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Scientists conquered old age, but modern society turned out to be unprepared for longevity
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 22 August 2014 09:15

"There is an ancient wisdom: the cause

for every end is hidden in the beginning."

Rigden Djapo (the ALLATRA book)

Millions of dollars have already been invested in the research of anti-aging.

The search for the elixir of longevity fascinated scientists at different times, and now businessmen of various levels are also funding research in the field of gerontology, the extension of human life. Public information sources confirm such financing. Among investors in the development of research laboratories and clusters are:

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google;

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook;

Yuri Milner, the founder of DST Global (projects: Odnoklassniki (Classmates), VK social network, Mail.ru and others);

Oleg Deripaska, the founder of the Basic Element holding;

Timur Artemyev, co-founder of Euroset;

Dmitry Zimin, Honorary President of VimpelCom company and many others.

The sums invested in the search for a cure for old age are calculated in tens of millions of dollars. The task that representatives of the scientific community set before themselves is the extension of the active period of life in an elderly person. Research is being done with laboratory mice. An extension of a rodent's life by 10-25% is considered successful. Scientists have proven the fact that a person's potential is estimated at 100-120 years. Only a few make bold statements about the radical extension of human life and significantly going beyond the limit for the species. Among public gerontologists who talk about the possibility of significant prolongation of human life is the British researcher Aubrey de Grey.

Going beyond the limit for the species and extending life up to 250 years is a reality of today.

The bold statement of the famous British scientist is not that fantastic. Today, Ukrainian scientist, natives of the former Soviet Union, has conducted scientific experiment on lab mice in a closed laboratory. At the beginning of the experiment, the biological age of the animals was above average and equalled to 65 years of the human age. A few months later, due to the overall regeneration of the organism, which followed only after three repeated injections of the experimental drug, the biological age of laboratory animals equalled to 35-40 human years. And most importantly, it remained so until the animals were withdrawn from the experiment, which happened when their actual age exceeded the limit for the species by more than two times.

These scientific studies have actually confirmed the possibility of a significant prolongation of the human life and going beyond the conventional ideas about human longevity. When translated into the human world, modern society has a chance to live more than 200 years. In a private conversation, the Ukrainian scientist who made the discovery spoke of the functional capabilities of the human organism and the possibility to live without biological aging up to 1000 years.

Society turned out to be unprepared for the prospect of longevity.

Synthesizing a cure for old age, conducting studies on humans and putting the drug on sale is just a question of time. The knowledge to do it already exists! However, the author of the study states that prolongation of human life by at least two times poses serious risks and threats to humanity. These risks are connected primarily with the domination of the consumerist model of development in society.

Risk #1. Taking possession of the knowledge and limiting access to injections against old age.

Scientist is seriously concerned by the desire of people in power to take hold of the knowledge. Modern science has known many cases in which developments, having fallen into the hands of corporations or people who stand behind them, became classified and withdrawn from public access. The unique discovery in the field of gerontology can be used to build a multibillion-dollar business empire, and access to the drug against old age will be severely limited or the knowledge will be removed. How will society benefit from this discovery then? A narrow circle of priests and politicians will continue to build their empire of power. The social divide will become more pronounced: the rich will continue to get richer and the poor, poorer. We are seeing this now.

Risk #2. Overpopulation of the Earth.

As of today, there exists the problem of constant growth of the world population:

In 1900, the population of the planet was 1.65 billion people;

In 1960 - 3 billion people (despite the fact that humanity survived two world wars);

In 2000 - 6.7 billion people;

On November 1st, 2011 - 7 billion people.

It is obvious that with the advent of the drug against old age and prolongation of human life by at least 200 years, the problem of overpopulation of the Earth will become more acute, which in its turn is connected with three subsequent risks.

Risk #3. Intensification of social inequality.

With the increase of Earth’s population, the number of people in the world who are living below the poverty line is on the rise even today. Among more than 7 billion people on Earth, 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 per day. According to the World Bank, the increase in food prices has contributed to the transition of about 44 million people into poverty since June 2010.

Against the backdrop of about 40% of the population living below the poverty line, according to Forbes magazine, 1,645 of the world's richest people became richer over the past year by 1 trillion US dollars. Their combined capital equals US $6.4 trillion. Interestingly, 268 new people were added to the list of billionaires in 2013. At the same time, according to another source - the analytical data of the World Organization of Creditors (WOC) - 61 million people in the world receive the same income as 3.5 billion people with the lowest income. In other words, for every dollar received by the world's wealthiest, the poorest receive 1.7 cents.

The poverty of Earth’s inhabitants is an artificially created problem that can be solved within just a few years. For this to happen, those 1,645 people on the list of the richest people need only to direct 25% of their capital towards reducing social tensions. But are we seeing this in practice?  The nominal or declarative fight against poverty continues to increase social inequality, much of which is likely to get worse with the prolongation of life. Lives of the poor will be inextricably linked to the constant struggle for survival.

Risk #4. Depletion of natural resources

Consumer attitude toward Earth’s natural resources has already led to serious environmental problems - land, air and water pollution. Deforestation, pumping oil and gas, and greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change on the planet. What will happen to the ecology if the number of people living on our planet doubles? And if it triples? ..

This being said, modern society possesses technologies which allow us to turn the planet into a blooming garden and put the environment in order. However, people in power prefer to extract super-profit for the sake of economic feasibility and continue to hold power in their hands. If the situation does not change now, it will not change when the anti-aging drug appears, but, on the contrary, it may become worse.

Risk #5. Destruction of civilization: wars and natural disasters

On the one hand, there is a more intense growth in negativity and the brewing of social unrest, which is usually accompanied by demonstrations, protests, local military conflicts and revolutions that often lead to the death of civilians. On the other hand, nature starts responding to people's consumer attitude towards itself in the form of natural disasters, which have become more frequent, awakening volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural phenomena.

The prolongation of people’s lives in this model of development is a ticking time bomb, which can ultimately lead to the death of the entire civilization. Either the society will destroy itself in a war for domination or nature itself will do the trick.

 
Seventy years on, Europe remembers Roma genocide
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 04 August 2014 14:06

 

Krystyna Gil was told by her Roma grandmother to "never forget."

Though she was just a child during World War II, when the Nazis began systematically exterminating Roma in her native Poland, she has done just that.

"I was five years old at the time. I became an orphan. The love of a mother and a father, I do not know what that means," she told AFP.

"My grandmother told me 'never forget'. So even though many years have passed, I still remember."

Gil, now 76, was among more than a thousand who gathered on Saturday at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland to remember the genocide of Roma people carried out by the Nazis.

The ceremony was held on the 70th anniversary of one of the worst mass killings of Roma, when nearly 3,000, many of them children, were taken to the gas chambers at Auschwitz on the night of August 2, 1944.

"We join together here in pain, in memory of the victims," said Roman Kwiatkowski, head of the Association of Roma in Poland.

"Here we consolidate as a people, not only in relation to our past but also our future," he said at the ceremony, held on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust of the Roma.

Around a thousand also marched through Budapest to mark the date. Many of those killed at Auschwitz came from Hungary, where Roma make up between five and eight percent of the country's population of 10 million.

Together with her grandmother, Gil was the only member of her family to survive an anti-Roma pogrom in Szczurowa, a small village in south-eastern Poland, in 1943.

Many others did not survive.

Between 220,000 and 500,000 Roma were murdered by the Nazis -- a tragedy the community refers to as "Pharrajimos", which means destruction in their language.

Of that number, 21,000 met their end at Auschwitz-Birkenau after being forcibly deported from across Europe.

 

 

 

 
School proms in Bulgaria, a vanity fair in EU's poorest country
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 11:10

 

 

Honking limousines and cheerful shouts by boys in suits resound across downtown Sofia as girls in lush evening gowns totter around on high heels or dance to loud music.

At the end of May, thousands of graduating high-school students, aged 18 to 19, hold their extravagant proms -- a vanity fair in the EU's poorest country.

Bulgaria's average monthly salary stands at about 400 euros ($545) and over 12-percent unemployment has left many families struggling to make ends meet.

But even the poorest make sure to put something aside -- often two or three months' salary -- for this expensive tradition. Parents often go into debt ensuring the children get to enjoy their "big night out", as well as the traditional, wedding-like reception for their relatives that goes with it.

"It's terribly overdone but everyone does it," student Stefka Drenova said in her splendid hairdo and strapless sequin dress one recent evening.

 

"I would not have minded wearing a T-shirt but that would have made sense only if it was done by everyone," said Hristina, wearing a studded silver-and-blue bodice that glittered in the evening sun.

Preparations for the prom start early in the school year.

"The restaurant has been booked since last October, dresses dominate all talk and as the feast draws nearer, girls have hairstyle and make-up trials to avoid any fault on D-Day," Rositsa Lozanova, a high-school literature teacher, told AFP.

 

The prom tradition dates back to the days of communism but is becoming "more and more exotic" with every passing year, said Nikolay Ovcharov, casting a proud glance at his daughter standing nearby in a bright yellow tulle dress.

 

 

 

 
Japan imports tonnes of whale meat from Iceland, Greenpeace says
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 May 2014 15:08

 

 

Environmentalists on Friday lashed out after Japan imported 2,000 tonnes of frozen whale meat from Iceland, in what they say is continued defiance of world opinion over the hunting of the mammals.

Packages containing meat from fin whales were unloaded Thursday from a vessel that had travelled from Iceland to Osaka, western Japan, said Junichi Sato of Greenpeace Japan.

The ship left Iceland in March carrying a cargo equivalent to almost all the whale meat imports from the north European country for the last six years, environment groups and news reports said.

An official at the port in Osaka confirmed the arrival of the ship.

"The ship, named Alma, arrived on May 7 and we were informed in advance that it would carry whale meat to be unloaded at Osaka port," he told AFP.

Greenpeace said it was puzzled by the size of the cargo.

"We don't know why Japan had to import such a huge volume of whale meat," accounting for about two thirds of the nation's annual consumption, Sato said.

"No matter what, we oppose such shipments," he added.

 

 

 
Researchers use Twitter to predict crime
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 April 2014 18:18

 

 

Hidden in the Twittersphere are nuggets of information that could prove useful to crime fighters -- even before a crime has been committed.

Researchers at the University of Virginia demonstrated tweets could predict certain kinds of crimes if the correct analysis is applied.

A research paper published in the scientific journal Decision Support Systems last month said the analysis of geo-tagged tweets can be useful in predicting 19 to 25 kinds of crimes, especially for offenses such as stalking, thefts and certain kinds of assault.

The results are surprising, especially when one considers that people rarely tweet about crimes directly, said lead researcher Matthew Gerber of the university's Predictive Technology Lab.

Gerber said even tweets that have no direct link to crimes may contain information about activities often associated with them.

"What people are tweeting about are their routine activities," Gerber told AFP. "Those routine activities take them into environments where crime is likely to happen.

"So if I tweet about getting drunk tonight, and a lot of people are talking about getting drunk, we know there are certain crimes associated with those things that produce crimes. It's indirect."

For the study, Gerber and his colleagues analyzed tweets from the city of Chicago tagged to certain neighborhoods -- measured by individual square kilometers -- and the city's crime database.

They then looked forward and were able to make useful predictions about areas where certain crimes were likely to occur -- something which could be helpful in deployment of police resources.

"This approach allows the analyst to rapidly visualize and identify areas with historically high crime concentrations," said the study.

"Future crimes often occur in the vicinity of past crimes, making hot-spot maps a valuable crime prediction tool."

In recent years, the idea of "predictive policing" has gained momentum, with police departments relying on "big data" analytics from companies such as IBM.

This research comes on the heels of other studies showing how tweets can be analyzed to predict elections, disease outbreaks and other important events.

 

- 'I send our algorithms' -

 

Gerber said Twitter data can be relatively easy to use because tweets are publicly available, and many of them are tagged with location information.

In addition, researchers, themselves, do not need to go into the high-crime areas to study the information.

Instead, "I send our algorithms to these locations and see what people are talking about," Gerber said.

"The computer algorithm learns the pattern and produces a prediction."

 

 

 
'Heartbleed' fix may slow Web performance
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 10:34

 

 

The heartache from the Heartbleed Internet flaw is not over, and some experts say the fix may lead to online disruption and confusion.

The good news is that most sites deemed vulnerable have patched their systems or are in the process of doing so.

The bad news is that Web browsers may be overloaded by the overhaul of security certificates, leading to error messages and impacting Web performance, said Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Internet Storm Center.

"A good percentage of the websites are patched," Ullrich told AFP.

The patches enable the Web operators to obtain new security certificates that demonstrate they can be trusted by Web browsers.

But Ullrich noted that for each patch, Web browsers must update their list of "untrusted" certificates or "keys" that would be rejected.

"For the fix, the website needs to obtain a new private key and the old key has to be revoked," he said. "Browsers will not trust the old keys."

Browsers may usually update dozens of keys on a daily basis, but because of Heartbleed, that may rise to tens of thousands.

If the verification process takes too long, Ullrich said, the browser may simply declare the site invalid or show an error message.

"People will see errors," he said. "They will see an invalid certificate. They can either accept the certificate or consider it invalid."

The big danger is that Internet users may become so confused or frustrated that they ignore the warnings or reconfigure their browsers to no longer perform the security check.

"If people turn off those lists, then a hacker could get in," Ullrich said.

With thousands of websites seeking new security credentials, "some certificate authorities and website administrators have been making careless mistakes," online security firm Netcraft noted.

 

 

 
BlackBerry 'to withdraw from Japan'
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 08 February 2013 09:07

Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry will not launch its new models in Japan, reports said on Friday, effectively heralding a pull-out from a booming smartphone market where it is being beaten by Apple.

The Canada-based company, which is hoping its long-delayed BlackBerry 10 series will turn around flagging global fortunes, will not sell the handsets in the country, the Nikkei business daily said.

The report said BlackBerry's share of the Japanese market had slumped to 0.3 percent from about five percent in the past. The paper gave no time frame.

Domestic shipments of smartphones soared 40 percent on-year to hit an estimated 14 million in April-September but BlackBerry sales were believed to be only several tens of thousands, the paper said, without naming its sources.

Given the falling share, the company judged it too costly to develop a Japanese-language version of the new operating system, it said.

While BlackBerry helped create a culture of mobile users glued to smartphones nearly a decade ago, many of those customers have since moved on to Apple or Android-based phones.

The firm was until last week was known as Research in Motion (RIM) but rebranded itself with the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform and Z10 and Q10 handsets.

The Wall Street Journal cited a spokeswoman for BlackBerry, who confirmed the new phone model would not be rolled out in Japan "at this time".

 
Third of year six pupils overweight
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:26

 

A third of final year primary school children are overweight or obese, figures suggest.

Last year 33.9% of year six pupils, aged 10 or 11, weighed more than they should - a slight increase from 33.4% the previous year.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said year six pupils in urban areas were more likely to be obese than those who live in towns and suburbs.

The percentage of children in reception who were overweight or obese was 22.6% in 2011/12, the same as the previous year, the figures from the National Child Measurement Programme show.

The programme, which checks more than one million children in England, measures the height and weight of children in reception, who are generally aged four and five, and Year 6 pupils.

The highest prevalence of overweight and obese children in reception was recorded in the north east of England. London recorded the highest rates in Year 6 pupils.

 
Schools warned over supply teachers
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 04 November 2012 15:29

 

Schools or local authorities could have to foot the bill for millions of pounds in National Insurance (NI) contributions as a result of hiring supply teachers via recruitment agencies which use off-shore firms, the taxman has warned.

Such companies do not have to pay employer's NI contributions because they are based off-shore.

But according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), this arrangement could leave "the end client or the employment businesses" liable to foot the bill.

An HMRC spokesman said: "These kinds of arrangements are not compliant with tax and National Insurance legislation and the end client, or the employment businesses, may be liable for any underpaid tax and National Insurance.

"Employers have a legal responsibility to operate PAYE and should be questioning very closely anyone offering quick-fix tax and National Insurance arrangements.

"We are actively pursuing a growing number of investigations against these types of arrangements, and have already successfully pursued a number of companies for tax, National Insurance and interest where they were not playing by the rules."

ISS, based in the Channel Islands, pays the salaries of more than 24,000 temporary agency workers in the UK, mostly supply teachers, according to an investigation by BBC Five Live.

 
University applications increase
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:14

 

Applications by English students to UK universities have risen slightly this year, official figures show.

The latest Ucas statistics show that almost 600 more students have applied to start courses in 2013, compared to 2012.

In total, 36,051 students living in England have already applied, compared to 35,455 who applied for courses starting this autumn - an increase of 1.7%.

Students have been able to submit applications for next year for all universities from early September, and those applying for medical courses and Oxford and Cambridge had to apply by October 15.

The figures give the number of people who applied for courses with an October 15 deadline.

This is the first time that Ucas has published the data this way. In previous years, the figures have included the numbers of people that have applied so far for other university courses, which have a January deadline.

 
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