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ISIS, US Energy Boom, 3-D Printing

Dated: 15 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Security, Technology

ISIS : Representatives of twenty countries gathered in Paris on Monday to coordinate a global response to combat the militant group ISIS, which released a third video over the weekend showing the beheading of a British aid worker. French president François Hollande called for united international action to tackle the threat, while Iraqi president Fuad Masum urged world powers to take broader military action against ISIS. So far, about forty countries—including ten Arab states—have committed to a coalition to help fight the extremist Sunni insurgency in Iraq and Syria.

US Energy Boom: Skeptics of the U.S. energy boom have been saying it can’t last much longer because it requires drilling an ever-increasing number of wells, however the boom already has lasted longer than anyone would have imagined.  The number of rigs drilling in the U.S. is basically flat, but production is rising while the federal Energy Information Administration has stated that this “drilling productivity” is showing no sign of slowing.  While the federal government recently predicted that oil production would rise through 2019 and then flatten off, a second scenario in the report assumed that extraction technology would continue to improve, leading crude output to rise through 2040, if not longer.  Notable that US O&G output nearly tripled since 2007, up to 12M barrels a day. Graph below.

3-D Printing: Aerojet Rocketdyne recently won an Air Force contract to use 3D printing technology to develop liquid-propellant rocket engine applications destined for military launchers. The hope is that additive manufacturing will help make producing rocket engines faster and less expensive than traditional methods by replacing the need for castings, forgings, platings, machining, brazing and welding. In June, Aerojet said it had 3D-printed and tested an entire engine capable of 5,000 pounds of thrust in only three parts.

Today In The World

Dated: 27 Nov 2013
Posted by Thomas McIntyre
Category: International, Security, Technology

VMI 2013 General Industry Banner

The Top Line

B-52′s in Asia: Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea, ignoring a new airspace defense zone that China declared on Saturday with warnings that it would take “defensive emergency measures” if the zone was breached. China’s defense ministry said it monitored the flights without mentioning any intentions to retaliate.  It is quite possible that China might have overplayed its position by “angering not just Japan and the U.S., but South Korea and Taiwan—both of which have air-defense zones that overlap China’s”.    Indeed, the airspace defense zone may be a key gambit in China’s A2/AD strategy.

Memory Manipulation: Research is being done on mice to alter memories, with several studies having found chemical compounds that can be used to subdue or even delete memories, and in one MIT study, create a false memory.  While the concept of manipulating memories raises some serious ethical issues, applications for those who suffer from PTSD and addiction could help to drive this research.

Continuing NSA Fallout: Microsoft announced that it is considering new encryption initiatives for its internet traffic amid fears that the National Security Agency has compromised its global communications links. This comes as Google announced earlier in the week that it tightened encryption of traffic flowing between its data centers, as it looks to block alleged interception.    The two companies are also likely worried about the influx of competition into digital communications as startups focus on security and anonymity concerns.

By Thomas McIntyre, Consultant, VMI

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