By Jacob Pramuk
Tillerson added that “China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
“These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation,” the secretary of state added.
North Korea launched an unidentified missile Thursday that landed in the sea after passing over Japan, the latest escalation as the isolated regime flaunts its nuclear weapon ambitions, according to multiple reports.
The missile was launched from the communist dictatorship’s capital of Pyongyang at about 6:57 a.m. local time Friday headed east, reports said. The projectile passed over Japan before landing in the sea at roughly 7:16 a.m., roughly 2,000 kilometers (about 1,240 miles) east of Japan’s Cape Erimo, according to reports.
South Korea conducted its own missile exercise as Pyongyang fired its missile, taking into account the distance to North Korea’s firing site, according to NBC News.
The United Nations Security Council will meet at 3 p.m. ET on Friday to discuss missile test, diplomats said, at the request of the United States and Japan.
This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.
—Reuters and CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.
By Elizabeth Ames
The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.
You might say that those who take the red pill have been “triggered.” But instead of seeking out “safe spaces,” they’re doing the opposite, posting monologues throwing off the shackles of political correctness.
Their videos can feature the kind of subversiveness that was once a hallmark of the left—before the movement lost its sense of humor.
Candace Owens, a charismatic young African American, posts commentaries on her YouTube channel whose titles seem expressly designed to make PC heads explode.
A sample: “I Don’t Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy.” The commentary calls out liberal fearmongering over white supremacists. “I mean there are, what, 6,000 Klansmen left in our nation. You want me to actually process that as a legitimate fear every day when I wake up?”
Not insignificantly, her video got nearly 500,000 views and overwhelmingly enthusiastic comments. (“you rock, girl!” “this woman is awesome.”)
A later episode about Black Lives Matter got nearly 700,000 views and had the distinction of being briefly taken down by YouTube. Unapologetic, Owens responded with a follow-up commentary — “What YouTube and Facebook REALLY Think of Black People.”
She declared, “There was only one version of a black person that these platforms are willing to help propel towards fame and notoriety—and that is an angry black victim.” Owens calls her channel “Red Pill Black.” It invites viewers: “Sick of the alt-left. Welcome, I prescribe red pills.”
The term “taking the red pill” derives from the movie “The Matrix,” the trippy sci-fi classic. Morpheus, the resistance leader played by Laurence Fishburne offers Neo, the movie’s hero played by Keanu Reeves, a choice: He can take the blue pill and remain in the repressive artificial world known as the Matrix where “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” Or he can take the red pill and tumble down the “rabbit hole” where he will come to realize that everything about his life was a lie.
The left’s intensifying war on free speech has produced a surge of red pill videos. Some take Owens’ in-your-face approach. Others are meandering, hipster confessionals delivered with the wordy earnestness of characters in a Duplass brothers movie.
In his YouTube Channel, Dissent Report, a young, one-time “Bernie Sanders supporting progressive Democrat” admits from behind large sunglasses that he’s made “a pretty hard turn to the right.”
He took the red pill after seeing friends “moving …towards an authoritarian sort of Progressivism.” He explains, “They were just standing up for a divisive brand of politics that would tolerate no dissent whatsoever.”
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has largely dismissed the red pill phenomenon. Coverage has mainly stressed the connection to men’s rights activists —the Red Pill forum on Reddit and the documentary, “The Red Pill,” are both about men’s rights. This narrow focus, however, misses the larger story.
Those who have been “red pilled” may start out questioning feminism. But that’s often just the beginning.
A red pill blogger who calls himself “Pat Riarchy” (“also known as the patriarchy”) recalls that his journey down the rabbit hole began when a Facebook friend derisively called him a “cis male.” He came to recognize that, “it’s been one narrative pretty much.” He concluded, “I have my own objective view…I didn’t want a bigger government. I realized I didn’t like the universal healthcare plan…I realized I didn’t really have an issue with guns.” Several books and discussions later, he emerged as a libertarian.
Red pill bloggers are increasingly characterizing PC culture as a first step on a slippery slope towards authoritarian socialism.
One who articulates this best is Dave Rubin, a married gay man and former left liberal whose show, The Rubin Report, has explored the red pill phenomenon.
In his commentary, “The left is no longer liberal”, he explained his own disillusionment with the “regressive left,” whose “backward ideology” of identity politics “puts the collective ahead of the individual. It loves all of its minority groups to behave as a monolith.
“So if you’re a true individual—meaning you don’t subscribe to the ideas that the groupthink has attributed to you based on those immutable characteristics—you must be cast out.” Rubin calls this mindset “the biggest threat to freedom and Western civilization that exists today.”
One of his recent guests was Cassie Jaye, producer of the The Red Pill” documentary, which chronicled her personal journey away from feminism.
Jaye had intended to make a feminist film about the men’s rights movement. But her perspective began to change upon interviewing activists, who were anything but the angry women-bashers so often portrayed by the mainstream media. Instead they were men—and also women—concerned about issues such as unfair child custody laws, pregnancy fraud, and even domestic violence. It turned out that men are also victims of domestic abuse perpetrated by women with surprising frequency.
Jaye’s film met with immediate resistance from radical feminists, who trolled her online while she was fundraising for the film. Her documentary has been largely ignored by most of the mainstream media. But it has had widespread impact on the Internet.
Laci Green, one of YouTube’s best known personalities whose left-leaning videos about sex and gender have an immense following, posted “Taking The Red Pill?”
Green’s relatively tame confession of discomfort with feminists who shut down opposing views, as well as the revelation that she was dating an anti-SJW YouTuber, enraged her fans. They waged an online campaign against her and reportedly “doxxed” her — published her personal information on the internet.
Many who proclaim themselves “red pilled” express a yearning for traditional values. “Pat Riarchy” wants to see a return to an era where comedians can “attack everyone,” not just Trump. “PC culture is going down,” he says. “A lot of people want this to stop.” Kirsten Lauryn, a 20-something hipster sitting amidst empty church pews, worries that, “A lot of our society has drawn away from religion as an important way of instilling values.” She observes, “The pendulum is swinging back to a more traditional lifestyle. I see this with my generation Generation Z.”
The media has very likely ignored red pilling for the same reason it underestimated support for Donald Trump: An entrenched establishment always resists disrupters, especially those who reject its worldview.
That said, red pill bloggers are not necessarily Trump supporters—in many cases, quite the reverse. What they do share, however, is their questioning of mainstream media tropes.
Not all their videos would pass muster with Reagan conservatives or even libertarians. But, taken together, they give hope to those worried about the future of capitalism and free speech in America.
By Joe Martino
We’re about to dive into a ‘transmission’ or ‘channeled’ message that allegedly came into a man by the name of Jean Ederman aka Eric Julien. Jean had been practicing projecting his mind when he came in contact with what he called benevolent ET beings, this is when he received the message. Note: we will refer to him as Eric from here on out.
Before we get into the message, it’s important to dive into a background about Eric, attempt to determine who he really is and whether or not his background can be considered credible. Either way even as we move through this information, we strongly suggest you use your own intuition on this to explore. Blind denial doesn’t do us good in the same way blind acceptance doesn’t.
A few quick things to get out of the way right away: the reality of remote viewing, astral projection, channeling, and the existence of ET’s. There is a ton of credible evidence exploring these topics at a black budget and military level. These abilities are used and millions have been spent exploring them within the US military. You can learn more about CIA remote viewing programs here, the military use and study of psychic abilities here, and more about ET’s and the documents to prove the reality of them in a groundbreaking film here.
With those resources laid out to help open up to the reality of how all of this is possible, we can continue with an open mind. I find it important to lay out those resources before hand because quite simply, most people do not realize that all of these “abilities” or “pseudoscientific frauds” are actually very well studied, documented and real. In fact, it’s likely your tax dollar paid for the extensive study and training of these very abilities.
Eric claims to have been a military jet pilot, air traffic controller and airport manager, and holds a masters in economics. He states that since the age of 6, he has been having experiences with ET’s and UFO’s.
Eric has published a book called The Science of Extraterrestrials in 2006. That work was reviewed by a number of ET and UFO researchers and it obtained high regard. As a pilot in the military, he claimed to have had contact with extraterrestrial technology, including piloting an ET craft.
A prominent UFO researcher named Michael Salla had this to say about Eric’s book and work, “A number of prominent French researchers/scientists have reviewed his book and thought very highly of it, and concluded that it is not a plagiarized work which was one of the initial criticisms leveled against him. I have read one of these critiques and it is clear that the author who was initially very skeptical was impressed by Eric’s work.”
Over time, Eric has gone on to speak at a number of ET and UFO conferences and has shared interesting accounts he claims to have been involved in regarding ET’s and ET technology.
The Style of The Message
There are a few key notes to look at when exploring the channeled message below. The style of the message is deliberate and with purpose. It is not ‘dictative’ or condescending . This is typically seen when people are attempting to inform as opposed to pushing beliefs onto others. The choices for how humanity deals with the challenges it currently faces is left as a choice for humanity, as opposed to a dictation of precisely what to do. This is in alignment with many other messages that allow for the spiritual growth and evolution of a species to take responsibility for where they are and empower themselves to make a change, as opposed to waiting for someone to save them. This is an important note.
The overall text is coherent and intelligent, drawing on a number of difficult challenges humanity faces and does not seem to contain any self bolstering or ego gratification tactics that other messages often contain.
On a final summation of the above, regardless of whether Eric’s story is a fact or not, the message below still provides great value to us. I say this because we cannot know for certain whether or not he did channel this message, but we have the control and power to take value from the message.
I wanted to pull out some key pieces to this that I thought were meaningful to provide value and things to reflect on when we read this. A channeled message is only valuable when we decide what to do with the information and act upon it from within.
“We are not mere observations; we are consciousnesses just like you. Our existence is a reality, but the majority of you do not perceive it yet because we remain invisible to your senses and instruments most of the time.”
“We wish to fill this void at this moment in your history. We made this collective decision on our side, but this is not enough — we need yours as well.” (They are saying here that humanity must be open and asking for ET communication if we want it.)
“A great roller wave is on the horizon. It entails very positive but also very negative potentials. At this time wonderful opportunities of progress stand side by side with threats of destruction.”(referring to the shift in consciousness taking place that we touch on A LOT. Watch our documentary about it here.)
“We are sad to see men, women and children suffering to such a degree in their flesh and in their hearts when they bear such an inner light. This light can be your future.”
“Our relationships could develop in stages. Several stages of several years or decades would occur: demonstrative appearance of our ships, physical appearance beside human beings, collaboration in your technical and spiritual evolution, discovery of parts of the galaxy.”
There are plenty of memorable moments in the text below, but those are a start. Read on and enjoy!
Eric writes: “… after having learned how to mentally project myself to a place in the presence of benevolent extraterrestrials, I received the following message…”
[This channeling was translated from French into English by Dan Drasin, a Marin-based film-maker and researcher].
Each one of you wishes to exercise your free will and experience happiness. Your free will depends upon the knowledge you have of your own power. Your happiness depends upon the love that you give and receive.
Like all conscious races at this stage of progress, you may feel isolated on your planet. This impression gives you a certain view of your destiny. Yet you are at the brink of big upheavals that only a minority is aware of.
It is not our responsibility to modify your future without your choosing it. So consider this message as a worldwide referendum, and your answer as a ballot.
Neither your scientists nor your religious representatives speak knowledgeably about certain unexplained aerial and celestial events that mankind has witnessed for thousands of years.
To know the truth, one must face it without the filter of one’s beliefs or dogmas, however respectable
they may be.
A growing number of anonymous researchers of yours are exploring new paths of knowledge and are getting very close to reality. Today, your civilization is flooded with an ocean of information of which only a tiny part, the less upsetting one, is notably distributed.
Bear in mind that what in your history seemed ridiculous or improbable has often become possible, then realized — in particular in the last fifty years.
Be aware that the future will be even more surprising. You will discover the worst as well as the best.
Many of those who study our appearances point to lights in the night, but without lighting the way. Often they think in terms of objects when it is all about conscious beings.
Who are we?
Like billions of others in this galaxy, we are conscious creatures that some call “extraterrestrials,” even though the reality is subtler. There is no fundamental difference between you and us, save for having experienced certain stages of evolution.
As with any other organized society, a hierarchy exists in our internal relationships. Ours, however, is based upon the wisdom of several races. It is with the approval of this hierarchy that we turn to you.
Like most of you, we are in quest of the Supreme “Being” or “State of Being.”
Therefore we are not gods or lesser gods but virtually your equals in the Cosmic Brotherhood. Physically we are somewhat different from you but most of us are humanoid-shaped.
We are not mere observations; we are consciousnesses just like you. Our existence is a reality, but the majority of you do not perceive it yet because we remain invisible to your senses and instruments most of the time.
We wish to fill this void at this moment in your history. We made this collective decision on our side, but this is not enough — we need yours as well.
Through this message you can become the decision-makers. You, personally. We have no human representative on Earth who could guide your decision.
Why aren’t we visible?
At certain stages of evolution, cosmic “humanities” discover certain scientific principles regarding matter. Structured dematerialization and materialization are among them.
Your humanity has achieved this in a few laboratories, in close collaboration with other extraterrestrial creatures — at the cost of hazardous compromises that remain purposely hidden from you by some of your representatives.
In addition to the aerial or space-based objects or phenomena known to your scientific community as physical “UFOs,” there are essentially multidimensional manufactured spaceships that possess these expanded capacities.
Many human beings have been in visual, auditory, tactile or psychic contact with such ships — some of which, it should be noted with caution, are under the influence of hidden powers that govern you, which we often term “the third party.”
The relative scarcity of your observations is due to the dematerialized state of these ships. Being unable to perceive them yourselves, you cannot acknowledge their existence. We fully understand this.
When most observations do occur, they are arranged on an individual basis so as to touch the individual soul and not to influence or intrude on any organized social system.
This is deliberate on the part of the various races that surround you, but for a variety of reasons and results. For negative multidimensional beings that play a part in the exercise of power in the shadow of human oligarchy, discretion is motivated by their desire to keep their existence unknown.
For us, discretion has been motivated by the respect of the human free will that people can exercise to manage their own affairs so that they can reach technical and spiritual maturity on their own.
However, humankind’s entrance into the family of galactic civilizations is greatly expected.
We can appear in broad daylight to help you attain this union, but we have not done it so far, as too few of you have genuinely desired it because of ignorance, indifference or fear, and because the urgency of the situation did not justify it.
Who are you?
You are the offspring of many traditions that throughout time have been mutually enriched by each others’ contributions.
Your goal is to unite, while respecting these diverse roots, to accomplish a common purpose, a united project. The appearances of your cultures help keep you separated because you give them far greater importance than you give your deeper beings.
Shape, or form, has been deemed more important than the essence of your subtle nature. For the powers in control, this emphasis on differences of form constitutes a bulwark against any form of positive change.
Now you are being called on to overcome the identification with form while still respecting it for its richness and beauty. Understanding the consciousness behind form allows us to love all humans in their diversity.
Peace does not mean simply not making war; it consists in becoming what you, collectively, are in reality: a fraternity.
The solutions available to achieve this are decreasing, but one that could still catalyze it would be open contact with another race that would reflect the image of what you are in a deeper reality.
Except for rare occasions, our past interventions intentionally had very little influence on your capacity to make collective and individual decisions about your own future.
This was motivated by our knowledge of your deep psychological mechanisms. We reached the conclusion that freedom is built every day as a being becomes aware of himself and of his environment, getting progressively rid of constraints and inertias, whatever they may be.
However, despite the actions of numerous brave and willing human souls, those inertias have been successfully maintained for the benefit of a growing, centralized power.
What is your situation?
Until recently, mankind lived in satisfactory control of its decisions. But it is losing more and more the control of its own fate, partly because of the growing use of advanced technologies that affect your body as well as your mind and will eventually have irreversibly lethal consequences for earthly and human ecosystems.
Independently of your own will, your resilience will artificially decrease and you will slowly but surely lose your extraordinary capacity to make life desirable. Such plans are on their way.
Should a collective reaction of great magnitude not happen, this individual power is doomed to vanish. The period to come shall be one of rupture.
This break, however, can be a positive break with the past as long as you keep this creative power alive in you, even if it cohabits, for the time being, with the dark intentions of your potential lords.
What now? Should you wait for the last moment to find solutions? Should you anticipate or undergo pain?
Your history has never ceased to be marked by encounters between peoples whose discovery of one another occurred in circumstances of conflict and conquest.
Earth has now become a village where everyone knows everyone else, but still conflicts persist and threats of all kinds get worse in intensity and duration.
Individuals who have many potential capacities cannot exercise them with dignity. This is the case for the greatest majority of you, for reasons that are essentially geopolitical.
There are several billion of you, but the education of your children and your living conditions, as well as the conditions of numerous animals and much plant life are under the thumb of a small number of your political, financial, military and religious representatives.
Your thoughts and beliefs are modeled after partisan interests while at the same time giving you the feeling that you are in total control of your destiny — which in essence is the reality, but there is a long way between a wish and a fact when the true rules of the game at hand are kept hidden.
This time, you are not the conqueror. Spreading biased information is an effective strategy for manipulating human beings. Inducing thoughts and emotions, or even creating organisms, that do not belong to you is an even older strategy.
A great roller wave is on the horizon. It entails very positive but also very negative potentials. At this time wonderful opportunities of progress stand side by side with threats of destruction.
However, you can only perceive what is being shown to you. The diminishing of many natural resources is inevitable and no long-term collective remediation project has been launched. Ecosystem exhaustion mechanisms have exceeded irreversible limits.
The scarcity of resources whose entry price will rise day after day — and their unfair distribution — will bring about fratricidal fights on a large scale, from the hearts of your cities to your countrysides.
This is the reason why, more than ever in your history, your decisions of today will directly and significantly impact your survival tomorrow.
Hatred grows… but so does love. That is what keeps you confident in your ability to find solutions.
However, human behaviors, formed from past habits and trainings, have great inertia that leads to a dead end. The critical mass has not been reached, while the work of sabotage is being carried out cleverly and efficiently.
You entrust your problems to representatives whose awareness of common well being inexorably fades away before corporatist interests.
These putative servants of the people are far more often debating the form than the content. Just at the moment of action, delays accumulate to the point when you have to submit rather than choose.
This inertia is in many ways typical of any civilization. What event could radically modify it? Where could a collective and unifying awareness come from that will stop this blind rushing ahead?
Tribes, populations and human nations have always encountered and interacted with one another. Faced with the threats weighing upon the human family, it is perhaps time that a greater interaction occurred.
There are two ways to establish a cosmic contact with another civilization: via its standing representatives or directly with ordinary individuals.
The first way entails fights of interests, the second way brings awareness. The first way was chosen by a group of races motivated by keeping mankind in slavery, thereby controlling Earth’s resources, its gene pool, and the mass of human emotional energy.
The second way was chosen by a group of races allied with the cause of the Spirit of Service. Some years ago we did introduce ourselves to representatives of the human power structure, but they refused our outstretched hand on the basis of interests that were incompatible with their strategic vision.
That is why today individuals are to make this choice by themselves without any representatives interfering. What we proposed in the past to those whom we believed were in a capacity to contribute to your happiness, we propose now — to you.
Few of you are aware that non-human creatures have been involved in the centralizing of power in your world, and in the subtle taking of control. These creatures do not necessarily stand on your material plane, which is precisely what could make them extremely efficient and frightening in the near future.
However, also be aware that quite a few of your representatives are in fact fighting this danger, that not all alien abductions are conducted to your detriment, and that resistance also exists amongst those dominance-oriented races.
Peace and reunification of your peoples would be a first step toward harmony with civilizations other than yours. That is precisely what those who manipulate you behind the scenes want to avoid at all cost because, by dividing, they reign.
They also reign over those who more visibly govern you. Their strength comes from their capacity to instill mistrust and fear. This considerably harms your very cosmic nature.
This message would be of no interest if these manipulators’ influence were not reaching its peak and if their misleading and murderous plans did not materialize within a few years from now.
Their deadlines are close and mankind will undergo unprecedented difficulties for the next ten cycles [years?]. To defend yourselves against this aggression that bears no face, you need at least to have enough information that points to the solution.
Here again, appearance and body type will not be enough to tell the dominator from the ally.
At your current state of psychic development it is extremely difficult for you to distinguish between them. In addition to your intuition, training will be necessary when the time has come. Being aware of the priceless value of free will, we are inviting you to an alternative.
What can we offer?
We can offer you a more holistic vision of the universe and of life, constructive interactions, the experience of fair and fraternal relationships, liberating technical knowledge, eradication of suffering, controlled exercise of individual powers, access to new forms of energy and, finally, a better comprehension of consciousness.
We cannot help you overcome your individual and collective fears, or bring you laws that you would not have chosen. You must also work on your own selves, apply individual and collective efforts to build the world you desire, and manifest the spirit to quest for new skies.
What would we receive?
Should you decide that such a contact take place, we would rejoice over the safeguarding of fraternal equilibrium in this region of the universe, fruitful diplomatic exchanges, and the intense Joy of knowing that you are united to accomplish what you are capable of.
The feeling of Joy is strongly sought in the universe, for its energy is divine. What is the question we ask you?
“DO YOU WISH THAT WE SHOW UP?”
How can you answer this question? The truth of soul can be read telepathically, so you only need to clearly ask yourself this question and give your answer as clearly, on your own or in a group, as you wish.
Being in the heart of a city or in the middle of a desert does not impact the efficiency of your answer. YES or NO.
Just do it as if you were speaking to yourself but thinking about the message. This is a universal question, and these mere few words, put in their context, have a powerful meaning.
This is why you should calmly think about it, in all conscience. In order to perfectly associate your answer with the question, it is recommended that you answer after another careful reading of this message.
Do not rush to answer. Breathe and let all the power of your own free will penetrate you. Be proud of what you are! Then do not let hesitation get in the way.
The everyday problems that you may have can weaken you. To be yourselves, forget about them for a few minutes. Feel the force that springs up in you. You are in control of yourselves!
A single thought, a single answer can drastically change your near future, in one way as in another. Your individual decision of asking in your inner self that we show up on your material plane and in broad daylight is precious and essential to us.
Even though you can choose the way that best suits you, rituals per se are essentially useless. A sincere request made with your heart and your own will, will always be perceived by those of us to whom it is sent. In your own private polling booth of your secret will, you will determine the future.
What is the lever effect?
This decision should be made by the greatest possible number among you, even though it might seem like a minority.
It is recommended to spread this message, in all envisageable fashions, in as many languages as possible, to those around you, whether or not they seem receptive to this new vision of the future. Do it using a humorous tone or derision if that can help you.
You can even openly and publicly make fun of it if it makes you feel more comfortable, but do not be indifferent, for at least you will have exercised your free will. Forget about the false prophets and the beliefs that have been transmitted to you about us.
This request is one of the most intimate that can be asked to you. Making a decision by yourself, as an individual, is your right as well as your responsibility. Passivity only leads to the absence of freedom.
Similarly, indecision is never efficient. If you really want to cling to your beliefs, which is something that we understand, then forcefully say NO.
If you do not know what to choose, do not say YES because of mere curiosity. This is not a show, this is real daily life. We exist. We are alive.
Your history has had plenty of episodes when determined men and women were able to influence the thread of events despite their small number.
Just as a small number is enough to take temporal power on Earth and influence the future of the majority, a small number of you can radically change your fate as an answer to the impotence in face of so much inertia and so many hurdles. You can ease mankind’s birth to Brotherhood.
One of your thinkers once said:
“Give me a hand-hold and I’ll raise the Earth.”
Spreading this message will then be the strengthening of the hand-hold. We will be the light-years long lever and you will be the craftsmen to “raise the Earth” as a consequence of our appearance.
What would be the consequences of a positive decision?
For us, the immediate consequence of a collective favorable decision would be the materialization of many ships, in your sky and on Earth.
For you, the direct effect would be the rapid abandoning of many certitudes and beliefs. A simple conclusive visual contact would have huge repercussions for your future.
Much knowledge would be modified forever. The organization of your societies would be deeply upheaved forever, in all fields of activity.
Power would become individual because you would see for yourself that we exist as living beings, not accepting or rejecting that fact on the word of any external authority. Concretely, you would change the scale of your values.
The most important thing for us is that humankind would form a single family before this “unknown” we would represent!
Danger would slowly melt away from your homes because you would indirectly force the undesirable ones, those we name the “third party,” to show up and vanish. You would all bear the same name and share the same roots: Mankind.
Later on, peaceful and respectful exchanges would be thus possible if such is your wish. For now, he who is hungry cannot smile, he who is fearful cannot welcome us.
We are sad to see men, women and children suffering to such a degree in their flesh and in their hearts when they bear such an inner light. This light can be your future.
Our relationships could develop in stages. Several stages of several years or decades would occur: demonstrative appearance of our ships, physical appearance beside human beings, collaboration in your technical and spiritual evolution, discovery of parts of the galaxy.
At every stage new choices would be offered to you. You would then decide by yourself to enter new stages if you think it necessary to your external and inner well-being. No interference would be decided upon unilaterally. We would leave as soon as you would collectively wish that we do.
Depending upon the speed to spread the message across the world, several weeks, or even several months will be necessary before our “great appearance,” if such is the decision made by the majority of those who will have used their capacity to choose, and if this message receives the necessary support.
The main difference between your daily prayers to entities of a strictly spiritual nature and your current decision is extremely simple: we are technically equipped to materialize.
Why such a historical dilemma?
We know that “foreigners” are considered as enemies as long as they embody the “unknown.” In a first stage, the emotion that our appearance will generate will strengthen your relationships on a worldwide scale.
How could you know whether our arrival is the consequence of your collective choice? For the simple reason that we would have otherwise shown up long ago at your level of existence. If we are not there yet, it is because you have not made such a decision explicitly.
Some among you might think that we would make you believe in a deliberate choice of yours so as to justify our arrival, though this would not be true. If that were the case, what interest would we have in openly giving you access to these opportunities for the benefit of the greatest number of you?
How could you be certain that this is not yet another subtle maneuver of the “third party” to better enslave you? Because one always more efficiently fights something that is identified than what is kept hidden.
Isn’t the terrorism that corrodes you a blatant example? Whatever, you are the sole judge in your own heart and soul. Whatever your choice, it would be respectable and respected.
In the absence of human representatives who could potentially seduce into error you ignore everything about us as well as from about those who manipulate you without your consent.
[There seems to be some text missing in the translation here.]
In your current situation, the precautionary principle that consists in not trying to discover us no longer prevails. You are already in the Pandora’s box that the “third party” has created around you. Whatever your decision may be, you will have to get out of it.
In the face of such a dilemma, one ignorance against another, you need to ask your intuition. Do you want to see us with your own eyes, or simply believe what your “authorities” say? That is the real question! After thousands of years, one day this choice was going to be inevitable: choosing between two unknowns.
Why spread such a message among yourselves?
Translate and spread this message widely. This action will affect your future in an irreversible and historical way at the scale of millennia. Otherwise, it will postpone a new opportunity to choose until several years later — at least one generation, if that generation can survive.
Not choosing stands for undergoing other people’s choice. Not informing others stands for running the risk of obtaining a result that is contrary to one’s expectations. Remaining indifferent means giving up one’s free will.
It is all about your future. It is all about your evolution. It is possible that this invitation will not receive your collective assent and will be disregarded. Nevertheless no individual desire goes unheeded in the universe.
Imagine our arrival tomorrow. Thousands of ships. A unique cultural shock in today’s mankind’s history. It will then be too late to regret not making a choice and spreading the message because this discovery will be irreversible.
We do insist that you do not rush into it, but do think about it… And decide. The big media will not necessarily be interested in spreading this message. It is therefore your task, as an anonymous yet an extraordinary thinking and loving being, to transmit it.
You are still the architects of your own fate…
“DO YOU WISH THAT WE SHOW UP?”
Remember, use your intuition to connect and feel out this message and what it means for you. I will end with, blind acceptance is just as unhelpful as blind skepticism.
in 2012 we put out a film called The Collective Evolution 3: The Shift for free. It explores why we are living in the most important time in our history. You can watch that film here.
By Sam Levin
Professor whose study suggested technology can detect whether a person is gay or straight says programs will soon reveal traits such as criminal predisposition
Voters have a right to keep their political beliefs private. But according to some researchers, it won’t be long before a computer program can accurately guess whether people are liberal or conservative in an instant. All that will be needed are photos of their faces.
Michal Kosinski – the Stanford University professor who went viral last week for research suggesting that artificial intelligence (AI) can detect whether people are gay or straight based on photos – said sexual orientation was just one of many characteristics that algorithms would be able to predict through facial recognition.
Using photos, AI will be able to identify people’s political views, whether they have high IQs, whether they are predisposed to criminal behavior, whether they have specific personality traits and many other private, personal details that could carry huge social consequences, he said.
Kosinski outlined the extraordinary and sometimes disturbing applications of facial detection technology that he expects to see in the near future, raising complex ethical questions about the erosion of privacy and the possible misuse of AI to target vulnerable people.
“The face is an observable proxy for a wide range of factors, like your life history, your development factors, whether you’re healthy,” he said.
Faces contain a significant amount of information, and using large datasets of photos, sophisticated computer programs can uncover trends and learn how to distinguish key traits with a high rate of accuracy. With Kosinski’s “gaydar” AI, an algorithm used online dating photos to create a program that could correctly identify sexual orientation 91% of the time with men and 83% with women, just by reviewing a handful of photos.
Kosinski’s research is highly controversial, and faced a huge backlash from LGBT rights groups, which argued that the AI was flawed and that anti-LGBT governments could use this type of software to out gay people and persecute them. Kosinski and other researchers, however, have argued that powerful governments and corporations already possess these technological capabilities and that it is vital to expose possible dangers in an effort to push for privacy protections and regulatory safeguards, which have not kept pace with AI.
Kosinski, an assistant professor of organizational behavior, said he was studying links between facial features and political preferences, with preliminary results showing that AI is effective at guessing people’s ideologies based on their faces.
This is probably because political views appear to be heritable, as research has shown, he said. That means political leanings are possibly linked to genetics or developmental factors, which could result in detectable facial differences.
Kosinski said previous studies have found that conservative politicians tend to be more attractive than liberals, possibly because good-looking people have more advantages and an easier time getting ahead in life.
Kosinski said the AI would perform best for people who are far to the right or left and would be less effective for the large population of voters in the middle. “A high conservative score … would be a very reliable prediction that this guy is conservative.”
Kosinski is also known for his controversial work on psychometric profiling, including using Facebook data to draw inferences about personality. The data firm Cambridge Analytica has used similar tools to target voters in support of Donald Trump’s campaign, sparking debate about the use of personal voter information in campaigns.
Facial recognition may also be used to make inferences about IQ, said Kosinski, suggesting a future in which schools could use the results of facial scans when considering prospective students. This application raises a host of ethical questions, particularly if the AI is purporting to reveal whether certain children are genetically more intelligent, he said: “We should be thinking about what to do to make sure we don’t end up in a world where better genes means a better life.”
Some of Kosinski’s suggestions conjure up the 2002 science-fiction film Minority Report, in which police arrest people before they have committed crimes based on predictions of future murders. The professor argued that certain areas of society already function in a similar way.
He cited school counselors intervening when they observe children who appear to exhibit aggressive behavior. If algorithms could be used to accurately predict which students need help and early support, that could be beneficial, he said. “The technologies sound very dangerous and scary on the surface, but if used properly or ethically, they can really improve our existence.”
There are, however, growing concerns that AI and facial recognition technologies are actually relying on biased data and algorithms and could cause great harm. It is particularly alarming in the context of criminal justice, where machines could make decisions about people’s lives – such as the length of a prison sentence or whether to release someone on bail – based on biased data from a court and policing system that is racially prejudiced at every step.
Kosinski predicted that with a large volume of facial images of an individual, an algorithm could easily detect if that person is a psychopath or has high criminal tendencies. He said this was particularly concerning given that a propensity for crime does not translate to criminal actions: “Even people highly disposed to committing a crime are very unlikely to commit a crime.”
He also cited an example referenced in the Economist – which first reported the sexual orientation study – that nightclubs and sport stadiums could face pressure to scan people’s faces before they enter to detect possible threats of violence.
Kosinski noted that in some ways, this wasn’t much different from human security guards making subjective decisions about people they deem too dangerous-looking to enter.
The law generally considers people’s faces to be “public information”, said Thomas Keenan, professor of environmental design and computer science at the University of Calgary, noting that regulations have not caught up with technology: no law establishes when the use of someone’s face to produce new information rises to the level of privacy invasion.
Keenan said it might take a tragedy to spark reforms, such as a gay youth being beaten to death because bullies used an algorithm to out him: “Now, you’re putting people’s lives at risk.”
Even with AI that makes highly accurate predictions, there is also still a percentage of predictions that will be incorrect.
“You’re going down a very slippery slope,” said Keenan, “if one in 20 or one in a hundred times … you’re going to be dead wrong.”
By Rachel Zoll
NEW YORK — The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
Christians overall remain a large majority in the U.S., at nearly 70 percent of Americans. However, white Christians, once predominant in the country’s religious life, now comprise only 43 percent of the population, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, a polling organization based in Washington. Four decades ago, about eight in 10 Americans were white Christians.
The change has occurred across the spectrum of Christian traditions in the U.S., including sharp drops in membership in predominantly white mainline Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians and Lutherans; an increasing Latino presence in the Roman Catholic Church as some non-Hispanic white Catholics leave; and shrinking ranks of white evangelicals, who until recently had been viewed as immune to decline.
The trends identified in the survey are fueling anxiety about the place of Christians in society, especially among evangelicals, alarmed by support for gay marriage and by the increasing share of Americans — about one-quarter — who don’t identify with a faith group. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly promised to protect the religious liberty of Christians, drew 80 percent of votes by white evangelicals, a constituency that remains among his strongest supporters.
About 17 percent of Americans now identify as white evangelical, compared to 23 percent a decade ago, according to the survey. Membership in the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant group, dropped to 15.2 million last year, its lowest number since 1990, according to an analysis by Chuck Kelley, president of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“So often, white evangelicals have been pointing in judgment to white mainline groups, saying when you have liberal theology you decline,” said Robert Jones, chief executive of PRRI. “I think this data really does challenge that interpretation of linking theological conservatism and growth.”
The PRRI survey of more than 100,000 people was conducted from January 2016 to January of this year and has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.4 percentage points. Previous surveys had found that the Protestant majority that shaped the nation’s history had dropped below 50 percent sometime around 2008. The PRRI poll released Wednesday included a more in-depth focus on race and religion. Jones said growth among Latino Christians, and stability in the numbers of African-American Christians, had partly obscured the decline among white Christians.
The survey also found that more than a third of all Republicans say they are white evangelicals, and nearly three-quarter identify as white Christians. By comparison, white Christians have become a minority in the Democratic Party, shrinking from 50 percent a decade ago, to 29 percent now. Forty percent of Democrats say they have no religious affiliation.
Among American Catholics, 55 percent now identify as white, compared to 87 percent 25 years ago, amid the growing presence of Latino Catholics, according to the report. Over the last decade, the share of white Catholics in the U.S. population dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent. Over the same period, white mainline Protestants declined from 18 percent to 13 percent of all Americans.
By Todd Starnes
The president of the University of Notre Dame said he is deeply concerned after Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned a colleague’s religious beliefs during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing.
Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame, was grilled by Democrats over how her Catholic beliefs might influence her decisions from the bench. Barrett was recently nominated by President Trump for a seat on the federal court.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country,” Sen. Feinstein said.
Feinstein has been widely condemned for what many are calling anti-Catholic bigotry and bullying.
“It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge,” Notre Dame President John Jenkins wrote in a public letter to the California lawmaker.
He took great exception to her remark that the “dogma lives loudly” in the professor.
By Robert Barnes
In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.
The government agreed with Phillips that his cakes are a form of expression, and he cannot be compelled to use his talents for something in which he does not believe.
“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the brief.
The DOJ’s decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.
But Louise Melling, the deputy legal counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple, said she was taken aback by the filing.
“Even in an administration that has already made its hostility” toward the gay community clear, Melling said, “I find this nothing short of shocking.”
Since taking office, President Trump has moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students.
The DOJ also has taken the stance that gay workers are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws. Since 2015, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission has taken the opposite stance, saying Title VII, the civil-rights statute that covers workers, protects against bias based on sexual orientation.
Federal courts are split on that issue, and the Supreme Court this term might take up the issue.
Indeed, lawyers for Jameka Evans, who claims she was fired by Georgia Regional Hospital because of her sexual orientation and “nonconformity with gender norms of appearance and demeanor,” on Thursday asked justices to take her case.
Citing a 1979 precedent, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected her protection claims.
Taking that case, along with Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, would make the coming Supreme Court term the most important for gay rights issues since the justices voted 5 to 4 in 2015 to find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.
The case of Phillips, a baker in the Denver suburbs, is similar to lawsuits brought elsewhere involving florists, calligraphers and others who say providing services to same-sex weddings would violate their religious beliefs. But these objectors have found little success in the courts, which have ruled that businesses serving the public must comply with state anti-discrimination laws.
Mullins and Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, along with Craig’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriages were legal at the time, and then hold a reception in Colorado.
But Phillips refused to discuss the issue, saying his religious beliefs would not allow him to have anything to do with same-sex marriage. He said other bakeries would accommodate them.
The civil rights commission and a Colorado court rejected Phillips’ argument that forcing him to create a cake violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and exercise of religion.
The court said the baker “does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law.”
By Bethany Mandel
Over the course of the last few months, whenever I write or tweet anything, on any topic, I usually receive a caustic social media response about my position on transgenderism. These trolls post links to my tweets about the subject and screenshots, as if showing me my own recent opinion is some sort of gotcha. These individuals even send tweets to my husband and employers, perhaps in hope that they will use their power over me to get my opinion in check with The Approved Position.
One Twitter follower who “favorited” a tweet of mine about my view on transgenderism even received an email from a stranger demanding to know if her decision to “favorite” my tweet meant she agreed with me. I’ve been called every name in the book: hateful, bigoted, transphobic, etc. All for having a belief that was utterly uncontroversial just three years ago: men are born with penises, women are born with vaginas, and, to quote the great Ben Shapiro, facts don’t care about your feelings.
We Are Being Made to Care
Many of my fellow millennial conservatives, out of what they view as courtesy, use the preferred pronoun and name for individuals who identify as transgender. Here is why I won’t: We will be made to care.
The phrase is care of another great conservative thinker, Erick Erickson. He coined it in the midst of the gay marriage debate. During that debate, I was like many of these younger millennial conservatives. I naively thought the issue was merely about gay marriage, and thought “Hey, marriage is great, so let’s just give into the Left’s demands about the redefinition of a cornerstone of our society because not doing so would be bigoted.”
But there was more to the Left’s battle with conservatives than that. It wasn’t just about redefining marriage to these activists; it was also about punishing those who weren’t 100 percent on board, especially religious Christians. The livelihoods and lives of bakers, photographers, farmers, and the CEO of Mozilla were destroyed for not completely adhering to the Thought Police’s demands. These Americans were made to care.
The Trans Police Are Frightening Control Freaks
My colleague Joy Pullmann provided just the latest example last week of how the progressive Left is making the rest of us care about the transgender debate: “Angry parents stampeded a California charter school board meeting Monday after a teacher read her kindergarten class picture books about transgenderism to affirm a gender dysphoric classmate. During the class, parents say, the gender dysphoric boy also switched clothes to look more like a girl in a ‘gender reveal.’ Parents were not notified beforehand of the discussion or the classmate’s psychological condition, and learned about it when their confused kindergarteners arrived home from school that day.”
For Acculturated recently, I gamed out a frightening thought experiment about how parents who decide not to play along with their child’s gender dysphoria could one day be faced with a visit from Child Protective Services.
The Left has shown the totalitarian manner in which it exacts support, or at least silence, from everyday Americans. We’ve seen how lives were destroyed in the wake of the gay marriage debate, how many individuals were shouted down into submission by the side that proclaims itself to be “open-minded” and employed the slogans “No H8” and “Love Wins.” For many conservatives, including myself, the lesson has been learned.
With every tweet aimed at publicizing and shaming my position on transgenderism, the progressive Left is solidifying my decision to call Bruce Jenner by his given name instead of the name he has chosen because of a condition that mental health professionals once took seriously. Playing along with delusions isn’t a kindness to those suffering from other psychological conditions, and it isn’t a kindness for those with gender dysphoria either.
And if we lend credibility to the notion that adults can choose their sex, parents who refuse to allow a child who, just the week before, self-identified as a butterfly to choose her own gender could then be accused of denying their child health care (because many progressive activists view opposite-sex hormones and plastic surgery as health care now).
My answer for those on the Left who ask me “Why do you care what transgender individuals call themselves?” is simply this: because you have made me.
By Eric Mack
The unexplained signals from the other side of the universe known as fast radio bursts are a rarely observed phenomenon and only one of them has been picked up more than once. Now scientists engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligencesay that lone repeating fast radio burst (FRB) is being heard twittering away.
FRBs are bright, millisecond-long pulses of radio signals from beyond the Milky Way that were first identified only a decade ago. Suggested explanations include everything from neutron star outbursts to alien civilizations using some form of directed energy to propel a spacecraft.
One burst first observed in 2012, named FRB 121102, was later found to repeat in 2015. On Saturday, UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Dr. Vishal Gajjar used the Breakthrough Listen backend instrument at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to target FRB 121102 once again. After observing for five hours and across the entire 4 to 8 GHz frequency band, Gajjar and the Listen team analyzed the 400 terabytes of data gathered and found 15 new pulses from FRB 121102.
“The possible implications are two folds,” Gajjar told me via email Tuesday. “This detection at such a high frequency helps us scrutinize many (of FRB 121102’s) origin models. The frequency structure we see across our total band of 4 to 8 GHz also allows us to understand the intervening medium between us and the source.”
The location of FRB 121102 has already been previously traced to a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years away, but what exactly might be sending out such strong signals from there remains a mystery. Gajjar says that the repeating nature and current state of heightened activity for FRB 121102 does seem to rule out some of the most destructive explanations, such as colliding black holes.
“As the source is going into another active state means that the origin models associated with some sort of cataclysmic events are less likely to be the case of FRB 121102,” he said. “It should be noted that they can still be valid for other FRBs.”
Whatever or whoever sent out the bright radio bursts, they left their source a very long time ago when the only life here on Earth was single-celled. Perhaps some ancient intelligent species was clued in to the emergence of life on our planet and knew that a signal sent would reach us just as we were becoming technologically sophisticated for the first time?
Perhaps, but given the current lack of evidence of such extra-terrestrial life, a natural phenomenon like a pulsar seems a more likely explanation.
The Breakthrough Listen team urged other astronomers to make follow-up observations of FRB 121102 during its current state of heightened activity in an Astronomer’s Telegram post that first reported the new results on Monday. The researchers say the new bursts will be described in more detail in an upcoming paper for a scientific journal.
Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.
Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.
By Maura Dolan
A Christian football coach suspended for kneeling and praying on the 50-yard line after high school games Wednesday lost a bid to be reinstated and allowed to worship in front of students.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that Bremerton, Wash., High School football coach Joseph A. Kennedy was serving as a public employee when he prayed in front of students and parents immediately after games, and the school had the right to discipline him.
The Bremerton School District, located in Kitsap County across Puget Sound from Seattle, serves about 5,057 religiously diverse students, the court said.
Kennedy, an assistant football coach there from 2008 to 2015, led students and coaching staff in locker-room prayers before and after most games and also prayed on the 50-yard line after games.
Students eventually joined him in the prayers on the field, and he gave motivational speeches with religious content, the court said.
The school district objected, saying its employees could not publicly endorse a religion, and Kennedy asked for a religious exemption under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The school said he could pray on the 50-yard line after students and parents had left. Kennedy did this for a while, but eventually renewed his postgame practice of praying before people left.
Kennedy’s religious activities gained media attention, and a Satanist group said it too wanted to pray on the football field.
The district eventually suspended Kennedy with pay and did not rehire him when his contract expired.
Kennedy charged in his lawsuit that the school violated his 1st Amendment rights.
Disagreeing, the 9th Circuit panel said the fact that Kennedy insisted on praying in front of students and parents showed his speech was directed at least in part to others, not solely to God.
“When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected,” wrote the 9th Circuit, upholding a decision by a district court judge.
According to guns.com, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon approved a piece of gun legislation this week that establishes Extreme Risk Protection (ERP) Orders, that forces subjects to surrender their firearms.
The law allows police, or a member of a subjects family or house hold, to file a petition with the court that could lead to an order stripping an individual’s Second Amendment rights if it is believed that they pose an imminent risk to themselves or others.
Brown said in the story that the new Extreme Risk Protection Orders the “best way to ensure that a person who is at risk of harming themselves or others is identified, while still ensuring their rights are protected by a court review.”
The law establishes a process for obtaining the orders, which will be issued by a judge in civil court. The subject will be prohibited from possessing or buying firearms or ammunition for one year, the story says and must surrender any firearms they own, or they may be stored with a third party fur the duration of the order.
Once a judge issues an ERP order, the subject has 30 days to request a hearing to keep their firearms, which then must be held within 21 days, the story says.
Another aspect of the bill has riled gun rights supporters. Once an order is issued, it also grants police enforcing that order the power to search for and seize guns that were not willingly surrendered or stored somewhere else.
The fact remains, the signing of this law could very realistically lead to situations where armed police officers are forced to go to private citizens homes to seize their firearms, which could result in violent confrontations, especially since the citizens in question are likely disturbed in some way because of the nature of the of the ERP orders.
To mitigate the chances of these orders being used for any reason other than their intended purpose, there are penalties in place. Anyone discovered filing a fake order could be imprisoned for up to a year, and/or pay a fine of up to $6,250.
Second Amendment groups have spoken out strongly against the process, saying it doesn’t provide enough structure for those deemed at risk to receive any kind of assistance or counseling. There are also no provisions for taking a person deemed to be dangerous into custody. The gun rights groups also say there are due process concerns, according to the story.
“By allowing a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member to seek the ERPO, SB 719A would allow people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken, and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind.”
Oregon has passed the nation’s most progressive abortion bill, requiring state insurers to provide free abortions for all, including illegal immigrants.
Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed the historic health bill Tuesday, after the Legislature approved it in July. It would require Oregon insurance companies to cover reproductive procedures, all on the taxpayers’ dime.
The $10.2 million bill takes effect immediately, allocating $500,000 for abortions for the estimated 22,873 women eligible under the Oregon health plan, the Washington Times reported. This will include abortions for immigrants who are otherwise ineligible under the state’s Medicaid program.
Opponents argued that the bill will force people who morally object to abortions to assume some of the costs. They also predicted that lawsuits will quickly follow, arguing that the new law violates the Weldon Amendment, a 2004 congressional provision that prohibits Health and Human Services funds for states that discriminate against health care providers that refuse to cover abortions, the Washington Times further reported.
Providence Health Care, a nonprofit Catholic health care provider that is also the only insurer operating in Oregon that does not cover abortions, will have its expenses reimbursed by the state.
Two other states, California and New York, also require state insurers to cover abortion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Life on Earth goes back at least two billion years, but it was only in the last half-billion that it would have been visible to the naked eye. One of the enduring questions among biologists is how life made the jump from microbes to the multicellular plants and animals who rule the planet today. Now, scientists have analyzed chemical traces of life in rocks that are up to a billion years old, and they discovered how a dramatic ice age may have led to the multicellular tipping point.
Writing in Nature, the researchers carefully reconstruct a timeline of life before and after one of the planet’s most all-encompassing ice ages. About 700 million years ago, the Sturtian glaciation created what’s called a “snowball Earth,” completely covering the planet in ice from the poles to the equator. About 659 million years ago, the Sturtian ended with an intense greenhouse period when the planet heated rapidly. Then, just as things were burning up, the Marinoan glaciation started and covered the planet in ice again. In the roughly 15 million years between the two snowballs, a new world began to emerge.
Jochen J. Brocks, a geologist from the Australian National University, Canberra, joined with his colleagues to track the emergence of multicellular life by identifying traces left by cell membranes in ancient rocks. Made from lipids and their byproducts, cell membrane “biomarkers” are like fossils for early microorganisms. By measuring chemical changes in these membranes, Brocks and his team discovered a “rapid rise” of new, larger forms of sea-going plankton algae in the warming waters after the Sturtian snowball. Some of these lifeforms were eukaryotes, meaning they had developed a nucleus—that’s another necessary step on the road to multicellular life.
But multicellular life couldn’t evolve without a major shift in the planet’s geochemistry after the Sturtian. From the upper atmosphere to the deepest oceans, the planet’s molecular composition had to change.
The great oxygen rush
The researchers suggest this transformation started when melting glaciers at the end of the snowball caused rapid erosion of landmasses, sending huge amounts of nutrients into the oceans. Slurries of icy minerals cascaded into the sea, sinking to the bottom and sequestering carbon.
That’s when things got real. “Such massive burial of reduced carbon must have been balanced by a net release of oxygen into the atmosphere, initiating the protracted oxygenation of Neoproterozoic deep oceans,” write the scientists. A world with very little oxygen in it was suddenly inundated with the stuff, both in and out of the water.
The rise of oxygen set off a cascade of linked events. It very likely led to the rise of phosphorous in the water, which is a key building block in DNA, and the energy-rich molecule ATP that provides fuel for our bodies. This meant more complex lifeforms like algae, which release oxygen during their digestive process. As algae diversified, lifeforms evolved to feed on the algae. Over time, new predators evolved to feed on those creatures, and so on. The more creatures who died and sank to the ocean floor, the more carbon was sequestered. As the researchers put it, the planet developed “a more efficient biological pump.”
This oxygen- and phosphorus-driven change was unstoppable. Even after the Minoan glaciation’s snowball, when the surface of the ocean heated up to as much as 60 degrees Celsius in the tropics, algae found its way to the poles and continued to diversify. Life as we know it appears to have emerged in the warm waters of a planet vacillating wildly between snowball and greenhouse. The climate became more stable about 550 million years ago, and we see the emergence of animals with heads, tails, and internal organs.
Harvard geobiologist Andrew Knoll, who was not involved in the study, wrote that this discovery“will change the conversation” about the emergence of complex life on Earth. Fundamentally, Brocks and his colleagues’ work shows that environmental changes are key to the evolution of life. Without an oxygenated ocean, there would be no animals on this world.
That’s why scientists are deeply concerned about the de-oxygenation of the seas today as a result of climate change and nutrient runoff from land. De-oxygenated areas called “dead zones” will slow or even halt the planet’s biological pump. Earth is a glorious geochemical machine, running processes that take millions of years. Perturbations in those processes can completely transform the world. Sometimes that means the planet blooms with life, as it did during the rise of oxygen and phosphorous in the ocean. But sometimes it brings death.
Nature, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nature23457
Round two of the battle between Leah Remini and the Church of Scientology begins Tuesday (A&E, 9 p.m. ET/PT) with the return of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
Despite pushback from the Church of Scientology, Remini forges ahead with 10 new episodes and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.
“These people’s stories are important to be told, and exposing the abuses of Scientology is something I feel is the right thing to do, having been in it most of my life and having promoted it and supported it,” says Remini, a church member until 2013 and author of Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. “There’s a lot of people out there who have lost a lot because of Scientology, and they deserve to be heard.”
“Nothing about A&E’s Leah Remini ‘docuseries’ is honest. The singular goal of the program is to make money and boost ratings by spreading salacious lies to promote A&E’s ugly brand of religious intolerance, bigotry and hatred,” the church said in a letter to USA TODAY from spokeswoman Karin Pouw.
The show’s November premiere drew 2.1 million same-day viewers, making it the network’s largest launch of an original series in more than two years at the time.
Remini has found others to share their stories for Season 2 of her hour-long series, in spite of, she says, being made a pariah among celebrity Scientologists.
“Their job is to avoid me at all costs,” she says. “They just make sure, through their publicists, if I’m on one side of the room that they’re on another side of the room. Or they don’t show up to an event that they’re scheduled to be at if they know I’m gonna be there. That’s just the way it’s gotten.”
Remini delves into how Scientology policies affect members in the show’s second season.
“I think people would be shocked to know that when people go through a traumatic experience — like being raped or molested — that Scientology punishes the victim and makes them responsible for what had happened to them,” says Remini. In a statement from the church, the organization says the accusation that it condones sexual abuse is “false and defamatory.”
The first episode features women who claim to have been molested while employees of the church, Remini says. The topic of suicide will also be covered this season.
“They don’t believe in therapies other than Scientology, so people dealing with real mental issues don’t often get the help that they need,” Remini claims. The church refutes this: “We do not treat those who are mentally ill; we encourage such individuals to be examined by a competent doctor.”
The church says it has been targeted because of Remini’s Aftermath. “To date, the Church has been subjected to more than 500 threats — including death threats, dangerous acts of vandalism and bullying directed at everyday parishioners — inspired by Leah Remini and her A&E show,” Pouw’s letter reads. “The violence provoked falls directly at the feet of A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc, President Paul Buccieri and (executive VP) Rob Sharenow, who should be ashamed for spreading bigotry and religious intolerance.” (A&E couldn’t be reached for comment).
“Sadly, as everyone knows from a number of recent tragic events, including those over the weekend in Virginia, we live in a volatile time of accelerated hate, bigotry and intolerance,” the letter continues. “A&E’s airing of salacious, unvetted falsehoods about the Church is reckless and irresponsible. The incendiary hate and bigotry they are fostering has no place in a tolerant America.”
The church has also posted a statement about Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath here.
The Church of England is set to offer special services to welcome transgender people to the Anglican faith after its ruling body backed a motion seen as a symbol of acceptance of an often marginalized community.
The General Synod, meeting in York, voted in favour of the move by 284 votes to 78. It was the second time in two days that it gave overwhelming support to motions seen as positive towards LGBT people, suggesting to some a significant change of mood.
The motion said transgender people should be “welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”, and that bishops consider whether special liturgies “might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition”.
Proposing the motion, Chris Newlands, from Blackburn, Lancashire, said: “I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives.”
He told the synod of the son of two members of a big evangelical church, who he called Nathan. At the age of five, after medical advice, Nathan became Natalie, and returned to school “much happier … and with very little fuss from staff, pupils and parents”.
Not all members of the church were as supportive, however, with some offering only “grudging acceptance”. Newlands said he hoped the debate at synod “will help to inform that church, and many other churches, of the challenges children with gender dysphoria face”.
Citing data from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, he said that in 2010, 97 children in the UK were referred to gender identity clinics, but by 2016 the number had risen to 1,400.
He said: “Across the world, trans people have been subjected to appalling violence against them. In the UK, transphobic hate crime has risen by 170% in the last year.”
According to figures from the LGBT campaign group Stonewall, 48% of trans people under the age of 26 said they had attempted suicide.
Some speakers in the debate drew attention to the symbolic message that passing the motion would send. “It’s about opening our arms to the trans community, a community that so often feels excluded,” said Lucy Gorman, from York.
Bishop of Worcester John Inge said: “Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that.”
A background paper to the motion urged bishops to consider providing “liturgical materials which may be used in parish churches and chaplaincies to provide a pastoral response to the need of transgender people to be affirmed following their long, distressing and often complex process of transition”.
It acknowledged that clergy could not be required to perform such a service if they “cannot in good conscience offer support in a liturgical marking of a person’s transition”.
Some Christian traditionalists say gender – male or female – is assigned by God and cannot be changed. Such a view was not expressed in the 75-minute debate, which was overwhelmingly supportive of a positive pastoral response to the transgender community and those undergoing the process of transition.
Sunday’s vote came less than 24 hours after the synod decisively backed a motion condemning conversion therapy as unethical and potentially harmful, and calling on the government to ban it.
After hearing two of its members describe their experiences as spiritual abuse, the synod agreed that the practice had “no place in the modern world”.
Conversion therapy is usually described as an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Some churches in the C of E and other denominations have encouraged LGBT members to take part in prayer sessions and other activities to rid them of their “sin”.
Jayne Ozanne – who underwent conversion therapy resulting in two breakdowns and two spells of hospitalisation – said the practice was “abuse from which vulnerable adults need protecting”.
It was “discredited by the government, the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners and many other senior health care bodies,” she said.
But some synod members expressed concern that the motion would limit the church’s ability to offer pastoral care and prayer for people struggling with issues of sexual desire and orientation.
Some saw the vote as a sign of a greater acceptance by the church’s ruling body of LGBT people.
David Ison, dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, said the absence of major opposition showed that “the mood in synod overall is shifting somewhat towards acceptance and realisation of the damage that has been caused” to LGBT people.
However, on the divisive issue of same-sex marriage, the synod was told that a working group to review the church’s teaching on marriage would not report back until 2020 at the earliest. Some synod members accused the bishops of stalling.
The Church of England is making major overtures to affirm transgender and LGBT people and rejecting any notion that gender transition or same-sex sexual orientation could be understood as sin.
On Sunday, the church’s general synod voted 284 to 78 in favor of a motion to affirm transgender people in parish churches and offer special liturgy services to mark their gender transition.
Reverend Christopher Newlands opened the debate on the motion saying he hoped to make a powerful statement. “We believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives,” he said.
The synod also voted to denounce what it calls “conversion therapy” for those struggling with same-sex attraction.
The motion was moved by Jayne Ozanne who called the therapy “harmful” and “dangerous” saying “people may be able to alter their behavior but they can never alter their innate desire.”
Those who opposed the motion noted that it could limit ministry to those struggling with same-sex attraction. The Guardian reports that some synod members expressed concern that it would constrict those in the church seeking to provide pastoral care and prayer for sexual minorities.
Conservatives in the Church of England have been concerned about its pro-LGBT movement for years and started the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in 2008 to “retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.”
You will get chipped. It’s just a matter of time.
In the aftermath of a Wisconsin firm embedding microchips in employees to ditch company badges and corporate logons, the Internet has entered into full-throated debate.
Religious activists are so appalled, they’ve been penning nasty 1-star reviews of the company, Three Square Market, on Google, Glassdoor and social media.
On the flip side, seemingly everyone else wants to know: Is this what real life is going to be like soon at work? Will I be chipped?
“It will happen to everybody,” says Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.”
Gene Munster, an investor and analyst at Loup Ventures, is an advocate for augmented reality, virtual reality and other new technologies. He thinks embedded chips in human bodies is 50 years away. “In 10 years, Facebook, Google, Apple and Tesla will not have their employees chipped,” he says. “You’ll see some extreme forward-looking tech people adopting it, but not large companies.”
The idea of being chipped has too “much negative connotation” today, but by 2067 “we will have been desensitized by the social stigma,” Munster says.
For now, Three Square Market, or 32M, hasn’t offered concrete benefits for getting chipped beyond badge and log-on stats. Munster says it was a “PR stunt” for the company to get attention to its product and it certainly succeeded, getting the small start-up air play on CBS, NBC and ABC, and generating headlines worldwide. The company, which sells corporate cafeteria kiosks designed to replace vending machines, would like the kiosks to handle cashless transactions.
This would go beyond paying with your smartphone. Instead, chipped customers would simply wave their hands in lieu of Apple Pay and other mobile-payment systems.
The benefits don’t stop there. In the future, consumers could zip through airport scanners sans passport or drivers license; open doors; start cars; and operate home automation systems. All of it, if the technology pans out, with the simple wave of a hand.
Not a GPS tracker
The embedded chip is not a GPS tracker, which is what many critics initially feared. However, analysts believe future chips will track our every move.
For example, pets for years have been embedded with chips to store their name and owner contact. Indeed, 32M isn’t the first company to embed chips in employees. In 2001, Applied Digital Solutions installed the “VeriChip” to access medical records but the company eventually changed hands and stopped selling the chip in 2010.
In Sweden, BioHax says nearly 3,000 customers have had its chip embedded to do many things, including ride the national rail system without having to show the conductor a ticket.
In the U.S., Dangerous Things, a Seattle-based firm, says it has sold “tens of thousands” of chips to consumers via its website. The chip and installation cost about $200.
After years of being a subculture, “the time is now” for chips to be more commonly used, says Amal Graafstra, founder of Dangerous Things. “We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos do now.”
In other words, they’ll be more visible, but not mainstream yet.
“It becomes part of you the way a cellphone does,” Graafstra says. “You can never forget it, and you can’t lose it. And you have the capability to communicate with machines in a way you couldn’t before.”
But after what we saw in Wisconsin last week, what’s next for the U.S. workforce? A nation of workers chipping into their pods at Federal Express, General Electric, IBM, Microsoft and other top corporations?
Experts contend consumers will latch onto chips before companies do.
Chesley says corporations are slower to respond to massive change and that there will be an age issue. Younger employees will be more open to it, while older workers will balk. “Most employers who have inter-generational workforces might phase it in slowly,” she says. “I can’t imagine people my age and older being enthusiastic about having devices put into their bodies.”
Adds Alec Levenson, a researcher at University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations, “The vast majority of people will not put up with this.”
Three Square Market said the chips are voluntary, but Chesley says that if a company announces a plan to be chipped, the expectation is that you will get chipped — or risk losing out on advancement, raises and being a team player.
“That’s what we’re worried about,” says Bryan Allen, chief of staff for state Rep. Tina Davis (D), who is introducing a bill in Pennsylvania to outlaw mandatory chip embedding. “If the tech is out there, what’s to stop an employer from saying either you do this, or you can’t work here anymore.”
Several states have passed similar laws, while one state recently saw a similar bill die in committee. “I see this as a worker’s rights issue,” says Nevada state Sen. Becky Harris (R), who isn’t giving up. “This is the wrong place to be moving,” she says.
Should future corporations dive in to chipping their employees, they will have huge issues of “trust” to contend with, says Kent Grayson, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
“You’ve got to have a lot of trust to put one of those in your body,” Grayson says. Workers will need assurances the chip is healthy, can’t be hacked, and its information is private, he says.
Meanwhile, religious advocates have taken to social media to express their displeasure about chipping, flooding 32M’s Facebook page with comments like “boycott,” “completely unnecessary” and “deplorable.” On 32M’s Google page, Amy Cosari a minister in Hager City, Wisc., urges employees to remove the chip.
“When Jesus was raised, he was raised body and soul, and it was him, not zombie, not a ghost and we are raised up in the same way,” Cosari wrote. ”Employees of 32Market, you are not a walking debit card.”
Get used to it, counsels Chesley.
Ten years ago, employees didn’t look at corporate e-mail over the weekend. Now they we do, “whether we like it or not,” he says.
Be it wearable technology or an embedded chip, the always on-always connected chip is going to be part of our lives, she says.
WHEN BIOLOGISTS SYNTHESIZE DNA, they take pains not to create or spread a dangerous stretch of genetic code that could be used to create a toxin or, worse, an infectious disease. But one group of biohackers has demonstrated how DNA can carry a less expected threat—one designed to infect not humans nor animals but computers.
In new research they plan to present at the USENIX Security conference on Thursday, a group of researchers from the University of Washington has shown for the first time that it’s possible to encode malicious software into physical strands of DNA, so that when a gene sequencer analyzes it the resulting data becomes a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software and takes control of the underlying computer. While that attack is far from practical for any real spy or criminal, it’s one the researchers argue could become more likely over time, as DNA sequencing becomes more commonplace, powerful, and performed by third-party services on sensitive computer systems. And, perhaps more to the point for the cybersecurity community, it also represents an impressive, sci-fi feat of sheer hacker ingenuity.
“We know that if an adversary has control over the data a computer is processing, it can potentially take over that computer,” says Tadayoshi Kohno, the University of Washington computer science professor who led the project, comparing the technique to traditional hacker attacks that package malicious code in web pages or an email attachment. “That means when you’re looking at the security of computational biology systems, you’re not only thinking about the network connectivity and the USB drive and the user at the keyboard but also the information stored in the DNA they’re sequencing. It’s about considering a different class of threat.”
A Sci-Fi Hack
For now, that threat remains more of a plot point in a Michael Crichton novel than one that should concern computational biologists. But as genetic sequencing is increasingly handled by centralized services—often run by university labs that own the expensive gene sequencing equipment—that DNA-borne malware trick becomes ever so slightly more realistic. Especially given that the DNA samples come from outside sources, which may be difficult to properly vet.
If hackers did pull off the trick, the researchers say they could potentially gain access to valuable intellectual property, or possibly taint genetic analysis like criminal DNA testing. Companies could even potentially place malicious code in the DNA of genetically modified products, as a way to protect trade secrets, the researchers suggest. “There are a lot of interesting—or threatening may be a better word—applications of this coming in the future,” says Peter Ney, a researcher on the project.
Regardless of any practical reason for the research, however, the notion of building a computer attack—known as an “exploit”—with nothing but the information stored in a strand of DNA represented an epic hacker challenge for the University of Washington team. The researchers started by writing a well-known exploit called a “buffer overflow,” designed to fill the space in a computer’s memory meant for a certain piece of data and then spill out into another part of the memory to plant its own malicious commands.
But encoding that attack in actual DNA proved harder than they first imagined. DNA sequencers work by mixing DNA with chemicals that bind differently to DNA’s basic units of code—the chemical bases A, T, G, and C—and each emit a different color of light, captured in a photo of the DNA molecules. To speed up the processing, the images of millions of bases are split up into thousands of chunks and analyzed in parallel. So all the data that comprised their attack had to fit into just a few hundred of those bases, to increase the likelihood it would remain intact throughout the sequencer’s parallel processing.
When the researchers sent their carefully crafted attack to the DNA synthesis service Integrated DNA Technologies in the form of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs, they found that DNA has other physical restrictions too. For their DNA sample to remain stable, they had to maintain a certain ratio of Gs and Cs to As and Ts, because the natural stability of DNA depends on a regular proportion of A-T and G-C pairs. And while a buffer overflow often involves using the same strings of data repeatedly, doing so in this case caused the DNA strand to fold in on itself. All of that meant the group had to repeatedly rewrite their exploit code to find a form that could also survive as actual DNA, which the synthesis service would ultimately send them in a finger-sized plastic vial in the mail.
The result, finally, was a piece of attack software that could survive the translation from physical DNA to the digital format, known as FASTQ, that’s used to store the DNA sequence. And when that FASTQ file is compressed with a common compression program known as fqzcomp—FASTQ files are often compressed because they can stretch to gigabytes of text—it hacks that compression software with its buffer overflow exploit, breaking out of the program and into the memory of the computer running the software to run its own arbitrary commands.
A Far-Off Threat
Even then, the attack was fully translated only about 37 percent of the time, since the sequencer’s parallel processing often cut it short or—another hazard of writing code in a physical object—the program decoded it backward. (A strand of DNA can be sequenced in either direction, but code is meant to be read in only one. The researchers suggest in their paper that future, improved versions of the attack might be crafted as a palindrome.)
Despite that tortuous, unreliable process, the researchers admit, they also had to take some serious shortcuts in their proof-of-concept that verge on cheating. Rather than exploit an existing vulnerability in the fqzcomp program, as real-world hackers do, they modified the program’s open-source code to insert their own flaw allowing the buffer overflow. But aside from writing that DNA attack code to exploit their artificially vulnerable version of fqzcomp, the researchers also performed a survey of common DNA sequencing software and found three actual buffer overflow vulnerabilities in common programs. “A lot of this software wasn’t written with security in mind,” Ney says. That shows, the researchers say, that a future hacker might be able to pull off the attack in a more realistic setting, particularly as more powerful gene sequencers start analyzing larger chunks of data that could better preserve an exploit’s code.
Needless to say, any possible DNA-based hacking is years away. Illumina, the leading maker of gene-sequencing equipment, said as much in a statement responding to the University of Washington paper. “This is interesting research about potential long-term risks. We agree with the premise of the study that this does not pose an imminent threat and is not a typical cyber security capability,” writes Jason Callahan, the company’s chief information security officer “We are vigilant and routinely evaluate the safeguards in place for our software and instruments. We welcome any studies that create a dialogue around a broad future framework and guidelines to ensure security and privacy in DNA synthesis, sequencing, and processing.”
But hacking aside, the use of DNA for handling computer information is slowly becoming a reality, says Seth Shipman, one member of a Harvard team that recently encoded a video in a DNA sample. (Shipman is married to WIRED senior writer Emily Dreyfuss.) That storage method, while mostly theoretical for now, could someday allow data to be kept for hundreds of years, thanks to DNA’s ability to maintain its structure far longer than magnetic encoding in flash memory or on a hard drive. And if DNA-based computer storage is coming, DNA-based computer attacks may not be so farfetched, he says.
“I read this paper with a smile on my face, because I think it’s clever,” Shipman says. “Is it something we should start screening for now? I doubt it.” But he adds that, with an age of DNA-based data possibly on the horizon, the ability to plant malicious code in DNA is more than a hacker parlor trick.
“Somewhere down the line, when more information is stored in DNA and it’s being input and sequenced constantly,” Shipman says, “we’ll be glad we started thinking about these things.”
At first blush, it sounds like the talk of a conspiracy theorist: a company implanting microchips under employees’ skin. But it’s not a conspiracy, and employees are lining up for the opportunity.
On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.
The program is not mandatory, but as of Monday, more than 50 out of 80 employees at Three Square’s headquarters in River Falls, Wis., had volunteered.
“It was pretty much 100 percent yes right from the get-go for me,” said Sam Bengtson, a software engineer. “In the next five to 10 years, this is going to be something that isn’t scoffed at so much, or is more normal. So I like to jump on the bandwagon with these kind of things early, just to say that I have it.”
Jon Krusell, another software engineer, and Melissa Timmins, the company’s sales director, were more hesitant. Mr. Krusell, who said he was excited about the technology but leery of an implanted device, might get a ring with a chip instead.
“Because it’s new, I don’t know enough about it yet,” Ms. Timmins said. “I’m a little nervous about implanting something into my body.”
Still, “I think it’s pretty exciting to be part of something new like this,” she said. “I know down the road, it’s going to be the next big thing, and we’re on the cutting edge of it.”
The program — a partnership between Three Square Market and the Swedish company Biohax International — is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, but it has already been done at a Swedish company, Epicenter. It raises a variety of questions, both privacy- and health-related.
“Companies often claim that these chips are secure and encrypted,” said Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. But “encrypted” is “a pretty vague term,” he said, “which could include anything from a truly secure product to something that is easily hackable.”
Another potential problem, Dr. Acquisti said, is that technology designed for one purpose may later be used for another. A microchip implanted today to allow for easy building access and payments could, in theory, be used later in more invasive ways: to track the length of employees’ bathroom or lunch breaks, for instance, without their consent or even their knowledge.
“Once they are implanted, it’s very hard to predict or stop a future widening of their usage,” Dr. Acquisti said.
Todd Westby, the chief executive of Three Square, emphasized that the chip’s capabilities were limited. “All it is is an RFID chip reader,” he said. “It’s not a GPS tracking device. It’s a passive device and can only give data when data’s requested.”
“Nobody can track you with it,” Mr. Westby added. “Your cellphone does 100 times more reporting of data than does an RFID chip.”
Health concerns are more difficult to assess. Implantable radio-frequency transponder systems, the technical name for the chips, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for medical uses. But in rare cases, according to the F.D.A., the implantation site may become infected, or the chip may migrate elsewhere in the body.
Dewey Wahlin, general manager of Three Square, emphasized that the chips are F.D.A.-approved and removable. “I’m going to have it implanted in me, and I don’t see any concerns,” he said.
While that sentiment is not universal at Three Square, the response among employees was mostly positive.
“Much to my surprise, when we had our initial meeting to ask if this was something we wanted to look at doing, it was an overwhelming majority of people that said yes,” Mr. Westby said, noting that he had expected more reluctance. “It exceeded my expectations. Friends, they want to be chipped. My whole family is being chipped — my two sons, my wife and myself.”
If the devices are going to be introduced anywhere, Mr. Wahlin noted, employees like Three Square’s might be most receptive.
“We are a technology company, when all is said and done, and they’re excited about it,” he said. “They see this as the future.”
By Lynne Terry firstname.lastname@example.org
An Oregon scientist known for breaking barriers has done it again, successfully modifying DNA in human embryos, according to a report in Technology Review.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health & Science University targeted a gene associated with a human disease, surpassing work done in China, the report said.
An OHSU spokesman declined to comment, saying the report is still under embargo.
Mitalipov’s team worked with human embryos produced by sperm from men with a genetic mutation, the report said, noting they were of “clinical quality.” They then modified the mutation using a gene-editing technique, CRISPR.
Chinese researchers have also modified human embryos with CRISPR. But the report said Mitalipov worked on more embryos and had more success. His team avoided altering genes that were not targeted — called off-target effects — or only modifying some of the targeted DNA, which is called mosaicism.
“Mitalipov and his colleagues are said to have convincingly shown that it is possible to avoid both mosaicism and ‘off-target’ effects, as the CRISPR errors are known,” the report said.
The work offers the possibility that one day science will be able to modify genes in human embryos to prevent disease. Critics worry, however, that gene-editing in embryos opens the floodgates to the creation of “designer babies” in which parents specify traits they want their children to have.
The technique has stirred waves of controversy. The National Institutes of Health has banned experiments that involve genome-editing of human embryos, and Congress has barred the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from considering allowing human trials involving altered embryos.
Mitalipov, who heads OHSU’s Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy, is no stranger to controversy. He created the first cloned monkeys in 2007 and in 2013 created the first human embryonic stem cells through cloning.
The first CRISPR modifications of DNA in a human embryo date to 2015. But those experiments involved embryos with serious mutations. In the current experiment, the embryos were not allowed to develop for more than a few days, the report said.
— Lynne Terry