Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why the Russian Economy Collapse is a Good Thing?

Russia faces its gravest economic crisis since 1998, when the country defaulted on its debt following financial crash in Asia.

 Putin’s economy is in crisis

The country's currency, the ruble, is plunging against international currencies, causing panic among domestic consumers and global investors to withdraw capital. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the meltdown poses perhaps his sternest test of leadership.

He can expect little help from Washington or from Europe. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign a measure by the end of the week applying new sanctions against Russia because of its actions earlier this year in Ukraine.

What is happening to Russia's economy? Russia's crisis has been triggered by a sharp plunge in oil prices since this summer and international sanctions over Russia's March annexation of Crimea. The ruble is collapsing. The currency lost 10 percent of its value and fell to a record low on Tuesday, dipping to more than 80 rubles to the dollar before rebounding to 68 rubles -- it is down more than 60 percent this year.

"The end is near for Russia's economic and financial stability," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, in a note. "This is an unrecoverable spiral. The combination of economic and financial sanctions by NATO governments and the crash of global oil prices has killed Russia's economy."

How will the drop in oil prices impact Russia?

How is Russia responding to the crisis? The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) surprised financial markets overnight by abruptly jacking up interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent. The goal is to shore up the ruble, including the exchange rate with other currencies; maintain fiscal stability; forestall inflation; and discourage global investors from pulling their capital out of Russia. Of particular concern for policymakers is whether Russia has enough money in reserve to weather the decline in oil prices and its growing isolation from global capital markets.

The CBR has made a number of moves in recent months to soften the blow from sanctions and the drop in energy prices, with limited effect. The ruble continued to fall Tuesday ever after the massive rate hike, while gauges of financial risk, such as the price of credit insurance on Russian debt, are flashing red.

"No one expected the ruble to hit 60 this year against the dollar, let alone 70 or 80 even," said Timothy Ash at Standard Bank in a research note. "And no one is positioned for this. This will impart huge short-term damage to Russia. There is now a huge credibility gap for Russian policymakers in the eyes of the market."

Russian Economy

What are the risks for Russians? The spike in interest rates could slam the brakes on Russia's troubled economy, slowing growth and pushing up the country's already high rate of inflation, now around 9 percent, even higher. The Russian stock market has fallen more than 25 percent since yesterday.

Some Russians are panicking, with reports of people looking to put their money into other financial assets, or even big-ticket goods such as washing machines.

What happens next? Russian officials are meeting today to discuss the turmoil. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled Thursday to address the nation in an annual live TV call-in show, offering him a chance to discuss any plans for stabilizing the ruble and the economy. One key question for Russians and global investors: Would the Kremlin consider implementing controls to stem a flight of capital?

Yet even capital controls might not stem the crisis in Russia. IHS economist Chuck Movit says that monetary policy alone is unlikely to contain the damage, noting that the ruble's strength depends chiefly on oil prices and the impact of sanctions. Other analysts worry that Putin also could resort to other measures, such as escalating the conflict in Ukraine, to distract public attention from Russia's economic problems.

"Any further escalation would probably trigger further sanctions, from which Russia would again be the loser," said economist Andrew Kenningham of Capital Economics in a report.

How is the Russian crisis affecting the rest of the world? Russia, one of the world's largest oil exporters, has enormous currency reserves and is not in immediate danger of default. Alexander Moseley, a senior portfolio manager at asset management firm Schroders, notes that Russia has enough liquidity to repay its external debts.

Meanwhile, the country does not carry much public debt, and its credit profile is solid. The sanctions against Russia and instability in the region has also reduced its financial and trade links with the rest of the world. For now, that is expected to damp the global reverberations. Russia accounts for only 2.7 percent of world GDP, according to Capital Economics.

Still, financial crises are hard to contain, especially when they involve a large economy. Russia's economy is unbalanced -- nearly one-seventh of its GDP comes from oil -- and risks tumbling into recession. That would stunt global growth, with China also slowing down and Europe fighting its own deflationary spiral. Such a slowdown would almost certainly impede the U.S. economic recovery just as it is gaining strength.

Putin is also unpredictable. If Russia's economy continues to founder, he could even consider reneging on the country's foreign debts, High Frequency Economics suggests. That would put global lenders, including U.S. banks, investors, insurance companies and other major financial actors, on the hook for major losses.

"Russia is in a full-blown currency crisis, and currency crises end when either the central bank overreacts with overwhelming policy steps to support the currency or the underlying source of stress ends," Moseley said by email.

Economic Background

General forecasts for Russian growth were being downgraded well before the Ukraine crisis sent investors running for the exits. Putin had left the Russian economy overly reliant on exports of oil and gas. Calls for greater action to scale back government involvement in the economy, tackle corruption and stimulate local investment had largely gone unheeded.
Russia's decision to back separatist rebels following the removal of Ukraine's pro-Moscow government had markets worried before Moscow formally annexed Crimea in March. Worried by rising tension between Moscow and the West, the ruble and Russian stocks hit the skids in late January. The flight of capital accelerated.

After months of largely symbolic sanctions aimed at Russian officials -- including asset freezes and travel bans -- first the U.S., then Europe, were stung into serious action by the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in June, and Moscow's continued support for rebels blamed for the crash.
They took measures to prevent Russia's biggest banks and companies raising funds in the West, and targeted the country's key energy and weapons industries with restrictions.

Moscow responded by banning various food imports from Europe and the U.S. That hurt European food exporters, and dealt another blow to investor sentiment. However, it also drove up food prices in Russia, further fueling inflation that was already on the rise due to the devaluation of the ruble.

At about the same time global energy prices started to fall, completing the perfect storm for Russia. The oil crash accelerated last month when OPEC decided not to cut its production target. Assuming oil holds at current levels -- and that is far from certain -- Russia's economy will contract by about 5% next year. That is as bad as it got during the country's financial crisis of 1998.

Why Collapse of the Russian Economy is a Good Thing?

Why indeed I wish Russian economy to collapse?

Because it is, unfortunately, the only way to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine, against humanity. More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers fell in the battle. Russia lost from 1,000 to 5,000, while most of the bodies are buried secretly to avoid the public attention to the publically rejected notice that Russian troops are involved in the conflict directly.

Russian president Putin keeps his finger on the Nuclear weapon button, so direct military operations led by NATO or USA, might end in worldwide disaster. However, being largely depending on gas exports, Russia has limited monetary reserves to support the falling currency, broken business structure, and newly captured Crimea and part of the Eastern Ukraine.

Russian propaganda is strong, both internal, and external. Who is responsible for this economic collapse? Ukrainians, fighting for freedom, homosexual perverts, residing in Europe, and dummy Americans.

Is there a future for the Russian economy? Definitely, yes, but not before Putin and his gang’ members will be removed from power. Really, who will invest in the economy, where any business or company can be stolen, ruined, or nationalized in favor of the criminal interests of the rulers’ team?

Sources and Additional Information:

Monday, November 24, 2014

How Marijuana Cures Incurable Leukemia

Brave Mykala is Cancer Free

Pediatric cannabis therapy is saving children. Are you surprised? But, that is the modern reality.

Brave Mykala had T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare, aggressive, and overall deadly form of childhood leukemia. It accounts for 15-18% of childhood leukemia cases. Her DNA has been altered in some way, and it caused her bone marrow to start producing leukemia white blood cells. She fell unwell May 2012, and July 2012 doctors discovered a basketball sized mass of lymphoblasts in her chest. The mass was so large that she was not able to be sedated for risk of death from the pressure on her esophagus and heart.

After all approved treatments failed to stop spreading the disease, she got permission to start the experimental Cannabis Oil treatment July 26th, 2012. By August 2nd, 2012, Lymphoblast percentage in her blood smear dropped from maximum 33% to ZERO.

From this date, Mykayla was in remission. You may here the expert opinion, that cannabis is inappropriate for children. Well, it is hard to disagree. However, cancer is inappropriate for children even to the higher degree.

The anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids and THC have been demonstrated for quite some time now.  In the 1980’s, cannabinoid receptors were discovered in the human brain, which made it obvious that our body has to synthesize something that binds to these receptors. Our bodies produce these compounds in our own endocannabinoid system, which is now known to be responsible for a number of biological functions.  This is why the plant has such a wide therapeutic potential for multiple diseases, including cancer.

Numerous studies have demonstrated again and again the anti-tumoral effects of cannabis. Studies have shown that cannabis completely kills cancer cells, and it has a great impact on rebuilding the immune system. Cannabis has the potential to replace a multitude of pharmaceutical drugs, and it remains a mystery as to why human trials are not under way.

In the United States, there are only two approved treatments for cancer, radiation and chemotherapy.  Scientists have discovered that chemotherapy fuels cancer growth and kills the patient more quickly, yet nothing has been changed.  Both are extremely toxic to the human body. Thanks to a growing awareness related to cannabis medical use, and its high rate of success with individuals choosing to try it as a cancer treatment, more people are starting to realize the healing power of this plant. Coupled with all of the success stories, are hundreds of scientific studies that prove cannabis kills cancer, it’s really becoming a no-brainer.

When you are an adult with cancer, you have the choice to use the two recommended options or refuse treatment and select alternative methods. When you are a child, your parents do not have the option to refuse the approved way without facing legal repercussions, which can include loosing custody of the child.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood or bone marrow, most often white blood cells. White blood cells are part of the immune system and play a key role in defending the body against infections.
Leukemia does not refer to a single disease, but rather covers a broad spectrum of diseases. Leukemia can be classified as either chronic or acute, depending on the rate of progression, and by the type of white blood cells that are affected. Acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia is the most common leukemia that occurs in children.

Most forms of leukemia are treated with chemotherapy. However, treatment becomes less effective when leukemia spreads – usually to the central nervous system, skin and gums, and sometimes in the form of tumors.

Furthermore, treatment outcomes vary greatly and, in many instances, leukemia will eventually resurface after a period of remission.

Latest Studies

One of the latest studies in UK confirmed that compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells in patients with leukemia.

"Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive," explained study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at St. George's University of London. "For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies."

Dr. Wai Liu studied six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids (compounds derived from marijuana that do not get the user high like its THC component does). He found that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids “resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability” and “caused a simultaneous arrest at all phases of the cell cycle,” according to the study summary posted online.

In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD — a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis — can stop metastasis in some kinds of aggressive cancer.

How THC Kills Cancer Cells

The social and legal restrictions on Marijuana use still affect amount of efforts and funding for the related anti-cancer research.  

Insight into how THC (the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant) cures Cancer is explained by molecular biologist, Dr. Christina Sanchez, in the video above. A scientist at the Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, she relayed her long-time studies and enlightening findings with Cannabis Planet TV.

If you want to understand the Cannabis components action against cancer in more details, here is the explanation provided by biochemist Dennis Hill in more details.

First let us look at what keeps cancer cells alive, and then we will come back and examine how the cannabinoids CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) unravels cancer’s aliveness.

In every cell, there is a family of interconvertible sphingolipids that specifically manage the life and death of that cell. This profile of factors is called the “Sphingolipid Rheostat.” If endogenous ceramide (a signaling metabolite of sphingosine-1-phosphate) is high, then cell death (apoptosis) is imminent. If ceramide is low, the cell is strong in its vitality.

Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis, which drives cell death. A normal healthy cell does not produce ceramide in the presence of THC, thus is not affected by the cannabinoid.

The cancer cell dies, not because of cytotoxic chemicals, but because of a tiny little shift in the mitochondria. Within most cells there is a cell nucleus, numerous mitochondria (hundreds to thousands), and various other organelles in the cytoplasm. The purpose of the mitochondria is to produce energy (ATP) for cell use. As ceramide starts to accumulate, turning up the Sphingolipid Rheostat, it increases the mitochondrial membrane pore permeability to cytochrome c, a critical protein in energy synthesis. Cytochrome c is pushed out of the mitochondria, killing the source of energy for the cell.

Ceramide also causes genotoxic stress in the cancer cell nucleus generating a protein called p53, whose job it is to disrupt calcium metabolism in the mitochondria. If this were not enough, ceramide disrupts the cellular lysosome, the cell’s digestive system that provides nutrients for all cell functions. Ceramide, and other sphingolipids, actively inhibit pro-survival pathways in the cell leaving no possibility at all of cancer cell survival.

The key to this process is the accumulation of ceramide in the system. This means taking therapeutic amounts of CBD and THC, steadily, over a period of time, keeping metabolic pressure on this cancer cell death pathway.

Gaining Recognition

Though federal law still prohibits the use of Cannabis, as much as 25 States have legalized its use for medical purposes for certain medical conditions.

Official government site Cancer.Gov lists the following positive effects of Cannabis for cancer patients, stating that Cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

The possible effects of cannabinoids include:
* Anti-inflammatory activity.
* Blocking cell growth.
* Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors.
* Antiviral activity.
* Relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.

”The cannabinoids in cannabis prevent cancer cells from spreading, and they contribute to cancer cell death because they hit some receptors that are generally up-regulated in cancer cells,” confirms Professor Marja Jäättelä, who heads the Cell Death and Metabolism Research Unit at the Danish Cancer Society. “This has been demonstrated in several studies. There is no doubt that cannabinoids are very effective at killing cancer cells.

Sources and Additional Information:

Friday, November 7, 2014

4 Surprising Facts about the Berlin Wall

Nov. 9 marks the 25-th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the iconic barrier that completely enclosed East Berlin between 1961 and 1989 and symbolized the height of Cold War tensions.

Around the world, the international German community and others are marking the milestone with celebrations and shared memories. In Germany, artists have recreated the Wall with illuminated white balloons along the path that the structure once traced.

Here are several interesting facts related to the Berlin Wall:

1.       Exodus from East Germany

The Berlin Wall was erected more than 15 years into the Cold War. More than 2 million East Germans, most of them skilled laborers and professionals, fled to the West between 1949 and 1961. The Soviet Union had rejected East Germany’s original request to build the wall in 1953, but with defections through West Berlin reaching 1,000 people a day by the summer of 1961, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev finally relented. The residents of Berlin awoke on the morning of August 13, 1961, to find barbed wire fencing had been installed on the border between the city’s east and west sections. Days later, East Germany began to fortify the barrier with concrete.

2.       Berlin Wall Construction

Construction of the Berlin Wall began on August 13 1961 as a way of separating the three zones controlled by France, Britain and America from the zone controlled by the Soviet Union. After World War II, Germany has been split into four zones, each occupied by one of the four Allied powers that defeated the Nazis. The zones controlled by France, Great Britain and America became West Germany, or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany). The Soviet-controlled zone became East Germany, or Deutsche Demokratische Republik (Germany Democratic Republic). Germany's capital, Berlin, was situated in Soviet-controlled East Germany, but as this city was the administrative area for the Allied forces, it too was split into four. This meant that France, Great Britain and America controlled West Berlin, whereas the Soviet Union controlled the East. Relations between America and the Soviet Union soured considerably during much of the second half of the Twentieth Century. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of this hostility, a physical representation of what was called the Iron Curtain.

The wall construction had four phases, which included a wire fence, improved wire fence, concrete wall, and an improved concrete wall, which consisted of 45,000 sections 12 feet (3.6 meters) high and about 4 feet (1.2 meters) thick and more than 87 miles (140 kilometers) long.

3.       How People Escaped from East Germany

It is estimated that about 5,000 people escaped East Germany through the Berlin Wall. Several hundred more died trying. The wall’s anti-escape features were extensive. Along with barbed wire, the top of the fence was also lined with smooth pipe to make it harder to climb. In addition, the area surrounding the wall had dogs on long tethers, anti-vehicle trenches, and more than 116 watchtowers.

Official figures show that at least 136 people died trying to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.

So, here some of the most creative ways for people to escape from East Germany:

* On a tightrope
East German acrobat Horst Klein made one of the most daring escapes over the wall in early 1963. Thanks to his acrobatic skill, Klein was able to turn an unused high-tension cable that stretched over the wall into his route. He moved hand-over-hand while dangling from the cable 60 feet over the head of patrolling guards, then when his arms became fatigued, he swung his whole body up over the cable and inched his way along. Klein’s dismount was not particularly graceful – he fell off the cable – but he landed in West Berlin.

* Down a zip line
On March 31, 1983, friends Michael Becker and Holger Bethke took Klein’s idea one step further by letting gravity do the heavy lifting for them. The pair climbed to the attic of a five-story building on the eastern side of the wall and fired an arrow tied to a thin fishing line over a building in West Berlin. An accomplice grabbed the arrow and reeled in the line, which was connected to a slightly heavier fishing line, then to a quarter-inch steel cable. Once the steel cable was attached to a chimney on the western side of the wall, Becker and Bethke zipped across the quarter-inch cable using wooden pulleys.

* Without a windshield
When Austrian lathe operator Heinz Meixner pulled up to Checkpoint Charlie on May 5, 1963, something must have seemed odd about his red Austin Healey Sprite convertible. Namely, it was missing its windshield. (A closer inspection would also have revealed that his mother was hiding in the trunk.) When the East German guard directed Meixner to pull over to a customs shed, Meixner instead floored the accelerator and ducked. His tiny car slipped right under the three-foot-high barrier dividing the East from the West.

* With a passport from HEF
A 1986 Los Angeles Times piece by Gordon E. Rowley described Meixner’s driving escape, but it also detailed a decidedly low-tech method of crossing the border. According to Rowley, some border crossers simply approached the guards and flashed their membership cards for Munich’s Playboy Club. The cards so closely resembled diplomatic passports that the guards often waved them through.

* On a speeding train
These clever escapes all worked, but in the wall’s early days, brute force was an option, too. In December 1961, a 27-year-old train engine driver named Harry Deterling piloted what he dubbed “the last train to freedom” across the border. Instead of slowing down his passenger train as it approached the fortifications, Deterling throttled it up to full speed and ripped through the wall. The train skidded to a stop in West Berlin’s Spandau borough, allowing Deterling, seven members of his family, and 16 other people aboard the train to remain in the West. The train’s engineer and six other passengers chose to return to East Germany.

* In a hot air balloon
The escape orchestrated by Hans Strelczyk and Gunter Wetzel in 1979 sounds like it came straight out of a comic book. Strelczyk, a mechanic, and Wetzel, a mason, used their mechanical expertise to build a hot air balloon engine out of old propane cylinders. Their wives then pieced together a makeshift balloon from scraps of canvas and old bed sheets, and on September 16, 1979, the two couples, along with their four children, floated up to 8,000 feet and drifted over the wall to freedom.

* In a well-aged tunnel
In May 1962, a dozen people escaped from the East by way of Der Seniorentunnel, otherwise known as “the Senior Citizens’ Tunnel.” Led by an 81-year-old man, a group of senior citizens had spent 16 days digging a 160-foot-long and 6-foot-tall tunnel from an East German chicken coop all the way to the other side of the wall. According to one of the diggers, the tunnel was so tall because the old men wanted “to walk to freedom with our wives, comfortably and unbowed.”

* In a uniform
Movies tend to portray East German border guards as soulless automatons who were dead-set on keeping everyone on their side of the wall, but many of the guards were just as desperate to escape as their fellow East Germans. One perk of being a border guard was that a soldier could simply wander over the border to freedom, and a lot of them did. Over 1,300 made the jump in the first two years of the wall’s existence. The most famous of these escapes was made by 19-year-old guard Conrad Schumann on August 15, 1961, just the third day of the wall’s construction. Since the “wall” was really just piles of barbed wire at that point, Schumann jumped over the wire in his uniform while toting his machine gun. A photographer caught Schumann’s flying leap, and the jump to freedom became an iconic Cold War image. Schumann eventually settled in the southwestern state of Bavaria and worked as a machine operator. He committed suicide in 1998.

4.       The fall of the Berlin Wall happened by mistake

At a press conference on the evening of November 9, 1989, East German politburo member Günter Schabowski prematurely announced that restrictions on travel visas would be lifted. When asked when the new policy would begin, he said, “Immediately, without delay.” In actuality, the policy was to be announced the following day and would still have required East Germans to go through a lengthy visa application process. Schabowski’s confused answers and erroneous media reports that border crossings had opened spurred thousands of East Berliners to the Berlin Wall. At the Bornholmer Street checkpoint, Harald Jäger, the chief officer on duty, faced a mob growing in size and frustration. Receiving insults, rather than instructions, from his superiors and nervously expecting results of his cancer diagnostic tests the next day, the overwhelmed Jäger opened the border crossing on his own, and the other gates soon followed.

Sources and Additional Infromation:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ISIS: Massive Sex Slavery Revived by Islamic Extremists

According to Islamic Law, captive female prisoners are also part and parcel of the booty. One fifth of the booty has to be first distributed to the needy, orphans, etc. The remaining four-fifths should then be distributed among the soldiers who participated in the war. The distribution can only take effect after the booty is brought into Islamic territory. The Ameerul-Mu'mineen (Head of the Islamic State) remains the guardian of the female prisoners until he allocates them to the soldiers. Only after a soldier has been allotted a slave girl, and made the owner of her, will she become his lawful possession. After she spends a period called 'Istibraa', which is the elapse of one menstrual period, It becomes permissible for her owner to have relations with her. After possession of the slave too there are a number of other laws that affect the master and slave.

Mufti Ebrahim Desai, Ask-Imam.com, Question 14421

Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.

Qur'an 2:223, Dawood

In the dark dungeons of the notorious Badush prison in Mosul in Northern Iraq, a thirteen year old Yazidi girl is chosen. Like many others, she is presented as a gift to one of the loyal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters, who just ransacked Sinjar. Her night that started with a kidnapping and incarceration was interrupted briefly by a beautician. The rape immediately followed. Her dark night started in June of this past summer and has not yet ended.

This scene is grim, but versions of it are being replayed across wide areas of Syria and Iraq. This same fate has befallen hundreds of others following ISIS’ takeover of their area. Yazidis in particular, a religious minority that is often viciously stereotyped and denigrated, and has been long persecuted, are vulnerable to ISIS’ confirmed practice of kidnapping Virgin girls and using them as sexual slaves and “rewards” for their fighters and allies. 

ISIS has kidnapped an estimated 4,000 Iraqi girls and women from Yazidi and other minority groups (mostly Christian) for the purpose of selling them to locals or donating them to loyal jihadists. The kidnapped women and girls are generally separated into small groups. Their price varies between $25 and $1000. Some are as young as 12 years old.  ISIS has beheaded 17 of them. There have been at least 11 reported cases of suicide, according to an email response from the Human Rights Department at Iraq’s Foreign Ministry to this writer. As described by Liz Sly of the Washington Post, only a conversion to Islam can “upgrade” the status of these captives from prison inmates to “comfort wives.” Those who make the choice are “promised a good life” with a house of their own and a Muslim husband. 

In most cases, it is still considered as temporary marriage. Under such conditions, woman may find herself passed from one Holy Warrior to the other with absolutely no say in the matter. Her “marriage” may last an hour or a day. It is well known that there are legal Islamic religious laws which enshrine just such practices.

Other groups of kidnapped women are forced into sexual slavery at brothels run by militants of ISIS. The Brothels, operated by the female “police force” called the al-Khanssaa Brigade, have been set up for the use of ISIS militant. It is reported that the brothels are operated by British female jihadists. These women are using barbaric interpretations of the Islamic faith to justify their actions. They believe the militants can use these women as they please as they are non-Muslims. It is the British women who have risen to the top of the Islamic State’s Sharia police, and now they are in charge of this operation.

Who are the Yazidis?

* They are a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect who live in northern Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
* They say they have often faced persecution in Iraq because the chief angel they venerate as a manifestation of God is often identified as the fallen angel Satan in biblical terminology.
* The Yazidi religion is a syncretic combination of Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Islamic faiths.
* The Yazidi themselves are thought to be descended from supporters of the Umayyad caliph Yazid I.
* They believe that they were created separately from the rest of mankind, not even being descended from Adam, and they have kept themselves strictly segregated from the people among whom they live.

ISIS Sex Slave Market in Central London

In a controversial publicity stunt, Kurdish protesters took to the streets of London last week to draw attention to the slave-trade tactics of ISIS. The protest led a group of chained veiled women and encouraged passersby to bid for them in front of the Houses of Parliament, Leicester Square and Downing Street.

"This is what Shariah means," the speaker for the mock ISIS group belted from a megaphone at the first of three protests.

"This happens every day in Iraq and Syria. We are bringing it to you," he yelled while leading a group of four chained and veiled women in front of Westminster Square, followed by 20 protesters chanting “ISIS, ISIS, terrorists!”

Once the group reached the entrance to Westminster Hall the leader proceeded in encouraging passersby to bid on the captured women "to serve them, for their pleasure."

The speaker for the "ISIS" auctioneers boasted he had "Christian women, Muslim women, women from Kobane, from Raqqah, from Mosul," before beginning the bidding with 14-year-old Yasmin whom bidders were assured was "pure" and "a virgin."

Each of the women was "sold" for several hundred dollars before the protesters cleared and went home.

Sources and Additional Information:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 Interesting Facts about San Francisco you didn't Know

1. The Cable Car is the only moving National Historic Monument in the World. Built in 1873, the Cable Cars transport 9.7 million people around the city annually. 

Thinking about the related funny facts, we should mention that the most infamous cable car victim was Gloria Sykes, who claimed that a 1964 accident left her with a black eye, bruises, and an unquenchable sex drive. When a mechanical failure caused the car she was riding to slide backwards down a hill, Sykes – later dubbed the "cable car nymphomaniac" by the daily newspapers -- sued the City of San Francisco for a half million dollars. Her lawyers argued that the sexual abuse she suffered as a child combined with the stress of the accident caused her to seek the company of up to 50 sexual partners a week. After listening to 44 taped transcripts of an electrically hypnotized Sykes, the jury awarded the insatiable (ha) plaintiff $50,000 in damages. Sykes’ case is cited as one of the earliest court-recognized examples of post-traumatic stress disorder.

2. Marilyn Monroe married baseball star Joe Di Maggio in City Hall in 1954. The intended small, secret ceremony was leaked to the press hours before the wedding, turning it into quite a public skeptical. After their marriage, they lived in the Marina at 2150 Beach Street.

Their marriage had problems from the start. DiMaggio was looking to settle down and wanted a stay-at-home wife; Monroe wanted to continue with her career, which took her all over the world. “He wants to cut me off completely from my whole world of motion pictures, friends, and creative people that I know,” Monroe wrote to a friend. Furthermore, DiMaggio didn’t approve of Monroe’s public sexuality. During a famous scene in the “The Seven Year Itch” in which Monroe stood over New York subway grate with her dress billowing up, DiMaggio “was reported to have said angrily: ‘What the hell’s going on here?’” according to Time. Monroe filed for divorce in October 1954, citing “mental cruelty.” Though their marriage lasted only nine months, the two remained friends until Monroe’s tragic death in 1962. DiMaggio organized her funeral and reportedly knelt down at her grave and said, “I love you. I love you. DiMaggio had roses sent to Monroe’s crypt three times a week for the next 20 years. He died in 1999 having never remarried.

3. Makoto Hagiwara a Japanese immigrant and designer of Golden Gate Park’s famous Japanese Tea Garden, created the first fortune cookie in 1914. There was a dispute in the 1980’s that a restaurant owner in Los Angeles invented the cookie and the case even went to court, but alas the evidence ruled in favor of San Francisco. Today there are over 3 billion fortune cookies made each year around the world.

4. When the stock market crashed in 1929, not one San Francisco bank failed. Of the more than 25,000 banks in business in 1929, by 1933, only 11,000 survived. Actually, it was not so bad in the area, if the city was able to construct both the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge during the Depression.

5. San Francisco was originally named Yerba Buena – In 1835 SF was called Yerba Buena, Spanish for “Good Herb”, a fragrant mint plant that grew along the shoreline of the bay. In 1847 the name was changed to San Francisco after Saint Francis.

6. The notorious gangster and mob boss was among the first prisoners to occupy the new Alcatraz federal prison in August 1934. Capone had bribed guards to receive preferential treatment while serving his tax-evasion sentence in Atlanta, but that changed after his transfer to the island prison. The conditions broke Capone. “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked,” he reportedly told his warden. In fact, Convict No. 85 became so cooperative that he was permitted to play banjo in the Alcatraz prison band, the Rock Islanders, which gave regular Sunday concerts for other inmates.

7. Although they made an unannounced live appearance in January 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple building, The Beatles' final live concert took place on 29 August 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The Park's capacity was 42,500, but only 25,000 tickets were sold, leaving large sections of unsold seats.

8. Although few history books mention his name, in the In September 1859 a San Francisco’s favorite eccentric resident Joshua Abraham Norton proclaimed himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. And for almost a quarter of a century he ruled his vast domain with exemplary benevolence and kindly common sense.

When Norton died suddenly of apoplexy on January 8th, 1880, the whole city mourned its loss. "San Francisco without Emperor Norton," a newspaper announced, "will be like a throne without a king," and the city knew it. San Franciscans had grown to love Norton, eccentric or not, and they let it be known. Flags hung at half-mast. Businesses closed out of respect. Funeral and burial arrangements for the Emperor were the most elaborate the city had seen, with an impressive 30,000 people paying their last respects. With wealthier citizens bearing the expenses, Norton was laid to rest in the Masonic Cemetery with all the ceremony that a real emperor would have received.

9. Behind New York, Moscow and London, San Francisco is 4th in the world in terms of numbers of billionaires living within its city limits, while having less than 10% the population of the other three cities.

10. An important tourist spot in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. Established in 1937, it is the world’s second longest single span. It links San Francisco with Marin County and the Redwood Empire. The Golden Gate Bridge is continuously painted and repainted all the time, because the bridge is so long that by the time the paint crew gets from one end to the other, it’s time to start over again.

Sources and Additional Information:

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Ukrainians Survive under Russian Military Occupation

Eastern Europe is far away, and since Cold War disappeared from the monitors with the Soviet Union collapse, the other political news captured the tabloids titles. It looks like the aggressive politics of the modern Russia draws back the worried attention to this region.

While there were multiple warning signs that something is not right under “permanent” ruling of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, like spikes of homophobic propaganda, Pussy Riot conviction, stopping Russian kids’ adoption abroad, the general public was not prepared for the totally illegal aggressive campaigns against the closest neighbor – Ukraine. Using the opportunity of the temporary power vacuum, when Ukrainians were fighting with too corrupt government, Russian “silent” troops without identification captured Crimea. Then, when they realized they need a land road to Crimea, Russian troops and hired guns started their way to the Eastern Ukraine occupation, capturing part of two eastern provinces.

Ukraine is not part of NATO. Several years ago, Ukraine transferred all its nuclear weapon to Russia in exchange for written guarantees of its borders and sovereignty. Obviously, Russia never intended to keep its promises, and used the moment to grab some land with no hesitation.

In spite of the poor state of the Ukrainian army, which was totally unprepared for war with a strong experienced enemy, the military operation in the Eastern Europe was not so smooth for Moscow. More than 2,000 failed Russian soldiers and worldwide economic sanctions forced Putin to freeze its operations, trying to apply political sleazy tactics to reach its goals, while not falling into the deeper economic crisis.

And what is even more depressing, 86% of the Russian population supports the government in all its steps and rhetoric. They applaud when Russian tanks move into Russia. They agree when government claims that it is Americans who created the conflict and shut down the passenger plane from Malaysian Airlines. They offer uniform support to the government, when government officials promise to capture the neighboring countries in two weeks, and send nuclear missiles to the USA, if the “unfriendly” sanctions will not be removed. In the press, no one says “Americans” anymore, just “Pindoses”, which means something like homosexual perverts and idiots.

But, Russia is far away, and you may not care much. You may stop investing into Russian market as it goes straight South anyway. You may stop drinking Russian Vodka, and totally forget about the war. But you cannot forget, if you live there.

I would like to offer a fresh post in Washington Post, about what happens with the citizens of the occupied territories, who were not been able to flee from the region for different personal reasons.

An Orwellian nightmare for pro-Ukrainians in rebel-held east

Khutor and Nika move briskly on the sidewalk, but not fast enough to draw attention. They have tried to memorize the “wrong streets” — the ones where they know the pro-Russian rebels who seized this city now regularly stand guard in camouflage, AK-47s poised. But sometimes the two of them get it wrong. Like now.

A muscular dirty-blond bearing a studied look of intimidation and an arm patch with the banner of the so-called New Russia clutches his weapon firmly as they pass. Khutor, 42, and Nika, 33, lower their heads. They cease talking. In a place where even a trip to the supermarket has become a ritual of stress, the couple tightens their grips on their bags of groceries, as if pointing them out. See? Just ran out for some milk and bread. Thanks now. Got to go.

In this metropolis that had a prewar population of almost a million, but where the city center now feels like an Orwellian ghost town of propaganda posters and armed patrols, perhaps no one feels more alone than those who still harbor pro-Ukrainian sentiments. Since the separatists took total control here, human rights and Ukrainian activists say, an untold number of loyalists have been extorted, abducted, tortured and, allegedly, executed. Many have left in search of sanctuaries farther west. But a small number of them — like Khutor and Nika — are riding out the storm.

And they want the others — the ones who, like them, are perhaps too afraid to speak up publicly — to know they are not as alone as they might think. Three blocks later, the couple feel brave enough to take a short detour and point out a piece of Khutor’s handiwork on the wall of an old apartment building. He spray-painted it weeks ago, he said, before he was detained and tortured. It was meant to be a message to the others.

A blue-and-yellow trident. The symbol of Ukraine.

It is now hardly visible. Someone aligned with the new pro-Russian masters in Donetsk tried to blot it out with black paint. But you can still see its outline.

“They try to cover us up,” said Khutor, a nickname he assumed to hide his identity after his arrest by the Donetsk People’s Republic, the rebel outfit that now rules here. Khutor’s wife, going by the name Nika, nodded in agreement as he pointed to his heart and said, “But Ukraine is still here.”

Small acts of sedition

Until recently, Donetsk was almost impassable, rocked by constant shelling and gunfire. The fighting has subsided since Kiev and the rebels agreed to a tenuous truce that began Sept. 5, and both sides have started to pull back heavy artillery in recent days. But it is less a full cease-fire than a de-escalation, and city authorities on Wednesday reported the sounds of continued artillery volleys. Meanwhile, Kiev is suing for peace, offering a deal to the rebels that would grant them broad powers of self-rule in the occupied east and could find pro-Ukrainians here living in New Russia in all but name. Rebel leaders said Wednesday that they planned to hold elections Nov. 2 for a new legislature that would rule the region.

In the more densely populated neighborhoods ringing this city, some of the hundreds of thousands of residents who fled Donetsk are trickling back in. There are slightly more people on the streets, more lights in the windows of the drab-colored apartment blocks. But infrastructure here is heavily damaged, and most residents still have running water for only three hours a day. There are rolling blackouts. Schools remain closed. Hospitals are short-staffed. Factories are shuttered. And the center of town — dotted with patrols by the Donetsk People’s Republic, boarded-up businesses and a host of billboards espousing rebel slogans — feels eerily abandoned.

Nevertheless, a few pro-Ukrainians here are still risking their safety in little acts of sedition. Spray-painting a wall. Planting a Ukrainian flag sticker at a bus stop.

“They disappear quickly,” said Khutor, who used to work at an advertising firm that went bust with the war. “But someone might see them and realize it wasn’t there the day before. They’ll know that some of us are still here.”

Even those still loyal to Kiev in this city concede that a great number of their neighbors and (former) friends are supporting the pro-Russian uprising. Even more Donetsk residents are simply pragmatic, prepared to back the guys with the biggest guns if that means an end to the fighting.

But they have all effectively found themselves living in a police state. For pro-Ukrainians, it is one where their views can mean terrifying trips to “the basement,” the makeshift detention centers for suspected spies.

For them, this is now life behind enemy lines.

“These people have had six months to leave the city,” said Konstyantyn Savinov, head of community services for the city of Donetsk. “But some of them are still hidden. Should they still be here? It is not up to me to decide.”

‘They torture you’

“Shush,” Khutor whispers as he welcomes a foreign journalist into the office of the firm where he once worked. It closed, like so many others, because of the fighting. He and Nika moved in last month, after shelling became unbearable in the neighborhood around their apartment. But in the abandoned office space next door, a pro-Russian family is now squatting.

“No English,” he said. “They can hear.”

Inside, they have piled up vegetables, water and canned goods. They’ve turned an underground storage space into an impromptu bomb shelter. In the center of the room, they have rigged a makeshift pillar to prop up a segment of ceiling damaged by a mortar round. On a shelf, they keep a Ukrainian trident plaque and the now-folded Ukrainian flag that once was draped proudly over the balcony of their apartment. Although unrest began in earnest in March, they didn’t take it down until June, when pro-Russian separatists extended their control over the city.

The dingy office is now their sanctuary, the place where they spend the majority of their time. All but a handful of their pro-Ukrainian friends have fled Donetsk. At least one, Khutor said, saw his business seized by the separatists and had to pay a bribe before being allowed to depart with his family.

They are getting out for good reason, as Khutor can attest. Over the summer, he said, he was riding his bike near his apartment block when a DPR patrol stopped him. Its members accused him of being a spotter for the Ukrainian military, which was shelling rebel positions nearby. They put a bag over his head, he said, then pistol-whipped him before taking him to the basement of an abandoned motel.

He pauses, as tears well in between manic laughs. “They don’t just beat you,” he hissed through a tormented smile. “They torture you.”

He was held for two weeks, he said. His face was so beaten that he’s now missing teeth. He was suspended upside down by a rope, he said. After some of the other men being held apparently confessed, Khutor said, they were executed. Their bodies, he added, were put on display for other prisoners to see.

If Khutor was guilty, it was of a far lesser crime. Bullets and bombs were not his style. Instead, he had joined a friend in what he calls a “graffiti war,” in which the two of them would spray-paint buildings with pro-Ukrainian symbols. This he would not tell his captors, and ultimately he was released.

Khutor and Nika have stayed in Donetsk because of elderly parents who refuse to leave. As the city has grown more dangerous for pro-Ukrainians, Khutor has stopped spray-painting buildings. But both of them still covertly leave little calling cards — small stickers of the Ukrainian flag — where they can. They have cut off most personal contact. Instead, they communicate with like-minded people though social media. In public, they keep to themselves. No chatting with strangers. “You don’t know who they are,” Nika said.

When they do engage in niceties — say, while standing in line at one of the handful of ATMs still working in the city — they have learned to fake it.

“Most people in Donetsk will not talk about politics openly now,” Khutor said. “But if they do, you train yourself to agree. ‘Yes, of course, the Ukrainian government is fascist! Yes, of course, they must be beaten!’ You tell them what they want to hear.

“But inside, we are Ukrainians,” he said. “That will never change.”

Author: Anthony Faiola

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Was you Gmail address hacked today?

A database containing nearly 5 million Gmail user accounts and passwords was leaked on Bitcoin Security, a popular Russian website devoted to the cryptocurrency – Bitcoin Security.

It appears, however, that much of the data is old or most of the passwords don't actually match with the Gmail accounts on the list. Mashable suggested that data was likely gathered via various data breaches and includes emails and passwords for websites or third-party services rather than Gmail itself.

In a blog post, Google said that it "found that less than 2 percent of the username and password combinations might have worked, and our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts. We've protected the affected accounts and have required those users to reset their passwords."

The hackers did not obtain the usernames and passwords via a breach of Google systems, the company said.

If you want to check if your email address is on the list, you can download and search through the file still loaded in the Russian forum: https://forum.btcsec.com/uploads/manual_09_2014/google_5000000.7z

The data in the file does not include password, but just email addressed for you to check if you are affected.

You can also check if your Gmail account was hacked through KnowEm, who has made the hacked list of emails publicly searchable. You need to enter your address and get instant not if you're on the list of possible compromised accounts.

Some experts, however, say that placing inquiry may notify the potential hackers that this email address is active. Not sure, how true that is, but I checked my non-essential Gmail addresses, and got notification that I am clean. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SCiO – Handheld Molecular Food Ingredients Scanner

Smartphones give us instant answers to questions like where to have dinner, what movie to see, and how to get from point A to point B, but when it comes to learning about what we interact with on a daily basis we’re left in the dark. We designed SCiO to empower explorers everywhere with new knowledge and to encourage them to join our mission of mapping the physical world.

Dror Sharon, the CEO of Consumer Physics

SCiO is the world's first affordable molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand. It is a non-intrusive, no-touch optical sensor that provides a seamless user experience with the click of a button, while data is sent directly to your smartphone.

How it Works?

SCiO is based on the near-IR spectroscopy method. The physical basis for this material analysis method is that each type of molecule vibrates in its own unique way, and these vibrations interact with light to create its own unique optical signature.

SCiO includes a light source that illuminates the sample and an optical sensor called a spectrometer that collects the light reflected from the sample. The spectrometer breaks down the light to its spectrum, which includes all the information required to detect the result of this interaction between the illuminated light and the molecules in the sample.

The spectrometers which are normally used for these high-end near-IR spectroscopy applications are very big and expensive. They can be the size of a laptop and cost tens of thousands of dollars. SCiO is unique as it is based on a tiny spectrometer, designed from the ground up to be mass-produced at low cost with minimal compromise on the available application. This unique feature is achieved by several technology breakthroughs our team has made in the past few years, as we reinvented the spectrometer around low-cost optics and advanced signal processing algorithms. 

SCiO illuminates a spot of light over the sample with a diameter of about 15 mm (about half an inch) and depth of a few millimeters (~0.1”). The sensor detects the light that is reflected back from the illuminated part of the object and analyzes its chemical make-up using sophisticated cloud-based algorithms. The overall analysis is subject to the average of concentration of molecules in that region.

To deliver relevant information in real time, SCiO communicates the spectrum to your smartphone app via Bluetooth, which in turn forwards it to a cloud-based service. Advanced algorithms analyze the spectrum and within seconds deliver information regarding the analyzed sample back to the smartphone to be presented in real time to the user.

Technical Specs

What Can You Do With It Today?

Out of the box, when you get your SCiO, you’ll be able to analyze food, plants, and medications.

The process is simple: pair SCiO to your phone via Bluetooth, hold it about an inch away from an object, such as an apple, and press a button. In just a matter of seconds, SCiO supposedly analyzes the actual chemical makeup of the apple, sends the data to the cloud, and accurately identifies the fruit and provides nutritional information about it. The food app can also give information about how ripe that apple is.

Additionally, SCiO can also scan medication. During one of the live demonstrations, Consumer Physics’ co-founder Dror Sharon scanned two brands of ibuprofen, and SCiO was able to identify which pill was a generic brand. Sharon explained that SCiO won’t be marketed as a medical device at the start, but has the capability of scanning the skin and bodily fluids and could evolve into a medical device if there is enough interest from consumers.

For example, you can:

* Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.
* See how ripe an Avocado is, through the peel!
* Find out the quality of your cooking oil.
* Know the well being of your plants.
* Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions.
* Authenticate medications or supplements.
* Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to our database. Even yourself!

These are just a few of the starter applications that you can use upon receiving your SCiO. After SCiO is released new applications will be developed and released regularly.

The possibilities of SCiO applications are endless. For example in the future you can use SCiO to measure properties of cosmetics, clothes, flora, soil, jewels and precious stones, leather, rubber, oils, plastics, and even your pet!

Please Note: Out-of-the-box SCiO is NOT a medical device and should not be used to treat or prevent medical conditions such as allergies.


The SCiO developers is the Consumer Physics (Israel).

SCiO launch on Kickstarter raised almost $3M, making it the 17th most funded Kickstarter campaign ever - of over 150,000. The launch has received worldwide media coverage: CNN, TIME, BBC, NEW YORK TIMES and many others.

Video Presentation

Sources and Additional Information:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

15 Facts You Didn't Know About Robin Williams

Actor, comedian and screen legend Robin Williams has died aged 63.

As tributes continue to pour in for the Oscar winner, here are eight facts you probably never knew about this comic genius…

1. Robin Williams first achieved international fame playing the alien Mork alongside Pam Dawber in the hit sitcom Mork and Mindy, which ran from 1978 until 1982.

When Robin Williams auditioned for the role of Mork from Ork on Happy Days (1974), producer Garry Marshall told him to sit down. Williams immediately sat on his head on the chair. Marshall hired him, saying that he was the only alien who auditioned.

The series was, in fact, a direct spin off of the longer running sitcom Happy Days. Williams appeared as Mork in the season five episode My Favorite Orkan in which he attempted to abduct Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard).

In 1979, Williams (now already a success in Mork and Mindy) made a return visit to Happy Days. As a prank, Williams ensured one episode of Mork and Mindy featured a character called Arnold Wanker.

2. As with many comedians, Williams’ humor stemmed from an unhappy childhood.

He was grossly overweight as a boy and voted ‘Least Likely to Succeed’ at High School although he was also voted ‘Most Humorous’.

3. When Williams was first starting out, he performed as a mime outside New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to make money.

4. Steven Spielberg hired Williams to entertain cast and crew during the notoriously grueling shoot for the harrowing Holocaust drama Schindler’s List.

Williams was otherwise not involved in the film, but his relentless ad-libbing provided a much needed boost to morale between shots.

5. Williams played a huge number of diverse roles in his Hollywood career.

Including everything from a starring role in a live action version of the cartoon Popeye, elderly bald US President Eisenhower in the recent The Butler (2013), Peter Pan himself in Hook (1991) and the voice of a hologram of a scientist in Steven Spielberg’s AI (2001).

6. Robin Williams improvised most of Genie for "Aladdin."

Apparently, the Academy Awards rejected the bid for "Aladdin" in the Best Adapted Screenplay category because so much of Williams role ended up being improvised. According to producer and director John Musker, Williams ended up improvising about 70 impressions to be used in the film as well. In a Reddit AMA, Williams explained: “Initially they came in and I was just doing the scripted lines and I asked 'Do you mind if I try something?' and then 18 hours of recording later, they had the genie. I just started playing, and they said "just go with it, go with it, go with it." So I improvised the character. I think that in the end, there were something like 40 different voices that I did for that role”.

Williams was known for improvising most of his iconic roles in some way or another.

7. Williams and Robert De Niro were the last stars to see John Belushi alive, albeit on separate visits to Bungalow #3 of the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles that fateful day in March 1982 when he died of a drug overdose.

8. Robin Williams dressed in scrubs and surprised his friend Christopher Reeve in the hospital following his career-ending accident.

Reeve and Williams became good friends when they both attended The Juilliard School together. Williams claimed at the time that Reeve was "literally feeding me because I don't think I literally had money for food or my student loan hadn't come in yet, and he would share his food with me." In his book, "Still Me," Reeve wrote about Williams visiting him in the hospital:

Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me immediately...it was Robin Williams...for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.

9. Williams received $20 million for his role in 1999’s Bicentennial Man.

Ironically, it is one of his worst films.

10. Robin Williams enjoyed cycling and occasionally trained with Lance Armstrong.

11. When “Blame Canada”, a song from South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999), was nominated for a Best Song Academy Award, it was Williams who performed the song at the ceremony because the actress who sang the song in the film, Mary Kay Bergman, had taken her own life a few months before the awards show.

12. Williams co-owned the Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco with Robert De Niro and fellow Bay area resident Francis Ford Coppola

13. Williams was nominated for four Oscars in his career for the films, Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Dead Poet’s Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), and finally winning for Good Will Hunting (1997).

14. Asked by James Lipton about what he would like God to say when he arrives in heaven, Williams answered that “There is a seat in the front” in the concert of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Elvis Presley.

15. In 1997, Robin Williams was voted ‘The Funniest Man Alive’.

Robin Williams: 1951-2014.

Sources and Additional Information: