Volume 13, Number 18 – 9/30/10

Volume 13, Number 18 – 9/30/10


  • NASA scientists say they may have discovered a new force of nature, after research showed two of their deep space probes were being inexplicably pulled off course.
  • Combining cotton fibers, polymers and a solvent to form a liquid that becomes a fabric when sprayed, spray-on clothing is now a fashion reality.
  • A precision, military-grade cyber missile was deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – its originator and target still unknown.
  • An estimated 250 million people become infected with malaria each year. Now, a new study finds that most of these human infections might trace back to one infected gorilla.

by John L. Petersen

Love Begets Love

Individual emotions, left alone, contemplated, or given free reign, proliferate – they generate the breeding ground for more of themselves.  If you’re happy, that perspective becomes the base for seeing joy in many aspects of the events that emerge throughout one’s day.  If one is fearful about a potential event that might happen, then the ground is fertilized for that apprehension to lie in the bottom of oneself and in some way color the outlook of everything else.  It may not dominate things, but it inhibits the full expression of who one might be.

These emotional conditions are, at a certain level, mutually exclusive.  This is particularly the case with corrosive feelings like fear, hate and anger.  One cannot truly be joyful at the same time as being fearful.  You cannot be hateful and happy at the same time.  You are either truly light or you are somewhat heavy.  One only needs to remember how a “concern” chews at the mind, influences other aspects of life, and shapes one’s outlook to know that it’s hard to be happy if other things “seem” not to be working.

In a very real way, fears, concerns, anger and other such emotions, (regardless what “seems not to be working”), show us that we are not fully living in the present.   If we were doing so, we would be quite unattached to a potentially negative possibility that just “might” happen.  It just might not, so being concerned produces no discernable benefit (just like excited anticipation really doesn’t make a good thing happen in any particular way).  The idea is to live now, not in the past or the future.

This whole thing is also about faith – confidence that the universe (or the Source, or whatever you want to call it), with all of its extraordinary capabilities and possibilities, can certainly find a way to effectively juggle those issues that we seem to think are important and produce an outcome that we like.  If one really believes in the intelligence, resources, and benign, loving nature of the environment in which we live, it’s impossible to conger up any situation that might not turn out to be quite positive – even without our personal intervention.

So, love begets love.  Fear begets fear.  Joy begets joy.   The principle is clear, is it not?  If you want more love in the world, you should love a lot – you should spread it around.  Plant it everywhere and allow it to grow.  If you’re happy and loving, you’ll not only be taken care of, but there are good indications that that state is by far the most fertile for producing our most abundant and positive futures.

The larger lesson here is that it is only when we, as individuals and as groups, learn to consistently live in a space of happiness and proliferating love, will we be able to change not only ourselves, but our world.  It’s like a virus – if we start to broadcast love and happiness we’ll be contagious – it will change those around us.   It will infect the rest of the human organism.  If we do it right, everyone will become sick with love . . . which is not all bad.  (Well, probably not everyone – but enough to make a really big difference.)

What I’m proposing is not particularly easy.  We live in a world full of institutions, conventions and common perspectives that try to assert control over various aspects of our lives, often specifically arguing for behavior and constraints that are antithetical to love and happiness.  They tell us what we should and shouldn’t do and then generate fear about painful implications that will certainly materialize if we don’t do as they say.  Whether it is the government, society, religions, families, advertisers, employers, or those pitching concepts and ideas (like academics and pundits), more often than not their basic objective is to change what you naturally might otherwise want to do or think.   Rather than being open, enabling  and encouraging they want you to do what they think is right.  It’s about control.

The first step of moving out of this space is therefore to understand that one cannot go to a different place without moving.  If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’.  If your approach to life is essentially defined by others – remaining the product all of the institutions and messages that are telling you what you should and shouldn’t do – then that’s what you will be: defined by others.  Alternatively, each of us can begin decide to think for ourselves, letting our behavior be essentially shaped by feelings like love and happiness.

Some might find this simplistic, idealistic, and naïve.  But that’s only if you look at it from the perspective of the way the current world works.  If you think things will never change or are unchangeable, then you’re right.  But, if your objective is to consider how we might rise to a new level of humanity and society, then the old way of looking at things will, by definition, be unenlightened.  We need a new framework.

It’s more complicated than I have space to here to explicate, but my guess is that this fresh mindset would result in a new set of principles for society – for humans living together.  What could well emerge would be a commitment to things like cooperation, sustainability, interdependence or oneness, personal development, and resilience, et. al., concepts that we find familiar but, in this case they would be wrapped in a new semantic context.  Since our problems are a direct derivative of how we see ourselves and our world, seen through the lens of love and happiness, this paradigm would explain ourselves and our world in a radically different way that would undermine many of the biggest issues that we have today.

If we change our mindset, we change our world.

Perhaps a step in the right direction might be a variation on the old principle that has deep validity for groups of individuals trying to effectively live with each other: live and let live.  There’s a new corollary: love and let love.


Why Facebook, Twitter and Jurors Don’t Mix – (Daily Finance – September 12, 2010)
Social networks have come to the courts and the results haven’t been pretty at times. One juror was recently fined $250 and made to write a six-page essay on the Sixth Amendment which guarantees the right to a speedy and fair trial by a Michigan court for posting on her Facebook page that she thought the defendant was guilty – before the defense had even presented its case. This is not an isolated incident.  Jurors have probably always broken the injunction not to discuss the cases on which they serve – but now they’re blabbing on-line and getting caught.


NASA Discovers New Force of Nature – (MSN News – September 20, 2010)
NASA scientists say they may have discovered a new force of nature, after research showed two of their deep space probes were being inexplicably pulled off course. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, which have been in space for over 40 years, are being steadily pulled towards the sun by an unknown power. The scientists said it could not be gravity or solar radiation, as they decreased over distance. They have also discounted gas leaks and nuclear heat leaks from the satellites.

Manipulating Time – China’s Extraordinary Human Potential Research – (Super Consciousness – September 26, 2010)
Human ability that defies the known laws of physics has long been of interest not only to the U.S. government, but to other countries as well. During the Cold War years, western intelligence agencies were primarily scope-locked on Russia as a defensive target. However, China was also very active in identifying and exploiting those who exhibited extraordinary skills. In the decades since, hundreds of elite, specially trained researchers from a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines within China’s technical Universities have studied the physical phenomena generated by this unique group of people affectionately known as EHF’s or, “Exceptional Human Functions.” The EHF’s excel in the ability to manipulate matter non-locally through intensely focused thought. One famous woman in China known for her life-long abilities, Ms. Chulin Sun, puts herself into a deep trance state in which it is observed that she moves into a different time/space. Within this trance, she is able to advance the time required for sprouting dry seeds from their usual 3 to 4 days to a mere 10 minutes, generating a sprout growth of 3 to 4 inches. Genetic samples analyzed from these ‘mind-interfaced’ sprouts show a marked change in their genetic structure.

Time Likely to End within Earth’s Lifespan, Say Physicists – (Technology Review – September 28, 2010)
There is a 50% chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years, according to a new model of the universe. A group of physicists are rebelling against the idea of an infinitely expanding universe. They say it cannot be so because the laws of physics do not work in an infinite cosmos. For these laws to make any sense, the universe must end, say Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley and few pals. Their argument is deceptively simple and surprisingly powerful: If the universe lasts forever, then any event that can happen, will happen, no matter how unlikely. In fact, this event will happen an infinite number of times. This leads to a problem. When there are an infinite number of instances of every possible observation, it becomes impossible to determine the probabilities of any of these events occurring. And when that happens, the laws of physics simply don’t apply. They just break down. In effect, these guys are saying that the laws of physics abhor an eternal universe.


Ecstasy Triumphs over Agony: MDMA Helps with Recovery from Trauma – (Scientific American – September, 2010)
In dance clubs the drug called “ecstasy” is known as a potent (and illegal) way of enhancing your senses and boosting your mood. Now a study published online in July in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests that when coupled with psychotherapy, the drug might also be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.  South Carolina psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer, along with his co-therapist and wife, Annie Mithoefer, ran the trial with 21 participants who had developed chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD as a result of experiences with crime or war. Two months after the treatment fewer than 17% of the MDMA-treated subjects continued to qualify for a diagnosis of PTSD, as opposed to 75% of the subjects who received a placebo. PTSD patients often have a narrow window between thresholds of underarousal and overarousal. If MDMA widens this window, allowing patients to stay emotionally engaged while revisiting trau­matic experiences, then it may catalyze effective exposure therapy.

Genetic Scars of the Holocaust – (Time – September 9, 2010)
Psychologists have long been intrigued by the emotional profile of so-called second-generation Holocaust survivors. Over the years, a large body of work has been devoted to studying PTSD symptoms in second-generation survivors, and it has found signs of the condition in their behavior and even their blood — with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, for example. The assumption — a perfectly reasonable one — was always that these symptoms were essentially learned. Now a new paper adds another dimension to the science, suggesting that it’s not just a second generation’s emotional profile that can be affected by a parent’s trauma; it may be their genes too.

More Evidence Links a Virus to Obesity, This Time in Children – (Los Angeles Times – September 21, 2010)
New evidence indicates that children who are exposed to a virus called adenovirus-36 are more likely to be obese than those who are not exposed to it, and to be heavier than other obese kids who were not exposed to it, researchers said this week. The virus, known informally as Ad-36, is one of about 55 adenoviruses that are known to cause colds and is the only member of the family to be linked to obesity. But it is one of 10 bacteria and viruses that have been associated with a propensity for putting on plural poundage. Animal species have been shown to gain weight after being infected with Ad-36. Previous studies have shown that about 30% of obese adults have antibodies to Ad-36, compared with only 11% of those who are not obese.

Adult Stem Cells That Do Not Age Overcome a Major Barrier to Progress in Regenerative Medicine – (University of Buffalo – September 22, 2010)
Biomedical researchers at the University at Buffalo have engineered adult stem cells that scientists can grow continuously in culture, a discovery that could speed development of cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. UB scientists created the new cell lines – named “MSC Universal” – by genetically altering mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can differentiate into cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, and beta-pancreatic islet cells.

Fiber Optic Interface to Link Robotic Limbs, Human Brain – (Kurzeil AI, September 10, 2010)
DARPA has funded the Neurophotonics Research Center at Southern Methodist University to develop two-way fiber optic communication between prosthetic limbs and peripheral nerves. This connection will be key to operating realistic robotic arms, legs and hands that not only move like the real thing, but also “feel” sensations like pressure and heat. Successful completion of the fiber optic link will allow for sending signals seamlessly back and forth between the brain and artificial limbs, allowing amputees revolutionary freedom of movement and agility.

Malaria in Humans Traced to One Infected Gorilla – (Live Science – September 22, 2010)
An estimated 250 million people become infected with malaria each year and nearly a million die from it, according to the World Health Organization. Now, a new study finds that most of these human infections might trace back to one infected gorilla. The study, published in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Nature, used a genetic analysis of the parasites that cause malaria found in primate feces to create an evolutionary family tree for the disease. The parasite most closely related to human malaria came from gorillas, the researchers found, and may have made the leap from animal to human host in a single mosquito bite.

Painless Laser Device Could Spot Early Signs of Disease – (BBC News – September 26, 2010)
Within five years, portable devices with painless laser beams could replace X-rays as a non-invasive way to diagnose disease. Raman spectroscopy is the measurement of the intensity and wavelength of scattered light from molecules. The method could help spot the early signs of breast cancer, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Scientists believe that the technology would make the diagnosis of illnesses faster, cheaper and more accurate.

Cell Technique Works without Embryos – (Washington Post – October 1, 2010)
Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a long-sought step toward bypassing the moral morass surrounding one of the most promising fields in medicine. Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston have demonstrated that synthetic biological signals can quickly reprogram ordinary skin cells into entities that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then turn those cells into ones that could be used for transplants.


Water Map Shows Billions at Risk of Water Insecurity – (BBC News – September 29, 2010)
About 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure, according to a new global analysis. Researchers compiled a composite index of “water threats” that includes issues such as scarcity and pollution. The most severe threat category encompasses 3.4 billion people.

Freshwater Turtles Face Bleak Future – (BBC News – September 10, 2010)
According to a new analysis by Conservation International, more than a third of the estimated 280 species around the world are now threatened with extinction. The unsustainable collection of turtles for food and to supply a lucrative pet trade are the key drivers behind the fall in numbers. Habitat loss as a result of river-damming for hydro-electricity is another major concern. These animals take 15-20 years to reach maturity and then live for another 30-40 years, putting a clutch of eggs in the ground every year. But if they are killed or removed before they’ve reached 15 and can reproduce, it all ends there.

Huge Windstorm Spawns New Classification: ‘Super Derecho’ – (MSNBC – September 12, 2010)
A derecho (from the Spanish adverb for “straight”) is a long-lived windstorm that forms in a straight line – unlike the swirling winds of a tornado – and is associated with what’s known as a bow echo, a line of severe thunderstorms. The term “derecho” was first used over a century ago to describe a storm in Iowa. Across the United States there are generally one to three derecho events each year. The May 8, 2009, derecho, that swept across Kansas, Missouri and Illinois however, was in a league of its own. An intense vortex and eye-like structure similar to what forms at the center of tropical cyclones (the generic name for tropical storms and hurricanes) appeared in the bow echo, said study team member Clark Evans of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colo.

One-fifth of World’s Plants at Risk of Extinction – (BBC News – September 29, 2010)
Researchers have sampled almost 4,000 plant species, and conclude that 22% should be classified as “threatened” – the same alarming rate as for mammals. A further 33% of species were too poorly understood to be assessed. The study, known as the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, is an attempt to provide the most accurate assessment so far. Previous studies have focused on the most threatened plants or particular regions. This one instead sampled species from each of the five main groups of plants, and its authors argue that as a result, their conclusions are more credible.

Evidence of Solar Scientists Raise Fears of Imminent Ice Age – (Suite 101 – September 23, 2010)
New study by American solar experts identifies a sharp fall in sunspot activity since 2007 that fits the hallmarks of a soon arriving ice age. Solar scientists, not to be confused with climate scientists, study the most important heat engine driving our planet’s temperatures-the sun. Since the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 the talk has been about global warming. But 22 years on the evidence has grown to raise fears of a catastrophic climate switch in the opposite direction. We look at the evidence that is raising some very serious questions in the scientific community.

Aren’t We Clever? – (New York Times – September 18, 2010)
While American Republicans were turning climate change into a wedge issue, the Chinese Communists were turning it into a work issue. And because runaway pollution in China means wasted lives, air, water, ecosystems and money – and wasted money means fewer jobs and more political instability – China’s leaders would never go a year (like we will) without energy legislation mandating new ways to do more with less. It’s a three-for-one shot for them. By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change. So while America’s Republicans turned “climate change” into a four-letter word – J-O-K-E – China’s Communists also turned it into a four-letter word – J-O-B-S.

Chernobyl Plant Life Endures Radioactivity – (BBC News – September 20, 2010)
Scientists have uncovered mechanisms that allow plants to thrive in highly radioactive environments like Chernobyl. They analyzed seeds from soybean and flax grown near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor which exploded in 1986. One of the researchers speculates that such mechanisms could trace back millions of years, when early life forms were exposed to higher levels of natural radiation.

Magnetic Pole Reversal in Progress – (IQXS – September 16, 2010)
New stats on the Earth’s magnetic pole shifts show a vastly faster time sequence than was previously known. What was not mentioned was all that goes with such events. Current evidence suggests we are now approaching one of these transitional states because the main magnetic field is relatively weak and rapidly decreasing. While the last polarity reversal occurred several hundred thousand years ago, the next might come within only a few thousand years, conceivably even within our lifetime.

Rachel Sussman: The World’s Oldest Living Organisms – (TED – September, 2010)
Rachel Sussman is on a quest to celebrate the resilience of life by identifying and photographing continuous-living organisms that are 2,000 years or older, all around the world – — from 2,000-year-old brain coral off Tobago’s coast to an “underground forest” in South Africa that has lived since before the dawn of agriculture. While these organisms’ longevity dwarfs even that of human civilization, they all depend on ecosystems in fine balance – a balance thrown into question by human encroachment and climate change.

Water Use in Southwest Heads for a Day of Reckoning – (New York Times – September 27, 2010)
Barring a sudden end to the Southwest’s 11-year drought, the distribution of the river’s dwindling bounty is likely to be reordered as early as next year because the flow of water cannot keep pace with the region’s demands. For the first time, federal estimates issued in August indicate that Lake Mead, the heart of the lower Colorado basin’s water system – irrigating lettuce, onions and wheat in reclaimed corners of the Sonoran Desert, and lawns and golf courses from Las Vegas to Los Angeles – could drop below a crucial demarcation line of 1,075 feet. If it does, that will set in motion a temporary distribution plan approved in 2007 by the seven states with claims to the river and by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, and water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada would be reduced.


See Your Brain in Action – (PLX Wave website – no date)
The “XWave” is a headset that connects to an iphone, ipod touch or ipad. It senses the faintest electrical impulses transmitted through your skull to the surface of your forehead and converts these analog signals into digital. With XWave, you will be able to detect attention and meditation levels, as well as train your mind to control things. Objects in a game can be controlled, lights in your living room can change color depending on your mood; the possibilities are limited to only the power of your imagination.


Innovator: Phil Denby – (Business Week – September 9, 2010)
A British scientist thinks he can make solar cells that could power entire buildings out of nanoparticles. His company, EnSol, now has a patent pending for a transparent spray that can be applied to windows similar to the way a tint is applied to car windshields and sunglasses.


Stuxnet Malware is ‘Weapon’ out to Destroy … Iran’s Nuclear Plant? – (Christian Science Monitor – September 21, 2010)
Stuxnet is essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown. The appearance of Stuxnet created a ripple of amazement among computer security experts. Too large, too encrypted, too complex to be immediately understood, it can take control of a computer system without the user taking any action or clicking any button other than inserting an infected memory stick. Experts say it took a massive expenditure of time, money, and software engineering talent to identify and exploit such vulnerabilities in industrial control software systems. In a related article, located here, Siemens said that since July 15, when it first learnt about Stuxnet, 15 of its customers had reported being infected by the worm. The company would not name the customers but said that five were in Germany and the rest were spread around the world. Siemens said critical infrastructure had not been affected by the virus and in each case the worm had been removed. It has also provided all its customers with a downloadable anti-virus patch.

US Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet – (New York Times – September 27, 2010)
Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications – including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype – to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.


Alcohol Lobby Openly Spending Against CA’s Legal Pot Initiative in Alliance with Police – (AlterNet – September 17, 2010)
According to the California Secretary of State’s office, the beer lobby donated $10,000 to Public Safety First on September 7, 2010. The donation came just days before PSF issued an online mailing alleging that the passage of Prop. 19 — which would legalize the private adult use and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis, and allow local governments the option of regulating its commercial production and retail distribution — would inevitably lead to stoned school bus drivers and crossing guards, and will cause California public schools to “lose as much as $9.4 billion in federal funding.” (Needless to say, passage of the measure would do none of these things.)

The Illusion of Pension Savings – (New York Times – September 17, 2010)
Earlier this year, Illinois said it had found a way to save billions of dollars by slashing the pensions of workers it had not yet hired. The real-world savings would not materialize for decades, but thanks to an actuarial trick, the state could start counting the savings this year and use it to help balance its budget. Alarmed, actuaries began looking for a way to discourage Illinois’s method before other states could adopt it. They are too late. The maneuver, and techniques that have similar effects, are already in use in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas and a number of other places. “Responsible funding methods do not work this way,” said Jeremy Gold, an independent actuary in New York who has been outspoken about the distortions built into pension numbers.


Reality Check: Iran Is Not a Nuclear Threat – (Christian Science Monitor – September 19, 2010)
Politicians, lobbyists, and propagandists have spent nearly two decades pushing the lie that Iran poses a nuclear weapons threat to the United States and Israel. After a brief respite in the intensity of the wolf cries over the past two years, the neoconservative movement has decided to relaunch the “Must Bomb Iran” brand. On September 6, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a new paper on the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement which reported that the agency has “continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran to any military or other special purpose.” Yet despite the IAEA report and clear assertions to the contrary, news articles that followed were dishonest to the extreme, interpreting this clean bill of health as just another wisp of smoke indicating nuclear fire in a horrifying near-future.


Spread Your Love – by Hamed Kohan – (Designboom – September 25, 2010)
This playful tire design was created for the Seoul Cycle Design Competition by the Iranian designer, Hamed EKohan and is one of the shortlisted design entries from more than 3000 participants. The tire design features heart-shaped knobs that create playful tracks on the streets. A series of corresponding bike racks are distributed throughout the city. In the designer’s own words: ‘simple as love, strong as love.’

Immigration Backlash Spreads in Europe – (Reuters – September 19, 2010)
Listing country by country, this article surveys the recent political sentiments against immigration in Europe.


UFOs Visited Nuclear Weapons Sites Former Air Force Officers Say – (AOL News – September 21, 2010)
UFOs have monitored and possibly tampered with US nuclear weapons according to a group of Air Force officers who have made their claims public at a Washington, DC news conference. “The Air Force is lying about national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it.” said ICBM launch officer, Capt. Robert Salas.

The International Space Station Comes Together –(USA Today – no date)
In this animated flash clip, watch the pieces of the International Space Station be connected as they are sent up from Earth, piece by piece over 12 years. Click on items on the right side-bar to see what each curious-looking part actually is and does.


World Mapper – (World Mapper website – no date)
Most maps let you see where places are. These maps let you see where people are. Choose a “people category.” Ask where rich people are, poor people are; ask which country has the most internet users, chicken exporters, people killed by extreme temperatures (map 253) and this site has an animated map for that. In these maps, countries with a great percentage of whatever swell in size. It’s a great way to grasp which countries are above and below average in terms of almost anything.

3-D Printing Spurs a Manufacturing Revolution – (New York Times – September 13, 2010)
A 3-D printer, which has nothing to do with paper printers, creates an object by stacking one layer of material – typically plastic or metal – on top of another, much the same way a pastry chef makes baklava with sheets of phyllo dough. The technology has been radically transformed from its origins as a tool used by manufacturers and designers to build prototypes. These days it is giving rise to a string of never-before-possible businesses that are selling iPhone cases, lamps, doorknobs, jewelry, handbags, perfume bottles, clothing and architectural models. Bespoke Innovations is using advances in a technology known as 3-D printing to create prosthetic limb casings wrapped in embroidered leather, shimmering metal or whatever else someone might want.

Real Spray-on Clothes – (New Scientist – September 17, 2010)
Forget weaving and stitching clothes. A new material could be sprayed directly onto your body and have you ready to go out in minutes. Particle engineer Paul Luckham and fashion designer Manel Torres from Imperial College London combined cotton fibers, polymers and a solvent to form a liquid that becomes a fabric when sprayed. The material can be built up in layers to create a garment of your desired thickness and can also be washed and worn again like conventional fabrics.


The China Cycle – (Financial Times – September 12, 2010)
Last year, China overtook the US to become Brazil’s biggest trading partner. The two large developing countries may be on opposite sides of the planet but their growing economic ties over the past decade have become among the enduring symbols of shifts in the global economy. China is becoming the anchor for a new cycle of self-sustaining economic development between Asia and the rest of the developing world – one that is bypassing the economies of Europe and the US. Beijing has for some years been investing in this way in parts of Africa: now such deals are being rolled out around the world. For many developing countries, the impact of the China boom is coming full circle.

A Caveat on That Drop in Credit Card Debt – (Washington Post – September 19, 2010)
If you look at recent reports, it does appear that people are pulling back from plastic and becoming more frugal. However, CardHub’s analysis found that credit card debt for the second quarter of this year decreased by about $12 billion compared with the previous quarter. But banks charged off $21.8 billion during the same period. Given that the drop in outstanding debt is smaller than the dollar amount that was charged off, the difference of $9.8 billion is the amount of new debt consumers accumulated. These findings give a more realistic view of how seriously the recession has crippled consumers. The charge-offs also indicate that many banks are continuing to experience deep losses, and this is one of the reasons why credit is still tight. It’s why many lenders have been cutting people’s credit limits.


The Meaning of the Koran – (New York Times – September 14, 2010)
For the sake of any self-appointed guardians of Judeo-Christian civilization who might still harbor plans to burn the Koran, this editorial would like people to be aware of everything that would go up in smoke: both the “darker” passages that might be described as anti-Semitic or anti-Christian but also the passages that stress interfaith harmony. Why do people tend to hear only one side of the story? A common explanation is that the digital age makes it easy to wall yourself off from inconvenient data, to spend your time in ideological “cocoons,” to hang out at blogs where you are part of a choir that gets preached to. This side of human nature is generally labeled a bad thing, and it’s true that it sponsors a lot of bigotry, strife and war. But, this editorial argues: it also has its upside.

Schoolgirl with Magnetic Hands – (Dateline Zero – September 12, 2010)
Ten-year-old Serbian schoolgirl, Jelena Momcilov, has been picking up cutlery, coins and even metal furniture by just touching them at her family home in Zeljusa, since she first discovered her powers five years ago. Edward Meyer, vice president of exhibits and archives at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, speaking about the recent numbers of people who have unexplainable ‘magnetic’ activity, said: “We’ve got archives dating back almost 100 years now, and I don’t recall ever seeing it till up until 10 years ago. So what we can safely say is that there’s a few of these out there, and it’s something that deserves a little more attention and explanation.”

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

Electron Microscopic Images of Insects – (Telegraph – no date)
Just so you know what you’re up against: check out the images of the cat’s flea, dog’s flea and bedbug!  These creatures — that look as though they are out of sci-fi cartoon-nightmares — are shown here in actual photographs (which have been colored to highlight details).


Senate Considered Banning Dial Phones in 1930 – (Impact Lab – September 23, 2010)
From the Congressional Record: “Therefore be it resolved that the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is authorized and directed to order the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. to replace with manual phones within 30 days after the adoption of this resolution, all dial telephones in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol and in the Senate office building.” A reminder of how progressive and receptive to change our elected leaders have been in the past. – JLP


“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

A special thanks to: Kenton Anderson, Bernard Calil, Jackie Capell, Kevin Clark, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Kurzweil AI, Diane Petersen, T. Roberts, Stu Rose, Joel Snell, Nova Spivak 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

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