And when he {Jesus} had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.”
(Acts 1:9-11, Zechariah 14:4)

Like Manner


Easter Is Newness of Life

A compilation

All the disciples were in a mood of deepest and darkest depression. The light had been cut off from their minds. They were in the dark. The taste had gone out of their lives. Everything had become stale and profitless. Simon Peter was gloomy with despondency and haggard with remorse. … Mary Magdalene started at the “early dawn” to carry spices to the grave, but there was no dawning in her spirit, and the roadway was wet with her tears. …

And then came the cry, “He is risen!” The Lord is alive. His tomb is empty! He has shaken off death, He has marched out of the grave! Think of that trumpet note pealing through the late night. Think of that great burning light streaming through the darkness, kindling life after life into blazing hope again. …

Now what did the apostles find in the resurrection which made them give it weighty and unfailing emphasis? What was its practical significance? What did it mean? First of all, it meant this, that Jesus of Nazareth had been clearly manifested to be the Son of God. Before this wonderful morning, the disciples had been the victims of uncertainty, chilled by cloudy moods of doubt and fear.

But with the resurrection, the uncertainty ends. It is not only that the immediate darkness passes, but the troublesome mists are lifted as well, and the Master emerges as the clearly manifested Son of God. “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!” …

In the power of the resurrection, the apostles saw a vast reservoir of spiritual energy for the quickening and emancipation of the race. This was their reasoning and their faith … that in Christ we, too, can rise out of death into newness of life, that, just as He walked out of that tomb, we, too, can walk out of the grave and graveyard of our own corrupt past, and in vigour and sweetness of being, become alive unto God.—Dr. J. H. Jowett1

If you come to seek His face, not in the empty sepulcher, but in the living power of His presence … then your hearts will be full of true Easter joy, and that joy will shed itself abroad in your homes. And let your joy not end with the hymns and the prayers and the communions in His house. Take with you the joy of Easter to the home, and make that home bright with more unselfish love, more hearty service; take it into your work, and do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; take it to your heart, and let that heart rise anew on Easter wings to a higher, a gladder, a fuller life; take it to the dear graveside and say there the two words “Jesus lives!” and find in them the secret of calm expectation, the hope of eternal reunion.—John Ellerton

What is His message to us this springtime? If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.2 It is not just risen with Christ, but resurrected. It is not rising a little higher in the old life, but it is rising from the dead.—A. B. Simpson

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”3

“Newness of life”—what does it mean? It means this: When we are born again, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ … we receive a life which we never before possessed. We begin to feel, to think, and to act as we never had before. The new life is something foreign to our fallen nature. … The carnal mind knows nothing of spiritual things. The man who is not born again cannot understand what the new birth means. … In your rebirth you received a light which had never before shone in your bosom—a life that came not from men, neither by men. … No seeds of eternal life lie buried in the dunghill of fallen nature. Eternal life is the gift of God.

This novel life is new in its principles. The old life at its very best only said, “I must do right that I may win a reward.” Wage-earning is the principle of the old legal life when it tries to be obedient. Now you are moved by gratitude, and not by a mercenary motive. … Now, you serve not as a hired servant, but as a loving child. Grace reigns. The love of Christ constrains you. It is your joy to obey out of love, and not from slavish fear.

This life is swayed by new motives. You live now to please God; before you lived to please yourself, or to please your neighbors. Once you lived for what you could get for yourself; you lived for the passing pleasures of a fleeting life; but now you have launched upon eternal seas. Eternity holds your treasures; eternity excites your efforts; eternity elevates your desires. You live as seeing him who is invisible, and your conduct is controlled, not by the judgment of fallible men, but by the rule of the heart-searching God.

Your new life has new objects. You aim higher; yes, you aim at the highest of all; for you live for the glory of God, and seek that “your light may so shine, that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The will of God has now become your law. You count yourself only happy as you may fulfill his purposes, honor his name, and extend his kingdom. …

God has made us “rich in faith,” and he has given us greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. When the Lord lifts up his countenance upon us, we no longer cry for corn and wine and oil. Though flocks die, and crops fail, our bread shall be given us, and our waters shall be sure. Instead of groaning that life is not worth having, we bless God for our being, because our well-being is in Christ. …

We are happy creatures now. Once we were doleful enough, save when we were in our cups and inflamed with a delirious mirth; but now we have peace like a river, and a secret joy which no one can take from us. We drink of a well which will never dry up; we have bread to eat that the world knows not of. Truly our fellowship is with the Father; and this, even to ourselves, is so vast a joy that it overwhelms us. When we are nearest to God, and are absorbed in him, we cannot comprehend our own delight.—Charles Spurgeon4

The miracle of Easter is that because Jesus didn’t remain in the grave, we don’t have to either! We don’t have to suffer the payment for our sins in hell, or experience eternal separation from God. He took that payment for us, and then rose in new life! And His new life can be inside us, giving us hope and peace, as we are filled with His love. He arose! And we were also born anew. Hallelujah!—David Brandt Berg

1 The School of Calvary (James Clarke and Company, 1911).

2 Colossians 3:1, 3.

3 Romans 6:4.

4 Adapted from




Exclusive: Jerry Newcombe tells of skeptics who studied evidence, converted to faith

Published: March 31, 2015


Have you ever heard of Theudas? How about Judas of Galilee? They were would-be messiahs in the first century. How many followers do these men have today? Zero, zip, nada.

Of course, we’ve all heard of Jesus Christ. One-third of humanity professes to believe in Him. But I guarantee you we would never have heard of Him had He not risen from the dead.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, you have a vested interest in looking into the issue of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. There are millions today who simply dismiss the message of Christianity out of hand and don’t realize the eternal peril they are in by doing so.

On the first Easter, the tomb of Jesus was empty. That is a historical fact. Furthermore, the original skeptics of the resurrection were the disciples themselves. The only explanation for their turn from cowering in fear to boldly proclaiming Christ, though it cost virtually all of them their lives, was that they had encountered the risen Jesus.

The late Chuck Colson worked in the Nixon White House. He said: Compare the Watergate scandal with the resurrection. With Watergate, there was a human conspiracy; but once it began to break, it collapsed completely. And 80 men went to jail – Colson being one of them. But nothing (not even torture, nor martyrdom) could stop the disciples who proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus.

Honest skeptics who have examined the evidence have eventually become believers. Repeatedly.

Gen. Lew Wallace (1827-1905) was an unbeliever and set out to disprove the faith he later came to embrace and help to promote. His pro-Christian book, “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” became the basis for the 1959 film of the year.

One of the best-known defenders of the Christian faith of today is Josh McDowell, but as a young college student, he was very skeptical about the historicity of Christianity. In fact, he spent some time on study leave at the British Museum specifically to refute the faith. After a few weeks of intense study, he realized how wrong he was. He realized that the Christian faith is based on the facts of history, available for anyone open-minded enough to discover.
He became a dedicated believer, has written many books, including the best-selling, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” and has proclaimed Christ all over the world. Josh McDowell said of the resurrection of Jesus: “It’s the most fantastic fact of history.”

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century. He taught at Oxford and at Cambridge University. But as a young man, he had been an atheist, until he examined Christianity more closely. He describes himself in “Surprised by Joy” as “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England … drug into the kingdom kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting [my] eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.”

Lee Strobel used to be the legal affairs editor of the Chicago Tribune. He graduated Yale Law School and was no intellectual slouch. He also was a confirmed skeptic. But when his wife started attending church, he decided to go on a quest: to use his investigative skills to examine the claims of Christianity, including the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Strobel was honest enough to follow where the evidence would lead him. He became a Christian and now is a leading apologist. He has now written such classics as “The Case for Christ” and “The Case for Faith.”

Author Dr. Mike Licona, professor at Houston Baptist University, told me that he had serious doubts as a young man: “So, I resolved to do a thorough investigation and go where the evidence led. After years of research, the conclusion was inescapable that Jesus had risen from the dead, and the Christian gospel turns out being true.” Licona’s key professor was Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University. Habermas is one of the greatest scholars on the resurrection alive. He tells me: “I struggled through many years of religious doubt, for some 10 years straight and then more sporadically for many more years beyond that. It dominated my thinking during those years.”
He concludes: “Having studied other philosophies and world religions along the way, at one point I thought I was becoming a Buddhist. Throughout my entire search for answers, nothing quieted my toughest questions more thoroughly that did my detailed study of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event became my anchor and foundation for faith ever since.”

Skeptics are welcome to examine the evidence for themselves. He is risen indeed.




Concerns '44th president of United States'

Published: April 3, 2015


Christians are not the only ones looking for meaning in the plethora of signs aligning in the heavens.

A rare alignment of four blood moons and a total solar eclipse unfolding during a Shemitah year and on biblical feast days, has a Jewish rabbi in Israel asking for special prayer.

And issuing an ominous warning.

Rabbi Amram Vaknin, described as a “mystic rabbi living in southern Israel,” is urging all Jews to pray and repent as the third Blood Moon of a tetrad cycle approaches, according to a report in Breaking Israel News.

Vaknin is not easily dismissed because he reportedly predicted the events of the Gaza flotilla and the Carmel forest fire in 2010, the Operations Pillar of Defense of 2012 and Protective Edge of 2014.

He warns that Israel is facing great judgment and potential danger at this time, according to the report.

The rabbi’s concerns have a lot to do with the number 44 and the current U.S. president.

One of Vaknin’s students, Gil Nachman, spoke to Breaking Israel News and, quoting the rabbi, explained that the numeric value of the Hebrew word for blood, dam, which is 44, alludes to the 44th president of the United States.

Vaknin predicted that the 44th president would “bring bloodshed (dam) to the Jewish people.” It should be noted that the rabbi made this prediction before President Barack Obama’s election to office, according to Breaking Israel News.

Vaknin believes that only 44 plus one, or 45, can counter the danger represented by the blood moons. This, he says, is Adam, or Man, which in this case refers to the Messiah.

“Blood Moons” author, Pastor Mark Biltz, said he agrees with Vaknin’s numerology.

“Because when you add the letter aleph to dam you get adam and aleph has a numeric value of one,” Biltz told WND.

Obama-Iran deal ominous for Israel

The next blood moon is set for Saturday night, April 4, on Passover.

“So here, on Passover, when you put blood on the doorpost you have the Hebrew letter Dalet meaning door and is also the number 4 with a blood moon over it on 4/4 which is the 14th of Nisan going into the 15th of Nisan beginning the Feast of Unleavened Bread,” Biltz said.

Get the full blood moons story – straight from the discoverer – in “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” the book and the movie, both by Mark Biltz.

The concerns about Obama are also valid, in Biltz’s view, especially now that he has made a pact with Iran on the Islamic republic’s future nuclear capability.

“And here our 44th president has signed off on a nuclear agreement with Israel’s arch-enemy who has declared in no uncertain terms they will destroy Israel,” he said.

It’s interesting that in Hebrew the word for Damascus is 444, Biltz said.

“And in Isaiah there is a prophecy that Damascus will cease from being a city which has never happened before in history.”

Rabbi Vaknin called for a day of prayer at the Western Wall April 1 to encourage the arrival of the Messiah and the redemption of the Jewish people and the world.

“In these critical times, Am Israel must join together to pray to Hashem to send us Mashiach Ben David! Men and women, young and old, observant or not — the more people who come, the stronger the tefilla (prayer),” Vaknin announced on his Facebook page.

The repeated number four is also important to the sage.

Along with the value of 44 and the four Blood Moons of the tetrad, this Passover brings the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting just 4 minutes, 44 seconds.

Strong tradition of blood moon signs in Talmud

Vaknin is not the first Jewish religious teacher to associate the blood moon tetrad with Jewish redemption, according to Breaking Israel News.

“With the first and third Blood Moons in this current tetrad cycle coinciding with Passover, and the second and fourth with the Feast of Tabernacles, the connections to times of redemption run deep,” the site reported.

The Talmud states, “In [the Hebrew month of] Nisan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt, and in Nisan we will be redeemed.”

Likewise, the Feast of the Tabernacles is associated in Jewish tradition with the battle of Gog and Magog, the final war that is said to precede the final redemption and arrival of the Messiah.”

This year is also a sabbatical, or Shemitah year, a once every seven years cycle in which the land of Israel is commanded to be left fallow and financial ledgers get wiped clean.

Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times-bestseller “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” has also issued warnings that a time of judgment is coming to America and the world in the form of possible stock market collapses and wars. But Cahn has stopped short of predicting such events. Rather, Cahn says “we should be aware” and people of Christian faith should be preparing themselves not only physically but spiritually for difficult times ahead. Even if the judgment doesn’t fall during the Shemitah year, Cahn believes it is guaranteed to come at some point if people don’t repent and turn back to God.

What’s this Shemitah business all about? WND has a free e-book that explains all you need to know in one quick read.

‘Voices of war’

From a Jewish perspective, notes that the sages in the Talmud included the following warning: “In the sixth [year there will be] voices [of war], in the seventh [there will be] war, and at the end of the shmitta, the [Messiah] son of Jesse will arrive.”

Although the Talmud never states in which seven-year cycle in history this will be fulfilled, the website suggested that thus far our modern period fits the description.

Breaking Israel News said not everyone agrees on the meaning of the rare tetrad of blood moons.

“The Blood Moon phenomenon has attracted much attention of late thanks to the efforts and solar discoveries by Root Source’s Bob O’Dell and Gidon Ariel. Not everyone is in agreement as to what the Blood Moons signify. According to O’Dell, “All the prior blood moon tetrads point to a pattern of blessing on the Jewish people. They are good news for the Jews. They are a great indicator of God’s love and commitment to the Jewish people to preserve them, and a warning to those who stand in opposition to Israel.”

The Talmud discusses the significance of astronomical events in human history, stating that a solar eclipse is a warning to the nations, while a lunar eclipse signifies danger for the Jewish people, who are likened to the moon, according to the website.

“The Sages go on to explain that this is because God sits in judgment at those times, and human actions and choices are being weighed,” the site reports. “It is a time when our mistakes may come back to haunt us.

“Rabbi Vaknin adds his voice to other religious leaders calling on their followers to pray for peace and security in Israel. Christian leaders Mark Biltz and Bob O’Dell have organized a prayer gathering for Christians worldwide to pray during the 4 minutes and 44 seconds of the total lunar eclipse late Friday night.”


Pope’s jubilee plans raise fears of terror threat

MARCH 22, 2015

The Washingto Post explains…

The pope’s surprise announcement of a massive holy festival in December has forced Italian officals to re-evaluate recent threats by jihadist Islamic State militants to attack the Vatican, the Italian press reported over the weekend.

Pope Francis took Italian officials by surprise Friday when he announced an Extraordinary Jubilee Year beginning Dec. 8, which could draw millions of Catholics to the Italian capital. The highly popular pontiff said the holy festival’s theme would be mercy, a cornerstone of his own papacy.

Islamic State militants have singled out the Vatican, showing images online of the terrorist group’s black flag flying over St. Peter’s Basilica, the seat of Roman Catholicism. Fears that jihadist militants could enter Italy on one of the many migrant vessels that come into Italian waters from the Middle East is an opinion heard among Italians.

Pope Francis’s announcement could cause a security nightmare for Italian authorities.

A holy year overseen by Pope John Paul II in 2000 drew some 25 million Roman Catholics to Rome with pilgrims camping all around the city.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday a decision would soon be made as to whether the some 5,000 police officers guarding the Milan Expo, which ends at the end of October, would be dispatched to Rome immediately afterward for the holy festival celebrations.

Alfano said that intelligence experts thought a lone terrorist, radicalized in Italy, would prove a more likely threat than anyone entering Italy by ship.

“The terrorist threat will be re-examined and re-evaluated” because of the papal announcement, Alfano told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper Sunday.

Father Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s ambassador in Geneva, advocated Friday the use of force against Islamic State jihdists if a political solution could not be negotiated, an extremely rare stance for the Roman Catholic Church.

The last extraordinary jubilee was called in 1983 by John Paul II to celebrate 1,950 years since Jesus Christ’s redemption.

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said the capital “will be ready for the challenge of the holy year.” Officials only have a few months to prepare for the millions of visitors expected, however. For the 2000 holy year, authorities had some four years to prepare.

Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, predicted this coming holy year could turn out to be more modest than the 2000 celebrations.

“That was the millennium, the pope had talked about it for years, there were many events, and huge preparation,” he said, as reported by the London Times newspaper. “This year has to be seen as more of a spiritual exercise.”

Luigi Zanda, an Italian senator who helped organize the 2000 celebrations, warned, however, that this year could prove an even bigger draw for Catholics “thanks to the huge attraction of Pope Francis, and the fact that people travel a lot more at low cost,” the Times quoted him as saying.


Russia to firmly stand for Middle East Christians’ protection -—Russian UN envoy

Russia March 27, 19:59 UTC+3

Moscow resolutely and consistently denounces any acts of violence against civilians, including on ethnic and religious grounds, Russia's Ambassador to the UN says

UNITED NATIONS, March 27. /TASS/. Russia will firmly stand for the protection of Christians and adherents of other religions who are persecuted by terrorists in the Middle East, Russia’s UN Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin said on Friday.

Russia "resolutely and consistently denounces any acts of violence against civilians, including on ethnic and religious grounds," Churkin said at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

"We’ll continue our principled policy in the interests of achieving inter-confessional and inter-ethnic peace and accord in Syria, Iraq and other Middle East countries," Russia’s UN envoy said.

"We’ll continue to firmly stand for the protection of both Christians and adherents of other religions who are persecuted by terrorists," the Russian diplomat said.


(And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak...Revelation 13:15)

Daily Mail

Google patents system that could one day download the personality of a celebrity or even a deceased loved one to a ROBOT

  • Google says robot could replicate a deceased loved one or a celebrity

  • Firm has already developed the 6.2 foot Atlas robot

  • Robot personalities can be downloaded like apps online


PUBLISHED: 17:58 EST, 1 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:20 EST, 1 April 2015

Google has developed a system to allow robots to download new personalities online.

The system would allow machines to download them in a similar way to an app - and even have a different personality for each user.

The patent says that the personality could replicate the robot's owner, 'a deceased loved one,' or 'a celebrity,'

Scroll down for video

The California giant's patent says that the robot personality could replicate the robot's owner, 'a deceased loved one,' or 'a celebrity.' Above it Atlas, which according to Google-owned Boston Dynamics, is a 'high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain.

Google's patent details a cloud-based system where a personality could be downloaded to a robot, in the same way one might download an app.

'The robot personality may also be modifiable within a base personality construct (i.e., a default-persona) to provide states or moods representing transitory conditions of happiness, fear, surprise, perplexion (e.g., the Woody Allen robot), thoughtfulness, derision (e.g., the Rodney Dangerfield robot), and so forth,' states the patent.

Friends will even be able to clone their robots and swap aspects of its personality.

'The personality and state may be shared with other robots so as to clone this robot within another device or devices.

'In this manner, a user may travel to another city, and download within a robot in that city (another 'skin') the personality and state matching the user's 'home location' robot.

'The robot personality thereby becomes transportable or transferable.'

The firm also explains 'This disclosure relates to a robot imbued with a personality, or personalities.

'In particular, but without limitation, the disclosure provides for a robot that operates with personality attributes and related capabilities drawn from cloud computing capacities.

'Personality may be thought of as personification in the sense of human characteristics or qualities attributed to a non-human thing.

'A robot can be programmed to provide a desired look as well as interactability for the robot, which may be subject to change by the user or by the robot itself, such that the robot interface is customized to provide a desired personality for the robot.'

Google already owns several firms developing robotic technology, including Atlas, 6.2 feet of metal with a plastic body that can walk, run, jump and even open doors.

This is latest version of the Atlas robot created by Boston Dynamics, a Google-owned robot firm.

Later this year, seven of the robots will compete in a 'robo oylmpics' - designed to recreate natural disasters the robots could one day be sent into.

A total of $3.5 million in prizes will now be awarded to the top three finishers in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), the final event of which will be held June 5-6, 2015, at Fairplex in California.

Aside from the previously announced $2 million grand prize, DARPA plans to award $1 million to the runner-up and $500,000 to the third-place team.

Google's patent drawings reveal the system can share personalities and download them

DARPA expects at least twenty teams to compete in the DRC Finals.

'The goal of the DRC is to generate groundbreaking research and development in hardware and software that will enable future robots, in tandem with human counterparts, to perform the most hazardous activities in disaster zones, thus reducing casualties and saving lives,' it said.

The teams using the DARPA-developed Atlas robot will use an entirely new version, which is battery powered for the first time.

The Atlas robot created by Google-owned firm Boston Dynamics is a formidable figure at 6ft 2in tall and weighing in at 330lb.

The robot boasts 28 hydraulically actuated joints and stereo vision, and is one of the most advanced robots ever created.

Atlas will also now carry an onboard 3.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with the potential for one hour of 'mixed mission' operation that includes walking, standing, use of tools, and other movements.

The upgraded Atlas is 75 percent new—only the lower legs and feet were carried over from the original design

Gill Pratt, of DARPA said: 'Atlas unplugged is the upgrade to allow it to run entirely on batteries.

'We have to cut the cord.'

'The new Atlas is 75% new, it has much more dexterity and is quieter, and stronger.

'The introduction of a battery and variable-pressure pump into Atlas poses a strategic challenge for teams,' said Pratt.

'The operator will be able to run the robot on a mid-pressure setting for most operations to save power, and then apply bursts of maximum pressure when additional force is needed.'

During the finals, a series of events will be held to replicate disasters.

'The finals will be very hard. We want them to be more like real disasters, the robots will have to do all these tasks in sequence with no human help.

Given their identical hardware, the Atlas teams will have to differentiate themselves through software, control interfaces, and competition strategy.

Other firms are already developing robots with 'friendly' personalities

Teams will have a few options on the selection of tasks they choose to attempt and the order they do them—and must manage time and battery life during their runs—but DARPA expects that the top-placing teams will complete all of the tasks.

Teams are likely to keep their robots connected to fall arrestors during much of the remaining months of training as a safeguard against premature damage to the robot. DARPA demonstrated the new Atlas with a fall arrestor in place.

'Risk mitigation is part of the game,' Pratt said. 'It's up to the teams to decide what chances they're willing to take during training and risk falls and damage, but come the DRC Finals, the cords are cut.'

The researchers even taught the robot to stand on one leg - recreating a key scene from the film in the process.

However, it's not just karate - Ian has another trick up his sleeve - software written by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Interaction which allows him to drive a car.

'To achieve this level of maneuverability in robots, researchers at IHMC look toward nature,' the team say.

'Inspired by the speed of cheetahs, the endurance of horses, the maneuverability of monkeys, and the versatility of humans, IHMC researchers are on a quest to develop legged robots that are fast, efficient, and graceful, with the mobility required to access many of the same places that humans can.'

At the US Government's Robo-Olympics, Ian came second, despite competing as a virtual software simulation.

Despite his lack of limbs, the world's most innocuously named 'bot was able to walk, carry a fire hose and, most impressively, get in a car and drive it.

Atlas is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain, Boston Dynamics said.

'Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.

The Atlas robot has an articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder so it can 'see' where it is going.

'Articulated, sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso.

'An articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder.'

Atlas is powered from an off-board, electric power supply via a flexible tether - although a new version promises to remove this.



New DNA Tech: Creating Unicorns and Curing Cancer for Real?

We have the earth-shattering technology in our hands—but even its inventors worry about its awesome power to alter our genetic future.

We have within our grasp the technology to change evolution. This could change the course of biological life.”

  • Paul Berg, Nobel Laureate and a pioneer of genetic engineering


In 2012, scientists in the U.S. and Sweden invented a technology as potentially life-altering as splitting the atom. One that you haven’t heard of—yet—called “CRISPR-Cas9”. This innovation with the cumbrous name allows biologists to edit DNA almost as easily as cutting and pasting words and letters on a laptop.

Scientists say that CRISPR-Cas9 may soon allow them to perform miraculous fixes to eliminate or alter mutations that cause everything from some cancers to Parkinson’s disease. More whimsically, the technology could be used to create, say, a unicorn, or a pig with wings; though it’s unlikely they could make swine fly. More nefariously, terrorists or the military might create pathogens that could harm far more people than splitting the atom has so far. Or, an accident could occur unintentionally.

The question is how to turn this seemingly earth-shattering technology from a yawn in the public perception into a topic that society is aware of, and one that is discussed, thereby preventing or making highly unlikely the bio-equivalent of a nuke exploding. This is not easy in a culture and political system that usually reacts only when disaster strikes, and often fails to act decisively even after careful deliberations and warnings. (Think climate change). Nor are stakeholders - some scientists and companies, for instance, and even physicians eager to save people - always eager to dwell on what can go wrong.

This makes it all the more laudable that a group of 18 prominent scientists and experts in law and ethics—led by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and a co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9—published a letter a few days ago in Science calling for a moratorium on some uses of this technology. The group, which met in Napa, California, last January for a one-day summit, fretted about a possible “slippery slope” that might occur from using disease-curing applications that everyone wants, “toward uses with less compelling or even troubling implications.”

They call on scientists to impose a voluntary stoppage “while societal, environmental, and ethical implications of such activity are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations.”

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, a process that in nature allows bacteria to remember the DNA of viruses that have attacked them, so that next time the bacteria can identify and destroy theses viruses with the help of DNA-slicing enzymes. In 2012 Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden demonstrated in Science how to co-opt this process to intentionally edit DNA in any organism by using a slicer enzyme called Cas9—and improvement on past gene-editing techniques.

The Napa group is particularly concerned about the modification of the human germline, the DNA in cells that is passed down to our children and subsequent generations. Germline alterations are therefore permanent, as opposed to changes made to “somatic” cells—the cells in you and I that are generated after conception and are not passed on to our children.

“You don’t know in future generations how modifications will impact people, so we need to be careful,” said Stanford biochemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Berg, a signatory of the Napa group’s letter. In the 1970s Berg co-invented an earlier gene modification technique known as recombinant DNA.

In an email, CRISPR-Cas9 co-inventor Jennifer Douda told me: “My colleagues and I felt that it was critical to initiate a public discussion of the appropriate use of this technology, and to call for a voluntary ban on human germline editing for clinical applications at the present time.”

The Science letter, however, does not suggest which organizations or governmental or international agencies should take the lead. Nor what a response might look like. Most industrialized countries already have laws forbidding human germline modification and strict regulations on other forms of genetic manipulation. Many other nations have weak or nonexistent controls, which is why the authors appeal to scientists everywhere to avoid germline experiments with CRISPR-Cas9 on their own.

More whimsically, the technology could be used to create, say, a unicorn, or a pig with wings.

Even with tight regulations, suggests Stanford law professor and ethics expert Henry Greely, part of the Napa group, the U.S. needs to update rules developed mostly in the 1980s. “We were protected in a way by the science being so expensive and difficult,” he said. “Now some really bright high school student could conduct an experiment with CRISPR-Cas9. Let’s say he decides to modify a mosquito to do some good, and he accidently creates a super mosquito that gets in the environment and becomes like kudzu.”

(Kudzu, “the plant that ate the South,” was imported from Japan in the early 20th century to control erosion in the Southeastern U.S. and quickly took over, choking off native plants and driving everyone crazy even today.)

“Our current laws wouldn’t stop an ambitious scientist from using CRISPR to modify the germline,” added Berg. He and others tell of rumors that it’s already being tried in China. “You would be insane and criminally reckless to make a baby this way without 15 to 20 years of testing and proof it was safe,” said Greely.

The U.S. and the world could take cues from the United Nations in how they create consensus reports by scientists detailing the human impact on climate change. Or from the British system that formally consults with the public and stakeholders around new technologies, a process that began with the invention of in vitro fertilization—so-called test tube babies—in the late 1970s. The Brits also require a series of approvals by agencies and organizations that assess safety, ethics, and efficacy.

In February the British Parliament legalized a new method for combining the DNA of three people in a kind of genetic edit that went through this process. The fix prevents defects in the mitochondria—the part of a cell that converts fuel into energy—from being passed on to children who might then suffer brain damage or heart disease. This alteration is permanent in the child and his or her offspring.

In the U.S. such a consensus would be tough given our polarized politics and diffuse political system. You also have the likely opposition of the religious right, which still doesn’t recognize Darwinian natural evolution, never mind genetic tinkering by humans, even if it’s deemed safe.

Jennifer Doudna tells me she is working on setting up a meeting to move the CRISPR-Cas9 discussion forward, and Paul Berg suspects that in the U.S. the National Institutes of Health and the National Academies of Science, among others, will get involved. It might also be time to update the 2010 Obama administration report on synthetic biology—the broad field that CRISPR-Cas9 is a part of—issued by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

Beyond this, the U.S. and the world should waste no time in getting creative with developing new processes for insuring that CRISPR-Cas9 and other powerful molecular technologies are allowed to move forward if safe, and restricted or shut down if they are not. But only after a careful and exhaustive process that includes all stakeholders, and is as de-politicized as much as possible—something that regrettably isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. (The need to get innovative about how our society makes decisions about new technologies is likely a subject for a future column.)

It’s worth noting that the last time life-science biologists issued a call for a similar moratorium was in the mid-1970s, when Paul Berg and others invented recombinant DNA. This allowed the insertion of DNA from one organism into another. Highly controversial at the time, some people feared that human-engineered organisms might run amuck, or that methods then used to combine DNA might create deadly, cancer-causing pathogens.

They didn’t, in part because a group of scientists led by Berg and others met at the Asilomar conference center south of San Francisco—150 miles from Napa—and issued their own call for a voluntary ban. This allowed a public dialogue to take place and safety measures to be implemented. Four decades later, recombinant DNA has led to dozens of life-saving drugs and is the basis of countless scientific discoveries—all accomplished without unleashing monsters.

The letter in Science is a modest step toward snatching the attention of the public and decision-makers about CRISPR-Cas9, although it’s not a flash in the pan. Hopefully it will launch a process that will push us toward cures rather than a catastrophe.



The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss

As a Saudi-led coalition wades into the fight for Yemen – currently under siege from Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran - Robert Fisk examines the much wider-reaching repercussions of this escalating conflict


Friday 27 March 2015

Saudi Arabia has jumped into the abyss.

Its air attacks on Yemen are a historic and potentially fatal blow to the Kingdom and to the Middle East.

Who decided that this extraordinary battle should take shape in the poorest of Arab nations? The Saudis, whose King is widely rumoured in the Arab world to be incapable of taking decisions of state? Or the princes within the Saudi army who fear that their own security forces may not be loyal to the monarchy?

The “story” of Yemen appears simple. Houthi rebels, who are Shia Muslims, have captured the capital of Sanaa with the help – so say the Saudis – of the Iranians. The legitimate President – Abed Rabou Mansour Hadi – has fled to the Saudi capital of Riyadh from his bolthole in the old southern Yemeni capital of Aden. The Saudis will not permit an Iranian proxy state to be set up on their border – always forgetting that they already have an Iranian-proxy state called Iraq on their northern border, courtesy of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The real “story” is more important. Perhaps half of the Saudi army is of Yemeni tribal origin. Saudi soldiers are intimately – through their own families – involved in Yemen, and the Yemen revolution is a stab in the guts of the Saudi royal family. No wonder King Salman of Saudi Arabia – if he indeed rules his nation – wishes to bring this crisis to an end. But are his bombing raids on Sanaa going to crush a Shia Muslim rebellion?

An armed member of the Houthi militia stands in the rubble of houses which were allegedly destroyed by a Saudi air strike (EPA)

You can understand what it looks like from Riyadh. To the north, the Shia Muslim Iranian Revolutionary Guards are assisting the Shia-dominated Iraqi government in their battle against Sunni Muslim Isis. To the north-west, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are assisting the government of Alawite (for which read, Shia) president Bashar al-Assad against Isis and al-Nusrah and whatever is left of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The Shia Hezbollah from Lebanon are fighting alongside Assad’s army. So are Shia Muslims from Afghanistan, wearing Syrian uniforms. Saudi Arabia claims the Iranians are in Yemen with the Houthis. Unlikely. But be sure their weapons are in Yemen.

Unprecedented in modern Arab history, a Sunni Muslim coalition of 10 nations – including non-Arab Pakistan – has attacked another Arab nation. The Sunnis and the Shia of the Middle East are now at war with each other in Iraq, in Syria and Yemen. Pakistan is a nuclear power. The armies of Bahrain and the Gulf states include Pakistani soldiers. Pakistanis were among the dead in the first great battle against Iraqi troops in the 1991 Gulf War.

But already, the battle for Yemen is dividing other Arab countries. In Lebanon, the former Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad Hariri has praised the “brave and wise” decision of King Salman to attack. Mr Hariri is not only a Sunni – he is also a Saudi citizen. But the Shia Hezbollah, who oppose Saudi intervention, called the Saudi assault an “uncalculated adventure”. These words were chosen with care. They are exactly the words the Saudis used against Hezbollah after it captured three Israeli soldiers in 2006, a stupid political act which started the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon that year.

The battle for Yemen is dividing Arab countries (AFP/Getty)

The Americans do not know what to do. They cannot give the Saudis direct military assistance – their nuclear talks with Iran are more important – and so their soft verbal support for King Salman is supposed to mollify their Sunni allies and avoid antagonising the Iranians. But the closer a nuclear deal comes between the US and Iran, the more forcefully their partners in the Arab world will push their cards. What provoked the Saudis into their extraordinary adventure in Yemen was not the approach of Houthis towards Aden but the approach of US-Iranian agreement at Lausanne.

Hezbollah may call the Saudi attacks a “Saudi-American conspiracy” – an overused phrase which contains some truth – but the reality, evident to every Arab, is that the Saudis, armed (or over-armed, as many might say) by the US, are clearly prepared to use their firepower against another Arab nation rather than the traditional enemy further north. Listening to the rhetoric of the Saudis, you might think that they were bombing Israel.

History may say that the attacks on Yemen are the start of a great civil war between Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East. This would satisfy the West – and Israel – in a belief that the Arabs are at war with themselves. But it may also be true that this is the last attempt by the Saudis to prove that they are a major military power. In 1990, faced with the arrival of Saddam’s legions in Kuwait, they asked infidel America to protect them (to the fury of Osama bin Laden). They are a Wahabi nation, loyal – officially, at least – to the same theology as the Taliban and Isis. Saudi provided 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. They gave us Bin Laden, who – let us not forget – was also of Yemeni tribal origin. After Yemen supported Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, the Saudis threw tens of thousands of Yemenis out of the Kingdom. In revenge for their disloyalty. Do they expect Yemenis now to rally to their support?

The last time the Saudis involved themselves in Yemen, they fought Nasser’s Egyptian army. It was a disaster. Now they have the Egyptians on their side. Indeed, they even suggest the Egyptians may stage a landing in Yemen. But to do what? To ensure that Yemen remains a faithful Sunni nation? Will this assuage the Sunni militias battering the Egyptian army in Sinai?

More seriously, will it resolve the coming struggle within the royal family, whose princes do not all believe Yemen must be the cornerstone of Saudi power – nor that Wahabism must be the permanent sectional belief. And who gains from the new Yemen crisis? The oil producers, of course. And that means Saudi Arabia – and Iran.



'Historic Deal' With Iran Reached – Obama

21:28 02.04.2015(updated 22:17 02.04.2015)

US President Barack Obama said Thursday following a decision of the P5+1 and Iran on the framework of the future nuclear agreement after many months of talks that a "historic deal" had been reached with Tehran.

US President Barack Obama said that if the Iranian nuclear deal was implemented, it would prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon," Obama said.


The long-awaited interim solution on Iran's nuclear program was reached earlier on Thursday at the latest round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

The US president said that the reached deal was an opportunity for Iran to prove that its nuclear program was peaceful.

Obama said that sanctions could be re-imposed if the nuclear agreement was violated adding that the reached nuclear agreement was based on unprecedented verification, not on trust.

"If Iran shifts, we will know it. If we suspect anything, we will inspect it," US President Obama said.

He added that other US sanctions against Iran that were not related to its nuclear program would remain.

"The international community has agreed to provide Iran relief from certain sanctions, our own sanctions and international sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council," Obama stated.

The deadline for a comprehensive agreement has been set for July 1, 2015.

The US president, however, emphasized that the final agreement had not been signed yet.

Obama said that the reached agreement on Iranian nuclear program had prevented a new war in the Middle East adding that the approach of Washington and Tel Aviv on the the Islamic Republic's nuclear issue differ.

"If… Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option," he said.

"I will be speaking with Prime Minister [Netanyahu] today to make clear that there is no daylight, there will be no daylight when it comes to our support for Israel security, and our concerns about Iran’s destabilizing policies and threats towards Israel," Obama said.

The agreement has "made the world safer," he said.

The president quoted John Fitzgerald Kennedy saying that "must never fear to negotiate."

The P5+1 group comprising Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom and Germany have been trying to reach a deal with Iran that would ensure the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear energy program since 2013.



Iceland To Take Back The Power To Create Money

March 31, 2015 Posted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer at 8:30 pm

Who knew that the revolution would start with those radical Icelanders? It does, though. One Frosti Sigurjonsson, a lawmaker from the ruling Progress Party, issued a report today that suggests taking the power to create money away from commercial banks, and hand it to the central bank and, ultimately, Parliament.

Can’t see commercial banks in the western world be too happy with this. They must be contemplating wiping the island nation off the map. If accepted in the Iceland parliament , the plan would change the game in a very radical way. It would be successful too, because there is no bigger scourge on our economies than commercial banks creating money and then securitizing and selling off the loans they just created the money (credit) with.

Everyone, with the possible exception of Paul Krugman, understands why this is a very sound idea. Agence France Presse reports:

Iceland Looks At Ending Boom And Bust With Radical Money Plan

Iceland’s government is considering a revolutionary monetary proposal – removing the power of commercial banks to create money and handing it to the central bank. The proposal, which would be a turnaround in the history of modern finance, was part of a report written by a lawmaker from the ruling centrist Progress Party, Frosti Sigurjonsson, entitled “A better monetary system for Iceland”.

“The findings will be an important contribution to the upcoming discussion, here and elsewhere, on money creation and monetary policy,” Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said. The report, commissioned by the premier, is aimed at putting an end to a monetary system in place through a slew of financial crises, including the latest one in 2008.

According to a study by four central bankers, the country has had “over 20 instances of financial crises of different types” since 1875, with “six serious multiple financial crisis episodes occurring every 15 years on average”. Mr Sigurjonsson said the problem each time arose from ballooning credit during a strong economic cycle.

He argued the central bank was unable to contain the credit boom, allowing inflation to rise and sparking exaggerated risk-taking and speculation, the threat of bank collapse and costly state interventions. In Iceland, as in other modern market economies, the central bank controls the creation of banknotes and coins but not the creation of all money, which occurs as soon as a commercial bank offers a line of credit. The central bank can only try to influence the money supply with its monetary policy tools.

Under the so-called Sovereign Money proposal, the country’s central bank would become the only creator of money. “Crucially, the power to create money is kept separate from the power to decide how that new money is used,” Mr Sigurjonsson wrote in the proposal. “As with the state budget, the parliament will debate the government’s proposal for allocation of new money,” he wrote.

Banks would continue to manage accounts and payments, and would serve as intermediaries between savers and lenders. Mr Sigurjonsson, a businessman and economist, was one of the masterminds behind Iceland’s household debt relief programme launched in May 2014 and aimed at helping the many Icelanders whose finances were strangled by inflation-indexed mortgages signed before the 2008 financial crisis.



NATO: In the Crosshairs of Critique

Is Germany trying to distance itself from NATO's sabre-rattling?

(NachDenkSeiten) GERMANY Mon, Mar 23

This article originally appeared at NachDenkSeiten. Translated for RI by Mihajlo Doknic

The German Chancellery has accused NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove of "dangerous propaganda". The question: what to think about this critique coming from a government that uses this kind of propaganda technique itself. Jens Wernicke, media scientist and author of several books, talked with the renowned Swiss peace researcher and NATO expert Dr. Daniele Ganser.

Mr. Ganser, the German Chancellery accuses NATO chief Philip M. Breedlove, of "dangerous propaganda". Breedlove exaggerates Russia’s military involvement in East Ukraine, for example. What is going on here? Is the German government just accusing NATO of war propaganda?

The German Chancellery is right with its critique. In my opinion, something dangerous is happening right now: US generals like Breedlove are trying to provoke a war, where Germans and Russians would kill each other in order to weaken both countries. This is a cynical, actually a diabolical plan. But this is exactly what US strategist like Georg Friedman, director of the Stratfor think tank, are suggesting. United, Germany and Russia are the only power that could threaten the US, Friedman said in a speech in February 2015 in Chicago.

"Our primordial interest [preventing a German-Russian alliance] is to ensure that will never happen," said Friedman.

"The US, as an empire, cannot intervene in Eurasia all the time," he explained. Therefore they must turn countries against each other, so they don’t build close alliances. "I suggest something President Ronald Reagan used against Iraq and Iran: He supported both war parties!" Freidman stated. The war between Iraq and Iran between 1980 and 1988 claimed at least 400.000 dead, so from the point of peace science it is frightening what Friedman suggests. "So the Iranians and Iraqis fought against each other and not against us," explained Freidman in his speech. "That was cynical and amoral. But it worked."

The USA cannot occupy Eurasia. The same moment we put our boots on European soil, we will be outnumbered due to demographics. In my opinion the radical US generals like Breedlove are trying to implement this strategy, where in future German and Russian Soldiers kill each other in Ukraine, thus destabilizing and weakening the whole of East Europe. That would be a catastrophe. Therefore a peace movement needs to encourage an alternative solution, like the neutrality of Ukraine. No NATO membership and friendship between Germany and Russia.

How is NATO trying to fuel this conflict?

NATO General Breedlove often sticks out by spreading exaggerated and untrue claims. This is how NATO is fueling the war. This is dangerous, because the situation is very tense, as we know. On the 12th of November 2014 Breedlove claimed that Russian toops and tanks have marched into Ukraine! But that wasn’t true and it wasn’t just a little thing. Literally the NATO general said: "We have seen that Russian troops, Russian tanks, Russian artillery and air defense systems have moved into Ukraine." BBC and other mass media spread that worldwide but it was a lie.

And US General Ben Hodges, commander of the US troops in Europe, also pushes for war by supporting the Ukrainian army. In January 2015 he visited a military hospital in Kiev and handed over a medal for bravery of the US Army to a wounded Ukrainian soldier! That, of course, increases tension.

However, the US General Hodges shows symbolically: The US is an "active party of war" in the Ukraine. It stands by the Ukrainian army that is fighting the Russian supported separatists in East Ukraine. Because Germany is a NATO member, there is a danger that German soldiers are dragged into this war by the US. Similar to Afghanistan after 2001. If that happens, then we have exactly the situation Friedman is asking for: Germans and Russians shooting at each other in the Ukraine. Of course I hope that this won’t happen. However, a peace movement needs to raise this and warn of such dangers in order to avoid them.

Is this a very common thing, I mean, that NATO lies, exaggerates or deceives?

Yes, regrettably NATO has, on a regular basis, combined lies and war. In my book NATO’s secret armies in Europe. Staged terror and clandestine warfare I show how, during the Cold War, NATO had built in Western countries, supported by CIA and the British secret service MI6, secret armies, of which existence the governments and population didn’t know anything.

Especially the US generals are dangerous, because they have been continuously fighting wars in different countries during the last 70 years. As representatives of an empire they are not only used to kill but also to deceive. General Lyman Lemnitzer, for example, who served as SACEUR of NATO (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) between 1963 and 1969, so one of Breedlove’s predecessors, suggested in the 60s that the US should stage a war against Cuba by destroying an American ship at the military base in Guantanamo and by staging terror attacks in Washington, and then for both crimes accuse Fidel Castro in order to get the American public behind the war. John F. Kennedy, however, stopped the operation [Northwoods]. But it shows, how dangerous the officers in the Pentagon are.

Is only the US pushing for wars or are other countries also involved?

NATO has 28 members and unfortunately other NATO countries are involved in war propaganda as well. For example, the Brits! In March 2003, before they attacked Iraq, Tony Blair, the then prime minister, said: "Iraq is in possession of chemical and biological weapons. Its rockets are ready for use within 45 minutes." That was a lie! The attack on Iraq by USA and Great Britain started, nevertheless, without an UN mandate. So it was illegal!

It was also an illegal aggression when NATO, on the 24th of March 1999, started bombing Serbia. Because NATO didn’t have a mandate of the UN Security Council. Back then it was Germany under the Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping and the Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, that actively took part in the aggression [War on Yugoslavia], together with the US. In the run-up to the aggression lies were spread to get the people behind this war. Later, in 2014, Schröder admitted that NATO violated International Law. "When the question came up how to deal with developments in Yugoslavia and Kosovo respectively, we sent our planes, our Tornados [German warplanes] to Serbia together with NATO and bombed a sovereign state without a Security Council Resolution," admitted Schröder self-critically.

How come that in those cases nobody raises its voice and we only read the same NATO statements with their arguments?

The mass media in Germany are pushing people into a direct confrontation with Russia, in a way the radicals in the US, like Stratfor director Friedman, are asking for. It means, they fuel animosity towards Russia. And very rarely there is a critical discussion about NATO or about the strategic interests of the US, those powers that are fueling the war in Ukraine.

Many journalists don’t even call the US an empire fearing for their jobs and other things. But it is apparent that the US is an empire of our times, the most powerful nation that, of course, is pursuing its national interests. This fact is rarely raised by the mass media. So many people watching TV don’t even know the term ‚US Empire’ or the strategic interests of this empire in Eurasia. Therefore, critical people disappointed by the TV and Newspapers are trying to inform themselves through alternative media on the Internet.

So, do you think the critique by our [German] government is a sign that they finally try to break the global spiral of violence and distance itself from propaganda in favour of respectful dialogue with Russia? And, is our government more credible than NATO itself?

I am from Switzerland, whicht is not part of NATO. So I do look at the German policy and Chancellor Merkel from the outside. And I see that many people are concerned with the situation [war] in Ukraine, because of its proximity. And most of the Germans that I know, they don’t want a future, where German soldiers and Russian soldiers shoot at each other! But I am not sure what the German government wants. They move in a zigzag course. One day, as a NATO member, they fuel, together with the US, the war in the Ukraine by increasing tensions with Russia. And sometimes they try to keep the friendship or at least the respect with Russia by publically criticizing NATO war-hawk Breedlove. So which line will be predominant in future its hard to tell.

What is your assessment of the departure of the hawk Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO General Secretary? Will Jens Stoltenberg establish himself as a peaceful successor? To put it differently: How much influence has a Secretary General actually on NATO policies?

If you study the history of NATO it is easy to notice that the post of Secretary General is always staffed with an European, now Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, and before that, Rasmussen, a Dane. But the Europeans should not be mistaken as to who is calling the shots in NATO, it is the US! Secretary General is not the most important post. It is actually the one of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, because here lies the military command. An American, now Breedlove, always holds this position.

Has Stoltenberg publically criticized Breedlove or tried to stop him? No, he is not able to. His job as Secretary General is primarily to give NATO an European face. This is better received in Europe, than having a US diplomat appear all the time.

So I don’t believe that Stoltenberg is able or willing to transform NATO into a peaceful organization. Also because of the track record of NATO in the past two decades: NATO wars and the technique of ‚Regime Change’ have left countries in ruins and traumatized people, in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. So I hope that Ukraine won’t be put on this list too!

Thank you for the interview.


Ready Nutrition

New Executive Order: Obama Takes Total Control of Internet: Declares ‘National Cyber Security Emergency’

Author Condition Mac Slavo END Author Condition


April 2, 2015

It should be obvious given the recent hacks against essential infrastructure that America faces a major cyber security threat from foreign governments and rogue organizations. In just the last few years it has been reported that hackers have infiltrated everything from critical physical components that manage water utilities to 23 orbiting spacecraft managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The problems have been highlighted by major cyber security firms like Symantec and McAfee.

The threat is real and the government knows it. In an open letter to her successor, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that a massive attack against the U.S. power grid is imminent.

Notoriously known as “Big Sis” for her role at the Orwellian mega-agency, she claims the supposed ‘imminent’ event will pose challenges to all aspects of life, and make powering homes, providing food and facilitating transportation difficult. Napolitano seems so sure, one wonders how she knows that such a catastrophe is not only possible, but sure to happen, as she prepares to officially leave office September 6th.

The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way.

But while private and public organizations should be working to secure their networks and prevent outside access to components that could bring down the grid, the question of how much involvement is required by the Federal government has now come to the forefront.

According to the Obama Administration’s latest move, it is apparent that they believe central control is the only solution.

As such, President Obama has issued a new Executive Order that, for all intents and purposes, cedes total control of the internet and domestic infrastructure to the U.S. government.

It’s business as usual in Washington. President Obama has just signed another Executive Order declaring a National Emergency to deal with cyber threats:



This new authority, yet another layer of government oversight, we are sure is for your own protection and in Obama’s words will “augment work to fight cyber threats.”All your internet is belong to us…

The national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of the Nation’s critical infrastructure in the face of such threats. It is the policy of the United States to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and to maintain a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity while promoting safety, security, business confidentiality, privacy, and civil liberties.

We can achieve these goals through a partnership with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to improve cybersecurity information sharing and collaboratively develop and implement risk-based standards.

Full Executive Order via Zero Hedge

The new Executive Order will, among other things, give the government access to all infrastructure components that they deem critical to national security. That means everything from physical power grid components to virtual servers like your web hosting company.

As used in this order, the term critical infrastructure means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.

So, basically everything that is connected to a network now falls under the control of the U.S. government. And whatever policy the government says needs to be followed will be followed.

The Cybersecurity Framework shall include a set of standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes that align policy, business, and technological approaches to address cyber risks.

The E.O. stops short of getting into certain policy specifics, especially regarding what to do in the event a cyber security attack to our critical infrastructure is identified, but given that the President has already reserved the right to shut down the internet using a kill switch as he deems necessary, we can take a pretty good guess at what would happen, and we’re fairly certain that this will soon be written into policy. Whether those regulations will be made available to the public remains unclear.

What we do know is that this executive order, combined with a previous action by Obama known as the Executive Doomsday Order, gives the President jurisdiction over not just the internet, but every resource in America, including your very person:

The latest executive order signed by President Obama on March 16, 2012 makes clear that in the event of a nationally deemed emergency all of these resources will fall under the authority of the United States government.

The signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order grants the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and other agencies complete control of all US resources, including the ability to seize, confiscate or re-delegate resources, materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense as delegated by the following agencies

Full report here: Executive Doomsday Order: Obama Authorizes Gov to Seize Farms, Food, Processing Plants, Energy Resources, Transportation, Skilled Laborers During National Emergency

There is apparently a national emergency in America, and as we know, the politicians in D.C. can never let a good crisis go to waste.

Now all they need is another crisis, whether real or imagined, to implement what will be nothing short of martial law on the streets of America.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 2nd, 2015


New American

Congress Pushes Obama-backed National Biometric ID for Americans

Written by Alex Newman

After largely failing to prod state governments into developing a national identification system known as “REAL ID,” Republican lawmakers in Congress are once again pushing an Obama-backed scheme that would force every American to have a national ID card containing sensitive biometric data. The controversial plan, embedded in an immigration-enforcement bill, has been in the works for years, but has consistently been met with stiff opposition from liberty-minded grassroots organizations and activists. While the plan has failed in previous Congresses thanks to a groundswell of opposition, critics of the measure say that without prompt action, the unconstitutional scheme could soon become a reality.

The legislation, officially dubbed the "Legal Workforce Act" (H.R. 1147), is ostensibly aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining jobs in the United States. Among the most troubling elements highlighted by critics, though, is that the bill would purport to mandate a national ID card for every American as a condition of working. It would also force every employer in America to purchase and use so-called “E-Verify technology” to check with Washington, D.C., as to whether potential employees have government permission to work. Finally, it would create a massive federal database containing sensitive data on virtually every person in the country — a database that could easily be expanded to include even more information.

While establishment lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem fond of the measure, critics are sounding the alarm about the bill and its implications for liberty. In an e-mail to supporters urging them to help crush the unconstitutional legislation, for example, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), in his capacity as chairman of Campaign for Liberty, warned that the national ID scheme would be a nightmare. Among other concerns, the two-time GOP presidential contender noted that it would allow federal bureaucrats to include biometric information — potentially including fingerprints, retinal scans, and more — that could and likely would be eventually used as a tracking device. It would also make it illegal for anyone to work in the United States without obtaining the national ID.

“Every time any citizen applies for a job, the government would know — and you can bet its only a matter of time until 'ID scans' will be required to make even routine purchases, as well,” Dr. Paul warned, adding that “statists in both parties have been fighting to ram their radical national ID-database scheme into law” for years. “In fact, this scheme was a key portion of the infamous so-called 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform' bills both parties have tried to ram through.” Now, Paul said, the statists believe they have found a way to impose their national ID: Drop the amnesty provisions and focus on immigration “security.”

According to Dr. Paul, a constitutionalist who served in Congress for more than 20 years, the term “security” is being used as “nothing more than a buzzword meant to trick Americans from all over the country into thinking that Congress is finally going to seal our southern border.” In reality, though, it means something much different. “The 'security' members of both parties in the U.S. House want doesn't target any U.S. border,” Paul added. “Instead, it's meant to create an all-out police state within them.”

Paul also warned that the national database required for the ID regime could easily expand to include information on gun ownership, medical records, political affiliation, and “virtually anything else at the stroke of a President's pen.” In fact, the stakes are so high, he said, that this type of battle is often decisive in “whether a country remains free or continues sliding toward tyranny.” Existing abuses such as lawless NSA spying, IRS harassment, and more offer further evidence that the feds cannot be trusted with such Orwellian tools to track, monitor, and ultimately control Americans.

Despite the dangers, the legislation has already been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, getting a vote just three days after it was introduced — and the markup took place before the text of the bill was even available online. “The speed with which this bill was rushed through Committee means the House leadership is very serious about passing this bill into law as soon as possible,” warned Paul, urging Americans to fight back immediately to prevent the bill from passing. He also warned about potential “bipartisan compromises” that could be even worse than the original.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who has a dismal 54 percent in the Freedom Index, a tool provided by this magazine that scores lawmakers' votes based on adherence to the U.S. Constitution they all swore to uphold. The controversial bill already has dozens of co-sponsors in the House, too. It is being publicly touted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who claimed it would bring the “nation’s employment eligibility system into the 21st century,” as well as chief sponsor Smith.

“The Legal Workforce Act turns off the jobs magnet that attracts so many illegal immigrants to the United States,” Rep. Smith said in a statement promoting the measure, ignoring the fact that amnesty and the porous borders have been crucial in encouraging illegal immigration. “The bill expands the E-Verify system and applies it to all U.S. employers. Equally important, the American people support E-Verify,” Smith argued, citing polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly support stronger laws to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants. “This bill is a common-sense approach that will reduce illegal immigration and save jobs for legal workers. It deserves the support of everyone who wants to put the interests of American workers first.”

The bill also has the support of several major lobbying powerhouses — including some, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that are infamous for their support of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Other organizations backing the bill include immigration enforcement-focused Numbers USA, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, and several others. However, in the past, similar national-ID schemes have met with major opposition from groups including Downsize DC, the Rutherford Institute, the American Policy Center, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, the Republican Liberty Caucus, the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, Conservative Republican Women, and many more.

In a letter to lawmakers about the same legislation in the 112th Congress (2011-2012), that broad coalition of organizations blasted the bill as an affront to freedom and the Constitution. Among other concerns, they said it “violates individual civil liberties such as the right to work and free speech; mandates a costly job-killing regulatory burden that cripples small business; requires employers to become enforcement agents of the federal government; and encourages identify theft of law-abiding citizens.” The bill should never have even left committee, according to opponents.

“It is anathema to limited government, the right to privacy, free enterprise and prosperity,” the coalition said in the letter to members of Congress. “It violates the philosophy of the Constitution and intent of the Framers by subordinating the liberty of citizens to the administrative convenience of government. And the Founding Fathers would have rebelled against such a staggering Federal intrusion into every workplace in the nation and our personal civil liberties."

As The New American reported as far back as 2010, the same plot to impose a national ID on America has been pushed before by some of the leading Big Government-mongers in Congress. The “bipartisan” amnesty-national ID legislation pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and backed by Obama in 2010 eventually failed due to a massive uprising against legalizing illegal immigrants. Back then, though, promoters of the biometric national ID scheme were boasting about their machinations.

“Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here,” wrote Graham and Schumer in a joint op-ed promoting their legislation. “We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card.” At the time, Obama called the proposal “a promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward.”

With the amnesty provision now out of the more recent bill — Obama is using executive decrees funded by the GOP Congress in a bid to provide amnesty anyway — analysts say the national ID plot stands a much greater chance of coming to fruition. In addition to being unconstitutional by virtue of the fact that the Constitution grants no power over identification systems to the federal government, history shows that national ID schemes are dangerous and very often abused by authorities. Considering the U.S. government's track record, Americans can be sure that, if the plot becomes law, the ID regime will be eventually be abused as well.

If solving the illegal immigration crisis is truly the goal, there is a much simpler solution. Rather than foisting an unconstitutional national ID scheme on Americans and building a massive database, Congress could stop funding Obama's amnesty decrees and ensure that the borders are secure. For that to happen, though, Americans who value liberty and the Constitution must get involved.


Times: 200-year wait faced at Fukushima — Plant Chief: “No idea” how to decommission reactors… “the technology does not exist”; “No viable method” to deal with melted fuel; “So many uncertainties… we don’t have accurate information” — Engineers declared problems ‘insurmountable’

The Times of London, Mar. 27, 2015 (emphasis added): Japan faces 200-year wait for Fukushima clean-up — The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power station has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed. In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap. “There are so many uncertainties involved. We need to develop many, many technologies,” Mr Ono said. “For removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information (about the state of the reactors) or any viable methodology.

The Telegraph (UK), Mar 26, 2015: Japan may be obsessed with robots, but it is a British company that has solved the “impossible” problem of visualising the radiation leaks inside the crippled reactor buildings at Fukushima — State-of-the-art British imaging technology has been deployed at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to overcome problems that Japanese engineers declared to be insurmountable… [The] system is able to create a real-time, three-dimensional image of the area being surveyed and identify “hot-spots” of radioactivity. More than four years after… radiation levels within the structures remain too high for humans to enter. That has severely hampered efforts to… clean up the site. Experts have already estimated that process will take three decades but progress to date has been slow. [TEPCO] was only able to confirm on Thursday previous suspicions that nearly all the fuel from the No. 1 reactor at the plant has melted and fallen into the containment vessel. Two more reactors appear to have experienced similar fates… “One of their guys said it was like finding a Picasso in the loft because their experts had told them that what we do was impossible“, [said Dr Matt Mellor, director of Createc]… Createc engineers first visited the Fukushima plant in 2013. “It was a shocking sight… so it was clear this was going to be a major challenge from the outset”, he added.


Leave Facebook if you don't want to be spied on, warns EU

European Commission admits Safe Harbour framework cannot ensure privacy of EU citizens’ data when sent to the US by American internet firms

The Safe Harbour Framework that is meant to protect the data of EU citizens when sent to the US by American technology firms including Facebook are not adequate the European Commission has admitted. Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Samuel Gibbs

Thursday 26 March 2015 15.11 EDT

The European Commission has warned EU citizens that they should close their Facebook accounts if they want to keep information private from US security services, finding that current Safe Harbour legislation does not protect citizen’s data.

The comments were made by EC attorney Bernhard Schima in a case brought by privacy campaigner Maximilian Schrems, looking at whether the data of EU citizens should be considered safe if sent to the US in a post-Snowden revelation landscape.

“You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,” Schima told attorney general Yves Bot in a hearing of the case at the European court of justice in Luxembourg.

When asked directly, the commission could not confirm to the court that the Safe Harbour rules provide adequate protection of EU citizens’ data as it currently stands.

The US no longer qualifies

The case, dubbed “the Facebook data privacy case”, concerns the current Safe Harbour framework, which covers the transmission of EU citizens’ data across the Atlantic to the US. Without the framework, it is against EU law to transmit private data outside of the EU. The case collects complaints lodged against Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Microsoft-owned Skype and Yahoo.

Schrems maintains that companies operating inside the EU should not be allowed to transfer data to the US under Safe Harbour protections – which state that US data protection rules are adequate if information is passed by companies on a “self-certify” basis – because the US no longer qualifies for such a status.

The case argues that the US government’s Prism data collection programme, revealed by Edward Snowden in the NSA files, which sees EU citizens’ data held by US companies passed on to US intelligence agencies, breaches the EU’s Data Protection Directive “adequacy” standard for privacy protection, meaning that the Safe Harbour framework no longer applies.

Poland and a few other member states as well as advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland joined Schrems in arguing that the Safe Harbour framework cannot ensure the protection of EU citizens’ data and therefore is in violation of the two articles of the Data Protection Directive.

The commission, however, argued that Safe Harbour is necessary both politically and economically and that it is still a work in progress. The EC and the Ireland data protection watchdog argue that the EC should be left to reform it with a 13-point plan to ensure the privacy of EU citizens’ data.

“There have been a spate of cases from the ECJ and other courts on data privacy and retention showing the judiciary as being more than willing to be a disrupting influence,” said Paula Barrett, partner and data protection expert at law firm Eversheds. “Bringing down the safe harbour mechanism might seem politically and economically ill-conceived, but as the decision of the ECJ in the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ case seems to reinforce that isn’t a fetter which the ECJ is restrained by.”

An opinion on the Safe Harbour framework from the ECJ is expected by 24 June.

Facebook declined to comment.


Natural News

Gov. Brown orders California to become a water police state as region begins reverting to uninhabitable desert

Thursday, April 02, 2015

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) For the first time in history, the California government has declared mandatory water restrictions designed to save the state from a water collapse. (But it still won't work, see below...)

An order went out yesterday from Governor Brown's office, requiring water agencies to "...implement new pricing models that discourage excessive water use," reports the LA Times. In other words, your water consumption costs are about to get even higher if you live in California.

The directive aims to reduce water consumption by 25% across the state -- an aggressive restriction that clearly qualifies as an emergency reduction goal.

Also included in the directive is:

• A ban on non-drip irrigation systems for all new homes.

• A requirement for golf courses and cemeteries to "reduce water consumption." (And yet, the very idea of green golf courses in the middle of a California desert is insane to begin with...)

• Force farmers to report more details on their water usage so that the state government can figure out where all the water is going (and where to restrict it even further).

• Outlawing the watering of grass on public street medians.

• Discussions are also under way to throw "water wasters" in jail for up to 30 days, according to another LA Times article. The most likely source of intel for incarcerating water wasters will be neighborhood snitches who monitor water usage of nearby homes and call the authorities if they see too much water being used.

Will California soon fill its prisons with "water criminals?" If a cop drives by a yard where two people are standing around, and one of them is smoking a joint while the other is watering his yard, guess which one will be arrested?

Most Californians remain in a state of total delusion and denial over the water collapse they are facing

Much of Southern California is a desert. It just doesn't have enough water to support the California lifestyle that has become far too familiar among those who live in the region -- people who almost universally have no real clue how to survive or thrive in a desert even though they quite literally live in one.

So how do they survive? They live in artificial constructs called "cities" which depend entirely on external inputs in the form of water, food and electricity. Run out of any of those three, and cities like Los Angeles become nearly uninhabitable by all but the most hardened desert survivalists.

But the reality that they live in an artificial construct which will inevitably revert to a desert has never really occurred to most Californians. That's why so many remain in a state of shock and denial over the water crisis they are now facing. The scientific data on rainfall and snowpack, however, tell a very different story.

"The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history -- just 6 percent of the long-term average," reports NPR.

"[T]here will be virtually no runoff this spring or summer when the rain stops and temperatures rise," says California state officials via the LA Times. Department of Water Resources spokesperson Doug Carlson characterized the situation as "dismal."

That's why California is headed for an outright water collapse. Via the LA Times:

"It does leave questions about where the water will come from," Carlson said. "Will there be enough of it? It will probably have to come from groundwater again ... and that brings in a whole other set of problems and complications since the groundwater seems to be over-tapped...

Groundwater is not a plan... it's a delusion

Groundwater? This is California's solution? There's a two-year wait for drilling a new well, and the cost is half a million dollars, reports NPR, which adds:

Groundwater reserves are getting lower and lower as farmers and towns drill deeper and deeper, sucking out more water than there is coming in. It's gotten so bad in the San Joaquin Valley that the ground is actually sinking. Last summer it sank a half-inch each month.

Groundwater is, of course, fossil water that takes hundreds (or thousands) of years to be replenished. Using it up over the span of just a few decades leads to the certainty of a water collapse. Unfortunately, California's agricultural activities -- which produce one-third of America's fresh produce -- are now based predominantly on groundwater for irrigation.

Scientists who raise the alarm are attacked by a delusional society living in a dreamy water fairy tale

A NASA scientist named Jay Famiglietti recently warned that California's water reservoirs have just one year remaining before a catastrophic collapse. In his own words, as published in the LA Times:

...the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought... [groundwater] pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable ... Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Famiglietti was, of course, heavily attacked for stating this, because the one thing that most Californians absolutely don't want to hear about right now is THE TRUTH. And as we've all learned from watching the mainstream media's deceptions over the years, it's far easier for people to believe a lie than to believe the truth.

California's "water fairy tale" has about the same factual reality as Disneyland's Small World ride. Sure, if you believe California's water will never run out, then you also believe those animatronic pirates are real people who just happen to love sitting around all day watching tourists float by on little boats.

So the lie continues. California will be just fine, we're told. Water will be magically wrung from stones. Or maybe somebody will invent cheap fusion energy devices that can turn seawater into fresh water for pennies a gallon. Or heck, maybe Obama himself will simply issue an executive order demanding that rain fall from the sky according to the dictates of the Commander in Chief.

We can all engage in wishful thinking all day long, but at the end of the day:

• Most of Southern California is still a desert.

• Green golf courses should not exist in a desert.

• California's water consumption is no more sustainable than California's pie-in-the-sky state-run pension plans which are also headed for financial collapse.

• The California water-consumption lifestyle is ridiculously unsustainable. Nobody really cares, though, until they turn on the tap and nothing comes out.

• The Southern half of the state can really only support about 10% of its current human population in a sustainable way. That means 90% have to go somewhere else.

• Within just a few years, we will begin to see a mass migration out of California which will be described in the media as a "wave of climate change refugees." But the climate didn't cause this -- human lack of foresight did.

• The water supply will eventually collapse because no one has any real interest in sacrificing their quality of life right now in order to protect a resource for future generations.

In other words, today's California voters are generationally selfish because they've collectively decided to use up all the water TODAY, leaving no water for future generations TOMORROW. Gee, does that sound familiar, anyone? (National debt, soil erosion, fossil fuels, deforestation...)

And the reason we know Californians are totally asleep at the wheel on all this is because we haven't yet seen a home sales selling spree panic. It's coming, though. One day when the water is mostly gone, there will be so many homes for sale on the market that entire neighborhoods will be abandoned, and people will just walk away from what were once million-dollar mansions.

Mark my words. That day is coming, and when it arrives, you can bet the cognitively-challenged mainstream media will run a headline that reads, "WATER COLLAPSE: NO ONE SAW THIS COMING!"

Sources for this article include:



The Black Book of Carmarthen: Scholars left shaken after ultraviolet light reveals ghostly faces staring at them from medieval manuscripts

Unseen for 500 years, ultraviolet light has revealed two hidden portraits in a medieval Welsh manuscript



Tuesday 31 March 2015

Scholars researching one of the UK’s most important medieval manuscripts were left surprised if not a little shaken last year when the use of ultraviolet light revealed two ghostly faces staring out at them from one of the pages.

The discovery of the sketches – not seen since they were erased in the 16th century from the Black Book of Carmarthen – came as a “complete surprise” to the two researchers.

The book, which is held in the National Library of Wales and dates from 1250, is the earliest surviving manuscript written solely in Welsh and contains some of the earliest references to King Arthur and Merlin. Its name comes from the colour of its binding.

Professor Paul Russell, from the University of Cambridge’s department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, and PhD student Myriah Williams have worked on unlocking the manuscript’s secrets using different imaging techniques for three years.

The faces, circled, on the the manuscript page (Stuart Roberts)

Using ultraviolet light and photo-editing software, huge swathes of notes in the margins, erased more than five centuries ago, have been revealed. As well as the drawings of the faces, another important discovery is a hitherto unknown Welsh poem. A run through a database of known verse has come up with no match, suggesting it is an original work .

Professor Russell said the findings were “very exciting” adding: “Now we know this material is there, we can do a lot of things to bring it back.”

He spoke of the discovery of the sketches last summer. “We were looking at the text with the ultraviolet lamp and this pair of faces emerged in the bottom margin. It was actually quite creepy with them peering back. We thought: ‘Who are you?’”

The scholars do not know who the faces represent but dated them to the 14th or 15th century. Alongside them is an inscription that suggests the donation of the book to a family member. A few pages further on, a sketch of a fish emerged under the ultraviolet light.

Professor Russell believes the discoveries may be the tip of the iceberg and hopes it will shed new light on what early readers of the text thought.

“Although the texts are very well known, no one has really sat down and looked at the manuscript as a whole,” he added. They will continue to analyse the text with innovative techniques to unlock more of its hidden secrets.

The scholars started their research after shadows on the pages suggested that material had been erased. Professor Russell said: “We thought maybe there were ways of doing things by enhancing and changing the spectrum.

“It’s a very well-known manuscript in a Welsh context but by bringing new things to it 750 years on is brilliant. People asked: ‘Hasn’t everything been done?’ Well, no.”

Experts believe the book – which contains a collection of religious and secular poetry dating from the 9th to the 12th century – was the work of a single scribe who was probably collecting and recording material over a long period. Others then made additions.

King Arthur makes an appearance in it as a ruler who seeks to gain entrance to an unidentified court by hailing the virtues of his men.

One part of the text known as “Englynion y Beddau”, or the Stanzas of the Graves, covers the burial places of 80 warriors. Myrddin, better known in English as Merlin, appears in two poems including one that is presented as a dialogue between him and the Welsh poet Taliesin.

The book has 54 pages of vellum and was acquired by the National Library of Wales in 1904, after it was bought by the library’s founder Sir John Williams.

The scholars believe the book was likely to have been owned by someone called Jasper Gryffyth in the 16th century, and researchers believe that he was probably the man who erased the centuries of material added by previous owners.



1,000-Year-Old Onion And Garlic Remedy Kills Superbugs Better Than Antibiotics

April 1, 2015 by John Vibes

Researchers at Nottingham University recently discovered that a thousand-year-old potion remedy actually works to kill super-bugs that modern medicine has a difficult time with. The ingredients sound like something from a fantasy novel, but the concoction is now proven to nearly eradicate MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The potion is made from onions, garlic, wine and oxgall, which is bile from a cow’s stomach. Each of these ingredients are useless on their own, but when mixed together they have the power to kill incredibly strong bacteria.

The recipe was initially found in an Old English alchemical text called Bald’s Leechbook, which has been stored in the British Library for a number of years. The text contains a wide variety of different cures and remedies, which the researchers began experimenting with to see if they could learn more about medicine in the middle ages.

One of the first major discoveries that they have made in their research is that one of the recipes killed MRSA in lab mice.

Associate Professor Dr Christina Lee said that “Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections – weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections. Given these remedies were developed well before the modern understanding of germ theory this poses two questions – how systematic was the development of these remedies and how effective were these remedies against the likely causative species of bacteria? Answering these questions will greatly improve our understanding of medieval scholarship and medical empiricism and may reveal new ways of treating serious bacterial infections that continue to cause illness and death.”

She added that “We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab. We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge which is largely contained in non-scientific writings. But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.”

Microbiologist Dr Freya Harrison explained why this discovery could be important for modern medicine.

We thought Bald’s eyesalve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab – copper and bile salts can kill bacteria and the garlic family of plants make chemicals that interfere with the bacteria’s ability to damage infected tissues. But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was. We tested it in difficult conditions too; we let our artificial ‘infections’ grow into dense, mature populations called ‘biofilms’, where the individual cells bunch together and make a sticky coating that makes it hard for antibiotics to reach them. But unlike many modern antibiotics, Bald’s eye salve has the power to breach these defences,” Harrison said.

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

And one of us He commanded that we should teach Noah all their medicines; for He knew that they would not walk in uprightness, nor strive in righteousness. And we did according to all His words:... And we explained to Noah all the medicines of their diseases, together with their seductions, how he might heal them with herbs of the earth. And Noah wrote down all things in a book as we instructed him concerning every kind of medicine...
(Book Of Jubilees 10:10-13)

Dear Ones,


As you may be aware we have recently put out an appeal for help in support of a documentary we, “People of the Keys”, are planning on making from mid-May to mid-June with Simon Peterson of “Nightlight” (A radio show which airs out of Uganda). (For more on Simon's bio see the last two weeks editorials.)

Below is Simon's appeal which gives more details on the project.

We at “People of the Keys” would right now especially like to take the time to thank those who have already given from last weeks appeal and those who have pledged. God bless you.

We would also especially like to ask TFI and former TFI folks if they would pray and see if the Lord could be leading them to help with this project.

It only takes enough people giving just a little to make it happen.

Thank you and God bless you!

Simon's Appeal

Robert (of and I are making arrangements to film 2 or 3 documentaries in Jerusalem during the last week of May and the first 2 weeks of June. With the help of a TFI brother who now lives in Jerusalem, we have located an apartment we wish to rent that is just a short walk away from the Old City, where most of the filming will take place.

The Lord has supplied the cameras and other equipment needed for the filming, but we would appreciate some financial help towards our air fares, apartment rental and other costs if any of you would like to chip in with however much you would like to invest in this project.

You can donate via Paypal to Or, if you are a TFI member you can send it with your TFI report as a designated gift to "simonpeter" (my log in). Or you can donate by Paypal via the People of the Keys website.

All donors will, of course, receive copies of the three documentaries, which are:


    A documentary about the past, present and most importantly the future of Jerusalem from where Jesus will reign during the Millennium.


    Completely new script and footage. The linking narrations will be filmed on the Mount of Olives and elsewhere in Israel.


This is Robert's specialty. Where did the Temple actually stand? Discussing this question enables us to bring in the wider spectrum of Endtime prophecies. (We have already done a Nightlight radio show on this topic which you can find at and which will give you a pretty good idea of the content of the documentary.

Robert spent a month in Israel in September of last year and has already done a lot of background research and visited many of the locations where we will film. I also remember Jerusalem very well from the time I spent there filming "Beyond Armageddon" in 1997. I am also already working on the scripts, so when we arrive in Israel we should be able to hit the ground running.

Robert will arrive from the U.S. a week early, so that he can get over jet lag and then start to set things up. Then I'll join him and we'll start to film footage for the documentaries. Then my son, Kingdom, will join us for the last 10 days to film all the 'on camera' narrations and interviews. We'll be sorting and editing the footage each night as we go along, so that when we return to Uganda, the post production stage should not take so long.

Please pray for this project and also donate towards the costs, if you can. These are documentaries that we would like to make freely available to all and will not be a commercial venture.

If anyone has any ideas to contribute, or you would like to do graphics for it, or whatever, please feel free to communicate.

Wow, I'm excited! The Lord is putting all the pieces in place for this to happen and I am sure that He is going to lead and guide and anoint these documentaries and make them a blessing to many!

God bless!