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‘We are risking death’: Iranians on Mahsa Amini protests | Iran

Dozens of people are feared to have died in six days of protests in Iran sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who had been detained by morality police for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an “improper” way.

The official line is that Amini died from heart failure or a stroke, but her family and protesters say she died of injuries sustained from a beating by police. Here, three protesters explain why they have taken to streets despite the dangers they face.

Rona, 20, Tehran

At 6.30pm last night, with the wounds on my body aching and my back black and blue with bruises, I walked through the Valiasr Square. A few metres ahead hundreds of others protesters were chanting: “Death to the dictator.”

In the past few days, the fight on the streets has gone beyond Mahsa Amini’s death. It is now about vengeance; I am here for every minute of my life I have been humiliated for being a woman.

Two months ago, as I stood with other women in protest against the hijab decree, a policeman called me a slut. Although I was fully dressed, he said I was naked. I have had this and worse many, many times. Back then we were just a few dozen women asking for the right to choose how we dressed. I never expected that just a few weeks later things would take such a deadly turn.

Now, as we protest we are risking death. When I heard about Mahsa’s killing, I couldn’t let them get away with it. All our lives we have been policed and silenced, and I want to be free.

So, before they cut us off from the rest of the world, here’s what I want the world to know. We women in Iran aren’t weak. We are like any young women across the world. We love makeup tutorials and Hollywood movies. Yet we can’t walk the streets without being humiliated for wearing what we want.

So that is why I am protesting. As we marched last night we screamed, “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi,” (woman, life, freedom) and all I could picture in my head was how [Ayatollah] Khomeini’s regime will be crushed by every woman and girl on the streets, and every man joining us in protest.

A few minutes after we started marching, the riot police advanced. We gathered trash cans and set them on fire. All of us girls walked straight towards them, unhooking our hijabs, twirling them in the air and throwing them into the flames.

Moments later, they released teargas. They used green laser lights to spot and identify some of us and shot rubber pellets straight at us. I turned around and started running, that’s when I took a hit on my legs.

We dispersed and ran towards the residential buildings when some of the families opened their gates for us. They gave us water to drink and to wash our burning eyes and told us how proud they were to see us fight. By the end of last night, I had blood stains all over my clothes but I was more determined than ever.

It is now Friday and I am getting dressed again to join the protest. Tell the world that we are alive and fighting– at least for now.

Mohsin, 19, Mashhad

On Wednesday night I saw the security forces push a teenage girl on to the road and beat her with batons. I will never forget the force with which they hit her.

Over the past week, the Iranian regime has unleashed unimaginable violence against us. Right now we don’t feel we can trust anyone. We have received alerts that cybersecurity forces are trying to infiltrate our protest groups on Telegram and WhatsApp.

At this point the protests are not just about Masha any more. It’s about freedom of choice, inflation, unemployment and dictatorship; one under which our futures are being erased. The regime killing Mahsa has reminded us about realities of our daily lives. Killing one of our sisters was the final straw.

This is why last night I headed out to join the protesters at about 5pm. When I got there, I was surprised how many young people were there, teenagers as young as 13.

We were about 60 people chanting for freedom. After only a couple of minutes, the police arrived and started shooting rubber bullets at us. We were hit multiple times because there were more than double the number of police. We retreated and ran back towards Bozorgmehr Street. There were police motorcycles parked there. They followed us and used teargas and then grabbed a dozen of us, all minors, and put them in police vans and drove away. We tried to stop them by throwing stones. We don’t know what happened to them. I can only hope they are still alive.

When we were walking away, more security forces appeared out of nowhere and used tasers on us and beat me on my back. I’m still in a lot of pain but I’ll keep protesting until the day they handcuff me. I will do anything for my country and the Iranian sisters that started this revolution.

Yesterday at work, I’d just gone downstairs to get dinner when the police stopped me. They took away my press card and hit me on my knees with batons. They told me, “What news are you going to write? We’ll give you back your card when we confirm you’re a reporter.”

I wasn’t even protesting. Yet even as a journalist I can’t report on what is happening because we are being monitored by our bosses and the police. We have been told we can’t use the word “death” in Mahsa’s case.

I’m locked up in the newsroom. In the past few days, the threats have increased against us. One of my colleagues had to change her number and network carrier because she was notified that they’re monitoring her online activity. This morning they raided the house of journalist Niloofar Hamedi and detained her. We have no knowledge of her whereabouts.

The crackdown on journalists has begun and they could come after me anytime. I am filled with anger, yet I feel helpless. The situation is only about to get worse. There have been incidents in Mashhad, Zanjan and Hamedan where the pro-regime protesters marched in support. I’ve been told there’s a demonstration this weekend. Pro-government Iranians, supported by the regime, will counter the ones protesting for Mahsa. They’ll start after Friday prayers and I fear this will take a deadly turn.

They’re putting people against people! I fear more people will lose their lives and here we are, unable to tell the world the plight of our own.

Names have been changed

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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!

— Compiled by Independents for

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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.

Air France – Deals & Special Offers

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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