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Artificial intelligence experts sign open letter to protect mankind from machines
The News - Current Events
January 12, 2015
The Future of Life Institute wants humanity to tread lightly while developing really smart machines
mankind machines
We’re decades away from being able to develop a sociopathic supercomputer that could enslave mankind, but artificial intelligence experts are already working to stave off the worst when — not if — machines become smarter than people.

AI experts around the globe are signing an open letter issued Sunday by the Future of Life Institute that pledges to safely and carefully coordinate progress in the field to ensure it does not grow beyond humanity’s control. Signees include co-founders of Deep Mind, the British AI company purchased by Google in January 2014; MIT professors; and experts at some of technology’s biggest corporations, including IBM’s Watson supercomputer team and Microsoft Research.

“The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence….We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do,” the letter said in part. A research document attached to the open letter outlines potential pitfalls and recommends guidelines for continued AI development.

Read more

 
Strong geomagnetic storm hits earth
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 07, 2015
Storm could trigger false alarms on security systems and cause problems with GPS systems
Strong geomagnetic storm hits earth
The Space Weather Prediction Center issued a warning for a large geomagnetic storm on Wednesday morning.

The NOAA organization said the primary areas that would be affected would be in the northern portion of the northern hemisphere.

Some of the storm’s potential effects were power system voltage irregularities, possible false alarms triggered on security systems, and problems with GPS systems.

The storm could also impact spacecraft and cause orientation problems in satellites.

Read more

 
Potentially dangerous asteroid to fly by Earth on January 26
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 05, 2015
Rock expected to fly by at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers...
Potentially dangerous asteroid to fly by Earth on January 26


A potentially hazardous asteroid, at least 20 times the size of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, will approach the Earth on January 26. The rock is expected to fly by at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers.

The asteroid, named 2004 BL86 by scientists, is estimated to be between 440-1,000 meters in diameter. 1.2 million kilometers is approximately three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

According to astronomers, there is no threat of the object colliding with our planet. The Goldstone Observatory, located in California’s Mojave Desert, will observe the asteroid during its approach.

2004 BL86 was discovered on January 30, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), responsible for the majority of asteroid discoveries from 1998 until 2005, when it was overtaken by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). As of mid-September 2011, LINEAR had detected some 231,082 new objects, of which at least 2,423 were near-Earth asteroids and 279 comets.

A space object is considered potentially dangerous if it crosses the Earth’s orbit at a distance of less than 0.05 AU (approximately 19.5 distances from the Earth to the Moon), and if its diameter exceeds 100-150 meters. Objects of this size are large enough to cause unprecedented destruction, or generate a mammoth tsunami in case they fall into the ocean.

When a meteorite burst above the city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, the impact was estimated to be equivalent to 440-500 kilotons of TNT. But the Chelyabinsk meteorite was relatively small, about 17 meters in diameter. It disintegrated with a blast at an altitude of over 20 kilometers.

 LINK

 
Ebola Response by U.S. Was Deadly Slow, Expert Says
The News - Disaster Preparedness
January 04, 2015

 “What we have here are a collection of random acts of preparedness”

Ebola Response by U.S. Was Deadly Slow, Expert Says

The U.S. moved quickly to stem the Ebola virus from taking on massive proportions, but experts say the threat was a wake up call.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, said the U.S. needs a central authority and coordination among a constellation of federal, state and local agencies.

“What we have here are a collection of random acts of preparedness,” Redlener told The Boston Globe. “Again, we’re laser-focused on what happened yesterday.”

Redlener said the appointment of federal Ebola czar Ronald Klain was an important step that enabled the U.S. to fight the virus, still considered a major global threat.

Despite the widespread news of Ebola’s outbreak and the apparent fright triggered by its rapid spread, Ebola is relatively easy to contain compared to some other unknown viruses, experts indicated.

Thomas Eric Duncan was misdiagnosed in a Dallas hospital and infected two nurses with the virus.  His fiancee and those who lived with him never caught Ebola. People with the disease are noticeably ill and can be isolated.

But if Duncan had been carrying a new type of flu or a bug, the lack of an organized U.S. health response system could have been deadly.

And relying on the good will and untested competence of private hospitals is not a strategy that enables consistency. Different hospitals respond differently to health emergencies.

The costs for new protective garb needed to combat Ebola emerged just as suddenly as the virus itself, also.

FULL ARTICLE

 
‘Noah’s Ark’: Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things
The News - Science-Astronomy
December 29, 2014
Lab will cryogenically freeze and store various cellular materials
‘Noah’s Ark’: Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things
Not quite the Biblical Noah’s Ark, but possibly the next best thing. Moscow State University has secured Russia’s largest-ever scientific grant to collect the DNA of every living and extinct creature for the world’s first database of its kind.

“I call the project ‘Noah’s Ark.’ It will involve the creation of a depository – a databank for the storing of every living thing on Earth, including not only living, but disappearing and extinct organisms. This is the challenge we have set for ourselves,” MSU rector Viktor Sadivnichy told journalists.

The gigantic ‘ark’, set to be completed by 2018, will be 430 sq km in size, built at one of the university’s central campuses.

“It will enable us to cryogenically freeze and store various cellular materials, which can then reproduce. It will also contain information systems. Not everything needs to be kept in a petri dish,” Sadivnichy added.

The university’s press office has confirmed that the resulting database will contain collected biomaterials from all of MSU’s branches, including the Botanical Garden, the Anthropological Museum, the Zoological Museum and others. All of the university’s departments will be involved in research and collation of materials. The program, which has received a record injection of 1 billion rubles (US$194 million), will promote participation by the university’s younger generation of scientists.

Sadovnichy also said that the bank will have a link-up to other such facilities at home, perhaps even abroad.

“If it’s realized, this will be a leap in Russian history as the first nation to create an actual Noah’s Ark of sorts,” the rector said.

Russia is of course not the first to attempt something of this general scale – the quest to preserve biological life forms is one everyone should be engaged in. Britain has done just that with its Frozen Ark project, its venture into preserving all endangered life forms, also the first of its kind. They say it’s “the animal equivalent of the ‘Millennium Seed Bank’,” a project that encompasses all of the world’s seeds.

 
‘Real Possibility of Nuclear War’ – Ukraine and WW3
The News - War-Draft
December 24, 2014
Describes ‘extraordinary propaganda’ promoting tension and demonizing Russia
x

John Pilger, film-maker and award winning journalist, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the headline events of the year, from CIA torture to the Ukraine crisis.

He says the whole tenure of the BBC coverage of the Torture report was ‘does torture work?’ Modern British history is full of torture, and the British were ‘masters’ at it. When the OSS become the CIA, it split into 2 sections – one an intelligence gathering section, the other a covert operations arm for the presidency, the central part of which was torture. He warns that the culture of apologising for the state, to minimise its responsibility, has ‘burrowed’ into the minds of correspondents, citing the defence correspondent on Newsnight failing to mention the role of Britain when appraising why the Middle East was a mess. He also says that parliamentary inquiries like the Nolan inquiry and the Chilcot inquiry are stopped before they can get anywhere, describing it as a ‘series of whitewashes.’ He talks of a ‘consensus’ to cover up, citing the arms to Iraq inquiry, where the only person that the judge commended was a Foreign Office official who described the Foreign Office as a ‘culture of lying.’ He says that the number of high-ups in the British establishment who committed serious offences ‘numbered in the dozens,’ and the only difference between the US and UK in torture is ‘in terms of scale.’ The real issue in democracies is ‘dissent being constrained’ physically on the streets. He believes it is ‘dangerous’ to protest in the way people did in 2003, whether you are an establishment figure, a journalist, or just a man on the street.

 

He says the Sydney siege, whilst horrific, still has to be deconstructed to find what’s missing from it. He points out that the Australian PM declared it a ‘terrorist act’ within minutes of it starting, when it turned out to be a lone wolf, and asks why someone with his history was on the loose. He argues that looking at the list of demands, they were all negotiable, and asks why force was used, and says ‘it seems very likely that the people in there were killed by the police and not by the terrorist.’

With Russia, he says he has never known the truth ‘so inverted’ over any one issue. He believes we are in the midst of a cold war more dangerous than the one he grew up with, comparing the raw propaganda of the prior to what we’re seeing now, with a ‘real possibility’ of a nuclear war. He compares it to Iraq, because both involved ‘fiction,’ the idea that Russia is attacking the West. He says oil prices were driven down by agreement between the US and Saudis, to wreck the Russian economy. He says it was NATO and the US that took over Ukraine, to the point that Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest private gas provider. At a meeting in Yalta in September 2013, the ‘takeover of Ukraine was planned’ by prominent politicians and multinationals. There was a ‘coup stage-managed by the Obama administration,’ and blame shifted to Russia, who acted purely defensively. He says there is a ‘real prospect of war’ with a nuclear power and strong conventional military, and Putin has now started ‘talking red lines’ himself. He describes ‘extraordinary propaganda’ promoting tension and demonising Russia, which ‘may end up being self-fulfilling.’

John is crowdfunding his new documentary, ‘The Coming War between America and China’, about the perceived threat to the US from China.

You can find out more and contribute at bit.ly/ComingWar

 
US Families Prepare For 'Modern Day Apocalypse'
The News - Disaster Preparedness
December 22, 2014

From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But could it be in danger of falling apart?

An increasing number of Americans seem to think so, and they're preparing for the end.

They call themselves preppers. Mainstream suburban Americans hoarding supplies and weapons while leading otherwise perfectly normal lives.

A former nuclear missile facility in the US that has now been turned into a high-tech refuge for people who fear the end of the world.

 
“This Is The Biggest Collapse In The ‘Trade’ Indicator Since Records Began”
The News - Economy
December 21, 2014

Prior to the crash of 2008 global trade was rocking. It was a boon for shipping companies around the world who are responsible for moving raw materials, commodities and consumer products from one country to another. Wall Street, of course, had devised a way to track all of this movement and often pointed to the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as the primary indicator for health in the global trade business.

The index itself tracks the cost of transporting one metric ton of raw materials from one place to another.The numbers behind the BDI can essentially be translated into the cost of moving that cargo.

During the collapse in late 2008 we saw the Baltic Dry Index drop from over 9,000 points to under 1,000 in a matter of months. So, in essence, when the world economy was supposedly booming the cost for moving raw materials was around $9,000 per metric ton. After credit markets locked up and companies stopped ordering inventory the price dropped below $1,000 for moving the exact same raw materials to the exact same place.

What happened to the cost of transporting raw materials and cargo is exactly what you might expect with respect to the economics of it all. When businesses around the world are ordering inventory you’d expect shippers to raise the price of transporting that cargo as demand for their services increases. Likewise, if businesses don’t sell their products they will order less in raw materials, forcing shipping companies to lower their costs as demand for their services drops.

It is for this reason that the Baltic Dry Index has become such a key indicator of economic health and stability.

It would stand to reason, then, that if the value of the BDI is falling then a slow-down in global trade is taking place.

Prepare to be shocked, because despite the glowing reports from the U.S. government about the economic recovery, the Baltic Dry Index has collapsed to nearly the same levels we saw in 2008.

According to Zero Hedge, what we have witnessed since Thanksgiving is the biggest collapse in the ‘trade’ indicator since records began 28 years ago.

The following charts tell you everything you need to know about the purported economic recovery and it isn’t pretty.

We are sure it’s nothing – since stock markets in China and The US are soaring – but deep, deep down in the heart of the real economies, there is a problem. The Baltic Dry Index has fallen for 21 straight days, tumbling around 40% since Thanksgiving Day 

bdi-tday

 

Here is a chart of the Baltic Dry Index showing where it was before the Crash of ’08 through last month. What you’ll notice is that we are right at the lows witnessed during the height of the crisis in late 2008.

bdi-dec2014

To say that there has been a massive slow-down in global trade does not do justice to the seriousness of what’s happening.

Central banks around the world have literally pumped trillions of dollars into the system over the last several years and the only thing they have really accomplished is to send stock markets to new highs and the enrichment of bankers who have had the benefit of money with no borrowing costs.

Other than that we are seeing a total destruction of the economy. Consumers aren’t buying. Decent jobs are nowhere to be found. And costs for average people are going up in the form of taxes and essential goods.

We can pretend like none of this matters, but the Baltic Dry Index is throwing up a clear warning sign of what’s to come.

If you have yet to prepare for the possibility of an economic disaster in the near future, now is the time.

SOURCE

 
Tame tornadoes: Quietest 3 years for twisters on record
The News - Natural Disasters
December 13, 2014
AP SEVERE WEATHER A WEA USA NE

The U.S. experienced fewer tornadoes in the past three years than any similar span since accurate records began in the 1950s. Yet meteorologists aren't sure exactly why.

As this year comes to a close, about 150 fewer damaging tornadoes than average have hit the U.S., according to data from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Explanations for the decrease in twisters the past three years range from unusual cold to unusual heat, or just coincidence.

Despite the calmer than average years, deaths due to twisters remain near the average of 60 each year, with 68 killed in 2012, 55 in 2013 and 42 so far this year, according to the SPC. That pales in comparison with the 553 Americans killed by tornadoes in 2011.

FULL STORY

 
Bay Area Facing 80 MPH Wind, 30-Foot Waves in 'Storm Of Decade"
The News - Natural Disasters
December 09, 2014

Sustained winds at or near hurricane strength in the highest elevations with gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour across the Sierra summit are forecast for Thursday, with Bay Area winds easily gusting past 50 miles per hour in urban areas and 70-80 miles per hour in the local mountains and hills in what could be the storm of the decade.

Computer models are able to break down the exact time of highest danger. By mid-morning Thursday, models indicate winds peaking.  Along the coast, 60 mile per hour winds are forecast, with higher gusts.

The term “hurricane” is only used to refer to tropical storms, and is used when sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour. That level of wind strength is possible at extreme elevations above 9,000 feet and higher Thursday, according to the National Weather Service warning.

KPIX 5 chief meteorologist Paul Deanno said, “Given the long-term drought and short-term saturated ground, many trees will lose the battle with the wind on Thursday.”

 
RISKS OF NUCLEAR WAR RISING, WARN EXPERTS
The News - War-Draft
December 08, 2014

'Too many nuclear weapons in the world remain ready to launch on short notice,' the military, political and diplomatic figures say

Urgent action is needed to minimise the risk of a nuclear war, more than 120 senior military, political and diplomatic figures from across the world have warned.

Ahead of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which starts today, the experts wrote in a letter that the danger of such a conflict was “underestimated or insufficiently understood” by world leaders.

The signatories include people from across the political spectrum such as former Conservative Defence Secretary Lord King, a Labour counterpart Lord Browne, former Foreign Secretaries Margaret Beckett and David Owen, and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell. John McColl, former Nato Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Lord Richards, former Chief of the Defence Staff, and General James Cartwright, former Vice-Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, also signed the letter.

 
Study: Offshore Fault Where The 'Big One' Originates Eerily Quiet
The News - Natural Disasters
December 05, 2014
Researchers retrieve an ocean-bottom seismometer off the coast of Oregon in 2013.

Any parent of a rambunctious youngster can tell you trouble might be afoot when things go quiet in the playroom. Two independent research initiatives indicate there is a comparable situation with the Cascadia earthquake fault zone.

The fault zone expected to generate the next big one lies underwater between 40 and 80 miles offshore of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Earthquake scientists have listening posts along the coast from Vancouver Island to Northern California.

But those onshore seismometers have detected few signs of the grinding and slipping you would expect to see as one tectonic plate dives beneath another, with the exception of the junctions on the north and south ends of what is formally known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

 
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
The News - Science-Astronomy
December 04, 2014
Stephen Hawking: "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded"
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.

He told the BBC: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.

But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.

Read more

 
Economist: Financial Collapse Will Cause Civil Unrest to Erupt In America By 2016
The News - Economy
November 07, 2014

civil-unrest-2016

Economist Martin Armstrong is predicting that rising resentment against the status quo as a result of economic inequality is likely to cause a serious political uprising before 2016.

“It looks more and more like a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down. That is the magic ingredient. Turn the economy down and you get civil unrest and revolution,” writes Armstrong.

In making the forecast, the economist cites the case of 90-year-old World War 2 veteran Arnold Abbott, who is being targeted by authorities in Fort Lauderdale for defying a newly passed city ordinance that criminalizes feeding the homeless, an example says Armstrong of how “laws in the USA have simply gone nuts.”

Armstrong, who correctly predicted the 1987 Black Monday crash as well as the 1998 Russian financial collapse, asserts that the downfall of the system will be its inability to gauge the anger that Americans currently feel towards their government.

“You just cannot make up this stuff. And the Democrats cannot figure out that the people are getting pissed-off at who is ever in office? And what about the police?” asks Armstrong. “Is this just turning into thugs with badges who just enforce whatever law some nut-job politician writes? What if they passed a Herod type law to curb population and decree that everyone must kill their first-born. When does reason ever return to the police force these days? They no longer protect the people – they protect the politicians against the people.”

As we reported back in August, the U.S. Army is preparing for civil unrest in the United States. A 132-page document entitled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances outlines how troops may be required to deal with “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

FULL ARTICLE

 
Look out! House-sized asteroid set to pass within 160,000km of Earth TODAY
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 27, 2014
  • 15m wide space rock will pass at around 9:12pm UTC (4:12pm EST)
  • Asteroid was only discovered on Sunday 
  • Experts say there is no risk from flyby between Earth and the Moon
  • Asteroid will revisit Earth in 2018 

A house-sized asteroid has been spotted heading for Earth - and will pass just 160,000km from us today.

Called asteroid 2014 UFC56, it is around 15m wide - and was only spotted for the first time yesterday.

Experts say there is no risk from the flyby, which will happen at around 4:12pm EST.

The house-sized asteroid 2014 UF56 will pass between the Earth and the Moon.

The 15 meter wide space rock will miss our planet at a distance of about 160,000 km (0.4 lunar distances) at 9:12 p.m. UTC. 

The asteroid was discovered Saturday.

Despite passing so close to Earth, few if any of us will see the flyby - even with a telescope. 

Experts say it was no surprise the asteroid was not spotted until now. 

'With 90% of near-Earth asteroids larger than 0.6 miles (1 km) discovered, surveys are now focusing on finding 90% of objects larger than 460 feet (140-m),' amateur astronomer Bob King wroes on his blog

 

 
Blasting Stellar Fireball: Caught On Camera For The First Time
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 27, 2014
"The stellar surface turns into one titanic hydrogen bomb throwing a fireball out into space"
Blasting Stellar Fireball: Caught On Camera For The First Time


Recently, the first time-lapse images of a thermonuclear fireball blasting out of a nova star have been captured by the astronomers.

An international team of researchers worked together to map the nova eruption, a baby brother to a supernova explosion. The study is published in the Nature journal.

Professor Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney’s Institute for Astronomy stated that, “Although novae often play second fiddle in the popular imagination to their more famous big cousins – the supernovae – they are a truly remarkable celestial phenomenon.”

When a striking, compact star known as white dwarf shreds the matter from a nearby companion star with its intense gravitational field, Novae happen.

Read more

 
Huge Solar Flare Erupts from Biggest Sunspot in 24 Years
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 25, 2014
"This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19"
Huge Solar Flare Erupts from Biggest Sunspot in 24 Years


The biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades unleashed a major flare on Friday (Oct. 24), the fourth intense solar storm from the active star in less than a week.

The solar flare occurred Friday afternoon, reaching its peak at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT), and triggered a strong radio blackout at the time, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory captured stunning video of the huge solar flare.

The flare erupted from a giant active sunspot known as AR 12192 and was classified as an X3.1-class solar storm — one of the most powerful types of solar storms on the sun — but it is not the first time the sunspot has made its presence known. [Biggest Solar Flares of 2014 in Photos]

“This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19,” NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in a status update.

Read more

 
Monster Sunspot – Solar Flare: Oops, There Goes The 21st Century
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 25, 2014

sunspot-ar-2192

>UPDATE (10/24, 21:30 GMT) A Strong X3+ Solar Flare Is Currently In Progress and it will be geoeffective because the sunspot is directly facing Earth.

(will update with further information as it develops)

 
LOTS OF SOLAR FLARES: Solar activity is high.

GIANT sunspot AR2192 has produced dozens of C-class solar flares, many M-class flares, and several X-flares (so far).

The most powerful solar flare eruption from this sunspot (so far) is apparently this one currently in progress (10/24) so far an X3+. Previously an X1.6-category blast on Oct 22nd knocked out some radio communication on Earth.

It may be the biggest sunspot group in 25 years.

FULL ARTICLE

 
Weird “Government” Website Predicts Total Collapse of America by 2025
The News - Weird-Strange
October 22, 2014
 
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