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Occitan is a Romance language spoken mainly in southern France and also in Italy and Spain. There are perhaps 1.5 million people who speak Occitan in their daily lives, while 5 or 6 million people are able to speak the language. The majority of speakers are elderly and live in rural areas. There are six dialects of Occitan: Provençal, Gascon, Languedoc, Limousin, Alpine and Auvergne.
Occitan first began to appear in writing during the 10th century and was used particularly to write the poetry of the troubdours. The troubadours performed their poetry of love, satire and war in the courts of kings and nobles all over France, Spain and other countries in Europe.
When France became a unified country in the 15th century, the language of the French court, langue d'oïl, was favoured over Occitan and other regional languages, which went into decline. Langue d'oïl developed into modern French.
Civaux in southwestern France is a stereotypical rural French village with a square, a church and a small school. ......... But overlooking the picturesque hamlet are two giant cooling towers from a nuclear plant, still under construction, a half-mile away. When the Civaux nuclear power plant comes on line sometime in the next 12 months, France will have 56 working nuclear plants, generating 76% of her electricity.
In France, unlike in America, nuclear energy is accepted, even popular. Everybody I spoke to in Civaux loves the fact their region was chosen. The nuclear plant has brought jobs and prosperity to the area. Nobody I spoke to, nobody, expressed any fear. From the village school teacher, Rene Barc, to the patron of the Cafe de Sport bar, Valerie Turbeau, any traces of doubt they might have had have faded as they have come to know plant workers, visited the reactor site and thought about the benefits of being part of France's nuclear energy effort.
France's decision to launch a large nuclear program dates back to 1973 and the events in the Middle East that they refer to as the "oil shock." The quadrupling of the price of oil by OPEC nations was indeed a shock for France because at that time most of its electricity came from oil burning plants. France had and still has very few natural energy resources. It has no oil, no gas and her coal resources are very poor and virtually exhausted.
French policy makers saw only one way for France to achieve energy independence: nuclear energy, a source of energy so compact that a few pounds of fissionable uranium is all the fuel needed to run a big city for a year. Plans were drawn up to introduce the most comprehensive national nuclear energy program in history.
Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)
It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.
The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world’s billions of public web pages. The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deepnet—data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, US and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. “The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. “Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets. The question, of course, is how the agency defines who is, and who is not, “a potential adversary.”
The eyes of a dragonfly have 30,000 lenses
Big Brother appears to be watching - and possibly even interfering with our dreams.... Or maybe 'someone else' is letting me know that Big Brother is watching.