When are economic sanctions not sanctions at all?

RussianTrampolineI came across this news story today in which a Russian space official suggests the US consider using trampolines to get astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. It’s all about economic sanctions applied to Russia over its annexation of Crimea and other meddling in Ukraine. The Russian space agency, you see, has been hard hit by the cancellation of at least five launches. Except according to my friends in the space biz Russia hasn’t been hurt at all.

Space customers pay in advance, way in advance. All five cancelled NASA launches were paid for long ago and the same for a number of now-delayed private launches. They may go ahead or not, […]

RSA takes one for the team, but which team?

RSA_EMCEdward Snowden says (according to Reuters) that RSA Security accepted $10 million from the National Security Agency in exchange for installing (or allowing to have installed) a secret backdoor so the NSA could decrypt messages as it pleased. Hell no says RSA (a division of storage vendor EMC), stating in very strong terms that this was not at all the case. But then in a second day look at the RSA/EMC statement bloggers began to see the company as dissembling, their firm defense as really more of a non-denial denial. So what’s the truth here and what’s the lesson?

For the truth I reached deep into the bowels of elliptic […]

Abe fiddles while Fukushima leaks

fukushimatanksIn the middle of a pissing match between the President and Congressional leadership it’s good to remember that the United States isn’t the only government that seems to have lost touch with reality. I was reminded of that today when I read this story about the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Now here’s a government that is truly paralyzed!

The story from Japan Times, if you choose to read it, says Japanese Prime Minister Abe is reaching out to foreign experts in an attempt to deal with the problem of radioactive cooling water that is accumulating in hundreds of makeshift tanks that are now beginning to leak. “We […]

Edward Snowden is trying to be Daniel Ellsberg on Twitter

snowdenscreensWhat are the differences between Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, and Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers back in 1971? Not much, really, but the distinctions that do exist are key:

  1. 1.  Ellsberg, a true product of the establishment he was undermining, had the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously releasing in its entirety all that he had to share, while Snowden is dribbling his news through The Guardian and the Post, with neither paper taking much of a legal or ethical stand behind him, much less printing verbatim thousands of pages of classified material as happened with the Ellsberg case in the early 70s. If Snowden is the Ellsberg of this century, […]

Snowden and the NSA reflect a millennial climate change

mt_snowdonSnowdon (not Snowden) is the name of the tallest mountain in Wales and while by Swiss or Colorado standards it may not seem like much the weather on Snowdon is unpredictable and has taken many lives. I climbed Snowdon as a schoolboy with my class and that day on the mountain another school group was lost in a blizzard and some boys died. This is what first came to mind when I heard about National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaking documents and fleeing to Hong Kong. Like his namesake mountain, this Snowden is trouble for those who are overconfident or unwary.

I’ve written about this general topic many times over the years and doing a […]