Sci-Tech


Loneliness, Social Isolation Greater Health Problem In US Than Obesity

6th Aug 2017
Is feeling alone the greatest health problem Americans face? While the obesity epidemic has long been front-and-center in major cities across the U.S., new research finds that loneliness and social isolation is an even greater public health threat than being overweight.

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University conducted two meta-analyses of previous studies to determine how social isolation, loneliness, and living alone plays a role in a person’s risk of dying.
Person sitting alone on bench
New research shows that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone pose a greater heath threat to Americans than being overweight.

In an analysis of 148 studies that included more than 300,000 people total, her research team found that “a greater social connection” cuts a person’s risk of early death by 50 percent.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” says Holt-Lunstad in an American Psychological Association press release. “Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”

In her second analysis, she looked at the role that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone played in a person’s lifespan. Using 70 studies that included more than 3.4 million participants (mostly from North America, but some studies did look at people in Europe, Asia, and Australia), the research team concluded that all three were as much of — and in some cases more — a threat to a person’s health as obesity and other risk factors.

All three conditions were found to be equally hazardous and significantly raised the risk of premature death.

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” says Holt-Lunstad.

According to AARP’s Loneliness Study conducted in 2010, 35 percent of Americans age 45 and older are suffering from chronic loneliness — which equates to about 43 million people. Similarly, half the country’s adult population is unmarried and more than a quarter live alone, according to U.S. census data.

“These trends suggest that Americans are becoming less socially connected and experiencing more loneliness,” adds Holt-Lunstad, who presented the findings today at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington.

Moving forward, Holt-Lunstad hopes that health officials nationwide spend significant resources  to help tackle the issues of loneliness and isolation. She suggests primary care physicians screen for such conditions during routine examinations and that Americans consider ways to ensure they enjoy a socially-connected retirement in similar ways they plan financially for retiring. Otherwise, she sees the issue growing far worse in the near future.

“With an increasing aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’ The challenge we face now is what can be done about it,” she says.

 

source: https://www.studyfinds.org/loneliness-social-isolation-alone-obesity/

Bondi synagogue ban over terrorism risk leaves Jewish community shocked and furious

6th July 2017

A LOCAL council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a dangerous precedent.

The decision, which has rocked the longstanding Jewish community in the iconic suburb, was upheld in court this week as the nation reeled from the alleged airline terror threat and debate raged over increased security measures at airports and other public places.

The Land and Environment Court backed the decision by Waverley Council to prohibit the construction of the synagogue in Wellington St, Bondi — just a few hundred metres from Australia’s most famous beach — because it was too much of a security risk for users and local residents.

Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment of the threat posed by IS against it.

The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.

“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman told news.com.au.

“Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”
The synagogue is in the heart of Australia’s most iconic suburb and just a few hundred metres from the world famous Bondi Beach. Photo: Dylan Robinson

The synagogue is in the heart of Australia’s most iconic suburb and just a few hundred metres from the world famous Bondi Beach. Photo: Dylan RobinsonSource:News Corp Australia

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff told news.com.au he had never heard of any other religious group being denied a place of worship just because they were targeted by outside extremists and that the move was a dangerous precedent.

“It’s a very sad day for Australia if an established community, which needs a house of worship, is refused permission to build it because of fear that others may pose a threat,” he said.

“This simply shows how we’re all losing our freedoms. Those who want us to be afraid are winning, and this ill-conceived judgment represents a dangerous precedent.”

Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design — including using setback buildings and blast walls — as evidence the site was too much of a security risk.

Yet in a classic catch-22, the council also said if the design was changed to boost security this would be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.

“The proposed development should be refused as the site is not suitable for the proposed synagogue use as the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis relied on by the Applicant raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians in Wellington Street and the physical measures proposed to deal with the identified threats will have an unacceptable impact on the streetscape and adjoining properties.”
An artist’s impression of the synagogue development in Wellington Street, Bondi.

The Friends of Refugees from Eastern Europe, the Jewish group that appealed the council decision in the Land and Environment Court, argued the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis it commissioned from a terrorism expert did not indicate any risk to local residents or passers-by and was only about the security of those using the synagogue — who were used to the threat of violence.

Its evidence, as summarised by the court decision, was:

“The PTRA concludes nothing more than stating:

• western countries face a security threat, currently primarily from ISIS;

• the threat level in Australia is “probable”;

• Jewish communities across the world are no stranger to the threat of violence and as such will generally take security measures into account when planning, constructing or renovating buildings;

• the CITED design considers “potential possible threats” that are relevant to Australia; and

• the design measures focus on the persons inside the buildings only

“The PTRA does not raise concerns as to the safety and security of future particularly users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists; or pedestrians in Wellington Street.”
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman with local MP and now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2006.

But in the judgment handed down by the Land and Environment Court on Wednesday, Commissioner Graham Brown said the risk assessment was inadequate and upheld the council’s decision.

“It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat,” he found.

Rabbi Ulman said the decision “came as surprise and shock to the entire Jewish community” but was even more scathing about the council, warning it had threatened the future of Jewish life in Australia.

“By pulling the terror threat argument they have shown that they are completely out of touch both with the reality and with needs of their constituency,” he told news.com.au.

“They have effectively placed in jeopardy the future of Jewish life in Australia.”

A Waverley Council spokesperson noted the court had supported the council’s position, which was supported by several residents’ concerns.

“The ruling follows Council’s presentation of evidence to the court in support of refusal of the application, based on:

· The proposal does not respond to the context, character and streetscape of the area or provide sufficient residential amenity

· Unacceptable amenity impacts such as adequate solar access, noise and loss of privacy; and

· The site is unsuitable for a synagogue because of the potential risk to users and other members of the general public.

“A number of residents agreed with the contentions raised by the Council and provided additional evidence against the development of the site.”

source: http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/news/bondi-synagogue-ban-over-terrorism-risk-leaves-jewish-community-shocked-and-furious/news-story/6ec6252d613583df7797c7cac2b25de4

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

6th Aug 2017

The more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.

The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

 

Read more/ source:https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

GM corn set to stop man spreading his seed

29th July 2017

Original article dated 2001.

 

Scientists have created the ultimate GM crop: contraceptive corn. Waiving fields of maize may one day save the world from overpopulation.

The pregnancy prevention plants are the handiwork of the San Diego biotechnology company Epicyte, where researchers have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack sperm.

By isolating the genes that regulate the manufacture of these antibodies, and by putting them in corn plants, the company has created tiny horticultural factories that make contraceptives.

‘We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies,’ said Epicyte president Mitch Hein.

‘We have also created corn plants that make antibodies against the herpes virus, so we should be able to make a plant-based jelly that not only prevents pregnancy but also blocks the spread of sexual disease.’

Contraceptive corn is based on research on the rare condition, immune infertility, in which a woman makes antibodies that attack sperm.

‘Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,’ said Hein. ‘They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.’

Normally, biologists use bacteria to grow human proteins. However, Epicyte decided to use corn because plants have cellular structures that are much more like those of humans, making them easier to manipulate.

The company, which says it will not grow the maize near other crops, says it plans to launch clinical trials of the corn in a few months.

 

 

source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2001/sep/09/gm.food

Tech Billionaires Are Secretly Funding a Plan to Break the Human Race out of The Matrix

16th July 2017

On the southwestern edge of Lake Titicaca, Peru, there is an ancient 23-foot doorway known as the Aramu Muru. Local natives call it the “Puerta de hayu Marca,” the gateway to the lands of the gods and immortal life. Throughout their history, the natives have described people disappearing and appearing at this doorway.

In 1998, purported extraterrestrial contactee Jerry Wills claimed a tall blonde humanoid named Zo taught him how to access Aramu Muru and enter “another universe.” Wills further claimed that Zo illustrated to him how our universe is an experimental simulation within his species’ universe. They built it to understand their own reality, which is itself nested inside a larger universe.

The next year, in 1999, the blockbuster science fiction film The Matrix came out and forever emblazoned into our collective subconscious the idea that our existence is a simulation created by a more advanced race of beings. Incidentally, the film also made long black trench coats, black sunglasses, and my last name all the rage, but I digress…

A few years after the release of The Matrix, philosopher Nick Bostrom published the Simulation Argument, a concise paper entitled “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” It presented a trilemma, a mathematical breakdown of why at least one of three provocative scenarios must be true.

“(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a ‘posthuman’ stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.”

The “posthuman civilization” to which Bostrom refers defines a period of time after which humans have merged with technology. This is sometimes referred to as post-Singularity, with the ‘Singularity’ describing futurist Ray Kurzweil’s designation of a society in which humans are post-biological, living synergistically with artificial intelligence.

The Simulation Argument presupposes the development of this posthuman civilization, at which point, Bostrom states, advanced humans or AI might develop simulations of the past in the same way that current scientists create test environments; some of the simulations would likely be for entertainment reasons, as well, in the same way humans currently create video games and movies.

In recent years, a number of high-profile figures have come out to state their belief that we are living in a simulation. Chief among them is tech magnate Elon Musk, who has stated that the video game No Man’s Sky confirmed his belief that someday simulations would approximate reality so comprehensively that they would be indistinguishable from reality. Apparently, he was sitting in a hot tub with friends when he finally converted.

Musk is the CEO and brains behind Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and OpenAI. In recent years, he has expressed bold plans for his companies that he believes will advance the human race: with Tesla, he wants to spearhead a transportation infrastructure that doesn’t rely on burning hydrocarbons; with SpaceX, he wants to assist in humanity’s gradual extraplanetary migration to Mars; and with Neuralink and OpenAI, he wants to facilitate humanity’s merger with advanced computer technology.

When he was asked about whether humans are living inside a computer simulation, Musk made headlines last year by saying he thinks the chances are one in billions that we aren’t.

“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following: 40 years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot,” Musk stated. “That’s where we were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality….”

 

 

source/read more;http://www.activistpost.com/2017/07/tech-billionaires-secretly-funding-plan-break-human-race-matrix.html

Cash crackdown boss floats nano-chips in notes

4th July 2017

THE man charged with cracking down on the “black economy” has revealed how he would like to keep track of your $100 and $50 notes.

Hi-tech nano-chips would be implanted in Australia’s “disappearing” cash under a plan floated by Michael Andrew, the head of the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr Andrew said too much cash was being hoarded under pensioners’ beds and stockpiled as a trusted currency in China.

Estimates for the size of Australia’s so-called black economy vary from $23 billion to $50 billion. The government claims tax avoidance through cash payments costs the budget up to $10 billion in revenue, money that could go towards funding welfare and other services.

In the May budget, the federal government announced an extra $32 million funding for the Australian Taxation Office to fund its cash crackdown, which it expects to bring in an extra $589 million in revenue over the next four years.

According to Mr Andrew, who will hand down his final report in October, there should be 14 $100 notes for every adult in Australia but there are fewer than that in circulation. While criminals prefer the $50 note, as the Reserve Bank pointed out in its defence of cash last year, foreign migrants and pensioners prefer $100s.

“You see a lot of Chinese don’t trust their banking system so they like to take Australian dollars back to China,” he told The Courier-Mail. “We’re seeing $100 notes used by pensioners because there’s an assets-based test at the moment and they like to keep a fair bit of cash under the bed.

“I’m working with the Reserve Bank and Austrac to get a better understanding of where our notes are. Clearly there’s a section of this that is organised crime. One of the options we would have is putting an expiry date on these notes.

“You could put a trace on some of these notes to see where they would go. You can use nano technology to put little chips in so you could then trace it.”

Last year, a report by UBS recommended Australia scrap the $100 note. According to UBS, benefits may include “reduced crime (difficult to monetise), increased tax revenue (fewer cash transactions) and reduced welfare fraud (claiming welfare while earning or hoarding cash)”.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm at the time criticised the cash crackdown proposal, saying “the only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes”.

“The incentives for a cash economy would be a lot reduced if taxes were a lot lower,” he said in December. “It’s a reaction to the level of taxes we pay.”

Earlier this year, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer defended the move, saying “we don’t believe in a self-help approach to tax reform”.

“We think it should apply and be fairly represented across everybody,” she said. “There are always going to be people who try and avoid their tax, and [for] those in the cash economy it’s much easier to avoid detection.

“This comes at a time where we’re experiencing rapid technological change. A lot of people under 40 don’t really carry that much cash around anymore, but even despite this we have seen an increase in the number of $100 notes in distribution.

“I don’t know too many people who walk around with $100 notes, I certainly haven’t sighted one in a long time, but the point is that there is clearly an issue that we need to grapple with.”

 

source; http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/cash-crackdown-boss-floats-nanochips-in-notes/news-story/05db2212948c7d02e822532de63c170d

Cyber warfare unit set to be launched by Australian Defence Forces

30th June 2017

Its commander, Major General Marcus Thompson, has flagged some of the recruitment challenges.

Pay will be an issue, as will the military’s physical requirements.

The unit will work across the three services, with a brief to protect Australia’s military infrastructure.

A key part of its role will also be to identify high-value foreign targets and preparing to launch its own attacks.

Targets could include assets like the Chinese navy’s South Sea Fleet, which is operating in the South China Sea.
Australia buying in ‘big time’ on cyber warfare

A key part of information warfare is psychological and undermining and influencing the adversary.

This will be a key part of the new unit’s role, and its arsenal of cyber weaponry will be able to be used to defend, gather intelligence or launch attacks.
What’s going on with the latest cyber attack?

A ransomware attack has struck computers across the globe. Could you be affected? Here’s what we know so far.

It will be up to the unit and its command chain to determine which is best in each situation.

The Australian National University’s John Blaxland said it would not just be used in wartime operations.

“In between war and peace, there’s a lot you can do to hassle, harass, interdict, subvert, undermine and damage,” he said.

“That’s a space Australia hasn’t sought to buy in on, [and] it’s buying in on it big time now.”

Authorities say Russia has taken an aggressive approach, threatening its enemies with overt displays of its cyber strength.

China, in comparison, has been far more reserved, preferring espionage and intelligence-gathering over shows of military might.
Australia lagging in cyber prowess

The United States, Russia and China all have cyber warfare prowess, demonstrated through various recent attacks.

Experts agree Australia has been lagging behind.

“Australia is relatively undeveloped,” Professor Austin said.

“We’re well behind the United States, but the good news is Russia and China, potential adversaries of Australia, only really joined this cyber arms race in the relatively recent past.”

In January, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flagged his concern about cyber warfare.

“This is the new frontier of warfare, it’s the new frontier of espionage,” he said.

 

 

 

source; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/cyber-warfare-unit-to-be-launched-by-australian-defence-forces/8665230

WikiLeaks Releases CIA Vault 7 ‘ELSA’ Geolocation Tracking Project

29th June 2017

WikiLeaks published the next release in their CIA Vault 7 series today, revealing details on a geolocation tracking project named ELSA.

WikiLeaks describes the ELSA project as, “a geo-location malware for WiFi-enabled devices like laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system.” The exploit is installed on a target system using other CIA bugs that WikiLeaks has previously detailed; once installed ELSA scans all visible WiFi access points in the area and records the ESS identifier, MAC address and signal strength of the access points at regular intervals. The targeted device does not need to be connected to the WiFi access point to record this information; the device simply needs to be WiFi enabled.

The ELSA malware automatically attempts to use public geo-location databases from tech companies such as Google or Microsoft to resolve the position of the device and records the longitude and latitude data along with the timestamp. This information is then stored on the device in an encrypted format to be later be transferred to another device. This encrypted information is not transferred wirelessly. Instead, a CIA operator must gain access to the device using other CIA exploits in order to transfer and gain access to the encrypted information.

The WikiLeaks page further states, “The ELSA project allows the customization of the implant to match the target environment and operational objectives like sampling interval, maximum size of the logfile and invocation/persistence method. Additional back-end software (again using public geo-location databases from Google and Microsoft) converts unprocessed access point information from exfiltrated logfiles to geo-location data to create a tracking profile of the target device.”
The full WikiLeaks description and documentation relating to Project ELSA can be found here.

 

 

 

 

source:http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/06/28/wikileaks-releases-cia-vault-7-elsa-geolocation-tracking-project/

Sydney man has Opal card implanted into hand to make catching public transport easier

28th June 2017

If you have ever been caught fumbling for your Opal card at the ticket gate, a Sydney man may have found the solution.

He had the chip from an Opal card inserted into his hand and is now tapping on using the technology that is implanted underneath his skin.

Bio-hacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, his legal name, had the Opal near-field communication (NFC) chip cut down and encased in bio-compatible plastic, measuring 10 millimetres by 6 millimetres.

He then had the device implanted just beneath the skin on the side of his left hand.

“It gives me an ability that not everyone else has, so if someone stole my wallet I could still get home,” he said.

He is able to use the Opal just like other users, including topping the card up on his smartphone.

However, his hand needs to be about 1 centimetre from the reader, closer than traditional cards, and he sometimes needs to tap more than once, due to his device’s smaller antenna.

“My goal is to have frictionless interaction with technology,” he said.
‘Don’t try this at home’

Mr Meow-Meow had his device implanted by a piercing expert, in a procedure lasting approximately one hour.

He warned others not to do the same without expertise and research.

“Most certainly don’t try this at home unless you know what you’re doing,” he said.

Mr Meow-Meow said there was a risk of bacterial infection whenever anything was implanted beneath the skin, so it was important to consult professionals.

“Be aware of the risks involved and make a wise judgement based on that.”

He also said his actions were a breach of Opal’s terms of service, which prohibit tampering.

“It will be really interesting to see what happens when the first transit officer scans my arm,” he said.
‘This is the future’

Mr Meow-Meow does not believe his implant was very radical.

“Putting technology into the body is not unusual,” he said.

Implants like pacemakers for heart conditions and intrauterine devices (IUDs) for birth control are now widely used and the Sydney scientist said his device was a natural extension.

“While one might be for birth control, which we’ve decided is pretty OK, this one is to make catching public transport easier.”

Mr Meow-Meow had his Opal implant custom-made by a US lab, Dangerous Things.
Closeup of a Mickey Mouse bandaid.
Photo: Mr Meow-Meow said it is actually a breach of Opal’s terms of service to have the implant. (ABC News: Nick Dole)

He has two other NFC implants in his hand and arm, including one that he keeps documents on.

He said NFC implants could be widely used in the future, particularly when a person’s identity needs to be proven.

“You’ll see it in parole, in nursing homes where people are unable to divulge medical details,” Mr Meow-Meow said.

“If I could go to a government department and swipe my hand, that would make accessing these services a lot easier.”

 

 

source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-27/sydney-bio-hacker-has-opal-travel-card-implanted-into-hand/8656174?

Salvador Dali’s body to be exhumed to resolve paternity case

27th June 2017

Spanish judge has ordered the exhumation of Salvador Dalí’s body for DNA testing to settle a claim by a TV fortune-teller that she is the secret daughter of the Surrealist painter.

Pilar Abel Martínez, 61, from Dalí’s home town of Figueres in Catalonia, has for years insisted that she is the product of a “clandestine love affair” between her mother and the then married artist. She is now suing the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and the Spanish state, which inherited his works, to be recognised as his biological daughter. The verdict is due later this year.

Ms Abel, who describes herself as “Dalí without the moustache” for her supposed physical resemblance to the painter, previously arranged to carry out a test using material from his death mask. However insufficient DNA was found, and the Madrid judge overseeing the case has now ruled there is no other way to obtain samples other than to disinter Dalí’s remains.

No date for the exhumation has yet been announced, but, according to Ms Abel’s lawyer, it could be carried out as soon as July. It will be neither an easy nor a discreet procedure: the artist’s body is buried in a crypt beneath the stage in the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, where he died from heart failure in 1989, aged 84.

The fortune-teller, who for eight years hosted a tarot card-reading show on local television, claims she first learned she was Dalí’s daughter as a young child, from the woman who was purportedly her paternal grandmother. “I know that you’re not the daughter of my son, that you are that of a great painter, but I love you equally,” the grandmother used to say – according to Spanish daily El Pais – teasing her that she was “strange like her father”.

Ms Abel’s mother, Antonia Martínez, also spoke frequently about the romance, which allegedly took place in 1955 in the nearby coastal town of Cadaques. Dalí and his wife Gala had recently returned from New York and were living in Cadaques – their house there is now a museum – while Ms Abel’s mother was working for a local family. Then 25, Ms Martínez struck up a friendship with the 51-year-old artist, which allegedly soon developed into an affair. She returned to Figueres shortly afterwards and, while pregnant, married another man, before giving birth to Ms Abel in February 1956.

Ms Abel says that she crossed paths with Dali four or five times in her life, exchanging greetings on the street in Figueres. She has suggested her gift for clairvoyance could be inherited from the master of Surrealism.

“I think that my gift may have to do with him. In my family no one else has turned out this way,” she told El Confidencial when launching her legal bid in 2015. “I was born this way. It is carried inside. Perhaps it has to do with him because he believed very much in the paranormal, in the inexplicable.”

The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation said it would challenge the exhumation order and was working on an appeal in coordination with government lawyers to be presented in the coming days.

If Ms Abel is confirmed to be the daughter of Dalí, it would provide fresh insight into the painter’s marriage to Gala, one of the art world’s most famous love stories. They originally married in 1934 in a civil ceremony but were joined in the eyes of the Church in 1958 after Gala, a divorcee, was granted special dispensation by the Vatican. Dalí was said to devoted to his wife, also his artistic muse, but due to his purported phobia of female genitalia, allowed her to maintain extramarital affairs. In 1968, the couple purchased a castle in the region of Girona, to which Gala moved and which her husband was only allowed to visit on invitation.

A positive DNA test would allow Ms Abel to take the Dalí name and give her rights over a share of his estate, estimated to be worth as much as 300 million euros. However, that would undoubtedly entail a lengthy legal battle with the Spanish state.

 

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/26/salvador-dalis-body-exhumed-resolve-paternity-case/