Pope says world’s many conflicts amount to piecemeal World War Three
By Stefano Rellandini 11 hours ago
REDIPUGLIA Italy (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.
“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.
The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.
“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.
“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction,” he said.
In the past few months, Francis has made repeated appeals for an end to conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and parts of Africa.
“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” he said. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology …,” he said.
Last month the pope, who has often condemned the concept of war in God’s name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamic State militants who have killed or displaced thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, many of them Christians.
In his homily, read at a sombre service to thousands of people braving the rain and which included the hauntingly funereal sound of a solitary bugle, Francis condemned “plotters of terrorism” but did not elaborate.
Is there a microchip implant in your future?
By John Brandon
Published August 30, 2014
You can inject one under your skin and no one will ever notice. Using short-range radio frequency identification (RFID) signals, it can transmit your identity as you pass through a security checkpoint or walk into a football stadium. It can help you buy groceries at Wal-Mart. In a worst-case scenario – if you are kidnapped in a foreign country, for example – it could save your life.
Microchip implants like the ones pet owners use to track their dogs and cats could become commonplace in humans in the next decade. Experts are divided on whether they’re appropriate for people, but the implants could offer several advantages. For soldiers and journalists in war zones, an implant could be the difference between life and death. A tracker could also help law enforcement quickly locate a kidnapped child.
“In the long run, chip implants could make it less intrusive than some emerging ID systems which rely on physical biometrics (like your fingerprints or unique eye pattern),” says Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of the book “Distraction Addiction” and visiting scholar at Stanford’s University’s Peace Innovation Lab.
“This should be a matter of individual choice, but fighting crime should be much easier using chips,” adds sci-fi author Larry Niven, who predicted chip implants in the ’70s. Niven said he supports chip implantation for security reasons, provided it is an opt-in measure.
Ramez Naam, who led the early development of Microsoft software projects and is now a popular speaker and author, said he envisions using chip implantation to help monitor the location of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
They could be used to track the activities of felons who have been released from prison.
Chips are being used today to manage farm animals. Farmers can track sheep, pigs and horses as they move through a gate, weigh them instantly and make sure they are eating properly.
“Those same chips have found their way into RFID devices to activate the gas pump from a key ring and for anti-theft devices in cars,” said Stu Lipoff, an electrical engineer and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers spokesman.
“There have been people who volunteered to use them for opening the door of an apartment as a personalized ID using your arm. It could be used to track criminals targeted for patrol who might wander into a restricted area.”
Possible uses in the future
Implants are normally useful only at short ranges – as you walk through a portal or close to a transponder. So using chip implants to track people would require an infrastructure of transponders scattered around a city that read their identity in public buildings and street corners, Lipoff said.
But consider the possibilities: People could unlock their homes or cars, gain access to a building, pass through an airport and even unlock their laptops without using a phone or watch. A pin code could be used to activate the chip – or to deactivate it to maintain privacy.
They are easy to install and remove, and, because they are implanted under the skin, they are unobtrusive. The chips, which could be the size of a thumbnail, could be injected into an arm or a hand.
If children were chipped, teachers could take attendance in the classroom. Lipoff said that GPS would not work because skin would block the signal, although new Near Field Communication chips like those in current smartphones could work because of their low-power requirement. However, no-one has yet tried to implant NFC chips.
Police could track cars and read data without needing to scan license plates. At a hospital, administrators could locate a doctor without having to rely on a pager. And if you walked into a donut shop, the owner could read your taste preferences (glazed or not glazed) without needing a loyalty card.
But is it ethical?
Like any tech advancement, there are downsides. Concerns about the wrong people accessing personal information and tracking you via the chips have swirled since the FDA approved the first implantable microchip in 2004.
Naam and Pang both cited potential abuses, from hacking into the infrastructure and stealing your identity to invading your privacy and knowing your driving habits. There are questions about how long a felon would have to use a tracking implant. And, an implant, which has to be small and not use battery power — might not be as secure as a heavily encrypted smartphone.
Troy Dunn, who attempts to locate missing persons on his TNT show “APB with Troy Dunn,” said a chip implant would make his job easier, but he is strongly against the practice for most people. “I only support GPS chip monitoring for convicted felons while in prison and on parole; for sex offenders forever; and for children if parents opt in,” he says. “I am adamantly against the chipping of anyone else.”
Using chip implants to locate abducted children could actually have the opposite effect. Pang says a microchip would make a missing person easier to rescue, but “Kidnappers want ransoms, not dead bodies. The most dangerous time for victims is during rescue attempts or when the kidnappers think the police are closing in.”
And beyond the obvious privacy issues, there’s something strange about injecting a chip in your body, Lipoff says. Yet pacemakers and other embedded devices are commonly used today. “People might find it a bit unsavory, but if it is not used to track you, and apart from the privacy issues, there are many interesting applications,” he says.
At least it’s better than having a barcode stitched onto our foreheads.
Microchip implant ahead of iPhone 6 release
With a wave of his left hand, Ben Slater can open his front door, turn on the lights and will soon be able to start his car. Without even a touch he can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records.
The digital advertising director has joined a small number of Australians who have inserted microchips into their skin to be at the cutting edge of the next stage of the evolution of technology.
Mr Slater was prompted to be implanted in anticipation of the iPhone 6 release on September 9.
The conjecture among pundits and fans worldwide over what chief executive Tim Cook will reveal is building.
At present the iPhone cannot read microchip implants. However, Mr Slater believes the new version will have that capability. His confidence is now lodged between his thumb and forefinger.
He flew to Melbourne two weeks ago for a booking at a tattoo parlour to have the microchip inserted. The number of Australians microchipping themselves is very small but growing since its biohacking beginnings 10 years ago, and most rely on piercing experts to conduct the procedure.
For his appointment, Mr Slater brought a sealed and sterilised bag containing a larger than usual gauged syringe, which had been mailed to his Brisbane home from US website Dangerous Things.
The syringe contained a RFID (radio-frequency identification) microchip, slightly larger than a grain of rice. The needle was inserted into the webbing of his hand and the chip inserted.
The potential of the microchip has expanded dramatically with developments in near field communication, where information is read by simply touching or being brought into close proximity with a compatible smartphone or tablet.
Now Mr Slater is simply waiting on Mr Cook to bring that capability to his latest mobile. “The reason I did it?” Mr Slater pauses for a long time. “It’s freaky to think you can do it. You don’t know what can happen with it.
“I have always been fascinated by the next step in technology and where we are going with it. And I’m an Apple nut.
“My wife thinks I’m crazy. But I am just a family dude who has some crazy ideas and stuff.”
In October 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of a microchip implantable under the skin of humans for medical identification. It had already been used to tag pets.
Since then, the potential for information storage, security access and tracking has become endless. It is thought that implantable microchips, if they were to ever become popular in use, would form a part of the cashless society.
Critics, however, have highlighted unproven cancer fears and security risks from third parties accessing personal information or tracking individuals.
Some Christian groups also believe the implantation of chips may be the fulfillment of the “mark of the beast”, prophesied to be a requirement for buying and selling, and a key element of the Book of Revelation. They have targeted Mr Slater’s work Facebook page since he posted the video of the implant procedure.
However, the technology lover, out on the new frontier, is unperturbed.
“[I think the implants] opens the real possibility of the ‘enhanced human’,” Mr Slater said.
“Maybe athletes of the not-too-distant future will be bio-enhanced so that vitals can be monitored and influenced? The Olympics of the future could have to ban both performance-enhancing drugs as well as implants.
“This future is not as far away as people think, and what I have done at the moment amounts to nothing more than parlour tricks – but with the rate of change that the world is experiencing at the moment, who knows what is next.”
Hacking the human body
What is the implant?
The implants are 12-millimetre cylindrical tags, slightly larger than a grain of rice. Encased in glass, they have no battery and are inert until brought into proximity with Radio-frequency identification (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC) reader devices.
What is RFID technology?
Radio-frequency identification is based on wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data. It allows for automatic identification, storage of information and security passes.
What does it do?
With a wave of the hand, implants can be used to unlock doors or phones, log into computers, start vehicles and turn on lights. You can also share contact details, videos, Facebook pages and more with friends by letting them scan your implant.
How is it installed?
The ideal location is the webbing between thumb and index finger. Tags are small enough to be installed by a professional body piercer using a piercing needle, just like they would a piece of large-gauge body jewellery.
Are there risks?
Infection is the most common risk, followed by rejection of the tag.
Is it painful?
The pain is similar to piercings in locations such as the tongue, nose or ear cartilage. In other words, yes.
Heavy Gaza barrage: Code Red sirens blare in Ashkelon, West Bank
Palestinian militants continue to fire rocket salvos towards Israel, as Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Modi’in.
Latest Update: 08.21.14, 21:46 / Israel News
Gaza militants unleashed ceaseless salvos on Israeli towns Thursday night. Shortly before 9:00 pm, air raid sirens blared in Modi’in near Jerusalem and Mateh Binyamin Regional Council in the West Bank. Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over Modi’in. After 9:30 pm, Code Red sirens sounded throughout the country’s south, in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
Earlier in the evening, around 7:30 pm, a number of sirens sounded in Be’er Sheva and other Negev communities. Iron Dome intercepted two rockets, and three others exploded in open areas. Damage was caused to a cowshed in the Yoav Regional Council.
Immediately after the Code Red sirens sounded in Be’er Sheva, the Magen David Adom call center received a report about a pedestrian who had been hit by a car while running to a protected space in Be’er Sheva. MDA paramedics evacuated the man, who suffered a head injury, to Soroka Medical Center in the city.
In the afternoon hours, a man in his 30s sustained serious chest wounds when he was hit by rocket shrapnel in Eshkol.
The man, who was at the kibbutz children’s house with his wife, pushed one of the nursery teacher and a child into the safe room, saving their lives. Three-year-old children live in the children’s house that was hit.
“I saw a lot of blood and he looked at me. He was so strong – he was really worried the kids would see him this way,” the teacher told Ynet.
“The wounded is likely one of the children’s father. He actually shielded the children with his body,” Magen David Adom paramedic Oren Wecht said.
Hamas: next war will be in Ashkelon
Published: 08.17.14, 19:27 / Israel News
Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas prefers to reach an agreement, but the ball is in Israel’s court”. However, Abu zuhri threatened that “the citizens of Israel won’t enjoy security until the siege is lifted”.
“The campaign in Gaza was only the beginning of a big campaign of liberation. The next wars will not take place in Gaza, but on Ashkelon soil,” added Abu Zuhri.