Planetary Annihilation: Kickstarter Blows Up Planets, The Game

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Every would-be world conqueror gets their start playing tactical video games; some classic examples are Civilization, Age of Empires, and StarCraft.  A new contender is being added to the list of great strategy games, Planetary Annihilation.  This latest real-time strategy vision pioneers a new trail; rather than just a single map being the battle field whole solar systems are up for grabs.

ASTEROID PLANET - digital-art

Space, the final frontier … of warfare

The loose premise for Planetary Annihilation is robot armies are fighting each other for galactic control.  Fun, right? The real focus of the game is in revolutionary global combat.   Most games have square maps which cut off suddenly to prevent flanking armies from falling into the void.  In Planetary Annihilation the battlefields are spherical planets.  Troops march and fly around the world, doing combat in all three hundred and sixty degrees.

More complex maps add a solar system of battlefields.  Moons can be mined.  Asteroid can be turned into continental sized missiles.  Gas giants fill up the screen as multiple lunar battles take place across space.  It is hinted that whole planets can be thrown at unsuspecting opponents.

Already Uber Entertainment, the producers of this strategic and hilarious game, has surpassed their initial goal for Planetary Annihilation.  With a whopping $900,000 in pledged funds production has already.  Yet as more funds were pledged new ideas were birthed for each new threshold.

Upon passing the $1.1 million dollar barrier water worlds, complete with a whole new variety of aquatic robots, were added to Planetary Annihilation.  Two hundred thousand dollars later orbital units were added and gas giants entered the warzone.  The next threshold of $1.5 million will add strange new worlds coated with lava and cloaked in metal.  The $1.8 million dollar threshold seems to be the most interesting to me; it activates the galactic campaign.  By doubling their initial goal battlefields Uber Entertainment will make the whole galaxy open for combat.

The rewards for aiding Planetary Annihilation are both novel and far-flung.  $20 will garner you a copy of the game, alongside over 12,000 backers.  For $50 you will get a unique commander exclusively to fundraisers, but for $1000 you can get a unique commander made exclusively for you.  My favorite option allows you name planets within the game; I think naming a planet after myself might just be worth $150.

I support intergalactic warfare; click here to support Planetary Annihilation!

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The Iran – Israel Crisis: Part 1, The Stakes

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F16 jet swirl

How long till war?

All eyes are on Iran and its nuclear program.  The Iranian government has stated that it pursues only peaceful ends in its new-found interest in uranium enrichment.  Israel and the United States have accused Iran of building nuclear WMDs.  In this article, Part 1, we will review how Israel and Iran are igniting the next world war and how conventional methods of defusing this situation have failed.  In Part 2, we will examine the diplomatic failures which have allowed this situation to persist and worsen.  In Part 3 we will review unlikely alternatives which might be able to prevent the United States from being dragged into a 21st century Vietnam.

Why are Iran and Israel Moving Towards War?

Iran and Israel have the keys to peace or war in the Middle East; they both choose war. we can see the rational explanation behind this absurd decision by looking into game theory and the Prisoners’ Dilemma. Both sides have the option of backing down; however, if either side took enacted peaceful measures it would open itself for attack from the opposition.  Without mutual trust or a shared allied superpower to help negotiate a thawing of relations these nations are locked onto the war path.

How Will the War Begin on Our Current Course?

Israel has talked openly about a preemptive strike.  With a surprise attack Israeli fighter jets plan to cripple the Iranian nuclear program beyond repair.  Iran will doubtlessly strike back; igniting a regional war against Israel.  The United States will most likely be dragged into the conflict with the inevitable Iranian retaliations.  In an American military war-game codenamed Internal Look, which played out many possible scenarios following an Israeli preemptive strike,  United States ships were attacked by Iranian planes attempting to intercept the retreating Israel fighters.  This is one of dozens of possibilities which could throw American into a pan-Arabian war in one of the world’s most volatile and important regions,

Why is It Important to Prevent War?

Life and energy.

It is of primary importance to maintain peace to prevent wholesale slaughter on a scale not seen since the end of World War Two.  Iran uses human waves of millions of loyalists to crush enemies while Israel decimates invaders with overwhelming air power and possibly nuclear.  A conflict would kill thousands; if there is an alternative, it must be pursued

Second, oil is something critical to the Middle Oil flow will slow to a trickle if war explodes across the Persian Gulf; either blockades of the Straits of Hormuz or wholesale destruction of regional oil tankers could cut off the world’s energy supply.  International blackouts would cause unprecedented chaos.

The question becomes that if war would be so disastrous why would the powers that be allowed it to deteriorate to this strained point?  Find the answer in Part 2; it will be up tomorrow.

All comments are appreciated and will be answered promptly.

War in Sudan: The Korea of Africa (How a Demilitarized Zone Will Spawn War across Africa and the Second Cold War)

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War between the Sudans threatens to engulf Africa as border conflicts over valuable regions spark firefights and troop occupations.  Abyei, a region with lush farmland and oil deposits, became the hotspot as fighting ignited over the last couple of days.  Northern tanks and infantry occupied the region, driving out any Southern troops and sympathizers.  Negotiations over this disputed region took place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.  The resolution agreed upon was to declare the territory a demilitarized region for the moment and to have it policed by Ethiopian troops until a national vote can be taken to decide the fate of the region.  It has yet to see if these negations will be observed or abandoned.  This unstable situation could easily explode into an international conflict, as China defends its oil reserves in Northern Sudan as the humanitarians and Africans rally around Republic of Republic of South Sudan and its struggling call for freedom.

How Has This Incident Affected the Region?

Tensions in one of the most dangerous regions of the world have only been risen higher and sparked more battles.  In recent days the conflict between the nations has manifested in aircraft raids on Republic of Republic of South Sudan and widespread famine.   The surrounding Africans nations are concerned that this war could spill over into their territory or create a new militant state rather than a new democratic one.  This could result in the country becoming a haven for criminals and terrorists, something that no region of the world wants.  Military units are being deployed to all surrounding borders as the Ethiopians head an effort to negotiate a truce in the region.  The outlook is dim, it is almost certain a full-scale war is on the horizon.

How Could This Blossom Into A Battleground of the Second Cold War?

Chinese conglomerates import large amounts of oil and gold from Northern Sudan.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan, oppressed by its northern largely autocratic government, will look to other superpowers to fund its development.  Geologists, once they are allowed into the region, expect to find large pockets of oil and rare minerals in the Republic of South Sudan.  America, Russia, India, and the European Union will all be interested in reinforcing their decaying reserves of oil.  While the North is largely Islamic the South still largely has traditional African cultures, which may result in African nations supporting the weaker southern nation rather than the alien northern one.  Tense relations between the nations, based on a history or genocide, could easily spark off a conflict.  The ensuing global incident would resemble the Korean War where over thirty thousand Americans were killed.  Neither side would back down when oil, the life blood of the economy, is on the line; this was seen in the Persian Gulf War.

Why Was the Republic of South Sudan Founded in Such a Toxic Position?

Earlier this year, on January 21, 2011, a landslide vote severed Sudan into Northern and Southern countries based on cultural and religious differences.  This landmark achievement, planned to officially separate the new nations on July 7, 2011.  Widespread border conflicts have marred the stability of the region, refugees and insurgents throughout the region have complicated the issue to the point of violence.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan lacks the infrastructure and coordinated military forces to police this and the Northern Sudanese could not care less about their castaway state.   A situation like this was inevitable.

How Does This Relate To the Sociology of the Region?

Sudan was an autocratic state ruled by President Omar al-Bashir, an Islamic extremist, who took control of the state after a coup more than twenty years ago.  Since then he has committed genocide in Darfur, skimmed hundreds of millions from taxpayers, and charged with five accounts of crimes against humanity.   His totalitarianism state has been pushing towards Islamic law for the whole country.  Religious and cultural differences with the Southern half of the country led to their expulsion in the January 21, 2011 election.  His rational-legal authority has killed millions and oppressed the rest of the country; the increasingly evident region that he set free Republic of South Sudan was to cut off the center of resistance against him.  In the future, he may move in with more armed troops to silence that voice of freedom for forever.

Cyberwar America: Lockheed Martin Corporation (Military Contractor) Has Top Secret Data Stolen

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Above: Battlefields of the upcoming Cyberwar

Hackers have infiltrated Lockheed Martin Corporation and many other critical American military contractors have.  Renegade programmers broke through the extensive security protecting top secret military weapons data, most likely planning to sell the next generation information to the highest bidder on the black market. Nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for this attack but many speculate that superpowers China or Russia are behind the technically advanced and sophisticated  assault that underscores the fact that the world has progress to the next level of warfare, cyberwar.

Why is this Attack Significant?

Anarchists, terrorists, and dangerous governments be able to create their own cutting edge weapons with the stolen blueprints.  America currently is roughly ten years ahead, technologically, of most superpowers, such as Russia or China, in the world and twenty to thirty years ahead of rouge anti american nations, such has North Korea or Iran.  Whoever, or whomever, ends up with the critical data will instantly close that gap to a matter of months, or the amount of time it takes to physically build next generation weapons.

They will also be able to discover specific weaknesses in American armaments that could be used to decimate the American armed forces in future wars.  In the past breaches of security of the magnitude have endangered the American public and the free world for decades afterwards.  One textbook example is how leaks in the Manhattan project gave the USSR the information it needed to build nuclear weapons of it own.  This security fault snowballed into the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War.

What Damage Has Been Done to Lockheed Martin Corporation and the other Military Contractors?

Reports state that the damage to the computers themselves was “minimal“, some speculate this is because the criminal want to be able to access new sensitive at a future date.  By not crippling the secrutiy netowrks today they give themselves the opportunity to steal more information later with sleeper code they might have installed into the mainframe, which would send data daily from behind the Lockheed Martin firewalls.  Attacks like this will only increase in number and magnitude, with more painful results as well.

What Does with Mean For the Evolution of Warfare?

On March 8, 2011 Anonymous, a hacker group responsible for both malicious and devastating attacks across the web, announced a “cyberwar” against America.  This was the only warning many ever got of the oncoming conflict.

America struck first, against Iran, during this new age of cyber warfare.  In early 2011 the nuclear reactors in Iran, which were thought to be used to weaponize uranium, were crippled by an American synthesized virus called Stuxnet that broke the centrifuges in the reactors.

Since then major corporations, with data sensitive to the American military, such as Sony, Google, and EMC have had their networks infiltrated by hackers, whom have dealt trillion dollars of damage and have torpedoed key elements of the international economy.

Today, the largest military corporation in the world had top secret data, that could be anything from budget reports to blueprints for weapons of mass destruction.

A perpetual, undeclared war has begun by faceless specters on the internet, such as the infamous group Anonymous,  against the pillars of stability of the governments of the world.  The public was not warned, nor will they until they are individually attacked when they get caught in the crossfire between these two behemoths.  Already more than seventy million Playstation 3 users have had their personal information and credit cards stolen in an unprovoked attack.  Attacks like this will only get worse as the Cyberwar evolves.

Georgia: Outbreak of Latest Jasmine Revolution

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Protesters stoke new flames of rebellion in Tbillisi, Georgia

Tbillisi, capital of the impoverished nation Georgia, was the first battleground for the latest outbreak of the Jasmine Revolution.  Several thousand revolutionaries converged on the city over the last three days, publicly battling law enforcement in a series of street battles.  Tear gas and rubber bullets dispersed revolutionaries after prolonged protests that paralyzed the cities major roads.  During the engagements both protesters and policemen were injured badly enough to be hospitalized.  A police cruiser was surrounded and damaged beyond repair by an angry mob; the unfortunate police officer was able to escape.  Locals call it the Second Rose Revolution, naming it after a successful revolution in November, 2003.

What is Next For the Revolutionaries?

A “Day of Rage” has been scheduled for May 25 by exiled opposition leader Irakli Okruashvili.  For the last four years he has been living in exile in France; he promises to return to his native country, which has a standing arrest warrant on him, on Wednesday to personally help the revolution take seed and flourish.  President Mikhael Saakashvili has survived and retained his authority in several similar uprisings over the past decade.

How Does This Impact the Region?

Neighbors Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are dreading the outbreak of rebellion on their doorstep while local superpower Russia is prodding the nation, looking for an opportunity to maneuver its own politicians into power.  Revolutions in Georgia have partially destabilized the region; influxes of arms and widespread casualties trigger weak regional security and mutual distrust.  Citizens of the smaller nations are also greatly concerned about the potential for Russian intervention, something that is nearly unthinkable.  In 2008, Russia annexed Georgia for several weeks after Georgia shot down a Russian jet.  Nobody likes tyrants, but they would favor them over the totalitarianism of the Russians that they subjected to until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Why Is There A Revolution Now?

Enraged civilians have endured nearly over three decades of troubled government run by illegitimate presidents and under the fear of the Russians.  The crucible of high employment, low standards of living and, above all, slashed pensions combined with existing widespread corruption have synthesized a new revolutionary force in the country.  These revolutionaries call for socioeconomic equality, free elections, and righteous justice for administrators who have betrayed their country.  Widespread support and secretive organizing on backwater social networking sites have created a powerful force that has the potential to succeed where past uprisings have failed.

Are There Scientific Terms to Describe this Revolutionary Behavior?

Criminologists describe the situation emerging in Georgia as rebellious deviant behavior derived from strain theory.  This psychological theory predicts that when a populace replaces the current objectives of the society with modern ones that pertain to the specific needs of the populace rather than the arbitrary orders by the imposed authority. President Mikhael Saakashvili has an unpopular government that is fraught with corruption and does not meet basic humanitarian requirements.  The people have forgotten his objectives and have substituted their own as they plan to establish a government with free and fair elections.  This deviant behavior is a natural result of the mistreatment of the Georgians.  The only surprising realization of this uprising is that this revolution has not happened already and that revolutions like it have not cropped up in nations with equally misguided governments, such as China or the United States of America.  These large nation need to follow the examples set by the upstart Georgians, Tunisians, and Croatians.

Good Luck Georgians!

Morale Gone: American Troops in Afghanistan Endangered More by Mental Disorders than Insurgents

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Afghanistan
Morale for the 100,000 troops, fighting the longest war in the history of the United States, is at an all time low.  The terror tactics of the guerrilla Taliban have killed dozens of Americans without firing bullets and have injured thousands with life threatening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental disorders.  Suicides have risen and morale has plummeted.  All American troops are now endangered, both by psychological assaults and a weakening military.

Why is Morale Failing?

The psyche of the soldiers is under assault from a perpetual threat of terrorism; the psychological weight of the war puts soldiers at risk to themselves and their fellow combatants.  The mental stamina of American troops has degraded during this war.  Psychologists confirm (what common sense tells) that terrorism is linked to mental health disorders.  This naturally sinks morale

What Evidence Shows Morale is Falling?

Army psychologists have identified over 66,935 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a severe anxiety disorder which plagues soldiers with asocial tendencies and painful flashbacks, during the War in Afghanistan.  The number of cases grows with each year.  Further evidence suggests a generally low morale; there were 339 non combat related deaths of American personal 60, or roughly twenty percent, were suicides.  More soldiers have been injured by mental disorders than by insurgent encounters.

The battlefield is even more dangerous to the integrity of the soldiers minds. A vicious onslaught of terrifying assaults from Taliban back militants have killed more American troops in the spring of 2011 than at any point in the entire war, except the initial invasion.  In this last February there were twenty lost, in March there were 31 casualties, and during April 47 American troops who were killed in action.  Soldiers are under higher threats of death and injury; this knowledge burdens them.

In addition these American sacrifices, to restore democracy to a troubled nation and defeat the Al Qaeda, seem to be in vain.  Afghanistan remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world with an economy dependent on opium.  The Taliban are only growing in strength and Al Qaeda is threatening to take control over revolting countries in the Middle East.  Morale has fallen off a cliff.

Why Does Morale Matter? 

Morale dictates the soldiers willingness to fight.  A strong sense of nationalism and faith in the war gives soldiers a reason to fight and definitively gives them a better chance of wining any battle.  Soldiers with low morale are less likely to fight effectively, endangering themselves and the entire army.  In the worst situations, which it has not deteriorated to in Afghanistan, armies simply desert en masse.  Low morale aided American defeat in Vietnam, however high morale during World War Two succeeded in a one-sided two-front victory.  Morale wins wars.

How will Morale Be Restored?

It wont. Unless there are decisive social victories in Afghanistan

The infamous Osama Bin Laden Assassination in Pakistan was a single bright flare of hope for the troops.  Recently they have been clearing out the worst combat zones of Afghanistan; grueling and dangerous work as they search enemy territory for combatants and weapons caches.  The Taliban is stepping up the pressure at the same time, launching daring guerrilla raids and diabolical IED explosions.  The Defense Department has announced that it expects higher casualties because of these methods.  This will continue to erode morale.

American forces have planned to leave the struggling democracy in 2014.  At such times morale will rise, because soldiers are no longer fighting in a perpetual war in an unstable region of the world.  Morale will return after it is needed.

Pipeline Bombed: Egyptian Extremists Cut Off Oil to Israel and Jordan

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Fire ripped across the deserts of Egypt today as extremists detonated bombs on the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline, cutting off the flow of oil.  Emergency services dispatched to the area have reported that the fire will take days to extinguish.  While the flow of oil was quickly halted the fire continues fester.  Nobody was killed in the explosion.  Civilians have been evacuated and advised to not return to the area until the fire is completely under control.

Israel confirmed that the flow of oil has stopped and is looking into alternative means of supporting themselves while the pipeline is repaired.  Jordan, who relies on eighty percent of their energy from the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline have been forced to import Radicals in the Egyptian government and populace seek to permanently cut off supply to Israel, due to historic hostilities.  This would be catastrophic for the countries relations; the fragile Middle East rests on the ominous edge of another tortuous conflict.

This is the third attempted bombing of the pipeline.  The first explosion halted the oil delivery for a full thirty-eight days.  The second explosives, set over a month later, failed to explode and were safely removed by Egyptian bomb squads.  Today, the third set detonated, causing skyrocketing flames and a rain of debris.

Many Egyptians are outraged that Egypt is sending valuable oil to its traditional enemy Israel; not only does more than half of the population want to stop the oil transfer many want to terminate the peace treaty between the nations.  This anger, amidst an uneasy peace that has gripped Egypt, has resulted in radicals targeting the pipeline.

Previously the Energy Minister of Egypt was arrested and interrogated for the low rates the pipeline has delivered oil to Israel. Many believed, whether they were biased by their cultural tendencies, that the oil was under priced far below market price and selling the oil to Israel was against the interests of Egypt.

Both Israel, who receives forty percent of their energy from the pipeline, and Jordan, who receives eighty percent of their oil from the pipeline, are forced to get alternative sources of fuel.  Israel is pushing forward with opening up its own oil fields, called the Tamar Gas Fields, to supplement its own energy needs.   Jordan has announced that they will import the more costly diesel.

Some are speculating that the region is set for war regardless of how this crisis is resolved, the radicals in Egypt and Jordan have gained enough power to win governmental support for attack Israel.  This pipeline sabotage might be the opening move in a long and costly war.  If this is the case, oil will be the least of concerns to what will doubtlessly evolve into the most devastating war of the twenty first century and the Jasmine Revolution.

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