The Prophecy Club "News Update"

The Prophecy Club "News Update"

In a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the communist country lashed out at Tokyo's standing orders to destroy any missile heading toward Japan, threatening such actions will result in a nuclear attack against the island nation.
If Japan executes its threat to shoot down any North Korean missile, such a “provocative” intervention would see Tokyo — an enormous conurbation of 30 million people — “consumed in nuclear flames”, KCNA warned.

“Japan is always in the cross-hairs of our revolutionary army and if Japan makes a slightest move, the spark of war will touch Japan first,” the report added.
An official at Japan’s defence ministry said that the country “will take every possible measure to respond to any scenario”, while the US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that a North Korean missile launch would be a “huge mistake”.
“The rhetoric that we are hearing from North Korea is simply unacceptable by any standards,” he told a news conference in Seoul alongside South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se.
“The United States, South Korea and the entire international community… are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” Kerry added.
However, the North has declared it is "confident of final victory" against its enemies.
"The enemies should know that it is the era of the great Marshal Kim Jong Un, leader of the most powerful country and invincible great Paektusan nation," KCNA stated.
"The DPRK has won victories in confrontation with the U.S. in spirit and is waging an all-out action with it, with confidence in final victory."
The torrent of war cries is seen outside Pyongyang as an effort to raise fears and pressure Seoul and Washington into changing their North Korea policies, and to show the North Korean people that their young leader is strong enough to stand up to powerful foes.
South Korea fears Pyongyang could launch now launch multiple missiles after weeks of threats, according to local reports.
Observers believe a launch is most likely in the build-up to Monday’s anniversary of the birth of late founder Kim Il-Sung, for which celebrations are already well under way in Pyongyang.
The Korean Peninsula has "been reduced to the biggest nuclear hotspot in the world", the North said in more fiery rhetoric today, "making the outbreak of a nuclear war on this land unavoidable."
The reclusive state is dedicated to "defending the sovereignty and dignity of the country with its own strike mode and means," it said.
"No force on earth can block the just cause of the army and people of the DPRK," the chilling message concluded.
A new report on three of the first patients in China to contract a novel strain of bird flu has U.S. officials worried about a grim scenario that includes severe illness with pneumonia, septic shock, brain damage and multi-organ failure.
All three of the patients died, according to a Thursday report by a group of Chinese scientists in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It is possible that these severely ill patients represent the tip of the iceberg,” wrote Dr. Timothy Uyeki and Dr. Nancy Cox, both of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a perspective piece accompanying the article.
The reports chronicle the early days of an outbreak of a new influenza A virus, H7N9, which has never before been seen in humans. So far, it has infected at least 43 people in four Chinese provinces and killed 11 in the past two months, Chinese authorities said.
The patients included two men, ages 87 and 27, both from Shanghai, and a 35-year-old woman from Anhui. All had preexisting health conditions and two had been exposed to chickens at live poultry markets in the previous week. They became ill between Feb. 18 and March 13 and died between March 4 and April 9 of severe complications, the report said. 
The virus, which has been traced to a reassortment of genes from wild birds in east Asia and chickens in east China,  “raises many urgent questions and global public health concerns,” the U.S. researchers wrote.
It’s particularly concerning because the virus clearly has the potential to cause severe disease, it has genetic characteristics that suggest that it might be better adapted than other bird flu strains to infect mammals -- including humans -- and people have no resistance to it, the U.S. scientists reported.
The virus doesn’t make birds sick, so it may spread widely and remain undetected until people become ill.
In addition, previous vaccines developed to fight other H7 strains did not invoke strong immune responses in humans, the U.S. scientists wrote. Even so, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they received an isolate of the virus from China on Thursday and were continuing to rush efforts to create a vaccine, a process that could take several months.
Scientists are expected to start growing more of the virus to share for use in several ways, including not only developing a vaccine, but also creating a blood test that can detect previous human immune system protection against the virus, and testing to see whether the virus remains susceptible to antiviral drugs.
CDC officials also will use it to create a diagnostic test that could be used to detect infection in travelers who return to the U.S. from China with symptoms of flu, or those who’ve been in contact with someone who’s been sick.
Officials with CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are working to quickly expedite approval and manufacture of the kits, said Mike Shaw, associate director of laboratory science for the CDC's flu division. About 400 diagnostic kits, which each can perform 1,000 tests, may be complete by Monday, he said. They could be shipped as early as next week to public health labs across the country. 
The CDC has urged local public health officials to watch for signs of sick travelers from China. So far, about 10 people who recently traveled from China to the U.S. have been tested for the H7N9 virus because of suspicious symptoms, officials said.
"So far, everyone that has been tested in the U.S. has been negative," Shaw told NBC News. 
The virus remains contained to China and there is no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission, both good signs, scientists said.
But as the U.S. researchers concluded, vigilance remains high.
“We cannot rest our guard,” they wrote.
The next frontier for the robotics industry is to build machines that think like humans. Scientists have pursued that elusive goal for decades, and they believe they are now just inches away from the finish line.

A Pentagon-funded team of researchers has constructed a tiny machine that would allow robots to act independently. Unlike traditional artificial intelligence systems that rely on conventional computer programming, this one “looks and ‘thinks’ like a human brain,” said James K. Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gimsewski is a member of the team that has been working under sponsorship of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on a program called “physical intelligence.” This technology could be the secret to making robots that are truly autonomous, Gimzewski said during a conference call hosted by Technolink, a Los Angeles-based industry group.

This project does not use standard robot hardware with integrated circuitry, he said. The device that his team constructed is capable, without being programmed like a traditional robot, of performing actions similar to humans, Gimzewski said.

Participants in this project include Malibu-based HRL (formerly Hughes Research Laborary) and the University of California at Berkeley’s Freeman Laboratory for Nonlinear Neurodynamics. The latter is named after Walter J. Freeman, who has been working for 50 years on a mathematical model of the brain that is based on electroencephalography data. EEG is the recording of electrical activity in the brain.

What sets this new device apart from any others is that it has nano-scale interconnected wires that perform billions of connections like a human brain, and is capable of remembering information, Gimzewski said. Each connection is a synthetic synapse. A synapse is what allows a neuron to pass an electric or chemical signal to another cell. Because its structure is so complex, most artificial intelligence projects so far have been unable to replicate it.

A “physical intelligence” device would not require a human controller the way a robot does, said Gimzewski. The applications of this technology for the military would be far reaching, he said. An aircraft, for example, would be able to learn and explore the terrain and work its way through the environment without human intervention, he said. These machines would be able to process information in ways that would be unimaginable with current computers.

Artificial intelligence research over the past five decades has not been able to generate human-like reasoning or cognitive functions, said Gimzewski. DARPA’s program is the most ambitious he has seen to date. “It’s an off-the-wall approach,” he added.

Studies of the brain have shown that one of its key traits is self-organization. “That seems to be a prerequisite for autonomous behavior,” he said. “Rather than move information from memory to processor, like conventional computers, this device processes information in a totally new way.” This could represent a revolutionary breakthrough in robotic systems, said Gimzewski.

It is not clear, however, that the Pentagon is ready to adopt this technology for weapon systems. The Obama administration’s use of drones in “targeted killings” of terrorist suspects has provoked a backlash and prompted the Pentagon to issue new rules for the use of robotic weapons. “Autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” said a Nov. 2012 Defense Department policy statement. Autonomous weapons, the document said, must “complete engagements in a timeframe consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, [must] terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.”
No longer the fantasy weapon of tomorrow, the U.S. Navy is set to field a powerful laser that can protect its ships by blasting targets with high-intensity light beams.
Early next year the Navy will place a laser weapon aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf where it could be used to fend off approaching unmanned aerial vehicles or speedboats.
The Navy calls its futuristic weapon LAWS, which stands for the Laser Weapon System. What looks like a small telescope is actually a weapon that can track a moving target and fire a steady laser beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel.
A Navy video of testing conducted last summer off the coast of California shows how a laser beam fired from a Navy destroyer was able to set aflame an approaching UAV or drone, sending it crashing into the ocean.
"There was not a single miss" during the testing, said Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research. The laser was three for three in bringing down an approaching unmanned aerial vehicle and 12 for 12 when previous tests are factored in.
But don't expect in that video to see the firing of colored laser bursts that Hollywood has used for its futuristic laser guns. The Navy's laser ray is not visible to the naked eye because it is in the infrared spectrum.
Many of the details about how the laser works remain secret, such as how far its beam can travel, how powerful it is or how much power is used to generate it.
But Navy officials have provided a few unclassified details. For example, the laser is designed to be a "plug and play" system that integrates into a ship's existing targeting technologies and power grids. Those factors make it a surprisingly cheap weapon.
Klunder says each pulse of energy from the laser "costs under a dollar" and it can be used against weapons systems that are significantly more expensive. The Navy says it has spent about $40 million over the past six years in developing the weapon.
Rear Admiral Thomas Eccles, Navy Sea Systems Command, says the beam can be turned on instantly and that ultimately "the generation of power is essentially your magazine. It's the clip we have" instead of bullets. "We deliver precision with essentially an endless supply of rounds."
Some new technological fixes, what Klunder calls "a secret sauce," have been developed to improve the degrading of lasers over distance as well as maintaining a lock on a target from a moving ship.
The strength of the beam is flexible enough that at a lower intensity level it can be used to warn approaching ships and UAV's not to get too close to a Navy ship. Instead of using machine guns to fire non-lethal warning shots as Navy ships do now, the laser can be aimed to "dazzle" the viewing sensors aboard the craft. That light effect warns the pilot of a small water craft or at the controls of a UAV that they are being targeted by a laser and to turn away. If they don't, the laser's power can be boosted to destroy the approaching craft.
Based on earlier testing the Navy is confident the laser is ready for real-world testing aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. The ship was selected because of its mission to be an enduring presence in the Gulf to counter Iranian maritime threats in the region. Coincidentally Iran uses small fast boats to harass American warships in the waters of the Persian Gulf.
How might Iran feel about the new weapon? "Frankly I hope it sends a message to some of our potentially threatening adversaries out there to know that we mean business," said Klunder. "This is a system where if you try to harm our vessels that I hope you will take a very, very serious moment of pause to think about that before you do it because this system will destroy your vessel or will destroy your UAV."
The Navy wants the ship's crew to use the same techniques and methods they use with their other defensive weapons systems.
While for now the laser will be used primarily against slow-moving UAV's and fast boats cruising at speeds of 50 knots, the Navy sees the system's capabilities expanding over time to target faster weapons.
"There's absolutely every intention that with the development of this system and follow-on upgraded systems we will eventually be able to take higher speeds in-bound," said Klunder.
Bioengineers at Stanford University have created the first biological transistor made from genetic materials: DNA and RNA. Dubbed the “transcriptor,” this biological transistor is the final component required to build biological computers that operate inside living cells. We are now tantalizingly close to biological computers that can detect changes in a cell’s environment, store a record of that change in memory made of DNA, and then trigger some kind of response — say, commanding a cell to stop producing insulin, or to self-destruct if cancer is detected.
Stanford’s transcriptor is essentially the biological analog of the digital transistor. Where transistors control the flow of electricity, transcriptors control the flow of RNA polymerase as it travels along a strand of DNA. The transcriptors do this by using special combinations of enzymes (integrases) that control the RNA’s movement along the strand of DNA. “The choice of enzymes is important,” says Jerome Bonnet, who worked on the project. “We have been careful to select enzymes that function in bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, so that bio-computers can be engineered within a variety of organisms.”
Like a transistor, which enables a small current to turn on a larger one, one of the key functions of transcriptors is signal amplification. A tiny change in the enzyme’s activity (the transcriptor’s gate) can cause a very large change in the two connected genes (the channel). By combining multiple transcriptors, the Stanford researchers have created a full suite of Boolean Integrase Logic (BIL) gates — the biological equivalent of AND, NAND, OR, XOR, NOR, and XNOR logic gates. With these BIL gates (pun possibly intended), a biological computer could perform almost computation inside a living cell.
You need more than just BIL gates to make a computer, though. You also need somewhere to store data (memory, RAM), and some way to connect all of the transcriptors and memory together (a bus). Fortunately, as we’ve covered a few times before, numerous research groups have successfully stored data in DNA — and Stanford has already developed an ingenious method of using the M13 virus to transmit strands of DNA between cells. (See: Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram.) In short, all of the building blocks of a biological computer are now in place.
This isn’t to say that highly functional biological computers will arrive in short order, but we should certainly begin to see simple biological sensors that measure and record changes in a cell’s environment. Stanford has contributed the BIL gate design to the public domain, which should allow other research institutes, such as Harvard’s Wyss Institute, to also begin work on the first biological computer. (See: The quest for the $1000 genome.)
Moving forward, though, the potential for real biological computers is immense. We are essentially talking about fully-functional computers that can sense their surroundings, and then manipulate their host cells into doing just about anything. Biological computers might be used as an early-warning system for disease, or simply as a diagnostic tool (has the patient consumed excess amounts of sugar, even after the doctor told them not to?) Biological computers could tell their host cells to stop producing insulin, to pump out more adrenaline, to reproduce some healthy cells to combat disease, or to stop reproducing if cancer is detected. Biological computers will probably obviate the use of many pharmaceutical drugs.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Government has right to 'infringe on your freedom'
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.
"I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom," Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC. He made the statement during discussion of his soda ban — just shot down by the courts — and insistence that his fight to control sugary drink portion sizes in the city would go forth.
"We think the judge was just clearly wrong on this," he said, on NBC. "Our Department of Health has the legal ability to do this. ... [They're] not banning anything."
Mr. Bloomberg's remaining months in office have included a firestorm of regulations and policy pushes on wide range of issues. Aside from the soda size ban and a well-publicized call for tighter gun control, another contentious policy he pushed: Nudging hospitals to lock up baby formula to force mothers to breast-feed newborns.
A lot of parents worry when their kids first start taking the school bus by themselves. What if they’re snatched from the bus stop? What if they get off at the wrong stop? What if the bus is hijacked? Well, while the Kidtrack system can’t keep any of those things from happening, it can at least keep track of which children are on which buses, and where.
Kidtrack was developed through a collaboration between Fujitsu Frontech North America, and IT/logistics company T&W Operations.
When kids board or depart a Kidtrack-equipped bus, they take one second to scan their palm across one of Fujitsu’s biometric PalmSecure readers. The urethane-sealed device is “about the size of an ice cube,” and uses infrared light to image the unique vein pattern of their palm. It then establishes their identity by cross-referencing that pattern against a secure database of pre-registered users’ patterns. The illumination of a green or red LED lets the driver and passenger know whether or not the scan worked.
Initial registration reportedly takes less than one minute, and none of the scans require users to actually touch the device – so there’s no chance of getting cooties.
Once a boarding or departing rider’s palm has been scanned, that data is sent to a cloud-based server. Should that child go missing, authorized administrators can check the Kicktrack website to see when, where and if they did indeed catch the bus, where the bus is at the moment, along with when and where they got off. If the bus is in an accident, the system can be used to instantly provide a list of all passengers aboard at the time.
Data is also stored locally with the reader, in case it can’t access the cloud – a definite possibility in rural areas.
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