Balloons could fly you to the edge of space –

space-ballon-6-exlarge-169Affordable space tourism:

(CNN)Instead of rocket-powered sub-orbital flights like those of Virgin Galactic, could high-altitude ballooning become the most viable way of letting paying tourists experience space — or at least something thrillingly close to it?

Ballooning is already tried and tested technology — “It’s the origin of space travel,” explains Annelie Schoenmaker, external relations and legal officer for Zero2infinity, a Spanish company that plans to launch passengers to near space using balloons known as “Bloons” for €110,000 ($124,000) a time.

Zero2infinity is one of two organizations hoping to use pressurized capsules suspended beneath helium balloons as a way to take tourists into near space.

Flights using helium-filled balloons began in the early 1930s. “For me this time was what I call the first space race, as it was the first time we went into the stratosphere,” explains Dr Jonathan Clark, an associate professor in neurology and space medicine, who has advised on both Red Bull Stratos and StratEx — the project that saw Google executive Alan Eustace make a record-breaking space dive, assisted by ballooning company World View Enterprises.

via Balloons could fly you to the edge of space –

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A good analysis of some of the major players in the Middle East –

While neither the Islamic Republic nor the Brotherhood support democracy in the Western sense of the term, an element of popular representation–and thus legitimacy–is important for both. Thus, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood can find common ideological ground. Initially, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt supported the Iranian Islamic Revolution. This too is remembered in Tehran.
From the Iranian perspective, it is important to note that the ongoing regional sectarian conflict between Shi’a and Sunnis is not considered inevitable, or desirable.[1]  Nevertheless, the reality of this conflict has limited the possibility of cooperation between Teheran and the Brotherhood.
The links between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are long standing. The first religiously motivated terrorist movement in Iran, Fadayan-e Islam, under the leadership of Navob Safavi, was inspired by the example of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Sayyid Qutb.  In the past, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood supported the principle of unity between Shi’a and Sunnis, which was called “rapprochement of the schools” or taqrib al-madhahib. Many Iranian Shi’i activists, such as prominent Iranian religious activist Hadi Khosrowshahi,[2] maintain this view of the situation.
Iran is fully aware of the regional problems complicating the regime’s cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, the republic does not have a unified, clear, and coherent policy with regard to the group. Iranian calculus with respect to the Brotherhood has never been publicly discussed. One cannot say that the Iranian stance on the Brotherhood is as easily assessed as Iran’s stance on Israel or Syria, for example.
When the Iranian media refers to the “Muslim Brotherhood,” it means exclusively the Egyptian branch of the movement and not the European branch or the al-Islah party in Kuwait.  Despite common ideology, the goals and interests of the Muslim Brotherhood branches in each of the Arab countries differ. For example, the Tunisian Ennahda and the Egyptian Hizb al-Idalah each have unique objectives. The Iranians have thus adopted a per-country approach to each MB faction.
Notwithstanding common ideology, none of the Muslim Brotherhood movements can detach themselves from regional geopolitics and local interests. There is often disagreement even within the same movement. Generation gaps are also significant.
For instance, the situation in Egypt could push the Brotherhood to further radicalization and rapprochement with jihadi groups and even total abandonment of politics. This is also true regarding the Brotherhood’s vision of the Shi’a and Iran. No Muslim Brotherhood movement can overtly ignore the massacres perpetrated by the Alawi regime in Syria and its Iranian Shi’i supporters or ignore the Iranian subversion in the Gulf, as doing so would mean positioning itself in opposition to the Arab world and to its native constituency.
On the other hand, and in contrast to overtly jihadi movements, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Palestinian Hamas are not interested in the intensification of the sectarian conflict or in the demonization of Iran.


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AirMule drone ambulance makes maiden flight | Technology | The Guardian

They’re not calling them flying cars, but they’re flying cars

A drone ambulance designed to airlift two people has taken autonomously to the air for the first time.

The AirMule, which can take off and land vertically, is designed for conditions where landing a helicopter is unfeasible – such as on a battlefield. The drone, made by Israeli company Tactical Robotics, has seen recent setbacks in development but is designed to carry up to 450kg up to 31 miles.

The single-engined, internal rotor drone took to the air from a temporary testing facility set up at the Megiddo airfield after gaining clearance from the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority for untethered flight.

via AirMule drone ambulance makes maiden flight | Technology | The Guardian.

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Augmented reality to hit consumers next year, slower than forecast

Last year, Digi-Capital projected that AR and VR, virtual reality, would represent a combined market of $150 billion by 2020, with AR taking $120 billion of the pie. But on Tuesday, the firm released a report that revised its estimate of AR’s market to $90 billion by 2020, as a result of existing technology being largely focused on enterprise solutions and consumer applications not expected for another year.

Digi-Capital had expected some quality AR gear to hit consumers and general significant sales this year; that pushes off to next year, and beyond.

“VR’s top line remains unchanged at $30 billion,” writes Digi-Capital founder Tim Merel, who also is in the AR/VR software game as CEO of Eyetouch Reality. “The timing change also moves the tipping point for AR passing VR from 2018 to 2019.”

via Augmented reality to hit consumers next year, slower than forecast.

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Trump protects his safe space


Yes, it was planned, and yes, like the ‘clock boy’, she has some hinky connections. But if people didn’t let their fears get the best of them, there wouldn’t have been any ‘incidents’ at all.

They could hardly have predicted how well the night would go. First security at Trump’s rally removed Hough, a convert to Islam and a Charlotte mosque spokesman, when he chanted, “Islam is not the problem!” Then Hamid, 56, was escorted out after she rose to her feet in silent protest—wearing a T-shirt with the message “Salam I come in peace” and a yellow star bearing the word “Muslim” affixed to her chest.

The evening ended with Hamid, a Charlotte flight attendant, on CNN fielding questions from host Don Lemon, a chyron under her image telling the story of her dramatic previous hours: “Muslim woman kicked out of Trump rally.”

via The ‘Silently Protesting Muslim Woman’ at the Trump Rally Wasn’t Alone – The Daily Beast.

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Far-right protesters rampage through Leipzig in latest anti-migrant demonstrations | Daily Mail Online

Of course, the people who own those restaurants had nothing to do with the New Year’s Eve attacks. ‘Anti-immigrant’ fascists are like the Wahhabi/jihadi fascists, they look for the soft targets.

Since the Germans fear the far right more than they fear the Islamists, and since their biggest fear is that they’ll look like Nazis, this will probably push them to appear to be more PC than ever. Which will give the Wahhabis more opportunities to attack innocents.

If established governments don’t confront the real forces behind Islamic violence (groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Hizb ut Tahrir) and the countries that support them, Europe is going to have to choose between two groups of fascists.

The fascists who win will definitely have nukes.

Hundreds of anti-refugee rioters have gone on the rampage in the German city of Leipzig after a demonstration where they called for asylum seekers to be deported and their nation's borders closed.

The attacks come just hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that Europe had lost control of the crisis. The right-wingers broke away from a largely peaceful march in the eastern city to trash the suburb of Connewitz.

Doner kebab fast food stalls were destroyed, cars set ablaze and shop windows smashed by around 250 hooligans of LEGIDA – the local branch of PEGIDA, the anti-migrant, anti-EU organization which marched against the refugees earlier in the evening.

via Far-right protesters rampage through Leipzig in latest anti-migrant demonstrations | Daily Mail Online.

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Why Fascism is Rising Again (And What You Can Learn From It) — Bad Words — Medium

he real cause of the rise of New Fascism, then, is extremism. On both sides — left and right. We may call the extremism of the right fundamentalism, and that of left narcissism. But it is extremism all the same. Neither side focused on rewriting a working social contract — only on squabbling over their dwindling share of a shrinking pie.
Thus, the growth of extremism on both sides caused the center to break. Left and right do not restrain one another from their worst excesses anymore. Thus, the disease that combines the worst of both is free to rise, and the name of that cancer is fascism.

via Why Fascism is Rising Again (And What You Can Learn From It) — Bad Words — Medium.

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