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 ..
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 ..
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 ..
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 ..
A group of former IDF soldiers, incensed over an Israeli NGO's claims that they abused Palestinians during last summerâ€™s fighting in Gaza, have taken to social media to fight the allegations.
Under the hashtag #my_truth in Hebrew, the soldiers, many of whom faced heavy fire from Hamas and other terrorist groups during the 50-day Operation Protective Edge, have begun posting stories of cases showing how they went to great lengths to avoid harming Palestinians. They also mentioned cases in which civilians took part in terrorist activity.
The goal of this initiative is to counter damning anonymous testimonies by other troops published by the NGO Breaking the Silence, which frequently publicizes claims that the IDF mistreats Palestinians. Read more ..
To a sound wave, the cosmos has the consistency of chocolate syrup.
Thatâ€™s one discovery that scientists investigating the Big Bang have made using a new approach that treats the matter in the universe as a peculiar kind of fluid. They have calculated properties that characterize the universeâ€™s behavior and evolution, including its viscosity, or resistance to deformation by sound waves and other disturbances.
â€œTwenty pascal-seconds is the viscosity of the universe,â€ said Leonardo Senatore, an assistant professor of physics at Stanford University â€” just as it is for the ice cream topping.
The viscosity calculation could help cosmologists sleuth out the details of the Big Bang, and possibly someday identify its trigger, by enabling them to track the fluidlike flow of the cosmos back 13.8 billion years to its initial state. Read more ..
They took nothing from their old home, crossed the border by foot in the dark and had gun bullets flying over their heads. Now they serve at the same base in the IDF's elite 8200 intelligence unit. Their story is one of bravery and determination
As they look at pictures and videos showing the ruins of the battle-scarred Syrian city of Aleppo, the three brothers who are now serving in the IDF's elite intelligence 8200 unit can barely recognize the place they grew up in. Channel 2 News Online met them for an exclusive interview.
They were raised as Syrian children, but learned biblical Hebrew in Jewish education centers. Their parents told them from a very early age that someday they were all hoping to flee Syria and make Aliyah to the holy land. When they heard about other families who managed to escape from the Syrian regime and cross the border into Israel, their determination grew stronger. Read more ..
Pope Francis used the word "genocide" on Sunday to describe the 1915 mass murder of Armenians in a move likely to severely strain diplomatic ties with Turkey. "In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies," he said during a solemn mass in Saint Peter's Basilica to mark the centenary of the Ottoman killings of Armenians. "The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th century', struck your own Armenian people," he said, quoting a statement signed by Pope John Paul II and the Armenian patriarch in 2001. Many historians describe the killings as the 20th century's first genocide, but Turkey hotly denies the accusation.
While Francis did not use his own words to describe the murders as genocide, John Paul II's use of the term provoked a sharp reaction from Turkey at the time, and citing the beloved former pope will again ruffle feathers. Read more ..
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 ..
Another battle may be brewing between Amazon and one of the worldâ€™s largest book publishers.
HarperCollins, which is one of the publishing industryâ€™s â€œBig Five,â€ is refusing to sign the exact same contract that three other book publishers just agreed to, reports BusinessInsider, which quotes sources familiar with the situation.
An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the two companies are in negotiations, saying: â€œWe have offered Harper the same terms for a contract that Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan have all recently agreed to.â€
According to the report, if the two companies donâ€™t come to an agreement before HarperCollinsâ€™ current contract runs out, Amazon will stop selling print and digital books from the publisher.
Terror finance trials over the last ten years have frequently involved transfers by individuals of a few thousand dollars to terrorist organizations abroad. Sometimes those cases get as much attention from the news media and law enforcement as multi-million dollar cases of funding terrorism.
This tendency is unfortunate because it causes us to lose sight of the big time patrons of terrorism and their methods. Small transfers are likelier to involve individual actors, small groups, and criminal activity. High-dollar terrorist transactions are likelier to involve state sponsorship, or at least large organizations such as major charities, and sometimes corporations which are targeted for extortion or kidnapping-for-ransom schemes by militants. Read more ..
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 Pharaohâ€™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 "God," 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 "feast and sacrifice" to 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 ..
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 ..
House Democrats are criticizing President Obama's administration for holding a classified briefing on trade with top administration officials, saying it's an attempt to push a trade program in secret.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman will meet with House Democrats on Wednesday in a classified briefing to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Members will be allowed to attend the briefing on the proposed trade pact with 12 Latin American and Asian countries with one staff member who possesses an â€œactive Secret-level or high clearanceâ€ compliant with House security rules. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) stated that the administration is being â€œneedlessly secretive.â€ Read more ..
Last month, in a breathtaking display of anti-Semitism reminiscent of Nazi Germany, members of the student government at South Africaâ€™s Durban University of Technology (DUT) called for the expulsion of all Jewish students from their campus. The very next day, halfway around the world, the student government at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) engaged in a similar display of anti-Jewish bigotry, nearly denying a highly qualified young woman a position on the student judiciary board after four student representatives brazenly argued that her Jewishness and affiliation with Jewish organizations should make her ineligible for the position. Read more ..
â€œItâ€™s a hard time to be a Danish Jew whether youâ€™re in Denmark or living outside the country,â€ said Shimon following the deadly attacks in Copenhagen this past weekend that left Jewish security guard, Dan Uzan dead. â€œMost people are shocked in the Danish Jewish community. Copenhagen is no longer this isolated paradise â€“ there are real dangers.â€
The small Jewish community of Denmark, which numbers around 6,400 people today, was the first Scandinavian country to open its doors to Jews. In 1622, King Christian IV welcomed Spanish and Portuguese Jews from Hamburg and Amsterdam and 62 years later, King Christian V ordained the establishment of a unified Jewish community. During the Holocaust, the Danish resistance movement smuggled 7,220 Jews in fishing boats to the safety of neutral Sweden during the German occupation. Read more ..
For much of its brief history, robot-assisted surgery has been synonymous with Intuitive Surgical, Inc.â€™s da Vinci system. Itâ€™s the only robot with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to help surgeons perform a number of laparoscopic soft-tissue procedures, including hysterectomies, gall bladder and kidney removals, prostate cancer treatment and heart valve operations. Da Vinci has improved vastly since Intuitive introduced it more than a decade ago. Like many new technologies, however, it has experienced growing pains, leading some engineers and medical professionals to question whether a single company can meet growing demand while still delivering a safe product.
A team of researchers is looking to address these issues by developing a robotic surgery system based on hardware designs and software that are freely available. In this open-source approach, the builders would keep whatever intellectual property theyâ€™ve invested in the project but must make their knowledge and discoveries available to others. Read more ..
At an event in Beijing last November, I had the good fortune to meet the French economist Thomas Piketty, who has sold 1.5 million copies of his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, since it was first published in 2013. Pacing up and down in front of a packed auditorium, Piketty explained that because the rate of return on capital is now higher than the growth rate of the global economy, the proportion of the world's wealth that is owned by a small elite will likely keep increasing; in other words, we should expect to see a divergence of wealth as the rich get much richer. As his book says, "capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based."
No strategic forecaster can afford to ignore this alarming prediction â€” or the enthusiastic response it got from the audience in Beijing. In the 20th century, the two world wars were the only force powerful enough to reverse the concentration of wealth in the elite and the mounting class conflict; in the 21st century, we seem to be falling back into a comparable world of revolution, political extremism and mass violence. Read more ..
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday doubled down on his intention to speak to a joint session of Congress next month, despite criticism from Democrats who say they will boycott the event.
Netanyahu said he fully intended to make the speech and that he will use the moment to criticize negotiations the Obama administration is holding with Iran, which he argues are endangering Israel. "A bad deal with Iran is forming in Munich that will endanger Israel's existence," Netanyahu said at an event for his Likud Party, according to The Associated Press. "Therefore, I am determined to go to Washington and present Israel's position before the members of Congress and the American people." Read more ..
Every country worldwide will be building walls to defend itself from rising seas within 90 years because the cost of flooding will be more expensive than the price of protective projects, researchers predict in a new study.
The encroaching seawater threatens to flood hundreds of millions of people every year by 2100 as homes that are already below flood heights, or will be, succumb to climbing oceans. If governments fail to take any action, the annual cost of damage stands to reach hundreds of billions of dollars, at best, and as high as $100 trillion under grimmer scenarios, according to the paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The bleakest outcome could result in nearly 5 percent of the world's population facing yearly floods that drain almost 10 percent from the globe's economy, the paper says. That would require a collision of severe scenarios that involve leaping ocean levels, high numbers of people living along seashores and a lack of defensive efforts. Read more ..
Congressional legislators were astonished last year to learn that the Palestinian Authority was issuing monthly payouts totaling $3-7 million as salaries and other financial rewards to specific terrorists and their families. The money was channeled, in part, through the Ministry of Prisoners pursuant to the Law of the Prisoner. The law set forth a graduated scale, pegging monthly salaries to the length of Israeli jail sentences, which generally reflects the severity of the crime and the number of people killed and/or injured.
Thousands of documents, newly obtained by this reporter through a lawsuit to unseal court-protected files, demonstrate that these payouts are not blind automated payments. Rather, senior Palestinian Authority officials as high as President Mahmoud Abbas scrutinize the details of each case, the specific carnage caused, and the personal details of each terrorist act before approving salaries and awarding honorary ranks in either the PA government or the military. Ministry of Prisoners spokesman Amr Nasser has explained, â€œWe are very proud of this program and we have nothing to hide.â€ Nonetheless, in response to the international furor, the Palestinian Authority announced it would replace the Ministry of Prisoners with an outside PLO commission known as the Higher National Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs.
The PA is dependent upon foreign donor countries to supply much of its budget, which now exceeds $4.2 billion annually. About ten percent of the PA budget, more than $400 million, is contributed annually by United States foreign aid. The US and many other countries have enacted laws forbidding any payments when the monies directly or indirectly support or encourage terrorism. The interdepartmental bureaucratic notations the Palestinian Authority has recorded on each terrorist before approving the level of salaried compensation is extensive. For example, one prominent case involved Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouti, who personally coordinated numerous terrorist acts. These included a January 2002 shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, killing two and wounding 37; a March 2002 shooting spree at a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing three and wounding 31; and finally a March 27, 2002 attempt to smuggle an explosive suicide belt in an ambulance. The Israel Defense Forces arrested Ahmad. On July 30, 2002, a military court concluded that he was responsible for murdering 12 Israelis, and Barghouti was sentenced to 13 life sentences. Read more ..
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced Jan. 26 that she would reform her country's civilian intelligence organization, the Intelligence Secretariat (SI). Soon after, the office of the president said it would submit a draft law to reform the SI to the Senate on Feb. 3. In addition to changing the organization's name to the Federal Intelligence Agency, the reform is expected to significantly weaken the SI by limiting its ability to gather signals intelligence, revealing a wider political dispute.
Fernandez's motivations for reforming the SI are not completely clear, but concerns that criminal charges could be brought against her and other members of the government once they leave office might have been a factor. Moreover, though the reform appears to be immediately motivated by concerns over the SI's loyalty to Fernandez, it may significantly affect how the Argentine security apparatus functions long after her term in office ends.
Although the Fernandez government has not released the details, the reforms would drastically alter the way the SI functions. Previously, the organization could engage in domestic intelligence collection after obtaining a federal judge's approval, but the new reform will likely require more steps and more oversight. A federal judge would have to request a warrant to conduct intelligence gathering from the prosecutor general's office, and the actual collection process would be either conducted or overseen by that office. The president appoints the prosecutor general, and approval of the reform would grant this post, currently filled by Gils Carbo, significant intelligence collection abilities for the remainder of Fernandez's presidency and likely into the next presidency. Read more ..
When HIV jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime in the early 1900s, it crossed a gulf spanning several million years of evolution. But tobacco ringspot virus, scientists announced last week, has made a jump that defies credulity. It has crossed a yawning chasm ~1.6 billion years wide.
And this is likely bad news for its new host, the honeybee, matchmaker of crops and bringer of honey. These are two services for which humans are both eternally indebted, and, in the case of the former, possibly unable to live without. Bees pollinate the majority of our fruit and nut crops and many vegetables â€” some 90 all told â€” without which humanity would be nutritionally impoverished. Yet shortages are a possibility we are confronting, as bee populations in America have declined in recent years for reasons that seem to be both diverse and elusive. Colony collapse disorder, as whatever it is is called, was first reported in 2006 and has spread globally. Many viruses, parasites, and pesticides have been implicated, but no smoking gun has emerged.
The story is well known. The financial crisis of 2008, which began as a mortgage default issue in the United States, created a sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Some European countries were unable to make payment on bonds, and this threatened the European banking system. There had to be some sort of state intervention, but there was a fundamental disagreement about what problem had to be solved. Broadly speaking, there were two narratives.
The German version, and the one that became the conventional view in Europe, is that the sovereign debt crisis is the result of irresponsible social policies in Greece, the country with the greatest debt problem. These troublesome policies included early retirement for government workers, excessive unemployment benefits and so on. Politicians had bought votes by squandering resources on social programs the country couldn't afford, did not rigorously collect taxes and failed to promote hard work and industriousness. Therefore, the crisis that was threatening the banking system was rooted in the irresponsibility of the debtors. Read more ..
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and the Staate and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, today issued the following statement on Palestinian actions related to the International Criminal Court:
"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasâ€™s recent actions before the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) clearly indicate an abandonment of the goal of a negotiated two-state agreement and ignore the necessary compromises that all sides must make for peace.
"For decades, the United States has been the Palestinian Authorityâ€™s partner by generously providing billions of dollars to foster security cooperation with Israel, support economic development, and address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians. At the same time, our assistance has included specific conditions in order to discourage provocative actions aimed at undercutting the peace process. Read more ..
Wednesday's deadly attack against a French satirical publication has the potential to upset relations between European states and their Muslim citizenries. The strategic intent behind such attacks is precisely to sow this kind of crisis, as well as to influence French policy and recruit more jihadists. Even though Islamist extremism is, at its core, an intra-Muslim conflict, such incidents will draw in non-Muslims, exacerbating matters.
Three suspected Islamist militants attacked the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with high-powered assault rifles, killing 12 people. Among the dead are the editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, who was on a hit list appearing in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine for "insulting the Prophet Mohammed." Eyewitness said they heard the attackers shouting, "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed," and chanting, "God is Great" in Arabic. This is the third such attack in a Western country in less than three months. The Paris incident involves perpetrators who displayed sophisticated small arms and small unit training.
Whether or not these attacks are the handiwork of self-motivated grassroots jihadists and cells or of individuals tied to international jihadist entities, such incidents aggravate tense relations between the Western and Muslim worlds. This is all the more significant in Europe, where states are experiencing the rise of right-wing nationalism and Muslim communities have long experienced disaffection. The jihadist objective is to get the states to crack down harder on Muslim communities in order to further their narrative that the West is waging war on Islam and Muslims.
Situated in the northern countryside of Aleppo province, the town of Azazâ€“the center of the Azaz districtâ€“is the nearest major settlement to the Bab al-Salama border crossing that leads into the southern Turkish city of Kilis. At the present time, Azaz town is controlled by the group Liwa Asifat al-Shamal ("The Northern Storm Brigade"), which is affiliated with the Islamic Front rebel coalition. Also present within Azaz town but lacking any governing authority is Syriaâ€™s al-Qaâ€™ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. To the east of Azaz town lies the smaller settlement of Sawran, beyond which is a frontline, an area of no-manâ€™s land of about 800 meters to a kilometer, and then the localities of Doudyan and Dabiq to the northeast and southeast, solely controlled by the Islamic State (IS). Northern Storm also solely controls the town of Sawran. Read more ..
I've had it with LED lamps. The world has been told that LEDs are the future, in part because they are economically the right form of long-term lighting, and there are environmental benefits as a great aside. Well, maybe the environmental argument is true, but the economical one is not.
My wife has converted a substantial amount of our home lighting, as well as our holiday decoration lighting, to LED bulbs. Despite all this investment, I have yet to experience the primary benefit of long life. This made me sit down recently and ask myself why.
As it turns out, the answer is quite simple. The lifetime is not a function of the LED, but rather the total circuit solution.
Figure 1 shows the schematic for an incandescent light bulb. As I once read in a college textbook, the analysis of this circuit is left to the reader.
Contrast the Figure 1 schematic with the Figure 2 schematic that shows an offline LED lamp schematic minus the LEDs. As I'll show soon, there is no need to analyze the Figure 2 circuit operation. Read more ..
British-Jewish Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party Lee Scott told BBC London last week that he has received five death threats over the past year because of his Judaism and was also called a “dirty pig.”
Scott, the MP for Ilford North, and his wife check their cars every day because of the threats. He has also stopped holding drop-in surgeries, and his constituents now must make appointments to see him. He said the anti-Semitic abuse began during the last election when he was called a “dirty pig” by two people who said they would kill him. Read more ..
Ever get hungry at work and wish you could ordering a pizza? That’s exactly what happened to Doron Marco and his team at White Innovation, an Israeli company based in Rishpon, established four years ago to “engineer ideas” for manufacturers. (The name “White” is a metaphor for what is created when all the colors on the light spectrum are blended together.)
“We think of a problem in the market, and find a solution,” Marco tells ISRAEL21c. “And then we seek out the right partner to share it with and develop a plan to create a product.”
So rather than merely moaning about the empty cupboard at their office one evening, Marco’s staff of eight began to brainstorm, as they always do. This time, however, rather than trying to come up with a technological solution for someone else’s company, they focused on their own.
“We thought it would be great to have some contraption for making meals materialize with no fuss or mess,” Marco recounts. “Like on Star Trek.”
Russian courts have banned more Muslim literature and a video on the ownership of Orthodox saints' relics as "extremist", Forum 18 News Service notes. They have also banned a US-based Russian language website with the text of a hadith collection held by Sunni Muslims to be the most important Islamic book after the Koran. Ravil Tugushev, a lawyer challenging the website ban, noted that "many native Muslims of the Russian Federation do not know Arabic and read Russian translations of the holy texts, including those on the internet". Also, Sakhalin prosecutors are trying to ban a book containing verses from the Koran.
Mufti of Asiatic Russia Nafigulla Ashirov described the case as "complete insanity" for being based on verses of the Koran. Commenting on the banning by Artyomovo Municipal Court of 13 Islamic texts as "extremist", Mufti of Saratov Mukaddas Bibarsov stated that if the hadith collection is banned "you should ban books of all religions, without exception, because each of us believes his religion exceptional and the truth". Officials have refused to discuss any of the cases with Forum 18. Read more ..
Doctors in the Netherlands are developing a protocol which will increase the number of organs from people who request euthanasia. Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam and the University Hospital of Maastricht have written national guidelines which are being studied by the Dutch Transplant Foundation.
If the procedures are approved, they would be binding on hospitals and doctors throughout the country.
Spurring on this study is the feeling among transplant surgeons that healthy organs are sometimes wasted when patients are euthanased. In the words of a medical ethics expert with the Royal Dutch Medical Association, Gert van Dijk, “An estimated 5 to 10% of people who are euthanased could be considered for organ donation. Five percent does not seem like much, but this still means 250 to 500 potential organ donors every year.” Read more ..
The ocean is undergoing global changes at a remarkable pace and we must change with it to attain our best possible future ocean, warns the head of The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute.
One of the global leaders in ocean science, Professor Carlos Duarte has shared his insights on the future of the world's oceans in a paper published in the international open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
In the paper Professor Duarte explains the grand challenge researchers face in addressing global change and the future state of the ocean.
"The ocean is under significant impact by anthropogenic global pressures such as ocean acidification, warming, overfishing and pollution, resulting from the impact of human activity on major processes that regulate the functions of the planet," he said.
"Dependence on resources including water, energy and key elements has prompted a suite of changes at the global scale and we are now facing the impacts of climate change, a loss of biodiversity and deteriorating water quality. Read more ..
Many in the Arab world are skeptical that Iran will give up its nuclear program. They view any Iranian assurances that they will only pursue their nuclear program for peaceful purposes to be a campaign designed to deceive the west. These commentators within the Arab world fear that the west will buy into the Iranian deception, granting them either concessions on their nuclear program that will harm Arab interests or, if the Iranians do indeed make concessions on their nuclear power, it will be in exchange for giving the Iranians a free hand to dominate the Arab world.
According to a report in MEMRI, Qatari journalist Abd Al Hamid Al Ansari wrote in Al Watan: “All signs indicate that Iran will manage to continue its nuclear program. Iran will not step back or give up what it regards as its legitimate right to obtain nuclear technology. According to its viewpoint, if less noble countries, such as Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea, have managed to obtain nuclear weapons, how can the international community deny this to Iran, with its noble civilization?” Read more ..
Britain’s Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said British Jews for the first time in their lives fear for their children’s futures amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.
“Some have told me how, for the first time in their lifetime, they are scared for their children’s future in our country,” Miliband said. “Others have expressed a general unease that this rise in anti-Semitism could signal that something has changed – or is changing – in Britain.” Read more ..
Chechen Islamic State (IS) militants in the Syrian town of Kobani have urged Chechens in Europe to either join in the fighting in Syria, or commit acts of terror in Europe.
In a video published by ShamToday on October 26, the media wing associated with the predominantly Chechen Islamic State (IS) faction Katibat Al-Aqsa, a Chechen militant named Musa Abu-Yusuf Shishani calls on the Chechen diaspora to join IS.
The video, in Chechen, was shared on several pro-Islamic-State Russian-language social media accounts on October 26 and offers insights into the attitudes of Chechen IS militants who are on the frontline in Kobani. (It was removed by YouTube on October 27) Read more ..
During the last few weeks of this year, most of us will need to make a decision about our health insurance coverage for 2015, regardless of whether we get it through an employer or buy it on our own. But unless you live in California, chances are you won’t find much information about how satisfied people are with their existing health plans or how many complaints are filed against them.
Now that the law requires us to have health insurance — and buy it from a private insurer unless we’re eligible for a government program like Medicare or Medicaid — you’d think it would be easy to discover which health plans rank the best and which ones bring up the rear.
There are some online resources to find out how much various plans would cost in monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. If you can’t get coverage at work and want to compare costs among competing health plans, you can go to healthcare.gov, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a private online source like healthinsurance.org, which has been around since 1994.
Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor who led The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal, died Tuesday, according to the newspaper. He was 93. Bradlee’s 23-year tenure as the Post’s executive editor will forever be associated with the events that brought down President Nixon.
The story was revealed by Postreporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the vigorous support of Bradlee, and concluded with Nixon’s resignation in August 1974, 26 months after the Posthad published its first story about a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.
At the beginning, Nixon’s White House press secretary, Ron Ziegler, played down the matter as a “third-rate burglary attempt.” In the end, it resulted in guilty verdicts against 48 people. Many of them — including Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and White House aide John Ehrlichman — served prison terms. Read more ..
The prospect of capturing the kinetic energy from everyday movements and converting it into electrical energy is a step closer with researchers at The University of Auckland, New Zealand, constructing an energy harvester consisting of a snake-shaped strip of polydimethylsiloxane.
The silicone strip acts as a flexible cantilever that bends back and forth with body movements. The scientists attached the cantilever to a conducting metal coil with a strong neodymium, NdFeB, magnet inside, all enclosed in a polymer casing. When a conductor moves through a magnetic field a current is induced in the conductor.
In order to extract the electricity generated, there is a need to include special circuitry that takes only the positive voltage and passes it along to a rechargeable battery. In previous work, this circuitry includes a rectifying diode that allows current to flow in one positive direction only and blocks the reverse, negative, current. Unfortunately, the development of kinetic chargers has been stymied by current diode technology that requires a voltage of around 200 millivolts to drive a current.
University of Auckland researchers, Jiayang Song and Kean Aw side-stepped the voltage obstacle by using a tiny electrical transformer and a capacitor, which acts like a microelectronic battery. The charger, which weighs a few grams, oscillates and moves the coil back and forth through the neodymium magnetic field and produces 40 millivolts. The transformer captures this voltage and stores up the charge in the capacitor in fractions of a second. Once the capacitor is full it discharges sending a positive pulse to the rechargeable battery, thus acting as its own rectifier. Read more ..