The Edge of Justice
|Martin Barillas||September 29th 2016|
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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.
|Jonathan Spyer||September 28th 2016|
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
|Meira Feinman||September 27th 2016|
|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 ..
|JNS Staff||September 22nd 2016|
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
|Julien Happich||September 19th 2016|
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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.
The Future Edge
|Jonathan Wilkins ||September 15th 2016|
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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.
The Battle for Syria
|Mordechai Chaziza||September 5th 2016|
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. 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. 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. 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. Read more ..
|Fabrice Balanche ||August 25th 2016|
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
|Amnesty International||August 18th 2016|
The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons are laid bare in a damning new report published by Amnesty International today which estimates that 17,723 people have died in custody in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011 – an average rate of more than 300 deaths each month.
‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons documents crimes against humanity committed by government forces. It retraces the experiences of thousands of detainees through the cases of 65 torture survivors who described appalling abuse and inhuman conditions in security branches operated by Syrian intelligence agencies and in Saydnaya Military Prison, on the outskirts of Damascus. Most said they had witnessed prisoners dying in custody and some described being held in cells alongside dead bodies. Read more ..
The Race for Smarter Cities
|Julien Happich ||August 12th 2016|
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The aim is to improve certain public transportation services, such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttle services by mapping zones of affluence in real time and ultimately help predict demand for the shuttles. The research is being conducted at MIT’s Aerospace Controls Lab (ACL).
As part of the project, a fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles will operate on both city roads and campus walkways on the university’s campus in Cambridge, Mass. The vehicles will use lidar sensors and cameras to measure pedestrian flow, helping researchers and drivers route shuttles toward areas with the highest demand to better accommodate riders.
The Edge of Terrorism
|A.J. Caschetta||August 3rd 2016|
New English Review
Beginning in the late twentieth century, the West became enthralled by the term "lone wolf" and began using it to denote perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes who act without the assistance of other criminals. The term has become practically ubiquitous with journalists, analysts and politicians now instinctively applying it not only to psychopaths like Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes and Newtown, Connecticut child-killer Adam Lanza, but also to jihadists, even when they attack in pairs, like roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farooq and Tashfeen Malik. Rarely has a term so frequently used been so inconsistently applied.
Whatever originality or dubious benefit it might have brought to the study of political violence, the lone wolf analysis has ceased to be useful. There little consensus over its meaning, and it is illogical and misleading when used to describe jihadists. In the age of Obama it has become a red herring detracting attention from the growing global jihad movement. Read more ..
The Jewish Expulsions
|Shahar Azani||July 30th 2016|
Such troubling times all around us. It seems the world knows no rest: Islamic terror rearing its ugly head and in the most gruesome of manners in Europe and beyond, Turkey morphing from a democracy into an autocracy, divisive election campaigns emphasize once more our differences, highlighting our disagreements... It is almost as if we have lost faith in ourselves, our own humanity hidden from the eye. But is it?
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The Jewish concept of “Hakarat Hatuv” (which literally means “recognizing the good” in Hebrew), Gratitude, relates to the importance of expressing one’s appreciation for the good bestowed upon them, both in word and in deed. I have witnessed its incredible effect in my diplomatic life as well as numerous times in my personal one. A few weeks ago, I got to say a special THANK YOU and travelled all the way from New York to Alaska to do so.
The Edge of Games
|Andre Oboler||July 28th 2016|
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game which launched a week ago. Augmented reality games involve the use of technology to map aspects of the game onto the real world. The technology could involve complicated and expensive headsets and body suits, special mats or controllers, or could be as simply as your mobile phone. Pokemon Go uses your mobile phone to show you the real world, with the addition of game elements such as Pokemon which you can interact with. Concerns have been raised about the way the game interfaces with the real world. Some integrations between the virtual world and the game are dangerous, some are offensive and some are disruptive to the operation of government, businesses and private citizens. Read more ..
The Battle for Libya
|Pete Hoekstra||July 14th 2016|
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The report from the House Benghazi Committee discloses a previously unknown but incredibly instructive footnote to the story of the Obama administration's disastrous foreign policy toward Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.
It was Gadhafi loyalists who rescued the Americans who bravely fought for their lives through the night of Sept. 11, 2012 against the Islamist onslaught on the Benghazi Mission compound.
The Salafi-jihadist Muslim Brotherhood-inspired groups — whom the U.S. trained, equipped and supported in overthrowing and assassinating Gadhafi — actively participated in the assault and murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Why did former Gadhafi elements, who disappeared underground for fear of assassination after he fell, assist the same government that had betrayed them only months earlier?
Like their former boss, they understood the need to defeat the common Islamist enemy of the U.S. and Libya. Gadhafi warned me of the true threat to global stability when I met with him on three occasions during the 2000s.
The Race for EVs
|Larry Greenemeier||July 8th 2016|
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How much do we really know about what so-called self-driving vehicles can and cannot do? The fatal traffic accident involving a Tesla Motors car that crashed while using its Autopilot feature offers a stark reminder that such drivers are in uncharted territory—and of the steep cost of that uncertainty.
The sensor systems that enable Tesla’s hands-free driving are the result of decades of advances in computer vision and machine learning. Yet the failure of Autopilot—built into 70,000 Tesla vehicles worldwide since October 2014—to help avoid the May 7 collision that killed the car’s sole occupant demonstrates how far the technology has to go before fully autonomous vehicles can truly arrive.
|Martin Barillas||May 30th 2016|
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Kettering University has long been known as an adjunct of the automobile and other manufacturing industries. And it has faculty members who are looking squarely into the future and how to put Kettering on the best footing for the way forward. Among them are Dr. Matthew Sanders of the Industrial Engineering department, who is fully engaged in advancing Kettering’s Community Vitality portion of Pillars of Success commitments.
According to a press release, Sanders has been nominated for this year’s Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award at Kettering in recognition of his work at the university and the surrounding community of Flint. Besides his involvement in many projects involving innovative industrial processes and computer applications, over the last few years, his engagement with community projects has served students, as well as the people of the city of Flint and Genesee County.
The Edge of Medicine
|Dr. Rob Norman||May 16th 2016|
Cutting Edge Contributor
I interviewed Gidi Stein, MD, Ph.D the co-founder of MedAware and a professor of medicine and molecular imaging at Tel Aviv University in Israel. According to the MedAware website, "Healthcare providers, payers and pharmacy chains can leverage on their big data to identify and eliminate a wide range of prescription errors and provide better risk management." The web promotional information, in summary, states "Medaware’s process saves many lives, reduces unnecessary hospital costs, improves patient safety and satisfaction and improves overall healthcare efficiency and quality."
Stein noted that several years prior to beginning the company, "I came across a tragic case of a nine-year-old Israeli boy who died because his primary-care physician accidentally prescribed the wrong drug. The ease with which a little boy died because of a mistaken click of a button was horrifying to me as a physician and as a parent. We founded MedAware in order to try and prevent such cases." Read more ..
Confronting the Holocaust
Times of Israel
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 ..
|Edwin Black||April 22nd 2016|
EDITORS NOTE: All details of Edwin Black’s Passover coverage are taken faithfully from Exodus chapters 5-15, plus Rashi’s Commentary.
Approximately two million Children of Israel are now encamped in the Sinai following their extraordinary exodus from Egypt yesterday. Just days ago, they were slaves to Pharaoh. Today, they are free men and women, destined for self-determination in a land of their own. Only now are the details of their fantastic experience coming to light.
The dramatic sequence of events began some weeks ago with the unexpected return of exiled prince Moses, who previously fled Pharaoh's wrath after slaying a taskmaster. In his daring appearance at the Palace, the inarticulate Moses, speaking through his brother Aaron, declared himself to be the personal emissary of a powerful new "od,"previously unknown to the Royal Court. Moreover, Moses asserted that his God was the protector of the Children of Israel, who have been in bondage for more than four centuries in Egypt.
The entire Royal Court was aghast as Moses demanded that the Children of Israel be permitted to travel three days into the desert for an unprecedented "fast and sacrifice" their God. Making clear that he was not asking a Court indulgence, Moses looked straight at Pharaoh, stamped his roughhewn staff and issued the ultimatum that would be his rallying call during the coming days: “Let my people go.”
Laughter echoed throughout the hall as Pharaoh sneered, "Who is your 'God?' I know him not. Nor will I let Israel go!" Showing little patience, Pharaoh cited reports that Moses had been “disturbing the people from their works” in various building projects wholly dependent upon slave labor. As a punitive measure, Pharaoh proclaimed that henceforth slaves would be compelled to gather their own straw, even as their daily brick quota was maintained. Read more ..
The Race for EVs
|John Voelcker||March 27th 2016|
Green Car Reports
|Armstrong Williams||March 3rd 2016|
Cutting Edge contributor
When it's all said and done, and the 2016 political season has come to an end – two things will have assuredly happened. First, we will have elected a new President of the United States. Second, the tone of electoral politics will have changed forever in the United States. Dr. Ben Carson, who announced yesterday that he would be suspending his campaign, has forever changed electoral politics in the United States for the better. He will be remembered as having run one of the most unique and – especially by contrast – dignified campaigns in presidential election history.
To be completely fair to Carson, he did not actively seek the role of presidential candidate; he was drafted into it. After his appearance at the National Prayer breakfast in 2013 (his second, making him and evangelist Billy Graham the only persons to be invited twice speak at the breakfast), in which he criticized so-called progressive policies and called them essentially un-Christian, many people took notice of Carson. The closer they looked, the more they like what they saw. A slow, gentle, but unmistakable mantra began to gather steam among Americans urging Carson to "Run Ben Run." This phrase echoed throughout Carson’s travels through America in the early months of 2014, as he visited cities and towns, speaking at churches, high schools and book signings. It began to take on real significance when a political action committee with the same name was formed.
Carson was initially surprised but appreciative of all of the accolades and encouragement he was receiving from all around the country. He was already transitioning into a retirement after an illustrious medical career, and looking forward to devoting time to personal pursuits. But the clamor from those around the country who saw Carson as a 'Breath of Fresh Air' continued to encourage him and make him consider the fact that God had a plan for him beyond just retiring to a life of comfort and ease. Ever eager to obey and appear willing in the sight of God, Carson seriously considered the options. He ultimately let both his faith and his intellect guide his decision to take the risk and enter the presidential contest. Read more ..
Media on Edge
|Martin Barillas||January 31st 2016|
The Daily Beast reports that another change in Glenn Beck’s top staff came as Kraig Kitchin has resigned as CEO of The Blaze. While Kitchin will remain in another position in Beck’s empire, it is Stewart Padveen who will take over as the fourth CEO of The Blaze since the latter part of 2014.
Kitchin had taken charge of The Blaze – Beck’s subscription digital and cable television enterprise in June 2015 after two previous CEOs departed within six months. According to The Daily Beast, senior executives Jeremy Price and Liz Julis also resigned. Several other senior employees are also departing, according to the report, including two producers from Beck’s New York operations. Corporate headquarters are in Texas.
The Daily Beast quoted an un-named source predicting a “mass exodus” of Beck’s staff from the New York studios. The site claims that the 35,000 rented by the Beck organization is setting him back $2 million each year in rent. It was reported that Beck has called on employees to cut costs because of debt. Estimates of the debt ranged from $3 million to $5 million.
The website also claims that multiple sources say that Kitchin was frustrated with friction he had with Jonathan Schreiber, who was named president of Beck’s company Mercury Radio Arts in April 2015. Sources to the Daily Beast said that Kitchin had taken the job with the understanding that Schreiber would not interfere with The Blaze. People familiar with the troubled relationship between Kitchin and Schreiber said that the latter’s meddling became intolerable. Read more ..
Jewry on Edge
|Sputnik Staff||January 25th 2016|
As millions flee war-torn countries where anti-Semitism is rampant, several world leaders are calling on citizens to challenge this hatred everywhere they find it, especially when it comes to young people with anti-Semitic ideologies.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged citizens to remain vigilant and to beware of anti-Semitism especially when directed by young people coming from “countries where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread.”
Currently, millions of people are claiming to seek refuge throughout Europe as they flee war-battered nations including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 1.5 million refugees including several from throughout the Arab world entered Germany in 2015 alone.
Lending on Edge
|David Heath||January 24th 2016|
Center for Public Integrity
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A federal judge who already ruled that former race-car driver Scott Tucker violated U.S. lending laws must now decide whether to order him to pay $1.3 billion for operating an illegal payday-lending business.
The Federal Trade Commission this week asked U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro of Nevada to award the large sum in damages, which it said was how much borrowers were overcharged for the company’s payday loans from 2008 to 2012.
Until court documents were recently unsealed, the size of Tucker’s enterprise was unknown. The Center for Public Integrity and CBS News exposed Tucker’s online business in a 2011 joint investigation. Tucker at that point was best known as a millionaire professional race-car driver in the American Le Mans series.
The investigation revealed that Tucker set up a series of shell corporations to hide his involvement in the payday lending company, AMG Services of Overland Park, Kansas. Once state law enforcement agencies tried to shut down those shell companies for violating payday lending laws, Tucker turned over ownership of the business to the Miami and Modoc tribes of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux tribe of Nebraska. However, the deal allowed the tribes to keep only 1 percent of revenues.
The Battle for Syria
|Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror||January 9th 2016|
Russia's engagement in the Syrian Civil War is nothing new. Since the very beginning of the conflict, Russian experts have been present on the ground and advanced Russian weaponry, including SA-17 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles, has been flowing into the country. Russia has also provided the Assad regime with light arms and ammunition. Without this support, Assad would already have fallen.
So what sparked even greater Russian involvement in Syria? Why did the Russians change their strategy, to include such major undertakings like deploying their air force and using submarine-launched cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea?
There are four factors.
The most important factor was Assad's dire situation. Russia has invested heavily in the regime and was deeply concerned that Assad would fall. With rebel forces in control of Idlib, they would have been well positioned to target the port city of Latakia, which is vital to the survival of the Assad regime. Read more ..
The Ancient Edge
|Dan Levin||December 13th 2015|
From Z News and agencies
The first people to reach the Americas came from Siberia, now in Russia, in a single group around 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, says a new study.
After reaching Alaska, they apparently hung out in the north - perhaps for thousands of years - before spreading throughout North and South America, said the study based on genomic analysis.
The findings dispel the popular idea that Polynesians or Europeans contributed to the genetic heritage of Native Americans.
The study revealed that the the first people to reach the Americas used a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska called Beringia.
"There is some uncertainty in the dates of the migration and the divergence between the northern and southern Amerindian populations. But as we get more ancient genomes sequenced, we will be able to put more precise dates on the times of migration," said one of the study authors Yun Song, associate professor at University of California, Berkeley. Read more ..
Palestinians and Israelis
|Dani Rubinstein||October 30th 2015|
The recent wave of violence and Mahmoud Abbas' threats to dismantle the Palestinian Authority could represent not just a security emergency for Israel, but also an economic nightmare.
More than 1,000 factories in the West Bank rely solely on the manpower of Palestinian workers. And they're just a small part of the financial cost that Israel will pay in the event of the Palestinian administration's collapse.
When the Israeli government was passing power over to the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago, there were approximately 20,000 Palestinians working in government institutions, most in the health and education systems. Today there are more than 150,000 public workers to which we must add pensioners whose monthly checks support about one million people. Read more ..
Europe on Edge
|Mark Fleming-Williams||September 8th 2015|
At some point in the next two years, British voters will decide whether to remain a part of the European Union. This will be the first time Britons have been consulted on the subject since 1975, when 67 percent voted to stay in. If it does decide to leave, the United Kingdom will become the first country to leave the European Union since it was created as the European Community in 1957. The repercussions would be felt not just in Britain, but also across the Continent and indeed across the world. To predict the eventual result of the vote, it is first important to understand the factors that have kept the United Kingdom in the union this long.
The story starts with geography. Britain is a relatively small island situated off a large but historically divided continent. It is narrow, with navigable rivers, natural resources and fertile land. These factors have various implications for the country's development. As an island with narrow dimensions, the coast is always nearby, making a large portion of the population maritime. Add an ample supply of wood, and conditions are ripe for the construction of a strong navy. Read more ..
|Ina Steiner||August 10th 2015|
The main Barnes & Noble website was operational after the late-June relaunch, which was designed to feature better search capabilities and offer an improved user experience. But when the site relaunched, third-party sellers were shut out from the marketplace.
We reported on the outage in early July, when a Barnes & Noble spokesperson acknowledged the problem. "We recently launched our bn.com website without Marketplace going live. Our plan is to have Marketplace back up and live tomorrow," she said - but according to sellers writing to EcommerceBytes, the marketplace was down for the first half of July.
"It has been partially back up since then but is not functioning at 100%," wrote one reader. "We have been receiving and shipping out orders from Barnes & Noble since July 19th, but have still not been paid for any of them." Read more ..
The Iranian Threat
|Jonathan Spyer||August 1st 2015|
In late June, I traveled to Iraq with the purpose of investigating the role being played by the Iranian-supported Shia militias in that country.
Close observation of the militias, their activities, and their links to Tehran is invaluable in understanding what is likely to happen in the Middle East following the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between the P5 + 1 powers and Tehran.
An Iranian stealth takeover of Iraq is currently under way. Tehran's actions in Iraq lay bare the nature of Iranian regional strategy. They show that Iran has no peers at present in the promotion of a very 21st century way of war, which combines the recruitment and manipulation of sectarian loyalties; the establishment and patient sponsoring of political and paramilitary front groups; and the engagement of these groups in irregular and clandestine warfare, all in tune with an Iran-led agenda. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Abigail R. Esman||July 27th 2015|
Imagine: you are window-shopping on a quiet street, perhaps in London or Paris or New York. Something remarkable catches your eye: an ancient coin, a gold chain, a tiny figurine. Impulsively, you enter the shop, where the owner explains to you that the sculpture comes originally from Mesopotamia, that the necklace is Byzantine. It isn't inexpensive, but the shopkeeper has guaranteed its provenance and the price seems fair; and besides, you quite love it. You say yes, and leave the shop with your new treasure tucked safely in a bag.
You may have just handed your money over to the Islamic State. Read more ..
Cutting Edge contributor
While I was speaking to the packed room, a woman I did not know, sitting in the front row, slowly shook her tear-stained head in disbelief and muttered softly â€¦ barely audible â€¦ "I never thought I would hear these words in this building."
The woman, it turns out, was of Iraqi Jewish ancestry. The building was the iconic United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, astride the East River. The event was in a hall routinely used by the UN Security Council. The day was June 1, 2015. The occasion was the proclamation of "International Farhud Day" at the UN as a live global event broadcast by UN TV.
Farhud in an Arabic dialect means violent dispossession. The words I spoke that gripped the woman listening described in detail how the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, leader of the Arab community in Mandate Palestine, organized a blood-curdling massacre by Nazi-allied Arabs against Baghdadâ€™s peaceful Jewish community on June 1-2, 1941. The ensuing mass rape, beheading, murder, burning, and looting spree was the first step in a process that throughout the Arab world effectively ended 2,600 years of Jewish existence in those lands. Ultimately, some 850,000 to 900,000 Jews were systemically pauperized and made stateless in a coordinated forced exodus from the Arab world.
Many Sephardic Jews consider the 1941 Farhud, which murdered and maimed hundreds, to be their Kristallnacht. However, for the past 74 years, neither the facts about the brutal, two-day pogrom, nor the culpability of the Nazified Iraqi and Palestinian Arab perpetrators, nor the expulsion of 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab world that followed were topics the UN wanted to hear of. Nor for the past 74 years was this blood-letting and its aftermath commemorated in the vast chronicles of organized Holocaust remembrances. Nor for the past 74 years was this constellation of tragedies commonly known and/or spoken of within the Jewish community. Read more ..
The Automotive Edge
A prototype "Safety Truck" developed by Samsung allows drivers following behind it to "see through" the truck to the road ahead. The truck features a front-facing wireless camera and four rear monitors in the back that provide a streamed real-time view of the traffic conditions in the road ahead to trailing drivers behind the truck. The company developed the truck to help reduce the risk of accidents caused by drivers attempting to pass such large vehicles, which block the view ahead.
The prototype truck was tested in Argentina where two-lane roads - and traffic accidents - are common. Nearly one person per hour dies in a traffic accident there, according to Samsung, and a majority of fatalities are caused by drivers attempting to pass other vehicles. Another advantage of the truck, according to Samsung, is that it could reduce accidents due to sudden braking in the event of a slowdown ahead or an animal crossing the road. Read more ..
Richard Allen of New York City, is said to have quietly raised millions of dollars for Israel. In 2011, he and his wife were awarded the Theodor Herzl Medallion by Israel Bonds and the Israeli Minister of Finance. But lately, Richard Allen has become both the most criticized and the most listened-to man in the New York City Jewish community. What is he now trying to do for Israel, and why?
Richard Allen, you are a businessman. Why did you decide to get involved in public affairs?
JCCWatch.org started in November 2010, with our first internet post â€” a smiling photo of Uri Zaki, U.S. director of Bâ€™Tselem, standing behind a table given to him by our local Jewish Community Center, the JCC in Manhattan. Zaki was raising money to promote an anti-Israel agenda, handing out literature that defames our people, while soliciting contributions, all from inside the JCC in Manhattan.
I love Israel and the Jewish people. The buck stops here. We cannot turn a blind eye to Israelâ€™s detractors. I decided to do something.
We started JCCWatch.org to protest the presence of Bâ€™Tselem and the New Israel Fund (NIF) at the Jewish Community Center. The JCC did get this message from the community, and has somewhat modified their public support for nefarious organizations. Read more ..
The Edge of Science
|Bernard Banks||June 17th 2015|
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Bioengineers have invented the worldâ€™s first engine that runs on energy created from the process of natural water evaporation at room temperature, by utilizing cleverly engineered artificial muscles.
The small device, created by researchers at Columbia University, is a fully functional engine which can generate 1.8 microwatts of energy â€“ enough to power LED lights or even a tiny car â€“ all for the cost of $5. It works by drawing power from a process never considered to be a potential energy source before.
â€œEngineered systems rarely, if ever, use evaporation as sources of energy, despite myriad examples of such adaptations in the biological world,â€ a paper published in Nature by a team of authors, including researchers Xi Chen, Ozgur Sahin and others, claimed.
|Calev Ben-David||June 8th 2015|
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One donated more than $100 million to the Republicans, the other has been the Clintonsâ€™ biggest backer. Now billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, split on U.S. politics, have united to fight boycott threats against Israel.
Adelson and Saban hosted a conference of pro-Israel business executives and activists over the weekend in Las Vegas to begin an initiative aimed at countering the growing threat of international sanctions against Israel.
â€œThat heâ€™s a Democrat and Iâ€™m a Republican has really very little to do with it,â€ said Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Adelson, who holds the 25th slot on Bloombergâ€™s Billionaires Index, in a joint interview with Saban on Israelâ€™s Channel 2 on Saturday. While you can â€œrest assuredâ€ the two men will not be supporting the same person in the 2016 presidential election, Saban said, â€œwhen it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page.â€
The Aviation Edge
|Julien Happich||June 5th 2015|
Phoenix-based startup Ascent Aerosystems has come up with a new form factor for prosumer drones with its rugged cylindrical-shaped Sprite drone now showing on crowdfunding site KickStarter.
Sprite is the feat of two brothers, Jonathan and Nathaniel Meringer, both keen climbers but also qualified aerospace engineers. They got their first idea of designing their own drone around 2010, when they couldn't find an easy to pack and rugged-enough product to withstand repetitive harsh landings in rocky and mountainous Arizona where both enjoyed finding new routes for rock-climbing.
They had once considered a quadcopter drone with a camera, but none of what they had seen on the market was compact nor tough enough to be stuffed in an equipment bag with rope and water bottles. They had their first prototypes flying in 2013 and many design iterations later, they successfully launched a campaign on KickStarter in May (still some days to go, but Sprite has already raised more than the original $200,000 goal). Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Winfield Myers ||May 23rd 2015|
On July 22, 2011, the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik killed seventy-seven people in and near Oslo. Not long before he attacked, he emailed a 1,500-page document titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," which included conservative critics of radical Islam among his sources. Immediately, some in the media, academic, and think tank worlds declared these persons guilty by association and charged them with shaping Breivik's thought, even though the manifesto cited about the same number of liberals and conservatives.
Yesterday we were given a look inside the mind of another mass killer when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released Bin Ladin's Bookshelf, a "sizable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin." The 409 items range from publicly available U.S. government documents to personal letters from bin Laden to family and fellow terrorists. Read more ..
The water's Edge
|Abigail Klein Leichman||May 13th 2015|
Parched California is already working with Israeli industrialists, government experts and academics on advanced water technologies and long-term strategies to lessen the effects of its severe drought.
One example is the $1 billion ocean-water desalination plant Israelâ€™s IDE Technologies is building to provide 50 million gallons of water daily in the San Diego area starting in November.
But thatâ€™s just a trickle compared to the flood of joint projects that could get flowing in the coming dry years.
Israelâ€™s population is 8.3 million, while Californiaâ€™s is 38.8 million. Yet California can implement many aspects of Israelâ€™s holistic approach combining education, technology and water management, says Yossi Yaacoby, director of the WaTech innovation center for Mekorot, Israelâ€™s national water-management consortium. Read more ..
World War II
|George Friedman||May 12th 2015|
We are at the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. That victory did not usher in an era of universal peace. Rather, it introduced a new constellation of powers and a complex balance among them. Europe's great powers and empires declined, and the United States and the Soviet Union replaced them, performing an old dance to new musical instruments. Technology, geopolitics' companion, evolved dramatically as nuclear weapons, satellites and the microchip â€” among myriad wonders and horrors â€” changed not only the rules of war but also the circumstances under which war was possible. But one thing remained constant: Geopolitics, technology and war remained inseparable comrades.
It is easy to say what World War II did not change, but what it did change is also important. The first thing that leaps to mind is the manner in which World War II began for the three great powers: the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. Read more ..
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