Magneto-Thermal Genetic Deep Brain Stimulation of Motor Behaviors in Awake, Freely Moving Mice

August 21st, 2017

Via: eLIFE:

Establishing how neurocircuit activation causes particular behaviors requires modulating the activity of specific neurons. Here, we demonstrate that magnetothermal genetic stimulation provides tetherless deep brain activation sufficient to evoke motor behavior in awake mice. The approach uses alternating magnetic fields to heat superparamagnetic nanoparticles on the neuronal membrane. Neurons heat-sensitized by expressing TRPV1 are activated with magnetic field application. Magnetothermal genetic stimulation in the motor cortex evoked ambulation, deep brain stimulation in the striatum caused rotation around the body-axis, and stimulation near the ridge between ventral and dorsal striatum caused freezing-of-gait. The duration of the behavior correlated tightly with field application. This approach provides genetically and spatially targetable, repeatable and temporarily precise activation of deep-brain circuits without need for surgical implantation of any device.

Killer Robots: Experts Warn of ‘Third Revolution in Warfare’

August 21st, 2017

I was warning about this 15 years ago. Nowadays, I’m more into yawning and wondering why the mushroom clouds haven’t gone up yet.

Via: BBC:

More than 100 leading robotics experts are urging the United Nations to take action in order to prevent the development of “killer robots”.

In a letter to the organisation, artificial intelligence (AI) leaders, including billionaire Elon Musk, warn of “a third revolution in warfare”.

The letter says “lethal autonomous” technology is a “Pandora’s box”, adding that time is of the essence.

The 116 experts are calling for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry.

“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter says.

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” it adds.

There is an urgent tone to the message from the technology leaders, who warn that “we do not have long to act”.

“Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Journalist Who Helped Expose Jimmy Savile Dies After Stroke

August 21st, 2017

Via: BBC:

Ex-BBC News correspondent Liz MacKean has died after suffering a stroke.

MacKean, 52, worked for the corporation for more than 20 years but left in 2013 amid a row over the decision to shelve her investigation for Newsnight about disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile.

She began her career at BBC Hereford and Worcester, before presenting on Breakfast and reporting from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

MacKean went on to make films for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.

BBC director of news James Harding paid tribute to MacKean, saying she had earned a reputation as a “remarkably tenacious and resourceful reporter”.

“In Northern Ireland, she won the trust of all sides and produced some of the most insightful and hard-hitting reporting of the conflict,” he said.

“It was as an investigative reporter that she really shone, shining a light on issues from the dumping of toxic waste off the African coast to Jimmy Savile, the story for which she is probably best known.”

The mother-of-two studied at Manchester University and gained a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism before joining the BBC.

MacKean’s story about the child abuse committed by Jimmy Savile was dropped by Newsnight in 2011. But the investigation with producer Meirion Jones was later recognised by the London Press Club with a scoop of the year award.


August 21st, 2017

I think the past few days have been the lightest posting period in fifteen years of running Cryptogon. People are wondering if I’m still alive.

By the time I’ve read through 10 million headlines about Trump, the statues and the sign wavers, it starts to seem like not much is happening. I think that I need to turn up the filters like I did in the olden days.

In any event, enjoy some eclipse coverage while I fire up my feed filters…

Via: Guardian:

Some parts of US to be shrouded in darkness as moon passes in front of sun.

More: All the Live Streams You Need to Watch Today’s Total Solar Eclipse

CIA ‘Torture Psychologists’ Avoid Trial with Secret Settlement

August 18th, 2017

Via: AFP:

Two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program settled a lawsuit Thursday by detainees alleging they were illegally tortured.

The secret settlement in the suit, brought on behalf of two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, avoided what would have been the first public trial of the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda members.

But it also allowed the two psychologists who supplied the CIA with “coercive” interrogation techniques, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to maintain that they personally had nothing to do with the use of waterboarding, extreme stress positions and beatings on detainees.

Call from Tesla

August 17th, 2017

Disclosure: I sell solar power systems in New Zealand.

I had a call from a Tesla energy specialist yesterday. She confirmed what we learned a few days ago about the Powerwall 2’s ability to island grid tied inverters for backup purposes.

She also said that Powerwall 2 demand is, “Extreme,” and far in excess of what they had projected. New Zealand won’t get any Powerwall 2 units until early 2018. There is hope that I will be able to sell Powerwalls to my solar customers—eventually. She said that independent vendors will be added in NZ, after a lengthy vetting process. That’s much more encouraging than the Vector-only option we have seen with Powerwalls in NZ so far.

I’ve been in contact with a Powerwall 2 user in Australia who thinks there are terminals and knockouts on the energy gateway for A/C input (besides the grid); provision for generator backup, in other words.

I asked the Tesla person about this, and she sort of stammered a bit, but eventually said that backup charging had not been completely worked out yet.

The fact that the charging power is already controllable with the Powerwall’s smartphone app leads me to believe that an announcement about backup charging could come soon. One would need to be able to change the charging power based on the size of one’s generator.

I mentioned that one of my solar customers has a 3 phase Enphase system and would be interested in a Powerwall 2. How does the Powerwall 2 deal with 3 phase?

Incredibly: 3 phase is supported out of the box.

Also, microinverters work fine in terms of islanding/backup. In fact, Tesla is using Enphase microinverters on the tiny house they’re towing around in Australia. Enphase has not really been usable off grid, and their own energy storage system has no backup capabilities at all. But with the Powerwall 2, it all works.

I mentioned the absurd fireproof box thing that’s coming, and she groaned. They’re aware of it. She thinks that, if it actually happens, they’ll have to show how it’s used around the rest of the world without safety issues. She said it was like trying to make changes in any other area where an established order refuses to yield to changes.

“There’s going to be pushback,” she said.


Fleas Found to Carry the Plague in at Least 2 Arizona Counties

August 13th, 2017


In other news:

Imagine the coincidence…

A plague expert, with links to the DoD bioweapons milieu, is involved with a weird murder along with a foreign national, who happens to be from the same country where this happened several years ago:

Britain: Scientists Reconstruct Black Death Plague with Genetic Material Taken from Ancient Corpses Buried Under Royal Mint

Scientists Sequence Black Death Bacteria DNA

Via: CNBC:

Fleas have been found to carry the plague in at least two Arizona counties, a publication reported.

Fleas carrying the disease were detected most recently in Navajo county, according to a report by ABC News. The first case was first reported a week ago when officials in Coconino County found infected fleas on local prairie dogs.

Navajo county warned residents to be careful while hiking or in areas where there may be dead animals or fleas present, ABC said.

“Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals,” the Navajo County Health Department said, according to ABCNews. “The disease can be transmitted to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal.”

Confirmed: Grid Tie Inverter Continues to Generate Electricity During Grid Failure with Powerwall 2

August 13th, 2017

Disclosure: I sell solar power systems in New Zealand.

Man, I’ve been waiting a long time to see this confirmed. Here it is!

Tesla remains silent on generator backup options, but I have no doubt that people are going to start rolling their own if Tesla doesn’t address it.

In any event, very special thanks to Scott Weston for posting this.

Oh yeah, I hope New Zealand’s retail electricity cartel takes a good long look at this.

Have a nice day! *Deep Chortling*

Via: YouTube:

WTF Is Happening in Charlottesville?

August 12th, 2017

Scroll down, check out the photo gallery!?

Via: Daily Mail:

At least one person is dead after a driver intentionally plowed into a group of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, following violent clashes that erupted between white nationalists and activists on Saturday.

James Alex Fields Jr, of Maumee, Ohio, is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He was charged with second-degree murder.

Video of the Dodge Challenger, which is registered to Fields, showed the driver accelerating into the crowd throwing bodies into the air as people scream before reversing at high speed.

The incident killed a 32-year-old woman, whose identity has not been released by authorities pending her family’s notification.

Fields was apprehended and arrested a few blocks away from the bloody scene.

“Is Alexa Spying On Us? We’re Too Busy to Care”

August 12th, 2017


Via: McClatchy:

It’s an experience every computer or smart phone user has had. After downloading new software or an app, a window pops up with a legal agreement. At the bottom is an “I agree” button. One click, and it’s gone.

Most users have no clue what they’ve agreed to.

That single action can empower software developers to extract reams of personal information – such as contacts, location, and other private data – from the devices. They can then market the information.

Even as privacy erodes in the digital era, little outcry arises over the digital tracking and profiling of consumers. Only slight murmurs are heard on Capitol Hill.

But a handful of security researchers, lawyers and privacy watchdogs voice increasing concern that consumers might one day wake up in anger at the collection of data by software companies winning rights to do so through “end user license agreements,” also known as EULAs. One researcher says the data collection potentially poses a national security threat.

Gary Reback, a Palo Alto, California, antitrust lawyer who has tangled in legal battles with Google and Microsoft over data privacy issues, said data harvested from consumers has led companies to create individual profiles, often at a level of detail that even family members may not know.

“When an online profile is created of you, which you never really get to see, it’s not just kind of what you buy, it’s who you might vote for,” Reback said in a recent telephone interview.

An old saying goes that when a consumer gets a service or product for free, the consumer becomes the product. His or her profile becomes an item to be marketed.

“You may think your identity is, you look in the mirror and that’s what you see, but it’s really not. Your identity is what they’ve compiled,” Reback said. “That is kind of scary when you think about it. I just don’t think people think about it enough.”

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