Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

New Hi-Tech Clothing Line Makes You ‘Invisible to Drones’

January 15, 2013

In February of last year, Congress approved a bill that will allow as many as 30,000 unmanned vehicles to tour the US sky by 2020. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to open up national airspace to drones by the year 2015,but one New York artist is launching a clothing line that will keep you invisible to the robotic aircraft. RT’s Liz Wahl brings us more…

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An Inconvenient Truth? Al Gore Sells Out to Big Oil

January 14, 2013

The television network Current TV was recently purchased by the international news outlet Al Jazeera. The transaction will leave $125 million in former vice-president Al Gore’s pocket. Gore, who is a green living advocate, ironically sold the company to a news outlet owned by Qatar – an oil rich country.

Is Al – Jazeera Fair And Balanced ?

January 6, 2013

Washington Post
Micheal Peel

ABU DHABI — Qatar’s al-Jazeera television station provided a great ringside seat for the “day of rage” in Cairo almost two years ago that offered the first clear sign of the threat to the rule of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

While many western media organizations were scrambling to ramp up coverage of Egypt’s nascent revolution, al-Jazeera had gripping reports of an extraordinary protest that ended with the ruling party headquarters ablaze and the army on the streets.

Yet, mirroring the progress of the Arab uprising itself, the 16-year-old Doha-based broadcaster’s Cairo triumph has since given way to a more complicated life, as it seeks to extend its international influence by buying into the U.S. television market.

Long recognized in the Middle East for its daring and sometimes groundbreaking reporting in a politically repressive region, al-Jazeera described its purchase this week of former vice president Al Gore’s Current TV network as a “historic development” in a market where it has long coveted expansion. The station, which has a respected English language arm and is already seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries, plans to start a U.S.-based news channel available to 40 million American households.

While al-Jazeera is celebrating its U.S. plans, it faces tough questions about its coverage and whether it is as independent of Qatar’s autocratic ruling monarchy as it claims to be. The broadcaster is partly funded by the government of Qatar, and the country’s increasingly prominent political role in the region’s turmoils has intensified scrutiny of al-Jazeera’s coverage.

“With the Arab Spring, al-Jazeera’s reach and credibility have grown in the West,” said Jane Kinninmont, a senior research fellow in the Middle East division of Chatham House, the London-based think tank. “But certainly, it has become more criticized in the Arab world – or, at least, become seen as more politicized.”

Although the popular revolts that swept the Arab world and brought down regimes from Tunisia to Yemen have presented al-Jazeera with an extraordinary opportunity to expand its audience, they have thrown up growing problems of perception.

And while the English channel is seen as enjoying a high degree of leeway, some analysts say Doha’s foreign policy positions — including support for armed rebels in Libya and Syria — are reflected in the tone of coverage, particularly on the flagship Arabic channel. Critics say Islamist movements with which Qatar has tried to achieve good relations have received over-sympathetic attention, with airtime given to wild allegations that opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, are agents of foreign powers.

Some observers say al-Jazeera is cautious about reporting sensitive stories in Qatar, such as the fire at a Doha nursery last year that killed 13 children and six adults, although the channel denies it was slow to cover the tragedy.

“Al-Jazeera is generally a free network, but it works within the political constraints as understood in Qatar,” said Michael Stephens, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute Qatar think tank.

Al-Jazeera dismisses suggestions its coverage shows any bias, including toward fellow Persian Gulf states allied to Qatar. The broadcaster says that, far from following official agendas, it often sets them. “We were covering Syria, for example, long before outside governments took great interest,” it said.

It says that — while it takes a “good portion” of its funding from the Qatari state — it is a private not-for-profit company with other sources of income, such as advertising. And though Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al Thani, al-Jazeera’s director-general, is a member of Qatar’s ruling clan, the broadcaster says he has “no definable relationship” to the country’s ruler and is part of a “professional management who have steered Al Jazeera to success regardless of their nationalities or surnames”.

Perhaps the most unpredictable tension now facing al-Jazeera springs from Qatar’s political scene, which appears increasingly at odds with the broadcaster’s preferred image as a fearless network “dedicated to telling the real stories from the Arab street.” The Qatari authorities sentenced a poet to life imprisonment in November for insulting the emir in a widely-circulated work about the Arab Spring that criticized the “repressive elite”.

But al-Jazeera gives short shrift to the notion that its reputation might be threatened by the Qatar government’s intolerance of opposition at home. “Our journalists have never been told to cover or not cover a story due to pressure from outside this organization,” the broadcaster said.

Abeer Allam of the Financial Times in Cairo contributed to this story.

‘Robocops’ to Patrol Los Angeles by Year 2025

December 31, 2012

In 1987, the film RoboCop debuted and featured a half-man half-robot cop patrolling the streets of Detroit, but now some car companies are planning on replacing cop cars in Los Angeles with drone cars by 2025. Ramon Galindo gives us a glimpse of the future police force…

SANTA DELIVERS A GIFT: ‘End of the Road’ for ACTA in Europe

December 22, 2012

Capture21st Century Wire says… The Orwellian ACTA regulations have been knocked back… for now. 2013 will see the continuation of wack-a-mole with regards to internet freedom, as the monopolists and corporate culture cartels will continue to push forward a never-ending series of restrictive statutory and administrative corporate legislation designed to curtail and narrow content and information available online. It is imperative that the public keep an eye on these and learn about them as they appear. Each bill brought forward will become more opaque and more complex, with the hope of creating ‘legislation fatigue’ on the public’s part. Don’t be lulled to sleep on this issue of internet freedom. The establishment’s aim in total control – nothing less will satisfy those who seek power and influence of the emerging global awakening.

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which was broadly rejected by the European Parliament earlier this year, had a final nail driven into its coffin: the European Commission has reportedly dropped its plans to get it confirmed by the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission, which is Europe’s executive body, said that there is “no realistic chance” that the trade agreement would be adopted in Europe, reported The Register.

In July, European parliamentarians rejected the treaty following Europe-wide demonstrations. There were concerns that the bill would impose harsher new restrictions that target all Internet users, not just people who engage in counterfeiting and piracy.

According to the website ZDNet, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that he would consider reintroducing ACTA to the European Court of Justice, which is Europe’s highest court. But with the European Commission’s decision, that will likely not take place.

“I welcome this news from the Commission today,” European Parliament Member David Martin said in a statement.

“The EU cannot be party to an agreement without European Parliament ratification. MEPs overwhelmingly rejected ACTA in July and I am pleased that the Commission has acknowledged this is the end of the road for ACTA in the EU thanks to the Parliament,” he said.

President of the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament said in a statement, “It is about time that the Commission realized that ACTA was wrong.”

“It was the best decision, because the European Parliament’s vote last July had already made it a dead end for ACTA.”

Other than the EU, the United States—which was one of the driving forces behind the treaty—has not signed it yet. Japan is currently the only country that has given its final approval on ACTA.

ANOTHER REVELATION: What are Orbs?

December 20, 2012

21st Century Wire says… we wouldn’t have believed it, until we saw them this week photographed in a London property with time-lapse photography tracking movement across the frame. It’s worth looking into…

By Cheyenne MacMasters

What are orbs? Are they ghosts? Dust motes? A light leak in your camera? No, the good news is that they are none of the above.

Digital flash photography has expanded our narrow visual range to now include orbs. Klaus Heinemann, a NASA scientist who obtained his Ph.D. in experimental physics, calls them ”emanations of spiritual beings.”

Just as car headlights are not the driver, the orb light we see is not the being. Orbs love passion and rich sound, this orb shined forth in response to a blues singer who used to sing opera. His hearty voice was a true orb’s delight. Notice the dark line along the inner rim, a very characteristic detail of an orb.

What are orbs? Orbs are round, orbs are tear drop, and orbs come in different colors. They like to cruise above your rooftop at night and hover around the bushes.

What are orbs?

They are beings who love enthusiasm. These orbs were awash over a tree that has served as the meeting place for hot air balloonists for many years. Apparently the orbs know there will be a party whenever the balloonists gather in the wee dawn hours. Who knew that orbs like to party? Or, that they liked you?

What are orbs? Remember, they aren’t ghosts. You don’t have to go to a graveyard to photograph what is right outside your door. Often, they are waiting for you. This is the balloonist’s party tree already alight with orbs before everyone had arrived. Waiting expectantly for that party. Orbs are all about passion and enthusiasm, especially yours.

Read more on Orbs here at 2Baware.net

SKYNET IS COMING: Computers will taste, smell and hear within five years, IBM predicts

December 18, 2012

21st Century Wire say… This is one step away from SKYNET ala Terminator – as these advances in artificial intelligence will be extended to the current multi-billion dollar per year drone industry, where unmanned drones will not just be chasing phantom terrorists in the hills of Afghanistan, but more likely chasing citizens within North America, Europe and elsewhere. 

Washington Post
Hayley Tsukayama

As 2012 winds down, lots of people are looking back at the year in tech. But at IBM, researchers have released a list of trends to expect not only in 2013, but in the next five years.

On Monday, the company released its annual “5 in 5” report, which offers up predictions about what technology innovations will catch on in the next half-decade. This year, the report focuses on how computers will process information in the future, and IBM’s researchers say that nature’s gift of five senses won’t be reserved for just the living: Machines may actually be able to process things as humans do — through touch, taste, sight, sound and smell.

That, said IBM vice president of innovation Bernie Meyerson, would be a major shift in the very architecture of computing.

“If you program a computer, it’s a gruesome undertaking,” said Meyerson, noting that — at its most basic level — the way humans load information, bit by bit, into computers, hasn’t changed since the abacus.

But advances in computer technology, Meyerson said, are already allowing computers to look at an object holistically, taking in information in a moment that would have taken years to input through code.

“Say you’re standing in a museum of modern art, surrounded by paintings and sculptures,” Meyerson said. “You would spend the rest of your adult life trying to put that into words and type it in [to a computer]. Now, imagine if you could teach it by just showing it something.”

The idea, Meyerson said, is to give humans and computers a common language. And it’s not as difficult — or as futuristic — as you may think.

Smell and taste, Meyerson said, are two senses that have a clear chemical base. If computers can sense the types of molecules — ammonia, explosive residue or gasses that indicate decay — they could alert users to different markers that would flag security risks or food-borne illnesses. The same is true of taste, he said, if computers could be programmed to recognize the correct proportions of certain chemicals. Or, the machines could be used in health planning, to find healthy combinations of foods that would appeal to the palate of the dieter.

When it comes to sight, Meyerson said, researchers have improved recognition software that can identify objects based on a database of images already loaded into the system. And in the future, computers could “hear,” by using detailed sound analyses that, for example, can tie a certain pattern of notes in a baby’s cry to anguish or joy.

Finally, computers could learn to tell the difference between cashmere or concrete by reading the appropriate signals of vibration and temperature, Meyerson said. Video game makers have already used a very basic version of this: controllers vibrate when there’s impact between objects on-screen. In the next five years, researchers could take that sort of program to a microscopic level, allowing machines to have some sense of touch, Meyerson said.

While each idea has applications of its own across many industries, Meyerson said that they would have the greatest impact when combined.

“It’s not that you want to make computers smarter than humans,” he said. “But they have bandwidth to get it in… If you want to scale its memory, you can buy a box of disk drives.”

2nd Worst Massacre in US history: Dozens killed, most victims Children

December 15, 2012

It’s one of the worst school shootings in US history. At least 27 people gunned down in a US primary school in Connecticut  twenty of them young children. Pupils had tried to hide from the killer in classrooms and closets, but the bloodbath ended only when he turned the gun on himself. A woman believed to be his mother was also found dead at her house. 

Research On Stricken Bats May Help AIDS Fight

December 10, 2012

Washington Post
Darryl Fears

In a government lab where scientists slice open dead animals to study the exotic diseases that killed them, Carol Meteyer peered through a microscope at hundreds of little bats and started to notice something very weird.

The bats had managed to survive the white-nose fungus that had killed millions of other bats hibernating in caves, mostly in the Northeast. But they had succumbed to something else that had left their tiny corpses in tatters, their wings scorched and pocked with holes.

Meteyer, a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, had stumbled upon a phenomenon never before seen in mammals in the wild. A similar finding had been observed only once before — in people with AIDS.

Now scientists hope studying the immunology of bats might help in the development of treatments for AIDS.

The devastating immune-system attack, called IRIS for immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, plays out differently in humans and bats, according to an article by Meteyer and two colleagues that recently appeared in the journal Virulence.

When bats hibernate in winter, their heart rates slow and their immune systems all but shut down, making them vulnerable to the cave-dwelling fungus Geomyces destructansthat causes white-nose and eats away skin, connective tissue and muscle.

When bats wake up in late March, their immune systems react like startled homeowners who realize prowlers are inside the house. They launch a wild search-and-destroy mission that annihilates the disease, but also healthy cells and tissue.

“It’s not natural. It’s cellular suicide. It comes out in a huge wave, going out to those areas of infection and kills everything,” said Meteyer, who was a veterinary pathologist for the USGS in Madison, Wis., at the time of her discovery but now is the deputy coordinator for contaminant biology for the agency in Reston.

For AIDS patients, the immune-system syndrome plays out differently. After antiretroviral treatment improves patients’ health, their restored immune systems can launch an exaggerated attack against any previously acquired opportunistic infection the treatment didn’t catch, causing extensive damage.

Scientists now hope to study the immunology of bats to try to uncover findings that can assist the development of treatments for AIDS.

Meteyer said she envisions a day when “we can look closely at the mechanism driving this intense response in bats and potentially get insight into this phenomenon in humans.”

Her co-author, Judith Mandl, a research fellow for the National Institutes of Health involved in AIDS research, was also intrigued by the similarities between bat and human reactions. When you release immune suppression, you get a response that’s a lot more damaging than helpful,” she said. The third co-author is Daniel Barber, who also works at NIH.

Eleftherios Mylonakis, Virulence’s editor-in-chief, said he included the research in the Nov. 15 edition because it represents the “out of the box” thinking the journal seeks to capture. “We want to support scientists thinking in novel ways,” he said. “Very often what we see in our patients is already seen in some form or another in nature and we want to understand these connections in order to facilitate new discoveries.”

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Morsi Backs Down: Revokes Power Grab,Referendum On Constitution Still Up

December 10, 2012

Egypt’s President has scrapped the decree that gave him sweeping new powers and effectively put him above the law of the land. But the opposition says that’s not enough