August 29, 2012

Most Dangerous Computer Virus Of All Time

In the grand view of human history, computers are a fairly recent development. Today they are everywhere, but only 50 years ago the idea of a computer in every home and in everyone’s hand was a thought found only in science fiction novels.

But just as regular viruses have been tormenting the human body since we climbed down from the trees, computer viruses have been around since the first lot of us plugged our PC’s in to the outlet. Now, there’s a whole host of computer viruses out there -- some bad, some really bad, and some not-so-bad. But the viruses below were the worst of the worst.

If you’ve seen the 1995 Angelina Jolie film Hackers, then you’re probably familiar with the computer virus depicted in the film, which is known as The Da Vinci Virus. The Da Vinci Virus was probably a thinly veiled allusion to a real life virus that ran amok a few years earlier in 1992, that was also named after a world famous artist/Ninja Turtle, Michelangelo.

Back in 1991, some computer technicians in New Zealand found a virus on a random computer. The virus they found was designed to attack all DOS-based computers, and it would make a computer seem like it had its hard drive erased, when, in actually, nothing had been erased at all. For the average computer user of the time, this problem was not easily rectified.

For a while, the virus laid dormant. Only a handful of computers were actually infected by it, so no one cared to fix the problem. It wasn’t a blip on anyone’s radar.

In January of 1992, a computer manufacturer accidentally shipped 500 home PC’s out to consumers that had been infected by the Michelangelo virus. Another company did the same thing, but with floppy disks and instead of just 500, they shipped out 900.

500 + 900 = 1,400 infected computers, give or take. So that doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Right. Well, some “expert” at the Reuters news agency estimated that 25% of all Americas computers would be infected by the virus. Where they got this number is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that this caused a bit of an uproar among personal computer users.

And then it came: On March 6th, 1992, the birthday of Michelangelo, the virus went live. It turned out that the virus was nearly as destructive as it was hyped to be, but caused a fair amount of chaos: 10,000 to 20,000 computers were infected and “lost” their data.
The creator of the virus was never found and Michelangelo is still floating around out there somewhere on the internet. It hasn’t been active since March 6th, 1992.


Unleashed from Taiwan in June of 1998, CIH one of the most dangerous and destructive viruses ever. The virus infected Windows 95, 98, and ME computers and it was able to remain in a PC's memory, where it would infect what’s called ”executables,” a command that performs a certain task according to the coding of the computer.

Unlike Michelangelo, when CIH said it was going to erase your hard drive, it wasn’t all show. It actually did it. And it did…to an incalculable amount of computers worldwide. It would even overwrite your BIOs, rendering our computer useless as it never booted up.

And the worst part is that since the virus attached itself to and attacked executable files (where are in every piece of software out there), it was shipped out on millions of software discs unknowingly, including the anticipated demo for a video game called Sin made by the company Activation.

As I said, the number of computers it damaged is innumerable, but it is estimated the amount of damaged it caused cost between 20 and 80 million dollars.

The creator of the virus was a college student Tatung University in Taipei named Chen Ing Hau (CIH). When he created the virus, his university reprimanded him, but not harshly. Later, Chen discovered that the virus had somehow escaped his reach and had become prevalent. He confessed to creating the virus and apologized to the millions of Chinese citizens that were affected by it. He was never prosecuted because at the time, there were no laws in the Taiwanese constitution regarding computer viruses.

Love Bug

In 200, computer users received e-mails with the subject line “ILOVEYOU.” If one were to open this e-mail and download its attachment, out would spring a virus that would automatically e-mail itself to everyone on your contacts list. Also, once it was opened, it would send your e-mail address and password to its original authors.

And who were the original authors? Two men from the Philippines named Onel de Guzman and Reomel Ramones. And just as it happened with Chen Ing Hau with the CIH virus, so too happened with Onel and Reomel: There were no cyber crime laws in the Philippines, so they got off Scott-free.  In fact, Onel was offered several computer programming jobs as a result.

Code Red

Code Red was a computer worm that was let loose on network servers on July 13, 2001. It was a particularly nasty bug because of its target: Computers running Microsoft  Internet Information Server Web server. The worm was able to exploit a specific vulnerability in the server operating system. Ironically, Microsoft had released a patch addressing this problem a month before.

Code Red was designed for maximum damage. Upon infection, the Web site controlled by the affected server would display the message, "Hacked By Chinese!" Then the virus would look for other vulnerable servers and infect them. This would go on for approximately 20 days, and then it would launch denial of service attacks on certain IP addresses, including the White House Web server. In less than a week, this virus infected almost 400,000 servers, and it's estimated that one million total computers were infected. It also infected a number of websites that ran off of Microsoft servers, including AT&T, Hotmail, and the website for Federal Express.

Lastly but not least:


Conficker, also known as Downadup or Kido, is the latest super virus to spread around the Internet and has security experts in a panic. When last we checked, about a week ago, Conficker had already spread to 9 million PCs, with little sign of slowing. Now it has infected at least 10 million PCs and experts believe there may be up to 350 million vulnerable computers out there.

The worm isn't just exploiting a networking hole, however; it features a sophisticated method of cracking administrator passwords, making it difficult to remove, and also copies itself to USB drives so that it can spread even when the online flaw is plugged.

So far this schizophrenic virus hasn't caused any serious damage. Its primary effect has been to prevent people from installing Windows updates and anti-virus software that could potentially thwart the malware. What worries security experts, though, is Conficker's ability to launch a second stage, downloading additional code that could hijack computers completely, steal personal information, or commit basic extortion -- demanding money for fake anti-virus software claiming to remove the infection.

Since it is currently sitting dormant, possibly awaiting further instructions, Conficker is very difficult to detect without running an up-to-date virus and malware scanner. However, if your Internet connection is running abnormally slowly, if services such as Windows Defender is disabled, or if you are unable to access some security-related Web sites (like those for anti-virus programs), then you may be infected and should certainly follow the removal directions included below.

Conficker has certainly spread far and wide, and gathered its fair share of media attention, but is it the biggest virus ever? That remains to be seen. It is certainly the biggest threat to personal computer security to come along in the last few years and would easily claim a spot on the list.

August 14, 2012

Along the 33rd Parallel: A Global Mystery Circle

The number 33 enigmatically stretches as a latitude line across many diverse cultures in many different times. Known in numerology as the Master Teacher, 33 is the most influential of all numbers, indicating selfless devotion to the spiritual progress of humankind. The other two master numbers, 11 (vision) and 22 (vision with action) form the base of a two-dimensional pyramid, and added together equal 33 (guidance to the world), the apex of the pyramid. [1] On the reverse of the Masonically inspired Great Seal of the United States is the pyramid with the all-seeing eye of divine Reason at its apex. According to ritual Freemasonry, XXXIII is considered sacred because in most cases there is no higher degree or level to which a Mason may aspire.
In a Biblical context we note that King David ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-three years, Jacob had thirty-three sons and daughters, and Jesus Christ was crucified at age thirty-three. Two interpenetrating triangles whose apexes point in opposite directions form the hexagram of the Star of David (3 + 3 = 6). On the other hand, 3 X 3 = 9, or the Ennead, the nine primal gods of Egyptian mythology.
The late thirteenth/early fourteenth century Italian poet Dante ended Canto XXXIII of the Purgatorio, or the second section of his Divine Comedy: “...perfect, pure, and ready for the Stars.” [2] Canto XXXIII of the Paradiso, or the third section, concludes with lines about the poet being turned “as in a wheel whose motion nothing jars-- / by the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars.” [3] It is more than a coincidence that the 33rd canto of each section concludes with parallel lines regarding the celestial; it may instead be the code from a lost ancient tradition.
This number even permeates the biological realm studied by science: thirty-three is the number of turns in a complete sequence of DNA. [4] A more ominous connotation appears in the 33rd element of the periodic table. Arsenic is a brittle, steel-gray substance that is actively poisonous. The Greek root arsen means “male, strong” or “virile,” which suggests the active reach of this potent and potentially deadly number across the globe. Indeed, when we consider the northern latitude of 33 degrees, some intriguing synchronicities, or “meaningful coincidences,” are found. [5]
You Say Phoenix and I Say Phoenicia
The first stop on our tour along the 33rd parallel is the metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona, located at 33 degrees 30 minutes latitude. Gleaming like a steel and glass mirage surrounded by ironwood, palo verde, and saguaro cactus, this modern American city lies in a brown cloud of auto exhaust at the northern end of the Sonoran Desert. Its imported palm trees and omnipresent swimming pools shimmer when seen from high in the air like turquoise and silver jewelry on a jet-setter’s tanned breast. In essence, Phoenix is pervaded with the aura of the foreign and the bizarre. Few casual tourists realize, however, that this was once the center of the ancient Hohokam culture.
The largest Hohokam site known as Snaketown was located about five miles north of the exact 33 degrees line, while the ruins of the astronomical observatory called Casa Grande still rest about five miles south of the line. The Hohokam inhabited the Valley of the Sun perhaps as early as 300 B.C. (about the time of Alexander the Great and the Ptolemaic Dynasties in Egypt) and built one of the world’s most extensive irrigation systems. These ancient American Indians created an estimated total of 500 miles of canals to irrigate over 25,000 acres in the Phoenix Basin-- all constructed with mere digging sticks, stone implements, and woven carrying baskets. In fact, no wheelbarrows or draft animals were ever used. The main canals leading from the Salt and Gila rivers measured up to 75 feet across at the top and 50 feet wide at the bottom. [6] As Southwestern archaeologist H. M. Wormington observes, “The scope of the canal project suggests comparisons with the erection of the huge pyramids of Egypt or the great temples of the Maya.” [7] Clearly this monumental technology was the key factor that allowed the desert dwelling people to inhabit their extremely harsh region for well over a thousand years.
Skipping across the Atlantic on the same parallel, we find a number of intriguing sites in the Old World. For instance, at a latitude of 33 degrees 19 minutes was located the primary Phoenician seaport of Tyre (now called Sûr), almost 50 miles south of Beirut. Dating back as early as 5000 B.C., Tyre was renowned for a purple-red dye obtained from the snails of the genus Murex. [8] The color is one of the meanings of the word “phoenix,” which the ancient Egyptians sometimes associated with the purple heron.
Back in North America the “place of the heron” refers to Aztlan, the Nahuatl word for the mythical land that the Aztecs inhabited after emerging from Chicomostoc, the Seven Caves located in the bowels of the earth. [9] Chicano folklore identifies Aztlan as that portion of Mexico taken over by the U.S. after the Mexican-American War of 1846-- in part, the Arizona Territory, where the settlement of Phoenix arose.
The Masonic author Albert Pike states that Tyre was the seat of the Osirian Mysteries after they had been imported from Egypt. [10] Pike asserts that the two massive columns situated at the entrance of the Tyrian Temple of Malkarth were consecrated to the Winds and to Fire. This pair is thought to be the prototype of Jachin and Boaz, the two pillars found on the eastern wall of every Masonic temple in the world. On the right, or to the south, is Jachin, which means “He shall establish” and signifies an active, vivifying force. On the left, or to the north, is Boaz, which means “In it is strength” and connotes passive stability and permanence. [11] Freemasons Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas suggest that the former represents the winter solstice sunrise, while the latter the summer solstice sunrise. [12] Although this is possible, we propose that Jachin represents the southern stargate between Sagittarius and Scorpius while Boaz signifies the northern stargate between Gemini and Taurus. [13] Our assumption is based on the fact that in the York Rite of Freemasonry a celestial globe symbolizing ex-carnation (i.e., a spirit leaving its present body) is found atop Jachin while a terrestrial globe representing incarnation is positioned atop Boaz. [14]
During the tenth century B.C. King Hiram of Tyre supplied King Solomon with craftsmen, metallurgists, cedar wood, architectural design, and presumably the esoteric symbolism of these two columns for the construction of his temple at Jerusalem. (1 Kings 7: 13-22) [15] In addition to being besieged at various times by Nebuchadrezzar, Alexander the Great, the Romans and others, the trade capital city-state of Tyre was conquered in the twelfth century A.D. by the Crusaders, who built a Knights Templar church there.
Some speculate that the orientation of the two pillars imitates obelisks placed before the pylons of Egyptian temples, especially those of the Heliopolitan temple of Thothmes (Tuthmosis) III, who reigned in the fifteenth century B.C. as the militarily expansionist pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He is also thought to be founder of the Order of the Rosy Cross, or the Rosicrucians. [16] The archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie even found records in the Libyan desert that describe a secret Masonic guild meeting held circa 2000 B.C. “The guild met to discuss working hours, wages, and rules for daily labor. It convened in a chapel and provided relief to widows, orphans, and workers in distress. The organizational duties described in the papyri are very similar to those of ‘Warden’ and ‘Master’ in a modern branch of the Brotherhood which evolved from those guilds: Freemasonry.” [17] It seems that all roads lead to... Egypt.
Also of interest near the 33rd parallel is Byblos, a bit farther north of Tyre at a latitude of 34 degrees 08 minutes. The name of this city state is derived from the Greek ta b blia, which means “the book,” or “bible.” Indeed, the invention of a Phoenician alphabetic phonetic script occurred here and eventually spread to the Greek world. [18] A bit farther east at nearly the same latitude is Baalbeck, an ancient megalithic temple constructed with some of the largest stone blocks ever cut in the world. Extracted and hauled from a quarry many miles away, these megaliths include one block measuring 80 feet long and weighing 1,100 tons. [19] In this section we have seen how Phoenix and Phoenicia are linked by latitude. We shall continue eastward to encounter other significant ancient sites along the same parallel.
A Passage To China
A little over 500 miles east of these Phoenician cities at 33 degrees 20 minutes is modern-day Bagdad in Iraq, with Babylon located about 55 miles to the south. This ancient capital of Mesopotamia on the banks of the Euphrates River was once the largest city in the world, encompassing over 2,500 acres. The construction of Babylon began during the twenty-third century B.C. and included the Temple of Marduk (known as Esagila) as well as the legendary Tower of Babel (identified as Etemenanki). The latter structure was a seven-tiered ziggurat rising to a height of 300 feet with a base on each side measuring the same distance. This measurement, incidentally, equals the length of the Hohokam platform mound at Pueblo Grande in Phoenix, Arizona. On the eastern side of Babylon was an outer rampart of triple wall construction extending for 11 miles. A network of irrigation canals reminiscent of the Hohokam also once served the city. In addition, the terraced Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. [20]
This “city and a tower” (Genesis 11:4) was known as Ba-bel, the legendary site of the linguistic confounding. “The biblical interpretation of the name is fanciful. The Bible connects Babel with the Hebrew verb Bâlal, ‘to confuse’, whereas it really comes from Bâb-ili, which in Babylonian means ‘Gate of God’.” [21] This terrestrial correlation to another sort of stargate is perhaps a reference to the Processional Way leading to Ishtar Gate, both of which were adorned with glazed blue enameled figures of lions, bulls, and dragons. Pike maintains that the temple contained a representation in silver of two large serpents. “The Greeks called Bel Beliar; and Hesychius interprets that word to mean dragon or great serpent. We learn from the book of Bel and the Dragon, that in Babylon was kept a great, live serpent, which the people worshipped.” [22] This reminds us of the Place of the Snakes, or the Hohokam site of Snaketown, as well as of the Hopi biennial Snake Dance ceremony still performed with live rattlesnakes on the high desert of Arizona.
In more recent times Babylon played a significant role in the rituals of Freemasonry and continues to do so. For instance, Knight and Lomas discovered that the ceremony for the Royal Arch of Solomon Degree (13 degrees) entails the candidate and two others playing the roles of the three Master Masons of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego. According to the narrative told in the ritual, these children of the Babylonian captivity desire to assist in the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon. Thus, Babylon’s symbolic importance, which the co-authors believe extends back to at least Knights Templar times and probably before, is reemphasized inside every Masonic lodge to the present day. [23]
Traveling along the 33rd parallel from the Middle East to the Far East, we encounter the fabulous White Pyramid located about 60 miles southwest of X’ian (Sian or Hsian) in the Qin Ling Shan Mountains of China’s Shensi Province. This city was made famous for the nearby discovery of the Terra Cota Warriors. Resting at almost the same latitude as Phoenix’s 33½ degrees, this massive stepped pyramid constructed of clay is estimated to be 1,000 feet high and 1500 feet at the base! The current politics of the country have thus far prevented any detailed study of the structure, but it is thought to be 4,500-5,000 year old-- the approximate age of the pyramids at Giza. The White Pyramid was built supposedly after the old emperors, known as “the sons of heaven,” descended to Earth in their “fiery metallic dragons” and began to rule China. Its interior is rumored to be a model of this empire with a jeweled roof depicting the constellations and rivers of flowing mercury. The region also contains up to one hundred more pyramids. [24]
Highway 33 Revisited
Back on the North American continent, if we journey somewhat over 1,500 miles east of Phoenix along latitude 33 North, we find the Moundville site lying exactly on the line. This city constructed by the Mississippian culture along the Black Warrior River in central Alabama from 1000 through 1450 A.D. had a population of over one thousand-- second in size and complexity to ancient Cahokia in Illinois. The 26 earthen platform mounds arranged in a circular pattern are similar in structure to those in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, with temples and residences for the elite priesthood likewise built on top. One of the larger mounds is a ramped pyramid that rises to a height of 58 feet. In addition, the town was protected on three sides by wooden palisades, much like the Hohokam villages along the Salt and Gila Rivers. [25] Did the earlier Hohokam culture of the American Southwest somehow influence the later development of this Mound Builder culture in the American Southeast? The many similarities between the two seem to point in that direction.
A few other Mound Builders cities were settled quite near the 33rd parallel. Approximately 10 miles southwest of the town of Lake Providence (32 degrees 49 minutes) on the Mississippi River floodplain in northeastern Louisiana is Poverty Point State Historic Site. Constructed in 1800 B.C. (much earlier than even the Hohokam settlements), a C-shaped or perhaps a partial octagon-shaped earthwork three-quarters of a mile across was formed by six concentric ridges that are 140 to 200 feet apart and four to six feet high. To the west of this earthwork, Bird Mound rises 72 feet high and extends 600 to 800 feet at its base. Resembling some sort of fowl flying toward the sunset, this mound was constructed using 300,000 cubic yards of clay, or the equivalent to 10 million 50-pound baskets. To truly realize the shape of the bird, one needs to be at least a thousand feet or so in the air. Poverty Point was almost entirely abandoned circa 1350 B.C., indicating over five centuries of cultural development, though minor construction on the earthworks continued until 700 A.D. [26]
Even closer to the magic number 33 though not as impressive or as old are the Winterville Mounds, located six miles north of the town of Greenville in west-central Mississippi (33 degrees 25 minutes). Inhabited between 1000 and 1450 A.D., the site includes 23 flat-topped mounds, with the main Temple Mound rising 55 feet. [27]
About four miles south of Cartersville in northwestern Georgia (34 degrees 11 minutes) is Etowah Indian Mound State Park. “White settlers understood the Creek and the later Cherokee to call this site “Hightower,” possibly for Itawa or Italwa (city?). The name Etowah may also be a corruption of this word.” [28] It is interesting to note that the Hopi word for the sun deity is Tawa. Etowah was first inhabited in 950 A.D. and contains three major mounds. One is a ceremonial mound 63 feet in height and another is a burial mound in which were found numerous artifacts including copper ear ornaments, stone effigies, and sea shells along with obsidian and grizzly bear teeth from the Rocky Mountains. [29]
Closer to the home of the Hohokam on the western side of the Colorado River are located a number of geoglyphs (also called “intaglios”). These figures formed in the desert by removal of darker pebbles to reveal a lighter undersurface are sometimes hundreds of feet in length. One group (the Blythe complex) is positioned about 16 miles north of Blythe, California (33 degrees 40 minutes), while another group (the Ripley complex) is located about 12 miles south of Blythe. In addition to human and animal figures, snakes, spirals, stars, circles, and other geometric figures, a Knights Templar-like Maltese cross nearly 10 feet in diameter has been found adjacent to a humanoid figure at the Ripley complex. [30] One anthropoid geoglyph in the area has been associated with the Hopi Fire Clan deity Masau’u. [31] Hence, we find that many different tribes were apparently involved in these rituals dating from between 1,100 and 3,000 years ago. [32] Because these earth forms, like the Nazca lines in Peru or Bird Mound at Poverty Point, are best appreciated from the air, they were probably intended to be an homage to the sky gods.
The geoglyphs together with other cairns, stone circles, and cleared dance paths may be ritually associated with the huge network of interconnected trails found in the low desert upon which the ancients made pilgrimages. One such pilgrimage called the keruk is performed even today by the Yuman speaking tribes (viz., the Yuma, Mohave, Cocopa, and Maricopa) in a four-day trek to Avikwa’ame, the sacred mountain to the north, in order to celebrate the cosmogony. [33] “The route ran from Pilot Knob, or Avikwal [near Yuma, Arizona], the spirit house where the dead dwell at the southern end of the river, to Avikwa’ame, or Spirit Mountain, where the Earth was created, in the north. This pilgrimage was intended to honor the creation, and ritually retrace the path of Mastamho [the creator-deity, whose name echoes the Hopi god Masau’u mentioned above] in his mythic adventures.” [34] Here we find a north-south dichotomy similar to that found along the Nile, with the “Mound of Creation” (i.e., Heliopolis) located to the north. Atop Avikwa’ame, legends say, was a great house name Aha-avulypo, or literally “Dark Round House.” [35] The north-south road itself was named Kwatcan, the “first trail to the homeland.” The Hopi word for “track” is kuku’at, but the word for “grandfather” is the near homophone kwa’at. [36] Perhaps the suffix -can is a variant of “ka,” part of the word kachina. [37] Either “spirits of the track” or “spirits of the grandfathers” may be the intended meaning. Midway on this spirit road between the sacred mountain of the North and the mouth of the Colorado River are the aforementioned geoglyphs at the 33rd degree of latitude.
Also on this line is the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site, located on the western base of the Sacramento Mountains 18 miles west of Ruidoso, New Mexico (33 degrees 19 minutes). One of the largest rock art sites in the Southwest, this park contains over 20,000 glyphs scattered over 50 acres. Carved atop a ridge by the Mogollon culture between 900 and 1400 A.D. (contemporary with the late Hohokam period) [38], these figures include anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, kachina masks, star symbols, and various abstract or geometric designs, including a Maltese cross within a circle surrounded by a ring of seventeen dots. [39] “Distinctive at Three Rivers is the circle-dot motif; one investigator who took the trouble to count found it to be the single most common element at this site. Interestedly enough, its presence elsewhere is negligible, and its symbolic content has not been determined, although it occurs in various contexts in Mesoamerica. Possibly it refers to Quetzalcoatl.” [40] This deity, of course, is known as the Plumed Serpent. Three Rivers Site is also unique because it is one of only a few places in the Southwest that were used primarily for rock art rather than it being merely an adjunct to the village. [41] However, another site lying exactly on the 33rd parallel was also used expressly for this purpose. Near Gila Bend, Arizona about 62 miles west of Snaketown (mentioned above) is Painted Rocks [sic] State Park, which has thousands of petroglyphs of similar designs-- not “painted” but pecked into the boulders. [42]
A fascinating site also in the general vicinity of Phoenix is called the Circlestone Observatory (33 degrees 28 minutes). High in the Superstition Mountains about 54 miles east of the metropolis lies an elliptical “medicine wheel” constructed of a stone wall three feet thick with a circumference of 427 feet. On his extensive and thoroughly detailed web site, New Zealand researcher Martin Doutré claims that this structure incorporates various navigational codes, including phi, or the Golden Ratio (1.618...). “Ancient astronomers mathematicians built sites like Circlestone as repositories of codes and places where initiates could be taught age-old principles.” Doutré further suggests that Circlestone was used by colonists from the eastern Mediterranean or Europe who may have operated a gold mine-- perhaps the famous Lost Dutchman’s Mine itself! [43] Although American Indians may instead have constructed this site for an astronomical observatory similar to the one at Casa Malpais near Springerville, Arizona (34 degrees 10 minutes), Doutré’s theory is nonetheless an intriguing one.
Four other ancient sites along latitude 33 N warrant brief mentions. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (33 degrees 22 minutes) is located in a rugged and isolated region about 60 miles west of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Reminiscent of the seven Aztecan caves mentioned above, five caves in the Mogollon Mountains of southwestern New Mexico contain about 40 masonry and adobe rooms built circa 1280 A.D., although semi-subterranean pit houses have been found nearby dating back to circa 100 A.D. [44]
In saguaro cactus country about 56 miles northeast of Phoenix is another site on the global mystery circle called Tonto National Monument (33 degrees 44 minutes), which also contains cliff dwellings within shallow caves. Constructed of unshaped quartzite and adobe mortar, these ruins inhabited in the mid-fourteenth century contained 70 rooms within three caves. [45]
About 40 miles due east of the small town of San Carlos, Arizona (33 degrees 24 minutes) is Point of Pines Ruin. Occupied between 1200 and 1500 A.D., this huge masonry pueblo contained 800 rooms, a central plaza, a surrounding wall, and a great kiva. [46] The site is also one of the few in the Southwest that shows evidence of three different cultures living together: the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Anasazi-- the last group named migrating from the Hopi country to the north. [47] The population is estimated to have been between 2,000 and 3,000. [48] Incidentally, five or so miles to the south is a hot springs called Arsenic Tubs, number 33 on the periodic table.
And finally, Besh-ba-gowah Archaeological Park located one-and-a-half miles south of downtown Globe, Arizona (33 degrees 25 minutes) was a granite cobble pueblo of 250-plus rooms inhabited between 1225 and 1450 A.D. The artifacts found include copper bells and macaw feathers from Mesoamerica as well as shells from the Gulf of Mexico and the California coast. [49] Besh-ba-gowah is an Apache phrase meaning “place of the metal,” referring to the copious silver and copper deposits in the area. In fact, the town of Globe was so named because of the 1875 discovery of a globe-shaped mass nine inches in diameter made of 99% pure silver and valued at $12,000. Curiously, reports also stated that the continents of the Earth were etched upon its surface. The whereabouts of this artifact are currently unknown. [50]
A Brief History of 33
Entering the historical period, we find hovering near the 33rd parallel a number of provocative synchronicities. For instance, the first Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, was established in 1801 at Charleston, South Carolina. This charming antebellum port city and hub of southern culture is located less than 15 miles south of the 33rd parallel. Called the Solomon Lodge No. 1, the Masonic meeting place was known as the Mother Lodge of the world. [51]
Shortly before the end of World War II Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia, which is less than 10 miles south of 33 degrees latitude. (This town, incidentally, is located about 35 miles northeast of Phenix City, Alabama.) It is noteworthy (no pun intended) that in the mid-30s FDR, a 32nd degree Mason and 32nd President of the U.S., initiated the printing of the reverse side of the Great Seal (the pyramidal eye mentioned at the beginning of this essay) on the legal tender. Roosevelt was succeeded in April of 1945 by 33rd degree Mason Harry S. Truman. (The “S.” supposedly stood for Solomon.) On July 16th of the same year, the first atomic device --the Gadget, as it was called-- was detonated at Trinity Site, New Mexico: 33 degrees 41 minutes North latitude. Spanish explorers originally called this area La Jornada del Muerto, or “The Journey of the Dead,” but now the site is marked by a small stone obelisk erected twenty years or so after the explosion. [52] (Was this monument Masonically inspired?) [53] A few weeks after the explosion at Trinity Site the 33rd president of the United States ordered the annihilation of two Japanese cities by nuclear bombs dropped from B-29 bombers. The 33rd parallel runs exactly between Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two years after the war ended, the modern “flying saucer” age began in earnest when something crashed near Roswell, New Mexico-- 33 degrees 26 minutes North latitude.
Bringing us up to the present day, the so-called Phoenix Lights were witnessed by hundreds or perhaps thousands of people. On the evening of March 13th, 1997 an immense triangular UFO perhaps a mile wide flew over the American Southwest. First sighted over Henderson, Nevada at 6:55 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) traveling southeast, this virtually silent craft (for lack of a better term) had a number of lights evenly spaced on its leading edge. It was next seen 22 minutes later over the village of Paulden, Arizona (nearly 25 miles north of the town of Prescott). It was then observed 10 miles to the south in Chino Valley, where it apparently streaked over the present author’s house, who missed seeing the event by a matter of minutes. Just one minute after the Paulden sighting, it was reported over Prescott Valley, which is 23 miles south-southeast of the former.
By 8:23 (Mountain Standard Time) the object had reached the Phoenix metro area roughly 75 miles away, where it hovered for about four or five minutes over the vicinity of the Indian School Rd. and 7th Avenue intersection. Next the UFO entered Sky Harbor Airport’s air space, where air controllers in the tower and the flight crew from at least one commercial airliner viewed it, although radar failed to detect it. The craft continued southeast above Interstate 10 and was sighted in the Tucson area about 8:45. [54] This series of sightings that occurred within a 400-mile stretch took just 50 minutes. The average speed of the craft was 480 m.p.h.
At approximately 9:50 p.m. an arc of amber “orbs” measuring one mile across appeared above the Estrella Mountains about 20 miles southwest of Phoenix. “Spanish explorers named the range Estrella (‘star’) after the pattern of deeply carved canyons radiating from the summit.” [55] This display of lights videotaped by scores of people in the Phoenix area was possibly related to the earlier sightings. At the time of this latter UFO sighting the constellation Orion would have been seen hovering over the southwestern horizon, were it not for urban light pollution. In fact, at 9:49 p.m. when the final phase of the event was beginning, Alnilam, the middle star of the Belt, was 33 degrees above the horizon at an azimuth of 242 degrees. If a line is drawn from the State Capitol to the Estrella range’s Monument Hill (the initial point for surveying of property in Arizona), the azimuth is also 242 degrees. At the latitude of Phoenix this is the exact point of the winter solstice sunset as well. Thus, these orbs appeared at a significant archaeo-astronomical position in the sky and also in the precise region where Orion happened to be at that particular time. Above the right hand of Orion between the constellations Gemini and Auriga is the northern stargate previously mentioned, located at a declination (celestial latitude) of 33 degrees.
One odd aspect to the Phoenix Lights story is that, other than a few minor write-ups in local newspapers, they were not reported in any national media until June 18th, over three months later, when USA Today ran a front-page article picked up by the other media. [56] In any event, one of the most intriguing UFO sightings in decades was focused upon the 33rd parallel-- a paramount Masonic number.
Why are so many significant ancient and historic sites located along the 33rd parallel? Perhaps the ancients discovered a ley line sort of dragon energy corresponding to this latitude, and constructed temples and sacred cities in order to utilize this terrestrial chi. Or perhaps the numerological and Masonic significance of 33 dictated that monuments to this sacred number be erected as a signal to future generations. Whatever the rationale, the 33rd parallel is a path of power across the globe, a circuit that links both time and space in order to vitalize the dynamo of a mystery we are just now beginning to realize.

August 13, 2012

The different between SFP+ and SFP, XFP

10G SFP+ experience from the development of 300Pin, XENPAK, X2, XFP, ultimately with the same size of  SFP, and transmit 10G signal. SFP With miniaturization cost just right to meet the demand of high density optical equipment modules, it began in 2002. It has been replaced by the XFP and to be the mainstream market 10g transceiver in 2011.

The advantage of SFP+
 1. SFP + has encapsulation more compact shape dimension which better than the X2 and XFP (the same size as SFP);
 2. It can connect the same type of SFP, X2, XENPAN directly
 3. The production cost is lower than XFP, X2, XENPAK.

The different between SFP+ and SFP
 1. SFP and SFP+ have the same appearance and same size
 2. SFP protocol specification: IEEE802.3, SFF-8472

The different between SFP+ and XFP
 1. The SFP + and XFP are both 10G optical modules, and can connect other types of 10G modules
 2. SFP+ is smaller than XFP
 3. Because of the smaller volume, SFP+ transfer signal modulation function, serial / deserializer, the MAC, clock and data recovery (CDR) and electronic dispersion compensation (EDC) function from the module to the Lord on the card
 4. Compliance agreement of the XFP: XFPMSA agreement
 5. Compliance agreement of the SFP+: IEEE802.3ae was added for the SFF-8 431, SFF-8432
 6. About the design: SFP+ is more mainstream than XFP
 7. SFP + protocol specification: IEEE802.3ae was added for the SFF-8 431, SFF-8432.

10 Gigabit Ethernet: The Promise and the Challenge

10 Gigabit Ethernet technology has arrived; it is real, and has the potential to change real-time and embedded systems more dramatically than prior generations of Ethernet technology.

Ethernet continues its never-ending march to higher and higher levels of performance and capability. 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) is its next step forward and is sure to make a bigger impact on real-time and embedded systems than any prior advancement. 10GbE holds the promise to provide an order of magnitude increase in performance, maintain compatibility with its prior variants, and to have the potential to displace the other more specialized data network fabrics.

 However, today’s embedded processors are unable to keep up with the protocol overhead associated with even 1GbE pipes, each of which is capable of supporting 250 Mbytes/s of throughput on a sustained basis. Increasing those pipes to 10GbE, a ten-fold increase in capacity, makes a difficult problem an impossible one. A complete offload of the Ethernet protocol stack to silicon (silicon stack technology) will allow the promise of 10GbE technology to be realized.

 Upgrading to 10GbE NICs and 10GbE switches offers 10 times the performance for an array of bandwidth- and latency-constrained applications. Increasing bandwidth by 10 times while reducing latency by 90 percent certainly takes Ethernet to a whole new level of performance and will certainly compel architects of real-time and embedded systems to consider (or reconsider) Ethernet for even the highest performance applications. Add to this the low cost advantages due to its eventual commoditization and out-of-the-box interoperability with prior generations, and you have the “promise” of 10GbE fairly well summarized. On the surface, 10GbE technology is quite compelling.

 The Challenge of 10 Gigabit Ethernet

 In reality, deploying 10GbE and realizing these benefits will not be easy. It wasn’t too long ago when 1GbE held a similar promise only to struggle in delivering on that promise, particularly with regard to real-time and embedded systems where performance requirements proved difficult to achieve.

 The basic problem with Ethernet has nothing to do with the Ethernet technology itself; the switches and NICs are very capable and reliable. The problem is the software-intensive nature of the TCP/IP protocol stack—the software stack. The software stack is host-processor-intensive and thereby limits the throughput that can be achieved. The throughput capacity (potential I/O bandwidth) of Ethernet NIC technology (1 Mbit/s 10 Mbit/s 100 Mbit/s 1GbE/and now 10GbE) has been growing faster than CPU technology’s ability to process the protocols associated with the data stream.

 With each advance in Ethernet technology, state-of-the-art CPU technology falls farther behind. This problem is even worse for embedded systems, which are typically much more constrained with respect to power consumption or thermal dissipation and therefore are less able to simply toss more CPU cycles at the problem—as can be done in high-end server class processing systems.

 To illustrate the protocol processing crisis, consider a conventional 1GbE NIC. The TCP/IP protocol stack consumes roughly 10 CPU cycles for each and every byte of data coming into or out of the NIC. Or, viewed from a different perspective, every 1GHz of a CPU can process about 100 Mbytes of Ethernet I/O. Therefore, it would require 100 percent of a 2.5 GHz processor to achieve wire-speed throughput of a 1GbE port (full duplex, 125 Mbytes/sec of payload in each direction). And that is only a single port of 1GbE—a dual port doubles this problem.

 But this is a theoretical example; in practice, it is not realistic to allocate 100 percent of any CPU to the processing of Ethernet traffic. A reasonable allocation depends on the application. Real-time or CPU-intensive applications like signal processing might allow only five percent; less intensive applications might allow up to 20 percent of the CPU to be dedicated to managing the Ethernet interface and implementing the TCP/IP stack.

 A 10 percent allocation of a 2 GHz embedded processor to TCP/IP processing would limit that processor to 20 Mbytes/s of Ethernet I/O, which is only eight percent of potential 250 Mbytes/s bandwidth of a vanilla 1GbE NIC.

 So using today’s CPU technology, a standard embedded CPU can realistically utilize only eight percent of the I/O bandwidth of its built-in 1GbE NIC. At some point in the future, perhaps 5 or 10 years from now, more powerful embedded CPUs will be able to make full use of that 1GbE interface. But by that time, 100GbE NICs will be available offering 100 times more bandwidth than the processors can keep up with, thus making the CPU loading problem even worse than it is today.

 The Arrival of 10 Gigabit Ethernet

 10GbE technology has arrived and is following the familiar adoption of Ethernet’s prior generations. Table 1 shows the impact that can be expected by upgrading from 1GbE to 10GbE technology in a typical embedded system. Unfortunately, without fully offloading the TCP/IP stack processing, 10GbE technology will provide little or no benefit to real-time and embedded systems. After all, if embedded processors today can only make effective use of eight percent of a “conventional” 1GbE NIC, then those very same processors would only be able to utilize 0.8 percent of a “conventional” 10GbE NIC.

 The CPU overhead required to support the conventional software implementation of the protocol stack is what limits the utilization of a conventional Ethernet NIC today. Increasing the size of the Ethernet pipe by ten-fold will not increase the performance of that interface unless something is done to address the limiting factor, which is the software implementation of the TCP/IP protocol stack—the software stack.

 The Solution – Silicon Stack Technology

 Figure 1 illustrates the use of a hardware (specifically silicon) implementation of the protocol stack. Here the conventional TCP/IP protocol stack processing is moved from the operating system of the host processor (software) to hardware (silicon).

 The overhead on the host CPU is substantially reduced because the host processor is no longer required to expend the 10 CPU cycles processing each byte of information; it needs only to specify that a message be sent, or be notified when a new message arrives. All protocol processing, buffer management, data movement and transaction management is done by the silicon stack hardware.

 Moving the host responsibilities away from the conventional byte-level software processing to transaction-level processing allows Ethernet to achieve a level of efficiency and performance that is typically only associated with the more exotic network fabrics such as InfiniBand, Fibre Channel and Serial RapidIO. Silicon stack technology enables a processing system to actually make full use of 10GbE technology.

 There are many benefits of the silicon stack approach. Wire-speed throughput is achieved because the silicon implementation is designed to handle full rate I/O without the potential of being overwhelmed by the data; latency is reduced to a fraction; reliability when under heavy load is improved substantially since the likelihood of losing packets due to overwhelmed software is eliminated; and determinism is improved since the need for retransmission (which often occurs in software-based stacks under high load conditions) is greatly reduced.

 The Cost of Performance

 In designing a system to handle a large amount of Ethernet traffic, one must consider the various approaches to solving that problem. Depending on system requirements, it may be more cost-effective to add processors; but often it is more cost-effective to add specialized offload hardware.

 Ethernet NICs with silicon stack technology can be selectively used on processor nodes that need the unique performance that it offers, while conventional Ethernet interfaces can be used everywhere else. This allows designers to minimize the overall system cost. In contrast, a specialized network fabric (like InfiniBand) would require all nodes to incorporate the additional hardware.

 Many embedded systems are thermally constrained. Low-power CPUs are often desired, and as a result, fewer cycles are available for Ethernet processing. Here, offload technology has even a greater payback since it can allow the designer to minimize the “thermal cost” of the system.

 Table 2 provides an analysis of the dollar and thermal costs of I/O bandwidth for various 1GbE and 10GbE systems. Cost is computed in terms of dollars per Ethernet bandwidth (dollars per Mbyte/s) and also watts per Ethernet bandwidth (watts per Mbyte/s).

 As shown in Table 2, the payback of the silicon stack offload is greater for 10GbE interfaces than it is for 1GbE interfaces. 1GbE offload reduces costs from roughly $150 per Mbyte/s to roughly $20 per Mbyte/s, and 10GbE offload takes costs down to roughly $6 per Mbyte/s. The table also shows a similar thermal cost reduction.

 Network bandwidth is growing at a faster rate than the ability of CPUs to process the increased data. Network offload technology is quickly moving from a “nice to have” to a “must have” feature—particularly for data-intensive server applications. Moving the TCP/IP stack from software to silicon dramatically improves the performance and reliability of the Ethernet connection – taking Ethernet to the same performance realm as the specialized network technologies such as InfiniBand, Serial RapidIO and Fibre Channel.

 Full silicon offload of the TCP/IP stack is useful for certain 1GbE applications but an absolute necessity for all 10GbE applications. Software stack implementations will not deliver the high throughput, reliable data transfer and low latency that 10GbE offers. Finally, silicon offload is much more cost-effective and thermal efficient than tossing additional processors at the I/O bandwidth problem. While 10GbE holds the promise for greater performance and compatibility, embedded systems architects must understand how to overcome its inherent challenges in order to fulfill this potential and achieve the most effective use of the technology.