Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sofia Smallstorm | Chemtrails, the Great Culling, Transhumanism, and Agenda 21

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.

S y n o p s i s 

How do artificial clouds form? As power plants belch vast quantities of steam skyward, aerosol particulates sprayed through the atmosphere cause the vapor to nucleate around them into white haze, which can then be concentrated into man-made clouds. WeatherWar101 has identified and explains this process (using Nexrad/Doppler technology) in his detailed videos.

The feathery, streaky things you see in the sky these days are most likely not clouds. They are the result of material left in the wake of jet aircraft, and are referred to by government agencies as mere "contrails," but the jet contrails we saw as children never ended up as clouds. Do airplanes make clouds, Mommy? NASA would have us think so, but as someone once said, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. 9/11 was a covert operation that birthed the US police state. While many people -- distracted by entertainment, sports and shopping -- are blissfully unaware that their freedoms are being stripped from them, you would think they might look up in the sky and notice the very strange clouds above their heads. Not so. The spraying is in some ways like the emperor's new clothes -- someone has to point it out before we can see it for ourselves. Once you can SEE, you then begin to NOTICE.

We discussed how chemtrails could be the great culling. This delivery mechanism could be responsible for a new breed of humans - transhumanism - via nano technology particles that could alter our DNA. Genetically modified organisms, Agenda 21, and much more.

B i o 

Sofia Smallstorm began her journey into the momentum of Waking Up and Seeing with 9/11. While digging into that subject, she discovered artificial clouds and chemtrails, and from this was inspired to recognize the presence of a synthetic biology agenda in the activities around us. Her “From Chemtrails to Pseudo-Life” talks (Part 1 and Part 2) take us from synthetic biology to radiation biology, the territory of our current addiction to wireless communication. Her 2013 talk “Unraveling Sandy Hook in 2, 3, 4 and 5 Dimensions” is a different view on the use of staged events to shape society as they move us all into a post-human world. She has a weekly radio show on the Pure Momentum network ( Her websites are and

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ask Anything: Will We Ever Run Out Of Potable Water?

Short answer: Not if we get creative.

“There’s a lot of hype around this issue,” says Upmanu Lall, professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University and director of its Water Center. But, he says, we’re in little danger of running out of water overall. One could conceive of a scenario in which we’ve used up all the freshwater locked in ice or aquifers. Indeed, the water table has already dropped at an alarming rate in specific regions. (We’re on pace to deplete the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies much of the Great Plains, in the coming decades, for example.) But even if that happened, we’d still have access to other forms of water. “The most common resource is rainfall, and that’s renewable,” Lall explains. “It’s nature’s way of treating water through a distilling mechanism.
 "The most common resource is rainfall, and that’s renewable."
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Understanding Alien Messages May Be No Different Than Decoding the Rosetta Stone


If we find an intelligent alien civilization, how will we talk to its inhabitants? There is, perhaps, no question that has been more frequently considered within science fiction. Well, now it's a question that NASA is very seriously thinking about and it's explored, at length, in a new e-book published by the agency.

The thing is, talking to aliens (or, the theoretically nearer-term challenge of decoding an alien radio communication), might not be all that different from understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics or deciphering long-lost artifacts from a foreign culture. Sure, for all we know, aliens might all communicate with telepathy, with undetectable pheromones, or, in what would be a nice, easy twist, maybe they just straight up speak English like Kang and Kodos.

But it's also possible that they communicate in a way that might be reasonably decipherable, according to Douglas Vakoch, director of interstellar message composition at the SETI institute and editor of the book, called Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communications.

"For a couple thousand years, we had no idea what the hieroglyphs said. We had this idea of them as this abstract, exotic language, this super language that had some higher meaning," he said. "Ultimately, that's not what they are. They are like other languages, and we just had to free ourselves of an assumption that held everyone captive. We had to see them in a new light and assume they were just like every language."

The idea explored in the book, then, is that, yes, alien messages might be impossible to decipher, but, assuming it's a radio signal or some other sort of electronic pulse, they must have a similar understanding of science and math as us. It's pointless to assume that, simply because a civilization is alien, they will be impossible to communicate with. And we can likely crack the code.

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The Nations Guaranteed to Be Swallowed by the Sea


Imagine the street you live on is knee-deep in floodwater, and it’s ruining everything in sight, including your home. Now imagine that those awful floodwaters never, ever recede. Instead, the water just keeps rising and rising until your entire country drowns.

For a number of island nations, that's ultimately the significance of the recent reports about the unstoppable melt of the massive ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, along with hundreds of glaciers.

“We’ve already lost some island atolls. On others the rising sea is destroying homes, washing away coffins and skeletons from graves,” Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, told me. “Now with every full moon the high tides brings salt water into our streets. We’re moving further inland but can’t move much further."

The Marshall Islands are located in the northern Pacific Ocean, and are home to some 70,000 people spread out over 24 low-lying coral atolls. Low-lying, as in six feet above sea level on average. Not only do rising seas flood and erode shorelines, they also make groundwater too salty too drink and “poison” the land with salt so crops and even coconuts trees can’t grow.

Earlier this month Motherboard reported that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet was underway, guaranteeing a minimum of three metres (10 feet) of sea level rise. 

Another study said the melting ice is 31 per cent faster now than between 2005 and 2011. Way up in Greenland, the same thing is happening, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience. And then there was the recent US National Climate Assessment that found Alaska’s and Canada’s glaciers are pumping huge volumes of water into the ocean.

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How We'll Talk To Aliens

New NASA book looks beyond astrophysics to figure out how we'll communicate with extraterrestrials

Assuming we one day contact aliens, how will we communicate with them? That's the subject of a new book from NASA called Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication(Kudos to Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo for uncovering it.) The book steps outside astrophysics and computer science to explore how archeologists and anthropologists have approached cross-cultural communications between human cultures, and what those techniques and analytical frames could contribute to understanding a message from an alien culture.

“It's a serious book—deep and complex, but quite accessible," Diaz writes about the new title, Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication, “...that takes into consideration our knowledge on historical and prehistorical Earth, as well as our understanding of biology, evolution, and physics." 

If it did nothing else, space exploration enthusiasts would find the book a good read for its concise histories, institutional and political, of the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program. But the book is also refreshing because the contributors step beyond the usual technological questions, defensive worries, or assumptions about supposed fundamentals of human-alien communication.

"Indeed, much of the literature on contact with extraterrestrial intelligence tacitly assumes that an alien civilization will be culturally unified, unlike our own world," writes John Traphagan in his chapter on "Culture and Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence," which explores definitions of culture, and the limits of "common languages" like mathematics or higher technologies in creating cross-cultural understanding.

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Unlocking The Mystery Of How Your Brain Keeps Time

Your brain doesn't use a man-made clock. It uses patterns. 

We all know how the time traveler's wife feels.

In Audrey Niffenegger's novel The Time Traveler's Wife, Henry DeTamble is a man with a rare disorder that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. His wife Clare experiences life linearly, but never knows when or where she will see her husband next. "Each moment that I wait feels like a year," Clare says. "Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting."

You don't need a time-traveling husband to have a warped experience of time like Clare's — think of how long a Monday back at work seems to stretch out, and how quickly the weekend flashes by. Time should march steadily, but that doesn't always match our perception. Neuroscientists and psychologists are searching for answers to this conundrum, using psychophysical experiments and brain scanning technology to unlock just how human brains track the passage of time. Researchers are gaining insights, and some of these findings could help us to better understand, among other things, disorders like schizophrenia and Parkinson's where sufferers have trouble perceiving time.

"Timing is fundamental, and it's involved in many different tasks," says John Wearden, a psychologist at the University of Keele in the U.K. "You wouldn't be able to tap on a keyboard or move your body unless you could program actions in time." Wearden has spent nearly 25 years researching timing in animals using the Scalar Expectancy Theory, which hypothesizes that animals have internal clocks. He was also the first person to apply this theory to human timing.

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Ant groups 'more efficient than Google' in processing data, new study finds

While individual 'scout' ants may seem chaotic in their movements, they are leaving a pheromone trails to allow other ants to follow them to food sources.

The dedication and stamina of the worker ant, toiling through the summer months and preparing for winter, were celebrated in Aesop’s Fables – in contrast to the lazy, singing grasshopper, unready for the hardships ahead. 

Now research shows that ants don’t just flourish because they work hard and will slavishly sacrifice themselves for the collective. Their success is also due to their group ability to process information “far more efficiently than Google” in the daily search for food, according to scientists.

A major behavioural mathematics study, which could also have ramifications for how we understand human behaviour on the internet, used complex computer modelling to reveal how ants bring order to chaos by creating “highly complex networks” to govern their actions.

It found that not only are ants “surprisingly efficient”, but they are able to deploy ingenious navigation strategies to divide themselves between “scout” and “gathering” ants during “complex feed-search movements”.

The joint Chinese-German study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that while individual “scout” ants may seem “chaotic” in their movements, they are leaving a trail of pheromones to allow following “gathering” ants to refine and shorten their journeys to food sources in the vicinity of the colony.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

NASA Releases Free eBook About Communicating With Aliens

Image via NatGeo SETI is the nonprofit organization in charge of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Ever since 1985, they have been combing the skies looking for ET and tying to anticipate all of the issues that we may encounter as a result of this endeavor. In their research, they look at the problems associated with finding alien life (from the difficulties that we will face because of the amazing distances that will likely separate Earth and alien worlds, to the steps that we must take in order to avoid interstellar conflict). And SETI just released a free eBook that deals with some of this research.

The book discusses the problems, pitfalls, and advancements that we’ve made in the quest to communicate with extraterrestrials. This is an important issue. In a 2010 documentary, physicist Stephen Hawking warned that extraterrestrials may be more advanced than us. As such, if they visit Earth, they could exploit or exterminate us (consider the imperialist extermination of Native peoples around the globe). As he notes, “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.” Thus, proper communication with ET is a must. The text is titled Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communicationand it was edited by the SETI Director of Interstellar Message Composition, Douglas Vakoch. The aim of the text is to address some of the issues surrounding alien life and alien communication in order to prepare us “for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come.”

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Building a Better You? The Era of Trans-Human Technology

A part-human, part-robot man, in image showing his face. 

Some scientists imagine cybernetic parts to replace cancerous limbs and aging hearts, radically increasing longevity.  

Christopher Phillips is currently based at 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i in the Hawaiian Islands. He is involved in science, education and science communication projects in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He is a physics and astronomy graduate and lives on the summit of one of Earth's most active volcanos, Kilauea,with his fiancée, Melissa and their cat, Sprout. This Op-Ed was adapted from one that appeared in Guru Magazine. Phillips contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Welcome to the future. You are now living in an era of trans-human technology — an era some call an evolutionary renaissance. And you are what we call a cyborg: part human, part machine.

For decades we have been integrating technology into our daily lives . Every person has become a mass consumer and mass producer of data. We engage with technology to the point that every waking moment is dominated by interactions with microchips. Our society has embraced technology willingly, and we have integrated technology into every facet of our daily lives: the way we conduct business, engage in discourse, wage war and stage revolutions; the ways we organize social gatherings, share intimate moments and fall in love. Technology has now become the means for all of these things that make us human. Welcome to the future. Welcome to now. 

Right now, many of you may be reading this article on

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We'll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime, Scientists Tell Congress

SETI uses the Arecibo's 305-meter telescope — the largest in the world — to scan the sky for signals from alien civilizations all year round. 

SETI uses the Arecibo's 305-meter telescope — the largest in the world — to scan the sky for signals from alien civilizations all year round.

Humans have long wondered whether we are alone in the universe. According to scientists working with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the question may be answered in the near future.

"It's unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth," Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21). "I think that situation is going to change within everyone's lifetime in this room."

Scientists search for life beyond Earth using three different methods, Shostak said. 

The first method involves the search for microbial extraterrestrials or their remains. Investigations include robotic missions to Mars, such as Curiosity and Opportunity, which are currently searching for signs that the Red Planet could once have hosted potentially habitable environments.

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Why Online Games Turn Players Into Psychopaths

Screenshot: ysarts via Steam Community 

Three men stand on a deserted street, their hands in the air. One wears a green T-shirt and a motorcycle helmet. The others wear bright yellow down jackets. They are surrounded by four armed men.

“Gentlemen,” a man called Klyka says, “we are going to play a very interesting game.”

He commands the hostages to drop their axes, then continues.

“This is DayZ,” he says. “Someone always has to die when players meet. But we’re going to make this interesting.”

He directs the men in yellow to sit cross-legged, 20 yards from each other, axes midway between them.

There can be only one yellow jacket in this group, he says. The two men consider what he says.

Klyka goes on. “When I shoot in the air you guys will run for your axes, and you’ll try to grab them.” The last man standing, he says, will be released.

DayZ is an online PC game set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Surviving the undead hordes is difficult, but at least the zombies are predictable. The bigger threat comes from your fellow players, who are just as likely to help you as kill you.

Dying in DayZ isn’t like dying in other videogames. The game, developed by Bohemia Interactive, has “configured death with an extreme level of consequentiality not found in other online first-person-shooters,” researchers at the University of Melbourne wrote last year. “Unlike other FPS games, in which death is a minor 2-10 second setback before rematerialization, death in DayZ involves the permanent death of this character, and loss of all items and advancement.”

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Why Mass Killers Are Always Male

Elliott Rodger seen in a video he had posted on the Internet.

Elliott Rodger seen in a video he had posted on the Internet.

Whenever there's a mass shooting or massacre, there's a 98% chance the perpetrator is a man. Why is that?

There are no absolute certainties when it comes to mass killers, but a few things come close. Someone will use the term “disaffected youth” to describe the perpetrator. Somewhere there will be a diary—either Tweets, blogs, YouTube videos or scrawled musings in a lined notebook. And the murderer will—with more than a 98% certainty—be male.

That was the case again on Friday as Elliott Rodger, a 22-year-old student at Santa Barbara City College, killed six people and wounded 13 others in a stabbing and shooting spree, before taking his own life. If you say that you were surprised that his name was Elliott and not, say, Ellen, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re playing at political correctness. But the fact remains: it’s almost always boys who go bad.

The question is, Why?

There is no shortage of explanations for the overwhelming maleness of the monster population. Some of the answers reveal a lot—and yet nothing at all. Testosterone fuels aggression. Stipulated. Boys take longer to mature than girls. Stipulated. And like the forebrains of young females, those of young males are not fully myelinated until the late 20s or even early 30s. The forebrain is where executive functions—impulse control, reflection, awareness of consequences—live. In the case of males, who are already trip-wired for aggression, that provides a lot of years to behave badly.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Honeybee population collapse continues: nearly one-quarter died over the winter; death rates 'unsustainable'


During the 2012-2013 winter season, US bee populations plummeted by nearly a third (30.5 percent), raising serious questions. How can key vegetable crops survive and reproduce long-term as the pollinators disappear? Why aren't pesticides being rigorously studied for the damage they do to honeybee immune systems and their role in disrupting ecosystems?

With less pollination activity taking place, crops like apples, almonds, watermelons and beans suffer the most. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA_ estimates that honeybee pollination adds up to $15 billion dollars to the agriculture sector in the US.

"More than three-fourths of the world's flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat," the USDA said in a recent statement.

23.2 percent of honey bees die during 2013-2014 winter season
When the 2013-2014 nationwide honeybee survey was released this spring, new numbers showed a bleak and "unsustainable" trajectory. The USDA expected honeybee losses of 18.9 percent but found out in the new report that honeybee populations have dwindled another 23.2 percent over the winter alone.

The head of the USDA, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, commented on the study, which was conducted in partnership with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the Bee Informed Partnership:

"Pollinators, such as bees, birds and other insects are essential partners for farmers and ranchers and help produce much of our food supply. Healthy pollinator populations are critical to the continued economic well-being of agricultural producers. While we're glad to see improvement this year, losses are still too high and there is still much more work to be done to stabilize bee populations."

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The Plan to Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Is Already Underway


A man charged with thinking outside the box to solve huge societal problems with game-changing ideas at one of the world's most innovative companies stood on stage at a future tech conference in Washington DC last weekend and told a genetic scientist that he "would love to be alive to see a woolly mammoth." The genetic scientist looked back at him and laughed.

"What, are you sick?" he asked.

The implication of the exchange, between Google X's Richard DeVaul and Stewart Brand, a de-extinction expert, was clear: There's a mission to bring back one of history's most famous animals, it's already underway, and it's closer to becoming a reality than even some of the most forward-looking minds think it is.

For all the talk and attention it gets, de-extincting an animal isn't exactly easy—it's difficult to clone cells from an animal that has been dead for thousands of years, tougher to turn it into a viable embryo, and, most importantly, more difficult still to find a closely-related animal that can serve as a surrogate mother to give birth to the cloned animal. There's certainly work still being done in that area, but, increasingly, researchers are working to hybridize existing animals with extinct ones in order to create what Brand calls a "2.0" version of the animal.

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Melting Ice Sheets Are Dumping Nutritious Iron into Earth's Oceans


It sure doesn't sound very much like a hidden benefit, but the large volumes of dissolved iron currently being released into the oceans from melting ice sheets might help take some of the hit out of global warming. This is according to a study out this week in the journal Nature Communications describing a feedback mechanism in which melting ice releases bioavailable iron, promoting the growth of phytoplankton (that are way into iron as a nutrient), which in turn act to capture atmospheric carbon while serving as a food source for seagoing animals.

Needless to say, capturing atmospheric carbon is a highly desirable thing within the general goal of keeping climate change in check. The researchers, concentrated around the UK's National Oceanography Centre, note that this particular iron source has been so far unconsidered. "The Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets cover around 10 percent of global land surface," says the study's lead author, Jon Hawkins, in a statement. "Iron exported in icebergs from these ice sheets have been recognised as a source of iron to the oceans for some time. Our finding that there is also significant iron discharged in runoff from large ice sheet catchments is new."

Note that there's a difference between the iron you might commonly think of and the stuff that's available as a nutrient. While iron is the fourth most-common element found in Earth's crust, it's usually found as one of the iron oxide minerals, which are unreactive and so limited in their usefulness for biological processes. They're just stupid rocks, in other words.

The good stuff, the highly bioavailable iron, is typically in short supply in Earth's oceans, at least from the perspective of phytoplankton. It's poorly soluble in water, and its main sources for ocean life include upwellings from deep, nutrient-rich water or places where deep water suddenly runs into a beach or shoal, thus eroding away solid material and the nutrients contained within. Places like these are where you find the oceans' largest marine habitats. Iron also winds up in our oceans via dust blown offshore from land masses and from icebergs, glaciers, and, indeed, melting ice sheets.

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This Hellish Desert Pit Has Been On Fire for More Than 40 Years

In the Turkmenistan desert, a crater dubbed "The Door to Hell" has been burning for decades.
There are places on Earth that are a little creepy, places that feel a little haunted and places that are downright hellish. The Darvaza gas crater, nicknamed by locals "The Door to Hell," or "The Gates of Hell," definitely falls into the latter category—and its sinister burning flames are just the half of it. Located in the Karakum Desert of central Turkmenistan (a little over 150 miles from the country's capital) the pit attracts hundreds of tourists each year. It also attracts nearby desert wildlife—reportedly, from time to time local spiders are seen plunging into the pit by the thousands, lured to their deaths by the glowing flames.
So how did this fiery inferno end up in the middle of a desert in Turkmenistan? In 1971, when the republic was still part of the Soviet Union, a group of Soviet geologists went to the Karakum in search of oil fields. They found what they thought to be a substantial oil field and began drilling. Unfortunately for the scientists, they were drilling on top of a cavernous pocket of natural gas which couldn't support the weight of their equipment. The site collapsed, taking their equipment along with it—and the event triggered the crumbly sedimentary rock of the desert to collapse in other places too, creating a domino-effect that resulted in several open craters by the time all was said and done.

The largest of these craters measures about 230-feet across and 65-feet deep. Reportedly, no one was injured in the collapse, but the scientists soon had another problem on their hands: the natural gas escaping from the crater. Natural gas is composed mostly of methane, which, though not toxic, does displace oxygen, making it difficult to breathe. This wasn't so much an issue for the scientists, but for the animals that call the Karakum Desert home—shortly after the collapse, animals roaming the area began to die. The escaping methane also posed dangers due to its flammability—there needs to be just five percent methane in the air for an explosion to potentially take place. So the scientists decided to light the crater on fire, hoping that all the dangerous natural gas would burn away in a few weeks' time.

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Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Creates 10,000 New Jobs


Colorado’s marijuana legalization is quickly turning the state into one of the most prosperous places in the country. Not only has Colorado projected marijuana sales to be a billion dollar industry, but in January of 2014 alone, the state pulled in over $3.5 million in tax revenue from legal pot sales. If that trend continues, the state will enjoy an additional $40 million in tax revenue in the first year of legalization. But that’s not all – you know those dismal unemployment figures plaguing the nation? Not in states where pot is legal. Colorado is reporting 10,000 new jobs, all from the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana.

A recent report by the Marijuana Industry Group indicates that since January, the state’s new-found recreational pot trade has created upwards of 10,000 new jobs, with 2,000 joining the green collar workforce just in the past few months – this doesn’t include jobs created by medical marijuana sales.

The state is now enjoying one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation – 6% – which is the lowest it has been since the recession started. So much for those old sayings about pot-heads being lazy. That’s an additional 10,000 people in a labor force out working, instead of collecting unemployment. That’s good for everyone.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Human-Robot Relations: Why We Shouldn't Fear Intelligent Bots

human and robot hands 

Humans are increasingly exposed to robots in their daily lives. 

WASHINGTON — Some people envision a grim future in which machine intelligence exceeds that of humans, and "Terminator"-style robots take over the world. But robotic technologies don't have to evolve at the expense of humans, one expert says. 

"The purpose of technology is to enable human ability," Cori Lathan, founder and CEO of Maryland engineering firm AnthroTronix, told an audience here at a two-day conference hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, called the "Future is Here," celebrating science fiction, outer space and the technologies of tomorrow.

From the International Space Station to the operating room, technology has enabled humans to achieve some amazing feats, but human-machine interaction should also enable cognitive and emotional abilities, Lathan said. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures

“What will technology allow us to do in the future, or what will it force us to do?” Lathan said. She foresees positive developments. "I’m a techno-optimist."

Lathan grew up as a so-called maker, creating robots for children with cerebral palsy. Then came a spurt of advances in consumer electronics. Lathan started developing robots that could engage with kids with autism.

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Turning Light into Matter May Soon Be Possible

abstract image of light swirling 

Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 has proved, mass can get converted into energy and vice versa. For instance, when an electron meets its antimatter counterpart, a positron, they annihilate each other, releasing photons, the particles making up light. 

Scientists may soon create matter entirely from light, using technology that is already available to complete a quest 80 years in the making.

The experiment would re-create events that were critical in the first 100 seconds of the universe and that are also expected to happen in gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the cosmos and one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in physics, researchers added.

As Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 proved, mass can get converted into energy and vice versa. For instance, when an electron meets its antimatter counterpart, a positron, they annihilate each other, releasing photons, the particles making up light. 

In 1934, physicists Gregory Breit and John Wheeler revealed that it should be possible to smash together pairs of gamma rays, the most energetic form of light, to generate pairs of electrons and positrons — the simplest method of turning light into matter ever predicted. However, Breit and Wheeler said they never actually expected anyone to demonstrate their prediction. [The 9 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

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Could Gentle Caribbean Unleash a Devastating Tsunami?

ROV Hercules

The ROV Hercules explores the deep sea.   

The Caribbean usually conjures images of white sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise water, but beneath the sea's tranquil surface, powerful forces are at work.

A massive earthquake in the Caribbean could trigger a deadly tsunami that would hit coastlines from Puerto Rico to New York, some say, though others say the risk has been exaggerated. A group of explorers set sail on a three-month voyage to investigate these threats in the Caribbean's undiscovered depths.

Led by deep-sea explorer Bob Ballard, who discovered the Titanic shipwreck, the voyage is the subject of a new TV special by National Geographic's Nat Geo WILD, called "Caribbean's Deadly Underworld," which premiered Sunday (May 18). [In Images: Exploring the Caribbean Deep]

"The Caribbean Sea is actually made up of a piece of earth under attack from all directions," Ballard told Live Science.

Deep-sea threats

The massive 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed close to 230,000 people was triggered by an earthquake along a subduction zone fault, where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide. The earthquake lifted the seafloor, giving the ocean above a giant shove that generated the deadly waves.

A similar fault exists along the Puerto Rico Trench. The Caribbean tectonic plate is sliding beneath the North American plate at the trench, and such a plate boundary can be very dangerous, Ballard said. Underwater landslides and volcanic eruptions can also cause tsunamis, and these hazards are present in the Caribbean.
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Mysterious 'Spokes' in Saturn's Rings Are Still There

Saturn's Ring Spokes Persist 

Ring spokes can still be observed in Saturn's rings. Image taken on Oct. 19, 2013.  

There are many mysteries about the enigmatic ringed gas giant, but the curious mechanism behind Saturn’s ‘spokes’ is one of the more intriguing puzzles. And in new observations from NASA’s Cassini mission, these bright features seem to be persisting in Saturn’s darkened B ring.

Observed first during the Voyager spacecraft flybys in the early 1980′s, it was realized that these strange features, which flare out like spokes on a bicycle wheel, were not caused by gravitational interactions with the planet, moons or ring material. Further observations were made by Cassini in 2005 when it was confirmed the spokes are likely related to the gas giant’s global magnetic field. 

The leading theory is that charged dust particles suspended above and below the rings are interacting with Saturn’s magnetic field, causing the spokes to rotate with the planet’s interior spin. They are also thought to be seasonal over Saturn’s near-30 year solar orbit — they vanish during Saturn’s midwinter and midwinter, only to reappear around the Saturnian equinox. As Saturn’s northern hemisphere approaches summer solstice, astronomers predict the spokes will disappear.

This observation was taken when Cassini was zooming approximately 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) above Saturn’s ring plane in October 2013.

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Human Evolution 'Definitely Not' Over, Expert Says

evolution, humans, primates, apes, why, how 

WASHINGTON — Is human evolution over? That’s the question Briana Pobiner, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, asked an audience here Saturday (May 17).

Humans are evolving at an increasing rate, thanks to medical advances and a larger population, Pobiner said at the “Future Is Here,” a two-day conference celebrating the future of humans, the planet, life beyond Earth and deep space, hosted by Smithsonian Magazine. But just as humans are continuing to evolve, human parasites are evolving, too.

“I invite you to look into the eyes of our ancient relatives,” Pobiner said. "Why did most human ancestors go extinct, while homo sapiens survived? The answer has a lot to do with human brains." [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans

The human brain represents only about 2 percent of the body’s weight, but consumes 20 percent of its energy. The biggest evolutionary changes have occurred in the neocortex, the brain’s outer wrapping that processes abstract thinking, long-term planning, empathy and language, Pobiner said.

As human brains continue to evolve, will humans eventually develop gigantic heads and scrawny bodies, as depicted in some sci-fi films? Historically, the birthing process has limited brain size, because babies’ heads had to fit through the birth canal.

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Why Do People Persist In Believing Things That Just Aren't True?

I Don’t Want to Be Right

Last month, Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth, published the results of a study that he and a team of pediatricians and political scientists had been working on for three years. They had followed a group of almost two thousand parents, all of whom had at least one child under the age of seventeen, to test a simple relationship: Could various pro-vaccination campaigns change parental attitudes toward vaccines? Each household received one of four messages: a leaflet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that there had been no evidence linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine and autism; a leaflet from the Vaccine Information Statement on the dangers of the diseases that the M.M.R. vaccine prevents; photographs of children who had suffered from the diseases; and a dramatic story from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an infant who almost died of measles. A control group did not receive any information at all. The goal was to test whether facts, science, emotions, or stories could make people change their minds.

The result was dramatic: a whole lot of nothing. None of the interventions worked. The first leaflet—focussed on a lack of evidence connecting vaccines and autism—seemed to reduce misperceptions about the link, but it did nothing to affect intentions to vaccinate. It even decreased intent among parents who held the most negative attitudes toward vaccines, a phenomenon known as the backfire effect. The other two interventions fared even worse: the images of sick children increased the belief that vaccines cause autism, while the dramatic narrative somehow managed to increase beliefs about the dangers of vaccines. “It’s depressing,” Nyhan said. “We were definitely depressed,” he repeated, after a pause.

Nyhan’s interest in false beliefs dates back to early 2000, when he was a senior at Swarthmore. It was the middle of a messy Presidential campaign, and he was studying the intricacies of political science. “The 2000 campaign was something of a fact-free zone,” he said. Along with two classmates, Nyhan decided to try to create a forum dedicated to debunking political lies. The result was Spinsanity, a fact-checking site that presaged venues like PolitiFact and the Annenberg Policy Center’s For four years, the trio plugged along. Their work was popular—it was syndicated by Salon and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and it led to a best-selling book—but the errors persisted. And so Nyhan, who had already enrolled in a doctorate program in political science at Duke, left Spinsanity behind to focus on what he now sees as the more pressing issue: If factual correction is ineffective, how can you make people change their misperceptions? The 2014 vaccine study was part of a series of experiments designed to answer the question.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

These Bones Might Be the Biggest Creature That Ever Walked the Earth

These Bones Might Be the Biggest Creature That Ever Walked the Earth  
Paleontologists have just unearthed the fossilized bones of a gigantic dinosaur that's never been seen before. They believe it's an entirely new species—and based on the size of its bones, it's way bigger than what we thought was the biggest dinosaur ever. Meet the new number one among earthly creatures. 

Based on the size of the thigh bone found at the dig site in Argentina, paleontologists estimate this dinosaur stood 130 feet long and 65 feet tall, and weighed in at a whopping 77 tons. That's seven tons heavier than what we used to think was the biggest dinosaur, Argentinosaurus. In other words, this jumbo-dino weighed as much as 14 African elephants, and with its neck held high the herbivore was seven stories tall. That's positively massive. 

The bones were first discovered in the desert near La Flecha, roughly 140 miles from Trelew, Patagonia, by a local farmer. Paleontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol, have since uncovered some 150 bones belonging to seven individual skeletons.

"Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth," the researchers told BBC News.

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