CYNE - Avians - 2014 [Free Download]

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art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

art by Nicholas Di Genova

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Kimie Frederiksen Christensen

Rockets and Revenge - Part 7

For a few years, a young radical group of Israeli settlers in the West Bank have committed random acts of violence and vandalization against Palestinians and their property to make them pay the price for affronting their way of life. They call themselves “Pricetaggers,” and they’ve largely avoided prosecution by Israeli authorities.

VICE News gets rare access to the young members of the Price Tag movement—at the homecoming of Moriah Goldberg, 20, who just finished a three-month sentence for throwing stones at Palestinians. She and her family remain proud of the act, even as the current conflict in Gaza was sparked after an all-too-familiar round of retributive violence.

http://www.vice.com/vice-news/rockets-and-revenge-part-7

Tags: israel gaza war

Not All Jews Support Israel

By Philip Kleinfeld

To both Jews and non-Jews the idea of an anti-Zionist Jew can sound like a contradiction in terms—an abuse of Rabbi Hillel’s most famous ethical aphorism, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me.” But for Sam Weinstein, and for around 30 others, me included, tucked together in a small Jewish bloc at Saturday’s Gaza demo in London, standing against Israel is precisely what our background demands.

“I come from a Jewish tradition that has always fought for the underdog,” Sam told me as he unfurled a banner of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network in the sticky heat. “One that has fought for social justice because historically we were the ones getting killed by the state.”

On the 8th of July, Israel began Operation Protective Edge, a military offensive which used the kidnapping and murder of three boys in Kfar Etzion, a settlement in the occupied West Bank, as a pretext for the bombardment and invasion of the Gaza strip. Since then, over 80,000 Gazans have fled their homes and more than 500 have died, the majority of them civilians.

For British Jews and other diaspora communities that oppose this, the added tragedy is that it is done in our name, in the expectation of our full, unflinching support. Before the Second World War, there were many Jews that refused to accept political Zionism as an ideology. But since 1948, when the State of Israel was established, support for it has slowly become almost unanimous.

“The Israeli state identifies Israel with all Jews,” Naomi Winborne Idrissi, a co-founder of Jews for Boycotting Israel Goods said to me as we passed Downing Street. “It aims to speak for all of us. But we say Israel and Zionism does not represent us.” Refusing to be wrapped up in a cause that is blindly and destructively nationalistic is why we were demonstrating in our capacity as Jews—both expressing our solidarity with Palestine and reclaiming ownership of our Jewish identity.

That’s not an easy thing to do. For a long time when I was growing up I felt that Israel did represent me. In 2002, during the Second Intifada, I remember standing with 40,000 people in Trafalgar Square, swept up in a haze of blue and white flags, proud parents and slogans I only half understood. 2002 was also the year I was bar mitzvahed. Every Saturday morning for nearly 12 months I sat in my local synagogue in Essex to hear stale one-sided sermons from the man supposed to be teaching me about Jewish values, ethics and intellectual life. In my early teens I was a member of the Federation of Zionist Youth, one of thousands of emotionally charged and politically naive kids, sent on summer camps and tours across Israel to sample Israeli culture in the most santitised, ideologically curated way.

In Britain, the United Synagogue, the largest Jewish denomination, puts “the centrality of Israel in Jewish life” as one of its defining values. The British Board of Deputies, the primary representative body of British Jews, claims in its constitution that it seeks to advance “Israel’s security, welfare and standing”. Dwelling on these facts is the only way I can make sense of why otherwise decent people, family and friends, show their support for what seems so obviously and monumentally wrong.

“The direction in which Jewish and Israeli people are going in is terrifying,” said Dan Nemenyi, one of the younger demonstrators in the bloc. “The Jewish establishment in Britain remains as right wing as ever, and still holds power over schools, synagogues and the representation of the community. In Israel a solution needs to be found for the situation of the Palestinians. But the response is full military occupation and war whenever it’s needed.”

It’s a depressing state of affairs, as a 2000-strong pro-Israel rally, also held outside the Israeli embassy the following day demonstrated. On Sunday alone more than 100 Palestinians were killed and 500 injured. In Shuja’iyeh, a small neighbourhood in the East of Gaza City, 66 bodies were found by medical authorities, 17 of them children. Horrifying videos have appeared online of civilians fleeing by foot, charred, bloodied bodies lying strewn around them.

Not a single reference to this reality was captured in the recycled platitudes held up by the demonstrators—no trace of irony or shame in proclaiming Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

“British Jews have come out because although we do not live in Israel we want the Israelis to know we support them,” one man told me. “If we are not there in body we are there in spirit. Israel is our land. And as long as they continue to do the right thing, they will get our support.”

“I’m out today because this is a time of crisis for Israel,” another man said. “What Israel is going through with rockets coming in from Gaza is absolutely abhorrent. It’s important I come out as a British Jew to defend against this anti-Semitism.”

As the rally continued, a growing number of counter-demonstrators arrived through the crowd to a small area cordoned off by the police. Almost all of them were goaded, booed and harassed as they passed. One pro-Israel demonstrator ripped a Palestinian flag out of a man’s hand before throwing it onto the street to loud cheers. Another was held back by the police as he lurched at a man with two young children holding what looked like an umbrella with Palestinian colours. “I feared for my safety and my children,” the father told me after.

Another demonstrator, Douaa Elterk, was driving through the crowd to join the counter-protest when the car she was in was attacked by pro-Israel demonstrators. “We were assaulted as we passed by holding a Palestinian flag,” she said. “We were hit with sticks and one of our flags was snatched. Water was thrown and we were spat at. Somebody then blocked the road to stop us before the police moved them on. The Israelis are holding banners saying peace not war but are attacking everyone passing by. It’s such hypocrisy.”

As the rally came to a close a number of younger, masked counter-demonstrators turned up to face the large section of Israel supporters that had peeled off from the main area. At one stage the new arrivals broke the police line and kicked the window mirror of a car driving past waving an Israeli flag.

As I left, I received a text from a close family member who spotted me at the rally. “So Philip who were you supporting today?” she asked. Whatever optimism can be taken from a small group of people saying, “Not in our name,” for most diaspora communities around the world, Israel should never be publicly condemned.

http://www.vice.com/read/kleinfeld-israel-demos-zionism-london-2014-138

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy

Geobacter – a current favourite <i>(Image: Derek Lovley/SPL)</i>

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

That should not come as a complete surprise, says Kenneth Nealson at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. We know that life, when you boil it right down, is a flow of electrons: “You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them.” Our cells break down the sugars, and the electrons flow through them in a complex set of chemical reactions until they are passed on to electron-hungry oxygen.

In the process, cells make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. Moving electrons around is a key part of making ATP. “Life’s very clever,” says Nealson. “It figures out how to suck electrons out of everything we eat and keep them under control.” In most living things, the body packages the electrons up into molecules that can safely carry them through the cells until they are dumped on to oxygen.

"That’s the way we make all our energy and it’s the same for every organism on this planet," says Nealson. "Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained. This is why when someone suffocates another person they are dead within minutes. You have stopped the supply of oxygen, so the electrons can no longer flow."

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”

Nealson’s team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it back to the lab, and inserts electrodes into it.

First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either “eat” electrons from the higher voltage, or “breathe” electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured.

"Basically, the idea is to take sediment, stick electrodes inside and then ask ‘OK, who likes this?’," says Nealson.

Shocking breath

At the Goldschmidt geoscience conference in Sacramento, California, last month, Shiue-lin Li of Nealson’s lab presented results of experiments growing electricity breathers in sediment collected from Santa Catalina harbour in California. Yamini Jangir, also from the University of Southern California, presented separate experiments which grew electricity breathers collected from a well in Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in California.

Over at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, Daniel Bond and his colleagues have published experiments showing that they could grow a type of bacteria that harvested electrons from an iron electrode (mBio, doi.org/tqg). That research, says Jangir’s supervisor Moh El-Naggar, may be the most convincing example we have so far of electricity eaters grown on a supply of electrons with no added food.

But Nealson says there is much more to come. His PhD student Annette Rowe has identified up to eight different kinds of bacteria that consume electricity. Those results are being submitted for publication.

Nealson is particularly excited that Rowe has found so many types of electric bacteria, all very different to one another, and none of them anything like Shewanella or Geobacter. “This is huge. What it means is that there’s a whole part of the microbial world that we don’t know about.”

Discovering this hidden biosphere is precisely why Jangir and El-Naggar want to cultivate electric bacteria. “We’re using electrodes to mimic their interactions,” says El-Naggar. “Culturing the ‘unculturables’, if you will.” The researchers plan to install a battery inside a gold mine in South Dakota to see what they can find living down there.

NASA is also interested in things that live deep underground because such organisms often survive on very little energy and they may suggest modes of life in other parts of the solar system.

Electric bacteria could have practical uses here on Earth, however, such as creating biomachines that do useful things like clean up sewage or contaminated groundwater while drawing their own power from their surroundings. Nealson calls them self-powered useful devices, or SPUDs.

Practicality aside, another exciting prospect is to use electric bacteria to probe fundamental questions about life, such as what is the bare minimum of energy needed to maintain life.

For that we need the next stage of experiments, says Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York: bacteria should be grown not on a single electrode but between two. These bacteria would effectively eat electrons from one electrode, use them as a source of energy, and discard them on to the other electrode.

Gorby believes bacterial cells that both eat and breathe electrons will soon be discovered. “An electric bacterium grown between two electrodes could maintain itself virtually forever,” says Gorby. “If nothing is going to eat it or destroy it then, theoretically, we should be able to maintain that organism indefinitely.”

It may also be possible to vary the voltage applied to the electrodes, putting the energetic squeeze on cells to the point at which they are just doing the absolute minimum to stay alive. In this state, the cells may not be able to reproduce or grow, but they would still be able to run repairs on cell machinery. “For them, the work that energy does would be maintaining life – maintaining viability,” says Gorby.

How much juice do you need to keep a living electric bacterium going? Answer that question, and you’ve answered one of the most fundamental existential questions there is.

NASA is also interested in things that live deep underground because such organisms often survive on very little energy and they may suggest modes of life in other parts of the solar system.

Electric bacteria could have practical uses here on Earth, however, such as creating biomachines that do useful things like clean up sewage or contaminated groundwater while drawing their own power from their surroundings. Nealson calls them self-powered useful devices, or SPUDs.

Practicality aside, another exciting prospect is to use electric bacteria to probe fundamental questions about life, such as what is the bare minimum of energy needed to maintain life.

For that we need the next stage of experiments, says Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York: bacteria should be grown not on a single electrode but between two. These bacteria would effectively eat electrons from one electrode, use them as a source of energy, and discard them on to the other electrode.

Gorby believes bacterial cells that both eat and breathe electrons will soon be discovered. “An electric bacterium grown between two electrodes could maintain itself virtually forever,” says Gorby. “If nothing is going to eat it or destroy it then, theoretically, we should be able to maintain that organism indefinitely.”

It may also be possible to vary the voltage applied to the electrodes, putting the energetic squeeze on cells to the point at which they are just doing the absolute minimum to stay alive. In this state, the cells may not be able to reproduce or grow, but they would still be able to run repairs on cell machinery. “For them, the work that energy does would be maintaining life – maintaining viability,” says Gorby.

How much juice do you need to keep a living electric bacterium going? Answer that question, and you’ve answered one of the most fundamental existential questions there is.

Gaza death toll tops 500 as U.S. steps up ceasefire efforts

GAZA/JERUSALEM  - The United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire on Monday, as the Palestinian death toll jumped to more than 500.

Despite growing calls for a halt to two weeks of fighting, violence raged on. Israel pounded the coastal strip, killing 28 members of a family in one strike, 11 people in an attack on a high-rise building and four in the shelling of a hospital, medics said.

Israel’s losses also mounted. Following the death of 13 soldiers on Sunday, Israel said seven more troops had been killed on Monday, including four whose jeep was fired at by a group of militants who tunnelled across the border from Gaza.

Israeli aircraft hit back swiftly, killing 10 of the infiltrators from the Islamist group Hamas, the army said.

Violence also spread to the occupied West Bank where Palestinian medics said Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man, 21, while dispersing protesters throwing stones at a military jeep near Jerusalem.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo to try to secure an end to hostilities, a day after he was caught by an open microphone saying sarcastically that the Israeli assault was “a hell of a pinpoint operation”.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama said he was increasingly worried by the conflict.

"We have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, and that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a ceasefire," he told reporters at the White House.

Hamas, which killed 13 Israeli soldiers in Gaza on Sunday, said it would not lay down its arms until a series of demands were met - including an end to a blockade imposed on the territory by both Israel and Egypt.

"The world must understand that Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and its heroism," deputy Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised address.

At Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip, four people were killed and 70 wounded when an Israeli tank shell slammed into the third floor, which housed operating theatres and an intensive care unit, the Health Ministry said.

The Israeli military, which has accused Hamas militants of firing rockets from the grounds of Gaza hospitals and seeking refuge there, had no immediate comment.

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a statement condemning the shelling of the hospital “in the strongest terms”. It said the hospital came under direct fire at least four times and life-saving equipment had been severely damaged.

Nonstop attacks lifted the Palestinian death toll to 536, including almost 100 children, since fighting started on July 8, Gaza health officials said. Israel says 25 of its soldiers have been killed along with two civilians.

INFILTRATION ATTEMPT

Hamas announced late on Sunday it had captured an Israeli soldier in Gaza, displaying a photo ID card and serial number, but no image of the man in its hands. The Israeli army said it was still investigating the allegation.

The Hamas announcement set off rejoicing in the embattled Gaza Strip.

"This is not the time to talk of a ceasefire," said Gilad Erdan, communications minister and a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner security cabinet.

"We must complete the mission, and the mission cannot end until the threat of the tunnels is removed," he told reporters.

Looking to take the fight onto Israeli soil, two groups of Palestinian fighters, dressed as Israeli soldiers, crossed from Gaza via a secret tunnel in the early morning, firing a rocket-propelled grenade at a military jeep.

"We paid a heavy price but we prevented a major attack on our communities," said Major-General Sami Turgeman, Israel’s military commander in the south.

Black-and-white surveillance footage supplied by the army showed one group of five or six men crouching and firing in tall grass. Seconds later they were hit by a large explosion, which sent a cloud of smoke and debris flying into the air.

Fighters from Hamas, which controls Gaza, and its allies have repeatedly tried to infiltrate Israel over the past week through a vast network of hidden tunnels, looking to attack villages and army encampments that dot the border area.

Netanyahu sent in Israeli ground forces on Thursday to destroy the tunnels and the militants’ missile stockpile.

"Our fighters want to prove that Gaza is a graveyard for the invaders and Gaza is unbreakable," Haniyeh said on television.

DETERMINATION

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters that the main focus of fighting remained the Shejaia district, east of Gaza City, where some 72 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed on Sunday.

In its push into Shejaia, Israel suffered its worst losses in the offensive, with the 13 soldiers killed on Sunday marking the army’s heaviest one-day loss in battle since 2006.

The carnage energized world leaders to step up efforts to find a way out of the confrontation but a rift among Arab powers may complicate the quest for a truce.

Past conflicts between Israel and its foes in Gaza and Lebanon have usually ended when the United States, the Jewish state’s guardian ally, calls a halt, sometimes hastened by a strike that inflicts high civilian casualties on the Arab side.

Kerry was scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday night and to see a series of senior Egyptian officials on Tuesday.

Egypt presented a ceasefire plan last week. Israel accepted, but Hamas rejected it, saying the group had not been consulted.

Egyptian officials told Reuters on Monday that Cairo might be willing to amend its truce initiative. An Israeli official in Washington, who declined to be named, said he wanted Kerry to get Egypt to apply pressure on Hamas.

"The secretary has to try and strengthen the Egyptian proposal," the official said. "I think Egypt has considerable amount of leverage with Hamas because they are the ones that have the chokehold" on Gaza’s economy.

While Washington has called for calm, it has so far defended Israeli actions.

In Israel, the high death toll by Israeli standards appeared to cement a public mood of grim determination.

Many flags flew at half-mast but no leading figures are calling into question the operation. “We need to continue to grit our teeth, to shut our ears, to ignore the background noise and to get the job done,” columnist Ben Caspit wrote in Ma’ariv.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/07/20/at-least-62-dead-in-israeli-attack-on-gaza-suburb-witnesses

Tags: gaza death toll