FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT–
- Daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn’t reach your eyes.
- By 2024, the global interactive baby monitor market is expected to top $2.5 billion.
- A background document for the United Nations’ draft Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 suggests that it’s time to accept that we can’t somehow maintain endless economic growth on a finite planet and start to develop alternative economic models.
- An algorithm-driven robotic hand is now smart enough and dexterous enough to solve a Rubik’s cube.
by John L. Petersen
DR. JOHN MCMICHAEL COMING TO BERKELEY SPRINGS
Extraordinary, Baffling Healthcare Breakthroughs That Will Change the Future
In this time of an accelerating explosion of new knowledge, amazing breakthroughs are showing up in many areas. Dr. John McMichael is a researcher and inventor at the leading edge of medical research and what he is discovering flies in the face of conventional wisdom – but it works!
In the United States, for example, about 1.5 million people suffer a chronic traumatic brain injury (cTBI) each year from auto, bicycle, pedestrian accidents, assaults, and sports-related injuries. This type of injury results in “permanent” scar tissue in the brain, which in turn produces compromised mental functions either temporarily or permanently. Of the 1.5 million so afflicted, approximately 50,000 will die and 80,000 will have some degree of disability. Current treatment presumes that these kinds of injuries are irreversible and that the victims will bed=ridden or severely incapacitated for the rest of their lives.
Dr. John McMichael
But now, Dr. John McMichael and his research team have shown that a particular molecule has the ability to prevent new scar formation and decrease or eliminate old scars in a wide variety of superficial and internal indications — including the brain — in humans and animals. Dr. McMichael figured out how to allow cell-to-cell communication, where before it had been shut down. Accident victims and x-NFL players suffering from multiple concussions treated with this breakthrough therapy show consistent improvements, reporting that, “It gave me my life back.” It turns out it also works throughout the body where scar tissue has built up.
But that’s not all. McMichael works with researchers from other areas that are similarly calling conventional wisdom into question. One of his associates, Dr. William Bengston, has successfully eliminated late stage cancer in mice . . . by just having college students “think” healing thoughts about the rodents.
In this fascinating presentation, Dr. McMichael will walk across the leading edge of these unusual – and amazing – breakthroughs that hold out the promise of a better quality of life for many that are suffering . . . while, at the same time, threatening the current paradigm and the giant institutions that sustain the conventional wisdom.
Check out our recent interview about this upcoming talk:
Dr. John McMichael and John L. Petersen
You can find complete information at TransitionTalks.org.
PostScript Interview with Robert David Steele: Most Influential Books
In October, we had a wonderful talk with Robert David Steele: former spy, former Marine Corps officer, proponent of Open Source Everything, Presidential candidate in 2012, recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Check out the PostScript interview:
Robert David Steele with John L. Petersen
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:
New Fossil Treasure Trove Shows What Happened for a Million Years after the Dinosaurs Went Extinct – (CNN – October 24, 2019)
When searching for dinosaur fossils, paleontologists know that there is a certain layer in the Earth where the fossils disappear. That layer marks when an asteroid slammed into Earth 66 million years ago, causing dinosaurs to go extinct and wiping out more than 75% of species. What happened after the mass extinction event, including how quickly plant and animal life bounced back and what those creatures were – apart from birds — has until now remained murky. Corral Bluffs, Colorado, is essentially a flood plain where sediment built up for a million years, preserving a time capsule of both the environment and the life that thrived there. “We ended up collecting nearly a thousand vertebrate fossils, over 6,000 plant fossils and our colleagues counted over 37,000 pollen grains as part of this study,” paleontologist Tyler Lyson said. They found sixteen different kinds of mammals. Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and paleobotanist, Ian Miller said. “If you had to choose one million years in Earth’s history that you really want to look at carefully, this would be it.” For the first time, the researchers were able to establish animals, plants, temperatures and a timeline of when they occurred, providing an overview of the first million years after the mass extinction event to see how the entire ecosystem recovered. “We documented changes in the landscape after the impact, from a world dominated by palms to a world dominated by a more diverse group of trees,” Miller said. “And then we saw the animal species change in lockstep fashion. And then we lined that up with changes in the environment, temperature. It turns out we really were able to paint a picture of the emergence of our modern world — and that’s phenomenal.”
Scientists Have Trained Rats to Drive Tiny Cars to Collect Food – (New Scientist – October 22, 2019)
Rats have mastered the art of driving a tiny car, suggesting that their brains are more flexible than we thought. The finding could be used to understand how learning new skills relieves stress and how neurological and psychiatric conditions affect mental capabilities. We know that rodents can learn to recognize objects, press bars and find their way around mazes. These tests are often used to study how brain conditions affect cognitive function, but they only capture a narrow window of animal cognition, says Kelly Lambert at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Lambert and her colleagues wondered if rats could learn the more sophisticated task of operating a moving vehicle. They constructed a tiny car out of a clear plastic food container on wheels, with an aluminum floor and three copper bars functioning as a steering wheel. When a rat stood on the aluminum floor and gripped the copper bars with their paws, they completed an electrical circuit that propelled the car forward. Touching the left, centre or right bar steered the car in different directions. Six female and 11 male rats were trained to drive the car in rectangular arenas up to 4 square meters in size. They were rewarded with Froot Loop cereal pieces when they touched the steering bars and drove the car forward. The team encouraged the rats to advance their driving skills by placing the food rewards at increasingly distant points around the arena. “They learned to navigate the car in unique ways and engaged in steering patterns they had never used to eventually arrive at the reward,” says Lambert. Learning to drive seemed to relax the rats. The researchers assessed this by measuring levels of two hormones: corticosterone, a marker of stress, and dehydroepiandrosterone, which counteracts stress. This finding echoes Lambert’s previous work showing that rats become less stressed after they master difficult tasks like digging up buried food. They may get the same kind of satisfaction as we get when we perfect a new skill, she says. “In humans, we call this self-efficacy or agency.” In support of this idea, the team found that rats that drove themselves had higher dehydroepiandrosterone levels and were less stressed than rats that were driven around as passengers in remote-controlled cars.
How Can a Star Be Older Than the Universe? – (Space – October 16, 2019)
For more than 100 years, astronomers have been observing a curious star located some 190 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra. It rapidly journeys across the sky at 800,000 mph (1.3 million kilometers per hour). But more interesting than that, HD 140283 — or Methuselah as it’s commonly known — is also one of the universe’s oldest known stars. In 2000, scientists sought to date the star using observations via the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hipparcos satellite, which estimated an age of 16 billion years old. Such a figure was rather mind-blowing and also pretty baffling. As astronomer Howard Bond of Pennsylvania State University pointed out, the age of the universe — determined from observations of the cosmic microwave background — is 13.8 billion years old. “It was a serious discrepancy,” he said. Bond and his colleagues set themselves to the task of figuring out whether or not that initial figure of 16 billion was accurate. After extensive analysis, “the conclusion reached was that the age is about 14 billion years and, again, if one includes all sources of uncertainty — both in the observational measurements and the theoretical modeling — the error is about 700 or 800 million years, so there is no conflict because 13.8 billion years lies within the star’s error bar,” Bond said. For Bond, the similarities between the age of the universe and that of this old nearby star — both of which have been determined by different methods of analysis — is “an amazing scientific achievement which provides very strong evidence for the Big Bang picture of the universe”. Other astronomers believe the problem has not yet been correctly resolved.
GENETICS / HEALTH TECHNOLOGY / BIOTECHNOLOGY
A New Crispr Technique Could Fix Almost All Genetic Diseases – (Wired – October 21, 2019)
Crispr, for all its DNA-snipping precision, has always been best at breaking things. But if you want to replace a faulty gene with a healthy one, things get more complicated. In addition to programming a piece of guide RNA to tell Crispr where to cut, you have to provide a copy of the new DNA and then hope the cell’s repair machinery installs it correctly. Which, spoiler alert, it often doesn’t. But what if there were a way to combine those two pieces, so that one molecule told Crispr both where to make its changes and what edits to make? The answer, dubbed “prime editing,” can for the first time make virtually any alteration—additions, deletions, swapping any single letter for any other—without severing the DNA double helix. With such fine-tuned command of the genetic code, prime editing could, according to researchers’ calculations, correct around 89% of the mutations that cause heritable human diseases. Working in human cell cultures, the lab where the process was developed has already used prime editors to fix the genetic glitches that cause sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs disease.
Scientists Want to Grow Babies in Giant, Liquid-Filled Balloons – (Futurism – October 16, 2019)
Premature birth is a leading cause of death among newborns, but a device that dramatically improves premies’ chances of surviving may be just five years away. In 2018, Dutch designers Lisa Mandemaker and Hendrik-Jan Grievink teamed up with medical researcher Guid Oei to design a device that closely mimics the conditions found in the biological womb. The purpose of the artificial womb is to provide babies born extremely prematurely — between 24 and 28 weeks — with an environment where their bodies can continue to develop. “Every week we can prolong the growth of a 24-week old foetus in an artificial womb, we increase the chances of survival [by] 18%,” Oei said. “If we can extend this to 28 weeks, the biggest danger of premature death is probably gone.” Earlier this month, Oei and his colleagues at the Máxima Medical Centre secured a $3.2 million grant to create a working prototype of the design, which consists of a large, fluid-filled bag connected to an artificial placenta. In a new BBC News video, Oei predicts that the device will be ready for human babies in just five years, but he cautions that the work is still incredibly experimental. “We don’t know what the consequences are for the babies,” he said. “We know nothing about the short term and the long term implications.”
To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight – (Quanta – September 24, 2019)
Attentional processes are the brain’s way of shining a searchlight on relevant stimuli and filtering out the rest. Neuroscientists want to determine the circuits that aim and power that searchlight. For decades, their studies have revolved around the cortex, the folded structure on the outside of the brain commonly associated with intelligence and higher-order cognition. It’s become clear that activity in the cortex boosts sensory processing to enhance features of interest. But now, some researchers are trying a different approach, studying how the brain suppresses information rather than how it augments it. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve found that this process involves more ancient regions much deeper in the brain — regions not often considered when it comes to attention. By doing so, scientists have also inadvertently started to take baby steps toward a better understanding of how body and mind — through automatic sensory experiences, physical movements and higher-level consciousness — are deeply and inextricably intertwined. As it turned out, the notion of the attentional searchlight metaphor was backward: The brain wasn’t brightening the light on stimuli of interest; it was lowering the lights on everything else. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article both for the research discussed and the ways in which it points to an evolving understanding of consciousness itself.)
Scientists Grew a Mouse Fetus without Sperm or Eggs – (OneZero – October 21, 2019)
Reproduction used to be a simple thing: two parents, one egg, one sperm, one embryo, one baby. But new research has complicated — or simplified, depending on who you ask — the arithmetic. Researchers report that they have successfully created mouse fetuses without using sperm and eggs — a scientific first. The team, led by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, used specialized stem cells that can theoretically turn into any adult cell or cell needed to make an embryo. In a dish, these cells grew and self-assembled into embryo-like structures that were transferred into mouse wombs and started to grow like fetuses. Scientists have been trying to create embryos from scratch for years. In 2016, Chinese researchers successfully created mouse sperm from stem cells, which they then used to fertilize regular eggs and produce healthy babies. Last year, another team from China manipulated mouse sperm and egg DNA to produce healthy offspring from same-sex mouse couples, and researchers in Japan coaxed human blood cells to become egg cell precursors. What makes the new work different is that it didn’t rely on sperm or eggs at all. The EPS cells that the team started with have the special ability to turn into all three cell types needed to form an early embryo, called a blastocyst.
Is Crispr the Next Antibiotic? – (New York Times – October 28, 2019)
An increasing number of bacteria are now resistant to one or more antibiotics. Each year roughly 700,000 people around the world die from such infections, and by 2050 the number could rise to 10 million, according to United Nations estimates. Viruses, too, quickly evolve new ways of disguising themselves from drugs, often by hiding inside host cells. Less than 100 antiviral drugs have successfully made it all the way to the clinic since the first was approved in 1963. Crispr is shorthand for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” Crispr was originally discovered in bacteria, where it helps keep track of past injury. When a virus attacks, the bacterium stores small chunks of the viral genome within its own DNA. This helps the bacterium recognize viral infections when they occur again. Then, using Crispr-associated enzymes, it can disarm the virus and prevent the infection from spreading. In their recent study, Dr. David Edgell, a biologist at the Western University in London, Ontario, and his colleagues successfully used a Crispr-associated enzyme called Cas9 to eliminate a species of Salmonella. By programming the Cas9 to view the bacterium itself as the enemy, Dr. Edgell and his colleagues were able to force Salmonella to make lethal cuts to its own genome. Conventional antibiotics do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria, eradicating everything indiscriminately and occasionally creating problems for people with weakened immune systems. A major benefit of Crispr is that it can be programed to kill only specific pathogenic bacteria and leave alone the rest of our healthy microbes. Crispr-based antibiotic pills aren’t yet anywhere near pharmacy shelves. But developing such treatments could allow scientists to harness the power of the human body’s own resident microbes in preventing disease.
Daily Exposure to Blue Light May Accelerate Aging, Even If It Doesn’t Reach Your Eyes – (Science Daily – October 19, 2019)
Prolonged exposure to blue light, such as that which emanates from your phone, computer and household fixtures, could be affecting your longevity, even if it’s not shining in your eyes. New research at Oregon State University suggests that the blue wavelengths produced by light-emitting diodes damage cells in the brain as well as retinas. The study was published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease. Jaga Giebultowicz, a researcher in the OSU College of Science who studies biological clocks, led a research collaboration that examined how flies responded to daily 12-hour exposures to blue LED light — similar to the prevalent blue wavelength in devices like phones and tablets — and found that the light accelerated aging. Flies subjected to daily cycles of 12 hours in light and 12 hours in darkness had shorter lives compared to flies kept in total darkness or those kept in light with the blue wavelengths filtered out. The flies exposed to blue light showed damage to their retinal cells and brain neurons and had impaired locomotion — the flies’ ability to climb the walls of their enclosures, a common behavior, was diminished. Some of the flies in the experiment were mutants that do not develop eyes, and even those eyeless flies displayed brain damage and locomotion impairments, suggesting flies didn’t have to see the light to be harmed by it. “But there is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian disorders,” she said. “And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, humans are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light. But this technology, LED lighting, even in most developed countries, has not been used long enough to know its effects across the human lifespan,” Giebultowicz noted, and added that the flies, if given a choice, avoid blue light.
Guess Which Company Was Just Crowned The World’s Biggest Plastic Polluter (Again) – (ScienceAlert – October 30, 2019)
On one day in September, people from over 50 countries decided to do something about our plastic problem. Together, they picked up almost half a million pieces of plastic garbage littering the planet. Over 40% of this mountain of trash was still clearly identifiable by brand, and one producer’s trash in particular was picked up much more than any other: Coca-Cola. An audit of the 476,423 pieces of plastic waste picked up by over 70,000 volunteers on World Clean Up Day suggests that Coca-Cola is the world’s biggest plastic polluter, responsible for 11,732 of the pieces of plastic trash retrieved during the global event. That’s a lot of strewn plastic waste produced by just one company – more than double the amount from the global runner-up (Nestlé, 4,846 pieces), then Pepsi (3,362), with Mondelēz, Unilever, and Mars being among others making up the rest of the top 10. (Editor’s note: Actually, Coca-Cola did not throw away a single bottle or can; individual purchasers did that. The world desperately needs corporations to be more responsible – but equally desperately, it needs people to be personally responsible.)
We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe – (Scientific American – October 17, 2019)
The telecommunications industry and their experts have accused many scientists who have researched the effects of cell phone radiation of “fear mongering” over the advent of wireless technology’s 5G. Since much of our research is publicly-funded, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to inform the public about what the peer-reviewed scientific literature tells us about the health risks from wireless radiation. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced through a press release that the commission will soon reaffirm the radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits that the FCC adopted in the late 1990s. These limits are based upon a behavioral change in rats exposed to microwave radiation and were designed to protect us from short-term heating risks due to RFR exposure. Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating. More than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. Given limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation. 5G also employs new technologies (e.g., active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO) which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures. Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility). Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. (Editor’s note: We’re all guinea pigs on this bus.)
Quantum Computing Is Coming, Bit by Qubit – (New York Times – October 21, 2019)
A bolt from the maybe-future struck the technology community in late September. A paper by Google computer scientists appeared on a NASA website, claiming that an innovative new machine called a quantum computer had demonstrated “quantum supremacy.” According to the paper, the device, in three minutes, had performed a highly technical and specialized computation that would have taken a regular computer 10,000 years to work out. The achievement, if real, could presage a revolution in how we think, compute, guard our data and interrogate the most subtle aspects of nature. By exploiting the properties of quantum weirdness, these computers could do gazillions of calculations simultaneously, enough to break currently unbreakable codes and to solve hitherto unsolvable mathematical puzzles. Google, IBM, Microsoft and other companies are now designing and building starter versions and even putting them online, where almost anyone can learn to put the quantum realm to work. The ultimate goal of quantum supremacy would be to use qubits to crack encryption codes. But that will take a while. Google’s Sycamore computer has all of 53 qubits to its name, as does a new IBM computer, installed online at the company’s Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In contrast, many hundreds of qubits or more may be required to store just one of the huge numbers used in current cryptographic codes. And each of those qubits will need to be protected by many hundreds more, to protect against errors introduced by outside noise and interference. Right now, we’re not there yet. See also: Google Close To Cracking All Cryptocurrency With 256 Bit Encryption, Including Bitcoin…US Military Secrets Also Breakable for some of the implications of quantum computing in the corporate and military domains.
I Tracked Everything My Baby Did Until Nothing Made Sense Anymore – (Wired – October 27, 2019)
The app Famly is the work of an eponymous Copenhagen-based startup, which has to date raised more than £322,000 in seed funding. Famly sits at the more sensible end of an ever growing industry of products and services that aim to quantify our babies. By 2024, the global interactive baby monitor market is expected to top $2.5 billion. And today, nobody stops with the purchase of a rudimentary baby monitor. Such is the allure of the quantified baby. When it comes to infants, if you can think of it there’s probably an app or product that lets you monitor and track it. From poops to leaps and breastfeeding to sleeps, it can all be logged, tracked, and analyzed. After all, has a baby really pooped at all if it can’t be viewed as part of a Poop Frequency Trend Chart going back three months? It’s easy to be dismissive, but something more concerning is going on here: the collection of incredibly intimate data about us and our children on an unprecedented scale. Step forward Google. The company’s life sciences sister company, Verily, has partnered with Procter & Gamble’s Pampers to embed sensors in nappies that track when an infant sleeps, wees, or poos. Lumi, which will be available in the US in the coming months, will keep individual data private, but aggregated data will be used to improve the product. Right now, Google’s nascent interest in tracking your newborn’s bowel movements is a relative footnote. Soon, it could be the whole story. Or, to put it another way, Google and Pampers will soon have access to, in aggregate, data on how huge numbers of babies sleep and potentially be able to offer advice on how they might sleep better. When it comes to selling that data back to exhausted parents, you can pretty much name your price.
Are Those Fake Lamborghinis and Bugattis Sold Online Just About Fun? Or Is It Fraud? – (USA Today – October 21, 2019)
DIY replica vehicles are nothing new. In the early ’60s, companies like Fiberfab and other small-time operations would create Ford GT40 replicas using a Volkswagen Beetle’s chassis and sell the cars under a different name. By the ’70s, motorists could buy component parts to convert older models into unique classics. Today, many replicas are made using old Pontiac Fieros as a base. Car hobbyists say that realistic knock-offs have become more valuable over the past several years as luxury car companies hunt down replica factories and pull body molds from auto shops. A physicist in Colorado and his son made waves when they spent $20,000 on materials and used a set of 3D printers to build a fully functional Lambo Aventador replica. But as the kit cars crop up in online resale websites, the cottage industry of builders seems to be drawing more attention from the public, selective pushback from the automakers whose cars they imitate and criticism from car purists who just don’t seem to get that it’s all about fun. “There are some people who feel that kit cars devalue the original cars,” and social media may be a magnet for them, according to Robert Ross, an automotive consultant for Robb Report magazine. “However, I don’t see too many legitimate owners of the real cars bad-mouthing or berating people who create the copies. It’s people whose comments are only generated to stir up animosity.” Mark McKenna, a Chicago-based patent lawyer, said individuals who create personal clones of dream cars are less likely to face trademark lawsuits than people selling replicas in large numbers. Imitation vehicles become more troubling when creators or sellers try to pass off fakes as the real thing, or when they operate larger scale factories offering exotic car copies that cost little more than a Ford Focus. Over the summer, police in Brazil shut down a factory that was producing fake Ferraris and what’s been dubbed “Shamborghinis.” The replicas were being sold for about $45,000 to $60,000 each.
First Gas Station to Ditch Oil for Electric Vehicle Charging Opens in Maryland – (CNBC – October 26, 2019)
RS Automotives, the local gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has been around since 1958. Depeswar Doley, owner of the station since 1997, said he was already unhappy with the way oil and gasoline companies structure contracts — such as limiting the use of multiple suppliers, including clauses that extend contracts when a certain volume of sales is not met and limiting maintenance support. These business factors already were pushing him to consider other options. Doley said he’s not too worried about how the switch will change his business income. “You notice there are not too many electric vehicles on the road,” he said. “So it’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.” There are more than 20,700 registered EVs in Maryland, and the area also has an electric taxi service in need of more chargers for their business. The gas station conversion was jointly funded by the Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration, which provided a grant of $786,000. The station will feature four dispensers that connect to a high-powered, 200kW system. The system will allow four vehicles to charge simultaneously and reach 80% battery charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Drivers can go inside and sit in an automated convenience store with screens that allow drivers to track their vehicle’s charging progress.
CRISPR Just Created a Hornless Bull, and It’s a Step Forward for Gene-Edited Food – (Singularity Hub – October 22, 2019)
To prevent accidental harm to human handlers and other cattle, bulls generally have their horn-producing cells surgically removed before the horns permanently attach to their skull. Although it’s a common practice, de-horning causes additional pain to farm animals, and advocates have long campaigned for more humane solutions. One idea: what if the bulls never had horns to begin with? In 2014, Recombinetics, a small startup in Minnesota, began tinkering with a particular variant of a gene called polled. Bulls that have polled naturally don’t grow horns. Using a gene editing tool dubbed TALEN, scientists at Recombinetics stuck the polled genetic variant into bovine cells and cloned them. Two bull calves were born a year later using those cells, with no apparent health issues (and to the relief of scientists studying them, much less aggression and zero accidental gouging). This month, a team at the University of California, Davis, which took over the project, reported that one of the gene-edited bulls had sired six healthy calves. They all inherited their father’s genetic tweak: all were born without horn buds. This is just one example of how farming is silently shifting away from first-generation GMOs (genetically modified organisms) towards gene editing. It’s now possible to mimic naturally-occurring mutations to boost pest-resistant abilities, increase yields, or amp up nutritional values. The question is, will it be allowed? Here’s how gene editing tools are moving into the food industry, and how lessons from the past can ease its path forward.
Growing Meat in a Lab That Doesn’t Look Like Mush – (New York Times – October 27, 2019)
The alt-meat industry has created quite a sizzle, promising delicious burgers, steaks and even sushi that is grown from animal cells in the lab. But most cellular agriculture still looks like mush. Now scientists at Harvard University report that they have found a way to more closely mimic the form and flavor of real meat, by growing the muscle cells of cows and rabbits on a gelatin scaffold. “Muscle cells need a structure to grow on, the same way the walls of a building need a steel frame or a house needs a wooden skeleton,” said Kevin Kit Parker, a bioengineer at Harvard and also a co-author of the study. To mimic this cellular environment, Dr. Parker and his colleagues decided to make scaffolds out of different concentrations of gelatin, a protein product derived from collagen. When collagen-rich meat cuts, such as beef chuck, are cooked, the heat naturally melts collagen fibers into softer gelatin, giving meat its succulent texture, Dr. Parker said. To make gelatin microfibers, the researchers dissolved commercially available gelatin powder in water and spun it like cotton candy. Rotating the gelatinous slurry at high speeds allowed fibers to form at the bottom of the spinner. Using enzymes, the researchers then cross-linked the fibers to form a strong, woven structure for cells to grow on. Some researchers have been inspired by the field of regenerative medicine, where scaffolds are used to help grow tissue that may one day be used for repairing organs or replacing grafts. They have transformed spinach leaves into scaffolds by removing all the plant’s cells and using the empty cell walls as a frame for growing animal tissue. Other groups have modified apples, artichokes and the threadlike roots of mushrooms. Cellular agriculture companies are also devising scaffolds from naturally occurring materials, such as cellulose, starch and alginate, which may be more affordable than engineering scaffolds from scratch. But before cultured meat or fish becomes a dinnertime staple, companies also must overcome challenges of scale, said Gregory Ziegler, a food science professor at Pennsylvania State University.
SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
VIDEO: The Military Discovered A Way To Boost Soldiers’ Memories, And We Tried It (NPR – October 22, 2019)
An experiment funded by the U.S. military meant to sharpen soldiers’ minds for the battlefield has found a way to improve memory: by zapping subjects’ brains with tiny bursts of electricity during sleep. In a multi-year study at the University of New Mexico, volunteers received a fraction of 9-volt battery’s worth of electrical stimulation to their scalps while they slept at the lab. When they woke up, they were asked to play a video game they had learned the day before. Turns out that subjects were significantly better at it after the night spent in the lab. On the embedded video, we try the experiment, and consider its implications for the future: What will it mean when we can learn faster and remember better simply by zapping our brains? And what if someone can overwrite our memory and manipulate what’s real?
Strategic, Long-range Cannon Preps to Jump Its First Tech Hurdle – (Defense News – October 14, 2019)
The U.S. Army is wading into a major science and technology development area to build a strategic, long-range cannon — one that can shoot a projectile 1,000 nautical miles (e.g. from NYC to Nashville) — and plans to put the program through its first test soon, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of executing modernization efforts for the service’s top priority, long-range precision fires. The Army is working with the Research and Analysis Center at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, as well as the Center for Army Analysis to confirm the service can accomplish what is expected from such a system, Rafferty said in an interview. The Army wants to demonstrate a prototype of the long-range cannon in 2023, after which it will make a decision on whether to begin a program of record. For the Army, range will be king in operations against adversaries like China and Russia, who have each invested in defensive technologies. The combination of long-range air defense systems, artillery and coastal defenses with seamless integration of long-range, over-the-horizon radars will be difficult to counter, according to Rafferty. “That integrated system challenges even our most sophisticated aircraft and challenges our most sophisticated ships to gain access to the area,” he said. “That layered enemy standoff at the strategic level was really the fundamental problem. One of the ways to solve that problem is to deliver surface-to-surface fires that can penetrate this [anti-access, area-denial] complex and disintegrate its network and create windows of opportunity for the joint force to exploit.” But the technology needed to achieve such a capability is so cutting edge that it’s unknown whether that specific distance can be achieved at a cost that won’t break the bank.
Watch a Real-Life Invisibility Cloak Designed for Military Use – (Futurism – October 21, 2019)
Canada’s Hyperstealth Biotechnology already manufactures camouflage uniforms for militaries across the globe. But now, the company has patented a new “Quantum Stealth” material that disguises a military’s soldiers — or even its tanks, aircraft, and ships — by making anything behind it seem invisible. In October, Hyperstealth filed a patent for the material, which doesn’t require a power source and is both paper-thin and inexpensive — all traits that could make it appealing for use on the battlefield. It works by bending the light around a target to make it seemingly disappear. This light can be in the visible spectrum, or it can be ultraviolet, infrared, or shortwave infrared light, making the material what Hyperstealth calls a “broadband invisibility cloak.” Article includes video clip showcasing the “cloaking” material.
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
Life in the Most Drone-bombed Country in the World – (Technology Review – October 22, 2019)
The first instance of a drone killing civilians in Afghanistan was in 2002, when a man by the name of Daraz Khan was killed by a Hellfire missile dropped by a Predator drone in the eastern province of Khost. The US suspected that he was Osama bin Laden; residents maintain that Khan was merely out searching for scrap metal. Since then, the province of Nangarhar has become a hub for armed groups—first the Taliban, and later forces claiming allegiance to ISIS—and a bustling drug trade. It has also become one of the most drone-bombed provinces in the most drone-bombed country in the world. The American public, though, has largely forgotten this. The war in Afghanistan has been running for 18 years, making it the longest conflict in American history (it passed the previous milestone, set by the Vietnam War, in February 2019). Over the years, press coverage has fallen dramatically. According to the Pew Research Center for Journalism and the Media, Afghanistan accounted for 1% of all media coverage in the US in 2007 and just under 4% in 2010, when the Pentagon deployed 100,000 troops and dropped 5,101 bombs on the country. Today, the level of coverage is insignificant: Pew no longer even tracks it as a topic. In fact, military activity in Afghanistan is on the increase again. The number of US troops there started rising again under the Trump administration; there are now 15,000 American military personnel officially deployed in the country. Air strikes are at a record high, according to the US Air Forces Central Command: 2018 saw 7,362 bombs dropped by US forces in Afghanistan. It’s not just drone warfare that has expanded dramatically, however. The US military has used the war to test and improve other tactics, too. The device that fell on a small village in Nangarhar’s Achin district, an hour’s drive along a treacherous road from Jalalabad, in April 2017 wasn’t just any bomb. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, weighed 21,600 pounds (9,800 kilograms) and cost $170,000. It was the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever used, capable of destroying an area the size of nine city blocks. It quickly became known as the “Mother of All Bombs.” The Afghan government tried to justify the strike by saying it had killed at least 94 ISIS fighters. But former president Hamid Karzai called it a prime example of how the US was using Afghanistan for what amounted to experimental warfare. “This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons,” he wrote on Twitter.
China’s Efforts to Lead the Way in AI Start in Its Classrooms – (Wall St. Journal – October 24, 2019)
A growing number of classrooms in China are equipped with artificial-intelligence cameras and brain-wave trackers. While many parents and teachers see them as tools to improve grades, they’ve become some children’s worst nightmare. (Editor’s note: This article is pay-walled, but if you don’t have a subscription to the WSJ, you can watch the embedded 5 minute video clip at the top of the article and get the whole story. We highly recommend this article for its glimpse into a possible future.)
LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES
Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore – (Atlantic – November, 2019)
The hours in which Americans work, rest, and socialize are becoming ever more desynchronized. Whereas we once shared the same temporal rhythms—five days on, two days off, federal holidays, thank-God-it’s-Fridays—our weeks are now shaped by the unpredictable dictates of our employers. Nearly a fifth of Americans hold jobs with nonstandard or variable hours. They may work seasonally, on rotating shifts, or in the gig economy driving for Uber or delivering for Postmates. A 2018 review of the retail sector called the “Stable Scheduling Study” found that 80% of American workers paid by the hour have fluctuating schedules. Many employers now schedule hours using algorithms to calculate exactly how many sets of hands are required at a given time of day—a process known as on-demand scheduling. The algorithms are designed to keep labor costs down, but they also rob workers of set schedules. Meanwhile, more people on the upper end of the pay scale are working long hours. Combine the people who have unpredictable workweeks with those who have prolonged ones, and you get a good third of the American labor force. When so many people have long or unreliable work hours, or worse, long and unreliable work hours, the effects ripple far and wide. Families pay the steepest price. Erratic hours can push parents—usually mothers—out of the labor force. A body of research suggests that children whose parents work odd or long hours are more likely to evince behavioral or cognitive problems, or be obese. Even parents who can afford nannies or extended day care are hard-pressed to provide thoughtful attention to their kids when work keeps them at their desks well past the dinner hour. Staggered and marathon work hours arguably make the nation materially richer—economists debate the point—but they certainly deprive us of what the late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter described as a “cultural asset of importance”: an “atmosphere of entire community repose.”
U.S. Churches Are Using Donations to Pay Off Millions of Dollars in Medical Debt for Thousands of Families – (Nation of Change – October 21, 2019)
Over the past two years, several churches across the United States have used donations made to their church to pay off medical debt for thousands of families. Churches in several states have partnered with RIP Medical Debt to help pay off past-due medical debt for local residents. Pathway Church in Wichita, Kansas, spent $22,000 of their budget to eliminate $2.2 million in medical debt. Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church in Champaign, Illinois, used $15,000 of surplus money from a building renovation project to eliminate $4 million of debt for more than 3,000 families. Revolution Annapolis church in Maryland raised $15,000 to erase $1.9 million in medical debt for nearly one thousand families last year. And City Church in Evansville, Indiana, raised $15,000 and wiped out $4 million in debt. RIP Medical Debt focuses its efforts on paying off medical debt for anyone making less than twice the poverty rate. The organization is able to negotiate medical debt with collection companies, resulting in paying pennies on the dollar instead of the full amount to settle the debt. Individuals who were fortunate enough to have their medical debt paid off received a letter in the mail detailing that RIP Medical Debt and the church involved paid off their debt. Most of the families that were involved were not connected to the church in any way. There are no applications necessary to qualify instead, RIP Medical debt finds eligible recipients through collection agencies. The debt is paid off forever with no strings attached. According to federal statistics, nearly half of all debt collection in the United States is the result of unpaid medical expenses. A study last year published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that more than 60% of bankruptcies in the United States are attributed to medical debt. Collectively, the country owes at least $81 billion in past-due medical bills.
Rich Californians Are Hiring Private Firefighters to Protect Their Homes – (New York Post – October 26, 2019)
For $3,000 a day, Californians can hire private firefighters to protect their homes from the state’s devastating wildfires. And many wealthy homeowners are doing just that. Private firefighting companies are offering “on-call” wildfire protection to well-heeled Californians as the number and intensity of fires increases. A majority of the private crews work for insurance companies like Chubb, USAA and Safeco that offer mitigation services to their customers, but some contract directly with homeowners or neighborhood associations. Most insurance-contracted crews don’t actually fight fires — they focus on making homes more fireproof by installing sprinkler systems, fire breaks and fire-blocking gels. But other companies do try to douse flames that are threatening their customers’ homes. The practice, while not new, can be problematic, and not merely because of the income inequality issues it raises. Some private crews fail to coordinate with local agencies. That leaves first responders in the position of having to worry about private crews as well as the residents of areas threatened by fire.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
How a Discovery That Earned the Nobel Prize in Physics Transformed the Hunt for Alien Life – (NBC – October 9, 2019)
The biggest astronomy story of the past two decades is that the universe is studded with planets. Sweden’s Nobel Prize committee clearly agrees, as they just handed their coveted physics award to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz — two Swiss astronomers who were the first to find convincing evidence about a world in another normal stellar system. What they uncovered was a bulky planet orbiting 51 Pegasi, an otherwise unremarkable sunlike star about 50 light-years away. Since that 1995 discovery, more than 4,100 additional exoplanets have been found. Preliminary estimates suggest that about 1 in 5 star systems contains a planet that is something like Earth. That adds up to tens of billions in our own Milky Way galaxy, and that doesn’t count all the moons that might also incubate life. Given all this newly uncovered cosmic real estate, shouldn’t scientists involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) be assiduously aiming their antennas its way? Wouldn’t doing so better the odds that we’ll trip upon some alien BFF? The article offers some answers to those questions.
Ex Air Force Officer Describes Four Types of Extraterrestrial Beings the Government Knows About – (Collective Evolution – September 23, 2019)
Richard Doty is a retired Air Force Special investigations officer (AFSIO), and his job was to spread disinformation about the UFO subject during his time with the Air Force. Spreading disinformation about the reality of UFOs is no secret, and in Doty’s case, he admitted to infiltrating UFO circles along with his colleagues to feed ufologists and journalists lies and half truths so that they would never understand any real truth. In fact, it was decades ago (1960) when the very first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, stated to The New York Times: “It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.” However, several astronauts have been quite outspoken about UFOs, like Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell and high ranking military/government personnel from around the world as well. According to Richard Doty, in the interview in this article with Dr. Steven Greer, maker of the hit documentary that’s currently on Netflix called “Unacknowledged,” the US government is aware of at least four different extraterrestrial species that’ve visited this planet. See also: UFO Leak of the Century: Richard Dolan Analyzes the Admiral Wilson Leak.
Childhood Obesity Is Rising ‘Shockingly Fast’ — Even In Poor Countries –(NPR – October 17, 2019)
UNICEF’s most comprehensive nutrition report in two decades paints a complex, dire picture of the state of children’s health. Overall, it found that around 200 million children under age 5, or 1 in 3 worldwide, are either undernourished or overweight. Wasting (below-average weight for height) and micronutrient deficiency remain persistent challenges in Africa and South Asia. Still, there’s some good news: Stunting (below-average height for age) has dropped sharply in the last two decades on every continent except Africa. Meanwhile, at least 340 million adolescents worldwide between ages 5-19, and 40 million children under age 5, have been classified as overweight, the report found. The most profound increase has been in the 5-19 age group, where the global rate of overweight increased from 10.3% in 2000 to 18.4% in 2018. Most of those children live in high- and middle-income countries in North America, Eastern Europe, Pacific island nations and the Middle East. The U.S. is near the top of the list, with a rate of adolescent overweight around 42% (the highest rates, up to 65% are in Palau, Nauru and other in Pacific island nations, which have long struggled with obesity driven by a heavy reliance on imported food).
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
The Rise of Meta Learning – (Towards Data Science – October 16, 2019)
Meta-Learning describes the abstraction to designing higher level components associated with training Deep Neural Networks. The term “Meta-Learning” is thrown around in Deep Learning literature frequently referencing “AutoML”, “Few-Shot Learning”, or “Neural Architecture Search” when in reference to the automated design of neural network architectures. Emerging from comically titled papers such as “Learning to learn by gradient descent by gradient descent”, the success of OpenAI’s Rubik’s cube robotic hand demonstrates the maturity of the idea. Meta-Learning is the most promising paradigm to advance the state-of-the-art of Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. OpenAI set the AI world on fire by demonstrating ground-breaking capabilities of a robotic hand trained with Reinforcement Learning. This success builds on a very similar study presented in July 2018 tasking a robotic hand to orient a block in a configuration matching a visual prompt. This evolution from block orientation to solving a Rubik’s cube is fueled by a Meta-Learning algorithm controlling the training data distribution in simulation, Automatic Domain Randomization (ADR). The success of the Rubik’s Cube solver is obviously compelling due to the flashy display of robot hand coordination. However, the more interesting component of this research is the Meta-Learning Data Randomization under the hood. This is an algorithm that is learning while simultaneously designing its training data. Article includes a video clip explaining this AI learning process and how the robotic hand solves the Rubik’s Cube.
This Student Is One of the Top Scientists Studying Faster-Than-Light Warp Drives – (Motherboard/Vice – October 15, 2019)
Humanity ripping around the galaxy using warp drives is still the stuff of science fiction, but propulsion scientists are getting closer to understanding the physics that could take us there. And an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, is now one of the leading scientists exploring the physics. In August, undergraduate researcher Joseph Agnew spoke to a full house at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Propulsion and Energy Forum in Indianapolis about the current theories of how a warp drive could work. Indeed, scientific progress has developed quickly, bringing this technology seemingly closer to reality. In 1994, Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed that an object could warp space-time in front of itself. Early estimates suggested that Alcubierre’s warp drive would require all the energy in the universe to generate such a bubble. However, as Agnew pointed out in his presentation and paper, that estimation has since gone down. The magnitude of energy required for achieving this type of faster-than-light travel has been reduced to the power requirements of the total energy of the mass of Jupiter. Other scientists have speculated that by tweaking other factors in Alcubierre’s design, warp could be achieved by the total energy of a much smaller object. The point, according to Agnew, is that within a few years of theoretical study, physicists have been able to reduce the required energy, and that could perhaps go down with more study.
Scientists Have Found There’s a Crucial Change We Can Make to Better Serve Our Planet – (Science Alert – September 23, 2019)
The planet is struggling. Study after scientific study warns that we’ve pushed far beyond the physical boundaries of what our living world can sustain. In light of this, a background document for the United Nations’ (UN) draft Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 suggests we seriously need to consider making drastic changes to our economic systems. “[T]he economic models which inform political decision-making in rich countries almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy,” the researchers wrote in the document. “Economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use.” In other words, it’s time to accept we can’t somehow maintain endless economic growth on a finite planet. The UN report is overseen by a group of independent scientists from different disciplines around the world. Every indication from our scientists is that we have two options: make widespread drastic but controlled changes to the way we live or continue as we are, blundering towards disaster. “Market-based action will not suffice – even with a high carbon price,” the UN document warns. The background document does not cover what transitioned economies would look like, but it does suggest they “must enable politics to acknowledge transformational social goals and the material boundaries of economic activity”. Meanwhile, experts around the world are exploring alternative ways we can set up our economic systems, such as Doughnut Economics, Post Growth Economics, Prosperity without Growth and Steady State Economy (article includes links to all of these alternative economic systems) – and economist Paavo Järvensivu from Finland’s independent BIOS research unit, and colleagues have asked all forward-thinking leaders around the world to start testing possible transitional strategies, such as a universal job guarantee.
Trans Athletes Are Posting Victories and Shaking Up Sports – (Wired – October 29, 2019)
Transgender athletes are having a moment. At all levels of sport, they’re stepping onto the podium and into the headlines. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard won two gold medals at the Pacific Games, and college senior CeCé Telfer became the NCAA Division II national champion in the 400-meter run. Another senior, June Eastwood, has been instrumental to her cross-country team’s success. At the high school level, Terry Miller won the girls’ 200-meter dash at Connecticut’s state open championship track meet. These recent performances are inherently praiseworthy—shining examples of what humans can accomplish with training and effort. But as more transgender athletes rise to the top of their fields, some vocal opponents are also expressing outrage at what they see as transgender athletes ruining sports for cisgendered girls and women. These issues have come to a head in Connecticut, where a conservative Christian group called Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a legal complaint on behalf of three high school athletes who are seeking to bar transgender girls from competing in the girls category. In Connecticut, as in more than a dozen other states, high school athletes are allowed to compete in the category that matches their gender identity. According to ADF legal counsel Christiana Holcomb, two transgender athletes—Miller and another runner, Andraya Yearwood—“have amassed 15 different state championship titles that were once held by nine different girls across the state.” The US Department of Education’s office for civil rights is now investigating the group’s complaint.
How Aldous Huxley Prophesied the Big Data Nightmare – (Salon – October 27, 2019)
In 1958 the journalist Mike Wallace interviewed Aldous Huxley, the British author best known for writing Brave New World. This dystopian sci-fi novel, published in 1932, takes place in the fictional and future World State society, where human beings are produced in laboratories and assigned to different classes based on their intelligence and physical gifts. Huxley emphasized that to remain in power one must obtain the “consent of the ruled.” And to get such consent, he said, requires “new techniques of propaganda” that have the ability to bypass the “rational side of man and appeal to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, … making him actually love his slavery.” Today our ability to make rational choices, including political ones, is more compromised than ever. Most of us believe that tech companies aggregating hundreds of data points about us everyday do it to provide us with traditional, “personalized” advertising. Many of us are okay with that, and don’t mind our data being collected to sell us products like soap or cars, or to recommend new music, movies, and TV shows. Fewer of us are aware that companies use our data to sell us political agendas and politicians, often by spreading propaganda and disinformation, intentionally misleading material tailored to exploit our vulnerabilities and foibles. We never consented to having our democracies taken over by the same process that entices us to purchase one brand (Starbucks, let’s say) over another (Dunkin’ Donuts).
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – articles off the beaten track which may – or may not – have predictive value.
A Man Kept Getting Drunk without Using Alcohol. His Gut Brews Its Own Booze. – (Live Science – October 24, 2019)
For six long years, a man would experience mysterious bouts of drunkenness without ever drinking a drop of alcohol. Eventually, he was diagnosed with a rare condition that filled his gut with booze. The 46-year-old man had auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a condition that causes bacteria in the gut to transform carbohydrates into intoxicating alcohol, according to a report of the man’s case, published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology. The condition flares up when people consume sugary or carb-heavy foods and beverages, and throws them into a drunken haze just as if they’d knocked back too many beers, the man’s doctors wrote. The man’s symptoms emerged after he received antibiotics in 2011 following a “complicated traumatic thumb injury,” the report said. The medication likely disrupted his gut microbiome, or the community of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, living there. The patient experienced a “brain fog,” displayed uncharacteristically aggressive behavior and was even arrested for drunk driving. On that occasion, the man’s blood alcohol concentration registered at twice the legal limit, but he insisted he hadn’t been drinking. The hospital personnel and police didn’t buy it. However, when doctors searched the man’s poop for boozy microbes, they uncovered strains of Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, otherwise known as brewer’s yeast, in the stool samples. At this point, they suspected the man had auto-brewery syndrome but asked him to chow down on some carbs, to make sure.
JUST FOR FUN
Photographer Uses LEDs on Drones to “Draw” Light Paths on the World’s Largest Salt Flats – (My Modern Met – October 16, 2019)
Photographer Reuben Wu is known for his artistic landscape imagery, which he creates by using LED lights attached to a drone. By taking long-exposure photographs, Wu is able to have complete control over how we perceive light within the environment. His newest work even incorporates light painting for an even more surreal effect. For his latest adventure, he traveled to Bolivia and ventured high into the Andes in order to visit the world’s largest salt flat—Salar de Uyuni. The resulting photographs combine all of Wu’s stylistic developments into a breathtaking portfolio. In some imagery, Wu focuses solely on the landscape and keeps his light source invisible. In these pieces, the focus is firmly on the environment. However, some of the most striking visuals come when Wu creates his Aeroglyphs. In these photographs, the protagonist is the light itself. By placing these painted, geometric shapes into the expansive landscape, Wu creates an air of mystery and wonder.
A FINAL QUOTE
The future is like heaven. Everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now. – James Baldwin
A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, 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