NASA's Curiosity rover finds potential building blocks of life on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover finds potential building blocks of life on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, slowly making its way up the side of a towering mountain of sedimentary rock at the center of its Gale Crater landing site, has found fresh evidence for the red planet's past -- and possibly present -- habitability, scientists reported Thursday. NASA announced Thursday the nuclear-powered rover has detected a variety of organic compounds

These organic compounds, a requirement for life as it's known on Earth, were found in 3-billion-year-old rocks deposited on the floor of Gale Crater. While organics were discovered by the rover earlier, the age and variety of the newly analyzed samples strengthen the case for a habitable environment in the past.

"We found organic molecules in rocks from an ancient lakebed," said Jen Eigenbrode, a research scientist and astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Those organic molecules could have come from life."

In a second, potentially more significant finding announced Thursday, scientists reported detection of a seasonal variation in methane levels in the martian atmosphere. Background levels climb by a factor of three from winter to summer, indicating a repeating release of the gas.
Space Mars Rover Selfies

"Today, we're announcing the discovery of a repeatable, identifiable, seasonal pattern in the methane measurements," said Chris Webster, a senior research fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"Not only have we got this wonderful repeatability, but the seasonal cycle changes by a factor of three. That's a huge change, completely unexpected. And what it does, it gives us a key to unlocking the mysteries associated with Mars methane because now we have something to test our models and our understanding against."

A seasonal change in methane levels is exciting, he said, because 95 percent of the methane observed on Earth is the result of biology. In addition, methane only lasts a few centuries before it is broken down or escapes the atmosphere "so if we see methane in the martian atmosphere, that means something is happening today, it's being released or it's being created."

Methane in the martian atmosphere has been detected before, but only in isolated patches or plumes of higher concentrations, not in any repeatable pattern. Rising levels in the summer months, when Mars is warmer, could be an indication of on-going biology or it could simply be the result of purely geological processes.

In any case, Webster said the methane apparently works its way into the atmosphere from sub-surface reservoirs of some sort, places where non-biological geochemistry is going on or where microbial life might somehow flourish.

"The idea that best fits our data is the idea of sub-surface storage," he said. "So way under the ground this methane is trapped. ... We don't know if that methane is ancient, we don't know if it's modern. It could be either. We also don't know if that methane was created from rock chemistry or it was created by microbes."

But NASA managers say the new discoveries show the agency's Mars exploration plans are on the right track.

NASA currently operates three orbiters and two surface rovers at Mars with a new lander -- InSight -- on the way. The European Space Agency plans to launch its own rover in a few years and NASA is building a powerful follow-on to Curiosity, the Mars 2020 rover, that will be equipped with even more powerful instruments to advance the search for life.

"With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life," Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA science director at agency headquarters, said in a statement. "I'm confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries."

as seen @

Homni: The new superorganism taking over Earth

Is our species evolving into something new? Gaia Vince makes the provocative argument that humanity is transforming, and it is already having a huge effect on life on our planet.

    By Gaia Vince

2 July 2014

In Ancient Greek mythology, the Earth Goddess Gaia had nine titan sons, who attempted to control not just the Earth, but the entire Universe. I’d like to introduce another. It’s a new creature who emerged only in recent decades. But it’s a creature who is already as influential over life on the planet as the phytoplankton or forests that regulate global temperature, the weather and the air we breathe.

That new creature is us, or more precisely, what humanity is becoming. The entirety of our species, Homo sapiens, is evolving into a superorganism; I’ll call this new life force Homo omnis, or ‘Homni’.

We have now become the dominant force shaping our planet. Some say that because of our actions we have entered a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene, or the age of man. Homni is a product of this age, a product of human industrialisation, population expansion, globalisation and the revolution in communications technology, and he is immensely powerful. Homni can influence the biosphere, and has needs – currently, he uses 18 terawatts (trillion watts) of energy at any time, 9,000 billion cubic metres of water per year, 40% of global land area for farming, and a plethora of other natural and mineral resources.

Only time will tell if he will be a benign caretaker, or a monster that destroys life and with it himself. But there are clues, and here I will examine what Homni is, and what he means for our species, the planet and the rest of life on Earth.

Crowd power

To understand Homni, let me first take you down into the soil to consider one of the most simple and ancient single-celled organisms, an amoeba called a slime mould. It evolved some 600 million years ago, and occupies soils across the world, from Antarctica to the Arctic. For most of its life-cycle, the cell lives the unexceptional life of most amoeba. But sometimes, these single cells gather in their thousands to create an organism, encased in its own slime, that can creep, crawl, pulsate, grow tentacles and even negotiate a maze.

Scientists describe these slime moulds as ‘societies’ because of the way the individual amoebae work together towards a common cause, sometimes sacrificing themselves on the way. For example, if food is scarce in their soil patch, the amoeba coalesce together forming a tendril that creeps up to the light. Once it has reached the surface, a portion of them form a stalk above ground, by turning their bodies into hard cellulose – a process that kills them. The rest of the mould then climbs the stalk and waits in a blob at the top for a passing animal to transport them to new soils. All this, from the simplest organism.

The human brain is a bit like the mould. Each single brain cell, or neuron, cannot be described as conscious or sentient, and yet, when all 86 billion neurons are networked together, the human brain is far, far more than the sum of its parts, capable of thinking and processing ideas in original ways. We still don’t understand how thoughts or personality or behaviours are seeded and take root in this network, or how the neurons become organised to drive such processes, but somehow consciousness is created from the most prosaic building materials.

We can describe the intelligence, creativity and sociability of Homni as being comparable to the networked, linked-up, conversational accumulation of all the human brains, including those from the past who have left a cultural and intellectual legacy, and also the artificial ‘brains’ of our technological inventions, such as computer programs and Wikipedia. Homni is a global network of civilisations with a stream of knowledge already being channelled for human protection. Just as a cloud of starlings suddenly flips direction en masse, it is difficult to predict how Homni’s behaviour will play out.

But this is just one aspect of Homni.

'Artificial Man'

Not long ago, I sat in a rainforest in Belize, watching a troop of fire ants at work. Individually, each is a formidable beast, a few centimetres long but with a powerful bite. But together, they form what entomologist EO Wilson described as a superorganism of thousands of organised ants that systematically devours everything in its path, tearing down trees and crops and stripping the insulation off wiring and other electrical equipment. In some places the ants run a protection racket for other aphids and bugs, which supply them with nectar. And the superorganism has even figured out a way of surviving heavy rainfall, by clinging to each other and forming a floating life raft in times of flooding. Once they’ve exhausted their environment’s resources, the entire community ups and moves to pastures new. Ants are sophisticated farmers – pre-dating human farmers by more than 50 million years – and they also raise and milk livestock (aphids), they build complex residences, keep slaves, and wage massive battles that involve psychological warfare. The comparisons with humans are multiple.

Applying the idea of superorganisms to humanity is more complicated – individually, we are more autonomous than cells, or even ants. But over the centuries, the idea has emerged in many different guises. The Ancient Greeks imagined each of us as cells in the greater being. Others have referred to the roles that different parts of society play – such as generating energy or food – as analogous to organs in a body. The 17th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes also described society as forming an 'Artificial Man' that functions (through civilisation) in a way as to ensure its own survival.

Now, as we advance into the Anthropocene, we are seeing these ideas put into practice on an unprecedented scale. While individual humans or societies can exert a local or regional effect on landscapes, water flow or biodiversity, the impact of our superspecies is planetary. Homni now controls three-quarters of Earth’s freshwater supplies, has modified more than three-quarters of ice-free land surface, and modulates the planet's air, biodiversity, and oceanic chemistry and biology. Homni has even started littering space with telescopes, satellites and other artificial junk. Homni’s actions are like the environmental rampaging of Argentinian ants on a global scale.

Increasingly, individual people are less and less able to function independently in modern society – we rely on the superorganism to feed, clothe and power our many tools, to inform and heal us, even to help us reproduce through surrogacy or IVF. In coming decades, it is likely that access to the internet will have reached almost every part of the globe and, as we become more cohesive as a networked society, individuals who remain outside of the new superorganism will find themselves isolated culturally and technologically from what it means to be a human in the Anthropocene.

In the coming decades, it is also likely that access to electricity, sanitation and antibiotics will become near universal – thus, describing a human in the Anthropocene will increasingly assume a doubled lifespan and basic awareness of the scientific, geopolitical, cultural and social factors behind how the world operates. The result will be a new way of living that is almost akin to being a new subspecies. It is the new modern human that created the Anthropocene and gave rise to Homni, but it is Homni who now sculpts the new human.

Monster issues

And here lies an interesting paradox. Humans may have evolved through a process of natural selection – essentially outcompeting rivals to death – but as palaeontologist Tim Flannery says, this has led not to a "dog-eat-dog world", but to a cooperative society. He believes we are in the process of forming an interdependent global society with a set of shared beliefs – a "civilisation of ideas" – that will transform Earth into a more equitable and ecologically curated planet. It's an optimistic view of Homni, based on the fact that most people want to get on with each other and look after their neighbourhood environment. Whether, or to what degree, Flannery's altruistic view of humanity bears out is the big question.

Individuals may exert an influence over Homni to some degree, rather like the single neuron that fires off a signal, starting an original thought, which then progresses to a painting, song or an invention like the iPod. Or the individual who sends a single tweet that then becomes an internet meme propagating and evolving through the internet. The “tipping point” is thought to be low: just 10% are needed to hold a new belief before it spreads to the majority of the population.

Although individuals may be able to steer Homni to some level, it is far from obvious how we might do this to ensure our survival through the Anthropocene. Homni’s influence is already being seen in planetary changes unprecedented for millions of years, affecting humans and our relationship to the natural world. We are changing the climate by increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; we're reducing the planet's biodiversity, causing what scientists fear may be the sixth mass extinction in its history; and terraforming Earth's land surface with multiple megacities of concrete, steel and glass. Deciding as an individual to reduce freshwater waste, or cut my carbon footprint has negligible impact on the state of the world's rivers or global temperature.

Homni is essentially a concept – I invented him because our superorganism has characteristics that go beyond the simple accumulation of humans. In other examples from the animal world, like bee hives or ant nests, killing the queen results in the collapse of the entire colony. Homni has no single queen, though, and in this way he is as robust as a forest. It would take a catastrophe on an epic scale – an epidemic, massive environmental change, an asteroid impact, or nuclear war – to possibly kill Homni, leaving a straggle of human survivors.

But our impulse would always be to strengthen rather than kill Homni – we are social collaborators and most of our recent discoveries, inventions and successes have been born out of group effort. And the secret to ensuring a better Anthropocene is in recognising Homni's power, but also nurturing his human side, the side committed to improving relations with the neighbours and cleaning up the neighbourhood. Will we achieve this through global international agreements? Possibly. I think that increasingly, as we see through a network of eyes, in the form of the many powerful satellites and remote cameras that track individual trees in rainforests or reveal the extent of glacial carving, we will start to read Homni’s mind, and have more nuanced control over his actions.

Maybe then we will begin to use the power of Homni to restore and curate the planet. The alternative is too monstrous to contemplate.

as seen @

494. Requiem για ποιόν?

πιστεύεις ότι νοιάζομαι;
για όλες αυτές τις μικρές αστείες σου στιγμές
τα καθημερινα σου θέματα ζωής και θανάτου
τις θλιβερές σου αδυναμίες και τις γελοίες σου ανησυχίες.
αλήθεια τώρα: πιστεύεις ότι νοιάζομαι;

σε χρησιμοποιώ για όσο θεωρώ πως φέρεις αξία
και μπορώ να σου στραγγίξω όλη την ενέργεια.
ας μην περισσέψει, ούτε ψυχή ούτε όνειρο,
τίποτα απολύτως μέχρι να γίνεις και εσύ
ένα ακόμη σκιάχτρο που περιφέρεται άβουλο, φοβισμένο. κενό.

deutsch nepal - neris of tears

493. Ύβριν χρη σβεννύναι μάλλον ή πυρκαϊήν.

Έρχεται η καταστροφή και δεν μπορεί να γίνει τίποτα για να αποτραπεί.

Δέξου την.

Αφουγκράσου τον υφέρποντα φόβο, μύρισε τη σκατίλα στην ατμόσφαιρα και κάθησε παράμερα να καμαρώσεις την πρόβλεψη σου.

Στην ανάγκη μπορείς να την επιταχύνεις την καταστροφή, αλλά τότε θα υποβιβάσεις την ανάλυσή σου στην κατηγορία των αυτοεκπληρούμενων προφητειών.

Δεν χρειάζεται.

Ποτέ δεν χρειάστηκε μέχρι τώρα εξάλλου.

Κάποτε ρωτούσα για [...]
Ήθελα να μάθω επί του θέματος [...]

Η πανανθρώπινη - διαγαλαξιακή - υπερσυμπαντική  αλήθεια είναι μία και είναι:

Το μεγάλο ψάρι τρώει το μικρό, όταν πεινάει.
Ή αλλιώς ο ισχυρότερος συντρίβει τον λιγότερο ισχυρό, όταν κρίνει πως είναι μια κίνηση προς το συμφέρον του.
Κανείς που έχει σώας τας φρένας δεν πάει εν γνώσει του κόντρα στο ίδιο του το συμφέρον.

Όλα τα υπόλοιπα δηλαδή ιδεολογίες, συναισθηματισμοί, αγάπες, περί δικαίου αίσθημα, ανώτερες ιδέες κτλ είναι μπούρδες για να συγκινείται και κατά συνέπεια να ποδηγετείται η πλειονότητα των πιθήκων, αυτή αυτή... η νοητική πλέμπα. 

Amelie Lens - In Silence

492. 101 bitchez

Καμία ελπίδα. Κανένα έλεος.
Αυτά είναι συναισθήματα των αδυνάμων. Όπως και η ηθική ειναι κατασκεύασμα όσων δεν μπορούν να επιβάλλουν την θέληση τους.

Πού βρισκόμαστε?

Back to basics. 101.

Μην ξεχνάς. Η διατήρηση των αναμνήσεων είναι εκείνο που σε διαχωρίζει από τα γίδια τριγύρω σου.

NASA’s planetary defense system will be put to the test in October

An asteroid is set to speed by Earth this fall, which is exactly what NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is equipped to handle.

The flyby isn’t putting anyone in danger. Rather, it’s an opportunity to test the agency’s planetary defense systems in the event of an actual asteroid threat.

Asteroid 2012 TC4’s brief swing by Earth on October 12 isn’t expected to get anywhere closer than 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) to Earth’s surface. The space rock is considered small by asteroid standards, at about 30 to 100 feet in size.

But while scientists know 2012 TC4 won’t impact Earth, they don’t know much else about the asteroid’s trajectory. NASA tracked the asteroid for seven days after discovering it in October 2012, but that was the last time they saw 2012 TC4. In the past five years, it’s been too far away.

That’s what makes this flyby ideal for giving NASA’s asteroid technology a test run.

“This is the perfect target for such an exercise because while we know the orbit of 2012 TC4 well enough to be absolutely certain it will not impact Earth, we haven’t established its exact path just yet,” Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a news release. “It will be incumbent upon the observatories to get a fix on the asteroid as it approaches, and work together to obtain follow-up observations (that) make more refined asteroid orbit determinations possible.”

Michael Kelley, the lead scientist at NASA Headquarters for the TC4 observation campaign, said in the release that the flyby will test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network. That network includes more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs around the world.

NASA detects about 1,500 near-Earth objects a year. Small asteroids such as 2012 TC4 pass between us and the moon several times a month.

The NASA office finds and tracks these objects and figures out how to either deflect an object heading toward Earth or mitigate the effects of an unavoidable impact.

NASA is researching different techniques for keeping asteroids from reaching the planet, such as hitting asteroids with an object to slow them or changing the gravitational pull by putting another large mass nearby. It isn’t possible to shoot down an asteroid, so if worse comes to worst, NASA would work with FEMA to plan an emergency response similar to how the government handles hurricanes or earthquakes.

Luckily, Earth isn’t at significant risk of getting hit by any known asteroid for at least 100 years.


Neuroreality: The New Reality is Coming. And It’s a Brain Computer Interface.

The Virtual World

With the release of the Oculus Rift in March 2016, the age of virtual reality (VR) truly began. VR tech had been generating buzz since the 1990s, but the Rift was the first high-end VR system to reach the consumer market, and early reviews confirmed that it delivered the kind of experience users had been hoping for.

Virtual reality was finally real.

Research into VR exploded in this new era, and experts soon started to find innovative ways to make virtual experiences more immersive…more real. To date, VR technologies have moved beyond just sight and sound. We’ve developed technologies that let users touch virtual objects, feel changes in wind and temperature, and even taste food in VR.

However, despite all this progress, no one would mistake a virtual environment for the real world. The technology simply isn’t advanced enough, and as long as we rely solely on traditional headsets and other wearables, it never will be.

Before we can create a world that is truly indistinguishable from the real one, we will need to leave the age of virtual reality behind and enter a new era — the era of neuroreality.

Reality 2.0

Neuroreality refers to a reality that is driven by technologies that interface directly with the human brain. While traditional VR depends on a user physically reacting to external stimuli (for example, swinging a controller to wield a virtual sword on a screen) a neuroreality system interfaces directly with the user’s biology through a brain-computer interface (BCI).

Notably, this technology isn’t some far-flung sci-fi vision. It’s very real.

To rehash the basics: BCIs are a means of connecting our brains to machines, and they can be either invasive (requiring an implant of some sort) or non-invasive (relying on electrodes or other external tech to detect and direct brain signals). Experts have predicted that advances in BCIs will lead to a new era in human evolution, as these devices have the potential to revolutionize how we treat diseases, learn, communicate…in short, they are set to utterly transform how we see and interact with the world around us.

In fact, some companies are already innovating in the newly emerging field of neuroreality.


Robots that can read your mind a breakthrough for manufacturing

Those who wish others could read their minds will enjoy a breakthrough technology out of the lab of Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas. The professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois and his team have used brain computer interface (BCI) to control a robot (watch demonstration).

In its third year of funding, this National Science Foundation project has proven that human experts can look at an object on an assembly line and through sensors from their brain tell a robot to remove a defective object from a conveyor belt.

PhD student Yao Li demonstrates the technology which uses brain control interface to send signals to a robot.
“The robot is actually monitoring your thinking process,” Kesavadas said. “If the robot realizes you saw something bad, it should go take care of it. That is the fundamental idea in manufacturing we are trying to explore.”
In the virtual reality lab, Kesavadas and PhD student Yao Li have devised a system that runs parts through a conveyer belt; a camera takes pictures of the objects and relays those pictures to a computer screen. The operator, wearing a helmet with sensors, looks at those pictures on the screen. When the operator detects a defective object, the brain generates a certain frequency. That signal is then sent to the robot, which then removes the object from the belt.

The project, funded by the NSF’s National Robotic Initiative, uses a technique called SSVEP (Steady State Visually Evoked Potentials), which takes brain signals that are natural responses to visual stimulation at specific frequencies. When the retina is excited by a visual stimulus ranging from 3.5 Hz to 75 Hz, the brain generates electrical activity at the same (or multiples of) frequency of the visual stimulus. It essentially creates a frequency in the brain that matches the frequency of the object that person is looking.

“The signals from the brain are very similar for everybody and we know which part of the brain gives certain signals,” Kesavadas explained. “Implementing that in the real world is tougher in that through BCI, you have to pick up the signal precisely.”

Kesavadas indicates that in high volume manufacturing, robots can be programmed to detect the defect on their own, but that programming is often time consuming and expensive.

“Currently programming robots takes a significant amount of time and expertise and technicians who are fully trained to use them,” he said. “In high volume manufacturing, the time for programming the robot is well spent. However, if you go into an unstructured environment, not just in manufacturing but even in agriculture or medicine, where the environment keeps changing, you don’t get nearly the return on your investment. Our goal is to take the knowledge and expertise of the operator and communicate that to a robot in certain situations. If we can prove that process is effective, it can save significant time and money.”

Kesavadas has long been at the forefront at bringing virtual reality to medicine and directs the Health Care Engineering Systems Center on the Illinois campus. So while this technology has immediate benefits to manufacturing, he believes it can have an even greater impact on the medical field. For example, a paraplegic could tell a robot to bring a certain object to them simply by sending the right signal.

Kesavadas notes that while the technology exists, it requires a surgeon to place the sensor inside the brain.

“As we devise an external system to become much more consistent and reliable, it will benefit many people,” he said. “Surgically placing the sensors is a more expensive, invasive, and risky process.”

For now, Kesavadas is striving to ignite excitement in manufacturing to realize the technology’s potential. He presented his findings to the NSF in early December.

“Until now, there has been no research in using brain computer interfacing for manufacturing,” Kesavadas said. “Our goal at the onset was to prove these technologies can actually work and that the robots can be used in a more friendly way in manufacturing. We have done that. The next stage is to coordinate with industries that would need this kind of technology and do a demonstration in a real-life environment. We want industry to know the potential of this technology, ignite the thinking process and how they can use the role of brain computer interface as a whole to bring a more competitive edge to the industry.”


Humans can now move complex robot arms just by thinking

Most robotic arm systems required a very complex and very invasive brain implant… until now. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a new system that requires only a sexy helmet and a bit of thinking, paving the way to truly mind-controlled robotic tools.

“This is the first time in the world that people can operate a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in a complex 3D environment using only their thoughts without a brain implant,” said Bin He, biomedical engineering professor and lead researcher on the study. “Just by imagining moving their arms, they were able to move the robotic arm.”

The system requires an EEG helmet and some training. Whereas this sort of technology has been around for a while the researchers have finally perfected the control of complex systems using the motor cortex. When you think about a movement the neurons in the motor cortex react by lighting up new sets of neurons. By sorting and reading these neurons the brain-computer interface can simulate and translate the motion of your real arm into commands for the robot arm.

“This is exciting as all subjects accomplished the tasks using a completely noninvasive technique. We see a big potential for this research to help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases to become more independent without a need for surgical implants,” said He.

You can read He’s journal article here.

In previous experiments of this sort a patient who lost both arms in an electrical accident was able to control two robotic arms simultaneously thanks to systems jacked into his nervous system. This new system from He and his team promises to reduce the invasiveness of this sort of robotic control and let anyone control robot arms with their minds.


Revealed: How cyber-cops used 'psychological warfare' to take down two dark web markets

In an innovative blow to illicit internet commerce, cyberpolice shut down the world's leading "darknet" marketplace — then quietly seized a second bazaar to amass intelligence on illicit drug merchants and buyers. AlphaBay, formerly the internet's largest darknet site, had already gone offline July 5 with the arrest in Thailand of its alleged creator and administrator.

But on Thursday, European law enforcement revealed that Dutch cyberpolice had for a month been running Hansa Market. Like AlphaBay, Hansa operated in the darknet, an anonymity-friendly internet netherworld inaccessible to standard browsers.

AlphaBay's users had flocked to Hansa, which is largely based in the Netherlands. The announcements Thursday on both sides of the Atlantic sowed panic among the sites' tech-savvy buyers and vendors.

"The cryptomarket community [is] spooked," said darknet researcher Patrick Shortis, of Brunel University in London. "Reddit boards are filled with users asking questions about their orders."

In Washington, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions deemed the operation "the largest darknet marketplace takedown in history."

Darknet vendors are "pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic," he said, specifically citing cases of two US teenagers killed this year, one a 13-year-old Utah boy, by overdoses of synthetic opioids purchased on AlphaBay.

More than two-thirds of the quarter million listings on the two sites were for illegal drugs, said Sessions. Other illicit wares for sale included weapons, counterfeit and stolen identification and malware.

The police agency Europol estimates AlphaBay did $1 billion in business after its 2014 creation.
Dead in prison

A California indictment named AlphaBay's founder as Alexandre Cazes, a 25-year-old Canadian who died in Thai police custody on July 12. The country's narcotics police chief told reporters Cazes hanged himself in jail just prior to a scheduled court hearing.

He'd been arrested with DEA and FBI assistance.

Cazes amassed a $23 million fortune, much of it in digital currencies, according to court documents. He bought real estate and luxury cars, including a $900,000 Lamborghini, and pursued "economic citizenship" in Liechtenstein, Cyprus and Thailand.

A $400,000 villa purchase in February had already bought him and his wife Antiguan passports, a U.S. forfeiture complaint said. He used what he claimed was a web design company, EBX Technologies, as a front, the indictment said.

Just two other arrests were announced Thursday. Both were of Hansa system administrators in the German town of Siegen, who were taken into custody in June. Europol spokeswoman Claire Georges said they were not named under privacy law.

The US indictment lists several AlphaBay co-conspirators by title but not name. They include a security chief, a public relations manager and moderators. A US attorney handling the case, Grant Rabenn, would not comment on whether additional arrests were expected.
Hansa market
The hansa market has been seized by authoritiesEuropol
"Psychological warfare"

Nicolas Christin, a darknet expert at Carnegie Mellon University, called the one-two takedown punch "psychological warfare."

"It is definitely going to create a bit of chaos," he said, though after takedowns in the past buyers and sellers move to other former second-tier sites after a few weeks of turmoil.

But this time, Dutch police have upped the ante by craftily tracking darknet users, and that's expected to yield future arrests.

They began running the Hansa site on June 20, impersonating its administrators, collecting usernames and passwords, logging data on thousands of drug sales and informing local police in nations where shipments would be arriving. Dutch cybercrime prosecutor Martijn Egberts said Dutch police had scooped up some 10,000 addresses for Hansa buyers outside Holland.

Running the site was a challenge, Egberts said, with police forced to mediate frequent disputes between buyers and sellers. "It turned out to be a lot of work!" he said. "The biggest effort for us was to get the site going on a way that nobody noticed it was us."

Egberts noted with satisfaction that online rumours about other darknet drug marketplaces possibly being compromised were already spreading.

"This is the moment to show the world that you can't trust dark markets anymore, because you never know who is the admin," he said.
Millions' worth of cryptocurrency was seized George Frey/Getty Images

But seasoned buyers and sellers aren't likely to get tripped up, and will simply become more cautious, Christin said.

Darknet websites have thrived since the 2011 appearance of the Silk Road bazaar, which was taken down two years later.

Merchants and buyers keep their identities secret by using encrypted communications and anonymity-providing tools such as the Tor browser. The darknet itself is only accessible only through such specialised apps.

Cazes' own carelessness apparently tripped him up — not the underlying security technology AlphaBay used.

According to the indictment, he accidentally broadcast his personal Hotmail address in welcome messages sent to new users. And when he was tracked down and arrested in Thailand, Cazes was logged into the AlphaBay website as its administrator, it says.

Cazes also used the same personal email address — "" — on a PayPal account.

The success of this operation may only cause a temporary disturbance in illicit online markets. After a November 2014 takedown called Operation Onymous took down more sites, the illicit markets not only recovered — but grew.

For perspective, Christin said, a slow day for AlphaBay alone — one amounting to roughly $600,000 in transactions — would have been equivalent to a typical late-2014 day for the entire darknet.


Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say

Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the United States and other countries.

Among the companies targeted was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., according to security consultants and an urgent joint report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.

The joint report was obtained by The New York Times and confirmed by security specialists who have been responding to the attacks. It carried an urgent amber warning, the second-highest rating for the sensitivity of the threat.

The report did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were an attempt at espionage — such as stealing industrial secrets — or part of a plan to cause destruction. There is no indication that hackers were able to jump from their victims’ computers into the control systems of the facilities, nor is it clear how many facilities were breached.

Wolf Creek officials said that while they could not comment on cyberattacks or security issues, no “operations systems” had been affected and that their corporate network and the internet were separate from the network that runs the plant.
Continue reading the main story

In a joint statement with the F.B.I., a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said, “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks.”

The hackers appeared determined to map out computer networks for future attacks, the report concluded. But investigators have not been able to analyze the malicious “payload” of the hackers’ code, which would offer more detail into what they were after.

John Keeley, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, which works with all 99 electric utilities that operate nuclear plants in the United States, said nuclear facilities are required to report cyberattacks that relate to their “safety, security and operations.” None have reported that the security of their operations was affected by the latest attacks, Mr. Keeley said.

In most cases, the attacks targeted people — industrial control engineers who have direct access to systems that, if damaged, could lead to an explosion, fire or a spill of dangerous material, according to two people familiar with the attacks who could not be named because of confidentiality agreements.

The origins of the hackers are not known. But the report indicated that an “advanced persistent threat” actor was responsible, which is the language security specialists often use to describe hackers backed by governments.

The two people familiar with the investigation say that, while it is still in its early stages, the hackers’ techniques mimicked those of the organization known to cybersecurity specialists as “Energetic Bear,” the Russian hacking group that researchers have tied to attacks on the energy sector since at least 2012.

Hackers wrote highly targeted email messages containing fake résumés for control engineering jobs and sent them to the senior industrial control engineers who maintain broad access to critical industrial control systems, the government report said.

The fake résumés were Microsoft Word documents that were laced with malicious code. Once the recipients clicked on those documents, attackers could steal their credentials and proceed to other machines on a network.

In some cases, the hackers also compromised legitimate websites that they knew their victims frequented — something security specialists call a watering hole attack. And in others, they deployed what are known as man-in-the-middle attacks in which they redirected their victims’ internet traffic through their own machines.

Energy, nuclear and critical manufacturing organizations have frequently been targets for sophisticated cyberattacks. The Department of Homeland Security has called cyberattacks on critical infrastructure “one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront.”

On May 11, during the attacks, President Trump signed an executive order to strengthen the cybersecurity defenses of federal networks and critical infrastructure. The order required government agencies to work with public companies to mitigate risks and help defend critical infrastructure organizations “at greatest risk of attacks that could reasonably result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security.”

The order specifically addressed the threats from “electricity disruptions and prolonged power outages resulting from cybersecurity incidents.”

Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in an interview last week that while the security of United States’ critical infrastructure systems had improved in recent years, they were still vulnerable to advanced hacking attacks, particularly those that use tools stolen from the National Security Agency.

“We never anticipated that our critical infrastructure control systems would be facing advanced levels of malware,” Mr. Wellinghoff said.

In 2008, an attack called Stuxnet that was designed by the United States and Israel to hit Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility, demonstrated how computer attacks could disrupt and destroy physical infrastructure.

The government hackers infiltrated the systems that controlled Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and spun them wildly out of control, or stopped them from spinning entirely, destroying a fifth of Iran’s centrifuges.

In retrospect, Mr. Wellinghoff said that attack should have foreshadowed the threats the United States would face on its own infrastructure.

Critical infrastructure is increasingly controlled by Scada, or supervisory control and data acquisition systems. They are used by manufacturers, nuclear plant operators and pipeline operators to monitor variables like pressure and flow rates through pipelines. The software also allows operators to monitor and diagnose unexpected problems.

But like any software, Scada systems are susceptible to hacking and computer viruses. And for years, security specialists have warned that hackers could use remote access to these systems to cause physical destruction.


Russia Is Building an AI-Powered Missile That Can Think for Itself


Russia wants to develop a new generation of weapons with built-in AI, according to weapons manufacturers and defense officials. These truly smart weapons could, in principle, choose their own targets, taking warfare to a dangerous new level.

Today’s most advanced weapons are already capable of “making decisions” using built-in smart sensors and tools. However, while these weapons rely on some sort of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, they typically don’t have the ability to choose their own targets.

Creating such weapons is now Russia’s goal, according to the country’s defense officials and weapons developers.

“Work in this area is under way,” Tactical Missiles Corporation CEO Boris Obnosov said at the MosAeroShow (MAKS-2017) on July 20, the TAAS Russian News Agency reported. “This is a very serious field where fundamental research is required. As of today, certain successes are available, but we’ll still have to work for several years to achieve specific results.”

The nation hopes to emulate the capabilities of the U.S.’s Raytheon Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile, which it saw used in Syria, within the next few years. As Newsweek previously reported, Russia is also working on developing drones that functions as “swarms” using AI.


The importance of developing sound policy to guide AI development cannot be overstated. One of the reasons this is necessary is to prevent humans from using such technology for nefarious purposes. Any attempts to weaponize AI should ring alarm bells and be met with serious scrutiny.

Russia certainly isn’t the first nation to explore militarized AI. The U.S. plans to incorporate AI into long-range anti-ship missile, and China is supposedly working on its own AI-powered weapons.

It’s certainly possible to build these weapons, but should we? Many people, including industry experts, already warn about how AI could become the harbinger of humanity’s destruction. Making weapons artificially intelligent certainly doesn’t help dispel such fears.

The future of warfare isn’t immune to technological advances, of course. It’s only natural, albeit rather unfortunate, that technology improves weapons. In the end, however, it’s not AI directly that poses a threat to humanity — it’s people using AI.


The end of humanity as we know it is ‘coming in 2045’ and Google is preparing for it

This isn’t the prediction of a conspiracy theorist, a blind dead woman or an octopus but of Google’s chief of engineering, Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil has said that the work happening now ‘will change the nature of humanity itself’.

Tech company Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son predicts it will happen in 2047.

And it’s all down to the many complexities of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is currently limited to Siri or Alexa-like voice assistants that learn from humans, Amazon’s ‘things you might also like’, machines like Deep Blue, which has beaten grandmasters at chess, and a few other examples.

But the Turing test, where a machine exhibits intelligence indistinguishable from a human, has still not been fully passed.

Not yet at least…

What we have at the moment is known as narrow AI, intelligent at doing one thing or a narrow selection of tasks very well.

General AI, where humans and robots are comparable, is expected to show breakthroughs over the next decade.

They become adaptable and able to turn their hand to a wider variety of tasks, in the same way as humans have areas of strength but can accomplish many things outside those areas.

This is when the Turing Test will truly be passed.

The third step is ASI, artificial super-intelligence.

ASI is the thing that the movies are so obsessed with, where machines are more intelligent and stronger than humans. It always felt like a distant dream but predictions are that it’s getting closer.

People will be able to upload their consciousness into a machine, it is said, by 2029 – when the machine will be as powerful as the human brain – and ASI – or the singularity – will happen, Google predicts, in 2045.

There are many different theories about what this could mean, some more scary than others.

‘We project our own humanist delusions on what life might be life [when artificial intelligence reaches maturity],’ philosopher Slavoj Žižek says.

‘The very basics of what a human being will be will change.

‘But technology never stands on its own. It’s always in a set of relations and part of society.’

Society, however that develops, will need to catch up with technology. If it doesn’t, then there is a risk that technology will overtake it and make human society irrelevant at best and extinct at worst.

One of the theories asserts that once we upload our consciousness into a machine, we become immortal and remove the need to have a physical body.

Another has us as not being able to keep up with truly artificial intelligence so humanity is left behind as infinitely intelligent AI explores the earth and/or the universe without us.

The third, and perhaps the scariest, is the sci-fi one where, once machines become aware of humanity’s predilection to destroy anything it is scared of, AI acts first to preserve itself at the expense of humans so humanity is wiped out.

All this conjures up images of Blade Runner, of iRobot and all sorts of Terminator-like dystopian nightmares.

‘In my lifetime, the singularity will happen,’ Alison Lowndes, head of AI developer relations at technology company Nvidia, tells at the AI Summit.

‘But why does everyone think they’d be hostile?


Variable Wind Energy Problems Due To Poor Planning By European Nations

A group of weather and energy researchers from ETH Zürich and Imperial College London have concluded that the variability of electricity from wind turbines in Europe is due not to any fault in the equipment, but rather to a lack of planning by individual countries.

In a study published in journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers suggest that nations ought to look beyond their own boundaries when deciding where to site wind energy projects. Gee, does that mean Europe should adopt a European viewpoint rather than a nationalistic agenda? Yes, that’s precisely what it means.

30 Years Of Data

The researchers made use of the platform developed at ETH Zürich. It simulates the output of Europe’s wind and solar farms based on historical weather data. The simulation tool is available for use by any interested person worldwide and was developed to improve transparency and openness of the science behind renewable energy.

This is helpful when viewing Europe as a whole – sometimes the winds off the Atlantic are calm, but strong in southern Europe and northern Scandinavia. Christian Grams, lead author of the study from the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich, explains that, “There is hardly a weather situation in which there is no wind across the entire continent and thus all of Europe would lack wind power potential.”

Regional, Not National, Focus

Conditions in each region may remain stable for days or even weeks. During the past winter, winds were calm in most of the areas bordering the North Sea, where many wind generating farms have been built. That caused the amount of wind generated power available to Europe as a whole to decline dramatically. That, in turn, allowed advocates for coal, natural gas, and nuclear generating stations to go screaming to their local politicians with claims that renewables are not reliable.

Current plans call for more wind turbines in the North Sea area, but the researchers argue that new facilities should be built in the Balkans, Greece, western Mediterranean areas, and northern Scandinavia. That way, when turbines near the North Sea are quiet, turbines elsewhere could be supplying Europe’s electricity needs.

“This is why wind capacity in countries such as Greece or Bulgaria could act as a valuable counterbalance to Europe’s current wind farms. However, this would require a paradigm shift in the planning strategies of countries with wind power potential,” emphasises co-author Iain Staffell from Imperial College London.

Storage is Not The Answer

The authors of the study say it would be difficult to store electricity for several days to balance these multi-day fluctuations – with batteries or pumped-storage lakes in the Alps, for example – since the necessary amount of storage capacity will not be available in the foreseeable future. Current storage technologies are more suited to compensating for shorter fluctuations of a few hours or days.

The researchers say that for solar to compensate for fluctuations across Europe using, solar energy capacity would have to be increased tenfold. “The sun often shines when it’s calm,” explains co-author Stefan Pfenninger, from the Institute for Environmental Decisions at ETH Zürich, “but in winter, there is often not enough sunshine in central and northern Europe to produce sufficient electricity using solar panels.” It would therefore make little sense to compensate for fluctuations in wind energy with a massive expansion of solar capacity.

What will government policy makers do with the information provided by the study? Probably file it away to look at in the future while they continue their push to add wind farms along the coastline that borders the North Sea.


This Silicon Valley Billionaire Wants to Give Us All Robot Bodies

"Here" is a funny word. So says Scott Hassan, the media-shy Silicon Valley billionaire who once set out to build the first fully autonomous humanoid robot, and ended up hawking what looks like a flatscreen atop two long legs with wheels. If Hassan has his way, this seemingly simple device—called a Beam—will close the loop between cyberspace and meat-space.

The Beam was designed as a video conferencing tool, allowing instant, face-to-face communication—kind of like FaceTime or Skype, except you can drive the screen on legs around the room remotely, with a keyboard. It could one day become much more. Those with disabilities can have access to a rudimentary body that allows them to go where they otherwise can't. (Edward Snowden has famously used one in his public appearances.) As Beams proliferate, you could transport yourself over to visit a family member across the country, or to tour Paris or Hong Kong for the afternoon. There has been speculation that the Beam might even eventually sprout arms, making it more like a body. Hassan won't confirm these rumours, but he won't deny them either.

In a future where we can zap ourselves over the internet into different robot bodies around the world, "here" won't just be here anymore, Hassan believes. It'll be anywhere.


Human embryos kept alive in lab for unprecedented 13 days so scientists can watch development

Human embryos have been kept alive in a petri dish for an unprecedented 13 days, allowing scientists to finally see what happens in the mysterious days after implantation in the womb.

Cambridge University have created a special thick soup of nutrients which mimics the conditions in the womb, allowing the embryo to attach, and begin dividing into groups of cells which will eventually form the foetus, placenta and yolk sac.

Previously an embryo had to implant in the womb by day seven to survive, but it is impossible to see what is happening inside the mother at this stage, so scientists were in the dark about the cellular and molecular changes taking place.

“It was incredible, it was the happiest day of my life when we saw this.”
Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, University of Cambridge
Crucially it is during that period that two thirds of pregnancies fail because the embryo does not implant properly.

Now that scientists can see the steps needed for healthy embryo development it will help them understand why things go wrong, potentially improving IVF rates.

“It is a most enigmatic and mysterious period of our development which we have never had any access to,” said lead author Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz of the University of Cambridge.

Human embryos kept alive in a petri dish for 13 days
“Implantation is a milestone in human development as it is from this stage onwards that the embryo really begins to take shape and the overall body plan are decided

“It is also the stage of pregnancy at which many developmental defects can become acquired. But until now, it has been impossible to study this in human embryos.

“This new technique provides us with a unique opportunity to get a deeper understanding of our own development during these crucial stages and help us understand what happens, for example, during miscarriage. It was incredible, it was the happiest day of my life when we saw this."

The first time an embryo has been seen at day 11 of development
The first time an embryo has been seen at day 11 of development  CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Although studies are just beginning the scientists have already made new findings including the fact that embryos create two cavities to grow in, one for the foetus and one for the placenta.

Dr Simon Fishel, founder and President of CARE Fertility Group, adds: “This is about much more than just understanding the biology of implantation embryo development. Knowledge of these processes could help improve the chances of success of IVF, of which only around one in four attempts are successful.”

Currently UK law bans laboratories for growing embryos for longer than 14 days as after two weeks, twins can no longer form, and so it is deemed that an individual has started to develop.

The time limit has remained unchallenged while scientists were unable to keep embryos alive beyond seven days, but the new breakthrough could lead to calls for the threshold to be extended.


This 3D-Printed Human Heart Can Do Everything a Real One Can


Soft robotics and 3D printing have allowed a team of researchers from Switzerland to develop an artificial heart that works like the real thing. This proof of concept design was successfully tested in the lab, but it may take a while before it will be ready.

Scientists have been developing artificial hearts for quite some time now. However, many of the current designs are unfortunately clunky, which presents difficulties in successfully integrating them into human tissue. To approach this issue, a team of researchers from ETH Zürich decided to take a cue from the biological human heart.

Instead of using separate parts, the Swiss team, led by Nicholas Cohrs, 3D-printed an artificial heart using a soft, flexible material. The material was molded into a single part (or a “monoblock”) which allowed the team to design a complex inner structure complete with pumping mechanisms able to be triggered by silicon ventricles. This method imitates a realistic human heartbeat.


491. στα απόβλητα

Καθε στιγμη και ενα σταυροδρομι. Και μια επιλογη. Για να το θεσω καλυτερα μια ψευτοεπιλογη.
Δεν νομιζω πως υπαρχει η μοιρα, τουλαχιστον με την προσωποποιημενη μορφη που της εχει αποδοθει μεχρι τωρα.

Τιποτα προδιαγεγραμμενο και ομως εκ των υστερων ολα φανταζουν τελείως λογικα και νομοτελειακα.

Ενας δουλος του συστηματος και της καθεστηκυίας ταξης. Δεν μπορεις να ξεφυγεις.
Δουλειά και δουλεία. Ιδια λεξη. Ιδια ντροπη ανα τους αιωνες.

Η ψευτοεπιλογη που δινεται για ψηφοφορία καθε τεσσερα χρονια δεν μπορει να καλυψει το ονειδος της ανελευθεριας.

Δουλικες καταναλωτικες συνηθειες. Ντε φακτο εκμεταλλευση των αδελφων που ζουν υπο χειροτερες συνθηκες στο Μπαγκλαντες και την Κινα και την Ζιμπάμπουε και αλλου.

Καπιταλισμος μωρο μου.
Ολα για να ευφρανθει η κοιλια και οι ματαιοδοξες επιθυμιες.
Ολα για την εικονα και τον εντυπωσιασμο των υπολοιπων.


Θα πεις βεβαια οτι εχεις την ευχέρεια να φυγεις οποτε θες. Να κανεις ο,τι θες. Δεν ισχυει.

Με την εμποτισμενη νοοτροπια και πνευματικη γαλουχηση τοσων ετων εκπαιδευσης απο ολα τα μεσα και εργαλεια του "συστηματος" , το να ξεφυγεις φανταζει υπερβολικα δυσκολο με την κυρια δυσκολια να πηγαζει απο το συναισθηματικο δεσιμο που εχει αναπτυχθει με τους κοντινους.

Ο στοχος ειναι ενας: να μην μπορεις να ονειρευτεις εναν καλυτερο κοσμο αλλα να ονειρευεσαι ενα "καλυτερο" οικονομικα μελλον για σενα. Να εχεις την διαθεση ειτε να υπομενεις τα πανδεινα ειτε να πατας επι πτωματων προκειμενου να ικανοποιεις την κοιλια του αφεντη. Του εκαστοτε αφεντη. Δεν εχει σημασια.

Αφεντης ειναι και ο εργοδοτης, αφεντης ειναι και το κρατος.

Και εμεις ολοι τα πουτανακια του εκαστοτε καργιολοπουστα που ειτε απο κληρονομια ειτε απο τυχη ειτε απο σιδηρα αρρωστημενη απανθρωπη πυγμη εχει τα μεσα να εξουσιαζει τις ζωες μας.

Για να καταλαβεις νιωθω τυψεις για τις γενιες που ερχονται και προκειται να κατοικησουν ετουτο το γαλαζοπρασινο διαστημοπλοιο.

Τυψεις γιατι ΕΝΩ γνωριζω τις συνεπειες της δουλικης μου υπαρξης και πορειας εγω συνεχιζω και επιμένω. Στον μισθο που λαμβάνω, στα ρουχα που φορω, στο εξυπνοφωνο που κρατω παντού υπάρχει αίμα. Δεν ειμαι κατι αλλο παρα ενας high tech λοβοτομημενος δουλοπαροικος με ψευδαισθησεις αυτονομιας και φυτεμενα ονειρα. Εκτελω ο,τι μου λεει ο αφεντης, αυτος που με ταιζει ξεροκομματα ενίοτε και γκουρμεδιαρικους μεζεδες, ζυγιζω τα λογια απο φοβο μηπως και τον δυσαρεστησω και χασω τα λεφτουδακια. Παω οπου με στειλει, κουβαλώ ό,τι με προστάξει σκυβω το κεφαλι και κοιταω κατω απο ντροπη και απο φοβο.

Ομως αυτο το high tech κομματι σε λιγα χρονια θα θεωρειται παρωχημενο αλλά το στίγμα της ντροπιαστικης δουλείας θα παραμεινει αιωνιo.

Ελευθερια ειναι η καθαρη συνειδηση οτι επιτελεις το ανθρώπινο χρέος προς τον συνανθρωπο. Διχως αναστολες, διχως δευτερες σκεψεις και παντα λαμβανοντας υπ'οψιν την κοινη αναποδραστη μοιρα ολων μας: τον θανατο. Η ψυχη ενα ονειρο σκιας που μοιαζει να βαστιεται με μια λεπτη ασημενια κλωστη απο αυτο το κρεατινο φθινον σαρκιο. Χρονος με την παραδοσιακη εννοια δεν υπαρχει, ολα συμβαινουν τωρα και εδω.

ο μηχανισμός

Who's in charge of outer space?

Date: 23/05/2017

In space, no one can hear you scheme. But here on Earth, plans to go where few have gone before are getting louder by the minute.

In February, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo passed its third glide-flight test, putting it on pace to offer suborbital space tourism by the end of 2018. In March, Goldman Sachs announced to investors that a single asteroid containing $25 billion to $50 billion of platinum could be mined by a spacecraft costing only $2.6 billion—less than a third of what has been invested in Uber.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high,” the Goldman report concludes, “the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower.” In April, NASA selected Trans Astronautica Corp., an aerospace company based in Lake View Terrace, Calif., for $3.25 million in technology study grants. Among TransAstra’s NASA-approved projects: an asteroid-hunting telescope whose stated mission is “to start a gold rush in space.”

The final frontier is starting to look a lot like the Wild West. As more companies announce ambitious plans to do business beyond Earth, serious questions are emerging about the legality of off-planet activity.

This story originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Five Ways Elon Musk’s Brain-Computer Interface Could Transform the World

Date: 18/05/2017

This technology would take the form of an injectable “neural lace” — composed of a mesh of electrodes — that would augment the human brain, adding another layer to the cortex and limbic system that is capable of communicating with a computer (essentially creating cyborgs). This, hypothetically, creates an upgradable, updatable interface that could be applied in countless ways. Some of these include:


Brains and technology both operate using the same vectors: electricity and data. Musk’s Neural Lace would be a system that provides a way for them to communicate directly with each other. To borrow a simile from Phillip Alvelda, the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program manager (another nascent BCI), “Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem […] Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools.” Applications could stretch from the remote operation of technology to the completely hands free and voiceless operation of computers. Researchers in Korea have already used a BCI to control turtles.


Elon Musk’s idea could both initiate brain activity and monitor it. The technology does not necessarily have to be a one-way communication stream, it is capable of both sending messages and creating information in the brain. The high-bandwidth interface could allow you to wirelessly transmit information to the cloud, to computers, or even directly to the brains of other people with a similar interface in their head. There is also the possibility of downloading content to augment your consciousness: think Neo learning kung-fu in the Matrix. While initial tests to improve intelligence haven’t been too successful, if brains and computers speak the same language, then computers can impart information to the brain. The technology is currently being used to allow paralyzed people to communicate, but its uses could extend far beyond that.


As part of this two-way communication stream, robotic arms could communicate fleshy messages by being connected to existing nerve structures. Rather than making the brain learn how to use a new part of the nervous system, robotic limbs could be quickly and easily integrated into the system. This has the potential to revolutionize prosthetic limbs for the disabled, but may also encourage people to rid themselves of their biological arms in favour of mechanical super limbs. Who knows!


As computers and brains would essentially be speaking the same language, emotions could be read as data using electrodes. This would shift technology’s perception of humans from basic recognition to complex understanding. Robot helpers would be able to adapt to your emotional state rather than just responding to commands. Photos and videos could also be implanted with emotional metadata, meaning that one could feel what it would be like to be in any given scenario, rather than just trying to imagine it.


One issue with the lifespan of games is repetition; people become accustomed, know what to expect, or are limited by the programmed narrative. A BCI could improve this situation by having games respond to what your brain is feeling, remaining one step ahead and endlessly diverse. This would be most applicable to the horror genre, in which enemies could come at you when and where you least expect it, providing constant shocks, jumps, and thrills. The Black Mirror episode Playtest is an hour long exploration of just how terrifying this could be. Since AI has been shown to be as creative as a human composer, this reality could be surprisingly close.

As seen @

World champion calls Google’s AlphaGo a “Go god” after defeat Technology

AlphaGo has beaten the reigning world Go champion in the first of three matches

Date: 23/05/2017

Last year the world’s top Go player said he would never be beaten by a machine. Today, Ke Jie has called Google’s AlphaGo AI a “Go god”, after losing in a tense match that is sure to be held as a watermark in the progress of artificial intelligence.

The 19-year-old Chinese world champion lost the first of three scheduled matches by only half a point – the closest margin possible in the game. It’s a narrow victory, but the result nevertheless sees AlphaGo take the lead ahead of final matches on Thursday and Saturday.

Ke complimented the AI’s strategy for making “all the stones work across the board”, but said the game had ultimately been a “horrible experience”.

Read the full article @

3-D Printed Ovaries Yield New Life

Date: 16.05.2017

It’s another success for members of the same Northwestern University team that in March reproduced an entire menstrual cycle using organs-on-a-chip. This time, they’ve created ovaries from a type of gelatin hydrogel and infused them with immature egg cells before implanting them in female mice. The ovaries behaved like the natural ones, picking out an egg cell to mature and pass along, allowing the mice to bear healthy offspring. The procedure marks another step toward printing replacements for missing or damaged organs.

From Skeleton to Organ

To create their ovaries, the researchers, led by Theresa Woodruff, the director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, first learned to print the gelatin at exactly the right consistency. It had to be strong enough to handle surgical implantation while porous enough to hold on to egg cells and allow veins to grow. Through a series of trial and error experiments, the researchers discovered the best way to print the scaffolding from gelatin fibers that contained a series of tiny pockets to hold ovarian follicles.

read the whole article @

Facebook's Future Goals: Brain, Body Hacks for Speech-Free Communication

Date: 20.04.2017

Dugan (pictured above), who is vice president of engineering and head of Facebook's Building 8 hardware lab, described these two ambitious goals during the day two keynote of the developers conference in San Jose. Within a few years, Facebook aims to have created non-invasive, scalable technologies that will let people hear through their skin and convey thoughts directly from their brains at a speed of 100 words per minute, she said.

That's because communication via brain activity could capture not only the words we want to convey, but the semantic meaning and imagery behind those words. "Understanding semantics means that one day you may be able to choose to share your thoughts independent of language," Dugan said. "English, Spanish or Mandarin, they become the same."

"One day maybe not so far away, it may be possible for me to think in Mandarin and for you to feel it instantly in Spanish," Dugan said. "Imagine the power it would give to the 700 million people around the world who cannot read or write but can think and feel."

read the whole article @

US Stores Dozens of Weapons of Mass Destruction in This Non-Nuclear Country

Date: 16.05.2017

Italy has stored US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of NATO's nuclear-sharing arrangement, which has seen Washington station its B61 nuclear bombs in non-nuclear countries. Aviano, a NATO base in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is home to some 50 B61 bombs, while Ghedi, a base of the Italian Air Force in the region of Lombardy, is estimated to host between 20-40 B61 bombs.
In addition, US tactical nuclear weapons are stored in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Di Ernesto expressed doubt that Italian politicians would force the United States to withdraw its troops, weapons and military installations from the country.
"Sadly, our politicians are fully dependent on Washington," he said. "I don't think that Italian politicians could oppose these bases, taking into account that they are mostly financed by the United States.

Read the whole article @

490. χαρωπά τα δυό μου χέρια τα κτυπώ

Οταν μπαινεις στην πισινα με τους καρχαριες δεν πρεπει να εισαι σαν χρυσοψαρο.

Τεχνικη καταρτιση.



Ολα μαζι και τιποτα συγκεκριμενο. Ισως καποια μερα καταλαβεις οτι ολα ειναι ενα γελοιο ασκοπο παιχνιδι.

Ναι δεν υπαρχει ουτε μπορει να υπαρξει σκοπος. Νοημα. Ελπιδα.

Κινουμαστε σαν νιφαδες χιονιου μεσα σε μια αμμοθυελλα στην Σαχάρα. Τοσο εφημερα.
Μην το ψαχνεις σου λεω. Flow with the wind λεμε.

Ονειρο ειναι η ζωη και θα περασει προτου προλαβεις να πεις κύμινο.

Ηδονης το αναγνωσμα. Ηδονης το διακυβευμα.

Προχωραμε στα τυφλα με προταγματα περασμενων αιωνων. Ποια ατομικοτητα; Ποια ιδιωτικη πρωτοβουλια; Ποια προσωπικη ελευθερια; Πιστευεις ακομη σε αυτες τις πλανες; Η συσκευη απο οπου διαβαζεις το παρον ειναι ο υπερτατος ρουφιανος.

Ελα να βαραμε παλαμακια όσο η μηχανή μαθαίνει από εμάς για εμάς. Δεν είσαι πλέον το γρανάζι αλλά μια γνωσιακή μονάδα.  

489. Αν ημασταν εξυπνοι εδω θα βρισκομασταν?

Σε καθε περιπτωση πρεπει να κοιτας τον ανθρωπο.

Σαν ειδος, σαν συνολο, σαν ενωση.
Δεν εισαι μια αυθυπαρκτη οντοτητα ξεκομμενη, φυλλο στον ανεμο.
Ολα ειμαστε ενα.
Ξεκινα να κοιτας τον ανθρωπο και ισως επειτα δεις και την υπολοιπη πλαση.

Ο πόνος της ύπαρξης είναι ο ίδιος, άσχετα αν είσαι δισεκατομμυριούχος της Silicon walley είτε παιδικός εργάτης σε βιομηχανία ρούχων στην Ντάκα. Το μόνο που αλλάζει είναι τα μέσα που έχει στην διάθεση του κάθε ένας από εμάς προκειμένου να ξεγελάσει την κοσμική φρίκη που σέρνεται κάτω από κάθε πράξη και σκέψη.

Η φθοροποιός ματαιόπονη αναζήτηση νοήματος εκεί που δεν υπάρχει οδηγεί στην παράνοια. Νομίζεις ότι διαφέρεις ενώ στην ουσία είσαι και εσύ όπως και γω όπως και όλοι μας μελλοντική σκουληκοτροφή ή καύσιμη ύλη για τον κλίβανο. Αργά ή γρήγορα θα ξεχαστείς και ό,τι θεωρείς σημαντικό θα θεωρείται ασήμαντο. Ό,τι σοβαρό σε ανησύχησε θα προκαλεί γέλιο.  

Σε αδικησα; (Απεκρυψα δλδ εν γνωσει μου καποιες παραμετρους προκειμνου να εχω οφελος;)

Η αδικια παλευεται, η ηλιθιοτητα οχι.


Ειναι καποιες δραστηριοτητες που με κανουν να νιωθω γαματος και αλλες που με κανουν να νιωθω σκουπιδι. Απορω λοιπον γιατι επιλεγω την περισσοτερη ωρα τις δευτερες.

Κατακερματισμενες σκεψεις και αδυναμια συγκεντρωσης.
Σκεψεις μονο με ατακες.
Ολοι εδω μπροστα απο μια οθονη να επικοινωνουμε με καποιον χιλιαδες μιλια μακρια και να χανουμε τον διπλανο μας. Δεν υπαρχει ο διπλανος.

Εχω δικιο, εχεις αδικο τελος. Θα γινει αυτο που λεω γιατι ετσι. Μην το παίρνεις προσωπικά, δεν αντλώ καμία περηφάνια από αυτό το αναμφισβήτητο γεγονός διότι είναι αποκλειστικά και μόνο προϊόν τύχης.

Οτιδηποτε με απομακρυνει όμως απο τον στοχο να μην θετω αυτούς τους έστω εφήμερους, ανούσιους στοχους θεωρειται βλαβερο.

Η στιγμη. Η χαρα της στιγμης; Οχι. Η χαρα της συνειδητοποιησης της μοναδικοτητας καθε στιγμης.

Επαναληψη μητηρ πασης μαθησεως.
Αργια μητηρ πασης κακιας.

Ξεκινα να τρεχεις μεχρι να μην ξερεις που εχεις φτασει.
Run forest, run. To the forests, where heavenly things await you. But beware: dont get caught up by them.

Ολα φανταζαν ιδανικα στην αρχη, μα οταν διαπιστωνεις προσωπα αριθμους καταστασεις συμμαχιες αλληλοσυσχετισεις κλικες ευνοιες αδικιες κτλ τοτε επερχεται το ξενερωμα. Τοτε καταλαβαινεις οτι πρεπει να την κανεις.

Να μου πεις, πού δεν θα τα βρεις αυτα;


488. Μακριά. Μακριά εκεί στην Ουαλία

Pws mpainoun ta ellhnika? Ksexasa

ΟΚ το βρήκα. Δεν ήταν και τόσο δύσκολο τελικά.

Δύσκολο είναι να απαρνηθείς την φύση σου. Να ξεχάσεις όλα όσα σού έχουν μάθει να πιστεύεις για ένα ένδοξο παρελθόν που ορίζει και το παρόν.

Μην πιστεύεις τίποτα.

Οτιδήποτε σερβίρεται έτοιμο, αναπόδεικτο και κυρίως με επιθετικούς προσδιορισμούς να θεωρείται τουλάχιστον ανάξιο αν όχι ύποπτο.

Οι κρίσεις και τα άρθρα γνώμης λίγη αξία έχουν στην εξέλιξη της γνώσης και της απαλλαγής του ανθρώπου από την δεισιδαιμόνια.

Μόνο ο Θεός θα σε σώσει τέκνο μου..
Αδερφέ πρέπει να ακολουθήσεις το τάδε μονοπάτι..

Όλα μοιάζουν ως μια μάχη ανάμεσα στον ηλίθιο και τον πανηλίθιο. Τον χριστιανό και τον νεοπαγανιστή. Τον δεξιό και τον αριστερό.

Δεν δέχομαι ιδεολογική, φιλοσοφική, πνευματική κατήχηση από κανέναν. Σκοπό όποιος έχει να με αφυπνίσει και καλά ή να με σώσει μπορεί απλά να πάει να γαμηθεί.

Τόσο απλά.

Ο κόσμος άλλαξε και συνεχίζει να αλλάζει με ρυθμό ακατάληπτο από τον ανθρώπινο νου, τόσο που τα ηλεκτρονικά υποβοηθήματα (όπως το παρόν) κρίνονται κάτι παραπάνω από απαραίτητα.

Δεν ξέρεις από που να πρωτοφυλαχτείς και πού να πρωτοεπιτεθείς.

Μόνη διέξοδος ασφαλούς, περήφανης, ποιοτικής και με νόημα διαβίωσης είναι η διαρκής αμφισβήτηση της παρελθοντικής και της παρούσας κατάστασης. Μια αμφισβήτηση γονιμοποιός ωστόσο που να καλύπτει όλα τα επίπεδα προσωπικό, κοινωνικό, πολιτικό, ιστορικό. Εκ βάθρων ξήλωμα των αντιλήψεων περί κακού και καλού, αγαθού και μιαρού.

Και όπως είπαμε - μακριά από ινστρούχτορες.

Cyber security 'the new frontier of warfare, espionage', Malcolm Turnbull says

DATE: 24/01/2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared cyber security "the new frontier of warfare" and espionage, while announcing new measures to protect Australian democracy from foreign interference.

Intelligence officials will host unprecedented security briefings with party officials in Canberra next month, amid concerns they may be vulnerable to foreign cyber attacks.

Mr Turnbull said the Government had been shocked by a United States intelligence report claiming Russia ordered a hidden campaign to influence the US presidential election.


Other nations learning from Russian activities: expert

Timothy Wellsmore, director of threat intelligence at global cyber security firm FireEye, said the threats to Australia went beyond China and Russia.

"We've seen some activities in this region from places that you wouldn't expect — like Indonesia [and] even Vietnam," said Mr Wellsmore, who formerly worked as a manager at the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

"There are a lot of other nations that will learn from Russian activities and will turn their offensive capabilities towards [targeting political interests] — if they haven't already."

Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said every Australian political party must be vigilant and raised some concern about the upcoming Western Australia and Queensland elections.


The world's best poker bot is learning, now crushing humanity again

DATE: 21/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 23/01/2017

For a few days, it looked like the humans had it figured out. Four poker pros facing off against the Libratus AI in a 20-day no-limit Texas Hold'em competition pulled back from an early $193,000 deficit with big wins on days four and six, bringing the deficit down to to $51,000, with one human, Dong King, up $33,000.

"It took us a while to study and get an understanding of what was going on," one of the pros, Jason Les, wrote in an email.

But then the bot started winning again and big. By the end of day 10, it was up a likely insurmountable $677,000, with all of the humans down six figures. (You can see the latest here).

What happened? Simply said, the bot is learning.


NASA's new Psyche mission will take us to a metal asteroid for the first time

It may be the naked core of an ancient plan

DATE: 04/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 23/01/2017

Asteroids are some of the last unexplored territories in the solar system. To help fill in some of the blanks, NASA just announced two upcoming missions that will visit new types of asteroids in the 2030s.

Launching in 2023, the Psyche spacecraft will fly into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to explore an asteroid quite unlike the balls of mud, ice, and rock we've studied before; "16 Psyche" is a giant hunk of metal. Measuring 130 miles in diameter, it's thought to be made of iron and nickel.

16 Psyche may be the leftover core of a protoplanet—an infant world as large as Mars. Violent collisions are thought to have blasted away its rocky outer layers, leaving behind an asteroid very similar to Earth's own metallic core


China tightens Great Firewall by declaring unauthorised VPN services illegal

Move means all cable and VPN services need prior government approval and comes as Beijing steps up censorship before power-reshuffle party congress

DATE: 23/01/2017

Beijing has launched a 14-month nationwide campaign to crack down on unauthorised internet connections, including virtual private networks (VPN) services – a technology that allows users to bypass the country’s infamous Great Firewall.

A notice released by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Sunday said that all special cable and VPN services on the mainland needed to obtain prior government approval – a move making most VPN service providers in the country of 730 million internet users illegal.


Facial recognition, fingerprints to replace passports at Australian airports

Radical security overhaul at Australian airports will replace passport scanners and paper cards with facial recognition technology

DATE: 22/01/2017

Australia has announced a radical overhaul of security at its international airports, with new technology set to replace passports as the means of identifying passengers by 2020.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is seeking tenders for a self-processing system that would abolish incoming passenger cards, remove the need for most passengers to show their passports and replace manned desks with electronic stations and automatic triage.

Instead, passengers will be processed by biometric recognition of their face, iris and/or fingerprints, which will be matched to existing data.



DATE COMPILED: 21/01/2017


- Don’t use dictionary words or names in any form in passwords

- Don't use common misspellings of dictionary words either

- Do not use your network username as your password.

- Don’t use easily guessed passwords, such as “password” or “user.”

- Do not choose passwords based upon details that may not be as confidential as you’d expect, such as your birth date, your Social Security or phone number, or names of family members. Never use information in a password or passphrase which can be found online.

- Don't use the name of the computer or your account

- Don’t store your password or passphrase within web applications

- Don't use sample passwords

- Never use the password you’ve picked for your email account at any online site: If you do, and an e-commerce site you are registered at gets hacked, there’s a good chance someone will be reading your e-mail soon.

- Avoid using the same password at multiple Web sites. It’s generally safe to re-use the same password at sites that do not store sensitive information about you (like a news Web site) provided you don’t use this same password at sites that are sensitive.

- Do not use reuse a word or phrase if your account or passphrase has been compromised

- Whatever you do, don’t store your list of passwords on your computer in plain text. Store written copies of your passwords or passphrase safely. I tend to agree with noted security experts Bruce Schneier, when he advises users not to worry about writing down passwords. Just make sure you don’t store the information in plain sight. The most secure method for remembering your passwords is to create a list of every Web site for which you have a password and next to each one write your login name and a clue that has meaning only for you. If you forget your password, most Web sites will email it to you (assuming you can remember which email address you signed up with).

- Never share your password or passphrase

- Do not respond to online requests for Personally Identifiable Information (PII); most organizations – banks, universities, companies, etc. – do not ask for your personal information over the Internet. PII includes but is not limited to:

    Full Name
    Social security number
    Date of birth
    Place of birth
    Driver’s License Number
    Vehicle registration plate number
    Credit card numbers
    Physical appearance
    Gender or race

- Password protect all devices that connect to the Internet and user accounts.


- A password must be at least 12 characters. The longer, the better.

- Select something memorable unique or specific only to you.

- Use multiple character sets. Create unique passwords that that use a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lower-case letters.

- Avoid using simple adjacent keyboard combinations: For example, “qwerty” and “asdzxc” and “123456” are horrible passwords and that are trivial to crack.

- Some of the easiest-to-remember passwords aren’t words at all but collections of words that form a phrase or sentence, perhaps the opening sentence to your favorite novel, or the opening line to a good joke. Do not choose famous or well-known lyrics/lines/etc.

- Use letters chosen from words in a phrase or song lyric

- Combine a few pronounceable "nonsense" words with punctuation

- Add unexpected characters and removing some letters

- Change your password or passphrase regularly

- Use non-secure networks with care. Only connect to the Internet over secure, password- protected networks.

- Always enter a URL by hand instead of following links if you are unsure of the sender.

Trump makes cyberwarfare an official priority for new White House

DATE: 20/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 21/01/2017

Digital weapons would be used to "disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting" and protect secrets

.....under the section titled America First Foreign Policy, the government calls defeating ISIS and other terroist groups "our highest priority," and says that the U.S. will "engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting" in collaboration with international partners.

Under another section, Making Our Military Strong Again, cyberwarfare is mentioned too.

"Cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and we must take every measure to safeguard our national security secrets and systems," the page reads, adding that the government "will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area."

President Trump had previously said in October that cybersecurity would be "an immediate and top priority" if elected.



Google’s AI is Learning to Make Other AI

DATE: 20/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 21/01/2017

Imagine the conflicted feelings of the machine learning expert who is creating artificial intelligence (AI) that they know will one day, possibly very soon, be able to create better AI than them. It’s the new age’s way of holding on to the time-honored tradition of having to train your own replacement. Machine learning experts are currently being paid a premium wage due to their limited numbers and the high demand for their valuable skills. However, with the dawn of software that is “learning to learn,” those days may be numbered.

The most prolific minds in AI research from groups such as Google Brain, OpenAI, DeepMind, and university research departments at the nation’s most prestigious tech schools are developing machine-learning systems that can create machine-learning systems. Researchers from Google Brain were able to design software that created an AI system to take a test that measures how well software can process language. The software did better on the test than software designed by humans. So, in a manner of speaking, much like recently reported zebra shark, AI can reproduce asexually.


CONCLUSION: "AI can reproduce asexually."

Facebook job ads suggest ‘mind reading’ social networks could soon be a reality

DATE: 17/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 21/01/2017

The mysterious Building 8 group was launched last year as a DARPA-style agency to drive innovation in “augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important breakthrough areas.”

The division is headed by former DARPA director and Google executive Regina Dugan and was given an investment commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars by Zuckerberg.

Several open job postings seeking “slightly impatient” individuals are currently listed for a two year technical project.

A brain-computer interface engineer is sought to work in the area of "neuroimaging" and "electrophysiological data" while another position of neural imaging engineer is seeking professionals to develop non-invasive neural imaging methods.

The project is also seeking a haptics specialist to help the company use touch interactions to build “realistic and immersive” experiences.

In a Q&A last year Zuckerberg described how people would be able to “capture a thought... in its ideal and perfect form in your head and share that with the world.”

“One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like,” he said.


Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators can Improve Parliament Efficiency

DATE: 07/06/2011
RETRIEVED: 21/01/2017
Authors: A. Pluchino, C. Garofalo, A. Rapisarda, S. Spagano, M. Caserta


In governance, sortition (also known as allotment or demarchy) selects officers as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.[1]
In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.[2]

Sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems and is sometimes used today in forming citizen groups with political advisory power (citizens' juries or citizens' assemblies).


Sortition to supplement or replace some of the legislators

    "Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators Can Improve Parliament Efficiency": shows how the introduction of a variable percentage of randomly selected independent legislators in a Parliament can increase the global efficiency of a Legislature, in terms of both number of laws passed and average social welfare obtained (this work is in line with the recent discovery that the adoption of random strategies can improve the efficiency of hierarchical organizations "Peter Principle Revisited: a Computational Study").



TITLE: Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators can Improve Parliament Efficiency

1. Abstract
We study a prototypical model of a Parliament with two Parties or two Political Coalitions and we show how the introduction of a variable percentage of randomly selected independent legislators can increase the global efficiency of a Legislature,in terms of both the number of laws passed and the average social welfare obtained.
We also analytically find an ”efficiency golden rule” which allows to fix the optimal number of legislators to be selected at random after that regular elections have established the relative proportion of the two Parties or Coalitions. These resultsare in line with both the ancient Greek democratic system and the recent discovery that the adoption of random strategies can improve the efficiency of hierarchical organizations.


5. Conclusion
In this paper, by means of a prototypical Parliament model based on Cipolla classification, we showed in a quantitative way that the introduction of a well-defined number of random members into the Parliament improves the efficiency of this institution through the maximization of the social overall welfare that depends on its acts. In this respect, the exact number of random members has to be established after the elections, on the basis of the electoral results and of our analytical ”golden rule”: the greater the size difference between the Parties, the greater the number of members that should be lotted to increase the efficiency of Parliament [35].
Of course our prototypical model of Parliament does not represent all the real parliamentary institutions around the world in their detailed variety, so there could be many possible way to extend it. For example it would be interesting to study the consequences of different electoral systems by introducing more than two Parties in the Parliament, with all the consequences deriving from it. Also the government form could be important: our simple model is directly compatible with a presidential system, where there is no relationship between Parliament and Government, whereas, in the case of a parliamentary system, also such a link should to be considered in order to evaluate the overall social welfare. For simplicity, we chose to study a unicameral Parliament, whereas several countries adopt bicameralism. So, simulating another chamber could bring to subsequent interesting extensions of the model. Finally, we expect that there would be also several other social situations, beyond the Parliament,where the introduction of random members could be of help in improving the efficiency. In conclusion, our study provides rigorous arguments in favor of the idea that the introduction of random selection systems, rediscovering the wisdom and the history of ancient democracies, would be broadly beneficial for modern institutions.


CONCLUSION: There is my truth, there is your truth and...there is the optimal solution.