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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Cardinal Crisis Special Edition -> Mundane Forecast: New Astrological Year - The Vernal Equinox Of 2012 > Astromet Climate Forecast: Prepare For Hot, Dry & Windy Year Ahead With Extreme Drought > Also, Japan's Historic Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster: One Year Later > Plus, Money Supply Booms: Seeds Of The Next Greater Recession > Middle East Tensions: Afghanistan Simmers & Military Strike Against Syria? > And Featuring, Baby Boomer 'Age Of Aquarius' Dystopia: Big Brother Online In 2013?

The Cardinal Crisis

Mundane Forecast
New Astrological Year:
The Vernal Equinox Of 2012


Astromet Climate Forecast: 
Prepare For Hot, Dry & Windy Year Ahead With Extreme Drought


Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster:
One Year Later


Middle East Tensions:
Afghanistan Simmers & A Military Strike Against Syria?


Money Supply Booms: 
Seeds Of The Next Greater Recession?


Baby Boomer 'Age Of Aquarius' Dystopia: 
'Big Brother' Logs Online in 2013?

Global Astrology
Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

Peace & Goodwill To Humanity

All Praise & Glory Be To The Immortal God

In my March 2012 Vernal Equinox special edition we explore the news, trends and forecasts through the lens of Mundane Astrology.

~ Presage For 2012 ~

Diligence is the mother of good fortune.

"He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." - Proverbs 13:20

In this edition of Global Astrology, we examine the impacts of Japan's Historic Earthquake, Tsunami & Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster - One Year Later.

We're back to the deflated economy by looking at how the Money Supply Booms: Seeds Of The Next Greater Recession.

The geopolitical situation is examined in Middle East Tensions: Afghanistan Simmers & Military Strike Against Syria?

My seasonal weather forecast for 2012 is found in: Astromet Climate Forecast: Prepare For Hot, Windy & Dry Year Ahead.

Further in this edition of Global Astrology, we feature privacy & national security in the 21st Century with Baby Boomer Dystopia: 'Age Of Aquarius': Big Brother Logs Online In 2013... So Watch What You Say?

The Vernal Equinox of 2012 is also explored as we begin a new astrological year.

Current World Events & Trends

The vernal equinox is covered in this edition of Global Astrology. The reason why we have seasons is because of the tilt of the Earth relative to its position to the Sun.

At this time of year, in the weeks before, during and after the vernal equinox, people can feel 'unbalanced' and often act out in dysfunctional ways - sometimes with fatal consequences.

Consider the sad events that took the life of the American teenager below.

Trayvon Martin, 17.

If you’re first hearing about this story, here are the details:

The gated community of Retreat of Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida, had been experiencing some petty burglaries. A 28-year-old man named George Zimmerman volunteered to head up a neighborhood watch. 

On Sunday, February 26, 2012, the 17-year-old Martin, who had been staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house, was watching the NBA All-Star game on television when at halftime, Martin went out to 7-Eleven to get some Skittles and an iced tea to bring back to his childhood friends at the house. 

While Martin was returning from the store, Zimmerman thought him “suspicious,” called 911 and pursued the “suspect” in despite the police dispatcher's orders not to. 

George Zimmerman

At some point Zimmerman confronted the young boy and loud wails could be heard, then a gunshot - then silence. When police arrived, Martin was declared dead. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense, was questioned by police and released.

As of March 20, 2012, Zimmerman has not yet been arrested or charged but transits show that the U.S. Justice Department is sure to look into the Martin killing as a hate crime in the days to come.

Parents of Trayvon Martin

"On February 26, 2012 our son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years-old. Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. 

Zimmerman, the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader," called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman still hasn't been charged for murdering our son. 

"Trayvon was our hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding.

At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that’s all gone. 

When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All we know about what happened next is that our 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed - was shot and killed. 

 It's been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer - saying he's "a college grad" who took a class in criminal justice. 

Please join us in calling on Norman Wolfinger, Florida's 18th District State's Attorney, to investigate my son's murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin."

Florida residents are no longer alone in their demand for answers in the case of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black teenager who was walking unarmed through a gated community in Sanford, Florida in late February 2012, when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood-watch captain.

The volunteer, identified by authorities in the case as George Zimmerman, 28, said he was acting in self-defense. But much of the country wants to know: Why hasn't Zimmerman been arrested?

The slaying has dominated social media and national news outlets in the wake of Friday's release of 911 tapes in the Feb. 26 shooting. On the tapes is Zimmerman's call to report Martin.

"He's got his hand in his waistband and he's a black male," Zimmerman can be heard telling the dispatcher, saying he's following Martin. "We don't need you to do that," the dispatcher told him. But Zimmerman continued to follow Martin.

Moments later, shots were fired.

The teen, who was walking back from a store, was carrying only a cellphone, a bag of Skittles candy and an iced tea, authorities say.

The state attorney's office is reviewing the events leading up to the shooting. But some see race as a factor in the seeming lack of progress in the 3-week-old case.

A Florida law student holds a bag of Skittles candy in protests seeking the arrest of George Zimmerman for murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Critics of the investigation have held marches and protests at Florida A&M University and outside the criminal courts building in Sanford. The Rev. Al Sharpton has announced plans for a Thursday rally.

On Twitter, social media users were urged to flood the U.S. Justice Department with demands for justice, and several petitions are being circulated, including: Prosecute the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It has more than 400,000+ signatures so far. 

Celebrities such as Alyssa Milano and Blair Underwood were using their Twitter and Facebook feeds to draw attention to the case.

Martin's parents have also formally asked the FBI to step in. Tracy Martin, the boy's father, told CBS news that the fact that Zimmerman remains free means that his son is being portrayed as the culprit.

"They're treating this as if my son is 'the perp,'" he said, "My son is the victim here." He added: "It can't be self-defense. What was he gonna do, attack him with a bag of Skittles?"

The case is also casting a spotlight on Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law. That law gives individuals the leeway to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

Underwood posted on his Facebook page that the case caused him to have a serious talk with his own son:

"I had a talk with my son the other night explaining to him that some backwards thinking idiots in this world won't see his beautiful, brilliant mind and spirit first. 

"SOME" will see his 'BEAUTIFUL' black skin first ... and be threatened by it. True, that is their problem, but when that idiot carries a gun, it is important that our children be armed with information/street-sense and know not to escalate the that moment. Let cooler heads prevail, then nail them through the media and/or the justice system!"

George Zimmerman’s frequent calls showed paranoia. From open garage doors to kids dashing into the street and “suspicious characters,” George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain at Retreat at Twin Lakes, was on it.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, March 19, 2012 released tapes of six calls to the police non-emergency number in which Zimmerman called in mundane goings-on at his Sanford townhouse complex -  including four times he saw black men loitering.

On the tapes, Zimmerman sounds as if he’s reading from a script - often starting with “We’ve had a lot of break-ins our neighborhood.” 

In one October 2011 call, he said two “suspicious characters” in a white Impala were “just hanging out, loitering.” Another black man in pajama pants and a leather jacket showed up on trash day last month, while two other men spotted in early August 2011 matched the description of burglars his wife had seen, he said.

Just as he did with Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin, who was black, Zimmerman sometimes said, “I don’t know what his deal is.”

The last time Zimmerman made one of those calls, on Feb. 26, 2012 ended in the death of the "suspicious” person he reported.

After public pressure forced the city of Sanford to play the tapes for Martin's family, the city also released the audio recordings.  See a full transcript of George Zimmerman's initial police call here.

Zimmerman, 28, told police that after he called to report Martin was walking slowly in the rain and peering at houses, Martin jumped him from behind and beat him. After shooting Martin dead, Zimmerman claimed self defense and had not been charged.

A petition demanding charges in the case has gathered more than 400,000 electronic signatures, as the incident gains more national exposure.

The tapes of the previous calls show Zimmerman was not interested in engaging the suspects, and never gave out his home address. In one call, he reported kids playing in the street, which Zimmerman said he found dangerous. “Obviously since I live in the neighborhood,” he told the operator, “I’d rather keep it anonymous.”

World Events

Read more here:

Mundane Forecast
New Astrological Year:
The Vernal Equinox Of 2012

Forecast By
Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

In the northern hemisphere, the ingress of the Sun into tropical Aries and the Earth in Libra is called the vernal equinox. In effect - the true 'new year.' 

Vernal Equinox: March 20, 2012
Washington DC
click on mundane chart to enlarge

The vernal equinox occurred Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at 1:14 a.m., EDT, cast in the chart above at Washington DC. The Sun enters 00-Aries and is conjoined to the Imum Coeli, (IC) or the Fourth Mundane House.

There are a series of forecasts to be made from the Vernal Equinox chart for the entire solar year of 2012.

The Sun's position here - from a climate and seismic perspective - is powerfully highlighted.

The reason why we have seasons is because of the Earth's tilt relative to its orbit around the Sun.

click on graphic to enlarge

This astrological climate year will be a much warmer than average and will be a dry year in many global regions.

The position of Mercury retrograde and Uranus in Aries also features electrical storms with high blasting winds and spreading drought. For more, see my astrometeorological long-range climate forecast further in this edition of Global Astrology.

At vernal equinox the energy effects from incoming solar winds - equal in both hemispheres - can be debilitating to populations this time of year.

Several weeks just prior to the vernal equinox, our Sun has sent giant solar flares hurling in the direction of Earth.

When this occurs near the vernal equinox, we can expect increased levels of seismic and climate activity featuring large magnitude earthquakes, wind storms, flash floods, wildfires, tornadoes and volcanic eruptions. Look for powerful geophysical activity during March, April, May and June.

Animal and insect activity is also known to pick up. We examine insect infestations in my Astromet Climate forecast for 2012 in this edition of Global Astrology.

The position of the Earth at vernal equinox along with strong solar conditions does affect the central nervous system of humans and the natural world. 

Outbreaks observed are those which spark irrational psycho/physiological behaviors. The inclinations can cause anxieties, irritations, problems sleeping along with dizziness and worrisome emotional responses.

Lethargy and feelings of emotional and physical exhaustion are common. There can be short-term memory loss issues along with complaints of headaches and heart palpitations. 

Concentration is a problem, so people who operate machinery or who drive on the roads should use extra care and patience during the weeks before and after the vernal equinox.

It is important to be patient and mind our emotions and actions under the celestial influences at this time of year. Those who are borderline usually act out irrationally near the vernal equinox. 

The fixed star Scheat is powerful in this astrological new year. What are called 'fixed stars' are just stars. They are said to be 'fixed' because over relative years of human lifetimes they do not appear to move. 

But the stars do move, according to their individual rates of stellar transit. We have written about this star before. In mundane astrology, the star Scheat is wholly malefic.

The star indicates the potential for a national disaster on the high seas. The sinking of a vessel important to a nation.

The Sun conjoined here to the mundane 4th house signifies the People, as well as the climate and weather playing strong roles.

We hear the Constellation of Words for some centuries-old arcane sayings on the mundane history of Scheat -

click on image to enlarge

This is the Scheat of the 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho, the Palermo Catalogue, and modern lists generally, either from Al Sa'id, the Upper Part of the Arm, or, as the 17th century English orientalist Thomas Hyde suggested, from the early Sa'd, appearing in the subsequent three pairs of stars. 

The 17th century German astronomer Bayer had Seat Alpheras; English writer on globes John Chilmead (circa 1639), Seat Alfaras; Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671), Scheat Alpheraz; and the 17th century German astronomer and ephemeris creator Schickard Saidol-pharazi.

Arabian astronomers knew it as Mankib al Faras, the Horse's Shoulder, mentioned by the 15th century Tartar astronomer Ulug Beg and still occasionally seen as Menkib. English writer on globes John Chilmead (circa 1639) had Almenkeb.

The Great Square of Pegasus which consists of four stars; Alpheratz, Algenib, Markab and Scheat, of which this star beta (β Scheat) formed one corner - constituted the double asterism - the 24th and 25 Thnakshatras of the Hindu Moon Mansions.

Purva, Former, and Uttara, Latter, Bhadra-pada, Beautiful, Auspicious, or Happy Feet, sometimes also called Proshtha-pada, Proshtha meaning a Carp or Ox; but the 19th American philologist Professor Whitney's translated it 'Footstool Feet,' and said that the authorities do not agree as to the figures by which they are represented, for by some the one, by others the other, is called a Couch or Bed, the alternate one, in either case, being pronounced a Bifaced Figure, or Twins

This Couch is a not inapt representation of the group if both asterisms are taken together, the four stars well marking the feet. The German Sanskrit scholar Weber calls them Pratishthana, a Stand or Support, as the 19th American philologist Professor Whitney's wrote,

" evident allusion to the disposition of the four bright stars which compose it, like the four feet of a stand, table, bedstead, or the like... the regents of these nakshatras being Aja Ekapat, the One-footed Goat, and Ahi Budhya, the Bottom Snake, 'two mythical figures' of obscure significance, from the Vedic Pantheon."

The 24th manzil of the Arabic Moon Mansion formed by alpha (α Markab) and beta (β Scheat), was Al Fargh al Mukdim, the Fore Spout, i.e., of the water-bucket [from the] Persian astronomer Al Biruni 's (973-1048 A.D.) Al Fargh al Awwal, the First, or the Upper, Spout.

They were the 24th Sieu (Chinese Moon Mansion) stars known as Ying She, or Shih, a House, anciently Sal and Shat; but it also comprised parts of Aquarius and Capricornus.

They also were the Persian Vaht, the Sogdian Iranian and Khorasmian (east of Persia) Farshat Bath, and the Coptic people of EgyptArtulos - all signifying something pertaining to Water."

So, in mundane astrology this beta star (β Scheat) indicates danger to mankind from the element of water

The Sun, Mercury and Uranus are within orb to Scheat in the mundane chart for the vernal equinox so the elements of extreme heat, high winds and electrical storms - along with water - are added to the mix.

click on mundane chart to enlarge

The transiting Moon is posited in a last quarter phase at the time of the March 20, 2012 Vernal equinox. Conjoined to Neptune, the Moon at 2-Pisces reflects the previous new moon of Feb. 21, 2012, at 2Pisces42'. 

The Moon at the time of the March 20, 2012 vernal equinox locates at 2Pisces43' - separated by one second.

The Sun in the mundane 4th house signifies dangers by means of water and engines with people liable to accidents or drowning. Mercury is retrograde in at 2-Aries and in this house where Scheat is posited indicates numerous accidents and narrow escapes by water.

Generally speaking, it is an unfavorable year for extended travel and for visitors in foreign nations. Accidents in the air, on and over the high seas are highlighted in 2012 by transiting planets in the tropical sign of Gemini.

Caution is urged for those planning to travel to oversea locations.

The Moon conjoined to Neptune in Pisces stimulates unconscious memories among the general public. Individuals who allow painful past events and memories to resurface could create psychological difficulties for themselves and others by means of irrational behavior.

Poor coping mechanisms under this inclination shown by transit the vernal equinox chart can led to an unwillingness to deal with the practical affairs of life. Avoid psychological escape into unproductive daydreaming and vacillation.

On the favorable side, the Moon-Neptune conjunction in early Pisces allows for intuitive awareness of the feelings and needs of others to those who are sensitive in daily life. The conjunction is strongly emotional, so a rational, healthy and balanced approach works best.

There are inclinations of increases in sensitivity to beauty and with the arrival of a strong early spring in the northern hemisphere the home is a place of retreat and guidance.

Meanwhile at the IC of the vernal equinox, transiting Mercury declines by retrograde in the early degrees of Aries, so it is a time to redo, review and reschedule to avoid breakdowns in human communications and machines. 

Uranus conjoins a retrograde Mercury, so globally, this signifies caution against deceit by those who vacillate and are unreliable. This position points to self-destruction with many accidents on and above water and death by drowning in great attacks and accidents on the high seas.

Dangers of terrorism connected to the geopolitical events of the past 12-15 years will either be resolved consciously, or forced by world transits in this decade. How policymakers choose to behave will determine their own destinies and those of their respective nations.

Bearing down on all this will soon be the global Uranus-Pluto square. The first exact aspect - one of seven exact squares to take place over the next three years - occurs on June 24, 2012. 

The geopolitical implications loom large and wild by means of this grinding cardinal square.

For instance, the Taliban cancelled peace talks with President Amed Karzei's government. The situation in Afghanistan, in light of world transits, becomes more ominous by the day.

The Cardinal Crisis
Afghanistan Simmers

By Rod Nordland, Elisabeth Bumiller & Matthew Rosenberg
New York Times

President Hamid Karzai insisted Thursday, March 15, 2012 that the United States confine its troops to major bases in Afghanistan by next year as the Taliban announced that they were suspending peace talks with the Americans - both of which served to complicate the Obama administration’s plans for an orderly exit from the country.

Mr. Karzai’s abrupt planning shift was at odds with a pledge offered just hours earlier by President Obama to stick to a 2014 withdrawal schedule for troops in Afghanistan. 

It also ran up against the Pentagon’s stark assessment that Afghan security forces were not yet ready to take over control of the country.

Mr. Karzai’s surprise announcement, which would confine American troops to their bases a year earlier than Mr. Obama proposed, was initially made at a Thursday meeting with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who spent a fraught two days here apologizing in person to the Afghan president for the massacre of civilians by an American soldier last Sunday at a village in Kandahar Province. 

Upon Mr. Panetta’s arrival, an Afghan interpreter working for coalition forces crashed a stolen pickup truck near his plane.

Further fraying the United States’ efforts to preserve some degree of control over its exit strategy from Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents announced that they had broken off preliminary peace talks with the Americans. 

While the move may have been coincidental, it imperiled another crucial element of the American exit strategy in Afghanistan - brokering peace talks between insurgents and the government.

“International forces should leave the villages and move to their bases,” Mr. Karzai said, according to an account of the meeting released by his office. 

He also insisted that “both sides should work on a plan to complete the security transition process by 2013 instead of 2014.”

Both Afghan and American officials scrambled to put the best possible face on yet another rift between the two allies, coming at what both hope will be a final stage in negotiations between their diplomats on a long-term strategic partnership, and at a time when some White House officials have been advocating an accelerated withdrawal.

Some pointed out that Mr. Karzai was merely reacting to public anger over the massacre and the move to send the staff sergeant accused of opening fire on civilians out of Afghanistan on March 14, 2012.

They also noted that under the timetable agreed to at a NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010, the transition of responsibility for security from the Americans and NATO partners to Afghan forces already called for foreign forces to adopt a more supportive role by 2013, although they would actively be engaged in combat until 2014, as needed.

“I don’t see how this changes the plan,” said an American official in Afghanistan, speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic guidelines.

During a stop later in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mr. Panetta’s press secretary, George Little, quoted his boss as having told Mr. Karzai, “We’re on the same page here.”

“This is not moving the goal posts,” Ashraf Ghani, a presidential adviser in charge of the transition from NATO to Afghan control, said in an interview. “Everybody will be happy if it can be pushed up assuming conditions are right.”

Mr. Karzai insisted that he was asking for an accelerated transfer of authority for Afghan security from the foreign forces to the Afghans. “Even right now the Afghan security forces are ready to take all security responsibilities,” he said.

His chief of staff, Abdul Karim Khurram, who was at the meeting with Mr. Panetta, said later that it was clearly a matter of asking for a one year acceleration of the transfer of authority. 

“This was a demand that all security transition would be started in this year and completed in 2013 instead of 2014,” he said.

But Mr. Khurram, believed to be the official closest to the president, added that it was a request that the Americans would have to study. 

“The Americans will make all the determinations,” he said. “It’s a professional task, and we should prepare the ground for it.”

American defense officials acknowledged there was a major divide between Mr. Karzai’s demand and American goals of training and advising Afghan security forces as well as conducting counterinsurgency operations, which require close working relationships with Afghans in the rural areas where most of them live.

Asked whether those activities could continue with American troops confined to bases, a senior American defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity replied, “It’s not clear that we would be able to.”

Although about half of Afghan territory has formally been transferred from international to Afghan authority, in most of those areas American and other coalition troops continue to operate outside of large bases, and it is unclear how soon they could be removed when Afghan forces still are largely unprepared to operate on their own. 

According to NATO figures last year, only one of the Afghan National Army’s 158 battalions has been rated as able to fight independently, according to figures compiled by the Brookings Institution; that was up from zero the year earlier. And a Pentagon report to Congress last October said that at least 70 percent of Afghan Army units still needed American assistance in the field as of last September.

“I don’t think they are ready, and I don’t think it would be feasible,” said Stephen Biddle, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has studied the Afghan military. 

“Presidents of countries are not always military experts, and in particular presidents of host countries in a counterinsurgency where the foreign forces are not particularly popular.”

The Taliban statement, issued in English and Pashto on an insurgent Web site, said talks with an American representative had commenced over the release of some Taliban members from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but accused the American representative of changing the preconditions for the talks.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban reached by cellphone at an undisclosed location, said the statement suspending the talks was genuine but declined to discuss it further.

“We remain prepared to continue discussions,” said Gavin A. Sundwall, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Kabul. 

He said the American position had consistently been that the Taliban had to first “make clear statements distancing itself from international terrorism and in support of a political process among all Afghans to end the conflict.”

American officials said in recent weeks that there had been no talks of any substance since January, when Marc Grossman, the United States special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and his team last visited the region.

The main obstacle appeared to be executing the first set of confidence-building measures: a prisoner swap that would transfer five senior Taliban leaders held at Guantánamo to house arrest in Qatar in exchange for a Westerner being held by the insurgents.

During their meeting on March 15, 2012, Mr. Panetta and Mr. Karzai discussed the massacre and Mr. Panetta assured Mr. Karzai of a full investigation. He told reporters after the meeting that Mr. Karzai had not brought up the transfer of the American suspect to Kuwait.

Astromet 2012-2013 Climate Forecast:
Prepare For Hot, Dry & Windy Year Ahead With Extreme Drought

Climate Forecast by 
Theodore White, astrometeorologist.S

The mild and dry winter 2012 for most of North America I forecasted has come to pass. Some regions have reported their mildest winters in years. 

After calculating long-range astronomical transits concerned with climate, I am forecasting that the months of March, April, May and June will be warmer than average with declining rates of rainfall. 

My calculations also indicate a warmer than average summer and autumn season - featuring above normal temperatures. A very dry and hot year is just ahead. 

As we enter spring in the northern hemisphere, what will be most noticeable are the above average warm temperatures just as the vernal equinox of March 20, 2012 nears.

My general climate forecast covers the next nine (9) months - from mid-March to November 2012. In effect, the seasons of spring, summer and autumn.

The climate forecast in brief - Prepare for a hot, windy and very dry year with extreme drought conditions.

Global Warming

In 2012, the Earth has entered its 32nd year of Solar-forced global warming. 

This means, according to my calculations, there are four (4) remaining years of above average temperatures at local regions worldwide before the global warming regime gives way to the start of global cooling later in this decade.

The warm years ahead are not the result of ‘man-made global warming’ - as no such thing exists. 

According to the laws of thermodynamics and physics - only the Sun can cause global warming - that is climate change on a planetary scale.

The Earth has been in its most recent global warming phase since 1980. I have forecasted that our present global warming regime - a total of 36 years - will end in about 2016-17.

Advanced climatologists today say that the Earth is currently in an interglacial period. See Doug Cotton's paper on Radiated Energy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics ->

By means of Astrometeorology we know there are climate cycles that pertain directly to the Sun's condition. We also know that Jupiter's effect on the eccentricity of Sun-Earth synod and the Earth's radiative fluctuations in relation to conjunctions and oppositions to Saturn play strong roles in climate conditions.

Back in 2006, when I predicted the coming of El Nino in 2009 to be followed by La Nina, the majority of the world's climatologists did not believe me. Yet, when El Nino arrived in mid-2009, many still did not want to believe that La Nina would immediately follow as I forecasted.

La Nina indeed arrived - on time - in late 2010. I forecasted La Nina would wane in late 2011 and be entirely gone by early winter 2012. La Nina is now officially over.

According to my calculations, our solar-forced global warming will end later this decade, not with a whimper - but with a bang. 

Until that time, populations will experience well above normal average temperatures featuring drought, high winds and heat waves followed by warmer than normal fall seasons and mild winters – excepting one particular winter season – over the next four years.

Astromet Climate Forecast:
Spring, Summer & Autumn 2012

The Spring of 2012 will feature summer-like temperatures for most of North America with the exception of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska that will feature cooler than average temperatures. If you want to stay cool during the heat waves of 2012 then head to the northwest.

A rising Neptune in tropical Pisces signals thick fogs overnight into mid-morning along seaboards, including along the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states. These can become heavier fogs when the Moon is below the horizon and lowers the atmospheric tides. Be keen on fog during the early spring months as these can be quite dense fogs.

As the Earth tilts, marking the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the first days of spring the jet spring often makes its move. Low pressure systems from the west spurred on by high winds can bring dangerous weather systems eastward through the continental U.S.

High winds pushing through the Southeast, Midwest, South and into the Atlantic seaboard feature hail and tornadoes in March, April and May. Residents in these regions are urged to be keen on tornado warnings and watches by the National Weather Service.

There are threats of sometimes sudden and heavy downpours, gusting winds producing flash floods in the Southwest and Southeast, including the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.

Generally, the year 2012 will be an above average year of warmer than normal temperatures with high winds and drier than normal climate conditions. The Atlantic Hurricane season will also be busier than in recent years as I forecast warmer than normal ocean temperatures. Residents living in areas prone to hurricanes should use this year to prepare in advance for the resurgence of hurricanes in 2012.

I have calculated that the summer and autumn of 2012 will be similar to the intense heat and drought of the year 1988.  We will also see extreme drought throughout the world, including in the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and Australia. Crops will be threatened with major losses by summer 2012 and see them by harvest in October and November 2012.

In that year, the results of the solar-forced warming because of constant heat in the northern hemisphere led to between 5,000 to 10,000 people dying though estimated totals for 1988 were said to be 17,000 deaths.

The heat waves will extend into what I am also forecasting will be an Indian Summer of 2012 with above average temperatures and dry conditions through the fall season. 

Many city, county and state health departments will be forced this year to issue frequent hot weather health warnings; poor air quality alerts along with high ozone level advisories.


According to my calculations, 2012 will be a very warm year with record-setting heat waves. The summer will feature sweltering temperatures that could easily reach over 100+ degrees Fahrenheit with persistence.

High summer temperatures- heat waves - will dominate all summer and straight into September and October 2012 with above average warmer than normal temperatures that will easily extend into the autumn season.

My calculations show to expect daily average temperatures to exceed the expected average temperatures of 63+ degrees over 92 days during the months of June, July and August 2012 with 3-4 major heat waves - each lasting multiple days with daily maximums above 90+ degrees Fahrenheit with 100+ degree readings ample across the United States.

A blistering summer is just ahead right into September 2012 as well as a heat wave will occur in that month as well. Take protection against the Sun’s rays and the high temperatures with this advice –

Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. 

Try to go to a public building with air conditioning each day for several hours. Remember, electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the Sun's energy. Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Your body needs water to stay cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.

Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.

Avoid drinks that have alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good a short time, but they make the heat wave effects on your body worse. This is especially true about beer, since beer dehydrates the body.

Eat smaller-sized meals and eat fruits more often. Avoid foods that are rich in protein - that increases metabolic heat.

Protect your pets and animals. Ensure they have a cool place out of the direct sunlight to rest. Do not encourage excessive play or work activities for an animal during a heat wave. Make sure your animals have access to plenty of fresh cool water to keep them hydrated as well.

Heat Waves - Extended periods of excessive heat and humidity. The National Weather Service steps up its procedures to alert the general public during times of excessive heat and humidity.

Heat Indices - A number in degrees in Fahrenheit (F) tells us how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees F.

Heat Cramps - Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe of heat illnesses they serve as early signals that the body is having trouble with the heat.

Heat Exhaustion - Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in hot, humid places where body fluids are lost by heavy sweating. Blood flow to skin increases, causing decreased blood flow to vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If left untreated, the victim may suffer heat stroke.

Heat Stroke – Sun stroke is another way of saying heat stroke and it is life-threatening. This is because a person’s temperature body system that encourages sweating to cool the body simply stops working. The result is a body temperature so high that brain damage and death can result if the body is not quickly cooled.

Under the climate conditions of 2012 we will see drought spread and become worse over the year with drier than normal conditions with decreased levels of precipitation.


Astromet forecasts that strong atmospheric conditions will remain in effect through the spring, summer and autumn months of 2012 for the Southwestern United States. This means exceptional drought conditions.

There will be warmer than normal temperatures with drier than normal climate conditions featuring persisting drought that will continue to persist for farmers.

Droughts will also be experienced in Africa and Europe where the lack of normal rainfall will lead to water-rationing this year and into early 2013.

City dwellers in North America may have to deal with water-restrictions as municipalities struggle to maintain water demand levels.

This drought I am forecasting for 2012, 2013 to 2014 is due to astronomical configurations relative to the Earth along with the condition of the Sun and its impact on the world’s climate.

The South, Southwest, Great Plains and western U.S. will be accompanied by heat waves that are threatening to people, livestock and crops. 

The states of Iowa, Missouri, eastern Nebraska, Kansas and certain portions of Colorado will also be drier and warmer than normal with blistering solar conditions along with sometimes high winds.

It is essential to take precautions in the months of April and May when above normal average temperatures will already be in place.

The drought of 2012-2013 will be similar in part to the costliest drought year of 1988-89 that caused damages in the U.S. somewhere between $80 billion and almost $120 billion in damage.

The winter rains over Oklahoma and Texas will have assisted farmers with their soil moisture conditions enough to have crops planted however precipitation will be below normal for sustaining crops.

Coming out of winter, livestock should be able to have enough forage across parts of eastern Texas and Oklahoma as well as regions near the Gulf coast that will allow pastures to green enough for livestock.

The problem this year for cotton growers will be soil temperatures and moisture that are critical for high-yielding crops. 

The early dates of March 24 to April 18 will see cold fronts that will lower soil temperatures to upper 50-degrees Fahrenheit over that period of time.

Soil temperatures need to be at 65 degrees for three or more days along with a week of good weather conditions before seeding of cotton crops can take place. The cold fronts of late March through to mid-April will cause additional problems to seed cotton crops.

Rainfall is needed in places like the High Plains, Coastal Bend, Oklahoma, New Mexico and all of Texas where cotton growers require at least 15 inches of precipitation to make up for the pre-drought conditions that have struck the south and southwest.

Ground water for ponds, reservoirs, rivers and streams are low due to the drought however my long-range forecast shows that drought conditions will increase in 2012. 

The regions of the south and southwest are in for another difficult dry and warm year with extreme temperatures well over the 100-degree mark during the summer and into the early autumn season.

Farmers should take care to mind land that is only marginally arable and avoid pumping groundwater near depletion marks. 

I am forecasting that the year 2012-2013 will come close to matching one of the worst droughts in U.S history that occurred in 1998-89 – known as a “multi-year drought” which began in 1988 and continued into 1989. The drought I am forecasting may even come close to eclipsing the extreme droughts of the 1930s and mid-1950s.

It caused $60 billion in damage as the drought showed the worst dust storm events since 1977 in many locations in the Mid-Western United States.


I am issuing a General Wildfire Alert for all of 2012 worldwide due to the astronomical configurations that show drier than normal and warmer than normal climate conditions. 

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) located in Boise, Idaho will have a busy year because of the dry and windy conditions – particularly in the spring, summer and autumn months of 2012.

Wildfires along the east coast will extend from New York State to Florida. The warm and dry winter along with the above normal temperatures will cause Atlantic coast states to experience wildfires.

Additional areas of extreme wildfires will be in Yellowstone National Park, parts of Texas, Oklahoma, western/northern Florida, Alabama and parts of South Carolina.

For instance, in 2011, it was reported that 30,547 wildfires burned 3,993,716 acres across the state of Texas.

Because of the drought, high temperatures and lack of substantive rains, I expect wildfires to persist through 2012 into 2013 and 2014.

Forecast – Insect Infestations

Astronomical transits indicate that the next four climate years, along with the new climate year of 2012-2013 - will feature above normal insect populations that will swarm – especially in the western and southern American states. 

Be prepared for increased insect and pest activity in 2012.

Allergy season will have arrived earlier than normal with pollen-related symptoms exploding in March and April.

The mild winter will have encouraged insect larvae to reproduce earlier than normal.

Expect swarms of bees in the west and southern states; growing wasp colonies; ants; stink bugs and termites along with many other pests through the spring, summer and autumn seasons of 2012.

The mosquito population, especially in the Northeastern, Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states will also be a problem. The warmer than normal temperatures and climate of spring will produce ticks infected with Lyme disease.

This means that pest companies should add an extra month or two towards the pest control strategies to get ahead of the insect troubles I have forecasted.

One of the biggest problems will be the brown marmorated stinkbug – technically known as Halyomorpha halys – that is about to become a real plague in 2012-13.

The stinkbug originates from Asia and spends the winter hibernating in houses before they emerge into the open to destroy all sorts of crops. It is a nuisance pest both indoors and outdoors.

Warm spring and summer conditions permit the development of two or three generations of stinkbugs. But, in parts of sub-tropical China climate records show these to be from four to six generations per year. 

The adult stinkbugs usually emerge sometime in the spring of the year from late April to mid-May to mate. 

They deposit their eggs from May to August. Their eggs hatch into small black and red nymphs that go through five molts as adult stinkbugs begin to search for overwintering sites beginning in September through the first half of October.

The brown marmorated stink bug is an insect not previously seen in North America but was first reported in America in the mid-to-late 1990s. 

The name ‘stinkbug’ comes from the smelly scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the bug’s abdomen and the underside of its thorax. 

The rank odor from the stinkbug is a chemically-based Trans-2-decenal and Trans-2-Octenal with a pungent smell if the bug feels threatened. 

The bug’s ability to emit its odor via holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds and other animals. 

Even handling the stinkbug by attempting to move it can trigger the stinkbug to release the odor. If the bugs are crushed the odor immediately enters the environment. 

Wikipedia notes, “The stinkbug was accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have "hitched a ride" as a stowaway in packing crates. 

The first documented specimen was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in September 1998. Several Muhlenberg College students were reported to have seen stinkbugs as early as August 1998.

Other reports have the brown marmorated stink bug recovered as early as 2000 in New Jersey from a black light trap run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Vegetable Integrated Pest Management program in Milford, New Jersey. 

In 2002, it was again collected in New Jersey from black light traps located in Phillipsburg and Little York and was found on plant material in Stewartsville. 

It was quickly documented and established in many counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and New York on the eastern coast of the United States.

By 2009, this agricultural pest had reached Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon. 

In 2010 this pest was found in additional states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and other states. As of November, 2011 it has been reported to have spread to 34 American states.”

These insects are not known to cause harm to humans, although homeowners become alarmed when the bugs enter their homes and noisily fly about. The brown marmorated stinkbugs will not reproduce inside structures or cause damages. 

However, if many of the bugs are squashed or pulled inside a vacuum cleaner, the resulting rank smell will be apparent. 

They are attracted to the outside of houses on warm autumn days in search of protected sites before winter when they will occasionally reappear during warm and sunny winter days. They emerge as spring nears.

The brown marmorated stink bug is from the insect family Pentatomidae and is well-known as an agricultural pest in its native habitat in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. 

Crop Damage

Stinkbugs are serious year-round pests of fruit, vegetable and orchard crops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and is more than likely to become a pest in other areas in the United States. 

The stink bug feeds on a variety of host plants. The fruits and crops attacked include apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits and persimmons. 

This bug has also been reported on many ornamental plants like weeds, soybeans and beans. Feeding on apple trees results in a characteristic distortion referred to as “cat facing,” that renders fresh apples unmarketable.

In the year 2010, the Asian stinkbug produced severe losses in apple and peach orchards. 

The stinkbugs also feed on blackberry, sweet corn, field corn and soybeans. In other states it has been observed damaging tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers.

The adult stinkbugs are approximately 17 mm in length (25 mm = one inch.) They have various shades of brown on their upper and lower body surfaces with a flattened shield shape of other stink bugs – nearly as wide as they are long.

To distinguish them from other stink bugs, look for lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous that overlap at the rear of the front pair of wings. 

They have patches of what are copper-like or bluish-metallic colored punctures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. 

Their eggs are elliptical (1.6 x 1.3 mm), colored light yellow to yellow-red with minute spines forming fine lines. They are attached, side-by-side, to the underside of leaves in masses of 20 to 30 eggs.

Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. 

Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced.

Aerosol-type pyrethrum foggers will kill stinkbugs that have amassed on ceilings and walls in living areas, but it will not prevent more stinkbugs insects from returning after the room is aired. 

So it is not a good solution for long-term management of the problem. Moreover, spray insecticides applied directly into cracks and crevices will not prevent the stinkbugs from gaining entry.

Outside applications of insecticides may offer some minor relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. 

But because insecticides are rapidly broken down by sunlight the residual effects of the material will be greatly decreased and may not kill the insects for more than several days or a week.

If many stinkbugs bugs are entering the home, try to find the openings where they gain access. The stink bugs usually emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around windows and door trims and around exhaust fans or the lights in ceilings.

Seal those openings with caulk to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead stink bugs can then be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner – remember that vacuum pick up the smell of stink bugs.

It is not advised to use insecticides inside a house after the insects have already gotten access into wall voids or attic areas. 

Some insecticide dust treatments will kill hundreds of stinkbugs but with the potential that carpet beetles will feed on the dead stink bugs only to then attack woolen clothing, stored dry goods and other natural products in the home.

Only particular species of spiders and praying mantises are known to attack the stink bug. 

The only known predators of stinkbugs in Asia are parasitoid wasps, not present in the Americas but are planned to be introduced in 2013 to combat the infestation of the brown marmorated stink bug.

In short, it is important to prepare early for insect infestations in the warmer and than normal climate I've forecast for 2012 into 2013.

General Climate Conclusions

Based on my astrometeorological calculations, the general climate and weather year 2012 will feature above average warmer temperatures. It will be drier than normal with high gusting winds from June 2012 through to June 2013 under this particular climate regime over North America.

Warmer than average temperatures and below normal rainfall translate to spreading drought and wildfires in regions lacking precipitation. It is important to mind ranging levels of drought in the South, Southwest and Southeastern U.S. states.

Of particular note will be fast moving electrical weather systems with high winds and downpours falling in arid regions causing wind damage and sudden floods.

It is the air that will be powerfully highlighted in 2012 – expect dry, steamy and blazing climate conditions that feature hot temperatures and high ozone levels that will make 2012 one of the warmest years on record.

The Cardinal Crisis
Japan's Historic Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster:
One Year Later

by Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

It has been one year since my forecast of Japan's massive earthquake. The earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku was a magnitude 9.0 undersea mega-thrust event that occurred on Friday, 11 March 2011. 

The epicenter was approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku and the hypo-center at an underwater depth of approximately 32 km (20 miles.)

It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture while in the Sendai area, traveled up to 10 km or 6 miles inland.

The earthquake moved Honshu 2.4 meters (8 feet) east and shifted the Earth's axis somewhere between 10 cm (4 inches) and 25 cm (10 inches.) 

The astronomic result was a small planetary shift of the length of a day, plus the tilt and wobble of the Earth.

Measurements showed the speed of the Earth's rotation also increased. The massive quake shortened the earth-day by an estimated 1.8 microseconds.

The axial shift was caused by the redistribution of mass on the Earth's surface and this changed our planet's moment of inertia.

The March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake moved parts of northeastern Japan 2.4 meters or 7.9 feet closer to continent of North America.

The resulting tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents - featuring the continuing Level 7 meltdowns at three atomic reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.

click on graphic to enlarge

Electric generators were forced out of commission. This led to fatal total cooling system failure - then, three nuclear reactors exploded after hydrogen gas built up inside their outer containment buildings.

Residents within a 20 kilometer (12 miles) radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and a 10 km (6.2 mi) radius of the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant were confusingly evacuated. The United States went further and advised its citizens to evacuate up to 80 km (50 miles) away from the power plant.

click on graphic to enlarge

A year later a Japanese report confirmed the disaster caused 15,854 deaths with 26,992 people injured and as of March 2012 there were 3,155 people still missing across twenty prefectures.

At least 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were without electricity and 1.5 million people without water.

To understand the true power of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake - consider this:

It released a surface energy of 1.9 ± 0.5×1017 joules that could power the city of Los Angeles for an entire year. The earthquake and tsunami forced 129,225 buildings to collapse and a further 254,204 buildings 'half collapsed', while another 691,766 buildings were partially damaged.

The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe structural damage in northeastern Japan, including very heavy damage to roads and railways, it caused numerous fires in many areas and included a dam collapse.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, "In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan."

Early estimates placed insured losses at US$14.5 to $34.6 billion. The Bank of Japan offered 15 trillion Yen ($183 billion) to its banking system three days after the earthquake in an effort to normalize market conditions. 

The World Bank estimates the disaster total cost to be in the ballpark of $235 billion. That makes Japan's March 11, 2011 earthquake the most expensive natural disaster in world history.

In Fukushima, the Japanese Times reported that resident Yoshiko Ota says she always now keeps her windows shut and never hangs her laundry outdoors anymore.

Fearful of birth defects, Ota, 48, said that she warns her daughters - never have children.

Fukushima resident Yoshiko Ota says she spends ¥10,000 a month on bottled water to avoid what she says is the nuclear-contaminated tap water.
Image: AP

This is life with radiation, one year after a an earthquake struck and tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing radiation into Ota's neighborhood, 60 kilometers away. She's says she worries so frequently her skin has broken out in hives.

"The government spokesman keep saying there are no 'immediate' health effects," the 48-year-old nursery school worker said. "He's not talking about 10 years or 20 years later. He must think the people of Fukushima are fools.

"It's not really OK to live here," she says. "But we live here."

Ota says she takes metabolism enhancing pills in hopes of flushing radiation out of her body. To limit her exposure, she goes out of her way to buy vegetables - not grown locally. 

She spends ¥10,000 a month just on bottled water to avoid all tap water. She even mail-ordered a special machine to husk her family's rice.

Not everyone resorts to such measures, but a sense of unease surely pervades Fukushima. Some residents have moved away. Everyone else knows they are living with an invisible - and very deadly enemy.

Radiation still leaks from the now-shuttered Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, though at a slower pace it did in the weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It's not immediately fatal but could show up as cancer or other illnesses years later.

The uncertainty breeds fear. Some experts say the risks are low outside the 20-km no-go zone, and people can take steps to protect themselves, such as limiting intake of locally grown food, not lingering in radiation "hot spots" such as around gutters and foliage, and periodically living outside the area. 

But risks are much higher for children, and no one can say for sure what level of exposure is safe.

What's clear is Fukushima will be a test case that the world is watching for long-term exposure to low-dose radiation.

More than 280,000 people live in the city of Fukushima alone and many more live in surrounding towns, including 100,000 who have been evacuated from the no-go zone.

"People are scared to death," says Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, that is studying Fukushima. 

"They are thinking, 'Tell me. Is it good or bad?' We can't tell them. . . . Life is risky."

It hasn't helped that the government has given only the most optimistic scenarios of the risks to avoid mass panic.

Public skepticism of government assurances grew when the man appointed as health adviser for Fukushima Prefecture, a man named Shunichi Yamashita, repeatedly said that exposure to 100 millisieverts of radiation a year was safe.

Studies have found that cancer risks rise at an annual exposure of 100 millisieverts or above but aren't statistically detectable at lower levels. Below 100, experts can't say for sure whether it's safe, just that a link to cancer can't be proven.

In Fukushima and nearby areas, outside the 20-km evacuation zone, the annual exposure is 20 millisieverts in some places and as high as 50 in others. 

Before the disaster, people in Japan were exposed to about 1 millisievert of natural background radiation a year; in the United States the average is about 3 millisieverts.

The controversy earned Yamashita a nickname: "Mr. 100 Millisieverts." Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the University of Tokyo's graduate school, stepped down as government adviser last year in a tearful protest of Yamashita's views.

Kouta Miyazaki is among those who have lost confidence in the government.

"Government officials should all come live in Fukushima for several years and bring their families. They're all staying in places where it's safe," Miyazaki says.

"We're being told to get radiated and drop dead."

Miyazaki, 40, closed his online business selling Fukushima peaches and he doubts that anyone would buy them now. He plans to leave with his 15-year-old son, although that would mean living apart from his wife, who works as a counselor in Fukushima.

The nature of the threat has changed over time. Initially, it was exposure to the large releases of radiation from explosions at the plant. The risk from leaks remains but at a much reduced level.

These days, the main danger is less obvious but just as real: consuming contaminated food and water and ingesting radioactive particles. 

Radioactive material has accumulated in gutters where rainwater collects and shrubs with leaves that suck in radiation.

The risk is cumulative. The radioactivity in one's body builds up through various activities, including eating contaminated food every day or staying in a hot spot for an extended period.

Schools are restricting outdoor activities, and radiation meters dot the streets. Some people are using their own devices to measure radioactivity.

At area hospitals, thousands of people are on waiting lists to get their radiation levels measured with whole-body counters. 

One child at Minamisoma Hospital, southeast of Fukushima, was found with 2,653 becquerels of radioactive cesium.

It's a big number, but is it dangerous?

According to Jacques Lochard, an International Commission on Radiological Protection official advising Fukushima Prefecture - a child's exposure could amount to as little as 0.3 millisievert a year, or as much as 8 millisieverts, depending on how the child was exposed to the radiation.

All most residents know is that their bodies are contaminated. What the numbers mean remain unanswered.

Kunihiko Takeda, a nuclear and ecology expert who has been more outspoken about the dangers than many others, says people become less afraid after he explains the risks.

"They are freed from the state of not knowing," says Takeda, who has a blog with instructions on how parents can protect their children from radiation. "They now know what to do and can make decisions on their own."

Lochard says he was sad to hear about a Fukushima woman whose children were too afraid to bring her grandchildren from Tokyo for visits. All the parents need to do, he said, is bring food from home and keep the children indoors.

Still, Lochard says, "There is no safe level. It is a small risk but not zero."

After the 1986 Chernobyl accident, more than 6,000 thyroid cancers clearly linked to radioactive iodine were found in children and adolescents. 

A study by Weiss' U.N. committee found exposure to iodine was lower in Fukushima than at Chernobyl. Still, parents are worried because the Chernobyl cancers didn't emerge until a couple of years later.

"Nobody can say this is over. I'd be the last to say that," Weiss says.

Mayor Shouji Nishida of Date, a city of 66,000 people in Fukushima Prefecture, says his community is preparing for the future by relying less on the central government, and by adjusting expectations. 

He believes 5 millisieverts of radiation a year - five times the typical amount of background radiation in Japan - is a realistic goal.

"We are defining policies to live and coexist with radiation," he says.

See - > Is the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Worse Than We Are Being Told?

Remembering Fukushima: 
Presenting A Radioactive Seawater Impact Map

By Tyler Durden

A few days after the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, nobody talks about it anymore. After all it’s “fixed”and if it isn’t, the Fed will fix it. Remember in the New Normal nothing bad is allowed the happen. 

So for those who have forgotten, here is a reminder.

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11, 2011.

Since we do not know exactly how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. 

However, field monitoring by TEPCO showed concentration of radioactive Iodine and Cesium higher than the legal limit during the next two months following the event (with a peak at more than 100 Bq/cm3 early April 2011 for I-131 as shown by the following picture).

From ASR, a global coastal and marine consulting firm, The Radioactive Seawater Impact Map

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. 

The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months following the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. 

The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from the HYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. 

The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. 

The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.

Selling food from Fukushima - a Tokyo market lists cesium levels alongside produce prices.

We now head to the Middle East and Syria, where brutal attacks by Syrian government forces upon its own population continues unabated.

ABC News reported on Monday, March 19, 2012 that a Russian military unit has arrived in Syria - a development a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was "a bomb" certain to have serious repercussions.

Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad's strongest allies despite international condemnation of the government's violent crackdown on the country's uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations Security Council's attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its allies of trying to start another war.

Now the Russian Black Sea fleet's Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax news agency. The Assad government has insisted it is fighting a terrorist insurgency.

The Iman replaced another Russian ship "which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in the turbulent region and possible evaluation of Russian citizens," the Black Sea Fleet told Interfax.

RIA Novosti, a news outlet with strong ties to the Kremlin, trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared only on its Arabic language website. The Russian embassy to the US and to the UN had no comment, saying they have "no particular information on" the arrival of a Russian anti-terrorism squad to Syria.

Moscow has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Assad regime, to which it sells billions of dollars of weapons. In return Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus, which gives it access to the Mediterranean.

Last week Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria.

"As for the question whether I consider it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military presence there… in order to take part in military actions -- no. I believe this would be against Russia's national interests," Lavrov told lawmakers, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov denied reports that Russian special forces were operating inside Syria. He did say, however, that there are Russian military and technical advisors in the country.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government had not heard of the reports of Russian troops in Syria and declined to comment.

The Cardinal Crisis
Middle East Tensions:
Military Strike Against Syria?

By Alexander Higgins
Activist Post

Several news sources are reporting the sudden withdraw China, France and Canada and other nations of foreign nationals, airline flights, diplomats and embassy staff from Syria.

News reports keep coming in of various agencies, companies, workers and diplomatic staff from several countries suddenly evacuating from Syria in an ominous repeat of events that occurred just before the NATO bombing of Libya.

China reports they are evacuating all of their personal, except those needed to protect oil equipment so they are not caught in a off-guard in situation where they have to perform a mass emergency mass evacuation like they did in Libya.

Reports of similar evacuations orders are also coming out of Canada, where the government has also announced stiff sanctions against Libya and issued a declaration of support for the rebels saying Assad must go.

Air-France has just reported that all Syria flights are “suspended until further notice” after cancelling two flights earlier in the week, blaming the cancellations on the “ongoing protests” in Syria. The news comes after France just shut down its embassy services and order evacuations similar to Canada.

The new reports today follow reports out of the UK within the last week issuing orders for the same evacuation of diplomats and embassy services, while ordering citizens to return home. The US had orders similar manners in February.

Here is a concise round-up of the news reports:

ABC News reports that the Chinese have pulled there workers from Syria.

Most of the Chinese Workers in Syria Are Back Home

China says most of its workers have returned from Syria as conditions there worsen, although about 100 people are still there looking after projects. [...]

According to Chinese media reports, more than 5,000 Chinese were living in Syria a year ago. They started to leave as the violence increased and there were only about 700 in the country in November.

Chen said that once the situation in Syria stabilizes the Chinese workers will return to restart the projects, which he did not specify. ABC News Even further, the China Economic Review reveals the move is to prevent a last-minute rescue of Chinese Nationals like the ones that were needed int Libya last year.

China withdraws workers from Syria, seeks compensation for Libya
Thursday, March 8, 2012 — 12:12

China will withdraw its workers from escalating violence in Syria to avoid a repeat of the last-minute rescue of Chinese nationals in Libya last year, Reuters reported. 

About 100 Chinese workers will remain to guard work camps and equipment, commerce minister Chen Deming said.”

The Chinese government and ministries must seriously undertake the protection of Chinese firms’ production and projects overseas, and the protection of the lives of Chinese citizens overseas, especially engineering teams.” [...]

Almost 36,000 Chinese nationals were evacuated from Libya last year after China was caught off guard by the eruption of civil war. China Economic Review As pointed out on the Godlike Productions Conspiracy Forum, the move from China follows a similar move that happened right before NATO began bombing Libya.

This is exactly what the Chinese did just before NATO started their air strikes on Libya on March 19th 2011.

Iraq invasion by USA – March 19th 2003
Libya bombing by NATO – March 19th 2011

This festival is also celebrated by Alawites.
President Assad is an Alawite…

Syria military intervention to coincide with Eve of Ostara (Ishtar) or Vernal Equinox ritual between March 19th – March 21st 2012? GLPAnd Ahram reports Air-France has cancelled their flights following France closing their Syria Embassy.

Air France cancels Syria service ‘until further notice’

Ongoing political unrest in Syria prompts French national carrier to halt scheduled flights to Damascus indefinitely.

French national carrier Air France on Wednesday said it had cancelled its Paris-Damascus service “until further notice” because of unrest linked to ongoing protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. [...]

Last week, France announced that it was closing its embassy in Syria. AhramThe Start also reports Canada has closed their embassies, while implementing sanctions, declaring their support for the rebels and saying the Assad regime must go.

Canadian embassy in Damascus closes, diplomats leave

OTTAWA—Canada has withdrawn its remaining diplomats from Syria and closed the embassy in Damascus.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the deteriorating security situation forced the pullout.

“Canada has maintained its diplomatic presence in Syria — despite the risks — to monitor developments on the ground and to deliver tough and frank messages to the Syrian authorities,” Baird said in a statement.

“These messages will continue to be delivered directly through the Syrian embassy here in Ottawa and through our other international forums."

Canada has been urging Canadians to leave Syria for months. Any still remaining can still seek consular help through Beirut, Lebanon, or Amman, Jordan. 

The closure came as Baird also announced more sanctions against Syria, including a freeze on the assets of the country’s central bank and seven senior ministers in the government of Bashir Assad. [...]

Canada now has imposed travel bans, sanctions and freezes on 115 Syrian individuals and 39 entities. [...]

The minister said Assad must go.

“Change will happen. Syrians will have their day — and Canada stands with the Syrian people in their push for a better, brighter future.” The StarNot to mention the UK and the US shutting down their Embassies and pulling staff out of Libya.

UK Shuts Embassy, Withdraws Diplomatic Staff from Syria

Britain closed its embassy and withdrew all its diplomatic staff from Syria due to security concerns, the UK’s Foreign Office confirmed Thursday. In a statement to lawmakers, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “I wish to inform the House that I have taken the decision on security grounds to suspend the services of the British Embassy in Damascus and to withdraw all diplomatic staff.” 

“Our Ambassador and diplomatic staff left Syria on 29 February and will return to the UK shortly. British Nationals who remain in Syria despite our longstanding and consistent message to leave the country should contact the Embassy of any remaining EU Member State if they require consular assistance,” the statement added.

Hague said Britain had maintained its embassy in Damascus despite escalating violence in Syria since the outbreak of protests against the rule of president Bashar al Assad in March 2011.

However, he added that “the deterioration of the security situation in Damascus puts our Embassy staff and premises at risk, and have taken the decision to withdraw staff accordingly.”

Britain’s decision comes after the US closed its embassy in Syria and pulled out all its diplomats earlier this month, also citing the “ongoing violence and a deteriorating security situation.” [...] The New Media Journal

The Cardinal Crisis
Gunbattle Brings Front to Syria's Capital?
Syrian rebels are seen here at a checkpoint in the northern Idlib region on Sunday, March 18, 2012. The next day, in the capital city of Damascus, Free Syrian Army loyalist soldiers clashed with Syrian government forces.
Image: Agence France-Presse

The Wall St. Journal

March 19-20, 2012 - Syrian regime forces and rebel fighters engaged in a predawn gunbattle in a tightly secured, upscale neighborhood of Damascus on Monday, bringing the rebel fight the closest yet to President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power.

The battle came just hours before an international diplomatic mission was due to arrive in the capital with hopes of brokering a cease-fire. It also came after the regime's forces dealt significant blows to opposition fighters in two other cities, Idlib and Homs, earlier this month.

In Mezze, a Damascus neighborhood housing embassies and the residences of some senior officials, rebels and regime forces exchanged gun and rocket fire for two to four hours, according to residents and rebel officers.

The government said the clashes left three people dead. But according to a defected major overseeing the Damascus area for the rebel Free Syrian Army, the fighting claimed 50 lives—25 from each side—and wounded at least 100 people.

The FSA officer, Maj. Maher Nuaimi, said FSA fighters had arranged to escort a high-ranking defector from a political security building in Mezze when a gunbattle broke out inside the building.

The fighting expanded as FSA fighters joined, drawing in dozens of men who the major described as night guards employed to watch villas in a pro-regime sector of the neighborhood.

These guards "didn't even know who was fighting who," said Maj. Nuaimi, who had declined earlier Monday to describe the battle, citing concern for the security of his forces on the ground. "They started fighting, stormed other homes and the FSA reacted strongly."

Both sides used machine guns, he said, while regime forces employed sound bombs and eventually helicopters to illuminate the district. The defection was successful, said Maj. Nuaimi, who declined to name the official.
His account couldn't be confirmed but didn't conflict with less-detailed accounts offered by activists and some other FSA officers earlier Monday. March 19, 2012. 

Residents in Mezze reached by telephone described the booming sounds of explosions and smoke billowing over the district near a popular supermarket. The exchange of gunfire lasted between two and three hours and died down by 5 a.m., they said.

Acording to the Syrian state news agency account of the battle, authorities evacuated a residential building in Mezze that it said was a hideout for an armed terrorist group, and then stormed the building. The report said the ensuing clash killed two terrorists—the government's general term for the opposition—and one member of the authorities.

The battle, which came after two suicide bombings in the capital killed 24 people Saturday, marked the first intense bout of fighting in central Damascus confirmed by both the government and opposition, and shocked residents largely insulated from the fighting in other parts of Syria.

Men react at a funeral of the victims killed during a suicide bombing attack in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 18, 2012.
Image: AP

In February, the Mezze neighborhood drew Damascus into the cycle of protests and violence that has characterized much of Syria's uprising, when security forces opened fire on an unexpectedly large demonstration and drew out larger funeral marches.

Also on Monday, Russia's Black Sea Fleet said one of its tankers, with an anti terrorist squad aboard, was on a mission and staying at the Syrian port of Tartus, according to Russia's Interfax-AVN news agency. Later, a Defense Ministry spokesman said the mission of the ship, the Iman, is to fuel Russian ships patrolling the Gulf of Aden. Russia, Mr. Assad's principal international backer, also reiterated its call for Damascus to agree to a two-hour-a-day humanitarian truce.

The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, appeared poised to issue a statement supporting efforts by Kofi Annan, a joint U.N.-Arab League mission to Syria, to end the bloodshed there.

France circulated a proposed statement to the council on March 19 that would support Mr. Annan's efforts. France is urging the council to quickly adopt the so-called presidential statement, which requires consensus of all 15 members and is legally nonbinding. 

Russia and China have vetoed past Security Council resolutions that would have asked President Assad to step aside.

The draft statement, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, supports Mr. Annan's mission, calling for a democratic transition, an end to fighting by both sides, humanitarian assistance, freedom of assembly and access for the international news media. 

The draft says that as Syrian troops hold fire and begin to withdraw from cities and towns, Mr. Annan will seek a commitment from armed rebel groups to do the same.

Russia has called for a simultaneous cease-fire and withdrawal. Any of the 15 Security Council members can block a presidential statement, as it is adopted by consensus, not through a vote.

Mr. Annan said a technical team from his joint U.N.-Arab League mission arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks on a possible monitoring operation. The team was due to continue talks with Damascus after the regime said it would recognize a cease-fire in the conflict if the opposition lays down arms first.

The Syrian opposition, as well as the U.S. and Arab partners, have called on the Assad regime to initiate any cease-fire. The remote chances of a unified, unilateral rebel truce became clearer Monday as competing narratives emerged of the day's hostilities in Damascus. 

Large demonstrations in Damascus haven't emerged since then, with a military crackdown in other parts of the country and tight security in the capital preventing activists from organizing.

While Maj. Nuaimi of the FSA characterized the fighting as linked to the defection, others said the attack may have meant to target any one of a string of government officials who live in the district, all despised within the opposition for playing a role in the repression of protesters. 

Deputy defense minister Assef Shawkat and intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk live there, according to Syrian activists.

The grass-roots nature of the armed rebellion - which rebel fighters have characterized as guerrilla warfare against a vast military-security apparatus - has appeared to make it difficult for regime forces to snuff out the fighters entirely.

"It looks like a steady house but it's on increasingly on shaky ground," said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, a think tank, of the apparent strain on the Assad regime after a year of military deployments to crush protests first, and rebel strongholds later.

Mr. Shaikh said a widening civil conflict, including a series of unclaimed suicide bombs in Damascus, was inevitable as unarmed civilians grew frustrated, armed themselves to back military defectors, and now continue to face the army without any organized, logistical or military support.

"At this rate, there may be no orderly transition before a civil war," Mr. Shaikh said.

In addition to the weekend suicide bombings in Damascus and a car bomb in Aleppo, five other blasts have ripped through the two cities since December last year, raising U.S. concerns that al Qaeda members were becoming active in Syria as an insurgency fighting the government quickly expanded.

Until Monday, rebel fighters - a hodgepodge of military defectors, armed civilians, and some insurgents streaming back in from Iraq - have laid low in the capital, though they have fought government forces consistently since January in at least two suburbs of Damascus.

The Cardinal Crisis
Money Supply Booms 
Seeds Of The Next Greater Recession?

By Michael Pollaro

Michael Pollaro is a retired Investment Banking professional, most recently Chief Operating Officer for the Bank's Cash Equity Trading Division.  A passionate free market economist in the Austrian tradition, Pollaro says he is a great admirer of the American founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and is also a private investor.

The next Great Recession is in the making. 

 The money supply trends say so. And it is looking more and more like this next Greater Recession is going to be one for the ages…

The money supply posted a 14.6% year-over-year increase in February 2012 making this the 39th consecutive month of double digit year-over-year rates of monetary inflation. 

 All told, TMS2 is up a huge 50% over those 37 months. Even more interesting is what those TMS2 metrics were leading up to the housing boom turn credit bust turn Great Recession – 37 consecutive months for a cumulative increase of 50%.

Here’s a look at the monetary record through a TMS lens beginning year 2000 -

click on graphic to enlarge

So what’s this got to do with the next Great Recession. Isn’t this monetary grease what the economy needs to heel and grow?

Well, in stark contrast to what mainstream economist and market analysts proclaim, this is not what the U.S. economy needs to heel and grow. No, all this monetary largesse will do is GUARANTEE the next Great Recession. 

 To Austrians, ALL monetary “booms” – booms founded on the creation of central bank money (Base Money) and bank-issued on-demand deposit liabilities in excess of bank reserves (what Austrians call Uncovered Money Substitutes) must ALWAYS end in economic busts, roughly equal in size and intensity to the preceding monetary boom. 

 By distorting interest rate and price signals and as a consequence creating malinvestments that must eventually be liquidated, monetary booms ALWAYS end in economic busts.

So, far from a good thing, to Austrians the booming monetary inflation cycle we currently find ourselves is pretty scary stuff. Scarier still though is the likelihood that this inflation cycle is far from over!

You see, with excess reserves of nearly $1.6 trillion (courtesy of three plus years of Federal Reserve credit and asset purchase programs) private banks – now sporting improved liquidity and capital ratios, a Federal Reserve still cleansing bank balance sheets of MBS and Agency debt and of course near zero rate funding costs perhaps as far out as 2014 – seem a bit more willing of late to pyramid up those reserves into money and credit; i.e., to create on-demand deposit money out of thin air by making loans and buying assets.

click on graphic to enlarge

Assuming conservative reserve ratios of 10% on 0n-demand deposit liabilities, starting from a money supply base of $8.4 trillion as measured by TMS2, that suggests a tripling of the money supply. 

(See this ESSAY for a fuller discussion).

And if private banks can’t muster enough monetary largess to juice the U.S. economy and payrolls at a level sufficient to suit a deflation wary Chairman Bernanke, you can be assured that there is always the next asset purchase program or some other creative monetary tool lying in the wings ready to give private banks a hand in supposedly spurring economic growth.

In other words, this monetary inflation cycle may still have a lot of gas left. 

 And that means at 39 months and 50% and counting, this inflation cycle may end up making the Great Recession look like child’s play.

The Cardinal Crisis
Baby Boomer Dystopia:
'Age Of Aquarius'
Big Brother Logs Online in 2013?

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center...
So Watch What You Say?

By James Branford
Privacy, Crime & Security in the 21st Century

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. 

It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. 

The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978 - and the number of plural marriages has tripled - so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.

In the heart of Mormon country: The National Security Agency's Utah Data Center under construction in Bluffdale, Utah sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. The massive facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool.  Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013, according to sources.
image: name withheld
digital work: Jesse Lenz

But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. 

Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive - a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. 

Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the U.S. Capitol.

Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. 

And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. 

In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. 

A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. 

The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails - parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” 

It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration - an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. 

The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. 

And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle - financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications - will be heavily encrypted. 

According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the U.S. 

The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target - everybody with communication is a target.”

For the NSA, overflowing with tens of billions of dollars in post-9/11 budget awards, the cryptanalysis breakthrough came at a time of explosive growth, in size as well as in power. 

Established as an arm of the Department of Defense following Pearl Harbor, with the primary purpose of preventing another surprise assault, the NSA suffered a series of humiliations in the post-Cold War years. 

Caught off guard by an escalating series of terrorist attacks - the first World Trade Center bombing, the blowing up of U.S. embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and finally the devastation of 9/11 - some began questioning the agency’s very reason for being. 

In response, the NSA has quietly been reborn. 

And while there is little indication that its actual effectiveness has improved - after all, despite numerous pieces of evidence and intelligence-gathering opportunities, it missed the near-disastrous attempted attacks by the underwear bomber on a flight to Detroit in 2009 and by the car bomber in Times Square in 2010 - there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.

In the process - and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration - the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the U.S. and its citizens. 

It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. 

It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. 

Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. 

To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for 'Never Say Anything' applies more than ever.

A swath of freezing fog blanketed Salt Lake City on the morning of January 6, 2011, mixing with a week long coating of heavy gray smog. 

Red air alerts, warning people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, had become almost daily occurrences, and the temperature was in the bone-chilling twenties. “What I smell and taste is like coal smoke,” complained one local blogger that day. 

At the city’s international airport, many inbound flights were delayed or diverted while outbound regional jets were grounded. 

But among those making it through the icy mist was a figure whose gray suit and tie made him almost disappear into the background. 

He was tall and thin, with the physique of an aging basketball player and dark caterpillar eyebrows beneath a shock of matching hair. Accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards, the man was NSA deputy director Chris Inglis, the agency’s highest-ranking civilian and the person who ran its worldwide day-to-day operations.

A short time later, Inglis arrived in Bluffdale at the site of the future data center, a flat, unpaved runway on a little-used part of Camp Williams, a National Guard training site. 

There, in a white tent set up for the occasion, Inglis joined Harvey Davis, the agency’s associate director for installations and logistics, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch, along with a few generals and politicians in a surreal ceremony. 

Standing in an odd wooden sandbox and holding gold-painted shovels, they made awkward jabs at the sand and thus officially broke ground on what the local media had simply dubbed “the spy center.” 

Hoping for some details on what was about to be built, reporters turned to one of the invited guests, Lane Beattie of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. 

Did he have any idea of the purpose behind the new facility in his backyard? “Absolutely not,” he said with a self-conscious half laugh. “Nor do I want them spying on me.”

For his part, Inglis simply engaged in a bit of double-talk, emphasizing the least threatening aspect of the center: “It’s a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the intelligence community in its mission to, in turn, enable and protect the nation’s cyber-security.” 

While cybersecurity will certainly be among the areas focused on in Bluffdale, what is collected, how it’s collected, and what is done with the material are far more important issues. Battling hackers makes for a nice cover - it’s easy to explain, and who could be against it? 

Then the reporters turned to Hatch, who proudly described the center as “a great tribute to Utah,” then added, “I can’t tell you a lot about what they’re going to be doing, because it’s highly classified.”

And then there was this anomaly: 

Although this was supposedly the official ground-breaking for the nation’s largest and most expensive cybersecurity project, no one from the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for protecting civilian networks from cyberattack, spoke from the lectern. 

In fact, the official who’d originally introduced the data center, at a press conference in Salt Lake City in October 2009, had nothing to do with cybersecurity. 

It was Glenn A. Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, a man who had spent almost his entire career at the CIA. As head of collection for the intelligence community, he managed the country’s human and electronic spies.

Within days, the tent and sandbox and gold shovels would be gone and Inglis and the generals would be replaced by some 10,000 construction workers. 

“We’ve been asked not to talk about the project,” Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction, one of the three major contractors working on the project, told a local reporter. 

The plans for the center show an extensive security system: an elaborate $10 million anti terrorism protection program, including a fence designed to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour, closed-circuit cameras, a biometric identification system, a vehicle inspection facility, and a visitor-control center.

Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. 

The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. 

Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag - about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.

Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinkie, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. 

But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. 

As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. 

(A yottabyte is a septillion bytes - so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) 

In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. 

And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. 

By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. 

Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world’s billions of public web pages. The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deep-net-data beyond the reach of the public. 

This includes password-protected data, U.S. and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. 

“The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. 

“Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” 

With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets. The question, of course, is how the agency defines who is, and who is not, “a potential adversary.”

Before yottabytes of data from the deep web and elsewhere can begin piling up inside the servers of the NSA’s new center, they must be collected. 

To better accomplish that, the agency has undergone the largest building boom in its history, including installing secret electronic monitoring rooms in major U.S. telecom facilities. 

Controlled by the NSA, these highly secured spaces are where the agency taps into the US communications networks, a practice that came to light during the Bush years but was never acknowledged by the agency. 

The broad outlines of the so-called warrant less-wiretapping program have long been exposed - how the NSA secretly and illegally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was supposed to oversee and authorize highly targeted domestic eavesdropping; how the program allowed wholesale monitoring of millions of American phone calls and email. 

In the wake of the program’s exposure, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which largely made the practices legal. Telecoms that had agreed to participate in the illegal activity were granted immunity from prosecution and lawsuits. 

What wasn’t revealed until now, however, was the enormity of this ongoing domestic spying program.

For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind - in detail. 

William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. 

A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. 

As chief and one of the two co founders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.

He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations - the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the U.S. where fiber-optic cables come ashore. 

If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under U.S. law. 

Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country - large, windowless buildings known as switches - thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the U.S. 

The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. 

“That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.”

The eavesdropping on Americans doesn’t stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&T’s powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. 

Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek’s three 105-foot dishes handle much of the country’s communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. 

And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the company’s Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.

Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrant less-wiretapping program. 

“They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. 

When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. 

At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. 

According to Binney - who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago - the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches U.S. sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. 

Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.

The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA’s recorders. 

“Anybody you want, route to a recorder,” Binney says. “If your number’s in there? Routed and gets recorded.” He adds, “The Narus device allows you to take it all.” And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.

According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program - again, never confirmed until now - was that the NSA gained warrant-less access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. 

As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.

Verizon was also part of the program, Binney says, and that greatly expanded the volume of calls subject to the agency’s domestic eavesdropping. 

“That multiplies the call rate by at least a factor of five,” he says. “So you’re over a billion and a half calls a day.” (Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T said their companies would not comment on matters of national security.)

After he left the NSA, Binney suggested a system for monitoring people’s communications according to how closely they are connected to an initial target. 

The further away from the target - say you’re just an acquaintance of a friend of the target - the less the surveillance. But the agency rejected the idea, and, given the massive new storage facility in Utah, Binney suspects that it now simply collects everything. 

“The whole idea was, how do you manage 20 terabytes of intercept a minute?” he says. “The way we proposed was to distinguish between things you want and things you don’t want.” Instead, he adds, “they’re storing everything they gather.” And the agency is gathering as much as it can.

Once the communications are intercepted and stored, the data-mining begins:

“You can watch everybody all the time with data- mining,” Binney says. Everything a person does becomes charted on a graph, “financial transactions or travel or anything,” he says. 

Thus, as data like bookstore receipts, bank statements, and commuter toll records flow in, the NSA is able to paint a more and more detailed picture of someone’s life.

The NSA also has the ability to eavesdrop on phone calls directly and in real time. 

According to Adrienne J. Kinne, who worked both before and after 9/11 as a voice interceptor at the NSA facility in Georgia, in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks “basically all rules were thrown out the window, and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans.” 

Even journalists calling home from overseas were included. “A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families,” she says, “incredibly intimate, personal conversations.” 

Kinne found the act of eavesdropping on innocent fellow citizens personally distressing. “It’s almost like going through and finding somebody’s diary,” she says.

But there is, of course, reason for anyone to be distressed about the practice. 

Once the door is open for the government to spy on U.S. citizens, there are often great temptations to abuse that power for political purposes, as when Richard Nixon eavesdropped on his political enemies during Watergate and ordered the NSA to spy on antiwar protesters. 

Those and other abuses prompted Congress to enact prohibitions in the mid-1970s against domestic spying.

Before he gave up and left the NSA, Binney tried to persuade officials to create a more targeted system that could be authorized by a court. 

At the time, the agency had 72 hours to obtain a legal warrant, and Binney devised a method to computerize the system. 

“I had proposed that we automate the process of requesting a warrant and automate approval so we could manage a couple of million intercepts a day, rather than subvert the whole process.” 

But such a system would have required close coordination with the courts, and NSA officials weren’t interested in that, Binney says. Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale. 

Asked how many communications -”transactions,” in NSA’s lingo - the agency has intercepted since 9/11, Binney estimates the number at “between 15 and 20 trillion, the aggregate over 11 years.”

When Barack Obama took office, Binney hoped the new administration might be open to reforming the program to address his constitutional concerns. 

He and another former senior NSA analyst, J. Kirk Wiebe, tried to bring the idea of an automated warrant-approval system to the attention of the Department of Justice’s inspector general. They were given the brush-off. “They said, oh, OK, we can’t comment,” Binney says.

Sitting in a restaurant not far from NSA headquarters, the place where he spent nearly 40 years of his life, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” he says.

There is still one technology preventing untrammeled government access to private digital data: strong encryption. Anyone - from terrorists and weapons dealers to corporations, financial institutions, and ordinary email senders - can use it to seal their messages, plans, photos, and documents in hardened data shells. 

For years, one of the hardest shells has been the Advanced Encryption Standard, one of several algorithms used by much of the world to encrypt data. 

Available in three different strengths - 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits - it’s incorporated in most commercial email programs and web browsers and is considered so strong that the NSA has even approved its use for top-secret U.S. government communications. 

Most experts say that a so-called brute-force computer attack on the algorithm - trying one combination after another to unlock the encryption - would likely take longer than the age of the universe. For a 128-bit cipher, the number of trial-and-error attempts would be 340 undecillion (1036).

Breaking into those complex mathematical shells like the AES is one of the key reasons for the construction going on in Bluffdale. That kind of cryptanalysis requires two major ingredients: super-fast computers to conduct brute-force attacks on encrypted messages and a massive number of those messages for the computers to analyze. 

The more messages from a given target, the more likely it is for the computers to detect telltale patterns, and Bluffdale will be able to hold a great many messages. 

“We questioned it one time,” says another source, a senior intelligence manager who was also involved with the planning. 

“Why were we building this NSA facility? And, boy, they rolled out all the old guys - the crypto guys.” 

According to the official, these experts told then-director of national intelligence Dennis Blair, “You’ve got to build this thing because we just don’t have the capability of doing the code-breaking.” 

It was a candid admission. In the long war between the code breakers and the code makers - the tens of thousands of cryptographers in the worldwide computer security industry - the code breakers were admitting defeat.

So the agency had one major ingredient - a massive data storage facility - under way. Meanwhile, across the country in Tennessee, the government was working in utmost secrecy on the other vital element: the most powerful computer the world has ever known.

The plan was launched in 2004 as a modern-day Manhattan Project. Dubbed the High Productivity Computing Systems Program, its goal was to advance computer speed a thousandfold, creating a machine that could execute a quadrillion (1015) operations a second, known as a petaflop - the computer equivalent of breaking the land speed record. 

And as with the Manhattan Project, the venue chosen for the supercomputing program was the town of Oak Ridge in eastern Tennessee, a rural area where sharp ridges give way to low, scattered hills, and the southwestward-flowing Clinch River bends sharply to the southeast. 

About 25 miles from Knoxville, it is the “secret city” where uranium-235 was extracted for the first atomic bomb. A sign near the exit read: what you see here, what you do here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here. 

Today, not far from where that sign stood, Oak Ridge is home to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it’s engaged in a new secret war. But this time, instead of a bomb of almost unimaginable power, the weapon is a computer of almost unimaginable speed.

In 2004, as part of the supercomputing program, the Department of Energy established its Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility for multiple agencies to join forces on the project. 

But in reality there would be two tracks, one unclassified, in which all of the scientific work would be public, and another top-secret, in which the NSA could pursue its own computer covertly. 

“For our purposes, they had to create a separate facility,” says a former senior NSA computer expert who worked on the project and is still associated with the agency. (He is one of three sources who described the program.) It was an expensive undertaking, but one the NSA was desperate to launch.

Known as the Multiprogram Research Facility, or Building 5300, the $41 million, five-story, 214,000-square-foot structure was built on a plot of land on the lab’s East Campus and completed in 2006. 

Behind the brick walls and green-tinted windows, 318 scientists, computer engineers, and other staff work in secret on the cryptanalytic applications of high-speed computing and other classified projects. 

The supercomputer center was named in honor of George R. Cotter, the NSA’s now-retired chief scientist and head of its information technology program. Not that you’d know it. “There’s no sign on the door,” says the ex-NSA computer expert.

At the DOE’s unclassified center at Oak Ridge, work progressed at a furious pace, although it was a one-way street when it came to cooperation with the closemouthed people in Building 5300. 

Nevertheless, the unclassified team had its Cray XT4 supercomputer upgraded to a warehouse-sized XT5. Named Jaguar for its speed, it clocked in at 1.75 petaflops, officially becoming the world’s fastest computer in 2009.

Meanwhile, over in Building 5300, the NSA succeeded in building an even faster supercomputer. 

“They made a big breakthrough,” says another former senior intelligence official, who helped oversee the program. The NSA’s machine was likely similar to the unclassified Jaguar, but it was much faster out of the gate, modified specifically for cryptanalysis and targeted against one or more specific algorithms, like the AES. 

In other words, they were moving from the research and development phase to actually attacking extremely difficult encryption systems. The code-breaking effort was up and running.

The breakthrough was enormous, says the former official, and soon afterward the agency pulled the shade down tight on the project, even within the intelligence community and Congress. 

“Only the chairman and vice chairman and the two staff directors of each intelligence committee were told about it,” he says. The reason? “They were thinking that this computing breakthrough was going to give them the ability to crack current public encryption.”

In addition to giving the NSA access to a tremendous amount of Americans’ personal data, such an advance would also open a window on a trove of foreign secrets. 

While today most sensitive communications use the strongest encryption, much of the older data stored by the NSA, including a great deal of what will be transferred to Bluffdale once the center is complete, is encrypted with more vulnerable ciphers. 

“Remember,” says the former intelligence official, “a lot of foreign government stuff we’ve never been able to break is 128 or less. Break all that and you’ll find out a lot more of what you didn’t know - stuff we’ve already stored - so there’s an enormous amount of information still in there.”

That, he notes, is where the value of Bluffdale, and its mountains of long-stored data, will come in. What can’t be broken today may be broken tomorrow. 

“Then you can see what they were saying in the past,” he says. “By extrapolating the way they did business, it gives us an indication of how they may do things now.” 

The danger, the former official says, is that it’s not only foreign government information that is locked in weaker algorithms, it’s also a great deal of personal domestic communications, such as Americans’ email intercepted by the NSA in the past decade.

But first the supercomputer must break the encryption, and to do that, speed is everything. 

The faster the computer, the faster it can break codes. The Data Encryption Standard, the 56-bit predecessor to the AES, debuted in 1976 and lasted about 25 years. The AES made its first appearance in 2001 and is expected to remain strong and durable for at least a decade. 

But if the NSA has secretly built a computer that is considerably faster than machines in the unclassified arena, then the agency has a chance of breaking the AES in a much shorter time. And with Bluffdale in operation, the NSA will have the luxury of storing an ever-expanding archive of intercepts until that breakthrough comes along.

But despite its progress, the agency has not finished building at Oak Ridge, nor is it satisfied with breaking the petaflop barrier. Its next goal is to reach exaflop speed, one quintillion (1018) operations a second, and eventually zettaflop (1021) and yottaflop.

These goals have considerable support in Congress. Last November a bipartisan group of 24 senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to approve continued funding through 2013 for the Department of Energy’s exascale computing initiative (the NSA’s budget requests are classified). 

They cited the necessity to keep up with and surpass China and Japan. “The race is on to develop exascale computing capabilities,” the senators noted. 

The reason was clear: By late 2011 the Jaguar (now with a peak speed of 2.33 petaflops) ranked third behind Japan’s “K Computer,” with an impressive 10.51 petaflops, and the Chinese Tianhe-1A system, with 2.57 petaflops.

But the real competition will take place in the classified realm. To secretly develop the new exaflop (or higher) machine by 2018, the NSA has proposed constructing two connecting buildings, totaling 260,000 square feet, near its current facility on the East Campus of Oak Ridge. 

Called the Multiprogram Computational Data Center, the buildings will be low and wide like giant warehouses, a design necessary for the dozens of computer cabinets that will compose an exaflop-scale machine, possibly arranged in a cluster to minimize the distance between circuits. 

According to a presentation delivered to DOE employees in 2009, it will be an “unassuming facility with limited view from roads,” in keeping with the NSA’s desire for secrecy. 

And it will have an extraordinary appetite for electricity, eventually using about 200 megawatts, enough to power 200,000 homes. 

The computer will also produce a gargantuan amount of heat, requiring 60,000 tons of cooling equipment, the same amount that was needed to serve both of the World Trade Center towers.

In the meantime Cray is working on the next step for the NSA, funded in part by a $250 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

It’s a massively parallel supercomputer called Cascade, a prototype of which is due at the end of 2012. Its development will run largely in parallel with the unclassified effort for the DOE and other partner agencies. 

That project, due in 2013, will upgrade the Jaguar XT5 into an XK6, codenamed Titan, upping its speed to 10 to 20 petaflops.

Yottabytes and exaflops, septillions and undecillions - the race for computing speed and data storage goes on. In his 1941 story “The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges imagined a collection of information where the entire world’s knowledge is stored but barely a single word is understood. 

In Bluffdale, the NSA is constructing a library on a scale that even Borges might not have contemplated. And to hear the masters of the agency tell it, it’s only a matter of time until every word is illuminated.

James Bamford ( is the author of 'The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America.'


1 comment:

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