Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hillary, and the Muslim Brotherhood in her Administration

Huma Abedin has been called Hillary's "shadow" by Politico. Hillary has said if she had a second daughter, it would be Abedin. She has been with the Democratic presidential candidate since 1996, when Hillary was first lady. Abedin has followed Clinton through her years as a U.S. senator from New York and was by her side when Hillary was wrecking America's foreign relations and making a mess in the Middle East as secretary of state. While deputy chief of staff to Clinton at State, Abedin also worked for the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm that does business with international business titans. Today, Abedin is ranked third in the Clinton presidential campaign hierarchy. If Hillary is elected, Abedin will surely have an office in the West Wing where she will use her formidable influence on Clinton to shape administration policy. Get instant access to exclusive stock lists and powerful tools on Investors.com. Try us free for 4 weeks. Just as Abedin has trailed Clinton for two decades, a serious question has trailed Abedin: Is she sympathetic to radical Islamists and a proponent of Shariah law in the U.S.? This question isn't asked because she's a practicing Muslim and speaks fluent Arabic. It's due to her family ties. Four years ago, five congressman sent a letter to the State Department inspector general, charging that Abedin's father, mother and brother were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist organization by several nations, though not the U.S. The letter cited "a personal intervention by Secretary Clinton that allowed a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader, Tariq Ramadan, to enter the United States — overturning a policy of the previous administration that precluded him from doing so." A former federal prosecutor also noticed that U.S. policy "radically shifted in the Brotherhood's favor" while Abedin was in the State Department. For their efforts, the five U.S. lawmakers were treated as cranks by the Democrats and media. But were they on to something? That's unknown. The story essentially died. The legacy media couldn't be expected to dig into it because it might cast one of their own — a Democrat — in a poor light. We do know some things, though, and one of them is that Abedin's late father, Syed Abedin, was a firm defender of Shariah law. A video from a 1971 interview that has recently surfaced shows Syed, a Muslim scholar, discussing Islam's "hostile" response to the West's involvement in the Middle East. He seems to also argue that Shariah law must be enforced by national governments in Muslim countries. Huma's mother, Saleha Abedin, also has an interesting history. She was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a Shariah law periodical, from 1995 to 2008. Paul Sperry, a former IBD bureau chief, reported last month in the New York Post that Huma worked "for her mother's journal through 2008. She is listed as 'assistant editor' on the masthead of the 2002 issue in which her mother suggested the U.S. was doomed to be attacked on 9/11 because of 'sanctions' it leveled against Iraq and other 'injustices' allegedly heaped on the Muslim world." Huma's brother, Hassan, is also an editor at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Huma's mother's sketchy ties don't end on those pages. Kenneth R. Timmerman, a former Republican congressional candidate and current Donald Trump supporter, wrote last month in The Hill that Saleha "sits on the Presidency Staff Council of the International Islamic Council for Da'wa and Relief, a group that is chaired by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi." Huma's father had his own Muslim Brotherhood connection, says former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. And it wasn't tenuous. "There is persuasive evidence," he wrote in 2012 in PJ Media, "that her father was a member of the Brotherhood."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Now even surgery doctors are replaced by robots

Robot Performs Soft-Tissue Surgery By Itself

Robot Performs Soft-Tissue Surgery By Itself

Doctor Robot, you're a new and better man.

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With a bulky camera eye and spindly hydraulic arm, this medical robot looks like it could fit in on an automotive production line. This bot isn't building a Toyota, though. It carefully scans soft, sticky intestinal tissue and delicately weaves stitches with unmatched surgical precision. Indeed, with no guiding hand from its fellow doctors, it is the best in the world at performing the medical operation it was designed for. It is performing surgery all by itself. 

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The surgical bot is named STAR, or Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, and it just performed the world's first autonomous, soft-tissue surgery. STAR is the creation of a team of computer scientists and medical researchers led by Peter Kim, a biochemist at the Children's National Health System in Washington D.C. The machine performed several supervised (but unguided) surgical procedures in which it sutured together two severed segments of bowel intestine in living, anesthetized pigs.

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The operation is called intestinal anastomosis, which is used after a bowel segment needs to be removed. Not only did the pigs survive the successful operations, but STAR was found to have far outperformed manual open surgery, larposcopy surgery, and the next best robotic assisted surgery. The robot's surgical finesse is overviewed today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Azad Shademan and Ryan Decker during supervised autonomous in-vivo bowel anastomosis performed by the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR).

"Current robotic surgery is 'teleoperated', [meaning that] every step and every movement of the robot, is directed by the surgeon," says Axel Krieger, a robotics expert with the team at  Children's National Health System. "Our innovation is really to make this more autonomous, so that you don't have to direct every motion."

To oversimplify this operation, you can think of intestinal anastomosis like sewing together two sticky tubes. A human surgeon—performing open surgery with just a needle in hand—is almost three times as fast as STAR. But by almost all other measures the robot outperformed its organic counterparts. STAR excelled in the consistent spacing of its sutures, creating taught, leak-proof joints and avoiding mistakes when removing its needle from the tissue. Whether they performed open, laproscopic, or even robot-assisted surgery, the humans couldn't match the machine.

"The outcomes were surprising to us—that consistency throughout the performance was better than [human] surgeons," says Kim.

To be fair, humans still played assistant to STAR during the surgeries, performing tasks like making sure the suture thread didn't get tangled as it was pulled tight. But STAR followed its own operation algorithm, picking where and when to poke its needle. And the researchers aren't too worried about the speed issue, either. "We can run the robot really, really fast. But in this study, we really focused on the outcomes, so we didn't run it as fast as we could," says Krieger.

"Consistency throughout the performance was better than [human] surgeons."

STAR owes its skill to more than just to its nimble suturing tool—which is articulated with 7 degrees of freedom—and the mechanical precision of its programming. The heart of STAR's performance is an interesting breakthrough in robotic imaging technology. The robot's mechanical eye takes images in near-infrared fluorescent light, "similar to a night vision technology that military uses", says Kim.  This guides the robot through a confusing, shifting mire of gelatinous soft tissue, which can sometimes look indiscernible to the human eye.

STAR then combines those images with a 3D tracking algorithm "which informs the robot where things are in a three-dimensional space," Kim says. "By combining these two, we are able to follow [the] soft tissue movement... with a precision that we need to carry out a surgical task."

Kim sees STAR as proof that a whole range of soft tissue surgeries could soon be handed over to autonomous robots, which (sorry, med students) would likely perform them far better than doctors. For example, other soft tissue surgeries include tumor removals and tendon repairs. "Fundamentally what we've shown here is that soft tissue surgery can be done autonomously. I expect that at some point this could be available to anybody and everybody," says Kim.