LEGO’s toy dominance over the last half century has been built on petroleum-based plastics. The toy company is investing hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO elements as well as packaging materials.
By 2030, the Danish-based toy company says that their plastic bricks will no longer be made from the oil-based plastic in the 60 billion blocks LEGO produces each year.
Roar Trangbaek, press officer for the LEGO Group said,
This could be possible using a ‘photonic propulsion’ system, says NASA scientist Philip Lubin. A massive laser based on Earth would fire bursts of photons into the ‘sail’ of the spacecraft and accelerated it up to 26% the speed of light, which is unheard of in space flight. But that’s only for a tiny object with a 1 meter solar sail. Larger, more practical crafts, would be accelerated to between 1-3% the speed of light, which is still fantastic.
Spacecraft are launched from Earth by converting the chemical energy in rocket fuel into thrust. This process is inefficient, Lubin says, when compared to electromagnetic acceleration. This technology is currently used in research facilities to accelerate particles close to the speed of light. Transferring this technology that can achieve relativistic speed from the micro to the macro world has proven to be quite a challenge.
Lubin and colleagues have now received a proof-of-concept grant from NASA to assess whether or not a photonic propulsion system for long distance space applications is viable.
Though photons have no mass, they do have momentum and energy. Once these reflect of a receiver, which could look something like a very thin sail, some of that energy is transferred, pushing the craft. While this pressure is minute, the catch is that it builds momentum over time.
Whether you see meditation or prayer as the gateway to enlightenment or just a way to stay more focused at work, one thing that’s certain is that the practice comes with a whole host of physical and mental health benefits.
But what’s behind those benefits has been less clear. What’s going on in the brain when we’re sitting silently and focusing on the breath?
For the fifth episode of Next Level Living, a 10-part HuffPost Originals video series on the science behind our everyday habits, we asked scientists about what meditation and prayer do to the brain and body to create benefits like reduced stress levels, improved sleep, and, for some, mystical experiences.
“The more you do a practice like meditation or prayer, your brain physically gets thicker and it functionally works better,” Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neurotheologist and director of research at Philadelphia’s Myrna Byrd Center of Integrative Medicine, said in the video.
We have a private login page that is not on any internet webpage. It is law enforcement sensitive and we are trying to minimize the attempts to hack the site. We would appreciate Google not indexing the site. https://ilims.isp.idaho.gov/prelog/LIMSPrelog/
It’s still indexed, although you have to perform a very specific search to see it. The URL takes you to the login page for access to its LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) database. That’s it.
A 74-year old man has attracted a lot of attention from across China over the last few weeks, for his incredible dedication to his surprising lifelong mission: counting all the bricks of the Great Wall of China.
Zhāng Ming-húa is the son of a melon farmer from the Gansu Province, who joined the Red Guards in 1966, when he was only sixteen years old.
In December 1968, in the midst of all the turmoil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, he met Chairman Mao Zedong and was given a rather singular and unusual mission He was asked to count the bricks of the Great Wall, in order to inspire greatness in modern-day Chinese by showing them the accomplishments of their ancestors.
Mr Zhāng has devoted his entire life to fulfilling his mission, and he has now almost completed his task. He has only 418.7 kilometers of wall left to count, out of a total of 21,196 km (13,171 miles), and hopes to finish in less than two and a half years.
He says he was honored to receive such an important mission and says his main concern in life is to be able to finish before he dies.
Rep. David Scott of Georgia may have pulled back the curtain a bit last week on the impact of campaign contributions.
During a House hearing entitled “Short-term, Small Dollar Lending: The CFPB’s Assault on Access to Credit and Trampling of State and Tribal Sovereignty,” Scott, a Democrat, joined with Republicans in criticizing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is in the early stages of drafting rules to regulate some of the practices of the payday loan industry.
And with his attack — lifted a little too literally from text written by a lobbyist for the lenders — Scott was taking the side of an industry that has given him more than $72,000 since his election to the House in 2002. The bulk of that money was contributed during the Great Recession, which prompted lawmakers to develop the Dodd-Frank Act and rein in predatory lending practices to consumers. In 2008, as the global financial crisis came to a head, the payday loan industry gave Scott more than $17,000, as shown in the table below.
“Be careful discussing sensitive topics,” professors at the University of Houston were warned in a faculty meeting about the new “campus carry” gun policy.
An unofficial forum of professors suggested that teachers may want to “drop certain topics from your curriculum,” and “not ‘go there’ if you sense anger,” the Houston Chronicle reports.
A new Texas law will allow people to carry concealed handguns on university campuses.
Jeffrey Villines, a Ph.D. student in the university’s English department, shared a photo of what he said is a slide from a “recent campus carry dialogue at UH, in response to faculty concerns about dangers from armed students.”
Reflecting on the presentation, Villines says “teachers cannot forbid firearms in class, or even ask who is carrying one.” He claims the school would be “fined $10k for violations.”
A spokesperson at the University of Houston stressed in a message to Salon that this slide was not created by the university’s Campus Carry Workgroup and “is not official policy.” The spokesperson also indicated that the university’s draft policy is expected to be released in the next week.
Arief talked about the LGBT issue during a seminar on pregnancy at the Tangerang City Health Office on Tuesday. The seminar, titled “The First 1,000 Days of Life for Tangerang City,” was focused on the importance of providing proper nutrition for babies, especially in their first 1,000 days of life.
Life is full of questions: Where are we going? How do we get there? Who will guide us? Experience has taught us there’s really only one person we can fully trust for those answers: POTUS, Red Redding, and the voice of God himself, Morgan Freeman. And now he’s ready to firmly-but-gently give us the advice we so desperately need – as a GPS navigation voice.
Freeman is the latest celebrity voice to be added to Google’s free navigation app, Waze. So now you can rely on Freeman’s dulcet tones to explain that you need to make a left turn in half a mile to get to Starbucks.
We’ve been waiting years for 3D printing to finally be simple enough for mainstream consumers — and now, it looks like Mattel might be the first company to make that happen. At NYC’s Toy Fair this weekend, Mattel unveiled ThingMaker, a revival of its 60’s era toy maker using modern 3D printing technology. It’ll also do much more than the original model: Instead of just spitting out fairly simple Creepy Crawlers, you can design complex objects like figurines, jewelry and accessories using the ThingMaker Design app, which Mattel developed together with Autodesk. ThingMaker will start shipping this fall for $300, and Mattel also started taking pre-orders today.
This is a question that is asked all too often. It certainly has some merit to reality, given the constant bombardment of the topic by global media outlets. Unfortunately the conversation which surrounds the topic of overpopulation is flooded with both hype and misunderstandings.
So I’m hoping to address the question in this brief blog post, which will look at both overpopulation and how Humai’s vision of the future will actually address the problem forthright.
Population Bomb Myth
Firstly, one of the biggest misunderstandings about overpopulation is in the idea that it has everything to do with population size. Fact of the matter is that it rather has everything to do with the means of which we can accommodate the population size with available resources. Thus the fear of overpopulation has an unfortunate Malthusian side-effect to it — that is, the fear of overpopulation has a subsequent fear of losing resources.
This idea was originally devised by that of 18th century cleric and scholar Thomas R. Malthus. He believed that, as populations increase, resources will then decrease as a result. Even to this day neo-Malthusian scholars, such as Paul R. Ehrlich, have perpetuated this “population bomb” myth. What Malthus and his followers didn’t accommodate, however, was how science and technology would not only proliferate our access to previously acquired resources, but would subsequently develop newer resources which would replace one or more previous resource in both access and efficiency.
You’re never too young to feel guilty for a crime your great-great-great-great grandparents may have committed…
A first grade teacher in Florida is under investigation for an unapproved, controversial “lesson on racism” that left some students in tears.
Parents are complaining about a “lesson on racism” for first grade students at Minneola Elementary Charter School the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in which the teacher segregated her 7- and 8-year-old student by eye color then discriminated against some for several hours, WESH reports.
The teacher, who was not named in media reports, gave students with blue eyes candy and hugs, and ignored students with brown eyes, according to WFTV.
“I think the teacher probably … intended good for it, but the only problem with that is that the kids being so young and not understanding the point she was trying to bring across,” parent Michael Ruffin told the news site.
Other parents were far more upset.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard that a teacher did to teach a child something,” Lychelle Bland told WESH.
Scientists at Indiana University have created a highly efficient biomaterial that catalyzes the formation of hydrogen—one half of the “holy grail” of splitting H2O to make hydrogen and oxygen for fueling cheap and efficient cars that run on water.
A modified enzyme that gains strength from being protected within the protein shell—or “capsid”—of a bacterial virus, this new material is 150 times more efficient than the unaltered form of the enzyme.
The process of creating the material was recently reported in “Self-assembling biomolecular catalysts for hydrogen production” in the journal Nature Chemistry.
“Essentially, we’ve taken a virus’s ability to self-assemble myriad genetic building blocks and incorporated a very fragile and sensitive enzyme with the remarkable property of taking in protons and spitting out hydrogen gas,” said Trevor Douglas, the Earl Blough Professor of Chemistry in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry, who led the study. “The end result is a virus-like particle that behaves the same as a highly sophisticated material that catalyzes the production of hydrogen.”
The family of nuclear reactors found on the seven seas is about to grow—China recently announced plans to build a floating, ship-based nuclear power plant. Construction of the ship will begin next year, and if things go to plan, it will start producing electricity by 2020.
If you’re wondering whether that’s such a good idea—you probably aren’t alone.
But nuclear reactors at sea aren’t uncommon. The US Navy alone currently has around 100 reactors powering its submarines and aircraft carriers. However, the idea of floating nuclear reactors generating energy for uses other than powering their home vessel is relatively untested.
China isn’t the only country exploring nuclear power plants at sea.
Both projects might owe inspiration to the first ship-based nuclear power station, which was decommissioned in 2014. The American MH-1A, ‘Sturgis’, was constructed back in the 1960s and towed to the Panama Canal region, where it supplied essential electricity between 1968 and 1976.
A Plano couple is facing a lawsuit for posting a negative Yelp review of a pet sitting company.
Robert and Michelle Duchouquette used Yelp to help them choose Prestigious Pets in Dallas to care for their two dogs and fish when they went out of state, according to KTVT-TV (Channel 11).
Michelle Duchouquette said she chose the company based on its positive reviews. Although she didn’t like some of the business’s policies, she said, she signed a contract because the trip was coming up soon.
A woman has been charged with making a false police report after she allegedly fabricated a plot to blow up Dearborn Fordson High School to retaliate against the November terrorist attacks in Paris.
Saida Chatti was arraigned Thursday in Dearborn’s 18th District Court on charges of false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device, a felony punishable by more than five years in prison. Bond was set at $2,500.
Police say Chatti called Dearborn investigators Nov. 19, six days after Islamic extremists killed 130 people in Paris. Suicide bombers and gunmen struck a sports stadium during a soccer match, a theater during a rock concert, cafes and restaurants.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Chatti “contacted the Dearborn Police Department to report that an ‘anonymous’ friend had overheard a group of individuals at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi threatening to bomb Fordson High School in retaliation for the attacks in Paris,” according to a Dearborn police press release.
(ANTIMEDIA) The FBI versus Apple Inc. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object — the feverish momentum of American technocracy accelerating into the cavernous Orwellian entrenchment of the surveillance state. You thought the patent wars were intense? The ‘Battle of the Backdoor’ pits one of America’s most monolithic tech conglomerates against the Department of Justice and, ultimately, the interests of the national security state. And this case is likely only the opening salvo in what will be a decades-long ideological war between tech privacy advocates and the federal government.
On its face, the case boils down to a single locked and encrypted iPhone 5S, used by radical jihadist Syed Rizwan Farook before he and his wide Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2nd. The DOJ wants Apple to build a backdoor into the device so that it can bypass the company’s state of the art encryption apparatus and access information and evidence related to the case.
At least, that’s the premise presented to the public. As we are learning, the FBI and the federal government have a far more comprehensive end-game in mind than merely bolstering the prosecution of this one case.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted last week that “crucial details [of the case] are being obscured by officials.” Specifically, he made the following trenchant points:
Journalists: Crucial details in the @FBI v. #Apple case are being obscured by officials. Skepticism here is fair: pic.twitter.com/lEVEvOxcNm
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 19, 2016
Now, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that there are actually 12 other iPhones the FBI wants to access in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism. According to an Apple lawyer, these cases are spread all across the country: “Four in Illinois, three in New York, two in California, two in Ohio, and one in Massachusetts.”
With each of these cases, the FBI’s lawyers cite an 18th-century law called All Writs Act, which they say is the jurisprudence needed to force Apple to comply and bypass their built-in proprietary encryption methods. Is it any wonder the only case the public hears about is the one that involves terrorism?
While law enforcement authorities claim these 12 additional cases are evidence that encryption has become a major hindrance to investigations across the country, privacy advocates say it is, conversely, evidence that national security is not the only factor at play in the government’s desire to circumvent encryption. This is further evidenced by the fact that the government has been pressuring Apple to create iPhone backdoors since long before the San Bernardino attack.
Rather, information privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) say the push for bypassing encryption — specifically, compelling Apple to build a backdoor operating system — involves a large-scale campaign to use the threat of terror to overreach their legal authority, breaching civil liberties in the process. We saw this in the wake of 9/11, when NSA’s PRISM program conscripted Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in a covert data mining campaign to collect metadata from American citizens.
WASHINGTON — In the burgeoning field of intelligence contractors, an especially aggressive upstart is Abraxas Corp., a privately held company that has assembled a deep roster of CIA veterans to handle a wide range of clandestine assignments — including secret work for an elite team of overseas case officers.
The company was founded by a group of former high-ranking agency employees, led by Richard “Hollis” Helms, a longtime overseas officer in the Middle East and onetime head of the CIA’s European division, and Richard Calder, who was the agency’s deputy director for administration.
In a radio interview last year, Calder said the firm was launched shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks by a group of retirees who felt spurned that the agency had not called to enlist their help. “We were all eager to do whatever we could do,” Calder said. But, he said, “the phone never rang.” Company officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
The company occupies an unmarked, third-floor office suite in McLean, Va., two miles from CIA headquarters. It has mainly specialized in providing veteran operatives and reports officers for positions in overseas stations and at CIA headquarters.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, “they went and signed up all these retired, Arabic-speaking officers and sold them back to the agency on contract,” said a former CIA official familiar with the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That’s how Abraxas was born.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is about to take a closer look at the use of nonhuman primates in all federally funded U.S. research labs. ScienceInsider has learned that, in response to a congressional mandate, the agency will convene a workshop this summer to review the ethical policies and procedures surrounding work on monkeys, baboons, and related animals. The move follows NIH’s decision to end controversial monkey experiments at one of its labs and the termination of its support for invasive research on chimpanzees.
“This is great news,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D–CA) tells ScienceInsider. “I’ve been very concerned about the ethics and oversight of primate research, and so have many of my colleagues in the House [of Representatives]. Members of both parties have been supporting this review, because there’s nothing partisan about animal welfare.”
Roybal-Allard and three other members of Congress first contacted NIH in late 2014 in response to a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The animal rights group had run numerous ads alleging that researchers at an NIH lab in Poolesville, Maryland, were traumatizing baby rhesus macaques by taking them away from their mothers and addicting them to alcohol. Roybal-Allard and her colleagues asked NIH to conduct a bioethical review. NIH Director Francis Collins responded that an investigation had found no major problems with the research. Still, in December of last year the agency announced that it would phase out monkey experiments at the lab, though it blamed finances, not animal rights or congressional pressure.
Computer scientists have documented how a large and growing number of websites discriminate against people who browse them using Tor.
Tor is an anonymity service that is maintained with assistance from the US State Department and designed in part to allows victims of censorship in countries like China and Iran to surf the web. New research show how corporations are discriminating against Tor users, in some cases partly because it’s harder to classify anonymous users for the purpose of pushing ads at them.
Many websites block access from the Tor network, either deliberately or because they are reacting to malicious traffic originating from the Tor network. One particular problem is that content distribution networks (CDNs) like CloudFlare are used by many popular websites and these very often block Tor users, occasionally to the surprise of website operators who enabled CloudFlare.
A (heated) discussion thread on the Tor website, involving the Cloudflare staff, can be found here.. El Reg’s interview with CloudFlare boss Matthew Prince on the controversy can be found here.
But the issue extends far beyond CloudFlare and affects surfers visiting popular websites using anonymisation software much more generally.
You’re not getting in with jeans
Tor users face various annoyances in their web browsing experience in general, ranging from pages saying “Access denied” to having to solve CAPTCHAs before continuing. These hurdles disappear if the same website is accessed without Tor.
The growing trend of websites extending this kind of “differential treatment” to anonymous users undermines Tor’s overall utility, and adds to the traditional threats to Tor, such as attacks on user privacy, or governments blocking access to Tor, etc.
Computer scientists tried to quantify these problems and answer related questions such as how prevalent anti-Tor discrimination might be and whether there is any pattern in where these Tor-unfriendly websites are hosted (or located).
So… have you heard the story about how a magistrate judge in California has ordered Apple to help the FBI disable encryption on the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters? You may have because it’s showing up everywhere. Here’s NBC News reporting on it:
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Apple to give investigators access to encrypted data on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, assistance the computer giant “declined to provide voluntarily,” according to court papers.
In a 40-page filing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles argued that it needed Apple to help it find the password and access “relevant, critical … data” on the locked cellphone of Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California on December 2.
And you’d be forgiven for believing that the court has now ordered Apple to do the impossible. After all, for well over a year, the DOJ has been arguing that the All Writs Act of 1789 can be used to force Apple to help unlock encrypted phones. And that’s an argument it has continued to make in multiple cases.
Many people are now mocking this ruling, pointing out that with end-to-end encryption it’s actually impossible for Apple to do very much to help the FBI, which makes the order seem ridiculous. But that’s because much of the reporting on this story appears to be wrong. Ellen Nakashima, at the Washington Post, has a more detailed report that notes that Apple is actually required to do something a little different:
Imagine the scene of a household burglary or murder where the criminals have left no other evidence than a series of footprints on the kitchen floor. If the perpetrators were caught, would the police have enough information to arrest and convict them, or would they simply be allowed to walk free? My colleagues and I have developed a new forensic imaging technique for analysing shoeprints that could help police to identify the criminal in such a situation.
How could a shoeprint be so useful to a criminal investigation? Clearly, it would not be nearly as effective for identifying a person as their DNA or fingerprints. Shoe soles are rarely unique and aren’t inherently connected to a suspect. But each person does have their own style of walking or moving, known as their gait. This is because we each distribute our weight differently when we walk and so we wear down our shoe soles in different ways. So if two individuals were to wear an identical type of shoe, then over time they would each wear them down differently.
It is these differences which police forensic services hope to exploit when they find shoeprint evidence at the scene of a serious crimes. The hope is that by matching contact images of shoe prints obtained in custody with marks found at crime scenes, police will rapidly be able to identify or eliminate suspects in their enquiries.
Hiring a lawyer for a parking ticket appeal is not only a headache — it can also cost more than the ticket itself.
Depending on the case and the lawyer, an appeal (a legal process where you argue out of paying the fine) can cost between $400 to $900.
But with the help of a bot made by British programmer Joshua Browder, 19, it costs nothing.
Browder’s bot handles questions about parking ticket appeals in the UK. Since launching in late 2015, it has successfully appealed $3 million worth of tickets. Joshua BrowderJoshua Browder’s robot can help answer questions about parking tickets.
Once you sign in, a chat screen pops up. To learn about your case, the bot asks questions like, “Were you the one driving?” and “Was it hard to understand the parking signs?” It then spits out an appeal letter, which you mail to the court. If the robot is completely confused, it tells you how to contact Browder directly.
The site is still in beta, and the full version will launch this spring, Browder, a Stanford University freshman, tells Tech Insider.
Since laws are publicly available, bots can automate some of the simple tasks that human lawyers have had to do for centuries. Browder’s isn’t even the first lawyer bot. The startup Acadmx’s bot creates perfectly formatted legal briefs. The company Lex Machina does data mining on judges’ records and makes predictions on what they will do in the future.
Joseph Boller (Centre County Correctional Facility via NBC)
(Newser) – When an 18-year-old Pennsylvania woman went missing in East Stroudsburg on Tuesday, her mother used technology to help police rescue the teen. The unnamed woman texted her mother for help and told her she’d been abducted by her ex-boyfriend, NBC News reports. “The mother was able to track the victim’s cellphone by utilizing the iCloud [and] Find My iPhone app,” per the Pennsylvania State Police statement. Police found the woman 154 miles away in a car in a McDonald’s parking lot with her hands, feet, and mouth duct-taped. Joseph Boller, also 18, was arrested and charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and false imprisonment, the Centre Daily Times reports.
Shelburne Farms’ clothbound cheddar has a bright yellow color because it’s made from the milk of cows that graze on grasses high in beta-carotene.
Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner
The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.
Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there’s a curious history here.
In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?
Well, not really. Centuries ago in England, lots of cheeses had a natural yellowish-orange pigment. The cheese came from the milk of certain breeds of cows, such as Jersey and Guernsey. Their milk tends to be richer in color from beta-carotene in the grass they eat.
So, when the orange pigment transferred to the cow’s milk, and then to the cheese, it was considered a mark of quality.
Doctors could soon start prescribing an unusual solution to help stroke victims in the US: virtual reality goggles.
That’s the hope of Switzerland-based MindMaze, which on Wednesday got a $100 million investment to bring its blend of virtual reality hardware and neuroscience to market. The four-year-old startup’s technology has already won approval from regulators in Europe, where its applications for brain injury victims showcase what could soon be possible in the United States.
MindMaze’s 34-year-old founder and CEO Tej Tadi explains how: Imagine a stroke victim who’s lost control of her left hand but can still move her right hand. After putting on MindMaze goggles, the patient sees a 3-D image, or avatar, of her left hand that moves as she moves her right hand.
“That triggers areas in the brain to say, ‘Wait, let’s regain control of this hand’,” says Tadi. “ The hand that was not working now works .” And that process of tricking the brain into seeing something that’s actually not there in the real world accelerates recovery, he says.
This is the year that VR is set to take off. Almost every major tech company — from Samsung and HTC to Facebook’s Oculus and Sony — has either released a VR headset or plans to do so. Their investments, as well as those made by smaller but well-funded startups like Jaunt, NextVR and Magic Leap, are expected to change the way we play video games and how we watch sports, presidential debates, porn or a Hollywood movie.
The investment in MindMaze, led by multinational conglomerate Hinduja Group, underscores just how VR could shake up medicine. In fact, Hinduja’s nine-figure bet places MindMaze, a 55-person company, among the top three best-funded virtual reality startups in the world, according to PitchBook, a venture capital research firm.
“If there’s a short list of areas where virtual reality will be really helpful or usable, health care is on that list,” says Brian Blau, vice president of research at information technology research firm Gartner.
For Blau, who’s been studying virtual reality since the 1990s, the potential impact on health care makes sense. VR works by tricking the brain into believing what it’s seeing is three-dimensional and, often, lifelike. More than most other professions or markets, health care demands realism.