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Archive for June 2017

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Military Money

Pentagon Wasted $28M on 'Forest' Camouflage Uniforms for Afghan Army

June 24th 2017

Afgan Troops

The Pentagon has reportedly spent $28 million dollars on "forest" camouflaged Afghanistan military uniforms rather than give them other patterns that cost nothing.

The "forest" pattern that was selected by the Afghan Defense Minister is privately owned, whereas other camouflage schemes owned by the U.S. government are free.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, released a 17-page report on Wednesday, noting that "forests cover only 2.1% of Afghanistan's total land area" -- making the forest pattern highly ineffective in the desert nation.

SIGAR's report said the Defense Department has spent $93 million on uniforms for the soldiers since 2007. Read more ..


Media on Edge

A Tale of Two Terror Attacks and The New York Times

June 24th 2017

New York Times Bldg

Last month's suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester wasn't the first time an Islamist terrorist targeted young people out for a night of fun. In 2001, a Hamas-affiliated terrorist blew himself up outside the Dolphinarium, a Tel Aviv nightclub, killing 21 Israelis, including 16 teenagers.

But news coverage of the two massacres was strikingly different, as the Manchester attack generated exponentially more attention. The New York Times, for example, offered a handful of small accounts about the Tel Aviv attack. But the Manchester bombing generated dozens of wire service and Times staff updates along with analysis stories and an editorial lamenting the horror of targeting children.

There are reasons why attacks in Europe are covered more exhaustively than those targeting Israelis. But as a result, Americans may not fully appreciate the depth of Palestinian violence because the near-daily examples of it are all but ignored. Read more ..


Prof Durden Complains of 'Public Lynching' for Suspension after Race Rant on TV

June 22nd 2017

Television Array

Following a heated discussion with Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, former Essex County College professor Lisa Durden was suspended from the institution. Two days after the June 6 interview on Carlson’s eponymous Fox News channel show, Durden was told to cancel her classes and report to the human resources department of the New Jersey institution. She received an indefinite suspension.

see the videohttps://youtu.be/O52jggCZV54

In response, the leftist Durden told the Newark Star-Ledger, “They did this to humiliate me. Essex County College publicly lynched me in front of my students.” 
 
On Carlson’s show, Durden sought to defend a Memorial Day celebration for blacks only that was organized by Black Lives Matter movement. She dodged Carlson when he asked whether it is appropriate to exclude people based on race. Carlson said, “I thought the whole point of Black Lives Matter, or one of the points, would be to speak out against singling people out on the basis of their race and punishing them for that because you can’t control what your race is, and yet they seem to be doing that, explain that to me.” Read more ..


The Trump Era

Constitutional Expert Says Trump Cannot be Indicted

June 21st 2017

Trump2

Famed legal expert Alan Dershowitz explained on Fox News on Tuesday that the Justice Department has clarified that sitting presidents cannot be "indicted, prosecuted, or tried while serving in office." He noted that a president must first face impeachment and removal from office before being charged with a crime. Back in May, Dershowitz tweeted his objection to the current probes into supposed collusion between Donald Trump’s political organization and Russians during the 2016 general election. He tweeted: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” 
 
On Fox News, Dershowitz said on Tuesday that there is no criminal act to investigate, when he referenced the probe being led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Last week, the Washington Post reported that Mueller is currently investigating President Trump for supposed for obstruction of justice over his firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Since then, reports have been contradictory as to whether Mueller is indeed investigating the president. Read more ..


Republicans on Edge

Soros, Clinton-Linked Teneo Among Donors to McCain Institute

June 20th 2017

Ben Franklin one hundred dollar bills

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2012 turned over nearly $9 million in unspent funds from his failed 2008 presidential campaign to a new foundation bearing his name, the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

The institute is intended to serve as a “legacy” for McCain and “is dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy and freedom.” It is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation with assets valued at $8.1 million and associated with Arizona State University.

Conservative and liberal critics, however, believe the institute constitutes a major conflict of interest for McCain, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

Read more ..

Campus Hate

‘I Felt Afraid’ -- Lawsuit Claims Public University Fostered anti-Semitism on Campus

June 20th 2017

Magen David Swastika

A group of students and community members filed a lawsuit Monday against San Francisco State University and its leaders, alleging that the public school has fostered a climate of anti-Semitism “marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.”

“I didn’t have the right to speak on my own campus; I felt afraid as a Jewish student,” said Jacob Mandel, who just graduated from San Francisco State. It wasn’t just that he was being shouted down at events by students politically opposed to Israel, he said in an interview, but that “the administration was actively working against me. … I felt really powerless.”

Dan Ojeda, university counsel for San Francisco State, responded with a brief statement soon after the lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California: “The University was not aware of the complaint and has not had an opportunity to review or respond to it.

“We have been working closely with the Jewish community, among other interest groups, to address concerns and improve the campus environment for all students.  Those efforts have been very productive and will continue notwithstanding this lawsuit.”

The suit comes at a time when Muslims and other groups feel increasingly vulnerable, and as debate heats up over free speech and academic freedom on campuses nationally, after controversial speakers have been canceled, protested and shouted down on some campuses — and have even sparked violence and rioting. Read more ..


Film News

Several Arab Countries Ban Wonder Woman

June 20th 2017

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman may be a hit at the box office, grossing $228 million worldwide in its first weekend, but the movie has hit the rocks in much of the Arab world because of its Israeli star, Gal Gadot.

After being banned in Lebanon, Wonder Woman is now facing bans in Tunisia, Jordan and Algeria.

The Hollywood media site Deadline.com reported Thursday that the movie’s scheduled release in Tunisia has been suspended because of Gadot’s defense of Israel’s 2014 incursion into Gaza.

Deadline said the secular Arab nationalist People’s Movement party petitioned the Tunisian culture ministry to ban the movie as part of an effort to isolate Israel.  “We must continue the mobilization on this type of affair, as on everything related to normalization with the Zionist entity,” the People’s Movement said in a statement. Read more ..


Campus Hate

San Francisco State University Accused of Pervasive Anti-Semitism in Groundbreaking Federal Lawsuit

June 20th 2017

boycott Israel t-shirt

A group of San Francisco State University students and members of the local Jewish community today filed a lawsuit alleging that SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students. According to the suit, "SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus." The plaintiffs are represented by a team of attorneys from The Lawfare Project and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.
 
A copy of the complaint can be found here.
 
The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and also names as defendants the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong and several other University officials and employees, alleges that "Jewish students at SFSU have been so intimidated and ostracized that they are afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus." 
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Obama Retains and Withholds Documents on Unmasking and Targeting Trump

June 20th 2017

Downcast Obama

The National Security Council (NSC) notified Judiciary Watch -- a Washington-based watchdog group -- that materials concerning the unmasking allegedly ordered by Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” were removed from federal government files. They are now in the possession of the Obama Library.
 
In April, Judicial Watch sent a request to the NSC for  records relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.” The unmasking relates to the identification of persons in the United States whose conversations were picked up by covert surveillance of communications. Whether some of those persons identified were part of Donald Trump’s political team has been a subject of debate and speculation. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Red Crescent: Hamas Engaged in War Crimes, Fired Rockets From Hospital to Provoke Israel

June 20th 2017

Gaza Militants

The secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates accused the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas on Monday of provoking Israeli forces by firing rockets from a field hospital during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, a war crime under international law, Ynet reported.

According to Secretary-General Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, the Red Crescent’s staff was stationed at a UAE field hospital in Gaza when Hamas fighters began firing rockets from their facilities to provoke an Israeli response.

“This shows (Hamas’s) wicked intentions and how they scarified us,” said Al-Falahi. “They always claim the enemy targets humanitarian envoys, but the betrayal came from them,” he added. Read more ..


Europe on Edge

Czech Republic Joins Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in Refusing EU-Imposed Migrants

June 20th 2017

euro flags

The Czech Republic has joined its Central European neighbors in officially announcing a withdrawal from the European Union’s 2015 migrant resettlement program.

After much criticism of the scheme, which seeks to resettle an initial 160,000 migrants from Italy and Greece across EU member states, the Czechs have finally withdrawn citing concerns over security and the ‘’dysfunctionality’’ of what has been criticized as a shambolic program.

Prague had accepted only 12 of the 1,600 migrants required by Brussels before leaving the program, which imposes quotas on all 28 member states under threat of sanction.

The resettlement scheme was the EU’s initial response to the near Biblical wave of migrants which arrived in autumn 2015 following Angela Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders. Read more ..


The Race for Solar

'Solar' Paint Harvests Energy from The Air

June 19th 2017

Minneapolis skyline

Researchers from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) and MIT (Cambridge, MA) have developed a sunlight-absorbing paint able to harvest hydrogen from air moisture, by splitting water molecules.

The catalyst for this solar-powered hydrolysis comes in the shape of molybdenum sulfides that could readily be mixed to the titanium oxide particles typically used in white paint.

In a recent paper titled "Surface Water Dependent Properties of Sulfur-Rich Molybdenum Sulfides: Electrolyteless Gas Phase Water Splitting" published in the ACS Nano journal, the researchers report that sulfur-rich MoSx (x = 32/3) is a highly hygroscopic semiconductor which can reversibly bind up to 0.9 H2O molecule per Mo.

Read more ..

The Digital Age

Always-on Face Recognition Promised by New Chip

June 19th 2017

Baby Boomer

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a Convolutional Neural Network Processor on silicon that they combined with a custom made image sensor to perform face recognition with a 97% accuracy while only drawing 0.62mW.

Using such embedded artificial intelligence, the researchers claim their solution consumed only 1/5000 the power that would be required by a GPU performing the same tasks.

This unique processor owes its incredibly low power consumption thanks to its CNN whose circuitry, architecture, and algorithms have all gone through optimization steps. On-chip memory has been integrated in the CNNP so it could be read in a vertical direction as well as in a horizontal direction, reports KAIST.

In the CNNP, 1024 multipliers and accumulators operate in parallel and the chip is capable of directly transferring the temporal results to any of those without access to external memory or to an on-chip communication network.

Read more ..

Palestinians on Edge

U.N. Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Men Beating Their Wives

June 18th 2017

Arab internet

A new report by a United Nations expert, and submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, blames Israel in part for Palestinian men beating their wives — offering more fuel to those in the Trump administration seeking to leave the council over its anti-Israel bias.

The document, first reported by U.N. Watch, which monitors the international body, was written by Dubravka Šimonović — the Special Rapporteur on violence against women — who filed dual reports based on her trips to the region in 2016. The report in question focuses on the “causes and consequences” of violence against women in the region.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Trump Under Legal Siege

June 17th 2017

Trump1

The distinguished political scientist Angelo Codevilla coined the ominous term “cold civil war” to describe America’s precarious condition, adding, “Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot.” The attempted massacre June this week June 14 of Republican Congressmen and their staff by a deranged partisan of Sen. Bernie Sanders turned up the heat a notch, but it would be mistaken to attribute much importance to this dreadful outburst of left-wing rage. The augury of American fracture will not be street violence, but a constitutional crisis implicating virtually the whole of America’s governing caste. The shock troops in the cold civil war are not gunmen but lawyers.

A considerable portion of America’s permanent bureaucracy, including elements of its intelligence community, is engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional mutiny against the elected commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump. Most of the Democratic Party and a fair sampling of the Republican Establishment wants to force Trump out of office, and to this end undertook an entrapment scheme to entice the president and his staff into actions which might be construed after the fact as obstruction of justice. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Growing Terrorism Threat in Sweden

June 17th 2017

Muslim Brotherhood

SAPO -- Sweden's security service -- reports that the numbers of persons holding extremist views has grown to the thousands. Most appear to sympathize with radical strains of Islam. SAPO chief Anders Thornberg told Swedish news agency TT on Friday, "We have never seen anything like it," and admitted that Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda is central to the growth of radicalization.

Thornberg said that the numbers of extremists have grown from just a few hundred in recent years. The current situation, he said, is "a historic challenge with extremist environments growing."

According to the agency head, SAPO receives approximately 6,000 pieces of intelligence on extremists every month, which is a significant increase from 2,000 of five years ago. Currently, the threat assessment for the Scandinavian country is holding steady at three on a scale of five.

Read more ..

After Iraq

Iraq's Billion Dollar Lack of Accountability

June 16th 2017

Tank

The U.S. Army cannot account for a billion dollars worth of military equipment in Iraq.  That’s billion with a B.

Congress created a new appropriation for 2015.  About 1.6 billion dollars worth of military weapons and supplies would be given to the Iraq army.  It was to be used to combat ISIS.  An additional 700 million dollars of equipment was added the following year.

A Pentagon IG audit painted a sorry state of affairs.  The audit was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Army maintained inadequate records on a billion dollars worth of the equipment. The Army wasn’t sure where it went.  There’s no knowing if the gear was sold, given to militias or landed in the hands of ISIS.

In spite of today’s technology and automated inventory systems, the Army relied on handwritten spreadsheets maintained by numerous subordinate commands. They were so incomplete, the Army didn’t even know what equipment it had yet to distribute. Read more ..


Qatar on Edge

The Other Reason To Isolate Qatar: Its Appalling Human-Rights Record

June 16th 2017

Qatari Skyline

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations of fuelling extremism and terrorism.

It’s true the government in Doha has a long history of supporting various radical Islamist groups and movements across the Middle East. Senior Muslim Brotherhood members, Hamas leaders, and Al Qaeda fixers reside in the country. The Taliban even has an unofficial "embassy" in the capital. Doha has also bankrolled with hundreds of millions radical Islamist opposition groups in Libya and Syria, which has angered its neighbors.

And to Qatar's critics, the billion-dollar hostage deal between the emirate, Iranian security officials and Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel groups was further evidence of its role in sponsoring extremists. Read more ..


The Edge of Justice

Employee Penalized By Airports Authority For Passover Files Amicus Trump Travel Ban Case

June 15th 2017

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Lewin & Lewin filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Trump travel ban litigation to alert the Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conflicting rulings and the  double standard demonstrated by 10 appellate judges  between  a claim of religious anti-Muslim discrimination and a comparable claim of religious bias made by an Orthodox Jewish woman. Susan Abeles’ friend-of-the-court brief demonstrates the disparity in the Fourth Circuit between the summary rejection of her claim of anti-Jewish religious employment discrimination and the Fourth Circuit’s approval of claimed anti-Muslim bias in the Presidential travel ban.

After working for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 26 years, Susan Abeles lost her job for observing Passover, an important Jewish religious holiday. A Virginia federal district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Ms. Abeles. Ms. Abeles’ appeal to the Fourth Circuit was supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs. Read more ..


America on Edge

Violence and the Political Left

June 15th 2017

baseball glove bat ball

I didn’t want to write this column.  Not now.  The events of today and the recent past are taking their toll.  Those on the Left are rapidly becoming an intolerant political class, and it has to stop.

The recent shooting of several at a Republican baseball practice is a reflection. It’s a small mirror of the worst of our society, responding to political disagreements and discourse in a violent way.  While not all the details of the incident are clear, it appears the shooter was politically motivated in some fashion.  At the risk of taking this too far, it has gone too far.  And I fear the fomenting by liberals on the left is to blame.

There are simply too many examples that tilt the weight of evidence toward this bias. A Hollywood entertainer, Kathy Griffin, and CNN host decapitates an image of our president and thinks in her own twisted way that is somehow funny?  They label it entertainment, and the rest of us silently weep at such disrespect for the office of the president.  Or how about a local theater that props up its own image of Julius Caesar as Donald Trump and then violently murders him?  Even in liberal New York City, there doesn’t appear to be any second thoughts regarding this behavior.  By the way, this so-called theatric presentation was so tasteless in the eyes of major companies such as Delta Airlines and Bank of America that they each pulled their funding for the theatrical center. Read more ..


Media on Edge

Fake News and the NYT-- Soviet Style

June 15th 2017

New York Times Bldg

We — like every other media outlet — occasionally hear a critic label something “fake news.”  And there are some who call everything they disagree with “fake news.”  Just because you don’t like a fact doesn’t make it fake.  That’s just the way it is.

A recent study revealed something interesting about how people consume information.  When offered ten dollars to read an opinion they disagreed with or offered seven dollars to read an opinion they liked, a majority took less money.  They’d rather consume information that affirms their personal views rather than challenges them.

Still, there is fake news.  The worst of all time goes to the New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Walter Duranty.  His blatantly false reports in the 1930s covered-up the genocide of millions of Ukrainians by the Soviet Union.  When newspapers ruled the media landscape none influenced more Americans than the New York Times. Read more ..


The Race for Autonomous Cars

Automobile Software Can Now be Updated While Driving

June 15th 2017

Traffic Jam

With the amount of software in today’s cars in the dimension of millions of lines of code, updating vehicle software today is a cumbersome business. Now Continental has created the necessary technology and infrastructure to enable secure software updates over the air, doing away with the need to visit the garage for every update.

With significance for software for the user experience of car buyers updates having dramatically increased over the past decade or so, automotive manufacturers are feverishly working on solutions to establish similar mechanisms for their vehicles. So far, only Tesla dares to update the software of its cars automatically. All others look jealously over the fence, frightened by the prospect of a terrible glitch or, even worse, a cyber attack against the transmission path. Also, updating a vehicle’s software is somewhat more complex than updating a smartphone’s operating system: Up to 100 computers are involved, and since they are all connected, the activities of most of them can have side effects on others. Plus, the number of possible variants and options in a car is much bigger than in a smartphone. And last but not least, no one can afford a failed software update – in a car such a situation would have far more serious consequences than with a smartphone.

Read more ..

Mideast on Edge

Signs of Weakness in the Gulf

June 14th 2017

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

The decision by some Persian Gulf and Arab nations to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the region over the lack of real Sunni leadership Treading lightly, this situation may present an opportunity for Israel.

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, and other Arab nations to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar is a sign of weakness. The fact that the Sunni Arab world was unable to impose its basic approach on a small peninsular emirate is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the Gulf over the lack of real leadership in the Sunni world.

Sunnis are the vast majority in the Muslim world, making up some 85% of Muslims, and yet somehow, the Iran-led Shiite minority is the driving force behind the processes moving the Middle East. Read more ..


Author Essay

After Comey's Testimony, There's No Need for a Special Counsel

June 14th 2017

Washington K Street NW

The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the President to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.

When asked Thursday by Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Read more ..

The Trump Era

AG Jeff Session Calls Out Comey's 'Stunning' Usurpation of Authority

June 14th 2017

Capitol Hill

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that former FBI Director James B. Comey's decision to supersede the authority of Barack Obama's Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, was “stunning.” He explained during his sworn testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Comey's usurpation of Lynch's authority: “It violates fundamental powers.” It was Comey who announced the termination of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server instead of deferring to Lynch.

Sessions said, that when Comey defended his decision in testimony before last week's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, “that was additional confirmation that the director’s thinking was not clear.” Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist

June 13th 2017

Libyan opposition fighters

A prominent Muslim American political activist is included on a list of 75 terrorists issued by a Libyan parliamentary committee.

Esam Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society and remains a prominent figure at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is among 75 people the Libyan House of Representatives' Defense and National Security Committee labeled Friday as enemies.

Libya's government remains fragmented, with the House of Representatives based in a city called Tobruk. It is considered closely aligned with Egypt.

Omeish is the 29th name listed on the terror list and is described as an "international member of the Muslim Brotherhood." Another American, Aly Abuzaakouk, appears just after Omeish's, also identified as an international Muslim Brotherhood member. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Are Jihadists Taking over Europe?

June 13th 2017

Muslim girls German flag

"Germany is quietly building a European army under its command," according to some in the media. Apparently German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after her clash with U.S. President Donald Trump, would like to invest, along with France, in a European army.

At present, however, there is just one real army in Europe -- the Jihadist Army, as in the terrorists who struck London on June 3 and murdered seven people, just two weeks after carnage in Manchester.

In the four European countries most targeted by terror attacks -- Britain, France, Belgium and Germany -- the number of official extremists has reached 66,000. That sounds like a real army, on active duty.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

The Islamic State Strikes Tehran: Reactions and Repercussions

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

The two coordinated Islamic State (IS) attacks on the Iranian Parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini are not only the first IS attacks in Iran, but also the first terror attacks of this kind in the country. These attacks are the realization of threats articulated by IS in late March to strike Iran. This was also the first “official” threat to Iran in the Persian language.

The level of execution, preparedness, and magnitude of the attack suggest professional intelligence gathering. These factors combined leave little room for doubt that the Islamic State is behind the attacks. IS generally prioritizes the targeting of symbolic sites, as was the case in Iran. The locations of the attacks–the parliament and the tomb of the founder of the Islamic Republic–were not chosen at random. There is certainly some irony in the fact that Khomeini’s tomb was attacked by suicide bombers. Read more ..


The Urban Edge

Hyper-Local Air Pollution Maps Show Air Quality At Street Level

June 12th 2017

Chicago skyline

The maps were developed with the use of Google Street View cars that were equipped with a sensor system from enviromental sensor company Aclima (San Francisco, CA) designed to collect high-quality air pollution data on moving vehicles day after day. The data was collected over the course of a year in 78 square miles of Oakland, California, providing one of the largest data sets of air pollution ever measured of single city streets according to the researchers.

The new mobile technique is claimed to map urban air pollution at 100,000 times greater spatial resolution than is possible using traditional stationary government air quality monitors, of which there is typically only one for every 100 to 200 square miles. As a result, it enables users to see how dramatically air pollution can vary on even a block-by-block basis and could, say researchers, address major air quality monitoring gaps worldwide as well as shed light on the health effects on city dwellers.

Read more ..

The Race for Batteries

New Liquid Metal Battery May Solve Renewable Energy Storage Problem

June 12th 2017

Battery-single-use

The team at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology ( NTNU) in Trondheim have developed a battery system with three liquid layers: sodium at the top as the negative electrode, a sodium chloride based electrolyte in the middle, and zinc at the bottom as the positive electrode.

To prevent the zinc containing ions from reacting with the sodium electrode, a porous diaphragm or separator is placed between the electrodes. Avoiding a brittle, expensive β-alumina ion selective membrane and replacing it with a cheap durable diaphragm material significantly improves the performance and reduces the cost of liquid metal batteries.

The choice of immiscible electrolytes and electrodes will ensure a safe battery system, which in the unlikely event of mechanical failure will discharge without any undesired effects such as fire or explosion. This compares to sodium sulphur (NaS) molten salt batteries which have been demonstrated for grid storage. Read more ..


The Race for Solar

Proposed Solar Paneled Wall for US-Mexico Border May Become a Reality

June 11th 2017

Sunrise or Sunset

At a recent White House meeting, President Trump told congressional Republicans that his suggestion in terms of construction of the US-Mexico border wall would be to seriously explore the solar paneled option.

The WSJ reported that two lawmakers who attended the meeting told them that Trump said the solar panels could offset the exorbitant costs in erecting such a border wall. This can be effectuated by collecting revenue from the sale of solar power that the panels would generate. Those funds could be earmarked to assist in offsetting the projected multi-billion dollar cost in construction.

The WSJ has also reported that Trump’s idea for the use of solar panels to build a wall separating the US and Mexico came after the Department of Homeland Security issued a solicitation of proposals a few months ago from engineering firms and other construction companies  for their blueprints. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

The Paris Accord - A Climate Distraction

June 11th 2017

Hurricane Isabel

In several previous columns, I have emphasized important news and developments that have been largely overlooked due to the acrid smokescreen of nasty twaddle from the left and right attempting to demonize the other side, especially in the US and Europe.The outpouring of violent condemnation of President Trump's decision to begin the process of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord obscuring much more important news is a good example of that phenomenon.

 The president's decision is news, of course, but it is not nearly as significant as other recent developments. In the first place, nothing happens for three years starting from last November. At that time the decision must be formally reiterated, and the actual withdrawal will occur one year after that! During this almost four-year period, the US continues to be subject to all the provisions of the Accord. Trump himself can change his mind during that time and his successor, if Trump is not reelected or doesn't run for reelection, can restore US participation should he/she so desire. Read more ..


The Ancient Edge

Ancient Fossils from Morocco Mess Up Modern Human Origins

June 11th 2017

Neanderthal and Human skulls

The year was 1961. A barite mining operation at the Jebel Irhoud massif in Morocco, some 100 kilometers west of Marrakech, turned up a fossil human skull. Subsequent excavation uncovered more bones from other individuals, along with animal remains and stone tools. Scientists’ best guess was that the remains were about 40,000 years old and represented African versions of Neandertals. In the decades that followed, researchers shifted their stance on the identity of the remains, coming to see them as members of our own species, Homo sapiens—and they redated the site to roughly 160,000 years ago. Still, the Jebel Irhoud fossils remained something of a mystery, because in some respects they looked more primitive than older H. sapiens fossils. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Qatar is a Financier of Terrorism. Why Does the U.S. Tolerate It?

June 10th 2017

Hamas Terrorist with Rocket

Five Arab countries cut ties to Qatar on Monday, deepening a rift among Persian Gulf nations over that country's support for radical Islamist groups. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar and cut air and sea traffic to the country.

 

As part of what former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice termed the “New Middle East,” Qatar has emerged as one of the region's most consequential players and one of the richest countries in the world. It has also positioned itself as one of the strongest supporters of the Arab Spring, preaching democracy abroad. But behind the polished façade of skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls lies a dark reality. Ruled by the Al-Thani clan, the onetime British protectorate has become a financier of terrorism. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Trump Fired Comey Because He Misled Public that President was Under Investigation

June 10th 2017

Trump1

At last, at least for your humble correspondent, this week’s big hearing brought clarity. I now believe President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey because he believes Comey intentionally misled the public into believing Trump was under investigation by the FBI. There is enough support for this theory that, had the president been forthright in explaining it when he dismissed Comey on May 9, there might have been considerably less uproar. Instead, Trump dissembled, as he seems hardwired to do. He thus bought himself a debilitating special-counsel investigation, despite its being increasingly patent that there is no crime to investigate.

March 20 was the big day. Understanding why requires us to go back several weeks, to January 6, the day Trump and Comey first met. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Nakba and its Role in the Arab-Israeli conflict

June 4th 2017

Pro-Palestine Gaza protesters

Since Israel's inception in 1948, the Arab-Palestinians mark Nakba Day. Nakba, the Arabic term for catastrophe, represents much more than just the physical creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians decree as the cataclysmic disaster. It is also the Palestinian process of refusing to accept the fact that a sovereign Jewish state could even be allowed to come into being.

Over the years, one of the greatest ironies is that Arab members of Knesset have repeatedly proposed establishing an official Nakba Day. Although the Knesset's Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs eventually banned these proposals, they indicate how ingrained 1948 is in the Arab psyche. To the Knesset's credit, there was an understanding that marking the Nakba is harmful and propagates the notion that Israel's birth was illegitimate. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Fingerprint Sensors Mass-produced for Smartcards

June 3rd 2017

credit cards

Taiwanese card manufacturer Jinco Universal Co., Ltd, the fingerprint sensor IC design house Elan Microelectronics Corporation, and the Korean biometric authentication technology company KSID have joined forces to supply what they believe will be the world first biometric fingerprint bank card to Korean Worri Bank.

This bank card has integrated EMV dual interface chip, capacitive fingerprint sensor, and a rechargeable battery.  This card can last for more than 300 usages on a single full charge.

Jinco Universal is a world leader in the powered smart card industry. A year ago the company has entered into a contract agreement with the bank to supply 3 million cards over a 3-year period but mass production has only started recently and half a million biometric fingerprint bank cards could be delivered this year. Read more ..


The Armenian Genocide

Turkey Arrests Kurdish Activist for Armenian Genocide Posts

June 3rd 2017

Armenians Hanged

Mukaddes Alataş, a Kurdish human rights activist from Diyarbakir, was recently arrested for "being a member of a terror organization." Her crime? She posted about the Armenian Genocide on social media and engaged in women's rights activism.

Unlike the relentless denial of the Turkish government, the Kurdish political movement in Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide and commemorates it.

On April 23, 2013, for example, an event was organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association, then led by Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, and the Diyarbakir Municipality, to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the destruction of the Armenian community in the city. Read more ..


Media on Edge

Kathy Griffin Shows Canceled as Backlash Over Trump Photos Grow

June 3rd 2017

Trump1

Four more theaters announced Thursday they had canceled performances with Kathy Griffin after the comedian posed with a likeness of President Donald Trump's severed head.

Venues in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania canceled November shows. The Community Arts Theater in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, posted on its website that the show had been dropped "due to the recent controversy surrounding Kathy Griffin and the concern for the safety and security of our patrons and staff...."

Earlier this week, CNN said Griffin would no longer co-host its live New Year's Eve special from Times Square, a gig she'd had for more than a decade, and another show was canceled at a New Mexico casino. An endorsement deal with Squatty Potty also ended. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Lessons from Manchester

June 3rd 2017

Armstrong_Williams

The message from many Europeans with regard to terrorism is this: enough. That sentiment was echoed time and again in interviews conducted during a broadcasting/reporting trip to Europe which is still underway as I write these words.   Europe’s misguided approach to preventing radical Islamic terrorism on its own soil may be the definition of insanity – repeating the same behavior over and again while expecting different results.

The thought of young innocent children who attended the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester being brutally murdered in a radical Islamic terrorist attack is unconscionable and compelled my broadcasting team to travel to Manchester in the aftermath of this deplorable carnage to explore the situation in Europe firsthand.

We visited Manchester, where the radical Islamic extremist suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself  up killing 22 innocent people and injuring 116 others, to speak with residents of Manchester whose lives have been forever changed by this jarring act of cowardly terrorism.
 
What I learned from the people I spoke with in Manchester was chilling. While many of the local people with whom I talked to were shocked by the cruel level of inhumanity inherent in the concert attack, they were actually not overly surprised that a terrorist attack took place in their backyard. Many of the people I met in Manchester and London are furious, and they do not feel protected.  Time and again, they complained that the British government is not doing enough to address the United Kingdom’s radicalized population. Read more ..



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