Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Majority of Chinese Expect War With Japan by 2020, Poll Finds

Majority of Chinese Expect War With Japan by 2020, Poll Finds

Majority of Chinese Expect War With Japan by 2020, Poll Finds

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:53 AM PDT

More than half of China’s citizens expect their country to be at war with Japan in as little as six years, according to a new public opinion poll that finds a widening sense of mistrust and hostility between the two countries.

53 percent of Chinese respondents and 29 percent of Japanese respondents expected a war to break out by the year 2020, according to a joint survey conducted by newspaper China Daily and Genron, a Japanese NGO.

Each country’s favorability rating of the other remained at historic lows. 93% of Japanese respondents reported having a negative impression of China, the worst rating in the survey’s decade-long history. 87% of Chinese responded negatively to Japan, a slight decrease from last year’s record high.

Tensions between Japan and China flared in 2013 over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and diplomats from both countries accused one another of behaving like “Voldemort,” the evil wizard from Harry Potter fame. The rhetoric has cooled slightly since then, but public resentment evidently is still running deep.



France Ready to Participate in Iraq Airstrikes

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:46 AM PDT

(PARIS) — France’s foreign minister said Wednesday his country is ready to take part in airstrikes against extremist fighters in Iraq if needed.

Laurent Fabius called for international mobilization against “this transnational danger that could reach all the way to our soil.”

He spoke in Paris before President Barack Obama is expected to outline Washington’s plans for fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

France has said it would join a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and is sending arms to Kurdish authorities to fight the militants. The French president and foreign minister are going to Iraq on Friday and hosting an international conference Monday on how to stop the group and help Iraq.

Fabius said in a speech in Paris that “we will participate, if necessary, in military air action” in Iraq, according to a text provided by the French Foreign Ministry.

Earlier, Fabius said people should stop referring to the extremists as the Islamic State group, arguing that they do not represent Islam or a state.

Fabius referred to the group Wednesday as Daesh, the acronym in Arabic for its full former name, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Speaking to lawmakers, Fabius said “the determination of the Daesh butchers is strong. Ours must be even stronger.”

Egypt’s top Islamic authority also argues the group should not be called Islamic State.

The Most Beautiful Wildfire Photos You’ll Ever See

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:41 AM PDT

At first, you don’t see the fire and smoke raging near the most beautiful section of America’s most beautiful national park. Instead, the blaze that’s burned through 4,500 acres of Yosemite blends almost seamlessly into its natural features: the fire looking an extension of the sunset; the smoke appearing nothing more than a layer of fog above the valley floor.

Photographer Stuart Palley captured the wildfire when it first began spreading early this week. He says he always thought if there was a forest fire near Half Dome, the gray granite formation that’s one of Yosemite’s most popular and iconic features, it would make for a stunning photograph. So when he heard over the weekend about the growing fire, he drove seven hours to Yosemite from Los Angeles to shoot it overnight from the vantage of nearby Glacier Point.

While much of the west and southwest are experiencing some level of drought, roughly 80% of California is suffering from “extreme drought” conditions, and about 60% of the state is experiencing “exceptional” drought as little rainfall over the last two years have brought reservoir levels to 60% of their historical average.

According to reports, the fire appears to have recently slowed. Eight helicopters and roughly 400 firefighters have been deployed to fight the wildfire, which forced the evacuation of dozens of hikers in the area surrounding Yosemite Valley. But at last estimate, the fire was only 10% contained.

Net Neutrality Advocates Turn Up the Volume

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:41 AM PDT

A vast coalition of Internet businesses and activists, as well as two top Congressional Democrats, launched a series of loud new public relations campaigns Wednesday in support of “net neutrality,” the notion that Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all web content equally, no matter the source.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday to prevent ISPs, such as Comcast, Verizon or Time Warner Cable, from treating web content differently.

Their appeals came just a day before the Internet Association, Battle for the Net, and the American Sustainable Business Council launched new campaigns Wednesday calling for the FCC to pass new Open Internet protections.

While Leahy, Pelosi, and the advocacy groups are not all united behind one solution, all have slammed the FCC’s current proposed rules on net neutrality, which were first presented in April and may be finalized as early as this year. The public comment period ends Sept. 15.

The FCC’s proposed rules have been sharply criticized for allowing web companies to pay ISPs to deliver their content more quickly and in higher quality than companies that do not pay for faster service. Internet advocates argue that allowing such “paid prioritization”—widely known as Internet “fast lanes”—would give the richest incumbent companies, which can can afford to pay a premium, an unfair advantage over struggling start-ups and mom-and-pop operations that often operate on shoestring budgets.

Others worry that such fast lanes would fundamentally undermine the Wild West-style free market of ideas and commerce on the Internet, where you don’t have to be a billionaire to attract millions of new customers overnight to your site.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has insisted repeatedly that paid prioritization would help vital new industries that rely on lightning-fast download speeds, particularly in the e-medicine and online education spaces, to make their way online. Leahy will hold a Congressional hearing next week on the subject.

The Internet Association, an umbrella group uniting Silicon Valley’s biggest, most powerful tech giants—including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Ebay—launched a new campaign Wednesday afternoon. It includes a video and an online comic demanding better net neutrality protections. The association also submitted formal comments (PDF) to the FCC warning the agency to ignore the “flawed arguments of broadband gatekeepers that seek to control speech on the Internet, censor content, and segregate the Internet into fast and slow lanes.”

The Internet Association’s position on net neutrality is particularly important in the public dialogue because its member companies are mainly large incumbents that could theoretically benefit from paid prioritization deals edging out their smaller competitors. Instead, these large companies have insisted that the Internet marketplace must remain friendly to the tiniest start-ups, which are often the source of “the next big thing.”

Meanwhile, another coalition of Internet advocates convened Wednesday behind a different, similar campaign, Battle for the Net, which is also critical of the FCC’s proposed rules and calls for better ones. Battle for the Net includes 27 progressive advocacy organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and, as well as dozens of tech companies, including Twitter, Tumblr, Netflix, Kickstarter, Etsy, and Vimeo.

Those companies, along with thousands of smaller websites, took part in a “day of action” Wednesday in which they displayed on their home pages an icon symbolizing a slow-loading website. When visitors click on that icon, they are invited to sign the Battle for the Net’s letter to the FCC and to contact their member of Congress.

While the Battle for the Net coalition’s gripes are similar to those of the Internet Association, the Battle for the Net goes farther in pointing at a specific solution. It, along with Pelosi, asks that the FCC categorize ISPs as a “Title II” industry, a move that would give the agency legal jurisdiction to strictly regulate the companies that own the Internet “pipes” — or the fiber that the Internet runs on. The Internet Association, while leaving what is known as the “Title II option” on the table, has stopped short of actively advocating for that end.

The debate over net neutrality is at this point intrinsically intertwined with a discussion of the Title II option, which itself hinges on a rather arcane detail in administrative law. In January, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC’s previous rules on net neutrality on the grounds that the agency does not have legal jurisdiction over ISPs since they do not fall under “Title II” of the regulators’ statute. Public advocacy groups, like Free Press, which organized Battle for the Net, argue that the FCC should simply fix that problem, since it’s up to the agency to decide how it categorizes different industries.

But here’s where the discussion really heats up. Big ISPs, like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable, as well as their trade associations, have said that the Title II option, which would allow the FCC to treat ISPs like telephone companies, would unleash a storm of suffocating regulation. They say that if they are regulated “like public utilities,” they would have no incentive to invest hundreds of millions every year in researching and developing new technologies, much less maintaining and improving the network of pipes and wires that connect American homes to the World Wide Web.

Advocates for the Title II option say the ISPs, which enjoy monopolies and duopolies in most American cities and towns, should be regulated strictly, but argue that categorizing ISPs under Title II would actually lead to fewer regulations. The categorization would allow the FCC to pass a simple, blanket, easy-to-enforce rule on net neutrality for all ISPs, they say, rather than going at it piecemeal. Some advocates say that by avoiding the Title II option, the FCC is wading into unnecessary red tape. The agency’s current proposed rules call for the formation of a special ombudsman office within the FCC where federal bureaucrats would manually review when web companies paid ISPs for premium service.

The issue of net neutrality rocketed into national headlines earlier this year after Netflix accused big ISPs, like Comcast and Verizon, of deliberately slowing down streaming speeds and causing streaming videos to buffer. After Netflix paid the ISPs a fee, the download speeds increased. ISPs say such deals are only fair now that a handful of companies, like Netflix and Google’s YouTube, dominate the majority of web traffic during primetime hours.

It’s unclear when exactly the debate surrounding net neutrality will end. The FCC could finalize its proposed rules on net neutrality in the next few months or, if public pressure mounts, it could be forced to return to the drawing board early next year. President Obama, who has been a vociferous advocate for net neutrality–and a critic of “fast lanes” on the Internet–has stopped short, but just barely, of condemning the FCC’s proposed rules.

With rising populist anger, a raft of new PR campaigns, and Silicon Valley tech firms set to be major political campaign contributors in 2016, something’s likely to break soon.

How Apple Is Invading Our Bodies

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:33 AM PDT

For the full story, read this week’s TIME magazine.

With the unveiling of the Apple Watch Tuesday in Cupertino, California, Apple is attempting to put technology somewhere where it’s never been particularly welcome. Like a pushy date, the Apple Watch wants to get intimate with us in a way we’re not entirely used to or prepared for. This isn’t just a new product, this is technology attempting to colonize our bodies.

The Apple Watch is very personal—“personal” and “intimate” were words that Apple CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues used over and over again when presenting it to the public for the first time. That’s where the watch is likely to change things, because it does something computers aren’t generally supposed to: it lives on your body. It perches on your wrist, like one of Cinderella’s helpful bluebirds. It gets closer than we’re used technology getting. It gets inside your personal bubble. We’re used to technology being safely Other, but the Apple Watch wants to snuggle up and become part of your Self.

This is new, and slightly unnerving. When technologies get adopted as fast as we tend to adopt Apple’s products, there are always unintended consequences. When the iPhone came out it was praised to the skies as a design and engineering marvel, because it is one, but no one really understood what it would be like to have it in our lives. Nobody anticipated the way iPhones exert a constant gravitational tug on our attention. Do I have e-mail? What’s happening on Twitter? Could I get away with playing Tiny Wings at this meeting? When you’re carrying a smartphone, your attention is never entirely undivided.

The reality of living with an iPhone, or any smart, connected device, is that it makes reality feel just that little bit less real. One gets over-connected, to the point where the thoughts and opinions of distant anonymous strangers start to feel more urgent than those of your loved ones who are in the same room as you. One forgets how to be alone and undistracted. Ironically enough experiences don’t feel fully real till you’ve used your phone to make them virtual—tweeted them or tumbled them or Instagrammed them or YouTubed them, and the world has congratulated you for doing so. Smartphones create needs we never had before, and were probably better off without.

The great thing about the Apple Watch is that it’s always there—you don’t even have to take it out of your bag to look at it, the way you would with an iPhone. But unlike an iPhone you can’t put the Apple Watch away either. It’s always with you. During the company’s press event the artist Banksy posted a drawing to his Twitter feed of an iPhone growing roots that strangle and sink into the wrist of the hand holding it. You can see where he was coming from. This is technology establishing a new beachhead. To wear a device as powerful as the Apple Watch makes you ever so slightly post-human.

What might post-humanity be like? The paradox of a wearable device is that it both gives you control and takes it away at the same time. Consider the watch’s fitness applications. They capture all data that your body generates, your heart and activity and so on, gathers it up and stores and returns it to you in a form you can use. Once the development community gets through apping it, there’s no telling what else it might gather. This will change your experience of your body. The wristwatch made the idea of not knowing what time it was seem bizarre; in five years it might seem bizarre not to know how many calories you’ve eaten today, or what your resting heart rate is.

But wearables also ask you to give up control. Your phone will start telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat and how far you should run. It’s going to get in between you and your body and mediate that relationship. Wearables will make your physical self visible to the virtual world in the form of information, an indelible digital body-print, and that information is going to behave like any other information behaves these days. It will be copied and circulated. It will go places you don’t expect. People will use that information to track you and market to you. It will be bought and sold and leaked—imagine a data-spill comparable to the recent iCloud leak, only with Apple Watch data instead of naked selfies.

The Apple Watch represents a redrawing of the map that locates technology in one place and our bodies in another. The line between the two will never be as easy to find again. Once you’re OK with wearing technology, the only way forward is inward: the next product launch after the Apple Watch would logically be the iMplant. If Apple succeeds in legitimizing wearables as a category, it will have successfully established the founding node in a network that could spread throughout our bodies, with Apple setting the standards. Then we’ll really have to decide how much control we want—and what we’re prepared to give up for it.

Early Apple Designer: Apple Is Now a Marketing-Driven Company

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:28 AM PDT

As expected, Apple’s upgraded iPhones – finally rounded again for nice touch – and the Apple Watch are meticulously designed and continue Apple’s design strategy of elegant simplicity and fine materials. The software user interface of both product lines provides logical interaction and is visually appealing. And as expected, Apple makes things and solutions like wellness monitoring or wireless payment better, even when invented by others.

However, the absence of fundamental innovation also shows that Apple is becoming a marketing-driven company, which now has to follow market pressures. As even the most advanced technology in the wireless space Steve Jobs pioneered is becoming a commodity within the shortest period of time, the company is moving into the fashion-minded luxury market to protect its profits. The money and the talent for this strategic shift is there, however Steve Jobs probably would have preferred the Apple Watch in stainless steel — the authentic material real watches are made of.

Hartmut Esslinger is the founder of Frog design. His book is Keep it Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple.

An Evangelical Defense of Traditional Marriage

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:23 AM PDT

I eagerly await the young evangelical that finally convinces me that the Bible and human history are wrong on marriage and that justice requires that both Christianity and society bestow marriage on same-sex relationships.

So I read with eagerness an op-ed in TIME from a spokesman from “Evangelicals for Marriage Equality.” The only problem, however, is that I didn’t see any real arguments. I saw a lot of emotion. I saw appeals to injustice and craven caricatures of Christianity, but I didn’t see any real arguments.

In 800 words, there’s not a coherent argument about the nature of marriage. And that’s what this debate Americans are having is about, isn’t it? It’s about one question: What is marriage? This isn’t just about Christianity’s teaching on marriage. It’s about the definition of marriage for society. It’s about whether marriage is malleable, or whether marriage has a fixed social purpose that’s been recognized throughout all of human history as something distinct from other relationships. To say that the union of a man and woman is different is not grounded in bigotry or discrimination. It’s grounded in the powers of observation that draw rightful distinctions between different sets of relationships.

Consider too the argument about separating “theology and politics.” This is a separation that the Bible itself, at least how it’s phrased here, doesn’t make. The author himself even knows this, since motivation for Christians to influence government (for example, to help end human trafficking) necessarily fuses “theology and politics.” The government is not in the business of upholding theological positions or propagating sectarian ethics. As a Baptist Christian, I don’t need the government to defend Christian orthodoxy. But I do need it to tell the truth about marriage.

The church’s theology on marriage, while certainly pivotal to the church, isn’t sectarian. Marriage leads one outside the walls of the church and into the public square because marriage, by design, reveals a purpose about our being made male and female. Marriage has an innately public purpose by bringing together the two halves of humanity. If you embrace man as man and woman as woman, you might be on the losing end of a culture war over marriage, but you’ll be on the side of truth when the dust settles about human nature.

You can arrive at a civil understanding of marriage that still upholds the man-woman definition as essential without making it a theological argument. We do this all the time. We make laws like this for common good purposes, none of which require a theological rationale. Consider stealing. The government forbids stealing, for example, not simply because the Decalogue forbids it, but because stealing violates the public trust. Because stealing undermines cooperation and a well-ordered civil society, common belief about the harms of theft leads to outlawing it. Of course, as evangelicals, we believe everything has God as its author, and so we view stealing as breaking God’s commandment. But that is not government’s interest in making theft illegal. The same is true of marriage. We uphold marriage because no institution like it in society can secure civilization’s stability and future.

A group of precocious Millennials that would rather take up foreign interpretations and incoherent social policies than defend the church’s supposedly backward teachings is inexcusable—that when Christianity’s moral teachings rub up against culture’s newfound moral bearing, it’s Christians that have to adapt. It is telling that these individuals weren’t making this argument prior to the 21st century. For Christians to tout a view of marriage that undermines its own long-held moral teaching signals that our moral compass is conditioned more by majorities than logic.

We can talk all we want about polls and data. But if Christianity means anything, it means that its teachings and values aren’t subject to the whims of changing polls or public opinion. Sure, some elements of Christianity have always wanted to fashion a form of Christianity like this into their own image (one that mirrors the prevailing attitudes of society), but a Christianity of this nature never lasts. Over time, the pull to remain decidedly Christians simply stalls, since Christianity looks no different than what can be found in other sectors of culture.

But there’s another possibility to consider. More and more, I see stories like this and this, articles from young coming-of-age Millennials that tell a different story. They tell of young Christians who, when challenged about marriage, were forced to examine the arguments about why Christianity in its theology, and society in its laws, have always held to the idea that marriage is a unique and irreplaceable union that joins a man and woman as husband and wife to be a father and mother to any children their union produces.

Arguments like we see from Evangelicals for Marriage Equality aren’t persuasive. Filled with rhetorical flourishes, they pull at our heartstrings, but they don’t actually make coherent arguments—either theologically or on matters related to public policy. They refuse to answer the lingering questions that plague gay marriage proponents.

Why am I a Millennial evangelical who ardently beliefs that Christians should hold fast to the biblical definition of marriage—a definition that countless societies and countless non-religious thinkers have all held to? Because I love my neighbor. I can’t sit idly by as the basic social unit of civilization is redefined before my very eyes. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that the family is building block of society. When we distances ourselves from this truth, we change society—and not for the better.

As Christians, we understand that marriage and human sexuality reflects the deepest truths of the gospel. As Christians in America, we also understand that government has an interest in promoting marriage as a social policy apart from any theological backdrop since it remains the best catalyst for human flourishing.

Andrew T. Walker is the Director of Policy Studies for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Best Second-Screen Apps for Watching TV

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:20 AM PDT

If you’re watching live television without the aid of a smartphone or tablet, you’re missing out. There’s an entire world of apps out there designed to enhance your TV watching experience. And, all marketing hype aside, some of these apps are actually pretty darn good.

Want to give the “second-screen” experience a try, but don’t know where to start? Here are some of our picks for the best second-screen apps for watching live TV.

Top Social TV App: Beamly TV


If you’re looking for a place to chat it up about your favorite shows, we like Beamly TV (formerly Zeebox). The app allows you to easily find what shows are on now and connect with other people looking to chat about them. It also lets you follow shows and celebrities to keep up with the latest news and upcoming broadcasts.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

As a close second place for the top social TV App, we like Twitter. Most shows have active communities on the social network that you can find by using the show’s hashtag (i.e., #Scandal). Plenty of TV hosts live chat during their shows’ airings, too, so be sure to search for your favorites.

Top TV Information App: IMDb


Whether you’re watching television or movies, the go-to source for information is the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb for short. The IMDb app contains cast info, shooting locations, soundtrack info, key quotes and parental guides for specific series. There are also links to the latest episodes of your favorite shows – if you’re willing to pay to watch them, of course.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Top Sports Watching App: theScore

There are many apps available for each individual sport that delve into stats and schedules and news, but theScore does that for every major sport imaginable. From American favorites like the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA and NCAA, to some you wouldn’t think of like NASCAR and Mixed Martial Arts to soccer leagues from around the world.


Once you set your favorite sports and teams, the app delivers real-time updates of games, including stats on top players or, in the case of baseball, stats of the pitcher on the mound and the player up to bat at that very second. You could be watching just about any sport being broadcast and learn something about it at the same time with this app.

Add to that the constant up-to-date news stream, the ability to tweet about a game or event directly from the app and a scheduling feature that can put an upcoming game on your calendar and you have yourself a sweet little sports app that does it all.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Top TV What-to-Watch App: Peel

Looking for something to watch? Sure, you could press the Guide button on your cable box and use its clunky remote to scroll through pages and pages of poorly designed text. Or you could use Peel, a TV schedule app that does double duty as a universal remote for your TV.

That’s right – just find the show you want to watch on Peel, tap it, and it’ll start playing on your TV. Cooler still, Peel will learn which shows you like as you use it so your favorites will always be front and center.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Top TV Rewards App: Viggle

Want to make a little bit of money while you kick back and watch TV? If so, check out the Viggle app. It turns TV time into valuable rewards like gift cards.

Each time you watch a full episode of a TV show, the Viggle app will auto-detect it using Shazam-like technology and check you in automatically. Each check-in earns you points, which are redeemable for prizes or contest entries. There are plenty of opportunities to earn bonus points by watching commercials and answering trivia questions.

These points are slow to accumulate, though. You’ll need to do a week or two of TV watching just to earn a $5 gift card. Still, if you’re watching anyway, Viggle’s a nice way to earn yourself a little treat.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Don’t forget to also download…

No second-screen TV experience would be complete without downloading your cable company’s official app. Some have some pretty great features that let you look at schedules, control your TV or stream DVR content directly to your mobile device. The links to the four largest providers’ apps are:

Time Warner
AT&T U-verse
• Dish Anywhere (iOS, Android)

Many smaller providers have second-screen apps too. Visit your local cable provider’s website for more information.

Finally, be sure to look for the apps of your favorite TV channels. You can watch full episodes of your favorite shows on the History and Comedy Central apps, catch up with Game of Thrones on HBO GO, view game highlights and live streams with WatchESPN and participate in Bravo’s Play Live interactive content. Remember, though, you’ll need to authenticate an active pay cable subscription to get the most out of these apps.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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Putin Promises New Weapons to Fend Western Threats

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 10:13 AM PDT

(MOSCOW) — Russia is developing an array of new nuclear and conventional weapons to counter recent moves by the U.S. and NATO, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday as the military successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a nuclear submarine.

Putin accused the West of using the crisis in Ukraine to reinvigorate NATO, warning that Moscow will ponder a response to the alliance’s decision to create a rapid-reaction “spearhead” force to protect Eastern Europe.

His comments came as Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War due to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine. They appear to show that the Russian leader is determined to pursue a tough course in the face of more Western sanctions.

Addressing a Kremlin meeting on weapons modernization, Putin ominously warned the West against getting “hysterical” about Moscow’s re-arming efforts, in view of U.S. missile defense plans and other decisions he said have challenged Russia’s security.

“We have warned many times that we would have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security,” Putin said, adding that he would now take personal charge of the government commission overseeing military industries.

He said Russia’s weapons modernization program for 2016-2025 should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent;” re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system and developing high-precision conventional weapons.

The difficulties faced by the Russian arms industry have been highlighted by the long and painful development of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, which has suffered repeated launch failures.

Its designers finally seem to have cured the glitches, and the navy boasted of a successful launch of the Bulava from a nuclear submarine on Wednesday. Two more launches are set for the fall.

Putin said potential threats must be thoroughly analyzed to avoid overburdening the economy with excessive military spending. He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.

Putin’s emphasis on high-precision conventional weapons reflected government concerns about the U.S. and other NATO countries enjoying a significant edge in that area.

The comparative weakness of Russia’s conventional arsenals have prompted Russia to rely increasingly on a nuclear deterrent, with the nation’s military doctrine envisaging the possibility that Russia may use nuclear weapons first in response to a conventional aggression.

Talking about potential threats, the Russian president specifically pointed at the U.S. missile defense program and Washington’s plans to develop new conventional weapons that could strike targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of weapons industries, told reporters after the meeting that Russia will respond to the U.S. challenge by developing its strategic nuclear forces and aerospace defenses. Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the military will focus on developing defensive systems to counter the new U.S. programs, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russia inherited most of its arsenal from the Soviet Union and has struggled to develop new weapons systems after the post-Soviet industrial meltdown. With hundreds of subcontractors going out of production, Russian arms manufacturers often had to make components themselves, swelling costs and affecting production quality.

Putin said Russian defense industries must rid themselves of a dependence on imports and quickly become capable of producing key components at home.

Faced with a pro-Russian insurgency in the east backed by Moscow, Ukraine has already cut arms exports to Russia. They include missile components, helicopter engines and turbines for naval ships that Russian arms makers may find hard to replace. Western nations also have cut exports of military components to Russia.

Eating Fish May Save Your Hearing

Posted: 10 Sep 2014 09:58 AM PDT

Add hearing loss to the long list of things you can prevent with a little bit of fish.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a strong connection between eating two or more servings of fish per week and an decreased risk of hearing loss.

Researchers analyzed almost two decades’ worth of data from 65,215 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II. In the study, women self-reported on their diet, as well as about hearing loss, among many other things. No matter what kind of fish the women said they ate—like salmon, canned tuna, halibut—higher consumption of any type was linked to less hearing loss.

Lead study author Dr. Sharon Curhan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School suspects that’s because fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might contribute to better cochlear blood flow. “Blood flow to the inner ear needs to be very well regulated in order to meet its high energy demands,” she tells TIME in an e-mail. There’s also other research that suggests that DHA, one of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, is a major factor during auditory neurodevelopment. Curhan says the team doesn’t yet know whether the results would apply to men.

It’s already well established that fish consumption and long-chain PUFA intake can help lower risk of heart disease, and Curhan thinks the mechanisms by which fish affects hearing loss might be similar. Maintaining blood flow seem to be key to both.


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