Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Future of Computer Security Might Be in Microbiology

The Future of Computer Security Might Be in Microbiology

We don't tend to consider computers as systems that exist within an environment. More likely, we imagine a computer within its own environment, an interior realm of memory slots, processor chips, and I/O devices. It's an old, lingering conception, but it's not that easy anymore. Computers exist in environments with other computers now, usually a vast numbers of them, and this opens the door to something unexpected: noise, whether it be in the form of a DDoS or Sybil attack or in the form of a cascading failure, a disruption within a network that threatens to wipe out larger and larger regions of that network's infrastructure as it propagates downward.

We may not think of these things as environmental noise, but a new paper out in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, courtesy of a team based at Carnegie Mellon University, invites engineers to look at the computing realm differently. 

Specifically, those engineers should look at yeast. Yeast knows how to deal with environmental noise. Each individual yeast cell carries around about 6,000 genes, but only about 20 percent of those are essential in the conventional sense of, if you silence it, the cell dies. This conventional view allows us to look at the other 80 percent as non-essential genes.

That's incorrect, according to today's paper. These "extra" genes play a role outside of the cell itself: typically found nearer to the surface of cells than essential genes, they are more likely to degrade and become unusable (because of extracellular noise). Over time, the yeast cells have evolved in such a way that these genes can be lost without costing the cell its survival. That's why they're closer to the edge of the cell, where there's more environmental stress, than the genes that, say, allow for DNA duplication.

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A Pile of Mammals Smaller Than a Single Canyon Is Dominating the Entire Planet

A Pile of Mammals Smaller Than a Single Canyon Is Dominating the Entire Planet

If you took every human being on Earth and put them in the Grand Canyon, they wouldn't even begin to fill it up. The seven billion-strong lot of us would make a pretty formidable pile, sure, but we'd get nowhere close to an overflow. At least, not according to this 'species portrait' put together by VSauce and recently shared far and wide across the blogland

The visualization proved so popular because it turns our working conception of the size and scope of humanity on its head—we are a vast and multiplying species; we blanket the entire planet with our cities and settlements. Jesus Diaz notes that "Even if you took all of humanity across all the ages—an estimated 106 billionthe piles—about 15 of these—wouldn't cover the Grand Canyon. Not even a significant fraction."

But we are overpopulous, so how can the whole of our kind fit inside a single chasm, sprawling and iconic as that chasm may be? In that light, this makes for a useful context by which to consider how impressive we humans really are, given our relatively diminutive collective physiology: That stack of biomass has exerted unparalleled, and perhaps unprecedented, dominion over the blue marble. (Our only serious competition are the cyanobacteria that single-handedly spurred one of the first great extinctions.) 

We have colonized every major biosphere the globe has to offer. We have built civilizations on most of that globe; we have been relentlessly successful in bending its geography to our will, to extracting its resources, to domesticating and/or eradicating its flora and fauna.

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The Ultimate — And Laughably Simple — Way Of Protecting Your Communication From The NSA

nsa-emoji.jpg (1440×720) 
If you are a threat to national security and use only emojis to plan your upcoming attack on the homeland, you’re on the safe side.

Odds are that the National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spy agency are less likely to find you if you stick to smiley faces. PRISM and other mass surveillance systems are not equipped to store emojis in a way that won’t translate them into black, undeciphered squares, similar to those you get when receiving an emoticon on a Blackberry or any other kind of dumb phone. 

It’s almost certain that these agencies employ thousands of people who can understand needle-emoji, bomb-emoji, pistol-emoji, or any other ticking bomb-plus-clock-emoji-type messages, but the complex algorithms they use for automatic threat detection simply can’t cope with the full extent of the Unicode standard and the legacy-encoded emojis.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Totally Parched: 100% of California in Drought

mt. shasta from space 

The Southern, Eastern and Western Slopes of Mt. Shasta were almost bare in January. 

California is parched, with 100 percent of the Golden State entrenched in drought conditions for the first time in 15 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM).

"With the expansion of D1 [moderate drought] across southeast California and southwest Arizona, this week marks the first time in the 15-year history of the USDM that 100 percent of California was in moderate to exceptional drought," according to a statement by the Monitor, which is a joint effort by the National Drought Mitigation Center, NOAA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. drought observers.

Since March 25, the state has been under "abnormally dry" conditions, and just this week the Drought Monitor listed the entire state as experiencing a moderate drought. [Photos: The 10 Driest Places on Earth
Various parts of the state are feeling the California drought more than others. For instance, the city of Montague may run out of drinking water by the end of the summer, according to the Monitor; the city has asked residents to curtail outside watering at this time.

"This is the first time in over 80 years of water deliveries from the Montague Water Conservation District that this situation has occurred," a statement from the Monitor reads.

Many growers in Shasta Valley and Big Springs — both part of Siskiyou County, in the northernmost part of California in the Shasta region — are struggling to water their fields.

The Monitor quotes an observer in Siskiyou County to illustrate the frustration felt by farmers: "Our snow pack is pathetic, rainfall is way below normal, (low) stream flows are running at 2-3 months ahead of normal depending on the area, well levels have dropped severely and many wells are dry in spring or have levels typical of late fall, surface water irrigation supplies are non-existent to extremely limited in many areas, and the situation is only getting worse daily (especially after 3 consecutive years of drought)."

For the rest of the story:

All It Takes Is One Missile to Ruin Space for Everyone

All It Takes Is One Missile to Ruin Space for Everyone 
The United States unequivocally won the space race and, with it, uncontested dominance in low Earth orbit for roughly five decades. But the country's space dominance is not only beginning to show cracks, the whole system could literally crash due to the increasing threat of so-called “dangerous space incidents”—the specter of space weapons deployed by an upstart like China, North Korea, or Iran.

There’s mounting evidence, in fact, that China is actively testing new space weapons that could threaten the entire low Earth orbit ecosystem, which hosts of GPS, spy, and weather satellites and the International Space Station.

So far, the safety of low Earth orbit has persisted on the idea of mutually-assured destruction, the same idea that kept the United States and the Soviet Union from bombing each other off the face of the Earth during the Cold War. That tenuous arrangement has worked so far, but an increasing number of countries are gaining the technology to destroy a satellite, which is pretty concerning, according to Micah Zenko, a conflict prevention expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. Generally, space is thought of as a free, “open” space for any country to launch satellites into, but in the case of any sort of Earthbound military struggle, the battlefield can easily extend into orbit.  

“The US is the undeniable lead actor in space. You get officials talking about wanting open, transparent access to space, but then you talk to military commanders, and they talk about controlling space, denying access to space,” Zenko told me. “We want to promote an open space domain, but in times of crisis, the military wants to control space. Getting that balance is so difficult. So much space activity is conducted in total secrecy.”

For the rest of the story:

How the Pleiades Shaped Civilization

How the Pleiades Shaped Civilization

Every week, Becky Ferreira, your hostess with the cosmostest, hones in on the most important science and history topics the hit show Cosmos glosses over. Previously: What the World Actually Looked Like on the Day Creationists Say It All Began.

Last night's episode of Cosmos was called “Sisters of the Sun," a title that works on a few levels. The most obvious interpretation refers to the stars born in the same “litter” as the Sun, whose fates astronomers have been trying pin down for years. Needless to say, rooting these stars out is like finding needles in a galactic haystack, and the search may be inherently quixotic.

On a less literal level, Cosmos finally elevated the work of female astronomers like Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin. It doesn't make up for the glaring omission of Caroline Herschel back in the fourth episode, but it was a great snapshot of the Harvard College Observatory's sisterhood of astronomers.

Even so, there is no doubt that the real stars of this episode were the Pleiades—the ultimate stellar sisters. Bright, distinctive, and visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, the Pleiades have had an enormous impact on human cultures across the globe. You'd be hard-pressed to find a constellation with more mythological gravitas, not to mention that the legends behind the cluster often have important astronomical observations embedded in their details.

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Blind Sight: The Next Generation of Sensory Substitution Technology

It’s long been known that blind people are able to compensate for their loss of sight by using other senses, relying on sound and touch to help them “see” the world. Neuroimaging studies have backed this up, showing that in blind people brain regions devoted to sight become rewired to process touch and sound as visual information.

Now, in the age of Google Glass, smartphones and self-driving cars, new technology offers ever more advanced ways of substituting one sensory experience for another. These exciting new devices can restore sight to the blind in ways never before thought possible.

A female blind user wearing the vOICe. The small covert camera is inside the video sunglasses, and the notebook PC running software is in the backpack.

A female blind user wearing the voice. The small covert camera is inside the sunglasses, and the notebook PC running software is in the backpack. At bottom, a representation of the aural landscape produced by the device. 

Seeing with the Ears

One approach is to use sound as a stand-in for vision. In a study published in Current Biology, neuroscientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem used a “sensory substitution device” dubbed “the vOICe” (Oh, I See!) to enable congenitally blind patients to see using sound. The device translates visual images into brief bursts of music, which the participants then learn to decode.

Over a series of training sessions they learn, for example, that a short, loud synthesizer sound signifies a vertical line, while a longer burst equates to a horizontal one. Ascending and descending tones reflect the corresponding directions, and pitch and volume relay details about elevation, brightness and even color. 

Layering these sound qualities and playing several in sequence (each burst lasts about one second) thus gradually builds an image as simple as a basic shape or as complex as a landscape.

The concept has tried and true analogs in the animal world, says Dr. Amir Amedi, the lead researcher on the study. “The idea is to replace information from a missing sense by using input from a different sense. It’s just like bats and dolphins use sounds and echolocation to ‘see’ using their ears.”

For the rest of the story:

Did A Private Company Find Flight 370?

Searchers dispute company's claim that it may have found aircraft wreckage

Near Perth, Australia (CNN) -- A private company declared that it has found what it believes is wreckage of a plane in the ocean, but leaders of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are dismissing the claim

The reasons for the skepticism are obvious -- the site where GeoResonance says it found the wreckage, in the Bay of Bengal, is several thousand miles away from the current search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is coordinating the multinational search, dismissed the claim.

"The Australian-led search is relying on information from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft's location," the JACC said.

"The location specified by the GeoResonance report is not within the search arc derived from this data. The joint international team is satisfied that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc."

Malaysian acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia "is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information."

GeoResonance said it analyzes super-weak electromagnetic fields captured by airborne multispectral images.

"The company is not declaring this is MH370, however it should be investigated," GeoResonance said in a statement.

Study: It Is "Very Likely" That Scientists Are Confusing Us About Global Warming

The United Nations' blockbuster climate reports are full of language that makes people doubt climate change.


The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a big, big production. Its reports, released roughly every five years, are considered the gold standard of climate science, and are always a major media event. Thousands of scientists contribute to the reports, all of them volunteering their expertise to make the world just a little bit better.

There's just one problem: According to a new paper out in Nature: Climate Change, the IPCC may be dramatically undermining its own work through one of its trademark tools: A system of language that the group uses to describe how certain (or uncertain) researchers are about its scientific findings. According to the new study, this system (which involves describing conclusions as "likely," "very likely," and so on) has the unfortunate effect of making people less sure than they ought to be of the IPCC's most important conclusions.

Unintentionally, then, the IPCC seems to be doing just what climate skeptics and deniers are so often accused of: Sowing doubt.

The new study, by psychologist David Budescu of Fordham University and his colleagues, is actually the latest in a string of papers by these researchers showing that people systematically misunderstand what the IPCC means when it uses phrases such as "likely" and "very likely" to describe the strength of its conclusions. 

Take, for instance, the IPCC's famous finding, in 2007, that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-produced] greenhouse gas concentrations." According to Budescu's research, while the IPCC intends for "very likely" to mean a greater than 90 percent likelihood, that's not necessarily the message the average person hears. Instead, when Budesco and his colleagues asked members of the public to assign a probability to the term "very likely," the mean estimate people gave was just 62 percent.

Unintentionally, the IPCC seems to be doing just what climate skeptics are so often accused of: Sowing doubt.

For the rest of the story:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sandy Hook Free Homes? You Decide!

While driving today I decided to turn on the radio and a politically-oriented program was on. They were taking phone calls. Apparently the telephone screener did not do a good job since a call came through with a topic the presenter obviously did not want to touch. The caller stated that many homes surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School were sold for $1 or given away for free at $0, years before and mostly during Christmas 2009 (3 years prior to the 'event') He said anyone could research this using public record sources. All of a sudden, the presenter hung up and apologized to the audience for allowing someone to chime in with 'conspiracy theories.' I became curious and decided to research what the caller had mentioned. All I did was use Google Maps and the Assessors Online Database for Newtown, CT ( You can do this too.

I started by looking for Adam Lanza's home, owned by his mother Nancy ($0 purchase price?):
Here's Adam Lanza's neighbor at 32 Yogananda St:
Sales price $0
And this is the Town of Newtown buying property for free?
What do you think?

There's a Frosty Brown Dwarf a Mere Seven Light Years from Earth

There's a Frosty Brown Dwarf a Mere Seven Light Years from Earth 
Friday, NASA announced the discovery of WISE J085510.83-071442.5, a brown dwarf located 7.2 light-years away. The object—which we'll abbreviate to WISE 0855–0714—has edged out the red dwarf Wolf 359 to become the fourth closest system to our Sun.

“It's very exciting to discover a new neighbor of our solar system that is so close," Kevin Luhman, an astronomer at Penn State's Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, said in a statement. "Given its extreme temperature, it should tell us a lot about the atmospheres of planets, which often have similarly cold temperatures.”

Luhman has been hunting for brown dwarfs for decades, and has located several of them using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope. In fact, this isn't even the first time he's bumped our nearest neighbors back a spot in line. Just last year, he discovered a brown dwarf binary system only 6.5 light-years away, making it the third closest system to the Sun. The Luhman 16 system now bears his name.

Our nearest neighbors. Image via NASA/Penn State.

But this most recently discovered dwarf is a little different from the binary system, and not just in nomenclature. For example, the weather forecast on Luhman 16B calls for pretty consistent molten iron rain showers, whereas WISE 0855–0714 is a bonafide ice queen. In fact, it's the coldest brown dwarf ever found, with an estimated temperature of 225–260 kelvins (9 degrees Fahrenheit, or -13 degrees Celsius). The record-holders up until this point at least had the decency to remain at room temperature.

For the rest of the story:

What Will Happen When the Earth’s Magnetic Field Begins to Reverse?

When a sodium-filled model of the Earth’s outer core spins at full speed, it could generate a dynamo.   

On the University of Maryland campus, a giant whirligig tries to predict the planet’s next big flip.
In a large, warehouse-like laboratory on the University of Maryland campus, a stainless steel sphere ten feet in diameter whirls rapidly. It is the largest spinning model of the Earth’s interior ever built and resembles the Star Wars Death Star, only shinier. Geophysicist Daniel Lathrop wants, among other things, to use it to predict when the Earth’s magnetic field will next reverse.

Over the course of our planet’s history, the field has flipped hundreds of times: Magnetic north has slid toward the bottom of the planet while magnetic south has traveled north. Signatures in volcanic rocks reveal that the switch last happened 780,000 years ago, when human ancestors were just learning to make fire.

We’re still here, so we’ll probably survive the next reversal—but we don’t know what to expect. During the reversal, a gradual event that takes about a thousand years, the field will weaken. Without the protection it offers, will our sun’s radiation bombard us? Will migrating birds relying on the field become hopelessly confused? And when will it happen? Some estimates say “soon,” which, for a geophysicist, could be in the next 10,000 years. It could even start tomorrow.

That’s where Lathrop’s sphere comes in. Within is nested another sphere—the space between the two filled with 12 tons of liquid sodium, heated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When set spinning, the setup mimics the roiling liquid iron in the Earth’s outer core, which forms electrical currents that generate the magnetic field in a process called a dynamo. His team hopes to find out how Earth’s field forms and evolves. “Any theory they’re able to even rule out will be front-page news to many of us,” says Peter Olson, an earth and planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

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Chernobyl’s Bugs: The Art And Science Of Life After Nuclear Fallout


A squash bug Coreus marginatus from Polesskoje, Ukraine, found August 15, 1990. "The left feeler lacks a section and is shorter," says Hesse-Honegger. (Watercolor, Z├╝rich 1990.

In 1986, a Swiss artist set out to document insects from regions affected by the Chernobyl disaster, and science is starting to catch up with her.

If you stare at one of Cornelia Hesse-Honegger’s watercolors long enough, you’ll notice something’s a little bit off with the insects she depicts. There’s a bent antennae or a crumpled wing—the deformities make it clear to the viewer that this bug is not “normal.”

A Zurich-based artist and scientific illustrator, Hesse-Honegger has been peering into microscopes and drawing malformed insects for decades. Her bright paintings of “true bugs”—insects like firebugs, aphids and cicadas that all share a unique sucking mouth organ—often focus on their anatomy, and look like something out of a beautiful old-school entomology textbook.

She got her start working is an illustrator at an entomology lab at the University of Zurich in the 1960s, where she drew flies and other insects that had been exposed to different mutagens, such as x-rays and ethyl methanesulfonate (a compound similar to Agent Orange). But, perhaps her most famous work comes from areas affected by the explosion at a nuclear power station in Chernobyl, Ukraine, on April 26, 1986. 

Knowing that severe radiation exposure can cause mutations in the string of DNA letters found within cells, and that those mutations might cause deformities in a creature’s body plan, Hesse-Honegger went looking for her preferred bugs in regions under the Chernobyl cloud, first in Sweden and then in southern Switzerland.

“All living beings in areas contaminated by the radioactive cloud were now in a situation comparable to that of laboratory flies exposed to radioactivity,” she says. And when she looked, collecting 50 to 500 insects at various locations, she did find insects with slight abnormalities in their anatomy.

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Goodbye, Net Neutrality; Hello, Net Discrimination

In 2007, at a public forum at Coe College, in Iowa, Presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked about net neutrality. Specifically, “Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate net neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint F.C.C. commissioners that support open Internet principles like net neutrality?”

“The answer is yes,” Obama replied. “I am a strong supporter of net neutrality.” Explaining, he said, “What you’ve been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you’re getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites…. And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet—which is that there is this incredible equality there.”

If reports in the Wall Street Journal are correct, Obama’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Thomas Wheeler, has proposed a new rule that is an explicit and blatant violation of this promise. In fact, it permits and encourages exactly what Obama warned against: broadband carriers acting as gatekeepers and charging Web sites a payola payment to reach customers through a “fast lane.”

Late last night Wheeler released a statement accusing the Wall Street Journal of being “flat-out wrong.” Yet the Washington Post has confirmed, based on inside sources, that the new rule gives broadband providers “the ability to enter into individual negotiations with content providers … in a commercially reasonable matter.” That’s telecom-speak for payola payments, and a clear violation of Obama’s promise.

For the rest of the story:

A (Sort Of) Scientific Way To See If You Live In A Bubble

I divided my time this month between West Africa and the Bay Area, which triggered a lot of cultural whiplash, which got me thinking about filter bubbles. I fear today’s technology can reinforce our instinct to confuse what’s familiar with what’s normal … which leads to skewed perceptions, bad decisions, and needless conflict. It’s OK to live in a bubble, but it is not OK to not know that you live in a bubble.

At the same time, though, I’m an engineer, which means the entire preceding paragraph already feels far too abstract and handwavey. What’s a bubble? How can one distinguish between what’s familiar and what’s normal? How can you possibly measure and quantify any of this?

…Conveniently, I have an answer to that question, inspired by my friend Leigh Honeywell, and I hereby name the Honeywell Bubble Count after her. It’s a very simple algorithm indeed:
  1. Go to the social network on which you’re most active. (For me: Twitter.)
  2. Of the people you actively follow, what percentage are a different gender than your own? (For me: 98/251, 39%. Not too bad.)
  3. Of the people you actively follow, what percentage are — to use the wonderful Canadian phrase — members of a visible minority, or, a different visible minority than your own? (For me: 35/251, 14%. Hmmm.)
  4. Of the people you actively follow, what percentage are residents of a nation other than the one in which you live? (For me: 80/251, 32%. Significantly fewer than I expected, but not awful, I suppose.)
For the rest of the story:

How an "Upside-Down" Planet Gave New Insight into Gravitational Lensing

How an "Upside-Down" Planet Gave New Insight into Gravitational Lensing

Sometimes it’s the strange, accidental discoveries that teach us the most. Like the so-called "upside-down” planet astronomers found last week. It’s not really upside-down; what astronomers actually found is a very interesting case of gravitational lensing within a binary star system.

The unique arrangement is opening a new way of looking at dual star systems.

University of Washington astronomer Eric Agol and doctoral student Ethan Kruse discovered the upside-down planet while looking at exoplanet data the way so many astronomers do: by looking for dips in starlight as a planet passes between the star and the Earth.

Kruse was on the lookout for missed transits in old data from NASA’s exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope when he saw something really strange in the binary star system KOI-3278. Instead of a dip in starlight, there was an increase in the star’s brightness associated with a planetary transit.

“I found what essentially looked like an upside-down planet,” Kruse said in a release. “What you normally expect is this dip in brightness, but what you see in this system is basically the exact opposite—it looks like an anti-transit.”

The pair of stars that make up the KOI-3278 system lie about 2,600 lightyears from Earth in the constellation Lyra. And being a pair they switch positions relative to our planet as they orbit one another, one being closest to Earth first then the other. Their arrangement is handy, allowing astronomers to measure the mass of one star by looking at how powerfully it magnifies the light from its companion.

And interestingly, Kruse’s discovery of this “anti-transit” is in line with a prediction made more than 40 years ago. In 1973, astronomers predicted that self-lensing binary systems should exist, not immediately, but later in the stars’ life cycle.

For now, we know a little about the binary system. The pair of stars orbit one another every 88.18 days, and they sit about 43 million miles apart (roughly the distance from the Sun to Mercury). We also know that one of the stars is a white dwarf, a cooler star in the final stage of its life with about 200,000 times the mass of the Earth.

The increase in light in Kruse saw—the anti-transit—was the white dwarf of the pair bending and magnifying the light from its companion star though gravitational lensing.

Gravitational lensing is an interesting phenomenon wherein gravity actually warps light as it travels from, say, a distant star to an observatory on Earth or in Earth orbit. The light being warped bends and changes direction, and the result is magnification. A gravitational object effectively acts like a magnifying glass, though a weak one. Only across really large distances can astronomers see the effects of gravitational lensing.
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The Beautiful World Behind the Power Grid


The energy industry makes modern life possible, but few ever get to see its inner workings. For his series “Space and Energy,” Zurich-based photographer Luca Zanier spent a year venturing into about 100 power plants, oil tankers, dams, and waste facilities. By showing us inside, he asks us to confront the mysterious and sometimes uncomfortable realities behind our daily existence. “We all depend on electricity, but we close our eyes to the industry behind it. It’s like the fact that most of us love to eat meat, but nobody wants to see the slaughterhouse,” Zanier said via email. “But the world of power plants is a very clean, abstract, technical and aesthetically pleasing one. This might be a surprise. I wanted to provide insight into the fascinating world behind the act of switching on the light.”

Zanier first visited a nuclear power plant in 2009 to see if the aesthetic fit the idea he had for his series. From there, he set about arranging visits to other facilities. “They were all very open to this kind of collaboration. Sometimes it was necessary to wait to get access. Other times I had to hurry,” he said.


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Everything You Need to Know About Terrifying, Wonderful Robotic Snakes

The technology can be used for saving lives, cleaning oceans, and scaring your friends.


Last month, Medrobotics, a corporation associated with Carnegie Mellon University, announced that it will start marketing robotic snakes to surgeons in Europe. These "snakes," when fed down a patient's throat, can help doctors access hard-to-reach locations within the human body during head and neck surgery, leading to faster recovery times.

But this is hardly the only use for robotic snakes, which swim, slither, crawl, and climb much like the real thing. For the past few years, researchers at labs around the world have been coming up with innovative new ways to put these cool (and terrifying!) robots to use. Here's what you need to know:

Who made the first robotic snakes?

Howie Choset, a robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon, is widely credited with fathering the robotic snake. He cofounded the company that's making the surgical robot snake, and he told the Huffington Post last year that, in fact, he's "afraid of snakes," but he notes that his snake robots are "nice and friendly."

How do robotic snakes move?

According to the Biorobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon, there are at least 10 main "gaits" robotic snakes perform, including sidewinding, corkscrewing, rolling, swimming, pole climbing, and cornering. The researchers say that they have been able to mimic all "biological gaits" found in snakes, and in some cases, develop those that "go beyond biological capability." Researchers also develop gaits for specific tasks, such as "stairclimbing, gap crossing, reaching into a hole in a wall [and] railroad track crossing." Here is a video of a robotic snake moving up a pole:
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Steve Richards | Holographic Kinetics and Advanced Aboriginal Healing

Click on the following link to listen:

This is Segment 1 of 2. Segment 1 is being provided as a courtesy of VERITAS Radio. To listen to Segment 2 of this exclusive interview, subscribe at to watch the rest.

Veritas is censorship-and commercial-free and survives on your voluntary subscriptions. Thank you for supporting our work. ~Mel Fabregas

S y n o p s i s 

Holographic Kinetics is a combination of over 40 years of researching, by its founder Steve Richards it covering areas such as; Metaphysics, Religion, Spirituality, Hypnosis, Kinetic energy, Kinesiology, Quantum physics, Russelian physics, Radionics, Gravit-O-Biology, Body Electronics, Iridology, Sclerology, Health and the human mind and many other modalities in understanding the power of the subtle bodies--from a holistic approach--in the creation and removal of internal-created realities, within their own separate dimensions of time. As well as the understanding and removal of other dimensional forces that can enter through drugs, alcohol, trauma and certain medication, which our research has found is the main reasons for most mental illness.

Pain is trapped energy. Forget about pain management, take out the trapped energy or trauma of the spirit and the energy is once more free to leave and so is the pain. At times pain may not even belong to you, you may have been responsible for the death of another or taken pitty on another that has died and that gave that Spirit the rights under LORE to enter your body and you may be experiencing its pain through you, until that Spirit is bought up and time enfolded back to its trauma and changed and then released, only then will the pain cease. 

B i o 

Steve Richards was awarded the 2005 Life Awards-Certificate of Commendation-- from suicide prevention Australia and Nominated for the 2005/2006 Human Rights Medal Awards. Then in 2007 Steve was nominated for the Australian of the year awards amongst many others and Has have been asked into the high security prisons for the mentally ill, where nothing tried by mainstream with the Aboriginal inmates was working and he has obtained positive results with every inmate worked on.
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