FUTURE FACTS - FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT--
- Facebook and Twitter accounts, among other social media platforms, are now seen as property by companies and by bankruptcy judges.
- Eye drops could dissolve cataracts.
- Underwater tourism is the next frontier in the travel industry.
- There are a billion Earth-like planets in “our” galaxy, roughly speaking. Not a million. A billion.
by John L. Petersen
Introduction to a New Reality
Berkeley Springs Transition Talks is pleased to host one of the global pioneers who is redefining the underlying science related to agriculture, pharma, health, longevity and consciousness, Dr. Todd Ovokaitys. In addition to fathering extraordinary breakthroughs in the above areas, he is also a regular member of the Kryon team and travels internationally to major Kryon events with Lee Carroll, who has come to Berkeley Springs on three occasions.
Come and be part of a day-long intensive experience that will help you build a new platform for making sense of the unprecedented shift that is taking place around us and shaping the emergence of a new world. You’ll be taken, step-by-step, through some of the most exciting research being done on the planet today – and learn how this profound new knowledge can help you live a better, healthier life now . . . and live longer as well.
A new, multidimensional science is emerging that understands energy – in many forms – as being the building blocks for everything we experience. The process of shaping that energy, whether with light or sound, can have profound implications on how you feel, the state of your health, how long you live . . . and how the world around you responds.
This seven-hour experience will walk you out to the edge of where a new world is converging – and allow you to experience amazing new breakthroughs that will define how the new human and the new world will operate. This introduction (with experiential examples) will demonstrate how it will be possible to collectively co-create and step into a new world.
You’ll learn from the explanations and experience the innovations of the quantum information laser, biological decoding and the power of harmonic tones.
Dr. Todd is a leading proponent of using specialized lasers, which he co-developed, for improving agricultural yields and nutrient density to feed the world with better food and increasing health and physical well-being. The results are profound and immediately call into question traditional concepts that have been the core of our understanding of how biology works.
Dr. Todd Ovokaitys has recently been granted US patent for the repair of damaged heart tissue. This laser treated nutrient formulation regenerates active myocardial tissue and can reverse the injury of a heart attack in as little as 30 days.
Another recent US patent is for the creation of a high energy form of Aspirin. No other lab on earth has produced a stable form of Aspirin with such high free energy. The practical implication of this discovery is that much smaller doses of Aspirin will give faster relief with fewer or no side effects.
He and his colleague Scott Strachan have also applied their technology platform to cholesterol lowering drugs. With a granted US patent and global patents pending, they have created high free energy forms of all the major statin drugs. They have also created two new forms of Zetia, the compound that inhibits absorption of cholesterol. The patent covers 20 new chemical entities that are either high free energy (or other novel) forms of these compounds, either alone or in combination with each other, or within a matrix of high free energy aspirin. Currently only available through their lab, the high free energy aspirin can exceed statin solubility by over 100-fold. The statin-aspirin and statin-aspirin-Zetia combinations are expected to allow lower doses and more effective and desirable clinical action. When combined with a suitable regimen of Coenzyme Q10, the side effects of the statins will be predictably mitigated and the therapeutic benefits enhanced.
Another body of the work is the relief of the HIV epidemic in Africa. For the past several years, his research group has been providing health enhancing laser activated formulas for programs in South and East Africa. These protocols include exotic rainforest botanicals that strengthen the immune system for wide variety of viral, tubercular and parasitic pathogens. Immune recovery and improved quality of life have been significant.
The fundamental driver of these discoveries and developments is the Qi Laser Technology created in collaboration with Scott Strachan. This converts an ordinary laser to a string of impulses that are as rapid as sub-femtosecond. A femtosecond is millionth of a nanosecond, and a nanosecond is a billionth of a second.
As molecules rotate and vibrate at speeds on the order of 10 femtoseconds, the Qi Laser reaches rates that can match and entrain the highest molecular vibration states. Qi Laser Technology thus allows targeted resonance of single bonds or groups of bonds to change the shape, structure, and function of molecules in ways that have not been previously possible. The potential for applications in health, wellness, and materials science are very broad.
A particularly great area of interest is in rejuvenation technologies. Active areas of research include telomere biology, DNA methylation, and stem cell applications which are the present leading candidates for profound biological regeneration. Results already verify methods that can markedly reverse biomarkers of aging; users of these protocols can look, feel, and function more youthfully within a few months of applications.
Eleven distinct formulations have been subjected to controlled clinical trials, all of which have shown multiple statistically significant benefits in the treated persons. Benefits have ranged from general health to enhanced structure and function of specific bodily systems. Two of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals thus far, one of which has been the subject matter of a granted US patent, and several others are candidates for publication.
Another developmental area is the use of complex sonic patterns to reduce stress and produce enhanced states of awareness. Studies of presenting these patterns to plants have shown beneficial effects on plant biology, growth, and productivity that are comparable to playing Mozart.
Dr. Todd received his MD degree from Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Specialty training in Internal Medicine was completed at Georgetown University Hospital. He continued with an appointment in the Georgetown system as a Chief Medical Resident, overseeing educational and training programs in this role. Subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical care Medicine was subsequently completed at Georgetown University Hospital. At present he is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Louisiana State University.
Introduction to a New Reality|
Todd Ovokaitys, MD
Saturday, September 12th. 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Ice House Theatre
Mercer and Independence Streets, Berkeley Springs, WV
Suggested Donation $75
Killing, Killing and Killing
Three ways to think about how humans dispatch animals
John L. Petersen
The slaying of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe and the international outcry that has followed, presents a salient opportunity to consider the way humans kill animals. Although many decry all killing as inhumane, nevertheless most humans end the lives of animals for food, fun or fortune.
I’m not a hunter nor do I like the idea of killing much of anything. That said, the millions if not billions of animals that are industrially raised and killed every year for food are part of a mindset that can be argued to be both sustainable and beneficial. Although often lacking in spirit, this approach values the animals and very efficiently utilizes all of their parts.
Hunting as sport – or fun – is found almost everywhere in the developed world. Where I live in West Virginia, everything shuts down around Thanksgiving as most males head for the woods to find a buck. But most of my neighbors don’t sit in trees for hours in the frigid cold in order just to stuff a head for their wall – they eat the meat. In fact many poorer families collect protein for the rest of the year during deer and turkey season, so there’s a fuzzy line here between food and fun.
Regardless of how else you think of it, killing for food and fun is essentially sustainable. Few, if any, species are approaching extinction because of sport and subsistence hunting.
The elephant in the room - so to speak - is the hunting of wild animals for fortune or money.
Just hunting in order to kill an animal as a trophy or for personal accomplishment can clearly subject one to criticism, as the outcry over Cecil has shown. But that overlooks the fact that some of the most effective conservation organizations in the world are hunting groups, and all governments have rules that govern the numbers of animals can be taken.
But in the U.S., we know what happens when wild animal exploitation is driven only by market forces.
Between 1868 and 1881 an estimated 31 million buffalo were killed on the American prairie. Hunters killed buffalo just for the hides and left the rest of the animal to rot.
Hides were sold for about $2.00 to $3.50 each and during the winter of 1872-73 more than 1.5 million buffalo hides were sent to markets in the East. By the end of 1885 only 500 buffalo were left on the whole continent.
This American story is germane because the exact same thing is happening today in Africa with the killing of elephants and rhino. At least 40,000 elephants were killed last year and the year before -- by poachers. All will be dead at that rate within a decade. The same is true with rhino. They will be extinct.
Individual rhino horns are worth upwards of $600,000 in Vietnam and a pair of elephant tusks can bring $150,000 to carvers in China. And the US is the second largest market for elicit ivory in the world.
For a growing number of people on this planet the thought of a world without these giant beasts is unthinkable – they are an iconic part of the human experience from the beginning of time. Moreover, losing them all just because there is a market for them calls out for an alternative. The invisible hand of capitalism needs to be restrained.
It is good to cheer the decisions of Delta, American, Air Canada and United airlines to no longer transport animal trophies from sport killing, but there is a far greater issue that we all should be focused on -- poaching.
Unlike with the buffalo, there are many people around the world concerned about the demise of elephants and rhino. The Internet and high technology are coming together to rapidly expand awareness of the problem . . . and present breakthrough initiatives to staunch the slaughter. There is a potential light at the end of this tunnel.
One example is the Air Shepherd program of the Lindbergh Foundation, which is bringing together different companies and institutions in a new strategic initiative to counter poaching with the use of hi-tech drones that can see the poachers at night. So far it’s working.
Social Media Breaks New Legal Ground – (Albuquerque Journal – July 6, 2015)
A Texas man used social media to promote his gun store, posting politically charged messages that criticized the president and promoted Second Amendment rights. But after losing ownership of his suburban Houston store in bankruptcy, Jeremy Alcede spent nearly seven weeks in jail for refusing a federal judge’s order to share with the new owner the passwords of the business’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which the judge had declared property. Alcede’s ultimately failed stand charts new territory in awarding property in bankruptcy proceedings and points to the growing importance of social media accounts as business assets. Legal experts say it also provides a lesson for all business owners who are active on social media. Bankruptcy Judge Jeff Bohm, who handled Alcede’s case, acknowledged “the landscape of social media is yet mostly uncharted in bankruptcy,” and cited a 2011 New York bankruptcy court case that treated such accounts like subscriber lists, which “provide valuable access to customers and potential customers.” Villanova University School of Law professor Michael Risch said Facebook and Twitter accounts, among other social media platforms, are now seen as property by companies. “I suspect that’s what the judge was looking at, is this primarily an asset being used for business advertising to get customers to talk about what is going on with the company,” said Risch, who specializes in Internet law.
A Black Hole That Defies Human Understanding of Space – (NWR – July 12, 2015)
A discovery that runs counter to most observations about black holes, has questioned a law of physics. Astronomers have spotted a super-sized black hole in the early universe that grew much faster than its host galaxy. In most cases, black holes and their host galaxies expand at the same rate. This particular black hole formed in the early universe, roughly two billion years after the Big Bang. Most galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have a black hole at their center, holding millions to billions of solar masses. Not only does the new study challenge previous notions about the way host galaxies grow in relation to black holes, it also challenges earlier suggestions that the radiation emitted by expanding black holes curtails the creation of stars. An international research group made the discovery during a project to map the growth of supermassive black holes across cosmic time. Megan Urry, Yale’s Israel Munson Professor of Astrophysics and co-author of a study about the phenomenon in the journal Science, said, “Our survey was designed to observe the average objects, not the exotic ones. This project specifically targeted moderate black holes that inhabit typical galaxies today. It was quite a shock to see such a ginormous black hole in such a deep field.” See also: 5 Things to Know about Newly-discovered 'Monster' Black Holes.
Carnivorous Plants Communicate with Bats – (New Discovery – July 9, 2015)
A large, meat-eating pitcher plant in Borneo has evolved a unique way to communicate with bats that it hopes to attract. The plant, Nepenthes hemsleyana, communicates via special structures that reflect the bats’ ultrasonic calls right back to the flying mammals, according to a study published in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology. “With these structures, the plants are able to acoustically stand out from their environments so that bats can easily find them,” said co-author Michael Schöner of Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald in Germany. Schöner, senior author Gerald Kerth, and their colleagues determined that the bats poop in and around the plants, keeping the latter well fertilized with their droppings. Once the bats find the plants, they settle in towards the top — away from the plant’s deadly digestive liquids — and enjoy a cool place to roost. The seemingly clever plants get something out of the deal too. The study answers a longstanding question about these particular plants: Why don’t they feast on many insects versus what other pitcher plants do? As it turns out, they don’t have to, given all of the nutrient-rich bat poop nearby. The study further adds to the growing body of research showing that plants can solve complex problems without having a brain.
Four-legged Snake Fossil Stuns Scientists—and Ignites Controversy – (Science Mag – July 23, 2015)
Scientists have described what they say is the first known fossil of a four-legged snake. The limbs of the 120-or-so-million-year-old, 20-centimeter-long creature are remarkably well preserved and end with five slender digits that appear to have been functional. Thought to have come from Brazil, the fossil would be one of the earliest snakes found, suggesting that the group evolved from terrestrial precursors in Gondwana, the southern remnant of the supercontinent Pangaea. But although the creature’s overall body plan—and indeed, many of its individual anatomical features—is snakelike, some researchers aren’t so sure that it is a part of the snake family tree. Besides the tiny limbs, the specimen sports a skull the size of a human fingernail, 160 spinal vertebrae, and 112 vertebrae in the tail.
Eye Drops Could Dissolve Cataracts – (Science Mag – July 22, 2015)
Cataracts cloud the eyes of tens of millions of people around the world and nearly 17.2% of Americans over the age of 40. Currently, the only treatment is surgery—lasers or scalpels cut away the molecular grout that builds in the eye as cataracts develop, and surgeons sometimes replace the lens. But now, a team of scientists and ophthalmologists has tested a solution in dogs that may be able to dissolve the cataract right out of the eye’s lens. And the solution is itself a solution: a steroid-based eye drop. Though scientists don’t fully understand how cataracts form, they do know that the “fog” often seen by patients is a glob of broken proteins, stuck together in a malfunctioning clump. Scientists have been hunting for years for mutations in crystallin proteins that might offer new insights and pave the way to an alternate therapy. Now, it looks like a team led by University of California (UC), San Diego, molecular biologist Ling Zhao may have done just that. Her team came up with the eye drop idea after finding that children with a genetically inherited form of cataracts shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, an important steroid in the body. So the researchers wondered: What if lanosterol helped prevent or reduce cataracts? A test group of seven dogs responded just as the researchers hoped to the lanosterol solution, which was given in the form of both eye injections and eye drops. The dogs’ lenses showed the same type of dissolving pattern as the human and rabbit lens cells. The improvement was remarkable—researchers could tell just by looking at the dogs’ eyes that the cataracts had decreased. But the exact mechanism of how lanosterol manages to disperse the mass of proteins remains unknown.
What If Everything We Know About Treating Depression Is Wrong? – (Raw Story – June 6, 2015)
A study is challenging the relationship between depression and an imbalance of serotonin levels in the brain, and brings into doubt how depression has been treated in the U.S. over the past 20 years. Researchers at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit have bred mice who cannot produce serotonin in their brains, which should theoretically make them chronically depressed. But researchers instead found that the mice showed no signs of depression, but instead acted aggressively and exhibited compulsive personality traits. This study backs recent research indicating that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, may not be effective in lifting people out of depression. These commonly used antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro, are taken by some 10% of the U.S. population and nearly 25% of women between 40 and 60 years of age. More than 350 million people suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization, and it is the leading cause of disability across the globe. The study was published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. Donald Kuhn, the lead author of the study, set out to find what role, if any, serotonin played in depression. To do this, Kuhn and his associates bred mice who lacked the ability to produce serotonin in their brains, and ran a battery of behavioral tests on them. In addition to being compulsive and extremely aggressive, the mice who could not produce serotonin showed no signs of depression-like symptoms. The researchers also found, to their surprise, that under stressful conditions, the serotonin-deficient mice behaved normally.
The Brain’s Got Rhythm – (Kurzweil AI – July 28, 2015)
Like a jazz combo, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another for a fraction of a second and harmonize, then go back to improvising, according to new research led by UC Berkeley. These findings could pave the way for more targeted treatments for people with brain disorders marked by fast, slow, or chaotic brain waves (neural oscillations) — such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and autism, which are characterized in part by offbeat brain rhythms. “The human brain has 86 billion or so neurons all trying to talk to each other in this incredibly messy, noisy and electrochemical soup,” said study lead author Bradley Voytek. “Our results help explain the mechanism for how brain networks quickly come together and break apart as needed.” They found that as the mental exercises became more demanding, theta waves at 4–8 Hertz (cycles per second) synchronized within the brain’s frontal lobe, enabling it to connect with brain sub-regions, such as the motor cortex. “In these brief moments of synchronization, quick communication occurs as the neurons between brain regions lock into these frequencies, and this measure is critical in a variety of disorders,” said Voytek, an assistant professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego who conducted the study as a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at UC Berkeley. Voytek said. “Our neural orchestra may need no conductor, just brain waves sweeping through to briefly excite neurons, like millions of fans in a stadium doing ‘The Wave.’”
Trauma May Be Woven into DNA of Native Americans – (Indian Country Day Media Network – May 28, 2015)
Scientific breakthroughs now allow researchers to see more clearly how trauma affects our bodies, minds and even our genes. The science of epigenetics, literally “above the gene,” proposes that we pass along more than DNA in our genes; it suggests that our genes can carry memories of trauma experienced by our ancestors and can influence how we react to trauma and stress. The Academy of Pediatrics reports that the way genes work in our bodies determines neuroendocrine structure and is strongly influenced by experience. Trauma experienced by earlier generations can influence the structure of our genes, making them more likely to “switch on” negative responses to stress and trauma. Folks in Indian country wonder what took science so long to catch up with traditional Native knowledge. “Native healers, medicine people and elders have always known this and it is common knowledge in Native oral traditions,” according to LeManuel “Lee” Bitsoi, Navajo, PhD Research Associate in Genetics at Harvard University. According to Bitsoi, epigenetics is beginning to uncover scientific proof that intergenerational trauma is real. Historical trauma, therefore, can be seen as a contributing cause in the development of illnesses such as PTSD, depression and type 2 diabetes. What exactly is historical or intergenerational trauma? Michelle M. Sotero, an instructor in Health Care Administration and Policy at the University of Nevada, offers a three-fold definition. In the initial phase, the dominant culture perpetrates mass trauma on a population in the form of colonialism, slavery, war or genocide. In the second phase the affected population shows physical and psychological symptoms in response to the trauma. In the final phase, the initial population passes these responses to trauma to subsequent generations, who in turn display similar symptoms.
An Anti-inflammatory ‘Smart Drug’ That Activates Only in High-inflammation Areas – (Kurzweil AI – July 28, 2015)
Ben-Gurion University in Israel and University of Colorado researchers have developed a dynamic anti-inflammatory “smart” drug that can target specific sites in the body and could enhance the body’s natural ability to fight infection while reducing side effects. This protein molecule has an exceptional property: when injected, it’s non-active. But upon reaching a local site with excessive inflammation, it becomes activated. Most other anti-inflammatory agents have broad effects in the body. Using a non-specific agent means any patient who suffers from local inflammation could be exposed to opportunistic infections at distant sites, such as lungs, which could risk tuberculosis, for example. This is especially a concern for immunosuppressed patients, as well as older patients and patients undergoing chemotherapy as part of an anti-cancer treatment course. “The beauty of this invention lies in the use of a known natural biological code,” Rider explains. “We mimicked a natural process that occurs during inflammation.” Article includes biochemical description of how it works.
Arctic Sea Ice Volume Showed Strong Recovery in 2013 – (Guardian – July 20, 2015)
Ice in the Arctic staged a surprise revival in 2013, bucking the long-term trend of decline, according to the first analysis of the entire ice cap’s volume. The revival was the result of cooler temperatures that year and suggests that, if global warming was curbed, the Arctic might recover more rapidly than previously thought. The shrinking Arctic ice cap is one of the best known impacts of climate change. The indication that it could be reversible is rare good news for a region where climate change has driven up temperatures far faster than the global average. The extent of Arctic ice has shrunk by 40% since the late 1970s, when satellite measurements began. But getting comprehensive data on the thickness of the ice, rather than just its area, was difficult until the European Space Agency launched the Cryosat satellite in 2010. The satellite’s 88 million measurements, analyzed in Nature Geoscience, show that from 2010-12 the Arctic ice volume fell by 14%, in step with the warming trend of the last few decades. But in 2013, the ice volume jumped up by 41%. “It’s fair to say that none of us were really expecting that,” said Rachel Tilling, at University College London and who led the study. But she dismissed the idea of a wider recovery of the ice cap, saying that climate change is still driving average temperatures up, despite significant variation from one year to the next. The research is significant as it shows the Arctic ice cap may be more resilient than expected. In 2014, the melting trend continued with a fall of 6% in volume compared to 2013. The latest data on the extent of Arctic ice, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, shows that the cap in June was the third smallest recorded by satellite measurements.
More Evidence Of Climate Data Tampering By NOAA? – (Daily Caller – March 9, 2015)
On the other hand, articles have been appearing steadily for years that the global warming data is consistently being “cooked”, “fudged”, and otherwise “tweaked” by NOAA and NASA. “When Dr. Roy Spencer looked up summer temperature data for the U.S. Corn Belt, it showed no warming trend for over a century. But that was before temperatures were “adjusted” by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientists. Now the same data shows a significant warming trend. Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said that the National Climatic Data Center made large adjustments to past summer temperatures for the U.S. Corn Belt, lowering past temperatures to make them cooler. Adjusting past temperatures downward creates a significant warming trend in the data that didn’t exist before. “I was updating a U.S. Corn Belt summer temperature and precipitation dataset from the NCDC website, and all of a sudden the no-warming-trend-since-1900 turned into a significant warming trend,” Spencer wrote on his blog, adding that NCDC’s “adjustments” made the warming trend for the region increase from just 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per century to 0.6 degrees per century. NCDC temperature data downloaded by Spencer in March 2014 looked quite different from data he downloaded this month. That’s because NCDC constantly adjusts its data to correct for errors, but critics have said these adjustments seem to always increase the warming trend for the U.S. or globally.” Steven Goddard in his blog “Real Science” notes that there is $29 billion (largely in research funding) per year being distributed by the government to perpetuate this massive fraud – so it continues.
NBC Dares Mention Climate in Spread of Lyme Disease, But Not Who Created Lyme Disease (Washingtons Blog – July 16, 2015 )
Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports usually avoid the topic of human global destruction. However, another topic is clearly still off limits: the topic of who created Lyme disease. Who created it is not in any real doubt. The facts have been well reported and never refuted. That NBC News knows the information is easily shown. In 2005 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book titled Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ Laboratory. He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on MSNBC and on NBC’s Today Show (where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection). Lab 257 hit the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list soon after its publication. Less than 2 miles off the east end of Long Island sits Plum Island, where the U.S. government makes biological weapons, including weapons consisting of diseased insects that can be dropped from airplanes on a (presumably foreign) population. One such insect is the deer tick, pursued as a germ weapon by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Americans. Deer swim to Plum Island. Birds fly to Plum Island. The island lies in the middle of the Atlantic migration route for numerous species. “Ticks,” Carroll writes, “find baby chicks irresistible.” In July of 1975 a brand new disease appeared in Old Lyme, Connecticut, just north of Plum Island. It wasn’t a disease that gradually grew and finally attracted attention. It was 12 cases of a disease that, as far as anyone knows, had never been seen before. Scientists’ efforts to find it in the past haven’t gotten any further than the 1940s in the areas right around Plum Island.
Forget Banks - GMOs Are the New "Too Big to Fail” System – (New York Times – July 26, 2015)
Authors Mark Spitznagel and Nassim Taleb (of “black swan” fame) note: Before the crisis that started in 2007, both of us believed that the financial system was fragile and unsustainable, contrary to the near ubiquitous analyses at the time. Now, there is something vastly riskier facing us, with risks that entail the survival of the global ecosystem — not the financial system. This time, the fight is against the current promotion of genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s. Our critics held that the financial system was improved thanks to the unwavering progress of science and technology, which had blessed finance with more sophisticated economic insight. But the “tail risks,” or the effect from rare but monstrously consequential events, we held, had been increasing, owing to increasing complexity and globalization. Five major fallacies were used in the arguments against us at the time. In 2007, the financial system nearly collapsed, but it was only money. We now find ourselves facing nearly the same five fallacies for our caution against the growth in popularity of G.M.O.s. For example, there has been a tendency to label anyone who dislikes G.M.O.s as anti-science — and put them in the anti-antibiotics, antivaccine, even Luddite category. There is, of course, nothing scientific about the comparison. Nor is the scholastic invocation of a “consensus” a valid scientific argument. Interestingly, there are similarities between arguments that are pro-G.M.O. and snake oil, the latter having relied on a cosmetic definition of science. What is most worrisome, is that the risk of G.M.O.s are more severe than those of finance. They can lead to complex chains of unpredictable changes in the ecosystem, while the methods of risk management with G.M.O.s — unlike finance, where some effort was made — are not even primitive. The G.M.O. experiment, carried out in real time and with our entire food and ecological system as its laboratory, is perhaps the greatest case of human hubris ever. It creates yet another systemic, “too big to fail” enterprise — but one for which no bailouts will be possible when it fails. See also: Genetically modified 'jellyfish lamb' accidentally hits French dinner plates.
3D Xpoint memory: Faster-than-flash Storage Unveiled – (BBC News – July 28, 2015)
A new kind of memory technology is going into production, which is up to 1,000 times faster than the Nand flash storage used in memory cards and computers' solid state drives (SSDs). The innovation is called 3D XPoint, and is the invention of Intel and Micron. If all goes to plan, the first products to feature 3D XPoint (pronounced cross-point) will go on sale next year. Its price has yet to be announced. Intel is marketing it as the first new class of "mainstream memory" since 1989. 3D XPoint retains data when the power is switched off - one of its key advantages over RAM (random access memory), which remains faster. Rather than pitch it as a replacement for either flash storage or RAM, the company suggests it will be used alongside them to hold certain data "closer" to a processor so that it can be accessed more quickly than before. This would be particularly applicable for so-called "big data" tasks. For example, efforts to sequence and analyze our genes/DNA hold the potential for new and personalized medical treatments. Faster storage would also help cloud services better handle big files. And it would also prove a boon to video game-makers.
Facebook Says Drone Ready for Real-world Testing Later This Year – (Reuters – July 31, 2015)
Facebook Inc. has completed building its first full-scale drone, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 (138 feet) and will provide Internet access to the most remote parts of the world. The company said it will test it in the United States later this year. The plane will weigh about 880 pounds, said Yael Maguire, the company's engineering director of connectivity. It will hover between 60,000 feet and 90,000 feet (20 and 30 km), above the altitude of commercial airplanes, so that it is not affected by problematic weather. The drone, which was built in 14 months, is able to fly in the air for 90 days at a time, Maguire said. Helium balloons will be attached to the plane and float it up into the air. Because the planes must constantly move to stay aloft, they will circle a two-mile radius. During the day, they will float up to 90,000 feet (30 km) and at night will drift down to 60,000 feet (20 km) to conserve energy. The drones are part of a program called Aquila, which is geared toward the 10% of the population that does not have any Internet access, executives said.
Detroit Shipping Container Model Homes Nearing Completion – (MLive – July 11, 2015)
It took just a little over six hours to build, that's a big perk, Leslie Horn, one of the minds responsible for building the city's first shipping container building. Horn, CEO of Three Squared Construction, and her brother, Patric, said the three-floor, 2,800-square-foot building is 70% complete. Before cutting the ribbon to open the almost-complete structure for tours, Leslie said "I think we're going to change people's minds today." When the project was first announced seven years ago, people thought the Horns were crazy, she said, but now that the Trumbull Avenue building is standing and sturdy in North Corktown, the company is ready to prove to people that the shipping container homes are a viable residential solution. "(We're) creating new history in Detroit," she said. The North Corktown building is essentially two homes, which for the time being will serve as model units. The lower unit is a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath 1,800-square-foot apartment with a full kitchen and balcony. The upper unit, according to Patric, is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom 1,000-square-foot apartment with a balcony. The North Corktown complex features a rear entry for both apartments. The two units will serve as a starting point for the company's next two projects called Rosa Parks Squared in Woodbridge and Kaline Squared in Corktown. the units will sell from between $150,000 for the smallest, 640-square-foot unit to $350,000 for the largest, 1,800-square-foot units.
Chinese Company Assembles 3D-printed Villa in Less than 3 Hours – (Inhabitat – July 25, 2015)
Made up of six 3D-printed modules, the house was assembled like LEGO bricks before a live audience who were then invited to explore the interior. The company completed approximately 90% of the construction in an off-site factory before shipping the modular pieces to the installation site. This efficient and timesaving process dramatically reduces construction costs to just $400 – $480 per square meter. According to An Yongliang, the developing engineer at Zhuoda, the 3D-printed villa only takes about 10 days to produce from initial construction to final assembly, while it typically takes half a year to build a traditional villa. The house is capable of withstanding high-magnitude earthquakes because the modules, each weighing over 100 kilograms per square meter, bear weight independently. The steel-framed structure home can also be filled with heat-insulating materials. The Zhuoda Group has filed over 22 patents on their technology and is keeping their top-secret material under wraps. However, the company’s vice president Tan BuYong has revealed that the new material is sourced from industrial and agricultural waste, is fireproof and waterproof, and is free from harmful substances such as formaldehyde, ammonia, and radon. After the structural framework was 3D-printed, the company applied decorative sheet textures to each module before final assembly. Homeowners will be able to choose from a variety of decorative textures, such as jade, marble, wood, and granite. Herbs can even be embedded into the walls of the house for ‘built-in aromatherapy.’ The buildings can withstand wear for at least 150 years.
Cone Shaped Spinning Solar Cells Generate 20 Times More Electricity Than Flat Photovoltaics – (Off Grid World - Jun 25, 2015)
A radical new solar cell design employs a conical shaped collection of photovoltaic cells arranged in an angular array. The array is designed to be the most efficient way to capture the sun’s energy . The conical shape is conducive to collecting maximum sunlight from any angle at any time of year. And it apparently works 20 times better than traditional flat panel solar photovoltaics. The Spin Cell™ is constructed of a conical shaped outer lens concentrator that provides efficient light concentration at a consistent focal width and focal range. Due to the conical shape, the Spin Cell™ captures the optimum amount of sunlight during daylight hours eliminating the need for solar tracking and increasing electricity output. The lens concentrators are made up of a series of interlocking rings that connect to each other. The bubble lenses produce substantial concentration of available light, which effectively sweep over the moving PV. Extreme heat normally associated with light concentration onto static PV material is avoided by the PV cycling in and out of the concentrated bands of light through the Dynamic Spin™. The revolutions per minute are precisely timed and automatically adjusted to take in enough sunlight to sustain photovoltaic segment light saturation at peak threshold, and reduce the heat of the PV by rotating it in and out of direct sunlight.
Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It – (Wired – July 21, 2015)
I was driving 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.
Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. I spun the control knob left and hit the power button, to no avail. Then the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass. As I tried to cope with all this, a picture of the two hackers performing these stunts appeared on the car’s digital display: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, wearing their trademark track suits. The Jeep’s strange behavior wasn’t entirely unexpected. I’d come to St. Louis to be Miller and Valasek’s digital crash-test dummy, a willing subject on whom they could test the car-hacking research they’d been doing over the past year. The result of their work was a hacking technique—what the security industry calls a zero-day exploit—that can target Jeep Cherokees and give the attacker wireless control, via the Internet, to any of thousands of vehicles. Their code is an automaker’s nightmare: software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country. All of this is possible only because Chrysler, like practically all carmakers, is doing its best to turn the modern automobile into a smartphone. Uconnect, an Internet-connected computer feature in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler cars, SUVs, and trucks, controls the vehicle’s entertainment and navigation, enables phone calls, and even offers a Wi-Fi hot spot. And thanks to one vulnerable element, which Miller and Valasek won’t identify until their Black Hat talk, Uconnect’s cellular connection also lets anyone who knows the car’s IP address gain access from anywhere in the country.
GMO Soy Accumulates Formaldehyde & Disrupts Plant Metabolism, Suggests Peer-Reviewed Study – (PR Newswire – July 14, 2015)
A new study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural Sciences reveals genetic engineering of soy disrupts the plant's natural ability to control stress, and invalidates the FDA's current regulatory framework of "substantial equivalence" used for approval of genetically engineered food (GMOs). The study, led by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., an MIT-trained systems biologist, utilizes his latest invention, CytoSolve, to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments, from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries, to discover the accumulation of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, in GMO soy, indicating that formaldehyde and glutathione are likely critical criteria for distinguishing the GMO from its non-GMO counterpart. Dr. Ayyadurai stated, "The results demand immediate testing along with rigorous scientific standards to assure such testing is objective and replicable. It's unbelievable such standards for testing do not already exist. The safety of our food supply demands that science deliver such modern scientific standards for approval of GMOs." Dr. Ray Seidler, a former EPA Senior Scientist, stated, “The discovery reported by Dr. Ayyadurai reveals a new molecular paradigm associated with genetic engineering that will require research to discover why, and how much formaldehyde and glutathione concentration, and what other cellular chemicals relevant to human and animal health, are altered. We need the kinds of standards Dr. Ayyadurai demands to conduct such research." Formaldehyde is a known class1 carcinogen. Soy is widely grown and consumed in the U.S., including by infants fed baby food products, with 94% of soy grown here being genetically engineered," declared Seidler. See also: El Salvador Kicks Monsanto & Their Seeds Out Of Country.
SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
All the Ways Hackers Will Try to Kill You – (Hopes and Fears – July 14, 2015)
Whereas the cost to develop viruses like Stuxnet had previously been estimated at around $100m, in recent years that cost has plummeted to just $10,000. The Botnet known as GameOver Zeus was estimated by the FBI to have caused losses of up to $100m or more. A single organized group of Chinese hackers was estimated to have targeted industries as diverse and central as transport, financial services, navigation, food and agriculture, satellites, scientific research, construction aerospace and mining. “Robbing one person at a time using a knife or gun doesn’t scale well. But now, one person can rob millions at the click of a button,” says Marc Goodman of the Future Crimes Institute. It is estimated that roughly 20% of North Korea's military budget goes to cyber warfare. Recently, even hacking firms are themselves subject to being hacked, rendering the valuable viruses they’ve concocted, sometimes for sale to repressive governments, effectively worthless. Ryan Dewhurst, of Dewhurst Security, urges us not to be afraid of hackers using their technical prowess to imminently endanger human life: “I think the most damage an electronic attack ('cyber attack') can cause today is financial and political. Just recently, Hacking Team, a company who sold viruses to repressive governments, police agencies and intelligence agencies for the purpose of spying on their own people were severely hacked. The very viruses they sold have now been released online for anyone to study, meaning the very core of their business, their intellectual property is now mostly worthless. Not only that, their internal files show who they have sold their malicious software to, who is using it and for what purposes; a political minefield. This article takes a look at 13 ways hackers will potentially kill you in the future. But please don't panic.
Push for Privacy Standards for Facial Recognition Falters – (Associated Press – June 16, 2015)
Retailers have the ability to scan your face digitally, and use that identification to offer you special prices or even recognize you as a prior shoplifter. But should they use it? Should they get your permission first? Privacy advocates have walked away from a government-run effort with industry intended to answer these questions. The idea behind the negotiations was to hash out voluntary protocols for facial recognition technology in a way that doesn't hurt consumers. The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, was acting as mediator. The two sides had been meeting for 16 months, including last week, until the nine major privacy groups said they had hit a dead end and that "people deserve more protection than they are likely to get in this forum." "At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they've never heard of are tracking their every movement — and identifying them by name — using facial recognition technology," the groups said. "Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain agreement even with that basic, specific premise." The debate on facial recognition is only likely to grow bigger in coming years as it becomes more ubiquitous. Facebook, for example, has long used facial recognition technology on its site, and just announced a new companion mobile app called "Moments" that scans a phone's camera roll to ease photo sharing. Microsoft says it is building facial-recognition and fingerprint-identification technology into Windows 10, the new computer operating system coming this summer. The biggest concern, however, among privacy groups is use of the technology by retailers, including casinos, to target and profile people. One company, FaceFirst, announced last year that its system is capable of processing more than 1 million facial matches per second per server, making it ideal for these customers. So long as a company has an existing photo of "persons of interest," from shoplifters to "your best customers," retail staff can be sent an email or text alerting them of that person's arrival.
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
The Latest Snowden Leak Is Devastating to NSA Defenders – (Atlantic – July 7, 2015)
The National Security Agency's defenders would have us believe that Snowden is a thief and a criminal at best, and perhaps a traitorous Russian spy. In their telling, the NSA carries out its mission lawfully, honorably, and without unduly compromising the privacy of innocents. For that reason, they regard Snowden's actions as a wrongheaded slur campaign premised on lies and exaggerations. But their narrative now contradicts itself. A recent article in the Washington Post drawing on Snowden's leaked cache of documents includes files "described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained" that "tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless." The article goes on to describe how exactly the privacy of these innocents was violated. The NSA collected "medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque. Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam ..." Have you ever emailed a photograph of your child in the bathtub, or yourself flexing for the camera or modeling lingerie? If so, it could be your photo in the Washington Post newsroom right now, where it may or may not be secure going forward. In one case, a woman whose private communications were collected by the NSA found herself contacted by a reporter who'd read her correspondence.
The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System- (WashingtonsBlog – July 22, 2015)
Chronic injustice has turned the American dream into a nightmare. At every step along the way, whether it’s encounters with the police, dealings with prosecutors, hearings in court before judges and juries, or jail terms in one of the nation’s many prisons, the system is riddled with corruption, abuse and an appalling disregard for the rights of the citizenry. Due process rights afforded to a person accused of a crime—the right to remain silent, the right to be informed of the charges against you, the right to representation by counsel, the right to a fair trial, the right to a speedy trial, the right to prove your innocence with witnesses and evidence, the right to a reasonable bail, the right to not languish in jail before being tried, the right to confront your accusers, etc.—mean nothing when the government is allowed to sidestep those safeguards against abuse whenever convenient. It’s telling that while President Obama said all the right things about the broken state of our criminal justice system—that we jail too many Americans for nonviolent crimes (we make up 5 percent of the world’s population, but our prison population constitutes nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners), that we spend more money on incarceration than any other nation ($80 billion a year), that we sentence people for longer jail terms than their crimes merit, that our criminal justice system is far from color-blind, that the nation’s school-to-prison pipeline is contributing to overcrowded jails, and that we need to focus on rehabilitation of criminals rather than retribution—he failed to own up to the government’s major role in contributing to this injustice in America.
There's No Real Fight Against Drugs – (Atlantic – July, 2015)
Recently, Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficker, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, escaped again from one of that country’s maximum-security prisons. This article discussed El Chapo’s escape with an ex-cartel operative, a Mexican intelligence official, and an American counternarcotics agent. No one in this deeply sourced group was surprised. Nor were they particularly interested in the logistical details of the escape, although they clearly didn’t believe the version they’d heard from the Mexican government. They were convinced it was all a deal cut at some link in the system’s chain. What surprised the article’s author were the men’s theories on why anyone in the Mexican government would have been interested in such a deal. Perhaps, Chapo had possessed information that could have incriminated senior Mexican officials in the drug trade and, rather than try him, they had agreed to turn a blind eye to his escape? The heads around the table shook back and forth. Chapo, they believed, had been thrown back into the drug world to—wait for it—restore order. Things have gotten that crazy.
LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES
Underwater Tourism – (Business Insider – June 25, 2015)
Two-thirds of our world is made up of water, which is why travel operators are starting to integrate underwater attractions into travel. It's the next frontier in the travel industry, as the area underneath our oceans has largely yet to be explored. There is already an array of underwater restaurants, resorts, tours, and transportation available around the world today — and that's bound to grow even more in the future. Here are some of the most interesting innovations in underwater tourism. One of the biggest underwater tour operators is Atlantis Adventures, which hosts Submarine Cruises where tourists can explore the waters of destinations like Hawaii, Barbados, Aruba, and Catalina Island through recreational submarines that dive through sea life. But besides submarine tours, there's a new market for privatized submarine experiences. British travel company Oliver's Travels created a specially adapted submarine in St. Lucia known as Lovers Deep, an underwater vessel where couples can spend the night in a private accommodation. The submarine, which is already available for use, is staffed by a crew of three, a captain, chef, and butler, and can be taken to locations chosen by the customer. At £175,000 per night ($274,694), each interior of the private submarine room is set to be designed and manufactured to your specifications and includes a two-person bathroom and double bedroom with ocean views. Speedboat transfers come with the package, but you can also request helicopter transfer with a beach landing through the company's Concierge Service.
How US Students Get a University Degree for Free in Germany – (BBC News – June 3, 2015)
While the cost of college education in the US has reached record highs, Germany has abandoned tuition fees altogether for German and international students alike. An increasing number of Americans are taking advantage and saving tens of thousands of dollars to get their degrees. More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion. Each semester, one student featured in the article pays a fee of $120 to the Technical University of Munich (TUM), one of the most highly regarded universities in Europe, to get his degree in physics. Included in that fee is a public transportation ticket that enables the student to travel freely around Munich. Health insurance for students in Germany is $87/month. To cover rent, mandatory health insurance and other expenses, the total cost is between $6,000-7,000 each year. In Germany, tuition fees of €500-1000 were briefly instituted last decade, but Lower Saxony became the last state to phase them out again in 2014. Students pay a fee to the university each semester to support the student union and other activities. This so called 'semester fee' rarely exceeds €150 and in many cases includes public transportation tickets. In 1999, European Union members signed the Bologna Accords, which called for uniform university degrees, and established a Bachelor/Master system across Europe. With hundreds of thousands of students from Portugal to Sweden freely travelling abroad, studying and getting degrees in other countries, English became the common language. German universities have drastically increased all-English classes to more than 1,150 programs across many fields. Of 170,000 students in the capital city of Berlin, more than 25,000 are from outside Germany. That's $364.3 million that Berlin spends a year on foreign students. Why is that a good investment for German taxpayers? The article answers that question. See also: This Is What Happens When You Slash Funding for Public Universities.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
NASA Estimates 1 Billion 'Earths' in Our Galaxy Alone – (Washington Post – July 24, 2015)
There are a billion Earth-like planets in this galaxy, roughly speaking. Not a million. A billion. We're talking 1 billion rocky planets that are approximately the size of the Earth and are orbiting familiar-looking yellow-sunshine stars in the orbital “habitable . The main purpose of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope was to do a census of a small patch of sky to get an estimate of the abundance of planets. That’s been a huge success: We now know our galaxy is lousy with planets. They’re everywhere. And they come in all sizes. Kepler has discovered a bunch of new planets, including one, Kepler 452b, that scientists described as the most Earth-like planet ever found outside our solar system. It’s something like 60% bigger in radius than the Earth (the exact size is hard to measure because it’s 1,400 light years away and cannot be directly imaged). But it’s probably rocky, and it's in the habitable zone of its parent star, which is like our own sun, a G-type “yellow dwarf” star. The parent star is 6 billion years old, roughly. See also: What You Need to Know about Kepler 452b, the most earth-like planet yet.
Astronomer’s Ashes Nearing Icy World He Discovered: Pluto – (Washington Post – July 12, 2015)
Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes will pass within 7,800 miles of the icy world he discovered 85 years ago. His ashes are flying on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on humanity’s first journey to Pluto. New Horizons also is carrying a 1991 U.S. postage stamp that’s about to become obsolete — it trumpets “Pluto Not Yet Explored” — as well as two state quarters, one representing Florida, home of the launch site, and the other Maryland, headquarters for the spacecraft developers and flight control. In all, nine small mementos are tucked aboard New Horizons. There’s a good reason there are nine. When New Horizons rocketed away from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 19, 2006, Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system. It was demoted to dwarf planet a scant seven months later. An ounce of the ashes of the farm boy-turned-astronomer are in a 2-inch aluminum capsule inscribed with these words: “Interned herein are remains of American Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto and the solar system’s ‘third zone.’ Adelle and Muron’s boy, Patricia’s husband, Annette and Alden’s father, astronomer, teacher, punster, and friend: Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997)”
A Global Middle Class Is More Promise Than Reality – (CNBC – July 9, 2015)
A growing emerging market "middle class" across Africa, Asia and Latin America driving demand for consumer goods such as cars, cell phones and travel is "more promise than reality," according to a report on poverty. Washington D.C.-based Pew Research Center found that nearly 700 million people emerged from poverty between 2001 and 2011— but most only barely, continuing to live a "low-income existence." In 2011, just over half (56%) of the world's population lived a "low-income existence," defined by Pew as a daily income between $2 and $10. Only 13% were defined as "middle income," with an income of between $10 and $20 per day, up from 7% in 2001. Furthermore, the growth in this population was concentrated in China, South America and Eastern Europe, while the middle class barely expanded in India, Southeast Asia, Africa or Central America.
How Much a Hundred Dollars Is Worth in Georgia – (AJC News – July 10, 2015)
The Bureau of Economic Analysis measures the cost of goods in each state, and recently published its data for prices in 2013. Using this data, the Tax Foundation adjusted the value of $100 to show how much it buys you in each state, compared to the national average. The article provides a map of the U.S. with each state’s relative purchasing power.
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
Super-elastic Conducting Fibers for Artificial Muscles, Sensors, Capacitors – (KurzweilAI – July 24, 2015)
An international research team based at The University of Texas at Dallas has made electrically conducting fibers that can be reversibly stretched to more than 14 times their initial length. The research team is using the new fibers to make artificial muscles, as well as capacitors with energy storage capacity that increases about tenfold when the fibers are stretched. Fibers and cables derived from the invention might one day be used as interconnects for super-elastic electronic circuits, robots and exoskeletons having great reach, morphing aircraft, giant-range strain sensors, failure-free pacemaker leads, and super-stretchy charger cords for electronic devices. The scientists describe how they constructed the fibers by wrapping lighter-than-air, electrically conductive sheets of tiny carbon nanotubes to form a jelly-roll-like sheath around a long rubber core. The new fibers differ from conventional materials in several ways. For example, when conventional fibers are stretched, the resulting increase in length and decrease in cross-sectional area restricts the flow of electrons through the material. But even a “giant” stretch of the new conducting sheath-core fibers causes little change in their electrical resistance, said Dr. Ray Baughman, senior author of the paper.
The Hunt for the Financial Industry's Most-Wanted Hacker – (Bloomberg – June 18, 2015)
This is a fascinating article which focuses on the malware known as ZeuS and its rogue creator who has been at the cutting edge of cyber-crime for nearly a decade – and remains at large. With repeated enhancements, the ZeuS malware and its offspring have become the juggernauts of cyber bank robbery—turning millions of computers into global networks of zombie machines enslaved by criminals. Conservative estimates of their haul reach well into hundreds of millions of dollars.
A World without Work – (Atlantic – July, 2015)
In the past few years, even as the United States has pulled itself partway out of the jobs hole created by the Great Recession, some economists and technologists have warned that the economy is near a tipping point. When they peer deeply into labor-market data, they see troubling signs, masked for now by a cyclical recovery. And when they look up from their spreadsheets, they see automation high and low—robots in the operating room and behind the fast-food counter. They imagine self-driving cars snaking through the streets and Amazon drones dotting the sky, replacing millions of drivers, warehouse stockers, and retail workers. They observe that the capabilities of machines—already formidable—continue to expand exponentially, while our own remain the same. And they wonder: Is any job truly safe? Futurists and science-fiction writers have at times looked forward to machines’ workplace takeover with a kind of giddy excitement, imagining the banishment of drudgery and its replacement by expansive leisure and almost limitless personal freedom. And make no mistake: if the capabilities of computers continue to multiply while the price of computing continues to decline, that will mean a great many of life’s necessities and luxuries will become ever cheaper, and it will mean great wealth—at least when aggregated up to the level of the national economy. But even leaving aside questions of how to distribute that wealth, the widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen. If John Russo is right, then saving work is more important than saving any particular job. Industriousness has served as America’s unofficial religion since its founding. The sanctity and preeminence of work lie at the heart of the country’s politics, economics, and social interactions. What might happen if work goes away? This article delves into this question and poses some possible answers. Some people displaced from the formal workforce will devote their freedom to simple leisure; some will seek to build productive communities outside the workplace; and others will fight, passionately and in many cases fruitlessly, to reclaim their productivity by piecing together jobs in an informal economy. These are futures of consumption, communal creativity, and contingency. In any combination, it is almost certain that the country would have to embrace a radical new role for government.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH - articles off the beaten track which may - or may not - have predictive value.
A Different Perspective on Immigration, Legal and Otherwise – (Facebook – no date)
It’s just one image – and well worth the proverbial 1,000 words.
A FINAL QUOTE--
I'm looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done. – Henry Ford
A special thanks to: Thomas Bergin, Bernard Calil, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Gary Sycalik, Steve Ujvarosy and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past. If you see something we should know about, do send it along - thanks. firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by John L. Petersen