BinaryOptions.net Forum

GE2020: The Roar of the Swing Voter

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post here.
I run a little website called The Thought Experiment where I talk about various issues, some of them Singapore related. And one of my main interests is Singaporean politics. With the GE2020 election results, I thought I should pen down my take on what us as the electorate were trying to say.
If you like what I wrote, I also wrote another article on the state of play for GE2020 during the campaigning period, as well as 2 other articles related to GE2015 back when it was taking place.
If you don't like what I wrote, that's ok! I think the beauty of freedom of expression is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm always happy to get feedback, because I do think that more public discourse about our local politics helps us to be more politically aware as a whole.
Just thought I'll share my article here to see what you guys make of it :D
Article Starts Here:
During the campaigning period, both sides sought to portray an extreme scenario of what would happen if voters did not vote for them. The Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) warned that Singaporeans that their political opponents “might eventually replace the government after July 10”. Meanwhile, the Worker’s Party (WP) stated that “there was a real risk of a wipeout of elected opposition MPs at the July 10 polls”.
Today is July 11th. As we all know, neither of these scenarios came to pass. The PAP comfortably retained its super-majority in Parliament, winning 83 out of 93 elected MP seats. But just as in GE2011, another Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has fallen to the WP. In addition, the PAP saw its vote share drop drastically, down almost 9% to 61.2% from 69.9% in GE2015.
Singapore’s electorate is unique in that a significant proportion is comprised of swing voters: Voters who don’t hold any blind allegiance to any political party, but vote based on a variety of factors both micro and macro. The above extreme scenarios were clearly targeted at these swing voters. Well, the swing voters have made their choice, their roar sending 4 more elected opposition MPs into Parliament. This article aims to unpack that roar and what it means for the state of Singaporean politics going forward.
1. The PAP is still the preferred party to form Singapore’s Government
Yes, this may come across as blindingly obvious, but it still needs to be said. The swing voter is by its very definition, liable to changes of opinion. And a large factor that determines how a swing voter votes is their perception of how their fellow swing voters are voting. If swing voters perceive that most swing voters are leaning towards voting for the opposition, they might feel compelled to vote for the incumbent. And if the reverse is true, swing voters might feel the need to shore up opposition support.
Why is this so? This is because the swing voter is trying to push the vote result into a sweet spot – one that lies between the two extreme scenarios espoused by either side. They don’t want the PAP to sweep all 93 seats in a ‘white tsunami’. Neither do they want the opposition to claim so much territory that the PAP is too weak to form the Government on its own. But because each swing voter only has a binary choice: either they vote for one side or the other (I’m ignoring the third option where they simply spoil their vote), they can’t very well say “I want to vote 0.6 for the PAP and 0.4 for the Opposition with my vote”. And so we can expect the swing voter bloc to continue being a source of uncertainty for both sides in future elections, as long as swing voters are still convinced that the PAP should be the Government.
2. Voters no longer believe that the PAP needs a ‘strong mandate’ to govern. They also don’t buy into the NCMP scheme.
Throughout the campaign period, the PAP repeatedly exhorted voters to vote for them alone. Granted, they couldn’t very well give any ground to the opposition without a fight. And therefore there was an attempt to equate voting for the PAP as voting for Singapore’s best interests. However, the main message that voters got was this: PAP will only be able to steer Singapore out of the Covid-19 pandemic if it has a strong mandate from the people.
What is a strong mandate, you may ask? While no PAP candidate publicly confirmed it, their incessant harping on the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme as the PAP’s win-win solution for having the PAP in power and a largely de-fanged opposition presence in parliament shows that the PAP truly wanted a parliament where it held every single seat.
Clearly, the electorate has different ideas, handing Sengkang GRC to the WP and slashing the PAP’s margins in previous strongholds such as West Coast, Choa Chu Kang and Tanjong Pagar by double digit percentages. There is no doubt from the results that swing voters are convinced that a PAP supermajority is not good for Singapore. They are no longer convinced that to vote for the opposition is a vote against Singapore. They have realized, as members of a maturing democracy surely must, that one can vote for the opposition, yet still be pro-Singapore.
3. Social Media and the Internet are rewriting the electorate’s perception.
In the past, there was no way to have an easily accessible record of historical events. With the only information source available being biased mainstream media, Singaporeans could only rely on that to fill in the gaps in their memories. Therefore, Operation Coldstore became a myth of the past, and Chee Soon Juan became a crackpot in the eyes of the people, someone who should never be allowed into Parliament.
Fast forward to today. Chee won 45.2% of the votes in Bukit Batok’s Single Member Constituency (SMC). His party-mate, Dr. Paul Tambyah did even better, winning 46.26% of the votes in Bukit Panjang SMC. For someone previously seen as unfit for public office, this is an extremely good result.
Chee has been running for elections in Singapore for a long time, and only now is there a significant change in the way he is perceived (and supported) by the electorate. Why? Because of social media and the internet, two things which the PAP does not have absolute control over. With the ability to conduct interviews with social media personalities as well as upload party videos on Youtube, he has been able to display a side of himself to people that the PAP did not want them to see: someone who is merely human just like them, but who is standing up for what he believes in.
4. Reserved Election Shenanigans and Tan Cheng Block: The electorate has not forgotten.
Tan Cheng Bock almost became our President in 2011. There are many who say that if Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say had not run, Tony Tan would not have been elected. In March 2016, Tan Cheng Bock publicly declared his interest to run for the next Presidential Election that would be held in 2017. The close result of 2011 and Tan Cheng Bock’s imminent candidacy made the upcoming Presidential Election one that was eagerly anticipated.
That is, until the PAP shut down his bid for the presidency just a few months later in September 2016, using its supermajority in Parliament to pass a “reserved election” in which only members of a particular race could take part. Under the new rules that they had drawn up for themselves, it was decreed that only Malays could take part. And not just any Malay. The candidate had to either be a senior executive managing a firm that had S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, or be the Speaker of Parliament or a similarly high post in the public sector (the exact criteria are a bit more in-depth than this, but this is the gist of it. You can find the full criteria here). And who was the Speaker of Parliament at the time? Mdm Halimah, who was conveniently of the right race (Although there was some hooha about her actually being Indian). With the extremely strict private sector criteria and the PAP being able to effectively control who the public sector candidate was, it came as no surprise that Mdm Halimah was declared the only eligible candidate on Nomination Day. A day later, she was Singapore’s President. And all without a single vote cast by any Singaporean.
Of course, the PAP denied that this was a move specifically aimed at blocking Tan Cheng Bock’s bid for the presidency. Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s current Minister of Trade and Industry, stated in 2017 that the Government was prepared to pay the political price over making these changes to the Constitution.
We can clearly see from the GE2020 results that a price was indeed paid. A loss of almost 9% of vote share is very significant, although a combination of the first-past-the-post rule and the GRC system ensured that the PAP still won 89.2% of the seats in Parliament despite only garnering 61.2% of the votes. On the whole, it’s naught but a scratch to the PAP’s overwhelming dominance in Parliament. The PAP still retains its supermajority and can make changes to the Constitution anytime that it likes. But the swing voters have sent a clear signal that they have not been persuaded by the PAP’s rationale.
5. Swing Voters do not want Racial Politics.
In 2019, Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and the man who is next in line to be Prime Minister (PM) commented that Singapore was not ready to have a non-Chinese PM. He further added that race is an issue that always arises at election-time in Singapore.
Let us now consider the GE2015 results. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Senior Minister and someone whom many have expressed keenness to be Singapore’s next PM, obtained 79.28% of the vote share in Jurong GRC. This was above even the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who scored 78.63% in Ang Mo Kio GRC. Tharman’s score was the highest in the entire election.
And now let us consider the GE2020 results. Tharman scored 74.62% in Jurong, again the highest scorer of the entire election, while Hsien Loong scored 71.91%. So Tharman beat the current PM again, and by an even bigger margin than the last time. Furthermore, Swee Keat, who made the infamous comments above, scored just 53.41% in East Coast.
Yes, I know I’m ignoring a lot of other factors that influenced these results. But don’t these results show conclusively that Heng’s comments were wrong? We have an Indian leading both the current and future PM in both elections, but yet PAP still feels the need to say that Singapore “hasn’t arrived” at a stage where we can vote without race in mind. In fact, this was the same rationale that supposedly led to the reserved presidency as mentioned in my earlier point.
The swing voters have spoken, and it is exceedingly clear to me that the electorate does not care what our highest office-holders are in terms of race, whether it be the PM or the President. Our Singapore pledge firmly states “regardless of race”, and I think the results have shown that we as a people have taken it to heart. But has the PAP?
6. Voters will not be so easily manipulated.
On one hand, Singaporeans were exhorted to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact tracing became mandatory, and groups of more than 5 are prohibited.
But on the other hand, we are also told that it’s absolutely necessary to hold an election during this same period, for Singaporeans to wait in long lines and in close proximity to each other as we congregate to cast our vote, all because the PAP needs a strong mandate.
On one hand, Heng Swee Keat lambasted the Worker’s Party, claiming that it was “playing games with voters” over their refusal to confirm if they would accept NCMP seats.
But on the other hand, Heng Swee Keat was moved to the East Coast GRC at the eleventh hour in a surprise move to secure the constituency. (As mentioned above, he was aptly rewarded for this with a razor-thin margin of just 53.41% of the votes.)
On one hand, Masagos Zulkifli, PAP Vice-Chairman stated that “candidates should not be defined by a single moment in time or in their career, but judged instead by their growth throughout their life”. He said this in defense of Ivan Lim, who appears to be the very first candidate in Singaporean politics to have been pushed into retracting his candidacy by the power of non-mainstream media.
But on the other hand, the PAP called on the WP to make clear its stand on Raeesah Khan, a WP candidate who ran (and won) in Sengkang GRC for this election, stating that the Police investigation into Raeesah’s comments made on social media was “a serious matter which goes to the fundamental principles on which our country has been built”.
On one hand, Chan Chun Sing stated in 2015, referring to SingFirst’s policies about giving allowances to the young and the elderly, “Some of them promised you $300 per month. I say, please don’t insult my residents. You think…. they are here to be bribed?”
On the other hand, the PAP Government has just given out several handouts under its many budgets to help Singaporeans cope with the Covid-19 situation. [To be clear, I totally approve of these handouts. What I don’t approve is that the PAP felt the need to lambast similar policies as bribery in the past. Comparing a policy with a crime is a political low blow in my book.]
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. And so did the electorate in this election, putting their vote where it counted to show their disdain for the heavy-handedness and double standards that the PAP has displayed for this election.
Conclusion
I don’t say the above to put down the PAP. The PAP would have you believe that to not support them is equivalent to not wanting what’s best for Singapore. This is a false dichotomy that must be stamped out, and I am glad to see our swing voters taking a real stand with this election.
No, I say the above as a harsh but ultimately supportive letter to the PAP. As everyone can see from the results, we all still firmly believe that the PAP should be the Government. We still have faith that PAP has the leadership to take us forward and out of the Covid-19 crisis.
But we also want to send the PAP a strong signal with this vote, to bring them down from their ivory towers and down to the ground. Enough with the double standards. Enough with the heavy-handedness. Singaporeans have clearly stated their desire for a more mature democracy, and that means more alternative voices in Parliament. The PAP needs to stop acting as the father who knows it all, and to start acting as the bigger brother who can work hand in hand with his alternative younger brother towards what’s best for the entire family: Singapore.
There is a real chance that the PAP will not listen, though. As Lee Hsien Loong admitted in a rally in 2006, “if there are 10, 20… opposition members in Parliament… I have to spent my time thinking what is the right way to fix them”.
Now, the PAP has POFMA at its disposal. It still has the supermajority in Parliament, making them able to change any law in Singapore, even the Constitution at will. We have already seen them put these tools to use for its own benefit. Let us see if the PAP will continue as it has always done, or will it take this opportunity to change itself for the better. Whatever the case, we will be watching, and we will be waiting to make our roar heard once again five years down the road.
Majulah Singapura!
Article Ends Here.
Here's the link to the actual article:
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2020/07/11/ge2020-the-roar-of-the-swing-vote
And here's the link to the other political articles I've written about Singapore:
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2020/07/07/ge2020-the-state-of-play/
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2015/09/10/ge2015-voting-wisely/
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2015/09/05/expectations-of-the-opposition/
submitted by sharingan87 to singapore [link] [comments]

Updated - Exosquad timeline

Updated - Exosquad timeline
Been hammering away at the timeline of the ExoSquad universe. We now have a decently comprehensive timeline spanning from the year 1999 up through 2109.
Exosquad Timeline
July 24, 1969 - Apollo 11 conducts the first Moon landing on Luna
July 8, 1999 - the existence of a 10th planet beyond the orbit of Pluto is postulated. Despite numerous efforts to confirm the existence of such a planet over the next 100 years, no such planet is identified.
March 10, 2005 - The Sun’s binary sister star, NEMESIS, is discovered. Its elliptical orbit takes it closest to earth every 60 million years. During its last pass, it wiped out the dinosaurs.
August 2, 2009 - First permanent industrial and mining colonies are established on the Moon. Astronauts begin detailed exploration of the other planets.
December 30, 2010 - The year marks several advances in artificial intelligence and biology. The earliest methods of communication between computers and the human brain are developed.
September 27, 2011 - Deep space probes in Neptune orbit detect the first proven transmissions of intelligent life outside of our solar system. Tracking studies indicate that the signals are from a source moving towards earth space.
October 10, 2012 – The first ‘industrial scale’ orbital platform is placed into orbit around earth. Used for a combination of scientific experimentation, energy collection, and interplanetary communication, the platform is designated as “Tinia”.
May 4, 2015 - Large space platforms placed in orbit around Venus and Mars. These platforms are intended to be early precursors to proposed terraforming processes as well as scientific platforms.
June 22, 2019 - Exceptionally rich mineral deposits discovered on Mars - including minerals never before seen.
October 10, 2019 - The Marcus-Vainmoore Enterprises mining branch attempts to short change the Martian mining efforts by launching mining operations in the Asteroid belt.
July 17, 2020 - Exotechnology (Exo-tech) developed. The technology is put to work in large scale industrial projects.
December 10, 2010 - Exo-tech is utilized for Martian excavation.
Dec 2, 2023 - Full-scale terraforming of Venus begins, making extensive use of Exo-tech.
Feb. 14, 2017 - Semi-permanent settlements begin appearing on Venus. Problems are encountered with Martian Terraforming, due to the thin atmosphere and low gravity - early colonists die while support resources, intended to allow colonies to be self-sufficient, have significant difficulty in being maintained in the lower gravity of the planet. The Manned orbital stations, that were previously placed in orbit over Venus and Mars are expanded to support more robust operations with additional resources being put into the Martian platforms in the hopes of augmenting the colonization and terra-forming process. Additional platforms are put into orbit around Mercury.
January 8, 2028 - The Outer Planet Mining Corporation (OPM) is formed for the purpose of harvesting the valuable minerals from the moons of Saturn, and Jupiter. As a “humanitarian effort” the Earth Congress authorizes the usage of convicts as a labor pool in exchange for reduced sentences.
March 15, 2032 - Genetic engineering breakthrough allows manipulation of life forms. “Designer” animals and plant life appear. Serious attempts to begin to develop ‘augmented’ human beings that can endure the rigors of life on Mars and off-world.
April 2, 2032 - The first (OPM) mission is launched to Saturn’s moon Tethys. It is designated as “Charon”.
September 10, 2032 - Charon makes planetfall on Tethys. Over the next year, the mining complex “Charon” is established and built up to support a population of nearly 3,000 convict laborers.
April 5, 2034 - OPM Establishes the mining complex “Cocytus” on Tethys.
May 14, 2036 - OPM mining complex “Elysium” is established on Dione.
June 24, 2036 - Larger deposits are discovered on Tethys. Expansions for the Charon mining complex are set in motion that will be carried out over the next 5 years intended to expand its mining capacity. Its support capacity would ultimately be increased to 5,500 convicts making it the largest of the Saturn Mining complexes.
June 20, 2038 - OPM Mining complex “Phlegethon” is established on Enceladus.
June 2, 2040 - Scientists succeed in creating a new strain of evolutionarily advanced humans known as “Neosapians”.
June 19, 2040 - OPM Mining complex “Lethe” is established on Titan.
December 25, 2042 - OPM Mining complex “Erebus” is established on Tethys.
December 9, 2044 - OPM establishes the last of 7 mining complexes in the Saturn planetary system. This last complex is established on the moon of Dione and is designated “Agensader”. Between the 7 mining complexes, a total population of over 23,000 people is present for mining.
May 5, 2045 - Earth and Venus form the “Home World Senate”. Humans from these two planets become known as ‘TERRANS’. “Zeus Reborn”, a 2-year project to repurpose the Tinia Platform is drafted and put into operation. Its purpose is to re-configure the platform to house the Home World Senate central complex. In the interim, the Senate is housed in Sidney.
June 1, 2047 – “Zeus Reborn” is completed. The Home World Senate officially moves from Sidney Australia to the Tinia Platform.
Jan 4, 2048 - Cloned Neosapiens begin mining and terraforming operations on Mars.
October 4, 2048 – Jeremiah Winfield is born.
November 10, 2048 - With Neosapians mining on Mars, the cost of the various materials drops significantly to the point that OPM is facing bankruptcy. In an effort to maintain itself, OPM cancels all further supply runs and operations of the Saturn mining network. A cover story about “Saturn Madness” is fabricated and spread, convincing the public at large that the convicts have all gone mad, thus no effort to rescue them is made or suggested.
January 1, 2049 - The convicts realize that they have been abandoned. In retaliation, they form the Pirate Clans of Saturn.
January 6, 2055 - the first raids by the Pirate Clans are conducted just outside the Martian orbit. Several Marcus-Vainmoore ships are attacked and their cargo stolen. The crews are left alive but are disfigured. The raids grow in frequency over the next several years.
January 15, 2055 – OPM is re-organized into Outer Planetary Freight, primarily a shipping company. Abandoning much of their mining background and ambitions.
January 30, 2060 – Exo-tech is tested for use in military applications.
January 1, 2061 – The Home Worlds Senate passes the Extra-Terrestrial Armed Services decree, formally establishing a unified military force that supersedes the authority of individual armies and is under the direct authority of the Home Worlds Senate. This military is colloquially known as ‘ETAS’. The Extra-Terrestrial Operations Network (ETON) is established and integrated into the Home Worlds senates communications hub. This advent gives ETAS access to all the satellite data available to the Home Worlds Senate itself and allows the Senate to more directly control ETAS.
May 1, 2061 – The Exo-Tech development for military applications shows progress. The first star fighters to be fitted with the cyber-link data processing system giving the pilots greater depth of input to the fighter itself. The XAF-221 Badger becomes the first ‘exo-fighter’.
October 10, 2061 – The Great Neosapians Birthing Complex is completed on Mars. Accelerated growth and intra-cranial organo-educated implants produce 25,000 Neosapien adults each Martian month, totaling 300,000 per year.
December 10, 2061 – Neosapian brood Sci-Alpha-Tau 21699 is completed. This brood includes Phaeton and Marsala.
January 19, 2062 – Marsala is appointed as the Production Coordinator for the 3rd Sector of Martian Mining operations, the single largest on Mars.
August 25 2065 - Population of Neosapiens increase rapidly. Mars is predominantly populated by these advanced humans.
December 2, 2065 - Unrest begins on Mars in the wake of Home World Senate’s decision that ‘artificial’ life forms don’t have the rights of other “natural” humans. Neosapiens demand home rule.
January 10, 2068 – Jeremiah Winfield enlists with ETAS.
October 10, 2070 – Inspired by Marsala, the great Neosapian rebellion begins. Systematic sabotage slows Martian mining as Marsala calls for negotiations with the Home Worlds congress. The majority of these transmissions go unanswered only serving to further fuel the rebellion. Marcus-Vainmoore Communications is harshly criticized for it’s maintaining of the communications network leading some to believe that the ‘lack of communications’ from the Neosapians is deliberate.
October 18, 2070 - Marcus-Vainmoore mining attempts to capitalize on the crisis by upping their mining efforts in the asteroid belt. They establish permanent supply stations and support centers on several of the largest asteroids including Ceras, Vesta, Eros, Bennu, and Juno. Utilizing their political influences, they successfully lobby to have the ETAS’ patrol routes set to include the Asteroid field in order to protect their assets. It is widely suggested that this is done with the ulterior motive of allowing the Neosapian rebellion to continue.
February 11, 2071 – Matthew Marcus is born.
April 12, 2071 – The Neosapians rebellion intensifies, bringing all mining on mars to a halt. Even with the increased mining from the Asteroid belt, the Home Worlds economy begins to collapse.
June 10, 2071 – The Exo-Tech development program brings the concepts of cyber-links and exo-skeletons together, allowing the designers to create vehicles with the fire power of a tank, but the control options and benefits that had made the XAF-221 Badger so popular. These are the direct precursors to the “Exo-Frames”. Jeremiah Winfield becomes the leader of one of the first ‘E-frame Squads’ designated “Blue Alpha”.
August 1, 2071 – the ETAS puts in a substantial order for the new “Exo-Frames” as works to modernize its forces. The “E-frame” becomes so synonymous with the ETAS, that the organization comes to be known as the “Exo-Fleet”. As the Exo-Fleet develops, more and more state-based militaries are either absorbed into it, or simply dissolved as they are viewed as being redundant and unneeded.
November 1, 2071 – Exo-Fleet is called on to quell the Martian Rebellion.
November 6, 2071 – The Exo-Fleet moves into controlling orbit of Mars and begins conducting lightning raids against Neosapain held locations. The newly formed “E-frame Squads” prove devastatingly effective.
November 13, 2071 – Marsala is captured by Blue Alpha and the rebellion is broken. Calls for Marsala to be tried for leading the rebellion are made. Legal counsel offers a motion that because Marsala is not a “Natural Born” he is not entitled to a trial for his actions, but likewise cannot be held accountable for them any more than a dog that is beaten by its owner can be held accountable when it attacks someone. The Companies that had financed and controlled the mining operations on Mars are put on trial for the Rebellion.
December 1, 2071 – with the recent success of the E-frame tactics, previous plans for the Exo-fleet are scrapped. Ship orders are canceled in favor of some form of not yet designed ‘Exo carrier’ and more emphasis is placed on the utilization of E-frames.
January 10, 2074 – The trials of the Martian mining companies are completed. There are numerous fines and jail sentences passed down as it is determined that the business practices and operations of the Martian Mining companies lead directly to the rebellion and the effects on the Home Worlds’ economy that caused. The Neosapians are granted custodial control of Mars.
March 5, 2074 – Several groups begin campaigning for Neosapians to be allowed to join the Exo-Fleet. These demands are presently ignored.
Sept 2, 2076 - Neosapiens allowed to sit on the Home World Senate primarily as observers only. For matters of official status, their delegate is given a ‘non-voting’ seat.
February 28, 2086 - Despite Neosapian protest, approval is given to build another massive Excavation project in the southern hemisphere of Mars.
March 12, 2089 - Homeworld Senate rejects Neosapien bid for complete autonomy.
March 14, 2089 – The Home Worlds Senate approves the “Exo-Carrier Construction program”, a combination development, test-bed, and construction program intended to modernize the Exo-Fleet, cut down on costs by developing purpose built ships, and to replace the currently 60 year old ship designs presently utilized by the Exo-Fleet.
April 4, 2092 - The Neosapien leader Phaeton becomes spokesman for the Neosapien population of mars in their disputes with the Terrans.
April 12, 2092 – The Home Worlds Senate approves the Yumoto class Exo-cruiser. Ships to come out of this class include the Bismarck, and Sakura.
May 20, 2093 – The Home Worlds Senate approves the Kuznetsov-class Exo-carrier. Ships to come out of this class include the Borealis.
October 10, 2094 – The Home Worlds Senate approves the Helgoland-class Exo-carrier. Ships to come out of this class include the Coronado.
June 1, 2099 – The Home Worlds Senate approves the Resolve-class Exo-carrier. Ships to come out of this class include the Dominion, and Sovereign.
May 15, 2100 – The HWS Bismarck is launched
October 30, 2100 – the HWS Sakura is launched.
December 1, 2100 – The Home Worlds Senate Approves the Resolute variant of the Resolve class of Exo-carriers and orders one to become the new flagship of the Exo-fleet.
May 15, 2016 – The HWS Dominion is launched. It is temporarily named the Exo-fleet flagship.
May 15, 2107 – The HWS Borealis is launched.
October 30, 2107 – the HWS Coronado is launched.
May 10, 2108 – The Home Worlds Senate passes the ETAS Militarization prioritization decree cutting back on weapons and military-type hardware that can be possessed by non-military operations. The Neosapiens are very specifically mentioned as not being permitted to possess any form of military hardware.
October 19, 2108 - Neosapiens protest the ETAS Militarization prioritization decree as it is being applied to include industrial-scale transport systems under the idea of “military hardware”. This forces the Neosapians to rely on the transport options provided by the likes of Marcus-Vainmoore, Outer Planetary Freight, and the Martian Mining Conglomerate.
November 18, 2109 – In an effort to appease the Neosapian and lessen tensions, the Home Worlds Senate passes the ETAS Combined Arms decree, permitting a limited number of Neosapians to enlist with the Exo-Fleet. Marsala immediately enlists and it is permitted, both for political reasons and for the belief that if he’s kept isolated from the Neosapiens at large, it’s less likely that the could start a second rebellion.
submitted by TorroesPrime to exosquad [link] [comments]

Two-Man Mystery Hunt: Chordal Callings (Update 12)

Introduction

The spam filter really didn't like me this week. This is my fourth fifth attempt to make a post that won't get removed immediately upon submission. This was entirely written by yesterday afternoon, and I'm still confused as to why it's not live, so I'm reposting it.
Outside of Hunt-land, next week, Syntax is going to have finals and a busy work schedule. Not only that, but the plug separated from the cord on his laptop charger yesterday. We soldered it, but we don't know how long that'll hold up or how long it'll take for a new one to be shipped. While there isn't much that will prevent me from solving things personally, I likely will not be able to keep up on my own (especially since we're down to only the stuckest things.)
The title might be a bit weird this week, but I didn't have a pun or a pop culture reference in my head. That's because I spent most of the weekend playing Magic: The Gathering like the nerd I am. I realized that my favorite Magic card would be doubly (if not triply) relevant to the puzzles in this update, so it sort of became the name of the post.
Anyway, here it goes again.

Rules Changes

Usually, I put questions about the rules in the "final notes" section, but this is important enough to go in the header.
We finally unlocked Your Birthday Town this week (party on!) It's been unclear whether there's any non-trivial way for us to interact with it-- the answers I've heard have consistently varied between "no" and "maybe". If there were spoiler-tastic behind-the-scenes discussions about what would happen when we got here, we obviously haven't heard the results of them.
It was suggested at some point that we could just view the answer to see what the puzzle should have been, then move on with our lives. That feels kind of unsatisfying, but since we have no way to know what the difficult-to-replicate part of the puzzle could be, we'll do it if we have no other options by the time of the next write-up (even if it's another announcement that says the Hunt didn't move far enough.)
Incidentally, that will be a week from tomorrow, which is Syntax's actual birthday.

Tales of a Magic: The Gathering-Crazed Shire

A Tiny Note About Rose Garden

While it was fairly obvious that something was missing from the clues, I'm surprised that we didn't use the years or realize that team names could be important until now. Sometimes, we completely miss the intent of a puzzle when we go through it. This puzzle's design was a lot more clever than we were.

A Tiny Note About I AM GROOT

People still ask me about this one-- it happened at least once at Magic this weekend. I told a lot of people about this before I knew how to get the answer, and I still get asked if I've solved it. They're amazed that people actually figured out what to do and were able to do it, and are generally surprised that the answer doesn't have a lot to do with Groot.

A Tiny Note About Something In Common

I've had some problems explaining what this puzzle was to outsiders. I've had some success, though, mostly by singing the House of the Rising Sun melody with the lyrics "I wanna be the very best / That saved a wretch like me / Remember Christ our savior was / United States Marines".

A Tiny Note About No Shirt

One of the most surprising moments in this entire journey was when I found out that the solution page to this puzzle was entirely clean.

Puzzle-Specific Notes (Solved)

A Bunch Of Ripoffs

"I would say that's a novel approach, except that it's exactly not as novel as other teams." - the puzzle creator
Identify, sort, index, solve. It's been a common enough archetype in Hunt history to get a name. There were a few of them near the beginning of the Hunt this year-- mostly about weird pop-culture topics for comic relief-- but the formula has rarely been played straight in the later rounds. There have been a couple of puzzles (IN SYNdiCation, for example) where we got stuck because we incorrectly assumed that they would play the formula straight. I've sort of come to expect puzzles that start with "identify, sort" to end with "sort again, index, task" or "do something completely unrelated to the rest of the puzzle, solve". This one was the former.
Syntax tackled everything on the puzzle page fairly quickly, so I didn't have a lot to do with identifying the books. One thing that he realized very quickly was that people avoid naming the villain in a whodunit when they give a short synopsis of it. Between the obscurity of some of the books and the amount of Google hits that we found to be completely unhelpful, the identification here was actually fairly difficult.
The phrase "TEAR US A NEW ONE" came out of it all. We thought that making a new mystery novel cover would be easy but potentially time-consuming, so we worked on other things until we hit a slow week. Then, last week was so slow that we barely got to averaging one solve a day. I was at the point where we had six solves and I wanted one more before I wrote anything, and decided to complete this.
As it turns out, I'm really bad at using image manipulation tools to recreate the images in the puzzle with different text. As it also turns out, I didn't have a disposable mystery novel to tear up. (Something about tearing up books makes me feel a little uncomfortable, as well.) Then I remembered that the context in which the phrase "tear us a new one" comes up is rarely about literally tearing something.
"I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals..." - a great sage, probably
I needed a long insult-laced tirade to submit in lieu of a novel cover, and the Navy Seal copypasta was the first thing that came to my head. Of course, I did edit it so that it was a lot more relevant to the puzzle and to our team in general. I have to say that I really enjoyed this one.
That being said, as our Hunt is slow and unofficial, the various task submissions can have wildly varying response times. While waiting for a response, we'd managed to solve Split Seven Ways, and I proceeded to post the write-up for the week. Even though the delay sort of implied that something was happening in the background, I was surprised when the response that I got back was a continuation of the puzzle. It was a great twist, and it didn't take too long for me to find out what was missing from the cover to solve it.

Travelogue

Most of the puzzles that played the "identify-sort-index-solve" formula entirely straight this year have had at least one step that was about a completely different topic from the rest of the puzzle. This was no exception.
A lot of effort on my part was put into dissecting the seemingly-irrelevant changes to the original books' text ("Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. Patty.") Travelogue has had more extraneous information presented on the puzzle page than almost anything else this year, all things considered, and it definitely obfuscated the correct path to the answer even with the blatant flavor text.
I had the three-letter abbreviations and authors listed from before we took any of the puzzles seriously for some reason. "Are these airport codes?" gets suggested nearly as often as "is this Caressing?", and we asked that question multiple times before I got anything out of it. Syntax and I had both thought that airports weren't relevant to the puzzle for some time; we knew that most or all of the TLAs were real airport codes, but they were usually for tiny airports, and it isn't too unlikely that it could happen with completely random letters. This week, I decided to list them all out anyway.
At a certain point last year, Syntax and I had a discussion about how difficult it would be for someone to visit every time zone. Even disregarding the fact that repeatedly flying overseas to different countries would be prohibitively expensive for almost everyone, there are still a lot of time zones that are just plain hard to get to. Several countries which are very questionable tourist desinations have unique time zones. There are also a few time zones which don't have a lot of land in them. UTC-12 only has two uninhabited islands in it, for example, and UTC+14 isn't much better. At first, we thought that UTC-2 would also be very difficult to visit, with its landmasses only consisting of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, but then we realized that Fernando de Noronha, a small archipelago off the coast of Brazil, was much more accessible and just so happened to use that time zone.
That last bit of information ended up being extremely relevant here. I ended up listing out the airports on the spreadsheet this week, despite them not having any apparent pattern, hit the one in Fernando de Noronha, and correctly assumed that it was only included because of the severe lack of airports in UTC-2.
Even though the stretch of time zones was apparent, my chart was reversed, and it took a couple of minutes to figure out how to properly index. I don't know whether the last letters of the codes running from UTC-1 to UTC-7 were meant to spell out "on a card", but I took it as a clue. Since I completely failed to think of a non-numerical playing card that was three letters long, I had to figure out how to properly index into the authors' names and then feel really stupid after looking up the code for Lanzarote.
I'd guess that this would be among the hardest non-technical puzzles in Bloomsday, except that three-letter answers are typically pretty easy to backsolve.

Flag Day

The main obstacle to completing this was getting enough people that were willing to be guinea pigs. Thankfully, I still know a lot of people at my former college's board gaming club, and this wasn't too different from a normal game of charades with us.
We had two friends on one side of a large room there, me and a friend on the other side, and Syntax moderating. Syntax assumed that we couldn't both participate without spoiling the puzzle. Because Syntax was moderating, he also made decks of cards with the words on them so we could send them back and forth in a random order.
The first couple of messages were rocky, but after a certain point, doing the correct motions got to be fairly simple (though it distracted a lot of people walking by.) At some point, my partner left to go play another game, so I had to signal to the other team by myself. Letters like "T" and "Y" suddenly got really hard.
Since I had a complete team sending things to me, and I only needed to receive four messages, I quickly figured out the puzzle, and got to the answer without the other side. But, apparently, it couldn't end until the other team could recognize all of the correct codes. "GOLD INLAY" was not something that they were picking up on, and even with me sending the message repeatedly, it didn't get communicated very clearly.
To whoever helped us with our semaphore, thank you for the 20 solvent.

Ridin' Delhi

In Holi Town, a certain Mr. Chand tells you a colorful story about three members of the Indian Resistance and their journeys throughout the subcontinent. - flavor text, emphasis mine
"That's so stupid if it's actually the answer." - Syntax
I looked at this for a while during a break between rounds of a Magic tournament and realized that I probably had to index into the cities by color somehow. While the Ticket to Ride map was fairly obvious to us, and identifying the cities wasn't too difficult, we somehow forgot about resistor color codes existing. Oops.
I like how the character names both were color words and were colored in properly. There was no confusion there. We also thought that it was supposed to be more of a logic puzzle than what it actually was.
This is where I mention that we only got one Holi solve this week. Also, this is where I talk about not being able to say a lot about certain puzzles. Did I mention that Holi is hard and stuck to the point of being unreasonable? I kind of have to do that.

Turn On A Dime

Meanwhile, a lot of the puzzles in Bloomsday were decidedly quick, and they also had some of the flashiest presentation.
I don't know how you all find out everything that has ever been alphabetized. While Syntax was busy matching the front of the coins, I was identifying the images on the back and lucked into finding the design of the ten pence coins before I realized that there were multiple designs that went from A to Z.
We still don't know how there were so many near-identical fronts or backs of US coins with different values. Several of the coins' differences came down to the mintmarks; meanwhile, a few of them we had to disambiguate by seeing what would make a correctly-spelled clue phrase. We realized that the mintage numbers mattered, and we started to work on opposite ends of the line. Syntax found the letter "B" to be the first thing in the message, and I expressed concern.
"It's a 26-letter clue phrase. That isn't an A for "answer." That isn't a C for 'call in X'. That isn't a T for 'the solution to all of your problems is the name of this coin.' It's a B for 'bring us something'. Probably a coin. Hopefully not a past Mystery Hunt coin, because I don't think we have any of those." - my feelings, paraphrased
We learned that the expression started with "bring" and ended with "coin", and things got worse. It didn't help that this process was pretty slow-- there wasn't one convenient source we could use for the number of every coin in existence. The gap being filled in with "HQ any real Canadian" was honestly a relief.
I kind of assumed that you'd normally keep the coin, but just like with our joker, I decided to use our inability to give you all an object could be an opportunity to be creative. Here are the pictures of a Canadian $25 coin that got submitted. We have one laying around because at one point, our family drove to Winnipeg because it was close and we hadn't ever seen it before. That happens to be where the Canadian mint is; they sell a lot of souvenir coins and things, and they really like to talk about Canada having painted circulation coins in full color.
(Oddly, the Winnipeg mint doesn't typically make collector coins; that's usually reserved for the other mint in Ottawa that makes nothing but collector coins. They do, however, make all of the coins that are intended to go into circulation. Maybe a regular coin would have been more fitting.)
After Travel Planning had the hardest part of the puzzle on the flyer, I've been cautious about assuming that whatever we get back from calling into Setec will be either a direct answer line or a puzzle with a trivial solution. The final step ended up looking hard. It looked a lot harder than it was, though. I'd stopped thinking about those ten pence coins a while back, but Syntax didn't, and we got to the answer right away.

Getting Digits

Yesterday, Syntax said that the worst kind of mistake is when you dismiss the right answer while chasing something else. This was in reference to a different puzzle that's a couple of entries below this.
I'd beg to disagree, though. To me, the second-worst kind of mistake is thinking of the right answer and throwing it out. The worst kind of mistake is when you end up with a wrong answer that doesn't have any apparent differences from what the right answer should be.
While the presentation was cool and answering the clues was fun, we got through that part fast enough to not have a story. (The inclusion of a list of Chinese names and a patent number in the puzzle was pure evil, however.) We had the right mechanics for getting digits out of the clues, too. I called the number we had, which I will not mention because it might be the thing that's causing my posts to disappear, and this is where the fun began.
"Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again, or dial 611 for customer service. Message G A zero zero one fifty-one."
Before I could dial again, another message played:
"Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again, or dial 611 for customer service. Message M N one eight four fifty-one."
Dialing 611 did nothing, and having the "51" at the end of both messages didn't help, either. The call disconnected itself. I called the number again.
"Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again, or dial 611 for customer service. Message I L zero zero two fifty-one."
"Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again, or dial 611 for customer service. Message M N one eight three fifty-one."
That's it! Every time I call, I get some random other state's number, and a message telling me where I am with a random number, and I need to figure out how they relate to each other. There's no way that there would just be random message numbers from our service provider when it's sending out the same message every time.
I kept getting the same two responses when I called, though. Syntax could only manage to get Texas, 006. (I managed to get Michigan, 201, as well when I transcribed the message for the write-up.) This was stuck unless we could find enough different phones to collect close to every state's number.
Syntax suggested that we did something wrong after about 45 minutes of trying to solve this, and I dialed a 555 number to test it. I got the same response back. Oops.
We couldn't find where we made our mistake, though, and we had to verify that the number still was live. This was stuck for several days. We ended up making the assumption that one of the digits in the number was supposed to be a 0, 4, or 7, and that only one segment could be wrong. Then, I found out that 683 wasn't a real area code, which was enough to uniquely identify the mistake. We had "Murder on the Orient Express" listed as our Kenneth Branagh movie, when we really should have had something with "off" in it. I don't think we could have resolved that one by just checking if we'd correctly answered the clues.
The answer checker to this was apparently broken when we unlocked this, but we were reassured that it would be fixed, and that the answer would be obvious even if it wasn't fixed. Then, we got told that it was fixed. Then, we got told that the number was supposed to work correctly. The number we dialed explicitly said that the answer was "MINI USB". That's a useful phrase for the Bloomsday-Arbor Day wheel, but the answer checker still didn't accept it. Not because it's still broken-- because I didn't clear my cache before trying it again.
Sometimes, the silliest things can make a puzzle go off the rails.

Polyphony

Good news! It isn't impossible!
We had a fair bit of work put into this puzzle, almost all of which was entirely unhelpful. The most helpful thing we did, oddly enough, was make printed copies of the puzzle so that our mom could think about "the sheet music puzzle" to get a nonexistent star.
Thinking that a puzzle is hard definitely changes the way we approach it. The 2011 hunt was the first one that I saw, and it had things like this IN THE FIRST ROUND. Meanwhile, the 2015 hunt was the first one where I'd put in effort to solving puzzles at random. The objectively hardest and also least-solved puzzles were things that took a lot of technical knowledge to even approach. Sometimes, this was extremely obvious, particularly in the case of Practice in Theory. It probably wasn't too much of a stretch to assume that this had two solves because it took graduate-level something.
Realizing that the rhythm of both lines could be interpreted as Morse Code was painfully obvious in hindsight, even if it wasn't that obvious at all.
I'd mentioned earlier this week that we thought we'd made headway on a Pi Day or Bloomsday puzzle by trying to guess who the author was. As a response to that, I was also given a generic yet cryptic piece of advice: "think about what information you haven't used yet". The odds that method gets us unstuck varies heavily from puzzle to puzzle, and certain authors tend to use every scrap of information on the page more than others. It felt like we were talking about different events.
When I found out what a harmonic table was, that tidbit came with a good number of progressive rock musicians that had used a keyboard in that configuration. That's when I realized that this was probably by the author of IN SYNdiCation, Turtle Power!, and (of course) Caressing, who is vaguely associated with a specific progressive-rock musician in a way that I will not describe because I want my post to still be readable. Nearly all of their puzzles have taken the form of figuring out what to do with a large amount of given information. The advice finally clicked with me.
Oddly enough, though, that conversation happened before I figured out what this puzzle was about; it was actually about a completely different puzzle, and an author who wrote a lot of puzzles where that piece of advice is completely irrelevant. Not only that, but I'm not sure if trying to guess who the author was ended up being helpful at all, because that one's going to be found in the "unsolved" section today.
When I went to draw out the harmonic table, I found out that I had accidentally invented my own. At some point, I tried to fill in the hexagons with notes so that all the chords would be covered, but couldn't quite get the right orientation, even though I found out that there was a consistent way to put notes on a hexagonal grid so that every corner would be a major or minor chord. This is mostly because I thought that the octaves mattered. That idea continued to bother me even when I had the correct harmonic table, and it took me about half an hour to figure out what to do with it.
I'm honestly surprised that I was able to get stuck because nobody had asked if a puzzle was Caressing. Not only does that get asked a lot, but it's unlikely to be the answer. The "connect-the-dots" tag in devjoe's index is criminally underused; while "drawing letters and numbers" lists a few more puzzles that are Caressing, it adds a lot that aren't. The fact that it was actually relevant in both Running for Office and Travel Planning feels really weird in hindsight. (There were links in this paragraph, but I took them out because they might have been causing my post to be filtered.)
This did go fast after that point, and we didn't even need to fold up the soccer ball. Using everything that we hadn't used-- the rests and the pitches-- was enough to get us to the answer. As usual, the challenge wasn't so much in translating the Morse or connecting or grouping the dots as much as figuring out that there was Morse and dots that could be connected.
One final note about this: Originally, we thought that all of the hard puzzles in Pi Day started with the letter P, and grouped them together as the "puh-puzzles". That really messed with us on Protection Plan. Once we realized that Protection Plan wasn't a difficult puzzle, we thought that this was the only impossible thing and that Playing A Round was supposed to be easy. Then, we got told that Playing A Round was the star after we solved it, which carried the implication that this wasn't that hard.
This is a prime example about how thinking about the difficulty of a puzzle before we actually attempt to solve it is sometimes very counterproductive.

Valentine's Day-Presidents' Day Meta

A meta?!? I thought that we couldn't do these at all! They'd survive until every normal puzzle had been solved, and then we'd have to give up on them.
Initially, we had no idea what went here, while we thought all the answers with food went to Thanksgiving. We had to get to 11 solves in Presidents' Day to prove that there wasn't enough food there to save us.
We had to spend 40 solvent on Presidents' Day to figure out what was going on. We needed exclusively two-word answers for this meta, and we couldn't tell what went to the other one at all.
This was, of course, the puzzle where Syntax suggested the worst type of mistake is when you throw out the correct answer. I joked about inserting "IM" into Francis Bacon to make Simba a couple of times, and then we moved on. Syntax was pretty vehement about the two-letter "couple" hearts going to Valentine's Day, as well, and making Simba would go against that.
Well, we needed Simba. And a lot of other characters, too.
While the actual puzzle went fast after we figured it out, we still needed to backsolve to figure out that "CLEAN ROOM" went here. That's because Running For Office explicitly presented it as a single word, and we were very much unsure if it could be separated.

Thanksgiving-Presidents' Day Meta

We'd always said that clearing one side of Presidents' Day would cause us to clear the other side.
In this case, we were doing everything correctly by using each column of presidents as indices by their succession order. That being said, we didn't know how to sort the answers at all, and consistently stumbled because we couldn't identify what answers fed this meta.
At first, we kept throwing things from the Thanksgiving-New Year's meta into this because we didn't know how to place words into the grid there, and because we didn't have two things long enough to fit in the fourth and fifth columns. Of course, we had no idea how to divide the Presidents' Day answers, either. Even though we'd assumed that the grid would give us a message starting with "they", there were lots of ways to do that which didn't work. There are still lots of wrong ways to do that even if you know exactly what goes to the meta.
I still haven't bothered to check whether there was actually a way to sort the answers-- we're too excited to have finally gotten beyond the Presidents' Day meta wall.

Safety Training

"There's only one common English phrase that fits that pattern?!?" - Syntax
This was straight-up backsolved. Apparently, three letters out of 20 is enough to do that.
Since we don't know if we were close to solving this or not, we haven't looked at how to get "MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU" yet. That being said, this probably was a relatively simple puzzle that we kept doing the wrong things on.
I don't have much more to say here, but this probably will end up in Tales someday.

Puzzle-Specific Notes (Unsolved)

Bloom Filter

Syntax told me that he found a way to prove whether we know about everything that passes the filter. Today, he actually coded something to test it-- we now know that we have the complete word list.
Beyond that tidbit, this is still practically stuck in the same place it was when we unlocked it.

Chain of Commands

We've assumed that "ST" ENTER needs to be a valid command in whatever this puzzle is about. Syntax and I have tested a lot of options-- stage commands didn't work, we've found a lot of questionable digital topics that might work (mostly CAD and Stata-related things), Syntax found out that it could be crochet shorthand, and I found a lot of resources for learning Vim a couple of weeks too late.
Most of the reason why this is stuck is because we have no idea what it's about, so I tried the novel approach of trying to guess at what topic would motivate the author to make this puzzle. Of course, I don't know who made this puzzle. After throwing out a few ideas for who could have written this, I came to the conclusion that, on its surface, Chain of Commands feels most similar to the work of the author behind Deep Blue and Poor Richard Goes to Sea. Going to devjoe's archives and reading what she wrote in the 2017 hunt, I found this massive chunk of knitting shorthand.
Syntax thought that this could be crochet shorthand, so that's potentially helpful! (Or extremely unhelpful.) Unfortunately, none of the words look meaningful, whether they're crochet instructions or not, and we've failed to find any use for them no matter what the puzzle is about.
Even though I thought that figuring out the topic of this puzzle would be a simple process, it's shown to be difficult, and even the most promising options aren't working. As weird as this feels to me, we probably need to figure out what the puzzle is about mechanically before we find the topic.

Picture Book

This is probably meant to be read row by row, since completely black squares don't seem to exist in horizontal blocks. We still haven't done a lot of work on this, and to some extent, we still don't really know what to do.

Standardized Mess

We haven't found the answer key that the tests were actually graded on yet. We also haven't found a way to read the bubbles as five-bit binary or as any other type of code, combined or uncombined.

Pi Day-Holi Meta

We used our first solvent in Holi on Chris Chros and found out that the answer went here. Of course, we still know very little about this meta. I'm guessing that we're still missing at least one and maybe two answers from the Pi Day side that feed this, which isn't helping us.

Both Bloomsday Metas

We have enough answers for both of these to be in really awkward positions. Either the Pi Day-Bloomsday meta doesn't alternate between holidays in its rows, or the Arbor Day-Bloomsday wheels aren't both meant to be filled in the same way. This is a situation where having more information has caused us to be more confused about what answers feed each meta.

New Year's-Holi Meta

If there's a meta that needs a buttload of really short answers, it has to be this one. That being said, we have no evidence for or against that idea other than us not understanding what could possibly take in "gut" or "oops".

Everything Else

I think that we actually solved most of the things we worked on at all this week. This was a surprisingly short "unsolved" section.
(We did get another solve on a puzzle not listed here while I was trying to figure out how to get through the spam filter, though. That will be saved for the next update.)

Scoreboard

Christmas: 6/6, ⭐ (Nobel Laureate)
Halloween: 17/17, ⭐ (Starbucks Lover), proven anomaly (A Killer Party)
Thanksgiving: 14/16 (missing Jukebox Hero and Your Wish is My Command), ⭐️ (Cross Campus), proven anomaly (Stuffing)
Valentine's Day: 16/17 (missing The Treehouse of Crossed Destinies), ⭐ (Caressing), proven anomaly (Invisible Walls)
President's Day: 12/12, ⭐ (State Machine), proven anomaly (The Bill)
New Year's: 10/13 (missing Art Tours, First You Visit Burkina Faso, and Taskmaster), ⭐ (Display Case)
Arbor Day: 18/18, ⭐ (Delightful), proven anomaly (Middle School of Mines)
Pi Day: 16/18 (missing Clued Connections and Compass and Straightedge), ⭐️ (Playing a Round)
Holi: 11/17 (missing Battle of the Network Stars, Bee Movies, Chicago Loop, Have You Seen Me?, Riding The Tube, and Would Not Make Again), ⭐️ (Something in Common)
Bloomsday: 10/14 (missing Bloom Filter, Chain of Commands, Picture Book, and Standardized Mess)
Path metas: 7/14 (CH-HA, HA-TH, HA-VA, TH-PR, VA-PR, VA-AR, and AR-PI)
Events: 3/5 (missing Talk Like a Pirate Day and Date And Thyme/MLK Jr. Day)
Solvent stored: 10

Final Notes

If you can see this post, and there are 10 complete write-ups about different puzzles that got solved this week, and there aren't yet comments, then please let me know that it's visible to you.
Any input on Your Birthday Town is appreciated.
We have unresolved solvent on The Bill and Middle School of Mines; the only logical option I can think of is that they go to one of the supermetas in the middle of the page. Do they feed Your Birthday Town?
Otherwise, we have no further questions this week. Thank you all for reading these!
-Cheshire Songchild
submitted by CheshireSolves to mysteryhunt [link] [comments]

BJP Government Performance Analysis: Administration & Governance

This is my 2nd article in the series of articles which analyse the work of Modi government starting from 2014 till present date. This one is about administration and governance. Unlike the first one on defence, it is not that binary and there are quite a few gray areas and is subject to opinions as much it is to facts. For example, I like how NGOs have been brought under tougher checks and a lot of such organisations have been forced to shut shop. But quite a few people view it as unfair.
BJP Government Performance Analysis: Defence Issues Blog Link
Reddit Link
Additionally, there is an overlap between governance issues and various others like economy, foreign policy etc. In this article, focus will will be on the work done or changes in way of working of central government ministries and departments. Some of these will be mentioned in next article which will be about economy issues.
1. Steps for leaner, responsive and more efficient government.
This is the most obvious, yet hardest things to do for any regime. All the decisions made by the politically elected government are implemented by officials who usually see multiple such governments come and go through their service. It is next to impossible to fire or even penalise them for even gross incompetence. Any reform in their way of working is extremely hard and takes years of sustained effort. Political and ideological differences even among ministers also play their part. Then there are politicians who have a mutually beneficial nexus with such officials even when they are out of power. Some of the first steps taken by Modi regime was to break this nexus and it seems to have succeeded partially. But there is still a long way to go.
GOOD
  1. Officials working for central government have been forced to work much harder, so much so that many now view these prestigious jobs as punishment postings. Many non-performing officers have been disciplined and even sacked, a first. 1* 2* 29* 68* 112* 118* 132*
  2. Even serving ministers have been forced to adopt austerity measures. Some examples are no new vehicles, reduced travel expenses 1113 71* 125*
  3. Influence of foreign interests, corporates and their lobbyists has been severely curtailed. Many “powerful” people who had a lot of influence in various ministries and govt departments now don’t have insider knowledge or influence over decision making. 26* 63* 75*
  4. Many politicians squatting on government properties have been forced to vacate them. List of more than 1500 such squatters includes many former ministers, MLAs, MPs and many so called artists, inetellectuals who have been staying in govt allotted properties long after their time was over. Even BJP run state governments have evacuated have evacuated former CMs and MLAs. 61* 65* 104* 108* 109* 113*
  5. Business of paid for postings and transfers in many central govt departments has been severely curtailed. 7* 105*
  6. Many useless posts have been abolished and major departments downsized and streamlined. Often posts like this were used to accommodate officials in high paying post-retirement postings.4* 117*
  7. There is much greater communication between government and people. Many ministers and even PM office interact with common citizens on Twitter among other platforms. 124* 119*
  8. Options opened for direct entry of domain experts in to government departments. 133* 134* 135*
  9. Various measures taken to improve business climate like curtailment of harassment by various inspectors, passing of bankruptcy law, steps to improve ease of doing business among many others. It resulted in India making a record jump in ease of doing business index in 2017 and broke in to top 100 for first time. 3* 10* 12* 23* 46* 59* 66* 72* 154* 155* 156* 158* 159* 160*
  10. A very large number of old, archaic laws removed. Latest one under consideration (July 2018) in Supreme Court is article 377, removal of which will lead to decriminalisation of homo-sexuality. 1159 such redundant laws removed in just 2 years. 42* 163* 164* 165*
BAD
  1. Attempts to clean up bureaucracy and red tape need more will. In 4 years, there have not been many deep reforms in functioning of most govt departments, as far as corruption and delays are concerned. Then there have been some seemingly counter-productive measures like the one which makes it harder to investigate a govt servant.
  2. For most part, BJP ruled states have not shown enough initiative and willingness for reforms as was expected of them.
SCORE: 6.5/10
2.Corruption and black money.
Before anyone starts “where are my 15 lakh which Modi promised”, kindly watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOa04NN1M_Q
Recovering black money was one of the major poll promises of BJP and they have made fairly good progress on some fronts while it lacks on others.. As it happened, cleanups also unearthed huge scams in bank loans in which UPA regime gave away loans to numerous people who never meant to pay those back. This has proven to be one of the biggest scams in history and many big industrialists and UPA politicians including former Finance Minister Chidambaram have been implicated. Many of them have ran away from India to escape persecution. Apart from that, even after their best efforts, all the opposition parties and their followers have been unable to find a single corruption charge against Modi regime till date.
Demonetisation, however controversial it may be, has enabled recovery of untaxed income worth thousands of crores which would have never happened except for drastic measure like this. Implementation of GST was not perfect, but it has led to streamlined taxation process with reduced leakage, This link contains list of some income tax raids done immediately after demonetisation. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRovmVA_9x7NoyJHFLFZ7pA1Mi7gUYB6_OuGHgQA0pFLc9qQ1xTGMClqpGrudmZJ7YrBcg1n-VguZBi/pubhtml?gid=1658058173&single=true
GOOD
  1. Huge scam in banking sector in which loans worth thousands of crores were given away without proper checks under influence of UPA ministers unearthed. Number of industrialists, bank officials and politicians are implicated. Many of these industrialists are being forced to give back that money. Legal actions being taken against others, some of which have fled India and some politicians and their associates. Banks starting to show gains after sustained recovery efforts. 120* 131* 136* 137* 138* 139* 140* 141* 158*
  2. Many politicians jailed or under investigation for various corruption issues including former CMs and central ministers. 130* 142* 143* 144* 149* 150*
  3. Many dubious NGOs, many of which have shady backgrounds have been forced to shut shop or forced to reduce their operations. Among the benign ones, many of such organisations were front for money laundering and payment of lackeys. Others were foreign sponsored fronts for mass scale conversions of Indics, anti-India propaganda and terrorism. 5* 9* 21* 91* 115* 126* 127* 145*
  4. A large quantity of black money from foreign bank accounts successfully recovered. Treaties signed with Switzerland (among other countries) under which Swiss will share details of Indians owning bank accounts in Swiss banks. 103* 122* 128* 129* 146* 148*
  5. Large increase in number of people paying income tax after rules like Aadhar verification, demonetisation, GST. Huge amounts of money recovered in income tax raids. Properties of gangsters targeted. Lakhs of shell companies closed down. 101* 121* 123* 128* 129* 147* 151* 152* 153* 161*
  6. Stronger laws passed against corruption and tax evasion. Top level corruption reduces significantly. 33* 75* 93* 101* 102*
BAD
  1. Modi regime perhaps underestimated how difficult the recovery of black money from foreign accounts will be. Although a huge sum of money has been recovered, the whole process will take a lot longer and most likely will fall short of hype during election campaign.
  2. A number of bank loan defaulters managed to evade authorities and escape to foreign countries. If they had been arrested earlier, then loan recovery would have been a lot more easier and faster.
  3. Implementation of GST was not up to par. Numerous issues still exist which will take atleast a few months to be sorted out.
  4. Although I personally support demonetisation, it was not as well planned as it should have been. Very large number of people faced inconveniences for quite long time due to shortage of currency. Strangely, number of currency notes in circulation has reached back previous levels.
  5. Even if corruption at top levels has been reduced, grassroot corruption still seems to be as bad as it was earlier. Problem of citizens dealing directly with govt departments have not eased much.
SCORE: 6.5/10
The actual score would have been a 6. Extra half point is due to clean image of almost every minister and no scams yet. Opposition parties have tried their best to make up scams like the one for Rafale planes, but their attempts have been laughably stupid.
3. Programs for citizens.
Energy savings with new policies https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/powehow-modi-governments-led-programme-hopes-to-emerge-as-a-win-win-from-consumer-point-of-view/articleshow/52592189.cms Reforms in electricity
This regime seems to have better reach out programs for general public which are meant to make their lives and interaction with government machinery easier and fruitful. In addition to big steps like Jan Dhan bank accounts, Mudra Yojna, free LPG for poor, there have been number of measures implemented to make government departments more responsive and approachable. Some of these points have overlap with economy and infrastructure issues, but they are mentioned here because they affect lives of citizens directly. and profoundly.. Some of these will be explained in detail in later posts.
GOOD
  1. Red tape cut across various government departments. Steps like digital locker, self-attestation of documents and a few others meant to reduce paperwork, unnecessary delays and corruption implemented. 47* 62* 66* 67* 72* 107*
  2. Jan Dhan Yojna brings banking to the poorest and enables direct transfer of funds for subsidies and other welfare programs. This is one of the best measures in quite a long time meant for direct benefit of the poor. Reduces delays and corruption. 167* 168* 169* 170* 171* 172* 173* 175*
  3. Passport issue and re-issue process made much easier and faster. 110* 166*
  4. More platforms for feedback about government departments and policies created. Emphasis on transparency in governance and grievance redressal mechanisms. 79* 124* 116* 119*
  5. Steps taken to solve some employee issues related to Provident Fund, pensions and others. Lot more reforms still needed. 6* 18*
  6. Swachh Bharat Mission despite problems is showing some results. 85% of population now has access to toilets, compared to around 40% at start of program. According to WHO, 3 lakhs deaths caused by diarrhea were averted between 2014 and 2019. A lot of public places like railway stations are much cleaner. 175 * 176* 177* 178* 179*
  7. Ujwala Yojana, a scheme meant to eradicate use of polluting fuels like wood, coal, dung for cooking proves to be a good success. 5 crore new connections allotted ahead of target. 180* 181* 182* 183*
  8. While many countries struggle with it, India implements strong net neutrality rules. 184* 185*
  9. Multiple steps taken to improve conditions for farmers. Extra impetus on reducing malnutrition and increasing availability of nutritional food to citizens through various schemes. 186, 187, 188, 189 205* 206*
  10. Excellent work so far by power ministry bringing even the remotest places in India on electricity grid. A number of villages which had remained outside the grid now have electricity. Additionally, electricity production and distribution is much better. India has a power surplus and is 3rd largest electricity producer in world. Most of issues still remaining are more often than not due to inefficient and corrupt state electricity corporations. Cheap LED bulbs help in reducing power consumption. 190, 191 192* 193* 194* 195* 196* 197* 198* 199* 200* 201* 202*
  11. Much needed push for solar power with huge new solar power plants coming up. 203* 204*
  12. Pace of road construction across the country has picked up substantially and it has been the highest till now. Many remote regions have new connectivity and existing highways in most regions have been upgraded, 207* to 232* 26 \
BAD
  1. Inspite of all the schemes and subsidies, Indian agricultural sector suffers from various issues which will need a lot more work and better implementations. There has been no obvious solution of issues arising due to small size of land holdings, mimimum support prices and bureaucratic red tape.
  2. Swach Bharat mission has been partially successful at best.
  3. Implementation of digital measures meant to reduce red tape have had limited effect till now. Many people and govt departments remain unaware and disinterested in these changes.
SCORE: 7/10
If it was just the intention of projects mentioned here, this would be a full 10. But meaningful implementation of many of these projects is hampered by numerous factors like inefficient, corrupt bureaucracy, infinitely stupid and large population as well as mediocre planning. Some of these projects are longterm and the effects will be visible only after a certain amount of time.
FINAL SCORE: 6.6/10
If compared with UPA regime, this one is miles ahead in almost everything. But this is not a good enough standard to improve upon. There have been some good efforts from top, but on ground implementation has been good in only a few. Some of the long standing issues like reforms in bureaucracy, agriculture and a few other fields which will take more than just good intent and announcement of schemes.
LINKS:
  1. Fear of Narendra Modi makes babus finalize plans in 24 hours http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Fear-of-Narendra-Modi-makes-babus-finalize-plans-in-24-hours/articleshow/36367492.cms
  2. Working a 6-day week? No problem! Bureaucrats are loving Modi’s iron-fist http://www.firstbiz.com/corporate/working-6-day-week-problem-bureaucrats-loving-modis-iron-fist-87549.html
  3. Investments to get push as Modi govt takes green clearances online http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Narendra-Modi-to-MPs-Ask-SC-to-fast-track-your-cases/articleshow/36405187.cms
  4. PM Narendra Modi scraps 4 Cabinet Committees, including one on UIDAI http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-11/news/50478696_1_cabinet-panels-prime-minister-narendra-modi-cabinet-secretariat
  5. Modi govt puts NGOs under scan following IB warning http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-govt-puts-ngos-under-intense-scan-following-ib-warning/article1-1228881.aspx
  6. Employees to get pension payment order on retirement day: Govt http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/pension-payment-order-jitendra-singh-37989.html
  7. National acc wiil be-appointing authority for top officers http://www.jagran.com/news/national-acc-wiil-be-appointing-authority-for-top-officers-11391267.html?src=p1
  8. Rajnath singh reviews citizens database scheme http://www.lensonnews.com/lensonnews/1/59/62099/1/rajnath-singh-reviews-citizens-database-scheme.html
  9. Centre cracks the whip on NGOs, direct foreign funding put on hold http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/centre-cracks-the-whip-on-ngos-direct-foreign-funding-put-on-hold_940813.html
  10. Government clears investment hurdles, gives go ahead to seven projects worth Rs 21,000 crore http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/government-clears-investment-hurdles-gives-go-ahead-to-seven-projects-worth-rs-21000-crore/articleshow/36847309.cms
  11. Narendra Modi cracks the whip on ministers’ foreign travels http://www.financialexpress.com/news/narendra-modi-cracks-the-whip-on-ministers-foreign-travels/1262585
  12. Forest ministry greenlights faster, simpler clearances; defence, roads get priority http://www.financialexpress.com/news/forest-ministry-greenlights-faster-simpler-clearances-defence-roads-get-priority/1262507
  13. Modi austerity drive, no new cars for ministers, PMO to monitor spending http://ibnlive.in.com/news/modi-austerity-drive-no-new-cars-for-ministers-pmo-to-monitor-spending/481828-37-64.html
  14. 3 satellite cities being planned for re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/NAT-TOP-3-satellites-cities-being-planned-for-re-settlement-of-kashmiri-pandits-4656258-NOR.html
  15. Thirty days in office, Narendra Modi-led NDA working to keep promises http://www.financialexpress.com/news/thirty-days-in-office-narendra-modiled-nda-working-to-keep-promises/1264309
  16. Narendra Modi government to club three social security schemes http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/narendra-modi-government-to-club-three-social-security-schemes/articleshow/37285706.cms
  17. Rajnath Singh sets a 3-yr deadline for NPR rollout, link to voter ID likely http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/3-yr-deadline-for-npr-rollout-link-to-voter-id-likely/
  18. Register online, get provident fund code within hours http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/savings-centre/savings-news/register-online-get-provident-fund-code-within-hours/articleshow/37555385.cms
  19. 660 Nirbhaya Centres for women violence victims http://news.rediff.com/commentary/2014/jul/03/660-nirbhaya-centres-for-women-violence-victims/647b60d7f8c4149a28b9d8ccfafa18c9
  20. Passport delivery to become hassle-free, no police verification in case of renewal http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Passport-delivery-to-become-hassle-free-no-police-verification-in-case-of-renewal/articleshow/37724655.cms
  21. ‘No relevance’, Centre asks UN mission to vacate Delhi office http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/no-relevance-centre-asks-un-mission-to-vacate-delhi-office/
  22. New advisory to end ‘inspector raj’ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/New-advisory-to-end-inspector-raj/articleshow/38036699.cms
  23. Centre to shield businesses from dreaded ‘inspector raj’ with new system http://www.financialexpress.com/news/centre-to-shield-businesses-from-dreaded-inspector-raj-with-new-system/1270288
  24. Railways’ ‘silent killers’: Now, trains won’t stop at ‘MP stops’ http://www.financialexpress.com/news/trains-now-won-t-stop-at-mp-stops/1270285
  25. Managing of PM Relief Fund to be modelled on Gujarat scheme http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/managing-of-pm-relief-fund-to-be-modelled-on-gujarat-scheme/
  26. Fear and foreboding in South Block http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/fear-and-foreboding-in-south-block
  27. Government proposes changes in BIS to ensure product quality, withdrawal of substandard goods http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/government-proposes-changes-in-bis-to-ensure-product-quality-withdrawal-of-substandard-goods/articleshow/38826859.cms
  28. Narendra Modi government’s small reforms with big impact http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/narendra-modi-governments-small-reforms-with-big-impact/articleshow/38885465.cms
  29. For the first time in the history, IAS officers sacked in disproportionate assets case http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/arvind-joshi-ias-officer-sacked-in-disproportionate-assets-case–39518.html
  30. Centre clears revised norms for new airport bids in record time http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Centre-clears-revised-norms-for-new-airport-bids-in-record-time/articleshow/38881132.cms
  31. PM launches unique web platform to get citizens’ ideas for governance http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/PM-launches-unique-web-platform-to-get-citizens-ideas-for-governance/articleshow/39041211.cms
  32. Govt dissolves Khadi commission http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/govt-dissolves-khadi-commission/article6254888.ece
  33. Narendra Modi government asks ‘Babus’ to declare assets on or before September 15 http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/govt-asks-babus-to-declare-assets-by-september-15–39747.html
  34. Army Happy With ‘Quick’ Govt http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/Army-Happy-With-‘Quick’-Govt/2014/07/27/article2350296.ece
  35. Modi Cabinet clears labour reform Bills http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/modi-cabinet-clears-labour-reform-bills-114073100236_1.html
  36. How Achche Din dawned for Std XI and XII students in Baramulla http://www.rediff.com/news/special/special-how-achche-din-dawned-for-std-xi-and-xii-students-in-baramulla/20140731.htm
  37. Madhya Pradesh govt rehabs Bangla non-Muslims http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Madhya-Pradesh-govt-rehabs-Bangla-non-Muslims/articleshow/39326264.cms
  38. Winds of change: Productivity of Lok Sabha climbs to 103% http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Winds-of-change-Productivity-of-Lok-Sabha-climbs-to-103/articleshow/39440615.cms
  39. Government tells states to build detention centers for illegal Bangladeshis http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-government-tells-states-to-build-detention-centers-for-illegal-bangladeshis-2007991
  40. Cabinet clears amendments to Juvenile Justice Act paving way for harsher punishment http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cabinet-clears-amendments-to-Juvenile-Justice-Act-paving-way-for-harsher-punishment/articleshow/39767899.cms
  41. Cabinet approves bill for judicial appointment body http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cabinet-approves-bill-for-judicial-appointment-body/articleshow/39773831.cms
  42. Administration Govt prepares bill to repeal 36 archaic laws http://news.oneindia.in/india/govt-prepares-bill-to-repeal-36-archaic-laws-1499231.html Administration
  43. 13 reasons to cheer Modi sarkar’s first Parliament session http://www.rediff.com/news/report/reasons-to-cheer-modi-sarkar-first-parliament-session/20140814.htm
  44. 10 things that the Modi government is doing right http://www.rediff.com/news/special/10-things-that-the-modi-government-is-doing-right/20140813.htm
  45. Budget session productivity hits a high of 104% http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Budget-session-productivity-hits-a-high-of-104/articleshow/40296076.cms
  46. Bid to improve investment climate http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140817/jsp/business/story_18728366.jsp#.U_AUcWOwT5c
  47. Marriage registrations to go online from next month http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Marriage-registrations-to-go-online-from-next-month/articleshow/40319783.cms
  48. New norms soon for PSU bank directors; CMD post to be split http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/New-norms-soon-for-PSU-bank-directors-CMD-post-to-be-split/articleshow/40353924.cms
  49. National Investigation Agency ropes in Indian Statistical Institute for study on fake currency notes http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-17/news/52901475_1_ficn-fake-currency-notes-currency-cell
  50. 1 lakh per school to cover 10,000 schools. http://www.tcs.com/news_events/press_releases/Pages/TCS-PM-Clean-India-Initiative.aspx
  51. INDIA MODI-fied: Volume-3; The First Propulsion http://www.indianotes.com/uploads/article_pdf/2014/MotilalOswal_Modified_19August_2014.pdf
  52. IRCTC to soon offer cash on delivery for rail tickets http://firstbiz.firstpost.com/economy/wow-irctc-to-soon-offer-cash-on-delivery-for-rail-tickets-94452.html
  53. 100-day delivery: Modi ready with infra report card http://m.moneycontrol.com/news/economy/100-day-delivery-modi-readyinfra-report-card_1164101.html
  54. PM Modi sets up committee to identify ‘obsolete’ laws Manifesto http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-sets-up-committee-to-identify-obsolete-laws/1/379398.html Administration
  55. .भारत (.Bharat) top-level domain launched http://ibnlive.in.com/news/-bharat-toplevel-domain-launched/494798-11.html
  56. PM Modi’s big plan: Get education, medical & birth records online in a digital locker http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-29/news/53362935_1_prime-minister-narendra-modi-suggestions-government-offices
  57. Buoyed by PM Modi’s election win, economy set to clock highest growth in 2 years http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-29/news/53362744_1_pm-modi-low-growth-gdp
  58. 100 DAYS – A report card http://i.imgur.com/kByr5OK.jpg
  59. Job creation to inspector raj, government did its work http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/job-creation-to-inspector-raj-government-did-its-work/
  60. Right and Radical The understated revolution of Prime Minister Narendra Modi http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/right-and-radical
  61. Modi gets Lutyens’ bungalows vacated in three months http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-gets-lutyens-bungalows-vacated-in-three-months/article1-1261088.aspx
  62. Soon, single RTO visit will be sufficient http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Soon-single-RTO-visit-will-be-sufficient/articleshow/41909687.cms Modi effect?
  63. Favouritism in govt decisions down, India improves global rank Modi effect? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Favouritism-in-govt-decisions-down-India-improves-global-rank/articleshow/41935552.cms
  64. Jammu and Kashmir floods: Narendra Modi deploys successful Google app to find people http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jammu-and-kashmir-floods-narendra-modi-deploys-successful-google-app-to-find-people-2017385
  65. Power, water supplies snapped in houses of Ajit Singh, Azharuddin http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=263134
  66. Modi government promotes self attestation of documents http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-02/news/52356466_1_affidavits-pm-narendra-modi-pmo
  67. Non-essential drugs: NPPA withdraws price control order http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/nonessential-drugs-nppa-withdraws-price-control-ordearticle6439154.ece
  68. Attendance.gov.in: Modi government launches website to track attendance of government employees http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-07/news/54735540_1_biometric-attendance-system-government-employees-attendance-records
  69. Center launches Air Quality Index http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/centre-launches-index-to-measure-air-quality/articleshow/44866324.cms
  70. Narendra Modi government takes RTI to another level: All replies to be put online http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/narendra-modi-government-takes-rti-to-another-level-all-replies-to-be-put-online/articleshow/44898219.cms
  71. Modi government cancels golf memberships for bureaucrats http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150129/nation-current-affairs/article/modi-government-cancels-golf-memberships-bureaucrats
  72. Narendra Modi Cabinet to cut paper trail, go Kindle http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/narendra-modi-cabinet-to-cut-paper-trail-go-kindle/43358/
  73. What triggered the crackdown http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/TOI-exclusive-on-corporate-espionage-What-triggered-the-crackdown/articleshow/46318191.cms
  74. When an “Aam Aadmi” exposed Journalist Mihir S Sharma http://www.opindia.com/2015/02/when-an-aam-aadmi-exposed-journalist-mihir-s-sharma/
  75. Top-level corruption’s down in Modi govt, fingers crossed: India Inc http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Top-level-corruptions-down-in-Modi-govt-fingers-crossed-India-Inc/articleshow/46328407.cms
  76. Indian Railways launches country’s first customer complaint mobile app (IT) http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/railways-launches-indias-first-customer-complaint-mobile-app/1/421909.html
  77. Mispricing exports, imports may land you in jail for 7 years http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Mispricing-exports-imports-may-land-you-in-jail-for-7-years/articleshow/46465386.cms
  78. Operation Smile: Rajnath Singh’s push helps recover 2500 missing children http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46598821.cms
  79. PM launches multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation) http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=117702
  80. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves innovative mechanism for utilization of stranded gas based generation capacity http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=117698
  81. Formation of SPV to provide efficient rail evacuation systems to Major Ports http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=117694
  82. Modi led NDA govt bypasses bid route, PGCIL to develop 20K MW green corridor http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/narendra-modi-led-nda-govt-bypasses-bid-route-pgcil-to-develop-20k-mw-green-corrido57520/?
  83. Reclaim your inoperative EPFO a/c money http://www.business-standard.com/article/pf/reclaim-your-inoperative-epfo-a-c-money-115032600231_1.html
  84. Judicial reform proposals: Litigations to end in 3 to 5 years, summons to be sent by email http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-01-08/news/57838245_1_top-judges-high-courts-chief-justices-conference
  85. In Big Relief for Farmers, PM Modi Announces More Compensation for Crop Damage http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-big-relief-for-farmers-pm-modi-announces-more-compensation-for-crop-damage-753168?site=full
  86. Home Ministry freezes all 7 bank accounts of Greenpeace India http://ibnlive.in.com/news/home-ministry-freezes-all-7-bank-accounts-of-greenpeace-india/538849-3.html
  87. LPG cash transfer plan takes commercial cylinder sales up http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-04-13/news/61102830_1_lpg-cylinders-auto-lpg-dbtl
  88. PM Modi launches PRAGATI platform for redressal of grievances (DNA) http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-pm-modi-launches-pragati-platform-for-redressal-of-grievances-2071960
  89. Ford Foundation put under MHA watch list in “national interest and security” of India http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-04-24/news/61493635_1_home-ministry-ford-foundation-watch-list
  90. NaMo’s healing touch to Farmers – Direct Deposit of Relief to Jan Dhan Accounts http://www.niticentral.com/2015/04/22/compensate-farmers-jan-dhan-yojana-accounts-310605.html
  91. Govt cancels licences of 8,975 NGOs for failing to file annual returns http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-cancels-licences-of-8975-NGOs-for-failing-to-file-annual-returns/articleshow/47075077.cms?
  92. Bharat Mala: PM Narendra Modi’s planned Rs 14,000 crore road from Gujarat to Mizoram (ET) http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-04-29/news/61652753_1_crore-road-road-connectivity-road-network
  93. Cabinet clears stronger anti-corruption Act http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cabinet-clears-amendments-to-anticorruption-act/article7154111.ece?homepage=true
  94. Prime Minister to Launch Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) AND The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) on 9th May 2015 at Kolkata http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=120041
  95. Narendra Modi government eases incorporation of business, process to take just 1 form starting today http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47116318.cms
  96. Forest fund gets Rs 38,000 crore boost http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/flora-fauna/forest-fund-gets-rs-38000-crore-boost/articleshow/47102196.cms
  97. India is in a much better place after one year of Modi rule http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/Myth-n-Reality/india-is-in-a-much-better-place-after-one-year-of-modi-rule/
  98. One Year Later, India In Better Shape Under Modi http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/05/03/one-year-later-india-in-better-shape-under-modi/
  99. One year of Modi government: A look at what does India Inc think http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/one-year-of-modi-government-a-look-at-what-does-india-inc-think/articleshow/47155459.cms
  100. Entire Machinery of Indian Railways Geared up for Implementation Work http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=59098
  101. Govt goes after D-gang properties, to approach agencies abroad http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-goes-after-D-gang-properties-to-approach-agencies-abroad/articleshow/47335585.cms
  102. Black Money Bill with more teeth gets Rajya Sabha approval http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/black-money-bill-with-more-teeth-gets-rajya-sabha-approval/article7202317.ece
  103. Switzerland begins naming Indians, foreigners being probed at home for tax evasion http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/swiss-begins-naming-indians-others-being-probed-at-home/article1-1351161.aspx
  104. Narendra Modi government booted out 460 leaders from Lutyens bungalows http://www.abplive.in/india/2015/06/06/article610140.ece/Narendra-Modi-government-Lutyens-bungalows-Venkaiah-Naidu-nda-government
  105. How the PM dismantled the transfer-posting industry http://www.dailyo.in/politics/modi1-narendra-modi-bureaucracy-ias-pk-mishra-upa-pmo-indian-railways-suresh-prabhu/story/1/4186.html
  106. Meet India’s chief human resources officer http://www.rediff.com/getahead/report/specials-meet-indias-chief-human-resources-office20150611.htm
  107. Live paperless; keep sensitive data, documents safe in DigiLocker http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/savings-centre/analysis/live-paperless-keep-sensitive-data-documents-safe-in-digilockearticleshow/47609731.cms
  108. With 1500 squatters kicked out from Lutyens bungalows, it might explain why its always Modi vs All http://www.opindia.com/2018/02/with-1500-squatters-kicked-out-from-lutyens-bungalows-it-might-explain-why-its-always-modi-vs-all/ 109 Govt pushes squatters out of Lutyens Bungalow Zone, only 4 left https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-pushes-squatters-out-of-lutyens-bungalow-zone-only-4-left/story-JrSIsyfhmkeHK1YVgKQMMM.html
  109. Police verification no longer required for reissue of passports: Govt http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/police-verification-no-longer-required-for-reissue-of-passports-govt/
  110. Govt’s ultimatum to road developers: Perform or perish http://www.financialexpress.com/article/india-news/govts-ultimatum-to-road-developers-perform-or-perish/181570/
  111. 2,200 corrupt govt officials identified in 2015, CBI says http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2200-corrupt-govt-officials-identified-in-2015-CBI-says/articleshow/51032131.cms
  112. Narendra Modi government evicts record number of illegal occupants from Lutyens Delhi http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/narendra-modi-government-evicts-record-number-of-illegal-occupants-from-lutyens-delhi/articleshow/51329453.cms
  113. Parrikar finds $3 bn lying forgotten in US account http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/parrikar-finds-3-bn-lying-forgotten-in-us-account-116030500049_1.html
  114. India denies visas to US religious freedom body http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-denies-visas-to-us-religious-freedom-body/articleshow/51248712.cms
  115. FCI goes online, links 30 godowns in 1st phase http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51443357.cms
  116. Big reform: Modi government plans to redeploy bureaucrats and reduce patronage postings http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/big-reform-modi-government-plans-to-redeploy-bureaucrats-and-reduce-patronage-postings/articleshow/51504060.cms
  117. 15 customs and central excise personnel fired: Sacking signals crackdown on laggards http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51676177.cms
  118. Modi government makes 8 lakh calls in 10 days to check success of four big schemes http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51691671.cms
  119. The biggest ever fire sale of Indian corporate assets has begun, to tide over bad loans crisis http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/the-biggestever-fire-sale-of-indian-corporate-assets-has-begun-to-tide-over-bad-loans-crisis/article8573163.ece?homepage=true
  120. Blackmoney: Govt unearths indirect tax evasion of Rs 50,000 crore in two years http://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/blackmoney-govt-unearths-indirect-tax-evasion-of-rs-50000-crore-in-two-years-2793085/
  121. The Mauritius Loophole: The Story Of Its Origin And How India Finally Managed To Shut It http://swarajyamag.com/economy/the-mauritius-loophole-the-story-of-its-origin-and-how-india-finally-managed-to-shut-it Infrastructure
  122. Rs. 43,000 Crore In Black Money Recovered In 2 Years: Revenue Secretary http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rs-43-000-crore-in-black-money-recovered-in-2-years-revenue-secretary-1427078
  123. Why PM Modi called this Tripura IAS officer at 10pm http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Why-PM-Modi-called-this-Tripura-IAS-officer-at-10pm/articleshow/53908586.cms
  124. PM Narendra Modi’s Cleanliness Drive Frees Up Space For 50 In His Office http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modis-cleanliness-drive-in-his-office-frees-up-space-for-50-people-1287549?pfrom=home-lateststories
  125. Ford Foundation-govt stand-off ends as NGO agrees to come under Fema http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ford-Foundation-govt-stand-off-ends-as-NGO-agrees-to-come-under-Fema/articleshow/48092013.cms?from=mdr
  126. Home Ministry freezes all 7 bank accounts of Greenpeace India http://ibnlive.in.com/news/home-ministry-freezes-all-7-bank-accounts-of-greenpeace-india/538849-3.html
  127. Govt to net Rs 10,000 crore from Swiss bank accounts by March-end: SIT http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Govt-to-net-Rs-10k-cr-by-March-end-from-Swiss-account-holders-SIT/articleshow/46180794.cms
  128. Swiss banks up black money vigil as India threatens criminal action http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46812758.cms
  129. CBI raids P Chidambaram and son Karti’s residence in Chennai; Congress calls it political vendetta by BJP http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-cbi-raids-former-union-minister-p-chidambaram-s-residence-in-chennai-2439731
  130. Banking scam has UPA era roots http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/12894-banking-scam-has-upa-era-roots
  131. Modi Govt @ 4: How the Dread of Deadlines Revamped Sarkaari Offices https://www.news18.com/news/india/modi-govt-4-how-the-dread-of-deadlines-revamped-sarkaari-offices-1760253.html
  132. Private Sector Professionals Can Be Bureaucrats, 10 Senior Posts Open https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/lateral-entry-to-bureaucracy-a-reality-with-openings-in-10-ministries-1865251
  133. Alternative to IAS? Modi govt opens lateral entry for professionals as Joint Secretaries; details here https://www.financialexpress.com/jobs/alternative-to-ias-modi-govt-opens-lateral-entry-for-professionals-as-joint-secretaries-details-here/1200499/
  134. Lateral Entry: Landmark step by Modi govt to equip bureaucracy for challenges and opportunities http://www.opindia.com/2018/06/lateral-entry-landmark-step-by-modi-govt-to-equip-bureaucracy-for-challenges-and-opportunities/
Rest of link in comments. Reddit is changing the numbering pattern in links on comments on it's own. Original post : http://jjamwal.in/yayavabjp-government-performance-analysis-administration-governance/
submitted by dark-ritual to IndiaSpeaks [link] [comments]

In Latest Binary Options Scams, Fraudsters Pose as SEC Agents

Most of the binary options scams we have seen to date have taken two principle forms: shady trading websites, or marketers who promise impossible returns using their systems or signals.
In the wake of the collapse of the binary options industry, we are seeing a new, even more pernicious type of con. Binary options con artists are now posing as SEC agents, contacting victims of binary options fraud and promising to “help” them recover their lost funds.
Two such scammers are Frank Gregory Cedeno and Leonel Valerio Santana. Between June 2015 and June 2017, the two masqueraded as SEC officials, and contacted victims who had lost money trading with companies such as Banc de Binary which were being sued by the SEC and the CFTC.
The scammers informed the victims (incorrectly of course) that they had to pay a fee if they wanted to partake of the settlement from the case. The scammers were able to extort over $235,000 from at least 25 victims in this way. In the process, they also stole the identities of real SEC employees and undermined the trust between the SEC and the public.
Most recently, the government of the US filed a Sentencing Memorandum with the Massachusetts District Court against Santana. If the government gets its way, Santana will spend 78 months in prison, followed by 36 months of release under supervision. He will also need to pay $105,869.74 in restitution.
If you are entitled to part of a settlement associated with a case filed by the SEC or CFTC against a binary options company, you do not need to pay a fee. Be wary of correspondences which look and sound official, but suggest that you need to pay. Report them to the SEC or CFTC yourself, and await a response to your inquiry. The last thing you need is to be scammed twice.
submitted by enivid to binaryoptions [link] [comments]

Blindspot Whitepaper: Specialized Threat Assessment and Protection (STAP) for the Blockchain

BlindSpot™
Stop attacks before ”zero day” and stop the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
We live in a dangerous world — our information technology systems face that danger every single day. Hackers are constantly attempting to infiltrate systems, steal information, damage government and corporate reputations, and take control of systems and processes.
Hackers share and use a variety of tools and techniques to gain access to, and
maintain access to, IT systems, including groups and techniques so dangerous
they have their own category - the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). At the
center of the APT are sophisticated techniques using malware to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. Traditional cyber security technologies use file signatures to locate these tools and hacker malware, but hackers are now actively camouflaging their tools by changing, customizing, and “morphing” them into new files that do not match any known signatures (‘Polymorphic Malware’). This introduces a massive gap in malicious file detection which leaves the enterprise open to exploitation — and it’s just not possible for traditional signature-based systems to keep up. In fact, signature-based anti-virus and anti-malware systems are only around 25% effective today. BlindSpot™ sees through it all, even as the files morph and change in a futile attempt to remain camouflaged.
Digital File Fingerprints
Any File Type, Any Language, Partial Matches, Exact Matches
BlindSpot™, the adaptive security solution from BlindSpot™, can see through the
Polymorphic camouflage used by the worlds most advanced hackers by utilizing
digital file fingerprints and our proprietary adaptive BlindSpot™ ‘brain’ that constantly analyzes the fingerprints of known malicious files and tools to locate partial matches within the files on your systems - servers, laptops, desktops, USB drives, and even mobile devices. BlindSpot™ can cut right through the Polymorphic files, revealing the true hacking tools underneath, even if they are only fragments or pieces of a more complete set of hacking tools and technologies.
Most cyber attacks happen weeks or even months after their initial penetration and access to a network or system, and even the simplest attacks tend to have a fuse that is typically several days. It takes them time to map out a system, probe for the information they want, and obtain or forge credentials with the type of access they need. But from the moment their tools first land on your network and systems, BlindSpot™ sees them. If fact, BlindSpot™ can see them sitting on a newly inserted USB drive even if the files are not copied to your systems. This means BlindSpot™ can identify and alert you to malicious files and potential illicit activities before the attack happens - before zero day!
How does BlindSpot™ work? BlindSpot™ sits on the endpoint and continuously monitors file activity. Digital fingerprints, which can be used to find partial matches of any file type in any language, are reported back where they are kept forever in a temporal repository.
BlindSpot™ looks through all of the digital fingerprints — both those from files on your systems and those in a constantly updated database of known malicious files and hacking tools, to locate and alert you to any indication of hacking, malicious files, or illicit activity. BlindSpot™ is a disruptive technology that can see polymorphic malware and stop attacks before zero day.
Digital File Fingerprints are created from a file or a piece of digital data/information by using advanced mathematics to look at all of the small pieces of data that make up the file to create a very small, unique piece of mathematical data — a digital file fingerprint. Files may be of any file type and in any language - digital fingerprints can find partial and exact matches regardless of what is in the file itself.
Just like with humans, once a fingerprint has been taken, you no longer need the
person to identify them. The fingerprint is enough. Even a partial fingerprint is
enough, and sometimes a smudge will do. Digital fingerprints work on the same
principle. Once BlindSpot™ has taken a digital fingerprint of a file, the file is no longer needed to identify it or to compare it with other files. And because digital fingerprints are tiny, they are easy to store. Even a multi-gigabyte file has a digital fingerprint that is no larger than 10k bytes.
Once you have two sets of digital fingerprints, you can compare them. Because BlindSpot™ starts with full fingerprints of known malicious files, it can identify matching files even when the digital fingerprint is only partially there. And with BlindSpot™’s advanced processing capabilities, file fragments, recovered data from a hard drive, partially downloaded documents, damaged files (both intentional and accidental) and other incomplete file structures can be properly fingerprinted in a way that still allows matches to be found.
Other technologies and software use static signatures, which do not work if any part of a file, regardless of how small, is different from another, or if the file is damaged in any way. BlindSpot™ and digital fingerprints enable partial matching, and can see through the camouflage that has become the industry standard for hackers across the globe. Static signature based solutions simply cannot do this.
Imagine your favorite detective drama on TV. The prosecutor says “This partial
fingerprint was found at the crime scene and the video camera across the
street recorded a perfect image of the person’s face.” The jury deliberates and
compares the picture and fingerprints of the defendant that were taken the day
before. They conclude, because the fingerprint was not all there and was not 100% identical, and because one picture showed a mustache that looked identical but was one millimeter longer than the other picture, that the two people were not identical - and set the criminal free. Well, that show wouldn’t be on TV long because crime would run rampant. Now imagine they had BlindSpot™. Criminals would be caught, the town would be a much safer place, and the show would be on for years to come.
Now imagine your network and systems without BlindSpot™, where traditional
exact match signature software is on your front line of defense. All kinds of
malicious files could walk right through and sit down on your hard drives, just
waiting for hackers to activate them. But you don’t have to imagine what your
systems would be like with BlindSpot™ — instead, simply contact us, get BlindSpot™ in place, and we’ll work with you to show you what’s really on your systems and help you keep those systems safe.
Ensuring System Compliance
Take the guesswork out of compliance assessment
All Government systems go through Certification and Accreditation. BlindSpot™ can help you with malicious code protection, for both security considerations and required compliance. Guidelines found in NIST 800-53 Revisions 3+ Security Requirements for System Integrity, SI-3 Malicious Code Protection, state that malicious code protection mechanisms must be employed at information system entry and exit points, including workstations, notebook computers, and mobile devices, to detect and eradicate malicious code.
BlindSpot™, with its continuous monitoring of the files on your endpoints and its
continuous updating of its known malicious file repository, will provide the
required real-time and full monthly re-scans of your files, will alert your
administrative staff when malicious code is found, will provide reports on
potential malicious files, illicit activity, and follow-up with very short false positive reports. BlindSpot™’s false positive rate is less than 0.01%. BlindSpot™ helps organizations meet the security requirements set forth and ensure compliance.
Intellectual Property Protection
Track sensitive information as it changes and moves around the enterprise
BlindSpot™ uses digital file fingerprints to identify partial and exact matches between files, regardless of file type or language. This ability can be used to track movements of and changes to files on a network of computers.
Government entities and corporations need to addresses the issue of monitoring
documents and files that contain sensitive information intellectual property, and it
is no longer sufficient to simply store them on a secure server and require specific credentials to access the information. People, both unintentionally and sometimes with malicious intent, copy and paste parts of documents, move files to USB drives, and otherwise edit and transfer files in order to get them on to a laptop, share them with a co-worker, or exfiltrate confidential information to outside networks and systems. BlindSpot™ carefully watches all of the files on your network, including what’s going with USB drives. If someone copies part of a file that has sensitive data to another file, BlindSpot™ sees it. Furthermore, BlindSpot™ can alert you when it sees questionable activity with certain documents/files or with specific computers/individuals.
Your sensitive files now have a watchdog that catches both unintentional and
malicious exposure to non-secure systems. Use BlindSpot™ to set up a custom
database of the locations where your sensitive files are stored, and BlindSpot™ will create a set of digital file fingerprints that can be used to track those files across your network and systems. This ensures that an organization can know where its proprietary and sensitive information is 365/7/24, in real-time.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a system for remote monitoring and control that operates with coded signals over communication channels (using typically one communication channel per remote station).
SCADA networks contain computers and applications that perform key functions in providing essential services and commodities (e.g. electricity, natural gas, gasoline, water, waste treatment, transportation) to all Americans. They are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, provide great efficiency, are widely used, and require protection from a variety of cyber threats.
One of the most significant threats is benign files residing on the computers on
the network that morph into tools that hackers can use to gain access to the
network and the equipment it monitors and/or controls. These files might be part
of the operating system (binary files), might be a normal file that includes
scripting, or can even be a general data file moved onto the computer through a
network or a USB drive. By morphing, these files circumvent detection and
countermeasures. This is just one example of how a hacker can compromise and
exploit the system and the worst part is that you will never know until it is too late!
The recent Department of Justice announcement charging Iranian hackers
believed to be tied to the 2013 hacking of a New York dam illustrates this threat
clearly.
Enter BlindSpot™’s BlindSpot™ Adaptive Security — BlindSpot™ monitors all files of all types (any format or language) without the requirement of a translator or human operator. BlindSpot™ can see right through the hacker’s camouflage of
morphing files to quickly identify problems and threats before hackers have the
opportunity to active and use their tools. For U.S. and foreign based systems,
BlindSpot™ is a must have cyber security solution.
The BlindSpot™ team has extensive experience with SCADA systems and critical infrastructure. Our BlindSpot™ solution is critical to the overall security framework of such systems as it was designed to find the morphing, malicious files and associated illicit file activity that can lead to compromise of the integrity, confidentiality and/or availability of the system. Threats loom on both the inside and outside, and the dynamic nature of these systems require continuous, temporal monitoring to stop cyber attacks before they happen.
Stop Ransomware
Identify and remove Ransomware before it encrypts your files
Ransomware attacks are on the rise and affect Fortune 500 companies, Federal
organizations, and consumers. This vicious type of attack affects your user’s ability to get their work done and prevents users from accessing files on a device or network by making the device or network unusable, by encrypting the files your users need to access, and/or by stopping certain applications from running (e.g. the web browser). A ransom is then demanded (an electronic payment of currency or bitcoins) with the promise that your data will be unencrypted and accessible again following the payment.
If the ransom payment is made, there is no guarantee that the data will be
unencrypted or returned to a state of integrity and/or availability. Furthermore,
there is also no guarantee that the people behind the ransom will not re-infect
your systems again with a variant of what was initially used. Payment encourages future attacks because they know you cannot detect it and will pay again next time. Surprisingly, there are only a handful of known ransomware files in use today (e.g. Crowti, Fakebsod). Safeguards exist that use static signatures to find exact matches for these known files, but the moment these files morph or are changed in any way they become undetectable by these solutions. BlindSpot™ digs deeper with digital file fingerprints and can find the new files, enabling you to analyze, quarantine, or delete them before they activate. This pro-active approach can be the difference between a system being protected and a system being made completely unavailable with encrypted data being held hostage for a ransom. The image below is an actual Fakebsod notification message.
BlindSpot™ uses digital file fingerprints to detect the ransomware by looking at
both partial and exact matches and can report the problem before it happens.
Ransomeware of the past attacked your personal computer and today’s variant
attacks the servers — BlindSpot™ can detect both.
Case Study: March 2016 - Two more healthcare networks are hit by ransomware targeting servers. Advice from law enforcement — pay the ransom! (They did). File backups are insufficient. Paying ransoms is costly and only encourages repeat attacks.
BlindSpot™ is the most comprehensive solution available to detect and root out
ransomware. Take charge of the situation and put BlindSpot™ to work continuously monitoring your systems.
Get BlindSpot™ Now
Commercial or Government, with multiple contract vehicles available
How Can I Get BlindSpot™?
CYBR develops and sells its adaptive enterprise cyber security software product, BlindSpot™, and provides professional services and support for BlindSpot™ implementations.
Product
BlindSpot™ Adaptive Security is a continuous monitoring enterprise solution that tracks file-based activity on the endpoint using digital file fingerprints, can identify problems and cyber threats before zero day, and can see through morphing, camouflaged (polymorphic) files to make accurate determinations of malicious files and illicit activity.
Deployment Options
BlindSpot™ can deployed as a secure cloud application for maximum flexibility, a standalone Enterprise implementation for maximum security, or the two combined in an Enterprise implementation augmented through a secure cloud gateway.
Professional Services and Training
BlindSpot™’s team of cyber security experts have the expertise to support
you by creating a holistic, enterprise security framework that consists of people,
policy, procedures and technology that will ensure a security posture that implements the best risk management strategies, tactics and operations available.
Email us at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) for more information.
BlindSpot Solution Brief
June 29, 2018
POC: Shawn R. Key CEO, President
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
Executive Summary and Estimated Pricing
CYBR’s BlindSpot is an enterprise cyber security solution that pro-actively identifies unknown and known malicious files and circumventive activity on endpoint devices. It is designed to interact with the CYBR Ecosystem and associated Web Portal. Distributed clients serve as the connection to the various BlindSpot server tiers.
BlindSpot identifies Illicit File Activity (IFA) and associated hacker activity via perceptive, industry standard algorithms. BlindSpot identifies exact AND similar files regardless of file type and/or language. This applies to ALL file types (e.g. documents, images, audio and video, carrier, etc.). Currently implemented safeguards and counter measures (such as anti-virus (AV), content filters and malware analysis tools) cannot address polymorphic/adaptive files and emerging threats. This introduces a massive gap in illicit file detection and leaves the enterprise open to exploitation. BlindSpot fills that void.
Additionally, corporations and government entities have a need to address known files and associated activity with regards to content and data management. The uncertainty of Intellectual Property (IP) location and propagation poses significant risk to the organization. The ability to identify the life cycle of a file (origin, source, destination, attributes and proliferation) ensures an organization knows where its proprietary, sensitive and privacy information is 365/24/7, in near real-time.
BlindSpot, is significantly different from solutions in the emerging Specialized Threat Assessment and Protection (STAP) marketplace, as it scales to meet the needs of enterprise organizations and the commercial marketplace. BlindSpot’s proprietary database consists of millions of unique, digital identifiers (hash values) that identify exact AND similar, modified files. This ensures that files existing in their original state or those which have been intentionally modified, do not circumvent detection. Our algorithms ensure near zero false positive return rates. The combinatory effect and the rare expertise of our executives and development thwarts potential competition as BlindSpot is an enterprise solution; not a tool.
The enterprise solution is provide as a license per IP address with associated appliance and/or server hardware requirements.
CYBR BlindSpot Technical Deep Dive
CYBR’s BlindSpot product is currently available as a Software as a Service) (SaaS) deployment blockchain solution and will be available as a full enterprise-install by Q2 2019. In both implementations, end-point agent software monitors the hard drive(s) of a computer or server, analyses any files that change, and reports [multiple] file hashes back to the main system. This enables the main system to effectively monitor which files could be malicious or represent intellectual property on the computers and servers within the customer’s network. By using fuzzy hashing algorithms, the system can detect polymorphic malware and intellectual property that has been partially hidden or obfuscated.
Applications
End-point (client) agent: native to each major OS as a fat client. Currently we have end-point agents for Microsoft Windows-based systems using MS .NET c# 2.0/4.5 and C++, although the c# portion will be replaced with all c++ code to increase scalability, efficiency, and security, in Q1 2016. End-point agents for Mac OS (written in Objective-C) and popular Linux platforms (written in c++) will ship in Q1/Q2 2016. Development work on the CentOS linux agent will begin in December 2015.
The Control Application enables system administrators to configure each end-point agent, the system itself, and to actively monitor and access reports on files that have been identified by the system as problematic or of interest. At this time the Control Application is able to provide configuration and monitoring services but is not yet ready for customer on-site deployment and is therefore only available in a SaaS model.
The middle-tier of the system, the Portal sever, currently runs in MS .NET and is written in c#. This tier will be upgraded to a full c++ implementation to increase scalability, efficiency, and security, in Q1 2016, and will run as a standard web server extension on a Linux platform (CentOS/Apache).
The data-tier of the system currently is running in MS SQL Server 2008/2012 and uses transact-SQL tables, but does not use any stored procedures or transactions. Although this tier is sufficient for scalability through mid to late 2016, a no-SQL version of the data tier will be developed in 2016.
The Crush server (hashing services) currently runs on MS Server 2008/2012, is written in c#/c++ and is a) being ported to run as a (c++) daemon on a standard Linux (CentOS) server, and b) being re-engineered to function as a massively parallel application (c/c++) running on NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerated systems. The Crush server communicates with the data-tier directly and the C2 server indirectly. Multiple Crush servers can run simultaneously and are horizontally scalable and fault-tolerant.
The C2 (Command and Control) server, written in c# and being moved to c++, communicates with the data-tier directly and the Crush server and Control Application indirectly to provide scheduling, system health and integrity, and prioritization services, as well redirecting jobs to maintain fault tolerance of the back-end server components. Multiple C2 servers can run simultaneously and are horizontally scalable.
Hardware and Network:
The basic architecture of the system has two different stacks of software. First, a typical 3-tier approach isolates data storage from end-point and Control Application access with a middle-man protocol altering Portal server. In the SaaS model, the end-point and Control Application software reside on-site with the customer, and the remaining stack components reside at the SaaS hosting datacenter. The second stack consists of multiple horizontally-scalable server components that run entirely in the backend as daemons and interact primarily through the data area to provide the services that are being marketed and sold to the customers. The two stacks are kept somewhat separate from each other in order to buffer one against the other in times of extreme load and for enhanced security.
Following is a description of each software module in the system and how it relates to the others:
The system has one component for data collection (the end-point agent software, which resides on the desktop computers and servers within a deployed customer site), one component for system administration (the Control Application, which resides on a desktop computer that the customer has access to or that an analyst can access through the SaaS system), and a collection of software processes/daemons and a data storage area that comprise the back-end.
The end-point agent collects data from the end-point computer, passes it to the Portal server, which in turn stores it in the data area.
The C2 server monitors the in-flow of data from the end-points, and tasks the Crush server(s) to analyze the data and compare it to databases of known good, known bad, and watch list files, in an efficient manner.
The C2 server also provides notification to the customer of any problematic or watch-list files following the completion of the Crush server tasks.
The Crush server monitors the data area, and performs batch or real-time processing of data as instructed to by the C2 server.
Technology
CYBR’s BlindSpot software is a commercially available product that combines a small footprint end-point agent with a centralized monitoring and management system to track files and file changes on the end-point using partial-match digital fingerprints rather than rigid full-match-only file signatures. As files and data buffers are created, edited/altered, and moved either through the network or via removable media devices including USB drives, the product uses its unique and proprietary technologies in combination with industry standard technologies to identify and locate both known malware and unknown [polymorphic] malware on end-points that are continuously monitored by the product. Staff is notified, depending on the urgency or type of digital fingerprint identified, through integrations with 3rd party SIEM solutions, email/SMS transmissions, and reports that are available using the central management system. A false positive rate of partial digital fingerprint matching of ~1 in 10-12 means staff will not be bombarded with unnecessary alerts, maintaining staff efficiency.
Overview: Traditional anti-malware products use static file signatures to locate known malware but have no means of detecting unknown malware, CYBR’s product uses digital file fingerprints that can identify both partial file matches as well as full file signature matches and in doing so can locate and identify both known and unknown malware within the deployed enterprise. A combination of industry standard and publicly available algorithms and CYBR’s own proprietary algorithms, trade secrets, methods, optimizations, and intellectual property for which a patent is currently pending (which is owned solely by CYBR) are combined to form a comprehensive anti-malware platform and continuous end-point monitoring product that is completely unique in the marketplace. Through the use of our proprietary algorithms and optimizations, the product has the ability to scale to the enterprise level and can track desktops/servers as well as mobile/phone/tablet/Internet of Things (IoTs) devices.
Project Implementation: The implementation of this product would include both the commercially available BlindSpot product as well as prototypes of integration packages to connect with the on-site Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and other systems and prototypes of end-point agents running on operating systems that are not yet available in the currently available version of the product. Both the integration and end-point agent prototypes would be based on existing modular code/functionality and would extend functionality past the currently available modules to ensure the full needs and requirements of the project are met. A full version of BlindSpot would be deployed on servers at/on the enterprise site, and prototypes of both SIEM integrations and new end-point agents would be deployed to augment the full production system. Information flow between all areas of the full system and prototypes would be tested and verified with increasing scale to ensure the level of performance required is available prior to the completion of the project.
End-point Agents: Each end-point is installed with native low-profile proprietary agent software that minimizes both its file system footprint and CPU use. The current product has a native end-point available for Microsoft Windows OSs (both desktops/tablets and servers) in production, and has native end-point agents in development/prototype stage for iOS, Android, MacOS, and RHEL/CentOS, with additional popular Linux derivatives to follow. The main job of the end-point agent is to communicate with the OS and monitor the file system for any changes in files that occur. When changes are detected, a digital file fingerprint of the file is taken and reported to the centralized data store, or cached until a later time if the centralized data store is unreachable (e,g, no cell coverage, laptop not connected to internet). The agent normally runs in “stealth-mode” and uses minimal CPU, RAM, and file system footprint so as not to disrupt the end-user’s workflow or impact system performance. Taking a digital fingerprint of a file and reporting it is very fast and thus the main job of the end-point agent is not system resource intensive. The “heavy lifting” is done on the back-end and does not burden the users or the end-point devices. Configuration of each end-point agent is conducted through the centralized management system, and changes in configuration are transmitted to the end-point agent within a few seconds (provided there is network connectivity).
Central Data Store: A collection of databases on the back end store file watch lists, known good and known bad digital file fingerprints (whitelists and blacklists containing digital file fingerprints of known malware), priority lists and configurations, end-point configurations, last-seen lists, and the full temporal accounting of all digital file fingerprints reported by end-point agents. As new threats are identified they are added to the central data store. As files on end-points change or are edited, their new digital fingerprints are added to the central data store as well. As new threats are identified though polymorphic partial matching, they are added to the known bad list as well.
Identification of Known and Unknown Malware: By comparing the databases of digital file fingerprints of known malware and digital file fingerprints of files on end-points, the product’s Crush server(s) use sophisticated algorithms to compare the partial digital file fingerprints, regardless of content of the files themselves. The product looks at the raw data (bytes) in the files when creating the digital file fingerprints and as such all file types/formats/languages are handled. This means that all file types and data in any and all languages can be compared with similar files. Binary DLLs, MS Word documents and spreadsheets (MS Excel, csv, …), JPEG images, Javascript, HTML, Executable files (.exe) — all of these files are handled by the product and known/unknown malware within them can be located using the digital file fingerprints in the centralized data store and Crush server’s analysis.
Scale, System Throughput, and Priority: A single Crush server can serve a small enterprise (100s or 1,000s of end-points), and a horizontally scalable array of Crush servers can be used to provide identification of malware for large enterprises. Similarly, databases in the central data store can be split and maintained/mirrored on several servers or run in a monolithic configuration. This makes the system highly scalable and able to be adapted to enterprises of varying sizes/scales while maintaining a good price/performance ratio. Priority lists can be designated for Crush servers such that high-priority end-points and/or high-priority malware fingerprints can be compared and identified in real-time, and similarly, low-priority lists (e.g. malware fingerprints that have not been seen in months or years) can be run in the evenings or when the system is running below normal load to ensure both immediate analysis of high-priority threats and comprehensive analysis of low-priority threats.
Integration: Several modular integration points within the product enable the straight-forward integration with 3rd party SIEM software and other reporting/management tools and systems. Distinct “notification channels” within the product are used based on the type of threat detected, the priority level of the specific threat detected, the confidence of the match (low percentage match of digital fingerprint vs high), and the location of the match (specific end-point list). Each notification channel has integration points that can be linked in with 3rd party systems so that staff are notified using software and procedures they are already familiar with and trained on (i.e., through a SIEM solution that is already begin monitored by dedicated, trained staff). Prototypes of each specific integration would need to be developed as a part of this project to match/communicate with the exact SIEM (or other) system that is in use at the deployment site in the mannemethod desired. Such a prototype would be developed for the purpose of evaluating the technical interconnectivity between systems to meet the requirements of the deployment, and following the prototype testing period, would be load-tested and stress-tested to ensure it’s performance meets the demands of a highly scalable environment, leading to a mature integration over a period of 3-6 months following the initial prototype period of 1-3 months.
Technology Section Summary: With end-points being continuously monitored by the product, both known and unknown malware threats delivered by the network and removable media will be detected and reported through SIEM system integration and direct email/SMS messages with minimal impact to the end-point (on all major OSs, including desktop and mobile). Centralized management and temporal monitoring of digital fingerprints enables the system to proactively locate and identify malware threats before zero day as well as enabling the staff to conduct their own investigations of systems either in the present or the past for forensic investigations. This makes CYBR’s BlindSpot a complete product that reaches all of the end-point devices to ensure safety and security from all types of malware threats.
Defense Utility
The blockchain’s cyber security posture will be greatly enhanced by BlindSpot. CYBR’s executive team works with various military and federal organizations and has a deep understanding of the cyber security challenges that face the enterprise today including advanced persistent threat (APT), polymorphic and pleomorphic malware, zero day attacks and the need to locate white and black files in real time. These threats have now permeated to the blockchain and must be secured.
Company and Customers
The proposed team includes CYBR, Inc. executive management and staff. The company is a works closely with its sister company, 21st Century Technologies, Inc. (21CT), which is a HUBZone certified, Small Business entity. 21CT serves as a value added reseller (VAR) for CYBR, Inc. and is currently a teammate on the DOMino classified DHS contract as a subcontractor to Raytheon.
Existing, paying customers include Stratford University, Test Pros and Devitas. The company also has integrator and VAR partner relationships with Anomali (formerly Threatstream), Lockheed Martin (Cyber and Space) and various commercial entities, which the company believes will become paying customers in 2019.
Transition and Commercialization
Our technology is a commercially available product and commercial sales have been made. The company is actively working to scale this solution to hundreds of thousands of users, which the company has deemed do-able and is in the process of horizontally scaling.
Data Rights Assertions
CYBR, Inc. currently holds a provisional patent and incorporates other trade secrets into the solution. No unreasonable restrictions (including ITAR) are placed upon the use of this intellectual property with regards to global sales.
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The Aussie Method Review 2015 - Is Aussie Method SCAM Or LEGIT? Best Binary Options Trading Software. The Truth About The Aussie Method By Jake Pertu Review

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