Technology to eventually streamline

images-11A who’s-who grouping of the world’s most prominent minds has signed onto a letter urging robotics researchers to be extremely cautious in developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, warning that an inevitable military AI arms race could (and likely will) unfold, leading to “a third revolution in warfare.”

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Tesla’s Elon Musk, scientist Stephen Hawking and more than 1,000 others, presenting at the recent International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Argentina, obviously see the writing on the wall: If AI technologies continue to develop unabated, they say, autonomous weapons systems that operate without human input will eventually commit atrocities like mass genocide and ethnic cleansing campaigns.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” their letter reads.

“It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.”

AI robots help or hurt humans?

AI robot technology is already being used to perform unskilled labor and other mundane tasks that humans would rather not have to do themselves. Automated pesticide drones have now received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for use in the spraying of genetically-modified (GM) and other chemical-reliant food crops, for instance.

Experiments have also been conducted on AI robots capable of planting, watering, and caring for plants without human intervention. This segment of AI development claims to be working “for” humanity rather than “against” it.

But AI as a whole remains an existential threat to human subsistence, these men and their colleagues warn. The endpoint of where AI technology is headed looks grim, at least on its current trajectory. The unmitigated endeavors of AI programmers and visionaries must be reigned in to prevent the full-scale annihilation of human civilization.

How to Google monitor your mental health

unduhanIn recent days, Dr. Tom Insel, M.D., left his post as chief of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, a position that made him the nation’s top mental health physician. A neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Insel is a leading authority on both medicinal and public policies that are necessary to deal with mental problems. Although he’s leaving his government job at 64 years of age, he isn’t retiring; the UK Telegraph reports he’s going to work for Google.

Insel will be working for Google Life Sciences, one of the more unusual divisions of the tech and media behemoth. He is going to apply his expertise investigating how technology can be employed to help diagnose and treat mental health conditions, according to a blog post at the National Institutes of Health.

The company that has been busted repeatedly for fraud and other abusive practices now wants to get into the “business” of repairing minds. What could go wrong?

“Wearable” technology is key to Google’s new mind endeavor

Then again, Google is merely launching into a technological field other companies have already entered. Apple, IBM and Intel are among those exploring the same field, the Telegraph reported, adding:

IBM this year carried out research with Columbia University that suggested computer analysis of speech patterns can more accurately predict the onset of psychosis than conventional tests involving blood samples or brain scans. Other researchers theorize that a person’s internet search history or even shopping habits (so handily recorded by your innocuous loyalty card) can identify the first signs of mental illness. Computers can now tell when something is about to go terribly wrong in someone’s mind.

As scary as that technology is in and of itself, the manner in which researchers like Insel want to utilize the technology ought to raise even more alarms and questions.

There is no question that wearable technology is growing in popularity and use, and that is especially true when it comes to wearable medical technology. Think about devices like Fitbits, which are used by a growing number of people who want to track their physical activity. Even some businesses and corporations are offering them to employees at discounted prices or for free because they see long-term cost benefits such as lowerhealth insurance/health care costs from their use by employees. These devices also monitor movements, pulse rates, sleep patterns and more.

Using technology to self-monitor has benefited health care by allowing patients to electronically transmit their health conditions in real time, reducing the number of routine and expensive medical consultations with providers and ensuring a faster response to changes in health that require intervention and attention.

Therefore, it is highly likely that self-monitoring will also begin to play a larger role in public health, and governments seeking reductions in taxpayer-supported expenditures will likely adopt them.

However, with these devices in use in both the private and public sectors – in which they might eventually become requirements of insurance companies and government agencies – the wearers will be in danger of having all of their activities monitored.

What if you want to sneak in an extra beer or glass of wine? That will be monitored. How about a sinful snack? The extra glucose will show up. Imagine the possibilities.

How to editing deemed a national security

images-12Gene editing is now considered a national security threat alongside cyberattacks and nuclear weapons. That is, at least according to the government’s latest annual report on national security threats. The report listed gene editing as a technology that, “probably increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products.”

Back in 2012, a popular gene editing method known as CRISPR, or “gene drive,” surfaced, which enabled researchers to change the DNA of almost any organism with ease. CRISPR tools target, cut and repair snippets of DNA. According to an article published in Nature, researchers plan to use CRISPR to, “adjust human genes to eliminate diseases, create hardier plants, wipe out pathogens and much more.”

There are plenty of advantages to be reaped from CRISPR, but they are overshadowed by its disadvantages. So much so, that James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, deemed gene editing a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) in the annual worldwide threat assessment report.

A weapon for bio-terrorists

Authorities have been worried that gene editing technologies like CRISPR are a national security threat for a while. With CRISPR, scientists have created gene drives that guarantee an altered gene is inherited by an organism’s offspring and subsequent generations. The FBI, the Pentagon and the United Nations bio-weapons office have been monitoring the technology out of concern that bio-terrorists could use it to bring about mass destruction.

Clapper did not specify why CRISPR has the intelligence community nervous, but several bio-security experts have. In particular, a gene drive that spreads DNA that kills pollinating insects could collapse a country’s agricultural system. Terrorist groups like ISIS could use gene drive to breed super killer mosquitoes, which harbor and transmit deadly diseases.

For this reason, Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Senior Associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security, was called on to testify about the dangers of gene editing by a National Academy of Sciences panel last year. He described gene editing as “entomological warfare.”

Although super mosquitoes are an unlikely threat, the threat CRISPR poses to bio-security is real. Since the technology behind gene drive is relatively inexpensive and widely available, countries increase the risk of spurring dangerous biological agents. Recent discoveries, “move easily in the globalized economy, as do personnel with the scientific expertise to design and use them,” states the report.

Piers Millet, an expert on bioweapons at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., said he was surprised that Clapper singled out gene editing on the WMD list, since creating a bioweapon requires a level of expertise in a broad range of technologies.

The unintended consequences of gene editing

The intelligence community is worried about the unintended consequences of CRISPR too – not just the intended consequences of bio-terrorists. Although the goal of CRISPR is to weed out the genetic basis for various illnesses, the technology is not 100 percent effective. Sometimes, gene editing hits more than just a targeted cell. Previous gene therapies have even caused cancer in some patients.

No one is sure what reverberations altering the genome of an organism could have on the environment. It’s not just weeding out genetic defects either. In the era of designer babies, parents would be able to hand-select which traits they wanted for their children. After all, who gets to deem what is regarded as an “improvement” of the genome?

“Humanity does not have the maturity and ethical boundaries to play god with organisms of any kind. CRISPR and other genetic editing techniques are amazing marvels of technology, but great technology combined with a wholesale lack of wisdom can lead to catastrophe on a planet wide scale,”said Mike Adams, the Editor of Natural News.

Furthermore, it is not known how germ line editing will impact future generations. Those genetic changes could be passed down when a person has children. According to John Holdren of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, germ line editing for clinical use, meaning pregnancy, “is a line that should not be crossed at this time.”

Guidelines and laws about what is and is not allowed by germ line research vary across the globe. Some places ban the research altogether, others allow lab research but not pregnancies, and some have no policies whatsoever. In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health does not fund germ line research, but private funding is permitted.

Americans appear to be just as weary of gene editing as security officials. According to a STAT – Harvard poll, approximately 83 percent of Americans are opposed to germ line editing to improve IQ and appearance. According to that same study, however, 59 percent of Americans thought federal health regulators should approve gene therapy, whereas 30 percent thought they should not.

Wearable technology trend

As technology advances, the development of ridiculous and mostly useless gadgets soar, many of which only receive attention due to their bizarreness. While wearable technology has grown increasingly popular, this latest invention leaves you wondering whether such a product will ever be in demand.

If you think the idea of robotic pets sounds ridiculous, wait until you learn about the wearable banana, a real piece of fruit designed to alert you if you’re physically overexerting yourself, notify you of lap times and help cheer you on through Twitter updates.

Named “the world’s first edible wearable,” the wearable banana is equipped with GPS sensors and LED lights and designed to be worn on the wrist, reports Tech Times.

The Japanese division of Dole, the world’s largest fruit distributor, developed the strange device, debuting it at February’s Tokyo Marathon, but according to reports, only two out of 30,000 participants donned the new gadget.

Wearable banana sends marathon runners encouraging Twitter updates

Robotically modified, the wearable banana’s peelings contain electronic components and LED lights that display information, such as the user’s heart rate. The device is also capable of sending messages that remind the user to replenish important vitamins and minerals such as potassium after long-distance running, relays and marathons.

“Engineers have tested it day in and day out to come up with this amazing device,” said Dole in a video promotion for the new product. “This is no regular banana. It’s the best companion for any marathoner. You can strap it around your wrist and run with it until you finish the race.”

The most bizarre thing about the new wearable? You can eat it when you’re done exercising. Tech Times reports that the device’s real banana is removed to attach the electrical components, but is later replaced with a “smaller banana” and stitched back up to resemble an unpeeled banana.

The wearable is connected via a cord to a separate device that’s worn by the user. “The power source is a small battery connected to the wearable banana. Inside the battery there are ultra-compact LEDs and other electronic components,” said Dole, which has not yet released all of the specs for the device.

The wearable device market is projected to reach an estimated $52 billion by 2019, according to CNET, prompting competitors to develop other wearable fuel technology. Take for example the Wearable Tomato project, an electronic robot that attaches to your back like a backpack, feeding you tomatoes while running or working out.

Also debuted at the Tokyo marathon, the tomato-dispensing backpack is designed to conveniently provide runners with the nutrition they need. However, its developers say their invention won’t be complete until it can be worn on the wrist like the wearable banana.

While wearable food devices seem a little outlandish, the concept of getting enough vitamins and minerals before, after or during a workout makes perfect sense. Runners often suffer from muscle cramps in the legs caused by a mineral imbalance. Rich in potassium, bananas work effectively for preventing and even relieving muscle cramps.

The amino and citric acids found in tomatoes help convert glucose into energy, as well as reduce inflammation, making them an excellent dietary staple for long-distance runners. Incorporating tomatoes into your diet is important, but whether you need a robot strapped to your back feeding you those tomatoes is yet to be determined.

Technology being developed

A prominent climate scientist who’s actively involved in developing technologies to thwart the natural weather patterns of the globe says he’s disturbed by the prospect of having to make such drastic changes to the common order of things in order to fight so-called “global warming.”

Dr. Matthew Watson from Bristol University in the UK told the media recently that he’s “terrified” by many of the geoengineering projects currently in the works to thwart man-made climate change, which is still being hawked by many in mainstream science as a threat to humanity.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, Dr. Watson explained how futuristic technologies like spraying chemical particles into the sky to reflect sunlight back into space have the potential to disrupt how rain falls, how plants grow and how life lives.

Right now, Dr. Watson is working on a $2.8 million project of this exact nature. The plan is to inject sulfur particles into the earth’s atmosphere with the stated goal of blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth, ostensibly to keep the earth from getting too warm.

“Personally, this stuff terrifies me,” Dr. Watson told reporters. “Whilst it is clear that temperatures could be reduced during deployment, the potential for misstep is considerable.”

“By identifying risks, we hope to contribute to the evidence base around geoengineering that will determine whether deployment, in the face of the threat of climate change, has the capacity to do more good than harm.”

Geoengineering will likely cause irreversible damage to planetary ecosystems

The simplistic nature of such projects ignores the immense level of irreversible damage that could result from interfering with the normal functions of the planet. By blocking sunlight, plants won’t be able to engage in photosynthesis, for instance, which means no more oxygen and no more food.

Similarly, humans won’t be able to obtain natural vitamin D if the sun’s rays aren’t allowed to penetrate the atmosphere, triggering an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and resultant disease.

One proposed method of mitigating excess carbon dioxide, which many would argue isn’t even a real problem, involves planting and irrigating millions of trees in the world’s deserts. But this would directly counteract the natural reflection of sunlight from desert sands back into space, contributing to more warming.

Another proposal involves dumping iron particles into the world’s oceans to supposedly improve the growth of photosynthetic organisms capable of absorbing carbon dioxide. But this concept would only further toxify the world’s oceans, harming sea animals in the process.

Technology to create unnatural beings will

The same Duke University graduate who recently told an audience of scientists in Austria that every living thing is intrinsically flawed and in need of genetic modification is back in the news after announcing plans to one day grant ordinary people the opportunity to create their own fake organisms from the comfort of their own homes.

Cambrian Genomics CEO Austen Heinz envisions a future where nothing is natural and everything is created in a laboratory using synthetic DNA strands imprinted on glass slides. This maniacal concept is somehow idyllic to Heinz, who relishes in the idea that one day humanity might be able to do away with, well, humanity, and all other life for that matter.

Heinz openly admits that his harebrained and reckless visions for the future could end up “killing everyone” on the planet, but he doesn’t really seem to care. Democratizing creation, as he likes to put it, is at the forefront of what his company is fomenting throughout the world, and it’s something that Heinz has been working towards for many years.

Heinz wants DNA creation and synthetic life to be completely unregulated

The plan is to make DNA printing, a technology Heinz personally developed while studying electrical engineering and computer science as part of his doctorate program in South Korea, available to everyone. For just a few cents per DNA letter, anyone will be able to manufacture synthetic life as they personally see fit.

Cambrian is already doing this type of work for pharmaceutical giants like Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), but eventually the company hopes to extend this technology to the common man. Parents might eventually have the option to create designer babies in a lab, for instance, or generate pets and houseplants to accommodate their lifestyles.

The only thing standing in the way is all that pesky regulation, which in a perfect world would protect the biosphere against such sadistic meddling. But Heinz hopes to do away with all regulation, which he admits is not in the best interests of what his company is trying to accomplish.

“We wouldn’t want the industry to be regulated,” he openly stated to the SFGate.com. “So, ‘How do we democratize creation without killing everyone?’ is basically the question.”

Creating synthetic life on DNA plates akin to eugenics

All of this might seem like utter lunacy, but there are actually financial backers out there willing to support these and other vain attempts by deranged visionaries to play God. A startup known as “Glowing Plant,” for example, raised more than $480,000 on Kickstarter for a genetically modified (GM), glow-in-the-dark plant concept that it hatched before eventually being kicked off the site.

Cambrian has raised even more money, gaining $10 million from more than 120 private investors, according to SFGate, including Peter Thiel’s venture firm Founders Fund. All of these investors believe in Heinz’s ideas, as vile as they are, and with enough financial backing they could one day become the new norm.

“We have to take seriously people like Austen Heinz who say they want to modify future generations of human beings and upgrade the human species,” said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, a bioethics watchdog group based out of Berkeley, California. What Heinz is proposing is legitimized eugenics, a term to which he objects but that substantiates every aspect of what he’s trying to do.

“I think that technical project is far more complicated than they acknowledge,” Darnovsky added. “Nonetheless, their story about what we should be striving for as human beings, as a society, I think is very troubling.”

Technology could be used to unleash the world

The next generation of genetically engineered life will more than likely possess a novel trait known as “gene drive” that literally spreads gene alterations like a virus within the host population, whether it is a plant or an animal. Many scientists are starting to worry that if it is placed into the wrong hands, the self-replicating technology could eventually turn GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) into covert bio-weapons for destroying food crops, livestock and even humans.

Gene drive is the scientific community’s latest attempt to domesticate Mother Nature and eliminate undesirable issues such as mosquito-borne illnesses — or at least that’s what we’re being told. The Independent (U.K.) says that gene drive technology has the potential to “address global problems in health,” but it also warns that gene drive has the potential to worsen global problems in health, not to mention contaminate the entire food chain with irreversible GM traits.

In a letter in the peer-reviewed journal Science, a cohort of 27 leading geneticists has urged the scientific community to take a step back and consider the ways in which gene drive technology poses serious risks to human health and the environment. In essence, the technology gives genetic butchers the ability to ignite a chain reaction of genetic changes that can’t be stopped, effectively transforming an entire population of life within just a few generations.

“Just as gene drives can make mosquitos unfit for hosting and spreading the malaria parasite, they could conceivably be designed with gene drives carrying cargo for delivering lethal bacterial toxins to humans,” warns David Gurwitz, a geneticist from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Gene drive technology artificially speeds up the spread rate of GM traits

Under normal circumstances, altered genes only have about a 50 percent chance of being passed on to future generations. A visual diagram published by The Independent illustrates this, showing how even over the course of several generations of exposure, genetically altered mosquitoes only pass their traits on to a small percentage of their offspring, preserving wild-type features within its population to some degree.

Reproductive technology with a higher risk

Children conceived via assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are twice as likely to suffer from autism as children conceived without such technologies, according to a study that was conducted by researchers from Columbia University, Fordham University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and published in the American Journal of Public Health.

ART refers to any fertility treatment in which the sperm and egg are manipulated outside the body. The category includes artificial insemination, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

In spite of the alarming findings, most of the correlation between ART and autism could be explained by previously known risk factors, such as higher maternal age and increased rates of pregnancy complications.

Once these factors were controlled for, the rest of the risk was found to stem from multiple births (including twins); when women conceived only a single child, that child did not have an increased autism risk.

Risk due to multiple births, high-risk pregnancies

In the largest study ever conducted into the link between autism and ART, the researchers examined records from California Master Birth Files and the CDC’s National ART Surveillance System for all children born in California between 1997 and 2007 — nearly 6 million. These were then compared with autism case load records from the California Department of Developmental Services for the same time period. There were a total of 32,922 children with autism in the sample, and 48,865 children conceived via ART.

The researchers found a dramatically higher rate of autism among children conceived via ART, but nearly the entire correlation disappeared when researchers adjusted for known autism risk factors including maternal age and birth complications (which are higher with ART in part because of increased incidence of multiple births).

“There is an association between IVF and autism, but when we control for the characteristics of women who are more likely to use IVF, for example, age and social status, this association is lessened significantly,” researcher Peter Bearman said.

Even after these adjustments, however, women between the ages of 20 and 34 who conceived via ART were still significantly more likely to give birth to an autistic child. In order to see whether this increased risk could be explained by multiple births, the researchers re-analyzed the data only with women who had given birth to a single child. The correlation disappeared.

Autism risks still under investigation

“While the risk of ART with respect to autism appears to be largely modifiable by restricting the procedure to single-embryo transfer, more research is needed to understand the precise mechanisms by which ART and autism are linked,” Bearman said.

The chances of a multiple pregnancy are significantly higher with IVF, because doctors regularly implant multiple embryos in order to increase the chances of successful implantation. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the popularity of ART has been partially responsible for a leap in the frequency of multiple births in recent decades. Since 1980, the twin birth rate has increased by more than 75 percent, and the birth rates for triplets, quadruplets and higher-number multiples have increased even more.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty with social interaction, social imagination and social communication. Rates have been increasing in recent decades, such that the CDC now estimates that one in 68 children fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.

The causes are not known but are likely due to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. Environmental factors potentially linked to autism include air pollution, heavy metal contamination, vitamin D deficiency and early antibiotics exposure or other disruptions to the gut microbiome.

What is the impossible for current technology

The head of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has admitted in an interview with the Times of London that the technology does not yet exist that would allow the decommissioning of the three remaining melted-down reactors. He has no idea when such technology might be available, and he said it could take as long as 200 years.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has set a goal of 40 years (i.e., by 2051) to clean up the plant following the 2011 meltdowns, which were triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

“There are so many uncertainties involved,” Fukushima chief Akira Ono said. “We need to develop many, many technologies. For removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information [about the state of the reactors] or any viable methodology.”

Details of problem still unknown

In February, TEPCO took reporters from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on a tour of the plant, complete with special breathing machinery and vacuum-sealed gear. The company told the reporters that radiation levels at the plant have dropped significantly and that real progress was being made toward decommissioning the plant. They highlighted the successful decommissioning of Reactor 4, which had suffered a hydrogen explosion during the tsunami that left nuclear fuel rods at risk of meltdown. The reactor had been offline at the time of the tsunami.

The reporters were not allowed to visit Reactors 1, 2 or 3, which are still so radioactive that they would instantly kill anyone who entered. The reporters’ guide, Kenichiro Matsui, admitted that TEPCO still has only limited information about the situation inside the three melted-down reactors.

“We do not know [the] exact situation in detail,” Matsui said. “Fuel has been melted down but nobody has seen it… We need to develop robotic technology with help from around the world to know the real situation.”

Although robots have successfully managed to locate some of the fuel rods in the three reactors in recent months, any attempt to remove them would still be so dangerous that TEPCO has postponed such efforts until at least 2025.

TEPCO’s efforts keep failing

Without a constant flood of cooling water, Reactors 1, 2 and 3 would immediately resume meltdown and explode again, spewing more radioactivity into the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, this means that TEPCO is constantly rendering more and more water radioactive by channeling it past the reactors. On top of this, rainwater and groundwater continue to leak into the reactors, exacerbating the problem. To date, more than 500,000 metric tons of radioactive water are being stored at the plant.

The buildup of radioactive water has made vast sections of the plant – even beyond the deadly reactors – incredibly dangerous to enter. TEPCO has identified this as the highest priority for the Fukushima cleanup. Even four years after the disaster, nearly all of TEPCO’s Fukushima cleanup budget and nearly all of the 6,000 workers allocated to it are working to contain the radioactive water.

“The contaminated water is the most pressing issue – there is no doubt about that,” Ono said. “Our efforts to address the problem are at their peak now. Though I cannot say exactly when, I hope things start getting better when the measures start taking effect.”

TEPCO has promoted two technological fixes for the problem of the water. In an effort to stem the buildup of water, the company planned to build an “ice wall” – a network of subfreezing pipes sunk into the ground that would freeze the soil and cut it off from further groundwater infiltration. Widely criticized by the scientific community as unrealistic and unfeasible, this project has now been postponed.

Are the technology could be used for medicine

The tractor beam, one of science fiction’s most iconic devices, is one step closer to reality, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Sussex announced recently in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

But while the ability to move entire spaceships without touching them may still be far off, immediate applications of the new technology include the ability to manipulate tiny surgical instruments from outside of a patient’s body.

“What we’ve got is a fully working tractor beam,” said co-lead author Bruce Drinkwater. “We can grab objects, we can twist them, we can rotate them, we can move them. Previously people knew that these forces were present, but it’s another thing to harness them in a stable way.”

Levitating objects is now a reality

Previous research had shown that objects could theoretically be moved using only light or sound waves. In fact, tractor beams have previously been constructed using high-powered lasers, but these devices are only able to move very tiny objects.

Then last year, researchers from the University of Dundee used sound to build a tractor beam capable of moving larger objects — but that device could only function for very short periods of time.

The new study is the first time that researchers have been able to hold up and manipulate objects in mid-air with sound waves alone. They surrounded a 4 mm-wide polystyrene ball with 64 miniature loudspeakers, then used the speakers to create a three-dimensional “acoustic hologram.” The energy from these sound waves was sufficient to levitate the ball.

Notably, the researchers were then able to adjust the frequency of sound from the individual speakers the change the shape of the acoustic “force field” manipulating the ball. They were able to create fields in the shape of a cage enclosing the ball, a swirling vortex rotating it, or a pair of tweezers or fingers moving it around.

“Unprecedented acoustic structures shaped as tweezers, twisters or bottles emerge as the optimum mechanisms for tractor beams or containerless transportation,” the researchers wrote.

There is no theoretical obstacle to using the device to levitate living things.

“It’s hard to get across just how weird it is to see things levitating in space, when you can’t see or hear anything,” Drinkwater said. “One minute it didn’t work, and the experiments were the most disappointing you could ever imagine, with little things firing off in the wrong direction – and then suddenly there they were, levitating before your eyes.”

“It was an incredible experience the first time we saw the object held in place by the tractor beam,” agreed co-lead author Azier Marzo. “Finally, after months of beads being spitted uncontrollably from the tractor beam we had success. All my hard work has paid off, it’s brilliant.”

Soon ready for medical applications?

Currently, the device cannot levitate an object any larger than the ball used in the study. Marzo said that such devices — “more powerful tractor beams capable of levitating bigger objects from farther distances” — could be used, for example, to allow astronauts to manipulate external objects from within the safety of a space capsule.

Although scientists are working to scale up the device’s power, this would probably require using very loud sound waves within the human range of hearing.

Even as-is, however, the device has astonishing potential uses.

“Single-beam levitation could manipulate particles inside our body for applications in targeted drug delivery or acoustically-controlled micro-machines that do not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),” the researchers wrote.

Other medical uses could involve the non-surgical removal of obstructions such as kidney stones or blood clots, or the manipulation of tiny surgical instruments.

“Sound waves can travel through water and human tissue – that is how ultrasound imaging works,” Marzo said. “Our objective is neither to destroy nor to image, but to manipulate things inside our body.”

is the technology becomes a religion

Are we in love with how smart we are? In America today, there are technology companies that have a much larger “cult following” than any religious organization. And there are millions upon millions of Americans that freely confess that they “believe in science”. So what does this say about us? Does it say that we have discarded ancient “superstitions” and instead have embraced logic and reason?

Sadly, in most cases the truth is that we have simply traded one form of religion for another. Scientists and technology gurus have become our new high priests, and most of us blindly follow whatever they tell us. But in the end, just like with so many religious organizations, it is all about the money. Those with the money determine what the science is going to say, who the high priests are going to be, and what messages are conveyed to the public. For example, once upon a time the big tobacco companies had armies of doctors and scientists that swore up and down that smoking cigarettes was not harmful. In fact, many doctors and dentists in America once personally endorsed specific brands of cigarettes. Of course millions of Americans were getting sick and dying, but this was dismissed as “anecdotal evidence”. And over in Germany, “science” was once used to prove that the Germans were the master race.

We look back in horror now, but at the time the best “science” in the world was used as justification to promote some horrible untruths. And of course the same thing is happening today. We are told over and over that “the science is settled” regarding genetically-modified food, climate change and vaccine safety, and yet those of us that think for ourselves know that isn’t the case at all. But if you do not believe in the “official story”, you don’t get to be part of the “scientific establishment”. By definition, the only people that get to be “scientific experts” are the ones that embrace the “doctrine” of those that control the big corporations, that fund the research studies at the major universities and that own the big media outlets. Everyone else is not permitted to be part of the discussion. (Story by Michael Snyder, republished from EndOftheAmericanDream.com.)

As I have written about previously,[1] I spent eight years studying at public universities in the United States. And over time, I got to see where most “scientific truths” come from these days.

Most of the time, the theories that people believe are so “scientific” were simply pulled out of thin air. In other words, they were just the product of someone’s overactive imagination. In recent decades, there have been countless examples of “existing science” being overturned and rewritten when more information and evidence become available. This is because the “existing science” did not have any foundation to begin with.

And yet we continue to make the same mistake today. Instead of calling them “theories”, which is what they should do, scientists all over the world are so eager to make bold pronouncements about the wonderful new “discoveries” that they have made. These bold pronouncements are then repeated over and over and over again until they become “facts”. But of course they are not facts at all.

Providing key technology

More than seven decades after the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi-inspired Third Reich on battlefields that left much of Europe in shambles, U.S. technology giant IBM – which played a major role in all phases of the Holocaust – is once again in the business of killing.

As reported by investigative news site The Intercept, a secret brief discussing the Pentagon’s drone strike program in Somalia and Yemen dated February 2013 was produced for the Defense Department by IBM analysts.

“On its surface, it’s simply an analysis by the Defense Department’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force of the ‘performance and requirements’ of the U.S. military’s counterterrorism kill/capture operations, including drone strikes, in Somalia and Yemen,” The Intercept reported. “However, it’s also what a former senior special operations officer characterized as a ‘bitch brief’ – that is, a study designed to be a weapon in a bureaucratic turf war with the CIA to win the Pentagon more money and a bigger mandate.”

It’s a safe bet to assume that the study outlined in the brief was an opportunity for IBM to show that it is capable of producing quality analyses specific to the Defense Department as well as for current Pentagon employees to network with a potential future employer.

Building target packages like a corporation tracks customers

However, experts say there is more to the presentation. For one, it’s a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the military-industrial complex, where assassination technologies and corporate sales merge, shrouded in lifeless language as dead as the target of a “kinetic engagement.”

The IBM-Defense Department drone strike analysis relationship likely began in earnest in 2010, when IBM employees delivered a talk at the tech giant’s Analytics Solution Center in Washington, D.C. Titled “An Introduction to Edge Methods: Business Analytics and Optimization for Intelligence,” the intended audience was “Defense and Intelligence communities.” The company’s goal was to demonstrate how IBM could assist with “managing large volumes of data” to derive “invaluable” insights. The company already had an existing governmental customer: the ISR Task Force

The Intercept further noted:

Although buried in reams of corporate management gobbledygook (IBM, it turns out, is “Mission Focused” and “Performance Driven”), the talk’s key theme was that IBM was offering prospective new government clients its “expertise in integrating business and technology services” using its “commercial consulting methods.” That is, IBM was bringing what it had learned from managing Big Data for corporate America to the military and intelligence worlds.