Intelligence officials in the United States have suggested that the Chinese military has conducted biological tests on its soldiers in hopes of creating an army of enhanced supersoldiers.
The disturbing claim was made in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial written by John Ratcliffe, Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence.
In his article, Ratcliffe claimed that “The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Ratcliffe suggested that the Chinese government has “no ethical boundaries.”
“US intelligence shows that China has even conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power,” Ratcliffe wrote.
His assertions are likely based on a paper that was published by American researchers last year that looked into China’s use of biological technology for military applications.
According to Mint, Elsa Kania, one of the authors of the paper, said that the Chinese government was using CRISPR gene-editing technology to enhance soldiers.
“CRISPR has been used to treat genetic diseases and modify plants, but Western scientists consider it unethical to seek to manipulate genes to boost the performance of healthy people. While the potential leveraging of CRISPR to increase human capabilities on the future battlefield remains only a hypothetical possibility at the present, there are indications that Chinese military researchers are starting to explore its potential,” Kania said.
According to their paper, in 2017, a prominent Chinese general was quoted as saying that “modern biotechnology and its integration with information, nano(technology), and the cognitive, etc. domains will have revolutionary influences upon weapons and equipment, the combat spaces, the forms of warfare, and military theories.”
Ratcliffe has only had his job in the White House since May, and he will likely be replaced in his role as soon as Joe Biden is sworn in as president. Biden has nominated Avril Haines, previously deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to the role in his place.
While Ratcliffe’s claims about super soldiers are based on information from official sources, it is always important to take any “intelligence” that the US military gives to the public about other countries with a grain of salt. Governments have a tendency of making wild speculations about the military capabilities of non-allied countries during times of hostility.
Diplomacy between the United States and China has deteriorated in recent years, and China’s technological progress has become a source of fear for many US politicians. However, the government of China has been criticized internationally for its loose ethical boundaries in scientific studies.
In fact, sometimes researchers travel to China from other countries to conduct studies that would be considered unethical back home. For example, scientists from Spain worked in China with local researchers on the creation of a human-monkey hybrid. The study became very controversial when it was published, with many experts in the research community saying that it pushed the boundaries of ethical science.
Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings
People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.
However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.
In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.
“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”
The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.
In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.
Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.
The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.
Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone
A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.
Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.
Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.
“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.
As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.
“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.
Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.
Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.
“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.
From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.
The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.
“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.
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