Humanoid robot Atlas can jump over obstacles and hunt you down (VIDEOS)

Humanoid robot Atlas can jump over obstacles and hunt you down (VIDEOS)

©Boston Dynamics / YouTube
Freshly released videos show that robots created by Boston Dynamics are learning a host of new skills, including running outside, jumping and autonomous navigation.
In one of the videos, the barrel-chested humanoid robot Atlas is seen jogging around a yard. The machine’s relentless running style and powerful frame suggests that, if it speeds up a bit, it might have a future chasing down criminals on city streets.
The battery-powered robot is 1.5 meters tall and weighs 75kg. It uses LiDAR and stereo vision to assess its surroundings. The footage shows it running on surfaces that appear to be sloped and uneven, something robots have struggled with in the past.

Atlas’ LiDAR technology is the same as that used to help scientists discover a secret chamber in the pyramids of Giza last year.
Atlas is also seen jumping over a log. However, its awkward movement in completing the task suggests that it has a way to go before it will be able to easily deal with all the obstacles it might encounter in the wild.
The robotics and engineering firm also released a new video featuring its most famous creation, SpotMini, which famously went viral after footage of it opening a door emerged. That revelation sparked a flood of reaction which suggested, not all of it jokingly, that a robot apocalypse was nigh.
People who were alarmed then will have even more cause for concern now, as the strange four-legged machine has learned to run around the office autonomously and can even climb down the stairs.


‘Fate worse than death’: What are the fears surrounding human re-animation?

‘Fate worse than death’: What are the fears surrounding human re-animation?

FILE PHOTO: Human brains stored in formaldehyde are pictured at a brain bank, New York © Carlo Allegri / Reuters
A Yale experiment which reanimated the brains of slaughtered pigs has prompted speculation that human trials could be next, renewing ethical concerns over the pursuit of immortality.
As the quest for everlasting life appears to be stepping up a notch, and in alarming fashion, what are the key concerns raised by the pursuit?
Disembodied brains
Nottingham Trent University ethics researcher Benjamin Curtis says ending up as a disembodied brain might just be a “living hell.” Writing in The Conversation he suggested that living without any actual contact with reality could be a fate worse than death.
“Some have argued that even with a fully functional body, immortality would be tedious. With absolutely no contact with external reality, it might just be a living hell,” Curtis wrote.
In the Yale University experiments, led by neuroscientist Nenad Sestan, the pigs did not regain consciousness but Sestan acknowledged that restoring awareness is a possibility and that the technique could work on humans, keeping the brain alive indefinitely.
Speaking to RT.com Curtis explained that the brain is highly integrated with the rest of the body in both humans and animals. It is constantly receiving and sending signals from and to it. “We have no idea what experiences would occur within a disembodied brain. But those experiences may well be deeply disturbing,” he said.
But what is a brain without a body to host it? Renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio says without a constant “feedback loop” between brain and body, ordinary experiences and thought are simply not possible.
That view was echoed by Dr. Evan Thompson, professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Thompson told RT.com that consciousness and mental function require that the brain be functionally integrated with the rest of the body.
In other words, it’s not possible for a disembodied brain to house a normal mind. “The brain and body are in constant electrochemical communication with each other with multiple and dense feedback loops. Take that away, and mental function isn’t likely to be possible,” he said.
Curtis says that even the promise of eternal life is not worth the risk of subjecting a disembodied conscious human brain to “an existence of hellish tedium, or to the mental torture of inescapable madness.”
He said that even if disembodied brains did function more or less as they do now they will still be receiving no input from the outside world whatsoever. “There would be no sights, smells, sounds, or tactile feelings at all. Just an enduring inescapable emptiness,” he said to RT.com.
“I suppose this might be OK for a short while, but for any length of time I doubt any ordinary person would be able to cope.”
“One could perhaps tell oneself stories, or write poems in one’s mind, but with no-one to communicate them to, I imagine this would be cold comfort. In eternity, one would most likely end up repeating the same kinds of thoughts over and over to oneself, a body-less Sisyphus with no way to bring an end to the futility and meaningless of your situation.”
Mind uploading
The quest for immortality doesn’t end with a ‘brain in a jar,’ however, and for some the ultimate goal of preserving their brain would be a shot at eternal life.
In March, new startup Nectome revealed it is trying to develop technology that would preserve the brain while keeping all memories in tact and then upload these to a server so a person can experience eternal digital life. The team has already managed to fully preserve a rabbit and pig brain.
Head transplants
Meanwhile, Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero is still determined to carry out the world’s first human head transplant. At the end of last year he claimed he completed the world’s first such operation between two corpses.
A 30-year-old Russian man who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffmann disease put himself forward as a volunteer for the transplant in 2015, prompting ethical concerns from the wider scientific community.
“I would not wish this on anyone,”said Dr. Hunt Batjer, former president of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons. “I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.”
In their paper‘Operation Frankenstein: Ethical reflections of human head transplantation,’ Joshua Cuoco and John R. Davy from the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine argued the procedure could cause substantial psychological difficulty and result in a dramatic alteration of a person’s personality and memories.
“The procedure of human head transplantation dangerously presupposes that transplanting an individual’s head will also transplant an individual’s mind including consciousness, personality, and memories.”
“On the contrary, cognitive sciences have suggested that human cognition does not solely originate within the brain parenchyma; rather, humans exhibit an embodied cognition where our body participates in the formation of self,” the scientists warned.
Let’s talk ethics
Neuroscientists at the fore of this experimental research are calling for discussion around the ethics of their work but argued that these difficult questions should not halt their progress.
In an essay published in Nature, a group of researchers, including Sestan, noted advancements in the field mean tough conversations need to take place: “As brain surrogates become larger and more sophisticated, the possibility of them having capabilities akin to human sentience might become less remote.”
For many on social media the prospect of this Black Mirror-esque concept becoming a reality has left them more than a little unsettled.


Zion and Jerusalem

‘Torah will go forth out of Zion, and God’s word from Jerusalem’. (Isaiah 2:3). The source of Torah is Jerusalem and the land of Israel.
ed note–as we (try to) point out here often, the problems associated with Zionism are not limited merely to the theft of some small sliver of land that used to be called Palestine, but rather that the creation of the Jewish state is the primary step needed in creating a Judaic world empire from which the iron-clad rules and regs of Judaism–as specifically spelled out in the pages of the Torah–are implemented on a GLOBAL scale in exactly the manner as our unesteemed Rabbi describes in kristol-clear language.
It is for this reason that anyone of whatever stripe claiming to be a ‘truther’ or an activist who either sidesteps the global character of Zionism or else who parrots the idiotic position that ‘Judaism and Zionism are distinct and separate’ need to be summarily dismissed and ignored as they bring nothing of any substance to this deadly serious discussion.
Please pay close attention to a few goodies contained herein–
‘Jerusalem indicates the city’s function as a spiritual center for the entire world, influencing the nations of the world, and is the means by which Israel’s spirit of holiness penetrates and directs the inner life of distant peoples.’
‘For the Torah to influence and enlighten the world, it must be established as a complete Torah, a Torah that governs all spheres of human life and human activity.’
But hey, those of you (many White Nationalists included, unfortunately) who allow yourselves to be seduced by the Sirenesque noises coming out of the mouth of Judea, Inc warning about DEM MOOZLUMS–pay no mind to these very telling quotes on the part of the most powerful and megalomaniacal group of people in human history and instead, allow yourself to get all hot-n-bothered about Sharia law taking over and destroying the ‘Christian’ character of the West.
By Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, First Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Zion and Jerusalem
We must first understand this verse, “For Torah will go forth out of Zion, and God’s word from Jerusalem.” What is the difference between ‘Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem’?
While Zion and Jerusalem refer to the same locale, they indicate different aspects of the holy city. The word ‘Zion’ literally means ‘marked’ or ‘distinctive.’ It refers to those inner qualities that distinguish the Jewish people, “a nation who dwells alone” (Num. 23:9) with their own unique spiritual traits and aspirations. The name ‘Jerusalem,’ on the other hand, indicates the city’s function as a spiritual center for the entire world, influencing the nations of the world.‘Jerusalem’ is the means by which Israel’s spirit of holiness penetrates and directs the inner life of distant peoples.
In short, ‘Zion’ looks inward, emphasizing the city’s internal significance for the Jewish people, while ‘Jerusalem’ looks outward, stressing the city’s universal role as a spiritual focal point for the world.
It is axiomatic that the spirit of Torah and its ideals can only flourish when the Jewish people observe the Torah’s mitzvot. For this reason, the verse first stipulates that “Torah will go forth out of Zion.” First the Jewish people must follow Torah and its mitzvot; only then can God’s word disseminate from Jerusalem to the rest of the world. The two parts of the verse thus correspond to the dual aspects of Zion-Jerusalem. First there must be Torah in Zion, focusing inward. Then “the word of God” – the universal prophetic message – can spread to the rest of the world, emanating from ‘Jerusalem,’ the international quality of the holy city.
The Sun and the Moon
What does all of this have to do with setting the calendar? There are two aspects to setting the Jewish calendar. The first is to determine the hour of the new moon, and the second is to calculate whether it is necessary to intercalate an extra month so that the lunar cycle will remain in sync with the solar year and the seasons.
In rabbinical literature, the sun is often a metaphor for the nations of the world, while the moon represents the Jewish people. Thus the two calculations of the calendar correspond to the two aspects of Zion-Jerusalem. We need to determine the time of the new moon in order to observe the special lunar calendar of Israel – this is the internal Torah of Zion. And we need to declare a leap year in order to maintain the proper balance between the lunar year of Israel and the solar year of the nations – this corresponds to the universal message emanating from Jerusalem.
The Torah of an Entire Nation
But why must the Jewish calendar be set in the land of Israel? The restriction on setting the calendar in Eretz Yisrael reflects a fundamental axiom of Torah. For the Torah to influence and enlighten the world, it must be established as a complete Torah, a Torah that governs all spheres of human life and human activity. By setting the calendar outside of Israel, Hananiah disconnected the Torah from the myriad aspects of life as a nation living in its own land. He reduced the Torah to a personal religion that only relates to the ethical refinement of the individual and one’s private connection to God. Such an approach impoverishes the multifaceted richness of Torah. As the sages warned Hananiah, this was akin to setting up a private altar to serve God – an irreparable break from the true goal of Torah and the people of Israel.
To thwart such misguided views, the prophet declared, “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent” (Isaiah 62:1). First, Zion’s status as the center of Torah must be firmly established. Only then will the continuation of this prophecy be fulfilled: “Then the nations will see your righteousness, and all kingdoms your honor.”


CIA Memo: Brazil’s Dictator Geisel Authorized Extrajudicial Executions

Ernesto Geisel approved summary executions for “dangerous subversive” dissidents in Brazil, as the CIA quietly watched and approved.
declassified memo from the U.S. Department of State revealed that Brazilian dictator Ernesto Geisel (1974-1979) approved summary executions of “dangerous subversive” people personally, continuing with the extrajudicial methods of his predecessors.
The document was made public back in 2015, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that Matias Spektor, an international relations professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and a columnist at Brazilian newspaper Folha, found it as part of his research work and posted it on social media, along with a picture of Geisel and Joao Baptista Figueiredo, who later became his successor.
The document narrates a meeting between President GeiselGeneral Milton Tavares de Souza and General Confucio Danton de Paula Avelino, respectively outgoing and incoming chiefs of the Army Intelligence Center (CIE), along with Figueiredo, who at that time was Chief of the National Intelligence Service (SNI).
Ver imagen en Twitter
Matias Spektor@MatiasSpektor
Este é o documento mais perturbador que já li em 20 anos de pesquisa: Recém-empossado, Geisel autoriza a continuação da política de assassinatos do regime, mas exige ao Centro de Informações do Exército a autorização prévia do próprio Palácio do Planalto. http://ow.ly/gCaK30jVPji 
“This is the most disturbing document I’ve read in 20 years of research: Just after being sworn in, Geisel authorized the continuation of the regime’s killing policies, but it requires the Army Intelligence Center previous authorization from the Planalto Palace.”
General Milton briefed Geisel about the role of the Army Intelligence Center (CIE) against “the internal subversive target” during the presidency of Emilio Garrastazu Medici, and said that “extrajudicial methods should continue to be employed against dangerous subversives.”
He also informed Geisel that about 104 people falling under this category had been executed by the CIE in the previous year. Figueiredo supported this policy and urged Geisel to continue with it.
According to the memo, Geisel “commented on the seriousness and potentially prejudicial aspects of this policy,” and said he wanted to think about it over the weekend. He decided to go along with it, but to limit the executions to “only dangerous subversives,” and required the CIE to consult Figueiredo for approval before any execution.
The entire CIE would then be under Figueiredo’s control, blurring the line between the CIE and the SNI.
“I didn’t know Geisel had given the Planalto Palace the responsibility over summary execution decision. The government’s leadership was not only aware of the executions but also ordered them. That’s impressive, unheard of,” said Spektor.
The memo was sent by William Colby, who was then Director of Central Intelligence Agency, to then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who also played a key role in promoting military coups against democratically elected governments in Latin America, under the subject “Decision by Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel To Continue the Summary Execution of Dangerous Subversives Under Certain Conditions” and dated April 11, 1974.
First and second paragraphs of the document (7 and 12 and a half lines) are still classified.
After the documents were picked up by Spektor, the Brazilian army stated that any classified documents that could prove Colby’s allegations of the events had been destroyed as it was stipulated by the laws of that period.
President Michel Temer has yet to comment on the matter.