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Cloud ComputingBack to Top

  • cloud computing, Wikipedia entry - including info about some of the leading companies offering cloud computing

  • Cloud Computing - news and discussion, at Infoworld

  • Cloud Computing: Benefits, risks and recommendations for information security (local copy), by European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), Nov 2009
    • The key conclusion of this paper is that the cloud’s economies of scale and flexibility are both a friend and a foe from a security point of view. The massive concentrations of resources and data present a more attractive target to attackers, but cloud-based defences can be more robust, scalable and cost-effective. This paper allows an informed assessment of the security risks and benefits of using cloud computing - providing security guidance for potential and existing users of cloud computing.

  • Cloud Computing - definition and effective use of, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Computer Security Division
  • other NIST cloud computing reports, articles, events, projects

  • Google Groups listing of cloud computing issues/companies/wiki/etc.

  • Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) home page, DISA
    • With RACE, you can customize, purchase, and receive your platform within 24 hours. You can now order RACE Development, Test, and Production virtual environments to support your life cycle requirement.
  • "DISA's RACE to the Clouds"
    • RACE is the first service offered by DISA to address cloud computing. In most networking diagrams, “the cloud” refers to the Internet. It is ambiguous space; the user has no need to know the path that information follows, or what servers, nodes, and paths the connection makes. Cloud computing builds upon that concept: the user “rents” space (a server, computing machine, software, etc.) from a provider, but doesn’t necessarily have a specific box or location. In other words, the user isn’t purchasing a computer; the user is purchasing the ability to compute. All of what goes on “in the cloud” is invisible, by design, to the user.
    • RACE is a quick, low risk, secure solution for developers, testers and eventually, anyone who needs a computing environment. Using a credit card or a Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request (MIPR), a user can purchase a basic computing environment. This is a process that, at one time, could take months. Building on DISA’s capacity service contracts, along with industry partnerships, RACE reduces the time to just 24 hours.

  • Cloud Computing: A Perspective (local copy), briefing by Sienkiewicz, DISA, April 2009 [original source]

  • Cloud Computing in a Military Context - Beyond the Hype (local copy), briefing by Greenfield, DISA, 21 April 2009 [original source]

  • Data.gov
    • The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, we invite you to actively participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless access and use of your Federal data.

  • Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI)

  • Microsoft offers free repository for agency data, by Jackson, Government Computer News, 11 May 2009
    • Microsoft has set up a repository in which government agencies may upload and store their public-facing datasets so that they can be reused by other parties.
    • Agency developers can upload their data to this repository, called the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), through Microsoft's Azure, the company's cloud-computing offering.
    • Since taking the role of federal chief information officer, Vivek Kundra has urged agencies to make more of their data open to the public in easy-to-use formats. To this end, the General Services Administration, on behalf of Kundra, is setting up a repository of government feeds, to be called Data.gov. Data.gov will both serve as a repository for data and as an index for government data located elsewhere, Kundra told GCN.

  • Amazon rehosts Census data for cloud users, by Jackson, Government Computer News, 1 May 2009
    • Amazon has reposted a large set of Census Bureau geographic data so its cloud-computing patrons can readily use it.
    • Users of the Web-based online store's Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) can point their virtual machines to copies of the Census Bureau's Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) shapefiles.

Risk & Crisis CommunicationsBack to Top Video News Releases (VNRs)Back to Top
  • VNR policy notice FCC 05-84 by FCC (local copy), 13 Apr 2005
    • With this Public Notice, the Commission reminds broadcast licensees and cable operators that air VNRs, as well as all entities and individuals involved in the production and provision of the material at issue here, of their respective disclosure responsibilities under the Commission’s sponsorship identification rules.

  • Truth in Broadcasting Act of 2005
    • Prepackaged news stories are ready-to-use, complete audio or video news segments designed to fit seamlessly into a private broadcast. They are essentially the radio or television equivalent of a government press release. Video prepackaged news stories, known as video news releases (VNRs), have been used for decades by both Democratic and Republican administrations to communicate with the public. Since 1951, language in yearly appropriations laws has required that Federal agencies not conceal the government origin of VNRs. Specifically, appropriations laws have prohibited the use of Federal funds for covert `publicity or propaganda' unless otherwise authorized by Congress. The provisions included in appropriations laws are temporary, year-long prohibitions that expire when the appropriations laws expire.
    • On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act For Defense, The Global War On Terror, And Tsunami Relief, 2005, P.L. 109-13 (Defense Supplemental). A provision in that law required Federal agencies to disclose the government origin of prepackaged news stories. Specifically, section 6002 of the Defense Supplemental provided that, unless otherwise authorized, none of the appropriated funds may be used by an executive branch agency to produce any prepackaged news story intended for broadcast or distribution in the United States unless the story includes a clear notification within the text or audio of the prepackaged news story that the prepackaged news story was prepared or funded by that executive branch agency.

  • News 4 sale, by Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Apr 2006 - "Local newscasts are passing off corporate press releases as news, according to a new report."

  • 19 May 2004 GAO Decision - Matter of: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—Video News Releases (local copy)
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’s (CMS) use of appropriated funds to pay for the production and distribution of story packages that were not attributed to CMS violated the restriction on using appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda purposes in the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-7, Div. J, Tit. VI, § 626, 117 Stat. 11, 470 (2003).

  • 30 July 2004 DoJ Memorandum Opinion for the General Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services (local copy)
    • On May 19, 2004, the General Accounting Office ("GAO") opined that certain informational video news releases produced by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 constitute impermissible "covert propaganda" in violation of the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, which forbids the expenditure of appropriated funds for "publicity or propaganda purposes." You have asked for our views on the issue addressed in the GAO decision. We conclude, contrary to the GAO decision, that the expenditure of appropriated funds to produce and distribute the informational video news releases in question does not violate the prohibition on "propaganda."

  • VNR Guidelines & Tips for Creating
    • Video News Release Goals and Guidelines (local copy), Mar 2002, from US Consumer Product Safety Commission
      • A video news release (VNR) is the television version of the printed press release, translating the printed word into the language of moving pictures. It is distributed via satellite to television stations nationwide.
      • There are two types of VNRs: "Packages," are pre-edited videos with a professional voice-over, similar to television news stories. "Bite and Cover" VNRs include "sound bites" or brief interviews with company representatives and CPSC Chairman, and "b-roll," which is edited, eye-catching footage that makes it easy for TV news producers to air the video on newscasts.

    • Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (local copy), Oct 2002 guidebook by CDC - on PDF page 154 there are tips for video press releases
      • More people are getting their news information from TV or Web sites than ever before. News outlets are hungry for visuals to support their reporting—talking heads get boring. Digital technology makes it easier and less expensive for official response organizations to provide some visual support for the media covering the emergency.

Movies & Entertainment IndustryBack to Top Speculative Fiction - Some ExamplesBack to Top Robotics & Autonomous AgentsBack to Top
  • See also Cyber-Craft (aka Cybercraft) & Mobile Agents

  • Ethical Implications of Military Robotics (local copy), by Singer, for the 2009 William C. Stutt Ethics Lecture, U.S. Naval Academy, 25 Mar 2009
  • Wired for War: Welcome to Tomorrow’s Battlefield, Today, by Singer, in Air & Space Power Journal, June 2009 - adapted from his book, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
    • excerpts from the article are below
    • Despite all the enthusiasm in military circles for the next generation of unmanned vehicles, ships, and planes, there is one question that people are generally reluctant to talk about. It is the equivalent of Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter, the issue That-Must-Not-Be-Discussed. What happens to the human role in war as we arm ever more intelligent, more capable, and more autonomous robots?
    • All the rhetoric ignores the reality that humans started moving out of “the loop” of war a long time before robots made their way onto battlefields. As far back as World War II, the Norden bombsight made calculations of height, speed, and trajectory too complex for a human to automatically decide when to drop a bomb on a B-17. By the time of the first Gulf War, Captain Doug Fries, a radar navigator, could write this description of what it was like to bomb Iraq in his B-52: "The navigation computer opened the bomb bay doors and dropped the weapons into the dark."
    • The point is not that the Matrix or Cylons are taking over, but rather that a redefinition of what it means to have humans “in the loop” of decision-making in war is under way, with the authority and autonomy of machines ever expanding. There are myriad pressures to give war-bots greater and greater autonomy. The first is simply the push to make more capable and more intelligent robots. But as psychologist and artificial intelligence expert Robert Epstein notes, this comes with a built-in paradox. “The irony is that the military will want it [a robot] to be able learn, react, etc., in order for it to do its mission well. But they won’t want it to be too creative, just like with soldiers. But once you reach a space where it is really capable, how do you limit them? To be honest, I don’t think we can.”
    • And then there is the fact that an enemy is involved. If the robots aren’t going to fire unless a remote operator authorizes them to, then any foe need only disrupt that communication. Military officers respond to this problem by saying that, while they don’t like the idea of taking humans out of the loop, there has to be an exception, a backup plan for when communications are cut and the robot is “fighting blind.” So another exception is then made.
    • The reality is that the human location “in the loop” is already becoming, as retired Army colonel Thomas Adams notes, that of “a supervisor who serves in a fail-safe capacity in the event of a system malfunction.” Even then, he thinks the speed, confusion, and information overload of modern-day war will soon move the whole process outside of “human space.” He describes how the coming weapons “will be too fast, too small, too numerous, and will create an environment too complex for humans to direct.” As Adams concludes, the various new technologies “are rapidly taking us to a place where we may not want to go, but probably are unable to avoid.”
    • Robotics, though, take trends that are already operative in our body politics to their final logical ending place. With no draft, no need for congressional approval (the last formal declaration of war was in 1941), no tax or war bonds, and now the knowledge that the Americans at risk are more and more just American machines, the already lowering bars to war may well hit the ground. A leader needn’t carry out the kind of consensus building that is normally needed before a war, and doesn’t even need to unite the country behind the effort. In turn, the public truly does become the equivalent of sporting fans watching war, rather than citizens sharing in its importance.
    • Thus, robots may entail a dark irony. By appearing to lower the human costs of war, they may seduce us into more wars.

  • Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design (local copy), ONR report by Cal Poly, 20 Dec 2008

  • A Distributed Autonomous-Agent Network-Intrusion Detection and Response System (local copy), by Barrus and Rowe, Naval Postgraduate School, 1998

  • Robotics, NASA-Jet Propulsion Lab

  • ROBOTICS at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego

  • Selected Telerobotics Resources on the Internet, posted by NASA

  • Intelligent Systems & Robotics Center, Sandia National Lab

  • A Short History of Robots, from NASA - includes Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics"

  • Adaptive Robotics - Idaho National Laboratory
Transparency - SharingBack to Top

MiscellaneousBack to Top


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