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Old 04-19-2011, 12:32 PM   #2476
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http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/04/15...ners.complain/

TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security

CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially "high risk" passengers at the nation's airports.

Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.

But one addresses passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes.

It reads: "Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."

TSA officials declined to comment on the list of indicators, but said that no single indicator, taken by itself, is ever used to identify travelers as potentially high-risk passengers. Travelers must exhibit several indicators before behavior detection officers steer them to more thorough screening.

But a civil liberties organization said the list should not include behavior relating to the expression of opinions, even arrogant expressions of opinion.

"Expressing your contempt about airport procedures -- that's a First Amendment-protected right," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you."

"It's circular reasoning where, you know, I'm going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that's evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it's simply inappropriate," he said.

The TSA says its security programs are informed by real-world situations and intelligence. Indeed, the immigration agent who refused to let the alleged "20th hijacker" into the United States in 2001 later testified that the man's arrogant behavior contributed to his suspicions.




h......

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Old 04-19-2011, 12:50 PM   #2477
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http://www.economist.com/node/185605...ry_id=18560525

Who wants to be a triple trillionaire?
Window-shopping with China’s central bank

Last week, the state-controlled Chinese Central Bank released figures indicating the country now holds over $3 trillion dollars in foreign-exchange reserves. The Economist has some interesting ideas on what the bank could buy if it were ever inclined to shop around for sexy investments, rather than squirrel money away on stodgy foreign currency.

The fictional-but-still-realistic shopping list includes:

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:32 PM   #2478
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http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallb...or-farming.htm

Told ya guys it's the future...
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:07 AM   #2479
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http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/34/3458.asp

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops
ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

CelleBriteThe Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

"Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide," ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. "No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure."

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

"Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:16 AM   #2480
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http://www.disinfo.com/2011/04/state...factory-farms/

States To Outlaw Undercover Photos And Videos Of Factory Farms

Posted by JacobSloan on April 19, 2011

4944283870_202e5923c1A bill before the Iowa legislature would make it a crime to produce, distribute or possess photos and video taken without permission at an agricultural facility.

In Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota, laws are in the works to criminalize the documenting of animal cruelty and health violations in factory farming. With activists nosing around, “people are scared to death that they might be found in a compromising position,” [says the] president of the Iowa Farm Bureau — it’s about “making producers feel more comfortable.” The New York Times reports:

Undercover videos showing grainy, sometimes shocking images of sick or injured livestock have become a favorite tool of animal rights organizations to expose what they consider illegal or inhumane treatment of animals.

Made by animal rights advocates posing as farm workers, such videos have prompted meat recalls, slaughterhouse closings, criminal convictions of employees and apologies from corporate executives assuring that the offending images are an aberration.

In Iowa, where agriculture is a dominant force both economically and politically, such undercover investigations could soon be illegal.

Similar legislation is being considered in Florida and Minnesota, part of a broader effort by large agricultural companies to pre-emptively block the kind of investigations that have left their operations uncomfortably — and unpredictably — open to scrutiny.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:20 AM   #2481
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https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/m...pagewanted=all

Is Sugar Toxic?

Gary "Big Fat Lie" Taubes wrote a long feature for the NYT Magazine analyzing the claims made by UCSF childhood obesity expert Robert H. Lustig in his infamous lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth , which has gotten about a million YouTube views (it's also had other exposure: I watched it last year on UC cable access while in LA).

Lustig claims that sugar is a "chronic toxin" -- a poison that will make you sick if you eat it for long enough -- and he blames it for everything from cancer to heart disease. Taubes traces the history of this theory about sugar through the past century, and concludes that while not conclusive, the evidence is worrying. I've tried to eliminate sugar from my diet with varying success since 2003, when I did a year of "strict Atkins" and lost 80 lbs, most of which I've kept off since by avoiding processed carbs where possible. I find that eating a little sugar (or high-carb food like bread) generally leads to cravings for a lot more, which means that slight slips tend to snowball.

Lustig's argument, however, is not about the consumption of empty calories -- and biochemists have made the same case previously, though not so publicly. It is that sugar has unique characteristics, specifically in the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it, that may make it singularly harmful, at least if consumed in sufficient quantities.

The phrase Lustig uses when he describes this concept is "isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means we can eat 100 calories of glucose (from a potato or bread or other starch) or 100 calories of sugar (half glucose and half fructose), and they will be metabolized differently and have a different effect on the body. The calories are the same, but the metabolic consequences are quite different.

The fructose component of sugar and H.F.C.S. is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose). And if you take that sugar in liquid form -- soda or fruit juices -- the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar). The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:30 AM   #2482
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http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=15014


Red Ice News Feed
Every human language evolved from ’single prehistoric African mother tongue’

Every language in the world - from English to Mandarin - evolved from a prehistoric ’mother tongue’ first spoken in Africa tens of thousands of years ago, a new study reveals.

After analysing more than 500 languages, Dr Quentin Atkinson found compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors.

The findings don’t just pinpoint the origin of language to Africa - they also show that speech evolved at least 100,000 years ago, far earlier than previously thought.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:33 AM   #2483
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http://technoccult.net/archives/2011...of-television/

The Carbon Footprint of Marijuana – How Does It Compare with Carbon Footprint of Television?
from Renegade Futurist by Klint Finley
1 person liked this - you

By now you may have seen coverage of this report on the carbon footprint of marijuana cultivation in the U.S. If not, check out the report or this Huffington Post story on it.

The figure that the HuffPo and other sources cite, that indoor marijuana cultivation accounts for 1% of electrical use in the U.S., is meaningless to me. I mean, how does that compare to other stuff? According to the report’s FAQ, that 1% figure works out to “22 billion kilowatt-hours/year estimated for indoor Cannabis.”

Working backwards from this page from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, I’ve worked out some comparisons. This data is from 2001, so there may have been significant advances in efficiency since then, but this is the best I could find on short notice:

-PCs and printers: 23 kWh
-Dishwashers: 29 kWh (I’ve read that electric dishwashers actually end up using fewer resources than washing dishes by hand, but I don’t have a source handy. I’m also not sure if those figure factor in the manufacture of dishwashers).
-Color TVs and TV peripherals: 49 kWh
-Refrigerators: 156 kWh (freezers add an additional 39 kWh)
-Air conditioning: 183 kWh

That of course doesn’t include the carbon foot print of manufacturing the equipment. Nor the cost of producing TV shows, and the carbon foot print of data centers and servers to power the Internet. You and I are probably doing more environmental damage right now by writing and reading this blog post than my pot-smoking neighbors down the hall are.

That doesn’t mean that growing indoor weed couldn’t or shouldn’t be made more efficient. But “indoor marijuana cultivations uses slightly less than half the total amount of electricity spent powering TVs” is less impressive than saying “1% of U.S. power consumption in the U.S. goes to growing pot.”

Also of interest is the environmental footprint of other drugs. Marijuana has a much lower impact than crystal meth, because meth requires chemicals imported from India and China. Marijuana doesn’t generally have to travel far once it’s grown, which reduces its footprint.

The ecological case for decriminalizing drugs is probably stronger for drugs other than marijuana. From the report’s FAQ:

Does this study support the case for criminalization?
No. In fact, many argue that criminalization is an important driver towards energy-intensive indoor production. Criminalization also contributes to many of the energy inefficiencies in the process, including long driving distances, noise and odor suppression measures that undercut ventilation efficiencies, and off-grid power production that is far less efficient produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than many electric grids. Moreover, decades of criminalization has resulted in this energy-using sector being passed over by massive efforts to incentivize and mandate efficiency improvements. The analysis does suggest a role for improved management of energy use, in much the same way that we address the energy use and fuel economy of our cars, buildings, and appliances.

Does this study support the case for decriminalization?
Not really. People grow indoors for many reasons aside from criminalization, e.g., quality control, pest control, and year-round yield. Many producers with licenses choose to grow indoors. That said, in a scenario where production is legalized it is, in principal, easier to address the energy issues.

Update: I thought I should also mention that 22 kWh per year for growing pot is still a pretty high number, even when compared to TV and other stuff, in that only about 10% of the U.S. population smokes marijuana. However, I still don’t think it justifies alarmism.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:46 AM   #2484
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http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=15009

Scientists warn that drugs of the future will be designed specifically to control the human mind

It may sound like something out of a science fiction plot, but Oxford researchers say that modern conventional medicine is gradually developing ways to change the moral states of humans through pharmaceutical drugs, and thus control the way people think and act in various life situations. These new drugs will literally have the ability to disrupt an individual’s personal morality, and instead reprogram that person to believe and do whatever the drug designer has created that drug to do.

"Science has ignored the question of moral improvement so far, but it is now becoming a big debate," said Dr. Guy Kahane from the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics in the UK. "There is already a growing body of research you can describe in these terms. Studies show that certain drugs affect the ways people respond to moral dilemmas by increasing their sense of empathy, group affiliation and by reducing aggression."

While this may sound good in theory, mind control is already a very dangerous side effect of existing drugs. Take the antidepressant drug Prozac, for instance, which has been known to cause those taking it to lash out in violent rages.

[...]

Read the full article at: naturalnews.com
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:58 AM   #2485
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/nanopartic...h-killer-drugs

Nanoparticles blast cancerous cells with killer drugs
April 19, 2011 by Editor
Drug-Cargo

Greenly fluoresced cancerous liver cell penetrated by protocells. The small red dots are lipid bilayer wrappings (credit: Carlee Ashley)

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, the University of New Mexico, and the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center have produced an effective strategy for using nanoparticles to blast cancerous cells with a melange of killer drugs.

The silica nanoparticles are about 150 nanometers in diameter and are honeycombed with cavities that can store large amounts and varieties of drugs. The nanoporous core, with its high surface area combined with the improved targeting of an encapsulating lipid bilayer (liposome), permits a single protocell loaded with a drug cocktail to kill a drug-resistant cancer cell.

The nanoparticles and the surrounding cell-like membranes formed from liposomes together become a protocell: the membrane seals in the drug cocktail and is modified with molecules (peptides) that bind specifically to receptors overexpressed on the cancer cell’s surface. The nanoparticles provide stability to the supported membrane and release the drug cargo within the cell.

The lipids serve as a shield that restricts toxic chemotherapy drugs from leaking from the nanoparticle until the protocell binds to and takes hold within the cancer cell. Few poisons leak into the system of the human host if the protocells find no cancer cells. This cloaking mitigates toxic side effects expected from conventional chemotherapy.

The particles are small enough to avoid the liver and other cleansing organs and can circulate harmlessly for days or weeks, depending on their engineered size, seeking their cancerous prey.

Ref.: David S. Peabody & C. Jeffrey Brinker et al., The targeted delivery of multicomponent cargos to cancer cells by nanoporous particle-supported lipid bilayers, Nature Materials, April 17, 2011
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:50 PM   #2486
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Going Underground

If you visit here often you've probably noticed it's been real quiet for a while.

I mean, it's not like there's nothing going on in the world that can't be commented on, it's just that I've stopped caring and have come to the conclusion that it's impossible to determine exactly what's really taking place since all media is propaganda in one form or another.

That's what the internet has become. That's what people have created. It's gotten old and dull to me.

Basically, the web is saturated in so much ****, and bombards you with so much unverifiable information, that I no longer care or take any interest.

The world is going to hell in a hand basket, and quite frankly, it's pointless highlighting the obvious when nothing I say or do here will change anything anyway. So my advice is to look after No.1, detach yourself from all of it, and go spend some time with the people you love and care about.

These days it's all Facebook and Twitter and everyone has something to say but little of it worth taking an interest in. In other words, it's all about ego and displaying how popular you are and who you're connected to.

I tire of people's self-centredness real quick!

If you want to network socially with people then have a barbeque, or go to the pub and interact with people in person. Maybe grow some vegetables, enjoy a nice meal together, or embark on a project with like-minded individuals. In other words, quit wasting your time online, that's what everyone is doing and it's unimaginative to be like everyone else.

If you're unhappy about the political environment, or pissed at the current financial meltdown, then take to the streets.

Join a protest group, throw a brick through a window, or take a dump on the floor of your local financial institution. Blogging about it will achieve nothing but taking action will send a clear message.

The era of the browser is over for me. The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that we've all come to accept as "the internet" is dead. The future of the internet lies perhaps in the old protocols and most definitely in more modern ones such as BitTorrent.

Perhaps the rediscovery and use of protocols like Telnet or FTP is where Media Underground will go in the future, reopening long forgotten communication portals and doing so with the latest technology.

This site has never been about popularity, or advertising, or making money. Media Underground was setup primarily for the exchange of information and at its peak a few years ago, it achieved that and more. But times change and methods need to be readjusted.

It's time the underground went underground.

If you have any ideas about how we go about this then email me before I quit using IMAP, POP3 and SMTP as well (due to the constant influx of spam-saturated bull****).

Humanity ruins everything that becomes popular. Email and browser-based interactions are now highly inefficient, clogged up, and deeply uninspiring.

The modern internet is about selling you products, and I don't like products.

The modern internet is about selling you as a product, and I don't want to be prostituted.

The modern internet is about popularity, and I despise popularity.

So, let's move forward. If we're going to continue we need to distance ourselves from the methods that everyone else is using.

Let's become unpopular. Let's go underground.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:18 AM   #2487
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i'm going to hit this up this weekend:

http://www.crownover.org/hawkrock.html

What's going on with you guys? Any plans/events going on?

What's cool or interesting where you are?
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:00 AM   #2488
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Evil ninjas terrorize Pittsburgh


spate of mysterious crimes carried out by ninjas has left Pittsburghers annoyed and confused. In the latest event, a sword-wielding ninja smashed 11 cars in South Union Township, PA. and tried to stab a man who confronted him, say police. Santino Guzzo said he heard glass breaking, found the ninja hiding in a yard, and was cut in the hand during the ensuing ninja escape. "He was like a gazelle that just got attacked by a lion," Guzzo told the Pittsburgh Trib. "He got up and fell, and got up and fell. Then he jumped off a cliff."

Guzzo reported that he "did not move with the grace typically associated with a ninja" and that he therefore "will not live in fear of the ninja's return."

WTAE news, quoting neighbor Chelsey Cunningham, said the ninja also left behind "like, a fifth of liquor."

A few weeks ago in Scottdale, PA, a man was charged with child endangerment after leaving his 4-year old child at home alone. Police insist that Ross Hurst, 28, was dressed in ninja garb when approached. Hurst denies being a ninja and says it was all a misunderstanding.

"I wasn't playing ninja," Hurst told WPXI news. "I wasn't playing anything. I went out for a jog."

Not long ago, two sword-wielding ninjas robbed a gas station in Richland Township, PA, taking with them cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

"It did appear they were dressed like ninjas," said local police chief Robert Amman. Local businessman Rick Lekki reported that it happened just across from his bar.

"It's shocking. Things like that just don't happen out here. I just can't believe it happened," Lekki told a local news affilliate, narrowing his eyes as a menacing, discordant note escaped an unseen shakuhachi flute.


**Embedded links @ source
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:03 AM   #2489
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http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/chic...n-house-145094



Solar lights are getting less and less expensive these days, but that still doesn't mean their little spikes will stay in the ground when a strong wind comes around or they look especially attractive. These pretty little lights were made from a little food coloring, mod podge, and some store bought lights that were dismantled in the name of crafting.




At my house we have many places that require illumination but we don't exactly have nice grassy spots (or dirt at all) to place a solar light stick. They're getting inexpensive these days ($1 or $2!) at mass retailers and the folks over at The Hand Me Down House have taken full advantage of that.

Did you know you could add food coloring to Mod Podge and get a cool colored glaze for glass? Well surprise you can and for this project that's just what was used on a set of canning jars. The outsides were painted and left to dry before adding a top from a store bought solar light. The neck of the jar was wrapped with wire or twine and can now hang from any hook, tree or location you need a little more light!

• Check out the full step-by-step tutorial over at The Hand Me Down House
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:13 AM   #2490
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http://www.mariekestaps.nl/?/Design/Soil-Lamp-2/



Soil Lamp

Free and environmentally friendly energy forever and ever. The lamp runs on mud. The metabolism of biological life together with the chemical reaction of copper and zinc produce enough electricity to keep a LED lamp burning. The mud is enclosed in various cells. These cells contain copper and zinc that conduct the electricity. The more cells there are, the more electricity they generate. This technique offers a wealth of possibilities. The only thing that the lamp needs is a splash of water every now and then.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:14 AM   #2491
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BOSTON (Reuters) – The smell of marijuana smoke is no longer enough reason for police to order someone out of a car, now that pot has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the state’s highest court said in a decision published on Tuesday.

The ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was in response to an appeal filed by lawyers for Benjamin Cruz from Boston, whom police ordered out of a car in 2009 when they approached the vehicle parked in front of a fire hydrant and smelled marijuana.

Cruz was later charged with possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute and committing a controlled substance violation in a school zone.

The high court said a key factor in its decision was the 2008 change in state law which made possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a civil rather than a criminal offense.

“Without at least some other additional fact to bolster a reasonable suspicion of actual criminal activity, the odor of burned marijuana alone cannot reasonably provide suspicion of criminal activity to justify an exit order,” the opinion said.

For more information, see original article.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:17 AM   #2492
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http://www.realitysandwich.com/mushr...al_restoration

The Intelligence of Mushrooms in Environmental Restoration

Branching from the base of mushrooms are thin, threadlike mycelia that communicate so much information between plants and trees that it has become known, due to the scholarship of mycologist Paul Stamets, as the neural network of the terrestrial biosphere. Mycelium is found in soil or other substrates, sometimes spreading beneath a forest floor as one gargantuan organism, such as in Oregon where a 2,400-acre contiguous growth has been recorded as the largest organism in the world.[i]

Mycelium uses its reach to communicate vital information throughout the ecosystem. For example, if a tree at one end of a forest becomes sick, the mycelia can send this information to the other trees, so that they can boost up their immune systems and prevent contagious spread. As if that were not enough to demonstrate its intelligence, mycelium moves beyond being the connective internet-type network for forests (refer to Image 1), to conducting large-scale environmental restoration by neutralizing toxic wastes through digestive processes.[ii]
As decomposing agents, mycelia of certain mushroom species have the digestive systems to break down long, recalcitrant[1] bonds of many organic pollutants produced by human beings. With proper knowledge of this appetite, mycologists have been learning how to feed toxic wastes such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of oil wastes to mycelia in what plays out as a magic show of ecological transfiguration. Mycelium not only shows us how, but also shares with us the power to transform our toxic environments into once again thriving, healthy, abundant ecosystems.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:17 AM   #2493
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http://www.realitysandwich.com/mushr...al_restoration

The Intelligence of Mushrooms in Environmental Restoration

Branching from the base of mushrooms are thin, threadlike mycelia that communicate so much information between plants and trees that it has become known, due to the scholarship of mycologist Paul Stamets, as the neural network of the terrestrial biosphere. Mycelium is found in soil or other substrates, sometimes spreading beneath a forest floor as one gargantuan organism, such as in Oregon where a 2,400-acre contiguous growth has been recorded as the largest organism in the world.[i]

Mycelium uses its reach to communicate vital information throughout the ecosystem. For example, if a tree at one end of a forest becomes sick, the mycelia can send this information to the other trees, so that they can boost up their immune systems and prevent contagious spread. As if that were not enough to demonstrate its intelligence, mycelium moves beyond being the connective internet-type network for forests (refer to Image 1), to conducting large-scale environmental restoration by neutralizing toxic wastes through digestive processes.[ii]
As decomposing agents, mycelia of certain mushroom species have the digestive systems to break down long, recalcitrant[1] bonds of many organic pollutants produced by human beings. With proper knowledge of this appetite, mycologists have been learning how to feed toxic wastes such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of oil wastes to mycelia in what plays out as a magic show of ecological transfiguration. Mycelium not only shows us how, but also shares with us the power to transform our toxic environments into once again thriving, healthy, abundant ecosystems.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:59 AM   #2494
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http://www.iftf.org/OpenFabrication

Apr 21, 2011
by Jean Hagan
Gathering Experts to Explore the World of Open Fabrication

During the one-day session on April 19 at the AutoDesk Gallery, experts, researchers, and guests explored the many different frontiers where 3D printing and open manufacturing are changing the way that things are made. Among the topics that were explored were:

The affordances that fabrication offers for the unprecedented personalization of products. Scott Summit from Bespoke Innovations demonstrated the work they are doing to revolutionize medical prosthetics.
Creative and artistic applications of 3D printing, including Bathsheba Grossman’s overview of new viral art forms that could not be physically produced in any other way.
The great potential for open, local and modularized production processes with Humblefacture.
The sobering intellectual property issues that next generation manufacturing will trigger with Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge.
Autodesk’s own ongoing work in 3D printing, including their fabrication of a full scale model of a turbo prop engine and 7-foot tall Lego dinosaur.

Researchers from IFTF's Technology Horizons program also shared our forecasts on the future of Open Fabrication, including Research Manager Mathias Crawford's experience building and using a Makerbot Thing-O-Matic. Research Director Anthony Townsend discussed the human side of fabrication, including how people will respond to a world where they can fabricate for themselves. Finally, Program Director Lyn Jeffery explored the communities are arising around open fabrication, particularly in China.

By the end of the workshop, it was clear that many of the opportunities in open fabrication can be found in the tension between this technology’s incredible potential and its very real limitations. It was also apparent that the open manufacturing revolution that it is enabling is poised to dramatically change the world of production in both very predictable and very unintuitive ways.
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:10 AM   #2495
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http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/sc...-mind-control/

Mood Manipulation is not Mind Control

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner‘s dead-tree forebear) opens with Deckard arguing with his wife about whether or not to alter her crummy attitude with the “mood organ.” She could, if she so desired, dial her mood so that she was happy and content. Philip K. Dick worried that the ability to alter our mood would remove the authenticity and immediacy of our emotions. Annalee Newitz at io9 seems to be worried mood manipulations will enable a form of social control.

The worry comes from recent developments in neuro-pharmaceuticals. Drugs are already on the market that allow for mood manipulation. The Guardian‘s Amelia Hill notes that drugs like Prozac and chemicals like oxytocin have the ability to make some people calmer, more empathetic, and more altruistic. Calm, empathetic, and altruistic people are far more likely to act morally than anxious, callous, and selfish people. But does that mean mood manipulation going to let us force people to be moral? And if it does, is that a good thing? Is it moral to force people to be moral?

The question is a strange one. Force people to be moral – what does that even mean? Let’s cast some clarity onto the issue of moral enhancement:

The field is in its infancy, but “it’s very far from being science fiction”, said Dr Guy Kahane, deputy director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and a Wellcome Trust biomedical ethics award winner.

“Science has ignored the question of moral improvement so far, but it is now becoming a big debate,” he said. “There is already a growing body of research you can describe in these terms. Studies show that certain drugs affect the ways people respond to moral dilemmas by increasing their sense of empathy, group affiliation and by reducing aggression.”

That last sentence is a critical one, so I’m going to disassemble it. Some drugs affect, that is, influence or temper a person’s response to a moral dilemma. Your initial response might be, “I don’t want my decisions being influenced by a drug!” We see ourselves as rational beings in control of our emotions. But our mood is often critical to our decision making, particularly in regard to how we react to others.

We intuitively recognize that mood is often related to morality. When a person is upset or depressed, they can “snap” at a friend, being unjustifiably cruel, violent, or neglectful. Often a person who snaps at a friend will immediately apologize, offering “I don’t know why I did that. I’m in a bad mood, but not at you in particular. I’m sorry.” In these cases, mood creates poor conditions for moral behavior towards friends, let alone acquaintances or general strangers.

The important point is that mood creates conditions conducive to moral behavior. Mood does not determine moral behavior. Like many discussions around human enhancement, it is impossible to overemphasize the difference between determining and enabling a behavior or trait. Think of it like buying a pair of running shoes. Just because you own the shoes, or even if you choose to wear your running shoes every day, doesn’t mean you’ll go running. But you’re more likely to go running in running shoes than if you are wearing flip-flops or snow boots.

Mood enhancers work the same way. I might take a pill that makes me more more likely to be empathetic and altruistic, but it doesn’t guarantee that I will be any more than me having a crummy day will make me a jerk to others. Humans are able to exercise reason and willpower over our emotions and moods to control our actions.

The great thing about mood enhancers is that they make it so that our reason and willpower don’t have to overcome anger, fear, and angst to enable us to do the moral thing. A person in the right mood has an easier time making good choices when faced with moral dilemmas. There is, of course, a caveat:

Ruud ter Meulen, chair in ethics in medicine and director of the centre for ethics in medicine at the University of Bristol, warned that while some drugs can improve moral behaviour, other drugs – and sometimes the same ones – can have the opposite effect.

“While Oxytocin makes you more likely to trust and co-operate with others in your social group, it reduces empathy for those outside the group,” Meulen said.

As with every other technology in existence, mood manipulation and moral enhancement is a double-edged sword. Again, mood manipulation creates the conditions conducive to moral or immoral behavior, as the case may be. But, no matter how you look at it, mood manipulation is not mind control.

Follow Kyle on his personal blog and on facebook and twitter.

Image of pills that do who-knows-what by brains the head via Flickr Creative Commons
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:28 AM   #2496
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British and American tobacco companies deliberately added powerful appetite-suppressing chemicals to cigarettes to attract people worried about their weight, according to internal industry documents dating from 1949 to 1999. Chemical additives are just one of several strategies successfully used by tobacco companies over the past 50 years to convince people that smoking makes you thin.

Tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco added appetite suppressants to cigarettes, according to the documents, released during litigation in the US. Four other major companies tested potential chemicals, including amphetamine and nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, but the documents, which are incomplete, do not reveal if such chemicals were ever added and sold to the public.



The presence of appetite-suppressing chemicals could help explain why smokers who quit often gain weight, according to Swiss researchers in the European Journal of Public Health. They call for stricter rules on tobacco additives amid suggestions that sensitive documents are being removed from databases by the industry to avoid disclosure.

Professor David Hammond, a tobacco industry expert at Waterloo University, Ontario, Canada, said: "We don't know if appetite-suppressing molecules are still added, because compliance with additive regulations is poor and sensitive internal documents are usually shredded."
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:29 AM   #2497
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USDA Moves to Let Monsanto Perform Its Own Environmental Impact Studies on GMOs
from cryptogon.com by Kevin
Via: Grist: In early April, the USDA made what I’m reading as a second response to Judge White, this one even more craven. To satisfy the legal system’s pesky demand for environmental impact studies of novel GMO crops, the USDA has settled upon a brilliant solution: let the GMO industry conduct its own environmental impact [...]
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:09 PM   #2498
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/solar-power-goes-viral

Viruses improve solar-cell conversion efficiency

Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by using viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level.

The researchers found that a genetically engineered version of theM13 virus, which normally infects bacteria, can be used to control the arrangement of nanotubes on a surface, keeping the tubes separate so they can’t short out the circuits, and keeping the tubes apart so they don’t clump.

The researchers tested dye-sensitized solar cells, which are lightweight and inexpensive cells consisting of an active layer of titanium dioxide, rather than the silicon used in conventional solar cells. The researchers said the same technique could be applied to quantum-dot and organic solar cells as well.

The viruses perform two different functions in the process of converting sunlight to energy. First, they possess peptides (short proteins) that can bind tightly to the carbon nanotubes, holding them in place and keeping them separated from each other. Each virus can hold five to 10 nanotubes, each of which is held firmly in place by about 300 of the peptide molecules.

Second, the virus was engineered to produce a coating of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a key ingredient for dye-sensitized solar cells, over each of the nanotubes, putting the titanium dioxide in close proximity to the wire-like nanotubes that carry the electrons.

These two functions are carried out in succession by the same virus; its activity is “switched” from one function to the next by changing the acidity of its environment. This switching feature is an important new capability that has been demonstrated for the first time in this research, the researchers said.

Adding the virus-built structures enhanced the power conversion efficiency of the dye-sensitized solar cells to 10.6 percent from 8 percent. This improvement took place even though the viruses and the nanotubes make up only 0.1 percent by weight of the finished cell.

Ref.: Paula T. Hammond & Angela M. Belcher et al., Virus-templated self-assembled single-walled carbon nanotubes for highly efficient electron collection in photovoltaic devices, April 24 online edition, Nature Nanotechnology
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:17 PM   #2499
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http://inhabitat.com/boeing-announce...ewable-energy/

Boeing recently announced that their new 787 jet assembly plant in South Carolina will be completely powered by renewable energy. The new facility will have a roof covered with solar panels that will provide most of the energy they need for operations, and they will supplement this energy source with renewable energy certificates bought from SCE&G. The solar array will be made up of 18,000 solar panels, will produce 2.6 megawatts of power, and will cover a whopping 10 acres of rooftop.

Read more: Boeing Announces New Factory Will be 100% Powered by Renewable Energy | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World


The solar panels on the roof of the new factory will produce enough energy to power 250 homes, and according to Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, it is Boeing’s first 100% renewably powered factory in the world. It appears to be a step in the right direction for a manufacturer whose products are some of the most polluting transportation vessels on earth.

“What this shows us is that Boeing is going to do everything just a little bit better,” said fellow U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint. That sentiment was seconded by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “The fact that Boeing would lead the way is going to make it easier for other businesses in South Carolina and in the country to follow,” he said. The plant will be officially open for business in July and the first jet built with renewable power will take off about a year from the plant’s opening.

Read more: Boeing Announces New Factory Will be 100% Powered by Renewable Energy | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #2500
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http://www.p3air.com/2011/coming-soo...eading-drones/

Coming Soon From the Air Force: Mind-Reading Drones

Scientifically speaking, it’s only a matter of time before the drones become self-aware and kill us all. Now the Air Force is hastening that day of reckoning.

Buried within a seemingly innocuous list of the Air Force’s recent contract awards to small businesses are details of plans for robot planes that not only think, but anticipate the moves of human pilots. And you thought it was just the Navy that was bringing us to the brink of the drone apocalypse.

It all starts with a solution for a legitimate problem. It’s dangerous to fly and land drones at busy terminals. Manned airplanes can collide with drones, which may not be able to make quick course adjustments based on information from air traffic control as swiftly as a human pilot can. And getting air traffic control involved in the drones cuts against the desire for truly autonomous aircraft. What to do?

The answer: design an algorithm that reads people’s minds. Or the next best thing — anticipates a pilot’s reaction to a drone flying too close.

Enter Soar Technologies, a Michigan company that proposes to create something it calls “Explanation, Schemas, and Prediction for Recognition of Intent in the Terminal Area of Operations,” or ESPRIT. It’ll create a “Schema Engine” that uses “memory management, pattern matching, and goal-based reasoning” to infer the intentions of nearby aircraft. Not presuming that every flight will go according to plan, the Schema Engine’s “cognitive explanation mechanism” will help the drone figure out if a pilot is flying erratically or out of control. The Air Force signed a contract with Soar, whose representatives were unreachable for comment, on December 23.

DSCN0616 300x225 Coming Soon From the Air Force: Mind Reading Dronesuav soar technologies explanation schemas and prediction for recognition of intent mind reading drones air force f drone did israel create the drones Air Force And Soar’s not the only one. California-based Stottler Henke Associates argues that one algorithm won’t get the job done. Its rival proposal, the Intelligent Pilot Intent Analysis System would “represent and execute expert pilot reasoning processes to infer other pilots’ intents in the same way human pilots currently do.” They don’t say how their system will work and they’ve yet to return an inquiry seeking explanation. A different company, Barron Associates, wants to use sensors as well as algorithms to avoid collision.

And Stottler Henke is explicitly thinking about how to weaponize their mind-reading program. “Many of the pilot intent analysis techniques described are also applicable for determining illegal intent and are therefore directly applicable to finding terrorists and smugglers,” it told the Air Force. Boom: deal inked on January 7.

Someone’s got to say it. Predicting a pilot’s intent might prevent collisions. But it can also neutralize a human counterattack. Or it can allow the drones’ armed cousins to mimic Israel in the Six Day War and blow up the manned aircraft on the tarmac. Coincidentally, according to the retcon in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, April 19, 2011 — today — is the day that Skynet goes online. Think about it.

The Air Force theorist Col. John Boyd created the concept of an “OODA Loop,” for “Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action” to guide pilots’ operations. Never would he have thought one of his Loops would be designed into the artificial brain of an airborne robot.

Source: WIRED
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