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You Never Thought This Was Possible With VR

Some may see it as a sci-fi utopia or movie plot, but we’re living in the future. Virtual reality in the adult entertainment industry is a huge thing now, and it is becoming a new normal for getting pleasure. 

VR as a concept isn’t new. It has been around for decades now. And, truth be told, for as long as it has been in the public eye, the concept of VR sex was always a hot topic. Today, VR sex is no longer just a hypothetical thing. It’s a reality.

VR in the sex industry is still in its early days. But this technology is increasingly popular among adults looking for some unique sexual experiences. So, companies everywhere are already experimenting with smart sex toys, offering consumers unique pleasurable experiences.

Source: Unsplash

Virtual sex

Virtual sex sounds like a sci-fi novel idea. But, it’s actually no longer a sci-fi concept but a reality. Virtual sex is just another term for something that most people these days are familiar with: cybersex. The truth is that we were all already using tech in our everyday sex lives, even without being aware of it. From looking for sexual partners on online dating apps to sliding into the DMs of people we find hot to sexting, dropping a nude to our sexual partners, and all that. So, it was only a matter of time before tech entered our bedrooms for more pleasurable experiences.

According to Teen Health Source, virtual sex represents “any kind of sexual activity that people do with/on the internet.” The same definition also includes activities like sexting, masturbating together on video chat, phone sex, sending photos, and chat rooms as virtual sex.

But, with technology developments reaching new heights in the adult entertainment industry, the term “virtual sex” gets a little bit more complicated. Today, the industry has more unique experiences to offer to consumers, including realistic adult video games, VR porn, and even the possibility to receive tactile sensations from remote participants or fictional characters using computer-controlled VR sex toys.

The virtual reality porn experience

One of the biggest VR things in the adult entertainment industry is VR porn.

At the beginning of VR glasses, these devices were meant to be plugged into smartphones or other home devices to access content which would then be displayed through the glasses. It was all about making the experience more real. Very quickly, users started to think about how it would be to see a porn scene through those glasses. And, tech professionals and adult entertainment companies were quick to answer. Today, users who are tired of the same old porn can find VR porn content that is often in 5K or 4K resolution, creating an immersive environment that allows them to feel like they are truly part of the scene they are watching.

Now, in theory, you don’t need any heavy-duty equipment to watch VR adult content and feel like you are taking part in the action. All you need is a smartphone suspended in a headset that allows you to see the content more excitingly. Yet, this is where VR sex toys come into the scene to spice things up even more!

VR does a fantastic job tricking our brains into thinking that what we see through those glasses is actually taking place in front of us, next to us, or… on top of us. Now, with VR, you can see that things are happening in front of your eyes, and you can see other people being part of the action. But is seeing enough? Adult toys developers argue that it isn’t. Your eyes may see something that looks like you’re behind the scenes of an exciting sexual experience. But, the problem is that you don’t actually feel those people you are seeing. So, haptics used in sex toys aims to make users also feel.

VR toys offer unparalleled sexual experiences

Needless to say, VR sex is a new thing to many. And, it’s a bit strange to get used to it at first. But if you want to become more familiar with this concept, you’re in for a fun and pleasurable ride.

In its simplest form, VR sex consists of three things: a VR device, interacting media, and something that you can interact with, such as interactive male sex toy options. Combining VR with another technology called teledildonics, today’s innovative VR sex toys allow users to stimulate one another, and the VR adult content enhances the experiences making them more immersive.

Traditional adult content means nothing more than staring at a screen, but VR transports users somewhere else and allows them to actually feel pleasure. And, combining this experience with VR toys gives users unparalleled sexual experiences.

Pros of VR sex and toys

The development of VR sex toys and experiences isn’t good news just because it offers some unique experiences. It also allows users to get sexual experiences they wouldn’t be able to get in real life or they would repress.

VR sex allows people to experiment with different avatars, genders, and forms of sexuality. The intimate nature of these VR sex tools allows users to express and experience their deepest sexual desires.

Think about couples who are struggling with sexual compatibility. VR sex creates a big playground where they can start experimenting and opening up about their sexual desires and even act their fantasies out.

VR sex is also a tool that can help users struggling with their sexual identity. For example, those who identify as bi might experience a certain loss of that identity if they are part of a monogamous relationship. VR adult content and sex toys allow them to fulfill the sexual needs that they can’t fulfill in their relationship.

These are all significant pluses for experimenting with technology to intensify our sexual experiences.




Robot’s Human-Like Reaction ‘Freaks Out’ Creators

Source: Ameca Interaction

A machine touted as the world’s most advanced humanoid robot “freaked out” its creators when it reacted with visible irritation and grabbed the hand of a researcher who got into its “personal space.”

A video demonstration of the interaction shows the robot, called ‘Ameca’, tracking a moving finger before furrowing its brow and leaning back as the person’s hand comes nearer. After the researcher pokes its nose, the robot then grabs their hand and moves it away.

The impressively life-like robot, which is being developed by British firm Engineered Arts, has been billed as the “future face of robotics” and “the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot interaction.”

When sharing the clip on YouTube, the Cornwall-based robotics firm said that “Ameca reacts as things enter their ‘personal space.’” The developers noted that this behavior was “even starting to freak us out at Engineered Arts and we are used to it!”




What You Need to Know About a VPN Service

With more and more people using VPNs for surfing the internet, have you ever thought about what a VPN is, how it works, and how to choose the right one for you? Find all answers in this post.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a service that allows us to securely expand our local network so that we may access it from any distant place over the internet. VPNs are becoming more popular. In the event that we submit a request over a VPN for Windows, our internet service providers route us to the VPN server, and from there, all of the websites that we browse are handled by these servers.

Our ISP will not be aware of the fact that we are browsing many websites at the same time; instead, it will believe that we have only requested a connection to the VPN server, and our identity will be protected. As a result, the individual’s online identity may be readily concealed from Internet service providers.

How does VPN Works?

A VPN’s main purpose is to provide a secure connection to your preferred public network via the internet. Through the use of encryption, decryption, and authentication, this connection has an extra layer of protection on top of the standard security measures. Security algorithms are followed by both network protocols and the network itself. How can having a different IP address help?

It’s all about hiding your true identity from hackers. You’ll be given an alias IP address by the VPN service providers because of this. It is thus possible to interact securely while removing the chance of information being hacked from an unknown source. What are the nitty-gritty details?

For the VPN to function, tunneling protocols must be used. It’s critical for transferring data between two places. Protocols encrypt data so that it can’t be hacked without a special decryption key. In addition to the data itself, the IP addresses of the computers at either end are encrypted. Implementing L3 MPLS technology is an excellent way to attain this goal.

As a result, anytime you utilize online transaction methods in the future, you won’t have to worry about security concerns anymore since you’ll be connected to the distant system over the VPN.

Free VPNs or Not?

In order to set up a VPN, businesses require specialist network equipment, but individuals may choose from a range of premium and free VPN services to get the job done.

As a result, IP addresses from free VPN servers are often blocked or filtered by several websites, including the ones listed below: By using free VPN services you open yourself up to being targeted by hackers, spammers, and other bad actors.

Only a few antivirus businesses also sell VPN services, and these may work as a useful middle ground between free and commercial choices, as consumers who already possess antivirus software from one of these companies may be eligible for better costs. As preconfigured VPN solutions, customers don’t have to worry about setting them up.

How Do You Choose a VPN?

Which provider is the best free VPN for Windows or smartphones? One of the most important considerations is whether you want to host your own VPN server or use a third-party service. There isn’t a straightforward response to this question since it is dependent on your requirements and whether you are seeking personal or business usage.

External service providers are more cost-effective since their solutions are sometimes low-cost or even free of charge. Consider if the service is compatible with your chosen operating system, works on mobile and desktop, and supports multiple users when choosing a service for your firm.

Aside from the cost, choosing a third-party service provider puts you at more risk. In addition, keep in mind that your payment card information and IP address may be stored by the VPN service provider. Just because you’re connected to a VPN doesn’t imply your internet activity is hidden.




Identify the Problem With Your Graphics Card

The basic principle of the graphics card is that it is your computer’s display. It receives text and graphics from your programs and sends them to your computer display screen. A graphics card problem will display the result on your screen, sometimes making it difficult for you to separate the two. If your screen flickers, it means that the video is not being displayed. In 3D view, you will see spots, green squares, and flashing lines interspersed with black areas. One of the components of the screen or the graphics card will fail in any case.

The screen must be excluded from the equation. This can only be done by isolating the screen from the other elements. You can choose which one, but it’s easier to connect to another screen than to swap a graphics card. If you only have one monitor, borrow it and connect it to the computer. This method is compatible with most laptops including the mac if you have the correct connections. Do display problems persist? If so, the problem is with the graphics card. If not, it’s with the screen.

Troubleshoot a problem with your graphics card

Consider updating before you embark on any major tasks. An issue with your graphics card driver can cause problems. Open the Windows “Start” menu. Click on “Computer“, then “Properties“, and finally “System.” Select “Device Manager” from the “Hardware tab.” Double-click your name in the “Graphics Card” section. You will see the version in the “Driver Tab“. You can check the manufacturer’s site to see if it is the most current or download the latest. It should also be compatible with your operating system version.

How to change the graphics card

If the display is not working properly, it’s time to replace the graphics card. You can change a component with minimal effort, but it is a simple process. It is the most difficult step to make sure you choose the correct graphic card part. Consider whether you require more power or more memory. You can still buy a similar card but a new one with 100% compatibility.




The Most Powerful Space Telescope Ever Built Will Look Back In Time To the Dark Ages of the Universe

Hubble took pictures of the oldest galaxies it could – seen here – but the James Webb Space Telescope can go back much farther in time.
NASA

Chris Impey, University of Arizona

Some have called NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope the “telescope that ate astronomy.” It is the most powerful space telescope ever built and a complex piece of mechanical origami that has pushed the limits of human engineering. On Dec. 18, 2021, after years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, the telescope is scheduled to launch into orbit and usher in the next era of astronomy.

I’m an astronomer with a specialty in observational cosmology – I’ve been studying distant galaxies for 30 years. Some of the biggest unanswered questions about the universe relate to its early years just after the Big Bang. When did the first stars and galaxies form? Which came first, and why? I am incredibly excited that astronomers may soon uncover the story of how galaxies started because James Webb was built specifically to answer these very questions.

A graphic showing the progression of the Universe through time.
The Universe went through a period of time known as the Dark Ages before stars or galaxies emitted any light.
Space Telescope Institute

The ‘Dark Ages’ of the universe

Excellent evidence shows that the universe started with an event called the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, which left it in an ultra-hot, ultra-dense state. The universe immediately began expanding after the Big Bang, cooling as it did so. One second after the Big Bang, the universe was a hundred trillion miles across with an average temperature of an incredible 18 billion F (10 billion C). Around 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe was 10 million light years across and the temperature had cooled to 5,500 F (3,000 C). If anyone had been there to see it at this point, the universe would have been glowing dull red like a giant heat lamp.

Throughout this time, space was filled with a smooth soup of high energy particles, radiation, hydrogen and helium. There was no structure. As the expanding universe became bigger and colder, the soup thinned out and everything faded to black. This was the start of what astronomers call the Dark Ages of the universe.

The soup of the Dark Ages was not perfectly uniform and due to gravity, tiny areas of gas began to clump together and become more dense. The smooth universe became lumpy and these small clumps of denser gas were seeds for the eventual formation of stars, galaxies and everything else in the universe.

Although there was nothing to see, the Dark Ages were an important phase in the evolution of the universe.

A diagram showing different wavelengths of light compared to size of normal objects.
Light from the early universe is in the infrared wavelength – meaning longer than red light – when it reaches Earth.
Inductiveload/NASA via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Looking for the first light

The Dark Ages ended when gravity formed the first stars and galaxies that eventually began to emit the first light. Although astronomers don’t know when first light happened, the best guess is that it was several hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers also don’t know whether stars or galaxies formed first.

Current theories based on how gravity forms structure in a universe dominated by dark matter suggest that small objects – like stars and star clusters – likely formed first and then later grew into dwarf galaxies and then larger galaxies like the Milky Way. These first stars in the universe were extreme objects compared to stars of today. They were a million times brighter but they lived very short lives. They burned hot and bright and when they died, they left behind black holes up to a hundred times the Sun’s mass, which might have acted as the seeds for galaxy formation.

Astronomers would love to study this fascinating and important era of the universe, but detecting first light is incredibly challenging. Compared to massive, bright galaxies of today, the first objects were very small and due to the constant expansion of the universe, they’re now tens of billions of light years away from Earth. Also, the earliest stars were surrounded by gas left over from their formation and this gas acted like fog that absorbed most of the light. It took several hundred million years for radiation to blast away the fog. This early light is very faint by the time it gets to Earth.

But this is not the only challenge.

As the universe expands, it continuously stretches the wavelength of light traveling through it. This is called redshift because it shifts light of shorter wavelengths – like blue or white light – to longer wavelengths like red or infrared light. Though not a perfect analogy, it is similar to how when a car drives past you, the pitch of any sounds it is making drops noticeably.

Similar to how a pitch of a sound drops if the source is moving away from you, the wavelength of light stretches due to the expansion of the universe.

By the time light emitted by an early star or galaxy 13 billion years ago reaches any telescope on Earth, it has been stretched by a factor of 10 by the expansion of the universe. It arrives as infrared light, meaning it has a wavelength longer than that of red light. To see first light, you have to be looking for infrared light.

[The Conversation’s science, health and technology editors pick their favorite stories. Weekly on Wednesdays.]

Telescope as a time machine

Enter the James Webb Space Telescope.

Telescopes are like time machines. If an object is 10,000 light-years away, that means the light takes 10,000 years to reach Earth. So the further out in space astronomers look, the further back in time we are looking.

A large golden colored disc with a sensor in the middle and scientists standing below.
The James Webb Space Telescope was specifically designed to detect the oldest galaxies in the universe.
NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

Engineers optimized James Webb for specifically detecting the faint infrared light of the earliest stars or galaxies. Compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb has a 15 times wider field of view on its camera, collects six times more light and its sensors are tuned to be most sensitive to infrared light.

The strategy will be to stare deeply at one patch of sky for a long time, collecting as much light and information from the most distant and oldest galaxies as possible. With this data, it may be possible to answer when and how the Dark Ages ended, but there are many other important discoveries to be made. For example, unraveling this story may also help explain the nature of dark matter, the mysterious form of matter that makes up about 80% of the mass of the universe.

James Webb is the most technically difficult mission NASA has ever attempted. But I think the scientific questions it may help answer will be worth every ounce of effort. I and other astronomers are waiting excitedly for the data to start coming back sometime in 2022.The Conversation

Chris Impey, University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.




How the Mathematics Behind Molecular Interactions Could Help Streamline Pharmaceutical Development

Science and mathematics are inextricably linked. Often, expertise in one requires experience in the other.

In the case of pharmaceutical development, fundamental mathematical equations underlie even the most complex molecular interactions. By studying the mathematical basis of the relationships between molecules, researchers can predict how changes might affect different reactions between molecules.

Binding Sites

Many pharmaceutical advancements rely on molecular interactions at binding sites. Macromolecules, such as the proteins that make up much of the human molecular catalog, have binding sites which allow the protein to attach to and interact with another molecule. Molecular binding creates a change within the protein that can cause it—and the cell—to function differently.

In some situations, proteins and other molecules don’t bind as they should. This can occur for a number of reasons, but continued binding issues can inhibit normal protein and cell function, leading to disease. For example, if the brain’s proteins don’t bind correctly with serotonin, neurotransmitters cannot function correctly, often resulting in anxiety and depression. This is just one example; protein binding happens constantly and is a key aspect of many diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

Remedying Flawed Molecular Interactions

Medications and medicine rely on the binding process to do their job. Therefore, they are tasked with binding to proteins at specific binding sites that lack natural binding opportunities.

Of course, there are many disease mechanisms, but all hinge on faulty molecular interactions.

There are three main criteria for all molecular binding interactions, including:

  • Bond strength
  • Link rigidity
  • Size of linkage array

If one of the above is compromised, it can lead to diseased or disordered cell processes. Luckily, scientists have uncovered ways to change or manipulate these factors to control what occurs between two molecules or predict how molecular interactions will change with altered binding.

Experimenting With Binding Properties

Historically, experiments to see how medications bind to a protein were performed primarily in a lab setting. This meant trying different families of chemical compounds until one could properly bind to the protein and then identifying which of several analogous compounds most effectively addressed the disease or disorder at hand.

Now, scientists at the University of Minnesota have developed a computational model that takes some of the guesswork—and time—out of this process. Rather than running back-to-back experiments on hundreds or thousands of compounds, scientists can use a mathematical framework to predict how the molecules might interact. This streamlines the testing process, allowing scientists to make model predictions and then test valid candidates in real-time lab experiments. Though this framework does not eliminate the need for lab experiments by any means, it does allow researchers to change test parameters and develop a better understanding of which molecules will bind effectively to the desired binding sites.

Moving Forward

Researchers hope to use new computational models and mathematical frameworks to create a web-based app accessible to the scientific community. Researchers around the world could utilize these frameworks to test and develop pharmaceutical medications and other types of therapies for many diseases. This could provide huge breakthroughs in treatments for a wide range of conditions such as cancer, autoimmune disease, and neurological diseases.

Sources:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200103/Novel-study-on-molecular-interactions-could-make-it-easier-to-develop-new-medicines.aspx (Jan 2020)




‘Planetary Defense!’ NASA Will Launch November Mission to Deflect ‘Devastating’ Asteroid from Hitting Earth by NUDGING It with A Spacecraft, Agency Says

NASA said on Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid in deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch

By Chris Ciaccia | Dailymail.com

  • NASA’s mission to deflect an asteroid using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch
  • The DART spacecraft will head towards the Didymos binary on November 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket 
  • It will smash into Didymoon at roughly 13,500mph on October 2, 2022
  • Didymoon came close to Earth in 2003, coming within 3.7 million miles 
  • According to NASA, over 25,000 near-Earth objects have been discovered

NASA said on Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid in deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch.

Known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the U.S. space agency will send the DART spacecraft to a pair of asteroids – the Didymos binary – at 1:20 a.m. EST on November 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

DART will smash in one of the two asteroids, known as Didymoon, at roughly 13,500mph on October 2, 2022.

In doing so, it will change the speed of Didymoon by a fraction of a percent, but it will be enough so NASA can measure its altered orbit.

This will provide valuable input into future missions to deflect asteroids.

At roughly 160 meters (524ft) wide, Didymoon orbits a much larger space rock known as Didymos that is approximately 780 meters (2,559ft) across.

Didymoon came relatively close to Earth in 2003, coming within 3.7 million miles.

Of the two asteroids, Didymoon is more likely to hit Earth, given there are more space rocks its size that NASA and the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) have yet to observe.

‘DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique, which involves sending one or more large, high-speed spacecraft into the path of an asteroid in space to change its motion,’ NASA said in a statement.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




What Is the Difference Between a Magnetometer, Gaussmeter, and Teslameter?

What is a Magnetic Field?

The term magnetic field represents a vector quantity that defines the influence of magnetism on a dynamic electric current, magnetic materials, and electric charges. The moving substances experience a specific magnitude of force perpendicular to the magnetic field and its velocity.

The magnetic field of a permanent magnet pull on or attracts ferromagnetic materials like iron. It may repel or draw in other magnetic substances depending on a few factors. In addition to that, a magnetic field whose magnitude or value varies with a change or shift in location will exert or apply a force on a variety of non-magnetic substances. It does so by exercising an influence on the motion or movement of the electrons in the outer atom.

A magnetic field surrounds different and diverse magnetized materials. It gets created or generated by electric currents like those applied in electromagnets. It also gets produced by the electric fields that do not remain consistent and vary with time. As the location changes or electric charges keep moving, the magnitude of the strength and the direction of a magnetic field varies. Thus, it gets described mathematically using a function. It is possible by allotting a vector quantity to each position or point of space, also known as a vector field.

What is meant by Hall Effect?

Hall Effect is the generation or production of a difference in the voltage present across an electrical conductor. It runs transverse to the electric current in the conducting material. Additionally, it works on an applied magnetic field that runs perpendicular to the current. Edwin hall was the first person to discover this phenomenon in 1879.

Hall Effect becomes visible or observable in a magnetic field applied perpendicularly. It runs across voltage contacts on the edge of a metal plate or semiconductor.

It displays the apparent reversal in sign compared to the standard Hall Effect. It depends solely on the current induced from within the void.

What is a Magnetometer?

A magnetometer refers to an electric appliance capable of assessing the value of a magnetic field in a specific place or area. The device also has the functions and features to measure the magnitude of the magnetic dipole moment of various magnetic constituents, materials, and substances. For example, it can gauge the required parameter for ferromagnets.

A magnetometer calculates the value by evaluating and judging the effect that the magnetic dipole moment applies or has on the induced current that originates in a particular current-carrying coil. Additionally, some magnetometers can estimate other factors of the magnetic field. They can consist of their relative change, strength, and direction.

What is a Gaussmeter?

A gaussmeter is another kind or variety of electrical device that can calculate the intensity of a constricted magnetic field and estimate its direction. It is also known as the modern version of a gauss magnetometer. It comprises parts such as a meter, a gauss sensor or probe, and a cable joining or connecting the two components. This appliance works by following the basis or principle of the Hall Effect discovered by Edwin Hall in 1879.

A gaussmeter displays the calculated measurements of an electromagnetic wave in Gauss (G), milliTesla (mT), microTesla (µT), or milliGauss (mG) units. It can detect and discover the dynamic electromagnetic fields associated with alternating current (AC) or the steady permanent magnetic fields related to direct current (DC).

A gaussmeter works primarily with and for small-sized magnetic fields. If the measurement needs to get done for a large one, the best choice of instrument is a tesla meter. It is similar to a gaussmeter but comes graduated in larger units of tesla.

What is a Teslameter?

A teslameter is a type of gaussmeter. It gets used to measure the intensity and direction of alternating current, pulse, and direct current magnetic fields. They work for the ones that have a significant area of coverage and spread. They calculate the values in units of tesla (T), microTesla (µT), or milliTesla(mT).

What are the Differences between a Magnetometer, Gaussmeter, and Teslameter?

To most people, a magnetometer, a gaussmeter, and a teslameter may seem the same. However, the three electrical devices have subtle yet significant differences among them. These dissimilarities determine their range and scope of application and the manner or fashion in which they can get used. They also establish the points of their pros and cons.

Some differences between a magnetometer, a gaussmeter, and a teslameter consist of the following:

  • Measurement Unit

A magnetic field is a vector quantity whose measurement value remains characterized by its direction and strength or magnitude. In general, the latter parameter gets represented in the unit of tesla in the SI system. It is gauss in the CGS system. The relation between the two is that one tesla is equal to 10,000 gauss.

Gaussmeters and teslameters are instruments that calculate the value of the intensity of a magnetic field in the gauss and tesla units, respectively. In a few cases or circumstances, the term magnetometer represents an electrical appliance that measures the magnitude less than one milliTesla (mT) and gaussmeter for those more than one milliTesla (mT).

  • Size of the Magnetic Field

A magnetometer can measure the intensity or strength of a magnetic field of considerable size. Hence, they can get used for the purpose in any corner of the Earth and even in space.

On the other hand, a gaussmeter and a teslameter calculate the same values of intensity. However, they do so for a comparatively smaller size of a magnetic field. Between the two, the latter instrument has the ability and capability of estimating the parameter for the larger field.

A gaussmeter and magnetometer can get differentiated on the basis or factor of the level of sensitivity they provide and use. The former are high-strength devices that calculate the intensity of the magnetic field by more than one milliTesla (mT). On the other hand, the latter gets used for applications related to high sensitivity of less than one milliTesla (mT).




5 Reasons Video Games Should Be More Widely Used in School

In an effort to curtail how much time young people spend playing video games, China has banned students from playing them during the school week and limits them to just one hour per day on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.

The new rule took effect Sept. 1, 2021.

From my standpoint as a video game designer and scholar who specializes in game-based learning, I don’t see a need to limit video game play among students during the school week. Instead, I see a need to expand it – and to do so during the regular school day.

Video games are one of the most popular mediums of our times. One estimate shows that by 2025, the global gaming market will amount to US$268.8 billion annually – significantly higher than the $178 billion it is in 2021.

The money spent on gaming does not just facilitate a virtual escape from the real world. Scholars such as James Paul Gee, a longtime literacy professor, have repeatedly shown that video games can be used to facilitate learning in the K-12 classroom. Education writer Greg Toppo reached the same conclusion in his critically acclaimed book, “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.”

A long history

The use of video games in the classroom is nothing new. Many people who went to school in the 1970s through the 1990s may recall the iconic video game The Oregon Trail, which made its debut in a classroom in 1971.

In the game, players lead a group of settlers across the Midwest following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. The game came just before the video game industry was established with the 1972 release of the video game Pong, an electronic version of table tennis.

Even though educational video games have been used in classrooms for 50 years – and despite the fact that research shows educational games can be effective – they are not that common in classrooms today.

Many educational games have been released since the days of The Oregon Trail. Some of the most popular are: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?,Math Blaster!, Zoombinis, iCivics, DragonBox Algebra and History Maker VR. Most games are for pre-K to elementary school students.

Here are five reasons why I think video games should be used in every classroom.

1. Video games can help students stay in STEM

In 2020, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found that the nation needs to create the STEM workforce of the future. One of the reasons students drop or switch out of science, technology, engineering, and math programs is because of the difficulty of introductory courses such as calculus.

The University of Oklahoma has developed a calculus game that can help students succeed in calculus. Research has shown student mastery of calculus increases when using a purposeful designed learning game, such as Variant: Limits – another calculus game that was developed at Texas A&M University.

2. They provide experiential learning

Teaching students 21st-century skills, such as creative problem solving, is important for the future workforce, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Games such as DragonBox Algebra, where students solve math problems in a fantasy environment, can help students master skills such as critical thinking.

In games such as Civilization, players can be a civic leader and direct the prosperity of nations. In ARTé: Mecenas, learners can become members of the Medici family and become patrons of the arts and successful bankers. Students learn through doing and can gain skills and knowledge through experiential learning that might not be gained in traditional classrooms.

3. Players learn from failure

Games are a natural way to allow students to fail in a safe way, learn from failures and try again until they succeed.

Some games, like Burnout Paradise make failure fun. In the game, players can crash their cars – and the more spectacular the crash, the higher the points. This allows players to essentially learn from their mistakes, correct them and try again.

The late video game theorist and author Jesper Juul wrote in his book, “The Art of Failure,” that losing in video games is part of what makes games so engaging. Failing in a game makes the player feel inadequate, yet the player can immediately redeem themselves and improve their skills.

4. Students stay engaged in content

The average time a student spends learning in a classroom is only 60% of the allocated class time. Extending the school day to give students more time for learning has been shown to be only marginally effective. A more effective way to maximize time for learning is through engaged time on task. When students are interested and care about a topic and it is relevant, they are curious and engaged. This provides a much better learning experience.

In the classroom, teachers can engage students. But when it comes to homework, educators have to rely on other ways to motivate students. One way is through games. Educational games can be designed to improve motivation and engagement, providing students with more engaged time on task.

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5. Games make complex knowledge fun

Educational theories state that students cannot be given knowledge; they construct knowledge in their own minds. Learners build on previously learned concepts to construct higher-level and more complex knowledge to make it their own.

The periodic table of elements is challenging to learn and remember for many students. However, learning a complex three-dimensional matrix with 27,624 values is easily accomplished by middle school students playing the popular video game Pokémon. The essence of the game is figuring out how to combine the 17 different types of attack when battling other Pokémon. Each Pokémon has one or two types of attacks they can use. Players do not learn the different possible combinations by studying a large table with 27,624 entries, but by playing the game. Through playing the game, students gradually construct deeper knowledge of the game and develop core skills, such as literacy, how to compete with grace and sportsmanship, and abstract thinking.

Pokémon was not developed as an educational game, but its design principles – and those of other popular video games – could easily be used to design video games for classrooms that enhance their educational experience.The Conversation

By Andre Thomas, Director – LIVE lab and Associate Professor of the Practice, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.




Humanity’s Most Important Decision: What Does It Mean To Be Human? | Gregg Braden

Source: Inspired

Gregg Braden asks the question: do we want to relinquish our humanity, without even knowing what it means to embrace that capacity?

TRANSCRIPT (Gregg Braden)

It’s a moral question. How much of this do we have the right to relinquish? How much do we choose to relinquish? But we can’t even make those decisions if we don’t know what it means to be human. So this conversation is an invitation just to be aware that it’s more than just being able to talk to your computer through your mind.

It’s happening right now. One generation. There’s a battle unfolding and many people don’t know the battle even exists. Yet they are part of the battle because they are willing to embrace this. And other cultures are doing it. Japan, you mentioned,  not singling them out, but they are on the forefront. You can marry an AI robot. Many couples are opting for artificially intelligent robotic children, rather the conceiving their own children, because they get to care for them when it’s convenient. And then when it’s not, because they’re very career-oriented, you don’t have to worry about that.

But at the same time, beautiful example, look at what’s happening. The birth rate is declining. Sterility in men, men are becoming more sterile. Women’s fertility rates are dropping. They don’t know if there is a correlation. They suspect there’s a correlation and this is one of the places where they’re really looking into this. But this is just one example of how can we possibly make these kinds of decisions until we know what it means to be human. And if we don’t know what it means, why would we give it away? Why would we relinquish this extraordinary capacity given no other form of life, without even knowing what it means to embrace that capacity?

I live in a rural community, northern New Mexico. I go to a little Co-op for my groceries. I was behind a man in line who had a lot of groceries. And he went to pay for his groceries and I watched this happen. He pushed up his sleeve and he rolled his sleeve over a scanner and checked out. And I asked the cashier, I said, what did I just see? And he says, yeah, it’s kind of weird, isn’t it? And I said, what happened? He said he has an infrared tattoo in his wrist that is linked to his credit card and his bank account. And he just charged these groceries to his bank account.

And I’m not saying it’s right wrong, good or bad, but I’m saying as we embrace and become so plugged into that technology, how does it change the way we think about ourselves and our humanness?
And the digital technology, you know, we are more connected than we’ve ever been and yet we feel more alone and more separate. Young people spend so much time communicating digitally, emotionally they’re not getting those connections.

And relationships now are developing digitally to the point where you can have a full-blown relationship, even an intimate sexual relationship online, and never, never be in the presence of another person. That’s all done digitally, through accouterments and gadgets that are controlled remotely, and things like that. And we lose the ability to have that intimacy. So is that really something that we want to give up as a species?




A ‘Leap’ Toward Humanity’s Destruction

By Whitney Webb | Unlimited Hangout

The world’s richest medical research foundation, the Wellcome Trust, has teamed up with a pair of former DARPA directors who built Silicon Valley’s skunkworks to usher in an age of nightmarish surveillance, including for babies as young as three months old. Their agenda can only advance if we allow it.

A UK nonprofit with ties to global corruption throughout the COVID-19 crisis as well as historical and current ties to the UK eugenics movement launched a global health-focused DARPA equivalent last year. The move went largely unnoticed by both mainstream and independent media.

The Wellcome Trust, which has arguably been second only to Bill Gates in its ability to influence events during the COVID-19 crisis and vaccination campaign, launched its own global equivalent of the Pentagon’s secretive research agency last year, officially to combat the “most pressing health challenges of our time.”

Though first conceived in 2018, this particular Wellcome Trust initiative was spun off from the Trust last May with $300 million in initial funding. It quickly attracted two former DARPA executives, who had previously served in the upper echelons of Silicon Valley, to manage and plan its portfolio of projects.

This global health DARPA, known as Wellcome Leap, seeks to achieve “breakthrough scientific and technological solutions” by or before 2030, with a focus on “complex global health challenges.” The Wellcome Trust is open about how Wellcome Leap will apply the approaches of Silicon Valley and venture capital firms to the health and life science sector.

Unsurprisingly, their three current programs are poised to develop incredibly invasive tech-focused, and in some cases overtly transhumanist, medical technologies, including a program exclusively focused on using artificial intelligence (AI), mobile sensors, and wearable brain-mapping tech for children three years old and younger.

This Unlimited Hangout investigation explores not only the four current programs of Wellcome Leap but also the people behind it. The resulting picture is of an incredibly sinister project that poses not only a great threat to current society but to the future of humanity itself. An upcoming Unlimited Hangout investigation will examine the history of the Wellcome Trust along with its role in recent and current events.

Leap’s Leadership: Merging Man and Machine for the Military and Silicon Valley

The ambitions of the Wellcome Leap are made clear by the woman chosen to lead it, former director of the Pentagon’s DARPA, Regina Dugan. Dugan began her career at DARPA in 1996; she led a counterterrorism task force in 1999 before leaving DARPA about a year later.

After departing DARPA, she co-founded her own venture capital firm, Dugan Ventures, and then became special adviser to the US Army’s vice chief of staff from 2001 to 2003, which coincided with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2005, she created a defense-focused tech firm called RedXDefense, which contracts with the military and specifically for DARPA.

In 2009, under the Obama administration, Dugan was appointed director of DARPA by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Much was made over her being the first female director of the agency, but she is best remembered at the agency for her so-called “Special Forces” approach to innovation. During her tenure, she created DARPA’s now-defunct Transformational Convergence Technology Office, which focused on social networks, synthetic biology, and machine intelligence.

Many of the themes previously managed by that office are now overseen by DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, which was created in 2014 and focuses on everything “from programmable microbes to human-machine symbiosis.” The Biological Technologies Office, like Wellcome Leap, pursues a mix of “health-focused” biotechnology programs and transhumanist endeavors.

Right before leaving the top role at DARPA, Dugan greenlighted the agency’s initial investments in mRNA vaccine technology, which led to DARPA’s investments in Pfizer and Moderna shortly thereafter. The DARPA scientist who lobbied Dugan to back the program, Dan Wattendorf, now works as the director of Innovative Technology Solutions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

While Dugan’s efforts at DARPA are remembered fondly by those in the national-security state, and also by those in Silicon Valley, Dugan was investigated for conflicts of interest during her time as DARPA’s director, as her firm RedXDefense acquired millions in Department of Defense contracts during her tenure.

Though she had recused herself from any formal role at the company while leading DARPA, she continued to hold a significant financial stake in the company, and a military investigation later found she had violated ethics rules to a significant degree.

Instead of being held accountable in any way, Dugan went on to become a top executive at Google, where she was brought on to manage Google’s Advanced Technology and Products Group (ATAP), which it had spun out of Motorola Mobility after Google’s acquisition of that company in 2012. Google’s ATAP was modeled after DARPA and employed other ex-DARPA officials besides Dugan.

At Google, Dugan oversaw several projects, including what is now the basis of Google’s “augmented reality” business, then known as Project Tango, as well as “smart” clothing in which multitouch sensors were woven into textiles. Another project that Dugan led involved the use of a “digital tattoo” to unlock smartphones. Perhaps most controversially, Dugan was also behind the creation of a “digital authentication pill.”

According to Dugan, when the pill is swallowed, “your entire body becomes your authentication token.” Dugan framed the pill and many of her other efforts at Google as working to fix “the mechanical mismatch between humans and electronics” by producing technology that merges the human body with machines to varying degrees.

While serving in this capacity at Google, Dugan chaired a panel at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative called “Game-Changers in Technology” and attended the 2015 Bilderberg meeting where AI was a main topic of discussion.

In 2016, Dugan left Google for Facebook where she was chosen to be the first head of Facebook’s own DARPA-equivalent research agency, then known as Building 8. DARPA’s ties to the origins of Facebook were discussed in a recent Unlimited Hangout report.

Under Dugan, Building 8 invested heavily in brain-machine interface technology, which has since produced the company’s “neural wearable” wristbands that claim to be able to anticipate movements of the hand and fingers from brain signals alone. Facebook showcased prototypes of the project earlier this year.

Dugan left Facebook just eighteen months after joining Building 8, announcing her plans “to focus on building and leading a new endeavor,” which was apparently a reference to Wellcome Leap. Dugan later said it was as if she had been training for her role at Wellcome Leap ever since entering the workforce, framing it as the pinnacle of her career.

When asked in an interview earlier this year who the clients of Wellcome Leap are, Dugan gave a long-winded answer but essentially responded that the project serves the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, international organizations such as the UN, and public-private partnerships.

In addition to her role at Wellcome, Dugan is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored task force on US Technology and Innovation policy, which was formed in 2019. Other members include LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, McKinsey Institute Global Chairman James Manyika, former head of Google Eric Schmidt, and President Biden’s controversial top science adviser Eric Lander.

The other executive at Wellcome Leap, chief operating officer Ken Gabriel, has a background closely tied to Dugan’s. Gabriel, like Dugan, is a former program manager at DARPA, where he led the agency’s microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) research from 1992 to 1996.

He served as deputy director of DARPA from 1995 to 1996 and became director of the Electronics Technology Office from 1996 to 1997, where he was reportedly responsible for about half of all federal electronics-technology investments. At DARPA, Gabriel worked closely with the FBI and the CIA.

Ken Gabriel
Ken Gabriel – COO of Wellcome Leap. Source: Wellcome Leap

Gabriel left DARPA for Carnegie Mellon University, where he was in charge of the Office for Security Technologies in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. That office was created after 9/11 specifically to help meet the national security needs of the federal government, according to Carnegie Mellon’s announcement of the program.

Around that same time, Gabriel became regarded as “the architect of the MEMS industry” due to his past work at DARPA and his founding of the MEMS-focused semiconductor company Akustica in 2002. He served as Akustica’s chairman and chief technology officer until 2009, at which time he returned to work at DARPA where he served as the agency’s deputy director, working directly under Regina Dugan.

In 2012, Gabriel followed Dugan to Google’s Advanced Technology and Products Group, which he was actually responsible for creating. According to Gabriel, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin tasked Gabriel with creating “a private sector ground-up model of DARPA” out of Motorola Mobility. Regina Dugan was placed in charge, and Gabriel again served as her deputy.

In 2013, Dugan and Gabriel co-wrote a piece for the Harvard Business Review about how DARPA’s “Special Forces” innovation approach could revolutionize both the public and private sectors if more widely applied.

Gabriel left Google in 2014, well before Dugan, to serve as the president and CEO of Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, better known as Draper Labs, which develops “innovative technology solutions” for the national-security community, with a focus on biomedical systems, energy, and space technology. Gabriel held that position until he abruptly resigned in 2020 to co-lead Wellcome Leap with Dugan.

In addition to his role at Wellcome, Gabriel is also a World Economic Forum “technology pioneer” and on the board of directors of Galvani Bioelectronics, a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline, which is intimately linked to the Wellcome Trust, and the Google subsidiary Verily.

Galvani focuses on the development of “bioelectronic medicines” that involve “implant-based modulation of neural signals” in an overt push by the pharmaceutical industry and Silicon Valley to normalize transhumanist “medicines.”

The longtime chairman of the board of Galvani, on which Gabriel serves, was Moncef Slaoui, who led the US COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution program Operation Warp Speed. Slaoui was relieved of his position at Galvani this past March over well-substantiated claims of sexual harassment.

Jeremy Farrar, Pandemic Narrative Manager

While Dugan and Gabriel ostensibly lead the outfit, Wellcome Leap is the brainchild of Jeremy Farrar and Mike Ferguson, who serve as its directors. Farrar is the director of the Wellcome Trust itself, and Ferguson is deputy chair of the Trust’s board of governors.

Farrar has been director of the Wellcome Trust since 2013 and has been actively involved in critical decision-making at the highest level globally since the beginning of the COVID crisis. He is also an agenda contributor to the World Economic Forum and co-chaired the WEF’s Africa meeting in 2019.

Farrar’s Wellcome Trust is also a WEF strategic partner and cofounded the COVID Action Platform with the WEF. Farrar was more recently behind the creation of Wellcome’s COVID-Zero initiative, which is also tied to the WEF.

Farrar has framed that initiative as “an opportunity for companies to advance the science which will eventually reduce business disruption.” Thus far it has convinced titans of finance, including Mastercard and Citadel, to invest millions in research and development at organizations favored by the Wellcome Trust.

Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar with NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn
Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar with NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn, who led the 2001 Dark Winter exercise.
Source: NTI.com

Some of Wellcome’s controversial medical research projects in Africa, as well as its ties to the UK eugenics movement, were explored in a December article published at Unlimited Hangout.

That report also explores the intimate connections of Wellcome to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the use of which has now been restricted or banned in several countries. As mentioned in the introduction, the Wellcome Trust itself is the subject of an upcoming Unlimited Hangout investigation (Part 2).

Jeremy Farrar, who was born in Singapore in 1961, had previously been director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, beginning in 1998. During that time, he authored numerous epidemiological research papers. He claimed in a 2014 Financial Times article that his decision to move to Vietnam was due to his disdain for conference halls full of white men.

Southeast Asia was obviously a much less regulated environment for someone in the medical-research industry wishing to indulge in groundbreaking research. Although based in Vietnam, Farrar was sent by Oxford to various locations around the globe to study epidemics happening in real-time.

In 2009, when swine flu was wreaking havoc in Mexico, Farrar jumped on a plane to dive right into the action, something he also did for subsequent global outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, and avian flu.

Over the past year, many questions have arisen regarding exactly how much power Farrar wields over global public health policy. Recently, the US president’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, was forced to release his emails and correspondence from March and April 2020 at the request of the Washington Post.

The released emails reveal what appears to be a high-level conspiracy by some of the top medical authorities in the US to falsely claim that COVID-19 could only have been of zoonotic origin, despite indications to the contrary. The emails were heavily redacted as such emails usually are, supposedly to protect the information of the people involved, but the “(b)(6)” redactions also protect much of Jeremy Farrar’s input into these discussions.

Chris Martenson, economic researcher and post-doctorate student of neurotoxicology and founder of Peak Prosperity, has had some insightful comments on the matter, including asking why such protection has been offered to Farrar given that he is the director of a “charitable trust.” Martenson went on to question why the Wellcome Trust was involved at all in these high-level discussions.

One Fauci email, dated February 25, 2020, and sent by Amelie Rioux of the WHO, stated that Jeremy Farrar’s official role at that time was “to act as the board’s focal point on the COVID-19 outbreak, to represent and advise the board on the science of the outbreak and the financing of the response.”

Farrar had previously chaired the WHO’s Scientific Advisory Council. The emails also show the preparation, within a ten-day period, of the SARS-CoV-2 “‘origins” paper, which was entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” and was accepted for publication by Nature Medicine on March 17, 2020.

The paper claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could only have come from natural origins as opposed to gain-of-function research, a claim once held as gospel in the mainstream but which has come under considerable scrutiny in recent weeks.

Shaping the presentation of an origin story for a virus of global significance is something Farrar has been involved with before. In 2004–5, it was reported that Farrar and his Vietnamese colleague Tran Tinh Hien, the vice director at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, were the first to identify the re-emergence of the avian flu (H5N1) in humans.

Farrar has recounted the origin story on many occasions, stating: “It was a little girl. She caught it from a pet duck that had died and she’d dug up and reburied. She survived.” According to Farrar, this experience prompted him to found a global network in conjunction with the World Health Organization to “improve local responses to disease outbreaks.”

An article published by Rockefeller University Press’s Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2009 is dramatically titled, “Jeremy Farrar: When Disaster Strikes.” Farrar, when referring to the H5N1 origin story stated: “The WHO people—and this is not a criticism—decided it was unlikely that the child had SARS or avian influenza.

They left, but Professor Hien stayed behind to talk with the child and her mum. The girl admitted that she had been quite sad in the previous days with the death of her pet duck. The girl and her brother had fought over burying the duck and, because of this argument, she had gone back, dug up the duck, and reburied it—probably so her brother wouldn’t know where it was buried.

With that history, Professor Hien phoned me at home and said he was worried about the child. He took some swabs from the child’s nose and throat and brought them back to the hospital. That night the laboratory ran tests on the samples, and they were positive for Influenza A.”

With Farrar now having been revealed as an instrumental part of the team that crafted the official story regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2, his previous assertions about the origin of past epidemics should be scrutinized.

As the director of a “charitable trust,” Jeremy Farrar is almost completely unaccountable for his involvement in crafting controversial narratives related to the COVID crisis. He continues to be at the forefront of the global response to COVID, in part by launching the Wellcome Leap Fund for “unconventional projects, funded at scale” as an overt attempt to create a global and “charitable” version of DARPA.

Indeed, Farrar, in conceiving Wellcome Leap, has positioned himself to be just as, if not more, instrumental in building the foundation for the post-COVID era as he was in building the foundation for the COVID crisis itself.

This is significant as Wellcome Leap CEO Regina Dugan has labeled COVID-19 this generation’s “Sputnik moment” that will launch a new age of “health innovation,” much like the launching of Sputnik started a global technological “space age.” Wellcome Leap fully intends to lead the pack.

“Rulers” of the Gene-Sequencing Industry

In contrast to the overt DARPA, Silicon Valley, and Wellcome connections of the others, the chairman of the board of directors of Wellcome Leap, Jay Flatley, has a different background. Flatley is the long-time head of Illumina, a California-based gene-sequencing hardware and software giant that is believed to currently dominate the field of genomics.

Though he stepped down from the board of Illumina in 2016, he has continued to serve as the executive chairman of its board of directors. Flatley was the first to be chosen for a leadership position at Wellcome Leap, and he was responsible for suggesting Regina Dugan for the organization’s chief executive officer, according to a recent interview given by Dugan.

Illumina Campus
Illumina Campus. Source: Glassdoor

As a profile on Illumina in the business magazine Fast Company notes, Illumina “operates behind the scenes, selling hardware and services to companies and research institutions,” among them 23andMe. 23andMe’s CEO, Anne Wojcicki, the sister of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, told Fast Company, “It’s crazy. Illumina is like the ruler of this whole universe and no one knows that.”

The report notes that 23andMe, like most companies that offer DNA sequencing and analysis to consumers, uses machines produced by Illumina.

In 2016, Illumina launched an “aggressive” five-year plan to “bring genomics out of research labs and into doctors’ offices.” Given the current state of things, particularly the global push toward gene-focused vaccines and therapies, that plan, which concludes this year, could not have been any better timed.

Illumina’s current CEO, Francis DeSouza, previously held key posts at Microsoft and Symantec. Also in 2016, Illumina’s executive teams forecast a future in which humans are gene tested from birth to grave for both health and commercial purposes.

Whereas most companies have struggled financially during the coronavirus pandemic, some have seen a massive increase in profits. Illumina has witnessed its share price double since the start of the COVID crisis.

The company’s $1 billion-plus in profits during the last tax year was obviously helped by the quick approval of the NovaSEQ 6000 machines, which can test a large number of COVID samples more quickly than other devices. An individual machine has a hefty price tag of almost $1 million, and thus they are mostly found at elite facilities, private labs, and top-tier universities.

Jay Flatley

Jay Flatley, Executive Chairman, Illumina, speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos 2018. Source: WEF

In addition to his long-standing leadership role at Illumina, Jay Flatley is also a “digital member” of the World Economic Forum as well as the lead independent director of Zymergen, a WEF “tech pioneer” company that is “rethinking the biology and reimagining the world.”

Flatley, who has also attended several Davos meetings, has addressed the WEF on the “promise of precision [i.e., gene-specific] medicine.”

At another WEF panel meeting, Flatley, alongside UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, promoted the idea of making genomic sequencing of babies at birth the norm, claiming it had “the potential to shift the healthcare system from reactive to preventative.”

Some at the panel called for the genomic sequencing of infants to eventually become mandatory.

Aside from Flatley as an individual, Illumina as a company is a WEF partner and plays a key role in its platform regarding the future of health care. A top Illumina executive also serves on the WEF’s Global Future Council on Biotechnology.

A New HOPE

Wellcome Leap currently has four programs: Multi-Stage Psych, Delta Tissue, 1KD, and HOPE. HOPE was the first program to be announced by Wellcome Leap and stands for Human Organs, Physiology, and Engineering. According to the full program description, HOPE aims “to leverage the power of bioengineering to advance stem cells, organoids, and whole organ systems and connections that recapitulate human physiology in vitro and restore vital functions in vivo.”

human organs physiology and engineering
Source: Wellcome Leap, https://wellcomeleap.org/hope/

HOPE consists of two main program goals. First, it seeks to “bioengineer a multiorgan platform that recreates human immunological responses with sufficient fidelity to double the predictive value of a preclinical trial with respect to efficacy, toxicity, and immunogenicity for therapeutic interventions.”

In other words, this bioengineered platform mimicking human organs would be used to test the effects of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, which could create a situation in which animal trials are replaced with trials on gene-edited and farmed organs.

Though such an advance would certainly be helpful in the sense of reducing often unethical animal experimentation, trusting such a novel system to allow medical treatments to go straight to the human-testing phase would also require trusting the institutions developing that system and its funders.

As it stands now, the Wellcome Trust has too many ties to corrupt actors in the pharmaceutical industry, having originally begun as the “philanthropic” arm of UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, for anyone to trust what they are producing without actual independent confirmation, given the histories of some of their partners in fudging both animal and human clinical trial data for vaccines and other products.

The second goal of HOPE is to open up the use of machine-human hybrid organs for transplantation into human beings. That goal focuses on restoring “organ functions using cultivated organs or biological/synthetic hybrid systems” with the later goal of bioengineering a fully transplantable human organ after several years.

Later on in the program description, however, the interest in merging the synthetic and biological becomes clearer when it states: “The time is right to foster synergies between organoids, bioengineering, and immune engineering technologies, and advance the state-of-the-art of in vitro human biology … by building controllable, accessible and scalable systems.”

The program description document also notes the interest of Wellcome in genetic-engineering approaches for the “enhancement of desired properties and insertion of traceable markers” and Wellcome’s ambition to reproduce the building blocks of the human immune system and human organ systems through technological means.

Transhumanist Toddlers?

The second program to be pursued by Wellcome Leap is called “The First 1000 Days: Promoting Healthy Brain Networks,” which is abbreviated as 1KD by the organization. It is arguably the most unsettling program because it seeks to use young children, specifically infants from three months to three-year-old toddlers, as its test subjects.

The program is being overseen by Holly Baines, who previously served as strategy development lead for the Wellcome Trust before joining Wellcome Leap as the 1KD program leader.

the first 1000 days
Source: Wellcome Leap, https://wellcomeleap.org/1kd/

1KD is focused on developing “objective, scalable ways to assess a child’s cognitive health” by monitoring the brain development and function of infants and toddlers, allowing practitioners to “risk-stratify children” and “predict responses to interventions” in developing brains.

The program description document notes that, up to this point in history, “our primary window into the developing brain has been neuroimaging techniques and animal models, which can help identify quantitative biomarkers of [neural] network health and characterize network differences underlying behaviors.” It then states that advances in technology “are opening additional possibilities in young infants.”

The program description goes on to say that artificial neural networks, a form of AI, “have demonstrated the viability of modeling network pruning process and the acquisition of complex behaviors in much the same way as a developing brain,” while improvements in machine learning, another subset of AI, can now be used to extract “meaningful signals” from the brains of infants and young children.

These algorithms can then be used to develop “interventions” for young children deemed by other algorithms to be in danger of having underdeveloped brain function.

The document goes on to note the promise of “low-cost mobile sensors, wearables, and home-based systems” in “providing a new opportunity to assess the influence and dependency of brain development on natural physical and social interactions.”

In other words, this program seeks to use “continuous visual and audio recordings in the home” as well as wearable devices on children to collect millions upon millions of data points. Wellcome Leap describes these wearables as “relatively unobtrusive, scalable electronic badges that collect visual, auditory and motion data as well as interactive features (such as turn-taking, pacing and reaction times).”

Elsewhere in the document, there is a call to develop “wearable sensors that assess physiological measures predictive of brain health (e.g., electrodermal activity, respiratory rate, and heart rate) and wireless wearable EEG or eye-tracking technology” for use in infants and children three and under.

Like other Wellcome Leap programs, this technology is being developed with the intention of making it mainstream in medical science within the next five to ten years, meaning that this system—although framed as a way to monitor children’s brain functioning to improve cognitive outcomes—is a recipe for total surveillance of babies and very young children as well as a means for altering their brain functioning as algorithms and Leap’s programmers see fit.

1DK has two main program goals. The first is to “develop a fully integrated model and quantitive measurement tools of network development in the first 1000 days [of life], sufficient to predict EF [executive function] formation before a child’s first birthday.”

Such a model, the description reads, “should predict contributions of nutrition, the microbiome and the genome” on brain formation as well as the effects of “sensimotor and social interactions [or lack thereof] on network pruning processes” and EF outcomes. The second goal makes it clear that widespread adoption of such neurological-monitoring technologies in young children and infants is the endgame for 1DK.

It states that the program plans to “create scalable methods for optimizing promotion, prevention, screening, and therapeutic interventions to improve EF by at least 20% in 80% of children before age 3.”

True to the eugenicist ties of the Wellcome Trust (to be explored more in-depth in Part 2), Wellcome Leap’s 1DK notes that “of interest are improvements from underdeveloped EF to normative or from normative to well-developed EF across the population to deliver the broadest impact.”

One of the goals of 1DK is thus not treating a disease or addressing a “global health public challenge” but instead experimenting on the cognitive augmentation of children using means developed by AI algorithms and invasive surveillance-based technology.

Another unsettling aspect of the program is its plan to “develop an in vitro 3D brain assembled that replicates the time formation” of a developing brain that is akin to the models developed by monitoring the brain development of infants and children.

Later on, the program description calls this an “in-silico” model of a child’s brain, something of obvious interest to transhumanists who see such a development as a harbinger of the so-called singularity.

Beyond that, it appears that this in-silico and thus synthetic model of the brain is planned to be used as the “model” to which infant and children brains are shaped by the “therapeutic interventions” mentioned elsewhere in the program description.

It should be clear how sinister it is that an organization that brings together the worst “mad scientist” impulses of both the NGO and military-research worlds is openly planning to conduct such experiments on the brains of babies and toddlers, viewing them as datasets and their brains as something to be “pruned” by machine “intelligence.”

Allowing such a program to advance unimpeded without pushback from the public would mean permitting a dangerous agenda targeting society’s youngest and most vulnerable members to potentially advance to a point where it is difficult to stop.

A “Tissue Time Machine”

The third and second-most recent program to join the Wellcome Leap lineup is called Delta Tissue, abbreviated by the organization as ΔT. Delta Tissue aims to create a platform that monitors changes in human-tissue function and interactions in real-time, ostensibly to “explain the status of a disease in each person and better predict how that disease would progress.”

Referring to this platform as a “tissue time machine,” Wellcome Leap sees Delta Tissue as being able to predict the onset of disease before it occurs while also allowing for medical interventions that “are targeted to the individual.”

delta tissue
Source: Wellcome Leap, https://wellcomeleap.org/delta-tissue/

Well before the COVID era, precision medicine or medicine “targeted or tailored to the individual” has been a code phrase for treatments based on patient’s genetic data and/or for treatments that alter nucleic acid (e.g., DNA and RNA) function itself. For instance, the US government defines “precision medicine” as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.”

Similarly, a 2018 paper published in Technology notes that, in oncology, “precision and personalized medicine … fosters the development of specialized treatments for each specific subtype of cancer, based on the measurement and manipulation of key patient genetic and omic data (transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, etc.).”

Prior to COVID-19 and the vaccine rollouts, the mRNA vaccine technology used by the DARPA-funded companies Moderna and Pfizer were marketed as being precision medicine treatments and were largely referred to as “gene therapies” in media reports.

They were also promoted heavily as a revolutionary method of treating cancer, making it unsurprising that the Delta Tissue program at Wellcome Leap would use a similar justification to develop a program that aims to offer tailored gene therapies to people before the onset of a disease.

This Delta Tissue platform works to combine “the latest cell and tissue profiling technologies with recent advances in machine learning,” that is, AI.

Given Wellcome Leap’s connections to the US military, it is worth noting that the Pentagon and Google, both former employers of Wellcome Leap CEO Regina Dugan and COO Ken Gabriel, have been working together since last September on using AI to predict disease in humans, first focusing on cancer before expanding to COVID-19 and every disease in between.

The Delta Tissue program appears to have related ambitions, as its program description makes clear that the program ultimately aims to use its platform for a host of cancers and infectious diseases.

The ultimate goal of this Wellcome Leap program is “to eradicate the stubbornly challenging diseases that cause so much suffering around the world.” It plans to do this through AI algorithms, however, which are never 100 percent accurate in their predictive ability, and with gene-editing treatments, nearly all of which are novel and have not been well tested.

That latter point is important given that one of the main methods for gene-editing in humans, CRISPR, has been found in numerous studies to cause considerable damage to the DNA, damage that is largely irreparable (see here, here, and here).

It seems plausible that a person placed on such a hi-tech medical treatment path will continue to need a never-ending series of gene-editing treatments and perhaps other invasive hi-tech treatments to mitigate and manage the effects of clumsy gene splicing.

Total Surveillance to Treat “Depression”

Wellcome Leap’s most recent program, launched just this week, is called “Multi-Channel Psych: Revealing Mechanisms of Anhedonia” and is officially focused on creating “complex, biological” treatments for depression.

multi channel psych
Source: Wellcome Leap, https://wellcomeleap.org/mcpsych/

Those behind Wellcome Leap frame the problem they aim to tackle with this program as follows:

“We understand that synaptic connections serve as the currency of neural communication, and that strengthening or weakening these connections can facilitate learning new behavioral strategies and ways of looking at the world.

Through studies in both animal models and humans, we have discovered that emotional states are encoded in complex neural network activity patterns, and that directly changing these patterns via brain stimulation can shift mood. We also know that disruption of these delicately balanced networks can lead to neuropsychiatric illness.” (emphasis added)

They add that “biologically based treatments” for depression “are not being matched to the biology of the human beings they’re being used in,” and, thus, treatments for depression need to be tailored “to the specific biology” of individual patients. They clearly state that what needs to be addressed in order to make such personal modifications to treatment is to gain “easy access to the biological substrate of depression—i.e. the brain.”

Wellcome Leap’s program description notes that this effort will focus specifically on anhedonia, which it defines as “an impairment in the effort-based reward system” and as a “key symptom of depression and other neuropsychiatric illnesses.” Notably, in the fine print of the document, Wellcome Leap states:

“While there are many definitions of anhedonia, we are less interested in the investigation of reduced consummatory pleasure, the general experience of pleasure, or the inability to experience pleasure. Rather, as per the description above, we will prioritize investigations of anhedonia as it relates to impairments in the effort-based reward system—e.g. reduced motivation to complete tasks and decreased capacity to apply effort to achieve a goal.”

In other words, Wellcome Leap is only interested in treating aspects of depression that interfere with an individual’s ability to work, not in improving an individual’s quality or enjoyment of life.

Leap notes, in discussing its goals, that it seeks to develop models for how patients respond to treatments that include “novel or existing behavior modification, psychotherapy, medication, and neurostimulation options” while also capturing an individual’s “genome, phenome [the sum of an individual’s phenotypic traits], [neural] network connectivity, metabolome [the sum of an individual’s metabolic traits], microbiome, reward processing plasticity levels,” among others.

It ultimately aims to predict the relationship between an individual’s genome to how “reward processing” functions in the brain. It implies that the data used to create this model should involve the use of wearables, stating that researchers “should seek to leverage high-frequency patient-worn or in-home measurements in addition to those obtained in the clinic, hospital or laboratory.”

One of the main research areas included in the program looks to “develop new scalable measurement tools for reliable and high-density quantification of mood (both subjectively reported and objectively quantified via biometrics such as voice, facial expression, etc.), sleep, movement, reward system functioning, effort/motivation/energy levels, social interaction, caloric intake, and HPA axis output in real-world situations.”

The HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis is mentioned throughout the document, and this is significant as it is both a negative and positive feedback system regulating the mechanisms of stress reactions, immunity, and also fertility in the human body.

The latter is especially important given the Wellcome Trust’s ties to the UK eugenics movement. It is also worth noting that some commercially available wearables, such as Amazon’s Halo, already quantify mood, sleep, and movement.

The program’s authors go even further than the above in terms of what they wish to monitor in real-time, stating, “We specifically encourage the development of non-invasive technology to directly interrogate human brain state.” Examples include “a non-invasive spinal tap equivalent,” “behavioral or biomarker probes of neural plasticity,” and “single-session neural monitoring capabilities that define a treatment-predictive brain state.”

In other words, this Wellcome Leap program and its authors seek to develop “non-invasive” and, likely, wearable technology capable of monitoring an individual’s mood, facial expressions, social interactions, effort and motivation, and potentially even thoughts in order to “directly interrogate human brain state.”

To think that such a device would stay only in the realm of research is naive, especially given that WEF luminaries have openly spoken at Davos meetings about how governments plan to use such technology widely on their populations as a means of pre-emptively targeting would-be dissent and ushering in an era of “digital dictatorships.”

The focus on treating only the aspects of depression that interfere with a person’s work further suggests that such technology, once developed, would be used to ensure “perfect worker” behavior in industries where human workers are rapidly being replaced with AI and machines, meaning the rulers can be more selective about which people continue to be employed and which do not.

Like other Wellcome Leap programs, if completed, the fruits of the Multi-Channel Psych program will likely be used to ensure a population of docile automatons whose movements and thoughts are heavily surveilled and monitored.

The Last Leap for an Old Agenda

Wellcome Leap is no small endeavor, and its directors have the funding, influence, and connections to make their dreams a reality. The organization’s leadership includes the key force behind Silicon Valley’s push to commercialize transhumanist tech (Regina Dugan), the “architect” of the MEMS industry (Ken Gabriel), and the “ruler” of the burgeoning genetic-sequencing industry (Jay Flatley).

It also benefits from the funding of the world’s largest medical-research foundation, the Wellcome Trust, which is also one of the leading forces in shaping genetics and biotechnology research as well as health policy globally.

A 1994 Sunday Times investigation into the Trust noted that “through [Wellcome Trust] grants and sponsorships, government agencies, universities, hospitals and scientists are influenced all over the world. The trust distributes more money to institutions than even the British government’s Medical Research Council.” It then notes:

“In offices on the building’s first floor, decisions are reached that affect lives and health on scales comparable with minor wars. In the conference room, high above the street, and in the meeting hall, in the basement, rulings in biotechnology and genetics are handed down that will help shape the human race.”

Little has changed regarding the Trust’s influence since that article was published. If anything, its influence on research paths and decisions that will “shape the human race” has only grown. Its ex-DARPA officials, who have spent their careers advancing transhumanist technology in both the public and private sectors, have overlapping goals with those off Wellcome Leap.

Dugan’s and Gabriel’s commercial projects in Silicon Valley reveal that Leap is led by those who have long sought to advance the same technology for profit and for surveillance. This drastically weakens Wellcome Leap’s claim to now is pursuing such technologies to only improve “global health.”

type from your brain
Regina Dugan’s Keynote at Facebook F8 2017. Source: YouTube

Indeed, as this report has shown, most of these technologies would usher in a deeply disturbing era of mass surveillance over both the external and internal activities of human beings, including young children and infants, while also creating a new era of medicine based largely on gene-editing therapies, the risks of which are considerable and also consistently downplayed by its promoters.

When one understands the intimate bond that has long existed between eugenics and transhumanism, Wellcome Leap and its ambitions make perfect sense. In a recent article written by John Klyczek for Unlimited Hangout, it was noted that the first director-general of UNESCO and former president of the UK Eugenics Society was Julian Huxley, who coined the term “transhumanism” in his 1957 book New Bottles for New Wine.

As Klyczek wrote, Huxley argued that “the eugenic goals of biologically engineering human evolution should be refined through transhumanist technologies, which combine the eugenic methods of genetic engineering with neurotech that merges humans and machines into a new organism.”

Earlier, in 1946, Huxley noted in his vision for UNESCO that it was essential that “the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that is now unthinkable may at least become thinkable,” an astounding statement to make so soon after the end of World War II.

Thanks in large part to the Wellcome Trust and its influence on both policy and medical research over the course of several decades, Huxley’s dream of rehabilitating eugenics-infused science in the post–World War II era could soon become reality. Unsurprisingly, the Wellcome Trust hosts the archive of the formerly Huxley-led Eugenics Society and still boasts close ties to its successor organization, the Galton Institute.

The overriding question is: Will we allow ourselves to continue to be manipulated into allowing transhumanism and eugenics to be openly pursued and normalized, including through initiatives like those of Wellcome Leap that seek to use babies and toddlers as test subjects to advance their nightmarish vision for humanity?

If well-crafted advertising slogans and media campaigns painting visions of utopia such as “a world without disease” are all that is needed to convince us to give up our future and our children’s future to military operatives, corporate executives, and eugenicists, then there is little left of our humanity to surrender.




Russell Brand: What Happens When ‘World’s Most Powerful’ Tech Billionaires and Media Moguls Convene in Sun Valley?

By Children’s Health Defense Team | The Defender

If you’re concerned about the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, then “you’re so 2008,” said Russell Brand in a new video.

The Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho is where the “world’s most powerful, richest tech billionaires get together with media moguls to decide on our future,” said Brand.

Part of “deciding on our future” includes discussing how to grow their enormous wealth, so the uber-wealthy can exert more control over the lives of ordinary people — which includes exercising more power over government policies.

It’s “where a group of people with a collective wealth of a trillion dollars — more than 16 nations combined — come together to oppose elected democracy,” Brand said. And if there’s any talk of breaking up their billionaire monopolies, “nobody’s got the force to oppose that,” he said.

Brand cited an article published by The Guardian which questioned what happens when mega-billionaires convene at conferences like Sun Valley.

Hamilton Nolan of The Guardian wrote:

“Everything that happens at Sun Valley will contribute to the ability of attendees like Jeff BezosBill Gates, and Mike Bloomberg to increase their society-warping fortunes. They and their fellow billionaires got more than 50% richer during the pandemic year, by doing absolutely nothing but sitting back and watching their capital grow as millions around the world suffered and died.”

Brand said:

“If it was truly about humanitarianism and helping others, they would start paying more taxes, stop lobbying for more power and create some funds that … actually impact the lives of ordinary people.”

Watch the video: 




Remembering Who We Truly Are in the Face of the Digital Revolution

By Jeremy Nadler | New Dawn

In the Western wisdom tradition, there is a recurrent theme of humanity’s self-forgetfulness. We find it, for example, in Plato, in the Corpus Hermeticum, in Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy, and in Gnostic texts such as the Hymn of the Pearl. This self-forgetfulness is a forgetting of our spiritual origins, and of the fact that human nature has a transcendent source. The person we ordinarily identify with is not the totality of who we are. This totality includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, and yet is nevertheless the foundation of our being, and our relationship to it is the secret of true happiness.

The wisdom traditions of both West and East have perennially sought to inculcate awareness of this spiritual kernel, in order to counteract the tendency of humans of all cultural epochs to forget and to neglect our spiritual origins. But where we today differ from cultures of the past is that not only do we suffer from the forgetfulness that is part of the human condition, but we also pay scant attention to the wisdom traditions that seek to rouse us to remembrance.

Instead, the whole thrust of contemporary culture is towards distraction, fragmentation, and dispersion of consciousness. The Digital Revolution has carried this tendency to an extreme, so much so that if we had deliberately set out to design technologies to induce the distractedness and self-forgetfulness that traditional spirituality has always endeavored to save us from, then we could hardly have done better. This in turn has led to many of us fail to notice just how corrosive these developments can be to the essential human task of remembering the totality of who we are.

But as well as inducing distractedness and self-forgetfulness, our technologies are the vehicles of something else, potentially far more detrimental to our wellbeing.

The Inhuman

Towards the end of his life, the post-modernist thinker Jean-François Lyotard formulated a question that haunts the times we live in. It lurks beneath the surface of our consciousness, for most of us unarticulated and for that reason all the more menacing. Lyotard had the sensitivity to understand its profound importance, and hence the need to raise it to conscious awareness.

The question that he formulated is this: What if what is “proper” to humankind were to be inhabited by the inhuman?

By the ‘inhuman’ we should understand that which is essentially hostile to the human. Lyotard distinguished two kinds of ‘inhuman’ – one is the inhumanity of our social, political, and economic systems. The other is the ‘infinitely secret’ inhumanity that invades the soul and holds it hostage. It is this latter kind of inhumanity that is the more insidious of the two, and it is this that, as our relationship with our digital devices becomes ever more intimate, poses the greatest danger to us. For the inhuman is carried towards us by our technologies.

While we can stand back from and critique the inhumanity of the social, political, and economic systems in which we live, our personal susceptibility to the ingress of the inhuman puts us in far greater jeopardy. This susceptibility has been exploited by the direction that our digital technologies have taken, which has been unwaveringly towards accommodating themselves within the sphere of the human. As they have evolved, they have adapted themselves to the human body as well as to the human soul, becoming physically smaller and lighter and at the same time more powerful and capable.

The first computers were so large we had to stand in front of them or walk around them in order to operate them. With the invention of desktop computers, it became possible to sit in front of them and engage with them, as it were, face to face. Then it became possible to put computers in our pocket, and now it is possible, with smartwatches and smartglasses, to wear them. At each stage, the interface between them and us has become more ‘human friendly’, while at the same time humans have inwardly adjusted to relate to them on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour, and even minute-by-minute basis.

While the computer has been molding itself to the contours of the human body and soul, the inner life of human beings has slowly but surely been molded towards a greater degree of computer compatibility – affecting our language, our thought processes, and our daily habits. In this evolving symbiosis, in which we have become ever more intertwined with the computer, we have also become more dependent on it. Biological integration is not far away. It is the logical next step.

It is of utmost importance, therefore, that we open our eyes to the fact that even though human beings are the inventors, manufacturers and eager consumers of digital technologies, the driving force behind the Digital Revolution is not simply human: the ‘inhuman’ is also seeking to be realized within the human.

How are we to characterize this specter of the inhuman? Human beings have always had the tendency to fall away from their essential nature. For pre-industrial humanity, the danger was conceived in terms of our descending to the animal or bestial level, captives of our untransformed instinctual drives and passions. That, we could say, is to fall beneath the human level: to fall into the sub-human. In our industrial and post-industrial age, the primary danger to our humanity lies less in succumbing to instincts and passions than in succumbing to the cold inhumanity of the machine and the unfeeling, compassionless algorithm. That is to fall into the inhuman.

Both tendencies live within us, and both works to undermine the possibility of realizing our true human potential, but today it is the peril of the inhuman that we must especially guard against. Its aim is to totally supplant the human, and it will surely succeed, should we fail to ground ourselves in the authentically human. We must wake up to the prospect of the colonization of the human by the inhuman and, in full awareness of the gravity of the threat posed by the inhuman, consciously take on the challenge of living humanly.

To Live Humanly

What does it mean to live humanly? If the totality of who we are includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, then it follows that to live humanly must be to live in greater consciousness of it. It is incumbent on us to strengthen our sense that this spiritual kernel is our deepest and truest self, and therefore the part of us with which we should seek to identify. This requires that we engage in the arduous work of inner transformation, so that those desires, inclinations, and deep-seated habits of thought, which draw us away from that essential remembrance, are slowly changed, and become inwardly aligned with what the wisdom traditions tell us is the true center of our being.

This moral effort of turning towards, and rooting ourselves in, the spiritual kernel of who we are also involving a shift in the quality of our thinking. This shift is from reliance on result-oriented, discursive thinking that runs along from one thought to another, towards giving more value to the stillness and open receptivity of the act of contemplation. Boethius gives the beautiful image of the seekers of truth having to bend their wandering consciousness into a circle and teach their souls ‘to lodge in the treasure house’ at its center. For there they will find a light, stronger even than the light of the sun, which will illumine their minds from within.

This ‘contemplative turn’ has always been regarded as the foundation of the spiritual life, but it is of especial relevance to us today. Our technologies are based on the automation of logical analysis, calculation and problem solving, and are fundamentally discursive and result-oriented: they are hyperactive and aim always to output results. By contrast, the act of contemplation brings the mind to a standstill: it is not result-oriented, it cannot be automated, and it can only be engaged for its own sake. It enables us to gain insights into the deeper meaning of things, about which machine thinking knows nothing. These insights can well up from the imaginal world as powerful archetypal images, for contemplative thinking borders on imaginative vision. Equally, they can take the form of ideas or intuitions that, like rays of light, illumine a question or life situation from a more comprehensive standpoint.

Contemplation is often described as involving the opening of an inner eye of the soul. It is referred to as ‘the mind’s eye’ or ‘the eye of the heart’, and through it, we become aware of what is invisible to the physical eye. This more interior source of knowledge, which is unconditioned by habits of thought and opinion, could also be described as entailing an opening of the ‘inner ear’ of the soul to the voice of conscience. It can guide us towards a sense of moral certainty about what it is we should or should not do, and to the ideals that can inspire our actions.

Aristotle maintained that an action is only fully our own when we have ‘carried back the origin of the action’ to this contemplative part of ourselves, referred to as the nous, or ‘the center of spiritual intelligence’ within a person. Once it has been carried back to this source, then the action is entirely free because it has been chosen from the center, rather than from the periphery, of ourselves.

In the Western wisdom tradition, the defining characteristic of any action that is truly human is that it is free, precisely because it stems from this originating source. In AristotleThomas Aquinas, and Rudolf Steiner, we find this vital tenet reiterated: that we cannot adequately conceive of what it means to live humanly if we exclude freedom. Freedom belongs to the essence of human nature. That is not to say we necessarily live from the essence of ourselves every moment of the day. Far from it! But the trouble is that our digital technologies, because of their tendency to scatter the soul, don’t help us to do this. Rather they introduce a dark undertow with which we must constantly contend if we are to carry back the origin of our actions to the center of ourselves.

This movement back to the center is the premise of true freedom. It is not given to us on a plate: it has to be won. To become free, we must engage in the work of inner transformation previously referred to, which involves permeating the everyday self and its fantasies, obsessions, and desires with the clearly conceived aims that spring from the inmost source of who we are. In Christian mysticism, this inner work is called theosis, or ‘making divine’. Another word used to describe it was coined by the Italian poet Dante, who called this inner work ‘to transhumanise’ (trasumanare). The verb ‘to transhumanise’ well expresses the fact that our core human striving must be to overcome ourselves so that we go beyond the ‘merely human’ life lived at the periphery of who we are. It is a sign of our times that today ‘Transhumanism’ is a materialistic ideology that seeks to technologically ‘enhance’ the human being. Contemporary Transhumanists fail to grasp that to go beyond the merely human can only be achieved by grounding ourselves in the transcendent, and this requires dedicated soul-work, sustained by the spiritual discipline of coming back to the still point at the center of the circle.

As one of the most influential ideologies steering the Digital Revolution, the contemporary Transhumanist movement shows us the price that the Digital Revolution threatens to exact from us. The price is that we lose our ability to know the meaning and purpose of the spiritual life, we lose even our ability to understand the language that the wisdom traditions use. And ultimately we lose our humanity as overcome by the collective amnesia regarding what it means to realize our deeper human potential, we succumb to the inhuman.

The Interiority of Nature

From nature, too, a price is exacted by the Digital Revolution, which has swamped the natural environment with a complex mix of artificially generated electromagnetic fields. As a result, not just human beings but all living organisms are exposed to levels of electromagnetic radiation far in excess of natural background levels. It would be unwise to assume that this does not have any adverse effect on the wellbeing of living organisms and the ecosystems to which they belong. A growing number of studies show that many organisms are highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields and that increasing their exposure to them can indeed have demonstrable negative effects. It seems appropriate, at the very least, to extend the remit of the question originally posed by Lyotard to nature and ask:

“What if what is ‘proper’ to nature were to be inhabited by that which is hostile to nature? What if the living world were to be infiltrated by a force inimical to life?”

The rollout of 5G is premised on a further significant increase in the overall amount of radiofrequency radiation to which the planet will be subjected. 5G will help to establish a global ‘electronic ecosystem’ that, in addition to servicing the technological desires and aspirations of city-dwellers living in their ‘smart homes, will also enable greater monitoring and control of natural ecosystems and living creatures. It involves the insertion of the electronic ecosystem into these natural ecosystems, in order to create a ‘smart planet’.

The Western wisdom tradition has long acknowledged two aspects of nature: visible and invisible, or manifest and unmanifest. The physical forms that we perceive in the world around us arise from non-perceptible creative and formative forces, which must be taken into account if we are to grasp things in their wholeness. It is these forces that carry the energies of life, just as surely as electromagnetic radiation opposes them. One of the challenges we face today is to overcome our collective desensitization to these subtle life forces.

One step towards doing so is to free ourselves from the dominant utilitarian stance towards nature, which prioritizes data-collection and analysis and ever seeks practical results but is closed to nature’s interiority just as it is closed to the interior of our soul-life. A different kind of consciousness is needed – more receptive, open, and empathetic. Regarding this different kind of consciousness, Goethe advised:

Our full attention must be focused on the task of listening to nature, to overhear the secret of her process.

All of creation speaks of a transcendent spiritual intelligence at its source, if only we are able to hear it. The mystical path to union with God has long been understood to lead from the loving contemplation of creatures to the contemplation of this greater spiritual intelligence from which they issue, and on which they, like we, ultimately depend. For human beings to forget or neglect this relationship of nature to the divine is as serious a failure as it is for us to forget our relationship to the spiritual intelligence that dwells within us. To put it in Christian terms, the same Cosmic Logos lives at the very heart of both nature and the human soul.

Contemporary conditions make it very difficult for such perspectives to be taken with the seriousness they deserve. The incursion of the inhuman has allowed the utilitarian mind to break free of the moral and spiritual constraints that once kept it in bounds. But with the burgeoning electronics industry and the drive to forge a ‘smart planet’, a force hostile to nature insinuates itself into nature’s heart. These developments make nature vulnerable to increasing technologisation, one example of which is the fabrication of completely new synthetic organisms using computer programs. Another example is the design of remotely controlled robot bees to replace the dwindling number of living bees. Such interventions are only the beginning of a vastly ambitious project to redesign the world to satisfy the requirements of a ruthlessly technological consciousness that has lost all connection with its spiritual roots. This consciousness has no sense of the sacredness of life, nor of the spiritual responsibilities of human beings towards nature.

Foremost amongst these responsibilities is the obligation to know things in the truth of their being. Of all creatures on Earth, it is human beings alone who have the possibility of selflessly entering into the inner nature of another creature, without seeking to use or exploit it for our own ends. We alone can place ourselves imaginatively and empathetically into the being of another and, through opening the inner eye of the mind, or heart, we have the possibility of beholding the other in their truth. If we can regularly practice this, then we can help to build up a ‘spiritual ecosystem’ that can counterbalance the deathly ‘electronic ecosystem’ currently being established, for our mode of knowing can contribute something positive and life-affirming to the world. It can be a deed of illumination, which gives to nature the gift of our conscious recognition of its sacred ground.

Human beings and nature belong together. The struggle for a human future is at the same time a struggle for nature’s future. Just as we depend on nature for our survival, so too does nature depend on the quality of our knowing and relating, through which we may bring spiritual light to the world.

About the Author

Jeremy Naydler is the author of two articles on related subject matter that were recently published in New Dawn: ‘Machine Intelligence & Human Intelligence: What is the Difference?’ (New Dawn 170) & ‘5G: The Final Assault’ (New Dawn 173).

The above is slightly abridged and reprinted with permission of the publisher from the Introduction of Jeremy Naydler’s book Struggle for a Human Future: 5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2020). Available from all good bookstores and in Australia from www.rudolfsteinerbookcentre.com.au.

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 14 No 4.



Artisan Robots with AI Smarts Will Juggle Tasks, Choose Tools, Mix and Match Recipes and Even Order Materials – All Without Human Help

Failure of a machine in a factory can shut it down. Lost production can cost millions of dollars per day. Component failures can devastate factories, power plants and battlefield equipment.

To return to operation, skilled technicians use all the tools in their kit – machining, bending, welding and surface treating, making just the right part as quickly and as accurately as possible. But there’s a declining number of technicians with the right skills, and the quality of things made by hand is subject to the skills and mood of the artisan on the day the part is made.

Both problems could soon be solved by artificially intelligent robotic technicians. These systems can take measurements; shape, cut or weld parts using varied tools; pass parts to specialized equipment; and even purchase needed materials – all without human intervention. Known as hybrid autonomous manufacturing, this process involves automated systems that seamlessly use multiple tools and techniques to build high-quality components where and when they are needed.

I am a professor of metallurgical engineering. My colleagues and I design the recipes to make materials and components with just the right internal structure to create properties like strength and fracture resistance. With a network of colleagues at Ohio State and other universities, I have been developing a plan to give birth to these autonomous artisans.

How things are made

Components are either mass-produced or custom-made.

Most things people touch daily have been mass-produced. Quality is assured by using well-honed processes based on testing and monitoring large numbers of parts and assuring the process is done the same way every time.

Custom fabrication – making components on demand – is often essential, sometimes to conform to a patient’s specific anatomy or to replace aircraft landing gear that was forged and is no longer being made. Processes for making metallic parts – material removal, deposition, deformation, transformation, inspection – can all be done with small tools, with incremental actions rather than the kind of bulk processes, usually with big tools and dies, used in mass production.

Automation has long been a part of mass production, which includes sophisticated robots that handle parts and weld on automobile assembly lines. Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is increasingly being used with a variety of materials to make components.

Now in development are robotic blacksmiths – robots that can hammer metallic parts into shape instead of cutting, building up or molding them.

Robotic arms reach into the frame of a car being manufactured

Robots have been building cars for decades, but they typically carry out simple, repetitive tasks that don’t require decision-making. Lenny Kuhne/Unsplash

Automated customization – not an oxymoron

To automate custom fabrication, my colleagues and I are developing an automated suite of tools that can carry out all the steps for making a wide range of components, using multiple processes without human intervention. Sensors will also be central to hybrid autonomous manufacturing to control the processes and maintain and assure quality.

Such autonomous manufacturing systems will make the myriad decisions needed to create a component of the right strength, size and surface finish. Artificial intelligence will be required to handle the enormous number of choices of materials, machine settings and process sequences. Rather than finding a mass production recipe and never deviating, these autonomous manufacturing systems will choose from a very large set of possible recipes to create parts, and will have the intelligence to assure that the chosen path produces components with the appropriate material properties.

Robots could either position small tools on manufactured component or transfer the component from one piece of equipment to another. A fully autonomous system could manufacture a wide range of products with a versatile set of tools. The systems could source materials and possibly even send work out to specialized cutting and deformation tools, just like a human artisan.

The production rate of such systems would not rival those of mass production, but because robots can work continuously they can be more productive than human technicians are. Data from sensors provide a digital record of all the steps and processes with critical temperatures, machine settings and even images. This record can assure quality by, for example, making sure the material was deformed the right amount and cracks were not produced during the process and covered up.

Manufacturing at or near the operating room is one example of a process that can be enabled with hybrid autonomous manufacturing. Often when patients with bone fractures undergo trauma surgery, metallic plates of varied shapes are required to hold bones together for healing. These are often created in the operating room, where the surgeon bends plates to fit the patient, sometimes using a 3D-printed model created from medical images of the patient as a form to bend the metal against.

Bending by hand is slow and imprecise, and stressing the plate in the wrong place can cause it to fracture. A robotic technician could cut and bend and finish a plate before surgery. Patients do better and save money if they spend less time in the hospital.

The road to robotic artisans

Numerous companies are now showing the way forward in autonomous manufacturing, including three venture-funded startups. FormLogic is developing automated high-quality machine shops. Path Robotics is putting the skills of a welder into a robot. And Machina Labs is out to create robotic blacksmiths. Other companies are developing systems to automate design and logistics.

Hybridization – the ability to carry out different tasks in different ways with multiple tools – is the next step. The key pieces of hybrid autonomous manufacturing exist now, and fully autonomous systems could be common in a decade. Companies adopting this approach to custom fabrication will need to draw on a new generation of students with the skills to combine these technologies.

The investments proposed in the United States Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate on June 8, 2021, and those in the Biden administration’s proposed American Jobs Plan could support the development of these kinds of advanced manufacturing technologies. Funds for the development of advanced manufacturing technologies and the associated skills base could make U.S. manufacturing more competitive.

This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: , The Ohio State University

About the Author
Glenn S. Daehn has received funding from the National Science Foundation and serves on the Advisory Board of FormLogic.




Russell Brand on Vaccine Passports: Is It Really a Good Idea to Let Big Tech Dictate Everyday Freedoms?

By Children’s Health Defense Team | The Defender

No matter where you are in the world, vaccine passports are being discussed as a way to prove you’ve been vaccinated against COVID.

Big Tech companies are rushing to develop proof-of-vaccination technologies. And airlines, cruise ships, stadiums, and other businesses are considering — or already using — vaccine passports to exclude the unvaccinated.

In the video below, “Vaccine Passports: THIS Is Where it Leads,” Russell Brand questions whether it’s a good idea to let Big Tech and Big Government dictate which everyday freedoms we can enjoy.

Are we “further empowering massive centralized authorities that we have good reason to distrust?” asks Brand. “The institutions that have the power to carry this out have not behaved in a way that engenders trust, up until now.”

Brand highlights the mass surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency, an illegal program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“Often disasters and times of crises are used to leverage further power for already powerful entities,” said Brand — whether that be government agencies or corporations.

If we use fear as the reason to grant “more power to organizations and institutions that have not behaved with our best interests in mind,” said Brand, “we are facilitating a future that might be very difficult for us to participate in.”

Watch “Vaccine Passports: THIS Is Where it Leads:”