Posted by: quiscus | January 21, 2012

January 21, 2012

1. “Skilled robots set to infiltrate schools and military

The diminutive 55.8-centimetre-high robot is fully programmable and can speak, move, walk, dance and play sports. A fully featured Nao costs €12,000 (Dh55,887), although the head alone – complete with all the cognitive functions suited for a classroom – can be bought for €2,400.

According to Aldebaran, the Nao is being deployed in classrooms in the UAE, where it will help students in subjects such as mechanics and mathematics. High school students in Germany are already using the robot to learn about these subjects, while French high school students are using the robot to understand psychology and informatics.

http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/personal-finance/skilled-robots-set-to-infiltrate-schools-and-military

2. “Is This Why They Won’t Prosecute? Top Justice Officials Represented Big Banks, Freddie, Fannie and Mers”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/01/is-this-why-they-wont-prosecute-top-justice-officials-represented-big-banks.html

3. “The CIA’s Cassandras

At no time has the U.S. based its foreign policies on facts — as opposed to its conceptions reliant on sheer wishes, interests, or pretensions, (its ambitions are often a mixture of all of these). Nor has it had fears that are warranted by reality. It has needs, whether economic or geopolitical. It has, however, often had the correct intelligence and the facts before it to warrant entirely different policies on its part. At the same time as it gets into tenuous military situations, situations it is often destined to lose and pay a great deal for while in the process of doing so, it employs people to produce rational analyses—which it then ignores. Why?

There is rarely any place in its functional policy for an objective analytic process to play a role. The U. S.’s priorities are repeatedly where the shooting is, and they are determined foolhardily, almost quixotically and arbitrarily, reflecting ambition, pretension, hubris, and other subjective factors.

The CIA’S fundamental problem is that despite the obeisance of the American culture and the positivist tradition that exists in American life since the founding of the nation, the reality is quite different. The CIA pretends to be objective, and undoubtedly some within it are or want to be, but for a variety of reasons, strategists ignore advice they do want to hear from the CIA. The CIA analytic section is, on the whole, ineffective. There is too much information available and decision-makers use only what reinforces their preconceived conclusions and their desires, in the case of Presidents, for reelection.

What is there in the U.S. culture that makes the search for valid information–or good intelligence–essential? War mongers and traditional “truth-seeking” positivists both coexist in Washington, and that is the source of intelligence’s main contradiction. It is a fact that the system is many things, and while it is true the CIA has divisions that harm many they also have objective truth-seekers. This contradiction in theory versus practice suffuses American life, and it has for well over a century. It is also the source of alienation for objective CIA analysts who get frustrated by being ignored.

This hypocritical dualism is America’s essential hang-up; it lives with this inconsistency, proclaiming its commitment to truth but going its own way at the same time. The consequence is a nation that is profoundly hypocritical.

On some vital topics, the CIA has a terrible track record on predictive matters. But it is vital to distinguish the roles of various divisions, which have totally different responsibilities, and I am talking here about the benign reporters who examine information, report on it objectively, and are then ignored. To repeat, the CIA is a very big organization with all sorts of different responsibilities, ranging from villains, increasingly contractors whose principal interest is in making money, who may murder in another hemisphere while sitting behind a computer or TV screen in offices in the United States, to objective reporters who try to make accurate predictions…. and have no power over the actual decision=makers. They too are often wrong, if only because the world is becoming increasingly complex and the amount of information to assess has increased exponentially, but if it is correct then it is ignored if those on top do not like the policy implications of accurate information. The CIA’s December 2011 estimate of the Afghan war, which I referred to above, is a case in point. It is unlikely this estimate will affect the White House’s Afghan policy in this election year.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30310.htm

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