The continuing dangers of terrorism: The end of ISIS as we know it is drawing near, as the military noose tightens around the last remaining vestiges of the fighters that once terrorized large swaths of Iraq and Syria. This is siege warfare at its purest and most brutal.  There will be no reprieve for these fighters. In the end, they will lose and they will die. Along with that inevitability, a large number of innocent hostages, perhaps all of them, will perish as well. Even so, the siege will not be lifted. Why is this important to those not directly affected directly by the combat? Although these fighters will surely die, their ideology will live on. ISIS at its core represents hatred, envy, and resentment; a quest for power in a world run by others, the “Infidels.” Put differently, this is not just a religious conflict, but also a clash of cultures, of values, and beliefs. Hatred and its horrible manifestations have never gone away over eons of time.  The forces that gave birth to ISIS will live on in other people, other places.  The clash of cultures will continue. The real question is, “What’s next?” What comes in the wake of the ISIS destruction? Whatever comes will likely be even more lethal. Western society must continue to be vigilant. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

A very sophisticated phishing scheme: In a phishing attack that even the most vigilant users could fall for, cybercriminals are distributing links to blogs and services that prompt visitors to first “login using Facebook account” to read an exclusive article or purchase a discounted product. This is usually safe; the Hacker News explains how to tell the fakes. READ MORE

Online funerals: When you die online, it is only right and proper that you be allowed to die online. Thus, the weird rise of cyber funerals. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Reckless dam building? In 1975, a typhoon generated more than a year’s worth of rain in just 24 hours, causing the soaring Banqiao Dam in China to collapse. A reported 85,000 people died instantly and an estimated 230,000 died from resulting infection and famine. Now, massive dam projects are back in fashion. READ MORE