Saturday, July 31, 2010

FLASHBACK: Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy Releases ROBOTC2.0 Programming Language

I didn't even realize there was a ROBOTC, much less a ROBOTC2.0®.

Click the following link to download the
ROBOTC2.0® programming language.


Robotics Academy Releases ROBOTC2.0 Programming Language

Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Academy announces the release of
ROBOTC2.0®, a programming language for robots and an accompanying suite of training tools that are easy enough for elementary students to use, but powerful enough for college-level engineering courses.

Like the original, this latest version of ROBOTC is an implementation of the industry-standard C programming language and has a modern programming environment that can grow as students move from elementary through college-level robot programming. ROBOTC2.0 includes significant improvements, however, including a new graphical user interface (GUI) modeled after Microsoft’s popular Visual Studio programming environment. It also boasts a unique, interactive real-time debugger that operates with either a wired or wireless connection to a PC.

“Computer programming is not taught at the middle school level, yet hundreds of thousands of children gain their first programming experience with robots,” said Robin Shoop, director of the Robotics Academy. “We introduced ROBOTC four years ago because students working with robots should spend their time learning scientific, mathematical and engineering principles, not learning a different programming language for each robot platform. Also, the programming environment students use should be compatible with a language such as C that they likely will use for years to come and with an interface that will help them transition to those used by professionals.”

ROBOTC supports the most popular robot platforms used in schools and in student competitions such as FIRST. It is the only programming language that works for the LEGO Mindstorms RCX and NXT systems as well as the Innovation First VEX and Cortex systems. ROBOTC also is being developed to support additional platforms. Programs written in ROBOTC for one robotic system can be easily adapted to another supported platform.

ROBOTC2.0 was developed under the leadership of Tim Friez, a Robotics Institute software engineer and ROBOTC inventor Dick Swan, a Dallas, Texas, software engineer and a long-time contractor to the Robotics Academy.

ROBOTC2.0 is an integrated development environment (IDE) that consists of a compiler, text and project editor and run-time environment. Its debugger supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi links and gives the user complete access from the PC into the operation and step-by-step execution of the programs. ROBOTC2.0 executes instructions extremely fast; on LEGO NXT, its execution speeds are five to 50 times faster than those of other programming solutions, including LEGO’s proprietary environment. It includes support for a wide variety of sensors as well as support for WAV and MIDI sound file playback.

Information about ROBOTC2.0 is available at as well as the Robotics Academy Web site, ROBOTC users can obtain free upgrades to 2.0 at these sites.

The Robotics Academy, which is part of Carnegie Mellon’s renowned Robotics Institute, develops techniques and tools that help K-12 teachers use robots to teach science and mathematics and to inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Everything from cell phones to entertainment centers requires programming today and Internet connectivity has become a fixture of American life,” Shoop said. “Programming is a skill that is increasingly important and, despite popular misconceptions, is key to some of the fastest growing occupations in the world.”

Though enrollment in computer science programs increased last year for the first time in six years, educators have been concerned about lagging interest among U.S. students.

“If we want America to lead the world in innovation, we need more students studying computer science, not fewer,” Shoop said.

Follow the School of Computer Science on Twitter

Friday, July 30, 2010

Technology Assessment: Explosives Detection Technologies to Protect Passenger Rail (Classified & Redacted GAO Report)

Technology Assessment Explosives Detection Technologies to Protect Passenger Rail (Report)

Above is a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that I found online regarding passenger rail and the technologies being employed to keep the public safe from terrorist acts.

Based on intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda and associated movements continue to express interest in attacking US mass transit systems, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a redacted version of a classified report on “explosives detection technologies [that] are available or in development that could help secure passenger rail systems.”

Note & Disclaimer: Remixx World! does not promote any type of llegal activity or unlawful violence in case anyone believes otherwise due the above report's contents relating to homeland security matters. This GAO document was downloaded without modification of any kind from a government website that is available to the public.


Technology Assessment: Explosives Detection Technologies to Protect Passenger Rail
GAO-10-898 July 28, 2010

Passenger rail systems are vital to the nation's transportation infrastructure, providing approximately 14 million passenger trips each weekday. Recent terrorist attacks on these systems around the world--such as in Moscow, Russia in 2010--highlight the vulnerability of these systems. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the primary federal entity responsible for securing passenger rail systems. In response to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2008, GAO conducted a technology assessment that reviews 1) the availability of explosives detection technologies and their ability to help secure the passenger rail environment, and 2) key operational and policy factors that impact the role of explosives detection technologies in the passenger rail environment. GAO analyzed test reports on various explosives detection technologies and convened a panel of experts comprised of a broad mix of federal, technology, and passenger rail industry officials. GAO also interviewed officials from DHS and the Departments of Defense, Energy, Transportation, and Justice to discuss the effectiveness of these technologies and their applicability to passenger rail. GAO provided a draft of this report these departments for comment. Four departments provided technical comments, which we incorporated as appropriate.

Source: GAO; Homeland Security Today

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Oil Spill! - Nearly a Million Gallons of Crude Oil Spilled in Kalamazoo River in Western Michigan

While the mainstream media focuses on Lindsey Lohan, race baiting and Obama on The View, nearly a million gallons of oil have spilled into the Kalamazoo River.

This week, a fracture in an Enbridge Energy pipeline released nearly a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek, Mich. The accident is drawing attention to the obscure Department of Transportation agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of the country’s 2.3 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines: the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA.

Source: The Washington Independent

Hantavirus Outbreak Reportedly Infects Nearly a Thousand People in Germany So Far in 2010

Once again, we will have to suspend belief and trust the ol' Google Translate machine, because I cannot find any news reports of this story in any English newspapers. Therefore, if the Google Translate machine is believed, then there is an outbreak of hantavirus in Germany. Check the original page in German or the translated one.

Stuttgart / Pforzheim - infection with the hantavirus are mainly in Baden-Württemberg extremely soared into the air. Currently with 736 at the State Health Department reported diseases of the Southwest is by far ahead of all other provinces, followed by Bavaria with almost 200 cases. In the first six months of sick in the southwest, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) from Tuesday people especially in the Swabian Alb.

After the death of a young woman from the Pforzheimer Enzkreis in a hospital, the competent health authority is considering whether the virus was cause of death.

Source: Stuttgarter Zeitung

John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Awarded DARPA Funding to Test Brain-Controlled Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) System

Who puts the future in your hands? robotics, robotics! Bonus points to anyone who remembers where that line comes from? Thought-controlled robotic arms brought to you by DARPA.


For Immediate Release
July 14, 2010

Media Contacts:

P. Campbell
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
(240) 228-6792 or
(443) 778-6792

Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Awarded DARPA Funding to Test Thought-Controlled Limb System

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract for up to $34.5 million to The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to manage the development and testing of the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) system on human subjects, using a brain-controlled interface.

APL scientists and engineers developed the underlying technology under DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program (click here for the fact sheet), an ambitious four-year effort to create a prosthetic arm that would by far eclipse the World War II era hook-and-cable device used by most amputees. The program has already produced two complex prototypes, each advancing the art of upper-arm prosthetics.

The final design — the MPL — offers 22 degrees of motion, including independent movement of each finger, in a package that weighs about nine pounds (the weight of a natural limb). Providing nearly as much dexterity as a natural limb, the MPL is capable of unprecedented mechanical agility and is designed to respond to a user’s thoughts.

“We’ve developed the enabling technologies to create upper-extremity prosthetics that are more natural in appearance and use, a truly revolutionary advancement in prosthetics,” said APL’s Michael McLoughlin, the program manager. “Now, in Phase 3, we are ready to test it with humans to demonstrate that the system can be operated with a patient’s thoughts and that it can provide that patient with sensory feedback, restoring the sensation of touch.”

The team will develop implantable micro-arrays used to record brain signals and stimulate the brain. They will also conduct experiments and clinical trials to demonstrate the ability to use implantable neural interfaces safely and effectively to control a prosthesis, and optimize arm control and sensory feedback algorithms that enable dexterous manipulation through the use of a neuro-prosthetic limb.

“We will be working very closely with the University of Pittsburgh and the California Institute of Technology for their experience in brain computer interfaces, the University of Chicago for their expertise in sensory perception, the University of Utah for its capabilities in developing implantable devices suitable for interfacing with the human brain, and HDT Engineered Technologies for their skill in building prosthetic limb systems,” McLoughlin said.

Both Pittsburgh and CalTech have conducted research using chips with hair-like electrodes to record neurological signatures in the brain. Last year, in an independent effort, Pittsburgh showed that a pair of macaque monkeys with tiny chips implanted in their brains could operate a robotic arm just by thinking about it. Wires carried the signals through the skull, and then computer software converted these signals into robotic arm movements.

Within the year, the APL-led team will initiate testing with a high spinal cord injury patient. “Initially, we have targeted the quadriplegic patient population because they have the most to gain,” McLoughlin explained. “Unlike most amputee patients who have other options in terms of care and independence, these patients are totally dependent on others for most things. There is no alternative. Their lives will be truly transformed by this advancement.”

Over the next two years, the team hopes to test the systems and neural interface technology in five patients.

Whereas Pittsburgh and CalTech are exploring innovative ways to record information from the brain, the University of Chicago’s research will focus on closing the loop by stimulating the brain to sense pressure and touch. “The goal is to enable the user to more effectively control movements to perform everyday tasks, such as picking up and holding a cup of coffee,” McLoughlin said.

The University of Utah, along with the Salt Lake City-based Blackrock Microsystems, is researching and developing advanced electrode technology for brain signal recording and stimulation. Innovative electrode designs are the enabling technology that will provide the means to control the prosthetic arm through the patient’s thoughts.

Finally, the Solon, Ohio-based HDT Engineered Technologies, which designed and manufactured major components of the current MPL, will enhance its capabilities and provide the limb system hardware required for this effort.

McLoughlin commented, “The results of this program will help upper-limb amputees and spinal cord injury patients, as well as others who have lost the ability to use their natural limbs, to have as normal a life as possible despite severe injuries or degenerative neurological disease.”

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

Image Credit: DARPA/JHUAPL/HDT Engineering Services

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FLASHBACK: Charles Goyette Interviews David Coburn, Popular Mechanics Researcher and Author of Debunking 9-11 Myths (Audio)

Charles Goyette interviews David Coburn, Popular Mechanics researcher and author of Debunking 9-11 Myths. Goyette owns Coburn in this interview and I would give Mr. Coburn a fail on his performance in trying to debunk the official 9/11 story.

Penn State University Researchers Propose Using Fly Eyes for Solar Cells and Other Biomimetic Surfaces

This press release is directly from Penn State. Click here for read Discovery's take on this fly eye story.


Fly eye paves the way for manufacturing biomimetic surfaces
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Closeup of blowfly eye

University Park, Pa. -- Rows of tiny raised blowfly corneas may be the key to easy manufacturing of biomimetic surfaces, surfaces that mimic the properties of biological tissues, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

"Bioreplication began about 2001 or 2002," said Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Godfrey Binder Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. "All the techniques currently available are not conducive to mass replications. In many cases you can make as many replicas as you want, but you need an insect for each replication. This is not good for industrial purposes."

Lakhtakia, working with Drew Patrick Pulsifer, graduate student in engineering science and mechanics; Carlo G. Pantano, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering and director of Penn State's Materials Research Institute; and Raúl José Martín-Palma, professor of applied physics, Universidad Autónomia de Madrid, Spain, developed a method to create macroscale molds or dies that retain nanoscale features.

"We needed an object large enough to manipulate that still had nanoscale features," said Lakhtakia.

The researchers chose blowfly eyes because they have potential application in the manufacture of solar cells. Blowflies have compound eyes that are roughly hemispherical; but within that half sphere, the surface is covered by macroscale hexagonal eyes with nanoscale features.

"These eyes are perfect for making solar cells because they would collect more sunlight from a larger area rather than just light that falls directly on a flat surface," said Lakhtakia.

However, in order to work in a manufactured product, the surface needs to retain the overall design in sufficient detail.

The researchers fixed the fly corneas on a glass substrate and filled the back of the corneas with polydimethylsiloxane, a silicone-based organic polymer, so that the metal covering they apply would not seep behind the eyes. They then deposited nickel on the surface using a modified form of the conformal-evaporated-film-by-rotation technique. In this technique, the researchers thermally evaporate the material that forms the coating in a vacuum chamber. The object receiving the coating is fixed to a holder and rotated about once every two seconds.

The researchers used arrays of nine blowfly eyes coated with 250 nanometers of nickel. This initial template was then electroformed -- a method of electroplating -- to deposit nickel on the back to create a master template half a millimeter thick. The thickness of the master template can be thicker.

"Polymer replicas produced . . . by casting did faithfully reproduce features of a few micrometers and larger in dimensions," the researchers reported in the online edition of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.

The master template can be used either as a die to stamp the pattern or as a mold. The intention is to use the master die/mold to produce not only daughter dies/molds, but to tile the templates so that they can imprint large areas. The researchers will probably expand their template to include 30 blowfly corneas.

"One of the nice things about a conformal coating like this is, it becomes nanograined," said Lakhtakia. "The surface of the die becomes very smooth so the polymer will probably not stick."

Many biological surfaces exist that could create manufacture surfaces for a variety of applications. The researchers are currently looking at butterfly wings to understand how the surfaces create colors without pigment.

"Interestingly, the emerald ash borer, an insect that has recently become a problem in Pennsylvania, mates by color," said Lakhtakia. "Would lures made from templates of the ash borer skin attract males?"

The paper, "Mass Fabrication Technique For Polymeric Replicas Of Arrays Of Insect Corneas," Bioinspiration & Biomimetics is found at

Photos are available at


Seven (7) Keymasters Entrusted with Encrypted Smart Cards to Restart Internet if DNSSEC is Damaged in Disaster

Click this picture or this link for a discussion on these "keys" by Vint Cerf, the "Father of the Internet"

This story about the seven (7) "keymasters" sounds too crazy to be true, so that means it is probably true. If the Internet is ever disabled from some disaster, five (5) of these seven (7) people will be needed to reboot the Internet like some super cyber Wonder twins times 2 and a half. I have no idea what type of disaster would be able to take out the entire Internet architecture without also destroying most of the humanity, so this project doesn't really make any sense.
Paul Kane - who lives in the Bradford-on-Avon area - has been chosen to look after one of seven keys, which will 'restart the world wide web' in the event of a catastrophic event.

Mr Kane, based at the University of Bath's SETsquared Innovation Centre, will be the key holder for Western Europe. Six other people from across the globe have also been asked to look after a key.
And like something out of the Simpsons episode "...The Curse of the Flying Hellfish," these keymasters will meet in some secure location to unite their keycards in order to reboot the 'Net'.
The basic idea is that in the event of an Internet catastrophe, the DNSSEC (domain name system security) could be damaged or compromised and we'd be left without a way to verify if a URL is pointing to the correct website. That's when the holders of these smart cards would be called into action...
Source: BBC; Gizmodo

Portland Detectives Interview Al Gore Over Alleged Sexual Assault Incident with Massage Therapist

About a year ago, I started telling anyone who would listen that we should protest these politicians and their corrupt policy advisers wherever they may go. I specifically mentioned Al Gore, because his snake-oil sales act is one of the easiest to recognize when you hear what he's shoveling. And believe it sounds just like it would smell - like sh*t. The word is obviously getting out, because people seem to protest Mr. Gore whenever he makes public appearances these days.

Legal issues may further damage Mr. Gore's cause, position and overall influence, because women from around the world are reporting alleged past assaults by Mr. Gore, including a woman in Oregon who has the alleged stained pants. This story will likely grow if more women make similar allegations against Mr. Gore.

Detectives interviewed former U.S. Vice President Al Gore this past week in San Francisco, a law enforcement source has confirmed to KATU News.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is There a Chicago Connection Between Righthaven Copyright Lawyer Steven A. Gibson and Barack & Michelle Obama to Chill Free Speech on the Internet?

Righthaven LLC is the company that is filing lawsuits against websites that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of newspapers. Righthaven buys the copyrights from the newspaper or the rights holders and then brings lawsuits against alleged infringers without warning. This approach is similar to what the recording industry tried against people who were downloading MP3s. While many lawyers made money on these cases, the artists did not really see any monies, because after spending $64 million dollars, the RIAA only recovered $1.4 million. Nice return on that investment, huh!?

Typically, one would assume that Righthaven is comprised of nothing more than some slick Las Vegas attorneys trying to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting people. However, Righthaven appears to be a corporate subsidiary. The sole officer of the Righthaven LLC is Net Sortie Systems, LLC. The sole officer of Net Sortie Systems, LLC is Steven A. Gibson. The only past officer listed is John Peters. I cannot confirm if this is the same John Peters who operates as a realty website, but Mr. Gibson is certainly involved with Righthaven.

Gibson’s vision is to monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client’s articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act — up to $150,000 for a single infringement — to compel quick settlements.

However, a more detailed analysis of Righthaven reveals some interesting coincidences. Namely, does Attorney Steven A. Gibson know either President Barack Obama or First Lady Michelle Obama?

As SHR at GodLikeProductions forums reveals below, the answer to the aforementioned question is very likely. Thank you SHR for pointing out this connection!

This RightHaven founder Steven Gibson is definitely a "Chicago Guy" I did a little digging in the public domain.....

Steven A. Gibson
Born: Chicago, Illinois, December 11, 1963
School: Chicago-Kent College of Law
Degree: J.D.
City: Chicago
State: IL
Year: 1990
Honors: IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law. Cum Laude 1990.

Prior to establishing his own firm, Mr. Gibson was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP a Chicago Law firm...

Just click on "Work History"

[link to]

well well well...another Chicago guy who was there at the time finishing up Law School along with....Barack Obama...maybe they crossed paths?

In late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, and president of the journal in his second year. During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989...

[link to]

...Guess where Mr and Mrs Obama met....

Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband.

>>>> And Guess what Michelle and Steven Gibson both did???


At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property.

[link to]

Of course, there is nothing wrong with knowing the Obamas, but with all the Chicago coincidences that SHR at GodLikeProductions forums shows above, is there something more devious occurring? Is Attorney Gibson acting under his own accord simply for profit? Or is Attorney Gibson filing these lawsuits using copyright and intellectual property laws in an attempt to chill speech?

The top news stories this week and last have been about the Wikileaks documents and the Sherry Sherrod story. Before the facts are even fully known in these news stories, there were talking heads on the mainstream media claiming that bloggers and the Internet were at fault and may need to be regulated.

Even President Obama (who conveniently used the Internet to win his presidential campaign in 2008) chimed in stating that there was no way to control a reckless governmental reaction to something that someone says on YouTube (see the below video). I guess the President has not heard about conducting due diligence and confirming the truth & accuracy of a story before jumping the gun.

It would make sense for the powers-that-be to want to control the Internet, because the Internet allows people to get different perspectives from the government propaganda. In fact, more people get their news from the Internet than from the traditional sources. This blog is a testimonial to that fact.

While this lawsuit may indeed be a shakedown for profit, considering the potential connections in play here, a further investigation needs to be conducted on Righthaven and Steven A. Gibson to see if there are other reasons for these lawsuits aside from mere profit?

Source: Nolo; Wired; GodLikeProductions

Millions of Small Dead Fish Wash Ashore on Beach in Gulfport, Mississippi Near Jones Park

While it is not unprecedented for mass fish die-offs to occur in very hot temperatures when there is little to no oxygen in the water, someone should examine these fish to see if oil caused the deaths.

Millions of small dead fish have washed ashore just east of Jones Park. The fish are believed to be menhaden.

Source: WDSU-6

UCSB Participates in Department of Energy's $122 Million "Artificial Photosynthesis" Project to Produce Energy from Sunlight

Props to my alma mater UC-Santa Barbara for always being at the forefront of technological innovations.

UCSB is participating in an ambitious project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to develop a cost-effective method of generating energy from sunlight by mimicking the process plants use to produce energy: photosynthesis.

Eric McFarland, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is leading UCSB’s part in the project.


July 22, 2010

California Team to Receive up to $122 Million for Energy Innovation Hub to Develop Method to Produce Fuels from Sunlight

California Institute of Technology to lead team in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other California institutions

Washington, D.C. - As part of a broad effort to achieve breakthrough innovations in energy production, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman today announced an award of up to $122 million over five years to a multidisciplinary team of top scientists to establish an Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight.

The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), to be led by the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), will bring together leading researchers in an ambitious effort aimed at simulating nature's photosynthetic apparatus for practical energy production. The goal of the Hub is to develop an integrated solar energy-to-chemical fuel conversion system and move this system from the bench-top discovery phase to a scale where it can be commercialized.

"The Energy Innovation Hubs have enormous potential to advance transformative breakthroughs," said Deputy Secretary Poneman. "Finding a cost-effective way to produce fuels as plants do -- combining sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide -- would be a game changer, reducing our dependence on oil and enhancing energy security. This Energy Innovation Hub will enable our scientists to combine their talents to tackle this bold and highly promising challenge."

Senator Feinstein said, "I'm very proud that California has been on the cutting-edge of the clean energy movement. With this award, some of California's top scientists will continue to lead the way forward by working together to create 'artificial photosynthesis,' a process that can emulate the inner workings of plant life to produce a useful transportation fuel we can put right into our cars without further processing. If successful, this concept - to combine sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to produce a clean fuel - would revolutionize the energy sector. It would help scrub the atmosphere of excessive carbon dioxide, help eliminate our dependence on oil, and generate an innovative industry in the heart of California. This is very exciting."

Senator Boxer said, "I am so pleased that this California consortium will receive this investment in clean fuels research, which has the potential to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, increase our national security and create jobs in California."

The Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub is one of three Hubs that will receive funding in FY10. In May, the Department announced that a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory will establish a Hub on modeling and simulation for nuclear reactors. The selection for the remaining Hub will be announced over the coming months. The Hubs are large, multidisciplinary, highly-collaborative teams of scientists and engineers working over a longer time frame to achieve a specific high-priority goal. They will be managed by top teams of scientists and engineers with enough resources and authority to move quickly in response to new developments.

JCAP research will be directed at the discovery of the functional components necessary to assemble a complete artificial photosynthetic system: light absorbers, catalysts, molecular linkers, and separation membranes. The Hub will then integrate those components into an operational solar fuel system and develop scale-up strategies to move from the laboratory toward commercial viability. The ultimate objective is to drive the field of solar fuels from fundamental research, where it has resided for decades, into applied research and technology development, thereby setting the stage for the creation of a direct solar fuels industry.

The Hub will be directed by Nathan S. Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry, Cal Tech. Other members of the Hub leadership team include: Bruce Brunschwig (Cal Tech), Peidong Yang (UC Berkeley/Berkeley Lab), and Harry Atwater (Cal Tech). In addition to the major partners, Cal Tech and Berkeley Lab, other participating institutions include SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford, California; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of California, Irvine; and the University of California, San Diego.

Selection is based on a competitive process using scientific peer review. The selection process for the Fuels from Sunlight Hub was managed by the Department of Energy Office of Science, which will have federal oversight responsibilities for the artificial photosynthesis Hub.

The Hub will be funded at up to $22 million this fiscal year. The Hub will then be funded at an estimated $25 million per year for the next four years, subject to Congressional appropriations. Learn more information on the Hubs.

Media contact(s):

(202) 586-4940

Monday, July 26, 2010

Boeing/InSitu's ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Reportedly May Perform Maritime Monitoring of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

I am hearing more and more news about drones and unmanned vehicles. I wonder when some company will offer a drone vehicle for sale to the public as a consumer product. The latest drone news comes from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. No word on whether the U.S. government will accept Boeing/Insitu's offer to monitor activities in the Gulf.

Boeing/InSitu executives let slip at the show that they have submitted an unsolicited proposal to BP offering the ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle for maritime monitoring. They have not yet received a response, said Steve Nordlund, Boeing's director of business development for the wholly owned subsidiary.

You can read about the ScanEagle at Boeing's official page.

From the image source in the picture above, the below quoted information lists some of the specifications of the ScanEagle.

English: Yuma, Ariz. (June 16, 2006) - U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Kropiewnicki, a Combat Videographer assigned to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Combat Camera, launches a Boeing Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) during the training exercise Desert Talon 2-06 onboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS). The Scan Eagle UAV is a small GPS-guided plane that can fly over a designated battle space for up to fifteen hours and transmit real-time imagery directly to its home link. It weighs 40 lbs and has a ten-foot wingspan. It is invisible to radar and is barely audible once within 50 ft. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Guadalupe M. Deanda III (RELEASED)

Source: Flight Global

FLASHBACK: Rep. Chaka Fattah Introduces H.R. 4646 Bill That Will Impose One Percent (1%) Tax on All Financial Transactions

UPDATE (September 21, 2010) - See also: Globalists Push World Transaction Tax at United Nations Summit.


If this H.R. 4646 bill passes into law, then there will be a one percent (1%) tax on every transaction. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania introduced the bill on February 23, 2010 and the bill is currently in committee. I do not have a problem with the bill if all other personal income tax laws and regulations are concurrently abolished. Otherwise, this transaction tax will be an additional tax on top of all the current taxes.

Debt Free America Act - States as purposes of this Act the raising of sufficient revenue from a fee on transactions to eliminate the national debt within seven years and the phasing out of the individual income tax. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose a 1% fee, offset by a corresponding nonrefundable income tax credit, on transactions that use a payment instrument, including any check, cash, credit card, transfer of stock, bonds, or other financial instrument. Defines "transaction" to include retail and wholesale sales, purchases of intermediate goods, and financial and intangible transactions. Establishes in the legislative branch the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action to review the fiscal imbalance of the federal government and make recommendations to improve such imbalance. Provides for expedited consideration by Congress of Task Force recommendations. Repeals after 2017 the individual income tax, refundable and nonrefundable personal tax credits, and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) on individuals. Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to: (1) prioritize the repayment of the national debt to protect the fiscal stability of the United States; and (2) study and report to Congress on the implementation of this Act.


Rep. Fattah, Author of Debt Free America Act, Says:
“Let’s Abolish April 15 as Personal Income Tax Day!”

WASHINGTON D.C., April 15, 2010 -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), author of the Debt Free America Act, H.R. 4646, pending in the 111th Congress, issues the following statement:

“We can’t erase today - April 15 - from the calendar on the wall. But my Debt Free America Act will abolish April 15 as the day that Americans dread as the filing deadline for their personal federal income taxes.

“How can we accomplish that? With my bold plan for a penny-on-the-dollar transaction fee that will wipe out the national debt within seven years – and then fund the federal government while abolishing personal income taxes.

“Under the Debt Free America Act, the one percent fee on transactions in the United States would be directed to eliminating America’s national debt that existed on January 20, 2009 – about $10 trillion -- and reducing the deficit. Once that debt is paid off, over the next seven years, the fee’s proceeds would be directed to broad-based tax reform to include elimination of personal income taxes.

“Taxpayers earning $125,000 (or $250,000 for those filing jointly) would receive a year’s-end one percent credit on their income, eliminating the impact of the transaction fee on middle class and low income Americans. In addition, my bill provides statutory authority for the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action to control and limit federal spending, recently established by President Obama by executive order.

“The soaring national debt and rising deficits translate into bad outcomes for all Americans. Today of all days, with the tax filing deadline just hours away, it’s time for thinking outside the box.

“Imagine, just one penny making a difference. When my Debt Free America Act becomes law, we can look forward to the time that we can abolish April 15 as Tax Filing Day for Americans’ personal income taxes.”

FLASHBACK: TARP Special Inspector Barofsky Says U.S. Taxpayer Bailout May Cost $23.7 Trillion!

Barofsky Testimony

U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Treasury’s $700 billion bank-investment program represents a fraction of all federal support to resuscitate the U.S. financial system, including $6.8 trillion in aid offered by the Federal Reserve, Barofsky said in a report released today.

Source: Bloomberg

Hackers Hack Customer Database with Passwords at New Zealand-Based Hell Pizza

Is Hell Pizza tasty? I don't know if I want to be eating pizza at any place called Hell. It may indeed be hell for some of its customers whose accounts and passwords were recently hacked.

The online customer database of a New Zealand-headquartered pizza store chain has been compromised.

Risky.Biz understands multiple intruders have compromised Hell Pizza's 400mb database. While it does not contain any credit card information, it does contain in excess of 230,000 rows of customer entries.

The company operates 64 stores in New Zealand, three in England, nine in Australia and one in Ireland.

Per Hell Pizza's Facebook page:

Dear Valued Hell Customer,

We have been approached by a party claiming to be in possession of customer details from the previous Hell website which is no longer in operation. The samples that we received included details of four customers from 2006, including phone numbers and email addresses and order information. We can confirm that credit card data was not at risk as this is held independently on a secure banking website.

Whilst we are still investigating the matter, we can confirm that the information was obtained without our knowledge and we have approached the New Zealand Police with a view to lodging a formal complaint. Hell recognises the importance of protecting customer information and additional security measures were implemented earlier this year when our new website was rolled out (again, we reiterate that this is not an issue affecting the new website). As a further security measure you may wish to consider changing your passwords on other sites if they were the same as the old Hell Pizza website.

We apologise for the incident and any inconvenience that this may have caused.


Stu McMullin - Director Hell Pizza

We acknowledge that some of you have asked to be removed from the database and we have included you for the purposes of this notification.

Source: Graham Cluley's blog

Montana Faces Worst Grasshopper Infestation in Twenty-Five (25) Years

This blog entry about grasshoppers in Montana is a follow-up to two (2) articles I wrote earlier this year about grasshopper infestation in the Western United States. Will the damage caused by these grasshoppers cause our food prices to increase?

1. Grasshopper Infestation Swarm Could Destroy Western USA Crops (March 31, 2010);

2. America's Western States Poised for Worst Grasshopper Swarms in Thirty (30) Years (June 2, 2010);

Across 17 Western states, the USDA this year forecasted the worst grasshopper infestation in 25 years, with crop and range damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The forecast was based on an abnormally high number of adult grasshoppers laying eggs last fall in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and South Dakota.

The infestation has been bad for farmers like Hjorth, who watches as grasshoppers chew through a wheat crop that had record-harvest potential.

Source: The Billings Gazette

Sunday, July 25, 2010

DARPA's Energy Starved Electronics (ESE) Program with M.I.T. Will Harness Human Bioenergy to Power Electronics

In the Matrix, the machines used the humans as batteries after the humans blackened the sky with chemtrails that blocked the sun forever. According the Morpheus, "[t]he human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 B.T.U.'s of body heat." You can debate the physics and accuracy of those numbers elsewhere, but it is obvious that the human body does have the capability to power external devices.

Enter my favorite governmental entity of all - DARPA (but that's not saying much).

DARPA is currently developing new technologies that will allow people to harness power from the human body to power electronics.

But engineers developing such embedded technologies face a big obstacle: power. The devices pack so much gadgetry into such tiny spaces that even the smallest batteries would be too bulky, never mind the inconvenience (and potential discomfort) of replacing them.

To solve the power shortage, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the U.S. Department of Defense agency behind technologies that led to the Internet and the Global Positioning System, among other things—launched an Energy Starved Electronics program in 2005 with MIT. Re­­searchers there have a new idea for powering embedded electronics: “scavenging” energy from the human body.

Obviously, our bodies generate heat—thermal energy. They also produce vibrations when we move—kinetic energy. Both forms of energy can be converted into electricity. Anantha Chandrakasan, an MIT electrical engineering professor, who is working on the problem with a former student named Yogesh Ramadass, says the challenge is to harvest adequate amounts of power from the body and then efficiently direct it to the device that needs it.

I have written numerous posts on ol' DARPA, so if you are just joining this program, do an archive search on 'DARPA' by clicking here.

Source: The Smithsonian

Bavarian Nordic Delivers 1 Million Doses of IMVAMUNE® Smallpox Vaccine Developed Under U.S. Biopreparedness Program for Strategic National Stockpile

Please take note that this IMVAMUNE® smallpox vaccine also falls under the "mark-of-the-beast" US666/EU666 regulatory status index like certain flu vaccines from last year. If the aforementioned link is not available, click this backup link.

Regulatory/Status Index:

application expected (2007-8) in U.S.
biodefense stockpile (U.S.)
biodefense stockpile, European countries
controlled/gov’t distribution in European counties
controlled/gov’t distribution in U.S.
priority review status
EU666 Biodefense stockpile
UM100 Controlled/Gov't Distribution in US
US666 Biodefense stockpile
US001 FDA application expected
EM160 Controlled/Gov't Distribution in EU


Bavarian Nordic Delivers 1 Million Doses of First Vaccine Developed Under U.S. Biopreparedness Program to the Strategic National Stockpile

- Smallpox Vaccine Represents the Company's First Major U.S. Product Sale

KVISTGÅRD, Denmark -July 13, 2010 - Bavarian Nordic A/S (NASDAQ OMX: BAVA) announced today that it has delivered 1 million doses of its smallpox vaccine IMVAMUNE® to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile for use in the event of a smallpox bioterrorism attack on the U.S.

IMVAMUNE® is the first vaccine successfully developed under Project BioShield, a U.S. program created by Congress in 2004 to develop and purchase medicines and vaccines to protect the American public from bioterrorism attacks. Bioterrorism experts are concerned about the possibility of an attack on the US that exposes the population to the smallpox virus.

IMVAMUNE® was clinically developed and manufactured under contracts with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under the BARDA contract, Bavarian Nordic will deliver 20 million doses of IMVAMUNE® to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, with an option for 60 million more doses.

"We are gratified that the U.S. Government has added our vaccine to the Strategic National Stockpile. This represents a significant milestone for our company, our first major sale to the U.S.," said Bavarian Nordic President and CEO Anders Hedegaard. "Our partnership with NIH, BARDA and HHS over the recent years is a case study in successful public-private partnerships to combat bioterrorism. We look forward to continuing that partnership through other contracts with the U.S government."

IMVAMUNE® is a non-replicating strain of vaccinia virus that, unlike conventional smallpox vaccines, does not have the ability to replicate in human cells, thereby eliminating risk of accidental infection. Currently stockpiled smallpox vaccines are based on a replicating form of the vaccinia virus, and are therefore considered inappropriate for up to 25 percent of the population that may be immunocompromised or have other medical conditions that contraindicate a replicating viral vaccine. While studies indicate that IMVAMUNE® is likely to be well tolerated in a broad population, it is currently being stockpiled for emergency use specifically in people with compromised immune systems, e.g. HIV/AIDS patients.

Mr. Hedegaard said the delivery authorization marks Bavarian Nordic's "transformation from a fledgling biotech to a fully-integrated research innovator with proven manufacturing and regulatory experience." On March 17, FDA concluded that Bavarian Nordic has fulfilled all requirements to support the delivery of IMVAMUNE® to the U.S. Government.

The Need for a Non-Replicating Smallpox Vaccine

Security experts-including the U.S. Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism-expect that an act of biological terrorism is more likely than nuclear terrorism. Compared to a nuclear weapon, a biological weapon is much cheaper to produce, the starting materials are more accessible, and less diversity of technological experience is required. HHS considers smallpox a high-priority threat.

Because vaccination against smallpox is no longer standard, an increasing proportion of the population is unprotected and vulnerable to a bioterrorism attack. Smallpox presents a continued global threat for which countries need to be prepared.

The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile includes stocks of conventional smallpox vaccines made from a live, replicating form of the vaccinia virus. These vaccines were used in a global effort to wipe out the disease and resulted in worldwide eradication by 1980.

Conventional smallpox vaccines have been associated with high rates of serious adverse events, including death and severe disability. The 2003 U.S. smallpox vaccination program for health care workers, which involved more than 37,000 individuals, confirmed these severe side effects.

IMVAMUNE® (MVA-BN®) is a non-replicating smallpox vaccine derived from the modified vaccinia virus Ankara. Since IMVAMUNE® does not have the ability to replicate in human cells, clinical trial data from 2,800 people in 15 ongoing or completed studies indicates that IMVAMUNE® has a favorable safety profile and is well tolerated, including in individuals with compromised immune systems who are currently not eligible for conventional smallpox vaccines.

BARDA highlighted the need to protect this vulnerable population in its 2010 Broad Agency Announcement for Medical Countermeasure Development, in which it noted the need for "attenuated smallpox vaccine - sufficient quantity to protect 66 M [million] people, comprising those for whom smallpox vaccine is contraindicated and their household contacts," which includes immunocompromised and atopic dermatitis patients.

About Bavarian Nordic's Contracts with the U.S. Government

Bavarian Nordic initiated the development of IMVAMUNE® in 1999 and began the first clinical study in 2001. In 2003, Bavarian Nordic was awarded a contract, valued at $29 million, from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the further development of IMVAMUNE®. In 2004, Bavarian Nordic was awarded its second U.S. Government contract, valued at $115 million, to continue advanced development of IMVAMUNE® including clinical trials in individuals with compromised immune systems. In parallel, Bavarian Nordic invested $100 million in the construction of an industrialized manufacturing facility specifically designed to meet the potential demands for IMVAMUNE® by the U.S. Government.

In June 2007, the U.S. Government awarded Bavarian Nordic its third contract for $500 million to manufacture and deliver 20 million doses of IMVAMUNE® for the Strategic National Stockpile. This contract includes an option to purchase an additional 60 million doses. In November 2009, BARDA awarded another contract with a prospective value of up to $40 million to Bavarian Nordic for development of a freeze-dried version of IMVAMUNE®. IMVAMUNE® is the first entirely new biodefense vaccine developed under Project BioShield for inclusion in the Strategic National Stockpile.

BARDA, a division of HHS, manages Project BioShield and is responsible for working with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to develop and stockpile effective medicines and vaccines against bioweapons, pandemic influenza, and other emerging infectious diseases.

This release will have no impact on the company's financial guidance for 2010.

Bavarian Nordic: An Established Biodefense Leader

Founded in 1994, Bavarian Nordic is a leading industrial biotechnology company working to target unmet medical needs by developing and producing vaccines for the prevention and treatment of life-threatening diseases. With more than a decade of experience manufacturing smallpox vaccines and working with the U.S. Government, Bavarian Nordic has grown from a biotechnology company to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with proven manufacturing and regulatory expertise.

Forward-looking statements

This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" that involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of our control that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning our plans, objectives, goals, future events, performance and/or other information that is not historical information. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances after the date made, except as required by law.


Anders Hedegaard, President & CEO.
Phone: +45 23 20 30 64

USDA Testifies There is a Clear Link Between Use of Antibiotics in Livestock and Drug Resistance in Humans

I am not surprised by this revelation, but I am surprised that the USDA stated it in testimony.

In testimony to a House committee on Wednesday, even the Agriculture Department, which livestock producers have traditionally relied on to advocate for their interests, backed the idea of a link between animal use of antibiotics and human health.

The Agriculture Department "believes that it is likely that the use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of antimicrobial resistance among humans and in animals themselves," said John Clifford, the USDA chief veterinarian.

Source: The Des Moines Register

UCSB Geochemist David Valentine Demonstrates How Corexit and Bacteria Work to Break Down Oil

Click here if you cannot see the video above.