More Than 30 Dead In Brussels Bombing

By Ophelia Eden

Belgium is the latest country to fall victim to the increasing amount of terrorist attacks around the globe.

More than 30 people have been killed in attacks at Brussels International headquarters and metro station.

The Islamic State has declared it was behind the attacks.

Two bombs went off at Zaventem  airport in the check-in area, one of these blasts occurred outside a Starbucks. It was reported that some people escaped the first blast, only to fall victim to the second explosion. Eleven people were killed and 81 wounded in the blasts according to the Belgium Health Minister. A third explosion went off an hour later in the Maelbeek metro station, near the EU headquarters. This blast killed about 20 people and injured more than 100, 17 of them seriously.

Reports indicate shots were fired and shouts in Arabic could be heard before the blasts went off.  It is believed a suicide bomber was involved in the attacks.

An unexploded bomb belt was found and reports say it will be detonated safely soon.

“People were running over others that had fallen, I couldn’t breathe. I can’t believe I’m alive,”  said a 15-year-old named Antoine.

Hearses passed by as tourists sobbed and walked to a makeshift reception centre, escorted by police.

Security has now been stepped up all over Europe, including French and Dutch airports, in preparation for more attacks.

The blast that wet off at the metro station, exploded during rush hour, striking the middle carriage of a three carriage train and it was leaving the platform.

It is speculated these attacks were done in revenge after the capture of Salah Abdestam.

Source: BBC

Image Source: Independent 

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Chibok Schoolgirls Were located But No Rescue Mission Was Carried Out

By Ophelia Eden

In 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria.

Shortly after, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls went viral in an effort to put pressure on the Nigerian and Western governments to find the kidnapped girls.

The school girls in fact, were found. However, instead of organizing a rescue a mission the girls were left in captivity with their kidnappers.

British and American surveillance spotted a group of 80 girls in the Sambia forest around a tree, called by the locals the Tree of Life.

Dr Andrew Pocock, who was British high commissioner to Nigeria, told The Sunday Times that the information was passed on to Nigeria but nothing was done with it.

The Nigerian government did not officially ask for help from the UK or the US so both countries say they felt they could not carry out a rescue mission.

Pocock said there had been no request for help from the Nigerian government, and a rescue mission was deemed to risky.

“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed,” he said.

“An air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.”

He said only a few would have been successfully rescued, and the rest would have been killed by the captors.

The Sunday Times has revealed they were sent videos showing the girls being raped and used as sex slaves.

Reports also indicate some of the girls have been forcibly married and impregnated by the terrorist group.

It has been nearly two years since the girls were captured and their lives turned upside down, we can now only hope the Nigerian and Western governments can come together to formulate a plausible rescue plan to bring back the girls.

Source: News.com.au

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The U.S. Is Exporting Its Oil Everywhere

Compliments of Bloomberg

Three months since the U.S. lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports, American crude is flowing to virtually every corner of the market and reshaping the world’s energy map.

Overseas sales, which started on Dec. 31 with a small cargo aboard the Theo T tanker, have been picking up speed. Oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp have joined independent traders such as Vitol Group and Trafigura Pte in exporting American crude.

The “growing volumes of exports” from the U.S. are now “spooking the markets,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultants Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said in a note. The “flurry of export activity” is helping to support spot oil prices in the U.S. relative to contracts for later delivery, she wrote.

With American stockpiles at unprecedented levels, oil tankers laden with U.S. crude have docked in, or are heading to, countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, China and Panama. Oil traders said other destinations are likely, just as supplies in Europe and the Mediterranean region are also increasing.

Small Scale

That said, the U.S. is likely to remain for the foreseeable future a small exporter compared with OPEC giants Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq and non-OPEC producers Mexico and Russia. Ian Taylor, chief executive of Vitol, the company behind the first export, believes exports will remain a “very marginal business.”

Yet, tanker by tanker, overseas sales are growing.

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China Creates Artificial Sun

By Paris Finnie 

It is true China has created an artificial sun that was able to emit a temperature of 50 Million degrees. The scientist behind the colossal breakthrough were attendees of The Hefei Institute of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Science. The artificial sun or The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak was able to hold power and stability for nearly two minutes. A record holding advancement that means extremely high promise for China’s future.

If the  Chinese scientist are able to control this momentous energy it could mean the onset of clean burning energy in their country through the process known as thermonuclear fusion. For those readers who love science let us explain the difference between fusion and fission. Both the fusion process and the fission process release energy do to the presence of high-powered atomic bonds between particles found in the nucleus. Simply stated fission takes an atom and splits it into smaller lighter particles. Fusion takes to smaller atoms and combine them to create a larger heavier atom. Fission does not naturally occur and nature while fusion does. Prevalent examples of fission are the Atomic Bomb which creates radioactive fallout and a prime example of the fusion process is our Sun. Which creates very little radioactive material, but requires high density and temperature. Both can be used to create energy, but the fusion process if controlled will harbor cleaner energy. If you seek a deeper explanation of the atom splitting and/or binding process check out this video!

Now more than ever is an alternative energy source crucial for China.  Their government has been under constant scrutiny for their polluted air quality and overall carbon footprint. Within the year national emergencies have been broadcasting warnings to the citizens.  The messages entail poor air quality, how to protect yourself and family, and steps the government is taking to rectify the circumstance. These conditions of course stem from coal mining and high density smog  in the country.  Below is a video of an artist who vacuumed the air in Beijing for 100 days  to demonstrate the air quality issue in a tangible way others could understand.

The hope for humanitarian change is sought, but no so encouraged in all of its avenues. However, in respects to humanitarian change in Chinese energy.  The government is making an active plasma like effort to enhance the quality of life.

Source:
Diffen

Air Quality Index 

Times of India 

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Is Lab Grown Meat The Coup De Grâs To The Vegan Argument

By Paris Finnie 

Valeti an Indian American scientist has announced that we soon will be able to eat meat without having to kill animals. How? By lab harvesting meat that is identical to farm based meat on a molecular and cellular level. His lab has claimed that they can harvest an edible piece in 9-21 days.

As it becomes common knowledge, we know today the rate at which humanity consumes meat based products is not sustainable. Whether or not the agriculture industry likes to admit is another story. Here are a few statistics to chew on.  As it stands, to maintain satiating the palates of our meat lovers It cost the rain forest one acre a second. Because, in order to raise and feed the cattle there is simply not enough farm-able land. For one pound of organically grown beef it takes roughly 1,847 gallons of water. For one pound of organically grown chicken it takes 518 gallons of water. The calculations of water to pound are extrapolated  from the water used to grow the grain and the daily intake animals drink during their lifespans. The new science team claims to use significantly less  water and space, to grow the same tasting and portioned meat for consumers to enjoy. He also claims much less exposure to chemicals and hormones.

“The meat grown by his team in the laboratory does not carry the health side effects like bacterial contamination, or high saturated fat or the big environmental issues that come along with it, we are growing meat which is safer, healthier, more sustainable,” he said.

No longer will there be a concern of pesticides that make it into the feed. The methodology of meat provisions will not require hormone injection to expedite growth process as a means to meet demand. Nor will there exist an ethical debate of how the animals treated inhumanely. These scientist have addressed nearly every concern the vegan diet supplants, accept one. Would you eat it?

The new meat maker scientist is not some back alley vagabond. Valeti, is a cardiologist who trained at the Mayo Clinic, is associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and president of the Twin Cities American Heart Association. He also  founded Memphis Meats with Nicholas Genovese, a stem cell biologist, and Will Clem, a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbeque restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee. Quite the curriculum vitae, but can he convince Americans to switch or better consider a new form of meat base products. He mentions:

” We are motivated by the thought that people can buy it off the shelf…Our goal is to be in restaurants in three years and retail in five years. In 2021, we want to be in retail or even earlier”

Perhaps scientist should fray away from playing god, but in the same token maybe this new tech is the compromise humanity has been searching for. Either way it begets a myriad of questions like, is it really possible? Will there be flavored meat such as strawberry or lime? Will it provide the same satisfaction? Will the public buy into lab grown meat? For the meat eaters out there, we request buying two bacon sheets. One from the lab, the other from the farm, and let us know the difference in taste and texture.

Source:
Huffington Post 

Cowspiracy 

Grace Links 

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FIFA, Corruption, and Money Requests

Compliments of USA Today 

FIFA acknowledged Wednesday that past World Cups were awarded based on bribes, and the organization wants U.S. prosecutors to give it “tens of millions of dollars” seized from the former FIFA officials who took the cash.

FIFA submitted a 22-page claim to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York on Tuesday that seeks a big share in restitution from more than $190 million already forfeited by soccer and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the sprawling corruption case.

Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by U.S. authorities when sentences are handed down, and from dozens of officials currently indicted but who have denied bribery charges or are fighting extradition.

FIFA claims it is the victim of corrupt individuals, despite widespread criticism that bribe-taking was embedded in its culture in the presidencies of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter, who was forced from office after 17 years by the current scandal.

“The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organizations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Wednesday in a statement. “The monies they pocketed belonged to global football and were meant for the development and promotion of the game. FIFA as the world governing body of football wants that money back and we are determined to get it no matter how long it takes.”

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NFL Admits To Football’s Link to Brain Injury

Compliments of ESPN

The NFL’s top health and safety officer acknowledged Monday there is a link between football-related head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE — the first time a senior league official has conceded football’s connection to the devastating brain disease.

The admission came during a roundtable discussion on concussions convened by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce. Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety, was asked by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., if the link between football and neurodegenerative diseases like CTE has been established.

“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller said.

He said he based his assessment on the work of Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuropathologist who has diagnosed CTE in the brains of 176 people, including those of 90 of 94 former NFL players. The disease can only be diagnosed after death.

“I think the broader point, and the one that your question gets to, is what that necessarily means, and where do we go from here with that information,” Miller said, noting that little is known about the prevalence of the disease or the risk of incurring it.

On Tuesday, the NFL released this statement: “The comments made by Jeff Miller yesterday accurately reflect the view of the NFL.”

In 2009, an NFL spokesman told the New York Times that it is “quite obvious from the medical research that’s been done that concussions can lead to long-term problems.” But when pressed by Congress and in interviews, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league representatives have for years avoided taking a position, repeating that the league would let the medical community decide. The league had never expressly linked playing football to CTE.

During Super Bowl week, Dr. Mitch Berger, a San Francisco neurosurgeon who leads the NFL subcommittee on long-term brain injury, asserted that there is still no established link between football and CTE.

Schakowsky seized on Berger’s remarks during the informal discussion, in which several brain injury experts gathered around a rectangular table to discuss the science surrounding concussions.

“The NFL is peddling a false sense of security,” Schakowsky said. “Football is a high-risk sport because of the routine hits, not just diagnosable concussions. What the American public need now is honesty about the health risks and clearly more research.”

She then asked McKee and Miller to answer “yes” or “no” about whether a connection between football and CTE has been established.

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FBI vs. Apple Update

By Paris Finnie 

As the tensions rise more and more arguments for and against the encryption of apple products enter the debate. The most recent rhetoric comes from both president Obama and The DOJ.

A small excerpt from the DOJ filing

For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature.

The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.

Perhaps just a threat with no real leeway but the Department of Justice are threatening Apple with an ultimatum.  Give up the security bypass soft-wear or we will take your entire source code and make our own.  A bold claim supported by the Obama administration.

Obama recently said that we ” cannot go on to fetishize our phones above other values” to which in some degree is very reasonable claim. However, to the defense of Apple, how can they trust this is not the opening of Pandora’s box. In other words how can Apple be sure this will be the only circumstance that the feds will force them to lower their encryption? The claim carries much value, especially after the revelation of over 100 different Iphones being lined up in unique criminal  cases in just New York alone.  It seems perhaps the government is not acknowledging the nuances that come tandem to the case.

If the encryption is lowered it will leave a major security vulnerability to any and all hackers alike. Which for one is very bad for business and two very problematic when Iphone users make up over 60% of the population. It is also important to notice that if the people demand encryption they will find encryption. Since the commencement of this case  encryption based applications have generated millions of users and climbing. The app store and google play store have 345k encryption companies whose apps are up for download. Will the government seek to challenge every one of these companies as well?

We intend to follow this case until the end, for it will determine a major aspect of our technological future.

Source:
I Download Blog
HBO 

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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.

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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

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