features reviews of current research written by prominent scientists and engineers.
Citizen Scientist Online magazine published by the Society for Amateur Scientists. Features news, ideas, and techniques from the amateur scientist community.
Cosmos Australian magazine that treats science as natural part of culture, covering it from many angles: art, design, travel, interviews, humour, history and opinion.
Discover Magazine Explores all areas of science from archeology to ecology, technology to medicine, and astronomy to physics.
front wheel drive Brings intelligent reporting to emerging sciences such as artificial intelligence, memetics, media theory, chaos theory and the like.
Geotimes News magazine for the earth and environmental sciences published by the American Geological Institute.
Issues in Science and Technology Forum for discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine.
Natural History Mgazine of science, nature, and culture. Web site includes selections from the current issue, editors' Picks from the Past, and information for subscribers.
Nature Publisher of many science magazines and journals.
New Scientist Provides daily science and technology news from around the world. Regular sections include interviews with high-profile personalities, essays, book reviews and bestseller lists.
Popular Science Covers the latest developments in electronics, communications, cars, tools, aviation, space exploration, science, energy, photography and technology.
SciDev.net Reports on science and technology with particular relevance to sustainable development and the needs of developing countries.
Science Daily Online magazine covering the latest discoveries in science and technology. Also offers free search of its archive of more than 30,000 stories, as well as related links, books, encyclopedia articles, and jobs, in hundreds of different topics.
Science Magazine Provides the full text of the journal's news stories, research reports, and commentary articles in a searchable database, enhanced by additional information, links, multimedia, and user services.
Science News Weekly news magazine covering the most important research in all fields of science.
Scientific American Comprehensive science and technology coverage, including science trivia and games.
Seed International science and culture magazine. Each issue looks at big ideas in science, important issues at the intersection of science and society, and the people driving global science culture.
Skeptic Covers a wide variety of social, scientific, and pseudoscientific controversies by top experts in the field.
Smithsonian Magazine Explores lifestyles, cultures, people, technology, music and Americana for educated readership. Published by the Smithsonian Institution, this magazine also includes photo essays and in-depth articles highlighting current Smithsonian museum exhibits.
World SciencebbNews site aimed at timely reporting of global science developments not always covered in the general media.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
16 Aug 2007, 0010 hrs IST,PTI
WASHINGTON: Close on the heels of a US intelligence report of a resurgence of Taliban in Pakistan's border areas, newly declassified documents reveal that Islamabad was directly involved in funding, arming and advising the militant group.
The National Security Archives of the George Washington University has published details of American concerns over Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban during the seven-year period leading up to the 9/11 attacks.
The revelation comes just days after Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that there is 'no doubt' Afghan militants are supported from Pakistani soil.
"While Musharraf admitted the Taliban were being sheltered in the lawless frontier border regions, the declassified US documents released on Wednesday clearly illustrate that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Islamabad itself," the National Security Archives said.
The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also detailed US concerns about Pakistani troops training and fighting alongside the Taliban inside Afghanistan.
"The records represent the most complete and comprehensive collection of declassified documentation to date on Pakistan's aid programmes to the Taliban, illustrating Islamabad's firm commitment to a Taliban victory in Afghanistan," the Archives said.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By REBECCA TORR
BAHRAINI astronomers are backing a call for the creation of an Arab space agency to involve the region in the industry and assist Arab scientists to research and promote exploration.
The issue will be discussed at an international forum on astronomy to be held in Alexandria, Egypt, in October.
Arab Union on Astronomy and Space Science vice-president Dr Shawqi Al Dallal from Bahrain, its president Dr Hamid Al Naimiy, and colleagues from other Arab countries will provide a document to the Arab League regarding the establishment of an Arab Space Agency.
"We have to convince the Arab League to discuss this matter," Dr Al Dallal told the GDN.
"Our role is to convince people to meet and discuss this matter.
"The agency can promote telecommunications, satellites, participation in space missions, get involved in the application of space science and participate in protocols with other countries.
"It's basically an opportunity for more active participation in the space science research and space missions."
Dr Al Dallal, who heads the Bahrain Astronomical Society, said he was also preparing to participate in the First International Forum for the Young and Amateurs in Astronomy and Space Science.
The event is organised by the Arab Union on Astronomy and Space Science in Latakia, Syria, from August 25 to 30.
He said the society would then be preparing a programme for Ramadan, which includes stargazing and lectures.
Its next event is a lecture on Black Holes and Gateways to Unknown Universes, which will be presented at the Youth Innovation Centre, Umm Al Hassam, today.
Dr Al Dallal will deliver the talk, which will be followed by an opportunity to observe planets through a telescope.
If the declaration is imposed, it would be the first time that the United States has placed the armed forces of any sovereign government on its list of terrorist organizations, the newspaper reported.
The U.S. government has long considered Iran an active state sponsor of terrorism. Singling out the guard would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration's approach to Iran, the newspaper said.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The home of Kuwait's main archaeological site, Failaka is definitely worth a visit, though it requires a bit of extra caution. The Iraqis turned Failaka into a heavily fortified base and filled the area with mines. Failaka's history goes back to the Bronze Age Dilmun civilisation, which was centred in Bahrain. The Greeks arrived in the 4th century BC in the form of a garrison sent by Nearchus, one of Alexander the Great's admirals. A small settlement existed on the island prior to this, but it was as the Greek town of Ikaros that the settlement became a real city. The Greeks lived on Failaka for two centuries. The centrepiece of the island is its temple. Failaka is about 20km (12mi) north-east of Kuwait City's centre and well served by ferries, which depart daily from Arabian Gulf St just south of the city centre.
Al-Jahra, 32km (20mi) west of Kuwait City, is where invading troops from Saudi Arabia were defeated (with British help) in 1920. The town's only conventional site is the Red Fort, a low rectangular mud structure near the highway, that played a key role in the 1920 battle. Al-Jahra is also the site of the Gulf War's infamous 'turkey shoot' - the Allied destruction of a stalled Iraqi convoy as it attempted to retreat from Kuwait.
On an arm of land jutting out into Kuwait Bay, Doha Village is the site of several small dhow-building yards and a fishing village of squalid shacks. Buses from Kuwait City make the trip to Doha, 20km (12mi) to the north-west.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
For Release: August 6, 2007
Four galaxies are slamming into each other and kicking up billions of stars in one of the largest cosmic smash-ups ever observed.
The clashing galaxies, spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will eventually merge into a single, behemoth galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way. This rare sighting provides an unprecedented look at how the most massive galaxies in the universe form.
"Most of the galaxy mergers we already knew about are like compact cars crashing together," said Kenneth Rines of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "What we have here is like four sand trucks smashing together, flinging sand everywhere." Rines is lead author of a new paper accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Collisions, or mergers, between galaxies are common in the universe. Gravity causes some galaxies that are close together to tangle and ultimately unite over a period of millions of years. Though stars in merging galaxies are tossed around like sand, they have a lot of space between them and survive the ride. Our Milky Way galaxy will team up with the Andromeda galaxy in five billion years.
Kind of reminds me of Iraq + Afghanistan + Al Qaeda + USA
Monday, August 06, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
You should care about what this report says because the economic well being of the USA is tied to our ability to deliver new technologies.