The more you hear about Monsanto the more it looks like it is being run by Satan himself. What an evil entity. Just listen to Abby Martin.
“By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment. Any scientist or politician that tells you these GMOs are safe is either stupid or lying.”
– David Suziki, geneticist, environmentalist (source 1)
Jun 10, 2016
Few corporations in the world are as loathed—and as sinister—as Monsanto. But the threat it poses to people and planet could be reaching new heights, as the World Health Organization has recently upgraded Monsanto’s main product as carcinogenic to humans. With protests against the agrochemical giant held in over 40 countries in May, learn why the global movement against Monsanto is of critical importance to our future.
In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin issues a scathing expose on the corporate polluter, chronicling it’s rise to power, the collusion of its crimes by the US government, and highlighting the serious danger it puts us in today.
I know it’s not funny for those who got robbed, but you have to admit this would make a great funny movie of the week.
All jokes aside, I’ll say that with the price of food rising up exponentially, pretty soon people will be stealing potatoes and onions in order to survive. Every single time I visit the grocery I notice that just about all foods get more expensive, pennies at a time. Something will break.
Someone took $1.5 million worth of moose, elk and deer antlers from a taxidermy shop in Ontario, days after 20,000 litres of maple syrup went missing.
Manitoba comedian Ryan McMahon suggested Mennonite gangsters might be on the loose in Canada earlier this week, and that was before thieves took off with millions of dollars worth of antlers and several thousand litres of maple syrup.
At 2 AM on Friday, Ontario Provincial Police responded to a call at a taxidermy shop in Caledon, Ontario, where $1.5 million worth of elk, moose and deer antlers went missing. Whoever needed 69 rustic wall hangings so desperately also boosted a pickup truck, two trailers, and two ATVs. (I guess that rules out the Mennonite theory). Then they abandoned the trailer 10 kilometres down the road and took off with the ATVs.
This would have been enough to set off a cascade of eyeroll-inducing “meanwhile in Canada” headlines, except that Quebec just had another maple syrup heist earlier this week. Thieves broke into a warehouse near Montreal’s Trudeau airport and took a whole shipping container full of one-litre syrup bottles, according to the CBC. That’s at a value of $150,000, which admittedly doesn’t compare to the $18 million maple syrup heist that made international headlines back in 2012.
If you’re wondering what criminal use a bunch of dried-out animal parts and sugar sap could possibly have, you’re not alone. The same could be asked of a series of cucumber raids in Manitoba and several bee heists across Ontario and Quebec. Depending on your perspective, take it as a sign Canada’s criminal element is diversifying, or that our basic agriculture infrastructure is ready for an apocalyptic crumble.
So far all suspects, antlers, hives etc. remain at large.
(UR) Syria — According to state-run Chinese news outlet Xinhua, the Chinese military — citing remarks made by a high-ranking military official during a rare trip to Damascus — is seeking closer ties with war-torn Syria, offering to supply humanitarian aid and even train Syrian military personnel.
On Tuesday, the Director of the Office for Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, flew to Damascus to have discussions with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua says. Director Guan, speaking with Xinhua, noted historical ties between the two countries and highlighted the positive role China has played in seeking a resolution to the fighting in Syria.
Reuterspoints out that Xinhua, paraphrasing Guan’s words, states: “China’s and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation.”
China depends on the Middle East for oil imports, but in the past has tended to leave diplomacy to member nations of the U.N. Security Council — chiefly, the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia. However, China has inserted itself more deeply of late.
“But China has been trying to get more involved, including sending envoys to help push for a diplomatic resolution to the violence there and hosting Syrian government and opposition figures.”
The news comes as Syrian government forces, backed by Russian airpower, have established a siege around Aleppo, the last remaining enemy stronghold. Syrian and Russian forces have established humanitarian corridors for which civilians and even rebel fighters can escape — and maintains daily ceasefires for them to do this. Given these developments, it appears the last stand of the rebels may be imminent.
“All evidence points to the fact that the Syrian government is attempting to give the rebels within Aleppo a chance to surrender without further bloodshed. The rebels, however, appear steadfast. It was recently reported that 7,000 fighters are headed toward Aleppo from the southwest.”
Interestingly — and, to be sure, concerningly — Xinhua noted that while Director Guan was in Damascus on Tuesday, he met with a Russian general; though the agency provided no further comment on the matter.
In April, China sent a special envoy to Syria in order to work toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The man sent to participate in the talks had previously “praised Russia’s military role in the war, and said the international community should work harder together to defeat terrorism in the region,”according to Reuters.
The prospect of Chinese involvement in Syria could prove troublesome to that very “international community.”While, thus far, China hasn’t demonstrated a desire to involve itself in the fighting directly, its presence will almost certainly escalate tensions between itself and the United States.
Remember, the U.S. and China are on the verge of all-out naval warfare in the South China Sea, with neither side willing to give an inch. Recall also that U.S.-led NATO is in Eastern Europe, along the border with Russia, conducting what many have called provocations in an attempt to elicit a response from the Russian military.
Now, with China’s presence in Syria — and on the side of Russian and Syrian forces, no less — the last remaining global superpower has injected itself in the most hotly-contested military conflict on the planet.
“Which means that at this moment, every major world superpower is officially involved in the Syrian war, which has on various occasions been aptly called a powderkeg for what may be the next global military conflict — to be sure, all required players are now officially involved.”
Plus, scientists say there’s a “99 percent chance of a new annual record in 2016”
July 2016 was “the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century,” according to the U.K.-based Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS). Hot enough to fry an egg, they say. (Photo: Jen/cc/flickr)
On Monday it was confirmed that the Earth has broken an ominous climate milestone amid a wave of troubling records: July 2016 was the hottest recorded month—ever.
According to new NASA data, the global mean surface temperatures last month were 0.84° Celsius (1.51° Fahrenheit) above average and was the warmest July in their data set, which dates back to 1880.
This marks the 10th straight month to set a new monthly warming record, based on NASA’s analysis. “Every month so far this year has been record hot,” reportedClimate Central‘s Andrea Thompson. “In NASA’s data, that streak goes back to October 2015, which was the first month in its data set that was more than 1C hotter than average.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases its monthly temperature report on Wednesday and it is likely theirs will reflect a 15-month streak of record-shattering heat. (Some previous reporting on monthly records here, here, here, and here.)
What’s more, because July is typically the hottest month of the year, it stands that July 2016 was “the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century,” according to the U.K.-based Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS), which last week published similar temperature results.
Global temperature usually peaks in July, when the land masses of the northern hemisphere are on average at their warmest. It varies by more than 3° C over the course of each year. The largest recent deviation from this annual cycle occurred in February this year, but July was still more than 0.5° C warmer than the 1981-2010 average for the month. This made July 2016 the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century.
“These record breaking extremes are the result of a cocktail of weather phenomenon and human activity,” said CCCS head Jean-Noël Thépaut. “There are higher than average temperatures over the vast majority of land and sea masses.”
Referencing the wildfires, heat-waves, marine “hot blobs,” and other extreme weather events currently ravaging the planet and its inhabitants, Thépaut adds: “We’re already seeing the human cost of hotter conditions.”
The year 2015 was declared the hottest on record and scientists have said that 2016 will likely be even hotter. Announcing NASA’s July data, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt had this to say about the likelihood of another record-smashing year:
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, Nottingham Trent University
The Olympics are now in full swing, with more than 10,500 athletes from 205 different countries in Rio de Janeiro for the summer games. At this elite level the winning margins are increasingly narrow – and when all else is equal the difference between gold and silver may come down to something as seemingly simple as what an athlete eats. But of course, what’s on the menu is far from simple, and in the athletes village in Rio a team of 2,500 will be working around the clock to serve 60,000 meals a day.
At this level, elite athletes are likely to take a personalised approach to their nutrition – with their diets meticulously planned, tested, and often underpinned by the latest research – which has exploded over the past few years and continues to grow at a rapid rate.
But the meticulous approach to food and diet taken by modern day Olympians is in stark contrast to some of the earliest ancient Greek athletes. Take Charmis, the Spartan winner of the Olympic short sprint in 668BC, who is reported to have eaten a special diet of dried figs throughout the games. While other typical early Olympians lived sparingly on barley bread and cheese.
The ancient Greek trainer Pythagoras – not to be confused with the famous Greek philosopher and mathematician – then introduced the concept of eating meat into the diets of athletes in the middle of the fifth century. And from there athletes didn’t look back and one of the first to incorporate meat into his training diet was middle distance runner Dromeus of Stymhalos. He had two victories in the dolichos (long-foot race) at both Olympia and the Pythian Games, three at Isthmian, and five victories at the Nemian games – which led to meat being seriously considered as a nutritional strategy.
Modern methods of eating
The first detailed recording of dietary intakes during the modern Olympic games didn’t appear until the 1936 Berlin Games. Here, a study of athletes’ diets found that many would dine on two steaks a meal, and sometimes poultry – with nearly half a kilogram of meat eaten daily – while pre-event meals consisted of three steaks, eggs and meat extract.
The study also found that other athletes would stress the importance of high carbohydrate intake with the Brits consuming large quantities of porridge and the Italians pasta. This was further supported with reports that some athletes would eat diets so high in carbohydrate, that they consumed 6,700-7,300 calories a day. Perhaps this was the first indication of sport and event-specific nutrition, but sadly neither of the studies correlated food intake with sporting event or performance outcomes.
It is now known of course, that one of the most significant ways to enhance endurance performance – such as marathon running – is indeed by eating carbohydrate before a race. This is because during exercise, the body’s carbohydrate stores can be diminished, and carbohydrates are important to athletes because they can help to improve endurance performance for events of 60 to 90 minutes. So because of this, elite endurance athletes are now often advised to eat carbohydrates 24 to 36 hours before competition. For a 65kg athlete this would work out at 650 grams a day, and would be spread across multiple meals from a variety of carbohydrate sources – such as bread, potatoes, rice or pasta.
For modern athletes, events with higher exercise intensities and short durations – such as track sprint cycling – can also be enhanced by nutritional strategy. Athletes will often take the naturally occurring amino acid beta-alanine – as a nutritional supplement. This is because it can enhance high-intensity exercise by balancing the muscle pH which naturally drops during this type of exercise. Put simply, a drop in muscle pH is a major contributor to muscle fatigue. And by supplementing with beta-alanine it stops this fatigue from happening so quickly.
Beetroot juice has also received substantial recent interest due to its possible performance enhancing effects. Drinking it both before – usually up to 2.5 hours – and after (more than six days) may improve exercise capacity by decreasing the “oxygen cost” – which is basically the amount of oxygen used in exercise. So by drinking beetroot juice an athlete can become more economical in their performance.
Specific performance nutrition can also help to prevent illness by providing the correct amount of energy and macronutrients to match the energy needs of training, and to prevent fatigue. Recent research also suggests that probiotic and prebiotics might also be beneficial to athletes because they can help to enhance the immune system – reducing the number of upper respiratory tract infections during a winter period of training and competition – when these types of infections are more prevalent.
But in the pursuit of Olympic glory ultimately nutrition is just one component in the arsenal that athletes have. Since ancient Greece, food has been seen as integral to performance, and with a growing body of evidence showing that performance nutrition can be the difference between places on the podium, it makes sense for athletes to carefully consider what they are putting into their bodies. Because after all, the saying goes, you are what you eat – and it seems this couldn’t be more true for our world class medal winners.
While the benefits of exercises are known to everyone, many tend to give the morning fitness regime a miss due to the heavy work schedule or late-nights. However, morning workouts have more benefits than any other workout during the day — from controlling the weight, enhancing the mood and keeping you fit and healthy. Did you know it also helps you find your creative gene?
Whether it is in just writing an article, painting a canvas or churning out ideas for your office meeting; physical activity activates the creative juices and once they start flowing, there is nothing to stop you. Early mornings are one of the best times to workout. Though it may seem tough at first, once you start, you’ll feel exhilarated. Getting done with your workout first thing in the morning means you are less likely to use job or family obligations as an excuse to skip it.
Working out bright and early boosts metabolism and gives additional energy, making one more productive throughout the day.
You start to look at things positively and feel refreshed and energised to start a new day at the end of a morning workout. To get that much-needed creative boost, set up a regular exercise schedule and see the difference
Once you take a decision to start, stick to it and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Fix the time and duration, so that you can schedule your day accordingly.
To start off with, pick a simple outdoor exercise, like taking a walk, jogging, swimming which will allow your mind to wander as you work out.
Avoid high-intensity training which involves sports since it will take up too much of your physical and mental strength.
Schedule your workout to coincide with the sun rising. It will help make your morning workout fulfilling, psychologically as well as physically.
When you are done, take some time to relax in the natural surroundings.
Give yourself a reward. Have a special treat planned upon your return from your workout session like a cup of your favourite coffee or tea. After all, nothing motivates like rewards.
Carry a notepad and pen or a tape recorder to keep a track of the ideas that you might have right after.
When you are back home, take a quick shower, have a healthy breakfast and polish your notes.
Change is the name of the game. Ensure that your workout is a little different every morning. Vary your walking route or the pace of your exercise. Don’t let boredom be an option.
While there are benefits of exercising alone, if you have to brainstorm on a project, take your partner along too.
Exercise with people you know might do you good and help you generate a feeling of happiness all around.
The United States installation of THAAD missile system in South Korea turned out to be the final nail to the coffin of the US-NATO world hegemony. It provided the pretext for a more aggressive China-Russia reaction to the US military provocations in the region.
Contrary to Western media, the THAAD installation in South Korea is not aimed at Pyongyang, but on China and the South Koreans are shaving their heads in protest.
Russia-China Full Military Cooperation vs. NATO Formally Announced
The BRICS are not hiding their irritation over NATO warmongers anymore, they are now making their military intentions known, globally. As if we don’t know this already, but no less than Chinese President Xi jinping announced the formal military cooperation with Russia to create a new Russia-China World Order against the Khazarian NATO.
Chinese President XI Jinping in his speech on Friday the 1st of July, noted the strategic need for an alliance between Russia and China, which he believes will determine the future world order.
“The world is on the brink of radical changes. We see how the EU is gradually crumbling and the US economy is collapsing. This will end in a new world order. So, in 10 years we will have a new world order unlike anything before in which the key will be the Union of Russia and China,” said XI.
In his opinion the relations of Russia and China should not be confined to the economic relations, these countries should create an alternative military alliance.
“We are now witnessing the aggressive actions by the United States against Russia and China. I believe that Russia and China may form an alliance before which NATO will be powerless and it will put the end to the imperialist aspirations of the West,” he said.
The world order should be decided not by one country or a few, but by broad international agreement, said Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Friday.
“It’s for the people of all countries to decide through consultations what international order and global governance systems can benefit the world and people of all nations,” Xi said here at a rally marking the Party’s 95th founding anniversary.
Xi said China will actively participate in the building of global governance system and strive to contribute Chinese wisdom to the improvement of global governance.
“China will work with people of all countries to push the world order and global governance system toward a more just and reasonable direction,” he said.
China advocates that people of all countries join together to change pressure into power, risks into opportunities, and replace confrontation with cooperation and monopolies with win-win deals, said Xi.
China will always follow a path of peaceful development and an opening up policy featuring mutual benefit and win-win deals, he added.
The purpose of China’s foreign policy is safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, according to Xi.
“China is willing to expand common interests with other countries, build a new type of international relations with cooperation and mutual benefit as its core values,” said Xi.
The president noted China’s development of a more comprehensive model of international cooperation, such as the “Belt and Road” initiatives.
“We are not growing our sphere of influence, but supporting mutual development of all countries. We are not building our backyard garden, but a public garden for all countries,” he claimed.
“China advocates a community of common destiny of mankind, and opposes the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game. China holds that regardless of size, strength and wealth, all countries are equal, and all peoples have the right to choose their own development paths,” said Xi.
Yue Gang, a retired colonel, said the statements signaled the countries’ ambition in boosting their positions in the world order. “China used to play the supporting role in cooperation with the US… It is now joining hands with Russia in playing a more important role in global governance,” he said.
This is the first time that China openly acknowledged the need for Russian-Chinese full military cooperation, although there were already covert military cooperation in the recent past especially with regards to keeping the whole Eurasian continent under control.
This is just the culmination of the massive US-NATO defeat in Turkey and the West Philippine Sea last week, whereby their plans of starting regional wars in those parts of the world were muted down by non-cooperation.
Just as Erdogan’s grip on Turkey was hanging on the balance, he masterfully switched side towards Russia at a perfect time with an official apology for his country’s downing of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane last year, paving the way for Vladimir Putin to resume his suspended geopolitical engagement with the NATO member.
What sealed the fate of NATO in the region was when the Russian intelligence intercepted the plan to oust Erdogan weeks after the official apology through a military coup directed right from NATO airbase inside Turkey. This critical information enabled Erdogan to defeat the coup even before its hasty execution. giving way for a massive purge of 5th Columnists in the country.
What is more interesting is that, in the immediate aftermath of the coup, some of the NATO buildings inside its airbase in Turkey were burned down by forces loyal to the country, and the entire airbase is in a virtual lockdown right thereafter.
There’s of course a valid concern that Erdogan may be overplaying his card at home at this moment, but Vladimir Putin is imposing preconditions about how exactly the Russia-Turkey partnership be resumed starting from the closing down of Turkey’s border with Syria, purposely to cutoff the Daesh Islamic State supply lines to pressure the terrorists to surrender, or perish in Aleppo and in Raqqa.
NATO responded with an attempt to revive the Ukraine-Crimea card, but ended up in futility.
But the problem for the US-NATO warmongers, on top of the aforementioned debacles, is that both Japan and the Philippines are not fully cooperating with the former’s military intentions in the Southeast Asia region. This put China and Russia at a very distinct advantage, and they are not shy of using this edge over the US, not anymore.
The preliminary talks about the peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea / South China Sea issue started in Hong Kong with smiles between the two parties.
Former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos met with his Chinese friends representing the government of China to schedule a formal talk about how the two countries could cooperate bilaterally in the region without resorting to aggressive provocations which nobody wins but the outsiders.
In order to foster and “build trust and confidence and to reduce tensions and to pave the way for overall cooperation for the benefit of both their peoples and the region,” they explored possible human and ecology options, such as:
Encouraging marine preservation;
Avoiding tension and promoting fishing cooperation;
Anti-drug and anti-smuggling cooperation;
Anti-crime and anti-corruption cooperation;
Improving tourism opportunities;
Encouraging trade and investment facilitation, and;
Encouraging think tank exchanges on relevant issues of mutual concern and interest;
Both China and the Philippines underscored the importance of building trust for their long term beneficial relationship. Both countries value their long history of friendship as neighbors and are raising the prospect of further cooperation for the sake of future generations.
Earlier, China welcomed the appointment of Fidel Ramos as the Philippine special envoy to deal with the West Philippine Sea issue. Being a WestPointer himself and a former Carlyle Group consultant, Ramos should know by now his geopolitics especially with the not-so-good outcome of his participation to the CIA Yellow revolution in 1986 that toppled the dictator Marcos.
The first thing that the CIA’s unwitting puppet Cory Aquino did was to mothballed the just completed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, and put all government owned corporations into private hands, both classic economic hitman strategies to forcibly put the country in shackles of economic slavery in the decades to come.
After the removal of Marcos, the country remain an underdeveloped agricultural islands, plundered for their natural resources, to continue feeding the Khazarian controlled Japanese industrial infrastructure, in turn to continue churning out cheap, high quality products, to subsidize Western economies.
In short, the economic development of the West is due in part to a well-laid out geo-economic infrastructure which, at its very foundation, is a quicksand combination of Asian and African sweatshops, scorching desert hell holes and highly automated mechanized assembly lines, all under the full control of the Khazarian financial and military mafia who impose no limits to their own caprices.
Realizing their enormous economic, manpower and military capabilities, the BRICS countries are no longer passively accepting this one-sided state of global affairs. They are rising up, and rightfully so.
With Chinese president Xi Jinping’s latest Russia-China led World Order pronouncements, they are now officially turning over the present corrosive Khazarian Babylonian fiat system on its head, and are both ready to take the ongoing massive global redevelopment dubbed as “One Belt, One Road” to the next level with a combined military force that can effectively dwarf any other military organizations before it.
Duterte has also leaked Japan’s intention to peacefully engage China in the region, during the recent state visit of Japanese foreign minister in the Philippines.
The three-some Japan, Turkey and Philippine non-cooperation to US-NATO hegemony is making sure no more war outside the West will ever be fought in the foreseeable future.
This does not mean, however, that the Khazarians could not launch any war of whatever form against their own people in the West, because they are already doing the attacks on their healthcare and food systems, in conjunction with the creation of massive debts across the entire spectrum of their own economy in the last five decades, or so, at the very least.
The continued denial and inaction of the victims, in spite of the massively devastating leaks against their leaders being spoon fed to them through the Wikileaks infrastructure, are testing their collective will whether they truly deserve their imagined freedoms [what’s left of them anyway], or not.
Tomorrow I will turn 90 years old. I was born in a territory called Birán, in the eastern region of Cuba. It’s known by that name, although it has never appeared on a map. Given its good conduct it was known for close friends and, of course, a stronghold of political representatives and inspectors who involved in any commercial or productive activity typical of the neocolonized countries of the world.
On one occasion I accompanied my father to Pinares de Mayarí. I was eight or nine years old. How he enjoyed talking when he left the house in Birán! There he was the proprietor of the land where sugar cane, pasture and other agricultural crops were planted. But in Pinares de Mayarí he was not a proprietor, but a leaseholder, like many Spaniards, who were the owners of a continent under the rights granted by a papal bull, of whose existence none of the peoples and human beings of this continent were aware. The transmitted knowledge was already largely treasures of humanity.
The altitude rises to approximately 500 meters, with inclined, rocky slopes, where the vegetation is scarce and at times hostile. Trees and rocks obstruct transit; suddenly, at a certain height, a vast plateau begins which I estimate extends over approximately 200 square kilometers, with rich deposits of nickel, chromium, manganese and other minerals of great economic value. From that plateau dozens of trucks of pines of great size and quality were extracted daily.
Note that I have not mentioned the gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, copper, tin, and others that at the same time have become symbols of the economic values that human society, in its present stage of development, requires.
A few years before the triumph of the Revolution my father died. Beforehand, he suffered a lot.
Of his three sons, the second and third were absent and distant. In revolutionary activities both fulfilled their duty. I had said that I knew who could replace me if the adversary was successful in its elimination plans. I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the presidents of the United States.
On January 27, 1953, after the treacherous coup by Batista in 1952, a page of the history of our Revolution was written: university students and youth organizations, alongside the people, carried out the first March of the Torches to commemorate the centenary of the birth of José Martí.
I had already reached the conviction that no organization was prepared for the fight we were organizing. There was complete disorientation from the political parties that mobilized the masses of citizens, from the left to the right and the center, sickened by the politicking that reigned in the country.
At the age of 6 a teacher full of ambitions, who taught in the small public school of Birán, convinced my family that I should travel to Santiago de Cuba to accompany my older sister who would enter a highly prestigious convent school. Including me was a skill of that very teacher from the little school in Birán. She, splendidly treated in the house in Birán, where she ate at the same table with the family, was convinced of the necessity of my presence. Certainly, I was in better health than my brother Ramón – who passed away in recent months – and for a long time was a classmate. I do not want to be extensive, only that the years of that period of hunger were very tough for the majority of the population.
I was sent, after three years, to the Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Cuba, where I was enrolled in the first grade. Almost three years past without them ever taking me to the cinema.
Thus began my life. Maybe I will write, if I have time, about this. Excuse me for not having done so before now, it’s just I have ideas of what a child can and should be taught. I believe that a lack of education is the greatest harm that can be done.
Humankind today faces the greatest risk of its history. Specialists in these areas can do the most for the inhabitants of this planet, whose number rose, from one billion at the end of 1800, to seven billion at the beginning of 2016. How many will our planet have within a few years?
The brightest scientists, who now number several thousand, are those who can answer this question and many others of great consequence.
I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I will transmit to the militants of our Party and relevant organizations.
Modern technical means have allowed for scrutiny of the universe. Great powers such as China and Russia can not be subject to threats to impose the use of nuclear weapons. They are peoples of great courage and intelligence. I believe that the speech by the President of the United States when he visited Japan lacked stature, and it lacked an apology for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, in spite of the fact that they knew the effects of the bomb. The attack on Nagasaki was equally criminal, a city that the masters of life and death chose at random. It is for that reason that we must hammer on about the necessity of preserving peace, and that no power has the right to kill millions of human beings.
PhD Researcher in Human Robot Interaction, University of Hertfordshire
What would your ideal robot be like? One that can change nappies and tell bedtime stories to your child? Perhaps you’d prefer a butler that can polish silver and mix the perfect cocktail? Or maybe you’d prefer a companion that just happened to be a robot? Certainly, some see robots as a hypothetical future replacement for human carers. But a question roboticists are asking is: how human should these future robot companions be?
A companion robot is one that is capable of providing useful assistance in a socially acceptable manner. This means that a robot companion’s first goal is to assist humans. Robot companions are mainly developed to help people with special needs such as older people, autistic children or the disabled. They usually aim to help in a specific environment: a house, a care home or a hospital.
At the beginning of the 20th century, one of the first pieces of technology designed to help in a household environment was the vacuum cleaner. Since then, technology has transformed the home. Nowadays, we even have a robot that can cook. The chef robot was developed by Moley Robotics, a start-up company that won the 2015 Asia Consumer Electronics Show. The robot is said to be able to cook 2,000 different meals.
Pepper, the latest robot from Aldebaran Robotics, is a good example of a humanoid robot companion. It can provide assistance in making choices, detect human facial expressions and communicate with people. Pepper can adapt its behaviour depending on its perception of a person’s mood, and in this sense we can say that Pepper cares for people. At the moment, only research institutes and Japanese residents can acquire a Pepper robot. The robot costs around £8,710 for a Japanese customer.
Companion robots can take the form of pets, too. Paro is a robotic seal developed to provide comfort to old people. And rather than taking care of you, this robot has to be taken care of. It is how Paro provides emotional support.
Sometimes people get attached to robots that are not actually made for companionship. Take Roomba, for example, the intelligent vacuum cleaner. In their studies, Ja-Young Sung and colleagues from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that people wanted to become tidier in order to allow the vacuum cleaner to run smoothly.
Although many of these robots show some form of initiative and encourage people to interact with them, many are responsive rather than active – in other words, the robot waits for a human request before acting.
Although the popular and controversial Turing test is used in AI to measure whether a machine is as intelligent as a human, it is a very different thing when it comes to robots, since robots are also expected to act intelligently. There is not yet a standardised test to determinate how human a robot is. It may come in the near future. However, all robotic researchers seem to agree that the robot would have to be able to show some social awareness and personality, and be capable of understanding and recognising people’s speech and expressions.
But do we want robots to have more personality and to be able to take more initiative? Ultimately, to act more like us? Some may argue, yes. If intelligent vacuum cleaners were able to differentiate a sleeping human from objects, for example, at least one unfortunate lady in South Korea wouldn’t have had her hair “eaten” by her new domestic appliance.
But others argue that it is dangerous to give robots too much intelligence. And would it allow them to answer back? We are still at the beginning of research regarding the potential consequences this might have. Indeed, the scientific community is still debating whether a robot can ever have feelings or be self-conscious. Although AI has been able to perform certain tasks extremely skillfully, for example Alpha Go, the community is still a long way from developing an AI which closely resembles the human mind.
At present, robot companions are either focused on companionship or on task-execution. Jibo, for example, is a social robot that can talk, order food, remind you of things, or take pictures, while Roomba is an intelligent, but ultimately functional, vacuum cleaner.
Who is in charge?
But it’s about striking the right balance, depending on the job at hand and the person it is working for. Our most recent study, Who is in charge? Sense of control and Robot anxiety in Human Robot Interaction, showed that the more controlling and anxious about robots a person is, the more initiative they expect the robot to show and the more willing they are to delegate tasks to it. The research focused specifically on what level of initiative people preferred their robot companion to have when executing a cleaning task.
Participants could choose between manually turning on the cleaning robot themselves, having their robot companion turn on the cleaning robot remotely when instructed, or having the robot companion turn on the cleaning robot when it noticed that cleaning needed to be done. It was found that most people wanted their robot companion to execute the task without being asked.
This paradoxical result may be explained by the fact that people are now more used to technology – from computers and smartphones to smartwatches and intelligent home appliances – acting semi-autonomously. Smart companion robots are just the next step in the long evolution of our relationship with technology.
In the future, it is likely that we will see more domestic robot companions that can be customised to people’s individual preferences. And we will be able to shop for them as we now shop for vacuum cleaners and phones. Ultimately, it seems, there will be a robot for everyone.
Today, smartphones are everywhere – even our children use wireless technology. Yet, most caring parents don’t seem to be worried about the dangers of cell phones. Unfortunately, new studies are definitively linking cell phone radiation to health issues in children and the unborn babies carried by pregnant women.
A pediatric conference held at the Baltimore Convention Center provided a forum for health experts to discuss the findings. Yale and Harvard scientists and doctors were particularly vocal about potentially harmful cell phone radiation to the brain development of unborn children. A correlation was found between cell phone use during pregnancy and behavioral problems manifesting in the children as they develop.
Cell phone radiation exposure linked to cognitive impairment and cancer
Research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed that pregnant mice exposed to cell phones regularly had babies that tended to have memory issues and hyperactivity. Dr. Martha Herbert of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University found links between autism and the electromagnetic field of wireless internet. Wireless was found to disturb the brain’s calcium signaling and information flow, causing children to become agitated.
Cell phone radiation exposure has been linked to many types of cancer, including breast and brain cancer. A U.S. National Toxicology Program study found a strong correlation between cell phone use and brain and heart tumors. In fact, children’s brains absorb up to 10 times as much cell phone radiation from wireless technology as adults due to their thinner craniums, putting them at higher risk for impairment and brain cancer.
The younger the child, the higher the risk
The average adult checks their cell phone dozens of times a day, in some cases over 100 times. The brains of infants and young children are extremely vulnerable to cell phone radiation, whether from in the womb or near the parent checking their phone.
Therefore, it is crucial for pregnant women to keep their cell phones away from their bellies, especially near the end of their term. Ideally, a hands-free device should be used, with the phone kept as far away as possible. Young children should also be limited in terms of their use of cell phones, tablets and any other devices linked with wireless technology.
The U.S lags behind many other countries in terms of researching the hazards of wireless technology and cell phone radiation. The Environmental Health Trust is currently petitioning wireless providers and cell phone manufacturers to assist in funding research about prevention and treatment of cell phone radiation exposure.
Vancouver police have become the first Canadian police force to admit to using a controversial cellphone monitoring tool sometimes known as a Stingray.
Amidst mounting pressure from civil liberties groups, the Vancouver Police have confirmed that they have used a cell site simulator, popularly known as a “stingray,” on at least one occasion. The admission is the first of its kind by a municipal police force in Canada.
The revelation came after a year-long push by a coalition of civil rights organisations and Vancouver’s Pivot Legal Society. In a recent letter to police, the groups asked Vancouver police two pointed questions: whether police had used stingray and if they would do so again.
“And they responded with yes and yes,” said Micheal Vonn of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, who posted the answer on the organisation’s blog earlier this week.Vancouver police confirmed to the Guardian that the device had been used in 2007 as an investigative tool in a suspected abduction that is now considered a possible homicide.
So what is a stingray?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes stingrays as “a brand name of an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) Catcher targeted and sold to law enforcement. A Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower – to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not – and tricks your phone into connecting to it.” As a result, whoever is in possession of the Stingray can figure out who, when, and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations.Both the Harris Corp. who manufacture the stingrays and the Federal Bureau of Investigations require police to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA) related to the use of the devices. Through these NDAs local police departments have become subordinate to Harris, and even in court cases in front of a judge, are not allowed to speak on the details of their arrangements. This has created a dangerous precedent which allows law enforcement on the local, state, and federal level to operate the devices with impunity. Americans (and Canadians) remain largely ignorant to the fact that numerous agencies are gathering their private information without a warrant.
The Vancouver police allege that they do not own a stingray, but simply requested assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP approved the request based on “exigent circumstances.” The Vancouver police claim they did not operate the device and that it was only used in an attempt to locate a specific cellphone owned by a person who was reported missing.
However, even if that is true, because of the way the device works, even if the police were only searching for one cellphone they would have inadvertently gathered data from dozens if not hundreds of other phones in the area. What exactly happens to that mistakenly gathered data? No one knows and the police are not telling.
The process of obtaining the data on the stingrays was not easy. For over a year civil liberties groups battled with the police’s privacy commissioner who refused to comply with the request for data about the devices. Initially, Vancouver police claimed they did not have the device and never used one. However, as the Guardian reported, a testimony from one officer discusses personally using stingrays in 30 different cases and on 50 different suspects. Another officer said the RCMP has a large warehouse in an unknown location where the authorities test and develop stingray technology.
Thankfully, the public is slowly becoming aware of the devices and beginning to fight back. In the U.S., Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed legislation which creates new limits on how law enforcement can use surveillance devices known as cell site simulators, or “stingrays.” According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the new law will prohibit the use of stingrays except to locate or track the location of a communications device or to identify a communications device.
What do you think? Do the people of Canada have any reason to trust the authorities when they promise they have only used the devices one time?
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone