|Volume 14, Number 19 – 10/15/11 |
FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
Evolutionary biologists from Cornell University have discovered that just about every vertebrate on Earth – including humans – descended from an ancient ancestor with a sixth sense: the ability to detect electrical fields in water.Two of the holy grails of medicine – stem cell technology and precision gene therapy – have been united for the first time to cure a genetic liver disease.Finnish and international researchers recently found a conclusive link between the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine and new cases of narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder which causes people to often uncontrollably fall asleep.Hot on the wheels of Paris’s self-service bicycle scheme comes Autolib, a car-sharing idea that the city claims is a world first.
by John L. Petersen
John Petersen and Kevin Blackwell in Berkeley Springs on November 4th
First, let me tell you that noted psychic Kevin Blackwell and I will be giving a presentation on the evening of November 4th in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Kevin has some very personal and powerful insights about what is inbound in the coming months and years and he and I are joining up to provide a kind of left brain-right brain review and assessment of the extraordinary shift that is playing out under us all.
If you are particularly interested in what this change is all about and where it is going, we cordially invite you to come to our pretty little town and spend a certain to be provocative evening exploring the biggest transition in the history of humanity. You can find complete information here.
In this space in the past we have spent a great deal of effort highlighting some of the great change that is punctuating the planet. I’ve tried to paint a picture of the energy, earth, galactic, solar, climate and financial trends that are converging to reconfigure how we all will experience life . . . in what looks like a very short time.
Now, there is a new trend that is rapidly proliferating across the world: unhappiness with leadership. It’s as though the uprisings of northern Africa, focused on very specific, authoritarian leaders, has turned into broad-based global demonstrations against leadership, in places where it was never previously thought possible.
I was with a retired army colonel recently who mentioned that throughout his career he had many times told friends from other countries where he had served that the American people would never revolt against their government. He doesn’t know about that now. He was responding to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, now more than a month long that have spread to 30 U.S. cities and drew 20,000 participants in New York a week ago.
In preparing for a talk that I will give later this week in Santiago, Chile, I discovered that United for Global Change — the central site for the movement organizing worldwide protests — said 951 cities in 82 countries were to take part in the demonstrations after online organizers called for a worldwide rally. This is particularly of interest to the Chileans I will be visiting since their students have been on strike for many months now calling for free education (they’ll lose one year of school because of their commitment). One of my talks at a university was cancelled because of massive, city-wide demonstrations that are planned to take place while I will be there.
What’s interesting about this growing trend of broad-based discontentment with the status quo is that it is moving into the middle and upper classes. In the U.S., for example, when mainline commentators like Suze Orman start to endorse the concerns of demonstrators and magazines like The New Yorker publish covers like this, then you know that a very sensitive nerve has been touched by those mostly young people who are camping in the rain to try to influence significant change.
An even more interesting data point is when Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest men in America chimed in to suggest that the constitution needs to be changed to make it impossible to allow all politicians to run for reelection if the national debt exceeds 3% of the present ceiling. Now, that would certainly get their attention!
Others, of course, want a more comprehensive overhaul of the system. One proposal that has been making the rounds in one form or another is this one, which suggests another constitutional amendment:
1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.
The Next Three Years
Where are we going? What’s going to happen in the next three years?
In light of all of this change, perhaps you would benefit from a (relatively) informed perspective of what this shift is all about and what might happen in the next three years. As it happens, 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.
Is Our Universe a Hologram? – (Daily Galaxy – September 29, 2011)
In a recent collaboration between Fermilab scientists and hundreds of meters of laser may have found the very pixels of reality, grains of spacetime one tenth of a femtometer across. The GEO600 system’s length means it can measure changes of one part in six hundred million, accurate enough to detect even the tiniest ripples in space. The problem with such an incredibly sensitive device is just that – it’s incredibly sensitive. The interferometer staff constantly battle against unwanted aberration, and were struggling against a particularly persistent signal when Fermilab Professor Craig Hogan suggested the problem wasn’t with their equipment but with reality itself. The quantum limit of reality, the Planck length, occurs at a far smaller length scale than their signal – but according to Hogan, this literal ultimate limit of tininess might be scaled up because we’re all holograms.
Evolutionary Comparison Finds Shocking History for Vertebrates – (Wired – October 12, 2011)
Evolutionary biologists from Cornell University have discovered that just about every vertebrate on Earth – including humans – descended from an ancient ancestor with a sixth sense: the ability to detect electrical fields in water. About 500 million years ago there was probably a predatory marine fish with good eyesight, powerful jaws and sharp teeth roaming the oceans, sporting a lateral line system for detecting water movements and a well-developed electroreceptive system to sense predators and prey around it. The vast majority of the 65,000 or so living vertebrate species are its descendants. And then, a few hundred million years ago, there was a major fork in the evolutionary tree.
GENETICS/ HEALTH TECHNOLOGY/ BIOTECHNOLOGY
Gene Therapy and Stem Cells Unite – (BBC News – October 12, 2011)
Two of the holy grails of medicine – stem cell technology and precision gene therapy – have been united for the first time in humans, say scientists. It means patients with a genetic disease could, one day, be treated with their own cells. A recent study involved correcting a mutation in stem cells made from a patient with a liver disease. The research group took a skin cell from a patient and converted it to a stem cell. A molecular scalpel was used to cut out the single mutation and insert the right letter – correcting the genetic fault. The stem cells were then turned into liver cells. When the cells were placed into mice, they were still working correctly six weeks later. Please see also: Human ‘cloning’ makes embryonic stem cells describing a form of cloning has been used to create personalized embryonic stem cells in humans.
Finland Vows Care for Narcolepsy Kids Who Had Swine Flu Shot – (AFP – October 5, 2011)
The Finnish government and major insurance companies announced Wednesday they will pay for lifetime medical care for children diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving the swine flu vaccine. Finnish and international researchers recently found a conclusive link between the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine and new cases of narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder which causes people to often uncontrollably fall asleep. In Finland, 79 children between the ages of four and 19 developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine in 2009 and 2010. Of these cases, an unusually high number, 76, also suffered from bouts of cataplexy, suffering hallucinations or paralysing physical collapses, according to Finnish research.
Brain Rejects Negative Thoughts – (BBC News- October 9, 2011)
One reason optimists retain a positive outlook even in the face of evidence to the contrary has been discovered, say researchers. A new study suggests the brain is very good at processing good news about the future. When the news was positive, all people had more activity in the brain’s frontal lobes, which are associated with processing errors. When receiving negative information within the study, the most optimistic people had the least activity in the frontal lobes, while the least optimistic had the most. Dr. Chris Chambers, neuroscientist from the University of Cardiff, said: “For me, this work highlights something that is becoming increasingly apparent in neuroscience, that a major part of brain function in decision-making is the testing of predictions against reality.”
Gigantic Virus Discovery Rivets Scientists – (CBS News – October 11, 2011)
Ever since giant viruses – about a hundred times bigger than typical viruses – were first unveiled seven years ago, scientists have argued about the origins of these not-so-wee beasties. Many of their genes are different from those found in cellular life forms, or even other viruses. A new study suggests that giant viruses are indeed ancient. It is the work of a team of French researchers led by Jean-Michel Claverie, who went searching for new giant viruses in the waters near a marine biology station in Chile. They found a new kind so different from other giant viruses that they gave it a name of its own: Megavirus. The study results lead Claverie and his colleagues to conclude that giant viruses started out giant. They might have even been some full-blown cellular life form.
Controversial DNA Discoveries – (World Mysteries – July 14, 2011)
Only 10% of our DNA is being used for building proteins. The other 90% of the molecule is considered to be “junk DNA.” Russian researchers, however, were convinced that nature was not so dumb and joined linguists and geneticists in a venture to explore that 90% of “junk DNA.” According to their findings, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body, but also serves as a means of data storage and communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code – especially in the apparent “useless” 90% – follows the same rules as our human languages.
Climate Shifts Sparked 17th-Century Conflicts – (Wired – October 4, 2011)
A controversial new study suggests that most of humankind’s maladies – from wars to epidemics to economic downturns – can be traced to climate fluctuations. Geographer David Zhang of the University of Hong Kong, was particularly interested in how hot and cold spells affect human civilization. He and colleagues loaded a powerful statistical analysis tool with data on 14 variables, such as human height, the price of gold, tree ring width, and temperature from pre-industrial Europe between the years 1500 and 1800. Climate caused famines, economic downturns, and catastrophic human events far more often than did any of the other 14 variables. Are the same factors relevant now? The article goes on to discuss the shortcomings of the research design and why the results are controversial. However, the basic statistical analysis is a starting point.
Can Coral Nurseries Bring Reefs Back from the Brink? – (Scientific American – October 14, 2011)
Estimates suggest that coral reefs, which cover just 2% of the ocean floor, support 25% of ocean life and feed over a billion people. In recent decades, however, coral has vanished alarmingly fast due to pollution, disease and climate change. Caribbean and Gulf waters have been hit especially hard with the extent of Caribbean corals declining 80%, faster than that of tropical rainforests. Over the past few decades, a small international clan of scientists, alarmed by the sudden decline of corals, have created underwater nurseries aimed at “replanting” corals to buttress wild populations. At first the effort was called quixotic and impossible, given the scale of the problem and the difficulty in raising corals. But after many trials and a few errors, coral nurseries are arising as a bona fide weapon in the fight to preserve a crucial ocean ecosystem. Article includes slide show of nurseries.
Government Aims to Build a ‘Data Eye in the Sky’ – (New York Times – October 10, 2011)
More than 60 years ago, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science – psychohistory – that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future. Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet – Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones – for that very purpose. The government is showing interest in the idea. This summer a little-known intelligence agency began seeking ideas from academic social scientists and corporations for ways to automatically scan the Internet in 21 Latin American countries for “big data,” according to a research proposal being circulated by the agency. The three-year experiment, to begin in April, is being financed by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, part of the office of the director of national intelligence. A similar project by their military sister organization, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, aims to automatically identify insurgent social networks in Afghanistan.
The Meaning of Emoticons – (Phys Org – October 14, 2011)
The emoticons used on Twitter are a language in themselves and are taking on new and often surprising meanings of their own, according to new research. Alex Davies, a Gates scholar at the University of Cambridge, has created a visual map of the words associated with Twitter emoticons. Take for example Asian style emoticons, such as ^_^ (happy) and -_- (sad). Davies observed, “Initially these were used almost exclusively by Asian online communities, but have slowly been adopted by different Western sub-cultures and have taken on subtly different meanings in these contexts. One way to visualize this usage is to visualize the words that are strongly associated with these emoticons. What is interesting is that two emoticons that essentially represent the same sentiment, such as 😀 and ^_^, actually differ substantially in how they are used, and we can see this in the images of the words.”
Rossi’s 1 MW Cold Fusion E-Cat Reactor – (Pure Energy Systems – September 14, 2011)
Andrea Rossi’s one megawatt – and mostly self sustaining – Ni-H cold fusion reactor nears launch. Rumors are circulating about the launch of this system, photos and video (link in article) of the device have been posted, a test by NyTeknik has been performed on a new model of E-Cat, and Rossi continues to make remarks on his blog. The E-Cat technology could provide for all of the world’s energy needs reliably, cheaply, cleanly, and safely.
Graphene Creates Electricity When Struck by Light – (Geek O System – October 7, 2011)
According to researchers at MIT, graphene generates an electrical current when struck by light. Graphene is something of a miracle material. It’s basically a one-atom thick sheet of carbon that manages to come in sheets as thin as paper while being as strong as steel. When hit by light, pretty much any kind of light, graphene generates a hot carrier response. This means that the electrons of the molecules in the graphene sheet gain enough energy to start moving (creating the current) but the carbon underneath still manages to stay cool. Previously, a hot carrier response had only been achieved when the material in question was cooled to near absolute zero or when an incredibly powerful laser was used. With graphene, the effect can occur at room temperature with sunlight.
Does Converting Cow Manure to Electricity Pay Off? – (Science Daily – October 13, 2011)
Studies have estimated that converting manure from the 95 million animal units in the United States would produce renewable energy equal to 8 billion gallons of gasoline, or 1% of the total energy consumption in the nation. In a recent study, researchers at the University of Vermont and the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (CVPS) confirm that it is technically feasible to convert cow manure to electricity on farms, but the economic returns depend highly on the base electricity price; the premium paid for converted energy; financial supports from government and other agencies; and the ability to sell byproducts of the methane generation. To support “Cow Power”, CVPS customers can voluntarily agree to pay a premium of $0.04 per kWh for some or all of their electricity use. “With more than 4,600 CVPS electricity customers voluntarily paying $470,000 in premiums per year, the Cow Power program represents a successful and locally sourced renewable energy project with many economic and environmental benefits,” says lead author Dr. Qingbin Wang. However, the study found that because of the huge initial investment (about $2 million for equipment per farm), grants and subsidies from government agencies have been necessary; without them, few dairy farms are able to fund such a system.
Turning Arizona’s Dry Heat into a Comfy Chill – (Phys Org – October 14, 2011)
In a nationwide first, an innovative system recently installed on the University of Arizona campus uses the sun’s energy not only for heating but also for cooling. At the heart of the solar thermal cooling and pool heating system is an array of 346 argon-filled vacuum tube solar thermal collectors installed on the roof of the UA’s Student Recreation Center. The collectors utilize heat from the sun as a free energy source to drive an absorption chilling system to help keep buildings on campus cool while also heating the recreation center’s main swimming pool. An absorption chiller works similarly to a refrigerator or an air conditioner, except it uses a process relying on heat, rather than electric power.
Autolib: The New Car-sharing Scheme That Could Put Paris Streets Ahead – (Guardian – October 2, 2011)
Say bonjour to the electric Bluecar. Hot on the wheels of Paris’s self-service bicycle scheme comes Autolib, a car-sharing idea that the city claims is a world first. By 2013 officials hope to have around 5,000 Bluecars zipping around Paris, cutting noise and air pollution and discouraging car ownership. It was designed by the Italian firm that makes Ferraris, but that’s where the similarity ends. Annick Lepetit, in charge of transport at city hall, is on hand to declare the Bluecar the future of urban motoring and praise the vision of Bertrand Delanoë, the Socialist mayor who devised both Autolib and its two-wheeled forerunner. Owning your own car, says Lepetit, is just so passé. “Private cars are expensive and people are using them less and less in cities,” she said. “We’re moving into another culture, the culture of car sharing. It’s the same principle as Velib: you use the car, leave it and that’s it. Simple.”
Leno Skypes a Show From a Ford – (Wired – October 2, 2011)
We’ve reached a point where, for many consumers, the gadgets in a car are at least as important as the car itself. A car without an iDevice connection will sell about as well as something with an ’80s-era cassette deck. No Bluetooth? No navi? No way. Automakers realize this, which is why they’re packing new models with ever more technology. The next big thing headed to your dashboard is Wi-Fi. And it isn’t the big-dollar luxury automakers leading the way onto the mobile information superhighway.
Feeding the World While Protecting the Planet: Global Plan for Sustainable Agriculture – (Science Daily – October 12, 2011)
The problem is stark: One billion people on earth don’t have enough food right now. It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more than nine billion people living on the planet. Meanwhile, current agricultural practices are amongst the biggest threats to the global environment. However a team of researchers from Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Germany has come up with a plan to double the world’s food production while reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture. By combining information gathered from crop records and satellite images from around the world, they have been able to create new models of agricultural systems and their environmental impacts that are truly global in scope. Based on this, they have developed a five-point plan for feeding the world while protecting the planet.
400,000 Farmers in Southern Africa Using ‘Fertilizer Trees’ to Improve Food Security – (Phys Org – October 14, 2011)
On a continent battered by weather extremes, famine and record food prices, the World Agroforestry Centre documents an exciting trend in which hundreds of thousands of poor farmers in Southern Africa are significantly boosting yields and incomes simply by using fast growing trees and shrubs to naturally fertilize their fields. Fertilizer trees enhance soil health by drawing nitrogen from the air and transferring it to the soil through their roots and leaf litter, replenishing exhausted soils with rich sources of organic nutrients. Scientists at the World Agroforestry Centre have been working since the 1980s to identify indigenous tree species, such as a fast growing variety of acacia that can be planted alongside crops to improve soil fertility. Among the many burdens facing African farmers are soils that are among the most depleted in the world. Yet for two-thirds of farmers on the continent, mineral supplements are either too expensive or simply unavailable.
SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
Spying Online Is Perilous and Unnecessary – (Boston Revew – Sept./Oct., 2011)
Article is a book review of Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies. To catch up with the new technologies of malfeasance, FBI director Robert Mueller traveled to Silicon Valley last November to persuade technology companies to build “backdoors” into their products. If Mueller’s wish were granted, the FBI would gain undetected real-time access to suspects’ Skype calls, Facebook chats, and other online communications-and in “clear text,” the industry lingo for unencrypted data. Backdoors, in other words, would make the Internet-and especially its burgeoning social media sector-“wiretappable.” In Surveillance or Security?, Susan Landau, formerly an engineer with Sun Microsystems, argues that Mueller’s plan actually would create greater insecurity. While she agrees that law enforcement agents may have a legitimate need to listen to some electronic communications, she believe backdoors are the wrong strategy.
Homeland Security Moves Forward with ‘Pre-crime’ Detection – (Cnet – October 7, 2011)
An internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security document indicates that a controversial program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already being tested on some members of the public voluntarily (DHS employees who volunteered to be test subjects). DHS is betting on algorithms: it’s building a “prototype screening facility” that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to “detect cues indicative of mal-intent.” DHS calls its “pre-crime” system Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST. “If it were deployed against the public, it would be very problematic,” says Ginger McCall, open government counsel at EPIC, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C.
Now You See ‘Em, Now You Don’t: Stealth Weapons From Around the World – (Wired – October 14, 2011)
Stealth technology makes vehicles sneakier by limiting the signatures that give them away to enemy radar, sensors and ears. To reduce a plane’s radar cross section, designers have two basic options: shape an aircraft to cast incoming radar away from its originating source and coat it to absorb radar waves. Not long ago, the U.S. was the only country in the world with aircraft that could stroll the skies without fear of being caught. Not any more. Today, militaries from around the world – including Russia and China – are developing their own stealth arsenals. The American monopoly on near-invisible flight is being eroded. Article includes 14 photos.
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
Judging a Long, Deadly Reach – (New York Times – September 30, 2011)
The recent killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen struck by a missile fired from a drone aircraft operated by his own government, instantly reignited a difficult debate over terrorism, civil liberties and the law. A range of civil libertarians and Muslim-American advocates questioned how the government could take an American citizen’s life based on secret intelligence and without a trial. They said that killing him amounted to summary execution without the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution. No public legal process led to Mr. Awlaki’s becoming the first American citizen to be placed on the C.I.A.’s list of Qaeda-linked terrorists to be captured or killed. Officials said that every name added to the list underwent a careful, if secret, legal review.
FBI Thwarts Own Radio Controlled Bomb – (Prison Planet – September 29, 2011)
The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims to have thwarted their own “drone” bomb, in yet another farcical case of entrapment and fear mongering. (Editor’s Note: we recommend skimming past the opening story and reading more closely the rest of the article.) The US State Department, Department of Defense, and the White House itself are verifiably supporting foreign terrorist organizations, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), listed as #26 on the State Department’s own list, as well as Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Iran, listed as #28 by the US State Department. Indeed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is literally leading the NATO-backed rebellion in Libya, and verifiably committing horrific war crimes, atrocities, and indisputable genocide against the Libyan people. In one city, Tawarga, its 10,000 residents were either massacred, exiled, or imprisoned by rebel forces under NATO cover and their property indefinitely seized, according to reports by the London Telegraph. For further analysis of the opening story, please see How the FBI’s Network of Informants Actually Created Most of the Terrorist Plots
Secret Orders Target Email – (Wall St. Journal – October 10, 2011)
The U.S. government has obtained a controversial type of secret court order to force Google Inc. and small Internet provider Sonic.net Inc. to turn over information from the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Sonic said it fought the government’s order and lost, and was forced to turn over information. Challenging the order was “rather expensive, but we felt it was the right thing to do,” said Sonic’s chief executive, Dane Jasper. Mr. Appelbaum, 28 years old, hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing. The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people’s email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES
Swiss Brides Buy Cover against Wedding Crash as Economy Slows – (Business Week – October 3, 2011)
Finally a financial product for jilted brides: Insurance to protect investments in costly weddings can be picked up for 69 Swiss francs ($78), as Switzerland sees hard economic times spur people to take fewer financial risks. Wedding insurance is only a small niche business in the U.S., but “change of heart” clauses can be added to some standard wedding policies.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
The Plan to Bring an Asteroid to Earth – (Wired – October 5, 2011)
“Send a robot into space. Grab an asteroid. Bring it back to Earth orbit.” This may sound like a crazy plan, but recently it was discussed quite seriously by a group of scientists and engineers at the California Institute of Technology. The four-day workshop was dedicated to investigating the feasibility and requirements of capturing a near-Earth asteroid, bringing it closer to our planet and using it as a base for future manned spaceflight missions. This is not something the scientists are imagining could be done some day off in the future. This is possible with the technology we have today and could be accomplished within a decade.
Einstein’s Flying Saucer Secrets – (Bragalia – September 28, 2011)
If the US Government had sufficient concern about UFOs during the phenomenon’s early years, they most certainly would have quietly heard out the “Great Minds” of the time for their views on the subject. A little-known tape of a famed broadcaster’s lecture that was delivered over sixty years ago suggests that is precisely what had happened and that Albert Einstein was one of those brilliant scientists. In the tape, (link to it in the article under the word “Lecture”), broadcaster Frank Edwards says that Einstein and other science notables had expressed to President Truman their concern about the unknown objects, including those seen flying above our nation’s Capitol. The scientists beseeched Truman not to attempt to shoot down the UFOs.
5 Facts about the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans – (AlterNet – October 4, 2011)
As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters continues, demonstrators have endorsed the slogan: “We are the 99 percent.” This refers to an economic struggle between 99 % of Americans and the richest 1%, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth to the detriment of the middle class. ThinkProgress has assembled five facts about this class of super-rich Americans. For example: 1) The top 1% of Americans owns 40% of the nation’s wealth and 2) they take home 24% of the national income. The other three points are equally eye-opening. All 5 data points are shown in comparison with recent historical figures.
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
‘Mind-reading Device’ Recreates What We See in Our Heads – (Telegraph – October 14, 2011)
By monitoring the brain activity of people while they watched Hollywood movie trailers, researchers at UC Berkeley were able to recreate a moving picture similar to the real footage being played. While the technology is not yet capable of reading our thoughts, it could eventually lead to ways of translating our dreams and memories onto screen. If it is refined enough the method could even be used to explore the minds of stroke patients, experts said.
Nanotube Yarns Twist Like Muscles – (BBC News – October 14, 2011)
Yarns made of the tiny straws of carbon called nanotubes have an astounding ability to twist as they contract, scientists have found. The effect is similar to the action of muscles found in elephant trunks and squid tentacles. However, the yarns twist 1,000 times as much as previous “artificial muscles”. The effect, which occurs thanks to a conducting fluid in which the yarns were dipped, could be put to use in motors much thinner than a human hair. The researchers demonstrated motors that could spin at nearly 600 revolutions per minute, turning a weight 2,000 times heavier than the yarn itself.
Dillon Read & Co. and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits – (Catherine Austin Fitts – 2006)
Catherine Austin Fitts served the Clinton Administration in the capacity of President of The Hamilton Securities Group after having served as Assistant Secretary of Housing-FHA Commissioner in the first Bush Administration. This article is an exposition of “how the system works”. It explains in detail the blur of people cycling between high-level Wall Street and Washington positions and helps one to understand the extent to which “there is no longer any sovereign government”. To put it bluntly: this is a long and dark read. It is also a piece born of hope. Fitts writes, “My hope is that as your powers grow to see the financial game and the true dividing lines, you will be better able to build networks of authentic people inventing authentic solutions to the real challenges we face. My hope is that you will no longer invite into your lives and work the people and organizations that sabotage real change. If enough of us come clean and hold true to the intention to transform the game, we invite in the magic that comes in dangerous times. (Editor’s note: This piece, written by a person who has been both a Wall Street and Washington insider and is an individual of remarkable integrity, does an extraordinary job of illuminating how this country has come to find itself in its current situation. Although written five years ago, if anything, it is even more bitingly relevant now.)
Mystery Intensifies over Unexplained Booming Noise in Tennessee – (Extinction Protocol – October 1, 2011)
The number of reports of mystery booming noise is growing. This article centers on the booming noise in a suburb of Louisville, TN – but similar reports are now popping up basically across the globe – Georgia, Minnesota, the UK, Canada, India and places in eastern Europe – an indication that whatever forces are creating these events could be intensifying. Some mention underground construction, fracking, bunkers and tunnels or stealth mystery aircraft as likely culprits but there are documented reports of these incidents in the U.S. that go back as far as the 1850?s. NASA has even heard these noises from across the cosmos and can’t explain them. A spokesman for NASA Goddard Space F. Center said: “There is something new and interesting going on in the universe,” One explanation that has not yet been ruled out is that perhaps geological faults can be agitated or jarred in a snap-pull or grinding fashion without disturbing the ground but creating an electromagnetic aura of lights or a rumbling sonic boom that propagates through the air in its wake.
Paul Allen: The Singularity Isn’t Near – (Technology Review – (October 12, 2011)
Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, begs to differ. His position: if the singularity is to arrive by 2045 (Kurzweil’s projected date), it will take unforeseeable and fundamentally unpredictable breakthroughs, and not because the Law of Accelerating Returns made it the inevitable result of a specific exponential rate of progress. In his opinion, it is the “complexity brake” and arrival of powerful new theories, rather than the Law of Accelerating Returns, that will govern the pace of scientific progress required to achieve the singularity.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – articles off the beaten track which may – or may not – have predictive value.
A Sicilian on the Mob – (Austin Chronicle – October 7, 2011)
“Mafia” is the one of the only Sicilian words to be adopted into most of the world’s languages. Here journalist Michael Ventura recounts a few of his personal interactions with some of “the boys” and offers a few insightful observations. Compared to the real thing, he notes, actors playing Mafia figures look like what they are: self-conscious mama’s boys. He goes on to say, “That’s not to dis them; I, too, am a full-fledged Sicilian-American, self-conscious mama’s boy.” Until the 1970s, the mob was largely the creation of Meyer Lansky and “Lucky” Luciano. Lansky died in 1983. Late in life, he said that, were he young circa 1980, going into crime would be stupid. I don’t remember his words exactly, but his gist was: Corporations today can do everything we used to do. Why break the law when you can write the law?
Ancient Paint Factory Unearthed – (BBC News – October 13, 2011)
Kits used by humans 100,000 years ago to make paint have been found at the famous archaeological site of Blombos Cave in South Africa. The hoard includes red and yellow pigments, shell containers, and the grinding cobbles and bone spatulas to work up a paste – everything an artist might need. Prof Christopher Henshilwood from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg said, “These finds indicate that humans were certainly thinking in a modern way, in a way that is cognitively advanced, at least 100,000 years ago.” In other words: we’re older than we thought – which means we haven’t evolved as quickly as we had imagined.
JUST FOR FUN
LG Optimus Hyper Facade – (You Tube – September 21, 2011)
This advertising is entirely projected on the side of a building in Berlin – and it’s playfully brilliant.
A FINAL QUOTE…
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. – Albert Einstein
A special thanks to: Thomas Bergin, Bernard Calil, Jackie Capell, Kevin Clark, Kevin Foley, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Kurzweil AI, Diane Petersen, Ed Weklar, 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
A Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change
by John L. Petersen
Former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart has said “It should be required reading for the next President.”
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