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Archive for the ‘Life Extension’ Category

Open Longevity Project: a Scientific Approach to Conquer Aging – Blockchain News

A new project in the field of biotechnology, telemedicine, clinical research and medical services is completing preparations for pre-ICO. Open Longevity is organizing research of anti-aging therapies in humans by providing online advisory services. Their ultimate goal is to find and introduce effective methods of radical life extension into clinical practice. Therefore, the tokens are called YEAR.

The project claims they will combine the capabilities of modern IT-systems, the expertise of leading scientific analysts and the energy of the patients themselves. Another driving force they emphasize is openness and rejection of commercial benefits in those matters where this can affect the objectivity of scientific research.

One of the common concerns, when antiaging drugs are being mentioned, is that, once proven effective, anti-aging medicine will become available only to the elite. The fact that the trials results will belong to the patients community, might be a possible solution to this potential problem.

Mikhail Batin, the CEO of Open Longevity, states he is sure that effective ways to delay the onset of aging will be foundit is only a matter of time. He and his colleagues just want to accelerate the research.

The project consists of two parts: clinical trials and online service. Part of the funds raised through ICO will be spent on the first three studies: Longevity Diet-1 (a variant of a fasting mimicking diet); Alzheimers disease therapy (vitamin B12) and atherosclerosis therapy (sartans + statins). One can even find documents for the first trial in progress, though just in Russian yet. As the trial is planned to be submitted to NIHs, the documents will be translated into English at some point.

All the subsequent studies will later be also funded: life extension projects are expected to be submitted for voting on a general basis, voting will be conducted among all the YEAR token holders.

All clinical trials will be carried out in strict accordance with existing norms. Thus CROs (contract research organizations), laboratories, and clinical institutions that traditionally carry out similar research, will be involved. But OL team is already talking about making all paperwork more automated.

Another part of the funds will be spent on creating an online platform. By uploading biomedical data, users will be able to monitor their health and aging status in dynamics; receive recommendations from specialists and expert system based on AI; and also become volunteers in trials.

The service will be accessible to everyone. But payment with YEAR tokens is promised to be more favorable than paying with fiat currencies due to 50% discount. This, among other points mentioned in projects WP, has to maintain a constant token flow within the system and ensure the stability of its exchange rate.

The first three days of pre-ICO is going to be in the format of Private Placement. The registration has started already, but the date of preICO launch itself will be announced in advance in projects channels in Telegram.



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Open Longevity Project: a Scientific Approach to Conquer Aging - Blockchain News

Texas relief funds benefit farmers and ranchers – Kotatv

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Hurricane Harvey is still wreaking havoc in Texas, and South Dakota farmers and ranchers are no stranger to the affects of Mother Nature.

"What the country did for South Dakota ranchers and particularly those ranchers in our neck of the woods was awesome, said Kadee Handee, marketing manager of the Black Hills Stock Show and Central States Fair. We want to make sure that your donation will go to an organization that will truly use it."

Hurricane Harvey has displaced many families from their home, but also cattle from their pastures.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 1.2 million beef cows are registered in the 54 counties that have been declared as disaster areas.

Hundreds of pets have been rescued from the rising waters as well. If you are interested in donating to that cause, seek out local shelters in Houston and San Antonio.

But there are other ways to donate as well. Tangible donations like hay, resources and even animals can be made to the Agri-Life Extension.

"It is an arm of the Extension Agency in Texas that will be able to facilitate those demands and facilitate those resources to those ranchers that are affected, said Handee

The Texas FFA Association and the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team are some more reputable organizations that are accepting donations for relief funds.

Donations can also be mailed to: Cattleraisers Relief1600 Gindy St. Ft. Worth, TX 76107

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Texas relief funds benefit farmers and ranchers - Kotatv

Askelos, ITF launch JIP – OE Digital

The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) and Akselos have announced they will work together to investigate the potential to revolutionise asset management in the oil and gas industry.

The initiative will bring a joint industry project (JIP) to ITF member companies and beyond, that will prove the transformative impact of the use of a Digital Guardian for ageing offshore assets.

Akselos uses MIT-licenced technology to create the worlds most advanced engineering simulation technology - or digital twins. The tech is based on algorithms that are 1000 times faster than those typically used in conventional design technology, enabling detailed and accurate structural simulations of large-scale operational assets.

The companys vision is to combine the simulation software with sensors and big data analytics to create an exact virtual replica of an asset in its current environment, which the company describes as a Digital Guardian. This will allow operators real-time access to the condition of their asset from anywhere at any time and allow a move towards predictive and preventative maintenance. It will also better inform the decision making process with Asset Life Extension, using data to reassure operators that assets are safe to continue operating beyond their design life.

Dr Patrick OBrien, CEO of ITF, said: The creation of a Digital Guardian or twin of an offshore asset is a huge step forward for the oil and gas industry and will reap long-term benefits to enhance operational and cost-efficiencies as well as significantly reduce risk. It will also advance information management and collaboration, where the experts and operators can work together, preventing costly mistakes and rework.

The partnership with ITF will see the global technology facilitator leverage its network and expertise from previous projects and activities to bring together forward-thinking operators to the JIP. ITF will play a project stewardship role throughout the two-year project to maximise the benefits to the companies involved and facilitate advancements in the industry as a whole.

Thomas Leurent, Akselos CEO said: Our vision for a Digital Guardian to protect assets and infrastructure would have been science fiction before the technology breakthrough in 2011, which we have patented and validated across industries. Were conducting this particular JIP to obtain data that will help illustrate the impact to the oil and gas industry. Its a huge opportunity to create efficiencies and slash operating expenditure.

The US$2 million JIP has been partly funded by Eurostars and the Swiss Commission for Tech Innovation. Akselos has partnered with leading design and engineering consultancy, LICengineering to deliver the project. In the first year of the JIP, members will receive a condition-based model of their selected assets, enabling them to analyse structural integrity with more accuracy and detail than ever before. In the second year, Akselos will combine this with sensor data to allow operators to monitor the health of their asset in real-time and predict its future condition.

Leurent added: While our technology is relevant at all stages in asset management, it has huge potential in asset life extension (ALE). With over half of the platforms in the North Sea operating beyond their design life, a Digital Guardian will allow operators to understand the remaining structural capacity of the asset and make informed decisions about ALE.

One supermajor operating in the North Sea has already signed up to the two year JIP. ITF is now actively seeking other operators from both its international membership and project participants to take advantage of this leveraged funding.

Dr OBrien continued: The JIP is an exciting opportunity for pioneering players in the sector to learn and share solutions. Ultimately, it is a chance to be part of an initiative which will revolutionise the industry and bring it on par with the medical, automotive and aerospace industries.

Eurostars is a billion dollar fund aimed at supporting international projects that develop rapidly marketable innovative products and services to improve the daily lives of people around the world. It is funded by the European Unions Horizon2020 fund and individual participating states national budgets.

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Askelos, ITF launch JIP - OE Digital

Can Dietary Changes Extend Your Life? – AlterNet

Turmeric has been associated with protection from heart disease, stroke and dementia.Photo Credit: tarapong srichaiyos/Shutterstock

The following excerpt is from the new bookCracking the Aging Code:The New Science Of Growing Old And What ItMeans For StayingYoung, by Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D., and Dorion Sagan (Flatiron Books, 2017).

The realization that aging is self-imposed, something your body is doing to itself on purpose, yields a new perspective on health maintenance and longevity. There are things we can do to add years to our lives and things we can do to be healthier in the present, and fortunately for us, these are mostly the same things. A program for life extension is likely to make you feel better in the present and even help you get sick less frequently.

Much of what I have to recommend for self-care is already standard medical advice. Exercise, weight loss, and a daily aspirin or ibuprofen are among the best things you can do for yourself, and Im sure you didnt hear that first from me. But there is also something new in our program to cheat the Black Queen. The most difficult conceptual leap I ask of you is to question all reverence for the natural. I grew up with the counterculture and celebrated the first Earth Day when I was a college student. Culturally and socially, I feel at home with the crunchy granola crowd, so imagine a lilt of sadness in my voice as I tell you that natural has little to offer for life extension.

Substances that have been found to lower mortality rates in humans are anti-inflammatories (such as aspirin and ibuprofen), vitamin D, and the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage). Fish oil and turmeric are natural anti-inflammatories that have been associated with protection from heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Substances that increase life span when fed to rodents include metformin, melatonin, and deprenyl (Selegiline). Rapamycin is the most recent and most powerful of the drugs that extend life span in mice, but it is likely to leave us vulnerable to a lot of infectious diseases, and I dont recommend it.

Vitamin D is in a class by itself. High blood levels of vitamin D are associated with lower risk of cancer and infectious diseases, and no one really understands why.

Telomerase activationthe turning on of the genes to resume production of this biologically rationed enzyme needed for sustained cellular reproductionis a promising idea for the future, but what is available now is not very effective. Still, it might be worth adding to your regimen.

A low-carb diet coupled with periods of intermittent fasting provides the easiest way to fool the body into thinking it is getting less nourishment than you are actually eating, with likely benefits for health and longevity.

People who are happy, passionate about their work, and engaged daily with friends and family live a lot longer than people who are depressed and isolated. Share your gifts with others and you will have a long and satisfying life. This is no small thing.

Deconstructing the Natural

Most of us cant remember a time before the meta-marketing phenomenon of natural. But fifty years ago, technology was king, and we had no compunctions about improving on nature. In the 1950s, tonsils were ripped from the throats of small children because they had a tendency to turn red during laryngeal infections, so doctors thought nature had made a mistake. In the 1950s, Dr. Spock had to break with standard medical advice to recommend breast- feeding over infant formula. And dont forget that Wonder Bread helped build strong bodies twelve ways. For half a century, we have been told about natural foods, cosmetics, soaps, herbal remedies, and even items of clothing. Natural = healthy. The medical establishmentmuch to its credithas learned to respect the body and work with it to promote natural healing, rather than rush to fix what aint broke. Today, natural treatments for every disease are often presumed to be preferable whenever such are available.

So far so good, but it takes some reflection for us to take the next step. We must acclimate to a different reality about aging: natural diets, herbs, and remedies are unlikely to slow the aging process.

This book has argued that aging is not a bug in evolutions program but a design feature that is naturally selected in its own right. Aging is natural in the deepest sense, that it is a product of evolution, built into our genes. At root, the appeal of the natural comes from faith in evolutionwhat is natural is part of the environment in which humans and our ancestors evolved; hence we are presumed to be well adapted to it. If natural foods are better for us, it is because they are the foods that evolution has equipped our bodies to work with. (Follow this logic a step further and you reach the paleo diets that try to mirror ancestral food choices.) Natural selection has not prepared us for the pace of life in the jet age or for breathing smog or drinking Coca-Cola; hence many of the complaints of modern life may be attributed to a mismatch between the life we are living and the life for which evolution has prepared us. And indeed, it is likely true that many of our ailments are products of modernity: lung cancer from cigarettes and urban smog, metabolic syndrome (increased fat, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other factors leading to type 2 diabetes) from junk food, nervous disorders from overstimulation, and depression from living in a fragmented and disconnected society.

Theoretical biologist Josh Mitteldorf has a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He runs the website, and writes a weekly column for Mitteldorf has had visiting research and teaching positions at various universities including MIT, Harvard and Berkeley.

Dorion Sagan is a writer, ecological philosopher and author or coauthor of over twenty-four books, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His work has appeared in Natural History, Smithsonian, Wired and The New York Times.

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Can Dietary Changes Extend Your Life? - AlterNet

USAF completes flight tests of B61-12 gravity bombs from F-15E – Airforce Technology

The US Air Force (USAF) has tested non-nuclear functions of B61-12 gravity bombs at the Tonopah test range in Nevada, US.

The qualification flight tests were conducted in collaboration with the Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA).

These tests form a part of a series scheduled to take place over the next three years to qualify the weapon for service, NNSA stated.

As part of the latest tests, the B61-12 gravity bombs were dropped from an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft based at Nellis Air Force Base.

The testing also involved evaluating the aircrafts capability to deliver the nuclear weapon.

The flight test included hardware designed by Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, manufactured by the Nuclear Security Enterprise plants, and tail-kit assembly section designed by the Boeing Company under contract with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

"The B61-12 life extension programme is progressing on schedule to meet national security requirements."

The B61-12 was first tested in March, according to the statement.

NNSA Defense Programs acting deputy administrator Phil Calbos said: The B61-12 life extension programme is progressing on schedule to meet national security requirements.

These realistic flight qualification tests validate the design of the B61-12 when it comes to system performance.

The programme is anticipated to extend the bombs service life by at least 20 years.

It includes revamping, reusing, or replacing all of the bombs nuclear and non-nuclear components.

The B61-12 is intended to replace four B61 bomb variants in the nations nuclear arsenal and the first production unit is expected to be completed by March 2020.

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USAF completes flight tests of B61-12 gravity bombs from F-15E - Airforce Technology

Life Extension Archives – NutraPlanet

Sale!Life Extension 5-Lox Inhibitor with ApresFlex VCaps 100 mg Vitamins & Minerals.

Description For Longer Life Next Generation Boswellia Extract Dietary Supplement Normal aging results in higher-than-desired levels of 5-LOX. The typical American diet adds to the danger. Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids like red meat poultry eggs and dairy products along with high-glycemic carbohydrates trigger overproduction of arachidonic acid. In response to high levels of []

Description For Longer Life Natural Metabolite of DHEA Dietary Supplement 7-Keto DHEA is a natural metabolite of DHEA that has been shown to safely increase thermogenesis improve fat loss and help maintain healthy body weight when combined with a diet and exercise program. A clinical study indicated that 7-Keto DHEA increases the resting metabolic rate []

Description Foundation for Longer Life With AdipoStat and Integra-Lean African Mango Irvingia Weight Management Support Dietary Supplement Certified Authentic Irvingia This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary. Advanced Anti-Adipocyte Formula with AdipoStat and Integra-Lean African Mango Irvingia AdipoStat targets the mechanisms by which fat-storing []

Description For Longer Life Advanced Oral Hygiene Advanced Oral Hygiene is an oral probiotic that provides the beneficial bacteria that can help block harmful bacteria that first develop in the mouth. This sophisticated oral probiotic therapy allows the healthy and naturally occurring organisms found in the body to out-compete the harmful bacteria. Advanced Oral Hygiene []

Description Clinical Strength Ingredients Convenient Dose Dietary Supplements As you grow older age-related stiffness and discomfort in the joints becomes a fact of life. Activities once routine become a challenge as limited mobility hampers your every move. You now have a more potent option to provide broad-spectrum support for aging joints. ArthroMax Advanced with UC-II []

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Description Foundation for Longer Life Apple-A-Day Antioxidant Dietary Supplement The benefits of plant polyphenols are well known to health enthusiasts. These natural plant constituents block oxidative damage that leads to inflammation and accelerated biological aging of tissues. Recent studies by three separate laboratories have concluded that polyphenols extracted from apples extend life span in laboratory []

Description For Longer Life "High-ORAC Complex" Dietary Supplement One capsule provides the antioxidant equivalent of more than 2 1/2 servings of fruits and vegetables based upon yearly ORAC analysis done by the USDA. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. Suggested Use Take one (1) capsule daily with or without food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. []

Description Promotes Intestinal Health Dietary Supplement Probiotics literally means for life. Traditional diets (like the Mediterranean Diet) with foods that contain probiotics have been shown to promote health and longevity. Probiotics are thought to facilitate healthy GI and perform many other important functions. For example researchers have discovered that probiotics help decrease nuclear factor kappa []

Description For Longer Life Natural Mood and Sleep Support Dietary Supplement Bioactive Milk Peptides (Lactium) are a cutting-edge nutrient complex consisting of patented bioactive peptides found naturally in milk. Used widely in Europe to promote sustained and restful sleep patterns published studies reveal that these bioactive milk peptides also promote relaxation help with stress and []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Modulates Key Regulators of Inflammation Dietary Supplement Black Cumin Seed Oil As we age a balanced immune and inflammatory response becomes critical to guarding our health. Research has shown Black Cumin Seed Oil to be particularly effective. Scientists have determined that black cumin seeds contain a broad spectrum of active []

Description For Longer Life Natures Antioxidant Dietary Supplement Blueberry Extract Capsules The two most active constituents found in blueberries are anthocyanins and pterostilbene. Blueberry anthocyanins are considered one of natures most potent antioxidants. Pterostilbene is the other blueberry constituent that helps maintain healthy lipid and glucose levels that are already within healthy ranges. Through its []

Description For Longer Life (Free Form) Hepatoprotection Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. To be used by adults 18 years and older. Take four (4) capsules daily with or without food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Other Ingredients Vegetable cellulose (capsule) rice flour. []

Description For Longer Life Sterile Lubricant Eye Drops For use as a lubricant to prevent further irritation or to relieve dryness of the eye. Suggested Use Please read enclosed product insert for important safety information and instructions on opening containers. Instill 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) as needed. Other Ingredients Other Ingredients: []

Description For Longer Life Enteric Coated for Optimal Absorption Dietary Supplement Specially-Coated Bromelain is enteric coated to protect the bromelain from becoming active in the stomach and act as a digestive enzyme for food. Specially-Coated Bromelain Bromelain, a mixture of proteases extracted from the stem of the pineapple, has been used by Europeans for many []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Cellular Support For Heart Muscle Dietary Supplement Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna Cardiotonics have traditionally been used to improve heart function and vitality. Formulated for optimum heart muscle health Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna provides dual cardiotonic support. Extensive research demonstrates that the botanical extracts Hawthorn []

Description Foundation for Longer Life Silymarin-Silibinins-Isosilybin A & B Supports a Healthy Liver and Prostate Dietary Supplement Certified European Milk Thistle (Silymarin-Silibinins-Isosilybin A & B) The liver is a large glandular organ, whose functions include decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, hormone production, secretion of bile, and conversion of sugars into glycogen, which []

Description For Longer Life Supports Healthy DNA Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) capsule three times daily with food or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Other Ingredients Microcrystalline cellulose vegetable cellulose (capsule) silica vegetable stearate. Warnings Store tightly closed in a []

Description Foundation For Longer Life Helps Maintain Healthy Glucose for those already within Normal Range Dietary Supplement Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) capsule 20-30 minutes before each meal not exceeding three (3) capsules daily or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner. Best results []

Description Sealed for Your Protection For Longer Life Supports Weight Management and Metabolic Wellness† Certified Authentic Irvingia Dietary Supplement Chrominex †This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary. Suggested Use Read the entire label and follow the directions carefully prior to use. Take one (1) []

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Life Extension Archives - NutraPlanet

Debunking Hollywood’s Portrayals of Human Hibernation – The Atlantic

Nothing says interstellar travel like a hibernation pod. The heroes of the 2016 holiday blockbuster Passengers, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, embark on a century-long journey to a planet outside our solar system. Hibernation pods extend their lifespans for the long trip, but they wake from torpor 90 years earlier than scheduled. Then they set about trying to fix the ship and trying to put themselves back to sleep.

First of all, lets talk about this waking from hibernation business. Hibernation may involve lying down with ones eyes closed, but theres no sleeping going on; in fact, a long stretch of it leaves the body sleep-deprived. If this movie were true to life, the first thing that would happen when Jennifer Lawrence opened her long-lashed eyes in the hibernation pod would not be her listening to the ship computers crew update. It would be her closing those long lashes again and descending straight into sleep.

Thats because sleep is one of the bodily functions that cant be done properly in hibernation. During the periodic arousal states that punctuate hibernation, animals warm their bodies and go straight into a long, deep sleep. Oxford neuroscientist Vlad Vyazovskiy did his masters work at the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine at Kharkov National University in Ukraine, where he studied ground squirrels in torpor.

Originally hibernation was considered a continuation of sleep, but physiologically it is very different because your metabolism is totally suspended, although it is still regulated, says Vyazovskiy. Torpor, this extreme metabolic challenge, seems to do something to the brain or body which necessitates sleep, which in turn provides some type of restoration.

Suspended animation in deep-space flight has been a movie trope since the dawn of science fiction, and for just as long NASA has been working to make it real. John Bradford of SpaceWorks Enterprises has been contracted by NASA to develop just such a technology. Inspired by the unique physiologies of animal hibernators, he is working on overriding the bodys steady 37-degree-Celsius core temperature in a technique called targeted temperature management. Metabolism slows by about 7 percent for every degree of cooling. Though uncontrolled hypothermia can be fatal, a constant 32-degree body temperature still allows for normal nerve functions that are critical for breathing and heartbeats.

Humans cant hibernate, but we can mimic how animals hibernate, he says. Earlier in our evolutionary history we did hibernate, but now its turned off.

Did I mention hes an engineer? Am I the only one who gets worried when engineers are hired to do doctorish things? For one thing, in true hibernators, platelets and white blood cells are sequestered in lymph nodes away from the blood vessels during dormancy. This prevents the blood clots that can form with inactivity and avoids the inflammation that causes kidney damage upon rewarming. There will be a lot of research necessary before humans can safely hit the pause button on their metabolisms. Luckily, Bradford hasnt been permitted any real live human subjects yet.

Then again, doctors have been pursuing this capability for years in the field of emergency medicine. When a severely injured patient arrives at a hospital, minutes count. A rapid cooling of the body saves tissues that are cut off from blood supplya slower metabolism consumes less oxygenso cooling patients for surgery is now a routine procedure. A low dose of narcotics prevents the patient from shivering to warm themselves up. In China, experiments with therapeutic hypothermia put patients into a deep chill for up to two weeks before successfully reviving them.

It really would be great if we could make it happen. The advantages of crew hibernation could mean the difference between a successful Mars colonization and an Earth-bound humanity. Mars is only six months journey from Earth, so life extension is not the primary issue at play, but hibernation pods would cut down the required habitat size and food needs. They could even provide solutions to some of spaceflights most long-standing health issues. Spinal fluid rising into the skull in low gravity causes pressure that diminishes most astronauts eyesight in flight, but the hibernation state should help to clear up that issue.

When humans live without the strain of gravity, muscle atrophy and bone loss also become a problem. Those on the International Space Station have to put in two full hours of exercise per day just to maintain their skeletons. But with hibernation, muscles and bone can be maintained using neuromuscular stimulation, which is unpleasant while conscious but not an issue for a deep-sleeping crew member.

We can exercise you all day long! says Bradford.

Cancer risk from the accumulated exposure to cosmic rays is NASAs primary health concern for astronauts on long-haul space flights, and there is some debate as to whether a slowed metabolism is more vulnerableunable to fend off damage to DNA by repairing itor more immune, because errors in that repair process often trigger the tumors.

In either case, hibernation may be the answer, because it restricts the astronauts range of motion. Magnetic shielding could protect a spacecrafts inhabitants from ionizing radiation, but the shield for a whole habitat would be far too heavy to be feasible. If shields could be produced for a small cot, however, and the astronauts prone body could be protected for the voyage within it, the shield option could be back on the table.

In the future, human hibernation could take even more radical paths. A research group supported by the U.S. Army is experimenting with a technique that cools patients rapidly by replacing their blood with ice-cold saline solution. The total metabolic suspension leaves a body with no heartbeat, no breathing and no discernible brain activity, but when dogs have undergone the treatment, they have been successfully resuscitated after three hours in the frozen state.

Perhaps those dogs will want to be the first interstellar passengers, to take them far away from a planet where their lot in life is to have their blood replaced by ice.

This post appears courtesy of The Last Word On Nothing.

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Debunking Hollywood's Portrayals of Human Hibernation - The Atlantic

Master Gardeners have scheduled presentations – Athens Daily Review

There will be a Master Gardener presentation by Keith Hanson on Growing Azaleas Thursday, Aug. 31, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 507 N. Broad St., Chandler.

Former Agri-Life Extension Agent Keith Hanson will speak on growing azaleas. Hanson was an Extension agent for 29 years. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Horticulture at Texas A & M University and continued his study in Plant Physiology at the University of California at Davis. This presentation is sponsored by the Henderson County Master Gardeners Association and is free to the public. For more information, call 903-675-6130, email or visit

Master Gardener Judy Haldeman will present Wild about Wildflowers Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library 121 S. Prairieville, Athens.

Come learn the basics of gardening with wildflowers. Site preparation and seed sowing will be explained, and the types of wildflowers that grow best in East Texas will be revealed. Learn how to enjoy a sequence of blooms, from the bluebonnets that bloom in spring, to the yarrow that blooms in fall, with native wildflowers that are beautiful, tough and beneficial to the local wildlife.

This is part of the Henderson County Master Gardeners Association (HCMGA) Learn at the Library Series. The series are free educational presentations are held on the third Tuesday of each month. For additional information please call 903-675-6130, e-mail, or visit

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Master Gardeners have scheduled presentations - Athens Daily Review

B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule – Los Alamos Monitor

B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule

The Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Air Force completed two qualification flight tests of B61-12 gravity bombs Aug. 8 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, the NNSA announced Monday.

The non-nuclear test assemblies, which were dropped from an F-15E based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, evaluated the weapons non-nuclear functions and the aircrafts capability to deliver the weapon, NNSA officials said.

These tests are part of a series over the next three years to qualify the B61-12 for service.

The first qualification flight test occurred in March.

The B61 was designed and engineered by Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1963 and is the oldest type of nuclear weapon in the stockpile. The weapon is undergoing a life extension program at Los Alamos to convert four versions of the warhead into a single modification with a new tail kit for added accuracy, the B61-12.

If testing is successful, new version is scheduled to be produced in 2020.

The B61-12 life extension program is progressing on schedule to meet national security requirements, said Phil Calbos, acting NNSA deputy administrator for Defense Programs. These realistic flight qualification tests validate the design of the B61-12 when it comes to system performance.

The flight test included hardware designed by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, manufactured by the Nuclear Security Enterprise plants, and mated to the tail-kit assembly section, designed by the Boeing Company under contract with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

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B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule - Los Alamos Monitor

The first men to conquer death will create a new social order a terrifying one – New Statesman

In a 2011 New Yorker profile, Peter Thiel, tech-philanthropist and billionaire, surmised that probably the most extreme form of inequality is between people who are alive and people who are dead. While he may not be technically wrong, Thiel and other eccentric, wealthy tech-celebrities, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have taken the next step to counteract that inequality by embarking on a quest to live forever.

Thiel and many like him have been investing in research on life extension, part of transhumanism. Drawing on fields as diverse as neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering and philosophy, transhumanists believe that the limitations of the human body and mortality can be transcended by machines and technology. The ultimate aim is immortality.Some believe thisis achievable by 2045.

Of course, humans have long harnessed technology, from vaccinations to smartphones, to improve and extend our lives. But that doesnt admit you into the transhumanist club. Wanting to live forever, and possessing vast sums of money and time to research, does.

The hows and whens of transhumanism are matters of debate. Some advocatethe "Singularity" a form of artificial super-intelligence which will encompass all of humanity's knowledge, that our brains will then be uploaded to.Others believe in anti-ageing methods like cryonics, freezing your body after death until such a time when you can be revived.

Transhumanism is no longer a fringe movement either. Darpa, the US governments research arm into advanced weaponry, created a functional prototype of a super soldier exoskeleton in 2014, which will be fully functional in 2018, and is researching the possibility of an artificial human brain.

"Transhumanism doesn't have much to say about social questions. To the extent that they see the world changing, it's nearly always in a business-as-usual way techno-capitalism continues to deliver its excellent bounties, and the people who benefit from the current social arrangement continue to benefit from it," says Mark O'Connell, the author of To be a Machine, who followed various transhumanists in Los Angeles."You basically can't separate transhumanism from capitalism. An idea that's soenthusiastically pursued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a mutationof capitalism, not a cure for it."

Silicon Valley is characterised by ablind belief in technological progress,a disregard for social acceptability and an emphasis on individual success. It's no surprise, then, that it is here that the idea of living forever seems most desirable.

Musk has publicly declared that we have to merge withartificially intelligent machines that overtake humanityin order to survive. Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist who pioneered the Singularity, is now an engineer at Google. O'Connell points out that "you'd have to be coming from a particularly rarefied privilege to look at the world today and make the assessment, as someone like Thiel does, that the biggest problem we face as a species is the fact that people die of old age".

On an even more basic level,a transhumanist society would undoubtedly be shaped by the ideals of those who created it and those who came before it. Zoltan Istvan, the transhumanist candidate for governor of California,toldTech Insiderthat a lot of the most important work in longevity is coming from a handful of the billionaires...around six or seven of them.

Immortality as defined by straight, white men could draw out cycles of oppression. Without old attitudes dying off and replaced by the impatience of youth, social change might become impossible. Artificial intelligence has already been shown to absorb the biases of itscreators. Uploading someones brain into a clone of themselves doesnt make them less likely to discriminate. Thiel andMusk, for example, identify as libertarians and have frequently suggested that taxes are obsolete and that governmental military spending needs to be curbed (and put into life-enhancing technologies).

Thiel himself is a Donald Trump supporter. A one-timeassociateMichael Anissimov, previousmedia officer at Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a Thiel-funded AI think tank, has published a white nationalist manifesto. In a 2013 interview, Anissimov said that there were already significant differences in intelligence between the races, and that a transhumanist society would inevitably lead to people lording it over others in a way that has never been seen before in history. It doesnt take much to guess who would be doing the "lording".

"The first enhanced humans will not be ordinary people;they'll be the people who have already made those ordinary people economically obsolete through automation. They'll be tech billionaires," says O'Connell.

If those who form society in the age of transhumanism aremen like Musk and Thiel, its probable that thissociety will have few social safety nets. There will be an uneven rate of technological progress globally; even a post-human society can replicate the unequal global wealth distribution which we see today. In some cities and countries, inhabitants maylive forever, while in others the residents die of malnutrition.If people dont die off, the environmental consequences from widespread natural resource devastation to unsustainable energy demands would be widespread.

It would be remiss to tar all transhumanists with one brush. In 2014, Istvan claimed inThe Huffington Postthat the membership of transhumanist societies and Facebook groups has started to expand in number and in diversity, drawing in young and old people of all political persuasions and nationalities.

There are some prominent transhumanists who dont fit into the Silicon Valley mould. Natasha Vita-More, the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Humanity+ , the globaltranshumanist organisation, has spoken about the potential for a posthuman society to address issues of economic justice. Other academics and philosophers have even spoken about the need to explicitly ground diversity and tolerance within posthumanism, such as Nick Bostrom, the head of the Future of Humanity institute and one of the original modern transhumanist thinkers.

It remains the case, though, that the majority of the money invested inmaking transhumanism a reality comes from rich, white men. As the descendants of a species with a tendency to exploit thedowntrodden, any posthumans must guard against replicating thosesame biases in a new society. For some, potentially in the near future, death might become optional. For others, death will remain inevitable.

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The first men to conquer death will create a new social order a terrifying one - New Statesman

Global Naval Ship Modernization Assessment, Forecast to 2026 – PR Newswire (press release)

Countries have to maintain a large number of operational naval assets in order to build deterrence, protect sovereignty, and secure Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC). Operators are initiating comprehensive midlife upgrades and life extension programs in order to field adequate operational assets. The naval ship modernization market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% during 20162026 and result in a total valuation of $49.10 billion. The market will be dominated by upgrades for surface combatant and submarine segments (92.5% of the total market).

Through this research service, Frost & Sullivan provides an assessment of global naval ship modernization programs, opportunities, forecasts, and technology trends from a macro level and also from a comprehensive micro-level countrywise assessment.

Key Target Audience

The key target audience includes: Defense OEMs and Integrators (especially their marketing and sales teams) Tier 1/ Tier 2/Tier 3 Suppliers Defense Consultants and Researchers Educational Bodies Personnel Working with Ministry/Department of Defense

Research ScopeThe market trends are analyzed for the study period 2016 to 2026, with the base year being 2016. The scope of the study is global, covering most nations which field a naval force.

The market is segmented across surface combatants, submarines, support ships, and patrol boats. Each segment is broken up into different vessel types and classes for granularity in information. Companies mentioned in the study include Lockheed Martin, Terma, Atlas Electronick, Raytheon, STM, TKMS, Kongsberg Marine, HII, and DCNS among others.

Country-specific modernization, life extension, and upgrade programs are arrived at using a combination of data including vessel acquisition and commissioning time frames, defense contract data, previous upgrades, defense spending patterns, and geopolitical exigencies.

Key Questions This Study Will Answer What are the committed, planned, and upcoming opportunities in the naval ship modernization market over the next 10 years? Which geographical markets and segments are growing? What are the key success factors that OEMs should consider in the market? What drives the need for modernizing naval ships in different nations and how do their procurement preferences and market dynamics differ? What are the major programs underway and planned within these markets and what opportunities do they open up for OEMs/contractors?Read the full report:

About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need - instantly, in one place.

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Global Naval Ship Modernization Assessment, Forecast to 2026 - PR Newswire (press release)

Competition to replace US nuclear missiles is down to 2 companies, but uncertainties remain – CNBC

The competition to replace America's 1970s-era nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile program is now down to two large defense companies in a contract that the Air Force originally estimated would cost about $62 billion.

Yet there's still a lot of uncertainty about the project, and its acquisition costs for taxpayers could go up to as much as $140 billion. Also, some critics of the program suggest we should just continue maintaining the current nuclear missiles as a deterrent for another decade to save money.

Regardless, the Air Force announced late Monday that Boeing and Northrop Grumman each won three-year contracts for the "technology maturation and risk reduction," or essentially the preliminary design phase, of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system program.

Lockheed Martin had been in the running, but it didn't prevail.

GBSD is a modernization planned for the land-based Minuteman III, one leg of the nation's nuclear triad land, sea and air-based capabilities.

Boeing was the prime contractor on the Minuteman III system, which dates back to 1970s and has been undergoing continued maintenance to keep it in service.

"It was an important win for Boeing," Jefferies analyst Howard Rubel said in an interview. The analyst said Boeing's defense business has suffered several setbacks in recent years, including losing the long-range strike bomber contact to Northrop and having problems with its aerial tanker program.

However, he said Boeing and Northrop each are now "competing to be the eventual prime contractor" on the GBSD program. "You went from three competitors to two. You went from what I call broad concepts to now, two competing designers, who will come up with an industrialization concept that will...probably have some testing done to prove certain points along the way."

Boeing has yet to announce all of its partners in the GBSD program, and Northrop has announced some but not all.

Rubel said in a research note that he expects Orbital ATK and Aerjet Rocketdyne to also eventually get some work from the GBSD "as producers of large solid rocket motors. We expect the two companies to split the propulsion work in some fashion."

This is the first of several phases in the contract process for the GBSD program, although the Pentagon isn't expected to settle on a sole contractor for another few years. Production and then deployment aren't expected until the late 2020s.

The two contracts announced Monday, valued at no more than $359 million apiece, are just a small portion of what the overall program will cost. The Pentagon's independent cost assessment and program evaluation office last year upped the estimated acquisition cost to between $85 billion and about $140 billion.

"We are moving forward with modernization of the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a statement. "Our missiles were built in the 1970s. Things just wear out, and it becomes more expensive to maintain them than to replace them. We need to cost-effectively modernize."

The modernization of the nation's nuclear comes at a time when superpowers such as Russia and China are modernizing their weapons. Also there are rogue countries such as North Korea that also are a nuclear threat with missile development programs.

Even so, some have suggested that the nuclear weapon capability using bombers and submarines is a more effective deterrent because they are harder to detect and can be dispersed. The Trump administration is conducting a nuclear posture review that will debate whether the U.S. should maintain the triad.

Also, some critics of the GBSD program believe the Pentagon should keep the current Minuteman III missiles as a deterrent for at least another decade rather than replacing it right away.

"Sustaining the Minuteman III for a period of time (say 10-15 years) beyond 2030 would be cheaper than GBSD over that period," said Reif Kingston, director of disarmament and threat reduction policy for the ACA. "The case for deferring a decision on GBSD and pursuing another life extension of the Minuteman III is strong."

To be clear, Kingston said deferring the modernization would require a reduction, but not elimination, in the size of the current force of land-based nuclear ICBMs. "A smaller force would not diminish the overall strength and credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent," he said.

Added Kingston, "We haven't built a new intercontinental ballistic missile in decades. As the program proceeds, they will have start to get a better sense of the costs. But at this point, there's a lot of uncertainty, and the Air Force's estimate ($62 billion) by all accounts is unrealistically low."

According to Kingston, a good portion of the data that the Air Force and others in the Pentagon had to work with to get an acquisition estimate on the Minuteman III replacement is "old and incomplete."

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Competition to replace US nuclear missiles is down to 2 companies, but uncertainties remain - CNBC

Acquisition could boost NWSV life extension case | Business News – Business News

Some of the North West Shelf Venture partners might either sell their stake in the operation or take an equity interest in potential projects such as Browse as one potential solution to find backfill liquids for Karratha gas plant in the next decade, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie.

The venture, which has been shipping liquefied natural gas for 28 years, will have an excess capacity of around 5 million tonnes per annum by 2025 as existing reserves are drained, Wood Mackenzie projected.

Wood analyst Saul Kavonic toldBusiness Newsthat there had never been a better time for the Woodside Petroleum-led venture to commence work on a solution, with a number of options competitive with other global projects.

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Acquisition could boost NWSV life extension case | Business News - Business News

Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination – The American Conservative

Last week in TAC, Zoltan Istvan wrote about The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism linking the transhumanist movement with all of its featureslike cyborgs, human robots and designer babiesto the ideas of liberty. To say Mr. Istvan is mistaken in his assessment is an understatement. Transhumanism should be rejected by libertarians as an abomination of human evolution.

We begin with Mr. Istvans definition of transhumanism:

transhumanism is the international movement of using science and technology to radically change the human being and experience. Its primary goal is to deliver and embrace a utopian techno-optimistic worlda world that consists of biohackers, cyborgists, roboticists, life extension advocates, cryonicists, Singularitarians, and other science-devoted people.

The ultimate task, however, is nothing less than overcoming biological human death and to solve all humanitys problems. Throughout much of Mr. Istvans work on this issue, he seems to think these ideas are perfectly compatible with libertarianismself-evident evenso he doesnt care to elaborate for his befuddled readers.

While most advocates of liberty could be considered, as Matt Ridley coined it, rational optimistsmeaning that generally we are optimistic, but not dogmatic, about progressit is easy to get into a state in which everything that is produced by the market is good per se and every new technology is hailed as the next step on the path of progress. In this sense, these libertarians become what Rod Dreher has called Technological Men. For them, choice matters more than what is chosen. [The Technological Man] is not concerned with what he should desire; rather, he is preoccupied with how he can acquire or accomplish what he desires.

Transhumanists including Mr. Istvan are a case in point. In his TAC article he not only endorses such things as the defeat of death, but even robotic hearts, virtual reality sex, and telepathy via mind-reading headsets. Need more of his grand ideas? How about brain implants ectogenesis, artificial intelligence, exoskeleton suits, designer babies, gene editing tech? At no point he wonders if we should even strive for these technologies.

When he does acknowledge potential problems he has quick (and crazy) solutions at hand: For example, what would happen if people never die, while new ones are coming into the world in abundance? His solution to the fear of overpopulation: eugenics. It is here where we see how libertarian Mr. Istvan truly is. When his political philosophythe supposedly libertarian onecomes into conflict with his idea of transhumanism, he suddenly drops the former and argues in favor of state-controlled breeding (or, as he says, controlled breeding by non-profit organizations such as the WHO, which is, by the way, state financed). I cautiously endorse the idea of licensing parents, a process that would be little different than getting a drivers licence. Parents who pass a series of basic tests qualify and get the green light to get pregnant and raise children.

The most frustrating thing is how similar he sounds to communists and socialists in his arguments. In most articles you read by transhumanists, you can see the dream of human perfection. Mr. Istvan says so himself: Transhumanists want more guarantees than just death, consumerism, and offspring. Much More. They want to be better, smarter, strongerperhaps even perfect and immortal if science can make them that way.

Surely it is the goal of transhumanists that, in their world, the average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. You can just edit the genes of the embryo in the way that they are as intelligent as Aristotle, as poetic as Goethe, and as musically talented as Mozart. There are two problems, though: First, the world would become extremely boring, consisting only of perfect human beings who are masters at everything (which perhaps would make human cooperation superfluous). Second, that quote was famously uttered by the socialist Leon Trotsky.

As Ludwig von Mises wrote sarcastically, the socialist paradise will be the kingdom of perfection, populated by completely happy supermen. This has always been the mantra of socialists, starting with utopian thinkers like Charles Fourier, but also being embraced by the scientific ones like Marx, who derived his notion of history in which communism is the final stage of humanity from Hegel. Hegel himself believed in the man-godnot in the way that God became man through Jesus, but that man could become God one day. Intentionally or not, transhumanists sound dangerously similar to that. What they would actually create would be the New Soviet Man through bio-engineering and total environmental control as the highest social goal. In other words, you get inhuman ideological tyranny taken to a whole new level.

It should be noted that sometimes transhumanists recognize this themselvesbut if they do, their solutions only make things worse (much worse). Take Adam Zaretsky as example, who says that these new human beings shouldnt be perfect: Its important to make versions of transgenic human anatomy that are not based on idealism. But his solution is frightening: The idea is that you take a gene, say for pig noses, or ostrich anuses, or aardvark tongue, and you paste that into a human sperm, a human egg, a human zygote. A baby starts to form. And: We could let it flow into our anatomy, and these peoplewho yes, are humansshould be appreciated for who and what they are, after they are forced to be born in a really radically strange way. Its no surprise that Rod Dreher calls Mr. Zaretsky a sick monster, because he truly seems to be one when it comes to his transhumanist vision. He wants to create handicapped human beings on purpose.

If this were what libertarians think should happen, it would be sad (thankfully its mostly not). As Jeff Deist notes, it is important to remember that liberty is natural and organic and comports with human action. It doesnt require a new man. Transhumanists may say that the introduction of their idea is inevitable (in Istvans words, Whether people like it or not, transhumanism has arrived) but that is not true. And in this sense, it is time for libertarians to argue against the notion of extreme transhumanism. Yes, the market has brought it about and yes, the state shouldnt prohibit it (though giving your baby a pig nose could certainly be a violation of rights), but still, one shouldnt be relativist or even nihilist about such frightening developments. It would be a shame if the libertarian maxim of Everyone should be able to do whatever one wants to (as long as no one is hurt by it) becomes Everyone should do whatever one can do just because it is possible.

Finally, it comes as no surprise that transhumanists are largely, if not all, atheists (or as Mr. Istvan says: Im an atheist, therefore Im a transhumanist. This just proves what the classical liberal historian Lord Acton talked about when he said, Progress, the religion of those who have none. In the end, transhumanism is the final step to get God out of the way. It would be the continuation of what Richard Weaver wrote about in Ideas Have Consequences: Instead of seeing nature, the world and life overall as a means to get to know God, humans in the last centuries have become accustomed to seeing the world as something that is only there for humans to take and use for their own pleasures. Transhumanism would be the final step of this process: the conquest of death.

You dont have to be religious to find this abhorrent. As we have seen, it would be the end to all religion, to human cooperation overall, in all likelihood to liberty itself, and even the good-bye to humanity. It would be the starting point of the ultimate dystopia.

Kai Weiss is an International Relations student and works for the Austrian Economics Center and Hayek Institute, two libertarianthink tanks based in Vienna, Austria.

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Transhumanism Is Not Libertarian, It's an Abomination - The American Conservative

First pass for Minehunter Service Life Extension – Australian Defence – Australian Defence Magazine

The Commonwealth has granted First Pass approval to extend the service life for Navys Huon Class Minehunter Coastal vessels, and Thales Australia is to deliver and support new deployable mine countermeasures (MCM) over the next 15 years.

The Head of Navy Capability, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, said the project forecast in the Defence White Paper 2016 will ensure Defence is able to provide an effective maritime mine countermeasure capability out to the 2030s.

Minehunters play a vital role in protecting Australias ships, harbours and infrastructure from the threat of sea mines, RADM Mead said.

First Pass approval is a major milestone for this project that will see the life of the Minehunters extended to ensure there is no gap in mine warfare capability as we determine the replacement vessels.

The Huon Class have proven highly capable, supporting Defences international engagement strategy through participation in exercises and operations to secure our sea lanes and disposing of WWII explosive remnants, and they will continue to serve Australia for years to come.

In addition to its mine warfare role, the Huon Class vessels play a unique role in Defence assistance to the civil community and in 2011 provided support in response to severe flooding in Queensland, including the disposal of debris that posed a navigational hazard, RADM Mead said.

The Australian Defence industry will be heavily involved in the future of the platforms. Negotiations are underway with Thales Australia to engage them as the Prime Systems Integrator to deliver the project. Under Thales lead there will be opportunities for other Australian companies to support the Minehunters through their service life.

The Huon class were built by Thales Australia, formerly ADI, and were introduced into service in the early 2000s.

With regard to deployable MCM, RADM Mead said the prevalence and increasing sophistication of sea mines means the RAN must continue to improve the way it finds and disposes of these mines.

New autonomous and remote-controlled technologies deployed from within the maritime task force provides the opportunity to find and dispose of sea mines more safely and efficiently, RADM Mead said.

In the 2030s, Defence will seek to replace its specialised mine hunting and environmental survey vessels with a single fleet of multi-role vessels embarking advanced autonomous and uninhabited systems.

RADM Mead said these newly introduced systems are the first step in realising a future capability which would allow the Royal Australian Navy to clear sea mines with minimal risk to its people and assets.

Thales Australia Ltd will deliver and support the new equipment over the next 15 years, RADM Mead said.

The new capability will primarily be based and sustained at HMASWaterhenin Sydney, NSW.

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First pass for Minehunter Service Life Extension - Australian Defence - Australian Defence Magazine

Doxycycline time release capsules – Shelf life extension program doxycycline – Filipino Express

Doxycycline time release capsules - Shelf life extension program doxycycline
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Doxycycline time release capsules - Shelf life extension program doxycycline - Filipino Express

Gran Colombia Gold Reports Second Quarter 2017 Results; Announces Mine Life Extension at Its Segovia Operations – MarketWatch

Aug 14, 2017 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - August 14, 2017) - Gran Colombia Gold Corp. (GCM) announced today the release of its unaudited interim consolidated financial statements and accompanying management's discussion and analysis (MD&A) for the three and six months ended June 30, 2017. All financial figures contained herein are expressed in U.S. dollars ("USD") unless otherwise noted.

Lombardo Paredes Arenas, Chief Executive Officer of Gran Colombia, commenting on the Company's results for the first half of 2017, said, "As we reach the midpoint of 2017, we are pleased to report that our operating and financial results have been tracking to our guidance for the year. Our exploration effort in 2016 has paid off with a four-year extension of the expected mine life at our Segovia Operations to 2026 and we are now 40% of the way through our 2017 drilling program. We believe that our investment and social programs in Segovia over the last seven years have positively impacted the local community, respecting the role that responsible mining plays in the local culture and economy. The recent civil disruption is not an issue caused by Gran Colombia. It is the response by illegal miners to the Colombian government's recent regulations aimed at illegal mining in the country, including restrictions on the use of mercury. While we hope that the Colombian government will soon be able to restore order in the community so that our people and their families can safely go about their daily lives and we can return to normal operations, we are continuing our negotiations to formalize illegal mining within our title."

Second Quarter and First Half 2017 Highlights

Gran Colombia has updated the life-of-mine ("LOM") plan for its Segovia Operations to incorporate the Mineral Resource estimate announced on April 19, 2017, extending the expected mine life at Segovia by four years to 2026. Measured and Indicated Resources at the Segovia Operations increased to 2.9 million tonnes at a grade of 12.0 g/t totalling 1.1 million ounces of gold, up 174% compared to the Mineral Resource estimate as of December 31, 2016. Gran Colombia also added 0.4 million ounces of gold to the Inferred category at Segovia bringing total Inferred Mineral Resources to 3.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 9.9 g/t representing 1.0 million ounces of gold. Gran Colombia is continuing its exploration campaign at Segovia in 2017 with approximately 40% of the planned 20,000 meters drilling program completed in the first half of the year. The mine life extension, coupled with an increase in the expected long-term gold price to $1,250 per ounce, resulted in a $35.5 million after-tax reversal of impairment related to the Segovia Operations in the second quarter of 2017.

On May 31, 2017, Gran Colombia extended the maturity date for $47.0 million of its Senior Secured Convertible Debentures due 2020 (the "2020 Debentures") to 2024.

Gran Colombia's adjusted EBITDA of $21.3 million in the second quarter of 2017 represented a 16% increase over the second quarter last year. This brings the trailing 12-months' adjusted EBITDA to $71.0 million, up 8% from the end of 2016. See the Company's MD&A for the computation of this non-IFRS measure.

Gran Colombia generated $3.2 million of Excess Cash Flow (see the Company's MD&A for the computation) in the second quarter of 2017, bringing the total for the first half of 2017 to $5.5 million, as expected.

Gran Colombia has continued to execute its strategy to aggressively reduce its Senior Debentures with its Excess Cash Flow, repurchasing and cancelling $1.7 million of 2020 Debentures under its Normal Course Issuer Bid ("NCIB") in the second quarter of 2017. Subsequent to June 30, 2017, the Company repurchased and cancelled an additional $0.7 million of 2020 Debentures and completed a $3.0 million partial redemption at par of the 2020 Debentures on July 31, 2017. Collectively, these actions reduced the potential dilution from conversion of the 2020 Debentures by approximately 2.8 million shares, equivalent to approximately 3% of total shares on a fully diluted basis (excluding stock options and warrants), and saves future interest costs of about $0.8 million. Gran Colombia intends to continue using the sinking fund balance to repurchase 2020 Debentures in the open market under the NCIB, when available, or to make further partial redemptions.

Gold production in the second quarter of 2017 totalled 46,075 ounces, up 21% from the second quarter last year led by continuing strong performance at its Segovia Operations. For the first half of 2017, gold production increased by 22% over the first half last year to a total of 85,083 ounces. The trailing 12-months' total gold production as of the end of June 2017 stands at 165,073 ounces, up 10% over 2016's annual gold production and above the Company's production guidance for the 2017 calendar year of a total of 150,000 to 160,000 ounces. Gold production in July 2017 totalled 14,980 ounces. However, production in the first half of August 2017 has been adversely impacted by a civil disruption in Segovia and Remedios convened by illegal miners commencing in late July, preventing many of the Company's personnel from safely reporting to work. The Company has implemented its contingency plans during this civil disruption, including ensuring sufficient cash is set aside to meet the interest payments on the Senior Debentures at the end of August. Certain capital projects have been suspended until the civil disruption subsides and Gran Colombia is currently able to conduct some mining, processing and maintenance activities until order is restored by the Colombian government. Negotiations between Gran Colombia and representatives of the Cogote and San Nicolas mines operating in the Company's mining title at Segovia are continuing at this time.

Revenue has been positively impacted in 2017 by the increased level of gold production compared with last year, up 17% in the second quarter of 2017 to $56.0 million and up 23% in the first half of 2017 to $101.7 million.

Gran Colombia's total cash costs and all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") were also positively impacted in the second quarter of 2017 by the increased level of production, averaging $676 per ounce and $884 per ounce, respectively, bringing the averages for the first half of 2017 to $709 per ounce and $910 per ounce, respectively. The Company continues to expect that its total cash cost and AISC averages for the full year should remain below $720 and $900 per ounce sold according to its guidance for 2017, provided there is no prolonged adverse impact on production from the civil disruption. See the Company's MD&A for the computation of these non-IFRS measures.

Net income for the second quarter of 2017 was $36.2 million, or $1.77 per share, compared with $0.1 million, or $0.01 per share, in the second quarter last year. For the first half of 2017, net income was $35.4 million, or $1.77 per share, compared with $10.9 million, or $1.40 per share, in the first half last year. Net income for the second quarter and first half of 2017 includes a $35.5 million after-tax reversal ($1.73 per share) of impairment related to the Segovia Operations. Net income in the first half of 2016 included a $14.5 million after-tax gain on financial instruments.

Adjusted net income for the second quarter of 2017 was $4.1 million, or $0.20 per share, compared with $3.9 million, or $0.42 per share, in the second quarter last year. For the first half of 2017, adjusted net income increased to $7.2 million, or $0.36 per share, compared with $4.1 million, or $0.53 per share, in the first half last year. See the reconciliation in the Company's MD&A for the computation of this non-IFRS measure. The increase in adjusted EBITDA combined with reductions in finance costs and wealth tax, net of an increase in adjusted income taxes, in 2017 were the primary drivers behind the improvement in adjusted net income in the first half of 2017.

Financial and Operating Summary

A summary of the financial and operating results for the second quarter and first half of 2017 and 2016 follows:

Segovia Operations

In light of the updated Mineral Resource estimate for the Segovia Operations announced in April 2017, the Company collaborated with SRK Consulting (USA) Inc. ("SRK") to update its internal LOM plan for Segovia. The updated LOM plan foresees a total of 4.1 million tonnes of material with an average head grade of 8.8 g/t being processed over an extended mine life through the end of 2026, four years longer than the previous LOM plans. Over this mine life, the updated LOM plan expects a total of 1.0 million ounces of gold to be produced at an average LOM total cash cost of $697 per ounce and an AISC (excluding corporate G&A) of $896 per ounce. At an expected long-term gold price of $1,250 per ounce, total LOM undiscounted after-tax free cash flow from mining operations amounts to $210 million. SRK is completing a NI 43-101 independent report that includes an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Segovia Operations based on this updated LOM plan that is expected to be filed on the Company's website and SEDAR profile within the next 45 days.

In the second quarter of 2017, tonnes processed at the Segovia Operations averaged 842 tpd, a 9% increase over the second quarter last year. In addition, head grades in the Company-operated mining areas improved to an average of 11.3 g/t in the second quarter of 2017, up from an average of 4.4 g/t in the second quarter last year, as a result of mining higher grade stopes in the Providencia mine this year. This brought the overall head grade for the Segovia Operations to an average of 15.9 g/t in the second quarter of 2017 compared with 13.8 g/t in the second quarter last year. Segovia's gold production of 40,228 ounces in the second quarter of 2017 brought the total for the first half of 2017 to 72,996 ounces, up 26% over the same period last year. The trailing 12 months' total gold production as of the end of June 2017 at Segovia was 141,374 ounces, up 12% over 2016's annual gold production and above the Company's production guidance range for the 2017 calendar year at Segovia of 126,000 to 134,000 ounces. Gold production in July 2017 was 12,651 ounces. However, production in the first half of August 2017 has been adversely impacted by the civil disruption and the impact of the civil disruption on 2017's full year production guidance cannot be assessed at this time.

Segovia's total cash costs were $620 per ounce in the second quarter of 2017, down from $690 in the first quarter of 2017 reflecting the favorable impact on fixed costs on a per ounce basis of the 23% increase in quarterly gold production at the Segovia Operations. Segovia's second quarter 2017 total cash cost of $620 per ounce was slightly better than the $627 per ounce total cash cost reported for the second quarter of last year as the benefit of this year's production increase was partially offset by the year-over-year appreciation of the Colombian peso ("COP") against the U.S. dollar.

The Company's AISC for the first half of 2017 included $12.6 million of sustaining capital expenditures, equivalent to $150 per ounce sold and $76 per ounce higher than the first half of 2016 due to the increased level of exploration, development and capital investment in the Segovia Operations this year. Sustaining capital expenditures in the first half of 2017 of $11.9 million at the Segovia Operations, equivalent to $142 per ounce sold, included (i) $4.8 million for exploration and mine development, (ii) $3.6 million for the mines including completion of a ventilation shaft at the Providencia mine, commencement of ventilation improvements at the El Silencio mine, installation of mine refuge stations, mine equipment and other infrastructure upgrades, (iii) $1.8 million for further upgrades of equipment in the Maria Dama plant and initiation of the project to expand the tailings storage facility, and (iv) $1.1 million to commence installation of a water treatment plant at the Maria Dama plant site to reduce the environmental discharge fees being incurred by the Company.

Marmato Operations

At the Marmato Operations, gold production continued to be steady with 5,847 ounces produced in the second quarter of 2017, bringing the total for the first half of 2017 to 12,087 ounces, up 2% over the same period last year. This brings Marmato's trailing 12 months' gold production at the end of June 2017 to 23,699 ounces, up 1% over its 2016 annual production. July's production amounted to 2,329 ounces and the Company continues to expect Marmato's annual gold production for 2017 will range between 24,000 and 26,000 ounces.

Total cash costs at the Marmato Operations were also steady in the second quarter of 2017 at $1,062 per ounce, but were $129 per ounce over its total cash cost in the second quarter last year as a result of the year-over-year COP appreciation and the impact on total cash costs on a per ounce basis of the impact on gold production of the lower head grades in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the second quarter last year.


The Company produced a total of 100,063 ounces of gold production through the end of July 2017, keeping it on track to produce a total of 150,000 to 160,000 ounces of gold for the full year compared with the 149,708 ounces produced in 2016. However, the recent civil disruption in Segovia and Remedios has adversely impacted mining and plant operations at Segovia in the first half of August. Although the Company is able to conduct some operations at Segovia at this time, there can be no assurance regarding the duration of the current disruption or the extent of the impact that it will continue to have on production and cash flow during the balance of 2017.

The Company's total cash cost and AISC averaged $709 and $910 per ounce sold, respectively, in the first half of 2017. These results were in line with the Company's expectations and the Company continues to expect, provided there is no prolonged adverse impact on production through the balance of the year, that its total cash cost and AISC averages for the full year 2017 will remain below $720 and $900 per ounce sold, respectively.

The Company has deposited a total of $5.5 million representing its Excess Cash Flow for the first half of 2017 into the sinking funds for the Senior Debentures. In 2017, provided gold prices remain at least at the current levels and there is no prolonged adverse impact on operations from the civil disruption in Segovia, the Company expects to generate Excess Cash Flow for the full year in the order of $16 million and, to the extent possible, will use the cash in the sinking fund to make open market repurchases of the 2020 Debentures for cancellation. The Company also completed a $3.0 million partial redemption at par of the 2020 Debentures on July 31, 2017 and will continue to consider, as appropriate, additional partial redemptions going forward as a means to reduce its 2020 Debentures ahead of maturity.


As a reminder, the Company will host a conference call and webcast on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss the results.

Webcast and call-in details are as follows:

Live Event link: International: 1 (514) 841-2157 North America Toll Free: 1 (866) 215-5508 Colombia Toll Free: 01 800 9 156 924 Conference ID: 45399427

A replay of the webcast will be available at from Tuesday, August 15, 2017 until Thursday, September 14, 2017.

About Gran Colombia Gold Corp.

Gran Colombia is a Canadian-based gold and silver exploration, development and production company with its primary focus in Colombia. Gran Colombia is currently the largest underground gold and silver producer in Colombia with several underground mines in operation at its Segovia and Marmato Operations. Gran Colombia is continuing its expansion and modernization activities at its high-grade Segovia Operations.

Additional information on Gran Colombia can be found on its website at and by reviewing its profile on SEDAR at

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information", which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to anticipated business plans or strategies. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Gran Colombia to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements are described under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form dated as of March 30, 2017, which is available for view on SEDAR at Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this press release and Gran Colombia disclaims, other than as required by law, any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, results, future events, circumstances, or if management's estimates or opinions should change, or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

For Further Information, Please Contact: Mike Davies Chief Financial Officer (416) 360-4653

2017 Nasdaq, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Gran Colombia Gold Reports Second Quarter 2017 Results; Announces Mine Life Extension at Its Segovia Operations - MarketWatch

Freeze your body and cheat death in China China’s latest society and culture news – SupChina

Another scam to draw research funds. This didnt even succeed in America, and now a small company in Shandong thinks it can make it happen. This is so amusing.

It is terrifying to imagine that when you wake up, all the people who used to be around you dont exist anymore.

These were some of the reactions on social media platform Weibo(in Chinese) to news reported(in Chinese) by Science and Technology Dailythat a 49-year-old woman who died from lung cancer was frozen in a tank of liquid nitrogen at a research institute in Shandong. This was Chinas first attempt at cryopreservation, an attempt to have a second chance at life in the future if the technology is ever invented to revive a corpse.

Zhan Wenlian was pronounced clinically dead on May 8 when her heart stopped beating. Zhans body was immediately transferred to a medical laboratory of Yinfeng Biological Group, a for-profit research institute based in Shandong where it was placed on a special operating bed that lowered her body temperature to around 18 degrees Celsius. Then the bodys fluids, including water and blood, were gradually replaced by cryoprotective agents that act as an antifreeze to protect the body from crystallization at extremely low temperatures. After six hours of injections, Zhan was stored in a cooling box filled with liquid nitrogen that will keep her body temperature below minus 196 degrees Celsius. The whole process took about 55 hours.

The procedure was overseen by Dr. Aaron Drake, a medical expert from Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that in 2015 carried out the cryopreservation of the brain of Chinese writer Du Hong , who paid 750,000 yuan ($112,465) for the chance at a second life. According to an employee from Yinfeng, the companys service is in no way inferior to Western counterparts in terms of facilities and technology. I dont know how to put this, but lets just say what Americans and Russians did were not sophisticated enough, the employee confidently said. The cost of Zhans procedure, normally around 50,000 yuan ($7,500) per year, was reportedly mostly covered by the company. In addition, Zhan wasclassified as a body donorto the institute, rather than a client, since China lacks official regulations to govern the nascent cryopreservation industry.

Jiayun Feng

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Freeze your body and cheat death in China China's latest society and culture news - SupChina

BWXT Canada To Fabricate Steam Drums For Unit 6 At Bruce Power – Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers (press release) (blog)

BWX Technologies, Inc., said Monday that that its subsidiary BWXT Canada Ltd. (BWXT) has been awarded a $48CA million amendment to its existing steam generator purchase agreement from Bruce Power. The amendment reflects the addition of steam drums to Bruce Powers steam generator agreement with BWXT Canada previously announced July 2016.

The steam drums and associated steam separation internals will be designed and fabricated in BWXTs Cambridge, Ontario facility as part of eight steam generators that will be supplied to Bruce Powers Bruce B Unit 6 reactor. The supply of steam generators is part of Bruce Powers Life-Extension Program that will extend the life of six of its reactors, the company announced.

The addition of steam drums integrally manufactured with the steam generators will add to the efficiency of our Steam Generator Replacements that are part of our life extension outage in Unit 6 in 2020 and will be crucial in helping us to safely and reliably operate the site through to 2064, said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Powers president and chief executive officer.

Executives from Bruce Power and BWXT, along with the Member of Provincial Parliament for Cambridge, Ontario and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, plan to tour the Bruce Power site on Tuesday, August 15.

Bruce Power supplies 30 percent of Ontarios electricity at 30 percent less than the average cost to generate residential power. Extending the operational life of the Bruce Power units to 2064 will create and sustain 22,000 direct and indirect jobs every year, create $4 billion in annual Ontario economic benefit, and will ensure low-cost, clean and reliable energy for Ontario families and businesses.

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BWXT Canada To Fabricate Steam Drums For Unit 6 At Bruce Power - Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers (press release) (blog)

Government prods producers on extending NWS – The West Australian

Karratha Gas Plant, North West Shelf Project

The Federal Government is showing signs of taking a more interventionist role in ensuring the life of the North West Shelf LNG project is extended, according to a research report.

The report by resources consultants Wood Mackenzie said the Government was motivated by an NWS life extension being worth up to $US48 billion in additional taxes.

Industry regulator the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator had written to resource owners in North West waters requesting more information about the viability of prolonging the project, the report said.

There are signs the Government is becoming more proactive in the sector, and has leverage under the retention lease system to push developments forward, a summary said.

There are now real drivers pushing for the projects life extension, and conditions are unlikely to get more favourable than what we have now.

The three-decade-old NWS needs new sources of gas in the 2020s to keep its five production train Karratha Gas Plant going.

Wood Mackenzie said a life extension development should be able to take advantage of lower costs during the construction phase and a tightening energy market once production began.

It said a new industry focus on costs and margins had made resource owners more open to sharing third party infrastructure.

NWS operator Woodside Petroleums preferred option for the Browse joint venture it leads is to pipe the gas to Karratha.

While citing Browse as the leading candidate, other developments the report identified as potential suppliers were the ExxonMobil-led Scarborough field and the Chevron-led Clio and Acme fields and undeveloped Greater Gorgon fields.

Woodside in May said the NWS partners had agreed on a proposed toll for resource owners to process gas through the Karratha plant.

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Government prods producers on extending NWS - The West Australian

Why Aubrey Plaza Is a Modern-Day Andy Kaufman – L.A. Weekly

It's Aubrey Plaza's 33rd birthday, and she's curled up on a couch in a deafeningly quiet, concrete-walled room at the Line hotel in Koreatown. She hugs her knees to her chest. Her T-shirt features a hyper-realistic image of Nicolas Cage's face, and I can just see his toothy, maniacal smile peeking out from between her legs it's unnerving. Her hands fidget, knotting and unknotting a black string attached to a Santa Muerte charm. The actor hit stardom with her sardonic slacker character April on the NBC show Parks and Recreation and, like many TV stars on long-running shows, she has found it difficult to escape her monster creation. With a recent succession of mold-smashing projects Legion, The Little Hours and Ingrid Goes West she's about to leave April behind. But who will she become?

"If Andy Kaufman is alive, he should come and find me," Plaza tells me.

Kaufman is one of Plaza's greatest influences. The comic actor died from cancer in 1984 but he melted so deeply into his myriad personas that there are people who still believe he is alive and simply playing a long con on his suffering audiences. If you've only ever seen Plaza on the uplifting comedy Parks & Rec, the Kaufman reference may not immediately resonate for you. But to friends and colleagues, she is a Loki trickster who revels in absurdity.

"She's not just playing at being Andy Kaufman," Plaza's Legion director, Noah Hawley, tells me over the phone. "She is Andy Kaufman."

He shares the story of their first meeting: Plaza shows up 30 minutes late, on crutches, and immediately opens up about her quest to be a director on Parks and Recreation and her disappointment that they denied her the chance while letting the men direct.

"I said, 'That is wrong. They should have let you direct,' but then she said, 'Oh no, I just made that up. I didn't want to direct.'" Hawley sounds simultaneously exasperated and impressed when he speaks of Plaza. "There's a sense she's always testing you I didn't even know if she really needed those crutches." She did, but that's another story.

On Legion, a show about a young mutant who's hospitalized for schizophrenia but realizes he may actually have powers (it exists in the X-Men universe), Plaza plays Lenny. She's a projection of the Shadow King, a psychic mutant who is a kind of gender-fluid parasite who possesses the bodies of others. Essentially, Plaza is playing up to four different characters all of whom have varied mannerisms and speech patterns in the same scene. Her performances are as unpredictable from take to take as the multiple characters she plays: Will she embody a power-hungry therapist, or will she break into a sexy, Fosse-style song-and-dance number?

Aubrey Plaza plays the complex Lenny in FX series Legion.

Courtesy FX

"With her, you never quite know what's going to happen, and that's really for me very exciting," her co-star Dan Stevens says. "She's always kind of looking for the mischievous choice in the scene," which is hell on continuity folks and editors charged with making sure she picks up the coffee cup the same way in every take that never happens. But Stevens and Hawley say Plaza's spontaneity precisely fits the show's tone.

"I needed someone who could be anything and everything in any moment," Hawley explains to me. "There's a sort of slippery quality this character has, very fast-talking. Part of this character's dance is about manipulating people and tricking them, and yet I really wanted her to be likable."

Plaza's had a lot of practice being abrasive but likable most of the characters she plays fall into this category, from the diehard party girl of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to Depressed Debbie in Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress and perpetually annoyed Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But Hawley's casting of Plaza (and changing the character from male to female for her) has begun a small avalanche of projects that could finally leave her Parks & Rec charter behind and let Plaza become whoever she wants.

The Little Hours, a heartfelt nunsploitation period piece from Plaza's longtime romantic partner and creative collaborator, Jeff Baena, opened in June to rave reviews. Plaza not only stars in the film alongside Alison Brie and Kate Micucci but also earns her first producing credit.

"A lot of time you see actors getting producer credits, it's just a vanity title for them," Baena says. He describes watching Plaza naturally morph into the nurturing attitude of a producer, even using her day off to take actor Paul Reiser on a Tuscany tour producers have to keep everyone on set happy. "Whatever she does, she takes it seriously. Ultimately, I think she's going to be a filmmaker with that heightened sensitivity."

Plaza describes that "sensitivity" as a manifestation of her tendency to "please" people, which is a double-edged sword: Acting and producing require a person to be highly attuned to others' needs, but what happens if you can't turn that off?

"I'm such a people pleaser that my natural reaction in interviews and things is to give people what they want. It's like I'm a robot," Plaza says. "'Oh, these people want me to say something weird or mean or sarcastic, so I just do that. That'll make them happy.' I'm just now getting better at feeling more comfortable in my own skin, but it can be hard when people are projecting ideas onto you at full speed, constantly."

But Plaza absolutely emphasizes that she knows her life is not achingly difficult. As a young artist who got cast on a popular network series simply by showing up to an informal meeting in shorts and a T-shirt to talk about the meaning of life and suggest that, hey, maybe a character could be a droll slacker, Plaza sometimes can't even believe that they let her on television back then. And if ever she were to get a big head, she says, her real family and her TV family were there to slap her back down to Earth.

"Nick Offerman knew every single person on set's name, [he] was the most generous man to be working with, and if I would have a bad day and be annoyed or acting like a brat or whatever, he would be the first one to say, 'Just remember we're on network television, and our lives are spectacular,'" Plaza says, offering an ace Offerman impression. "And I'd be like, 'Of course! Thank you. Fucking of course our lives are spectacular!'"

Aubrey Plaza in The Little Hours with Dave Franco

Courtesy Gunpowder & Sky Distribution

Still, this doesn't mean the road ahead to reinvent herself from past characters will be necessarily easy, but it seems the secret key to doing so is to expand her role as a producer. After The Little Hours, she read director Matt Spicer and David Branson Smith's script for the Instagram-stalker tragicomedy Ingrid Goes West and saw something special there. "I knew what it could be, and I wanted to make that happen the script is never the final product," she says. Spicer agrees that Plaza's biggest role in production was pushing for "curve ball" casting choices, like O'Shea Jackson Jr., who most famously portrayed his father, Ice Cube, in Straight Outta Compton, as her character's nerdy but confident love interest.

"[The part] was written for a kind of dorky stoner dude, but I recognized that the chemistry I would have with O'Shea would be really different from something you usually see," Plaza explains. She'd met the rapper-turned-actor at a party and relentlessly waved the script in his face until he committed to the project. "I thought if we could capture that on camera, it would just make the movie that much deeper."

Plaza may be a trickster and comedic actor but she craves depth, and those things aren't mutually exclusive. Her entire life has been dictated by the motto: "Take it as far as it can go." The "it" could be anything a character, a bit, a basketball team because whatever Plaza does, it's gonna be sincere, even if it's just sincerely weird.

Along "Cult House Road," deep in the forest on the Delaware-Pennsylvania border, the skeletal trees lining the pavement angle outward, away from the road and their sun source. Through an overgrown path, there is a burned-out abandoned cabin, which is said to have hosted Satanic rituals, pagan animal sacrifices or DuPont incest weddings, depending on whom you ask. Something about this place seems wrong, even if you can't put your finger on exactly why. This is where M. Night Shyamalan shot The Village. It's also where Aubrey Plaza's mother, Bernadette, would drive her late at night on impromptu road trips with her cousins.

"We'd drive down Cult House Road, and she'd turn the lights off, and we'd all be screaming. My mom is kind of mysterious. She would always do weird things with us," Plaza says, taking a moment to think. "Maybe that's why I'm into witches."

Plaza was raised Catholic and attended an all-girls school in Wilmington, Delaware, with her two sisters. "The power of three is real," she says. She loved The Craft and doing silly spells, but she was also a teacher's pet (damn that need to please!) and class president. In true Plaza fashion, she took her presidential campaign as far as it could go, actually convincing a staffer from Republican senator Bill Roth's office to help her.

"He showed up at my school and was flyering and helping me with my posters, and I remember he helped me set up this archway with balloons at 6 a.m., so everyone who showed up that day had to walk through this thing to get into the door." Plaza shrugs. "Really bizarre. I was just a kid. But he helped me win."

What people most often miss about Plaza's sense of humor is that she doesn't enjoy "mean" comedy. Yes, she is deadpan, once showed up to a national TV interview wearing vampire teeth for no reason, and bewildered ESPN viewers with her re-creation of The Decision to announce that she was trading herself from her infamous Pistol Shrimps basketball team to the Spice Squirrels, but she insists she was never what you'd call a "bad" kid. She was and is a "thrill seeker."

In high school, she and her friend Neil Casey (Inside Amy Schumer, Ghostbusters) would stand on the side of the highway, dress in costume and toss a beach ball back and forth, simply to boggle passers-by. Plaza thinks her fascination with absurdity stemmed from growing up in such a conservative area. "It was satisfying to do something weird for weird's sake, with no purpose, to make people stop and laugh."

Her natural trajectory was comedy and New York. She graduated from NYU and went to work as an NBC page around the time that Amy Poehler was staffed on Saturday Night Live. "I like to think that I walked by her wearing an astronaut costume while she was making up lies to a group of tourists," Poehler wrote to me in an email.

By the time Plaza got an audition for Judd Apatow's Funny People in Los Angeles, Poehler had gone West herself and was prepping to lead her own sitcom with the creators of The Office. Plaza got that informal meeting set up with the Parks folks and quickly thereafter got the casting phone call that would change her life. Los Angeles became her home. And the Parks cast and crew became her new weirdo family.

"Leslie Knope was supposed to be April Ludgate's mentor, and so our first couple of seasons felt like that [in real life]," Poehler says. "But Aubrey Plaza, the person, is an old soul. Very wise. Always watching."

Plaza calls Poehler and Rashida Jones her "big sisters" and gushes about every co-star when asked. For a young woman who'd grown up in a tight-knit family with her two real-life sisters, landing in this supportive cast was something of a godsend.

"Looking back, I am blown away still by just that group of people being in one room doing comedy together, and everyone was a genuinely nice and lovable person," Plaza says. Then she picks up her phone that's been buzzing off and on for the duration of our interview. She holds it up to me and scrolls through an endless series of text messages just fast enough that I can't make out any single one. "Literally this morning, I got a text from every single person. We're on a mass texting chain, that whole cast, and someone will write on it at least every other day, and it's been years. I could show you hundreds of hours of texting. Aziz [Ansari] just sent me a ridiculous picture of him for my birthday. Everyone was commenting while we've been talking."

This adorable text chain feels every bit the real-life extension of the TV show. A large part of the appeal of Parks when it aired, and still today, is its earnestness and the feeling of joy amid darkness it evoked, which Plaza attributes to how pleasant things were behind the scene and how Poehler ran her set.

"I think most people at No. 1 on the call sheet, like Amy is, it's really hard for them to keep things in perspective," Plaza says. "It's easy to take on that No. 1 status and just have your ego take over, and Amy was just so always conscious of the vibe on set, and the idea of gratitude, and respect, but also having fun."

As Plaza has stepped into that No. 1 spot herself, she's tried to take to heart what she's learned from her mentors. But the problem with being a talented character actor zig-zagging from persona to persona with no stop in sight is that the self becomes malleable. "My biggest fear is that I lose myself," she says. Nowhere is that challenge more evident than in the endless press junkets and interviews she does to promote her projects. Seeing how fascinated people are with her personal life is deeply uncomfortable for her. People want to know who her celebrity BFF is, and Plaza has no desire to share yet still feels obliged to entertain. She's the kind of person who makes acquaintances easily but keeps her real friends close she still calls her old high school pals on the phone to chat.

Even this interview brings a certain amount of discomfort to Plaza, which makes me want to apologize for even asking any personal questions do I really need to know her favorite saint? (It's Bernadette, obviously.) She's uneasy with too much attention and especially wary of social media. "It's not real. It's just all in your head, so there's something kind of scary about it. I'm having all these interactions in my head. Physically, I'm just sitting in a chair."

But with all this in mind, it is absolutely no wonder that Plaza was drawn to her most recent project, Ingrid Goes West. The film taps into these fears she has about sharing personal information. Ironically, the actress delivers her most intimate, raw performance yet. Watching this film feels as if you finally know her. But, really, who the hell is Aubrey Plaza?

Actor Chris Pratt may know the real Aubrey Plaza.

"Aubrey is a survivor and alchemist. Her on-screen (and off-screen) personas are equal parts defense mechanism and performance art. She's tough and surprisingly complicated. The very best parts of her are yet to be discovered by audiences and most people. She would deny it, but beneath her signature eye rolls (and accessible to only the luckiest people in her life) is softness, kindness, pathos, creativity and vulnerability."

That's the heartbreakingly sweet assessment Pratt sent via email about his longtime Parks and Recreation co-star. And Pratt's right, because "most people" never will know Plaza. But audiences are now about to see a few new sides to her.

Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West

Courtesy Neon Distribution

In Ingrid Goes West, Plaza plays a bereft woman with a bag of cash she inherited from her recently deceased mother. Her woeful social ineptitude renders her helpless, unable to reach out to others without becoming too attached to them; think Single White Female "lite" in the age of Instagram. Ingrid stumbles onto the candid photos of lifestyle influencer Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) and maneuvers her way into the stranger's life, forging a "friendship."

"I think the movie could have easily veered into the direction of being an indictment on social media, but I wanted it to be rooted in a human story about human connection," Plaza says. "It's about someone who really wants to have a connection, and they feel lonely and misunderstood, and that's a universal feeling for human beings."

Though Plaza jokes the trailers for the film suggest it is "a crazy, nonstop laugh express train to nowhere," viewers likely will be shocked by how emotional the story gets, or, rather, how emotional Plaza gets. Ingrid walks a tightrope of anxiety, juggling lies; when they catch up to her, her denial and subsequent breakdown turns this comedy into a tearjerker. The success of this film hinges on Plaza's ability to sell drama. And she does.

"There were times when she was in an emotional scene, and we did 20, 25 takes, and she would want to do more," Ingriddirector Matt Spicer says. "I know a lot of people see her as [Parks & Rec's] April Ludgate, but I hope the takeaway from this film is that she's a real-deal actress."

Being a producer on Ingrid, Plaza was forced to watch herself in the dailies, poring over the footage. She says she never watches her own movies or interviews, so this was a little circle of hell for her, but she realized that through watching herself on screen, she was able to overcome her insecurities and simply judge a take on whether it accomplished a goal, not on whether she succeeded or failed. Spicer says she was a dream producer a person who can deliver the impossible again and again, on and off the set.

"Making good movies is sooo hard. That should be the title of this article," Plaza laughs. But however difficult it is, Plaza seems energized by having creative control over her own projects. She tells me that she's never been in a place to be picky. Every role she takes is for a reason. ("Did I think Dirty Grandpa was going to be the best movie in the world? No. But you're telling me I've got a shot to play Robert De Niro's love interest? I'm in.") But more than anything, Plaza is excited to age; she's tired of playing a 20-year-old.

"In Dirty Grandpa, I played a college senior, and I was 30," she says. "I've always thought, 'God, when I'm in my 40s, I think I'm going to get some meaty parts.' But everyone is so obsessed with youth, so every movie is about 19-year-olds. I used to watch movies that had adults who were wearing blazers and high heels and going to work and dropping off their kid. Where did those characters go?"

Today, on Aubrey Plaza's 33rd birthday, she tells me she wants to bring the adult woman back into style. She wants to make action films. She wants to make funny films. She wants to revive the screwball romantic comedies of the 1980s, like her personal favorite, Romancing the Stone, maybe with Chris Pratt. (She cites Michael Douglas as another inspiration for producing that film when no one else wanted to make it.) She wants to be and do everything yet, she tells me, if she ends up like Adam Sandler's character in Funny People "where I'm all alone and lost all my personal relationships" well, it's not worth it.

Next up for her is a bizarro comedy called An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn, from Greasy Strangler director Jim Hosking. The script was so out-there that her agents had put it in their trash pile before she told them she thought it was genius. It's impossible to nail down exactly what Plaza will think or what she will like. Or who she is.

At the end of our interview, she gives me a hug. She's been candid and forthright with me in this brutalist hotel room for an hour and a half, and I'm surprised by how normal it all seemed.

An hour later, I'm at home, listening to my recording of our conversation, when I hear myself leave Plaza's hotel room momentarily. I left the recorder on while I was gone. Before I can speed through what I expected to be ambient sounds of shuffling, I hear a demonic voice growl coming from the recorder. "Satan-Satan-Satan-Satan!" it yelled. It was Plaza pulling another trick. Then I hear her deadpan voice emerge from the recorder again: "Hello? Hello? ... Huh, wow, that was weird."

Yes, Aubrey. Yes, it was.

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Why Aubrey Plaza Is a Modern-Day Andy Kaufman - L.A. Weekly

SBM Offshore Confirms Settlement with Extended Group of Insurers on its Yme Insurance Claim – GlobeNewswire (press release)

August 11, 2017

SBM Offshore confirms that a settlement contract has now been executed with an extended group of primary layer insurers further to its announcement on July 17, 2017 that Heads of Terms had been agreed. The final settlement includes one additional primary layer insurer. As a result, SBM Offshore has entered into a binding settlement with 83,6% of the US$500 million primary insurance layer against a cash payment of US$281 million in full and final settlement of its claim against participating insurers.

Upon receipt, the settlement monies will be used first to reimburse legal fees and other claim related expenses incurred to date. The balance of the settlement monies will then be shared equally between SBM Offshore and Repsol in accordance with the terms of their Settlement Agreement of March 11, 2013 which concluded the Yme project.

SBM Offshore continues to pursue its claim against all remaining insurers including the two excess layers, the trial of which is scheduled to commence October 2018.

Further details of this settlement and the claim are confidential.

Corporate Profile

SBM Offshore N.V. is a listed holding company that is headquartered in Amsterdam. It holds direct and indirect interests in other companies that collectively with SBM Offshore N.V. form the SBM Offshore group ("the Company").

SBM Offshore provides floating production solutions to the offshore energy industry, over the full product life-cycle. The Company is market leading in leased floating production systems with multiple units currently in operation and has unrivalled operational experience in this field. The Company's main activities are the design, supply, installation, operation and the life extension of Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. These are either owned and operated by SBM Offshore and leased to its clients or supplied on a turnkey sale basis.

As of December 31, 2016, Group companies employ approximately 4,750 people worldwide. Full time company employees totaling c. 4,250 are spread over five regional centers, ten operational shore bases and the offshore fleet of vessels. A further 500 are working for the joint ventures with several construction yards. For further information, please visit our website at

The companies in which SBM Offshore N.V. directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this communication "SBM Offshore" is sometimes used for convenience where references are made to SBM Offshore N.V. and its subsidiaries in general, or where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies.

The Management Board

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, August 11, 2017

Note: dates in bold have changed as communicated in SBM Offshore's press release dated 10 July 2017

For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations

Bert-Jaap Dijkstra

Investor Relations Director

Mobile NL: +31 (0) 6 2114 1017

Mobile MC: +33 (0) 6 4391 9302

Telephone: +377 9205 1732



Media Relations

Vincent Kempkes

Group Communications Director

Telephone: +31 (0) 20 2363 170

Mobile: +31 (0) 6 25 68 71 67




This press release contains inside information within the meaning of Article 7(1) of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. Some of the statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those in such statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results and performance of the Company's business to differ materially and adversely from the forward-looking statements. Certain such forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward- looking terminology such as "believes", "may", "will", "should", "would be", "expects" or "anticipates" or similar expressions, or the negative thereof, or other variations thereof, or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy, plans, or intentions. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in this release as anticipated, believed, or expected. SBM Offshore NV does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update any industry information or forward-looking statements set forth in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. Nothing in this press release shall be deemed an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities.


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SBM Offshore Confirms Settlement with Extended Group of Insurers on its Yme Insurance Claim - GlobeNewswire (press release)

BWXT Awarded CA$48 Million Amendment to Steam Generator Purchase Agreement from Bruce Power – Business Wire (press release)

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:BWXT) announced today that its subsidiary BWXT Canada Ltd. (BWXT Canada) has been awarded a CA$48 million amendment to its existing steam generator purchase agreement from Bruce Power. The amendment reflects the addition of steam drums to Bruce Powers steam generator agreement with BWXT Canada previously announced July 2016.

The steam drums and associated steam separation internals will be designed and fabricated in BWXTs Cambridge, Ontario facility as part of eight steam generators that will be supplied to Bruce Powers Bruce B Unit 6 reactor. The supply of steam generators is part of Bruce Powers Life-Extension Program that will extend the life of six of its reactors.

BWXT values its contributions to Bruce Powers Life Extension Program, which is critical to ensuring the supply of low-cost, clean and reliable energy for Ontario, said John MacQuarrie, President of BWXT Canada. As a major supplier of nuclear products and services, BWXT is committed to ensuring its customers are successful in completing their projects on-time and on-budget.

BWXT has been a proud supplier of products and services to the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station since it went online in 1977.In December 2015, Bruce Power and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announced an amended long-term agreement that will see Units 3 through 8 refurbished over the next two decades to extend the life of the site to 2064 and secure 6,400 megawatts to fulfill commitments to Ontarios Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).

The addition of steam drums integrally manufactured with the steam generators will add to the efficiency of our Steam Generator Replacements that are part of our life extension outage in Unit 6 in 2020 and will be crucial in helping us to safely and reliably operate the site through to 2064, said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Powers president and CEO. Partnerships such as this one with BWXT will help us to continue to deliver innovations that keep our life extension project on time and on budget, benefitting the people of Ontario.

This agreement also supports BWXT as a major employer providing highly skilled jobs within the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge region.

Executives from Bruce Power and BWXT, along with the Member of Provincial Parliament for Cambridge, Ontario and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, will tour the Bruce Power site tomorrow.

"The ongoing collaboration between BWXT and Bruce Power is creating safe, clean and low-cost electricity for the people of Ontario, McGarry said. This partnership is an example of how we can continue to make Ontario a hub for advanced manufacturing providing stable jobs and economic benefits in communities like Cambridge, and right across this great province of ours.

Bruce Power supplies 30% of Ontarios electricity at 30% less than the average cost to generate residential power. Extending the operational life of the Bruce Power units to 2064 will create and sustain 22,000 direct and indirect jobs every year, create $4 billion in annual Ontario economic benefit, and will ensure low-cost, clean and reliable energy for Ontario families and businesses.

Forward Looking Statements

BWXT cautions that this release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to the performance, timing, impact and value, to the extent contract value can be viewed as an indicator of future revenues, of the Bruce Power amendment. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, modification or termination of the contract and delays. If one or more of these or other risks materialize, actual results may vary materially from those expressed. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see BWXTs annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. BWXT cautions not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release, and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except to the extent required by applicable law

About BWXT Canada Ltd.

BWXT Canada Ltd. (BWXT Canada) has over 60 years of expertise and experience in the design, manufacturing, commissioning and service of nuclear power generation equipment. This includes CANDU and Pressurized Water Reactor steam generators, nuclear fuel and fuel components, critical plant components, parts and related plant services. Headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario, BWXT Canada has approximately 850 employees at locations in Cambridge, Peterborough, Toronto and Arnprior, Ontario. BWXT Canada is a subsidiary of BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:BWXT). BWXT is a leading supplier of nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government; provides technical, management and site services to support governments in the operation of complex facilities and environmental remediation activities; and supplies precision manufactured components, fuel and services for the commercial nuclear power industry. Learn more at

About Bruce Power

Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

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BWXT Awarded CA$48 Million Amendment to Steam Generator Purchase Agreement from Bruce Power - Business Wire (press release)

America desperately needs to modernize its nuclear weapons – The Hill (blog)

Bad news from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency: North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

The Hermit Kingdom is not alone in its nuclear pursuits. Russia and China have also committed to exploring new weapons capabilities, and Iran still harbors nuclear aspirations. In the United States, however, attempts to modernize our nuclear arsenal face tremendous resistance.

The scale, scope and capacity of the Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization programs far outstrip current U.S. efforts. Failing to modernize our aging warheads and platforms carries tremendous risk that goes well beyond those posed by not keeping up with the Joneses.

U.S. nuclear weapons are old. The warheads are based on 1970s designs, and they have not been physically tested in a quarter of a century. The nuclear triad of bombers, submarines, and long-range missiles is long in the tooth, as well. The Minuteman long-range missiles were deployed in the 1970s.

B-52 bombers, introduced in the 1950s, are so old that occasionally a grandson jockeys the same tail number that his grandfather flew. Even our newest systems, the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and B-2 bombers, are more than two decades old.

The nuclear triad is the bedrock of U.S. strategic deterrence and a core component of U.S. security assurances to over 30 allies around the world. It must be modernized regardless of the fate of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as New START. The centerpiece of the Obama administrations failed Russian reset policy, New START has not served the strategic security interests of the United States.

It called for and delivered disproportionate reductions to the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. Moreover, the Russians have flagrantly violated the spirit of the treaty, deploying more than 200 nuclear warheads more than the treaty permits. (Nothing new there. Russia is also violating several other arms control agreements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.)

Former officials of the Obama administration, who had a hand in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, now recognize that the strategic environment has become significantly more dangerous since that review was concluded. The review was based on two questionable assumptions: that Russia was no longer a threat and that Russia (or any other country, for that matter) would not be a major adversary in the future.

But much has changed since those calculations were made. Russia, for example, has annexed Crimea, sent troops into Ukraine and propped up Bashar Assad in Syria. China has become more aggressive and belligerent in the South China Sea. And then theres North Korea. No one can know the future, of course. International developments have a way of taking the United States by surprise. And this unpredictability is precisely why the U.S. must maintain a credible, viable and robust nuclear deterrent.

Modernization is essential because the determined efforts of Russia, China and even North Korea leave the United States at risk of losing its competitive edge and thus its strategic deterrent. Both Moscow and Beijing reportedly include nuclear warhead testing as components of their modernization programs. And both are likely pursuing innovative design and development work to create warheads capable of generating special effects, such as enhanced radiation or electromagnetic pulse.Robust modernization programs also mean that their warhead workforce and production facilities remain skilled, capable and agile.

This is another area where the United States risks falling behind.U.S. scientists and nuclear engineers primarily focus their work (and thinking) on warhead maintenance and life extension programs a different set of skills than actually designing and building new warheads. The former attempts to sustain what is already known, while the latter explores new possibilities and leads to new designs and potential uses critical things to know if only to know what to defend against.

At present, the U.S. national laboratories are doing little to improve their understanding of foreign nuclear weapon designs. Those limited efforts should be expanded. Not only would it educate the current and upcoming generation of nuclear weapon designers, it would help ensure that the next generation tasked to certify our nuclear stockpile reliable has the experience and know-how of designing, building and testing actual warheads.

It made no sense for the French, British and Americans to remain committed to horse cavalry while the Germans were developing mobile tank warfare. So, today, it makes no sense for the U.S. to remain committed to merely certifying vintage nuclear weapons while our competitors race forward with new research and development efforts.

U.S. nuclear weapons policy must evolve as the nuclear threat evolves. Making changes to the U.S. nuclear posture as the threat environment grows more challenging will ultimately put the United States and its allies in a better strategic position. Congress and the Trump administration must not waver in their support for the U.S. nuclear modernization program.

Michaela Dodge is a senior policy analyst specializing in missile defense and arms control in the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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America desperately needs to modernize its nuclear weapons - The Hill (blog)

Immortality: Silicon Valley’s latest obsession ushers in the transhumanist era – South China Morning Post

Zoltan Istvan is launching his campaign to become Libertarian governor of the American state of California with two signature policies. First, hell eliminate poverty with a universal basic income that will guarantee US$5,000 per month for every Californian household for ever. (Hell do this without raising taxes, he promises.)

The next item in his in-tray is eliminating death. He intends to divert trillions of dollars into life-extending technologies robotic hearts, artificial exoskeletons, genetic editing, bionic limbs and so on in the hope that each Californian man, woman and AI (artificial intelligence) will eventually be able to upload their consciousness to the Cloud and experience digital eternity.

What we can experience as a human being is going to be dramatically different within two decades, Istvan says, when we meet at his home in Mill Valley, California. We have five senses now. We might have thousands in 30 or 40 years. We might have very different bodies, too.

I have friends who are about a year away from cutting off their arm and replacing it with a prosthetic version. And sure, pretty soon the robotic arm really will be better than a biological one. Lets say you work in construction and your buddy can lift a thousand times what you can. The question is: do you get it?

For most people, the answer to this question is likely to be, Erm, maybe Ill pass for the moment. But to a transhumanist such as Istvan, 44, the answer is, Hell, yes! A former National Geographic reporter and property speculator, Istvan combines the enthusiasm of a child whos read a lot of Marvel comics with a parodically presidential demeanour. Hes a blond-haired, blue-eyed father of two with an athletic build, a firm handshake and the sort of charisma that goes down well in TED talks.

Like most transhumanists (there are a lot of them in California), Istvan believes our species can, and indeed should, strive to transcend our biological limitations. And he has taken it upon himself to push this idea out of the Google Docs of a few Silicon Valley dreamers and into the American political mainstream.

Twenty-five years ago, hardly anybody was recycling, he explains. Now, environmentalism has conditioned an entire generation. Im trying to put transhumanism on a similar trajectory, so that in 10, 15 years, everybody is going to know what it means and think about it in a very positive way.

What were saying is that over the next 30 years, the complexity of human experience is going to become so amazing, you ought to at least see it

Zoltan Istvan

I meet Istvan at the home he shares with his wife, Lisa an obstetrician and gynaecologist with Planned Parenthood and their two daughters, six-year-old Eva, and Isla, who is three. I had been expecting a gadget-laden cyber-home; in fact, he resides in a 100-year-old loggers house built from Californian redwood, with a converted stable on the ground floor and plastic childrens toys in the yard. If it werent for the hyper-inflated prices in the Bay Area (Its sort of Facebook yuppie-ville around here, says Istvan) youd say it was a humble Californian homestead.

Still, there are a few details that give him away, such as the forbidding security warnings on his picket fence. During his unsuccessful bid for the presidency last year he stood as the Transhumanist Party candidate and scored zero per cent a section of the religious right identified him as the Antichrist. This, combined with Lisas work providing abortions, means they get a couple of death threats a week and have had to report to the FBI.

Christians in America have made transhumanism as popular as its become, says Istvan. They really need something that they can point their finger at that fulfils Revelations.

Istvan also has a West Wing box set on his mantelpiece and a small Meccano cyborg by the fireplace. Its named Jethro, after the protagonist of his self-published novel, The Transhumanist Wager (2013). And there is an old Samsung phone attached to the front door, which enables him to unlock the house using the microchip in his finger.

A lot of the Christians consider my chip a mark of the beast, he says. Im like, No! Its so I dont have to carry my keys when I go out jogging.

Istvan hopes to chip his daughters before long for security purposes and recently argued with his wife about whether it was even worth saving for a university fund for them, since by the time they reach university age, advances in artificial intelligence will mean they can just upload all the learning they need. Lisa won that argument. But hes inclined not to freeze his sperm and Lisas eggs, since if they decide to have a third child, 10 or 20 or 30 years hence, theyll be able to combine their DNA.

Even if theres a mischievous, fake-it-till-you-make-it quality to Istvan, theres also a core of seriousness. He is genuinely troubled that we are on the verge of a technological dystopia that the mass inequalities that helped fuel US President Donald Trumps rise will only worsen when the digital revolution really gets under way. And he despairs of the retrogressive bent of the current administration: Trump talks all the time about immigrants taking jobs. Bulls**t. Its technology thats taking jobs. We have about four million truck drivers who are about to lose their jobs to automation. This is why capitalism needs a basic income to survive.

And hes not wrong in identifying that emerging technologies such as AI and bio-enhancement will bring with them policy implications, and its probably a good idea to start talking about them now.

Stephen Hawkings question to China: will AI help or destroy the human race?

Certainly, life extension is a hot investment in Silicon Valley, whose elites have a hard time with the idea that their billions will not protect them from an earthly death. Google was an early investor in the secretive biotech start-up Calico, the California Life Company, which aims to devise interventions that slow ageing and counteract age-related diseases. Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has invested millions in parabiosis: the process of curing ageing with transfusions of young peoples blood.

Another biotech firm, United Therapeutics, has unveiled plans to grow fresh organs from DNA. Clearly, it is possible, through technology, to make death optional, the firms founder, Martine Rothblatt, told a recent gathering of the National Academy of Medicine in Los Angeles.

In attendance were Google co-founder Sergey Brin, vegan pop star Moby and numerous venture capitalists. Istvan fears that unless we develop policies to regulate this transition, the Thiels of this world will soon be hoarding all the young blood for themselves.

Clearly, it is possible, through technology, to make death optional

Martine Rothblatt

Istvan was born in Oregon in 1973, the son of Hungarian immigrants who fled Stalins tanks in 1968. He had a comfortable middle-class upbringing his mother was a devout Catholic and sent him to Catholic school and an eye for a story. After graduating from Columbia University, he embarked on a solo round-the-world yachting expedition, during which, he says, he read 500 works of classic literature. He spent his early career reporting for the National Geographic channel from more than 100 countries, many of them conflict zones, claiming to have invented the extreme sport of volcano boarding along the way.

One of the things he shares in common with Americas current president is a fortune accrued from real estate. While he was making films overseas in the noughties, his expenses were minimal, so he was able to invest all of his pay cheques in property.

AlphaGos China showdown: Why its time to embrace artificial intelligence

So many people in America were doing this flipping thing at the time, explains Istvan. I realised very quickly, Wow! I could make enough money to retire. It was just quite easy and lucrative to do that.

At his peak, he had a portfolio of 19 fixer-upper houses, most of which he managed to sell before the crash of 2008. He now retains nine as holiday rentals and uses the proceeds to fund his political campaigns (he is reluctant to name his other backers). Still, he insists hes not part of the 1 per cent; the most extravagant item of furniture is a piano, and his groceries are much the same as you find in many liberal, middle-class Californian households.

Istvan cant think of any particular incident that prompted his interest in eternal life, other than perhaps a rejection of Catholicism.

Fifty per cent of me thinks after we die we get eaten by worms, and our body matter and brain return unconsciously to the cosmos [] The other half subscribes to the idea that we live in a holographic universe where other alien artificial intelligences have reached the singularity, he says, referring to the idea, advanced by Google engineer Ray Kurzweil, that pretty soon we will all merge with AI in one transcendental consciousness.

However, when Istvan first encountered transhumanism, at university via an article on cryonics (the practice of deep-freezing the recently dead in the hope that they can be revived at some point), he was sold. Within 90 seconds, I realised thats what I wanted to do in my life.

After a near-death experience in Vietnam he came close to stepping on a landmine Istvan decided to return to America and make good on this vow. I was nearing 30 and Id done some great work, but after all that time Id spent in conflict zones, seeing dead bodies, stuff like that, I thought it would be a good time to dedicate myself to conquering death.

He spent four years writing his novel, which he proudly claims was rejected by more than 600 agents and publishers. Its a dystopian story that imagines a Christian nation outlawing transhumanism, prompting all the billionaires to retreat to an offshore sea-stead where they can work on their advances undisturbed (Thiel has often threatened to do something similar).

Istvan continued to promote transhumanism by writing free columns for Huffington Post and Vice, chosen because they have strong Alexa rankings (ie, they show up high in Google search results).

I wrote something like 200 articles, putting transhumanism through the Google algorithm again and again, he says. I found it a very effective way to spread the message. I covered every angle that I could think of: disability and transhumanism; LGBT issues and transhumanism; transhumanist parenting.

Hes proud to say hes the only mainstream journalist who is so devoted to the cause. A lot of people write about transhumanism, but I think Im the only one who says, This is the best thing thats ever happened!

Why your biological age may hold the key to reversing the ageing process

Istvans presidential campaign was an attempt to take all of this up a level. It sounds as if he had a lot of fun. He toured Rust Belt car parks and Deep South mega-churches in a coffin-shaped immortality bus inspired by the one driven by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters to promote LSD in the 1960s.

His platform Make America Immortal Again earned a fair amount of publicity, but Americans seemed ill-prepared for such concepts as the AI imperative (the idea that the first nation to create a true AI will basically win everything, so America had better be the first) and the singularity. At one point, he and his supporters were held at gunpoint by some Christians in Alabama.

The experience taught him a salutary lesson: unless you are a billionaire, it is simply impossible to make any kind of dent in the system. Hence his defection to the Libertarian Party, which vies with the Greens as the third party in American politics. Every town I go to, theres a Libertarian meet-up. With the Transhumanists, Id have to create the meet-up. So theres more to work with.

The Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, received 3.27 per cent of the votes last year, including half a million votes in California. About seven or eight million are likely to vote in the California governor race, in which context, half a million starts to become a lot of votes, Istvan explains.

His own politics are somewhere between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, he admits, and he has a hard time converting the right wing of his new party to causes such as basic income. (The general spirit of libertarian America is, Hands off!) But he believes transhumanism shares enough in common with libertarianism for the alliance to be viable; the core precepts of being able to do what you like as long as you dont harm anyone else are the same. And the gubernatorial campaign serves as a primary for the 2020 presidential election, when he believes the Libertarian candidate will have a feasible chance of participating in the television debates.

But whats wrong with death? Dont we need old people to die to make space for new people? And by extension, we need old ideas and old regimes to die, too. Imagine if William Randolph Hearst or Genghis Khan were still calling the shots now. And imagine if Mark Zuckerberg and Vladimir Putin were doing so in 200 years. Innovation would cease, the species would atrophy, everyone would get terribly bored. Isnt it the ultimate narcissism to want to live forever?

Istvan does concede that transhumanism is a very selfish philosophy. However, he has an answer for most of the other stuff.

Im a believer in overpopulation Ive been to Delhi and its overcrowded, he says. But if we did a better job of governing, the planet could hold 15 billion people comfortably. Its really a question of better rules and regulations.

And when discussing the desirability of eternal life, he turns into a sort of holiday rep for the future.

What were saying is that over the next 30 years, the complexity of human experience is going to become so amazing, you ought to at least see it, Istvan says. A lot of people find that a lot more compelling than, say, dying of leukaemia.

Still, it comes as little surprise that hes finding live for ever an easier sell than give money to poor people in 21st-century America.

I cant imagine basic income not becoming a platform in the 2020 election, he insists. And if not then, at some point, someone is going to run and win on it. The Republicans should like it because it streamlines government. The Democrats should like it because it helps poor people. Right now, Americans dont like it because it sounds like socialism. But it just needs a little reframing.

Basic-income experiments are already under way in parts of Canada, Finland and the Netherlands, but how would he fund such an idea in the US? He cant raise taxes libertarians hate that. And he doesnt want to alienate Silicon Valley.

If we did a better job of governing, the planet could hold 15 billion people comfortably

Zoltan Istvan

How do you tell the 1 per cent youre going to take all this money from them? It wouldnt work, he says. They control too many things. But Istvan has calculated that 45 per cent of California is government-controlled land that the state could monetise.

A lot of environmentalists are upset at me for that, saying, Woah, Zolt, you want to put a shopping mall in Yosemite? Well, the reality is that the poor people in America will never be able to afford to go to Yosemite. Im trying to be a diplomat here.

And he insists that if Americans miss those national parks when theyve been turned into luxury condos and Taco Bells, theyll be able to replenish them some day if they want.

Theres nanotechnology coming through that would enable us to do that, Istvan argues. We have GMOs [genetically modified organisms] that can regrow plants twice as quick. In 50 or 100 years, were not even going to be worried about natural resources.

Such is his wager that exponential technological growth is around the corner and we may as well hurry it along, because its our best chance of clearing up the mess weve made of things thus far.

The safety of genetically-modified crops is backed by science

Didnt the political developments of 2016 persuade him that progress can be slow and sometimes go backwards? Actually, Istvan argues that what were witnessing are the death throes of conservatism, Christianity, even capitalism.

Everyone says the current pope is the best one weve had for ages, that hes so progressive and whatever. Actually, Catholicism is dying, says Istvan. Nobodys giving it any money any more, so the pope had better moderate its message. As for capitalism, all of this nationalism and populism are just the dying moments.

Its a system that goes against the very core of humanitarian urges. And while its brought us many wonderful material gains, at some point we can say, Thats enough. In the transhumanist age, we will reach utopia. Crime drops to zero. Poverty will end. Violence will drop. At some point, we become a race of individuals who are pretty nice to each other.

But now weve talked for so long that Istvan needs to go and pick up his daughters from childcare. He insists that I join him. What do his family make of all of this?

My wife is a bit sceptical of a lot of my timelines, he says. Lisa comes from practical Wisconsin farming stock, and its a fair bet that her work with Planned Parenthood keeps her pretty grounded. They met on dating website Does she believe in all this stuff?

I dont want to say shes not a transhumanist, he says, but I dont think shed cryogenically freeze herself tomorrow. I would. Im like, If you see me dying of a heart attack, please put me in a refrigerator. She thinks thats weird.

We arrive at the community centre where Istvans daughters are being looked after. They come running out in summer dresses, sweet and sunny and happy to be alive. Both of them want to be doctors when they grow up, like their mum.

The Times/The Interview People

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Immortality: Silicon Valley's latest obsession ushers in the transhumanist era - South China Morning Post