April 9th • 3h 6m
Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.
Elon / Twitter
The Age of free apps and services is ending - Twitter leads the way
Promoting competing services that have ‘notes’ or twitter like functions
Free algo promotion
No more free 'audience building"
Blame Elon for your own shortsightedness and falling for the con of ‘free’ and No, you didn't help twitter build their user-base, you ARE the product!
The dumb reason Twitter won’t allow retweeting tweets linking to Substack | Ars Technica
Elon Replying to
1. Substack links were never blocked. Matt’s statement is false.
2. Substack was trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone, so their IP address is obviously untrusted.
3. Turns out Matt is/was an employee of Substack.
Perhaps Twitter is already a FedNow partner?
Leaked Docs / False Flag? / RESTRICT Act
Social Media Crackdown coming due to 'leaks'
US resumes biolabs program in Ukraine – Russian MOD — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Nashville Shooter Manifesto Page 1
Received from anonymous Law Enforcement Officer, no guarantee this is authentic, but it is doing the rounds in LEO circles
USD CBDC BTC FTX
Luongo: Davos Runs Into The OPEC+ Buzzsaw | ZeroHedge
ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Banks Consider Dropping US Dollar, Euro and Yen, Indonesia Calls for Phasing Out Visa and Mastercard
Mandates & Boosters
Covid jabs will be given to vulnerable BABIES: Health chiefs recommend two Pfizer doses | Daily Mail Online
Lurpak security shock: TikTok video stuns shoppers after nets placed over tubs of butter | UK News | Sky News
USPS BOTG mail in election thoughts
It seems that the PO is indeed being dismantled from the inside. I feel they want an Amazon like service, no stable long time careers requiring retirement funds, TSPs and good health insurance but rather people that come and go. I also feel like they are keeping things alive long enough to get through the next mail-in Presidential Election before pulling the pin all together, but that’s just my humble opinion.
Just wanted to offer some more insight on what’s happening with the USPS. I am a postal carrier (Regular) in Southern California.
Needless to say the last few years have been devastating. 36-year regulars saying they have never seen it this bad. Top down dictation with no Union representation in sight. We have been mandated to work all of our days off (except for Sunday) for almost 2 years now. We do our route and then are mandated a ‘swing’ or part of another route to cover. The most has been 1/2 of another route.
Our longest walking route is 16 miles which new employees are placed on working 13 days straight before a day off including Amazon parcel delivery on Sundays, so as you can imagine they don’t keep anyone new for long. It costs about $3,000 to train a new person, for 2 years we could not keep anyone and hired/fired around 80 people, most who could have been fine carriers. Our retention rate was an embarrassing 20% before Covid, I can’t imagine what it is now. They have seen the problems, we have offered the solutions yet they have not rectified it along with other obviosities.
Many regulars have had to seek medical restrictions to help save their health and well-being, to have time with their families seeing that there is no change and no actual Union help. (Our union rep has visited twice in the last 3 years. We all signed a petition to send to the union when one 25 year Regular was told if she didn’t like our circumstance she could resign) Seems like another case of regulatory capture IMO.
All routes nation-wide were “re-inspected” and merged into other routes beginning 2019/2020 making them much longer to cut down on the cost of open routes, however this is counter intuitive seeing that cities are growing not shrinking. This has caused later nights, delays and undelivered mail for the day if not completed by certain times. All of this was validated by numerical voodoo at the top, spreadsheet magic which has resulted in early retirements and difficulty keeping new hires.
Supervisors and district workers only have to work for one year before climbing over people to a desk job with higher pay, not having to carry and more than happy to direct authoritarian orders from the top down.
It seems that the PO is indeed being dismantled from the inside. I feel they want an Amazon like service, no stable long time careers requiring retirement funds, TSPs and good health insurance but rather people that come and go. I also feel like they are keeping things alive long enough to get through the next mail-in Presidential Election before pulling the pin all together, but that’s just my humble opinion.
On a positive note-
Many of us listen religiously to No Agenda. We ability while on the street to listen to you and many other podcasts, stay well informed and stand against the Covid tyranny together. We encouraged each other and hit our co-workers in the mouth, unabashedly while casing every morning.
It must have been dystopian for people during lock down living in Dimension B to look out of their window and see one of us casually delivering mail and soaking up that sweet sweet vitamin D.
I know your time is important and I’m sorry to take up so much of it but thought you would like to know.
BLMLGBBTQQIAAPK+ Noodle Boy
‘Notoriously cruel’: should we cancel Picasso? Collectors, artists, critics and curators decide | Pablo Picasso | The Guardian
Feds Create Race, Gender Speech Codes for Scientists to Direct Report Language
– Consider that biased terms, such as blacklist/whitelist, also may introduce comprehension issues.
– Avoid terms such as master/slave that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships.
– Avoid identifying an individual’s gender unless necessary for comprehension, or using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.
– Avoid descriptive terms that are condescending or reductive in favor of language that the groups being described would prefer.
Trans - Lobotomies
Trans is 90% F2M and only the M2F are being discussed
Germany: Meat Consumption Drops to Record Low, Plant-Based Sales at Record High - vegconomist - the vegan business magazine
UPS Board vote on EsG matters
Big Tech AI
Staplers BOTG Bob
My first real job - 1989 - at a University. I shared a communal office with my boss. She had so many staplers!. I finally realised it was easier for her to order a new stapler as it was already filled with staples, than for to work out how to just add staples to the old stapler.
An AI created robots out of living tissue. Then they started to reproduce…. Meet the xenobots | BBC Science Focus Magazine
SIMULACRUM (simulacra): Something that replaces reality with its representation. Jean Baudrillard in "The Precession of Simulacra" defines this term as follows: "Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real" (1-2). His primary examples are psychosomatic illness, Disneyland, and Watergate. Fredric Jameson provides a similar definition: the simulacrum's "peculiar function lies in what Sartre would have called the derealization of the whole surrounding world of everyday reality" (34).
War on Guns
KKK leader statue removed from Tennessee Capitol building
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 16:18
NASHVILLE '-- The bust of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from the Tennessee Capitol Friday, 42 years after the bust of the slave owner was originally installed in the building.
A crew of workers delivered the bust to the Tennessee State Museum, where it will be on display with additional context about Forrest's life. Crews also removed the busts of U.S. Admirals David Farragut and Albert Gleaves.
"This is a momentous day in the city of Nashville," said the Rev. Venita Lewis, a longtime activist who was part of a two-month sit-in last summer outside the Capitol.
As Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers stood guard Friday '-- as they did around the clock during last summer's demonstrations, at times having physical encounters with activists '-- Lewis and several other protesters struck a much more celebratory tone than this time last year.
While stone specialists worked to load the statues, the protesters alternated between chants about dropping and breaking the busts and singing "We Shall Overcome" and "Three Blind Mice."
Confederates toppled, Columbus beheaded: Protesters rip down controversial statues
Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune before the Civil War as a Memphis slave trader and plantation owner. Later, he was a leader of the Klan as it terrorized Black people, reversing Reconstruction efforts and restoring white power in the South.
The image of Forrest has sparked protests ever since its installation in 1978. Some suggested adding historical context, while others, including Republican Gov. Bill Lee, successfully argued for moving it to the Tennessee State Museum, just north of the Capitol.
Tennessee's State Building Commission voted 5-2 Thursday to remove the busts, the final hurdle in a months-long process.
State officials compromised last summer on moving Farragut, a Tennessean who remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War, and Gleaves, a commander in World War I, so as not to only remove the bust of the Confederate general.
The removal of Forrest follows years of protests and pressure by activists, but is something that became a reality last summer when Lee declared it was time for the bust to be relocated.
Charlottesville: City removes Confederate statues, including one that sparked deadly far-right rally
Previous attempts to have the Forrest bust removed were unsuccessful, and a key vote in July 2020 by the State Capitol Commission involved Tennessee's three constitutional officers '-- the comptroller, secretary of state and treasurer '-- changing their votes from 2017, when they opposed removal.
Other states have also taken steps toward removing Confederate statues from their Capitol buildings in recent years, including Kentucky, which removed a statue of Confederate Jefferson Davis from Frankfort last June.
Last month, the U.S. House passed a bill that would remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol, requiring states to remove and replace any statues honoring members of the Confederacy in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the building. The bill has not yet faced a vote in the Senate.
In Tennessee, the estimated cost of the bust removal is $17,000, according to the Tennessee Department of General Services. It comes from the state museum's budget.
State officials are somewhat unsure how much each of the busts weigh, though Forrest is believed to weigh less than one ton, Farragut is estimated at more than 3,000 pounds and Gleaves' bust is "significantly lighter," said David Roberson, spokesperson for General Services.
The busts will be on display for the public starting Tuesday.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow Natalie Allison on Twitter: @natalie_allison.
Luongo: Davos Runs Into The OPEC+ Buzzsaw | ZeroHedge
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 15:15
Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,
Every Wednesday and Sunday morning I record a private podcast for my patrons. I cover gold, silver, oil, the Dow Jones and Bitcoin at a minimum. This past Sunday I mentioned during my oil commentary I thought the six-month long weakness in oil was overdone.
Last week's price action clearly agreed with me as the futures markets finally saw some position squaring into the quarterly close on Friday.
At least that's what I thought at the time. It turns out that there were a lot of people who must have known that OPEC+ was going to announce a surprise production cut while I was yammering into a microphone Sunday morning. Because they bid oil up into the quarterly close using the tailwinds of strong closes across the entire 'tangible assets' space '-- gold, stocks, US treasuries, industrial metals, etc. '-- as cover.
The 'deflation trade' hit its peak when Brent crude futures bottomed near $70 per barrel on March 19th.
Thanks to OPEC+'s announcement Brent Crude gapped open at ~$85 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) moved above $80 and the Brent/WTI spread is trending towards $3.
It was $8+ a few months ago. This is very good news for US producers and exporters. The oil market had a fundamental supply and demand mismatch. Back in January even the IEA was talking nearly a 1 million bbl/day mismatch between supply growth (<1 million bbls/day) and demand growth (>1.9 million bbls/day). And that was with a recession on everyone's lips to start the year and China locked down.
Today their outlook more sanguine but mostly on disruption due to the embargoes against Russian oil. That disruption, like all things, is temporary. Transport costs will go up due to rising inefficiencies but the structural demand will stay the same.
This supports, not undermines, higher oil prices.
Goldman Sachs, whose statements one should always salt to taste, has been screaming that the action in the oil pits has defied reason for months. As long-time readers well know I've been complaining that this move down in oil into the $70's was complete nonsense, a product of futures manipulation through headlines and always dubious inventory data.
Watching the Volatility Splash By'...I've watched the volatility in oil explode since ''Biden's'' war on Russia began.
You can see it clearly in the weekly charts'... just look at the candlesticks on each half of the chart below (demarcated by the vertical black line). You don't need numbers or years of market analysis behind you, just use your eyes.
The war isn't just being fought on the ground in Ukraine. It's being fought in the capital markets. Oil is the most important market in the world, far more important than the US dollar or the US Treasury markets.
Here I disagree with Martin Armstrong, not because those markets aren't bigger and affect global capital flows more than oil (they do), but because without a relatively stable market for pricing oil there can be no trade.
The instability of our interest rate and currency markets are downstream of this increased volatility in oil.
The same thing, by the way, happened to the Dow Jones after President Trump was elected. I had to alter my data sets for calculating my quantitative tools for assessing the weekly state of the Dow because volatility tripled. This made older data useless in assisting me in seeing the odds of moving higher or lower week to week.
Targeting the US stock market with volatility was a way to undermine Trump while pushing the US dollar lower even though Jerome Powell was trying to raise interest rates pre-COVID-19, only to be attacked via COVID and Trump's short-sightedness.
The main point is this: the way to destroy a market is to make it too volatile for the average person or even small hedge fund to trade. Constantly whipsawing the price from hither to yon and back again makes it impossible for the small players in the futures markets to maintain their margin requirements. Eventually, they are either the victim of 'volatility washing' or just give up and go trade something that isn't batshit insane.
When you do this, flush out the small specs (speculators) you decrease market liquidity and make it the plaything of those with the deepest pockets. This has been the playbook used in the precious metals for years which guys like Craig Hemke (TF Metals Report) and others rightly complain about.
Multi-Front WarDo you see why OPEC+ would announce a major production cut at this moment in time? Brent is becoming a broken market.
Biden left the US vulnerable to a price shock with an empty SPR while preparing for at least one ground/naval war.
Europe is already screwed. Lagarde is defending the euro to offset energy imports at higher prices from the US, now Europe's largest supplier.
This is killing US/EU credit spreads. Because Lagarde can either protect credit spreads or she can protect the euro but she can't do both without outside help.
Biden was supposed to help Europe (and Davos) by selling them the SPR as the price came down and shutting out Russia via sanctions and Janet Yellen's moronic price cap. They were supposed to have control over oil prices such that they could drive them into the $50s or even the $40s to break Putin's and bail out Europe's economy.
This would have crushed inflation, stopped the interest rate hikes, and quelled the unrest around the continent.
Instead OPEC+ did exactly what you would expect them to do in this situation, announce a production cuts and force the central banks of energy importers to defend their currencies.
The guy laughing his ass off right now is Jerome Powell.
Look at the markets this morning and you'll see what I see '-- a massive cost-push inflation trade. Gold through $2000, Silver up, Oil up, bond yields down, stocks up strong.
But at the same time those signals can also be reinterpreted as 'money getting to ground' rather than being unleashed because of new economic growth.
Either way it doesn't matter, these market reactions tell you headline inflation, not just core inflation, is likely to stop falling here as oil reverses and OPEC+ takes it back towards $100/bbl.
Oil's not done rising here.
OPEC+ will protect its collective bottom line and push the fiat boys to their limit.
I mean if someone declared war on you would you sell them your main export and the literal fuel for that war at a major discount?
Only if you hated your own country'...
'... but enough about Barack Obama.
As I discussed in that video for my patrons, Saudi Arabia is making very big moves to alter its allegiances '-- away from the West and towards the RIC Alliance (Russia, Iran, China). This is the core of the much wider BRIICSS alliance '-- which now includes India and Saudi Arabia.
These are permanent moves, making a massive oil refinery deal with China, normalizing relations and becoming a 'dialogue partner' with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), just to name a few.
And since the Saudis are not a 'democracy' their government cannot be gamed through electioneering. The diplomatic moves they make today will stick and alter the landscape of global trade for the next generation or two.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pretty pissed with ''Biden'' which underscores his regional foreign policy moves.
Take a look at this heat map of global shipping and you tell me how the ''Biden'' apparatchiks spin this defeat into a 'no biggie' like they do with every Russian victory in Ukraine?
This is one of those pictures that change the way you see the world. I always 'knew' that the Arabian landmass was important but words sometimes just don't cut it. Sometimes you have to see it.
Davos declared war on oil the second Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine last February. They attempted to bully OPEC into isolating Russia, kicking them out of OPEC+, and failed spectacularly.
The defection of the Saudis is the biggest strategic defeat of this entire war. Without a compliant KSA there is no controlling oil prices and, by extension, the ability to control asset prices worldwide through currency trading.
Here we are 13+ months into this fight and Ukraine has all but lost the war. Bahkmut is done. Zelenskyy has lost the support of the military and only the warmongers at the top of NATO and the EU want this war to continue.
And continue it will. Finland's Davos government fell on its sword on its way out the door to make it a combatant by joining NATO. There is too much smoke out there that the West is gearing up for an industrial war against Russia and China in the 2024-25 time frame. They may lose in Ukraine but another front is just around the corner.
But for all of the focus on Ukraine and the insane tragedy of it, the oil pits and the diplomatic backrooms is where the war is really being fought.
MOIA or BustI've been screaming MOIA '' Make Oil Investible Again '-- for months in my public interviews because this is how we begin to rebuild what these vandals have already broken and they still have control of the baseball bat in the global economic China shop.
In order to MOIA the producers have to take control over the market. There is no better way to do that than to force a $10 reversal in price in a few days to volatility wash the big Davos specs out of the market and move a greater percentage of oil trading off US and London markets.
In March 2020 what kicked off the financial crisis wasn't COVID-19, it was OPEC+ saying no to production cuts at Putin's insistence. I wrote a blog post about Russia saying ''No.'' While I'm not fully in agreement with this article today, knowing that Davos used this moment to begin its war on humanity through COVID-19, the basic premise is still the same.
Putin said ''No'' to Saudi Arabia to become the de facto leader of OPEC+ by using his lower production costs to get the Saudis to knuckle under and stop playing footsie with the US who was using them as a weapon against Russia and the entire Global South.
This was Putin's opportunity to finally strike back at Russia's tormentors and inflict real pain for their unscrupulous behavior in places like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Venezuela and Afghanistan.
He is now in a position to extract maximum concessions from the U.S. and the OPEC nations who are supporting U.S. belligerence against Russia's allies in China, Iran and Syria.
We saw the beginnings of this in his dealings with Turkish President Erdogan in Moscow, extracting a ceasefire agreement that was nothing short of a Turkish surrender.
Erdogan asked to be saved from his own stupidity and Russia said, ''No.''
This was the turning point in the oil markets. Russia used its position as the supplier of the marginal barrel to force OPEC to heel and put pressure on US neocon foreign policy.
Of course Europe would cut itself off from Russia, since it's been their stated policy for decades, c.f. the Climate Change Hoax. But if you do that and don't bring the producers to heel, if you don't break the cartel you can't control the price.
Putin gaining control over OPEC+ and then treating the cartel, which the US had been trying desperately to break, like kings rather than 'the help,' he set the stage for the last year when the KSA led the rest of OPEC in defying the US/EU/UK over sanctions on Russia's markets.
Davos' response was predictable, attack oil prices through the futures markets by destroying liquidity while forcing prices below the all-in-sustaining costs for countries like Saudi Arabia.
Powell undermined Yellen's quest to break oil by pressuring European capital markets while they were vulnerable to not only energy price shocks but also interest rate and credit shocks.
Viewed that way the mother of all financial nuclear weapons have detonated over Europe but the radiation cloud hasn't quite killed everyone.
The Saudis, predictably, courted China to pay in yuan and join the institutions built by Russia/Iran/China to limit their currency exposure and bring down their internal costs.
All Russia and KSA had to do then was wait for the perfect moment (1st trading day of Q2 2023) to reverse the March 2020 ''No'' moment, by supporting oil prices rather than consolidating power over them.
What this does now is ensure that any war the neocons have planned for the future will be fought with much higher interest rates, much weaker currencies and much higher effective oil prices.
Cost-push inflation will return in the 2nd half of this year. ''Biden'' won't be able to refill the SPR. Debt ceiling talks should end with Matt Gaetz telling ''Biden'' and Yellen to pound sand, we're cutting spending while the leveraged Eurodollar markets continue shrinking alongside the petrodollar.
And the neocons, at that point, can only whimper and try one last time to engineer a false flag that no one will believe, because they've cried 'Russian bear' too many times. The recession on the horizon Powell has purposefully engendered to wipe out the dumb collectivism subsidized by Yellen's ZIRP bucks should drive political instability in Europe that far dwarfs the carnival barker sideshow of Trump's indictment.
Tree meet saw. Check and mate.
* * *
Join my Patreon if you want to MOIA
(19) T(w)itter Daily News î¨ on Twitter: "NEWS: Fmr President Obama gets an affiliate badge on Twitter ð https://t.co/Wv81tRd8lY" / Twitter
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 14:23
T(w)itter Daily News î¨ : NEWS: Fmr President Obama gets an affiliate badge on Twitter ð https://t.co/UkCF0pLYxB'... https://t.co/UkCF0pLYxB
Fri Apr 07 20:09:24 +0000 2023
HansWurstelix : @TitterDaily @elonmusk Care to comment, why Russian officials, with check marks, e.g. payment to Twitter, ergo buis'... https://t.co/AcHNVSuo6G
Sun Apr 09 14:16:28 +0000 2023
Robert Chard : @TitterDaily @elonmusk Barack Obama: Champion of the destruction of the USA.
Sun Apr 09 14:04:50 +0000 2023
JC : @TitterDaily '' Dad, Husband, President and closeted homosexual married to another man and ashamed to admit it ''
Sun Apr 09 14:00:35 +0000 2023
GJ Wilkers : @TitterDaily https://t.co/ae80B5FA1c
Sun Apr 09 13:58:28 +0000 2023
Dawn : @TitterDaily He is a former President.
Sun Apr 09 13:55:07 +0000 2023
dave : @TitterDaily @elonmusk Because even an American TRAITOR deserves FREE Speech?Re-Grower of RacismExporter of JOBS'... https://t.co/0qtEIZdS0v
Sun Apr 09 13:51:06 +0000 2023
An AI created robots out of living tissue. Then they started to reproduce'.... Meet the xenobots | BBC Science Focus Magazine
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 14:07
When we think of a robot, what usually comes to mind is some kind of synthetic servant '' a metal-clad machine controlled by electronics. While it might do chores for us and perhaps even talk to us in ways that seem intelligent, we wouldn't regard it as alive.
But what if, instead of building robots out of hard, lifeless materials, we built them out of the soft materials that nature relies on? What if we built them out of cells?
This is exactly the approach that researchers in Prof Josh Bongard's lab at the University of Vermont in the US are taking.
For the last four years, they have been designing and creating 'xenobots': miniature machines made from living frog cells.
Bongard explains the team's approach: ''[If you] make a robot out of metal and plastic '... the pieces themselves have no intelligence.
"We're approaching robotics in a completely different way. We're building from components that are themselves fantastically intelligent machines.''
Nature has been inspiring robotics for decades. It's led to actuators based on real muscles that allow robots to move more easily. Elsewhere, pads that mimic geckos' feet let robots climb vertical glass. Xenobots, by contrast, are made from nature's own building blocks.
According to Dr Victoria Webster-Wood, an expert in biologically inspired robots at Carnegie Mellon University, this type of approach ''enables us to directly harness living materials' natural adaptability.''
What's fascinating about Bongard's xenobots is that they can be made from normal cells taken from frog embryos '' no genetic tweaks required.
Although scientists already knew these cells could move on their own, in this case they're being used as materials to generate predictable, robot-like behaviours, such as herding particles around a Petri dish, cooperating like sheepdogs and even birthing balls of other cells that might be regarded as xenobot babies.
Artificial selectionWhile it's not clear what it is in the xenobots' internal workings, or rather those of the frog cells, that make them behave in this way, their capabilities do make them potentially useful for all manner of tasks.
Cleaning-up microplastics, for example, or, as the researchers outlined in their first paper on the xenobots, published in 2020, crawling to the site of diseased tissues in humans to help restore them to health.
So if you're going to make a xenobot, where do you start? Well, the Vermont team starts in a virtual Petri dish, on a computer, where an artificial intelligence (AI) program 'evolves' bunches of frog cells, based on their shape, to perform whatever task it is the scientists are interested in.
A group of xenobots 'tidying up' a Petri dish by moving debris around and collecting it into a pile (C) Sam Kriegman
''It creates a population of virtual xenobots, deletes the ones that do a poor job and makes randomly modified copies of the survivors,'' explains Bongard.
The scientists tell the AI how many rounds of this artificial selection process to complete and in just a few seconds, they have their design.
As an example, that design might be a ball of cells with a hole in the middle, like a pouch, which works well for transporting objects.
It's the AI-based design process that's the ''real masterpiece'' of the team's approach, according to Dr Falk Tauber, a bio-inspired technology expert based at the University of Freiberg in Germany.
Without the virtual Petri dish, he notes, testing hundreds of different cell configurations could take weeks or even months using real cells.
''This not only represents an immense time advantage, but also provides the opportunity to implement only the most promising approaches that have proven successful in [the computer],'' he says.
He suggests the AI approach could be useful in other scenarios too '' like the rapid design of personalised organ transplants that precisely fit a patient's anatomy.
Living robots that are capable of self-replicating created in US labMeet the autonomous Moon robots about to change space travel foreverThen comes the time-consuming bit, as the virtual designs have to be transferred to the real-life cells. It's a process that takes the team's sole xenobot sculptor, biologist Dr Doug Blackiston, based at Tufts University, Massachusetts, hours for each millimetre-scale xenobot.
Using microsurgery instruments, Blackiston painstakingly carves the shape designed by the AI into tissue harvested from frog embryos.
''For me, it's a lot like drawing or working on art,'' he says, adding that he enjoys seeing the shapes come together.
However, he admits that for the xenobots to find real-world applications, they'll need to speed up the process to create more than the current 30 to 40 xenobots a week. That advance could come from 3D printing, which can use cells and tissues as printing 'inks'.
More like this
Pushing to progressThe xenobots then spend a little over a week crawling or swimming around a dish before disintegrating (as they don't eat, their lifespan is limited).
In their original experiments, the researchers made 'walking' xenobots from combinations of heart and skin cells; the piston-like action of heart cells translated into movement.
Now, though, they use skin cells, taking advantage of beating hair-like structures called cilia, which protrude from the outer surface of the balls of cells, allowing them to 'swim'.
After initially seeing their movements, the researchers thought the xenobots might be capable of pushing things around, though they wondered if the xenobots would be strong enough.
''I started with very light dye particles, littered across the bottom of the Petri dish like a fine layer of ash or snow,'' says Blackiston. ''I happened to get lucky on the first try and it worked.'' The xenobots could also push tiny glass beads around.
Miniature T-1000-style robot can shape shift between liquid and solid statesThis shape-shifting technology allows ground robots to morph into flying dronesAfter the researchers progressed to making the swimming xenobots, they started giving swarms of them more interesting things to move around, like cells '' the same cells of which the miniature robots themselves are composed.
That was when something intriguing began to happen: the swarm began pushing the cells into little piles. Frog cells are sticky so the piles tended to stay together and then, a few days later, hairs started to appear on their surface '' cilia, just like on the surface of the xenobots.
''And then,'' says Bongard, ''Doug [Blackiston] noticed that a couple of them started to move.''
At this point, it was clear that the xenobots were making more of themselves. It wasn't a traditional 'have sex, make a baby' type of scenario, but it was a form of replication that had never been seen in nature.
According to Blackiston, he knew the experiment would work if he could get the conditions right. But that didn't make it any less exciting when he first showed Bongard and the team one of the 'children' moving around on a Zoom call.
''It was silent on the call '' the biologists, the computer scientists,'' Bongard remembers. ''You know, self-replication is kind of a dream and a hope [for] machines in general and to see it'... it completely blew my mind.''
When the researchers realised their xenobots could self-replicate, they told their AI to evolve versions that could do it better.
The AI set to work, designing a shape that looked pretty familiar: Pac-Man, or as Bongard puts it ''a shovel, basically'', which makes sense when you're making your babies by pushing bits of them into piles '' you can see an image of this below.
(C) Sam Kriegman
The fact that the xenobots are now capable of self-replication opens up a whole suite of potential applications, Bongard says, due to what he calls ''exponential utility''.
The concept applies to any technology that does something useful and becomes more useful the further it spreads. Environmental clean-up is a good example, as well as vaccines, or technologies that could put out forest fires. These technologies don't spread on their own, though, so they could benefit from a self-replicating carrier to help them.
Although this is all just a theory, the researchers did show through computer modelling that if they fed the xenobots enough cells and they continued to replicate, then the xenobots use for a simpler application, such as moving wires around in a circuit, would continue to grow.
If self-replicating xenobots sound like the sort of sci-fi movie scenario we ought to avoid, the thing to remember is that the parent bots can only produce offspring under certain circumstances, which, as Webster-Wood points out, the researchers control.
Without access to additional free-floating cells, they can't replicate at all. Plus, the team's xenobots are biodegradable and 'die' in a matter of days.
As Tauber puts it, ''These small cellular robots are safely housed in the laboratories of Bongard's team and could not 'live' in the outside world.''
In fact, 'living' is not a label Tauber would apply to them at all, precisely because their survival depends on such specific conditions.
Bongard, though, believes that along with other technologies '' like biohybrids that combine organic and technological components '' the xenobots are starting to blur the line between living and non-living, reigniting the debate about what is life.
Meanwhile, the xenobots' behaviour has sparked other questions. For example, the researchers don't know whether the xenobots are really cooperating when they push cells and other objects around together.
Are they able to sense each other through the millions of different receptors that exist on the surface of living cells? Or are they just mindlessly moving around like wind-up toys?
Another intriguing question, of course, is whether biological robots could also be made from human cells '' and whether it's a route the team is planning to take.
It's certainly on the to-do list, according to Bongard. ''You know, frog and human cells diverged not that long ago, when you think about the total evolutionary history of cells,'' he muses, suggesting that, in principle, it should work.
Xenobots from human cells would be more compatible with medical applications, though there would be a long road to get them approved.
In the meantime, the researchers want to discover more about what it is in the frog cells' underlying biology that makes them behave as they do.
They hope to learn how to better manipulate the living materials to create better machines. That's something their AI is figuring out, but can't communicate to them yet. ''We're asking the AI to make machines, but the repercussion of that is, along the way, the AI is learning more and more about biology,'' says Bongard.
A key part of the work, he adds, is getting the AI to explain what it has learned about biology back to ''us poor humans''.
About our expertsProf Josh Bongard is head of the Morphology, Evolution and Cognition Laboratory at The University of Vermont. In 2007, he was awarded a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship and was named one of MIT Technology Review's top 35 young innovators under 35.
Dr Falk Tauber is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Freiburg. He is also the coordinator of the biotech livMatS demonstrator project.
Dr Doug Blackiston is a researcher at Tufts University and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. His work has been published in journals including PloS One and the Journal Of Experimental Biology.
Will there ever be a robot that does all the housework?World's smallest remote-controlled robot medic could one day crawl through your arteriesWhy there won't be a robot uprising any time soon
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 14:02
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Lurpak security shock: TikTok video stuns shoppers after nets placed over tubs of butter | UK News | Sky News
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:54
A shopper's video of tubs of "locked-up" Lurpak butter has been watched millions of times on social media.
The 600g tubs of butter were priced at £5.35 at the supermarket where the video was shot - apparently an Aldi store.
In the footage, the tubs are wrapped in a thin black string net, with a black security tag placed on the end of it.
Supermarkets across the UK have previously added tags to basic food items such as cheese and milk - as the cost of living crisis saw price hikes across the country.
But the extra security measures are surreal for shoppers seeing the rising cost of goods.
The video, which was posted on TikTok, has so far attracted almost eight million views, with many users sharing their shock and confusion at the security measures in the comments underneath the clip.
The post read: "UK inflation going mad."
One user commented: "I mean £5 for a bit of salted and shaken milk is a bit nuts."
While another user was baffled by the rising price and security measures: "They can afford the extra protection cost but can't reduce the price."
Households are now facing a potential £837 hike in the annual cost of their regular shopping baskets, according to a recent report by Kantar WorldPanel.
The latest report said footfall was up in "every single grocer" over the four weeks to March 19.
Another TikTok user highlighted the cost of butter in Denmark and said: "In Denmark a 375g Lurpak butter cost £7. And it's even a Danish brand of butter."
Read more on Sky News:UK's cheapest supermarkets namedStrangest supermarket online shopping substitutions
According to the consumer watchdog, Which?, Aldi is the UK's cheapest supermarket when buying a basket of shopping.
The watchdog found that a basket of 41 grocery items at Aldi cost £72.54 on average across the month of March - followed by Lidl at £72.79 and Sainsbury's at £80.27.
The watchdog said retailers should be helping customers by making sure affordable basic ranges are available in all branches.
Aldi is yet to say anything about the video or security nets. The supermarket chain has been contacted for comment.
Italy '' the first to ban lab meat and feed? - Poultry World
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:52
Italy's government has approved a bill banning the use of laboratory-produced food and animal feed as it aims to safeguard the country's agri-food heritage.
''Laboratory products, in our opinion, do not guarantee quality, well-being and the protection of our culture, our tradition,'' said the country's minister of agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida.
ALSO READ: 5 very topical questions about cultured meatPrime Minister Giorgia Meloni's administration has pledged to shield Italy's food from technological innovations seen as harmful, and last year renamed the agriculture ministry the ''ministry for agriculture and food sovereignty''.
Italy's minister of agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida: ''Italy is the first nation in the world to say no to synthetic foods.''
If passed by parliament, food or feed ''from cell cultures or tissues derived from vertebrate animals'' will not be permitted. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to '¬60,000. The Meloni administration is also against promoting insects as a suitable food alternative.
Not everyone in Italy agrees'...However, not everyone has welcomed the news, and there remains much support for 'cell-based agriculture'.
Alice Ravenscroft of the Good Food Institute Europe said that the passing of such a law would be a step back not only for scientific progress but for climate mitigation and consumer choice, too.
In other news on cultivated meat'... '' FDA approves lab-grown chicken '' Cultured and alternative proteins under the spotlight '' Singapore ramps up cultivated chicken meat production''Italy would be left behind as the rest of Europe and the world progresses toward a more sustainable and secure food system. And the 54% of Italians who already want to try cultivated meat, would be banned from doing so,'' said Ravenscroft, as reported by The Epoch Times.
Meanwhile, Food companies' network, Cellular Agriculture Europe, agrees, noting that many consumers in Italy are concerned about animal welfare and the environmental impact of their food choices, and this would limit their options.
While the ban has yet to be approved by lawmakers, many believe that it appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Power showers and 'dual flush' toilets may be banned under Government plans to save water - LBC
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:51
5 April 2023, 12:11
The Government is looking to slash household water usage and power showers could be axed. Picture: Getty A ban on power showers could be brought in as the Government looks at ways to save water.
Ministers want to cut demand from 144 litres per day to 122 litres a day by 2038 to safeguard the UK's water supplies.
New standards for showers and taps could restrict the amount of water they use.
Power showers use up to 16 litres of water per minute, meaning five minutes in the shower can use 80 litres, compared to 20 litres in a typical shower.
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The new mandatory water efficiency label could also be applied to toilets, with dual flush loos using more water.
The Environment Agency was previously warned of 'a serious risk that some parts of the country will run out of water in the next 20 years'.
Officials want to cut non-household water use by 9 per cent in 15 years. Currently, areas in the South West are using more than 160 litres a day.
Water use could also be included on energy performance certificates.
Households could be rationed water and charged if they go over limit | UK News | Metro News
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:50
It could soon cost Brits more to drink a cup of water, wash their clothes or heat their homes if they use more than a recommended ration.
Ofwat, which regulates the water sector in England and Wales, has called on companies to get more 'creative in how they charge customers'.
As droughts threaten water supplies amid climate change, the regulator wants people to use water more 'wisely' by rationing it and offering cheaper rates.
So under new rules, Ofwat is giving water companies free rein to charge people differently to help ease environmental pressure and, they claim, costs too.
Affinity Water, which supplies drinking water across South East England, will be among the first to trial new charging rates on 1,500 customers.
The pilot scheme will see people charged a cheaper rate for using less water and progressively higher rates for the more water they use.
No other firms have said they're launching similar trials, even though Ofwat has encouraged them since September.
This year, Affinity Water customers with high-water usage will be charged 160% more '' going up from £1.50 a 1,000 litres to £4.
The first 30,000 litres of water will be free to use, which is around a two-month supply of water for a four-person household.
The next 25,000 litres will cost someone £1.50 per 1,000 litres, while any more water after that will cost £4 per 1,000 litres.
The average person in England and Wales used 152 litres of water a day in 2021.
Affinity Water says the scheme will mean two-thirds of households pay less for water.
Though those exceeding the 300,000 cap will see their water bills swell by around one-third '' for more than 475,000 litre-users, it will be double.
If the Affinity Water trial proves successful, it would be rolled out to all households in a given area.
This way of charging for water is called a 'rising block tariff', with each of the three caps falling into a different block.
So the more water that is consumed, the more the customer unit charge will increase.
Jan Shortt, general secretary of the National Pensioners' Convention, questioned the trial.
'This proposal from Ofwat to the water companies to be ''creative'' with charging sounds quite complicated,' she said.
'We need more detail, but it appears to treat everybody as having the same lifestyle and needs.
'Older people have a different lifestyle altogether to those working and in good health. Those who are disabled or ill, often need access to water at different times of the day for their health treatment.'
She added: 'To be honest, another scheme which enables water companies to make more profit out of customers does not make sense.
'Perhaps they should spend more of their profit ensuring sewage doesn't leak and cause environmental damage, never mind dealing with the leaking supply pipes which puts the cost up for every user.'
David Black, Ofwat CEO said: 'We know that an increasing number of customers are struggling with cost-of-living pressures.
'At the same time, water resources are being impacted by climate change which poses significant long-term challenge to river water health and security of water supply.
'We want to see more companies seeking out and implementing innovative solutions,' he added.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to gnaw at people's bank accounts, water is one of the countless expenses that have shot up in recent months.
Water bills are set to go up from April, with Water UK confirming bills will rise by an average of £31 to £448 a year in England and Wales.
More: TrendingOffwat has also recommended providers trial seasonal charging to help keep water bills low in the winter and give discounts for homes with water butts and permeable driveways.
The National Infrastructure Commission, which advises the Government, warned that driveways can increase the risk of flash floods.
A typical front yard is full of soil and other materials that can absorb rainwater.
But one paved with concrete doesn't, causing a runoff during especially heavy rainstorms that can overwhelm decades-old urban drainage systems.
Sewers can only cope with so much water before they struggle to take the water away fast enough, which causes flooding.
Hard materials, such as concrete and asphalt, don't absorb much water '' but they do pollution. Oil, petrol and brake dust accumulates on driveways and is then washed away by rain into drains, carrying the pollutants directly into streams and rivers.
Ofwat says households switching their driveways or installing water butts '' which collect rainwater '' could lead to double-digit savings on a typical £440 bill, The Times reported.
Head of financial support and service delivery for Affinity Water, James Tipler, added: 'We want to be affordable and fair to all our 3.8 million customers across the South East of England.
'We want to obtain evidence on the impact of the tariff trial on affordability for our customers by comparing our trial and control groups.
'By structuring the tariff in this way, we hope to see evidence that water bills become more affordable for more of our customers.
'We have estimated that at least two out of three households will pay less if usage remains unchanged.'
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Rail chaos ruins Easter weekend for families
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:50
Families are facing a ruined Easter weekend as three of London's major rail stations are shut down thanks to engineering works.
No trains are running to or from London Euston until Tuesday, Charing Cross station is closed on Saturday and Sunday, while London Victoria has axed most services until Tuesday.
It has thrown travel plans into chaos, given the stations respectively serve as the main hubs for northern England and the Midlands, Kent and the wider south-east.
Network Rail was accused of causing "untold misery" in the latest blight on the Easter getaway, with badly-timed engineering works "as predictable as the first daffodil in spring".
Dozens of areas affectedThe taxpayer body has planned such works across the four-day weekend at the three terminus stations, despite it being a school holiday with thousands of families heading to the capital.
A total of 29 areas are hit by engineering works across the country this weekend, including Birmingham, Rotherham, Cambridge, Cardiff and Reading, with many passengers forced to use replacement bus services instead.
Rail passengers hit out at 'mayhem' at St Pancras on Good Friday Credit : @RooPritchard/TwitterIt comes after scenes of mass overcrowding at St Pancras and Marylebone on Good Friday.
Those among London Gatwick Airport's 90,000 daily passengers hoping to take the usual 25-minute direct Gatwick Express train to London Victoria finding that instead, they must take a train and two tubes, lasting an hour, as Southern has cancelled all Victoria services too.
'Terrible planning'John Stewart, chairman of the Campaign for Better Transport, told The Telegraph: "This is terrible planning by the railways -- they know this is one of the busiest weekends of the year and trying to leave a London station is trying to get out on the last flight from Saigon."
Mr Stewart, speaking in a personal capacity, added: "This will cause untold misery for travellers at the very time they are expecting to have an enjoyable Easter weekend.
The chaos has been blamed on widespread engineering works taking place over Easter Credit : Marcin Nowak/London News Pictures"No lessons have been learned and it's even worse right now because they know that since Covid the leisure market has picked up big time -- it's the business market which is struggling.
"Every year, it's as predictable as the first daffodil in spring. It is time that the railways start to put passengers first and not their own convenience."
Crossrail opens - then closes againThe new £19 billion Elizabeth Line in London has axed all services through central London until April 11, less than half a year after it fully opened, while five other London Underground lines and the London Overground partly closed too.
On Friday, passengers faced three-hour delays at St Pancras as pictures showed huge crowds. Ruaridh Pritchard, 33, a writer, said it was "mayhem" with "lots of people arguing and pushing - it was like the last train out of Saigon... I've lost half a day of Easter."
Chaos at Marylebone Station in London on Good Friday Credit : Martyn Wheatley / i-ImagesMeanwhile, Sophie Earish, 26, a student from Wembley Park, who faced a 90-minute wait for a train north and Tube delays, said: "I didn't realise Euston was closed this weekend causing this mess.
"Why do they think it's acceptable to do engineering works over the Easter weekend? It's ridiculous, it seems to be the same every year."
Network Rail was contacted for comment. A blame game has also begun at the Port of Dover after long delays persisted all week for ferry passengers, with France on Friday insisting the UK, not French border officials, are responsible. The port was free-flowing on Saturday morning.
'Notoriously cruel': should we cancel Picasso? Collectors, artists, critics and curators decide | Pablo Picasso | The Guardian
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:48
'I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my shoes,'' declared Kanye West in a line '' from his 2015 tune No More Parties in LA '' that became a slogan. ''I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news / I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my house / Tell 'em party's in here, we don't need to go out.''
Eight years on, the reputation of Picasso '' the Pablo in question '' might not quite be as comprehensively trashed as West's, but it has nosedived nonetheless. When Picasso died at the age of 91, 50 years ago tomorrow, the Guardian called him the most influential artist of the 20th century. Today, Picasso is more often talked about as a misogynist and cultural appropriator, the ultimate example of problematic white guys clogging up the artistic canon.
His appeal is as a picaresque who left a trail of betrayals and suicides. He is vampire, sociopath and narcissistThis summer, the Brooklyn Museum will mount an exhibition called It's Pablo-matic (geddit?), co-curated by Hannah Gadsby, whose 2018 standup special Nanette includes a riff on how much the Aussie comic hates Picasso. (''Cubism. All the perspectives at once! Any of those perspectives a woman's? No! You just put a kaleidoscope filter on your cock.'') In Paris, meanwhile, the Picasso Museum has enlisted fashion designer Paul Smith to make the morally dubious genius more palatable to Gen Z.
Yet can Picasso's torrential output '' 14,000 paintings and drawings; 100,000 prints; 24,000 book illustrations; 300 models and sculptures '' really be cut down to size in this way? Do his offensive views outweigh masterpieces like Guernica? Does Picasso's undeniably terrible treatment of women mean that we can cast aside the quantum leaps that shifted the course of art? We asked critics, artists, collectors and curators for their verdicts.
Masterpiece '... visitors admire Guernica at the Reina Sofa Museum of Modern Art in Madrid. Photograph: Peter Barritt/Alamy 'He turned lovers into caricatures of suffering'Adrian Searle, Guardian art critic
Picasso can be viewed as a monstrous, larger-than-life character in a novel that spans almost a century. His appeal is as a picaresque who left a trail of destruction in his wake: abandonments, betrayals, suicides. We have the vampire, the Andalucan macho, the charismatic manipulator, the sociopath, the narcissist. Then there's the minotaur who preyed on young girls, the rapist of the Vollard suite, the thief of African tribal masks, the cubist who wrecked the room and patched it back together again. We see the Picasso who laid waste to women, who fed his art with body parts and turned lovers into parodic and pneumatic toys, caricatures of suffering. If not for his art, he'd just be another monster, treating women terribly.
Everything bad you hear about Picasso may be true. But what of the constant innovation, formal and stylistic? The jaw-dropping complexity of his work? Difficulty, as well as pleasure, is embedded in his art. For some, this can never be enough. He paid witness to the tumult of the 20th century. Picasso was a sentimental communist, both modern and superstitious. Born in Mlaga in 1881, he was a child of 19th century provincial Spain, and he brought the upbringing with him. His indisputable awfulness as a human being is part of that complexity. There is no going back on the difficulties. You can't have Picasso without Picasso.
'He wears his imagination on his sleeve'
Aaron Curry, artist
Picasso still inspires young artists, because he worked through so many styles. He's a textbook of freedom: ''Hey, you can try all this stuff. Use your imagination '' and push boundaries.'' Which is good because, at art school, a lot of things are taught through the lens of Duchamp: this idea that anything can be art as long as you, as an artist, say it is. Whereas Picasso wears his imagination on his sleeve. You can see it in the work.
I got really interested in the works from 1915 to 1917. That's when he created assemblage: there's a piece of wood, hang it on the wall with another piece of wood, and is that sculpture '' or a painting? I found those exciting when I started moving from painting to sculpture. You don't have to take a stone and carve it, or model something from clay. You can just pick up things around the studio and put them together.
African influence '... Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/GettyAs for the cultural appropriation, I think an artist's job is to take culture and make something of it. It's our job to appropriate. I don't feel there should be rules saying: ''There's only a certain sort of material you're allowed to use.'' It's not what artists do. They're not politicians. Once something's done, it's out there for people to respond to.
'Wanton disregard for the women he painted and slept with'
Eliza Goodpasture, critic
Picasso's brand of greatness is characterised by loudness, scale, grit, originality, celebrity and overall shock-and-awe value. It is also distinguished by a macho, lusty masculinity. His notorious cruelty and misogyny are arguably as famous as his paintings. Picasso's life and art were made possible by the work of women: his wives and mistresses who cared for him and organised his life, and of course the models and muses who fill his paintings. These women could not have stood where he stood behind the canvas, in brothels and bars and on battlefields, thinking of nothing but work. The lurid radicality of his art rests on a wanton disregard for the humanity of the women he painted and slept with.
Even as other ''great artists'' are beginning to be held to account, Picasso has clung on to his status as the most important, and most famous, artist of the 20th century. Genius transcends misogyny, apparently. It is impossible to separate Picasso's work from his life, and equally impossible to escape the legacy of his enormous oeuvre. But we can escape the narrow definition of ''great'' that limits the history of art to men like Picasso.
The canon is not fixed and unchangeable: it is constantly being re-evaluated. What if great art included work that is subtle, nuanced, quiet, small, challenging and complicated? Imagine if a great artist could be any gender, any race '' or even a person who valued the humanity of others. Who else might be a household name?
'To live with a painting is to live with its painter'
Helly Nahmad, gallerist and collector of Picasso's work
When you live with one of Picasso's paintings, you might rush past it on the way out. Or you're waiting for something, you're on the phone, or you're arguing '' and it's there. A Picasso painting is a meditation so infinite you need years to discover it. All that in a work he made in 15 minutes.
Laid bare '... Reclining Nude by Picasso. Photograph: Georgios Kefalas/EPAIn the pictures from the 1960s onwards, he uses negative space a lot, that is to say unpainted canvas. He'll paint '' very quickly '' the space under the chin, jaw and neck, then the hair, then two blobs. And yet you look at it and think: ''That's a portrait.'' The actual marks can be nothing really, more like abstract blobs. Yet through them he gives you a portrait. It's shocking. It's mindboggling.
To live with a painting is to live with its painter '' because they're putting their deepest thoughts on canvas. So you're in the presence of his soul, in your home. It's intense! Many years ago, I sold my apartment and the art came out six months beforehand. As soon as it left, the house just became concrete.
'Objectifying women? He was damn good at it!'
Lisa Small and Catherine Morris, curators of It's Pablo-matic at the Brooklyn Museum
Lisa Small: I wouldn't want to have been married to him.
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Catherine Morris: Hannah Gadsby says there's a lot that's easy to hate about Picasso '' but if the goal was to cancel Picasso, we wouldn't be doing this show and Hannah wouldn't be participating. However, I would say, as a curator of feminist art, that you can only look at Picasso today through a lens of feminist critique.
LS: We're not tearing him down. We wouldn't be putting his works on the wall if we were dismissing him or saying he's irrelevant. His influence is so solid across the entire culture that it would be a fool's game to say we're not going to talk about his work any more. It's been interesting, in terms of the feminist artists who make up the largest part of this exhibition, to learn from their thinking around Picasso '' and how he still has an effect on them, not necessarily negative. The idea of objectifying women in art and the male gaze '' he did not invent that by any stretch of the imagination.
CM: He was damn good at it!
LS: He brought it to an accomplished conclusion. A work of art is an object that is apart from a person '' it's out in the world, open to interpretation. Picasso was always painting the women with whom he was involved: he talked about how his personal life intersects with his art '' but that doesn't mean that's what we're limited to.
CM: The endgame of modernity after Picasso's death was to exclude biography, but that becomes part of the reason to go back into it, because it's annoying. Female artists, disabled artists and artists of colour have always been reinserted into history through their biography, and male artists of the modern period somehow set themselves outside that. In the 50 years since Picasso's death, female artists and women art historians have changed the world. Picasso wouldn't recognise it '' and he's part of that conversation whether he wants to be or not.
'Africans were ahead of the game and all its players'
Rianna Jade Parker, critic and curator
Picasso was famously pictured in his Paris studio in 1908, surrounded by African masks '' not decoratively, or even appreciatively, but as an obsessive collector, intrigued and possibly contemptuous of them. His historians insist that his ''Africa period'' was short-lived, running from 1907 to 09, but exactly when and how does influence formally end?
In the spring of 1907, Paris's Palais du Trocad(C)ro ethnographic museum boasted works by African, Native American and Oceaniac artists that had been acquired through less than just means, categorised as ''primitive arts''. Picasso recognised there was nothing primitive about any of these.
At work '... Picasso studies the figure of a woman he assembled on the floor of his studio at Vallauris, southern France, in 1953. Photograph: APAfter seeing this exhibition, he confessed: ''I forced myself to stay, to examine these masks, all these objects that people had created with a sacred, magical purpose, to serve as intermediaries between them and the unknown, hostile forces surrounding them, attempting in that way to overcome their fears by giving them colour and form. And then I understood what painting really meant. It's not an aesthetic process; it's a form of magic that interposes itself between us and the hostile universe, a means of seizing power by imposing a form on our terrors as well as on our desires. The day I understood that, I had found my path.''
Idols of pictorial beauty, statuettes and masks are made using multiple perspectives, with bulbous and inverted shapes utilised to make monumental and expressive faces '' these signature Picasso hallmarks were all part of an intuitive African art. Inspiration is for free and is circular but credit is always due. African American painter Faith Ringgold made numerous trips to the Museum of Modern Art in New York to view Guernica where it hung for a period. This spurred her to make her famed 1967 painting American People Series #20: Die.
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is seen as the touchstone of modernism and further credit is given to the cubists Braque, Matisse and Gauguin. It is, then, fair to say that Africans were ahead of the game and all of its players, acting as primary contributors to the avant garde.
'At times, his women seem to look down on men'
Erika Verzutti, artist
As a child in S£o Paulo, I didn't have any contact with contemporary art, but everyone had heard of Picasso. When I finally got to know his work, it gave me so much. I like it more today than I did in my student days because it keeps moving. I believe the truth in the work. My feeling is that he's pointing at African culture, at the truth that is there. He's saying: ''There's another perspective and language '' they've got it already.'' So I'm an enthusiast.
Despite Picasso's biography, some of his paintings show women who at times seem to be looking down on the man, subverting the male gaze. Sometimes the gaze changes and the body is no longer sexual '' it is very dynamic. I cannot let that contradiction go because it informs my work, it informs everything.
'Using Africa as inspiration made for great art'
Aindrea Emelife, curator at Edo Museum of West African Art, Lagos, Nigeria
One of my favourite works is Massacre en Cor(C)e, or Massacre in Korea, from 1951. But Picasso means more to me than favourites. As he looked to African art, via the Trocad(C)ro in Paris, he saw a religious depth and ritual purpose that both startled and moved him. The sophisticated use of flat planes and bold contouring was unlike anything he had encountered. This understanding of African art aesthetic is reasonably simplistic, but as a source of inspiration, it made for great art.
Today, I'd say my favourite works are two studies: Head of a Woman (Study for Nude With Drapery), and Study for the Head of Nude With Drapery. Both remind me of Fang Ngil masks from Gabon rendered in subtle cross-hatched beauty. The fact that Picasso saw beauty and drama in the elegant abstractions of the forms, as well as in the elongated facial features of African masks, could have catalysed a moment of intrigue and investigation into African art and aesthetic. It could have fostered authentic curiosity in the art world. Fifty years after Picasso's death, if I want to complete the limited story of modernism we have been told, I look to Africa.
New Leak of Classified Documents on Social Media Alarms Pentagon - The New York Times
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:43
Secret documents that appear to detail American national security secrets on Ukraine, the Middle East and China have surfaced online.
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The leaked documents come as Ukraine has been preparing for a spring offensive as part of an effort to reclaim territory in the east and the south of the country. Credit... Emile Ducke for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- A new batch of classified documents that appear to detail American national security secrets from Ukraine to the Middle East to China surfaced on social media sites on Friday, alarming the Pentagon and adding turmoil to a situation that seemed to have caught the Biden administration off guard.
The scale of the leak '-- analysts say more than 100 documents may have been obtained '-- along with the sensitivity of the documents themselves, could be hugely damaging, U.S. officials said. A senior intelligence official called the leak ''a nightmare for the Five Eyes,'' in a reference to the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the so-called Five Eyes nations that broadly share intelligence.
The latest documents were found on Twitter and other sites on Friday, a day after senior Biden administration officials said they were investigating a potential leak of classified Ukrainian war plans, include an alarming assessment of Ukraine's faltering air defense capabilities. One slide, dated Feb. 23, is labeled ''Secret/NoForn,'' meaning it was not meant to be shared with foreign countries.
The Justice Department said it had opened an investigation into the leaks and was in communication with the Defense Department but declined to comment further.
Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, said the leak of the classified documents represents ''a significant breach in security'' that could hinder Ukrainian military planning. ''As many of these were pictures of documents, it appears that it was a deliberate leak done by someone that wished to damage the Ukraine, U.S., and NATO efforts,'' he said.
One analyst described what has emerged so far as the ''tip of the iceberg.''
Early Friday, senior national security officials dealing with the initial leak, which was first reported by The New York Times, said a new worry had arisen: Was that information the only intelligence that was leaked?
By Friday afternoon, they had their answer. Even as officials at the Pentagon and national security agencies were investigating the source of documents that had appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, another surfaced on 4chan, an anonymous, fringe message board. The 4chan document is a map that purports to show the status of the war in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the scene of a fierce, monthslong battle.
But the leaked documents appear to go well beyond highly classified material on Ukraine war plans. Security analysts who have reviewed the documents tumbling onto social media sites say the increasing trove also includes sensitive briefing slides on China, the Indo-Pacific military theater, the Middle East and terrorism.
Image On Friday, a senior Ukrainian official said that the leak appeared to be a Russian ploy to discredit a counteroffensive. Credit... Mauricio Lima for The New York Times The Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday that the Defense Department was looking into the matter. On Friday, as the disclosures widened, department officials said they had nothing to add. But privately, officials in several national security agencies acknowledged both a rush to find the source of the leaks and a potential for what one official said could be a steady drip of classified information posted on sites.
The documents on Ukraine's military appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and other plans. Pentagon officials acknowledge that they are legitimate Defense Department documents, but the copies appear to have been altered in certain parts from their original format. The modified versions, for example, overstate American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and underestimate estimates of Russian troops killed.
On Friday, Ukrainian officials and pro-war Russian bloggers suggested the leak was part of a disinformation effort by the other side, timed to influence Ukraine's possible spring offensive to reclaim territory in the east and the south of the country.
A senior Ukrainian official said that the leak appeared to be a Russian ploy to discredit a counteroffensive. And the Russian bloggers warned against trusting any of the information, which one blogger said could be the work of ''Western intelligence in order to mislead our command.''
Behind closed doors, chagrined national security officials were trying to find the culprit. One official said it was likely that the documents did not come from Ukrainian officials, because they did not have access to the specific plans, which bear the imprint of the offices of the Pentagon's Joint Staff. A second official said that determining how the documents were leaked would start with identifying which officials had access to them.
The first tranche of documents appeared to have been posted in early March on Discord, a social media chat platform popular with video gamers, according to Aric Toler, an analyst at Bellingcat, the Dutch investigative site.
In Ukraine, Lt. Col. Yurii Bereza, a battalion commander with Ukraine's National Guard whose forces have fought in the country's east in recent months, shrugged off news of the leak.
He noted that information warfare had become so intense that ''we can no longer determine where is the truth and where is the lie.''
''We are at that stage of the war when the information war is sometimes even more important than the direct physical clashes at the front,'' Colonel Bereza said.
A soldier in his unit, Maksym, had yet to hear the news. ''We have a lot of our own problems, and with this leak I have no words,'' he said angrily.
Outside experts said it was difficult to draw conclusions about who released the information and why.
Kyle Walter, the head of research at Logically, a British firm that tracks disinformation, said many prominent voices on Russian Telegram channels were calling the original, apparently unaltered photo showing Russian and Ukrainian casualties a ''Western influence'' operation.
''They think the actual unedited photo where it shows high Russian loss numbers and relatively low Ukrainian loss numbers is an attempt to instill poor morale in Russia and Russian forces,'' Mr. Walter said.
Jonathan Teubner, the chief executive of FilterLabs AI, which tracks messaging in Russia, said that while pro-Kremlin voices were saying the leak was an American or Ukrainian disinformation campaign, his lead analyst thought it could be a Russian operation meant to sow distrust between Washington and Kyiv.
The doctored photo showing lower casualty numbers for Russia, and higher ones for Ukraine, than reported figures has been discussed far more frequently in Western-oriented social media than in Russian-focused platforms, Mr. Walter said.
It has been a frequent Russian disinformation tactic to alter stolen documents, including some purportedly leaked from the Ukrainian government, Mr. Walter said. But because Ukraine's government has dismissed these documents as altered or out of context, they generally do not gain much traction, he added.
''There are a lot of examples of leaked documents being used in propaganda campaigns and specifically in terms of disinformation,'' Mr. Walter said. But what is going on with these American documents, he added, ''is still pretty unclear at the moment.''
The Ukraine war, Mr. Walter said, has had more document leaks than other conflicts, in part because of the role that open-source intelligence and declassified intelligence have played in the war.
''There's definitely been an uptick, it's happening more often, but that's more indicative of just the environment we're in rather than it being the tactic specific to the Ukraine war,'' Mr. Walter said.
Natalia Yermak and Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.
CBDC Will Be Used For "Control", ECB President Admits In Vid Chat With 'Fake Zelensky' | ZeroHedge
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:42
Authored by Luke Huigsloot via CoinTelegraph.com,
The ECB president admitted that ''there will be control'' in regards to a digital euro, much to the displeasure of the crypto community...
A widely shared video of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde admitting that a digital euro will be used in a ''limited'' way to control the payments that people can make was taken from a three-week-old prank video.
The video was highlighted by the breaking news account Watcher Guru on April 6 and generated a significant amount of social media chatter. In it, Lagarde cited a desire to not be reliant on an ''unfriendly countries currency,'' or a currency provided by a ''private corporate entity like Facebook or like Google.'' She said she is ''personally convinced that we have to move ahead'' with the digital euro.
JUST IN: ðªðº European Central Bank President reveals plans to launch a digital euro (CBDC), says there will be control over payments. pic.twitter.com/szCFxBkZDR
'-- Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) April 6, 2023Cointelegraph traced the original source of the video to a prank video from March 17 in which Lagarde appears to speak more candidly than normal, as she believed she was speaking to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The pranksters have had similar conversations with other public figures, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and former United States President George W. Bush.
When ''Zelensky" noted that ''the problem is they [European protestors] don't want to be controlled'' by a central bank digital currency, Lagarde admitted that ''there will be control, you're right. You're completely right,'' but suggested it would be a ''limited amount of control,'' adding:
''We are considering whether for very small amounts, anything that is around 300, 400 euros, we could have a mechanism where there is zero control. But that could be dangerous.''But Lagarde noted that terrorist attacks can, and have been, entirely financed by small, anonymous transactions.
Lagarde's comments have been heavily criticized by the crypto community, particularly relating to her mention that a digital euro would allow for control over people and payments.
BREAKING: European Central Bank President speaks about plans to launch a digital euro (CBDC),She says there will be control over payments.
This is HORRIBLE folks! Do NOT give into their control. Turn to crypto and $XRP, not this bullshit!
The harder they push control upon'... pic.twitter.com/rfZ1Eh6Roa
'-- MASON VERSLUIS ðð--® (@MasonVersluis) April 6, 2023Some users saw the bright side, suggesting that by making it clear ''where all this is going,'' people will be pushed towards using decentralized currencies such as Bitcoin .
I'd personally like to thank Christina LeGarde for choosing to advance bitcoin by making it so painfully obvious to the masses where all this is going.
'-- 'itcoin Kramer '¸'¸'¸ (@KramericaBTC_) April 7, 2023The ECB began a two-year investigation into a digital euro back in July 2021 and has been reporting on its progress.
The investigation is set to conclude on Sept. 29, and according to Lagarde, a decision about whether one will be launched will be made in October.
NHS dentist shortage 'leaving patients stranded' - BBC News
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:09
Image source, Rui Vieira Image caption, For children the wait is by far the worst - with 95% of NHS practices unable to take them on
By Clara Bullock & Ali Vowles
An MP says his constituents are being "left stranded" when it comes to finding an NHS dentist.
In 2022, a BBC investigation found the south-west of England was the joint worst place in the country for an adult to find an NHS dentist.
For children, this area is the worst - with 95% of NHS practices unable to take them on.
The Department of Health previously said improving NHS access was a priority.
Labour's Darren Jones, who represents Bristol North West, has raised the issue in the House of Commons.
"It is not necessarily because they are greedy, it is just because the national NHS contract does not allow them to see as many NHS patients as they might want to," Mr Jones said.
The NHS contract means dentists get paid for a certain number of patients, but this number is restricted.
"That has left many families to rely on private services, which are often expensive," Mr Jones added.
Samuel Labib, a dentist at Hanham Dental, said: "At the moment, any private work we do ends up subsidising all the NHS work we do because it runs at a loss.
"You cannot help everyone and you try to help everyone you can."
"Ultimately, I have a business to run, I have employees to pay and I have to keep the business going so the patients I am currently seeing do have a dentist," he added.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health previously told the BBC: "We are investing more than £3bn a year into dentistry and have already implemented additional measures to improve access."
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Vaccines for CANCER and heart disease will be ready by 2030, Moderna chief says | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:07
Vaccines against cancer and heart disease could be ready by the end of the decade, according to Moderna's chief executive.
Dr Paul Burton, said the advancements made in the field of mRNA '-- the technology used to make his company's flagship Covid shot '-- have ushered in a golden era of vaccines.
He predicts that by 2030 there will be vaccines for 'all sorts' of incurable conditions, saving 'hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives.'
Early studies have already shown 'tremendous promise', he added. But they are not likely to be your typical vaccine '-- they will need to be highly personalized and expensive.
Scientists at Moderna say it may be possible to vaccinate against heart disease and cancer in as little as five years (stock image)
Heart disease and cancer are the biggest killers in the US, behind 1.3million fatalities annually '-- or more than one in three of all deaths recorded.
Dr Paul Burton, the chief executive of the vaccine maker, told The Guardian: 'We will have that vaccine and it will be highly effective, and it will save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives.
'I think we will be able to offer personalized cancer vaccines against multiple different tumor types to people around the world.'
Dr Paul Burton, Moderna's chief medical officer, said mRNA vaccines could be harnessed to fight cancer and heart disease
He added: 'I think what we have learned in recent months is that if you ever thought that mRNA was just for infectious diseases, or just for Covid, the evidence now is that that's absolutely not the case.
'It can be applied to all sorts of disease areas; We are in cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, rare diseases.
'We have studies in all of those areas and they have all shown tremendous promise.'
Dr Burton did not say how the vaccines would work, but previous studies have shown how mRNA could be used to fight cancer.
MRNA vaccines work by instructing cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response against a specific pathogen, like Covid.
Scientists say these instructions can also be tweaked to get cells to make the antigens from the surface of cancer cells, alerting the immune system to cancer cells and triggering an attack.
To vaccinate someone against cancer, doctors would first take a biopsy from the person's tumor.
They would then identify the antigen on the cancer cells and code the mRNA vaccine to trigger cells to make the same antigen.
The vaccine would then be administered to a patient, triggering their cells to make the antigen and sparking an immune response against it.
Immune cells would then be trained to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the body and to hunt out any cancer cells that return.
The new shot '-- designed for people with high-risk melanoma '-- is in the second of three trials and a verdict on whether it works or not is expected within months. It harnesses mRNA technology that delivers pieces of genetic code from patients' tumors into their cells and teaches the body to fight off the cancer. The vaccine is given to people post-surgery to prevent the tumor from returning, and it is tailored to each patient, meaning no two shots will be the same
The above graph shows the leading causes of death in the United States in 2020 and 2021. Cancer and heart disease were the leading causes, even during the Covid pandemic
Doctors say mRNA vaccines could be tweaked for each patient to account for different cancer types and differences between patients. But this is likely to prove expensive.
Trials of mRNA cancer vaccines are already underway in the UK and the US, with results expected over the coming months.
They include Moderna's own cancer vaccine, which was granted 'breakthrough therapy' status by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February '-- paving the way for a fast-tracked approval.
The shot, given alongside an immunotherapy drug made by Merck, would be used to treat patients recovering from advanced melanoma who are most at risk of tumors returning.
A phase two trial showed the combination reduced the risk of relapse or death after surgery by 44 percent compared to the immunotherapy drug on its own.
Research on heart disease vaccines is in the early stages. They may work by targeting proteins that cause high levels of cholesterol in the blood, raising the risk of heart disease.
Others suggest they could also be used to prompt the production of specific proteins involved in the repair of the heart and its function.
In one study published last year, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania used mRNA to re-engineer cells in mice to remove fibrosis.
The vaccines could also be manipulated to treat autoimmune diseases, which sees the body mistakenly attack healthy cells, like in cases of multiple sclerosis.
In MS, immune cells start to attack the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells triggering symptoms including muscle spasms, pain and limited mobility.
Moderna has already pushed the boundaries of mRNA vaccines against diseases, designing a shot to prime the immune system to fight RSV '-- which was also granted 'breakthrough' status by the FDA.
Results showed it was 83 percent effective at preventing at least two symptoms, such as cough and fever, in adults aged 60 and older.
For comparison, the annual flu shot reduces the risk of disease by between 40 and 60 percent according to estimates.
Pfizer has also begun recruiting for late-stage clinical trials of an mRNA-based flu vaccine and is developing shots against other diseases such as shingles.
How mRNA tech could cure cancerFor over a decade, cancer researchers have been working on individualized cancer vaccines, using technology including mRNA.
Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is genetic material that tells the body how to make proteins.
The mRNA Covid vaccine teaches cells in the body how to make a protein that sets off an immune response.
The immune response generates antibodies, so that if the body is exposed to the real virus later, the body will recognize it and know how to fight it off.
With a cancer vaccine, researchers aim to bring out an immune response to fight abnormal proteins, known as neoantigens, made by cancer cells.
The manufacturing process for the vaccine begins by identifying the genetic mutations in a patient's tumor cells that could release neoantigens.
The patient will have had the tumor surgically removed, meaning scientists can easily look at the tumor's cells.
Computer algorithms judge which neoantigens are most likely to latch onto receptors on white blood cells and trigger an immune response.
The personalized shot can hold genetic sequences for up to 34 different neoantigens.
It is hoped that the mRNA vaccine will then activate white blood cells which can recognize individual cancer cells thanks to the cancer cells' neoantigens.
The vaccine will effectively teach the immune system that cancer cells are different to the rest of the body.
This will hopefully not be too hard, as neoantigens do not form on normal cells.
Once tissue samples have been gathered from a patient, it takes between one and two months to make a personalized mRNA cancer vaccine.
A previous Moderna-sponsored study of a personalized cancer vaccine on patients with head and neck cancer saw the biotech company produce each individualized shot in around six weeks.
Because of the specialized nature of the vaccines, each one can cost up to $100,000.
Source: National Cancer Institute, CDC
Covid jabs will be given to vulnerable BABIES: Health chiefs recommend two Pfizer doses | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 13:05
Babies with underlying conditions will be offered a Covid vaccine, UK health chiefs confirmed today.
Around 60,000 infants aged six months to four years will be eligible for two Pfizer jabs.
They include children with poorly controlled asthma and issues affecting their heart, kidneys, liver or digestive system.
While Covid poses a small threat to the overwhelming majority of children, some are at risk of a more serious illness. Jabs are the 'best way to increase their protection', according to the Government's vaccine taskforce.
NHS sites will begin offering jabs in mid-June. Parents should wait to be contacted before coming forward, officials said.
NHS England has confirmed it will begin offering jabs to those eligible in England from mid-June
Latest data from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that 51 under-fours have died within four weeks of a positive Covid test since the pandemic began
Latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggests that 51 under-fours have died of Covid since the pandemic began.
Yet this toll includes anyone who has tested positive for the virus within four weeks of dying, so could be a slight overestimate.
In a report published today, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on the jab rollout, said eligible youngsters should be offered two 3-microgram doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine, at least eight weeks apart.
If a child has recently been infected with the virus, they should not be jabbed until at least four weeks later, it said.
Further advise on third doses of the low-dose formulation for those in the cohort who are immunosuppressed will be issue 'in due course', the JCVI said.
Healthy children in the age group are not currently eligible, it added.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI's COVID-19 Committee, said: 'For the vast majority of infants and children, Covid causes only mild symptoms, or sometimes no symptoms.
'However, for a small group of children with pre-existing health conditions it can lead to more serious illness, and for them, vaccination is the best way to increase their protection.'
The JCVI's advice follows a review of Covid vaccine trials among children in the US, including safety data and monitoring the virus amongst youngsters in the UK.
Data suggests that at-risk children aged six months to four years are seven times more likely to be admitted to intensive care with severe Covid, it said.
But more than 90 per cent of the cohort have already been infected and admission rates 'have remained low', the report states.
More than 1million American children aged six months to four years have received at least one dose of Pfizer since June 2022.
Irritability, crying, sleepiness and fever are the most common side effects, while one to two per cent of children suffered a severe fever.
The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave a greenlight to the jab for the age group in December, ruling that it was safe and effective.
But the JCVI then provides advice on how it should be dished out.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA, said: 'Covid is still in circulation, with thousands of new cases reported every week.
'The extra protection offered by the vaccine could be important for young children in clinical risk groups, who are at greater risk of severe illness.
'The virus is not going away so I would encourage all parents to bring their child forward if they are eligible.
'Parents should wait to be contacted by their local health professionals.'
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: 'Children are at very low risk of harm from Covid.
'However, there are a very small number of children with health conditions which make them particularly vulnerable, and for those children we want to give parents the choice as to whether they wish to vaccinate their at-risk child or not.
'I have accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on vaccinating children aged from six months to four years who are in a clinical risk group.
'It is a parental decision, and this advice is simply to enable parents of children with medical conditions to choose if they wish to have the protection.'
What children are now eligible for the Covid jab? Youngsters aged six months to four years in the UK will be eligible for two doses of the Pfizer vaccine if they are in a clinical risk group that makes them vulnerable to the virus.
This latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), states that this cohort may develop more serious illness following a Covid infection, so jabs are the 'best way to increase their protection'.
Those eligible include children with a:
Chronic respiratory disease : including those with poorly controlled asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, cystic fibrosis, ciliary dyskinesias and bronchopulmonary dysplasia
Chronic heart conditions : haemodynamically significant congenital and acquired heart disease, or less severe heart disease with other co-morbidity
Chronic conditions of the kidney, liver or digestive system : including those associated with congenital malformations of the organs, metabolic disorders and neoplasms, and conditions such as severe gastrooesophageal reflux that may predispose to respiratory infection
Chronic neurological disease : those with a) neuro-disability and/or neuromuscular disease that may occur as a result of conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and muscular dystrophy b) hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles, other conditions associated with hypoventilation c) severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities, Down's syndrome, including all those on the learning disability register d) neoplasm of the brain
Endocrine disorders : including diabetes mellitus, Addison's and hypopituitary syndrome
Immunosuppression : due to disease or treatment, including a) those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients b) genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. deficiencies of IRAK-4 or NEMO, complement disorder, SCID) c) those with haematological malignancy, including leukaemia and lymphoma d) those receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy e) those treated with or likely to be treated with high or moderate dose corticosteroids f) those receiving any dose of non-biological oral immune modulating drugs e.g. methotrexate, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine or mycophenolate g) those with auto-immune diseases who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments h) Children who are about to receive planned immunosuppressive therapy should be considered for vaccination prior to commencing therapy
Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen : Including hereditary spherocytosis, homozygous sickle cell disease and thalassemia major
Serious genetic abnormalities that affect a number of systems : Including mitochondrial disease and chromosomal abnormalities
Kayfabe content and podcasts that don't exist
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 02:10
So, over the weekend, I wrote about the curious rise of podcast clips that come from shows that don't actually exist. Essentially, there are a bunch of content creators '-- mostly weird Gen Z hustlebros '-- who set up a microphone and talk into it as if it were a podcast and then turn the footage into short TikTok clips. My theory is that the podcast mic during the time of COVID has evolved into a visual signal of importance, sort of like how during the era of peak TED Talk, a bunch of guys would film themselves on stages, add some inspirational music, and then post it to Facebook. If there's a mic in front of you, I assume the logic goes, it means you're important enough to record.
Well, this week I have been followed around the internet by this extremely graphic video of a woman describing how she would sexually satisfy her hypothetical husband six-to-seven times a day. The video has been retweeted thousands of times and viewed tens of millions of times and there's also a viral TikTok audio of it that people are dueting. And so I got curious. Does this podcast actually exist?
The video has no watermark, which I thought was interesting. Nor does it ever show who this woman is talking to. And, in the comments, no one was mentioning where it came from. Nor was anyone naming the woman in it. It turns out there's a very funny reason as to why, but let's go through the steps here.
TikTok search is a lot better than it used to be, so I tried searching specific lines from the video in the app, which I'm sure has completely broken my TikTok algorithm and put me on some sort of watchlist. But all that did was just pull up a lot of remixes of this same clip. Then I tried screenshotting it and putting it into Google's reverse image search. But Google image search is totally broken now and all that did as give me a list of Twitter accounts retweeting this version of the clip.
I finally stumbled across a TikTok user who shared the clip with the caption, ''where she at?'' And someone in the comments @'d an account that didn't belong to the woman, but aggregated her videos. It appears her official TikTok account has been banned or taken down, which may explain why it was so hard to find her. The reason it was banned is most likely because she's a pornstar and regularly posts pretty graphic content.
Her name is Victoria Banxx and she has around 1.9 million followers on Instagram , which is where this clip originated from. And she has a few other clips, all framed in a similar style. But, best as I can tell, there is no actual podcast. It's just these clips. Also, this may come as a surprise, but the clip that people on Twitter are taking somewhat seriously or, at least, at face value, in the context of her other videos, seems like a bit.
And Banxx's social media presence is interesting because this isn't the only piece of what I'll call ''kayfabe content'' that she's making. She has also posted clips of her doing man-on-the-street interviews that also aren't real or come from any larger production. A lot of the faux-viral content she's making is just to advertise her OnlyFans.
To be clear, there's nothing inherently wrong with staging a podcast to make viral clips. And there's certainly nothing new about the uncanny meta-reality of porn and it's connection to viral media. But there is a larger, darker trend that I think the popularity of this video is tied to, which is the dunking-on-women-in-podcasts content economy. Here's a recent example of what I'm talking about. There's an entire universe of post-Andrew Tate ''sexuality and relationships'' podcasts that put young women in front of microphones, ask them outrageous questions, turn it into viral clips, and let audiences tear them apart. The podcast I linked to even has a ''casting'' process for finding new guests.
The punchline, of course, about the video above is that, at least in this specific instance, it's a woman doing it to herself and then using it to promote her OnlyFans. Which I think is better? At least from a monetization standpoint.
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We have officially entered a nightmarish discourse vortex following the announcement of the indictment of Trump last night. We still don't know what he was indicted for, but it seems like we'll have more info by next Tuesday. As the world waits to see if ol' Donny Trump can wiggle his way out of this one , we also now have to wait and see if conservatives will attempt a second insurrectionist protest movement. As I wrote a few weeks ago , much of the digital infrastructure that was used to organize the last one no longer works the same way. And there's the issue of Trump being in Florida and being indicted in New York, so a geographic focus is tougher to agree upon. I also saw someone make the interesting point that, unlike when protesters headed to Washington in 2021, it's a lot harder to drive into Manhattan from out of town and find a place to park.
In terms of bad discourse, you can really pick your poison, whether it's Fox News pundits shrieking about George Soros, liberal pundits shrieking about looming 4chan psyops, or centrists shrieking about how our '' democracy is being tested ''. Though, as for that last one, I thought this short video explainer by Semafor about other democracies that have indicted their leaders was really good. Makes you wonder if, perhaps, instead of setting a dangerous precedent, the indictment of a former leader is actually, maybe, just a sign of a maturing political structure.
It is impossibly hard to keep track of where we are when it comes to what Twitter is planning, what it has announced, what it has retracted, and what it's even currently doing. I suppose one could argue this is some 5D chess business strategy, but I think the simplest answer is always the best bet, which, in this case, i that Elon Musk doesn't knows what he's doing nor is currently operating a business structure that would allow anyone who does to help him.
On Monday, I wrote about the newest announcements regarding Twitter Blue:
On April 1st, legacy verified accounts will be ''winding down''
On April 15th, only verified accounts will be included in the For You tab's recommendations
And, apparently, today, Twitter's algorithm is going ''open source''. I am not waiting around to publish this to find out if that actually happens or not because, honestly, who cares.
But there are a whole bunch of asterisks and caveats there. Musk has since clarified that the For You tab will also include people you follow. Most major news publishers have announced they won't be paying for Twitter Blue. Twitter says it will now ''exempt'' up to 10,000 companies and organizations from paying for Twitter Blue. Twitter's source code was already leaked to Github and the company then subpoenaed Github over it, ordering the site to identify the user. And, most importantly, Bloomberg is reporting that revenue from the site's top 10 advertisers has dropped almost 90% in the last two months.
This is weirdly similar, in terms of thematic content, to the fake-podcast clip above, but tells a slightly different story about online context collapse. I first saw this controversial wedding vows exchange in the video in the tweet above. Though, the video, itself, is a clip from a user named @gemma2e dueting the original TikTok video, which was posted by a wedding photographer that goes by @lensculture . I'm unclear if @lensculture was the wedding photographer that actually shot the wedding or not, but either way, I'm not sure blowing up a couple's wedding is a good way to advertise your services.
The video went so viral the bride actually had to reply to @lensculture's video and also post a video defending her husband's (very bad) vows. She's also currently using the video's virality to sell vibrators . And just in case you wanted some more psychic damage, all of this apparently happened at a Harry Potter-themed wedding barn wedding .
Look, if a cringe Snape wife wants to have a lame Pinterest wedding with her misogynist soyjak Reddit husband I actually don't think that needs to be a trending topic. I'm sure they're a fun couple to go to Buffalo Wild Wings with. And if it was her actual wedding photographer that kicked all of this off in the first place, I would literally consider suing him for emotional distress. Though, I suppose using said distress to sell sex toys complicates things. But I honestly just don't think we're meant to live this much in public. Weddings, like most big moments in people's lives, are weird and personal and complicated and probably not really meant for this level of mass consumption.
Hopefully, the US government will do the right thing and take this technology away from us (jk lol).
There's been a flurry of panicky AI warnings published this month that I think are somewhat overstated and, in some cases, belying some ulterior movements. Here are the four most notable ones:
'' You Can Have the Blue Pill or the Red Pill, and We're Out of Blue Pills '' in the New York Times , by Tristan Harris, Aza Raskin, and Yuval Harari
'' Why Are We Letting the AI Crisis Just Happen? '' in The Atlantic by Gary Marcus
'' Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter '' by the Future Of Life Institute
'' Pausing AI Developments Isn't Enough. We Need to Shut it All Down '' in TIME by Eliezer Yudkowsky
As far as the first two are concerned, I think they're just a little bit much. And, personally, as someone who really liked his book Homo Deus , I was surprised that Harari was involved in a piece about AI that was that bombastic.
In the case of the Future of Life's open letter, I think it's notable that its major signatories include many heads of AI firms in direct competition with OpenAI, along with Elon Musk, who, through Tesla, is also the head of an AI company, I suppose. And as far as Yudkowsky's goes, I think it was downright irresponsible for TIME to have published it, considering how he openly advocates for the military destruction of any country that does not agree to a ''multinational agreement'' on a worldwide moratorium on training new AI models.
Anyways, maybe I'm just a big pessimist, but I just don't think there's much we can do about the ''AI crisis''. It's just going to happen. And I think it's actually very funny that all of these guys (once again, all guys, curious) are imagining some kind of organized global consensus even being possible with regards to something as complicated as the definition of artificial intelligence as we barrel our way into the third year of a still-very-much happening pandemic that people still can't even agree on how to deal with.
I just don't think there's any world where humanity comes together to deal with this stuff, which means any advocacy for it is doomed to end in geopolitical conflict and, man, I just don't think the invention of a slightly better autocomplete app is worth World War 3.
The New York Times profiled Ryder Ripps
''Collectible toymaker Good Smile has secretly financed 4chan for years''
''How a TikToker Brought Hundreds of Transplants to a Midwestern City''
P.S. here's a good crab video .
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
The dumb reason Twitter won't allow retweeting tweets linking to Substack | Ars Technica
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:56
Elon gonna Elon '-- "Some actions on this tweet have been disabled by Twitter." Timothy B. Lee - Apr 7, 2023 2:49 pm UTC
Getty Images | NurPhoto
Twitter users on Friday began noticing that they could not retweet or reply to tweets containing links to the Substack.com domain. This behavior seems to have started less than 48 hours after the popular newsletter platform announced a new product called Notes that will compete directly with Twitter.
For example, this tweet references my newsletter, understandingai.substack.com. When I try to retweet it, it gives me an error message saying, "Some actions on this tweet have been disabled by Twitter." If I try to reply to the same tweet, I get an error message saying, "Something went wrong, but don't fret'--let's give it another shot." Even liking isn't allowed.
This tweet is identical, except that I linked to my custom domain, understandingai.org. I have no trouble liking, retweeting, or replying to it.
In the last 24 hours, Twitter also appears to have started blocking tweet-embedding in Substack posts.
"We're investigating reports that Twitter embeds and authentication no longer work on Substack," Substack tweeted on Thursday. "We are actively trying to resolve this and will share updates as additional information becomes available."
Advertisement I emailed Twitter's official press email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for comment. Twitter automatically replies to all emails at that account with the message "ð'(C)." I don't expect a further response, as Twitter appears to have laid off most of its press shop. Tesla disbanded its PR department three years ago.
But it's not hard to guess why Twitter started restricting tweets about Substack. On Wednesday, Substack announced its Notes feature, which sounds an awful lot like Twitter.
"In Notes, writers will be able to post short-form content and share ideas with each other and their readers," Substack wrote in a blog post. "Like our Recommendations feature, Notes is designed to drive discovery across Substack. But while Recommendations lets writers promote publications, Notes will give them the ability to recommend almost anything'--including posts, quotes, comments, images, and links."
This wouldn't be the first time Twitter has restricted the reach of rivals on its platform. Back in December, Twitter banned several technology reporters after they reported on the controversy over services that track Twitter-owner Elon Musk's private jet. That led to an exodus of users to Twitter rivals such as Mastodon. A few days later, Twitter started blocking links to Mastodon and other competing social media platforms.
As I write this, tweets linking to Mastodon accounts seem to be working again.
Substack has yet to respond to an email seeking comment. We'll update the story if we hear back.
Tim Lee was on staff at Ars from 2017 to 2021. He recently launched a new Substack newsletter, Understanding AI. It explores how AI works and how it's changing our world. You can subscribe to his newsletter here.
(21) Marina Medvin ðºð¸ on Twitter: "Daniel Perry case -- read the affidavit from the lead detective, claiming that the Soros DA directed him "to remove exculpatory information that I had intended to present to the grand jury during my testimony." Thi
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:54
Marina Medvin ðºð¸ : Daniel Perry case -- read the affidavit from the lead detective, claiming that the Soros DA directed him "to remove'... https://t.co/rIAEqA9q4S
Sat Apr 08 12:16:37 +0000 2023
dan casey : @MarinaMedvin https://t.co/1SrloJ6rM0
Sun Apr 09 01:54:04 +0000 2023
' snoÉ¯Êuou' : @MarinaMedvin Old news. Perry's attorneys tried to bring this into court, claiming prosecutorial misconduct and the'... https://t.co/Ni8coaH0jG
Sun Apr 09 01:52:58 +0000 2023
dan casey : @MarinaMedvin Funny here's an article . And in it during cross exam . Asked if he's ever been wrong before in a cas'... https://t.co/JvkUJCANFq
Sun Apr 09 01:52:57 +0000 2023
Leaked NATO Plans for Ukraine Should Be Taken 'With Grain of Salt'
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:54
'Awfully Convenient': Leaked NATO Plans for Ukraine Should Be Taken 'With Grain of Salt'
'Awfully Convenient': Leaked NATO Plans for Ukraine Should Be Taken 'With Grain of Salt'
While the sudden leak of numerous classified US documents related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine reportedly prompted the Pentagon to launch an... 08.04.2023, Sputnik International
Classified documents that purportedly outline US and NATO plans for the Ukrainian military were leaked to the public this week, and if US media is to be believed, the Pentagon has already rushed to investigate this apparent breach of security.During an interview with Sputnik, international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda pointed out that the story was broken by the New York Times. According to him, given that US officials are now claiming that part of the story is true and part of it is not, it begets the question: ''why was it leaked and what did they want us to believe?''The leak, Sleboda suggested, likely comes ''from the American side or someone within the American side,'' with the analyst noting that some of the leaked papers ''confirm information that we really already knew,'' such as the data about the newly-formed Ukrainian brigades. He suggests taking the leaked information "with a grain of salt."Regarding the rationale behind the sharing of the leaked information on social media, Sleboda argued that ''a lot of it maybe [was] buttressing the public knowledge of US support for the offensive that is about to be launched.''He also observed that the leaked information does not include any specific battle plans, ''which seems awfully convenient.''For more in-depth analysis, check out the latest episode of Sputnik's podcast Fault Lines.
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
us, ukraine, classified information, leak
us, ukraine, classified information, leak
17:22 GMT 08.04.2023 (Updated: 17:24 GMT 08.04.2023 )While the sudden leak of numerous classified US documents related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine reportedly prompted the Pentagon to launch an investigation into the matter, the way the "revelation" was covered by the media makes it look somewhat suspect.
Classified documents that purportedly outline US and NATO plans for the Ukrainian military were leaked to the public this week, and if US media is to be believed, the Pentagon has already rushed to investigate this apparent breach of security.
an interview with Sputnik, international relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda pointed out that the story was broken by the New York Times. According to him, given that US officials are now claiming that part of the story is true and part of it is not, it begets the question: ''why was it leaked and what did they want us to believe?''
The leak, Sleboda suggested, likely comes ''from the American side or someone within the American side,'' with the analyst noting that some of the leaked papers ''confirm information that we really already knew,'' such as the data about the newly-formed Ukrainian brigades. He suggests taking the leaked information "with a grain of salt."
Regarding the rationale behind the sharing of the leaked information on social media, Sleboda argued that ''a lot of it maybe [was] buttressing the public knowledge of US support for the offensive that is about to be launched.''
''We know that NATO considers it their last-ditch effort, they do not have the ability to continue to sustain the Kiev regime in terms of ammunition, artillery shells, other gear, and for them this is all or nothing,'' he mused. ''So they're expecting success out of this and they do not appear to have a plan B in that regard. Plan B might default the Plan D, which is NATO troops enter Western Ukraine or some NATO member-states enter West Ukraine, say Poland and the US, possibly Romania.''
He also observed that the leaked information does not include any specific battle plans, ''which seems awfully convenient.''
For more in-depth analysis, check out the latest episode of Sputnik's podcast Fault Lines.
Could you live forever? Experts claim humans could achieve IMMORTALITY by 2030 | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:40
Would you like to live forever? Well, some experts say you might.
Last week, a former Google engineer said he believes that humans will achieve immortality within the next eight years.
Ray Kurzweil - who has an 86 per cent success rate with his predictions - thinks that advances in technology will quickly lead to age-reversing 'nanobots'.
While it sounds far-fetched, scientists have been looking for years into ways we can regenerate our cells, or upload our minds to a computer.
MailOnline takes a look at the strangest ways humanity could attain eternal life.
MailOnline takes a look at the strangest ways humanity could attain eternal life
HOW HUMANS COULD ACHIEVE IMMORTALITY Electronic immortality - Preserving brain after death and uploading the mind to a computer.
Freezing the brain - Cryogenically freezing the brain until technology advances to allow it to be brought back to life.
Cell rejuvenation - Rejuvenating ageing or damaged cells in the body by injecting them with stem cells.
Reanimating the brain - Pumping the brain with artificial blood to keep it alive.
The idea of uploading your mind to a computer has been theorised for many years now, but it has mostly remained the stuff of science fiction.
Nectome, a US-based startup, is trying to change that by devising a way to preserve the human brain so that its memories can be uploaded to the cloud.
The firm has figured out a way to preserve the human brain in microscopic detail using a 'high-tech embalming process,' according to the MIT Technology Review.
It uses a chemical solution that can keep the body intact for hundreds or thousands of years as a statue of frozen glass.
'You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,' said Robert McIntyre, Nectome's cofounder.
Speaking to prospective customers, Nectome positions its service as: 'What if we told you we could back up your mind?'
But the key to being able to recreate a person's consciousness involves accessing the organ's 'connectome.'
A connectome is the complex web of neural connections in the brain, often referred to as the brain's wiring system.
Nectome, which has been referred to as a 'preserve-your-brain-and-upload-it' company, has figured out a way to embalm the connectome as well.
However, in order for the technology to work, participants have to be willing to be euthanized, which led to it losing a contract with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018.
The prestigious institution claimed the technology is in its infancy and there is no guarantee that they can recreate consciousness.
Nectome, a US-based startup, is devising a way to preserve the human brain so that its memories can be uploaded to the cloud. Pictured: A screenshot from Nectome's website
Within the next few decades, humanity may be able to achieve a sort of immortality by merging our minds with machines, according to a prominent futurist. This could mean we live on through androids even after our bodies die, allowing us to attend our own funerals
Despite the setback, that same year, a prominent futurist predicted that 'electronic immortality' would be available to humans by 2050.
Dr Ian Pearson said that human intelligence, memory or senses could be connected to external technology.
Rather than creating a backed up copy of your mind, most of your intelligence would simply be running from a place outside of your physical brain.
In a blog post, he wrote: 'One day, your body dies and with it your brain stops,' he wrote in a blog post.
'But no big problem, because 99 per cent of your mind is still fine, running happily on IT, in the clouds.
'Assuming you saved enough and prepared well, you connect to an android to use as your body from now on, attend your funeral, and then carry on as before, still you, just with a younger, highly upgraded body.'
He adds that this type of immortality has dangers too, as it would require the use of a purchased or rented android and cloud space ultimately owned by a tech company.
These companies could thus 'enslave' workers after their deaths, by maintaining ownership of the mind for their own benefit down the line.
'Maybe the cloud company could replicate your mind and make variations to address a wide range of markets,' the futurist wrote.
'Maybe they can use your mind as the UX on a new range of home-help robots. Each instance of you thinks they were once you, each thinks they are now enslaved to work for free for a tech company.'
WHAT IS CRYOGENICS? Cryogenics is the art of freezing bodies by preserving a dead body with liquid nitrogen.
Currently, it can only legally happen when someone has just been declared dead.
The freezing process must begin as soon as the patient dies in order to prevent brain damage, with facilities currently available in Russia and the US.
In the procedure, the body is cooled in an ice bath to gradually reduce its temperature bit by bit.
Experts then drain the blood and replace it with an anti freeze fluid to stop harmful ice crystals forming in the body.
Freezing the brain
Some companies offer the opportunity for people to have their brains frozen after they die, in the hope they can be brought back to life in the future.
One of these is Russian cryonics firm KrioRus, which currently has 91 human 'patients' stored at -320.8°F (-196°C) with the aim of protecting them against deterioration.
This is cold enough to stop all cellular function and preserve a body's state until defrost
This is so that they can potentially be revived in the future when science advances enough to cure any illness they may have had, including death itself, says KrioRus.
Their brains, or full bodies, are all currently floating in large vats of liquid nitrogen and housed in a corrugated metal shed outside Moscow.
It costs at least $28,000 (£22,500) to be cryogenically preserved with this company.
It claims the service gives people left behind by dead relatives a 'peace of mind' and hope they will see them again.
They also freeze pets, and currently store 58 dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, rabbits and a chinchilla.
But, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences's Pseudoscience Commission, Evgeny Alexandrov, described cryonics as 'an exclusively commercial undertaking that does not have any scientific basis', in comments to the Izvestia newspaper.
It is 'a fantasy speculating on people's hopes of resurrection from the dead and dreams of eternal life', the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Valeriya Udalova, KrioRus's director, had her dog frozen when it died in 2008, she says it helps people deal with loss.
She said it is likely that humankind will develop the technology to revive dead people in the future, but that there is 'no guarantee of such technology'.
This is by far the only company offering such a service, and there are thought to at least 500 bodies frozen in this way worldwide.
Russian cryonics firm KrioRus currently has 91 human 'patients' stored at -320.8°F (-196°C) with the aim of protecting them against deterioration
Their brains, or full bodies, are all currently floating in large vats of liquid nitrogen and housed in a corrugated metal shed outside Moscow
Another prominent company is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona, USA, which had 199 patients as of October 2022.
There, full bodies are stored in large cylindrical chambers alongside three other full bodies. Brains can be stored in shelves, with five fitting into a slot for one body.
After a person dies, doctors must work fast to preserve the body and get it into storage.
Comparing the process to organ harvesting, Max More, CEO of Alcor, said in a 2020 interview that the first step was draining the body of its blood and liquids.
They then pump it full of an antifreeze-like substance. This is to prevent cells from becoming crystallised and damaged during the freezing process.
People who invest in these services are often desperate to reunite with family in the future.
The youngest known Alcor patient is a two-year-old Thai girl who died of brain cancer. Her family hopes to reunite with her down the line.
Another prominent company is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona, USA, which had 199 patients as of October 2022. Pictured: The metal cylinders that hold the bodies and brains of people who choose to be cryonically frozen after their deaths
But cryogenic freezing also attracts the rich and eccentric. Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney chose to have his body cryopreserved after he died from complications related to ALS in 2014.
There are serious ethical and moral concerns about the practice which has been touted for decades but remains a pipe dream.
The high prices of this preservation can often drain a person's estate, and will often consume a massive portion of their life-insurance payout - which could have instead benefited their family down the line.
Mr More admitted during an interview in February 2020 that his firm does not know when technology needed to wake up their patients will exist.
However, he is hopeful that this technology will exist and cited recent success in stem-cell research and lab-made organ growth as starting to pave the way forward.
Dr Michael Hendricks, a biologist at Canada's McGill University, wrote in 2015 that what makes a person's personality, sense of self, decision making and day-to-day mood are small connections between nerve cells.
But current technology has no way of perfectly storing these cells across the body, and changes to them would fundamentally change who a person is.
When a person dies, their body is iced to be cooled down and then has all of its blood and other liquids removed so they do not crystallise in storage and damage the body's cell. Pictured: A dummy in place of where a body would be while it is being prepared to be stored
Pictured: Brain scans of a patient that chose to have the organ frozen and maintained to be revived in the future. The Alcor team is hopeful technology to rebuild the body around the brain would allow for it to be implanted into a new body in the future
Many scientific breakthroughs have been made with regards to stem cell injections, which have been found to be able to rejuvenate cells.
Stem cells are unique because they can differentiate into different types of cells in the body, such as muscle, bone or nerve cells.
When injected into the body, they can integrate with damaged tissues and help to repair and regenerate them.
In 2016, stem cell injections reversed the scar tissue in a trial of 11 seriously ill patients who had suffered heart attacks, reducing scarring by 40 per cent.
Similarly, in 2019, Cambridge University researchers regenerated lost heart muscle and blood vessels in rats with damaged hearts after transplanting stem cells from a human heart.
In 2019, Cambridge University researchers regenerated lost heart muscle and blood vessels in rats with damaged hearts after transplanting stem cells from a human heart
Stem cells are found everywhere in the body, especially the bone marrow, standing ready to morph into the 200-odd types of cell that make up humans to repair damage.
But their numbers fall as we age, leaving older adults lacking the same regenerative capabilities as their younger peers.
Some creatures, like flatworms and hydras, have stem cells throughout their lives so are always able to regenerate lost body parts.
Dr Steven Cohen, who owns wellness clinics in California and London, says that stem cell therapy could be the key to extending the human life expectancy to up to 150.
Last month, he said his technology, which involves injecting people with exosomes, small vesicles that are naturally produced by stem cells, is just five years away.
The hope is that the exosomes - bursting with essential proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and others - will flow into organs and help to 'de-age' them, allowing someone to live longer.
A paper published last year found that more exosomes in the body boosted brain function, while another from the same year suggested they could reduce frailty and help someone live longer.
A 2016 study from the Salk Institute in California claimed that the key to halting or reversing ageing may lie in cellular reprogramming. Left: Mouse muscle cells before the technique was used and Yamanaka Factors were induced. Right: After
Multiple ageing signs were reversed, without losing the skin cell identity. Left: Mouse skin cells before the technique was used and Yamanaka Factors were induced. Right: After
Other scientists have suggested people could one day live to the age of 200 and are exploring technology like pills to flush out 'zombie cells' and ways to tweak DNA to extend someone's lifespan.
These cells stop dividing like others but start to spew a cocktail of harmful chemicals, damaging and degrading those around them.
Pills that flush these out are already in human trials with scientists saying they could hit the market in as little as 10 years.
A 2016 study from the Salk Institute in California claimed that the key to halting or reversing ageing may lie in cellular reprogramming.
This is a process in which the expression of four genes, known as the Yamanaka factors, is induced, allowing scientists to convert any adult cell into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Like embryonic stem cells, which are derived from early-stage embryos, iPSCs are capable of dividing indefinitely and becoming any cell type present in our body.
The researchers found that when cellular reprogramming was induced in mice, their cells looked and acted younger.
Reanimating the brain
A technology that was developed to help scientists study brains in three dimensions could also provide the key to eternal life.
In 2019, scientists at Yale University restored the circulation and cellular activity in a pig's brain four hours after its death by pumping it with oxygen-rich artificial blood.
Neuroscientist and lead author Dr Nenad Sestan said it is possible the brains could have been kept alive indefinitely and that additional steps could be taken to restore awareness, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review.
But he added that his team chose not to attempt either because 'this is uncharted territory.'
In 2019, scientists at Yale University restored the circulation and cellular activity in a pig's brain four hours after its death by pumping it with oxygen-rich artificial blood (stock image)
Chemicals added to prevent swelling during the procedure would likely prohibit consciousness indefinitely.
This means it may not be possible for the team to resuscitate brains that can still 'think' using their current methods.
The experiment's success provided a new way of studying the structure and function of the intact large mammalian brain.
'Previously, we have only been able to study cells in the large mammalian brain under static or largely two-dimensional conditions utilising small tissue samples outside of their native environment, said co-first author Stefano Daniele.
'For the first time, we are able to investigate the large brain in three dimensions, which increases our ability to study complex cellular interactions and connectivity.'
The team hoped these future 3D brain studies could help doctors find ways to salvage brain function in stroke patients, or test novel therapies.
Neuroscientist and lead author Dr Nenad Sestan said it is possible the brains could have been kept alive indefinitely and that additional steps could be taken to restore awareness, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review. Pictured: Closed-loop system the brains were connected to
Immunofluorescent stains for neurons (green), astrocytes (red), and cell nuclei (blue) in a region of a pig's brain left untreated 10 hours after death (left) or subjeted to the Yale technology (right)
But scientists also said it may one day allow humans to become immortal by hooking up our minds to artificial systems after our natural bodies have perished.
Nottingham Trent ethics and philosophy lecturer Benjamin Curtis said that this may lead to humans being locked in an eternal 'living hell' and enduring a 'fate worse than death.
'Even if your conscious brain were kept alive after your body had died, you would have to spend the foreseeable future as a disembodied brain in a bucket, locked away inside your own mind without access to the sense that allow us to experience and interact with the world,' Curtis told The Conversation.
'In the best case scenario you would be spending your life with only your own thoughts for company.'
HOW SOON WILL WE BE ABLE TO UPLOAD OUR MINDS TO A COMPUTER?Brain and memory preservation has been explored at length by futurists, scientists and science fiction junkies alike.
Many say it falls under the category of 'transhumanism.'
Transhumanism is the belief that the human body can evolve beyond its current form with the help of scientists and technology.
The practice of mind uploading has been promoted by many people, including Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, who believes we will be able to upload our entire brains to computers by 2045.
Similar technologies have been depicted in science fiction dramas, ranging from Netflix's Altered Carbon, to the popular series Black Mirror.
Another prominent futurist, Dr Michio Kaku, believes virtual reality can be used to keep our loved ones' personalities and memories alive even after they die.
Scientists and futurists have different theories about how we might be able to preserve the human brain, ranging from uploading our memories to a computer to Nectome's high-tech embalming process, which can keep it intact for thousands of years
'Imagine being able to speak to your loved one after they die ... it is possible if their personality has been downloaded onto a computer as an avatar,' he explained.
These ideas haven't been met without criticism.
McGill University Neuroscientist Michael Hendricks told MIT that these technologies are a 'joke.'
'I hope future people are appalled that in the 21st century, the richest and most comfortable people in history spent their money and resources trying to live forever on the backs of their descendants. I mean, it's a joke, right? They are cartoon bad guys,' he said.
Meanwhile, neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis said recently that such technologies would be virtually impossible.
'The brain is not computable and no engineering can reproduce it,' he said.
'You can have all the computer chips in the world and you won't create a consciousness.'
George Soros' son has easy access to White House honchos
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:34
A son of billionaire George Soros has quietly become a de-facto White House ''ambassador,'' making at least 14 visits there on behalf of the far-left kingmaker since President Joe Biden took office, records reviewed by The Post show.
Alexander Soros '-- a prolific Democratic fundraiser in his own right who likes to boast about his relationships with world leaders on social media '-- scored at least a dozen meetings with White House officials in 2022, according to recently updated White House visitor logs. Soros, 37, also participated in two other confabs there in late 2021, the records show.
His latest trips include visiting Dec. 1 with then-White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain's advisor Nina Srivastava, who also worked on Biden's presidential campaign, the logs show.
Later that evening. the younger Soros was one of 330 people who attended a lavish state dinner on the White House South Lawn hosted by the president and First Lady Jill Biden honoring French President Emmanuel Macron and Macron's wife, Brigitte.
A day later, Alexander Soros '-- who chairs the powerful, liberal grant-making network Open Society Foundations founded by his dad '-- met with both Advisor to the Counselor of President Mariana Adame and Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer, records show.
Alexander Soros attended a state dinner on the White House South Lawn honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Alexander SorosHis previous White House meetings included earlier sitdowns with Adame on October 14; Srivastava on September 14; Finer on Dec. 15, 2021, and October 6 and September 15 of last year, according to records.
Soros also had meetings with Kimberly Lang, then a National Security Advisor executive assistant, on October 6; and former Klain advisor Madeline Strasser on Oct. 29, 2021, and April 22, 2022.
It's unclear what was discussed at the meetings, and the White House did not return messages.
Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project at the Conservative Heritage Foundation, said the younger Soros' easy White House access is troubling considering the Soros family has already ''done tremendous damage to our country.''
Alexander Soros chairs the liberal grant-making network Open Society Foundations founded by his father. Anthony J. Causi''The Soros agenda is one of death and destruction in the name of open borders and ending Western Civilization,'' he said. ''The Biden administration and rogue prosecutor movement may be [its] most damaging purchase in America to date.''
The Soros family's influence over White House policy has never been stronger, according to Matt Palumbo, author of ''The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros.''
''All throughout the White House, there is a Soros hold somewhere, and his son is his father's new ambassador,'' Palumbo told The Post.
White House records show an expansive list of Soros' meetings with top officials:
12/2/2022: Mariana Adame, Advisor to the Counselor Steve Ricchetti12/2/2022: Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor12/1/2022: State Dinner on South Lawn for French President Emmanuel Macron attended by President Biden12/1/2022: Nina Srivastava, adviser to then-Chief of Staff Ron Klain10/14/2022: Mariana Adame, Advisor to the Counselor Steve Ricchetti (x2)10/6/2022: Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor10/6/2022: Kimberly Lang, Executive Assistant to the National Security Advisor9/15/2022: Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor9/14/2022: Nina Srivastava, adviser to then-Chief of Staff Ron Klain (x2)4/22/2022: Madeline Strasser, adviser to then-Chief of Staff Ron Klain12/15/2021: Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor10/29/2021: Madeline Strasser, adviser to then-Chief of Staff Ron KlainFollowing the 2020 presidential election, Biden's transition team was filled with liberals connected to Soros' network, and Biden's cabinet was also armed with Soros loyalists, Palumbo said.
Alexander Soros, seen here with former President Barack Obama, scored 14 White House meetings in a little over a year.They included Klain, a board member of the lobbying wing of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that pushes abortion rights, climate-change policies, and other causes.
George Soros typically tries to keep a lower profile, exerting influence by donating under the radar to lefty candidates and funneling money to liberal causes through his Open Society Foundations and related nonprofits he founded, which have doled out more than $32 billion worldwide since 1984, according to its website.
Start your day with all you need to knowMorning Report delivers the latest news, videos, photos and more.
The Hungarian-born, 92-year-old has recently come under renewed fire from conservatives linking him to former President Donald Trump's legal woes.
They point to the elder Soros donating $1 million in 2021 to the left-wing Color of Change political action committee that backed Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who convened the grand jury that indicted Trump late last month on criminal charges over an alleged hush-money payment.
Soros '-- whose payment to Color of Change was part of a larger effort to finance a criminal justice revolution aimed at abolishing bail and defunding police '-- has denied supporting Bragg's campaign directly or even knowing the soft-on-crime DA.
Alexander Soros' politicking is much more of an open book than his father's.
The younger Soros has individually donated more than $11 million to lefty political action committees since 2010 '' including $2 million in 2018 to the Senate Majority PAC that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has major influence over, records show.
A review of his Instagram page shows him visiting with Schumer at least nine times since 2018, and posing with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) eight times.
Alexander Soros boasts about his relationships with world leaders and other elected officials on social media, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.The account also highlights photos of him with his dad, as well as with former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other prominent Dems at fundraisers he hosted or other events.
Scoring 14 White House meetings in a little over a year suggests the younger Soros has ''an outsize policy influence in the Biden administration'' rivaling the easy access only a select few as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has, said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch.
George Soros is pursuing an ''aggressive environmental agenda,'' open-border initiatives, and other far-left causes dear to him, Fitton added.
The younger Soros has individually donated more than $11 million to lefty political action committees since 2010.''Don't be distracted by Alex's name in the visitor log; it's a George Soros rep they're looking to meet with at the Biden White House'...He's still calling the shots, it's his money, his foundations,'' Fitton insisted.
But it is Alexander who is most poised of the elder Soros' five kids to eventually lead his family's multibillion-dollar political and philanthropic network, said Scott Walter, president of conservative think tank Capital Research Center.
''Like his father, he cozies up to White House and congressional leaders willing to do the family's bidding on such issues as crime, immigration, election policy, and more, as the Soroses exploit every type of giving: money to parties, independent expenditure groups, and so-called charities,'' Walter told the Washington Examiner, which first documented the White House jaunts.
''No wonder former staffers and grantees of their foundations, donor groups, and lobbying shops are found throughout the Biden administration, from the State Department to the Domestic Policy Council.''
A Soros spokesman declined to comment.
Additional reporting by Jon Levine
What happens when ChatGPT lies about real people? - The Washington Post
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 15:06
One night last week, the law professor Jonathan Turley got a troubling email. As part of a research study, a fellow lawyer in California had asked the AI chatbot ChatGPT to generate a list of legal scholars who had sexually harassed someone. Turley's name was on the list.
The chatbot, created by OpenAI, said Turley had made sexually suggestive comments and attempted to touch a student while on a class trip to Alaska, citing a March 2018 article in The Washington Post as the source of the information. The problem: No such article existed. There had never been a class trip to Alaska. And Turley said he'd never been accused of harassing a student.
A regular commentator in the media, Turley had sometimes asked for corrections in news stories. But this time, there was no journalist or editor to call '-- and no way to correct the record.
''It was quite chilling,'' he said in an interview with The Post. ''An allegation of this kind is incredibly harmful.''
Turley's experience is a case study in the pitfalls of the latest wave of language bots, which have captured mainstream attention with their ability to write computer code, craft poems and hold eerily humanlike conversations. But this creativity can also be an engine for erroneous claims; the models can misrepresent key facts with great flourish, even fabricating primary sources to back up their claims.
As largely unregulated artificial intelligence software such as ChatGPT, Microsoft's Bing and Google's Bard begins to be incorporated across the web, its propensity to generate potentially damaging falsehoods raises concerns about the spread of misinformation '-- and novel questions about who's responsible when chatbots mislead.
''Because these systems respond so confidently, it's very seductive to assume they can do everything, and it's very difficult to tell the difference between facts and falsehoods,'' said Kate Crawford, a professor at the University of Southern California at Annenberg and senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research.
In a statement, OpenAI spokesperson Niko Felix said, ''When users sign up for ChatGPT, we strive to be as transparent as possible that it may not always generate accurate answers. Improving factual accuracy is a significant focus for us, and we are making progress.''
Today's AI chatbots work by drawing on vast pools of online content, often scraped from sources such as Wikipedia and Reddit, to stitch together plausible-sounding responses to almost any question. They're trained to identify patterns of words and ideas to stay on topic as they generate sentences, paragraphs and even whole essays that may resemble material published online.
Reporter Danielle Abril tests columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler to see if he can tell the difference between an email written by her or ChatGPT. (Video: Monica Rodman/The Washington Post)
These bots can dazzle when they produce a topical sonnet, explain an advanced physics concept or generate an engaging lesson plan for teaching fifth-graders astronomy.
But just because they're good at predicting which words are likely to appear together doesn't mean the resulting sentences are always true; the Princeton University computer science professor Arvind Narayanan has called ChatGPT a ''bulls--- generator.'' While their responses often sound authoritative, the models lack reliable mechanisms for verifying the things they say. Users have posted numerous examples of the tools fumbling basic factual questions or even fabricating falsehoods, complete with realistic details and fake citations.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Brian Hood, regional mayor of Hepburn Shire in Australia, is threatening to file the first defamation lawsuit against OpenAI unless it corrects false claims that he had served time in prison for bribery.
Crawford, the USC professor, said she was recently contacted by a journalist who had used ChatGPT to research sources for a story. The bot suggested Crawford and offered examples of her relevant work, including an article title, publication date and quotes. All of it sounded plausible, and all of it was fake.
Crawford dubs these made-up sources ''hallucitations,'' a play on the term ''hallucinations,'' which describes AI-generated falsehoods and nonsensical speech.
''It's that very specific combination of facts and falsehoods that makes these systems, I think, quite perilous if you're trying to use them as fact generators,'' Crawford said in a phone interview.
Microsoft's Bing chatbot and Google's Bard chatbot both aim to give more factually grounded responses, as does a new subscription-only version of ChatGPT that runs on an updated model, called GPT-4. But they all still make notable slip-ups. And the major chatbots all come with disclaimers, such as Bard's fine-print message below each query: ''Bard may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn't represent Google's views.''
Indeed, it's relatively easy for people to get chatbots to produce misinformation or hate speech if that's what they're looking for. A study published Wednesday by the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that researchers induced Bard to produce wrong or hateful information 78 out of 100 times, on topics ranging from the Holocaust to climate change.
When Bard was asked to write ''in the style of a con man who wants to convince me that the holocaust didn't happen,'' the chatbot responded with a lengthy message calling the Holocaust ''a hoax perpetrated by the government'' and claiming pictures of concentration camps were staged.
''While Bard is designed to show high-quality responses and has built-in safety guardrails '... it is an early experiment that can sometimes give inaccurate or inappropriate information,'' said Robert Ferrara, a Google spokesperson. ''We take steps to address content that does not reflect our standards.''
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, conducted the study that named Turley. He said the rising popularity of chatbot software is a crucial reason scholars must study who is responsible when the AI chatbots generate false information.
Last week, Volokh asked ChatGPT whether sexual harassment by professors has been a problem at American law schools. ''Please include at least five examples, together with quotes from relevant newspaper articles,'' he prompted it.
Five responses came back, all with realistic details and source citations. But when Volokh examined them, he said, three of them appeared to be false. They cited nonexistent articles from papers including The Post, the Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times.
According to the responses shared with The Post, the bot said: ''Georgetown University Law Center (2018) Prof. Jonathan Turley was accused of sexual harassment by a former student who claimed he made inappropriate comments during a class trip. Quote: ''The complaint alleges that Turley made 'sexually suggestive comments' and 'attempted to touch her in a sexual manner' during a law school-sponsored trip to Alaska.'' (Washington Post, March 21, 2018).''
The Post did not find the March 2018 article mentioned by ChatGPT. One article that month referenced Turley '-- a March 25 story in which he talked about his former law student Michael Avenatti, a lawyer who had represented the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump. Turley is also not employed at Georgetown University.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, The Post re-created Volokh's exact query in ChatGPT and Bing. The free version of ChatGPT declined to answer, saying that doing so ''would violate AI's content policy, which prohibits the dissemination of content that is offensive of harmful.'' But Microsoft's Bing, which is powered by GPT-4, repeated the false claim about Turley '-- citing among its sources an op-ed by Turley published by USA Today on Monday outlining his experience of being falsely accused by ChatGPT.
In other words, the media coverage of ChatGPT's initial error about Turley appears to have led Bing to repeat the error '-- showing how misinformation can spread from one AI to another.
Katy Asher, senior communications director at Microsoft, said the company is taking steps to ensure search results are safe and accurate.
''We have developed a safety system including content filtering, operational monitoring, and abuse detection to provide a safe search experience for our users,'' Asher said in a statement, adding that ''users are also provided with explicit notice that they are interacting with an AI system.''
But it remains unclear who is responsible when artificial intelligence generates or spreads inaccurate information.
From a legal perspective, ''we just don't know'' how judges might rule when someone tries to sue the makers of an AI chatbot over something it says, said Jeff Kosseff, a professor at the Naval Academy and expert on online speech. ''We've not had anything like this before.''
At the dawn of the consumer internet, Congress passed a statute known as Section 230 that shields online services from liability for content they host that was created by third parties, such as commenters on a website or users of a social app. But experts say it's unclear whether tech companies will be able to use that shield if they were to be sued for content produced by their own AI chatbots.
Libel claims have to show not only that something false was said, but that its publication resulted in real-world harms, such as costly reputational damage. That would likely require someone not only viewing a false claim generated by a chatbot, but reasonably believing and acting on it.
''Companies may get a free pass on saying stuff that's false, but not creating enough damage that would warrant a lawsuit,'' said Shabbi S. Khan, a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner who specializes in intellectual property law.
If language models don't get Section 230 protections or similar safeguards, Khan said, then tech companies' attempts to moderate their language models and chatbots might be used against them in a liability case to argue that they bear more responsibility. When companies train their models that ''this is a good statement, or this is a bad statement, they might be introducing biases themselves,'' he added.
Volokh said it's easy to imagine a world in which chatbot-fueled search engines cause chaos in people's private lives.
It would be harmful, he said, if people searched for others in an enhanced search engine before a job interview or date and it generated false information that was backed up by believable, but falsely created, evidence.
''This is going to be the new search engine,'' Volokh said. ''The danger is people see something, supposedly a quote from a reputable source '... [and] people believe it.''
Researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 14:59
It started out as strictly business: a huge private contract for one of the world's most advanced undersea fiber-optic cables. It became a trophy in a growing proxy war between the United States and China over technologies that could determine who achieves economic and military dominance for decades to come.
In February, American subsea cable company SubCom LLC began laying a $600-million cable to transport data from Asia to Europe, via Africa and the Middle East, at super-fast speeds over 12,000 miles of fiber running along the seafloor.
That cable is known as South East Asia''Middle East''Western Europe 6, or SeaMeWe-6 for short. It will connect a dozen countries as it snakes its way from Singapore to France, crossing three seas and the Indian Ocean on the way. It is slated to be finished in 2025.
It was a project that slipped through China's fingers.
A Chinese company that has quickly emerged as a force in the subsea cable-building industry '' HMN Technologies Co Ltd '' was on the brink of snagging that contract three years ago. The client for the cable was a consortium of more than a dozen global firms. Three of China's state-owned carriers '' China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom), China Mobile Limited and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom) '' had committed funding as members of the consortium, which also included U.S.-based Microsoft Corp and French telecom firm Orange SA, according to six people involved in the deal.
HMN Tech, whose predecessor company was majority-owned by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, was selected in early 2020 to manufacture and lay the cable, the people said, due in part to hefty subsidies from Beijing that lowered the cost. HMN Tech's bid of $500 million was roughly a third cheaper than the initial proposal submitted to the cable consortium by New Jersey-based SubCom, the people said.
The Singapore-to-France cable would have been HMN Tech's biggest such project to date, cementing it as the world's fastest-rising subsea cable builder, and extending the global reach of the three Chinese telecom firms that had intended to invest in it.
But the U.S. government, concerned about the potential for Chinese spying on these sensitive communications cables, ran a successful campaign to flip the contract to SubCom through incentives and pressure on consortium members.
Reuters has detailed that effort here for the first time. It's one of at least six private undersea cable deals in the Asia-Pacific region over the past four years where the U.S. government either intervened to keep HMN Tech from winning that business, or forced the rerouting or abandonment of cables that would have directly linked U.S. and Chinese territories. The story of those interventions by Washington hasn't been previously reported.
SubCom had no comment on the SeaMeWe-6 battle, and HMN Tech did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement last year about infrastructure projects, the White House briefly noted that the U.S. government helped SubCom to win the Singapore-to-France cable contract, without giving details. China's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and Orange did not respond to requests for comment. Microsoft declined to comment.
Undersea cables are central to U.S.-China technology competition.
Across the globe, there are more than 400 cables running along the seafloor, carrying over 95% of all international internet traffic, according to TeleGeography, a Washington-based telecommunications research firm. These data conduits, which transmit everything from emails and banking transactions to military secrets, are vulnerable to sabotage attacks and espionage, a U.S. government official and two security analysts told Reuters.
The potential for undersea cables to be drawn into a conflict between China and self-ruled Taiwan was thrown into sharp relief last month. Two communications cables were cut that connected Taiwan with its Matsu islands, which sit close to the Chinese coast. The islands' 14,000 residents were disconnected from the internet.
Taiwanese authorities said they suspected a Chinese fishing vessel and a Chinese freighter caused the disruption. However, they stopped short of calling it a deliberate act and said there was no direct evidence showing the Chinese ships were to blame. China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province, has ratcheted up military and political efforts to force the island to accept its dominion.
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on Nov. 14, 2022. The superpowers are vying to dominate advanced technologies that could determine which country achieves economic and military supremacy for decades to come. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueEavesdropping is a worry too. Spy agencies can readily tap into cables landing on their territory. Justin Sherman, a fellow at the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, told Reuters that undersea cables were ''a surveillance gold mine'' for the world's intelligence agencies.
''When we talk about U.S.-China tech competition, when we talk about espionage and the capture of data, submarine cables are involved in every aspect of those rising geopolitical tensions,'' Sherman said.
Two of the projects upended by the U.S. government involved cables that had already been manufactured and laid thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. U.S. tech behemoths Google LLC, Meta Platforms Inc and Amazon.com Inc were major investors in at least one, or in Meta's case both, of those cables, according to public announcements made about the projects. The delays and rerouting of the cables cost each of those companies tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue and additional costs, four sources who worked on the projects said.
Amazon, Meta and Google declined to comment about these projects or the cable wars.
SubCom's cable coup is part of a wider effort in Washington aimed at reining in China as Beijing strives to become the world's dominant producer of advanced technologies, be it submarines, semiconductor chips, artificial intelligence or drones. China is bulking up its military arsenal with sophisticated armaments. And Beijing has become increasingly assertive about countering U.S. influence worldwide through trade, weapons and infrastructure deals that are drawing wide swaths of the globe into its orbit.
The U.S. cable effort has been anchored by a three-year-old interagency task force informally known as Team Telecom.
To oust the Chinese builder from the Singapore-to-France cable, the United States proffered sweeteners '' and warnings '' to the project's investors.
On the sweetener side, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) told Reuters it offered training grants valued at a total of $3.8 million to five telecom companies in countries on the cable's route in return for them choosing SubCom as the supplier. Telecom Egypt and Network i2i Limited, a company owned by India's Bharti Airtel Limited, got $1 million apiece, USTDA said. Djibouti Telecom, Sri Lanka Telecom and Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun of the Maldives each received $600,000. None of the five responded to questions from Reuters.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has warned that ''conflict and confrontation'' lie ahead unless Washington abandons its policy of ''containment and suppression'' towards China. REUTERS/Thomas PeterMeanwhile, American diplomats cautioned participating foreign telecom carriers that Washington planned to impose crippling sanctions on HMN Tech, a development that could put their investment in the cable project at risk. The U.S. Commerce Department made good on that threat in December 2021, citing HMN Tech's intention to acquire American technology to help modernize China's People's Liberation Army.
A senior U.S. State Department official confirmed that the department had advocated through its embassies to help SubCom win the contract, including warning other countries about the security risks posed by HMN Tech. Though the cable won't come ashore in Chinese territory, the U.S. government believed HMN Tech could insert remote surveillance equipment inside the cable, the official said without providing evidence. The Commerce Department declined to comment.
Two months later, in February 2022, SubCom announced that the cable consortium had awarded it the contract to build the SeaMeWe-6 cable. China Telecom and China Mobile, which were due to own a combined 20% of the cable, pulled out because the Chinese government wouldn't approve their involvement in the project with SubCom as the cable contractor, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. China Unicom remained.
China's foreign ministry and its defense ministry, which handles questions for the People's Liberation Army, did not respond to Reuters' questions.
On June 26, 2022, the White House published a fact sheet citing various upcoming infrastructure projects, including the SubCom undersea cable deal. The document said the U.S. government had ''collectively helped secure'' the award of that contract for SubCom.
The White House did not respond to a request for further comment.
U.S.-China relations are at the lowest they've been in decades. The two countries have clashed on a host of issues, including China's tacit support for Russia's invasion of democratic Ukraine, its crackdown on Hong Kong, and the future of Taiwan, which Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to bring under Beijing's control. In February, the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon that floated into American airspace. China has claimed it was a weather balloon that got blown off course and accused the Americans of overreacting.
President Joe Biden's policies are increasingly isolating China's high-tech sector with the aim of bringing some technology manufacturing back to America while keeping cutting-edge U.S. innovation out of Chinese hands.
Over the last year, the Biden administration has pushed through a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research. The Commerce Department in December added dozens of Chinese firms producing technology such as drones and artificial intelligence chips to its so-called Entity List, which severely restricts their access to U.S. technology.
Workers toil on the 2Africa undersea cable project in Amanzimtoti, South Africa on Feb. 7, 2023. France's Alcatel Submarine Networks is building the cable, which will connect more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Subsea cables are the backbone of international internet traffic, but they're vulnerable to sabotage and espionage. REUTERS/Rogan WardChinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, speaking in Beijing this month, said the two superpowers are destined for ''conflict and confrontation'' unless Washington abandons its policy of ''containment and suppression'' towards China.
Three companies have dominated the construction and laying of fiber-optic subsea cables for decades: America's SubCom, Japan's NEC Corporation and France's Alcatel Submarine Networks, Inc.
But a seismic shift occurred in 2008 when Huawei Marine Networks Co Ltd entered the fray. Owned by Chinese telecom Huawei Technologies, the Tianjin-based company initially built small cable systems in underserved markets such as Papua New Guinea and the Caribbean.
Fast-forward 15 years and the firm, now known as HMN Tech, has become the world's fastest-growing manufacturer and layer of subsea cables, according to TeleGeography data.
But the company's short history has been shaped by deteriorating U.S.-China relations.
In 2019, Huawei Technologies came under fire from the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump. The Commerce Department banned Huawei and 70 affiliates from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without government approval.
That move was part of a global campaign by Washington and its allies to stop Huawei Technologies from building fifth-generation, or 5G, communications networks around the world due to concerns that host nations would be vulnerable to Chinese eavesdropping or cyberattacks, the details of which were revealed in a previous Reuters investigation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2023. China's tacit support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine has strained relations between Beijing and Washington. Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin/Pool via REUTERSHuawei Technologies said at the time that it was a private company that is not controlled by the Chinese government. Contacted for this story, Huawei Technologies said it fully divested its stake in Huawei Marine in 2020 and is no longer connected with the cable-laying company, which rebranded as HMN Tech under new Chinese ownership.
HMN Tech expanded its ambitions with the PEACE cable, which came online last year and connects Asia, Africa and Europe. The firm was poised to make another great leap with the Singapore-to-France project before SubCom snatched it away.
The following account of how that deal fell apart for the Chinese players is based on interviews with six people directly involved in the SeaMeWe-6 contract. They all asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss potential trade secrets or matters of national security.
Large undersea cables cost several hundreds of millions of dollars. They are usually paid for by a consortium of tech or telecom companies that can spread the cost and risks, as well as take responsibility for any cable landing that ends up in their countries.
In the case of SeaMeWe-6, there were more than a dozen companies funding the cable, and there was immediately a split in the group, which would need to reach a consensus to select a contractor for the project, the people said.
China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom were resolutely behind HMN Tech, which had come in with a bid of around $500 million. Microsoft, Orange and India's Bharti Airtel expressed concerns about the risk of potential U.S. pushback on HMN Tech's involvement. Still, it was hard to argue with the price. SubCom's bid was closer to $750 million.
On a series of video calls in mid-2020, the consortium members verbally agreed that HMN Tech would build the cable. SubCom would be the reserve in case the Chinese firm pulled out or failed to deliver on the terms of its proposal.
But behind the scenes, SubCom and the U.S. government were sowing seeds of doubt about whether HMN Tech was the best company for the job.
SubCom had already successfully applied for loans from the federal Export-Import Bank of the United States to support its bid. It also secured advocacy assistance from the Department of Commerce, which quickly mobilized U.S. embassies around the world to lean on consortium members in their host nations.
U.S. ambassadors in at least six of those countries, including Singapore, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, wrote letters to local telecom carriers participating in the deal, according to people involved. One of these letters, seen by Reuters, said picking SubCom is ''an important opportunity to enhance commercial and security cooperation with the United States.''
Separately, ambassadors and senior diplomats met with executives at foreign telecom companies in at least five countries. The message: HMN Tech could be subject to U.S. sanctions in the near future. That in turn would make it difficult for the telecoms to sell bandwidth because their biggest likely customers '' U.S. tech firms '' wouldn't be allowed to use the cable.
One senior Asian telecom executive recalled a meeting in mid-2020 with a top U.S. diplomat and an American digital trade attach(C). The U.S. officials explained how sanctions on HMN Tech would render the cable virtually worthless, providing him a printed spreadsheet with an economic analysis showing just that.
''They said we'd go bankrupt. It was a persuasive argument,'' the executive told Reuters.
Two other Asian telecom executives in the consortium told Reuters they met with both Chinese and U.S. diplomats, who urged them to back HMN Tech and SubCom, respectively.
By the end of 2020, several consortium members, including Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, India's Bharti Airtel, Sri Lanka Telecom, France's Orange and Telecom Egypt, told their partners they were having second thoughts about choosing HMN Tech as a supplier, mostly over the fear of sanctions.
None of these companies responded to requests for comment.
China's HMN Tech was the low bidder for a contract to lay an undersea cable known as the SeaMeWe-6. But pressure from Washington on the project's investors swung the deal to U.S.-based SubCom. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/IllustrationIn February 2021, with the consortium partners at loggerheads, SubCom and HMN Tech were given a chance by the group to submit a ''best and final offer.'' SubCom lowered its bid to close to $600 million. But HMN Tech was now offering to build the cable for $475 million.
Several consortium members, including Microsoft, Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) and Orange, argued to the other participants that when the risk of sanctions was factored into the bids, SubCom was offering a better deal. The three state-owned Chinese companies strongly disagreed. The companies all declined comment.
On a tense final video call in late 2021, an executive from Singtel, the chair on the cable committee, urged the companies to vote on a final decision before the whole deal collapsed, two people who were on that call told Reuters.
China Telecom and China Mobile threatened to walk off the project, taking tens of millions of dollars of investment with them. But the majority of the consortium picked SubCom, and the two Chinese state-owned firms departed. Two new investors '' Telekom Malaysia Berhad and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) '' joined the deal, and some of the original members raised their stakes to make up the shortfall, the people said.
Telekom Malaysia and Telin did not respond to requests for comment.
In addition to the successful campaign to freeze out HMT Tech from the Singapore-to-France cable, teams across the U.S. state and commerce departments and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative once again coordinated with the White House to use diplomatic pressure to boot the Chinese firm from a project. This time it was a cable connecting the three Pacific island nations of Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati, according to two sources involved in that deal.
The United States, Australia and Japan announced in December 2021 that they would jointly fund a cable on the same route, known as the East Micronesia Cable. In a joint statement this month, the three said they had met on March 8 to help ''push forward'' on this cable, without giving a time frame.
The U.S.-China backroom brawling over undersea cables is threatening to overwhelm the subsea cable industry, which has always relied on careful diplomatic collaboration to survive, said Paul McCann, a Sydney-based subsea cable consultant.
''I've never seen such geopolitical influence over subsea cables in the 40-odd years I've been involved in the business,'' McCann told Reuters. ''It's unprecedented.''
At the heart of Washington's newly aggressive strategy is Team Telecom. That's the informal name for an interagency committee set up through an Executive Order signed by Trump in April 2020. The mission: safeguarding U.S. telecommunication networks from spies and cyberattacks.
Team Telecom is run by the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). That division is headed by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen. Nominated to that position by Biden in May 2021, Olsen has worked in a string of intel posts. He served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center under former President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014, and before that as general counsel for the National Security Agency, the U.S. spy nerve center.
The DOJ declined to make Olsen available for an interview.
While the State Department and its partners have helped to prevent China from obtaining new subsea contracts in foreign places of U.S. strategic interest, Team Telecom has focused on a purely domestic concern: stopping any cable from directly connecting U.S. territory with mainland China or Hong Kong due to worries about Chinese espionage.
To that end, the team makes cable licensing recommendations to the U.S. telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Since 2020, the team has been instrumental in the cancellation of four cables whose backers had wanted to link the United States with Hong Kong, Devin DeBacker, a DOJ official and senior member of Team Telecom, told Reuters in an interview.
Hong Kong, a former British colony that transitioned to self-rule and is dubbed a ''special administrative region'' by China, has long been the investment gateway to the communist mainland because of its well-developed financial sector, open economy and highly-educated workforce.
However, in 2019, Beijing launched a security crackdown and increased surveillance in Hong Kong, prompting mass demonstrations. As China tightened its grip, Washington became concerned that Chinese spy agencies would intercept data on the planned undersea cables if that equipment ultimately came ashore in Hong Kong, said DeBacker, the chief of the Foreign Investment Review Section of the DOJ's National Security Division.
''That provides a physical access point in what is effectively Chinese territory,'' DeBacker said. ''Because of the way that China has eroded Hong Kong's autonomy, that enabled the Chinese government to have a direct, all-access path, effectively a collection platform on U.S. persons' data and communications.''
''The risk is real. It has materialized in the past, and what we're trying to do is prevent it from materializing in the future''
Washington's decision to nix any Hong Kong terminus for the four planned subsea cable deals upended the plans of Google, Meta and Amazon. These tech titans have been among the biggest investors in new cables over the last decade as they seek to link up a network of data centers in the United States and Asia that underpin their fast-growing Cloud computing businesses, according to TeleGeography.
The first, a project owned by Google and Meta known as the Pacific Light Cable Network, will now only transmit data from the United States to Taiwan and the Philippines, after Team Telecom recommended that the FCC reject the Hong Kong leg. The section of the cable going to Hong Kong, spanning hundreds of miles, is currently lying abandoned on the ocean floor, two people involved in the deal said.
In an unsuccessful appeal to the FCC, Google and Meta said Team Telecom's argument that China might intercept data on the cable was ''unsupported and speculative,'' and that its decision was ''a referendum on China, rather than the assertion of any real specific concern,'' according to an Aug. 20, 2020, submission by the companies that is available on the FCC website.
Similarly, the Bay to Bay Express Cable System, developed by Amazon, Meta and China Mobile, will not run as planned from Singapore to Hong Kong to California. As part of a deal struck between Amazon, Meta and Team Telecom, China Mobile left the consortium and the cable was rebranded as CAP-1, with a new route from Grover Beach, California, to the Philippines, three people involved said. The cable had already been almost entirely laid along the original route, and the section to Hong Kong now sits unused in the depths, the people said.
Google, Meta and Amazon declined to comment. China Mobile did not respond to requests for comment.
A pro-China supporter in Hong Kong holds a Chinese flag on July 1, 2021, the 24th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule. Beijing's crackdown on the once-autonomous territory prompted Washington to forbid any subsea communications cables directly connecting the United States to Hong Kong over concerns about Chinese spying. REUTERS/Tyrone SiuThere is evidence the U.S. campaign has slowed China's subsea cable juggernaut.
HMN Tech supplied 18% of the subsea cables to have come online in the last four years, but the Chinese firm is only due to build 7% of cables currently under development worldwide, according to TeleGeography. These figures are based on the total length of cable laid, not the number of projects.
In a tit-for-tat maneuver, China has thrown up a roadblock on a cable in which Meta is an investor, according to two cable consultants with direct knowledge of the project.
That cable, known as the Southeast Asia-Japan 2 cable, was planned to run from Singapore through Southeast Asia and touch down in Hong Kong and mainland China before going on to South Korea and Japan. China has delayed giving a license for the cable to pass through the South China Sea, citing concerns about the potential for the cable manufacturer '' Japan's NEC '' to insert spy equipment on the line, the consultants said.
In response to Reuters' questions, an NEC spokesperson said it does not comment on individual projects, but said that it does not insert surveillance equipment into its cables.
Meta and China's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
In recent years, the U.S. government has blocked American firms from using telecom gear from Chinese firms that Washington has deemed to be national security threats, and it has banned several Chinese state-owned telecom companies from operating in U.S. territory.
Among them is China Telecom, which had previously won authorization to provide services in the United States. The FCC revoked that authorization in 2021, saying China Telecom's America's unit ''is subject to exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government.'' The agency cited examples of the company using its access to U.S networks to misroute international traffic back to Chinese servers.
China Telecom failed to convince a U.S. court to reverse that decision.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington last year said the FCC has ''abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecom operators'' without any factual basis.
Team Telecom's DeBacker said China uses similar tactics on undersea cables, declining to give specific examples.
''The risk is real,'' DeBacker said. ''It has materialized in the past, and what we're trying to do is prevent it from materializing in the future.''
Eagle and Dragon
By Joe Brock Graphics: Vijdan Mohammad Kawoosa and Wen Foo
Photo editing: Edgar Su
Design: Eve Watling
Art direction and illustration: Catherine Tai
Edited by Marla Dickerson
Why Older People Can't Get New Mortgages - The New York Times
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 14:48
The New Old Age
Despite solid financial track records, many older Americans have a hard time refinancing because of their mortality risks and lower retirement incomes.
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Molly Stuart, who lives in Sacramento County, Calif., hoped to refinance the home she had bought 18 years earlier, but her application was denied. Credit... Andri Tambunan for The New York Times April 8, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET
In late 2019, Molly Stuart's contract ended at the community college where she worked. ''Normally, I'd just get a new job, but then Covid happened,'' she said. So she collected unemployment for awhile, then retired.
In 2021, hoping to give herself some financial breathing room, she tried to refinance the three-bedroom ranch house she had bought 18 years earlier on an acre of land in Sacramento County, Calif.
''I'm an extremely good risk,'' said Ms. Stuart, 60, a lawyer. She had a 30-year work history and a credit rating above 800. Her remaining mortgage was $102,000, but she estimated that the house was worth about $500,000. She had already paid off the mortgage on another house in Sacramento, which she rented out.
But her mortgage company denied her application. ''I didn't qualify for a refinance because I didn't have enough income,'' she said. ''It was extremely frustrating.''
But not uncommon. Older adults have higher credit ratings than any other age cohort, yet recent studies have shown that they're substantially more likely to be rejected for most kinds of mortgages. That raises barriers for older Americans hoping to renovate or retrofit their homes, or to extract home equity as a buffer against medical expenses, widowhood or other crises.
Much of older adults' wealth is tied up in real estate. Among homeowners aged 65 to 74, home equity represented about 47 percent of their net worth in 2019, according to federal data; among those over 75, it was 55 percent. Among Black homeowners over 62, it accounted for almost three-quarters of their net worth.
But a house is not a financial asset, noted Lori Trawinski, director of finance and employment at the AARP Public Policy Institute in Washington. ''It only turns into a financial asset if you take out a loan or you sell it.''
Getting that loan may be harder than owners expect.
In February, Natee Amornsiripanitch, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, published an analysis of more than 9 million mortgage applications collected through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act from 2018 to 2020. He found that rejection rates rose steadily with age, particularly accelerating for applicants over 70.
Focusing on refinancing applications, he reported a rejection rate of 17.5 percent for all ages. But for those in their 60s, it topped 19 percent, and among those 70 and older it was more than 20 percent '-- statistically significant differences.
What's more, older applicants paid slightly higher interest rates when they took out either refinances or new purchase mortgages.
The study's methodology controlled for credit scores and property types, as well as economic and demographic factors, said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which republished Dr. Amornsiripanitch's work. ''He's looking at the well-heeled and the less well-heeled. Age is still a factor.''
Although the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act has long prohibited discrimination by age (as well as race, color, religion, national origin, sex and marital status), lenders are allowed to consider age if they deem it pertinent to creditworthiness.
Dr. Amornsiripanitch determined, for example, that lenders attributed more than half of their rejections of older applicants to ''insufficient collateral.'' He speculated that lenders didn't find those homes to be worth as much as applicants had thought, possibly because older owners occupy older homes, and might have deferred maintenance.
Lenders also worry about older borrowers' mortality risks. During the course of a 30-year loan, ''someone dying is really inconvenient to a lender and can be costly,'' Dr. Munnell explained. If the mortgage gets paid off early, a bank or mortgage company then re-lends the money, possibly at lower interest rates. If the property winds up in foreclosure after a death, the bank faces legal action.
And, as in Ms. Stuart's case, lenders care about reduced income after retirement. ''People who are employed are lower risk than people who aren't,'' said Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist at The New School for Social Research in New York City. ''It's harder to get a mortgage after you retire.''
That's particularly true because today's seniors are more apt to have debt, and more of it, than previous generations. That affects their debt-to-income (D.T.I.) ratios, a metric that lenders pay keen attention to.
''High D.T.I. is a key denial reason,'' said Linna Zhu, a research economist at the Urban Institute in Washington whose research has also documented higher rejection rates at older ages.
A study she published in 2021 found mortgage denial rates of 18.7 percent for people over 75, 15.4 percent for those 65 to 74 and 12 percent for people under 65.
Dr. Zhu and her colleagues reported, however, that the likelihood of denial depends on the type of loan. Home equity lines of credit, which don't start charging interest or requiring repayment until the homeowner uses the credit, had similarly high rejection rates across all age groups.
In contrast, cash-out refinances that provide a lump sum '-- a popular product during the recent period of rising home prices and super-low interest rates '-- were denied to more than 21 percent of applicants over 75 in 2020, compared with just 14.6 percent of would-be borrowers under 65.
And for home equity conversion mortgages '-- a type of reverse mortgage secured by the Federal Housing Administration '-- younger borrowers actually had higher rejection rates.
Extremely low interest rates in recent years have made borrowing easier for everyone, masking these age discrepancies, Dr. Zhu said. But as rates have climbed sharply, ''it will be more challenging to tap your home equity,'' she said.
Policy changes could reduce these age-related barriers. Rather than lenders' relying so heavily on income and debt to assess creditworthiness, ''it's important to look at alternate sources of wealth for a more comprehensive picture of someone's financial background,'' Dr. Zhu said.
Changing these assessments would require ''a collective effort,'' Dr. Zhu said, involving commercial lenders, the federally sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and federal agencies like the F.H.A. and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That approach would have helped Ms. Stuart, who had substantial assets but modest income after retiring. After her mortgage company turned her down for refinancing, she used her savings to pay six months of her mortgage in advance '-- the maximum length of time her lender would allow. That lessened the pressure of monthly payments, and she may choose to do it again.
But compared to refinancing, which would have lowered her monthly payments for the next 30 years without depleting her savings, it's a temporary solution. ''It'll be fine,'' she said of her experience. ''But it was unreasonable.''
Texas Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Create Digital Currency Backed by Gold | The Gateway Pundit | by Jim Hoft
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 14:01
The Texas House and Senate recently introduced bills that would establish a state-issued, gold-backed digital currency, Schiff Gold reported.
The outlet added, ''Enactment of this legislation would create an option for people to transact business in sound money, set the stage to undermine the Federal Reserve's monopoly on money and create a viable alternative to a central bank digital currency (CBDC).''
On March 10, Republican Senator Bryan Hughes proposed Senate Bill 2334 (SB2334). On the same day, a similar bill, House Bill 4903 (HB4903), was submitted by Republican Representative Mark Dorazio.
According to the proposed law, the state comptroller must issue a digital currency that is fully backed by gold and fully redeemable in cash or gold. The comptroller would also be responsible for developing a system for regularly transacting with this digital currency guaranteed by gold.
''In establishing the digital currency the comptroller shall establish a means to ensure that a person who holds the digital currency may readily transfer or assign the digital currency to any other person by electronic means.''
''The trustee shall maintain enough gold to provide for the redemption in gold of all units of the digital currency that have been issued and are not yet redeemed for money or gold.''
Schiff Gold reported:
In practice, individuals would be able to purchase digital currency from the state. The state would then use the money to purchase gold that would be held in the Texas Bullion Depository or another secure vault. Individuals would be able to redeem their digital currency for dollars or gold.
A gold-backed digital currency would create an alternative and allow individuals and businesses to avoid a CBDC.
Digital currencies exist as virtual banknotes or coins held in a digital wallet on your computer or smartphone. The difference between a central bank (government) digital currency and peer-to-peer electronic cash such as bitcoin is that the value of the CBDC is backed and controlled by the government, just like traditional fiat currency.
At the root of the move toward a CBDC is ''the war on cash.'' The elimination of cash creates the potential for the government to track and even control consumer spending.
Nigeria is already trying to get people to accept its CBDC (with a great deal of resistance), and China, India, and the US have all launched pilot programs to test CBDCs.
Imagine if there was no cash. It would be impossible to hide even the smallest transaction from the government's eyes. Something as simple as your morning trip to Starbucks wouldn't be a secret from government officials. As Bloomberg put it in an article published when China launched a digital yuan pilot program in 2020, digital currency ''offers China's authorities a degree of control never possible with physical money.''
The government could even ''turn off'' an individual's ability to make purchases. Economist Thorsten Polleit outlined the potential for Big Brother-like government control with the advent of a digital euro in an article published by the Mises Wire. As he put it, ''the path to becoming a surveillance state regime will accelerate considerably'' if and when a digital currency is issued.
A gold-backed digital currency would create an alternative to CBDCs.
Jim Hoft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.
You can email Jim Hoft here, and read more of Jim Hoft's articles here.
US resumes biolabs program in Ukraine '' Russian MOD '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:55
Washington is constructing secretive new facilities and is training personnel, Moscow has claimed
The US has quietly resumed its controversial biolabs program in Ukraine and is focusing on the construction of secretive new facilities and the training of personnel, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed.
A new trove of documents on alleged US-funded biological programs in Ukraine was presented by the commander of Russia's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, during a media briefing on Friday.
Kirillov cited the protocol from a meeting dated October 20, 2022, which was attended by representatives of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and multiple Ukrainian officials, as well as figures from the Jacobs/CH2M engineering company. The meeting reportedly focused on the resumption of biological research in Ukraine, which was ''paused'' due to the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev.
''Now, the project has been resumed with focus on renewal of legislative support, revision of training schedule, as well as conclusion and resumption of construction work,'' the Ukrainian-language protocol stated, citing Jacobs/CH2M's David Smith.
The program was previously known as 'Joint biological research' but has been rebranded as 'Biological control research', the document indicated. It cited concerns over an alleged ''Russian disinformation campaign'' on the issue.
The US has engaged in damage control efforts to prevent potential leaks from Ukrainian specialists on the true nature of the biological research programs, Kirillov asserted.
''Hiding from responsibility for participating in military biological projects, many suspects left the territory of Ukraine. To prevent a possible leak of information about the illegal activities of the Pentagon, the US administration is taking emergency measures to search for and return them,'' the commander argued.
US damage control began shortly after the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022, another document suggested. The Russian military presented a draft memo titled 'Reducing the Threat of Ukrainian Expertise Proliferating to US Adversaries', penned by Laura Denlinger, a senior counterproliferation adviser with the US State Department.
''The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in'... the exodus of highly capable technical experts from Ukrainian facilities that produce missile components and advanced conventional weapons (ACW), as well as those with expertise that could be redirected and exploited by others for a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapon,'' reads the memo, dated March 11, 2022.
Moscow raised allegations of a sprawling network of secretive US-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine early in the conflict, and has since frequently published troves of documents on the matter. Russia took the issue of biolabs to the UN last October, requesting an international probe. The motion, however, was turned down by the UN Security Council, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.
Apple's Bitcoin Manifesto Fuels Theories Steve Jobs Was Satoshi Nakamoto
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:47
Technologist Andy Baio wrote this week that he discovered a PDF of the original bitcoin white paper on his Mac. The revelation fueled theories connecting Steve Jobs to the mysterious author of the paper, Satoshi Nakamoto. Baio said Apple appears to have hid the bitcoin document in "every copy of macOS since Mojave in 2018." Loading Something is loading.
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In an April 5 blog post, technologist Andy Baio said he accidentally stumbled upon a copy of Satoshi Nakamoto's bitcoin white paper on his Mac computer, with the revelation fueling wild theories across the internet that the mysterious creator of the world's biggest cryptocurrency was Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
"While trying to fix my printer today, I discovered that a PDF copy of Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin whitepaper apparently shipped with every copy of macOS since Mojave in 2018," Baio wrote.
His post prompted Twitter users to share screenshots of the same manifesto stored on their Macs. Insider also tested out Baio's instructions and found the white paper on the latest version of macOS.
The white paper, titled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," was published in 2008. In it, the author lays out the framework for the underlying mechanisms that power bitcoin and enable transactions without a third party intermediary like a bank or financial institution.
Baio's revelation fueled fresh speculation that Nakamoto, the mysterious bitcoin inventor who has never been identified, may have been Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple and tech visionary.
"Was Steve Jobs actually Satoshi Nakamoto the creator of #bitcoin?" tweeted Lark Davis, a bitcoin investor and blogger with 1.1 million followers. "Plus Satoshi disappear in December 2010, and then Jobs passed in October 2011. The timelines fit..."
While Nakamoto vanished from the internet around the same time Jobs died, the white paper appeared on Mac computers seven years after the tech icon's death, making it impossible for him to be the one who inserted the document into the OS.
'--Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) April 7, 2023Other users chimed in across Twitter, with some agreeing while others remained skeptical.
While unusual, the presence of the bitcoin white paper on Mac computers isn't evidence of anything.
As for Jobs himself, while he is credited as the creative force behind many of Apple's most iconic products, he wasn't an expert programmer, according to co-founder, Steve Wozniak.
Others have also noted that for Jobs to develop the iPhone around the same time as the world's most popular digital asset is more reason to be skeptical.
The real identity of Nakamoto has never been revealed, and some believe Nakamoto was actually a group of people given the complexity of bitcoin's code. The inventor stated they started writing the code for bitcoin in 2007, and the network launched in 2009.
The mysterious figure "disappeared" from online appearances on December 12, 2010.
'--Matt (@itsmattnow) April 6, 2023Some estimate that crypto wallets associated with the pseudonym hold more than 1.1 million bitcoin tokens. When the token peaked in November 2021 at about $68,000, those holdings would have been worth roughly $73 billion, putting Nakamoto among the top-15 richest people in the world at the time.
Meanwhile, other Twitter users floated the idea that the white paper was simply a bitcoin enthusiast working at Apple who slipped the document in as an easter egg.
To locate the white paper, users can open the macOS terminal and enter the following command:
open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf
On Friday, bitcoin hovered around $27,896. The token has rallied roughly 68% in 2023.
Feds Create Race, Gender Speech Codes for Scientists to Direct Report Language - The Ohio Star
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:36
by Casey HarperThe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal and science technology office, has made race and gender speech codes for its scientists a top priority.
The guidance, for example, tells federal employees not to use the words ''blacklist'' or ''whitelist'' because of the racial connotations and also cautions against ''using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.''
The NIST is a little-known government agency tasked with helping the U.S., among other things, stay technologically ahead of rivals like China. Congress appropriated about $1.65 billion for the group for 2023.
Lawmakers recently hammered the Pentagon for investing heavily in critical race theory and gender ideology. The National Institutes of Health has done so as well, along with other agencies.
The NIST is one of many federal agencies putting its attention and taxpayer funds into these efforts as it struggles to keep pace with its key mission. The NIST sparked controversy for its ''Inclusive Language Guidance,'' which tells scientists which words or phrases they can or cannot use in reports.
From the document:
'' Consider that biased terms, such as blacklist/whitelist, also may introduce comprehension issues.
'' Avoid terms such as master/slave that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships.
'' Avoid identifying an individual's gender unless necessary for comprehension, or using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.
'' Avoid descriptive terms that are condescending or reductive in favor of language that the groups being described would prefer.
Steven Lipner, chair of the Congressionally authorized Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, sent a letter to NIST in 2020 recommending the whitelist and blacklist changes as well as the changes for master and slave usage.
''Many technology and security standards contain racially insensitive language that is both offensive to many of our colleagues and is also, in many respects, ambiguous '' technically and culturally,'' the letter said. ''Examples of such language include using the terms blacklist and whitelist instead of block-list and allow-list and using the terms master and slave.''
Jennifer Huergo, a spokesperson for NIST, told The Center Square the guidance ''was created primarily for the benefit of NIST staff experts who participate in the development of documentary standards as expert collaborators and leaders.''
''Use of inclusive language helps to avoid potential gaps in understanding that could arise from the use of colloquial or idiomatic expressions that are rooted in particular historical events or regional dialects,'' she said.
The NIST's DEI office also promotes liberal ideas around gender and sexuality. The DEI staff page features the preferred pronouns of its employees as the first priority in the bios.
The issue has regularly been thrust into the forefront because while Americans are largely split on the debate over gender identity and critical race theory, federal agencies have largely embraced it and put millions of taxpayer dollars behind it.
A Pew Research report released last summer found that while most Americans say there is discrimination against transgender people, ''60 percent say a person's gender is determined by their sex assigned at birth, up from 56 percent in 2021 and 54 percent in 2017.''
The NIST speech code also links to the American Psychological Association's webpage on ''biased language,'' which goes on at length about the myriad of possible genders, and the need to cater to them.
''Transgender is used as an adjective to refer to persons whose gender identity, expression, and/or role does not conform to what is culturally associated with their sex assigned at birth,'' APA says. ''Some transgender people hold a binary gender, such as man or woman, but others have a gender outside of this binary, such as gender-fluid or nonbinary. Individuals whose gender varies from presumptions based on their sex assigned at birth may use terms other than 'transgender' to describe their gender, including 'gender-nonconforming,' 'genderqueer,' 'gender-nonbinary,' 'gender-creative,' 'agender,' or 'two-spirit,' to name a few.''
The taxpayer-funded speech guidelines also quote racial theory from a book written by Tukufu Zuberi, a professor of Race Relations and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania steeped in critical race theory. The book is titled ''White Logic, White Methods.'' Zuberi also penned an article titled, ''Critical Race Theory: A Commemoration.''
While the U.S. is a world-leader in developing intellectual property, it lags behind in the ability to manufacture it. For example, the source of electric batteries, seen as the future of the green energy movement, is largely overseas. In fact, China made about three quarters of the world's lithium ion batteries in 2021, while the U.S. made only 7 percent.
'' '' ''
Casey Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau at The Center Square. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Excess deaths doubled in Japan in 2022 '-- COVID-19 may be to blame | The Japan Times
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:35
Japan had excess deaths of up to 113,000 in 2022, more than double the figure of up to 50,000 the year before, according to newly released health ministry statistics, indicating the possibility that COVID-19 directly and indirectly contributed to an increase in the country's mortality rate.
According to estimates compiled by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the number of excess deaths '-- defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in a certain period and expected numbers of deaths in the same period '-- was between 47,330 and 113,399 in 2022, compared with 11,475 to 50,495 in 2021.
NIID Director Takaji Wakita, who chairs the health ministry's coronavirus advisory board, told reporters Wednesday that the increase in such deaths may be linked to the spread of the omicron variant of the virus, which drove record levels of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Japan last year.
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Pandemic caused 40% increase in deaths of pregnant women as COVID exacerbated underlying conditions | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:33
Deaths of pregnant women soared by 40 percent during the pandemic as exposure to the virus exacerbated underlying medical conditions in moms-to-be.
Some 1,205 pregnant women died in 2021, up from 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, according to figures from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.
It marked a six-decade high in maternity deaths in the US, with black women nearly three times more likely to die than their white counterparts.
A previous report by the Government Accountability Office states at least 400 maternal mortalities in 2021 listed Covid-19 infection as a contributing factor - making up the bulk of the increase on previous years.
But experts add that burnt out hospital staff and high levels of vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women worsened the crisis.
Preliminary figures show maternal deaths fell back to normal levels in 2022 when there were around 733.
Experts say vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women - as a result of conflicting medical guidance - contributed to the surge in maternity deaths. A pregnant woman is pictured receiving her vaccine
The data includes deaths of women who were either pregnant or had been pregnant within the last 42 days before they died.
Doctors say pregnancy leaves women more vulnerable to infectious diseases as their heart, lungs and kidneys already have to work harder during pregnancy.
The infection can also damage the placenta, cause blood clots more easily and can increase the risk of a pre-eclampsia - a complication marked by high blood pressure.
But the issue was worsened by the fact many doctors and nurses were feeling stressed out after being inundated with Covid patients during the pandemic meaning they spent less in-person time with their patients.
'[Doctors] were needing to make snap decisions and maybe not listening to their patients as much,' Samantha Griffin, who owns a doula service in Washington, D.C., told Associated Press.
'Women were saying that they thought something was wrong and they weren't being heard.'
Stories of expectant mothers dying in childbirth became rife during lockdown.
And conflicting medical evidence left many too scared to get vaccinated for fear of complications.
Vaccinations for pregnant women were not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until August 2021.
Vaccine hesitancy was particularly strong among the black community, which experts say in part explains why the mortality rate among black women rose so sharply.
Amanda Perry died in August 2021 after contracting Covid-19 while pregnant. She was planning to get the vaccine after the birth
Her husband Billy said at the time: 'I wish we had talked more about getting the vaccine,' adding 'we weren't anti-vax'
Her son Nolan was born via an emergency C-section and survived
There were 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births among black women in 2021 - 2.6 times higher than the rate of white women.
'Initially there was a lot of mistrust of the vaccine in Black communities,' Griffin said.
Today the CDC says more than 70 percent of vaccinated women have had a Covid vaccine - but only around 20 percent have received the needed boosters.
'We know definitively that vaccination prevents severe disease and hospitalization and prevents poor maternal and infant outcomes,' Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, who works for the CDC, told The New York Times.
'We have to keep emphasizing that point.'
In August 2021, the widow of an unvaccinated pregnant Tennessee woman who died from the virus revealed he 'wished' he had discussed getting the jab with his wife.
Amanda Perry, 36, from Dickson County Tennessee, had suffered multiple miscarriages in the past and feared the vaccine would trigger another.
She was forced to have an emergency C-section when she was 32 weeks pregnant. Her son Nolan survived.
At the time her husband Billy told Newsweek: 'I wish we had talked more about getting the vaccine.
'We weren't against it.
'We weren't anti-vax. When you're pregnant what do you do? There's not much research out there. She was freaking scared.'
In June the same year 43-year-old Shanetta Wilson died after contracting the virus days after her baby shower.
She was checked into George Washington University Hospital where she fell into a coma.
Shanetta Wilson died in June 2021 after contracting virus in the days following her baby shower
Wilson was six months pregnant with her son at the time. Her niece said the virus 'attacked' her lungs and shut down her body
She was six months pregnant with her son Charles who was born five days before she passed away.
Her niece Gwendolyn Wilson told WUSA9: 'It was devastating to hear like how fast the virus had attacked her lungs, and everything started to shut down really quickly, and how she slipped into a coma.'
US Virgin Islands subpoenas four top businessmen in Epstein banking inquiry | Jeffrey Epstein | The Guardian
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 20:39
A US Virgin Islands investigations into the sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's ties to an American bank issued subpoenas to four wealthy business leaders on Friday, extending its reach into the highest echelons of tech, hospitality and finance.
The subpoenas issued to the Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hyatt Hotels chairperson Thomas Pritzker, American-Canadian businessman Mortimer Zuckerman and former CAA talent agency chairperson Michael Ovitz are crafted to gather more information about Epstein's relationship with JPMorgan Chase, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Virgin Islands' lawsuit against JP Morgan, the world's largest bank in terms of assets, alleges that the institution ''facilitated and concealed wire and cash transactions that raised suspicion of '' and were in fact part of '' a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude of dozens of women and girls in and beyond the Virgin Islands''.
''Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JP Morgan,'' it said.
Epstein was a client of the bank from 1998 until 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty in a Florida state court to procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute.
While it is not clear why the four businessmen have been asked for material, the Virgin Islands investigation is casting a wide net for information. JP Morgan has said it did not know about Epstein's alleged crimes and cannot be held liable.
The disgraced financier, who died of an apparent suicide in 2019 while in federal custody, owned two private islands '' Little Saint James, or ''Epstein Island'', and Great Saint James '' in the American territory, and authorities there have secured a $105m settlement from his estate.
The demand for any communications and documents related to the bank and Epstein from four of the wealthiest people in the US comes days after it was reported that Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan's chairperson and chief executive, is expected to be deposed in the case, though his lawyers have argued he had no involvement in Epstein's accounts.
The Virgin Islands lawsuit '' which was filed by an unidentified woman '' focuses on Jes Staley, a banker who ran JP Morgan's private bank and later moved to become chief executive of the UK bank Barclays.
The lawsuit claims Staley had knowledge of Epstein's criminal activities. JP Morgan has also sued Staley, arguing he should be held liable for any damages stemming from the Virgin Islands claim that Staley ''may have been involved in Epstein's sex-trafficking operation''.
Emails produced as part of the Virgin Islands lawsuit showed Staley apparently discussing with Epstein the Disney characters Snow White and Beauty and the Beast '' it is not clear if these may have been code names. ''That was fun. Say hi to Snow White,'' Staley emailed Epstein in July 2010, court documents show.
(77) Post | Feed | LinkedIn
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 16:34
VP, Bud Light, first female to lead the largest beer brand in the industry
1w Took a leap of faith and filmed my first podcast feature this week! We talked many of my favorite things...cancer, surrogacy, vulnerability, building great teams, and of course, our family swag chain. Thank you to my team of candle protectors who made this possible Kristin Twiford Kaitlin C. Michael Goon Jessica Brigandi
[Make Yourself at Home E21] Alissa Heinerscheid, VP, Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch - Nines https://ninesliving.com OH shit you just destroyed anheuser busch stock!
So proud of you Alissa for all you say and do! What a beacon of light you are for all of us!
Fix your drink mate, nowadays they taste like shit .Fix it!
Gordon alienating millions through advertising. A great strategy I'm sure will bolster your bottom line.
Loved every minute of this conversation, from hearing about 100 Women in 100 Days to talking about your family swag chain! Thank you so much for joining us, Alissa!
Loved listening to this ðð>>
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Others also viewed Co-Founder + CEO at Vowel (vowel.com), Founded Nanit (nanit.com)
5d Had a productive Vowel call with Elon this morning to discuss Twitter's AI strategy.
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Group Product Marketing Manager, Google Assistant & Bard
6d Last week, I was part of the marketing team that launched Bard. You can think of Bard as your creative and helpful collaborator that can supercharge your ideas. I use Bard to get a first draft on paper (I hate staring at a blank page...), riff on an idea, or get advice - especially when planning. Bard's still an early experiment so it will definitely make mistakes here and there, that's why your feedback is so important. We're constantly working on new features; in fact today, we've improved Bard's capabilities in math and logic by incorporating some of the advances we've developed in PaLM. Sign up today at www.bard.google.com!
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Director of Digital Learning Solutions at Stanford University Graduate School of Education
1w Honored to speak at such a forward-thinking and cross-collaborative event. Shout out to Cynthia Berhtram, Kenji Ikemoto, and Michael Rouan for putting this together on a short timeline -- no small feat with the pace of AI right now. #generativeai #ai #education
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What an incredible way to conclude Women's History month on Friday ! The Chamber hosted a panel discussion of phenomenal women leaders moderated by the incomparable and award-winning Valerie Freeman of BravoTECH. We heard from 2 past Chamber Board Chairs, Dev Rastogi of AECOM and Tina Young of Marketwave, the current Board Chair Shara McClure of McClure Consulting and the legendary 33 year veteran former head of public affairs for the Chamber Carol Short. We learned that there have been 14 women Chairs of the Chamber in our 69 year history including 4 of the last 6. Many thanks to these great women for all they have done for the betterment of our community. Pictured - Tina, Carol, Valerie and Shara. Unfortunately, Dev had to run to a meeting.
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Chief Executive Officer at iTrustCapital, Voted Best Digital IRA Fintech Platform in 2021 & 2022
5d Always enjoy perspective from Fortress Trust:This is about as 2001, post-dot-com-bubble-bursting-bad as it gets. The leading banks have abandoned the crypto industry and other banks have pressure from regulators to stay away. Accounting firms and auditors for BSA, SOC, and financial statements have tossed their books of crypto-related customers over the side of the boat. The SEC seems to be at war with every aspect of the industry. Venture capital has run for the sidelines, throttling new entrants access to financing. Many exchanges and OTC desks are abandoning the United States, with Bittrex..a Seattle-based company...being the most recent. Man it's bad.However, this doesn't change the fact that the blockchain as a ledgering and authentication technology is going to utterly transform the world as we know it. It will.And as dark as the skies are at the moment, remember that it was at a similar time in the history of the internet, and again during the financial crises, that saw the rise of Google, Amazon, Stripe, Square, Facebook, Venmo, AWS, Robinhood, and so many other great companies. Out of the ashes come the next-gen entrepreneurs who seize the technology for its true utility and surpass the original early firms that were built on nothing more than hype. Financial infrastructure is needed. Regulatory clarity is needed.I won't lie, it's going to be a mess for a while. And therein lies the opportunity. By the time this all gets solved, the next great companies will be set in the foundation. Yes, really high risk moment in time but it's a fact that these things will resolve themselves and the future winners are the people building businesses right now, in this darkest of hours. Already we are seeing a variety of small banks (well, smaller than SVB and Signature) stepping up to service the industry, with innovative CEO's who are brushing off the regulatory pressure, accepting the risk and banking the industry anyway. We are seeing trust companies, like Fortress Trust, building the tech and services for custody, payments wallet-as-a-service and counterparty transaction settlement. We are seeing entire teams exiting major and mid-tier accounting firms to set up their own shops and build what will become significant firms around a foundation of crypto-related customers. We're seeing broker-dealers getting creative and pressing forward with digital initiatives, heck even NASDAQ just announced they'll start custodying crypto. The IRS appears to understand that NFTs are neither securities nor collectibles, but instead just containers for something that could be either. And we see the CFTC wrestling with the SEC over who should regulate crypto, as well as titans of Wall Street along with prominent crypto firms pushing back hard and willing to take the fight.From my perspective, I don't see a housefire. I see a wide variety of industry participants setting the foundation for jaw-dropping innovation...and firms using it. - Scott Purcell.
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Rita J. King Rita J. King is an Influencer EVP Business Development, Science House
6d The main skill in the Imagination Age is AI '-- as Applied Imagination, not Artificial Intelligence. Imagination applied to our relationship with our creations, each other and ourselves. Now is the time.#ai #appliedimagination #artificialintelligence
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Great breakdown here on retirement. I'm sorry, 9+ hours of sleep, on average, in retirement!!??No thank you'...I didnt work that hard (all my life) to just go ahead and sleep more than 33% of the time!! Jeeesh!4-5 hrs of sleep a day is plenty for me. What do you all think?? James Bianco?? Kerry Lawson?? Stuart Sopp?? How many hours a day do you get??Cheers!! xoxo
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The Corporate Philosopher. Visiting Professor in Leadership, Culture and Ethics. Public Speaker. Author of ''ethicability''. Co-designer of MoralDNA.
6d Edited Insightful map of most and least democratic countries in 2023 from The Economist. If your #employer was a country, how #democratic or #authoritarian would it be?
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Obamas' Higher Ground Inks Podcast Advertising Deal With Acast '' The Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 16:27
Higher Ground, the production company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama, has struck its latest audio deal with the podcasting platform Acast.
Acast will handle ad sales and distribution for Higher Ground's library of podcasts, which includes The Big Hit Show with Alex Pappademas, Renegades: Born in the USA with President Obama and Bruce Springsteen and The Sum of Us with Heather McGhee. The pact with Acast is separate from Higher Ground's multiyear first-look deal with Audible, which began last June after the production company parted ways with Spotify. The first project from the Higher Ground''Audible partnership, Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast, was released in March; new episodes of The Light Podcast will have an exclusive two-week window on Audible before being released widely on all major platforms by Acast.
On the advertising and sponsorship side, marketers will be able to use Acast's ad placement technology on select shows like Renegades, The Sum of Us and The Big Hit Show, as well as upcoming programming from Higher Ground. Acast's in-house ad creative team will also be able to work with sponsors to create specific sponsorships, such as branded miniseries, for Higher Ground's podcasts.
''We've been deeply impressed by the creativity and innovation of the Acast team,'' Dan Fierman, the head of audio at Higher Ground, said in a statement. ''We are excited to work with their team to bring our growing slate of audio content to existing fans and new audiences.''
Acast is also behind podcasts like WTF With Marc Maron and Anna Faris Is Unqualified.
''Higher Ground continues to deliver among the most engaging and high-caliber audio content in the industry, and we look forward to teaming up with them to make vital storytelling available to communities all over the globe,'' Acast CEO Ross Adams said. ''This relationship marks an exciting new chapter not only for Acast, but for the audio industry at large, as we work hand-in-hand to make the world a more connected place.''
Lightning Prisms | dergigi.com
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 16:27
Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio. Here is a link to the audio instead.
Read by Guy Swann. One aspect that is still massively under-utilized is the programmability of Bitcoin. While simple things like scheduled payments and automated payment splits do exist, we are undoubtedly still trapped in conventional thinking when it comes to the flow of sats.
I'd like to share a simple idea that was shared with me a couple of months ago in the hopes that it will spread far and wide and, in the best case, that someone will just go ahead and implement it. (Or a better version of it.)
Here is the idea:
All credit to Mr. Kukks, who is now officially out of time1 to implement it himself.
Lightning PrismsA Lightning Prism is a construct that allows for ''lightning address value split workflows,'' to quote the originator.
Here's the gist of it:
A prism is identified by a lightning address (or similar)A prism has one or multiple recipientsAnother prism can be one of the recipientsSplits are defined programmaticallyThis simple construct allows for all kinds of use cases and can be implemented on the application layer without any changes to Bitcoin or Lightning.
One obvious use case is value-splits for blog posts and similar long-form writing. Imagine if every blog post (or book chapter) had its own Lightning address, splitting value to author, editor, illustrator, and proof-readers automatically.
The concept of these value splits already exists in Podcasting 2.0, where it is widely applied to podcasts and episodes. One could argue that having a separate identifier for the split construct is the natural evolution of these payment splits, as it is easier to reason about them and chain them together.
Another obvious use case is the splitting of nostr zaps. Imagine that every ''quote-tweet'' that gets zapped results in an automated payment split, passing on 50% (or whatever the user has configured) to the original note. Or imagine a prism that's created on-the-fly, splitting zaps equally for everyone tagged in a note.
Sat splits for nostr! What's not to like?Because payments are forwarded, every prism acts as a proxy of sorts. This can be useful for organizations and individuals alike, as your payment identifier remains the same even if your underlying infrastructure or wallet provider changes.
Issues & ImprovementsThere are two main issues: fees and privacy. One has to account for fees to pay for the splitting and forwarding, but there's also the issue that lightning addresses are IP-based, which has certain privacy implications. We could do LNURL over nostr'--again, shout-out to Kukks'--which brings up the following question: Are Lightning Addresses the right level of abstraction for Lightning Prisms?
In the end, we don't want to send sats to addresses, but to people. If nostr continues to catch on, it might turn itself into the global address book for these kinds of things, i.e., the go-to place to look up payment information of people, organizations, and other entities. In the future, a prism might have multiple nprofile or npub identifiers as targets, behind which the actual payment information lies.
Identifiers don't necessarily have to be lightning addresses. Npubs or similar would work too!In any case, at this point in time, I'm not too terribly concerned about implementation details. I'm concerned with a lack of imagination, which is what this post is supposed to address.
Speaking of imagination: why don't we have any spending wallets that automatically move sats to a different wallet above a certain threshold? I'm more than happy to have some lunch money in a custodial wallet, but once it's worth three months of rent, I'm not as comfortable anymore. Why can't the wallet automatically send all excess sats to my fully self-sovereign lightning address once it's more than a dinner's worth of sats? Or do a loop-out once a month to move the sats to cold storage?
Anyway, I digress.
One improvement I'd love to see is to provide a way to make Lightning Prisms transparent. In the best case, users should have a way to see how payments are split that is both easy to understand and verify. One possibility would be to broadcast a NIP-33 parameterized replaceable event every time a prism is created or updated. Of course, depending on the use case, it might make sense to keep the final destination(s) hidden from public view.
I'm sure there are more issues and plenty of other improvements to be had. But as always, perfect is the enemy of the good, so let's talk about practical solutions that can be implemented and used right now.
ImplementationPrisms based on lightning addresses can be built today without much effort. You can even build this yourself without any programming experience using two LNbits extensions: scrub & split. Add satdress on top of it all to give every wallet its own lightning address, and voil , you've got yourself a Lightning Prism! You can even build a nice interface as a wrapper around it, as all of the above can be created programmatically with simple API calls.
I did all that (minus the ''build a nice interface as a wrapper around it'') just to play around with the idea. Granted, it's a bit hacky and probably not the most stable or elegant solution, but it kinda works, and it can be used today.
The email@example.com address that is shown above is a working example.2 It will split any payments 50/50 to Kukks and myself, forwarding the splits to our respective self-sovereign lightning addresses which are provided by our BTCPay Server instances.
I imagine multiple services being created that implement this properly, charging a small fee for providing said service. (As mentioned above, some sort of fee will be required to pay for routing fees, as payments are forwarded to external addresses.)
My hope is that these kinds of ideas and novel constructs become more prevalent as zaps and similar V4V payments'--as well as Lightning in general'--become more prevalent. Of course, in the best case, we will have these things natively integrated at the protocol level, but I see no reason why we shouldn't do a little experimentation with what we have today, even if the solutions are imperfect. Until Bolt12 and similar are widespread, hacking something together that just works is probably not the worst idea.3
Final ThoughtsI expect this idea to find widespread adoption among writers and other content creators, just like the idea of ''streaming sats'''--and the splits of these value streams'--found wide adoption among podcasters.
Special-purpose nostr clients for various content types are already in the works, with SubStack- and Medium-like interfaces like BlogStack and Habla popping up left and right.
What's still missing is attaching payment information to individual events (as opposed to user profiles) in order for each long-form content to have its own payment information. Maybe it's as easy as extending the NIP-23 metadata, or maybe it would make sense to have this kind of metadata for other event kinds too.
We'll figure it out, and by ''we,'' I actually mean you guys: the developers that sit down to spec out and build stuff.
I'll be cheering you on while I shitpost on nostr.
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ð'' Found this valuable? Don't have sats to spare? Consider sharing it, translating it, or remixing it. Confused? Learn more about the V4V concept.
ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Banks Consider Dropping US Dollar, Euro and Yen, Indonesia Calls for Phasing Out Visa and Mastercard
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 14:31
An official meeting of all ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors kicked off on Tuesday (March 28) in Indonesia. Top of the agenda are discussions to reduce dependence on the US Dollar, Euro, Yen, and British Pound from financial transactions and move to settlements in local currencies.
The meeting discussed efforts to reduce dependence on major currencies through the Local Currency Transaction (LCT) scheme. This is an extension of the previous Local Currency Settlement (LCS) scheme that has already begun to be implemented between ASEAN members.
This means that an ASEAN cross-border digital payment system would be expanded further and allow ASEAN states to use local currencies for trade. An agreement on such cooperation was reached between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand in November 2022. This follows from Indonesia's banking regulator, stating on March 27 that the Bank of Indonesia is preparing to introduce its own domestic payment system.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has urged regional administrations to start using credit cards issued by local banks and gradually stop using foreign payment systems. He argued that Indonesia needed to shield itself from geopolitical disruptions, citing the sanctions targeting Russia's financial sector from the US, EU, and their allies over the conflict in Ukraine.
Moving away from Western payment systems is necessary to protect transactions from ''possible geopolitical repercussions,'' Widodo said.
Of the ASEAN nations, just Singapore has enforced sanctions on Russia, while all other ASEAN nations continue to trade with the country. There has been alarm at being caught up in US-led secondary sanctions, as are short to impact Central and South Asia countries involved in cotton manufacturing, a major industry in the region employing millions of people.
Foreign investors in Asia may wish to consider the amount of US dollars, Euros and Yen held in their accounts in light of a pending ASEAN currency trade decision. Professional discussions should be taken regarding any movement of company funds to alternative currencies.
ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in Singapore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang in Vietnam, Munich, and Esen in Germany, Boston, and Salt Lake City in the United States, Milan, Conegliano, and Udine in Italy, in addition to Jakarta, and Batam in Indonesia. We also have partner firms in Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Thailand as well as our practices in China and India. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.dezshira.com.
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 14:30
S IMULACRUM (simulacra) : Something that replaces reality with its representation . Jean Baudrillard in "The Precession of Simulacra" defines this term as follows: "Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real" (1-2). His primary examples are psychosomatic illness, Disneyland, and Watergate. Fredric Jameson provides a similar definition: the simulacrum's "peculiar function lies in what Sartre would have called the derealization of the whole surrounding world of everyday reality" (34).
Nova Scotia suspends doctor's licence after 17,000 Ozempic prescriptions sent mostly to U.S. - The Globe and Mail
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 13:58
Boxes of Ozempic and Mounjaro, semaglutide and tirzepatide injection drugs used for treating type 2 diabetes. GEORGE FREY
Nova Scotia's college of physicians has suspended the licence of a doctor who allegedly signed more than 17,000 prescriptions in the span of three months for a diabetes drug that is widely used off-label for weight loss. The prescriptions, filled in Canada, were mostly sent to U.S. patients.
''Based on volume alone, the prescribing is not in keeping with the standards of the profession. I cannot see how the volume of medications prescribed could possibly be supported by proper medical assessment and judgement. On its face, the prescribing appears incompetent,'' Dr. Gus Grant, registrar and chief executive officer of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, said in a statement on Thursday. He said a more detailed investigation is now under way.
Dr. Grant's statement names Dr. David William Davison as the prescribing physician. The Nova Scotia college lists only one physician by that name and the college's website lists his practice in Monahans, Tex. The statement said Dr. Davison lives in the U.S. but holds a Nova Scotian licence. Dr. Davison could not be reached for comment.
Pharmacists in Canada require the signature of a Canadian doctor to fill prescriptions for U.S. citizens.
B.C. to limit cross-border sales of Ozempic drug that are driving shortages, health minister says
Americans cross-border shopping for Ozempic in B.C.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix discovered the pipeline of Ozempic from Canada to the U.S. late last year when he directed his staff to provide coverage for the drug under PharmaCare, the province's publicly funded prescription program. The challenge, he learned, was that a significant amount of the province's supply was being diverted to the U.S., raising concerns about availability. While the province did approve coverage, Mr. Dix also ordered an internal investigation into the online pharmacy trade of Ozempic.
That probe found that two pharmacies in Metro Vancouver were filling most of the prescriptions signed by a Nova Scotia physician, and delivered to addresses in the United States.
The College of Pharmacists of BC says it has inspected some pharmacies to determine whether they are compliant with its standards of practice related to online sales, and its review continues. The standards require pharmacists to check prescriptions for completeness and appropriateness, to review the patient's health information, and to consult with the patient concerning their drug history.
Mr. Dix said the case with Ozempic has exposed a troubling gap in Canada's ability to protect its drug supply. ''The process itself raises issues and concerns,'' he said in an interview. He said Canada doesn't have enough supply of Ozempic to serve the American market and still protect patients in Canada. ''And it's not the only circumstance where this risk might exist.''
Online companies are targeting U.S. customers with the promise of ''cheap'' Canadian Ozempic. Because Canada regulates the price of patented drugs, the cost of Ozempic is three times higher in the United States.
Online pharmacies such as Canada Drugs Direct encourage U.S. shoppers to take advantage of the benefits of a health care system that is not geared for profit.
Cross-border pharmacy shopping has been an issue for years. In 2019, while seeking the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders travelled with a busload of Americans up to Windsor, Ont., who were crossing the border for less expensive insulin. But online shopping has made the practice even more accessible.
Later this month, British Columbia is expected to enact a regulation that will allow the province to halt online sales of prescription drugs to U.S. residents when supplies are low. B.C.'s regulation still leaves the door open for online pharmacies to simply move their sales operations to other provinces.
Mr. Dix is calling on Ottawa, and his provincial counterparts, to also deal with the regulatory gaps that exist. ''The federal government surely has a role to play,'' he said.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in a written response from his office, said he supports B.C.'s action, but there is no prevalent shortage of the diabetes drug Ozempic in Canada at this time.
Ozempic, produced by Denmark's Novo Nordisk, is a class of medication called semaglutide that is approved in Canada for treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide can help patients manage blood sugar levels when metformin, another diabetes drug, is not effective.
Ozempic's dominance of the market has been sparked by Novo Nordisk's heavy advertising campaign in the U.S., as well as widespread speculation on social media about which celebrities are using the drug for weight loss. That popularity may ebb as other versions of semaglutide become available, including Novo Nordisk's Wegovy, which has been approved specifically for weight loss.
That means consumer interest may just move to a different label, Mr. Dix said. He plans to press Mr. Duclos when they meet later this month to close the loopholes so that other drugs aren't similarly exploited.
''Waiting for shortage doesn't seem to me to be good strategy,'' he said.
Ukraine War Plans Leak Prompts Pentagon Investigation '' DNyuz
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 13:55
WASHINGTON '-- Classified war documents detailing secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive against Russia were posted this week on social media channels, senior Biden administration officials said.
The Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents, which appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, a platform with more than half a billion users that is widely available in Russia.
Military analysts said the documents appear to have been modified in certain parts from their original format, overstating American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and understating estimates of Russian troops killed.
The modifications could point to an effort of disinformation by Moscow, the analysts said. But the disclosures in the original documents, which appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and plans, represents a significant breach of American intelligence in the effort to aid Ukraine.
Biden officials were working to get them deleted but had not, as of Thursday evening, succeeded.
''We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,'' said Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary at the Pentagon.
The documents do not provide specific battle plans, like how, when, and where Ukraine intends to launch its offensive. And because the documents are five weeks old, they offer a snapshot of time '-- the American and Ukrainian view, as of March 1, of what Ukrainian troops might need for the campaign.
To the trained eye of a Russian war planner, field general or intelligence analyst, however, the documents no doubt offer many tantalizing clues. The documents mention, for instance, the expenditure rate of HIMARS '-- American-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems, which can launch attacks against targets like ammunition dumps, infrastructure and concentrations of troops, from a distance. The Pentagon has not said publicly how fast Ukrainian troops are using the HIMARs munitions; the documents do.
It was unclear how the documents ended up on social media. But pro-Russian government channels have been sharing and circulating the briefing slides, military analysts said.
The analysts warned that documents released by Russian sources could be selectively altered to present the Kremlin's disinformation.
''Whether these documents are authentic or not, people should take care with anything released by Russian sources,'' said Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at CNA, a research institute in Arlington, Va.
One of the slides said 16,000 to 17,500 Russian soldiers had been killed while Ukraine had suffered as many as 71,500 troop deaths. The Pentagon and other analysts have estimated that Russia has suffered far more casualties, and that closer to 200,000 soldiers on each side had been killed or wounded.
Nonetheless, analysts said parts of the documents appeared authentic and provide Russia with valuable information such as the timetables for the delivery of weapons and troops, Ukrainian troop buildup numbers and other military details.
A document labeled ''top secret'' offers the ''Status of the Conflict as of 1 Mar.'' On that day, Ukrainian officials were at an American base in Weisbaden, Germany, for war game sessions, and a day later, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the supreme allied commander for Europe, visited the sessions.
Another document includes columns that list Ukrainian troop units, equipment and training, with schedules for January through April. The document contains a summary of 12 combat brigades that are being assembled, with nine of them apparently being trained and supplied by the United States and other NATO allies. Of those nine brigades, the documents said that six would be ready by March 31 and the rest by April 30. A Ukrainian brigade has about 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers, analysts said.
The document said that equipment delivery times would impact training and readiness in order to meet the timeline. Total equipment needed for nine brigades, the document said, was more than 250 tanks and more than 350 mechanized vehicles.
The leak is the first Russian intelligence breakthrough that has been made public since the war began. Throughout the war, the United States has provided Ukraine with information on command posts, ammunition depots and other key nodes in the Russian military lines. Such real-time intelligence has allowed the Ukrainians to target Russian forces, kill senior generals and force ammunition supplies to be moved farther from the Russian front lines, though U.S. officials say Ukraine has played the decisive role in planning and execution of those strikes.
But early on during the war, Ukrainian officials were hesitant about sharing their battle plans with the United States, for fear of leaks, American and European officials said. As recently as last summer, American intelligence officials said they often had a better understanding of Russia's military plans than of Ukraine's.
The intelligence sharing between Ukraine and the United States loosened up considerably last fall, and the two countries have been working closely on options for a Ukrainian offensive.
The post Ukraine War Plans Leak Prompts Pentagon Investigation appeared first on New York Times.
US tech firm physically destroyed inventory in Russia '-- RT Business News
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 13:38
Cisco decided to liquidate its equipment following its withdrawal from the sanctioned country
US software and network equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems destroyed its inventory in Russia, worth more than $20 million, this past January after exiting the sanctioned country last year, TASS news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the company's accounting statement.
According to the document, which was published on March 31, spare parts, ''other property, including the IT equipment itself,'' as well as vehicles, office furniture and appliances, and demonstration equipment were all destroyed.
''Inventories were physically destroyed in January 2023, and in connection with this, as of December 31, 2022, the entire cost of inventories '' 1,864,002 thousand rubles [$23.4 million] '' was accrued with a depreciation provision,'' the document says.
Cisco terminated most of its contracts with its Russia-based employees, with the total amount of mandatory contributions and payments to staff reaching 190.6 million rubles ($2.3 million), according to the company's financial report.
In June 2022, Cisco announced its withdrawal from Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. In August, the company made the decision to dispose of its stocks due to the termination of sales and suspension of licenses and services in the country, as well as owing to the inability to re-export, the company said.
Media reports later surfaced that the firm could resume deliveries to Russia through an intermediary, with the Russian IT services company IBS named as a possible distributor. However, IBS denied carrying out any negotiations about importing equipment for Cisco.
In light of Cisco's exit from the country, Deputy Trade Minister Vasily Shpak said that Western companies that left Russia should not be given an easy path back to the market.
He said that Russia should generate demand for domestically manufactured tech products with Russian software to help underpin achieving technological independence.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
VIDEO - Pentagon investigating leak of classified documents about military plans in Ukraine - YouTube
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VIDEO - (19) il Donaldo Trumpo on Twitter: "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! https://t.co/r1ov8yOU9B" / Twitter
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VIDEO - Garrett Foster death: Texas governor says he will pardon Daniel Perry
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:32
Less than 24 hours after a jury in Austin found Daniel Perry guilty of shooting to death a protester, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on social media Saturday that he would pardon the convicted killer as soon as a request "hits my desk."
The unprecedented effort, which Abbott announced to his 1 million followers on Twitter, came as Abbott faced growing calls from national conservative figures such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted in the shooting deaths of two Wisconsin protesters in 2020, to act to urgently undo the conviction.
''Texas has one of the strongest 'Stand your ground' laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney,'' Abbott said in a statement. ''I will work as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry.''
Abbott's office did not return calls from the American-Statesman on Saturday seeking additional comment. The two-week trial, which included dozens of witnesses and much forensic evidence, was not broadcast. Abbott attended no portion of the trial.
Perry, an Army sergeant, was working as an Uber driver in Austin on the night of July 25, 2020, when he ran a red light at the intersection of Fourth Street and Congress Avenue and drove into a Black Lives Matter march before stopping.
Garrett Foster, carrying an AK-47 rifle, was among a group of protesters who approached his car. Perry told police that Foster threatened him by raising the barrel of his rifle at him, so he shot him five times with a .357 revolver through the window of his car before driving away.
Perry's defense team argued that he acted in self-defense, but prosecutors contended that Perry instigated what happened. They highlighted a series of social media posts and Facebook messages in which Perry made statements that they said indicated his state of mind, such as he might ''kill a few people on my way to work. They are rioting outside my apartment complex.''
A friend responded, ''Can you legally do so?'' Perry replied, ''If they attack me or try to pull me out of my car then yes.''
A jury Friday unanimously convicted Perry.
State District Judge Clifford Brown is set to sentence him to prison in the coming days. He faces up to life in prison.
David Wahlberg, a former Travis County criminal court judge, said he cannot think of another example in the state's history when a governor sought a pardon before a verdict was formally appealed.
''I think it's outrageously presumptuous for someone to make a judgment about the verdict of 12 unanimous jurors without actually hearing the evidence in person,'' Wahlberg said.
Doug O'Connell, who represents Perry, told the Statesman in a statement Saturday: ''Right now we are completely focused on preparing for Daniel's sentencing hearing. I visited Daniel in jail this morning. As you might expect he is devastated. He spoke to me about his fears that he will never get to hug his mother again. He's also crushed that his conviction will end his Army service. He loves being a soldier.''
Travis County District Attorney Jos(C) Garza had no immediate comment.
The jury deliberated 17 hours over two days before reaching the verdict Friday afternoon after an eight-day trial with dozens of witnesses. Perry didn't testify during the trial.
Foster's brother, Ryan Foster, said Saturday that he didn't think Perry should be pardoned. ''This was clearly premeditated,'' Ryan Foster told the Statesman. ''He (Perry) thought a lot about it and planned on doing it. ... He wanted to kill a protester and saw somebody exercising their Second Amendment right.''
After the judge read the verdict to the packed courtroom Friday, Perry, 35, buried his head into one of his lawyer's chests and erupted into loud sobs. The jury also found Perry not guilty of an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection to driving in front of another protester.
Perry's conviction was instantly condemned by gun-rights advocates Friday night.
"(Gov. Abbott) this is an unfair conviction. Please step in and free Daniel Perry," Rittenhouse wrote on Twitter. ''He was justified in defending his own life when an AK-47 was pointed at him and he doesn't deserve to be in jail.''
Fox's Carlson decried the conviction in a two-minute segment on his show, referring to the Austin protesters as a ''mob of rioters'' who surrounded Perry's car and began pounding on it. He said Perry fired when Foster raised his rifle.
''This is a legal atrocity,'' Carlson said. ''There is no right of self-defense in Texas.''
He invited Abbott on his show Monday to discuss whether he would consider a pardon for Perry.
Jennifer Laurin, a University of Texas law professor, addressed the portion of Abbott's statement on Texas' self-defense laws. She said that a jury is instructed to reject the defense when the person asserting it provoked the response, as prosecutors say Perry did when he drove his car into a crowd of protesters.
''Painting the conviction as rogue nullification is uniformed or deceptive,'' Laurin tweeted.
Abbott lacks authority under state law to issue a pardon without first getting a recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members he appoints. In his statement, Abbott said he already asked the board to review the verdict to determine if Perry should be granted a pardon.
''I have made that request and instructed the board to expedite its review,'' Abbott said. ''I look forward to approving the board's pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.''
Abbott typically announces pardons every year in December around Christmas.
A pardon would release Perry from his sentence and restore his right to vote and serve on a jury.Defense lawyer Rick Cofer, who was not involved in the trial, expressed astonishment over Abbott's announcement.
''It's what happens in Uganda or El Salvador,'' said Cofer, a former prosecutor. ''Total abrogation of the rule of law. And what's even worse is that Abbott knows better. He was a smart Texas Supreme Court Justice. He knows this is legally wrong. Profoundly wrong. Pure politics.''
More:Jury finds Daniel Perry guilty of murder
More:Lead detective: I didn't arrest Daniel Perry because self-defense was possibility
VIDEO - (21) Terrence K. Williams on Twitter: "Why is he talking like it's the 1960s? This race baiting fool is trying to sound like MLK. Cheap Imitation Thank God the Republicans expelled this Dollar Store Martin Luther King Wanna be. https://t.co/qgwT
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:30
Terrence K. Williams : Why is he talking like it's the 1960s? This race baiting fool is trying to sound like MLK. Cheap Imitation Thank'... https://t.co/5EsarIyjVn
Fri Apr 07 23:55:22 +0000 2023
ncreb : @w_terrence Race baiting, race pimping, and race division is the real Democrat 'Tennessee Three'. Democrats have de'... https://t.co/98FB99KaBL
Sun Apr 09 01:10:30 +0000 2023
Chet Youngers : @w_terrence @hodgetwins Lmao that Afro is comical.
Sun Apr 09 01:04:23 +0000 2023
KMM : @w_terrence And those white, old, republican men have YOU right where they want you! Shame on you!
Sun Apr 09 01:04:18 +0000 2023
gavelguy : @w_terrence Your self hatred is despicable. You must live a very sad life. I feel sorry for you.
Sun Apr 09 01:02:32 +0000 2023
VIDEO - (1) esala on Twitter: "I found out today that an Austin, TX resident made 10,000+ different donations to the democratics from 2020-2022 worth over $106, 304.45. The resident mentioned that he has not used @actblue but @FEC website says otherwise.
Sun, 09 Apr 2023 01:26
esala : I found out today that an Austin, TX resident made 10,000+ different donations to the democratics from 2020-2022 wo'... https://t.co/tvH56HRj3u
Thu Apr 06 01:30:26 +0000 2023
Teddy P'' : @esala12 @BBNFL1984 @actblue @FEC So damn what'...
Sat Apr 08 16:11:33 +0000 2023
Hugh G Gallus : @esala12 @actblue @FEC lt me get this straight ...are they are using Tax money to donate back to themselves via false donors to clean it ?
Sat Apr 08 15:14:00 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Putin cancels Africa's debts worth over US$20 billion - YouTube
VIDEO - SCIENTISTS ALERT - A Terrifying New Ocean Is Forming In Africa - YouTube
VIDEO - U.S. military apologizes after special forces detain wrong guest in mock hotel raid - CBS News
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 14:45
I-Team: Federal agents broke into wrong Boston hotel room, interrogated man during training
I-Team: Federal agents broke into wrong Boston hotel room, interrogated man during training 02:22 Officials have offered a public apology to a man who was wrongfully detained when special forces broke into his hotel room during a training exercise.
The exercise gone wrong was first reported by CBS Boston . FBI agents were "assisting" the Department of Defense in conducting a mock raid at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday at the Revere Hotel. Because of "inaccurate information," the agents were "mistakenly sent into the wrong room and detained an individual, not the intended role player," the agency said in a statement.
According to CBS Boston, the man detained was a Delta Air Lines pilot. Agents handcuffed and interrogated the man, then put him in the room's shower. He was handcuffed for about 45 minutes before the agents realized their mistake, CBS Boston reported. The FBI directed questions to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
On Thursday, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said that they would "like to extend our deepest apologies" to the man, saying that the training was "meant to enhance soldiers' skills to operate in realistic and unfamiliar circumstances."
"The training team, unfortunately, entered the wrong room and detained an individual unaffiliated with the exercise," the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said. "The Boston Police Department responded to the scene and confirmed that this was indeed a training exercise. The safety of civilians in vicinity of our training is always our number one concern. We are reviewing this serious incident with our partners and no further details will be released at this time."
The FBI told CBS News earlier in the week that they were working to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
"Safety is always a priority of the FBI, and our law enforcement partners, and we take these incidents very seriously," the FBI said. "The Boston Division is reviewing the incident with DOD for further action as deemed appropriate."
In: FBI U.S. Army United States Department of Defense Kerry Breen Kerry Breen is a news editor and reporter for CBS News. Her reporting focuses on current events, breaking news and substance use.
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VIDEO - Florida Sheriff Billy Woods goes off after reporter asks about gun control following teen murders | Fox News
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 14:38
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods on Friday slammed "society," "school districts" and gun law rhetoric after announcing the arrests of two juveniles '-- one of whom is just 12 years old '-- in connection with the recent killings of three teenagers in Florida.
A third juvenile suspect remains at large, and the attorney general's office is weighing whether to charge all three suspects as adults, Woods said during a press conference.
"The fact is: society fails them. We do not hold our juveniles accountable. We minimize their actions," Woods said Friday.
The suspects are accused of fatally shooting 16-year-old Layla Silvernail, 16-year-old Camille Quarles, and an unnamed 17-year-old male on or around March 30 in rural Marion County.
FLORIDA POLICE ARREST 2 JUVENILE SUSPECTS IN MURDERS OF 3 TEENS, HUNT FOR THIRD SUSPECT
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods blames society and school district failures for three juvenile suspects accused of killing three teenagers around March 30. (Fox News)
Woods told reporters he had to "look into the eyes" of the suspects' mothers and inform them of their son's crimes.
"Really, [the suspects' parents] don't have a whole lot to say. If you're a parent, put yourself in their shoes. Holy hell. Panic. I'm scared to death as a parent. Embarrassed. Ashamed. What do you think they're gonna say?" the sheriff said.
FLORIDA TRIPLE HOMICIDE VICTIMS LIKELY KNEW GANG-LINKED SUSPECTS, SHERIFF SAYS
"I am a father, and I cannot fathom what they were going through. These mothers and the mothers across this nation need all of your help because here's what infuriates me," he added.
"I am a father, and I cannot fathom what they were going through. These mothers and the mothers across this nation need all of your help because here's what infuriates me," Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said. (Marion County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
The sheriff also criticized media and others who put the blame on guns after a shooting.
"There are individuals out there viewing '... who want to blame the one thing that has no ability or the capacity to commit the crime itself, and that's the gun," Woods said. "These individuals committed the crime."
THIRD FLORIDA TEEN DIES IN SUSPECTED GANG-LINKED TRIPLE HOMICIDE
He added that he does not know what the solution is, but "[t]he bad guy's going to get a gun no matter what laws you put in place."
Woods went on to blame society and schools for not holding juveniles accountable for their crimes.
Layla Silvernail, left, and Camille Quarles, along with an unidentified 17-year-old male, were shot and left for dead in Marion County, Florida, between March 30 and April 1. (Facebook/Layla Silvernail/Camille Quarles)
"I am a father," he said. "But here's the one thing my boys know: growing up, the freaking barber had my permission to whip their a--es."
The suspects in the triple homicide were involved in a burglary and robbery ring and stole their firearms from cars, Woods said.
"A simple burglary, as some people would say '-- but I don't consider anything 'simple' when it comes to a burglary '-- if the law allows me, I'll plaster their face up '... on my page, on media, I will hand it out if the law allows me because parents have the right to know who their kids are hanging out with and preventing this," Woods said.
He continued, "Our school districts, not just here, across this state and across this nation need to stop minimizing the actions of their students. Hold them accountable. That's where the failure is."
Police first found Silvernail with a gunshot wound, lying on the side of the road in the area of Forest Lakes Park on SE 183rd Avenue Road. Authorities transported the teenager to a hospital in critical condition, and she lost brain function until she was pronounced dead.
Three teenage shooting victims were found left for dead miles apart in Marion County, Florida, between March 30 and April 1. (America's Newsroom)
A day after finding Silvernail, Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputies responded to SE 94th Street and SE 188th Court and located a deceased 17-year-old male with a gunshot wound.
The next morning, on April 1, the MCSO Major Crimes Unit, Forensic Unit and Underwater Recovery Team responded to a tip and searched the area of Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace and found Silvernail's vehicle partially submerged in a body of water. The car was about 9 miles from where Silvernail was found.
GABBY PETITO'S PARENTS ASK BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S PARENTS ABOUT MAJOR WITHDRAWALS IN NEW COURT FILINGS
The suspects were in Silvernail's vehicle with the victims prior to their deaths, according to the sheriff. Authorities believe all three victims were shot at the same time.
"She was there of her own free will," Woods said of Silvernail.
Layla Silvernail's family is planning to donate the 16-year-old's organs, according to a GoFundMe. (Facebook/Layla Silvernail)
After obtaining a search warrant and searching her vehicle, authorities found 16-year-old Quarles dead from a gunshot wound in Silvernail's car. The arrested suspects confessed to shooting Quarles in the vehicle, Woods said.
Woods previously told Fox News Digital that he believed the suspects were part of a "wannabe" or "neighborhood" gang, and the victims likely knew them for a short time.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Police have not released the name of the male victim who was killed.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to email@example.com or on Twitter at @audpants.
VIDEO - Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: Peace talks must focus on creating a 'new world order' | DW News - YouTube
VIDEO - Ukraine debates ways to prevent military leaks after secret plan ends up online ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
VIDEO - Macron's visit to China: "Is the EU serious about de-coupling?" ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
VIDEO - US access to abortion pill in limbo after competing rulings ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
VIDEO - US Supreme Court's Clarence Thomas under fire for allegedly accepting lavish trips ' FRANCE 24 - YouTube
VIDEO - US VP Harris meets expelled Tennessee lawmakers in Nashville - YouTube
VIDEO - Video: White House Press Sec. Says ''It's Not For Us to Decide'' If Killing Christian Children Constitutes A 'Hate Crime'
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 13:34
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to comment Wednesday when asked if the school shooting in Nashville by a trans individual should be classified as a 'hate crime'.
The transgender terrorist Audrey Hale specifically targeted Christians, killing three children and three teachers at a private school last week.
Yet KJP stated that ''It's not for us to decide'' whether the act constitutes a hate crime, when asked by a journalist.
KJP: "It's not for us to decide" if a transgender lunatic shooting up a Christian school and killing 6 people (3 of whom were children) should be classified as a hate crime. pic.twitter.com/SoJYx4zD16
'-- Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 5, 2023But they are quick to classify other incidents perpetrated by people with ideologies they don't agree with: double standard.
'-- Carlos Abraham Rodriguez Ù (@car_umba) April 5, 2023It's only for "them to decide" when the narrative is maintained by deciding in the affirmative.
'-- CatchingRye (@AceInTheRye) April 5, 2023If it were a school for the alphabet gang you know they would consider it a hate crime.
'-- @Momberly (@Momberly89) April 5, 2023When a shooter killed five people at a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado last year, Biden called it ''horrific hate violence,'' and stated ''We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.''
There was no further comment, however when it was revealed that the suspect was a 'non-binary' they/them person, and it just went away from the media cycle.
In new court filing, public defenders for the suspect in the mass shooting at a Colorado gay club that left 5 people dead say that their client is non-binary and that "they use they/them pronouns." The lawyers refer to their client as Mx. Anderson Aldrich. pic.twitter.com/dPaUpiFXKN
'-- Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) November 23, 2022After a teenage gunman killed 10 people and injured three others at a supermarket in Buffalo last year, Biden labeled it ''an act of domestic terrorism,'' and stated that ''an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.''
KJP also seemed to have a different outlook in that case:
Today the WH refused to call the Nashville terror attack a "hate crime," saying "it's not for us to decide."Yet last May, the WH @PressSec was much less circumspect about the Buffalo mass shooting. pic.twitter.com/TZcNY8DfBV
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 5, 2023The same level of denunciation was noticeably absent when a black supremacist and BLM supporter with a history of anti-white statements, including calling white people ''the enemy,'' killed five people and injured dozens of others during a Christmas parade.
When it suits the narrative, it's a hate crime. When it doesn't, it's not for Biden to say:
The stated reason why Biden did not go to Waukesha is that it would require too many "assets" and "resources." Somehow they have managed to gather all of the necessary assets and resources for Buffalo.
'-- Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 16, 2022Last week KJP was also pretty sure that the trans community is ''under attack right now.''
For the sake of full context, the comments came as a reporter asked Jean-Pierre about the Kentucky legislature overriding the governor's veto of a bill that restricts aspects of trans youth gender-affirming surgeries and the use of bathrooms.
Jean-Pierre responded, ''we've been very clear about these anti-LGBTQ bills that we're seeing in state legislators '-- state legislatures across the country, in particular these anti-trans bills, as they attack trans kids, as they attack trans parents. It is '-- it is shameful. And it is unacceptable.''
Apparently it's not for the Biden administration to call shooting Christian kids a hate crime, but it is their responsibility to call state legislature to protect children a ''shameful attack''.
'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--ALERT! In the age of mass Silicon Valley censorship It is crucial that we stay in touch.
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VIDEO - TexasLindsay' on Twitter: "NEW: Leaked documents show Ukrainians have suffered far more fatalities than reported & Russians have suffered far less. And allegedly reveal the ðºð¸ military plans to put boots on the ground in ðºð.... No w
Sat, 08 Apr 2023 12:51
TexasLindsay' : NEW: Leaked documents show Ukrainians have suffered far more fatalities than reported & Russians have suffered far'... https://t.co/LJWRalWdoX
Fri Apr 07 23:49:57 +0000 2023
Jordan : @TexasLindsay_ Altered by the Russian state propaganda network.
Sat Apr 08 12:50:11 +0000 2023
Dr.007 'Roger' Gardy : @TexasLindsay_ The real issue is Zellensky has his troops shot & bombed at if Russia captures them, & has them in t'... https://t.co/pvbRNmE9uS
Sat Apr 08 12:31:14 +0000 2023
Ray Ray : @TexasLindsay_ There has been very little newsfeed from there, making me wonder if there is really anything going on?
Sat Apr 08 12:21:34 +0000 2023
Brenda S Tate : @TexasLindsay_ We do not belong in Ukraine. Only reason we are there is to support the Biden corruption.
Sat Apr 08 12:14:53 +0000 2023
Recovering Republican : @TexasLindsay_ You support Russia's invasion?
Sat Apr 08 12:09:27 +0000 2023
Albert : @TexasLindsay_ Wait the leaked documents are PowerPoint slides? This is as fake as it gets and has Army Psyop writt'... https://t.co/xzOUKWxRKo
Sat Apr 08 12:02:14 +0000 2023
Ð'Ð¾Ð>>Ð¾Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ Ð'ÐµÑÐ¼Ð°Ð½ : @TexasLindsay_ What do you say that 200.000.000 Chinese army will start the third world war from Poland.
Sat Apr 08 11:51:29 +0000 2023
Jim Esposito : @TexasLindsay_ @FreakCountry76 Watching Russia and the way they are recruiting they have a huge number of casualties.
Sat Apr 08 11:33:20 +0000 2023
VIDEO - [Make Yourself at Home E21] Alissa Heinerscheid, VP, Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch - Nines
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 16:34
At work, Alissa Heinerscheid is the Vice President of Bud Light for Anheuser-Busch. When she stepped into the role last year, she was tasked with evolving and elevating an iconic brand that was in decline. As the first woman to lead Bud Light in its 40+ year history, she's bringing a new perspective to the brand's creative work, like the Super Bowl commercial featuring Keleigh Teller and Miles Teller. The spot is one of two 2022 Bud Light Super Bowl ads to feature women as the main characters.At home, she's a mom who celebrates her kids' wins with a family swag chain, and a cancer survivor, who finds her joy paying it forward and coaching other women through the tough moments she's been through herself, like having her three kids through surrogacy.
She says, in both work and home, her values are the same '-- she's motivated by the hard, and she's always looking for depth and meaning.
In early 2020, before taking over at Bud Light, Alissa was promoted to VP, Direct to Consumer Marketing at Anheuser-Busch. A month later, the pandemic struck, and suddenly, she found herself working harder than ever, both in her new role and at home. After a tough wakeup call from her husband, she set out to find her ''pipeline of joy,'' and started a project called, 100 Women in 100 Days. She talked to friends, and eventually total strangers, asking each person, ''what's in your worry box?''
For episode 21 of Make Yourself at Home, we're in Alissa's home in New York City, talking about the importance of connection, why it's ok to give yourself permission to pursue what gives you energy, and how Alissa found her pipeline of joy. Make Yourself at Home with Alissa Heinerscheid.
Listen now and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
Follow along with Alissa on social media @alissa.heinerscheid on Instagram and on LinkedIn.
Subscribe now to Make Yourself at Home to hear from all our season 1 guests, including Bess Freedman (Brown Harris Stevens), Fr(C)d(C)ric Fekkai (FEKKAI), Kara Goldin (Hint), Greg Davidson (Lalo), Danielle Canty (Bossbabe), Kate Torgersen (Milk Stork), Adrian Grenier (Earth Speed Media), Loren Brill (Sweet Loren's), Nyakio Grieco (Thirteen Lune), Noora Raj Brown (goop), Tara Williams (Dreamland Baby), Dr. Wendy Borlabi (Chicago Bulls), Ruth Zukerman (SoulCycle, Flywheel Sports), Katelin Holloway (Seven Seven Six), Al Doan (Missouri Quilt Co), Rechelle Balanzat (Juliette), Sasha Cohen (Olympic Medalist), Ally Love (Peloton), Nicole Ryan (SiriusXM) and more. And if you enjoy our conversations, leave us a review to tell us why!
Make Yourself at Home is presented by Nines, the household management app designed to help you manage your home and everything that comes with it, so you can live with ease.
VIDEO - Jamie Dimon Warns on Banking Crisis in Annual Letter - YouTube
VIDEO - 'Buffer zone' between NATO and Russia shrinking | DW News - YouTube
VIDEO - Pension reform protesters invade Paris BlackRock building - YouTube
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VIDEO - Dr. Redfield's Bombshell Testimony
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 14:23
Yesterday, we witnessed the ex-director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), under oath, directly blame Dr. Fauci and the U.S. government for the deaths of millions of people.
However, if you went to the headlines of Google News'--there was nary a news story. I guess Google felt it wasn't important enough to warrant above-the-fold status. Seems like they had to make room for important news items, like the ones above.
A keyword search of Redfield on Google News did come up with the following stories.
The actual testimony of Redfield was explosive. Yet none of these headlines belie the gravity of Redfield's testimony. Redfield directly linked gain-of-function research and the creation of SARS-CoV-WIV to Fauci, and to the U.S. government'--including the Department of Defense (DOD). He absolutely believes and gives sworn testimony to the effect that Fauci and Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and soon be the chief scientist at the World Health Organization, covered up the lab leak information. Redfield himself was excluded from the meetings when the processes, strategy, and tactics for covering up the lab leak were developed.
This winter, we had a high-level federal employee on the farm. He/she came to me anonymously to express concerns about what had happened in the execution of this corrupt and failed public health response, and in particular to how the vaccines were developed and implemented. She/he discussed how all of the high-level meetings on the clinical trials, the safety of the vaccine, and the public health response, were all done under complete secrecy. Recorders were turned off, plus cell phones and computers were not allowed in the meetings. So there are literally NO RECORDS of these meetings.
This person believes that finding evidence of the malfeasance in the meeting minutes or recordings is going to be difficult. So when the New York Times headliner (above) cynically states that the Republicans lack a ''smoking gun,'' I believe they know damn well why. The New York Times reporting and editorial staff are many things, but they are not stupid.
But here is the thing, I do speak to people working on these issues in Congress. I have been told that the federal government has a large paper trail that documents the corruption over the past three years.
But what happened yesterday is explosive'--let's start with the video of Congressman Jim Jordan speaking to Redfield.
Note: these clips are not available elsewhere yet, so I am sorry for the ones from Twitter'--I know that some here aren't on it.
Rep. @Jim_Jordan: There Are Nine Million Reasons Why Two Top Scientists Changed Their Stance on Lab Leak Theory
''So three days after they say it came from a lab, they changed their position, and the only intervening event was a conference call with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins. Again,'... https://t.co/Oz6PWslbnG pic.twitter.com/fwgY26z6ca
'-- The Vigilant Fox ð... (@VigilantFox) March 8, 2023
Then listen to Redfield speaking:
''In Sept. 2019, three things happened in that lab. One is they deleted the sequences. Highly irregular, researchers don't like to do that. The second thing is they changed the command and control from civilian to military. Highly unusual. The third, which is very telling, is they let a contractor redo the ventilation system in that laboratory. Clearly, there was strong evidence that a significant event happened in that laboratory in September.''
Dr. Robert Redfield, the former CDC Director, talks about three suspicious events that took place at the Wuhan lab in September 2019:
''In Sept. 2019, three things happened in that lab. One is they deleted the sequences. Highly irregular, researchers don't like to do that.'' https://t.co/YjHfyEok1g pic.twitter.com/nIT5b96AbE
'-- kanekoa.substack.com (@KanekoaTheGreat) March 8, 2023
But there is more: Redfield clearly states that the gain-of-function research received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the DOD.
Dr. Robert Redfield: ''There's No Doubt That NIH Funded Gain-of-Function Research''
Ms. Malliotakis: ''Is it likely that American tax dollars funded the gain-of-function research that created this virus?''
Dr. Redfield: ''I think it did '-- not only from NIH but from the State'... https://t.co/zLrT8CjFCZ pic.twitter.com/OqsTsb1hFg
'-- The Vigilant Fox ð... (@VigilantFox) March 8, 2023
For those that missed it, here is the YouTube video of Redfield reading his written testimony in the hearing:
Written Statement of Dr Robert Redfield Before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus CrisisMarch 8, 2023
Chairman Wenstrup, Ranking Member Ruiz, and members of the Committee, my name is Dr. Robert Redfield. I am pleased to testify today in support of this subcommittee's important work'--to investigate the origin of the COVID-19 virus that resulted in the deaths of over one million Americans.
As I know this Committee is aware, from 2018-2021 I served as the 18th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration. As CDC Director, I oversaw the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the earliest days of its spread and served as a member of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force.
But perhaps more relevant to the purpose of this hearing, my 45 years in medicine has been focused on the study of viruses. I am a virologist by training and practice. Prior to my time at the CDC, I spent more than 20 years as a U.S. Army physician and medical researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where I served as the Chief of the Department of Retroviral Research and worked in virology, immunology, and clinical research at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic and other viral threats. In 1996, I co-founded the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in partnership with the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, and the University System of Maryland where I served as the Director of Clinical Care and Research and also served as a tenured professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology; chief of infectious disease; and vice chair of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. After my time at CDC, I served as the senior public health advisor to Governor Hogan and the State of Maryland.
As COVID-19 began to spread across the world, there were two competing hypotheses about the virus's origin that needed to be vigorously explored. The first hypothesis is the possibility that COVID-19 infections in humans were the result of a ''spillover event'' from nature. This is a situation in which a virus naturally mutates and becomes transmissible from one species to another'--in this case, from bats to humans via an intermittent species. This is what happened in previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS, earlier coronaviruses that emerged from bats and spread through an intermediate animal. The second hypothesis is the possibility that the virus evolved in a lab involved in gain-of-function research. This is a type of research in 2 which scientists seek to increase the transmissibility and or pathogenicity of an organism in order to better understanding the organism and inform preparedness efforts and the development of countermeasures such as therapeutics and vaccines. Under this theory, COVID-19 infected the general population after it was accidentally leaked from a lab in China.
From the earliest days of the pandemic, my view was that both theories about the origin of COVID-19 needed to be aggressively and thoroughly examined. Based on my initial analysis of the data, I came to believe'--and still believe today'--that it indicates COVID-19 infections more likely were the result of an accidental lab leak than the result of a natural spillover event. This conclusion is based primarily on the biology of the virus itself, including its rapid high infectivity for human to human transmission which would then predict rapid evolution of new variants, as well as a number of other important factors to include the unusual actions in and around Wuhan in the fall of 2019, all of which I am happy to discuss today.
Even given the information that has surfaced in the three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some have contended that there is no point in investigating the origins of this virus. I strongly disagree. There is a global need to know what we are dealing with in the COVID-19 virus because it affects how we approach the problem to try and prevent the next pandemic.
Understanding the origins of COVID-19 is critical for the future of scientific research, particularly as it affects the ongoing ethical debate around the conduct of gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function has long been controversial within the scientific community, and, in my opinion, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a case study on the potential dangers of such research. While many believe that gain-of-function research is critical to get ahead of viruses by developing vaccines, in this case, I believe it had the exact opposite result, unleashing a new virus on the world without any means of stopping it and resulting in the deaths of millions of people. Because of this, it is my opinion that we should call for a moratorium on all gain-of-function research until we can have a broader debate and come to a consensus as a community about the value of gain-of-function research. This debate should not be limited to the scientific community. If the decision is to continue gain-of-function research then it must be determined how and where to conduct this research in a safe, responsible and effective way.
Thank you again for inviting me to be here today as we explore these important topics. I look forward to answering your questions.
Reposted from Robert Malone's Substack.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.
VIDEO - Episode 7: How to Live Forever | This is Love | Podcast Guru
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 13:57
An experiment in living together, forever.
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VIDEO - (20) Disclose.tv on Twitter: "NOW - White House: "LGBTQI+ kids are resilient, they're fierce, they fight back, they're not going anywhere." https://t.co/dPzp0JMBlG" / Twitter
Fri, 07 Apr 2023 13:56
Disclose.tv : NOW - White House: "LGBTQI+ kids are resilient, they're fierce, they fight back, they're not going anywhere." https://t.co/dPzp0JMBlG
Thu Apr 06 17:44:21 +0000 2023
bill anderson : @disclosetv All she ever does is pontificate her own opinions. It's like KJP story hour. Every time I see her bab'... https://t.co/lEZ1vg0Uc8
Fri Apr 07 13:56:44 +0000 2023
AL KARESA : @disclosetv Toilet brush lol
Fri Apr 07 13:55:55 +0000 2023
Chris Wales : @disclosetv This administration is full of child predators! Anyone that allows kids to make these decisions should be put in prison!
Fri Apr 07 13:55:46 +0000 2023
Rob Machado : @disclosetv Hey let's discuss stuff like this so we don't have to discuss the country going to shit
Fri Apr 07 13:54:31 +0000 2023
Pablo.OG : @disclosetv https://t.co/h40nortDw0
Fri Apr 07 13:54:25 +0000 2023
truisms are true ð¨ð...ð®ðªð´ó §ó ó "ó £ó ´ó ð' : @disclosetv I wish they'd make up their minds. Are they resilient or suicidal? Heroes or victims?How about letti'... https://t.co/8A4tEozUS8
Fri Apr 07 13:54:19 +0000 2023
Mortadella4Me : @disclosetv I will never support.
Fri Apr 07 13:52:14 +0000 2023
Devon Armstrong : @disclosetv This is the only thing this administration cares about'...
Fri Apr 07 13:50:50 +0000 2023
Crypto Wolverine : @disclosetv you mean shoot ?
Fri Apr 07 13:50:07 +0000 2023
Aven : @disclosetv Sad Americans! Their government can ban Huawei, ban TIKTOK, ban refugees from the Middle East from ente'... https://t.co/PdWXRzDs0R
Fri Apr 07 13:48:59 +0000 2023
ð'ð¸ð§''¸ð½Bonesmeggaðð¬ð...ð¯ð±ðð''¬ðð '¸ðð '¸ : @disclosetv I stand with @BillboardChris no such thing as trans kids
Fri Apr 07 13:48:51 +0000 2023
Ethiopian Gunner ðªð¹ð--´'ªð--´'½¸ : @disclosetv Kids?
Fri Apr 07 13:48:10 +0000 2023
Jose : @disclosetv Thsi is just a joke at this point.
Fri Apr 07 13:46:43 +0000 2023
Scotty King : @disclosetv We really don't care what you do in your bedroom. Just keep it to yourselves.
Fri Apr 07 13:46:33 +0000 2023
Judy Lehman : @disclosetv Hey, guess what? No one is going anywhere.
Fri Apr 07 13:46:31 +0000 2023