Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles due to hacking danger

We all pretty much saw this one coming. You have cars that can switch into automated drive. This poses a danger in which unscrupulous tech-wizards can hack vehicles while you’re driving. We have already seen cases where loan agents can disable an individual’s vehicle by smartphone if the owner of the vehicle misses a payment. We have seen the conspiracy theories that the death of journalist Michael Hastings was brought about by the CIA taking control of his car through computer devices and causing it to crash. Now here is a first — Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles so their onboard computers can be upgraded for the purpose of reducing the chances they can be hacked.

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This Device Brings ‘Brave New World’ to Life

If you could have a device implanted in your brain that could bring instant nirvana at the press of a button, would you want it? Daily Beast says it’s coming and has neuroethicists in a bind:

Last week, a team of researchers developed a new implant that has the ability to wirelessly deliver drugs directly into the brain with the press of a button, like changing the channel on a TV.

BRAINADE! the Brain Grenade by Emilio Garcia

No wider than a strand of human hair, the device combines brain implants with a remote control drug delivery system. With the ability to genetically modify individual neurons, the implant inevitably calls up dystopian fictions from the likes of Vonnegut’s Harry Bergeron or Huxley’s Brave New World.

To demonstrate the amount of control this device is capable of, investigators made mice walk in circles by injecting a morphine-like drug directly into their ventral tegmental area (VTA), a brain region responsible for motivation and reward.

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Baphomet Statue Unveiled At ‘Largest Public Satanic Ceremony In History’

The Satanic Temple has unveiled a new statue of Baphomet in Detroit in what’s been billed as the largest public satanic ceremony in history. Reuters via Yahoo News has the details:

A Satanic organization unveiled a controversial bronze Baphomet sculpture in Detroit just before midnight on Saturday, after trying in vain to have it installed near a 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma.

The Satanic Temple's Baphomet monument in Detroit. (Credit: The Satanic Temple/Facebook)

The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet monument in Detroit. (Credit: The Satanic Temple/Facebook)

Due to planned demonstrations, the group, which is opposed to Bible-themed displays on government land, kept the location of the unveiling of its 9-foot-tall monument secret until the last moment, when it emailed the information to ticket holders.

The Satanic Temple unveiled the one-ton statue at an industrial building near the Detroit River just before 11:30 p.m. local time as supporters cheered, “Hail Satan.” Some of the hundreds in attendance rushed to pose for photos.

The statue of a winged Baphomet with a human body and a goat’s head resembled a design the group previously released.

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Healthcare ‘Oligopoly Wave’ Continues As Anthem Gobbles Cigna

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

The health insurance giant Anthem announced Friday that it is buying its behemoth rival Cigna for $54.2 billion, launching the largest such merger the country has ever seen and reducing the number of major U.S. insurers to a paltry three.

Analysts and human rights campaigners warn that the move is poised to further slash access to healthcare and hike prices across the country, illustrating the problems with the for-profit model in terms of delivering vital services.

The mega deal comes less than a month after insurance giant Aetna acquired Humana for $37 billion, part of a nationwide push to consolidate in what the Wall Street Journal referred to earlier this year as an “oligopoly wave.”

The Anthem and Cigna merger is expected to be finalized in 2016, after which the joint company will provide coverage for at least 53 million people.… Read the rest

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Antibiotic resistance doesn’t just make bacteria harder to kill – it can actually make them stronger

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. CDC/ Janice Haney Carr

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. CDC/ Janice Haney Carr

Gerald Pier, Harvard Medical School and David Skurnik, Harvard Medical School

Antibiotics are wonderful drugs for treating bacterial infections. Unfortunately, disease-causing bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics that are meant to kill them. This is called selective pressure – the bacteria that are susceptible to the drug are killed, but the ones that withstand the antibiotic survive and proliferate. This process results in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains.

Once a bacterial strain is resistant to several different antibiotics, it has become a multi-drug-resistant (MDR) microbe. When there are virtually no antibiotics available to treat an infected patient, a microbe is said to be “pan-resistant.“ These strains are becoming more and more common in hospitals and in the community at large. You might have heard of some of them: for instance, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).… Read the rest

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Dying is Absolutely Safe

Cover of the San Francisco Oracle featuring Ram Dass. (CC)

Cover of the San Francisco Oracle featuring Ram Dass. (CC)

Do you remember Ram Dass? He was born Richard Alpert and was known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary. He’s now a spiritual teacher and tells us at his website that dying is absolutely safe:

There is a tombstone in Ashby, Massachusetts that reads, “Remember friend, as you pass by, as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you must be. Prepare yourself to follow me.”

Something has happened to me as a result of meandering through many realms of consciousness over the past fifty years that has changed my attitude toward death. A lot of the fear about death has gone from me. I am someone who actually delights in being with people as they are dying. It is such incredible grace for me. In the morning, if I know I am going to be with such a person, I get absolutely thrilled because I know I am going to have an opportunity to be in the presence of Truth.

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Artist’s Grotesqueries Confront Biotechnology

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Australian artist Patricia Piccinini creates hybrid sculptures that echo modern science’s obsession with biotechnology and bioengineering. Her work is currently being exhibited the Galway International Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland. She’s known for her “Skywhale” hot air balloon, which is basically a giant turtle with draping nipples.

Read more about her work at Beautiful Decay and Hi Fructose.

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Memory Loss Man: “We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before”

jodene e (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

jodene e (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

You wake up and go to a dentist appointment for a routine root canal. The treatment includes some local anesthesia. Everything goes fine. Except after the procedure, you can only remember the last 90 minutes of your life. This is exactly what happened to WO.

It appears that the dental procedure is not the cause of the memory loss and WO has no structural abnormalities in his brain. Scientists are understandably baffled.

So what happened?

via PsyBlog:

However, there’s no evidence that the dental procedure caused the condition.

This is what has puzzled the scientists.

Normally, such serious memory problems are accompanied by brain damage, typically in a structure called the hippocampus.

But, in WO’s brain there are no structural abnormalities.

Apart from the memory problems, WO seems the same as before, physically and psychologically.

He is capable of learning (although he forgets everyting within a day), his personality is the same and his intellect is intact.

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