Daily Archives: July 6, 2015
A rare brain-eating amoeba that causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis has claimed the life of a California woman.
According to WCNC News :
The woman was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center, where she experienced cardiac arrest and died on June 20.
Her name is not being released by her family, Richard Johnson, M.D., of Inyo Public Health said.
The resident first felt symptoms on June 16 including headache, nausea and vomiting, a report from the Division of Health & Human Services of Inyo County said .
Humans are infected by the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, when swimming or diving in fresh, warm water. The amoeba then migrates through the nose and skull, where it reaches the brain and begins to destroy brain tissue.
“This is a very unusual biology lesson, but an extremely tragic one,” Johnson said.
Imagine being falsely accused of terrorism for nothing more than the books you have read. Well that’s exactly what has happened to a Florida man named Marcus Dwayne Robertson.
The U.S. government composed “snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation,” according to a Florida judge.
That judge just ordered the release of Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” an Orlando, Florida resident and Islamic scholar. Abu Taubah was accused of “supporting terrorism,” but the “evidence” against him amounted to nothing more than the books on his bookshelf.
Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” was incarcerated from 2011. The charges he faced, however, were tax fraud and illegal gun possession. Not exactly “terrorism.”
But following his arrest and conviction stemming from these charges, prosecutors added what they termed “terrorism enhancement” to the sentence.
There seems to be no rationale for this other than ABu Taubah’s religious orientation… that and his book collection.
This sentencing guideline modification would have locked Robertson up for 20 years.
But the judge’s recent rejection of this bizarre, Orwellian sentencing “enhancement”, led to the Islamic scholar being released immediately.
Robertson’s sentence was argued as justifiable by prosecutors who said the contents of his Islamic book collection were sufficient “evidence” that he was connected to terrorism.
Approximately two dozen eBooks that Robertson downloaded were presented as “evidence” of his “terrorist connections.”
Prosecutors highlighted passage after controversial passage, as though this could serve as legitimate evidence that someone is a terrorist. They didn’t seem to understand that the contents of a book someone owns cannot be used as evidence against them.
A memorandum obtained by First Look was issued along with Judge Gregory A. Presnell decision. That memorandum strongly rejected the government’s argument that eBook passages could be used as “evidence” of “terrorism.”
“[T]here was no evidence produced that Robertson ever accessed these particular documents, much less that he took their extremism to heart,” Presnell argued.
He made it clear that even if the Islamic scholar admitted to having read the eBooks in question, this would not and could not be used as evidence of terrorism.
At some point technology will allow us to live forever. With billionaires spending millions on research  and huge corporations such as Google getting in on the act, very soon we are likely to see rapid advances in life expectancy – with the ultimate aim of radical life extension. All diseases will be cured, and the cellular aging that leads to the deterioration in body and mind will be slowed and eventually reversed so that everybody can choose how long they want to live for.
Inevitably this will result in a massive increase in global population. Even if we only manage to fight off the big killers such as heart disease and cancer – leaving us with cell level aging that limits our bodies to about 120 years – that would still be a 50% increase in life expectancy . 
Further into the future we (or an AI) will fully comprehend how cells and bodies age and make death optional.
Although currently only around 5% of people say they would like to live forever this is partly because they struggle to see past the decrepitude of aging, which they wouldn’t suffer, and also because at the moment it is a hypothetical question – what would they say if the little pill was available right now?
There are only two logical ways to address this impending problem of too many people on a planet not designed to support us all, either:
1. prevent the increase in population or
2. find somewhere for the ever growing mass of people to live.
Taking away people’s right to life does not seem a moral or even practical solution. Most longevity treatments are also health improvement treatments – who is going to say that senior citizens should not benefit from less pain and better health in their old age? Everyone would take the pill to cure cancer and give them a few more years of life. And then the next pill which stops brain degeneration. And then the pill after that to revive their flagging energy so they can contribute more to society and enjoy a fulfilling retirement. But then, at what point is a government going to say enough is enough?
Even less likely seems to be enforced euthanasia. At what age would people be made to sacrifice themselves, and who would force them to do it? This scenario was considered in the 1960s book, film and TV series Logan’s Run. 
What might be possible is legislation to limit the number offspring, such as China’s one-child policy, or a hybrid where having more than one child means you forfeit your right to immortality. But again, after you’ve signed the forfeiture who is going to physically stop you seeking longevity treatments? Doctors would surely still be obliged to help prevent you from dying.
Any laws to restrict the population would likely only apply to the general population. The super-rich will be able to ignore them by moving to, or creating, a jurisdiction-free zone – perhaps longevity havens will spring up, like tax havens that exist today. Places where the elite live disease-free and are able to procreate as they desire. They would then live in a small area with a small population – but unless that exclusive society also introduced birth controls it would also inevitably suffer the same overpopulation crisis.
Google’s self-driving cars look ridiculous by today’s standards. They’re tiny, the design is peculiar and the shape is odd. But those funny-looking cars are the future, and that future is going to arrive sooner than you might think.
While Google has been reasonably open during the development of its new autonomous car technology, the company’s specific plans for these cars remain a mystery. However, new claims from a venture capitalist may have just pulled back the curtain on Google’s plans, and they may be even more ground-breaking than we thought.
Draper Fisher Jurvetson partner Steve Jurvetson recently appeared on Bloomberg West, and he had some truly interesting things to say about Google’s self-driving cars.
The source of his information is unclear, but Jurvetson spoke very matter-of-factly about Google’s plans, claiming that the company is considering an app and service called “Free Ride” that would allow users to hail a self-driving Google taxi and take a ride for free.
(AP) — A Google subsidiary has apologized for making Nazi concentration camps part of a mobile role-playing game.
Niantic Labs says players of `Ingress’ can propose historic location and monuments for inclusion in the game, in which two factions use smartphones to battle for control of these sites. The German weekly Die Zeit reported Thursday some of the sites, known as `portals,’ were located within concentration camps such as Dachau and Sachsenhausen.
Gabriele Hammermann, director of the memorial site at Dachau, told the dpa news agency that Google’s actions were a humiliation for victims and relatives of the Nazi camps.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Niantic Labs’ founder John Hanke said the company has begun removing the offending sites from the game. He said “we apologize that this has happened.”