Aug 30, 2014
A late summer snow storm at Yellowstone national park?!
The national park webcams showed the freak snow event (August 30, 2014) from Mt. Washburn facing Northeast.
The camera refreshes once every 1-2 minutes, time lapsed in fast forward, then slowed down for easier viewing.
Download the individual frame stills from the NPS here:
Music is my own original composition :)
National weather service watch / warning here:
by Nicholas West
May 24, 2014
Nanotechnology is probably not the reading material sitting on the coffee tables of most people. Yet, it is already beginning to have an impact on everything from electronics to alternative energy to food, cosmetics and clothing. In fact, several hundred common products contain nanomaterials, which has prompted lawsuits against the FDA for failure to properly regulate them.
The nanotech revolution has been heavily invested in by the U.S. government, as outlined in their National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, which involves 20 federal agencies and partners. This must-read document lays out a projected future to understand and control matter for the management of every facet of the environment, health and safety.
We are beginning to see the dividends being paid to Big Pharma through edible nano-sized microchips and other “smart” pills aimed to surveil the internal workings of the body, and one day perhaps completely reengineer humanity from the atomic level on up … including the brain.
The infographic below offers a comprehensive overview of how this reengineering will take shape. Now is the time to start paying close attention to these developments, as what has been considered to be science fiction conspiracy theory thus far is now being openly discussed on the world stage as Humans 2.0.
Source, and for larger image:
How Nanotechnology Could Reengineer Us – Keithley Instruments
Hat tip: 33rd Square
Recently by Nicholas West:
Aug 22, 2014
by Nicholas West
There has been much speculation about what could be achieved in the area of human brain-to-brain transfer of information.
A series of studies have intimated at the possibilities:
- Brain-to-Brain Control Established Between Humans and Animals at Harvard
- Remote Controlled Humans Via Internet Now a Reality
- New Mind Reading Research Aims to Synchronize Humans
Now an international team is declaring a successful brain-to-brain data transfer between a person sitting in India to a receiving person in France.
The evolution of civilization points to a progressive increase of the interrelations between human minds, where by “mind” we mean a set of processes carried out by the brain . Until recently, the exchange of communication between minds or brains of different individuals has been supported and constrained by the sensorial and motor arsenals of our body. However, there is now the possibility of a new era in which brains will dialogue in a more direct way . … Pioneering research in the 60′s using non-invasive means already demonstrated the voluntary control of alpha rhythm de-synchronization to send messages based on Morse code . Over the last 15 years, technologies for non-invasive transmission of information from brains to computers have developed considerably, and today brain-computer interfaces embody a well-established, innovative field of study with many potential applications–. Recent work has demonstrated fully non-invasive human to rat B2B communication by combining motor imagery driven EEG in humans on the BCI sidewith ultrasound brain stimulation on the CBI-rat side . … Here we show how to link two human minds directly by integrating two neurotechnologies – BCI and CBI –, fulfilling three important conditions, namely a) being non-invasive, b) cortically based, and c) consciously driven (Fig. 1). In this framework we provide the first demonstration of non-invasive direct communication between human minds. (emphasis added)
The method used was Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which has shown the most promise in directly accessing the brain and “thought.”
The intensity of pulses was adjusted for each subject so that a) one particular orientation of the TMS-induced electric field produced phosphenes (representing the “active direction” and coding the bit value “1”), and b) the orthogonal direction did not produce phosphenes (representing the “silent direction” and coding the bit value “0”). Subjects reported verbally whether or not they perceived phosphenes on stimulation.
This resulted in online data transfer from mind to mind to mind – telepathic e-mail, essentially:
On March 28th, 2014, 140 bits were encoded by the BCI emitter in Thiruvananthapuram and automatically sent via email to Strasbourg, where the CBI receiver (subject 3) was located. There, a program parsed incoming emails to navigate the robot and deliver TMS pulses precisely over the selected site and with the appropriate coil orientation. A similar transmission with receiver subject 2 took place on April 7th, 2014. In both cases, the transmitted pseudo-random sequences carried encrypted messages encoding a word – “hola” (“hello” in Catalan or Spanish) in the first transmission, “ciao” (“hello” or “goodbye” in Italian) in the second. Words were encoded using a 5-bit Bacon cipher  (employing 20 bits) and replicated for redundancy 7 times (for a total of 140 bits). The resulting bit streams were then randomized using random cyphers selected to produce balanced pseudo-random sequences of 0′s and 1′s (for subject blinding and proper statistical analysis purposes in addition to providing word-coding). On reception, de-cyphering and majority voting from the copies of the word were used to decode the message.
All of this is a technical way of saying that, for the first time, not only has there been a signal transfer representing data, the potential has opened up for the transmitting of emotions – a mind-to-mind transfer, not merely brain-to-brain.
Do you speak more than one language? If so, you could be less likely to suffer from age-related cognitive decline, as reported by recent research. If you don’t speak another language, don’t worry; it’s never too late to learn!
According to a new study published in the Annals of Neurology, knowing more than one language can help protect your brain from decreased performance later in life. And the evidence says you can even reap the benefits if you don’t learn the language until later in adulthood.
“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead researcher Dr. Thomas Bak of the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.
by Christina Sarich
Aug 23, 2014
An artist that lives in the northern portion of the Mie Prefecture, in Western Japan (but still within Fukushima’s radiation-circle) has posted pictures on Pinterest of some very outlandish looking carrots that he dug up from his own garden.
The poster simply comments, “The carrots that grew in my garden look too abnormal this year . . .”
Some refute the ‘mutant fruits and vegetable’ pictures popping up on different Internet sites, stating that they are a hoax, and others are insistent that the pictures they are posting are real. There have been mutant cabbages, 4 times the normal size, and tomatoes that seem to have exploded, but is this all sensationalized news, or something we should really be concerned about?
Friday 22 August 2014 06.46 BST
Agence France-Presse in Tokyo
Rescuer and boy he was trying to save are swept away as number of missing rises and Hiroshima braces for more rain
The death toll from huge landslides in western Japan could more than double, police have said, as the number of missing people rose to 52 in addition to the 39 confirmed dead.
Dozens of homes were destroyed when mountainsides collapsed on the outskirts of Hiroshima on Wednesday, with tonnes of mud, rocks and debris crashing into suburban communities.
More than 4,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes after forecasters warned more rain was on the way to already soaked hillsides, heaping misery on an area that has seen record downpours.
Firefighters, police and soldiers had to abandon search efforts on Thursday night because of the risk of further landfalls. One rescuer was killed in a secondary mudslide on Wednesday along with a small boy he was trying to carry to safety.
The confirmed death toll on Friday stood at 39 but the number of missing was raised to 52, having risen steadily over the last two days from initial single figures.
Officials said improved co-ordination between emergency services and local authorities meant they were aware of more people who had not been heard of since the disaster.
“We initially counted only the people who were certain to be missing, such as those witnessed being carried away in gushing water,” said a spokesman at Hiroshima prefecture police.
“As we continued to investigate and assess the situation, the number rose,” he said.
Firefighters and soldiers were still keeping heavy machinery away from collapsed houses, preferring to remove debris by hand in the hope of finding survivors.
The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Here’s How — video included
Canadian Awareness Network
Aug 13, 2014
By Tom Barnes August 4, 2014
Last summer it was “Blurred Lines.” This summer it’s “Fancy.” Every year, there’s a new song that we all hate until we don’t anymore (see: playcounts). And it turns out that’s because we were brainwashed to like them.
Research suggests that repeated exposure is a much more surefire way of getting the general public to like a song than writing one that suits their taste. Based on an fMRI study in 2011, we now know that the emotional centers of the brain — including the reward centers — are more active when people hear songs they’ve been played before. In fact, those brain areas are more active even than when people hear unfamiliar songs that are far better fits with their musical taste.
This happens more often than you might think. After a couple dozen unintentional listens, many of us may find ourselves changing our initial opinions about a song — eventually admitting that, really, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” isn’t as awful as it sounds. PBS’ Idea Channel‘s Mike Rugnetta explains, it’s akin to a musical “Stockholm syndrome,” a term used originally by criminologist Nils Bejerot to describe a phenomenon in which victims of kidnapping may begin to sympathize with their captors over time.
by James Corbett
August 6, 2014
This post is intended as a round-up of available information on the current Ebola outbreak from various sources around the web. Corbett Report members are encouraged to debate and discuss the situation in the commments thread below, ask questions, suggest links, and otherwise contribute to this investigation. The comments will be used to piece together an upcoming episode of The Corbett Report Podcast on this subject [UPDATE: The podcast is now available for download here]. [Not a Corbett Report member? Sign up today.]
Overview: Official information on Ebola virus
Ebola haemorrhagic fever is the human disease caused by the Ebola virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease has a fatality rate of up to 90% and is “one of the world’s most virulent diseases.” The disease first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in the Congo (near the Ebola river) and the other in a remote area of Sudan. It transfers through close contact with blood of an infected animal (including chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines) and spreads human-to-human through direct contact with infected blood or other bodily fluids, or through contact between broken skin or mucous membranes of a healthy person and the contaminated possessions (blankets, bedclothes, needles) of an infected person.
Symptoms include “sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat” followed by “vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.”
There is currently no licensed or authorized treatment or vaccine for Ebola virus. Serum containing antibodies from previously infected survivors of Ebola disease was used to successfully treat seven out of eight patients in the 1995 Congo outbreak (although those results have been disputed repeatedly), and other experimental treatments are currently being developed including monoclonal antibodies and prototype vaccines. Controversy has arisen in the current outbreak over the unauthorized use of an experimental treament (“Zmapp“) to treat two cases in the US (see below).
Timeline of the 2014 outbreak
On March 22 2014, an epidemic emergency is declared after an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in southern Guinea. That day, Médecins Sans Frontières announces they have already deployed 24 nurses, doctors, logisticians and hygiene and sanitation experts to the country with 33 tons of supplies leaving France and Belgium on the way.
By March 25th, the BBC reports 62 confirmed deaths from the disease, including five people in Liberia who died “after crossing from southern Guinea for treatment.” As the BBC report notes, “It is the first time Ebola has struck Guinea, with recent outbreaks thousands of miles away, in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
On March 31st, Ebola is confirmed to have spread to Liberia where two sisters (one of whom has just returned from Guinea) are found to be carrying the disease. The death toll rises to 78 people.
In early April West Africa begins mobilizing to combat the spread of the disease, including sending health teams to border territories.
By mid-June, WHO data shows 333 total deaths, making this the deadliest outbreak in recorded history. The previous most deadly outbreak was the 1976 outbreak in Congo, with 280 reported deaths.
On July 3rd and 4th the WHO convenes a two-day Emergency Ministerial meeting on Ebola Virus Disease in Ghana where West African countries and various international organizations agree to adopt a strategy of “cross-border collaboration” for combating the outbreak. They also decide that the “WHO will establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate technical support to West African countries by all major partners; and assist in resource mobilization” and that the WHO will be a lead organization in coordinating action on the issue.
The agreement includes resolutions to:
- Convene national inter-sectoral meetings involving key government ministries, national technical committees and other stakeholders to map out a plan for immediate implementation of the strategy.
- Mobilise community, religious, political leaders to improve awareness, and the understanding of the disease
- Strengthen surveillance, case finding reporting and contact tracing
- Deploy additional national human resources with the relevant qualifications to key hot spots.
- Identify and commit additional domestic financial resources
- Organise cross-border consultations to facilitate exchange of information
- Work and share experiences with countries that have previously managed Ebola outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation
They also decide that the “WHO will establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate technical support to West African countries by all major partners; and assist in resource mobilization.”
On July 25th the WHO confirms a probable case of Ebola in Nigeria, although an undated post on the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health website claims to “debunk” Ebola in Nigeria, claiming that it is in fact Dengue Fever.
On July 30th, Germany agrees to a WHO request to accept two Ebola infected patients for treatment at the university clinic in Hamburg-Eppendorf. According to Deutsche Welle: “The university clinic has made six beds available in a segregated part of the facility. In this isolation unit, no liquids, gases or particles in the air can reach the outside world. Access is only possible through three airlocks. In the first, the air pressure is slightly reduced; in the second and the third even more so. That’s to ensure clean air from outside is able to come in, but contaminated air from inside is not able to go out. Up until now, the unit has only been used for training.”
On August 2nd, an infected American aid worker traveled from Liberia to the United States to receive treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. According to Reuters: “The facility at Emory, set up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is one of only four in the country with the facilities to deal with such cases.” A second American aid worker, also infected in Liberia, arrived at the same facility two days later.
As of August 6th, the disease is confirmed to be spreading in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Suspected cases are currently being tested in Lagos, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 1,711 with 932 deaths. An emergency meeting of “global health experts” has just been convened by the WHO in Geneva to address the situation.UPDATE: On August 8th, the WHO declared the current Ebola outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” This is an instrument under the International Health Regulations, a legally-binding international agreement on disease prevention and control. The declaration allows for potential international coordination of the crisis and grants the WHO powers to obtain and share information about the crisis anywhere within the IHR territories with or without the consent of the individual governments involved. According to Stephen Morrison, the director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, this potentially allows for “boots-on-the-ground” intervention by the US military or other NATO member countries to operate in these environments in terms of ground transport, supply chain, and distribution of commodities. This is only the third time a PHEIC has been declared, the first being the 2009 swine flu outbreak and the second a declaration related to polio earlier this year.
Controversies, Contradictions and Conspiracies
Despite repeated denials and downplaying of the possibility by health authorities, there is growing evidence that this strain of Ebola may be airborne (transmissible from human to human through the air, not direct contact). A 2012 study examining “Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates” concluded: “Our findings support the hypothesis that airborne transmission may contribute to ZEBOV spread, specifically from pigs to primates, and may need to be considered in assessing transmission from animals to humans in general.” Despite the fact that even the official CDC guidelines for how airlines should handle the Ebola crisis contains the concern tha the virus may be airborne, a concerted effort is being made online to ridicule those hypothesizing that the current Ebola outbreak represents an airborne strain of the virus:
According to Bloomberg: “Despite the deadly nature of the disease, the relative rarity of outbreaks and their confinement to primarily rural areas of poor African nations make Ebola an unattractive target for big drugmakers.” An American or German outbreak, would, of course, change that calculus, and just last month a potential treatment for the disease was put on hold by the FDA due to safety concerns. Now, controversy is arising after experimental medicine was given to the two stricken American aid workers without FDA approval. The BBC describes the medicine as a “ZMapp drug, which has only been tested on monkeys.” For many, the idea that the WHO is heavily involved in a pandemic emergency in which drug companies are looking to circumvent traditional approval processes raises eerie parallels with the 2009 swine flu scare, which followed this pattern almost exactly, and was later ruled by both the British Medical Journal and the Council of Europe to have been a sham pandemic declared by a Big Pharma-connected WHO panel on behalf of the vaccine manufacturers themselves.
Others point to the possibility that this Ebola has been weaponized, or is part of a planned bioterror release. These reports focus on Dr. Charles Arntzen, a researcher at the University of Arizona who helped develop the experimental Ebola treatment given to the two American aid workers. In 2012, Dr. Arntzen joked about using genetic modification to create a “better virus” to cull 25% of the human population:
This is in line with similar statements by fellow biologists, including Dr. Eric Pianka at the University of Texas at Austin, who eyewitnesses claim used his acceptance speech for the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist Award from the Texas Academy of Science to muse on “the elimination of 90 percent of the human population” through an airborne disease like the Ebola virus.
Some have pointed to the long, documented history of government research into biological weapons and intentional government releases of biological agents on their own citizens in the past as a sign that the current outbreak could be some form of intentional bioweapon release by a government agency or rogue actor.
Yet others argue whether the current outbreak is being deliberately downplayed to hide the severity of what is happening or deliberately overhyped to panic the public and make them acquiesce to medical martial law or other dramatic maneuvers. Some even question whether or not the entire pandemic is a hoax.
End the Lie – Independent News
[Aug 13, 2014]
Oh, Great: Robots Are Set to Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews
Written by STEPHEN BURANYI
July 22, 2014 // 01:32 PM EST
Advancing a career in the US government might soon require an interview with a computer-generated head who wants to know about that time you took ketamine.
Psychologists at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) are developing an interview system that uses a responsive on-screen avatar for the first stage of the national security clearance process.
Initial screening for a variety of government jobs currently requires applicants to fill out a form disclosing past drug use, criminal activity, and mental health issues, which is then reviewed during an interview—with a human.
But a recent NCCA study published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior asserts that not only would a computer-generated interviewer be less “time consuming, labor intensive, and costly to the Federal Government,” people are actually more likely to admit things to the robot.
The study used US Army basic trainees as volunteer subjects for a mock national security clearance interview. The trainees were not told that the questions would be asked by a robot. After being hooked up to electrodes for cardio graphic and electrodermal (heart and skin) responses the volunteers were told that the interview would be with a computer avatar, and were left alone in a chamber with their on-screen interrogator.
The program used for the study was capable of responding to vocal cues and taking multiple conversation paths depending on the subject’s answers. The researchers were hoping to leverage the power of presence: the idea that people recognize another sentient being in the environment, and are more responsive as a result.
The bot is racially ambiguous and looks like a sort of cross between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Clean-shaven and all business, the bot asks you to divulge your most embarrassing personal mistakes in the name of national security and trustworthiness.
And apparently these computer-generated heads had a lot of presence. Volunteers in the study were significantly more likely to disclose alcohol use and mental health issues to the avatar than to the questionnaire. Responses for drug use and criminal charges were about the same.
Using the avatar also allowed the researchers to measure pauses in conversation and take advantage of questions that would seem out of place on a paper form. At the end of each interview section the computer-generated interviewer asked the volunteers “if there was anything at all” they wished to discuss—with over 10 percent then responding with more information.
The researchers concluded, in so many words, that national security clearance interviews can totally be outsourced to a computer-generated agent. That’s not an empty recommendation: The NCCA grew out of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute and is still responsible for “lie detection” training for all branches of government. It’s also tasked with developing new technologies for credibility assessment.
In other words, when “Blade Runner” is an actual job, they will likely be trained at the NCCA headquarters in South Carolina.
The NCCA predicts a bright future for its virtual agents. The study notes that computer-generated interviewers might help mitigate the gender and culture bias that affects human interviewers. It also recommends using avatars with distinctive physical characteristics and “culture-specific utterances.”
The interviewer isn’t quite a sentient AI; it relies on a dialogue tree similar to telephone customer service: tell the computer all the simple things, then press 0 for a human to explain the story behind your streaking arrest.
Still the idea of a computer conducting national security clearance interviews, even with human oversight, is bound be unsettling for some. But depending on the system’s effectiveness and the potential cost savings, we may see national security screening being done by a screen in the very near future.
Read More Here
by Tony Cartalucci
July 15, 2014 (LocalOrg) – In the movie “Transcendence,” the lead character, an artificial intelligence researcher, is uploaded to a super-computer before his body dies. His consciousness survives and his mind, unencumbered by the weakness of his physical body, begins expanding exponentially. While science fiction, the movie’s premise is not entirely impossible. While the human brain is highly complex, accessing it, decoding it, and interfacing with it has long-ago already begun.
The US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, has announced its “Restoring Active Memory (RAM)” project – which intends to develop a prosthetic for the brain to record and store memories for those with degenerative neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Science Daily in its article, “DARPA taps Lawrence Livermore to develop world’s first neural device to restore memory,” reported:
The research builds on the understanding that memory is a process in which neurons in certain regions of the brain encode information, store it and retrieve it. Certain types of illnesses and injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, disrupt this process and cause memory loss. TBI, in particular, has affected 270,000 military service members since 2000.
The goal of LLNL’s work — driven by LLNL’s Neural Technology group and undertaken in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Medtronic — is to develop a device that uses real-time recording and closed-loop stimulation of neural tissues to bridge gaps in the injured brain and restore individuals’ ability to form new memories and access previously formed ones.
The research is funded by DARPA’s Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program.
In essence, RAM would also allow humans to expand their brains into non-organic systems. While the project states it intends to restore memory function to those with deficiencies, the same prosthetic could also be used to expand the memory capacity of people with normal brain functions. While the device currently is intended to be an implant, future reiterations may include external devices either linked physically or perhaps even wirelessly. The implications may lead to devices and systems that allow our “minds” to expand beyond the physical confines of our biological brains, opening the doors to both great opportunities and equally frightful threats.
Threats and Opportunities
For starters, the digitization of our neurology opens the doors to all the threats and opportunities that befall or benefit existing digital devices, including those connected to the Internet. Collaboration, control, viruses, hacking, surveillance, exponential intellectual progress, personal empowerment, and even human-drones are all in the cards.
And while a climatic and apocalyptic “war with the machines” lingers menacingly in the back of our collective minds, what if devices like that which DARPA is developing led to man merging with machines instead? There would be no war with machines, we would be the machines.
In this context, we face two possible futures: one like that portrayed in science fiction films like Terminator or the Matrix where humans hide amid the ruins of their once proud civilization fighting a desperate resistance against far superior machines that turned on them, or a future like that portrayed in the Japanese anime films and series, Ghost in the Shell. In the latter, the lines are blurred between man and machine and a tenuous balance of power is maintained throughout human civilization, between extremes of both organic and cybernetic natures.
With advances like that announced by DARPA, the latter scenario is the most likely one. A merge between man and machine is the most likely scenario – whomever controls cybernetic technology however, will determine how utopian or dystopian our future will be. Currently, DARPA and other corporate-financier monopolies control this research and technology, while they monopolize other realms of scientific progress including molecular biology, genetic engineering, and information technology. This power in such few hands is surely a recipe for disaster – at least for those without access or say in how the technology is used – or in other words – for the vast majority of us.
A consumerist paradigm that has neurological implants tied to our information technology infrastructure would lead to abuses that would make the NSA’s current overreaching authority look placid in comparison. It could also transform our military’s abilities into the most effective and most horrifying of both human and drone combat.
Instead, this technology must be democratized, ofpened up, and disseminated across society. People to be fully free and in charge of their destiny must not focus on “democracy” and “civil literacy,” but rather on technological literacy, as it is technology that forms the foundation upon which modern society is built and controlled. If we want a say in this modern, technological society, we must understand how it works – currently such an understanding lies in so few hands.
We will not “un-invent” neurological implants that expand the landscapes in which our minds may occupy. We can either choose to boldly embrace and take control of such technology, or cower and complain as others leverage this technology against us to cement an ever expanding disparity between their domination of humanity, and our subservient futility under their dominion.