José Carlos Cruz completes”world’s first cork-clad hotel”

Portuguese architect José Carlos Cruz claims to have built the world’s first cork-clad hotel, located amongst the olive and cork trees of Portugal’s Alentejo region (+ slideshow).

Situated outside the city of Évora, the Ecork Hotel comprises a cork-clad restaurant and leisure complex with 56 hotel suites contained in a series of adjacent bungalows.

José Carlos Cruz and his design team chose cork to clad the walls of the main building because it is both readily available and highly insulating.

“Portugal is the second biggest exporter of cork in the world, so we thought it would be a good starting point for the building,” project architect António Cruz told Dezeen.

There are only a few small openings in the outer walls of the building, creating large uninterrupted surfaces of the material.

“One of our intentions was to promote cork as a cladding material,” said Cruz. “It’s a good thermal insulator and is also recyclable.”…

Cork-clad Ecork Hotel in Portugal by José Carlos Cruz



Space-time and Imagination

In space, time passes.

If you put a clock in a room, it will tick.

Time is associated with change. In that room, a person walks around. A moth circles. Another person enters, then leaves. The shadows move. If you wait long enough, a light bulb will burn out.

In space, some objects remain stationary. Books on a shelf. Notebooks on a desk. Boxes piled in a corner. Shoes on the rug. But again, if you wait long enough, those objects change. They decay.

So convincing is this presentation, we assume all space is this way. And we assume physical space is all the space there is.

Whereas, if we begin talking about the space of imagination, most people would draw a blank. “Imagination exists? Yes, maybe, I guess so. But it has a space or spaces? That’s going too far. That’s tantamount to setting up a ‘competitor’ to the space we all recognize. That’s weird and wrong…”

When I began painting in 1962, one of the first things I became aware of was I was finding and creating space on the canvas. And of course, much earlier, I had vivid sleeping dreams. What was that “thing” I was walking around in, in those dreams?

I once asked a physicist about this. He said: when you dream, you think you’re in space, but that’s just an illusion. As proof, he pointed out that he wouldn’t be able to measure what was happening in the space of my dreams, and for him, that was that.

When you’re inspired by a subjective vision of what you want to do to make your own future, and you stand at a window in the middle of the night and look out over a city, your experience of space is much different from what you experience while walking to your car in the morning to drive to work.

And even if you call “the visionary space” subjective, it can be a crucial factor in what you actually do to bring your future about. To make it happen in the world.

The energy exercises I developed for Exit From the Matrix are also about space. To project energy, you create space naturally.

Go back and watch Orson WellesCitizen Kane or Touch of Evil. Those films are all about created space and the arrangement/motion of people in space, and the angles from which they are shot. All film is about this, but Welles does it better.

From the viewpoint of imagination, space is being created all the time.

During the years 1935-1960, in New York, the so-called action painters (De Kooning, Pollock, Gorky, Kline, etc.) discovered space as a primary workable “substance” for their explorations. They were quite forceful about it. It had nothing to do with Renaissance perspective or the illusion of intentionally drawn objects that mimicked how we see the world. In action painting, subjective space was pushed to the hilt, and it disturbed many people because it challenged the comfortable sensation that space was an entirely settled issue.

When you create space, you create power. Yours.

You’re no longer simply living in the automatically delivered space of the universe.

The transition from heaven-based religion to the worship of the universe itself occurred because, after the deconstruction of religious myths, the simplest course of action was to claim that the space we could see all around us, or through telescopes, was holy. It was easy. And holy space would give us all we needed, without any action on our part. Passivity.

The philosopher-poet, Giordano Bruno, was burned to death by the Roman Church because he suggested that every soul could extend his own space infinitely and yet remain in accord with other souls. This view challenged the Church at such a fundamental level it could not go unanswered…




Meet the enemy of killer fungus that turns ants into zombies

One of most famous fungi in the world is the “zombie ant fungus”. It takes over the mind of an ant, causing it to climb up a branch and cling to the underside of a leaf before mummification. Once locked in place, the mushroom-like fruiting body of the cordyceps sprouts from the ant and eventually releases its spores.

This ant-killing fungus goes by the scientific name Ophiocordyceps unilateralis and its modus operandi has made it something of a celebrity – inspiring an episode of the X files, the video game The Last of Us and even a Pokémon character.

This fame might make it seem there is just one fungus that can create such a nightmare. But in fact there are many species of them, and zombifying ants is not their only speciality.

In just the Ophiocordyceps genus there are more than 100 species. Many insects can fall under their spell – beetles, caterpillars, cicada and dragonflies are all fair game. There is fossil evidence indicating that this has been going on for more than 40m years. But while these fungi are master body-snatchers, they don’t always get everything to themselves. Sometimes two of these fungi can infect the same ant.

Last month scientists in Japan studying these fungi started noticing that some zombified ants were afflicted with two distinct forms of cordyceps fungi. Both fungi were found sprouting from dead ants that had their mandibles clamped tightly around a branch in the typical zombie-ant pose. One fungus species, O. pulvinata, produces a bulbous fruiting body that juts from the back of the ant’s head. The other, O. sessilis, covers the ant’s body in spiny fruiting bodies…




How The NSA Hacks Your iPhone (Presenting DROPOUT JEEP)

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/30/2013 12:22 -0500

Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency’s 50 page catalog of “backdoor penetration techniques”, today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: “DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”

The flowchart of how the NSA makes your iPhone its iPhone is presented below:

•NSA ROC operator
•Load specified module
•Send data request
•iPhone accepts request
•Retrieves required SIGINT data
•Encrypt and send exfil data
•Rinse repeat

And visually:

What is perhaps just as disturbing is the following rhetorical sequence from Applebaum:

“Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here’s the problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them, I can’t really prove it but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software. We know that’s true.”

Or, Apple’s software is hardly “shitty” even if it seems like that to the vast majority of experts (kinda like the Fed’s various programs), and in fact it achieves precisely what it is meant to achieve.

Either way, now everyone knows that their iPhone is nothing but a gateway for the NSA to peruse everyone’s “private” data at will. Which, incidentally, is not news, and was revealed when we showed how the “NSA Mocks Apple’s “Zombie” Customers; Asks “Your Target Is Using A BlackBerry? Now What?”

How ironic would it be if Blackberry, left for dead by virtually everyone, began marketing its products as the only smartphone that does not allow the NSA access to one’s data (and did so accordingly). Since pretty much everything else it has tried has failed, we don’t see the downside to this hail mary attempt to strike back at Big Brother and maybe make some money, by doing the right thing for once.

We urge readers to watch the full one hour speech by Jacob Applebaum to realize just how massive Big Brother truly is, but those who want to just listen to the section on Apple can do so beginning 44 minutes 30 seconds in the presentation below…



Eat Beef? Think Twice

People who eat beef should think twice. They probably know cows are fed antibiotics, hormones, corn, wheat, all sorts of crappy stuff. But there is other junk cows are fed, some of it surprising–and deadly. For both cow and human.

According to OnEarth, feeding cows such junk can cause them to become infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, a fatal disease that attacks the brain and nervous system. This bovine disease can morph into the human variation of BSE, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). The World Health Organization (WHO) states vCJD is rare but deadly; the disease was responsible for 175 reported cases in the United Kingdom and 49 cases in other countries between 1996 and 2011. The differences between vCJD and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are the age of the infected person and the extent of disease.

So, what junk are cows being fed? Well, sawdust is one. If that doesn’t sound awful enough, the sawdust is treated with nitric acid to strip it of a component called lignin so cows can easily digest the sawdust.

Another type of feed is candy. Bulk candy with wrappers. How difficult is it for a cow to digest candy wrappers? According to John Waller, an animal expert, cows can digest the plastic as well as anything else: “They probably would just pass through. I think it would pass through just like excess fiber would.” Plastic, however has no similarities to fiber, which is essential for proper digestion. Cows are fed all sorts of candy such as gummy bears, hard candy, marshmallows and chocolate. Any candy one can think of, cows have probably eaten it. This kind of feed is troublesome because candy has high sugar and fat content, thus making cows fatter, much like corn does. But when corn prices went sky high, candy became something ranchers could feed their cows.

A type of food fed to cows that can spread mad cow disease is chicken litter. When chicken coops are cleaned up and the feces scraped away, the contents are then fed to cows. The problem is not the feces itself but the contents, which usually contain feathers, antibiotics, vermin parts, heavy metals and most disturbing, bits of cow. When chicken coops are cleaned up, the uneaten chicken feed is also included, and what does chicken feed contain? Beef. The practice of feeding beef to cattle was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, as this was discovered to be behind the spread of mad cow disease. But the ban hardly works if feeding chicken litter to cows is legal, when chicken feed includes beef parts. The ban does not extend to feeding beef to chickens or other poultry, either. Thus, the danger of cattle acquiring mad cow disease still remains…






12 months of terror: The king hit violence killing our young men

THIS is a national tragedy.

2013 was another year of senseless violence on our nation’s streets and most of it was fuelled by alcohol.

Despite the well-publicised tragedy of Thomas Kelly, 18, killed in 2012 out on his first night on the town, the king-hit assaults continued this year.

In NSW, there are more police fighting the war on alcohol than there are troops left fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan, reports the Daily Telegraph.

As revellers gear up for New Year‘s Eve, looks back at the shocking year of alcohol-related violence. It was 12 months of stupidity that left victims fighting for their lives. Here are 13 incidents that should never have happened.


This man was walking away from a confrontation when he was king hit from behind outside a Perth bar on January 4.

Shocking CCTV footage released by police showed two groups of young men exchanging words in a carpark when a thug brutally attacked the 28-year-old man.

The victim underwent surgery for a broken jaw and had to get plates inserted into his face.


Matt Tuffin stepped in to help an injured man in a pub brawl on February 12 and he was bashed so brutally he was hospitalised for more than four months.

Mr Tuffin was king hit after a brawl erupted over a cigarette at the Humpty Doo Tavern in the Northern Territory. His mates described him as the “peacemaker”.

“It wasn’t a real fun experience, I can tell you,” Mr Tuffin told the Nine Network later. “I was very lucky. (I was) very close to kicking the bucket, for sure.”


An unsuspecting soccer fan was the victim of a vicious king hit at an A-League match on March 16.

The ugly scenes at the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart game at AAMI stadium were captured on TV cameras.

Western Sydney Wanderers fan Eric Berry said his son had been standing six feet from where the victim was king hit.

“There were assaults taking place … missiles being thrown towards Wanderers supporters,” Mr Berry told Channel 7…