Archive for August, 2018

Nuclear Fusion: The Future Is Now!

From:  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/sd-fi-generalatomics-funding-20180803-story.html

https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/08/30/nuclear-fusion-researcher-conducts-successful-test/

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-fusion-power.aspx

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted an accumulated 36.4 Million Dollars to multiple U.S. scientists and the defense contractor General Atomics for continued research on nuclear fusion. General Atomics owns the  DIII-D National Fusion Facility which is the largest magnetic fusion user facility in the United States. Meanwhile, a researcher working for the First Light Fusion company in the United Kingdom reports a successful test of their new pulsed power machine. Both of these reports are indications of the growing push for Nuclear Fusion around the world with programs in the European Union, U.S., Russia, Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, and Korea. If these programs succeed then humanity will be able to harness the power of the sun by fussing Hydrogen Atoms together to produce energy (4 times as much as traditional Nuclear Fission). If the research is successful, nuclear fusion reactors will replace traditional fossil fuel power plants that run on Coal and Natural gas, as well as traditional fission reactors. Furthermore, it could lower the cost of electricity to the point where electric powered vehicles may be more practical than ones that run on gasoline or oil.

The need to obtain and protect natural fuel resources like coal, natural gas, and oil has been a security concern for many countries around the world and is a large part of the world economy. If those resources become obsolete, the power dynamics around the world will shift in new directions and could bring new threats and concerns to the forefront. That all being said, we will still have to wait for at least 20 years before nuclear Fusion becomes viable, so any security concerns related to the topic are a long way off.

–John Reinboldt, 8/31/2018

Remembering Catalonia

Spain marked the one-year anniversary of the terror attacks that killed sixteen people in Catalonia. The commemorations included a ceremony held by the victims’ families on the Las Ramblas promenade, the sight where a van mowed down countless pedestrians. Fourteen people were killed in the incident and two other victims were fatally stabbed. These attacks were claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group, and according to authorities in Spain, the groups cell was dismantled shortly after. Presently, local issues of whether or not to pursue the region’s independence from Spain have become more obvious. Catalan politicians have demanded the region’s independence from Spain, and said that they would use the commemoration event of those killed to express their anger at the King and the head of Spain’s central government. Along with the remembrance of the victims of the attacks, pro-independence banners hung from buildings, and small marches along Las Ramblas held signs saying, “Catalonia has no king.” This resistance from the Catalonian people may soon pose a problem for the central government and law enforcement in Spain. If they are not given the independence that they want, violence and other acts of rebellion may begin to affect the surrounding regions. Some analysts also warn that the upcoming release of thousands of prisoners convicted of terrorism crimes may cause a new threat for Spain and the rest of Europe. The Trump administration will have to work closely with other European nations to prevent terrorist attacks of any nature in the future.

Annemarie A.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/08/17/spain-remembers-terror-attacks-that-killed-16-in-catalonia.html

The Final Showdown?

Pro-government forces in Syria are preparing for an assault on the last rebel stronghold in Idlib. Assad’s forces perceive these opposition forces as a threat to regime power. The Assad regime has almost eliminated the internal threats to his power however, the method by which this “final” assault is executed may generate blowback from the Syrian civilians who continue to be displaced. It may  also generate backlash from neighboring countries such as Turkey who has explicitly stated that it will not take anymore Syrian refugees. The assault will create greater security concerns for the neighboring states as both rebel groups and civilians flee. This threatens both the political and economic securities of, specifically, Turkey. In addition, Assad’s quest to consolidate the control of Syria under his power could lead to greater security risks for the regime. The pending attack on Idlib should affect U.S. policy in Syria (which has been to see the removal of Assad from power) because with this final blow his regime, with the backing of both Russia and Iran, will be stronger than it has been. Relatively, the U.S. will be a weaker presence in the region. Assad will turn his attention to potential external threats, such as the U.S. and its regional allies, once the internal military campaign is completed. The current administration should stir international sentiments for the Syrian civilians in Idlib, and pressure Assad and his allies to avoid any further displacement of its citizens.

 

Anna K.

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/russia-syria-vow-wipe-terrorists-idlib-180830153015385.html

ISIS Leader Killed In Afghanistan

From: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna903956

With the raise and steady falling of one of the most notable non-state terrorist groups, known as ISIS (Islamic State in Syria), the United States continues to keep their boots on the throat of the group. Four days ago the leader of the groups presence in Afghanistan, known as Abu Sayeed Orakzai, was killed in an unmanned US airstrike along with 10 of his fellow members. This strike comes from the United States war with ISIS. The US has been pursuing the group since their deflection from the US backed forces of the Syrian civil war. The group poses a large threat to the US’s security and international interests. As far as consequences, there will be none of significance to the US. The US has yet to see a retaliation of considerable notice since ISIS declared war on the US when the first strikes happened. There will be consequences throughout the world though, the terror group is bound to attack another public university or elementary school, surely killing innocent people, and blaming it on the US’s actions. I believe this article was very well written, it was concise but offered more than sufficient background information about the attack. I think the author could include more background information of the group themselves.

-Jesse

The Robots Are Coming! The Robots Are Coming! So Get Over It. Mackenzie

Artificial Intelligence is here.  We are beyond the point of it coming and it isn’t a question of if we should accept it.  It is simply a fact that it is intricate to our lives.  Now in terms of whether the robots can protect us such as they did in Will Smith’s IRobot (which may I remind you didn’t exactly turn out so well for the people and then the robots at one point) or if they will “destroy” us is it’s own separate dilemma.  This problem has to do mostly with the breach capabilities of others.  If we are using artificial intelligence to protect us, be it with drones or in the cyber-security realm, the potential for a breach is there.  However, nothing is 100% as Laurent Gil talks about in his article https://www.scmagazine.com/the-debate-is-over-artificial-intelligence-is-the-future-for-cybersecurity/article/749603/ .  These breaches are not necessarily inevitable but are likely to happen all the same.  The administration that is smart enough to recognize that, so possibly the next one, should respond to this not with the suggestion of being fearful of these breaches and adding more humans to the mix, because humans are flawed just as robots are without compassion, and as Gil points out Equifax was hacked and they constantly had humans supervising.  The point is to use this technology to continue to accomplish our goals and to be smart enough to fix breaches or catch them before they even happen.  Let us not be afraid of this technology which has definitively deposited its foot upon our necks but embrace it in all of its cold robotic glory. Ignoring it poses a greater national security risk than embracing it.  Due to the fact that other entities certainly would not hesitate to use it against us.

So as a modern age Paul Revere I say, THE ROBOTS ARE HERE! THE ROBOTS ARE HERE!

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