Sunday, October 6, 2013

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Mariana Islands Region!

October 06, 2013 - MARIANA ISLANDS - A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Mariana islands region on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, officials said.

USGS earthquake location.

The quake was recorded at 16:38:08 UTC with an epicentre about 306 kilometres (190 miles) northeast of Fais, Micronesia, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of 104 kilometres or 65 miles.

 The Mariana islands region lies in the so-called Pacific ring of fire, a chain of islands that are prone to quakes and volcanic eruptions.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity.
The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths. - USGS.

SINGULARITY NOW: Genetically Modified Babies And The Rise Of The European Exoskeleton - US Food And Drug Administration To Hold Meeting To Discuss Genetic Modification Within The Human Egg?!

October 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - In October 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration will hold a two-day public meeting to discuss genetic modification within the human egg, which changes will be passed on generationally.  The United Kingdom is also moving to allow GM babies.

Human gene therapy has been ongoing since 1990, but most of that involved non-heritable genes, called somatic (non-sex cell) gene therapy.  Somatic modifications only affect the individual and are not passed on, and so do not affect the human genome.

The game changed with the successful birth of at least 30 genetically modified babies by 2001. Half of the babies engineered from one clinic developed defects, so the FDA stepped in and asserted jurisdiction over “the use of human cells that receive genetic material by means other than the union of gamete nuclei” (sperm and egg nuclei).

Now the FDA is considering going forward with “oocyte modification” which involves genetic material from a second woman, whereby offspring will carry the DNA from three parents.  These kinds of genetic changes (“germline modification”) alter the human genome.

With ooplasmic transfer, the technique injects healthy mitochondrial DNA from a donor into the egg of an infertile woman.  Mitochondrial DNA floats outside a cell’s nucleus which contains the regular DNA, and is only inherited from the mother.

This is the first such meeting ever to be held in public by the FDA, reports Biopolitical Times (BPT), speculating that the meeting will likely include discussing a mitochondrial replacement technique developed by Shoukhrat Mitalipov at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).

Notes the BPT, “mitochondrial replacement is a form of inheritable genetic modification.”  This type of gene therapy is the source of much controversy, because it permanently changes the human genome and risks unforeseeable changes in growth and development, and aging.

As late as 2008, all germline modification therapies and enhancements were banned in 83% of the 30 nations making up the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), including the US and UK, reports the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS).

In June of this year, the United Kingdom reversed its long-standing policy against germline modification, and decided to go ahead with three-parent babies. Regulations on the procedure are now being drafted and Members of Parliament are expected to vote on the issue in 2014.

Testifying before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade in 2008, CGS Executive Director Richard Hayes advised:

“Most people strongly support therapeutic applications of genetic science, but they also realize that the manipulation of inheritable genetic traits crosses a consequential barrier. In the great majority of instances, couples at risk of passing on a serious genetic disease can ensure that their child is disease-free by means of medically-related trait selection, thus obviating the need for the far more complex and risk-prone intervention that germline modification would entail.”

 Making humans better, smarter, stronger has long been the goal of eugenicists.  Hayes warns:

“Germline enhancement has also been seriously proposed as a means of creating people with such novel cognitive, psychological, and behavioral traits that they would constitute a new, ‘post-human’ species, incapable of interbreeding with ‘normal’ humans.”

Paul Knoepfler, Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, commented that:

“Moving one oocyte nucleus into the enucleated oocyte of another person could trigger all kinds of devastating problems (most likely through epigenetic changes) that might not manifest until you try to make a human being out of it. Then it’s too late.”

BPT shares in this opposition:

 “If the FDA gives the OHSU researchers a green light to move towards human clinical trials, it will be the first instance of regulatory approval for human germline modification ever, anywhere in the world.
 ”Given the current regulatory void in the United States and the paucity of safety data, allowing scientists to experiment with creating permanent changes to the human genome is a genie that must be kept in the bottle.”

As with genetically modified crops, a host of unforeseen and deleterious consequences may develop when we begin modifying humans with genes their children will inherit. GM feed is linked with infertility and spontaneous abortions in livestock, and crops modified to be insecticidal are linked to declining pollinator populations, especially bees, moths and bats.

But another argument against germline modification is that it will lead to designer babies and a new class of underdogs – those who cannot afford genetic enhancement.

Eugenicists and futurists like Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near, 2006) foresee and welcome the convergence of the NBIC fields that can improve human performance: nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science.

In 2001, over 50 policy makers and scientists from a range of fields contributed to a National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop on converging NBIC technologies. Within the individual, group and societal level discussions, they addressed key areas of human activity: working, learning, aging, group interaction and human evolution. The consensus reached was to focus a national R&D priority on human enhancement.

In re-opening the allowance for GM babies, whose genetic changes will be passed on to future generations, the FDA is taking the next steps toward toeing the line on genetic human enhancement.

In addition to accepting written comments, the FDA, in collaboration with the Office of Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, will also provide a free webcast of the two-day discussion.  The meeting may be rescheduled without notice, the FDA warns. - Global Research.

THE AGE OF OBAMA & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The U.S. Corporation And The Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - Financial Analyst Warns That U.S. Debt Default Would Trigger A Catastrophic Great Depression!

October 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - As we close out the first week of the government shutdown, a bigger and even more toxic disaster is creeping into the fray that could make the contentious budget battle look like a slap fight. The Treasury Department said Uncle Sam will be broke by October 17th unless something is done. Treasury secretary Jack Lew hammered home that point Thursday by releasing an unusually ominous statement that warned of catastrophic risks to the economy.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he won't let the government default on its debt, but until steps are taken to raise the nation's debt ceiling, the possibility of default is still theoretically alive.

"If they seriously default on the debt, what we're really talking about is a depression," says veteran financial sector analyst Richard Bove, VP of research at Rafferty Capital Markets. In the attached video he explains how the fallout would be a lot worse than the recession suffered in 2008 and the aftershocks would be felt for at least a decade.

"The first thing you have to do is look at who holds the debt," Bove says of the $16.7 trillion of bonds the U.S. currently has outstanding. "The first, biggest owner (of U.S. debt) is the social security fund, so you'd have all of these people who are receiving social security payments who now have to question whether they'll get their payments."

Clearly, that would cause a huge disruption to millions of Americans. But Bove says that is only the beginning since the second biggest holder of Treasuries (at about 12% of the total) is the Federal Reserve, which has "91% of its assets backed by U.S. government debt."

If the value of those assets were to decline, which they indisputably would in a default, Bove says the net effect would be that "we have nothing of value backing the dollar."

They're actually "Federal Reserve Notes" as well as the number one asset of choice held in the reserves of governments and businesses all over the world. A plunge in Treasuries would also devalue the dollar, which would instantly make everything we buy more expensive, and in turn destabilize countries and economies all over the world.

"Eleven-percent of all U.S. debt is owned by the Chinese," he says. "That $1.4 trillion represents about a third of the reserves of the People's Bank of China, so what we've now said to the PBOC is, 'Watch out, we may hit the value of a third of your assets and you can't do anything about it.'"

And this isn't even half of it.

As Bove explains, money market funds, which are used by virtually every person with a savings or investment account, are also "heavily loaded with Treasuries." So are most bond funds and so-called balanced funds (growth and income funds). A default on U.S. debt would not only cause money funds to "break the buck" --not be able to pay 100-cents for each dollar invested)-- but would also cause forced selling by countless other funds that are mandated to immediately sell any asset that has defaulted.

"That could easily put $750 billion of Treasuries on to the market," Bove says, inferring that rates interest rates would also spike, and normal borrowing/lending transactions would end.

Speaking of banks, the U.S. banking industry holds over a trillion dollars worth of Treasuries and another trillion dollars of government issued mortgage-backed securities, Bove says. If those bonds were to go down in value, he says the banks would also have to "write down the value of those assets and, in essence, wipe out their equity." It would make the banks insolvent.

To summarize, Bove asserts that a default is unthinkable because it would trigger a huge reduction in the value of U.S. debt, which would go beyond disrupting social security payments. A default would upend money markets, destroy bond funds, slam the brakes on lending, cause interest rates to spiral, make our banks insolvent, and deal a blow to our foreign trading partners and creditors around the globe; all of which would throw the U.S. and the world into economic disarray. - Yahoo.

TERMINATOR & BIG BROTHER NOW: Rise Of The Machines And The Global Police State - Phone Sensors Could Meld With Human Body; New Police Toy Resembling "Ray Gun" Can Disable Threatening Vehicles Via EMP; Humanoid Machines To Revolutionize China; FST21 New Multifactor Real-Time Biometric Scanning Tech Developed As A New Paradigm For Security; Mad Scientist Designing Organs That Could Give You Superpower; New Biometric Scanner Collects You Or Your Family's Iris ID At A Distance; And Google Plans To Replace Our Entire MINDS By Machines Within 90 Years!

October 06, 2013 - TECHNOLOGY - The following stories constitute several of the latest technological advancement in robotics and biometrics, as we towards the rise of the machines and the global police state.

Phone Sensors Could Meld With Human Body
New microscopic computer components made from polymers are bio-compatible and could help convert
electrical signals into movement.  iStockPhoto
Microscopic sensors and motors in smartphones detect movement, and could one day help their cameras focus. Now scientists have devised components for these machines that are compatible with the human body, potentially making them ideal for use in medical devices such as bionic limbs and other artificial body parts, researchers say.  The technology is called microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, and involves parts less than 100 microns wide, the average diameter of a human hair. For example, the accelerometer that tells a smartphone if its screen is being held vertically or horizontally is a MEMS sensor; it convert signals from the phone's environment, such as its movement, into electrical impulses.

MEMS actuators, which may focus your next smartphone's camera, work in the opposite way, by converting electrical signals into movement.  MEMS are typically produced from silicon. But now researchers have devised a way to print highly flexible parts for these micro-machines from a rubbery, organic polymer more suitable for implantation in the human body than is silicon. The new polymer is attractive for MEMS because of its high mechanical strength and how it responds to electricity. It is also nontoxic, making it biocompatible, or suitable for use in the human body.  The method the scientists used to create MEMS components from this polymer is called nanoimprint lithography. The process works much like a miniaturized rubber stamp, pressing a mold into the soft polymer to create detailed patterns, with features down to nanometers, or billionths of a meter, in size. The scientists printed components just 2 microns thick, 2 microns wide and about 2 centimeters long.

False Memories Implanted in Mice 
"The printing actually worked, that is to say that we were able to get the recipe right," researcher Leeya Engel, a materials scientist at Tel Aviv University in Israel, told LiveScience. "Fabrication at small scales is a very tricky business, especially when using new materials."  The fact that nanoimprint lithography does not rely on expensive or cumbersome electronics makes the new process simple and cheap.  "The use of new, soft materials in micro-devices stretches both the imagination and the limits of technology, but introducing polymer MEMS to industry can only be realized with the development of printing technologies that allow for low-cost mass production," Engel said. - Discovery News.

New Police Toy Resembling "Ray Gun" Can Disable Threatening Vehicles Via EMP
Soon on the streets of America police departments will likely deploy a new toy. A new device much like a
ray-gun, that can disable a motor vehicle at the touch of a button. Visitors look at Diehl guided missiles on
display at the Internationale Luftausstellung (ILA) Air Show on September 11, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.
The 2012 ILA is supplying the first use of the runway at the new Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg
International Airport (BER), still under construction, and runs from September 11-16.
(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

A new gadget built by Diehl Defense, much like a portable Electro-Magnetic Pulse ray gun, can disable a vehicles electronic circuitry rendering it useless in battlefield or pursuit conditions.  This technology was put to the test on the battlefield of Afghanistan in 2011, while police departments and militaries around the world will likely grovel over the device. Deihl Defense is also a maker of guided missiles and other weaponry.  The official website for Diehl Defense explains the use for the device in a convoy protection scenario reading, “The new HPEM (High-Power-Electro-Magnetics) technology protects convoys against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), can stop getaway vehicles and prevent unauthorized access to limited access areas. Thus, this technology contributes decisively to the protection of soldiers in international missions.  The use of nonlethal HPEM systems is a new capability enabling military and civil forces to eliminate command, information and monitoring systems. HPEM sources can be used for personal and convoy protection, for instance, to overload and permanently destroy radio-based fuzing systems. In contrast to conventional jammers, the HPEM convoy protection system is also effective against new types of sensor-based IEDs. Enemy vehicles with electronic motor management can be stopped inconspicuously by mobile and stationary HPEM systems (car stopping).   HPEM can also support special and police forces in fulfilling their tasks. HPEM systems suppress enemy communication and disturb reconnaissance and information systems, for instance, in freeing hostages.”  Some wonder how long it will be before this technology will be utilized on the “battlefield” of America. - Intellihub.

Robots To Revolutionize China
A new worker's revolution is rising in China and it doesn't involve humans.  With soaring wages and an aging population, electronics factory managers say the day is approaching when robotic workers will replace people on the Chinese factory floor.  A new wave of industrial robots is in development, ranging from high-end humanoid machines with vision, touch and even learning capabilities, to low-cost robots vying to undercut China's minimum wage.   Over the next five years these technologies will transform China's factories, executives say, and also fill a growing labor shortage as the country's youth become increasingly unwilling to perform manual labor. How the transformation plays out will also go a long way in deciding how much of the electronics supply chain remains in China.   It's not just traditional robot makers like Zurich-based ABB Group and Germany's Kuka AG  pushing forward. Electronics suppliers in Asia such as Delta Electronics Inc. and Foxconn Technology Group are also seeking to build a better robot, along with smaller players like Denmark's Universal Robots A/S.  One of the newest companies in this field, Taiwanese firm Delta, has long made power adapters for brands like Apple Inc.,  but last year it began a more ambitious project: to build robots cheap enough to replace human workers in China's electronics factories.  To be sure, robots have long been technically capable of the tasks required for final assembly: placing components on circuit boards, affixing circuit boards into casings, screwing together the casings and cleaning off the devices. - WSJ.

WATCH: A new worker's revolution is rising in China, and it doesn't involve humans. Delta Electronics has developed robots that can work on assembly lines that it hopes to sell for as little as $10,000. The WSJ's Eva Dou reports. Video by Neil Wade.

Multifactor Real-Time Biometric Scanning Tech Developed As A New Paradigm For Security
A new multifactor biometric system from FST21 that identifies known approved people as they walk up to a building or access point could have prevented something like the Navy Yard shootings that took the lives of 13 people in Washington, D.C., on Monday.  “There is a need to find a new paradigm for security and convenience,” FST21′s chief executive Aharon Farkash — a former general in Israel’s military intelligence arm – told me today. “All of the technologies that we use today are individually insufficient.”  FST21, which recently won an award from the security industry association ASIS for its In Motion Identification system, instead combines multiple technologies with as many as eight different identification schemes to achieve 99.7 percent accuracy, even when up to 100 people are approaching an entrance simultaneously.   The difference is not just that the system identifies people on the go. It’s also that there is no key or card to steal or fake.  “The information we have on the Navy Yard shootings is that he used someone else’s ID card,” Farkash said. “This cannot happen with our system, because you must be identified … with second-generation biometrics, you are the key … your body is the key for your building.”

Traditional CCTV cameras are not
powerful enough, FST21 says
FST21 combines facial recognition techniques with height, gait, length of limbs, voice characteristics, and other physical identifiers with behavioral characteristics such as how you walk, where you enter from, what time you typically arrive, and more.  The system, which uses high-definition cameras in places of standard CCTV cameras, connects the footage to an onsite electronic brain that learns your behavior automatically. Guards can optionally watch footage in real time as the system identifies known personnel, who are visually tagged onscreen with their names in green if “known good” and red if “known bad,” and also highlights unknown individuals.  The system works for high-traffic locations such as train stations as well as major office buildings, Farkash said.  “There is a need for in-motion identification,” he said. “We can deliver security with convenience, for sometimes hundreds or thousands of people.”  First-generation biometric systems sometimes use fingerprints or iris prints, often in conjunction with an access card. But neither are 100 percent foolproof, Farkash told me, and cards can clearly be stolen or forged. A combination system, he argues, with multiple data points coupled with an intelligent system that learns individual people’s bodies and voices is much more robust and reliable.  “It can be used 10-15 feet before the entrance of a building, or by turnstiles,” he said. “And it’s currently 99.7 percent accurate.”  - Venture Beat.

Mad Scientist Designing Organs That Could Give You Superpower
Michael McAlpine’s 3-D printed bionic ear enables superhuman hearing,
but you’re on your own for a cape. Photo: Frank Wojciechowski
Acquiring a superpower usually requires a bite from a radioactive insect, an uncomfortable dose of cosmic radiation, or the discovery of extraterrestrial parentage, but scientist Michael McAlpine hopes to make the process as simple as purchasing aspirin at the pharmacy. So far, he’s invented a “tattoo” for teeth that can detect cavities—not exactly the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters—although his latest project, a 3-D printed bionic ear that enables superhuman hearing, could be.  McAlpine earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Harvard and now is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton, where he leads a nine-person research group. “I was corrupted to being more of an engineer than a scientist,” says McAlpine. “I like to do stuff that’s a little more applied.”  His first papers in 2003 focused on putting silicon nanowires on flexible substrates. It was an astonishing technical achievement for his time, but unfortunately it came at a point when iPods could only be controlled through a click wheel and Mark Zuckerberg was getting ready for his senior prom. Despite its scientific importance, the market wasn’t ready and McAlpine started looking for other research topics, when he asked, “Instead of trying to put nanowires on plastic substrates, why not put them on the body?”

His latest project, a synthetic ear made with a 3-D bioprinter, is a realization of that vision. The complex biomechanical structure was fabricated by depositing live cells and conductive silver in layers. It started as an exploration of material properties, but commercial applications started to appear rapidly. He discovered that cochlear implants, a leading treatment for those with some hearing impairment, are made by hand in a slow and laborious process with costs to match.  But McAlpine’s vision is much bigger than simply automating a manual process—he wants to create superhumans. “Repairing lost hearing is an incredibly noble goal,” says McAlpine, “but what we made was a coil it receives electromagnetic signals and formed a direct connection with your brain.” A phone-brain interface sounds uncanny, but according to McAlpine it’s just optimizing the existing process. Tiny hairs in our ears interpret audio signals and transform them into electrical signals that can be decoded by the brain. McAlpine’s innovation cuts out the acoustical middle man and pumps the electronic signal right into your medula and brings us one step closer to a world where we can learn kung fu by plugging into a computer.  “We evolved in a world where we needed to hear lions,” he says. “But today it makes sense for one of our senses to talk directly to our brain, electrically.” It would also give us the ability to hear outside of our normal 20-20,000hz spectrum, giving us the ability to hear what bats or dolphins hear. 

An early example of McAlpine’s flexible electronics.
Photo: Princeton University
Why the ear? “The ear was a great proof of concept for combining biological and electrical,” says McAlpine. “It’s one of the simpler organs with no vasculature, it’s pure cartilage.” McAlpine sees this successful experiment as the first of many upgradeable body parts. “What I’m most excited about is using these 3-D printers, interwoven with advances in material science, and adding biology to them—not just taking the ear to the next level.”  Despite his desire to create more superheros than Stan Lee, McAlpine isn’t inspired by sci-fi, citing origami and music as bigger influences. “I have to be honest, I was never ever one of those people that watched Star Trek or Star Wars,” he says. “I was a musician, I went to the same high school as John Mayer and we’d play at the same venue. He was much better.” John Mayer might have sung about your body being a wonderland, but McAlpine is making it a reality.  A decade ago, McAlpine was developing electronics that could function on flexible substrates, but no one saw a commercial application. Today, rumors of smart watches featuring advanced circuits won’t stop. Now, he’s betting the next big wave of consumer electronics will bring us even closer to our smartphones and tablets. “It will just be considered normal that you have electronics embedded in your body,” he says. “You won’t think its weird that a door will just open up as you walk towards it. We will become cyborgs and it will be seen as just a normal thing.” - WIRED.

New Biometric Scanner Collects You Or Your Family's Iris ID At A Distance
Iris ID introduces iris at distance system.
Iris ID Systems is set to introduce the IrisAccess iCAM D1000 during the Biometric Consortium Conference in Tampa, Florida, this week.  Claimed to be the first “Iris at a Distance” camera of its kind, the multi-modal biometric system - designed for use in airports, border control, immigration, law enforcement and various smart biometric ID card applications including drivers licenses and national ID - can capture, verify and enrol iris and face at a distance of approximately 1 metre with its auto-zoom and auto-focus features.  The IrisAccess iCAM is said to be ideal for enrolment and authentication in any industry that can benefit from a biometric boost in access control or identity document creation. An intuitive and easy to use interface with real-time visual feedback allows for even very occasional users of the technology to successfully implement this contactless biometric solution.  As a testament to the long range iris scanner’s versatility, the iCAM D1000 has been selected for airport security measures, providing identity authentication for immigration control at Doha International Airport in Doha, Qata. - Planet Biometrics.

Google Plans To Replace Our Entire MINDS By Machines Within 90 Years
Ray Kurzweil - director of engineering at Google - claims that by 2045
humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and
become digitally immortal - an event called singularity. He made the
statement at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York
In just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal - an event called singularity - according to a futurist from Google.  Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, also claims that the biological parts of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.  Kurweil made the claims during his conference speech at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York at the weekend.   The conference was created by Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov and featured visonary talks about how the world will look by 2045.  Kurzweil said: 'Based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold.'  He referred to Moore's Law that states the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years quoting the developments from genetic sequencing and 3D printing.  In Kurweil's book, The Singularity Is Near, he plots this development and journey towards singularity in a graph.   This singularity is also referred to as digital immortality because brains and a person's intelligence will be digitally stored forever, even after they die.  He also added that this will be possible through neural engineering and referenced the recent strides made towards modeling the brain and technologies which can replace biological functions.   Examples of such technology given by LiveScience include the cochlear implant - an implant that is attached to the brain's cochlear nerve and electronically stimulates it to restore hearing to someone who is deaf.  Other examples include technology that can restore motor skills after the nervous system is damaged.    Earlier this year, doctors from Cornell University used 3D printing to create a prosthetic ear using cells of cartilage.   A solid plastic mould was printed and then filled with high-density collagen gel.The researchers then added cartilage cells into the collagen matrix.  Kurweil was invited to the conference because he has previously written books around the idea of singularity.  Expanding on this idea Martine Rothblatt, CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics introduced the idea of 'mindclones'.  These are digital versions of humans that can live forever and can create 'mindfiles' that are a place to store aspects of our personalities.  She said it would run on a kind of software for consciousness and told The Huffington Post: 'The first company that develops mindware will have [as much success as] a thousand Googles.'  Rothblatt added that the presence of mindware could lead to replacing other parts of the body with 'non-biological' parts.  - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: U.S. Seismologist Calls For National Warning System For Earthquakes!

October 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An eminent U.S. seismologist is urging the installation of a national early warning system to alert people to an impending earthquake.

Richard Allen, director of the University of California, Berkeley's Seismology Laboratory and professor of Earth and planetary sciences, writing a Comment piece in the journal Nature, has taken politicians and public officials to task for not putting an early warning system in place before the next major quake occurs.

Recent decades have seen dramatic improvement in the technology to detect quakes, he said, largely led by Japan, as proven by the advance warning people there received about the deadly earthquake that struck in 2011.

With the advance notice trains were stopped, chemical plants shut down and people were able to take cover, Allen said.

While California, Oregon and Washington have initiated programs to create early warning systems for parts of their areas, that's not enough, Allen wrote; there should be an expansion of such systems to cover the entire United States, particularly areas most at risk.

It's not a matter of whether a major quake will strike, it's when, Allen said, and if people have prior warning -- the amount of which would depend on how far they are from the epicenter -- then lives could be saved and property damage minimized. - Space Daily.

EXTREME WEATHER: A Fire Hazard Scale - U.S. Federal Researchers Developing "Richter" Scale For Wildfires!

October 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Federal researchers have been working on a system to measure and predict the destructiveness of wildfires _ similar to the way officials use the magnitude scale for earthquakes and other tools to rate and evaluate tornadoes and hurricanes.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology hopes its Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Scale will tell residents the likely intensity of a wildfire burning into their neighborhood. The scale would allow city planners to assign better building codes for the millions of people who live in fire-prone areas in the West and would also measure how those homes could contribute to the spread of a fire.

The proposed scale would range from E1 to E4 _ with E4 being a location's highest exposure to fire, be it from grasslands to a forest in a remote mountain canyon. Building codes and buffer zones between homes and forest could then be set accordingly.

Nelson Bryner, research engineer for the institute's fire research division, envisions the day when TV stations report that a wildfire is burning in an E4 community. But he said the scale is primarily meant to form the technical foundation for tougher building codes to be developed by states, cities and communities for high-risk areas.

"If you're going to build there, then you need to use the following designs," said Bryner, who introduced the scale at a recent International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Denver.

Insurers also are eager for results. Payouts after western wildfires have grown exponentially. In the 1970s, wildfires destroyed about 400 homes nationwide. Since 2000, wildfires have destroyed about 3,000 homes per year, according to NIST.

In Colorado alone, wildfires accounted for more than $858 million in insurance claims in 2012 and 2013, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. More than 1,100 homes have been destroyed in 2012 and 2013.

Alex Maranghides, manager of NIST's Large Fire Laboratory, and William "Ruddy" Mell, a combustion engineer for the U.S. Forest Service, came up with the idea, which would be applied to forest, grasslands and other wildland where homes have been built or are being constructed _ a vast area known as the Wildland Urban Interface.

Researchers are analyzing building materials, grasses, trees, shrubs, topography, weather patterns and especially the behavior of wind-driven embers as ignition fuel.

Embers sailing up to a half-mile ahead of a fire destroy more than 50 percent of homes during wildfires, according to insurance and fire experts. But they have not been closely studied.

Several agencies and states already have fire prediction tools or maps. But Mell said those models are based on research conducted in the 1960s and only consider similar types of fuels _ large stands of trees, for example. Most building codes are based on direct flame exposure and don't factor in dangerous ember showers, Maranghides said.

WATCH:  Researchers Working on Fire Hazard Scale.

The NIST, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed an ember generator it calls "The Dragon" that it uses to test the flammability of homes. It used the device in a test to shower a house with embers at the International Institute for Business and Home Safety's test facility in Richburg, S.C., and more tests are planned.

Many assumptions behind building codes haven't been tested under real-world conditions, NIST researcher say. Buffer zones between forest and homes, for example, frequently are 100 feet. Bryner and Maranghides suggest that's not enough. One reason: the ember threat.

Roof tiles billed as fireproof often fail because embers racing well ahead of a fire can infiltrate tiny cracks between the tiles. They also can ignite wooden house frames beneath fire-resistant siding, said Steve Quarles, senior scientist at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

NIST has already developed a mobile app and is developing other computer programs that will allow fire marshals, building inspectors and others to rate an area before a fire starts. Researchers caution it will be several years before that happens. - Breitbart.

MASS FISH/REPTILE DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish, Snakes And Iguanas Appear In The Waterways Of Cerete, Colombia?!

October 06, 2013 - COLOMBIA - Hundreds of fish known as Yalúa, Cherita, Bearded, as well as snakes and iguanas, kept appearing dead yesterday in the waters of Caño Bugre.

File photo.

Mortality of fish are Papoche evidence from the village, in the village The Retreat of the Indians, to the Caracas neighborhood in Cereté. The tour around the pipe can be seen from afar and small fish piled with garbage rotting.

After attending the event, Pedro Velasquez, Municipality Government Secretary, he called on the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Valley of the Sinu and San Jorge (CVS), to report what had happened. "It is very unfortunate this environmental emergency, which had not happened for years," said the official.

On the other hand, some people believe that fish kills due to high pollution that has the spout all the way Bugre. - El Meridiano. [Translated]

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strange Sounds Like "Boiling Water" - Mysterious Earthquake Swarm Damages Many Villages In Galati, Eastern Romania?!

October 06, 2013 - ROMANIA - For a couple of weeks, an unusual earthquake swarm is going on in Eastern Romania, close to Moldovia border. Galati is the province where the earthquakes are happening.

The Galati area experienced dozens of earthquakes up to a Magnitude of 3.8 (last one just before writing this article). The quakes have an extremely shallow depth, have a relatively high shaking intensity and are causing a lot of damage in the villages near the epicenter areas (the epicenters have to be situated in an area of many kms and not in one location).

Image courtesy and copyright

Some people are not waiting for more earthquakes and left their houses due do the damage, fearing a collapse if further quakes would strike.

Galati is a region with relatively low seismic activity and earthquake swarms like the current events are only known from the newspapers in other regions / countries (ER could trace some unconfirmed reports that a number of earthquakes occurred in March 1894!).

Residents and seismologists are very surprised and are trying to understand what is happening. Oil extraction and floodings where initially mentioned as  possible triggers but these reasons cannot explain why some other phenomenons like : a constant sound like “boiling water” (coming from the ground) and a strange water smell (like sulfur) is being noticed.

Another reason the people are scared of are the big cracks appearing in the ground.

There is no question that the seismic activity is caused by flood or oil exploitation,” said Mihnea Costoiu, Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technological Development. Scientists  are saying that there was surely no big historic earthquake in the Galati area.

WATCH:  Earthquake swarm in Romania.

Although scientists are absolutely not sure about what will happening in the near future, they are trying to prevent panic in the affected villages.

The affected population are upset about the lack of information from the authorities and the scientists (we at ER know that people are expecting answers from science which cannot be fulfilled at this level of scientific knowledge).

As a reaction people tend to believe stupid rumors coming from so called people with special capacities while others have been praying to the Gods to end the swarm.

Romanian TV stations are following the events in the news and with a number of LIVE reports and discussion shows. - Earthquake Report.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Huge Number Of Dead Fish Found In A Lake In Krasnodar, Russia!

October 06, 2013 - RUSSIA - A huge number of dead fish was found by local residents in one of the Karasunsky lakes.

Even yesterday, the representatives of emergency services removed the fish and sent for examination. The Ministry of Natural Resources edge explained that the problem is known and what is likely the cause of the incident was the temperature drop. - Kuban. [Translated]