Saturday, August 24, 2019

1st cyber crime in space, Jupiter, Neptune, SATURN 3, Farrah Fawcett and 'humanoid robot' in space

Let's do a science round up.  And let's start with what is being called "the first crime in outer space." Paula Dedaj (FOX NEWS) reports:

NASA astronaut has been accused of committing the first crime in outer space after her estranged wife alleged she stole her identity and accessed her bank account without permission during a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, from Kansas, has been involved in a bitter divorce with astronaut Anne McClain since 2018 but the battle heated up after Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and NASA’s Office of Inspector General accusing her wife of assuming her identity and gaining improper access to her private financial records while orbiting the earth, the New York Times reported.
 Worden told the Times that she was tipped off when McClain somehow had knowledge about her private spending while on a mission with no way to know otherwise.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain told investigators she had accessed the bank account of her spouse while on a six-month mission aboard the ISS in preparation for her role in NASA's anticipated first all-female spacewalk, the Times reported.
McClain's spouse, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, brought a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that McClain had committed identity theft, despite not seeing any indication of moved or spent funds.
Worden's parents then brought another complaint with NASA's Office of Inspector General, alleging that McClain had improperly accessed Worden's private financial records and conducted a "highly calculated and manipulative campaign" to gain custody of Worden's son.
McClain's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the Times that "she strenuously denies that she did anything improper" and "is totally cooperating."

New topic, Jupiter.  We're learning new details about what goes on during a storm on Jupiter. RT reports:

Amazing new photographs give rare insight into what goes on underneath Jupiter’s swirling clouds during its storms. The images reveal how the events are disturbing the planet’s colorful bands.
For the first time ever, radio wave images made it possible for scientists to look deep into the atmospheric conditions below Jupiter’s colorful ammonia clouds after an “energetic eruption” took place 50 kilometers (31 miles) beneath the surface. The eruptions are similar to Earth’s thunderstorms and can include lightning.

Here are some Tweets:

  1. gives up its secrets
  2. Amazing new photographs give rare insight into what goes on underneath Jupiter’s swirling clouds during its storms. The images reveal how the events are disturbing the planet’s colorful bands.
  3. ‘Energetic eruptions’ are similar to ’s thunderstorms and can include lightning
  4. Scientists were able to track the storms inside Jupiter's colorful belts, much like we track them on Earth, and realized the storms create plumes above the ammonia ice clouds. The storms also contained lightning.
  5. Massive storms on Jupiter disrupts planet's colorful bands due to ammonia in the atmosphere.

Georgina Torbet (DIGITAL TRENDS) notes:

When a storm occurs on Jupiter, it causes variations in the atmosphere which affect the bands of brown and white clouds circumnavigating the planet. A storm can be spotted as an eruption of small white clouds called plumes. An eruption occurred in Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt in January 2017, and astronomers wanted to see what happened in the atmosphere afterward. They used ALMA as well as images from ultraviolet and visible light or infrared telescopes to view different wavelengths during the eruption period.
 [. . .]
The majority of Jupiter’s atmosphere consists of hydrogen and helium, but there are also smaller amounts of methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and water. In their investigations, the team found that it was ammonia which was most active during an eruption, being brought up from nearer the surface to higher altitudes. The gas even rises above the ammonia ice which forms the outer layer of the clouds.

So that's Jupiter.  NASA notes there are differences for Neptune.

Neptune, a gas giant planet, is a world of storms, with winds that can be three times faster than Jupiter's and nine times faster than Earth's.

Now did you watch Farrah Fawcett's SATURN 3?  It's a sci-fi classic.  Farrah and two men are on Saturn.  Why?  The earth is overcrowded.  So scientists are shipped to other planets.  One of them is about to leave but gets murdered by Benson (played by Harvey Keitel) who heads to Saturn's third moon where scientist Alex (Farrah) and Adam (Kirk Douglas) live and work.  Benson explains he's there to replace Alex or Adam -- one of them -- with Hector who is a robot.  Not just any robot, his brain is from human tissue extracted from fetuses -- and it's linked to Benson's brain.  This link allows Hector to know that Benson is a murderer and to absorb those tendencies himself.  Even Benson realizes the robot is a problem so they work to remove Hector's brain.  While they argue, Hector is still 'alive' and able to reassemble himself.  He then murders Benson who is attempting to grab Alex and take her back to earth.  After murdering Benson, Hector destroys the spaceship.  Alex and Adam have to hide and try to get a plan together to stay alive.  They end up in the control room.  They see Benson -- only it's not.  It's his head which the robot Hector is now wearing.  Hector then installs a link from his brain to Adam's.  Realizing that he can't share his information with Hector, Adam kills himself and and Hector by exploding a bomb.  Then we see Alex alone on a flight returning to Earth.

I mention the movie because I do like Farrah movies.  I love EXTREMITIES, THE APOSTLE, LOGAN'S RUN, SUNBURN, DR. T AND THE WOMEN, THE BURNING BED, THE SUBSTITUTE WIFE, BETWEEN TWO WOMEN, SMALL SACRIFICES, A MURDER IN TEXAS, DALVA, CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, CHILDREN OF THE DUST, THE RED-LIGHT STING, NAZI HUNTER: THE BEATE KLARSFELD STORY, THE COOKOUT, POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL: THE BARBARA HUTTON STORY, SEE YOU SOMETIME and DOUBLE EXPOSURE: THE STORY OF MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE. She really was under appreciated.  She was able to pull together an impressive body of work and she worked with some first rate actors including Sidney Poitier, Robert Duvall, Beau Bridges, Collen Dewhurst, Jeff Bridges (twice), Richard Gere, Geraldine Page, Kevin McCarthy, Polly Bergen (MURDER ON FLIGHT 502), Jo Anne Worely, Eleanor Parker and Louis Jordan (THE GREAT AMERICAN BEAUTY CONTEST -- and again with Eleanor Parker on SUNBURN), Peter Weller, Keith Carradine, Jean Stapleton, Penelope Milford, Cicely Tyson (JEWEL), Ida Lupino (CHARLIE'S ANGELS), Kim Basinger (CA), Tom Selleck (MYRA BRECKENRIDGE and CA), Fernando Lamas (twice), Lois Smith, Sally Field (2 episodes of THE FLYING NUN and one of THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA), Queen Latifah, Raquel Welch, Tammy Grimes, Michael York, Art Carney, Joan Collins, Alfre Woodard, Theodore Bikel (twice), Burt Reynolds (THE CANNONBALL RUN), Louis Gossett Jr., Charles Grodin and, of course, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson (CA).  It's quite a career.

But I also mention SATURN 3 because a "humanoid robot" is in space.  Jackie Wattles (CNN) reports:

A Russian spacecraft vaulted into Earth's orbit this week with a lone passenger: A life-sized, artificially intelligent, humanoid robot by the name of Fedor.

Footage of the spacecraft's interior shows Fedor crouched in place, clutching a Russian flag in its right hand. Its cramped ride will end this weekend when the capsule links up with the International Space Station where Fedor will join the six astronauts — two Russians, three Americans and one Italian — on board the massive orbiting laboratory.
Fedor, also known as Skybot F-850, is scheduled to spend two weeks running tests on board the station with Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin before returning home the first week of September. The activities Fedor will undertake at the station are a tightly held secret, at least for now, according to Russian media reports.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, August 23, 2019.  The US confirms that the Israeli government has bombed Iraq, Bernie Sanders presents a plan for workers, and much more.

The Israeli government has once again bombed Iraq.  Monday, they bombed Balad Air Base where the Iraqi militia (Popular Mobilization Forces -- Shi'ite forces linked to Iran) have stored weapons.  The Iraqi militias -- linked to Iran or not -- are part of the Iraqi government forces.  The previous prime minister, Hayder al-Abadi, oversaw that incorporation.   This was at least the fourth bombing the government of Israel has carried out on Iraq..

Israeli media first began reporting about this at the end of June.  Dropping back to the July 30th Iraq snapshot:

How is this not an act of war?

Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning.
Israel commonly conducts strikes in Syrian territory, targeting Iranian missile shipments meant for Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to use against the Jewish state, but strikes in Iraq by Israel have not been reported since the 1981 bombing of a nuclear reactor.

That's from Michael Bachner's report for THE TIMES OF ISRAEL.

Repeating: How is this not an act of war? 

What if it was the US that was bombed?

Let's use Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an example because on his visit to the US he had his goons attack peaceful protesters -- and by the way, Barack Obama was president and refused to condemn that publicly.  But Recep decides peaceful protesters are terrorists so he decides to send Turkish war planes over Baltimore to bomb the city.

We would rightly see that as an act of war.

How is this any different?

It's not any different.  And now Lolita Baldor and Josef Federman (ASSOCIATED PRESS) report, "Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq l[a]st month, U.S. officials have confirmed, an attack that would mark a significant escalation in Israel's years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region."  AL JAZEERA adds:

Earlier this week, the deputy head of the Iraqi Shia militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, openly accused Israeli drones of carrying out the attacks, but ultimately blamed Washington and threatened strong retaliation for any future attack.
Such attacks are potentially destabilising for Iraq and its fragile government, which has struggled to remain neutral amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran.
Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Baghdad during the latest round of air raids, said Iranian-backed armed groups have been operating in Iraq with the full support of the government since 2014, when they joined the fight against ISIL.

"A new law that came into effect on July 31 requires all paramilitary groups to report to the Iraqi security forces, or put down their weapons," Ghoneim reported.

Alissa J. Rubin and Ronnie Bergen (NEW YORK TIMES) explain:

The Israeli move also holds potential hazards for the United States, whose troops remain in Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State. Because the United States is a close Israeli ally, Iraqis are quick to blame it for allowing the Israelis to carry out attacks in Iraq.
A senior American official said that Israel was pushing the limits with the strikes in Iraq. Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss delicate diplomatic matters, the official said the airstrikes could get the United States military removed from Iraq.

As the US has confirmed what was already out there, many are now issuing statements -- including former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.

Senior US officials told that Israel has carried out “several strikes in recent days”,the most recent of which took place on Monday,north of Baghdad. Former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki is warned of a"strong response" if it is proven that Israel was behind recent airstrikes.
Former Iraq PM warns of 'strong response' if Israel proven responsible for strikes: Nouri al-Maliki's comments come hours after U.S. officials confirm to NYT that Israel was responsible for bombing of Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month Haaretz

Nouri was prime minister from 2006 to 2010.  AP notes:

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is warning of a “strong response” if it is proven that Israel was behind recent airstrikes in Iraq.

In statements issued by his office on Friday, he also said that if Israel continues to target Iraq, the country “will transform into a battle arena that drags in multiple countries, including Iran.”

Nuri al-Maliki: with the help of Iran, will strongly respond if Israel is behind attacks on Hashd al-Shaabi HQs.

These attacks that the Israeli government has carried out are acts of war.  The militias -- linked to Iran or not -- are part of the Iraqi forces.  Attacking them is attacking Iraq.  These are acts of war and the Israeli government should be called out for their actions.
You can be sure that Nouri and others will begin to call out the current prime minister for the attacks and his lack of response to them.  Adil Abdul-Mahdi is already facing criticism for his inability to improve the lives of the Iraqi people or to end corruption -- he promised to end corruption.  RUDAW reports:

 Iraqi parliament’s Sayirun alliance, headed by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has upped its criticism of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi for what it says is his failure to live up to the promises of improved services to Iraqis that it made upon appointment.

Frequent powercuts and an unclean, infrequent water supply have been a source of perennial discontent among Iraqis nationwide. Abdul-Mahdi has signed a series of redevelopment projects with multinational companies to repair the country’s electricity grid and sanitation system that have been ailing for decades, but Sayirun members say efforts have been to little avail.

“After a year of Abdul-Mahdi being in office, now is the time to look again at the government manifesto and work on it diligently,” Abbas Ileiwi, member of the Sayirun alliance, which is the Sadr-dominated bloc in Iraqi parliament, told Rudaw on Sunday.

Abdul-Mahdi’s administration has come up short in meeting the needs of the Iraqi people “who lack the simplest of the essential services,” added Ileiwi.
We'll note this Tweet.
New on MoA: U.S. Says Israel Bombed Iraq

Golly gee, we were covering this story on July 30th.  What was MOON OF ALABAMA doing?
Oh, that's right.  Showing up two days later to insist that "No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets in Iraq."
Well welcome to the party, MOON OF ALABAMA.  Foods all gone but the bar's still open so have a drink or two while you try to catch up to reality.  
In the US, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  Barry Eidlin (JACOBIN) notes:

Bernie Sanders unveiled his Workplace Democracy Plan (WDP) yesterday. The plan is based in a deep and sophisticated understanding of the fundamental problems facing workers today; it is the most serious, comprehensive, and equitable plan for promoting workers’ rights ever proposed by a major US presidential candidate.
Just as he did with Medicare for All, Sanders’s WDP will now set the terms of the debate around workers’ rights in the Democratic presidential primary. Whether they support or oppose the WDP, all the other candidates will have to respond to it.
The plan is a comprehensive effort to reorient labor policy around the idea that these policies exist to actively promote workers’ rights, as opposed to setting up the state as an ostensibly “neutral” arbiter to balance labor and management’s competing interests. It recognizes and seeks to redress the inherent power imbalance between workers and their employers, an imbalance that derives from the simple fact that an individual worker’s need to stay employed is greater than an employer’s need to keep that worker employed.
That’s why the WDP removes barriers to workers’ ability to join together in unions by implementing a “majority sign-up” process, whereby workers unionize when a majority in a workplace says they want a union by signing authorization cards. It recognizes that the decision to unionize is one that workers should make among themselves — without outside interference from employers, as the current union recognition system allows for.
That’s also why it restricts employers’ ability to force workers to attend anti-union meetings, requires employers to disclose when they use anti-union consultants, and guarantees union organizers equal time in the workplace to talk with workers. Once workers have unionized, it also requires employers to negotiate a first contract or face binding arbitration. Additionally, it extends union rights to all public sector workers, and finally removes the arbitrary and racist exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers from labor law protections.
The WDP recognizes that workers’ rights can only be exercised and enforced collectively. Too often, employers and courts have used a warped interpretation of individual rights to undermine workers’ collective rights. Nowhere is this more apparent than with “right-to-work” laws, which use the pretext of protecting individual workers’ right not to join a union to erode union solidarity. They do so by allowing individuals in unionized workplaces to avoid paying the costs associated with negotiating and enforcing the contracts from which they benefit. The WDP would close that loophole by banning right-to-work laws.

The WDP also promotes workers’ ability to exercise their collective rights by enforcing and expanding the right to strike. Sanders recognizes that this is “a worker’s line of defense.” It’s “the means that you have to tell your employer, ‘Hey, we’re serious.’” To that end, it bans employers from using permanent replacements (“scabs”) when workers go on strike, expands the right to strike to public-sector workers, and allows for “secondary boycotts,” where workers pressure their employer by taking action against economically linked companies.
Lastly, billionaire conservative activist David Koch has died.  It's said that somewhere in hell he's trying to buy his way into heaven but is being stymied by heaven's refusal to be bought -- angels, unlike politicians, apparently cannot be bought.

The following sites updated: