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The Digital Age

Smart Home Security 'Woefully Inadequate'

September 26th 2016

Downtown LA Neighborhood

ABI Research forecasts 360 million smart home device shipments by 2020 as vendors and startups scramble to become a part of the home automation, smart home movement.

However, many companies are leaving open major security flaws in their rush to market, producing products riddled with bugs and unpatched vulnerabilities. Ignoring cybersecurity at the design level provides a wide open door for malicious threat actors to exploit smart home products.

"We see an alarming increase in ransomware in smart TVs and IP cameras, code injection attacks, evidence of zero-day threats, and password eavesdropping for smart locks and connected devices," says Dimitrios Pavlakis, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. "The current state of security in the smart home ecosystem is woefully inadequate. Smart home device vendors need to start implementing cybersecurity mechanisms at the design stage of their products."

Read more ..

India on Edge

India Is Quietly Shining a Light on the Refugee Crisis

September 23rd 2016

India Street Scene

Earlier this summer, around mid-July, India introduced a bill to its 1955 Citizenship Act. The bill, if passed, will not only prioritize foreign ethnic and religious minorities for citizenship, but will cut their naturalization wait time from eleven to six years.

"Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan … shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act," reads the proposed amendment to India's Citizenship Act.

This bill is in response to the many minority groups, most with Indian origins, who have emigrated to India because of religious persecution.

Take Pakistan's Christians as an example.

Read more ..

The Edge of Aging

Yisrael Kristal: A Story of Faith and Longevity of World's Oldest Man

September 15th 2016

Holding Hands

Yisrael Kristal, at 113 years of age, is not only celebrating a birthday but also a Jewish rite of passage that comes 100 years late. Daughter Shulimath Kristal Kuperstoch expressed her joy, saying “We will bless him, we will dance with him, we will be happy.” The celebration of Kristal’s bar mitzvah – the age-old Jewish ritual that marks a boy’s transition to manhood – will be held in Israel, where Kristal will be joined by 100 family members who are coming from overseas.
 
Kristal was born on September 15, 1903 in Zarnow, Poland. It was in 1916 that Kristal would have celebrated his transformation into Jewish manhood. But the First World War intervened in his native Poland, delaying the essential ceremony. His father was serving in the Russian army, and his mother had died. But it did not stop him from taking on the duties and responsibilities of manhood. Kristal moved to Lodz in 1920 to work in his family’s candy business. He married at the age of 25 and continued to operate the family business.
Read more ..

Turkey on Edge

Turkey’s Bitter Learning by Suffering

September 4th 2016

Barricades Taksim Sq

Learning by suffering is a bitter scenario, but Turkey often does not even learn after suffering. The Gülenists’ July 15 coup attempt has left behind a fragile country that looks increasingly like a land consisting of large swathes of quagmire, lunatic asylums specializing in paranoia and schizophrenia, and an emerging class of opportunists. 

In all probability, crypto Gülenists are likely reporting to the law enforcement authorities non-Gülenists, non-Gülenists are likely reporting non-Gülenists, Gülenists are reporting Gülenists to save their skin with lighter sentences, and all past evil is being blamed on crypto, real, fake, one-time or non-Gülenists. Soon most players in this new Byzantine intrigue will probably get lost in the Turkish quagmire.  Read more ..

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 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 ..

Islam on Edge

Islam, Sexual Violence, and the West

July 29th 2016

Mosque in Berlin Germany
Mosques in Berlin

The mass rape of hundreds of German women mostly by Muslim migrants last New Year's was recently revealed to be far worse than originally acknowledged. Authorities now believe that more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted – more than twice the original estimate of 500. While more than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, only 120 suspects — about half of them recently arrived migrants — have been identified.

One explanation for why it took half a year for the full extent of the crime to be revealed is the German police's effort to avoid a public backlash against refugees. But ultimately, Holger Munch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, acknowledged to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that there is "a connection between the [sexual assaults] and the rapid migration in 2015." Read more ..


Saudi Arabia on Edge

Saudis Announce a Turn Away from Wahhabi Cultural Vandalism

July 21st 2016

Saudi princes

The rulers of Saudi Arabia have announced a new program for cultural renovation of architecture associated with the life of Muhammad. As described in the leading pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has begun planning rehabilitation of sites in Mecca, the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world, and Medina, which includes the Prophet's Shrine, where Muhammad is said to be buried.

The restorations would include Jebel Al-Nur, the "Mountain of Light" in Mecca, where Qur'an is believed to have been first revealed to Muhammad, and locations where he is said to have sojourned. Jebel Al-Nur is a key topic in this discussion. In Medina, sites identified with battles fought by the Muslims, and four early mosques, are due for reorganization and restructuring. Museums drawing on Islamic military history and other themes will be opened and guides to the attractions provided. Read more ..


Farhud 75

When Iraq Expelled Its Jews to Israel -- The Inside Story

June 4th 2016

Edwin Black

After Hitler's defeat in May 1945, many Nazis melted away from the Reich, smuggled out by such organizations as the infamous Odessa group and the lesser-known Catholic lay network Intermarium, as well as the CIA and KGB. They ensured the continuation of the Nazi legacy in the postwar Arab world.

Egypt was a prime destination for German Nazi relocation in the Arab world. Dr. Aribert Heim was notoriously known as "Dr. Death" for his grotesque pseudo-medical experiments on Jewish prisoners in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen concentration camps. He was fond of surgical procedures including organ removals without anesthesia, injecting gasoline into prisoners to observe the manner of death, and decapitating Jews with healthy teeth so he could cook the skulls clean to make desk decorations. Dr. Heim converted to Islam and became "Uncle Tarek" Hussein Farid in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived a happy life as a medical doctor for the Egyptian police.

 

Two of Goebbels's Nazi propagandists, Alfred Zingler and Dr. Johann von Leers, became Mahmoud Saleh and Omar Amin respectively, working in the Egyptian Information Department. In 1955, Zingler and von Leers helped establish the virulently anti-Semitic Institute for the Study of Zionism in Cairo. Hans Appler, another Goebbels propagandist, became Saleh Shafar who, in 1955, became an expert for an Egyptian unit specializing in anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hate propaganda. Erich Altern, a Gestapo agent, Himmler coordinator in Poland, and expert in Jewish affairs became Ali Bella, working as a military instructor in training camps for Palestinian terrorists. A German newspaper estimated there were fully 2,000 Nazis working openly and under state protection in Egypt. Read more ..


Confronting the Holocaust

Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina

May 5th 2016

Surviving Herreros

In recent years, some in the African-American community have expressed a disconnect to Holocaust topics, seeing the genocide of Jews as someone else's nightmare. After all, African-Americans are still struggling to achieve general recognition of the barbarity of the Middle Passage, the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression of Jim Crow, and the battle for modern civil rights. For many in that community, the murder of six million Jews and millions of other Europeans happened to other minorities in a faraway place where they had no involvement. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

How My Grandmother’s Chutzpah Helped Japan's Consul Save Thousands Of Jews

May 1st 2016

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Nathan Lewin and daughter/law partner Alyza D. Lewin. (photo credit: Rikki Lewin)

The story of Chiune Sugihara – the Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania, who disobeyed his government’s orders in 1940 and issued transit visas through Japan to thousands of Jews seeking to flee war-torn Europe — wasn’t widely known until 1985, when Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial authority, honored him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

But I grew up hearing Sugihara’s story because he saved my father’s life. My father, the attorney Nathan Lewin, is a Sugihara survivor. I also have a family connection to something that few others have known until very recently — the answer to a long-unsolved mystery surrounding Sugihara’s rescue of an estimated 6,000 Jews.

Why did the Dutch consul in Kovno, Jan Zwartendijk, begin issuing the “Curaçao visas” – the Dutch endorsements that appeared to permit travel to the island of Curacao, Holland’s territory off South America upon which Sugihara relied when issuing visas? Why did Zwartendijk begin writing in Jewish passports that a visa was not needed to travel to Curaçao? Read more ..


The Race for Driverless Cars

Driver Assistance Becomes Predictive

March 14th 2016

Highways

A 360 degree surround sensing system today creates a virtual image of a car's environment, enabling the electronic systems to keep the vehicle in the selected lane and to hit the brake if an obstacle emerges. Now Honda has added a predictive element - their Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) system can tell if a fellow car driver has the intention to cut in.

Has Honda the proverbial crystal ball? No - the i-ACC uses camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. The system runs an algorithm that can determine the likelihood of vehicles in adjacent lanes cutting-in. For this purpose it evaluates the relation between the vehicles in the surroundings and how they change. According to Honda, the predictable time horizon is about 2 seconds. And of course the outcome of the computation is not a 100% sure prediction, it is more like a guess, albeit a rather good one. 

The system has been devised by European and Japanese developers and is based on real-world research of typical European driving styles. It will make its debut this year on the new European CR-V, building upon the traditional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system.

Traditional ACC systems keep a preselected longitudinal velocity, which is only reduced for maintaining a safe distance to a car in front. However, if a vehicle cuts in from a neighboring lane, the traditional ACC system reacts later thus requiring stronger braking. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Ethel Black Inspired a Generation with Holocaust Survival

January 21st 2016

Holocaust cattle cars

The article has been updated to reflect the upcoming anniversary, known as yahrzeit, of Ethel Katz's death.

When 79-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor Ethel Katz died in West Palm Beach last week after a protracted illness, a profound legacy died with her. Ethel was born in Bialystok, Poland with the name Edjya Katz. For decades, her amazing story has been told and witnessed in newspaper and magazine articles, books, documentaries, TV presentations and lectures worldwide. Having personally seen the videos, testimonies, and confirmations from others, and also interviewed her in person ... one can only call her survival bone-chilling.

Her nightmare began in August 1943 in a shaking boxcar on its way to the Treblinka death camp.

As the 13-year-old Edjya squatted on the floor, hearing the thumping track below, it was impossible to comprehend the murderous plans for her and her family. At one point, her mother whispered to her, "You're a skinny one, Edjya." Her mother gestured toward the top of the boxcar, to the thin vent. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Dutch National Police Training Eagles to Grab Hostile Drones from the Sky

Flying Robot

The newest additions to the Dutch National Police (DNP) are North American "immigrants": bald eagles that are specially trained to take down airborne drones.

The initiative is a first for law enforcement, according to DNP officials. They announced in a statement, released Sept. 13, that the DNP is currently the only police force in the world to include raptors on its roster for drone defense.

For the past year, the DNP has tested eagles' prowess against flying drones, collaborating with a private company called Guard from Above that trains raptors to snatch drones out of the sky. The tests were so successful, the DNP reported, that the police force recently purchased juvenile bald eagles that it plans to train. Agents will work with the eagles hand in glove—literally, because eagle talons are extremely sharp. Read more ..


Europe on Edge

Europe Rethinks the Schengen Agreement

September 3rd 2015

Syrian Refugees

When France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, they envisioned a system in which people and goods could move from one country to another without barriers. This vision was largely realized: Since its implementation in 1995, the Schengen Agreement eliminated border controls between its signatories and created a common visa policy for 26 countries.

The treaty was a key step in the creation of a federal Europe. By eliminating border controls, member states gave up a basic element of national sovereignty. The agreement also required a significant degree of trust among its signatories, because it put the responsibility for checking foreigners' identities and baggage on the country of first entry into the Schengen area. Once people have entered a Schengen country, they can move freely across most of Europe without facing any additional controls. Read more ..


The Digital Edge

Drone Maps Hackable "Internet of Thing"Devices

August 10th 2015

Flying Robot

Using a flying drone capable of detecting Internet-connected devices, information security firm Praetorian (New York, NY) was able to identify over 1,600 unique IoT devices in a test flight over Austin, TX. Part of an IoT Map Project designed to map and examine the security of connected devices, the drone is able to collect data on ZigBee-connected devices up to 100 meters away by tracking their communications. According to the company, the drone can detect devices' security settings and manufacturers, as well as whether the devices are used in commercial, residential, or industrial areas.

"[The IoT devices] communicated over a wireless protocol called ZigBee. This protocol is open at a network level. So when the devices start connecting they send out beacon requests. We capture data based on this," says Praetorian vice president Paul West Jauregui. Read more ..


The Digital Edge

Phone Batteries Leak your Browsing History

August 5th 2015

Smart phone running voice recogniton

A European team of security researchers have identified a potential privacy invasion 'black hole' that could exploit phone batteries to pinpoint their owners and track them around the internet. The security issue centres around afeature of the HTML5 specification that allows websites to find out how much battery power a visitor has left on their laptop or smartphone. The security researchers, Lukasz Olejnik and Claude Castelluccia from INRIA Privatics with Gunes Acar and Claudia Diaz of KU Leuven, ESAT/COSIC and iMinds warn n their paper entitled ‘The leaking battery: A privacy analysis of the HTML5 Battery Status API’ that the information can be used to track browsers online.

The battery status API is currently supported in the Firefox, Opera and Chrome browsers, and was introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2012 to help websites conserve users’ energy. The energy saving feature enables a website or web-app to check when the phone user has little battery power left to allow the phone to switch to a low-power mode by disabling extraneous features to eke out the battery's energy.  The same information can be used to identify phones as they move around the internet, allowing people to be tracked. Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkish Journalists: Guilty Without Trial

July 23rd 2015

Erdogan

Two of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's children are better known by the public than the other two. His 34-year-old son, Bilal, made his debut at the Turkish hall of fame when recordings of phone-tapped conversations he had with [then prime minister] Erdogan were leaked on the internet.

The recordings appeared to capture the prime minister passionately instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of hidden funds from their private home in the midst of a corruption investigation. Although Erdogan later admitted that his private phones had been tapped, he rejected the telephone conversation with Bilal as "complete lies," fabricated by an Islamist group that wanted to discredit his government and take over state institutions in Turkey. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Foxman Exit Interview -- Predictions Were Terribly Wrong Q-A

July 10th 2015

Abraham Foxman

Looking back after 50 years of service to the Anti-Defamation League, retiring national director Abraham Foxman expressed passionate worry to journalist Edwin Black about the safety and security of Jews overseas and Israel’s position in the world. Excerpts from his exit interview follow, edited and condensed for continuity, clarity, and length.

 

Edwin Black: Looking back over a half century, how does it strike you?

Abraham Foxman: Boy, how wrong they were! When I came on this job, I read a lot of stuff about the future of the Jewish community. I wanted to know what I would be facing. One thing that the sociologists and prognosticators said 50 years ago was "Anti-Semitism, it’s a historical fact of the past. You don’t have to worry about it — we’re just going to point to it when we fight other prejudices." Boy how wrong they were! The other thing they said was “In 50 years, Israel will be a normal nation among all the nations.” Boy how wrong they were! Israel has become "the Jew amongst the nations." Read more ..


The New Egypt

Egypt Summons U.S. Ambassador Over MB Visit

June 9th 2015

Hate Obama Patterson

Egypt asked the U.S. ambassador in Cairo to account for the Obama administration's allowing Muslim Brotherhood officials to visit Washington for a private conference this week sponsored by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).

Egypt sought the recent meeting with Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to show its displeasure with American policy toward the Brotherhood, which it labels a terrorist organization.

Delegation members include Amr Darrag, whose handling of drafting and ratifying Egypt's December 2012 constitution led to fears the Brotherhood aimed to impose a theocracy; and Wael Haddara, a Canadian Brotherhood member who served as an adviser to deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Read more ..


The Way We Are

Abused Women Also Suffer Loss of a Sense of Belonging

May 26th 2015

Women in abusive relationships feel depressed not only from the violence but from the loss of their sense of belonging, a new University of Michigan study finds.

In a new study published in Violence Against Women, researchers examined the relationship between domestic abuse, belongingness and depression of 71 female patients in a Southeast primary care clinic.

Domestic abuse led to women having greater depressive symptoms, but losing a connection with the spouse, family or home also factored into the depression, said Edward Chang, U-M psychology professor and study's lead author.

The study's respondents ranged in age from 46 to 64. When asked about the frequency of being abused by a partner, 32 percent reported some form of abuse. The women rated if they felt a sense of belonging, as well assessed their levels of depression.

The findings not only build on earlier research, but they go further to support the contention that one compelling manner in which domestic abuse may lead to the development of depressive symptoms in women is through a loss in belongingness, Chang said. Read more ..


The Race for Biogas

Backyard Unit Eats Trash to make Biofuel

May 21st 2015

Arab Vendor

When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the sukkah of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during the Jewish harvest holiday last October, he was treated to a demo of a machine the government has given to Bedouin families to convert organic waste into clean biogas for cooking, heating and lighting, as well as organic liquid crop fertilizer.

"He got very excited and told us, 'Millions of women and children die each year due to indoor smoke from open fires. This is just the thing they need. The UN should be purchasing these units!' recalls Ami Amir of HomeBioGas, which develops and manufactures a new class of anaerobic biodigesters to convert organic waste to clean renewable energy. He asked us to be in touch with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to see where and when our systems could be deployed.” Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Israel’s Ambassador ‘Disappointed’ over Thai Royal’s Holocaust Denial

May 17th 2015

Holocaust Tattoo

Israel’s Ambassador to Thailand expressed extreme disappointment Thursday over 
statements made by a minor Thai royal denying the holocaust of WWII.
Ambassador Simon Roded expressed “disappointment and Extreme Regret” over the 
comment by ML Rungguna Kitiyakara, a descendent of 19th-century King Rama V of 
Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported. 
On his Facebook, ML Rungguna praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as a genius and 
patriot, and said the holocaust was “Propaganda”.
Mr Roded’s statement, written in Thai, said it was “a shame that someone with 
such opportunity, and education… would perpetuate a myth that history has 
proven false.”

Around 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Third Reich.

ML Rungguna wrote of his appreciation to Hitler on April 20, he Nazi leader’s 
birthday, He said he beleived Hitler made some mistakes but he was a genius and 
a patriot, so his life was worth studying. ML Rungguna viewed that Hitler was a statesman who had been destroyed by Jewish 
bankers and Zionists and been imputed as the bad guy for the holocaust which ML 
Rungguna claimed did not actually occur. It was propaganda to establish 
sympathy to expel and kill Palestinians from their homeland so the Jews would 
have their own state, he wrote.
Read more ..

Islam on Edge

Islamists Hack Another Secular Writer to Death in Bangladesh

May 13th 2015

Bengali Islamists

For the third time this year, Islamist radicals in Bangladesh hacked a secular writer to death in public. Four masked men chased down Ananta Bijoy Das Tuesday morning as Das left his home in Sylhet. They hacked him with machetes after running him down. "Ananta died on the spot," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Hasan told the Daily Star. "Ananta was an organiser of local progressive publication outlet Jukti (logic) and a relentless writer on science."

Das was 31.

On March 30, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, 27, was murdered on his way to work. Like Das, Babu's writings criticized religious fundamentalism. On Feb. 26, American citizen Avijit Roy was killed, and his wife severely injured, when attackers jumped them at a book fair. Roy had been threatened for his writings against religion, including his statement that religious extremism is like a virus: "if allowed to spread [it] will wreak havoc on society in epidemic proportions." Read more ..


The Digital Edge

Drivers Not Ready To Let Cars Take Over, Reveals Poll

May 12th 2015

Highways

Do car owners have confidence in algorithms and control units that eventually could take over the command over their vehicles? A recent study reveals deep-seated concerns.

The German subsidiary of IT consulting company CSC recently conducted a poll among a representative cross section of the population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland showed that though car drivers acknowledge that the digitization of the car offers some benefits, their confidence into this technology is not really unlimited.
Almost 70 percent of the respondents said they were afraid of malicious hackers taking over the car. Almost the same percentage said they simply don’t trust enough into the technology to leave the responsibility for driving to the machine. Two thirds expressed doubts that in the case of an accident the liability issues could be settled to their disadvantage.

Nevertheless, there was also a strong majority expecting that automated driving would improve traffic safety. Four out of five respondents found it essential that after an accident automatics systems such the eCall would speed first aid after an accident, and the same percentage said they expect that Connected Car schemes would spread information on accidents and other hazards quickly to other traffic participants.

“The Connected Car is one of the most crucial subjects for the automotive industry”, said Claus Schünemann, general manager of CSC Germany.  “Almost 70 percent of the consumers are in favour of this technology and regard it as a relief in long-distance highway travel or in dense commuter traffic. Read more ..


UK on Edge

How British Elections Represent the State of Europe

May 5th 2015

British army privates on parade

The United Kingdom is going to the polls on Thursday. Elections electrify the countries in which they are held, but in most cases they make little difference. In this case, the election is a bit more important. Whether Labour or the Tories win makes some difference, but not all that much. What makes this election significant is that in Scotland, 45 percent of the public voted recently to leave the United Kingdom. This has been dismissed as an oddity by all well-grounded observers. However, for unsophisticated viewers like myself, the fact that 45 percent of Scotland was prepared to secede was an extraordinary event.

Moreover, this election matters because UKIP — formerly the United Kingdom Independence Party — is in it, and polls indicate that it will win about 12 percent of the vote, while winning a handful of seats in Parliament. This discrepancy is due to an attribute of the British electoral system, which favors seats won over total votes cast. Read more ..


The Way We Are

Mental Disorders Don't Predict Future Violence

April 27th 2015

Click to select Image

Most psychiatric disorders - including depression -- do not predict future violent behavior, according to new Northwestern Medicine longitudinal study of delinquent youth. The only exception is substance abuse and dependence.

"Our findings are relevant to the recent tragic plane crash in the French Alps. Our findings show that no one could have predicted that the pilot - who apparently suffered from depression - - would perpetrate this violent act," said corresponding author Linda Teplin, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "It is not merely a suicide, but an act of mass homicide."

The study did find, however, that some delinquent youth with current psychiatric illness may also be violent. For example, males with mania were more than twice as likely to report current violence than those without. But these relationships are not necessarily causal.

Delinquent youth with psychiatric illness have multiple risk factors -- such as living in violent and impoverished neighborhoods. These environments may increase their risk for violent behavior as well as worsen their psychiatric illness.

"Providing comprehensive treatment to persons with some psychiatric disorders could reduce violence," said Katherine Elkington, study first author and an assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School and New York Psychiatric Institute. "We must improve how we address multiple problems -- including violent behavior -- as part of psychiatric treatment." Read more ..


The Digital Edge

Wearable Cameras Next Big Market for Image Sensors

April 20th 2015

Baby Boomer

Annual shipments of wearable cameras will surpass 30 million units by 2020 according to market research firm Tractica. GoPro rugged and waterproof cameras for sports applications are leading the field at present but more general consumer, enterprise and public safety applications are not far behind and will drive strong growth in the second half of this decade, Tractica claims. Wearable cameras are a logical extension of the smartphone camera, enabling hands-free functionality that allows users to capture both planned and spontaneous moments by using body or head mounts or by clipping the camera to clothing.

The market for wearable cameras is an early stage and experiencing rapid growth as the use cases for wearable cameras expand. Tractica forecasts that wearable camera shipments will increase from 5.6 million in 2014 to 30.6 million units annually by 2020. That is equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period of about 32 percent. Read more ..


Technology and Society

The Contradictory Effects of Facebook on Mental Health

April 14th 2015

Facebook can help people recover from mental health problems but it needs to be used cautiously and strategically as it can also make symptoms worse, new research shows.

Dr Keelin Howard told the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Glasgow on April 15 that users she interviewed found their paranoid, manic and depressive symptoms could worsen as well as improve.

Dr Howard, of Buckinghamshire New University, carried out research with 20 people aged 23-68 who had experienced conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

She told the conference that social media like Facebook could provide a source of social support and connection that were important for recovery. Some participants were positive about Facebook, saying it helped them recover by making them feel less alone, allowing them to express themselves and be part of an online community. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

Cool Roofs Might Be Enough to Save Cities from Climate Overheating

April 13th 2015

Downtown LA Neighborhood

Crickets chirp and bees buzz from sedum flower to flower atop the post office in midtown Manhattan during a visit to the 9th Avenue facility on a perfect New York City fall day. On a sprawling roof that covers most of a city block a kind of park has been laid, sucking up carbon dioxide and other air pollution, filtering rainfall, making it less acidic.

Such verdant roofs may form part of an effective strategy for both cooling buildings and helping combat climate change, according to recent research. Other solutions cited in a study include white roofs that reflect more sunlight back to space or hybrid roofs that combine aspects of white and green, or planted, roofs. Read more ..


Qatar on Edge

How Many Qatari Nationals Are There?

April 12th 2015

Qatari Skyline

Most states do not divulge all demographic parameters of their population. At times, this data is unavailable due to the weakness of the regime as is the case with many sub-Saharan African countries and, more recently, with Yemen, Syria, and Iraq due to their prolonged civil wars. In other countries, such as the United States, Belgium, and France, there is a lack of data on the religious composition of the population due to official separation of church and state.

While none of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states[1] have ever published the religious composition of their indigenous populations, Qatar has lagged further behind: It does not even make public the total size of its indigenous population, considered "a national secret." As the online editor of a Qatari-based business publication was told when approaching the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) for the data: "We regret to inform you that the required data is not available."[2] Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkey's "Foreign" Citizens

April 10th 2015

Kurdish Newspaper

In 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's official news agency, Wafa, reported that Israel had released poison-resistant rats to drive Arab residents of Jerusalem out of their homes. Scientists are still trying to understand how rats are trained to distinguish between Muslim, Christian and Jewish residents of a city.

In 2011, Saudi Arabia announced that it had "detained" a vulture carrying an Israeli leg band. The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, and was condemned for being a part of a "Zionist espionage plot." We are still waiting to hear if the bird was beheaded or sentenced to life in prison. Read more ..


The Digital Edge

The Internet of Things: How will the Dream Come True?

April 9th 2015

Retail Sales Target Cashier

Matthias Poppel, chief operating officer for EnOcean GmbH claims that all of the technologies are in place to allow the Internet of Things to flourish. All that is needed are the standards and the vision to overcome the fragmented nature of the applications space.

A major challenge implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) is deploying large numbers of sensor and actuator nodes and connecting them in a suitable way. The characteristics of energy-harvesting wireless technology make it the perfect fit to bridge the last mile in an IoT network: small devices working without cables and batteries allowing a simple installation as well as quite easy gradual up-scaling in the number of deployed units. At the same time, the components require minimal service and maintenance effort. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Kenya Shuts Down Somali Remittance Firms, Freezes Accounts

April 8th 2015

Somali Militants2

Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia's central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.

The killing of 148 students by Somalia's al-Shabaab at Garissa, about 200km from the border, has piled pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to deal with the Islamists who have killed more than 400 people in Kenya in the last two years.

Kenya's biggest selling Daily Nation newspaper said on Wednesday that the government has "frozen the accounts of 86 individuals and entities suspected to be financing terrorism in the country", including Somali remittance firms. Read more ..


The Digital Edge

Wearable Ring for Gesture Control

April 6th 2015

Woman Finge/Handr manicured

In the spirit of Lord of the Rings, could a ring, in this case a clever piece of technology, become a powerful tool for controlling everything. Ring from Logbar Inc., CA is a wearable input device that lets the user perform a multitude of tasks such as gesture control of smart appliances and devices, send texts, pay bills and so on. The company is currently running a kickstarter campaign and to get the device mass produced, with shipping expected to start in 2014.

Ring uses a Bluetooth Low Energy signal to connect to smart devices. Basically Ring detects the movement of the finger that is inside and identifies the gesture being made. Gestures can be performed anytime and anywhere. A lot of the companies IP is in the development of this gesture recognition technology with a particular focus on the accuracy of recognition and power consumption.

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China Rising

China's Fragile Evolution

March 24th 2015

Soldiers

Last week, China's anti-corruption campaign took a significant turn, though a largely overlooked one. The Supreme People's Court released a statement accusing former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, the highest-ranked official thus far implicated in China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign, of having "trampled the law, damaged unity within the Communist Party, and conducted non-organizational political activities." In Chinese bureaucratic speak, this was only a few steps shy of confirming earlier rumors that Zhou and his former political ally and one-time rising star from Chongqing, Bo Xilai, had plotted a coup to pre-empt or repeal the ascension of Chinese President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Thus, the court's statement marks a radical departure from the hitherto depoliticized official language of the anti-corruption campaign. Read more ..


The Way We Are

Teen Tobacco Use Decreases with Increased Minimum Age of Access

March 17th 2015

Increasing the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products will prevent or delay tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

The committee that conducted the study included Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Patrick O'Malley, research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

The team estimated the likely reduction in tobacco-use initiation that would be achieved by raising the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products to 19, 21 or 25 years old. They used two tobacco-use simulation models to quantify the accompanying public health outcomes. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Renewed Palestinian Rivalry Threatens Rebuilding in Gaza

March 13th 2015

Palestinian Authority police

Palestinian Authority security forces arrested up to 100 Hamas members during a series of raids in the West Bank over the past two weeks. The detentions mark only the latest setback in Fatah-Hamas relations following the adoption of an unity agreement last spring.

According to Middle East Monitor, many of the Palestinians arrested include "university professors, schools teachers, doctors, imams" with some previously spending time in Israeli jails. Additionally, the PA has failed to disclose a reason for the arrests or charged any Hamas members publicly.Hamas leaders call the detentions arbitrary and politically motivated, saying that the PA feels threatened by Hamas's rising popularity in the West Bank. Meanwhile, other Hamas officials said that Fatah is "part of the occupation system and is only working to preserve [Israel's] security." However, it remains unclear if the crackdown is related to recent PLO deliberations to end security cooperation with Israel over Jerusalem's withholding of tax revenues from the cash-strapped PA. Read more ..


The Way We Are

Are Wealthy People Much Happier than the Rest of Us?

February 28th 2015

Researchers are investigating new directions in the science of spending. Four presentations during the symposium "Happy Money 2.0: New Insights Into the Relationship Between Money and Well-Being," delve into the effects of experiential purchases, potential negative impacts on abundance, the psychology of lending to friends, and how the wealthy think differently about well-being. The symposium takes place during the SPSP 16th Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

Research published in the journal Psychological Science has shown that experiential purchases--money spent on doing--may provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having). Participants reported that waiting for an experience elicits significantly more happiness, pleasantness and excitement than waiting for a material good. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Norwegians to Form Human Shield Protecting Oslo Synagogue

February 19th 2015

Following the terror attacks in Copenhagen, where a Jewish man was killed last weekend, a group of young Muslims in Norway are organizing a peace rally at an Oslo synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath this upcoming Saturday, February 21.

One of the rally organizers, Yousef Assidiq told Tazpit News Agency that it was important for him to let those who wish to harm Jews know that they will have to get by him first. “I want to say on Saturday that if anyone wants to attack Jews either verbally or physically, that they will have to go through me first. An attack on Jews is an attack on me and on all Muslims,” Assidiq told Tazpit.

According to the Facebook page for the event, the participants will be forming a human ring around the synagogue in order to protect the Jewish worshippers inside. “When Jews are afraid to wear the kippa, the Star of David, and are afraid to go to the synagogue, then it feels like an attack on me,” said Assidiq. Read more ..



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