There are a thousand stories about the origin of the internet, each with their own starting point and their own heroes. Charles Herzfeld’s tale began in 1961 on a series of tiny islands in the South Pacific. The U.S. military was test-firing a series of ballistic missiles at the island chain, known as the Kwajalein Atoll, with an array of radars and optical infrared sensors recording every re-entry. Herzfeld, the Vienna-born physicist and newly installed chief of the Advanced Research Projects Agency’s missile defense program, was trying to figure out how to make sense of the vast amount of data generated by all of those incoming missiles. The computers he had at the time weren’t up to the task.
Herzfeld, in search of solutions, asked his colleague J.C.R. Licklider out to lunch. They met at the Secretary of Defense’s Mess in the Pentagon’s E Ring, and over a series of meals talked through ideas that would transform computing forever.
Licklider, the head of of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office, was already one of computer science’s leading thinkers. (“Licklider was our prophet. I signed onto his vision from the beginning,” Herzfeld says.) Not only did Licklider predict that one day “human brains and computing machines will be coupled” into a partnership that would surpass either component’s ability to process information. Licklider theorized that people could one day interact with all sorts of computers at once — even though each machine had its own programming language and its own control scheme. They would all be part of a single network.
“Most people don’t understand the experience of doing something absolutely new,” Herzfeld says, more than 50 years after the fact. “This was a new idea, and very radical.”
Over their E Ring lunches, Herzfeld told Licklider about the mass of data he was generating at the Kwajalein Atoll as his machines tried to discriminate between chaff and missile, between countermeasure and target. Herzfeld funded the development of broadband receivers, electronics that could accept data at an unheard-of rate: 150 megabits per second. He backed new storage media, including a magnetic tape that would one day lead to video cassettes. It wasn’t enough.
“Look, Lick,” Herzfeld said, “If your [network] idea could be done, it would make all of this much easier.” Researchers could rely on a whole network of machines, not just a single one.
“You’re right,” Licklider answered. “But it’s too soon.”
Six years later, the time was right. Herzfeld had ascended to the top position at ARPA. He hired Bob Taylor, a specialist in human-computer interaction, and together they began talking about steps to make Licklider’s vision concrete. That led to a million-dollar grant to begin work on the Arpanet, the internet’s direct predecessor. For funding that all-important work, Herzfeld was inducted earlier this year into the Internet Society’s Internet Hall of Fame, alongside such pioneers as Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
In some ways, the internet was as much a product of an institution as of a group of people. ARPA — later renamed DARPA — plucked visionaries like Licklider and Taylor from industry and academia, sucked up their best ideas, and then returned them to their home institutions a few years later. ARPA directors like Herzfeld had a tremendous amount of leeway to set priorities and to spend money as they saw fit; few others in the military research community enjoyed that kind of flexibility. (To this day, that freedom to kill an artificial intelligence project one minute and launch a new soldier enhancement program the next continues to periodically enrage Congress and the Pentagon brass.) Herzfeld believes it’s one of the reasons why his agency — and not some other government group — gave rise to the internet.
Read it all HERE>
WITHOUT OUR BRAVE FIGHTING MEN AND WOMEN PAST AND PRESENT THIS WOULD NOT BE THE HOME OF THE FREE. THANKS GUYS AND GALS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
Arms transfers from the United States to other nations increased significantly over the past year, and exceeded previous levels, according to new data reported by the Congressional Research Service.
“In worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2011 — to both developed and developing nations — the United States dominated, ranking first with $66.3 billion in such agreements or 77.7% of all such agreements. This is the highest single year agreements total in the history of the U.S. arms export program,” the CRS report said. “Russia ranked second in worldwide arms transfer agreements in 2011with $4.8 billion in such global agreements or 5.6%. The value of all arms transfer agreements worldwide in 2011 was $85.3 billion, a substantial increase over the 2010 total of $44.5 billion, and the highest worldwide arms agreements total since 2004.”
Read what the Angry White Dude has to say about all this!
NASA has showed off the first spectacular hi resolution colour images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity, detailing a mound of layered rock where scientists plan to focus their search for the chemical ingredients of life on the Red Planet.The stunning photographs reveal distinct tiers of near the base of the 3-mile-tall mountain that rises from the floor of the vast, ancient impact basin known as Gale Crater, where Curiosity landed on August 6 to begin its two-year mission.They were taken as Curiosity took its second drive on the red planet, moving to take a close look at bedrock its thrusters exposed during landing.
Found this. Can not find where it came from or if it is real or nothing. A suicide ring. And would such a ring work?
Apparently, Facebook approved a “Kill Mitt Romney” page that was put up and left up over 17 days. I pointed out that Twitter followed a similar example in the George Zimmerman case a few months ago.
The description for the page indicates its purpose, which is a directly threat on the life of Mitt Romney stating,
“This is a page advocating the murder of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”
What’s even more disturbing is the page had 30 likes!
While many users complained about the page and rightly so, all they received was an email stating the following:
The military wants to build a fleet of miniature ground robots to squeeze cameras into tight places for observation purposes. Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have built robot prototypes that change color like a chameleon to help those robots blend in.
DARPA engineers built a soft, silicone model for the prototype. The pliable material makes it more resilient than a rigid material and allows it to fit into constrained spaces.
You can now go to lunch with a smile on your mug.