Volume 14, Number 17 – 9/15/11

Volume 14, Number 17 – 9/15/11Twitter   Facebook



  • A team from Glasgow University aims to create self-replicating, evolving inorganic cells which could be used in medicine and chemistry.
  • 2011’s Arctic Sea Ice Minimum is the smallest in recorded history, coming in under the previous lowest Minimum in September of 2007.
  • New technology has enabled the creation of the first computer mouse with full scanner capability.
  • According to the WHO, three-quarters of the medical devices given by rich countries to developing nations remain unused because they are inappropriate. What is needed is not “low tech” but “different tech”.

by John L. Petersen

The Next Three Years

Where are we going? What’s going to happen in the next three years? I’ve produced a DVD of a presentation that I gave recently that addresses just those topics. Many FE readers have ordered these discs and have sent along very nice comments about how they’ve been helped by watching them.

This 2.5 hour, two-DVD presentation weaves the predictions and explanations about what is happening in the galaxy, solar system and planet from five different “unconventional” sources and then shows where NASA and other more conventional sources confirm that we have entered a period of change unlike anything previously seen before by our species. The talk addresses the following questions:

  • What is happening on our planet now?
  • Why is all of this change taking place?
  • What kind of human and world could result from this shift?
  • What are the implications for you?
  • What can you do about preparing yourself for this change?

Since putting this together, I have had repeated indications from a number of new sources that suggest that the essential dynamics of what this presentation proposes is correct. I think that you’d find the integrated perspective to be provocative and useful.

We’ve had really great response to our making this presentation available and I’d be happy to send one to you. You can order the DVDs here or by clicking on the banner above.


Closed, Says Google, but Shops’ Signs Say Open – (New York Times – September 5, 2011)
In recent months, plenty of perfectly healthy businesses across the country have expired – sometimes for hours, other times for weeks – though only in the online realm cataloged and curated by Google. The reason is that it is surprisingly easy to report a business as closed in Google Places, the search giant’s version of the local Yellow Pages. When Google created Places it had an eminently sensible type of crowd-sourcing in mind. The site contains millions of listings, and when owners close without updating their profile, the job falls to customers to keep information current. But like any open system, this one can be abused. Search engine consultants say that “closing” a business on Google has become an increasingly common tactic among unscrupulous competitors. Nobody is quite sure how prevalent these sham closings have become.

Network Analysis Reveals “Super Entity” of Corporate Global Control – (Planet Save – August 31, 2011)
In the first such analysis ever conducted, Swiss economic researchers have conducted a global network analysis of the most powerful transnational corporations (TNCs). Their results have revealed a core of 787 firms with control of 80% of this network, and a “super entity” comprised of 147 corporations that have a controlling interest in 40% of the network’s TNCs. The study found that “transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control ?ows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic “super-entity” that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.” Article includes a ranking of the top 50 “control holders”. Except for Walton Enterprises, (the family held company that owns approximately 1.68 billions shares of Wal-Mart) and a few entities that are huge conglomerates, all of the top 50 companies are in the banking/finance/insurance sector.


Glasgow University in Bid to Create Inorganic Life – (BBC News – September 12, 2011)
All life on earth is based on organic biology – in the form of carbon compounds – but the inorganic world is considered to be inanimate. A team from Glasgow University has demonstrated a new way of making inorganic chemical cells. The aim is to create self-replicating, evolving inorganic cells which could be used in medicine and chemistry. Project lead, Professor Lee Cronin, said: “What we are trying do is create self-replicating, evolving, inorganic cells that would essentially be alive. You could call it inorganic biology.” He added, “If successful this would give us some incredible insights into evolution and show that it’s not just a biological process. It would also mean that we would have proven that non carbon-based life could exist and totally redefine our ideas of design.”


Neurosurgeons Use Adult Stem Cells to Grow Neck Vertebrae – (Science Daily – September 6, 2011)
Neurosurgery researchers at UC Davis Health System have used a new, leading-edge stem cell therapy to promote the growth of bone tissue following the removal of cervical discs – the cushions between the bones in the neck – to relieve chronic, debilitating pain. The procedure used bone marrow-derived adult stem cells to promote the growth of the bone tissue essential for spinal fusion following surgery. Spinal fusion is used following surgery for degenerative disc disease, where the cushioning cartilage has worn away, leaving bone to rub against bone and herniated discs, where the discs pinch or compress nerves.

Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer – (New York Times – August 13, 2011)
A treatment described recently in The New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, may signify a turning point in the long struggle to develop effective gene therapies against cancer. And not just for leukemia patients: other cancers may also be vulnerable to this novel approach – which employs a disabled form of H.I.V.-1, the virus that causes AIDS, to carry cancer-fighting genes into the patients’ T-cells. In essence, the team is using gene therapy to accomplish something that researchers have hoped to do for decades: train a person’s own immune system to kill cancer cells. Three patients have undergone the experimental treatment. One had a partial remission: his disease lessened but did not go away completely. Two had a complete remission. All three had had advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia and had run out of chemotherapy options. Usually, the only hope for a remission in such cases is a bone-marrow transplant, but these patients were not candidates for it.

British Flowers Are the Source of a New Cancer Drug – (BBC News – September 12, 2011)
Researchers are poised to start clinical trials with a new “smart bomb” treatment, derived from the flower, targeted specifically at tumors. The treatment was able to slow the growth of and even completely “kill” a range of different cancers in experiments with mice. The native British Autumn crocus is recorded in early herbal guides as a treatment for inflammation. It contains the potent chemical colchicine which is known to have medicinal properties, including anti-cancer effects. But colchicine is toxic to normal tissues in the body, as well as cancer, so until now its use has been limited. The researchers have altered the colchicine molecule making it inactive until it reaches the tumor. Once there, the chemical becomes active and breaks up the blood vessels supplying the tumor, effectively starving it.

Gene Find Could Lead to Drug for Chronic Pain – (BBC News – September 8, 2011)
University of Cambridge researchers removed the HCN2 gene from pain-sensitive nerves in mice. Deleting the gene stopped any chronic pain but did not affect acute pain. The researchers say their findings open up the possibility that new drugs could be developed to block the protein produced by the HCN2 gene, which regulates chronic pain. The HCN2 gene, which is expressed in pain-sensitive nerve endings, has been known for several years, but its role in regulating pain was not understood. Often seen in patients with diabetes and shingles, and in the aftermath of cancer chemotherapy, neuropathic pain occurs when nerves are damaged, causing ongoing pain. This type of chronic pain, which is often lifelong, is surprisingly common and is poorly treated by current drugs. This research lays the groundwork for the development of new drugs to treat chronic pain by blocking HCN2.

Newly Discovered Protein May Suppress Breast Cancer Growth – (Science Daily – September 14, 2011)
A research team led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Louisiana State University, has found that a protein that can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Building upon Dr. Alahari’s earlier discovery of nischarin, a novel protein that regulates breast cancer cell migration and movement, this current study examines the presence and levels of nischarin in breast cancer tumor tissue from 300 women as well as normal breast tissue samples. Tumor growth and metastasis were also reduced in the samples where the team manipulated the overproduction of nischarin showing that nischarin can function as a tumor suppressor of breast cancer, inhibiting breast cancer progression.


Cloud Formation on Earth May Be Linked to Cosmic Rays – (Extinction Protocol – August 29, 2011)
It sounds like a conspiracy theory: ‘cosmic rays’ from deep space might be creating clouds in Earth’s atmosphere and changing the climate. Yet an experiment at CERN, Europe’s high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is finding tentative evidence for just that. The findings, published in the journal Nature, are preliminary, but they are stoking a long-running argument over the role of radiation from distant stars in altering the climate.

British to Test Geoengineering Scheme – (Technology Review – September 14, 2011)
In October, British researchers supported by the U.K. government will attempt to pump water a kilometer into the air using little more than a helium balloon and a rubber hose. The experiment, which will take place at a military airfield along England’s east coast, is meant as a test of a proposed geoengineering technique for offsetting the warming effects of greenhouse gases. If the balloon and hose can handle the water’s weight and pressure, similar pipes rising 20 kilometers could pump tons of reflective aerosols into the stratosphere. The scheme, called SPICE (stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering), is one of several proposed geoengineering methods under study. In this case, the idea is that particles injected into the stratosphere would reflect a small percentage of the sun’s energy back into space, thereby cooling the planet. The concept seeks to mimic the cooling effect of volcanoes that inject sulfide particles into the stratosphere in large quantity.

A New Arctic Sea Ice Minimum – (Daily Galaxy – September 14, 2011)
Researchers from the University of Bremen have announced that 2011’s Arctic Sea Ice Minimum is the smallest in recorded history, coming in under the previous lowest Minimum in September of 2007, reaching its minimum on September 8 at 4.24 million square kilometers. This, compared to the 4.267 million square kilometers reached back in 2007, and down from 15 million square kilometers during the peak of winter. “The decline of summer ice is already 50% since 1972. For small organisms that live on the underside of the ice and [are] the starting point of the human food chain, [there is] less and less habitat,” said Dr George Heygster. Satellite observations of the Arctic sea ice extent began back in 1972, and so far this year the current minimum sits 27,000 square kilometers below the 2007 number, 0.6 percent, and could drop even lower in the coming weeks.


LG Scanner Mouse – (Dacuda website – no date)
Dacuda is a Swiss software company offering low-cost digitization technology based on real-time image processing and computer vision. The Korean company LG Electronics has developed and launched the first product based on Dacuda SLAM Scan® technology: the world’s first computer mouse and scanner. The scanner mouse has recognition capability for text, tables and images. See the scanner mouse in action.

3G Smart Phones Are an Effective Form of Population Control, Says Indian Telco – (Technology Review – September 12, 2011)
They say bed is the poor man’s opera — but what happens when all of us have access to all the entertainment we want? A new television advertisement for India’s !DEA cell carrier posits that couples who have 3G-connected smartphones with access to unlimited amounts of entertainment will stop having babies. All marketing ploys aside, there is one level on which this message could be true. Empowering women is the shortest route to bending the curve of future population growth, and wireless access to the internet could be one way to make education more accessible in the developing world.


Tidal Turbines: New Sparks of Hope for Green Energy – (Christian Science Monitor – May 16, 2011)
Tidal power used to be extremely disruptive to the marine environment, as it involved damming a waterway and forcing the currents – and marine life – through conduits housing turbines. However, amid the abandoned sardine factories and often-empty storefronts of Eastport, Maine, engineers have been testing a new generation of tidal turbines that could power the region’s homes and businesses without having an adverse effect on the environment, fisheries, or the beautiful views of the forested islands of neighboring Canada. The devices are mounted on the seafloor, where they slowly spin in the current, out of sight and beneath the hulls of passing vessels. Ongoing tests by the University of Maine suggest no effect on marine life, which appear to avoid the devices.

Solar Bottle Lights in the Philippines – (You Tube – May 6, 2011)
In a poor, crowded Filipino neighborhood, many rooms (or whole homes) evidently don’t have windows, so interiors are dark during the day. Now, skylights made of water-filled soft-drink bottles are lighting things up, saving money and electricity. See also, using soda bottles to make a solar water heater in Brazil.

The Future of Light is the LED – (Wired – August 19, 2011)
If all goes according to plan, the provisions of 2007’s Energy Independence and Security Act will effectively ban 100-watt incandescents starting in 2012. Seventy-five-watt bulbs will depart in 2013, followed by 60- and 40-watt lamps a year later. So the race to find a suitable replacement technology is coming down to the wire. The industry is banking on LED lighting as the way forward, and it’s virtually the only bulb technology on display at Lightfair, the annual international trade show for everything that glows, glares, flickers, or shines-500 exhibitors and 24,000 visitors prowling row after row of light after light. There is barely a single incandescent or sickly compact fluorescent to be seen. Just 200,000 square feet of companies racing to fill their share of the world’s billions of standard sockets-and betting on LEDs as the way to do it. With new technology to cool the bulbs and the price regularly dropping, they are almost certainly correct.


New Generation of Airships to Transport Goods – (Telegraph – September 3, 2011)
NASA is developing a new generation of airships (blimps), which it believes will replace trucks, trains and ships as means of carrying freight. The first prototype is expected to make its maiden voyage next year and scientists leading the project predict airships capable of carrying hundreds of tonnes of cargo at a time will be airborne by the end of the decade. Dr Simon Worden, director of the NASA Ames Research Center in California, said: “Currently the majority of goods are put on trucks and trains to be transported around the country. That is a very expensive and time consuming process. [But] imagine an airship landing in a field, loading produce directly and then delivering it anywhere in the world for much cheaper than we can today. ”


Battling the Couch Potatoes: Hungary Introduces a “Fat Tax” – (Der Spiegel – September 1, 2011)
Beginning Sept. 1, Hungarians will have to pay a 10 forint (€ 0.37) tax on foods with high fat, sugar and salt content, as well as increased tariffs on soda and alcohol. The expected annual proceeds of €70 million will go toward state health care costs, including those associated with addressing the country’s 18.8% obesity rate. The controversial “fat tax” is the most comprehensive on unhealthy foods in the world to date; but with other European countries closely watching Hungary’s move, it is unlikely to be the last. Obesity rates are rising across Europe, and several countries are already taxing unhealthy foods to tackle plunging budgets and expanding waistlines. Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said, “Finland and Denmark have introduced taxes on sugared products such as soft drinks, ice cream and chocolate. A saturated fat tax is a logical next step.” Also, read how the French are addressing their obesity problem: click here.

The Wild Possibility of Printing Food – (Fast Company – September 2, 2011)
The Cornell Creative Machines Lab wants to bring 3-D food printing technology to restaurants and home chefs. The newest 3-D food printer, now being honed at CCML, can produce: tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets (image in article); and cakes or cookies that, when you slice into them, reveal a special message buried within, such as a wedding date, initials (image in article) or a corporate logo. They can also make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.


$17.6 Million Foray into Espionage for Former Blackwater Contractor – (CNN – August 16, 2011)
Under a $17.6 million deal, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater (and later re-branded USTC Holdings under its new owner consortium) has been awarded a task order by the Department of Defense to provide “All-Source Intelligence Analyst support and material procurement for U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.” What does that mean? Basically, the company will provide contractors to the U.S. government who will collect and analyze information in Afghanistan in both “public and restricted domains.” In other words, USTC is branching out into the spy business. In reality, $17.6 million isn’t a huge contract, but it’s a boost for a company working hard to come out of the shadow of its previous owner, Erik Prince. Under the name Blackwater, the company built and developed by the former Navy SEAL drew negative headlines in large part because of the behavior of some of its employees. A deadly shooting at an Iraqi traffic circle in 2007 prompted a crisis for the U.S. State Department, which couldn’t operate effectively in the country without Blackwater’s support.

Enlisting in the World of Airborne Spying – (New York Times – September 7, 2011) For a military that loves to create shiny hardware from scratch, dipping into the used-plane market is a rarity, done only under the most urgent conditions. Remotely piloted drones have been the intelligence stars of the wars, but the Pentagon cannot build them quickly enough to meet the demand. So the Air Force bought eight used King Airs and equipped them with video cameras and eavesdropping gear as part of a broader effort to supplement the drones with manned aircraft. The Army has also retooled similar planes to track insurgents who plant bombs. In turning to the King Airs, the Pentagon has appropriated an aircraft that is commonly associated with business executives flying to meetings and wealthy vacationers to weekend ski outings. Military commanders say the twin-propeller planes, which carry two pilots and two sensor operators, have carved out a niche in working more closely than the unmanned drones with soldiers on hazardous missions.


The CIA Has Become “One Hell of a Killing Machine” Official Says- (New American – September 5, 2011)
The Central Intelligence Agency continues to rapidly expand its global extrajudicial assassination program under the Obama administration, secretly murdering people with drones from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Somalia and Yemen. Even American citizens are fair game, according to the President. The dramatic evolution of the agency’s priorities and operations has become so extreme that a former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post the CIA had been turned into “one hell of a killing machine.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the paramilitary transformation was “nothing short of a wonderment.” But the dramatic metamorphosis, detailed in a recent exposé by the Post, entitled “CIA shifts focus to killing targets,” is hardly without critics. Some experts have even warned Congress that the illegal killings may constitute war crimes. Thousands of suspected “militants” and civilians have been executed in drone strikes so far. At least 168 children were killed by such attacks just in Pakistan over a seven year period, according to a study released last month by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. But few of the targeted suspects, if any, were formally charged with committing a crime before being blown apart – often with their entire families. Even fewer had been convicted in a court of law.

Post 9/11, NSA ‘Enemies’ Include Us – (Politico – September 8, 2011)
Somewhere between Sept. 11 and today, the enemy morphed from a handful of terrorists to the American population at large, leaving us nowhere to run and no place to hide. Within weeks of the attacks, the giant ears of the National Security Agency, always pointed outward toward potential enemies, turned inward on the American public itself. Despite his hollow campaign protests, President Barack Obama has greatly expanded what President George W. Bush began. And through amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress largely ratified the secret Bush program. So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data – equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

More Than $30 Billion Wasted in Iraq, Afghanistan – (Daily Kos – August 29, 2011)
A bipartisan commission on wartime contracting pegs that number at more than $30 billion, one in every six dollars spent. Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress. All eight commissioners agree that major changes in law and policy are needed to avoid confusion and waste in the next contingency, whether it involves armed struggle overseas or response to disasters at home. The report concluded that billions of taxpayer dollars were wasted through poor planning, vague and shifting requirements, inadequate competition, substandard contract management and oversight, lax accountability, weak interagency coordination, and subpar performance or outright misconduct by some contractors and federal employees.

Us or the War Machine – (Cavalier Daily – August 31, 2011)
U.S. military spending across numerous departments has increased dramatically during the past decade and now makes up about half of federal discretionary spending. Yet the Defense Department has not been fully audited in 20 years, and as of 2001 it could not account for $2.3 trillion out of the $10 trillion or so it had been given during that time. When someone inside the military contracting process gives us a peak at what is done with half our income taxes, we owe that person a debt of gratitude. And the person who has opened the widest crack in the wall of secrecy around Pentagon spending in recent years is probably Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse.


Arab Spring – (Technology Review – August/September, 2011)
Technology Review presents a collection of eleven guest-written articles which examine the social technologies driving political change in the Arab world. Are Facebook and Twitter really behind the revolutions shaking the Middle East? Or just artifacts of modern social upheaval? Please see also: What Actually HappenedTechnology Review asks: Did social media matter in the Arab Spring? We sent a reporter to ask the revolutionaries. (Editor’s Note: We highly recommend the breadth and depth of these articles. Free public access to these articles expires on October 19.)


Poll Shows Dramatic Increase in Support for Same Sex Marriage – (Raw Story – August 31, 2011)
A new poll from the Angus Reid Public Opinion group has found a dramatic increase in support for same sex marriage since last year, with 46% percent of respondents now saying it should be made legal. An additional 22% of survey respondents said they didn’t think full marriage should be permitted, but some form of “civil union” would be acceptable. Just 23% said no legal recognition should be given to same sex couples. The numbers represent a 10% increase in support for same sex marriage over a poll conducted last year.

How the Surveillance State Protects the Interest of the Ultra-Rich – (AlterNet – August 19, 2011)
As a global protest movement rises and spreads within the US, expect surveillance tactics honed in the “war on terror” to be used in the defense of wealth. The Guardian newspaper has documented the significant role which poverty and opportunity deprivation played in the British riots. Austerity misery – coming soon to the U.S. – has sparked serious upheavals in numerous Western nations. Even if one takes as pessimistic a view as possible of an apathetic, meek, complacent American populace, it’s simply inevitable that some similar form of disorder is in the U.S.’s future as well.


In the Shadow of Saturn – (NASA – September 4, 2011)
In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours in 2006 and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn, slightly scattering sunlight, in this exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the image.

Fifty New Exoplanets Discovered – (BBC News – September 12, 2011)
Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered 50 previously unknown exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). The bumper haul of new worlds includes 16 “super-Earths” – planets with a greater mass than our own, but below those of gas giants such as Jupiter. One of these super-Earths orbits inside the habitable zone – the region around a star where conditions could be hospitable to life.


Medical Devices for World’s Poorest – (BBC News – September 13, 2011)
According to the World Health Organization some three-quarters of medical devices given by rich countries to developing nations remain unused. The lack of electricity, spare parts and trained operators often means that technology developed in richer countries is totally unsuited to working in the developing world. What is needed to make technology appropriate is not low tech, but different tech. For example: a solar-powered hearing aid that overcomes the need for expensive batteries, a stethoscope that can connect to mobile phones allowing doctors to monitor hard-to-reach patients remotely, and a nipple shield for breastfeeding mothers who are HIV positive which blocks the transmission of the virus to their babies.

Genome at Home: Biohackers Build Their Own Lab – (Wired – August 19, 2011)
DIYbio is a worldwide network of “biohackers” dedicated to creating pop-up labs and doing biology outside the traditional environments of universities and industry. But before the burgeoning world of garage labs could really take off, it needed to be easier for people to get their own home projects started. And the barrier to entry wasn’t education or even space. It was a lack of affordable tools. A startup company called CoFactor aims to supply them. And thanks to the DIY revolution and Arduino, the open source circuit board, garage scientists doing reverse engineering are accessing the big-budget tools. And then they’re sharing their methods with the world.

New Technology for Recovering Valuable Minerals from Waste Rock – (Science Daily – September 14, 2011)
Conventionally, companies use a technique termed froth flotation to process about 450 million tons of minerals each year. The process involves crushing the minerals into small particles, and then floating the particles in water to separate the commercially valuable particles from the waste rock. Researchers report the discovery of a new technology for more efficiently separating gold, silver, copper, and other valuable materials from rock and ore. The process uses nanoparticles to latch onto those materials and attach them to air bubbles in a flotation machine. The nanoparticles attached so firmly that flotation produced a recovery rate of almost 100%.


Top Bank in Africa Boosting Business in Yuan – (China Daily – September 2, 2011)
Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets, has launched services for trade settlement in yuan in 16 African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola, and the business turnover reached 500 million yuan ($78 million) over the past six months, according to the bank. The bank estimated that at least 40%, or $100 billion, of China’s trade with Africa will be settled in yuan by 2015, which equals the total trade volume between the two in 2010. In addition, the bank said, at least $10 billion of Chinese investment in Africa will be denominated in yuan over the same period. Although the internationalization of the yuan is a long-term endeavor, the process will be much quicker in Africa because China’s commercial leverage there has risen sharply. The bank estimated that about 1,500 Chinese firms are operating in the 17 African countries where it has branches.


Windsor, Canada Shaken and Stirred by Rumbling – (CBC News – August 19, 2011)
For weeks, residents of Windsor, Ont., have been complaining about a mysterious rumbling sound and vibration that is shaking them out of sleep. So far no one – including the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the federal agency Earthquakes Canada – has any idea why. Article includes audio clip.


Mysterious Paper Sculptures – (This Central Station – no date)
One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account. Since then more paper creations have appeared anonymously in other libraries and book related events around Edinburgh. Each intricate creation is unique, playful and beautiful.

Air Swimmers – (Airswimmers website – no date)
Just when you thought it was safe to get out of the water! Air Swimmers (shark and clownfish models) swim through the air with incredibly smooth and life-like motion. These remote-control fish require only four AAA batteries (one in the body, three in the controller) and have complete up, down and 360 degree turning control. Fill the Air Swimmer with helium inexpensively at any party store, florist shop, or grocery store that carries balloons. The body is made from a high quality, durable nylon material that will stay inflated for weeks! You can fill it again and again. Watch them in action.


Search out those who seek the truth. Run away from those who have found it. – Vaklav Havel

A special thanks to: : Kenton Anderson, Bernard Calil, Jackie Capell, Kevin Clark, Ken Dabkowski, Eric Giesbrecht, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Kurzweil AI, Morgan Percy, Diane Petersen, T. Roberts, Schwartz Report, 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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