Home > Meeting Topics and Material > QUEST Topics Jan 29, 2010

QUEST Topics Jan 29, 2010

QUEST topics 29 Jan 2010:

1.) The first topic this week is ‘intuitive decision making in immersive environments’ – a presentation by our colleague Bob Patterson INTUITIVE-DECISION-MAKING-PRESENTATION-2010-SHORT.  We have spent considerable bandwidth architecting QUEST solutions that have intuitive based processing integrated within the computer side of our human/computer solutions.  Bob’s presentation covers:

a.     the breakdown of analytical versus intuitive decision making and the different types of environments that induce one or the other or a blend of the two;

b.    our research program here at Mesa on implicit learning and intuitive decision making in immersive environments;

c.     I doubt if anyone is interested, but I also have some material on brain areas related to analytical versus intuitive reasoning

2.) The second topic will be a return to the material we were provided by our colleagues at the Knoesis center – Prof Sheth on ‘Computing for Human Experience’ and Twitris.  We want to discuss the approach as a means to accomplish concept encoding. Concept encoding is a key challenge we face as we innovate new solutions in exploitation for layered sensing.

3.) News from the week related to quest interests:

a. http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2010/01/airforce_cyber_unit_012510w/   

Cyber unit stands up – ‘Monday that its cyber fighting arm, the 24th Air Force, reached its initial operating capability less than one year after its stand-up at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas… milestone designation means that 24 AF is capable of performing critical elements of its mission… establish a numbered air force reporting to Air Force Space Command that would focus on cyber warfare. In August 2009, the service stood up 24th Air Force… numbered air force will serve as the air service’s contribution to U.S. Cyber Command when that organization is stood up. For now, however, 24th Air Force reports to AFSPACE…mission will be to operate and defend Air Force computer networks, they remain cryptic about the unit’s offensive mission, saying only that it will “provide full spectrum capabilities for the joint war fighter’

b.http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/stories/2010/01/25/daily3.html 
   

 AF and Haiti – ‘Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is helping boost the safety and effectiveness of relief efforts in earthquake-torn Haiti…developed nearly 10,000 linear feet of film in an eight-hour period on Jan. 16 and 17. The black and white images — shot from a Open Skies OC-135B aircraft flying 15,000 feet above the country — provided detail of damages and best avenues of approach for rescue and relief efforts… media processing facility at the base serves as part of a treaty verification process… summer of 2005, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, NASIC’s Open Skies Media Processing Facility provided similar support to aid rescuers in Louisiana… NASIC is part of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas’

c. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100124/ts_alt_afp/attacksusnigeriabinladenthreat_20100124182004

 Bin laden wording seen as indicator of attack – ‘Osama bin Laden’s word choice in the latest audio message attributed to him is seen as a “possible indicator” of an upcoming attack by his Al-Qaeda network, a US monitoring group warned Sunday… said that manner of the release and the content of the message showed it was “credible” that it was a new release from the Saudi extremist… released to Al-Jazeera on 24 January 2010 contains specific language used by bin Laden in his statements in advance of attacks,” IntelCenter said in a statement… considered the language “a possible indicator of an upcoming attack” in the next 12 months…This phrase, ‘Peace be upon those who follow guidance,’ appears at the beginning and end of messages released in advance of attacks that are designed to provide warning to Al-Qaeda’s enemies that they need to change their ways or they will be attacked… The manner of release, content of message and other factors indicate it is a credible and new release from bin Laden… center said similar language attributed to bin Laden was made in a March 19 2008 condemnation of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed which was followed by an attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad on June 2, 2008…phrase also was used in bin Laden’s April 15, 2004 European truce offer, which was followed by Al-Qaeda attacks in London in July 2005, according to the IntelCenter, which said the 14-month lapse could be explained by the “difficulty” in actually putting an attack into operation… Audio releases were bin Laden’s normal vehicle for statements, with video statements having been very rare since the September 11, 2001 attacks…

d.http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/55449/title/Children_grasp_time_with_distance_in_mind   

Children grasp time using space – ‘watched a blue snail and red snail race on a computer screen and judged which animal traveled a longer distance or a longer time. Results suggest that, by age 4, spatial knowledge plays a critical role in time perception…Although 4-year-olds’ concept of time often seems to consist solely of what they want right now, the passage of time still moves them. By that age, kids already mark time by referring to physical distances… Abstract concepts such as how time works stem from youngsters’ real-world perceptions and behaviors, not from cultural rules or metaphorical language used in speech… time representations depend on space just as strongly in 4-year-olds as in 10-year-olds, even though 4-year-olds have very little experience using space-time metaphors in language… By age 10, children have heard and spoken many spatial metaphors for time, such as “a long test” and “moving up an appointment… Casasanto previously reported that adults estimate the amount of time it takes for lines to lengthen across a computer screen based on how far the lines travel. If two lines expand to different lengths over the same time period, volunteers judge the shorter line to have moved for less time than it actually did and the longer line to have moved for more time than it actually did… timing has no such effect on estimates of distance: Participants don’t let differences in the amount of time that lines extend across a screen affect their judgments of line length… theorizes that spatial knowledge organizes time perception far more than the other way around…confirmed that children of all ages could identify the longer of two lines shown on a computer screen and could determine which of two simultaneously displayed cartoon snails bounced up and down for more time…Each child then viewed three different movies showing pairs of cartoon snails, one red and the other blue, racing from left to right on parallel tracks. Snails traveled either different distances in the same time spans, different distances in different time spans or the same distance in different time spans.. Regardless of age, children relied heavily on the distance traveled by each snail when trying to estimate how long the animals took to reach their destinations. In one example, a snail that crawled farther than its rival during a 4-second race was frequently estimated to have moved for more time than its opponent… new evidence that mental time travel triggers physical movement corresponding to a concept of time’s direction, remarks psychologist Lynden Miles of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Adults told to think about past experiences swayed backward, whereas others told to think about the future swayed forward, Miles and his colleagues report in… sign that the concept of time grows out of spatial knowledge, researchers propose

e.http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/01/21/clinton.internet/index.html    

 Sec Clinton on cyber – ‘Clinton says a cyber attack on one nation is an attack on all… Freedoms should include access to Internet, freedom of speech and worship… speech on Internet freedom and security, Clinton also urged China to investigate a wave of cyber attacks against Google and other companies… interconnected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all…this month, foreign correspondents in at least two Chinese bureaus of news organizations had their Google e-mail accounts attacked, with e-mails forwarded to a mysterious address, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China… latest information technology — designed to open access to governments — can also be used by some governments to “crush dissent and deny human rights… same networks that help organize movements for freedom also enable al Qaeda to spew hatred and incite violence against the innocent…Last year in Saudi Arabia, a man spent months in prison for blogging about Christianity,” she said. Countries such as Vietnam and China have used similar tactics to “restrict access to religious information…

f.       http://www.technologyreview.com/business/24361/

Google and China – ‘Google sparked a confrontation with the Chinese government that will likely end with the company exiting the Chinese market. Google’s statement all but accuses the Chinese government of “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure… Pentagon’s forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review will likely feature discussions concerning “high-end asymmetric threats” such as cyberwarfare… Google stated that the attacks targeted at least 20 other large companies and the email accounts used by prominent Chinese human rights activists… Google has shown the courage to name the villain and accept the consequences for doing so…Google had accepted the Chinese government’s terms regarding censorship. But this week, it decided that it would not be a branch of the regime’s internal security apparatus, a conduit for its global cyberwarfare operations, or a victim of its theft of intellectual property… to the report’s conclusion that U.S. counterterrorism analysts had access to all of the information they needed to prevent the suspect… to Jones was his discovery that the U.S. intelligence community’s computer software was not performing the “data mining” for terrorism threats that he assumed it was…. Information technology within the CT community did not sufficiently enable the correlation of data that would have enabled analysts to highlight the relevant threat information… U.S. intelligence community still does not have computer software that comprehensively searches and correlates data from all of the relevant U.S. government terrorism databases… incident shows what happens when a system relies on the endurance and judgment of an army of overworked human analysts — the bomber eventually gets through… software program performing the same routine as the analysts will not be a panacea. Its parameters will require constant adjustment which will cause many to wonder whether data mining is useful’

g. http://www.insidehw.com/News/Internet/Kids-spend-more-time-online-and-watching-TV-as-sleeping.html    

DARPA and STEM – ‘Pentagon’s far-out research arm Darpa is soliciting proposals for initiatives that would attract teens to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with an emphasis on computing… doesn’t offer specifics on what kinds of activities might boost computing’s appeal to teens, but they want programs to include career days, mentoring, lab tours and counseling…“targeted to middle and high school students, and include methods “to maintain a positive, long-term presence in a student’s education

h. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527446.000-to-beat-spam-turn-its-own-weapons-against-it.html

 Fighting an adaptable foe – spam – ‘been used to develop an “effectively perfect” method for blocking the most common kind of spam…Most of the billions of spam messages sent each day originate in networks of compromised computers, called botnets. Unbeknown to their owners, the machines quietly run malicious software in the background that pumps out spam… now come up with a system that deciphers the templates a botnet is using to create spam. These templates are then used to teach spam filters what to look for…works by exploiting a trick that spammers use to defeat email filters. As spam is churned out, subtle changes are typically incorporated into the messages to confound spam filters. Each message is generated from a template that specifies the message content and how it should be varied. The team reasoned that analysing such messages could reveal the template that created them. And since the spam template describes the entire range of the emails a bot will send, possessing it might provide a watertight method of blocking spam from that bot… team installed a previously captured software bot onto a machine. After analysing 1000 emails generated by this compromised machine – less than 10 minutes’ work for most bots – the researchers were able to reverse-engineer the template. Knowledge of that template then enabled filters to block further spam from that bot with 100 per cent accuracy. **** example of modeling the adaptable foe **… High accuracy can be achieved by existing spam filters, but sometimes at the cost of blocking legitimate mail. The new system did not produce a single false positive when tested against more than a million genuine messages, says Andreas Pitsillidis, one of the team: “The biggest advantage is this false positive rate.” **** seems to me they only tested against new spam from this one system that the filter could model – clearly won’t block spam that it hasn’t yet modeled *…

i.       http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18422-embedded-electronics-bring-popup-books-to-life.html

Embedded electronics and e-pop up books – ‘electronic circuitry embedded in its pages that transforms the tabs, flaps and wheels of a traditional pop-up into switches and a variety of sensors… interactive pages come alive with LED lights, sounds and even vibrate in response to touch…respond to the user’s touch, gently closing around the probing finger as it withdraws. The sensors control the amount of electric current flowing through springs in the leaf. The springs are made of the shape memory alloy nickel-titanium and contract to close the leaf shut as their coils are heated by the current. The leaves reopen as the wire cools…off-the-shelf electrically conductive paints and fabrics, adding custom-made magnetic components programmed using a standard integrated circuit, known as a microcontroller. “The innovation was in finding new uses for these easily available materials…

j.       http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/world/asia/24trap.html?hp

Escaping death in Afghan – stepping on an IED that doesn’t go off – ‘Marine foot patrol here through the predawn chill of Friday morning, he stepped on a pressure-plate rigged to roughly 25 pounds of explosives. The device, enough to destroy a pickup truck or tear apart several men, was buried beneath him in the dusty soil… It did not explode…weight triggered the detonation of one of the booby trap’s two blasting caps. But upon giving an audible pop and tossing small stones into the air, the device failed to ignite its fuller charge — a powerful mix of Eastern Bloc mortar rounds and homemade explosives spiked with motorcycle parts, rusty spark plugs and jagged chunks of steel…an experience at the edge of death became instead an affirmation of friendship, and in which a veteran Marine reluctantly assumed for a morning one of the infantry’s most coveted roles: that of the charmed man… Taliban’s bomb-making cells have sharpened their skills, moving away from smaller bombs in cooking pots to larger bombs encased in multigallon plastic water jugs, cooking-oil containers or ice coolers…contain a slurry of fertilizer mixed with aluminum-based paint, and are triggered either via switches tripped by their victims or by a militant who detonates the weapon remotely when a victim moves near. Sometimes the insurgents use military-grade explosives from unexploded ordnance or conventional land mines…improvised bomb is a simple thing — a few batteries, a few wires, a blasting cap or two inserted into a stable explosive charge. A pressure plate serves as a switch. When depressed, the circuit is closed, the current from the batteries flows to the blasting cap, igniting the cap and setting off the full blast…

k.     http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2010-01-19-games19_ST_N.htm

Microtransactions and free to play – ‘few virtual weapons here, a few avatar outfits there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real — not virtual — money … first appeared in free-to-play online games in China and Southeast Asia, virtual goods and game enhancements paid for in small purchases called microtransactions have become a billion-dollar boon… newest game with microtransactions is War of Legends, from the makers of online hit RuneScape. But unlike RuneScape, which is free but has subscriptions (starting at $5.95 a month) that give players access to premium areas, War of Legends is a free game that lets players buy virtual goods and upgrades to enhance their experiences …

l.       http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2678

DoD MURI grant supports investigation of unified theories of language and cognition machines are still quite primitive in their ability to truly understand human language… multi-university team of researchers to develop unified theories of language and cognition that aim to allow more meaningful linguistic interaction between humans and computers… understanding the nature of human language… make computers understand language,” Cassimatis said. “We’re enabling computers to jointly reason about the world, people in it, and language, to create a unified theory that we hope will allow computers to use language in a more natural and flexible way…. research entails developing a cognitive architecture, or a computational framework, that models the structure and behavior of an intelligent mind, to account for previously unexplained aspects of language…These challenges include decoding ambiguous or metaphorical language; extracting and using contextual clues from the surrounding environment; as well as discerning  and dealing with the changing beliefs, goals, and intentions of other speakers… lack a common sense that makes it nearly impossible, right now, for them to answer many simple factual questions…system include computer-based, artificially intelligent agents that allow people to use spoken language to view, manipulate, or deal with data, such as their personal information. Other possible applications include digital agents that allow scientists to access and analyze data, or let physicians access patient medical information, using language…

m.

Virus and hive intelligence – ‘insect behaviour seems to give viruses the edge in the eternal battle between them and their host…video catches viruses only a few hundred nanometres in size in the act of hopping over cells that are already infected. This allows them to concentrate their energies on previously uninfected cells, accelerating the spread of infection fivefold…traditional idea of how viruses spread goes like this. A virus first enters a cell and hijacks its machinery to make its own viral proteins and replicate. Thousands of replicated viruses then spread to neighbouring cells to wreak havoc…watched the vaccinia virus infecting monkey liver cells, he thought that it was spreading far too quickly. “It takes 5 to 6 hours for the virus to replicate, but it was spreading from cell to cell within 1 or 2 hours…

n.    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18429-if-you-think-a-crow-is-giving-you-the-evil-eye.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

Crows and face recognition – ‘can recognise individual human faces and hold a grudge for years against people who have treated them badly…have observed that crows seem to recognise them, and a few researchers have even gone to the extreme of wearing masks when capturing birds to band (or “ring”) them, so that they could later observe the birds without upsetting them…Whenever a person wearing the same mask approached those crows later, the birds scolded them loudly. In contrast, they ignored the same person wearing a mask of former US Vice-President Dick Cheney, which had never been worn during banding. “Most of the time you walk right up to them and they don’t care at all… birds’ antipathy to the caveman mask has lasted more than three years, even though the crows have had no further bad experiences with people wearing it…second experiment, Marzluff’s team prepared six masks from casts of people’s faces, then wore different masks to capture crows in each of four locations. In each case, they found, the crows recognised and scolded whichever mask they had seen when they were captured, and ignored the others… crows pay close attention to humans, noting which individuals pose a threat and which do not…

o.    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/01/25/afghanistan.taliban/index.html?hpt=T1

Taliban increasingly effective – ‘Security incidents” up to 500 per week in 2009, from 40 per week five years earlier Detainees say Taliban trying to distance themselves from al Qaeda … Taliban’s “organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding” and the group is capable of much greater frequency of attacks and varied locations of attacks… insurgency can now sustain itself indefinitely because… three factors … increased availability of bomb-making technology and material… Taliban’s access to two major funding streams, one from the opium trade and the other from overseas donations from Muslim countries… Taliban’s continuing ability to recruit foot soldiers based on the perception that they “retain the religious high-ground…Detainees also told interrogators that the Taliban see al Qaeda as a handicap — a view that is spreading as the Taliban try to present themselves as a nationalist group seeking to liberate Afghanistan from foreign forces… al Qaeda “provides facilitation, training and some funding” to the Taliban and predicts that “perceived insurgent success will draw foreign fighters… Taliban maintain a “mutually supportive relationship” with Chechen and central Asian fighters and will seek to “manage” their relationship with al Qaeda so as not to alienate the Afghan population, but still “encourage support from the global jihadi network…. Taliban’s overall strategy is not to defeat international forces in Afghanistan, but to “outlast international will to remain in Afghanistan… explosives do for the Taliban what surface-to-air missiles once did for the Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviets — somewhat equalize the fight against a superpower, Flynn says…increasingly made from homemade explosives. About 85 percent of improvised explosives in Afghanistan are made with ammonium nitrate, a common fertilizer — the same ingredient used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing…briefing also outlined Taliban weaknesses, including disagreements among local Taliban leaders, the group’s dependence on marginalized ethnic Pashtuns, and over-reliance on “external support,” an apparent reference to Taliban havens in Pakistan… United States and its allies have a key advantage — the Taliban have not yet reached the level of a popular movement… official also cited what he called “fundamental positive change”: significantly fewer civilian deaths caused by U.S. and NATO forces

p.    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/technology/21reader.html?ref=technology

Kindle apps – ‘more than 70 percent of electronic reader sales and 80 percent of e-book purchases, according to some analysts. And on Thursday it will take a page from Apple and announce that it is opening up the Kindle to outside software developers…Apple’s much-anticipated tablet computer, which is widely expected to be announced next Wednesday and go on sale this spring, will be a far more versatile (and expensive) device that will offer access to books, newspapers and other reading material through Apple’s popular App Store on iTunes…Amazon will say that it is letting programmers create what it calls active content — similar to applications — for the Kindle and keep 70 percent of the revenue from each sale after paying for wireless delivery costs… release a set of programming guidelines that other companies — including publishers of books and periodicals — can use to create and sell applications for the Kindle… Amazon introduces more advanced models of the Kindle, developers will be limited by its slow-to-refresh black-and-white screen…he expected developers would devise a wide range of programs, including utilities like calculators, stock tickers and casual video games. He also predicts publishers will begin selling a new breed of e-books, like searchable travel books and restaurant guides that can be tailored to the Kindle owner’s location; textbooks with interactive quizzes; and novels that combine text and audio… executives at those organizations have expressed dissatisfaction with their 30 percent cut of subscription fees on the Kindle and lack of a direct relationship with those subscribers… Kindle app store, those media companies will be able to sell more profitable Kindle applications, and present news that is updated throughout the day… Analysts say that to buyers of an Apple tablet, playing video or video games may be more important than reading…Typically, Amazon charges $9.99 for new releases and best sellers, a price that other e-book vendors, including Sony and Barnes & Noble, have effectively been forced to follow…moved to counter Apple’s appeals as well. On Wednesday it announced it would improve the royalty terms for authors or publishers who publish e-books directly onto the Kindle — essentially beckoning authors and their agents to split off e-book rights and sell them directly to Amazon…says it will offer authors and publishers who set e-book prices below $9.99 a royalty rate of 70 percent of the digital list price (after delivery costs, typically about 6 cents a book) — an obvious echo of Apple’s offering…2nd article … payment scheme that puts developers on the hook for some wireless download costs and a challenging user interface, the Kindle might not enjoy the wide variety of apps already available for the iPhone…development software is still being tested and revised. But a handful of software developers, including game maker Sonic Boom of New York, were given an early version of the development kit a few months ago so they could start working on products. Amazon says a larger group of testers will get ahold of the software next month…The problem, he says, is getting an application recognized among 120 million others. Amazon’s payment scheme should cut back on the number of developers, because it makes them responsible for paying $0.15/megabyte for downloads… Hobbyists likely won’t submit programs to the Kindle store due to the potential costs involved, which will make it easier for professional developers like Sonic Boom to garner customers’ attention…. Kindle, you don’t want to be downloading a whole bunch of great big images,” Lackey says. The developer wouldn’t want to pay for all that downloaded content…The Kindle is quite a bit more limited from a user-interface perspective,” Lackey says. “Control of the Kindle is very much page-based,” with the user usually pushing buttons to move from one page to the next. “It doesn’t use the scrolling metaphor like you’re used to on the iPhone and other smart phones,” he says. The Kindle also lacks a touch screen…Apple’s existing relationship with software developers who write games and other small applications for the iPhone likely makes it the biggest contender for the e-reader throne. E-Ink, the display technology used in the Kindle e-reader, is already viewed as limited, given that it is slow to refresh, doesn’t offer color, and can’t support video…Kindle’s biggest strength is the number of quality books that are available for it. If Apple gets into the e-reader space, its biggest challenge may be negotiating for those same books, he says. “Publishers will be leery of a potential hegemony

q.    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/12/army-building-ultra-high-power-laser-guns/

Laser weapons – ‘Boeing is developing a mobile laser weapon for the U.S. Army. Mounted in an Osh Kosh armored vehicle, the weapon will will enable the military to fight at the speed of light… Boeing, one of the Pentagon’s top contractors, already has a laser weapon that will improve the military’s ability to counter artillery, mortar, drone aircraft and even rockets… A military scientist operates a laser in a test environment. The Directorate conducts research on a variety of solid-state and chemical lasers… U.S. Army project, called the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL-TD), touted as the future of American war… Boeing is building only a demonstrator now … in this case, a test unit…eventually include high-speed processors, optical sensors, and an array of mirrors. Testing of the device’s lethal capacity will begin next fiscal year at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In addition to the U.S. Army, Boeing is developing its laser technologies for the Air Force and Navy…Lasers are sensitive devices, yet in combat, they will be used in harsh conditions, including sand and wind storms. Sapphire is the second-hardest material on earth, next to diamonds, “yet they can be free of imperfections and perfectly flat,” says Beth Hespe, a spokeswoman for Rubicon. The material helps keep the laser stable — key to its effectiveness as a weapon…Last March, Northrop Grumman announced that its engineers in Redondo Beach, Calif., had successfully built and tested an electric laser capable of producing a 100-kilowatt ray of light, powerful enough to destroy cruise missiles. An electric laser requires much less space for its supporting equipment than a chemical laser, which is powered by a chemical reaction rather than an electrical power source… Lasers are also being used in radar and radio applications by the military. “They are also playing a leading role in the development of wideband communications — wideband essentially being a synonym for delivering broadband capability to the battlefield,

r.      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/26/report-secret-joint-operations-yemen/

U.s. and Yemen issues – ‘U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops, The Washington Post reported … Yemeni troops in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional Al Qaeda affiliate… participating in joint operations for some time with Yemeni troops, and the two countries are currently in discussions to build a new aviation unit to help bolster Yemen’s counterterrorism forces while the intelligence sharing has been critical, the Yemen military badly needs helicopters for its counterterrorism operations… do not take part in raids in Yemen, but provide intelligence, surveillance, planning and other weapons assistance… approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric, was thought to be meeting with other regional Al Qaeda leaders…Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other world leaders meet in London on Wednesday to hash out a plan. Efforts to stabilize the impoverished nation, where the government is battling Al Qaeda strongholds with American help, are suddenly urgent after years of faltering… U.S. officials are uneasy, however, about Yemen’s government. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s army has only sporadically pursued the growing Al Qaeda threat in Yemen’s vast tribal territory… after several Yemeni detainees who had been released from Guantanamo Bay prison resurfaced as leaders of the country’s growing Al Qaeda faction…

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