Archive for April, 2014


. London-based Lix have unveiled their innovative 3D printing device
. The device is about the same size and weight as a regular ballpoint pen
. It can be plugged into a regular USB port like the one on your laptop
. Then by feeding a strip of plastic into the back it can draw in the air
. The plastic is melted inside the pen and then pushed out the nib
. The device will go on sale in September 2014 for £85 ($139.95)

By Jonathan O’Callaghan

Tired of writing with traditional pen and paper? Then you’ll want to pay attention to Lix’s device.

Their 3D printing pen enables you to write and draw in the air by melting plastic.

This means at the touch of a button you can create freestanding objects in a matter of seconds.

Lix's product is the first 3D printing device that resembles the size, shape and weight of a regular ballpoint pen. It will go on sale in September 2014 for £85 ($139.95) and will be available in black and grey

Lix’s product is the first 3D printing device that resembles the size, shape and weight of a regular ballpoint pen. It will go on sale in September 2014 for £85 ($139.95) and will be available in black and grey…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2616656/Write-eyes-Amazing-3D-printing-PEN-draws-plastic-objects-air.html#ixzz30OH1BPl3

 

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GRAPHIC CONTENT: Two men have reportedly been crucified by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa

. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant announced it had executed seven prisoners, including two by crucifixion
. Group said it held the seven responsible for grenade attack this month

Published: 10:44 GMT, 30 April 2014

Islamic extremists have publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.

The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq said it had executed a total of seven prisoners who it claimed had carried out a grenade attack on one of its fighters earlier this month in the Euphrates Valley city of Raqqa.

The group, which even Al Qaeda have been keen to distance themselves from, said on Twitter: ‘Ten days ago, attackers on a motorbike threw a grenade at an ISIL fighter at the Naim roundabout. A Muslim civilian had his leg blown off and a child was killed.

‘Our fighters immediately set up a roadblock and succeeded in capturing them. They were then able to detain other members of the cell.’

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted a photograph of the two prisoners being crucified at the roundabout.

Passers-by appear to be walking past the two men apparently unfazed.

One of the men is pictured with a banner wrapped round his body which reads: ‘This man fought against Muslims and threw a grenade in this place.’…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2616694/Horrifying-scenes-Syria-Islamic-extremists-CRUCIFY-two-fighting-against-Muslims.html#ixzz30OExrSDi

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CCTV footage of Pc Birch Tasering Daniel Dove

. PC Lee Birch was cleared of assault at Bristol Crown Court this week
. PC Birch, 30, zapped Daniel Dove after the suspect threw his pants at him
. Mr Dove, 23, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly
. Court heard he felt ‘humiliated’ when stripping for search and reacted
. He hurled his dirty underpants at PC Birch hitting him in the face
. Taser gun deployed for seven seconds rendering Mr Dove immobile
. Footage was leaked by a concerned member of the public

By Lizzie Parry

This footage reveals the moment a police officer sent a naked suspect crashing to the floor with a Taser gun.

PC Lee Birch, 30, zapped Daniel Dove with the 50,000-volt weapon after he threw his dirty underpants in his face.

Mr Dove, 23, had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly outside a nightclub and was ordered to strip naked for a search once inside a police cell.

But he felt ‘humiliated’ at the way he was being treated and hurled his boxers in a ‘split second’ fit of temper.

PC Birch, who responded by immediately drawing his Taser, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and misconduct in public office.

A jury took just 60 minutes to acquit the Wiltshire police officer on both charges at Bristol Crown Court.

But despite a judge ruling the horrifying footage could now be released to the media, Patrick Geenty, Wiltshire’s Chief Constable, objected.

The video was later leaked to ITV West Country by a concerned member of the public.

PC Lee Birch was cleared of the charges against him at Bristol Crown Court this week

 PC Lee Birch was cleared of the charges against him at Bristol Crown Court this week…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2616637/Watch-The-moment-naked-drunk-man-Tasered-strip-search-police-flicked-UNDERPANTS-officers-face.html#ixzz30OCqGpt1

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Fluorescence light micrograph of human stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue. Photo by Riccardo Cassiani-Ingoni/SPL

Fluorescence light micrograph of human stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue. Photo by Riccardo Cassiani-Ingoni/SPL

Human fat cells can be used to regenerate damaged hearts and ageing joints. So should we start piling on the pounds?

by Jalees Rehman

(Jalees Rehman is an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He blogs on stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at SciLogs: The Next Regeneration, and on science, culture and religion at Fragments of Truth.)

Why don’t you use fat?’
I stared at Keith, not quite sure whether he was serious or just kidding. Did he really think we could use fat to regenerate the heart?

I had joined Keith March’s research laboratory at Indiana University as a postdoctoral fellow in the summer of 2001. At the time, his group was trying to improve upon stents, small mesh tubes that can be placed inside blocked coronary arteries to keep them open, restoring an adequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. But even the best stents were no cure for heart tissue that had already been irreversibly damaged by a heart attack. The wave of the future, I felt, was the newly emerging field of cardiovascular regeneration, the idea of using stem cells to repair the heart and grow new blood vessels.

Yet when Keith suggested I use fat to generate those cells, I thought he was making an inside joke. We were both overweight and often made fun of ourselves. And the history of fat cures was rife with superstition and myth. For centuries, people had believed that rubbing one’s arms and legs with balms made out of human fat could cure broken bones, crippled limbs and joint pains. Societal mores prevented the dissection of human bodies for the purpose of removing human fluids or tissues, but these rules didn’t apply to executed criminals, especially when there were no family members to claim the body. Until the mid-18th century, this presented a lucrative opportunity for a group of social outcasts: executioners, who became expert extractors, with a skill-set and knowledge of anatomy that often surpassed that of academic physicians. In her book, Defiled Trades and Social Outcasts (2000), the historian Kathy Stuart from the University of California, Davis, gives a gripping account of the work and lives of executioners. Some executioners even started their own medical practices, selling products such as human fat themselves.

Today we understand that rubbing human fat on one’s limbs lacks any medical benefit – yet there was Keith suggesting that fat could be rediscovered as a therapeutic source of material to regenerate the heart. I took him seriously only after he showed me a paper written in 2001 by the cell biologist Patricia Zuk and her colleagues at the Regenerative Bioengineering and Repair Lab then run by Marc Hedrick at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Analysing fat obtained through liposuction, the team of researchers and plastic surgeons had discovered an abundance of adult stem cells! It was an extraordinary find: it was in part the scarcity of adult stem cells, after all, that had stymied organ regeneration efforts in the past.

Stem cells can be tapped as engines of regeneration because they have not yet committed to a specific cell fate. They are so pliable that they can be converted into a variety of prized cell types, such as neurons or beating heart cells, if exposed to the proper chemical and environmental cues in the lab. That makes them ideally suited to repair or regenerate diseased organs and tissues. For example, if the heart is damaged and scarred by a severe heart attack, stem cells could be used to replace the scar tissue with beating heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes).

In 2001, researchers had access to two types of human stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The advantage of using embryonic stem cells is that they can be converted into every major cell type required for organ or tissue regeneration: liver cells, neurons, or cardiomyocytes, to name just a few.

Yet use of human embryonic stem cells, generally derived from leftover fertilised eggs culled en masse from fertilisation clinics, has long been controversial in the US, even compared by some religious groups to murder. In response, in August 2001 the government restricted use to the few human lines of embryonic stem cells already cultured in labs…

more…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/human-fat-cells-can-be-used-to-heal-hearts-and-joints/

 

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Weight of numbers: if unchecked, self-replicators such as these monarch butterflies can multiply exponentially. Photo by Frans Lanting/Gallery Stock

Weight of numbers: if unchecked, self-replicators such as these monarch butterflies can multiply exponentially. Photo by Frans Lanting/Gallery Stock

Why does life resist disorder? Because ever since the first replicating molecules, another kind of stability has beckoned

by Addy Pross

(Addy Pross is professor of chemistry at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. His latest book is What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology (2012).)

Biology is wondrously strange – so familiar, yet so strikingly different to physics and chemistry. We know where we are with inanimate matter. Ever since Isaac Newton, it has answered to a basically mechanical view of nature, blindly following its laws without regard for purposes. But could there be, as Immanuel Kant put it, a Newton of the blade of grass? Living things might be made of the same fundamental stuff as the rest of the material world – ‘dead’ atoms and molecules – but they do not behave in the same way at all. In fact, they seem so purposeful as to defy the materialist philosophy on which the rest of modern science was built.

Even after Charles Darwin, we continue to struggle with that difference. As any biologist will acknowledge, function and purpose remain central themes in the life sciences, though they have long been banished from the physical sciences. How, then, can living things be reconciled with our mechanical-mechanistic universe? This is a conceptual question, of course, but it has a historical dimension: how did life on Earth actually come about? How could it have? Both at the abstract level and in the particular story of our world, there seems to be a chasm between the animate and inanimate realms.

I believe that it is now possible to bridge that gap. But before I explain how, it is worth mentioning how modern biology has generally dealt with it. Bluntly, it has dropped the problem into the ‘too hard’ basket and looked the other way. This has meant fencing off biology from physics and chemistry, and developing a separate philosophy of science. One of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, Ernst Mayr, openly argued for the ‘autonomy of biology’. Physics and chemistry deal with inanimate matter, he insisted, biology deals with living systems, and, at least for the time being, that’s that.

But this is not good enough. Nature is one. Science seeks to generalise, to unify. The purpose-driven character of life stands as a challenge to our understanding of the material nature of the universe. We can’t leave it there. And happily, we don’t have to.

I am a theoretical chemist drawn to a new field, systems chemistry. That means I’m interested in replicating molecules and the reaction networks they establish. Some recent research in this field appears to show us just how biology can be restored to the mechanical world. These replicators cross Mayr’s great disciplinary divide with impunity. In the laboratories of my colleagues, the living and dead realms bleed into one another.

And so the conceptual unification of biology with physics and chemistry is now underway. New insights are steadily coming into view. The first important one, in fact, concerns precisely that question of how life on Earth might have begun…

more…

http://aeon.co/magazine/nature-and-cosmos/stability-how-life-began-and-why-it-cant-rest/

 

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Don't step on me; the porcupine has become the symbol of the Free State Project. Detail from a 1929 motivational poster. Photo by David Pollack/Corbis

Don’t step on me; the porcupine has become the symbol of the Free State Project. Detail from a 1929 motivational poster. Photo by David Pollack/Corbis

Libertarians are united by opposition to government, but when it comes to planning a new society they are deeply divided

by Livia Gershon

(Livia Gershon is a freelance reporter who writes about the intersection of economics, politics and everyday life. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly and The Progressive, among others. She lives in Nashua, New Hampshire.)

For a country where the national flag flies from front porches and convenience stores and where children recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning at school, we’re remarkably resistant to the notion of being governed. In the fall of 2013, the Pew Research Center found that only three in ten Americans trust the federal government to do what’s right ‘most of the time’. The self-conception of most Americans, with their visions of pioneers and plucky underdogs fighting for independence, is all about freedom. The flip side of that vision, however, is all about distrusting government.

And ‘government’, in US political discourse, is ideological. The right claims that excessive government hampers the ability of companies to create jobs; the left that it protects the public from the worst excesses of businesses. The divide is patently artificial: the vast majority of government economic policy draws no fire from conservatives. Still, by setting up ‘government’ as a dirty word in their anti-Democrat campaigns, the Republicans can claim freedom as their brand.

But if you really want to talk about what it means to oppose the government, the place to start isn’t with Republicans. It’s with the one group in the US political landscape that absolutely promises to take our rhetoric about freedom seriously: libertarians. Libertarians really do believe that government is the problem, as Ronald Reagan said back in 1981, and they’ve decided to get rid of it, or at least shrink it dramatically.

Enter Liberty Forum – an annual conference organised by the Free State Project, a group of activists who are trying to get 20,000 libertarians to move to the state of New Hampshire, where I live. These are people who gladly pit themselves not just against the welfare state or the regulation of business, but against military spending, state-funded schools, federal highways and government-issued money.

The Free State Project began life in 2001 with a call-to-arms by Jason Sorens, then a political science PhD student at Yale. Sorens suggested that a few thousand activists could radically change the political balance in the small state. ‘Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day,’ he wrote. ‘Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them.’

Sorens’ views — which focus on problems with taxes and regulations and don’t dispute the government’s role in protecting commerce and conducting foreign policy – suggest a more-Republican-than-the-Republicans sort of outlook. But some people who’ve responded to his call subscribe to an entirely different ideology: an anarchism that sees government as a tool of wealthy capitalists. The rest fall somewhere in between. Free Staters say that what brings them together is a common belief that government is the opposite of freedom…

more…

http://aeon.co/magazine/world-views/a-libertarian-move-to-build-a-new-society/

 

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by Tyler Durden

Submitted by Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street On Parade,

It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees. Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

There is one other major obstacle to brushing away these deaths as random occurrences – they are not happening at JPMorgan’s closest peer bank – Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup are global financial institutions with both commercial banking and investment banking operations. Their employee counts are similar – 260,000 employees for JPMorgan versus 251,000 for Citigroup.

Both JPMorgan and Citigroup also own massive amounts of bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), a controversial practice that pays the corporation when a current or former employee dies. (In the case of former employees, the banks conduct regular “death sweeps” of public records using former employees’ Social Security numbers to learn if a former employee has died and then submits a request for payment of the death benefit to the insurance company.)

Wall Street On Parade carefully researched public death announcements over the past 12 months which named the decedent as a current or former employee of Citigroup or its commercial banking unit, Citibank. We found no data suggesting Citigroup was experiencing the same rash of deaths of young men in their 30s as JPMorgan Chase. Nor did we discover any press reports of leaps from buildings among Citigroup’s workers.

Given the above set of facts, on March 21 of this year, we wrote to the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act (See OCC Response to Wall Street On Parade’s Request for Banker Death Information):

The number of deaths from 2008 through March 21, 2014 on which JPMorgan Chase collected death benefits; the total face amount of BOLI life insurance in force at JPMorgan; the total number of former and current employees of JPMorgan Chase who are insured under these policies; any peer studies showing the same data comparing JPMorgan Chase with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup…

more…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-28/guest-post-suspicious-deaths-bankers-are-now-classified-trade-secrets-federal-regula

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By Julie Lévesque

iraq_deadchild_mother2

Image: An Iraqi woman with her dead child. Source: A Real Cost Of The Iraq War

War is Peace. What was known as a famous quote from George Orwell’s fiction 1984 has become a reality. Or maybe it is still fiction if you consider that the mainstream media is making up reality on a daily basis.

On April 28, 2014, the homepage of The Washington Post web site featured the picture of a nuclear explosion with the following title: “War is brutal. The alternative is worse.”

Peace is worse than war? Diplomacy worse than a nuclear explosion? I wonder if people in war torn Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and the likes agree.

The subtitle is probably the apex of nonsense: “War may be the worst way imaginable to create peaceful societies, but this professor argues that it’s the only way.” Professor? How can you be a professor and say something so illogical? And how can a newspaper be taken seriously when it publishes such absurdities?

But it gets worse, if that’s even possible. Clicking on the article, you get this:

“Wars make us safer and richer”. Wow. Really?

Who’s “us”? Certainly not the American people:

The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government…

It is also imperative to recall that the Bush administration had claimed at the very outset that the Iraq war would finance itself out of Iraqi oil revenues, but Washington DC had instead ended up borrowing some $2 trillion to finance the two wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders.

According to the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government 2013 report, this accounted for roughly 20 per cent of the total amount added to the US national debt between 2001 and 2012.

According to the report, the US “has already paid $260 billion in interest on the war debt,” and future interest payments would amount to trillions of dollars. (Sabir Shah, US Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to Cost $6 trillion)

So, who’s “us” getting richer? The bankers maybe? Because if war makes some people rich, it’s the bankers:

Bankers are often the driving force behind war.

After all, the banking system is founded upon the counter-intuitive but indisputable fact that banks create loans first, and then create deposits later.

In other words, virtually all money is actually created as debt…

Debt (from the borrower’s perspective) owed to banks is profit and income from the bank’s perspective. In other words, banks are in the business of creating more debt … i.e. finding more people who want to borrow larger sums…

What does this have to do with war?

War is the most efficient debt-creation machine

http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-is-peace-it-makes-us-rich-and-safe-or-so-says-the-mainstream-media/5379762

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By Nicole Weddington

A great deal of buzz is emerging about a new website that mines Facebook data and creates a disturbingly detailed portrait of a person and their life.
This new site goes by the name of Digital Shadow. At first, its intent seems fun and harmless, but look deeper into its invasiveness and curiosity and one can only question its real purpose, along with how this digitally conceived “image” of you can be used – good or bad.
Facebook users are continuously informed of privacy rights and settings, paired with instructions on how to use them. However, at the end of the day, any items posted or uploaded to Facebook stays on their servers, even after you have deleted an account. It becomes their property. It may not be visible, but it is still out there.
What is most eerie about this site is its cold and calculated assessments of life in the future, based on digital gadgets. Go to their website and be welcomed by what sounds like jumbled radio podcasts and statements flashing across the screen:
“You are not an individual. You are a data cluster.”
“Algorithms can predict your interests, your desires, even your fantasies.”
“Your life is measured in gigabytes. Data comes at a cost.”
On the website, login with your Facebook credentials. The site scrapes your Facebook account and quickly spits out your profile, including how you spend your time, what your interests are, how much you make, and even fellow Facebookers who may be “stalking” you.
Its findings also let you learn more about who is closest to you, whom you are obsessed with, and whom you can live without. Unlike some sites though, it doesn’t allow you to buy Facebook likes

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/technology/creepy-website-exposes-your-facebook-profile/article/382026#ixzz30MkurZpk

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EU 'to Extend' Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan

The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe’s mainland, according to reports.

Russia‘s Vedomosti, which cites sources from the European Commission, suggests that pipes could lead into France and Spain and this could increase the amount of Azerbaijani gas received from the Union.

According to the same EC representative, the prospects of importing from Turkmenistan and Iran are also on the agenda.

A total of EUR 5.8 B will be put aside for the new plans, which could virtually turn the Southern Gas Corridor into Europe’s top priority project.

The Corridor envisages that a pipeline system called TANAP-TAP should be built from Azerbaijan‘s Shah Deniz deposits to Georgia and Turkey and further to Greece, Albania and Italy.

About 6 B cubic meters of gas could be thus pumped into Turkey every year, while Europe could receive up to 10 B cubic meters. (Present Russian-originated deliveries amount to over 160 B a year).

Construction is scheduled to be complete by 2019.

The EU is currently looking into ways to reduce its energy dependence from Russia and is considering whether to abandon the South Stream project, which would favour the status quo.

Read More @ Source

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/19152

 

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