Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Behavior Of Harvester Ants As They Forage For Food Mirrors The Protocols That Control Traffic On The Internet.
Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, has been studying ants for more than 20 years. When she figured out how the harvester ant colonies she had been observing in Arizona decided when to send out more ants to get food, she called across campus to Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford and an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network. At first he didn’t see any overlap between his and Gordon’s work, but inspiration would strike soon.
“The next day it occurred to me, ‘Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file!’” Prabhakar says. ”The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol.”
Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, is an algorithm that manages data congestion on the Internet, and as such was integral in allowing the early web to scale up from a few dozen nodes to the billions in use today. Here’s how it works: As a source, A, transfers a file to a destination, B, the file is broken into numbered packets. When B receives each packet, it sends an acknowledgment, or an ant, to A, that the packet arrived.
This feedback loop allows TCP to run congestion avoidance: If ants return at a slower rate than the data was sent out, that indicates that there is little bandwidth available, and the source throttles data transmission down accordingly. If ants return quickly, the source boosts its transmission speed. The process determines how much bandwidth is available and throttles data transmission accordingly.
It turns out that harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) behave nearly the same way when searching for food. Gordon has found that the rate at which harvester ants—which forage for seeds as individuals—leave the nest to search for food corresponds to food availability.
A forager won’t return to the nest until it finds food. If seeds are plentiful, foragers return faster, and more ants leave the nest to forage. If, however, ants begin returning empty handed, the search is slowed, and perhaps called off.
Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food—i.e., bandwidth—available. Gordon’s experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon’s experiments.
“Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they’ve been doing it for millions of years,” Prabhakar says.
They also found that the ants followed two other phases of TCP. One phase is known as slow start, which describes how a source sends out a large wave of packets at the beginning of a transmission to gauge bandwidth; similarly, when the harvester ants begin foraging, they send out foragers to scope out food availability before scaling up or down the rate of outgoing foragers.
Another protocol, called time-out, occurs when a data transfer link breaks or is disrupted, and the source stops sending packets. Similarly, when foragers are prevented from returning to the nest for more than 20 minutes, no more foragers leave the nest.
Prabhakar says that had this discovery been made in the 1970s, before TCP was written, harvester ants very well could have influenced the design of the Internet.
Gordon thinks that scientists have just scratched the surface for how ant colony behavior could help us in the design of networked systems.
There are 11,000 species of ants, living in every habitat and dealing with every type of ecological problem, Gordon says. “Ants have evolved ways of doing things that we haven’t thought up, but could apply in computer systems. Computationally speaking, each ant has limited capabilities, but the collective can perform complex tasks.
“So ant algorithms have to be simple, distributed, and scalable—the very qualities that we need in large engineered distributed systems,” she says. “I think as we start understanding more about how species of ants regulate their behavior, we’ll find many more useful applications for network algorithms.”
The work is published in the Aug. 23 issue of PLoS Computational Biology.
Via: "Stanford University"
By Larry Pinkney,
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
—Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]
“We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children."
The late South African political activist Steve Biko correctly said that, “The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
The 21st century U.S. corporate-stream media has irrefutably proven this to be accurate. This media is both the bane and the deadly novocaine of the masses of everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation and worldwide.
The silence of the corporate-stream media as pertains to an honest critical historical and contemporary political and social analysis is both deliberate and criminal. The ordinary people of the United States are NOT the enemies of the ordinary peoples of the world. It is the corporate-controlled U.S. government and the U.S. corporate-stream that are the actual enemies of not only the world, but of everyday people in this nation itself.
The corporate gangs, i.e., the Crypts and the Bloods, otherwise known as the Democrats and Republicans, are the murderous bloodsuckers of this nation and of our Mother Earth as a whole! It is no mere coincidence that Comcast (51%) and the giant multi-national General Electric, weapons manufacturer, (49%) outright own NBC (the National Broadcasting Company). Yet, all of the the so-called ‘mainstream’ media is in fact not simply ‘sponsored’ by, but in reality, insidiously owned, by giant bloodsucking corporations. Wake up!
Despite the fact that there is a worldwide Internet, the U.S. corporate-government and their corporate partners are engaged in an intense daily battle to censor, control, and manipulate what we can find and read on it. Moreover, corporate-government ‘trolls’ infest the Internet, interfering with, distorting, and, thereby, subverting information on the Internet on a daily basis. Make no mistake about this. Due to this reality, whether you know it or not, it is a constant struggle to disseminate and share pertinent and crucial information in a timely fashion even on the Internet.
Expect nothing other than distortion, distraction, and manipulation from the corporate media, for that is why it exists!
As conscious people of goodwill, we must disregard the corporate-stream (so-called ‘mainstream’) media. We cannot plead ignorance in this regard. STOP being manipulated by this corporate media. Stop going for the ghost! Grow up and regain your humanity! Make the only relevant media that of everyday people from ordinary, everyday sources; not CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, FOX, PBS, etc.!
It is time for a revolution of the mind—a revolution of consciousness!
Via: "The Intrepid Report"
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Israel's Nuclear Weapons Render It Ineligible For US Aid
Grant Smith writes in "Anti-War",
Grant Smith writes in "Anti-War",
Majed al-Muhammad, the commander of a Syrian antigovernment fighting group, offered a warning to the West now commonly heard among fighters seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad:
The Syrian people are being radicalized by a combination of a grinding conflict and their belief that they have been abandoned by a watching world.If the West continues to turn its back on Syria’s suffering, he said, Syrians will turn their backs in return, and this may imperil Western interests and security at one of the crossroads of the Middle East."
This is a theme that has resonated in recent days, not just in Syria, but in Turkey, there is a growing sense of frustration shared by the Syrian rebels that the West, the United States in particular, called for Mr. Assad to leave power, only to sit quietly on the sidelines as the crisis transformed into a bloody civil war.
“We are now at a very critical juncture,” wrote Melih Asik in the Turkish newspaper Milliyet. “We are not only facing Syria, but Iran, Iraq, Russia and China behind it as well. Behind us, we have nothing but the provocative stance and empty promises of the U.S.”
Wearied by violence, heading into another winter of fighting, and enraged by what they see as the inaction and hypocrisy of powerful nations, frontline leaders of the rebellion say that the West risks losing a potential ally in the Middle East if the Assad government should fall.
The corollary is frequently sounded, too: The West may be gaining enemies where it might have found friends. As anger grows, armed groups opposed to the United States may grow in numbers and stature, too.
“The United Nations and international community are making a big mistake,” said Ghassan Abdul Wahib, 43, a truck driver and now a leader in Kafr Takharim, a village in the north. “By letting this be a long war, they are dragging Syria toward radicalism, and they will suffer from this for a long time.”
“We haven’t received anything from the outside,” said Thayar, a member of the ad hoc governing body in Kafr Takharim known as the revolutionary council. (He asked that his last name be withheld to protect him and his family from retaliation.) “We read in the media that we are receiving things. But we haven’t seen it. We only received speeches from the West.”
Mr. Wahib, the leader in Kafr Takharim, dismissed the discussions in the United Nations as a choreographed show.
“The whole world is now trying to destroy Syria,” he said. “The international community knows that Assad is dead, but they want war so it destroys Syria and puts us back 100 years. In this way, Israel will be safe.”
“The United Nations,” he added, “is a partner in destroying Syria.”
Via: "The New York Times"
“Innocence Of Muslims”
Free Speech Or Incitement?
Simmering Resentment “The Safeguard Of Justice”
US Ideals Of Peace Justifying ConflictTo speak with solemnity and shock, calling for justice against the perpetrators of violence as US officials have, is expected and indeed right, albeit hypocritical. In order to create peace, it is necessary to remove the causes of conflict, in this case those causes are complex and not confined to one poorly-made and deeply offensive film. It is offensive, let us add, not just to Muslims, who are understandably enraged, but to all right-minded men and women respectful and tolerant of others’ beliefs and cultures.
Monday, October 29, 2012
By Peter Jenkins,
North Korea is sitting atop enough plutonium for perhaps a dozen nuclear weapons. Two underground nuclear tests have shown that the North Koreans are able to put together nuclear devices, though experts surmise that these are still somewhat rudimentary.
North Korea has also acquired the capacity to enrich uranium. Western experts have seen a relatively small enrichment plant at the main DPRK nuclear research centre. There has been speculation that there exists a larger plant deep within the mountains in the North of the country.
Iran has no plutonium. Iran has so far shown no sign of wanting to enrich this material to the 90% level required for weapons. The Iranians are not suspected of having conducted nuclear tests; they may not be capable of assembling a workable nuclear explosive device.
North Korea expelled the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the end of 2002, and has only allowed them back in for a brief period since. Over the last ten years no state has received as many IAEA inspections as Iran, whose two enrichment plants were declared to the IAEA before they started to operate.
North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in early 2003, having failed to correct the nuclear safeguards non-compliance declared by the IAEA in 1993. Iran corrected its pre-2004 safeguards failures within two years of their discovery; it expressed regret over these transgressions; and ever since it has affirmed the fullest of commitments to the NPT, to which it became a party fifteen years before the DPRK.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are viewed as a threat by two of the US’s most valuable allies: Japan and South Korea (the ROK). These two allies are crucial to the US’s defence of its strategic interests in the Western Pacific. In the event of hostilities between the US and China (heaven forefend!) Japan would offer the US vital staging facilities, akin to those the US would have enjoyed in the UK if the US needed to go to war on the European mainland.