Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science and Technology. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Can knowledge be IP'ed? Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Microsoft’s new AI division, seems to think No.

    Wednesday, July 03, 2024   No comments

IA is another turning point in history, and its main impact may not be the kind of information IA will generate, but access to knowledge; it may put front and center the legal protections of content under patent and copyright laws that distinguished the modern civilization. This is the case because the civilization that preceded the Western civilization, the Islamic civilization, has always treated knowledge as an accretive body of knowledge that produced by all and belongs to none. The Islamic view can be gleaned from observing Muslim thinkers’ disinterest (or lack of care) in meticulous refencing and footnoting. They don’t claim they are the creator of ideas, and they don’t think anyone else had; knowledge is possible only when it is open and accessible so that it is checked and improved by the collective. Ibn Khaldun, the last classic thinker of the Islamic civilization closed his remarkable work, al-Muqaddima, by inviting future generation of thinkers to assess his and improve on it; not by taking credit for any ideas that he put forth to the exclusion of all the contributions of generations before him.

AI brings this matter front and center: AI depend on digital knowledge that it can process to provide answers. If that knowledge is shielded, AI potential will be limited. Here is a starting point for this conversation.

Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Microsoft’s new AI division, recently said in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross that anything you publish on the internet becomes ‘freeware’ and that it can be copied and used to train AI models.

“With respect to content that is already on the open web, the social contract of that content since the 90s has been that it is fair use. Anyone can copy it, recreate with it, reproduce with it. That has been freeware, if you like. That’s been the understanding.”

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Archaeologists unearth the largest cemetery ever discovered in Gaza and find rare lead sarcophogi

    Saturday, September 30, 2023   No comments

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip have found dozens of ancient graves, including two sarcophagi made of lead, in a Roman-era cemetery — a site dating back some 2,000 years that archaeologists describe as the largest cemetery discovered in Gaza.

Workers came upon the site last year during the construction of an Egyptian-funded housing project near Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Since then, crews have worked to excavate the 2,700-square-meter (2/3 acre) site with the support of French experts.

Now, what was once an inconspicuous construction lot — surrounded by a grove of nondescript apartment buildings — has become a gold mine for archaeologists looking to understand more about the Gaza Strip.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

The origins of covid-19: An appeal for an objective, open, and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2

    Saturday, September 17, 2022   No comments

The scientific community is now unconvinced of the natural path of covid19 (from nature to human) and, for the first time, signal that that a research path is a possibility. This shift brings to focus the danger of biological and chemical weapons that many states continue to engage in.

This scientific shift was amplified recently by a new report from the prestigious British scientific journal, The Lancet. Here is quote from the report bout this significant development:


A research-related origin is plausible. Two questions need to be addressed: virus evolution and introduction into the human population. Since July, 2020, several peer-reviewed scientific papers have discussed the likelihood of a research-related origin of the virus. Some unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence suggest that they may have resulted from genetic engineering,  an approach widely used in some virology labs. Alternatively, adaptation to humans might result from undirected laboratory selection during serial passage in cell cultures or laboratory animals,   including humanised mice. Mice genetically modified to display the human receptor for entry of SARS-CoV-2 (ACE2) were used in research projects funded before the pandemic, to test the infectivity of different virus strains. Laboratory research also includes more targeted approaches such as gain-of-function experiments relying on chimeric viruses to test their potential to cross species barriers. 
A research-related contamination could result from contact with a natural virus during field collection, transportation from the field to a laboratory, characterisation of bats and bat viruses in a laboratory, or from a non-natural virus modified in a laboratory. There are well-documented cases of pathogen escapes from laboratories.    Field collection, field survey, and in-laboratory research on potential pandemic pathogens require high-safety protections and a strong and transparent safety culture. However, experiments on SARS-related coronaviruses are routinely performed at biosafety level 2,  which complies with the recommendations for viruses infecting non-human animals, but is inappropriate for experiments that might produce human-adapted viruses by effects of selection or oriented mutations.
Overwhelming evidence for either a zoonotic or research-related origin is lacking: the jury is still out. On the basis of the current scientific literature, complemented by our own analyses of coronavirus genomes and proteins,      we hold that there is currently no compelling evidence to choose between a natural origin (ie, a virus that has evolved and been transmitted to humans solely via contact with wild or farmed animals) and a research-related origin (which might have occurred at sampling sites, during transportation or within the laboratory, and might have involved natural, selected, or engineered viruses).

 Read more from the source... An appeal for an objective, open, and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2


Friday, August 12, 2022

Tehran: EU proposal to revive nuclear talks may be 'acceptable'

    Friday, August 12, 2022   No comments

Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran news agency quoted a prominent Iranian diplomat as saying that the European Union's proposal to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement "could be acceptable, if it provides reassurance" on Tehran's main demands.

The European Union said on Monday it had submitted a "final" text after four days of indirect talks between US and Iranian officials in Vienna.

A senior EU official said no further changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months. He said he expected a final decision from both parties within "very, very, very few weeks."

The news agency quoted the Iranian diplomat, who was not identified, as saying that Tehran is reviewing the proposal, adding, "The proposals of the European Union can be acceptable if they provide Iran with reassurance regarding protection (measures), sanctions and guarantees."

The Islamic Republic has sought guarantees that no future US president would withdraw from the deal if it was revived, as former President Donald Trump did in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions on Iran.

However, President Joe Biden cannot make such strong assurances, because the agreement is a political understanding rather than a legally binding treaty.

Washington has said it is ready to quickly reach an agreement to revive the nuclear deal, based on European Union proposals.

Iranian officials said they would pass on their "other views and opinions" to the European Union, which is coordinating the talks, after holding consultations in Tehran.

Assistant for Political Affairs in the Office of the Presidency of the Iranian Republic, Mohammad Beheshti, commented on the recent Western media leaks on issues related to the safeguards system in the nuclear agreement, saying that these leaks show which party is suffering from pressure and needs a quick agreement.

Jamshidi said that he did not want to comment on the content or authenticity of the text published in the media on issues related to the safeguards system at the IAEA, but these coordinated media leaks show which party is under pressure and needs an immediate agreement, and that the study of the issue is continuing.

It is noteworthy that some media outlets, as well as some social media, have published news on issues related to the safeguards system and the proposed text of the agreement between Iran and international powers on the nuclear deal.

The Wall Street Journal had claimed that it had seen the text and added that the European proposal included making major concessions to Iran aimed at ending the IAEA investigation.

The Wall Street Journal claimed on Thursday that the European Union had proposed making major concessions to Iran in order to revive the nuclear deal.

According to the newspaper, the proposal submitted by the European Union indicates that Iran is expected to answer the International Atomic Energy Agency's questions "with a view to clarifying them," and adds that if Tehran cooperates, the other parties in the talks will urge the agency to close the investigation.

An EU spokesman has previously stated that the text submitted after recent talks in Vienna is in keeping with the usual confidentiality in such diplomatic processes, he said.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

A Shocking 99% of Us Are Now Breathing Unhealthy Air, WHO Warns

    Thursday, April 07, 2022   No comments

We often take the air we breathe for granted, but new data reveals that the pollutants behind millions of preventable deaths now taint the air most of us breathe at unhealthy levels.

"Air pollution has an impact at a much lower level than previously thought," says World Health Organization technical officer Sophie Gumy, in reference to WHO's recently updated air quality guidelines.

Based on an analysis of air pollution data covering more than 6,000 cities in 117 countries, WHO says 99 percent of the world's population now breathes air that does not meet the updated safety guidelines. This covers 80 percent of the world's urban areas.

read more ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Built by an Unknown Culture, This Is The Oldest Sun Observatory in The Americas

    Tuesday, March 29, 2022   No comments

Long before the Incas rose to power in Peru and began to celebrate their sun god, a little known civilization was building the earliest known astronomical observatory in the Americas.

While not quite as old as sites like Stonehenge, these ancient ruins, known as Chankillo, are considered a "masterpiece of human creative genius", holding unique features not seen anywhere else in the world. 

Based in the coastal desert of Peru, the archaeological site famously contains a row of 13 stone towers, which together trace the horizon of a hill, north to south, like a toothy bottom grin.

Apart from this remarkable structure, known as the Thirteen Towers, the ruins of the observatory also include a triple-walled hilltop complex called the Fortified Temple and two building complexes called the Observatory and the Administrative Center. 

Completed over 2,300 years ago and abandoned in the first century of the common era, the site has remained a mystery to travelers for centuries.

Only when official excavations began at the turn of the 21st century, did archaeologists realize what they were looking at.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being

    Thursday, December 22, 2016   No comments
Taking a break from Facebook can boost emotional wellbeing and life satisfaction, with the effects particularly pronounced among people who “lurk” on the social network without actively engaging with others, a study suggests.

The research by the University of Copenhagen showed the effects of quitting for a week were also strong among heavy users and those who envied their Facebook friends, suggesting that people who pore irritably over the posts of others may benefit the most.

The report’s author, Morten Tromholt, from the university’s sociology department, said the findings suggested that changes in behaviour – for example, heavy users reducing their time spent on Facebook, or lurkers actively engaging – could yield positive results.

Most people use Facebook on a daily basis; few are aware of the consequences. Based on a 1-week experiment with 1,095 participants in late 2015 in Denmark, this study provides causal evidence that Facebook use affects our well-being negatively. By comparing the treatment group (participants who took a break from Facebook) with the control group (participants who kept using Facebook), it was demonstrated that taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: our life satisfaction increases and our emotions become more positive. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.

To cite the study:
Tromholt Morten. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. November 2016, 19(11): 661-666. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0259.

Friday, December 04, 2015

European companies are providing the terrorist organization, ISIL, Internet access by satellite dish

    Friday, December 04, 2015   No comments
No terror organization uses the Internet as successfully when it comes to marketing itself and recruiting supporters as Islamic State (IS) does. But how is it able to do so given that the group operates in a region where telecommunications infrastructure has been largely destroyed?

The answer to this question is an extremely problematic one for Europe, for it is European companies that provide the terrorists with access to the platforms they use to spread their propaganda. It remains unclear whether the companies knowingly do so, but documents obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE show that they may very well know what's going on. And the documents show that the companies could immediately cut off Islamic State's Internet access without much effort.

If you need to get online in Syria or Iraq, the technology needed to do so can be purchased in the Hatay province -- a corner of Turkey located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Syrian border. In the bazaar quarter of the regional capital of Antakya, peddlers hawk everything from brooms and spices to pomegranates, wedding dresses, ovens, beds and all kinds of electronics. Antakya has served as a crossroads for numerous trade routes for thousands of years. Wares continue to flow through the region's relatively porous borders even today.

Thousands of dishes have been installed in the region allowing users to access the Internet by satellite. There has been a huge surge in recent years in the satellite Internet business. Instead of the usual landline cable connection, all one needs is a satellite dish with a transmission and reception antenna and a modem. The result is top-speed Internet access, with downloads at a rate of 22 Megabits per second and uploads of 6 Megabits.

Accessing the Internet by satellite is easy, but it isn't cheap. The equipment needed costs around $500 in Syria right now. On top of that are the fees charged by Internet service providers, which run at about $500 for six months for a small data package and customer service provided by email.


 Why Don't Companies Take Action to Stop It?

Given the high investments costs of the required infrastructure, the general business practice of the satellite operators is to gain as many customers as quickly as possible. Although most satellite operators do not publish their internal figures, industry analysts say it costs between €300 million and €400 million to build a satellite and to launch it into orbit. Costs associated with operating a satellite must also be factored in. There's an additional aspect as well: The average operating life of a satellite is only 15 years, meaning that the investment must be recouped as quickly as possible.

Does that explain why satellite operators might be willing to accept the fact that they provide the infrastructure needed by a terrorist group to communicate, disseminate their propaganda and possibly plan attacks? For the satellite operators, it's technically relatively easy to cut access to networks. Using the web portal OSS, it only takes one click to eliminate access. In cases where they harbor suspicions, operators would also have the technical ability to see what kind of data is be transmitted or received by the satellite dishes.

It may be true that the companies simply want to used their technology to increase the reach of television stations -- in the way recently described by Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen as he presented an award sponsored by his company to SPIEGEL TV (ironically enough for a documentary film about the Islamic State). Or perhaps the companies simply want to pursue their business goals without checking precisely to see who is profiting from the services they provide.

Or perhaps the companies have full knowledge of who is using their services and are sharing that information with intelligence services. When asked, neither the companies nor intelligence services were willing to comment.

That would mean that intelligence services have been listening in for years, even as IS continued growing in strength. It wouldn't be difficult for intelligence services to tap the connections either, given that the ground stations used to feed the satellite signals into the cable networks are also located in European countries, including Cyprus (Avanti) and Italy (Eutelsat).

Possible connections linking Eutelsat with Syria could be particularly uncomfortable for the French government, which indirectly holds a 26-percent share in the satellite operator through the state-owned Bank Caisse des Dépôts.


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Obama gives a speech about the Iran nuclear deal (Full text)

    Wednesday, August 05, 2015   No comments
President Obama is continuing his push for the Iran nuclear deal, giving a speech at American University. Here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

OBAMA: Thank you.


Thank you so much. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you very much.

I apologize for the slight delay; even presidents have a problem with toner.


It is a great honor to be back at American University, which has prepared generations of young people for service and public life.

I want to thank President Kerwin and the American University family for hosting us here today.

Fifty-two years ago, President Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, addressed this same university on the subject of peace. The Berlin Wall had just been built. The Soviet Union had tested the most powerful weapons ever developed. China was on the verge of acquiring the nuclear bomb. Less than 20 years after the end of World War II, the prospect of nuclear war was all too real.

With all of the threats that we face today, it is hard to appreciate how much more dangerous the world was at that time. In light of these mounting threats, a number of strategists here in the United States argued we had to take military action against the Soviets, to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation. But the young president offered a different vision.

OBAMA: Strength, in his view, included powerful armed forces and a willingness to stand up for our values around the world. But he rejected the prevailing attitude among some foreign-policy circles that equated security with a perpetual war footing.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Presidential News Conference on Iran Nuclear Deal -- JCPOA

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015   No comments

President Obama held a news conference on the Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- JCPOA). The deal limits the country’s nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for the lifting of international sanctions and an eventual lifting of the arms embargo. The president talked about why the deal is in the national security interest of the United States and addressed some of the criticisms of the agreement. He also answered
several questions on topics not related to Iran, including criminal justice reform, his upcoming trip to Africa, and whether he should revoke the Medal of Freedom from Bill Cosby.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Obama: Gulf states biggest threat is from inside their own countries, not Iran

    Monday, April 06, 2015   No comments
Excerpts from the NYT interview: 
As for protecting our Sunni Arab allies, like Saudi Arabia, the president said, they have some very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats — “populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances. And so part of our job is to work with these states and say, ‘How can we build your defense capabilities against external threats, but also, how can we strengthen the body politic in these countries, so that Sunni youth feel that they’ve got something other than [the Islamic State, or ISIS] to choose from. ... I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. ... That’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”

That said, the Iran deal is far from finished. As the president cautioned: “We’re not done yet. There are a lot of details to be worked out, and you could see backtracking and slippage and real political difficulties, both in Iran and obviously here in the United States Congress.”

On Congress’s role, Obama said he insists on preserving the presidential prerogative to enter into binding agreements with foreign powers without congressional approval. However, he added, “I do think that [Tennessee Republican] Senator Corker, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, is somebody who is sincerely concerned about this issue and is a good and decent man, and my hope is that we can find something that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives — and ensures that, if in fact we get a good deal, that we can go ahead and implement it.”


Friday, March 20, 2015

Obama Sends Iran a Nowruz Message, Calls Nuclear Talks a 'Historic Opportunity'

    Friday, March 20, 2015   No comments
President Barack Obama, in a message to Iran's people and leaders on Thursday, said this year represented the "best opportunity in decades" to pursue a different relationship between their two countries.
Obama said nuclear talks with Iran had made progress but that gaps remained.
"This moment may not come again soon," Obama said in his message celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. "I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully -an opportunity we should not miss"

Video with Persian subtitles:

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Full Interview With Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

    Thursday, March 05, 2015   No comments
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with NBC News' Ann Curry Wednesday. Below is the complete interview:

ANN CURRY: Foreign minister, thank you so much for being here.

JAVAD ZARIF: Happy to be with you.

ANN CURRY: We've noticed a sudden flurry of meetings - is this a sign that things are getting-- bogged down or moving forward?

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- it's a sign that we are very serious. And we want to reach a conclusion. We suggested that we needed to raise the level of technical discussions. And so we had our head of an atomic energy organization and United States for-- the secretary of energy, both-- very well known nuclear physicists-- in order to reach-- some sort of a technical understanding. And that proved to be a-- very important, useful-- step. And we have been able to move forward with a good number of-- issues dealing with the-- with the technicalities. Because we were-- said all along that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. And when we have experts sitting together they can ascertain that, rather easily. And I'm-- I'm very happy that that has gone well. Of course that doesn't mean that we have resolved all the issues. We have a number of issues, both technical as well as political, that still need to be resolved. But we-- we've made good progress. But long way to go.

ANN CURRY: Where's the area of the major stumbling block?

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- as we have been saying for the past, I think, year and a half-- nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This is a puzzle. And all pieces of this puzzle should come together in order for us to have a picture of what lies ahead. But I think the major stumbling block-- is a political decision that needs to be made. And-- and that is that we have to choose between-- either pressure or an agreement. And it seems that there is a lot of pressure-- particularly within the United States, from various courses, and we've seen some recently-- not to have an agreement. And-- there are those who simply see their-- hopes-- and-- their political future in conflict, tension and crisis. And as-- as long as that is the case, it's a very difficult environment to make political decisions.

ANN CURRY: Some of the pressure against the deal has come as recently as Tuesday from Ira-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He caused quite a stir in Washington on Tuesday when he told Congress that this deal paves the way to war, not peace, as it would allow Iran to eventually procure nuclear weapons.

JAVAD ZARIF: Well-- Mr. Netanyahu has been-- proclaiming, predicting that Iran will have a nuclear weapon with-- within two, three, four years, since 1992. He has been on the record time and again that Iran will build a nuclear weapon within two years-- since, as I said, 1992. In 2012, he went before the General Assembly and said, "Iran will have a nuclear weapon within one year." It seems that he wants to stick to his one year-- forever. Iran is not about building nuclear weapon. We don't wanna build nuclear weapons. We don't believe that nuclear weapons bring security to anybody, certainly not to us. So-- it's important for everybody to come to the realization that-- this is about nuclear technology, this is about scientific advancement, this is about pride of the Iranian people. It's-- it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. And once we reach that understanding, once this hysteria is out, one-- once this fear mongering is out, then we can have a deal, and a deal that is not gonna hurt anybody. This deal will help ensure that Iran's nuclear program will always remain peaceful. We have no doubt in Iran that our nuclear program is peaceful, will remain peaceful. There may be people who have concerns. There may be people who-- who may have been affected by the type of-- hysteria that is being fanned by people like Mr. Netanyahu. And it is useful for everybody to allow this deal to go through. As you know, Iran has been under more inspections over the last ten, 15 years than any other country on the face of the Earth, probably with the only exception of Japan. And we have less than a tenth of Japan's nuclear facilities. But we have gone almost through as many inspections. And over the past ten years, time and again, The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, has come out and said, "There is nothing that is going on behind-- public attention in Iran." And we are confident that, with an agreement, where we will have even more monitoring and more scrutiny-- it will be clear to the international community that our nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. I don't know why some people are afraid of that. I don't know why some people do not want to work to see that all of this hysteria that has been found over the past many years, as I said, since 1992, when we have been at-- one or two or three years away from the bomb and it hasn't materialized, I don't know why they the audacity to continue to-- to make the same statement and nobody questions them, under many times that they have been wrong.

ANN CURRY: You've mentioned the IAEA. As you know-- it says that Iran has been stalling on answering certain questions about past nuclear activities, specifically about whether or not Iran was involved in trying to develop a weapon. So why is Iran stalling on these questions?

Monday, February 23, 2015

New documents suggest that NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran

    Monday, February 23, 2015   No comments

New documents suggest that NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran

An NSA document newly published today suggests two interesting facts that haven’t previously been reported.

The Intercept, which published the document, highlighted that in it the NSA expresses fear that it may be teaching Iran how to hack, but there are two other points in the document that merit attention.

One concerns the spy tool known as Flame; the other refers to concerns the NSA had about partnering with the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters and Israeli intelligence in surveillance operations.

Full story:

Report: Leaked intelligence document shows Mossad didn't think Iran sought nuclear weapon
Al Jazeera says one of hundreds of intelligence documents it has obtained shows that Mossad assessment of Iranian nuclear threat differed with Netanyahu's statements on the issue.

A new leak of secret intelligence documents obtained by Al Jazeera shows that the Mossad expressed the belief that Tehran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon just a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Islamic Republic was a year away from becoming nuclear-armed.

The Qatari television network, in collaboration with Britain's Guardian will be publishing "The Spy Cables" in the coming days.

The documents, spanning the period of 2006-2014, were written by members of South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA). The documents, according to Al Jazeera, highlight the SSA's dealings with the intelligence services of its allies, including the Mossad and the CIA.

full story:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

U.S. officials, in blunt language, say Israel is distorting reality of Iran talks

    Thursday, February 19, 2015   No comments
The Obama administration on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of misleading the public over the Iran nuclear negotiations, using unusually blunt and terse language that once again highlighted the rift between the two sides.

In briefings with reporters, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Israeli officials were not being truthful about how the United States is handling the secretive talks.

“I think it is safe to say not everything you are hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks,” said Psaki, who acknowledged that the State Department is withholding some details from the Israelis out of concern they will share them more broadly.

Earnest said U.S. officials routinely speak with their Israeli counterparts. But, he added, the administration “is not going to be in a position of negotiating this agreement in public, particularly when we see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower's leaks prompt US to make control of internet truly worldwide

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014   No comments
The web may be thought of as being worldwide, but from its inception the internet was created, controlled and overseen largely by a single country: the United States. Now, however, the US Government has said it intends to yield the reins to the global digital community.

The internet was developed as a US Defence Department initiative during the 1960s, and it remained an American project even as it grew into a global consumer tool. In order to maintain a unified, worldwide web, a single master list of web addresses was created, called the Domain Name System (DNS). Jon Postel, a computer scientist at the University of California in Los Angeles, was the first person responsible for DNS, a privilege that earned him the nickname “God”.



    Wednesday, March 19, 2014   No comments
 Russia may revise its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks amid tensions with the West over Ukraine, a senior diplomat warned Wednesday.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency, that Russia didn't want to use the Iranian nuclear talks to "raise the stakes," but may have to do so in response to the actions by the United States and the European Union.

The statement is the most serious threat of retaliation by Moscow after the U.S. and the EU announced sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Ryabkov, who is Russia's envoy to the Iranian talks, said that Russia considers the "reunification" with Crimea as far more important than the developments surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Report: Obama pushes Israel to stop assassinations of Iran nuclear scientists

    Sunday, March 02, 2014   No comments
President Barack Obama is pressuring Israel to stop carrying out assassinations of top nuclear scientists in Iran as the Islamic Republic continues its negotiations with world powers over its uranium enrichment program, according to a new book.

Apart from pressure from Washington that Israel give up the assassination program, sources close to Israel's intelligence agencies told CBS News’s Dan Raviv that Mossad itself viewed the campaign as too dangerous to continue. Raviv, who was updating a book he co-wrote about the history of Israel's intelligence agencies, said the pressure form the Obama administration was “more than a hint.”


Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told defense officials on Saturday the country had given up its nuclear program because owning weapons of mass destruction is a sin.

“Even if there were no NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) or other treaties, our belief, our faith, our religion and principles tell us not to seek weapons of mass destruction,” Rouhani said.

In November, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 20 percent and to dilute its already enriched stockpiles in return for an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief. That deal came into effect January 20.

Following the latest round of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna on February 20, Iran and the P5+1 agreed to a framework on which to strike a final agreement within the coming months. Both sides have agreed to hold an additional round of talks in Vienna later this month.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Iran’s Rouhani Puts U.S.-Saudi Ties to the Test

    Thursday, February 27, 2014   No comments
by David Ottaway

The opening of a dialogue between the United States and Iran has stirred  deep-seated fears in Saudi Arabia that the Obama administration may be headed for a “grand bargain” with Tehran at the Saudis’ expense, raising further doubts about Saudi dependence on Washington for its security. The Saudis have already sensed flagging U.S. support in their confrontation with Iran over Iraq and Syria as they wage a bitter battle with the Iranians for Arab and Muslim world leadership.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

New treatment for diabetes that could lead to cure

    Sunday, February 09, 2014   No comments
Scientists experimenting with stem cell approaches to alternative organ cell development have discovered a potential breakthrough in the way type 1 diabetes is treated, a new study reports.

In the sibling rivalry between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, in sheer popularity alone, type 2 would be the decisively cooler older sibling. Roughly 90 percent of all diabetes cases are type 2, characterized by a deficiency in the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin, which regulates blood glucose levels. But type 1’s remaining market share of 10 percent is actually far more lethal than type 2, as type 1 diabetics don’t simply have an insulin deficiency, which can be controlled through diet and exercise, but a total lack of insulin production.

Both forms demand the regulation of blood glucose levels, but the consequences of ignoring that demand are far more severe in type 1 patients. For years, this has motivated researchers to develop effective treatment options that jumpstart the production of insulin. They’ve known, for instance, that halted production of insulin was a result of destroyed ß-cells, which also live in the pancreas and typically disappear during childhood. (Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as juvenile diabetes.) While diabetics can stay healthy with regular insulin injections, the ideal solution would be to replace the missing ß-cells — something scientists don’t yet have the tools to do, but, with the current study, is on the horizon.


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