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SOLAR MAXIMUM: Links to Cycles of war, Societal Change, and Personal Transformation of Consciousness Kindle Edition


Alex Ansary’s First Ever Ebook Available Now For Purchase From Amazon

Learn How The Sun Effects You and Those Around You And How We Can be Aware of what is happening with our Sun and it’s effects on our Earth and Spirits.

SOLAR MAXIMUM: Links to Cycles of war, Societal Change, and Personal Transformation of Consciousness by [Ansary, Alex ]

The cycles of the sun are greatly impacting the reality that surrounds us as well as our biology and state of mind throughout time and civilization. We are currently going through a cycle, Sunspot cycle 24, that’s going to bring a lot of change to our society. Unfortunately, the area of research of how the Sun impacts the earth, climate, and human behavior still remains widely unknown. However, today there is a vast amount of historical data available which details the dramatic changes taking place on the planet and all living beings during periods of solar maximums where solar activity reaches its peak.
This information is an examination of how the eleven, on average, year cycles of the sun bring our planet diverse change through: increased earthquakes, natural disasters, extreme weather patterns, climate changes, disruptions to power grids, new ideas, directions and movements in society, and changes in human expression and behavior that includes personal transformations and spiritual awakenings.

Facebook’s Russia Ads & the Social Media Divide and Conquer Program


There is a bigger picture beyond what is being exposed already and I was discussing it years before this period in time. See past videos exposing the disinfo in the alternative media and social media’s role in promoting those deceivers.

Video Shows Chinese And Indian Soldiers Brawling Over Disputed Territory With Rocks And Pipes



When the Chinese state-run media suggested that their country was two weeks away from possibly going to war with India earlier this month, they probably weren’t expecting a childish brawl between their armies, but that’s exactly what happened a few days ago. Footage of a scuffle between Chinese and Indian soldiers in the disputed Ladakh region of Northern India has surfaced, and spread far and wide on social media. It shows the soldiers beating and grappling with each other. Some accounts have suggested that the Chinese soldiers carried rocks and iron rods.

Initial reports claimed that the Chinese forces were the aggressors, and the Indian border guards had repelled them. However, now both governments are pretending that the incident never occurred. India has refused to confirm or deny that the brawl took place, and Chinese officials are flat out denying it.

According to PTI, China said that it was “not aware” of reports of PLA soldiers entering Indian territory and said it is “committed to peace and tranquillity along the border.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying said, “I am not aware of the information.” She said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops always patrol along the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”We urge the Indian side abide by the LAC and relevant conventions between the two sides,” she added.

There’s a very good reason for that response. As ridiculous as this incident may appear, it also represents a dire threat. Wars have been started over far less, and if both governments deny it happened, then they don’t have to address it. If they tried to confront each other over this fight, it could lead to the most devastating war in human history. At least it looks like both sides are trying to avoid that outcome.


Solar Eclipse Brings more than Glasses, Traffic and Campers


Eclipses Bring World Shifts / Personal Life Changes (Using Recent Life Example)

Referenced article: https://www.astrologyzone.com/all-about-eclipses-a-guide-for-coping-with-them/

>h2>Keeping it Together during the Total Solar Eclipse Season – Which Brings Many Life Changes…

A lot of change comes into our world. For me It’s marked by losing my online job and now youtube is demonizing many of my videos as the world is engulfed in civil unrest and fears of global warfare. At the same time, Im finishing critical projections that are important to me and looking to start new adventures.

Preparing Solar Flare PDF for Release as the Eclipse Energies Bring Great Change to our World

Have you noticed the great changes taking place either in the world or in your own personal lives as the eclipse arrives? My oh my am I feeling in now in my own life more NOW than ever. Its beyond words but Im working to make the best of a complicated situation and let my spirit rise to the occasion of such great challenge!

What is America’s Future?


In today’s Outside the Box TV video, Alex Ansary speculates on the future of America.

See Also other Recent Related Videos:

MSM Media Coverage Boosting US Internal Conflicts and Stoking Civil War Fears during Solar Eclipse

Youtube video demonetized immediately upon upload. The media is playing a huge role in making sure both sides have large numbers, the left and the right – fighting with helmets and capes and masks in the streets of America. Why do you believe its so difficult for Americans to understand WHY the media has its brainwashing role? Many seem to dislike the mainstream media but seem unable to explain the mainstream media psyops to work up both sides. As far as I know, others aren’t warning of what I am so it makes sense I wouldn’t hear others discuss what this is really all about. I just see confusion and a mainstream media that has brainwashed people that call themselves mainstream media critics. Does that make sense?

America finds itself Marginalized after Recent Events

In today’s Outside the Box TV video, Alex Ansary discusses the real agenda why America is being presented as it is to the world.

Please support independent media and sign up for exclusive content and geopolitical commentary at http://www.outsidethebox.vhx.tv

Charlotesville…. Convenient Situation for the Powers that Be Before Global War

The events of today are staged to create internal division. There has never been a more important time to support this channel.

Shocking Video Footage Details Extent of Political Gang Street Fighting in Portland

This is a series of clips I found online featuring the events recently in Portland, Oregon.

Smash hit war movie ‘Wolf Warriors 2’ flies flag for China’s Military Expansion


The message is in the tagline of the movie: “Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far away they are.”


Holding aloft the red flag of China, former special forces operative Leng Feng, played by martial arts hero Wu Jing, bellows to the warring African factions: “We are Chinese”, prompting both sides to lower their weapons and let the avenging heroes through.

Spoiler alert for any fans of wildly violent, patriotic Chinese propaganda movies, but this is a key scene in Wolf Warrior 2, now the all-time best performer at the Chinese box office having taken €485 million in ticket sales.

The movie’s popularity reflects a growing sense of China’s expanding military prowess and rising influence overseas, characterised by its widescale investments in Africa, its emerging position as honest broker in the Korean nuclear crisis and refusal to back down on its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea despite international condemnation.

The movie’s timing is excellent. Earlier this year, China opened a naval base in Djibouti, a big step in its growing military presence abroad and it has also invested heavily in expanding its navy to protect its maritime claims.

As Rambo or Black Hawk Down did for the US armed forces, Wolf Warrior 2portrays the Chinese military as a powerful force with major impact overseas, but unlike the western movies, there is no questioning of the status quo in Wolf Warrior 2. The message is in the tagline of the movie: “Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far away they are.”

This refers to a similar quote by the mighty general Chen Tang in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE to AD 220), a golden age of Chinese history, who made the threat against the nomadic tribes to the north.

Also directed by Wu, the movie takes place in an unnamed African country riven by civil war. Leng Feng has been booted out of the commandos for attacking a property developer trying to tear down the home of a fallen comrade’s mother.


Wu has spoken in interviews of his pride when watching the People’s Liberation Army in action in areas such as Sichuan after the earthquake in 2008.

He told the People’s Daily how he “ wanted to showcase the kindness, wit, courage and sacrifice of Chinese soldiers”.

The movie is a two-hour assault on the senses, making the film feel like a video game. The martial arts choreography, and an epic tank battle, are highlights. China has no film classification system, and the violence didn’t seem to bother the children watching, or their parents.

Sexist and racist tropes abound, with wave after wave of useless Africans mown down by evil western mercenaries, characters remarking how Africans are always happy when dancing around a bonfire and how the women are beautiful. There is even an obese black mother with a heart of gold who sings Amazing Grace. Her obese son, who refers to Leng Feng as godfather, is a comic figure who makes big eyes when eating.


These cliches are common in western movies from James Bond to Indiana Jones, but are less likely these days to make it into an epic action movie.

The nationalist Global Times, unsurprisingly, loves the film. “While the West brings only destruction and war, China brings construction and trade,” it said. The US is portrayed as a cowardly country that does not defend its interests overseas.

“The movie is a breakthrough. First, Chinese-made patriotic military movies have not been a popular genre among young people recently. Second, this movie is the first of its kind to be set outside Chinese borders,” the paper enthused.

It slams overseas commentators for suggesting the movie is a propaganda film depicting an aggressive and assertive China, insisting it is a purely commercial venture.

“The movie fed a public appetite and met their desire to see a confident and strong Chinese military force which could not only safeguard China’s national borders, but also successfully protect the safety and interests of Chinese people abroad,” it said.

There is puzzlement about the success of the film. The first instalment did well, although it did not exactly set the box office alight. The production values are significantly higher in the second movie.

The fact that it was released during the annual summer blackout period where foreign movies are banned from Chinese cinema screens, except for cartoons, to give domestic movies a boost, will have helped with receipts.


The Founding of an Army, which chronicles the origins of the People’s Liberation Army and has serious official backing as part of the trilogy of historical epics known as the Founding of New China trilogy that also includes the Founding of a Party and Founding of a Republic, has only taken €45 million.

Online, the response has been equally ecstatic.

“I am a military fan. The movie is exciting and proves that China is no worse than any other country,” wrote one young woman called Sophietale, while another said: “After watching Wolf Warriors 2, you will feel lucky to have been born in China.”

After the shooting and kung-fu have run their course, Wolf Warriors 2 ends with a photograph of a Chinese passport, and a message promising the government will protect Chinese citizens wherever they go. Though whether that means Wu will be there with his fists of fury is not clear.


Solar Eclipse Presents First Major Test of Power Grid in Renewable Era


As Monday’s total solar eclipse sweeps from Oregon to South Carolina, U.S. electric power and grid operators will be glued to their monitoring systems in what for them represents the biggest test of the renewable energy era.


Utilities and grid operators have been planning for the event for years, calculating the timing and drop in output from solar, running simulations of the potential impact on demand, and lining up standby power sources. It promises a critical test of their ability to manage a sizeable swing in renewable power.

Solar energy now accounts for more than 42,600 megawatts (MW), about 5 percent of the U.S.’s peak demand, up from 5 MW in 2000, according to the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), a group formed to improve the nation’s power system in the wake of a 1964 blackout. When the next eclipse comes to the United States in 2024, solar will account for 14 percent of the nation’s power, estimates NERC.

For utilities and solar farms, the eclipse represents an opportunity to see how well prepared their systems are to respond to rapid swings in an era where variable energy sources such as solar and wind are climbing in scale and importance.

Power companies view Monday’s event as a “test bed” on how power systems can manage a major change in supply, said John Moura, director of reliability assessment and system analysis at the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

    “It has been tested before, just not at this magnitude,” adds Steven Greenlee, a spokesman for the California Independent System Operator (CISO), which controls routing power in the nation’s most populous state.

CISO estimates that at the peak of the eclipse, the state’s normal solar output of about 8,800 MW will be reduced to 3,100 MW and then surge to more than 9,000 MW when the sun returns.

    CISO’s preparation includes studying how German utilities dealt with a 2015 eclipse in that country. Its review prompted the grid overseer to add an additional 200 MW to its normal 250 MW power reserves.

“We’ve calculated that during the eclipse, that solar will ramp off at about 70 MW per minute,” said Greenlee. “And then we’ll see the solar rolling back at about 90 MW per minute or more.”

Power utilities say the focus will be on managing a rapid drop off and accommodate the solar surge post the eclipse. Utility executives say they do not expect any interruption in service, but are prepared to ask customers to pare usage if a problem arises.”We want to assure our customers that we have secured enough resources to meet their energy needs, even with significantly less solar generation on hand,” said Caroline Winn, chief operating officer at utility San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

In the Eastern United States, utilities will have more time to watch the results of their Western counterparts. PJM Interconnection, which coordinates electricity transmission among 13 states from Michigan to North Carolina, says non-solar sources such as hydro and fossil fuel can easily supplant the 400 MW to 2,500 MW solar loss, depending on the cloud cover.

For small-scale solar providers, the eclipse is a drop in the revenue bucket. Ron Strom, a North Carolina real estate developer, sells the power from a 58 kilovolt system atop a commercial property in Chapel Hill to Duke Energy.

“The event may cost me eighteen cents or thereabouts if my panels don’t produce solar for three hours,” said Strom.

Colorado Man KICKED OFF OWN PROPERTY Over Motorhome


In the mountains outside of Denver, Colorado, Clem Smith was looking to accomplish his dream.


After being homeless for 6 years, Smith inherited $214,000, and set about buying his own property and eventually building a house. The government then stepped in and starting fining him for having a motor home and storage container on his own property. Now Smith faces possible seizure of his property and eviction from his own land.

Denver’s ABC affiliate, KMGH, reports:

After a neighbor complained about the RV, shipping container and trash, Smith was cited for code violations.

The complaint alleges that he’s allowing the outdoor storage of those items on vacant land and that he was going to allow people to live in the shipping container.

Smith said that’s hogwash.

“I believe the person that complained came in (the shipping container) and saw a dresser and thought people were going to try to live here,” he said.

Smith said, in reality, the dresser is his “workbench” and he uses it to store tools and paperwork.

Jeanie Rossillon, Jefferson County’s director of development and transportation, said that under existing code, the RV is considered an accessory and cannot be parked on the property without a house.  Ditto for the shipping container.

Smith says he will build one, but needs more time. In the meantime, he wants to live in his RV and leave it parked on his property.

“I own this property,” he told Denver7, with emotion welling up in his voice. “I paid for it in cash. It’s all mine.  I should be able to live on it for a certain amount of time, while I’m surveying, engineering or planning.”

Smith says he has very little money left to move everything.

He worries that he’ll end up being homeless again and that he’ll have to park his RV at Walmart.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” he added, “I’ve been on the homeless circuit for several years and everybody at the campgrounds and at Walmart, is hoping to get a piece of property and build their own home.”

Denver7 checked and found that there have been similar issues in other counties.

Smith is beyond frustrated.

“I’ve got nowhere to take a back hoe, nowhere to take my dump truck, nowhere to take my shipping container,” he said. “I’m going to have to pay for storage for all that. I don’t even know where to take it.”

CBS 4 in Denver adds:

“I’m going to be broke conforming to their wishes,” he told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

“I’ve been building really nice houses for people my whole life. I want to build my own really nice house,” Smith said while choking up.

After spending several thousand dollars on road and septic permits, Smith received a citation after a neighbor complained about the RV and trash.

Under Jefferson County zoning codes, the storage container and RV are considered “accessories” unless a home is actually being built.


South Korea: There Will Be No War on Korean Peninsula


There will be no war on the Korean peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-In stated Thursday, adding that Seoul effectively had a veto over US military action in response to the North’s nuclear and missile programs.


Tensions have soared on the peninsula in recent months, with Pyongyang carrying out its first successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], bringing much of the US within range.

Last week it threatened to send a salvo of rockets towards the US territory of Guam – although it appears to have backed off for now – while US President Donald Trump promised “fire and fury” and said that Washington’s weapons were “locked and loaded.”

The intense rhetoric on both sides raised fears of a miscalculation leading to catastrophic consequences – Pyongyang has vast artillery forces deployed within range of Seoul, where millions of people live.

But Moon stressed:

“I will prevent war at all cost.”

“I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war,” he told a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

The US has been the South’s security guarantor since the end of the Korean War in 1953, which left the peninsula divided and technically still in a state of conflict with no peace treaty signed.

Washington has 28,500 troops stationed in the country to protect it from the North.

Moon, however, said Seoul effectively had a veto on military action by the US.

Washington and Trump had agreed that “no matter what option they take about North Korea, all decisions will be made after consulting with and getting agreement with the Republic of Korea.”

Trump’s rhetoric raised alarm among observers but Moon, who visited Washington at the end of June, declined to criticize his choice of words.

The US leader was “trying to pressure North Korea by showing a firm resolution,” he said.

Iran Threatens to Quit Nuclear Deal Within Hours If New US Sanctions Imposed


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned this week that Tehran may abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), within hours if the U.S. continues imposing new sanctions.


In a speech to parliament on Tuesday, Rouhani said Donald Trump was “not a good partner.”

“Those who try to return to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past delusions,” Rouhani also said in a televised address. “If they want to go back to that experience, definitely in a short time, not weeks or months, but in the scale of hours and days, we will return to our previous situation very much more stronger.”

Despite Iran’s reported compliance with the JCPOA, the U.S. legislature recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of slapping further sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Donald Trump is also looking to derail the nuclear deal, already alleging that Iran is noncompliant with the JCPOA despite the fact that he certified its compliance just last month.

As the New York Times explained, the U.S. is trying to force Iran out of the nuclear deal:

“That would be an outcome welcomed by the Trump administration. Top officials like Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Mattis have expressed concern about the effect on American relations with European allies if Mr. Trump were to unilaterally pull out, especially after he already announced his intention to back out of the Paris climate change accord that Europeans strongly support.”

“But some advisers to the president argue that if they can provoke Iran into being the one to scrap the nuclear deal, it will leave the United States in a stronger position.” [emphasis added]

It appears this is the provocative policy the Trump administration is currently pursuing. Analysts examining this current news story should necessarily pose the question: why derail the nuclear agreement if Iran is complying? And to what end?

Regardless, Rouhani said Iran would still prefer to stick with the nuclear deal, calling it “a model of victory for peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism.” As an apparent realist, however, Rouhani warned there were other options.

Iran is already preparing for the collapse of the JCPOA. The country’s parliament recently voted overwhelmingly to increase spending on Tehran’s ballistic missile program and the powerful Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for the new sanctions the U.S. has slapped on the country. According to Al-Jazeera, some politicians even chanted “Death to America” as the vote results were announced.

“The Americans should know that this was our first action,” said speaker Ali Larijani after announcing the majority vote in favor of the package on Sunday.

The JCPOA does not account for Iran’s missile tests, and many media outlets agree that Iran is not violating the agreement by testing and developing its missile technology. To date, the country has only launched one missile into another country’s territory — unlike the United States, which is currently bombing at least seven countries and considering bombing at least three or four more. Earlier this year, Iran launched a missile strike in Syria in response to a terrorist attack on its own soil ( one should note that Iran’s military presence in Syria is authorized through Iran and Syria’s mutual defense arrangements).

The U.S. has been looking to invade Iran for decades, and Iran has no desire to turn into the next Iraq. Regime change has become an official policy of the Trump administration even though Iran is regarded as one of the only politically stable nations in the region.

Comparatively, there is no real show of aggression from Iran, and generally speaking, Iran’s military spending is still quite low. If it were ever to pursue a nuclear weapon, it would likely be a deterrent strategy in the same way North Korea’s program is. A 2017 Congressional Research Service report found there was a case to be made that Iran’s national security policy is concerned with protecting itself from America and its allies’ attempts to intimidate or changing the current Iranian government. Further, according to the U.S. Defense Department’s annual review of Iran:

“Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.”


NASA’S Risky Plan To Save US From Yellowstone


Government officials have been closely monitoring the activity in the Yellowstone caldera.


However, scientists at NASA have now come up with an incredibly risky plan to save the United States from the super volcano.

A NASA scientist has spoken out about the true threat of super volcanoes and the risky methods that could be used to prevent a devastating eruption. Lying beneath the tranquil and beautiful settings of Yellowstone National Park in the US lies an enormous magma chamber, called a caldera. It’s responsible for the geysers and hot springs that define the area, but for scientists at NASA, it’s also one of the greatest natural threats to human civilization as we know it.

Brian Wilcox, a former member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense, shared a report on the natural hazard that hadn’t been seen outside of the agency until now. Following an article published by BBC about super volcanoes last month, a group of NASA researchers got in touch with the media to share a report previously unseen outside the space agency about the threat Yellowstone poses, and what they hypothesize could possibly be done about it.

“I was a member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for NASA to defend the planet from asteroids and comets,” explains Brian Wilcox of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. “I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”

 Yellowstone currently leaks about 60 to 70 percent of its heat into the atmosphere through stream water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks, while the rest of the heat builds up as magma and dissolves into volatile gasses. The heat and pressure will reach the threshold, meaning an explosion is inevitable. When NASA scientists considered the fact that a super volcano’s eruption would plunge the earth into a volcanic winter, destroying most sources of food, starvation would then become a real possibility.  Food reserves would only last about 74 days, according to the UN, after an eruption of a super volcano, like that under Yellowstone.  And they have devised a risky plan that could end up blowing up in their faces.  Literally.

Wilcox hypothesized that if enough heat was removed, and the temperature of the super volcano dropped, it would never erupt. But he wants to see a 35% decrease in temperature, and how to achieve that, is incredibly risky. One possibility is to simply increase the amount of water in the supervolcano. As it turns to steam. the water would release the heat into the atmosphere, making global warming alarmists tremble.

“Building a big aqueduct uphill into a mountainous region would be both costly and difficult, and people don’t want their water spent that way,” Wilcox says. “People are desperate for water all over the world and so a major infrastructure project, where the only way the water is used is to cool down a supervolcano, would be very controversial.”

So, NASA came up with an alternative plan. They believe the most viable solution could be to drill up to 10km down into the super volcano and pump down water at high pressure. The circulating water would return at a temperature of around 350C (662F), thus slowly day by day extracting heat from the volcano. And while such a project would come at an estimated cost of around $3.46 billion, it comes with an enticing catch which could convince politicians (taxpayers) to make the investment.

“Yellowstone currently leaks around 6GW in heat,” Wilcox says. “Through drilling in this way, it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/kWh. You would have to give the geothermal companies incentives to drill somewhat deeper and use hotter water than they usually would, but you would pay back your initial investment, and get electricity which can power the surrounding area for a period of potentially tens of thousands of years. And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity.”

Of course, drilling into a super volcano comes with its own risks, like the eruption that scientists are desperate to prevent. Triggering an eruption by drilling would be disastrous.

“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Wilcox says. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”

The cooling of Yellowstone in this manner would also take tens of thousands of years, but it is a plan that scientists at NASA are considering for every super volcano on earth.

China military criticizes ‘wrong’ US moves on Taiwan, South China Sea


The “wrong” actions of the United States on Taiwan, its South China Sea patrols and deployment of an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea have had a large, negative influence on military trust, a senior Chinese officer said on Thursday.


Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission, told Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that mutual trust mechanisms between the two militaries had continued to improve, China’s defense ministry said.

“But wrong actions on the Taiwan issue, the United States deploying the THAAD system around China, U.S. ships and aircraft’s activities in the South China Sea, the United States close-in surveillance in the sea and air near China have had a large, negative influence on bilateral military ties and mutual trust,” Fan added.

THAAD is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-missile system the United States has deployed in South Korea to defend against North Korea.

China says the system affects its own security because of its powerful radar, and will do nothing to ease tension with North Korea.

Fan said China was willing to work with the United States to find more potential for cooperation, handle disputes and sensitive issues appropriately and ensure military cooperation becomes a positive force in relations.

At a separate meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Dunford that promoting constructive relations between the two militaries is very important to help deepen ties between the two countries.

China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, say they are committed to having a stable military-to-military relationship, but there are deep faultlines.

China has been angered by U.S. freedom of navigation patrols near Chinese-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea and continued U.S. arms sales and support for self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province.

The United States has expressed concern about what it calls unsafe intercepts of U.S. aircraft by the Chinese air force and a lack of transparency in military spending by China, which is in the midst of an ambitious military modernization program.

Speaking to reporters, Dunford said the main deliverable for his trip was the signing of a framework agreement for a joint staff dialogue mechanism.

Dunford said China and the United States already have the capability for secure video teleconferences between Dunford and Fang Fenghui, chief of the joint staff department of the People’s Liberation Army.

The U.S. embassy also has immediate access to China’s General Staff, he added.

“We have ways of communicating. What we’re looking for is a more responsive 24 hours a day, seven days a week communications link that can actually be used in a crisis. And that’s really one of the issues that we will work on.”

As Trump Tweets World Into Nuclear Standoff, Bomb Shelter Sales Are Booming


A flurry of reports claim that bomb shelter sales have skyrocketed recently.


After North Korea threatened to launch an “enveloping strike” at Guam, the territory’s office of civil defense posted emergency guidelines on Friday, explaining what citizens should do in the event of a missile attack. (“Do not look at the flash or fireball—It can blind you. Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”) The advisory followed a week of alarming statements by President Trump and North Korea, fueling talk of nuclear apocalypse that’s been good for one specific industry: bomb shelter manufacturers.

Example of bunker promo video made by Alex Ansary in 2011:

A flurry of reports claim that bomb shelter sales have skyrocketed recently. Ron Hubbard, president of Atlas Survival Shelters, told a California Fox affiliatethat he’d sold over 30 units to customers nationwide in the past few days. One of the orders came from Japan. “It’s crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Hubbard said. “It’s all over the country. I sold shelters today in North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, California.”

Despite your Cold War-era assumptions, Atlas Survival shelters look more like shipping containers than the concrete boxes you’re used to seeing in old newsreels. Using sections of huge corrugated pipes, the company builds airtight living spaces designed to be buried 20 feet underground. They’re relatively cheap too, with the most basic model starting at $10,000. You can opt for a larger shelter with more amenities, like a hospital, workout room, or an armory, but that costs $100,000 or more. It’s so far unclear which configurations are most popular for the seemingly impending “fire and fury” party.

Would you live in this for a year?

This isn’t an isolated trend, either. Robert Vicino, the founder and CEO of a bomb shelter company called Vivos, claims that he’s received “thousands and thousands of applications” for spots in a communal bomb shelter compound in South Dakota. This subterranean community is advertised as eventually including 575 luxury “off-grid dugouts” with badass amenities like a movie theater, a shooting range (?), a hydroponic garden, and a members-only restaurant and bar. Because even after the apocalypse, rich people need their exclusivity. A spot in the community, codenamed xPoint, costs $25,000 per person, and Vicino says they’ve already reserved 50 spots.

While the threat of total nuclear annihilation is still uncertain in the United States, folks in Japan have more reason to be concerned. Japan very close to North Korea—close enough for a missile strike—so shelter companies are getting calls from them as well. Gary Lynch, the general manager of bomb shelter manufacturer Rising S Co., recently told Bloomberg that inquiries about his products have doubled in the past three weeks, with 80 percent of the interest coming from Japan.

Predictably, Japanese bomb shelter companies are getting in on the action as well. Seiichiro Nishimoto is president of Shelter Co., which imports air-conditioned bomb shelters from Israel, and he also spoke to Bloomberg. “People are genuinely afraid,” Nishimoto said. “That’s why we’re getting so many calls.”

It’s the uncertainty that’s really anxiety-inducing. A lot of these shelters are equipped to keep people alive underground for a year. But who knows what the world will look like after that. And what happens if you lock yourself in the shelter, go off the grid, and then the apocalypse is averted? We actually know the answer to this question thanks to the popular 1999 Brenden Frasier filmBlast From the Past, but still, it’s a concern.

None of this is to say that everyone should go out and drop tens of thousands of dollars on a bomb shelter, though the bomb shelter companies would surely appreciate your business. The standoff with North Korea is still just a standoff with bunch of saber rattling—for now. It’s not encouraging that Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, tweeted on Friday morning that the military is “locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely.” (That missing space is Trump’s typo.)

The smartest diplomatic minds in the world have been working on maintaining peace and nuclear deterrence for years. And then Trump just… tweeted that out. So maybe a bomb shelter wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

How long can the US keep hackers at bay and the lights on?


The foundation around which the U.S. economy runs, the power grid makes an intriguing target for hackers.


After it came to light this summer that hackers had infiltrated the computer networks of two U.S. power companies – at a time the country was still reeling from Russian cyberattacks aimed at influencing the 2016 election – the possibility of hackers taking down the U.S. power grid and sending the nation into chaos suddenly seemed a very real possibility.

The companies pledged there was no danger. Senators called hearings and wrote letters to the White House demanding to know what it was doing about it.

But to the teams of cybersecurity analysts charged with protecting the world’s industries from a rapidly evolving deluge of malware, viruses and other tools of the hacker trade, it was just the latest in an escalating cyberwar against power grids and other critical infrastructure around the globe.

“The message that I’d like to communicate, intrusions, spear-phishing and other (hacking attacks),” said Mark Bristow, deputy division director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Hunt and Incident Response Team. “It happens every day.”

The foundation around which the U.S. economy runs, the power grid makes an intriguing target for hackers – whether it’s foreign governments, criminals looking for a big payday or hackers just seeing what mischief they can cause. And as attempts to infiltrate computer networks that control the grid and other industrial systems escalate, cybersecurity experts and some government officials are increasingly concerned that a large-scale, well-financed and coordinated cyberattack is coming, risking the sort of widespread blackouts that hit Ukraine in 2015 after hackers broke into the systems of three power plants.

Last year, members of DHS’ Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team recorded 290 cases of hackers gaining access to systems at everything from power plants to telecommunications systems. Considering companies are not required to report such incidents unless they lose control of critical infrastructure – to date something that has never been publicly reported in the United States – that number is likely far lower than the reality. Still, it represented more than twice as many incidents as were reported in 2011.

“What the electric industry folks tell me is, ‘We lay awake at home every night thinking about this,’ ” said a former top energy official in the Obama administration, who declined to be identified because those conversations were private. “Someone from one of the nation’s largest utilities, and I can’t say who, told me they had hackers trying to get into their system 3,000 times a day.”

The break-ins disclosed by Burlington Electric in Vermont and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Co. of Kansas – which the companies maintain did not breach the networks that control the grid – have begun to raise debate in Washington over whether the government is doing enough. Federal authority over the power grid essentially stops where transmission lines end, leaving security over the vast complex of neighborhood power lines, transformers, smart meters and other digital controls largely to utilities and power generators.

That has left the grid a technological patchwork, with some companies failing to meet the elemental standards for cybersecurity, nearly a dozen government and private-sector experts said.

“Something needs to change because right now we’re sitting ducks,” said Sujeet Shenoi, a computer science professor at the University of Tulsa who trains students for cybersecurity careers with the National Security Agency, FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Where once countries fought over land and waterways, the ability to control and protect the world’s digital systems is fast becoming a new arms race. In countries like Israel, Shenoi said, cybersecurity standards for power grids, pipelines, telecommunications and other vital systems are set by the government’s intelligence and security officials. And in leaving it in the hands of the private sector, he warned, the U.S. is falling behind.

Cyberttack in Ukraine

The cautionary tale is Ukraine, where in late 2015 operators at electric utilities watched helplessly as hackers took control of their systems, shutting down one breaker after another, knocking out power to some 230,000 customers for up to six hours. In the aftermath, a team from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated the attack, finding the Ukrainians did not have basic cyberdefenses in place.

Computer systems that controlled the grid were not properly separated from those handling emails and other information technology functions, providing hackers easier access to the networks, the U.S. investigators discovered. On top of that, the Ukraine network was not using the latest techniques to verify users trying to log in from outside.

The U.S. grid is widely described as considerably more advanced those in Eastern Europe, but some of those same security failures in Ukraine could very well be found here, said Homeland Security’s Bristow, who was part of the team that traveled to Ukraine.

“I’ve definitely seen some with very, very robust security postures, and I’ve seen some that definitely could use some improvement,” he said. “It really depends utility to utility.”

In his final weeks in office before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urged Congress to consider expanding federal authority over cybersecurity for energy infrastructure, arguing it was “inherently a federal responsibility when one talks about a national security concern.” That echoed recommendations made in 2014 by Gen. Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA director during the George W. Bush administration. Hayden called for a significant expansion of federal powers to dictate standards protecting the grid from cyberattack.

Democrats are demanding that Trump order a review of Russia’s capability to launch a cyberattack against U.S. energy infrastructure, specifically looking at the malware CrashOverride, which is believed to have been used in the attack on Ukraine in 2015. But whether members of Congress of either party would go so far as advocate for the federal government to dictate cybersecurity standards on the power grid remains a sensitive topic, raising the prospect of an expansion of federal powers, which many state governments, including Texas, are bucking.

Even legislation to improve data sharing between utilities during cyberattacks faces opposition from utilities worried that they might have to raise rates to cover the costs of better cybersecurity, said Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., a sponsor of the bill.

“It would have pushback,” he said. “(Utilities) want to have security, and privately they’ll admit it’s good to have standards. But they have to answer to ratepayers, and publicly they’re saying they don’t want it.”

The industry argues that unlike foreign countries – where the grid is often controlled by a single state-owned utility – the U.S. grid is a kaleidoscope of hundreds of different utilities and power companies of varying size and wealth, making the creation of a single federal standard difficult to implement, said Scott Aaronson, executive director of security and business continuity at the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group.

“What happened in Ukraine is a lot harder to perpetrate here in North America,” Aaronson said, adding utilities have an economic incentive to keep hackers out of their systems. “If our equipment’s not spinning, were not making money.”

To what degree utilities are taking adequate steps to protect themselves is difficult to assess. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the quasi-governmental agency that oversees utilities, performs regular cybersecurity audits, but those findings are kept private, as are the names of the companies it penalizes for not meeting its standards.

A nightmare scenario

Cybsecurity experts say utilities, particularly larger, publicly traded ones like Centerpoint of Houston and Oncor of Dallas, have made great strides strengthening cybersecurity in the past few years. But, they added, just as utilities improve defenses, hackers come up with new and ever more complex means of attacks.

Lately, Shenoi, the University of Tulsa professor, said he’s thinking about smart meters, the digital electric meters installed at tens of millions of homes and buildings across the country over the past decade. They save the utility sending out crews to read meters, but also give hackers new and numerous avenues of attack, Shenoi said.

To explain the implications, he pointed to 2003, when a failure of a cluster of power lines in Ohio cascaded into a blackout across the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Canada, knocking out power to 55 million people.

“There were a few points of failure, but still it took six days to two weeks to restore power,” Shenoi said. “Imagine if you have 2 million smart meters and imagine you were able to damage or destroy through cyberspace every one of those meters. Where are you going to get the millions of smart meters to replace them? It’s going to take a year.”

Such a scenario has long been taken seriously by the federal government. A 2013 report by the Department of Defense, imagining a cyberattack on the power grid and other critical infrastructure, predicted the following:

“In a short time, food and medicine distribution systems would be ineffective; transportation would fail or become so chaotic as to be useless. Law enforcement, medical staff, and emergency personnel capabilities could be expected to be barely functional in the short term and dysfunctional over sustained periods.”

Utilities themselves are not writing off the possibility. During the cyberattack on the Ukraine, one of the saving graces was utilities were still digitizing control systems. When hackers breached their systems, utilities fell back on old-manual breakers and other controls to minimize the damage. Some U.S. utilities are developing similar plans in which they, too, could essentially abandon digital devices and fall back on old analog equipment, said Aaronson, of the Edison Institute.

“We operated the grid for the better part of the 20th century without smart infrastructure,” he said.


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