Thursday, April 13, 2017

Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Winner Announced

And the winner is… quite possibly, humankind. XPRIZE and the Qualcomm Foundation, during a ceremony held last night in Hollywood, announced that the Final Frontier Medical Devices team won the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition. Final Frontier, which hails from Philadelphia and was led by emergency room medic Dr. Basil Harris and his brother, Geroge Harris, a network engineer, accepted the $2.6 million top prize.


The not-for-profit organization XPRIZE Foundation and communications giant Qualcomm launched the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition in 2012, challenging anyone or any team to develop a practical, lightweight, mobile, real-world version of Star Trek's fictional Tricorder that everyday people could use at home, without the presence of a doctor or health care provider, to evaluate health issues.



The evening began with Robert Picardo reprising the Doctor's famous phrase from Star Trek: Voyager: "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," which proved quite fitting for the event. Picardo then introduced Peter Diamandis, the founder of XPRIZE, who called the ceremony "the culmination of five years of work" that began at CES 2012, when the competition was announced. Diamandis related that April 12 is a momentous date, the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned space flight. The first space shuttle launch took place on April 12 in 1981. "And," he noted, "today we add another with Tricorder XPRIZE."



Diamandis then introduced Qualcomm's executive chairman and chairman of the board, Dr. Paul E. Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs revealed that he headed a Star Trek fan club as a kid, and Diamandis commented that as a child his world was largely shaped by the Apollo program and Star Trek. He also relayed that part of the competition's genesis was an on-stage interview Kara Swisher (then of Wall Street Journal) conducted with former Apple iPod creator Jon Rubinstein, where Swisher asked what future-leaning technology was next to be created and Rubinstein answered by citing the Tricorder.





The pair then brought out Rod Roddenberry, Gene's son and head of the Roddenberry Foundation, who addressed the significance of the Tricorder and his father's vision. Roddenberry explained how important real science was to his father, who insisted that Star Trek needed to feel real. Roddenberry also referenced the cycle of how the art of Star Trek has fed real-world science and tech, and how that has in turn nurtured the imaginations of a new generation of creators.



Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE, then took the stage to share his organization's philosophy. "The prize is the mechanism, but impact is the goal," he said. Through global competition "[We want] to incentivize the needle in the haystack to come to you." The goal is to spur a critical mass of diverse teams and rapid experimentation to drive development forward rapidly. And, he added, the specific goal of the XPRIZE competitions is to foster 10x improvement over existing tech.



Audience members were informed that the Tricorder XPRIZE Competition kicked off with more than 300 teams participating, a figure that over time was winnowed down to 30, then 10, then 6, and involved extensive collaboration with U.C. San Diego to validate the devices and clinical data. Twenty-one judges evaluated the devices and thousands of pages of results and documentation to determine finalists and winners.

And then it was time announce the winners and their prizes:



The Bold Epic Innovator honor was awarded to the Cloud Dx team led by Dr. Sonny Kohli from Canada. They received a trophy and $100,000 prize.





The two finalists were Dynamical Biomarkers Group from Taiwan and Final Frontier Medical Devices from Philadelphia, PA. Many clinical solutions offer a 40% accuracy rate, but XPRIZE set a goal of a 70% accuracy rate of testing and user experience. Both groups combined to average 72% accuracy with their devices and 82% positive user experience with the devices.









DBG was named runner-up and accepted a check for $1 million. Final Frontier/Basil Leaf Technologies won the top prize of $2.6 million. A jubilant Dr. Basil Harris, at the end of his acceptance speech on behalf of Final Frontier, said, "The revolution in healthcare starts here."







StarTrek.com spoke to Dr. Harris in New York City the day before the Hollywood event, when he, executives from Qualcomm and XPRIZE, Robert Picardo and Dr. Chung-Kang Peng of Dynamical Biomarkers Group teamed up to ring the NASDAQ opening bell. He proudly showed off Final Frontier's entry, which is called DxtER. That's a mashup of Dx, which is medical lingo for diagnosis, T for Tricorder and ER for Dr. Harris' line of work. DxtER is an artificial intelligence-based engine that learns to diagnose medical conditions by integrating learnings from clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients. DxtER includes a group of non-invasive sensors that are designed to collect data about vital signs, body chemistry and biological functions. This information is then synthesized in the device's diagnostic engine to make a quick and accurate assessment.





Addressing the practical applications of DxtER, Dr. Harris explained, "It's really empowering for people to have a device like this in your home, that's giving you information that's real, reliable, that's giving you answers to questions you have, maybe in the middle of the night, when you don't have access to your primary care. Or maybe you don't even have a primary doctor, and this gives you the information to make a decision, when you need it the most. This has been an incredible, incredible journey and I'm so proud of what we've created, what my team has done. And if we move that ball forward just a little bit, this technology is coming."

Other details of note from the awards presentation:




Lowes announced that they would commit to retail shelf space and distribution for final product once ready for market.

Award-winning documentarian Morgan Spurlock was on hand with a camera crew. He went on stage to reveal that he's shooting a documentary about the competition and resulting devices.

XPRIZE also announced the continued support and involvement of the FDA and clinical testing assistance with UCSD, through 2020. Qualcomm announced an additional $2.5 million grant to UCSD to help support continued clinical trials to improve the Tricorder technology and noted that funds not disbursed to winning teams would be utilized for further development and initiating testing of the technology in real-world situations at a hospital in Mozambique. A final announcement came with the word that the Roddenberry Foundation would provide an additional grant of $1.6 million to fund the testing in Mozambique.
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The Mysterious Origins of Civilization: John Anthony West in conversation with Graham Hancock

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN...

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN...
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good, because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.
With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take, because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan, because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.
He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat, because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents, because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean, because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees, because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation, because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards.
Joes employer pays these standards, because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check, because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home, because of his temporary misfortune.
Its noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC, because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan, because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world, because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration, because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.
The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension, because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.
Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Animated Sheet Music: "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane

No road is an easy one, but they all come back to God...




From The Grapevine

This is good, all we need is Jason Bond...

"What I've been seeing posted ;
In case you haven't connected the news dots... Putin controls the largest oil company in Russia. He made a 500 Billion dollar deal with the CEO of Exxon Mobil. Obama put sanctions in place which stopped that deal. Russia then hacked into our government in order to get Trump elected. When the CIA told Congress this in September (James Comey was also in that meeting), Mitch McConnell refused to tell the American people, blackmailing Obama saying he would frame it as playing partisan politics during the election. Comey released the infamous no-information letter. Mitch McConnell's wife was picked for Trump's cabinet. The CEO of Exxon is now the Secretary of State. Wonder why our President has been so quick to dismiss the CIA's findings?.........it gets better.....
Here are some facts : Decide for yourselves


1) Trump owes Blackstone/ Bayrock group $560 million dollars (one of his largest debtors and the primary reason he won't reveal his tax returns)


2) Blackstone is owned wholly by Russian billionaires, who owe their position to Putin and have made billions from their work with the Russian government.


3) Other companies that have borrowed from Blackstone have claimed that owing money to them is like owing to the Russian mob and while you owe them, they own you for many favors.


4) The Russian economy is badly faltering under the weight of its over-dependence on raw materials which as you know have plummeted in the last 2 years leaving the Russian economy scrambling to pay its debts.


5) Russia has an impetus to influence our election to ensure the per barrel oil prices are above $65 ( they are currently hovering around $50)


6) Russia can't affordably get at 80% of its oil reserves and reduce its per barrel cost to compete with America at $45 or Saudi Arabia at $39. With Iranian sanctions being lifted Russia will find another inexpensive competitor increasing production and pushing Russia further down the list of suppliers. As for Iranian sanctions, the 6 countries lifting them allowing Iran to collect on the billions it is owed for pumping oil but not being paid for it. These billions Iran can only get if the Iranian nuclear deal is signed. Trump spoke of ending the deals which would cause oil sales sanctions to be reimposed, which would make Russian oil more competitive.


7) Rex Tillerson (Trump's pick for Secretary of State) is the head of ExxonMobil, which is in possession of patented technology that could help Putin extract 45% more oil at a significant cost savings to Russia, helping Putin put money in the Russian coffers to help reconstitute its military and finally afford to mass produce the new and improved systems that it had invented before the Russian economy had slowed so much.


8) Putin cannot get access to these new cost saving technologies OR outside oil field development money, due to US sanctions on Russia, because of its involvement in Ukrainian civil war.
9) Look for Trump to end sanctions on Russia and to back out of the Iranian nuclear deal, to help Russia rebuild its economy, strengthen Putin and make Tillerson and Trump even richer, thus allowing Trump to satisfy his creditors at Blackstone.


10) With Trump's fabricated hatred of NATO and the U.N., the Russian military reconstituted, the threat to the Baltic states is real. Russia retaking their access to the Baltic Sea from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and threatening the shipping of millions of cubic feet of natural gas to lower Europe from Scandinavia, allowing Russia to make a good case for its oil and gas being piped into eastern Europe.


Sources: Time Magazine, NY Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian UK......phew.....did you make it thru all of that?..."

Now, in lieu of doing the research myself...here is a somewhat better treatment from Truth or Fiction that works better than the above roving chatter....

(https://www.truthorfiction.com/donald-trump-owes-560-million-to-blackstonebayrock/)



Donald Trump Owes $560 Million to Blackstone/Bayrock-Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:
President-elect Donald Trump owes $560 million to Blackstone/Bayrock, a so-called collective of Russian oligarchs that have heavy sway over the Russian government and Vladimir Putin.

The Truth:
Claims that Donald Trump owes $560 million to Blackstone/Bayrock have been circulating for weeks on social media, but we couldn't find any documentation about how much, if anything, Trump owes those firms.
Any claims about Donald Trump's net worth, income or debt can't be verified because Trump hasn't released his tax returns.
It's not clear where, exactly, the claim that Donald Trump owes $560 million to Blackstone/Bayrock started — but it appears frequently in the comment sections of social media posts and articles about Russian hacking, Donald Trump and the 2016 election. The post cites a number of sources, but none of them include any specific claims about Trump owing Blackstone/Bayrock $560, or any money at all.
Rather, the source articles detail Trump's relationships with Blackstone Group LP and Bayrock Group LLC, and those firm's relationships with Russian investors and government officials. And, although there's nothing in those articles (or anywhere else on the web) to support the claim that Donald Trump owes Blackston/Bayrock $560 million — we'll provide a little background on what's known about Trump's dealings with the firms and their Russian connections.

Is Donald Trump in Debt to Blackstone?
Donald Trump is closely connected to Blackstone cofounder, chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and Schwarman has had dealings with Russian government officials in the past.
Schwarzman cofounded Blackstone in 1985 and today it has offices located around the globe — including China, Hong Kong, India and Dubai — and manages more than $360 billion in assets. In 2011, Vladimir Putin appealed directly to Blackstone to invest in Russia, Reuters reports:
The May 18 gathering was a radical departure for Putin, who normally receives foreign executives when they seek his personal blessing to close multibillion-dollar deals.
Speaking through an interpreter to guests including Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman and Abu Dhabi's Hareb Al Darmaki, he spelled out how the fund would work alongside foreign investors to buy businesses in Russia.
By 2014, Blackstone announced that it was "giving up on Russia" after its invasion of Ukraine resulted in a new round of sanctions, the Moscow Times reports:
U.S. and European sanctions against state-backed Russian companies to punish Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine are deterring Western investment.
Blackstone's decision was also prompted by the fact that it had not found suitable investment opportunities in the past three years.
In January 2016, however, the New York Times reported that Schwarzman sat on the board of international advisors for an investment fund backed by the Russian government and directly linked to Vladimir Putin from 2011-2014:
Mr. Medvedev wanted to attract overseas investors to the country's companies, and tried to entice them by matching state funds with private capital. The partnership with the state, the theory went, would reduce the investors' worries about the risk of nationalization and arbitrary regulation.
To further shore up support, the fund rounded up prominent investors to serve on the advisory board. Along with the TPG and Blackstone executives, the fund recruited Leon Black of Apollo Global Management; Richard M. Daley, the former mayor of Chicago; Kurt Björklund of Permira; and Chinese and Middle Eastern fund managers.
By lending their names to the fund's advisory board, these financial heavyweights were supposed to ensure that money did not flow to political pet projects. The first wave of deals focused on bread-and-butter investments in companies building out Russia's infrastructure and catering to the middle class.
Today, Trump remains closely connected to Schwarzman. In December 2016, Trump appointed Blackstone's CEO and cofounder to serve on the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which will be "called upon to meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his plan."
In the end, Trump has strong connections to Blackstone, and Blackstone executives have had business dealings with the Kremlin — but we couldn't find any direct proof that Trump is currently in debt to Blackstone, or even that it's connected to Russia today.

Is Donald Trump in Debt to Bayrock?
We couldn't find any public records detailing how much, if at all, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are currently in debt to Bayrock Group LLC.
But Trump's dealings with the New York-based real estate development firm have been well documented over the years. Bayrock has backed Trump projects around the world. Perhaps most notably, Bayrock was the primary backer of the the $370 million Trump SoHo luxury condo development that was completed in 2008.
Trump SoHo has become a confusing, tangled web. Not surprisingly, it's also been the subject of a number of lawsuits that have shed light on its financing — which is how it relates to the Donald Trump owes Blackstone/Bayrock $560 million claim.
First, Trump SoHo condo buyers filed suit claiming that they had been "defrauded by inflated claims made by Mr. Trump, his children and others of brisk sales in the struggling project" to create a false sense of urgency and force sales. Trump settled the suit in 2011, agreeing to refund 90 percent of original deposits, assuming no guilt, the New York Times reports.
second lawsuit filed by Bayrock finance chief Jody Kriss alleged that funding for Trump SoHo and other Trump-Bayrock projects arrived "magically" from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan. The lawsuit also alleged that "tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock's business model."
Questions about Bayrock's involvement with the Trump Organization quickly circled back to the development firm's principal players, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater. Arif is the Kazakh real estate developer and investor who founded Bayrock Rock. Sater, a native of Russia, had mafia ties and became a government informant after a "pump and dump" stock scheme. Stater has testified that he represented Trump in Russia, billed himself as a senior Trump advisor, and had an office in Trump Tower, Forbes reports.
In 2011, Trump testified about his dealings with Bayrock, and his knowledge of Russian investors, the Times reports:
Emails and testimony in several lawsuits show that Mr. Sater and Mr. Arif worked closely with Mr. Trump and others in the Trump Organization. Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif's overseas connections. In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed "numerous deals all over the world" and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump's office to meet him.
"Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif," Mr. Trump said. "And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw."
What sort of due diligence Mr. Trump did before jumping in with his new partners is unclear. But he, as well as many others, apparently missed some dark spots on Mr. Sater's résumé. Mr. Garten said the Trump Organization typically did a background check on potential business partners like Bayrock, but not on their individual employees, so nothing about Mr. Sater would have turned up.
In the end, it's clear that Donald Trump had a close business relationship with Bayrock, which relied on investors from Kazakhstan and Russia to finance Trump projects. But specific claims about how much Trump is in debt to Bayrock — if at all — can't be proven because that information hasn't been made public.
That's why we're calling claims that Donald Trump owes Blackstone/Bayrock $560 million"unproven" at this time.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:



The first in a long list of claims, that Donald Trump owes Blackstone/Bayrock $560 million, can't be proven.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Annuit Coeptis



 
The seal, the pyramid, it's unfinished. With the eye of God looking over it. And the words Annuit Coeptis. He, God, Favors our Undertaking. The seal is meant to be unfinished, because this country's meant to be unfinished. We're meant to keep doing better. We're meant to keep discussing and debating and we're meant to read books by dust cover.

Monday, April 10, 2017

3 Social Media Lessons From The Latest United Disaster

Social Media Marketing Strategy | Content Marketing Certified | Copywriting | HubSpot Inbound Methodology Certified

You'd think United Airlines would have learned from the "United Breaks Guitars" kerfuffle. Or from the backlash they received by not allowing several women to board their flights because they were wearing 'uncovered' leggings.

You'd be wrong. United Airlines still does not understand social media.

Here's the essential truth for brands: you don't control the message. That era ended more than a decade ago. The epoch of top-down brand communication is over.

Yet on a sunny Monday morning in April 2017, United is once again the top trending topic on Twitter, for all the wrong reasons.

On an overbooked Chicago-to-Louisville flight on Sunday, April 9, United asked for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for travel vouchers, a hotel stay and a rescheduled flight the following afternoon. Needing four seats to accommodate a United crew needing to get to Louisville to staff a different flight, United was only able to garner two volunteers to take up this offer. So, they went the involuntary route...to disastrous results.



First, the video of the doctor being forcibly removed from his seat, lifted by his armpits by a security officer so violently his face bounced off the armrest of the seat in the row opposite that left his mouth bloody, is horrifying. This man was dragged like a piece of luggage down the aisle and off of the plane, stripped of his dignity. You can plainly hear other passengers crying and screaming "this isn't right!"

Secondly: OF COURSE THERE'S VIDEO. It's 2017. Virtually everyone has a smartphone capable of shooting video and uploading it to the social web in an instant. When United decided to involuntarily remove passengers from their overbooked flight--an issue of their own making--and didn't consider the potential negative consequences of this decision, they made a critical faux pas in the social media era:

EVERYTHING IS ON VIDEO.

Compounding this terrible error in judgment, United's initial response to the outcry of disgust was to hide behind a press release in empty corporate blather, taking no responsibility for their actions:
As the deluge of negative social media responses and traditional media coverage wore on, United issued another carefully worded statement, this time from CEO Oscar Munoz, that still comes across as tone-deaf in light of the widely-viewed footage (note to United: apologizing to the other passengers on the plane for having to "re-accommodate them" is a bit, um, off):
3 Social Media Life Lessons From This Shameful Episode:
  • EVERYONE HAS A SMARTPHONE. Inevitably, the footage will show up on social media. Act accordingly.
  • Traditional Corporate PR is useless on social media. Consumers see through these smoke screens instantly. Don't post your press release on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn and expect a blind acceptance of your explanation.
  • You need a social crisis response protocol. Offer apologies. Take responsibility. Promise to improve your procedures (and do so). Accountability starts at the top and applies to everyone in the organization.
  • BONUS: Treat people with respect. Before they're customers or consumers or passengers or revenue sources, they're PEOPLE. There's your starting point.

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Lessons in Innovation from the Rocket Scientist who believed in Magic


He was bullied as a child, worshiped the devil, and died a mysterious death at the young age of 37.

Jack Parsons, a leading rocket scientist who helped launch America's entry into space exploration led a bizarre double life: respected innovator by day, strange cult follower by night.

Despite his oddities, Parsons was a classic innovator. Here, 65 years after his untimely death, we examine how Parsons' approach to innovation can help us today in growing our career, business and life.
"We are all born cowards"
Parsons believed that bravery was a big part of innovation. The power to innovate is in us all. But many of us are afraid to make a mistake, look foolish or rock the boat.

Innovation is all about new ideas and different ways of thinking, not conforming to the status quo. Yes, that takes guts. But exercising the freedom to "think" will generate rewards far in excess of risk.
"No man is worthy to fight in the cause of freedom unless he has conquered his internal masters."
The real battle is not "out there" but inside of us. Self-doubt is more potent than outside influence. Parsons knew that, so he made a point of taming his internal demons to free his mind. Only then was he able to develop rocket technology that would one day send humanity to the moon. Priority one is healing ourselves first so we can imagine, create and do.
"A tyrant does not make his tyranny possible. It is made by the people and not otherwise."
Millions blame outside circumstances for their plight, and while it's true the world can be a burden, it's also true that we often "allow" certain people, things and events to affect us, more than we should. The tyrant for many of us is time. Yet, we can control what we do and when we do it. In the final analysis, there are no excuses. We can, and we must, create the time and environment to make things better.

According to friends, Jack Parsons could accomplish more in a year than most people do in a lifetime.

What is especially amazing is that Parsons had no formal education. He would become a leading scientist entirely through his wild imagination and relentless determination.

Parsons is credited with inventing rocket fuel in the 1930s, space technology that was later used in the Space Shuttle, and helping to start the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, known for its robotic space research, later taken over by NASA. (Years afterwards, NASA would distance itself from Parsons, removing him from their history books).

Jack Parsons experienced brief periods of extreme creativity that were interspersed with long bouts of despondency and dejection. It's believed he was clinically depressed, a condition likely passed down from his father who died in a psychiatric hospital.

He was eccentric to say the least, giving his first wife a gun for her birthday. His idea of having fun was to ignite firecrackers in front of his colleagues.

A lover of science fiction, Parsons took a step into the wild side, joining numerous cults that worshipped the devil and practiced black magic. He once called himself the Anti-Christ.

There was no limit to Parsons' imagination, going so far as to practice a mystical ritual to summon a magical being called a "Moon Child" that would rid the world of oppression. (The Moon Child never appeared).

Rocket engineers were not taken seriously in the 1930's. But that changed in August of 1941 with the take-off of the first "rocket-assisted" fixed wing aircraft, thanks to Jack Parsons' solid propellant fuel formulation.

Parsons' fascination with the occult and magic attracted none other than L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame. The two became friends and business partners until Hubbard reportedly ran off with Parsons' girlfriend and much of his money.

That would be the beginning of the end for Parsons.

His luck continued to run out as he came close to being tried for treason, accused of giving classified documents to the Israeli government, where he had hoped to work. The case, along with talk of his black magic dabbling, led to the loss of his security clearance.

Without clearance to work on top government projects, almost flat broke, and increasingly viewed by the scientific community as an unwanted "crazy", Parsons was forced to take odd jobs as a car mechanic, manual laborer and hospital orderly.

At over six feet tall with dark, wavy hair and a fashionable mustache, the dashing Jack Parsons attracted many women into his life. There would be countless affairs, including those with the female staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In his final days, Jack Parsons was hired as an explosives expert in major court cases, and on Hollywood movie sets. 

It all came to a shocking end when Parsons was blown up in his garage laboratory - not from suicide, but a horrific accident, likely from one of his experiments with rocket fuel (although some have speculated he was murdered). The blast could be felt from a mile away. Upon learning of her son's death, Parson's mother was so distressed, she took sleeping pills and killed herself.
There are those in the scientific community who say Parsons' strange life was simply part of his genius. Others say he was brilliant but disturbed. Medical observers contend Parsons had a mental disability.

However history will ultimately judge him - the bizarre imagination of Jack Parsons took us into space. Today, our own commitment to creativity and innovation, can take us just as far.
John Marvel Whiteside "Jack" Parsons, born in Pasadena, California, became part of a group of rocket scientists who formed their own company called Aerojet in the early 1940s. The company sold rocket fuel to the U.S. military and was eventually taken over by General Tire. Even though Parsons was the energy and brains behind the company, he was kicked out for "unsafe working methods." Parsons is generally credited with igniting America's advancement into space and has a moon crater named after him.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

from the fabric we are made of






from the fabric

we are made of





New Bloc Québécois leader Martine Ouellet wants to break up Canada


Newly acclaimed Bloc Quebecois leader Martine Ouellet salutes supporters. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)


The mid-1990s were an exciting time to be a pro-sovereignty Quebec politician.
The Parti Québécois had a majority government. An agonizingly close referendum took Quebec to the brink of independence. The Official Opposition in Ottawa was Lucien Bouchard's Bloc Québécois — a federal party committed to the sovereignty of Quebec and the breakup of Canada.



In 1993, Lucien Bouchard was sworn in as leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, after his fledgling Bloc Québécois won 54 seats in Quebec on a promise to fight for sovereignty. (CBC)
Two decades later, it's a different story. The Parti Québécois is back in the opposition benches. And the BQ vote collapsed in the 2011 election, crushed by the NDP's Orange Wave in Quebec. The BQ was reduced to four seats and lost official party status. The Bloc did win 10 seats in the 2015 federal election, but its share of the popular vote in Quebec dipped below 20 percent for the first time.

For a party that was once synonymous with popular, charismatic leaders like Bouchard and Duceppe, the Bloc has seemed adrift for the past six years. It has had six full-time and interim leaders since the 2011 election.
We'll be really good neighbours, but sharing the same fridge is not a great thing for us and the rest of Canada. We'd rather have our own place. - Martine Ouellet 
Forty-seven-year-old Martine Ouellet stepped into the void last month, becoming acclaimed as the new BQ leader … a job that had no other willing and eligible takers.

But while the BQ appears to many to be a spent force in Canadian politics — and even in Quebec politics — Ouellet insists the BQ "is not a dinosaur, it's a phoenix."

Martine Ouellet is a mother of two and a mechanical engineer by training, earning her degree at McGill University. She was first elected to Quebec's National Assembly in 2010 as a member of the Parti Quebecois and would become the PQ's Minister of Natural Resources in 2012. She currently sits as an independent in the National Assembly.

She spoke to guest host David Gutnick from Montreal.

Click 'listen' above to hear David Gutnick's interview with Martine Ouellet. 

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Sperm to The Egg

Trying to get away from ourselves as we are...


We are always trying to get away from ourselves as we are, not so much the world, the reality we have come to recognize, that we exist in because it isn't the reality that we find satisfying, most comfortable and often seek to get away; via vacation, drugs, weekends, etc...we try and recognize that we are the center of the existence we are in...we are solely responsible for the reality we have come to accept...our reality is guided and influenced by our perceptions of the realities that exist around us... we are each God and Satan to ourselves, the good and the bad and each our perception thereof...

We do not exist in the true reality, we are always trying to find to enter the reality where we are all one. We seek to be born together...our individual reality is on the outside of the egg...our true reality, the universal reality is the egg to which we journey to be born into as opposed to be born from...

Gravity is the force of love...

The O'Reilly Factor with Donald Trump - SNL

Billy Cobham Tribute 5 solos 1968-1976 & more




Drum solos and hot stuff performed by Billy Cobham excerpted from the following performances:
**Horace Silver Quintet**
Jazz Omkring Midnat
Denmark TV 1968

**Mahavishnu Orchestra**
Munchen, Germny,
Olympia Jazz
August 17, 1972

Chateauvallon, France
August 23, 1972

BBC
August 25, 1972

**Billy Cobham Band**
London
Rainbow Theater
July 13, 1974

**Billy Cobham / George Duke Band**
Montreux, Switzerland
July 6, 1976

Digital Dream Machine

Turn off your lights and position your face a few inches from your computer screen. Begin playing the video and then shut your eyes. Interesting effects, patterns and colors should start appearing.

How Apple's Night Shift Compares to F.lux





Apple recently added Night Shift to macOS, which changes the color temperature of your screen based on the time of day in the hopes that it'll help you sleep better. Before the launch of Night Shift, f.lux was the go-to tool for doing this. Let's see how they compare.

Night Shift and f.lux (free) sound identical at a glance. They both attempt to reduce your exposure to blue light at night by applying a warmer color filter to your screen after the sun goes down. The similarities between the two end there though, and in typical Apple fashion, which one you use depends primarily on how much you like to tinker with settings.

F.lux Offers Way More Options to Tweak How It Works




Night Shift's (left) minimal settings are part of the appeal, but f.lux (right) offers way more ways to customize it.

The biggest and most important difference between f.lux and Night Shift comes in the form of your options for customization. With Night Shift, you can set when Night Shift activates, and then choose a color temperature on a scale of Less Warm to More Warm.

F.lux offers a somewhat insane variety of options. You can choose the temperature of your screen during the day, at sunset/sunrise, and at bedtime. You can choose from various color presets or create your own. There's even a Night Owl setting for those who actually prefer to work late into the evening.

Beyond that, f.lux also allows you to set how long the transitions between colors last, what time you get up on the weekend, and you can set reminders when it's getting close to your bed time. F.lux even includes several specific types of color effects, like a dark room mode that inverts colors, a movie mode that preserves colors while reducing certain lights, and a mode that automatically triggers the macOS dark theme at sunset.

Night Shift's Effect Is Less Noticeable


Since it's shipping with a commercial product, Night Shift is also a little less extreme than f.lux. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, Night Shift is targeting a broad set of people, whereas f.lux is filling a niche. F.lux breaks down the differences in a forum post, the main difference being in how f.lux also reduces blue-green light:



F.lux claims that Night Shift just doesn't reduce enough light to help with sleep. We know that the supposed effect here is about much more than just reducing the blues, but it's hard to say whether one or the other is actually better for sleep.

Regardless, Night Shift is much less intrusive because all it does is add a warmer filter to your display, and you can use it without disrupting your general computer usage that much, unless you're working on color correction in photos or videos. Even with all of the different settings tweaks you can do, f.lux has a much more noticeable impact because it does more than just apply a warmer filter; it changes the overall amount of light alongside the color.

F.lux Works On Older Macs (and Everything Else)


One little surprise that came with the launch of Night Shift on the Mac is its limited compatibility. For some reason, Night Shift is limited to the following Macs:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
Good news though, f.lux works on pretty much every Mac in existence (as well as Windows and Linux). So, if Night Shift isn't an option, you can get the same effect out of f.lux's default settings, so don't feel like you're missing out on anything special.

There's also the fact that f.lux is continually a work in progress, with small iterations being released pretty often and new landmark features added in at a steady pace. The developers behind f.lux are constantly talking about the research behind their work and making adjustments to the software as they go. I doubt Apple will show this same sense of dedication to a small little feature they tossed into their operating systems.

Regardless, Night Shift is still useful for a lot of people and the simplicity of its set it and forget it attitude means it'll be in use by a lot more people. If you want more options though, grab yourself a copy of f.lux.

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Climate change could make severe turbulence even worse

Fasten your seatbelt
April 6, 2017
Sofia Sforza via Unsplash

Climate change makes severe turbulence more likely.

Airplane passengers are in for an increasingly bumpy ride according to a study released today in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. Climate change is altering the jet stream, making severe turbulence more likely. The study builds on earlier work which found that climate change would lead to bumpier airplane rides. What makes the new research unique is that it quantifies how much different kinds of turbulence will increase—59 percent in the case of light turbulence, a 94 percent increase in moderate turbulence, and 149 percent increase in severe turbulence.

For the one in four Americans who are afraid of flying, any jostling could be considered severe. But like an earthquake, turbulence is rated on a scale. One is light—gentle enough so passengers may not notice it—three is moderate, or enough to jostle a drink, five is severe, and seven is extreme.
"Anything above five is by definition stronger than gravity," says study autho Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. "What that means is that anything that's not strapped in will potentially be projected around inside the plane. That would include passengers."

Shake, Rattle, But No Rolls


Turbulence happens when an air mass moving at one speed meets another air mass moving at a different speed. The meeting causes a sudden shift in airflow, leading air to move chaotically. It's a bit like trying to walk down the street on a particularly windy day, and being buffeted about in multiple directions. So, a plane moving into turbulent air may have its left wing hit by an upward gust causing the plane to bank right. Similarly, if both wings are suddenly hit by a downward gust, the whole plane might drop a bit, which isn't great for anyone inside.

Last October, an Air New Zealand flight from Ho Chi Minh to Auckland encountered turbulence so severe it was forced to turn around after two crew members suffered critical injuries. That same year, a JetBlue flight from Boston to Sacramento was forced to make an unplanned landing after it hit a patch of turbulence that sent 22 passengers and 2 crew members to the hospital. In 2015, an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Shanghai experienced turbulence that led to the injuries of 21 people. The plane made an emergency landing in Calgary, Alberta. And in 2014, a United Airlines flight from Denver to Billings, Montana hit turbulence so severe that five people went into the hospital.

Satellite observations dating back to the 1970s show that because of climate change, different parts of the atmosphere are warming up at different rates. At 30-40,000 feet, the low latitude tropical regions are warming much faster than the high latitude arctic regions (which is the opposite of what's happening on the ground). This temperature difference has always driven the jet stream, but as tropical regions warm up faster than the arctic, that difference grows—and the jet stream becomes both stronger, and less stable. Turbulence is coming along for the ride.

"Turbulence can actually damage planes," said Williams. "There was a plane flying over the Colorado Rocky's on the 9th of December 1992 through some extreme clear air turbulence—it would have been a seven [on the scale]. Six meters of the left wing broke off and one of the engines got torn off as well."

Plane engines,
Williams told PopSci, are affixed with aptly named, 'shear nuts and bolts.' The engines are designed to shear off planes if they become unstable. "The fact that the engine broke off probably saved the life of the people on the plane, because the last thing you want is an unstable engine kind of hanging off a plane causing instabilities."

This kind of damage is rare—in most cases turbulence is still more about comfort than safety, and there hasn't been a single plane crash due to turbulence since the 1960s. But even light and moderate turbulence will cause wear and tear on a plane. That means the need for inspections—for planes to be taken out of service and maintained—will also go up. It's a significant economic burden for an industry already operating on razor thin margins.

While the seasoned traveler may wonder why pilots don't just fly around the turbulence, the answer is simple: the pilots can't see it. Though we tend to think of turbulence as being associated with storms, the kind of turbulence Williams focuses on is related not to weather but to the jet stream, or the bands of strong wind in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

"We call it clear air turbulence to distinguish it from the other kinds of turbulence which is in clouds," said Williams. "The pilot can see the clouds, so he or she knows that the turbulence will be there and will avoid trying to fly through. But clear air turbulence is particularly hazardous precisely because it's invisible. It tends to strike when the seatbelt light is switched off and passengers are moving around inside the cabin." On average, patches of clear air turbulence tend to be more than half a mile tall (3,280 feet) and 37 miles wide.


Pexels
Clear air turbulence is particularly dangerous since pilot's can't see it coming.

Predicting Turbulence

Williams was able to predict increases in turbulence by running a climate model. He ran it first under control conditions, using preindustrial levels of carbon dioxide for the equivalent of twenty years. He then ran a second simulation where the CO2 is double that of the pre-industrial levels—roughly where we'll be by the middle of the century if we don't change our behaviors.

But climate models don't actually have this kind of turbulence built into them. "Williams took 21 vetted, commonly used indicators for turbulence and looked for those in the climate model," said Kristopher Karnauskas, a researcher in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder who was not involved in the study. "It's not just limited to one predictor of turbulence, because no one predictor of turbulence is perfect or always right, so he used a broad ensemble approach."

Williams then compared the control run with the elevated CO2 condition and calculated the amount of turbulence in both of them. That's how he found the increases.


Climate change will increase turbulence by a lot.

Why Models Matter


Climate models have come under fire recently, in part because to lay people they can seem disconnected from reality. That's why Karnauskas likes to use TV screens to explain how they work.
"With a climate model, you take the planet and you cut it up into grid cells like the pixels on a TV," Karnauskas. "Each of those grid cells knows all the laws of physics. It looks at its neighbors around it and says 'is it warm over there, is the wind coming from this direction, and then it marches forward in time." By being fed those base conditions, the model can make extrapolations about the future.
In fact, the only limitation of the study that Karnauskas notes is that it only uses one climate model, which he says limits our ability to categorize the full certainty of the results. But this isn't the first study to suggest that the jet stream is changing along with the warming climate.

Both Williams and Karnauskas have published studies that found that because the jet stream is getting stronger, eastbound flights from the U.S. to Europe will get faster, while westbound flights from Europe will be slower. This is backed up by real world incidents.

In January 2015, a flight from New York's JFK airport to Heathrow took only 5 hours and 16 minutes because the jet stream was so strong. Ordinarily, that flight takes longer than six hours. During that same period, westbound flights from London and Paris to New York battled such strong heads that they burned more fuel than expected, requiring stops in Maine for refueling

It's important to note that Williams' study only looked at the North Atlantic—its conclusions can't be extrapolated for other routes. At the same time, however, it's important to recognize the impacts that climate change will have on the aviation industry so that companies can better plan and prepare for everything from plane maintenance and repair to fueling.

"For decades, all of the focus on climate change and air travel was about how air travel is going to make climate change worse," said Karnauskas. "But this kind of study, and other studies around climate change making flight times longer, are a new wave of looking at that relationship. It's showing that climate change can feed back on the industry itself. It's not just that air travel affects climate—we know that's true. But air travel is being affected by climate change." 

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A Massive Dead Galaxy Existed Just 1.7 Billion Years After the Big Bang, but No One Knows How


We might be very wrong about how galaxies form.

For the first time, astronomers have spotted a massive, inactive galaxy from when the Universe was only around 1.7 billion years old, and no one can explain how it ended up there.

Our current understanding of galaxy formation states that all of the galaxies that existed back then should have been tiny and low-mass, and busy forming stars. Instead, this dead behemoth was already five times more massive than our Milky Way is now, all condensed into an area 12 times smaller, and had long finished its peak star formation.

If the discovery is verified by other teams, it means scientists will need to rethink the way galaxies form, and overhaul our assumptions about what happened in the first few billion years after the Big Bang.

It also suggests that there are plenty of surprises yet to be found at the beginning of our Universe.
"This discovery sets a new record for the earliest massive red galaxy," said lead researcher Karl Glazebrook from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

"It is an incredibly rare find that poses a new challenge to galaxy evolution models to accommodate the existence of such galaxies much earlier in the Universe."

While there are still a lot of unknowns about how and when galaxies start and stop forming stars, our best models assume that it happened a while after the origin of the Universe - meaning it would have been at least 3 billion years after the Big Bang before dead galaxies such as this 'red nugget' would have appeared.

In the time before that, research suggests that most galaxies would have been low-mass and busy making stars. For example, astrophysicists predict that 1.7 billion years after the Big Bang, our own Milky Way galaxy would have been a "messy little dwarf galaxy with just 1/50th of its mass today", But this new galaxy, known as ZF-COSMOS-20115, contradicts that model entirely.

The new study suggests this galaxy had formed all of its stars (three times more stars than in our Milky Way today) during a rapid star-burst event that occurred relatively soon after the Big Bang, and by 1.7 billion years into the Universe's history, it was already done.

That makes it what's known as a quiescent or 'red and dead' galaxy, which is common to see around the Universe today, but no one had expected one to exist back then.

"This huge galaxy formed like a firecracker in less than 100 million years, right at the start of cosmic history," said Glazebrook.

"It quickly made a monstrous object, then just as suddenly it quenched and turned itself off. As to how it did this we can only speculate. This fast life and death so early in the Universe is not predicted by our modern galaxy formation theories."

Researchers had previously found hints of these strange, early maturing galaxies, but this is the first time researchers have properly detected on.

To peer so far back in time, the researchers used the giant W M Keck telescopes in Hawai'i. They were looking for emissions at near-infrared wavelengths, to give them information on the presence of old stars and a lack of active star formation in old galaxies.

When they first spotted ZF-COSMOS-20115, they didn't think it could be real, Glazebrook told Gizmodo.

"We used the most powerful telescope in the world, but we still needed to stare at this galaxy for more than two nights to reveal its remarkable nature," said one of the researchers, Vy Tran from Texas A&M University.

What's needed now is follow-up observations using sub-millimetre wave telescopes - something that the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2018, will be able to assist with from outside the interference of Earth's atmosphere.

"Sub-millimetre waves are emitted by the hot dust which blocks other light and will tell us when these firecrackers exploded and how big a role they played in developing the primordial universe," explains one of the team, Corentin Schreiber from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Until then, it's anyone's guess how this giant dead galaxy came about so early in the timeline of our Universe, and you can bet that mystery is going to be keeping astrophysicists up at night for the months to come.

The research has been published in Nature.

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