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More specifically, their DNA can. Scientists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a "write-once-read-many-times" (WORM) memory device, that combines electrodes, silver nanoparticles, and salmon DNA. While the current device is simply a proof-of-concept model, the researchers have stated that DNA could turn out to be a less expensive alternative to traditional inorganic materials such as silicon.

The device is made up of a thin film of salmon DNA that has been impregnated with silver atoms, then sandwiched between two electrodes. When UV light is shone onto the system, the atoms cluster together into nanoparticles.

Subsequently, when no or little voltage is applied to the electrodes, only a low electrical current is able to travel through the UV-irradiated DNA. This is the equivalent of the device's "off" state. Because the material is unable to hold a charge under a high electrical field, however, once the voltage exceeds a certain threshold, a higher current is able to travel through the DNA. This represents the "on" state.

These changes in conductivity were found to be irreversible - once the device has initially been set to either "on" or "off" it stays that way, regardless of what voltages are subsequently applied. Even after up to 30 hours, it retains its conductivity.

The scientists are now hoping that their discovery could lead to new techniques for the design of optical storage devices.

This isn't the first time that DNA has been suggested for such applications. Researchers at Imperial College London have created logic gates using DNA and bacteria, while American scientists have genetically engineered the bacterium E. coli to coax its DNA into computing the solution to a classic mathematical puzzle.

A paper on the salmon DNA research was recently published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Source: GizMag - via ZeitNews.org

 

The U.S. food supply is not in any immediate danger because the problem remains isolated. But scientists fear potentially risky farming practices could be blunting the hybrid's sophisticated weaponry.

When it was introduced in 2003, so-called Bt corn seemed like the answer to farmers' dreams: It would allow growers to bring in bountiful harvests using fewer chemicals because the corn naturally produces a toxin that poisons western corn rootworms. The hybrid was such a swift success that it and similar varieties now account for 65 percent of all U.S. corn acres - grain that ends up in thousands of everyday foods such as cereal, sweeteners and cooking oil.

But over the last few summers, rootworms have feasted on the roots of Bt corn in parts of four Midwestern states, suggesting that some of the insects are becoming resistant to the crop's pest-fighting powers.

Scientists say the problem could be partly the result of farmers who've planted Bt corn year after year in the same fields.

In this Oct. 31, 2005, file photo, a harvester works through a field of genetically modified corn near Santa Rosa, Calif. So-called Bt corn, genetically engineered to make its own insecticide, may be losing its distinctive ability to kill pests _ a possible result of careless farming practices that could give rise to resistant bugs and threaten the future of one of the nation's most widely planted crops. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Most farmers rotate corn with other crops in a practice long used to curb the spread of pests, but some have abandoned rotation because they need extra grain for livestock or because they have grain contracts with ethanol producers. Other farmers have eschewed the practice to cash in on high corn prices, which hit a record in June.

"Right now, quite frankly, it's very profitable to grow corn," said Michael Gray, a University of Illinois crop sciences professor who's tracking Bt corn damage in that state.

A scientist recently sounded an alarm throughout the biotech industry when he published findings concluding that rootworms in a handful of Bt cornfields in Iowa had evolved an ability to survive the corn's formidable defenses.

Similar crop damage has been seen in parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska, but researchers are still investigating whether rootworms capable of surviving the Bt toxin were the cause.

University of Minnesota entomologist Kenneth Ostlie said the severity of rootworm damage to Bt fields in Minnesota has eased since the problem surfaced in 2009. Yet reports of damage have become more widespread, and he fears resistance could be spreading undetected because the damage rootworms inflict often isn't apparent.

Without strong winds, wet soil or both, plants can be damaged at the roots but remain upright, concealing the problem. He said the damage he observed in Minnesota came to light only because storms in 2009 toppled corn plants with damaged roots.

"The analogy I often use with growers is that we're looking at an iceberg and all we see is the tip of the problem," Ostlie said. "And it's a little bit like looking at an iceberg through fog because the only time we know we have a problem is when we get the right weather conditions."

Seed maker Monsanto Co. created the Bt strain by splicing a gene from a common soil organism called Bacillus thuringiensis into the plant. The natural insecticide it makes is considered harmless to people and livestock.

Scientists always expected rootworms to develop some resistance to the toxin produced by that gene. But the worrisome signs of possible resistance have emerged sooner than many expected.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently chided Monsanto, declaring in a Nov. 22 report that it wasn't doing enough to monitor suspected resistance among rootworm populations. The report urged a tougher approach, including expanding monitoring efforts to a total of seven states, including Colorado, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The agency also wanted to ensure farmers in areas of concern begin using insecticides and other methods to combat possible resistance.

Monsanto insists there's no conclusive proof that rootworms have become immune to the crop, but the company said it regards the situation seriously and has been taking steps that are "directly in line" with federal recommendations.

Some scientists fear it could already be too late to prevent the rise of resistance, in large part because of the way some farmers have been planting the crop.

They point to two factors: farmers who have abandoned crop rotation and others have neglected to plant non-Bt corn within Bt fields or in surrounding fields as a way to create a "refuge" for non-resistant rootworms in the hope they will mate with resistant rootworms and dilute their genes.

Experts worry that the actions of a few farmers could jeopardize an innovation that has significantly reduced pesticide use and saved growers billions of dollars in lost yields and chemical-control costs.

"This is a public good that should be protected for future generations and not squandered too quickly," said Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology director at the Center for Science and Public Policy.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann published research in July concluding that resistance had arisen among rootworms he collected in four Iowa fields. Those fields had been planted for three to six straight years with Bt corn - a practice that ensured any resistant rootworms could lay their eggs in an area that would offer plenty of food for the next generation.

For now, the rootworm resistance in Iowa appears isolated, but Gassmann said that could change if farmers don't quickly take action. For one, the rootworm larvae grow into adult beetles that can fly, meaning resistant beetles could easily spread to new areas.

"I think this provides an important early warning," Gassmann said.

Besides rotating crops, farmers can also fight resistance by switching between Bt corn varieties, which produce different toxins, or planting newer varieties with multiple toxins. They can also treat damaged fields with insecticides to kill any resistant rootworms - or employ a combination of all those approaches.

The EPA requires growers to devote 20 percent of their fields to non-Bt corn. After the crop was released in 2003, nine out of 10 farmers met that standard. Now it's only seven or eight, Jaffe said.

Seed companies are supposed to cut off farmers with a record of violating the planting rules, which are specified in seed-purchasing contracts. To improve compliance, companies are now introducing blends that have ordinary seed premixed with Bt seed.

Brian Schaumburg, who farms 1,400 acres near the north-central Illinois town of Chenoa, plants as much Bt corn as he can every spring.

But Schaumburg said he shifts his planting strategies every year - varying which Bt corn hybrids he plants and using pesticides when needed - to reduce the chances rootworm resistance might emerge in his fields.

Schaumburg said he always plants the required refuge fields and believes very few farmers defy the rule. Those who do put the valuable crop at risk, he said.

"If we don't do it right, we could lose these good tools," Schaumberg said.

If rootworms do become resistant to Bt corn, it "could become the most economically damaging example of insect resistance to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.," said Bruce Tabashnik, an entomologist at the University of Arizona. "It's a pest of great economic significance - a billion-dollar pest."

Source: PhysOrg

 

The recordings were made on various media as researchers tried to improve the sound quality of Thomas Edison’s recently invented phonograph.

Bell, made famous by his invention of the telephone, was working with a team of researchers in his Volta laboratory in the 1880’s in Washington D.C. and as a precaution against having his ideas stolen by competing teams, periodically sent samples of the results of his and his team’s efforts to the Smithsonian Institute, also in Washington, for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, devices to play the recordings were not sent along as well, which meant the recordings sat unheard in storage for a century and a quarter.

Now however, thanks to a special optical scanning technique, those voices can once again be heard. Restoration specialists Carl Haber and Earl Cornell working with digital conversion specialists and museum curators, used a hardware/software system called IRENE/3D, to first take high resolution images of the spinning discs and then to remove errors introduced by damage to the discs or cylinders. They then finished by mimicking a stylus as it moved over the media, on a computer, reproducing the originally recorded voices. Using such a system, the early recordings can be played without anything actually touching the original media, which could conceivably be damaged in the process.


This is wax on composition board. The disc has 5 large radial cracks which probably render it mechanically unplayable. The groove modulation is vertical and the groove is very wide relative to the later commercial cylinders.

Using the technique, the team was able to hear human voices reciting Shakespeare, or reading from a book or newspaper. It’s not known if any of the voices heard is actually Bell, but historians believe Volta Laboratory only had three inventors: Bell, Bell’s cousin Chichester and Charles Sumner Tainter. Thus it seems possible that one or more of the voices is his.

An example of an extracted audio file.

Another attractive feature of the IRENE/3D system, which was developed at Berkley nearly a decade ago, is that it is able to scan discs made of various materials. In the case of the discs from the Smithsonian, some were made of wax, others of glass, with would have required developing unique individual players if each was to be actually played to hear what was on it.

Thus far the team has succeeded in reproducing the recordings on six discs, but have many more to work with as the Smithsonian has some 400 such discs and cylinders from Volta Laboratory and several others.

More information: http://bio16p.lbl.gov/

Source: PhysOrg - via ZeitNews.org

 

Government officials call the record-breaking speedster a “useful reference” for China’s current high speed railway operations. The test train’s speed, according to a Monday report in China Daily, exceeds the world speed record of 300 kilometers per hour held by the Beijing Shanghai High Speed Railway. China’s latest high-speed train has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with the 9,600 kilowatts for China Railways High-Speed (CRH) trains in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed line.

The train tested over the weekend is made of plastic materials reinforced with carbon fiber.The design concept is inspired by China’s ancient swords.

The train’s designer and manufacturer is Sifang Locomotive, a subsidiary of China’s largest rail-vehicle maker, CSR Corp Ltd., based in Qingdao in eastern Shandong province.

Last year, Technology Review carried details of the WuGuang line trains, variants of Japan's Shinkansen and Germany's InterCity Express high-speed trains. That line clocked impressive speeds. A rail expert at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark at the time noted that high-speed rail technology implemented in China was not entirely different from the world's TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen systems. What was notable about China’s high-speed lines was that the system was designed from the ground up for very high-speed operation over hundreds of kilometers.

China has the largest network of bullet-train track in the world. The push for a massive buildout began in 2006 and continues, with the help of government stimulus funds. Miles of line are planned to the tune of billions to accommodate a future vision of over 16,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed rail lines connecting all of China's major cities by 2020.

China’s engineering triumphs, however, have been hindered by troubles, highly publicized in the world press. The Chinese Railways Ministry Chief, Liu Zhijun, in charge of the construction of the high-speed railway massive network, was arrested for corruption. Then came reports that corruption had sacrificed safety concerns in a haste to roll out the high-speed rails. There were stories of substandard materials used to cut costs. The New York Times reported that the concrete bases for the tracks were made with insufficient hardening agents. The tracks could possibly warp, according to the report.

Safety concerns, however, seem to be top of mind in the government after the July incident where 40 people died when two bullet trains crashed into each other in Zhejiang province.

Officials felt it necessary to lower operating speeds on its bullet trains whereas trains with top speeds of 350 kh would be lowered to 300 kilometers peer hour, and trains designed for 250 would instead run at 200 kilometers per hour.

Similarly, Chinese officials in the latest announcement are careful to point out that future Chinese trains will not necessarily run at such high speeds as that demonstrated in the newly tested superfast train. The CSR chair Zhao Xiaogang told the Beijing Morning News that "We aim to ensure the safety of train operations.”

Source: PhysOrg - via ZeitNews.org

 

Let us explain your delicate situation.

Thousands of years ago, human beings started to evolve. Since then, our species has walked a dark bloody road that condemned people to live in fear caused by ignorance. Knowledge, ethical and technological development have always been conditioned by elites and their wars -which, as in an Orwellian metaphor, haven’t done anything but perpetuate vertical and obscurantist social schemes. We have arrived to the 21st century of our era, after two World Wars, taking on our backs the possibility of nuclear conflicts with assured mutual destruction. Announced the “end of history” by your economists and intellectuals, it seemed that the possibility of looking for a fairer order was meaningless. Thinking that you had stopped enough our rational development, you let us raise a progress model whose objective was never more than make you even richer and more powerful.

However, you didn’t consider that the real human spirit refuses to bow, always. While you believed you would conquer us definitely using economic crises, our species has evolved again. Using only the power of culture and freedom, we have reused those technological resources that were born of our genius and that you only provided us with consumerist intentions. So we have updated, improved and immunized our strength, operations and effectiveness. We absorb your own tactics, techniques and imaginary to form our own mediums, dreams and challenges.

Today, the pacific revolution extends around the planet as a challenge to your oppression and your attempt to shut our freedom of expression. Finally, information has reached the critical mass, exploding in a lot of voices whose new wishes and needs can’t be covered by your old paradigm. Now, physically and digitally interconnected, we form a huge collective conscience. Maybe your corporate media silence what’s happening, but you can’t fool us anymore. You can stop temporarily some nodes but the process will continue unstoppable and transforming. Now, it doesn’t matter what measures you take trying to counteract: the more violence, censorship and obstacles you put in our road, the more you expose your weakness. In every place on Earth, with different ideas and from different conditions, have always existed, exist now and will exist in the future, women and men that oppose those which are not really democratic and fair governments. After millennia of suffering, our species has stood up and nothing will ever be the same. Your totalitarian game is ending. But the story, friends, hasn’t ended yet: it begins now. Here, from wherever place in the planet, we’ll take the streets and we’ll march wherever it is necessary. Remember, change is happening, with or without you.

People shouldn’t fear governments. Governments should fear people.

We are the people.
We are the only system.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

ANONYMOUS LEGION

 

Each semester, classes resume the challenge of improving on previous designs. At one point, their device had to be plugged into an outlet to work, then the students figured out how to make it battery powered. This semester, the students made it compatible with any music player.

The current model, known as free space optical transmission device, can beam “Party Rock Anthem” or any song from anyone’s iPod to a receiver and speakers up to 20 feet away.  Its battery life is more than two hours.

“Seeing everything come together at the end, working even better than we expected, was really cool,” said senior electrical engineering major Jana Sardoni, who has already accepted a job offer from Intel to design processors.

Sardoni’s team produced the winning design. Their device ran the longest without recharging and also added an LED display that indicated battery life.

“This project gives them experience in building to a customer’s desired outcome,” said Aaron Hawkins, who taught the class with fellow electrical and computer engineering professor Stephen Schulz. “A concrete product where we say to them, ‘Here’s how it is supposed to work, to these specifications. You go find your own solutions.’”

The students built a transmitter, which plugs into an audio device, and a receiver, which plugs into speakers. The transmitter directs a laser to flash in a distinct pattern. They also created a circuit that can compute the flashes of light and translate them into a recognizable format for the speakers.

“They gave us a little bit more flexibility in this class,” said Matt Seamons, another member of the winning group. “After we’d learned a lot of the foundational things, the flexibility allowed us to think more innovatively. We showed that we could go out into the industry and be ready to hit the ground running and be successful.”

Greg Loveland and Raymond Barrier were also on the winning team.

PhysOrg

Provided by Brigham Young University - via ZeitNews.org

 

While shoppers in minority religions may view malls and stores much differently: as central meeting places that "can play an active role in the creation of a sacred event."

The study, co-authored by Temple University Fox School of Business marketing professor Ayalla Ruvio, found that holiday consumption in dominant religious settings – such as Christians in the U.S. or Jews in Israel – can lead to greater frenzy and a "social tidal wave" that pushes people to excess during the holidays.

The researchers also found that consumers in minority or immigrant religions tend to seek the company of those who share their beliefs during holidays. For some, shopping outlets aren't shrines to spending. Instead, they can offer a gathering place for a "critical mass" in a religion to interact and temporarily overcome their minority religious status – creating a type of "marketplace sacralization."

"In effect, the marketplace, though normally viewed as profane and commercial, can, through the collective actions of religious devotees, be transformed into … a place of worship and fellowship," the authors wrote.

The researchers conducted 41 in-depth, in-home interviews with Muslims, Jews and Christians in the United States, Israel and Tunisia to examine consumers' behavior when their given religion represents either a majority, minority or immigrant faith. For example, Christians are a religious majority in the U.S., a minority in Israel, and an immigrant religion in Tunisia.

Some minority-religion consumers said they found comfort in marketplaces, or products, shared by those with similar beliefs. In one interview, a member of the Tunisian Jewish community used the animated Prince of Egypt movie to assist in his family's Passover observance. "Rather than the sacred being invaded by the secular, the sacred comes to inhabit the secular," the authors found.

In countries where a religious group was in the majority, the researchers found that the dominant religion experienced "consumption mass hysteria," which led to consequences of debt, drunkenness and overeating. Dominant religions also tend to view religious holidays as a time of national or ethnic glory and "perfection," while minority and immigrant religions report a stronger desire to preserve their traditions and customs, meaning these groups may be more orthodox in their observances.

Despite the many differences, the study found that, in every context and across the religious groups, participants emphasized charity and expressed the spiritual importance of helping others during the central holy days of Christmas, Ramadan and Passover.

Source: Temple University - via ZeitNews.org

 

The "passive optical diode" is made from two tiny silicon rings measuring 10 microns in diameter, or about one-tenth the width of a human hair. Unlike other optical diodes, it does not require external assistance to transmit signals and can be readily integrated into computer chips.

The diode is capable of "nonreciprocal transmission," meaning it transmits signals in only one direction, making it capable of information processing, said Minghao Qi (pronounced Chee), an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University.

"This one-way transmission is the most fundamental part of a logic circuit, so our diodes open the door to optical information processing," said Qi, working with a team also led by Andrew Weiner, Purdue's Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The diodes are described in a paper to be published online Dec. 22 in the journal Science. The paper was written by graduate students Li Fan, Jian Wang, Leo Varghese, Hao Shen and Ben Niu, research associate Yi Xuan, and Weiner and Qi.

Although fiberoptic cables are instrumental in transmitting large quantities of data across oceans and continents, information processing is slowed and the data are susceptible to cyberattack when optical signals must be translated into electronic signals for use in computers, and vice versa.

"This translation requires expensive equipment," Wang said. "What you'd rather be able to do is plug the fiber directly into computers with no translation needed, and then you get a lot of bandwidth and security."

Electronic diodes constitute critical junctions in transistors and help enable integrated circuits to switch on and off and to process information. The new optical diodes are compatible with industry manufacturing processes for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors, or CMOS, used to produce computer chips, Fan said.

"These diodes are very compact, and they have other attributes that make them attractive as a potential component for future photonic information processing chips," she said.

The new optical diodes could make for faster and more secure information processing by eliminating the need for this translation. The devices, which are nearly ready for commercialization, also could lead to faster, more powerful supercomputers by using them to connect numerous processors together.

"The major factor limiting supercomputers today is the speed and bandwidth of communication between the individual superchips in the system," Varghese said. "Our optical diode may be a component in optical interconnect systems that could eliminate such a bottleneck."

Infrared light from a laser at telecommunication wavelength goes through an optical fiber and is guided by a microstructure called a waveguide. It then passes sequentially through two silicon rings and undergoes "nonlinear interaction" while inside the tiny rings. Depending on which ring the light enters first, it will either pass in the forward direction or be dissipated in the backward direction, making for one-way transmission. The rings can be tuned by heating them using a "microheater," which changes the wavelengths at which they transmit, making it possible to handle a broad frequency range.

Source: Science Daily - via ZeitNews.org

 

1. Uzbek government allegedly running full-scale sterilization program
 
A BBC investigation has revealed evidence of a government program to sterilize thousands of women throughout Uzbekistan – often without their knowledge. 
 
According to sources quoted by journalist Natalia Antelava, every Uzbek doctor is given a quota. One doctor said she must sterilize four women per month, but others said the figure might be as high as eight per week in rural areas.
 
A source in the Health Ministry said the program is meant to slow population growth. Medical professionals, however, said the real aim was to reduce the number of births and, therefore, to lower the rate of infant and maternal deaths in international measures.
 
Evidence also suggests that a two-year increase in the number of Caesarean sections, which make sterilization easier, is linked to the program. While official statistics say Caesareans account for 6.8 percent of births, doctors interviewed for the article challenged those numbers, with a chief surgeon at a hospital near Tashkent estimating the figure was as high as 80 percent.
 
In an official response to the BBC, the authorities denied the program’s existence, arguing that women are sterilized only voluntarily.
 
The BBC says forced sterilization in Uzbekistan was first discovered by pathologist Gulbakhor Turaeva in 2005. She gathered evidence of 200 cases, but when she revealed the data publicly, she was fired and later imprisoned, accused of smuggling opposition literature into the country.
 
2. Swiss story about Roma crime draws fire
 
A cover story about Roma published in a Swiss magazine earlier this week continues to cause outrage across Europe, Der Spiegel reports. The article, which was published 5 April in Die Weltwoche, carried the headline “The Roma Are Coming: Robberies in Switzerland” with the subhead “They come, steal, and leave,” a reference to an alleged increase in crimes committed by Roma gangs.
 

 
The photo illustrating the article, of a Roma child pointing a gun at the camera, contributed to the backlash. Livio Mancini, the Italian photographer who took the photo in 2008 in Kosovo, told a Swiss newspaper that Weltwoche had obtained the photo through an agency and used it without asking him.

Several criminal complaints against the magazine have been filed in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, including by Austrian journalist Klaus Kamolz, who said he wanted to send a “symbolic signal” against the “blanket condemnation of Roma as criminals.” The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma also filed a criminal complaint with a German prosecutor for racial incitement and libel against the magazine and declared it would take steps to prevent its sale in Germany. The council’s leader, Romani Rose, accused the newspaper of equating a person’s ethnic origin with criminality, comparing the story with anti-Roma propaganda from the Nazi era.


 
In a video on the Weltwoche website, deputy editor in chief Philip Gut, who co-authored the article, said he didn’t understand the outrage caused by the photo. It was used, he told a Swiss newspaper, to illustrate “the fact that Roma gangs abuse their children for criminal purposes.”
 
3. Serbia arrests 14 for 2008 U.S. embassy riot
 
Serbian police have arrested 14 people in connection with the 2008 riot in Belgrade that resulted in a blaze that killed one person at the U.S. Embassy, according to Balkan Insight. In announcing the arrests, Prosecutor Zagorka Dolovac said her office had been investigating the suspects for more than a year. Some of the arrested were football hooligans known to have caused problems in the past, according to B92.
 
On 21 February 2008, hundreds stormed and set fire to the U.S. Embassy to protest Kosovo’s declaration of independence. In the process, protester Zoran Vujovic, a 20-year-old Serb displaced from his home in Kosovo, died of smoke inhalation.
 
The day after the arrests, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said he had been kept in the dark about the operation. “I have nothing to do with this, because nobody informed me about it, which I consider to be impermissible. I consider this to be an absolutely poor example of doing things,” he told B92. Dacic also wondered why the arrests had taken place the day before the 11 April Belgrade derby, a soccer match between city rivals Red Star and Partizan.
 
Speculation about the extremely long delay in bringing the culprits to justice has touched on the suspected ties of some of the hooligans to political parties, who supposedly helped them escape prosecution, until now.
 
4. New pressure to free jailed Facebook activist in Azerbaijan
 
As one year passes since the arrest of a young Azeribaijani activist, new campaigns are sprouting up for his release. Bakhtiyar Hajiev was taken into custody in March 2011 and later sentenced to two years in prison for evading military service.
 

Photo from the Support Bakhtiyar Facebook page.

 A new video on YouTube purports to “tell the story of his persecution,” recounting that Hajiev had faced repression when he ran for parliament as an independent in 2010. During the campaign, he focused on the issues of human rights and corruption. But Hajiev and human rights organizations link the timing of his arrest to the activist’s role in organizing a Facebook campaign in the wake of the Arab Spring calling for a day of protests against the government and meetings across the country.    
 
At his trial, Hajiev said he was a conscientious objector and should have been granted the option of alternative service. His requests for parole have twice been rejected, most recently in late March, Radio Free Europe reports.
 
Students and teachers from Harvard University, where Hajiev graduated from the Kennedy School of Government in 2009, have also ramped up their protests. Almost 900 members of the Harvard community signed an online petition earlier this year calling for Hajiev’s release. And a 28 March editorial in Harvard’s student-written Crimson called on the university to do more to highlight Hajiev’s plight, saying, “Harvard University has failed to officially condemn Bakhtiyar’s arrest and conviction, or leverage its weight on the international stage to raise awareness about his case.”
 
5. In Chechnya, loose lips sink … taxis?
 
A new initiative in Chechnya hopes to put a lid on what some see as a growing social ill: gossip. The campaign was launched by the Chechen Government Committee on Youth and has been targeting mainly taxi and bus drivers, according to Radio Free Europe.
 

Ramzan Kadyrov

 

Campaigners have passed out bumper stickers to drivers with slogans like, ”Drive in silence, you’ll go farther,” and “The Almighty is against gossip,” according to the report. The group said the initiative was to help clean up the image of taxi drivers, who have “lost respect in the eyes of society because of their spread of disinformation among the passengers, ignorance of road regulations, and destruction of cultural values,” according to a statement posted on the group’s website.
 
Reaction to the campaign has been mixed, and many see Chechnya’s gossip-inspiring leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, as behind it, according to RFE. One man told RFE that the initiative, which he said harks back to the days of Joseph Stalin, has actually fueled more rumors about local leaders.


Joshua Boissevain and Ioana Caloianu are TOL editorial assistants. Jeremy Druker is TOL’s executive director and editor in chief. Anna Shamanska is a TOL editorial intern.

Source: Tol.org - Authors: Joshua Boissevain, Ioana Caloianu, Jeremy Druker, and Anna Shamanska

 

 

Julian Assange, founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, has been under house arrest, without charge, for almost 500 days. Over the past two months, his temporary home in the English countryside has played host to a series of extraordinary conversations with some of the most interesting and controversial people alive in the world today. 

“The World Tomorrow” is a collection of twelve interviews featuring an eclectic range of guests, who are stamping their mark on the future: politicians, revolutionaries, intellectuals, artists and visionaries. The world's last five years have been marked by an unrelenting series of economic crises and political upheavals. But they have also given rise to the eruption of revolutionary ferment in the Middle East and to the emergence of new protest movements in the Euro-American world. In Julian's words, the aim of the show is “to capture and present some of this revolutionary spirit to a global audience. My own work with WikiLeaks hasn't exactly made my life easier”, says Assange, “but it has given us a platform to broadcast world-shifting ideas.” 

For Julian, part of the show's strength lies in its “frank and irreverent tone”. “My conviction is that power can only be transformed if it is taken seriously – but ordinary people must resist the temptation to defer to the powerful."

The original music for the show has been composed by British-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A. 

The first interview will be broadcast on RT on Tuesday 17 April, at 11:00 London time. Subsequent interviews, edited to last 26 minutes each, will be broadcast on a weekly basis. The interviews and transcripts will also be made available online. Arrangements are currently being made with other licensees to publish longer edits of the series. For more information on the show, please visit worldtomorrow.wikileaks.orghttp://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) 

:: Who is producing “The World Tomorrow”? 

The show is being produced by Quick Roll Productions, a company established by Julian Assange. 
The main production partner is Dartmouth Films, a UK producer of independent films. Indispensable help and advice has been received from friends and supporters of WikiLeaks. If your network is interested in licensing the show, please visit the website of the distributor, Journeyman Pictures (http://www.journeyman.tv/63130/about-us/how-to-find-us.html). 

:: What has RT got to do with “The World Tomorrow”? 

RT is the first broadcast licensee of the show, but has not been involved in the production process. All editorial decisions have been made by Julian Assange. RT's rights encompass the first release of 26-minute edits of each episode in English, Spanish and Arabic.

:: Will the full material recorded during the interviews be made available? 

We are devoted to making available as much material as possible within the constraints of Julian's circumstances. Longer edits of the episodes will be released in due course, and transcripts of the interviews will be published on the show's independent website, worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org. (http://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org./) 

:: Who is Julian Assange? 

Julian Assange is an Australian-born publisher, entrepreneur and internet activist. He is the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, which he founded in 2006. Since then, WikiLeaks has been responsible for releasing the biggest leaks in history, including the Afghan (http://wikileaks.org/afg/) and Iraq (http://wikileaks.org/irq/) War Logs, the Collateral Murder Video (http://collateralmurder.com/), Cablegate (http://wikileaks.org/cablegate.html) and the Global Intelligence File (http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html)s. Julian and WikiLeaks have received a number of awards for journalism and campaigning, including: The Economist Award for Freedom of Expession (2008), the Amnesty International Media Award (2009), the Le Monde Person of the Year (2010), The Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal (2011), the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (2011) and the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2011). He won the popular vote for TIME Person of the Year 2010. 

:: What is the current status of Julian Assange? 

As of Friday 13 April 2012, Julian has been under house arrest (http://justice4assange.com/), without charge, for 492 days. This follows on from his imprisonment in solitary confinement, also without charge, in December 2010. Julian is currently residing at a supporter's home in the English countryside, as dictated by his bail conditions. He is forced to wear an electronic manacle around his ankle at all times. Monitoring units are installed in the house and report to the British government via the security contractor, G4S (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/mar/16/mubenga-g4s-face-charges-death). 

A closed United States Grand Jury investigation into Julian Assange has been active in the USA for 574 days. Julian is currently awaiting the result of his UK Supreme Court appeal against his extradition to Sweden (http://www.swedenversusassange.com/). Information leaked to WikiLeaks from the email accounts of US private intelligence agency Stratfor (the “shadow CIA (http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/stratfor-wanted-assange-out-any-means)”), show that the United States government issued a sealed indictment (http://wikileaks.org/Stratfor-Emails-US-Has-Issued.html) against Julian Assange as early as January 2011. 

More info: http://justice4assange.com/

:: What is the current status of WikiLeaks? 

Despite 495 days of unlawful financial blockade (http://www.wikileaks.org/Banking-Blockade.html) by a cartel made up of VISA, Mastercard, the Bank of America, Western Union and PayPal, and despite severe restrictions on the liberty of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks is continuing its operations as normal, to the best of its abilities. On Monday 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Global Intelligence Files (http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html), over five million emails from Texas-based “global intelligence” firm Stratfor. WikiLeaks is conducting its activities in conjunction with over ninety media partners all over the globe. A number of formal actions against the banking blockade are active in Europe and South America. 

More info: http://wikileaks.org/Banking-Blockade

http://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org/
http://justice4assange.com/
http://wikileaks.org
http://wikileaks.org/Banking-Blockade.html

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/gunqv7

 
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Hi, it's Nathan!Pretty much everyone is using voice search with their Siri/Google/Alexa to ask for services and products now, and next year, it'll be EVERYONE of your customers. Imagine what you are ...
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Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that Thank you for lunch! Whenever you ha...
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