UN-Habitat Chief Praises China For Its Urban Innovation

As a maturing Technocracy, China is praised and held up as a model for its innovation in urban innovation and development. Conveniently overlooked is ubiquitous surveillance, citizen oppression and religious persecution. ⁃ TN Editor

The executive director of the UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif on Friday lauded China for using innovation to transform its cities and making them more habitable and friendly to citizens.

Sharif, who was speaking in Nairobi ahead of the first UN Habitat Assembly that kicks off next Monday in Kenya, said that China has transformed most of its polluted areas especially in Beijing and Xuzhou into greener areas.

“The secret to transforming the mining areas into green areas is innovation. In China, the model is that people give proposals on making cities better to the government, which uses technology to implement them,” she said.

Working together with the community, according to her, has seen China build high tech buildings and villages that use solar power, have free internet, health facilities for children, and cater for everybody’s need.

She further applauded Beijing for involving retired people into the country’ productivity, bettering their lives and making them part of the new urban agenda.

Sharif noted that seamless transportation in Chinese cities, for instance, from Beijing to Xuzhou and Shanghai by train has made life better for people.

“Good effective transportation increases productivity for people. I took the train across the three cities and found it systematic and punctual,” said Sharif, who made her first official visit to China last month.

During the trip, she met several Chinese officials, including mayors, she said, adding that she was encouraged by the willingness to enhance partnership with UN-Habitat.

The UN-Habitat chief lauded the Belt and Road Initiative, noting that it encompasses transportation in cities and towns.

“This is part of the reason UN-Habitat signed Action Plan with China. We looked at policy connectivity of the program. It is integrated with planning of cities, connecting all networks to make cities right,” she said.

As part of the UN-Habitat Assembly, a book on the transformation of Shenzhen city in southern China will be launched to enable other countries to get lessons from the story.

“The book tells story of how the city transformed from mining area to cleaner tourist town, where villages are thriving amid urbanization,” she said.

“Other cities need to adopt the style. They will share challenges and opportunities at the assembly,” she said.

Sharif noted the Nairobi assembly will be the first for the UN-Habitat and its theme is “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities.”

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Amazon’s Bezos: Space Exploration Is Necessary To ‘Save The Earth’

Apparently, AOC’s Green New Deal isn’t enough to save the earth; Jeff Bezos now says we must also send humanity into space. The logical end of Technocracy, which is based on Scientism, is always lunacy.  ⁃ TN Editor

Bezos said, “Predictions on a ten year-time frame are hard to make and often wrong. The only good thing is nobody goes and checks.” But then he offered a few broad predictions anyway.

He said he believes robots will soon be able to grasp objects as well as humans within a decade, including in commercial settings. And he said he expects great advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence and biotech over the next decade.

But Bezos added:

“I do get asked, quite frequently ‘What’s gonna change in the next 10 years?’ I’m rarely get asked, and it’s probably more important — and I encourage you to think about this — is the question what’s not going to change? The answer to that question can allow you to organize your activities. You can work on those things with the confidence to know that all the energy you put into them today is still going to pay dividends in the years to come.”

As an example, he said in Amazon’s e-commerce business, in a decade people will still want low prices, fast shipping and a big selection. “Nobody’s going to say Jeff, I love Amazon I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly. I love Amazon, I just wish your prices were a little higher,” the CEO quipped.

Freshwater asked Bezos why Blue Origin is focused on lunar exploration. The company is building a lunar lander, and aims to help return astronauts to the moon.

Bezos said, “The reason we go to space in my view is to save the Earth.” He said while he doesn’t expect this to happen in his lifetime, he believes that in future generations, humankind needs to move heavy industry off Earth, and leave Earth as our residence.

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Police: Give Up Your Phone Password Or Go To Jail

If you are ever stopped and demanded to turn over your phone’s password, do not comply. Tell the officer that he must get a legitimate court-issued warrant, and then you will comply. Always be polite, but firm. but be ready to pay the price of non-compliance.

Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” ⁃ TN Editor

William Montanez is used to getting stopped by the police in Tampa, Florida, for small-time traffic and marijuana violations; it’s happened more than a dozen times. When they pulled him over last June, he didn’t try to hide his pot, telling officers, “Yeah, I smoke it, there’s a joint in the center console, you gonna arrest me for that?”

They did arrest him, not only for the marijuana but also for two small bottles they believed contained THC oil — a felony — and for having a firearm while committing that felony (they found a handgun in the glove box).

Then things got testy.

As they confiscated his two iPhones, a text message popped up on the locked screen of one of them: “OMG, did they find it?”

The officers demanded his passcodes, warning him they’d get warrants to search the cellphones. Montanez suspected that police were trying to fish for evidence of illegal activity. He also didn’t want them seeing more personal things, including intimate pictures of his girlfriend.

So he refused, and was locked up on the drug and firearms charges.

Five days later, after Montanez was bailed out of jail, a deputy from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office tracked him down, handed him the warrants and demanded the phone passcodes. Again, Montanez refused. Prosecutors went to a judge, who ordered him locked up again for contempt of court.

“I felt like they were violating me. They can’t do that,” Montanez, 25, recalled recently. “F— y’all. I ain’t done nothing wrong. They wanted to get in the phone for what?”

He paid a steep price, spending 44 days behind bars before the THC and gun charges were dropped, the contempt order got tossed and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot charge. And yet he regrets nothing, because he now sees his defiance as taking a stand against the abuse of his rights.

“The world should know that what they’re doing out here is crazy,” Montanez said. The police never got into his phones.

While few would choose jail, Montanez’s decision reflects a growing resistance to law enforcement’s power to peer into Americans’ digital lives. The main portals into that activity are cellphones, which are protected from prying eyes by encryption, with passcodes the only way in.

As police now routinely seek access to people’s cellphones, privacy advocates see a dangerous erosion of Americans’ rights, with courts scrambling to keep up.

“It’s becoming harder to escape the reach of police using technology that didn’t exist before,” said Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “And now we are in the position of trying to walk that back and stem the tide.”

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