#dresslikeawoman

#dresslikeawoman orders were issued by this administration.    But what does that mean?  Scientist, athlete, space explorer, firefighter, soldier, mechanic, lawyer, nurse, leader, police officer, inventor, envelope pusher?

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women-who-changed-history-52__700women-who-changed-history-32__700women-who-changed-history-10__700women-who-changed-history-39__700women-who-changed-history-30__700women-who-changed-history-431__700women-who-changed-history-16__700women-who-changed-history-25__700Jane with Uruhara pant-hooting, 1996.women-who-changed-history-35__700women-who-changed-history-42__700women-who-changed-history-4__700

Shall we dress like Belva Lockwood, the first woman admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court in 1879 a single mom who worked her way through college and ran for President?  Lockwood was nearly forty when she decided to study the law. She finally found a law school that would admit her, but even there her diploma was held up until she demanded action.

lockwood_belva
Belva Lockwood

Lockwood was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia, but was refused admission to practice before the Supreme Court. She spent five years energetically lobbying a bill through Congress, and in 1879 Belva Lockwood became the first woman to practice law before the US Supreme Court.

In 1884 she accepted the nomination of the National Equal Rights Party and ran for president. Although suffrage leaders opposed her candidacy, Lockwood ran anyway. She polled over 4,000 votes and ran again in 1888.

Using her knowledge of the law, she worked to secure woman suffrage, property law reforms, equal pay for equal work, and world peace. Thriving on publicity and partisanship, and encouraging other women to pursue legal careers, Lockwood helped to open the legal profession to women.

Shall we #dresslikeawoman like Faye Glenn Abdellah, pioneer nursing researcher, helped transform nursing theory, nursing care and nursing education?  She was the first nurse officer to receive the rank of a two-star rear admiral and Deputy Surgeon General.

Her more than 150 publications, including her seminal works, Better Nursing Care Through Nursing Research and Patient-Centered Approaches to Nursing, changed the focus of nursing theory from a disease-centered to a patient-centered approach and moved nursing practice beyond the patient to include care of families and the elderly. Her Patient Assessment of Care Evaluation method to evaluate health care is now the stan

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Faye Glenn Abdellah

dard for the nation. Her development of the first tested coronary care unit has saved thousands of lives.

Dr. Abdellah developed educational materials in many key areas of public health, including AIDS, the mentally handicapped, violence, hospice care, smoking cessation, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Dr. Abdellah, after teaching at several prestigious universities, founded the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and served as the school’s first dean.

Or maybe #dresslikeawoman means to dress like Bessie Coleman?  She was the world’s first African American woman aviator who earned her pilot’s license in 1921 in France, two years before her more famous contemporary, Amelia Earhart.

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Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman, the tenth child in a family of thirteen, grew up in a large, single-parent family in rural Texas. She learned about aviation through childhood reading, finished high school and some teacher’s college training, and moved to Chicago.  She was denied entry into flight school in the US.  So, she learned French and went to France. In 1921 she earned an international pilot’s license from the highly respected Federation Aeronautique International.

She returned to the United States and spent the next five years touring the country, giving exhibition flights, barnstorming and parachuting at airports.  She left a substantial legacy because of her modeling a pathway for women and people of color in aviation, and her challenges to Jim Crow practices.

Or how about Grace Hopper, a mathematics genius who pioneered COBAL and invented the phrase “computer bug”?

grace-programming

Hopper earned her B.A. in mathematics and physics from Vassar College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale. Hopper began her professional career teaching mathematics at Vassar College, and remained there until the early 1940s.

In 1943, wanting to aid her country during World War II, Hopper joined the United States Navy. She was soon assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she began her legacy of groundbreaking computer programming with the Mark I, a precursor to electronic computers. Hopper became a faculty member at Harvard’s computation laboratory in 1946 and continued her programming work with the Mark II and Mark III computers.

The Mark I electromechanical computer was the early supercomputer that helped Manhattan Project scientists simulate the effects of an atomic bomb.  In 1947, a moth a got into a mechanical relay and jammed the system.  When Hopper removed it, she taped the moth into the team’s operational logbook with the caption “First actual case of bug being found:”

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Computer Bug

Believing that a much wider audience could operate a computer if it was more user-friendly and more programmer-friendly, Hopper joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (later the Sperry Corporation) in 1949. There, she worked on the UNIVAC I, the first commercial electronic computer.

In 1952, Hopper was credited with creating the first compiler for modern computers, a program that translates instructions written by a programmer into codes that can be read by a computer. Hopper went on to develop the FLOW-MATIC computer programming language (1957) and shortly after, pioneered the Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL).

As meme worthy as Einstein, she said:

A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for.  Sail out to sea and do new things.

 

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#dresslikeawoman and take on the world.

 

Neil Gorsuch

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney’s take on Neil Gorsuch.

Judge Gorsuch is a strict constructionist. This means he applies the law as written and looks at the intent of the legislature only if the law is ambiguous.  This does not mean that he is a foundationalist – one who thinks that the Constitution is stagnant and must been seen through 18th Century eyes.

He dislikes greedy coupon class actions, but he has upheld significant judgments in favor of meaningful class actions.  He is the judge who – after decades of litigation – compassionately held in favor of the Plaintiffs in the Rocky Flats nuclear contamination case.  Many plainiffs had died during the long litigation.  Judge Gorsuch wrote the opinion.  A new trial was denied, and judgment entered with interest for $700 million.

https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/14/14-1112.pdf

http://blogs.reuters.com/…/10th-circuit-in-rocky-flats-cas…/

We can imagine only injustice flowing from any effort to gin up the machinery of trial for a second pass over terrain it took fifteen years for the first trial to mow through….Injustice not only in the needless financial expense and the waste of judicial resources, but injustice in the human costs associated with trying to piece together faded memories and long since filed away evidence, the emotional ordeal parties and witnesses must endure in any retrial, the waste of the work already performed by a diligent and properly instructed jury, and the waiting – the waiting everyone would have to endure for a final result in a case where everyone’s already waited too long.

In the Hobby Lobby opinion, Hobby Lobby objected to insuring three forms of birth control and agreed to insure others. The three forms theoretically stop the progress of a fertilized egg.

Hobby Lobby is a religious based corporation that would have faced millions in fines for refusing to purchase a complaint health insurance policy.  The 10th Circuit opinion authored by Gorsuch holds that organizations can have legitimate religious interests.   The opinion respects the rule of Citizen’s United and also the view that fundamental political change must be made by the people or the legislative branch.   It holds that the goverment must respect real religious beliefs.

This decision cuts in favor of all religions and religious entities.   The government cannot force any religious organization to be complicit in actions that are repugnant to that religion.

The opinion was balanced in that sixteen other forms of birth control were funded and the right of choice preserved.  Individuals who wanted to have the one of the three objectionable forms of birth control instead of the other 16 could find a different job or simply pay for it.  All rights are preserved.

Consider the Hobby Lobby decision in context of a different religion.  Can the government force a Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist organization to engage in behavior that it considers repugnant?   The answer is no.

This is not a just a glossy pro-life pro-Christian opinion as memes suggest.  It is much more than that.  It balances interests with precision and does not deny the rights of the freedom of religion or reproductive rights to anyone.  We have to live together with different veiws.  This decision results in balance with the least impact on either value group.

I read his opinion on gun rights and gun control.   In this case a felon was charged with being in possession of a gun in violation of his parole.  The felon claimed that he didn’t know he was a felon because of a complicated plea deal.  Judge Gorsuch would have none of it and refused to expand the burden of proof of the prosecution or add additional elements to the crime.  He followed precedent and held that for a conviction of felon in possession, all the prosecution need prove was that the felon knew he was in possession of a gun.  Gun rights were not expanded.

I read his opinion concerning immigrants.  When the government wanted to apply entry restrictions retroactively, Judge Gorsuch said no.   He was unwilling to allow the executive branch to bully immigrants and to arbitrarily apply law and regulation.

He is a humble man, brilliant, and calls out greed and kindness. He applies law; he does not create it. He will respect precedence just like Justice Roberts, and I don’t believe he would overrule Roe v. Wade.  He is not a conservative activist judge.

I hope that he becomes the next Justice.  President Obama, then Senator, and Hillary Clinton both voted FOR his appointment to the 10th Circuit.  He teaches at the University of Colorado – and is beloved. He is not “in the mold” of Scalia in my opinion.

I am concerned that he is going to be a victim in political pay back.  It is inevitable that the Dems are going to lose this seat. The Republicans have the votes.

The next in line for this nomination is far more conservative.  A perfect political trap has been set; the Dems stop his appointment, they will get something worse (but claim a victory because they got payback). The next in line, if Gorsuch is not confirmed, is more likely to overturn Roe as he is a conservative activist judge

Gorsuch lives on three acres off of Lookout Road, north of our house. He has horses, chickens and goats.  And remember we live in deep blue and beautiful Boulder – he did not choose to live anywhere else.

He is a very good skier.

Syrian Vetting is Already Extreme

How are Syrian refugees referred to the U.S.?

The process begins with a referral from UNHCR. The U.N.’s refugee agency is responsible for registering some 15 million asylum seekers around the world, and providing aid and assistance until they are resettled abroad or (more likely) returned home once conditions ease. The registration process includes in-depth refugee interviews, home country reference checks and biological screening such as iris scans. Military combatants are weeded out.

Among those who pass background checks, a small percentage are referred for overseas resettlement based on criteria designed to determine the most vulnerable cases. This group may include survivors of torture, victims of sexual violence, targets of political persecution, the medically needy, families with multiple children and a female head of household.

What happens once a refugee is referred to the U.S.?

Our government performs its own intensive screening, a process that includes consultation from nine different government agencies. They meet weekly to review a refugee’s case file and, if appropriate, determine where in the U.S. the individual should be placed. When choosing where to place a refugee, officials consider factors such as existing family in the U.S., employment possibilities and special factors like access to needed medical treatment.

How do we know the refugees aren’t terrorists?

Every refugee goes through an intensive vetting process, but the precautions are increased for Syrians. Multiple law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies perform “the most rigorous screening of any traveler to the U.S.,” says a senior administration official. Among the agencies involved are the State Department, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. A DHS officer conducts in-person interviews with every applicant. Biometric information such as fingerprints are collected and matched against criminal databases. Biographical information such as past visa applications are scrutinized to ensure the applicant’s story coheres.

What percentage of applicants “pass” the screening process?

Just over 50%.

How long does the whole process take?

Eighteen to 24 months on average.

How many have been resettled here?

About 1,800 over the past year. They’ve been placed in dozens of states across the country, but most are in big states with large immigrant populations, such as California, Texas, Illinois and Michigan.

Who are they?

According to a senior administration official, roughly half the refugees admitted have been children. Around 25% are adults over 60. Only 2% of those admitted, the senior administration official said, have been single males of “combat age.”

Has the system been successful so far?

The security checks have a pretty good record. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. has admitted some 750,000 refugees. No Syrian has been arrested on domestic terrorism charges, though two—a pair of Iraqis in Kentucky—were charged with terrorist activities connected to aiding al-Qaeda.

 

 

 

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney Writes Resistance

trump-cover-final
Beth Klein Boulder Attorney

How to ensure that safety and health care is available, the environment is preserved, our universe explored, and people are treated equally are on the minds of many.   Does the answer lie in innovation?  Can we solve political and social problems and make petty politics irrelevant with technology and market forces?

1927 Orteig Prize, of $25,000 was offered by hotelier Raymond Orteig to spur tourism. Charles Lindbergh accepted the challenge and crossed the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. The $25,000 prize lead to a boom in air travel the world over.

In 1716 Longitude Prize sought technology to more accurately measure longitude at sea. Nearly 60 years later, a British clockmaker named John Harrison invented the chronometer, which spurred Trans-Atlantic migration.

In 1795, Napoleon offered a 12,000 franc prize for a better method of preserving food, to ensure that good food reached the front lines of his armies. The breakthrough innovation to Napoleon’s prize led to the creation of the canning industry.

On October 21, 2004, Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne reached the edge of space, an altitude of 100km, becoming the first privately built spacecraft to perform this feat, twice within two weeks.  In so doing, they won the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, ushering in a new era of commercial space exploration and applications.

Currently the XPRIZE Foundation, offers prizes to solve the world’s Grand Challenges — ocean health, literacy, space exploration, cancer cures, water, food.

One sector is devoted to women’s safety.  Women’s Safety Xprize   The Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE challenges teams to leverage technology to keep women and communities safe.  The winning team’s solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds and at an annual cost of US $40 or less. Teams will compete for a total prize purse of $1 million.  The Teams solve these problems with technology.

  • ONE IN THREE WOMEN GLOBALLY HAVE FACED PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME.
  • IN NEW DELHI, 92% OF WOMEN EXPERIENCED SOME FORM OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC SPACES IN THEIR LIFETIME.
  • ALMOST FOUR BILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE LACK ACCESS TO CENTRALIZED EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEMS.

GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF OUR OCEAN XPrize is a $7 million global competition challenging teams to push the boundaries of ocean technologies by creating solutions that advance the autonomy, scale, speed, depths and resolution of ocean exploration.  The success of this prize will allow us to fully explore and map the ocean floor, and uncover our planets greatest wonder and resource for the benefit of humanity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s $1 million bonus prize will incentivize teams to develop technologies to detect the source of chemical and biological signals underwater.

Teams will compete in two rounds of testing that:

Must launch from shore or air and, with restricted human intervention, their entries will have limited number of hours to explore the competition area (at depths of 2000 and 4000 meters) to produce:

1. a high resolution bathymetric map
2. images of a specified object
3. identify archaeological, biological or geological features

 

ORGANOGENESIS is a prize development funded by UCLA. There is currently a shortage of available transplantable organs. Roughly 1 million organs are needed worldwide and in 2012, only 114,690 transplants were performed. Due to the lack of available organs for transplant, patients get caught in a “catch-22.” In order to place high enough on the organ waiting list, they must be one of the sickest patients, yet well enough to survive the transplant surgery. With immunological suppression, the median organ transplant survival rate is approximately nine years. While this survival period is often characterized by improved function and quality of life, chronic rejection eventually sets in for almost all patients, resulting in deteriorating health. These patients would potentially have better outcomes if they received transplants at an earlier stage in their disease.

The winning team will demonstrate the successful function of a bioengineered human tissue and/or human organ (heart, lung, liver or kidney). These demonstrations will be showcased in a bioreactor ($1 – $2 million purse for demonstrating a tissue or $10 million purse for demonstrating an organ) or via one or two successful in-human organ transplants ($30 million purse, $20 million purse respectively).

A $1 million Diversity Prize will be split among 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and that five teams have verified launch contracts and are moving forward to the final phase of the competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.  NASA is being replaced by individual innovators working together.

All teams had until December 31, 2016 to have a verified launch contract in place.  Five teams are moving forward to the final phase of the competition:

  • SpaceIL (Israel), a non-profit organization, has secured a position on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Their goal is to make an educational impact and to create an “Apollo Effect” for the next generation in Israel.
  • Moon Express (USA), signed a multi-mission launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for three lunar missions by 2020. Their directive is to open up the Moon’s vast resources for humanity and establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit.
  • Synergy Moon (International), team member Interorbital Systems will serve as the launch provider, using a NEPTUNE 8 rocket to carry a lunar lander and rover to the surface of the Moon. Synergy Moon is made of up individuals from over 15 countries, with a mission to make manned orbital travel, personal satellite launches and Solar System exploration cost effective and accessible.
  • TeamIndus (India), signed a commercial launch contract aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). TeamIndus’ spacecraft is designed to nestle inside the nosecone of the PSLV and will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • HAKUTO (Japan), signed a rideshare agreement to have TeamIndus carry its four-wheeled rover to the Moon. Hakuto’s ultimate target is to explore holes that are thought to be caves or ‘skylights’ into underlying lava tubes, for the first time in history, which could lead to important scientific discoveries and possibly identifying long-term habitats to shield humans from the Moon’s hostile environment.

This week a human-pig embryo was developed, and organs were grown in host animals.

What if abortion was unnecessary?  What if fossil fuels faded into the past?  What if healthcare was delivered so that everyone had access to well-being?

Stanford researchers disclosed that they have developed algorithms to detect over 300 patterns of skin cancer that diagnose conditions as effectively as dermatologists.  The diagnosis of skin cancers always begin with a visual assessment. Now artificial intelligence has the ability to do that job.  Moving the technology forward, researchers are developing apps for phones to diagnose cancer.

Already pathologists run horrifying Instagram accounts to assist in the diagnosis of health issues and causes of death.  Alicia Potters and Nicole Angemi have forwarded diagnostics with their accounts. Ms. Potters works as an assistant at a pathology lab in Florida. The lab gets tumors, body parts, and human remains from doctors who hope the pathologists and their assistants will identify the maladies plaguing patients—or, more often, their cause of death.

Potters had to investigate why a woman miscarried her fetus at around 12 weeks.  All Potters had to go on was the woman’s tiny fetus which was about half the length of an adult’s pinky finger. In dissection Potters found malformed intestines and that part of the fetus’s brain was missing. Potters took a photo of the fetus with her smartphone and later sent it to Ms. Angemi, a pathologist assistant more than 1,000 miles away in New Jersey. Angemi then posted it to her Instagram feed, which has half a million followers.

A physician based photosharing system, Figure1 is also available and HIPAA compliant.  Instagram is not required to comply with HIPAA because it doesn’t work directly with hospitals, but it strips all metadata from images.  The power of sharing is evident.  There’s @MedicalTalks, which has 724,000 fans.

NASA released all of its research for free to the world.  Wikileaks dumped data on climate change this morning.  Taking references off of whitehouse.gov is not going to stop the exchange of information to save the planet; it will make the Whitehouse irrelevant in the solution. No seat at the table.

Innovations and disruptors are us.  And perhaps we need not rely upon the petty politicians and their vanity and whim to solve problems only when they can take credit. Taking down information on government websites is not going to stop people from creating solutions or making the issues of Trump irrelevant.trump-cover-final

Prizes, Innovation #resist

 

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney talks resistance through technology.

How to ensure that safety and health care is available, the environment is preserved, our universe explored, and people are treated equally are on the minds of many.   Does the answer lie in innovation?  Can we solve political and social problems and make petty politics irrelevant with technology and market forces?

1927 Orteig Prize, of $25,000 was offered by hotelier Raymond Orteig to spur tourism. Charles Lindbergh accepted the challenge and crossed the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. The $25,000 prize lead to a boom in air travel the world over.

In 1716 Longitude Prize sought technology to more accurately measure longitude at sea. Nearly 60 years later, a British clockmaker named John Harrison invented the chronometer, which spurred Trans-Atlantic migration.

In 1795, Napoleon offered a 12,000 franc prize for a better method of preserving food, to ensure that good food reached the front lines of his armies. The breakthrough innovation to Napoleon’s prize led to the creation of the canning industry.

On October 21, 2004, Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne reached the edge of space, an altitude of 100km, becoming the first privately built spacecraft to perform this feat, twice within two weeks.  In so doing, they won the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, ushering in a new era of commercial space exploration and applications.

Currently the XPRIZE Foundation, offers prizes to solve the world’s Grand Challenges — ocean health, literacy, space exploration, cancer cures, water, food.

One sector is devoted to women’s safety.  Women’s Safety Xprize   The Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE challenges teams to leverage technology to keep women and communities safe.  The winning team’s solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds and at an annual cost of US $40 or less. Teams will compete for a total prize purse of $1 million.  The Teams solve these problems with technology.

  • ONE IN THREE WOMEN GLOBALLY HAVE FACED PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME.
  • IN NEW DELHI, 92% OF WOMEN EXPERIENCED SOME FORM OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC SPACES IN THEIR LIFETIME.
  • ALMOST FOUR BILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE LACK ACCESS TO CENTRALIZED EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEMS.

GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF OUR OCEAN XPrize is a $7 million global competition challenging teams to push the boundaries of ocean technologies by creating solutions that advance the autonomy, scale, speed, depths and resolution of ocean exploration.  The success of this prize will allow us to fully explore and map the ocean floor, and uncover our planets greatest wonder and resource for the benefit of humanity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s $1 million bonus prize will incentivize teams to develop technologies to detect the source of chemical and biological signals underwater.

Teams will compete in two rounds of testing that:

Must launch from shore or air and, with restricted human intervention, their entries will have limited number of hours to explore the competition area (at depths of 2000 and 4000 meters) to produce:

1. a high resolution bathymetric map
2. images of a specified object
3. identify archaeological, biological or geological features

 

ORGANOGENESIS is a prize development funded by UCLA. There is currently a shortage of available transplantable organs. Roughly 1 million organs are needed worldwide and in 2012, only 114,690 transplants were performed. Due to the lack of available organs for transplant, patients get caught in a “catch-22.” In order to place high enough on the organ waiting list, they must be one of the sickest patients, yet well enough to survive the transplant surgery. With immunological suppression, the median organ transplant survival rate is approximately nine years. While this survival period is often characterized by improved function and quality of life, chronic rejection eventually sets in for almost all patients, resulting in deteriorating health. These patients would potentially have better outcomes if they received transplants at an earlier stage in their disease.

The winning team will demonstrate the successful function of a bioengineered human tissue and/or human organ (heart, lung, liver or kidney). These demonstrations will be showcased in a bioreactor ($1 – $2 million purse for demonstrating a tissue or $10 million purse for demonstrating an organ) or via one or two successful in-human organ transplants ($30 million purse, $20 million purse respectively).

A $1 million Diversity Prize will be split among 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and that five teams have verified launch contracts and are moving forward to the final phase of the competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.  NASA is being replaced by individual innovators working together.

All teams had until December 31, 2016 to have a verified launch contract in place.  Five teams are moving forward to the final phase of the competition:

  • SpaceIL (Israel), a non-profit organization, has secured a position on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Their goal is to make an educational impact and to create an “Apollo Effect” for the next generation in Israel.
  • Moon Express (USA), signed a multi-mission launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for three lunar missions by 2020. Their directive is to open up the Moon’s vast resources for humanity and establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit.
  • Synergy Moon (International), team member Interorbital Systems will serve as the launch provider, using a NEPTUNE 8 rocket to carry a lunar lander and rover to the surface of the Moon. Synergy Moon is made of up individuals from over 15 countries, with a mission to make manned orbital travel, personal satellite launches and Solar System exploration cost effective and accessible.
  • TeamIndus (India), signed a commercial launch contract aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). TeamIndus’ spacecraft is designed to nestle inside the nosecone of the PSLV and will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • HAKUTO (Japan), signed a rideshare agreement to have TeamIndus carry its four-wheeled rover to the Moon. Hakuto’s ultimate target is to explore holes that are thought to be caves or ‘skylights’ into underlying lava tubes, for the first time in history, which could lead to important scientific discoveries and possibly identifying long-term habitats to shield humans from the Moon’s hostile environment.

This week a human-pig embryo was developed, and organs were grown in host animals.

What if abortion was unnecessary?  What if fossil fuels faded into the past?  What if healthcare was delivered so that everyone had access to well-being?

Stanford researchers disclosed that they have developed algorithms to detect over 300 patterns of skin cancer that diagnose conditions as effectively as dermatologists.  The diagnosis of skin cancers always begin with a visual assessment. Now artificial intelligence has the ability to do that job.  Moving the technology forward, researchers are developing apps for phones to diagnose cancer.

Already pathologists run horrifying Instagram accounts to assist in the diagnosis of health issues and causes of death.  Alicia Potters and Nicole Angemi have forwarded diagnostics with their accounts. Ms. Potters works as an assistant at a pathology lab in Florida. The lab gets tumors, body parts, and human remains from doctors who hope the pathologists and their assistants will identify the maladies plaguing patients—or, more often, their cause of death.

Potters had to investigate why a woman miscarried her fetus at around 12 weeks.  All Potters had to go on was the woman’s tiny fetus which was about half the length of an adult’s pinky finger. In dissection Potters found malformed intestines and that part of the fetus’s brain was missing. Potters took a photo of the fetus with her smartphone and later sent it to Ms. Angemi, a pathologist assistant more than 1,000 miles away in New Jersey. Angemi then posted it to her Instagram feed, which has half a million followers.

A physician based photosharing system, Figure1 is also available and HIPAA compliant.  Instagram is not required to comply with HIPAA because it doesn’t work directly with hospitals, but it strips all metadata from images.  The power of sharing is evident.  There’s @MedicalTalks, which has 724,000 fans.

NASA released all of its research for free to the world.  Wikileaks dumped data on climate change this morning.  Taking references off of whitehouse.gov is not going to stop the exchange of information to save the planet; it will make the Whitehouse irrelevant in the solution. No seat at the table.

Innovations and disruptors are us.  And perhaps we need not rely upon the petty politicians and their vanity and whim to solve problems only when they can take credit. Taking down information on government websites is not going to stop people from creating solutions or making the issues of Trump irrelevant.

 

Is it the truth?

Words that must become extinct and the lesson of Herbert J. Taylor.

In the early 1930s Herbert J. Taylor set out to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from bankruptcy. He believed himself to be the only person who had hope. His recovery plan started with changing language and how people treated each other. He explained:

“If the people who worked for Club Aluminum were to think right, I knew they would do right. What we needed was a simple, easily remembered guide to right conduct – a sort of ethical yardstick- which all of us in the company could memorize and apply to what we thought, said and did.  I leaned over my desk, rested my head in my hands . . . Then I wrote down the twenty-four words that had come to me.”

Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Accuse me of rolling time back and old thinking, but check yourself.  Before you hit send check what you repeat whether it is words or depictions.

Are you running a hate campaign or are you being a stand for the success of US?  This goes both ways.  This is not about surviving the past 8 years or the next four.  It is about fundamentally changing the way we speak and eliminating Breitbart ALT Right and Extreme Left language which is becoming the new norm.  “Nazi “or “Fascist” are no longer shocking because they are overused.

We do not need vigilante bikers who form “walls of meat” and threaten violence.  Instead, we need well trained law enforcement to enforce all of our rights.  Well trained includes de-escalation training.  We need to help cops do their job without always being in fear which leads to shoot first behavior.

We do not need red hats glaring at pink ones or visa versa.

We need leaders that speak and act respectfully.

Everyone has their story of how the other side offended them.  How they bit their tongues on Facebook and then lashed out and eventually blocked connections.  You cannot control the behavior of others, but you can control yours.

My friend N observed that people are too quick to judge.  She was at the march in Denver and ran into an Egyptian student who was carrying a sign that was an enlarged version of Trumps famous tweet that the Chinese are responsible for climate change.  She said that protestors assumed that he was a Trump supporter and simply didn’t take a moment to absorb what was actually being said.  It turns out this student was doing an experiment to see of people would stop and talk or jump to quick anger.  N passed his test and was one of the few who did.

Flying out of Dulles, I decided to wear my pink hat at times to see how people would respond to me.    I wound up sitting in a group of red hats, and one of women in the group was the singer at the Freedom Ball in the red dress.  She was talking smack right behind me, and I was watching as people grew uncomfortable.  They were expecting me to escalate.  So I stood up and my chair scratched the floor (people gasped and waiting for the first punch) and gave her a hug and told her how proud I was of her performance and how amazing she sang.   She hugged me back and asked to have people take our picture.   So they did.

We skim.  Consider listening.  Break a barrier.

Before you post that meme, speak or write, or glare at someone in the street ask yourself.

Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 

 

 

 

How not to talk to each other.

As I try to talk and reach out, here is what confronts me so.

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I watched with dismay as my friend JP posted so many mean things while she was at the Inauguration.  This is what JP says, and it is challenging to hear:

“A crazy woman from Washington didn’t understand why women could support Trump and I set her straight!”

During the Inauguration JP bragged that Bikers for Trump would lock down DC and using the language of the ALT Right bragged that Chris Cox and his 200,000 strong vigilante crew eat “Snowflakes for Breakfast.”   But she complained about the K Street Protesters and media asserting that their threats of violence was the reason why the Inauguration was not well attended.

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“Message to Woman’s Marchers- Give the next generation of women a head-start in equality and understanding, self-respect and strength of character by sending the girls and young women in your life to a single-sexed high school or college that will teach her what you marched about & for today!”

But then she writes:  “today is also the day when hypocrisy must end; when bias must be cast out and when we look for the good in each other.  People who claim they want unity and respect for women and for this country are marching in protest of a man whom millions of women supported.”  She decided that the best way to bring unity was to glare at protesters.

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But who was leading 8 years ago.  Remember when President Obama was delivering a nationally televised speech to Congress a mere 8 1/2 months into his first term, and South Carolina representative, Joe Wilson, shouted out “You Lie!” on live television?   Why was that the new norm?

Not long after, when Republicans regained control of Congress, Mitch McConnell (R)(Ky.), specifically stated that “my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.” He actually said that. In the midst of a financial meltdown, skyrocketing oil prices, terrorism in the middle east, and impending global catastrophe from climate change, the Congressional leadership put “intentionally obstructing the president” as the single most important issue for Congress to address. Whether Mr. McConnell was serious or just being glib doesn’t matter – the message was that Republicans had a deep dislike of Barack Obama and would do everything in their power to undermine his authority.

Don’t forget about the “birther” movement that launched Trump’s political career claiming that Obama was not American -that he was actually born in Kenya, and his birth certificate from Hawaii was forged. Or the constant insistence that Obama is actually a Muslim, despite his clear and unambiguous relationship with Christianity. Or the attempt to label him as a “communist,” although many of his policies are more to the right of Eisenhower, including his bail-out for banks, the auto industry, and the pushing through of his signature Trans-Pacific Partnership – all pro-business, right-of-center endeavors. And while occasionally being referred to as a monkey, or ape, or other racially incendiary comparison to lower level primates.

The language cannot help Americans reunite.  I heard these words over the last three days, and I had to look up what they mean.

Beta:  Alpha males are leaders, like Trump; beta males are portrayed as weak and emasculated.

Crybaby, whiny: Anyone who disagrees with them or their preferred candidate, particularly protesters and people who complain that the alt-right is embracing racism and anti-Semitism.

Cuckservative, cuck: The term “cuckservative” originated in the alt-right. It’s a portmanteau of “conservative” and “cuckold” used to describe Republicans who are perceived to be emasculated or “selling out.” Frequently shortened to “cuck,” the term has come under scrutiny for its racist implications.

Human biodiversity: Despite the fact that many say racism is at the heart of its platform, the alt-right is very sensitive about being called racist. They use the term “human biodiversity” as a more scientific-sounding way of referring to issues of race.

Libtard: The alt-right revels in the rejection of “political correctness,” so embracing an outdated term for a person with an intellectual disability (“retard”) serves the purpose of insulting liberals.

Masculinist: A word meant to embody the opposite of feminist, celebrating “manliness” and the traditional “heroic” nature of men. To the alt-right, “masculinist” principles are ones that serve and advocate for men. Critics say they primarily reinforce antiquated gender roles.

 

Multiculturalism (as a derogatory term): A major component of the alt-right platform is white supremacy and nationalism. “Multiculturalism” is used as a negative term for the blending of multiple cultures, as opposed to celebrating the supposed superiority of Western European culture.

Neoreactionaries: Also known as NRx and the “Dark Enlightenment.” A group of people who call for stripping away anything other than supposedly rational thought, as opposed to a “feelings first” mentality. They advocate for libertarianism, traditional gender roles and neofascism.

Political correctness: Anything that challenges an alt-right person’s right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in any way they want to say it. According to the alt-right, political correctness is responsible for most of society’s ills, including feminism, Islamic terrorism and overly liberal college campuses.

Snowflake: Short for “special snowflake,” a pejorative for an entitled person. Most people protesting Trump are “snowflakes,” according to the alt-right, as are anti-Trump celebrities and most liberals.

SJW: Short for “social justice warrior,” this insult is mostly reserved for young women who try to argue on behalf of liberal or feminist ideas.

White genocide: What many alt-right members feel is the natural conclusion of liberalism and pro-immigrant policies.

Please reconcile for me why being American demands upon me and people who believe like I do to turn the other cheek?   We have a President who models escalation; how can American resist division?

I do not have the answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go now to come together?  It is all about activism and service?  Could it be about something simpler, but perhaps more difficult?  Friendships with people with whom we disagree?  How to we rebuild the house that is divided?

We have firmly become flat characters in narratives.  The good and the evil. The pink hatted; the red hatted.  We hear the same words of the new President; for some it is hopeful and others hateful.  Why?  Because we are human and we want to belong to the tribe that surrounds us, and so we speak to belong?  It is nothing new.  We have turned on each other as Americans have in the past.  What is the way out?

Let us go back in time for perspective.  It is June 16, 1858, and we are listening to Lincoln’s House Divided Speech during his unsuccessful bid for a Senate Seat.  Although beloved now, it was very controversial at the time.  The words cost Lincoln the Senatorial election, but it made him a statesman for the world and all time.

On June 16, 1858 more than 1,000 delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a concept familiar to Lincoln’s audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other.

Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically incorrect.  Herndon saw the political price for the words, “when I saw Senator Douglas making such headway against Mr. Lincoln’s house divided speech I was nettled & irritable, and said to Mr. Lincoln one day this — ‘Mr. Lincoln — why in the world do you not say to Mr. Douglas, when he is making capital out of your speech, — ‘Douglas why whine and complain to me because of that speech. I am not the author of it. God is. Go and whine and complain to Him for its revelation, and utterance.’ Mr. Lincoln looked at me one short quizzical moment, and replied ‘I can’t.'”

Herndon said later “Lincoln as a statesman, and political philosopher, announced an eternal truth — not only as broad as America, but covers the world.”

I was lucky enough to be in DC for the Inauguration  and at the Women’s March both of which were attended by friends that were passionately participating in citizenship that the ceremonies, galas and on the streets.    I saw how moved my friends J and K were to the words of the Inauguration Speech.  Let’s take a look at what was said.   Where is the what so and where we can agree? Here is what I can agree with.   Let’s talk about these things.  Can we?

  • True.  A nation exists to serve its citizens.
  • True.  Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
  • True.  But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
  • Great idea.  We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
  • Great idea.  We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
  • I like this.  We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
  • I like this too.  We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.  When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
  • I like this.  We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
K asks me, “If you wouldn’t mind I would love for you to tell me what you feel is the purpose of this movement and what is the outcomes you’re committed to producing?”  I say, “It is simply equality for women.  Same pay.  Same control over our bodies. Mutual respect for our bodies and potentials.”  Here is how he hears it and what he says.
K:  “Anything that changes the hearts and minds of people is there’s a clear compelling message the people can understand and get on board for. I don’t see that right now I just see a bunch of angry people [who the news] puts on all the time.  It is off putting but what I saw in some of the pictures and from some of my friends sharing their participation today was Joy freedom and independence from suppression. That has an appeal.”
Beth:  “I saw no angry people today.”
K:  “My guess is that what it looks like right now is the beginning of something really great and it’s messy and awkward like anything when it first starts.”
Beth:  “Of course and when it’s being seen in the beginning it is not clear.”
K:  “I say this is authentically as I can. I live my life out of a possibility for all people…. that tone that arrogance [and] stupidity of relating to people like they’re idiots and that is the enemy . . . [Saying] ordinary people are stupid deplorable and irredeemable and those people are not that they’re just people. Scatter[ed] attacks on anything that doesn’t agree with one’s position is not going to get social change to take place effectively. It will just slow it way down.”
Beth:  “You are right. So where do we go from here?”
K:  “Hell I don’t know.”
Beth “You do know.”
K:  “It would be good if you answered my question about what’s the purpose I’m going to the outcomes. I always start there – if you get clear about that the path to producing it becomes pretty obvious.  What is the purpose? What are the outcomes that you’re committed to producing?
Beth:  “Equality for men and women.”
K:  “Well what would it look like if you were successful and you achieved your mission. What would start happening that isn’t happening? What would stop happening that is happening? What would we see more of? What would we see less of? And what would be a Eradicated?”
Now we are talking, and a house is being rebuilt.

Saving Elephants

Please read Beth Klein Boulder Attorney’s writing about Synthetic Ivory.

https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/beth-klein/posts/73333

The Influence of Phillip Dick & Trumpism

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney Blog
Beth Klein Boulder Attorney Blog

Not far from my home, the remains of Phillip Dick rest in Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, (section K, block 1, lot 56) where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane.  No crowds come to honor him as they do Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France. Ironically, Phillip Dick was one of the world’s most influential writers and thinkers who is deserving of our thanks.

I wanted to write an electronic memorial to him. When you read the names of his works, there is nothing else that needs to be added to describe his contribution to literature through battles with suspicion of propaganda and government, loneliness, drug abuse, depression and schizophrenia.

“I’m not much but I’m all I have.”

“My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.”

“Don’t try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.”

But, during these days as we watch America being degraded by a president elect, Phillip Dick’s words have even deeper meaning.   In “The Man In The High Castle,” Philip Dick wrote about how people judge competing narratives as true or false in the context of what we already believe is true.

In High Castle, he asks us to imagine a world where Nazi power triumphed in WW2, and a world in which the narrative of history was written by the victor. If we lived in that world, how would we know that the lies spun by a Nazi government were not the truth?  Until we see how stories are used to shape our perceptions and reality, we’re vulnerable to continued manipulation. But once we can think critically about the ways that narratives are constructed, and the various agendas they serve, we can begin to assess objectively our own beliefs.

What is red, what is blue, what is real?

We have now seen how a mass communication disinformation campaign can elevate a Putin Puppet to the highest power in a competing state, and to have millions of supporters simply repeat the mantra.  The context of hatred of a conservative or a liberal view now dominates the common hatred of national threats.

Now, with these manipulations, hating or not listening to a competing political view is more important than working together.  The Machiavellian common enemy which typically binds a nation, has now been turned inward upon the US.  If there is a legacy of the Trump movement, it is simply that.  Trumpism is moving a nation to implode by false narratives that are accepted as reality in the context of the right and wrong of red and blue.

“Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”

  • Blade Runner
  • Total Recall based on the short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,”
  • Confessions d’un Barjo (1992), titled Barjo in its English-language release, a French film based on the non-science-fiction novel Confessions of a Crap Artist.
  • Screamers (1995), based on the short story “Second Variety”, directed by Christian Duguay
  • Minority Report (2002), based on the short story “The Minority Report”, based on the 1953 story “Impostor,”
  • Paycheck (2003), directed by John Woo and starring Ben Affleck, based on Dick’s short story of the same name.
  • A Scanner Darkly (2006), directed by Richard Linklater and starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Next (2007), directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Nicolas Cage, loosely based on the short story “The Golden Man”.
  • Radio Free Albemuth (2010), directed by John Alan Simon loosely based on the novel “Radio Free Albemuth”.
  • The Adjustment Bureau (2011), directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon, loosely based on the short story “Adjustment Team”.
  • The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second Variety.
  • The Man in the High Castle for the BBC, in the form of a mini-series.[51] A pilot episode was released on Amazon Prime in January 2015 and Season 1 was fully released in ten episodes of about 60 minutes each on 20 Nov 2015

Phillip Dick was a twin, and his sister Jane died in childbirth.  Her death influenced his placement of the protagonist in two simultaneous realities themes in many of his works.

He believed that existence is based on internal human perception, which does not necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as “an acoustic pantheist.  After studying metaphysical realms, Dick came to the conclusion that the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether it is truly there.  He constantly asked the question: “What is an authentic human being?”  And themes of mental illness, religious, medical and recreational drug use, and divine experiences permeate his work.

In 1974 he had a mystical experience that helped calm his horror of the world, and he wanted to communicate the structure of the calm to others in Vast Acting & Living Intelligence Systems (VALIS).  He felt that something intervened to heal his mind and give him a sense of beauty of the world amid the insanity.

“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”

Following Orders was impossible for him as he explains in a 1979 interview.

He found that science fiction gave him the means for true expression, but felt that it became silly putty over time without an identity.

How he measured men was based upon acts, not celebrity or wealth.  My favorite quote is:

“The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.

Shortly before his death Philip offered a list of his own prognostications to be published in the collection Book of Predictions.  Here’s what he predicted courtesy of the PKD Otaku fan zine, issue number 11.  Fill in the blanks yourself about whether any of these modern day quatrains occurred.

1984
The U.S. will perfect a system by which hydrogen, stored in metal hydrides, will serve as a fuel source, eliminating a need for oil.

1985
By or before this date there will be a titanic nuclear accident either in the U.S.S.R. or in the U.S., resulting in shutting down all nuclear power plants.

1986
Such satellites as HEAO-2 will uncover vast, unsuspected high energy phenomenon in the universe, indicating that there is sufficient mass to collapse the universe back when it has reached its expansion limit.

1993
An artificial life form will be created in a lab, probably in the U.S.S.R., thus reducing our interest in locating life forms on other planets.

1995
Computer use by ordinary citizens (already available in 1980) will transform the public from passive viewers of TV into mentally alert, highly trained, information-processing experts.

2010
Using tachyons (particles that move backward in time) as a carrier, the Soviet Union will attempt to alter the past with scientific information.

Now is the time to question the nature of our reality and to stand in principles broader than making the “other” right or wrong.  Thank you  Phillip for cementing these words in story so that perhaps people will create something together rather than invest billions of dollars to destroy capable leaders and ourselves with words and binary codes.

 

 

Beth Klein Boulder Lawyer's Exploration of Human Powered Things in 2017

floatinggymBehold a human powered gym being powered by a spin class in Paris!

A well-conditioned cyclist can produce about 400 watts of mechanical power for an hour or more, but adults of good average fitness average between 50 and 150 watts for an hour of vigorous exercise.

human-power-powers-power-for-all-humans_hero

Manoj Bhargava has created a human-powered generator.  The generator, called the Free Electric, that can power a rural household running 24 lights and a fan, while charging a phone, for a day, all from an hour’s work by a single individual.

watts can:

Blender/Food Processor (400 Watts) 1 hour/week
Coffee Maker (894 Watts) one hour/day
Dishwasher (1,200 Watts) one hour/day
Microwave Oven (1,450 W) 30 min./day
Freezer 15 Cu. Ft. (341 W.) 12 hrs/day 124
Refrigerator – 14 Cu. Ft. (440 W.) 12 hrs/day

What is a watt anyway?

Electricity usage is calculated in kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watts used for one hour. As an example, a 100-watt light bulb operating for ten hours would use one kilowatt-hour.

What is on the cutting edge?

Princeton University engineers have developed a device that may change the way that we power many of our smaller gadgets and devices. By using our natural body movement, they have created a small chip that will actually capture and harness that natural energy to create enough energy to power up things such as a cell phone, pacemaker and many other small devices that are electronic.

The chip is a combination of rubber and ceramic nanoribbons. When the chip is flexed, it generates electrical energy. How will this be put to use? Think of rubber soled shoes that have this chip embedded into them and every time a step is taken, energy is created and stored. Just the normal walking around inside the office during a normal work day would be enough to keep that cell phone powered every day.

1-rocking-knit-chair-1

This chair knits you a warm hat! Using the energy generated by simply kicking back and relaxing, the “Rocking-Knit” draws yarn from a spool and knits it into a hat right above your head.

A washing machine, a blender, and a socket.  The later is soccer ball by day and a light all night.

The Pavegen tiles were designed for streets, schools, squares where lots of people walk as it transforms kinetic energy of your steps into electricity. The electricity generated can be used for powering up street lamps, to keep advertisement lamp boxes on, and more.

http://www.crookedbrains.net/

 

Beth Klein suggests – Program a Lego Robot

Lots of people are switching off social media and finding time to gather with friends and explore new ideas.

Here is a suggestion.  Host a “Program a Lego Robot” Party.  You may be surprised at your ability to intuitively program a robot.

This year Lego is selling Boost, a basic robotics- and programming-oriented kit that’s playful.  Boost is built around a motorized block called a Move Hub, powered by six AAA batteries and equipped with a tilt sensor. You can pick from five major building projects: a foot-high anthropomorphic robot called Vernie, a mechanical cat named Frankie; a colorful guitar; a tractor-like vehicle; and the “Autobuilder,” a 3D printer-like machine that can be programmed to put Lego together.

During the construction process, the app introduces new builders to the simple programming interface: a series of puzzle pieces representing different actions, which can be chained together and triggered by a tap of the screen or a real-world action.  You will actually learn just by tinkering with it.

You can program Vernie to dance and shake maracas, to shoot a small projectile at a target, or to hold a conversation using preset lines.  Frankie “plays” a Lego harmonica by detecting when different colors hit the sensor over its mouth, then playing a sound that’s linked to that color, including recorded audio.

Robotics and AI can be understood and a lot of fun.  Have a breakthrough in your relationship with these realms in 2017 with friends.

 

Turkey, ISIS and the PKK.

 

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict is an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups that want a separate Kurdish nation or greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.  The main rebel group is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan).    The insurgency is mainly in southeastern Turkey and the Kurdish region in Iraq.   What follows is a very simplistic summary of the conflict.

The conflict between the Turks and the Kurds began in 1984.  Former French ambassador to Turkey Eric Rousseau estimated in addition to the 35,000 people killed in military campaigns, 17,500 were assassinated between 1984, when the conflict began, and 1998. An additional 1,000 people were reportedly assassinated in the first nine months of 1999. According to the Turkish press, the authors of these crimes, none of whom have been arrested, belong to groups of mercenaries working either directly or indirectly for the security agencies.

Since the 1970s, the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for the thousands of human rights abuses against Kurdish people.  The judgments are related to systematic executions of Kurdish civilians, forced recruitments, torturing, forced displacements, thousands of destroyed villages, arbitrary arrests, murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists. The PKK was responsible for a number of civilian deaths, even though this number is lower than those perpetrated by the government. The number of total civilian deaths perpetrated by the PKK between 1989 and 1999 was determined as 1,205 by the independent Uppsala One-Sided Violence Dataset.

On December 29, 2012, Erdoğan said that the government was conducting negotiations with jailed rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan. Negotiations initially named as Solution Process (Çözüm Süreci).  Assassination of three Kurdish PKK administrators in Paris and the bombings of the Justice Ministry of Turkey and Erdoğan’s office at the Ak Party headquarters in Ankara nearly derailed the peace process.   But despite these attacks on March, 21 2013, a cease-fire that included disarmament and withdrawal from Turkish soil began the conclusion of the 30 year old conflict.

On April 23, 2013, the PKK announced that it would be withdrawing all its forces within Turkey to Northern Iraq.  Constitutional and legal changes towards the recognition of human rights of the Kurds starts simultaneously with withdrawal.

In October 2014, riots erupted in various cities in Turkey after ISIS sieged Kobane. The Kurds accused the Turkish government of supporting ISIS.The conflict between Turkey and PKK escalated following the 2015 Suruç bombing attack on progressive activists, which was blamed on a Turkish ISIL-affiliated group. Turkey bombed alleged PKK bases in Iraq and PYD bases in Syria’s Kurdish region Rojava, effectively ending the cease-fire.

Violence soon spread throughout Turkey. Many Kurdish businesses were destroyed and branches of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were also attacked. There are reports of civilians being killed in several Kurdish-populated towns and villages. In the spring of 2016 the violence increased and in May, a Turkish Bell AH-1 SuperCobra helicopter was shot down by a PKK-fired Russian made MANPADS.

During the winter there is typically a lull in the violence.  But three conditions indicate that in the Spring of 2017 indicate that the violence may increase:  the deadlock in peace talks , polarised antagonists who believe a military solution is possible, and competition over northern Syria in which both sides are seeking maximum outcomes and competing for US support.

After the attempted coup in July 2016, the violence of PKK tactics increased with the use of  improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and kidnapping, assault and killing of political figures.   Ankara has matched the PKK’s ramp up in tactics, convinced that the group could be defeated militarily. “Ankara has declared an ‘all-out war’, intensifying military operations and advancing its domestic crackdown against alleged PKK supporters,” the ICG stated, citing the recent arrests of pro-Kurdish mayors, the closure of Kurdish media outlets, and the arrests of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers.

In 2016, Turkey suffered 18 major terror attacks, most of which were carried out by the PKK, its affiliate group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), and ISIS.  In addition to its fight against the PKK and ISIS, Turkey has also, simultaneously, put forward a strong fight against the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), as well as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which carried out the July 15 coup attempt.

In 2017, the Turkish government is expected to continue its offensive against the PKK locally and in its cross-border operations, which may include an expansion of cross-border operations into northern Iraq, to fight PKK targets, including the Qandil Mountains and Sinjar, in addition to the expansion of Operation Euphrates Shield into areas held by the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the PYD, in northern Syria.

In his recent speeches, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has particularly voiced that 2017 will be the worst year yet for the PKK.

“I say clearly that these are their good days. After April, they will be surprised to see what is happening to them, as their end will come soon. We will decisively continue our fight during the winter,” Interior Minister Soylu said on Dec. 8, during his visit to the eastern Van province.

The PKK, distanced itself on the Reina New Years nightclub attack.  “No Kurdish forces have anything to do with this attack,” it said in a statement. “The Kurdish freedom fight is also the fight for democratization of Turkey. That’s why we won’t target innocent and civilian people.”

ISIS took responsibility for the bombing.

No end is in sight for the armed conflict between these three groups.