|FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
- Time and space may be able to be converted back and forth between each other with the speed of light being the conversion factor between the two.
- Bill Gates predicts that in five years the best education will come from the Web.
- Neuromarketing, a marriage of market research and neuroscience that uses brain-imaging technology to peek into people’s heads, is doing a better and better job of discovering what people really want.
- A University of Arkansas team who surveyed the North Dakota countryside for canola discovered that transgenes were present in 80% of the wild canola plants they found.
by John L. Petersen
If you are near our neighborhood here in Berkeley Springs, you might like knowing that I’m giving a free talk at the Fairfax Coffee House on Wednesday night. This will be the third time that I casually chat about what I think is coming our way and entertain questions about what we can all do about it. This time I’m going to muse about the big global shift that I think humanity is experiencing that will produce a new human and a new world. If you can make it, come by. It promises to be an interesting evening.
Every once in a while an author friend asks me to write a blurb for their upcoming book. That happened again recently. What was unusual about it was that my comments were picked up by the Los Angeles Times and included on their website.
If you visit the link, you’ll immediately see why my opinion got a little ink – the book is Leslie Kean’s, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record. John Podesta wrote the introduction to the book and if I hadn’t mentioned his name, I’m sure I wouldn’t have shown up. In any case, Leslie’s book is really a great piece of journalism around a subject that is seldom treated seriously. I think that’s a mistake.
I can’t remember when I haven’t been interested in the bigger questions about how reality works and why some things – like UFOs – which are commonly experienced and reported by millions of people all over the world are ignored by science and the mainstream press. Having spent a good bit of time seriously looking into the subject, I can tell you that anytime I hear anyone summarily discount the validity, let alone possibility, of the existence of these anomalous aerial phenomena, I know that they’re speaking from ignorance. They haven’t seriously looked into the subject. They are not seriously thinking.
I have often been asked why I am specifically interested in the subject. My usual answer is: “The day the aliens unambiguously show them self to the world is the day everything changes.” There are few wild cards events that I’ve thought about that would have the extraordinarily profound (and potentially positive) implications of such an event. Most people would have to rethink who thought they were.
Leslie’s book is timely for a number of reasons. One is that quite a few governments (not the U.S., though) have come clean about their long-time interest in the subject. The Mexican military has released quite impressive film footage of unknown craft tailing their air force aircraft. The Belgium government declassified many of their documents. There are quite a number more.
But, I was impressed when a few days ago the Brazilian Air Force reportedly decided to treat the issue with a great deal of transparency. The report came from A. J. Gevaerd, Editor of Brazilian UFO Magazine. Gevaerd – somewhat breathlessly – reports about this new development below. (In his defense, I suppose I’d be a little breathless if I had given my life to a subject like this and my government decided that they were finally going to spill their secrets.)
The point here is that we are clearly in a time of great change, and a significant element of the change is a growing awareness about who we as humans are in the larger spectrum of intelligent life. You’ll find an article included in this FUTUREdition about how science is now deciding that clouds “talk” to each other. They seem to intelligently communicate among themselves. It’s been shown in the past that plants identify individually the humans that are near them – and somehow know which individuals are thinking about doing harm to the plant. There are lots of these kinds of examples. All suggesting that there is far more life around us than we even begin to imagine.
Here’s the Brazilian piece.
BRAZILIAN AIR FORCE CONFIRM UFO REPORTS AND REGULATES HOW TO HANDLE THEM
The Brazilian Air Force commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier Juniti Saito (equivalent to 4-star General), has just given a major step to openly recognize the UFO Phenomena as serious and worthy of immediate actions in Brazil. Saito, a very respected man by the current Federal Administration, issued a public statement regulating how UFO reports should be handled in Brazil, by whom and what destination should they have.
Brazil must be the first country in the world to have such measure published in its official journal, called Diário Oficial da União, which is openly public and records every and all acts taken by our Administration, its agencies and entities. The document was published Tuesday, August 10 and can be read below translated into English.
This is a great example of how a public campaign such as UFOs: Freedom of Information Now, conducted by the Brazilian Committee of UFO Researchers (CBU) through the Brazilian UFO Magazine, can make things happen. The actual measure by Lieutenant-Brigadier Saito is a direct result of the campaign, following several others, such as the release of thousands of pages of UFO secret documents and hundreds of photos, including material of the Operation Saucer.
See more information here:
1,300 New pages of formerly secret UFO documents surface in Brazil
There is a real commotion in the Brazilian UFO Community at this moment, as it has achieved much more than it could expect in its most optimistic dreams. Even the over 300 members of the Brazilian UFO Magazine are completely surprised by what happened. According to the official release, military should register and forward UFO occurrences to the National Archives, the final destination of UFO.
THOUSAND OF CASES TO BE RELEASED
It is yet to be determined if the reports of UFO occurrences made all over the last three or four decades of Brazilian official involvement with the phenomena are included, or just the most recent ones. Also, if the reported cases that have been officially investigated by the Brazilian Air Force and its agencies are also included, as well as the results of such investigations. It is widely known that the country had several departments at the Brazilian Air Force designed to document and research UFO activity, as reported by the Brazilian UFO Magazine.
Also, in a recent exclusive interview to the publication, Lieutenant-Brigadier José Carlos Pereira, former commander of the Brazilian Airspace Defense Command, has declared that there are tons of official documents produced by the Brazilian Air Force over the last decades, and that he determined that all data was digitalized and inserted in a huge databank. Pereira was also responsible for elaborating a complete new form to be filled by civilian and military pilots when they see UFOs in the country. “There are hundreds of such forms”.
By regulating the way that military should handle UFO reports, especially those coming from air traffic control and aviation personnel, as stated in the official journal, the Brazilian Air Force practically recognizes the materiality of the UFO Phenomena, as it was recently declared by a few other top military, such as Lieutenant-Brigadier Sócrates Monteiro, former minister of Air Force, and Pereira itself, among many others, in exclusive interviews given to the Brazilian UFO Magazine and reported world widely. Some of the astounding declarations made by these men can be read here:
“All UFO secrets must be disclosed”, says Brazilian top military
Brazil’s former Air Force minister makes statements about UFOs
More sources of Brazilian military information achieved by the Brazilian UFO Magazine:
Another Brazilian military officer reveals UFO investigation, observation and physical evidence
Retired Lieutenant-Colonel discloses new revelations on Operation Saucer in the Amazon, 1977
A SOLID AND INTELLIGENT PHENOMENON
The materiality of the UFO Phenomena by Brazilian military has also been clearly recognized in an official document just recently released to the UFO community through the efforts of the Brazilian UFO Magazine named ‘Occurrence Report’ and related to what is called ‘Official UFO Night in Brazil’, when 21 spherical objects, estimated 100 meters in diameter – according to military sources – literally jammed air traffic over the major Brazilian airports, when several Mirage and F5 jets scrambled to pursue them for hours.
In its Final Considerations section, the ‘Occurrence Report’ reads: “As a conclusion of the observed facts in almost all presentations, it is the opinion of this Command that the phenomenon is solid and reflects intelligence by its capacity to follow and sustain distance from the observers, as well as to fly in formation, and are not necessarily manned craft”. Again, “the phenomenon is solid and reflects intelligence”;
See the report here:
Brazilian military document confirms UFOs “Solid and Under Intelligent Control”
The document ‘Occurrence Report’ in PDF file and in English:
OPENING A PRECEDENT IN THE CONTINENT
This is a major breakthrough to all UFO researchers and especially to the Brazilian UFO Community, as it may open a precedent in the Continent and other areas of the planet to other countries do the same. We at the Brazilian Committee of UFO Researchers (CBU) are all very glad to say that the official recognition of the seriousness of the UFO Phenomena and the need of proper handling the reports is a result of the campaign UFOs: Freedom Of Information Now, started in 2004 and widely announced both domestically and internationally.
There aren’t many countries in the world today – if any – that had its military taken such a bold and unprecedented decision on a public basis, in a public record. It is always good to remember that Brazil was also the first country in the world to officially admit the UFO Phenomena, back in the 50s, when colonel João Adil de Oliveira made a clear statement at the Superior School of War, in Rio de Janeiro, assuming that the investigation of the nature and manifestation of UFOs should be of immediate concern of the Brazilian military.
Towards all these years, many Brazilian UFO researchers have done their best to make the UFO Phenomena worthy of public credibility and acknowledged by the authorities, and I am very pleased to say that it has just happened in a very solid way. This generation of UFO researchers, all belonging to the Brazilian Committee of UFO Researchers (CBU) and to the Brazilian UFO Magazine, inspired and following the example of our pioneers, are making things happen.
On the Web’s Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only – (Wall St. Journal – August 4, 2010)
You may not know a company called [x+1] Inc., but it may well know a lot about you. Its ability to make snap assessments of individuals is accurate enough that Capital One Financial Corp. uses [x+1]’s calculations to instantly decide which credit cards to show first-time visitors to its website. firms like [x+1] tap into vast databases of people’s online behavior-mainly gathered surreptitiously by tracking technologies that have become ubiquitous. They don’t have people’s names, but cross-reference that data with records of home ownership, family income, marital status and favorite restaurants, among other things. Then, using statistical analysis, they start to make assumptions about the proclivities of individual Web surfers. The findings offer an early glimpse of a new, personalized Internet where sites have the ability to adjust many things-look, content, prices-based on the kind of person they think you are.
Bill Gates: In Five Years the Best Education Will Come from the Web – (Tech Crunch – August 6, 2010)
Gates thinks the idea of young adults having to go to universities in order to get an education is going to go away relatively soon. Well, provided they’re self-motivated learners. “Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” Gates said. “It will be better than any single university,” he continued. He believes that no matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.
“The Big Bang Never Happened” The New Standard? – (Daily Galaxy – July 30, 2010)
While there is scientific consensus that the Big Bang is the best explanation for the origin of the Universe, there’s a growing chorus of doubters among the world astrophysics community, led by the fascinating new work of Wun-Yi Shu at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan who has developed an innovative new description of the Universe in which the roles of time space and mass are related in new kind of relativity. Shu’s idea is that time and space are not independent entities but can be converted back and forth between each other. In his formulation of the geometry of spacetime, the speed of light is simply the conversion factor between the two.
Behold, the Antilaser – (Science News – July 30, 2010)
Fifty years after physicists invented the laser, ushering in everything from supermarket scanners to music CDs, scientists have conceived its opposite – the “antilaser.” No one has yet reported building an antilaser, but a theoretical description of one has been published in Physical Review Letters. Instead of amplifying light into coherent pulses, as a laser does, an antilaser absorbs light beams zapped into it. It can be “tuned” to work at specific wavelengths of light, allowing researchers to turn a dial and cause the device to start and then stop absorbing light.
Rethinking Einstein: The End of Space-time – (New Scientist – August 9, 2010)
Space-time – the malleable fabric whose geometry can be changed by the gravity of stars, planets and matter – is a concept that has served us well, but if physicist Petr Horava is right, it may be no more than a mirage. Horava, who is at the University of California, Berkeley, wants to rip this fabric apart and set time and space free from one another in order to come up with a unified theory that reconciles the disparate worlds of quantum mechanics and gravity – one the most pressing challenges to modern physics. Something has to give in this tussle between general relativity and quantum mechanics, and the smart money says that it’s relativity that will be the loser. So Horava began looking for ways to tweak Einstein’s equations and found inspiration in the physics of condensed matter, including the material of the moment – pencil lead.
GENETICS/ HEALTH TECHNOLOGY
The Bio-future of Joint Replacement – (TED – July, 2010)
Arthritis and injury grind down millions of joints, but few get the best remedy – real biological tissue. Kevin Stone shows a treatment that could sidestep the high costs and donor shortfall of human-to-human transplants with a novel use of animal tissue.
Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead of Embryonic – (Washington Post – August 2, 2010)
Adult stem cells are being studied in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, heart attacks and diabetes. Some early results suggest that stem cells can help some patients avoid leg amputation. Recently researchers reported that they restored vision to some patients whose sight was destroyed by chemicals. Apart from these efforts, transplants of adult stem cells have become a life-saving therapy for perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.
Nerve Connections Regenerated after Spinal Cord Injury – (Kurzweil AI – August 9, 2010)
Researchers for the first time have induced robust regeneration of nerve connections that control voluntary movement after spinal cord injury, showing the potential for new therapeutic approaches to paralysis and other motor function impairments. In a study on rodents, the research team turned back the developmental clock in a molecular pathway critical for the growth of corticospinal tract nerve connections. They deleted an enzyme called PTEN (a phosphatase and tensin homolog), which controls a molecular pathway called mTOR that is a key regulator of cell growth. PTEN activity is low early during development, allowing cell proliferation. PTEN then turns on when growth is completed, inhibiting mTOR and precluding any ability to regenerate.
Two New Paths to the Dream: Regeneration – (New York Times – August 5, 2010)
In recent years, most research in the field of regenerative medicine has focused on the hope that stem cells, immature cells that give rise to any specific type of cell needed in the body, can somehow be trained to behave as normal adult cells do. Nature’s method of regeneration is quite different in that it starts with the adult cells at the site of a wound and converts the cells to a stemlike state in which they can grow and divide. A research group at Stanford has taken a possible first step toward unlocking the human ability to regenerate. By inactivating two genes that work to suppress tumors, they got mouse muscle cells to revert to a younger state, start dividing and help repair tissue.
CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Corexit – Coast Guard and Administration Betray the Country – (Dr. Sircus’ Blog – August 5, 2010)
The spraying of Corexit is certified by the EPA as being a safe hell to breathe in though early on in the disaster it was reported that the EPA warned BP not to use it. Over 40% of adults living within ten miles of the coast said they have experienced direct exposure to the oil spill or clean-up effort. Within this group, nearly 40% reported physical symptoms of skin irritations and respiratory problems, which they attributed to the oil spill.
GM Plants Established in the Wild – (BBC News – August 5, 2010)
Researchers have found new evidence that genetically modified crop plants can survive and thrive in the wild, possibly for decades. A University of Arkansas team surveyed countryside in North Dakota for canola. Transgenes were present in 80% of the wild canola plants they found. Similar findings have been made in Canada, while in Japan, a study in 2008 found substantial amounts of transgenic rape – a close relative of canola – around port areas where GM varieties had been imported.
Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current Dying, Loop Current in Gulf of Mexico Already Dead – (Before It’s News – August 7, 2010)
Stepping past some of this blogger’s agenda, you may find some of the reportage worth consideration: An Italian theoretical physicist specializing in global climate research and analysis, Dr. Gianluigi Zangari, of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Italy, has found that the massive amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, from the BP Disaster, has caused a disruption of the Loop Current in the Gulf. And further, that this has resulted in a dramatic weakening in the vorticity of the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current, and a reduction in North Atlantic water temperatures of 10C. The entire ‘river of warm water’ that flows from the Caribbean to the edges of Western Europe is dying due to the use of approximately two million gallons of Corexit, plus several million gallons of other dispersants, which have caused the over two hundred million gallons of crude oil to mostly sink to the bottom of the ocean.
7 Dangerous New Computer Hacks (and 1 Silly One) that Will Change the Future – (io9 – August 5, 2010)
Every year computer security experts, from garage hackers to intelligence agents, descend on Las Vegas to attend Black Hat and Defcon. At these events, you can learn highly technical details about the Android operating system and Microsoft’s internal network – or you can learn how to fool biometric locks and crank call BP. These are the premiere conferences for exchanging information about keeping data secure. But they’re also where concerned geeks stand up in front of thousands of people to whistleblow about bad privacy and security practices at major companies (or governments). For all those reasons and more, announcements from last week’s conferences are certain to change the future – at least if you own a computer (including a phone) that’s attached to the internet.
Mind-controlled App Calls Your Friends with the Power of Thought – (The Next Web – August 5, 2010)
Nokia claims the ThinkContacts app it’s developing for Nokia N900’s Maemo platform allows a “motor disabled person to make a phone call to a desired contact by himself/herself,” using brainwaves. According to Nokia, a headset reads the user’s brainwaves, which are digitized and sent via Bluetooth to the phone, where the data is translated into the user’s “level of meditation” and “attention” for navigating between contacts and selecting one to call. (Note: Nokia does not present any data to validate its claims – but we have no doubt that sooner or later this will be possible.)
Mind-reading Marketers Have Ways of Making You Buy – (New Scientist – August 9, 2010)
In what may be a world first, this week’s cover of New Scientist was created with the help of a technique called neuromarketing, a marriage of market research and neuroscience that uses brain-imaging technology to peek into people’s heads and discover what they really want. You may find that sinister. Or perhaps you are skeptical and consider the idea laughable. But neuromarketing, once dismissed as a fad, is becoming part and parcel of modern consumer society. “I’ve been involved in market research for about 25 years,” says Thom Noble, managing director of NeuroFocus Europe. “Every few years a new methodology comes out. Frankly, they’re incrementally different. This is transformationally different.”
AUGMENTED/ ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Artificial Life Forms Evolve Basic Intelligence – (New Scientist – August 4, 2010)
For generations, the Avidians have been cloning themselves quietly in a box. They are the digital offspring of Charles Ofria and colleagues at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing. They “live” in a computer world called Avida, and replicate using strings of coded computer instructions instead of DNA. But in many ways they are similar to real life: they compete with each other for resources, replicate, mutate, and can evolve new traits to out-compete their rivals. Unlike microbes, their evolution can be stopped at any time, reversed, repeated, and the precise sequence of mutations that led to the new trait can be dissected. They – or things like them – might eventually evolve to become artificially intelligent life forms.
Innovator: Rob Wood – (Business Week – July 29, 2010)
As founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, Rob Wood is trying to identify the unique factors that make a variety of insects efficient. Then he’s figuring out ways to replicate those biological advantages in tiny robots. He and eight graduate students are working to build a menagerie of mechanical creatures, from bees to termites. They’re using the locomotion of cockroaches and centipedes as models for gizmos that can navigate any terrain, perhaps to seek out victims in earthquake rubble. They’re also studying the flap-and-glide of butterfly wings and the hovering of dragonflies to help them make tiny robots that can fly for miles.
Solar Roadways – (Solar Roadways website – no date)
The Solar Roadways company has made a section of road from the material that airline black boxes are made of and, in it, housed solar cells to collect energy, thereby creating a road that would pay for itself over time. They then said, “What if we added LEDs to “paint” the road lines from beneath, lighting up the road for safer night time driving? What if we added a heating element in the surface like the defrosting wire in the rear window of cars to prevent snow/ice accumulation in northern climates?” In 2009, the company received a contract from the Federal Highway Administration to build the first ever Solar Road Panel prototype.
Gasoline From Thin Air? – (ABC News – August 8, 2010)
An enzyme found in the roots of soybeans could be the key to cars that run on air. Vanadium nitrogenase, an enzyme that normally produces ammonia from nitrogen gas, can also convert carbon monoxide (CO), a common industrial byproduct, into propane. “This organism is a very common soil bacteria that is very well understood and has been studied for a long time,” said Markus Ribbe, a scientist at UC, Irvine. While scientists caution the research is still at an early stage, they say that this study could eventually lead to new, environmentally friendly ways to produce fuel — and eventually gasoline — from thin air.
In Crackdown on Energy Use, China to Shut 2,000 Factories – (New York Times- August 9, 2010)
Earlier this summer, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China promised to use an “iron hand” to improve his country’s energy efficiency, and a growing number of businesses are now discovering that it feels like a fist. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology quietly published a list of 2,087 steel mills, cement works and other energy-intensive factories required to close by Sept. 30. To prevent local obstruction to the closings, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site that the factories on its list would be barred from obtaining bank loans, export credits, business licenses and land. The ministry even warned that their electricity would be shut off, if necessary.
PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES
Humanity Needs to Start Farming Bugs for Food – (PopSci – August 2, 2010)
The raising of livestock consumes two-thirds of the planet’s farmland, and is a major source of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, tons of edible, sustainable protein swarms all around us, free for the taking. In a new policy paper being considered by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Belgian entomologist Arnold van Huis makes the sensible recommendation that the western world eat more insects. Farming edible insects like mealworms and crickets would produce far less greenhouse gas — 10 times less methane and 100 times less nitrous oxide — than the large mammals we currently farm. Insects are metabolically much more efficient, which makes them far cheaper to feed and raise; and, since they’re so biologically different from humans, they are less subject to contagious disease scares like mad cow.
TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring – (Wired – July 28, 2010)
The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time – and says it uses that information to predict the future. The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents – both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.” Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.
Cybercrime: Are Mobsters Planting Hackers in Big Companies? – (Christian Science Monitor – July 30, 2010)
That is just one finding of a cybercrime report recently released by Verizon. While cybercrime fell in 2009, the report noted that hackers are getting better at what they do. Unlike some cyberstudies which are based on surveys, Verizon’s annual cyberattack report analyzes more than 900 actual cases and 900 million stolen records over the past six years. That data set now includes US Secret Service cases added to the report this year. The richness of the data makes the Verizon report particularly closely watched within the industry. More than half of data breaches from 2004-2008 had “none” or “low” difficulty ratings. But the “scales tipped” last year with 60% now rated “moderate” or “high.”This raises concerns about the “advanced persistent threat,” or APT, in which deep-pocketed, highly sophisticated elite attackers steal proprietary data by gaining entry to corporate systems like those of Google or US oil companies.
TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT
Feds Admit Storing Checkpoint Body Scan Images – (CNet – August 4, 2010)
For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they’re viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that “scanned images cannot be stored or recorded.” Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse. This follows an earlier disclosure by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.” The TSA’s procurement specifications, classified as “sensitive security information,” require that in some modes the scanner must “allow exporting of image data in real time” and provide a mechanism for “high-speed transfer of image data” over the network.
Iran Targeted in Cyber Attack – (War in Context – August 5, 2010)
Last September, Reuters reported: “Israel has been developing “cyber-war” capabilities that could disrupt Iranian industrial and military control systems. Few doubt that covert action, by Mossad agents on the ground, also features in tactics against Iran.” Now it seems, such an attack may have occurred in recent months. “Looks like this malware was made for espionage,” was the assessment of industry analyst Frank Boldewin when describing the recently discovered computer worm, known has Stuxnet, a particular trojan that had its greatest impact in Iran. It targets management systems that control energy utilities, transportation, and other vital systems. Stuxnet is, according to Andy Greenberg, “the first publicly-known threat, aside from occasional unattributed reports, to target Iran’s long-vulnerable infrastructure systems.” As such, the most likely instigator of such an attack would be a hostile government. The question is: which government? Israel and/or the United States have to be the prime suspects.
GPS Trackers Secretly Placed in Unilever Laundry Detergent Boxes – (Natural News – August 2, 2010)
It’s part of Unilever’s new marketing campaign to entice consumers in Brazil to purchase more boxes of Omo laundry detergent. The GPS trackers, you see, are only embedded in prize winning boxes of Omo detergent. If you happen to buy one of these GPS tracked boxes, Unilever agents suddenly show up at your door with a video camera crew and a prize. This is not merely an RFID tracking tag, but something far more technically advanced: Unilever is inserting GPS tracking transmitters (basically a transponder) into the boxes of Omo detergent, and additional circuitry allows two-way communication so that Unilever agents can remotely set off a beeper in the detergent box.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
Antarctica Experiment Discovers Puzzling Space Ray Pattern – (Yahoo News – July 30, 2010)
Cosmic rays are highly energetic particles streaming in from space that are thought to originate in the distant remnants of dead stars. But it turns out these particles are not arriving uniformly from all directions. A new study detected an overabundance of cosmic rays coming from one part of the sky, and a lack of cosmic rays coming from another. This odd pattern was detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, an experiment still under construction that is actually intended to detect other exotic particles called neutrinos.
Abandon Earth or Face Extinction, Stephen Hawking Warns – (Fox News – August 9, 2010)
It’s time to abandon Earth, warned the world’s most famous theoretical physicist. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” he said. “But I’m an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space.”
Mysterious Glow from the Milky Way Decoded – (Daily Galaxy – August 4, 2010)
Scientists have been puzzled by a mysterious infrared glow from the Milky Way and other galaxies, radiating from dusty regions in deep space. By duplicating the harsh conditions of space in their laboratories and computers, scientists have identified the mystifying infrared emiters as PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons that are a ubiquitous component of organic matter in space) that are probably produced by carbon-rich, giant stars. “A similar process produces soots here on Earth,” said Louis Allamandola, an astrochemistry researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Churchill Ordered UFO Cover-up, National Archives Show – (BBC News – August 5, 2010)
The latest batch of UFO files released from the UK Ministry of Defence to the National Archives shows that, in 1957, the committee received reports detailing an average of one UFO sighting a week and the government took the threat of UFOs so seriously in the 1950s that UK intelligence chiefs met to discuss the issue, newly-released files show. The files also include an account of a wartime meeting attended by Winston Churchill in which, it is claimed, the prime minister was so concerned about a reported encounter between a UFO and RAF bombers, that he ordered it be kept secret for at least 50 years to prevent “mass panic”.
Dwindling Retirement Savings ‘Undiscussed Explosive Bomb’ of Recession – (Huffington Post – July 31, 2010)
Retirement statistics are grim. The percentage of American workers who said they have less than $10,000 in savings grew to 43% in 2010, according to a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Nearly a quarter of the workforce said they have postponed their planned retirement in the past year and a CareerBuilder.com survey reports that 61% of workers say they are now living paycheck to paycheck, as compared to 43% in 2007. With rapidly dwindling savings and fewer opportunities for jobs than their younger counterparts, many older Americans are facing a very uncertain economic future.
China Banks See Risks in 23% of Local Loans – (Bloomberg – July 26, 2010)
The China Banking Regulatory Commission has told banks to write off non-performing project loans by the end of this year. The estimate implies $261 billion of debt may go sour, almost five times the $53.5 billion the nation’s five largest banks are raising to replenish capital. China’s banks advanced a record $1.4 trillion of credit last year to support the economy, raising concern that bad loans will surge and force the government to add to the more than $650 billion spent to clean up the banking industry since 1999. Lending hasn’t slowed as much as official data suggests because Chinese banks are shifting loans off balance sheets by repackaging them into investment products that are sold to investors. “The growing popularity of this activity is increasingly distorting credit growth figures at an institutional and system level,” Fitch Ratings analyst Charlene Chu wrote. “Consequently, Chinese banks’ loan loss reserves and capital are more exposed to credit losses than current data suggests.”
Five Myths about the Bush Tax Cuts – (Washington Post – August 1, 2010)
The tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, known as the Bush tax cuts, are set to expire Dec. 31. The cuts lowered tax rates across the board on income, dividends and capital gains; eventually eliminated the estate tax; further lowered burdens on married couples, parents and the working poor; and increased tax credits for education and retirement savings. Stepping quietly beyond the noise coming from Capital Hill, here is an analysis of the tax cuts as computed by several nonpartisan economists, including the Congressional Budget Office.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – articles off the beaten track which may – or may not – have predictive value.
The Empathic Civilization – (Rachel Maddow Show – May 28, 2010)
A 10 minute video clip that offers the best argument we’ve seen for the “new human”. If you aren’t familiar with mirror neurons, this is particularly worth your time.
Churchgoers, Strippers Protest One Another in Coshocton County – (Columbus Dispatch – August 9, 2010)
Inside the New Beginnings Ministries church, Pastor Dunfee’s worshippers wore polyester and pearls. Outside, club owner Tommy George’s strippers wore bikinis and belly rings. Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his congregation have stood watch over George’s joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers’ license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes. Now, the dancers have turned the tables, so to speak. Fed up with the tactics of Dunfee and his flock, they say they have finally accepted his constant invitation to come to church. It’s just that they’ve come wearing see-through shorts and toting Super Soakers. Greg Flaig, the executive director of the Ohio Owners Coalition, a group of showbar and club owners, called the women’s protest extraordinary, saying he’s never heard of anything like it in the country.
Market Data Firm Spots the Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders – (Atlantic – August 4, 2010)
Mysterious and possibly nefarious trading algorithms are operating every minute of every day in the nation’s stock exchanges. The trading bots aren’t doing anything that could be construed to help the market. Unknown entities for unknown reasons are sending thousands of orders a second through the electronic stock exchanges with no intent to actually trade. Often, the buy or sell prices that they are offering are so far from the market price that there’s no way they’d ever be part of a trade. The bots sketch out odd patterns with their orders, leaving patterns in the data that are largely invisible to market participants. In fact, it’s hard to figure out exactly what they’re up to or gauge their impact. Are they doing something illicit? If so, what? Or do the patterns emerge spontaneously, a kind of mechanical accident? If so, why? No matter what the answers to these questions turn out to be, we’re witnessing a market phenomenon that is not easily explained. And it’s really bizarre.
A FINAL QUOTE…
“…If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.” – Arthur C. Clarke
A special thanks to: Tom Burgin, Bernard Calil, Kevin Clark, Ken Dabkowski, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, A. J. Gevaerd, Penny Kelly, Kurzweil AI, Phillip Nelson, Diane Petersen, Bobbie Rohn, Paul Saffo, Cory Shreckengost, Joel Snell, Gary Sycalik 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.
Edited by John L. Petersen