Archive for May, 2008

Writing on the Wall: More Graffiti

As a sort of fun follow-on to yesterday’s post on decoding gang graffiti, let’s look at some more examples of graffiti from gangs – and from wannabes, as well. I have a couple of guidelines that I use when evaluating graffiti; the most basic are simple analyses of the graffiti itself. Is is a name – or at least a single, pronounceable word? If so, it’s probably from a tagger, not a gangster. Can it be easily read – are all the letters clear, basic, and unadorned, with no ornamentation or crossing-out? Again, if so, it’s probably not gang-related, though there are rare exceptions. Are there five-pointed stars, six-pointed stars, canes, stylized squiggles that could be pitchforks, or other wierd, quasi-occult symbols present? These are almost certainly signs that you’re looking at gang graffiti.

There are exceptions, however…
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on May 30th, 2008 | 40 Comments »

Deciphering Gang Graffiti

Where graffiti is concerned, the writing truly is “on the wall”. It’s an annoyance, to be sure, but it’s also somewhat interesting – at least the gang-related graffiti, anyway. In many ways, gang graffiti is a code – and like most codes, it’s susceptible to analysis.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 29th, 2008 | 103 Comments »

More F-15 Tricks

A week ago, I posted a video showcasing some of the features of the new radar being installed on F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. Today, I’ve got another one, this time showcasing the AESA radar’s somewhat niftier air-to-ground capabilities – tracking moving targets, automatically identifying and classifying targets, and even a rudimentary BDA ability after the weapons have impacted (in this video, it’s WCMDs). It’s pretty slick eye candy, courtesy of Raytheon, who designed and manufacture the AESA system.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on May 28th, 2008 | Comments Off on More F-15 Tricks

Underwater Text Messaging

An intriguing article in Israeli newspaper Haaretz describes a new gizmo recently developed to allow wireless communication underwater, between divers. The underwater text-messaging device, according to the article, works using ultrasound and has been provided to U.S. Navy “special forces”.

I tried to find more details of this interesting device, but couldn’t. It’s not cheap – around $1200 per device – and I doesn’t appear to use any sort of encryption or other keying mechanism to ensure privacy. Then again, the range is undoubtedly pretty limited, and the simple, pre-programmed codes most likely aren’t exactly a huge intelligence bonanza for the world’s spy agencies. Still, I expect that some Chinese or Russian boffins are already at work, developing a hull-mounted submersible ultrasonic detector to help detect devices like these; that is, after all, the way the technology race works…

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 28th, 2008 | Comments Off on Underwater Text Messaging

“Hezbollah” in Africa

A recent article that has appeared in various places shows – or purports to show – Hezbollah’s presence in Nigeria, and then devotes significant time to pointing out how this apparent development highlights the shortcomings of western analysts’ “conventional wisdom” regarding militant islamic groups like Hezbollah.

Now, I’m all for challenging “conventional wisdom”, but I’m also big on challenging hasty assumptions. Boiled down to the basics, the article shows eight photos of supposed “Hezbollah activities in Nigeria”; warns about the dangers of groups like Hezbollah using Africa as “forward operating bases”; and attempts to argue the logical and predictable nature of this development. I’m not so sure about that.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on May 27th, 2008 | Comments Off on “Hezbollah” in Africa