As Mini-Me likes to say, “Huh?”
Can anyone offer an explanation for this?
The truth at any cost lowers all other costs
As Mini-Me likes to say, “Huh?”
Can anyone offer an explanation for this?
Note: Political Risk Map and Terrorism Risk Map are hosted on the same website. Use the same login credentials to access both. Click the links below to access:
Value added features of Interactive Risk Map
|Exposure Calculator allows clients to measure their financial exposures against country risk.||Map Analysis allows clients to measure countries against each other over time.|
I just had the pleasure of speaking with my new colleague Jakob Rogstadius from Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (Madeira-TTI). Jakob is working on CrisisTracker, a very interesting platform designed to facilitate collaborative social media analysis for disaster response. The rationale for CrisisTracker is the same one behind Ushahidi’s SwiftRiver project and could be hugely helpful for crisis mapping projects carried out by the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF).
One of the principal Research and Development (R&D) projects I’m spearheading with colleagues at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) has been getting a great response from several key contacts at the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In fact, their input has been instrumental in laying the foundations for our early R&D efforts. I therefore highlighted the initiative during my recent talk at the UN’s ECOSOC panel in New York, which was moderated by OCHA Under-Secretary General Valerie Amos. The response there was also very positive. So what’s the idea? To develop the foundations for a Twitter Dashboard for the Humanitarian Cluster System.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was the result of “man-made” failures before and after last year’s earthquake, according to a report from an independent parliamentary investigation.
The breakdowns involved regulators working with the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to avoid implementing safety measures as well as a government lacking commitment to protect the public, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission said in the report.
The March 11 accident, which set off a wave of reactor safety investigations around the world, “cannot be regarded as a natural disaster,” the commission’s chairman, Tokyo University professor emeritus Kiyoshi Kurokawa, wrote in the report released yesterday in Tokyo. It “could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response.”
The report dealt the harshest critique yet to Tokyo Electric (9501) and the government. The findings couldn’t rule out the possibility that the magnitude-9 earthquake damaged the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 1 reactor and safety equipment. This is a departure from other reports that concluded the reactors withstood the earthquake, only to be disabled when the ensuing tsunami slammed into the plant.
Stephen Marrin Post-revision draft18 July 2011. Original draft submitted to Intelligence and National Security on 4 February 2011. Accepted for publication on 24 May 2011 pending minor revision.
Dr. Stephen Marrin is a Lecturer in the Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University in London. He previously served as an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency and US Government Accountability Office. Dr. Marrin has written about many different aspects of intelligence analysis, including new analyst training at CIA‘s Sherman Kent School, the similarities and differences between intelligence analysis and medical diagnosis, and the professionalization of intelligence analysis. In 2004 the National Journal profiled him as one of the ten leading US experts on intelligence reform.
Abstract: Each of the criteria most frequently used to evaluate the quality of intelligence analysis has limitations and problems. When accuracy and surprise are employed as absolute standards, their use reflects unrealistic expectations of perfection and omniscience. Scholars have adjusted by exploring the use of a relative standard consisting of the ratio of success to failure, most frequently illustrated using the batting average analogy from baseball.Unfortunately even this relative standard is flawed in that there is no way to determine either what the batting average is or should be. Finally, a standard based on the decision makers’ perspective is sometimes used to evaluate the analytic product’s relevance and utility. But this metric, too, has significant limitations. In the end, there is no consensus as to which is the best criteria to use in evaluating analytic quality, reflecting the lack of consensus as to what the actual purpose of intelligence analysis is or should be.
Evaluating the quality of intelligence analysis is not a simple matter. Frequently quality is defined not by its presence but rather by its absence. When what are popularly known as intelligence failures occur, sometimes attention focuses on flaws in intelligence analysis as a contributing factor to that failure.
Revolution @State: The Spread of Ediplomacy
The US State Department has become the world’s leading user of ediplomacy. Ediplomacy now employs over 150 full-time personnel working in 25 different ediplomacy nodes at Headquarters. More than 900 people use it at US missions abroad.
Ediplomacy is now used across eight different program areas at State: Knowledge Management, Public Diplomacy and Internet Freedom dominate in terms of staffing and resources. However, it is also being used for Information Management, Consular, Disaster Response, harnessing External Resources and Policy Planning.
In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms. In other areas, like Knowledge Management, ediplomacy is finding solutions to problems that have plagued foreign ministries for centuries.
The slow pace of adaptation to ediplomacy by many foreign ministries suggests there is a degree of uncertainty over what ediplomacy is all about, what it can do and how pervasive its influence is going to be. This report – the result of a four-month research project in Washington DC – should help provide those answers.
2012-04-03 Hanson_Revolution-at-State (PDF 34 pages)
ROBERT STEELE: Fergus Hanson of Australia has done a truly superb job of describing the considerable efforts within the Department of State to achieve some semblance of electronic coherence and capacity. What he misses–and this does not reduce the value of his effort in the slightest–is the complete absence of strategy or substance within State, or legitimacy in the eyes of those being addressed. If the Department of State were to demand the pre-approved Open Source Agency for the South-Central Campus, and get serious about being the lead agency for public intelligence in the public interest, ediplomacy could become something more than lipstick on the pig. The money is available. What is lacking right now is intelligence with integrity in support of global Whole of Government strategy, operations, tactics, and technical advancement (i.e. Open Source Everything).
World Future Society March 11, 2012
Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies
Okay. You got me. I can’t really tell you everything you need to know about big data. The one thing I discovered last week – as I joined more than 2,500 data junkies from around the world for the O’Reilly Strata conference in rainy Santa Clara California—is that nobody can, not Google, not Intel, not even IBM. All I can guarantee you is that you’ll be hearing a lot more about it.
What is big data? Roughly defined, it refers to massive data sets that can be used to predict or model future events. That can include everything from the online purchase history of millions of Americans (to predict what they’re about to buy) to where people in San Francisco are most likely to jog (according to GPS) to Facebook posts and Twitter trends and 100 year storm records.
Phi Beta Iota: Big data is most important for what it can tell you about true cost and whole system cause and effect, inclusive of political corruption and organizational fraud. These are past and present issues, not future issues. We design the future based on the integrity present today. This is why “open everything” matters.
With that in mind, here’s the three most important things you need to know about big data right now:
Syria: Deputy Oil Minister Abdo Hussameddin announced his resignation and departure from the Ba’ath Party to side with the opposition against President Al-Asad’s regime. If confirmed, he would be the highest-ranking official to defect, and the third member of the administration to do so. A video of his declaration was posted on YouTube and repeated around the world.
Comment: Most news outlets reported this man as the highest-level official to defect, which means very little. A lengthy search showed the man was a Baath Party member for a long time, but failed to discover whether the defector was a Christian, Druze, Sunni, Alawite or member of another group. The implications of the defection hinge largely on details not available in the public domain.
Syria celebrated the 49th anniversary of the Syrian coup by Hafez al-Asad on 8 March 1963. Revolution Day is 8 March.
Correction: The place names cited by the Red Crescent official and reported in the 7 March edition of NightWatch are governates, not cities and towns. Syria has 14 governates – often translated as provinces – which administer 61 districts.
It is important to enter an instability problem at the right level, meaning at the level of political organization that provides diagnostic and prognostic results. The international press persists in describing unrest in terms of governates. Entering the instability problem at this level results in distorted narratives and exaggerated reports about the strength of the opposition and the weakness of the government.
Readers are justified in wondering why the government in Damascus has not collapsed. The reason is that the government is not now and has never been threatened by a governate-level insurrection. The fight is in local neighborhoods and most are on the political or geographic periphery of the governates, posing little threat to central authority.
Syria is about the size of North Dakota, according to the CIA World Factbook, with a few differences. Syria has 61 districts which more or less correspond to North Dakota’s 53 counties. North Dakota’s counties, however, are not organized into governates or provinces.
Syria supports more than 22.5 million people in the same space that North Dakota supports just under 700,000, but with a lot less water. North Dakota has no cities as populous as Syria’s Homs which contains over a million people. North Dakota has no sea ports or borders with hostile enemy states.
NightWatch has sought to enter the Syrian instability problem at the district or sub-district level so as to guard against bias and get finer ground truth granularity about just what is happening in Syrian neighborhoods.
For example, a careful survey shows that today the Free Syrian Army and its supporting web sites posted situation reports indicating that this force engaged in six operations in five different governates on 7 March. Several were exchanges of gunfire in which no one was injured and one was erection of a roadblock, in a territory the size of North Dakota.
This data supports leaked information attributed to US intelligence persons that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army. There is unrest in Syria, but there really isn’t much of an insurgency. For the purposes of comparison, in Iraq in 2006, more than 300 firefights occurred daily. In Afghanistan last spring, there were around 50 firefights daily and hundreds of incidents involving makeshift explosives.
Syrian security forces were busy. Opposition sources reported dozens of activities in nine of the 14 governates. A closer look showed that the activities were concentrated in about a dozen of the 61 districts.
Nine governates sounds like a big insurrection. Unrest in 12 districts presents a far more manageable security problem than nine governates supposedly out of control, but in fact not. No governates are out of control and apparently neither are any of the 61 districts.
A still finer focus showed that most of the opposition activities were small, brief street demonstrations (which were not further defined), according to the opposition’s own postings. There were no clashes except as noted above; no bombings and no terror attacks on 7 March.
Most of the government operations were local neighborhood sweeps that encountered no resistance. Other reported government actions included over flights of aircraft, some vague armor movements and shelling. The opposition sources that posted the reports were not careful to distinguish whether the operations were by law enforcement and police personnel, paramilitary militias or the Syrian armed forces. Most were attributed to “thugs,” which suggests the paramilitary militias.
Unfortunately the sources also were not specific about which sub-districts or neighborhoods were under stress from government operations. Each of the 61 Syrian districts has multiple sub-districts what are called, nawahi. It is not yet possible to track activity at the nawahi level, but it would show a more fine grained definition of the status of the instability problem in Syria.
Phi Beta Iota: CNN and BBC both appear to be taking direction from US covert operations / media influence staffs. Both appear unintelligent and dishonest. We hold NIGHTWATCH and its editor in the highest regard, consistently superior to the larger organizations that lack both intelligence and integrity. We note with interest that the Syrian Diaspora and the crisis mapping communities are relatively silent on this matter.
Back in 2002 while I was at a major Command, Friedman made a pitch to provide “ground truth” intelligence on contract. While some folks went gaga over his presentation, there were many small indicators that all was not well. Apparently Friedman was asked to leave LSU for reasons undetermined. Offically, according to STRATFOR ” In 1997, a small company that would eventually grow into Stratfor—called Strategic Intelligence LLC—left Baton Rouge and LSU, where its founder George Friedman had been a professor. A 1999 profile in Texas Monthly said the company “couldn’t thrive” in Baton Rouge, and that’s why Friedman took it to Austin, where it blossomed into a global powerhouse.”
Reasoning heard on the street by colleagues active in San Antonio, he was bankrolled by Mossad and they wanted him in an area of hightech.
I have read his comments about OSS and you specifically; his arrogance is unbelievable. His “analysts” are currently UT-Austin students with a couple of “seasoned veterans”, none of whom have an intelligence
He has been described as a neocon and I think that fits. From where I sit, I think STRATFOR is finished, they are trying very hard to regain their client base….with little success…