December 18, 2012 By 415 Comments
21st Century Wire say… This is one step away from SKYNET ala Terminator – as these advances in artificial intelligence will be extended to the current multi-billion dollar per year drone industry, where unmanned drones will not just be chasing phantom terrorists in the hills of Afghanistan, but more likely chasing citizens within North America, Europe and elsewhere. Washington Post Hayley Tsukayama As 2012 winds down, lots of people are looking back at the year in tech. But at IBM, researchers have released a list of trends to expect not only in 2013, but in the next five years. On Monday, the company released its annual “5 in 5” report, which offers up predictions about what technology innovations will catch on in the next half-decade. This year, the report focuses on how computers will process information in the future, and IBM’s researchers say that nature’s gift of five senses won’t be reserved for just the living: Machines may actually be able to process things as humans do — through touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. That, said IBM vice president of innovation Bernie Meyerson, would be a major shift in the very architecture of computing. “If you program a computer, it’s a gruesome undertaking,” said Meyerson, noting that — at its most basic level — the way humans load information, bit by bit, into computers, hasn’t changed since the abacus. But advances in computer technology, Meyerson said, are already allowing computers to look at an object holistically, taking in information in a moment that would have taken years to input through code. “Say you’re standing in a museum of modern art, surrounded by paintings and sculptures,” Meyerson said. “You would spend the rest of your adult life trying to put that into words and type it in [to a computer]. Now, imagine if you could teach it by just showing it something.” The idea, Meyerson said, is to give humans and computers a common language. And it’s not as difficult — or as futuristic — as you may think. Smell and taste, Meyerson said, are two senses that have a clear chemical base. If computers can sense the types of molecules — ammonia, explosive residue or gasses that indicate decay — they could alert users to different markers that would flag security risks or food-borne illnesses. The same is true of taste, he said, if computers could be programmed to recognize the correct proportions of certain chemicals. Or, the machines could be used in health planning, to find healthy combinations of foods that would appeal to the palate of the dieter. When it comes to sight, Meyerson said, researchers have improved recognition software that can identify objects based on a database of images already loaded into the system. And in the future, computers could “hear,” by using detailed sound analyses that, for example, can tie a certain pattern of notes in a baby’s cry to anguish or joy. Finally, computers could learn to tell the difference between cashmere or concrete by reading the appropriate signals of vibration and temperature, Meyerson said. Video game makers have already used a very basic version of this: controllers vibrate when there’s impact between objects on-screen. In the next five years, researchers could take that sort of program to a microscopic level, allowing machines to have some sense of touch, Meyerson said. While each idea has applications of its own across many industries, Meyerson said that they would have the greatest impact when combined. “It’s not that you want to make computers smarter than humans,” he said. “But they have bandwidth to get it in… If you want to scale its memory, you can buy a box of disk drives.”
November 29, 2012 By 526 Comments
By Alex Spillius Russia is printing bank notes and sending them by the plane load to Syria to help the besieged regime pay its soldiers and civil servants, a new report suggests.
Flight records obtained by the investigative website ProPublica showed that at least 120 and up to 240 tons of bank notes were delivered during a ten-week period between July and September.
On eight round-trip trips between Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and Damascus International Airport, the “Type of Cargo” is listed as “Bank – Notes (30 Ton)”. Neither their denomination nor value was specified however.
Seven of the eight Syria Air flights were confirmed through international plane-tracking services, photographs from amateur plane-spotters and official air traffic control records.
Each manifest detailed a circuitous route over Iran and Iraq, countries that are friendly to the Syrian regime, rather than the most direct route over Turkey, which has become a foe of President Bashar al-Assad.
The deliveries appear to have softened the damage caused to the Syrian regime by stiff European sanctions, which among other things annulled an agreement with an Austrian bank that had previously printed the Syrian pound. The EU has passed 19 rounds of sanctions against the regime since pro-democracy protests in March 2011 descended into a civil war that has claimed an estimated 40,000 lives. Russia has been Mr Assad’s key international ally throughout, blocking punitive resolutions in the UN Security Council on three occasions. In the summer, it was reported that Russia had begun printing Syrian pounds and had already delivered its first shipment, while Damascus-based bankers said that new bank notes printed in Russia were circulating in trial amounts in the capital and Aleppo, the commercial capital. Such reports were denied by the Syrian Central Bank, but in August the official Syrian news agency, Sana, quoted Syrian officials on a visit to Moscow as saying that Russia was printing money for Damascus. Ibrahim Saif of the Carnegie Middle East Centre said that 30 tons of bank notes was a significant amount for a country of Syria’s size. “I truly believe they are printing money because they need new notes. Most of the government revenue that comes from taxes, in terms of other services, it’s almost now dried up. But, he added, “they continue to pay salaries”. “They have not shown any signs of weakness in fulfilling their domestic obligations. The only way they can do this is to get some sort of cash in the market.” Source: Telegraph
November 17, 2012 By 506 Comments
By Jerry Lawton The whistle-blower who exposed the Welsh children’s home sex abuse scandal has cheated death in a suspect car smash after his brakes failed. Police have seized care boss Malcolm King’s motor to see if it was sabotaged. The car, a regularly-maintained Volvo S60, careered across a busy A-road and was hit side-on by an Alfa Romeo. Afterwards Mr King, 68, who suffered a broken leg, found his brake pedal unattached and lying on the car floor. The outspoken former boss of social services in Clwyd, where much of the abuse took place, told the Daily Star yesterday: “I guess I’ve pissed a lot of people off over the years. “My friends tell me I’m crazy not to be more suspicious about it, but I can’t live my life being paranoid. “If a man could die from paranoia I’d have been dead a long time ago.” Labour councillor Mr King blew the whistle on a paedophile ring operating at north Wales children’s homes in the mid-1980s. It allegedly involved shamed TV star Jimmy Savile and other celebrities, politicians, police chiefs and judges. Mr King, a county councillor and former chair of North Wales Police Authority, was one of only 12 people given copies of the 1996 Jillings Report, which named every abuser. Read more at Daily StarThe married dad-of-two’s brake pedal mysteriously failed on the A525 near Ruthin days after the scandal blew up again two weeks ago. Mr King said: “I pushed my foot down hard on what I thought was the brake pedal but nothing happened. “I’ve no idea whether the pedal was attached at this stage or not. “The car flew across the junction and a car coming from my right smashed into my side. “If I’d shot across the junction a split-second sooner I’d be dead because it would have hit where I was sitting rather than the bonnet. It doesn’t bear thinking about. My car, which is a write-off, is now in the hands of the crash investigators. “It’s a good car and I’ve always maintained and serviced it regularly at the best garage in town. “The police officer at the scene told me they’d examine it very thoroughly. They said they’d go over it with a fine-tooth comb.’’ The Jillings Report was so explosive insurers ordered it to be pulped but a copy has been found in council archives…
November 17, 2012 By 12 Comments
Disturbing questions over Leveson’s key adviser, Sir David Bell and ‘Common Purpose’: Special Investigation into a central figure in the McAlpine scandal and judicial inquiry into the press- Sir David Bell’s suitability as senior adviser to Leveson Inquiry under scrutiny - Sir David is a trustee of the tarnished Bureau of Investigative Journalism - BIJ behind the disgraced Newsnight probe that implicated Lord McAlpine
By Micheal Seamark and Sam Greenhill Mail OnlineSir David Bell is on the six-strong panel of assessors assisting Lord Justice Leveson, whose report into press standards is expected within weeks. But a Daily Mail investigation has uncovered evidence that questions both his suitability as an adviser and the impact this may have had on the objectivity and neutrality of the Inquiry. Sir David is a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the group behind the disastrous Newsnight report that falsely implicated Lord McAlpine as a paedophile. With his lawyers preparing to sue the BIJ for damages, the former Tory Party treasurer yesterday described the devastating impact on him of the programme that has left the BBC in crisis, with the resignation of its director general. The 70-year-old spoke of how the shattering allegations had consigned him ‘to the lowest circle of hell’ and said it had made him ‘a figure of public hatred’. The BBC last night agreed to pay Lord McAlpine £185,000 plus legal costs. This was followed by a grudging apology from the BIJ, which read: ‘The bureau’s trustees apologise to Lord McAlpine for the extent to which its contribution to the Newsnight broadcast on 2 November fell short of the high standards it expects and for any incorrect speculation about the identity of the politician that may have been encouraged by the bureau managing editor’s tweet in advance of the broadcast.’ At the Leveson Inquiry, the BIJ, which bragged it was the gold standard of investigative journalism, proposed a media levy that would force newspapers to fund groups such as itself. As well as the bureau, Sir David is co-founder of the Media Standards Trust, the lobby group behind a huge amount of evidence presented to the Leveson inquiry. The Trust, which Sir David chaired until recently, subsequently spawned Hacked Off – the campaign group demanding press reform fronted by actor Hugh Grant and comedian Steve Coogan – which has boasted of its role in considerably expanding the Inquiry’s original remit. Sir David’s friend and Trust co-founder is Julia Middleton with whom he heads an organisation called Common Purpose which receives millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money from public servants sent on ‘leadership’ training courses. It is described as the Left’s answer to the old boys’ network. Two more of Leveson’s panel of advisers, ex-Ofcom chairman Lord Currie and Sir Paul Scott-Lee, ex-chief constable of West Midlands Police, have indirect connections with Common Purpose. The Mail investigation has uncovered an incestuous network of political, business and financial links between Sir David, ex-chairman of the Financial Times, and individuals and organisations appearing before the Inquiry to demand statutory press regulation. It reveals:
- Many of the witnesses who provided the most hostile anti-press evidence to Leveson are linked to senior figures at Hacked Off and the Media Standards Trust;
- Significant funding for the Trust comes from a charitable trust of which Sir David is a trustee;
- The Trust has links with Ofcom, the statutory media regulator which some suspect has ambitions to regulate Britain’s free press;
- Despite being formed by the Trust, which is campaigning for ‘transparency and accountability in the news’, Hacked Off refuses to detail the source of its own funding;
- The ‘prestigious’ Trust-administered Orwell Prize for political writing was handed to a journalist who turned out to have made up his ‘award-winning’ articles;
- Common Purpose is ‘likely’ to have breached the Data Protection Act – the charge levelled at the Leveson Inquiry against virtually all newspapers;
- It has strong links with powerful and controversial lobby and PR groups;
- Common Purpose ‘leaders’ have had a significant influence on the appointments process in Whitehall.
- What a very small world: Why are so many figures in the Leveson Inquiry connected to New Labour’s favourite media quango Ofcom?
- A coup by the Left’s old boy network: The Leveson Inquiry has momentous implications for free speech. But this Mail dossier raises disturbing questions about the influence of a quasi-masonic nexus of the ‘people who know best’
- Solved, the mystery of the money chest: How David Bell sits on the charity bankrolling his own campaign
November 14, 2012 By 565 Comments
21st Century Wire says: As we detailed earlier this week, the establishment is desperate to draw a line under any serious independent investigations into organised paedophile rings and child abuse in British establishments, because exposure threatens individuals who sit within the very power structure of multiple institutions – including government, the judiciary, the police, child care, ‘children’s charities’ and the BBC. They want our horror to end with their fixer Jimmy Savile, and the sacking of BBC’s Pope, George Entwistle – and quietly move on. The Government’s move to spike any further inquiry into past and present existence of paedophiles in power is part of damage limitation exercise - a coordinated attempt to shut down the national conversation – despite overwhelming evidence that this is an organised, institutional disease. The Waterhouse Inquiry into the North Wales Boys Home sex abuse criminal network was a typical government-run whitewash, where the establishment failed to probe into the heart of the problem, where institutional members covered for each other’s interests, and where police fumbled evidence and failed to secure arrests of powerful men. In the end, the bureaucracy won and justice was sadly lost. The recent Newsnight scandal over the naming of Lord McAlpine (by the police, not the BBC) was a staged event used by the establishment to distract, and further close down the public’s view into their seedy world of child sex. David Cameron’s recent ‘gay witch-hunt’ cries serve the very same ends – to distract and cover.. New victims are coming out daily to testify about abuse at the hands of the rich and powerful. Will the public let this pass without a fight? We shall see…
Peers demand child abuse investigation is droppedBy Alex Stevenson The inquiry announced by Theresa May last week into Ronald Waterhouse’s original investigation of child abuse in north Wales care homes should be dropped, peers have said. Ministers announced the probe into whether the Waterhouse inquiry last week, after victim Steve Messham alleged a senor Tory was among the paedophiles involved. The original inquiry was criticised in some quarters for not looking at allegations of child abuse outside the care homes. Messham has subsequently apologised for the case of a mistaken identity, triggering the resignation of George Entwistle as BBC director-general. Now peers are calling for the inquiry into Waterhouse’s work to be withdrawn or amended. Crossbench peer Lord Lloyd of Berwick, a retired judge, suggested that “there is no longer any need for another high court judge to go over the word done by Sir Ronald Waterhouse and that on the contrary we should all be grateful for the impeccable nature of his inquiry and the thoroughness of his report”. Read more at Yahoo! News here …. RELATED: Max Clifford on Alan Clark: ‘I have all the evidence’, know where all bodies are buried RELATED: CAMERON JUST DOESN’T GET IT – The Police and Judiciary are Part of UK Abuse Problem RELATED: ‘COMING OUT OF THE CABINET’: PM CAMERON IN A PANIC OVER ‘GAY’ GAFFE
October 24, 2012 By 461 Comments
By Maha Ellawati Benghazi Almost a thousand Libyans have so far attended courses designed to help them better understand the working of civil society in a democracy. So far, 26 courses and workshops have been run in Tripoli, Benghazi, Al Beida, Derna and Misrata by UK-based charity Common Purpose. Project Manager, Australian-born Nacho Galvez, told Libya Herald that the European Union (EU) founded the project “to respond to early Libyan requests for support with training on leadership and managerial skills.” The objective of Common Purpose in Libya said Galvez: “Is to build up the management and leadership capacities of leaders and managers within the emerging interim institutions and civil society in Libya, so that they are able to meet the challenges of a society in transition”. Some workshops were specifically designed for young people between the ages of 20 and 35 who wanted to become effective leaders in their communities. In the run-up to the elections, courses for ‘Young Leaders’ focussed on raising younger people’s awareness of the electoral process. Galvez said participants, worked on campaigns to ensure that Libya’s younger generation were well-informed and engaged with the elections. “They produced ideas and action plans to ensure maximum participation. As a result of the course, many participants have been developing projects to help their communities,” Galvez said. He added: “Some participants set up ‘Bokra,’ a youth engagement charity, while others organised a radio campaign to encourage people to vote.” Other training programmes have been aimed at women, such as a ‘Women Leaders’ course in Misrata in June this year, which attracted 27 attendees. Galvez said that the course explored ways women could be effective leaders, as well as offering an opportunity for confidence-building and peer-networking. “Participants came with ideas and projects and the course gave them the opportunity to explore and identify ways in which to move these forward,” he added. Examples included developing plans to create a women’s club, an entrepreneurial hub, as well as looking at the regeneration of MIsrata. Galvez explained: “Through this course, the participants developed a peer support group and felt better-equipped to contribute positively to Misrata’s future.” Since Common Purpose in Libya was established, it has worked with people from numerous organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, AGOCO, the Libyan Red Crescent and the Voice of Libyan Women. Galvaz added that Common Purpose is also working closely with key actors in the emerging civil society and public service in Libya. Since the start of the project in July 2011, 968 Libyans have attended courses and workshops and Galvez said that participants all agreed that the course or workshop they had attended was “good value for their time.” Common Purpose is a UK-based Charity, established in 1989, which runs leadership development programmes. It delivers its leadership programmes in 46 cities across 18 countries. Source: Libya Herald