Cyborg | Designer-Babies | Futurism | Futurist | Immortality | Longevity | Nanotechnology | Post-Human | Singularity | Transhuman

Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Food Supplements  Comments Off on Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mar 272016
 

Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food. It may be a purely commercial choice to provide extra nutrients in a food, while other times it is a public health policy which aims to reduce the number of people with dietary deficiencies within a population.

Diets that lack variety can be deficient in certain nutrients. Sometimes the staple foods of a region can lack particular nutrients, due to the soil of the region or because of the inherent inadequacy of the normal diet. Addition of micronutrients to staples and condiments can prevent large-scale deficiency diseases in these cases.[citation needed]

While it is true that both fortification and enrichment refer to the addition of nutrients to food, the true definitions do slightly vary. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health,” whereas enrichment is defined as “synonymous with fortification and refers to the addition of micronutrients to a food which are lost during processing.”[1]

Food fortification was identified as the second strategy of four by the WHO and FAO to begin decreasing the incidence of nutrient deficiencies at the global level.[1]

As outlined by the FAO, the most common fortified foods are:

The four main methods of food fortification (named as to indicate the procedure that is used in order to fortify the food):

The WHO and FAO, among many other nationally recognized organizations, have recognized that there are over 2 billion people worldwide who suffer from a variety of micronutrient deficiencies. In 1992, 159 countries pledged at the FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition to make efforts to help combat these issues of micronutrient deficiencies, highlighting the importance of decreasing the number of those with iodine, vitamin A, and iron deficiencies.[1] A significant statistic that led to these efforts was the discovery that approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide were at risk for either an iodine, vitamin A, or iron deficiency.[4] Although it is recognized that food fortification alone will not combat this deficiency, it is a step towards reducing the prevalence of these deficiencies and their associated health conditions.[5]

In Canada, The Food and Drug Regulations have outlined specific criterion which justifies food fortification:

There are also several advantages to approaching nutrient deficiencies among populations via food fortification as opposed to other methods. These may include, but are not limited to: treating a population without specific dietary interventions therefore not requiring a change in dietary patterns, continuous delivery of the nutrient, does not require individual compliance, and potential to maintain nutrient stores more efficiently if consumed on a regular basis.[3]

Several organizations such as the WHO, FAO, Health Canada, and the Nestl Research Center acknowledge that there are limitations to food fortification. Within the discussion of nutrient deficiencies the topic of nutrient toxicities can also be immediately questioned. Fortification of nutrients in foods may deliver toxic amounts of nutrients to an individual and also cause its associated side effects. As seen with the case of fluoride toxicity below, the result can be irreversible staining to the teeth. Although this may be a minor toxic effect to health, there are several that are more severe.[7]

The WHO states that limitations to food fortification may include: human rights issues indicating that consumers have the right to choose if they want fortified products or not, the potential for insufficient demand of the fortified product, increased production costs leading to increased retail costs, the potential that the fortified products will still not be a solution to nutrient deficiencies amongst low income populations who may not be able to afford the new product, and children who may not be able to consume adequate amounts thereof.[1]

Food safety worries led to legislation in Denmark in 2004 restricting foods fortified with extra vitamins or minerals. Products banned include: Rice Crispies, Shreddies, Horlicks, Ovaltine and Marmite.[8]

Danes said [Kelloggs] Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Special K wanted to include “toxic” doses which, if eaten regularly, could damage children’s livers and kidneys and harm fetuses in pregnant women.[9]

One factor that limits the benefits of food fortification is that isolated nutrients added back into a processed food that has had many of its nutrients removed, does not always result in the added nutrients being as bioavailable as they would be in the original, whole food. An example is skim milk that has had the fat removed, and then had vitamin A and vitamin D added back. Vitamins A and D are both fat-soluble and non-water-soluble, so a person consuming skim milk in the absence of fats may not be able to absorb as much of these vitamins as one would be able to absorb from drinking whole milk.

Phytochemicals such as polyphenols can also impact nutrient absorption.

Ecological studies have shown that increased B vitamin fortification is correlated with the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.[10] Daily consumption of iron per capita in the United States has dramatically surged since World War II and nearly doubled over the past century due to increases in iron fortification and increased consumption of meat.[11] Existing evidence suggests that excess iron intake may play a role in the development of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.[12]

Fortification of foods with folic acid has been mandated in many countries solely to improve the folate status of pregnant women to prevent Neural Tube Defectsa relatively rare birth defect which affected 0.5% of US births before fortification began.[13][14] However, when fortification is introduced, several hundred thousand people are exposed to an increased intake of folic acid for each neural tube defect pregnancy that is prevented.[15] In humans, increased folic acid intake leads to elevated blood concentrations of naturally occurring folates and of unmetabolized folic acid. High blood concentrations of folic acid may decrease natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and high folate status may reduce the response to drugs used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer.[15] A combination of high folate levels and low vitamin B-12 status may be associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and anemia in the elderly and, in pregnant women, with an increased risk of insulin resistance and obesity in their children.[15] Folate has a dual effect on cancer, protecting against cancer initiation but facilitating progression and growth of preneoplastic cells and subclinical cancers.[15] Furthermore, intake of folic acid from fortification have turned out to be significantly greater than originally modeled in pre mandate predictions.[16] Therefore, a high folic acid intake due to fortification may be harmful for more people than the policy is designed to help.[14][15][17][18]

There is a concern that micronutrients are legally defined in such a way that does not distinguish between different forms, and that fortified foods often have nutrients in a balance that would not occur naturally. For example, in the U.S., food is fortified with folic acid, which is one of the many naturally-occurring forms of folate, and which only contributes a minor amount to the folates occurring in natural foods.[19] In many cases, such as with folate, it is an open question of whether or not there are any benefits or risks to consuming folic acid in this form.

In many cases, the micronutrients added to foods in fortification are synthetic.

In some cases, certain forms of micronutrients can be actively toxic in a sufficiently high dose, even if other forms are safe at the same or much higher doses. There are examples of such toxicity in both synthetic and naturally-occurring forms of vitamins. Retinol, the active form of Vitamin A, is toxic in a much lower dose than other forms, such as beta carotene. Menadione, a phased-out synthetic form of Vitamin K, is also known to be toxic.[20]

There are several main groups of food supplements like:

Many foods and beverages worldwide have been fortified, whether a voluntary action by the product developers or by law. Although some may view these additions as strategic marketing schemes to sell their product, there is a lot of work that must go into a product before simply fortifying it. In order to fortify a product, it must first be proven that the addition of this vitamin or mineral is beneficial to health, safe, and an effective method of delivery. The addition must also abide by all food and labeling regulations and support nutritional rationale. From a food developer’s point of view, they also need to consider the costs associated with this new product and whether or not there will be a market to support the change.[21]

Examples of foods and beverages that have been fortified and shown to have positive health effects:

“Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is the single greatest cause of preventable mental retardation. Severe deficiencies cause cretinism, stillbirth and miscarriage. But even mild deficiency can significantly affect the learning ability of populations…….. Today over 1 billion people in the world suffer from iodine deficiency, and 38 million babies born every year are not protected from brain damage due to IDD.”Kul Gautam, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, October 2007[22]

Iodised salt has been used in the United States since before World War II. It was discovered in 1821 that goiters could be treated by the use of iodized salts. However, it was not until 1916 that the use of iodized salts could be tested in a research trial as a preventative measure against goiters. By 1924, it became readily available in the US.[23]

Currently in Canada and the US, the RDA for iodine is as low as 90g/day for children (48 years) and as high as 290g/day for breast-feeding mothers.[24]

Diseases that are associated with an iodine deficiency include: mental retardation, hypothyroidism, and goiter. There is also a risk of various other growth and developmental abnormalities.[24]

Folic acid (also known as folate) functions in reducing blood homocysteine levels, forming red blood cells, proper growth and division of cells, and preventing neural tube defects (NTDs).[25]

In many industrialized countries, the addition of folic acid to flour has prevented a significant number of NTDs in infants. Two common types of NTDs, spina bifida and anencephaly, affect approximately 2500-3000 infants born in the US annually. Research trials have shown the ability to reduce the incidence of NTDs by supplementing pregnant mothers with folic acid by 72%.[26]

The RDA for folic acid ranges from as low as 150g/day for children aged 13 years old, to 400g/day for males and females over the age of 19, and 600g/day during pregnancy.[27]

Diseases associated with folic acid deficiency include: megaloblastic or macrocytic anemia, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and NTDs in infants.[28]

Niacin has been added to bread in the USA since 1938 (when voluntary addition started), a programme which substantially reduced the incidence of pellagra.[29] As early as 1755, pellagra was recognized by doctors as being a niacin deficiency disease. Although not officially receiving its name of pellagra until 1771.[30]Pellagra was seen amongst poor families who used corn as their main dietary staple. Although corn itself does contain niacin, it is not a bioavailable form unless it undergoes Nixtamalization (treatment with alkali, traditional in Native American cultures) and therefore was not contributing to the overall intake of niacin.[31] Although pellagra can still be seen in developing countries, fortification of food with niacin played a huge role in eliminating the prevalence of the disease.[30]

The RDA for niacin is 2mg NE(niacin equivalents)/day (AI) for infants aged 06 months, 16mg NE/day for males, and 14mg NE/day for females who are over the age of 19.[31]

Diseases associated with niacin deficiency include: Pellagra which consisted of signs and symptoms called the 3D’s-“Dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. Others may include vascular or gastrointestinal diseases.[30]

Common diseases which present a high frequency of niacin deficiency: alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, HIV infection, gastrectomy, malabsorptive disorders, certain cancers and their associated treatments.[30]

Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it cannot be added to a wide variety of foods. Foods that it is commonly added to are margarine, vegetable oils and dairy products.[32] During the late 1800s, after the discovery of curing conditions of scurvy and beriberi had occurred, researchers were aiming to see if the disease, later known as rickets, could also be cured by food. Their results showed that sunlight exposure and cod liver oil were the cure. It was not until the 1930s that vitamin D was actually linked to curing rickets.[33] This discovery led to the fortification of common foods such as milk, margarine, and breakfast cereals. This took the astonishing statistics of approximately 8090% of children showing varying degrees of bone deformations due to vitamin D deficiency to being a very rare condition.[34]

Risk factors for vitamin D deficiencies include:

The current RDA for infants aged 06 months is 10g (400 International Units (IU))/day and for adults over 19 years of age it is 15g (600 IU)/day.[35]

Diseases associated with a vitamin D deficiency include rickets, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer (breast, prostate, colon and ovaries). It has also been associated with increased risks for fractures, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune and infectious diseases, asthma and other wheezing disorders, myocardial infarction, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease.[34]

Although fluoride is not considered an essential mineral, it is seen as crucial in prevention of tooth decay and maintaining adequate dental health.[36] In the mid-1900s it was discovered that towns with a high level of fluoride in their water supply was causing the residents’ teeth to have both brown spotting and a strange resistance to dental caries. This led to the fortification of water supplies with fluoride with safe amounts to retain the properties of resistance to dental caries but avoid the staining cause by fluorosis (a condition caused by a fluoride toxicity).[37]

The tolerable upper intake level (UL) set for fluoride ranges from 0.7mg/day for infants aged 06 months and 10mg/day for adults over the age of 19.

Conditions commonly associated with fluoride deficiency are dental caries and osteoporosis.[36]

Some other examples of fortified foods:

Despite having some scientific basis, but with controversial ethics, is the science of using foods and food supplements to achieve a defined health goal. A common example of this use of food supplements is the extent to which body builders will use amino acid mixtures, vitamins and phytochemicals to enhance natural hormone production, increase muscle and reduce fat. The literature is not concrete on an appropriate method for use of fortification for body builders and therefore may not be recommended due to safety concerns.[42]

There is interest in the use of food supplements in established medical conditions. This nutritional supplementation using foods as medicine (nutraceuticals) has been effectively used in treating disorders affecting the immune system up to and including cancers.[43] This goes beyond the definition of “food supplement”, but should be included for the sake of completeness.

Read more:

Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom
Mar 232016
 

1. What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades.[1] It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

The enhancement options being discussed include radical extension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. Other transhumanist themes include space colonization and the possibility of creating superintelligent machines, along with other potential developments that could profoundly alter the human condition. The ambit is not limited to gadgets and medicine, but encompasses also economic, social, institutional designs, cultural development, and psychological skills and techniques.

Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.

Some transhumanists take active steps to increase the probability that they personally will survive long enough to become posthuman, for example by choosing a healthy lifestyle or by making provisions for having themselves cryonically suspended in case of de-animation.[2] In contrast to many other ethical outlooks, which in practice often reflect a reactionary attitude to new technologies, the transhumanist view is guided by an evolving vision to take a more proactive approach to technology policy. This vision, in broad strokes, is to create the opportunity to live much longer and healthier lives, to enhance our memory and other intellectual faculties, to refine our emotional experiences and increase our subjective sense of well-being, and generally to achieve a greater degree of control over our own lives. This affirmation of human potential is offered as an alternative to customary injunctions against playing God, messing with nature, tampering with our human essence, or displaying punishable hubris.

Transhumanism does not entail technological optimism. While future technological capabilities carry immense potential for beneficial deployments, they also could be misused to cause enormous harm, ranging all the way to the extreme possibility of intelligent life becoming extinct. Other potential negative outcomes include widening social inequalities or a gradual erosion of the hard-to-quantify assets that we care deeply about but tend to neglect in our daily struggle for material gain, such as meaningful human relationships and ecological diversity. Such risks must be taken very seriously, as thoughtful transhumanists fully acknowledge.[3]

Transhumanism has roots in secular humanist thinking, yet is more radical in that it promotes not only traditional means of improving human nature, such as education and cultural refinement, but also direct application of medicine and technology to overcome some of our basic biological limits.

The range of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and activities accessible to human organisms presumably constitute only a tiny part of what is possible. There is no reason to think that the human mode of being is any more free of limitations imposed by our biological nature than are those of other animals. In much the same way as Chimpanzees lack the cognitive wherewithal to understand what it is like to be human the ambitions we humans have, our philosophies, the complexities of human society, or the subtleties of our relationships with one another, so we humans may lack the capacity to form a realistic intuitive understanding of what it would be like to be a radically enhanced human (a posthuman) and of the thoughts, concerns, aspirations, and social relations that such humans may have.

Our own current mode of being, therefore, spans but a minute subspace of what is possible or permitted by the physical constraints of the universe (see Figure 1). It is not farfetched to suppose that there are parts of this larger space that represent extremely valuable ways of living, relating, feeling, and thinking.

The limitations of the human mode of being are so pervasive and familiar that we often fail to notice them, and to question them requires manifesting an almost childlike naivet. Let consider some of the more basic ones.

Lifespan. Because of the precarious conditions in which our Pleistocene ancestors lived, the human lifespan has evolved to be a paltry seven or eight decades. This is, from many perspectives, a rather short period of time. Even tortoises do better than that.

We dont have to use geological or cosmological comparisons to highlight the meagerness of our allotted time budgets. To get a sense that we might be missing out on something important by our tendency to die early, we only have to bring to mind some of the worthwhile things that we could have done or attempted to do if we had had more time. For gardeners, educators, scholars, artists, city planners, and those who simply relish observing and participating in the cultural or political variety shows of life, three scores and ten is often insufficient for seeing even one major project through to completion, let alone for undertaking many such projects in sequence.

Human character development is also cut short by aging and death. Imagine what might have become of a Beethoven or a Goethe if they had still been with us today. Maybe they would have developed into rigid old grumps interested exclusively in conversing about the achievements of their youth. But maybe, if they had continued to enjoy health and youthful vitality, they would have continued to grow as men and artists, to reach levels of maturity that we can barely imagine. We certainly cannot rule that out based on what we know today. Therefore, there is at least a serious possibility of there being something very precious outside the human sphere. This constitutes a reason to pursue the means that will let us go there and find out.

Intellectual capacity. We have all had moments when we wished we were a little smarter. The three-pound, cheese-like thinking machine that we lug around in our skulls can do some neat tricks, but it also has significant shortcomings. Some of these such as forgetting to buy milk or failing to attain native fluency in languages you learn as an adult are obvious and require no elaboration. These shortcomings are inconveniences but hardly fundamental barriers to human development.

Yet there is a more profound sense in the constraints of our intellectual apparatus limit our modes of our mentation. I mentioned the Chimpanzee analogy earlier: just as is the case for the great apes, our own cognitive makeup may foreclose whole strata of understanding and mental activity. The point here is not about any logical or metaphysical impossibility: we need not suppose that posthumans would not be Turing computable or that they would have concepts that could not be expressed by any finite sentences in our language, or anything of that sort. The impossibility that I am referring to is more like the impossibility for us current humans to visualize an 200-dimensional hypersphere or to read, with perfect recollection and understanding, every book in the Library of Congress. These things are impossible for us because, simply put, we lack the brainpower. In the same way, may lack the ability to intuitively understand what being a posthuman would be like or to grok the playing field of posthuman concerns.

Further, our human brains may cap our ability to discover philosophical and scientific truths. It is possible that failure of philosophical research to arrive at solid, generally accepted answers to many of the traditional big philosophical questions could be due to the fact that we are not smart enough to be successful in this kind of enquiry. Our cognitive limitations may be confining us in a Platonic cave, where the best we can do is theorize about shadows, that is, representations that are sufficiently oversimplified and dumbed-down to fit inside a human brain.

Bodily functionality. We enhance our natural immune systems by getting vaccinations, and we can imagine further enhancements to our bodies that would protect us from disease or help us shape our bodies according to our desires (e.g. by letting us control our bodies metabolic rate). Such enhancements could improve the quality of our lives.

A more radical kind of upgrade might be possible if we suppose a computational view of the mind. It may then be possible to upload a human mind to a computer, by replicating in silico the detailed computational processes that would normally take place in a particular human brain.[4] Being an upload would have many potential advantages, such as the ability to make back-up copies of oneself (favorably impacting on ones life-expectancy) and the ability to transmit oneself as information at the speed of light. Uploads might live either in virtual reality or directly in physical reality by controlling a robot proxy.

Sensory modalities, special faculties and sensibilities. The current human sensory modalities are not the only possible ones, and they are certainly not as highly developed as they could be. Some animals have sonar, magnetic orientation, or sensors for electricity and vibration; many have a much keener sense of smell, sharper eyesight, etc. The range of possible sensory modalities is not limited to those we find in the animal kingdom. There is no fundamental block to adding say a capacity to see infrared radiation or to perceive radio signals and perhaps to add some kind of telepathic sense by augmenting our brains with suitably interfaced radio transmitters.

Humans also enjoy a variety of special faculties, such as appreciation of music and a sense of humor, and sensibilities such as the capacity for sexual arousal in response to erotic stimuli. Again, there is no reason to think that what we have exhausts the range of the possible, and we can certainly imagine higher levels of sensitivity and responsiveness.

Mood, energy, and self-control. Despite our best efforts, we often fail to feel as happy as we would like. Our chronic levels of subjective well-being seem to be largely genetically determined. Life-events have little long-term impact; the crests and troughs of fortune push us up and bring us down, but there is little long-term effect on self-reported well-being. Lasting joy remains elusive except for those of us who are lucky enough to have been born with a temperament that plays in a major key.

In addition to being at the mercy of a genetically determined setpoint for our levels of well-being, we are limited in regard to energy, will-power, and ability to shape our own character in accordance with our ideals. Even such simple goals as losing weight or quitting smoking prove unattainable to many.

Some subset of these kinds of problems might be necessary rather than contingent upon our current nature. For example, we cannot both have the ability easily to break any habit and the ability to form stable, hard-to-break habits. (In this regard, the best one can hope for may be the ability to easily get rid of habits we didnt deliberately choose for ourselves in the first place, and perhaps a more versatile habit-formation system that would let us choose with more precision when to acquire a habit and how much effort it should cost to break it.)

The conjecture that there are greater values than we can currently fathom does not imply that values are not defined in terms of our current dispositions. Take, for example, a dispositional theory of value such as the one described by David Lewis.[5] According to Lewiss theory, something is a value for you if and only if you would want to want it if you were perfectly acquainted with it and you were thinking and deliberating as clearly as possible about it. On this view, there may be values that we do not currently want, and that we do not even currently want to want, because we may not be perfectly acquainted with them or because we are not ideal deliberators. Some values pertaining to certain forms of posthuman existence may well be of this sort; they may be values for us now, and they may be so in virtue of our current dispositions, and yet we may not be able to fully appreciate them with our current limited deliberative capacities and our lack of the receptive faculties required for full acquaintance with them. This point is important because it shows that the transhumanist view that we ought to explore the realm of posthuman values does not entail that we should forego our current values. The posthuman values can be our current values, albeit ones that we have not yet clearly comprehended. Transhumanism does not require us to say that we should favor posthuman beings over human beings, but that the right way of favoring human beings is by enabling us to realize our ideals better and that some of our ideals may well be located outside the space of modes of being that are accessible to us with our current biological constitution.

We can overcome many of our biological limitations. It is possible that there are some limitations that are impossible for us to transcend, not only because of technological difficulties but on metaphysical grounds. Depending on what our views are about what constitutes personal identity, it could be that certain modes of being, while possible, are not possible for us, because any being of such a kind would be so different from us that they could not be us. Concerns of this kind are familiar from theological discussions of the afterlife. In Christian theology, some souls will be allowed by God to go to heaven after their time as corporal creatures is over. Before being admitted to heaven, the souls would undergo a purification process in which they would lose many of their previous bodily attributes. Skeptics may doubt that the resulting minds would be sufficiently similar to our current minds for it to be possible for them to be the same person. A similar predicament arises within transhumanism: if the mode of being of a posthuman being is radically different from that of a human being, then we may doubt whether a posthuman being could be the same person as a human being, even if the posthuman being originated from a human being.

We can, however, envision many enhancements that would not make it impossible for the post-transformation someone to be the same person as the pre-transformation person. A person could obtain quite a bit of increased life expectancy, intelligence, health, memory, and emotional sensitivity, without ceasing to exist in the process. A persons intellectual life can be transformed radically by getting an education. A persons life expectancy can be extended substantially by being unexpectedly cured from a lethal disease. Yet these developments are not viewed as spelling the end of the original person. In particular, it seems that modifications that add to a persons capacities can be more substantial than modifications that subtract, such as brain damage. If most of someone currently is, including her most important memories, activities, and feelings, is preserved, then adding extra capacities on top of that would not easily cause the person to cease to exist.

Preservation of personal identity, especially if this notion is given a narrow construal, is not everything. We can value other things than ourselves, or we might regard it as satisfactory if some parts or aspects of ourselves survive and flourish, even if that entails giving up some parts of ourselves such that we no longer count as being the same person. Which parts of ourselves we might be willing to sacrifice may not become clear until we are more fully acquainted with the full meaning of the options. A careful, incremental exploration of the posthuman realm may be indispensable for acquiring such an understanding, although we may also be able to learn from each others experiences and from works of the imagination.

Additionally, we may favor future people being posthuman rather than human, if the posthumans would lead lives more worthwhile than the alternative humans would. Any reasons stemming from such considerations would not depend on the assumption that we ourselves could become posthuman beings.

Transhumanism promotes the quest to develop further so that we can explore hitherto inaccessible realms of value. Technological enhancement of human organisms is a means that we ought to pursue to this end. There are limits to how much can be achieved by low-tech means such as education, philosophical contemplation, moral self-scrutiny and other such methods proposed by classical philosophers with perfectionist leanings, including Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche, or by means of creating a fairer and better society, as envisioned by social reformists such as Marx or Martin Luther King. This is not to denigrate what we can do with the tools we have today. Yet ultimately, transhumanists hope to go further.

If this is the grand vision, what are the more particular objectives that it translates into when considered as a guide to policy?

What is needed for the realization of the transhumanist dream is that technological means necessary for venturing into the posthuman space are made available to those who wish to use them, and that society be organized in such a manner that such explorations can be undertaken without causing unacceptable damage to the social fabric and without imposing unacceptable existential risks.

Global security. While disasters and setbacks are inevitable in the implementation of the transhumanist project (just as they are if the transhumanist project is not pursued), there is one kind of catastrophe that must be avoided at any cost:

Existential risk one where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

Several recent discussions have argued that the combined probability of the existential risks is very substantial. The relevance of the condition of existential safety to the transhumanist vision is obvious: if we go extinct or permanently destroy our potential to develop further, then the transhumanist core value will not be realized. Global security is the most fundamental and nonnegotiable requirement of the transhumanist project.

Technological progress. That technological progress is generally desirable from a transhumanist point of view is also self-evident. Many of our biological shortcomings (aging, disease, feeble memories and intellects, a limited emotional repertoire and inadequate capacity for sustained well-being) are difficult to overcome, and to do so will require advanced tools. Developing these tools is a gargantuan challenge for the collective problem-solving capacities of our species. Since technological progress is closely linked to economic development, economic growth or more precisely, productivity growth can in some cases serve as a proxy for technological progress. (Productivity growth is, of course, only an imperfect measure of the relevant form of technological progress, which, in turn, is an imperfect measure of overall improvement, since it omits such factors as equity of distribution, ecological diversity, and quality of human relationships.)

The history of economic and technological development, and the concomitant growth of civilization, is appropriately regarded with awe, as humanitys most glorious achievement. Thanks to the gradual accumulation of improvements over the past several thousand years, large portions of humanity have been freed from illiteracy, life-expectancies of twenty years, alarming infant-mortality rates, horrible diseases endured without palliatives, and periodic starvation and water shortages. Technology, in this context, is not just gadgets but includes all instrumentally useful objects and systems that have been deliberately created. This broad definition encompasses practices and institutions, such as double-entry accounting, scientific peer-review, legal systems, and the applied sciences.

Wide access. It is not enough that the posthuman realm be explored by someone. The full realization of the core transhumanist value requires that, ideally, everybody should have the opportunity to become posthuman. It would be sub-optimal if the opportunity to become posthuman were restricted to a tiny elite.

There are many reasons for supporting wide access: to reduce inequality; because it would be a fairer arrangement; to express solidarity and respect for fellow humans; to help gain support for the transhumanist project; to increase the chances that you will get the opportunity to become posthuman; to increase the chances that those you care about can become posthuman; because it might increase the range of the posthuman realm that gets explored; and to alleviate human suffering on as wide a scale as possible.

The wide access requirement underlies the moral urgency of the transhumanist vision. Wide access does not argue for holding back. On the contrary, other things being equal, it is an argument for moving forward as quickly as possible. 150,000 human beings on our planet die every day, without having had any access to the anticipated enhancement technologies that will make it possible to become posthuman. The sooner this technology develops, the fewer people will have died without access.

Consider a hypothetical case in which there is a choice between (a) allowing the current human population to continue to exist, and (b) having it instantaneously and painlessly killed and replaced by six billion new human beings who are very similar but non-identical to the people that exist today. Such a replacement ought to be strongly resisted on moral grounds, for it would entail the involuntary death of six billion people. The fact that they would be replaced by six billion newly created similar people does not make the substitution acceptable. Human beings are not disposable. For analogous reasons, it is important that the opportunity be become posthuman is made available to as many humans as possible, rather than having the existing population merely supplemented (or worse, replaced) by a new set of posthuman people. The transhumanist ideal will be maximally realized only if the benefits of technologies are widely shared and if they are made available as soon as possible, preferably within our lifetime.

From these specific requirements flow a number of derivative transhumanist values that translate the transhumanist vision into practice. (Some of these values may also have independent justifications, and transhumanism does not imply that that the list of values provided below is exhaustive.)

To start with, transhumanists typically place emphasis on individual freedom and individual choice in the area of enhancement technologies. Humans differ widely in their conceptions of what their own perfection or improvement would consist in. Some want to develop in one direction, others in different directions, and some prefer to stay the way they are. It would neither be morally unacceptable for anybody to impose a single standard to which we would all have to conform. People should have the right to choose which enhancement technologies, if any, they want to use. In cases where individual choices impact substantially on other people, this general principle may need to be restricted, but the mere fact that somebody may be disgusted or morally affronted by somebody elses using technology to modify herself would not normally a legitimate ground for coercive interference. Furthermore, the poor track record of centrally planned efforts to create better people (e.g. the eugenics movement and Soviet totalitarianism) shows that we need to be wary of collective decision-making in the field of human modification.

Another transhumanist priority is to put ourselves in a better position to make wise choices about where we are going. We will need all the wisdom we can get when negotiating the posthuman transition. Transhumanists place a high value on improvements in our individual and collective powers of understanding and in our ability to implement responsible decisions. Collectively, we might get smarter and more informed through such means as scientific research, public debate and open discussion of the future, information markets[8], collaborative information filtering[9]. On an individual level, we can benefit from education, critical thinking, open-mindedness, study techniques, information technology, and perhaps memory- or attention-enhancing drugs and other cognitive enhancement technologies. Our ability to implement responsible decisions can be improved by expanding the rule of law and democracy on the international plane. Additionally, artificial intelligence, especially if and when it reaches human-equivalence or greater, could give an enormous boost to the quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Given the limitations of our current wisdom, a certain epistemic tentativeness is appropriate, along with a readiness to continually reassess our assumptions as more information becomes available. We cannot take for granted that our old habits and beliefs will prove adequate in navigating our new circumstances.

Global security can be improved by promoting international peace and cooperation, and by strongly counteracting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Improvements in surveillance technology may make it easier to detect illicit weapons programs. Other security measures might also be appropriate to counteract various existential risks. More studies on such risks would help us get a better understanding of the long-term threats to human flourishing and of what can be done to reduce them.

Since technological development is necessary to realize the transhumanist vision, entrepreneurship, science, and the engineering spirit are to be promoted. More generally, transhumanists favor a pragmatic attitude and a constructive, problem-solving approach to challenges, preferring methods that experience tells us give good results. They think it better to take the initiative to do something about it rather than sit around complaining. This is one sense in which transhumanism is optimistic. (It is not optimistic in the sense of advocating an inflated belief in the probability of success or in the Panglossian sense of inventing excuses for the shortcomings of the status quo.)

Transhumanism advocates the well-being of all sentience, whether in artificial intellects, humans, and non-human animals (including extraterrestrial species, if there are any). Racism, sexism, speciesism, belligerent nationalism and religious intolerance are unacceptable. In addition to the usual grounds for deeming such practices objectionable, there is also a specifically transhumanist motivation for this. In order to prepare for a time when the human species may start branching out in various directions, we need to start now to strongly encourage the development of moral sentiments that are broad enough encompass within the sphere of moral concern sentiences that are constituted differently from ourselves.

Finally, transhumanism stresses the moral urgency of saving lives, or, more precisely, of preventing involuntary deaths among people whose lives are worth living. In the developed world, aging is currently the number one killer. Aging is also biggest cause of illness, disability and dementia. (Even if all heart disease and cancer could be cured, life expectancy would increase by merely six to seven years.) Anti-aging medicine is therefore a key transhumanist priority. The goal, of course, is to radically extent peoples active health-spans, not to add a few extra years on a ventilator at the end of life.

Since we are still far from being able to halt or reverse aging, cryonic suspension of the dead should be made available as an option for those who desire it. It is possible that future technologies will make it possible to reanimate people who have cryonically suspended.[10] While cryonics might be a long shot, it definitely carries better odds than cremation or burial.

The table below summarizes the transhumanist values that we have discussed.

Read the rest here:

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

 Nihilism  Comments Off on CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent
Feb 122016
 

Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99…

The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, “Fathers and Sons” (in “Russkij Vestnik”, Feb., 1862): a Nihilist is one who bows to no authority and accepts no doctrine, however widespread, that is not supported by proof.

The nihilist theory was formulated by Cernysevskij in his novel “Cto delat” (What shall be done, 1862-64), which forecasts a new social order constructed on the ruins of the old. But essentially, Nihilism was a reaction against the abuses of Russian absolutism; it originated with the first secret political society in Russia founded by Pestel (1817), and its first effort was the military revolt of the Decembrists (14 Dec., 1825). Nicholas I crushed the uprising, sent its leaders to the scaffold and one hundred and sixteen participants to Siberia. The spread (1830) of certain philosophical doctrines (Hegel, Saint Simon , Fourier ) brought numerous recruits to Nihilism, especially in the universities; and, in many of the cities, societies were organized to combat absolutism and introduce constitutional government.

Its apostles were Alexander Herzen (1812-70) and Michael Bakunin (1814-76), both of noble birth. The former, arrested (1832) as a partisan of liberal ideas, was imprisoned for eight months, deported, pardoned (1840), resided in Moscow till 1847 when he migrated to London and there founded (1857) the weekly periodical , “Kolokol” (Bell), and later “The Polar Star”. The “Kolokol” published Russian political secrets and denunciations of the Government; and, in spite of the police, made its way into Russia to spread revolutionary ideas. Herzen, inspired by Hegel and Feurbach, proclaimed the destruction of the existing order; but he did not advocate violent measures. Hence his younger followers wearied of him; and on the other hand his defense of the Poles during the insurrection of 1863 alienated many of his Russian sympathizers. The “Kolokol” went out of existence in 1868 and Herzen died two years later. Bakunin was extreme in his revolutionary theories. In the first number of “L’Alliance Internationale de la Dmocratie Socialiste” founded by him in 1869, he openly professed Atheism and called for the abolition of marriage, property, and of all social and religious institutions. His advice, given in his “Revolutionary Catechism”, was: “Be severe to yourself and severe to others. Suppress the sentiments of relationship , friendship, love, and gratitude. Have only one pleasure, one joy, one reward the triumph of the revolution. Night and day, have only one thought, the destruction of everything without pity. Be ready to die and ready to kill any one who opposes the triumph of your revolt.” Bakunin thus opened the way to nihilistic terrorism.

It began with the formation (1861-62) of secret societies, the members of which devoted their lives and fortunes to the dissemination of revolutionary ideas. Many of these agitators, educated at Zurich, Switzerland, returned to Russia and gave Nihilism the support of trained intelligence . Prominent among them were Sergius Necaev, master of a parochial school in St. Petersburg, who was in constant communication with nihilist centers in various cities, and Sergius Kovalin who established thirteen associations in Cernigor. These societies took their names from their founders the Malikovcy, Lavrists, Bakunists, etc. They enrolled seminarists , university students, and young women. Among the working men the propaganda was conducted in part through free schools. The promoters engaged in humble trades as weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters, and in their shops inculcated nihilist doctrine. The peasantry was reached by writings, speeches, schools, and personal intercourse. Even the nobles shared in this work, e.g., Prince Peter Krapotkin , who, under the pseudonym of Borodin, held conferences with workingmen. As secondary centres, taverns and shops served as meeting places, depositories of prohibited books, and, in case of need, as places of refuge. Though without a central organization the movement spread throughout Russia, notably in the region of the Volga and in that of the Dnieper where it gained adherents among the Cossacks. The women in particular displayed energy and self sacrifice in their zeal for the cause. Many were highly cultured and some belonged to the nobility or higher classes, e.g., Natalia Armfeld, Barbara Batiukova, Sofia von Herzfeld, Sofia Perovakaja. They co-operated more especially through the schools.

The propaganda of the press was at first conducted from foreign parts: London, Geneva, Zurich. In this latter city there were two printing offices, established in 1873, where the students published the works of Lavrov and of Bakunin. The first secret printing office in Russia, founded at St. Petersburg in 1861, published four numbers of the Velikoruss. At the same time there came to Russia, from London, copies of the “Proclamation to the New Generation ” (Kmolodomu pokolkniju) and “Young Russia” (Molodaja Rosija), which was published in the following year. In 1862, another secret printing office, established at Moscow, published the recital of the revolt of 14 December, 1825, written by Ogarev. In 1862, another secret press at St. Petersburg published revolutionary proclamations for officers of the army; and in 1863, there were published in the same city a few copies of the daily Papers, “Svoboda” (Liberty) and “Zemlja i Volja” (The Earth and Liberty); the latter continued to be published in 1878 and 1879, under the editorship, at first, of Marco Natanson, and later of the student, Alexander Mihailov, one of the ablest organizers of Nihilism. In 1866, a student of Kazan, Elpidin, published two numbers of the “Podpolnoe Slovo”, which was succeeded by the daily paper, the “Sovremennost” (The Contemporary), and later, by the “Narodnoe Delo” (The National Interest), which was published (1868-70), to disseminate the ideas of Bakunin. Two numbers of the “Narodnaja Rasprava” (The Tribunal of Reason) were published in 1870, at St. Petersburg and at Moscow. In 1873, appeared the “Vpred” (Forward!), one of the most esteemed periodicals of Nihilism, having salient socialistic tendencies. A volume of it appeared each year. In 1875-76, there was connected with the “Vpred”, a small bi-monthly supplement, which was under the direction of Lavrov until 1876, when it passed under the editorship of Smironv, and went out of existence in the same year. It attacked theological and religious ideas, proclaiming the equality of rights, freedom of association, and justice for the proletariat. At Geneva , in 1875 and 1876, the “Rabotnik” (The Workman ) was published, which was edited in the style of the people; the “Nabat” (The Tocsin) appeared in 1875, directed by Thacev; the “Narodnaja Volja” (The Will of the People), in 1879, and the “Cernyi Peredel”, in 1880, were published in St. Petersburg. There was no fixed date for any of these papers, and their contents consisted, more especially, of proclamations, of letters from revolutionists, and at times, of sentences of the Executive Committees . These printing offices also produced books and pamphlets and Russian translations of the works of Lassalle, Marx, Proudhon, and Bchner. A government stenographer, Myskin , in 1870, established a printing office, through which several of Lassalle’s works were published; while many pamphlets were published by the Zemlja i Volja Committee and by the Free Russian Printing Office. Some of the pamphlets were published under titles like those of the books for children, for example, “Deduska Egor” (Grandfather Egor), Mitiuska”, Stories for the Workingmen , and others, in which the exploitation of the people was deplored, and the immunity of capitalists assailed. Again, some publications were printed in popular, as well as in cultured, language; and, in order to allure the peasants these pamphlets appeared at times, under such titles as “The Satiate and the Hungry”; “How Our Country Is No Longer Ours”. But all this propaganda, which required considerable energy and sacrifice, did not produce satisfactory results. Nihilism did not penetrate the masses; its enthusiastic apostles committed acts of imprudence that drew upon them the ferocious reprisals of the Government; the peasants had not faith in the preachings of those teachers, whom, at times, they regarded as government spies, and whom, at times, they denounced . The books and pamphlets that were distributed among the country people often fell into the hands of the cinovniki (government employees), or of the popes. Very few of the peasants knew how to read. Accordingly, Nihilism had true adherents only among students of the universities and higher schools, and among the middle classes. The peasants and workmen did not understand its ideals of destruction and of social revolution.

Propagation of ideas was soon followed by violence: 4 April, 1866, Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped the shot fired by Demetrius Karakozov, and in consequence took severe measures (rescript of 23 May, 1866) against the revolution, making the universities and the press objects of special vigilance. To avoid detection and spying, the Nihilists formed a Central Executive Committee whose sentences of death were executed by “punishers”. Sub-committees of from five to ten members were also organized and statutes (12 articles) drawn up. The applicant for admission was required to consecrate his life to the cause, sever ties of family and friendship, and observe absolute secrecy. Disobedience to the head of the association was punishable with death. The Government, in turn, enacted stringent laws against secret societies and brought hundreds before the tribunals. A notable instance was the trial, at St. Petersburg in October, 1877, of 193 persons: 94 went free, 36 were sent to Siberia ; the others received light sentences . One of the accused, Myskin by name, who in addressing the judges had characterized the procedure as “an abominable comedy”, was condemned to ten years of penal servitude. Another sensational trial (April, 1878) was that of Vera Sassulio, who had attempted to murder General Frepov, chief of police of St. Petersburg . Her acquittal was frantically applauded and she found a refuge in Switzerland. Among the deeds of violence committed by Nihilists may be mentioned the assassination of General Mezencev (4 Aug., 1878) and Prince Krapotkin (1879). These events were followed by new repressive measures on the part of the Government and by numerous executions. The Nihilists, however, continued their work, held a congress at Lipeck in 1879, and (26 Aug.) condemned Alexander II to death. An attempt to wreck the train on which the Tsar was returning to St. Petersburg proved abortive. Another attack on his life was made by Halturin, 5 Feb., 1880. He was slain on 1 March 1881, by a bomb, thrown by Grineveckij. Six conspirators, among them Sofia Perovskaja, were tried and executed. On 14 March, the Zemlja i Volja society issued a proclamation inciting the peasants to rise , while the Executive Committee wrote to Alexander III denouncing the abuses of the bureaucracy and demanding political amnesty, national representation, and civil liberty.

The reign of Alexander III was guided by the dictates of a reaction, due in great measure to the counsels of Constantine Pobedonoscev, procurator general of the Holy Synod. And Nihilism, which seemed to reach its apogee in the death of Alexander II, saw its eclipse. Its theories were too radical to gain proselytes among the people. Its assaults were repeated; on 20 March, 1882, General Strelnikov was assassinated at Odessa; and Colonel Sudezkin on the 28th of December, 1883; in 1887, an attempt against the life of the tsar was unsuccessful; in 1890, a conspiracy against the tsar was discovered at Paris; but these crimes were the work of the revolution in Russia, rather than of the Nihilists. The crimes that reddened the soil of Russia with blood in constitutional times are due to the revolution of 1905-07. But the Nihilism, that, as a doctrinal system, proclaimed the destruction of the old Russia, to establish the foundations of a new Russia, may be said to have disappeared; it became fused with Anarchism and Socialism , and therefore, the history of the crimes that were multiplied from 1905 on are a chapter in the history of political upheavals in Russia, and not in the history of Nihilism.

APA citation. Palmieri, A. (1911). Nihilism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11074a.htm

MLA citation. Palmieri, Aurelio. “Nihilism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. .

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Bob Mathewson.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can’t reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

View post:

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

 Posted by at 6:45 am  Tagged with:

Beaches in Baltimore, Maryland | USA Today

 Beaches  Comments Off on Beaches in Baltimore, Maryland | USA Today
Jan 142016
 

Baltimore features county-run beaches and parks. (Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images )

The beaches in Baltimore County, Maryland offer daily rates for seniors, children and adults. The rates vary on the weekends and by time of day. Season passes are available, as well as group discounts and deals. Groups with children must have one adult per seven children. The beaches offer rental spaces for large groups and feature lifeguards for swimmers. Baltimore County has three state beaches, while nearby Calvert County also attracts visitors with its beach.

The Rocky Point Beach and Park (baltimorecountymd.gov) features 375 acres of waterfront land. The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks founded the park in 1969. The park offers picnic areas, which visitors may reserve for private parties. Additional amenities include a large pavilion, a fishing pier and boating ramps. Visitors may swim between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

According to the “Baltimore City Paper”, the Oregon Ridge Beach (baltimorecountymd.gov) is the best place to swim in the Baltimore area. Located in the city of Cockeysville, slightly less than 25 minutes from Baltimore city, Oregon Ridge Beach has two areas that visitors may rent: a pavilion that can hold 60 guests, complete with a picnic area and two grills, and another area that holds between 100 and 250 people. The park prohibits pets and alcohol, but permits swimming between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The beach opens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The Miami Beach Park (baltimorecountymd.gov) features 400 feet of beach in the 60-acre area. Located in the city of Middle River, the park provides a bathhouse, grills and a pavilion. Guests may rent the pavilion; rental fees also include admission of up to 100 guests. Non-profit organizations receive a nominal discount on the rental charge. The park also features a nature trail and a playground. The park also has fishing opportunities.

Nearby Calvert County features the Breezy Point Beach and Campground (co.cal.md.us), located in the western portion of Chesapeake Bay. Breezy Point Beach offers half a mile of beach. Activities include swimming, volleyball and boating, with two boat ramps available. Those who like to fish can use the fishing pier, and picnic areas are available. Guests enjoy the daily camping opportunities, and a bath house offers added convenience. The beach’s convenience store offers fishing supplies. Pets are not allowed on the beach.

A resident of Riverside, California, Timothy Peckinpaugh began writing in 2006 for U.S. History Publishers, based in Temecula, California. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor’s degree in English.

See original here:
Beaches in Baltimore, Maryland | USA Today

Dallas SEO – Helping Your Business Get More Business

 SEO  Comments Off on Dallas SEO – Helping Your Business Get More Business
Nov 022015
 

Hire an Dallas SEO Expert today. Remember in case you are running an online business or a website where you will like to communicate some message a website that is well designed by following search engine optimization rules will be the best for your website. In most cases search engines such as Google will end up imposing penalties to those who will fail to follow the rules. Penalties can impact negatively on the overall performance of your website hence you should try and ensure all is well when designing your website. Some of the issues that you need to check on are to try and employ experts who are highly qualified to offer you the services. For you to access the best experts you need to take your time and visit several of them in Dallas so that you will be able to decide on the best. Even if you are too busy in your daily routine you can still access the best experts while carrying out your comparison online. When carrying out your comparison online you should try and compare as many companies as possible so that you will decide on the best. Carrying out your comparison online is very easy hence you should prefer it over other forms of comparison. The following are benefits that you will enjoy after you decide to work with the best Dallas SEO company:

The best company will offer you the best Dallas SEO services

For you to enjoy the best services you need to look for a company that has enough experts who will be able to offer you the best services. Remember search engine optimization services are very crucial in the design of any website because it is through search engine optimizations where your website will gain great access online. The main aim of designing a website is to try and gain access online and after you carry out enough search engine optimization you will be able to land on the best position in Google ranking s which will enable your website achieve more. As a resident in Dallas it is your duty to ensure you access all the possible opportunities online by making your website rank up in the Google rankings. After a website is rank well it will always access more audience which will transform into a lot of customers which is healthy for any business.

Dallas SEO services will enable you access more customers online in case you are running an ecommerce website

In case you use your website to run an online business it will be to your advantage after you decide to hire experts for search engine optimization services. From statistics it has been known that many people who search for websites that offer services or products online will tend to concentrate in accessing services from websites that appear in the first page. After you take your time and carry out the necessary search engine optimization services you will end up getting your website consistently in the first page of Google rankings. This will make you access more audience for the services or products which you are offering online. In some cases the audience will turn directly into your customers or they may end up referring others. This will make you achieve more sales which are very necessary in any business.

Dallas SEO will enable you avoid search engine optimization penalties easily

There are some penalties that search engines can impose on websites that fail to follow rules set in place. After you take bold steps and look for experts who will offer you search engine optimization services in Dallas you will end up avoiding all the penalties which can really affect the overall performance of your website. Penalties are risky where they can end up making you fail to appear online hence making your potential customers go for other websites that offer services similar to yours. They may never come back again in case they access the same services from your competitors hence making your website incur great losses. To avoid the penalties permanently, you need to hire experts who will offer you quality Dallas SEO services.

Go here to see the original:
Dallas SEO – Helping Your Business Get More Business

What is Cryptocurrency? – YouTube

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on What is Cryptocurrency? – YouTube
Oct 272015
 

Let’s learn about money that only exists digitally and can sometimes make you rich. GMM 362! Good Mythical MORE: http://youtu.be/KA4EaLJ7iXA

SUBSCRIBE for daily episodes: http://bit.ly/subrl2 ****

PREVIOUS episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtRui…

NEXT episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVkgbE…

Feathercoin is a Global digital currency not backed by any bank or institution. This gives users complete control of their wealth. At its core is a community that welcomes people in and helps further understanding and acceptance of Feathercoin. Join them on their forum at http:\www.feathercoin.com.

Get the GMM Coffee Mug! http://dftba.com/product/1bv/Good-Myt…

Get the GMM Signed Poster plus the GMM T-shirt! http://dftba.com/artist/26/Rhett–Link

MAIN YOUTUBE CHANNEL: http://youtube.com/rhettandlink

Listen to Ear Biscuits! iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/ear-… SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/earbiscuits

JOIN the RhettandLinKommunity! http://bit.ly/rlkommunity

LIKE us on FACEBOOK! http://facebook.com/rhettandlink FOLLOW us on TWITTER! http://twitter.com/rhettandlink FOLLOW us on TUMBLR: http://rhettandlink.tumblr.com/ FOLLOW our INSTAGRAM – http://instagram.com/rhettandlink JOIN our circle on GOOGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/+rhettandlink

Good Mythical Morning is available for download on iTunes! Video Podcast: http://bit.ly/xuJVPc Audio Podcast: http://bit.ly/zSewZ6

We are two Internetainers dedicated to giving you a daily dose of casual comedy every Monday-Friday on our show “Good Mythical Morning” at youtube.com/rhettandlink2. Thanks for making us a part of your daily routine. Be your mythical best, mythical beast. – Rhett & Link

Mail us stuff to our P.O. Box Go to http://rhettandlink.com/contact for details.

CREDITS: Produced by Stevie Wynne Levine Co-producer, Camera, Editor: Jason Inman Show Graphics Package and Lighting: Ben Eck Intro Illustration: Kendrick Kidd http://kendrickkidd.com/ Intro Motion Graphics: Eden Soto http://eden.tv Set dresser: Cassie Cobb Set construction: Jason Inman Wheel music: http://www.royaltyfreemusiclibrary.com/ Microphone: The Mouse from Blue Microphones: http://www.bluemic.com/mouse/

Here is the original post:
What is Cryptocurrency? – YouTube

 Posted by at 1:48 am  Tagged with:

Free SEO tools from SEO chat

 SEO  Comments Off on Free SEO tools from SEO chat
Aug 302015
 

SEO Tools

Check out these free SEO tools and discover what SEO strategies are working for your site. Identify most common issues and errors like broken links and images, empty alt text, absent meta tags, etc

Use our FREE social media analysis tools to track and analyze your social efforts. Compare social media buzz and analyze content authorship and social media signals

This page provides a list of schema tools that webmasters can use to markup their pages with microdata in conjunction with existing HTML in a way that is recognized by search engines. Most search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, rely on these markups to improve how search results are displayed thus making it easier for users to navigate to the right web pages. Our schema tools allow you to very easily generate different types of markup for your product, book, movie, article, and other pages.

Need to figure out your ROI for a new PPC campaign, or determine the effectiveness of a recent change in your PPC strategy? Taking a proactive approach and trying to estimate potential earnings? There are tools for that

Increase the efficiency of your daily webmaster tasks by using this free suite of webmaster tools. Create robots.txt, extract information with a RegEx and more.

Use these web design tools and show your users their experience matters to you. Convert HTML to PHP, clean up your HTML, and more with this free suite of tools.

Use these tools to protect your information and the information of your users, as well as make a single list from several.

Original post:
Free SEO tools from SEO chat

So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker
Jul 222015
 

Does the Second Amendment prevent Congress from passing gun-control laws? The question, which is suddenly pressing, in light of the reaction to the school massacre in Newtown, is rooted in politics as much as law.

For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The courts had found that the first part, the militia clause, trumped the second part, the bear arms clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear armsbut did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.

Enter the modern National Rifle Association. Before the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. had been devoted mostly to non-political issues, like gun safety. But a coup dtat at the groups annual convention in 1977 brought a group of committed political conservatives to poweras part of the leading edge of the new, more rightward-leaning Republican Party. (Jill Lepore recounted this history in a recent piece for The New Yorker.) The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. It was an uphill struggle. At first, their views were widely scorned. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, mocked the individual-rights theory of the amendment as a fraud.

But the N.R.A. kept pushingand theres a lesson here. Conservatives often embrace originalism, the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a living constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the twentieth century. (Reva Siegel, of Yale Law School, elaborates on this point in a brilliant article.)

The re-interpretation of the Second Amendment was an elaborate and brilliantly executed political operation, inside and outside of government. Ronald Reagans election in 1980 brought a gun-rights enthusiast to the White House. At the same time, Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he commissioned a report that claimed to find clearand long lostproof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms. The N.R.A. began commissioning academic studies aimed at proving the same conclusion. An outr constitutional theory, rejected even by the establishment of the Republican Party, evolved, through brute political force, into the conservative conventional wisdom.

And so, eventually, this theory became the law of the land. In District of Columbia v. Heller, decided in 2008, the Supreme Court embraced the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment. It was a triumph above all for Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the opinion, but it required him to craft a thoroughly political compromise. In the eighteenth century, militias were proto-military operations, and their members had to obtain the best military hardware of the day. But Scalia could not create, in the twenty-first century, an individual right to contemporary military weaponslike tanks and Stinger missiles. In light of this, Scalia conjured a rule that said D.C. could not ban handguns because handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.

So the government cannot ban handguns, but it can ban other weaponslike, say, an assault rifleor so it appears. The full meaning of the courts Heller opinion is still up for grabs. But it is clear that the scope of the Second Amendment will be determined as much by politics as by the law. The courts will respond to public pressureas they did by moving to the right on gun control in the last thirty years. And if legislators, responding to their constituents, sense a mandate for new restrictions on guns, the courts will find a way to uphold them. The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress, but of a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, the law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.

Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty.

Sign up for the daily newsletter.Sign up for the daily newsletter: the best of The New Yorker every day.

Read more:
So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker

 Posted by at 7:53 pm  Tagged with:

Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis
Apr 142015
 

By City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015 | Updated: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015

Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested.

Analysis of more than 1,000 listed companies by MSCI found a tax gap of 56billion from firms using tax havens and loopholes to whittle down their bills.

By comparing the overall tax payments of the companies against the corporation tax rates levied in the countries where they did business, the investment research group was able to determine how many companies were scrimping on payments.

Tax loophole: Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested

In the UK, 16 of the 71 included businesses had a tax gap of more than 10 per cent, it said.

MSCI director Linda-Eling Lee said these firms faced the prospect of falling profits if the tax loopholes were closed, as well as reputational risk if they are exposed for minimising tax.

The findings will inflame the debate around the issue of legal but dubious avoidance of tax.

The Government has sought to lead an international crackdown on what it sees as immoral tax dodging by multinational firms.

View original post here:
Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

 Posted by at 8:47 pm  Tagged with:

PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video
Apr 132015
 



PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I'M AN ISLAMO REALIST
BBC, 9th April 2015.BBC. Election 2015 smaller parties: Liberty GB… Last updated at 13:45 BST A party leader who made a video declaring “I am a racist” was asked about the claim on the Daily…

By: Roni Stoker

Original post:
PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video

Rand Paul, Media Darling

 Misc  Comments Off on Rand Paul, Media Darling
Apr 112015
 

Five reasons why the Kentucky senator trails Ted Cruz in fundraising, but is still stealing the spotlight.

If youre a member of the Washington media, odds are youve spent at least some time over the past 48 hours discussing Rand Pauls entry into the presidential race and his testy exchanges about abortion with an Associated Press reporter. Reporters and pundits have covered Pauls debut for The Washington Post, NPR, The Huffington Post, and the Today Show. The Daily Beast offered space to the libertarian Cato Institutes David Boaz to argue that yes, Paul can do it. In The Hill, Dick Morris argued that he cant.

Meanwhile, the disclosure that Ted Cruzalso a declared candidate for presidentraised $31 million in a week, although certainly reported, seems to have aroused nothing like this kind of media excitement. Google News tallied half as many citations for Can Ted Cruz win? as for Can Rand Paul win? Chris Cillizza explained why Cruz chose to announce at Liberty University but had this to say about the candidates prospects: “Cruz badly needs social conservatives on his side if he wants to have any serious chance at being the Republican nominee in 2016and then went on to explain why that was unlikely to happen. Mark Halperin dismissed Cruz as a second-tier candidate.

Yet to the extent there are metrics, Cruz is outperforming Paul in the first phases of the presidential race. Not only has Cruz raised more money than Paul, but a National Journal survey of social media found that Cruzs presidential launch attracted dramatically more social media interaction than Pauls.

Neither man has an easy or obvious path to the nomination. Both men face powerful, perhaps insuperable, opposition within the party. Pauls path is probably even more emphatically foredoomed, but at a minimum it is surely no less foredoomed.

So why is Paul a favorite topic of media speculation, while Cruz cant make news?

Id offer five reasons. Theyre interesting in themselves, I think, but also interesting as examples of how news organizations can systematically mis-evaluate political realities.

1. Home-Court Advantage

If you live and work in Washington, D.C., its easy to imagine libertarianism as a powerful national movement. Washington is home to Reason magazine and the Cato Institute, and to dozens of hard-working and talented libertarian writers, commentators, and policy analysts. Its easy here to lose sight of the extreme marginality of the doctrine in the nation as a wholeespecially because libertarianism as we see it in the capital looks a lot more like the preferred politics of the institutional media (socially permissive, fiscally cautious) than like the Lincoln-hating, bullion-believing, conspiracy-mongering politics of libertarianism beyond the Beltway at the Ron Paul Institute, Antiwar.com, or the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Journalists are consequently vulnerable to claims that libertarianism appeals to independents, Millennials, or some other demographically desirable groupno matter how overwhelmingly such claims are contradicted by the evidence. Meanwhile, the conservative Christian evangelicalism to which Ted Cruz looks for his base remains perhaps more underrepresented in D.C. media and culture than any other major American social group. D.C. journalists intellectually apprehend that evangelicals are important, but they have a hard time remembering that fact when they offer their commentary.

2. Media Management

Read this article:
Rand Paul, Media Darling

Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism
Apr 082015
 

How should a university president balance the Constitutional right to free speech against the responsibility to ensure students feel safe on campus after finding something as shocking as a noose, for example, hung by an undergraduate at Duke University?

Many students have demanded a strong response to show the university will not tolerate bigotry, while others caution that the First Amendment protects even the most hateful of speech. In every recent case, university leaders have unequivocally condemned the speech in question. But their other actions have varied.

Riley Brands, the editor-in-chief ofThe Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, has this take:

Just this semester, several racially-charged incidents have shaken universities. These incidents have tested university leaders resolve to promote an inclusive learning environment on their campuses.

In at least one case, a university president has been bold and stated unequivocally his intolerance for intolerance.

In others, however, fear or weakness has held university presidents back.

Last week, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh announced that a vile e-mail sent by a fraternity member violated no university rules and was protected by the First Amendment. The e-mail contained racial slurs and dismissed the idea of sexual consent.

Read more about the e-mail here.

In early February, my paper,The Daily Texan, broke the story of a racially insensitive party at the Phi Gamma Delta, or Fiji, fraternity house just off campus. The theme party, which the president of the fraternity told us was western, saw attendees in hard hats with the names Jefe and Pablo Sanchez written on them as well as reflective vests and work gloves. Some at the party said the theme was border control.

The uproar online was swift and vigorous. Many called for severe action against the fraternity.

See more here:
Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

 Posted by at 11:41 am  Tagged with:

Indiana Has Changed Its Religious Liberty Law. Here Is What That Means. – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on Indiana Has Changed Its Religious Liberty Law. Here Is What That Means. – Video
Apr 072015
 



Indiana Has Changed Its Religious Liberty Law. Here Is What That Means.
Indiana's fix amounts to a wholesale repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. | http://dailysign.al/1CeAEhb.

By: The Daily Signal

Link:
Indiana Has Changed Its Religious Liberty Law. Here Is What That Means. – Video

 Posted by at 6:45 am  Tagged with:

Young The Giant – Islands (Ark Patrol Remix) – Video

 Islands  Comments Off on Young The Giant – Islands (Ark Patrol Remix) – Video
Apr 072015
 



Young The Giant – Islands (Ark Patrol Remix)
Subscribe to LunatiCube for Daily Filtered Music!!! https://twitter.com/LunatiCube https://facebook.com/LunatiCube https://instagram.com/LunatiCube Free download the original: http://bit.ly/1nic…

By: Lunatic Cube

Read the original post:
Young The Giant – Islands (Ark Patrol Remix) – Video

 Posted by at 6:44 am  Tagged with:

Do liberals believe in free speech? The Trevor Noah controversy – Video

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Do liberals believe in free speech? The Trevor Noah controversy – Video
Apr 022015
 



Do liberals believe in free speech? The Trevor Noah controversy
On Black, White and Politically Incorrect, Susan Patton and I discuss the recent controversy over Trevor Noah, the man slated to take over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. We also ask whether…

By: Boyce Watkins

Read the original:
Do liberals believe in free speech? The Trevor Noah controversy – Video

Bitcoin Wallet by Airbitz

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin Wallet by Airbitz
Mar 292015
 

Powerful and easy to use Bitcoin Wallet allowing users to easily control their own bitcoin private keys with the familiarity and ease of mobile banking.Take control of your funds! With Airbitz, only YOU have access to your funds or transaction data. Neither Airbitz or any 3rd party can access your money or data. You get the financial privacy and autonomy Bitcoin was designed for with the ease of use even grandma could handle.With a focus on delivering an amazing user experience, the Airbitz wallet provides the following great functionality: Zero-knowledge & zero-access to user funds, keys, or transaction data by Airbitz or 3rd parties Pay using Bluetooth (BLE) without needing QR codes Simple account creation using just a login & password (no printing of PDFs, writing down pass phrases, or adding encryption settings) Automatic encrypted wallet backup to redundant peer-to-peer cloud servers One-Touch 2-Factor Authentication for the easiest-to-secure wallet in the world Quickly switch accounts with username drop down on login screens Multi-device synchronization across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices Hierarchical Deterministic wallets with changing addresses per transaction Multiple wallets per account with simple user defined wallet names (ie. Vacation Fund) Multiple fiat currency support. Assign a fiat currency per wallet Search transactions by payee, category, or notes Built in calculator for easy conversions Merchant Mode enabling easy and fluid UI behind the counter Partial payment detection creates a new QR code payment request with remaining balance Daily spending limits (require password to spend above limit) PIN-requiring spending limits Two-tap quick UI to transfer funds between wallets Import funds from WIF or Casascius private keys Decentralized server architecture. Wallets work even if Airbitz servers are down. Integration with the Airbitz Business directory to auto-complete business information for transactions including business logo/photo Integration with address book to auto-complete payee name and photo Open-source code. Available on http://github.com/Airbitz********* Privacy Notice *********The Airbitz application requests access to the device contact list, location, and personal information. This information is used on the device to provide an improved user experience in the following ways:1. Autocomplete contacts from the user’s address book after a transaction2. Autocomplete contacts from the user’s address book to send Email or SMS payment requests3. Autocomplete business listings names after a transaction4. Geolocate user’s device to find nearby businessesNo personal info or contact list info ever leaves the device without first being encrypted by the user’s credentials (username/password). Neither Airbitz nor any 3rd party has knowledge of the information accessed by the application.

See the article here:
Bitcoin Wallet by Airbitz

Bitcoin Generator Hack tool | Free Download | NO SURVEY | Daily Updated – Video

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin Generator Hack tool | Free Download | NO SURVEY | Daily Updated – Video
Mar 262015
 



Bitcoin Generator Hack tool | Free Download | NO SURVEY | Daily Updated
Bitcoin generator hack tool NO SURVEY 100% working free download Download here: http://bit.ly/1z20tS9 Here is the Recent Release of our Bitcoin and Litecoin Generator! – No Surveys – No…

By: Ender Baur

Read the rest here:
Bitcoin Generator Hack tool | Free Download | NO SURVEY | Daily Updated – Video

 Posted by at 10:49 am  Tagged with:

OBAMA SNUB? Reportedly avoids NATO chief amid growing Russia threat

 NATO  Comments Off on OBAMA SNUB? Reportedly avoids NATO chief amid growing Russia threat
Mar 252015
 

FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2014 file photo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

President Barack Obama reportedly will not meet with NATO’s new secretary general when he is in Washington this week, despite requests from the alliance chief’s staff for a get-together.

Bloomberg View reported Tuesday that Jens Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama in advance of his scheduled visit, but did not receive any response from the White House. Instead, Bloomberg View reported that Stoltenberg had to settle for a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Stoltenberg is scheduled to be in Washington through Thursday, primarily so he can attend a strategic brainstorming session involving military officials and experts from the U.S and NATO.

Stoltenberg, who replaced Anders Fogh Rasmussen as head of the world’s largest military alliance in October, was able to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday, the day before Harper announced that Canada would expand its participation in the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The report of Obama’s snub comes amid Russia’s growing willingness to test NATO’s military readiness. On Tuesday, NATO jets were scrambled after four Russian military planes were spotted flying over the Baltic Sea with their transponders turned off. Over the weekend, a Danish newspaper published remarks by the Russian ambassador to Denmark in which he hinted that Russian missiles could target Danish warships if Copenhagen joins NATO’s missile defense system.

But the most far-reaching example of Russianbelligerence came Tuesday, when Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that Moscow was preparing to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina in exchange for shipments of beef and wheat. The report comes after a round of rhetoric from Russian officials questioning Britain’s claim to the Falkland Islands.

The Telegraph reports that Russia’s ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, compared a 2013 referendum in which 99.8 percent of Falklands inhabitants voted to remain part of the U.K. to last year’s vote which formalized Crimea’s annexation by Russia. Britain, along with the U.S. and NATO, denounced the Crimea referendum as a sham orchestrated by Moscow.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond repeated those claims earlier this week, prompting the Russian embassy to respond, “In its rhetoric [the] Foreign Office applies one logic to the referendum in the Malvinas/Falklands, and a different one to the case of Crimea.”

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Dumas committee of international affairs, was even more blunt in a Twitter message that read, in part, “Crimea has immeasurably more reason to be a part of Russia than the Falkland Islands to be part of the U.K.”

Continued here:
OBAMA SNUB? Reportedly avoids NATO chief amid growing Russia threat

Rathke: NATO exercises dont raise tensions. 20 March 2015 (& Matt Lee) – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on Rathke: NATO exercises dont raise tensions. 20 March 2015 (& Matt Lee) – Video
Mar 222015
 



Rathke: NATO exercises dont raise tensions. 20 March 2015 ( Matt Lee)
Jeff Rathke, Press Office Director, U.S. Department of State – Daily Briefing: March.20.2015 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/index.htm RT journalist Gayane Chichakyan struggles to get a definitiv…

By: Schwejk

Read the original post:
Rathke: NATO exercises dont raise tensions. 20 March 2015 (& Matt Lee) – Video

 Posted by at 4:52 pm  Tagged with:



Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism