SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – It's not quite Back to the Future, but a young Iranian inventor claims to have built a time machine that can predict a person's future with startling accuracy.
Ali Razeqi, who is 27 and the "managing director of Iran's Center for Strategic Inventions," claims his device will print out a report detailing an individual's future after using complex algorithms to predict his or her fate.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Razeqi told Iran's state-run Fars news agency that his device "easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you."
Razeqi says Iran has decided to keep his prophetic time machine under wraps for now out of fear that "the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight."
Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research, and Technology dismissed Razeqi's claims on Friday in an interview with Fars—a sign of just how much attention the story has received.
We talked to Thomas Roman, a theoretical physicist at Central Connecticut State University and a co-author of the book Time Travel and Warp Drives, to ask about the possibilities for a Razeqi-like time machine and to debunk popular misconceptions about time travel. Here's an edited version of our interview:
What do you think of Razeqi's claim that he's built a time machine that can predict a person's future?
It's completely nuts.
Does his alleged time machine break any laws of physics?
It's hard to know because it's so wacky.
What are some popular misconceptions about time travel?
One popular misconception is that you could go back to any time in the past. And that's not true. You can only go back as far as the time when the time machine was invented. So if I invent my time machine today and I wait 30 years and go back to the past, the farthest back in the past I can go to is today when I turned my time machine on.
Another major misconception—and you see this a lot in time travel movies—is the idea that you can go back in time and change the timeline. In these stories, the time traveler goes backward in time and does something that mucks up the future and subsequently has to do something to "restore the timeline." However, that can't be the case, since we can't have the same event both happen and not happen in the same universe. You can't change the past.
For example, suppose I go back in time and try to kill my grandfather. If I succeed, then of course I'm never born and I could never have made the trip back using the time machine.
Once again, we can't have the same event—the killing of my grandfather—both happen and not happen in the same universe.
Is there any way of getting around this "grandfather paradox"?
There are two possibilities. One is what's sometimes called the self-consistency scenario, in which all events along the time loop that I make are adjusted to be self-consistent.
So for example, if I go backward in time and try to shoot my grandfather, something will always prevent me from doing so. The recoil on my shoulder makes me miss, or my grandfather ducks, or I change my mind. It's like the universe and the laws of physics are conspiring to make things consistent.
The other possibility is that when I shoot my grandfather the universe splits and there's one universe in which I shoot my grandfather and there's another universe in which I did not shoot my grandfather.
Didn't split timelines play a role in the latest Star Trek reboot by J. J. Abrams?
Yeah, there was something along those lines. In the movie, the Romulan bad guy Nero goes back to the past to get revenge against Spock, who he claims is responsible for the destruction of his home planet Romulus. So he's going to get even by going back into the past to destroy [the planet] Vulcan.
But since Vulcan wasn't destroyed in the original timeline—the one Nero came from—then upon going back into the past, he causes the universe to branch.
So the Vulcan he destroys is not the one in his original timeline, but the one in the new branch. So he's not really getting revenge on the original Vulcan from his timeline. But I suppose revenge is revenge.
That aside, I thought that [using the concept of a split timeline] was a clever way of rebooting the franchise because then you have the same characters but you don't have to slavishly follow the past history of the episodes since you're in a new timeline where everything can be different.
Okay, so you might not be able to travel to the past. But is future time travel possible?
There's no problem with that. In fact, we know how to do it in principle. If you travel very close to the speed of light, time slows down for the space traveler compared to someone on Earth.
Another way of traveling to the future is by orbiting very close to a black hole. For example, if you orbit around the black hole at the center of our galaxy, you could also have your time stretched relative to observers on the Earth.
If future time travel is possible, then could a time machine like the one the Iranian businessman claimed to have built actually work?
Going to the future is no problem. A mechanism for traveling into the future is afforded by [Einstein's] special theory of relativity. It's when you try to go backward that you run into the grandfather paradox. However, that said, what the businessman claims to have built is still nuts.
One thing that's rarely mentioned in time travel stories is that if you travel back only in time but stay in exactly the same point in space, the Earth won't be there anymore. So wouldn't time travel require traveling through space as well?
Yes, it would have to. The Earth is turning on its axis, and it's orbiting the sun. So the Earth isn't always in the same spot in its orbit. So if you're staying in the same place and traveling back to the past, the Earth is gone from underneath you. When you stop your time machine, you'll be in a bit of a pickle.
Why do you think time travel is so popular in books and movies?
You have to admit, it's a pretty tantalizing idea. Part of the appeal is that you can go back and see things for yourself that you only know through history books and the geological record. I think everybody would think it'd be really cool to go back and see dinosaurs or go back and visit ancient Greece.
I think another appeal is we all have things in our past that we wished that we hadn't done, or that we wished hadn't happened. And I think there's the desire to be able to go back and prevent those things from having happened.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source : Nationalgeographic
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - BOUBA NDJIDA NATIONAL PARK, Cameroon - The welcome committee for Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park, a former safari tourism destination, would not look out of place on a battlefield.
Faced with the threat of horse-mounted Sudanese elephant poachers armed with machine guns, the central African nation has deployed military helicopters and 600 soldiers to try to protect the park and its animals.
Its decision to call in the army follows a bloody incursion into the park last winter during which poachers from Sudan killed some 300 elephants, or 80 percent of the park's elephant population, within a few weeks.
Armed only with World War One-era rifles, the park's eco-guards were defenseless in the face of the Sudanese "jandjaweed" poachers who had traveled thousands of miles on horseback to seize the tusks.
The raid left hundreds of elephant corpses in its wake.
Elephants slaughtered, orphan found in latest Africa poaching
Many of the animals' faces had been hacked off and the bodies lay decomposing in a park that used to attract safari tourists in large numbers.
Cameroon says it is determined to make sure such a scene is never repeated.
"With the kind of deployment we have in the park here today, the message is very clear," Brigadier General Martin Tumenta told Reuters during a visit to the park. "Any poacher who finds himself here will simply be destroyed."
Tens of thousands of elephants likely killed last year, experts say
Equipped with helicopters, night vision gear, and scores of jeeps, Cameroon's military has set up two garrisons in the park and several camps along Cameroon's border with Chad and the Central African Republic, Tumenta said.
Last winter's massacre followed a record year for elephant poaching in 2011, an illegal trade that has become a multi-billion dollar industry in Africa fueled by demand for ivory ornaments from China, some of whose citizens are increasingly wealthy.
Ivory sells for about $135 a pound on the black market, according to conservation group TRAFFIC, meaning that an average-sized tusk weighing can be sold for more than $2,000 -- a small fortune in central Africa, a region plagued by poverty and underdevelopment.
Officials said there was evidence that the Sudanese poachers were on their way back to the park - a territory of lush forests, rivers and hilly plains about the size of Luxembourg - now that the dry season had arrived, making travel easier.
"It is clear we are dealing with a very heavily-armed group of men carrying machine guns and mortars," said Tumenta, saying soldiers had seized some weapons and ivory from a poacher camp in the bush last year.
The World Wildlife Fund has called Cameroon's deployment a "bold and courageous move" to protect the region's dwindling elephant population.
However, local residents said the huge military presence was disturbing.
"It's now very dangerous because of the soldiers who are just everywhere in the bush," said Saidou Sule, a 48-year-old farmer from a village near Garoua, the provincial capital. - www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - As we know it today, the internet has been largely about connecting people to information, people to people, and people to business. Monetization strategies range as widely as the options available, and for all the success, there are more failures. While many of the advancements have been extraordinary – even unthinkable a short time ago – too often we’re still left asking, “to what end?”
The internet can give consumers nearly anything with just a click, but global economies remain challenged. The internet has become the biggest library in the world, but education is just now beginning to take advantage and change. The internet can provide businesses with unprecedented data, but true insight remains contentious and change is slow.
The real opportunity for change is still ahead of us, surpassing the magnitude of the development and adoption of the consumer internet. It is what we call the “Industrial Internet,” an open, global network that connects people, data and machines. The Industrial Internet is aimed at advancing the critical industries that power, move and treat the world.
There are now many millions of machines across the world, ranging from simple electric motors to highly advanced MRI machines. There are tens of thousands of fleets of sophisticated machinery, ranging from power plants that produce electricity to aircraft that move people and cargo around the world. There are thousands of complex networks ranging from power grids to railroad systems, which tie machines and fleets together.
This vast physical world of machines, facilities, fleets and networks can more deeply merge with the connectivity, big data and analytics of the digital world. This is what the Industrial Internet Revolution is all about.
The Industrial Internet leverages the power of the cloud to connect machines embedded with sensors and sophisticated software to other machines (and to us) so we can extract data, make sense of it and find meaning where it did not exist before. Machines – from jet engines to gas turbines to CT scanners – will have the analytical intelligence to self-diagnose and self-correct. They will be able to deliver the right information to the right people, all in real time. When machines can sense conditions and communicate, they become instruments of understanding. They create knowledge from which we can act quickly, saving money and producing better outcomes.
As an example, we have pushed the boundaries of physical and material sciences in our aircraft engines to the point where these engines are more powerful and efficient than ever. We will continue to improve them physically, but at the same time we can use software, monitoring and big data analytics to attack the $284 billion in annual waste in the airline industry that is caused by fuel inefficiency, unscheduled aircraft maintenance, and delayed flights.
Consider that just a one percent improvement in aircraft engine maintenance efficiency can reduce related costs by $250 million annually. A similar one percent fuel savings in power generation could add more than $4 billion annually to the global economy.
Whether in terms of operations, performance or maintenance excellence, all industries are looking for their next major productivity gains. Health care is burdened by a system where doctors and caregivers have to go searching for vital information; it is inefficient at best and life threatening at worst. We need to make the data more intelligent and integrated, more predictive and proactive, so information finds the doctor instead of the other way around.
Intelligent data flows speed up care delivery and can prevent chronic conditions by getting the treatment right the very first time. Similarly, in terms of health management costs, “intelligent” hospitals are deploying systems that behave like air traffic control for medical staff and devices, and provide a full detailed view of hospital resources. Better utilization cuts capital expenses. Better asset location leaves nurses more time to focus on patients. Better management improves patient flow, cuts operating costs, and saves hospitals millions.
There are similar scenarios in every other major industry, and the economic benefit can be huge. Assuming growth similar to what prevailed during the internet boom, the Industrial Internet revolution will add about $15 trillion to global GDP by 2030. That’s the equivalent of adding another U.S. economy to the world.
The amazing aspect of this growth is that it stems from what appears to be minor productivity improvements. At GE, we have 5,000 software engineers and another 9,000 IT engineers. We’re focused on mining for just one percent gains in productivity. The potential is irresistible.
Roadmap to the Revolution
In the near future, I expect nothing short of an open, global fabric of highly intelligent machines that connect, communicate and cooperate with us. This Industrial Internet is not about a world run by robots, it is about combining the world’s best technologies to solve our biggest challenges. It’s about economically and environmentally sustainable energy, curing the incurable diseases, and preparing our infrastructure and cities for the next 100 years.
To do this industry and government need to work together on two critical areas: standardization and security. We need to establish common standards so that innovative minds can develop the best solutions for the machines and systems that move our world. Just as the advancement of mobile devices and operating systems have brought forth a prosperous “app” economy, a standard language for machines will unleash waves of innovation that will truly change how the world works. This is a critical step and needs government policies that favor advancement.
Attaining the vision set forth for the Industrial Internet will also require an effective internet security regime. Cyber security should be considered in terms of both network security (a defense strategy specific to the Cloud) and the security of devices that are connected to the network. We need industry to effectively secure facilities and networks and governments to enforce a regulatory regime that promotes innovative solutions and international standards.
The Industrial Internet era has already begun. And during a time when the global economy is recovering but remains volatile and where resources are constrained for people, governments, and companies, what we need most is to not lose sight of a real opportunity to create meaningful change around the world.
After all, this is what revolutions are all about.