The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Unseats Coca Cola as World’s ‘Best Brand’

Jakarta Globe – AFP, September 30, 2013

Customers wait in line outside an Apple Inc. store to purchase at Easton Town
 Center in Columbus, Ohio, US, on Sept. 20, 2013. (Bloomberg Photo/Luke Sharrett)

 Paris. Coca Cola has lost its crown as the world’s best brand, a closely watched survey said on Monday, unseated by the iconic iPhone and iPad maker Apple.

This marks the first time the soft drink missed the top spot on the “best global brand report”, a line-up created in 2000 by marketing consultancy Interbrand, a unit of the Omnicom advertising conglomerate.

“Every so often, a company changes our lives – not just with its products, but with its ethos,” said Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s chief executive.

“This is why, following Coca Cola’s 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Apple now ranks #1,” he said.

In fact, Coca Cola dropped two places in 2013, also losing to Google, the search engine, which came in second place.

Apple has always been on the list, beginning at #36 in 2000, but has slowly climbed the ranks.

But Interbrand warned Apple needed to keep a close eye on archrival Samsung (#9), especially on the crucial smartphone market.

“To maintain its number one position over the next year, Apple will have to slow rival Samsung’s momentum in the mobile market and never lose sight of what it does best: ‘Think different’,” the consultancy said.

According to Interbrand, the Apple brand is worth $98.31 billion, a 28 percent rise from the previous year with the Google brand weighing in at $93.29 billion.

Computing giants IBM and Microsoft fill out the top five.

Meanwhile, some recent rising stars have now lost their luster.

Blackberry, the embattled phone maker, has disappeared from the list completely and Nokia, once the mobile phone leader, tumbled from 13th place to a lowly 57.

Social network Facebook meanwhile jumped to the 52 spot from 69.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Concerns arise as Chinese e-commerce giants foray into banking

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-09-29

Tencent's stock price on the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index, Sept. 16. (Photo/CNS)

The popularity of Alipay — a leading third-party online payment arm of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group — shows that Alibaba is able to attract customers, but Alibaba has yet to profit from the venture. Other e-commerce giants have begun to join Alibaba in offering banking services, but insiders wonder if they can be competitive, the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Review reports.

Tencent Holdings — China's largest internet company by revenue — is applying for a private bank licence, boosting its market value above US$100 billion and approaching the market value of Facebook. Meanwhile, the share prices of Suning Commerce, a leading home appliance retailer in China, doubled after the regulator approved its application to set up its private bank, Suning Bank.

An insider said that e-commerce giants' penetrating the banking industry is enriching the financial ecosystem, as most people are unsatisfied with the current banking industry, while Alibaba founder Jack Ma said that "If banks don't change, we'll change banks." E-commerce giants can use their huge information flows to complete the transfers of fund flows, Alipay for example collected 50 billion yuan (US$8.2 billion) in just several days. Such moves have shown the power of e-commerce giants, especially their channel value.

However, being a bank is not that easy, the insider said. The most important function of the banking industry is to solicit depositors and lenders, as well as the risk exposure in the course of the interest rate spread. The challenge for Alibaba and other e-commerce giants in becoming a bank is how to efficiently lend out the money they obtain. Alibaba is likely to lend the money to small clients on its e-commerce platform Taobao, but their lending costs will be higher than the average standard of banks.

So far there is also no evidence to prove that e-commerce giants such as Alibaba can obtain funds with very low costs. If Alibaba really establishes its network bank, one of the first questions will be how it will establish its own risk capability.

The four major banks are guaranteed by Beijing. Although the government has yet to implement the "deposit insurance system," the general public can be reassured that the banks will not go bankrupt, but the same cannot be said for e-commerce banks, the paper said.

US-Iran logjam ends not with bang but with Twitter

Google – AFP, 28 Sep 2013

US President Barack Obama speaks to members of the press in the briefing
 room of the White House September 27, 2013 in Washington, DC about a phone
 conversation he had with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (AFP, Brendan 
Smialowski)

Washington — The surprise first phone contact Friday between presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani was not only a dramatic moment in US-Iranian ties, but also in the field of digital diplomacy.

Moments before the US leader announced from the White House podium that he had had a chat with his opposite number, the Iranian president had sent a tweet that may well live on in history.

"In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: 'Have a Nice Day!' @BarackObama: 'Thank you. Khodahafez,'" it read.

Khodahafez is a Farsi phrase used on parting, like "farewell" or "goodbye," but literally translated as "God be your protector."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the
 United Nations in New York, September 26,
2013. (AFP/File, Emmanuel Dunand)
Rouhani's account appeared on Twitter after his election this year and his English-language messages have become a symbol of Tehran's diplomatic outreach.

There has been some controversy about the account in Iran. It has not been officially confirmed as his and social networking sites are banned to ordinary citizens.

But throughout his visit this week to the UN General Assembly in New York, Rouhani's office has used the stream to keep followers up to date with his speeches and media appearances.

Any lingering doubts that the account is indeed run by his office evaporated when it confirmed the phone call before the White House did.

And on Friday, even as Obama spoke in the more traditional venue of the White House briefing room, Rouhani outlined his side of the exchange online.

"President #Rouhani and President @BarackObama expressed their mutual political #will to rapidly solve the #nuclear issue," he said, in a stream of messages sent as his car headed to the airport to leave the US.

"Obama, @HassanRouhani appoint Foreign Ministers to follow up cooperation ASAP.

"@BarackObama to @HassanRouhani: I express my respect for you and ppl of #Iran. I'm convinced that relations between Iran and US..1/3

"@HassanRouhani to @BarackObama: We're hopeful about what we will see from P5+1 and your govt in particular in coming weeks and months..2/3

"@HassanRouhani to @BarackObama: I express my gratitude for your #hospitality and your phone call. Have a good day Mr President. 3/3

"@BarackObama to @HassanRouhani: Thank you, Khodahafez."

Later, for reasons that were not immediately clear, many of the tweets were deleted -- although not before they had been recorded as screenshots or retweeted by thousands of Web users.

The messages that remained, which White House officials confirmed appeared to be both genuine and to reflect a shared understanding of the tone of the call, recounted a cordial exchange.

And the Iranian presidency, in what was certainly an unprecedented gesture, even retweeted on their own account a message from US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Good first steps w/ #Iran this wk. Positive meeting w/ @JZarif last night. Historic POTUS and @HassanRouhani call today. #Progress -JK," said the State Department account.

Regular Twitter users know that a retweet is not necessarily an endorsement, but the fact that Kerry's message survived the later purge suggests that Rouhani shared his positive take.

The tweets raced around the world and stunned many observers -- not all of them disinterested figures -- who sensed that history was being made.

"I feel like I'm witnessing a tectonic shift in the geo-political landscape reading @HassanRouhani tweets. Fascinating," tweeted Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo.

Costolo doubtless had his reasons to celebrate his own platform's role in the incident -- but there was a sign that he might have a point: Rouhani retweeted him.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Nano-size computer hailed as breakthrough

Deutsche Welle, 27 Sep 2013

Scientists in California say they have built a functioning microscopic computer made of carbon "nanotubes" instead of silicon. The step could lead to faster, ever-smaller electronic devices.


Stanford University researchers said they have overcome downsizing limits posed by silicon transistors in everyday computers by using tiny semiconductors from rolled-up arrays of carbon atoms called "nanotubes" in a basic computer.

Carbon nanotubes are rolled-up, single-layer sheets of carbon atoms. Tens of thousands can fit into the width of a single human hair.

The minute prototype using several thousand carbon nanotubes (CNTs) was able to perform basic counting and number-sorting functions, said engineering professor Subhasish Mitra.

"People have been talking about a new of carbon nanotube (CNT) electronics moving beyond silicon," Mitra said. "Here is the proof."

Manufacture possible

A Stanford University announcement - also covered by the journal Nature - quoted the director of a computer chip design consortium, Naresh Shanbhag, as saying that industrial-scale production of the CNT semiconductors was possible within years.

Another Stanford project leader, Philip Wong, said carbon nanotubes used less power and were smaller than silicon circuits.

"CNT's could take us at least an order of magnitude in performance beyond where you can project silicon could take us."

He was referring to a postulate first raised in 1965 that manufacturers can double the density of silicon transistors roughly every two years, but only down to 5 nanometers. Silicon's limit is expected to be reached around 2020.

Furthermore, silicon transistors packed onto conventional chips generate more heat and waste power.

Stanford University said its researchers had achieved an "unprecedented feat" with the nanotube technology, which has been around for 15 years, by also creating a "powerful algorithm" to handle imperfections in the carbon tunnels and map out a circuit. This was "guaranteed to work no matter whether or where CNTs might be askew," the university said.

'Significant advance'

German hybrid electronics expert, Frank Kreupl of the Munich's Technical University commented in the Nature edition that the Stanford nanotube computer represented a significant advance.

He added, however, that the CNT transistors would have to become even smaller for the technique to be feasible and the processors quicker.

ipj/hc (AFP, dpa)

Fifteen years on—and we’re just getting started: Google Search


Google Search is turning 15. Remember what it was like to search in 1998? You’d sit down and boot up your bulky computer, dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words. It seemed like magic (and it was way way faster than card catalogs and microfiche!).

The world has changed so much since then: billions of people have come online, the web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket. You can explore the world with the Knowledge Graph, ask questions aloud with voice search, and get info before you even needto ask with Google Now.


But 15 years on, we’re just getting started. We want to help you make more of each day. Here are a few of the latest features you can try out:

Comparisons and filters in the Knowledge Graph

We keep expanding features of the Knowledge Graph so it can answer more questions—even those that don’t have a simple answer. Let’s say you want to get your daughter excited about a visit to the Met. You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works. If you want to switch to Abstract artists, you can do that really easily with our new filter tool:


Or let’s say you want to compare two things: How much saturated fat is in butter versus olive oil? Now you can simply tell Google: “Compare butter with olive oil.” Our new comparison tool gives you new insights by letting you compose your own answer:


You can try this for some other things you might be curious about, such as dog breeds (“compare pekingese vs. chihuahua”) or celestial objects (“compare earth vs. neptune”)—and we’ll keep adding more.

Get things done with Google across your devices

Having a “conversation” with Google should also be more natural. Ideally, you wouldn’t need to pull out your phone or tap buttons to use Google. We’re not quite there yet, but you can already do a lot with just your voice. In the next couple of weeks, you’ll be able to download a new version of the Google Search app on iPhone and iPad. With this update, you can get notifications across your devices. So if you tell your Nexus 7, “OK Google. Remind me to buy olive oil at Safeway,” when you walk into the store with your iPhone, you’ll get a reminder. We’ll also show you Google Now notifications so you’re not late to your cooking class.


A simpler, more unified design on mobile devices

You’ll also notice a new look and feel for Google Search and ads on your phones and tablets. It’s cleaner and simpler, optimized for touch, with results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for.


We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you. This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask. Hopefully, we’ll save you a few minutes of hassle each day. So keep asking Google tougher questions—it keeps us on our toes! After all, we’re just getting started.

Posted by Amit Singhal, SVP, Google Search

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shanghai free trade zone to enjoy uncensored Internet access

Deutsche Welle, 24 Sep 2013

Chinese leaders have been quoted as saying that the planned Shanghai Free Trade Zone will be completely void of Internet censorship. Beijing wants foreign investors to feel "at home" in the pilot area.


Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that the ruling Communist Party had decided to lift all Internet controls in a pilot free trade zone in Shanghai to be opened on September 29.

It quoted party leaders as saying that free access to online content would be pivotal in luring foreign investors to the zone.

"In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home," an unidentified government representative said.

Flying a kite

The South China Morning Post also said the official had warned that investors might doubt the seriousness of the pilot project, if they couldn't get onto Facebook or read the New York Times online.

China has aggressively censored the Internet so far, routinely deleting online postings and blocking access to websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive.

The Shanghai Free trade Zone is widely seen to be pivotal in the government's drive to introduce more financial reforms underpinning China's endeavors to enact vital economic changes. The project is also a test bed for convertibility of China's yuan currency and further liberalization of tax rates as well as for reforms related to foreign direct investment.

hg/msh (dpa, Reuters)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BlackBerry agrees to $4.7 billion buyout

DeutscheWelle, 23 Sep 2013

BlackBerry has agreed to a buyout worth billions of dollars. The move comes just days after the one-time mobile phone pioneer said it was laying off 40 percent of its workforce in expectation of massive losses this year.


In a statement released on Monday, BlackBerry said it would sell its stocks to a consortium of shareholders for $4.7 billion (3.48 billion euros) following disappointing sales.

The Canadian company "signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence."

Fairfax - also based in Canada - already owns 10 percent of BlackBerry.

Current shareholders are to receive $9 for each outstanding share, the statement added.

On Friday, Blackberry said it planned to lay off 4,500 employees - roughly 40 percent of its current workforce. The smartphone maker let go nearly as many workers in the previous year as well.

With the release of its Z10 smartphone this year, BlackBerry attempted to rejuvenate its image in a highly competitive smartphone market which is dominated by Apple and Android phones. However, the company said on Friday it still expected to incur losses of $995 million in the second quarter of this year.

BlackBerry phones surpassed technology on the market in the early 2000s by allowing users to access email and other services online. The rise of the iPhone in 2007, followed soon after by Android phones, soon stole away consumers with the touch screen and other technological innovations.

Steve Jobs’ Lisa Mouse discovered in lost time capsule buried in 1983

Slash Gear, Shane McGlaun, Sep 23rd 2013       

Way back in 1983, a time tube was buried in conjunction with the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado. When the tube was buried it was supposed to have been dug up in 2000 and the contents revealed to the public. However, changes in the landscape meant that the tube was lost.


 One of the most interesting items stuffed into that time tube came from Steve Jobs. Jobs put a mouse from Apple’s first mass-market computer called the Lisa inside the tube along with hordes of other material from other people who attended the conference. A television show that will air on the National Geographic Channel called Diggers discovered the tube recently.


For now, the producers of the television show are withholding most of the details of what was discovered inside the time tube. They have teased about Jobs’ mouse being discovered, but have offered no photographs of the device. Presumably, they’re withholding the details on the most interesting objects until the episode airs sometime in early 2014.


We can tell from the photographs offered is that someone stuffed a six-pack of beer inside and there are a huge number of plastic bags with personal items placed inside as well. We can also see in the photograph a number of what appear to be name badges from conference attendees and a bunch of little cards that say “The Future Is Not What It Used to Be” which was the conference title in 1983.

Steve Jobs addressed the attendees at this particular conference in 1983 with a talk some believe predicted some of Apple’s current successes such as the iPad along with wireless networking and the Apple App store. A few other items that the people who found the 13-foot-long capsule have noted were inside include an eight-track tape of The Moody Blues, a Sears Roebuck catalog, and a Rubik’s Cube.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Apple iPhone fingerprint sensor hacked by Germany's Chaos Computer Club

Biometrics are not safe, says famous hacker team who provide video showing how they could use a fake fingerprint to bypass phone's security lockscreen

theguardian.com, Charles Arthur, Sunday 22 September 2013

An Apple employee instructs the use of the fingerprint scanner technology
built into the company's iPhone 5S. German hackers say they can beat it.
Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Germany's Chaos Computer Club says it has cracked the protection around Apple's fingerprint sensor on its new iPhone 5S, just two days after the device went on sale worldwide.

In a post on their site, the group says that their biometric hacking team took a fingerprint of the user, photographed from a glass surface, and then created a "fake fingerprint" which could be put onto a thin film and used with a real finger to unlock the phone.

The claim, which is backed up with a video, will create concerns for businesses which see users intending to use the phone to access corporate accounts. While it requires physical access to the phone, and a clean print of one finger which is one of those used to unlock the phone, it raises the risk of a security breach.

Chaos Computer Club shows how it has hacked fingerprint sensor on iPhone 5S

"This demonstrates – again – that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method and should be avoided," said the Chaos Club's blogpost author, "Starbug". "In reality, Apple's sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake. As we have said now for more than years, fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints."

The group does not claim to have extracted the fingerprint representation from the phone itself, where Apple says it is held on a secure chip. Instead it relies on capturing a high-quality fingerprint elsewhere, and having access to the phone.

"Relying on your fingerprints to secure a device may be okay for casual security – but you shouldn't depend upon it if you have sensitive data you wish to protect," commented security specialist Graham Cluley.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the hack.

The revelation is the third security failing discovered since the phone and its iOS 7 software were released last week. First, a hacker found that they could use a flaw in iOS 7's Control Centre feature on the iPhone 4S and 5 to access photos and send emails. Another found that the Emergency Call screen can be used to place a call to any number.

The Chaos Club details its methods for the fingerprint hack, which begins with a high-quality fingerprint lifted from a glass, doorknob or glossy surface. The print, which essentially consists of fat and sweat, is made visible using graphite powder or a component of superglue, and then photographed at high resolution to create a 2400 pixel-per-inch scan. That is then printed onto an overhead projector plastic slide using a laser print, forming a relief. That is then covered with wood glue, cut and attached to a real finger.

Apple introduced Touch ID, as it calls the fingerprint system, on its top-end iPhone 5S, unveiled earlier in the month. The technology uses a scanner built into the home button of the phone to take a high-resolution image from small sections of the fingerprint from the sub-epidermal layers of the skin. Apple says "Touch ID then intelligently analyses this information with a remarkable degree of detail and precision."

Users can choose to use up to five fingerprints - which can be changed - to unlock the phone and optionally pay for iTunes Store purchases. They have first to create a passcode of at least four digits, and then "enrol" fingerprints separately. Apple says that the process creates a mathematical representation of the fingerprint representation, and that it is only stored on the phone.

Apple's own notes about its Touch ID system on its site say that Touch ID will incrementally add new sections of your fingerprint to your enrolled fingerprint data to improve matching accuracy over time. Touch ID uses all of this to provide an accurate match and a very high level of security."

The company says that "Every fingerprint is unique, so it is rare that even a small section of two separate fingerprints are alike enough to register as a match for Touch ID. The probability of this happening is 1 in 50,000 for one enrolled finger. This is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical 4-digit passcode. Although some passcodes, like "1234", may be more easily guessed, there is no such thing as an easily guessable fingerprint pattern."

It notes that after five unsuccessful attempts to match the fingerprint, the user has to enter their passcode, and the fingerprint unlock will not work.

Speaking to BusinessWeek just after the iPhone 5S was unveiled, Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software, emphasised that the fingerprints would not leave the phone. He said that making a finger unlocking and purchasing system "sounds like a simple idea, but how many places could that become a bad idea because you failed to execute on it? We thought, 'Well, one place where that could be a bad idea is somebody who writes a malicious app, somebody who breaks into your phone, starts capturing your fingerprint. What are they doing with that? Can they reuse that in some other location? Can they use it to spoof their way into other people's phones?'"

He said that Apple's focus had been to make sure that "no matter if you took ownership of the whole device and ran whatever code you wanted on the main processor [you]could not get that fingerprint out of there. Literally, the physical lines of communication in and out of the chip would not permit that ever to escape."

Related Article:


Pope condemns idolatry of cash in capitalism

Head of Catholic church condemns economic system and calls for society with people, not money, at its heart

The Guardian, Lizzy Davies in Rome, Sunday 22 September 2013

Pope Francis: 'Where there is no work, there is no dignity.' Photograph:
Ciro Fusco/EPA

Pope Francis has called for a global economic system that puts people and not "an idol called money" at its heart, drawing on the hardship of his immigrant family as he sympathised with unemployed workers in a part of Italy that has suffered greatly from the recession.

Addressing about 20,000 people in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari, the Argentinian pontiff said that his parents had "lost everything" after they emigrated from Italy and that he understood the suffering that came from joblessness.

"Where there is no work, there is no dignity," he said, in ad-libbed remarks after listening to three locals, including an unemployed worker who spoke of how joblessness "weakens the spirit". But the problem went far beyond the Italian island, said Francis, who has called for wholesale reform of the financial system.

"This is not just a problem of Sardinia; it is not just a problem of Italy or of some countries in Europe," he said. "It is the consequence of a global choice, an economic system which leads to this tragedy; an economic system which has at its centre an idol called money."

The 76-year-old said that God had wanted men and women to be at the heart of the world. "But now, in this ethics-less system, there is an idol at the centre and the world has become the idolater of this 'money-god'," he added.

Sardinia, one of Italy's autonomous regions with a population of 1.6 million, has suffered particularly badly during the economic crisis, with an unemployment rate of 20%, eight points higher than the national average, and youth unemployment of 51%.

Last summer the island's hardship became national news when Stefano Meletti, a 49-year-old miner, slashed his wrists on television during a protest aimed at keeping the Carbosulcis coal mine open.

Urging people not to give up hope even in the harsh economic climate, Francis also called on them to fight back against the "throwaway culture" he said was a by-product of a global economic system that cared only about profit. It was, he said, a culture that saw the most vulnerable society become marginalised.

"Grandparents are thrown away and young people are thrown away," he said. "And we must say no to this throwaway culture. We must say: 'We want a fair system; a system that allows everyone to move forward.' We must say: 'We do not want this globalised economic system that does so much harm.' At the centre has to be man and woman, as God wants – not money."

His own father, he recalled, had suffered great hardship after moving from northern Italy to Argentina in the 1920s. He went "a young man … full of illusions" of making it in the new world, but soon found there was no work to be had. "I didn't see it; I had not yet been born. But I heard of this hardship at home … I know it well," said Francis.

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“…  Tesla the Man

There was a point in time when humanity almost stumbled, by the way. You were having a hard time with electricity. So a man came along who was way ahead of his time and was available and his name was Nikola Tesla. He gave you a principle that today you call alternating current. Dear ones, I challenge you to understand this principle. Most of you can't, because it is not in 3D. The attributes are still considered "genius-level thinking" to this day. The whole idea of the kind of electricity you use today comes from this man's quantum mind.

That was all he was allowed to do. Tesla himself was a kind of time capsule, delivered at the right time. He had more, but alternating current was all that was allowed to be given to the planet at that time. Oh, he tried to give you more. He knew there were other things, but nothing was able to be developed. If I told you what else he had discovered, you might not be aware of it at all, since it was never allowed to get out of the box. Earth was not ready for it.

Tesla discovered massless objects. He could alter the mass of atomic structure using designer magnetics, but he never could control it. He had objects fly off his workbench and hit the ceiling, but he couldn't duplicate or control it. It just wasn't time yet. Do you know what else he was known for? It was seemingly the failure of the transmission of electricity. However, he didn't fail at all.

There are pictures of his tower, but every time a Human Being sees a tower, there is a biased assumption that something is going to be broadcast through the air. But in the case of Tesla, he had figured out how to broadcast electricity through the ground. You need towers for that because they have to pick up the magnetics within the ground in a certain way to broadcast them and then collect them again from the nodes of the planet's magnetic grid system. We talked about this before. He was utilizing the grid of the planet that is in the earth itself! He was on the edge of showing that you could use the whole grid of the planet magnetically to broadcast electricity and pick it up where you need it, safely, with no wires. But the earth was not ready for it.

Tesla died a broken man, filled with ideas that would have brought peace to planet Earth, but he was simply not allowed to give any of them to you.

Now I'll tell you why he was stopped, dear ones, and it's the first time we have ever told you – because these inventions were too easy to weaponize. Humanity just isn't ready for it. You're not ready for massless objects, either, for the principles are too easy to weaponize.

"So," you might say, "when will we be ready for it?" I think you already know the answer, don't you? At the time when Human consciousness reaches a point where that which is most important is unification and not separation, it will happen. A point where conquering and power are not desirable ideas or assets. A point where humanity will measure the strength of its population by how healthy they are and not by economic growth. A point where coming together with your neighbor is the main objective to social consciousness, and not conquering them or eliminating them. That's coming, dear ones. It's a ways away, but it's coming. Look around the planet at the moment. The old energy leaders are obvious, are they not? It's like they are relics in a world of thinking that is passing them by.  ….”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stephen Hawking: brain could exist outside body

At premiere of film about his life, physicist says it's theoretically possible to copy brain on to computer to provide life after death

theguardian.com, Staff and agencies, Saturday 21 September 2013

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking with his sister Mary at the premiere
 of the documentary Hawking in Cambridge. Photograph: Andrew Cowie/
AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Hawking has said he believes brains could exist independently of the body, but that the idea of a conventional afterlife is a fairy tale.

Speaking at the premiere of a documentary film about his life, the theoretical physicist said: "I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain on to a computer and so provide a form of life after death.

"However, this is way beyond out present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark."

The 71-year-old author of A Brief History of Time, who earlier this week backed the right for the terminally ill to end their lives as long as safeguards were in place, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and given two to three years to live.

"All my life I have lived with the threat of an early death, so I hate wasting time," Hawking said on Thursday night, using the computer-generated voice he controls with a facial muscle and a blink from one eye.

The documentary explores the headlong rush of a brilliant schoolboy with illegible handwriting who enjoyed the dilettante life of Oxford University before illness sparked a lifelong frenzy of discovery about the origins of the universe, which began as a graduate at Cambridge University and has astounded the world.

The film premiered in the same year as the release of his autobiography, Stephen Hawking: My Brief History.

His sister Mary says in the film that her brother was highly competitive and curious about everything in a household which friends described as very academic, and explains how she received a doll's house as a present when they were children, to which Stephen immediately added plumbing and electricity.

She told Reuters that life with her brother was engaging, exciting and occasionally frustrating. "It's a waste of time arguing with Stephen, he always manages to turn the argument round," she said.

The film goes back to his childhood and his student days and shows the scientist, who uses a wheelchair, at home with carers. It also explores his family life with first wife, Jane, and their three children, the breakdown of their marriage and his subsequent marriage to one of his carers.

Jane appears on camera to explain how the pressures of caring for the children and the increasingly disabled Hawking became even worse once full-time nurses were brought into the home, obliterating any privacy.

His second wife and former nurse, Elaine Mason, does not appear in the film, and Hawking portrays their 1995-2007 marriage with a few pictures and a brief description.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Phone app offers 'verbal autopsies' to improve death records

BBC News, Anne Soy and Anna Lacey,  Health Check, 21 Sep 2013

Verbal interviews with relatives of the deceased are recorded onto
the mobile phone app

Health Check

Two thirds of deaths worldwide go completely unrecorded, making it impossible to know if public health money is being spent in the right places. But could a mobile phone app be the answer?

Birth and death are perhaps the most significant moments of any human life - worth writing down for posterity.

But in many countries around the world, the systems set up to collect vital data about citizens have such low coverage that many deaths slip through the net.

Not knowing who has died, and what they have died of, makes it impossible to build an accurate picture of a nation's health.

Now technology - in the form of a specialist mobile phone app - could make all the difference.

Using a technique known as "verbal autopsy", field workers visit relatives to ask them about the circumstances of a family death.

By collecting the information digitally from currently hard-to-reach places, it has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of global health.

Mobile phone autopsies

In Malawi, any death that occurs outside a medical facility is not recorded.

Dr Carina King, a fellow at University College London, is overseeing the implementation of the mobile phone autopsies in the Malawian district of Mchinji.

"We found everyone surprisingly open, and I think they find the phone quite an interesting thing when we go for interviews," she told the BBC.

Verbal autopsies have been in use for about 20 years but the information was traditionally recorded on a paper questionnaire.

These often lengthy documents were supposed to be analysed by two doctors, who would use the answers to deduce the likely cause of death.

However the sheer scale of the task was often too great, meaning that many of the questionnaires ending up languishing in dusty rooms, completely unread.

"The mobile phone has been very good and means we don't have lots of paper forms," says Dr King.

"We have very quick access to the data and we can analyse it quickly to get the causes of death."

The phone software, known as MIVA, presents a series of questions that a trained field worker uses to find out information from the family.

Each question has a range of possible answers and the software intelligently skips to the next relevant question depending on the response.

Most important of all is that it is designed to quickly compute the most likely cause of death.

The result is stored in the phone and can be sent to a central database either by text message or internet upload.

'Cheap and robust' technology

Dr Jon Bird of City University, London, who was part of the team involved in creating the software, says mobile phones provide a particularly convenient way of collecting data.

"Mobile phones are probably one the most widespread technologies in the world. They're cheap, they're robust and everyone knows how to use one," he told the BBC.

"The everyday nature of mobile phones also makes them really valuable because the people that are being interviewed don't find them intrusive."

In Malawi, mobile phone autopsies are currently being used to record the cause of death in children.

The project is called Mai Mwana, meaning mother and child in the local Chichewa language, and it focuses on children who died before their fifth birthday.

The under-five mortality rate in Malawi is 71 per 1,000 live births according to 2012 figures from the World Bank - compared to just five per 1,000 live births in the UK.

Families are interviewed in the community by trained fieldworkers

Lazaro Cypriano lives in the village of Mzangawa in Mchinji district, central Malawi with his wife Magdalena and their toddler.

The couple lost their first two children.

Their second child died about a year ago, after a series of hospital visits due to fever. It is this death that will be the subject of the verbal autopsy.

'Highly sensitive'

Outside urban areas, one of the main problems for collecting data is finding out when a death has occurred.

To get around this, field reporters from the local community take on the responsibility of alerting the MaiMwana team of people who have died in their area.

This is how Lazaro's family was identified, and the visit now affords him his first opportunity to narrate what happened to his son and have that information recorded.

The interviewer asks the couple standard questions and matches their answers to the choices provided in the application's template.

It's a highly sensitive and skilled job - and one which field interviewer Nicholas Mbwana can see is made easier by using a mobile phone.

"We go to the households, ask about the causes of death - what really happened - and we also record the GPS in order to trace the household in future," he told the BBC.

Dr King says the system is key to the success of the project.

"GPS gives us the location of every household in the district so we can actually plot out on a map where people are dying of what, which means that you could design more sophisticated programs for targeting specific interventions."

The bigger picture

Mobile phone autopsies are being used on a limited scale at present. But the long term aim is to roll out the technique much more widely.

"The beauty of the system is that it's standardised and can be translated into any language you want," says Dr Bird.

"It's important when you're collecting data on a large scale that everyone is answering the same question, so that you know that the results are directly comparable from town to town and country to country."

Interviewees' answers are inputted directly into the mobile phone app

The World Health Organization (WHO) is already supporting the initiative and is working with institutions from the UK to Sweden to develop the technology further.

The data is currently being collected in a range of databases that can be accessed by researchers interested in public health.

As the project grows, researchers from the University of Umea in Sweden will co-ordinate the growing number of translations and the distribution of the technology around the world.

The government in Malawi is already keen to see the results of the project.

"It is important for us as a ministry to know what is killing Malawians out there so that we can plan ahead and put appropriate interventions in place to prevent that - and also to put out health messages," says Dr Charles Mwansambo, Malawi's Health Secretary.

The Ministry of Health has so far only been using information collected from medical facilities, which the health secretary concedes is biased data.

"We need comprehensive data from the hospitals and the community to plan well. We find ourselves planning for the small community that comes to hospital, not realising there is a bigger community out there that we need to budget for," he adds.

Significant inroads

Dr Mwansambo also acknowledges that a cultural practice of burying health documents with the dead makes it difficult to collect important information about deaths.

"When somebody dies people want to forget everything about them - those memories that will remind them of their loved ones. So unfortunately they bury the health passport along with their clothes and other possessions and we lose vital information in the process," he explains.

The health passports are documents issued to parents, which record the birth weight of the baby and its gain over time, as well as which immunizations were administered and when.

An elder at Mzangawa village, Kangkwamba Piri, is already talking to members of his community to drop that cultural practice.

"We've been doing this for a long time but it is wrong. What needs to be done is not to bury the documents and that's what we're encouraging people to do," he says.

For now, it is likely that millions of deaths will still go unnoticed by official figures. But verbal autopsies recorded on mobile phones are making small but significant inroads into solving the problem.

And for and his wife Magdalena, the chance to give information about what killed their child to an official is important.

Magdalena says: "What I have learnt from this interview will help me take care of my third baby so he can be healthy and live long."

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