You’ve probably heard of North Korea, but there are probably a few things about the totalitarian nation you didn’t know.
Despite having its borders closed to prevent its people from leaving and outsiders from coming in, there is actually a great deal known about the country. The U.S. and South Korea have gathered intelligence about the hermit state since the 1950s from defectors, undercover reporters, activists, and many other ways.
The country has made it illegal to watch “The Interview” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, possessing Bibles, watching South Korean movies, and distributing pornography, which are all punishable by death. Yet, smoking weed is no big deal.
This video shows these and other crazy facts about the infamous country:
There’s a reason Navy carrier pilots are so cocky.
Their jobs would be challenging if they were just steering small hunks of metal through the air at high speed in combat, but they also take off and land on huge floating hunks of metal moving at low speed through the waves.
In this video from PBS, the already challenging task of landing on a floating deck gets worse in rough seas. With large waves striking the USS Nimitz, the flight deck pitches dozens of feet up and down, making the pilots’ jobs even harder.
For the past few years, DARPA has been working on a system called ARGUS-IR, or Autonomous Real-Team Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Infrared, which can take video over an area that is so super high resolution — 1.8 gigapixels — it would take a fleet of 100 Predator drones to produce the same images.
A PBS documentary last year explored the program, which uses hundreds of cell phone cameras linked together into a sophisticated rig. Mounted underneath an RQ-4 Global Hawk for example, ARGUS could loiter over an area at 17,500 feet and capture images as small as six inches square on the ground, effectively being able to tell the color of the shirt you are wearing.
It’s pretty incredible — and somewhat scary — stuff.
Current infrared systems either have a narrow field of view, slow frame rates or are low resolution. DARPA’s Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Infrared (ARGUS-IR) program will break this paradigm by producing a wide-field-of-view IR imaging system with frame rates and resolution that are compatible with the tracking of dismounted personnel at night. ARGUS-IR will provide at least 130 independently steerable video streams to enable real-time tracking of individual targets throughout the field of view. The ARGUS-IR system will also provide continuous updates of the entire field of view for enhanced situational awareness.
In July, the Air Force made the first step toward making ARGUS a reality with the implementation of the Gorgon Stare Increment 2 pod on the MQ-9 Reaper.
Here’s the view from an ARGUS system from 17,500 feet. It can capture a very wide area.
When an operator wants to zoom in, the system places boxes over cars, people, and other objects and tracks them in real time.
Now check out the PBS Nova documentary on the project:
The medieval series of wars between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for control of England’s throne inspired HBO’s hit TV series “Game Of Thrones.” These squabbles became known as the “Wars of the Roses” because both sides used roses to symbolize their family. The House of York was represented by a white rose and the House of Lancaster by a red rose.
Although the fighting officially lasted from 1455 to 1487, there was so much drama that related fighting broke out before and after this period. This short video describes the power struggle, complex motives and shifting loyalties between the two families.
Back in 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting our personal data. Ever since, Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are used to encrypt a person’s activity on the internet. The sophistication of these companies has improved and usage of the software is as easy as turning on a light switch. Everyone has that one friend that spews out conspiracy theories that are just flat out wrong. Keep in mind, even a broken clock is right twice a day, this time the government is watching you.
Most VPN services log your activities
VPN logs are the data that providers keep regarding usage of their service. When it comes to what they could store, you have to remember that your provider has access to all of your internet activity. So everything your ISP would normally see is technically now accessible by your VPN provider. Of course, if providers actually logged and stored all of that data, they wouldn’t be offering a very attractive service, and would no doubt lose a lot of customers. Instead, the lack of logs is one of the main selling features broadcast by many providers in a bid to win over consumers.
AIMEE O’DRISCOLL VPN AND CYBERSECURITY EXPERT
Having a VPN that keeps logs of your activity defeats the purpose of a VPN in the first place. All U.S. based VPN providers have to hand over logs to the federal government when ordered to do so. In fact, they’re strictly prohibited on directly telling you if they have been subpoenaed by the feds. A Warrant Canary is one workaround. It is a webpage that they update once a month stating that no secret government subpoenas have been issued. If you use a US based VPN with a Warrant Canary and an outdated page, the canary is dead. So is your privacy.
Foreign based VPNS also cooperate with federal agencies
You may not have heard of 5 Eyes and 14 Eyes countries and that is by design. The 5 Eyes alliance (FVEY) is an agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They collect telephone calls, texts, emails, signals to weapon systems or radars and share that information. The FVEY is also a convenient workaround to spying on US citizens by having an ally do the dirty work and handing the information over.
The alliance expanded to Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway and became the 9 Eyes alliance. We now have the 14 Eyes alliance with Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The FBI and other agencies can see you if your VPN service is headquartered in any of these countries.
The intention of this alliance is to form a united front against state sponsored intelligence attacks by China, Russia, Iran, and other enemies of the west. What does that have to do with you? Your activity does not have anything to do with national security so it does not apply, right? Wrong. On, March 11, 2020 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6172, here is the executive summary provided by senate.gov.
The USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 prohibits the government from using FISA authority to collect call details records on an ongoing basis and prohibits the use of tangible business records to obtain cell site location and global positioning system location, with exception. This act extends the authorization for the reformed expiring FISA authorities, along with the “roving wiretap” authorities and “lone wolf” provision to December 1, 2023. It also requires the attorney general to approve a FISA application to surveil any elected federal officials and candidates for federal office and increases the penalty for making false statements to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court from five to eight years imprisonment. Provisions in the legislation also require extensive reporting on FISA applications, FISC and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review decisions, and investigative techniques used by the federal government.
All an agency has to do is slap a national security label on the subpoena and slap a lone wolf label on you. You do not have to fix in the box, they build it to order around you.
I understand the need to protect our national security and the FBI’s defense against foreign intelligence attacks. I applaud their fervor and dedication to capturing child predators as well. What I do not agree with is the violation of our rights as citizens of the United States. If the federal government wants to hunt down the scum of the earth, by all means do it. They should do it without jeopardizing the confidence of The People.
You can never fully hide on the internet
One of my favorite quotes from The Social Network is by Erica Albright denying Facebook’s founders apology for writing nasty blogs after they broke up. ‘It didn’t stop you from writing it. As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared. The Internet’s not written in pencil, Mark, it’s written in ink.’
So, why does it matter if the government has your information or not? Using a VPN to protect your passwords, banking information, transfer of sensitive documents, etcetera, is a good reason to protect yourself on the internet. Using encryption technology to protect yourself from identity theft is what it is there for. Government websites and commercial websites, like Google, can and will be hacked by foreign adversaries. No one is invulnerable on the internet, not even Uncle Sam. Doxing is when an individual obtains information available on the internet about you and makes it public with malicious intent. If an incel on the internet can find information about you, then a highly trained federal agent can too.
Quick, what countries have the second- and third-largest carrier forces in the world?
Number one, of course, is the United States with ten carriers and one on the way, even as it scraps as many as eight older ones (Forrestal, Saratoga, Ranger, Independence, Kittyhawk, Constellation, Enterprise, and John F. Kennedy).
The second-largest is . . . Japan, which has three carriers (actually called “helicopter destroyers”) in service and a fourth on the way. The third-largest carrier force belongs to India, with two in service and one on the way.
Surprised? Don’t be. India’s navy has long been one to reckon with, partially due its heritage under British rule. That Royal Navy DNA makes India a serious naval power, and India has managed to mesh technology from a variety of countries to create their navy.
INS Viraat is the former HMS Hermes, a veteran of the Falklands War. Viraat displaces about 24,000 tons and carries about two dozen aircraft. Viraat is slated to retire soon after the new Vikrant enters service. The Viraat is a V/STOL carrier, along the lines of those in service with Thailand, Spain, and Italy. Viraat is likely to stick around until 2020 — impressive, given that she was first commissioned in 1959 by the Royal Navy.
The other active carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is the former Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov. When she entered service with the Soviet Navy as Baku, she was originally designed to operate Yak-38 Forgers and Ka-27 Helix helicopters. After the Cold War, Russia needed cash, and India took the chance to buy the Gorshkov. After a lengthy refit following her 2004 (which was a soap opera in and of itself), the Vikrmaditya entered service in 2013. Vikramaditya displaces 45,000 tons and operates three dozen aircraft.
The carrier on the way, INS Vikrant, is being built in India. Intended to displace about 40,000 tons, she can carry 40 aircraft and will enter service in 2018. She is the second carrier to carrythe name, the previous Vikrant being a British-built light carrier that served with India from 1961-1997. The first Vikrant was a museum from 2001 to 2012 before her deteriorating condition forced the Indian Navy to sell her for scrap.
The INS Viraat is the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy, and is one of the oldest aircraft carriers in service in the world.
India’s naval aircraft are quite diverse, as well. India operates British Sea Harriers (the Mk 51 version) from the Viraat, along with Sea King helicopters (an American design customized by the Brits) and Dhruv helicopters designed and built in India. The Vikramaditya operates Russian-designed Ka-28 and Ka-31 Helix helicopters, MiG-29K Fulcrums from Russia, and Indian-built Tejas aircraft, a mix that will also be seen on the new Vikrant when it starts trials later this year and enters service in 2018. From land, India’s maritime patrol inventory features not only the modern P-8, but Russian Il-38 “May” and Tu-142 “Bear F” aircraft as well.
Prickly heat is that very annoying rash that develops when you’re out in the field for days or weeks without taking a shower. The sweat glands become blocked when you sweat profusely and don’t allow the sweat to evaporate. The blockage occurs:
In areas between skin creases like the neck, armpits, and groin where skin touches adjacent skin preventing sweat to evaporate.
By wearing tight clothing.
By bundling up with heavy clothing or sheets that make it difficult for air to circulate. Yes, you can also get prickly heat in the Winter.
By using heavy creams that block skin pores.
It feels like pins and needles on the surface of the skin that only get worse when you relieve yourself by scratching. Prickly heat is actually the second level of heat rash. Heat rash levels are:
Clear (miliaria crystalline): this type of heat rash looks like small, clear beads of sweat on the skin. This is the mildest version of heat rash and doesn’t produce many uncomfortable symptoms.
Red (miliaria rubra): this is the most common type of heat rash and it’s the one known as prickly heat because of it’s intense itching and burning.
White/Yellow (miliaria pustulosa): when prickly heat turns white or yellow it’s the first sign of skin infection and you should see the doc.
Deep (miliaria profunda) this level of heat rash produces large, firm bumps on the skin. The sweat glands become chronically inflamed and cause damage to deep layers of the skin.
Luckily, preventing prickly heat is easy by maintaining good hygiene and keeping the skin cool and dry. This is easier said than done without the amenities of first-world living. In the field, this means trying not to sleep in your sweaty, dirty uniform and using baby wipes to keep yourself somewhat clean.
But in case you do get prickly heat, you can also treat it with calamine lotion and hydrocortisone creams and sprays, according to MedecineNet.com. Just make sure you pack it in your ruck.
In the modern world, most nations cultivate a variety of martial arts disciplines within their borders, not as a formal effort of the government, but rather as a byproduct of public interest. Here in the United States, motivated students can find places to study anything from Japanese Karate to Israeli Krav Maga at their local strip mall, so it should come as no surprise that the military has also come to adopt a variety of disciplines into its own approach to martial arts-based combat.
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, as one example, borrows from no fewer than 17 distinct martial arts disciplines, ranging from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Kung Fu, to ensure Marines are as capable in hand-to-hand combat as they are with their rifles.
Iran has also placed an emphasis on martial arts for the sake of defense, though like the nation’s military apparatus itself, their approach has been heavily informed by their culture, internal politics, and unusual military hierarchy, resulting in less than stellar results.
Iran has allegedly forced martial arts instructors to work as assassins
According to a cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan’s Baku Mission that was revealed by WikiLeaks, the Iranian government expects martial arts schools and clubs to serve in the role of “enforcers” when it comes to stemming public dissent, but that’s far from the worst that’s been pressed upon martial arts instructors.
The wire, which came with the decidedly metal headline of, “IRAN: NINJA BLACK BELT MASTER DETAILS USE OF MARTIAL ARTS CLUBS FOR REPRESSION,” goes on to claim that the “ninja black belt master” in question knew of at least one instructor that “was used by the Intelligence service to murder at least six different individuals over the course of several months.” These alleged victims were referred to as “young intellectuals” and “pro-democracy activists.”
The Iranian government built an all-female, 3,500 strong ninja-army
Women in Iran may not enjoy the same rights or parity that can be found in Western nations like the United States, but that’s not to say that the Iranian government doesn’t occasionally recognize a woman’s ability to kick ass for their benefit. Most women may not be allowed to travel outside of their homes without a male escort, but some are trained in Japanese Ninjutsu to become stealthy assassins for their government.
In 2012, 3,500 women were registered to begin their training to become ninjas, according to a segment produced for Iran’s state-run media. Some in the United States have opined that Iran permits this training as a means to appease their stifled female population, but it seems more likely that Iran’s government believes it has a use for women that can fight.
The video of these women training may seem cheesy, but their form actually looks a lot better than some of Iran’s highly trained Special Operations troops…
Iran’s Special Operators were defeated by pottery
Every nation occasionally releases motivational videos of their highly trained troops executing unusual techniques. The U.S. does insertion and extraction demonstrations with special operators at SOFIC in Tampa, Florida each year. Russia releases footage of their troops shooting live rounds at each other, and Iran… well, Iran’s special operators can be seen in this video losing a fight to a vase.
In the video, Iranian officials are shown looking on as men that have been referred to by a number of news outlets as Special Operations troops execute a series of dramatic spin kicks and even spinning back-hands to a vase that simply refuses to break. Eventually, the troops set the intact vase down and bow as their clearly disappointed superiors look on. It wouldn’t be fair to say that this demonstration characterizes all of Iran’s military martial arts efforts, but if these generals were smart, they probably forgot about the demonstration and went straight to the guy that made that vase to see if he was interested in getting into the tank business.
KYIV, Ukraine — A Russian Su-27 “Flanker” fighter scrambled to intercept a pair of US Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers on a training mission over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, underscoring Moscow’s discontent with a more assertive American airpower presence in the Arctic and on NATO’s eastern flank.
According to Moscow, the US bombers approached but never violated Russian sovereign airspace. The scrambled Su-27 “shadowed” the two B-1Bs over the Baltic Sea, Russia’s National Defense Control Center announced Wednesday.
“The flight of the Russian fighter jet took place in strict accordance with international airspace rules,” the Russian military said in its statement.
The US Air Force acknowledged the incident in a statement to Coffee or Die Magazine.
“Yesterday, U.S. B-1B aircraft were conducting operations in international airspace exercising our freedom of navigation and overflight when the aircraft had routine interaction with the Russian aircraft operating in the region,” a representative for US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa wrote in an email, adding that the US bombers obeyed all international air traffic rules.
Highlighting how the Arctic region has risen to the top rung of the US military’s geographic priorities, B-1B bombers from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas are currently deployed to Norway’s Ørland Air Station for a month of training exercises; this is the first time US bombers have operated out of Norway.
Two of the deployed American bombers took off from Norway on Wednesday as part of Bone Saw, a NATO training mission over the North Sea and Baltic Sea. (The B-1B is commonly known among US pilots as the “Bone.”) Danish and Polish F-16s, as well as Eurofighter Typhoons from Germany and Italy, also participated in the flight, the US Air Force said in a release.
“This mission sends a clear message that our commitment to our NATO allies is unshakeable,” Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, said in a statement. “We’re in this together to get after the mission and pursue our shared goal of regional security.”
Russia has also stepped up its military presence in the Arctic with reopened Soviet-era bases, new radars, an expanded Northern Fleet, and the redeployment of airpower assets farther north. This week, for example, Russian Tu-22M3 “Backfire” supersonic, long-range bombers conducted training missions in the country’s northwestern Murmansk Oblast. Located on the Kola Peninsula extending into the Barents Sea, the oblast’s capital city of Murmansk is located only about 60 miles from the border with Norway.
The Tu-22M3 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and strike bomber developed in the 1960s. A staple of the Soviet Union’s air force, the Tu-22M3 has a maximum speed of about Mach 1.88 and a combat range of roughly 1,500 miles. Based on its performance and general mission set, the Tu-22M3 is roughly analogous, although technologically inferior, to the US B-1B.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=coffeeordiemag&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1367019410892988416&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fcoffeeordie.com%2Frussia-fighter-shadowed-us-bombers%2F&siteScreenName=coffeeordiemag&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=500px
The B-1B Lancer is a Cold War-era, supersonic heavy bomber. As America’s vanguard long-range bomber, the B-1B carries the largest conventional payload of guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory. On Friday, B-1B bombers conducted a joint mission with Norwegian F-35s and naval units, marking the first mission of the historic American bomber deployment to Norway.
“This type of interoperability is especially critical in the Arctic where no one nation has the infrastructure or capacity to operate alone,” Harrigian said.
Norway shares a 122-mile border with Russia. The headquarters of Russia’s Northern Fleet in the port city of Severomorsk is situated along the Murmansk Fjord less than 70 miles from Norway’s border.
James Stavridis, a retired US Navy admiral who formerly served as NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, warned that the Arctic is a “zone of competition” that could devolve into a “zone of conflict.”
To bolster its military reach in the Arctic, the Pentagon has cultivated closer ties to Norway, including plans to use the country’s northern port city of Tromsø to service US nuclear submarines. According to an Air Force statement: “Department of Defense cooperation with allies and partners in the Arctic strengthens our shared approach to regional security and helps deter strategic competitors from seeking to unilaterally change the existing rules-based order.”
Some 1,000 US Marines deployed to Norway in January for extreme cold-weather training. However, due to coronavirus concerns the Norwegian government canceled what was to be an international Arctic warfare training exercise.
For its part, the Kremlin has pushed back against America’s defense relationship with Norway. According to Moscow, the US has unnecessarily increased tensions by pre-positioning military hardware closer to Russia’s borders.
“One can hardly talk about ‘tranquility’ when tensions are increasing near Russian borders, and when an extremely powerful bridgehead for conducting hostilities against Russia is being established,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a Feb. 11 press briefing.
Zakharova added: “We believe that such activities on the part of Oslo threaten regional security and put an end to Norway’s traditional policy not to deploy permanent foreign military bases on its territory in peacetime.”
Today, Russia has at least 34 military installations in or near the Arctic.
Mickey Ireson, a Marine Corps veteran in rural America, struggled with all the worse elements of the VA system. He drove three hours each way to appointments, struggled to reach doctors, and had to juggle his medical needs with school and a full-time job. He kept fighting to stay on an even footing, but he slowly gave way. Eventually, he was homeless, jobless, and kicking a drug habit.
Some vets who have learned to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare are helping out their peers. An Army veteran who knew the problems of getting care from the VA in the country met Ireson through a non-profit and helped him out. Ireson is now back in school with a 3.8 GPA, president of his student veterans club, and employed.
Still, Ireson’s story is not unique. Check out the full story on America’s rural veterans from from James Clark at Task and Purpose
Air Force Special Operations Command is taking the mantra of “you can never have too much firepower” to heart.
The AC-130 — a modified cargo plane-turned-close air support platform outfitted with a deadly array of weaponry — is about to get a big weapons upgrade, to include another 105mm cannon added to the rear of the plane.
“I want to have two guns,” AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said at a recent Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla, while also calling it “the ultimate battle plane,” according to the Air Force Times.
AFSOC plans to add a 105mm cannon to the rear of the plane. That is in addition to the weapons the aircraft is already slated to carry — dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-30 small diameter bombs. The package was developed to let the gunship identify friendlies and targets at night and in adverse weather.
The upgraded AC-130J “Ghostrider” is currently in the test phase and is slated to replace the AC-130H “Spectre,” AC-130U “Spooky,” and the AC-130W “Stinger II.”
With sophisticated sensors and electronics, the plane is a favorite among ground troops in need of close air support. The AC-130 was used extensively over the skies of Fallujah in 2004, where a reporter embedded with the Marines there remarked: “It’s the air power that really [tipped] the balance towards the Marines.”
Destiny Monique is a Marine Corps veteran who used her military experience to break into modeling and acting. She has appeared in tons of magazines domestically and abroad and now owns her own modeling company.
In this Spotlight episode, Marine Corps veteran turned professional photographer Cedric Terrell tells Destiny Monique’s unusual transition story.
Destiny spent four years in the Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, with her service also taking her to Iraq and Kuwait. When she entered the acting and modeling industry, she knew that there was plenty of competition. So she used her military resume to her advantage, and booked plenty of magazine spreads, taking her as far as Spain, over the following years.
She took her experience with her career to start a company called Models for America. With her modeling network, she photographs models for trading cards and posters and sells the works online, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.
Designed by a former toy maker, the Black Hornet UAV fits in a human palm and weighs the same as three pieces of paper. But don’t be fooled by its size. It has impressive capabilities as a reconnaissance drone, which is why Special Forces and U.S. infantry have begun testing it.
The tiny drone feeds surprisingly clear video to the pilot from as far as kilometer away and can bear different sensors including thermal cameras for night assaults. The video is stored on the small user station on the operator’s belt, so enemies lucky enough to catch the Hornet will not be able to see what video the pilot has captured.
See this amazing little drone in action in this video: