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)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EU lays down steps US must take to protect data

Google – AFP, 27 November 2013

A pictures shows binary code reflected from a computer screen in a
woman's eye on October 22, 2012 (AFP/File, Leon Neal)

Brussels — The EU on Wednesday laid down steps Washington must take to restore trust after a huge spy scandal, including giving EU citizens the right to US legal redress to protect personal data.

"Massive spying on our citizens, companies and leaders is unacceptable," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said, adding there was "now a window of opportunity to rebuild trust which we expect our American partners to use".

An umbrella agreement being negotiated on EU-US data protection "has to give European citizens concrete and enforceable rights, notably the right to judicial redress in the US whenever their personal data are being processed in the US," Reding said in a statement.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding
 speaks during a press conference in
 Brussels, on September 17, 2013 (AFP/File,
John Thys)
At the same time, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malstroem said she was satisfied that separate EU-US accords on the transfer of airline passenger and financial transaction data were working properly.

A key concern in Europe -- where memories of surveillance by fascist and communist dictatorships remain alive -- is the pressure Washington exerts on giant US companies to hand over personal data, including those of EU citizens, on national security grounds.

Up to now, Brussels and Washington have reconciled their differences in a 2001 'Safe Harbour' agreement meant to ensure US companies respect EU norms on commercial use of personal data.

In the EU, personal data protection is considered to be a basic right whose commercial use must be carefully controlled.

Safe Harbour now needs to be tightened up, Redding said, setting a deadline of mid-2014 to agree the changes with Washington.

Among 13 suggested changes, she included a provision requiring US companies to make clear the extent to which US authorities have the right to collect and process personal data they may have gathered.

The "national security" justification often cited for such government access must also be used only if strictly necessary.

Reding said the EU should conclude reform of its own data protection laws and be actively involved to ensure that US reforms promised by President Barack Obama "also benefit EU citizens".

Highlighted by the reported US tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, data protection has become a hugely sensitive topic since intelligence leaker Edward Snowden released evidence of a massive network of US spy operations on friend and foe alike earlier this year.

The uproar prompted the European Parliament to call for talks on a massive free trade deal with the United States to be scrapped, along with the Safe Harbour system.

Data protection has become a hugely
sensitive topic since intelligence leaker
Edward Snowden described a massive
network of US spy operations on friend
and foe alike earlier this year (AFP/File,
Prakash Singh)
But the European Commission stressed again Wednesday that data protection standards would not be part of the negotiations on the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Malstroem meanwhile said the Commission, the EU's executive arm, would not suspend data protection accords "just because of press articles" -- an apparent reference to reports based on Snowden's leaks.

The Passenger Name Record (PNR) system for airline passengers and the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) "provide effective safeguards to protect the fundamental rights of European citizens," Malstroem said.

The "clear and effective guarantees in place" allow the Commission to "make sure that the US authorities stick to agreed rules," she said.

The EU will continue alert and monitor "the lawful implementationof EU-US agreements on data transfers," she added.


US Senator Christopher Murphy (r) congressman Gregory Meeks speak
in Berlin over the NSA scandal. Photo: dpa

The NSA and surveillance ... made simple - video animation

The Guardian, Scriberia, Scott Cawley, Jemima Kiss, Paul Boyd and James Ball,  26 November 2013


Confused about the NSA revelations? Do you wonder how the activities of GCHQ and the NSA affect you? Why have spies been monitoring Facebook, Gmail and Skype? And even if are being watched online, how does that affect what we do online? This animation, narrated by Jemima Kiss, explains what the disclosures mean for all of us

• See more 'made simple' videos here

Monday, November 25, 2013

Strike hits Amazon logistics centers in Germany

Deutsche Welle, 25 November 2013

Several hundred Amazon workers in Germany have walked off the job demanding better pay and working conditions. But the online retail giant remains defiant, accusing labor unions of blackmail which is hurting customers.


Amazon's logistics centers in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld, both in eastern Germany, were hit by one-day industrial action in which some 200 and 300 workers respectively walked out, German labor union Verdi said Monday.

The strike comes with the demand of a collective bargaining agreement including higher wages and better working conditions for Amazon employees, the union said. Verdi wanted Amazon staff paid according to a wage deal for the German mail order and retail sector, which was better than for the logistics sector currently in place at Amazon, it added.

Amazon has repeatedly rejected the demand arguing its staff at the Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig logistics centers received pay which was above average by the standards of the industry. Moreover, the Verdi labor union wasn't Amazon's partner in collective bargaining because wages were primarily negotiated with the firm's works council, said Amazon's German logistics chief Dave Clark.

“We will not be blackmailed in to cooperating with an organization that threatens to ruin Christmas for German children,” he told Monday's edition of German newspaper Die Welt.

Amazon employs around 9,000 workers in Germany, which has come to be the online retailer's biggest market outside the United States. Sales in Germany grew almost 21 percent in 2012, reaching $8.7 billion (6.4 billion euro).

Verdi's strike action on Monday, which followed brief walkouts in May, June and September, have had no impact on shipments, Amazon spokesman Stefan Rupp told Reuters news agency.

uhe/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)
Related Article:


Online retailer Amazon employs more than 20,000 people
 across its eight warehouses during its peak Christmas season

Saturday, November 23, 2013

America listened in to the Netherlands in 1946, MPs want answers

DutchNews.nl, Saturday 23 November 2013

The American intelligence services have been listening in to the Netherlands since 1946, the NRC reported at the weekend, quoting documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NRC says the documents show the US listened in to Dutch telecommunications between 1946 and 1968 even though the Netherlands was a considered a key partner.

They also show the US wanted to keep this information secret because of the potential impact on the relationship between the two countries. Germany, Belgium and France were also monitored, the paper states.

Objectives

The paper make does not clear what was monitored and what the aims of the monitoring were. Nor is it clear from the documents if the monitoring stopped in 1968, the NRC said.

Dutch home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told MPs in October NSA may operate in the Netherlands but needs permission from the Dutch security organisation AIVD before doing so.

However, earlier in October Dutch website Tweakers reported that the American National Security Agency (NSA) had collected information on 1.8 million Dutch telephone calls in one month alone as part of its Boundless Informant surveillance programme.

D66 MP Gerard Schouw told the Volkskrant on Saturday he wanted to know what Plasterk plans to do about the role of the US spy service and to what extent the US is still involved in surveillance in the Netherlands.

Malware

The NRC also says the NSA infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with software designed to steal sensitive information.

The NRC says a NSA management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the spy service collections information and shows that it uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ in more than 50,000 locations. The Washington Post earlier put the total at 20,000 in 2008.

NSA’s own website explains CNE as ‘enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks’

Read the NRC article (in English)

Related Articles:

NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software

Minister faces court case over NSA illegal tapping
Dutch law on phone taps applies to NSA as well, says minister
America's NSA tapped 1.8 million Dutch phone numbers in one month

Brazil's Rousseff postpones US state visit


Obama defends surveillance programs


goldenageofgaia.comSteve Beckow,  August 7, 2013

“… SB:  Okay. Thank you for that.

Now, we have about four minutes before we run out of time, and this is a bit of a complex topic. But Matthew Ward told us in I think his June message that Obama is working with the galactics; that there are galactics in the National Security Agency; that the National Security Agency was gathering evidence on the Illuminati, and that explains why Obama was supporting the… well, if not supporting, then not doing something about the spying of the NSA. It’s really directed at the Illuminati.

Can you talk a little bit more generally about Obama’s working with the galactics? And if you can — I mean, you may not be able to, but if you can — on the galactics in the other agencies and what they’re doing to bring forward a cleansing of those agencies, please?

AAM:  Let me say that your star brothers and sisters, the galactics and the inter-galactics are everywhere. And yes, they are certainly very deep within the administration not only of the United States but might we say most powerful nations, and those that you would not even deign as powerful.

So yes, of course Obama is working with the galactics, and he has been for some time. And that partnership has been important. Now, there have been some very rough patches, and we would be remiss if we did not mention them. But it is not yet time to discuss the fullness of those rough patches. They will come to light.

The purpose of what you think of as spying has been, yes, targeted to Illuminati or those who are not acting in the best interests of the collective, whether it is the United States, Israel, Botswana, Switzerland, Germany, Russia — it does not matter.

There are more of your star beings, your brothers and sisters on the ground than you can fathom. And one of the reasons why this approach… not only has the approach been taken to assist in this shift, it has also been taken to anchor that energy fully and completely on Gaia.

So, the vision of a fleet of starships arising, or coming across the horizon and causing fear has been circumvented. Look to the person standing next to you and look in their eyes. There is a very good chance that you are looking at one of your star brothers or sisters.

SB:  Wonderful. Thank you very much, Lord. …”

Friday, November 22, 2013

LG promises update for 'spying' smart TV

BBC News, Jane Wakefield, 21 November 2013

Mr Huntley wanted to know how LG determined which ads should be shown on his TV

Related Stories

LG has admitted it continued collecting data on viewing habits even after users had activated a privacy setting designed to prevent it.

The television maker has apologised to its customers and told the BBC it would issue an update to correct the problem.

UK-based IT consultant Jason Huntley, who raised the issue in a blog, welcomed the "positive step".

Viewing information helps manufacturers deliver relevant advertising and programme recommendations.

"I hope that their future products will reflect this decision and keep customers clearly informed as to their data collection practices before they take place," he said.

LG launched an investigation in the wake of his blog, which was reported widely in the media.

'Not personal data'

"We have verified that even when this function is turned off by the viewers, it continues to transmit viewing information, although the data is not retained by the server," LG said in a statement.

"A firmware update is being prepared for immediate rollout that will correct this problem on all affected LG Smart TVs so when this feature is disabled, no data will be transmitted," it added.

Since the issue became public it has emerged that Sony's PlayStation also collects data from every Blu-ray disc that is played.

Samsung, the world's largest TV maker, is yet to respond to questions about its operations.

LG stressed that the information gathered was not personal but viewing information.

"This information is collected as part of the Smart TV platform to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching," the firm said.

Jury awards Apple $290 mn in Samsung patent case

Google – AFP, 21 November 2013

Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is seen during its unveiling in this March 14, 2013
file photo at Radio City Music Hall in New York (AFP/File, Don Emmert)

San José (United States) — A US federal jury Thursday ordered Samsung to pay $290 million in damages to Apple in a partial retrial of the blockbuster patent case involving the two smartphone giants.

The award comes instead of $450 million in damages originally awarded in the landmark suit, but thrown out by a judge. It is in addition to nearly $600 million in patent infringement damages upheld from the trial last year.

Apple has accused its South Korean rival of massive and willful copying of its designs and technology for smartphones and tablets and won the landmark case in a jury decision in August 2012. But the case has been on hold pending multiple appeals.

The original verdict for some $1 billion was reduced in March when Judge Lucy Koh invalidated some $450 million and ordered a retrial on portions of the case.

Even though Apple won the landmark case last year, this has not had much impact on the new smartphones hitting the market, though the California maker of the iPhone is seeking injunctions to bar some Samsung products from being sold in the United States.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MediaTek unveils world's first true octa-core mobile platform

Want China Times, CNA 2013-11-21

A press event held by MediaTek to unveil the octa-core mobile platform, Nov. 20.
(Photo/Yang Hsiao-fang)

Taiwan's MediaTek on Wednesday took the veil off the world's first "true octa-core" mobile processor, showing off the system on a chip (SOC) in China to woo the high-end smartphone and tablet markets.

Built using the advanced 28-nanometer process, the MT6592 combines eight core application processors, each capable of clock speeds up to 2GHz, enabling premium gaming performance, advanced multi-tasking and enhanced web browsing, the Hsinchu-based company said in a statement.

The SOC is expected to roll out in new mobile devices running the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system by the end of the year 2013 and is slated to be put in devices running the latest Android 4.4 Kit-Kat software in early 2014.

A "true octa-core" mobile chipset means the chip is capable of having all eight processor cores running at the same time, boosting performance. Competitors' "fake octa-core" platforms, as MediaTek calls them, are actually two quad-core chipsets put together, meaning they cannot make all eight cores work at once.

"We are thrilled to offer the new MT6592 to our customers as part of our ongoing commitment to providing inclusive mobile technology," said Jeffrey Ju, general manager of MediaTek's smartphone business unit.

"Being the first to market with this advanced eight-core SOC is testament to the industry-leading position of MediaTek," he said in the statement.

In an investor conference held Nov. 1, MediaTek said it expects its consolidated sales for the fourth quarter to fall up to 5% from the third quarter to range between NT$37 billion (US$1.25 billion) and NT$39 billion (US$1.31 billion) after taking the slow season effect into account.

Market analysts said the fourth-quarter guidance was better-than- expected, as MediaTek has gained the upper hand in competition in the huge China smartphone chip market.

Shares in MediaTek closed down 2.9% at NT$419 (US$14.2) Wednesday in Taipei before the announcement of the new mobile platform.

Australia police, central bank websites hacked

Google – AFP, 21 November 2013

Australian police and central bank websites have fallen victim to cyber
attacks (AFP/File, Roslan Rahman)

Sydney — Australian police and central bank websites fell victim to cyber attacks Thursday with an Indonesian hacker claiming responsibility, reportedly demanding that Canberra apologise in an intensifying row over spying.

The row -- triggered by reports that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of the Indonesian president, his wife and ministers -- has pushed ties between Jakarta and Canberra to their lowest level since the turn of the century.

Officials called the attack on the Australian Federal Police and the Reserve Bank of Australia "irresponsible", and said whoever was to blame could face prosecution.

"These attacks... will not influence government policy," the federal police said in a statement.

"Activities such as hacking, creating or propagating malicious viruses are not harmless fun. 

They can result in serious long-term consequences for individuals, such as criminal convictions or jail time."

Police officials said their site, which hosts no sensitive information, was operating when staff left work on Wednesday evening but it was down on Thursday morning.

The outage comes barely two weeks after activist group Anonymous Indonesia claimed responsibility for defacing more than 170 Australian websites to protest at reports of Canberra spying on its nearest neighbour and strategic ally.

Ties between the two countries have deteriorated after reports this week, based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, that Australia tried to listen to the phone calls of the Indonesian president, his wife and ministers in 2009.

A member of Anonymous Indonesia, using the hashtag #IndonesianCyberArmy, claimed responsibility for the latest attacks.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation contacted the hacker who said the sites were targeted "because (of) the act of spying by Australia".

The federal police and central bank were targeted "because we think (they are) most important sites of government companies in Australia".

The hacker added that the action was taken on behalf of "the people of Indonesia, and the Indonesian Origin cyber army", and demanded that Canberra apologise.

"We're going to strike again (unless) Australia apologises to the people of Indonesia."

The Australian Federal Police would not comment on who might be responsible but said it was working with the Cyber Security Operations Centre and Australia's Computer Emergency Response team to identify the hackers.

The central bank website was also targeted, with a spokesman saying that back-up systems ensured that while delays may be experienced the site remained operational.

"The bank has protections for its website, so the bank website remains secure," the spokesman said.

Anonymous is believed to be a loosely organised hacker collective that conducts online attacks internationally.

Related Article:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

GCHQ listening post in tune with America's NSA

Google – AFP, Maureen Cofflard (AFP), 18 November 2013

The activities of GCHQ, Britain's secret eavesdropping agency, have come 
under intense scrutiny since former US analyst Edward Snowden said it was one
of the main players in mass telecommunications surveillance (AFP/File, Thomas Coex)

London — The activities of GCHQ, the secret eavesdropping agency, have come under intense scrutiny since former US analyst Edward Snowden said it was one of the main players in mass telecommunications surveillance.

GCHQ is at the heart of Britain's "special relationship" with the United States when it comes to spying, according to Snowden's blizzard of leaks.

The Government Communications Headquarters -- a giant, ring-shaped building nicknamed "the doughnut" -- is situated in the spa town of Cheltenham in southwest England.

Computer specialist Snowden, 30, worked for the US National Security Agency in 2012 when he downloaded a vast cache of NSA documents, including 50,000 about GCHQ.

The material from the fugitive, now living in Russia under temporary asylum, has been published in various newspapers, with The Guardian leading the way in Britain.

The documents claim the NSA was secretly funding GCHQ to the tune of £100 million ($160 million, 120 million euros) over the last three years.

David Ormand, GCHQ's director from 1996 to 1997, did not confirm that figure but admitted that the US and Britain were mutually beneficial partners.

"We have the brains; they have the money," said Ormand told BBC radio. "It's a collaboration that's worked very well."

Eric Denece, a former intelligence analyst who is now director of the Centre Francais de Recherche sur le Renseignement (French Centre for Research on Information), said GCHQ, which employs 5,500 people, was "basically 10 times smaller than the NSA and has twice the size of France's capacity".

In terms of budget, GCHQ receives three times the amount France receives, but is dwarfed by the US centre, he told AFP.

One of Snowden's revelations was that Britain was running a secret Internet monitoring station in the Middle East, intercepting phone calls and online traffic, with the information processed and passed to GCHQ.

The report claimed it is part of a £1 billion (1.2 billion euros, $1.6 billion) surveillance project codenamed "Tempora", whose aims include "mastering the Internet".

Based on Snowden's leaks, The Independent newspaper said Britain had a listening post on the roof of its embassy in Berlin.

GCHQ also tapped into more than 200 fibre-optic telecommunications cables, including transatlantic ones, and was handling 600 million "telephone events" each day, according to Snowden.

"They are worse than the US," Snowden told The Guardian.

Called to appear before a parliamentary committee earlier this month in response to the Snowden leaks, GCHQ director Iain Lobban insisted the agency was not conducting snooping en masse on the British public.

He said they were looking for "needles in the haystack", not the hay itself.

"We do not spend our time listening to the telephone calls or reading the e-mails of the majority," he said.

Former chief Omand told the BBC: "GCHQ is primarily a foreign intelligence agency. It is not a domestic intelligence agency."

Snowden's documents showed that the amount of personal data available to GCHQ from Internet and mobile phone traffic had increased by 7,000 percent in the past five years -- but 60 percent of all Britain's 'refined' intelligence still appeared to come from the NSA.

GCHQ and the NSA work together under the UKUSA Agreement, formed in 1946 between Britain and the United States. Canada, Australia and New Zealand soon joined, forming what is called the "Five Eyes" electronic eavesdropping alliance.

A former British spy told AFP on condition of anonymity that cooperation in eavesdropping dates back as far as World War I, and constitutes one of the chief pillars of the so-called "special relationship" between London and Washington.

"Cooperation between the two countries, particularly, in sigint (signals intelligence), is so close that it becomes very difficult to know who is doing what," he said.

"That's not sinister... it's just organisational mess."

Denece said there was "task-sharing" between British and US intelligence services.

He cited the two G20 meetings in Britain in 2009, when the United States spied on Russian president Dmitry Medvedev while the British spied on the Turks and the South Africans, according to Snowden's documents.

The expert said the Americans were in charge of "intercepting bandwidth and satellite eavesdropping", while "listening on the ground and computer interception is done by the British".

GCHQ has made no direct comment on the allegations.

The ‘Royal Concierge’ secret program logo showing a penguin wearing a crown.
The black and white penguin might be mocking luxury hotels’ staff uniform.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

3D printing 'will change the world'

Google – AFP, Helen Rowe (AFP), 16 November 2013

Designer Susana Soares looks at a 3D printer during a photocall for Insects au
Gratin exhibition at The Wellcome Collection in London on April 23, 2013 (AFP/
File, Adrian Dennis)

Paris — From replacement kidneys to guns, cars, prosthetics and works of art, 3D printing is predicted to transform our lives in the coming decades as dramatically as the Internet did before it.

"I have no doubt it is going to change the world," researcher James Craddock told AFP at the two-day 3D Printshow in Paris which wraps up later on Saturday.

A member of the 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at the UK's Nottingham University, Craddock nevertheless predicted that use of 3D printing would be limited.

Visitors look at a 3D printer printing an
object, during "Inside 3D Printing" conference
and exhibition in New York, April 22, 2013
(AFP/File, Emmanuel Dunand)
"You wouldn't want to make a cup from a 3D printer because it would probably fall apart, leak or poison you, but you would use it for high-value, beautiful items or replacement parts," he said.

"The real revolutionary factor is industrial use," he added.

Here is a selection of the potential future uses of 3D printing:

- Arms

This is one of the more eye-catching prospects and has attracted a lot of publicity.

Californian engineering company Solid Concepts said earlier this month it had produced a metal replica of a classic 1911 shotgun.

US entrepreneur and inventor Brook Drumm, however, warned that the process of printing a gun would be slow, expensive and potentially dangerous, requiring lasers at high temperatures, lots of power and hazardous materials.

Drumm set up his firm Printrbot to produce printers costing from $400 that print plastic items.

Metal printers can cost around $250,000 (185,000 euros) and "the particulates are so fine that your skin could absorb them through the pores. The materials are not safe", he said.

The gun itself -- unless made out of metal -- would also be unreliable.

"There's a lot of moving parts in a gun and they need to be precise," he said, adding that he tried to print a plastic gun but gave up because it took so long.

"Time-wise, if I was going to print a plastic gun and you were going to go and buy a metal one, even if it took you two weeks to get approval I probably still wouldn't have it working first," he said.

- Art

Fancy a replica of a Viking helmet or one of the Louvre's most famous sculptures on the mantelpiece?

American Cosmo Wenman has used thousands of photographs taken in some of the world's biggest museums to produce exact plastic copies.

Works he has produced include the ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo which is in the Louvre.
"If you look at the small print at museums in terms of taking photographs, they say that you cannot put them to commercial use," he said.

"But from a practical point of view that is not enforceable and for antiquities there is no intellectual property issue," he said.

- Cars

An "Urbee", an ecologic vehicle, is displayed
 during the "3D Print Show" exhibition in Paris
 on November 15, 2013 (AFP, Joel Saget)
Canadian Jim Kor's 3D Urbee car is made out of plastic and stainless steel.

The futuristic-looking three-wheeler is electric but uses petrol at higher speeds.

Production designer Kor says if a car company mass produced the vehicle it would be possible to keep the price down to around $16,000 (12,000 euros).

"We want it to be the Volkswagen Beetle for the next century, low cost and long-lasting too," he said.

"It should last 30-plus years. Our goal is that it should be 100 percent recyclable."

- Jewellery

Jewellery can made to ensure that each piece is slightly different, known as "mass customisation".

3D printing can also make the production process far less expensive and time consuming.
Dutch jewellery designer Yvonne van Zummeren produces a range of jewellery made out of lightweight nylon polyamide.

"All my designs are based on works of art," she said holding a bracelet that uses a Matisse motif.

"It enables me to be a jewellery designer much more easily. Otherwise I would have needed a factory in China and a minimum order of 20,000," she added.

"When you are producing something for the first time it means you can adapt and try again very easily until you get the result you want."

- Prosthetics

Prosthetics can be custom made to provide the perfect match.

Electronics could be built in allowing the recipient accurate control of the limb.

"It would all be printed out at the same time," said 3DPRG's Craddock.

- Replacement parts

One-off parts are needed by everyone from NASA to the person who loses an unusual jacket button.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds

State Policy Network rejects climate change, opposes workers' rights – and is backed by some top US tech and telecoms firms

theguardian.com, Ed Pilkington in New York, Thursday 14 November 2013

Microsoft, Facebook and Time Warner each sponsored SPN’s most recent
annual meeting in Oklahoma City. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Some of America’s largest technology and telecoms companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and AT&T, are backing a network of self-styled “free-market thinktanks” promoting a radical rightwing agenda in states across the nation, according to a new report by a lobbying watchdog.

The Center for Media and Democracy asserts that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 thinktanks based in each of the 50 states, is acting as a largely beneath-the-radar lobbying machine for major corporations and rightwing donors.

Its policies include cutting taxes, opposing climate change regulations, advocating reductions in labour protections and the minimum wage, privatising education, restricting voter rights and lobbying for the tobacco industry.

The network’s $83.2m annual warchest comes from major donors. These include the Koch brothers, the energy tycoons who are a mainstay of Tea Party groups and climate change sceptics; the tobacco company Philip Morris and its parent company Altria Group; the food giant Kraft; and the multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline.

More surprisingly, backers also include Facebook and Microsoft, as well as the telecoms giants AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.

The CMD study uncovered a public document that listed SPN’s funders in 2010. They included: AT&T and Microsoft, which each donated up to $99,000; and Time Warner Cable and Verizon, which each contributed up to $24,000. In addition, Facebook, Microsoft and Time Warner each sponsored SPN’s most recent annual meeting in Oklahoma City in September.

Lisa Graves, the director of the Center for Media and Democracy, said it was “disappointing” that Facebook and the other technology and telecoms companies had “put their hat in the ring, given SPN’s extreme agenda that includes climate change denial, making it harder for Americans to vote, and attacking workers’ rights.” She called on the firms to “reconsider their support, as it is at odds with science and common sense.”

Tracie Sharp, the president of SPN, rebutted the charge that it operates as a rightwing lobbying network. In a statement, she said that the network was dedicated to providing “state-based, free-market thinktanks with the academic and management resources required to run a non-profit institution”. Each of its 64 member thinktanks were “fiercely independent, choosing to manage their staff, pick their own research topics and educate the public on those issues they deem most appropriate for their state.”

But she added that “every thinktank, however, rallies around a common belief: the power of free markets and free people to create a healthy, prosperous society.”

The State Policy Network operates a tech/telecom policy exchange in which it campaigns against taxes on internet shopping and against the regulatory activities of the Federal Communications Commission. Though much of that thinking could not reasonably be characterised as what the CMD report calls an “extreme rightwing agenda”, the tech and telecoms companies' inclusion on the list of funders puts them alongside some strange bedfellows.

The Guardian invited the technology and telecoms companies to respond to the allegation that they have sponsored a network devoted to “extreme” rightwing causes, but most either declined to comment or had not responded by the time of publication.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Microsoft said: “As a large company, Microsoft has great interest in the many policy issues discussed across the country. We have a longstanding record of engaging with a broad assortment of groups on a bipartisan basis, both at the national and local level. In regard to State Policy Network, Microsoft has focused our participation on their technology policy work group because it is valuable forum to hear various perspectives about technology challenges and to share potential solutions.”

SPN works in parallel with the American Legislative Exchange Council, Alec, a forum that brings together largely Republican legislators and corporations to devise model bills that are used to attack workers’ rights in various US states.

The Koch brothers have donated directly to the network either personally or through corporate funds from Koch Industries and from family foundations. Two closely-related funds, the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, described by Mother Jones as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement”, give at least $1.5m a year – channeling money to the network from individual donors whose identity the funds obscure.

Several prominent rightwing billionaire donors are also involved, including Art Pope, an ally of the Koch brothers; the Walton family of Walmart, which funds SPN members in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts and Washington state; the foundation of billionaire Republican donor Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Searle Freedom Trust, created out of the fortune of the creator of NutraSweet, which funds a number of conservative causes.

Graves said that the individual thinktanks who make up SPN present themselves as “neutral, non-partisan groups, but are in fact part of a national network to project the voices and interests of some of the most powerful corporations and families in the country”.

Gordon Lafer, a professor at the University of Oregon, said that SPN groups were actively targeting the rights of often non-unionised employees. His research had uncovered attempts to expand the use of child labour, cut the minimum wage, reduce unemployment benefit, make it harder to sue employers for sex or race discrimination, or even to police wage theft where companies refused to pay workers over-time or any wages at all.

“These are a very dramatic package of proposals at a time of economic hardship, and they are being rolled out in a cookie-cutter fashion from state to state, and affecting the lives of working people across the country.”

Lafer added: “This looks like scholarship from local organisations, but in fact it is neither – neither scholarship, nor local.”

David Koch, chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, funds
some of the largest dark money networks. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File) | AP

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