Sound of silence: No MSM furor at Tory peer’s claim Michael Gove has ‘extreme views’ on Islam

Business Insider, revealed claims by Warsi, who served in David Cameron’s Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio, that the “UKipfication” of the Tory party had in large part been instigated by the current Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

She goes further by insisting it was Gove’s “extreme views” on Islam that created the Tories’ unhealthy attitude towards Muslims, making the most of his close relationship with Cameron to force a change in tact.

“I sometimes joke that Michael Gove radicalized David Cameron,” Warsi told Business Insider.

Going on to say: “In private conversations [I know that David] had some concerns about some of the extreme views that Michael had but over time [Gove] influenced a lot of his views.”

READ MORE: Home Secretary who denied being Muslim disputes Tory Islamophobia because ‘my name is Sajid Javid’

There has been little reaction from the British media since Warsi – who quit as Foreign Office minister in 2014 due to the UK government’s policy on the crisis in Gaza, labeling it “morally indefensible” – spoke out against the “poison” of Islamophobia which she thinks has now affected all levels of the party.

The accusations have, at the time of publication, only received several write ups with just one major publication issuing a reaction piece and next to no broadcast media coverage on Warsi’s claims. To date, only five articles have been written, including from left-wing news outlet, Evolve politics, with The Mirror the only traditional newspaper to write on the story.

It’s been left to social media users on Twitter to express dismay at the lack of coverage of such an important issue that reflects badly on the governing party. Left-wing journalist and author, Paul Mason tweeted: “Cue a wall to wall BBC/tabloid frenzy at revelations that Gove and co are “extreme” racists against Muslims? Nope.”

It’s not the first time Warsi has spoken out against Tory Islamophobia. However, she has gone further than before with the latest remarks, claiming the problem goes right “up to the top” of the Conservative party.

“It’s very widespread [in the Conservative party]. It exists right from the grassroots, all the way up to the top. I don’t think it’s something that Theresa is a part of, but I do believe it is something the leadership feels can be easily ignored,” she claimed.

However, Warsi said that the Tory leadership was comfortable with tolerating Islamophobia in the party because “they don’t think it is going to damage them because that community doesn’t vote for them in any great numbers.”

READ MORE: Jewish groups back calls for Tory Islamophobia inquiry in solidarity with Muslim leaders

She added: “I think that there is a general sense in the country that Muslims are fair game and it is not the kind of community where you can treat really badly and have many consequences. You can get any with it.”

One has to ask, would Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn have been able to escape widespread media condemnation if their answer to accusations of anti-Semitism had been, ‘why does it matter, the Jewish community don’t vote for us in great numbers anyway’?

There certainly seems to be a startling difference in the extent of the media coverage between Labour’s anti-Semitism “crisis” and the Tories’ Islamophobia story. Contrived or is the British media too distracted by Brexit?

Omar Baggili, RT Journalist

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Good movement, bad name: Does ‘free range’ make kids sound like chickens?

A professor argues that the popular phrase feeds into neoliberal ideology that treats children as resources to be managed.

Sophia McClennan doesn’t like the term ‘free-range kids.’ In an article for Salon, the professor of international affairs and comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University argues that Lenore Skenazy (founder of the Free Range Kids movement) should have come up with a better name for children whose parents let them play freely outdoors — not one that compares them to chickens.

Sure, there’s logic to the analogy: “Free-range kids, as the comparison goes, used to be cooped up by helicopter parents who are only now realizing that their kids will grow up healthier if allowed to get some fresh air on their own.” But McClennan argues that using the term ‘free-range’ reflects dangerous neoliberal ideology that treats children as resources to be managed, rather than the humans that they are. The idea of kids being put out to graze like hens does an injustice to their inherent right to experience the world independent of adult supervision.

“The fact that a movement designed to help kids have the right to roam free and develop their own sense of self is modeled after a marketing campaign meant to promote a type of farming is not just offensive; it is a perfect sign of the way that even parents with the best intentions can fall under the spell of neoliberal logic. Kids are not chickens or eggs or assets or objects to manage. Parents don’t let them be outside so they can get Vitamin D and graze on grass.”

Furthermore, free-range chicken meat and eggs are the domain of the wealthy, which are the same families that use the phrase ‘free-range’ to describe their parenting. Therefore, “Even though the parents in this movement imagine themselves in solidarity with working class parents, the high-brow reference to ‘free-range’ food only serves to highlight the privilege gap.”

I found McClennan’s critique to be intriguing, but certain aspects of it did not sit well with me. First, I doubt Skenazy spent months brainstorming a perfect name, nor does she have to be accountable to anyone for the name she chose; it fit the bill as a catchy title to a movement that she likely never expected to get so big. So, really, who cares about the chicken comparison? Let’s not overthink it.

Second, I think McClennan is a bit off in her assessment of free-range farming. The animals are not put outside specifically to “get Vitamin D and graze on grass”; rather, they’re left alone, unattended, and unprotected. The basics, like food, water, and shelter, are always available at home, but otherwise they do their own thing all day long, risking predators and getting lost, but otherwise having a whale of a time enjoying independence.

I’d argue that it’s actually the helicopter parents who view their kids more as the aforementioned ‘resources to be managed.’ They are the ones measuring and tracking every requirement and accomplishment, meting out daily minutes of sunshine and exercise, ‘grazing’ their kids in the form of playdates before whisking them away to yet another extracurricular activity.

While I may not agree with her attack on the free-range name, I do appreciate McClennan’s critique of how neoliberalism reduces kids to statistics, data sets, and a market in need of control. We absolutely must fight back against this, allowing our kids the freedom to enjoy a world that is rightfully theirs.

“They should be treated as young citizens who have agency in a democratic society, not as trespassers in a police state… When children are not allowed to develop their own place in their world and when their movement in public spaces is criminalized, they lose their identity as young citizens who are active participants in society.”

McClennan views the phrase ‘free-range’ as feeding into that neoliberal rhetoric, but I worry that nitpicking over such details could weaken the free-range movement. (Hopefully I’m underestimating its strength.) We’ve finally gotten to the point where it has become more acceptable for parents to let their kids go; we’ve given them a label with which they can identify and that allows them to sum up their parenting philosophy in two words; there’s even been a law passed in Utah to redefine child neglect and allow parents to identify as free-range. But I worry that articles like this could plant seeds of doubt in the minds of those who use the phrase, which is the last thing we want. Parenting is plagued with enough doubt as it is; let’s not heap on even more.

As for what descriptor McClennan would like parents to use, she does not say. Organic parenting? Plein-air parenting? Detached parenting? What do you think?

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Hundreds of People Shaken After Another Mysterious ‘Boom’ Sound Rocks Pennsylvania

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Mysterious sounds heard all over the world have researchers completely stumped. They’ve been happening for quite some time, with the latest example coming from Pennsylvania, with multiple townships being affected by these mysterious sounds, feeling their vibration and waking them up in the middle of the night. It wasn’t long ago when residents in Alabama were left baffled when a loud boom resounded across much of the state.

Speaking to ABC 3340, Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, said that the Alabama boom could have been caused by a supersonic aircraft, a ground explosion, or a bolide – a large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere. The noise was picked up by the US Geological Survey, where data suggests that the boom wasn’t the result of an earthquake. The boom may have been caused by a military flight of a supersonic jet, although the US Air Force did not confirm it.

The day after the boom in Alabama, a similar noise was heard in Idaho. This year alone, similar noises have been reported 64 times this year, in locations including Michigan, Lapland, St Ives, Swansea and Yorkshire.

When the one in Alabama happened last year, the Birmingham National Weather Service tweeted,

On November 17, 2017 a boom in Lapland was caused by a fireball from a falling meteor. Footage showed a bright light in the sky over Inari in Finland – but the flash was so intense it was also seen in Russia’s Kola Peninsula and in northern Norway. Stargazers reported seeing the sky ‘light up like day’ for a few seconds alongside a loud noise as the space rock plummeted towards Earth.

These are just a few of multiple examples. To see a list of mysterious booms that happened in 2017, you can click here and scroll towards the end of the article. They’ve happened on many occasions and nobody really knows what they are.

Below is some mainstream media coverage of the most recent episode in Pennsylvania from secureteam10a youtube channel that covers this type of strange phenomena.

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Listen: J Balvin revisits ‘Energía’ sound with new song ‘Dónde Estarás’

Colombian superstar J Balvin premiered his new song “Dónde Estarás” on May 17. He returns to the sounds of Energía on the dance track.

“Dónde Estarás” (English: “Where Will You Be”) is one of the songs on J Balvin’s new album, Vibras. It follows his multiple singles like “Ahora,” “Ambiente” and “No Es Justo.” While Balvin’s been trying to go for more tropical tracks, “Dónde” sounds like a mix between his last album, Energía, and his latest direction with Vibras.

J Balvin wrote “Dónde Estarás” and it was produced by his longtime collaborators Tainy and Sky Rompiendo El Bajo. A blip-like sound and shuffling beats back the reggaetonero haunting his ex, who up and left, like a ghost. From all the Vibras songs so far, this is the most electronic like “Machika” and the past singles from Energía. “Dónde” blends where he’s been with where he’s going into a sleek and irresistible tune.

“Dónde Estarás” is now available on iTunes and Apple Music. J Balvin’s Vibras album will be released on May 25.

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Google CEO Introduces Robots that Sound Just Like Humans


On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed a new advancement in artificial intelligence technology: a voice assistant that sounds just like you and me.

At the annual Google I/O conference for developers taking place this week, Pichai introduced Google Duplex, an artificial intelligence technology that can make phone calls on your behalf with human-like cadence.

​According to Google, Duplex is a “new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry our ‘real world’ tasks over the phone.” The technology uses a machine learning model based on anonymized real-world phone conversations.

Pichai showed off Duplex’s skill by having the “assistant” make reservations with a hair salon and a restaurant in two recorded phone calls. In both cases, the receivers of the call did not seem to know that they were talking to an artificial intelligence voice as the Google assistant inserted natural-sounding “ums” and “uhs” between sentences and was quick to understand context.

In the phone call with the restaurant, the assistant was able to respond to questions posed in a thick accent. In addition, when the employee at the restaurant thought a request for a reservation at 7:00 p.m. was actually for seven people, Duplex was still able to follow through with the conversation as a human would.

“We’ve been working on this technology for many years,” Pichai said during the conference. “We’re still developing this technology, and we want to work hard to get this technology and the expectations right,” he added.

“Where mobile was once the platform for Google’s development and growth, artificial intelligence is now the basis that underpins the full spectrum of Google’s endeavors,” said CCS Insights analyst Geoff Blaber, who attended the conference. “Google is weaving its assistant deeper into services such as maps and making it more immersive through visuals,” he added.

However, not all conference attendees were equally impressed.

“At the end of the day, [the calls were] just booking an appointment at a restaurant. These are fairly easy interactions,” said Creative Strategies’ consumer technology analyst Carolina Milanesi, Mercury News reported.

Google plans on continuing to test Duplex over the summer. Its testing will primarily focus on making restaurant reservations, booking hair salon appointments and asking about holiday hours. It is unclear whether Duplex will be limited to such tasks when it is launched in the future.



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Listen: BBC Sound of 2018 winner, Sigrid, releases new song ‘Raw’

Synth-pop singer, Sigrid, is a 21-year-old with a great big voice. The release of her latest single this week titled “Raw,” came in conjunction with her win for the BBC Sound of 2018 Award. 

Standing on own two strong feet stylistically, but drawing inspiration from  Adele, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, the Norwegian singer first received international attention with her song “Don’t Kill My Vibe.” In the empowered anthem, Sigrid gives an indication that she is growing into her strength as a person and likely as an artist with the lyrics “I throw myself from heights that used to scare me.” 

In her new song, ‘Raw,’ Sigrid brings a vulnerability and starkness reminiscent of Willow Smith’s “I’m Me.” She begins with “If I show I’m fragile would you go ahead and find somebody else?” The song maintains the unapologetic realness as Sigrid wears no makeup and is often seen in plain clothing with no embellishment. 

You can watch Sigrid perform “Raw” above and find tickets to see Sigrid live in Los Angeles right here on AXS. Click here for tickets

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Snap, crackle, pop: Melting glaciers sound like Rice Krispies

Along with her large-scale drawings, artist Zaria Forman has recorded the eerie song of a warming planet.
You may have seen the incredible landscapes created by Brooklyn artist Zaria Forman. (We wrote about them earlier here: Artist’s pastels show the eerie life of floating iceberg giants.) Forman is a magician with soft pastels, transforming pigment and paper into epic scenes of nature and remote frigid icescapes so realistic one gets a shiver just looking. The photo above is one of them; you can see a time-lapse of its creation below.

But maybe even more immediate than her arresting landscapes is this recording that I just stumbled upon at Earther. Brain Kahn explains that the recording is from the Errera Channel, “a skinny stretch of water between Rongé Island and the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.”

“The crackle is the sound of ancient air meeting new,” Forman said in an artist statement. “It’s the sound of glacial ice melting, and the ancient air bubbles trapped inside of it breaking free.” The melodically eerie cooing of gentoo penguins in the background is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

With a play on words, Forman likens the sound to “ice crispies.” Meanwhile, in the early 1930s, a radio ad for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies implored consumers to, “Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle and pop … If you’ve never heard food talking, now is your chance.” It makes for a pretty ironic comparison: If you’ve never heard glaciers talking, now is your chance!

As described on Forman’s beautiful website, the inspiration for her work “began in early childhood when she traveled with her family throughout several of the world’s most remote landscapes, which were the subject of her mother’s fine art photography.” But they’re more than just pretty pictures; they strive to highlight the urgency of climate change by “connecting people to the beauty of remote landscapes,” Forman says.

To learn more about Forman’s work and adventures (including those with National Geographic and NASA), visit her website:

(And for an entirely different spin on snap, crackle, and pop… behold the 1964 Rolling Stones ad for Rice Krispies.)

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Sci-fi sound wave device makes Star Trek style tractor beams out of powerful mini-tornadoes that can manipulate large objects

Image: Sci-fi sound wave device makes Star Trek style tractor beams out of powerful mini-tornadoes that can manipulate large objects

(Natural News)
It seems like every day you see, hear, or read about something that’s being created or invented concerning all sorts of popular science fiction technology, but a fully-working tractor beam was never among them — until now. According to a team of engineers from the University of Bristol, they have successfully managed to develop the world’s most powerful tractor beam, and it’s capable of moving objects around using nothing but the power of sound.

That’s right, with the power of their newly-invented acoustic tractor beam, the team of engineers was able to show that it’s possible to hold particles in mid-air. So far, they have only tested it on a two-centimeter piece of polystyrene sphere, but it’s a good start, considering the technology could have lots of different applications — out on land or even in other locations.

According to the researchers, they have been working on the development of their acoustic tractor beam technology for a few decades now. And a major obstacle has stood in their way: rotating sound fields typically transfer some of their spinning motion to the objects that they are supposed to hold, making them orbit faster and faster up to the point that they become unstable.

Now, the team has managed to find an alternative to conventional methods. The new way, in which the researchers created a device that can create “mini tornadoes” from sound waves alone, is said to use a spinning field to keep objects steady instead. The researchers are now hoping to scale up the use of their technology in order to manipulate much larger objects that they initial tests would allow them to.

According to Dr. Asier Marzo, the lead author of the study from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol, their breakthrough could provide the much-needed push for a fully-developed and fully-working version that can truly be used for some real-world applications. “Acoustic researchers had been frustrated by the size limit for years, so it’s satisfying to find a way to overcome it,” he explained. “I think it opens the door to many new applications.”

According to a report, the breakthrough of the researchers comes from the discovery that the rate of rotation can be finely controlled, and that is by rapidly changing the direction of the vortices, which ends up stabilizing the tractor beam. This then led to an increase in the size of the so-called “silent core” that is actually where floating objects lie on the tractor beam itself. And as its size increased, so too did its capacity to hold solid objects.

In the end, the researchers settled on using ultrasonic waves that were set at a pitch of 40 kHz, which is the same pitch as sounds that only bats can hear, and then they used it to hold the two-centimeter polystyrene sphere mentioned at the beginning of this article. The researchers note that the sphere measures two acoustic wavelengths in size and is so far the largest object yet trapped in a working tractor beam.

Dr. Bruce Drinkwaterm, a professor of Ultrasonics from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol, said that there is potential to use the new kind of tractor beam for other things in the future. “Acoustic tractor beams have huge potential in many applications,” he explained. “I’m just particularly excited by the idea of contactless production lines where delicate objects are assembled without touching them.

The world may be some ways from that, but it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

Find out more interesting technological breakthroughs in

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Battery Storage Revolution Could ‘Sound The Death Knell For Fossil Fuels’

By , Ecowatch

If we want to accelerate the world’s renewable energy transition, we’ll have to modernize the electric grid and we’ll need much better batteries. Just look at Germany, which generates so much clean energy on particularly windy and sunny days that electricity prices are often negative.

Sure this is good news for a German person’s wallet, but as the New York Times noted, “Germany’s power grid, like most others around the world, has not yet adapted to the increasing amounts of renewable energy being produced.”

The problem is that the electrical grid was designed for fossil fuel use, meaning it can struggle to manage all the renewable energy being added to the grid. For instance, California sometimes produces so much solar power that is has to pay neighboring Arizona to take the excess electricity that Californians aren’t using to avoid overloading the power lines. Meanwhile, battery storage capacity is not yet advanced enough to take in the surplus generation.

Thankfully, a sea change appears to be well underway.

WIRED UK reported that 2018 will see energy storage for home use becoming more commonplace. Investors will also increasingly look towards renewable energy storage solutions rather than supply.

“We will see a tipping point,” Alasdair Cameron, renewable energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told WIRED. “Even IKEA has launched a renewable solar battery power storage for domestic use.”

Coupled with Tesla‘s Powerwall domestic battery, Cameron added, “storage is moving from the grid to the garage to the landing at home.”

Furthermore, WIRED pointed out, companies such as EDF Renewable Energy, electric services company E.ON and Dyson are investing in storage development. Energy giants ExxonMobil, Shell and Total are also coming on board with renewable battery systems.

Other examples of the battery storage revolution include South Australia, which recently switched on the world’s largest battery storage farm. Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously built the massive facility in less than 100 days to help solve the state’s energy woes. Musk’s battery already proved itself late last month after responding to power outages within milliseconds.

In November 2016, Ta’u, an island in American Samoa, turned its nose at fossil fuels and is now almost 100 percent powered with solar panels and batteries thanks to technology from Tesla and SolarCity.

And this past October, Scotland switched on the Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm, that’s linked with Statoil’s Batwind, a lithium battery that can store one megawatt-hour of power to help mitigate intermittency and optimize output.

All that said, 2018 could be a major year for batteries. As WIRED reported:

“According to Hugh McNeal of the wind industry’s trade body RenewableUK and solar expert Simon Virley of KPMG, this storage revolution is capable of transforming the industry. In 2018, it will become even more competitive and reliable—and will sound the death knell for fossil fuels in the process.”

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