Category: Technology


Image: Nuclear accident cover-up? Radioactive Iodine-131 detected across Europe… no one knows why

(Natural News) Mysterious plumes of radioactive iodine-131, the same nuclear isotope seen during the Fukushima disaster, have suddenly started appearing all over Europe. And according to reports, nobody seems to know where they’re coming from — that, or authorities are choosing to deliberately keep the undisclosed source(s) out of public view.

Trace amounts of the highly damaging form of radiation, which is known to destroy the thyroid gland, have been found in at least seven European countries, including in Norway, Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, and Spain. Such radiation typically comes from either nuclear energy plants or atomic bombs — and the latter presumably haven’t been set off anywhere recently.

According to The Sun, the source of the toxic particles appears to be somewhere in Eastern Europe, despite the majority of them having been identified in countries to the West and North. The only other source from which such particles could be emerging are certain medical devices, though for their spread to be so wide across so many different regions is highly unlikely.

Finland’s Radiation Safety Authority (STUK) says it also identified trace amounts of the radioactive isotopes cobalt-60, niobium-95, and cesium-134, all of which are also directly associated with nuclear processes. Investigations into the source of these particles are ongoing, and experts are insistent that the levels are so low that they do not pose a significant health risk to the public.

“The preliminary report states it (iodine-131) was first found during the week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway,” reads a press release issued by the France-based Institute de Radioprotection et de Süreté Nucléaire (IRSN).

Norwegian nuclear officials claim informing public right away about radiation wasn’t necessary because levels were ‘low’

What’s strange about this radioactive presence throughout Europe is that its levels are seemingly so low as to be almost impossibly dispersed. One would think that having the same type of radiation detected in so many places at once would indicate much higher amounts of it, but experts insist that the levels are low enough as to be harmless.

The world heard plenty of this same narrative during and after the Fukushima disaster — and it is still the official story today, despite ongoing problems at the stricken plant that continue to harm Japan, the world’s oceans, and possibly even the West Coast of the U.S.— a majority of the world, essentially.

According to officials in Finland, the levels of radiation detected there were less than one-millionth of a Becquerel per cubic meter of air — not very much in terms of serious safety concerns. But as many Natural News readers are well aware, any amount of radiation is a health threat, and its source a pertinent area of concern.

“We do measure small amounts of radioactivity in air from time to time because we have very sensitive measuring equipment,” the head of Norway’s Radiation Protection Authority, Astrid Liland, told reporters when asked why it took so long to inform the public about the potential looming threat.

“The measurements at Svanhovd in January were very, very low. So were the measurements made in neighboring countries, like Finland. The levels raise no concern for humans or the environment. Therefore, we believe this had no news value.”

Ironically, Norway’s radiation levels were higher than in Finland, and yet Finnish nuclear officials were quick to issue a public statement out of precaution. Like Norway and France, however, Finland insists that radiation levels are far lower than what can have “any effect” on human health.

There are nuclear plants located in Finland, Sweden, and Russia where the nuclear particles in question could have emerged. Investigators are working to trace where they came from as quickly as possible.

Sources:

TheSun.co.uk

YLE.fi

TheBarentsObserver.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-02-22-nuclear-accident-cover-up-radioactive-iodine-131-detected-across-europe-no-one-knows-why.html

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by Nathaniel Mauka, Staff Writer, Waking Times 

The future of warfare is guaranteed if the Pentagon and Silicon Valley technocrats have any say.

With government promises to counter ISIL without a centralized command on the complicated battlefields of Northern Iraq or Syria – which arguably, the U.S. government helped to create – what technologies will ensure that 69 cents of every stolen tax dollar will continue flooding into war profits?

If you complete a successful airstrike, ISIL fighters usually just migrate somewhere else. Is tried and true technology even the answer to “ending war” as is so often promised?

Former Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, gives us a hint in a recent interview with Wired,

“I think if there is going to be something ever that rivals nuclear weapons in terms of the pure fearsomeness of their destructiveness it’s more likely to come from biotechnology than any other technology. Looking back decades from now, I do think the biological revelation could rival the atomic revolution for the fearsomeness of the potential. I think that’s one reason we need to invest in it. And although biotechnology has not been a traditional area for Defense, the new bridges that they build should not only be to the IT tech community but also to the biotech communities in the Valley.”

In fact, the Valley has been creating advanced sensors to combat their own weapons of germ-fare for decades now. They don’t seem to care about harming the population in “tests” of their advanced germ technologies either. The military industrial complex with technocratic support has done this for more than 70 years now.

The people of San Francisco were exposed to biowarfare tests in the 1950s when a Navy Ship sprayed microbes into the air from a giant hose just off the coast. The germs were tested on a population of 800,000 without their knowledge or consent. An additional 239 tests were conducted in the region.

Biowarfare is known as the “poor man’s atomic bomb,” since it can be developed and dispersed with a much lower capital investment than in nuclear weapons or trillion-dollar bombers. This type of biowarfare is complicated, though.

As Gregory Koblentz, a professor in public policy at George Mason University in Virginia argues, in sharp contrast to nuclear weapons seen from a strategic perspective, biological weapons have features that complicate international security strategy.

He notes that this is true particularly due to the “multi-use” nature of the biological agents and their precursors, as well as the necessity for secrecy in protecting biological weapons programs. After all, if the ‘enemy’ knows what kind of germs you are brewing, they could rather easily create an antidote, making your weapon obsolete.

The ambiguity of these bioweapons programs should not be lost on the average American. A defensive biological weapon could be used just as easily on civilians, and the military has already shown it has tested these agents on its own population.

An article titled, Part One: Bush and 9/11 Using Explosives, Part Two: Rockefellars And a Coup, Using Bioweapons, questions why FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have been venturing down into the subway systems over the last couple of years. Some suggest they could be completing recon to poison on water systems. We’ve already been poisoned with fluoride with no good explanation, it isn’t so far-fetched to consider what other toxins might be used against an unsuspecting public.

In other recent events, a light bulb in a New York Subway system was filled with bacteria and shattered contaminating an area from 14th to 58th Street, and the Midwest has been contaminated with bacteria which was sprayed by plane that affected areas as much as 1,200 miles away in just a few days.

By their own admission, Silicon Valley biotech companies have been working with the Pentagon to create new forms of bio-terror, and even Tesla’s Model X has a bioweapons defense system. An inside hunch? Or is something else going on with the technocrats deciding our country’s future foray into warfare?

About the Author
Nathaniel Mauka is a researcher of the dark side of government and exopolitics, and a staff writer for Waking Times.
This article (Silicon Valley and the Pentagon – The New Pioneers of Bio Warfare) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nathaniel MaukaIt may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/02/20/silicon-valley-pentagon-new-pioneers-bio-warfare/

 

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PRIVACY
Photo Illustration: Vocativ

Taser has started its own in-house AI unit, laying the groundwork for police body cameras that record fully-searchable video evidence

Last week, Taser, the stun gun company that has recently become an industry leader in body-mounted cameras, announced the creation of its own in-house artificial intelligence division. The new unit will utilize the company’s acquisition of two AI-focused firms: Dextro, a New York-based computer vision startup, and Misfit, another computer vision company previously owned by the watch manufacturer Fossil. Taser says the newly formed division will develop AI-powered tech specifically aimed at law enforcement, using automation and machine learning algorithms to let cops search for people and objects in video footage captured by on-body camera systems.

Moreover, the move suggests that body-worn cameras, which are already being used by police departments in many major cities, could soon become powerful surveillance tools capable of identifying different objects, events, and people encountered by officers on the street — both retroactively and in real time.

The idea is to use machine learning algorithms to streamline the process of combing through and redacting hours of video footage captured by police body cameras. Dextro has trained algorithms to scan video footage for different types of objects, like guns or toilets, as well as recognize events, like a foot chase or traffic stop. The result of all this tagging and classifying is that police will be able use keywords to search through video footage just like they’d search for news articles on Google, allowing them to quickly redact footage and zoom in on the relevant elements. Taser predicts that in a year’s time, their automation technology will reduce the total amount of time needed to redact faces from one hour of video footage from eight to 1.5 hours.

Screen Shot 2017 02 15 at 1.14.40 PM

A Dextro demonstration shows real-time classification of people and objects in video

Taser
Searchable video will also have major implications for civilian privacy, especially since there are no federal laws preventing police from trawling through databases to track people en masse.

Taser has previously expressed interest in adding face recognition capabilities to its body camera systems. A Department of Justice study published last year also found that at least nine different body camera manufacturers either currently support face recognition in their products or have the ability to add it later. And according to a recent Georgetown University Law report, roughly half of all American adults have been entered into a law enforcement face recognition database, meaning there’s decent chance that any random person walking down the street can be identified and tracked in secret by a camera-equipped cop.

A Taser representative told Vocativ that while Dextro’s computer vision technology will allow Taser’s law enforcement customers to detect faces for the purpose of redacting them from videos, it does not currently support face recognition…

more…

http://www.vocativ.com/402771/ai-body-cams-cops-google/

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Web-Based Brain Damage and Mindless Data Consumption | Global Freedom Movement

By Brendan D. Murphy, co-founder Global Freedom Movement, author The Grand Illusion

Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient.
Daniel J. Levitin, neuroscientist

Evidence is mounting that our haphazard info-consuming ways on the web are adversely affecting our neurological and cognitive functioning – as well as wasting time by making us far less efficient – and far more distracted – than we think we are.  The internet is a wonderful (read: essential) thing for humanity, but the way we use it seems to need some tweaking.

According to a study in the Journal of Digital Information, people who read documents online containing hypertext didn’t retain as much information as people reading without hypertext. The temptation to click on hyperlinks caused breaks in focus and attention, interrupting the flow of the material, thus compromising memory retention.[i]

Long-term memory is essential for building models, maps, or schemas – a.k.a. context. When we are poor in context, our ability to make informed assessments of incoming information is crippled. New information may be rejected simply because no groundwork (context) has been laid within which to assimilate it. Learning is stifled.

There is also the issue of “multi-tasking.” MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller states that our brains are “not wired to multitask well…When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”[ii]

We pay for our broken attention span in mitigated comprehension and recall. Scattered attention on the internet does not conduce to contemplation and the formation of deeper meaning, or broader understanding through dot connecting, a.k.a. context building. The ultimate example, of course, is aimless scrolling through social media feeds, “witnessing” lots of information while learning virtually nothing from it.

Daniel J. Levitin, neuroscientist, warns us that “Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for stimulation,” adding that this rapid switching from one task to another “tweaks the novelty-seeking, reward-seeking centres of the brain, causing a burst of endogenous opioids (no wonder it feels so good!), all to the detriment of our staying on task. It is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.”[iii]

If you’ve ever tried to prise an iPad or similar device away from a small child after they’ve settled into “zombie mode” and mindless scanning, you’ll know that they often do react like crack addicts having their drug confiscated just when they need their next hit. The endogenous opioid findings make sense of this disturbing phenomenon.

More broadly, the case can clearly be made that the way we’re currently using technology is fostering an intellectual decay and poorer cognitive performance. As author Nicholas Carr puts it, “We become mindless consumers of data.” That must be one reason why John Vallance, former headmaster at Sydney Grammar School – one of Australia’s top performing mainstream schools – had not long ago banned students from bringing laptops to school, requiring handwritten essays and assignments until year 10. No doubt that genius educator Rudolf Steiner would approve if he were here today. Vallance describes Australia’s billions of dollars invested in school computers as a “scandalous waste of money.[iv].

We may be far more vulnerable to subtle sources of distraction than we’d like to believe. Glenn Wilson, former visiting professor of psychology at Gresham College, London, found in his research that “being in a situation where you are trying to concentrate on a task, and an email is sitting unread in your inbox, can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.”[v]

Ouch. Some people may not have 10 points to spare!

Russ Poldrack, a neuroscientist at Stanford, found that learning information while multitasking causes the new information to go to the wrong part of the brain. If students study and watch TV at the same time, for example, the information from their schoolwork goes into the striatum, a region specialised for storing new procedures and skills, not facts and ideas. Without the distraction of TV, the information goes into the hippocampus, where it is organised and categorised in a variety of ways, making it easier to retrieve.[vi]

This finding speaks volumes about the value of focused attention and sustained effort. In yogic terms, such one-pointedness is called dharana. Evidently it’s good for our brains!

more…

http://www.globalfreedommovement.org/web-based-brain-damage-and-mindless-data-consumption/

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by Paul Philips, Guest, Waking Times

Like many things — the food industry, the medical-pharmaceutical establishment, the mainstream media – the hidden corporate/bankers who control our governments have also standardized the education system through funding.

Many years ago in the USA, for example, much money was poured into education by the Rockefeller-created National Education Association, with the help of the Carnegie Foundation and later on the Ford Foundation. The result of the efforts of such organisations can be seen worldwide today in the real purpose of the education system which is to teach children and young people: 1) Reward comes from accurate memory recall from heavy repetition. 2) Non-compliance will be punished. 3) Acceptance that ‘truth’ and what is ‘real’ comes from authority.

Thus, the real purpose of the education system is to cultivate conformity and prohibit critical thinking about anything of real importance.

Starting at 4 years old (and what could be a better age to start a mass indoctrination?) and finishing by the time an individual comes out of the education system, some 12 years plus on, children have had more than their fair share of programming and brainwashing, and as a result are unable to really think for themselves. Moreover, any genuine outside-of-the-box thinking with significant potential humanitarian or Mother Earth-friendly benefit is ignored, quashed, ridiculed or suppressed by the influence of those hidden controllers if it is perceived as a threat to any of their businesses.

But, as Einstein said, ‘real thinking is to think the unthinkable…’

Introducing the ‘Unsung Heroes’

The following is a list of just some of history’s truly great humanitarian outside-of-the-box thinkers, with their innovative ideas/products that have never been able to see the light of day (due to the above reasons.)

Raymond Rife

Raymond Rife (1888-1971) and his Universal Microscope for curing cancer.

After successfully curing a number of cancer patients the Rockefeller owned American Medical Association (AMA) later had this work laid down to rest by closing down Rife’s set ups and seizing his equipment:

Essentially Rife refused to hand over the rights of his work to the AMA because he saw moneyed interests as hidden ulterior motives – that his the cancer curing machine would not be allowed to the world at large because the AMA and the medical/pharmaceutical establishment did not want patients’ cured.

That would mean customers lost and no more revenue for the cancer industry, so instead they push out real cures, and keep coming up with toxic treatments that never cure, instead create further symptoms (side effects) guaranteeing the cancer returns and thus repeat business until the patient eventually dies an unnecessarily harsh death.

After years of ensuing court cases with the ‘big boys’ of the cancer establishment, with little money to exist on, Rife exiled in Mexico to avoid imprisonment in the USA. He later died of alcoholism, a brilliant, but defeated man. The pressures of harassment related to the legal battles and constant threat of imprisonment had been too much for him.

The Associated Press: Apparatus of San Diegan Seen as Boon to Medical World

Linus Pauling

Pauling had worked with Matthias Rath and they came up with a unified approach to curing heart disease. (1901-1994) – ‘Unified Theory’ cure for heart disease.

Essentially, they found that heart disease is the result of a long-term vitamin C deficiency. The solution is to treat patients with frequent high doses (e.g. 6g/day) of vitamin C while using the amino acids lysine and proline to remove the atherosclerotic plaque lining the inner walls of the blood vessels that cause a narrowing or blocking of the lumen (space) of the blood vessels which is responsible for restricting blood flow and cardiovascular disease.

However, due to greater interests in corporate profitability and perceived financial threat, this highly successful cheap alternative therapy has not been allowed that much attention.

 

 

Nikola Tesla

Multi-talented Tesla cut across many disciplinary boundaries. His genius gave rise to a number of world-changing inventions. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) – Wardenclyffe Tower Project free energy.

One of his most famous experiments /inventions was the Wardenclyffe Tower Project. It was Tesla’s attempt to provide everyone on the globe with free energy through harnessing electricity from the Earth’s ionosphere by means of the towers. Without wires the towers could transmit the harnessed electricity to ground-level areas requiring it…

However, Tesla’s funding was stopped. His equipment and lab was burned down together with the related intellectual property because it posed a threat to undercutting the cost of the conventional electricity grid system. If Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower Project had been allowed to flourish and not be destroyed then today we could well be living in a utopia.  Tesla died a poverty-stricken lonely and forgotten man in New York City.

TIME Magazine Cover: Nikola Tesla – July 20, 1931

Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) – Drought-breaking weather control.

Wilhelm Reich built an instrument he called the cloudbuster which successfully induced weather change. It has been used to break many droughts by producing clouds that make rain.

This workable mechanism for making rainclouds for crop irrigation in drought areas was stopped by those ever watchful lackeys for the ruling elite.

 

Allowing something like this could lead to food abundance and greatly contribute to ending world hunger. However, the controllers don’t want world hunger to end. If this happened it would make it more difficult to control people in what would no longer be third world countries. .. Don’t forget, their hidden enslavement agenda

Consequentially Reich was hounded by the likes of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) having accused him of fraud and deception with his cloudbuster instrument. His equipment was seized and destroyed. His last days were spent in prison where it was claimed that he died of a heart attack

more…

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/02/16/another-brick-wall-modern-education-system-deception/

 

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Illustration By Erin Taj

by Alana Hope Levinson

On the agony & ecstasy of sharing romantic love online

The first night we met he took a picture of me. We stayed out until 2 a.m., our stomachs full of beer and cheap whiskey shots. It was summer 2012. The dance floor had a strobe above it that let off rainbow beams of light, which looked like tiny fireworks when captured by his iPhone. In the photo, my silhouette was dark, my face obscured, and the strobe’s yellow star bursts somehow contained within my body’s outline. In the bottom of the frame, two strangers are about to embark on a dance, their arms outstretched, fingertips almost touching. Before I left the bar, I asked him (Alex) to send me the picture as an excuse to get his number — intrigued by the way it perfectly captured the rush of a chance first meeting.

In the wee hours of that morning, he texted to ask me out the following week. He couched it with, “You can say no,” showing the bashfulness I’d later fall in love with. I took the entire day to respond, mulling over my loosening ties to the city he lived in, my fast-approaching move to California. I knew it was a bad idea, but the force of the night before propelled me to text: “Okay.”

When I got home, I posted the photo on Instagram. It would be the first of many.

Unlike most memes, no one has obsessively tracked (or taken credit for) the origin of “Relationship Goals,” which is odd, especially for something so prolific. You’ve seen it scattered across the web, as a hashtag on Twitter, a listicle on BuzzFeed, the caption on your annoying college roommate’s photo of his girlfriend on Instagram. Relationship Goals signifies a piece of content that is everything one aspires to be romantically; it’s like a culture-wide Pinterest board for romantic ideation. Scrolling through the hashtag reveals that we still value partnership, particularly the performance of it.

Everyone knows “that couple” on social media — the one who feels the need to constantly reinforce the strength of their bond publicly. They post pictures together, anniversary status updates and inside jokes about that one time they got food poisoning in Costa Rica. This couple loves “ussies,” and using the Man Crush Monday (#mcm) and Woman Crush Wednesday (#wcw) tags. They seem to live by the credo that if love isn’t broadcast on social media, it isn’t love at all. Very few people who exist in 2017 aren’t this couple to at least some degree, even if they actively don’t want to be. (I once spoke to a woman for a story on wedding hashtags who was vocal about not wanting one of her own; in the end, it wasn’t up to her — her guests made several.)

When it’s not you, it’s easy to surmise that a couple must be oversharing to overcompensate for something. Gwendolyn Seidman, a psychology professor at Albright College who researches couple’s social media habits, found that this behavior definitely makes a couple “less likable” to onlookers. But she also found no evidence that extreme oversharing is indicative of a weak or shallow relationship. “I think [skeptics would] be surprised to hear that it is associated with being genuinely happy in their relationships,” she told The Atlantic

more…

https://melmagazine.com/the-trouble-with-relationshipgoals-655ccc55a337#.gm6g7xg4h

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Nuclear Danger Sign - Public Domain

Resultado de imagem para The great cryptocurrency heist

image edited by Web Invesigator

Blockchain enthusiasts crave a world without bankers, lawyers or fat-cat executives. There’s just one problem: trust

E J Spode writes on topics at the intersection of science, politics and popular culture. He has been published by 3:AM Magazine, which is currently serialising his novel The Oddity.

On 20 July 2016, something happened that was arguably the most philosophically interesting event to take place in your lifetime or mine. On that day, after much deliberation and hand-wringing, in the aftermath of a multimillion-dollar swindle from his automated, algorithm-driven, supposedly foolproof corporation, Vitalik Buterin, then 22 years old, announced the ‘hard fork’ of the cryptocurrency Ethereum. By making that announcement, Buterin shattered certain tightly held assumptions about the future of trust and the nature of many vital institutions that make modern life possible. He also really pissed off a lot of people.

How? Well, to understand all that, first we need to talk about trust and its place in the fabric of our lives. Trust seems to be in short supply these days, although we have no choice but to rely on it. We trust schools and babysitters to look after our children. We trust banks to hold our money and to transfer it safely for us. We trust insurance companies to pay us should we meet with some disaster. When we make a large purchase – such as a house – we trust our solicitors or an escrow company to hold the funds until the transaction is complete. We trust regulators and governments to make sure these institutions are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Sometimes, however, our system of trust fails us. There are runs on banks. People lose faith in currencies issued by nation-states. People stop trusting their political institutions because of the chicanery, short-sightedness and general incompetence of the self-interested clowns running the show. The response to this widespread erosion of trust has been varied, ranging from Donald Trump’s (hypocritical) pledge to ‘drain the swamp’, to the promise of so-called ‘blockchain technology’ and its associated cryptocurrencies.

The blockchain is the key to understanding Buterin’s project. A good way to wrap our minds around the concept is to think of its most famous application: Bitcoin. And the best way to think about Bitcoin is not in terms of coins at all but rather as a giant ledger.

Imagine a world in which we didn’t exchange currency, but kept track of who had what on a huge public spreadsheet, distributed across the internet. Every 10 minutes, all the transactions that took place in that slice of time are fused together into a single block. Each block includes a chain linking it to previous blocks, hence the term ‘blockchain’. The end result is a universal record book that reliably logs everything that’s ever happened via a (theoretically) tamper-proof algorithm. We don’t need to trust human bankers to tell us who owns what, because we can all see what’s written in the mathematically verified blockchain.

But Bitcoin is just one version of the blockchain. The fundamental technology has the potential to replace a much wider range of human institutions in which we use trust to reach a consensus about a state of affairs. It could provide a definitive record for property transfers, from diamonds to Porsches to original Picassos. It could be used to record contracts, to certify the authenticity of valuable goods, or to securely store your health records (and keep track of anyone who’s ever accessed them).

But there’s a catch: what about the faithful ‘execution’ of a contract? Doesn’t that require trust as well? What good is an agreement, after all, if the text is there but people don’t respect it, and don’t follow through on their obligations? Which brings us back to the crucial matter of how Buterin managed to piss off so many people.

In the beginning, Buterin was a hero to the crusaders against trust. In late 2013, at the age of 19, he wrote a document, known as the ‘Ethereum White Paper’. In it, he observed that you could hypothetically use the blockchain to store and execute computer programs – hypothetically, any computer program. This gave rise to Ethereum: a blockchain-based platform that supported self-executing contracts. The commands to execute the contract were built into the contract itself, and the contract was sealed into the (supposedly) immutable and universally visible blockchain. No trust necessary. Or so the story went.

This had extraordinary implications – one of which was that entire corporations could be encoded in the blockchain in the form of ‘decentralised autonomous organisations’ (DAOs). None of the usual trusted business partners would be required: employees, managers, human resources officers, CFOs and CEOs would be rendered otiose. No longer would shareholders need to pay massive bonuses to hedge-fund executives ‘trusted’ to make decisions about our money. In theory, at least, those executives could be replaced by a bundle of transparent, pre-set instructions stored in the blockchain.

About 11,000 people ponied up a total of $150 million to take part. What had they purchased, exactly?

On the back of a wave of excitement, Ethereum’s currency, known as ‘ethers’, went up for pre-sale in the summer of 2014. Ethers would serve a dual function as both the ‘fuel’ that powered the computations on the network, and as a medium of exchange, like bitcoins. In short order, the value of ethers started to climb, and the platform reached a ‘market capitalisation’ of around $1 billion after the pre-sale. (Full disclosure: I participated as an investor at this initial stage but have since liquidated my holdings.)…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/trust-the-inside-story-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ethereum

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Salk scientist finds similar rule governing traffic flow in engineered and biological systems. (Credit: Salk Institute)

by Salk Institute

Although we spend a lot of our time online nowadays–streaming music and video, checking email and social media, or obsessively reading the news–few of us know about the mathematical algorithms that manage how our content is delivered. But deciding how to route information fairly and efficiently through a distributed system with no central authority was a priority for the Internet’s founders. Now, a Salk Institute discovery shows that an algorithm used for the Internet is also at work in the human brain, an insight that improves our understanding of engineered and neural networks and potentially even learning disabilities.

“The founders of the Internet spent a lot of time considering how to make information flow efficiently,” says Salk Assistant Professor Saket Navlakha, coauthor of the new study that appears online in Neural Computation on February 9, 2017. “Finding that an engineered system and an evolved biological one arise at a similar solution to a problem is really interesting.”

In the engineered system, the solution involves controlling information flow such that routes are neither clogged nor underutilized by checking how congested the Internet is. To accomplish this, the Internet employs an algorithm called “additive increase, multiplicative decrease” (AIMD) in which your computer sends a packet of data and then listens for an acknowledgement from the receiver: If the packet is promptly acknowledged, the network is not overloaded and your data can be transmitted through the network at a higher rate. With each successive successful packet, your computer knows it’s safe to increase its speed by one unit, which is the additive increase part. But if an acknowledgement is delayed or lost your computer knows that there is congestion and slows down by a large amount, such as by half, which is the multiplicative decrease part. In this way, users gradually find their “sweet spot,” and congestion is avoided because users take their foot off the gas, so to speak, as soon as they notice a slowdown. As computers throughout the network utilize this strategy, the whole system can continuously adjust to changing conditions, maximizing overall efficiency.

Navlakha, who develops algorithms to understand complex biological networks, wondered if the brain, with its billions of distributed neurons, was managing information similarly. So, he and coauthor Jonathan Suen, a postdoctoral scholar at Duke University, set out to mathematically model neural activity.

Because AIMD is one of a number of flow-control algorithms, the duo decided to model six others as well. In addition, they analyzed which model best matched physiological data on neural activity from 20 experimental studies. In their models, AIMD turned out to be the most efficient at keeping the flow of information moving smoothly, adjusting traffic rates whenever paths got too congested. More interestingly, AIMD also turned out to best explain what was happening to neurons experimentally.

It turns out the neuronal equivalent of additive increase is called long-term potentiation. It occurs when one neuron fires closely after another, which strengthens their synaptic connection and makes it slightly more likely the first will trigger the second in the future. The neuronal equivalent of multiplicative decrease occurs when the firing of two neurons is reversed (second before first), which weakens their connection, making the first much less likely to trigger the second in the future. This is called long-term depression. As synapses throughout the network weaken or strengthen according to this rule, the whole system adapts and learns.

“While the brain and the Internet clearly operate using very different mechanisms, both use simple local rules that give rise to global stability,” says Suen. “I was initially surprised that biological neural networks utilized the same algorithms as their engineered counterparts, but, as we learned, the requirements for efficiency, robustness, and simplicity are common to both living organisms and the networks we have built.”

Understanding how the system works under normal conditions could help neuroscientists better understand what happens when these results are disrupted, for example, in learning disabilities. “Variations of the AIMD algorithm are used in basically every large-scale distributed communication network,” says Navlakha. “Discovering that the brain uses a similar algorithm may not be just a coincidence.”

http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2017/02/internet-and-your-brain-are-more-alike-you-think

 

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By NY Post

Since they were invented, crash test dummies have only represented one body type. Recently, however, new models have been introduced that represent body types with higher percentages of body fat to get more accurate test results for a heavier population.

This video originally appeared in the New York Post. 

http://players.brightcove.net/4137224153001/ed38fae1-4db1-4308-8095-399a04010bc1_default/index.html?videoId=5318889999001

http://heatst.com/tech/watch-crash-test-dummies-are-now-obese/

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