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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Quantum Computer Could Simulate Beginnings of the Universe

Quantum mechanics suggest that seemingly empty space is actually filled with ghostly particles that are fluctuating in and out of existence. And now, scientists have for the first time made an advanced machine known as a quantum computer simulate these so-called virtual particles.
This research could help shed light on currently hidden aspects of the universe, from the hearts of neutron stars to the very first moments of the universe after the Big Bang, researchers said.
Quantum mechanics suggests that the universe is a fuzzy, surreal place at its smallest levels. For instance, atoms and other particles can exist in states of flux known as superpositions, where they can seemingly each spin in opposite directions simultaneously, and they can also get entangled — meaning they can influence each other instantaneously no matter how far apart they are separated. Quantum mechanics also suggests that pairs of virtual particles, each consisting of a particle and its antiparticle, can wink in and out of seemingly empty vacuum and influence their surroundings. [Beyond Higgs: 5 Elusive Particles That May Lurk in the Universe.

Quantum mechanics underlies the standard model of particle physics, which is currently the best explanation for how all the known elementary particles, such as electrons and protons, behave. However, there are still many open questions regarding the standard model of particle physics, such as whether or not it can help explain cosmic mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy — both of which have not been directly detected by astronomers, but are inferred based on their gravitational effects.
The interactions between elementary particles are often described with what is known as gauge theories. However, the real-time dynamics of particles in gauge theories are extremely difficult for conventional computers to compute, except in the simplest of cases. As a result, scientists have instead turned to experimental devices known as quantum computers.
"Our work is a first step towards developing dedicated tools that can help us to gain a better understanding of the fundamental interactions between the elementary constituents in nature," study co-lead author Christine Muschik told Live Science. Muschik is a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck, Austria.
Whereas classical computers represent data as ones and zeroes — binary digits known as "bits," symbolized by flicking switch-like transistors either on or off — quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that are in superpositions — meaning that they are on and off at the same time. This enables a qubit to carry out two calculations simultaneously. In principle, quantum computers could work much faster than regular computers at solving certain problems because the quantum machines can analyze every possible solution at once.
In their new study, scientists built a quantum computer using four electromagnetically trapped calcium ions. They controlled and manipulated these four qubits with laser pulses.
The researchers had their quantum computer simulate the appearance and disappearance of virtual particles in a vacuum, with pairs of qubits representing pairs of virtual particles — specifically, electrons and positrons, the positively charged antimatter counterparts of electrons. Laser pulses helped simulate how powerful electromagnetic fields in a vacuum can generate virtual particles, the scientists said.
"This is one of the most complex experiments that has ever been carried out in a trapped-ion quantum computer," study co-author Rainer Blatt, an experimental physicist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck, Austria, said in a statement.
This work shows that quantum computers can simulate high-energy physics — showing how particles might behave at energy levels that are much too high to be easily generated on Earth. "The field of experimental quantum computing is growing very fast, and many people ask the question, What is a small-scale quantum computer good for?" study co-lead author Esteban Martinez, an experimental physicist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, told Live Science. "Unlike other applications, you don't need millions of quantum bits to do these simulations — tens might be enough to tackle problems that we cannot yet attack using classical approaches." [Big Bang to Civilization: 10 Amazing Origin Events]
The problem the researchers had their quantum simulator analyze was simple enough for classical computers to compute, which showed that the quantum simulator's results matched predictions with great accuracy. This suggests that quantum simulators could be used on more complex gauge-theory problems in the future, and the machines could even see new phenomena.
"Our proof-of-principle experiment represents a first step toward the long-term goal of developing future generations of quantum simulators that will be able to address questions that cannot be answered otherwise," Muschik said.
In principle, desktop quantum simulators could help model the kind of extraordinarily high-energy physics currently studied using expensive atom smashers, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
"These two approaches complement one another perfectly," study co-author Peter Zoller, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck, said in a statement. "We cannot replace the experiments that are done with particle colliders. However, by developing quantum simulators, we may be able to understand these experiments better one day."
"Moreover, we can study new processes by using quantum simulation — for example, in our experiment, we also investigated particle entanglement produced during pair creation, which is not possible in a particle collider," Blatt said in a statement.
Ultimately, quantum simulators may help researchers simulate the dynamics within the dead stars known as neutron stars, or investigate "questions relating to interactions at very high energies and high densities describing early-universe physics," Muschik said.

Ancient Shrine That May Hold Buddha's Skull Bone Found in Crypt

A skull bone of the Buddha was found inside this gold casket, which was stored in a silver casket within the stupa model, found in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics

Archaeologists have discovered what may be a skull bone from the revered Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The bone was hidden inside a model of a stupa, or a Buddhist shrine used for meditation.
The research team found the 1,000-year-old model within a stone chest in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China. Inside the stupa model archaeologists found the remains of Buddhist saints, including a parietal (skull) bone that inscriptions say belonged to the Buddha himself.
The model is made of sandalwood, silver and gold, and is covered with gemstones made of crystal, glass, agate and lapis lazuli, a team of archaeologists reported in an article published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.
nscriptions engraved on the stone chest that the model was found in say that it was constructed during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong (A.D. 997-1022), during the Song Dynasty. Also inscribed on the stupa are the names of people who donated money and material to build the model, as well as some of the people who constructed the model. [See Photos of the Model Stupa Holding Buddha Remains]
While the inscriptions say that the skull bone belongs to the Buddha, it is unknown whether it really does come from him. In the journal article, archaeologists didn't speculate on how likely it is. The bone is being treated with great respect and has been interred in the modern-day Qixia Temple by Buddhist monks. 
This model of a stupa, which is used for meditation, was discovered beneath Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, China. The 1,000-year-old stupa is made of sandalwood, silver and gold.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics.
Discovered beneath the Grand Bao'en Temple, the stupa model — which is 117 centimeters tall and 45 cm wide (nearly 4 feet by 1.5 feet) — was stored within an iron box, which, in turn, was stored within a stone chest.
An inscription found within the stone chest was written by a man named Deming about 1,000 years ago, saying that he is "the Master of Perfect Enlightenment, Abbot of Chengtian Monastery [and] the Holder of the Purple Robe" (as translated by researchers in the journal article). He tells the story of how the Buddha's parietal bone came to China. [Photos: 1,700-Year-Old Buddhist Sculptures Found in Shrine.
Deming wrote that after the Buddha "entered parinirvana" (a final death that breaks the cycle of death and rebirth), that his body "was cremated near the Hirannavati River" in India. The man who ruled India at the time, King Ashoka (reign 268-232 B.C.), decided to preserve the Buddha's remains, which he "divided into a total of 84,000 shares," Deming wrote. "Our land of China received 19 of them," including the parietal bone, he added.
The parietal bone was kept in a temple that was destroyed about 1,400 years ago during a series of wars, Deming wrote. "The foundation ruins … were scattered in the weeds," Deming wrote. "In this time of turbulence, did no one care for Buddhist affairs?"
Emperor Zhenzong agreed to rebuild the temple and have the Buddha's parietal bone, and the remains of other Buddhist saints, buried in an underground crypt at the temple, according to Deming's inscriptions. They were interred on July 21, 1011 A.D., in "a most solemn and elaborate burial ceremony," Deming wrote.
Deming praised the emperor for rebuilding the temple and burying the Buddha's remains, wishing the emperor a long life, loyal ministers and numerous grandchildren: "May the Heir Apparent and the imperial princes be blessed and prosperous with 10,000 offspring; may Civil and Military Ministers of the Court be loyal and patriotic; may the three armed forces and citizens enjoy a happy and peaceful time …"
The parietal bone of the Buddha was buried within an inner casket made of gold, which, in turn, was placed in an outer casket made of silver, according to the archaeologists. The silver casket was then placed inside the model of the stupa.
The gold and silver caskets were decorated with images of lotus patterns, phoenix birds and gods guarding the caskets with swords. The outer casket also has images of spirits called apsaras that are shown playing musical instruments.
The parietal bone of the Buddha was placed within the gold inner casket along with three crystal bottles and a silver box, all of which contain the remains of other Buddhist saints.
Engraved on the outside of the model are several images of the Buddha, along with scenes depicting stories from the Buddha's life, from his birth to the point when he reached "parinirvana," a death from which the Buddha wasn't reborn — something that freed him from a cycle of death and rebirth, according to the Buddhist religion.
A large team of archaeologists from the Nanjing Municipal Institute of Archaeology excavated the crypt between 2007 and 2010; they were supported by experts from other institutions in China.
Although the excavations received little coverage by Western media outlets, they were covered extensively in China. Chinese media outlets say that, after the parietal bone of the Buddha was removed, Buddhist monks interred the bone and the remains of the other Buddhist saints in Qixia Temple, a Buddhist temple used today. The Buddha's parietal bone and other artifacts from the excavation were later displayed in Hong Kong and Macao.   
When the bone traveled to Macao in 2012, the media outlet Xinhua reported that "tens of thousands of Buddhist devotees will pay homage to the sacred relic," and that "more than 140,000 tickets have been sold out by now, according to the [event organizer]."
An article detailing the discoveries was published in Chinese in 2015 in the journal Wenwu, before being translated and published in Chinese Cultural Relics.

The Chemistry Behind a Sparkler's 4th of July Magic

This weekend, people in the U.S. will be celebrating Independence Day, and across the country preparations are underway to mark the occasion with fireworks and other pyrotechnics. Sparklers offer a smaller but prolonged pyrotechnic experience, and they have become mainstays of Fourth of July celebrations, but how do they work?
A new video from the American Chemical Society's (ACS) YouTube series "Reactions" examines thechemistry of sparklers in extreme slow-motion.
"Pyrotechnics, fireworks, sparklers, all these types of things, it's like a culinary art," Chris Mocella, co-author of the book "Chemistry of Pyrotechnics: Basic Principles and Theory" (CRC Press, 2010) and technical adviser for the new ACS video, told Live Science. "It's all chemistry at the basic level, but there are fun little tricks and things you can do with the different material you have." [50 Fabulous 4th of July Facts: Fiery Fireworks.

In pyrotechnics, the special ingredients are fuel and an oxidizer. In the case of a sparkler, the fuel is mostly a powdered metal and the oxidizer is most often potassium nitrate. When the powdered metal is oxidized, it creates a lot of extra energy.
The light that’s emitted, the heat, and the sounds that sparklers make are all leftover energy converted into something that we can perceive — all part of the brilliant cascade of glittering sparks.
When a sparkler is lit, the same inherent reaction occurs as in fireworks: combustion.
"When you burn firewood, that’s combustion, but it takes a long time for all of that to burn down," Mocella said. "When you strike a match, that’s also combustion, but the match head gives out much faster. And then a firework is an extremely fast type of combustion."
In the case of fireworks, all of the pyrotechnic material in the middle (usually a black powder, like gun powder) is confined very tightly. When it is ignited, the initial combustion releases heat and gas that builds up pressure to the point of an explosion.
When a sparkler is lit, that same combustion happens but it doesn't explode in your hand. This is because the reaction does not happen fast enough, Mocella said. He explained that the combustion happens in a line. As you light the top of a sparkler the reaction begins: the oxygen is liberated, it oxidizes the metal, which releases more heat and that ignites the next little bit of the pyrotechnic going all the way down the line, he said.
While the powdered metal in a sparkler acts as the fuel, there are larger-size pieces of metal, about the size of fine grains of sand, that create the sparkles themselves.
"When those get ignited, that's the sparkle that you see," Mocella said. "Those [tiny pieces of metal] are ejected into the air, and they burn in the air almost like a little tiny shooting star."
Without these larger pieces of metal, the sparkler would burn down just like a match, albeit a very hot match.

Lab-Grown 'Living' Bones Could Yield Customized Implants

For the first time, pieces of living bone have been grown from the cells of patients — in this case, miniature pigs — and sculpted to replace missing anatomical structures.
The custom-engineered bone was used to successfully repair a pig's lower jaw, one of the strongest and most complex jaws in the face, paving the way for bone repairs that could be carried out elsewhere in the body, the researchers said.
Bones often come in complex shapes, making it difficult to find matching natural replacements for them in patients suffering from injuries, diseases or birth defects. Although surgeons can replace missing bone with titanium, such artificial implants lack bone marrow, which plays many important roles in the body, such as generating red blood cells and immune cells. [The 9 Most Interesting Transplants.
Patients could receive donated bones, but doing so raises other issues, such as increasing the risk of tissue rejection. Alternatively, doctors can harvest bone from another part of a patient's body and carve it to fit where it needs to go, but damage at the harvest site is typically major and can lead to extreme pain.
Instead, scientists now hope to grow living bone in the lab. The researchers focused on the ramus-condyle unit, the part of the lower jaw that meets the skull near the ear, and the main weight-bearing bone in the face. They experimented on Yucatán minipigs, because the animals' jaw anatomy and mechanics closely mimic those of humans.
The researchers first took chunks of cow thighbones and stripped them of all their cells using detergents and enzymes. They next carved these "decellularized" chunks into perfect anatomical fits for the ramus-condyle units that were surgically removed from the minipigs.
The scientists then seeded these bone scaffolds with stem cells derived from the fat of the minipigs that were to receive these grafts. The implants were then placed in "bioreactors" that supplied the stem cells with oxygen and nutrients.
After three weeks, the stem cells developed into immature living bone. "The bone is formed by the recipient's own cells," study senior author Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, a bioengineer at Columbia University, told Live Science.
But, if these living bone grafts ever make it to the clinic, they may be grown far away from where they are eventually implanted. To see how their grafts might fare under such conditions, Vunjak-Novakovic and her colleagues manufactured and implanted the grafts, "at two locations that were more than 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) apart, New York City and Baton Rouge (Louisiana)," Vunjak-Novakovic said. Fat cells were shipped from the pigs to the researchers, and the grafts were shipped in their bioreactors to the pigs.
Six months after implantation, these grafts successfully incorporated themselves into their host bodies and regenerated bone without any complications, while also helping the minipigs use their jaws again, the researchers said. Moreover, "unexpectedly, the lab-grown bone, when implanted, was gradually replaced by new bone formed by the body," Vunjak-Novakovic said. "This feature is what makes this implant your own bone that will become an integral part of the native bone." [7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine]
Vunjak-Novakovic noted that the quality of the regenerated tissue exceeded that of previous approaches. Moreover, the scaffold they developed enabled bone formation without the use of expensive chemicals known as growth factors that other approaches typically rely on.
"This is a very exciting step forward in improving regenerative medicine options for patients with craniofacial defects, and we hope to start clinical trials within a few years," Vunjak-Novakovic said in a statement.
The clinical trials with living bone grafts would be conducted through Vunjak-Novakovic's company epiBone.
"Having a chance to work on innovative research that may be part of our future is intriguing, energizing, and really inspiring," said study lead author Sarindr Bhumiratana, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, who is also the chief scientific officer at epiBone.
The scientists are now also experimenting with including a cartilage layer on their living bone grafts to more closely mimic natural bone. "Cartilage is a thin and resilient tissue that lines the ends of most of our bones, to enable frictionless motion," Vunjak-Novakovic said.
The scientists detailed their findings online June 15 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

GoPro's Latest VR Video Lets You Swim with Sharks

GoPro's latest virtual reality video experience is just in time for Shark Week. But if you ask professional adventurer Jeb Corliss, he'll tell you it's just in time for sharks.
Each year, 100 million sharks are killed, many of them illegally. Misunderstandings perpetuated by hyped-up "mockumentaries" and movies such as Jaws or The Shallows, instill the kind of fear and apathy that justifies the deaths. Those attitudes are sending sharks into extinction, says Corliss.

But GoPro's VR video, Diving with Sharks, the Truth Below the Surface, which features Corliss and shark expert and conservationist Jim Abernethy diving with hammerheads, lemon sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks in the Bahamas could help change attitudes.
"Diving with sharks is perceived as stunt," Matthew Reyes, strategic content manager at GoPro told DNews. "But by no means. These sharks have personalities; they are not man-eaters. How do we offset that?"
The video, which is also available here, opens with a night dive, where sharks emerge suddenly from a pitch black sea into a globe of light. Over the exaggerated exhales of a person (you) breathing through a regulator, another diver's hollow voice says, "Eyes open, look to your left" and then, "Shark coming in from the right side." The music quickens.
RELATED: Why Sharks Are in Double Jeopardy
And then its daybreak on the bow of boat moving out to sea. Corliss's voice narrates, "We fear what we don't understand."
Corliss, better known for his sky diving, BASE jumping, and wing suit exploits -- including a recent wing suit flight over the Great Wall of China -- has been diving with sharks for 24 years.
He was 16 years old the first time he did it and he went in expecting what many people expect.
"I had a preconceived idea that is was going to be a super-high-energy, terrifying thing," he said. But when he got into the water, it was the opposite. The animals were peaceful, calm, docile. Corliss felt a serenity he hadn't expected.
"The most striking thing for me was how scared they were," he said. "They don't want to get close to you. You cannot be scared of something that's so terrified of you."
More recently, while planning a trip with Jim Abernethy to film sharks, Corliss got the idea to contact his sponsor GoPro about creating a VR experience.
"We wanted to show people what it was really like to go on a dive with sharks," Corliss said.
RELATED: FItbit-Like Tag Tracks Sharks After Catch-and-Release
GoPro's video channel on Facebook features several thrilling VR videos, from surfing to skiing to wing suit flying. But you'll also find ones where you can interact with rhinos and Sequoia trees.
Corliss says, "GoPro has a heart. What they have been doing for wildlife is beautiful."
To film the dive in 360-degree footage, GoPro put their Omni multi-camera setup inside a housing called the Abyss, made by Kolor, a partner company. The Abyss has large dome ports that not only allow for wide views but also create pockets of air in front of the lenses. These air pockets make it possible to transition seamlessly between underwater shots and above-water shots without creating distortions in the image.
RELATED: Shark's Evening Rush Hour Discovered
The cameras are linked together so that the simultaneous videos are synched at the pixel level. That gives the film editor better control and produces a higher quality video. You can see more details about the camera and get a behind-the-scenes story below.
Before going into the water, Abernethy instructs the divers to give the sharks space. Don't grab them by the tail or try to ride them, he says.
"You have to respect them," Corliss told DNews. "They have teeth; they can be dangerous. But at the end of the day, they are not monsters."
Once immersed in the VR experience, the dreamlike tranquility of the underwater world becomes apparent. Sharks glide into and out of the frames without any threat, while watching divers kneel in the sand.
"They are not to be feared," said Reyes. "And we should try to take care of them."

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un gets new 'top post'

SEOUL: North Korea has created a new, supreme governing commission with leader Kim Jong-Un as its chairman, underlining the 33-year-old's absolute control over every aspect of state policy in the isolated, nuclear-armed nation.

The country's legislative body, the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), unanimously voted Kim as head of the State Affairs Commission on Wednesday, the North's official KCNA news agency said.

The new agency replaces the National Defence Commission as the country's highest branch of government and supreme policymaking organisation.

Nominating Kim for the post, SPA president Kim Yong-Nam said it was the "unshakable faith and unswerving will of all service personnel and people of the country to uphold Kim Jong-Un ... at the top post of the DPRK".

DPRK is the official acronym for North Korea.

Cheong Seong-Chang, a North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute think-tank in Seoul, said the move effectively raised Kim Jong-Un to the post of supreme head of state.

"It's commensurate with the title of 'President of the Republic' given to (his grandfather) Kim Il-Sung in 1972," Cheong said today.

Kim Il-Sung was declared North Korea's "eternal president" following his death in 1994.

Kim Jong-Un bears a striking resemblance to his grandfather —- a similarity he has played up in a clear attempt to co-opt Kim Il-Sung's legacy.

His new position also marks a further break with the legacy of his father, Kim Jong-Il, who until his death in late 2011 had effectively ruled North Korea as chairman of the now defunct NDC.

The military-dominated NDC was responsible for all defence and security-related affairs, but under Kim Jong-Il's military-first policy it also exercised control over other key, non-defence related policymaking areas.

The new commission has three vice chairmen under Kim, each explicitly responsible for military, party and governmental affairs.

"This marks a clear departure from the era of his father," said Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

"And, by making himself the head of an umbrella commission with control over the military, party and government, Kim Jong-Un has become supreme leader in both name and reality," Yang said.

Almost the entire front page of the ruling party's official Rodong Sinmun on Thursday was taken up with a formal, colour headshot of Kim Jong-Un, wearing a sombre expression and a Mao jacket buttoned to the neck.

Alvin Toffler, author of ‘Future Shock’, dies at 87

NEW YORK: Alvin Toffler, a guru of the post-industrial age whose million-selling "Future Shock" and other books anticipated the disruptions and transformations brought about by the rise of digital technology, has died. He was 87.

He died on late Monday in his sleep at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, said Yvonne Merkel, a spokeswoman for his Reston, Virginia-based consulting firm, Toffler Associates.

One of the world's most famous "futurists", Toffler was far from alone in seeing the economy shift from manufacturing and mass production to a computerized and information-based model. But few were more effective at popularizing the concept, predicting the effects and assuring the public that the traumatic upheavals of modern times were part of a larger and more hopeful story.

"Future Shock", a term he first used in a 1965 magazine article, was how Toffler defined the growing feeling of anxiety brought on by the sense that life was changing at a bewildering and ever-accelerating pace. His book combined an understanding tone and page-turning urgency as he diagnosed contemporary trends and headlines, from war protests to the rising divorce rate, as symptoms of a historical cycle overturning every facet of life.

"We must search out totally new ways to anchor ourselves, for all the old roots — religion, nation, community, family, or profession — are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative thrust," he wrote.

Toffler offered a wide range of predictions and prescriptions, some more accurate than others. He forecast "a new frontier spirit" that could well lead to underwater communities, "artificial cities beneath the waves," and also anticipated the founding of space colonies — a concept that fascinated Toffler admirer Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and presidential candidate. In "Future Shock", released in 1970, he also presumed that the rising general prosperity of the 1960s would continue indefinitely.

"We made the mistake of believing the economists of the time," Toffler told Wired magazine in 1993. "They were saying, as you may recall, we've got this problem of economic growth licked. All we need to do is fine-tune the system. And we bought it."

But Toffler attracted millions of followers, including many in the business community, and the book's title became part of the general culture. Curtis Mayfield and Herbie Hancock were among the musicians who wrote songs called "Future Shock" and the book influenced such science fiction novels as John Brunner's "The Shockwave Rider". More recently, Samantha Bee hosted a recurring "Future Shock" segment on Comedy Central.

Toffler is credited with another common expression, defining the feeling of being overrun with data and knowledge as "information overload."

In the decades following "Future Shock", Toffler wrote such books as "Powershift" and "The Adaptive Corporation", lectured worldwide, taught at several schools and met with everyone from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to network executives and military officials. China cited him along with Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Gates and others as the Westerners who most influenced the country even as communist officials censored his work.

In 2002, the management consultant organization Accenture ranked him No. 8 on its list of the top 50 business intellectuals.

His most famous observation: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

After "Future Shock," Toffler also continued to sketch out how the world was changing and how to respond. In "The Third Wave", a 1980 bestseller that AOL founder Steve Case would cite as a formative influence, he looked to a high-tech society that Case, Steve Jobs and others were just starting to put in place. He forecast the spread of email, telecommuting, teleconferences, interactive media, devices that remind you "of your own appointments" and online chat rooms.

Overall, he pronounced the downfall of the old centralized hierarchy and looked forward to a more dispersed and responsive society, populated by a hybrid of consumer and producer he called "the prosumer".

Case told Associated Press on Wednesday that Toffler was a "real pioneer in helping people, companies and even countries lean into the future."

"He will be missed," Case said.

Toffler collaborated on many of his books and other projects with his wife, Heidi, who survives him. He is also survived by a sister, Caroline Sitter. Toffler's daughter, Karen, died in 2000.

Toffler, a native of New York City, was born October 4, 1928 to Jewish Polish immigrants. A graduate of New York University, he was a Marxist and union activist in his youth, and continued to question the fundamentals of the market economy long after his politics moderated. He knew the industrial life firsthand through his years as a factory worker in Ohio.

Palestinian kills teenage girl in Israeli settlement

JERUSALEM: A Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl inside her home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, before guards shot him dead, the military and hospital officials said.

A member of the response team that killed the assailant was also wounded in the incident, said an official from the Kiryat Arba settlement, near the city of Hebron.

Over the past eight months, Palestinians have killed 33 Israelis and two visiting US citizens in a wave of street attacks, mostly stabbings. Israeli forces have shot dead at least 198 Palestinians, 134 of whom Israel has said were assailants. Others were killed in clashes and protests.

An Israeli military spokesman said the girl was attacked in her bedroom. Hospital officials in Jerusalem said she died of her wounds, giving her age as 13. Israeli media reports identified the suspected attacker as a 17-year-old Palestinian from a village near Kiryat Arba.

Malachi Levinger, chairman of Kiryat Arba's government council, said on Army Radio that a Palestinian climbed a security fence and entered a family home where he attacked the girl. "Two members of a response team exchanged fire with him. One of them was wounded and the terrorist was killed," Levinger said.

Palestinian leaders say assailants have acted out of desperation over peace talks frozen since 2014 and Israeli settlement building in occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state. Tensions over Jewish access to a contested Jerusalem holy site, revered by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and Jews as Temple Mount, have also fuelled the violence.

Israel says incitement in the Palestinian media and personal problems at home have been important factors that have spurred assailants, often teenagers, to launch attacks.

HAL Tejas supersonic fighter jets inducted into Indian Air Force

BENGALURU: HAL Tejas, also known as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, has been inducted into the Indian Air Force. Two of the single-engine multi-role fighter jets, pegged to be the world's smallest and lightest supersonic fighter, were handed over to the Air Force. They will be stationed in Bengaluru, as part of the first Tejas squadron called 'Flying Daggers'.

Friday marked the end of a 33-year-old wait for an indigenous fighter, but Tejas still has a lot of imported material in it, including its heart, a GE engine.

As TOI has reported earlier, the Flying Daggers squadron will have the SP-1 and SP-2 versions of Tejas. The squadron is expected to reach full strength by 2018-2020. Six more Tejas fighters are expected to be inducted into the squadron by the end of the current financial year.

Group Captain M Rangachari will be the first Commanding Officer of the Flying Daggers squadron. He will have seven officers under him initially, 42 air warriors and about 20 non-commissioned officers.

Dr Kota Harinarayana, termed the father of LCA, said decades of hard work and learning have finally paid off.

Air Marshal Jasbir Walia, Air Officer Commanding-in Chief of the Air Force's Southern Command and Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Baduria were also present on Friday, filling in for Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who had flown in the Tejas last month and said the plane is fit for induction.

HAL is expected to deliver two more aircraft in the next few months. Sources in HALsaid that the third aircraft would be delivered by the end of the next month end. There is no confirmation on when the fourth will be delivered.
IAF had been speaking about inducting the LCA from as early as 2011. However, multiple shortcomings and changes in the requirements and other delays in the project has pushed the induction this far.

Even the first few aircraft delivered to the IAF will not exactly be completely combat ready, but Team Tejas is confident of plugging all gaps for the IAF in the future.