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In 2008, Stephen M. Shellman founded Strategic Analysis Enterprises, Inc., to help support government agencies making national-scale decisions. The company has since worked on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Joint Staff, and U.S. Strategic Command. It also did major subcontract work on the Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS), a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

DARPA funded ICEWS to create a platform that could reliably forecast upheaval and violence. It makes use of three major planks. First, it uses natural language processing to take unstructured news reports and turn them into quantitative indices. Second, it combines that data with other data to generate continuous forecasts of rebellions, international crises, insurgencies, and ethnic or religious violence. Third, it combs news feeds and blogs to measure public sentiment about events and organizations in a region.

ICEWS was created with a focus on the operations area of the U.S. Pacific Command. ONR extended the DARPA ICEWS project to the world. The Worldwide ICEWS or WICEWS project now includes global coverage of crises worldwide.

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posted at wpclipart.com Public DomainAlthough novice amateur astronomers cannot be faulted for their enthusiasm, purchasing a telescope should never be done on impulse. Before purchasing, amateur astronomers should determine what they want to do with their telescope, what size they can manage, and the price they are able to afford.

Telescopes fall into two basic groups: refracting and reflecting. Refracting telescopes feature a lens on the front end, known as an objective. The objective forms the images, which are then viewed through an eyepiece. Reflecting telescopes are constructed with a curved mirror, which is mounted at the bottom. The eyepiece then picks up the reflected image.

Experienced amateur astronomers tend to maintain strong opinions regarding their preferred type of telescope. Attending an official star party will provide novice astronomers with an opportunity to sample both types of telescopes and to seek their advice. Star parties often include a vendors’ area, where people can and compare different telescopes and accessories.

About the Author: By day, Stephen Shellman serves as a senior researcher of political conflict and terrorism. By night, he is an avid amateur astronomer. View his website at www.atticbluffsobservatory.com.