The Nazis used the term “Judenfrei,” free of Jews or clean of Jews, when all of the Jewish residents were removed from a city or town, or even a whole country, as was the case with Estonia in 1942.
The Islamic State is working to create a new Middle East that isChristianfrei–free of Christians–in the region where the faith was founded in 33 AD, 500 years before the birth of Muhammad.
ISIS is enslaving and killing Christians in Iraq–and Christian and girls and women are being regularly raped, as is also the case in Syria. Libya has a miniscule Christian population, but that hasn’t prevented the Islamic State from killing Christians there–21 Egyptian Coptics were beheaded last month in a grisly execution videotaped by the terror group.
Egypt and Lebanon are the other Middle Eastern nations with sizable Christian populations. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, responded to the murder of his citizens by bombing ISIS positions in Libya and although a Muslim, al-Sisi has been a harsh critic of radical Islam. As for Lebanon, a newspaper there claims that it will be the next target for the Islamic State.
While condemnations of ISIS atrocities are for the most part universal, there has been little uproar over the Islamic State’s effort to religiously cleanse the Middle East of the Christian faith, unlike the ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbia–which was eventually stopped–in Kosovo and Bosnia.
“Never again!” was the cry after the Holocaust. Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, another Holocaust is well under way.
HAMMERHEAD DRONE MAKES FIRST FLIGHT
LOOK AT THIS WEIRD PLANE
The laws of aerodynamics require a certain smoothness of form, a kind of mandatory design elegance. The Piaggio Aerospace Hammerhead stands in contrast to this romantic notion of flight, with canards and pusher propellers combining into an airplane uglier than the sum of its parts. And yet, as Piaggio announced at the International Defence Exposition held in Abu Dhabi, the Hammerhead flies!
The successful first flight of the Hammerhead prototype took place this past December from an Italian Air Force base and including flying over part of the Mediterranean Sea. The airplane is designed as a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drone, which means it will in theory reach altitudes up to 45,000 feet and fly for as long as 16 hours continuously. The body is similar in profile to the Piaggio’s P.180 Avanti, a manned luxury aircraft that’s also getting a crewed military adaptation.
What’s unique about the Hammerhead is the range of speeds at which it will fly. To work as a surveillance drone, it will cruise slowly, at speeds of around 155 mph. It doesn’t need to fly that slow all the time, however, and if the Hammerhead works as designed it will fly at speeds over 500mph to get where it needs to be. And that is beautiful.
PayPal is now officially a thorn in Apple’s side
Shortly after the launch of Apple Pay, a number of retailers, including Walmart, Rite Aid, and CVS, blocked Apple’s tap-to-pay technology from their stores. Instead, these retailers banded together to place bets on an in-house mobile payments system called CurrentC. That network was developed in partnership with Boston-based mobile wallet technology startup Paydiant.
With news today from Mobile World Congress that PayPal is acquiring Paydiant, PayPal has officially become a thorn in Apple’s side. One of the reasons CurrentC has been so appealing to retailers is Paydiant’s technology can track merchants’ rewards programs and offers, something not yet available on Apple Pay.
So far, payment systems have been a major theme at the tech show, which is taking place the week before Apple reveals more details about its upcoming smartwatch—an event where payments will undoubtedly play a prominent role. On Sunday, Samsung debuted its new flagship phones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, at the show, along with a new payments platform called Samsung Pay. Google also revealed a new developer tool called Android Pay.
Though PayPal is a giant in payments processing, it has relied heavily on strategic acquisitions, such as Braintree and Paydiant, to stay relevant in mobile. The company has had limited success with moving into physical stores, but it’s hoping to change that with Paydiant as well as a new credit card terminal equipped with Near Field Communication that will roll out in the UK and Australia this summer, and in the US later this year.
A Brewing Problem
What’s the healthiest way to keep everyone caffeinated?
“I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use,” John Sylvan told me frankly, of Keurig K-Cups, the single-serve brewing pods that have fundamentally changed the coffee experience in recent years. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.” Which would seem like a pretty banal sentiment, were Sylvan not the inventor of the K-Cup.
Almost one in three American homes now has a pod-based coffee machine, even though Sylvan never imagined they would be used outside of offices. Last year K-Cups accounted for most of Keurig Green Mountain’s $4.7 billion in revenue—more than five times what the company made five years prior. So even though he gets treated like a minor celebrity when he tells people he founded Keurig, Sylvan has some regrets about selling his share of the company in 1997 for $50,000. But that’s not what really upsets him.
In 2010, journalist and caffeine aficionado Murray Carpenter visited the Keurig facilities in Waterbury, Vermont, reporting for The New York Times that the K-Cup idea posed environmental concerns, as the pods were not recyclable or biodegradable. It was that same year that the Keurig model seemed to take off, doubling in sales. In a 2011 local-boys-make-it-big story in Boston magazine, Eric Anderson, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, likewise noted that the coffee machines could invite significant backlash because they “generate a ton of plastic waste.”
At the time of Carpenter’s visit, Keurig was on pace to sell three million K-Cups. So to say that growth has been good since then is understatement; last year they topped 9 billion. But today the cups are still not recyclable or biodegradable. And they only stand to become rapidly more ubiquitous. Later this year, in partnership with Coca-Cola, the company will release a machine called “Keurig Cold” that will “introduce Coca-Cola’s global brand portfolio” to the machines, growing rapidly closer to the corporate mission: “A Keurig brewer on every counter and a beverage for every occasion.”
Though the predicted consumer backlash has arrived, especially in recent months, the company continues to grow. Others have entered the market very successfully. While drip coffee-maker sales are stagnant, pod-machine sales have increased six-fold since 2008. Looking back on his invention, amid increasing public condemnation of K-Cups as a scourge on the planet, Sylvan told me, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”
Much more to read found HERE.
See above 10 Rules of This Blog:
And for those of you still using acid and/or marijuana, there is this: