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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Avaaz: Promoting Global Activism Using Non-Violent Media-Friendly Actions

Avaaz is a non-governmental U.S.-based civic organization that uses global activism to raise awareness of conflict, corruption, human rights, poverty, climate change and other pressing issues of international importance. The organization was founded in 2007 and is now considered to be among the largest and most powerful networks involved in online activism. The name Avaaz was chosen because it roughly translates to mean voice or song in many Indo-European languages including English. The organization uses demonstrations, petitions and similar action to advocate for an independent press in areas that are involved in conflict.

The organization was co-founded through the collaboration of several NGOs. They include the Service Employees International Union, Res Publica, an organization made up of public sector professionals involved in promoting deliberative democracy, civic virtue and good governance and the U.S. based non-profit advocacy group that works to promote progressive public policy, MoveOn.org.

Some of the individuals that played a seminal role in founding Avaaz were Tom Perriello, former Virgina congressman, Tom Pravda, Ricken Patel, Eli Pariser, executive director of Moveon.com, David Madden a progressive Australian entrepreneur, Andrea Woodhouse and Purpose.com co-founder Jeremy Heimans. Eli Pariser is the chairman of the organization’s board, the president is Ricken Patel Tom Pravda is secretary and the treasurer is Ben Brandzel.

Initially the start-up costs and staff of Avaaz was funded by several foundations. However, beginning in 2009 the organization has not accepted donations from corporations or foundations neither has it accepted any donation that is over $5,000. Its activities are funded through its 10,000 members’ generosity. Still, Avaaz has been able to raise in excess of $20 million.

Avaaz manages its global campaigns through campaigners in more than 30 countries. They communicate via email and their campaigning tactics include rallies, sit-ins, phone-ins, demonstrations, online public petitions and media friendly stunts.

For more information follow Avaaz on Twitter.

The Downside of Cheap DNA Testing

With medical technology growing by leaps and bounds, along with a complete mapping of the human genome, testing your DNA and finding out where your ancestors came from has never been more cheap or easy. For about a hundred dollars, a person can send a small sample to a company, and a short while later, they can find out ethnic mixtures and ancestry with surprising accuracy. If it all seems too good to be true, it might just be.

 

 

What would you do if the place you sent off your DNA to was also selling your genetic information to a third party, which then used this information to discriminate against you? Well, a recent report from TechDirt is saying exactly that. The article points out that while “health care insurers are forbidden by federal law from using DNA data to deny coverage… there’s nothing at all in the law preventing employers from using DNA data to screen out potential employees who might be a net loss on company-provided insurance plans.” This certainly raises a couple of questions, the first and foremost is something like “isn’t this nearly identical to one of the plot points from the 1997 dystopian science fiction film Gattaca?” The answer is a resounding, yes.

 

 

Sure, it’s possible, but would they actually do such a thing? The article points out that this is already happening. A woman name Theresa Morelli, when applying for disability insurance quickly had it canceled when a third party shared that her father had Huntington’s disease. “The applicant herself wasn’t diagnosed with Huntington’s carrier status, but she suffered exclusion on the basis of a genetic predisposition in her family.” This is possible because sharing your DNA with these companies gives them a perpetual license to use and share your DNA as they see fit.

 

 

The upside is that for about a hundred dollars, you can have an unparalleled look into your genetic makeup and background. On one hand, so will anyone else.

 

Cheap DNA Tests Could Raise Your Insurance or Implicate You in a Crime

DNA tests are now so affordable that Ancestry.com has over 1.1 million members and 23 and Me has a million members. All of these people have had their DNA tested and the results are on file with these businesses. What most people don’t know is that the results can be searched by life and disability insurance companies, or law enforcement agencies.

 

Most people don’t read the fine print they sign when they agree to the user licenses on these sites. The user agreements allow the companies sell or give access to their DNA to other businesses, including law enforcement and insurance companies. The federal government prohibits insurance companies from directly using DNA data to decline healthcare coverage. But the law is just that specific: other insurers are perfectly free to use the data and they do.

 

According to Techdirt, Ancestry.com’s terms of informed consent allow DNA information from a customer or a genetic relative to be used by law enforcement, employers, or non-healthcare insurers. In the 1990s, Theresa Morelli applied for private disability insurance and was denied because the insurance company obtained her father’s medical records. His records, not Theresa’s, showed he had Huntington’s disease: a fatal illness she could have inherited.

 

In another case, Michael Usry became a suspect in a 1996 murder case because crime scene DNA was found to be very similar to his father’s DNA, donated as part of a church DNA project. The church DNA database was uploaded to Ancestry.com, and became publically searchable. Usry’s own DNA later proved he was innocent.

 

If you want your DNA test results for genealogy or ancestry research but do not want it shared without your knowledge with law enforcement or insurers, you can opt out of the “terms of informed consent.” The process is time-consuming and must be done in writing. In the case of Ancestry.com, the company takes about 30 days to respond to requests that individual DNA information be kept private.

 

The Importance of Staying Vested

So, what exactly is on Timothy Armour’s mind? The short answer is money. A more specific answer is investor’s money. And, an even more detailed answer is that his thoughts focus on how to help those who invest their funds see better returns investment. To this end, he points to the advice given by financial guru, Warren Buffet. Intriguingly enough, the way Buffet lends this advice comes in the form of a wager designed to teach other money mavericks a lesson about a better way to serve the interests of their clients. The wager he (Buffet) proposes says that there are better returns to be made from investments in an S&P 500 passive investment index than in hedge fund management. According to Buffet, he can do more single handedly than a group of his contemporaries all put together. The smart money says he is correct in his claims of earning potential, but the real story hides in the details of why the man is right. These details deserve a close examination and detailed explanation.

It all starts with making simple and smart investments with intentions to hold on to them for the long run. What this translates to is low-cost investing made from the bottom up through completely thorough and diligent analysis. Moreover, successful investment requires getting vested and staying that way. These methods are time tested and prove themselves to be the safest way to win in the stock market. However, Timothy Armour has a truer truth in mind, regarding the active vs passive index debate, and he is willing to share it with investors and professionals, in the field of finance management. He feels that the terms active and passive really serve no purpose, when it comes to the protecting the interest of investors. He also takes issue with the notion of investors blindly or faithfully trusting in the power of passive index investment. The reason being that passive indexes do not protect investors during downtimes in market trends. But, passive indexes do well enough in bull markets that last for decades at a time. That is where staying vested becomes most important.

Timothy Armour has his investment insight experience from decades of service starting with a Bachelors Degree in economics from Middlebury College. Presently, his service includes being chairman of Capital Group Companies as well as principal executive officer with Capital Research and Management Company Inc.

He is an equity portfolio manager, in his own right. He is also chairman if Capital Group Companies Management Committees. He is also a model for teaching vestment in in the world of finance and economics, as his only employment and service is with the Capital Group.

Artificial Intelligence Is Alive

Science fiction movies with robots that think, act, and talk like humans were thought of as pure fiction. Today, the idea of AI or artificial intelligence is a reality. Recently, Professor Newton Howard from the University of Oxford created an artificial brain that is in the form of a high bandwidth neural implant. This is a great advancement for artificial intelligence and technology. Now, the  Oxford professor is eagerly setting his sights on testing the artificial brain on rodents. His work has produced several patents on the advanced technologies and algorithms that are responsible for powering the artificial brain.

 

Medical Connection

The new device works in hand with the human brain’s unique internal system. This new artificial intelligence is much more advanced than previous technologies that merely provided a type of electrical stimulation to the brain. The device is thought to have great therapeutic use for millions of patients that suffer with various brain disorders. It is thought that the device will provide relief for patients that are suffering with a brain trauma, degenerative diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and much more. The brain is responsible for control over all the internal organs in the body. This device helps the brain to function at optimum power. Thus, the device has great power over disease and keeping the body healthy. Many in the medical world think that the merging of man with machine is inevitable. Certainly, it is more than just science fiction. Today, it is actually science fact.

 

This surge in neuroscience and advanced learning has led to renewed interest in the field. Today, more and more people are getting into the field. Professor Newton Howard from the University of Oxford states that he is very happy to see more people joining him in this field and hopefully work together to solve more challenges.

 

Dish Network Ordered To Dish Out Money For Unsolicited Calls

Most consumers are quite aware of the annoying unsolicited calls that always happen around dinner time. The calls are consistent and never seem to stop. People sign up with the Do Not Call Registry List to opt out of receiving those annoying calls. Certainly, most of the people that sign up realize that the list rarely works. The robocalls continue. Well, the FTC determined that Dish Network had violated the Federal Do Not Call registry numerous times. In fact, they ignored consumers wish to opt out of the robocalls over 55 million times. This is a gross violation of the Do Not Call Registry.

 

Dish Ordered To Pay Up

The Dish Network did not start up the robocalls recently. They’ve been dishing out robocalls since back in 2009, when they were first fined millions of dollars for their violations. Still, the Dish Network still opted in to continue violating the laws by releasing a flood of robocalls across the country. Recently, a U.S. District Judge ordered the Dish Network to pay $280 million in legal fines. Insiders state that this is the largest robocall related fine ever. Part of the fine will go to the United States government. The other part of the fine will go to several states. The judge did not listen to the Dish Network attorney’s that stated the fine was too severe. Certainly, a large number of consumers would agree that the fine was not large enough for the endless robo calls that they were subjected to over the years.

 

Dish Pleads

Dish Network attorneys are pleading for the courts to reconsider the severe fines and penalties against them. They state that third party telemarketers are actually responsible for the robocalls and not the Dish Network.

 

SpaceX Gets Contract to Launch Secret Air Force Space Plane

Hawthorne, CA-based SpaceX was awarded the contract to launch a U.S. Air Force secret space plane. The X-37B is an unmanned craft that resembles a small space shuttle. It is built by Boeing, and is being used as an orbital test vehicle.

 

The X-37B was previously launched by the United Launch Alliance, the joint space venture of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. The space plane will now be carried into orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 partially reusable launch vehicle. It has a small, 7×4 foot cargo bay. Boeing is developing a new X-37C which will be able to carry up to 6 astronauts or passengers into orbit.

 

The space plane’s previous four missions were secret long-duration flights, with the most recent lasting more than 700 days. The unmanned, robotic craft is testing technologies including navigation, control, thermal protection and autonomous orbital flight, according to Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli, U.S. Air Force spokeswoman.

 

SpaceX’s profitability will get a boost from the new military space plane launch contract, according to TechCrunch. The X-37B has also been described as a “mini Space Shuttle.” Space enthusiasts have wondered about its function and secret missions since it was first-launched five years ago. The Air Force reportedly has two operating space planes.

 

One potential function of the space plane test flights was reported in National Interest. A Hall-effect ion thruster engine was reported to be under evaluation in the X-37B. This engine enables a shuttle or other space vehicle to maneuver better in space. Current technology is slow and cumbersome with limited mobility. The Hall-effect thruster isn’t as fast as jet engines usable in the atmosphere, but does offer benefits in an orbital space environment. It could enable the X-37B to perform a critical mission to defend satellites or provide an early-warning system in case of attack.

 

Mars tour includes ‘Batmobile’ Rover

NASA and the Kennedy Space Center are rolling out their “Summer of Mars” with what can only be described as an eyecatching advertisement for the future of space travel. After being unveiled in Florida only a few days ago, the sci-fi looking Mars concept rover has earned the nickname ‘The Batmobile’ for its sleek design and skill in making the work of space exploration look cool.

The would-be rover concept, designed by Parker Brothers Concepts through a partnership with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex, is an electric vehicle that might serve as a blueprint for a futuristic Mars rover.

 

The vehicle has several features which make it uniquely suited for the task of exploring the red planet. The most obvious are its six wheels, and the slightly more subtle split down the middle, which enables the “cockpit” area to disengage from the module and travel on its own, while the rear serves as an on-site lab like something out of Star Trek. The vehicle weighs in at almost 5,000 lbs. and measures 28ft long. It can, reportedly, reach speeds of up to 70mph.

 

The concept rover will tour the country over the summer with the “Summer of Mars” promotional event. The goal is to generate interest across the American public for missions towards the red planet in the near future, and the added benefit of serving in a “new astronaut training experience” at the Kennedy Space Center this fall. On top of this, the concept rover will be playing a starring role in a new reality TV series which will feature the design of the rover itself.

 

If NASA’s primary goal was to make space exploration look appealing, it’s probably safe to say they found a winner with this one.

 

Jason Hope

*Jason Hope: A Man with many Ambitions:

Jason Hope is an entrepreneur, futurist as well as successful investor based in Scottsdale Arizona. In addition to Jason Hope’s business interests he has also taken an interest in Politics. Jason Hope worked hard to achieve success but he also believes in giving back to people and the community.Jason Hope received a degree in finance from Arizona State University. In addition, Mr. Hope also received an MBA from the Carey School of Business. At present, Jason Hope runs a successful business consulting service.

Jason Hope has taken an active interest in aged related illnesses. In addition, Hope has used his own money to advance research into preventative measures for diseases such as Alzheimer disease.Much of Jason Hopes efforts are placed upon the SENS Foundation. The SENS Foundation was founded in late 2009, the foundation focuses upon age related illness. Approximately one year after the formation of SENS, Hope donated $500 thousand dollars to the organization.

Since 2010 Hope has donated additional funds to the SENS Organization. The ultimate goal is to find new ways to prevent age related disease and illness. Hope feels this would truly be a real medical advancement. Hopes efforts thus far have helped turn more attention toward age related illness as well as how society views illness such as this.Jason Hope also devotes his time to writing. He was written numerous articles about the latest technology trends and how they affect America as a whole. Hope also writes about the changing technological trends and how the trends both help as well as hurt business America.

Mr. Hope frequently makes comparisons to kitchen and electrical appliances when he is describing technology in general. He then takes it a step further when he explains how these simple devices impact America.Jason Hope has accomplished a great deal throughout his life. He shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Hope can look at his man accomplishments such as his involvement with the SENS Foundation as well as his “Futurist” outlook and ambition and he would probably conclude that he still has a long way to go in accomplishing his real dreams and ambitions.

 

The U.S. Money Reserve Site Is Looking Better than Ever

As the single largest private distributor of United States and foreign gold, many would expect that the U.S. Money Reserve would have a fully functional and very technologically-advanced website.

They do have one now but that hasn’t always been the case. The site operates nearly seamlessly now but it was not the best site available to people in the past. Before, it was a basic site that had very little options for the people who visited to enjoy. It was osmething that made it difficult for people to enjoy the site and it was not put together in a way that really made any sense.

The U.S. Money Reserve made some major changes to their site. Now, when people visit the site, they are able to get the exact information that they need. The company has decided to add new features to their site that make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.

For example, visitors to the site can purchase different options for their own needs. They can also have the chance to be able to talk to a coin expert and find out exactly what they can do with the coins that they have.

Using the website is easy and is very seamless thanks to the changes. The site hopes that it will not only make things easier for people to buy coins but it will also give them the chance to make sure that they are learning as much as they possibly can about the coin trading and gold purchasing world. Learn more about US Money Reserve: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-money-reserve-president-philip-diehl-named-chairman-of-the-industry-council-for-tangible-assets-icta-300322159.html

Their one-on-one client connection system makes it extremely easy to find out a lot of new information so that they may be able to start trading coins again in the future. It has given each person the chance to make true adjustments to the options that they have.

There are also new things that have been added to the site. For example, people can take a tour of the facility to learn how each of the things are put on the site. Anyone who is unable to visit the actual store in Texas can watch how it would be done on the website.

Then, when they’ve watched it and learned as much as possible about it, they can use the convenient e-commerce solutions that the U.S. Money Reserve has set up for everyone to make it easier for them to purchase their gold and coins.