Terrorism research center receives $12M

7 08 2008

Source: diamond black online

Chris Yu

A university-based research center has received almost $12 million in funding for the next three years from the Department of Homeland Security to continue studying the origins and impact of terrorism.

Launched in 2005, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism brings together experts from around the world to study how terrorism develops and is carried out to help reduce future attacks.

“The world has changed quite a bit in terms of terrorism,” said Gary LaFree, a criminology and criminal justice professor and director of START. “Terrorist attacks have been getting more dangerous and more evil over time.”

With the new funds from the Department of Homeland Security, researchers at the center plan to focus on how terrorist organizations develop and draw in individuals, LaFree said. Center researchers will also study what strategies are effective at stopping attacks and how terrorism affects a society.

Part of the funding will also go to providing education, LaFree said. The university is one of only two in the country with an undergraduate minor in terrorism studies, and over the past three years, START has also worked with over 450 graduate students, LaFree said.

Since the center opened three years ago, LaFree and his researchers have learned a great deal about terrorism and its effects, he said. For example, his team has found people generally do not panic too much during times of crisis – “the public is more resilient than we give them credit for,” he said – and some terrorist groups even send out warnings before they attack, as their goal is not to amass casualties but to send a message.

But while terrorist attacks have grown more and more deadly throughout the years, the number of attacks around the world was actually declining before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, LaFree noted. To keep track of domestic attacks, START was the first organization to computerize the information and make it available to researchers. The database is widely used, LaFree said.


Ramar Sethu is a man-made sea ridge: Study

15 11 2007

Sunday November 25 2007 08:01 IST


BANGALORE: A recent scientific research using archeo-astronomy tools has sought to prove that Ramar Sethu is not natural but a man-made sea ridge. It’s a testimony to the civil engineering marvel of an ancient civilisation, that stands even today as a man-made accretion over a natural formation in the sea.

DK Hari, conceptualiser of Bharath Gyan, a NGO which is in to collating specific, scientific knowledge of India has, at a presentation on ‘Historical Rama’ here on Saturday, said the records compiled together talk about Ramar Sethu’s usage until 1480. But it went into disrepair after a debilitating cyclone in 1480, he pointed out.

Hari said Rama indeed was a historical hero and lived nearly 7200 years ago. To rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana, Lord Rama and his team built the bridge. With the help of Nala as the architect, he designed and executed the project along with the help of ‘Vanara’ tribe. So Rama named the bridge after Nala.

The Sethu came to be known as Adam’s bridge as Sri Lanka’s first Muslim leader, Adham, reached the island from India crossing over this bridge. The Europeans found it easy to call it Adam’s Bridge rather than Nala Setu or Ramar Sethu.

Hari said that the scientific corroborating evidences is the outcome from the analysis of astronomical skycharts using modern scientific tools, geological surveys and research, archaeological research, historical notes of travellers, published Government Gazettes and historical records of the British.

Today, there is a natural sea ridge formation over the seabed linking the land masses of India and Sri Lanka. Hari said “the sea level has risen nine feet above the bridge in the last 7000 years. The bridge is covered under the layers of hardened sands.”

About the execution of the bridge, Hari said that Nala identified a linear chain of islands and converted it with land fills and used it for building the 35-km bridge in just five days at a ratio of 100:10 with an average breadth of 3.5 km as found by NASA and also mentioned in the ancient scriptures.

The dilapidated structure still stands testimony to the engineering marvel of that period. It comprised 103 small patch reefs lying in a linear pattern with reef crest, sand and intermittent deep channels. The space left between the stones allows water to pass through it. Thus, the knowledge of pore pressure was incorporated in the bridge, Hari said.

Don’t demolish: On the research work of Bharath Gyan, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living said, “while there are controversies surrounding the existence of Sri Rama, this organisation has come up with scientific details with facts and figures.”