Turns out the U.S. military really is dropping “cyber bombs” on ISIS

Daily Beast

There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines.

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U.S. military claims to be dropping 'cyber bombs' on ISIS

Robert Work, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense,  April 7, 2016.  REUTERS

America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.

The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization.

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Obama touts nuclear arms reduction record, but he's failed to reduce US nukes stockpile

Just two BFFs discussing nuclear security at this week’s summit. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Obama is touting his record on reducing nuclear arms, but he's been a dismal failure at reducing the US's stockpile, writes Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm at the Guardian today.

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Online casino bankrolls largest-ever, ruinously expensive war in Eve Online


Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games. Read the rest

Top ISIS leader killed by U.S. Not the first time we've killed him, either.

ISIS leader Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli

The Pentagon says U.S. forces have killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, as part of a series of military actions targeting ISIS leadership and its storage sites for explosives. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter delivered the news on Friday.

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Changing Minds: NPR series on people who’ve rethought convictions in an era of polarization and extremism


Boing Boing pal Isabel Lara writes to give us a heads up about a new NPR series, “Changing Minds.” NPR launched the project this week and it looks at stories of people who’ve changed their positions in what has become a cultural moment of partisan polarization and extremism. The stories so far focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

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Watch a submarine crack through pristine ice in the Arctic Circle


Last week, the United States Navy launched exercises at the new Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle. Seen above, the nuclear submarine USS Hampton surfaces through the ice. It's a majestic sight, but let's not forget the goal here:

"(This exercise) is our continued commitment to the development of undersea warfare capabilities and tactics in all areas of the world," said Rear Adm. Jeff Trussler, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center. "Our superiority in delivering effects in and from the undersea domain to the operational commanders is dependent on the regular exercise and demonstration of these capabilities."

I'd imagine that as the polar ice caps melt, and possible energy reserves are uncovered, the region will quickly become a new battleground. Sadly.

"Navy Submarines Arrive in Arctic for Ice Exercise 2016" (US Pacific Command)

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Putin orders most Russian troops out of Syria, citing “overall completion” of military goals

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 14, 2016.  REUTERS

Vladimir Putin says Russian troops will begin withdrawing from Syria starting Tuesday, the day which marks 5 years since the start of Syria's bloody civil war. Putin's pledge is a move to help advance U.N.-brokered peace talks that resumed today.

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How would you explain the difference between war and terrorism to a space alien?


Author and former CIA officer Barry Eisler spoke at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers opposite ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden on Monday. In front of about a hundred former CIA, FBI, and NSA operatives, Eisler talked about bulk surveillance, whistleblowing, and why intelligence professionals need to take especially great care not to let propaganda pervert their intelligence.

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Plummeting oil prices and 13 years of official looting leave Iraq on the brink

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For 13 years, Iraq's post-Saddam elites have run amok, looting the country's riches while creating a pervasive culture of corruption that spreads all the way down -- only the continuous injection of new money from the country's oil-fields kept the whole thing from collapsing. Read the rest

Killing people with drones is working out great for America, says ex CIA chief

Michael Hayden (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Michael Hayden sure does love him some drone-killing.

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Guns filled with guts: Anatomy of War


Noah Scalin's "Anatomy of War" sculptures are polymer clay cutaway guns filled with colorful, wet-looking human viscera. Read the rest

Ancient Greeks used snakes as projectile weapons


People in ancient Greece used snakes as projectile weapons during sea battles, explains Gianni Insacco, a zoologist/paleontologist at Italy's Insacco Museo Civico di Storia Naturale.

Insacco's research team just reported that one of the weaponized species, the Javelin Sand Boa that was likely introduced to Italy by the Greeks during wartime, has survived in Sicily after not having been spotted for nearly 100 years.

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Proposal: keep the nuclear launch codes in an innocent volunteer's chest-cavity


In 1981, Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, published a thought experiment in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: what if the codes to launch nuclear war were kept inside the chest-cavity of a young volunteer, and the President would have to hack them out of this young man's chest before he could commence armageddon? Read the rest

Army decides to stop putting soldiers' Social Security numbers on their dog tags


In a major policy change that sounds like a Very Good Idea, the U.S. Army announced today that dog tags will no longer include the Social Security numbers of the soldier wearing them. SSNs have been part of this identification system for over 40 years.

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In historic shift, U.S. military to open all combat jobs to women

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter holds a news conference at the Pentagon.  REUTERS

The Associated Press is reporting today that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will soon announce a historic change: The military will open all combat jobs to women.

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Molly Crabapple's memoir DRAWING BLOOD: preview and a giveaway


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