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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.



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“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MP3s for the people? The Pirate Party, a new Swedish political party first publicized in January, wants to legalize sharing music, movies, and other copyrighted content using the Internet. What may seem like a doomed effort by a small group of idealists is attracting significant media attention, in part due to a recent police raid on The Pirate Bay, an extremely popular BitTorrent tracker (see Wikinews coverage).

The Pirate Bay allows people to download content listed in its database using the BitTorrent protocol (including the latest Hollywood movies or computer games) and has gained something of an international cult status, in part for its public and irreverent responses to legal threats received from copyright lawyers of major corporations. The site was reopened days after the raid on Dutch servers (but is now back in Sweden again). Rickard Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party, argues that regardless of the legal outcome in the case, the web site demonstrates that copyright law in its current form is not sustainable.

Adopting the moniker of the maligned “Internet pirates”, the party argues for drastically limiting the scope and enforcement of copyright law, abolishing patent law, and protecting privacy in what it sees as a “control and surveillance society”. The party is hoping to garner enough votes in the September election to become a small but important faction in the next Swedish parliament. Rickard Falkvinge found some time in between interviews and party work to answer our questions.

There are rumours that the Swedish government was indirectly acting on behalf of the U.S. MPAA in shutting down the site. Do you feel that your government is beholden to U.S. interests?

Oh, the MPAA said so themselves in a press release, it’s more than a rumor. Check their press release “Swedish authorities sink Pirate Bay”. [Ed.: see below]

And yes, this particular fact has caused something of an uproar in Sweden. It’s widely believed that Swedish authorities were more or less ordered by a foreign power to act forcefully against an entity that was in, at worst, a legal gray area according to Swedish law.

The raid must have boosted your recognition. How many members do you currently have, and how successful has your fundraising effort been so far?

Our member count is at 6540, no, 6541, no wait, 6543… well, you get the picture. Our members register themselves on our website after paying the membership fee electronically, which helps reduce our admin load considerably.

Fundraising brought in 108,000 SEK [Ed.: approx. 14,700 USD or 11,600 EUR], enough to buy 3 million ballots, which is some kind of at-least-we’re-not-starving minimum. We’re not full, but we’re not starving, either. Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, we have received another 50K in donations. My sincere thanks to everybody who wants to help out; we are now looking into getting more ballots to make sure we don’t run out on election day. (10 million ballots was our initial full-score aim.)

Do you think you will be able to cover future expenses such as radio and television ads?

Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, and our tripling of the member roster, we don’t need advertising. We’ve been mentioned almost every news hour across all channels on national television in the last week.

Also, the established parties have now started to turn, following our success. Parties representing almost half of the elected parliament are now describing today’s copyright situation as not working. They still don’t understand why, though, they are just echoing what we say without understanding what the words mean. We’ll get around to teaching them — them and the voters alike.

This might be hard for people not following the Swedish media to grasp, but we have made a big splash. Today, our Minister of Justice was quoted as saying that he’s open to changes to copyright laws that would make file-sharing legal, with the headline “Bodström (his name) flip-flops about file sharing.” Immediately underneath were the Pirate Party’s comments to his suggestions. Let’s take that again: when a minister makes a statement about file sharing, media calls us for comments, and publishes them next to that statement. That’s how big we have become since the raid on the Pirate Bay.

The Minister of Justice later denied having made that statement to the press that reported it.

We will never be able to pay for television ads, the way I see it. Unless a very wealthy donor comes on stage. (If any such person is reading this, we have planned how to spend up to $375,000 in a cost-efficient way up until the elections, on the chance that donations appear. That spending does still not include any TV ads.)

Are you aware of similar initiatives in other countries?

Some are trying, but none have achieved the necessary momentum and critical mass that we have. We expect that momentum to happen once we get into Swedish Parliament and show that it can be done.

[Ed.: A United States variant of the party was recently launched. See also: Intellectual property activism category on Wikipedia]

The name “Pirate Party” seems to identify the party with what is currently defined as a crime: piracy of software, movies, music, and so on. Will a name like “Pirate Party” not antagonize voters, given that the label is so negatively used? How about potential allies abroad who argue for a more balanced copyright regime, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons?

Oh, it is a crime. That’s the heart of the problem! The very problem is that something that 20% of the voters are doing is illegal by punishment of jail time. That’s what we want to change. Where the established parties are saying that the voters are broken, we are saying it’s the law that is broken.

Besides, it’s a way of reclaiming a word. The media conglomerates have been pointing at us and calling us pirates, trying to make us somehow feel shame. It doesn’t work. We wear clothes saying “PIRATE” in bright colors out on the streets. Yes, we are pirates, and we’re proud of it, too.

Also, the term is not that negative at all in Sweden, much thanks to the awesome footwork of the Pirate Bureau (Piratbyrån), who have been working since 2003 to educate the public.

If you are elected, and have the opportunity to become part of the next government of Sweden, do you intend to focus only on the issues in your platform (IP law and privacy)?

Our current plan is to support the government from the parliament, but not be part of it. If we’re part of it, that means we get a vested interest to not overthrow it, which puts us in a weaker position if they start going against our interests.

Overall, our strategy is to achieve the balance of power, where both the left and right blocks need our votes to achieve a majority, and then support the issues of whichever government that agrees to drive our issues the strongest. Basically, we sell our votes on other issues to the highest bidder in exchange for them driving ours.

Have you already made any contacts in Swedish politics?

Contacts… I’m not sure what you mean. Several of us have been shaking hands with some of the established politicians, particularly in the youth leagues, if that’s what you mean.

I was thinking along the lines of exploring possible modes of cooperation with established political parties — are you already taken seriously?

We are taken seriously by most of the youth leagues and by at least one of the represented parties. In particular, which is what counts, we are now taken seriously by national media. However, we can’t tie contacts that explore modes of cooperation quite yet — since our strategy depends on holding the balance of power, we need to not express a preference for whom we’d like to cooperate with, or we’d put ourselves in a weaker bargaining position.

What is your position on moral rights, as recognized by European Union copyright laws: the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. Do you think these rights should be preserved?

We safeguard the right to attribution very strongly. After all, what we are fighting for is the intent of copyright as it is described in the US constitution: the promotion of culture. Many artists are using recognition as their primary driving force to create culture.

Publishing anonymously or pseudonymously happens every day on the Internet, so no big deal there either.

The right to integrity, however, is an interesting issue. We state that we are for free sampling, meaning you can take a sound that I made for my tune and use it in your own tunes, or for that matter, a whole phrase. That’s partially in line with today’s copyright law on derivative works; as long as you add your own creative touch to a work, you get your own protection for the derivation. We want to strengthen that right.

You might want to consider the alternative. In the 50s and 60s, a lot of rock and roll bands started doing covers of old classical music. This would almost certainly have been considered to violate the integrity of the original artist — and was considered to do so by many — but in the eyes of many others, it was instead great new culture of a previously unseen form and shape.

So I don’t have a definite answer on the integrity issue. While I am leaning towards the promotion of new culture taking precedence over a limitation right, there may be unconsidered cases.

Do you feel that trademark law is adequate as it is?

Yes. We have not seen any hidden costs to trademarks that outweigh the benefits of reducing transaction costs on a market where seller and buyer are not personally acquainted.

How do you intend to deal with EU treaties which define certain legal frameworks for the protection of intellectual works?

What can they do? Fine us? Send us an angry letter?

Come on, countries need to think more like corporations. If the fine is less than the cost to society, which it is in this case, then the right thing to do is to accept the fine with a polite “thank you”.

Actually, national media just called me about this very question; the Department of Justice has stated that we can’t allow file sharing, as it would break international treaties. My response was that it is more important to not have 1.2 million Swedes criminalized, than it is to avoid paying a penalty fee.

Do you think that weaker intellectual property laws would lessen the amount of products released in Sweden by foreign companies, such as Hollywood studios?

As long as they believe that they will have a revenue here that exceeds the cost of operations, they will keep coming here. Anything else would be wrong from a corporate standpoint.

Besides, you need to remember what we are doing is to change the map according to what reality looks like. We do not want to change people’s behavior. We want to change the law so it reflects what the world actually looks like.

So, as they apparently make a profit today, I expect that to continue.

Do you feel that the music industry in its current form will still be needed in a world where non-commercial copying is permitted?

It’s not so much if they are needed where non-commercial copying is permitted, rather if they are needed when they’re not necessary any more to be the middle man between consumer and artist.

The music industry will lose its current chokepoint, because they don’t add any value to the end product any longer. They will probably survive as a service bureau for artists, but they will not be able to control distribution.

It’s actually quite simple: if they get their act together and provide a service that people want to buy, they will remain. If not, they will vanish. Today, they have legislated that people must buy their service regardless of whether it adds value or not, and that’s not gonna hold in the long term.

Why fight against intellectual property laws, instead of focusing your energy on creating freely licensed content, such as Creative Commons films or open source software?

I want to raise the issue a level, to show that it’s not about payment models or what level of control the copyright holder chooses to exert over his or her work.

Let me put it this way: we have achieved the technical possibility of sending copyrighted works in digital, private communications. I can send a piece of music in e-mail to you, I can drop a video clip in a chat room. That technology is not going away, leaving us with two choices.

So — if copyright is to be enforced — if you are to tax, prohibit, fee, fine, or otherwise hinder the transmission of copyrighted works in private communications, the only way to achieve that is to have all private communications constantly monitored. It’s really that large.

Also, this is partly nothing new. We’ve been able to do this since the advent of the Xerox copier — you could photocopy a poem or a painting and put it in a letter in the mail. Again, the only way to discover or stop that would have been for the authorities to open all letters and check their content.

So we’re at a crossroads here. Either we, as a society, decide that copyright is the greater value to society, and take active steps to give up private communications as a concept. Either that, or we decide that the ability to communicate in private, without constant monitoring by authorities, has the greater value — in which case copyright will have to give way.

My choice is clear.

The Pirate Bay was shut down and re-opened days later on a Dutch server. According to a Swedish newspaper report, traffic has doubled since then. How long do you think the cat and mouse game will continue?

Until one of two things happen: The authorities realize they can’t enforce laws that require monitoring all private communications, especially given the large international level of grassroots support, or [they] actually start monitoring all private communications.



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Microsoft to track legal marijuana with new partner Kind Financial

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Microsoft announced on Thursday they are partnering with KIND Financial to help governments track the production and distribution of legal marijuana. Kind Financial, a California-based start-up company, began selling its Agrisoft Seed to Sale software three years ago. Microsoft is admitting Kind’s software on the Government portion of its Azure cloud service.

Although Kind Financial CEO David Dinenberg stressed to The Guardian they “absolutely do not touch the plant”, his company does business with growers and distributors of marijuana, as well as the governments that regulate it. State law in twenty-five US states — but not US federal law — has legalized marijuana, whether medicinally or for recreational use. Kimberly Nelson, Microsoft executive director of state and local government solutions, said they expect significant demand for technology to help states make sure cannabis distribution within their state is done according to their laws.

Kind also provides kiosks similar to automated tellers (ATMs) to facilitate marijuana transactions in dispensaries. The distribution of marijuana is often done only with cash or through machines like the ones Kind offers since many banks in the United States shy away from the marijuana industry entirely. Microsoft is not interacting with this part of Kind’s operations, however.

Microsoft and Kind will apply for contracts with state governments for their software. Currently, they have applied to Puerto Rico, a US territory, where medical marijuana has recently been made legal. BioTrackTHC, a company similar to Kind Financial, already has contracts with Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois.

Dinenberg said his company’s partnership with Microsoft is a major step in advancing the legitimacy of cannabis-related businesses.



Personal Injury Law Firms Finding The Right One}

Submitted by: Adam Chrly

Dealing with an accident, defective product or slip and fall injury case as an individual is a very difficult task. To receive justice, you must choose a personal injury lawyer who investigates the process actively and preserves your claim to obtain the best possible compensation for any damages. An attorney can assist you with a lawsuit or insurance claim to win the case and can help you to get the money you deserve. As you start contacting attorneys, remember not to rush to retain a lawyer near your place. Search for well-known lawyers in Arizona and feel free to contact them and explain your situation. If you found the lawyer has a good experience and skills to win your case, then it can help you determine you are dealing with the right Arizona personal injury attorney.

Finding a right lawyer for your case can be tricky among so many available personal attorneys. Below are the few qualities that you must check out to find a best suitable attorney for winning a case:

1. Experience:

First, Hire an attorney who has an experience in dealing with personal injuries. Because an experienced attorney knows how to look for evidences and how to proceed by understanding the case thoroughly. Contacting a personal injury without any experience can cause you to lose instead of win the case. So it is always recommended to do some research to know about the experience and success rates of the personal injury attorney and how well they can handle your case.

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2. Focus:

Second, the focus of the personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference in winning the case. Every individual attorney possesses unique skills to win cases. Few personal injury lawyers settle the case before taking it to trail, which can help you obtain fair compensation without wasting time.

3. Reputation:

Reputation is the one of the important factors to consider when selecting an attorney for your case. Reputation usually comes with the practice and how well an attorney has handled previous cases. Resolving the case quickly with insurance companies can add value to an attorney’s reputation. Choose a lawyer who best deals with your aspect of law so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

4. Objectivity:

Always make sure that the selected personal injury lawyer is very objective to fight for justice, because some attorney firms try to close the case quickly without getting adequate compensation. A quick resolution allows them to move on to the next case. Be sure that this does not happen in your case; follow up with the lawyer regularly for the process of dealing with the claims.

Picking the right one is a daunting task, but remember that choosing the best and well-established Arizona personal injury law firm always reduces your stress and allows you to gain the adequate compensation.

Have you been injured in an accident and looking for a phoenix personal injury lawyer to file an injury claim, then contact Samuel P. Moeller in Phoenix. A successful attorney with more than 10 years of experience in handling personal injury cases.

About the Author: If you believe, you have claim, then get a free initial consultation at

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Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1945742&ca=Legal }



Printers For College Students Part I

Printers for College Students Part I

by

Rohan Sinha

What could be better than college life! No uniforms, no bulky bags, and no home works! The first day at college is always special; you enter into a new world, and meet friends who later become friends for life. There is so much that we miss about college once we get out of its gates to prove ourselves to the world.

But, during the time we\’re in college, we should make sure that we get the most out of it; be it fun, or be it studies. As far as fun part is concerned, you can take care of it, right? And, when it comes to studies, you should make sure that you\’ve a personal computer and a printer in your room so that you can print out every bit of information that can help you score high in college exams.

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A printer isn\’t a costly thing, but you should ensure you buy from a brand so it prints brilliantly, and stay for years. There are different types of printers in the markets. A multi-function printer is a worthwhile purchase, and lets you print, copy and scan. It also occupies a very little space in your room. And, these multi-function printers also don\’t cost much. Look for the deals in the market, and grab the deal that makes sense to you.

Be it a presentation, images, or notes, you can print out everything. I\’ve met hundreds of college students throughout the country, and see the benefits a printer offers to a student. The best thing is you don\’t have to run to the shops in your locality for print, copy, and scan. You\’ll be doing all the stuff at your home only.

Now that everything is available online, shopping for anything be it a printer or a camcorder is as easy as counting the numbers from 1 to 10. There are online stores, shopping channels, you just have to order for the printer that you like the most, and can afford. You can walk into a brick-and-mortar shop as well, and look for a great printer.

Printers aren\’t only for the college students, but also for the school students. If you\’re a parent and want to buy a printer for your kid, you better take your time to look for all options available, and go with the best printer. With printer at home, students can do a world of interesting things, so get home one this coming weekend.

Visit this website if you\’re planning to buy a

printer

or a

camcorder

at attractive prices. There is so much for you at this site.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com



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On the campaign trail in the USA, August 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

The following is the fourth edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the vice presidential nominee of the Reform Party is revealed; those attacked in a high profile campaign speech respond; and Wikinews interviews an economist seeking the presidency a second time.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Reform Party vice presidential nominee confirmed
  • 3 Alt-rightists respond to Clinton speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews economist again running for president
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources


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Germans and Arabs establish a search engine that competes with Google

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Seekport, a German and Saudi founded technological company, began to start on a web-search engine dedicated to the Arabic language called Sawafi. According to Arabic marketing officials, it is predicted to compete with the popular web-search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. Sawafi’s goal is to be as successful as the Chinese web-search engine, Budai, which in China, which has made a great improvement to its marketing businesses. Although internet access is low in the Middle East, Sawafi wishes to reach the other Arab communities in North America or Europe.



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Report reveals Top 10 most-confusing tech buzzwords

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Danville, California – The California-based Engligh language tracker, Global Language Monitor, released its 2005 list of most confusing – yet frequently cited – high tech buzzwords to be “HTTP,” “Voice Over IP” (VoIP), and “Megapixel.” Closely following were “Plasma,” “Robust,” “WORM” and “Emoticon.”

In early March, the group used a predictive index computer algorithm to track specific words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. They were tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Global Language Monitor claims to analyze and catalogue trends in word usage and word choices, focusing on the linguistic impact on various cultures. The GLM says it relies upon a global network of volunteer linguists, professional wordsmiths and other bibliophiles to monitor the trends in the evolution and demise of world languages.

GLM’s list, in order of frequency of use, of the most-confusing technology terms with the group’s explanation as to why they are faulty follows:

  1. HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol is the standard protocol used for transmitting web pages (which are written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language)), not text written while hyper on too much Starbucks coffee. There are more than 1 billion references to HTTP on the web alone.
  2. Voice over IP – Voice over Internet Protocol, (pronounced voyp, similar to Detroit) is a way of transmitting voice data over the Internet. VoIP is becoming more popular as services such as Skype offer people free voice communication with anyone with a broad-band connection.
  3. Megapixel – Approximately one million pixels, not a single, big pixel (“mega” is the metric system prefix for million). “Pixel” itself is a technical term which means “picture element”. Digital pictures consist of a grid of millions of pixels, which are square or rectangular dots, each having a single colour.
  4. Plasma – A plasma display (commonly used in televisions) is a flat, lightweight surface with a grid of millions of tiny glass bubbles containing plasma. A digitally controlled electric current flows through the bubbles causing the plasma inside to glow various colours. Plasma displays have nothing to do with blood plasma.
  5. Robust – Robustness generally means “it won’t break easily.” It supposedly describes computer programs or hardware that have been well-tested and demonstrated to not crash or fail often, but since it is a vague term by nature (how robust is robust?) it is frequently used by marketing types regardless.
  6. WORM – While a worm is a type of computer virus, WORM stands for ’Write Once, Read Many’. It describes a file system primarily used for optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs. For example, CD-Rs can only be written (or “burned”) once but afterwards can be read many times (otherwise you could only listen to your music CD once). This excludes re-writable CDs which can be written many times.
  7. Emoticon – Emoticon stands for emotional icon. An emoticon is a sequence of characters that look visually like a face and are used in text chat to convey emotion. The most common emoticon is the smiley face – 🙂 – which looks like two eyes and a mouth turned 90 degrees.
  8. Best of Breed – Not to be confused with the Westminster Dog Show, a best-of-breed product is a personalized solution made of components from various manufacturers; in other words, it’s a sort of high tech ‘mix-and-match’.
  9. Viral Marketing – A recent marketing trend which relies on word-of-mouth to spread, rather than traditional advertising strategies. It is called “viral” because as people talk about it, the marketing message “spreads” to new people, who in turn inform others, and so on, which is how viruses spread. The Burger King “Subservient Chicken” campaign is considered an example of viral marketing. Computer viruses used by spammers to turn desktop computers into “zombie” spam relays are something completely different.
  10. Data Migration – Data migration is an idealistic (though usually impossible) concept where data can be used by different versions of the program in which it was created (newer or older). The migration (migration means “to move”) refers to the fact that the data is moved from one version (or program) to another without difficulty or loss of information. It is a subset of backward and forward compatibility.

Other terms being tracked included “client/server,” “solution,” “paradigm,” “backward compatible,” and the “STUN protocol.”



Plastic Surgery Loans Best Way To Make Yourself Beautiful}

Plastic Surgery Loans – Best Way to Make Yourself Beautiful

by

Jack Russale

Personality is very significant these days. You have to sustain a good look to create a good personality. Plastic surgery is a highly developed and trendy method of getting a good look. You can effortlessly get it done and get a completely changed personality. As these surgeries are very famous these days the cost is also a bit high for them. But if you are thinking about the funds for this then you should apply for plastic surgery loans. These loans are particularly planned to help people get a new look without any tension. The simple thing is you can take out money for your plastic surgery. The lenders have planned these loans according to the needs for the plastic surgery.

Before going for these loans you must know the actual cost or should I say exact cost of whole treatment. You should consult a consultant about this so that he/she can give you clear picture about the whole process and the total cost. Lenders do ask sometimes about this. You can avail plastic surgery loans if you are a UK citizen and your age is 18 years. You should have fixed income source with the valid bank account. Once you provide these details to your lender he allows the loan immediately.

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These loans are secured and unsecured both. Secured form of loans are very well option for home owners. They can use their property to pledge and can avail the large amount of money. Borrowers can avail the loan upto 75000 for the time period 5 to 25 years. Your collateral value decides the loan amount. But if you can not pledge the collateral or do not want to then you can go for unsecured form of loans. The amount is less in comparison of secured form of loans but enough for your usage. You can avail the loan amount in the range of 1000 to 25000 for the time period of 6 months to 10 years.

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}



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NZ man stabbed in the face with a 15-centimetre knife

Friday, July 7, 2006

A 36-year-old man, who is yet to be named, is undergoing surgery after an attacker lodged a knife through one cheek and out the other. The handle broke off, leaving the 15-cm (about 6 inches) blade inside him. The man was rushed to hospital today, July 7, at about 2 a.m. NZST. The attack occurred last night after a domestic row in Albany on Auckland‘s North Shore.

New Zealand Police report that the knife just missed his optic nerve and his condition is stable and not life threatening.

John Chaplin, head and neck surgeon said, “the man could be treated relatively simply. The major blood vessels of the head were further back in the neck and the knife could be relatively easily removed in an operating theatre where bleeding could be controlled.”

The police have issued an arrest warrant for Vance Paraki Tuheke, 31-year-old, in relation to the attack.

The victim may suffer from some facial numbness.