Leftist High School Administrators Suspend Teacher Because His Students’ Science Projects Were Gun-Like (Video)

Teacher Suspended Over Science Project That Looked Like A Gun – Tell Me Now

Another mind-numbing example has surfaced of the left’s fight to ban all guns, things that resemble guns, things that might make you think of guns and people who utter the world gun. This time though, a good teacher has been removed from the classroom and consequently, students are suffering.

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Greg Schiller is a well-respected science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles. As his class was preparing for the annual science fair, two students’ projects were brought to the attention of administrators which caused a ridiculous amount of concern over nothing.

The two students were working on projects which the school staff apparently deemed to be gun-related and now Mr. Schiller has been accused of placing his students in an unsafe environment. He was immediately placed in ‘teacher jail’, which is basically his removal from the classroom with pay.

One of the gun-like science projects was an air cannon similar to the one which was featured in a White House science fair back in 2012. Obama was captured on tape firing marshmallows out of it along with the student who built it. You would think that if the Secret Service deems it safe enough to be fired in the presence of the President, there’s really not much to worry about – unless flying marshmallows haunt your dreams.

The other project was an electromagnetic battery powered coil gun.

Mr. Schiller never had the opportunity to see either one of the projects and both students have been disqualified from the science fair.

That, however, is perhaps not even the worst of it. While Mr. Schiller is banned from his classroom, his students have been forced to prepare for their Advanced Placement exams without the help of his expertise. Of course, their substitute has not been of much help, being that they have no background in science, and serves primarily as a glorified babysitter.

If the students cannot pass their exams without the help of Mr. Schiller, they risk rejection from better colleges in the near future. It all seems like undue consequences over a couple crafty science fair projects.

Students have organized a protest in support of their well-liked teacher. They plan to wear duct tape covering their mouths in a vow not to speak until Mr. Schiller is released from ‘teacher jail’. Their effort is commendable, but it probably will not do much to sway the views of disillusioned gun-grabbers.

Let us know how this most recent report of anti-gun shenanigans makes you feel in the comments section!

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Amazing: Electrical Stimulator Allows Paralyzed Men To Move Again (Video)

‘The Wind On My Legs’: Stimulator Helps Paralyzed Men Move Again – NBC News

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Four men paralyzed after bad spinal cord injuries can all move their legs again, thanks to an electrical stimulator.

Astonished researchers say they’d hoped for some result, but nothing like what they got. They think the stimulator is retraining the mens’ nerves to work with the brain again, despite the terrible damage.

“This is wonderful news. Spinal cord injury need no longer be a lifelong sentence of paralysis,” said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, one of the National Institutes of Health. “It is just downright marvelous.”

Rob Summers, now 28, was the first patient implanted and his case made international headlines in 2011 when he was first able to stand using the stimulator. Summers now exercises for three hours a day and says his life has been transformed.

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“It has changed my life on a day-to-day basis,” said Summers, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a hit-and-run driver plowed into him as he stood in his own driveway. “It’s given me the ability to travel alone and come and go as I please.”

Summers says he does an hour of abdominal exercises daily, reversing the gradual wasting of muscles that normally comes with paralysis.

“I can now feel soft touch, hard touch. I can feel pinpricks,” Summers, who lives in Portland, Ore., told NBC News. “I can feel the wind on my legs.”

None of the four men can walk again, but researchers believe the stimulator is retraining the damaged nerves in their spinal columns to communicate once again with the brain. They’re not sure why – it may be some connection remained after their injuries or it is slightly possible the nerves are re-growing.

“We have uncovered a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can dramatically affect recovery of voluntary movement in individuals with complete paralysis even years after injury,” the researchers, led by Dr. Susan Harkema of the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Louisville, write in their report, published in the journal Brain on Tuesday.

Because all four men tested have regained movement, including two who were completely paralyzed, it’s likely that many people who believed they were permanently paralyzed may be able to move again, says Reggie Edgerton, distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who developed the approach.

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“It tells us that the information from the brain is getting to the right place in the spinal cord, so that the person can control, with fairly impressive accuracy, the nature of the movement,” said Edgerton. “We don’t have to necessarily rely on regrowth of nerves in order to regain function. The fact that we’ve observed this in all four patients suggests that this is actually a common phenomenon in those with complete paralysis.”

The stimulator was originally developed by Medtronic to treat chronic pain. It’s a pacemaker-sized device implanted under the skin of the abdomen, connecting to electrodes placed near the spinal cord. When turned on, it delivers a low pulse of electricity.

For patients with chronic pain, the electricity interrupts the pain signal before it can reach the brain. The researchers adapted it to try on patients with paralysis.

“The next generation will be more precisely controlled and noninvasive,” says NIBIB’s Pettigrew, whose institute helped pay for the research, along with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Pettigrew says the results are no flash breakthough. They are based on decades of work. He says researchers are already working with a fresh batch of volunteers and will report new findings soon.

“It is why we come to work every day,” Pettigrew said.

The next step is to try and make the approach work without having to implant electrodes, Pettigrew said. The hope would be for an external device, with electrodes simply stuck onto the skin to stimulate the nerves.

“The implications of this study for the entire field are quite profound and we can now envision a day where epidural stimulation might be part of a cocktail of therapies used to treat paralysis,” said Susan Howley, executive vice president for research at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

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The accident cost Summers a promising possible career in baseball. He’d been a top pitcher for Oregon State University and he was struck a month after his team won the college world series.

But he’s happy now that going out to dinner is no longer an ordeal that required hours of preparation. He’s strong enough now to hop into his wheelchair and just go.

“Not only has this benefited me with the confidence to go out and do what I want to do… I can continue to live my life as I choose and not be restricted or limited,” Summers said. His doctors say he has regained continence, sexual function and even the lost ability to sweat.

“I truly believe this is the greatest thing out there,” Summers said.

Summers says he can feel the device working. “The best way to describe it is like a strong tingling sensation,” he says, almost like a limb feels after it’s “fallen asleep.” “It almost feels like pins and needles.”

The three other men whose cases are described in the report are all in their 20s and 30s now and, like Summers, had been paralyzed for years before trying the device.

Kent Stephenson of Mount Pleasant, Texas, was 21 when he was paralyzed in a motocross accident in 2009. He cannot move his leg without the stimulator, but with it on can pull his leg up to his chest, straighten it, and slowly lower it again.

Andrew Meas of Louisville was injured when his motorcycle and a car collided in 2007, while Dustin Shillcox of Green River, Wyo. was 26 when a company van he was driving blew out a tire and wrecked. Stephenson and Meas both have resumed outdoor activities such as snow machining and fishing.

Each has a little different level of function with the device. “I have mentored all the other guys using it,” Summers says. “We have been like a brotherhood bonding on this.”

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Game-Changer: U.S. Navy Turning Seawater Into Fuel (Video)

Could You Soon Be Filling Up With Seawater? US Navy Reveals ‘Game Changing’ Fuel Created From Water – Daily Mail

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The US Navy has developed a radical new fuel made from seawater.

They say it could change the way we produce fuel – and allow warships to stay at sea for years at a time.

Navy scientists have spent several years developing the process to take seawater and use it as fuel, and have now used the ‘game changing’ fuel to power a radio controlled plane in the first test.

The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as ‘a game-changer’ because it would allow warships to remain at sea for far longer.

The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.

The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.

Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution, the Navy says.

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Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: ‘It’s a huge milestone for us.

‘We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it.

‘We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,’ added Cullom.

‘Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much.

‘But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.’

They hope the fuel will not only be able to power ships, but also planes.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using the technology is in the range of three to six dollars per gallon, say experts at the US Naval Research Laboratory, who have already flown a model airplane with fuel produced from seawater.

Dr Heather Willauer, an research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, said:

‘For the first time we’ve been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that’s a big breakthrough,’ she said, adding that the fuel ‘doesn’t look or smell very different.’

Now that they have demonstrated it can work, the next step is to produce it in industrial quantities.

But before that, in partnership with several universities, the experts want to improve the amount of CO2 and hydrogen they can capture.

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‘We’ve demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency,’ explained Willauer.

Collum is just as excited.

‘For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,’ he said.

‘We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel, our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship.

‘Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.’

A crucial benefit, says Collum, is that the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.

‘If you don’t want to reeengineer every ship, every type of engine, every aircraft, that’s why we need what we call drop-in replacement fuels that look, smell and essentially are the same as any kind of petroleum-based fuels.’

Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.

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Deadly Ebola Virus Spreading Fast In West Africa

Terrifying Ebola Outbreak Spreading Fast – WorldNetDaily

The Ebola virus that has killed at least 59 people of the 80 who initially contracted it in Guinea now threatens all of West Africa, as health officials in Liberia try to determine if recent deaths there are connected.

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Six cases have been reported of which five have already died, including a child, Liberian Health Minister Walter Gwenigale said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.

There was a suspicion that Ebola had migrated to Canada, with one victim hospitalized this week with a fever and bleeding, but health officials said tests for Ebola were negative.

The World Health Organization said the case may be severe malaria.

The World Health Organization reports the Ebola virus that causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever, or VHF, can produce outbreaks with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.

The WHO has documented the Ebola virus is transmitted from wild animals to humans, with the capability of spreading through the human population.

Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus, and, most alarming, there is no effective medical treatment or preventative vaccine for either animals or human beings.

Many Americans first heard about Ebola – including its terrifying symptoms, virulence and communicability – in author Richard Preston’s 1995 No. 1 New York Times bestseller, “The Hot Zone.”

The BBC reported Tuesday that Guinea has now banned the sale and consumption of bats to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Rene Lamah, Guinea’s health minister.

Lamah explained to the BBC that people who eat the bats often boil them into a spicy pepper soup sold in village stores where people gather to drink alcohol. Other ways of preparing bats to eat include drying them over a fire.

The WHO reports Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in a village in Yambuku, Congo, situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

“Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals,” the WHO website notes.

“In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found dead or ill in the rainforest.”

The WHO warns of burial ceremonies in which the deceased person can play a role in the transmission of Ebola. The transmission of the disease via infected semen can occur up to seven weeks after clinical recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn the symptoms of Ebola include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Some patients also experience a rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat, chest pain, difficulty breathing and swallowing, as well as bleeding inside and outside of the body.

After an incubation period of between two and 21-days, the Ebola virus can cause death a few days after the virus appears in particularly virulent cases in which the body organs shut down and internal bleeding becomes unstoppable.

People who fall sick with the disease tend to vomit, have diarrhea, and suffer both internal and external bleeding, explained Dr. Peter Piot, the founding executive director of UNAIDS and under secretary-general of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008, in a Reuters report.

Piot is the microbiologist and physician who co-discovered Ebola and now directs the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Ebola virus has alarmed international health officials because the frequency of international air travel has increased the possibility the outbreak in one nation might quickly be transmitted to other countries by patients in the incubation phase.

Guinea, one of the world’s poorest nations, ranked 156 of 187 countries in the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index, or HDI, based on cross-country data from the United Nations Population Division, UNESCO, and the World Bank.

The CDC has identified five subspecies of Ebola. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus. The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), is known to cause disease only in nonhuman primates.

According to a Stanford University report, the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, known as “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe,” killed more people that World War I. An estimated 20 to 40 million people worldwide died, making it the most lethal epidemic virus documented in the 20th century.

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America’s Next Space Shuttle – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s ‘Dream Chaser’ (Pictures / Video)

Meet Dream Chaser, America’s Next Space Shuttle – Giant Freakin Robot

As you probably know, President Obama announced his decision to end NASA’s space shuttle program Constellation back in 2010. Since then, the US has been paying to transport astronauts to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz capsules. NASA designed the four-person Space Launch System, a heavy launch vehicle, to replace the retired shuttles. So I’ve just been waiting patiently for that to come to fruition, somehow unaware of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, a commercial spaceflight transport system that will be able to take a crew of seven astronauts to the ISS, despite being about 1/3rd the size of a conventional shuttle.

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The Dream Chaser will ride aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, which will propel the craft into low Earth orbit, potentially ferrying astronauts to the ISS. Service – or some kind of crewed mission – is expected to begin in 2017, with the first orbital crewless flight in late 2016. Dream Chaser’s first unmanned flight occurred in 2013, when it flew successfully but crashed due to a malfunction in its landing gear. Actually, the vehicle flipped over at the very end, coming to rest in an upright position, after which the malfunctioning left landing gear deployed. I like a spacecraft with a sense of humor. Despite the rocky ending, the flight was regarded as an overall success.

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Dream Chaser was built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation, and it’s one of three potential commercial transport systems that are part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Development process. NASA is expected to choose one or two of the these systems to take astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX’s Dragon is one, and Boeing’s CST-100 is the other, and so far all three have met target milestones. The teams are vying for the privilege of becoming NASA’s main mode of near-Earth orbit transit, kicking off the era of private commercial spaceflight for both crews and cargo.

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That shift will also usher in another change, with the privatization of spaceflight beyond near-Earth orbit, to places such as Mars and asteroids. SpaceX, after all, is planning on taking people to colonize the Red Planet, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are still more milestones to meet, and lots of fun to be had watching it happen.

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Private Aerospace Company SpaceX To Launch The World’s First Reusable Booster

SpaceX Set To Launch The World’s First Reusable Booster – MIT Technology Review

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Later this month, if all goes well, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, will achieve a spaceflight first.

After delivering cargo to the International Space Station, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket used for the flight will fire its engines for the second time. The burn will allow the rocket to reenter the atmosphere in controlled flight, without breaking up and disintegrating on the way down as most booster rockets do.

The launch was originally planned for March 16, but the company has delayed the launch until at least March 30 to allow for further preparation.

The machine will settle over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of its Cape Canaveral launchpad, engines roaring, and four landing legs will unfold from the rocket’s sides. Hovering over the ocean, the rocket will kick up a salt spray along with the flames and smoke. Finally, the engines will cut off and the rocket will drop the last few feet into the ocean for recovery by a waiting barge.

Future flights of the so-called F9R rocket will have it touching down on land. For now, a water landing ensures maximum safety in case the rocket goes off course.

The test of SpaceX’s renewable booster rocket technology will be the first of its kind and could pave the way to radically cheaper access to space. “Reusability has been the Holy Grail of the launch industry for decades,” says Jeff Foust, an analyst at Futron, a consultancy based in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s because the so-called expendable rockets that are the industry standard add enormously to launch costs – the equivalent of building a new aircraft for every transatlantic flight.

SpaceX began flying low-altitude tests of a Falcon 9 first stage with a single engine, a rocket known as Grasshopper, at its McGregor, Texas, proving grounds in 2012. The flights got progressively higher, until a final test in October, when the rocket reached an altitude of 744 meters. Then, following a flight to place a communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November, a Falcon 9 first stage successfully restarted three of its nine engines to make a controlled supersonic reentry from space.

The rocket survived reentry, but subsequently spun out of control and broke up on impact with the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a call with reporters after the flight that landing legs, which that rocket lacked, would most likely have stabilized the rocket enough to make a controlled landing on the water. The March 16 flight will be the first orbital test with landing legs.

After recovering the rocket from the water on Sunday, SpaceX engineers and technicians will study it to determine what it would take to refurbish such a rocket for reuse. SpaceX also has plans to recover and reuse the second stage rocket, but for now, it will recover only the first stage and its nine Merlin engines, which make up the bulk of the cost of the rocket.

Even without reusable rockets, SpaceX has already shaken up the $190-billion-a-year satellite launch market with radically lower launch costs than its competitors. The company advertises $55.6 million per Falcon 9 launch. Its competitors are less forthcoming about how much they charge, but French rocket company Arianespace has indicated that it may ask for an increase in government subsidies to remain competitive with SpaceX.

Closer to home, SpaceX is vying for so-called Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, contracts to launch satellites for the U.S. Air Force. Its only competitor for the contracts, United Launch Alliance, charges $380 million per launch.

Musk testified before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense meeting on March 5 that his company can cut that cost down to $90 million per launch. He said the higher cost for a government mission versus a commercial one was due to a lack of government-provided launch insurance. “So, in order to improve the probability of success, there is quite a substantial mission assurance overhead applied,” Musk said in the hearing. Still, SpaceX’s proposed charge for the Air Force missions is a mere 23 percent of ULA’s.

SpaceX is counting on lower launch costs to increase demand for launch services. But Foust cautions that this strategy comes with risk. “It’s worth noting,” he says, “that many current customers of launch services, including operators of commercial satellites, aren’t particularly price sensitive, so thus aren’t counting on reusability to lower costs.”

That means those additional launches, and thus revenue, may have to come from markets that don’t exist yet. “A reusable system with much lower launch costs might actually result in lower revenue for that company unless they can significantly increase demand,” says Foust. “That additional demand would likely have to come from new markets, with commercial human spaceflight perhaps the biggest and best-known example.”

Indeed, SpaceX was founded with human spaceflight as its ultimate mission. It is now one of three companies working with NASA funds to build ships capable of sending astronauts to the International Space Station. Musk plans to take SpaceX even further—all the way to Mars with settlers. And colonizing Mars will require lots of low-cost flights.

Michael Belfiore (michaelbelfiore.com) is the author of Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space.

Updated on March 14, at 3 p.m. EST, to include mention of the delay.

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New 3-D Printed Membrane Can Keep Heart Pumping Indefinitely; May Prevent Heart Attacks

Membrane That Can Keep Your Heart Pumping Forever And Possibly Prevent Heart Attacks – Daily Mail

Scientists have created an external membrane using a 3-D printer than can keep a heart beating virtually forever.

The thin membrane is elastic, designed to stretch over a heart like a glove, and is outfitted with tiny electrodes that monitor cardiac function – it was first demonstrated as a proof of concept on a rabbit heart.

Researchers at both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University published the astonishing breakthrough in Nature, and hope it will someday help prevent heart attacks in humans.

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It is about 10-15 years away from being made available to humans, but the revolutionary device might be a long-term solution to these normally catastrophic events.

The team told Gizmodo’s Sploid that they were able to custom fit it to the rabbit’s heart by using computers to scan it’s surface area and put together a mold for the membrane.

They then put it together and wove it with a spider web-like network of electrodes that interact with the rest of the body to regulate heart beat – it’s light years ahead of a pacemaker.

‘This artificial pericardium is instrumented with high quality, man-made devices that can sense and interact with the heart in different ways that are relevant to clinical cardiology,’ researcher John Rorgers said.

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Those sensors track tissue movement and use the signals the nervous system, would normally send to the heart to regulate pulse.

This methodology allows the device to keep the heart beating even when a heart attack or arrhythmia occurs.

‘When it senses such a catastrophic event as a heart attack or arrhythmia, it can also apply a high definition therapy,’ biomedical engineer Igor Efimov told St. Louis Public Radio.

‘It can apply stimuli, electrical stimuli, from different locations on the device in an optimal fashion to stop this arrhythmia and prevent sudden cardiac death.’

The electrical stimuli regulate the heart’s movement, which means blood will keep flowing and more people will keep living.

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The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Is Back

The Hydrogen Car Is Back… Again – Popular Mechanics

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The basic principle behind hydrogen fuel cells is fairly simple: Hydrogen atoms are stripped of their electrons to generate electricity and then combined with oxygen to form water as a by-product. Mainstream deployment of fuel-cell vehicles, though, has proved to be complex. Compared with liquid fuels, hydrogen is tough to transport and store. And without a meaningful number of vehicles on the road, there’s been no incentive to build hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Now new initiatives in California and across the U.S. are pushing for a long-awaited expansion of the refueling network. And with the debut of three promising hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles from Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, consumers will have new options beginning in 2014. Are we finally seeing the dawn of the hydrogen age? Not so fast.

WHY NOW?

The current hydrogen push has less to do with consumer demand than with government incentives that treat fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) as equal to or better than electric vehicles. In California the combination of 300-mile range and fast refueling gives fuel cells the maximum available zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credits. That makes it easy for a manufacturer to meet the state’s ZEV mandate with fewer cars. On the federal level, both FCVs and EVs get an EPA credit multiplier of 2.0 beginning in 2017, which means that sales of either type of car confer a disproportionate benefit on the ledger for an automaker’s entire fleet. In response, manufacturers have formed several high-profile partnerships, including Ford/Daimler/Renault-Nissan, BMW/Toyota, and GM/Honda to develop the vehicles. On the fueling side, a recent infusion of $20 million of funding per year has expanded the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s plan to 100 statewide refueling stations. The Department of Energy’s H2USA organization wants to use California’s efforts as a blueprint for the rest of the nation.

CAN I BUY A FUEL-CELL CAR?

In the past, fuel-cell vehicles have only been available in the hundreds. The three new FCVs slated for production this year and next will increase the volume to thousands, but they will be available primarily in California, where most of the country’s hydrogen stations exist. According to Alan Baum, an automotive analyst at Baum and Associates, even if the stations proliferate, fuel-cell vehicles, like EVs, won’t dominate the market. “It’s not going to be a widespread technology, and for that matter it doesn’t need to be,” he says. “We’re doing an all-hands-on-deck strategy.”

ARE THE PRACTICAL?

Not according to Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who says fuel cells are more of a marketing ploy than a realistic solution. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn agrees: “Knowing all the problems we have with charging [EVs], where is the hydrogen infrastructure?” Both men have a bias toward electric vehicles, but the infrastructure issue is a big one. With the current cost of a hydrogen filling station at more than $1 million, neither the government nor the corporate world has any plans for a rapid expansion of the filling network. “We’ve got electricity everywhere,” Baum says. “Putting in 240-volt charging units requires some effort and expense, but it’s not game changing. Putting in hydrogen is.”

WHERE DOES THE POWER COME FROM?

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Here’s the abridged version: Compressed hydrogen from the storage tank (A) is stripped of its electrons in the fuel-cell stack (B), creating electricity. A power-control unit (C) orchestrates the flow of energy from the stack to the battery (D), which powers the electric motor that moves the car. The battery ensures full power during acceleration until the fuel cell reaches peak voltage. Got all that?

ARE THEY SAFE?

Yes. Stringent requirements established by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) ensure that the technology is safe. Automakers are required to build robust hydrogen storage tanks that not only hold the fuel at up to 10,000 psi but also withstand arcane-sounding trials such as “bonfire” and “gunshot” tests by the DOT. Tanks are usually made of several layers of carbon fiber wrapped around aluminum or polyethylene liners, and many are also protected by external layers of steel. Regulations covering PRDs (pressure-relief devices) govern both temperatures and pressures at which gas is released, typically well below what is standard for safe operating conditions.

HOW GREEN ARE FUEL CELLS?

It depends on where you look. The only tailpipe emission from an FCV is water, but the process of creating hydrogen fuel – just like that of formulating gasoline or generating current for an electric vehicle – has an environmental impact. More than 90 percent of hydrogen today is created using a natural-gas-reforming process involving steam and methane, which reduces CO2 emissions from “well to wheel” by approximately 60 percent, compared with the process of creating gasoline. So, carbon dioxide is still released into the atmosphere – it just happens before the liquid hydrogen gets to your tank. Incentives and mandates encourage a cleaner hydrogen-creation process: The state of California requires that 30 percent of H2 supplied for transportation come from renewable sources, which can include wind, solar, and biomass material.

WHAT ABOUT REFUELING?

One advantage of FCVs is that they can travel farther and restore range faster than most current EVs. Refueling is simple: Once a nozzle with a snap collar is securely mated and locked to your car, the transfer of hydrogen begins with a brief hissing sound, followed by a 3- to 5- minute fill-up. However, it takes considerably longer for a filling station to restore the pressure required to service the next vehicle, so current setups can only refuel six or so cars per hour.

SO, IS HYDROGEN HAPPENING?

“When you have several major carmakers saying we’re going to invest in this, that’s significant,” Baum says. But vehicles are just one piece of the puzzle. Every other player in the hydrogen supply chain, such as the service station industry, needs to invest heavily. Until then, refueling options and vehicle choices will remain extremely limited, with no guarantee of expansion. Which is to say that hydrogen-fuel-cell cars will be a minor footnote in terms of overall vehicle sales for the foreseeable future. For all but the earliest of adopters, hydrogen as a prominent fuel alternative remains somewhere on the horizon.

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Greenpeace Co-Founder Patrick Moore Says There’s No Scientific Evidence Of Man-Made Global Warming

Greenpeace Co-Founder: No Scientific Evidence Of Man-Made Global Warming – Daily Caller

There is no scientific evidence that human activity is causing the planet to warm, according to Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, who testified in front of a Senate committee on Tuesday.

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Moore argued that the current argument that the burning of fossil fuels is driving global warming over the past century lacks scientific evidence. He added that the Earth is in an unusually cold period and some warming would be a good thing.

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” according to Moore’s prepared testimony. “Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.”

“It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a [two degrees Celsius] rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species,” Moore said. “We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing.”

“It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age,” he added. “It is ‘extremely likely’ that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.”

Indeed, cold weather is more likely to cause death than warm weather. RealClearScience reported that from “1999 to 2010, a total of 4,563 individuals died from heat, but 7,778 individuals died from the cold.” Only in 2006 did heat-related deaths outnumber cold deaths.

In Britain, 24,000 people are projected to die this winter because they cannot afford to pay their energy bills. Roughly 4.5 million British families are facing “fuel poverty.”

“The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming,” Moore said.

“When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time,” he added. “Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.”

Moore, a Canadian, helped found the environmental activist group Greenpeace in the 1970s. He left the group after they began to take on more radical positions. He has since been a critic of radical environmentalism and heads up the group Ecosense Environmental in Vancouver, Canada.

Moore’s comments come after President Obama declared global warming a “fact” in the State of the Union. His administration has attempted to argue that the recent U.S. cold snap was influenced by a warmer planet.

Climate scientists, however, have been struggling to explain why global surface temperatures have not risen in the last 17 years and why atmospheric temperatures have been flat for the last decade.

“From 1910 to 1940 there was an increase in global average temperature of [0.5 degrees Celsius] over that 30-year period,” Moore said. “Then there was a 30-year ‘pause’ until 1970. This was followed by an increase of [0.57 degrees Celsius] during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature.”

“This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time,” the former environmental activist added. “The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000.”

“Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to ‘human influence.’” Moore continued. “They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase ‘since the mid-20th century.’ Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by ‘human influence,’ when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?”

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The Myth Of ‘Settled Science’ (Charles Krauthammer)

The Myth Of ‘Settled Science’ – Charles Krauthammer

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I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

Now we learn from a massive randomized study – 90,000 women followed for 25 years – that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.

So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy – and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change – delicately called a “pause” – in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?

But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything – warming and cooling, drought and flood – to man’s sinful carbon burning.

Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.

Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall. And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.

Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years – of presumed global warming – has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.

None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” – an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.

Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins – burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon-belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

Ah, settled science in action.

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Doctor: Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough Will Transform Medicine

Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough Will Transform Medicine, Doctor Predicts – CNS

A scientific breakthrough that enables researchers to create adult stem cells much faster and easier will radically transform the way medicine is practiced, predicts Dr. Marc Darrow, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine.

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“It will be the standard of care,” said Darrow, who teaches regenerative techniques utilizing platelets and adult stem cells to medical residents at UCLA, and who has been using the same techniques to treat patients with joint, tendon, ligament and muscle injuries in his own LA clinic.

Darrow explained that in the past, creating stem cell lines was a very tedious procedure which required “using a pipette to take nuclear material from one cell to put into another.”

But an article published January 29th in the peer-reviewed journal Nature describes a new technique for creating undifferentiated adult stem cells by immersing blood cells in an acid bath for half an hour.

Biologist Haruko Obokata, a stem cell researcher from Japan’s RIKEN Center of Developmental Biology, then injected the acid-stressed, florescently-tagged blood cells into a mouse embryo, where they created entire organs – including a beating heart.

‘It’s amazing. I would have never thought external stress could have this effect,” said study co-author Yoshiki Sasai. (See STAP cells.pdf)

“The generation of these cells is essentially Mother Nature’s way of responding to injury,” added co-author Charles Vacanti, director of the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham Women’s Hospital.

“Our bodies make stem cells all day long and that’s probably what’s keeping us alive, by regenerating tissue. The whole field of medicine is moving into regenerative medicine,” Darrow told CNSNews.com.

And despite the fact that most insurance does not cover stem cell therapy, he predicted: “This will become the new medicine sometime soon.”

“I mean right now, surgery is still the king, but I see terrible results from surgery. I see patients every single day who have surgeries that have failed. In fact, there are [insurance company] diagnoses such as ‘Failed Back Syndrome.’ What does that tell us? It tells us there’s enough of those surgeries that don’t work that I wouldn’t want to have one.”

In contrast, Darrow said, stem cell therapy is “the easiest, simplest and cheapest form of medicine that I know of to regenerate tissue, get rid of pain and return function.” And with the newly discovered procedure, which he warned is still in the research phase, “it’ll be very quick and very easy to repair body parts.”

“This is the crest of a wave that’s going to become a tsunami,” he predicted. “I’ve been pushing for this stuff for 16 years… and there’s guys like me out there that teach at universities and the younger docs are going for it. It’s going to be the tsunami of the new form of medicine. There’s no way to stop it.”

Another benefit is that the new technique utilizes only adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, Darrow added. “That’s the good news,” he told CNSNews.com. “We don’t have to deal with embryos, which has a terrible political and moral controversy surrounding it.”

In addition to ethical problems, “embryonic cells can cause tumors,” according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Cell-based therapies show great promise for repairing, replacing, restoring, or regenerating damaged cells, tissues and organs,” an overview published by the FDA on Dec. 11, 2013 noted. Since “embryonic cells can cause tumors… these more mature cells may be better suited to replace specific types of damaged cells or lost cells or for repairing damaged tissue.”

Darrow noted that the recent breakthrough in procducing adult stem cells will provide new insight into how the body repairs itself, calling them “the crème de la crème of healing.”

Although adult stem cell therapy will never replace surgery for some problems, he predicts it will greatly reduce the number of back surgeries and joint replacements now being done. “People who would normally be having surgery who come to me don’t have to have surgery,” he said.

“Look, I love surgeons. They’re brilliant. This is not a putdown on surgeons. It’s just that they’re very, very busy. When I was doing orthopedic surgery as a medical student and as an intern, there were days when we’d see 60 patients in the clinic. How much time does the doctor have to examine the patient? It’s mostly slap an X-ray up on the wall or an MRI and then deciding what to do from that. It’s not the best medicine.” Darrow told CNSNews.com.

“And again, that’s not a hit on surgeons, because we definitely need surgeons. There’s a lot of work for surgeons to do. It’s just that many of these, what I’ll call elective surgeries, in my mind – and that’s just my opinion – should not be done. We should be using regenerative medicine with platelets and/or stem cells to regenerate the tissue.

“And I hear from patients every day who say their doctor says it can’t work. You can’t regrow tissue. Well, that’s nonsense. I’ve been watching this for 16 years. It works great.”

That’s why, he says, it won’t be long before using adult stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue becomes standard medical care. “Who wants to do surgery when it’s going to hurt someone? Who wants to get surgery when it can hurt [you]? This is the way. This is the Holy Grail. It’s a no-brainer.”

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National Intelligence Director Clapper: Iran Can Now Build And Deliver Nuclear Weapons (Video)

Iran Can Now Build And Deliver Nukes, U.S. Intel Reports – Times Of Israel

Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

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In the “U.S. Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas – including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles – from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.

“Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.

He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”

Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.

Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.

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The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”

The report was released a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the interim nuclear agreement only set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by six weeks.

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks – no more – according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Zarif told CNN.

Zarif repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching [uranium] over 5%.”

The six-month deal freezes key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, while allowing limited enrichment to continue, in exchange for some economic sanctions relief. It went into effect on January 20.

The next round of international nuclear negotiations with Iran is expected to be held in New York next month, according to officials involved in the planning.

Israel has threatened to attack Iran should it not back off from its alleged pursuit of a military nuclear capability.

On Tuesday, UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran to visit Iran’s Gachin uranium mine for the first time in several years, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. The visit was part of the framework of a separate deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency in November.

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Contact Lense System Projects Images Onto The Eyeball

The Contact Lenses That Could Do Away With TV Screens: System That Projects Images Onto The Eyeball To Be Unveiled Next Week – Daily Mail

Contact lenses that allow the wearer to see high-definition virtual screens are to be unveiled in Las Vegas next week.

Dubbed iOptik, the system allows the users to see projected digital information, such as driving directions and video calls.

The tiny ‘screens’, which are the invention of Washington-based group Innovega, sit directly on a users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses.

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Together, they provide an experience equivalent to watching a 240-inch television at a distance of 10 feet, according to Innovega’s chief executive Steve Willey.

The glasses are fitted with micro-projectors and nothing else. The contact lenses, however, are more complicated devices.

They can be worn on their own and only function with the iOptik software when a user looks through the company’s paired glasses.

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The system can work with smartphones and portable game devices to deliver video – or switch to a translucent ‘augmented reality’ view, where computer information is layered over the world we know it.

‘Whatever runs on your smartphone would run on your eyewear,’ Innovega chief Stephen Willey said in an interview with CNET. ‘At full HD. Whether it’s a window or immersive.’

Crucially, the device can be worn while moving around in a similar way to Google Glass.

Innovega customised the standard contact lens manufacturing process with a unique filter to make the contact lenses.

‘All the usual optics in the eyewear are taken away and there is a sub-millimeter lens right in the centre,’ Mr Willey told CNET.

‘The outside of the lens is shaped to your prescription if you need one and the very centre of the lens is a bump that allows you to see incredibly well half an inch from your eye.’

An optical filter also directs the light. ‘Light coming from outside the world is shunted to your normal prescription. Light from that very near display goes through the center of the lens, the optical filter,’ Mr Willey said

The contacts are due to be previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show and promise to provide a much more immersive experience than other head-work wearable devices.

The company unveiled a prototype of the technology at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, but plans to show a more advanced, working version next week.

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Innovega could also license the technology to other vendors, who may add elements such as audio, touch control, motion control, and other hardware seen in gadgets such as Google Glass.

Last year, South Korean scientists created soft contact lenses fitted with LEDs, bringing the possibility of transparent, flexible materials that can be programmed to take pictures a step closer to reality.

Unlike the iOptik, which requires glasses to work, these contact lenses can be used as standalone systems capable of performing tasks such as taking pictures.

Microsoft and the University of Washington have also been working on similar projects that seem more like a prop in movies such as Mission Impossible 4.

In 2012, they created a prototype of a hard augmented reality contact lens capable of receiving radio signals and transmitting them to the brain through optical nerves.

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Volkswagen XL1 Diesel Gets 261 Miles To The Gallon (Videos)

The Volkswagen XL1 Is The Most Efficient Car Ever – Popular Science

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For years, automakers have worked to push fuel economy beyond 100 miles per gallon. Reaching that mark typically meant three things: cutting weight, maximizing aerodynamics, and improving powertrain efficiency. In 1999, Volkswagen engineers got close with the Lupo 3L, a three-cylinder coupe that could go 78.4 miles on one gallon of diesel. Not satisfied, VW tasked star engineer Ulrich Hackenberg, whose résumé includes work at Bentley and Bugatti, with breaking the 100mpg barrier. Hackenberg’s team crushed that goal – and then some. In tests, their new XL1 got a mind-bending 261 mpg.

The team designed nearly every part of the XL1 from scratch. To trim weight and add strength, they replaced some steel components, such as the chassis, with carbon-fiber ones. To reduce drag, they removed side-view mirrors and sculpted the body into a smooth, low-riding shape. With the car lighter and slipperier, the 830cc, two-cylinder diesel engine and the 20kW electric motor can propel the XL1 well over 500 miles on a single 2.6-gallon tank of fuel.


The XL1, Exploded View (Courtesy Volkswagen)

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VW is producing a limited run of 250 XL1s for sale in Europe. U.S. safety regulations make importing the car tricky, but Hackenberg says that Americans may see the XL1’s efficient engine in future VWs.

Volkswagen XL1

Fuel economy: 261 mpg

Weight: 1,753 pounds

Horsepower: 47 diesel, 27 electric

Top speed: 99 mph

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Something Very, VERY Wrong Is Happening At Boston Children’s Hospital

One Of The Best Hospitals In The Country Is Accused Of Doing One Of The Worst Things Imaginable To Families… Again – The Blaze

There is a hospital consistently ranked among the top in the United States in various pediatric fields. It has been hailed as having the best physicians and is the teaching hospital for the No. 1 medical school in the country.

But this hospital – Boston Children’s Hospital – is now the target of national debate regarding practices that have resulted in children being taken away from parents. It’s being called the “dark side to Children’s.”

Not only is there the case of a Connecticut teen (Justina Pelletier) who has been held at Boston Children’s Hospital for 10 months after her parents lost custody of her over accusations of medical child abuse – something they vehemently oppose – but there are now a handful of other similar stories coming to light where parents were stripped of their ability to oversee their child’s care at Children’s.

Jessica Hilliard is one of them.

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Hilliard’s relationship with Boston Children’s Hospital dates back to 2006. Her daughter, Eithene, was born with multiple birth defects, so Jessica and her husband would live at the hospital for hundreds of days a year over the next five years.

When she was 2 1/2 years old, the Eithene’s condition began to worsen. Combining knowledge from her own scientific degrees – Hilliard currently studying for a Masters in bioethics – and doing her own research, as many parents with access to the Internet these days would also do, Hilliard suggested to hospital physicians that her daughter be tested for mitochondrial disease.

This is the same complex disease that 14-year-old Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with, something her parents had been treating her for and something Boston Children’s disagreed with when the Pelletiers brought her into the hospital for the flu. This heated disagreement led to state involvement and, 10 months later, Justina is still at the hospital, seeing her parents only once a week as they continue to battle for custody of her.

“When we approached Children’s with the possibility it was [mitochondrial disease], we were immediately met with resistance,” specifically from the hospital’s genetics and metabolism departments, Jessica Hilliard said.

But they kept pressing and eventually had a sample of muscle tissue taken from their daughter’s thigh. The mitochondria in the cells of this tissue and other genetic aspects would be analyzed. This test, Hilliard said, was the “gold standard” for a mitochondrial diagnosis at the time it was conducted on her daughter. The disease, which is the result of a cell’s mitochondria (the energy producing organelle) not functioning properly, can manifest itself is a variety of ways and is therefore difficult to diagnose and has been confused with other disorders.

Cases of misdiagnosis have included somatoform disorder, which is what the hospital says Justina Pelletier really has – a psychiatric disorder that puts the symptoms she’s experiencing all in her head. In the last couple of decades up to just a couple of years ago, there have been reports from the National Institutes of Health describing cases of mitochondrial disease being initially misdiagnosed as somatoform disorder.

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But the Hilliards are not the only ones who thought something was physically wrong (likely mitochondrial disease) with their daughter. Some specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital agreed, too.

Hilliard said the genetics department that had analyzed her daughter’s muscle sample “didn’t believe the results,” which favored a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Instead of telling the Hilliards of this initial finding, the mother said doctors withheld the information for three months while they got another specialist elsewhere to test the sample as well. That specialist eventually agreed with the mito diagnosis.

“In mito medical community, there is a huge divide among specialists about how to diagnose, who to diagnose and how to treat when you diagnose,” Hilliard said. “This second round of testing showed my daughter had a problem with her mitochondria and it was finally revealed to my family and, very reluctantly, [the metabolism department] gave her a mitochondrial diagnosis.”

This initial reluctance, Hilliard said, was her “first red flag.”

In March 2011, the Hilliards’ daughter took a turn for the worst. It was recommend by some at the hospital that they prepare for end-of-life care. At this point, the team that diagnosed the girl with mitochondrial disease revoked this diagnosis, something her everyday care specialists disagreed with, according to Hilliard.

“There was a very, very large internal conflict between the metabolism department and the doctors who had been caring for our child in her last dying months,” Hilliard said.

When the metabolism team learned the Hilliards would be preparing for hospice care, they accused the parents of not taking steps to help her daughter when these doctors believed she could actually be treated and live.

“This was a very, very traumatic experience for us. Our child was entering the stage of actively dying. There was nothing we haven’t tried that was going to save this child. We were traumatized trying to make hardest decision of our life and being accused that we were making wrong decision, letting her die,” Hilliard said.

The hospital’s ethics committee conducted a review of the girl’s medical history and determined that “medical science had been exhausted for this child,” Hilliard said. Regardless of the diagnosis, she was going to die.

At the same time, the hospital’s child protection team was alerted to the Hilliard’s situation. Their younger son had been admitted to the hospital with a long fever and an antibiotic-resistant ear infection. At some point during his care, he too took at developmental turn for the worse, starting to exhibit symptoms that would be indicative of mitochondria malfunction.

To the hospital’s child protection team, the parents might have been suffering from a syndrome themselves – Munchausen by proxy, a syndrome where the parents either believe their child has an illness and are treating them for it or are physically inducing the illness themselves. The NIH states that symptoms indicative of this syndrome on the parent’s end include being “overattentive or ‘too helpful’” and being “involved in a health care field, such as nursing.”

Hilliard’s background in science and medicine and attitude regarding her child’s care apparently fit the bill for this syndrome in the eyes of Boston Children’s Hospital. The stereotypes associated with this syndrome stunned Hilliard.

“You would think the educational achievements my family has… are the things you would want for your family,” she said, not something that would be used against them.

The hospital’s child protection team got the state’s Department of Children and Families involved. The state child protection agency conducted an investigation into the Hilliards’ case and found nothing out of place. The children remained in their parents’ custody.

Although the Hilliards found this whole situation “shocking,” the mother said she still believes her daughter had high-quality care at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“The cases going on at Children’s are the result of a few radicalized individuals and do not represent the work of the hospital as a whole,” she said.

‘I could have come in here and taken your son right away from you’

But Hilliard’s situation was not closed completely.

Their daughter died in July 2011, just shy of her fifth birthday. But during her dying weeks, the Hilliards were going through the process of requesting their son be tested for the same genetic disease some physicians believed his sister had.

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Fast-forward to November 2011. The Hilliards brought their son to the hospital. Once there, the child protection team took over his care immediately, Hilliard said.

She said they were accused of making up all their son’s issues. Issues like autism, which was confirmed by another physician in the months prior.

“They called [the Department of Children and Families (DCF)] on our family… they told DCF they had spoken with all my son’s specialists and they all agreed with the child protection team. They said if we would take him off all these treatments it would prove he was a normal healthy child,” Hilliard said.

What’s more, Hilliard said, the hospital’s child protection team recommended custody of her son be immediately taken by DCF.

But “God was protecting us,” Hilliard said. “The DCF case screener, they said, ‘are the parents willing to cooperate with you? If so, we’re not going to take custody of them.’ My husband and I immediately agreed to do whatever Children’s wanted.”

As it turned out, their son’s immediate care physicians didn’t agree with removing him from all treatments and only removed one. The case was closed a month later.

The family left Boston Children’s Hospital immediately and never returned.

They transferred their son’s treatment to Tufts Medical Center where Dr. Mark Korson is an expert in mitochondrial disease. He’s the same doctor who diagnosed Justina Pelletier.

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But the Hilliards’ experience at Boston Children’s still haunted them. The child protection team at Boston Children’s contacted the equivalent team at Tufts, alerting them to the issues they said they had with the Hilliards. Again, the Hilliards were the subject to a case with the state’s child protection agency.

At this point, it was agreed that they would systematically take their son off of all treatments. Within a month of doing so, he was dropping weight and his condition was not improving.

“My son is currently back on all medical interventions he was on before, plus a few,” Hilliard said. “This proved he has multiple medical issues and the medical interventions are needed.”

“Since then my family has had fabulous care at Tufts. My main concern is the child protection team at Boston Children’s Hospital, they don’t see any boundaries. They don’t see anything wrong with going after families that aren’t at the hospital anymore,” Hilliard said.

The Hilliards and Pelletiers are not the only families to encounter disagreements with the hospital’s child protection team, leading to state investigations. The Boston Globe in its recent story about the Pelletiers’ case reported at least five cases, Hilliard’s being one of them.

‘This has been a pattern for 20 years’

Patty Mele’s encounter with Children’s goes back two decades. Her now 20-year-old son has mitochondrial disease.

“I was a mother desperately trying to diagnose my baby. I was running over everybody in my way,” Mele told TheBlaze. “I did everything I possibly could.”

At this time, mitochondrial diagnoses were even more rare than they are today. Mele said she was “fighting every doctor at Children’s.”

Later, she said she got a knock at her door.

Mele had previously done case reviews for the social services department. The man at her door was a case worker, a man she knew from her prior work.

“He said, ‘Patty, we have a complaint or concern filed against you,’” Mele recalled, saying he had come with a complaint made from the hospital questioning medical abuse. “He said, ‘There are several ways I could handle this. I could have come in here and taken your son right away from you.’”

But thanks to Mele’s connection with the department, she said he investigated her case and the claims thoroughly, and “it was all dropped.”

“This has been a pattern for 20 years. It’s inexcusable that this is still going on two decades later and escalated to this level,” Mele said. “Now we’ve graduated to accusing mothers of Munchausen by proxy and are taking children away and putting them in DCF custody. Not only taking them away but stripping them of a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, saying [parents] can’t see other medical experts, admitting them to Children’s who will hold them hostage and treat for something else.”

‘You’d think you’re living in the Soviet Union’

From a legal perspective, Jim Iarini, an attorney in the Boston area who at one point advised the Hilliards and was more recently consulted by the Pelletiers, told TheBlaze he’s been involved in custody battles over medical issues since the 1990s. The issue over time has become stickier as more complex, hard-to-diagnose conditions like mitochondrial disease came into the picture.

“It’s trickier because you’re dealing with new disorders that have not necessarily been accepted everywhere,” he said.

But what happens in cases where physicians or physicians and parents disagree with another doctor’s diagnosis, which happened in the Pelletiers’ case?

To Iarini, the issue all goes back to the formation of a child protection team at the hospital in the 1970s. This team at the Boston Children’s Hospital includes a multi-disciplinary group who focuses on “issues of family violence, child maltreatment and neglect,” according to the hospital’s website.

Iarini said he believes there are outliers at Boston Children’s and other area hospitals that don’t acknowledge mitochondrial disease is a legitimate diagnosis or condition.

“They think it’s entirely psychological in nature. They use the child protection team as coverage and leverage,” he said.

Then when the Department of Children and Families gets involved, Iarini said they often side with the hospital’s conclusions. The Hilliards case, which involved a caseworker who did a thorough investigation into the situation, was not necessarily the norm, according to Iarini.

“DCF and the court just for the most part look at the child protection team as child abuse exerts,” Iarini said. “If they conclude that a child is abused or being neglected, they’re not going to second guess them.”

Iarini said there’s a perception that Boston Children’s is “infallible.”

“Children’s has great reputation. They know what they’re doing,” Iarini said. “If they say parents are over-medicalizing, or whatever, the [Department of Children and Families] is just not equipped to [counter these claims]. My experience is they just don’t get it.”

Even Dr. Eli Newberger, who founded the Boston Children’s Hospital child protection team more than four decades ago, told the Globe “doctors in this new specialty have enormous and really unchecked power”:

As an expert witness in cases around the country, Newberger said he’s seen a tendency for state child-welfare agencies to be “overly credulous to hospitals” and for some child protection teams to show a “reflexive willingness to label and to punish,” especially educated mothers who are perceived as being too pushy.

The Pelletiers have been fighting to have their daughter’s custody returned for 10 months, with their most recent court date occurring Dec. 12. A decision is expected to come from a judge by Dec. 20.

Although Iarini said it’s not unusual for such custody cases to take months, he did say it was a “tragedy” that this case has gone forward without any development or change.

“It’s really stagnant and I don’t really get it,” he said. “There has been so little progress.”

Part of this, Iarini said, could be because when such a decision has been put in motion, it’s difficult to reverse it.

“The department has a hard time changing course, especially in a case like this that’s really high profile. Everyone’s position is hardened,” he said. “They tend to stick to the guns and rely on the experts at Children’s. There’s not a lot of independent thinking going at the department.”

With what he considers an increasing number of medical custody cases resulting from parents questioning medical experts, Iarini said, “you’d think you’re living in the Soviet Union.”

The ‘next wave of psychiatry’

The missing piece of the puzzle (because Boston Children’s Hospital and the Department of Children and Families are not speaking out despite requests from TheBlaze), is “why.” What would the hospital have to gain if it didn’t truly believe it was doing what’s best for the child?

Katie Higgins, a woman who says she was a nurse in Boston Children’s Hospital’s psychiatric ward for five years in the mid-2000s, has some thoughts.

Higgins, who said she had filed a formal complaint with the Department of Mental Health regarding the hospital’s treatment of anorexic patients in 2009, said there seems to be a stereotype of who the hospital is targeting.

“You’ll see middle- to upper-middle class families. You’ll see families with good insurance,” Higgins said.

She believes diagnosis of psychosomatic disorders like somatoform, which is what Justina Pelletier is currently being treated for, is the “next wave of psychiatry that is going to wreak on our children.”

“Psychiatry is like a gold mine because so much of it is arbitrary and subjective,” she said. “It’s easy to get away with it. It’s easy to create a market and it’s easy to make millions of dollars.”

Hilliard, working on a masters in bioethics at Alden March Bioethics Institute, is investigating this “why” as well. But at this point, she said, “we don’t understand what their motivation is.”

‘A wake-up call’

To Iarini, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

“I suppose the Pelletier case is a wake-up call,” Iarini said. “There is this underside, a dark side to Children’s.”

“Parents need to understand there is that risk, especially in very complicated, unclear medical cases,” he continued. “They need to do their research, find out who specialists are and go in with their eyes wide open.

God forbid you have a disagreement with someone at Children’s about the appropriate course for your child and you end up being told you need to leave hospital,” he said.

This isn’t to say that Boston Children’s Hospital, a world-renowned medical institution, isn’t to be trusted.

Even Hilliard, who has a bad taste left in her mouth from her experience with the hospital, hailed the expertise of some of the physicians, whom she said allowed her and her husband to have more time with their daughter while she was alive.

It’s the child protection team that Hilliard questions.

“For reasons not currently well understood, they have decided to make this their campaign of terror. And they’re very successful unfortunately,” she said.

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Amazing: Vast Freshwater Reserves Found Beneath The Oceans

Vast Freshwater Reserves Found Beneath The Oceans – Science Daily

Scientists have discovered huge reserves of freshwater beneath the oceans kilometres out to sea, providing new opportunities to stave off a looming global water crisis.

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A new study, published December 5 in the international scientific journal Nature, reveals that an estimated half a million cubic kilometres of low-salinity water are buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves around the world.

The water, which could perhaps be used to eke out supplies to the world’s burgeoning coastal cities, has been located off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.

“The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900,” says lead author Dr Vincent Post of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University.

“Knowing about these reserves is great news because this volume of water could sustain some regions for decades.”

Dr Post says that groundwater scientists knew of freshwater under the seafloor, but thought it only occurred under rare and special conditions.

“Our research shows that fresh and brackish aquifers below the seabed are actually quite a common phenomenon,” he says.

These reserves were formed over the past hundreds of thousands of years when on average the sea level was much lower than it is today, and when the coastline was further out, Dr Post explains.

“So when it rained, the water would infiltrate into the ground and fill up the water table in areas that are nowadays under the sea.

“It happened all around the world, and when the sea level rose when ice caps started melting some 20,000 years ago, these areas were covered by the ocean.

“Many aquifers were – and are still – protected from seawater by layers of clay and sediment that sit on top of them.”

The aquifers are similar to the ones below land, which much of the world relies on for drinking water, and their salinity is low enough for them to be turned into potable water, Dr Post says.

“There are two ways to access this water – build a platform out at sea and drill into the seabed, or drill from the mainland or islands close to the aquifers.”

While offshore drilling can be very costly, Dr Post says this source of freshwater should be assessed and considered in terms of cost, sustainability and environmental impact against other water sources such as desalination, or even building large new dams on land.

“Freshwater under the seabed is much less salty than seawater,” Dr Post says. “This means it can be converted to drinking water with less energy than seawater desalination, and it would also leave us with a lot less hyper-saline water.

“Freshwater on our planet is increasingly under stress and strain so the discovery of significant new stores off the coast is very exciting. It means that more options can be considered to help reduce the impact of droughts and continental water shortages.”

But while nations may now have new reserves of freshwater offshore, Dr Post says they will need to take care in how they manage the seabed: “For example, where low-salinity groundwater below the sea is likely to exist, we should take care to not contaminate it.

“Sometimes boreholes are drilled into the aquifers for oil and gas exploration or production, or aquifers are targeted for carbon dioxide disposal. These activities can threaten the quality of the water.”

Dr Post also warns that these water reserves are non-renewable: “We should use them carefully – once gone, they won’t be replenished until the sea level drops again, which is not likely to happen for a very long time.”

The study, “Offshore fresh groundwater reserves as a global phenomenon” by Vincent E.A. Post, Jacobus Groen, Henk Kooi, Mark Person, Shemin Ge and W. Mike Edmunds, is published in the latest issue of Nature.

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Your Daley Gator Iranian Nuclear Nightmare Update

Iran Deal: Myths Vs. Facts – Big Peace

According to the wisest members of the left, including President Obama, the new deal with Iran will stifle Iran’s nuclear program. President Obama pledged, in his Saturday night address to the nation, that “we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program,” and added that “key parts of the program will be rolled back.” On Monday, Obama told a crowd in San Francisco, “We cannot rule out peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. We cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict.”

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The deal is, according to The New York Times, a no-brainer: “no one can seriously argue that it doesn’t make the world safer.”

The problem is this: the deal that the Obama administration and its allies in the press are presenting to the world is a mythical one. Here, then, are the major deal points, and the flaws in them:

“The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.”

Myth: The agreement is a step forward in that it bars Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Fact: The agreement explicitly allows Iran to develop nuclear capabilities in violation of United Nations resolutions, giving Iran the leeway to lie about its use of fissile material.

“From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.”

Myth: This rolls back the existing Iranian nuclear weapons program to a significant degree.

Fact: The difference between 20% enrichment and 5% enrichment is relatively minute. There is no verification mechanism to ensure that the watered-down stuff is not reconverted.

“Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months. Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (1), Fordow (2), or the Arak reactor (3), designated by the IAEA as IR-40.”

Myth: This significantly hampers Iran’s nuclear development capabilities.

Fact: Not only does the agreement’s verification provide only weak checks on facilities the west knows about, it completely ignores the Parchin facility near Tehran.

“Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iranˈs plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.”

Myth: This gives the west brand new information about Iranian nuclear facilities.

Fact: This gives the Iranians three months to fabricate information about their nuclear facilities.

“Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.”

Myth: This is serious surveillance.

Fact: This is deeply unserious surveillance. Inspectors may not show up unnaounced to check out design information, physical inventory, or interim inventory. Unannounced inspections are only allowed under the agreement “for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records” at two of the nuclear reactors, but not at Arak or Parchin at all. The most important type of nuclear verification is monitored by the Iranian government, including “managed access” to centrifuge assembly, uranium mines and mills, and centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities. In other words, all the important information gets filtered by the Iranian government.

The rest of the agreement constitutes goodies the west will give to Iran, including “No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions,” “No new EU nuclear-related sanctions,” and suspension of US and EU sanctions on “gold and precious metals,” as well as Iranian petrochemical exports.

There are multiple other problems with the Iran deal text, including the fact that Iran is allowed to continue centrifuge production, supposedly to “replace damaged machines” – but, as mentioned, inspection of centrifuges is monitored by the Iranian government under “managed access.” So Iran’s centrifuge production can continue wholesale under the guise of replacing damaged materials no one can inspect.

It is no wonder the Iranian government is so thrilled with this deal. They gave up virtually nothing, and gained six months during which Israel is completely isolated internationally – a period during which they can speed along their path toward a nuclear weapon. And anyone who thinks President Obama is humble enough to declare this deal a failure in six months, no matter how much of a failure it is, has never seen this egotistical Commander-in-Chief in action.

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Related articles:

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Charles Krauthammer Absolutely Destroys Iran Nuke Deal: ‘It’s The Worst Deal Since Munich’ – Downtrend

Charles Krauthammer made his usual appearance on the Special Report All-Star Panel last night to discuss the deal concerning Iran’s nuclear program. He pulled no punches in his criticism of the agreement.

“It’s really hard to watch the President and the Secretary of State and not think how they cannot be embarrassed by this deal,” he said.

Krauthammer went on to say that the U.N. Security Council, on no less than six occasions, has passed resolutions stating that Iran stop all enrichment otherwise there would be no change in the sanctions. That means that China and Russia, both countries on the Security Council, agreed to stick with sanctions against the regime.

But now, he said, the U.S. has basically capitulated on the issue of sanctions and granted Iran permission to continue with enrichment.

“What do we get in return?” Krauthammer asked. “I just heard the Secretary of State say we’re going to get a destruction of the 20% uranium. That is simply untrue. What’s going to happen is the 20% enriched uranium is going to be turned into an oxide so it’s inoperable. That process is completely chemically reversible which means Iran holds on to its 20% uranium and can turn it into active stuff any time it wants. This is a shame from beginning to end. It’s the worst deal since Munich.”

Have a look at the video below.

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AP Buried Story Of Secret US-Iranian Talks For 8 Months – Truth Revolt

Hidden in its reports about the P5+1 deal with Iran was AP’s revelation that it learned about secret talks between the United States and Iran back in March but didn’t report them until eight months later, when the deal was signed on Saturday evening:

The AP was tipped to the first U.S.-Iranian meeting in March shortly after it occurred, but the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account and the AP could not confirm the meeting. The AP learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall and pressed the White House and other officials further. As the Geneva talks between the P5+1 and Iran appeared to be reaching their conclusion, senior administration officials confirmed to the AP the details of the extensive outreach. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss by name the secret talks.

Words are important, especially in journalism. Notice the article says “the White House and State Department disputed elements of the account.” It does not say they disputed the story itself. The AP also states it “learned of further indications of secret diplomacy in the fall.” Nowhere in the report does it say the administration asked them to keep things secret.

This begs the question, why didn’t the Associated Press publish the story in the spring without the disputed details? If the reporters weren’t comfortable with the information they had, why then did they keep the news to themselves when they discovered new information about the talks in the fall?

In the context of its history of liberal bias, the behavior of the AP in sitting on this story also raises the question: If the President whose administration was having secret talks with Iran were a Republican, would they have sat on the story?

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Iran, North Korea Secretly Developing New Long-Range Rocket Booster For ICBMs – Washington Free Beacon

Iranian missile technicians secretly visited North Korea as part of joint development of a new rocket booster for long-range missiles or space launchers at the same time nuclear talks took place in Geneva, according to U.S. officials.

Several groups of technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), a unit in charge of building Iran’s liquid-fueled missiles, traveled to Pyongyang during the past several months, including as recently as late October, to work on the new, 80-ton rocket booster being developed by the North Koreans, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports.

The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future.

Recent U.S. intelligence assessments have said that both North Korea and Iran are expected to have missiles capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead in the next two years.

The Iranian cooperation reveals that the nuclear framework agreement concluded Sunday in Geneva has not slowed Tehran’s drive for missiles that can deliver a nuclear warhead to intercontinental range.

One official described the new booster as a thruster for a “super ICBM” or a heavy-lift space launcher.

“It is completely new from what they have done so far,” the official said.

The official said the missile cooperation was disseminated in multiple intelligence reports over the past several months. The official suggested the reports were suppressed within the government by the Obama administration to avoid upsetting the talks in Geneva.

“Why does the administration want so much to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran if they know full well that that country is building nuclear delivery vehicles?” the official asked.

State Department and White House National Security Council spokeswomen had no immediate comment. A Defense Intelligence Agency spokeswoman declined to comment.

Additional intelligence reports based on satellite imagery reveal that North Korea is developing a larger missile or space launcher than its previously known rockets. The indications include a launch tower at one facility that is substantially taller than other known towers spotted at North Korean launch sites.

The blog 38 North, part of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, disclosed last month that satellite photos showed a expansion at a North Korean launch site for a larger rocket.

Both North Korea and Iran are believed to be hiding their long-range missile programs, part of space-launcher development, as a way to avoid international sanctions.

Meanwhile, the State Department’s special envoy for North Korean nuclear affairs Glyn Davies said in Tokyo on Monday that Pyongyang could be hit with additional sanctions if the regime fails to show a willingness to give up its arms program.

“If we do not see signs of North Korean sincerity, if they do not act, demonstrate that they understand they must fulfill their obligations, give up their nuclear weapons, then there’s more pressure that will be brought to bear on them,” Davies told reporters, Kyodo reported.

The reports of a new North Korean rocket booster coincide with the emergence of a key official within the North Korean regime last September. The official, Pak To Chun, surfaced in public after a mysterious four-month absence from the public eye. Pak is a member of the powerful National Defense Commission and a key official in charge of North Korea’s long-range missile and space launcher programs.

North Korea and Iran announced plans to develop closer relations, including defense, science and technology ties, in September 2012 when Kim Yong Nam, a senior North Korean official, visited Tehran. Kim met with Iran’s supreme leader Sayed Ali Khameni. Both sides said at the time that they would cooperate against the United States.

The Iranian company SHIG, part of the Aerospace Industries Organization of Iran, has developed all of Iran’s liquid-fueled missiles, including the Shahab series that is based on North Korea’s Nodong medium-range missiles. The company was sanctioned by the United Nations for its role in illicit missile transfers in 2006. The U.S. government has also sanctioned it for illicit missile exports.

SHIG experts were known to have visited North Korea previously in 2009 to take part in a missile test launch that year of a Taepodong-2 (TD-2) missile.

A report published in July by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated North Korea is continuing to build TD-2 long-range missiles and space launchers.

“Continued efforts to develop the TD-2 and the newly unveiled [mobile] ICBM show the determination of North Korea to achieve long-range ballistic missile and space launch capabilities,” the report said.

The report also said Iran has carried out several launches of a two-stage Safir space launch vehicle and in 2010 unveiled a new larger launcher called the Simorgh.

“Iran will likely continue to pursue longer range ballistic missiles and more capable [space-launch vehicle], which could lead to the development of an ICBM system,” the report said, noting that “Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”

Disclosure of the Iran-North Korean missile cooperation could upset China’s efforts to restart the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.

The United States and South Korea are opposing a resumption of the nuclear talks until North Korea demonstrates that it is willing to dismantle its nuclear facilities.

A State Department cable from 2009 made public by Wikileaks stated that North Korea’s Amroggang Development Bank worked with the Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID) in the past in selling missiles and technology to SHIG.

Another cable on Iran’s Ballistic Missile program from 2009 states that “Iran has the largest and most active missile program in the Middle East.”

“Iran has accelerated its work toward developing a domestic space program,” the report said.

The Safir space launcher “has demonstrated several capabilities necessary for longer-range ballistic missiles: staging, clustered engines in the second stage (although these were small), and gimbaled engines for control of the second stage, a more advanced technique than the jet vanes used in the first stage,” the report said.

“Iran currently appears focused on increasing the capability and range of its ballistic missiles,” the report said. “Although Iran is unlikely to deploy the Safir SLV as a ballistic missile, the Safir, and the development and test of the two-stage Sajjil [medium-range ballistic missile], has provided Iran with much of the technology and experience necessary to develop and produce longer-range ballistic missiles, including ICBMs.”

“Tehran could attempt to develop and test much of this technology under the guise of an SLV program.”

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*VIDEO* Bill Whittle Explains The Conservative, Free Market-Based Solutions To Our Health Care Problems


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New Invention Harvests Electricity From Background Radiation

New Invention ‘Harvests’ Electricity From Background Radiation And Could Be Used To Beam Power To Remote Locations Or Recharge Phones Wirelessly – Daily Mail

Engineers at Duke University have designed a breakthrough gadget that ‘harvests’ background microwave radiation and converts it into electricity, with the same efficiency as solar panels.

The development, unveiled on Thursday, raises exciting possibilities such as recharging a phone wirelessly and providing power to remote locations that can’t access conventional electricity.

And the researchers say that their inexpensive invention is remarkably versatile. It could be used to capture ‘lost’ energy from a range of sources such as satellite transmissions, sound signals or Wi-Fi.

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The Duke engineers used metamaterials, which their press release describes as ‘engineered structures that can capture various forms of wave energy and tune them for useful applications.’

They say the device harvested microwaves with an efficiency of 36.8 percent, similar to modern solar cells that capture light energy.

A report that will appear in the journal Applied Physics Letters in December states that this invention is capable of converting microwave signals to enough direct current voltage to recharge a cell phone battery.

The gadget, created by undergraduate engineering student Allen Hawkes, graduate student Alexander Katko and lead investigator Steven Cummer, consists of five fiberglass and copper conductors wired together on a circuit board.

It is capable of providing 7.3V of electricity. As the press release points out, current USB chargers provide around 5V.

Hawkes said: ‘We were aiming for the highest energy efficiency we could achieve. We had been getting energy efficiency around 6 to 10 percent, but with this design we were able to dramatically improve energy conversion to 37 percent, which is comparable to what is achieved in solar cells.’

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His colleague, Katko, added: ‘It’s possible to use this design for a lot of different frequencies and types of energy, including vibration and sound energy harvesting.

‘Until now, a lot of work with metamaterials has been theoretical. We are showing that with a little work, these materials can be useful for consumer applications.’

Possible uses for the new technology include building metamaterial into homes to ensure Wi-Fi signals are not just lost.

Electrical products could also have a device attached to increase efficiency by ensuring that excess power is not wasted.

In theory, the invention could also be used to beam signals from phone towers that could then be converted into electricity.

Electronic devices could be recharged wirelessly or electricity sent to remote areas without power cables.

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The researchers explained that a series of the power-harvesters could even capture signals from satellites passing overhead.

This could allow for electricity in hostile environments such as mountaintops or deserts. Cummer said: ‘Our work demonstrates a simple and inexpensive approach to electromagnetic power harvesting.

‘The beauty of the design is that the basic building blocks are self-contained and additive. One can simply assemble more blocks to increase the scavenged power.’

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