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The Edge of Film

The Oscars Reflect Talent, but also Money and Politics

February 10th 2017

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

The 89th Academy Awards are upon us, and critics and Hollywood insiders are placing bets on which nominees will go home with the coveted statuette. The idea of the Academy is to judge films on their artistic merit, but as always, political considerations and even current events can have an impact on who wins an Oscar.

Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic musical La La Land may be the big winner this year. The film offers a tribute to Hollywood musicals, has great cinematography, good music and a tear-jerking story; but, some critics question if the film really deserves all of its 14 nominations. That number has been equaled by only two other movies throughout Hollywood history: the 1950s drama All About Eve starring Bette Davis, and James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic.

Ads, money influence Oscars

Giovanna Chesler, director of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University in Virginia, says that as in any other campaign, robust advertising and a large amount of money can have as much influence as artistic merit in securing a film’s road to the Oscars.

She says that in some categories, such as the Documentary category, filmmakers have to submit a $50,000 fee just to be considered for a nomination. She says such fees guarantee screenings of the prospective nominees’ films in core markets during the Oscar season.

A filmmaker herself, Chesler says she has renewed faith in the Oscars because, as she puts it, “in this year’s nominees you see more talent reflected, not just the marketing ability of the industry.”

Oscars less white

There are more nominations for minority films and actors. She points to art films like Moonlight, a coming-of-age drama about an African-American boy growing up in a drug-infested community, and Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of the play Fences, about a struggling husband and father who, despite his personal flaws, is working hard to make his mark in the world. Read more ..


The Edge of Nature

How Plants Evolved into Carnivores

February 7th 2017

Amazon rainforest

Any insect unlucky enough to land on the mouth-like leaves of an Australian pitcher plant will meet a grisly end. The plant's prey is drawn into a vessel-like ‘pitcher’ organ where a specialized cocktail of enzymes digests the victim.

Now, by studying the pitcher plant's genome—and comparing its insect-eating fluids to those of other carnivorous plants—researchers have found that meat-eating plants the world over have hit on the same deadly molecular recipe, even though they are separated by millions of years of evolution.

“We’re really looking at a classic case of convergent evolution,” says Victor Albert, a plant-genome scientist at the University of Buffalo, New York, who co-led the study. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Obama Gave Unwritten Consent to Iran on anti-Israel Missiles

February 4th 2017

Iranian Qiam missile launch

On January 30, 2017, U.S. sources announced that Iran had conducted a failed test of a new ballistic missile,the Khorramshahr. According to reports, the missile exploded after a 965-km flight.[1] Both Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif (on January 31) and Defense Minister Dehghan (on February 1) stressed that Iran "asks permission from no one in the matter of its defense program."[2]

It should be emphasized that contrary to statements by Iranian regime spokesmen who say that Iran's missile program is defensive, missiles with a 2,000-km range are strictly offensive and strategic. This is why Iran has faced constant demands to stop developing them. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Dissidents Train Federal Bureaucrats how to Disobey Trump's Policies

February 2nd 2017

Truman Bldg/State Dept HQ

According to a report by the Washington Post, some 180 federal employees have registered for training on the February 4-5 weekend in both the rights of workers and in civil disobedience. The report said that dozens of federal bureaucrats attended a support group that foments opposition to the Trump administration, less than two weeks after the inauguration President Donald Trump. 
 
While the Post report pointed out the obvious public protests that have emerged since the beginning of the Trump administration, “there’s another level of resistance to the new president that is less visible and potentially more troublesome,” it said. This “growing wave of opposition,” the report said, is from within the federal government and federal employees who are supposed to implement the new president’s policies to the administration: a growing wave of opposition from the federal workers charged with implementing any new president’s agenda.
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

My Journey Out of Radical Islam

January 28th 2017

ISIS Group with Flags

I grew up in Rawalpindi, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, in a family who had links with the Deoband school of thought (A sub-sect of Sunni Islam in the sub-continent) and Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist Party in the sub-continent. I was inspired by the influential Islamist scholar of the 20th century, the founder of Jamaat -e-Islami, Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi.

Maududi thought that a state could either be religious or irreligious. Therefore, he did not agree with the view that secularism is just the separation of religion from a state's affairs. In fact, he strongly argued that secularism would give rise to atheism, or a lack of belief, in society. He saw religion as the ultimate source of morality, therefore, when people become un-Islamic, society would also become unethical. Read more ..


The War Against Christianity

One Million Christians Reportedly Martyred in Ten Years

January 20th 2017

Coptic Girl

Nearly 1 million Christians have been murdered for their faith over the last decade, according to research conducted by a think tank affiliated with the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Additionally, the annual report by Gordon-Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity found that as many as 90,000 Christians were martyred in the last year, or approximately 900,000 or more.
 
The finding that one Christian every six minutes were killed in 2016 was leaked by Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne in a December 2016 interview. The report on the leak received considerable media attention before the actual release of the annual report. The center asserts that an average of 90,000 Christians have died each year on average from 2005 to 2015.
 
An email from the organization to supporters read, "In the last week, several news organizations reported on the persecution of Christians around the world and cited our figure of 90,000 Christian martyrs in 2016." 
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

U.S. Refusing to Intervene as Ex-CIA Agent Faces Extradition, Prison, in Italy

January 14th 2017

Prison bars

Time continues to tick away for former CIA agent Sabrina de Sousa, who faces extradition from Portugal to Italy Tuesday to face a four-year jail sentence for her involvement in the highly classified Bush era extraordinary rendition of a radical Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has been aggressively advocating on her behalf.

An Italian court convicted de Sousa in absentia in 2009 for allegedly planning the operation. None of the defendants were informed of the charges against them by their Italian court-appointed lawyers. She never was informed of the charges against her before the trial.

"The trial was a prosecutor's dream. You have a court where you have no American defendants," de Sousa said. Read more ..


The Edge of Science

Scientific Breakthroughs in 2017 May "Blow Your Mind"

January 11th 2017

Research and Development Chemistry

The Pentagon’s research and development division, DARPA—the creative force behind the internet and GPS—retooled itself three years ago to create a new office dedicated to unraveling biology’s engineering secrets. The new Biological Technologies Office (BTO) has a mission to “harness the power of biological systems” and design new defense technology. Over the past year, with a budget of about $296 million, it has been exploring challenges including memory improvement, human–machine symbiosis and speeding up disease detection and response.

DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is hoping for some big returns. The director of its BTO, neuroprosthetic researcher Justin Sanchez, recently spoke with Scientific American about what to expect from his office in 2017, including work on neural implants to aid healthy people in their everyday lives and other advances that he says will “change the game” in medicine. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Assange: Russian government not the source of WikiLeaks emails

January 4th 2017

Hilary Clinton

Hannity sat down with Assange in London's Ecuadorian embassy, where the Australian native has been holed up for five years battling extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges. Part I of the interview is set to air Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." 

see http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/03/assange-russian-government-not-source-wikileaks-emails.html

In excerpts released prior to airing, Assange is adamant that the hacked emails his organization released of Clinton official John Podesta did not come from Russia, as the Obama administration has claimed.

“We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party,” Assange said.

More than 50,000 emails were released during the 2016 presidential campaign, exposing dubious practices at the Clinton Foundation, top journalists working closely with the Clinton campaign, key Clinton aides speaking derisively of Catholics and a top Democratic National Committee official providing debate questions to Clinton in advance.

Hannity told Fox News' Bill Hemmer "I believe everything (Assange) said," and praised the Internet activist for his commitment to government transparency. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu Go Visceral

December 30th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

How to explain the recent uproar in U.S.-Israel relations? I refer to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain at the U.N. Security Council, precisely contradicting his own views of just a few years earlier; Secretary of State John Kerry's 75-minute rant against Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; and Netanyahu's intemperate responses, such as warning the New Zealand government that its support for the UNSC resolution amounts to a "declaration of war."

High politics of this sort is usually viewed through the lens of ideas and principles. But at times, it's better to leave all that behind and look at psychology - in other words, the basic human emotions and relations we all experience.

Read more ..

The Race for Alternative Fuels

Recapping My Decade of Using and Experimenting With Alternative Fuels

December 19th 2016

Sugar Cane

I first learned about the potential of alternative engine fuels in the late 1970's while doing some unrelated marketing research in the giant New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I came across a book that described turning corn and other farm crops into ethanol and methanol.

For a guy who grew up primarily in Brooklyn and Queens, farming was as alien to me as the dark side of the moon. Nevertheless, the story was riveting because it presented economic possibilities that made my head spin: replacing foreign petroleum oil fuels with domestically produced fuels from crops...WOW!

With the 1970's oil crisis still very much on my mind (and on the minds of most Americans), it was a thrilling discovery. But as I was busy trying to build an advertising agency the last thing I could focus on was where to build silos in NYC to house all the harvested crops needed to produce biofuels. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Three States Find Dource of Election Day Hacks

December 17th 2016

Voting Booth

According to WSB-TV Atlanta, three state election agencies are confirming that their systems were subjected to cyber attacks linked to Department of Homeland Security IP addresses. The report says that Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia have reported attacks. Aaron Diamant of WSB-TV posted on Twitter, “Documents we just got show WV & KY elections agencies link suspected cyber atracks [sic] to same DHS IP address as GA incident.”
 
In an interview with Diamant, the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Kemp, said that his agency has endured cyber attacks since February. All of the intrusions have been traced back to internet provider addresses for the federal Department of Homeland Security. "We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. "We need to know." Kemp has informed President-elect Donald Trump of the developments and has demanded an investigation.
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Trump’s Border Wall--A Deeper Look

December 15th 2016

Deer at US Mexico border

One of the main issues that propelled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to victory was the promise of a wall being built at the United States border with Mexico. The response by the news media, their favorite Democratic politicians and illegal-immigration advocates was astounding, with newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet awash in comments that Trump was a racist, a bigot, and a xenophobic bully.

But the truth — noticeably avoided by the media — is that the U.S. Congress passed a bill and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006 ordering a wall to be built at the U.S.-Mexican border and more Border Patrol agents should be hired for the Southern border.

“The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, required DHS to complete construction by December 31, 2008, of either 370 miles or other mileage determined by the Secretary, of reinforced fencing along the southwest border wherever the Secretary determines it would be most practical and effective in deterring smugglers and aliens attempting illegal entry,” according to Global Security. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Dr. Ben Carson: Another Chapter in a Remarkable Life

December 8th 2016

Armstrong_Williams

In recent days the media has been abuzz with speculation over cabinet appointments within the incoming President-elect Donald Trump administration.  Specifically, much talk has focused on Dr. Ben Carson and his announcement that he was not interested in serving in a cabinet post.

Observers have tried to read the tea leaves and read into some underlying story as to how Dr. Carson arrived at this decision and what it signals. However, they are missing the point.

I have known Dr. Carson and his family for 25 years. This is a man who possesses remarkable vision.  He imagined possibilities in his chosen field of medicine and then made them a reality.   

He was the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States at the age of 33 when appointed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984. He has served on the boards of major companies like Costco and Kellogg, received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, numerous national merit citations, and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. And yet, arguably the most important thing that makes Dr. Benjamin Carson a fantastic appointee for the cabinet position of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is his compassion.

Dr. Carson believes that whenever there is a concentration of people with a lot of poverty, it doesn’t matter what their race is. A multitude of conflict and the types of trouble we have seen over the past decade will continue if we aren’t able to carry out the mission of HUD. HUD's mission to create "strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all… improving the quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Read more ..


Democrats in Disarray

In Private Fundraiser, Ellison Blasted Israeli Influence Over U.S. Policy

November 30th 2016

boycott Israel t-shirt

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's announcement earlier this month that he wants to be the Democratic National Committee's next chairman drew quick support from several key lawmakers, including Jewish senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders.

Ellison backers also have defended him against claims he may hold anti-Semitic views in addition to being anti-Israel. A column in Israel's liberal daily Haaretz quotes two rabbis praising Ellison, D-Minn., as "the best of our constitutional democracy and the best of America" and "an extraordinary leader. Anyone who would associate him with any kind of hatred hasn't met him and certainly hasn't worked with him."

A 2010 audio of Ellison speaking at a private fundraiser obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism calls such praise into question. In a fairly intimate setting, Ellison lashed out at what he sees as Israel's disproportionate influence in American foreign policy. That will change, he promised, as more Muslims gained political influence: Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkey's Erdoğan Continues Harsh Repression of Political Opponents

November 23rd 2016

Erdogan

Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears as the sole person in his country's politics who knows what he wants. Erdoğan seeks absolute power and acts against all obstacles to his ambitions. He is eager to identify new "enemies" whose purported conspiracies he believes justify his harsh rule.

Through the end of October and most of November, Erdoğan has carried out a spree of enhanced repressive measures. This latest onslaught reflects his current fixation on a referendum, proposed for spring 2017, to ratify or reject constitutional amendments that would provide a dramatic increase in his presidential powers. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Infighting Clouds Upcoming Palestinian Leadership Gathering

November 21st 2016

Palestinian Authority police

Hatem Abu Riziq used to prowl the narrow alleyways of the West Bank's largest refugee camp battling the Israeli army. But these days he is turning his gun's barrel toward the Palestinian leadership.

With the long-ruling Palestinian Fatah faction torn by rivalries, fierce shootouts between Palestinian security forces and Fatah-aligned gunmen have erupted in recent months, plunging the Balata camp into unrest and lawlessness.

The violence, much of it directed at a Fatah leadership seen as corrupt and out of touch, comes as the movement prepares to hold an overdue leadership conference at the end of the month and reflects a combustible power struggle between the faction's aging leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, and exiled rival Mohammed Dahlan, a former top aide who has the backing of some gunmen and disaffected Fatah activists. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Europe's Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat

November 14th 2016

Syrian Rebel w/SAW

Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe's terror threat. The following examples came during a 24 hour window earlier this month: "Schiphol Airport Was Possibly A Target Of Terror Cell That Attacked Paris;" "Police In Brussels Stabbed In Possible Terror Attack;" and "MI5 Missed Chance To Foil Paris And Brussels Attacks."

It is news to no one that Islamic terrorism is everywhere now, and principally in Northern and Central Europe. But the three news stories, and the Schiphol and MI5 revelations in particular, demonstrate the enormity of the challenges now facing European counterterrorism officials. Read more ..


Poland on Edge

A Museum Becomes a Battlefield Over Poland’s History

November 12th 2016

Holocaust cattle cars

Conceived nearly a decade ago in a moment of pan-European 
optimism, the Museum of the Second World War here seeks to tell a story of 
devastation that transcended national boundaries. Its collection includes 
Soviet and American tanks; keys to the homes of Jews murdered by their Polish 
neighbors in the village of Jedwabne; flags from the Polish Home Army, which 
fought the Nazis; and an Enigma encoding machine.

But today, this state-financed museum’s fate is uncertain, caught up in the 
country’s cultural and political battles. After five years of construction, at 
a cost of 449 million zlotys (about $114 million), the museum may not open in 
January, as scheduled. Even if it does, the government may starve it of 
funding.

Piotr Glinski, the culture minister of Poland’s conservative government, has 
criticized the museum’s expansive approach and says it should focus more on the 
Polish experience. In a move that would oust the museum’s director, the 
minister has called for the museum to merge with another museum, which exists 
only in name. That institution is dedicated to the Battle of Westerplatte, the 
first battle of the war in September 1939, when Polish forces fended off the 
Nazis before surrendering — an event he regards as more symbolic of heroic 
Polish self-defense.
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Social media promotes false narrative of attacks on Muslimscrime

November 11th 2016

Facebook page

Online media and newspapers were quick to pick up a story that Muslim female student in Louisiana was assaulted by two white men wearing Donald Trump clothing who allegedly stole her headscarf and wallet. The assault supposedly took place just hours after President-elect Trump’s electoral victory.

The female student at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette alleged that she was walking on campus at 11:00 a.m. on November 10 when two white men descended from a grey four-door sedan and struck her with the metal object and knocked her to the ground, according to local reports. The men allegedly tore off the student’s headscarf and stole her wallet. She claimed that they kicked her as well. She told police that one of the men was wearing a white cap that had the word “Trump” on it. While local authorities did not say whether the alleged victim is Muslim, they did describe her headscarf as a “hijab,” a garment worn by Muslim women. Read more ..


Vote 2016

CNN Asked Democrats For Questions In Advance Of Interviewing Trump, Cruz

November 7th 2016

CNN

In emails revealed by the WikiLeaks hacking organization led by open-government advocate Julian Assange, CNN asked staff at the Democratic National Committee to pitch questions to ask Republican presidential primary contenders Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the early months of 2016. Entitled “Cruz on CNN,” an email sent by DNC research director Lauren Dillon on April 28 to fellow Democrats says, “CNN is looking for questions. Please send some topical/interesting ones.”
 
Days before, in advance of an interview Trump was scheduled to have with CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer, Dillon asked for questions, too. In an email entitled, “CNN questions for Trump,” Dillon wrote, “Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed.” 
Read more ..

The Digital Edge

IoT Growing Faster Than the Ability to Defend It

November 2nd 2016

Google Glass

With this year’s approaching holiday gift season the rapidly growing “Internet of Things” or IoT—which was exploited to help shut down parts of the Web this past Friday—is about to get a lot bigger, and fast. Christmas and Hanukkah wish lists are sure to be filled with smartwatches, fitness trackers, home-monitoring cameras and other wi-fi–connected gadgets that connect to the internet to upload photos, videos and workout details to the cloud. Unfortunately these devices are also vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software (malware) that can be used to turn them into virtual weapons without their owners’ consent or knowledge.

The recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks—in which tens of millions of hacked devices were exploited to jam and take down internet computer servers—is an ominous sign for the Internet of Things. A DDoS is a cyber attack in which large numbers of devices are programmed to request access to the same Web site at the same time, creating data traffic bottlenecks that cut off access to the site. In this case the still-unknown attackers used malware known as “Mirai” to hack into devices whose passwords they could guess, because the owners either could not or did not change the devices’ default passwords. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

The War on Fat Was Started by Sugar

November 1st 2016

teen obese belly

Just when we thought we had it all figured out… what was the good fat: olive oil… what was the bad fat: lard & butter. Just when we got used to fat free milk and yogurt, those low-cal store-bought cookies over homemade cookies, and the slimming breakfast shakes, BAM! We get the smack down. Turns out all those diet drinks and low fat foods we were consuming were low in fat but full of sugar. And, surprise, surprise. Fat isn’t the culprit for making America obese and diabetic. It’s been the sugar all along. SMH! Last month, The New York Times exposed the sugar industry’s false “scientific” health data showing the increase in heart disease caused by a diet that includes fat. They covered their own sweet buns about the unsubstantiated risk of a high fat diet and the very real dangers of sugar. Read more ..


Ancient Israel

Ancient Muslim Inscription Proves Jewish Ties to Temple Mount

October 31st 2016

DomeOfTheRock

Read more ..

Israelis and Palestinians

Moscow Seeks to Host ‘Meaningful’ Israeli-Palestinian Talks

October 28th 2016

West Bank Construction

An Israeli-Palestinian summit in Moscow would be a “thoroughly prepared” event aimed at reviving the reconciliation process, rather than yet another meeting for the sole purpose of holding talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry says. Moscow is continuing consultations with both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but does not “force” the events, because the revival of reconciliation talks is a “sensitive matter,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS upon his return from Israel on Thursday.

“This issue is very sensitive for the both sides. That’s why we’re currently undergoing the process of preparations and coordination with both sides. So far it happens through diplomatic contacts,” Gatilov said.

Read more ..

Inside Israel

Israeli Humanitarian Aid Worldwide on Display

October 25th 2016

Israeli Rescue team in Haiti

ISRAEL21c, a non-profit organization and online news source, has launched an interactive, multi-media exhibition that explores the global reach of Israel’s humanitarian aid and development assistance.

“My Name Is Israel” is the second in ISRAEL21c’s series of Do-It-Yourself exhibitions for readers and users. The exhibit covers 15 ways that Israel has sent aid to 140 countries, including disaster relief, community building and medical care.

It include articles, photos and videos that show disaster relief for earthquakes, floods and hurricanes—including search and rescue, medical aid, psychological assistance, and post-disaster assistance efforts—as well as efforts to bring clean water and efficient agricultural practices to developing countries. Read more ..


The Race for Energy Conservation

Vampire Power and the Saving Energy Little and Often

October 19th 2016

LED bulb

Jim Bird of Texas Instruments points out that "standby" may be a convenience in home electronics but it is also an energy drain. More needs to be done in saving energy on a global basis but small but ubiquitous changes can have a great impact.

Much time is spent discussing the need for more efficient use of limited energy resources, and with good reason. Energy demand continues to grow and the number of loads is predicted to climb exponentially as Internet of Things (IoT) deployment becomes real. In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published an enlightening (and somewhat sobering) document titled More Data, Less Power.

It’s a 170-page fact-laden discussion of global IT energy usage with recommendations for managing the predicted growth of worldwide power consumption over the next few decades. The list of contributors is impressive, including the U.S. Department of Energy, tier-one telecom manufacturers, big data, big network and everyone in-between.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Hillary Clinton Backers Worried About Clinton Foundation Scandals

October 17th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s aides and supporters expressed concern about public perception of the Clinton family’s charitable enterprise, with one left-leaning pundit writing that Clinton seemed unaware of the “danger” of her “money problem,” according to purported emails just disclosed by Wikileaks.

Opinion columnist Brent Budowsky was chiefly concerned with the potential damage that could be caused by the publication of Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book “Clinton Cash,” emails show. The bestseller explored whether there was a relationship between donations made from foreign entities to The Clinton Foundation and the contracts that were approved by then-Secretary of State Clinton for foreign companies. Hillary Clinton has denied the allegations of quid pro quo.

“I have been vigorously criticizing the Schweizer book, but I absolutely believe the Clintons have a money problem, and they are not fully aware of the danger of this,” Brent Budowsky wrote in an April 26, 2015, email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

Budowsky warned that congressional Republicans could try to ensnare Clinton in “a long-term perjury trap and endless cycles of news stories.” He was also troubled the public could grow weary “talking about Clinton issues and may simply want to move on.” Read more ..


London on Edge

British Home Office Censors Report Accusing Government of Allowing "Muslim-Only Zones"

October 15th 2016

Shariah demonstration

Read more ..

Sweden on Edge

Swedes Attack Camp After Migrants Rape Wheel-Chair-Bound Woman

October 13th 2016

Syria protest

Swedes are outraged after reports circulated that seven male asylum-seekers attacked and raped a wheelchair-bound woman.  Swedish poilce report that the 30-year-old disabled woman was gang raped by the six men after she had asked to use a toilet at an asylum center after sharing a taxi with a resident of the center. Once she was invited inside, she was raped by the man and six of his fellow migrants. Furious Swede assailed a migrant reception center in Visby, chucking rocks at it. Attorney Staffan Fredriksson, the victim's representative, told local newspaper Aftonbladlet: "She followed him in and had no fears that something would happen. Then the man took advantage of the situation. The abuse started in the toilet. Where they came from we don’t know. This was going on for a couple of hours. She got paralyzed in this situation and was not able to bring herself to resist physically, other than saying no.”
Read more ..

Media on Edge

European Human Rights Chiefs Order British Press NOT To Reveal When Terrorists Are Muslims

October 7th 2016

Hamas head

European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim. 

The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming  threat to freedom speech. 

The report, drawn up by the Council of Europe's human rights watchdog, blamed the recent increase in hate crimes and racism in the UK on the 'worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians', although the research was done before the EU referendum campaign had even begun.

The suggestions sent to Downing Street urging the UK Government to reform criminal law and freedom of the press and in a brutal criticism of the British press, the report recommends ministers 'give more rigorous training' to journalists. Read more ..


The Edge of Justice

Texas Prisons Ban Dante's 'Inferno' but okay with 'Mein Kampf'

September 29th 2016

jail door closeup

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has banned about 15,000 books from the prisons it operated in the Lone Star State. Among the banned books are those by former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sojourner Truth. But Texas has an open mind about Adolf Hitler. The totalitarian dictator’s signal work, “Mein Kampf,” is available to readers in Texas penitenciaries. Also allowed is “My Awakening,” by white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan official David Duke.
 
This comes during “Banned Books Week”: an annual event noting books targeted by official censors. Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the American Library Assn., a Banned Books Week sponsor, condemned the Texas ban of "Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel" by Dan Slater. The non-fiction "Wolf Boys" is about two Texas teenagers who go to work for the murderous Mexican narcoterrorist organization, the Zetas, and are then caught and sentenced.  Both teenagers reside in Texas prisons.
Read more ..

The Caliphate

Beyond Mosul

September 28th 2016

Syrian Refugees

Black smoke was rising from the Qayara oilfelds as the refugees huddled in the shade.  They had arrived that morning – from ISIS controlled territory a little further west.

These  refugees had come from Jahala village.  They were Sunni Arabs.   They had elected earlier that day to risk an escape from IS territory across the desert – a route ending in certain death if caught by the jihadis.  ‘ISIS have set fire to the oil fields,’  one of them told us. ‘The smoke makes it impossible to breathe.  12 or so people every day need the hospital. It’s impossible to stay.’ Read more ..


Inside the Israeli-American Community

IAC National Conference Marks Transformative Moment for Israeli-American Community as 2,100 Gather in Washington, D.C.

September 27th 2016

IAC Awards Miriam & Sheldon Adelson, Adam Milstein, Shawn Evenhaim, and Shoham Nicolet
IAC Awards Miriam & Sheldon Adelson, Adam Milstein, Shawn Evenhaim,
and Shoham Nicolet

Over the course of three days at the Israeli-American Council National Conference, more than 220 speakers addressed 2,100 activists and leaders in four plenaries and 39 panels on topics ranging from the hybrid identity of Israeli-Americans and the next generations to the U.S.-Israel alliance and the two-state solution.

Adam Milstein, IAC Chairman, also spoke to this idea during his opening keynote, "We proudly embrace our new identity, and love and cherish our home in America while remaining deeply connected to our Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel." Milstein opened the conference by announcing that California Gov. Jerry Brown has just signed into law AB2844, a piece of legislation championed by the IAC that prevents those companies engaging in discriminatory boycotts from doing business with the State of California.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

‘Jews for Trump’ Applaud Candidate’s Praise of Israeli Profiling Techniques

September 22nd 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

A Jewish group supporting Donald Trump’s campaign for the US presidency defended the Republican candidate’s praise for Israel’s use of profiling to prevent terrorist attacks.

“Rather than being concerned with political correctness, our government needs to be concerned number one with our safety,” said Richard Allen, the New York director of Jews Choose Trump.

The group was referring to a Fox News interview on September 19 in which Trump said, “As you know in Israel they profile, they’ve done an unbelievable job — as good as you can do. They see somebody who’s suspicious, they profile, they will take that person and they’ll check him out.” Read more ..


The Digital Age

Flexible Color E-paper Developed

September 19th 2016

Paper Stack

Together with flexible electrophoretic displays manufacturer E Ink, Toppan Printing Co Ltd has co-developed a 32-inch flexible colour electronic paper (e-paper) prototype, reports Nikkei Technology. This is the world's largest-screen flexible colour e-paper that uses one driving TFT substrate (back plate), according to Toppan Printing.

While the display panel was manufactured by E Ink, featuring the company's "E Ink Pearl" front plate and its "Mobius" back plate base material, Toppan Printing optimized the highly accurate deposition of proprietary colour filters on the flexible back, yielding brighter colour tones.

The prototype has a display size of 691.2x388.8mm and is overlaid with a colour filter of RGBW square pattern at a pixel count of 1,280x720 (for a total of 2,560x1,440 sub-pixels on the back plate) at a pixel pitch of 540μm. It boasts a contrast ratio of 10-20:1 for a purely reflective display and can display 4,096 colours.

Read more ..

The Future Edge

The Future of Obsolescence

September 15th 2016

Panic in Detroit

In ten years’ time robots will cease to be subservient/submissive, manufacturing won't exist as we know it and we'll be 3D printing our own clothes before we go out. Do any of these sound like familiar predictions you've heard over the last five years?

We thought so. With this in mind, we'll tread lightly when talking about what the highly interconnected future has in store for industrial automation.

At this point, it’s worth explaining the Gartner Hype Cycle – a theory that says a new technology first experiences a period of speculation and excitement before settling into a plateau of actual use.

Sometimes this excitement manifests itself in the form of highly ambitious predictions that probably won’t become widespread in the near future. More than 30 years ago, General Motors dreamed of creating factories where robots made robots with minimal human supervision. Lights out manufacturing, the stuff of sci-fi, was going to revolutionise the manufacturing industry and in the 1980s there was a buzz of anticipation.

Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Syria’s Civil War: Stage For Greater Chinese Involvement In The Middle East?

September 5th 2016

Chinese soldier at Tienamen Square

Years of armed conflict and unrest have turned the security situation in Syria into a refugee crisis and humanitarian nightmare. The Syrian civil war has entered its sixth year, becoming one of the worst crises of the twenty-first century in the Middle East. From the start of the Syrian conflict, China has kept its distance and focused mainly on protecting its expanding commercial and investment interests in the region.[1] Nevertheless, escalating violence from Syria in 2016 has pressured Beijing to move off the sidelines and take a more active role in the international efforts to bring peace and stability to the country.

Since the 1950s, the concepts of sovereignty and of non-interference have been seen as a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy. Specifically, China does not involve itself in the internal affairs of other countries, unless it is in its own national or economic interests.[2] Chinese leadership considers the Middle East the “graveyard of great powers,” and generally seeks to avoid becoming involved in the region’s internal affairs or being perceived as aligning with particular countries or stakeholders.[3] Notwithstanding this, recent political upheavals such as the Arab Spring, power changeovers in Egypt, and incidents in Africa, have given Beijing the opportunity to enlarge its presence in the region, which it does using its diplomatic, military, and economic capabilities wisely and creatively.[4] Read more ..


Inside Kurdistan

Rojava's Sustainability and the PKK's Regional Strategy

August 25th 2016

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

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


The Battle for Syria

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

August 18th 2016

Assad

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

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



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