Volume 18, Number 14 - 8/31/15 Twitter  Facebook  JLP Blog  

FUTURE FACTS - FROM THINK LINKS

DID YOU KNOW THAT--
  • There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google—perhaps even without its leaders’ knowledge—could shape or even decide the election next year.

  • Matter and antimatter appear to be perfect mirror images of each other, scientists have discovered with unprecedented precision, foiling hope (for now) of solving the mystery as to why there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe.

  • Scientists from the Netherlands have found a fungus that may be able to replace plastic in many applications.

  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee researchers recently found evidence of 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the water and 30 in the lake’s sediment. Fourteen of these were measured at concentrations considered to be of medium or high risk to the ecosystem, based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers.


PUNCTUATIONS
by John L. Petersen

What If It Really Isn’t Magic?

Las Vegas headliner, Alain Nu – “The Man Who Knows” – is bringing his mind bending combination of magical illusion and extraordinary metaphysical abilities to the Berkeley Springs Ice House on the 17th of October. His highly entertaining and most provocative show intermingles feats of mind reading and spoon bending with other baffling demonstrations that defy explanation.


Nu, who has performed internationally before crowds at casinos, business conventions, exclusive private parties and educational groups believes that there are natural – although largely undeveloped – capabilities that all humans have that appear to be magic to most of us but really aren’t. Using scientific explanations gleaned from researchers like Rupert Sheldrake and Larry Dossey he demonstrates – in a highly entertaining way – a string of capabilities that seem impossible, leaving you knowing that some weren’t “magic” after all – but still wondering how he did it.

I met Alain recently at a scientific conference where, in the matter of 30 minutes he had a room full of PhD’s and academics who had never done so before bending spoons and forks. Then, after catching his act at a sold-out theatre in Baltimore, it was clear that we needed to have him come and demonstrate his skills at a Transition Talk, where folks would particularly appreciate his unique mixture of the seemingly sacred and profane.


Alain has been wowing common folks and luminaries alike (like Richard Branson shown above) for years.

A recent Huffington Post article (MAGIC: What if it was real?) featuring his work and unique perspectives said:

In (his) view stage magic has lost its way placing emphasis on trickery and hosting a general disbelief in the arcane milieu from which they were spawned.

In his performances Alain Nu employs techniques that blur the lines between science and unexplained phenomena and often leaves the audience confounded thus stretching their belief systems. Here Alain demonstrated amazing tricks that caused metal spoons to appear to bend in his hand.

Alain's new book, Picture your ESP!: Reveal Your Hidden Powers With "The Nu ESP Test" conveys the essence of his premise.


In this Transition Talks presentation Alain will give you the chance to prove that almost anyone can do things that seem magical.

This will be a fun, provocative and memorable event for all ages, so bring along the kids. And bring a spoon or fork. Alain will hold a bending session after his performance and teach you the principles of psychokinesis.

Alain Nu “The Man Who Knows”
October 17, 2:00 PM
Ice House Theatre, Mercer & Independence Streets
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Register: www.TransitionTalks.org


Unlimited, Unknown Funding

I don’t know if you remember when Don Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, said at a press conference that the Department of Defense couldn’t account for something like $2.2 trillion dollars – in any case, it was a very big number. A reasonable person could wonder, in response to that: “Where did they get all of that money”, and “How could you lose so much of it?” Well, something very problematic is afoot in the US Defense Department and we’ve gathered up a number of articles that begin to illuminate how out of control the US defense establishment really is.

US 'fails to account' for Iraq reconstruction billions

A US federal watchdog has criticized the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defense is unable to account properly for 96% of the money.

Out of just over $9bn (£5.8bn), $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says.

The US military said the funds were not necessarily missing, but that spending records might have been archived.

In a response attached to the report, it said attempting to account for the money might require "significant archival retrieval efforts".

Read more . . .

Why the Pentagon's accounting fixes end up broken
December 23, 2013, CNBC/Reuters


www.cnbc.com/id/101293095
www.reuters.com/investigates/pentagon/#article/part3

The Defense Department has launched 20 or more projects to build modern business-management systems since the late 1990s. At least five were subsequently killed as complete failures after billions of dollars were spent on them. With each failure, a pattern emerges: An off-the-shelf product with a proven track record in the private sector is chosen and then modified to the point where it doesn't work properly. The Pentagon is unable to account for itself, and thus for roughly half of all congressionally approved annual federal spending. Interviews with scores of current and former defense officials, contractors and Pentagon watchers, as well as a review of dozens of reports by oversight agencies, show that the Pentagon is continually thwarted by a lack of accountability for failures ... and an incentive to spend.

All other federal agencies are audited annually ... and with rare exceptions, they pass every year. The Pentagon alone has never been audited, leaving roughly $8.5 trillion in taxpayer dollars unaccounted for since 1996. The Pentagon has for years kept lousy books with impunity. The 2009 law requiring the Defense Department to be audit-ready by 2017 provides for no penalties if it misses the deadline. From 1995 through 2002, Senator Charles Grassley pushed through an amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill requiring the Pentagon to account for its expenditures by following one seemingly simple procedure: match each payment to the expense it covered. The order was ignored, and Grassley gave up. There is no doubt that bad bookkeeping conceals movements of money that in some instances are illegal. But because the Pentagon has never been audited, it is impossible to determine the frequency or extent of violations.

Note: This article sadly fails to state the obvious: Many military officers illegally rake in tons of money with false contracts which benefit those officers and contracting companies. They obviously don't want their accounts to be properly audited. For a revealing essay by a top U.S. general exposing major war manipulations, click here.

Behind the Pentagon's doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste
November 18, 2013, CNBC/Reuters

www.cnbc.com/id/101206230

Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense's accounts. Woodford and her fellow [accountants] set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy's books with the U.S. Treasury's. And every month ... numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to ... enter false numbers, commonly called "plugs," to make the Navy's totals match the Treasury's.

Fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure. Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information. Plugs also are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon's chronic failure to keep track of its money–how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen. The Defense Department's 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China. How much of that money is spent as intended is impossible to determine. The Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors. [It] also has systematically ignored warnings about its accounting practices. The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 ... has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year. A single [military accounting] office in Columbus, Ohio, made at least $1.59 trillion - yes, trillion - in errors, including $538 billion in plugs. Read more. . .

Note: For more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The Air Force’s $25 Billion Bomber Blunder
August 25, 2015, Time Magazine


No one knows what the Air Force’s top-secret new bomber will look like. But the service keeps saying it knows how much it’s going to cost. That’s what makes the Air Force’s $25 billion price tag error so disconcerting. The problem began last year, when the service told Congress the yet-to-be-built Long-Range Strike Bomber would cost $33.1 billion between 2015 and 2025. It recently updated the estimate (from 2016 to 2026) to $58.4 billion - a hike of $25.3 billion, or 76%. But, the Air Force acknowledged last week, the latest cost estimate to develop and buy the aircraft over the coming decade is pegged at $41.7 billion. The pair of multi-billion-dollar snafus - $9 billion too low last year, $17 billion too high this year - is head-spinning. It leads to a simple question: is anyone minding the store? So what happened? “It occurred in part because of human error,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. “And in part because of process error, meaning a couple of our people got the figures wrong and the process of coordination was not fully carried out in this case.” Those who erred have been “counseled,” James said. “The key thing is there has been no change in those cost figures.” In other words, that recent $41.7 billion estimate is rock solid, at least for now.

Read more . . .

Note: Can "human error" also explain the $8.5 trillion that disappeared from the Pentagon since 1996 and much more?



You are invited to attend:

Paola Harris: Back to the Future: The Space Brother Movement of the 50’s and 60’s
Sunday, October 11, 2015 from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM



Researcher Paola Harris will give us a geopolitical view of the Space Brother movement of the 1950’s & 60’s, reviewing cases from the U.S., Italy and Latin America. She will also discuss predictions about the evolution of human consciousness made by the space visitors. She will cover the mass ET contacts led by George Van Tassel and Howard Menger in 1954, with a focus on the visit of Commander Val Thor, the “Stranger in the Pentagon”, along with encounters in Peru with a being called Van Giu. Also, she will update us on some recent important UFO cases from Latin America. Paola Leopizzi Harris is an Italian-American photojournalist and investigative reporter in the field of extraterrestrial-related phenomena. She is also a widely published free-lance writer, especially in Europe. She has studied ET-related phenomena since 1979, and knows many of the leading researchers in the field. From 1980-1986, she assisted Dr. J. Allen Hyneck with his UFO investigations. She has interviewed many top military witnesses concerning their involvement in the government truth embargo. In 1997, Ms. Harris met and interviewed Col. Philip Corso in Roswell, New Mexico and became his personal friend and confidante. She was instrumental in having his book, The Day After Roswell, for which she wrote the preface, translated into Italian. In the summer of 2003, she returned to Roswell for the American debut of her newly revised book, Connecting the Dots: Making Sense of the UFO Phenomenon. She has since written four additional books, all historical interviews with important whistleblowers. Paola lives in Boulder, Colorado but travels often to Rome and Latin America. She has a master’s degree in Education. She teaches history and photojournalism and on-line classes in Exopolitics for Dr. Michael Salla’s Exopolitics Institute. She is an International Liaison Director for the Institute. http://starworksusa.com/ and http://www.paolaharris.com/ FAQs What are my transport/parking options getting to the event? Unity of Fairfax has FREE parking in their parking lot. Directions are available here: http://www.unityoffairfax.org/directions Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please phone or text Rebecca Hardcastle Wright at 301-915-4660 or email at rhardcastlewright@gmail.com and please put Paola Harris in the subject heading. Thank you. Is my registration/ticket transferrable? If wish to transfer your ticket, you can do so by giving a signed copy of your Eventbrite Pre-registration signed to the person you wish to transfer your ticket. Please have the person bring the signed Eventbrite Pre-registration to the event as proof of purchase. Thank you. Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? Yes, your Eventbrite ticket is proof of purchase. Please bring to the event. Thank you.







THINK LINKS



INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election – (Politico – August, 2015)
Research the author has been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections—indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs—than any company in history has ever had. Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more—up to 80% in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments conducted recently. Given that many elections are won by small margins, this gives Google the power, right now, to flip upwards of 25% of the national elections worldwide. In the United States, half of our presidential elections have been won by margins under 7.6%, and the 2012 election was won by a margin of only 3.9%—well within Google’s control. There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google—perhaps even without its leaders’ knowledge—could shape or even decide the election next year (described in the article in detail). Whether or not Google executives see it this way, the employees who constantly adjust the search giant’s algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day. The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking—including, it turns out, our voting preferences. (Editor’s note: We very highly recommend this article.)



NEW REALITIES

Mystery Deepens: Matter and Antimatter Are Mirror Images – (Live Science – August 12, 2015)
Matter and antimatter appear to be perfect mirror images of each other, scientists have discovered with unprecedented precision, foiling hope of solving the mystery as to why there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe. Everyday matter is made up of protons, neutrons or electrons. These particles have counterparts known as antiparticles — antiprotons, antineutrons and positrons, respectively — that have the same mass but the opposite electric charge. (Although neutrons and antineutrons are both neutrally charged, they are each made of particles known as quarks that possess fractional electrical charges, and the charges of these quarks are equal and opposite to one another in neutrons and antineutrons.) The known universe is composed of everyday matter. The profound mystery is, why the universe is not made up of equal parts antimatter, since the Big Bang that is thought to have created the universe 13.7 billion years ago produced equal amounts of both. And if matter and antimatter appear to be mirror images of each other in every respect save their electrical charge, there might not be much any of either type of matter left — matter and antimatter annihilate when they encounter each other. Theoretical physicists suspect that the extraordinary contrast between the amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe, technically known as baryon asymmetry, may be due to some difference between the properties of matter and antimatter, formally known as a charge-parity, or CP symmetry violation. However, all the known effects that lead to violations of CP symmetry fail to explain the vast preponderance of matter over antimatter.

Top 10 Reasons We Should NOT Fear the Singularity [Infographic] – (Singularity Weblog – August 18, 2015)
The singularity is a radical change of arguably cosmic proportions which is by definition impossible to model, let alone predict. Thus, there is no surprise it evokes very deep insecurity and primal fear. But what better way to get motivated in creating the best possible future than to list the 10 most inspiring and allegedly impossible reasons we should not fear but embrace the singularity? On the other hand, there are also some reasons to be quite concerned. See Top 10 Reasons We Should Fear The Singularity.



GENETICS/HEALTH TECHNOLOGY/BIOTECHNOLOGY

Seek, Locate, Destroy - Nanotech Cleans Up Blood Clots – (Digital Journal – August 8, 2015)
A concern following a heart attack or stroke is the presence of blood clots. Clots can lead to constrictions of arteries and exacerbate the stroke or heart issue or they can lead to an occurrence. Currently, dealing with the risk of clots requires a specialist surgical unit. The problems here are that critical clots can occur during the time it takes to transport someone to a hospital and the fact that some people cannot be operated on due to the risk of internal bleeding. To overcome these problems, scientists working at the Baker IDI Heart and the University of Melbourne have developed a nanotech solution: polymer capsules able to be used by paramedics in the location where someone who has suffered from a heart attack or stroke has been found. No specialist equipment is needed to deliver the treatment. The new technology is composed of a nanoparticle packed with a clot destroying compound. The outer shell of the nanoparticle is equipped with an antibody that is designed to target activated platelets (the cells that form blood clots.)" The capsule in effect takes over the natural blood clotting mechanism of the body and unravels the blood clot. (Editor’s note: The article is very brief and contains few details; however here is the original research study.)

First Almost Fully-formed Human Brain Grown in Lab – (Guardian – August 18, 2015)
An almost fully-formed human brain has been grown in a lab for the first time, claim scientists from Ohio State University. The team behind the feat hope the brain could transform our understanding of neurological disease. Though not conscious the miniature brain, which resembles that of a five-week-old fetus, could potentially be useful for scientists who want to study the progression of developmental diseases. It could also be used to test drugs for conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, since the regions they affect are in place during an early stage of brain development. The brain, which is about the size of a pencil eraser, is engineered from adult human skin cells and is the most complete human brain model yet developed. Anand and his colleagues claim to have reproduced 99% of the brain’s diverse cell types and genes. They say their brain also contains a spinal cord, signaling circuitry and even a retina. The ethical concerns were non-existent, said Anand. “We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way.” Anand claims to have created the brain by converting adult skin cells into pluripotent cells: stem cells that can be programmed to become any tissue in the body. These were then grown in a specialized environment that persuaded the stem cells to grow into all the different components of the brain and central nervous system. According to Anand, it takes about 12 weeks to create a brain that resembles the maturity of a five-week-old fetus. To go further would require a network of blood vessels that the team cannot yet produce. “We’d need an artificial heart to help the brain grow further in development,” said Anand.

“Brainy” Mice Raise Hope of Better Treatments for Cognitive Disorders – (Univ. of Leeds – August 13, 2015)
Researchers have created unusually intelligent mice by altering a single gene and as a result the mice were also less likely to feel anxiety or recall fear. It sheds light on the molecular underpinnings of learning and memory and could form the basis for research into new treatments for age-related cognitive decline, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, and other conditions. The researchers altered a gene in mice to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), which is present in many organs of the vertebrate body, including the brain. In behavioral tests, the PDE4B-inhibited mice showed enhanced cognitive abilities. However, the PDE4B-inhibited mice also showed less recall of a fearful event after several days than ordinary mice. The findings are limited to mice and have not been tested in humans, but PDE4B is present in humans. The diminished memory of fear among mice with inhibited PDE4B could be of interest to researchers looking for treatments for pathological fear, typified by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The PDE4B-inhibited mice also showed less anxiety. They spent more time in open, brightly-lit spaces than ordinary mice, which preferred dark, enclosed spaces. Ordinary mice are naturally fearful of cats, but the PDE4B-inhibited mice showed a decreased fear response to cat urine, suggesting that one effect of inhibiting PDE4B could be an increase in risk-taking behavior. So, while the PDE4B-inhibited mice excelled at solving complex exercises, their low levels of anxiety could be counterproductive for a wild mouse. For more details, see the Ohio State University press release.

New Drug Protects Against the Deadly Effects of Nuclear Radiation 24 Hours after Exposure – (Medical Express – August 21, 2015)
An interdisciplinary research team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston reports a new breakthrough in countering the deadly effects of radiation exposure. A single injection of a regenerative peptide was shown to significantly increase survival in mice when given 24 hours after nuclear radiation exposure. Lead author Carla Kantara, postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry and molecular biology, said that a single injection of the investigative peptide drug TP508 given 24 hours after a potentially-lethal exposure to radiation appears to significantly increase survival and delay mortality in mice by counteracting damage to the gastrointestinal system. The threat of a nuclear incident, with the potential to kill or injure thousands of people, has raised global awareness about the need for medical countermeasures that can prevent radiation-induced bodily damage and keep people alive, even if given a day or more after contact with nuclear radiation. Exposure to high doses of radiation triggers a number of potentially lethal effects. Among the most severe of these effects is the gastrointestinal, or GI, toxicity syndrome that is caused by radiation-induced destruction of the intestinal lining. This type of GI damage decreases the ability of the body to absorb water and causes electrolyte imbalances, bacterial infection, intestinal leakage, sepsis and death. The peptide drug TP508 was developed for use in stimulating repair of skin, bone and muscle tissues. It has previously been shown to begin tissue repair by stimulating proper blood flow, reducing inflammation and reducing cell death. In human clinical trials, the drug has been reported to increase healing of diabetic foot ulcers and wrist fractures with no drug-related adverse events.

No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day – (New York Times – August 24, 2015)
If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day. It’s just not true. There is no science behind it. And yet every summer we are inundated with news media reports warning that dehydration is dangerous and also ubiquitous. These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions. Many people believe that the source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters of water a day. But they ignored the sentence that followed closely behind. It read, “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” Water is present in fruits and vegetables. It’s in juice, it’s in beer, it’s even in tea and coffee. Before anyone writes me to tell me that coffee is going to dehydrate you, research shows that’s not true either.


ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES/CLIMATE

Drugging the Environment – (The Scientist Magazine – August 1, 2015)
Rebecca Klaper and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee recently measured concentrations of pharmaceuticals in Lake Michigan, where researchers had speculated that any drugs that were present would be highly dilute and not detectable. On the contrary, Klaper’s team found evidence of 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the water and 30 in the Lake Michigan’s sediment. Fourteen of these were measured at concentrations considered to be of medium or high risk to the ecosystem, based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers. Metformin topped the list, at concentrations of concern even 3 kilometers off the shores of Milwaukee. (Metformin treats diabetes. Humans do not metabolize the drug, so within 24 hours of being swallowed, metformin is excreted from the body essentially unchanged. The U.S. alone dispensed 76.9 million metformin prescriptions in 2014.) Ecologists have long recognized that pharmaceuticals are polluting the environment, but researchers have traditionally focused on just two classes: antibiotics and endocrine-disrupting compounds such as the birth control hormone estradiol. Antibiotics in the environment promote antibiotic resistance in a range of bacterial species, and endocrine disruptors are known to affect development and reproduction in animals. Metformin was not thought to have either of those effects on animals. But in lab experiments conducted earlier this year, a German team discovered that male minnows exposed to metformin at concentrations comparable to those of wastewater treatment plants produce proteins typically found only in female fish, develop feminized gonads, weigh less, and have fewer offspring. The antidiabetic is now one of a growing list of drugs that researchers are realizing pose major ecological problems. Sewage treatment plants remove some pharmaceuticals from water during basic filtering processes, but many pass through unhindered. Metformin, for example, is stable against common water treatments such as UV light irradiation. And at this point, it is prohibitively expensive to add technologies that can filter out these chemicals. From sewage plants and landfills, drugs make their way into streams, rivers, lakes, seawater, and even into drinking water. Currently, however, the EPA does not regulate even a single human pharmaceutical in drinking water. An EPA list of pollutants that may make water unsafe, but are not regulated, includes eight hormones and one antibiotic. Metformin is not on the list.

Air Pollution Kills over 4,000 Every Day in China – (Times of India – August 15, 2015)
Outdoor air pollution contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people in China every year, or about 4,400 people a day, according to a newly released scientific paper. The paper maps the geographic sources of China's toxic air and concludes that much of the smog that routinely shrouds Beijing comes from emissions in a distant industrial zone, a finding that may complicate the government's efforts to clean up the capital city's air in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The authors are members of Berkeley Earth, a research organization based in Berkeley, California. According to the data in the paper, about three-eighths of the Chinese population breathe air that would be rated "unhealthy" by United States standards. The most dangerous of the pollutants studied were fine airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can find their way deep into human lungs, be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause a host of health problems, including asthma, strokes, lung cancer and heart attacks. The researchers analyzed four months' worth of hourly readings taken at 1,500 ground stations in mainland China, Taiwan and other places in the region. Greenpeace found in April that, of 360 cities in China, more than 90% failed to meet national air quality standards in the first three months of 2015. The Berkeley Earth paper's findings present data saying that air pollution contributes to roughly 17% of all deaths in the nation each year. The authors calculate that the annual toll is 95% likely to fall between 700,000 and 2.2 million deaths, and their estimate of 1.6 million a year is the midpoint of that range.

Do You Believe in Climate Change? – (Ice Age Now – August 20, 2015)
That’s what a colleague from former times asked recently. You had to choose between YES or NO. Only some 20 of the 150+ former colleagues he so canvassed bothered to answer.  He might have just as well asked “Do you have a mother?”—Silly questions deserve no answer. Planet Earth’s history of “climate change” (CC) is about 4,500,000,000 years in the making. Why would anyone think that it stopped yesterday, last year, last decade, last century, or even a millennium ago? Do you think the rate or direction of natural CC has changed because the dinosaurs died out many million years ago? Or do you believe it was because humans arrived en masse on the scene a few thousand years ago? This article looks at some real drivers of climate change: continental drift, earthquakes and volcanoes.



COMMUNICATIONS/COMPUTING

Fog of Cyberwar: How Nations Really Attack Each Other Online – (New Scientist – July 5, 2015)
This is the age of world web wars, with nation states engaged in an arms race of cyber weapons. But the game is more shadowy than warmongers make out. When the attacks came in late April 2007, they were silent and sudden. Government websites disappeared. National newspapers and banks dropped offline. Name servers – the address books of the internet – stopped responding. A few days earlier, the Estonian government had removed a Soviet-era war memorial from the capital Tallinn. In response, Estonia was cut off from the internet. Never before had the digital infrastructure of a country been targeted so broadly by retaliatory cyberattacks. The incident became known as Web War 1. Cyberspace sounds bright and futuristic, but the truth is it's decidedly murky. Getting a clear picture of what's going on is tricky. What is certain, though, is that cyberattacks happen all the time. Last year, security outfit Norse made public a real-time map of attacks on its "honeypot" computers – bogus targets designed to pick up attacks leveled at a range of real systems. They show thousands of attempts every day. "The Sony hack was a huge hack," says Robert Graham at Errata Security. "We've never really seen that before, that sort of maliciousness." We are likely to see it again, though, and the costs of such attacks are growing (see chart, below). Graham chose to set up his own test, but scanning the internet for vulnerable devices has never been so easy. An online tool called Shodan, which operates like a search engine but for computers rather than websites, lets anyone find out which systems are open to attack. "There is just an immense amount of stuff that people don't know they're leaving open on the internet," says Graham. What security professionals see scares them. "If I wanted to crash planes in the air, I could do that," says Stuart McClure. It's a remark that would sound chilling coming from most people, but coming from McClure it has an even greater resonance.


SHELTER/ARCHITECTURE

How Seattle Made Dark Alleys Safer—By Throwing Parties in Them – (Yes Magazine – August 26, 2015)
Todd Vogel is the director of the International Sustainability Institute (ISI) in Seattle. Not long after he moved into the space off the alley in 2008, it became apparent that the alley was not a great place to be. One day he found a crack pipe there. A cardboard box had been used as a makeshift toilet. Once, he saw a pool of blood and the apparent weapon, a pointy umbrella; later he learned one of the neighbors had been keeping a log of all the police reports that were made about the space. Vogel asked an architect friend what he should do. “She said the answer was simple: All I needed to do was put people in it [the alley],” said Vogel. So Vogel started with a small poetry reading. Sixty people showed up. It was the first in a series of events that included music performances, readings, cat adoptions, circus acts, and doggy costume parties. A few neighbors had liked the idea and helped orchestrate the first events. Soon, nearby business owners began to contribute as well. Windows that were previously boarded up were now open, a cinder block wall that blocked a doorway was removed, and neighbors put in planters and contributed to the upkeep. The alley slowly began to change from a place where crime happened to a place pedestrians walked through. In June, the ISI won an innovation award for the Alley Network Project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

World's First 3D-printed Office Building to Go Up Layer by Layer in Dubai – (GizMag – July 1, 2015)
Dubai is set to add the world's first 3D-printed office building to its streets. It will be printed layer by layer by a 3D printer standing 20 ft tall, with the layers to be assembled on site to produce a building covering approximately 2,000 sq ft in a process that is set to take a matter of weeks. The office building, which wouldn't look out of place in a 1970's science fiction show set in the present day, will serve as a temporary headquarters for staff of the nearby "Museum of the Future" that launched earlier this year. As such, it won't be quite as intricate as some other 3D-printed architecture, but will feature a flexible open plan to accommodate a range of uses and team sizes. It will also house a small digital fabrication facility and 3D printing exhibition space, with all interior furniture, detailing and structural components to be produced using 3D printing technology.



ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS

Rechargeable Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lifetimes Coming – (KurzweilAI – August 24, 2015)
MIT and Samsung researchers have developed a new approach to achieving long life and a 20 to 30% improvement in power density (the amount of power stored in a given space) in rechargeable batteries — using a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables. The new materials could also greatly improve safety and last through “hundreds of thousands of cycles.” The electrolyte in rechargeable batteries is typically a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging. That material has been responsible for the overheating and fires that, for example, resulted in a temporary grounding of all of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets. With a solid electrolyte, there’s no safety problem, co-author Gerbrand Ceder, MIT visiting professor of materials science and engineering says. “You could throw it against the wall, drive a nail through it — there’s nothing there to burn.” The key to making all this feasible, Ceder says, was finding solid materials that could conduct ions fast enough to be useful in a battery. The initial findings focused on a class of materials known as superionic lithium-ion conductors, which are compounds of lithium, germanium, phosphorus, and sulfur. But the principles derived from this research could lead to even more effective materials, the team says, and they could function below about minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.



TRANSPORTATION

Dematerializing Auto Manufacturing - Kevin Czinger Keynote – (YouTube – June 25, 2015)
The Netherlands could become the first country to pave its streets with plastic bottles after Rotterdam city council said it was cKevin Czinger is the founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories, Inc., a company working to revolutionize car manufacturing. Kevin began his career serving in the United States Marine Corps and then worked as a lawyer trying some of the most prominent securities fraud cases of the late 1980s. Following stints in investment banking, venture, private equity, and education, Kevin brought his passionate sense of social mission to the electric car movement. As CEO of Coda Automotive, he designed, built, and certified one of the first all-electric automobiles. Kevin’s experience at Coda flipped his thinking and taught him that how we make our cars is a much bigger environmental problem than how we fuel our cars. He founded Divergent to radically reduce the materials, energy, and cost of car manufacturing, and to put these new tools of production and innovation into the hands of small teams all around the world. See also: First 3D Printed Supercar - A New Way To Build Cars



AGRICULTURE/FOOD

'Agrihoods' Offer Suburban Living Built around Community Farms, Not Golf Courses – (Huffington Post – August 17, 2015)
 The phrase “planned community” conjures up a lot of images -- maybe a swimming pool, obsessively manicured lawns, white picket fences -- but a farm is probably not one of them. Pushing back against that stereotypical image of suburban living is a growing number of so-called “agrihoods” springing up nationwide. These developments center around a real, functional farm as their crown jewel. According to CivilEats, there are currently about 200 of them nationwide. The latest, called The Cannery, is on a site that was previously home to a tomato cannery facility located about a mile outside downtown Davis, California. The 100-acre project of the New Home Company development company is considered to be the first agrihood to take root on formerly industrial land. All of its 547 energy-efficient homes will be solar-powered and electric car-ready. The Cannery is unique for other reasons, too. The community’s 7.4-acre farm will be managed by the Center for Land-Based Learning, a nonprofit group that plans to run agricultural education programs for students and aspiring farmers from the site in addition to a commercial operation focusing on organic vegetables once they’ve raised money for farm equipment and improved the soil, CivilEats reports.

Scotland Announces Total Ban on GMO Crops – (Sustainable Pulse – August 9, 2015)
Growing genetically modified (GM) crops will not be permitted in Scotland, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced as he moved to protect Scotland’s clean, green status. The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorization. The Cabinet Secretary said: There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector. (Translation: Distillers are quite certain that nobody wants single malt GMO scotch!)



SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE

Rise of the Brain-controlled Robot Armies: Chinese Military Trains Students to Control Machines with Their Minds – (Yahoo News – August 13, 2015)
Forget joysticks and exoskeletons, the future of warfare could see robot armies controlled using just a commander's mind. China has been training students at a military academy to use headsets that detect and interpret the brain activity of the wearer, allowing them to control the machines. At a demonstration at the People's Liberation Army Information Engineering University in Zhengzhou, students used the device to send robots trundling in different directions. They were also able to turn the robot's heads and get them to pick up objects. The technology uses a brain computer interface known as a electroencephalograph, which uses electrodes embedded in a cap to detect tiny changes in the electrical activity of the brain. When the students hear different instructions, their brains give out related signals that are picked up by the headset. These brainwave signals are amplified and interpreted by a computer, which then feeds the commands to the robots. The technology could have many useful positive applications, such as improving the quality of life for victims of paralysis and helping amputees to control prosthetic limbs. However, it could also be applied to military hardware to form remotely controlled robot armies. The technology is currently only 70% accurate, according to its developers, and takes intense concentration from the headset wearer so it’s still some way off being perfected. The project is due to be completed by the end of the year. See also: A brain-computer interface for controlling an exoskeleton

Pentagon Funds Consortium Backed by Apple, Lockheed, Others, for Flexible Tech – (Dispatch Times – August 30, 2015)
A consortium of 162 companies and institutions, led by the FlexTech Alliance, will soon receive $171 million in total new funding for a new Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics. FlexTech Alliance is a leading industry association focused on growth, profitability, and success throughout the manufacturing and distribution chain of flexible, printed electronics, and displays. Firms and institutions, who are either members or back the FlexTech Alliance, include Apple, MIT, Stanford, Lockheed, Cal Poly, and Laird. The DoD is asking the FlexTech Alliance to develop an electronic system packed with sensors flexible enough to be worn. A “Flex School” concept will be developed through partnerships with community colleges, teaching and research universities, trade associations, and professional societies. “Flexible hybrid electronics have the power to unleash wearable devices to improve medical health monitoring and personal fitness; soft robotics to care for the elderly or assist wounded soldiers; and lightweight sensors embedded into the very trellises and fibers of roads, bridges, and other structures across the globe”, the statement said. Partnering universities include Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, and MIT, among many others.



TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE

The Raping of America: Mile Markers on the Road to Fascism – (Washington’s Blog – August 25, 2015)
Despite the revelations of the past several years, nothing has changed to push back against the American police state. Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—continue to be choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Burlison, any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband. Examples of minor infractions which have resulted in strip searches include: individuals arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, driving with an inoperable headlight, failing to use a turn signal, riding a bicycle without an audible bell, making an improper left turn, engaging in an antiwar demonstration (the individual searched was a nun, a Sister of Divine Providence for 50 years). Police have also carried out strip searches for passing a bad check, dog leash violations, filing a false police report, failing to produce a driver’s license after making an illegal left turn, having outstanding parking tickets, and public intoxication. A failure to pay child support can also result in a strip search. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to prevent government agents from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause (evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot). While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity.

How the Government Manipulates Your Thoughts Online – (YouTube – February 26, 2014)
Abby Martin talks about journalist Glenn Greenwald's report regarding the intelligence community's use of subversive and manipulative online tactics to destroy the reputations of businesses and individuals. See also: Government Trolls Are Using ‘Psychology-Based Influence Techniques’ On YouTube, Facebook And Twitter.

Study Ranks States by Level of Corruption. The More Corrupt the State, The More Police & Prisons – (Free Thought Project – June 9, 2015 )
As state lawmakers attempt to balance wasteful budgets, perhaps the first issue they should tackle is corruption in their own ranks. A pioneering study shows that public officials’ corruption costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year. It also shows that law enforcement and prisons get a major boost in more corrupt states. “The study demonstrates that corruption goes hand-in-hand with excessive state spending. In the 10 most corrupt states, simply reducing corruption to an average level would lower annual state spending by $1,308 per person — or 5.2 percent of state expenditures.” The South leads the pack in the most corrupt states, with Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida appearing in the top ten. Alaska (Bridge to Nowhere, anyone?) shares the spotlight. The northwest states of Oregon and Washington top the list of least corrupt states.



LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES

Nation’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic, Non-GMO Meals – (Nation of Change – August 19, 2015)
When schools in the Sausalito Marin City School District open their doors this August, they will become the first 100% organic and non-GMO school district in the country. More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy (Marin City) and Willow Creek Academy (Sausalito) in Marin County, California, will eat sustainably sourced meals this year, all prepared on-site through The Conscious Kitchen. Turning Green launched The Conscious Kitchen pilot program in August 2013 together with Cavallo Point Lodge, the Sausalito Marin City School District, Whole Foods Market and Good Earth Natural Foods. The pilot served 156 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City, California. In two years, the program saw a steep decrease in disciplinary cases, increased attendance and a greater sense of community. Now, The Conscious Kitchen is expanding to serve Willow Creek Academy, the other school in the Sausalito Marin City School District. The Conscious Kitchen rethinks school food based on five foundational terms: Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Non-GMO, or FLOSN. All food is organic and non-GMO, and more than 90% of all produce is sourced from local farmers and purveyors. See also: The New England Journal of Medicine Asks FDA to Reconsider Labeling GMO Foods.

In L.A., Now You Can Use City Land For a Free Vegetable Garden – (Fast Company – March 11, 2015)
L.A. residents can now plant gardens sandwiched in between sidewalk concrete and asphalt. Four years ago, Ron Finley was given an arrest warrant for planting carrots. Finley, who lives in South Central L.A., was tired of driving miles to find healthy food, so he'd planted a vegetable garden in the small strip of city-owned land between the sidewalk in front of his house and the street, an area he was required to maintain. The problem? The city required a $400 permit to use it as a garden, which Finley didn't pay. After some media coverage of the garden and a petition from community activists, the warrant was later revoked, and the project started to inspire more guerrilla gardening throughout the city. Now, L.A. has finally changed its policy: Under a new law, the city will allow free gardens next to sidewalks. "In some of these neighborhoods, that's the only place people have to plant," says Finley. "Between the concrete, asphalt, and chain link fences, they don't have any other places. To me, it's about making food hyperlocal. Not just local, hyperlocal." For Finley, the sidewalk gardens are also about more than food. "It's walking outside your door and being greeted by hummingbirds and dragonflies and bees, and a green, healthy ecosystem that's not in these communities—it doesn't exist," he says. "I have birds that I'd never seen in my life before coming to my garden now. And you're filtering the air. People walk by and see beautiful things, instead of just concrete." Finley's garden, which he shared in a TED talk,has inspired others to grow in vacant lots around the world, from Brazil to South Korea.  The new ordinance will go into effect next month.


CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE

Harvard-Smithsonian CfA: "Did Life Spread Like an Epidemic Across the Vast Gulf of Interstellar Space?" – (Daily Galaxy – August 30, 2015)
We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. For example, did that life arise spontaneously? Or could it have spread from elsewhere? If life crossed the vast gulf of interstellar space long ago, how would we tell? New research by Harvard astrophysicists shows that if life can travel between the stars (a process called panspermia), it would spread in a characteristic pattern that we could potentially identify. "In our theory clusters of life form, grow, and overlap like bubbles in a pot of boiling water," says lead author Henry Lin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). There are two basic ways for life to spread beyond its host star. The first would be via natural processes such as gravitational slingshotting of asteroids or comets. The second would be for intelligent life to deliberately travel outward. The paper does not deal with how panspermia occurs. It simply asks: if it does occur, could we detect it? In principle, the answer is yes. The model assumes that seeds from one living planet spread outward in all directions. If a seed reaches a habitable planet orbiting a neighboring star, it can take root. Over time, the result of this process would be a series of life-bearing oases dotting the galactic landscape."Life could spread from host star to host star in a pattern similar to the outbreak of an epidemic. In a sense, the Milky Way galaxy would become infected with pockets of life," explains CfA co-author Avi Loeb.



STATISTICS/DEMOGRAPHICS

A New Study on Mass Shootings Has Some Stunning Results – (Nation of Change – August 23, 2015)
Over the past fifty years, there have been 90 mass shootings in America. Though it has just 5% of the world’s population, almost one-third of the world’s mass shootings occurred in the United States during that time. The study was done by Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama. Titled “Mass Shooters, Firearms, and Social Strains: A Global Analysis of an Exceptionally American Problem,” it offers the first qualitative analysis of all public mass shootings worldwide between 1966 and 2012. Lankford used data from the New York City Police Department’s 2012 active shooter report, the FBI’s 2014 active shooter report, and international sources. It omitted gang-related or drive-by shootings, as well as hostage-taking incidents, robberies, and shootings in domestic settings. A public mass shooting can be defined as a shooting that killed at least four victims, according to the FBI’s definition of mass murder. Lankford examined data from 171 countries and concluded that the United States had the most public mass shooters in the world: 90. That’s five times as many as the Philippines, the next country on the list, which had 18. Of the remaining top five countries, Russia had 15, Yemen 11, and France 10. However, the average number of victims killed by each shooter was actually higher in other countries (8.81 victims) than it was in the United States (6.87 victims).

Share of Income Used to Pay Rent Reaches Highest on Record – (AllGov – August 15, 2015)
Rents have risen steadily since the housing crisis, so much so that the share of income people spent on rent reached 30.2% during the second quarter this year. That rate is the highest recorded by real estate company Zillow, which has been tracking such data since 1979. The percentage was 29.5% during the second quarter of 2014. The median rent nationwide also is up from last year, by 4.3%. From the mid-1980s to 1999, the rate was about 24.4%. Zillow reported that rent affordability got worse in 28 of the largest 35 metropolitan areas over the past year. Rents stayed about the same overall in three cities, and decreased in just four: Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York. The burden is worst in big cities. New York renters spend about 40% of their income on their homes and those in Los Angeles spend about half their income to keep a roof over their heads.



NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES

The Fungus That Could Replace Plastic – (Motherboard – August 19, 2015)
Our dependence on plastics is a major environmental issue. Plastic barely degrades, and it’s filling our landfills and oceans faster than we can get rid of it. But scientists and designers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands have come up with a viable replacement for plastic in many of its applications: a fungus. Professor and microbiologist Han Wösten explains that due to fungi’s filament-style growth, it can grow within different waste materials, simultaneously decomposing and fortifying them. For example, grown within wood pulp, the result is something like cork. Designer Eric Klarenbeek has already built sturdy furniture using this method. He uses a 3D printing filament made from potato starch, deliberately printing a porous model so the fungus can easily grow within. After it’s chock full of fungus, the model is baked in a drying oven, killing the fungus to keep it from growing. The inert, dried result can support the full weight of a person. Designer Maurizio Montalti has found that the fungus can be grown to emulate different types of plastic. There’s a more elastic, rubbery version as well as a hard, plastic-like material—both grown with the same type of fungus. So this technique could replace more than one different type of plastic. American company Ecovative is doing just that, using fungus to replace styrofoam and plastic packaging. The benefits of this system are numerous: as well as being biodegradable, it takes up less resources and energy to produce than oil-based plastics. See also: The Plan to Mop Up the World's Largest Oil Spill With Fungus.

Glassblowing 2.0: MIT Unveils a 3D Printer for Glass – (Motherboard – August 24, 2015)
The art of glassmaking dates back at least 4,500 thousand years and spans many civilizations, each of which put its own spin on the process. In a continuation of that tradition, a team of MIT researchers has now developed a sophisticated 3D printer that can produce optically transparent glass. Not only does this technique, known as G3DP, produce museum-quality artwork, it is also completely enthralling to watch (embedded video clip). There are three main components at work within the printer: a kiln cartridge, a nozzle, and a print annealer. Molten glass is created within the kiln cartridge, which is kept at temperatures of about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. This printing method operates on the same principles as fused deposition modeling (FDM), which is the most popular technique for producing 3D printed plastics. The big difference is that the temperature required to liquify glass is much higher, and so the G3DP requires a lot more hardware for containing and shaping the molten material. The new process “enables the creation of structures characterized by higher structural and environmental performance delivered through geometric complexity,” the authors write in the paper. “Currently we are observing how geometrical complexity can be leveraged for engineering gain, particularly in the aerospace industry in some cases improving performance by 40% or more.” See also: This 3D Printer Can Print 10 Materials at Once.



PROVOCATIVE IDEAS

Former Debt Collectors Decided to Ditch the Industry, Buy Up Medical Debt, and Forgive It – (Nation of Change – August 20, 2015)
RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit founded by  two former debt collectors, Jerry Ashton and Craig Antico, buys medical debt on the open market and then abolishes it, no strings attached. In the year since RIP Medical Debt started, the group has abolished just under $400,000, according to Antico. On July 4, it launched a year-long campaign to raise $177,600 in donations, which it will use to abolish $17.6 million of other people’s debt. It works like this: typical collection agencies will buy debts from private practices, hospitals, and other collection agencies that don’t find it worthwhile to pursue the debt themselves. The buyers often get a steal, buying a debt for pennies on the dollar while charging the debtor the full amount, plus additional fees. According to a 2013 report from the Federal Trade Commission, from 2006-2009 the nine biggest debt collection companies purchased about $143 billion of consumer debt for less than $6.5 billion; 17% of it was medical. Antico and Ashton are plugged into the same marketplace. They say that with the money they raise, they buy the debt for around one percent of the amount it’s worth (when debtors settle directly with collection agencies, they pay an average of 60% of the loan.) Then, they forgive it. Ashton was inspired to rethink debt by the Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoot, Strike Debt, which started the Rolling Jubilee, a program that began buying debt and abolishing it in October 2012. Medical debt contributed to almost 60% of the bankruptcies in the United States in 2013. So when Rolling Jubilee shifted its focus to student loans, Ashton and Antico decided to pick up the torch.

The Sin of Contemporaneity: Cleansing History – (CDN – June 12, 2015)
Compared to perfection, our ancestors are found wanting. Compared to other real places in the world, they were clearly ahead of their time, advancing the frontiers of freedom. It is good that the Confederate battle flag has been removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds. It properly belongs in a museum. Robert E. Lee himself would agree. After surrendering in 1865, he sought to bring the country together. He urged his fellow Confederates to furl their flags. He left instructions that the Confederate flag not be displayed at his funeral. What we are witnessing now, however, is a wholesale assault upon our history. The Founding Fathers have been targeted. It has been suggested that the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial are inappropriate, since they celebrate men who owned slaves. CNN commentator Don Lemon suggested that we “rethink” any homage to Jefferson. Even in states where slavery was outlawed at an early date, state flags are under attack, because of their depiction of Native Americans. Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham said the Massachusetts flag “is no Confederate flag, but…still pretty awful.” The Memphis City Council voted to dig up the bodies of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from their public grave. The rebel flag-clad General Lee automobile from “The Dukes of Hazard” has been removed from memorabilia shops and the show itself removed from re-runs. The Washington National Cathedral is considering breaking its own windows because they contain Confederate flag imagery which was meant to be conciliatory. It’s time for all of us to take a deep breath. Those who seek to erase our history sound a bit like the Taliban and ISIS, who are busy destroying historic structures all over the Middle East if they predate the rise of Islam. History is what it is, a mixed bag of mankind’s strengths and weaknesses, of extraordinary achievements and the most horrible deprivations.

Connecticut Proves Homelessness Is Solvable by Finding Homes for All Its Chronically Homeless Vets – (Nation of Change – August 30, 2015)
Connecticut is the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans. That means the state has found permanent housing for all veterans who have been homeless for at least one year or four times in the past three years, or has an immediate path to housing in place for them. A one-day survey in February found 18 veterans experiencing chronic homelessness in the state, just nine of whom were living without any shelter. The governor credits state investments in affordable housing for the milestone, including at least $3 million in rental subsidies and obtaining an additional 129 housing vouchers from federal agencies. Many agencies and organizations have also been working together to identify homeless veterans and secure housing for them. While veterans may experience chronic homelessness in the future, the state has reached the goal of “functional zero,” which for it means that veteran who falls into chronic homelessness can find temporary housing within 30 days and permanent housing within 60. One reason for the focus on ending veteran homelessness by the end of the year is to prove that homelessness is a solvable problem. If the country can house all of its homeless veterans, it should go a long way toward proving it can do so for all other homeless populations. Spending those resources would actually come with savings in the long run. Multiple studies have found that it saves millions to house the homeless rather than leave them outside thereby reducing emergency room visits and policing costs. See also: To slash the amount of money spent on homelessness, just give homes away.



FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH - articles off the beaten track which may - or may not - have predictive value.

Did The EPA Intentionally Poison Animas River To Secure SuperFund Money? – (Zero Hedge – August 12, 2015)
A week before The EPA disastrously leaked millions of gallons of toxic waste into The Animas River in Colorado, this letter to the editor (full text in article) was published in The Silverton Standard & The Miner local newspaper, authored by a retired geologist detailing verbatim, how EPA would foul the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money. See also this article on mine tailing ponds in Canada: Tailings Ponds are the Biggest Environmental Disaster You've Never Heard Of.



JUST FOR FUN

Clever Instagrams Splice Together Wildly Unrelated Objects – (Wired – August 13, 2015)
If Stephen McMennamy’s Instagram photos were boxing moves, they’d each be a perfect one-two punch. He constructs them from two photos of seemingly unrelated objects—like fruit loops and an old dump truck—combined to create one wildly imaginative scenario. McMennamy has since posted more than 70 “combophotos” and has many more in reserve. He’s a master at creating dreamlike, mouth-watering scenes like a fork lift spearing a giant hot dog and whimsical combinations of unlikely objects, like a fire extinguisher with the bottom of a shiny red jalapeño.

A FINAL QUOTE--

Peace Quotes – (You Tube – September 18, 2014)
September 21st is the International Day of Peace. Here, accompanied by lovely music, are five minutes of quotations on the subject of peace. For example, “Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa. Or this one: “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” – Marvin Gaye.



A special thanks to: Bernard Calil, 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. johnp@arlingtoninstitute.org




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Edited by John L. Petersen
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