Daily Archives: July 6, 2020

Cryonics, brain preservation and the weird science of cheating death – CNET

Posted: July 6, 2020 at 5:53 pm

Linda Chamberlain works just down the hallway from her husband. She walks past him every day. Occasionally she'll stop by to check in on him and say hello.

The only problem is, Fred Chamberlain has been dead for eight years. Shortly after he was pronounced legally dead from prostate cancer, Fred was cryopreserved -- his body was filled with a medical-grade antifreeze, cooled to minus 196 degrees Celsius and carefully lowered into a giant vat of liquid nitrogen.

So when Linda visits Fred, she talks to him through the insulated, stainless-steel wall of a 10-foot-tall preservation chamber. And he's not alone in there. Eight people reside in that massive cylinder along with him, and more than 170 are preserved in similar chambers in the same room. All of them elected to have their bodies stored in subzero temperatures, to await a future when they could be brought back to life. Cryonically preserved in the middle of the Arizona desert.

This story is part of Hacking the Apocalypse, CNET's documentary series on the tech saving us from the end of the world.

Linda Chamberlain is cheerful as she shows me her husband's perhaps-not-final resting place. She places her hand on the cool steel and gives it a loving pat. Being in a room with 170 dead people isn't morbid to her.

"It makes me feel happy," she says. "Because I know that they have the potential to be restored to life and health. And I have the potential of being with them again."

Alcor proclaims itself a world leader in cryonics, offering customers the chance to preserve their bodies indefinitely, until they can be restored to full health and function through medical discoveries that have yet to be made. For the low price of $220,000, Alcor is selling the chance to live a second life.

It's a slim chance.

Critics say cryonics is a pipe dream, no different from age-old chimeras like the fountain of youth. Scientists say there's no way to adequately preserve a human body or brain, and that the promise of bringing a dead brain back to life is thousands of years away.

But Alcor is still selling that chance. And ever since Linda and Fred Chamberlain founded the Alcor Life Extension Foundation back in 1972, Linda has watched Alcor's membership swell with more people wanting to take that chance. More than 1,300 people have now signed up to have their bodies sent to Alcor instead of the graveyard.

And when her time is up, Linda Chamberlain plans to join them.

Photographs of "patients" line the walls of Alcor's offices.

From the outside, Alcor's facilities don't look like the kind of place you'd come to live forever.

When I arrived at the company's headquarters, a nondescript office block in Scottsdale, Arizona, a short drive out of Phoenix, I expected something grander. After all, this is a place that's attempting to answer the question at the heart of human existence: Can we cheat death?

I've come here to find out why someone would choose cryonics. What drives someone to reject the natural order of life and death, and embrace an end that's seen by many, scientists and lay people alike, as the stuff of science fiction?

But after a short time at Alcor, I realize the true believers here don't see cryonics as a way to cheat death. They don't even see death as the end.

"Legal death only really means that your heart and your lungs have stopped functioning without intervention," Linda Chamberlain tells me. "It doesn't mean your cells are dead, it doesn't mean even your organs are dead."

Alcor refers to the people preserved in its facilities as "patients" for that very reason -- it doesn't consider them to be dead.

In Chamberlain's view, the idea of death as an "on-off switch" is outdated. People that died 100 years ago could well have been saved by modern medical interventions that we take for granted in the 21st century. So what about 100 years from now? Alcor hopes that by pressing pause on life, its patients might be revived when medical technology has improved.

"Our best estimates are that within 50 to 100 years, we will have the medical technologies needed to restore our patients to health and function," says Chamberlain.

We're killing people who could potentially be preserved. We're just throwing them in the ground so they can be eaten by worms and bacteria.

Alcor CEO Max More

Alcor CEO Max More agrees. In his view, cryonics is about giving people who die today a second chance. And he says our current views about death and burial are robbing people of a potential future.

"We're killing people who could potentially be preserved," More says. "We're just throwing them in the ground so they can be eaten by worms and bacteria, or we're burning them up. And to me, that's kind of crazy when we could give them a chance if they want it.

"If you think about life insurance, it's actually death insurance -- it pays out on death. This really is life insurance. It's a backup plan."

An early copy of Cryonics magazine sits in Alcor's offices, showing the inside of one of its preservation chambers.

Alcor hasn't exactly mapped out how its patients will be brought back to full function and health, or what revival technologies the future will bring. Its website speaks about the possibility of molecular nanotechnology -- that is, using microscopic nano-robots to "replace old damaged chromosomes with new ones in every cell."

But that level of cellular regeneration isn't something Alcor is working on. The company is in the business of selling preservation, but it's not developing the technologies for restoration. In fact, no one currently working at Alcor is likely to be responsible for reviving patients. That responsibility will be handed on to the next generation (and potentially many more generations after that) -- scientists of some undetermined time in the future, who will have developed the technology necessary to reverse the work that Alcor is doing now. It seems like a convenient gap for cryonics: Sell the promise in the present without the burden of proving the end result.

Our goal is to have reversible suspended animation, just like in the movies. We want it to be that perfect.

Alcor founder Linda Chamberlain

Chamberlain herself admits the future is ultimately unclear and that they "don't know how powerful the revival technologies are going to be." But she does know the end result Alcor is aiming for.

"Our goal is to have reversible suspended animation, just like in the movies," she says. "We want it to be that perfect. We're not there yet, but we're always working on improving our techniques."

The science behind cryonics is unproven. The procedures are highly experimental. No human -- specifically, no human brain -- has been brought back from death or from a state of postmortem preservation. Alcor points to research in worms and the organs of small mammals that it says indicates the potential for cryonics. There are famous names associated with the movement (Alcor admits famed baseballer Ted Williams is a patient), but there aren't exactly any human success stories who've awoken from cryonic preservation to hit the motivational speaking circuit.

James Bedford, the first man to enter cryonic suspension, according to Alcor. Bedford was preserved in a "cryocapsule" in 1967 (five years before Alcor was founded), before being transferred into Alcor's facilities in 1991.

Even More isn't making any promises. He acknowledges that the company may not even exist when it comes time for its patients to wake up.

"There are no guarantees," he says. "We're not promising to bring you back on May 27th, 2082, or whatever. We don't know officially this will work. We don't know for sure that the organization [Alcor] will survive... We don't know if an asteroid will land on us. There's no guarantees. But it's a shot. It's an opportunity. And it just seems to be better than the alternative."

The way the Alcor team sees it, you have a better chance of waking up from here than you do if you're sent to the crematorium.

One of the central questions of cryonics is how you preserve a dead body if you hope to revive it.

Even if they don't know exactly when or how patients will be brought back, the team at Alcor knows one thing is vital: They need to preserve as much of the brain and body as perfectly as possible.

While they may be clinically dead when they arrive in the operating room, Alcor's "patients" are intubated and kept on ice while a mechanical thumper (shown here on a dummy) keeps blood flowing around the body, all in a bid to preserve the body as thoroughly as possible.

That life-saving mortuary practice takes place inside Alcor's operating room -- a sort of hospital-meets-morgue where the organization prepares bodies for "long-term care."

When patients come through the doors at Alcor, they've already been pronounced legally dead. Ideally, they haven't had to travel far to get here and they've had their body put on ice as soon as possible after clinical death. According to Chamberlain, that hypothermia is vital for "slowing down the dying process." I didn't think I'd hear someone say that about a dead person.

During the first stages of cryonic preservation, bodies are "perfused" with a medical-grade antifreeze, all in a bid to prevent ice crystals forming. From here, the body vitrifies, rather than freezing.

(I also didn't expect to see a dead person in the operating room. At least, that's what I thought when I saw a human dummy waiting in the ice bath by the door. One of Alcor's employees picked up the dummy's hand to wave at me and I genuinely think that moment shortened my life span by two years.)

The ice bath is the first step in the preservation process, and it's here where the patient is placed in a kind of post-death life support. Drugs are administered to slow down metabolic processes, the body is intubated to maintain oxygen levels, and a mechanical thumper pumps the heart to ensure blood keeps flowing around the body.

The team then prepares the body to be cooled down to its permanent storage temperature. The blood is replaced with cryoprotectant (think of it like medical-grade antifreeze), which is pumped through the veins, all in a bid to (surprisingly) prevent the body freezing.

Freezing might sound like the natural end goal of cryopreservation, but it's actually incredibly damaging. Our bodies are made up of about 50 to 60% water, and when this water starts to freeze, it forms ice crystals which damage the body's organs and veins.

But if that water is replaced with cryoprotectant, Alcor says it can slowly reduce temperatures so the body vitrifies -- turning into a kind of glass-like state, rather than freezing. From here, the body is placed in a giant stainless steel chamber, known as a dewar. And Alcor says a cryopreserved body can be stored in this "long-term care" for decades.

I missed something when I first walked into the operating room. At the back, behind the ice bath and medical instruments (including surgical scissors and, chillingly, unexplained saws), there's a clear box, about the size of a milk crate, with a circular metal ring clamped inside.

It's a box for human heads.

This is designed for patients who've elected to preserve their head only, removed from the body from the collarbone up. These preserved heads are referred to as "neuro patients."

This small perspex box in the Alcor operating room is used to clamp human heads in place for cryopreservation.

If putting my whole body on ice was a bridge too far, then cutting off and preserving my head is beyond anything I can fathom. But it's a choice some of Alcor's patients make. The neuro patients are stored in small, barrel-sized vats while they wait for long-term care. The moment I lifted the lid on one of these vats -- nitrogen gas billowing out, human head obscured just inches below -- will stay with me forever.

Each preservation chamber can hold four bodies (positioned with the head at the bottom, to keep the brain as cool as possible) and five "neuro patients" stacked down the center.

It's cheaper if you elect to preserve just your head. Alcor charges only $80,000 for the head, compared with $220,000 for the full body. But there are also pragmatic reasons for choosing this more selective form of cryonic preservation.

When Alcor cryopreserves a body, the main priority is to preserve the brain and cause as little damage as possible. After all, the brain is not only the center of cognitive function, but also long-term memory. Essentially everything that makes you who you are.

You might be attached to your body now (both figuratively and literally), but many people at Alcor believe that, by the time medical science has advanced enough to bring a person back to life, their full body won't be needed. Whether you're regenerating a human body from DNA found in the head or uploading a person's consciousness to a new physical body, if we reach a point where cryonic preservation can be reversed, potentially hundreds of years in the future, your 20th or 21st century body will be outdated hardware.

That's certainly a view Linda Chamberlain takes. When she goes, only her head will stay.

"There's a lot of DNA in all that tissue and material," she says of the human head. "A new body can be grown for you from your own DNA. It's just a new, beautiful body that hasn't aged and hasn't had damage from disease."

In fact, when Chamberlain thinks of her future body, she doesn't want to limit herself to the kind of human form she has now.

"I hope that I won't have a biological body, but I'll have a body made out of nanobots," she tells me. "I can be as beautiful as I want to be. I won't be old anymore."

I hope that I won't have a biological body, but I'll have a body made out of nanobots.

Alcor founder Linda Chamberlain

I tell her she's already beautiful. She laughs.

"But if you have a nanobot swarm, it can reconfigure itself any way you want!" she replies, completely serious. "If I want to go swimming in the ocean, I have to worry about sharks. But after I have my nanobots body, if I want to go swimming in the ocean, I can just reconfigure myself to be like an orca, a killer whale. And then the sharks have to look out for me."

Waking up 100 years from now as a fully reconfigurable, shark-hunting nanobot orca sounds like fun.

But this kind of future is possible only if the process of going into cryonic preservation doesn't damage your brain. The brain is a staggeringly complex organ, and storing it at subzero temperatures for decades at a time has the potential to cause serious cellular damage.

And according to some scientists, that's the main issue with cryonics. Before you even get to the issue of reanimation, they say, cryonics doesn't come close to delivering on the promise of preservation.

Surgical instruments in Alcor's operating room.

Neuroscientist Ken Hayworth is one expert who's highly skeptical. Hayworth isn't opposed to preservation -- he was a member of Alcor before he left to found the Brain Preservation Foundation with the goal of building dialogue between cryonicists and the broader scientific community. He wants brain preservation to be a respected field of scientific study. And in 2010, he laid down a challenge to help build that credibility.

"[We] put out a very concrete challenge that said, 'Hey, cryonics community, prove to us that you can at least preserve those structures of the brain that neuroscience knows are critical to long-term memory, meaning the synaptic connectivity of the brain," he says.

"The cryonics community, unfortunately, has not met the bare minimum requirements of that prize."

Hayworth says he's seen examples of animal brains preserved using techniques very similar to what cryonics companies say they use, but the samples showed a significant number of dead cells.

"I take that to mean that there was probably a lot of damage to those structures that encode memory," he says. "It was like, 'We're looking at something that doesn't look right at all.'"

We're looking at something that doesn't look right at all.

Ken Hayworth

However, Hayworth has seen a technique that successfully preserved a brain so well that it was awarded the Brain Preservation Prizeby his foundation. This prize recognized a team of researchers for preserving synapses across the whole brain of a pig. But the technique, known as "aldehyde stabilized cryopreservation," has two limitations that differ from the promise of cryonics. Firstly, it requires the brain to be filled with gluteraldehyde, a kind of embalming fluid, which means the brain can never be revived. And secondly? It's a lethal process that needs to be conducted while a mammal is living.

"It almost instantly glues together all the proteins in the brain," says Hayworth. "Now you're as dead as a rock at that point. You ain't coming back. But the advantage of that is it glues all of them in position, it doesn't destroy information."

Retaining that information is vital because, according to Hayworth, it could allow you to re-create a person's mind in the future. Forget transplanting your head onto a new body. Hayworth says the information from a preserved brain could potentially be scanned and uploaded into another space, such as a computer, allowing you to live on as a simulation.

You might not be a walking, talking human like you once were. But, in Hayworth's view, that's not the only way to live again.

"I think there's plenty of reason to suspect that future technologies will be able to bring somebody back -- future technologies like brain scanning, and mind uploading and brain simulation."

Being preserved long enough (and well enough) that you can live on as a simulation may be one of the end goals that cryonicists hope to achieve.

But there are plenty of critics who say we won't reach that point anytime soon. They say there's no way to know whether cryonics adequately preserves the brain, because we don't fully understand how the mind works, let alone how to physically preserve its complexity.

Ken Miller is a professor of neuroscience and co-director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University in New York. He's spent his life trying to understand the complexity of the human brain.

"Some people say [the brain] is the most complicated thing in the universe," says Miller.

"The most basic answer to how the brain works is, we don't know. We know how a lot of pieces work ... but we're very far from understanding the system."

It's at least thousands of years before we would know and really understand how the brain works.

Ken Miller

According to Miller, while we know a lot about parts of the brain -- how the neurons function, how electrical signals travel to the brain -- the complete picture is still a mystery.

"In my opinion, it's at least thousands of years before we would know and really understand how the brain works to the point where you could take all the pieces ... and put it back together and make a mind out of it," says Miller.

"It's just the complexity. Levels and levels and levels and levels -- it's beyond the imagination."

And what if we reach that point? What if, a thousand years from now, science was capable of restoring my cryonically preserved brain and uploading it to some kind of simulator -- would I still be me?

Sitting in his office, I put the question to Miller. And in the kind of meta way that I've realized is normal when speaking to a professor of theoretical neuroscience, I see the cogs of his mind working. His brain, thinking about another brain, living on as a simulated brain. My brain is melting.

"I think so, but it's a funny question," he says. "Because of course, if it was all information that you got up into a computer... making something feel like Claire, we could have a million of them on a million different machines. And each of them would feel like Claire.

"But immediately, just like twins -- immediately, identical twins start having divergent experiences and becoming different people. And so all the different Claires would immediately start having different experiences and becoming different Claires."

Back in Arizona, with the vision of a million computerized versions of myself enslaving the human race far from my mind, the promise of cryonics still feels like a dream.

I'm walking through the long-term care room as waterfalls of fog cascade from the cryonic chambers. These dewars need to be regularly refilled with liquid nitrogen to make sure patients stay at the perfect temperature, and today's the day they're getting topped up.

As I slowly step through the fog, stainless steel chambers loom large around me. Visibility drops, so I can barely see my outstretched hand in front of my face. For just the tiniest moment, as my feet disappear beneath me and I'm surrounded by reflections on reflections of white vapor, I lose my bearings. I feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience.

Walking through Alcor's long-term preservation room is a surreal experience.

It lasts an instant and, just like that, I'm back in the room. Surrounded by 170 dead people.

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Nano One update: progress on battery technology – The Armchair Trader

Posted: at 5:53 pm

There is a lot of excitement around Nano One (TSX-V:NNO / NDQ:NNOMF) at the moment, thanks in large part to its recent announcement that the proprietary battery materials it is working on are demonstrating far more durability, when tested under laboratory conditions, than competitor solutions. Here we revisit some of Nano Ones core technologies in the light of recent developments at the company.

We would encourage readers to revisit our initial note which covers off the basics of Nano One which we wrote last December. This article is supplementary in that it revisits some of the core technology in light of developments in the last six months, since that note was written.

Nano Ones technology for making high nickel cathode materials is a one pot process, radically different in its chemistry, in that everything is added into a single pot, including nickel, manganese and lithium to produce one product: each individual crystal has its own coating, granting greater durability than uncoated material. It translates into better cycle life and less degradation.

The one pot process also has the advantage of not requiring a lot of different firing steps, which adds to expense. The process yields a more stable structure. The coating is also not damaged as it is the individual nano crystals which are coated. This translates into life extension as born out by recent results from the company which compared uncoated material with coated material. After a number of cycles, it degraded 4% and the uncoated material degraded 17%. This is based on lab results, but Nano One says it is scaling up the process and we could see this translating into much more durability for batteries.

Nano One is a play across a number of different battery materials, based on filed patents, including LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and high nickel NMC (lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide) battery technologies. CEO Dan Blondal says the company is also pursuing research into high voltage spinels, using a manganese-based battery that runs at very high voltage. Nano One is not a one tech play by any means and the research team is working to develop technology with more immediate commercial outputs while other projects could take more time to bear fruit.

Each one of them has pros and cons, says Blondal. Each one of them has properties which are beneficial to certain applications. There isnt going to be a winner, there is going to be a continuum of these materials. I think its important that were positioning our technology to be able to do any one of these things. The fact that we can use lithium carbonate as feedstock for high nickel materials is very unique.

LFP, he reckons, will soon have the capacity to power batteries that can sustain electric cars for 500-600km rather than 150km. That, he argues, is going to be a serious game changer. It actually starts to address the long range luxury vehicle market as well, he says.

The battery materials technology that is employed today requires hydroxide, but there is a way to eliminate the need for hydroxide. High nickel requires short firing processes to produce the battery crystals. If the crystals are fired at too high a heat or for too long, the battery performance is impinged, as the nickel and lithium change places.

By lowering the temperature, lithium carbonate ends up not decomposing or reacting. Lithium hydroxide addresses this. The Nano One process adds lithium carbonate into the one pot reactor, making it react in the reactor, not in the kiln. It is not carbonate when it enters the kiln.

Lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate can therefore both be used as the product will end up being the same. Nano One can use either hydroxide or carbonate, giving it much more flexibility if lithium market prices change.

Fewer process steps also mean a higher yield and capex and opex will thus be lower. Significant amounts can be saved in the process costs. The material can be coated simultaneously, therefore avoiding subsequent steps to coat the material.

The elimination of a lot of the intermediate grinding steps typically used in battery material manufacturing also mean there will be fewer metallic impurities. The Nano One process does not require the removal of metallic impurities with magnets, again stripping out a more expensive part of the process.

By and large we are there on LFP, says Blondal. We completed a relatively detailed engineering report in mid-June. That maps out a plan that is very cost effective. We have identified sources of iron and phosphorous that actually help drive down the cost of the cathode materials. But the biggest step is that you have to provide this stuff first of all. Were well along the way with lithium ion phosphate.

The key for future profitability of Nano One is proving the materials outperform other types of coated materials. LFP, in Blondals view, brings a significant cost advantage, NMC brings the durability advantages with the option to sacrifice durability for performance if that is the manufacturers priority.

The company is also working within a high voltage spinel ecosystem to develop a next generation battery. Blondel does not see these various technologies competing against each other.

LFP batteries look the closest to achieving some level of commercialisation, largely because much of the process of turning the technology into something that can be manufactured can already be readily implemented. NMC looks further off but Blondal says it has the scope to speed up significantly.

NMC remains challenging to make. Some of these issues are fundamental to the technology, but Blondal believes more durability will deliver some distinct advantages. NMC does not replace LFP as an industrial material and LFP will see wider use in the future, he says. But we are starting to see a battery pack design which packs cells much closer together, while still leveraging LFP technology. Performance has never been an issue for LFP, it has been range.

We found Nano Ones recent durability results very encouraging indeed, as did the market. Nano One shares are currently trading at CAD 1.54 in Toronto, up substantially from where they were in early December. We have seen considerable progress in the last few days, with shares up from the CAD 1.35-1.36 level seen last week.

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Highland Copper Announces Further Extension of White Pine Closing – GlobeNewswire

Posted: at 5:53 pm

LONGUEUIL, Quebec, July 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Highland Copper Company Inc. (TSXV: HI, OTCQB: HDRSF) (the Company) announced today that the deadline to complete the acquisition of the White Pine North Project from Copper Range Company (CRC), a wholly owned subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals Ltd., was extended to December 31, 2020. The final closing of the acquisition is subject to a number of conditions, including, without limitation, a release of CRC from certain environmental obligations associated with the remediation and closure plan of the historical White Pine mine site and replacing the related environmental bond.

About Highland

Highland Copper Company Inc. is a Canadian company focused on exploring and developing copper projects in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, U.S.A. Its Copperwood Project is a development stage copper project fully permitted to move into the construction stage with a projected payable production of approximately 30,000 tonnes of copper per year during an estimated mine life of 11 years (see news release of June 15, 2018 and technical report filed on SEDAR on July 31, 2018). A preliminary economic assessment and mineral resource estimate for the White Pine North Project was completed in September 2019 presenting a projected payable production of approximately 40,000 tonnes of copper per year during an estimated mine life of 24 years (see news release of September 23, 2019 and technical report filed on SEDAR on November 7, 2019). A preliminary economic assessment is considered preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves and there is no certainty that the preliminary economic assessment will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

The Companys common shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol HI and trade on the OTCQB Venture Market under symbol HDRSF. More information about the Company is available on the Companys website at http://www.highlandcopper.com and on SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com.

Cautionary Note

This press release contains certain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to meet the conditions to close the White Pine acquisition by December 31, 2020 or that the Company will, if required, be able to get a further extension from CRC. Risks, uncertainties and other factors which could have an impact includes the Companys financial condition, fluctuations of the price of copper, the effects of general economic conditions and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on potential transactions and on the Companys ability to raise funds, and other risks and uncertainties described in our most recently filed annual and interim financial statements and managements discussion and analysis, each of which are available at http://www.sedar.com. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to the Company as of the date hereof, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements except as required by law.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information, please contact:Denis Miville-Deschnes, President & CEOTel: +1.450.677.2455Email: info@highlandcopper.com

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Registry is an arm of the Court and an extension of its dignity, says SC – The Leaflet

Posted: at 5:53 pm

The Supreme Court of India on Monday dismissed a petition filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal seeking direction to the registry of the court not to give preference to the cases filed by influential lawyers/ petitioners, law firms, etc. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer also imposed cost of Rs.100/on the petitioner as a token to remind his responsibility towards noble profession and that he ought not to have preferred such a petition.

The staff of this Court is working despite danger to their life and safety caused due to pandemic, and several of the Dealing Staff, as well as Officers, have suffered due to Covid19. During such a hard time, it was not expected of the petitioner who is an officer of this Court to file such a petition to demoralize the Registry of this Court instead of recognizing the task undertaken by them even during pandemic and lockdown period, the court said.

The court added that it has become a widespread practice to blame the Registry for no good reasons. It further said to err is human, as many petitions are filed with defects, and defects are not cured for years together.

A large number of such cases were listed in the recent past before the Court for removal of defects which were pending for years. In such situation, when the pandemic is going on, baseless and reckless allegations are made against the Registry of this Court, which is part and parcel of the judicial system, said Justices Arun Mishra and Abdul Nazeer.

The court also took judicial notice of the fact that such evil is also spreading in the various High Courts, and Registry is blamed unnecessarily for no good reasons. It is to be remembered by worthy lawyers that they are the part of the judicial system; they are officers of the Court and are a class apart in the society, the bench said.

The Registry, according to the court, is nothing but an arm of this Court and an extension of its dignity. The court went on to state that Bar is equally respected and responsible part of the integral system, Registry is part and parcel of the system, and the system has to work in tandem and mutual reverence.

We also expect from the Registry to work efficiently and effectively. At the same time, it is expected of the lawyers also to remove the defects effectively and not to unnecessarily cast aspersions on the system, the court lamented.

Petitioner had alleged that the petition filed by Arnab Goswami at 08:07 pm was without annexure. The Registry, however, had chosen not to point out any defects, and a special supplementary list was uploaded on the same day. He added that the category was not specified in the notification to be heard during a nationwide lockdown. No procedure was followed by the Registry for urgent hearing during the lockdown.

He also alleged that despite the letter of urgency, the Registry failed to register and list the writ petition filed by him.

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Hacking the Apocalypse: Your new guide to surviving the end of the world – MSN Money

Posted: at 5:53 pm

Provided by CNET CNET's new video series looks at how to survive the end of the world. Rob Rodriguez/CNET

Can a missile bunker protect you from a nuclear blast? Can an escape pod save you from a megatsunami? Could we put our bodies into cryosleep to avoid the apocalypse altogether?

Hacking the Apocalypse host, Claire Reilly, outside the Survival Condo nuclear bunker in Kansas.

From July 6, CNET is bringing you Hacking the Apocalypse, a new six-part series looking at high-tech solutions to escape the end of the world.

In each episode, I take you to meet everyone from preppers to pandemic experts, and I'll road test some fascinating tech that could save the world. Plus, you can check out the accompanying stories, covering what you need to know about the end of the world.

The six-part series launches onCNET's YouTube Channelon Monday, July 6, with a new episode every day.

You can also watch the full series on CNET from July 6. Check out ourHacking the Apocalypselanding page to see all the episodes and take a deep dive into each ep with stories and behind-the-scenes galleries. And read on to see the full series rundown below.

You can also watch Hacking the Apocalypse on the CNET channel onPluto TV, channel 684.

When we first started filming Hacking the Apocalypse, long before the coronavirus pandemic, I asked one of the world's top health experts whether a "mutant bat influenza" could catch us off-guard. Little did we know how prophetic that moment would be. The experts warned us, and they were right. In 2020, we've faced a once-in-a-century pandemic and seen what happens when a global health emergency plays out in real time.

For our first episode in this series, we visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia to learn about the last major pandemic we faced (it wasn't pretty) and speak to the leading public health experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security about how we battle a pandemic in the 21st century.

But the big innovation? We speak to scientists in Tennessee who are researching human immunity to help us fight the coronavirus, and to a team of researchers finding life-saving drugs using the world's most powerful supercomputer.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Pandemic on July 6.

How long would we survive if the whole planet went into a full-scale nuclear winter? We travel to Boulder, Colorado, to learn the science behind nuclear winter with an atmospheric scientist and nuclear expert, professor Brian Toon.

Then we head into the heartland of Kansas (we can't tell you where) to visit a real-life nuclear bunker, made for the world's richest preppers. Turns out avoiding nuclear winter doesn't mean sacrificing luxury.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Nuclear Winter on July 6.

Droughts in California, catastrophic fires in Australia -- the impacts of climate change are only going to get worse. In this episode, we learn about the real threat of global drought, before visiting a lab in New York to learn how scientists could turn toxic waste into drinking water.

Then it's off to New Jersey to visit Bowery Farming, a company that's created a space-age vertical farm, inside a warehouse, to grow food with 90% less water.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Global Drought on July 7.

The coast off the Pacific Northwest is a hot zone for catastrophic earthquakes, so what better place to test out a tsunami survival pod? In this episode, we speak to one of the world's leading seismological experts to find out just what happens when the Earth shakes, before heading to Seattle to road test (or should that be water test?) a tiny escape pod that could save us from tsunami devastation.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Tsunami on July 8.

If the end of the world is coming, could we cheat death by putting our bodies into stasis? To answer that question, we visit the facilities of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a company promising a second life in the future through the power of cryonics. Delving into the murky world of cryonics is fascinating (and a little haunting). While the hope of escaping death might sound promising, the scientific proof leaves a lot to be desired.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Cryonics on July 9.

When life on Earth starts to feel particularly apocalyptic, it's tempting to imagine that humans may one day leave this planet and become an interplanetary species. But though SpaceX and NASA might want to put humans on Mars, what would life look like there long-term? One company has built its vision for the future of life on Mars, designing a habitat called Marsha. The egg-shaped design was created by New York-based architecture firm AI SpaceFactory, in response to NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The company built a one-third scale replica of the habitat here on Earth and took the top prize in NASA's challenge.

If the s--- really hits the fan, could we just bypass the apocalypse and escape the planet altogether? In our final episode of Hacking the Apocalypse, we visit NASA and learn about the space agency's bid to get humans back on the moon and on to Mars. And to get a sense of what life will look like once we've become a multi-planetary species, we talk to the team behind Marsha, a 3D-printed Mars habitat that could be our new home on the red planet.

Watch Hacking the Apocalypse: Escape the Planet on July 10.


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How to get rid of fruit flies in your house | AgriLife Today – AgriLife Today

Posted: at 5:53 pm

Fruit flies can be a pesky pest, especially indoors. While they can be annoying, Mike Merchant, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist, Dallas, said infestations of fruit flies and other flying pests are relatively easy to control.

Fruit flies are almost impossible to keep out of homes, Merchant said. They can fly in doors when we come and go, hitch rides home on ripe fruit, and are even small enough to enter through window screens. They are very good at smelling out food nearly anywhere in the house.

Removing the breeding site is the best way to get rid of fruit flies, Merchant said.

We all have an instinct to grab the Raid or a bug bomb, but were not going to get rid of them until we get rid of their breeding sites, he said.

Fruit flies just need a little moisture in their food to breed, Merchant said.

Larvae feed on decaying plant material, including fruits like strawberries and bananas, and vegetables like onions and potatoes, he said. They also are attracted to wine and beer, vinegar and other sugary beverages.

They are a major pest for bars and restaurants where they breed in any drink spillage, he said. In homes, they are more likely to breed in overripe fruit, rotting onions or spoiled potatoes. Knowing where to look is key.

The top spots Merchant recommends checking if no obvious breeding spot is located are pantries and the trash can.

Its good to check the pantry for those forgotten bags of potatoes, he said. Another top spot a lot of people dont think about is the bottom of the trash can. Any spilled liquids or syrups in the bottom of a trash receptacle are great breeding sites for fruit flies.

Merchant said removing potential breeding sites and proper sanitation cleaning and wiping up any spills on countertops or floors, especially cracks in flooring will reduce the likelihood of an infestation. Fruit flies have a life cycle of a week or less, so once the breeding sites are removed, flies will disappear relatively quickly.

They really bother people, but arent really hurting anything, he said. We get a lot of calls about them year-round. Theyre more prevalent in summer but can be a problem for indoor environments at any time.

Baited traps are a good way to help catch fruit flies while the breeding sites are being located, Merchant said.

Suitable attractants for traps includeapple cider vinegar, wine and bananas, he said.Traps can be as simple as a plastic bowl containing an attractant, like apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of soap to drown flies that attempt to land on the solution.

Commercial traps with funnels or small entry ports that make escape difficult are another option, he said.

Fruit flies and other flying pests like gnats are just one of lifes little annoyances, he said. Making sure they dont have a place to call home inside your home is the best first step to controlling them.


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‘Life in the old dog yet’: Hackney Law Centre thanks donors as it celebrates 40th anniversary – Hackney Citizen

Posted: at 5:53 pm

Staff at Hackney Community Law Centre, pictured last year. Photograph: HCLC

Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) has thanked those who have donated to keep its doors open, following decades of work supporting the boroughs resident on housing, benefits, debt and immigration problems.

It is a little over a year since the Citizen reported that HCLC could face closure, following swingeing cuts to its funding from by Hackney Council in a shake-up of how advice services are funded in the borough.

However, HCLC says it has been successful in securing funds to keep it going while maximising legal aid revenue, despite facing challenging circumstances to continue to provide aid to its clients through a justice system in lockdown.

Housing solicitor Nathaniel Mathews said: Weve had a very small team of people coming in and manning the place, with one person there on any given day.

Working from home presented quite a few challenges, as most people had very variable IT for people on private computers.

The hearings were happening by telephone or video conference, which is very strange. Its difficult doing hearings over the phone, as nobody knows who is to speak next. Dealing with benefit tribunals and court hearings is very, very difficult, referring people to documents.

Homelessness appeals have been happening, and those have been through Skype, which is much more human. Its still a bit weird, as its more difficult to read the room. You cant see the body language of the other lawyer, or your client if you manage to get them in the room.

Mathews added that informal settlements made at the doors of the court were also difficult, with the loss of people coming to a physical space together where things can be sorted out.

The housing solicitor was at the forefront of criticism of central government earlier this year over fears that, when possession hearings start again, the duty solicitor scheme, which he has described as a lifeline for people who cannot afford a lawyer, may remain suspended, leading to a likely increase in evictions.

This is due to the courts believing that in-person hearings will be unsafe due to the coronavirus, preferring to hold them remotely.

None of the Law Centres staff have been furloughed during lockdown, as they stare down a backlog of thousands of cases when the courts reopen, with the eviction ban also to be lifted on 23 August.

Speaking to theCitizen, Mathews described the challenges of working over the phone with clients to address issues which could see them evicted, in order that when the ban is lifted, the case could be resolved ahead of time.

With lockdown easing over the past couple of weeks, homes began to be made accessible for repair, with HCLC representing clients living in uninhabitable properties with mould, water penetration and worse, while frequently having to advise people living in such conditions during lockdown that it could be safer to stay put.

The Centre has also been dealing with illegal evictions, having applied for at least three injunctions against landlords for attempting to repossess tenants homes during lockdown, with Mathews having anecdotally heard of more.

One case described by Mathews saw a man thrown out of his home during lockdown and forced to sleep rough for weeks, before finding a room in a hostel where he developed symptoms of Covid; having to walk six miles to avoid infecting others on public transport, he lost his job and was finally denied a Universal Credit payment because they didnt want him to get into debt.

The Law Centre will now begin to try to see clients face-to-face again as lockdown is relaxed, with Mathews stressing the urgent need for further financial support for local authorities, with more resources necessary for homelessness prevention as the Town Hall works to prevent the rough sleepers housed under lockdown from returning to the streets.

A spokesperson for HCLC said: Hackney Community Law Centre will be around 40 years old this year and we have had what amounts to a continual struggle to survive throughout that time rather like so many of our clients.

We are grateful for the donations that have poured in to help us to keep going, to pay for those times when legal aid does not cover the legal work but nevertheless that work has to be done, to give that resident access to justice.

We continue to fight for a better deal for our clients supporting the fight for an extension to the no evictions rule, challenging discriminatory immigration and benefits rules, highlighting the injustice of the governments treatment of the Windrush families.

We might be getting to be middle aged but theres certainly a lot of life left yet in this legal old dog.

The coronavirus outbreak has meant that the Hackney Citizen has been unable to print a monthly newspaper for the last three months.

The need for quality news and reliable reporting is crucial - however, this is an increasingly challenging time for local journalism.

Our main source of income, print advertising revenue, fell suddenly - and so we are asking you, the readers, for your help.A one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team get our newspaper back in print and keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

Find out how you can donate.

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.

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David and Victoria Beckham plan garden extension with 91 metre lake at their Great Tew home – Banbury Guardian

Posted: at 5:53 pm

A bird's eye view of how the lake will appear at David and Victoria Beckham's Great Tew home

In their application for planning permission their landscape agent quotes English naturalist and horticulturalist Chris Baines, saying 'a garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage'.

The application follows the celebrity couple's plan to build a gatehouse and create an underground tunnel from the main house at Maplewood Barn to an extended garage and office building.

The new proposal involves obtaining change of use of the agricultural land around the converted barn to extend the curtilage and create the lake, together with extensive landscaping. It will be kidney-shaped and 91m long and 46m wide.

An artist's impressions show a hugely extended garden with a tennis court and the lake, which the application says will be set in a 'gently sloping grass meadow from three sides and neatly mown grass area from the side closest to the house. A mown path will lead to the lake through meadows'.

Spoil from the excavations would be used to create a bund that would help to give the Beckhams greater privacy. The bund would be planted with species such as hazel, oak, honeysuckle, bramble, sycamore, wayfaring tree, yew, hornbeam, birch, hawthorn, crab apple, wild cherry and sorbus.

The landscape design statement says: "The grass around the lake will be sown with a wildfower mix of local provenance. The sides of the lake will be planted with margin loving water plants and native, non-invasive pond weed will be used in the lake.

"Spoil from the excavation of the lake will be used to create a bund along the south perimeter of the property. This will function as a wind barrier and habitat, as well as enhancing the privacy of the house.

"The bund will be planted with a high number of native trees, as well as scrub and hedge plants for nesting birds and other small animals. The varying aspect and topography of the bunds will also allow for increased fora and insect life. The location of the lake is at the lowest level of the site, so the lake will help to retain storm water. It will also create a new link in local water network, which will be of beneft to migrating and foraging water birds."

The application says seeds sourced from 'extremely rare' pond plants, grasses and meadow mixes will be used to attract bees and insects, to enhance the lake.

The Beckhams reportedly spent their 21st wedding anniversary at Maplewood Barn on Saturday.

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Lamborghini takes to the high seas – Paint and Panel

Posted: at 5:51 pm

Automobili Lamborghini and The Italian Sea Group present the worldwide premiere of Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63, the Tecnomar fleets new motor yacht available in a limited edition in reference to Lamborghinis 1963 foundation.

Performance, driving pleasure, attention to quality and details, emotion: these are the emotive features combined within the Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63, thanks to innovative engineering solutions and a distinct design unique to shared Italian style and tradition.

This motor yacht project, developed by The Italian Sea Group, started with several collaborative sessions with the contribution of Lamborghinis Centro Stile and inspiration from the Lamborghini Sin FKP 37: the hybrid super sports car incorporating benchmarking new supercapacitor and materials science technologies, that anticipates the future with an unmistakable design and completely customizable colour and details.

The challenge of re-interpreting the common DNA traits of both brands has inspired all phases of the project, from the design principles to the definition of technical characteristics ensuring incredible performance, without neglecting the quality of materials and careful attention to detail.

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Coronavirus fallout: Cruising into the unknown – DW (English)

Posted: at 5:51 pm

My Australian uncle just spent close to a month locked in his cabin on what he described as his "last cruise ever." No one died or caught the coronavirus, like on so many other vessels. But instead of sailing from Singapore to London, the ship brought him all the way back to Australia without a single stop along the way. That was followed by two weeks of mandatory quarantine in a Perth hotel.

One week later, my uncle emailed me to say he had already booked his next cruise! I couldn't believe it. He wrote that the company had given him a full refund for his "trip to nowhere," along with a 50% discount for a Perth-to-Singapore cruise next year the opposite to what he'd just done, but with shore leaves this time. I wondered if that would be enough to repress those dreaded memories.

Not the cruise of a lifetime

Reports show the coronavirus broke out on at least 55 ships across the world's oceans. Some public health experts said the vessels helped carry the virus around the globe. Many sailed for weeks after the disease was first detected on a cruise liner. That was, until ports refused them entry, stranding tens of thousands of passengers and crew at sea some for months.

A study in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked cruise ships with 17% of coronavirus cases in the United States in the early weeks of the global spread of COVID-19. That included the Diamond Princess, the site of one of the world's biggest outbreaks. Prosecutors argued the Ruby Princess was the main importer of cases to Australia. A criminal investigation was launched.

DW Senior Business Editor Ben Fajzullin at Hamburg Port

'The problem stayed on board'

However, the industry said it took extraordinary measures to limit outbreaks. The German government's maritime coordinator Norbert Brackmann (CDU) agreed. "The problem stayed on board," he told me. "The cruise liners are built according to the latest standards."

On a boat tour of Hamburg Port, industry veteran Walter Krombach told me cruise ships were more susceptible to the coronavirus than other places. "Where you have big crowds of people: 4,000 up to 6,000, plus the crew on a narrow area together, mixed together, the risk is there," he said.

'Ships don't have laboratories'

Ukrainian cruise entertainer Ivan Lytvynenko was one of the thousands trapped aboard the German ship, MV Artania, off Australia, when the virus broke out. It led to evacuations and deaths. His main concern was the lack of medical equipment on board. "The ships don't have laboratories, to carry out tests. That's something they'll have to think about,' he told me.

Brackmann said "you can be certain, the cruise operators will be taking this experience from the pandemic and using it to ensure their vessels are even more secure in the future." But the big boats wouldhave to consider setting sail with only half the passengers, if they wanted to adhere to social distancing rules. There was also talk of fewer stops and going local: discouraging passengers from flying to their port of departure and taking a cruise closer to home.

At least the big cruise operators scored well when it cameto providing disinfectant on board to clean your hands. Whereas the rest of the world (except for parts of Asia)only just started installing disinfectant dispensers, they have been a mainstay in front of restaurants on cruise liners for years now. That is because they have had to deal with all sorts of outbreaks before: measles, chickenpox, salmonella, E. coli and the dreaded norovirus.

My holiday from hell

I caught the norovirus on my first and last cruise in 2016. I spent two whole days with severe chills, fever, diarrhea and vomiting, locked in my cabin. That turned me into a bit of a skeptic. Coincidentally, the Spanish operators of the cruise Pullmantur just went bankrupt. There were reports that its fleet of three ships (one just renovated in 2017) washeaded for the scrap heap.

COVID-19 took its toll. But like any health scare, consumers tend to forget quickly. And those who only watched the drama unfold on their flat-screen TVs from the comfort of their own homes wouldfeel even more disconnected from the horrors.

My parents were already planning their next cruise. My father has health issues and cannot fly. A cruise was a great solution to travel. But what if he were to catch something on board, stuck out at sea, with little access to medical equipment? It was something I worried about.

Ukrainian cruise ship entertainer Ivan Lytvynenko may enjoy this land excursion, but he's raring to return to work on the MV Artania

Smaller cruises set sail

He was happy to hear that some of the first cruise operators were already gearing up for business again. In the same week that I was in Hamburg, a smaller expedition boat was the very first to venture back out onto the high seas for German customers. Less than a third of the boat was booked. As passengers checked in, staff checked their temperatures. I read that shore leaves were off the cards.

Whether it meant significantly fewer passengers or higher costs to offer what some companies called a "gold standard in public health," operators would be desperate to get any sort of revenues flowing again, after billions of dollars in losses and lawsuits. And the vast majority of firms continued to burn through billions in cash, with their vessels stuck in dock. Their share prices continued to take on water, as I wrote this article.

Bookings are surging

But booking platforms reported that reservations were surging again. Operators were offering big discounts, like in my uncle's case. On the one hand, some analysts expected another boom even bigger than before the crisis. Krombach, on the other hand, told me the boom was well and truly over and that the industry would never be the same. "Everybody thought in that business that the boom would continue forever. Corona made a stop a full stop."

Skyping with Ivan Lytvynenko, I was surprised to hear from him as well, that his ship wasbooked out. "Our passengers all want to come back. We're booked out for the next two years and I'm certain many, many people will want to do the trip."

And what about the 31-year-old, after being trapped with all those passengers and the threat of a highly contagious virus on board? "I can't wait. It's been my life the last 11 years. I've always been on cruise ships. I just don't know when I'll be able to again."

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