News from a World gone mad

yet there is still so much beauty


February 4, 2016

Using Brain Electrodes Researchers Were Able To Read Minds Almost At The Speed Of Thought (this is creepy in my opinion)

In a study published on January 28, 2016, the PLOS Computational Biology revealed groundbreaking research regarding the use of implanted electrodes in the human brain that can interpret brain signals at such speeds as to rival that of natural perception.

That’s the claim of University of Washington neuroscientists and their colleagues who created the system that is implanted into the temporal lobe of the brain and reportedly decodes brain signals.

The team implanted the electrodes into the brains of epilepsy patients at the Seattle Harborview Medical Center. These patients were chosen because usual treatments, like medication, weren’t effective. It was necessary for the researchers to use this procedure temporarily to see if they could find the focal points of the seizures.

With their specialized test of showing images of faces and houses to the patients, the researchers were able to determine in a much broader scale, the affected neurons instead of one neuron in traditional diagnostics. This allowed for an algorithm that analyzed the data to determine on its own what the patient was looking at, whether it was a picture of a house, a face, or a blank screen and to their surprise, the algorithm ascertained the right answer at 96% of the time. It did it at an average speed of 20 milliseconds.

Things get weirder with this area of research. In another experiment researchers were able to get disabled persons to move a finger where they couldn’t do before and they hooked up two brains with electrodes so that the two people could guess what the other was thinking.

This is straight out of science fiction for sure but it’s a reality now.

In theory the use of electrodes of a more complex level could achieve ways for disabled persons to regain lost abilities of mobility and communication.

Dr. Kai Miller is a neurosurgery resident and physicist at Stanford University and the leading author of the study officially entitled, “Decoding of the Timing and Content of Human Object Perception from Cortical Surface Recordings Reveals Complementary information in the Event-Related Potential and Broadband Spectral Change”. In addition, UW Professor Rajesh Rao, Director of the Center for Sensorimotor Engineering, Dora Hermes, Gerwin Shalk, and Jeff Ojemann.

This research heralds a new application of neuroscience that could revolutionize several therapies. The possibilities are astonishing. To be able to get responses via the algorithm at speeds of perception could also mean integration into computing or prosthetic. It could make people with severe disabilities able to partake in daily routines again and even gainful employment.

It’s a good bet this research will continue and catch the eye of the public and industry. Government will be hovering over the research as it could be applied to military use as in a soldier being able to operate systems without hands or for veterans who’ve suffered injuries.

Overall, this brave step in the direction of advanced neuroscience is something that sci-fi writers of old would be proud of.










When wind meets freezing rain

Frost Flowers: Nature’s Exquisite Ice Extrusion

It is as beautiful as it is rare.  A frost flower is created on autumn or early winter mornings when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the stems of plants or occasionally wood. This extrusion creates wonderful patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous frozen petioles giving this phenomenon both its name and its appearance.

Conditions have to be just so for frost flowers to form.  Early winter and late autumn are the optimum time to come across them as although the weather conditions must be freezing it is vital that the ground is not.

As the temperature gets to freezing or below the sap in the stem of the plants will expand.  As it does so the outer layer of the stem comes under increasing pressure and microscopically thin cracks, known as linear fissures, begin to form.  These will finally give way under the pressure of the sap and split open.

Full story and pictures at  Kuriositas








FAI / ELF New Horizons of Burning Rage’ take responsibility for media sabotage (UK)

From Act For Freedom Now!

As part of the ongoing anarchist war for total liberation, we carried out a hit on the Bathampton radio and TV relay station. Fires were set at four points of the structures, and we left undisturbed. As a result of the sabotage, on top of causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, we regionally shut down all TV channels on Freeview as well as all national analogue and digital radio stations. Additionally it took down Vodaphone and other mobile networks, damaging police communications and other digital services. 80,000 homes and businesses in the area were affected.

The entertainment industry is an important tool to manipulate human behaviour.

Without a steady supply of distractions it would be much harder to persuade people that their lives are satisfactory, to convince them to keep going to work or in whatever way to reproduce the system. So to deprive the network of the ability to offer this essential means of escape from chronic modern stress, anxiety, frustration and dissatisfaction is to undermine the smooth running of society, however temporarily.

There are many soft targets and many lo-tech methods available for us malcontents who gladly choose conflict over despair. This gives rise to the prospect of rebellion with thousands of faces, with infinite reasons to blockade and destroy whatever stands between us and our goals. We want to experience harmony as a living planet, face to face encounter as intimate circles of proud and free-thinking individuals, and a chance to mould an existence filled with wild play and fierce joy.

Our first response when faced with today’s crushing domination and a subservient society will always be outbreaks of disorder, refusal and beauty.

Our comrades from far and wide who also carry this fight share our thoughts so closely that often their words could be ours. So when they are kidnapped and held far away from us our determination is only further fuelled. Following many actions in Italy the state has unleashed a wave of repression against anarchists and their projects (Operations Ardire, Mangiafuoco, Ixodidae, Thor…), some across borders, accusing some of attacks of the FAI (Informal Anarchist Federation) and raising a trophy for the media-judicial circus: Nicola Gai and Alfredo Cospito, who they claim are FAI / Olga Cell. But if the prosecutors thought for one minute that they had dismantled the group even in Italy with their operations, another cell soon proved them wrong with an attack on the banking system in the capital, followed by grid sabotage in Indonesia, gunshots in Mexico, liberations in Russia, bombing in Greece, mass arson in Argentina, to name but a few. The new anarchist guerrillas laugh in the faces of the powerful because the repression is only throwing petrol on the fires of the open leaderless resistance.

We are on the side of everyone who has burnt stuffy textbooks and taken the offensive to reanimate an anarchy that had turned to dust in so many throats. Any rebel’s capture becomes yet another motive to strike, as we have before and will again, as a reminder of the social cost of their imprisonment.

This action carried out eight years to the day since Xosé Tarrio (a dignified prisoner of Spain’s FIES isolation units, against which a series of attacks last decade were later claimed by the first generation of the FAI) died in the cells, leaving his blood on the hands of the jailers, courts and cops.

New Horizons of Burning Rage  Guerilla News

Terrorists for the FBI: How the FBI Uses Informants to Surveil and Entrap Americans


(video interview from the Democracy Now show based on the recent story inMother Jones magazine, “The Informants,” by Trever Aaronson.) In collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, reporter Trevor Aaronson examined more than 500 terrorism-related cases and found that nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by cash rewards up to $100,000 per assignment… the FBI has recruited a network of informants that today numbers 15,000… What we found in our investigation was that of the 500 terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, half of those involved the use of an informant.

Profiles of Provocateurs

Kristian Williams, the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America Recent published a collection of short case studies on Portland IMC regarding the use of agents provocateurs, including warning signs and practical advice. Click here for the full article.


A show fromThis American Life about informant Brandon Darby, from the 2008 RNC cases of David McKay and Bradley Crowder.Following this show, Darby has started an informant advocacy group Citizen Patriot Response, which he encourages people to snitch on activists to the FBI. He has also admitted in recent speeches to right-wing neo-fascist Tea Party conference goers that he is traveling to Occupy camps around the country and attending assemblies to collect information and share it with the government. Like other informants, he is known to perpetratesexist behavior.

Better This World

A PBS special, from the Point Of View (POV) series, on the use of Informant Brandon Darby in the arrests of two activists, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Check it out here.


Another source for occasional updates on informants. From their site: “SnitchWire exists solely for the purpose of investigating and objectively reporting on the existence and actions of known informants, infiltrators, rats, snitches, and provocateurs. This blog is to be used as a tool for people wishing not to associate with such unsavory, treacherous scum.”

From Green is the New Red

“This [below] is Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) of Against Me! playing at the Nimbus Dam, the site Eric McDavid was allegedly plotting to blow up with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner. An FBI informant named “Anna” provided the group with bomb-making recipes; at times financed their transportation, food and housing; strung along McDavid, who had the hopes of a romantic relationship; and poked and prodded the group into action.

Mark Reichel, McDavid’s attorney, said: “There has never been a case in America that has involved this much entrapment, this much pushing by an informant, by the U.S. government and by the FBI behind it.”









Seal Guardian Campaign Update from Hunt Saboteurs Association


For those of you who were following the HSA Seal Guardian Campaign, which spanned 2014 and 2015, and was the HSA’s longest running full-time campaign being a daily operation covering six months last summer, we have an amazing update to share:

The Scottish Government have finally formally announced a THREE YEAR BAN on coastal wild salmon netting!

This is a major victory because with no nets in the water, Usan Salmon Fisheries aka the Scottish Wild Salmon Company can’t claim to need to shoot seals in order to protect those salmon nets! Usan have been shooting seals for four decades, so this truly is a landmark victory! History has been made! And there’s more!

The coastal netting ban means that wild salmon can now travel up the east coast without running the gauntlet of 14 nets in a ten mile stretch of coast to get to their home rivers for breeding. Tens of thousands of salmon will be saved! Also, as was well documented by us, protected sea birds using their traditional breeding and nesting grounds in and around the Montrose Basin were routinely drowning in the salmon nets, as a result of their feet or wings getting caught. They can now exist in peace, free from the life-threatening hazards that were the coastal salmon nets! So this win is a huge result for the seals, the sea birds and the salmon!

The Scottish Government were under pressure from the EU to halt coastal salmon netting, because salmon numbers are at an all-time low. They were talking about making a decision within the next five years. With evidence gathered by us and submitted to relevant authorities and stakeholders, along with awareness-raising and media interested created, we have forced change now! This leaves Usan with the creel pot side of their business.


Since the salmon season closed last autumn, expecting repercussions for their behaviour (they were charged with netting out of permitted hours, and also copped a huge fine from the HMRC for not declaring all their catch) they have increased the creel pot side of the business in lieu of their lost salmon business. They have increased the number of pots they usually sink ten-fold, going after the crabs and lobsters of the east coast. They have tried to argue that they still need to shoot seals, this time to protect their creel pots, but so far have not been issued a licence for that.

It is ridiculous, as seals can not rip into creel pots. But as Kevin Pullar himself said, they just “love killing seals”, so it doesn’t surprise us that they will try any excuse to continue to do so. We will of course fight them all the way on obtaining a licence to shoot to protect creel pots. The only other interest they have now is the Ythan River fishing rights. A well-established seal population hauls out at the Ythan, and there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to have this haul-out site awarded protection. Results for this are imminent.

We have more legal stuff against the Pullars of Usan and their pals in the pipeline, and will update on these cases when able. We continue to work with various agencies, stakeholders and locals to secure the best permanent result for the wildlife of Scotland’s coasts.

source Earth First







Catholic Church pays compensation but won’t admit child abuse liability

© Kai Pfaffenbach

The Catholic Church is paying compensation to victims of alleged child sex abuse at its schools, but refuses to accept liability.

Leslie Turner, 66, was paid £17,000 in compensation in 2014 after saying two members of the Irish Christian Brothers order sexually abused him at a school in Sunderland in the 1960s.

Turner, a retired primary school teacher, alleges he was molested from the age of 12 by two teachers at St Aidan’s Roman Catholic grammar school between 1960 and 1967.

He decided to sue the Church after he was diagnosed with delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder in 2012, a condition which he has described as worse than the abuse itself.

After the abuse stopped it was actually worse than when the abuse was taking place,” Turner told the Guardian.

I tried to become invisible. It never occurred to me to tell anybody. When the head teacher has been abusing you, who do you tell? I put it into a cupboard in my head and I shut the cupboard door.

The Congregation of Christian Brothers settled with Turner before the claim was due to be heard in the high court. In doing so, the Congregation said it was unable to admit or deny the allegations and insisted it could not admit liability for what Turner says happened to him.

The Congregation said it would be “quite impossible” to investigate allegations dating from the 1960s, as both alleged abusers were dead.

Turner described the abuse he suffered at the hands of an English teacher and the school’s then-headmaster as so habitual it became “normal.”

He claims that Brother Norman Williams would habitually abuse him during English lessons at the age of 12, reaching up through his shorts and touching his genitals while he read aloud to the class. Turner says Williams would pinch his legs if he made a mistake.

Turner alleges then headmaster Brother Dennis O’Brien abused him in his office when he was 13. He claims the headmaster told him to say Hail Marys, and instilled a feeling of “great shame and guilt” when he became aroused

full story at RT









Super cute baby meerkats explore the outside world for first time


We love a good meerkat, but it’s not often that you see baby versions of these cute critters hanging around.

These pups were born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Jan. 7, the children of first-time parents Nairobi and Maputo. It’s also the first time meerkat pups have been born at the zoo in seven years, making this kind of a big deal.

“They were initially a little wary of this big new world outside, but with a bit of encouragement from mum and dad they started to explore,” zookeeper Courtney Mahony, said in a statement sent to Mashable Australia via email.

Now weighing a little over 120 grams each, they’re both yet-to-be-named as their sexes are not yet known. They will be discovered in veterinary examinations happening in late February. Keepers suspect it is a male and female, developing their own personalities as they grow. “Our male is the bigger of the two and he’s more adventurous and inquisitive, while the female is quieter and prefers to stay close to mum,” Mahony said.

The pups will wander for short periods of the day as they slowly make their way into the world with their parents and keepers maintaining a keen eye. Aren’t they just divine?

full story and supercute pictures at Mashable








Single episode of Russian cartoon ‘Masha and the Bear’ conquers world with billion+ YouTube views

© Get Movies

The Russian cartoon Masha i Medved (Masha and the Bear) is among only 20 videos in YouTube’s history that have managed to garner over a billion views.

The episode was Masha plyus Kasha (or Masha and the Porridge) and it was uploaded on YouTube four years ago – in January 2012. However, it was not as fast as Adele’s Hello, which reached the benchmark in just 87 days.

It turns out it isn’t Russians who are the cartoon’s biggest fans – the Russian animated phenomenon, where a little girl pretty much terrorizes or pranks a hapless bear, has garnered a huge following in the United States, Germany, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

more at RT









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