Jump to content

Rate this topic

Guest Blueboy

Recommended Posts

Guest Blueboy

Published on Friday, July 27, 2012 by Common Dreams

US Massive Bunker Buster Bomb 'Ready to Go'

- Common Dreams staff

The U.S. mammoth bunker-buster bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is ready to go today, the Air Force says.

“If it needed to go today, we would be ready to do that,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Wednesday, according to the Air Force Times. “We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing. We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”

bunkerbuster-b.jpg A B-52 releases a test version of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) during a test of the weapon over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. in 2009. (DoD photo) The Pentagon has spent over $300 million on the 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" that can hold 5000 pounds of explosives.

The Boeing-made bomb, described by the Telegraph as "the world's largest conventional bomb" and Spencer Ackerman as a "mega-weapon for blowing up hidden factories of death," is "a weapon system designed to accomplish a difficult, complicated mission of reaching and destroying our adversaries’ weapons of mass destruction located in well protected facilities," according to the government's Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Blueboy

Seal Flu: Next Pandemic Threat?

Virulent New Flu Subtype Killed New England Seals

By Daniel J. DeNoon

WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD


July 31, 2012 -- A new and virulent subtype of flu bug has emerged among harbor seals in New England, researchers report.

Over a four-month period beginning last September, 162 harbor seals were found dead or dying along the coast of New England. An investigation by renowned virus hunter W. Ian Lipkin, MD, of Columbia University, identified the killer: a mutant flu bug transmitted to the seals by sea birds.

Virus isolated from the seals had undergone a series of important mutations:

  • It became able to spread among mammals, or at least from seal to seal.
  • It became able to infect the seals' airways, destroying lung tissue or opening the door to fatal secondary infections.
  • It became more virulent.

"An additional concern is the potential [animal-to-human] threat that this virus poses, as it has already acquired mutations ... that are often, though not exclusively, regarded as prerequisites for pandemic spread," Lipkin and colleagues note in an article published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The basic type of flu virus isolated from the seals has long been known to science. It's called H3N8. An H3N8 virus that caused flu in horses entered the U.S. in the early 1960s. The canine H3N8 that in 2004 caused a flu outbreak among racing greyhounds apparently came from the horse H3N8. It now spreads easily among dogs.

The good news is that neither the equine H3N8 nor the canine H3N8 flu bugs infect humans. It's unlikely the seal H3N8 virus will spread directly to humans, either.

But Lipkin and colleagues suggest that seals, like pigs, may be able to harbor bird and mammal flu viruses at the same time. The deadly H5N1 bird flu is carried by sea birds. The worry is that mammal-adapted H3N8 will combine with H5N1, and a deadly virus will emerge.

That's only a remote possibility. Yet it's clear that H3N8 viruses already have learned to spread from birds to horses, dogs, and now to seals. And in a controversial experiment with ferrets, researchers have shown that H5N1 bird flu is capable of mutating into a form that spreads among mammals.

The warning from Lipkin carries weight among scientists. Lipkin directs Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity. He's also director of the World Health Organization's center on emerging diseases, and is co-chair of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee for the CDC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't find anything new.

Here's some articles from.......

CDC (Center for Diease Control and Prevention)


Medical News Today ~


Discovery.com ~


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Blueboy

Uploading the Human Mind – The Weird Neuroscience of Immortality


Uploading the Human Mind.

Neuroscientist Kenneth Hayworth, 41, recently of Harvard and a veteran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that he can live forever, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. “The human race is on a beeline to mind uploading: We will preserve a brain, slice it up, simulate it on a computer, and hook it up to a robot body.” Hayworth wants his 100 billion neurons and more than 100 trillion synapses to be encased in a block of transparent, amber-colored resin—before he dies of natural causes. Why? Because Hayworth believes that he can live forever.

“If your body stops functioning, it starts to eat itself,” Hayworth says, “so you have to shut down the enzymes that destroy the tissue.” If all goes according to plan, I’ll be a perfect fossil.” Then one day, not too long from now, his consciousness will be revived on a computer. By 2110, Hayworth predicts, mind uploading—the transfer of a biological brain to a silicon-based operating system—will be as common as laser eye surgery is today.Haysworth is pioneering the field of connectomics –a new branch of neuroscience. A connectome is a complete map of a brain’s neural circuitry. Some scientists “believe that human connectomes will one day explain consciousness, memory, emotion, even diseases like autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s—the cures for which might be akin to repairing a wiring error. In 2010 the National Institutes of Health established the Human Connectome Project, a $40-million, multi-institution effort to study the field’s medical potential.”Connectomics scholar Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent proponent of the grand theory, describes the connectome as the place where “nature meets nurture.”* Hayworth looks at the growth of connectomics—especially advances in brain preservation, tissue imaging, and computer simulations of neural networks—and sees a cure for death. In a new paper in the International Journal of Machine Consciousness, he argues that mind uploading is an “enormous engineering challenge” but one that can be accomplished without “radically new science and technologies.”

“There are those who say that death is just part of the human condition, so we should embrace it. ‘I’m not one of those people,” he adds.* Hayworth ansers critics his many doubters in academia saying that science is about overturning expectations: “If 100 years ago someone said that we’d have satellites in orbit and little boxes on our desks that can communicate across the world, they would have sounded very outlandish.” One hundred years from now, he believes, our descendants will not understand how so many of us failed for so long to embrace the idea of immortality.

“We’ve had a lot of breakthroughs—genomics, space flight—but those are trivial in comparison to mind uploading. This will be earth-shattering because it will open up possibilities we’ve never dreamed of.”* In 1986, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education, “researchers did manage to map the nervous system of a millimeter-long soil worm known as C. elegans. Though the creature has only 302 neurons and 7,000 synapses, the project took a dozen years. (The lead scientist, Sydney Brenner, who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002, is also at Janelia Farm.) C. elegans’s remains the only connectome ever completed. According to one projection, if the same techniques were used to map just one cubic millimeter of human cortex, it could take a million person-years.”

“In 2010, Jeff Lichtman, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard and a leading light in connectomics, and Narayanan Kasthuri, also of Harvard, published a small paper full of big numbers. Based on their estimates, a human connectome would generate one trillion gigabytes of raw data. By comparison, the entire Human Genome Project requires only a few gigabytes. A human connectome would be the most complicated map the world has ever seen.” State of the art methods of preserving brain tissue top out at around one cubic millimeter—far, far short of an entire human brain.

“Mind uploading is part of the zeitgeist,” says MIT’s Sebastian Seung. “People have become believers in virtual worlds because of their experience with computers. That makes them more willing to consider far-out ideas.”

Taking a stark contrary view, J. Anthony Movshon, of NYU, says that more than 25 years after the C. elegans connectome was completed, he says, we have only a dim understanding of the worm’s nervous system. “We know it has sensory neurons that drive the muscles and tell the worm to move this way or that. And we’ve discovered that some chemicals cause one response and other chemicals cause the opposite response. Yet the same circuit carries both signals.” He scoffs, “How can the connectome explain that?”

“Our brains are not the pattern of connections they contain, but the signals that pass along those connections,” concludes Movshon.

Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT Sebastian Seung discusses how the study of “connectomes”, a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain, can help turn science fiction into reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember first being introduced to this concept on The X Files - "Kill Switch". And think of how many parts of science fiction have become science FACT over the last hundred years?

Cloans, communicators (cell phones), lasers, space ships, robots...... Hell, there are things that are, I think, pretty close to "Tri-corders". (for Trekie's who know)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using our website you consent to our Terms of Use of service and Guidelines. These are available at all times via the menu and footer including our Privacy Policy policy.