20 December 2014

Kommandokorps: History in Progress

18 years after Apartheid, there are still small Afrikaans communities that are willing to fight to get back their land. Four times a year, an Afrikaans group called Die Kommandokorps (formed to "protect" the Afrikaaner people) runs a military training camp near Rustenberg, South Africa. The camp aims to train young, white Afrikaans males to defend themselves, and to keep the spirit of Afrikaans nationalism alive in a new generation. It is also billed as a place where boys will learn to defend their families' farms against attacks (the murder rate of South African farmers is now more than 300 per 100 000, and most attacks are senseless and violent). The boys are given the same military training that conscripts were given before 1994, during Apartheid. The old orange, white and blue flag is raised high above the camps and the new South African flag is used as a doormat, as the boys enter the mess hall to sing "Die Stem", the old South African national anthem.

Are they really training boys to defend their families against senseless violent crime or are they right-wing extremists recreating exclusive Afrikaans nationalism? Watch this film and decide for yourself.

This film follows the journey of four white Afrikaans boys. For nine, long and grueling days they will be trained to adopt the ways of the old South African regime. They will learn how to defend their families against the criminals that threaten their farms and their lives; "the blacks". Too young to understand the severity of the racial divide of Apartheid, the boys come into the camp wanting to believe in the rainbow nation, but in nine days they are trained to believe in the ideology of exclusive Afrikaans nationalism.

The Commando Core strives for gaining our independence as a Sovereign independent folk that has the right to govern ourselves. This is something thousands of young and old are willing to fight, die and live for. We will no longer be oppressed, murdered our right to exist will no longer be in the hands of a corrupt government. We are proud of our history and we are The Boers!

Russia to work on tit-for-tat measures following U.S., Canadian new sanctions

“Our advice to Washington and Ottawa is to think about consequences from actions of the kind.” -- Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Russia will work on tit-for-tat measures following the U.S., Canadian new sanctions, Alexander Lukashevich representing the Russian foreign ministry said on Saturday.

“The U.S. and Canada still cannot put up with the results of free declaration of will in Crimea and Sevastopol,” the diplomat said. “They have imposed new sanctions against Russian officials of different levels and extended bans for normal economic cooperation.”

“Growing are doubts about adequacy of initiators of initiatives of the kind. Well, even biggest supporters of sanctions may have discernments, though not quick: for example, it took the White House half a century to see the sanctions blockade of Cube brings no results. Well, then we shall be waiting, too.”

“For those still having illusions life in the world may continue only if directed by Washington and Ottawa, we would like to say once again: Crimea is a historic and integral part of Russia. Today, people in Crimea are together with the Russian people, who have never bent and would not bend to an outer pressure.”

“Our advice to Washington and Ottawa is to think about consequences from actions of the kind,” he said. “And we shall work on retaliatory measures.”

18 December 2014

Putin: Russia to Pursue Independent Global Policy, Preserve Its Identity

Russian President Putin has commented on Russia's foreign relations with partners in the West and in the East during his annual year-end press conference.

MOSCOW, December 18 (Sputnik) — Western reluctance to see Russia as an equal partner or to accept its desire to pursue its own global policy is the core problem of today's international relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

West attempts to 'chain the Russian bear'

"The main problem of modern international relations is that our partners refuse to stop, they think they had won, they consider themselves to be an empire and that others are vassals who must be oppressed," Putin said during his annual year-end press conference.

Moscow has significantly different views with its Western partners on a number of major global issues. In particular, Moscow has repeatedly criticized the one-sided approach of the United States and its allies to the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow stresses that the interests of all parties involved, including citizens of the mostly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine, should be taken into account, instead of blindly supporting every move Kiev authorities make.

The president also noted that the Russian desire to "preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state" naturally raised the fears of other players in the international arena. Putin described the Western approach to relations with Russia with an analogy of trying to put a bear on a chain.

"No matter what we do, we are always met with problems, opposition, and fights with us… Do you think that if our bear sits quietly and stops chasing piglets around the taiga, then they'll leave him alone? They won't. They will always try to put [the bear] on a chain," Putin said.

Therefore, the sanctions that have been imposed against Russia by the West should be viewed in the context of the Russian desire to pursue an independent policy in global affairs, not in the context of the Russian reunification with Crimea, the president noted.

Moreover, Western states have also been trying to decrease Russia's defense potential by creating the US anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, which NATO claims is intended primarily to counter threats from North Korea and Iran, even though there has been progress with talks concerning the Iranian nuclear program recently.

"They [the United States and NATO] have been deploying strategic missile defense elements not only in Alaska, but also in Europe, in Poland and Romania, right at our borders," Putin said.

East extends hospitality to the Russian bear

In the current geopolitical context relations between Russia and its non-Western partners have been on the rise. Primarily, this refers to China.

"We know well that China […] is our major trade and economic partner. This year the turnover will amount at $90 billion, and it is growing despite all the global economic difficulties, and it will continue to grow, I am sure," Putin told journalists.

Moreover, Russia and China work together in such major international forums, as the United Nations, which is one of the key stabilizing factors in the world politics today, according to the president.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan and including India, Pakistan and Iran among observers, has also gained ground recently. The range of questions the organization considers today has expanded beyond its official agenda.

Russia seeks diversification of its relations with Iran and implementation of the so-called oil-for-goods swap envisaged by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries in August, the Russian president noted.

Nevertheless, the current intensification of Russia's ties with the non-Western partners does not mean a shift in its policy. Russia continues to insist on the establishment of a balanced multipolar system of international relations, based on mutual respect for all members of the international community. The Russian president reiterated that Moscow is ready to develop cooperation with the West, especially in the spheres of security and economy, as long as the relations are on an equal basis.

Swedish political establishment worries as pro-White party rises in polls

The Sweden Democrats, who caused Prime Minister Löfven to call a General Election only months after the previous vote had taken place, are climbing in the country’s opinion polls.

According to a new survey by Swedish channel TV4, the pro-White party are experiencing a polling high of 16 per cent, up from 12.3 per cent in the election in September, the Euractive website reports.

The party is the only one in the Riksdagen which is anti EU and has both caused controversy and gained votes by calling for a change to Sweden’s very liberal immigration policy.

Earlier this month, they voted alongside other parties in an ‘Alliance’ of Conservatives against the left wing government’s budget.

But despite calling the election for March 2015 in response to the lack of support, he could still be returned as the Prime Minister of the Scandinavian country. His party, the Social Democrats, is currently scoring 32 per cent in the same poll, up 3.4 per cent since September and remain the country’s biggest party.

Following the September plebiscite, all the other parties represented in Parliament refused to work with the Swedish Democrats, viewing the party as being "racist" ["racist" = a euphemism for anyone opposed to White genocide]. This is linked to the party’s main focus of limiting the flow of migration into Sweden.

But the refusal of these parties to work with the Sweden Democrats has so far been counterproductive, making it not only the king maker but giving it publicity and marking it out as different from the other parties in the Swedish political system.

Kent Ekeroth, an MP with the party, told Breitbart London why he felt the Sweden Democrats were continuing to rise in the polls, despite the hostility of other political movements.

“Immigration is affecting more and more people, and they don’t like it,” he said. 

“We have record levels and immigrants are moving into every corner of Sweden. Sometimes they triple the population of smaller towns. For instance, an idyllic town of 250 people, they put 500 immigrants, making the original inhabitants there a minority overnight. So when ordinary people see first-hand the problems with immigration, they switch to us, who have been warning about this for decades.”

One local newspaper reports the increasing hostility between communities and newcomers.

“We have the asylum seekers in our gardens, they steal our vegetables and flowers, destroying and taking lamps and artwork, refusing to stand in line at the grocery store. They go in the middle of the street and refuse to move away even if there comes a car,” said Gert Schuld, from Målilla. 

Mr Ekeroth explained that more people in Sweden feel confident in voting for the party now they have passed the threshold of four per cent where their opponents can claim a vote for them is a ‘wasted vote’.

“The Sweden Democrats have established ourselves as a serious party, since the last period in parliament. This has created higher credibility for us, thus making it easier for people to vote for us.”

17 December 2014

Cosmic bio-teleology

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist says life may be common 
  • Dr Jeremy England's theory suggests atoms always pick organic path 
  • This is because they are choosing the path that requires least energy - and life is more efficient than inorganic matter 
  • It implies that as energy spreads out - entropy - life is inevitable 
  • Origin of life 'is as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill,' said Dr England 
  • 'If Dr England is correct then we are most certainly not alone,' stated Dr Seth Shostak, Director of the Centre for Seti Research
It has often been said that one of the reasons we are yet to find life elsewhere in the universe is that it is rare; most think the development of life on Earth was a fluke. But one of the most prominent young physicists in the world has claimed otherwise, saying that he thinks life is as inevitable as inorganic matter. The bold new theory suggests that atoms, when subjected to energy, will always form some form of life - and it may mean we are part of a universe teeming with other organisms

The theory has been presented by 31-year-old physicist Dr Jeremy England from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is regarded as one of the most promising up and coming scientists in biology; a few years ago he was named in the Forbes Rising Stars of Science list. And now in a series of talks he has been giving to various universities, he says the origin of life ‘should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill,’ reported Business Insider. 

He has recently published a paper further explaining the research along with two of his colleagues. 

Dr England’s idea is based around entropy; namely, energy spreads out or dissipates over time. For example, a cup of coffee left in a room will eventually reach the same temperature as the room itself. Energy will always seek the path of least resistance if left to its own devices, which is why things in the universe - including the universe itself - tend to ‘spread out', also known as an increase in entropy. Based on this, Dr England suggests that when atoms are supplied with energy, in certain conditions they will always eventually give rise to life. ‘You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,’ he said. The reason for this, and the underlying aspect of his theory, is that while all matter - from rocks to plants - absorbs and dissipates energy, life is much better at redistributing it. This means that, taking the coffee cup example but this time using molecules swimming in an ocean, the atoms will reorganise themselves into life because it is better at dissipating the energy in the water. 

Dr England stressed that his theory is not meant to counter Darwin’s theory of evolution, natural selection, but rather compliment it. ‘The reason that an organism shows characteristic X rather than Y may not be because X is more fit than Y, but because physical constraints make it easier for X to evolve than for Y to evolve,’ he said. And in his latest research he said he has carried out a study, with his colleagues, that shows the theory could well be true. ‘We are [...] spurred on by the intriguing possibility that life-like behavior in nonequilibrium systems may turn out to be surprisingly common, now that we have begun learning how to look for its physical signatures,' they wrote. If true, the implications of Dr England’s theories are vast. Perhaps most importantly, it may suggest life elsewhere in the universe is not as rare as once thought, but rather is as common as planets and stars themselves. 

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Seth Shostak, Director of the Centre for Seti Research, said: ‘One of the outstanding problems in science these days is the origin of life. 

‘We know that Earth has been [host to life] for close to four billion years, but what we don’t know is how that first self-reproducing bit of chemistry got started.’ He explained that if getting life started required very special conditions, then it would ‘imply that we don’t have much company in the cosmos.’ He continued: 'If Dr England is correct - that biology is virtually a certain consequence of self-organising principles that would apply on any world - then we are most certainly not alone. 'Remember that Fred Hoyle, the famous British cosmologist, once opined that the probability that the random mixing of molecules in the primordial oceans of Earth would eventually produce DNA or RNA was about the same as the chance that a tornado, tearing through a junkyard, would assemble a Boeing 707. ‘In that view, life would be extraordinarily special and rare. Dr. England suggests, however, that nothing could be farther from the truth.’ 

16 December 2014

France's pro-White party to see 2015 local vote surge

France's pro-White National Front (FN) will lead first-round voting in departmental elections next March, a poll released on Tuesday said, underlining the emergence of the party as a major force in French politics.

A survey by pollster Odoxa found the FN would win 28 percent of the vote, ahead of the conservative UMP on 25 percent and the ruling Socialist Party on 17 percent, if the vote in France's 101 departments were held now. That would be almost double what it scored in the first round of the last such elections in 2011.

In departments where a second-round run-off is needed, the UMP would nonetheless lead with 39 percent, followed by the Socialists on 32 percent and the Front National at 29 percent, the Odoxa poll of 1,002 people on Dec 11-12 found.

The lagging figures are the latest blow to President Francois Hollande, whose failure to combat high unemployment and reduce high levels of taxation has cemented his position as the most unpopular French president in polling history.

Moreover the poll showed 58 percent of respondents now see the National Front as "a party like any other", the latest sign the group is shaking off its image as an extremist party.

Frustration with parties on the mainstream right and left combined with rising Euroscepticism have bolstered support for the anti-immigrant, anti-EU party, which already came first in this year's European Parliament elections in France.

Le Pen, who took over leadership of the party from her father Jean-Marie in 2011, has sought to clean up the image of a party once associated by many French with anti-Semitism. She was re-elected with a 100 percent mandate at a congress last month.

Italy's Northern League calls for EU to be "demolished"

With the Northern League, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party all to a greater or lesser extent against the euro, around half of Italian voters now support eurosceptic or outright anti-euro parties.

In a European political landscape increasingly populated with insurgent, anti-system parties, Italy's eurosceptic anti-immigrant Northern League is the latest to profit from a groundswell of hostility to the European Union.

The League's 41-year-old leader, Matteo Salvini calls the euro a "criminal currency" and wants to demolish the Brussels consensus that has dominated European politics since the end of World War Two. He is also, at odds with mainstream leaders, an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Salvini has become Italy's second-most popular leader since taking over the party, founded in the early 1990s as a separatist movement in the prosperous north of Italy.

Forceful and plain-spoken, Salvini has emerged at the same time as the 39-year-old prime minister, Matteo Renzi, highlighting the generational change shaking up Italian politics since the fall of Silvio Berlusconi in 2011.

He is a friend of Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front, and well-disposed to a Russian president who has spurred anger, and economic sanctions, in Brussels over his policies towards pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

"The Europe of today cannot be reformed in my opinion," he told the foreign press association in Rome. "There's nothing to be reformed in Brussels. It's run by a group of people who hate the Italian people and economy in particular," he said.

Such talk would once have been unthinkable from a mainstream Italian politician but more than six years of economic crisis have fuelled a remarkable surge in anti-European sentiment in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

With the Northern League, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party all to a greater or lesser extent against the euro, around half of Italian voters now support eurosceptic or outright anti-euro parties.

Salvini, who took over as Northern League leader last year after financial scandal brought down party founder Umberto Bossi, has surfed the wave of discontent. He has played down the movement's former regional focus and wants to broaden its appeal into southern Italy, where the crisis has hit hardest.

As well as his opposition to the euro, he says he would introduce a single flat-tax rate of 15 percent, deport illegal immigrants immediately and crack down on crime with tough measures including chemical castration for sex offenders.

Recent polls give the Northern League around 10 percent of the vote and Salvini said polls suggest it could win between 4 and 7 percent of the vote in central and southern Italy. His own popularity was running at 26 percent, behind Renzi on 40.

With the 5-Star Movement beset by infighting and slipping in the opinion polls, he hopes to claim much of the protest vote against the man he mockingly calls "His Majesty Renzi". Fears that his message could alarm Italy's partners or the financial markets are dismissed unceremoniously.

"I don't want to reassure anyone at all," he said.

Methane Is Found on Mars, Raising Hope of Life There Now

Even if the explanation for the methane turns out to be geological, the hydrothermal systems would still be prime locations to search for signs of life. Credit NASA

A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, dashing the best hope that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday.

Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months.

For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.

“It is one of the few hypotheses that we can propose that we must consider as we go forward,” said John P. Grotzinger, the mission’s project scientist.

The scientists also reported that for the first time, they confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them.

“This is really a great moment for the mission,” Dr. Grotzinger told a news conference here at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The presence of methane is significant because the gas cannot exist in the air for long. Calculations indicate that sunlight and chemical reactions in the Martian atmosphere would break up the molecules within a few hundred years, so any methane there now must have been created recently.

It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.

Even if the explanation for the methane turns out to be geological, the hydrothermal systems would still be prime locations to search for signs of life.

Scientists have always expected that some tiny amount of methane would be found on Mars. Cosmic dust falling on the planet contains organic compounds that are broken up by ultraviolet light from the sun, producing methane.

But the new findings, which are described in detail in a paper this week in the journal Science, are a 180-degree flip from a year ago, when mission scientists said that Curiosity had found no signs of methane, placing an upper limit of 1.3 parts per billion by volume.

Since then, the scientists refined their measurements, detecting a background level of 0.7 parts per billion. That is half of what was predicted, raising another mystery that somehow methane is also being destroyed.

But in November 2013, two months after the scientists reported the absence of methane on Mars, the rover measured methane levels 10 times as high. “It was an ‘oh my gosh’ moment,” said Christopher R. Webster of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the lead author of the Science paper.

The methane levels stayed high through at least the end of January.

It subsequently fell, to less than one part per billion.

An earlier measurement in July had also been high, although it dropped by half a week later, and the margin of error made it unclear what was going on. Curiosity made no methane measurements between July and November 2013.

Sushil K. Atreya of the University of Michigan, a member of the science team, said it was possible that elevated methane levels lasted from July through January. “It could have been over six months,” he said, “but we don’t know that.”

Given its quick appearance and quick disappearance, mission scientists suspect the newly discovered methane was a relatively small burst.

A decade ago, three teams of scientists reported that they had detected methane in the Martian atmosphere — two using observations from Earth, one using the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter.

All of the measurements were at the edge of the instruments’ capabilities, and the methane appeared to disappear two years later. If true, that meant that not only was something creating methane on Mars, something else was quickly destroying it.

Many Mars scientists decided that a simpler solution to the methane mystery was that the measurements were mistaken, a conclusion bolstered by the absence reported by the Curiosity team last year.

Now, Dr. Grotzinger said, “It’s back on the table.”

Michael J. Mumma of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who led one of the teams that reported much larger methane plumes in the Mars atmosphere in 2003 based on measurements from Earth — and has found no methane since 2005 — said the new data was “pleasant” after years of doubts from critics.

The new Curiosity measurements “confirmed this startling reality that methane is being released, sporadically, and it is being destroyed quickly,” he said. “Both events are surprising.”

As for the organic molecules, they showed up in a mudstone nicknamed Cumberland that Curiosity drilled in May 2013.

Within Curiosity is a miniature chemistry laboratory that detected significant amounts of the organic molecule chlorobenzene, in much higher concentrations than had been seen in other rocks it had examined.

Scientists spent months analyzing whether the organic compounds came from Cumberland or contamination Curiosity had brought from Earth.

“You don’t want to be faked out,” Dr. Grotzinger said.

The scientists are still unsure whether Cumberland contained chlorobenzene, which is not a naturally occurring compound on Earth, or if that was the end product of chemical reactions involving other organic molecules in the rock as it was heated. But they convinced themselves that the organic carbon is Martian.

“In part, Curiosity was built to explore for organics,” Dr. Grotzinger said, “and we found them.”

15 December 2014

Some scientists think we'll find signs of aliens within our lifetimes. Here's how

A Real Search for Alien Life: Sara Seager at TEDxCambridge 2013

"I believe that in our lifetime, we will be able to take children to a dark sky, point to a star, and say 'that star has a planet with signs of life in its atmosphere.'" Seager said during a recent TEDx Talk, below, on her research.


"With new telescopes coming online within the next five or ten years, we'll really have a chance to figure out whether we're alone in the universe," says Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer and director of Cornell's new Institute for Pale Blue Dots, which will search for habitable planets. "For the first time in human history, we might have the capability to do this."
new telescopes could spot distant planets that have signs of life
Over the past decade, researchers have found thousands of distant planets — which they call exoplanets. Unfortunately, most of them so far have been huge, gaseous planets (akin to Jupiter or Saturn) that are easier to spot, but unlikely to contain life as we know it.
But that's all about to change. New telescopes and increasingly sophisticated analyses will soon allow us to detect rocky, Earth-sized planets and maybe even detect atmospheric gases that indicate the presence of life. Here's a step-by-step guide to how scientists plan to search for evidence of extraterrestrials:
1) Find a star
This is the sun. (NASA/SDO)

Any extraterrestrial life is likely to need energy, which means that it is most likely to evolve on a planet bathed in light from a nearby star. So the first step for finding an inhabited exoplanet is locating suitable stars. (There are some planets that drift through space and don't actually orbit any stars, but those seem far less promising.)
This step is the easiest: We've already located pretty much all the stars that are close enough to us that we might be able to spot an orbiting planet and analyze its atmosphere. Scientists generally believe that main sequence stars — the 90 percent of stars in the universe that, like our sun, release energy by converting hydrogen to helium — are most likely to give rise to life.
2) Find a planet

An illustration of Kepler-20e, a planet that's roughly Earth-sized, but is likely way too hot for life. (NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

We've already found thousands of exoplanets (and counting), mostly using NASA's Kepler space telescope and something called the transit method.
Here's how the method works: Imagine staring at a star far away. If there is a planet orbiting that star, it might occasionally pass between us and the star, briefly blocking it from view. Scientists can't actually see the planets doing this blocking, but they can indirectly detect their presence.
"We measure the brightness of a star, and when a planet passes in front of it, it blocks out some of the starlight for a period of a few hours," Thomas Barclay, an exoplanet researcher, told me in April. If scientists observe a star dimming by a consistent amount on a predictable schedule, they can infer the size of an exoplanet that's occasionally blocking some of the light.gallery

A diagram shows how the transit method helped detect five planets in the star system Kepler-186
There are a few other methods for detecting exoplanets, but the transit method is the most straightforward — and it has led to the most discoveries to date.
3) Find the right kind of planet

Scientists are still working on this step. For the most part, the planets we've found so far are too big, too gaseous, or too hot to be capable of supporting life. That's because bigger, gaseous planets are easier to detect — as are planets that are relatively close to their stars (and thus much hotter).
So we still have to find more suitable planets. Based on what we know about life on Earth, we'd expect life to be more likely to evolve on a rocky planet that orbits within its star's habitable zone— an area where there's enough warmth for liquid water, but not too much heat. (It's possible that a planet even further off than this could evolve life, perhaps due to a heat-trapping layer of ice a la Europa, but that ice would likely make all signs of life invisible to us anyway.)
Scientists have currently spotted about a dozen planets that are slightly bigger than Earth and may lie in their stars' habitable zones. The catch is that they're still too far away for us to be able to analyze their atmospheres to look for signs of life. That's because the Kepler telescope wasn't optimized to search for closer planets — it was built to observe a relatively distant portion of the Milky Way for an extended period of time.

The good news is that the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which will be launched in 2017, should allow us to spot rocky, Earth-sized planets that are much closer to us.
An illustration of TESS. (NASA)

4) Analyze the planet's atmosphere

Most exoplanets are probably way too far off for us to ever visit — even with uncrewed probes. So the best way to learn more about them is by analyzing the light spectrums that pass through their atmospheres, indicating the gases that are present.
So far, we've been able to directly analyze the spectrum of light passing through the atmospheres of a dozen or so exoplanets. However, they've all been large, gaseous planets with thicker atmospheres.
This search, too, will soon improve. The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018, will help us analyze the atmospheres of smaller, Earth-like planets that have already been spotted by TESS. The European Extremely Large Telescope, a ground-based telescope to be built in Chile in 2024, may also be used for this purpose.
A rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. (NASA)
Additionally, a proposed solar shade called the New Worlds Mission could enhance the capabilities of Webb or other future space telescopes. "It would go in space and work in tandem with a telescope to block out the light from a particular star," says Sara Seager, an MIT exoplanet researcher involved in the mission. This would allow the telescope to directly see a relatively faint planet next to that star, and potentially analyze its atmosphere.
An illustration of the star shade, blocking out starlight so faint planets can be more easily seen by a telescope. (NASA/JPL-CalTech)

5) Search for biosignatures

The reason we'd want to analyze atmospheres is to look for biosignatures — gases that could be signs of alien life. "We can't go to these planets," Kaltenegger says. "So we're trying to figure out what a planet that has life might look like from far away, in ways that would be detectable by our telescopes."
At the moment, we only know of one planet with life — Earth — so scientists are using that as a model to determine what gases might support life. Kaltenegger and colleagues, for instance, have used our knowledge of Earth's history to generate what they call an alien ID chart — a series of snapshots of Earth's atmospheric composition over the last few billion years, as it's evolved due to the presence of life.
there are some rare gases that are only produced by life forms
Meanwhile, other researchers are modeling how various life forms might alter the atmospheres of planets with geologic compositions that differ from Earth's. As far as we know, there are some gases (like oxygen and methane) that are abundantly produced by life, but can also be produced by geologic processes. On the other hand, there are some rare gases (like dimethyl sulfide) that are produced only by life forms — as far as we know — but in much smaller quantities.
This theoretical work, Seager says, is essential, because once all the telescopes are launched, our time with them may be limited. (The Webb telescope, for instance, also needs to be used for all sorts of observations beyond exoplanet analysis, and is only designed to last for a minimum of five years.) So having an idea of what to look for ahead of time is key. "We want to be able to understand the atmospheres of planets far away, and if any gases in those atmospheres don't belong and could be attributable to life," she says.
The big question: Will we actually find alien life?

An illustration of the exoplanet Gliese 832c, one of the closest potentially habitable exoplanets. (Radialvelocity)

In a sense, you can look at this question as a math problem (just like Frank Drake did years ago in creating his famous equation that attempted to estimate the likelihood of finding intelligent alien life).
There are an estimated 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, and recent research has revealed that virtually every one of them is orbited by at least one planet. What's more, it's thought that roughly 22 percent of these stars are orbited by a rocky, roughly Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone. The number of stars in our neighborhood — within the range of our next-generation telescopes — means that we should be able to spot many of the coming decades, and analyze its atmosphere.
there's one unknown variable: how prone life is to forming
After that, however, there's one big unknown variable: how prone life is to forming. It took about a billion years after the formation of Earth for life to first evolve, but after that it filled every niche and crevice on this planet's surface with remarkable speed. "We know life adapts really well to all kinds of conditions," Kaltenegger says. "The question is whether it needs very specific conditions to start."
There's also a caveat to consider: even if we spotted a candidate planet with what seemed to be a biosignature, it'd be extremely hard to know for sure that it resulted from life — both because we really don't know much about exoplanet geologies, and because alien life forms could be hugely different from any life we've ever seen on Earth.
And, even if we spotted a definite biosignature, we'd have no way of knowing what sort of life form produced it. It seems most likely that it'd be a microbe (for about half of Earth's history, after all, the only life forms were single-celled organisms), but it could be something more complex and we really wouldn't know.
So will we actually find aliens? Seager, Kaltenegger, and other scientists involved in the search are hopeful.

15,000 join anti-immigration protest in eastern Germany

Supporters of the "Patriotische Europaeer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes" movement, which translates to "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the Occident," take part in a rally in Dresden, Germany on December 15, 2014

Dresden (Germany) (AFP) - A record 15,000 people marched Monday in eastern Germany against "asylum cheats" and the country's "Islamisation" in the latest show of strength of a growing pro-White populist movement.

Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic "rabble-rousing", reacting to the nascent movement called "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident" or PEGIDA.

"The people are with us!," the group's founder Lutz Bachmann shouted at the crowd, celebrating a 50-percent rise in attendance since their last "Monday demonstration" in a series of rallies that started only in October.

"Everywhere now, in every news rag, on every senseless talkshow, they are debating, and the most important thing is: the politicians can no longer ignore us!" Bachmann told the mass of people, many waving the black-red-gold national flag.

"We have shown by taking another 'little stroll', and by growing in numbers, that we're on the right path, and that slowly, very slowly, something is beginning to change in this country," Bachmann bellowed to loud cheers.

- 'We are the people' -

Since the protests have rapidly grown in size and spawned smaller clones in half a dozen cities, a debate about immigration and refugees has gripped Germany, a country whose National Socialist past makes expressions of self-preservation activism especially troubling.

Politicians have been stunned by the emergence in the city of Dresden of the nationalists who march against what they consider a broken immigration and asylum system and who vent deep anger at the political class and mainstream media.

The demonstrations have flared at a time when Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has become the continent's top destination for asylum seekers, and the world's number two destination for migrants after the United States.

The influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and several African and Balkan countries has strained local governments, which have scrambled to house the newcomers in old schools, office blocks and army barracks.

One demonstrator, Michael Stuerzenberger, said he does not oppose asylum for refugees but asserted that "70 percent of people claiming political asylum here are economic refugees. We don't want to stay silent about this anymore."

While several known neo-Whites have been spotted in the PEGIDA crowds, the rallies have been dominated not by jackbooted men with shorn heads but by disenchanted citizens who voice a string of grievances.

"We are the people," they chanted, co-opting the phrase famously shouted a quarter-century ago by East German pro-democracy protesters here in the lead-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

More than 1,200 police kept a close watch on the non-violent crowd and on about 6,000 counter-protesters nearby marching under the banners "Dresden Nazi-free" and "Dresden for All", organised by civic, political and church groups.

Most protesters claimed they are not neo-Nazis, just patriots.

"To call these people sick with fear, Islamophobic, is outrageous," said an Austrian protester, Lana Gabriel, in her 40s. "They are not far-right. They just love the country and its traditions."

Several conservative politicians have argued the government must "listen" to the people's concerns about immigration, while the small anti-euro AfD party has openly sympathised with PEGIDA, saying its message has struck a chord.

Polls suggest the eurosceptic party has found a new campaign issue.

A survey for news website Zeit Online showed that nearly half of all Germans -- 49 percent -- sympathised with PEGIDA's stated concerns and 30 percent indicated they "fully" backed the protests' aims.

Almost three in four -- 73 percent -- said they worried that "radical Islam" was gaining ground and 59 percent said Germany accepted too many asylum seekers.

ZOG Germany: Genocide against Germans & free military support for Israel

Germany to Spend $143 Million on Israel Warships Construction: Reports

Germany will spend up to 115 million euro ($143 million) on the construction of warships for Israel, according to media

MOSCOW, December 14 (Sputnik) – Germany will spend up to 115 million euro ($143 million) from the federal budget on the construction of warships for Israel, Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday citing a confidential letter addressed to the German Budget Committee from the German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter.

According to the letter, the Defense Ministry requires the funding to create "defense systems" for Israel.

The newspaper said Israel is going to construct four warships worth 1 billion euros at the ThyssenKrupp Marine shipbuilding plant in the northern German city of Kiel, in order to secure the “economic zone in the Mediterranean.”

Israel had previously requested the German government to partially finance the project, the report said.

Germany has long provided Israel with military equipment. In September, Germany sent an advanced Dolphin-Class submarine to Israel as well as detonators worth 900,000 euros, according to the Spiegel.

The military equipment deliveries to the conflict areas have been long debated by the German lawmakers, with some arguing that aiding Israel does not contribute to the conflict settlement in the Middle East.

There has been no approval from Germany Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel for military equipment exports since July 8. However, this can be explained by a lack of requests from Israel, rather than by a shift in the policies, Spiegel said citing the German Economy Ministry.


German Politicians Push Back as Anti-Immigrant Rallies Swell

BERLIN — With visible and vocal far-right protests against foreigners swelling in Germany in recent weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel forcefully denounced the demonstrations on Monday, affirming that the country has both a special obligation and desire to welcome anyone in need of sanctuary.

More than 150,000 people sought asylum in Germany in the first 11 months of this year, many of them refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, straining the country’s ability to house them. In addition, a looming labor shortage means Germany is increasingly attracting immigrants to work here.

“There is freedom of assembly in Germany but there is no place here for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries,” Ms. Merkel told reporters on Monday, hours before a group opposing alleged “Islamization” held its ninth weekly protest in Dresden, where attendance has swelled from a few hundred to 15,000 this week.

Ahmad Mahayni, a Syrian refugee, had to leave his exiled family in Jordan in August so that he could fly to Berlin to seek asylum.

“Everyone needs to be careful that they are not taken advantage of by the people who organize such events,” Ms. Merkel said. But her warning did not seem to deter the marchers. From 10,000 last week, they again forcefully strengthened their presence, despite a week of mounting establishment concern about right-wing opposition to Germany’s open door for immigrants.

So there you have it: 

ZOG Germany takes German money from German workers to subsidize the military power of the racist, genocidal, apartheid, Zionist entity of Israel, while it simultaneously condemns the German people to balkanization and genocide. 

And anyone who stands opposed to this is a "dupe".

Ilias Panagiotaros: “Samaras won’t fuck Golden Dawn! You’re finished!”

12-11-2014. The political stooges and their journalist lackeys act shocked at Panagiotaros’ barrage in parliament. The ones who act is if they hadn't seen or heard the audio document that proves the abolishment of the political system from the dictator Samaras, are outraged because the Golden Dawn MP used the rhetorical style of Samaras!

From the floor of parliament, comrade Panagiotaros, blasted the pseudo-democrats and their hypocritical sensitivities. The president, I. Tragakis, attempted to silence the voice of truth, and stated to the Golden Dawn MP that his time is up. Expressing the overwhelming majority of Greek people, Ilias Panagiotaros was set off like a catapult toward the united front of the unconstitutional arc, which cheats and deceives the Greek people every day.

He concluded and reiterating what Samaras stated to the justice official, exactly it as was recorded in the audio document: Samaras won’t fuck Golden Dawn. You’re finished!

14 December 2014

Golden Dawn's Matthaiopoulos: The Unconstitutional Arc Turns a Blind Eye to Samaras’ Intervention in Justice

A guilty silence from the MPs of the unconstitutional arc: They act as if they can’t hear and can’t see what is going on.

The moment irrefutable documents of Samaras’ intervention in Justice were presented, in relation to the unlawful imprisonment of Golden Dawn MPs, the unconstitutional arc turned a blind eye.

Once again, Comrade Matthaiopoulos condemned their hypocrisy, and the president of parliament attempted to silence the voice of truth by shutting off the microphones.

At the same time, Ilias Kasidiaris accused New Democracy’s Tragakis of enabling coup leader Samaras.

A new full-genome map indicates how DNA is folded within the nuclei of human cells

A 3D Map of the Human Genome

Researchers have created the highest-resolution map to date of how the human genome folds within the nucleus, according to a study published today (December 11) in Cell. The work illuminates basic facts about the genome’s 3-D structure, including that it forms around 10,000 loops. It also sheds light on how genome structure influences gene expression, as looping DNA brings promoters and enhancers into close proximity. The work covers one mouse and eight human cell types.

“This is indeed a standard-setting paper,” said Bing Ren, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the study. “It's a landmark in the field of genome architecture.” Ren’s lab published its own 3-D map of genome structure last year, but according to Ren, this latest version has five to 10 times better resolution.

“This huge dataset will be used as a highly valuable resource for many researchers to mine and address all sorts of questions related to the functioning of our genome,” Wouter de Laat, who studies DNA architecture at the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands, wrote in an e-mail to The Scientist.

The work was led by Erez Lieberman Aiden, director of the Center for Genome Architecture at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Eric Lander of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The researchers created their map using an updated version of a previously published method called Hi-C. (See “Nuclear Cartography,” The Scientist, October 2014.) First, they crosslinked the DNA in cells with formaldehyde to preserve its 3-D structure. Next, they treated the DNA with restriction enzymes, cutting it into tiny pieces. They then added biotin markers to the ends of the cut DNA, followed by ligase, which binds together any free DNA ends that are in close proximity. The idea is that DNA will form small circles near where strands were bound together. Finally, the researchers sheared the DNA and pulled down biotin-marked fragments, which they sequenced.

The slight difference between the new “in situ” Hi-C and the original Hi-C is that, through the new approach, the DNA remains in the nucleus during ligation, rather than being released into a solution. This reduces the potential for accidental binding of DNA fragments to other fragments that were not actually their neighbors in the nucleus.

Hi-C yielded a dizzying array of contacts between different regions of the genome. The researchers used algorithms to determine the genome’s structure. Defining loops as regions of DNA demarcated by two loci that were more frequently in contact with one another than with other loci in between them, the researchers broke the genome down the into contact domains—regions of the genome in which loci tend to interact with each more than with other genomic regions. In many cases, contact domains are contained within loops.

“The contents of the loop tends to interact with itself,” explained study coauthor Suhas Rao, a researcher at the Center for Genome Architecture. Loci within contact domains also tend to have relatively uniform histone modifications. Finally, the researchers found that the genome can be divided into at least six subcompartments, or regions that segregate into similar sectors of the nucleus.

Altogether, the team identified around 10,000 loops—far fewer than previously estimated. “I was shocked, frankly speaking, when I saw that number,” said Ren, who himself once estimated that there were more than 1 million loops in the human genome.

“I think much depends on how you define a loop,” said Giacomo Cavalli, who studies chromatin and cell biology at the Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier, France, and was not involved in the study.

The researchers also found that the protein CTCF often binds to DNA at the point where it forms a loop. Moreover, they found that the two CTCFs, each binding one piece of DNA, usually face each other.

The researchers further attempted to understand the function of the loops. They confirmed that loops often bring together distant enhancers and promoters and that these pairings often lead to changes in gene expression. Thirty percent of the loops found in a lymphoblastoid cell line (GM12878) were formed by promoters and enhancers coming together, the researchers found.

And many loops were conserved among cell types, and even between mice and humans. But others seemed to drive cell type-specific gene expression patterns. The researchers said that their map will help scientists to understand the functional effects of mutations to non-coding DNA regions.

“Detailed 3-D genome maps are crucial for the interpretation of disease-associated variants in the genome,” said de Laat. Genome-wide association studies “often identify risk variants located in non-coding intergenic sequences, making it difficult to understand how they drive disease,” he noted, adding that 3-D genome maps could help researchers to find the targets of regulatory elements.

“We’ve associated the genes with the distal regions that control them,” said Rao. “[Now] we can actually start to make sense of all the mutations that we weren’t able to before.”

Finally, the researchers compared looping in diploid chromosome pairs. They found that homologous chromosomes do show slightly different looping patterns, possibly reflecting imprinting that only turns one copy of a gene at a time. Predictably, they found more pronounced differences in looping between active and inactive X chromosomes in female cells. The inactive X chromosomes had superdomains and superloops much larger than those found in other chromosomes.

The researchers said they hope other scientists will explore their data using their downloadable tool, Juicebox. “It allows anybody, us and other users, to look at any regions that we’re interested in,” said study coauthor Miriam Huntley, a PhD student at Harvard University. “Any user who [is] interested in a particular gene or  . . . a particular enhancer or a particular mutation. They can . . . zoom into a particular region, and they can try to see what’s happening there. How is the genome folding in this area that I care about?”

“There’s a lot we can learn not just by reading the paper, but by going through the data and comparing them to other works,” said Cavalli.