Are aliens hiding their messages?

“If we are not alone in the Universe, why have we never picked up signals from an extraterrestrial civilisation? This long-standing puzzle, known as the Fermi paradox after physicist Enrico Fermi, who first posed the question, is still one of the strongest arguments against the existence of intelligent aliens.

But two physicists have come up with an intriguing solution. They suggest a way in which aliens could send messages to each other across space that not only disguises their locations but also makes it impossible for a casual observer to even distinguish the messages from background noise. Messages sent by this method could be criss-crossing our Galaxy without us ever knowing.

At first glance, sending a message without giving away your location appears impossible. If a signal – a stream of photons – comes from a single source, its origin can always be determined by measuring the direction of recoil of a detector struck by the photons. But Walter Simmons and his colleague Sandip Pakvasa from the University of Hawaii at Manoa have come up with a cunning way around this.” New Scientist [via EurekAlert!]

[It doesn’t seem very plausible to me; read the article. “I want to believe…”]

The two faces of Rumsfeld:

2000: director of a company which wins $200m contract to sell nuclear reactors to North Korea

2002: declares North Korea a terrorist state, part of the axis of evil and a target for regime change

Rumsfeld’s spokesperson says the Defense Secretary just “does not recall” the issue coming before the board back then. ‘ “One could draw the conclusion that economic and personal interests took precedent over non-proliferation,” said Steve LaMontagne, an analyst with the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington.’ Guardian/UK

The NYPD’s New Beat:

Who do you hire to police a country recently ruled by a neo-Stalinist dictator, whose cops were little more than thugs with badges, and whose army was recently at war with the very forces now issuing their marching orders? If you’re the U.S. State Department looking to police Iraq, you hire Dyncorp, a scandal-ridden U.S. military contractor with ties to the CIA and the NYPD.

Much controversy surrounds the recent $22 million contract awarded to Dyncorp Aerospace Operations (UK) Ltd. to “re-establish police, justice, and prison functions” in Iraq. Over the past decade, Dyncorp has been accused of everything from running an illegal sex ring in Bosnia to killing children in Equador as part of “Plan Colombia.”

The company is also under fire for its connections to the strife-wracked NYPD.

According to the New York Post, “The State Department is looking for present and former NYPD cops willing to help restore order to Iraq by rebuilding and training new police departments.” Though the search is nationwide, the article reports that Dyncorp, which is spearheading the search, is “especially interested in [hiring] present and former Big Apple law enforcers.” The estimated salary for the officers is $80,000 a year.

Yet an NYPD deployment to Iraq would be only the latest international adventure for what is rapidly becoming the world’s leading globalized police force. Indypendent

Bin Laden resurgent in Saudi Arabia?

“The insistent claim of traditionally secretive Saudi authorities that a series of violent incidents across the Kingdom in recent months was the work of criminal gangs is becoming extremely threadbare.

With the assassination of a district police chief in the northern province of al-Jawf, a hotbed of Islamic opposition to the monarchy, on 20 April it seems to be increasingly clear that the violence is politically motivated, in all likelihood by supporters of Osama bin Laden.” Foreign Report [via Jane’s]

The Korea Crisis

‘North Korea belongs in the axis of evil.’ Not. “North Korea is not crazy, near collapse, nor about to start a war. But it is dangerous, not to mention dangerously misunderstood. Defusing the threat that North Korea poses to its neighbors and the world will require less bluster, more patience, and a willingness on the part of the United States to probe and understand the true sources of the North’s conduct.” Foreign Policy Debunks the platitudes and myths one after another.