Archive for January, 2014

Russian Bank Halts All Cash Withdrawals

Posted in Conspiracy, Science, Sprituality, Uncategorized on January 31, 2014 by betweentwopines

Tyler Durden's picture

It would appear the fears of a global bank run are spreading. From HSBC’s limiting large cash withdrawals (for your own good) to Lloyds ATMs going down, Bloomberg reports that ‘My Bank’ – one of Russia’s top 200 lenders by assets – has introduced a complete ban on cash withdrawals until next week. While the Ruble has been losing ground rapidly recently, we suspect few have been expecting bank runs in Russia. Russia sovereign CDS had recently weakned to 4-month wides at 192bps.

Via Bloomberg,

Lender has introduced complete ban on cash withdrawals until end of week, news agency reports, citing unidentified person in call center.

Bank spokeswoman declined to comment by phone

My Bank is top 200 lender by assets: Prime

NOTE: Central bank has revoked about 30 banking licenses since July 1 when Elvira Nabiullina succeeded Sergei Ignatiev as governor, compared with three in the firt half of the year

Interestingly, Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank has seen a 8.7% rise in deposits in December… it seems the Russian’s are realizing that bank deposits are nothing more than risky loans to highly levered entities…

Source  A PDF file

ATS  Thread http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995588/pg1

Celente – Disastrous Global Collapse & Riots Will Engulf World

Posted in Finance, Warnings on January 31, 2014 by betweentwopines

Today the man who remarkably predicted months ahead of time that the Fed would taper in December, and then again in January, warned King World News that people need to brace themselves for a disastrous global collapse and riots that will engulf the entire world.  He also discussed exactly what will trigger and then accelerate this tragic collapse and ensuing chaos.  Below is what Gerald Celente, founder of Trends Research and the man many consider to be the top trends forecaster in the world, had to say in this remarkable interview.

Eric King:  “Gerald, so far this has proceeded exactly as you predicted, with the first taper in December and the second taper here in January.  How bad will this get for the emerging markets?”

Celente:  “This selloff in the emerging markets, with their currencies going down and their interest rates going up, it’s going to be disastrous and there are going to be riots everywhere….

“Now let’s get this straight:  These countries are raising interest rates in order to protect their currencies as their economies are declining.  Brilliant.  That’s the exact opposite strategy for growth.  So as the decline in their economies accelerates, you are going to see the civil unrest intensify.

You already see what’s going on in the Ukraine and in Turkey.  You are going to see this spread to India and Europe.  The people are restless and they are waking up to the corruption that’s going on throughout the world, and how the elites are taking almost everything, and how almost everybody else is left with nothing.

If you want to know a business that will thrive in 2014, it may well be guillotines because these are ‘Off with their heads’ moments.  When you are hearing these people from Davos demeaning the people for complaining that far too few have much too much, and way too many have much too little, and the Davos horde compares it to ‘Krystallnacht,’ the German tragedy, you know that the Davos elites have lost their minds and they are completely out of touch with reality.

This situation is going to get very ugly as the world continues to unravel.  Look at what just happened in the Ukraine:  They just repealed the law that prohibited protests because it’s turning into a civil war.  The prime minister has resigned, and the riots have unnerved the president so much that he has just gone on ‘sick leave.’

Meanwhile, they just passed laws in Spain to stop people from protesting.  But all the laws in the world do not feed starving people.  All the laws in the world do not put roofs over people’s heads.  That’s why you are going to see heads roll.

The entire global financial system has been floating on the fumes of the US Federal Reserve’s Ponzi scheme.  So now with the Fed announcing the first tapering, and then the second, you can already see chaos engulfing the world as the Fed’s global financial scheme is collapsing.  This collapse is engulfing the entire world, from Russia, to South Africa, into China and emerging markets across the globe.  And the only way to stop this global route will be for the Fed to reverse course and dramatically increase QE.”

Source  http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2014/1/30_Celente_-_Disastrous_Global_Collapse_%26_Riots_Will_Engulf_World.html

ATS thread  http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995565/pg1

ATS thread:  1929 Stock Market chart update, coincidence or something else

 

Forget global warming, worry about the MAGNETOSPHERE: Earth’s magnetic field is collapsing and it could affect the climate and wipe out power grids

Posted in Science, Warnings on January 29, 2014 by betweentwopines

  • Earth’s magnetic field has weakened by 15 per cent over the last 200 years
  • Could be a sign that the planet’s north and south poles are about to flip
  • If this happens, solar winds could punch holes into the Earth’s ozone layer
  • This could damage power grids, affect weather and increase cancer rates
  • Evidence of flip happening in the past has been uncovered in pottery
  • As the magnetic shield weakens, the spectacle of an aurora would be visible every night all over the Earth

By Ellie Zolfagharifard

Deep within the Earth, a fierce molten core is generating a magnetic field capable of defending our planet against devastating solar winds.

The protective field extends thousands of miles into space and its magnetism affects everything from global communication to animal migration and weather patterns.

But this magnetic field, so important to life on Earth, has weakened by 15 per cent over the last 200 years. And this, scientists claim, could be a sign that the Earth’s poles are about to flip.

Scroll down for videos…

The Earth's protective field extends thousands of miles into space and its magnetism affects everything from global communication to animal migration and weather patterns

The Earth’s protective field extends thousands of miles into space and its magnetism affects everything from global communication to animal migration and weather patterns

Experts believe we’re currently overdue a flip, but they’re unsure when this could occur.

If a switch happens, we would be exposed to solar winds capable of punching holes into the ozone layer.

The impact could be devastating for mankind, knocking out power grids, radically changing Earth’s climate and driving up rates of cancer.

‘This is serious business’, Richard Holme, Professor of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences at Liverpool University told MailOnline. ‘Imagine for a moment your electrical power supply was knocked out for a few months – very little works without electricity these days.’

The Earth’s climate would change drastically. In fact, a recent Danish study believes global warming is directly related to the magnetic field rather than CO2 emissions.

The study claimed that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

The Earth’s magnetic field explained

Radiation at ground level would also increase, with some estimates suggesting overall exposure to cosmic radiation would double causing more deaths from cancer.

Researchers predict that in the event of a flip, every year a hundred thousand people would die from the increased levels of space radiation.

‘Radiation could be 3-5 times greater than that from the man-made ozone holes. Furthermore, the ozone holes would be larger and longer-lived,’ said Dr Colin Forsyth from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL.

The magnetosphere is a large area around the Earth produced by the planet's magnetic field. It presence means that charged particles of the solar wind are unable to cross the magnetic field lines and are deflected around the Earth

The magnetosphere is a large area around the Earth produced by the planet’s magnetic field. It presence means that charged particles of the solar wind are unable to cross the magnetic field lines and are deflected around the Earth

The magnetosphere is a large area around the Earth produced by the planet’s magnetic field. It presence means that charged particles of the solar wind are unable to cross the magnetic field lines and are deflected around the Earth.

Space agencies are now taking the threat seriously. In November, three spacecraft were launched as part of the SWARM mission to uncover how the Earth’s magnetic field is changing.

The mission plans to provide better maps of our planet’s magnetic field and help scientists understand the impact of space weather on satellite communication and GPS.

‘Whilst we have a basic understanding of the interior of the Earth, there is much we still don’t know,’ said Dr Forsyth.

‘We do not fully understand how the Earth’s magnetic field is generated, why it is variable and the timescales of these variations.’

The mission will provide a current map of Earth’s magnetic field. But historic evidence of its decline has already been found in a surprising source – ancient pottery.

Scientists have discovered that ancient pots can act as a magnetic time capsule. This is because they contain an iron-based mineral called magnetite. When pots form, the magnetite minerals align with the Earth’s magnetic field, just like compass needles.

WHAT IS GEOMAGNETIC REVERSAL?

Geomagnetic reversal

The Earth’s magnetic field is in a permanent state of change. Magnetic north drifts around and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so a compass would point south instead of north. The strength of the magnetic field also constantly changes and currently it is showing signs of significant weakening.

The Earth magnetic field is mainly generated in the very hot molten core of the planet. The magnetic field is basically a dipole (it has a North and a South Pole). Magnetic reversal or flip is the process by which the North Pole is transformed into the South and vice versa, typically following a considerable reduction in the strength of the magnetic field. However, weakening of the magnetic field does not always result in a reversal.

During a reversal, scientists expect to see more complicated field pattern at the Earth’s surface, with perhaps more than one North and South Pole at any given time. The overall strength of the field, anywhere on the Earth, may be no more than a tenth of its strength now.

The Earth's magnetic field is generated in the very hot molten core of the planet. Scientists believe Mars used to have a magnetic field similar to that on Earth which protected its atmosphere

The Earth’s magnetic field is generated in the very hot molten core of the planet. Scientists believe Mars used to have a magnetic field similar to that on Earth which protected its atmosphere

By examining pottery from prehistory to modern times, scientists have discovered just how dramatically the field has changed in the last few centuries.

They’ve found that Earth’s magnetic field is in a permanent state of flux. Magnetic north drifts and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so a compass would point south instead of north.

If the magnetic field continues to decline, over billions of years, Earth could end up like Mars – a once oceanic world that has become a dry, barren planet incapable of supporting life.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF A MAGNETIC FLIP?

Pole reversal

Life has existed on the Earth for billions of years, during which there have been many reversals.

There is no obvious correlation between animal extinctions and those reversals. Likewise, reversal patterns do not have any correlation with human development and evolution.

It appears that some animals, such as whales and some birds use Earth’s magnetic field for migration and direction finding.

Since geomagnetic reversal takes a number of thousands of years, they could well adapt to the changing magnetic environment or develop different methods of navigation.

Radiation at ground level would increase, however, with some estimates suggesting that overall exposure to cosmic radiation would double causing more deaths from cancer. ‘But only slightly,’ said Professor Richard Holme.

‘And much less than lying on the beach in Florida for a day. So if it happened, the protection method would probably be to wear a big floppy hat.’

Electric grid collapse from severe solar storms is a major risk. As the magnetic field continues to weaken, scientists are highlighting the importance off-the grid energy systems using renewable energy sources to protect the Earth against a black out.

‘The very highly charged particles can have a deleterious effect on the satellites and astronauts,’ added Dr Mona Kessel, a Magnetosphere discipline scientist at Nasa.

In one area, there is evidence that a flip is already occurring. ‘The increasing strength of the South Atlantic anomaly, an area of weak field over Brazil, is already a problem,’ said Professor Richard Holme.

The Earth’s climate could also change. A recent Danish study has found that the earth’s weather has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field.

They claimed that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.

Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

But scientists claim the rate of decline is too fast for the Earth’s core to simply burn out. Instead, the story told by ancient pottery suggests the Earth’s poles could be about to undergo another flip.

According to the British Geological Survey, the Earth’s magnetic field has on average four or five reversals in polarity every million years and we’re now overdue a similar event.

‘At the moment, we cannot accurately determine whether or not the Earth’s field is about to flip,’ said Dr Forsyth. ‘We have only been recording the Earth’s field for around 170 years; about 1-15 per cent of the time a flip is expected to take.’

If a flip occurs, it would cause the Earth’s magnetic shield to be weakened for thousands of years, opening up our defences and causing cosmic radiation to get through.

‘We have a double layer defence shield,’ Jim Wild a space scientists at Lancaster University.

‘Space is full of stuff that’s not great for biological tissue. If we didn’t have an atmosphere, that stuff would be hitting us. It’s the magnetic field protects atmosphere from the solar wind.’

Mapping the Earth’s magnetic field

‘Some speculative studies have suggested that as the Earth’s magnetic field weakens we could see an increase in cloud coverage in the troposphere and an increase in the polar ozone holes,’ added Dr Forsyth.

‘This would be particularly evident in the northern hemisphere where up to 40 per cent of the ozone within the hole region could be lost, far greater than the current losses.’

In fact, in one area, there is evidence that a flip is already occurring. ‘The increasing strength of the South Atlantic anomaly, an area of weak field over Brazil, is already a problem,’ said Professor Holme.

Mapping the magnetic field: Why it matters

Not all of the effects of a weak magnetic field will be bad. The much sought-after spectacle of an aurora would be visible every night all over the Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere

Not all of the effects of a weak magnetic field will be bad. The much sought-after spectacle of an aurora would be visible every night all over the Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere

‘Satellites flying over have far more problems than in other locations. Astrophysical satellite are just switched off in this location, but from my perspective, this isn’t much good if you want to study the Brazilian rainforest.’

‘The very highly charged particles can have a deleterious effect on the satellites and astronauts,’ added Dr Mona Kessel, a Magnetosphere discipline scientist at Nasa.

Scientists however, are quick to point out that while a magnetic flip could cause problems for mankind, the event won’t be a catastrophic.

‘We’ve had many reversals in the past, and haven’t been able to show that they had anything to do with, for example, mass extinctions,’ said Professor Holme.

And not all of the effects will be bad. The much sought-after spectacle of an aurora would be visible every night all over the Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere.

There remains, however, much work yet to be done in understanding the properties of the deep Earth.

The Earth’s core is a hostile world where the crushing forces and temperatures, similar to that of the surface of the sun, take our scientific understanding and abilities to the limit.

‘This isn’t some crazy theory that might happen,’ said Professor Wild. ‘There is evidence, but we still need to do more science to understand the impact…I’m confidence we can come up with a solution.’

WHAT IS THE SWARM MISSION?

The SWARM mission

Swarm is a ESA satellite mission which was launched on 22nd November 2013.

The mission consists of three identical satellites which will precisely measure the strength and direction of Earth’s magnetic field. The new data will be processed by British Geological Survey to produce an accurate map of this field.

In order to best measure the field, the satellites will orbit in a unique configuration. Two satellites will fly side-by-side at height of 450 km, while the third satellite will fly at an altitude of 530 km.

The lower two satellites will allow very fine measurements of the magnetic field generated by the rocks in the Earth’s crust, which are difficult to detect otherwise. The upper satellite will give a simultaneous measurement at a different location.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2545465/Forget-global-warming-worry-MAGNETOSPHERE-Earths-magnetic-field-collapsing-affect-climate-wipe-power-grids.html#ixzz2rngTbC1Y
 Articles of interest

Let Banks Fail Is Iceland Mantra as 2% Joblessness in Sight

Posted in Finance, News on January 29, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Omar R. Valdimarsson

Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save.

Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal.

While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime MinisterSigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high.

“Politicians always have something to worry about,” the 38-year-old said in an interview last week. “We’d like to see unemployment going from where it’s now — around 4 percent — to under 2 percent, which may sound strange to most other western countries, but Icelanders aren’t accustomed to unemployment.”

The island’s sudden economic meltdown in October 2008 made international headlines as a debt-fueled banking boom ended in a matter of weeks when funding markets froze. Policy makers overseeing the $14 billion economy refused to back the banks, which subsequently defaulted on $85 billion. The government’s decision to protect state finances left it with the means to continue social support programs that shielded Icelanders from penury during the worst financial crisis in six decades.

Debt Relief

Of creditor claims against the banks, Gunnlaugsson says “this is not public debt and never will be.” He says his main goal while in office is “to rebuild the Icelandic welfare state.”

Though bank creditors, many of them hedge funds, are still trying to recoup their money, Iceland’s approach has won praise from the International Monetary Fund and from numerous economists, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

Successive Icelandic governments have forced banks to write off mortgage debts to help households. In February 2010, 16 months after Kaupthing Bank hf, Glitnir Bank hf and Landsbanki Islands hf failed, unemployment peaked at 9.3 percent. The rate was 4.2 percent in December, according to Statistics Iceland. In the euro area, unemployment held at a record 12.1 percent in November, Eurostat estimates.

“Even though the situation is a lot better here than in many other countries, having over 4 percent unemployment is something we don’t want,” said Gunnlaugsson, whose government was elected in April.

Welfare Spending

The government’s 2014 budget sets aside about 43 percent of its spending for the Welfare Ministry, a level that is largely unchanged since before the crisis. According to Stefan Olafsson, a sociology professor at the University of Iceland, the nation’s focus on welfare has been key in restoring growth.

The economy will expand 2.7 percent this year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s better than the average for the OECD-area as a whole, which will grow 2.3 percent, the Paris-based group estimates.

Still, Iceland’s efforts to resurrect its economy have been far from smooth, Olafsson said. Inflation, which peaked at 19 percent in January 2009, has hurt Iceland more than most other countries because most mortgages are linked to the consumer price index. Though the set-up protects investors, households see their debt burdens grow as prices rise. Inflation was 4.2 percent in December.

Inflation Pain

“Although we’re spending more on welfare matters today than before, we have to keep in mind that purchasing power has gone down since 2008,” Olafsson said in an interview. “On top of increasing spending in the health care and education systems, the government should place emphasis on increasing people’s purchasing power. That’s the biggest single task.”

Most of Iceland’s inflation has come via the exchange rate, which has been protected by capital controls since plunging 80 percent offshore against the euro at the end of 2008. Gunnlaugsson says any efforts to scale back existing currency restrictions will only take place at a pace that safeguards krona stability.

“It is a problem that can be solved, and can be solved quite fast,” Gunnlaugsson said.

The krona has appreciated around 10 percent against the euro over the past 12 months. Still, today’s rate of about 157 per euro compares with an average of 88 in 2007, a year before the island’s financial collapse. It slid 0.04 percent to 157.02 as of 12:50 p.m. in Reykjavik.

To support households, Gunnlaugsson in November unveiled a plan to provide as much as 7 percent of gross domestic product in mortgage debt relief. The government intends to finance the plan, which the OECD has criticized as being too blunt, partly by raising taxes on banks.

Capital Controls

Iceland’s hard-line against banks and their creditors has prompted warnings that the nation may struggle to find an investor base once capital controls are lifted. That hasn’t stopped the government issuing two dollar bonds since 2008.

Gunnlaugsson’s welfare pledge comes as other Nordic governments reassess their commitment to state-funded programs. Denmark has scaled back its universal welfare program as more citizens are means tested. In Sweden, a government that has delivered multiple rounds of income tax cuts looks set to lose elections this year as voters pine for a return to more state spending. Krugman this month cautioned Scandinavian governments against pushing through further cuts. According to Gunnlaugsson, government support and economic growth go hand in hand.

“First and foremost we of course want to see stability,” Gunnlaugsson said. “Increased political stability will mean more investment, more jobs, more creation of wealth, so that we can continue to maintain the Icelandic welfare state.”

Source  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/let-banks-fail-becomes-iceland-mantra-as-2-joblessness-in-sight.html

ATS Thread http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995251/pg1

A new hydrogel uses holograms to warn you about your health

Posted in Health, Technology on January 29, 2014 by betweentwopines

By

HP holographic display

The field of “holographic diagnostics” was pioneered just recently, and while it might sound like pure science fiction it is actually an extreme cost-saving measure that could change the way we monitor chronic diseases, and how we test for all kinds of harmful chemicals. Research conducted at the University of Cambridge was able to use a simple hydrogel laced with silver particles as an accurate, reusable indicator of a wide array of chemical situations. From monitoring glucose levels in the blood to stop-testing a shipment of drugs for counterfeit versions, this rather out-there innovation could provide some very real-world benefits.

One of the big problems for biological implants is signal transduction — in other words, even with a working sensor installed and running, it still needs to get that information back to the outside world. Wireless communication is unreliable and greedily eats through power supplies — but recent research has made real progress in using hydrogels as a sort of bio-compatible fiber optic cable, so implants can easily send signals to the surface of the skin. This innovation simplifies the pathway even further, removing the need for lasers to send the signal, and the need for computers to read it at the other end.

This simple diagram shows where the silver particles come into play in creating the hologram.

This simple diagram shows where the silver particles come into play in creating the hologram.

This new hydrogel concept uses a simple hydrogel that has been “impregnated” with silver nanoparticles. A specially developed treatment with a laser, just a single short burst upon manufacturing, aligns these silver particles in a three-dimensional hologram. When the hydrogel comes into contact with certain trigger substances (like glucose, or insulin) it will physically deform relative to the concentration of the chemical. So, a higher blood glucose level results in a more deformed gel — which naturally adjusts the color of the hologram.

This allows the hologram to have analog output of information. That is, it can display not just a binary yes-no on healthy blood glucose, but can slowly darken to let the user know when they are approaching unsafe levels. The system calls to mind the sorts of color-comparison charts used in litmus tests, though it could potentially have many more applications. Where litmus paper responds only to pH as the input, this hydrogel can be tuned to respond to a wide array of chemicals (and other pressures, including pH). The paper uses mostly pH experiments to prove its point, but blood glucose monitoring experiments are currently ongoing at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

No, not THIS kind of holographic diagnosis.

No, not this kind of holographic diagnosis.

Still, we do have accurate, analog chemical testing devices already. What really sets this process apart is that the hydrogel can be manufactured in just a few seconds, and for a relative pittance. These gel devices could be useful at border crossings and truck-stops to verify the identity of a chemical or medical shipment, or give aid workers a cheap and disposable test for everything from disease to the purity of drinking water. If cheap and available enough, a version could even be used for things like testing recreational drugs for purity. In all, the team claims their technology can test the blood, breath, urine, saliva or tear fluid for virtually anything, from alcohol to hormones to drugs — or even bacteria.

This tech combines quick response time with low cost and ease of use, which is the trio of virtues needed to have any hope of breaking into the mass market. The team is working on a preliminary smartphone-based solution for easy home monitoring. The team hastens to point out that their research is not meant to replace the family doctor, and indeed would most likely be deployed on a doctor’s request. Rather, they hope to allow patients an easy way to monitor health, one which could cut down on the endless, routine checkups that often clog doctors’ schedules.

The basic breakthrough here is in engineering a cheap and easily made substance that physically responds to any chemical pressures that we decide in advance. That’s a fundamental breakthrough, and one that could allow truly amazing innovations on a not-so-distant timescale.

Source  http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/175486-a-new-hydrogel-uses-holograms-to-warn-you-about-your-health

Google acquires human-like AI company for $500 million, Skynet is now a real possibility

Posted in ATS Thread, Conspiracy, Military, Science, Technology on January 29, 2014 by betweentwopines

Terminator 2, Google's Judgment Day

Continuing its rather intimidating streak of acquisitions, Google has acquired the British artificial intelligence company DeepMind for around $500 million. There is no doubt that this acquisition is linked to Google’s hiring of futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil, and the string of eight robotics acquisitions that ended last year with the purchase of Boston Dynamics, one of the world’s biggest names in robotics. We would not be surprised if there was also a connection to Google’s acquisition of Nest, Google Glass, and its Calico life-extension project. All the pieces are now in place for a Google-created Skynet and the robotic Judgment Day apocalypse that would surely follow.

Despite the exorbitant price tag of $400 million, there’s sadly very little public information about DeepMind. In the last few years I have noticed a slightly worrying trend where many acquired companies don’t even have a functioning website — and DeepMind is no different. According to our own in-house neuroscientist, John Hewitt, DeepMind appears to be in the business of creating artificial general intelligence (AGI). The co-founder and apparent brains of the operation, Demis Hassabis, has published some papers on AGI.

Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot. Click to zoom in.

Google now owns Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot. Imagine if it was equipped with a strong AI. Hello, Judgment Day!

AGI (sometimes referred to as strong AI) is different from conventional AI (weak AI) in the sense that it is capable of performing (and learning from) very general tasks. Most AI (weak AI) is programmed to perform a very specific task, such as decoding house signs in Google Streetview, or IBM’s Jeopardy-playing Watson. AGI, on the other hand, is programmed so that it solves problems in a much more human way. Where weak AI is usually characterized by speed and accuracy, strong AI is more closely linked to reasoning, planning, self-awareness, consciousness, and communicating in natural language. In other words, if you want to build useful, human-like robots, you need a really good AGI.

Building an AGI, as you can imagine, is rather difficult. Ray Kurzweil, in his 2005 book The Singularity is Near, speculates that human-level machine intelligence (the technological singularity) should be possible sometime between 2015 and 2045, depending on the rate at which computing power grows. There are numerous groups, including IBM, who are trying to emulate neurons and synapses within supercomputers, with the hope of understanding how we might eventually build an AGI. Ben Goertzel, who has done a lot of research into AGIs, is currently working on writing software (OpenCog) that will imbue a humanoid robot with the intelligence of a human toddler, but there’s no timeline for the (hopeful) success of this project. (Read: How to create a mind, or die trying.)

At this point, we have absolutely no clue how advanced DeepMind’s AGI is. Presumably, if Google saw fit to pay $500 million, there must be something juicy worth acquiring. Furthermore, inside sources say that Facebook was DeepMind’s original suitor, but for some reason the deal fell through, allowing Google to step in. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the fruits of Google’s recent robotics and AI acquisitions, but who knows — it wouldn’t be that surprising if we never hear about DeepMind ever again. $500 million is a drop in Google’s estimated $60 billion in cash reserve ocean.

Terminator, looking menacing

As an interesting aside, according to two people familiar with the deal, Google agreed to set up an “ethics board” that will govern how the company can and can’t use DeepMind’s technology. DeepMind pushed for this arrangement. We don’t have any more details at the moment, but presumably we’re talking about a group of people who will try to prevent Google from turning into Skynet. Yes, Google might become the first big corporation to enact Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. The three laws are: 1) a robot may not injure a human through action or inaction. 2) a robot must obey orders given by humans, except where it conflicts with the first law. 3) a robot must protect its own existence, as long as it does not conflict with the first or second law.

Source  http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/175424-google-acquires-human-like-ai-company-for-500-million-skynet-is-now-a-real-possibility

ATS Thread http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995263/pg1

Drug company launches global hunt for ‘superhumans’

Posted in Drugs, Health, Technology on January 29, 2014 by betweentwopines

A pharmaceutical company hopes that finding people with extraordinary characteristics could lead to new medicines

 

A Shi'ite Muslim walks on fire at a ceremony during the Ashura festival at a mosque in  Yangon, Myanmar

 

A drug maker has enlisted the help of the general public to track down people with extraordinary characteristics whose genetic make-up could form the basis of new medicines.

UCB, a Belgian pharmaceutical company, has launched a competition to find and describe individuals, families or communities who possess rare characteristics such as low sensitivity to pain or the ability to heal from injury quickly.

It hopes that the submissions will identify groups who have previously gone unnoticed by medical researchers and that the genetic basis of their abilities can be used to develop new drugs.

Dr Duncan McHale, vice president of global exploratory development at UCB said he had an “open mind” about what kind of traits would be most useful to explore.

“For example, individuals or groups who exhibited exceptional wound healing after surgery or trauma might warrant further investigation. Equally, those who have consistently displayed exceptional resistance or immunity to infections, or who, after a robust clinical diagnosis, displayed unusually fast or spontaneous disease remission might be the basis for a winning submission,” he said.

 

Dame Kay Davies, director of the Medical Research Council’s functional genomics unit at the University of Oxford said UCB’s approach “potentially holds much promise”.

 

Extraordinary individuals have inspired medical research in the past, but tracking them down has proven difficult, especially since those with protective traits may never come into contact with a medical professional.

 

A ten-year-old Pakistani street performer’s ability to cut himself with knives and walk on burning coals without experiencing pain caught the attention of researchers in 2006. Scientists have since discovered that he and a handful of other people in the region lack a particular protein on the surface of their nerves and hope to replicate this trait to treat severe pain.

 

A new osteoporosis drug, currently in late stage clinical trials, is based on the study of an Afrikaner community in South Africa with exceptionally strong and dense bones.

The best submission will be awarded $10,000 (£6,020), and extra bonus awards of at least $1,000 will go to entrants judged to have provided an “especially interesting or relevant entry”

Source  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/10601974/Drug-company-launches-global-hunt-for-superhumans.html

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ATS Thread  http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995272/pg1