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Solving "a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma"


Solving “a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma”
Posted on May 25, 2015 by Nuclear Risk

Most people have heard Winston Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I also suspect that most took it as I did: Who can figure out that crazy nation?

So it was a real surprise when I read the entire quote: “(Russia) is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Now that makes sense!


When Churchill saw that it was in his interest to understand Russia, he did so. But when he failed to see anything in it for him, Russia became a rogue nation in his mind. We are doing the same thing today, and not just with Russia. North Korea is seen as a rogue nation run by a nut job, and Iran is portrayed as not much better. But, as I’ve pointed out, most of our puzzlement is due to our failing to understand North Korea’s and Iran’s perspectives.


I can attest from personal experience that it also makes sense to work at understanding others in interpersonal relationships. Since we got our relationship on a good basis, every time that my wife’s behavior has seemed crazy to me, I’ve found that there was a good reason behind her behavior that I was missing.


By “getting curious, not furious,” (a great expression that a friend told me when I related this story), not only did I avoid an argument, I got a better outcome than what I thought I wanted going into the disagreement. I got a car that I love to drive, whereas I thought I wanted Dorothie to stop looking at new cars.


UPDATE 1-U.S. says no extension for Iran nuclear talks -State Dept

Source: Reuters

The United States will not consider an extension to reach an agreement on curbing Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said on Wednesday, despite indications from France and Iran that talks may stretch into July.

"We're not contemplating any extension beyond June 30," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said at a news briefing.

Rathke said the United States believes the world powers working with Tehran can achieve their goal of reaching an agreement by the self-imposed deadline.


As talks resumed in Vienna on Wednesday to bridge gaps in negotiating positions, Iran's state TV quoted senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi as saying the deadline could be extended, echoing comments by France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud.


Read more: http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/27/mideast-crisis-usa-kerry-idINL1N0YI1KP20150527

Russia's nuclear threats 'deeply troubling': NATO chief

Source: Agence France-Presse

Russia's provocative rhetoric and its dramatic expansion of flights by nuclear bombers are deeply troubling and dangerous, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Russia's plans to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad -- near Poland's border -- and its threat to move nuclear forces in Crimea would "fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe," Stoltenberg warned, in speech during a visit to Washington.

In blunt language, the NATO chief delivered a scathing critique of Russia's behavior over the past year -- including Moscow's armed intervention in Ukraine -- and vowed the transatlantic alliance would redouble its commitment to "collective defense."

"Russia's recent use of nuclear rhetoric, exercises and operations are deeply troubling," he told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.


Read more: http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/international/340617/russia-s-nuclear-threats-deeply-troubling-nato-chief

Cold War II is heating up.

Iran, North Korea forging ballistic, nuclear ties: dissidents

Source: Reuters

An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Thursday a delegation of North Korean experts in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles visited a military site near Tehran in April amid talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda. Iran says allegations of nuclear bomb research are baseless and forged by its enemies.


Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said the seven person North Korean Defence Ministry team were in Iran for the last week of April. It was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

"The delegates included nuclear experts, nuclear warhead experts and experts in various elements of ballistic missiles including guidance systems," NCRI said.


The U.N. Panel of Experts that monitors compliance with sanctions on North Korea has reported in the past that Pyongyang and Tehran were regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. sanctions.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/28/us-iran-northkorea-dissidents-idUSKBN0OD08F20150528

Boeing awarded first commercial human spaceflight mission

Source: WAFF

NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing's $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract recently to include the company's first-ever service flight to the International Space Station.

The award marks the first time in human spaceflight history NASA has contracted with a commercial company for a human spaceflight mission.

"This occasion will go in the books of Boeing's nearly 100 years of aerospace and more than 50 years of space flight history," said John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Space Exploration division.


"We're on track to fly in 2017, and this critical milestone moves us another step closer in fully maturing the CST-100 design," said John Mulholland, vice president of Commercial Programs.


Read more: http://www.waff.com/story/29173749/boeing-awarded-first-commercial-human-spaceflight-mission

U.S. military mistakenly ships live anthrax to labs in 9 states

Source: Reuters

The U.S. military mistakenly sent live anthrax bacteria to laboratories in nine U.S. states and a U.S. air base in South Korea, after apparently failing to properly inactivate the bacteria last year, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The Pentagon said there was no known suspected infection or risk to the public. But four U.S. civilians have been started on preventive measures called post-exposure prophylaxis, which usually includes the anthrax vaccine, antibiotics or both.

The four face "minimal" risk, said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has begun an investigation of the incident. The four were "doing procedures that sent the agent into the air," he said.


The mishap comes 11 months after the CDC, one of the government's top civilian labs, similarly mishandled anthrax.


Read more: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/u-military-mistakenly-ships-live-anthrax-labs-9-000151602.html

Astronomers declare war on lawn mowing robots


Astronomers declare war on lawn mowing robots

By Justin Beach, National Monitor | April 18, 2015

The iRobot company and scientists who use radio telescopes are drawing battle lines across your lawn.

In a story that sounds like it could be borrowed from bad science fiction, astronomers are getting ready to do battle with the iRobot corporation over their new lawn mowing robots.

The makers of the Roomba, vacuum cleaning robot, iRobot is working on a similar device used to mow lawns. While it might sound like a great idea, so far, to most people astronomers are concerned about potential interference with very expensive telescopes.

The problem comes, not from the robots themselves but from devices used to tell the robots when to stop. A lawn mowing robot becomes much less useful, after all, if it also mows the flower bed and then takes off down the street threatening small animals in the neighbourhood.

FCC filings, originally spotted by IEEE Spectrum, show that the company is currently in the design phase of creating the robots. In February, iRobot filed a waiver request with the FCC, asking for a waiver that would allow them to use part of the radio spectrum to guide the robots.

The company wants to use stakes, driven into the ground to help the lawnbot learn the lay of the land, with the average person needing four to nine beacons depending on the shape of the property. The alternative, according to iRobot is to dig a trench around the properties perimeter to lay a wire that would serve as a guide.

The company wants to use the frequency band between 6240 and 6740 MHz, which is a frequency that several large radio telescopes use. Astronomers use the frequency to observe methanol, which is plentiful in stellar nurseries.


WHO shake-up approved after Ebola debacle

Source: Agence France-Presse

The World Health Organization has been given the go-ahead for a sweeping shake-up, including a $US100 million ($A127.8 million) war chest to battle future emergencies following the Ebola fiasco.

Delegates from 180 countries at the annual World Health Assembly, which ended on Tuesday, approved plans for a contingency fund to tackle future emergencies, which will be reviewed after two years.

The pilot project will be financed by flexible voluntary contributions, according to WHO chief Margaret Chan.

The WHO has drawn biting criticism for its delayed response to the Ebola crisis and its failure to identify the outbreak that has killed 11,132 people so far, almost all of them in west Africa.


Read more: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/africa/2015/05/27/who-shake-up-approved-after-ebola-debacle.html

Patient being tested for Ebola at Yonkers hospital

Source: LoHud

The patient went to the hospital with fever-like symptoms after returning from abroad

A patient at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers is being tested for Ebola, officials said.

The patient, who is from a country on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's watch list for the virus that has devastated West Africa, arrived at the hospital, at 127 South Broadway, Tuesday afternoon with fever-like symptoms and is currently isolated there, said Dean Civitello, a hospital spokesman.

The state Department of Health is running tests to determine what the patient may be stricken with, including testing for Ebola, Civitello said.


The Westchester County Department of Health "is working with the hospital and treating physician to evaluate a patient with fever who recently traveled to an Ebola-affected country," county Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler said in a statement. "All appropriate infection control measures are in place, including isolation and personal protective equipment for healthcare providers. The most common diagnosis in travelers with fever who have recently returned from Ebola-affected countries has been malaria."


Read more: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/health/2015/05/26/patient-tested-ebola-saint-joseph-hospital-yonkers/27978197/

USAF Gives SpaceX Certification

Source: NASA Watch

USAF Space and Missiles System Center Certifies SpaceX for National Security Space Missions

"Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) Falcon 9 Launch System for national security space missions. SpaceX is now eligible for award of qualified national security space launch missions as one of two currently certified launch providers. The first upcoming opportunity for SpaceX to compete to provide launch services is projected to be in June when the Air Force releases a Request for Proposal (RFP) for GPS III launch services."

Read more: http://nasawatch.com/archives/2015/05/usaf-gives-spac.html
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