A translated portion of Abdul-Mahdi’s speech follows; This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership. Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me. I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese. After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this “third party”.
Are we seeing Ross Ulbricht 2.0 in France in the form of Eric Leandri, the President of Qwant, a Pro-Piracy Search Engine, facing various charges from the French government? The move is causing the company to restructure its monetization plan. Pro-privacy search engine Qwant announces more exec changes — to ‘switch focus to monetization’ – TechCrunch Excerpt: More changes have been announced in the senior leadership of French pro-privacy search engine Qwant. President and co-founder Eric Leandri will be moving from an operational to a strategic role on January 15, the company said today — while current deputy managing director for sales and marketing, Jean-Claude Ghinozzi, is being promoted to president. Leandri will leave the president role on January 15, although he is not departing the business entirely but will instead shift to chair a strategic and scientific committee — where he says he will focus on technology and “strategic vision.” This committee will work with a new governance council, also being announced today, which will be chaired by Antoine Troesch, investment director of Qwant investor Banque des Territories, per the PR.
World Bank warns of global debt crisis as borrowing increases - CNBC Excerpt: The World Bank has warned of the risk of a fresh global debt crisis, urging governments and central banks to recognize that historically low interest rates may not be enough to offset another widespread financial meltdown. In its biannual Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, published late Wednesday, the Washington D.C.-based group said there have been four waves of debt accumulation over the last 50 years. The current wave — which started in 2010 — is thought to be “the largest, fastest and most broad-based increase” in global borrowing since the 1970s.
House Democrats urge financial regulators to defend against Iranian cyberattacks - The Hill Excerpt: Two House Democrats pushed top financial regulators including the Treasury Department this week to step up their defenses against potential Iranian cyberattacks, with the risk of Iran attacking U.S. critical infrastructure increasing this week following the death of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), both of whom serve on the House Financial Services Committee, sent letters to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and to agencies including the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency asking that they give attention to potential debilitating Iranian cyber threats to the finance sector. “We urge you, our nation’s financial regulators, to work in coordination with law enforcement and regulated entities to increase sharing of appropriate cyber threat information,” Cleaver and Meeks wrote. “We request that your institutions communicate a strategy to further mitigate existing cyber vulnerabilities within our financial institutions by March 2020.”
A Simple Blood Test Could Help Identify Targets For Preventing And Treating Age-Related Disease - Forbes Excerpt: Researchers led by Drs. Benoit Lehallier, PhD and Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, have discovered three large peaks of change in blood proteins across the human lifespan, and that the levels of around 400 proteins in the blood accurately reflected people’s age and relative health. They published their results December 5 in Nature Medicine. Wyss-Coray, a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford is the senior author. The lead author is Stanford neurology instructor Lehallier. Because the bloodstream touches all the tissues of the body carrying nutrients to tissues and taking waste products away, some blood tests measure specific proteins that assist in diagnosing diseases like diabetes, heart disease and kidney and liver problems.
THE SHARK-SAVAGED body of a promising young footballer has been discovered by emergency crews in Australia. Eric Birighitti’s remains were found in Western Australia by emergency crews while they were hunting for a missing scuba diver who had been attacked by a great white shark. The 21-year-old, who was from Perth, had been devoured by three sharks. On Tuesday the crew were searching for the body of Gary Johnson, 57, who was attacked while out scuba diving with his wife Karen Milligan. The crew initially thought the body was the 57-year-old but they later confirmed it was Eric.
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from KU Leuven, the University of Bremen, the Leibniz Institute of Materials Engineering, and the University of Ioannina has succeeded in killing tumour cells in mice using nano-sized copper compounds together with immunotherapy. After the therapy, the cancer did not return. Recent advances in cancer therapy use one’s own immunity to fight the cancer. However, in some cases, immunotherapy has proven unsuccessful.
Researchers at Nanjing University in China have recently presented a new strategy to overcome this limitation, ultimately allowing the deposition of gate dielectrics on 2-D semiconductors. In a paper published in Nature Electronics, they reported the successful ALD of high-κ gate dielectrics on 2-D semiconductors using a molecular crystal as a seeding layer. "Our research tries to solve the issue of high-quality gate dielectric integration for 2-D transistors," Xinran Wang, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. "In state-of-the-art Si transistors, the effective oxide thickness (EOT) has been scaled down to sub-1 nm. At present, there is a big gap between 2-D materials and Si in terms of EOT, density of interface state (Dit), and gate leakage. If one wants to seriously push forward 2-D transistor technology, this gap must be overcome."
While the community has been breaking out into debates as to whether the Bitcoin halving is priced in or not, miners have seemingly taken their side. Bitmain recently came out with the S17, which cuts electricity consumption by over 40 percent, Blockstream unveiled a mining facility they have been keeping under wraps, and now the biggest Bitcoin mining facility is coming to Texas. Northern Bitcoin AG will be running the facility after pivoting away from self-operated mines to leasing contracts to run facilities for other companies. The company now has stable margins without the worry of Bitcoin volatility hanging over their heads, but they will not benefit if the next Bitcoin bull cycle pushes prices like the previous ones. Texas is the perfect spot for the mining facility. Known as the energy hub of the United States, it boasts the cheapest energy rates in the entire country; 20 percent of the region’s electricity is derived from wind turbines, so Bitcoin proponents can still make their ‘renewable energy narrative’ stick.
Dolly Parton creating music for release after her death – Music News Excerpt: In the last instalment of nine-episode podcast Dolly Parton's America, Dolly admitted she's trying to think about how her music can live on even when she's no longer alive. "There's enough stuff to go on forever with my music, to do compilation albums, to do, actually, new and original stuff, and I am purposely trying to put songs down for that very purpose," she explained. "To have a click track and my vocals, to where any arrangement can be done. So I think ahead. "Anybody could produce that. Anyone, any producer in the world - a hotshot producer, when I'm gone, they could take my songs, just the click track of my vocal, and build a complete arrangement around that. So that will go on forever... I hope my music will be left behind. I hope it will always live. I think a lot of that other stuff may fall away. But I would like to think that I've left some good pieces of music."
When I see a story such as we have right here, I remind myself of a conversation I had on aa podcast I was on sometime ago (don’t remember if it was mine or someone else’s). In that conversation, a blur of a memory asked me what I thought the next political move would be vis a vis Trump versus the Dems. I went through a process of rooting out the core drivers for the core players in the battle, such as I understood them, and I suddenly stopped, having had an epiphany, and said, “It’s all about the AI, my friend.” Ok, I might have added the “my friend” tag for theatrical effect, so sue me. But the conversation was real. I was imagining myself in the office of one of the factions, the Trumps or the Ds. I was imagining my AI engineer coming in to talk to me about the level of calibration and whatnots my super AI had achieved and did it predict what my faction’s AI is doing. I came to that thought because I knew something that everyone else knows, human beings will game the system whenever they can. This is not a universal truth but, in overwhelming aggregate, it is decidedly, observedly even, true. Human beings will cheat, cut corners, use any tool or advantage they can to win the exchange. The greater the cost of defeat and the reward of victory, the more cheating and whatnots is showered on the world through the action of these competitors. Those who have means to pay thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands on AI Generals would absolutely, positively do so. Wherever any industry or sector has wealth, AI is sure to be used as a brain trust for strategy, with little thought to the socio-cultural outcome of such an experiment. At the time of this conversation, which was a mere two years ago, this seemed like something out of an Alex Jones novel. But no, or nope, I should say. Nope. It was very realistic, even at that time, and, I presume, was already happening back then, even if not at the level of sophistication my scenario in my head suggested it would be. And now, I see these stories more and more, how AI is being used to help us think, strategize, select, filter, define what ultimately becomes the socio-cultural constructs of the day. My political example was one thing, however, but in this story, Warner Brothers will be looking to use AI as a cultural gatekeeper, becoming the central hub of intellectual power in deciding which movies to bring to screen. Warner Bros. signs AI startup to help decide which films to back - The Verge Excerpt: Storied film company Warner Bros. has signed a deal with Cinelytic, an LA startup that uses machine learning to predict film success. A story from The Hollywood Reporter claims that Warner Bros. will use Cinelytic’s algorithms “to guide decision-making at the greenlight stage,” but a source at the studio told The Verge that the software would only be used to help with marketing and distribution decisions made by Warner Bros. Pictures International. In an interview with THR, Cinelytic’s CEO Tobias Queisser stressed that AI was only an assistive tool. “Artificial intelligence sounds scary. But right now, an AI cannot make any creative decisions,” Queisser told the publication. “What it is good at is crunching numbers and breaking down huge data sets and showing patterns that would not be visible to humans. But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct.” End excerpt The AI General has its camel nose under the tent. Today it crunches numbers and show patterns. Tomorrow it defines creativity. Or not. The journey ahead is uncertain and the prognosticators are armed with a dearth of data that’s yet to be created. And yet we charge on, full sentience ahead.
The Hubble Space Telescope may have just found evidence of dark matter, sort of. An experiment has proven that one of the qualities of dark matter predicted by the maths may indeed be true. Dark matter’s clump-gathering is way tinier than observations suggested. So far, other observational techniques have not matched the maths. But now Hubble, thanks to a cosmic magnifying glass, may have aligned the observable with the maths, and that, my friends, gives us all hope that we will soon discover whether dark matter is a ripple of symptoms whose cause lies outside our measuring, or we were right the whole time and dark matter is truly, really a thing. NASA Hubble Team –“Finds 1st Evidence for Cold Dark Matter Theory” - Daily Galaxy Excerpt: Although the type of particle that makes up dark matter is still a mystery, a NASA team using the Hubble Space Telescope has made a very compelling observational test for the cold dark matter model that passes “with flying colors,” said Tommaso Treu of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a member of NASA’s team who used a new “cosmic magnifying glasses” technique that found that dark matter forms much smaller clumps (image above) than previously known, confirming one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted “cold dark matter” theory. “Dark matter is colder than we knew at smaller scales,” said Anna Nierenberg of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, leader of the Hubble survey who pioneered using strong gravitational lenses to act as tracers, providing powerful insight into the fundamental properties of dark matter. “Astronomers have carried out other observational tests of dark matter theories before, but ours provides the strongest evidence yet for the presence of small clumps of cold dark matter. By combining the latest theoretical predictions, statistical tools and new Hubble observations, we now have a much more robust result than was previously possible.
Force the appendage of the end intent. Become. An Ant Larval Affinity. The expression of the value becomes the counter to it. So ant. broken on a path to the carrion, Reserves mandibular maw for thine own, Pendular. The dialectical bone the heart pivots upon. From the simple like, the frothing antitician, the same cut, The same bone spins in the same rhythms. The division is the pursuit of ant in other ants. Mirrors corrupt the colony with the other in dark menace. Ant behavior might mirror political polarization — ScienceDaily Excerpt: In a paper published today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Princeton biologists Chris Tokita and Corina Tarnita examined two forces known to drive political polarization and added them to an existing model for how division of labor arises in ant communities. They found that a feedback between these two forces simultaneously resulted in division of labor and polarized social networks. "It suggests that maybe there's a common process underlying the organization of societies," Tokita said. The two forces are "social influence," the tendency of individuals to become similar to those they interact with, and "interaction bias," which leads us to interact with others who are already like us. The researchers combined those with a "response threshold" model of ant social dynamics, in which ants choose their activities based on which need meets a critical internal threshold. In other words, if ants A and B have both checked community food stores recently and checked on their young recently, but A has a lower threshold for hunger while B has a lower threshold for worrying about the health of the larvae, A will head out foraging while B rushes back to the nursery. Over time, this leads A to interact with other hunger-sensitive ants, who become the foraging team, while B spends more time with other care providers, and they become the nurses. Combine that with social influence and interaction bias, and the gulf between the foragers and the nurses grows steadily wider.
.....here we are, in the year 2020, and I am still on Facebook, along with Twitter and Instagram. Social media is the longest and least intentional long-term commitment of my life. And I think it’s hurt my ageing process more than the sun and those aforementioned fries combined. It’s not just the wrinkles-related obsessing; it’s stunted my internal growth, too.
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