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Archive for August 2016

The Edge of Technology

Apples Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes, EU Rules

August 31st 2016

Euro Symbol

The European Commission has ruled that over several years Ireland has granted unjustifiable tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion (about $14.5 billion), which the US computer company must now pay back to the Irish state – plus interest.

The ruling is that Ireland allowed Apple to organize its business in a way that allowed it pay substantially less tax than other businesses and that this is illegal under European Union state aid legislation.

The conclusion comes at the end of a European Commission investigation that began in June 2014 and found that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991. The European Commission ruling only covers the period 2003 to 2014.


The Edge of Space

Mysterious Signal Prompts SETI Hopes

August 30th 2016

Solar System Birth

A powerful signal has been spotted coming from the vicinity of a sunlike star, and now astronomers are trying to figure out what it means.

In May 2015, researchers using a radio telescope in Russia detected a candidate SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) signal that seems to originate from HD 164595, a star system that lies about 94 light-years from Earth, the website Centauri Dreams reported over the weekend.

The astronomers have not yet published a study about the detection; they plan to discuss it next month at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to Centauri Dreams' Paul Gilster, who wrote that one of the team members forwarded him the IAC presentation. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]


Destination Israel

Visiting Israel Can Be Life-Changing for Christians

August 30th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

For centuries, not only Jews but also Christians have made pilgrimages to Jerusalem -- that City of Peace that has nevertheless seen countless wars and strife over the centuries. It is the city where Jews aspire to find their final resting place and be among those at the dawn of the end of Time when the Messiah reigns. Jerusalem is for Christians the place of the Passion and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is for sentiment and in the hope of spiritual rebirth that Christians have sojourned to the Holy Places and the Holy Land in order to walk where Jesus did and where he died and was resurrected. 
So important is Jerusalem to Christians that the First Crusade brought Europeans crusaders at great personal cost to the Holy Land one thousand years ago to ensure the safety of Christian pilgrims who were enslaved and taxed by the Muslim overlords who had wrested it from Byzantine Christian control. Many years later, the modern State of Israel guarantees access to the Holy Places in a manner worthy of respect, admiration, and gratitude.

The Race for Ethanol

The Case Against Ethanol Opponents: They Are Simply Incorrect

August 29th 2016

new cars close up

I can't say for sure, since I haven't done a count and compared it to a calendar, but it seems to me that the American oil industry has been ramping up its attacks on ethanol and trying to gain ground by adding in more high-powered lapdogs to press their fallacious arguments. These minions come from universities and think-tanks (what I like to call stink-tanks).

Of course, it could just be my impression based upon my own current amped up attention to the attacks. And the reason my attention may be at a peak level is because of the events I've participated in over the past four months. I've just returned to the U.S. from a very exciting and informative trip to Australia. The purpose of my visit was to speak at the Australian National Biofuels Symposium, at which I'm very honored to say that I was one of the keynote speakers within a program that featured a many extremely knowledgeable professionals. Read more ..

Vote 2016

Hillary and the Soros Agenda

August 29th 2016

Hillary Clinton

These days, George Soros' connections are getting quite a bit more attention than they did in the 1990s. But by the end of Bill Clinton's reign Soros had already obtained a very influential position with the Clintons, especially with Hillary.

In her excellent profile of Soros in The New Yorker, on January  23, 1995, Connie Bruck relates how Strobe Talbott, Bill Clinton's friend, who served as Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser on the New Independent States to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, saw Soros. According to Talbott, Soros was "a national resource - indeed, a national treasure." He described the billionaire as a sort of shadow arm of the State Department. "I would say that it [Soros' foreign policy] is not identical to the foreign policy of the U.S. government, but it's compatible with it, "he told The New Yorker. "It's like working with a friendly, allied, independent entity, if not a government. We try to synchronize our approach to the former Communist countries with Germany, France, Great Britain, and with George Soros." Read more ..

Turneky on Edge

Turkey's Exhausting Zigzagging between East and West

August 26th 2016

Turkish Military convoy

Turkey has been a republic since 1923, a multi-party democracy since 1946, and a member of NATO since 1952. In 1987, it added another powerful anchor into the Western bay where it wanted it to remain docked: It applied for full membership in the European Union (EU). This imperfect journey toward the West was dramatically replaced by a directionless cruise, with sharp zigzags between the East and West, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist AKP party came to power in 2002. Zigzagging remains the main Turkish policy feature to this day.

Until the summer of 2015 Turkey was widely known as the "jihad highway," because of its systematic tolerance for jihadists crossing through Turkey into neighboring Syria to fight Erdogan's regional nemesis, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey supported various jihadist groups in the hope that they would help Ankara unseat Assad. Then, under pressure from its NATO allies, it decided to join the U.S.-led, international campaign to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria. Feeling betrayed, ISIS started to blow up Turkish cities.

At the end of 2015, Turkey risked tensions with Russia in order to advance its pro-Sunni Islamist agenda in Syria. Russia, together with Iran, provided the lifeline Assad needed to stay in power while Turkey stepped up its anti-Assad campaign. In November, Turkey once again zigzagged toward the West when it shot down a Russian military aircraft, citing the violation of its airspace along its border with Syria. Turkey also threatened to shoot down any Russian aircraft that might violate its airspace again. It was the first time in modern history that a NATO ally had shot down a Soviet or Russian military airplane. Read more ..

The Edge of Space

Earth-like and Nearby

August 26th 2016

New Earth Sized Planets

It was just over 20 years ago—a blink of a cosmic eye—that astronomers found the first planets orbiting stars other than our sun. All these new worlds were gas-shrouded giants like Jupiter or Saturn and utterly inhospitable to life as we know it. But for years each discovery was dutifully reported as front-page news, while scientists and the public alike dreamed of a day when we would find a habitable world. An Earth-like place with plentiful surface water, neither frozen nor vaporized but in the liquid state so essential to life. Back then the safe bet was to guess that the discovery of such a planet would only come after many decades, and that when a promising new world’s misty shores materialized on the other side of our telescopes, it would prove too faraway and faint to study in any detail.

Evidently the safe bet was wrong. On Wednesday astronomers made the kind of announcement that can only occur once in human history: the discovery of the nearest potentially habitable world beyond our solar system. This world may be rocky like ours and whirls in a temperate orbit around the sun’s closest stellar neighbor, the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri just over four light-years away. Their findings are reported in a study in Nature. Read more ..

Inside Kurdistan

Rojava's Sustainability and the PKK's Regional Strategy

August 25th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

Although it is still difficult to predict the future of Syria as a whole, the existence of an increasingly autonomous Kurdish region along the country's northern frontier has become a reality. For now, the boundaries of this "Rojava" remain blurred and might be different from those officially claimed by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Yet the group's ongoing efforts to expand and merge its cantons reflect a firm commitment to gathering Syria's Kurds into an economically viable statelet that extends tantalizingly close to the Mediterranean Sea -- a prospect that could also advance the goals of its parent organization in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Read more ..

The Caliphate

Al-Qa’ida Uncoupling: Jabhat al-Nusra’s Rebranding as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham

August 25th 2016

Free Syrian Army

On July 28, 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra, which had previously identified itself as a branch of al-Qa’ida in Syria, announced the changing of its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (‘Conquest of al-Sham Front’) in a video recording that for the first time revealed the appearance of its leader, Abu Muhammad al-Julani. The nominal decoupling of the organizations was approved and coordinated with al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership and was designed to unify Islamist efforts in Syria and to make it more difficult for the United States and Russia to justify targeting the group. With its popularity on the rise and other rebel groups welcoming the announcement, the move appears to have paid off so far.


An Open Letter to Macmillan Publishers About Your Slanderous Book World Regional Geography

August 23rd 2016

An Open Letter to Macmillan Publishers:

Regarding the slanders and gross inaccuracies concerning Israel’s history in your textbook “World Regional Geography” that shows your editors and writers are clearly uninformed and obviously biased. We see:

“Israel’s excellent technical and educational infrastructure, its diverse and prospering economy, and the large aid contributions (public and private) it receives from the United States and elsewhere, have made it one of the region’s wealthiest, most technologically advanced and militarily powerful countries.
The Palestinian people, by contrast, are severely impoverished and undereducated after years of conflict, inadequate government and meager living […] often in refugee camps. Through a series of events over the past 60 years, Palestinians have lost most of the lands on which they used to live.”

Why are the Palestinian Arabs "impoverished and undereducated”?
It is because their Arab leadership has used them as pawns to further their aims of destroying Israel with their use of Jew hatred rhetoric in their mosques, schools and media? Is it because their entire educational system has always been directed toward the destruction of Israel rather than positive, creative pursuits?

Why do the Palestinian Arabs have “inadequate government and meager living” despite the billions of dollars given to them by the EU and U.S.? It is because their Arab leadership has used the funds to enrich themselves and purposely contain their people in squalor to create a class that hates their “oppressors” – Israeli’s and Jews.

Why haven’t the Arabs taken advantage of “Israel’s excellent technical and educational infrastructure, its diverse and prospering economy” to enhance their society? It’s because they prefer overwhelming Jew hatred force fed by their leaders and their dream of destroying Israel to improving their people’s lives.

Where are your comments on the Arab child abuse that creates child murderers to murder Jewish families, that indoctrinates them every minute of every day to hate Jews, that maintains “refugee camps” (better Arab retention/indoctrination camps) supported by our tax dollars thru UNRWA.
Do you mention Arab children’s summer camps that indoctrinate, teach and train how to murder Jews?

While I’m at it – where is your mention of the 800,000 Jewish refugees driven out of Arab lands after 1948 and absorbed by Israel?
Why haven’t the Arab “refugees” been accepted by the Arab countries?
It’s because the Arab leadership’s purpose of using them as pawns to further their aims of destroying Israel.

Finally - your distortions without facts include “Palestinians have lost most of the lands on which they used to live.”.
Exactly what “lands” have they lost? They lived in the Palestine Mandate, refused the U.N. partition plan and went to war.

India on Edge

If India's Prime Minister Modi Wants Economic Reform, He Must First Address the Dalit Plight

August 23rd 2016

Dalit Protests

For more than a month now the swell of the Dalit (sometimes called "untouchables") uprising has grown across India. Riots stir main streets and town centers, protesters clash with police, and a war of words has begun. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is locked in everyone's bull's eye.

"What right do these gau rakshaks [cow protectors] have to treat the Dalits and poor in this manner? If they want they can shoot me, but please don't target my Dalit brothers," said Modi on August 8, referring to an incident in July where four Dalits were publicly beaten for skinning a cow.

Following his remarks, several Hindu right-wing groups, who represent the so-called 'cow vigilantes', threatened Modi, saying he would pay a price for his remarks in the next general election. This threat comes as a personal blow to the Prime Minister, whose political roots reach all the way into these groups.


Kurdistan on Edge

Israel's Kurdish Conundrum-- Choose Between the Turks and the Kurds.

August 19th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

A comparison and contrast between two developments of great significance for Israel's regional future - the Kurdish question, and the development of the offshore natural gas fields -  are more related than may appear on the surface.
The recent Turkish-Israeli "deal", assuming that post-coup Turkey can live up to its commitments, poses a serious policy dilemma for Israel.

The Kurds are perhaps Israel's closest allies in the Middle East and will very likely, sooner rather than later, declare independence, with either the Iraqi Kurdish area and the Syrian Kurdish area joining forces, or declaring independence separately. In the meantime, the principal organization of Iranian Kurds outside Iran has declared virtual war on the Iranian regime and incidents in Iranian Kurdistan have been increasing. Read more ..

The Race for Smart Cars

Radar-Based Sensor Network Helps Drivers Finding A Parking Spot:

August 19th 2016

car door

Searching for a parking spot can be quite annoying. In particular in urban areas, motorists waste lots of time and fuel on the search for a place where they can leave their vehicle - for a couple of minutes or overnight. A test project in Munich currently puts a radar-based sensor network through its paces that could help drivers to find a parking spot faster and easier.

Motorists in places like Paris, London or Rome are familiar the situation: To find a free parking spot, drivers have to go for miles; at average it takes 4.5 kilometres. According to a recent study from Apcoa, up to 30 percent of the traffic in cities today are accounted to searching for parking lots. A network of radar sensors mounted on lamp post now is the basis for a smart parking management solution currently tested in Munich.


Israel on Edge

Black Lives Matter Bases Its Anti-Zionism On Lies From NIF and Foreign Funded NGO Adalah

August 18th 2016

Western Wall - Wailing Wall Jerusalem

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) pointed out today that the hatred of Israel displayed by the Black Lives Matter movement stems in large part from the dishonest propaganda of the heavily foreign-founded, Arab Israeli NGO Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which has been blackening Israel’s name for years.

Last week, The Movement for Black Lives, an offshoot of Black Lives Matter, announced that it would be engaging in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel because, it said, “Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.” The Movement for Black Lives credits Adalah as one of its “organizations currently working on policy.”

Adalah entered Israel’s national debate in 2006-7 over an Israeli Constitution with their own proposals. Adalah proposed a ‘Democratic Constitution‘.  In fact, both proposals called, not for democracy, which Israel has enjoyed since its inception, but for a binational state that would couple an unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1948-9 war and their millions of descendants with abolishing the Jewish Law of Return.
  “…The laws in question are deemed discriminatory by Adalah whenever they merely declare Israel to be the nation state of the Jewish people.”

In April 2008, five Adalah board members joined an Israeli Arab delegation to South Africa in a visit the group itself portrayed as commiserating with fellow victims of apartheid. Adalah takes the position that the Israeli government is a “junta which proves each day that it is the most fascist and racist in history.” Adalah is not as it purports to be, simply an Arab civil rights group, but an organization working to harm Israel’s international reputation. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Harrowing Accounts Of Torture, Inhuman Conditions And Mass Deaths In Syria's Prisons

August 18th 2016


The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons are laid bare in a damning new report published by Amnesty International today which estimates that 17,723 people have died in custody in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011 – an average rate of more than 300 deaths each month.

‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons documents crimes against humanity committed by government forces. It retraces the experiences of thousands of detainees through the cases of 65 torture survivors who described appalling abuse and inhuman conditions in security branches operated by Syrian intelligence agencies and in Saydnaya Military Prison, on the outskirts of Damascus. Most said they had witnessed prisoners dying in custody and some described being held in cells alongside dead bodies. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

17,000 Killed in Syrian Prisons Since 2011, Says Amnesty International

August 18th 2016

Syrian security forces

A new Amnesty International report details allegations of systematic torture of political prisoners and accuses the Syrian government of killing more than 17,000 people held in custody from the outset of the conflict in 2011 to December 2015.

The report is based on the recollections of 65 torture survivors.

The "catalog of horror stories" included in the report "depicts in gruesome detail the dreadful abuse detainees routinely suffer ... in Syria's notorious intelligence facilities," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Torture has long been used in Syrian prisons, but its scale has increased “dramatically" since the 2011 conflict began, according to Amnesty’s Syria expert Claudia Scheufler, who was instrumental in putting the report together. Read more ..

Jewry on Edge

Grass Roots Jewish Organizations Roar

August 17th 2016

Edwin Black

Richard Allen is not a careful, polished Jewish communal leader with a seasoned staff operating from a mid-town Manhattan office, ensconced behind a stylized logo, fortified by tax-exempt donations and burnished advisors. Allen is a private businessman. He wields his entire “organization” from a computer in his office and, not infrequently, from a phone in his pocket. One moment he can be alone with his message, staring at his device screen with no one peering over his shoulder or blue-lining his message. Then, an instant later—from his office, from his home, from a sidewalk in New York City— he hits the SEND button.


Instantly, he is no longer alone. Like an excitated neutron firing on a neural network, he is connected to 10,000 recipients who believe that he is a one-man crusade for Jewish issues, especially where establishment Jewish organizations have, from their perspective, failed to do the right thing. Those 10,000 recipients repeat, re-fire, and forward Allen’s calls-to-arms throughout their overlapping networks. Social media lights start blinking. Within minutes, a community of like-minded believers is mobilized against what they perceive as threats to Jewish and Israeli interests. Read more ..

The Race for Smarter Cities

Mapping Pedestrian Flow to Helps On-demand Car Services

August 12th 2016

bicyclists and walkers in London

Together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), car maker Ford Motor has launched a new research project to measure how pedestrians move in urban areas.

The aim is to improve certain public transportation services, such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttle services by mapping zones of affluence in real time and ultimately help predict demand for the shuttles. The research is being conducted at MIT’s Aerospace Controls Lab (ACL).

As part of the project, a fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles will operate on both city roads and campus walkways on the university’s campus in Cambridge, Mass. The vehicles will use lidar sensors and cameras to measure pedestrian flow, helping researchers and drivers route shuttles toward areas with the highest demand to better accommodate riders.


Egypt on Edge

Insult after Injury: Egypt's Muslim-Christian 'Reconciliation Meetings'

August 12th 2016

Coptic Girl

We often hear about Egypt's Christians being attacked by Muslim mobs. What we rarely hear about is what happens afterwards. Are the culprits imprisoned? Are the victims compensated? Do authorities take measures to help prevent such attacks from happening again?

While the acquainted reader may correctly assume no, the anatomy of what always takes place is of interest.

First, the attack itself is often based on the accusation that some Christian dared overstep his bounds, that is, he broke Islam's supremacist dhimma contract.

Christians trying to build a church, romantically involved with Muslim girls, or insulting Muhammad—all banned according to Islam—are typical violations that prompt large, armed Muslim mobs to attack all the Christians in that village (and their church if one exists) as a form of collective punishment, which is also Islamic. Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Solar Energy Conversion Breakthrough Using New Class Of Materials

August 11th 2016

Sunrise or Sunset

Ferroelectric materials are pushing solar cells above a theoretical limit for conversion efficiency while only using ultraviolet light.

The team of researchers from Drexel University, the Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the University of Pennsylvania and the US Naval Research Laboratory are using barium titanate crystals to convert sunlight into electric power much more efficiently than the theoretical Shockley-Queisser limit predicts for a bandgap material that absorbs almost no light in the visible spectrum. This could also be a boost for the development of transparent solar cells.

The energy collection mechanism relies on collecting “hot” electrons, those that carry additional energy in a photovoltaic material when excited by sunlight, before they lose their energy. This bulk photovoltaic effect could open up new cell design techniques.


Israel on Edge

Towards a Third Lebanon War

August 10th 2016

Military observers

Anyone travelling this summer through the northern part of Israel or, more specifically along the northern border, will see another, different border. The sun beats down hard when you drive along the border, but if you listen to the assessments of senior IDF officers, this summer will only be hot because of the temperatures. This time, Hezbollah will try to avoid engaging in a confrontation with Israel. Every warfighter, officer and reservist reporting to the Lebanese border memorizes the following axiom from the very first second: the beautiful green scenery around here is misleading. It can change from heaven into hell in the blink of an eye. The only question is in whose shift will evil arrive and the Lebanon border will become the focal point of a war the likes of which the Israeli rear area never experienced.

The Race for Connected Cars

Connected Car: Dramatic growth ahead

August 9th 2016

Dashboard for electric car

Already in a few years, the number of connected cars out on the roads will reach a quarter billion. Market research and IT consultant firm Gartner predicts a dramatic growth - and many new business opportunities for hardware and software vendors.

The IoT is currently the big thing in technology, and the automotive version of the IoT is the Connected Car. No wonder the growth is similarly astronomic - and now Gartner came up with figures. By 2015 (that is, during the current year), the number of connected things will reach 4,9 billion units - up 30 percent from 2014. By 2020, this figure will quintuple to 25 billion units, believes Gartner. In this picture, connected cars are a major element. "The connected car is already a reality", said Gartner research director James F. Hines. "and in-vehicle wireless connectivity is rapidly expanding from luxury models and premium brands to high-volume mid-market models."


Best at His Worst, Black at His Best

August 9th 2016

Okay. I read all the many articles, critiques, and rejoinders regarding Mr. Black's excellent survey of victimization of Black people (see Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina), and also Martin Barillas informative report (see Award-winning Historian Innovates Global Conference Call to Answer Reader Questions). I learned an extraordinary amount from Mr. Black's clear and shocking continuity. Clearly, Prof. Best is trying to colour Mr. Black's intent, guessing at his intentions and beliefs. That is not acceptable. Even more unacceptable is the fact that Prof. Best did not even make an effort to join the global conference and ask a question-- or answer one. He therefore insulted all those who could have gained from this event. On the other hand, we see Mr. Black doing something that I see as a first. He actually offered to answer any questions from anywhere in the world. I have read three of Mr. Black's books and I am happy to see this research will yield another.

It seems this is Prof. Best at his worst and Mr. Black at his best.

Jewry on Edge

Black Lives Matter’s Jewish Problem Is Also a Black Problem

August 9th 2016

Chloe Valdary
Chloe Valdary

On Aug. 1, the Black Lives Matter coalition (BLM) of groups and partners published a platform of objectives and demands ostensibly constructed to correct heavy-handed policing, educational negligence, and economic inadequacy in black communities.

That platform did no such thing.

Instead, organizers offered up a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas in the service of creating a new world order, one in which defunding police, releasing all political prisoners from jail, and redistributing of land are imperative.

Moreover, apparently believing that societal reforms in America’s inner cities are somehow related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, BLM included a section on Israel in its list of demands. With trite talking points, the group called for a divestment from the Jewish state as it is allegedly “complicit in the genocide against the Palestinian people.” Read more ..

Jeremy Best Seems Off Base in His Ivory Tower

August 8th 2016

I just read the article the article by Martin Barillas (see Award-winning Historian Innovates Global Conference Call to Answer Reader Questions) on the conference call in response to a critique in History Network News. Sorry I missed the call and chance to ask Edwin Black some questions. Having looked at Jeremy Best's theoretical interpretation of Edwin Black's turning point article about Nazi theories and actions that affected Africans and African-Americans, and the original essay (see Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina), and having followed the back and forth a bit, I think Best seems pretty off-base. Black's work covers much more than the African genocide and extends into the late twentieth century eugenics and sterilization covered by his book War Against the Weak. The continuity is stunning. Black seems right in his comments about safe Ivory Tower quibbles by Best. Best should probably remain in his Ivory Tower as suggested. It takes guts to expose some of these atrocities.

The Ivory Tower

Award-winning Historian Innovates Global Conference Call to Answer Reader Questions

August 8th 2016

Edwin Black at Nabi Selah

On July 20 at 4:15 PM ET, New York Times bestselling historian Edwin Black conducted a global Q-A conference call for readers of his syndicated investigation Nazi Policy and Black Victims—Before, During, and After the Holocaust— from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina. The 10,000-word opus ran in various highly-condensed lengths in about 30 publications, but was published in full by just a handful of long-form platforms such as History Network News, The Times of Israel, and Spero News. The teleconference may be the first time a historian has organized a global conference call to respond to reader questions on a published essay and comments.   This reporter and Spero News monitored that session.

By way of background, Black is the author of numerous award-winning books such as IBM and the Holocaust, War Against the Weak, and The Farhud. Earlier this year he began researching in depth the impact of Nazi policy on Black victims before, during and after the Holocaust, spanning a century of genocidal and discriminatory episodes from the 1904-1908 Herero massacres of Southwest Africa to the post-WWI and post-WWII eugenic sterilization and persecution campaigns in the United States. In February 2016 Black delivered globally broadcast lectures on the topic at Michigan State University and University of Michigan, earning a Plaque of Tribute from the Michigan State legislature.

Black then expanded his research to create his syndicated 10,000-word essay. Many editors routinely inserted their own headlines, Black states. The HNN version prompted Iowa State University professor Jeremy Best, who specializes in the history of nineteenth-century German missionaries, to write a lengthy critique asserting Black intended to draw a direct line of causation between the genocide in Southwest Africa and the Holocaust. Black rejected this interpretation and offered to answer any questions from readers in the global conference call held July 20. Read more ..

The Edge of Sport

Magic Blood and Carbon-Fiber Legs at the Brave New Olympics

August 8th 2016

African soccer

I knew Eero Mäntyranta had magic blood, but I hadn’t expected to see it in his face. I had tracked him down above the Arctic Circle in Finland where he was—what else?—a reindeer farmer.

He was all red. Not just the crimson sweater with knitted reindeer crossing his belly, but his actual skin. It was cardinal dappled with violet, his nose a bulbous purple plum. In the pictures I’d seen of him in Sports Illustrated in the 1960s—when he’d won three Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing—he was still white. But now, as an older man, his special blood had turned him red.

Mäntyranta, who passed away in late 2013, had a rare gene mutation that spurred his bone marrow to wildly overproduce red blood cells. Red cells convey oxygen to the muscles and the more you have, the better your endurance. That’s why some endurance athletes—most prominently Lance Armstrong—inject erythropoietin (EPO), the hormone that cues your bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Mäntyranta had about 50 percent more red blood cells than a normal man. If Armstrong had as many red blood cells as Mäntyranta, cycling rules would have barred him from even starting a race, unless he could prove it was a natural condition.


Vote 2016

Four Things Trump Must do Now

August 4th 2016


All the pomp and circumstance has passed. The balloons have fallen, and the conventions are over and through. Expect to see a bounce for Secretary Clinton that essentially wipes away the bump Donald Trump received in the hours and days following his Cleveland closeout.  
Yes, now is the time in the presidential election cycle for the proverbial pivot - the shift to full campaign mode in which each side hunkers down and prepares for the onslaught of war. The team that makes the fewest mistakes in this episode wins.
I love these times. They test the political mettle of a candidate. 18-hour days turn into 7-day weeks, and everything smacks of a two dollar tequila binge — a blur. Daily — even hourly — shifts back and forth from public rallies to private fundraising calls to rapid responses; all in an effort to get the slightest advantage.  
I believe how Donald Trump enters these next 30 days will largely shape his campaign heading into the final two months, and especially those crucial weeks following Labor Day, when both sides enter the home stretch. Success for the Trump campaign in these next four weeks will depend on whether he does the following four things right:
Continue raising money
And lots of it. After an abysmal May fundraising month, the Trump campaign posted some nice June numbers, but he's still so far behind his opponent. Trump needs to make personal appeals to his million- and billion-dollar friends and allies. He needs to reach out to the economic drivers and entrepreneurs of this country who, frankly, aren't very partisan and might be willing to listen to one of their own.

The Bear is Back

Russia's Reversal of Military Fortune

August 4th 2016

Russian warships Sevastopol Crimea

Russia's military spending will hit a wall in 2016, as the realities of the economic crisis force President Vladimir Putin's government to reconsider how much it can realistically spend on military modernization, possibly delaying procurement goals by as much as five years.

The problems began earlier this year, as the government budget reeled from the impact of plummeting global oil prices, Western sanctions against the Russian economy for Moscow's annexation of Crimea, and the resulting devaluation and inflation of the ruble. The crash came at an unfortunate time for Russia's military. Following the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, the Defense Ministry began looking into serious reform projects to modernize not only the organizational structure but also the equipment base of its largely Soviet-era military.

The Race for Autonomous Cars

Car Hacking Remains a Viable Threat

August 4th 2016

new cars close up

In last year’s hack, which led to Chrysler’s recall for 1.4 million vehicles, Miller and Valasek focused on pulling off “wireless attack” on the Jeep.

The two at that time exploited a Harman “head unit,” which offers a Wi-Fi hot spot — in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee — to get into the vehicle’s network. Later the hackers invaded the car through its cellular connection, via Sprint’s wireless network.

This year, the security experts turned their attention to injecting rogue messages into a vehicle’s CAN bus, which resulted in a full-speed attack on the Jeep’s steering and acceleration.

Instead of getting into the guts of a car wirelessly, Miller and Valasek this year used a laptop directly plugged into the Jeep’s CAN network through a port under its dashboard. They confirmed that they used the patched Jeep for this hacking. Read more ..

The Refugee Crisis

Misplaced Charity

August 4th 2016

Syrian refugees

Pres. Barack Obama's proposal for what would be a substantial new entry of Syrian refugees is a major miscalculation of traditional American morality and generosity.
It is true that the 13.5 million Syrian refugees, half of them expelled or hounded out of their country, are a momentous human tragedy. And America has almost always responded to some calamities.
But the question of additional Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. is part of a challenging failing American immigration policy which has become an extremely divisive political issue. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Flaws in the 'Lone Wolf' Analysis

August 3rd 2016

Boston suspects

Beginning in the late twentieth century, the West became enthralled by the term "lone wolf" and began using it to denote perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes who act without the assistance of other criminals. The term has become practically ubiquitous with journalists, analysts and politicians now instinctively applying it not only to psychopaths like Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes and Newtown, Connecticut child-killer Adam Lanza, but also to jihadists, even when they attack in pairs, like roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farooq and Tashfeen Malik. Rarely has a term so frequently used been so inconsistently applied.

Whatever originality or dubious benefit it might have brought to the study of political violence, the lone wolf analysis has ceased to be useful. There little consensus over its meaning, and it is illogical and misleading when used to describe jihadists. In the age of Obama it has become a red herring detracting attention from the growing global jihad movement. Read more ..

Israel on Edge

AIPAC Primacy on Israel Challenged

August 3rd 2016

Barack Obama AIPAC

The American presidential elections have created an unprecedented climate of political chaos. Both candidates are reviled by the bulk of the electorate, many of whom intimate that they intend to abstain from voting.

The polls originally predicted that Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide, but the odds have now dramatically narrowed and in this explosive environment, Donald Trump may well be elected.

American Jews are caught in this maelstrom. Regrettably, many of their leaders have seemingly hibernated and failed to speak out even when President Barack Obama maligned Israel. They justified their silence on the grounds that criticism of the president would shatter whatever still remains of bipartisanship. But these same constraints do not seem to apply when attacking the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Nor were there any concerns of bipartisanship when liberal Jews correctly attacked the George H. W. Bush administration for open hostility to the conservative Shamir government. Read more ..

Vote 2016

Obama Slams Trump-- Calls on GOP to Repudiate Candidacy

August 2nd 2016

Obama downcast

President Barack Obama said today that Donald Trump is “unfit to serve as president,” while calling on Republicans to repudiate their nominee. Obama claimed that criticisms coming from the GOP “ring hollow” if its’ leaders support the Trump candidacy, especially since the dust-up between Trump and Pakistani-born lawyer, Khizr Khan, that began when Khan excoriated Trump at the Democratic National Convention.
“The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”  Obama said at a news conference. 

The Edge of Terrorism

The Sleepwalkers

August 2nd 2016

ISIS Group

The terror attacks in Nice, Wurzburg and Normandy are the latest manifestations of what should now be seen as a still fairly low-level Islamist insurgency taking place in a number of west European countries. The fact that this insurgency has been allowed to kindle itself and slowly emerge before now bursting forth represents a profound failure of Western European political culture and of the continent’s elites.

This is not merely a matter of poor police or intelligence work. Rather, it is the culmination of a long process of enfeeblement. The Islamist insurgency is a disease attacking an already weakened body which lacks the means to defend itself. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Internal Dissent in Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed?

August 2nd 2016

ISIS on the Street

Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed (The Army of Khalid ibn al-Waleed)- named for a companion of the Prophet who helped secure the Muslim conquest of the Levant through the crucial Battle of Yarmouk- is a group linked to the Islamic State (IS) based in the Yarmouk Valley/Basin (Wadi/Hawdh al-Yarmouk) of southwest Deraa province on the border with the Golan Heights. The group was formed in late May 2016 from the following components:

. Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmouk (the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade: LSY)- the main component of Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed. Once aligned with the Western-backed Southern Front, it first established connections with IS around summer 2014 and began overtly displaying affinities with IS after heavy clashes with Jabhat al-Nusra in December 2014, which accused LSY at the time of being aligned with IS even as observers were widely sceptical.


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