Connect with us

Culture

Ireland v France is the box-office clash of the Six Nations

Back in the day many in England and France reckoned that their annual head-to-head in the Six Nations should be the final shoot-out on the last Saturday night.

It no doubt pleased French and UK TV executives that le crunch will again provide the finale on March 19th this year. Yet by rights this looks a more apt description for next Saturday’s clash between France and Ireland, and the pity is it has come so soon.

These are early days, for sure, but France went into the tournament as favourites, with Ireland second in the betting for the title, and those odds have hardened after each accrued bonus point home wins, with Ireland now rising to third in the world rankings above England and France in fifth.

Both teams will be sharper for those openers too. France looked rusty in biblical rain at the Stade de France against Italy on Sunday. But, typical of them, they came to life in telling fashion when they needed to, not least to outflank the blitz Italian defence with those lovely tip-on passes by Romain Ntamack and Damian Penaud for Gabin Villière to slide in for the first of his three tries. They have those strike plays in their locker.

Like no one else they can also conjure tries out of relatively nothing or, in the case of Penaud’s finish after his exchange of passes with Antoine Dupont, from a quick throw by Melvyn Jaminet – a reminder of the need to stay alert if the ball is not put into the crowd.

This was Dupont’s most influential contribution on a relatively off-colour day for the great man. But the French scrumhalf, talisman and captain had only played once for Toulouse since his star-of-the-match display away to Cardiff on December 11th, having suffered a leg infection and Covid in the interim.

Like his team-mates, Dupont will be better for that game. Besides, not too much can ever be read into French performances against Italy. Les Bleus expect to win this fixture, and overconfidence perhaps partly contributed to their only Six Nations defeats by the Azzurri, in Rome in 2011 and 2013.

Damian Penaud crosses to score France’s fourth try against Italy. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Damian Penaud crosses to score France’s fourth try against Italy. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

According to French sources, even in the build-up to last Sunday, their primary focus was on the Irish game next Saturday. They may well have slightly over-trained before Italy. Those nine Irish wins in a row demand respect, as does the third-place ranking.

Under Fabien Galthié and his assistants, and the new-found relationship with the clubs, every Top 14 player now wants to play for Les Bleus, which wasn’t always the case over the last decade. Likewise, the French rugby public have rediscovered their love for the team.

Title drought

However, France haven’t won a Championship title since 2010, their longest wait since their first outright triumph in 1959. After the last two near-misses under Galthié, this team desperately needs to end that drought. The weight of expectation on them is huge.

They freely acknowledge that they need a Six Nations title before hosting the World Cup next year, to legitimise their chances of lifting the William Webb Ellis Cup on home soil. As an aside, this will also be the last meeting between France and Ireland in Paris until a potential World Cup quarter-final.

Farrell has to consider restoring
Iain Henderson and Robbie Henshaw. 

Interestingly too, both Galthié and Andy Farrell appear to have similar selection posers, namely in the secondrow and at inside centre. Galthié opted to use Cameron Woki’s lineout skills and athleticism in the secondrow against Italy. But Woki could return to the backrow at the expense of Dylan Cretin, thus beefing up the secondrow by renewing Bernard le Roux’s partnership alongside Paul Willemse, the other South African-born lock who qualified through residency.

Jonathan Danty’s ankle injury against Italy is likely to rule him out of next Saturday’s match. The 21-year-old Bordeaux midfielder Yoram Moefana, born in New Caledonia, came on and made the initial break for that Penaud try, and is a likelier replacement than Virimi Vakatawa. The fit-again Matthieu Jalibert might also return to the matchday squad.

Similarly, Farrell has to consider restoring Iain Henderson and Robbie Henshaw. The former brings the required horsepower, although he hasn’t played in eight weeks and Tadhg Beirne maintained his superb form against Wales. Ditto Bundee Aki as regards Henshaw.

Home advantage

With the return of full stadia, home advantage will also be a big factor on Saturday night, as it was on opening weekend. It being England, the Calcutta Cup and the later kick-off, the Murrayfield crowd seemed particularly engaged. Although spending less than a minute in the English 22, Scotland deserved their win, if only for their defence, conjuring one superb try and forcing a penalty try through the pinpoint accuracy of Finn Russell’s consecutive crosskicks to his two wingers.

Quite why Luke Cowan-Dickie didn’t try to catch the ball rather than palm it into touch only he knows, but how did England’s defensive system end up with a reserve frontrow as their last three defenders when Russell kicked back to the right?

Will Andy Farrell retain Bundee Aki or bring in Robbie Henshaw on Saturday? Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Will Andy Farrell retain Bundee Aki or bring in Robbie Henshaw on Saturday? Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It didn’t help that Joe Marchant, a centre on the wing, had been dragged across initially, or that Max Malins, a full-back on the right wing, had been beaten by Duhan van der Merwe. Eddie Jones is being beaten over the head for removing the new darling of English rugby Marcus Smith – although more significant factors were England’s selection and tactics, which mostly revolved around aimless kicking and one-off runners.

And Maro Itoje’s most notable contributions were to concede two needless penalties in that last-quarter implosion. Scotland celebrated wildly, but they’d have been kicking themselves if they hadn’t beaten such a poor English team who will, presumably, improve.

By stark contrast, not for the first time in the last year, much of Ireland’s performance, be it the solid foundations of set-piece and a defence that all the players clearly revel in contributing towards, or the intricate attacking play, suggested Farrell, his assistants and the players might be creating something special.

We’ll have a better idea by next Saturday night in Paris.

Source link

Culture

‘The Bill Gates Problem’ – The Case Against World’s Richest Man

The Case Against World’s Richest Man

When Clinton assumed the presidency of the United States, there was eager anticipation from the Chinese, not for Clinton himself, but for Bill Gates. This was during the late 1990s, a period when the internet was still in its nascent stages, and the digital boom of the early 2000s had not yet reached its peak. The enigmatic persona that captivated the attention of the burgeoning Asian powerhouse is now portrayed in “The Bill Gates Problem” as a “domineering, brusque figure” whose demeanor is likened to “a cauldron of passions that freely erupts.” According to a former employee cited in the book, Gates was perceived as “a complete and utter jerk to people 70% of the time,” while the remaining 30% saw him as a “harmless, enjoyable, exceptionally intelligent nerd.”

The 1990s were also the decade of the conflict between Microsoft and the now defunct Netscape browser, which challenged what was already being openly described as the former’s monopolistic practices. Gates was investigated and accused in Congress for such practices; he ultimately won the battle, but the case harmed his reputation, and in 2000 he resigned as CEO of his company. From there he undertook an expansion of the foundation that he had established with his wife and to which he has dedicated his main efforts in the last two decades. In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation received the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

With a personal fortune of $100 billion and tens of billions more in his private foundation, Gates has been one of the richest men in the world for decades, and the foundation has been the most generous organization of its kind, specializing above all in health aid, education and child nutrition, with a large presence in Africa and India among other regions of what was formerly known as the Third World. Tim Schwab, a contributor to the weekly left-wing newspaper The Nation, undertook a detailed investigation to denounce something that in truth was already known: that American foundations are largely a way for billionaires to avoid taxes.

To prove this, he thoroughly looked into the accounts and procedures of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the failures and occasional successes of its philanthropic policies, and came to the conclusion that behind this facade of help to the needy hides an operation of power. He is ruthless in his criticism, although accurate in his analysis of the growing inequality in the world. Absorbed by the revolutionary rhetoric, he laments that the Gates Foundation has remained “deadly silent” regarding movements such as Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter, which demand social change in the face of the “excess wealth and ‘white savior’ mentality that drives Bill Gates’ philanthropic work.” He does attribute some good intentions, but his criticism is merciless, sometimes even coarse, while the absence of solutions for the problems he denounces — other than the calls for do-goodism — is frustrating.

His abilities as an investigative journalist are thus overshadowed by a somewhat naive militancy against the creative capitalism that Gates promotes and an evident intention to discredit not only his work but, above all, him. The demands he makes for transparency and the accusations of obscurity are dulled by the author himself in the pages he dedicates to Gates’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the famous corruptor of minors at the service of the international jet set. Gates has explained his meetings and interviews with him on countless occasions, and in no case has any type of relationship, other than their commercial relations or some confusing efforts to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, been proved. Still, Schwab raises, with no evidence whatsoever, the possibility that their relationship “could have had something to do with Epstein’s principal activities in life: sexual gratification and the exercise of power.” The book is full of this kind of opinions and speculations, to the detriment of a more serious analysis of Gates’ mistakes in the management of his foundation, the problems of shielding the intellectual property of vaccines in the hands of the pharmaceutical industries and, ultimately, the objective power that big technology companies have in global society.

He signed a collaboration agreement with the RAE to improve Microsoft’s grammar checker and was interested in the substantial unity of the Spanish language in all the countries where almost 600 million people speak it. That man was very far from the sexist, arrogant, miserable predator that Schwab portrays. Nor did we deduce — and this can be applied to the personal adventure of Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — that his life’s goal was world domination, as suggested by this book. If they have achieved it, or may achieve it, it is due to the dynamics of digital civilization and the objective difficulties in governing it. The deregulation of financial capitalism, which has increased inequality among humankind, is due to the incompetence of obsolete political institutions and to leaders who care more about their own fates than those of their people. The criticism against “lame and wasteful government bureaucracies” might be part of the propaganda promoted by the world’s wealthy, but lately we have also heard it from small-scale farmers across Europe.

In conclusion, we found the book to be more entertaining than interesting. It provides a lot of information — we’re not sure if it’s entirely verified — and plenty of cheap ideology. Above all, one can see the personal crusade of the author, determined to prove that Bill Gates is a problem for democracy and that millionaire philanthropists are a bunch of swindlers. The world needs their money; maybe managed by party bureaucracies, that much is not clear. Bill Gates’ money, that is, but not Bill Gates himself.


Continue Reading

Culture

Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Team VoiceOfEU.com

— For Info.: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous Submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


Continue Reading

Culture

The Complex World of Cyber Warfare & Digital Battlefield

The Cyber Warfare And Digital Era

By Raza Qadri

In digital age, the world has witnessed an unprecedented rise in cyber warfare – a new frontier where nations and threat actors engage in battles beyond traditional borders. The evolution of technology has brought with it the emergence of cyber weapons and tactics, leading to a complex web of cyber espionage, attacks on critical infrastructure, and nation-state cyber operations.

As technologists, it is imperative to comprehend this rapidly evolving landscape and the challenges it poses to our global security. Here, we will explore Cyber Warfare in detail.

. Understanding Cyber Warfare

. Cyber Weapons and Tactics

. Nation-State Cyber Operations

. Spying in the Digital Age with Cyber Espionage

. Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Including Power Grids, Water Systems, and More

. Cybersecurity Measures: Safeguarding Nations against Digital Threats

. Attribution Challenges: Unmasking the Culprits Behind Cyber Offensives

. Offensive Vs. Defensive Cyber Capabilities

. The Evolution of Cyber Warfare with Past, Present, and Future Trends

. The Global Impact of Cyber Warfare — Diplomatic, Economic, and Societal Ramifications


Understanding Cyber Warfare

Cyber warfare encompasses the use of digital tools and technologies to conduct offensive and defensive operations in the virtual realm. It involves exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and data to achieve military or strategic objectives.

Key components of cyber warfare include hacking, malware deployment, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and cyber espionage. The cyber battlefield extends beyond government agencies to encompass private corporations, institutions, and individuals.

Cyber Weapons and Tactics

In the arsenal of cyber warfare, sophisticated tools are employed to infiltrate and compromise target systems. Malware, such as viruses, worms, and ransomware, is utilized to disrupt operations and steal sensitive information. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are employed for long-term espionage, allowing attackers to remain undetected within a system for extended periods.

Additionally, social engineering techniques, such as phishing and spear-phishing, are commonly used to deceive users and gain unauthorized access.

Nation-State Cyber Operations

Nation-states have recognized the potential of cyber warfare to advance their strategic interests, leading to the proliferation of state-sponsored cyber operations. Countries invest heavily in developing cyber capabilities and often maintain specialized cyber units responsible for executing offensive operations.

Such operations can range from stealing intellectual property and sensitive information to launching disruptive attacks against adversary nations. However, attributing cyber attacks to specific countries remains a complex challenge.

Spying in the Digital Age with Cyber Espionage

One of the primary objectives of cyber warfare is espionage, where state and non-state actors seek to gather classified information and gain a competitive edge. Advanced cyber tools and techniques enable clandestine access to government, military, and corporate networks. Cyber spies operate stealthily, exfiltrating valuable data without leaving a trace. This form of espionage poses significant threats to national security and can lead to severe economic consequences.

Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Including Power Grids, Water Systems, and More

Critical infrastructure, including power grids, transportation systems, and healthcare facilities, has become prime targets for cyber attacks. Disrupting these systems can cause chaos and destabilize a nation.

Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to gain control over infrastructure components. Securing critical infrastructure against cyber threats is crucial to safeguarding society’s basic functioning.

Cybersecurity Measures Safeguarding Nations against Digital Threats

As the cyber threat landscape intensifies, nations must strengthen their cybersecurity measures. Robust defense mechanisms, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption, are employed to protect networks and data from unauthorized access.

Additionally, regular security assessments, incident response plans, and cybersecurity awareness training play pivotal roles in mitigating cyber risks.

Unmasking the Culprits Behind Cyber Offensives

Identifying the perpetrators behind cyber attacks is fraught with challenges. Attackers often use sophisticated techniques to conceal their origins, employing proxy servers and compromised infrastructure. The absence of clear attribution can lead to misjudgment and further escalation of conflicts. Overcoming these challenges requires international cooperation, technical expertise, and intelligence sharing.

Offensive Vs. Defensive Cyber Capabilities

Nations must strike a delicate balance between developing offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. While offensive operations offer advantages in intelligence gathering and deterring adversaries, they can lead to retaliation and escalate tensions.

“Defensive capabilities are vital to protect national assets, infrastructure, and citizens from cyber threats. The reach of these threats is evolving at the same rate as the capabilities of not just computing, but science and even art.”

— John Elf

Striving for equilibrium is essential to avoid the perilous repercussions of unchecked cyber warfare.

The Evolution of Cyber Warfare with Past, Present, and Future Trends

Cyber warfare evolution, a critical facet of modern conflict, has seen profound evolution shaped by technological advancements and geopolitical shifts. Its origins trace back to the late 20th century with events like the Morris Worm incident in 1988, marking one of the first large-scale cyber attacks. As the internet gained prominence, cyber espionage and criminal activities burgeoned. By the late 1990s, nation-states recognized the strategic potential of cyber operations, exemplified by the Stuxnet worm in 2010, targeting Iran’s nuclear program. Presently, state-sponsored cyber operations are ubiquitous, with the SolarWinds hack of 2020 highlighting their sophistication. Ransomware attacks, typified by the Colonial Pipeline incident in 2021, pose substantial economic threats. The proliferation of advanced persistent threats (APTs) further complicates the cyber landscape, with groups like APT29 and APT28 linked to high-profile breaches.

Looking forward, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize cyber warfare. AI-powered attacks can adapt swiftly, evade detection, and exploit vulnerabilities with unprecedented precision. The rise of AI-driven defense mechanisms will be crucial in countering cyber threats. Quantum computing presents both promise and peril, with its computational power potentially revolutionizing cryptography, while simultaneously posing a threat to current encryption methods. Preparing for a quantum-secure cyber environment will be imperative. The evolution of cyber warfare reflects a trajectory of increasing complexity and sophistication. With geopolitical tensions and technological advancements driving this evolution, governments, organizations, and cybersecurity experts must remain vigilant. Understanding the past, present, and future trends of cyber warfare equips us to adapt to this ever-changing landscape. Embracing robust cybersecurity measures, fostering international cooperation, and investing in cutting-edge technologies will be paramount in securing our digital future.

The Global Impact of Cyber Warfare — Diplomatic, Economic, and Societal Ramifications

The ramifications of cyber warfare extend beyond the digital realm, influencing diplomatic relations, economies, and societal well-being. Nation-states engage in cyber espionage to gain geopolitical advantages, resulting in strained international relations.

Economies face significant losses due to cyber attacks on businesses and critical infrastructure. Furthermore, cyber warfare poses risks to individuals’ privacy, freedom of speech, and online safety.

Finally, we can conclude that cyber warfare has emerged as a powerful tool in the hands of state and non-state actors, with the potential to reshape global dynamics. As technologists, understanding the intricacies of cyber warfare is crucial to developing effective defenses and advocating responsible use of technology.

By collaboratively addressing the challenges posed by cyber warfare, we can safeguard the digital future and foster a secure and resilient world.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!


By Raza Qadri | Business, science & technology contributor ‘THE VOICE OF EU’

— For more information: Info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous news submissions: Press@VoiceOfEU.com


Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!