Cancer Kill Switch

Cancer kill switch

Cancer kill switch

What if you could just flick a switch and turn off cancer? It seems like something you would see in a sci-fi flick, but scientists are working towards a future where that could be a reality. At the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, a group of researchers have made a discovery that could be a kill switch for cancer. They have found a way to reprogram mutating cancer cells back to normal, healthy cells.

Panos Anastasiadis, PhD, head of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Mayo Clinic, and his team were studying the role of adhesion proteins in cells. Anastasiadis’ primary focus was on the p120 catenin protein and long held hypothesis on it being a major player in the suppressor of tumors. The team found that p120, along with another adhesion protein, E-cadherin, actually promoted cancer growth. “That led us to believe that these molecules have two faces — a good one, maintaining the normal behavior of the cells, and a bad one that drives tumorigenesis.”

In that research, however, Anastasiadis made a remarkable discovery, “an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer.” That would be a partner to the P120 protein, dubbed PLEKHA7. When introduced to tumors, PLEKHA7 was able to “turn off” the cancerous cells’ ability to replicate and return it to a benign state. It stopped the cancer in its tracks.

How it all works is pretty straightforward. Normal, healthy cells are regulated by a sort of biological microprocessor known as microRNAs, which tell the cells to stop replicating when they have reproduced enough. Cancer is caused by a cell’s inability to stop replicating itself, and eventually grows into a cluster of cells that we know as a tumor. Anastasiadis’ team found that PLEKHA7 was an important factor in halting the replication of cells, but that it wasn’t present in the cancerous cells. By reintroducing PLEKHA7, what were once raging cancerous cells returned to normal.

This was done by injecting PLEKHA7 directly into the cells, under a controlled lab test. Anastasiadis said they still need to work on “better delivery options,” as these tests were done on human cells in a lab. They did find success, however, in stopping the growth in two very aggressive forms of cancer: breast and bladder. While this isn’t being tested on humans yet, it represents a huge step forward in understanding the nature of cancer and we can cure it.

 

Source:  Geek.com

Zionist Ideological Warfare

Zionist_Control

Zionist_Control

The single greatest feat of Israel and its overseas missions has not been material success, or the military conquest of millions of unarmed Palestinians, it has been ideological – the widespread acceptance in the US of a doctrine that claims ‘Jews are a superior people’.

Apart from small extremist rightwing sects who exhibit visceral anti-Semitism and denigrate everything Jewish, there are very few academics and politicians willing to question this supremacist doctrine. On the contrary, there is an incurable tendency to advance oneself by accepting and embellishing on it.

For example, in August 2015, US Vice-President Joseph Biden attributed ‘special genius’ to Jews, slavish flattery that embarrassed even New York’s liberal Jewish intellectuals.

Israel’s dominant role in formulating US Middle East policy is largely a product of its success at recruiting, socializing and motivating overseas Jews to act as an organized force to intervene in US politics and push Israel’s agenda.

What motivates American Jews, who have been raised and educated in the US to serve Israel?

After all, these are individuals who have prospered, achieved high status and occupy the highest positions of prestige and responsibility. Why would they parrot the policies of Israel and follow the dictates of Israeli leaders (a foreign regime), serving its violent colonial, racist agenda?

What binds a majority of highly educated and privileged Jews to the most rabidly rightwing Israeli regime in history – a relationship they actually celebrate?

What turns comfortable, prosperous American Jews into vindictive bullies, willing and able to blackmail, threaten and punish any dissident voices among their Gentile and Jewish compatriots who have dared to criticize Israel?

What prevents many intelligent, liberal and progressive Jews from openly questioning Israel’s agenda, and especially confronting the role of Zionist zealots who serve as Tel Aviv’s fifth column against the interest of the United States?

There are numerous historical and personal factors that can and should be taken into account to understand this phenomenon.

In this essay I am going to focus on one – the ideology that ‘Jews are a superior people’. The notion that Jews, either through some genetic, biologic, cultural, historical, familial and/or upbringing, havespecial qualities allowing them to achieve at a uniquely higher level than the ‘inferior’ non-Jews.

We will proceed by sketching the main outline of the Jewish supremacist ideology and then advance our critique.

We will conclude by evaluating the negative consequences of this ideology and propose a democratic alternative.

Jewish Supremacism

Exponents of Jewish Supremacism (JS) frequently cite the prestigious awards, worldly successes and high honors, which, they emphasize, have been disproportionately achieved by Jews.

The argument goes: While Jews represent less than 0.2% of the world population, they have produced 24% of the US Nobel prize winners; over 30% of Ivy League professors and students; and the majority of major US film, stage and TV producers.

They cite the ‘disproportionate number’ of scientists, leading doctors, lawyers and billionaires.

They cite past geniuses like, Einstein, Freud and Marx .

They point to the founders of the world’s great monotheistic religions – Moses and Abraham.

They lay claim to a unique learning tradition embedded in centuries of Talmudic scholarship.

Jewish supremacists never miss a chance to cite the ‘Jewish background’ of any highly accomplished contemporary public figures in the entertainment, publication, financial fields or any other sectors of life in the US.

Disproportionately great accomplishments by a disproportionate minority has become the mantra for heralding a self-styled ‘meritocraticelite’…. and for justifying its disproportionate wealth, power and privileges – and influence…

Challenging the Myths of Jewish Supremacists

There are serious problems regarding the claims of the Jewish Supremacists.

For centuries Jewish ‘wisdom’ was confined to textual exegesis of religious dogma – texts full of superstition and social control, as well as blind intolerance, and which produced neither reasoned arguments nor contributed to scientific and human advancement.

Jewish scholarship of note occurred among thinkers like Spinoza who revolted against the Jewish ghetto gatekeepers and rejected Jewish dogma.

Notable scientists emerged in the context of working and studying with non-Jews in non-Jewish institutions – the universities and centers of learning in the West. The majority of world-renowned Jewish scholars integrated and contributed to predominantly non-Jewish (Moslem and Christian) and secular institutions of higher learning.

Historically, highly talented individuals of Jewish origin succeeded by renouncing the constraints of everyday Jewish life, rabbinical overseers and Jewish institutions. Most contemporary prestigious scientists, including the frequently cited Nobel Prize winners, have little or nothing to do with Judaism! And their contributions have everything to do with the highly secular, integrated culture in which they prospered intellectually – despite expressions of crude anti-Semitism in the larger society.

Secondly , Jewish Supremacists persist in claiming ‘racial credit’ for the achievements of individuals who have publically renounced, denounced and distanced themselves from Judaism and have dismissed any notion of Israel as their spiritual homeland. Their universal prestige has prevented them from being labeled, apostate or ‘self-hating’. Albert Einstein, often cited by the Supremacists as the supreme example of ‘Jewish genius’, denounced Israel’s war crimes and showed disdain for any tribal identity. In their era, Marx and Trotsky, like the vast majority of emancipated European Jews, given the chance, became engaged in universalistic organizations, attacking the entire notion that Jews were a ‘special people’ chosen by divine authority (or by the latter-day Zionists).

Thirdly, Supremacists compile a very selective list of virtuous Jews, while omitting areas of life and activity where Jews have disproportionately played a negative and destructive role.

After all is it Jewish ‘genius’ that makes Israel a leading exporter of arms, high tech intrusive spy systems and sends military and paramilitary advisers and torturers to work with death squad regimes in Africa and Latin America?

Among the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are three Israeli Prime Ministers who waged wars of ethnic cleansing against millions of Palestinians and expanded racist ‘Jews only’ settlements throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. These include Menachem Begin (notorious career bomber and terrorist), Yitzhak Rabin (a militarist who was assassinated by an even more racist Jewish terrorist) and Shimon Peres. Among Jewish American Nobel ‘Peaceniks’ is Henry Kissinger who oversaw the brutal and illegal US war in Indo-China causing 4 million Vietnamese deaths;who wrote the ‘template for regime change’ by overthrowing the democratically elected government of Chilean President Allende and condemned Chile to decades of police state terror; and who supported Indonesia’s destruction of East Timor!

In other words, these Nobel recipients, who Supremacists cite as ‘examples of Jewish Supremacy’, have sown terror and injustice on countless captive peoples and nations – giving the Nobel Peace Prize a dubious distinction.

Among the greatest billion dollar swindlers in recent US history, we d find a disproportionate percentage of American Jews – curiously not mentioned by the Supremacists in their usual litany: Bernard Madoff pillaged over $50 billion from his clients, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Marc Rich are well-known names adding the distinction of ‘Jewish genius’ to a list of financial mega-felons.

Among the less respectable notables whose material successes have been tarnished by personal weaknesses – we have the billionaire and pedophile pimp, Jeffry Epstein; IMF Boss Dominique Strauss Kahn, entrepreneur and ‘nudist’ Dov Charney, New York Governor and ‘repeat customer’ Elliot Spitzer, Congressman and exhibitionist Anthony Weiner and the fun-loving sports impresario who brought down FIFA, the piratical Chuck Blazer. Curiously, none of these extraordinarily successful notables have been cited as examples of Jewish Supremacy.

As we contemplate the millions of war refugees driven from the Near East and North Africa, we should credit the role of US neo-liberal and neo-conservative ideologues and policymakers –a disproportionate percentage of whom are Jews. Millions of Chilean workers suffered as Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys ‘advised’ Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet on dismantling the welfare state (even if it required the murder of trade unionists!). Ayn Rand (Alyssa Rosenbaum) and her fanatical free market epigones have savaged all progressive social legislation and turned the most retrograde forms of selfishness into a religion of ‘superiority’!

The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression was largely due to the financial policies of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. The trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street by Ben Shalom Bernacke and Stanley Fischer, while Janet Yellen ignored the plight of millions of Americans who lost their homes because of mortgage foreclosures. In sum, Jewish Supremacists should proudly take credit for the American Jews who have been disproportionately responsible for the largest economic and foreign policy failures of the contemporary period – including the horrific suffering these have entailed!

Back in the more normal world of crime, Russian-Jewish mobsters dominate or share supremacy with the Italian Mafia in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and scores of cities in between. They display their unique genius at extortion and murder – knowing they can always find safe haven in the ‘Promised Land’!

On the cultural front, the finest Jewish writers, artists, musicians, scientists have emerged outside of Israel. A few may have immigrated to the Jewish state, but many other intellectuals and artists of note have chosen to leave Israel, repelled by the racist, intolerant and repressive apartheid state and society promoted by Jewish Supremacists.

Conclusion

The record provides no historical basis for the claims of Jewish Supremacists:

What has been cited as the disproportionate ‘Jewish genius’ turns out to be a two-edged sword – demonstrating the best and the worst.

Claiming a monopoly on high academic achievement must be expanded to owning up to the Jewish authors of the worst financial and foreign policy disasters – they too are ‘high achievers’.

Donations from financial billionaires, all ‘geniuses’, have financed the war crimes of the Israeli state and made possible the expansion of violent Jewish settlers throughout occupied Palestine – spreading misery and displacement for millions.

In fairness, the most notorious Jewish swindler in contemporary America was even-handed: ‘Bernie’ Madoff swindled Jews and Goys, Hollywood moguls and New York philanthropists – he wasn’t picky about who he fleeced.

The latest fashion among Jewish Supremacist ‘geneticists’ is to extoll the discovery of uniquely special ‘genes’ predisposing Jews to experience the ‘holocaust’ and even inherit the experience of suffering from long dead ancestors. Such ‘scientists’ should be careful. As Jazz artist and essayist, Gilad Altzmon wryly notes, ‘They will put the anti-Semites out of business’.

Ultimately, Jews, who have assimilated into the greater society or not, who inter-marry and who do not, are all products of the social system in which they live and (like everyone else) they are the makers of the roles they decide to play within it.

In the past, a uniquely disproportional percentage of Jews chose to fight for universal humanist values – rejecting the notion of a chosen people.

Today a disproportionate percentage of educated Jews have chosen to embrace an ‘ethno-religious’ Supremacist dogma, which binds them to an apartheid, militarist state and ideology ready to drag the world into a global war.

Never forget! Racialist supremacist doctrines led Germany down the blind ally of totalitarianism and world war, in which scores of millions perished.

Jews, especially young Jews, are increasingly repelled by Israel’s crimes against humanity. The next step for them (and for us) is to criticize, demystify and stand up to the toxic supremacist ideology linking the powerful domestic Zionist power configuration and its political clones with Israel.

The root problem is not genetic, it is collective political dementia: a demented ideology that claims a chosen elite can forever dominate and exploit the majority of American people. The time will come when the accumulated disasters will force the American people to push back, unmasking the elite and rejecting its supremacist doctrines. Let us hope that they will act with passion guided by reason.

 

Source:  Globalresearch.ca

NSA planned to infect Samsung with spyware

 

NSA planned to infect Samsung with spyware

NSA planned to infect Samsung with spyware

If you’re in the business of writing spyware or malware, smartphones are a tempting target. For many people, their phone or tablet is now the primary compute device they use to surf the web, access content, and explore new software. Google has had problems keeping the Google Play store free from malware and spyware, but new information suggests that both Google and Samsung almost faced a much more potent opponent — the NSA itself.

A report from The Intercept highlights how the NSA explored options for hacking the App Store and Google Play over several workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012. The projects used the Internet-monitoring Xkeyscore system to identify smartphone traffic, then trace that traffic back to app stores. This led to a project dubbed Irritant Horn, the point of which was to develop the ability to distribute “implants” that could be installed when the smartphones in question attempted to connect to Google or Samsung app stores.

The NSA has targeted mobile devices ever since the post-Patriot Act era made such warrantless comprehensive spying legal, but it’s never been clear how the organization managed to tap certain hardware in the first place. The goal was twofold: First, use app stores to launch spyware campaigns and second, gather information about the phone users themselves by infiltrating the app stores in question.

The reference to “Another Arab spring,” refers to the fact that the events of 2010-2011 apparently caught western intelligence agencies off-guard, with few resources that could quickly be brought to bear. The NSA wanted to be aware of future events before they happened. Note, however, that this has precious little to do with the direct goal of protecting the United States from terrorism.

Few would argue that the US should not monitor the activities of known threats, but where was the threat from internal strife and the possible toppling of autocratic governments? It’s true that in the longer run, some new governments might pursue policies that the United States found less desirable than those of the previous regime, but there’s an enormous leap between “We don’t like Country X’s new trade policy,” and “Country X is actively assisting terrorist groups to carry out an attack on the United States.”

 The NSA was primarily interested in the activities of African countries. But in the course of investigating these possibilities, it discovered significant security flaws in a program called UC Browser, used by nearly half a billion people in East Asia. Instead of disclosing the security vulnerability, the NSA and other foreign intelligence groups chose to exploit it — thereby increasing the chances that other criminal elements would have time to find and exploit it as well.

These issues are at the heart of the debate over what the NSA’s role should be in the future. There’s always been tension over whether the NSA should weaken or strengthen the cryptographic standards that allow for secure communication. That discussion may be even more nuanced when it involves software produced by foreign companies. There are few signs, however, that such nuanced discussions of capability have ever occurred. Instead, we continue to see intelligence resources deployed with the goal of vacuuming up all information from any source, regardless of legal precedent or cooperation.

The future of the Patriot Act and the scope of NSA’s future powers remains in some doubt. Senator Rand Paul gave a 10-hour speech yesterday aimed at derailing support for the Patriot Act (his actions were not properly a filibuster, because a vote on the renewal of Section 215 wasn’t actually before the chamber at the time). Others in the House of Representatives have called for a full appeal of the Patriot Act’s provisions, and the Federal Appeals Court for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the current spying program is illegal under the Patriot Act as it stands.

 

Source:  extremetech.com

 

800 terabecquerels of Cesium by 2016

800 terabecquerels of Cesium- 137 by 2016.

800 terabecquerels of Cesium- 137 by 2016.

A professor from Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (Michio Aoyama) told Kyodo in April that the West Coast of North America will be hit with around 800 terabecquerels of Cesium- 137 by 2016.

EneNews notes that this is 80% of the cesium-137 deposited in Japan by Fukushima, according to the company which runs Fukushima, Tepco:

(a petabequeral or “PBq” equals 1,000 terabecquerels.)

This is not news for those who have been paying attention.  For example, we noted 2 days after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that the West Coast of North America could be slammed with radiation from Fukushima.

We pointed out the next year that a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.

The same year, we noted that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with Fukushima radiation.

In 2013, we warned that the West Coast of North America would be hit hard by Fukushima radiation.

And we’ve noted for years that there is no real testing of Fukushima radiation by any government agency.

Indeed, scientists say that the amount of the West Coast of North America could end up exceeding that off the Japanese coast.

What’s the worst case scenario? That the mass die-off of sealife off the West Coast of North America – which may have started only a couple of months after the Fukushima melt-down – is being caused by radiation from Fukushima.

 

Source:  Globalresearch.ca

Doctor Who Linked Vaccines To Autism Found In River

Bradsreet  Found Floating in River

Bradsreet Found Floating in River

A prominent autism researcher and vaccine opponent was found dead floating in a North Carolina river last week under what many are calling suspicious circumstances.

A fisherman found the body of Dr. James Jeffery Bradstreet in the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, last Friday afternoon.

“Bradstreet had a gunshot wound to the chest, which appeared to be self inflicted, according to deputies,” reported WHNS.

In a press release, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office announced, “Divers from the Henderson County Rescue Squad responded to the scene and recovered a handgun from the river.”

An investigation into the death is ongoing, and the results of an autopsy are also reportedly forthcoming.

Dr. Bradstreet ran a private practice in Buford, Georgia, which focused on “treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PPD, and related neurological and developmental disorders.”

Among various remedies, Dr. Bradstreet’s Wellness Center reportedly carried out “mercury toxicity” treatments, believing the heavy metal to be a leading factor in the development of childhood autism.

Dr. Bradstreet undertook the effort to pinpoint the cause of the disease after his own child developed the ailment following routine vaccination.

“Autism taught me more about medicine than medical school did,” the doctor once stated at a conference, according to the Epoch Times’ Jake Crosby.

In addition to treating patients, Bradstreet has also offered expert testimony in federal court on behalf of vaccine-injured families and was founder and president of the International Child Development Resource Center, which at one time employed the much-scorned autism expert Dr. Andrew Wakefield as “research director.”

The circumstances surrounding Bradstreet’s death are made all the more curious by a recent multi-agency raid led by the FDA on his offices.

“The FDA has yet to reveal why agents searched the office of the doctor, reportedly a former pastor who has been controversial for well over a decade,” reported the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Social media pages dedicated to Bradstreet’s memory are filled with comments from families who say the deceased doctor impacted their lives for the better.

“Dr. Bradstreet was my son’s doctor after my son was diagnosed with autism. He worked miracles,” one Facebook user states. “At 16, my son is now looking at a normal life thanks to him. I thank him every day.”

“I will forever be grateful and thankful for Dr. Bradstreet recovering my son… from autism,” another person writes. “Treatments have changed my son’s life so that he can grow up and live a normal healthy life. Dr. Bradstreet will be missed greatly!”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up by one of Bradstreet’s family members seeking “To find the answers to the many questions leading up to the death of Dr Bradstreet, including an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of foul play.”

Despite his family requesting the public refrain from speculation, many are nevertheless concluding the doctor’s death to be part of a conspiracy.

“Self-inflicted? In the chest? I’m not buying this,” one person in the WHNS comments thread states. “This was a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals of all kinds. This was a religious man with a thriving medical practice. Sorry, but this stinks of murder and cover-up.”

Another commentor had a more definitive conjecture:

“He did NOT kill himself! He was murdered for who he was speaking against, what he knew, and what he was doing about it. He was brilliant kind compassionate doctor with amazing abilities to heal. He was taken. Stopped. Silenced. Why would a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals and could die peacefully shoot himself in the chest???? And throw himself in a river?? THIS IS OBVIOUS! MURDER!!”

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Bradstreet are still pending at the Cecil M. Burton funeral home in Shelby, Georgia.

 

Source:  Globalresearch.com

Fukushima: Everyone From Japan Has Had Health Problems

Fukushima: Hawaii-Based Nonprofit Group Says “Every Single Person” They Hosted from Japan Has Had Health Problems

Fukushima: Hawaii-Based Nonprofit Group Says “Every Single Person” They Hosted from Japan Has Had Health Problems

Interview with Vicki Nelson, founder of Fukushima Friends (nonprofit organization which facilitates trips to Hawaii for Fukushima radiation refugees), Nuclear Hotseat hosted by Libbe HaLevy, Jun 9, 2015 (at 16:30 in):

  • Vicki Nelson, founder of Fukushima Friends (emphasis added): We have a home that’s open for them to come and experience some time of respite and eat different food. What we’ve been experiencing also is that every single person that comes has reaction to the change as soon as they come here. There’s been people who have vomited, they’ve been having nosebleeds, they’ve been dizzy, they’ve been very ashen in color.
  • Libbe HaLevy, host: This is once they have left Japan? In other words, it is the lack of the radiation that allows them to then have these reactions?
  • Nelson: It’s like it is expelling from their body. There’s diarrhea, there’s nosebleeds— almost every single person has had nosebleeds on their pillow. I find blood, and they don’t want to tell me that they have these reactions, they’re embarrassed. Tokiko’s son [from Koriyama, Fukushima] vomited the whole first week practically, and had diarrhea. We actually took him to the hospital because we felt that he was dehydrated. They did run tests, and they said yes he was dehydrated. So he was kept overnight at the Hilo hospital on the big island and cared for.

Meeting hosted by Andrew Cash, member of Canadian parliament, Dec 2012 — Japanese mother (at 2:12:30 in): “My home town is Sapporo [northernmost island in Japan]… In my city, no one thinks about radiation. I found a group of escaped mothers from Tokyo and the Fukushima area, and I was very surprised… Most of them had thyroid problems, or eye problems, or nose bleeds… They are very worried about it. In Japan we knew about the meltdowns two months after the meltdowns happened, so we can have no information about radiation. Now the government is telling us to eat food from Fukushima. We can’t rely on government. The TV said Fukushima is safe, no problem… Fukushima is good to live. They want to invite a lot of tourists to Fukushima.

 

PLUS:

  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admits record radiation spike in port water from Fukushima Daiichi leak.
  • Japanese government gets pushback for plan to end rent subsidies for some Fukushima evacuees/refugees.
  • Japan plans nuke restarts despite severe volcanic activity less than 50 miles from reactor site.
  • The pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) releases report that Japan’s overconfidence regarding the safety of its nuclear power plants was a major reason behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
  • AND – Japan plans for nukes to supply 20-22% of all electricity in the country by 2030.  What’s wrong with this picture?

 

Source:  globalresearch.ca

Monsanto Department discredits scientists who are against GMOs.

‘discrediting’ and ‘debunking’ scientists who speak out against GMOs.

‘discrediting’ and ‘debunking’ scientists who speak out against GMOs.

Dare to publish a scientific study against Big Biotech, and Monsanto will defame and discredit you. For the first time, a Monsanto employee admits that there is an entire department within the corporation with the simple task of ‘discrediting’ and ‘debunking’ scientists who speak out against GMOs.

The WHO recently classified glyphosate, a chemical in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, as carcinogenic – news that is really heating things up with biotech. So Monsanto has been demanding that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) retract their statements about the poisons’s toxicity to human health.

The company demands this even though a peer-reviewed study published in March of 2015 in the respected journal, The Lancet Oncology, conducted a analysis proving that glyphosate was indeed ‘probably carcinogenic.’

Monsanto’s vice president of global regulatory affairs Philip Miller told Reuters the following in interview:

“We question the quality of the assessment. The WHO has something to explain.”

It has already been explained, Mr. Miller. The study states:

“Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There WAS limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.

Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Soil microbes degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans. Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations.”

In a recent talk attended mostly by students hoping to get decent paying internships in their field, a student asked what the company was doing to negate “bad science” concerning their work.

Monsanto’s employee, Dr. William “Bill” Moar, who gives talks on Monsanto’s products to reassure everyone that they are safe, perhaps forgot the event was public when he openly revealed that Monsanto had:

“An entire department” (waving his arm for emphasis) dedicated to “debunking” science which disagreed with theirs.”

Likely, this is the first time a Monsanto employee has publicly admitted that they have immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to publish against them. Of course they don’t list this discrediting department anywhere on their website.

The company will stop at nothing to discredit and devalue the contributions of unimpeachably respected Lancet and the international scientific bodies of WHO and IARC, among others.

The stakes are high – after all, an entire industry of GMO seed (for which they currently hold more than a three-fourths monopoly share) is based on being Roundup ready. Glyphosate is their hallmark product, and it accounts for billions in sales when you account for the seed they sell to go with their best-selling herbicide.

In a single publicly made phrase, Moar has admitted that the Monsanto-funded science is sheer propaganda – essentially that they indeed have dozens, if not hundreds of employees out making sure that no science which tells the truth about their cancer-causing products ever garners any credibility whatsoever in the information age.

Monsanto has also held up the findings of regulatory bodies, particularly in the United States where the revolving door between agrochemical corporations and government seems never ending.

 

Source:  themindunleashed.org

War between China and US

China sea war

China sea war

A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that “war is inevitable” between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway. 

The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country’s “most important bottom line.”

The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China’s land reclamation in the Spratley archipelago of the South China Sea. China last week said it was “strongly dissatisfied” after a US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.

China should “carefully prepare” for the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the newspaper said.

“If the United States’ bottomline is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said. “The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’.”

Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking. The Global Times is among China’s most nationalist newspapers.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

The United States has routinely called on all claimants to halt reclamation in the Spratlys, but accuses China of carrying out work on a scale that far outstrips any other country.

Washington has also vowed to keep up air and sea patrols in the South China Sea amid concerns among security experts that China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes work on its seven artificial islands.

China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the South China Sea but that current conditions did not warrant one.

The Global Times said “risks are still under control” if Washington takes into account China’s peaceful rise.

“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it,” the newspaper said. —Reuters

 

Source:  Globalresearch.ca

Israel demands 6 billion Military Aid for Netanyahu’s Killing Machine

Netanyahu's War Machine

Netanyahu’s War Machine

Israel already gets at least $3 billion annually from Washington – plus a whole lot more. US taxpayers fund its killing machine.

It wants a 50% increase for more wars and ruthless daily persecution of millions of Palestinians – plus terror-bombing Syria, Yemen and southern Lebanon at its discretion as well as regional destabilizing activities.

On May 24, Defense News headlined “Israel Seeks Surge in US Security Support,” saying:

“(W)orking bilateral groups have (been) assess(ing) Israel’s projected security needs in (preparing) a new 10-year foreign military financing (FMF) deal” to begin when the current one expires in 2017.

According to an unnamed security source, Israel wants up to $4.5 billion annually besides additional amounts on request, resupplying its killing machine as needed, increasing amounts of US weapons and munitions in Israel for “emergency use,” and nearly $500 million annually for so-called anti-rocket/missile defense.

Washington’s House approved 2016 national defense authorization funding calls for financing an Israeli anti-tunneling defense system to deal with so-called subterranean threats.

Washington is expected to provide Israel with additional billions of dollars of aid if a nuclear deal with Iran is consummated.

Israel’s only enemies are ones it invents. Not according to AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr claiming it may need $160 billion for “defense” through 2025 – a big increase over current budgeted amounts.

Israeli military spending is for offense, not defense. It wants state-of-the-art weapons for maximum killing machine effectiveness.

According to Kohr, US military aid for Israel “is an essential component of America’s national security strategy” – code language for waging imperial wars of conquest and domination.

Earlier in May, the Al Mezan Center for Human Right reported escalated Israeli attacks on Gaza. The IDF fired on border areas at least six times.

They attacked farmers in their fields. Israeli naval forces assault Gazan fishermen regularly for the crime of fishing.

Palestinian children too close to Israel’s imposed buffer zone are shot at with live fire. Deaths and injuries result.

Gaza remains an active war zone. Overnight Wednesday, Israeli warplanes terror-bombed multiple sites outrageously claiming “Hamas’ territory is used as a staging ground to attack Israel…”

According to Press TV, Israel attacked Gaza despite Hamas and Islamic Jihad denying firing rockets into Israeli territory as its military claims.

Multiple strikes targeted the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, Rafah on Egypt’s border, Khan Younis and Beit Lahia.

The attacks followed a rocket fired by an unknown source striking southern Israel, causing no casualties or damage.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service claims Tuesday’s rocket attack was the third since last summer’s war.

The UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) called Gaza’s ceasefire “perilously fragile.” Israeli border, air and sea attacks risk renewed war.

Hardline Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said

“if there won’t be quiet in Israel, Gaza will pay a very heavy price, which will cause all who plan to challenge us to regret their actions.”

“Hamas is advised to restrain any attempt to fire rockets at Israel or provoke it, otherwise we will be forced to act with greater power. I would not advise anyone to test us.”

Political analyst Talal Okal believes multiple Israeli attacks are in preparation for more war. Israel wants Palestinian resistance groups disarmed and weakened, he said.

When its provocative attacks are responded to in self-defense, it claims terrorism as justification for naked aggression.

Since December 2008, it waged three premeditated wars without mercy on Gaza. Is a fourth in prospect?

 

Source:  globalresearch.ca

One out of Four Workers Has a Stable Job

workers don't have a stable job

workers don’t have a stable job

Only one quarter of the world’s working population holds a permanent and stable job, according to a new report published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Tuesday.

Even as the number of unemployed people worldwide remains significantly higher than before the 2008 crisis, the few jobs that have been created in recent years have been disproportionately part-time, contingent and low-wage.

The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook—Trends 2015 report found that three-quarters of workers are “employed on temporary or short-term contracts, in informal jobs often without any contract, under own-account arrangements or in unpaid family jobs.”

The report notes that worldwide more than 60 percent of workers do not have any sort of employment contract, with most of them working on family farms and businesses in developing countries. But even among those who earn wages or salaries, less than half—only 42 percent—are employed on a permanent basis.

In what are categorized as high-income countries, the share of workers employed on a permanent basis has declined in recent years, from 74 percent in 2004 to 73.2 percent in 2012. For males this decline has been even sharper, with the share working on permanent contracts falling from 73.1 percent to 71.2 percent during the same time.

The report likewise found a global rise in part-time employment. “In the vast majority of countries with available information, the rise in the number of part-time jobs outpaced gains in full-time jobs between 2009 and 2013.”

The ILO notes,

“In France, Italy, Japan, Spain and the [European Union] more broadly, increases in part-time employment occurred alongside losses in full-time jobs—leading in some instances to overall job losses during this period.”

Since 2009, the number of full-time jobs in the European Union fell by nearly 3.3 million, while part-time employment increased by 2.1 million.

Meanwhile, legal protections assuring workers a stable employment schedule have been slashed, with the ILO noting that, “labour protection has generally decreased since 2008.”

“The shift we’re seeing from the traditional employment relationship to more non-standard forms of employment is in many cases associated with the rise in inequality and poverty rates in many countries,”

said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO.

The report found “a shift away from the standard employment model, in which workers… have stable jobs and work full time. In advanced economies, the standard employment model is less and less dominant.”

This phenomenon was mirrored in developing countries where,

“at the bottom of global supply chains, very short-term contracts and irregular hours are becoming more widespread.” As a result, “in emerging and developing economies, the historical trend toward more wage and salaried employment is slowing down.”

The report notes that “nearly eight years have passed since the first signs of crisis emerged in the global economy,” yet “the more recent period has seen global unemployment march higher” and has been “characterized by an uneven and fragile job recovery.”

The ILO estimates that the number of people unemployed worldwide hit 201 million last year, up by 30 million since the eruption of the global financial crisis in 2008. The report notes that, far from making any significant dent in the number of people unemployed worldwide, “providing jobs to more than 40 million additional people who enter the global labour market every year is proving to be a daunting challenge.”

The ILO notes that employment growth has largely stalled worldwide, with the number of jobs available growing by only 0.1 percent each year in developed countries since 2008, compared to a rate of 0.9 percent between 2000 and 2007.

This has corresponded with an overall slump in economic growth. For the “advanced economies” as a whole, growth in the period between 2007 and 2014 averaged about 0.7 percent per year, compared with an annual growth rate of two percent in the period before the crisis.

The report warned that falling wages and continued mass unemployment have contributed to a structural weakness in global demand, resulting in a further slump in the labor market. Director-General Ryder added,

“These trends risk perpetuating the vicious circle of weak global demand and slow job creation that has characterized the global economy and many labour markets throughout the post-crisis period.”

The increasing prevalence of low-wage, part-time and contingent work has coincided with a massive enrichment of the financial elite. Since 2009, the wealth of the world’s richest 400 individuals has nearly tripled, from $2.4 trillion to $7.05 trillion in 2015, according to Forbes magazine. This massive growth of inequality has been the direct outcome of policies carried out by governments throughout the world, which responded to the 2008 crash by pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system while slashing social services and promoting poverty-wage employment.

The findings of the report constitute a scathing indictment of the capitalist system, which is incapable of addressing mass unemployment, poverty or any other social problem. Developing countries, robbed and exploited by imperialism, remain backward and impoverished, while in the “advanced” economies the ruling classes have carried out a relentless assault on jobs, wages and living conditions for the great majority of the population.

There is nothing in the 155-page report to indicate any prospect for improvement in the near future. This fact constitutes an implicit admission that soaring inequality, falling wages, mass unemployment and increasingly contingent employment constitute essential features of the present social order.

 

Source:  globalresearch.ca

American prison investing in alternatives to prison

Private Prison

Private Prison

Private prison companies are facing up to the realities of criminal justice reform — and how it could hurt their bottom lines if they don’t rethink their approach soon.

As more states and the federal government have enacted reforms to decrease the number of people in costly, overcrowded prisons, private prison companies have invested in the services that many new criminals will be pushed to instead of prison — probation, parole, and halfway houses.

GEO Group in 2011 acquired Behavioral Interventions, the world’s largest producer of monitoring equipment for people awaiting trial or serving out probation or parole sentences. It followed GEO’s purchase in 2009 of Just Care, a medical and mental health service provider which bolstered its GEO Care business that provides services to government agencies. “Our commitment is to be the world’s leader in the delivery of offender rehabilitation and community reentry programs, which is in line with the increased emphasis on rehabilitation around the world,” said GEO chairman and founder George Zoley during a recent earnings call.

For $36 million in 2013, CCA acquired Correctional Alternatives, a company that provides housing and rehabilitation services that include work furloughs, residential reentry programs, and home confinement. “We believe we’re going to continue to see governments seeking these types of services, and we’re well positioned to offer them,” says Steve Owen, CCA’s ‎senior director of public affairs.

The common refrain, as outlined by a 2011 report from the Justice Policy Initiative, is that private prison companies have hugely benefited from mass incarceration, since they’re paid for each prisoner they hold. And as they’ve benefited, they’ve used the proceeds to lobby lawmakers to not carry out prison reforms, so they can keep a steady flow of prisoners.

But this diversification shows that private prison companies aren’t necessarily all in for mass incarceration anymore. They’re developing other options, too — although they’ll still rely on a steady flow of people under correctional supervision like probation, parole, and home arrest to boost profits.

Still, private prisons are poised to get increased profits from at least one kind of incarceration in which they’ve heavily invested: the detainment of undocumented immigrants. A 2014 Government Accountability Office analysis found that the number of non-citizens in immigrant detention nearly doubled between fiscal years 2005 and 2013. And US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a mandate to keep 34,000 detention beds available — although Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has said this is a mandate to keep the beds, not necessarily fill them.

Source:  Vox.com

The Next GooglePlex

googleplex

googleplex

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls. And stairs. And roofs. Google and its imaginative co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, essentially want to take 60 acres of land adjacent to the headquarters near the San Francisco Bay, in an area called North Bayshore, and turn it into a titanic human terrarium.

The proposal’s most distinctive feature is an artificial sky: four enormous glass canopies, each stretched over a series of steel pillars of different heights. The glass skin is uneven, angling up and down like a jagged, see-through mountain. The canopies will allow the company to regulate its air and climate. Underneath, giant floor plates slope gently upward, providing generous space for open-air offices and doubling as ramps so the 10,000 employees who will work there can get from one floor to the next without the use of stairs. For additional office and meeting space, modular rooms can be added, stacked, and removed as needed. To accomplish this, Google says it will invent a kind of portable crane-robot, which it calls crabots, that will reconfigure these boxes and roam the premises like the droids in Star Wars

Source:  Disinfo.com

China’s Drone War

China drone war

China drone war

China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.

China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.

“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.

China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”

Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.

“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.

The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.

Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.

“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.

“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.

It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.

 

Source:  http://freebeacon.com

Captain Kidd’s treasure found

captin kidd

captin kidd

Underwater explorers in Madagascar say they have discovered treasure belonging to the notorious 17th-Century Scottish pirate William Kidd.

A 50kg (7st 9lb) silver bar was brought to shore on Thursday on the island of Sainte Marie, from what is thought to be the wreck of the Adventure Galley.

The bar was presented to Madagascar’s president at a special ceremony.

US explorer Barry Clifford says he believes there are many more such bars still in the wreck.

Capt Kidd was first appointed by the British authorities to tackle piracy but later became a ruthless criminal and was executed in 1701.

‘Scepticism’

“Captain’s Kidd’s treasure is the stuff of legends. People have been looking for it for 300 years. To literally have it hit me on the head – I thought what the heck just happened to me. I really didn’t expect this,” Mr Clifford said.

“There’s more down there. I know the whole bottom of the cavity where I found the silver bar is filled with metal. It’s too murky down there to see what metal, but my metal detector tells me there is metal on all sides.”

The BBC’s Martin Vogl tweets that there is much excitement in Madagascar about the discovery and Mr Clifford’s team has no doubt that the discovery is genuine.

The team believes the bar, marked with what appears to be a letter S and a letter T, has its origins in 17th-Century Bolivia.

It believes the ship it has found was built in England, however there is bound to be scepticism and calls for more proof that the bar was linked to Capt Kidd, our reporter says.

One option would be to take samples of wood from the ship to analyse, he says.

The location of the ship, thought to have sunk in 1698, has been known about for many years but the silver bar was only discovered earlier this week.

Mr Clifford said that while diving in the wreck, his metal detector picked up signals but it was too muddy for him to see anything.

UK ambassador to Madagascar Timothy Smart, who attended the ceremony, said he hoped that Mr Clifford’s latest discovery would raise Madagascar’s profile as a tourist destination.

The plan is to exhibit the bars in a museum.

 

Source:  BBC.com

 

Finland submarine avoids US internet spying

Finland

Finland

Finland is aiming to capitalise on Germany’s privacy worries by setting itself up as a haven where online data will be safe from the prying eyes of foreign governments.

Cinia Group, a new state-owned telecoms company, is building a new submarine cable to link the Scandinavian country to German business and digital consumers.

It comes amid growing concern that the EU’s ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement, which allows personal and financial data to be exported to the US, does not protect privacy.

The route of the 685-mile cable has also been carefully planned to avoid waters where it would be more likely to be secretly wire tapped, in an effort to help build German confidence to use Finnish data centres.

The country is bidding to become the “Switzerland of the North”, where sensitive personal and financial data can be safely stored. Cinia has signed up its first customer for the new cable, the data centre provider Hetzner Online, which will pay €10m to use the link from early next year.

German privacy laws are particularly stringent due to its history of secret policing, and public concern about the internet was especially heightened there following the exposure of US spying by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Chris Watson, head of TMT at the City law firm CMS, which advised on the deal, said: “Russia and China keep control of data in government hands – and we saw in the US how personal data was not secure from the spooks. This cable is the fundamental aorta of an entirely secure commercial alternative for keeping data safe.”

Amazon’s data centre business has sought to address German privacy concerns by building a data centre near Frankfurt, guaranteeing that sensitive information will not leave the country. However other internet companies including Facebook have sought to save money by locating data centres in Scandinavia, where cooling for the thousands of server computers they contain is readily available from icy water.

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Women more likely to be assaulted in developed countries

Women are more likely to be physically assaulted in developed countries, study shows

Women are more likely to be physically assaulted in developed countries, study shows

When researchers examine violent assault numbers, historically the data has pointed to higher rates of female victimization in developing countries.

But a study by a West Virginia University sociology professor finds that women in developed countries — like the United States — are actually more likely to be physically assaulted than women in developing countries.

In “Individual and Structural Opportunities: A Cross-National Assessment of Females’ Physical and Sexual Assault Victimization,” Professor Rachel E. Stein examines how individuals’ daily routines and elements of country structure create opportunities prime for victimization.

“Research on developing countries will often lump sexual assault, physical assault and robbery together and sometimes studies expand to examine all types of victimization to increase the report record count,” Stein said.

Using data from the International Crime Victimization Survey from 45 countries, Stein reviewed physical and sexual assault victimization statistics at the national level to determine whether the societal structures around victims played a part in the frequency of attacks.

Sexual victimization is defined as incidents where, “people sometimes grab, touch, or assault others for sexual reasons in a really offensive way.” Physical victimization is defined as “being threatened or personally attacked by someone in a way that really frightened you.” The sample was limited to females only.

A variety of factors contributing to victimization exist. These can range from how often a female goes out for leisure activities (go to a bar, to a restaurant, to see friends), whether she lives alone, and age.

“Because individuals’ routines matter for victimization risk, it is important to educate people so they can become more aware of how their everyday activities might increase their risk for certain types of victimization,” Stein said. “However, individual routines are not the only contributing factor to victimization.

A woman’s surrounding environment also plays a risk, Stein said.

“One example is the unequal distribution of resources, such as formal conflict resolution, in countries with high levels of inequality. If policies are to effectively reduce the risk of victimization, they need to consider not only the lifestyles of individuals, but the context in which these activities take place.”

The paper was featured in the December 2014 issue of the International Criminal Justice Review and was recognized with the 2014 Richard J. Terrill Paper of the Year Award.

This is the second time Stein has been recognized with this award, receiving it in 2010 for her paper “The Utility of Country Structure: A Cross-National Multi-Level Analysis of Property and Violent Victimization.”

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

Software already taking jobs from humans

AI already taking jobs from humans

AI already taking jobs from humans

FORGET Skynet. Hypothetical world-ending artificial intelligence makes headlines, but the hype ignores what’s happening right under our noses. Cheap, fast AI is already taking our jobs, we just haven’t noticed.

This isn’t dumb automation that can rapidly repeat identical tasks. It’s software that can learn about and adapt to its environment, allowing it to do work that used to be the exclusive domain of humans, from customer services to answering legal queries.

These systems don’t threaten to enslave humanity, but they do pose a challenge: if software that does the work of humans exists, what work will we do?

In the last three years, UK telecoms firm O2 has replaced 150 workers with a single piece of software. A large portion of O2’s customer service is now automatic, says Wayne Butterfield, who works on improving O2’s operations. “Sim swaps, porting mobile numbers, migrating from prepaid onto a contract, unlocking a phone from O2” – all are now automated, he says.

Humans used to manually move data between the relevant systems to complete these tasks, copying a phone number from one database to another, for instance. The user still has to call up and speak to a human, but now an AI does the actual work.

To train the AI, it watches and learns while humans do simple, repetitive database tasks. With enough training data, the AIs can then go to work on their own. “They navigate a virtual environment,” says Jason Kingdon, chairman of Blue Prism, the start-up which developed O2’s artificial workers. “They mimic a human. They do exactly what a human does. If you watch one of these things working it looks a bit mad. You see it typing. Screens pop-up, you see it cutting and pasting.”

One of the world’s largest banks, Barclays, has also dipped a toe into this specialised AI. It used Blue Prism to deal with the torrent of demands that poured in from its customers after UK regulators demanded that it pay back billions of pounds of mis-sold insurance. It would have been expensive to rely entirely on human labour to field the sudden flood of requests. Having software agents that could take some of the simpler claims meant Barclays could employ fewer people.

The back office work that Blue Prism automates is undeniably dull, but it’s not the limit for AI’s foray into office space. In January, Canadian start-up ROSS started using IBM’s Watson supercomputer to automate a whole chunk of the legal research normally carried out by entry-level paralegals.

Legal research tools already exist, but they don’t offer much more than keyword searches. This returns a list of documents that may or may not be relevant. Combing through these for the argument a lawyer needs to make a case can take days.

ROSS returns precise answers to specific legal questions, along with a citation, just like a human researcher would. It also includes its level of confidence in its answer. For now, it is focused on questions about Canadian law, but CEO Andrew Arruda says he plans for ROSS to digest the law around the world.

Since its artificial intelligence is focused narrowly on the law, ROSS’s answers can be a little dry. Asked whether it’s OK for 20 per cent of the directors present at a directors’ meeting to be Canadian, it responds that no, that’s not enough. Under Canadian law, no directors’ meeting may go ahead with less than 25 per cent of the directors present being Canadian. ROSS’s source? The Canada Business Corporations Act, which it scanned and understood in an instant to find the answer.

By eliminating legal drudge work, Arruda says that ROSS’s automation will open up the market for lawyers, reducing the time they need to spend on each case. People who need a lawyer but cannot afford one would suddenly find legal help within their means.

ROSS’s searches are faster and broader than any human’s. Arruda says this means it doesn’t just get answers that a human would have had difficulty finding, it can search in places no human would have thought to look. “Lawyers can start crafting very insightful arguments that wouldn’t have been achievable before,” he says. Eventually, ROSS may become so good at answering specific kinds of legal question that it could handle simple cases on its own.

Where Blue Prism learns and adapts to the various software interfaces designed for humans working within large corporations, ROSS learns and adapts to the legal language that human lawyers use in courts and firms. It repurposes the natural language-processing abilities of IBM’s Watson supercomputer to do this, scanning and analysing 10,000 pages of text every second before pulling out its best answers, ranked by confidence.

Lawyers are giving it feedback too, says Jimoh Ovbiagele, ROSS’s chief technology officer. “ROSS is learning through experience.”

Massachusetts-based Nuance Communications is building AIs that solve some of the same language problems as ROSS, but in a different part of the economy: medicine. In the US, after doctors and nurses type up case notes, another person uses those notes to try to match the description with one of thousands of billing codes for insurance purposes.

Nuance’s language-focused AIs can now understand the typed notes, and figure out which billing code is a match. The system is already in use in a handful of US hospitals.

Kingdon doesn’t shy away from the implications of his work: “This is aimed at being a replacement for a human, an automated person who knows how to do a task in much the same way that a colleague would.”

But what will the world be like as we increasingly find ourselves working alongside AIs? David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says automation has tended to reduce drudgery in the past, and allowed people to do more interesting work.

“Old assembly line jobs were things like screwing caps on bottles,” Autor says. “A lot of that stuff has been eliminated and that’s good. Our working lives are safer and more interesting than they used to be.”

The potential problem with new kinds of automation like Blue Prism and ROSS is that they are starting to perform the kinds of jobs which can be the first rung on the corporate ladders, which could result in deepening inequality.

Autor remains optimistic about humanity’s role in the future it is creating, but cautions that there’s nothing to stop us engineering our own obsolescence, or that of a large swathe of workers that further splits rich from poor. “We’ve not seen widespread technological unemployment, but this time could be different,” he says. “There’s nothing that says it can’t happen.”

Kingdon says the changes are just beginning. “How far and fast? My prediction would be that in the next few years everyone will be familiar with this. It will be in every single office.”

Once it reaches that scale, narrow, specialised AIs may start to offer something more, as their computation roots allow them to call upon more knowledge than human intelligence could.

“Right now ROSS has a year of experience,” says Ovbiagele. “If 10,000 lawyers use ROSS for a year, that’s 10,000 years of experience.”

Source:  newscientist.com

Scientists Closing in on Consciousness

 

 

Scientists Closing in on Theory of Consciousness

Scientists Closing in on Theory of Consciousness

Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum

Not an easy concept to define, consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes proposed the notion of “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), the idea that the mere act of thinking about one’s existence proves there is someone there to do the thinking.

Descartes also believed the mind was separate from the material body — a concept known as mind-body duality — and that these realms interact in the brain’s pineal gland. Scientists now reject the latter idea, but some thinkers still support the notion that the mind is somehow removed from the physical world.

But while philosophical approaches can be useful, they do not constitute testable theories of consciousness, scientists say.

“The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that,” said Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Neuroscience in Seattle.

Correlates of consciousness

In the last few decades, neuroscientists have begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from an evidence-based perspective. Many researchers have sought to discover specific neurons or behaviors that are linked to conscious experiences.

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

But looking for neural or behavioral connections to consciousness isn’t enough, Koch said. For example, such connections don’t explain why the cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull that coordinates muscle activity, doesn’t give rise to consciousness, while the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer) does. This is the case even though the cerebellum contains more neurons than the cerebral cortex.

Nor do these studies explain how to tell whether consciousness is present, such as in brain-damaged patients, other animals or even computers. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Neuroscience needs a theory of consciousness that explains what the phenomenon is and what kinds of entities possess it, Koch said. And currently, only two theories exist that the neuroscience community takes seriously, he said.

Integrated information

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the most promising theories for consciousness, known as integrated information theory.

Understanding how the material brain produces subjective experiences, such as the color green or the sound of ocean waves, is what Australian philosopher David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness. Traditionally, scientists have tried to solve this problem with a bottom-up approach. As Koch put it, “You take a piece of the brain and try to press the juice of consciousness out of [it].” But this is almost impossible, he said.

In contrast, integrated information theory starts with consciousness itself, and tries to work backward to understand the physical processes that give rise to the phenomenon, said Koch, who has worked with Tononi on the theory.

The basic idea is that conscious experience represents the integration of a wide variety of information, and that this experience is irreducible. This means that when you open your eyes (assuming you have normal vision), you can’t simply choose to see everything in black and white, or to see only the left side of your field of view.

Instead, your brain seamlessly weaves together a complex web of information from sensory systems and cognitive processes. Several studies have shown that you can measure the extent of integration using brain stimulation and recording techniques.

The integrated information theory assigns a numerical value, “phi,” to the degree of irreducibility. If phi is zero, the system is reducible to its individual parts, but if phi is large, the system is more than just the sum of its parts.

This system explains how consciousness can exist to varying degrees among humans and other animals. The theory incorporates some elements of panpsychism, the philosophy that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things.

An interesting corollary of integrated information theory is that no computer simulation, no matter how faithfully it replicates a human mind, could ever become conscious. Koch put it this way: “You can simulate weather in a computer, but it will never be ‘wet.'”

Global workspace

Another promising theory suggests that consciousness works a bit like computer memory, which can call up and retain an experience even after it has passed.

Bernard Baars, a neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, developed the theory, which is known as the global workspace theory. This idea is based on an old concept from artificial intelligence called the blackboard, a memory bank that different computer programs could access.

Anything from the appearance of a person’s face to a memory of childhood can be loaded into the brain’s blackboard, where it can be sent to other brain areas that will process it.  According to Baars’ theory, the act of broadcasting information around the brain from this memory bank is what represents consciousness.

The global workspace theory and integrated information theories are not mutually exclusive, Koch said. The first tries to explain in practical terms whether something is conscious or not, while the latter seeks to explain how consciousness works more broadly.

“At this point, both could be true,” Koch said.

 

Source:  livescience.com

Free will is an illusion

Free Will

Free Will

 

Let’s say you’re approaching a fork in the road, and at the very last minute you decide to take the right fork. Common sense says that you made at active decision to take the right fork — a decision you made more or less a split second before you shifted your body ever so slightly in the direction of said fork.

But recent research reveals that decisions such as these may have much deeper neurological roots — so deep, in fact, that scientists can observe patterns of brain activity that allow them to predict the outcome of decisions like these long before a person is even conscious of his own decision.

In other words, scientists have thrown a serious wrench in the works of the notion of free will.

Nature’s Kerri Smith writes:

As humans, we like to think that our decisions are under our conscious control – that we have free will. Philosophers have debated that concept for centuries, and now [neuroscientist John-Dylan] Haynes and other experimental neuroscientists are raising a new challenge. They argue that consciousness of a decision may be a mere biochemical afterthought, with no influence whatsoever on a person’s actions. According to this logic, they say, free will is an illusion.”

In the words of Patrick Haggard, a neuroscientist at University College London: “We feel we choose, but we don’t.”

 

Source:   io9.com

Brains communicate from thousands of miles away

Brain study

Brain study

 

Brain-to-brain communication study conducted in coordination with Harvard Medical School has proven that extrasensory mind-to mind interaction can happen over great distances by leveraging different pathways in the mind. (Technological telepathy)

The study, coauthored by Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, found that information can be successfully transmitted between two intact human brains from distances over 5000 miles apart.

The following is excerpt from an article featured on Smithsonian Mag:

An international research team develops a way to say “hello” with your mind

In a recent experiment, a person in India said “hola” and “ciao” to three other people in France. Today, the Web, smartphones and international calling might make that not seem like an impressive feat, but it was. The greetings were not spoken, typed or texted. The communication in question happened between the brains of a set of study subjects, marking one of the first instances of brain-to-brain communication on record.

The team, whose members come from Barcelona-based research institute Starlab, French firm Axilum Robotics and Harvard Medical School, published its findings earlier this month in the journal PLOS One. Study co-author Alvaro Pascual-Leone, director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, hopes this and forthcoming research in the field will one day provide a new communication pathway for patients who might not be able to speak.

“We want to improve the ways people can communicate in the face of limitations—those who might not be able to speak or have sensory impairments,” he says. “Can we work around those limitations and communicate with another person or a computer?”

Pascual-Leone’s experiment was successful—the correspondents neither spoke, nor typed, nor even looked at one another. But he freely concedes that the test was more a proof of concept than anything else, and the technique still has a long way to go. “It’s still very, very early,” he says, “[but] we can show that this is even possible with technology that’s available. It’s the difference between talking on the phone and sending Morse code. To get where we’re going, you need certain steps to be taken first.”

Indeed, the process was drawn out, if not downright inelegant. First, the team had to establish binary-code equivalents of letters; for example “h” is “0-0-1-1-1.” Then, with EEG (electroencephalography) sensors attached to the scalp, the sender moved either his hands or feet to indicate a 1 or a 0. The code then passed to the recipient over email. On the other end, the receiver was blindfolded with a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) system on his head. (TMS is a non-invasive method of stimulating neurons in the brain; it’s most commonly used to treat depression.) The TMS headset stimulated the recipient’s brain, causing him to see quick flashes of light. A flash was equivalent to a “1” and a blank was a “0.” From there, the code was translated back into text.

 

Source:   earthweareone.com

Skeptic Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Fraud

 Brian Dunning Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Fraud

Brian Dunning Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Fraud

 

 

Brian Dunning, creator of the Skeptoid podcast and the world’s worst “science” rap video, pled guilty to wire fraud that had allowed him to collect more than $5 million. Sentencing has finally occurred, and the result is 15 months in prison starting on September 2, 2014, followed by three years of supervised release.

This is great news for the skeptic community at large, since it may be a long enough sentence for Dunning to fade from memory and stop publicly representing the very people who are supposedly trying to stop people from defrauding others.

Meanwhile, this case had brought to light an actual skeptical activist who appears to be smart, hilarious, and actually effective at stopping frauds: Assistant United States Attorney David R. Callaway. In the government’s sentencing recommendation to the court last week, Callaway* argued beautifully against the idea that Dunning deserves to be insulated from the consequences of his actions, saying that “There is no “Get out of Trauma Free” card for white-collar criminals or, unfortunately, their families.” In fact, Callaway argues that Dunning should be punished harshly in part because his crime wasn’t motivated by desperate need:

The crime in this case was motivated by pure greed….This was no “smash and grab,” motivated by poverty, hunger, or substance abuse, but rather a clever, sophisticated, calculated criminal scheme carried out over several years by a man who certainly had no pressing need for the money.

Callaway then cites scientific evidence suggesting that harsh sentencing for “white-collar” criminals may present a greater deterrence than “blue-collar” crimes, which tend to be more spontaneous crimes of passion compared to the pre-meditation of something like wire fraud.

Callaway points to Dunning’s “celebrity” in the skeptical community as a further reason to punish him harshly (emphasis mine):

The enhanced deterrence value of a prison term would be all the greater in Mr. Dunning’s case, as he is at least somewhat of a “public figure” by virtue of his podcast, “Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena,” which he claims has a weekly audience of 179,000 listeners. Mr. Dunning has written five books based on the podcast, and he even has a “rap” video.

On the plus side, this prison sentence could potentially do wonders for Dunning’s rap career. But let’s hope not.

COP MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU THAN A TERRORIST

 A COP IS MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU THAN A TERRORIST


A COP IS MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU THAN A TERRORIST

 

After 9/11, the fear of another attack on U.S. soil cleanly supplanted the fear of having one’s penis chopped off by a vengeful lover in the pantheon of irrational American fears. While we’re constantly being told that another attack is imminent and that radical Islamic fundamentalists are two steps away from establishing a caliphate in Branson, Missouri, just how close are they? How do the odds of dying in a terrorist attack stack up against the odds of dying in other unfortunate situations?

The following ratios were compiled using data from 2004 National Safety Council Estimates, a report based on data from The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, 2003 mortality data from the Center for Disease Control was used.

You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

You are eight times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

You are nine times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

 

 

Source:  w.prorev.com

Tomb of Attila the Hun

 

 

Hungary: Archeologists Discover Tomb of Attila the Hun:

 

Hungary: Archeologists Discover Tomb of Attila the Hun

Hungary: Archeologists Discover Tomb of Attila the Hun

 

Budapest| Construction workers building the foundations of a new bridge over the Danube River in the Hungarian capitol, have unearthed a spectacular 5th century sepulchre. The analysis of the monument revealed that it was the burial chamber of a great hunnic leader, most likely  that of King Attila himself.

“This site is absolutely incredible!” explains Albrecht Rümschtein, an historian from the Lorand Eötvös University in Budapest and member of the team of specialists investigating the tomb. “We found many horse skeletons, as well as various weapons and other artefacts, all traditionally associated with Huns. These objects include a large sword made of meteoric iron, which could certainly be Attila’s legendary “Holy War Sword of the Scythians”, allegedly given to him by the god Mars himself. In fact, this definitely seems to be the resting place of the almighty Attila, but further analysis needs to be done to confirm it.”

Nicknamed “the scourge of God” by roman historians, Attila was the ruler of the Huns, a nomadic people originating possibly from Central Asia. He ruled from 434 A.D., until his death in 453 after a feast celebrating his latest marriage to a beautiful and young gothic princess named Ildico. He led many military raids on both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires provoquing what has become knowned as the Barbarian Invasions or the Great Migration, a large movement of germanic populations that greatly accelerated the fall of Rome and the advent of the Middle Ages in Europe. He his considered by most Hungarians, as the founder of the country.

The discovery of this funerary site could bring many clarifications concerning the origins and identity of the hunnic people and of Attila himself, which have both been sources of debate for centuries. The analysis of pieces of pottery and jewelry found on the site, should bring a new light on their cultural origins and trade networks, and help scientists better understand this badly documented people.

 

Source:  worldnewsdailyreport.com

Aged brains and muscles in mice made younger


 More progress with GDF 11, anti-aging protein:

Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger:

Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger:

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have shown that a protein they previously demonstrated can make the failing hearts in aging mice appear more like those of young health mice, similarly improves brain and skeletal muscle function in aging mice.

 

Professors Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin, of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), report that injections of a protein known as GDF11, which is found in humans as well as mice, improved the exercise capability of mice equivalent in age to that of about a 70-year-old human, and also improved the function of the olfactory region of the brains of the older mice — they could detect smell as younger mice do.

Rubin and Wagers each said that, baring unexpected developments, they expect to have GDF11 in initial human clinical trials within three to five years. Postdoctoral fellow Lida Katsimpardi is the lead author on the Rubin group’s paper, and postdocs Manisha Sinha and Young Jang are the lead authors on the paper from the Wagers group.

Both studies examined the effect of GDF11 in two ways. First, by using what is called a parabiotic system, in which two mice are surgically joined and the blood of the younger mouse circulates through the older mouse. And second, by injecting the older mice with GDF11, which in an earlier study by Wagers and Richard Lee, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital who is also an author on the two papers released today, was shown to be sufficient to reverse characteristics of aging in the heart.

Doug Melton, co-chair of HSCRB and co-director of HSCI, reacted to the two papers by saying that he couldn’t “recall a more exciting finding to come from stem cell science and clever experiments. This should give us all hope for a healthier future. We all wonder why we were stronger and mentally more agile when young, and these two unusually exciting papers actually point to a possible answer: the higher levels of the protein GDF11 we have when young. There seems to be little question that, at least in animals, GDF11 has an amazing capacity to restore aging muscle and brain function,” he said.

Melton, Harvard’s Xander University Professor continued, saying that the ongoing collaboration between Wagers, a stem cell biologist whose focus has been on muscle, Rubin, whose focus is on neurodegenerative diseases and using patient generated stem cells as targets for drug discover, and Lee, a practicing cardiologist and researcher, “is a perfect example of the power of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute as an engine of truly collaborative efforts and discovery, bringing together people with big, unique ideas and expertise in different biological areas.”

As Melton noted, GDF11 is naturally found in much higher concentration in young mice than in older mice, and raising its levels in the older mice has improved the function of every organ system thus far studied.

Wagers first began using the parabiotic system in mice 14 years ago as a post doctoral fellow at Stanford University, when she and colleagues Thomas Rando, of Stanford, Irina Conboy, of UC Berkley, and Irving Weissman, of Stanford, observed that the blood of young mice circulating in old mice seemed to have some rejuvenating effects on muscle repair after injury.

Last year she and Richard Lee published a paper in which they reported that when exposed to the blood of young mice, the enlarged, weakened hearts of older mice returned to a more youthful size, and their function improved. And then working with a Colorado firm, the pair reported that GDF11 was the factor in the blood apparently responsible for the rejuvenating effect. That finding has raised hopes that GDF11 may prove, in some form, to be a possible treatment for diastolic heart failure, a fatal condition in the elderly that now is irreversible, and fatal.

“From the previous work it could have seemed that GD11 was heart specific,” said Wagers, “but this shows that it is active in multiple organs and cell types… Prior studies of skeletal muscle and the parabiotic effect really focused on regenerative biology. Muscle was damaged and assayed on how well it could recover,” Wagers explained.

She continued: “The additional piece is that while prior studies of young blood factors have shown that we achieve restoration of muscle stem cell function and they repair the muscle better, in this study, we also saw repair of DNA damage associated with aging, and we got it in association with recovery of function, and we saw improvements in unmanipulated muscle. Based on other studies, we think that the accumulation DNA damage in muscle stem cells might be reflect an inability of the cells to properly differentiate to make mature muscle cells, which is needed for adequate muscle repair.

Wagers noted that there is still a great deal to be learned about the mechanics of aging in muscle, and its repair. “I don’t think we fully understand how this happening or why. We might say that the damage is modification to the genetic material; the genome does have breaks in it. But whether it’s damaging, or a necessary part of repair, we don’t know yet.”

Rubin, whose primary research focus is on developing treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in children, said that that when his group began its GDF11 experiments, “we knew that in the old mouse things were bad in the brain, there is a reduced amount of neurogenesis (the development of neurons), and it’s well known that cognition goes down. It wasn’t obvious to me that those things that can be repaired in peripheral tissue could be fixed in the brain.”

Rubin said that post doctoral fellow Lida Katsimpardi, the lead author on his group’s paper, was taught the parabiotic experimental technique by Wagers, but conducted the Rubin group’s experiments independently of the Wagers group, and “she saw an increase in neural stem cells, and saw increased development of blood vessels in the brain.” Rubin said that 3D reconstruction of the brain, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the mouse brain showed “more new blood vessels and more blood flow,” both of which are normally associated with younger, healthier brain tissue.” Younger mice, Rubin said, “have a keen sense of olfactory discrimination,” they can sense fine differences in odor. “When we tested the young mice, they avoided the smell of mint; the old mice didn’t. But the old mice exposed to the blood of the young mice, and those treated with GDF11 did.

“We think an effect of GDF 11 is the improved vascularity and blood flow, associated with increased neurogenesis,” Rubin said. “This should have other more widespread effect on other areas of the brain. We do think that, at least in principal, there will be a way to reverse some of the decline of aging with a single protein. It could be that a molecule like GDF 11, or GDF 11 itself, could” reverse the damage of aging.

“It isn’t out of question that GDF11,” or a drug developed from it, “might be worthwhile in Alzheimer’s Disease,” Rubin said. “You might be able to separate out the issues of treating the plaque and tangles associated with the disease, and the decline in cognition, and perhaps improve cognition.” Wagers said that the two research groups are in discussions with a venture capital group to obtain funding to “be able to do the additional pre-clinical work” necessary before moving GDF 11 into human trials.

“I would wager that the results of this work, together with the other work, will translate into a clinical trial and a treatment,” said the stem cell biologist. “but of course that’s just a wager.”

“We think an effect of GDF 11 is the improved vascularity and blood flow, which is associated with increased neurogenesis,” Rubin said. “However, the increased blood flow should have more widespread effects on brain function. We do think that, at least in principle, there will be a way to reverse some of the cognitive decline that takes place during aging, perhaps even with a single protein. It could be that a molecule like GDF 11, or GDF 11 itself, could” reverse the damage of aging.

“It isn’t out of question that GDF11,” or a drug developed from it, “might be capable of slowing some of the cognitive defects associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, a disorder whose main risk factor is aging itself,” Rubin said. It is even possible that this could occur without directly changing the “plaque and tangle burden” that are the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Thus, a future treatment for this disease might be a combination of a therapeutic that reduces plaques and tangles, such as an antibody directed against the β-amyloid peptide, with a potential cognition enhancer like GDF-11.

 

Source:    sciencedaily.com

Bacteria exploit proteins to trigger potentially lethal infections

New research by scientists at the University of York sheds light on how bacteria exploit human proteins during infections:

bacteria exploit proteins

bacteria exploit proteins

 

 

A research team led by Professor Jennifer Potts, a British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow in York’s Department of Biology, studied how Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause life-threatening human infections, attach to two proteins fibronectin and fibrinogen found in human blood.

The human proteins play important roles in clot formation and wound healing and the bacteria appear to exploit them during the process of infection. Scientists had earlier shown that the binding sites for fibrinogen and fibronectin on the S. aureus protein FnBPA appear to “co-operate” in causing the dangerous heart infection infective endocarditis and the latest research suggest how the process occurs. The researchers, who included Vaclav Stemberk and Dr Richard Jones at York and Dr Ruth Massey, a microbiologist at the University of Bath, used X-ray crystallography, biophysical techniques and bacterial assays to investigate the process.

In research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, they solved the three dimensional structure of the bacterial protein FnBPA in complex with a small part of the human protein fibrinogen. This work showed that the fibrinogen binding site on FnBPA is close to, but not overlapping with, the binding site for fibronectin.

They then studied the binding of the two human proteins simultaneously to FnBPA and found that binding of fibronectin appears to block binding of fibrinogen to the bacterial protein. It appears that regulation of binding arises due to the close proximity of the fibrinogen and fibronectin binding sites on the bacterial protein and the large size of the human proteins. While the research provides the first biophysical evidence in support of the co-operation previously observed in the infection studies, it is still not clear how these two observations are linked. The scientists are planning further studies.

Professor Potts said: “Bacteria have evolved various mechanisms to exploit human proteins to cause infection. Understanding these mechanisms might not only lead to the development of new therapeutics but can also provide important information regarding the normal role of these human proteins in the body.”

Dr Sanjay Thakrar, Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the study, said: “The bacteria studied can cause a wide range of infections including the potentially fatal heart infection known as infective endocarditis.

“This study showed how this bacterium interacts with proteins found in our blood, which may give us an insight into how these deadly heart infections occur. This is an important step towards developing new treatments, but more research is needed to fully understand this interaction.”

 

Source:   eurekalert.org

New gene with a key role in obesity

New gene with a key role in obesity:

New gene with a key role in obesity:

New gene with a key role in obesity:

The researchers observed that blocking the expression of TRIP- Br2 gene protects mice against obesity and insulin resistance . The study shows that the gene modulates fat storage by regulating energy expenditure and lipolysis , the process that transforms fat into lipids for energy in the body. If gene expression is blocked , the mice increase in lipolysis and energy expenditure , thereby reducing their obesity.

Obesity is the result of an alteration in the processes regulating the absorption of food and energy production . This altered balance tips toward excessive fat storage. According to researchers, the understanding of the regulation of the factors controlling the storage, movement and the use of an excess of energy in fat cells ( adipocytes ) can lead to the development of therapies for obesity and related conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

In the words of Cristina Mallol , a researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and co – author of the study : ” The protection of mice lacking expression of TRIP- Br2 gene and its selective elevation of visceral fat in humans point to the path future gene therapy to counteract obesity, insulin resistance and excess lipids in the blood “ .

Four emotions vs. Six

Humans use four basic emotions rather than six:
Emotions

Emotions

A commonly held belief , first proposed by Dr. Paul Ekman, posits that there are six basic emotions that are universally recognized and easily interpreted through specific facial expressions, regardless of language or culture. These are : happiness , sadness , fear , anger , surprise and disgust.

New research published in the journal Current Biology by scientists at the University of Glasgow has challenged this view and suggested that there are only four basic emotions .

His conclusion was reached by studying the variety of different muscles in the face – or units of action as researchers refer to them – involved in signaling in different emotions, and the period during which every muscle is activated .

This is the first study to examine objectively the ” temporal dynamics ” of facial expressions , which are possible using a single platform Cara generative grammar developed at the University of Glasgow.

The team from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology assertion that while the signals of facial expression of happiness and sadness are clearly distinct over time , fear and surprise share a common signal – eyes open – early dynamics signaling .

Similarly, anger and disgust share wrinkled nose. Are these early signs that could represent the most basic warning signs . Later in the dynamic signaling , facial expressions convey signals that distinguish the six ‘classic’ facial expressions of emotion.

Lead researcher Dr Rachael Jack said : “Our results are consistent with the predictions of evolution, where the signals are designed by the biological and social evolutionary pressures to optimize its function .

” First, the signs of early danger give the best benefits to others , allowing faster escape Secondly, the physiological benefits for expresser – . Wrinkled nose prevents the inspiration of potentially harmful particles, while much of eye consumption increases the useful visual information for escape – is better when facial movements are made early.

” What our research shows is that not all facial muscles appear simultaneously during facial expressions, but rather develop over time supporting a biologically basic hierarchical information socially – . Specific time ”

In developing his research team used special techniques and developed at the University of Glasgow for the synthesis of all facial expressions software.

The generative grammar Face – developed by Professor Philippe Schyns , Dr. Oliver Garrod and Dr. Hui Yu – uses cameras to capture a three-dimensional image of the faces of the people specially trained to activate the 42 individual facial muscles independently .

From this a computer can generate specific or random facial expressions in a 3D model based on the activation of different units or groups of units actions to imitate all facial expressions.

By asking volunteers to observe the realistic model as it took several expressions – thus providing a true experience of four dimensions – and state that emotion is being expressed researchers are able to see which units specific action observers associated with emotions individuals.

It was through this method found that the signs of fear / surprise and anger / disgust mingled in the early stage of the transmission and only became clearer later when other action units were activated .

Dr. Jack said : “Our research casts doubt on the idea that human communication consists of six basic emotion categories, psychologically irreducible Instead it is suggested that there are four basic expressions of emotion. .

“We showed that facial expression signals ” core ” are perceptually segmented over time and follow a developmental hierarchy of signals over time – of biologically rooted basic to the most complex signals specific social cues.

“Over time , and that humans migrated around the world , socio-ecological diversity probably previously common specialized facial expressions, alter the number , variety and type of signals across cultures. ”

The researchers intend to develop their study observing facial expressions of different cultures , including East Asian populations to those who have already been compiled interpret some of the six different classic emotions – putting more emphasis on the signals from the eyes mouth movements compared to Westerners.

Black Phones to combat Police Software

Things that can be undeleted from your phone using police software:

Things that can be undeleted from your phone using police software

Things that can be undeleted from your phone using police software

Software like Oxygen Forensic and AccessData allows anyone to recover data from phones and other mobile devices even after it has been deleted or undergone a factory reset.

Almost all of all handsets sold to recycling companies are reused, not recycled in the “conventional” context, making phone recycling a prime target for hackers using forensic data retrieval software. Here are the more concerning of the things that can be recovered from your phone using FDR software:

1. Images and videos

Even if you take a quick photo and delete it immediately after, along with all your other pictures and videos, it can be recovered.

What most people don’t know is that when you delete information off your phone or undergo a factory reset, the data itself is not being deleted, it still remains in areas of the flash chip called solid state memory. Factory resets only destroy the paths to the data. This obviously allows forensic software users to re-establish their own pathways and retrieve the data.

A YouGov poll showed 26 percent of people (in the UK, at least) believe that manually deleting a piece of data completely removes it from the device, whereas 37 percent believe a factory reset is enough (neither will fully remove personal data).

A full removal of personal data is not possible using a device’s in-built factory reset or by re-flashing the operating system.

2. Bank details on apps

Despite banks doing their best to make smartphone banking as secure as possible, as long as a code or pin is required to access a customer’s details, they are susceptible to forensic recovery.

The flat information that can be retrieved from the solid state memory also includes passwords and cryptograms that have been used within the phone’s apps.

This actually applies to any app that has ever been uploaded on a mobile device, which is a worrying thought for people who have sold their old phones or unwanted upgrades. To make matters worse, recent EU data security regulations have pushed legislation making it the responsibly of the handset owner to wipe all their data, not the recyclers or phone buyers. Despite this possibly being one of the most absurd legislations in history, until it is revisited (which should be March 2014), mobile phone consumers have been forced into a subjugate position.

However, if you happen to live outside of Europe, you aren’t affected by this legislation.

3. SMS and email messages (sent and received)

This could apply to all messages involving SMS, email, Whatsapp, WeChat, instant messaging, Skype, and MMS logs that have ever been used on the phone.

The level of detail a hacker could undelete from your phone depends solely on the level of patience the hacker has. Forensic retrieval and the replacement of data pathways can be a laborious process because there are so many areas within the phone where the solid state memory can hide the flat data.

4. Web browsing history

Over the years, more people have been using their phones to search Google and browse the Internet. To accommodate that, smartphone technology has become more sophisticated. The downside to this is that the more complex and intrinsic something becomes, the more it can be exploited.

5. Geo-positioning and location sensors

If having access to your private photos, messages, and passwords wasn’t enough, another concerning bit of information a potential hacker can get their hands on is the smartphone’s position sensor history.

So whenever a smartphone user has gone to lunch with their friends and tagged them all in a Facebook status update, all this logged information can be salvaged.

This could lead to a hacker being able to discover a former phone owner’s home address or hangout spots.

A military-standard data wipe is the only known way to properly erase not just the data paths but the data itself. There are many different terms for this kind of wipe, but it essentially works in a similar way to forensic retrieval software itself: it reforms the deleted pathways, but instead of recovering the data, it deletes it.

Companies like Cashinyourgadgets, Bozowi Sell My Mobile, and Money4urmobile offer this level of permanent data removal.  In the U.S., cell recycling companies like Cellularreturns, Celltradein, and Gadgetgobbler offer military-standard wipes.

Costs for this service vary significantly, but the price is usually about 5 percent to 15 percent of the phone’s recycle value. So if your handset could be recycled for $150, the cost to have it properly wiped would be somewhere around $15. However, the more aware the world is of forensic data retrieval software, the quicker companies like these will begin offering such a service for free (because they will have no choice).

A word of warning: If you are going to use an external company to perform a permanent wipe on your phone, always make sure they provide you with both a tracking number and a certificate of destruction. Companies like these will almost always arrange for a delivery service to pick up your phone from your home and drop it off afterwards, so a tracking number is important to monitor the process and make sure you are getting the full data removal. A certificate of destruction is useful because it means the company is accepting full responsibility for the data, so if your phone still manages to get hacked after the service, they will be legally accountable.

There have been some studies suggesting that multiple factory resets could also deleted the flat data due to it slowly wearing down the solid state memory, but the results were inconclusive.

One piece of good news: It’s likely this threat won’t be a permanent issue. The major mobile device developers will eventually find ways to bypass it altogether. Already we’re hearing about the upcoming Blackphone, which is apparently NSA-proof and allegedly impossible to hack. However, until it’s released, we won’t know for sure.

It’s unlikely forensic software will ever be outlawed, and even if developers fully bypass the threats it poses, another more advanced incarnation will be conjured up (the police still need to recover data, remember). What’s important is that mobile phone users are aware of the threat and begin to pressure electrical recyclers to do everything they can to prevent it.

Monsanto Says its going Organic

 Monsanto Says its going Organic:
Monsanto Says its going Organic

Monsanto Says its going Organic

The company , whose name is synonymous with big Ag has revolutionized the way we grow food – for good or ill . Activists insulted by such practices mustache – spinning like suing farmers who grow back or licensed seed filling the world of super weeds resistant to Roundup. Then there is the reputation – despised by some of Monsanto held by others, as the largest provider of genetically modified crop commodities such as corn and soybeans edited with DNA from another location , nature designed to have qualities not just think .

It is not particularly surprising that the company is introducing new strains of familiar food crops, Monsanto invented and endowed by their Creator with powers and abilities beyond what you would normally see in the produce section . The lettuce is sweet and crunchy romaine and has the quality of fresh iceberg stay . Chilies come in miniature sizes , in one portion to reduce leftovers. Broccoli has three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin , a compound that helps increase the levels of antioxidants. Stark Department , division of world trade , came with them.

” Grocery stores are looking for in the produce aisle for something that appears, feels different ,” says Avery. ” And consumers are looking for the same thing. ‘ If the team is good , they will know very soon. Frescada lettuce, peppers and Beneforté BellaFina brands – cheerful broccoli registered trademark of a subsidiary all-but – anonymous Monsanto called Seminis – being launched in supermarkets in the U.S..

But here’s the twist : lettuce , peppers and broccoli – and a melon and onion, with a watermelon before following -are not genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these vegetables using good old-fashioned crossbreeding , the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That does not mean they are low-tech , exactly . Stark Division is leveraging scientific knowledge accumulated Monsanto to create vegetables that have all the benefits of genetically modified organisms, without any of the ick factor Frankenfoods …

What Happens When Body Dies

Scientists Close To Understanding What Happens When Body Dies:

 

Understanding What Happens When Body Dies

Understanding What Happens When Body Dies

 

Scientists are stretching the limits of what happens when the body dies – and learn more about ways to stop the process.

    Death is the end result for 100 percent of patients. But there is growing evidence that revival is possible that at least some patients whose heart and lungs have stopped working for many minutes , even hours. And brain death – when the brain stops functioning irreversibly – is also proving to be less open and closed.

    For decades , doctors have reported cases in which immersed in very cold water people have revived after hours have passed. Normally , brain cells begin to die within minutes after the heart stops pumping oxygen.

    Many studies have found that hypothermia protects the brain by decreasing its need for oxygen and delaying cell death. Cooling Body has become common for many patients after cardiac arrest.

    Further cooling of a few degrees below normal temperature may also cause cell damage.

    Cardiologists are tinkering to find the best approach. Two recent studies presented at the scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas in November tried to see if early cooling by paramedics after they get a heart is restarted helpful ( did not seem to affect survival or brain damage ) or cooling 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 96.8 degrees for the first day in the hospital brings better results (again, not much difference ) .

    Then there is the question of how long to perform CPR . A 2012 study found the average duration in hospital was 20 minutes for patients who did not survive , 12 minutes for those who did. The AHA recommends keeping bystanders perform CPR until emergency medical services .

    A Japanese study presented at the AHA meeting , based on six years of data on survival from cardiac arrest across Japan , concluded that it is worth continuing CPR for 38 minutes or more and still have the opportunity to avoid serious damage to the brain.

    Definition of brain death is increasingly complex, researchers find signs of activity in both human and animal subjects whose brain waves first show that they have ” flat -lined ” to the point that there is no brain function. While some doctors use the EEG as a final check for signs of life in the brain , most are based on a series of tests of reflexes and respiration given for several hours to determine brain death …

Pain Sensitivity in Brain Structure

Brain Structure Predicts Pain Sensitivity:

Brain Structure  Pain Sensitivity

Brain Structure Pain Sensitivity

Some people feel pain more intensely than others, and new research suggests differences in pain sensitivity may be related to differences in brain structure .

In a new study , the researchers asked 116 healthy people to rate the intensity of their pain when a small spot on the skin of your arm or leg is heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A few days after the test of pain sensitivity , participants had their brains scanned in a MRI machine .

The results showed a link between an individual ‘s sensitivity to pain, and the thickness of the cortex of his brain, in regions that have been previously linked to attention control and introspection. The thinner the crust in these areas, people were more sensitive to painful stimuli . [5 Surprising Facts about pain ]

“Subjects with higher pain intensities had less gray matter in brain regions that contribute to the control of thoughts and internal attention ,” said study researcher Nichole Emerson , a graduate student at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Understanding how the experience of pain in the brain is essential for the development of treatments for people who suffer chronic pain, and scientists are looking for why people react differently to pain .

A previous study found recently that structural differences in the brain predicts whether people healed after injury or chronic pain developed . Furthermore, researchers have found that the pain itself can change brain structure , even temporarily .

Brain areas that the new study would be linked to pain sensitivity are part of a network of regions that are activated when people are resting or daydreaming , or in other words , are in ” default mode . ”

Maybe that’s why people with lower gray matter volume in these areas are more sensitive to pain , and vice versa, according to the researchers .

” The default mode activity can compete with brain activity that generates an experience of pain,” said researcher Robert Coghill , a professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist . In other words, people who spend more time in the ” default mode ” may be less sensitive to pain.

Other areas that the researchers found to be associated with pain include the posterior parietal cortex is thought to play an important role in the control of attention . People who can best keep their attention focused may also be best to keep the pain under control, Coghill said.

NSA should track every American email

NSA should track every American email:

NSA should track every American email

NSA should track every American email

 

If you think that President Obama to review the National Security Agency panel was purely in loosening of its scope , think again.

One participant said on Sunday that the NSA recommends tracking details metadata such as sender, recipient , time and location emails of all Americans.

It would not be the first time. The NSA followed up on email metadata of Americans without a warrant, although it is said that the practice ended in 2011, and none of the documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden released so far contradicts that statement. The agency does not store all metadata, which admitted a couple of months after Snowden leaked documents showing that the case , although the review panel recommended ending the program.

Those familiar with the faces of five members of the review panel, Obama probably would not be surprised at who made ​​the recommendation : Michael Morell, former director of the CIA.

“I would say that in fact the email data is probably more valuable than data telephony,” Morell told the National Journal , in a telephone interview Sunday .

Morell actually granted what has previously been hailed as a victory for privacy advocates who oppose the NSA : the program metadata collection phone made ” only a modest contribution to the security of the nation ” and that ” the last thing a smart terrorist will do at this point is to call someone in the United States. ”

So the solution in Morell ‘s mind , is the ability to legally track all e- mails sent to or from American computers.

” If I had been in effect in 2000 and 2001 , I think , probably 9/11 would not have happened,” he said.

Firm denies accepting bribe from NSA

Firm denies accepting bribe from NSA:

Firm denies accepting bribe from NSA

Firm denies accepting bribe from NSA

 

More details came to light of the National Security Agency U.S. to break encryption schemes that protect personal communications and financial transactions on the Internet.

Reuters reported that RSA, a Internet encryption firms , may have accepted $ 10 million to weaken services. Specifically , the report claimed , generator vulnerable to attack by the NSA incorporates random numbers .

NSA ‘s efforts to weaken encryption Internet , either by direct attack or through agreements with several Internet companies apparently began after the September 11, 2001 .

On Sunday , RSA denied any money from the agency to weaken encryption. ” We categorically deny this accusation , ” RSA wrote in a blog. “We worked with the NSA , both as a provider and an active member of the security community . Never have kept this relationship a secret and , in fact, have openly publicized it.”

While RSA not refused to work with the spy agency , said that behind when he apparently went into contract together, ” the NSA had a role of trust in the community -wide effort to strengthen, not weaken , the encryption. ”

In fact , it was only in September 2013 that the New York Times revealed that the NSA had intentionally weakened the random number generator used by some of the tools of RSA . Once the history of time left , RSA agreed that the generator must not be used. ” RSA always acts in the best interest of their clients and in any case the RSA design or enable backdoors into our products,” the firm wrote at the time .

Microsoft security is worthless

Microsoft security is worthless:

Microsoft security is worthless

Microsoft security is worthless

A assessment of Dennis Technology Labs , users antivirus software Microsoft might want to think about installing other malware protection .

Dennis Technology Labs, the independent testing laboratory software based in London , released a quarterly assessment of nine screening programs most popular in the market and found that virus Microsoft Security Essentials detected 39 percent of all malware tested .

The Microsoft program , available for free download to anyone with a validated copy of Windows rated well below the other programs evaluated , all of which drew 87 percent or higher. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 ranked first , protection against 99 percent of the virus. Avast! Free Antivirus 8 was rated the best free program not only detects 2 percent of malware.

“We are fully committed to protecting our clients consumer and business against malware ,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement . ” Our strong comprehensive solutions provide the necessary protection against malicious code and attacks. Supporting our antimalware partners helps in building a strong and diverse ecosystem to combat malware .”

Microsoft has a history of poor performance on tests of Dennis Technology Labs . A test from the beginning of this year found that it has lost 41 percent of all malware.  Microsoft has defended the performance of the product , saying it is not intended to be the only line of defense a user .

“We’ve had an epiphany a few years ago , back in 2011 when we realized that we had a higher calling and that was to protect all customers of Microsoft , ” Holly Stewart , senior manager of the Center Malware Protection Microsoft , told PC Pro . ” But you can not do that with a monoculture and you can not do that with an ecosystem of malware that is not attractive solid and diverse. ”

Stewart explained that instead of concentrating resources on your computer to have Microsoft ‘s own software will be able to identify all the latest viruses , which would focus on the search for new threats and send that information to other companies producing anti software virus .

This strategy makes sense if the ultimate goal is to keep users safe from malware Windows , but has the potential to leave some people believing that they have robust antivirus protection when you only have what Microsoft calls a ” baseline” from which users are encouraged to add additional virus protection .

3-D Printed Cells from Eye

3-D Tissue Printing: Cells from the Eye Inkjet-Printed for the First Time:

3-D Tissue Printing: Cells from the Eye Inkjet-Printed for the First Time

3-D Tissue Printing: Cells from the Eye Inkjet-Printed for the First Time

 

The breakthrough could lead to the production of artificial tissue grafts made from the variety of cells found in the human retina and may aid in the search to cure blindness.

At the moment the results are preliminary and provide proof-of-principle that an inkjet printer can be used to print two types of cells from the retina of adult rats―ganglion cells and glial cells. This is the first time the technology has been used successfully to print mature central nervous system cells and the results showed that printed cells remained healthy and retained their ability to survive and grow in culture.

Co-authors of the study Professor Keith Martin and Dr Barbara Lorber, from the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, said: “The loss of nerve cells in the retina is a feature of many blinding eye diseases. The retina is an exquisitely organised structure where the precise arrangement of cells in relation to one another is critical for effective visual function.”

“Our study has shown, for the first time, that cells derived from the mature central nervous system, the eye, can be printed using a piezoelectric inkjet printer. Although our results are preliminary and much more work is still required, the aim is to develop this technology for use in retinal repair in the future.”

The ability to arrange cells into highly defined patterns and structures has recently elevated the use of 3D printing in the biomedical sciences to create cell-based structures for use in regenerative medicine.

In their study, the researchers used a piezoelectric inkjet printer device that ejected the cells through a sub-millimetre diameter nozzle when a specific electrical pulse was applied. They also used high speed video technology to record the printing process with high resolution and optimised their procedures accordingly.

“In order for a fluid to print well from an inkjet print head, its properties, such as viscosity and surface tension, need to conform to a fairly narrow range of values. Adding cells to the fluid complicates its properties significantly,” commented Dr Wen-Kai Hsiao, another member of the team based at the Inkjet Research Centre in Cambridge.

Once printed, a number of tests were performed on each type of cell to see how many of the cells survived the process and how it affected their ability to survive and grow.

The cells derived from the retina of the rats were retinal ganglion cells, which transmit information from the eye to certain parts of the brain, and glial cells, which provide support and protection for neurons.

“We plan to extend this study to print other cells of the retina and to investigate if light-sensitive photoreceptors can be successfully printed using inkjet technology. In addition, we would like to further develop our printing process to be suitable for commercial, multi-nozzle print heads,” Professor Martin concluded.