Day's Headlines: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

61 Free; NK Decisions; Israel + China = Free Trade?; Israel Dims the Lights; Persecution?; The Lesser Light; War Tools; The WiFi Knows; Breaking Babel's Barrier; DNA Photography; Autonomous Race; AI Talent in Demand; Rogue Bots to be Common; Seeing Eye AI; Bank Down; Replacing Words of Christ with Man's; M I S S I S S I P P I, and Global Education


Obama Commutes Sentences of 61 Prisoners   nbcnews

President Obama backed up his calls for reforming the way society punishes non-violent criminals on Wednesday by commuting the sentences of 61 prisoners — a third of them lifers.


Obama meets with Asian leaders about North Korea nuke threat   usatoday

On the eve of a global meeting devoted to nuclear security, President Obama huddled Thursday with the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea to discuss ways to meet one particularly worrisome nuclear threat: North Korea.

Also see Four dangers the nuclear talks will overlook


Israel, China announce bilateral free trade talks   jpost

A free-trade agreement with the world’s second-largest economy could have major implications for Israeli industry with the government estimating it could double trade between the two nations from today’s roughly $9 billion, boost technological cooperation and open the path for more investments.

Palestinians charge Israel with decrease in electricity flow, say sets 'dangerous precedent'   jpost

The Israel Electric Corporation decreased the flow of electricity to Jericho and the Jordan Valley to one-third of its normal flow on Thursday, according to Hisham al-Omari, director-general of the Arab Electricity Company in east Jerusalem.

Sources in the energy sector told The Jerusalem Post that the supply of electricity to Jericho had only been halved, from 15 megawatts to 7.5 MW, as of Thursday morning due to an unpaid debt of around NIS 1.72 billion to the IEC.


Growing number of Americans believe Christians complain too much about 'persecution'   christiantoday

LifeWay Research on Wednesday released its findings that six in 10 Americans say religious liberty is on the decline – up from just over half (54 per cent) in 2013.

However, a growing number also believe that American Christians complain too much about how they are treated; rising from 34 per cent in 2013 to 43 per cent in 2015.

There's much to suspect about this one (who is classified a "Christian"?, perceived complaining or real complaining?, etc). However, a couple thoughts - 1) if true born again believers are complaining, then that is, indeed, a problem because of damage done to our witness of Christ; 2) we need to be careful about how we talk about the loss of our freedoms, remembering our hope is not America (1 Peter 1:3), and people are looking for an excuse to disparage Christ; and 3) we should be willing to hand over our freedoms for the sake of Christ's name. In short, while we have been given avenues in our society (such as courts) to challenge religion freedom issues (and in many instances even right and OK to do so), in the end this is a good warning to make sure we're about making Christ known, and not about keeping our freedoms!


The Moon: An Unexplained Phenomenon   redice

...collection of interesting quotes from scientists, authors, researchers, NASA insiders and star-gazers relating to the enigmatic and often inexplicable nature of the moon

I include this because it's a list of secular, Creator denying men who look at His creation and can only exclaim, "It's impossible!" :)


9 New Tools That Will Change the Future of War   popularmechanics

These weapons, drones, and battlefield devices—some recently deployed, others in early R&D—will help the Pentagon fight more effectively with fewer troops.


New MIT research opens door for password-free Wi-Fi   mashable

The team led by Professor Dina Katabi devised a system called Chronos, which enables a Wi-Fi access point to precisely pinpoint all the adapters connected to it. This tech could be used to grant access to a Wi-Fi router based on the user's exact location, making it much harder to an intruder to access the network from a remote place.

I like how they casually say at the end:

The system is not without challenges, one of them being privacy: The system could be used as yet another way to track one's location. But any technology that has the potential to increase Wi-Fi security should be given a chance in our book.

Microsoft brings real-time translation to custom apps with Speech Translation API   winbeta

This speech translation service can also be used in a numerous amount of situations, both person to person, or human to machine. Examples include personal translation, subtitling, or remote or in person multilingual communications. It even can be used in groups, such as in online gaming chatrooms or real-time presentations such as keynotes.

First-of-their-kind images could aid in use of DNA to build nanoscale devices

This unique imaging capability, pioneered by Berkeley Lab scientists, could aid in the use of DNA segments as building blocks for molecular devices that function as nanoscale drug-delivery systems, markers for biological research, and components for computer memory and electronic devices. It could also lead to images of important disease-relevant proteins that have proven elusive for other imaging techniques, and of the assembly process that forms DNA from separate, individual strands.

AI Tech


Roborace aims to be the first racing series for autonomous cars, but seeing as there aren’t many of those around that are built for racing, series organizers are creating their own. But what exactly does a driverless race car look like?


Million-dollar babies   economist

Another high-stakes game, however, is taking place behind the scenes, as firms compete to hire the smartest AI experts. Technology giants, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu, are racing to expand their AI activities. Last year they spent some $8.5 billion on research, deals and hiring, says Quid, a data firm. That was four times more than in 2010.

There will soon be so many more examples of bots going rogue like Microsoft's Tay that we will 'become immune to it'   businessinsider

"Obviously nobody at Google set out to do that, it was just an effect. We will see many more of these. So many more we will become immune to it. It'll be like when your PC goes dead. It's not the end of the world, you just restart your PC — you don't tweet about it," Mortensen said.

Microsoft has an app that lets blind people 'see' again   digitaljournal

The system is called Seeing AI and was built by Saqib Shaikh, a blind Microsoft engineer who wanted to become more involved in the world.

Includes video demonstration


Your Neighborhood Bank Is About to Have Its 'Uber Moment'   fortune

The new Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS) report from Citigroup...says that U.S. bank staffing will dive 30% between 2015 and 2025, from 2.6 million to 1.8 million. (It’s already down from a pre-crisis peak of 2.9 million.) And things are even tougher in Europe, where bank branch employment is expected to drop from 2.9 million to 1.8 million.

False Religion

Reformation is nothing to celebrate, says Cardinal Müller

Cardinal Müller says in the new book: “If we are convinced that divine revelation is preserved whole and unchanged through Scripture and Tradition, in the doctrine of the Faith, in the sacraments, in the hierarchical constitution of the Church by divine right, founded on the sacrament of holy orders, we cannot accept that there exist sufficient reasons to separate from the Church.”

A reminder why Catholism and Christanity are incompatible. In that one quote, he adds tradition, sacraments, reliance on an organization (their definition of 'church'), etc to the clear words of Scripture that all of those are false. The very reason he can't celebrate the Reformation is why those who hold to what God has said in Scripture as faith in Christ alone (Gal 3:26, et al) take great joy that God used men like Luther to break from men who valued their own way over the Way (John 14:6)!


Mississippi passes bill allowing armed security in churches   christiantoday

The bill, which has been sent to the House for further work, has received heavy criticism both within the Senate and from state police officers. It has also elicited debate over interpretations of Christian scripture.

Whatever you think about this, it even being a 'thing' is an indication of the days we are in...

Mississippi's religious freedom bill: Not discriminatory or 'one of the worst'?   cnn

"This bill doesn't stop anyone from getting what they want from the state. I have a problem with the discrimination of Christian belief," said Republican state Rep. Randy Boyd, one of the bill's sponsors. "I don't uphold discrimination but I believe the Christian belief is more discriminated against than other things. ... I'm trying to get a happy medium here where people get their rights and other people aren't pressured into doing anything they don't believe in against their religious beliefs."

Global Governance

Tony Blair warns of 'flabby liberalism'   bbc

"The centre has become flabby and unwilling to take people on. We concede far too much. There's this idea that you're part of an elite if you think in terms of respectful tolerance towards other people. It's ridiculous," Mr Blair told the BBC.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Beetle-Borg; Abnormal Embryo Cells can Still Develop Healthy; Sick Midwest; NK Plans for Famine; Preemptive Nuclear Threats; Iran Missile Ire; US Pushes Pieces Closer to Russia; Russia Flying over Syria; FDA Helps Abortion Along; AI Mines Humanities Maps; Open Micro; Japan Probe Pieces; Walk on Mars; and Wheat


Remote-control cyborg beetle developed by scientists

Researchers have created a 'living drone' by controlling a beetle's movements using electronics.

If there was such a thing as insect-abuse, this would be it: Scientists Turn Beetle Into 'Cyborg' | Video


Embryo cell abnormalities not necessarily a sign that a baby will be born with a birth defect

An academic who became pregnant with her second child, aged 44, has shown that abnormal cells in the early embryo are not necessarily a sign that a baby will be born with a birth defect such as Down’s syndrome.

Also read Embryos with defective cells 'can still develop healthily'


Questions remain over deadly mystery bacteria in Midwest cbsnews

The bacteria, called Elizabethkingia, does not usually cause illness in humans, but in recent months it has sickened dozens and killed 17 people in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.

North Korea

North Korea tells its people a new famine may come, they again may need to 'eat the roots of grass' latimes

When Kim Jong Un made his first public speech as North Korea's leader in 2012, he stood in front of a massive military rally in the capital’s main square and told the crowd that they would “never have to tighten their belts again.” Kim was referring to his country’s history of poverty and food shortages, particularly a famine in the 1990s in which hundreds of thousands of people — if not more — starved to death.

We Are Ready for ‘Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike’ on U.S. breitbart

North Korea has once again asserted that it will use its nuclear weapons arsenal against the United States. Unlike previous statements, however, a note from the rogue state’s foreign minister on Monday insisted that North Korea is fully equipped and ready to use a nuclear weapon on the United States, not just willing to do so.


U.S., France, Britain and Germany Urge UN Action Against Iran Over Missile Tests haaretz

The United States and three allies called for a UN Security Council meeting to respond to Iran's recent ballistic missile tests which they say were carried out in defiance of a UN resolution.

Also Russia says Iran missile tests 'don’t violate' UN resolution


US to increase military presence in eastern Europe bbc

The plan demonstrates "our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our Nato allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in eastern Europe and elsewhere", said Gen Philip Breedlove, the senior US commander in Europe.

Also see US to station armored brigade in Eastern Europe: Pentagon


Russian Jets Carry Out 23 Sorties Hitting 54 Terrorist Targets in 24 Hours sputniknews

Russian combat jets deployed in Syria have carried out 23 night sorties in the last 24 hours, hitting a total of 54 terrorist targets, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.


FDA approves abortion drug label that could undo several state laws bbc

Under the new label, a smaller dose of mifepristone can be used up to 70 days after the beginning of the last menstrual period instead of the 49-day limit in effect under the old label. Also, the second drug can be taken by a woman at home and not be required to be administered at a clinic.

"It looks like this benefits the abortion industry and increases their potential customer base and revenues, but it's not clear that anything here makes it safer for women in the long run, and certainly nothing about a chemical abortion makes it any safer for the unborn child," O'Bannon said.


What Happens When You Combine Artificial Intelligence and Satellite Imagery fortune

Using technology similar to what allows Facebook to recognize faces in photos uploaded to its service, the company sifted through more than 14 billion geospatial images captured by satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe. The resulting maps reveal the locations of more than 2 billion disconnected people spread across 20 countries, many of them developing nations where even basic mapping data is scarce.

What could possibly go wrong with being able to mine “petabytes of satellite imagery”...?


Open-source microprocessor

The new processor is called PULPino and it is designed for battery-powered devices with extremely low energy consumption (PULP stands for 'parallel ultra low power'). These could be for chips for small devices, such as smartwatches, sensors for monitoring physiological functions (which can communicate with a heart rate monitor, for instance) or sensors for the Internet of Things.


Japanese Space Probe Was Smashed Into Five Pieces forbes

JAXA lost contact with Hitomi, or ASTRO-H, on Saturday, when the satellite was due to start operations. Since then, the agency has managed to get two signals from the space probe, one at around 8am EST on Monday and the other at 10.30am EST on Tuesday.

NASA will let you walk on Mars using HoloLens theverge

NASA is teaming up with Microsoft to give you a glimpse of the Red Planet. A new exhibition called "Destination: Mars" will let visitors use Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headsets to take a virtual stroll on Mars, alongside a "holographic" tour guide, astronaut Buzz Aldrin.


Ancient wheat varieties, protected through world wars, could be key to creating drought and disease resistant crops

Dr Lee Hickey and PhD candidate Adnan Riaz, from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, have completed the world's first genome-wide analysis of a collection of wheat seeds stored in Russia for more than a century.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Freedom Glimpse; Little Sisters Tie; Split in NC; Islamophobia Everywhere HP Looks; Who's Genes Are They?; ISIS Targeting Children; Calling Kohanim Priests; Bank Buffer; Bankalyptic; AI Director; 3D PCBs; Brain Chip; Japan, Our Defender; Mystery Hits Jupiter; Inflata-a-Home; and End of the Worlds Gone By


Excitement in China as Google, Instagram jump Great Firewall – for just two hours washingtonpost

It was a brief moment of excitement and freedom, swiftly crushed.

A good reminder of the freedom we haven't yet lost.

Looming Tie Leads to Rare Move from SCOTUS (Little Sisters) nbcnews

In a highly unusual move that could be designed to head off a 4-4 tie, the U.S. Supreme Court today asked new questions in one of the term's most contentious cases — the contraceptive requirements of Obamacare.

N.C. attorney general refuses to defend ‘bathroom bill’ in court washingtontimes

North Carolina’s attorney general said Tuesday he will not defend the state’s “bathroom bill” in court after several pro-LGBT groups filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation’s constitutionality.

Sigh. See "the list" of those leaning with disgust on NC: More than 80 Major CEOs, Business Leaders Demand North Carolina Repeal Discriminatory Law

ISLAMOPHOBIA testkitchen.huffingtonpost

It might be impossible to create a comprehensive list of discriminatory acts against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, but The Huffington Post will document this deplorable wave of hate for all of 2016 using news reports and firsthand accounts. The breadth and severity of Islamophobia in America can no longer go unnoticed. Enough is enough.

Huffington Post (a site I rarely link) has taken on the task of being the defenders of Islam. Like a watchdog for anything anti-Islam ranging from true hate to conservative Christians talking about hope in Christ. The Poverty Law Center must be proud.


If We Don’t Own Our Genes, What Protects Study Subjects In Genetic Research? iflscience

President Obama remarked “I would like to think that if somebody does a test on me or my genes, that that’s mine.”

Lots of people would make that same assumption – it seems sensible that we would each “own” our genetic information. But the legal reality is quite different. And that could turn out to be a problem, because research projects like the Precision Medicine Initiative rely on research participants trusting that their information is protected once they agree to share it.

Also see The Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program


Report: ISIS planning 'imminent' attacks on Jewish children in Turkey jpost

Islamic State terrorists had reportedly "advanced plans" to murder Jewish children in attacks aimed at educational and youth institutions in Turkey, according to Britain's Sky News on Monday.

Temple Institute Inaugurates Registry of Biblically Eligible Kohanim jewishpress

The Temple Institute has announced a bold new initiative to identify, select and register kohanim-priests who would be eligible to participate in the process of preparing the Red Heifer, which is used in the ritual of purifying Jews from the tuma-impurity of the dead.


Bank of England to Raise Bank Capital Buffer as Safeguard nytimes

Lenders in Britain would be required to set aside the equivalent of 0.5 percent of their assets as weighted by risk by March 29, 2017, the central bank’s Financial Policy Committee said on Tuesday.

Also Bank of England warns on Brexit, tightens buy-to-let mortgages with video

This is the apocalyptic scenario Britain's biggest banks have to face in the Bank of England's latest stress test businessinsider

The test will be the third run by the Bank of England, and is used as a measure of how well Britain's banks would be able to cope should the world suffer a major economic shock in the coming year.


McCann Japan hires first artificially intelligent creative director thedrum

The AI has been built to respond to a product or message with the optimal commercial direction, based off historical data. The AI has also been built to then learn from the results of the campaigns its directed, in theory creating an increasingly more effective AI creative director.


Nano Dimension files patent for 3D printed shielded conductors in PCBs 3ders

Since its inception in 2012, Israeli 3D printing company Nano Dimension has risen to the top of its field; namely, the development of 3D inkjet, 3D software, and nanomaterials. Just last week, the company announced a partnership with FATHOM to bring the Nano Dimension Dragonfly 2020 3D printer to Silicon Valley and surrounding areas, and the company has now signalled its intention to develop further innovative solutions for its 3D printed PCBs, both locally and internationally.

Brain Tech

IBM delivers a piece of its brain-inspired supercomputer to Livermore national lab 3ders

The TrueNorth chip itself has more than 5.4 billion transistors, about as many as a state-of-the-art conventional silicon chip today. But this chip’s transistors are configured as a million neurons, or the equivalent of brain cells, and 256 million synapses, or connections. It consumes only about 70 milliwatts of power, or the equivalent of a hearing-aid battery. That’s an order of magnitude better than other solutions, said Dharmendra S. Modha, an IBM fellow and chief scientist of brain-inspired computing at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., in an interview with VentureBeat. The Livermore project is an important test of a new computer architecture that could be used in everything from single-chip computers to systems with thousands of chips.


Japan approves record-high budget, focusing on defense, economic recovery usatoday

The Japanese government approved a record defense budget Tuesday as new laws went into effect, easing restraints on Japan’s military and permitting Japanese troops to defend the United States for the first time since World War II.

Also Security legislation takes effect


Mystery object crashes into Jupiter nypost

Something slammed into Jupiter last week, leaving amateurs and experts alike coming up with their own big bang theories.

Includes blurry, shaky videos :)

NASA’s new inflatable space home cnbc

It looks like a giant pillow, but is meant to be a home away from home for astronauts in space.

With animation of how it'll work...maybe

End of the World

5 Dates the World Was Supposed to End smosh

For as long as mankind's been around, humans have been predicting exactly when we’re all going to die. The “Millennium Apocalypse” panic had many convinced the Earth would end on January 1, 1000, perhaps due to Y1K stone tablet glitches. London astrologers (note, NOT astronomers) predicted a worldwide flood for February 1, 1524, causing many English to head off to higher pubs. And we all remember how the planet ceased to be on December 21, 2012, according to the Mayan Apocalypse at the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, either due to an asteroid, alien invasion, supernova, or failure to renew our planet license.

A reminder that only the Father knows the day and hour when the world will end:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt 24:36-39 NASB, c.f. Mark 13:24-32)


Motorized Papasan Chair is the Most Comfortable Form of Transportation Around industrytap

Monday, March 28, 2016

Satellite has Gone Black-Hole; Robo-Dogs; Underwater Education; 30,000x Faster; Secret Ethics; BDS; Israel Warns Citizens in Turkey; Radar in the Sea; NK Sends Sam-Propaganda; CA Min Wage; Church of England is More Building than Church; and Immortality


Japan loses track of $273 mn black hole satellite businessinsider

The ultra-high-tech "Hitomi" -- or eye -- satellite was supposed to be busy communicating from orbit by now, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said, but no one can say exactly where it is.


Robo-dogs to the rescue

Scientists in Japan have developed a system using information technology to augment and enhance the capabilities of canine search and rescue (SAR) teams. Outfitted with special suits, these cyber-enhanced SAR dogs can transmit information about disaster sites and victims to their handlers and rescue workers.

'Robo-Dog' makes it sound so sci-fi. Actually, more like 'well-equipped rescue dog'. Includes a video (nausea warning!)

Students to follow robotics industry beneath the waves washingtontimes

The competition is representative of the growing presence of robotics in industrial applications and for scientific research.


IBM unveils concept for new chip that can speed up AI training by a whopping 30,000x hardwarezone

Researchers at IBM have released a paper featuring a new concept they invented for a chip called a Resistive Processing Unit (RPU). This RPU is supposedly a huge boon to current efforts to train deep neural networks – it is capable of accelerating the training by up to 30,000x compared to conventional CPUs.

The biggest mystery in AI right now is the ethics board that Google set up after buying DeepMind businessinsider

Google's artificial intelligence (AI) ethics board, established when Google acquired London AI startup DeepMind in 2014, remains one of the biggest mysteries in tech, with both Google and DeepMind refusing to reveal who sits on it.


Boycotts will disappear when Israel advances peace, EU envoy says timesofisrael

“The most effective antidote against the BDS movement is to solve the Palestinian issue. If there were no Palestinian issue, there would be no BDS movement,” Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said at a conference in Jerusalem.

To summarize the article - BDS is Israel's fault. See also: BDS is the modern form of anti-Semitism and also Analysis: Addressing BDS and its existential threat to Israel

Israel Warns Citizens To Leave Turkey ‘As Soon As Possible’ jewishbusinessnews

Israel has called on its citizens on Monday urging its citizens to leave Turkey “as soon as possible.” The Israeli government’s Counter Terrorism Bureau has raised its travel warning from Level 2 (basic concrete threat) to Level 3 (high threat).


Tensions are mounting between Russia, China, and Japan in the Pacific businessinsider

Japan on Monday switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it a permanent intelligence gathering post close to Taiwan and a group of islands disputed by Japan and China, drawing an angry response from Beijing.

North Korea threatens nuclear strike on DC in video thehill

The four-minute video titled “Last Chance” uses computer animation to depict a ballistic missile hitting Washington, followed by a nuclear explosion.


Deal reached to boost California's minimum wage to $15 latimes

Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, averting a costly political campaign this fall and possibly putting California at the forefront of a national movement.


Rejoice! Why that circus in the aisle could bring new life to your church theguardian

We Britons are famously obsessive about our heritage. Our attachment to stately homes, castles and cathedrals sometimes verges on the fanatical. And yet almost half of all the Grade I listed buildings in England are in the hands of a single organisation – the Church of England, which is mildly bemused as to what it should do with them. It has 15,700 buildings in all, compared with, say, Tesco’s 3,376 UK stores.

This article is just a rambling discussion on what the Church of England plans to do with some of their buildings, but the fact that the buildings are seen as somehow inherently spiritual is what makes this interesting. There is also an odd, off-handed comment about some people actually believing churches aren't the buildings followed by completely misrepresenting what Christians believe on that subject:

It is not a new argument, of course. Christians believe Jesus tore down a temple and rebuilt it again in three days.


The Coming Reality of Age Reversal industrytap

Call it what you will: age manipulation, age shifting, senescence reversal, enhanced regeneration, youth inducement, rejuvenation, resurrection, or longevity medicine. By whatever name, scientists are beginning to talk about semi-immortals and even immortals. These concepts have been part of science fiction for decades and part of the human imagination from the beginning, but never part of the discourse of respected scientists. Living longer, much longer, is no longer the fantasy talk of late-night snake oil salesman.

Also see Inventor Ray Kurzweil believes we’ll be able to extend our lives ‘indefinitely’


Crew Blames Google Maps for Demolishing the Wrong House fortune

N.J. lawmaker wants fines for ‘distracted walking’ washingtonpost

The island prison off the coast of Florida you didn’t know existed holykaw

Friday, March 25, 2016

Technicolor Zebrafish; Magneto the Protein; Bacteria Stripped Down; Yemen's Torah Flap; Your Phone Isn't Implanted - You're So Old Skool; Lightest Robotic Suit; Climbing Fish; Russia Prepares; Drone Done Delivery; BrainBAND; AI in the Cloud; Human gods; Paper Airplane Bot; DNA - Underwater and 2k years Old; NK !Hearts SK; and San Fran Mayor in a Fit Over North Carolina's Grip on Reality


Technicolor zebrafish reveal how skin heals eurekalert

Every cell on the surface of the fish, from the center of the eye to the tip of each scale, is genetically programmed to glow with a slightly different hue...letting scientists track its movements in a live animal for days or even weeks at a time.

See also Zebrafish With Rainbow-Colored Cells Demonstrate How Skin Heals, which includes a video.

Genetically engineered 'Magneto' protein remotely controls brain and behaviour theguardian

Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.

US Scientists ‘Build’ Bacteria With Smallest Genome On Earth rinf

American scientists have created a bacterium with the smallest number of genes ever, but they have no idea what almost one-third of them do. What the “designers” do know is that without them, the tiny stripped-down life form would die.


Yemenite Jew said jailed for helping smuggle ancient Torah to Israel timesofisrael

Yemenite authorities reportedly arrested a local Jewish man on suspicion of helping to smuggle an ancient Torah scroll to Israel, along with 17 members of the community who were secretly taken to Israel earlier this week.


New Implantable Audio Devices Could Improve Life for Everyone industrytap

The world is now awash in ideas for technologies that may soon make smartphones obsolete. Through implantable technologies such as smart contact lenses and in-ear audio devices, there may be no reason to carry around “heavy,” cumbersome, breakable, expensive smartphones. Today’s smartphones are a big as mainframe computers that took up entire buildings decades ago.

Includes a video…


Ekso competitor unveils lightest robotic suit ever zdnet

It's an interesting move. After a lot of soul-searching, Ekso has been moving away from targeting spinal cord injury sufferers because it's a relatively small market. They're now focused on the much larger stroke market and their device is marketed as a therapeutic tool to aid recovery, and not for mobility.

See SuitX’s company website for videos.


This weird little fish can walk up waterfalls washingtonpost

"The pelvis and vertebral column of this fish allow it to support its body weight against gravity and provide large sites for muscle attachment for walking."

They may say, “evolution” - but all I can say is, “Ah, what an amazing Creator we have!”


Russian military plans buildup from West to Pacific washingtontimes

While announcing the buildup, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the deployment of NATO’s forces near Russia’s borders has caused concern. As part of a response, he said new units in the Western Military District, including two new divisions, will be formed.


This Drone Startup Just Achieved A Milestone In Doorstep Delivery fortune

The half mile-drone flight took place on March 10 in Hawthorne, Nev., Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny said in an interview with Fortune. Staff members programmed the drone’s flight path using GPS and then loaded a parcel of emergency supplies—including food, water, and a first-aid kit—into a box tethered to one of the company’s drones.


Samsung Australia tackles concussion head on with the brainBAND sammobile

The brainBAND prototype is capable of tracking impacts to the head in contact sports in real-time, the data obtained can then be used to better understand concussion in sport and its impact on the brain. The specially designed headband features sensors at the back of the head that measure the force of an impact. The data can then be synced via an app to referees, medics and coaches in real-time through Samsung devices. A series of LED lights are also embedded in the headband to show the level of impact of a hit: yellow, orange and red for high alert, which warns that a player should be taken off the field for immediate assessment.

Also has a video of rugby players knocking themselves out :) Well, almost...


Read my lips: New technology spells out what's said when audio fails

New lip-reading technology developed at the University of East Anglia (UEA) could help in solving crimes and provide communication assistance for people with hearing and speech impairments.

Cloud plus artificial intelligence is creating The Matrix zdnet

A study by advisory firm Leading Edge Forum titled Embracing 'the Matrix' and the Machine Intelligence Era, suggests that the combination of cloud computing and artificial and machine intelligence (MI) "will increasingly be able to perform just about everything that companies and individuals do, and many things that we cannot".

False Religions

Nobel Scientist: I Place My Faith in Human Gods time

I answered that faith was essential to my life, but it was not faith in an all-powerful, life-instructions-providing God. Instead, I place my faith in the unchanging, universal aspects of human nature that have allowed us to work together as social animals to constantly improve our existence.

It gets a little blasphemous near the end but, in general, this one was just sad.


World’s First Collaborative Dual Armed Industrial Robot Folds Paper Airplanes industrytap

It’s hard to believe, but to date, most industrial robots have had only one arm. Now ABB Robotics has introduced YuMi, a collaborative, dual-arm small parts assembly robot. YuMi is designed with flexible hands, parts feeding systems, camera-based part location, and state-of-the-art robot controls.

The paper airplanes don’t fly well, but they look the part. There are two videos - one of the airplanes and one showing a more practical use for this bot.


Secrets of ancient DNA from Greek shipwrecks uncovered by police forensic science

Analysing ancient DNA is a powerful method for classical studies, helping modern-day scientists understand more about life thousands of years ago. These new techniques can reveal the original contents of ceramic archaeological artefacts.

Also includes a video summarizing an exhibition trip to locate, catalog, and 3D scan objects.

North Korea

North Korea's tone toward South Korea is getting increasingly belligerent businessinsider

[North Korea’s] tone has been especially belligerent in recent weeks and personally aimed at South Korean President Park Geun-hye following her warnings of regime collapse in Pyongyang after it conducted a nuclear test and rocket launch earlier this year.


San Francisco Mayor Restricts Government Travel to North Carolina Over ‘Discriminatory’ Law time

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Friday announced a ban on all publicly funded city-employee travel to North Carolina “that is not absolutely essential” in protest of a new law that opponents say discriminates against LGBT citizens.


300-year-old cannon unearthed in North Carolina foxnews

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nuclear Sized Leak; Earth Conscious Robot; NK Does Rockets a Solid; Chatbot Slurs; Baby X; and AI Co-Writer


Nuclear Plant Leak Threatens Drinking Water Wells in Florida nytimes

Samples of the water at various depths and sites around the power plant showed elevated levels of salt, ammonia, phosphorous and tritium, a radioactive isotope that is found in nature but also frequently associated with nuclear power plants.


Apple’s Recycling Robot Needs Your Help to Save the World wired

Apple calls the machine Liam. A custom-designed R&D experiment, Liam dismantles iPhones and sorts the components for recycling. The project was kept secret for three years, says Mashable deputy tech editor Samantha Murphy Kelly, who was allowed a sneak preview of Liam in action.

Saving the world, one iPhone at a time. Also: Liam Robot Recycles iPhones Piece by Piece (Video).

North Korea

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine, State Media Says nytimes

North Korea said on Thursday that it had successfully tested a new rocket engine that would significantly bolster its missile capabilities, and South Korea called on its people to heighten vigilance against possible terrorist attacks by the North.


Microsoft AI chatbot designed to learn from Twitter ends up endorsing Trump and praising Hitler

Microsoft created a chatbot that tweeted about its admiration for Hitler and used wildly racist slurs against black people before it was shut down.

I wonder what offended Microsoft more - the Hitler reference or the Trump one? I kid! Seriously, though, I’m “eh” about chat bots in general (kind of like digital parrots, really). However, this ties into an article on a list I posted a couple days ago from business insider about machines being “Like sociopaths and psychopaths” when it comes to having a sense of morality.

Meet Baby X bloomberg

Mark Sagar started his career by building medical simulations of body parts. He took those skills and went into CGI, most famously for "Avatar," "King Kong" and others. Now he's combining his skills and building an entire brain and responsive face on a computer in order to map human consciousness.

(Video - 3:51)

Japanese AI software co-writes short story

The novel, ironically titled The Day a Computer Writes a Novel, was written by an AI software programme created by a team from Japan's Future University Hakodate. While it didn't take first prize at the third Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Awards, it did make it through the first round of screening.


Scientists say Shakespeare's skull may be missing from grave businessinsider

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kansas, North Carolina, and Georgia on the Bill; Fantasy Trumps Reality with Visitors; So Bright They're Outrageous; Another Bunker for Sale; Silver Trumpets; Obama to Push 2-States Beyond Presidency; Networked Motors; Printing with Nanomaterials; Automated Brick Layer; and Crown of Syringes


New Kansas law lets campus religious groups restrict members ctpost

Kansas' conservative Republican governor signed legislation Tuesday allowing faith-based groups at college campuses to restrict membership to like-minded people, likely putting the state on a collision course with civil liberties groups.

North Carolina to Limit Bathroom Use by Birth Gender nytimes

North Carolina legislators, in a whirlwind special session on Wednesday, passed a wide-ranging bill banning transgender people from bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates.

Disney Will Stop Filming in Georgia if Gov. Signs Religious Liberty Bill fortune

Walt Disney..., along with subsidiary Marvel Studios, announced plans on Wednesday to boycott filming future movie projects in the state of Georgia should Governor Nathan Deal sign the bill.


English Heritage turning Tintagel into 'fairytale theme park' theguardian

A group of 200 Cornish historians has criticised plans by English Heritage to turn Tintagel Castle into what it has called a “fairytale theme park” based on the legend of King Arthur rather than highlighting its true past.


Astronomers report most 'outrageously' luminous galaxies ever observed sciencedaily

Astronomers report that they have observed the most luminous galaxies ever seen in the Universe, objects so bright that established descriptors such as 'ultra-' and 'hyper-luminous' used to describe previously brightest known galaxies don't even come close. The lead author says, 'We've taken to calling them 'outrageously luminous' among ourselves, because there is no scientific term to apply.'

End of the World

Hunker in their bunker foxnews

Dave and Sue Prentiss, of the bucolic town of Limestone, are looking to sell their near-20 acre property, which comes complete with an underground missile silo -- the kind that are favored by the prepping community to be retrofitted into livable bunkers in case the end of the world is upon us.


Silver Trumpets Pierce the Heavens in Prayer Rally Opposite Temple Mount jewishpress

Thousands of people filled the Western Wall Plaza on Tuesday afternoon, facing the Temple Mount, to beseech God for compassion and deliverance from the evil machinations of those who are seeking to destroy Israel. The mass prayer gathering was a lead-up to Ta’anit Ester (Fast of Esther), which was first decreed by Ester 2500 years ago when the Jews living in the Persian Empire were in danger of extinction at the hands of the evil Haman.

Obama to Push for Israel-Palestine 2-State Solution After Leaving Office sputniknews

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he plans to continue to push for establishing a peaceful two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after leaving the White House.


Engineers develop networked self-analyzing electric motors

A team of engineers from Saarland University are developing intelligent motor systems that function without the need for additional sensors. By essentially transforming the motor itself into a sensor, the team led by Professor Matthias Nienhaus are creating smart motors that can tell whether they are still running smoothly, can communicate and interact with other motors and can be efficiently controlled.

This one’s a little geeky, but still interesting :)

New method can deposit nanomaterials onto flexible surfaces and 3-D objects

Now, researchers have developed a new method that uses plasma to print nanomaterials onto a 3-D object or flexible surface, such as paper or cloth. The technique could make it easier and cheaper to build devices like wearable chemical and biological sensors, flexible memory devices and batteries, and integrated circuits.


Fastbrick Robotics Animation of Brick House Construction industrytap

(Video - 1:10)


Crown of syringes replaces traditional crown of thorns in CofE Easter Passion film christiantoday

A "crown of syringes" has replaced the traditional crown of thorns in a film released by the Church of England to mark Easter. The film is a modern-day Passion Play and stars people who have fought drug addiction, crime and homelessness with the help of faith.

This one was an odd one from the Church of England.


In Theory: Why are theoreticians filled with wanderlust? cern

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Biblia Cubano; Baby Died With Dignity...and Neglect; Shift Towards the B; Seed Vault; Poor Sisters; A World without Traffic Lights; Deep Learning; Traveling Plutonium; Self-Healing Metal; and Cloaking Material


The Bible returns to Cuba foxnews

For the first time since diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were restored, one of the world’s largest private Bible collections was made available to all Cuban people – free and open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – on display from February 6 – March 13.


Doctors Left Baby Die After An Hour Of Crying Following Botched Abortion Of Baby With Down Syndrome theglobaldispatch

The baby was born on March 7, 2016 at 24 weeks, after an abortion failed. The child cried and screaming for an hour before dying, according to witnesses, as reported on Republika Television.


ASX will be a global blockchain pioneer

Blythe Masters is confident that Australia will build one of the world's first bitcoin-like databases for settling equities trades, allowing brokers to save millions of dollars in back office costs.

Blockchain, what?? Check out this easy to understand, 2 minute video for Explaining Bitcoin's blockchain technology.

End of the World

Inside a mountain is a ‘doomsday’ vault holding the key to human survival in a post-apocalyptic world

Located 1300km from the North Pole, hidden behind thick concrete walls and buried 130 metres inside a mountain is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Created by scientists in 2008, the vault aims to preserve potential crops in the event of a global disaster such as climate change or nuclear war.

This vault sure seems to be in the news a lot lately :)


FAQs: Religious Liberty and the Little Sisters of the Poor thegospelcoalition

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a case from religious nonprofit groups challenging the federal government’s contraceptive/abortifacient mandate. Here is what you should know about that case.


MIT researchers envision a future without traffic lights slashgear

We have just barely reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-driving cars but researcher's from MIT's "Senseable City Lab" are already preparing the theoretical ground work for one of that technology's biggest implications.


A Short History Of Deep Learning slaforbesshgear

Deep learning is a topic that is making big waves at the moment. It is basically a branch of machine learning (another hot topic) that uses algorithms to e.g. recognize objects and understand human speech. Scientists have used deep learning algorithms with multiple processing layers (hence “deep”) to make better models from large quantities of unlabeled data (such as photos with no description, voice recordings or videos on YouTube).


Ship carrying 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium leaves Japan for US

A ship carrying up to 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium has left the port in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan for the US, where the material will be downgraded. The amount of plutonium carried by the vessel is enough to produce up to 50 nuclear bombs.


Morphing, self-healing metals could let us build soft robots techradar

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a hybrid material that combines stiff metal with soft rubber foam, and can shift between the properties of both.

Also see New hybrid material can morph shape and self-heal. This includes a link to a video...but it’s not the most exciting video :)

Future Tech

Iowa State engineers develop flexible skin that traps radar waves, cloaks objects

Iowa State University engineers have developed a new flexible, stretchable and tunable “meta-skin” that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar.