Computing and Its Latest Attempt At Immortality

Compliments of BBC

“Within the next 30 years,” promises Dmitry Itskov, “I am going to make sure that we can all live forever.”

It sounds preposterous, but there is no doubting the seriousness of this softly spoken 35-year-old, who says he left the business world to devote himself to something more useful to humanity. “I’m 100% confident it will happen. Otherwise I wouldn’t have started it,” he says.

It is a breathtaking ambition, but could it actually be done? Itskov doesn’t have too much time to find out.

“If there is no immortality technology, I’ll be dead in the next 35 years,” he laments. Death is inevitable – currently at least – because as we get older the cells that make up our bodies lose their ability to repair themselves, making us vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions that kill about two-thirds of us.

So Itskov is putting a slice of his fortune in to a bold plan he has devised to bypass ageing. He wants to use cutting-edge science to unlock the secrets of the human brain and then upload an individual’s mind to a computer, freeing them from the biological constraints of the body.

“The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone’s personality into a completely new body,” he says.

Itskov’s interest in making the impossible possible began as a child in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. “My biggest dream was to be a cosmonaut, to fly in to outer space,” he says. One science fiction novel made a lasting impression: “The hero took some immortality pill and he ended up flying the orbit of Earth. I remember myself questioning what I was going to do if I’m immortal.”

But does his plan to allow us all to upload our minds to computers amount to anything more than sci-fi? The scientific director of Itskov’s 2045 Initiative, Dr Randal Koene – a neuroscientist who worked as a research professor at Boston University’s Center for Memory and Brain – laughs off any suggestion Itskov might have lost touch with reality.

Randal Koene

“All of the evidence seems to say in theory it’s possible – it’s extremely difficult, but it’s possible,” he says. “So then you could say someone like that is visionary, but not mad because that implies you’re thinking of something that’s just impossible, and that’s not the case.”

The theoretical possibility Randal refers to is rooted in questions about how our brains work that neuroscience has yet to answer. Our brains are made up of about 86 billion neurons, connected cells that send information to each other by firing electrical charges that propagate through this organ in our skulls like waves.

But exactly how the brain generates our mind is a mystery like no other in science, according to the neurobiologist Prof Rafael Yuste of Columbia University. “The challenge is precisely how to go from a physical substrate of cells that are connected inside this organ, to our mental world, our thoughts, our memories, our feelings,” he says.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Drones and Film, The Next level of Cinematography

By Paris Finnie

Just when you thought all the tricks were getting old in cinema, they throw an unmanned curveball. This weekend (3/4/16) New York will be the city to host the second annual Drone Festival. Over 300 submissions and 45 countries are represented this year. The demand was so grand, that the film festival decided to extend over three days!

If you were interested in going and have not already purchased your ticket, sorry to inform that the tickets sold out a month into sale. Attendees are ecstatic bearing witness to the precipice of a technological frontier. With so many creative directors and skilled pilots the film festival is sure to please with the expansive panoramas and artistic methods of story telling from a drone medium.

There will be 14 categories for submissions to fall into. To name a few there are: news and documentary, narrative, extreme sport and “best drone selfie.” Here is a video nomination from a canadian director, to provide a small glimpse of what is to be expected this weekend.

Aside from the beautiful cinematography, seminars will take place to assist upcoming directors and producers who seek to explore the new art form. The seminars will cover a vast array of topics from regulations and laws to flight maneuvers and film tactics. The use of Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment (Drone) are growing exponentially. Film to the surprise of many is only a small outlet across the vast spectrum of their use. Drones have served well  in security, photography, and commercial delivery, are some recent showcases. So, expect to hear the zipping sounds of propellers, most comparable to a swarm of bees, more often in the future.

Source:
The Globe and Mail

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Super Tuesday and Why America is Losing Its Mind

By Paris Finnie 

Here are the results of Super Tuesday Republican Donald Trump took a commanding lead, winning 7 states and 203 delegates, ahead of Ted Cruz’s 3 states and 144 delegates. Hilary Clinton on the democratic side won 7 states and 417 delegates versus Bernie Sanders’ 4 states and 230 delegates. There are incredibly mixed feelings permeating globally. China is threatening the united states, Americans are planning to jump ship to canada, all while affiliates of certain candidates are committing illegal maneuvers to help seal wins.

After Trump received his win over the Nevada caucus propelling his likelihood for republican nomination, The United States was recipient of a timely word of advice from China. “I want to stress that China and the U.S., as world’s largest developing and developed countries, shoulder major responsibilities in safeguarding world peace, stability and security and driving world development,” said the spokesperson for Beijing, referring to Trumps claim to punish China’s currency manipulation by adding tariffs to chinese goods. “We are following with interest the U.S. presidential election.” said Spokesperson Hua Chunying which one can confidently assume is the stance many other countries are taking to our upcoming elections. The earth shaking events of American politics are causing many americans to contemplate exit strategies.

Google analytics revealed their updated search results and a comedic yet realistic concern began to trend within their servers. “How to move to Canada” was searched 100 times more the morning the results for Super Tuesday were announced. While another pole revealed that 58% of youth claimed they would move out of the country if certain candidates made it into office. It goes without saying that this year will be very telling of U.S.A’s direction. It also can be presumed that it would be a lot easier to leave the country if necessary without having to scale a wall paid for by Mexico.  Perhaps no one will adopt a nomadic way of life if Clinton is able to repeat a successful rally.

A video catching many eyes on youtube shows Bill Clinton blocking voters with a rally held close to pole voting offices in New Bedford.

The action is considered an illegal maneuver, but the ramifications are uncertain. It seems the Clintons have a knack for treading the line of morality and legality.

The only advice we can suggest is to do as much research on each candidate and cast your vote. We would also suggest to hold onto your seats, because we are in for a wild ride.

Source:

JackFM

Breit Bart

 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Mercedes-Benz Swaps Robots for People On Its Assembly Lines

Compliments of The Guardian 

Bucking modern manufacturing trends, Mercedes-Benz has been forced to trade in some of its assembly line robots for more capable humans.

The robots cannot handle the pace of change and the complexity of the key customisation options available for the company’s S-Class saloon at the 101-year-old Sindelfingen plant, which produces 400, 000 vehicles a year from 1,500 tons of steel a day.

The dizzying number of options for the cars – from heated or cooled cup holders, various wheels, carbon-fibre trims and decals, and even four types of caps for tire valves – demand adaptability and flexibility, two traits where humans currently outperform robots.

Markus Schaefer, Mercedes-Benz’ head of production told Bloomberg: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualisation and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”

The automotive industry is the largest user of industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), accounting for nearly 100,000 units shipped in 2014. The total number of industrial robots in operation worldwide was 1.5m in 2014, while the IFR expects 1.3m more to come online in the next two years.

But with increasing competition for consumers’ money in the luxury market, customisation has become key. At the same time, the rate at which models, technology and options change has increased as car makers have diversified their offerings.

Skilled humans can change a production line in a weekend, where robots take weeks to reprogram and realign.

‘People taking a bigger part’

Schaefer said: “We’re moving away from trying to maximise automation with people taking a bigger part in industrial processes again. We need to be flexible. The variety is too much to take on for the machines. They can’t work with all the different options and keep pace with changes.”

Schaefer seeks to reduce the time taken to produce a car from 2005’s standard of 61 hours to just 30. To do so, Mercedes is shifting to what it calls “robot farming” – equipping workers with an array of smaller, lighter machines. Traditionally robots would operate behind safety fences in isolation from human workers.

The change will mean smaller, more flexible systems that work side-by-side with humans will replace some of the large traditional robotic machines, including in the production of the new Mercedes E-Class. A human or a lightweight machine will replace two fixed robots for the alignment of the car’s new heads-up display, which projects speed and directions on to the windshield.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Donald Trump Is Not a Joke: A Warning To Americans From An Italian Who Survived Berlusconi

Compliments of Quartz 

Of course if you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much, and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country. And soon the country’s going to start winning, winning, winning. […] We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.

–Donald John Trump, Las Vegas, Feb. 23, 2016

Donald Trump is hilarious, you guys.

The Republican presidential candidate literally went from being that guy trolling the world on Twitter to being that guy trolling the Grand Old Party’s campaign. He says he’ll build a wall between the United States and Mexico and it will be huge and Mexico will pay for it and America will be great again. His sexism is nauseating, his ignorance cringe-worthy, his conduct baffling. He provides more memes, gifs, jokes and video games than one could possibly have time for.

And he really is winning.

In advance of the South Carolina primary on Sunday, a joke circulated online asking women if they’d have sex with Trump, if it meant he’d drop out of the race. My answer would be “no” for at least three reasons:

  1. I am not an American citizen, and this is not the kind of thing one should even remotely consider doing for a foreign country.
  2. Even if Trump dropped out of the race, what would we do about the people who support his brand of hatred? Would they give up their claims to US citizenship, too?
  3. I’ve heard this question before.

Well, not exactly this question. As an Italian citizen, I have heard different variations on this question–with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi subbing in for the Donald.

It’s been said before that Trump is America’s Berlusconi, and the comparison is easy to see. Both are older white men with a lot of wealth of dubious provenance. Both decided to enter the public arena after promising they would run their countries the way they run their companies. Both are openly misogynistic while claiming to love women, and both share a questionable sense of humor. They appeal to what in Italy is referred to as “the belly” of the electorate—their gut reactions to the issues at hand.

Read More

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Europe’s Free Travel Will End Unless Turkey Halts Migrant Flow, Officials Say

Compliments of Reuters 

Europe’s cherished free-travel zone will shut down unless Turkey acts to cut the number of migrants heading north through Greece by March 7, European Union officials said on Thursday.

Their declaration came as confrontations grow increasingly rancorous among European countries trying to cope with the influx of refugees. Those recriminations culminated in Greece’s recalling its ambassador to Austria on Thursday.

“In the next ten days, we need tangible and clear results on the ground,” the top EU migration official, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said after EU justice and home affairs ministers met in Brussels on Thursday. “Otherwise there is a danger, there is a risk that the whole system will completely break down.”

EU leaders are now pinning their hopes on talks with Turkey on March 7 and their own migration summit on March 18-19. The two meetings look like their final chance to revive a flailing joint response to the crisis before warmer weather encourages more arrivals across the Mediterranean.

Seven European states have already restored border controls within the creaking Schengen passport-free zone. More said they would unilaterally tighten border controls unless a deal with Turkey shows results before the two March summits.

That deal promises Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in aid to help it shelter refugees from the Syrian war, in return for preventing their traveling on to Europe.

“By March 7, we want a significant reduction in the number of refugees at the border between Turkey and Greece,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. “Otherwise ,there will have to be other joint, coordinated European measures.”

Germany has been pushing the Turkey plan hard. Many other EU states are increasingly frustrated and skeptical, though. Another 110,000 people have arrived on the continent so far this year, mostly from Turkey via Greece, after more than a million arrived last year.

CRUCIAL DATE

“The 6th of March, the 7th of March is when you can expect the spring influx to rise. We have until that time to find solutions … ” said Klaas Dijkhoff, migration minister for the Netherlands, which now holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

“If that doesn’t lead to lower numbers, we’ll have to find other measures and we’ll have to do more contingency planning,” he said.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Texas Academics Told to Avoid ‘Sensitive Topics’ If Gun Law Goes Into Effect

Compliments of The Guardian 

When the University of Texas released a report last week detailing where it plans to allow guns on its Austin campus, Nora Dolliver’s choice of graduate schools narrowed by one.

The languages student at the University of Chicago sent an email to staff with the subject “Declining Offer of Admission Due to Campus Carry Guidelines”, and will now pursue a dual masters in Russian and Eastern European studies and library sciences elsewhere. Someplace where she can feel confident that the person she is sitting next to is not packing a concealed pistol.

Students and academics have warned of a chilling effect on freedom of expression ever since Texas became the latest state to pass a “campus carry” law last year. It compels public universities to allow license holders aged 21 and over to bring concealed handguns on to most areas of campus.

The faculty senate at the University of Houston prepared a slideshow for recent faculty forums warning that academics may want to “be careful discussing sensitive topics; drop certain topics from your curriculum; not ‘go there’ if you sense anger; limit student access off hours; go to appointment-only office hours; only meet ‘that student’ in controlled circumstances.”

A slide provides potential arguments against the policy, such as “most parents don’t want their underage children to attend a gun-enabled campus” and “The MILITARY doesn’t allow guns in barracks and classrooms (outside of weapons training), why should there be guns in dorms and classrooms?”

University of Houston presentation
Pinterest
Slide from the University of Houston faculty forum presentation. Photograph: Supplied

The presentation is not official university policy, which is expected to be announced in the next couple of months. Jonathan Snow, the senate president, has told the governing body that faculty members are overwhelmingly opposed to the new rule. “It’s a radical law because guns have never really been a part of American university campuses,” Snow said. “I can no longer say there will be no guns in my classroom, that makes me a criminal.”

Proponents say that it will only arm a small number of responsible license holders who have undergone training and background checks and that guns were already allowed in some outside areas of Texas campuses. But Snow and many at the University of Texas (UT), the state’s top-ranked major public university, are worried there will be a “brain drain” of students and staff who will leave or, like Dolliver, never enroll.

“The impact of the campus carry law on UT’s reputation, recruitment and retention of both faculty and staff has already begun to be felt. I personally know of at least two cases of senior faculty hires in which a top candidate withdrew [one from Harvard, one from the University of Virginia], citing concern over these laws,” said Lisa Moore, a founder of the Gun Free UT group and a professor of English and women’s and gender studies.

Last October a UT economics professor emeritus said he would quit because “the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law”.

Moore believes the state legislature “is crippling our ability to fulfill the mandate set forth in the Texas constitution, which directs the state to provide its citizens with a university ‘of the first class’”.

Dolliver, meanwhile, will be far away, even though she would have been excited to study Slavic languages in central Texas, with its strong Czech heritage. “You can’t expect students who have other options like I do to come there, frankly,” she said.

Her library course will involve numerous interactions with strangers. “I’m not willing to work at a reference desk knowing that any number of my patrons could be carrying,” she said. But the 21-year-old’s opposition is focused less on direct safety concerns than on the fear that intimidation will stifle the heartfelt intellectual sparring that is such a central part of academic life. “If I know a person could have a gun in class I’m not so interested in speaking openly,” she said. She worries that anyone studying a subject that might attract the attention of hate groups, such as Yiddish, could be a target.

Read More

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Obama To Ban All Goods Produced By Slave Labor

By Paris Finnie 

On Wednesday February 24 President Obama has signed a provision law that will stop imports to the U.S. produced by slave labor. The law is to take effect in 15 days from Wednesday ( March 10) and is expected to directly effect fish brought in from South East Asia, Gold mined from Africa and garments sewn from Bangladesh. The signing is said to close an 85 year loop which kept  products produced by slave labor in the American Market.

The recently plugged loop hole was known as “consumptive demand.” The law references to how if there was not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand, imports were allowed regardless of how they were produced.  Now legislators are cracking down on the goods brought into North America by the hands of slaves. Curiosity however, brings about the question. How strict are they claiming to be versus how strict are they going to be.

Legislators who support the signing are claiming there are no exception to the new law. However, the vastness of goods enjoyed on american shorelines extends much further past fish, gold, and garments from Bangladesh.  Nestle within the last 2 months admitted to producing their products cocoa from child labor off the Ivory Coast, but before you point fingers and jump ship. Their main competitor Hershey is no more innocent than Nestle, claiming they are to stop child labor by 2020. The implementation of this law will effect a lot more than our consumables. In fact  Apple’s product production facilities in China have such poor working conditions. That the company  had to install suicide safety nets outside the buildings to reduce staff mortality rate.

iLgq0RPDOQXU
Photo by Getty Images of Apples Foxconn's 
Safety nets.

The quest to stop global slave labor is an admirable one, but the it begs the question how accountable are they to be on their promises. Is this a gesture to make the end of his term look good, or does he expect the American citizen to do without chocolate and Iphones?

Source:
CNN
BlooomBerg
Harvard
Daily News

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Flint water never tested for Legionella

Compliments of Detroit News 

Sixteen months after it was identified as a likely source of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, Flint’s water supply still hasn’t been tested for the Legionella bacteria.

None of five government agencies aware of the outbreak in Genesee County investigated the water system for Legionella despite concerns raised by the county’s Health Department over the water as early as October 2014. That was six months after the city left Detroit’s system and began drawing its water from the Flint River.

Experts say the lack of a water evaluation made it impossible to know if the city’s new water source contributed to the respiratory disease outbreak that sickened 87 people between May 2014 and November 2015, killing nine. And to date, no source for the bacteria has been determined.

In March 2015, the state Department of Environmental Quality considered taking samples from Flint’s water system to be tested for Legionella at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ laboratory. But neither agency followed through.

That same month, the Environmental Protection Agency also suggested city water should be tested for Legionella during an EPA meeting about the outbreak and expressed that opinion to the DEQ in an email reviewed by The Detroit News. Again, no testing was done.

Experts, including Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor whose research uncovered the problem of lead contamination in Flint water, argue the municipal water should have been tested for Legionella because the outbreak could be tied to changes in the water system. Genesee County Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Henry also called for such testing. Experts say had the source of the Legionella been confirmed as the water system, targeted chlorine treatments could have been applied to kill the bacteria.

“MDEQ should have done such testing, especially after they were alerted to Legionella problems by the Genesee County Health Department,” Edwards said. “Better yet, they should have allowed CDC to come in and do that testing for them.”

Besides the state’s DEQ and health department, the federal EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also confirm to The News they’ve done no water testing for Legionella in Flint. The Genesee County Health Department says it does not have the expertise to do so.

The reasons why Flint’s water supply wasn’t tested aren’t entirely clear, although the local, state and federal agencies now largely blame each other or claim that typical procedures don’t involve testing municipal water supplies.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Narcissism: Its Relation to Social Media and Animal Cruelty

By Paris Finnie 

Let us journey back. To a moment before the common era, over the atlantic ocean. To the country of greece, directly under the beautiful face of Narcissus. The Story of Narcissus is a simple one. He so in love with the way he looked. Found himself enamored by the discovery of his reflection in a pool of water. Unaware, he drew himself closer and closer to the reflection in the water until submerged. Narcissus unable to capture his desire, drowned in the pool that had casted his reflection.  In two recent incidents lives were lost to similar pursuits of Narcissus, but instead of a lake, it was the selfie which claimed the lives of the unsuspecting.

Visitors at Yunnan Wild Animal Park holding a peacock as they pose for photos. Visitors at Yunnan Wild Animal Park holding a peacock as they pose for photos. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM CCTVNEWS'S FACEBOOK PAGE

Over the course of the Chinese New Year many tourist saw the zoo as a great vacation space, perhaps to be visit the monkey in its new year popularity. The Kunming Zoo also hosts a petting section. The peacocks in the area with their bountiful feathers seemed to have caught the eye of onlookers. Tourist after tourist manhandled the tiny avians for a picture opportunity. Plucking their tail feathers, tossing them around, and forcibly grabbing them. The trauma resulted in shock to to the birds, killing them as the park closed. The death by selfie in china was not the  first of its kind. A similar story unfolded in Argentina.

 

The La Plata dolphin being held aloft amid a crowd of people on the beach at Santa Teresita in Buenos Aires.The La Plata dolphin being held aloft amid a crowd of people on the beach at Santa Teresita in Buenos Aires.PHOTO: HERMAN CORIA/FACEBOOK

A baby dolphin suffocated to death after a crowd of beach goers suspended it in the air grabbing for it in attempts to take pictures. In the babies last moments of life the crowed tossed the dolphin in the sand and slowly dissipated from the spectacle, while a few stragglers took any photos they could.  Once again innocence is marred by another’s devotion to self indulgence. To no surprise recent studies show how dangerous self indulgence can be, especially in the form of The Selfie.

Research has shown that the desire to take pictures of yourself can cause narcissism, mental illness, addiction and even suicide. The mental damage does not pertain to those who occasionally take a photo because there is no one around or who don’t trust a stranger with their device. In the spectrum of potential mental instability, people who should be weary are those individuals who risk their safety while driving, the lives of animals, or whose Instagram is 80% shot in the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the Greeks were trying to tells us something thousands of years ago. Either way it is time to take a step back from the over self indulgence. It is a clear sign of the digital age when one has to ask “When was the last time I took a selfie?”

Source:

Straits Time 

Liberty Voice 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Ascending Consciousness

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger