FUTURE FACTS - FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT--
- The first animal to appear on Earth was very likely the simple sea sponge.
- On the horizon: wind generating blades as long as two football fields.
- The FBI was able to bypass the anonymity software Tor through a subpoena to university researchers who were running an experiment on the Tor network.
- The current federal tipped-minimum wage ($2.13/hour) is rooted in a regrettable period in this country's past: slavery.
by John L. Petersen
Extraordinary Dowser Coming to Berkeley Springs
On Saturday, March 19th, Joey Korn, one of the world’s most extraordinary dowsers, will be the featured speaker at Berkeley Springs Transition Talks. Come join us to experience how Joey demonstrates, from another perspective, tuning into the subtle messages that your body knows. It will surprise you to learn things that seem impossible to know and that you are able to change almost anything that is energetically based . . . which is everything!
In this jam-packed half-day seminar on the 19th of March, you’ll learn:
Joey will guide everyone through a blessing to balance each person’s Human Energy Pattern, and true magic will happen in the room. Joey’s work is not just about dowsing and energy; it’s about life.
For Joey, dowsing, or “divining”, is not just about finding a place to drill or dig a well or about finding anything in the physical world. It’s about detecting energy.
- How to dowse for detrimental energy fields related to underground water and energy fields that radiate from electronic appliances
- How to change these energies to be beneficial, using Joey’s Simple Blessing Process. You can even make EMFs beneficial to you!
- How to create ideal energy environments, within and around you, to help attract what you most desire into your life Joey will guide everyone through a blessing to balance each person’s Human Energy Pattern, and true magic will happen in the room. Joey’s work is not just about dowsing and energy; it’s about life.
It’s about tapping into our own God-given ability to explore the world of subtle energies that are everywhere within and around us. It’s about drawing ever closer to the Divine in our lives.
Dowsing for him has become a way to demonstrate that the blessing process works. Not only does it work, but I consider it the most powerful Force in the universe. This Force is available to everyone. But we must call. We must initiate the process to use this Force.
Join us on the 19th! Change your energies and change your life!
Saturday, March 19th, 1:00-5:00 PM
The Country Inn
110 S. Washington St. Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Suggested Donation: $35
More information and reservations are at www.transitiontalks.org
Discovery of gravitational waves?
On February 11, 2016, a team of scientists announced the "discovery" of gravitational waves, or so-called ripples in space/time. Science media have proclaimed the purported discovery a confirmation of a prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. In this Space News, physicist Wal Thornhill from the Thunderbolts Project covers the issue with a skeptical examination of the "discovery" -- a skepticism thus far startlingly absent in science media.
Thornhill’s theoretical analysis is also complemented by serious questions from the technical perspective by Dr. Hilton Ratcliffe. Here Michael Goodspeed reads a statement by astronomer Ratcliffe, which explains in comprehensible terms why this claim may be fallacious. Dr. Ratcliffe is the author of such books as "The Static Universe: Exploding the Myth of Cosmic Expansion" and "The Virtue of Heresy: Confessions of a Dissident Astronomer."
Drug Abuse Deaths and the Associated Press
Here’s another interesting piece that was recently passed along by a friend. Did you know that more Americans fatally overdosed on prescription opioid pain killers in 2014 than were killed in automobile accidents? I certainly didn’t. And I certainly didn’t know the history of why that is the case – nor why that was not commonly known. As it turns out, only two people largely decide how information of this kind is distributed . . . to the whole world.
This very interesting article by Jon Barron of the Baseline of Health Foundation most illuminating.
Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Clinton or Sanders
My friends outside of the US are fixated on Donald Trump. They keep asking: “Could this guy really become president of the U.S.?” Here’s a great current assessment based on hard data. Keep in mind that a lot could change between now and November, but if the election was today, Bernie Sanders always wins. Now, that’s interesting.
Humans and Neanderthals May Have Interbred 50,000 Years Earlier Than Previously Thought – (Washington Post – February 17, 2016)
One hundred thousand years ago, research suggests, a group of Homo sapiens — isolated from their own kind — came across a group of Neanderthals. The rest, as they say, is history — and the proof of their love affair has just been uncovered in ancient DNA. It wasn't long ago that Neanderthals had a universal reputation for being hulking, idiotic cousins — brutal beasts who couldn't outsmart the modern humans we count as our ancestors. But that's been changing: Now we know that Homo neanderthalensis co-existed with Homo sapiens for thousands of years at a time. There's strong evidence that Neanderthals were more like us than we give them credit for, perhaps even producing art, and many of us carry the DNA signatures of generations of interbreeding between neanderthalensis and sapiens. According to a study published in Nature, that interbreeding may have started some 50,000 years earlier than previously assumed. Scientists can tell, based on the bits of Neanderthal DNA found in many humans today, that our ancestors met up with Neanderthals some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. But now there's evidence of at least one earlier event.
Title for ‘Earth’s First Animal’ Likely Goes to Simple Sea Creature– (MIT News – February 22, 2016)
The first animal to appear on Earth was very likely the simple sea sponge. New genetic analyses led by MIT researchers confirm that sea sponges are the source of a curious molecule found in rocks that are 640 million years old. These rocks significantly predate the Cambrian explosion — the period in which most animal groups took over the planet, 540 million years ago — suggesting that sea sponges may have been the first animals to inhabit the Earth. “We brought together paleontological and genetic evidence to make a pretty strong case that this really is a molecular fossil of sponges,” says David Gold, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “This is some of the oldest evidence for animal life.”
Scientists Say They Grew Mouse Sperm From Stem Cells – (Associated Press – February 25, 2016)
Chinese scientists say they have produced working mouse sperm from stem cells in the laboratory, a step that may lead to a treatment for infertile men. The sperm they made were not mature, but they were mature enough to help make nine baby mice. If the technique pans out in people, doctors might someday be able to turn skin cells from a man into sperm that can pass along his DNA to his offspring. But experts warned that the technology would have to overcome some hurdles first. The scientists began with mouse embryonic stem cells, which are found in embryos and can develop into any kind of cell in the body. In the lab these cells were exposed to chemicals to nudge them toward becoming sperm. While previous research has also generated sperm precursors in this way, these precursors then had to be transplanted into the testicles of mice to develop further. The new technique is an advance, experts said, because it eliminates the need for transplants. Instead, the researchers put the sperm precursors in a lab dish containing testicle cells. The technique is now being tested in monkeys.
Being Overweight Linked to Poorer Memory – (Cambridge University – February 27, 2016)
Overweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory – the ability to recall past events – than their peers, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, adding to increasing evidence of a link between memory and overeating. Although only a small study, its results support existing findings that excess bodyweight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally. In particular, obesity has been linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision making, problem solving and emotions, suggesting that it might also affect memory; however, evidence for memory impairment in obesity is currently limited. Around 60% of UK adults are overweight or obese: this number is predicted to rise to approximately 70% by 2034. Obesity increases the risk of physical health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as psychological health problems, such as depression and anxiety. According to the CDC, more than 35% of U.S. adults are obese and over two-thirds come in overweight category.
Neuroscientists Have Found a Basis for the ‘I Was Just Following Orders’ Excuse – (Quartz – February 21, 2016)
Society has long held that when people commit wrongdoing, they cannot eschew responsibility by claiming that they were “just following orders.” But a study published in Cell Biology on Feb. 18, titled “Coercion changes the sense of agency in the human brain,” suggests that this excuse isn’t just a pretext. People who’ve been ordered to do something bad to other people appear to genuinely experience a reduced sense of responsibility. The researchers, from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and University College London, conducted a modified version of the famous 1960s Milgram experiments. In the new version of the study, actual shocks were given—though only light ones. Participants sat across from each other, and had the option of two keys to press on a keyboard. One key did nothing. The other gave the person opposite a small electric shock and transferred a small sum of money (£0.05) from the “victim” to the “agent.” In some scenarios the agents could choose which key to press; in others they were ordered to press a certain key by an experimenter standing nearby. The participants also repeated the test while wearing electroencephalogram caps. These showed reduced brain activity when they were coerced. This suggests that “the brain may treat consequences of one’s actions under coercion as if they were passively triggered,” wrote the authors. Axel Cleeremans, one of the co-authors of the study, said that the results have significant, and controversial implications. “In a way, the Nuremberg defense isn’t just about wishing to avoid blame,” he says. “It has some roots in actual subjective experience. And so it displaces responsibility towards people who are issuing the orders.” It’s also possible that in situations where large groups are issuing or following orders, individuals’ sense of responsibility could collectively “evaporate”—a question he hopes to address in future studies.
3D Printed Ear, Bone and Muscle Come to Life after Implantation in Mice – (GizMag – February 16, 2016)
Researchers have been exploring bioprinting as a means of replacing damaged tissue for several years now. The difficulty in replicating the complexities of human tissue has proven no simple undertaking, however, with scientists testing the waters with specialized bio-inks and various purpose-built printers in an effort to produce usable, engineered tissue. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have taken this latter path to engineering structures of adequate size and strength to implant in the human body. More than a decade in the making, the team's Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP) is claimed to overcome the limitations of previous bioprinting approaches. The researchers say that previously, engineered tissue structures without ready-made blood cells needed to be smaller than 200 microns in order for the cells to survive, but that their new approach solves this problem. They used ITOP to produce baby-sized ear structures measuring 1.5 in long, which were implanted under the skin of mice in the lab and went on to show signs of vascularization one and two months later. Further adding to ITOP's potential is its ability to take data from CT or MRI scans and make bespoke tissue for patients. So if a patients is missing a particular piece of tissue, such as a section of ear or nose, for example, the system could reproduce a precise replica. "This novel tissue and organ printer is an important advance in our quest to make replacement tissue for patients," says Anthony Atala, senior author on the study. "It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation."
Decline of Species That Pollinate Poses a Threat to Global Food Supply, Report Warns – (New York Times - February 28, 2016)
The first global assessment of the threats to creatures that pollinate the world’s plants has been released by a group affiliated with the United Nations. Pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35% of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. The agricultural system, for which pollinators play a key role, creates millions of jobs worldwide. Many pollinator species are threatened with extinction, including some 16% of vertebrates like birds and bats, according to the document. Hummingbirds and some 2,000 avian species that feed on nectar spread pollen as they move from flower to flower. Extinction risk for insects is not as well defined, the report notes, but it warned of “high levels of threat” for some bees and butterflies, with at least 9% of bee and butterfly species at risk. The causes of the pressure on these creatures intertwine: aggressive agricultural practices that grow crops on every available acre eliminate patches of wildflowers and cover crops that provide food for pollinators. Farming also exposes the creatures to pesticides, and bees are under attack from parasites and pathogens, as well. The group did not conduct new research, but synthesized current studies and analysis to reach its conclusions. The assessment, developed with the help of 80 experts, does not take a conclusive position on two issues that environmental activists have focused on intensely. The report states that the contribution of controversial chemicals known as neonicotinoids “is currently unresolved.” Recent research suggests that even when the pesticides are present at levels that do not have lethal effects on individual insects, concentrations in the hive may have long-term effects on colonies of wild and managed bees. The report also notes that the effects on pollinators of genetically modified organisms, including crops that are resistant to insects or tolerant of insecticides, is not settled.
Latin American Doctors Suggest Monsanto-Linked Larvicide Cause of Microcephaly, Not Zika Virus – (EcoWatch – February 12, 2016)
While the link between the mosquito-borne virus and microcephaly has yet to be scientifically proven, Argentinean and Brazilian doctors have suggested an alternate culprit: pesticides. The report, written by the Argentine group Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), suspects that pyriproxyfen—a larvicide added to drinking water to stop the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks—has caused the birth defects. The authors said that the pesticide, known by its commercial name SumiLarv, is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese subsidiary of Monsanto. According to PCST, in 2014, the Brazilian Ministry of Health introduced pyriproxyfen to drinking-water reservoirs in the state of Pernambuco, where the proliferation of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is very high. As it happens, the northeast state has registered the largest number of cases of microcephaly. Pernambuco, the first state to detect the problem, has roughly 35% of the total microcephaly cases across Brazil. “Previous Zika epidemics did not cause birth defects in newborns, despite infecting 75% of the population in those countries,” the paper said. “Also, in other countries such as Colombia there are no records of microcephaly; however, there are plenty of Zika cases.” Indeed, as The Ecologist observed from PCST’s report, Colombia has so far diagnosed 3,177 pregnant women with the Zika virus, but these women gave birth to healthy babies or are carrying healthy fetuses. “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on Zika virus for this damage, while trying to ignore its responsibility and ruling out the hypothesis of direct and cumulative chemical damage caused by years of endocrine and immunological disruption of the a acted population,” PCST said. (Update: Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, has suspended the use of the pyriproxyfen to combat the spread of the Zika virus.)
Thermal Camera Smartphone Launched – (CNBC – February 18, 2016)
A British company has unveiled what it is billing as the "world's first" smartphone with a built-in thermal imaging camera, a feature it claims will be in 50% of models on the market in five years. Bullitt’s Cat S60 smartphone is a 4.7 inch so-called "rugged phone" which can withstand a fall onto concrete from 1.8 meters and can survive for an hour underwater at a depth of 5 meters. The U.K.-based firm designs and manufactures the phone which then has the branding of construction equipment maker Caterpillar on it. Bullitt said that the lack of innovation in current smartphones will help its Cat S60, which will retail for $599, gain appeal among consumers. The Cat S60 is clearly aimed for industrial use but Pete Cunningham, senior product manager at Bullitt, said thermal imaging could be of interest to consumers. He said that the consumer market is however "secondary" for the company and it will have the ability to carve a "niche" while focusing on industrial use cases. Thermal imaging has been available on smartphones before but users had to buy an accessory to clip onto the device. This sensor is integrated.
New LED “Li-Fi” is 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi – (Inhabitat – February 27, 2016)
You may soon be able to connect to the internet with nothing more than a simple lamp. Li-Fi, or “light fidelity”, is a new wireless technology that just premiered at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile tech fair – in Barcelona. French start-up Oledcomm says the new technology is 100 times faster than conventional Wi-Fi. It all hinges on the unique properties of LED lamps. The bulbs flicker on and off thousands of times a second, a rate imperceptible to the human eye but one that generates a frequency readable by machines. This frequency is incredibly fast, especially compared to the radio waves used for conventional wireless internet. Laboratory tests have found that Li-Fi can transmit information at almost unbelievable speeds, over 200 gigabytes per second. That’s fast enough to download 23 DVDs’ worth of information in the literal blink of an eye. Despite the speed, there are some drawbacks to this new technology. For one thing, the light has to be visible for the signal to work, so it can’t pass through walls the way Wi-Fi can. You also need to place your device directly in the light, which limits the physical space where it’s effective. There are, however, some advantages to the limited scope of the signal. Unlike Wi-Fi, which can potentially broadcast your information far and wide, Li-Fi signals can be directed at a single user, which in turn helps keep their activity more private. And because it’s easy to restrict, it could be used in locations like hospitals or schools.
This House Costs Just $20,000—But It’s Nicer Than Yours – (Fast Company – February 22, 2016)
For over a decade, architecture students at Rural Studio, Auburn University's design-build program in a tiny town in West Alabama, have worked on a nearly impossible problem. How do you design a home that someone living below the poverty line can afford, but that anyone would want—while also providing a living wage for the local construction team that builds it? In January, after years of building prototypes, the team finished their first pilot project in the real world. Partnering with a commercial developer outside Atlanta, in a tiny community called Serenbe, they built two one-bedroom houses, with materials that cost just $14,000 each. The project, called 20K Home, is a result of decade-long efforts from students and professors at Rural Studio, who hope to offer affordable homes out into the public’s hands. The Rural Studio team spent countless hours tweaking details of the homes in order to reduce costs and maximize value. But the bigger challenge is fitting a house that's completely different than normal into the existing system of zoning, and codes, how contractors do their jobs, and even mortgages. "The houses are designed to appear to be sort of normative, but they're really high-performance little machines in every way," says Rusty Smith, associate director of Rural Studio. "They're built more like airplanes than houses, which allows us to have them far exceed structural requirements. ... We're using material much more efficiently. But the problem is your local code official doesn't understand that. They look at the documents, and the house is immediately denied a permit simply because the code officials didn't understand it." The team is trying to address all of the issues the house faces at once. For example, Regions Bank, which works with Rural Studio, told Smith that a mortgage for a $100,000 house costs the bank about $2,300. But a mortgage for a $20,000 house also costs $2,300. "There's a lack of scalability," Smith says. "There are these structural things you can only scale down so far." Now the bank has worked on their own design problem: a new mortgage product made for the poorest people to afford.
The Impetus for Decentralized Water Systems – (EcoBuilding – February 22, 2016)
The research and subsequent media reports on the state of Flint, Michigan’s water tend to be sociopolitical, as the situation was ultimately caused by the negligence and misconduct of the government agencies that cut corners on water-quality measures and scorned initial complaints from residents. (Although Flint has received significant attention, it's not the only municipality http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/us/regulatory-gaps-leave-unsafe-lead-levels-in-water-nationwide.html to have reported unsafe lead levels in its water over the past decade and a half.) But the catastrophe also raises the specter of a much larger threat in a system that is inherently designed to fail: a centralized water supply. Centralized urban water systems throughout the world are now under significant stress from increasing population density, water-resource competition, changing precipitation patterns, and new sources of pollutants, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Even without these pressures, centralized water is, by design, a fracture-critical system—one that is susceptible “to complete and sudden collapse should any part of it fail,” writes Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture’s College of Design. Fracture-critical design, Fisher continues, has four characteristics: a lack of redundancy, interconnectedness, efficiency, and sensitivity to exponential stress in the event of failure—all of which describe centralized water systems. “Perhaps the best long-term solution to our water problems will be to abandon centralized water systems altogether,” says environmental engineer David Sedlak. The development of non-fracture critical water services would not only reduce the magnitude of a fouling-related disaster, like the one in Flint, but also ensure a more ecologically balanced approach and a reduction in energy consumption. The article goes on to discuss the implications of a decentralized water system and what it would look like.
Wind Power’s Next Hope: Blades as Long as Two Football Fields – (Technology Review – February 26, 2016)
In recent years the wind power industry has moved toward longer and longer blades, driven by simple economies of scale: the larger the diameter of the rotor (the circular area swept by the turbine blades), the more power a single wind tower can produce. If the blades can be made and the tower erected cheaply, the cost of electricity goes down as blades get longer. Inspired by the way palm trees move in high winds, a group of researchers at the University of Virginia and Sandia National Laboratory are developing an extremely long wind turbine blade that could make it possible to construct 50-megawatt turbines—far beyond the power of today’s, which tend to produce just two megawatts. The blades, designed under a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, would be 200 meters long, 2.5 times the length of the longest blades commercially available today. The Sandia superblades are based on concepts developed by Eric Loth, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia. They would have a series of joints along their length that would enable them to fold in response to the strength of the wind. Situated downwind of the tower (in contrast to conventional blades, which are upwind), the blades would clinch like a raptor’s talons in extreme wind conditions to lessen the forces on the turbine. In optimum conditions they would extend to their full length. They’re particularly well suited for offshore installations in hurricane-prone areas, and they would make it possible to produce power economically in regions where winds are light. The logistics of manufacturing, transporting, and mounting such a system are considerable – and pretty interesting.
Airbus Could Seat Obese Passengers on Benches – (CNN – February 23, 2016)
Travel can be tricky for passengers of larger girth. For years, travelers have been getting wider, while airline seats have been getting smaller. Airbus might have a solution: replace individual seats with rows of benches. The aircraft manufacturer -- which in 2013 spearheaded a campaign to make 18-inches the industry standard for seat width (today many airline seats are 16 ½” wide) -- has filed a patent for a "reconfigurable passenger bench seat," which could accommodate not only larger passengers, but small children as well. Adjustable, detachable seat belts would ensure that all passengers are locked in, regardless of size. The patent, which was published last month, comes out at a time when the debate about how to deal with obese travelers has become particularly heated. In 2013, Samoa Air started charging passengers by weight, and introduced an XL class for larger passengers. Last year Uzbekistan Airways decided to weigh passengers "for safety." Article includes mock-ups of the new bench seat design.
Flow Camper Captures the Spirit of the Classic Volkswagen Camper Bus – (GizMag – February 25, 2016)
A new camper van from German van converter Martin Hemp looks like a fitting tribute to the original VW camper bus. The T6-based Flow Camper captures the "freedom and love" spirit of 1960s-era VW campers while outfitting road trippers with a modular set of modern camping equipment. One look at the orange paint and flowery graphics of the Flow Camper is enough to bring to mind the VW hippie campers of old, but the van's content is its real selling point. And that's not surprising because Martin Hemp has plenty of experience turning van interiors into cozy living areas with his Terra Camper lineup of Mercedes and VW campers. But if retro is not your style, check out the French-designed Yatoo concept that turns a standard SUV into a camper with a tent, kitchen and bed.
German Beer Industry in Shock over Glyphosate Contamination – (Sustainable Pulse – February 25, 2016)
The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) has released results of laboratory testing it has completed on 14 of the most sold beers in Germany. The probable carcinogen and World’s most used herbicide – glyphosate – was found in all of the 14 beers tested. In 2015 the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. The German Brewers’ Association, reacted by calling the study by the Munich Environmental Institute “not credible”, but admitted that low residues of the probable human carcinogen glyphosate could not be prevented, because “the herbicide is now found virtually everywhere after decades of use in agriculture”. A study from March 2015 stated that the health costs to the European Union of hormone hacking chemicals is over $ 150 Billion per year! The study stated that lower IQ, adult obesity and 5% or more of autism cases are all linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors. Glyphosate is likely to be one of these hormone hacking chemicals according to independent science. Article includes list of beers and amount of glyphosate found in each one.
This Farm in a Box Generates $15,000 a Month – (CNN – June 24, 2016)
People repurpose old shipping containers for lots of things -- homes, restaurants, art galleries, even swimming pools. But Shawn Cooney and his wife may have found the greenest use yet -- literally. On a vacant lot near Boston's Logan Airport, Cooney is using four former freight containers -- plus one at another location -- to grow some 30,000 heads of lettuce, herbs and other leafy greens. "I'm not really a farmer," said the 61-year-old Cooney, who ran software companies before starting Corner Stalk farms in 2013. "But it's more interesting than a desk job." If 30,000 heads of lettuce sounds like a lot, it is -- and it's the reason why he's able to run a successful farm in one of the country's most expensive cities. The boxes themselves are former freezer containers that were used to ship meat, so they're insulated against the heat and cold. Inside, the plants get light from LEDs and there's no soil. The roots are instead placed in a peat moss base that gets a dollop of nutrient-rich water every 12 minutes. The entire container, floor to ceiling, is filled with plants in a totally self-contained operation that eliminates the one variable that's vexed farmers since the dawn of agriculture: the weather. Cooney said he harvests 4,000 to 6,000 plants a week -- roughly 80 times the number he'd get from a similar amount of space on a conventional farm. The plants are sold to a wholesaler, which distributes them to mostly high-end restaurants in the Boston area. Article includes some financial information on the business.
SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
FBI’s Tor Hack Shows the Risk of Subpoenas to Security Researchers – (Wired – February 25, 2016)
A recently released judicial ruling in the case of Brian Farrell, an alleged staffer of the defunct Dark Web drug site Silk Road 2, confirmed what many who followed that black market’s downfall have suspected for months: That the FBI was able to bypass the anonymity software Tor—the central tool used by the Silk Road 2 and its buyers and sellers to evade the cops—with information they obtained from a subpoena to Tor-focused security researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. In a ruling, judge Richard Jones of the Western District of Seattle wrote that Farrell’s IP address was obtained through a subpoena to Carnegie Mellon while the university researchers were running an experiment on the Tor network designed to show how its anonymous users and servers could be identified. This chain of events should serve as a warning to the computer security research community. It proves that FBI agents somehow learned of research intended to be openly shared with a community that would fix the security flaws it exposed, but instead they subpoenaed it to be used in secret to identify and arrest criminal suspects. And they could do it again. “When you do experiments on a live network and keep the data, that data is a record that can be subpoenaed,” says Matt Blaze, a computer scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. “As academics, we’re not used to thinking about that. But it can happen, and it did happen.” The FBI’s subpoena could feasibly have even gone beyond private data to include the Carnegie Mellon’s actual Tor-cracking technique, computer-security focused defense lawyer Tor Ekeland argues. “It seems like they’re trying to subpoena surveillance techniques,” he says. “They’re trying to acquire intel gathering methods under the pretext of an individual criminal investigation.”
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
The U.S. is Making Millions from Americans Tossing Their Passports – (WMUR – February 19, 2016)
The U.S. government has collected about $12.6 million in fees since fall 2014, after quintupling the amount it charges for renunciations. That's more than double the total it garnered over the six previous years. U.S. citizens and long-term residents now pay $2,350 apiece to ditch their passports or green cards, up from $450 previously. The higher renunciation charges have come at a time when more people than ever are cutting ties to the U.S. Last year, 4,279 Americans bid Uncle Sam farewell, up 20% from 2014. That's 18 times as many as in 2008, and the third year in a row that's set a new record. The renunciation charges are far from a straightforward gain for the U.S. government's coffers, though. The fee hike helps offset the costs for the American embassies and consulates around the world that have to process all these renunciations. In the past, "if you had five people expatriate, it wasn't that complicated," said Chris McLemore, who handles international tax planning for expats at the law firm Butler Snow. "But if suddenly, 10 times the number of people are expatriating, you do start looking at your bottom line." And while some U.S. citizens get slapped with a giant "exit tax" bill -- sometimes in the millions of dollars -- when they renounce, experts say it still amounts to a fraction of what the government might have generated from them in future taxes. For expats, a higher renunciation fee is increasing the cost of what's already an expensive affair. Even in relatively simple cases, Americans often need to spend big -- easily at least $20,000 -- hiring a team of accountants and lawyers to help with the renunciation paperwork, estimates Mehany, who works at the law firm Caplin & Drysdale
Do Americans Live in a False Reality Created by Orchestrated Events? – (Paul Craig Roberts – February 24, 2016)
Most people who are aware and capable of thought have given up on what is called the “mainstream media.” The presstitutes have destroyed their credibility by helping Washington to lie—“Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Iranian nukes,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” “Russian invasion of Ukraine,” and so forth. The “mainstream media” has also destroyed its credibility by its complete acceptance of whatever government authorities say about alleged “terrorist events,” such as 9/11 and Boston Marathon Bombing, or alleged mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and San Bernardino. Despite glaring inconsistencies, contradictions, and security failures that seem too unlikely to be believable, the “mainstream media” never asks questions or investigates. It merely reports as fact whatever authorities say. As a consequence, thoughtful and aware people increasingly rely on alternative media that does question, marshall facts, and offers analysis in place of an unbelievable official story line. The prime example is 9/11. We are supposed to believe that a few Saudi Arabians with no technology beyond box cutters and no support from any government’s intelligence service were able to outwit the massive surveillance technology created by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and NSA (National Security Agency) and deal the most humiliating blow to a superpower ever delivered in human history. Competent historians know that false flag events are used to bring to fruition agendas that cannot otherwise be achieved. 9/11 gave the neoconservatives, who controlled the George W. Bush administration, the New Pearl Harbor that they said was necessary in order to launch their hegemonic military invasions of Muslim countries. The Boston Marathon Bombing permitted a trial run of the American Police State, complete with shutting down a large American city, putting 10,000 armed troops and SWAT teams on the streets where the troops conducted house to house searches forcing the residents out of their homes at gunpoint. This unprecedented operation was justified as necessary in order to locate one wounded 19 year old man, who clearly was a patsy. There are so many anomalies in the Sandy Hook story that it has generated a cottage industry of skeptics. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article because it raises questions that ought to be raised – and yet the mainstream press has no interest in investigating.)
Israel’s Sea-based Nukes Pose Risks – (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – February 4, 2016)
Israel has acquired a fleet of advanced German submarines that—Prime Minister Netanyahu has signaled—carry nuclear weapons pointed at Iran. The Obama administration’s pretense that it knows nothing about any nuclear weapons in Israel makes intelligent discussion about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Middle East all but impossible. It has also vastly diminished respect for America’s broader worldwide effort to control the spread of nuclear weapons. On January 12 of this year, the Rahav, the fifth of six German-built submarines scheduled for delivery, arrived at its base in Haifa. It’s an advanced diesel-electric boat that is equipped with air-independent propulsion—that is, it has its own oxygen supply and can stay beneath the surface for weeks, and do so more quietly than a nuclear-powered submarine. Its four extra-large torpedo tubes are sized—by numerous accounts—to fire Israeli long-range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The strategic submarine procurement process started in the early 1990s, around the time of the first Gulf war. Once the submarines took up their stations, the Israelis did not hide their mission. A 2011 Israeli Ynetnews story described an interview with the submarine fleet’s commander under the headline, “Doomsday weapon: Israel’s submarines.” A related Ynetnews story included the following: Foreign reports suggest that the German subs serve as Israel's "second strike" power and aim to retain its nuclear capabilities, even in cases of an attack on the country. This supposedly serves to deter Iran or any future enemy which has the ability to destroy Israel.
Shadow CIA Warns Russian Air Power Would Stop Any Foreign Invasion of Syria – (Sputnik News – February 12, 2016)
Stratfor, the US-based intelligence think tank often called the 'Shadow CIA', has released satellite photos showing a buildup of Russian air power at the Hmeymim Airbase in Latakia, northwest Syria. The think tank bluntly warns that if Turkey or Saudi Arabia were to attack Syrian forces, they would be "met with significant Russian air defenses." In its report, Stratfor points out that "when Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 warplane on November 24, it did not just sour relations between Ankara and Moscow: It gave Russia a reason to build up its air defense capabilities in Syria." And build up they did. " "Russia," Stratfor's analysis warned, "has enhanced its air defenses to prevent other countries from entering the Syrian conflict. There are increasing reports that Turkey could be considering direct military intervention in Syria. Even some Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have made statements about possibly sending troops into the country." Ultimately, Stratfor warns, "with such an extensive presence, Russia will be able to obstruct the war efforts of those opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The United States and its allies can still fly airstrikes against the Islamic State [Daesh], but the prospect of changing targets to include loyalist forces advancing on rebel position is greatly hindered by active Russian air support.
LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES
The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better – (Atlantic – February 16, 2016)
women’s garments are worn a mere seven times before being pushed to the back of the closet or tossed into the garbage. Combating this wastefulness is at the heart of a growing number of clothing brands offering alternatives to so-called “fast fashion,” the trendy, throwaway method of selling clothes. Among the other startups positioning themselves as durable and ethical alternatives to throwaway fads are the online retailers Zady, Cuyana, Of a Kind, Everlane, and The 30 Year Sweatshirt. Tom Cridland, a 25-year-old British designer and entrepreneur, launched The 30 Year Sweatshirt last summer to call to task fashion’s built-in obsolescence. Fast-fashion clothing is notorious for looking faded and dated in a handful of wears. By contrast, Cridland’s pullover is handmade in Portugal of Italian organic cotton and finished with a treatment that wards off shrinkage and pilling. The company pledges to provide repairs free of charge through 2046. “We’re not claiming to have made the first sweatshirt to last 30 years,” says Cridland. American brands such as L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer have offered a lifetime guarantee for decades—but these labels tend to hold sway with older shoppers. The 30 Year Sweatshirt doubles as a way to educate younger consumers about chintzy fads “in a way that’s less preachy and more light-hearted,” he adds. “I wanted to make ethically conscious clothing seem less stuffy.” The San Francisco-based online ethical retailer Cuyana is another company selling consumers on clothing built to last. The brand’s slogan is “fewer, better things,” and its elegant and feminine wardrobe staples (think silk button-ups, cashmere boatneck sweaters, and soft leather totes) are crafted from premium fabrics, with leather from Argentina, Italy, and Spain, and cashmere from Scotland.
I Dare You to Read This and Still Feel Good about Tipping – (Washington Post – February 18, 2016)
Studies have shown that tipping is not an effective incentive for performance in servers. It also creates an environment in which people of color, young people, old people, women, and foreigners tend to get worse service than white males. In a tip-based system, nonwhite servers make less than their white peers for equal work. Consider also the power imbalance between tippers, who are typically male, and servers, 70 percent of whom are female, and consider that the restaurant industry generates five times the average number of sexual harassment claims per worker. And that in many instances employers have allegedly misused tip credits, which let owners pay servers less than minimum wage if tipping makes up the difference. But tipping, says Saru Jayaraman, who is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, isn't merely problematic in its current, contemporary context. The practice is abhorrent from a historical perspective, too. While researching her new book, Forked: A New Standard for American Dining," Jayaraman dug into the history of tipping, which complicates—or really darkens—the way in which we pay restaurant workers even further. Among the many things she uncovered is that the federal tipped-minimum wage, which allows restaurants to pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 per hour in the United States, is rooted in a regrettable period in this country's past: slavery. The restaurant industry, which was hiring newly freed slaves as tipped workers, really wanted the right to hire these workers but pay them next to nothing. So they put forth this idea that they were valueless and really shouldn’t have to be paid by their employers. They essentially made the argument that newly freed slaves should get a zero dollar wage. The idea that the restaurant industry was the only industry that didn’t have to pay its workers was actually codified into the very first minimum wage law that passed in 1938 as part of the New Deal under FDR. It said that you have the right to the minimum wage either through wages or through tips, which essentially gave tipped workers the “right” to a zero dollar minimum wage. For current tipped minimum wage rates, see this U.S. Department of Labor chart.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
The Perseus Signal: "What We Found Could Not Be Explained by Known Physics" – (Daily Galaxy – February 28, 2016)
Together with a team of more than a half-dozen colleagues, Esra Bulbul of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics used Chandra to explore the Perseus Cluster, a swarm of galaxies approximately 250 million light years from Earth. Imagine a cloud of gas in which each atom is a whole galaxy—that's a bit what the Perseus cluster is like. It is one of the most massive known objects in the Universe. The cluster itself is immersed in an enormous 'atmosphere' of superheated plasma—and it is there that the mystery resides. "The cluster's atmosphere is full of ions such as Fe XXV, Si XIV, and S XV. Each one produces a 'bump' or 'line' in the x-ray spectrum, which we can map using Chandra," Bulbul explains. "These spectral lines are at well-known x-ray energies." Yet, in 2012 when Bulbul added together 17 day's worth of Chandra data, a new line popped up where no line should be. "A line appeared at 3.56 keV (kilo-electron volts) which does not correspond to any known atomic transition," she said. "It was a great surprise." At first, Bulbul herself did not believe it. "It took a long time to convince myself that this line is neither a detector artifact, nor a known atomic line," Bulbul said. "I have done very careful checks. I have re-analyzed the data; split the data set into different sub groups; and checked the data from four other detectors on board two different observatories. None of these efforts made the line disappear." The reality of the line was further confirmed when Bulbul's team found the same spectral signature in X-ray emissions from 73 other galaxy clusters. Those data were gathered by Europe's XMM-Newton, a completely independent X-ray telescope. The spectral line appears not to come from any known type of matter, which shifts suspicion to the unknown: dark matter. Solving the mystery could require a whole new observatory. In 2015, the Japanese space agency launched an advanced X-ray telescope called "Astro-H." It has a new type of X-ray detector, developed collaboratively by NASA and University of Wisconsin scientists, which will be able to measure the mystery line with more precision than currently possible.
How Scientists Solved the Strange Case of the Missing Asteroids – (LA Times – February 17, 2016)
A couple years ago, astronomers made a surprising discovery: A significant number of asteroids were missing from the central region of the solar system. The space rocks were plentiful in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and they appeared in their expected numbers around the neighborhood of Earth, Venus and Mercury. But in the zone closest to the sun, there were lots of no-shows. For every 10 asteroids they expected to find within 10 solar diameters of the sun, they could only spot one. So, where had they all gone? Study leader Mikael Granvik, a research scientist at the University of Helsinki, proposed that the asteroids must be disappearing once they got close to the sun, but long before they would have plunged into it. Further research supported this hunch. Going back to the data, the astronomers found that smaller asteroids seem to disappear farther from the sun than larger asteroids. They also discovered that brighter asteroids, which reflect more light, seemed to stay intact closer to the sun than dark asteroids that absorb light. The authors can't say for certain what causes the asteroids to break up when they get close to the sun, but they suggest a few possibilities. The researchers add that the discovery could explain the origin of meteor showers that have no known parent object. If the Earth passed through the stream of a debris left in the wake of an exploded asteroid, bits of this busted up space rock would burn up in our asteroid and cause shooting stars in the night sky.
SDO: Year 6 Ultra-HD – (YouTube/NASA Goddard – February 12, 2016)
The sun is always changing and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun's atmosphere, the corona. SDO's sixth year in orbit was no exception. This video shows that entire sixth year -- from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 28, 2016, as one time-lapse sequence. At full quality on YouTube, this video is ultra-high definition 3840x2160 and 29.97 frames per second. Each frame represents 2 hours. A downloadable version has a frame rate of 59.94 with each frame representing 1 hour. (Editor’s note: This is surprisingly beautiful.)
The New American Dream: A Rental of One’s Own – (Atlantic – February 17, 2016)
The share of U.S. households that rent increased from 36.1% in 2006 to 41.1% in 2014. Meanwhile, the share of households who own their own homes declined over that same period. The increase in renting was most notable among millennials. The share of renters between the ages of 18 and 34 jumped from 62.5% in 2006 to 71.6% in 2014. But renting was up among all age groups. The share of renters increased from 33 to 40.7% among households ages 35-54. Trulia speculates that this group may have been hard hit by job loss and foreclosure during the most recent economic crisis. Renting also increased, from 24.4 to 27% among Americans aged 55 and older. The shift from homeownership to renting was actually more pronounced among middle-class and more affluent Americans. The largest increase was among upper-middle-class households (households earning between $126,000 to $188,000), who saw their share of renters grow by 6.3% points, from 27.2 to 33.5%. The transition overall is led by large, dense, superstar cities like New York and L.A., as well as knowledge and tech hubs like Boston, Seattle, Austin, and San Francisco. In fact, there are three metros where more than half of all households rent: New York, L.A., and San Francisco. And, in the aftermath of the economic crisis, renters have been caught in a devastating bind as rents have risen while incomes have declined. Average rents increased by 22.3% between 2006 to 2014, while average incomes declined by 5.8% and the housing-cost squeeze faced by the poorest households has been brutal. The share of income devoted to rent by the lowest-income households increased from an already whopping 55.7% to a staggering 62.5%.
58,000 U.S. Bridges Found to Be Structurally Deficient – (USA Today – February 18, 2016)
Nearly 10% of the country’s bridges – 58,495 out of 609,539 – were considered structurally deficient last year and needed repairs according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. The total represents 2,574 fewer bridges than the more than 61,000 in 2014, according to ARTBA, which represents the design and construction industry, and a substantial improvement over the more than 63,000 bridges that were found to be structurally deficient in 2013. Vehicles cross deficient bridges more than 200 million times a day. The five states with the most deficient bridges were Iowa with 5,025, Pennsylvania with 4,783, Oklahoma with 3,776, Missouri with 3,222 and Nebraska with 2,474. Deficient bridges aren’t necessarily falling down, but are in need of repair. Bridges are rated on a scale of zero to nine, with a top score meaning excellent condition. Scores of four or below are classified structurally deficient. Part of the problem is maintaining aging bridges. Of the 250 most heavily traveled bridges that need repairs, 85% were built before 1970 with the creation of the interstate highway system.
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
A Cyborg Rat Could Point the Way to a Post-AI Future – (Quartz – February 18, 2106)
A group of Chinese scientists created a cyborg rat that is extremely efficient at solving mazes; outperforming regular rats and, in some cases, even machines in tests. The robot rat was created by implanting electrodes in its brain and mounting a wireless micro-stimulator on its back. These devices allowed a computer to communicate remotely with the rat, helping it assess the shortest path to take in a maze, avoid dead ends and navigate loops. Rather than remote-controlling the rat, the computer instead provided the rat with hints designed to help it make decisions. Instead of artificial intelligence, this type of work aims for “augmented” or “cyborg” intelligence, which brings together the brainpower of animals and the computing power of machines. Eventually, scientists want to study the potential use of combined machine and biological intelligence in scenarios such as search-and-rescue operations, and to replace body parts, creating “upgraded” humans. Here is the original scholarly article reporting on the research.
Solar Cells Help Purify Water in Remote Areas – (PhysOrg – February 16, 2016)
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a water purification plant that provides clean water far beyond the reach of the electrical grid - thanks to solar cells. The environmental company Watersprint, founded in 2013 by Kenneth M Persson and engineer Ola Hansson, has patented the technology that helps purify water by combining UV-LED technology with intelligent software and Wi-Fi. Its system of 12 volts is so effective that it can be run by a single solar panel. The solar cells also charge its battery, which means that the portable facility can be used around the clock and in rural areas without access to electricity. Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his organization Yunus Centre have ordered portable units as part of a pilot project. In October, the first unit was installed and by now, another 9 units have been delivered to the project in Bangladesh. The portable purification units, so-called Micro Production Centers (MPC), are managed by local suppliers and help create jobs for young, unemployed people who run the small facilities and sell clean water in exchange for a small fee. A large part of the population in Bangladesh currently use water contaminated by arsenic.
Four Legal Questions the Fed Would Face If It Decided to Go Negative – (Wall St. Journal – February 10, 2016)
Leaving aside for now the question of whether the Federal Reserve Bank setting a negative interest rate is appropriate economic policy, there are four key considerations at stake. In laymen’s terms, this article explores them. The conclusions: the laws and the potential work-arounds could be managed, but “The wide range of mechanical and practical issues involved mean that the benefit of negative rates in the U.S. wouldn’t be worth it if you anticipated them to be in place for only a brief period,” said Mr. Skeie, who is now a professor at Texas A&M University. In other words, if negative interest rates are ever implemented, one can expect that they are going to be around for a while.
Life in the Between: The Beauty and Importance of the Two-Spirit People – (Kosmos Journal – February 27, 2016)
After colonization, and as European culture spread its influence throughout the territories in Northern America, one of North America’s Indigenous Peoples’ most spiritual traditions became distorted: the Native American belief that members of their tribe who embodied both feminine and masculine characteristics were gifted with two spirits.Since the Indigenous people of America focused more on a person’s spirit to define their character, sexual orientation was not an identity factor. Instead what spirit, male or female, they embodied determined who they were. If both were present, they were seen as especially gifted. What is quite unfamiliar to dominant culture today is that Native Americans not only raised these “Two-Spirit” members above others, but they understood them as existing not of either gender- as a transcendence of the two. These people would include androgynous male and females, feminine males, and masculine females. “Instead of seeing two-spirit persons as transsexuals who try to make themselves into ‘the opposite sex’, it is more accurate to understand them as individuals who take on a gender status that is different from both men and women,” said Walter L. Williams author of The Spirit and the Flesh. Many of the Two-Spirit people would be involved in same sex relationships, which was viewed as perfectly natural and encouraged by the rest of the tribe. In fact, it was seen as an advantage to be married to or in a relationship with a Two-Spirit person, for they were able to take on tasks attributed to both men and women. Although society has grown more accepting to those who are homosexual, there is still a gross prejudice against anyone who does not fit into gender or sexual binaries. Yet, the Two-Spirit tradition speaks beyond the acceptance of homosexual relationships and marriages, defining gender as spiritual, multi-directional construct, which is an even less accepted concept in American society today.
Beached America - Common Dreams - February 18, 2106)
For at least the last four decades now, the author of this article writes, he feels like he's been living in Beached America: a nation that has lost its values, even as it writhes in violent agitation, inflicting its military on the vulnerable regions of the planet. It does so in the name of those lost values . . . democracy, freedom, equality. These are just dead words at this point, public relations blather, silently followed by a sigh: yada, yada, yada. Then we send in the drones. This is the behavior of a nation that is spiritually beached. Ideas that could open up the future have long been gagged, mocked and marginalized, locked in a closet somewhere. Whatever once mattered - civil rights, women's rights, or the denial thereof - has morphed into some sort of meaningless political post-modernism, lots of yada yada but we all know that winning is the only thing that matters, and even that doesn't really matter because it changes nothing. The deep reality in which we live cannot be touched. This is Beached America. It is in this context that Michael Moore's new documentary, Where To Invade Next, is relevant, with its faux-premise that America's military leaders, beside themselves over the utter failure of their wars since the Big One that ended in 1945, have asked for Moore's advice about what to do next. This sends him on a literal tour of eight European countries, plus Tunisia, in search of something the United States can grab abroad other than oil. It's not without flaws but it rips back the surface of American politics and frees a fair number of imprisoned concepts - like, oh, forgiveness, childhood creativity, the honest embrace of one's own history - and sets them loose in the present moment.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH - articles off the beaten track which may - or may not - have predictive value.
After Computer Hack, L.A. Hospital Pays $17,000 in Bitcoin Ransom to Get Back Medical Records – (Washington Post – February 18, 2016)
Not too long ago, taking the nation’s wild, messy, unreliable system of medical records online seemed like a worthy goal. And while the shift Obama and many others pushed may have improved care, electronic medical records led to quite the unique hostage situation in Los Angeles recently. There, a hospital fell prey to a cyberattack — and the hospital has escaped its plight by paying hackers a $17,000 ransom. Allen Stefanek, president and chief executive of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, explained the situation. “On the evening of February 5th, our staff noticed issues accessing the hospital’s computer network,” he wrote. “Our IT department began an immediate investigation and determined we had been subject to a malware attack. The malware locked access to certain computer systems and prevented us from sharing communications electronically. The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key,” Stefanek added. “In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this. ” Experts agreed this was a familiar course of action. “Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t tell anybody if they had fallen victim to ransomware and especially if they have paid the criminals,” said Adam Kujawa of Malware Intelligence for Malwarebytes, a San Jose-based company that recently released software designed to thwart such attacks. “But I know from the experiences I hear about from various industry professionals that it’s a pretty common practice to just hand over the cash.”
JUST FOR FUN
On Site with Lueb Popoff – (You Tube – November 24, 2015)
Have you ever wondered what you might do about a large, unsightly stump left from a dead tree in your front yard? Here’s an idea.
A FINAL QUOTE
TThe future has a way of arriving unannounced. - George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
A special thanks to: 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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by John L. Petersen