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Archive for August 2017

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Inside Jewry

Hillel at the Crossroads. Part III: NEU Hillel Protests “Fear-Based Tactics”

August 31st 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut

Part 3 of Edwin Black's latest 4-part investigative series, "Hillel at the Crossroads," is based on more than 100 interviews in 4 countries, and the acquisition of many documents and internal emails. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Sheldon Goldman was hesitant and uncertain about what to do next.

As board chairman of the Northeastern University (NEU) Hillel, Goldman had witnessed what he termed an administrative “inquisition” by Hillel International against his chapter, programs and staff. The charges were denied by Hillel International. But Goldman had reached his limit. Read more ..


Inside Jewry

Hillel at the Crossroads. Part II: How Things Broke Down in Boston

August 30th 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut

Part 2 of Edwin Black's latest 5-part investigative series, "Hillel at the Crossroads," is based on more than 100 interviews in 4 countries, and the acquisition of many documents and internal emails. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Northeastern University Hillel board chairman Sheldon Goldman is incensed at the treatment that his Hillel chapter has received at the hands of Hillel International, and he lays the blame squarely on the organization’s CEO — Eric Fingerhut.

In an August 18, 2017, email, Goldman insisted that Fingerhut “must be replaced as the leader of Hillel. This cannot be done quick enough, as his character is leaching away whatever moral fiber remains at SIC [Schusterman International Center].” Read more ..


Inside Jewry

Hillel at the Crossroads. Part I: Who’s Responsible for Hillel?

August 29th 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut

Part 1 of Edwin Black's latest 5-part investigative series, "Hillel at the Crossroads," is based on more than 100 interviews in 4 countries, and the acquisition of many documents and internal emails. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

When Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut stands at the window of his curved corner office at the organization’s Washington, DC headquarters, he looks down on a streetscape dominated by Chinatown and its Friendship Arch. But Fingerhut’s domain extends far beyond anything the eye can see — to the four corners of North America, and beyond. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

Trump on North Korea Newest Missile Launch: 'All options are on the table'

August 29th 2017

NK Military Parade Apr 2012

President Trump said Tuesday that "all options are on the table" after North Korea launched a missile over Japan, an act that instantly renewed tensions in the region just days after the regime appeared to be backing down from threats against the U.S. and its allies. 

"The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior," Trump said, in a written statement released by the White House. 

"Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table," the statement continued. 

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.   Read more ..


The Edge of RFID

Drones Take RFID to the Next Level

August 29th 2017

Flying Robot

Cheap, battery-free RFID tags, which receive power wirelessly from scanners and then broadcast identifying numbers, enable warehouse managers to log inventory much more efficiently than they could by reading box numbers and recording them manually.

However, the scale of modern retail operations makes even RFID scanning inefficient. Walmart, for instance, reported that in 2013 it lost $3 billion in revenue because of mismatches between its inventory records and its stock. Even with RFID technology, it can take a single large retail store three months to perform a complete inventory review, which means that mismatches often go undiscovered until exposed by a customer request.

To addres this challenge, MIT researchers have developed a system that enables small, safe, aerial drones to read RFID tags from tens of meters away while identifying the locations of the tags with an average error of about 19 centimeters. Such a system could be used in large warehouses for both continuous monitoring, to prevent inventory mismatches, and location of individual items, so that employees can rapidly and reliably meet customer requests.

Read more ..

The Genetic Edge

Genetically Modified Moths Fly to New York

August 29th 2017

Moth

How do you fight an insect that inflicts billions of dollars of crop damage every year, an invader that has spread to every inhabited continent and has a talent for evolving resistance to every new chemical designed to poison it? Maybe—just maybe—by releasing more of the same insect.

This summer thousands of moths will be taking to the sky over a cabbage patch in upstate New York. Bred in a laboratory, the male bugs carry a gene designed to kill progeny they sire with wild female moths feasting on the cabbage. This genetic time bomb is an emerging tool for keeping agricultural pest populations in check, made possible by ever-improving methods for editing DNA.

Over the coming months, before winter kills the moths, researchers at Cornell University will monitor how well their modified pets compete against wild cousins for mates. If all goes well, this small-scale experiment could be a step toward commercializing the genetically engineered diamondback moths, made by a British company called Oxitec. Read more ..


Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Crossing the Rubicon

August 29th 2017

The Dome of the Rock from Atop

On Wednesday, at a U.S. State Department press briefing, the Rubicon was finally crossed. Responding to a question regarding Israeli-Palestinian ‎peace, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “We want to work toward a peace that both sides can agree to and both sides find ‎sustainable. … We believe that both parties should be able to find a workable solution that works for ‎both of them. We are not going to state what the outcome has to be. … It’s been many, many decades, ‎as you well know, that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and ‎sustainable solution to this. So we leave it up to them to be able to work through that.”‎

This is the most constructive statement I have heard about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. ‎For the last several years, the “experts” have been saying, “We all know what a solution to the ‎Palestinian-Israeli conflict looks like.” ‎ Read more ..


The Harvey Catastrophe

Hurricane Harvey: Why Is It So Extreme?

August 29th 2017

Hurricane Isabel

Hurricane Harvey is drowning southeastern Texas for the fourth day, putting a vast area under feet of water. Experts say Harvey has been stuck longer in one place than any tropical storm in memory. That is just one of the hurricane’s extremes; the storm is off the charts by many measures.

Why did Hurricane Harvey so quickly explode from a Category 1 hurricane to Category 4?
Last Wednesday night, August 23, Harvey was a tropical depression, but after just eight overnight hours it was forming a hurricane eye wall. “That’s remarkably fast,” Masters says. On Friday it rapidly ballooned from a Category 1 hurricane to Category 4. That is because it happened to pass over a region of extremely warm ocean water called an eddy. This spot of hot water was 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the Gulf of Mexico around it, which itself was already 1 to 2 degrees F higher than average, reaching 85 or 86 degrees F in places. The hotter the water, the more energy it drives into a storm. Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005, also mushroomed to Category 4 in a similar fashion because it, too, passed over a hot eddy in the Gulf. Read more ..


The Water's Edge

Robot Ship to Navigate Pacific in 2019

August 28th 2017

Cargo Ship

Bloomberg reports that Japan's largest container shipping company plans to test a remote-controlled vessel across the Pacific Ocean in 2019.

According to reports, shipping company Nippon Yusen (Tokyo, Japan) is planning to conduct the test using a large container ship to travel across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to North America. The ship will have a stand-by crew in case of emergency.

The move is part of a longer-term plan to develop fully autonomous, self-piloting cargo ships. Nippon Yusen has joined with other shippers to make unmanned self-navigating ships a reality by 2025.

Combining artificial intelligence and IoT technologies, the autonomous ships will be designed to not only determine the safest and most fuel-efficient routes, but to recognize on-board malfunctions as well as avoid other vessels. Ship safety has been highlighted recently with incidents involving shipping vessels colliding with U.S. Navy warships.

Read more ..

The Race for EVs

Hydrogen Fuel Cell as Range Extender for Electric Van

August 28th 2017

Israeli battery vehicle MIA

In the recent past, the battery electric principle has gained a lead over hydrogen fuel cells in the market of emission-free propulsion principles. However, it is certainly too early to pronounce them dead. Now ULEMCo, a British company focusing on developing such drives for commercial vehicles, came up with a new suggestion: A fuel cell that acts as a range extender for a series battery electric van.

ULEMCo has developed a fuel cell based unit that will extend vehicle range by supplying additional power to the standard Nissan e-NV200 van; particularly targeting the need from vehicle operators for improved utility of electric vehicles when fully loaded. With the combination of the on-board hydrogen storage and fuel cell module, the van will have a range of over 150 miles (241 km) when laden, satisfying the range requirements of most average daily delivery operations for this size of van. 

The power module has been engineered to provide additional energy to the vehicle  so that the operational practicality of the full electric vehicle can be widened to cope with seasonal range variation, working lifetime, and the impact on range when fully loaded - all things that currently limit the range of duties an operator can target for existing for zero-emission commercial vehicles.

Read more ..

Phoenix Police Department Surreptitiously Implements New Immigration Policy

August 27th 2017

Stop the Raids immigration protest

With Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio removed from office by a tidal wave of liberal-left activities during the election, the city of Phoenix is taking the opportunity to revise its policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. In addition, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department successfully prosecuted Sheriff Arpaio for his alleged “racial profiling” of lawbreakers from Mexico.

See the Video

Along with the ouster of Arpaio by rich and powerful Democrats — especially billionaire businessman George Soros — Arizona’s largest city is now declared a “sanctuary” for illegal aliens after its police chief held a private meeting with a leftist group that demanded a change in immigration enforcement policies, records obtained by Judicial Watch show.
Phoenix’s new Chief of Police Jeri Williams is one of a growing number of progressive law enforcement executives who are yes men and women for Democratic politicians. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Who Really Owns the Internet

August 26th 2017

Vote Buttons

On the night of November 7, 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes’s wife, Lucy, took to her bed with a headache. The returns from the Presidential election were trickling in, and the Hayeses, who had been spending the evening in their parlor, in Columbus, Ohio, were dismayed. Hayes himself remained up until midnight; then he, too, retired, convinced that his Democratic opponent, Samuel J. Tilden, would become the next President.

Hayes had indeed lost the popular vote, by more than two hundred and fifty thousand ballots. And he might have lost the Electoral College as well had it not been for the machinations of journalists working in the shady corners of what’s been called “the Victorian Internet.”

Chief among the plotters was an Ohioan named William Henry Smith. Smith ran the western arm of the Associated Press, and in this way controlled the bulk of the copy that ran in many small-town newspapers. The Western A.P. operated in tight affiliation—some would say collusion—with Western Union, which exercised a near-monopoly over the nation’s telegraph lines. Early in the campaign, Smith decided that he would employ any means necessary to assure a victory for Hayes, who, at the time, was serving a third term as Ohio’s governor.

Read more ..

Inside Jewry

Hillel Set to Announce David Project Integration

August 23rd 2017

Eric Fingerhut
Hillel CEO Eric Fingerhut

Hillel International is set to release today a long-discussed integration with The David Project. An advance draft of the release obtained from Hillel sources, reads as follows:

************************

"Hillel International today announced that it has reached an agreement with The David Project to integrate the pro-Israel group into Hinenu, Hillel’s Israel Education and Engagement department.

The two organizations have a long-established partnership that will be formalized to serve the missions of both organizations. The David Project will strengthen its proven methodology for building diverse pro-Israel support on campus, while helping Hillel empower Jewish students on campus to create enduring connections to Israel.

Read more ..

Debbigate

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Defends Decision to keep Staffer Charged with Bank Fraud

August 23rd 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., defended her decision to keep IT staffer Imran Awan on government payroll after she discovered he was under investigation for bank fraud.

Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were indicted last week by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with a total of four charges.

"He's not my staffer. He no longer works for me. And when he was arrested, I terminated him," Wasserman Schultz said during a briefing Tuesday according to the Sun-Sentinel. "I kept him on the payroll during the time that he was not arrested and not charged with anything. And that was because, as I said, that I was concerned about the violation of his due process rights and also that there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns as well."

Wasserman Schultz said she didn't know Awan was attempting to send money to Pakistan. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

North Korea on Path to Develop Nuke Capable of Hitting US City

August 23rd 2017

Kim Jong-Un

North Korea is well on its way toward a long-sought goal of being able to hit an American city with a nuclear weapon — and likely has an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland, thanks to a powerful new main engine, The New York Times reported.

But the rogue state still has to overcome a number of challenges, according to the Times, including:

Developing a missile warhead that can stand the heat and friction of atmospheric re-entry — a feat some experts say North Korea will have perfected by next year if it has not already.

Making a bomb that can fit in a missile. The Times noted pictures have surfaced of leader Kim Jong Un admiring a miniaturized bomb meant to fit into a warhead, though it is impossible to say if the real thing or a mock-up.

Hitting a target halfway around the world. North Korea's current accuracy of about 2-3 miles is good enough to be able to hit a military installation, the Times reported, and it appears to be working toward a leaner, more accurate design for its missile warheads.

Making a more powerful bomb, which would sidestep the accuracy problem, according to the Times. Analysts believe the North has weapons with about the same or slightly more destructive power as the Hiroshima bomb. To raise the destructive power, it would have to add thermonuclear fuel, the Times reported. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Israeli Courts Allow Palestinians to Sue PA for torture

August 21st 2017

Palestinian Authority police

It is one of the most bizarre in years, as it involves Palestinian Authority citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement.

Eight Palestinians were disqualified from receiving damages when the court ruled they had been involved in common crimes and their treatment was a local Palestinian issue.

But the majority of the group – represented by West Bank resident and Israeli lawyer Menachem Kornvich – will now take part in hearings before the court on the amount of damages they can expect to receive. A team of Israeli lawyers representing the PA, including Yosef and Yehonatan Arnon, will attempt to minimize those damage claims.

According to the court, PA officials tortured various plaintiffs by “beating them on all parts of the body, hitting them with lead pipes, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, hanging them in torture positions for hours and starving them.” Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Australian €7m project Develops Large Perovskite Colar Panels

August 21st 2017

Solar Array

A €7m project in Australia is aiming to develop large panel solar cells using low cost perovskite materials.
 
Perovskite solar cells are cheaper to produce and have a high absorption efficiency in sunlight, and can be engineered to result in various optical and electronic properties but struggle with lifetime. Perovskite solar cells or modules can also be used to boost standard silicon (Si) solar technology when engineered to absorb a spectral range that is complementary to the optical range of silicon cells. By stacking the perovskite solar cells or modules on top of Si solar cells, power conversion efficiencies above 30 percent can potentially be achieved, beating the best single junction Si solar cells.

Greatcell Solar, the Australian materials company formerly called Dyesol, has been awarded a AUS$6m (€4m) grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for the Perovskite Solar Cell Technology - Large Area Module Development Project.

The company is also raising a minimum of AUS$5m (€3.5m) as part of the project funding.  This will enable Greatcell to accelerate the scale-up and prototyping activities to commercialise the company's technology.

Read more ..

Significant Lives

Dick Gregory – A Underappreciated Sherpa On The Climb To Economic Freedom

August 21st 2017

Armstrong_Williams

Seldom a month goes by when I do not speak in glowing terms about my business mentor and brother in spirit Dick Gregory. My brother was many things – he was a ruthless social critic who always spoke his mind, he was an outspoken civil rights activist, and he introduced an entire generation to healthy lifestyles through his wildly popular Bahamian Diet. He was an epic conspiracy theorist who could spin yarns out of the most disparate of threads. Many others will recall his countless acts of kindness and candor, of humility and strength, and his amazing sense of humor. But I most fondly remember brother Gregory for getting me started on the road to financial freedom.

As a young man and recent college graduate, I moved to Washington, DC from a rural farm town in South Carolina to work as a presidential appointee in the Department of Agriculture. I really loved my job – it was exciting to be in the midst of the government and having the chance to get involved in issues that directly affected my community back home. My official portfolio APHIS at Ag included working to assist rural farmers, helping them to keep their farms in the face of the decline of small-scale agriculture in the United States. It is an issue I am still passionate about to this day.

But I quickly realized that in moving to Washington which was then, as it is now, one of the most expensive cities in the country – that passion alone doesn’t pay the rent. My government salary of under $25,000 per year in 1982 was just not going to cut it. I was driven by necessity and my father to look for ways to supplement my government salary when I was introduced to Dick Gregory's Bahamian Diet in Baltimore, Md. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Trump is Right-- the Alt-Left is Violent

August 19th 2017

Star Parker right crop

British writer and theologian G.K. Chesterton observed, "It is hatred that unites people — while love is always individual."

The use of hatred to mobilize has a long and bloody history. We should understand why it works so well. It taps into human weakness. It exploits the unwillingness of individuals to take responsibility for their own lives, to courageously confront life's ambiguities and inconsistencies, and still move forward constructively. It's so much easier to blame someone else.

This is what racism is about.

Speaking to the horrible incident in Charlottesville, President Donald Trump condemned the "egregious display of bigotry and violence" on "many sides" that's "been going on for a long time in our country." The president appealed for the "hate and violence" to stop and that we "come together as Americans."

For these remarks the president is being attacked.

Read more ..

Media on Edge

UK Terrorism Expert Ridicules CNN Comparison Of Barcelona Carnage To Charlottesville Incident

August 19th 2017

CNN HQ logo

Robin Simcox, a Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, dismissed allegations in an appearance on Fox News that the terrorist attack in Spain was a work of a copycat emulation of the incident in Charlottesville VA that resulted in the death of a protester. On Thursday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer appeared to draw parallels between the Charlottesville incident and the attacks in Spain. The latter caused the deaths of 14 innocents, and injured dozens more.

Speaking to show host Tucker Carlson Fox , Simcox said on Thursday: “I find that really hard to believe, really. Jihadists have been carrying out these kinds of attacks way before Charlottesville. This year alone you’ve seen a truck being used in Stockholm and London, and before that you’ve seen Nice and Berlin. So I don’t find that really credible.” Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

How Syria Continued to Gas its People as the World Looked On

August 18th 2017

Dead Syrian Christian children

In the spring of 2015 a Syrian major general escorted a small team of chemical weapons inspectors to a warehouse outside the Syrian capital Damascus. The international experts wanted to examine the site, but were kept waiting outside in their car for around an hour, according to several people briefed on the visit.

When they were finally let into the building, it was empty. They found no trace of banned chemicals.

"Look, there is nothing to see," said the general, known to the inspectors as Sharif, opening the door.

So why were the inspectors kept waiting? The Syrians said they were getting the necessary approval to let them in, but the inspectors had a different theory. They believed the Syrians were stalling while the place was cleaned out. It made no sense to the team that special approval was needed for them to enter an empty building. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Building Missile Factory in Syria

August 18th 2017

Iranian missile

Iran is reportedly building a facility in northwestern Syria to manufacture long-range Scud missiles, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

According to the report, security experts who analyzed photos of the site say the construction indicates that explosives would be stored there. The analysts also compared the facility in Syria to a rocket factory near Tehran, concluding there was a strong resemblance between the sites, indicating Iran’s involvement.

“The facility has one entrance, an administrative section, a production area and a storage wing, while some of the buildings appear to be for manufacturing ammunition. Large dirt mounds to protect the facility are also visible in the images,” the report said.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was closely monitoring the situation in Syria and would act against any threats. Read more ..


Venezuela on Edge

Venezuelan Jews Fleeing Turmoil Get ‘Lifeline’ In Israel, Encounter New Challenges

August 18th 2017

El Al Boeing 747-200

As the political and economic situation in Venezuela becomes increasingly unstable, Jews are fleeing the South American nation, with many choosing to immigrate to Israel. 

Conditions in Venezuela began deteriorating in 2013 following the death of the country’s former president, Hugo Chavez, and the ascension of his chosen successor Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver.

During the past four years, inflation has skyrocketed under Maduro’s rule, leading to shortages in food and basic supplies such as medicine and toilet paper. Venezuelans stand in long lines—sometimes for 12 hours—just to obtain bare essentials.

“There is no value to life right now in Venezuela,” Adele Tarrab, a Venezuelan Jew who moved to Israel with her family in 2015, told JNS.org. “I’ve actually seen people get killed for bread.”  Read more ..


America on Edge

There is No Time for Moral Midgetry

August 18th 2017

Armstrong_Williams

While our hearts go out to those killed and injured amidst violent conflicts between white supremacist and Neo-Nazi demonstrators and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA one thing is clear: bigotry and racial hatred were the primary causes of the casualties. That fact must be firmly and clearly stated, and roundly condemned by our leaders.
 
Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around. Protesters and counter-protesters alike were responsible for outbreaks of fighting and violence that presaged the tragedy that we sadly witnessed, in which a man drove a car into a crowd of people, killing one woman and wounding several others.  What is known thus far about the perpetrator, judging by published excerpts from his social media postings and photographs of him at the Charlottesville march, is that he appears to have strong political leanings.  And what’s more, the man has a name: his name is James Alex Fields.
 
The sentiments that presumably drove Fields to commit such a horrific crime also have names: bigotry, racial animosity, white supremacy, and possible neo-Nazism.  We must be clear about naming the evils in our midst, calling them out and banishing, lest they, through want of identification, imbed themselves unconsciously into our own souls.  When the spirit of evil – one that we all as humans struggle with – becomes so strong that it finally spills out of our souls and into the streets it has reached a critically dangerous point of development. 
Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

Forget Those Comparisons with the Cuban Missile Crisis

August 17th 2017

Un-generals

President Trump’s threat to unleash the greatest “fire and fury” in history against North Korea has prompted many hasty comparisons to the Cuban missile crisis. The initial speculation has focused particularly on the potential restraining influence of senior administration officials, especially Secretary of Defense James Mattis (a retired Marine general) and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (a former Army general). Ironically, however, examining today’s impasse from the perspective of 1962 actually demands turning the essence of the Cuban missile crisis upside down.

In 1962 the question was whether the civilian commander-in-chief could successfully face down the determined and united resistance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (as well as that of most of his own advisers and the leaders of Congress). JFK was a fully-committed Cold Warrior, as demonstrated by his administration’s covert war in Cuba and efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro. But, unlike the Joint Chiefs, he understood that risking war between nations possessing nuclear weapons was no longer a rational option, one which could lead to what he vividly described as “the final failure.” “It is insane that two men, sitting on opposite sides of the world,” he remarked at a White House meeting, “should be able to decide to bring an end to civilization.” Once the first shot was fired, he warned, all bets were off.

Read more ..

Inside Film

Brooklyn Soundstage Company Acquires Staten Island Prison for $7M

August 17th 2017

jail door blue

New York state has closed on a $7 million acquisition with the Greenpoint-based soundstage company Broadway Stages for a 69-acre former prison facility in Staten Island. The new facility is expected to draw in lots of television and movie productions that are looking to film authentic jail scenes.

Broadway Stages agreed to invest $20 million for maintenance work, renovations and the future construction of six soundstages in the old Arthur Kill Correctional Facility as part of the acquisition. The facility sits on the water’s edge in Staten Island’s neighborhood of Rossville.

The recent popularity of prison-themed shows, like Orange is the New Black, are increasing productions’ needs for jail locations, Broadway Stages president and CEO Gina Argento told Crain’s. She explained that her company can gain an edge over its city competitors by having a prison facility in its portfolio.

Argento said, "A lot of productions have had to go Upstate to film prison scenes. To have a prison in the city that has such a feeling of authenticity to it is going to be very attractive to a lot of productions that are otherwise based in the city."

According to Crain’s, “Broadway Stages won a state solicitation for buyers of the site over three years ago, but was delayed in part in closing on the deal by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. DiNapoli's office had directed scrutiny at Argento after her name arose in an investigation by federal and state prosecutors into Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign fundraising.

Read more ..

Destination India

Top 10 Street Foods of Northern India

August 17th 2017

India Street Scene

One of the greatest pleasures of street food in Northern India is to discover that there is more to Indian cuisine than chicken tikka masala.

For many first-time travellers to India one of the greatest pleasures is discovering its amazing street food. Surprisingly, there’s infinitely more to subcontinental cuisine than the rather bland offerings of tikka masala and chicken korma.

Street food, whether sweet or savoury, fiery or mild, is eaten by all and it’s not unknown for there to be lively debate amongst friends and family about which is the best. As well as giving your stomach a treat, trying street food helps support hard-working vendors, many of whom have been plying their trade with great skill for many years. So here’s our guide to the best street food of northern India – try each one with a steaming cup of the nation’s rocket-fuel, masala chai. Read more ..


The Race for BioFuel

The Future of Biofuel Isn’t Corn—It’s Algae

August 16th 2017

algae

When they hear “biofuel,” people tend to assume you’re talking about corn. That makes sense, given that corn is anticipated to provide 80 percent of this year’s ethanol production — much more, say, than algae — until we consider a few numbers.

By all accounts, microalgae is less land-intensive than corn production, and although it can pull double duty, providing high-quality feed for fish farms, it doesn’t compete with food crops. Furthermore, even by by the largely pro-corn Renewable Fuel Association’s water-consumption standards, corn ethanol is a thirsty fuel: Drinking 2.8 gallons of water for every gallon of fuel refined, corn is often outclassed in efficiency by algae-based fuels. Read more ..


Healthcare on Edge

Will Killing Obamacare Kill People

August 16th 2017

Premature Baby

We have the greatest healthcare in the world. To suggest people are turned away from life-saving treatment over their ability to pay is just not true.

Health insurance – or who pays for service – is a different issue than healthcare.

Let’s flip the argument. Did Obamacare make us healthier? No, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It reported life expectancy in the U.S. declined for the first time in nearly 25 years.   The overall death rate increased.  With Obamacare in place, more Americans are dying than ever before. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

Food Color for Health

August 16th 2017

nurse w/stethoscope

Pigments made by beets may help boost resistance to disease and the nutrition value of crops.

Color in the plant kingdom is not merely a joy to the eye. Colored pigments attract pollinating insects, they protect plants against disease, they confer health benefits, and are used in the food and drug industries. A new study conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, has now opened the way to numerous potential uses of betalains, the highly nutritious red-violet and yellow pigments known for their antioxidant properties and commonly used as food dyes.

Betalains are made by cactus fruit, flowers such as bougainvillea, and certain edible plants – most notably, beets. They are relatively rare in nature, compared to the two other major groups of plant pigments, and until recently, their synthesis in plants was poorly understood. Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Guy Polturak, then a research student, along with other team members, used two betalain-producing plants – red beet (Beta vulgaris) and four o’clock flowers (Mirabilis jalapa) – in their analysis. Read more ..


Israel and Lebanon

Hezbollah Head Threatens Israel on Second Lebanon War Anniversary

August 16th 2017

Rockets

The Israeli enemy has reached the rock bottom, while we have reached the peak,” claims the head of the Hezbollah terror group.

On the anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced to his followers that Israel “fears” the Lebanon-based terror group’s growing power.

Addressing crowds on Sunday in a ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of what Hezbollah calls the “Divine Victory,” the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Nasrallah warned that the cost of an Israeli war on Lebanon would be “very high.” He called on “the Israeli enemy” to consider dismantling the Dimona reactor, which he has threatened to attack in the past. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Stormclouds over Syria

August 16th 2017

F-35

In the past five weeks, U.S. forces in Syria have struck directly at the Assad regime and its allies in Syria no less than four times. On May 18, U.S. warplanes struck regime and allied militia forces that breached a 34-mile exclusion zone around a U.S. outpost in southeastern Syria. Then on June 8 and June 20, the United States shot down Iranian-made drones as they approached the outpost.

But the most dramatic event so far was the June 18 downing of a Syrian air force Su-22 by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. This took place after regime forces attacked a town held by the U.S.-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqa, in northern Syria. The Su-22 dropped bombs near the SDF fighters, ignored U.S. warnings, and was then shot down.

The downing of the Su-22 threatened to bring Washington and Moscow into conflict in the war-torn country. In the aftermath of the incident, Russia announced the end of deconfliction arrangements with U.S. forces and that it had decided to treat future U.S. flights west of the Euphrates River as hostile. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

North Korea Says It Won't Fire Missiles At Guam, After All

August 15th 2017

North Korean rocket Apr 2012

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Kim visited the Korean People's Army as the self-imposed mid-August deadline for a missile demonstration approached, the Korean Central News Agency reports. But after hearing the plan and considering it, Kim opted not to give the order to launch missiles, but instead "would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees," the report says. Kim also warned that the U.S. should not test North Korea's self-restraint. Read more ..


Russia and Iran

Russia Re-examines Relationship with Iran

August 15th 2017

Khameni and Khomeini

As the Islamic State (IS) has been in steady retreat, Iran and Russia are facing real difficulties sustaining their partnership. Each took advantage of the fight against IS to further its military campaign in Syria. Both sides avoid discussing their differences, keeping their critics from making the most of the situation, but both fail to completely conceal the friction. In 2016, Moscow and Tehran jointly shielded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime from the opposition and sought to preserve the remaining state institutions. In an attempt to freeze the six-year-long civil war, Russia is currently opting for agreements beyond the peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan — that is, behind Iran’s back. Examples include the de-escalation zone in southwest Syria that Russia negotiated with the United States in Amman, Jordan, as well as de-escalation zones in eastern Ghouta and northern Homs, both of which were negotiated in Cairo. Read more ..


India and Israel

Israel-made Fence Systems to Transform India's Border

August 15th 2017

Indian army privates on parade

is deploying along its volatile border with Pakistan a smart Israel-developed fencing system having a 'quick response team' mechanism which strikes when the CCTV-powered control room detects an infiltration attempt.

The is implementing an ambitious project called the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) as part of the government's plan to completely seal the Indo-Pak and India-borders in the next few years.
 
The is tasked with guarding the over 6,300-km-long two borders and its chief, in an interview to PTI, said the new frontier guarding systems will bring a "sea change", for the first time, in this domain.
Read more ..

The Race for Autonomous Cars

Mobileye Plans Test Fleet of 100 Self-driving Cars

August 14th 2017

Traffic Jam

Having concluded the acquisition of the smart imaging company Mobileye, Intel announced first projects with company in the field of autonomous driving. Mobileye will build a fleet of 100 fully automated vehicles (Level 4) on the roads of the USA, Europe and Israel. The first cars are scheduled to start operation this year.

Building cars and testing them in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” said Amnon Shshua, CEO and CTO of Mobileye and soon-to-be vice president of Intel Corp. "Geographic diversity is very important because different regions have very diverse driving styles, road conditions and traffic signs. Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be offered anywhere, so we have to test and train the vehicles at different locations." In the planned vehicle fleet, Mobileye will contribute its own competences in the fields of computer vision, sensor technology and sensor fusion and map creation, while Intel is contributing resources in the field of open computing platforms, data centers and 5G communication.

Read more ..

The Edge of Cyber

Iot Devices Becoming 'Cyberweapon Of Choice' For Attackers

August 14th 2017

Shadowy Computer User

A new report from cloud and security solution provider F5 Labs (Seattle, WA) examines how attackers have developed botnets - or "thingbots" - to target IoT devices.

IoT devices, says F5, have become "the cyberweapon delivery system of choice" for attackers building botnets - collections of Internet-connected devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Botnets can overwhelm systems with traffic with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, send spam, and allow an attacker access to the device and its connection.

According to the latest report, IoT attack activity grew 280% from the prior six-month period. This included "massive growth" due to the Mirai malware - which turns networked devices running Linux into remotely controlled bots that can then be used as part of a botnet - and subsequent attacks.

Read more ..

North Korea's Nules

North Korea's Guam Missile Strike Ready This Week

August 13th 2017

Un-review troops

North Korea says a plan that could see it fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will be ready this week. State media said Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 30km (17 miles) from Guam, if the plan was approved by Kim Jong-un.

It denounced Donald Trump's warnings of "fire and fury" and said the US leader was "bereft of reason". The US has warned the North its actions could mean the "end of its regime". US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Pyongyang would be "grossly overmatched" in any war against the US and its allies. The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who is in Guam, says there is a sense that the North Korean threat is rhetorical, as most people feel that if they really did strike with missiles it would be suicidal for the North Korean regime. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

Pentagon Readies Pre-emptive Strike Against North Korea

August 13th 2017

B-1 Bomber

The Pentagon has a detailed plan for a military strike on North Korea, dispatching heavy bombers from Guam – the fortified U.S. territory that Pyongyang is threatening with missiles. The plan would be to launch heavy B1-B bombers from Guam's Andersen Air Force Base, limiting the flight time. U.S. forces have conducted practice maneuvers as recently as Monday, NBC News reported – and have done 11 sets of exercises. The bombers would get an escort from fighter jets providing protection. Satellites and drones would aide in the effort.

The planes would not carry nuclear payload, but would likely be armed with precision weapons designed to take out North Korea's array of missiles and missile launch sites.

'Of all the military options … [Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation," retired Adm. James Stavridis told the network. He added: 'A single long-range strike against against the nuclear program, a cyber offensive would be the second. Those are the only two military options that ought to be in serious consideration.' The military has six of the powerful bombers already in position on Guam. Read more ..


The Race for Batteries

Solid State Lithium Batteries Readying for Market

August 11th 2017

Batteries-small-assorted

Hitachi Zosen in Japan has developed a prototype solid-state lithium-ion battery that it intends to commercialise over the next two years.

“We can offer solid-state lithium-ion batteries that are on par with the liquid type in performance even now,” said Takashi Tanisho, president of Hitachi Zosen, in reports. Solid-state batteries are more durable and have better temperature performance.

It has shipped samples of the battery to potential customers in the aerospace and automobile industries and plans to commercialise the technology in small cells by 2020, working with a local battery maker.

Hitachi Zosen has also been working on the technology for cars and has shipped samples to Honda’s research arm. “There are many companies working on solid-state batteries,” Tanisho said.

Read more ..


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