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Opinion | Dealing With China Isn’t Worth the Moral Cost
Oct. 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

We thought economic growth and technology would liberate China. Instead, it corrupted us.

The People’s Republic of China is the largest, most powerful and arguably most brutal totalitarian state in the world. It denies basic human rights to all of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens. There is no freedom of speech, thought, assembly, religion, movement or any semblance of political liberty in China. Under Xi Jinping, “president for life,” the CCP has built the most technologically sophisticated repression machine the world has ever seen. In Xinjiang, in Western China, the government is using technology to mount a cultural genocide against the Muslim Uighur minority that is even more total than the one it carried out in Tibet. Human rights experts say that more than a million people are being held in detention camps in Xinjiang, two million more are in forced “re-education,” and everyone else is invasively surveilled via ubiquitous cameras, artificial intelligence and other high-tech means.

None of this is a secret. Under Xi, China has grown markedly more Orwellian;......Why do we give China a pass? In a word: capitalism. Because for 40 years, the West’s relationship with China has been governed by a strategic error the dimensions of which are only now coming into horrific view.......A parade of American presidents on the left and the right argued that by cultivating China as a market — hastening its economic growth and technological sophistication while bringing our own companies a billion new workers and customers — we would inevitably loosen the regime’s hold on its people....the West’s entire political theory about China has been spectacularly wrong. China has engineered ferocious economic growth in the past half century, lifting hundreds of millions of its citizens out of miserable poverty. But China’s growth did not come at any cost to the regime’s political chokehold....It is also now routinely corrupting the rest of us outside of China......the N.B.A.’s hasty and embarrassing apology this week after Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, tweeted — and quickly deleted — a message in support of Hong Kong’s protesters......The N.B.A. is far from the first American institution to accede to China’s limits on liberty. Hollywood, large tech companies and a variety of consumer brands — from Delta to Zara — have been more than willing to play ball. The submission is spreading: .....This sort of corporate capitulation is hardly surprising. For Western companies, China is simply too big and too rich a market to ignore, let alone to pressure or to police. .....it will only get worse from here, and we are fools to play this game. There is a school of thought that says America should not think of China as an enemy. With its far larger population, China’s economy will inevitably come to eclipse ours, but that is hardly a mortal threat. In climate change, the world faces a huge collective-action problem that will require global cooperation. According to this view, treating China like an adversary will only frustrate our own long-term goals......this perspective leaves out the threat that greater economic and technological integration with China poses to everyone outside of China. It ignores the ever-steeper capitulation that China requires of its partners. And it overlooks the most important new factor in the Chinese regime’s longevity: the seductive efficiency that technology offers to effect a breathtaking new level of control over its population......Through online surveillance, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and the propagandistic gold mine of social media, China has mobilized a set of tools that allow it to invisibly, routinely repress its citizens and shape political opinion by manipulating their feelings and grievances on just about any controversy.....Chinese-style tech-abetted surveillance authoritarianism could become a template for how much of the world works.
adversaries  artificial_intelligence  authoritarianism  brands  capitalism  capitulation  China  China_rising  Chinese_Communist_Party  climate_change  collective_action  cultural_genocide  decoupling  despots  errors  facial_recognition  Farhad_Manjoo  freedom  Hollywood  Hong_Kong  human_rights  influence  NBA  op-ed  Orwell  propaganda  repression  self-corruption  surveillance  surveillance_authoritarianism  technology  threats  Tibet  totalitarianism  tyranny  Uyghurs  unintended_consequences  values  Xi_Jinping 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
How to Get the Best From Your Immune System - Smarter Living Guides
2019 | The New York Times | By Matt Richtel.

**“An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System.”"

The immune system is much less about exercising power than it is about finding balance. You can help train and maintain it. Here’s how:
(A) What Is the Immune System?
Our great defense system helps ward off the most dangerous of invaders......It is a common misconception that the immune system goes to war with every foreign organism. That would lead to scorched earth, nuclear winter. Instead, the job of the immune system is to take stock, monitor, assess and judge potential threats...if an invader is deemed a threat, the immune system has a narrow job: destroy the threat while doing as little collateral damage as possible. This response from the immune system is called “inflammation.” .....inflammation can feel like a stuffy nose, sore throat, tummy ache, fever, fatigue or headache. Yes, the symptoms of an immune response feel lousy, but you must suffer a little to keep the rest of your body healthy over the long term. And for your health and daily well-being, the key is to keep your immune system from underperforming or getting out of hand.
(B) IT’S ABOUT BALANCE
The immune system, often seen as a ruthless defender, seeks a steady state, not a police state.....a fiercely delicate combination of a bouncer and a ballet dancer. In fact, many molecules in this complex system are designed to send a signal that it should withdraw, pause an attack and stand down. Without these molecules, the state of inflammation that helps destroy threats would lay your body to waste..... Instead of boosting your immune system, you should be supporting it. And you should try to never undermine its delicate structures.
(C) The Immune System and the Beast
Let's take a moment to understand how (and why) our immune system acts in the face of a threat.....Our immune system took shape roughly 480 million years ago. All jawed vertebrates going back to the shark share its key properties. One property is priority setting.....an acute threat, e.g. a lion attack, the body’s network focuses wholly on that threat....the body goes into an emergency state known colloquially as “fight or flight.” During these periods, the body fires off powerful chemicals, including:

Epinephrine, which creates a kind of high for the body to subvert fatigue.
Norepinephrine, which also helps to subvert fatigue.
Cortisol, which helps the body maintain essential functions, like blood flow.

When these hormones are at work, we can feel generally O.K.,but .... the release of these fight-or-flight hormones dampens our immune response. ...it causes the immune system to withdraw.
(D) WHY THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITHDRAWS
During times of real, acute stress — like threat of being eaten by a lion — our bodies can ill afford to waste resources dealing with illness. Viruses and bacteria, while dangerous, pale in comparison to the gigantic beast with razor-sharp teeth chasing us across the savannah. In that moment, our body needs all our energy, non-essential functions be damned. Step one: survive lion. Step two: deal with head cold.
(E) Sleep Is a Magic Bullet
Both you and your immune system need rest. ...If you don’t sleep, you will die — sooner. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to premature death through diseases like cancer and heart disease, and the reasons have everything to do with the immune system,
(F) SLEEP KEEPS YOUR SYSTEM IN BALANCE
This might sound contradictory. How can sleep can weaken the immune system, but also lead to inflammation?

Your immune system does not work as a binary system. It is not either on or off. It is made up of many molecules that send different signals, some urging inflammation and others restraining it. Your goal is to create an environment that doesn’t require your immune system to lose its natural balance.

Sleeplessness tips your immune system out of balance, hinders homeostasis, and turns the once elegant system into reckless pinballs of powerful molecules bouncing off your body’s bumper rails, and sometimes through them.

More concretely, it is a hard pill to swallow knowing there is no pill to swallow. The most important steps to support your immune system require discipline and habit.
(G) Exercise, Food and Meditation
Ward off illness with these three staples of a healthy body. ...the best things you can do for yourself when you’re sick are rest, eat well, don’t turn little things into lions, and remember that your immune system, if given your support, will likely do a darn good job of keeping you at harmony with the world.
allergies  bacteria  books  defensive_tactics  exercise  food  habits  homeostasis  howto  immune_system  inflammation  meditation  mens'_health  mindfulness  priorities  self-discipline  sleep  sleeplessness  steady-state  threats  viruses 
june 2019 by jerryking
China is changing the geopolitical climate. Canada has to mitigate, and adapt
MAY 16, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | EDITORIAL.

So what’s Canada to do? In the long run, Canadian governments dealing with Beijing need to keep four things in mind.

China is more threat than opportunity. Unlike our other major trading partners, China is not a democratic, rule-of-law country. There was once hope China could behave as a rule-of-law country internationally, even as it remained a dictatorship at home. There was also a belief that China’s economic advances would lead to an opening up of its political system. That hasn’t happened. If anything, the Xi Jinping regime is turning back the clock on individual freedoms.

That lack of Chinese political liberalization is at the root of what is fast turning into a new Cold War. Among the problems: In a world of liberalized trade, the rules end up benefiting the totalitarian state, since its companies can access the protections of our legal system, while our companies are subject to perfectly legal shakedowns in China.

China is not our enemy. But it is not our friend. There was once a fantasy that friendship would be as easy as establishing personal connections with Beijing’s ruling circle. They would surely melt at the mention of the sainted memory of Norman Bethune, the Canadian physician who followed Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic and murderer of millions.

Mao wasn’t a sentimental man and neither are his heirs.

To counterbalance China, we need allies. Canada has long worked to build multilateral alliances to give us a bit of leverage when dealing with our giant neighbour, the United States. The giant across the ocean presents a similar, but more troubling, challenge. The good news is we have natural allies. That list includes the U.S., at least in the post-Trump world. It includes the European Union. And it includes China’s worried democratic neighbours: Japan and South Korea.

We need to avoid becoming trade-dependent on China. We have natural allies who want to do likewise. That’s what the Trans-Pacific Partnership was supposed to be about. That’s what pursuing greater and freer trade with Japan and South Korea is about.

Canada should never aim to shut down trade with China. But we have to make sure the future doesn’t leave us without room to manoeuvre, or to push back.
adaptability  bullying  Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  China_rising  delusions  disillusioned  editorials  geopolitics  hostages  Huawei  kidnappings  Meng_Wanzhou  multilateralism  predatory_practises  reprisals  rogue_actors  threats  totalitarian  TPP  Xi_Jinping 
may 2019 by jerryking
US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
=============================================
here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97 - The New York Times
By Julian E. Barnes
March 26, 2019

Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon strategist who helped shape U.S. military thinking on the Soviet Union, China and other global competitors for more than four decades, has died. He was 97. Mr. Marshall, as director of the Office of Net Assessment, was the secretive futurist of the Pentagon, a long-range thinker who prodded and inspired secretaries of defense and high-level policymakers.......Marshall was revered in the DoD as a mysterious Yoda-like figure who embodied an exceptionally long institutional memory.......... Marshall's view of China as a potential strategic adversary, an idea now at the heart of national defense strategy....Through his many hires and Pentagon grants..... Mr. Marshall trained a coterie of experts and strategists in Washington and beyond.....he cultivated thinking that looked beyond the nation’s immediate problems and sought to press military leaders to approach long-term challenges differently......His gift was the framing of the question, the discovery of the critical question..... always picking the least studied and most strategically significant subjects....Marshall’s career as a strategic thinker began in 1949 at the RAND Corporation, where his theory of competitive strategies took root. Borrowing from business school theories of how corporations compete against each other, Mr. Marshall argued that nations are also in strategic competition with one another. “His favorite example was if you can pit your strengths against someone else’s weakness and get them to respond in a way that makes them weaker and weaker, you can put them out of business without ever fighting,”....He had early insight into the economic troubles the Soviet Union was having, and helped develop strategies to exacerbate those problems and help bring about the demise of the Soviet Union....In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
adversaries  assessments_&_evaluations  China  China_rising  classified  economists  éminence_grise  future  futurists  inspiration  institutional_memory  long-range  long-term  obituaries  Pentagon  policymakers  problem_framing  RAND  rising_powers  Robert_Gates  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  threats  trailblazers  uChicago 
march 2019 by jerryking
CIBC’s Victor Dodig warns about global debt levels; urges Canada to prepare
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | by JAMES BRADSHAW (BANKING REPORTER)

Who/Where/Occasion: CIBC's CEO Victor Dodig, in a speech to the Empire Club

Problem(s):
* alarm over rising global debt levels, warning that Canada needs to start preparing now for the next economic shock.
* some of the most acute threats to the global economy are beyond this country’s control, but cautioned Canadians not to get too comfortable while times are good.
* developing problems could ripple through interwoven financial markets around the world.
* “It sounds counterintuitive, but that same debt that helped the world recover is actually infusing risk into the global financial system today," ...“I think there’s a real serious global challenge of this low-interest-rate party developing a big hangover."

Remedies:
* clarify rules around foreign direct investment, which is falling in Canada. The main culprit is the uncertainty plaguing large business deals that require approval from Ottawa under opaque foreign-investment rules – and he cites the turmoil surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as an example.
* more immigration to Canada, asking the government – which has already set higher immigration targets for the coming years – to open its arms even wider.
* governments and employers to work more closely with universities and colleges to match the skills graduates have to employers' needs, promoting what are known as the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – as well as skilled trades.
* remove interprovincial trade barriers.
* allow companies to expense capital investments within one year to be more competitive with U.S. rules.

My Takeaways:
CEOs  CIBC  debt  FDI  global_economy  interconnections  interest_rates  opacity  pipelines  resilience  speeches  uncertainty  Victor_Dodig  war_for_talent  threats  beyond_one's_control  complacency  preparation  financial_system  readiness 
september 2018 by jerryking
Firms That Bossed Agriculture for a Century Face New Threat: Farmers - WSJ
August 15, 2018 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

On any given day, Cargill’s global network may handle up to 20% of the world’s food supply, company officials estimate. Crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and canola remain the fuel for much of the empire.

“It’s the root of the Cargill company,” said Marcel Smits, Cargill’s chief financial officer. Still, he said, “it’s clear that everybody in the industry has had a difficult time over the past few years.”

Among the shifts: low crop prices, farmers with more capacity to store their grain and competition for crops from livestock operations and ethanol plants. Venture capital-backed startups are developing services that scan a wider range of grain buyers or connect farmers directly with food makers.

From 2012 to 2017, Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s ADM -0.33% profits in its grain merchandising and handling division fell 39%. Profits from Bunge Ltd.’s BG -0.26% similar agribusiness division dropped 76%. Cargill’s annual profits fell three out of those years, and the company has pointed to struggles in its own grain business as a factor......

A deeper technology effort is advancing inside Cargill’s corporate campus west of Minneapolis, where Justin Kershaw, the company’s chief information officer, is overseeing a multimillion-dollar investment in data science. The company is hiring technicians and building a “digital labs” unit that can knit together satellite imagery, weather-sensor data and artificial intelligence to get an early read on creeping droughts and places where foodstuffs may run short, he said.

Cargill expects the data-crunching unit to show how the company can run its own trading and logistics operations more profitably, Mr. Kershaw said. But Cargill also will use it to develop crop-planning and futures-market services for farmers.
ADM  agriculture  Bunge  Cargill  commodities  consolidation  grains  farming  threats  food_crops  informational_advantages 
august 2018 by jerryking
Trudeau urged to probe Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s role in Canada - The Globe and Mail
ROBERT FIFE , SEAN SILCOFF AND STEVEN CHASE
OTTAWA
PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2018

Andy Ellis, now chief executive of ICEN Group, said the Prime Minister should assemble a team of deputy ministers and top security officials to examine what − if any − threat that Huawei poses in its drive to scoop up and patent 5G technology that draws heavily on the work of Canadian academics.

“If I was Mr. Trudeau, I would say I want all of you in the intelligence community to tell me the length and breadth of what is going on here and to recommend to me some actions that mitigate it … [and] if we are at risk,” he said in an interview Sunday.
5G  Canada  Canadian  security_&_intelligence  telecommunications  China  Chinese  cyber_security  Justin_Trudeau  Huawei  intellectual_property  threats  patents  Colleges_&_Universities 
may 2018 by jerryking
What Keeps Xi Jinping Awake at Night - The New York Times
By Chris Buckley and Paul Mozur

May 11, 2018

The recently released 272-page book of Mr. Xi’s remarks on “national security” includes previously unreleased comments that give a starker view of the president’s motivations than found in most Communist Party propaganda. Here is a selection.

Winning the Technology Race
The recent trade dispute between China and the United States has brought new attention to China’s zeal to become technologically self-reliant. The book shows that Mr. Xi was determined that China master its own microchips, operating systems and other core technologies well before this recent quarrel.

Taming the Internet
Since the introduction of the internet, Chinese Communist Party leaders have worried about its deployment as a means of subversion and spying. A speech on propaganda that Mr. Xi gave in August 2013 suggested he was alarmed by the United States’ surveillance capabilities that were exposed by Edward Snowden.

Racing for a Military Edge
China has been spending heavily to upgrade its military. In a December 2014 speech, though, Mr. Xi warned Chinese military officials that they risked being eclipsed technologically by the United States.

Hidden Financial Risks
China’s leadership has become increasingly forthright about the need to defuse financial risks from growing debt, and comments Mr. Xi made in December 2016 explain why.

Unrest Over Pollution
Mr. Xi has stepped up the Chinese government’s efforts to reduce smog, soil contamination and other pollution. Remarks that Mr. Xi made in May 2013, when China was in the midst of a smog crisis, showed how alarmed he was about public anger and protests, which Chinese officials call “mass incidents.”
Xi_Jinping  China  China_rising  threats  Edward_Snowden  security_&_intelligence  self-reliance  books  Chinese_Communist_Party  financial_risk  subversion  semiconductors  operating_systems  pollution 
may 2018 by jerryking
BlackRock co-founder warns on complacency over Chinese tech
Owen Walker in Davos 2 HOURS AGO

“Apple was not in the music industry, Google was not in the mobile phone industry and Amazon was not in the groceries business — until they were,” he said. “Tech companies are going to enter the financial services market in a very, very aggressive way.” 

Ant Financial’s sprawling portfolio of businesses includes one of the world’s biggest credit scoring systems, a bank, an insurer and a lending platform for small businesses. It was reported last week by the FT and other news organisations that Ant Financial is seeking to raise at least $9bn in its latest private fundraising ahead of an initial public offering....“You have to expect there will be a threat from [Chinese] technology companies to financial services,” ....“But I would say Amazon is equally a threat to doing that.” 
BlackRock  Ant_Financial  complacency  threats  disruption  Alibaba  asset_management  financial_services 
april 2018 by jerryking
China set up crime web in Canada, report says - The Globe and Mail
ANDREW MITROVICA AND JEFF SALLOT
Toronto and Ottawa — ANDREW MITROVICA and JEFF SALLOT The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 29, 2000 12:00AM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Mar. 21, 2009
security_&_intelligence  China  organized_crime  threats  espionage  collaboration  CSIS  RCMP 
march 2017 by jerryking
How to avert catastrophe
January 21, 2017 | FT | Simon Kuper.

an argument: people make bad judgments and terrible predictions. It’s a timely point. The risk of some kind of catastrophe — armed conflict, natural disaster, and/or democratic collapse — appears to have risen. The incoming US president has talked about first use of nuclear weapons, and seems happy to let Russia invade nearby countries. Most other big states are led by militant nationalists. Meanwhile, the polar ice caps are melting fast. How can we fallible humans avert catastrophe?

• You can’t know which catastrophe will happen, but expect that any day some catastrophe could. In Tversky’s words: “Surprises are expected.” Better to worry than die blasé. Mobilise politically to forestall catastrophe.
• Don’t presume that future catastrophes will repeat the forms of past catastrophes. However, we need to expand our imaginations. The next catastrophe may take an unprecedented form.
• Don’t follow the noise. Some catastrophes unfold silently: climate change, or people dying after they lose their jobs or their health insurance. (The financial crisis was associated with about 260,000 extra deaths from cancer in developed countries alone, estimated a study in The Lancet.)
• Ignore banalities. We now need to stretch and bore ourselves with important stuff.
• Strengthen democratic institutions.
• Strengthen the boring, neglected bits of the state that can either prevent or cause catastrophe. [See Why boring government matters November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.
The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages. pinboard tag " sovereign-risk" ]
• Listen to older people who have experienced catastrophes. [jk....wisdom]
• Be conservative. [jk...be conservative, be discerning, be picky, be selective, say "no"]
Simon_Kuper  catastrophes  Nassim_Taleb  black_swan  tips  surprises  imagination  noise  silence  conservatism  natural_calamities  threats  unglamorous  democratic_institutions  slowly_moving  elder_wisdom  apocalypses  disasters  disaster_preparedness  emergencies  boring  disaster_myopia  financial_crises  imperceptible_threats 
january 2017 by jerryking
What Is the President’s Daily Brief? - The New York Times
By CHARLIE SAVAGEDEC. 12, 2016

The President’s Daily Brief is a summary of high-level intelligence and analysis about global hot spots and national security threats written by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While the intelligence community produces many reports and assessments, the P.D.B. is written specifically for the president and his top advisers....The intelligence community tailors the P.D.B. to each president’s interests and style of absorbing information. At times, the briefing has included a “deep dive” into a specific question that a president may have asked or information that briefers believed he needed to know, such as the early August 2001 briefing Mr. Bush received at his Texas ranch reporting that Osama Bin Laden was determined to strike inside the United States. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Mr. Bush received a supplement called the “threat matrix,” which listed more detailed intelligence about potential terrorist plans. Under Mr. Obama, the brief has taken on some new topics and different forms, including a periodic update on cyberthreats against the United States. ....getting the briefing every day is not strictly necessary, especially if Mr. Trump delegates substantial amounts of authority to his subordinates. But they stress that regular briefings are still important because it is helpful in a fast-moving crisis if a president already has a baseline of knowledge about topics, such as a foreign leader’s thinking and military abilities. Also, briefings permit a president to quiz briefers on inconsistencies and questions of fact or interpretation that form the basis for the most important national security decisions — those only the president can make.
cyberthreats  PDB  security_&_intelligence  CIA  memoranda  White_House  hotspots  threats  ODNI  baselines  inconsistencies  interpretation  decision_making 
december 2016 by jerryking
What Can the Next President Do About Russia? - WSJ
By ROBERT D. KAPLAN
Updated Oct. 16, 2016

Of the two great autocratic powers in Eurasia, Russia is emerging as a greater short-term threat than China. The Chinese hope to gradually dominate the waters off the Asian mainland without getting into a shooting war with the U.S. Yet while Beijing’s aggression is cool, Moscow’s is hot....Russia’s economic situation is much worse than China’s, and so the incentive of its leaders to dial up nationalism is that much greater. But the larger factor, one that Western elites have trouble understanding, cannot be quantified: A deeply embedded sense of historical insecurity makes Russian aggression crude, brazen, bloodthirsty and risk-prone. ....How does the U.S. build leverage on the ground, from the Baltic Sea to the Syrian desert, that puts America in a position where negotiations with Russia can make a strategic difference?....

For without the proper geopolitical context, the secretary of state is a missionary, not a diplomat. ...In the cyber domain the U.S. has not sufficiently drawn red lines. What kind of Russian hacking will result in either a proportionate, or even disproportionate, punitive response? The Obama administration seems to be proceeding ad hoc, as it has done with Russia policy in general. The next administration, along with projecting military force throughout the Russian near abroad, will have to project force in cyberspace, too.
Russia  Vladimir_Putin  Robert_Kaplan  threats  deterrence  nationalism  Baltics  NATO  U.S.foreign_policy  leverage  geopolitics  log_rolling  diplomacy  realism  balance_of_power  realpolitik  cyber_warfare  autocracies  insecurity  hacking  maritime  punitive  retribution  retaliation  South_China_Sea  ad_hoc  red_lines  China  autocrats 
october 2016 by jerryking
U.S. Cyber Command Chief on What Threats to Fear the Most - WSJ
June 19, 2016 | WSJ |

But the types of threats that we worry most about today that are new are adversaries taking full control of our networks, losing control of our networks, having a hacker appear to be a trusted user......MS. BLUMENSTEIN: Extraordinary investments are required now for cybersecurity. But looked at another way, there’s an extraordinary cost to getting it wrong.

I was talking to one of the CFOs out there who said, “Can you ask, what is the estimated loss?” Is there a total number? Or do you just know specific incidences?

On the military side, you can imagine the difficulty that would cause a commander, if he didn’t trust his own network or his data.
adversaries  cyber_security  cyber_warfare  threats  North_Korea  ISIS  network_risk  capabilities  Russia  China  Sony  data  Pentagon  U.S._Cyber_Command  cyberattacks 
june 2016 by jerryking
The Chinese Hackers in the Back Office - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTHJUNE 11, 2016
a murky and much hyped emerging industry in selling intelligence about attack groups like the C0d0s0 group. Until recently, companies typically adopted a defensive strategy of trying to make their networks as impermeable as possible in hopes of repelling attacks. Today, so-called threat intelligence providers sell services that promise to go on the offensive. They track hackers, and for annual fees that can climb into the seven figures, they try to spot and thwart attacks before they happen.
China  hackers  cyber_security  data_breaches  pre-emption  security_&_intelligence  threats  offensive_tactics  threat_intelligence  back-office 
june 2016 by jerryking
The path to enlightenment and profit starts inside the office
(Feb. 2, 2016): The Financial Times | John Thornhill.

Competition used to be easy. That is in theory, if not always in practice. Until recently, most competent companies had a clear idea of who their rivals were, how to compete and on what field to fight.

One of the starkest - and scariest - declarations of competitive intent came from Komatsu, the Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, in the 1970s. As employees trooped into work they would walk over doormats exhorting: "Kill Caterpillar!". Companies benchmarked their operations and market share against their competitors to see where they stood.

But that strategic clarity has blurred in so many industries today to the point of near-invisibility thanks to the digital revolution and globalisation. Flying blind, companies seem happier to cut costs and buy back their shares than to invest purposefully for the future. Take the European telecommunications sector. Not long ago most telecoms companies were national monopolies with little, or no, competition. Today, it is hard to predict where the next threat is going to erupt.

WhatsApp, the California-based messaging service, was founded in 2009 and only registered in most companies' consciousness when it was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn in 2014. Yet in its short life WhatsApp has taken huge bites out of the lucrative text messaging markets. Today, WhatsApp has close to 1bn users sending 30bn messages a day. The global SMS text messaging market is just 20bn a day.

Car manufacturers are rapidly wising up to the threat posed by new generation tech firms, such as Tesla, Google and Uber, all intent on developing "apps on wheels". Chinese and Indian companies, little heard of a few years ago, are bouncing out of their own markets to emerge as bold global competitors.

As the driving force of capitalism , competition gives companies a purpose, a mission and a sense of direction. But how can companies compete in such a shape-shifting environment? There are perhaps two (partial) answers.

The first is to do everything to understand the technological changes that are transforming the world, to identify the threats and opportunities early.

Gavin Patterson , chief executive of BT, the British telecoms group, says one of the functions of corporate leaders is to scan the horizon as never before. "As a CEO you have to be on the bridge looking outwards, looking for signs that something is happening, trying to anticipate it before it becomes a danger."

To that end, BT has opened innovation "scouting teams" in Silicon Valley and Israel, and tech partnerships with universities in China, the US, Abu Dhabi, India and the UK.

But even if you foresee the danger, it does not mean you can deal with it. After all, Kodak invented the first digital camera but failed to exploit the technology. The incentive structures of many companies are to minimise risk rather than maximise opportunity. Innovation is often a young company's game.

The second answer is that companies must look as intensively inwards as they do outwards (e.g. opposing actions). Well-managed companies enjoy many advantages: strong brands, masses of consumer data, valuable historic data sets, networks of smart people and easy access to capital. But what is often lacking is the ambition that marks out the new tech companies, their ability to innovate rapidly and their extraordinary connection with consumers. In that sense, the main competition of so many established companies lies within their own organisations.

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, constantly urges his employees to keep being radical. In his Founders' Letter of 2013, he warned that companies tend to grow comfortable doing what they have always done and only ever make incremental change. "This . . . leads to irrelevance over time," he wrote.

Google operates a 70/20/10 rule where employees are encouraged to spend 70 per cent of their time on their core business, 20 per cent on working with another team and 10 per cent on moonshots. How many traditional companies focus so much on radical ventures?

Vishal Sikka, chief executive of the Indian IT group Infosys, says that internal constraints can often be far more damaging than external threats. "The traditional definition of competition is irrelevant. We are increasingly competing against ourselves," he says.

Quoting Siddhartha by the German writer Hermann Hesse, Mr Sikka argues that companies remain the masters of their own salvation whatever the market pressures: "Knowledge can be communicated. Wisdom cannot." He adds: "Every company has to find its own unique wisdom." [This wisdom reference is reminiscent of Paul Graham's advice to do things that don't scale].

john.thornhill@ft.com
ambitions  brands  breakthroughs  BT  bureaucracies  competition  complacency  constraints  Fortune_500  incentives  incrementalism  Infosys  innovation  introspection  irrelevance  large_companies  LBMA  messaging  mission-driven  Mondelez  moonshots  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  outward_looking  Paul_Graham  peripheral_vision  radical  risk-avoidance  scouting  smart_people  start_ups  staying_hungry  tacit_knowledge  technological_change  threats  uniqueness  unscalability  weaknesses  WhatsApp  wisdom  digital_cameras  digital_revolution  historical_data 
april 2016 by jerryking
Carney, Bloomberg press for climate-change risk disclosure guidelines - The Globe and Mail
SHAWN MCCARTHY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 04, 2015

Mr. Bloomberg will lead a task force that will develop voluntary financial risk disclosure guidelines that will ensure consistent information for investors, lenders, insurers and other stakeholders....In a speech this fall at Lloyd’s of London insurance firm, Mr. Carney highlighted three types of threats: physical, or impacts from weather-related events such as floods, droughts and storms; liability issues arising from investors suing companies for failing to disclose risks or parties who suffer loss claiming compensation from those they hold responsible, and transition issues in which assets – especially fossil fuel reserves – are revalued due to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
climate_change  risks  Mark_Carney  Michael_Bloomberg  liabilities  threats  financial_risk  disclosure  valuations 
december 2015 by jerryking
Insurers look for new ways to cope with climate change - The Globe and Mail
SHAWN MCCARTHY - GLOBAL ENERGY REPORTER
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

Institute for Catastrophe Loss Reduction. Speeding up for extreme weather events......World leaders in Paris aren't the only ones trying to come up with a plan for dealing with climate change. Matt Galloway spoke with Gordon McBean. He is a research chair with the Institute for Catastrophe Loss Reduction.
insurance  climate_change  catastrophes  natural_calamities  threats  weather  Intact_Financial  uWaterloo  extremes 
november 2015 by jerryking
Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTH SEPT. 13, 2015

iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops....For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.

ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.

The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates.... iSight's services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel’s security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact.

ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools.

The analysts’ reports help clients — including 280 government agencies, as well as banks and credit-card, health care, retail and oil and gas companies — prioritize the most imminent and possibly destructive threats.

Security experts say the need for such intelligence has never been greater....the last thing an executive in charge of network security needs is more alerts, he said: “They don’t have time. They need human, actionable threat intelligence.”
cyber_security  security_&_intelligence  dark_web  hackers  intelligence_analysts  iSight  Symantec  threats  humint  spycraft  pre-emption  actionable_information  noise  threat_intelligence  left_of_the_boom  infiltration 
september 2015 by jerryking
Ebola isn’t the big threat. That’s still to come - The Globe and Mail
ANDRÉ PICARD
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Dec. 30 2014

What has helped rein in Ebola is good, old-fashioned infection-control measures pioneered by the likes of Florence Nightingale and James Lister, and gumshoe epidemiological work à la John Snow.

All these approaches date back to the 19th century, but they remain the backbone of tackling outbreaks of infectious disease, especially those like Ebola that spread principally in the health-care setting.

Just as importantly, all these tactics are local and hands-on, with Ebola reminding us that: 1) good public health must be community-based; 2) public-health measures are only effective if there is buy-in from health-care practitioners and the public alike and; 3) for that to occur, good communication is paramount....Ebola is a problem that is solvable. This outbreak actually can be snuffed out. It would be irresponsible to fail to do so and to allow Ebola to gain a more permanent foothold. The difficulties faced in controlling what should be – at least on paper – a relatively easy-to-control outbreak is humbling. It’s also a grim reminder that we’re still not ready for a pandemic that actually is a global threat.

Much work remains to be done in preparedness, education and, above all, in recognizing that in our interconnected world, there is no such thing as a distant threat any more.
threats  public_health  Ebola  flu_outbreaks  André_Picard  interconnections  pathogens  pandemics  19th_century  community-based 
december 2014 by jerryking
Sony needs to stop playing the victim - The Globe and Mail
MIA PEARSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 25 2014

2014 has us [that]...cyber attacks and hacking scandals are now a fact of life.

According to McAfee Labs 2015 Threat Predictions, cyber attacks will grow in frequency and range in 2015, and some experts believe 2015 could be the year a major company goes out of business because it failed to adequately prepare for a cyber attack.

Indeed, how your brand prepares for this new age of corporate cyber-terrorism could define your business....Sony’s real misstep has less to do with its decision to pull – and then subsequently green light – the movie, and more about their lack of leadership in place to handle this kind of situation. The strategy – or rather, lack thereof – conveyed little confidence or resilience to the public....Sony continues to play the victim card, but executives at the company only have themselves to blame for not clearly communicating the reasons for their decisions to the public and holding strong to that strategy.
crisis  crisis_management  data_breaches  hackers  cyberattacks  cyber_security  victimhood  Sony_Pictures  public_relations  Communicating_&_Connecting  threats  missteps  brands  preparation  frequency_and_severity 
december 2014 by jerryking
China will keep spying. Canada must respond with skill, not rhetoric - The Globe and Mail
DAVID MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jul. 31 2014

China uses its long reach for objectives other than espionage. It feels free to confront any Canadian who shows undue interest in “sensitive” topics. Members of Parliaments, mayors, academics and community leaders have been bullied for displaying interest in the Dalai Lama, conditions in China’s restive Xinjiang region, or the plight of Falun Gong practitioners.

This is unacceptable, but here’s the hard part: we can expect more of the same. A rising but insecure China will not shrink from clandestine and downright unfriendly tactics to advance its interests.

We need to be clear-eyed in facing up to this. But we also need to recognize that our future prosperity, security and well-being depend on maintaining our own intelligently self-interested relationship with China.

So let’s start by banishing the rhetoric. China is not our best friend, any more than it is the sum of all fears. We do need to acknowledge and address the real threat China poses to our security.

Government needs to lead the way, but Canadian companies also need to step up their game. Enhanced security consciousness starts at the top. There are all too many anecdotes about security minded employees being over-ruled by senior executives who are worried about offending inquisitive Chinese visitors. That exquisite sensitivity is never reciprocated when it is the turn of the Chinese to host foreign guests....The one thing that we should avoid doing is closing doors to co-operation. Unfortunately, that’s already happening, and companies on both sides of the Pacific are paying a price. The Chinese media are portraying the U.S. technology sector as a major security threat. This makes it fair game for overly zealous regulators, and plays into the longstanding Chinese inclination to make life tougher for foreign firms. This week, investigators descended on Microsoft offices in China. Meanwhile the China operations of U.S.-based chip maker Qualcomm are also under review. Firms like Apple and Google have felt a similar chill.

Here in North America, China’s telecom giant Huawei is our bête noir, accused of being a proxy for the Chinese security apparatus. These allegations find a ready audience among a Canadian public that, as recent polling has shown, is increasingly wary of China.

It’s hard to argue against caution when it comes to China. But we’re jumping from naive acceptance to complete risk avoidance. There is an intermediate step – risk mitigation. Although its approach is not without controversy, the U.K. has opted for a partnership with Huawei that sees the Chinese company funding an inspection process in Britain designed to reduce security risks.

Complete risk avoidance, or shutting our door to China, comes at a cost that falls on consumers, on smaller companies seeking access to global markets, and on communities seeking investment....China is at the heart of changes that expose us to new levels of threat and uncertainty. We need to respond with skill, purpose and confidence. The only thing more dangerous than engaging China is not engaging it.
espionage  China  security_&_intelligence  Canada  risk-management  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  purpose  self-confidence  frenemies  Huawei  threats  risk-aversion  uncertainty  risk-mitigation  security_consciousness  inquisitiveness  risk-avoidance  Canada-China_relations  cyberespionage  anecdotal 
july 2014 by jerryking
Nationalism and the lessons of World War I, 100 years on - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 29 2014

it should be our species’ fervent wish that we acknowledge two fundamental truths to emerge from the First World War.

The first truth is that the leading powers of the day must be cautious about pulling themselves and their allies into escalating conflicts. There is an element in well-armed countries that, energized by either a thirst for blood or a naiveté about the horrors of its shedding, wants to answer every terrorist attack, act of aggression or perceived threat with military-backed ultimatums. This was Austria-Hungary’s response to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand – it now serves as a reminder that an interconnected world, as ours most definitely was in 1914, can back into Armageddon as easily as march into it. World leaders who resist calls for military action aren’t necessarily showing weakness; they may be showing resolve and wisdom.

The second indelible truth is that nationalism, a product of the age in which the war started, is the single greatest threat to peace.
editorials  assassinations  WWI  war  hard_truths  nationalism  lessons_learned  anniversaries  history  Canada  centenaries  threats  ultimatums 
july 2014 by jerryking
How to leave your company better off than you found it - The Globe and Mail
VINCE MOLINARO

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jan. 02 2014

How can you ensure that you are leaving your organization in better shape than when you took the reins? True leaders typically take the following steps:

1. Commit to making things better every single day – in ways that position your organization for both short- and long-term success. Don’t be a bystander and watch problems fester; have the courage to tackle them head on.

2. Guard the interests of the whole organization. Don’t just focus on your own department or self-interests.

3. Try to anticipate threats that can put your organization at risk. Stay plugged into what you hear from customers or employees close to customers. This is often where the early warning signs exist.
4. Build strong relationships both inside and outside your organization.
5. Develop an unyielding commitment to building a strong culture that drives high employee engagement.
6. Develop leaders for the future.
legacies  leadership  RBC  Gord_Nixon  stewardship  companywide  leaders  CEOs  employee_engagement  organizational_culture  leadership_development  relationships  anticipating  threats  thinking_holistically  long-term  short-term  incrementalism  nobystanders  warning_signs 
january 2014 by jerryking
The biggest threat to the global economy? The weather -
Sep. 06 | The Globe and Mail |ERIC REGULY

In an interview in Munich, Peter Hoppe, the meteorologist who is head of the reinsurance giant’s georisk unit, said: “Climate change will create security problems because of the migrations it will create.”

Drought is emerging as one of the biggest natural hazards. It has the potential to reshape human landscapes and entire economies, mostly for the worse but sometimes for the better. Canada is less prone to drought than the United States; it could emerge as the world’s emergency breadbasket if the warming trend extends the growing season and the amount of productive agricultural land....Droughts are especially ugly because they sometimes develop gradually, meaning that their potential to cause harm is often ignored, and can last many years. ...The former boss of the World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, was fond of saying that the desperately hungry do one of three things: They riot, they migrate or they die. The Syrian civil war is giving the world an uncomfortable taste of the effects of mass migration. An enormous drought could make that migration look small and its security and economic consequences would be hard to fathom. It appears that no country, rich or poor, has a plan to deal with mass drought and mass migration.
extreme_weather_events  weather  climate_change  insurance  Munich_Re  Eric_Reguly  natural_calamities  droughts  farmland  food  hunger  mass_migrations  agriculture  threats  security_&_intelligence  slowly_moving  geopolitical-risk  global_economy  imperceptible_threats 
september 2013 by jerryking
China's Rural Pollution Problem - WSJ.com
July 27, 2013 | WSJ | By JOSH CHIN and BRIAN SPEGELE

China's Bad Earth
Industrialization has turned much of the Chinese countryside into an environmental disaster zone, threatening not only the food supply but the legitimacy of the regime itself....a series of recent cases have highlighted the spread of pollution outside of urban areas, now encompassing vast swaths of countryside, including the agricultural heartland.
pollution  environment  China  threats  farming  soils  cancers 
july 2013 by jerryking
Overseas Hot Spots Could Entangle Obama - WSJ.com
April 1, 2013, 1:26 p.m. ET

Overseas Hot Spots Could Entangle Obama

By GERALD F. SEIB
Like this columnist
U.S.foreign_policy  threats  security_&_intelligence  Iran  Syria  North_Korea  Obama  hotspots 
april 2013 by jerryking
Militant Threats Test Pentagon’s Role in Africa
February 11, 2013 |NYTimes.com | By ERIC SCHMITT

Created five years ago to focus on training the armed forces of dozens of African nations and strengthening social, political and economic programs, the Pentagon’s Africa Command now finds itself on a more urgent mission: confronting a new generation of Islamist militants who are testing the United States’ resolve to fight terrorism without being drawn into a major conflict....challenges include countering Al Qaeda’s fighters in Mali, Islamic extremists in Libya, drug traffickers in West Africa and armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo....With the war in Afghanistan winding down, senior Pentagon officials are scrambling to address the growing threat in North and West Africa by repositioning spy satellites and shifting surveillance aircraft from other theaters, all at a time when shrinking military budgets are forcing the Obama administration to make difficult choices on where to accept more risk.
Africa  Pentagon  Africom  U.S._military  threats  challenges  security_&_intelligence  soft_power  Niger 
february 2013 by jerryking
If You Were the Next Steve Jobs...
September 3, 2012 | Harvard Business Review | by Umair Haque.

Imagine, for a moment, that you (yes, you) were the next Steve Jobs: what would your (real) challenges be? I'd bet they wouldn't be scale (just call FoxConn), efficiency (call FoxConn's consultants), short-term profitability (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers), or even "growth" (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers' lobbyists). Those are the problems of yesterday — and today, here's the thing: we largely know how to solve them.

Whether you're an assiduous manager, a chin-stroking economist, a superstar footballer, or a rumpled artist, here's the unshakeable fact: you don't get to tomorrow by solving yesterday's problems.

To solve today's set of burning problems, you just might have to build new institutions, capable of handling stuff a little something like this...
Singularity. Scale is a solved problem. We know how to do stuff at very, very large scale — if by stuff you mean "churning out the same widget, a billion times over". What we don't know how to do is the opposite of scaling up: scaling down an institution, to make a difference to a human life.
Sociality - something resembling the advanced dating stage of the courtship ritual.
Spontaneity - the act of human potential unfurling in the moment — and if it's human potential you wish to ignite, then it's spontaneity you need to spark.
what distinguishes organizations that achieve enduring greatness is teamwork and collaboration — and those are words so overused, they make my teeth ache just saying them. Here's my bet: it's time to drop the fourth wall of the "team" — and go beyond collaboration, to something like what Jung called synchronicity: a kind of uncanny intersection of seemingly unrelated lives.
Solubility. But the biggest lesson — and the one hidden in plain sight — is this: creating institutions capable of not just solving the same old problems, forever.... the greatest challenge for tomorrow's would-be problem-solver renegades is this: building institutions that don't keep solving the same old solved problems, like profitability, scale, efficiency, productivity, and the like. Over and over again, like algorithms of human organization run amok. Institutions that are capable of taking a hard look at unsolved problems around the globe — as big as climate change, sending humans to Mars, and redesigning the global financial system, and as small as Umair's perfect coffee — and then accepting the difficult, often painful, always fulfilling, work of attempting to solve them.
living_in_the_moment  creativity  Steve_Jobs  HBR  problems  problem_solving  umairhaque  political_infrastructure  ideas  value_creation  wealth_creation  threats  scaling  institutions  spontaneity  human_potential  superstars  financial_system 
february 2013 by jerryking
The secret race to save Timbuktu’s manuscripts - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 27 2012 | The Globe and Mail | GEOFFREY YORK.

Timbuktu’s greatest cultural treasure: its ancient scholarly manuscripts, are under threat from Radical Islamist rebels who have repeatedly attacked the fabled city’s heritage, taking pickaxes to the tombs of local saints and smashing down a door in a 15th century mosque and demolishing mausoleums...Timbuktu’s most priceless remaining legacy is its vast libraries of crumbling Arabic and African manuscripts, written in ornate calligraphy over the past eight centuries, proof of a historic African intellectual tradition. Some experts consider them as significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls – and an implicit rebuke to the harsh narrow views of the Islamist radicals.

But now the manuscripts, too, could be under threat. And so a covert operation is under way to save them....The manuscripts, dating back to the 13th century, are evidence of ancient African and Islamist written scholarship, contradicting the myth of a purely oral tradition on the continent.

Many of the manuscripts are religious documents, but others are intellectual treatises on medicine, astronomy, literature, mathematics, chemistry, judicial law and philosophy. Many were brought to Timbuktu in camel caravans by scholars from Cairo, Baghdad and Persia who trekked to the city when it was one of the world’s greatest centres of Islamic learning. In the Middle Ages, when Europe was stagnating, the African city had 180 religious schools and a university with 20,000 students.

Timbuktu fell into decline after Moroccan invasions and French colonization, but its ancient gold-lettered manuscripts were preserved by dozens of owners, mostly private citizens, who kept them in wooden trunks or in their own libraries.

Today, under the occupation of the radical jihadists, the manuscripts face a range of threats. Conservation experts have fled the city, so the documents could be damaged by insects, mice, sand, dust or extreme temperatures. Or the Islamist militants could decide to raise money by looting and selling the documents.
Mali  Africa  Timbuktu  Geoffrey_York  cultural_institutions  covert_operations  antiquities  art_history  threats  art  collectors  collectibles  Islamists  sub-Saharan_Africa  digitalization 
december 2012 by jerryking
African Art Is Under Threat in Djenne-Djenno - NYTimes.com
August 2, 2012 | NYT | By HOLLAND COTTER.

Ethical battles surrounding the ownership of, and right to control and dispose of, art from the past rage on in Africa, as in other parts of the world....the wars over art as cultural property take many forms: material, political and ideological. On the surface the dynamics may seem clear cut, the good guys and bad guys easy to identify. In reality the conflicts are multifaceted, questions of innocence and guilt often — though not always — hard to nail down. In many accounts Africa is presented as the acted-upon party to the drama, the loser in the heritage fight, though such is not necessarily the case, and it certainly doesn’t have to be, and won’t be if we acknowledge Africa as the determining voice in every conversation...finding sculptures in situ, in their historical context...unauthorized trade in such art had been illegal since 1970, when Unesco drew up its Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. But the digging went on, and getting art out of the country — through porous borders, with a payment of bribes — was (and still is) easy. ...Certain archaeologists, the McIntoshes among them, were aghast at the ruinous plundering and took action. They were convinced that any Western attention paid to Malian antiquities increased the market value and encouraged looting. With this in mind they proposed an information blackout on any and all “orphaned“ Inland Niger Delta objects, meaning any that had not been scientifically excavated — most of those in circulation... The antiquities wars were not easy on dealers, collectors and museum administrators. Not only were their jobs threatened and acquisitive passions blocked, but they acquired unfortunate reputations. Once esteemed as cultural benefactors, they came to be seen, in some quarters, as hoarders and thieves.

Where does Africa itself stand in all of this? Is it merely the battleground on which science and commerce clash, a passive stretch of turf to be either righteously conserved or carved up and parceled out? Or is it — could it be — an active, gainful partner in cultural exchange?

It could. Art-alert countries like Nigeria and Mali have stockpiles of objects in storage. Selections of them could be leased out to Western institutions, or even swapped for temporary loans of Western art. The idea that Africa would not be receptive to such exchanges is wrong. It has fine museums (in Bamako, in Lagos), impressive private collections (one is documented in Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie’s superb book “Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art“), and at least a few sharp critics (check out Kwame Opoku at modernghana.com).

There’s no reason to think that concepts of art in Africa and the West — I use these generalities for convenience only — have to jibe. But clearly a sense of the complex value of patrimony is strong and can be pushed further. The time is long past due to be compiling comprehensive digital databases not just of art from Africa, but also of art that’s still there. Not only would this be an invaluable, promotional resource for international study, it would also be a lasting record of types of ephemeral art, or of things too fragile to move, or of objects that have, in the event of political instability, a good chance of being lost.
Africa  art  collectors  collectibles  Mali  ethics  museums  books  embargoes  contraband  archeological  dealerships  art_galleries  art_history  Nigeria  threats  Islamists  antiquities  Timbuktu  sub-Saharan_Africa  heritage  history  stockpiles 
august 2012 by jerryking
The Frightening Things You Hear at a Black Hat Conference - NYTimes.com
July 27, 2012, 4:59 pm5 Comments
The Frightening Things You Hear at a Black Hat Conference
By NICOLE PERLROTH
black_hats  cyber_security  threats  hackers  conferences 
july 2012 by jerryking
Netflix vs. Naysayers - WSJ.com
March 27, 2007 | WSJ | By NICK WINGFIELD

CEO Hastings Keeps Growth Strong; Plans for Future After Death of DVDs. In the decade since Netflix Inc. NFLX +3.07% began renting DVDs online, CEO Reed Hastings has faced down a murderers' row of rivals.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., WMT -0.59% Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +0.72% and Blockbuster Inc. have all piled into the market with services that mail DVDs to consumers who've ordered them over the Web.

...WSJ: You've started letting some of your subscribers watch movies from your Web site. How seriously are you pushing into Internet-delivery of movies?

Hastings: We're taking it pretty aggressively. We're investing about $40 million into it this year. We feel that that's the appropriate size investment, given the size of the market. If you overinvest in a market, of course, a lot of the money is wasted.

If you underinvest, then someone else can get ahead of you. We'll be up to 5,000 films by the end of the year, open to all of our subscribers....

WSJ: Blockbuster was once dismissive of Netflix, but now they're taking you very seriously. Did their initial attitude affect the way you view potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: Absolutely. We have to recognize that now there are tens and maybe hundreds of start-ups who think that they're going to eat Netflix's lunch. The challenge for a management team is to figure out which are real threats and which aren't.... It's conventional to say, "only the paranoid survive" but that's not true. The paranoid die because the paranoid take all threats as serious and get very distracted.(jk....which threats are worthy of my attention?==> distinguish between illusory and legitimate threats and fears.)

...WSJ: What are some examples of how you were choosy in reacting to potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: There are markets that aren't going to get very big, and then there are markets that are going to get big, but they're not directly in our path. In the first camp we have small companies like Movielink -- a well-run company but not an attractive model for consumers, sort of a $4-download to watch a movie. We correctly guessed when it launched four years ago that this was not a threat and didn't react to it.

The other case I brought up is markets that are going to be very large markets, but we're just not the natural leader. Advertising supported online video, whether that's at CBS.com or YouTube -- great market, kind of next door to us. But we don't do advertising-supported video, we do subscription, so it would be a huge competence expansion for us. And it's not a threat to movies.
Netflix  Reed_Hastings  CEOs  DVDs  downloads  streaming  subscriptions  threats  large_markets  discernment  paranoia  distractions  overextended 
june 2012 by jerryking
Dell should listen - product recalls can be good
August 16, 2006 | Financial Times | NIRMALYA KUMAR and NADER TAVASSOLI

* Companies need to realise that such crises are about more than simply minimising legal liabilities. The challenge is not to allow a product recall to threaten the entire brand or company.
* Understandably, companies may feel threatened by a deluge of press inquiries, but speed and clarity of response is essential. The media may be converted into an ally, and internally it is vital to maintain staff morale. (JCK: the platform can help here).
* This team's priority should be immediately to assess the source and potential impact of the crisis. Who was hurt? Does it require free servicing, partial recall or total recall? Of course, preparation helps.
* The brand also needs to consider how to get back on its feet.
* A product failure is a moment of truth. A poorly managed response can unmask a brand promise as a hollow boast.
ProQuest  crisis  crisis_management  crisis_response  brands  branding  brand_purpose  Dell  failure  moments_of_truth  preparation  product_recalls  threats  turnarounds 
june 2012 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Zbigniew Brzezinski
January 13, 2012 | FT.com | By Edward Luce.

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.

“We [Americans] are too obsessed with today,” Brzezinski continues. “If we slide into a pattern of just thinking about today, we’ll end up reacting to yesterday instead of shaping something more constructive in the world.” By contrast, he says, the Chinese are thinking decades ahead. Alas, Brzezinski says, Obama has so far failed to move into a strategic habit of mind. To a far greater extent than the Chinese, he concedes, Obama has to respond to shifts in public mood. Brzezinski is not very complimentary about American public opinion.

“Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”....Brzezinski lists "Ignorance", as one of America’s six “key vulnerabilities” alongside “mounting debt’, a “flawed financial system”, “decaying national infrastructure”, “widening income inequality”, and “increasingly gridlocked politics”.
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  China_rising  China  diplomacy  princelings  America_in_Decline?  threats  vulnerabilities  infrastructure  income_inequality  debt  political_polarization  long-term  partisan_politics  fractured_internally  NSC  ignorance  public_opinion  books  Chinese  instant_gratification  demagoguery  APNSA  gridlocked_politics  Edward_Luce  incurious  financial_system  historical_amnesia 
january 2012 by jerryking
Palantir, the War on Terror's Secret Weapon - BusinessWeek
November 22, 2011, 3:56 PM EST
Palantir, the War on Terror's Secret Weapon
A Silicon Valley startup that collates threats has quietly become indispensable to the U.S. intelligence community

By Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone
security_&_intelligence  Silicon_Valley  Peter_Thiel  threats  Palantir 
november 2011 by jerryking
Terror is nasty, but what about that flu pandemic? -
12 July 2005 | Globe and Mail pg .13. | by Jeffrey Simpson.That's the thing about flu. It can travel fast, and it can be virulent. By the time a vaccine is produced, many people in infected areas can die.

SARS showed how fast diseases can travel. Once SARS appeared in China, people in five countries were infected within 24 hours, and in 30 countries within several months; 43 people died in Canada. The Canadian Tourism Commission estimated that SARS cost the economy $419-million. The cost to Ontario's health-care system exceeded $700-million.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council, looking ahead to 2020, says a global pandemic is the single most important threat to the global economy. The growing literature about the likelihood of a pandemic, probably a flu one, is filled with quasi-apocalyptic material: millions dead, billions of dollars of commerce disrupted, serious security risks.

Michael Osterholm, a U.S. public-health expert, writes: "A pandemic is coming. It could be caused by H5N1 or by another novel [flu] strain. It could happen tonight, next year, or even 10 years from now." The number of poultry and wildlife that carry the strain(s) has exploded. Should these deadly strains get into the human food chain, watch out.
pandemics  ProQuest  Jeffrey_Simpson  threats  H1N1  SARS  vaccines  WHO  flu_outbreaks  food_chains  virulence  global_economy  security_&_intelligence  the_single_most_important 
october 2011 by jerryking
Imperatives for Change: Canada in 2010
Tue, May 21, 2002 | Canadian Club | by Anne Golden
President and CEO, The Conference Board of Canada
Royal York Hotel Imperial Room
Canada  CEOs  speeches  threats  challenges  cities  innovation  agendas  crossborder  productivity  North_America  change  future  brain_drain 
october 2011 by jerryking
The 21st century's Hiroshima ProQuest
Aug 6, 2005 | The Globe and Mail pg. A.17 | Preston ManningThe same science that can be used to develop genetically-based cures for human diseases can also be used to produce mutated smallpox bacteria or influenza viruses even more virulent than their predecessors and highly resistant to any known treatment. And if the sun of human progress should again become obscured by the storm clouds of war -- war itself transformed by the increasing scope and sophistication of terrorism -- how long will it be before the plan for utilizing mutated viruses and terrorist-induced pandemics as instruments of mass destruction appears on the underground blackboard of some terrorist cell capable of implementing it?

The third pebble

What exactly is the most disruptive and lethal dimension of the "dark side" of the life sciences -- the genetic equivalent of the first A-bomb -- and how might this destructive force be delivered to target populations to accomplish the political purposes of those desiring to unleash it?

While a terrorist attack on military or civilian populations utilizing such techniques would have immediate impacts on public health, the greater damage to human life and society will most likely be through the panic and terror that such a biological attack or pandemic will trigger throughout the general population. And this panic won't be transmitted by air, water, or utility system, but by the mass-communications network of 21st-century society, in particular the electronic media of radio, television, the Internet, cell phones, and personal computing devices. It is the electronic mass media that will most likely prove to be the B-29s of the age of genetics and bioterrorism.
life_sciences  genetics  viruses  ProQuest  Preston_Manning  21st._century  terrorism  threats  WWI  WWII  bioterrorism  panics  mass_media  virulence  pandemics  digital_media  dark_side 
october 2011 by jerryking
The grassroots threat to cable TV revenue - The Globe and Mail
FABRICE TAYLOR | Columnist profile
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 22, 2010 7:38PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Fabrice_Taylor  CATV  threats  substitution  Apple  disruption  competitive_landscape  television 
april 2011 by jerryking
Mark Helprin: Why Israel Needs the Bomb - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 18, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | Mark Helprin. It's
the only country whose right to exist is routinely questioned, and its
conventional military superiority in the region is being challenged.
nuclear  deterrence  Israel  existential  threats  Mark_Helprin 
october 2010 by jerryking
Who Controls The Internet?
Oct 9, 2010 | Financial Times pg. 14 | Misha Glenny. US
Cyber Command is the Pentagon command charged with defending the US
against catastrophic internet-based attacks. Fully operational from last
week, it is the latest in a series of dramatic moves across the world
aimed at monitoring and controlling how all of us use the web...Western
governments cite three central threats that justify the increased
presence of military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies in
cyberspace - crime, commercial espionage and warfare....Misha Glenny's
"McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime" is published by Vintage.
GCHQ  cyber_warfare  cyber_security  threats  ProQuest  Pentagon  catastrophic_risk  organized_crime  industrial_espionage  Stuxnet  books  U.S._Cyber_Command 
october 2010 by jerryking
Crovitz: Iran's Ahmadinejad, Information Pariah - WSJ.com
SEPT. 27, 2010 | WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ. When a
dictator's lies are so easily unmasked, can his threats be ignored?
Sometimes the reasonable response to threats is to take them seriously.
In his history of WW II, Churchill identified the theme of the 1st vol.
("The Gathering Storm") as "how the English-speaking peoples through
their unwisdom, & carelessness allowed the wicked to return."
Churchill spent the 1930s in the political wilderness, warning that
Hitler meant what he wrote in "Mein Kampf". He wrote that German
"opportunities for concealment, camouflage, & treaty evasion are
numerous & varied." For an info. pariah who persecutes his own
people & threatens others, the presumption must be that his
rhetoric, no matter how extreme, reflects his policy...Today, a leader
who consistently mocks, lies & threatens deserves to be set apart.
We can`t plead misunderstanding & will have ourselves to blame if
Ahmadinejad achieves his ambition of a bomb to back up his threats.
Iran  Ahmadinejad  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Winston_Churchill  lying  political_wilderness  '30s  WWII  threats  nuclear  presumptions  naivete 
september 2010 by jerryking
Off the Shelf - ‘Fault Lines’ Concludes Global Economy Remains Vulnerable - NYTimes.com
July 31, 2010 | NYT | By NANCY F. KOEHN reviews “Fault Lines:
How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy” by Raghuram G.
Rajan who concludes that the financial crisis erupted “because in an
integrated economy and in an integrated world, what is best for the
individual actor or institution is not always best for the system.” Like
geological fault lines, the fissures in the world economic sys. are
more hidden and widespread than many realize. And they are potentially
more destructive than other culprits, e.g greedy bankers, sleepy
regulators and irresponsible borrowers. Rajan, a finance prof at the U.
of Chicago and former chief economist at the IMF argues that the
actions of these players (and others) unfolded on a larger worldwide
stage, that is subject to the imperatives of political economies. He
cites 3 fault lines: domestic political stresses; trade imbalances among
countries; and the tensions produced when financial sys. with very
different structures interact.
book_reviews  economic_downturn  financial_crises  crisis  threats  interconnections  interdependence  books  systemic_risks  vulnerabilities  fault_lines  hidden  latent  regulators  uChicago  global_economy  imbalances 
august 2010 by jerryking
Technology Is Central To CIA's Strategic Plan - WSJ.com
APRIL 26, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By SIOBHAN GORMAN.
The CIA announced a five-year strategic plan that would invest heavily
in new technologies to combat non-traditional threats like cyber attacks
from overseas and gain better intelligence on rogue states like Iran.
... Mr. Panetta released his five-year plan in remarks to agency
employees. "We govern either by leadership or by crisis," he said.
"That's why we're taking a hard look at future challenges, and what we
want our agency to look like five years from now."
threats  adaptability  instability  unpredictability  rogue_actors  security_&_intelligence  CIA  strategic_planning  cyber_warfare  asymmetrical  Iran  Africa  Pakistan  innovation  Pentagon  forward_looking  leadership  strategic_thinking  decentralization  non-traditional  technology  Leon_Panetta 
may 2010 by jerryking
Warming Expected to Cut Atlantic Hurricane Tally but Boost Threat - Dot Earth Blog - NYTimes.com
January 21, 2010 | Dot Earth Blog | By ANDREW C. REVKIN. A new
modeling study published in this week’s issue of Science projects a
rise of about 30 percent in potential hurricane damage in the western
Atlantic toward the end of the century as emissions of greenhouse gases
rise. Although the overall number of storms in the region are expected
to drop, the number of strong ones — those reaching Category 4 or 5 in
the hurricane index — are expected to double from the number produced
now, the study says.
weather  climate_change  blog  threats 
january 2010 by jerryking
Intact Financial: Defensive, disciplined and eyeing acquisitions
Jan. 09, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by Tara Perkins.
Canada's $36-billion property and casualty insurance sector, a
fragmented industry where the top five players hold only about one-third
of the market....Charles Brindamour, is the CEO of Intact Financial
Corp.(IFC-T ) Canada's biggest home, auto and business insurer. He saw
three main themes in 2009 that not only defined the year for his
industry, but also set the stage for the months ahead: the global
capital markets crunch that marked the start of last year, increasing
evidence that the weather is becoming less predictable, and the return
to optimism in capital markets. Weather patterns..."We've done much
work here on pricing, products and equipping our customer service
operations to deal with storms and water damage. And we're doing a lot
of work with our clients on prevention as well as climate change
adaptation". Opportunity for Pelmorex?
weather  CEOs  patterns  insurance  Intact_Financial  fragmented_markets  volatility  climate_change  catastrophes  natural_calamities  threats  capital_markets 
january 2010 by jerryking
Shielding Intellectual Property - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 30, 2004 | Wall Street Journal | by BHARAT ANAND and
ALEXANDER GALETOVIC. Below we set out a selection of strategies that
have allowed companies highly dependent on their intellectual property
to live to fight another day.
(1) Nip it in the Bud. Some companies combat infringement by acting
before competitors can catch their breath. Intel famously pre-empts
misappropriation of its core assets by dominating the market long enough
to realize huge profits before reverse engineering, imitation, or
piracy can eat into them.(2) Overwhelm competitors by fashioning
internal operations into an engine of innovation.(3) Make a Bundle. If
one danger of piracy is to drive down a company's prices, why are smart
companies charging nothing for some of their products? (4)Move the
Goalposts. When the threat to their core assets is overwhelming,
companies must take more extreme action -- sometimes expanding into
related businesses.
bundling  competitive_strategy  copycats  core_businesses  counterfeits  Intel  intellectual_property  internal_systems  piracy  pre-emption  property_rights  reverse_engineering  threats 
december 2009 by jerryking
Canadians blind to terror threat: top spy - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 29, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by Colin Freeze. Canadians
are blind to the threat posed by terrorists who publicly espouse their
rights while privately believing in nothing but “nihilism and death,”
Canada's new spy chief says.He said that security and liberty should not
viewed as a zero-sum balancing act, but rather as a DNA double-helix
structure where the two strands reinforce one another.
CSIS  terrorism  security_&_intelligence  Canada  threats  naivete 
november 2009 by jerryking
Corporate universities of the future
1998 | Career Development International.Vol. 3, Iss. 5; pg.
206. | Stephen A. Stumpf. The corporate university threats:
Threats, things that could go wrong within the corporate university, are
as numerous as are the corporate university opportunities. To list them
all would be demoralizing. However, identifying a few might stimulate
thought and change. Consider the following threats which could
materialize by the year 2000: (1) the price-value relationship offered
is not accepted by senior management; (2) the proliferation of
specialized programs cannibalizes the corporate university core
curriculum concept; (3) resources get spread too thin and enrollments
decrease; (4) economic conditions become severe - educational efforts
are curtailed; (5) senior instructors do not retire and younger hopefuls
are denied this career path - the quality of education suffers as the
more senior instructors lose touch with new educational techniques or
the changing business environment.
corporate_universities  Freshbooks  threats  future  challenges 
november 2009 by jerryking
How to Ruin American Enterprise
12.23.02 | Forbes Magazine | by BEN STEIN. An itemized
list of things--all offshoots of a societal collapse of values--that
would destroy the American business spirit.
howto  Ben_Stein  U.S.  satire  humour  celebrities  threats  popular_culture  collapse-anxiety 
october 2009 by jerryking
Talking to...Joshua C. Ramo
POSTED ON: APRIL 14, 2009 | TORO MAGAZINE | POSTED BY:
SALVATORE DIFALCO. "...Get over this idea that we can deter or regulate
threats out of existence. Most of the big threats we can’t deter. Our
efforts to deter terrorism haven’t been all that effective. Some of
those guys are all too happy to die. The challenge is for us to build a
society that accepts these shocks as part of the system."
Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  uncertainty  instability  threats  interviews  unpredictability  deterrence  complexity  Kissinger_Associates  resilience 
september 2009 by jerryking
Pakistan's Existential Challenge - WSJ.com
MAY 12, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by BRET STEPHENS

The trouble for a country defined mostly by what it is not. About Iran,
Henry Kissinger once asked whether the Islamic Republic was a country or
a cause. About Pakistan, the question is whether it's a country or
merely a space.
Pakistan  Bret_Stephens  existential  challenges  threats  Henry_Kissinger 
may 2009 by jerryking
To outsmart the bad guys, CSIS's next boss must play it smart
April 29, 2009 | The Globe & Mail | by WESLEY WARK. CSIS'
current director is set to retire. Wark lays out what's required by his
successor to ensure that the agency's "product" gains relevance amongst
Canadian policymakers. "The more radical challenges lie elsewhere. They
have to do with people, thinking skills, and transformative
capabilities". CSIS has to improve it record on analysis. Too much of
its past product has been superficial, irrelevant and driven by
ill-thought-out demands. Climate security, failed states, environmental
degradation, natural disasters, pandemics, cyber crimes, people
smuggling, international drug trafficking--which should CSIS be focused
on?
security_&_intelligence  CSIS  succession  Wesley_Wark  Canada  Canadian  threats  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2009 by jerryking

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