Volume 22, Number 20 – 10/15/19

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 Volume 22, Number 20 – 10/15/19 Twitter  Facebook  JLP Blog



  • For $200, an Uber-Copter can take you from the southern tip of Manhattan to JFK airport in 8 minutes.
  • At least 70 countries are using disinformation campaigns to influence public opinion.
  • Camera-equipped doorbells and other home surveillance devices are documenting facets of suburban existence that once went unnoticed.
  • Planet Nine might actually be a “primordial” black hole.

by John L. Petersen


Well known analyst, critic and internet personality, former Presidential candidate (and former spy), Robert David Steele is coming to TransitioniTalks on Saturday, the 19th of October. Robert is one of the biggest thinkers around who has proposed sweeping, structural changes to how the US political system, intelligence community, White House and US economy should be fundamentally reorganized – ideas that have resulted in his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, among many other accolades. Additionally, no one has reviewed more nonfiction books on Amazon than he has (almost 2600 now), and that great, broad input has given him a unique, sophisticated understanding of how the world really works.

I asked Robert what five books, out of all that he had read, had most disrupted this worldview – shaken the assumptions that he (and we all, by the way), had assumed, extracted from his careers and education and then built his life upon– and would he come and tell us about those big, life-changing ideas . . . and what we might do about it. This is particularly important in a world where it is increasingly hard to know what to believe.

So, he’s coming in October to put these extraordinary concepts on the table and then open to an extended Q&A session to allow all in attendance to learn as much as they can about the full spectrum of what we’re up against. Watch this short video interview to find out more:

Robert David Steele and John L. Petersen
What Robert has to say is really quite important . . . for a number of reasons.

  • First of all, we are entering a period of seven or eight years that, by all indications, has the potential of generating some of the greatest, most chaotic, change in the recorded history of the planet – nothing less than that. In the face of that kind of upheaval, the first, and perhaps most important, imperative is to have a sophisticated understanding of what we all are playing with here – not just what we have been told.
  • Secondly, I’ve started reading the books that Robert felt were so disruptive . . . and I’ve been blown away. These are credible, though clearly out of the box, ideas that I had never heard of . . . and that have now fundamentally changed how I look at things. These concepts are VERY important to any enlightened perspective of what is happening in this world and where we all may – or may not – be going.
  • Thirdly, what Robert will be presenting is a critical component of your being effective and appropriately positioned to adjust to the coming changes. This is about a paradigm shift – a fundamental rewiring of how we make sense of the reality we experience. If you aren’t able to adjust and adapt, you’ll get surprised. You’ll be out of time and options . . . and certainly not prepared. Some of these ideas are so different from what we’ve been told that they clearly represent a possible new framework for understanding the emerging new world.

So, let me strongly encourage you to come to this presentation. This is an important part of becoming prepared for this extraordinary transition event that we are about to experience.

You can find complete information at

PostScript Videos for Cannabis and Man: Coevolution and Sacred Connection

We had a wonderful time with Drs. Brian Sanderoff and Carrie Hempel in September. Check out these PostScript interviews:

Sanderoff & Hempel with John L. Petersen — Part 1

Sanderoff & Hempel with John L. Petersen — Part 2

Free Book Offer

Our friends at The Fetzer Memorial Trust would like to give you a free hard-cover copy of the book “John E. Fetzer and the Quest for The New Age” by Brian Wilson, Ph. D.

John E. Fetzer, was a pioneer in the broadcast industry, owner of the World Series Detroit Tigers, advisor to two presidents and one of America’s 400 most wealthy individuals. Driven by a deep spiritual quest and interest in scientific exploration he is a true inspiration.

I found this biography of John Fetzer most interesting. Here was a titan of industry who had another life that was involved in helping to fund and enable a great deal of research in the metaphysical area and who set up a major foundation that continues to explore the leading edge of our reality.

The Fetzer Institute has always had a very impressive, big outlook on this world and what was possible and I’m pleased that they are making this hardcover book available at no cost to FUTUREdition subscribers.

I certainly would encourage you to take advantage of this offer. — JLP

To Receive Your Gift click here
(Limited to the first 500 requests)
Your book will be mailed to you free of charge. This is truly a free gift from The Fetzer Memorial Trust. The only mail you will receive from them, will be this book. You will not be added to a mailing list.

Our e-Magazine has complete information on our TransitionTalks series with articles from past speakers
Gregg Braden, Joe Dispenza & Bruce Lipton:



Meet the Doctor Who’s Livestreaming Human Autopsies – (Futurism – September 25, 2019)
The website Autopsy.Online is a gruesome educational project run by the Autopsy Center of Chicago. The center was founded by autopsy pathologist Dr. Ben Margolis. Margolis offers clients — usually family members of the deceased who want answers or closure — the distinctly 21-century option to have their loved ones’ autopsies recorded or broadcast live. And many, he says, are taking him up on the offer. Livestreaming the process of cutting into and dissecting a dead body may sound grisly or voyeuristic. But Margolis, who’s also an accomplished orchestral musician and improv performer, sees his services as an empowering tool for families of the recently deceased. Not only to provide useful information in the face of a tragic event, but also to help them come to terms with their loss. “Families come to us for closure, for grief, to find out what happened,” said Margolis. Margolis founded the Autopsy Center of Chicago in 2010. Archiving autopsies through photographs or video recordings is a common practice — there are years of gory videos (you’ve been warned!) on YouTube. But it wasn’t until January 2017 that Margolis performed his first live broadcast, strapping a GoPro camera to his head and giving viewers a first-person vantage point on the procedure as he explained each step on Facebook Live. While the livestreams are an engaging project, Margolis puts even more effort into his edited videos, which he turns into educational resources. Margolis’ ultimate goal is to complete a virtual “body map” where viewers can click on a body part and watch a video clip of that particular organ being removed and examined — a resource he says is particularly valuable for students who don’t have hands-on access to cadavers.


Neuroscientists Can Now Design False Memories and Plant Them into Animal Brains – (Mind Unleashed – September 3, 2019)
Scientists have known for some time that specific circuits in the brain react to experiences and encode those same experiences into our minds as memories. These memories are central to our identity and the narrative we construct about ourselves and the world around us. In past experiments, neuroscientists have been able to partially transfer memories between rodents but they have never wholesale manufactured false memories—until now. A recent study, the results of which were published in the journal Nature with the provocative title “Memory formation in the absence of experience” has demonstrated for the first time the complex and stunning process by which memories can be generated inside the minds of animals and retained just as cohesively in everyday experience as natural memories. It’s a huge discovery in the still-nascent scientific industry of “memory manipulation,” which aims to assist patients with conditions like Alzheimers and PTSD. The paper’s abstract postulates that “memory is coded by patterns of neural activity in distinct circuits. Therefore, it should be possible to reverse engineer a memory by artificially creating these patterns of activity in the absence of a sensory experience.” Scientists proved this hypothesis by essentially reverse engineered a memory and then exporting it. Specifically, a natural memory was created in the mind of a mouse. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its detailed explanation of the experimental design.)

First-Ever Image of the ‘Cosmic Web’ Reveals the Gassy Highway That Connects the Universe – (Live Science – October 3, 2019)
In the cold wilderness of space, galaxies huddle together around the campfires of stars and the assuring pull of supermassive black holes. Between these cozy clusters of galaxies, where empty space stretches on for millions of light-years all around, a faint highway of gas bridges the darkness. This gassy, intergalactic network is known in cosmological models as the cosmic web. Made of long filaments of hydrogen left over from the Big Bang, the web is thought to contain most (more than 60%) of the gas in the universe and to directly feed all of the star-producing regions in space. At the intersections where filaments overlap, galaxies appear. At least, that’s the theory. The filaments of the galactic web have never been directly observed before, because they are among the faintest structures in the universe and are easily overshadowed by the glow of the galaxies around them. But now, researchers have cobbled together the first-ever photograph of cosmic filaments converging on a faraway galaxy cluster, thanks to some of the most sensitive telescopes on Earth. The image (in the article) shows blue filaments of hydrogen crisscrossing through a cluster of ancient white galaxies, located about 12 billion light-years away from Earth (meaning the galaxies were born in roughly the first billion and a half years after the Big Bang). Gently lit by the ultraviolet glow of the galaxies themselves, the filaments stretch on for more than 3 million light-years, confirming their status as some of the most gargantuan structures in space.

Pigs Recorded Using Tools for the First Time – (National Geographic – October 9, 2019)
Pigs are one of the smartest animals on Earth, right up there with elephants, crows, and dolphins. But while scientists have caught all three of the latter types of animals using tools — a hallmark of advanced intelligence — they’d never seen pigs exhibit the same behavior. Until now, that is, as a team of scientists has released the first known video of pigs using tools. The ecologist behind the video, Meredith Root-Bernstein, was watching a family of Visayan warty pigs at a zoo in Paris when she noticed one the animals picking up a piece of bark in its mouth and using the wood to dig around in the soil. For the research, Root-Bernstein and colleagues videotaped the pig parents and their two offspring using tools four times in 2016 and another seven times in 2017. The team noticed the animals—particularly the mama pig, Priscilla—would always use tools in the middle of the nest-building process. According to Root-Bernstein, this consistency in sequence, combined with the fact the pigs’ tools could physically move the soil, meets the scientific definition for tool use: “The exertion of control over a freely manipulable external object (the tool) with the goal of (1) altering the physical properties of another object, substance, surface or medium … via a dynamic mechanical interaction, or (2) mediating the flow of information.” The scientists suspect that Priscilla may have learned how to use the tool herself, and passed on that knowledge to her mate and offspring.


Artificial Blood Developed for Patients of Any Blood Type – (Asahi Shimbun – September 29, 2019)
Japanese researchers said they have developed artificial blood that can be transfused into patients regardless of their blood type and can vastly improve the chances for survival of seriously injured people. The artificial blood created by a team of scientists primarily from the National Defense Medical College has proved effective in experiments on rabbits. For possible applications on humans, the artificial blood gets around problems with identifying blood types in emergency situations and overcomes limits on storing real blood from donors. The team’s artificial blood consists of platelets and red blood cells. Each component is put in tiny bags known as liposome derived from the cell membrane to stop bleeding and transfer oxygen. The artificial blood can be stored at normal temperatures for more than a year. “It is difficult to stock a sufficient amount of blood for transfusions in such regions as remote islands,” said Manabu Kinoshita, an associate professor of immunology at the National Defense Medical College and a member of the team. “The artificial blood will be able to save the lives of people who otherwise could not be saved.”

Brain-controlled Exoskeleton Allows Paralyzed Man to Walk – (MSN – October 4, 2019)
The 28-year-old man from Lyon, France, known as Thibault, was paralyzed from the shoulders down after falling 40 feet from a balcony, severing his spinal cord, the AFP news agency reported. He had some movement in his biceps and left wrist, and was able to operate a wheelchair using a joystick with his left arm. Researchers from the University of Grenoble in France, biomedical research center Clinatec and the CEA research center implanted recording devices on either side of Thibault’s head, between the brain and skin, to span the sensorimotor cortex — the area of the brain that controls motor function and sensation. Electrode grids collected the man’s brain signals and transmitted them to a decoding algorithm, which translated the signals into movements and commanded a robotic exoskeleton to complete them. Over a period of two years, Thibault trained the algorithm to understand his thoughts by controlling an avatar — a virtual character — within a video game, making it walk and touch 2D and 3D objects. He trained on simple virtual simulations before using the exoskeleton — which is assisted by a ceiling-mounted harness — to eventually walk, and reach for targets with his arms. The team has recruited three more patients to the trial, and aims to allow patients to walk and balance without using a ceiling suspension system in the next phase of the research. “Our findings could move us a step closer to helping tetraplegic patients to drive computers using brain signals alone, perhaps starting with driving wheelchairs using brain activity instead of joysticks and progressing to developing an exoskeleton for increased mobility,” said Professor Stephan Chabardes, a neurosurgeon from Grenoble University Hospital and author of the study.


California Polluters May Soon Buy Carbon “Offsets” from the Amazon — Is That Ethical? – (The Conversation – September 26, 2019)
California Polluters May Soon Buy Carbon “Offsets” from the Amazon — Is That Ethical? – (The Conversation – September 26, 2019) Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have outraged the world. But what can people living far from the world’s largest rainforest do to save it? California thinks it has an answer. On Sept. 19, the California Air Resources Board endorsed the Tropical Forest Standard, which sets the groundwork for electric utilities, oil refineries and other California polluters to “offset” their greenhouse gas emissions by paying governments in tropical forest areas not to cut down trees. Everyone benefits from the existence of tropical forests because they store enormous amounts of climate-changing carbon dioxide and release enormous amounts of it when destroyed. The theory goes, then, that it pays to protect them. The Standard is part of California’s ambitious climate policy, which includes aggressive emission reduction targets and limits the number of offsets polluters can purchase. Tropical governments around the world may now try to get their offsets admitted into California. That could channel an estimated US$1 billion by 2030 toward protecting tropical forests – 100 times more than the European Union recently offered Brazil to aid in fighting fires in the Amazon. The economic logic of international carbon offsets – that polluters can pay others to reduce emissions – is sound. But, ethically, California’s Tropical Forest Standard may be on shakier ground. Like Catholic indulgences that absolve the sinner who pays the church, carbon offsets give amnesty to companies that would do better to change their ways. This may buy the Earth some time while renewables and other low-carbon technologies develop further. But carbon offsets also delay the needed energy transition away from fossil fuels. Environmental justice groups in California have also criticized offsets, insisting it does matter where air pollution occurs. Gases released from power plants and refineries contain harmful particulate matter and other hazardous pollutants that can worsen asthma and cause other serious health issues. Research shows that people of color often live and work in areas with the worst air quality, both in California and elsewhere in the United States.

Ocean Cleaning Contraption Starts Hoovering up Island of Plastic Waste the Size of Texas – (Daily Mail – October 2, 2019)
A cleaning boom built to gather floating waste in the Pacific so it can be removed from the water is now working fully after overcoming initial teething problems. The system is the brainchild of Boyan Slat, founder of the nonprofit ‘The Ocean Cleanup’, and comprises a cork-based boom that trails a waste-scooping screen. Having addressed issues caused by the boom’s drifting speed, large waves and damage at sea, the device is now successfully helping to clean up the Pacific. The system, which drifts slowly across the sea and is emptied by visiting ships is currently gathering together rubbish between California and Hawaii. The device is capable of catching floating waste ranging in size from discarded fishing nets and car tires down to plastic chips just one millimeter in size. The current version of the device comprises a 2,000 feet-long floating boom from which a 10 foot-deep screen is hung under the water. As the boom drifts across the ocean, the screen acts as an artificial coastline, trapping plastic at the surface while allowing marine life to swim safely underneath. A beacon on the collector regularly reports the boom’s current position, allowing for vessels to be dispatched every few months to take away the waste collected. The next move, Slat said, will be to both scale up the plastic waste collector and make it stronger. This would enable such a version of the device to stay at sea for longer periods of time, holding on to its collected plastic for more than a year before a ship needs to come and take away the trash.


This Is What Your Smartphone Is Doing to Your Brain – (Business Insider – March 1, 2019)
Smartphones buzz to wake us up, emails stream into our inboxes, notifications from coworkers and far away friends bubble up on our screens, and “assistants” chime in. Such interruptions seem logical to our minds: we want technology to help with our busy lives, ensuring we don’t miss important appointments and communications. But our bodies have a different view: These constant alerts jolt our stress hormones into action, igniting our fight or flight response; our heartbeats quicken, our breathing tightens, our sweat glands burst open, and our muscles contract. That response is intended to help us outrun danger, not answer a call or text from a colleague. We are simply not built to live like this. A full 89% of college students now report feeling “phantom” phone vibrations, imagining their phone is summoning them to attention when it hasn’t actually buzzed. Endocrinologist Robert Lustig observes that notifications from our phones are training our brains to be in a near constant state of stress and fear by establishing a stress-fear memory pathway. And such a state means that the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brains that normally deals with some of our highest-order cognitive functioning, goes completely haywire, and basically shuts down. “You end up doing stupid things,” Lustig says. “And those stupid things tend to get you in trouble.” Scientists have known for years what people often won’t admit to themselves: humans can’t really multi-task. This is true for almost all of us: about 97.5% of the population. That means every time we pause to answer a new notification or get an alert from a different app on our phone, we’re being interrupted, and with that interruption we pay a price: something called a “switch cost.” (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for the breadth of research being reported here.)

Watch as New Wifi Method Sees through Walls and Identifies People from Video Footage – (Nexus Newsfeed – October 1, 2019)
Researchers at MIT have come up with a way to use WiFi signals to see behind walls, and map a room in 3-D. By reflecting the signal, it can also locate the movements of people or objects in the room. Using a wireless transmitter fitted behind a wall, computer scientists have developed a device that can map a nearby room in 3D while scanning for human bodies. Using the signals that bounce and reflect off these people, the device creates an accurate silhouette and can even use this silhouette to identify who that person is. The device is called RF Capture and it was developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). Today, researchers claim to have a new method for taking this one step further: once a person is located, they can then be properly identified by matching any available video footage of that individual. Apparently, our unique gait and movement gives us away. Naturally, this is a huge win for law enforcement which has a larger database than ever of public video footage from its ubiquitous camera surveillance. This novel video-WiFi cross-modal gait-based person identification system, which they refer to as XModal-ID (pronounced Cross-Modal-ID), could have a variety of applications, from surveillance and security to smart homes. For instance, consider a scenario in which law enforcement has a video footage of a robbery. They suspect that the robber is hiding inside a house. Can a pair of WiFi transceivers outside the house determine if the person inside the house is the same as the one in the robbery video? Questions such as this have motivated this new technology. For a demonstration of the technology in action, see this. For additional details, see also: Forget X-rays, now you can see through walls using WI-FI: Device captures silhouettes and can even identify people when they’re stood behind concrete.

What Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim Means for Quantum Computing – (IEEE Spectrum – September 27, 2019)
The moment when quantum computing can seriously threaten to compromise the security of digital communications remains many years, if not decades, in the future. But the leaked draft of Google’s paper likely represents the first experimental proof of the long-held theoretical premise that quantum computers can outperform even the most powerful modern supercomputers on certain tasks, experts say. Quantum computing harnesses the rules of quantum physics that hold sway over some of the smallest particles in the universe in order to build devices very different from today’s “classical” computer chips used in smartphones and laptops. Instead of classical computing’s binary bits of information that can only exist in one of two basic states, a quantum computer relies on quantum bits (qubits) that can exist in many different possible states. Because each qubit can hold many different states of information, multiple qubits connected through quantum entanglement hold the promise of speedily performing complex computing operations that might take thousands or millions of years on modern supercomputers. To build such quantum computers, some research labs have been using lasers and electric fields to trap and manipulate atoms as individual qubits. The Google AI Quantum Lab led by John Martinis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been experimenting with qubits made of loops of superconducting metal. It’s this approach that enabled Google and its research collaborators to demonstrate quantum supremacy based on a 54-qubit array laid out in a flat, rectangular arrangement.

5G Cell Phone Radiation: How the Telecom Companies Are Losing the Battle to Impose 5G against the Will of the People – (Global Research – October 5, 2019)
Breeze past the opening rhetoric in this article and skip down to the listing of nations and local areas where the 5G technology is being either critically evaluated or are passing ordinances against “small cell” installations. The 5G roll-out may be close to a done deal but it’s not quite there. (Editor’s note: Our guess is that 5G resistance is going to be effective in roughly the same measure that oil and gas pipeline resistance is effective: when the projects stop making sense in terms of profit.)


Company Building Hemp Homes Using 3D Printing Technology – (Natural Blaze – October 6, 2019)
An Australian based biotechnology company called Mirreco, has recently unveiled plans for 3D-printed hemp homes. The company cites environmental concerns as some of their primary motivations. The company has developed hemp panels that can be used in both residential and commercial building projects. Furthermore, the panels can be manufactured directly through a 3D-printer, and then used to build the structure of the home. Mirreco says that the panels are “structurally sound, easy to produce, and provide superior thermal performance.” A statement from the company said, “Just imagine living and working in buildings that are 3D-printed and available to move into in only a matter of weeks. The floors, walls and roof will all be made using hemp biomass, and the windows will incorporate cutting-edge technology that allows light to pass through glass where it is converted into electricity.” Mirreco’s website offers much greater detail. Blending hemp with proprietary polymers completes a carbon-storing polymer chain for rapidly-deployed, high-performance construction products. Undergoing testing, certification, validation and provenance currently, Mirreco aims to launch their patented CAST technology across Australia, followed by overseas.


When I Took My Zipcar into the Wilderness – (Atlantic – September 1, 2019)
In an area without cellphone reception, I was unable to open the car. The Zipcar door would not open. My brother and then my sister held the card over the reader and waited for it to unlock. I held the card over the reader and tried to do the same. Nothing happened. Here is the Public Service Announcement part of the story: If you take a vehicle loaned out by Zipcar—a rental service where drivers use RFID cards or a mobile app to open up the car—to an area without cell reception, there’s a chance the car will not work. The doors won’t open, and even if they do, the engine will not start. And because you will be in an area with no cell reception, it might be impossible for you to call for help. It is a particularly vexing part of the give-and-take of attaching everything to everything. With services like Zipcar, your rental car becomes not just a car, but a node in a complex, connected system. The same is true for your Uber ride, or your cup of coffee made by a Wi-Fi–connected machine, or your Peloton workout. All this connection means easier access, faster service, cheaper prices, and better features. But it also means that things can go very wrong. The internet of things makes life so easy: Hold a card over the reader and pick up your rental car, swipe on an app and find a date, ping a car to pick you up wherever you are. But the problem with using services dependent on a network is that you are then dependent on the network. And on yourself to figure it out.

UPS Approved To Run “Drone Airline” – (AVweb – October 1, 2019)
The FAA has given UPS’s Flight Forward subsidiary approval to run unmanned aerial delivery vehicles under an FAR Part 135 certificate that in turn allows it to use drones with more than 55 pounds of useful load. UPS said it will first expand drone deliveries to hospital campuses and then into other industries. UPS has already been testing delivery UAVs at the Wake Forest University’s medical center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The flights have focused on the delivery of blood for potentially life-saving transfusions, as well as other medical samples for lab work.” Not only can UPS fly heavier drones, it can do so at night. There are restrictions in place for the UAVs that make them less than autonomous, however. The “drones won’t be allowed to fly beyond the sight of the operator without an FAA exemption for each route. Also, each flight will need a separate operator.” UPS will “apply for FAA permission to have a single operator fly multiple drones at the same time.”

Uber Copter Goes Public in NYC – (CNet – October 3, 2019)
Increasingly, New York’s business travelers are turning to Uber to get them to their airport of choice, hoping that the traffic and surge pricing gods smile in their favor. Today, Uber launches a new service that will free you from mundane earthly traffic — if you’re an efficient packer and don’t mind the cost. It’s called Uber Copter, and it might just be the new best way to get to JFK. The service launched earlier this summer, but initially only to Uber’s top-tier customers. Now it’s open to everyone. The process of booking a Copter ride is easy. For $199.82, the app not only reserved a helicopter ride from the heliport on the southern tip of Manhattan, but also lined up an UberX car on one side to get me to the heliport as well as a second car to get me from the JFK heliport to the hotel. This process, stringing together multiple means of travel to get you where you need to go, is called multimodality and this is Uber’s first foray into providing it to the masses. It won’t be the last. Down the road, look for the Uber app to bundle in things like scooters and bikes, depending on the situation. It took just eight minutes to get from downtown Manhattan to JFK. However, baggage might be a concern. Passengers are limited to a personal item (purse or small laptop bag) plus a single piece of baggage that must meet TSA regulations for carry-on size (9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches). For now the Manhattan-JFK route is all that’s in the cards. The company hopes to deploy its broader Uber Elevate service in 2023.


Plastic Tea Bags Shed Billions of Microplastic Particles into the Cup – (New Scientist – September 28, 2019)
A Canadian team found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95°C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic between 100 nanometers and 5 millimeters in size – into a single cup. That is several orders of magnitude higher than other foods and drinks. Nathalie Tufenkji at McGill University, observed that, “Table salt, which has a relatively high microplastic content, has been reported to contain approximately 0.005 micrograms plastic per gram salt. A cup of tea contains thousands of times greater mass of plastic, at 16 micrograms per cup.” Tufenkji’s team bought four different tea bags from shops and cafés in Montreal, cut them open and washed them, steeped them in 95°C water and analyzed the water with electron microscopes and spectroscopy. A control of uncut tea bags was used to check it wasn’t the cutting that was causing the leaching of microplastics. While microplastics are increasingly found in drinking water, the World Health Organization says there is no evidence of a health risk for humans. To test the potential toxicity of the particles released by plastic tea bags, Tufenkji and her colleagues exposed water fleas to the contaminated water. “The particles did not kill the water fleas, but did cause significant behavioral effects and developmental malformations,” she says. However, she says that more research is needed to understand possible health impacts in humans. “Personally, I would say avoid the plastic tea bags because it’s just another single-use plastic,” Tufenkji said. (Editor’s note: The kind to avoid is the fancier “silken” type tea bag, which is sometimes pyramid-shaped. ‘Silken’ bags for premium teas are made of PET or nylon.)


Troops of the Future May Ditch Night-vision Goggles in Favor of Eye Injections to See in the Dark – (Stars and Stripes – September 3, 2019)
In February, a team of scientists from China and the U.S. reported that they’d given mice the ability to see in the dark by injecting nanoparticles into the animals’ eyeballs. They tested their process by training mice to swim through a maze following triangular signs. Mice injected with the nanoparticles were able to find their way out of the maze in the dark, the researchers said. At the time, researcher Xue Tian said he “definitely” thought the same technique would work in humans — and now, one scientist has come out to explain why the first people to undergo the procedure might be soldiers in the U.S. military. The scientists found that the nanoparticles bound tightly to photoreceptors in the eyes of the mice and stayed in place for up to 10 weeks with no obvious lasting side effects. Arizona State University engineering professor Braden Allenby said, “This might be a way to equip warriors with night vision directly, and because it is temporary, it might be less risky than permanent treatments such as genetically engineering warriors’ optical systems.” Members of a military unit might be equipped with different visual capabilities, he said, adding: “It will be a while before warriors are getting this treatment, because there needs to be a lot of work to make sure it is safe for deployment, and works as advertised, with humans in the field.”


IRS: Sorry, But It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor – (Nation of Change – October 3, 2019)
The IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate as the wealthiest 1%. Now, in response to questions from a U.S. senator, the IRS has acknowledged that’s true but professes it can’t change anything unless it is given more money. ProPublica reported the disproportionate audit focus on lower-income families in April. Lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the emphasis. Rettig replied with a report, but it said the IRS has no plan and won’t have one until Congress agrees to restore the funding it slashed from the agency over the past nine years — something lawmakers have shown little inclination to do. On the one hand, the IRS said, auditing poor taxpayers is a lot easier: The agency uses relatively low-level0020employees to audit returns for low-income taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit. The audits — of which there were about 380,000 last year, accounting for 39% of the total the IRS conducted — are done by mail and don’t take too much staff time, either. They are “the most efficient use of available IRS examination resources,” Rettig’s report says. On the other hand, auditing the rich is hard. It takes senior auditors hours upon hours to complete an exam. What’s more, the letter says, “the rate of attrition is significantly higher among these more experienced examiners.” As a result, the budget cuts have hit this part of the IRS particularly hard. For now, the IRS says, while it agrees auditing more wealthy taxpayers would be a good idea, without adequate funding there’s nothing it can do.

Barr Pushes Facebook for Access to WhatsApp Messages – (New York Times – October 3, 2019)
The Justice Department has renewed its fight for access to encrypted communications, arguing that it is a vital crime-fighting tool even as technology companies and advocates have countered that it will threaten individual privacy. Attorney General William P. Barr took aim at Facebook’s plan to make WhatsApp and its other messaging services more secure, pressing its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to create a loophole to that goal of full encryption. The encryption on WhatsApp blocks Facebook from gaining access to the information its users send on the platform, similar to the system used by the Signal messaging service, considered to be one of the most thorough at protecting users’ privacy. The Justice Department said that investigators needed lawful access to encrypted communications to fight terrorism, organized crime and child pornography. Mr. Barr’s request was the latest salvo in a years’ long fight by law enforcement officials for access to popular communications platforms that have become increasingly secure. The conflict last came to a head in 2016, when a federal judge ordered Apple to help the F.B.I. unlock an iPhone recovered after the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The F.B.I. ultimately cracked it without Apple’s help, easing tensions for a time with the tech companies. At issue are end-to-end encryption, which would ensure that only the sender and recipient can read messages sent using a particular messaging service, and so-called back doors, which would give the authorities access to such data. Tech company officials have said that strong encryption is necessary to protect legitimate users of their platforms all over the world, including journalists and government critics. The Justice Department and its counterparts in Australia and Britain have long pushed for back doors to other tech platforms but are focusing on Facebook because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s plan to add end-to-end encryption to all of the company’s platforms. A recent report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued that technology companies and the government should focus not on altering end-to-end encryption systems, but on finding ways for law enforcement to gain access to devices they have lawfully obtained.

Here’s Why Trump’s Poll Numbers Are Defying the Impeachment Mess – (CNBC – October 4, 2019)
Trump’s approval rating is at its highest level of the year according to the Hill-HarrisX survey, and the other major polls taken since this Ukraine phone call whistleblower story emerged show few changes from the last surveys taken before the news broke, not to mention his improved fundraising since the scandal broke. How is this possible? Anyone still asking that question simply hasn’t come to terms with why Donald Trump won the 2016 election in the first place. In short, Trump was elected to be the ultimate disruptor and to play that disruptive role as much as possible. “Drain the swamp” wasn’t just a campaign slogan, but a visceral feeling against establishment Washington in every way. Millions of Americans who voted for Trump and still support him chose him precisely because he is nasty, breaks the rules, and shows little respect for the political establishment at every level. To really be mad at Trump for asking foreign leaders to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden or Hillary Clinton, the voters need to believe that Clinton and the Bidens aren’t inherently corrupt. They must also believe that just about all the rules and established groups within American government, especially the intelligence community, deserve unquestioned respect. Here’s a newsflash: a very large number of Americans don’t have that trust and respect, and they’re generally OK with Trump being the junkyard dog who digs it all out. This is Donald Trump’s brand. Comedian Dennis Miller put it as succinctly as possible with a Facebook post Thursday where he simply wrote: “The simple fact is that if Trump was vaguely presidential he wouldn’t be President.” (Editor’s note: We find this article insightful and recommend it.)


Getting a New Mobile Number in China Will Involve a Facial-recognition Test – (Quartz – October 3, 2019)
China is taking every measure it can to verify the identities of its over 850 million mobile internet users. From Dec. 1, people applying for new mobile and data services will have to have their faces scanned by telecom providers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a Sept. 27 statement (link in Chinese). MIIT said the step was part of its efforts to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens in the cyberspace” and to control phone and internet fraud. In addition to the facial-recognition test, phone users are also banned from passing their mobile phone numbers to others, and encouraged to check if numbers are registered under their name without their consent. The new decree is an upgrade of China’s real-name registration system for mobile phone users launched in 2013, which requires people to have their national IDs checked and photos taken by carriers to get a new number. The facial-recognition step will match the image against the person’s stored ID.

Hong Kong Takes Symbolic Stand against China’s High-Tech Controls – (New York Times – October 3, 2019)
On the Hong Kong side, the internet is open and unfettered. On the China side, connections wither behind filters and censors that block foreign websites and scrub social media posts. The walk is short, but the virtual divide is huge. This invisible but stark technological wall has loomed as Hong Kong’s protests smolder into their fourth month. The semiautonomous city’s proximity to a society that is increasingly closed off and controlled by technology has informed protesters’ concerns about Hong Kong’s future. For many, one fear is the city will fall into a shadow world of surveillance, censorship and digital controls that many have had firsthand experience with during regular travels to China. The protests are a rare rebellion against Beijing’s vision of tech-backed authoritarianism. Unsurprisingly, they come from the only major place in China that sits outside its censorship and surveillance. Umbrellas, which became an emblem of protests in Hong Kong five years ago when they were used to deflect pepper spray, are now commonly deployed to shield protester activities — and sometimes violence — from the digital eyes of cameras and smartphones. In late July, protesters painted black the lenses of cameras in front of Beijing’s liaison office in the city. Since then, Hong Kong protesters have smashed cameras to bits. This week, as protesters confronted the police in some of the most intense clashes since the unrest began in June, umbrellas were opened to block the view of police helicopters flying overhead. Some people got creative, handing out reflective mylar to stick on goggles to make them harder to film. The Hong Kong police have arrested people based on their digital communications and ripped phones out of the hands of unwitting targets to gain access to their electronics. Sites have also been set up to try to identify protesters based on their social media accounts. More recently, the police have requested data on bus passengers to pinpoint escaping protesters. (Editor’s note: This is what fighting for freedom looks like in the 21st century.)

God’s Chosen People – (Paul Craig Roberts – October 8, 2019)
It would be nice to think that, as an Israeli officer once put it, “This time we went too far” — that the killings of 17 unarmed protesters in Gaza by Israeli riflers across a security fence on Friday would cause the world to sanction Israel for its conduct. But if you look over Israel’s history, you find that the massacre has been a ready tool in the Israeli war-chest; and Israelis have not been prosecuted for carrying them out. Indeed, a couple of those responsible later became prime minister! Drawn largely from the author’s memory, this article offers a rapidly-assembled list of massacres, defined by Webster’s as the killing of a “number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty” (and yes, a couple precede the birth of the state). See also this article from about a month ago: 30 Journalists Covering Gaza Protests Iinjured by Israeli Forces.

At Least 70 Countries Have Had Disinformation Campaigns, Study Finds – (New York Times – September 26, 2019)
In Vietnam, citizens were enlisted to post pro-government messages on their personal Facebook pages. The Guatemalan government used hacked and stolen social media accounts to silence dissenting opinions. Ethiopia’s ruling party hired people to influence social media conversations in its favor. Despite increased efforts by internet platforms like Facebook to combat internet disinformation, the use of the techniques by governments around the world is growing, according to a report by researchers at Oxford University. Governments are spreading disinformation to discredit political opponents, bury opposing views and interfere in foreign affairs. The researchers compiled … one of the most comprehensive inventories of disinformation practices by governments around the world. They found that the number of countries with political disinformation campaigns more than doubled to 70 in the last two years, with evidence of at least one political party or government entity in each of those countries engaging in social media manipulation. Facebook remains the No. 1 social network for disinformation, the report said. Organized propaganda campaigns were found on the platform in 56 countries. Governments have used “cyber troops” to shape public opinion, including networks of bots to amplify a message, groups of “trolls” to harass political dissidents or journalists, and scores of fake social media accounts to misrepresent how many people engaged with an issue. (Editor’s note: Although the NYT article does not mention the US, the Oxford University report, which we recommend reading, lists it.)


The Cautionary Tale of Japan’s “Sex Recession” – (CBS – September 22, 2019)
All around the world, young people are having less sex than previous generations. At the forefront of the so-called global “sex recession” is Japan, which has one of the lowest fertility rates on Earth, and it could serve as a cautionary tale for the U.S. and other industrialized countries. A review of Japan’s National Fertility Survey reveals virginity is on the rise; one out of every 10 Japanese men in their 30s is still a virgin. That puts Japan’s virginity rate well ahead of that of other industrialized nations. “A large proportion of these individuals cannot find a partner in the market,” said Peter Ueda, a public health researcher at Tokyo University. Japan’s surging virginity rate, he noted is, “actually the highest ever recorded in a high-income country.” If current trends hold, Japan’s population will collapse by more than half over the next century. The drop in both sex and births is often blamed on long working hours, too much time spent online, and the Japanese fetish for digital companionship, which manifests itself in the popularity of robots and holographic “partners.” But Ueda said he suspects financial and job insecurity are what’s really fueling Japan’s sex recession. “Compared to men who had a regular employment, those with part-time or temporary employment were four-times as likely to be heterosexually inexperienced in ages 25 to 39, and those who were unemployed were eight times more likely,” he said. Researchers have already warned that this problem isn’t unique to Japan, and the U.S. could be next. See also this article from the AtlanticWhy Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

The Ringification of Suburban Life – (Wired – September 26, 2019)
Across the US, consumers are canvassing their communities with a new type of device that’s changing civic life. Camera-equipped doorbells and other home surveillance devices, made by companies like Ring, are documenting facets of suburban existence that once went unnoticed. For years, citizens have used smartphones to monitor their neighborhoods, especially instances of police misconduct or abuse. But pointing a smartphone is an active choice. Homeowners use cameras and their ilk to passively monitor their neighborhoods and each other. Instead of capturing the moments citizens intentionally choose to record, Ring cameras log whatever may happen in front of them. And local news outlets are happily passing it along. Ring, which Amazon acquired last year for over $830 million, has partnered with over 400 police departments in the US to date. In exchange for promoting Ring’s devices and its associated crime watch app Neighbors, cops are given access to a portal where they can ask citizens for footage from their cameras that may be connected to a crime without a warrant. The arrangements have come under growing scrutiny in recent months, as reporters and activists have criticized their lack of transparency and potential for privacy abuses. Public records also show that Ring tightly controls how police officials can portray its dealings with the company. Local journalists have found their own purpose for Ring videos: making content. And news reports show that these cameras also capture events far stranger than package theft. These incidents aren’t necessarily criminal, but could easily make someone more fearful about living in their own community. For instance, there’s the person who dropped old television sets onto people’s doorsteps while wearing one on their head.

Why Are Rich People So Mean? – (Wired – September 26, 2019)
Research conducted at the University of Toronto by Stéphane Côté and colleagues confirms that the rich are less generous than the poor, but their findings suggest it’s more complicated than simply wealth making people stingy. Rather, it’s the distance created by wealth differentials that seems to break the natural flow of human kindness. Côté found that “higher-income individuals are only less generous if they reside in a highly unequal area or when inequality is experimentally portrayed as relatively high.” Rich people were as generous as anyone else when inequality was low. The rich are less generous when inequality is extreme, a finding that challenges the idea that higher-income individuals are just more selfish. If the person who needs help doesn’t seem that different from us, we’ll probably help them out. But if they seem too far away (culturally, economically) we’re less likely to lend a hand. The social distance separating rich and poor, like so many of the other distances that separate us from each other, only entered human experience after the advent of agriculture and the hierarchical civilizations that followed, which is why it’s so psychologically difficult to twist your soul into a shape that allows you to ignore starving children in India standing close enough to smell your plate of curry. A wealthy friend of mine recently told me, “You get successful by saying yes, but you need to say no a lot to stay successful.” If you’re perceived to be wealthier than those around you, you’ll have to say “no” a lot. You’ll be constantly approached with requests, offers, pitches, and pleas—whether you’re in a Starbucks in Silicon Valley or the back streets of Calcutta. Refusing sincere requests for help doesn’t come naturally to our species. Neuroscientists Jorge Moll, Jordan Grafman, and Frank Krueger of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have used fMRI machines to demonstrate that altruism is deeply embedded in human nature. Their work suggests that the deep satisfaction most people derive from altruistic behavior is not due to a benevolent cultural overlay, but from the evolved architecture of the human brain. Decades of “greed is good” messaging has sought to remove a sense of shame from being a beneficiary of outrageous extremes of wealth inequality. Institutions seeking to justify a fundamentally anti-human economic system constantly rebroadcast the message that winning the money game will bring satisfaction and happiness. But we’ve got around 300,000 years of ancestral experience telling us it just isn’t so. Selfishness may be essential to civilization, but that only raises the question of whether a civilization so out of step with our evolved nature makes sense for the human beings within it. (Editor’s note: We highly recommend this article for its reporting on numerous studies concerning the intersections of wealth, generosity, community, and personal well being – these aren’t all connected in the ways you might at first think.)

Sperm Donor Who Discovered He Fathered at Least 17 Kids ― Most in the Same Area ― Says Fertility Clinic Lied – (Washington Post – October 3, 2019)
In 1989 Bruce Cleary gave his sperm to the fertility clinic at Oregon Health & Science University, where he was a first-year medical student, believing his donation would help infertile couples and advance science. The facility promised that once his sperm had conceived five babies in mothers living on the East Coast, the rest would be used for research. “So you can imagine his shock,” his attorney Chris Best said at the news conference, “when, after 30 years, Dr. Cleary recently [learned] that no less than 17 children have been born from his donations” ― all of whom were born in the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. And some of those children have gone to the same schools and churches and social events — raising the possibility they met without ever knowing they were siblings. It all came together once Cleary signed up for in 2018. Immediately, he realized something unusual: four children he didn’t know existed popped up as instant matches. What were the odds almost all of the donor children he helped conceive decades ago were on the website, too? He had no reason to believe there were any more than five, he said. “I knew something was wrong,” he said. “Because the odds of that happening were not reasonable.” At least four of the donor kids started reaching out to him through the website — and that’s when he learned they all lived in the same area, less than two hours away from him. The startling discovery has led Cleary to file a $5.25 million lawsuit against OHSU on Wednesday, accusing the university of fraud. Cleary never planned on even knowing the children’s identities, but now that they found each other was he obligated to be in their lives? What if some needed help? What if one had kidney failure and his kidneys were the only match? All those questions ran though his mind, he said at the news conference. He continued communicating with the first four — but as more and more emerged, it became exhausting, he said.


How Many Humans Could the Moon Support? – (Live Science – September 27, 2019)
No vision of the future is complete without an extraterrestrial colony of humans, and since the moon is the closest celestial body to our planet, it’s the easiest to imagine as our futuristic home. But does this vision align with reality? Will the moon one day be a hot property, and if so, how many people could its unwelcoming landscape realistically support? The moon’s surface area is about 15.9% of Earth’s overall land area (excluding the area of Earth covered by oceans). Technically, if we packed this area at the density of Earth’s most populous cities, we’d be able to fit trillions on the moon’s surface. But how many people could fit on the moon’s surface is a very different question than how many people that world could sustainably support. And in that regard, the moon is definitely Earth’s poorer cousin. But the essentials for human existence — air, water, food and shelter — theoretically aren’t as unattainable on the moon as you might expect. Theoretically, natural resources could support tens of thousands, even millions, of people on the moon. So then, why aren’t there already hundreds of us up there, gazing down at Earth? Because the biggest constraints to colonizing the moon aren’t necessarily limits to natural resources, said Markus Landgraf, the moon project manager with the European Space Agency, but the huge cost of transporting people up there by spacecraft. Doing it more economically would require bold technological leaps — like the invention of space elevators. If we had those, “then we’re talking about tens of thousands of people on the moon,” Landgraf said. “So, really, water isn’t the constraint here. It’s transportation.” There’s another caveat, and this is where we return sharply to reality: For now, colonizing the moon isn’t actually the goal. Sure, we could view the moon as a kind of Noah’s ark in the event of an earthly apocalypse. But currently, international space agencies see the moon not as an outpost from disaster, but as a research hub — and a potential base from which to explore the rest of our solar system.

Planet Nine Could Be a Primordial Black Hole, New Research Suggests – (PhysOrg – September 30, 2019)
The hypothetical Planet Nine, assumed to be lurking somewhere in the outskirts of our solar system, may not be a planet at all. A new study suggests that the mysterious and still undiscovered object might be a primordial black hole. Primordial black holes (PBHs) are old and relatively small black holes that emerged soon after the Big Bang. They are thought to have been formed as a result of density fluctuations in the very early universe. It is believed that PBHs with the lowest mass have likely evaporated. However, those with larger masses may still exist, evaporating at the present epoch—even though they have been never directly observed. Astronomers Jakub Scholtz of Durham University and James Unwin of University of Illinois at Chicago ponder the possibility that the elusive Planet Nine, theorized to be orbiting the sun at a distance between 300 and 1,000 AU, could be such an old and compact black hole. Explaining their intriguing hypothesis, the researchers focus on two unsolved gravitational anomalies of similar mass: anomalous orbits of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) and an excess in microlensing events. What is interesting is that both events are due to objects with masses estimated to be between 0.5 and 20 Earth masses. The anomalies of TNO orbits are assumed to be triggered by a new gravitational source in the outer solar system. While it is widely accepted that this source could be a free-floating planet, Scholtz and Unwin argue that the PBH scenario is not unreasonable and should be taken into account.


The $86 Trillion World Economy in One Chart – (How Much Net – September 5, 2019)
The data comes from the World Bank’s 2018 global GDP figures. Each country is sized to the scale of its relative GDP. Countries are grouped and colored by region. The United States and China together make up nearly 40% of the global economic GDP at $20.5 and $13.6 trillion, respectively, contributing that’s 23.9% and 15.9% to the global economy. This chart is a superb visual presentation of the data. For a look at how things have changed since 2017, check out HowMuch’s 2017 analysis of world GDP – the increase in China’s weighting is well worth noting.


Scientists Have Built a Real Star Trek ‘Replicator’ That Builds Objects with Light – (Science Alert – February 3, 2019)
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a printer that can fabricate objects in one shot using light, rather than building up layer by layer. It may revolutionize rapid manufacturing technology. It works more like a computed tomography (CT) scan than a conventional 3D printer. It builds a 3D image by scanning an object from multiple angles, then projects it into a tube of synthetic resin that solidifies when exposed to certain intensities of light. In two minutes, for instance, the team was able to fabricate a tiny figurine of Auguste Rodin’s famous “The Thinker” statue. The replicator might have groundbreaking implications, but it does have some inherent limitations as well: the objects it produces are small, and require special synthetic resin to produce.


Psychic Future: What Next for the ‘Precog Economy’? – (Guardian – September 29, 2019)
The Wikipedia page for “precognition” is unforgiving; the world’s most popular information resource claims premonitions are “widely considered to be pseudoscience”. This doesn’t change the fact that many of us have a similar story – a sense of unease before an accident, a familiar unfamiliar place, a disconcerting jolt of déjà vu. In 1967, Dr John Barker set up the London Premonitions Bureau to formally allow people to record their visions. It was the subject of a New Yorker article earlier this year. Dr. Julia Mossbridge, a visiting psychology scholar at Northwestern University in the US, and co-author of The Premonition Code: How Sensing the Future Can Change Your Life, says there is an ever-expanding “precog economy”, where people with alleged precognitive powers sell their abilities to business people, law-enforcement officials and even health professionals. Mossbridge’s dreams for a precog economy are undoubtedly ambitious, but Mossbridge notes that psychic services have been growing since the recession and estimates the US psychic industry is worth $2bn. In 1995, the CIA declassified documents related to a secret army project, Stargate, that spent $20m researching remote viewing for 20 years, from the 1970s onwards. The files concluded that “remote viewers can be used as collectors in conjunction with other intelligence sources”. A major success came in 1976, when a remote viewer named Rosemary Smith found the location of a lost Soviet spy plane (in 1995, former president Jimmy Carter confirmed the incident had taken place).

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

Science Proves That What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger – (PhysOrg – October 1, 2019)
Scientists at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management have established a causal relationship between failure and future success, proving German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s adage that “what does not kill me makes me stronger.” The researchers utilized advanced analytics to assess the relationship between professional failure and success for young scientists. They found, in contrast to their initial expectations, that failure early in one’s career leads to greater success in the long term for those who try again. “The attrition rate does increase for those who fail early in their careers,” lead author Yang Wang said. “But those who stick it out, on average, perform much better in the long term, suggesting that if it doesn’t kill you, it really does make you stronger.” The study, “Early-career setback and future career impact,” was published in Nature Communications. The findings provide a counter-narrative to the Matthew Effect, which posits a “rich get richer” theory that success begets more success. “It turns out that, historically, while we have been relatively successful in pinpointing the benefits of success, we have failed to understand the impact of failure,” said Dashun Wang, corresponding author and associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg.


Entire Internet Horrified by Alcoholic Tide Pods – (Grub Street – October 7, 2019)
Well, maybe not the entire internet and not quite horrified. “No ice. No stirrer. No glass. We’re redefining how whisky can be enjoyed. Introducing The Glenlivet Capsule Collection,” so runs the ad. One of the world’s most celebrated and beloved Scotch whiskey brands has decided to put its liquor into capsules that look like Tide Pods. For those who’ve repressed the memory, 2018 began with an epidemic of people ingesting the detergent product because it looked tasty, even if it was filled with literal poison. Now, you can enjoy all the pleasure of a capsule dissolving in your mouth without needing to get your stomach pumped! For a limited time only, Scotland’s 195-year-old Glenlivet distillery is selling three whiskeys — zesty citrus, spice, and wood — packaged in biodegradable capsules as part of an event in London. All imbibers have to do is pop the capsule in their mouths and wait for a rush of whiskey as it dissolves. Unsurprisingly, the internet saw this and lost its cool over what it’s calling “adult Tide Pods.” The company notes: Our seaweed capsules are a limited London Cocktail Week release & are not available elsewhere.” Check out some of the more entertaining responses below the article itself.


A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently. – Herbert Simon, social scientist

A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Christopher Robinson, Gary Sycalik, Steve Ujvarosy, and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past. If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.


Edited by John L. Petersen

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Volume 22, Number 19 – 10/1/19

Postscript – Robert David Steele – Most Influential Book.