Tag Archives: illustration

Rockwell's "Golden Rule" – Norman Rockwell Museum

Posted: June 12, 2016 at 12:44 am

Golden Rule, 1961. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

This week the United Nations rededicated a large mosaic of Norman Rockwells iconic 1961 illustration, Golden Rule, which hangs in their New York City Headquarters.The workoriginally presented to the UN in 1985 as a gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reaganwas restored by Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which over the years has repaired numerous objects from Norman Rockwell Museums collection as well (including Rockwells 1953 United Nationsdrawing, which was the artists earliest conceptions for Golden Rule). Here is a little more background on both artworks, currently on view and part of the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.

United Nations

Conceived in 1952 and executed in 1953, this drawing was inspired by the United Nations humanitarian mission. Though it was carefully researched and developed, Rockwells idea never made it to canvas. He said he didnt quite know why he grew tired of the pieceperhaps it was too ambitious. At the height of the Cold War and two years into the Korean War, his concept was to picture the United Nations as the worlds hope for the futurehe included sixty-five people representing the worlds nations, waiting for the delegates to straighten out the world, so that they might live in peace and without fear. In the end Rockwell abandoned the illustration, saying that it seemed empty and pretentious, although he would reference it again many years later.

Golden Rule

In the 1960s, the mood of the country was changing, and Norman Rockwells opportunity to be rid of the art intelligentsias claim that he was old-fashioned was on the horizon. His 1961 Golden Rule was a precursor to the type of subject he would soon illustrate. A group of people of different religions, races and ethnicity served as the backdrop for the inscription Do Unto Other as You Would Have Them Do Unto You. Rockwell was a compassionate and liberal man, and this simple phrase reflected his philosophy. Having traveled all his life and been welcomed wherever he went, Rockwell felt like a citizen of the world, and his politics reflected that value system.

Id been reading up on comparative religion. The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not always the same words but the same meaning.Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Album.

From photographs hed taken on his 1955 round-the-world Pam Am trip, Rockwell referenced native costumes and accessories and how they were worn. He picked up a few costumes and devised some from ordinary objects in his studio, such as using a lampshade as a fez. Many of Rockwells models were local exchange students and visitors. In a 1961 interview, indicating the man wearing a wide brimmed hat in the upper right corner, Rockwell said, Hes part Brazilian, part Hungarian, I think. Then there is Choi, a Korean. Hes a student at Ohio State University. Here is a Japanese student at Bennington College and here is a Jewish student. He was taking summer school courses at the Indian Hill Museum School. Pointing to the rabbi, he continued, Hes the retired postmaster of Stockbridge. He made a pretty good rabbi, in real life, a devout Catholic. I got all my Middle East faces from Abdalla who runs the Elm Street market, just one block from my house. Some of the models used were also from Rockwells earlier illustration,United Nations.

See the originals: Golden Rule and United Nations are currently on view at Norman Rockwell Museum.

View the restoration of RockwellsUnited Nations painting below:

Related Links:

Golden Rule, iconic Norman Rockwell mosaic, rededicated at UN Headquarters, UN News Centre, February 5, 2014

The Golden Rule: Restoring the Norman Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations, Art Conservator, Summer 2013

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Rockwell’s "Golden Rule" – Norman Rockwell Museum

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Transhumanism – End Times Bible Prophecy

Posted: March 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

As the world draws closer and closer to the day of Christ’s return, the exponential pace of technological change will play an increasing role in the fulfillment of bible prophecy.

The development of technologies such as molecular manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing will trigger abrupt and radical changes in the global economic, social, and geopolitical landscape.

The acceleration and magnitude in development of these powerful technologies will dwarf the Industrial Revolution in size and scale.

Foreseeing such change, the world should note the various social philosophies and political movements which emerged during the Industrial Revolution. Darwinism, Marxism, Communism, Facism, and eugenics all emerged within a few short decades.

While the Industrial Revolution was not absolutely necessary for, nor was the it the cause of, the rise in popularity for each of these movements – it did serve to amplify their influence.

So what small movements might explode in popularity during the next technological revolution?

One possible candidate is the transhumanist movement…

The definition of transhumanism varies depending on who you consult, but here’s Wikipedia’s take:

“Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes.” (Wikipedia)

These are noble goals. After all, who could be against ending disabilities, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death?

Yet the aforementioned philosophical and political movements of the Industrial Revolution – Marxism, Facism, Communism, and eugenics – all had similar utopian goals.

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Despite their promises, the real world application of each resulted in unprecedented death and destruction.

If the Transhumanist movement takes flight, it will result in more of the same.

Why?

Because all of these movements fail to address the root cause of the current human condition – the sinful nature of man.

Instead of placing God at the center, each of these movements places “extraordinary” men at the center, whether through means of a ruling elite class, a master race, or the evolutionary development of “better” human beings.

After the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin gained widespread traction, it seems logical that most of its adherents would draw the conclusion that the current version of humanity is not “the final product,” but only an early stage in a continuing evolutionary process.

This belief lies at the heart of the transhumanist movement:

“A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve, which will supplement humanity or supersede it.” (Wikipedia)

In fact, following this line of thinking, human beings have a moral imperative to take charge of their own evolutionary progress and expidite the process:

“Transhumanist philosophers argue that there not only exists a perfectionist ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition but that it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change.” (Wikipedia)

If achieved, the desired result would be the attainment of a “posthuman” status, akin to nirvana:

“Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label ‘posthuman.’ Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as ‘posthumanism’ or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideal.” (Wikipedia)

Given the utopian promises, as well as the exciting prospect of participating in such revolutionary change, look for the transhumanist movement to gain in popularity as we approach the singularity and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Anticipation of the singularity and the exponential pace of technological change has spawned the organization of like-minded individuals who look forward to a posthuman world and seek to hasten its arrival:

“In 1998, philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), an international non-governmental organization working toward the recognition of transhumanism as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry and public policy. In 1999, the WTA drafted and adopted The Transhumanist Declaration.” (Wikipedia)

The World Transhumanist Association (WTA) has since changed its name to Humanity+, but its focus as an organization dedicated to developing transhumanist ideas and policies remains unchanged.

At its core, the organization promotes the development of the next step in humanity’s evolutionary process:

“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.” Transhumanist Values (Humanity+)

So what fuels this desire to transition to “posthuman” status? Is it really idealistic, utopian goals, or is it really just an inherent desire to overcome the “biological chains” of humanity?

For most transhumanists, its probably the latter.

As Wikipedia cites:

“At the EZTV Media venue frequented by transhumanists and other futurists, Natasha Vita-More presented Breaking Away, her 1980 experimental film with the theme of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space.” (Wikipedia)

A theme “of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space?”

That theme sounds familiar…

The bible has a lot to say about our future. Approximately 3,000 years ago, King David wrote about the hearts of men just prior to the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, as men prepared to “free themselves from God’s slavery”:

“Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry. ‘And free ourselves from this slavery.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” Psalm 2:1-4 (NLT)

The viewpoint of end time humanity is one of animosity toward God. Humanity will view its limitations as arbitrary obstacles erected by God. As a result, humanity will prepare for battle against the Lord in an effort to break the shackles of its perceived oppressor.

The Transhumanist Declaration asserts a desire which has much i
n common with the attitude of humanity in the last days:

“Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.” The Transhumanist Declaration (Humanity+)

When asked by His disciples to describe the time of the end and the day of His Coming, Jesus stated:

“In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:22 (NLT)

In this translation, the phrase “not a single person will survive” is deceptive.

Why?

Because it’s the result of the translator’s assumption that the phrases “no flesh will survive” and “no people will survive” are interchangable.

Assuming the possibility exists for a transhumanist future, the two phrases are not.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the key Greek word in this phrase is translated “sarx,” and means:

“flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extens.) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by impl.) human nature (with its frailties [phys. or mor.] and passions), or (spec.) a human being (as such)”

Taken in its original context, Jesus did not necessarily say that unless those days are shortened, “humanity will not survive.”

Instead, he said unless those days are shortened, “no flesh will survive.”

If the transhumanist movement suceeds in transforming the human race into a race of “posthumans” who no longer need flesh covered bones to survive, then these words of Jesus take on an entirely different meaning.

And it doesn’t take an illogical leap of faith to draw this conclusion.

After all, it seems reasonable to assume that humanity will have to undergo some sort of radical transformation in order to plot a war against God Almighty. The arrogant impulse already exists. All that remains is the need for an exponential increase in human power which deludes humanity into believing it can overcome the Lord of lords.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible is clear that this is where humanity is ultimately headed – physical conflict with God:

“Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)

Do not confuse the “war” with a spiritual struggle.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the key word here is translated “polemos,” and means:

“warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series) – battle, fight, war.”

The word “polemos” appears at least 16 times in the New Testament, and in each case, it refers to physical conflict, not a spiritual one as Paul refers to here:

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

When Paul speaks of the spiritual struggle, he uses the word “pale.” According to Strong’s Concordance, “pale” means:

“wrestling”

Clearly, the Bible differentiates between our everyday spiritual struggle with the forces of darkness and literal phsyical conflict in the form of war.

Regarding the Antichrist, the gathering at Armageddon, and the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, it’s clearly prophesied that man will engage in physical battle with God Almighty:

“From one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and east and toward the glorious land of Israel. His power reached to the heavens where it attacked the heavenly armies, throwing some of the heavenly beings and stars to the ground and trampling them. He even challenged the Commander of heaven’s armies by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple.” Daniel 8:9-11 (NLT)

The power of the Antichrist will be immense enough to attack the heavenly armies, throwing angels to the ground and trampling them in the process. He will even attack the Commander of heaven’s armies, Jesus Christ.

But the attack is futile. Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and all those aligned against God.

Ultimately, the transhumanist agenda is nothing new.

The transhumanist movement seeks:

Some humans will ultimately achieve these goals. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, they will witness:

1) The end of death and suffering…

“There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

2) The end of starvation and disease…

“On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” Revelation 22:2 (NLT)

and

3) The end of disabilities…

“And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” Isaiah 35:5-6 (NLT)

All of these hopes are realized in heaven. So essentially, the transhumanist agenda is one that seeks to achieve heaven on earth.

The problem with the transhumanist movement is that there’s only one path to heaven. All others are false:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:1-5 (NLT)

Final implementation of the transhumanist agenda is a blatant attempt to “sneak over the wall of the sheepfold, rather than going through the gate.” It’s an agenda that will ultimately fail.

Christ is the only gate that leads into heaven. Those who try to enter by any other means are doomed to failure:

“Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.'” John 10:6-10 (NLT)

To learn more about the transhumanist movement and its adherent’s positions, read the Humanity+ website.

Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Signs Of The Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime.

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Transhumanism – End Times Bible Prophecy

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Lala Daidai Genome – Video

Posted: April 13, 2015 at 11:46 am



Lala Daidai Genome
I valued to sing this song, I hope you'll like it ~ ~ Credits ~ Title : (Daidai Genome) Original vocals : Hatsune Miku Append Music, Lyrics : mezame-P Illustration : F*cla Video…

By: Lala

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This Cartoon Perfectly Sums Up the Optimism of 1950s Futurism

Posted: March 10, 2015 at 3:40 am

The December 28, 1959 issue of Life magazine featured this illustration of life in 1975. It’s over the top and cartoonish, of course, but it perfectly sums up all of the techno-optimism that was so prevalent in the late 1950s the Golden Age of Futurism.

The article that accompanied the illustration spelled out the wondrous things that people could expect by the year 1975. Americans were promised that they’d be working less, taking home more money, and enjoying longer vacations and more leisure activities than they could even imagine. And don’t forget about the amazing technological advances. High-tech communications satellites? Check. Family helicopters? Check. Replaceable organs and robot-diagnosed medicine? Check and check.

The article in Life also assured readers that they weren’t just making these predictions up as they went along. They were referencing the hard data from the Research Institute of America, a private research firm:

The Institute’s basic over-all prediction is that in 15 years, given a peaceful world, America will be a consumer’s utopia. By 1975 more Americans (230 million) will have more money (average national family income up from the present $5,000 to 7,500) and more time to spend it (15% fewer work hours, 50% more holidays). Technology and salesmanship and industry will conspire to make every American’s life safer and easier. Rockets will whisk special delivery mail anywhere in the world and relay stations on orbiting space satellites will speed his radio messages on their way. Electronic devices will cook his food faster, purify his air supply, diagnose the weather and also his health. If something goes terribly wrong with his insides, tiny, complex self-powered spare human parts hearts, kidneys and livers will be available.

But we have to remind ourselves that the people of any given generation don’t all think alike. For instance, the illustrator of this cartoon, Jim Flora, also drew some rather scary robots for an article in Parade that very same year.

In that piece we see a dystopian world filled with too much automation, too much leisure time, and even suicide as a result. Never forget that no matter the decade, one person’s time-saving robot is another person’s job-stealing tyrant.

Image via Super Retro

Contact the author at novak@gizmodo.com.

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Web freedom and censorship grows as a global issue

Posted: February 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm

The free speech taken for granted in Western democracies is opposed by many other countries. Photo: Illustration: Matt Davidson

Government censorship of the internet is a cat-and-mouse game, and despite more aggressive tactics in recent months, the cats have been largely frustrated while the mice wriggle away.

But this year the challenges for technology companies will mount, with Russia and Turkey in particular trying to tighten controls on foreign-based internet companies. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are increasingly being put into the tricky position of discovering which laws and orders to comply with around the world, and which to ignore or contest.

Russian president Vladimir Putin recently signed the latest version of a personal data law that will require companies to store data about Russian users on computers inside the country, where it will be easier for the government to get access to it. Few companies are expected to comply with the law, which goes into effect on September 1, so a confrontation may erupt.

Anton Nosik, a prominent Russian blogger whose work has been censored by regulators, says it is absurd for a government to think itcan easily stamp out an article or video when it can be copied or found elsewhere with a few clicks. “The reader wants to see what he was prevented from seeing,” he says. “All that blocking doesn’t work.”

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The Turkish government faced similar embarrassment when it tried to stop the dissemination of leaked documents and audio recordings on Twitter in March. The administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister and is now President, ordered the shutdown of Twitter within Turkey after the company refused to block the posts, which implicated government officials in a corruption investigation.

Not only did the government lose a court fight on the issue, but while Twitter was blocked, legions of Turkish users also taught one another technical tricks to evade the ban, even spray-painting the instructions on the walls of buildings.

“We all became hackers,” says Asli Tunc, a professor of communication at Istanbul Bilgi University. “And we all got on Twitter.”

Despite such victories for free-speech advocates, governments are stepping up efforts to control the internet, escalating the confrontation. “The trendlines are consistent,” says Colin Crowell, Twitter’s global vice-president of public policy. “There are more and more requests for removal of information.”

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Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

Posted: January 29, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Are we seeing the convergence of a century of space science and science fiction before our eyes? Will Musk and SpaceX make 2001 Space Odyssey a reality? (Photo Credit: NASA, Apple, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)

In Kubricks and Clarks 2001 Space Odyssey, there was no question of Boots or Bots[ref]. The monolith had been left for humanity as a mileage and direction marker on Route 66 to the stars. So we went to Jupiter and Dave Bowman overcame a sentient machine, shut it down cold and went forth to discover the greatest story yet to be told.

Now Elon Musk, born three years after the great science fiction movie and one year before the last Apollo mission to the Moon has set his goals, is achieving milestones to lift humans beyond low-Earth orbit, beyond the bonds of Earths gravity and take us to the first stop in the final frontier Mars the destination of the SpaceX odyssey.

Marvel claims Musk as the inspiration for Tony Stark in Ironman but for countless space advocates around the World he is the embodiment of Dave Bowman, the astronaut in 2001 Space Odyssey destined to travel to the edge of the Universe and retire an old man on Mars. (Photo Credit: NASA, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)

Ask him whats next and nowhere on his bucket list does he have Disneyland or Disney World. You will find Falcon 9R, Falcon Heavy, Dragon Crew, Raptor Engine and Mars Colonization Transporter (MCT).

At the top of his working list is the continued clean launch record of the Falcon 9 and beside that must-have is the milestone of a soft landing of a Falcon 9 core. To reach this milestone, Elon Musk has an impressive array of successes and also failures necessary, to-be-expected and effectively of equal value. His plans for tomorrow are keeping us on the edge of our seats.

The Dragon Crew capsule is more than a modernized Apollo capsule. It will land softly and at least on Earth will be reusable while Musk and SpaceX dream of landing Falcon Crew on Mars. (Photo Credits: SpaceX)

CRS-5, the Cargo Resupply mission number 5, was an unadulterated success and to make it even better, Elons crew took another step towards the first soft landing of a Falcon core, even though it wasnt entirely successful. Elon explained that they ran out of hydaulic fluid. Additionally, there is a slew of telemetry that his engineers are analyzing to optimize the control software. Could it have been just a shortage of fluid? Yes, its possible they could extrapolate the performance that was cut short and recognize the landing Musk and crew dreamed of.

A successful failure of a soft landing had no baring on the successful launch of the CRS-5, the cargo resupply mission to ISS. (Image Credits: SpaceX)

The addition of the new grid fins to improve control both assured the observed level of success and also assured failure. Anytime one adds something unprovento a test vehicle, the risk of failure is raised. This was a fantastic failure that provided a treasure trove of new telemetry and the possibilities to optimize software. More hydraulic fluid is a must but improvements to SpaceX software is what will bring a repeatable string of Falcon core soft landings.

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Damaged DNA may stall patrolling molecule to initiate repair

Posted: January 28, 2015 at 8:43 pm

IMAGE:XPC DNA repair protein shown in two modes, patrolling undamaged DNA (in green) and bound to DNA damage site (magenta, with blue XPC insert opening the site). The sun behind… view more

Credit: Illustration: Myrna Romero and Jung-Hyun Min.

Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize and initiate repair. The finding suggests that the delay itself may be the key that allows the protein molecule to find its target, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Usually, the repair protein zips along quickly, says Anjum Ansari, UIC professor of physics and co-principal investigator on the study, published this month in Nature Communications.

“If the DNA is normal and the protein is searching, the interaction that the protein makes with the DNA is not very tight, and the protein is able to wander at some speed,” Ansari said.

“When the protein encounters a damaged DNA, it’s not quite like a normal DNA , it may be a little twisted or more flexible. The protein ‘stumbles’ at that spot and gets a little stalled, enough to give it a little bit more time at the damaged site,” she said. “The longer it sits, the higher the probability that it will open the DNA and initiate repair.”

This ‘stumble’ gives the protein time to flip out the damaged nucleotide building blocks of the DNA and recruit other proteins that begin repair, said Jung-Hyun Min, assistant professor of chemistry at UIC and co-principal investigator on the study.

The protein, xeroderma pigmentosum C or XPC, is important for the repair of DNA damaged by environmental insults, like the chemicals in cigarette smoke and pollutants, which makes it important for preventing cancers, Min said. Dysfunctional XPC may lead to a 1,000-fold increase in the risk of skin cancer.

How the protein can find a lesion hidden among perhaps 100,000 times as many undamaged nucleotides has been a mystery, Min said. XPC is unusual in that it does not have a “pocket” that fits one specific damaged structure while rejecting others that do not fit well. Instead, it recognizes damage indirectly, and so is able to repair a variety of derangements.

In order to see how XPC distinguishes between normal and damaged DNA, the researchers used a chemical trick to bind the protein to a single site on intact DNA. To their surprise, they found that the protein flipped open the nucleotides on undamaged DNA just as it does at a bad spot.

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Faking Murders And Stealing Bitcoin: Why The Silk Road Is The Strangest Crime Story Of The Decade

Posted: January 20, 2015 at 12:40 am

Illustration of Day 1 of the Ross Ulbricht trial. (Illustration by Susie Cagle)

To his family, he was former Eagle Scout Ross Ulbricht. To his housemates, he was Joshua Terrey. To the U.S. government, hes The Dread Pirate Roberts the criminal mastermind who created and operated the billion dollar black market website Silk Road. His trial began on January 13.

The prosecutions story of an exceptionally bright and smart kid who grew up to become the criminal head of a global black market is in itself interesting enough to provide Hollywood with a half a dozen movies. But even if the government proves these allegations, this character arc would actually be one of the more normal and mundane things about this story.

Here are a few of the bizarre twists and turns in the investigation of The Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road, and Ross Ulbricht:

An Undercover Agent Basically Worked The Helpdesk For Silk Road

Illustration by Susie Cagle

In July of 2013, Jared Der-Yeghiayan, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, took over the account of a Silk Road moderator under the alias cirrus. By the time of Ulbrichts capture, Der-Yeghiayan had been undercover for about two months.

During his time undercover, Der-Yeghiayans worked for 10 to 12 hours each day, and was paid about one thousand dollars in bitcoin from DPRs Silk Road account every week.

Essentially, he was a helpdesk worker for an online black market. But it was his contact with Dread Pirate Roberts that led to a sting operation to arrest Ulbricht. The Federal Government Faked A Hit Ordered By The Dread Pirate Roberts

Curtis Clark Green, a semi-pro poker player in his late 40s, had a second job that his family knew nothing about he was an administrator for Silk Road who was known for frequently shared personal anecdotes and detailed advice on using and dealing illegal substances.

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Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series – Video

Posted: December 16, 2014 at 5:47 am



Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series
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Biologists Grow Living Circuits

Posted: December 1, 2014 at 11:44 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. — Genetic engineering takes cells and alters their genes so they perform functions different from what nature originally intended. A new trend uses circuitry to re-engineer the cell. These biological circuits “wire” naturally occurring cells into a circuit that performs a new function, such as filling in for the dopamine-generating cells destroyed by Parkinson’s disease.

“Our ultimate goal, many years from now, is complex medical applications, such as injection of a circuit into the bloodstream that looks for cancer cells and, when it finds one, injects a drug,” Domitilla Del Vecchio, a professor at MIT, told EE Times. “Such a circuit would need a sensor, a computer, and an actuation component to inject the drug, and those are the kinds of components we are working on today.”

Yeast cells (middle) are wired together like electronic components, but they communicate, not with electrical wires, but with chemicals that only plug into cells with the proper receptor. (Image: MIT)

Other possible applications include synthetic biological circuits that measure glucose levels constantly for diabetic patients and then automatically release insulin when it is needed.

The design process for such biocircuitry is slow and arduous compared with designing electronic circuits. For one thing, the researchers are not using nerves for communication. Instead, they use the normal communication method inside a natural cell, with the “output” secreting a chemical that only affects the “input” cells that have receptors tailored to be activated by that particular chemical.

The second big slowdown is the mathematics used to model the desired circuits. The researchers cannot use simple R-L-C equations like Ohm’s Law. They must use the tedious mathematics of differential equations. “Biological circuits are very nonlinear, so we have to use differential equations to model them,” Del Vecchio said.

Nevertheless, the payoff will make the effort worth it, since many maladies seem immune to solution by a simple symptom-treating drug. They require a complex cure that actively senses, computes, and responds. The best way to do that, according to MIT researchers, is to create cells that perform those functions internally, rather than trying to wire together an artificial neural network, as so many others have attempted.

Left to right: Ron Weiss, professor of biological engineering; Domitilla Del Vecchio, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Deepak Mishra, MIT graduate student in biological engineering. (Image: MIT/Brian Teague)

“Besides nerve cells, there are many types of circuitry in biological systems, such as genetic circuitry that controls the expression of genes and the cells that controls the time keeping of the organism, such as when to get up in the morning,” Del Vecchio said.

So far, most of the research group’s circuits have been designed to sense something, using either yeast cells (in the illustration above) or bacteria cells. “Bacteria cells are much easier to work with, because they don’t have a nucleus to deal with.”

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Biologists Grow Living Circuits

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