Here & Now Facts

If this is the present,

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Earthquakes and Volcanos 2016 - view the latest updates for past 24 hours!

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You can enlarge it and select the visible content limiting the view only to earthquakes, or vulcanic activities. Also visit their website if you are interested in visiting active vulcanos as a part of adventure on your holidays!


Theirprofessional team of volcanologists and photographers offers unique travel opportunities: volcano expeditions, photo tours, and relaxed walking & study tours.


Here is the list of their tour departures:


Molucca Sea (Indonesia) Magic Minutes: Eclipse 2016

(Photography tour: photography - active volcanoes)


Colors of Iceland: Fire, Earth, Ice and Water

(Photography tour: geology & volcanism)


Sakurajima Volcano Special

(Volcano expedition: photography - geology & volcanism - nature & culture)


Visit Volcano Discovery for your detailed updates on seissmic or volcanic activity.

Vatican Library Digitises 4,400 Ancient Manuscripts & Gives Them Away for Free

The Vatican Apostolic Libraryis now digitizing its valuable ancient religious manuscripts and putting them online via its website. All of the content is available for free.


The Library was originally founded in 1451 AD and holds over 80,000 manuscripts, prints, drawings, plates and books printed prior to 1500 AD. The titles are all written throughout history by people who had different faiths or religions, from all over the world.


Not only are paintings, religious iconography and books being published online, but also letters by from important historical figures, drawings and notes by artists and scientists such as Michelangelo and Galileo, as well as treaties from all eras in history.


Finding all of the new digitized material is not easy, the library has a few samples online, but honestly its tedious right now to view the rest. Users have to search the database manually by clicking on each title and scanning through all the pages in each book. By the end of the year, a new rendering engine is going to be implemented with a more robust site-wide searching system.


In order to properly digitize the rest of the library, the Vatican is estimating that it will cost €50 million and take fifteen years. They are looking for corporate sponsors and normal people who want to see this work.


One of the ways they are attracting corporate sponsors is to hold exclusive fundraising events. In June 2014 they had one and gave attending guests an exclusive guided tour of areas generally closed to the public, including the Library halls, laboratories and the caveau where the manuscripts are safeguarded, with dinner in the Sistine Hall. They also seeking donationsof €5 to save a single page in a manuscript, while donations of at least €1,000 will see the backer included on the official supporters list.


Source: ( Author: Michael Kozlowski )

Samsung's Smart TV is the least of our worries when it comes to snooping

Televisions can now listen to what we’re saying. If that sounds like something from a book, that’s because it is. A line buried in a Samsung Smart TV privacy policy describes how “spoken words” will be “captured and transmitted from a third party” through a voice command function.


It has resonated particularly powerfully because it bears remarkable resemblance to the dystopian world envisioned by George Orwell in 1984. In the novel – published in 1949 – citizens of Airstrip One (which used to be Great Britain) are subjected to a brutal regime that watches their every move, and attempts to monitor their every thought.


Surveillance is extensive in this frightening world. So much so that the televisions (or telescreens) directly monitor citizens. They can’t turn them off. They’re always there, watching, waiting, and you never know who is at the other end.

It’s a frightening image. But Orwell’s 65-year-old vision of the future is distinctly analog. The unfortunate reality is that televisions are the least of our worries in a world that listens, follows and watches us more and more.


You’re might be reading this on a laptop now, but how do you know your microphone and camera aren’t on? And if you’re reading this on your phone, you know that all your movements are being sent back to the company, right? And did you use Google to find this story? If you did, your searches have probably also been stored.


The point is that it all goes far beyond just a television. Part of the reason for this is that companies like collecting data. They usually do it because it helps them make money. This means that they will, inevitably, overreach and seek more data, like collecting voice samples from people. The problem is what happens next. Who is the third party the Samsung TV – or any of these devices – transmits to? An unusual feature of Australian privacy law is that it allows your data to be sent overseas to a country that has “substantially similar” privacy laws. What does that mean? It’s never been decided. Notice of this transfer should be given – but in some circumstances that can be delayed until as soon as “reasonably possible” after the fact.


The retention of all of this data, and patchy privacy laws, inevitably gives rise to uses that were never anticipated when the data was initially seized. Almost any of this data collected by these private entities can then be passed on, or sold, to third parties. Sometimes this can be other organisations, but it can also be to government and law enforcement agencies, such as in the case of requests for phone and web metadata.


So if you’re not comfortable with televisions that you can talk to but that might pass on your whispers to other parties, don’t buy one. But don’t forget that the world of digital surveillance is far bigger than just a screen.



First genetically modified humans could exist within two years

Biotech company Editas Medicine is planning to start human trials to genetically edit genes and reverse blindness


Humans who have had their DNA genetically modified could exist within two years after a private biotech company announced plans to start the first trials into a ground-breaking new technique.


Editas Medicine, which is based in the US, said it plans to become the first lab in the world to ‘genetically edit’ the DNA of patients suffering from a genetic condition – in this case the blinding disorder ‘leber congenital amaurosis’.


The disorder prevents normal function of the retina; the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye. It appears at birth or in the first months of life and eventually sufferers can go completely blind. The rare inherited disease is caused by defects in a gene which instructs the creation of a protein that is essential to vision.

But scientists at Editas Medicine in the US believe they can fix the mutated DNA using the ground-breaking gene-editing technology Crispr.Katrine Bosley, the chief executive of Editas Medicine, told a conference in the US that the company hopes to start trialling the technology on blind patients in 2017.


It would be the first time the technology has been used on humans. Gene editing is currently banned in the US, so the company would need special permission from health regulators.

“It feels fast, but we are going at the pace science allows,” Bosley told the EmTech conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.