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)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Xi Jinping to head national internet security group

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-02-28

Xi Jinping chairs a meeting in Beijing on Feb. 17. (Photo/Xinhua)

China's president, Xi Jinping, will head the central internet security and informatization leading group, according to a statement released after the first meeting of the group on Thursday.

Xi presided over the meeting, stressing that internet security and informatization is a major strategic issue concerning a country's security and development as well as people's life and work. "Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyber power," he said.

Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan, who are both members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, are the group's deputy heads.

The group is designed to lead and coordinate internet security and informatization work among different sectors, as well as draft national strategies, development plans and major policies in this field, Xi said. Members of the group adopted the group's work rules and its working plan for this year at the meeting.

China has the world's largest number of internet users but it still lags behind in development of Internet technologies, the president noted. The digital gap between rural and urban areas remains large and the average bandwidth enjoyed by each Chinese is far less than that in some developed countries, he added. By the end of 2013, China had about 618 million internet users, but only 28.6% of them are from the countryside.

"We should be fully aware of the importance and urgency of internet security and informatization," Xi said.

China has to balance its needs of developing IT technologies and safeguarding internet security, the president said, describing the two issues as "two wings of a bird and two wheels of an engine."

Xi called for innovative methods to spread mainstream values and stimulate positive energy while maintaining proper guidance of online opinions in terms of timing, intensity and impact. "Cyberspace should be made clean and chipper," Xi said.

"No internet safety means no national security. No informatization means no modernization," Xi said, noting that cyber information flows across countries and steers technology, funding and talent.

According to the president, information resources are increasingly becoming a crucial production factor and a key part of social wealth, signaling a country's soft and competitive power.

Xi called for more independent innovation in core technology and the construction of infrastructures as well as enhanced abilities to collect, process, spread, utilize and secure information to better benefit the livelihood of the general public.

In Xi's view, building a cyber power calls for domestically developed solid technology, rich and comprehensive information services, prosperous cyber cultures, sound infrastructure, high-caliber talent working in internet security and information, as well as international cooperation.

Xi stressed the need for a comprehensive plan to develop IT and cyber security technology, citing policies to support companies working in this field.

The meeting was also told that there must be legislative efforts to draft laws and regulations on managing information online, protection of key infrastructure facilities, and cleaning up cyberspace. In addition, Xi called for the fostering of a "politically firm, professionally competent and morally upright" team.

UK spies 'intercepted webcam images of Yahoo users'

BBC News, 27 February 2014

Related Stories

Almost 2 million users' images were
stored in a six-month period, the report
said
British spy agency GCHQ intercepted webcam images from millions of Yahoo users around the world, according to a report in the Guardian.

Yahoo denied prior knowledge of the alleged programme, describing it as a "completely unacceptable" privacy violation.

According to leaked documents, sexually explicit images were among those gathered - although not intentionally.

In a statement GCHQ has said all of its actions are in accordance with the law.

The operation, which was called Optic Nerve and was aided by the US National Security Agency, is alleged to have stored images between 2008 and 2010. In one six-month period in 2008, images from 1.8m users were gathered.

The report originated from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It suggested that sexually explicit content would be captured by the system.

"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," it read.

"Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography."

'Whole new level'

"We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity," Yahoo said in an emailed statement.

"This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world's governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.

"We are committed to preserving our users' trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services."

A statement from GCHQ said it would not comment on matters of intelligence, but added: "All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Acer unveils US$115 budget tablet

Want China Times, CNA 2014-02-27

The Iconia One7. (Photo/Acer)

Taiwanese computer maker Acer unveiled its cheapest tablet computer to date Wednesday when it announced the Iconia One7 with a price tag of just NT$3,490 (US$115).

Taking aim at the low-cost tablet market favored by price-sensitive customers, Acer said in an emailed statement that it began shipping a "limited volume" of the One7 to local distributors Wednesday and expects the 7-inch tablet to go on sale in early March in Taiwan and later in the month in China and other Asia-Pacific markets.

The Iconia One7 packs a Cortex-A9 dual-core 1.5GHz chipset from Taiwan's VIA Technologies, a 1024x600-pixel screen, 16GB of built-in memory and a micro-SD card slot. The company said it supports high-definition 1080p video playback, despite the relatively low WVGA screen resolution.

The One7's specifications hold up to competitors in the 7-inch low-price bracket, including its cross-town rival Asustek Computer's US$139 MeMO Pad HD 7 and US online retailer Amazon's US$139 Kindle Fire HD.

Acer shares closed flat at NT$18.05 (US$0.59) Wednesday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ahead of the announcement.

The struggling Taiwanese PC maker has aimed for explosive growth in its tablet computer business for 2014 despite intensified competition from other low-cost Android tablet vendors.

Maverick Shih, president of Acer's BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) and Tablet Business Group, told the media on Feb. 5 that the company "will be working hard to achieve aggressive growth" and is eyeing 10 million tablets shipped this year.

For comparison, the Commercial Times estimated that the company shipped only half of that number last year, citing sources within Acer.

A Dec. 3 report by research firm IDC noted that while the worldwide market has embraced 7-inch tablets, they will have to compete with the increasingly large smartphones, some of which are nearly as big at 6 inches.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bitcoin world in turmoil after exchange goes dark

Google – AFP, Rob Lever (AFP), 25 February 2014

The back, hologram side, of a physical Bitcoin minted in a shop
on April 26, 2013 in Sandy, Utah (Getty/AFP/File, George Frey)

Washington — The Bitcoin community was thrown into turmoil Tuesday after the disappearance of what had been its biggest exchange, shaking confidence in the fast-growing virtual currency.

Critics said the failure of the Tokyo-based MtGox exchange and the apparent loss of some $300 million in Bitcoins highlighted flaws in the cryptocurrency, while others said it was merely a bump in the road.

The value of a Bitcoin tumbled more than $100 in early trades but then recovered to fetch $515 at 2030 GMT, according to the Winkdex Bitcoin index. The moves highlighted the extreme volatility of the currency, which surged over $1,100 last year and then fell sharply.

The closing of MtGox "is a significant setback for the Bitcoin community," said Mark Williams, a Boston University expert on risk management and financial markets who has long warned about the dangers of Bitcoin.

"This exposes its structural flaws," Williams told AFP. "It shows self-regulation doesn't work. When there is big money on the table, there is an incentive to cheat and consumers are 100 percent exposed."

- 'Self-reinforcing panic' -

Henry Farrell, a George Washington University political economist, said that, as with other currencies, Bitcoin needs to establish confidence.

"If people start to panic and think this is a sign of general problems in the Bitcoin economy, it becomes a bit like the 2009 financial crisis," he said.

"You can get a general self-reinforcing panic which sets in."

Farrell said Bitcoin is now in a "fragile situation" and needs to get through the current crisis to survive. But he does not see Bitcoin expanding beyond being a "hobby currency."

Peter Leeds, publisher of an investment newsletter, said the MtGox collapse is likely to discourage investments and prompt more efforts to regulate Bitcoin.

"The network was always at risk, but now with a sudden drop of over 20 percent, a tipping point is being approached which would derail the entire system," Leeds said.

US Senator Tom Carper, who heads a homeland security panel, said the MtGox collapse underscores the need for regulation.

"The disturbing news today from Japan is a reminder of the damage potentially ill equipped and unregulated financial actors can wreak on unsuspecting consumers," Carper said in a statement.

A user is instructed on how to scan his palm to ensure that a single
 user cannot exchange more than $1,000 in a single day day on the
 world's first bitcoin ATM at Waves Coffee House on October 29, 2013
in Vancouver, Canada (Getty/AFP/File, David Ryder)

- Weeding out 'bad actors' -

But defenders of Bitcoin expressed confidence in the virtual currency, which is based on a computer algorithm designed by one or more anonymous people in 2009.

The heads of other major Bitcoin exchanges issued a joint statement saying the collapse of MtGox was a "tragic violation of the trust of users" and "does not reflect the resilience or value of Bitcoin and the digital currency industry."

"As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out," the statement said.

"We are confident, however, that strong Bitcoin companies, led by highly competent teams and backed by credible investors, will continue to thrive, and to fulfill the promise that Bitcoin offers as the future of payment in the Internet age."

Proponents say the currency is an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer monetary value, and to avoid the risks inherent in any currency dependent on the viability of a government for its value.

And as MtGox went down, a new Bitcoin exchange was to be launched by SecondMarket Holdings, a US firm specializing in alternative investments, The New York Times reported.

Bitcoin values steadied after the exchange posted a note several hours after going offline, saying "a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users."

Some reports highlighted a line in the MtGox computer code hinting at a new owner -- "put announce for mtgox acq here."

The Coindesk website that follows the currency reported that MtGox would close for one month for "rebranding."

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who has invested in Bitcoin, said he bought more of the virtual currency when the price dropped Tuesday.

"The wonderful thing about a globally distributed financial network is that if one of the nodes goes down, it doesn't take the system down," he wrote on his blog.

"I always feel good buying when there is blood in the streets in any market. It is my favorite time to buy." 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

IT giants to protect Chinese users after Windows XP shutdown

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-02-25

The launch of Windows 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas,
Jan. 9, 2012. (Photo/CNS)

Tencent will team up with other IT giants to protect Chinese users against internet attacks after the Windows XP shutdown on April 8.

Tencent, along with Kingsoft, Sogou and other internet service providers, will give technical assistance for Windows XP users for system upgrades and defense, said Ding Ke, a senior manager at Tencent.

The companies will implement protection measures before the shutdown and the "wall" will continue during a transition period that may last for two to three years or even longer.

"The up-coming shutdown will serious affect Chinese users," said Ding, adding that more than one quarter of China's computers are running the operating system.

Microsoft announced earlier that it will stop providing technical assistance for Windows XP after April 8, and computers will still work but they might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

Related Article:


Rousseff backs EU-Brazil cable project

Deutsche Welle, 24 February 2014

Brazil and the EU plan to establish a communications network complete with undersea cable to circumvent the US National Security Agency. It's the outcome of a visit to Brussels by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.


Brazil and the EU welcomed on Monday a German proposal to create a European network to avert US surveillance. At a summit in Brussels, Rousseff said the joint project would "guarantee the neutrality" of the Internet.

Brazilian telecoms provider Telebras and Spain's IslaLink plan major shares in the cable project priced at $185 million (135 million euros). European and Brazilian pension funds would put up the remainder.

The cable would span the Atlantic Ocean, from the Portuguese capital Lisbon to Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil.

Last year, it emerged that the National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on Rousseff's email and phone communications. US President Barack Obama apologized to Merkel for surveillance of her mobile phone.

"We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don't want businesses to be spied upon," Rouseff told a news conference in the presence of top EU officials.

"We will continue to enhance data protection and global privacy standards," said President Herman Van Rompuy.

Brussels has since scrutinized EU-Us agreements on data transfers, demanding increased guarantees for the protection of data of citizens in the EU.

The EU is a major trading partner with Brazil, receiving more than 20 percent of Brazil's exports and accounting for a similar share of its imports.

Talks on a long-envisaged free-trade deal were however delayed at the summit, officials said.

ipj/dr (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

Access to one of the building's floors requires US
government clearance

Related Articles:



Samsung launches flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone

Google – AFP, David Williams (AFP), 24 February 2014

Head of the IT and Mobile and Communication Division at Samsung, JK Shin
 presents a smartphone Galaxy S5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,
on February 24, 2014 (AFP, Quique Garcia)

Barcelona — Samsung unveiled Monday its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone armed with a fingerprint scanner and a built-in heart rate sensor to defend its place as the world's industry leader.

Taking the limelight on the opening day of the world's biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain, the South Korean giant simultaneously revealed a connected bracelet for health-concerned customers.

Samsung made about 30 percent of all smartphones sold in the world last year, nearly twice the share of archrival Apple, which traditionally skips the annual World Mobile Congress.

But Samsung, which announced its new devices on the sidelines of the February 24-27 event, is nevertheless scrambling for new revenue sources as competition in mature markets intensifies.

In a struggle to stand out from the competition, including a rising challenge from China, Samsung showed off the Galaxy S5 with a light sensor on the back that gives a heart rate reading when the user touches it with his or her fingertip.

Though the case is plastic, as with earlier versions of the Galaxy series of smartphones, it is water and dust proof, and has a leathery feel on the back.

The smartphone boasts a full high definition 5.1-inch screen and, catching up with Apple, the home button doubles up as a fingerprint reader to unlock the device or manage applications.

For people familiar with the desperation of a dying smartphone battery, the phone has an extreme battery-saving mode that turns the display black-and-white and retains just six key applications to keep the device going longer on the last remnants of its charge.

Samsung Galaxy S5 (L), Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 (C) and Samsung Galaxy
Fit (R) are presented during the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
on February 23, 2014 (AFP/File, Lluis Gene)

Global smartphone sales surged 42.3-percent to 968 million units last year, according to industry research group Gartner Inc.

But the growth was powered almost entirely by developing markets, disguising a slowdown in mature markets such as Western Europe and the United States, which are the most profitable.

As a result, mobile manufacturers are showing off a series of new smart devices to try to unlock new revenue streams.

The Samsung Fit bracelet follows that trend, with a curved touch-screen display and a heart-rate sensor to help give users feedback during excercise routines.

The previous day, Samsung unveiled an updated smart watch, the Gear 2, which also has sports tracking software and a heart rate monitor, plus a camera.

Samsung was one of the first major smartphone makers to produce a smart watch when it launched the Gear last September, but that version won only a lukewarm reception from critics who said it was unfashionable and clumsy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Indonesia’s Surprising Love Affair With Social Media

Jakarta Globe, Rebecca Lake, February 24, 2014

Platforms such as twitter fuel the two-way social media phenomenon.
(The Peak Illustration/Nela Realino)

Jakarta. As one of the top five social-media markets in the world, Indonesia is quickly discovering the advantages of being a Twitter-literate nation.

It may seem quite a feat for Jakarta to be named the world’s number one “Twitter city,” considering it is the capital of a developing nation in which only a quarter of the population have access to the internet at home. But a closer look at the rapidly growing archipelago will uncover a national love affair with social media and plenty of potential.

There are a bunch of reasons for the popular adoption of social media platforms among Indonesians. One key contributor is the accessibility of mobile internet devices, mostly smartphones, which have doubled in usage over the past several years backed by increasingly affordable data plans. Meanwhile the country’s youthful demographic has seen social media assume its position as a leading activity on the internet. And like it or not, macet (traffic congestion) has become a contributing factor in the nation’s obsession with status updates and retweets. The most popular times for Indonesians to login into their virtual communities is just before and after the conventional nine-to-five work day begins, or in other words, the hours many of us could think of the 100 other places where we would rather be.

Aside from the obvious social advantages that come with the popularity of being connected online, there are many more benefits that have grown from Indonesia’s addiction with social portals such as Facebook and Twitter.

Diversity in news

A news diet restricted to mainstream media including newspapers and commercial television has long been eradicated and it’s no secret that social media has taken over. As major news companies redirect resources into their respective Twitter and Facebook platforms, so too are the small organizations whose voices were once drowned out due to their limited budgets.

“We now have new channels of information that we can use for exchanging information,” said Enda Nasution, who has been dubbed by the media as the “father of Indonesian bloggers.”

“In a way we can say that we feel more liberated. We have new media that is not controlled by companies and we can say whatever we want,” says the TED fellow, who is a respected activist and political blogger.

Interestingly, Enda highlights the somewhat dependent relationship that has emerged between old and new media. Social media, he says, has become a “nexus” for news, meaning that it is now often referenced by the mainstream media due to its immediacy and efficiency.

“Social media produces much more conversation than mainstream media,” explained Enda, adding that mainstream media is now “an amplification of what is happening on social media. That’s why if you publish something on twitter it gets around much faster.”

Boosting business

Establishing a strong social media following has now become crucial for both local and international companies who want to do business in Indonesia. The growth of business thanks to social media is an indicator of just how much Indonesians like to interact and establish a relationship with their favorite brands rather than simply engaging with one-way advertising.

Social media is, if not, more important than traditional forms of advertising in Indonesia and it is something that businesses must acknowledge, says Neneng Goenadi, the country head of Accenture consulting in Indonesia.

“It is very important for them [businesses] to ride on this wave,” she said, emphasizing the importance for social media to be a priority in every business plan.

Neneng points to the Unilever’s strategy, one that capitalized on social media by accessing a market “it otherwise would not have” through online campaigns that promote sustainability and health.

“Unilever engaged with the tech-savvy youth through social media by developing hype and events online,” she said, adding that this approach is “so damn powerful.”

With so many companies dependent on social media, investment in the industry itself is inevitable, Neneng said. Just last month, the Bakrie Group invested an undisclosed sum in the fast-growing tech platform Path, a sure sign that Indonesia is serious about the business of online media.

Bakrie Group chief executive Anindya N. Bakrie confirmed the company’s new stake on Twitter saying “We also call for Indonesians, especially young business people, to take part in the development of the sci-tech industry and global networking.”

Talking democracy

A candidate worthy of running is a one with a Facebook page — well at least where Indonesia is concerned. This year’s presidential election is no doubt heating up and those vying for the top job owe a lot to social media.

Many point to the 2013 Jakarta gubernatorial election as the turning point for social media in Indonesian politics. The populist politician, Joko Widodo, managed to garner 500,000 Twitter followers and thousands of YouTube fans to whom he promoted his values that attracted the young generation, the educated, and middle-class groups.

After beating the incumbent Fauzi Bowo to become the governor, many commentators referred to him as the first politician to truly understand the power of social media. Other leaders have not ignored Joko’s success and they are just as eager to capitalize on social media’s powerful reach, often promoting their Twitter handle alongside their campaign commitments and boasting about how many Facebook likes they’ve acquired.

But it’s a two-way street. Not only can politicians expand their platforms and promote their campaigns online, citizens can also educate themselves on elections and voice their concerns and thoughts through social media, said Andreas Harsono, the head researcher for Human Rights Watch in Indonesia.

“Social media is very important in shaping public opinion in Indonesia. Whether you like it or not,” Andreas said.

Related Article:


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dutch scientists flap to the future with 'insect' drone

Google – AFP, Jan Hennop (AFP), 23 February 2014

A view of the DelFly Explorer, the world's lightest autonomous flapping drone,
 during a demonstration at the Delft Technical University, on January 29, 2014
(AFP/File, Charles Onians)

Delft — Dutch scientists have developed the world's smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.

"This is the DelFly Explorer, the world's smallest drone with flapping wings that's able to fly around by itself and avoid obstacles," its proud developer Guido de Croon of the Delft Technical University told AFP.

Weighing just 20 grammes (less than an ounce), around the same as four sheets of printer paper, the robot dragonfly could be used in situations where much heavier quadcopters with spinning blades would be hazardous, such as flying over the audience to film a concert or sport event.

A view of the DelFly Explorer, the world's
lightest autonomous flapping drone, next to a
 F-16 army plane during a demonstration at
the Delft Technical University, on January 29,
2014 (AFP, Charles Onians)
The Explorer looks like a large dragonfly or grasshopper as it flitters about the room, using two tiny low-resolution video cameras -- reproducing the 3-D vision of human eyes -- and an on-board computer to take in its surroundings and avoid crashing into things.

And like an insect, the drone which has a wingspan of 28 centimetres (11 inches), would feel at home flying around plants.

"It can for instance also be used to fly around and detect ripe fruit in greenhouses," De Croon said, with an eye on the Netherlands' vast indoor fruit-growing business.

"Or imagine, for the first time there could be an autonomous flying fairy in a theme park," he said.

- 'Real small insects' -

Unlike other drones that use rotor blades and can weigh hundreds of times as much, the Explorer has two wings on each side that flap rapidly to create lift.

"We got our inspiration from real small insects," De Croon said.

While smaller "flapping" drones exist, such as the RoboBee developed by students at Harvard University in the United States, they are tethered for power, control and processing, and thus far from autonomous.

The Explorer has its own small lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for around nine minutes, while it "sees" with its onboard processor and a specially-developed algorithm to make instant decisions.

It has wireless analog video, gyroscopes and a barometer to calculate its height.

Different algorithms would allow it to perform different tasks, and because it is autonomous it could be sent into enclosed spaces such as concrete buildings or mine shafts, where radio control would be impossible, to search for casualties or hazards.

"The DelFly knows precisely where obstacles are located," said De Croon as the aircraft, built from composite materials including carbon fibre, fluttered towards a wall during a demonstration flight before veering elegantly away in search of another route.

Chief Developer Guido de Croon releases the DelFly Explorer, the world's lightest
 autonomous flapping drone, during a demonstration at the Delft Technical University,
on January 29, 2014 (AFP, Charles Onians)

The idea of building a flapping-winged drone began around nine years ago when a group of students at Delft Technical University's prestigious aerospace faculty first designed the DelFly I.

Over the next few years, research continued and the machine became smaller and smaller, said Sjoerd Tijmons, 28, who helped write the algorithm for the latest DelFly Explorer's "brain".

An earlier incarnation, the DelFly Micro with a wingspan of 10 centimetres, was in 2008 declared the "smallest camera equipped aircraft in the world" by the Guinness Book of Records.

But De Croon admits that humans are not quite able to produce swarms of autonomous robotic insects the size of bees or flies, mainly because of restrictions on battery life.

"Still there are some major challenges... and if I have to put a number on it, I think we are still a few decades away," he laughed.

Related Articles:



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bhutan, world's last TV holdout, now at tech vanguard: PM

Google – AFP, Patrice Novotny (AFP), 22 February  2014

Nissan Motor CEO, Carlos Ghosn (R), and Bhutanese Prime Minister, Tshering
Tobgay, unveil the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle in Thimphu, on February 21, 2014
(AFP, Dibyangshu Sarkar)

Thimphu — It was the world's last hold-out against television and is regarded by travellers as a Himalayan Shangri-La.

But Bhutan's decision to make itself the poster boy for electric transport is further proof of its willingness to embrace technology as part of its unique Gross National Happiness development model, says its prime minister.

In an interview with AFP after signing a deal with Nissan on Friday to import a fleet of battery-powered compact cars to the remote Himalayan nation, Tshering Tobgay said Bhutan was happy to be at the technological vanguard.

This file photo shows a trafffic warden
 directing traffic in the Bhutanese capital
 city of Thimphu, on October 4, 2010
(AFP/File, Ed Jones)
"Technology is not destructive. It's good and can contribute to prosperity for Bhutan," the prime minister said.

It was not always thus. The tiny kingdom was famously the last country to ever get television, finally embracing it in 1999, at a time when less than a quarter of households had electricity.

But it is rapidly shedding its reputation as a technophobe -- it now exports electricity thanks to an ambitious hydropower programme, while smart phones are a common sight, at least on the streets of the sleepy capital Thimpu.

"Internet, cellular phones, smartphones, they are ubiquitous, you can't do anything without them, now they are essential tools," said Tobgay.

"Cellular phones became a reality 10 years ago. We adopted it very well, almost everybody has a cellular phone, that's the reality.

"Similarly today we launched the Nissan Leaf... Our goal is to make the best of all options," he added.

Under the deal with Nissan, dozens of battery-powered Leafs should soon be motoring along the streets of Thimpu, helping it avoid the kind of pollution pervasive elsewhere in South Asia.

Tobgay said Bhutan would never allow its environment to become a victim of economic growth -- an important principle of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

"Growth is important but it should be balanced with other aspects of life including culture, spirituality, heritage and sustainable development," said the prime minister.

"During the development of the last 30-40 years, we placed a lot of emphasis to promote the environment, clean industries.

"We are looking to become 100 percent organic, (although) it will take some time. And we are looking to develop a zero emission goal. This formulates a narrative of Bhutan, about what Bhutan is about and where Bhutan wants to go."

Tobgay, who came to power last July after winning Bhutan's second elections, has previously voiced a degree of scepticism about GNH -- a philosophy originally espoused by a former king -- as a distraction from tackling the country's problems.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay (2nd L), watched by Nissan Motor
 CEO Carlos Ghosn (L), plugs in a receptacle to charge the Nissan Leaf electric
vehicle, in Thimphu, on February 21, 2014 (AFP, Dibyangshu Sarkar)

But in his interview, the prime minister said addressing issues such as corruption, unemployment and the environment would allow Bhutan to practice what it preaches.

- Guiding philosophy -

"GNH should guide us, this philosophy should not be compromised," he said.

"But my stance has been that rather than talking about the GNH and debate the philosophy, we have to operationalise it."

With a population of just 750,000, Bhutan is in many ways a study in contrasts with its giant neighbours India and China, with their billion-plus populations and mega-cities.

Despite its stunning scenery, few tourists can afford to pay the $250 daily rate to visit the "Land of the Thunder Dragon".

But its abundant waterfalls and crystal-clear rivers have allowed Bhutan to become a significant player in the hydropower sector.

Bhutan now operates four hydroelectric plants which between them have almost 1,500 megawatt capacity -- at peak output roughly equivalent to a large nuclear power station -- and the surplus is sold onto India.

Tobgay said Bhutan would struggle to meet its capacity target of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 through the building of 10 new plants.

But he said there should be no doubting Bhutan's commitment to a zero emission target which would involve other renewable energies.

"We are looking also at solar panels, windmills, bio gas," he said.

"The important point is to make progress towards achieving our goal which is to harvest renewable energy and to use that renewable energy to power our own country and to power the energy needs of our neighbours with clean energy."

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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.  ….”