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President Obama Makes Virtual-Reality Debut in Tour of …

Posted: August 29, 2016 at 7:38 am

Virtual reality is getting the presidential treatment.

In honor of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, President Obama is set to make his virtual-reality debut in a video filmed on his family’s visit to Yosemite Valley in June.

In a partnership between National Geographic and the virtual-reality company Oculus, viewers get an up-close 3-D, 360-degree experience to bask in some of the country’s most scenic views with its most powerful occupant. The piece was directed and produced by Felix & Paul Studios, which was the creative lead behind the experience and used its own technology to shoot and edit the piece.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Obama called Yosemite “one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been.”

“I get to share that experience with you — in a 360 degree view,” he noted. “Thanks to some high-tech virtual reality cameras, you can stand amid Yosemite’s giant sequoia groves or float on Mirror Lake in a canoe. I checked this out for the first time yesterday. It was pretty surreal, like being transported back into the park.”

Obama narrates portions of the video, describing the importance of national parks to generations of Americans. He is also shown talking with a park ranger, joking with a group of children and standing on a bridge with the first daughters and the first lady.

But the Secret Service is notably absent from the videos. Thats because the agents were instructed to hide behind trees in the park, a White House official told ABC News.

The video, available to download for Oculus users, is also up for viewing in 2-D format on National Geographic’s Facebook page. Watch here on your mobile device.

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Virtual Reality – SI.com

Posted: at 7:38 am

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit franchise honors tradition of innovation by introducing a series of first-of-their-kind virtual reality experiences to go along with the print issue and digital extensions, including an all new SI Swimsuit App and fully responsive digital destination on SI.com/swimsuit. The VR content will feature behind the scenes immersive experiences at the famed SI Swimsuit shoots with some of the world’s most beautiful models at some of the most exotic locations on the planet, beginning today with former Swimsuit cover models Nina Agdal, Hannah Davis and Irina Shayk.

SI Swimsuit partnered with the award-winning VR firm Wevr to produce this exclusive content utilizing the most cutting edge VR technology on the market.

The VR content was all shot over a series of days in the Dominican Republic at the same time as photo and video shoots were taking place. The suite of content offers a mix of experiences, form one-on-one, intimate access with the models and the beautiful surroundings to transporting the viewer to actually being on set of a cover-style shoot where you can look over your shoulder and see the full crew behind you. These experiences were designed to offer something different every time and to have some fun with different types of interaction.

“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a long tradition of innovation, from the first ever Swimsuit photo shoot on Antarctica to a sub-orbital swimsuit photo shoot in zero gravity,” explained Creative Director Christoper Hercik. “This years virtual reality shoot answers the question we get every day: ‘What is it like to be on a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot?’.

“Partnering with WEVR for our first-ever VR shoot allowed us to utilize both of our collective resources, including their best in-market technology and creative network, to help direct, produce and post produce this one-of-a-kind experience. Our partnership was phenomenal from start to finish and allowed us to create the highest-quality, fully-immersive experience. We want our fans to experience swimsuit on every level.”

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Virtual Reality – SI.com

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Space travel – definition of space travel by The Free Dictionary

Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. New York (AirGuide Features – Inside Air Travel) Thu, Sep 25, 2014 – NASA isn’t the only federal player in space travel anymore. Highly recommended especially for space travel enthusiasts NEW YORK, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Distinguished members of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization, have found that advances made in wireless power, remote sensing and voice activation for space travel and exploration will play an increasingly significant role in the advancement of consumer electronics products used by the average human being here on earth. Summary: Karl Urban talks about Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine and space travel. The availability of tourist space travel came a step closer yesterday when Virgin Galactic, the space travel enterprise of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, carried out the first powered test flight of its spaceplane. GPs could be asked to give their patients’ medical advice for space flights as outer space travel opportunities become increasingly available to the general public, experts said. A resources section provides listings of space travel specialists, tour operators, and other useful information. Washington, Shawwal 30, 1432, Sep 28, 2011, SPA — Commercial aerospace firm Space X announced plans Thursday to develop the world’s first completely resuable rocket, which chief executive Elon Musk said could revolutionize space travel. He surveys scientific thought from the turn of the twentieth century, the first literary conception of generational space travel in the 1930s, and the multitude of modern science fiction literature on the subject to follow. The Virginia-based space travel firm, which is the only company to have booked and offered commercial rides to the International Space Station, will double the room in the Soyuz spacecraft for the flights. The event will include various discussion sessions, the company’s Travel Innovation Awards and a space travel event.

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Space travel – definition of space travel by The Free Dictionary

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Seasteading Institute aims to build floating city by 2020

Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm

An organization in which Paypal founder Peter Thiel is an investor is aiming to build a floating city-state by 2020. The Seasteading Institute says semi-independent floating cities would provide an opportunity to try out new modes of government and could also tackle a number of other problems.

The Seasteading Institute says the development of floating cities is the first step in fulfilling what it calls the “8 Great Moral Imperatives,” which include feeding the hungry, enriching the poor, curing the sick, cleaning the atmosphere, restoring the oceans, living in balance with nature, powering civilization sustainably and and putting an end to fighting.

The Institute believes that, in order to achieve these ambitions, humanity must harness the oceans. It cites their potential for providing space to accommodate a growing global population, for providing a source of food, and for being used to generate sustainable energy.

Not only would floating cities with some degree of independence lend themselves to these ideals, but the Seasteading Institute argues that they could create more innovative start-up governments unlike what it calls the “monopolies” of today. Now, it argues, individuals are born arbitrarily into states created by past wars and cannot change the government to which they are affiliated without leaving their home. Floating city-states, however, would allow individuals to sail their home to a new colony if they disagreed with the way a government was operating.

The Seasteading Institute argues that this would force governments to compete to attract citizens in a way that they currently do not. The city-states would be like floating jigsaws that could be shifted and reassembled at will, with popular and effective governments attracting more inhabitants. Indeed, governments could only form if people chose to attach to each other.

Since Gizmag last featured the Seasteading Institute, the group has had a feasibility report published by Dutch design firm Deltasync, crowdfunded a floating city design and explored other floating city designs. The Institute believes that there is a market for the concept, that it could be developed to a price-point suitable for the market, and that it can find a nation willing to host a residential seastead with significant autonomy.

Deltasync’s initial design took the form of modular platforms that could slot together. The platforms would either be 50 x 50 m (164 x 164 ft) reinforced concrete squares or pentagons with 50-m (164-ft) sides and could support three-story buildings. Apartments, terraced housing, office space and hotels were all factored into the design. The initial concept is based on 11 modules that together could host 225-300 full-time residents and would cost an estimated US$167 million.

The Seasteading Institute says that its work surveying potential customers is ongoing, and that it is in negotiations with coastal nations to develop the first floating city with substantial political independence.

The video below is a short talk given by Seasteading Institute spokesperson Joe Quirk and provides an overview of the concept and plans.

Source: Seasteading Institute

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Psoriasis at Patient. Symptoms and treatment for Psoriasis …

Posted: August 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common condition where there is inflammation of the skin. It typically develops as patches (plaques) of red, scaly skin. Once you develop psoriasis it tends to come and go throughout life. A flare-up can occur at any time. The frequency of flare-ups varies. There may be times when psoriasis clears for long spells. However, in some people the flare-ups occur often. Psoriasis is not due to an infection. You cannot pass it on to other people and it does not turn into cancer.

The severity of psoriasis varies greatly. In some people it is mild with a few small patches that develop and are barely noticeable. In others, there are many patches of varying size. In many people the severity is somewhere between these two extremes.

There are different types of psoriasis. However, chronic plaque psoriasis (described below) is by far the most common and typical type.

Between 8 and 9 out of 10 people with psoriasis have chronic plaque psoriasis. The rash is made up of patches (plaques) on the skin. The picture shows typical plaques of psoriasis next to some normal skin.

Each plaque usually looks pink or red with overlying flaky, silvery-white scales that feel rough. There is usually a sharp border between the edge of a plaque and normal skin.

The most common areas affected are over elbows and knees, the scalp and the lower back. Plaques may appear anywhere on the skin but they do not usually occur on the face.

The extent of the rash varies between different people and can also vary from time to time in the same person. Many people have just a few small plaques of a centimetre or so when their psoriasis flares up. Others have a more widespread rash with large plaques of several centimetres across. Sometimes, small plaques that are near to each other merge to form large plaques. Chronic plaque psoriasis can be itchy but it does not usually cause too much discomfort.

There are two variations of chronic plaque psoriasis:

This type of psoriasis usually just affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In this situation it is sometimes called palmoplantar pustulosis. Affected skin develops crops of pustules, which are small fluid-filled spots. The pustules do not contain germs (bacteria) and are not infectious. The skin under and around the pustules is usually red and tender. Pustular psoriasis which just affects the palms and soles is the second most common type of psoriasis.

Rarely, a form of pustular psoriasis can affect skin apart from the palms and soles. This more widespread form is a more serious form of psoriasis and needs urgent treatment under the care of a skin specialist (a dermatologist).

About half of people with any type of psoriasis can have fingernail psoriasis. In some people toenails are also affected. Nail psoriasis may also occur alone without the skin rash. There are pinhead-sized pits (small indentations) in the nails. Sometimes, the nail becomes loose on the the nail bed. Nails may also change colour and the area around the bed of the nail can become orange/yellow. See separate leaflet called Psoriatic Nail Disease for more details.

This typically occurs following a sore throat which is caused by a germ (bacterium). Round/oval plaques of psoriasis are small (less than 1 cm – drop size) but occur over many areas of the body. Guttate psoriasis normally lasts a few weeks and then fades away. However, it may last for three to four months in some people. In many people, once it goes it never returns.

This type of psoriasis causes a widespread redness (erythema) of much of the skin surface, which is painful. Individual plaques of psoriasis cannot be seen because they have merged together. There is still redness and scaling of the skin and the skin feels warm to touch. A person with erythrodermic psoriasis may also have a high temperature (fever). This type of psoriasis is rare but it is serious and needs urgent treatment and admission to hospital. This is because it can interfere with the body’s ability to control temperature and it can cause excessive protein and fluid loss, leading to lack of fluid in the body (dehydration), heart failure and severe illness.

Role of accupuncture in psoriatic arthritis

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Itchy hands , feet and more

About 1 in 50 people develop psoriasis at some stage of their life. Psoriasis is more common in white people. It can first develop at any age but it most commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30 years.

Someone with psoriasis may have other family members with the same problem. Also, one large study found that smokers (and ex-smokers for up to 20 years after giving up) have an increased risk of developing psoriasis compared with non-smokers. One theory for this is that poisons (toxins) in cigarette smoke may affect parts of the immune system involved with psoriasis.

Normal skin is made up of layers of skin cells. The top layer of cells (horny layer of the epidermis) is flattened and gradually sheds (they fall off). New cells are constantly being made underneath (in the basal layer of the epidermis) to replace the shed top layer. Cells gradually move from the basal layer to the top horny layer. It normally takes about 28 days for a cell in the basal layer to reach the top layer of skin and to be shed. The diagram shows a cross-section of normal skin.

People with psoriasis have a faster turnover of skin cells. It is not clear why this occurs. More skin cells are made which leads to a build-up of cells on the top layer. These form the flaky patches (plaques) on the skin, or severe dandruff of the scalp seen in scalp psoriasis.

There are also some changes in the blood vessels that supply the skin in people with psoriasis. Small blood vessels can widen (dilate) and increase in number. This is why the skin underneath a patch of psoriasis is usually red. Cells involved in inflammation also increase in number in the skin of people with psoriasis.

The cause of the increased cell turnover and skin inflammation of psoriasis is not known. Inherited (genetic) factors seem to play a part, as about 3 in 10 people with psoriasis have a close relative also affected. It may be that some factor in the environment (perhaps a virus) may trigger the condition to start in someone who is genetically prone to develop it. Another theory is that the immune system may be overreacting in some way to cause the inflammation. Research continues to try to find the exact cause.

In most people who have psoriasis, there is no apparent reason why a flare-up develops at any given time. However, in some people, psoriasis is more likely to flare up in certain situations. These include the following:

People with psoriasis are more likely to have or develop some other problems. However, just because you have psoriasis does not mean that you will definitely develop these. The problems include the following:

Some people with psoriasis may feel embarrassed about their skin problem and develop a negative body image. They may avoid certain activities such as swimming because of fear of uncovering their skin and of other people seeing it. Personal relationships may be affected. Some people with psoriasis develop anxiety and depression.

Psoriasis is usually diagnosed by the typical appearance of the rash. No tests are usually needed. Occasionally, a small sample (biopsy) of skin is taken to be looked at under the microscope if there is doubt about the diagnosis.

There is no once-and-for-all cure for psoriasis. Treatment aims to clear the rash as much as possible. However, as psoriasis tends to flare up from time to time, you may need courses of treatment on and off throughout your life. There are various treatments options. There is no ‘best buy’ that suits everybody. The treatment advised by your doctor may depend on the severity, site and type of psoriasis. Also, one treatment may work well in one person but not in another. It is not unusual to try a different treatment if the first one does not work so well.

Many of the treatments are creams or ointments. As a rule, you have to apply creams or ointments correctly for best results. It usually takes several weeks of treatment to clear plaques of psoriasis. Make sure you know exactly how to use whatever treatment is prescribed. For example, some preparations should not be used on the skin creases (flexures), on the face or on broken skin, and some should not be used if you are pregnant. Do ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are unsure as to how to use your treatment, or for how long you should use it.

The following is a brief overview of the more commonly used treatments for chronic plaque psoriasis. Unless psoriasis is very severe, treatment tends to start with topical treatments. This means treatments that can be applied directly to the skin, such as creams or ointments. If these treatments are not successful, you will usually be referred to a skin specialist for advice about other treatments such as medicines and light treatments.

If you have psoriasis, you may also get some benefit from quitting smoking and also limiting your alcohol intake. See separate leaflets called Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Recommended Safe Limits of Alcohol for details. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may also be helpful. This is because, as explained above, people with psoriasis may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to prevent these conditions.

Note: treatments of the less common forms of psoriasis are similar but are not dealt with here. Your doctor will advise.

Many people have a few patches (plaques) of psoriasis that are not too bad or not in a noticeable place. In this situation, some people do not want any treatment. If you opt for no treatment, you can always change your mind at a later time if the psoriasis changes or worsens.

These help to soften hard skin and plaques. They may reduce scaling and itch. There are many different brands of moisturising creams and ointments. A moisturiser may be all that you need for mild psoriasis. You should also use one in addition to any other treatment, as often as needed, to keep your skin supple and moist. They can also help to prevent itching, reduce cracking of the skin and can help to remove scales. Using a moisturiser may also mean that other treatments can be more effective. However, apply the emollient first and allow plenty of time for it to be absorbed into your skin before applying any other treatment.

Moisturisers can also be used in place of soap. Be careful when using an emollient in the bath or the shower as they can make the surface slippery.

Calcipotriol, calcitriol and tacalcitol are commonly used and often work well. They seem to work by slowing the rate at which skin cells divide. They are creams, ointments or lotions that are easy to use, are less messy and have less of a smell than coal tar or dithranol creams and ointments (below). However, they can cause skin irritation in some people. There is also a scalp preparation of calcipotriol that can be used to treat scalp psoriasis.

A vitamin D-based treatment is sometimes used in combination with other treatments for psoriasis if either treatment is not sufficient. For example, an ointment that contains calcipotriol and a steroid is sometimes used.

If you are trying for a baby, are pregnant or are breast-feeding, vitamin D-based treatments are only prescribed if the benefits outweigh the risks. You should discuss with your doctor whether you should use vitamin D-based treatment if you are trying for a baby, are pregnant, or are breast-feeding.

Calcipotriol may cause skin irritation which can lead to redness, soreness or itch in around 1 in 5 users. Any skin irritation that does develop usually settles but sometimes a break in treatment is needed. Occasionally, treatment needs to be stopped because of skin irritation. Because of the risk of skin irritation, you should not use calcipotriol on your face and flexures such as the front of elbows, behind knees, armpits, groins, etc.

Generally, calcipotriol is thought to be safe, provided that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions include that you should not exceed the maximum dose. This is:

Note: if you are using calcipotriol as a cream or ointment for your body and you are using a scalp lotion that contains calcipotriol, you need to consider both of these. In this situation, the maximum amount of each is less than stated above. You should follow the instructions given by your doctor.

If you are also using an emollient for your skin, you should make sure that you use this first. Then, wait for 30 minutes before you apply calcipotriol or one of the other vitamin D analogues.

You should wash your hands after applying calcipotriol. This prevents you from inadvertently transferring the cream or ointment to other areas of your body.

Calcitriol and tacalcitol ointments contain different vitamin D analogues to calcipotriol. An advantage of calcitriol and tacalcitol is that they are less irritating than calcipotriol. Therefore, one or other may be suitable for use on the face and flexures if advised by your doctor. You should not use more than 30 g of calcitriol ointment per day and it should not be applied to more than a third of your body surface each day. You should not use more than 10 g of tacalcitol ointment per day.

Topical steroids are other commonly used treatments. They work by reducing inflammation. They are easy to use and may be a good treatment for difficult areas such as the scalp and face. However, one problem with steroids is that in some cases, once you stop using the cream or ointment, the psoriasis may rebound back worse than it was in the first place. Also, side-effects may occur with long-term use, especially with the stronger (more potent) preparations.

Therefore, if a steroid is used, a doctor may prescribe it for a limited period only (a few weeks or so, and less for a strong steroid), or on an intermittent basis. As a rule, a steroid cream or ointment should not be used regularly for more than four weeks without a review by a doctor. Steroid lotions are useful for flare-ups of scalp psoriasis. Only milder steroid creams or ointments should be used on your face or for psoriasis affecting flexures.

These have been used to treat psoriasis for many years. It is not clear how they work. They may reduce the turnover of the skin cells. They also seem to reduce inflammation and have anti-scaling properties. Traditional tar preparations are messy to use but modern formulas are more pleasant. Creams, ointments, lotions, pastes, scalp treatments, bath additives and shampoos that contain coal tar are available to treat psoriasis.

As a rule, do not use coal tar creams or other coal tar treatments on flexures such as the front of elbows, behind knees, groins, armpits, etc. Also, avoid using them on your face, as you need to be careful not to get them into your eyes. However, some of the milder creams can be used on your face and flexures – your doctor will advise. Your doctor will also advise you on whether it is safe for you to use coal tar treatments on your genital areas.

Coal tar preparations can have an unpleasant smell and can stain clothes. They may cause skin irritation in some people and skin can become sensitive to sunlight whilst using them. Coal tar preparations should not be used during the first three months of pregnancy. However, they can be used later in the pregnancy and during breast-feeding.

Dithranol has been used for many years for psoriasis. In most cases a daily application of dithranol to a psoriasis plaque will eventually cause the plaque to go. However, dithranol irritates healthy skin. Therefore, you need to apply it carefully to the psoriasis plaques only. To reduce the chance of skin irritation, it is usual to start with a low strength and move on to stronger ones gradually over a few weeks.

Short-contact dithranol therapy is popular. This involves putting a high-strength dithranol preparation on the plaques of psoriasis for 5-60 minutes each day and then washing it off. Dithranol may stain skin, hair, clothes, bedding, baths, etc. You should not use dithranol on your face unless suggested by a skin specialist.

When using dithranol, you should follow the instructions given by your doctor carefully, and those that come with the packet of the preparation that you are prescribed. Also, persevere with the treatment, as success often takes several weeks. The instructions may include the following:

Salicylic acid is often combined with other treatments such as coal tar or steroid creams. It tends to loosen and lift the scales of psoriasis on the body or the scalp. Other treatments tend to work better if the scale is lifted off first by salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be used as a long-term treatment. However, it can cause skin irritation in some people. You should not use this treatment if you are allergic to aspirin.

Tazarotene is another cream that is sometimes used. It is a vitamin A-based preparation. Irritation of the normal surrounding skin is a common side-effect. This can be minimised by applying tazarotene sparingly to the plaques and avoiding normal skin. Tazarotene treatment must not be used if you are pregnant, because of potential risks of harm to the developing baby. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.

A coal tar-based shampoo is often tried first and often works well. Some preparations combine a tar shampoo with either a salicylic acid preparation, a coconut oil/salicylic acid combination ointment, a steroid preparation, calcipotriol scalp application, or more than one of these.

If you have scalp psoriasis, you may also find it helpful to wear lighter-coloured clothes so that scales falling from your scalp may be seen less easily. You may also wish to talk to your hairdresser about changing your hairstyle to cover up the psoriasis as much as possible. Be careful to brush your hair gently. Scalp treatments can also stain your pillow/pillowcase. So you may wish to cover your pillow with an old pillowcase.

Some preparations use a combination of ingredients. For example, calcipotriol combined with a steroid may be used when calcipotriol alone has not worked very well. As mentioned, it is not usually wise to use a steroid long-term. Therefore, one treatment strategy that is sometimes used is calcipotriol combined with a steroid for four weeks, alternating with calcipotriol alone for four weeks.

Other combinations such as a coal tar preparation and a steroid are sometimes used. Using both a vitamin D preparation and a steroid preparation at the same time can also be more effective than using either one by itself in some people. Other rotating treatment strategies are sometimes used. For example, a steroid for a few weeks followed by a course of dithranol treatment.

Scalp treatments often contain a combination of ingredients such as a steroid, coal tar, and salicylic acid.

If you have severe psoriasis then you may need hospital-based treatment. Light therapy (phototherapy) is one type of treatment that can be used. This may involve treatment with ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Another type of phototherapy is called PUVA – psoralen and ultraviolet light in the A band. This involves taking tablets (psoralen) which enhance the effects of UV light on the skin. You then attend hospital for regular sessions under a special light which emits ultraviolet A (UVA).

Sometimes people with severe psoriasis are given intense courses of treatment, using the creams or ointments described above, but in stronger strengths and with special dressings.

If psoriasis is severe and is not helped by the treatments listed above then a powerful medicine which can suppress inflammation is sometimes used. For example, methotrexate, ciclosporin, acitretin, etanercept, infliximab, efalizumab, ustekinumab and adalimumab. There is some risk of serious side-effects with these medicines, so they are only used on the advice of a specialist.

Psoriasis affects different people in different ways. In general, plaque psoriasis is a persistent (chronic) condition with flare-ups that come and go. However, some studies have shown that, over time, plaque psoriasis may go away completely at some point in around 1 in 3 people. Some people have a number of years where they are free from psoriasis and then it may flare up again.

As mentioned above, the less common guttate psoriasis usually goes away completely after a few months. But, if you have an episode of guttate psoriasis, you have a higher than usual chance of developing chronic plaque psoriasis at a later time.

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Psoriasis at Patient. Symptoms and treatment for Psoriasis …

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Ayn Rand – Uncyclopedia – Wikia

Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:56 am

Ayn Rand: with her bug-eyed stare and her extremely sharp shoulder pads, many proclaimed her to be the perfect woman.

Ayn Rand (born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbum, February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-born (or “preemie”) philosopher and individualist, concoction of the RAND Corporation, and founder of the school of objectivism. Objectivism is a populist political philosophy in the American classical liberal tradition.

Ayn Rand herself is a controversial figure, being the only known example in history of someone who was completely self-made, assembling her own atoms from the void.

She didn’t need anybody at all.


For anything.

She rarely even needed herself.

And the feeling was mutual.

Children: According to reports, Ayn Rand used to be a child at one point.

Ayn Rand gave birth to herself in Czarian Russia, just to show that she was tough enough. Born at the age of zero, Ayn immediately claimed to be 3. She set about teaching herself Russian– considered a difficult task at any age. At first, Ayn subsisted on milk stolen from local cattle before moving on to directly killing them. The local farmers referred to her as “” the “cattle hacker.” Or something (Russian is hard!).

Ayn was known for her ability to make her own clothes from raw materials – not that she needed clothes. At the age of 2, she was able to not only make the blanket she was coddled in, but to coddle herself: the beginning of a destructive life-long habit. Living far away from civilization, Ayn began her tutelage under Ayn Rand, the Russian-born philosopher and individualist, founder of the school of Objectivism.

Ayn’s solitary life came to an end when she was asked by the new communist government to share her individuality with the state. The proletariat chafed, claiming their union with Rand would make them Aynus. Rand didn’t like this much either. By “this” I mean sharing. Not authoritarian Marxist-Leninist style socialism – only sharing. Just the concept of sharing.

Sharing is something learned by the time a normal child enters kindergarten.

Ayn was granted a visa in 1925 and a mastercard in 1927. She visited her relatives in Chicago and never returned to Russia. The “flying contraption” she created over that weekend out of sticks, held together by borscht, to fly the 10,000+ miles was the prototype used for our stealth bombers today.

Rand decided to enter the world of writing in her early 20’s without ever having actually talked to a human being. Her early fiction, especially her first novel, “We the Drivelling” was was an autobiographical account of her Benzedrine addiction. As with most of her early works, it used ideas stolen from Nietzsche and later appropriated by the Nazis.

Ayn’s early writings made basic assumptions about humanity, such as their existence and weakness for cheese. She only needed to study humans for a few seconds before she began thinking of herself as better than them. This is when her fiction began to take on a life of its own, and her life a fiction of its own.

Rand, who wasn’t hip to democracy’s jive, was unwillingly pulled into it. In the 1940s, after allowing a man (yes, another human being) to marry her, she wrote her first real novel, “The Fountainhead,” a story about a guy who kills people because they aren’t as cool as him. The novel also features clues to the whereabouts of Rand’s own murder victims. Senator Joseph McCarthy said of the novel: “Rand gives good fountainhead.”

Rand, who still survived off the land during this time – a handful of dirt she dubbed “aynland” – started the philosophical movement called “Objectivism”: So called because it is highly objectionable… not like those OTHER philosophies. Rand thought about calling her philosophy “Existentialism” but that name was already being used by the Cartesian Dualists. Ayn Rand herself thought of Objectivism as the responsible son in a family of “total retards. Just… just total retards.”

Ayn did not like retards.

Rand’s fictional Superman John Galt, poster-boy for the mentally unstable.

Rand’s Objectivist utopia, exemplified in her best known novel, Atlas Shrugged, revolves around “John Galt,” a middle manager who rose through the ranks at a local television station without any help from anyone, ever, at all. The novel was written before television became irrelevant, and modern Objectivists usually replace “television station” with the more contemporary “dial-up modem”

Galt and the others at the station are being taxed for creating programming which is simply too good, such as “Doogie Howser, M.D.” “Charles in Charge,” and “My Mother the Car”.

The nightmarish dystopian vision of a government which provides a social safety net for the poor and sick and a stable living for all its people is the central focus in the book. John Galt continues being rank until he becomes rich, at which point he blows up some houses.

The book is interspersed with long-winded diatribes, popular with jackasses. Ayn loved jackasses.

Despite being a piece of crap – or perhaps for this reason – Atlas Shrugged became an international bestseller. In an interview with Mike Wallace, Rand declared herself “the most thinker alive”. After completing the novel, Mike Wallace fell into a severe depression.

Ayn Rand believed people who enjoyed sharing would also enjoy complete slavery. In Atlas Shrugged, the punishment for sharing was instant and complete slavery. According to Rand, because sharing actually lessens the amount of a goods available to you, it is bad. Sharing means less good. It bad. Bad, sharing! Bad. She is the origin of the term “random”.

According to Rand, poverty is Society’s punishment for being poor.

When Ayn first came to America, her first sight was of the New York skyline: a testimony to the phallusy of the American Wet Dream. At the time of construction, it was possible to send one’s children through college by being a construction worker; whereas nowadays it’s more likely for college students to end up buried in construction sites.

Rand’s “family” traditionally worshiped the Peloponnesian god of luaus, Big Papa Ono. Leaving behind the idea of constant flower necklaces and suckling pigs, Rand denied the existence of God her entire life. In the spirit of fair play, God denied the existence of Ayn Rand. Although every single member of Congress who purports to be an Objectivist identifies as a Christian; nobody cares.

Her descendant, Yoeman Janice Rand, despised The Federation.


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Manifesto of Futurism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: at 5:41 am

The Manifesto of Futurism, Italian: Manifesto del Futurismo, written by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, initiated an artistic philosophy, Futurism, that was a rejection of the past, and a celebration of speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry; it also advocated the modernization and cultural rejuvenation of Italy.

Marinetti wrote the manifesto in the autumn of 1908 and it first appeared as a preface to a volume of his poems, published in Milan in January 1909.[1] It was published in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dell’Emilia in Bologna on 5 February 1909,[citation needed] then in French as Manifeste du futurisme (Manifesto of Futurism) in the newspaper Le Figaro on 20 February 1909.[2][3]

The limits of Italian literature at the end of the “Ottocento” (19th century), its lack of strong contents, its quiet and passive laissez faire, are fought by futurists (see art. 1, 2, 3), and their reaction includes the use of excesses intended to prove the existence of a dynamic surviving Italian intellectual class.

In this period, in which industry is of growing importance in all Europe, futurists need to confirm that Italy is present, has an industry, has the power to take part in the new experience, and will find the superior essence of progress in its major symbols: the car and its speed (see art. 4). (Nationalism is never openly declared, but is evident).

Futurists insist that literature will not be overtaken by progress; rather, it will absorb progress in its evolution, and will demonstrate that such progress must manifest in this manner because Man will use this progress to sincerely let his instinctive nature explode. Man is reacting against the potentially overwhelming strength of progress, and shouts out his centrality. Man will use speed, not the opposite (see art. 5 and 6).

Poetry will help Man to consent his soul be part of all that (see art. 6 and 7), indicating a new concept of beauty that will refer to the human instinct of aggression.

The sense of history cannot be neglected: this is a special moment, many things are going to change into new forms and new contents, but Man will be able to pass through these variations, (see art. 8) bringing with himself what comes from the beginning of civilization.

In article 9, war is defined as a necessity for the health of human spirit, a purification that allows and benefits idealism. Their explicit glorification of war and its “hygienic” properties influenced the ideology of fascism. The Futurist Party, for example, became part of the Combatto Fascisti before the latter’s assuming power. F. T. Marinetti was very active in Fascist politics until he withdrew in protest of the “Roman Grandeur” which had come to dominate Fascist aesthetics.

Article 10 states: “We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.”

This manifesto was published well before the occurrence of any of the 20th-century events which are commonly suggested as a potential meaning of this text. Many of them could not even be imagined yet. For example, the Russian Revolutions of 1917 were the first of the sort “described” by article 11, yet the first of those occurred eight years after the Manifesto’s publication.

The effect of the manifesto is even more evident in the Italian version. Not one of the words used is casual; if not the precise form, at least the roots of these words recall those more frequently used during the Middle Ages, particularly during the Rinascimento.

The founding manifesto did not contain a positive artistic programme, which the Futurists attempted to create in their subsequent Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting (1914).[4] This committed them to a “universal dynamism”, which was to be directly represented in painting. Objects in reality were not separate from one another or from their surroundings: “The sixteen people around you in a rolling motor bus are in turn and at the same time one, ten four three; they are motionless and they change places… The motor bus rushes into the houses which it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the motor bus and are blended with it.”[5]

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A Brief History of Space Exploration | The Aerospace …

Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:17 am

Into Orbit

Humans have dreamed about spaceflight since antiquity. The Chinese used rockets for ceremonial and military purposes centuries ago, but only in the latter half of the 20th century were rockets developed that were powerful enough to overcome the force of gravity to reach orbital velocities that could open space to human exploration.

As often happens in science, the earliest practical work on rocket engines designed for spaceflight occurred simultaneously during the early 20th century in three countries by three key scientists: in Russia, by Konstantin Tsiolkovski; in the United States, by Robert Goddard; and in Germany, by Hermann Oberth.

In the 1930s and 1940s Nazi Germany saw the possibilities of using long-distance rockets as weapons. Late in World War II, London was attacked by 200-mile-range V-2 missiles, which arched 60 miles high over the English Channel at more than 3,500 miles per hour.

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union created their own missile programs. On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space. Four years later on April 12, 1961, Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1. His flight lasted 108 minutes, and Gagarin reached an altitude of 327 kilometers (about 202 miles).

The first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, went into orbit on January 31, 1958. In 1961 Alan Shepard became the first American to fly into space. On February 20, 1962, John Glenns historic flight made him the first American to orbit Earth.

Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth within a decade was a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. On July 20, 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a giant step for mankind as he stepped onto the moon. Six Apollo missions were made to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972.

During the 1960s unmanned spacecraft photographed and probed the moon before astronauts ever landed. By the early 1970s orbiting communications and navigation satellites were in everyday use, and the Mariner spacecraft was orbiting and mapping the surface of Mars. By the end of the decade, the Voyager spacecraft had sent back detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn, their rings, and their moons.

Skylab, Americas first space station, was a human-spaceflight highlight of the 1970s, as was the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, the worlds first internationally crewed (American and Russian) space mission.

In the 1980s satellite communications expanded to carry television programs, and people were able to pick up the satellite signals on their home dish antennas. Satellites discovered an ozone hole over Antarctica, pinpointed forest fires, and gave us photographs of the nuclear power-plant disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. Astronomical satellites found new stars and gave us a new view of the center of our galaxy.

Space Shuttle

In April 1981 the launch of the space shuttle Columbia ushered in a period of reliance on the reusable shuttle for most civilian and military space missions. Twenty-four successful shuttle launches fulfilled many scientific and military requirements until January 1986, when the shuttle Challenger exploded after launch, killing its crew of seven.

The Challenger tragedy led to a reevaluation of Americas space program. The new goal was to make certain a suitable launch system was available when satellites were scheduled to fly. Today this is accomplished by having more than one launch method and launch facility available and by designing satellite systems to be compatible with more than one launch system.

The Gulf War proved the value of satellites in modern conflicts. During this war allied forces were able to use their control of the high ground of space to achieve a decisive advantage. Satellites were used to provide information on enemy troop formations and movements, early warning of enemy missile attacks, and precise navigation in the featureless desert terrain. The advantages of satellites allowed the coalition forces to quickly bring the war to a conclusion, saving many lives.

Space systems will continue to become more and more integral to homeland defense, weather surveillance, communication, navigation, imaging, and remote sensing for chemicals, fires and other disasters.

International Space Station

The International Space Station is a research laboratory in low Earth orbit. With many different partners contributing to its design and construction, this high-flying laboratory has become a symbol of cooperation in space exploration, with former competitors now working together.

And while the space shuttle will likely continue to carry out important space missions, particularly supporting the International Space Station, the Columbia disaster in 2003 signaled the need to step up the development of its replacement. Future space launch systems will be designed to reduce costs and improve dependability, safety, and reliability. In the meantime most U.S. military and scientific satellites will be launched into orbit by a family of expendable launch vehicles designed for a variety of missions. Other nations have their own launch systems, and there is strong competition in the commercial launch market to develop the next generation of launch systems

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Apps/Evolution – GNOME Wiki!

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 6:25 am

Evolution is a personal information management application that provides integrated mail, calendaring and address book functionality.

First consult the Evolution Manual.

The evolution-list mailing list is the best place to seek further assistance with using Evolution, for example when you have problems. Subscribe here!

The evolution-hackers mailing list is for developer discussions. The topics can get pretty technical. Subscribe here!

Many Evolution developers and users can also be found on IRC (irc.gimp.org), channel #evolution.

The Evolution project releases its source code as tarball files, from which Free Software distributors can create easily-installable binary packages for users.

Most likely your Free Software distribution (Fedora, Mint, Ubuntu, etc.) already provides binary packages for Evolution. The following links are only for the source code.

The latest stable releases are the 3.20 series. Tarballs can be found for these various components (see also the “.news” files accompanying them for a list of changes):

The latest development snapshot tarballs (3.21 series, what will become 3.22) can be found below (after the first 3.21 release):

Or you can clone the source code repositories with git:

gitclonegit://git.gnome.org/evolution (Browse)

gitclonegit://git.gnome.org/evolution-data-server (Browse)

gitclonegit://git.gnome.org/evolution-ews (optional) (Browse)

gitclonegit://git.gnome.org/evolution-mapi (deprecated) (Browse)

You can also view the schedule of upcoming releases.

The following materials have aged. Some parts are no longer accurate and need a rewrite.

IRC nick names in brackets.


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Neurohacking – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: July 3, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Neurohacking is the colloquial term for (usually personal or ‘DIY’) neuroengineering. It is a form of biohacking (qv) focusing on the brain and CNS. Strictly speaking it is any method of manipulating or interfering with the structure and/or function of neurons for improvement or repair.

The main goal of neurohacking is optimal mental health. Other goals include damage repair, simulated reality, prevention of disease and augmentation of abilities or of intelligence overall. It utilises information and technology mainly from the fields of epigenetics, bio/neurofeedback, psychopharmacology, biological psychology and functional analysis, but many practitioners also employ physical exercise, nutritional guidelines, vitamins & supplements, meditation and/or self-hypnosis. Some avoid all neuroactive substances including caffeine, alcohol, food additives and fast-release sugars. Current research focus on the nature and development of intelligence and how to increase or improve it. The works of Dr. Herman Epstein, Joseph LeDoux, Alex Ramonsky, Frederick Starr and David Barker are influential. The ethical basis of Neurohacking for health is that it should be practiced strictly with informed consent.

There are numerous examples of the use of neural implants for therapy, however the only experiments involving hacking into the nervous system for enhancement appear to be those conducted by Kevin Warwick. In a series of experiments at the University of Reading, Warwick became the first human recipient of a BrainGate electrode array implant on 14 March 2002, into the median nerve of his left arm. With this in place he was able to control a robot arm to copy his own hand movements.[1] Warwick’s nervous system was also connected with the internet in Columbia University, New York to enable him to control the robot arm in the University of Reading, also receiving feedback from sensors in the finger tips. A simpler array was implanted into the arm of Warwick’s wife. With this in place they were able to achieve the first direct electronic communication between the nervous systems of two humans.[2]

The term neurohacking is also used for a method of attempting to retrieve information from the brain (such as passwords, locations, etc..) without consent; presently no technology exists for such a tactic. The concept has been used much in science fiction (e.g. the film “The Matrix”). In data retrieval, some sort of braincomputer interface (BCI) is typically used, where the brains neuron synapses are somehow captured or recorded to be processed for information. Promoters of this concept generally refer to the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or MEG (magnetoencephalography) to support the plausibility of this concept. Although some sort of neuroimaging could someday be used, the accuracy of any present day method is not nearly close enough. For instance, it is assumed that neurohacking requires detection of the state of individual neurons (approximately 1 micrometer diameter) while the resolution of the MEG is several thousand neurons and other imaging systems may be even larger. It is estimated that usable neurohacking of this type is still many decades away.

Caffeine, alcohol, over the counter medicine, and other drugs are all forms of neurohacking. Every one of these substances alters or “tricks” the brain into desirable conditions. When ingesting caffeine, the brain is fooled into thinking the body has energy and keeps the consumer awake. The brain’s neurons naturally produce adenosine as a byproduct which is monitored by the nervous system. Once the level of adenosine is at a certain point, the body will feel tired. Caffeine acts as fake adenosine and binds to the body’s receptors. However, instead of disappearing, it blocks the adenosine receptors so the brain’s stimulants, dopamine and glutamate, can work more freely. Since neurohacking is the interference with the structure and function of neurons, caffeine consumption is in fact a neurohack. Similarly, other substances that affect the brain and functions of neurons are also neurohacks. Alcohol is the most interesting form of neurohacking because it affects multiple neurotransmitters instead of just one. This is because alcohol is a fat soluble molecule. Since lipids are a major component of cell membranes, alcohol is able to enter the membranes of neurons and change their properties. Specifically, alcohol inhibits the glutamate receptor function, enhances GABA receptor function, as well as raises dopamine and endorphin levels. This causes all sorts of reactions, including liveliness and excitement. Alcohol also causes one to lose their anxieties, because of the effect of alcohol on GABA receptors. After alcohol affects the system, it causes the body to go through what is called neurotransmitter rebound. This is because when alcohol takes effect, it overuses the GABA system so when it wears off, the GABA system makes the body feel restless.

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