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Familia Michoacana: Mexico City is on alert after a threatening video circulates on social media | International

Security officials in Mexico City are on alert after seeing an alarming video with 30 men brandishing weapons and claiming control over the capital’s southern boroughs. Posted by a group calling themselves “Pura Familia Michoacana” (The Michoacan Family), the video spread like wildfire on social media. It was a message of death and terror with all the typical drug-trafficker boasts, threats and crude language, and signed by just one man – El Zarco (green eyes). The display of firepower didn’t frighten everyone so much, it was the territory they are claiming – Milpa Alta – the small, rural towns on the southern fringe of the capital city. Authorities say that no criminal organizations are firmly established in this area, even though it’s a valuable thoroughfare for illegal activity. People are busily hanging Christmas lights to decorate their towns, while police cars circulate constantly to preserve the peace and quiet of the holiday season.

The threatening video shared on social media.Video: RR. SS.

The federal district of Mexico City has mostly escaped the drug trafficking terror that has gripped the entire nation. But evidence is mounting that this relative peace is ending. On June 28, 2020, Public Security Minister Omar García Harfuch was attacked in the heart of the capital. Authorities say several cartels are engaged in a turf war for control of the city. Some have gravitated to Tlahuac, a borough located on the southeastern edge of Mexico City, and to other nearby communities just a stone’s throw from Milpa Alta, the most rural of all the capital’s boroughs. “We’re already in Milpa Alta,” says the masked man in the video, as if to warn local residents that the nopal cactuses that dominate the landscape aren’t the only thorns to watch out for.

Some say that criminals are after empty fields abandoned by their owners. Others note the area’s advantageous location between several states, and the federal highway that runs north to south through Milpa Alta. Meanwhile, authorities are advising people not to panic. “We are not minimizing the video, but if a cell like this one were actually operating in the area, we would have seen more than one intentional homicide in November in Milpa Alta,” said Garcia Harfuch, after meeting local leaders. The Ministry of Public Security reiterated that it “neither minimizes nor discounts” the threats in video, but quickly dispatched 25 high-security patrol vehicles with six police officers each. “We deployed a significant security force to Milpa Alta that is patrolling the area every day,” said Garcia Harfuch.

The Citizen Security Secretariat (SSC) deployed officers to carry out patrols in the town of San Antonio Tecómitl.
The Citizen Security Secretariat (SSC) deployed officers to carry out patrols in the town of San Antonio Tecómitl.Mónica González Islas

San Antonio Tecomitl is a town of 21,000 that has become the commercial center of the Milpa Alta area. In the town square, an officer orders his troops to fall in, and then runs the 20 or so men in navy blue uniforms through a few drills. He says he doesn’t think the Familia Michoacana is operating in the Milpa Alta area because there’s no evidence of it. “The people fighting over land are from Chalco,” he says, referring to the neighboring town. “They just want to be able to transit freely through here; they’re not fighting for control of drug territory,” he said. The officer said they’ll stay as long as necessary, “so that the people will know that they haven’t been abandoned and that these armed groups aren’t going to take over.” Why did they release this video? “To cause panic. It’s a message to [criminals] like themselves. But everything is quiet here. The ones causing all the fuss are just passing through.”

Antonio Nieto, a journalist specializing in drug trafficking who wrote a book on the cartel in Mexico City, doesn’t think they’re just passing through. Nieto says that the Familia Michoacana has been active in Chalco, Ixtapaluca, Tlahuac and Milpa Alta since 2006. “The video is about the Familia Michoacana’s recent battles against “Los Gastones,” another group of drug traffickers operating in the same area. Nieto cites a number of arrests, murders and skirmishes between street dealers over the last 18 months. “The Familia Michoacana has been involved in about 350 incidents over the last three or four years,” he said. “They’re active on social media and have been around for 20 years, so no one can say they’re not in Mexico City. What’s changing is that they are now more out in the open, although they haven’t yet declared war on the authorities.”

A worker at a nopal plantation in Milpa Alta, Mexico City.
A worker at a nopal plantation in Milpa Alta, Mexico City. Mónica González Islas

As the saying goes, “Troubled waters make for good fishing,” so when narcos churn up the river, neighborhood thugs and low-level extortionists get busy. That’s what a small grocery store owner says is happening in Milpa Alta. “I got a call from someone who said he was from the mayor’s office. That’s strange, I thought to myself. He wouldn’t let me talk. When I wanted to say something, he just said, ‘You’ll know when it’s your turn to speak.’ That’s when I hung up. But he called twice more and said he was from the Tláhuac cartel, which had never happened to me before. Other times they called and said that one of my nephews had a problem and needed money. But then they told me they knew where we lived and asked if I wanted to see my wife hanging from a bridge. I got scared and reported it,” said the shop owner, who asked for anonymity. He installed security cameras and now closes the shop before it gets dark. In the morning, all the stores are open, and fresh fruit and huge pots of mole are on display. It’s a cheerful atmosphere that belies the trepidation that night brings.

Other messages have circulated recently on WhatsApp warning everyone, “Stay home after 11pm – the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is here to bring order to this town of innocents. All the little lackeys poking their fucking rat fingers where they don’t belong are going to get fucked up. We have been sent by the boss to stay and work here. Don’t ignore this message. We’re going to torture, kill and dismember all the fucking rats that we already found.” The message then lists the aliases of 20 people that they’re after. Although the message almost seems laughable at times, the threat is real. Dismembered bodies have been found in Mexico City’s historic downtown, a popular tourist attraction. No joke.

Views of Milpa Alta.
Views of Milpa Alta.Mónica González Islas

The Teutli volcano looms over this peaceful, sun-splashed land, overlooked even by the scourge of the Spanish conquistadors. “We all know each other in these villages. If we see a stranger, we ring the bells to alert everyone,” said Ramiro Caldillo, a municipal official. He dismisses the veracity of the Familia Michoacana video, and blames social media for spreading fear. “Of course, there is some concern and people are talking about it,” he said. “But there are some odd details in the video, like the swimming pool in front of the men. We don’t have those here,” he says. Things may be a little less safe now, but Caldiillo is being cautious because he knows that peaceful Milpa Alta borders some unsafe areas, and that its “empty fields and mountainous terrain are difficult for the police to secure.” But like the Minister of Security, he notes the low number of homicides and insists that all is well.

Nothing is moving in the quiet nopal fields – not a single gust of wind to shake their thick, stiff leaves. They remain that way from morning to night, but now there are some warning signs that peace may not last much longer in this rural landscape on the southern fringes of the great Mexico City.

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Chemistry Problems & Quantum Computing

The researchers compared the results of a conventional and quantum computer to minimise error calculations, which could eventually be scaled up to solve more complicated problems.

Scientists in Sweden have successfully managed to use a quantum computer to solve simple chemistry problems, as a proof-of-concept for more advanced calculations.

Currently, conventional supercomputers are used in quantum chemistry to help scientists learn more about chemical reactions, which materials can be developed and the characteristics they have.

But these conventional computers have a limit to the calculations they can handle. It is believed quantum computers will eventually be able to handle extremely complicated simulations, which could lead to new pharmaceutical discoveries or the creation of new materials.

However, these quantum machines are so sensitive that their calculations suffer from errors. Imperfect control signals, interference from the environment and unwanted interactions between quantum bits – qubits – can lead to “noise” that disrupts calculations.

The risk of errors grows as more qubits are added to a quantum computer, which complicates attempts to create more powerful machines or solve more complicated problems.

Comparing conventional and quantum results

In the new study by Chalmers University, scientists aimed to resolve this noise issue through a method called reference-state error mitigation.

This method involves finding a “reference state” by describing and solving the same problem on both a conventional and a quantum computer.

The reference state is a simpler description of a molecule that can be solved by a normal computer. By comparing the results from both computers, the scientists were able to estimate the scale of error the quantum computer had in its calculation.

The difference between the two computers’ results for the simpler reference problem was then applied to correct the quantum computer’s solution for the original, more complex problem.

This method allowed the scientists to calculate the intrinsic energy of small example molecules such as hydrogen on the university’s quantum computer.

Associate professor Martin Rahm – who led the study – believes the result is an important step forward that can be used to improve future quantum-chemical calculations.

“We see good possibilities for further development of the method to allow calculations of larger and more complex molecules, when the next generation of quantum computers are ready,” Rahm said.

Research is happening around the world to fix the problems limiting the development of more advanced quantum computers.

Earlier this month, Tyndall’s Prof Peter O’Brien told about his group’s work in addressing a key challenge in quantum technology and how quantum communications will make eavesdropping ‘impossible’.

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A Chilling Resurgence Of The “Vampire Fish” In The Great Lakes

The notorious sea lamprey, a creepy parasitic fish, resurges in the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc on native species.

The Creepy Invader Emerges

In the eerie waters of the Great Lakes, a parasitic fish has emerged from the depths, thriving on a bloodsucking mission. Meet the sea lamprey, a creature with a haunting circular row of teeth, a serrated tongue, and an eel-like shape. Native to the northern and western Atlantic Ocean, this nightmarish creature invaded the Great Lakes in the early 19th century through the Welland Canal, which links Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Once it infiltrated the pristine waters, the lamprey set about its insidious predation on commercially important fish, including trout, whitefish, perch, and sturgeon. The consequences were catastrophic.

A Century of Devastation

Within a mere decade, the sea lamprey gained access to all five Great Lakes, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Its unchecked proliferation led to the collapse of the once-thriving trout fishery within a century. By the 1960s, the lamprey had inflicted such damage that the annual commercial catch of lake trout in the upper Great Lakes plummeted from around 15 million pounds to a meager half a million pounds.

A Battle Against the Vampire Fish

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, alongside the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, took up arms against this highly invasive species. With ardent determination, they sought to manage and reduce the sea lamprey population, and their efforts yielded significant success. The fishery commission proudly boasts on its website that sea lamprey populations have been diminished by a staggering 90 percent in most areas of the Great Lakes.

The “vampire fish” sea lamprey makes a chilling comeback, threatening the delicate balance of the Great Lakes’ aquatic life.

The Pandemic’s Interruption

However, as the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the agencies’ crucial operations to control the lamprey’s resurgence suffered a chilling interruption. With travel restrictions in place and resources stretched thin, fishery managers faced daunting challenges. The pandemic’s insidious impact reached the heart of the Great Lakes, allowing the parasitic fish to take advantage of the hiatus.

The Reemergence

As restrictions eased and operations resumed, a grim revelation awaited the fishery managers. The parasitic fish had cunningly exploited the opportunity, and their population began to creep back across the Great Lakes. Reports from the Wall Street Journal indicated that the sea lamprey population had resurged, sending shivers down the spines of those who witnessed its wrath in the past.

Lampreys belong to the superclass Cyclostomata and represent the most ancient group of vertebrates. Existing for over 360 million years, they are known as living fossils due to their many evolutionally conserved features

A Fragile Balance

Exact figures of the resurgence remain uncertain, but the implications are undeniably ominous. According to a 2022 report by Undark Magazine, crews responsible for population control were only able to treat about 25 percent of the target streams in 2020, leaving the lamprey unchecked. The following year saw a partial recovery, as the teams reached 75% of their targets. Nevertheless, the challenge remains enormous, and the careful application of pesticides called lampricides is essential to reduce the lamprey population.

After pandemic disruptions, the sea lamprey population surges, posing a formidable challenge for conservationists in the Great Lakes.

The Cost of Confrontation

The battle against the lamprey is not merely a spooky tale—it comes with a substantial price tag. Controlling this aquatic menace is estimated to cost around $15 to $20 million annually, reflecting the magnitude of the threat it poses to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Joining the Fight

As the resurgence of the “vampire fish” casts a shadow over the Great Lakes, the need for decisive action becomes evident. Stakeholders must unite in their mission to protect the delicate balance of this vital ecosystem. The battle against the sea lamprey requires collective effort and resources, with innovative approaches to safeguarding the region’s rich biodiversity.

A Race Against Time

With the sinister sea lamprey gaining ground, time is of the essence. As this dark chapter unfolds, the eyes of the world are on the Great Lakes, waiting to witness the outcome of this gripping struggle. The clock is ticking, and the stakes have never been higher.

Seizing the Opportunity

For environmental advocates, researchers, and those invested in the well-being of the Great Lakes, the resurgence of the “vampire fish” serves as a chilling reminder of the fragility of our ecosystems.

Embracing sustainable practices, collaborative efforts, and innovative solutions, there is hope that the Great Lakes can once again emerge victorious against this formidable foe.

A Battle for the Ages

As the lamprey saga continues, it will be a tale of resilience, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of balance. The world holds its breath, awaiting the final chapter in this eerie narrative—a chapter that will determine the fate of one of North America’s most treasured aquatic ecosystems.

Contact us now to learn how you can support the battle against the “vampire fish” and join the ranks of those committed to preserving the Great Lakes for generations to come. Let your voice be heard in this harrowing tale of nature’s tenacity and mankind’s dedication.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘The Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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