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Steve Shellman is CEO and chief scientist at Strategic Analysis Enterprises, Inc., or SAE. In this role, Steve Shellman contracts with government agencies and corporations to provide statistical analysis, forecasting, and data collection services.

SAE helped to develop the Integrated Crisis Early Warning System, or ICEWS, as a tool to reliably predict political and social violence and upheaval across the globe. The development for ICEWS was contracted by the United States Defense Department, through the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

SAE contributed to three key parts of the data collection and analytic capabilities of ICEWS. It developed a tool called iTrace, which uses natural language processing algorithms to transform written content into quantitative data that reports interactions within and between countries. The iCast tool then uses data from iTrace and other sources to generate forecasts of actual events, such as crises, rebellions, and violence. The third component, iSent, is an opinion-mining tool that extracts information from web content about human responses to events or issues in a particular region.

SAE is currently working to extend ICEWS globally to create the Worldwide Integrated Crisis Warning System (W-ICEWS). During this multi-year project, SAE is expanding and updating the current system by improving the accuracy and transparency of forecasting models. New countries, sources, and languages will be available for analysis under W-ICEWS.

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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.