Monthly Archives: April 2015

created by elves

Thanks in great part to the late, great Kenny, in whose comments section in his own sideshow often grew (but not often enough!) some sense of camaraderie and collaboration, I grew interested in the tale of a certain software created by elves.  

The inquiry grew out of curiosity and intuition.  

Kenny would often bird-dog a story or incident which attracted a select group from within his neighborhood of people who had a skeptical penchant, an ability to conduct some quick open source research, the ability to recall things they’d seen or noticed previously, etc.  This would often convene itself as a good repartee in Kenny’s comments, sometime bouncing off entries in blogs other than Kenny’s or perhaps a later continuation.  

Kenny, alas, left us shortly after this blog entry was created; its link provide the background context on the death of Major General Greene in Afghanistan, and the lesser links direct you to my own comments: 

Ed(itor)August 6, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Ed(itor)August 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Ed (itor)August 6, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Ed (itor)August 7, 2014 at 11:32 AM

My inquiry into the tale of a certain software grew and eventually re-appeared in blog entries. Here’s an example of something that got folded into my news blog, along with the lead graphic for the whole entry:×270.png 

A smartphone system developed by the blue-sky research arm of the Pentagon was implemented at the 2014 Boston Marathon.

The Pentagon launched the Transformative Apps program under the DARPA umbrella. The TransApp mission, as stated on DARPA’s website, is to “develop a diverse array of militarily-relevant software applications using an innovative new development and acquisition process.” The hardware itself is basically the same as what everyday Americans are walking around with every day. The big difference comes in how they’re connected. Since civilian networks can’t be trusted, soldiers must constantly set up secure networks on the fly using a suite of radios and networking equipment .

So the Pentagon launched the Transformative Apps program under the DARPA umbrella. The TransApp mission, as stated on DARPA’s website, is to “develop a diverse array of militarily-relevant software applications using an innovative new development and acquisition process.” The hardware itself is basically the same as what everyday Americans are walking around with every day. The big difference comes in how they’re connected. Since civilian networks can’t be trusted, soldiers must constantly set up secure networks on the fly .

Accordingly, TransApp developed a system that soldiers could plug smartphones into and gain basic connectivity. The corresponding apps are also designed to maintain functionality, even when they go offline.

The DARPA program manager responsible for TransApp, Doran Michels, told Gizmodo how the program developed and eventually came to be used in Boston:

Doran told Adam Clark Estes the history of TransApp the way a proud father talks about his family. The program started in 2010 with a budget of nearly $79 million over four years. (That’s not a lot of money for a military with a total budget of over half a trillion dollars.) Transapps saw its first action in 2011, when 3, 000 systems were deployed in Afghanistan, where Doran says the program received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The Army troops that were testing the apps used a variety of different devices depending on the specific tasks, but Doran told me the military settled on consumer-ready smartphones, rather than going through the rigamarole of designing their own proprietary technology. All of the devices Doran showed Estes in the TransApps office were Samsung.

In the years since, TransApps has been used for everything from training soldiers to improving security at the Boston Marathon and Presidential Inauguration. Doran’s particularly proud of the integration in Boston a few months ago, since the high-profile event depends on the complicated coordination of several local and national agencies. Everyone from the FBI to the Boston Fire Department needed to know what everyone else is doing, and the same types of apps that keep soldiers organized in the battlefield worked perfectly there.

You can see from a screenshot of the app they were using, where the specific units and checkpoints are located and how an officer in the field could search and sort for more granular information.

More….:  via 


More inquiry was done, first just after the turn of the year last January, and then about seven weeks later: 


Here is even more:

Palantir, the War on Terror’s Secret Weapon

By Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone November 22, 2011

“… Karp had spent years studying in Germany under Jürgen Habermas, the most prominent living representative of the Frankfurt School, the group of neo-Marxist philosophers and sociologists….. In the early days, Palantir struggled to sell its message and budding technology to investors. Big-name venture capital firms such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, and Greylock Partners all passed. Lonsdale says one investor, whom he won’t name, actually started laughing on the phone at Karp’s nonbusiness academic credentials. Overlooked by the moneyed institutions on Sand Hill Road, Thiel put up the original funds before enticing In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, to invest as well…..

Palantir’s name refers to the “seeing stones” in Lord of the Rings that provide a window into other parts of Middle-earth. They’re magical tools created by elves that can serve both good and evil. Bad wizards use them to keep in touch with the overlord in Mordor; good wizards can peer into them to check up on the peaceful, innocent Hobbits of the Shire. As Karp explains with a straight face, his company’s grand, patriotic mission is to “protect the Shire.”

Most of Palantir’s government work remains classified, but information on some cases has trickled out. In April 2010, security researchers in Canada used Palantir’s software to crack a spy operation dubbed Shadow Network that had, among other things, broken into the Indian Defense Ministry and infiltrated the Dalai Lama’s e-mail account. Palantir has also been used to unravel child abuse and abduction cases. Palantir “gives us the ability to do the kind of link-and-pattern analysis we need to build cases, identify perpetrators, and rescue children,” says Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The software recently helped NCMEC analysts link an attempted abduction with previous reports of the suspect to the center’s separate cyber-tip line—and plot that activity on a map. “We did it within 30 seconds,” Allen says. “It is absolutely a godsend for us.”

In Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations Forces use Palantir to plan assaults. They type a village’s name into the system and a map of the village appears, detailing the locations of all reported shooting skirmishes and IED, or improvised explosive device, incidents. Using the timeline function, the soldiers can see where the most recent attacks originated and plot their takeover of the village accordingly. The Marines have spent years gathering fingerprint and DNA evidence from IEDs and tried to match that against a database of similar information collected from villagers. By the time the analysis results came back, the bombers would be long gone. Now field operatives are uploading the samples from villagers into Palantir and turning up matches from past attacks on the spot, says Samuel Reading, a former Marine who works in Afghanistan for NEK Advanced Securities Group, a U.S. military contractor. “It’s the combination of every analytical tool you could ever dream of,” Reading says. “You will know every single bad guy in your area.”

Palantir has found takers for its data mining system closer to home, too. Wall Street has been particularly receptive. Every year, the company holds a conference to promote its technology, and the headcount swelled from about 50 people at past events to 1,000 at the most recent event in October.

“I saw bankers there that don’t go to any other conferences,” says Gartner’s Litan. The banks have set Palantir’s technology loose on their transaction databases, looking for fraudsters, trading insights, and even new ways to price mortgages. Guy Chiarello, chief information officer for JPMorgan Chase (JPM), says Palantir’s technology turns “data landfills into gold mines.” The bank has a Palantir system for fraud detection and plans to use the technology to better tailor marketing campaigns to consumers. “Google (GOOG) unlocked the Internet with its search engine,” Chiarello says. “I think Palantir is on the way to doing a similar thing inside the walls of corporate data.”

One of the world’s largest banks has used Palantir software to break up a popular scam called BustOut. Criminals will steal or purchase access to thousands of people’s online identities, break into their bank and credit-card accounts, then spend weeks watching. Once they spot a potential victim purchasing a plane ticket or heading out on a holiday, they siphon money out of the accounts as fast as they can while the mark is in transit. The criminals hide their trails by anonymizing their computing activity and disabling alert systems in the bank and credit-card accounts. When the bank picks up on a few compromised accounts, it uses Palantir to uncover the network of thousands of other accounts that have to be tapped…..

To get a job at the company, an applicant must pass a gauntlet of brain teasers. An example: You have 25 horses and can race them in heats of 5. You know the order the horses finished in, but not their times. How many heats are necessary to find the fastest? First and second? First, second, and third? (Answers: six, seven, and seven.) If candidates are able to prove themselves as what Karp calls “a software artist,” they’re hired. The company gives new arrivals some reading material, including a guide to improvisational acting, a lecture by the entrepreneur Steve Blank on Silicon Valley’s secret history with the military, and the book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. ….

Using Palantir technology, the FBI can now instantly compile thorough dossiers on U.S. citizens, tying together surveillance video outside a drugstore with credit-card transactions, cell-phone call records, e-mails, airplane travel records, and Web search information. Christopher Soghoian, a graduate fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, worries that Palantir will make these agencies ever hungrier consumers of every piece of personal data. “I don’t think Palantir the firm is evil,” he says. “I think their clients could be using it for evil things.” …. 

Vance is a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in Palo Alto, Calif. He is the author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (HarperCollins, May 2015). Follow him on Twitter @valleyhack.

Stone is a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in San Francisco. He is the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Little, Brown; October 2013). Follow him on Twitter @BradStone.


Can you say “super-empowered government agent”? Are you interested in the intersection of governmental surveillance and computer software? Does this have potential or actual use by “rogues” for covert ops?

“… It’s not a mystery that when using Palantir technology, US intelligence agencies and law enforcement can instantly profile any US citizen, its platform is able to query a huge quantity of data sources including surveillance video data collected everywhere in the country…..” 

There are five videos at that link, totaling 90 minutes; here they are, separated out for you:

The Intro (10:00)


{Ed.: Remember PROmis? The prosecutor’s management information system}

Patrick Fitzgerald, former US States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, walks through the evolution of technology over the past 20 years. He describes his work 20 years ago when running a query on a computer was considered reckless. He speaks to the dramatic shift in process, practice, and perspective that has now led to greater information sharing between agencies in an age of endless information and data—a shift facilitated by technology like Palantir’s that allows for integration of a vast amount of different types of data, audit trail analysis, and robust access controls.


Published on Jul 15, 2013

Timothy Wargo | Unit Chief | Information Sharing and Infrastructure Management | Homeland Security Investigations | Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Ryan Beiermeister | Forward Deployed Engineer | Palantir

Palantir’s work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began over two years ago as part of Operation Fallen Hero, which was ICE’s response to two of their agents being ambushed on an operation in Mexico. Today, ICE uses Palantir’s software across the enterprise for case management and investigative work, including human trafficking cases. Following an introduction to our work with ICE, Ryan Beiermeister demonstrates how Palantir Gotham is used to build a human trafficking case.



Published on Jul 15, 2013

Kathleen McGee | Director | New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement
Logan Rhyne | Forward Deployed Engineer | Palantir

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement is responsible for coordinating efforts across City’s agencies to investigate and solve quality-of-life issues city-wide, including lawless clubs and counterfeit trademark activity. The Office conducts investigations in the field in response to complaints, handles the subsequent mid-level litigation, and develops policy to address the city’s issues. See how Palantir Gotham is used as the Office’s platform for data analysis and how Palantir Mobile is used to collect data and execute operations in the field.



Ryan Taylor, Palantir’s Legal Counsel, walks through how the Gotham platform was leveraged in a number of real criminal and civil cases, including insider trading, money laundering, insider trading, and health fraud.

These YouTube videos come from within the Palantir channel, so look down to your right for more which are related and may be of further interest., like these:

Palantir Databridge – New York City (4:16)



Using Palantir To Uncover Hidden Links In Missing And Exploited Children Cases (27:05)

 Railgun: Leveraging Palantir Gotham as a Command and Control Platform (40:18)

Basic situational awareness requires an answer to the question, “Where are my units?” Complete situational awareness requires information along many more dimensions: What is a unit’s current task? Who is in charge of that unit? Do they have the resources to complete their task? Can the commander talk to them? Timely, accurate answers to these questions are difficult to acquire, and even harder to come by in harsh conditions or during live operations. In this session we present a new capability for such complete blue force awareness. We will demonstrate how commanders can employ Palantir Gotham across disparate military data domains to collect, explore, and monitor the rapidly changing information vital to their mission. (10:30)



Dr. Asher Sinensky explains what they mean when they say Dynamic Ontology and considers what this enables in a real world deployment. (40:01)

For those who are completely new to the Palantir Platform or could simply use a refresher, this talk will start from scratch and provide a broad overview of Palantir’s origins and mission. A live demonstration of the product will help to familiarize newcomers with Palantir’s intuitive graphical interface and revolutionary analytical functionality, while highlighting the major engineering innovations that make it all possible.


Prepare, Detect, Respond, And Harden: 

Palantir Cyber In Action 



Genetic Surveillance– A Re-Post

How “Genetic Surveillance” Will Reveal Your Personal Details

April 16, 2015 by 

Categories: Surveillance StateThreats to Democracy

[Lead graphic: Heather Dewey-Hagborg contemplates her own face, created from DNA she extracted from a strand of her hair. ]

Think of the dread you’d feel if you lost your wallet on a busy street. Or the sinking feeling in your gut if you forgot your phone in a crowded restaurant.

But you probably wouldn’t think twice about brushing aside a strand of your hair in a public bathroom, or tossing away a plastic coffee cup, a piece of chewed-up gum, or a cigarette butt.

Maybe it’s time to think again.

What you discard most likely contains your DNA, that is, your entire genetic material, something scientists can use to determine everything you were born with—your race, bone structure, complexion, eye color, the shape of your face, and so on.

But, unless you’ve committed an interesting crime, no one is likely to pick up and study the debris you leave in your wake. No one, that is, except Heather Dewey-Hagborg, a “bio-artist” who constructs 3D portraits of people from the DNA she extracts from such leavings.

Dewey-Hagborg collected this cigarette butt on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. The DNA she extracted from it revealed that the smoker is male, of Eastern European descent, and has brown eyes.

Photo courtesy of Heather Dewey-Hagborg.

A Single Strand of Hair


It all started in 2012 when Dewey-Hagborg noticed a single strand of hair stuck in the frame of a picture hanging in a therapist’s office.

“I just sat there and stared at it,” she recalled in an interview with WhoWhatWhy, “and I couldn’t stop thinking about whose hair it might be. It struck me that we were leaving DNA all over the place, all the time, and not giving it a second thought.”

It’s understandable why this would be so interesting to Dewey-Hagborg, when one considers her background. Among other things, she has studied art, computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, two-dimensional facial recognition and face-generating algorithms, molecular biology, DNA extraction, and DNA amplification by a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Her obsession with that single strand of hair led her to New York’s Genspace, a community bio-tech lab. She made it her goal to find other such human material and, using the DNA left in it, to create a “face sculpture” of the stranger who left it behind.

3From Trash to Art—and Identity

Scouring the streets of New York for trash was the easy part. Getting usable DNA from the trash was the real challenge. “I spent six months in the lab and every experiment I tried, I failed,” she said. “But I kept going and going and going.”

When Dewey-Hagborg finally managed to isolate a piece of DNA code that she could use—a SNP, or single nucleotide polymorphism—she remembers thinking: “This can actually happen. I can make this work.” And, with the help of an outside lab that did the genome sequencing, she did make it happen. (Click here for more information about genome such sequencing.)

The genome is divided into chromosomes; chromosomes contain genes, and genes are made of DNA. Every person has his or her own unique genome.

Combining the skills she had mastered in facial-recognition software with the services of an adapted 3D printer, she made the leap from facial “recognition” to “re-creation.” Her first subject was herself.

Using nothing but DNA from a strand of her own hair, she created a sculpture that closely resembled her own face. Like most artists in history, she notes with a laugh, her first work was a self-portrait.

5“Stranger Visions”

Early this year, just as Dewey-Hagborg was moving to Chicago to take up a teaching job at the School of the Art Institute, her creations caught the eye of a Chicago gallery director.

“(We) were fascinated instantly by these 3D prints and how they came to be,” Juli Lowe, of the Catherine Edelman Gallery, told WhoWhatWhy. “From an art standpoint… I think what she is raising are very important questions.”

And now on display at that gallery, is a whole series of faces created from DNA by Dewey-Hagborg, called “Stranger Visions.” Each sculpture is paired with the discarded object that “birthed” the face, along with a description and photo of where the object was found.

So far, none of the “models” have come forward to claim their faces. So how does Dewey-Hagborg know she’s gotten a face right?

She readily admits that “it’s entirely possible that I could make a portrait of someone from their DNA, and they could look significantly different than that.”

Whatever the DNA may say, an individual’s life history and habits may alter the “phenotypic” expression of the genes—as in the case of a seriously obese person.

In fact, Dewey-Hagborg says, the true motivation for “Stranger Visions” isn’t art, or trying to get the face exactly right; it’s to get people thinking about the privacy issues raised by what she calls “genetic surveillance.”

“I could have taken that same DNA sample and created a much more comprehensive portrait that I think is a much stronger invasion of privacy.”

“For me, this project was about answering a question, which was, ‘How much can I learn about a person from some little bit of themselves they left behind?’ I do feel that I have answered that question and the answer is a whole lot,” Dewey-Hagborg says. “It’s an enormous privacy problem that we have to be talking about.”

For Good or Ill


Law enforcement agencies around the world are exploring the use of forensic DNA “phenotyping,” as it’s called. The US Justice Department is giving a $1.1 million dollar grant to Indiana University to further develop the science. Someday it may be possible to reconstruct entire genetic profiles this way.

With law enforcement pushing hard to develop phenotyping technology, Dewey-Hagborg asks: ”What do we think of that? With everything in science, there’s potential and there’s risk.”

For example, phenotyping could be used to identify a crime victim from the remains of a body. But using it to racially profile a crime suspect would be “problematic,” she says.

Dewey-Hagborg’s next project is teaching a course on harnessing such new technologies for socially constructive purposes. “We need,” she says, “to decide how this will be used in our society.”

Vacating: escapist exploration


Escapist Exploration

I’ll be on hiatus for a week plus.

My wife has finally fully retired, and we are taking a long overdue getaway adventure.

No clues, I don’t promise any reports, or pictures, or travelogues (but I might surprise myself).  I don’t yet own or post from portable devices, pads, droids, etc.  Maybe when Janet Yellen gives me one of those $20K loans at 0.0002% APR, I’ll buy some new Apple toys, droids, phones and a minion or two.

I’ll be out of touch, no contact save what I can glean from newstand headlines, PA systems, and large-screen TV in crowded public settings, and getting lost meditatively inside a drizzly seaside venue.

I am taking a notebook or two, a camera with video capacity, a book on digital photography, another on somatics, a third on the inner game of music, and a shillelagh.

Rather than yet another post on mind control by them, I’ve put together something which may help you achieve some mind control designed by your very own delightful self.

Over at, there’s an eight-day “online symposium” that ought to enable you to prevent anyone from taking squatter’s rights with your life, mind, body or soul.  It starts Sunday afternoon.

Keep in mind that it is intended for my own consumption as well.

I have started; two of the books mentioned will be joining me on my escapist explorations.

Amen I say unto you keep the faith.

mind control and optogenetics


Published: April 3, 2015


[re-post with additions]

Advancements in genetics and neuroscience are undoubtedly leading toward direct methods of mind control, albeit only with good intentions … if government and establishment science can be believed. However, an array of hi-tech methods have been announced which show clear potential for negative manipulation.

Bold claims have been made by scientists that they now can use “neural dust,”  high-powered lasers, and light beamed from outside the skull to alter brain function and even turn off consciousness altogether.

But it is memory research that might be among the most troubling.

As I’ve previously suggested in other articles, our memories help us form our identity: who we are relative to where we have been. Positive or negative lessons from the past can be integrated into our present decisions, thus enabling us to form sound strategies and behaviors that can aid us in our quest for personal evolution. What if we never knew what memories were real or false? What if our entire narrative was changed by having our life’s events restructured? Or what if there were memories that were traumatic enough to be buried as a mechanism of sanity preservation, only to be brought back to us in a lab?

Research has commenced into many facets of how memory can be restructured, whether it is erasing memories, the implantation of false memories, or triggering memories of fear when none previously existed. (Source)

MIT researchers, for example previously claimed to have found the specific brain switch that links emotions to memory. MIT went on to admit that these findings could lead not only to direct intervention via manipulation of brain cells through light, but a new class of drugs to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Once again, memory tinkering is making the news. This time it comes from the University of Toyama, Japan, where researchers claim to have for the first time, “linked two distinct memories using completely artificial means.” I have highlighted areas of the press release below which are consistent with similar research into supposed solutions for PTSD. The same disturbing language is present that seems to indicate a desire to reverse engineer the process and create fear-based trauma.

So far, ethical boundaries seem fuzzy at best, and downright non-existent in various areas of brain study. It is a time when more light needs to shine upon this research, who is funding it, and what is permissible. Given the outrageous abuses already committed by government-directed science, and a global climate of centralized health control, we would do well to read between the lines of these announcements and prepare to become very critical of their pursuits.

Press Release

The ability to learn associations between events is critical for survival, but it has not been clear how different pieces of information stored in memory may be linked together by populations of neurons. In a study published April 2nd in Cell Reports, synchronous activation of distinct neuronal ensembles caused mice to artificially associate the memory of a foot shock with the unrelated memory of exploring a safe environment, triggering an increase in fear-related behavior when the mice were re-exposed to the non-threatening environment. The findings suggest that co-activated cell ensembles become wired together to link two distinct memories that were previously stored independently in the brain.

Memory is the basis of all higher brain functions, including consciousness, and it also plays an important role in psychiatric diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder,” says senior study author Kaoru Inokuchi of the University of Toyama. “By showing how the brain associates different types of information to generate a qualitatively new memory that leads to enduring changes in behavior, our findings could have important implications for the treatment of these debilitating conditions.”

Recent studies have shown that subpopulations of neurons activated during learning are reactivated during subsequent memory retrieval, and reactivation of a cell ensemble triggers the retrieval of the corresponding memory. Moreover, artificial reactivation of a specific neuronal ensemble corresponding to a pre-stored memory can modify the acquisition of a new memory, thereby generating false or synthetic memories. However, these studies employed a combination of sensory input and artificial stimulation of cell ensembles. Until now, researchers had not linked two distinct memories using completely artificial means. 

With that goal in mind, Inokuchi and Noriaki Ohkawa of the University of Toyama used a fear-learning paradigm in mice followed by a technique called optogenetics, which involves genetically modifying specific populations of neurons to express light-sensitive proteins that control neuronal excitability, and then delivering blue light through an optic fiber to activate those cells. In the behavioral paradigm, one group of mice spent six minutes in a cylindrical enclosure while another group explored a cube-shaped enclosure, and 30 minutes later, both groups of mice were placed in the cube-shaped enclosure, where a foot shock was immediately delivered. Two days later, mice that were re-exposed to the cube-shaped enclosure spent more time frozen in fear than mice that were placed back in the cylindrical enclosure.


[Editor’s sidebar:

Watch the five-minute video here 

as well as learning more here:

“… By controlling these proteins with an implanted fiber-optic device, Boyden is developing on/off switches for brain activity.…” ]



The researchers then used optogenetics to reactivate the unrelated memories of the safe cylinder-shaped environment and the foot shock. Stimulation of neuronal populations in memory-related brain regions called the hippocampus and amygdala, which were activated during the learning phase, caused mice to spend more time frozen in fear when they were later placed back in the cylindrical enclosure, as compared with stimulation of neurons in either the hippocampus or amygdala, or no stimulation at all.

The findings show that synchronous activation of distinct cell ensembles can generate artificial links between unrelated pieces of information stored in memory, resulting in long-lasting changes in behavior.

“By modifying this technique, we will next attempt to artificially dissociate memories that are physiologically connected,” Inokuchi says. “This may contribute to the development of new treatments for psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, whose main symptoms arise from unnecessary associations between unrelated memories.”