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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mass evacuations as China's south battles 'big freeze'

Frozen plants on highway in Guiyang, Guizhou province 3 January 2011.
Freezing temperatures in south-western China have forced the evacuation of 58,000 people from their homes, according to the Chinese authorities.
Ice and snow have closed roads, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.
Officials said the roofs of more than 1,000 homes in five provinces have collapsed because of the bad weather.
Those living in mountainous areas have been hardest hit - with tens of thousands being evacuated.
The authorities say that snow and ice across the region has damaged almost 300,000 acres of crops - with losses of nearly $200m (£129m).
Across south-western China, highways and other transport networks continue to be affected by the cold weather.
In Guizhou province icy conditions have closed roads, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.
Forecasts say that the freezing conditions are set to last until Friday.
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Geithner Says "U.S. Insolvent"


The U.S. government is insolvent. Who says so? Timothy F. Geithner, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Geithner sent a letter to Congress on Jan. 6, 2011 asking for the debt limit to be raised. If it is not raised, he warned, the U.S. will default on its debt. In his words:
Never in our history has Congress failed to increase the debt limit when necessary. Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States.”
He didn’t say that the government will be inconvenienced. He didn’t say that the government would be forced to muddle through by delaying payments, raising taxes, and cutting non-obligatory programs and services. He said the government will default. This means that the government doesn’t have enough cash to pay its obligations to the many and sundry persons to whom it owes cash unless Congress authorizes an issue of even more debt.
After the government issues the new debt, its overall debt will be even higher than before. Unless its obligations that require cash payments are reduced, or unless it finds new sources of revenue, or unless the interest rates that it pays decline, the same situation will surely occur again and occur even faster because its overall debt will have risen. It will run short of cash to pay its obligations.
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Now, you can control computer commands by thought

MUMBAI: A new software platform, developed by French scientists , which was demonstrated at a tech fest at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here allows individuals to control computer commands by just a 'thought'. 

Acting as an interface designed to translate what happens in the brain into a computer command, this software --'OpenViBE'-- is the outcome of a project initiated in 2005 and has a multitude of potential applications. 

"The OpenViBE software platform facilitates the design, testing and use of 'brain-computer interfaces' - in other words, systems that process the electrical signals linked with brain activity and translate them into a command that can be understood by machines," computer scientists Yann Renard and Laurent Bonnet said while demonstrating the software at the Department of Computer Sciences, IIT , here yesterday. 

These allow individuals to communicate with a computer or any automated system without using their hands or other movements to activate a button or remote control, they said. 

"OpenViBE provides a tool that is aimed at a varied audience, from researchers and clinicians to video game developers," they said. 

To a query on whether writing by thought was now possible, the scientists replied in affirmative. 

A person wearing an EEG (electroencephalogram) cap focuses his attention on the letter that he wants to spell out. When this letter flashes, a particular brain wave is generated which is picked up, detected and interpreted by the machine, they said. 

Explaining further in technical terms, the scientists said, "OpenViBE is a series of software libraries and modules written in C++ that can be simply and effectively integrated in order to design real-time applications. Programmer users can develop their own code, while non-programmers can use the graphical interface." 

The Brain-Computer Interfaces and OpenViBE can also be used to assist those with motor disabilities -- particularly entirely paralysed persons suffering from locked-in syndrome, in multimedia -- video games and virtual reality and in general to facilitate any type of interaction with an automated system like robotics, home automation. 

"They also open up possibilities to treat certain neurological problems, attention disorders, motor recovery after a stroke for example, through rehabilitation processes such as neuro feedback," the scientists said.

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Gerald Celente: Debt bomb is coming

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