THE INTERESTING ASPECT ABOUT CASEBOOKERS ~ MOST THINK BEYOND THE MATRIX...
GOOD MORNING Z
AND GOOD MORNING TO ALL OF OUR UFOCASEBOOKERS
What Cities Would Look Like if Lit Only by the Stars
By Pete Brook 11.13.14
Carl Sagan once said anything shining in the night sky does so because of distant nuclear fusion. The physics involved are awesome, and so too are the billions and billions of stars seen from here on Earth. But with every passing day, increasing light and air pollution from growing cities diminishes our ability to observe the cosmos.
French artist Thierry Cohen draws attention to this creeping loss in his series Villes éteintes (Darkened Cities), which imagines the world’s largest cities under clear night skies. His photographs are as impossible as they are beautiful. The dark urban landscapes and vibrant constellations are composites of two images—one of the city and one of the sky.
“By combining two realities, I am making a third that you cannot see … but it exists! I am showing you the missing stars,” says Cohen. “Photography is way of showing things that we can’t see. Photography is a way to dream. I am not showing you post-apocalyptic cities, merely cities without electricity. I am bringing back the silence.”
Cohen has visited nine cities including New York, San Francisco, Rio De Janeiro, and Hong Kong. Using an equatorial tripod mount and polar-scope, Cohen captures an urban landscape, then travels to a less populated location at the same latitude with greater atmospheric clarity. Using this method, the skies above Shanghai are actually in Western Sahara and Paris is illuminated by the stars over Montana.
In creating each half of the composite image, Cohen uses the same camera and lens and nearly identical exposure lengths for the city and sky. However, the time never correlates because, surprisingly, Cohen captures the urban shots during the day. The combination of under-exposure and filters–a technique known as day for night—results in what appear to be nighttime views free of artificial light. The technique works best on grey days without shadows and creates striking visions of a metropolis in blackout.
Darkened Cities presents both what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost. Cohen has shown that intelligent manipulations of the medium shift a photograph from mere object to catalyst for critical thought. These still, dark landscapes evoke another possible existence and offer a glimpse of a parallel universe.
“Photography is about poetry more than it is about reality,” says Cohen. “It is how you see the world. You can show the world you want to show.”
Darkened Cities is on show at East Wing Gallery, Abu Dhabi until November 20.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11763 on: Nov 14th, 2014, 10:44am »
GOOD MORNING Z AND ALL OF OUR UFOCASEBOOKERS
Human thoughts control mouse genes
Brain waves trigger light that activates protein production in rodents
By Tina Hesman Saey 2:22pm, November 11, 2014
Just by thinking, humans may be able to control gene activity in a mouse.
People’s brain waves caused a gene to turn on in mice, researchers report November 11 in Nature Communications. The mind control trick isn’t telepathy. It’s a marriage of two technologies, one that uses bursts of light to turn on genes, and one that enables people to control external devices, such as computer cursors or robot arms, with their minds using “brain-computer interfaces.”
Such mixed technologies may one day head off epileptic seizures before they start.
Wirelessly Control Mice With the Power of Your Mind
By Carl Engelking November 11, 2014 2:44 pm
Tibetan nuns can raise their body temperature to 101 degrees Fahrenheit through their mastery of certain meditation techniques. But in the future, even a spiritual novice could use mind power to control their body’s biological functions such as pain management or the secretion of hormones.
And when we say future, we’re talking decades and not centuries.
That’s because scientists have just laid the groundwork for mind-controlled biology. Humans used their minds to control gene expression in mice that were fitted with a wireless optical implant. Yes, scientists have created a mind-controlled transgene expression device.
Cybernetics, Optogenetics Mash-Up
Certainly this all sounds a bit confusing and outlandish, so let us explain. Researchers’ experiment melded two fields that have track records of success: optogentics and cybernetics. Optogentics uses light to control cells that have been genetically modified to be sensitive to light. Essentially, you can tell a cell to produce a certain chemical or behave a certain way by exposing it to light.
Cybernetics harnesses the powerful electrical signals our brains emit when we think. When you, for example, think about lifting your arm, that thought is coded in a specific, predictable brainwave pattern. Thus, we’ve been able to make mind-controlled prosthetic limbs, or helicopters you fly with your thoughts.
Now it was time for researchers to meld cybernetics and optogenetics together. They started by inserting a light-sensitive gene into human kidney cells. When these cells were exposed to infrared light, they caused a series of chemical reactions that ultimately led to the expression of another gene — essentially flipping the “ON” switch.
Then, they gathered these cells and put them into an implant about the size of a quarter, which also featured an infrared light that could be activated wirelessly. They surgically inserted the implant under the skin of a mouse.
Then, eight people strapped on headsets that tracked their brain wave activity. Participants were trained to control their thoughts in order to emit a specific brainwave that would activate the mouse implant. Researchers had them use meditation, to emit a relaxed brain wave pattern; play a video game, to emit a deep concentration brain wave; and biofeedback, learning by trial and error to emit a distinctive brain wave.
Lighting It Up
With the mouse’s LED implant and human brain wave headsets linked, participants could switch on the implant’s light using the three mind-control techniques. Their thoughts activated the device, releasing the cells, setting off a series of reactions and turning on the target mouse gene. Researchers knew it worked because a specific protein released during the reaction showed up in blood tests.
They published their findings Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
Future Mind Control
Researchers say this technique could have big benefits for people who are fully conscious but unable to move or speak. They could use their thoughts to self-administer pain medication.
In the longer term, people could use their thoughts to control insulin-releasing micropumps, pacemakers or any other biomechanical implant. And think of the even more exotic applications, such as using your mind to trigger a flood of serotonin to keep you awake on an all-night study session.
You’ll have to be patient, though. The study’s lead researcher Martin Fussenegger told New Scientist that they hope to start a clinical trial in humans within a decade.
Until then, you’ll have to take the long road and master your tummo meditation techniques if you want to be a mind-control whiz.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11766 on: Nov 16th, 2014, 07:31am »
Good morning all
Top US general in Iraq to assess anti-IS campaign
By HAMZA HENDAWI and LOLITA BALDOR Nov. 15, 2014 3:25 PM EST
BAGHDAD (AP) — America's top military leader arrived in Iraq on Saturday on a previously unannounced visit, his first since a U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State group.
The visit by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, came just two days after he told Congress that the United States would consider dispatching a modest number of American forces to fight with Iraqi troops against the extremist group.
The Iraqi military and security forces, trained by the U.S. at the cost of billions of dollars, melted away in the face of the group's stunning offensive this summer, when it captured most of northern and western Iraq, including the country's second-largest city Mosul.
Dempsey said Thursday that Iraqi forces were doing a better job now, although an effort to move into Mosul or to restore the border with Syria would require more complex operations.
He also told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee that America has a modest force in Iraq now, and that "any expansion of that, I think, would be equally modest."
"I just don't foresee a circumstance when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent," he said.
Dempsey's spokesman, Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, said the general planned to visit U.S. troops, commanders and Iraqi leaders. "The primary purpose of his visit is to get a firsthand look at the situation in Iraq, receive briefings, and get better sense of how the campaign is progressing."
The visit included talks in Baghdad with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. Ambassador Stuart E. Jones, Thomas said.
Dempsey later flew to Irbil, capital of Iraq's largely autonomous northern Kurdish region, where he met with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.
Dempsey also visited the U.S. joint operations center in Irbil, got a briefing on the Kurdish offensive against the Islamic State group and held a town hall with deployed troops there, Thomas said.
The Pentagon has plans to establish an expeditionary advise and assist center in Irbil where U.S. troops will provide assistance to Iraqi forces at the brigade and higher levels. The U.S. also is planning to set up a training site near Irbil.
According to plans laid out last week, the U.S. expects to train nine Iraqi security forces brigades and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.
Dempsey's visit to Iraq comes a day after Iraqi forces drove Islamic State militants out of a strategic oil refinery town north of Baghdad, scoring their biggest battlefield victory yet.
On Saturday, state television said government forces were in full control of the refinery, Iraq's largest, which lies some 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of the town of Beiji.
The loss of Beiji marks the latest in a series of setbacks for the jihadi group, which has lost hundreds of fighters to U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, particularly in the group's stalled advance on the Syrian town of Kobani. On Friday, activists there reported significant progress by the town's Kurdish defenders.
Meanwhile on Saturday, two parked car bombs exploded minutes apart north of Baghdad, targeting a security checkpoint, authorities said. The attack killed nine people and wounded 32, according to police and hospital officials.
Later, a booby-trapped house in northern Baghdad blew up as a joint army and police force searched it for weapons, killing five and wounding 10, according to hospital and police officials.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
Baldor reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Bram Janssen in Irbil, Iraq contributed to this report.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11768 on: Nov 16th, 2014, 11:30am »
When it comes to fine geek fan art, James Hance is a badass. The artist has a talent of taking popular culture and turning it on its head. A couple of his latest pieces feature a Harry Potter and Star Wars mashup. He calls the first one “Scruffy Looking Troll Herders.” It features Ron Wealey (Rupert Grint) as a little Han Solo and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) as his buddy Chewbacca. The other piece is called “With My Own Eyes,” and it shows Snape (Alan Rickman) as Darth Vader. You gotta love fan art!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11769 on: Nov 16th, 2014, 12:12pm »
Here Gator, Gator!
Those of you who do not know, alligator eyes reflect bright red at night. This photograph, titled "Warning Night Light," won Larry Lynch the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in the Animal Portraits category:
Larry waited around in the swamps of Myakka River State Park, Florida to capture this shot at the perfect moment:
David Moynahan also paid a late-night visit to Myakka River State Park to find some alligators. Looks like he got more than (or exactly what) he bargained for:
David's comments on his photos: "So many eyes! Briefly, a light misty rain delivered droplets near the camera that burst with light from the flash as well, adding to the magic of the scene.":