Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Japan ABM Shield, Sim Urban Panic, SAIC, GD, + News

Japan plans Tokyo missile shield
Japanese officials have carried out exercises to see whether a missile defence shield could be deployed in the capital, Tokyo.
Teams set up radio masts and tested communications at two separate locations in the city.
The military was assessing whether Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air interceptor missiles could be deployed at such sites.
Concern over North Korea has prompted Japan to up its missile defence.
In 1998 Pyongyang test-fired a long-range Taepodong-1 missile over northern Japan.
In 2006 the communist state also tested a longer-range missile, as well as carrying out a nuclear test. (cont..)

Modeling Urban Panic
Schneier is reporting that Arizona State University's Paul Torrens has been developing a computer simulation to model urban panic. "The goal of this project is to develop a reusable and behaviorally founded computer model of pedestrian movement and crowd behavior amid dense urban environments, to serve as a test-bed for experimentation." The simulation tests behaviors from how a crowd flees from a burning car to how a pathogen might be transmitted through a mobile pedestrian over time among others
“"The goal of this project is to develop a reusable and behaviorally founded computer model of pedestrian movement and crowd behavior amid dense urban environments, to serve as a test-bed for experimentation," says Torrens. "The idea is to use the model to test hypotheses, real-world plans and strategies that are not very easy, or are impossible to test in practice."
Such as the following: 1) simulate how a crowd flees from a burning car toward a single evacuation point; 2) test out how a pathogen might be transmitted through a mobile pedestrian over a short period of time; 3) see how the existing urban grid facilitate or does not facilitate mass evacuation prior to a hurricane landfall or in the event of dirty bomb detonation; 4) design a mall which can compel customers to shop to the point of bankruptcy, to walk obliviously for miles and miles and miles, endlessly to the point of physical exhaustion and even death; 5) identify, if possible, the tell-tale signs of a peaceful crowd about to metamorphosize into a hellish mob; 6) determine how various urban typologies, such as plazas, parks, major arterial streets and banlieues, can be reconfigured in situ into a neutralizing force when crowds do become riotous; and 7) conversely, figure out how one could, through spatial manipulation, inflame a crowd, even a very small one, to set in motion a series of events that culminates into a full scale Revolution or just your average everyday Southeast Asian coup d'├ętat -- regime change through landscape architecture.” (cont...)

SAIC working on the cutting edge (anthrax/Ft Detrick)
Science Application International Corp., or SAIC, has been a mainstay of Frederick's biotechnical research community since 1995.
A contractor for the National Cancer Institute, SAIC-Frederick's mission is to provide scientific, technical, management, administrative, and logistical support to National Institutes of Health intramural laboratory research and development into causes of and cures for cancer and AIDS.
Since President Nixon's declaration of the war on cancer in 1972, the area where SAIC-Frederick is located at Fort Detrick has been owned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
SAIC-Frederick employs about 1,770 people, and operates on the largest single research contract awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services.
SAIC-Frederick occupies 68 acres and 116 buildings at Fort Detrick.
The Frederick location and proximity of the buildings is well sited. The National Institutes of Health is nearby, as well as the I-270 biotech corridor.
Satellite locations off-base, such as a genotyping facility in Gaithersburg and the vaccine pilot plant off Md. 85 are easily accessible to the operation.....
Government Awards Passport Card DealsTuesday January 15, 1:37 pm ET
General Dynamics, Unisys Win Government Contracts for Work on Passport Card
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has awarded contracts worth up to $99.3 million to General Dynamics Corp. and up to $62 million to Unisys Corp. to produce identification cards and reader technology.
Under a five-year State Department contract announced Tuesday, General Dynamics Information Technology will produce so-called passport cards, which will contain Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The cards will allow citizens to return to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by land or water.
And under a separate five-year contract announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, Unisys will produce the technology and infrastructure needed to read the cards at U.S. borders

Do U.S. pandemic plans threaten rights, ACLU asks
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. policy in preparing for a potential bird flu pandemic is veering dangerously toward a heavy-handed law-enforcement approach, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.
The group, which advocates for individuals' legal rights based on the U.S. Constitution, said federal government pandemic plans were confusing and could emphasize a police and military approach to outbreaks of disease, instead of a more sensible public health approach.
"Rather than focusing on well-established measures for protecting the lives and health of Americans, policymakers have recently embraced an approach that views public health policy through the prism of national security and law enforcement," the ACLU report reads.
But the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said the group had misunderstood the government's approach and said current plans already incorporate many of the ACLU's recommendations.
Infectious disease experts agree that a pandemic of some sort of influenza is inevitable, and most worries focus on H5N1 avian influenza. Although it mainly attacks birds, the virus has infected 349 people since 2003 and killed 216 of them.
A few mutations could turn it into a highly infectious disease for people and could kill millions globally.
Most countries are working to develop plans to deal with the potential consequences. The U.S. plans are available on Web sites such as http://pandemicflu.gov.
The ACLU said it was worried that the plan called for military and police involvement in enforcing a quarantine.
The ACLU experts said they were especially disturbed by an October executive order from President George W. Bush that directed HHS to establish a task force to plan for potential catastrophes like a terrorist attack, pandemic influenza or a natural disaster that would ensure full use of Department of Defense resources.

Health workers in Texas prepare national border for pandemic flu
Juvaris BioTherapeutics enters research deal with CDC http://www.bizjournals.com/eastbay/stories/2008/01/14/daily18.html?ana=from_rss

NATO, Russia to hold theater missile defense exercise
NATO and Russia are going to conduct a joint Theater Missile Defense (TMD) exercise next week in Germany, the alliance said in a press release Monday. The computer-assisted exercise will be the fourth in a series of joint NATO-Russia TMD exercises. While previous exercises have focused on command and control of the TMD forces and the execution of operations in a joint theater of operations, this exercise will concentrate on the planning processes required to enable an effective and efficient employment of such forces, NATO said.


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