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Volume 23, Number 21 – 11/1/20


  • Studies point to a big drop in COVID-19 death rates.
  • A new design for molten salt reactors allow them to consumes nuclear waste.
  • China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest economy.
  • Currently, the US Space Surveillance Network keeps track of more than 22,000 man-made objects (space junk) orbiting Earth that are 10 centimeters or larger.

Special Day: Becoming a New Human – Rising to Engage the Biggest Change in History

Saturday, the 12th of December, will be a special day you’ll not want to miss. Futurist John Petersen returns to TransitionTalks with a major presentation on the practical aspects of rising to become the new human – the fundamental requirements for effectively engaging in the extraordinary shift that is surrounding us. The next handful of years promise to be the most turbulent – and rewarding – in human history. The result will be the emergence of a new human … and then a new world.

The key players that launch the new world will be the relatively small group of individuals that will have new values, perspectives and capabilities that are quite different from how we’ve all been raised. They will see themselves and the world – and their function in it – in radically unencumbered terms.

This is a huge transition, where the old, familiar world implodes (perhaps you’ve noticed that this is happening all around us), providing a “vacuum” for the emergence of a new world – a planet where ultimately there is no war and humans see themselves, in general, as an integral part of all that is, and specifically and directly connected to all of nature and life on earth.

The most important issue for all of us is about how we change and adapt ourselves to effectively surf this tsunami – and not be driven into the rocks by the giant wave of change. This is what we’ve come here for! It means that we must evolve – and do so quickly. It’s an amazing opportunity – literally the chance to awaken to extraordinary new, personal capabilities and an expanded perspective of who we are and what we can do.

Just think of it: the chance to be part of building a whole new world! Not too many people get the chance to play in this way. We are truly blessed.

This will be a transformative presentation that takes you step-by-step through a new understanding of who you are and how you must position yourself for the coming disruption … to practical suggestions about how to daily contribute to manifesting your own new world out of all of the change.

If you think you have a role to play in helping to facilitate the transition to the new world, you don’t want to miss this important day!

Livestream and In Person
Saturday, 12 December, 1-5 PM
Berkeley Springs, WV

You can personally join us at Coolfont Resort in Berkeley Springs for a packed afternoon of provocative information and the chance to participate in the Q&A session afterwards – always a great afternoon in our resort town. If you can’t make it to Berkeley Springs, you can still watch the whole presentation by livestream … both on the 12th and anytime (and how many times you want), for two weeks thereafter. Space is limited for the in-person event, so register early to be a part of this powerful, holiday event.

Futurist John Petersen is going to be the featured speaker at TransitionTalks in Berkeley Springs, WV on December 12th. Here he summarizes his talk about how one can prepare for the great changes that are headed this way. Click below to watch this short video.





Johns Hopkins Researchers Identify Immune System Pathway That May Stop COVID-19 Infection – (SciTech Daily – October 17, 2020)
While the world waits for a vaccine for the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers also are focusing on better understanding how SARS-CoV-2 attacks the body in the search for other means of stopping its devastating impact. The key to one possibility — blocking a protein that enables the virus to turn the immune system against healthy cells — has been identified in a recent study by a team of Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers. Article includes detailed explanation of the chemical processes involved. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that inhibiting the protein, known as factor D, also will curtail the potentially deadly inflammatory reactions that many patients have to the virus. Senior author Robert Brodsky, M.D., director of the hematology division at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his colleagues hope that their work will encourage more study into the potential use against COVID-19 of complement-inhibiting drugs already in the pipeline for other diseases. “There are a number of these drugs that will be FDA-approved and in clinical practice within the next two years,” Brodsky says. “Perhaps one or more of these could be teamed with vaccines to help control the spread of COVID-19 and avoid future viral pandemics.”

Are You Thinking This Whole Pandemic Really Is a Conspiracy? – (Principia Scientific – October 26, 2020)
Back in March, when this novel virus first swept in from the East and countries across Europe started bolting their doors even before cases mounted, I remember saying to people, ‘Blimey, what aren’t they telling us yet?’ It was clearly killing people, but not in numbers that warranted the complete shutdown of society. Those I knew who caught it either suffered symptoms similar to a mild cold, or none at all. Bemused, as the Government set about building Nightingale hospitals that would hardly be used and Britain’s vibrant cities turned into ghost towns, I kept thinking to myself, ‘when are they going to tell us what’s really going on?’ I was waiting for a revelation that never came. Months went by and millions of tests were performed, revealing with increasing certainty that here was a virus with a very low death rate indeed. Exact approximations vary but the survival rate for Covid-19 is thought to be somewhere above 99%, and maybe as high as 99.8%. The average age of someone who dies from coronavirus is 82.4, which, by the way, is nearly identical to the average life expectancy in Britain (81.1). Eight months on, my burning question remains unanswered. What is really going on? About 50 million people die each year worldwide. Some deaths are preventable, others not. Over the course of 2020, this pandemic has claimed 1.1 million lives; most of whom were elderly or already ill. Heart disease kills 17 million annually; cancer 9.6 million. Respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema take 2.5 million lives a year. Why then, are we still playing this ridiculously destructive game with healthy peoples’ lives – a risky experiment that, as is starting to emerge, will very likely kill more people than it saves in the long run? The prospect, for most citizens, that we’ve wasted nearly a year of our lives for no good reason is just too bitter a pill to swallow. Most of us are happier telling ourselves that it was all warranted, and for the greater good. Either that, or the conspiracy loonies are right. See also: Will America Stand Up Or Be Destroyed by a Hoax?

Studies Point to Big Drop in COVID-19 Death Rates – (NPR – October 20, 2020)
Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness. The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18% since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance. So have death rates dropped because of improvements in treatments? Or is it because of the change in who’s getting sick (younger people)? The study adjusted for factors including age and other diseases, such as diabetes, to rule out the possibility that the numbers had dropped only because younger, healthier people were getting diagnosed. Even so, it found that death rates dropped for all groups, even older patients by 18% on average. The researchers and others believe many things have led to the drop in the death rate. Doctors around the country say that they’re doing a lot of things differently in the fight against COVID-19 and that treatment is improving. Doctors have gotten better at quickly recognizing when COVID-19 patients are at risk of experiencing blood clots or debilitating “cytokine storms,” where the body’s immune system turns on itself. Bilal Mateen, the author of a different study with similar conclusions, says that his data strongly suggest that keeping hospitals below their maximum capacity also helps to increase survival rates. When cases surge and hospitals fill up, “staff are stretched, mistakes are made, it’s no one’s fault — it’s that the system isn’t built to operate near 100%,” he says.
Scientists Make Digital Breakthrough in Chemistry That Could Revolutionize the Drug Industry – (CNBC – October 24, 2020)
In June, the U.S. government purchased the vast majority of world’s supply of remdesivir—an FDA-approved antiviral treatment for Covid-19—for July through September. Gilead, the company that makes the compound, recently announced that it would meet international demand by the end of October. Yet all along, digital instructions for whipping up a batch of the nearly 400-atom molecule at the push of a button have been sitting on Github, an online software repository, freely available to anyone with the hardware needed to execute the chemical “program.” A dozen such chemical computers or “chemputers” sit in the University of Glasgow lab of Lee Cronin, the chemist who designed the bird’s nest of tubing, pumps, and flasks, and wrote the remdesivir code that runs on it. He’s spent years dreaming of a future where researchers can distribute and produce molecules as easily as they email and print PDFs, making not being able to order a drug as archaic as not being able to locate a modern text. Cronin and his colleagues described their machine’s capability to produce multiple molecules last year, and now they’ve taken a second major step toward digitizing chemistry with an accessible way to program with the machine. Their software turns academic papers into chemputer-executable programs that researchers can edit without learning to code, they announced earlier this month. And they’re not alone. The team represents one of dozens of groups spread across academia and industry all racing to bring chemistry into the digital age, a development that could lead to safer drugs, more efficient solar panels, and a disruptive new industry.

The Global Takeover Is Underway – (Mercola – October 23, 2020)
This very short video clip (1 1/2 minutes) showcases 8 predictions for 2030, as envisioned by the World Economic Forum. For example: You will own nothing and you will be happy; you will rent whatever you need and it will be delivered by drone. Or this: You won’t die waiting for an organ transplant – they will be printed on demand.

Forget Coronavirus: There Is a True Global Existential Threat That Is Almost Upon Us – (Paul Craig Roberts – October 23, 2020)
The attention of the world is currently fixed on coronavirus but there is another far more serious danger hurtling towards us in the shape of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and robotics. Probably within the lifetime of most people now living – and quite possibly in the next fifteen years – there will be general purpose robots (GPRs) capable of doing the vast majority of the work now undertaken by humans. When that happens international free trade and free market economics will become untenable. The real final crisis of capitalism will be the development of technology so advanced that it makes capitalism impossible because machines will make humans redundant across vast swathes of the economy. This technological advance will be like no other: GPRs will not only take away existing jobs, they will devour any new work; the easier work first, then the more complex. The hard truth is that most modern work requires less knowledge and skill than was required in the past. But that is only half of the story. GPRs will not get awkward, do what they are told, keep working all the time without being watched, do not make regular mistakes and require no wages or social security taxes or holidays or sick leave. And they will not be able to sue you for being a bad employer. A business or a country which relied only on humans would be at a hopeless disadvantage. The article explores the implications of that.

Scientists Find Upper Limit for the Speed of Sound – (PhysOrg – October 9, 2020)
A research collaboration between Queen Mary University of London, the University of Cambridge and the Institute for High Pressure Physics in Troitsk has discovered the fastest possible speed of sound. The result- about 36 km per second—is around twice as fast as the speed of sound in diamond, the hardest known material in the world. Einstein’s theory of special relativity sets the absolute speed limit at which a wave can travel which is the speed of light, and is equal to about 300,000 km per second. However until now it was not known whether sound waves also have an upper speed limit. The study shows that predicting the upper limit of the speed of sound is dependent on two dimensionless fundamental constants: the fine structure constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio. Their finely-tuned values govern nuclear reactions such as proton decay and nuclear synthesis in stars and the balance between the two numbers provides a narrow ‘habitable zone’ where stars and planets can form and life-supporting molecular structures can emerge. However, the new findings suggest that these two fundamental constants can also influence other scientific fields, such as materials science and condensed matter physics, by setting limits to specific material properties such as the speed of sound. The scientists tested their theoretical prediction on a wide range of materials and addressed one specific prediction of their theory that the speed of sound should decrease with the mass of the atom. This prediction implies that the sound is the fastest in solid atomic hydrogen. However, hydrogen is an atomic solid at very high pressure above 1 million atmospheres only, pressure comparable to those in the core of gas giants like Jupiter. At those pressures, hydrogen becomes a fascinating metallic solid conducting electricity just like copper and is predicted to be a room temperature superconductor. Therefore, researchers performed state-of-the-art quantum mechanical calculations to test this prediction and found that the speed of sound in solid atomic hydrogen is close to the theoretical fundamental limit.

Groundbreaking Discovery Finally Proves Rain Really Can Move Mountains – (PhysOrg – October 16, 2020)
The dramatic effect rainfall has on the evolution of mountainous landscapes is widely debated among geologists, but new research led by the University of Bristol and published in Science Advances, clearly calculates its impact, furthering our understanding of how peaks and valleys have developed over millions of years. Its findings, which focused on the mightiest of mountain ranges—the Himalaya—also pave the way for forecasting the possible impact of climate change on landscapes and, in turn, human life. While there is no shortage of scientific models aiming to explain how the Earth works, the greater challenge can be making enough good observations to test which are most accurate. The study was based in the central and eastern Himalaya of Bhutan and Nepal, because this region of the world has become one of the most sampled landscapes for erosion rate studies. Research collaborator Professor Kelin Whipple, Professor of Geology at ASU, said: “Our findings show how critical it is to account for rainfall when assessing patterns of tectonic activity using topography, and also provide an essential step forward in addressing how much the slip rate on tectonic faults may be controlled by climate-driven erosion at the surface.” The study findings also carry important implications for land use management, infrastructure maintenance, and hazards in the Himalaya. In the Himalaya, there is the ever-present risk that high erosion rates can drastically increase sedimentation behind dams, jeopardizing critical hydropower projects. The findings also suggest greater rainfall can undermine hillslopes, increasing the risk of debris flows or landslides, some of which may be large enough to dam the river creating a new hazard—lake outburst floods.

Huge Cat Found Etched into Desert Among Nazca Lines in Peru – (Guardian – October 18, 2020)
The dun sands of southern Peru, etched centuries ago with geoglyphs of a hummingbird, a monkey, an orca – and a figure some would dearly love to believe is an astronaut – have now revealed the form of an enormous cat lounging across a desert hillside. The feline Nazca line, dated to between 200BC and 100BC, emerged during work to improve access to one of the hills that provides a natural vantage point from which many of the designs can be seen. A Unesco world heritage site since 1994, the Nazca Lines, which are made up of hundreds of geometric and zoomorphic images, were created by removing rocks and earth to reveal the contrasting materials below. They lie 250 miles south of Lima and cover about 175 sq miles of Peru’s arid coastal plain. “The figure was scarcely visible and was about to disappear because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” Peru’s culture ministry said in a statement this week. “It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the lines, told the Spanish news agency Efe. “Over the past few years, the use of drones has allowed us to take images of hillsides.” Isla said between 80 and 100 new figures had emerged over recent years in the Nazca and Palpa valleys, all of which predated the Nazca culture (AD200-700).

Ancient Tectonic Plate Discovered Beneath Canada, Geologists Claim – (New Atlas – October 20, 2020)
The face of the Earth has changed drastically over its life, with plates shifting and sinking. Now, geologists at the University of Houston claim to have found the remains of an ancient tectonic plate beneath Canada that was pushed under the surface tens of millions of years ago. It’s long been known that in the early Cenozoic Era – around 60 million years ago – there were two major tectonic plates, called Kula and Farallon, in the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of North America. But debate has raged about whether they were joined by a third, oddly named Resurrection, which would have since sunk beneath the surface. And now, the geologists on the new study say they’ve found this missing plate. When plates push against each other, one of them will often end up sliding underneath the other, sinking down into the mantle – a process called subduction. Over time, the intense heat and pressure there will melt it and change its shape. To try to find the remains of the Resurrection plate, the team started by studying existing tomography images of the mantle below North America. Next, they applied a technique called slab unfolding, which can identify subducted plates, then unfold and stretch them to roughly figure out their original shapes. Using this method, the team mapped out several large chunks of rock, and worked backwards to identify the original plates they came from. Two of the objects they studied are already known – the Alaska and Cascadia slabs, which are still attached to each other. The Alaska slab sits beneath the Aleutian Islands and is thought to be the remains of the Kula plate, while the Cascadia slab lies under southern California and represents the remains of Farallon. But intriguingly, the team identified a third slab detached from the others, about 400 to 600 km (250 to 370 miles) below the surface of northern Canada. They call it the Yukon Slab, and when the clock is wound back it appears to fit the calculated shape of the old Resurrection plate.

Doctors May Have Found Secretive New Organs in the Center of Your Head – (New York Times – October 19, 2020)
A team of researchers in the Netherlands has discovered what may be a set of previously unidentified organs: a pair of large salivary glands, lurking in the nook where the nasal cavity meets the throat. If the findings are confirmed, this hidden wellspring of spit could mark the first identification of its kind in about three centuries. Any modern anatomy book will show just three major types of salivary glands: one set near the ears, another below the jaw and another under the tongue. “Now, we think there is a fourth,” said Dr. Matthijs Valstar, a surgeon and researcher at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and an author on the study, published last month in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology. The study was small, and examined a limited patient population, said Dr. Valerie Fitzhugh, a pathologist at Rutgers University who wasn’t involved in the research. But “it seems like they may be onto something,” she said. “If it’s real, it could change the way we look at disease in this region.”

Instead of Knee Replacement Surgery, ‘Cutting Edge’ Medicine Regenerates Cartilage for the Joint – (Washington Post – October 17, 2020)
A relatively new and innovative technique regenerates cartilage from a sample of cells taken from a person’s knee and grown in a lab, where they are embedded on a collagen membrane. The surgeon then implants the membrane back into the knee, where new cartilage tissue forms over time. “It’s the first procedure that uses a patient’s own knee cartilage cells to try to regrow cartilage that has been lost or damaged,” says Seth Sherman, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University Medical Center and chair of the Sports Medicine/Arthroscopy Committee for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Sherman points out that the approach, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2016, has been in use for years in other countries with “robust evidence” to support its efficacy. “That’s why I like to use it,” Sherman says. “It’s a huge deal.” It’s unclear how many of these cartilage-restoring operations have been performed in the United States since its introduction here, but experts say its use is rapidly growing. “The beauty of this procedure is that you can restore an area that has no cartilage left by putting in a patient’s own normal cells,” says Joseph Barker, a Raleigh orthopedic surgeon. “When it’s all done, it’s a completely normal knee.” The downside is that the treatment requires two procedures — one to remove the cells and a second to put them back — and a long, restrictive recovery period that can take as much as a year before full function returns. Initially, the patient must lie flat in bed (hooked up to a continuous passive motion machine to prevent scar tissue from forming) for as long as six weeks to allow the cells to adhere to the bone and proliferate. The name of the procedure is a mouthful — autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane — commonly called MACI.

A Shadowy AI Service Has Transformed Thousands of Women’s Photos into Fake Nudes: “Make Fantasy a Reality” – (Washington Post – October 20, 2020)
An artificial intelligence service freely available on the Web has been used to transform more than 100,000 women’s images into nude photos without the women’s knowledge or consent, triggering fears of a new wave of damaging “deepfakes” that could be used for harassment or blackmail. Users of the automated service can anonymously submit a photo of a clothed woman and receive an altered version with the clothing removed. The AI technology, trained on large databases of actual nude photographs, can generate fakes with seemingly lifelike accuracy, matching skin tone and swapping in breasts and genitalia where clothes once were. The women’s faces remain clearly visible, and no labels are appended to the images to mark them as fake. Some of the original images show girls younger than 18. The service, which allows people to place new orders through an automated “chatbot” on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. The app have been used by more than 100,000 members worldwide, the researchers found. In an internal poll, the bot’s users said roughly 63% of the people they wanted to undress were girls or women they knew from real life. “The fact is that now every one of us, just by having a social media account and posting photos of ourselves and our lives publicly, we are under threat,” said Giorgio Patrini, CEO of Sensity, an Amsterdam-based cybersecurity start-up, said in an interview. “Simply having an online persona makes us vulnerable to this kind of attack.” The automated service, however, only works on women: Submit an image of a man — or an inanimate object — and it will be transformed to include breasts and female genitalia.

The Pandemic Makes Clear It’s Time to Treat the Internet As a Utility. – (LA Times – October 23, 2020)
After months of being stuck at home, many Americans know full well that there are things they can’t live without. Two of them are power and water. The third, I’m sure, will be obvious to all. Internet access. Imagine this prolonged ordeal without being able to work or attend school from home, without email, without being able to shop online, without streaming video and music. “We’re looking at something that has truly become a necessity for survival,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the advocacy group Public Citizen. “It’s critical to the functioning of society.” For that reason, she told me, “treating the internet like electricity or water is the way we need to think about it.” Susan Aaronson, director of the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub at George Washington University, went so far as to say affordable high-speed internet access “is an essential public good and should be embedded in the law as some nations do. It is essential to equality of opportunity, access to credit, access to other public goods, access to education.” This is a separate matter from debates about regulation of internet content, or whether behemoths such as Google and Facebook have too much power. However, the position of the U.S. government — not to mention phone and cable companies — is that the internet is a free-market service, full stop. It’s not a utility. The average U.S. internet user pays about $60 a month for service. But comparing our prices to what people in other developed countries pay, Americans are getting a lousy deal, not just in terms of pricing but also in terms of service quality — that is, speed. A recent comparison of worldwide broadband charges by Britain’s, a telecom service provider, found that the U.S. ranked 119th out of 206 countries, with monthly costs far surpassing those of Germany, Britain and Japan.

Tall Bookshelf Arcs Organize Mesmerizing Bookstore Interior by x+living In China – (DesignBoom – September 23, 2020)
Shanghai-based architecture firm x+living has introduced yet another bookstore design, this time situated in the city of Dujiangyan, in the south west of China. The new store, with its mirrored ceilings and its tall arc bookshelves, generates a unique, mesmerizing environment where one can explore the wondrous world of literature and cultural heritage. The unique C-shape bookshelves with their natural walnut color welcome visitors inside. This seemingly irregular sequence is what builds intimacy within the space, and becomes the highlight of the front hall. The bookshelves extend from the space to the adjacent columns, and ingeniously catch the readers’ curiosity and guide their route. The design includes an x+living signature feature: mirror ceilings which help visually expand the space, while creating an overall open, tall interior. The flooring is covered with reflective black tiles, making the book tables appear like floating boats on a quiet lake. The designers aimed to create a whole indoor scenery, introducing the spirit of mountains and rivers into the interior, and presenting readers with elegant and powerful artistic landscape. (Editor’s note: Don’t miss the photos of this bookstore. A lot of the effect is created with wallpaper of book stacks and mirrored surfaces to create a live, three dimension, M.C. Escher-like space.)

At This New Museum, the Exhibits Respond to the Sound of Your Voice – (Fast Company – October 21, 2020)
When Local Projects, a design firm best known for their work the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, was hired to design Planet Word, a tribute to language, they recognized that typical approaches couldn’t work. Because a typical approach would just be a library. Instead, Local Projects created the opposite of a place you go to read. Planet Word is a place you go to talk. “This is the world’s first voice recognition powered museum,” says Jake Barton, founder of Local Projects. “It’s a museum where we want to put people into an active state.” Planet Word, located in Washington, D.C., was founded by Aspen Institute Trustee Ann B. Friedman. The museum is located inside the historic Franklin School, which was build in 1865 as the original model for the nation’s first public school system. Much like public education, general admission to Planet Word is free. The experience begins on the top floor of the building, a trick that Local Projects says helps sidestep the museum fatigue that kicks in during a visit, which can make the prospect of stairs or even an elevator seem exhausting. There, visitors are greeted with a giant, 21-foot word statue, which contains 1,237 words from the English language. In front of the sculpture, there’s a series of microphones for an interactive quiz. As a projection show highlights specific words in the sculpture to guide people through the history of English, it challenges visitors to do things like distinguish words of German origin from those of French. Speaking single word answers into the microphone keeps the experience going. (Editor’s note: Check out the photos: this place looks fun.)

New Design Molten Salt Reactor Is Cheaper to Run, Consumes Nuclear Waste – (Forbes – October 13, 2020)
Molten salt reactors are not new. The defining work was done on them at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee in the 1950s through the 1970s. But the Atomic Energy Commission, which preceded the Department of Energy (DOE), was committed to light water reactors, a variant of which was already powering the nuclear navy and another variant was finding success in the electric power industry. Industry money, utility demand, and the politics influenced by Adm. Hyman Rickover were all for light water — only light water. Nowadays, there is a feeling that light water reactors are at the end of their run. There is an active community of entrepreneurs promoting reactors of various designs, especially since the DOE made seed funding available for small modular reactors (SMRs). These are supposed to be cheaper and more flexible than their big brothers. But there is skepticism in the industry about these claims: None has proved itself yet. Jumping into this market are two entrepreneurs with an updated design for a molten salt fast reactor (MSFR). They are Carl Perez and Ed Pheil, joint owners of Elysium Technologies USA. Price is one of the big selling points, according to Perez and Pheil. Their 1,200 MWe reactor won’t be pressurized, but it will operate at high temperatures, cutting back dramatically on the balance of plant costs like a containment structure and fuel. According to Pheil and Perez, these are the principal selling points of their molten chloride salt fast reactor (MCSFR): fueled with nuclear waste from weapons and other reactors; air cooling; process heat; no downtime to fuel; lower reactor, fuel, and balance of plant costs; doesn’t have to be near a large water source; and a potential source of hydrogen generation at reasonable cost.

South Australia First to Be 100% Solar-powered, As Solar Becomes Cheapest Form of Energy – (Nation of Change – October 26, 2020)
The state of South Australia is the future. For one hour, on October 11, all of its electricity was generated by solar power, the first time this feat was achieved by any major jurisdiction in the world. The news comes as the International Energy Agency reports that solar plants are now the cheapest kind of electricity plants to build worldwide. The cost to build a solar plant is now less than for any other sort of energy, primarily because inexpensive financing for such projects is now available. The financial success of solar farms, the rapid decrease in the cost of electricity generation with this technology over the past decade, and the success of storage technologies such as Elon Musk’s Tesla 100 megawatt mega-battery in South Australia, have all convinced investors to finance solar projects at lower rates than in the past. The last coal-fired plant in the state was closed in 2016. About a third of households in the state of South Australia have solar panels on their roofs. In addition, there are three industrial scale solar farms producing about 300 megawatts. This year over half of the state’s electricity has been coming from wind and solar.

Gait-analyzing Wearable Sensors Could Save Users a Visit to the Clinic – (New Atlas – October 9, 2020)
Presently, in order to get a detailed analysis of their walking gait, patients have to travel to a clinic where they walk on a pressure-sensitive mat. That could be about to change, though, thanks to a new wearable system. First of all, there are already wearable gait-analysis technologies that incorporate an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which combines an accelerometer and a gyroscope. In most cases, though, such setups are limited to providing data on acceleration, and the rate at which the feet rotate. Led by Dr. Boyd Anderson, scientists at the National University of Singapore have developed an experimental system that provides significantly more information. It’s called MANA 2.0, and it incorporates four shoe-mounted modules (two on each foot) that combine both IMU and ultra-wideband radio (UWB) sensors. As the patient goes about their daily business, data is transmitted from these to an internet-accessible app on a paired smartphone. The UWB tech allows for time-of-flight ranging, which in turn provides information on how far apart the feet are from one another while walking. More specifically, it measures heel-to-heel, toe-to-heel, and toe-to-toe distances. Previously, such data could only be gathered by walking on a clinic-based mat. In a real-world test, the new system was used to obtain a dataset of over 2,000 steps from 21 healthy volunteers. As compared to the “gold standard” mat technology, it was found to be an average of 97.2% accurate at measuring step width, and between 95 – 97% accurate at spatial foot placement measurements. Cost of shoes: about US$500; cost of mat: over $10,000 each. “This [technology] will empower patients to make their own gait measurements anytime and anywhere without requiring the physical supervision of a clinician,” says Anderson. “A MANA 2.0-enabled wearable for gait analysis will also allow clinicians to monitor the progress of their patients remotely through the data collected on the mobile application.

Fancy Bear Imposters Are on a Hacking Extortion Spree – (Wired – October 16, 2020)
Ransomware attacks that tear through corporate networks can bring massive organizations to their knees. But even as these hacks reach new popularity highs—and new ethical lows—among attackers, it’s not the only technique criminals are using to shake down corporate victims. A new wave of attacks relies instead on digital extortion—with a side of impersonation. Recently, the web security firm Radware published extortion notes that had been sent to a variety of companies around the world. In each of them, the senders purport to be from the North Korean government hackers Lazarus Group, or APT38, and Russian state-backed hackers Fancy Bear, or APT28. The communications threaten that if the target doesn’t send a set number of bitcoin—typically equivalent to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars—the group will launch powerful distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) against the victim, walloping the organization with a fire hose of junk traffic strategically directed to knock it offline. This type of digital extortion—give us what we’re asking for and we won’t attack you—has resurfaced repeatedly throughout the last decade. But in recent months, criminals have attempted to capitalize on fear about high-profile nation state attacks, combined with anxieties related to rising ransomware attacks, to try to make some extra money. “Generally speaking, DDoS as an extortion method isn’t as profitable as other types of digital extortion,” says Robert McArdle, director of forward-looking threat research at Trend Micro. “It’s a threat to do something as opposed to the threat that you’ve already done it.” Given the spotty effectiveness of extortion DDoS, attackers are invoking the notorious state-backed hacking groups in an attempt to add urgency and stakes.

How 30 Lines of Code Blew Up a 27-Ton Generator – (Wired – October 23, 2020)
Recently the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against a group of hackers known as Sandworm. The document charged six hackers working for Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency with computer crimes related to half a decade of cyberattacks across the globe, from sabotaging the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea to unleashing the most destructive malware in history in Ukraine. Among those acts of cyberwar was an unprecedented attack on Ukraine’s power grid in 2016, one that appeared designed to not merely cause a blackout, but to inflict physical damage on electric equipment. And when one cybersecurity researcher named Mike Assante dug into the details of that attack, he recognized a grid-hacking possibility that had been tested by the United State government a decade earlier. The following article is drawn from the book SANDWORM: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers. It tells the story of that early, seminal grid-hacking experiment. The demonstration was led by Assante, the late, legendary industrial control systems security pioneer. It would come to be known as the Aurora Generator Test. Today, it still serves as a powerful warning of the potential physical-world effects of cyberattacks—and an eery premonition of Sandworm’s attacks to come. (Editor’s note: we recommend this article for its glimpse into the inner workings of the national grid.)

Did Joe Biden Use New Technology to Cheat During the Presidential Debate? – (Forbidden Knowledge – October 1, 2020)
The biggest story of first presidential debate was that Joe Biden managed to remain fairly cogent throughout. This was a miraculous achievement, given the daily feed of videos we’ve seen for months showing Joe in advanced cognitive decline. On the morning of the debate, Q re-posted a September 10th post referring to the debates that read: 1. Biden camp will find excuse/reason to terminate. 2. Biden camp will be provided the questions ahead of time. 3. Biden camp will be provided the questions ahead of time and assistance in the form of a special communications device. During the debate, Joe spoke directly at the camera numerous times and he looked like he was reading from a teleprompter. His eyes were like eerie dark globes. Before the debate was over, videos were already being posted to social media, showing what appeared to be wires coming out of Biden’s sleeve and peeking out from beneath the lapel of his jacket. By the next morning, people were posting about a new Augmented Reality contact lenses that could be made to work “like a teleprompter in your eyeball.” By mid-afternoon on the following day, three fact-checking agencies on Facebook were already censoring posts about the wires as “false information”, with cheekily stating that, “Biden is known to wear a rosary around his wrist in honor of his late son, Beau.”

U.S. Diplomats and Spies Battle Trump Administration Over Suspected Attacks – (New York Times – October 19, 2020)
What began as strange sounds and symptoms among more than a dozen American officials and their family members in China in 2018 has turned into a diplomatic mystery spanning multiple countries and involving speculation about secret high-tech weapons and foreign attacks. One of the biggest questions centers on whether Trump administration officials believe that Mr. Lenzi and other diplomats in China experienced the same mysterious affliction as dozens of diplomats and spies at the American Embassy in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, which came to be known as Havana Syndrome. American employees in the two countries reported hearing strange sounds, followed by headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and memory loss. The administration has said little about the events in China and played down the idea that a hostile power could be responsible. But similar episodes have been reported by senior C.I.A. officers who visited the agency’s stations overseas, according to three current and former officials and others familiar with the events. That includes Moscow, where Marc Polymeropoulos, a C.I.A. officer who helped run clandestine operations in Russia and Europe, experienced what he believes was an attack in December 2017. The cases involving C.I.A. officers, none of which have been publicly reported, are adding to suspicions that Russia carried out the attacks worldwide. Some senior Russia analysts in the C.I.A., officials at the State Department and outside scientists, as well as several of the victims, see Russia as the most likely culprit given its history with weapons that cause brain injuries and its interest in fracturing Washington’s relations with Beijing and Havana. Many diplomats, C.I.A. officers and scientists suspect a weapon producing microwave radiation damaged the victims’ brains. The C.I.A. director remains unconvinced, and State Department leaders say they have not settled on a cause. According to half a dozen American officials, State Department leaders realized that pursuing a similar course of action as they had in Cuba — including evacuating missions in China — could cripple diplomatic and economic relationships. See also: Microwave weapons may have caused the mysterious brain injuries suffered by US diplomats in Cuba and China — here’s how they might work.

IMF Admits China Has Overtaken the US as the World’s Largest Economy – (Eurasian Times – October 18, 2020)
According to the IMF’s World Economic Output 2020 released recently, China has now overtaken the US to become the world’s largest economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), using the more reliable and now widely accepted yardstick, called the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), has determined China’s economy at $24.2 trillion compared to America’s $20.8 trillion. The PPP calculation method used by the IMF enables you to compare how much you can buy for your money in different countries. The economists have traditionally been using MER (market exchange rates) to calculate GDP, which is being viewed with extreme suspicion because it underestimates the buying power of the currencies of many countries. As a result, the currencies of many nations are undervalued against the dollar. With PPP adjustment, IMF estimates China’s economic output outmaneuvering the US’s by a huge margin. The PPP “eliminates differences in price levels between economies” and thus compares national economies in terms of how much each nation can buy with its own currency at the prices items sell for there. After the IMF, the CIA also decided to switch from MER to PPP in its annual assessment of national economies. In China’s situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries.” One US dollar can buy nearly twice as much in China as in America itself, and the current market exchange rates hardly acknowledge that. China’s rise to the top was inevitable, but no one had expected it to be so swift. See also: It’s Official: China Overtakes North America as World’s Biggest Box Office in 2020. Analysts have long predicted that the world’s most populous country would one day top the global theatre box office charts. But the results still represent a historic sea change: North America has been the global box office’s center of gravity since the dawn of the motion picture business. It only took a pandemic to accelerate the transition.

The Town That Went Feral – (New Republic – October 13, 2020)
This article is a review of the book, A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears) by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, a journalist based in Vermont, Pulitzer nominee, and George Polk Award winner. Here he recounts a remarkable, and remarkably strange, episode in recent history: the so-called Free Town Project, a venture wherein a group of libertarian activists attempted to take over a tiny New Hampshire town, Grafton, and transform it into a haven for libertarian ideals—part social experiment, part beacon to the faithful, Galt’s Gulch meets the New Jerusalem. These people had found one another largely over the internet, posting manifestos and engaging in utopian daydreaming on online message boards. While their various platforms and bugbears were inevitably idiosyncratic, certain beliefs united them: that the radical freedom of markets and the marketplace of ideas was an unalloyed good; that “statism” in the form of government interference (above all, taxes) was irredeemably bad. Left alone, they believed, free individuals would thrive and self-regulate, thanks to the sheer force of “logic,” “reason,” and efficiency. Things in New Hampshire didn’t bode well—especially when the humans collided with a newly brazen population of bears, themselves just “working to create their own utopia,” property lines and market logic be damned. The resulting narrative is simultaneously hilarious, poignant, and deeply unsettling.

Like It or Not, the Suburbs Are Changing – (New York Times – October 16, 2020)
According to June Williamson and Ellen Dunham-Jones, architects and co-authors of a new book due out in December, a growing number of design and planning schemes are helping to make suburbs more walkable, sociable, healthy and equitable. Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges (Wiley) features 32 projects through the lens of six objectives: reducing car dependency, boosting health, supporting seniors, promoting diversity and justice, creating job opportunities and protecting the environment. Whether you want the old mall back or not, it’s gone. Or if you prefer the way the office park was structured and the property-tax revenue that came from it, well, that company is gone, or broken up. So rethinking these properties has to happen. To that end, the book focuses on three kinds of retrofits: redevelopments (demolishing and reconstructing underperforming shopping malls to make them mixed-use town centers, with retail, offices and housing); repurposing existing spaces; and regreening. One commonality that seems to emerge is a desire for walkability and a mixed-use public space. By 2050, 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65. This group is not old; they’re just older. But they do have particular needs. There is thinking about designing communities that provide lifelong support in suburbs, where these folks perhaps already live and have raised families and want to remain. There are ideas about cohousing, about allowing accessory dwelling units, or infilling with cottage courts or small apartment buildings that would complement the predominance of detached single-family housing. Some of the empty malls can be turned into wellness and fitness centers and health clinics.

Getting Rid of All the Space Junk in Earth’s Backyard – (Hackaday – October 15, 2020)
Since the first satellite launch in 1957, the Earth’s orbit has became more and more cluttered with trash from defunct or broken up rocket stages and satellites. Moving at speeds of nearly 30,000 km/h, even the tiniest object can pierce a hole through a spacecraft. Space junk poses a real threat for both manned and unmanned spacecraft and that is why space agencies are increasing their efforts into tracking, avoiding, and getting rid of it. According to NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office (ODPO) Earth orbit currently hosts an estimated number of 500,000 marble-sized debris objects and a whopping 100,000,000 objects of 1 mm or smaller. As shown in the picture here there two main debris fields. While most of the debris is located in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at altitudes of <2000 km, there is also a ring of space junk in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) at an altitude of ~36,000 km. Space trash includes derelict spacecraft like the Vanguard I satellite which has been in orbit for over 60 years and thus holds the record for the oldest man-made object in space. Other culprits are upper stages of rockets that broke up or exploded, which is why nowadays they are usually “passivated” by venting their unburned fuel. In 2007, China earned a lot of criticism for blowing up their Fengyun-1C weather satellite as part of a missile test. Together with the accidental collision of the US communications satellite Iridium-33 and the defunct Russian Kosmos 2251 satellite in 2009, these events are responsible for much of the large debris currently located in orbit. The most comprehensive catalog of space is junk is held by the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN). Currently, they keep track of more than 22,000 man-made objects orbiting Earth that are 10 centimeters or larger. Due to atmospheric drag, all orbital debris will eventually fall back to Earth. However, at altitudes of 800 km, this may take decades, while above 1,000 km orbital debris normally will continue circling Earth for a century or more. Plans for the active removal of space debris include the ClearSpace-1 mission of the Swiss startup ClearSpace which was funded by ESA and is planned to launch in 2025.

The Milky Way’s Quiet, Introverted Monster Won’t Spin – (Live Science – October 26, 2020)
There’s a beast hiding at the center of the Milky Way, and it’s barely moving. This supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (SgrA*), has a mass 4.15 million times that of our sun. It first revealed itself to scientists as a mysterious source of radio waves from the galaxy’s center back in 1931; but it wasn’t until 2002 that researchers confirmed the radio waves were coming from something massive and compact like a black hole – a feat that earned them the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics. Just days before the team learned about their Nobel on Oct. 6, another group learned something new about the black hole: It’s spinning more slowly than a supermassive black hole should, moving less than (possibly far less than) 10% of the speed of light. Black holes, despite their awesome power, are extraordinarily simple objects. All the distinguishing features of the matter that forms and feeds them gets lost in their infinitesimal singularities. So every black hole in the galaxy can be described with just three numbers: mass, spin and charge. Researchers think they have evidence that the supermassive is an unusually slow spinner. Spin matters for two main reasons. First, a black hole’s event horizon – the shadowy region within which not even light can escape the monster’s gravity – grows as it gains more mass, reaching further and further from the singularity of the black hole. Second, spin is thought to play a role in the two white-hot jets of matter that sometimes launch into space at incredible speeds from a black hole’s axis of rotation. Most Milky Way-sized galaxies have supermassive black holes at their center, and often these galaxies have enormous jets visible bursting from their cores. But the Milky Way has no visible jets. Conclusion: SgrA* must be spinning at a rate less than 10% of the speed of light.

Fighter Pilot UAP Quotes on the Record – (The Unidentified – September 22, 2020)
Since 2017 there has been an upsurge in Navy Pilots coming forward to reveal their frequent encounters with Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP, meaning unidentifiable objects entering military airspace). This is a compilation of the continued testimony of military personnel pulled together into one article. ‘The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.’ ‘What was strange, the pilots said, was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew.’ The quotations are taken from various sources including a May, 2019 article in the New York Times and a program on The History Chanel. Altogether, they raise legitimate questions that are as yet unanswered.

Childhood’s End: ‘The Phenomenon’- (DeVoid – September 29, 2020)
Twenty-four minutes into the documentary “The Phenomenon,” director James Fox foreshadows its final act with a look back at what happened outside Australia’s Westall School in 1966. That’s when several hundred students came swarming out of their classrooms upon hearing about a disc-shaped UFO stunting in broad daylight over the power lines near the athletic field. They watched it descend below the treeline, rise again, turn on its broad side, and zip away at a crazy velocity. For anyone who’s followed the mystery for any length of time, stories like these are generically familiar. Indeed, much of the setup follows a conventional arc with names (from Gen. Roger Ramey to John Podesta), places (Roswell, Bentwaters, Malmstrom AFB) and events (from Kenneth Arnold’s “flying saucer” sighting in 1947 to the 2004 Tic Tac incident off California) that are staples of the UFO timeline. But Fox is establishing baseline frames of reference in a (largely) chronological order. What’s useful here is that it give the entire phenomenon an orderly historical context. Here’s a link to a trailer for the film.

Over Half Europe’s Small Firms Fear for Survival, Survey Finds – (Reuters – October 21, 2020)
Over half the small and medium-sized companies which together provide jobs for two-thirds of European workers fear for their survival in the coming 12 months, according to a survey released by management consultancy McKinsey. The survey was conducted in August, before the current acceleration in new coronavirus cases across Europe that is forcing governments to impose new restrictions on activity and prompting speculation of fresh national lockdowns. The finding comes as warnings multiply of an impending wave of business insolvencies and as the International Monetary Fund and others urge the region’s governments to double down on state support to help companies weather the coronavirus pandemic. The McKinsey survey of more than 2,200 companies in five countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain – found that 55% expected to shut down by September next year if their revenues remained at current levels. At the current trajectory, one in 10 small and medium-sized companies were expected to file bankruptcy within six months. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as those with 250 or fewer employees. In Europe, they employ over 90 million people but their small size makes them vulnerable to cash flow crises. In Spain, for example, 83% of the 85,000 businesses that have collapsed since February employ fewer than five workers.

Storing Medical Information Below the Skin’s Surface – (MIT News – December 18, 2019)
Every year, a lack of vaccination leads to about 1.5 million preventable deaths, primarily in developing nations. One factor that makes vaccination campaigns in those nations more difficult is that there is little infrastructure for storing medical records, so there’s often no easy way to determine who needs a particular vaccine. MIT researchers have now developed a novel way to record a patient’s vaccination history: storing the data in a pattern of dye, invisible to the naked eye, that is delivered under the skin at the same time as the vaccine. To create an “on-patient,” decentralized medical record, the researchers developed a new type of copper-based quantum dots, which emit light in the near-infrared spectrum. The dots are only about 4 nanometers in diameter, but they are encapsulated in biocompatible microparticles that form spheres about 20 microns in diameter. This encapsulation allows the dye to remain in place, under the skin, after being injected. The researchers designed their dye to be delivered by a microneedle patch rather than a traditional syringe and needle. Such patches are now being developed to deliver vaccines for measles, rubella, and other diseases, and the researchers showed that their dye could be easily incorporated into these patches. The new dye, which consists of nanocrystals called quantum dots, can remain for at least five years under the skin, where it emits near-infrared light that can be detected by a specially equipped smartphone. See also: Bill Gates and MIT Unveil Quantum Dots to Mark Children.

These Young Investors Are Betting Big on Crypto and Are Taking Harvard and Stanford Along with Them – (Forbes – October 18, 2020)
An aggressive Bitcoin trade got crypto VC shop Paradigm flying out of the gate. But Fred Ehrsam and Matt Huang aim to do more than just generate outsized returns for their blue-blooded backers — they want to take alt-currencies into finance’s mainstream. The highly opinionated and cantankerous crypto community might disagree about the merits of Bitcoin versus Ethereum, or the role of tech giants like Facebook in setting the agenda. But Paradigm’s point is simple: compared to an outside world full of crypto skeptics, these entrepreneurs, researchers and top university professors are more alike than not. Paradigm is a new-look investment firm that has quickly emerged as a leader in the crypto category but has grander ambitions than outsized financial returns. Combining mainstream pedigrees and pioneering crypto cred, Ehrsam, 32 and Huang, 31, convinced top institutional investors like Harvard and Stanford to give them $750 million to invest in a market they were too blue-blooded to touch directly. Paradigm moved all $400 million of its initial capital into Bitcoin in 2018 at burst-bubble discount prices under $4,000, converting it back into greenbacks when needed for individual investments. Bitcoin has tripled in value since Paradigm’s investment, meaning aside from any other bets it’s made, Paradigm’s starting bankroll is already worth 3x. See also: A Former Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Chief Has Predicted Bitcoin Is About to Surge to $1 Million—Here’s Why.

Target Shoppers Can Now Make Reservations to Avoid Holiday Crowds – (Washington Post – October 22, 2020)
At a time when the thought of holiday crowds might be more frightening than festive, Target is introducing a new safety measure: reservations. Most large retailers offer curbside pickup and contactless checkout to accommodate social distancing, and many have scrapped such Black Friday traditions as Thanksgiving Day openings and “doorbuster” deals to fill their stores. But shopping by appointment is uncommon among retailers. “The new system makes sense in terms of both keeping people safe and giving customers a convenient tool that prevents them having to wait ages outside the store,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail in New York. Some national chains, including Best Buy, Williams Sonoma and West Elm, instituted mandatory store appointments early in the pandemic, though most have since lifted those requirements. Others such as Suitsupply and Chico’s now offer appointments to interested shoppers. Shoppers can also reserve time slots at local grocery stores and farmers markets using OpenTable, the restaurant reservation site. Target chief executive Brian Cornell said that he does not anticipate using the reservation system on a regular basis. “But some measures, like contact-free shopping, are here to stay.” Americans are expected to spend less this year — both because of their own financial situations and because there will be fewer opportunities to exchange gifts with family, friends and co-workers. Shoppers are planning to visit the fewest stores on record this holiday shopping season, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail survey, with the average shopper planning to visit 5.2 stores. The average household expects to spend $1,387 during the 2020 holiday season, down 7% from last year.

If You Crack Your Knuckles, Don’t Worry Too Much about Getting Arthritis. But the Habit Isn’t Harmless. – (Washington Post – October 19, 2020)
Ignoring generations of parents who’ve warned that knuckle cracking is bad for you, between 20 and 54% of Americans continue to engage in this annoying nervous habit. Many have been reassured by repeated clinical reports over the decades that there is no strong evidence that knuckle cracking causes arthritis. A 2018 Harvard Medical School blog went so far as to pronounce the practice “harmless.” “Harmless” is overstating it, however, argue experts who have studied the fine print of the research. Even as there’s no strong link to arthritis — specifically osteoarthritis, the degeneration of the cartilage cushioning the ends of bones — cracking knuckles, they conclude, may still harm your hands. Seattle neurosurgeon Rod Oskouian is the most recent researcher to jump into this small but lively tributary of mainstream science, as co-author of a 2018 review of knuckle-cracking studies in the journal Clinical Anatomy. Oskouian and his three colleagues pored over 26 sometimes-contradictory papers regarding the mechanisms and effects of knuckle cracking, beginning with a 1911 German treatise. Joining with several of their predecessors, Oskouian and his colleagues concluded that researchers have yet to show any reliable association between knuckle cracking and arthritis. A 2017 study of 30 knuckle crackers offered evidence that the habit even increased range of motion. But that still doesn’t give knuckle-crackers a pass — especially not if they do it a lot and for a long time, or have a preexisting problem. Studies he cited in his review suggest that long-term knuckle cracking can cause significant damage short of arthritis, stressing and ultimately degenerating cartilage. The most persistent member of this cottage industry of knuckle studiers is a Southern California retired allergist named Donald L. Unger. For 50 years, Unger cracked the knuckles of his left hand at least twice a day — ultimately, as he calculated, “at least 36,500 times,” while cracking his right-hand knuckles “rarely and spontaneously.” At the end of that half-century, he said, he compared his two hands, and on finding arthritis in neither of them, concluded “there is no apparent relationship between knuckle-cracking and the subsequent development of arthritis of the fingers.” Eleven years later, Unger’s one-man research was honored with an “Ig Nobel” prize, a parody award featured at an event at Harvard University.

The Economics of Vending Machines – (Hustle – October 3, 2020)
The vending industry is broad and encompasses everything from $0.50 gumballs to — well: Live hairy crabs (~$4 each), Beluga caviar ($500 per ounce), Engagement rings ($800), Live earthworms for fishing ($3.50 for a dozen), Morning-after pills ($25), COVID-19 essentials like hand sanitizer and masks ($4.25 to $14.50). During the pandemic, the relatively low barrier of entry has attracted a new generation of vending machine entrepreneurs — schoolteachers, nurses, mechanics, students — who measure profits in $1 bills and utilize new technologies to monitor and scale their operations. But are vending machines really a viable side hustle? How much does the average machine bring in? And what does the job entail? To find out, The Hustle surveyed and interviewed 20+ vending machine operators all over America. It is estimated that roughly ⅓ of the world’s ~15m vending machines are located in the US. Of these 5m US-based vending machines, ~2m are currently in operation, collectively bringing in $7.4B in annual revenue for those who own them. This means that the average American adult spends ~$35 per year on vending machine items. What makes the vending industry truly unique is its stratification: The landscape is composed of thousands of small-time independent operators — and no single entity owns >5% of the market. Some big corporations, like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, own their own arsenal of machines. But vending requires so many moving parts and brings in such slim profits per machine that it’s better suited for smaller operators who can minimize overhead costs. (Editor’s note: This is a fascinating and detailed article about something we all see frequently and seldom give much thought to.)

Wiener Cello Ensemble 5+1: Bolero – (You Tube – February 25, 2015)
Ravel’s Bolero: In an intimate performance, (they really do mean intimate) four members of the Vienna Cello Ensemble perform it all at once on a single cello. You didn’t know so much music could come out of one cello. No word on how much the instrument cost, but they did write, “It is just sad to see that the economic situation forces four great musicians to share one cello…”


To predict the future, we need logic; but we also need faith and imagination, which can sometimes defy logic itself. ― Arthur C Clarke


A special thanks to: Marc Barasch, 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.

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Joni Patry is one of the most recognized teachers and Vedic astrologers in the world. She was a faculty member for ACVA, CVA and Instructor for online certification programs, published many books, journals and appeared on national and international television shows. As the keynote speaker for international conferences, she has a Japanese website, and teaches in Austria, Turkey and India. She has been awarded the 2015 Jyotish Star of the year and Dr B. V. Raman’s Janma Shatamanothsava Award Jyotisha Choodamani. She publishes an online astrological magazine, Astrologic Magazine and has an online University for certification, the University of Vedic Astrology.

Regina Meredith

As Regina’s career progressed, so did her decades long exploration into the world of esoteric and hidden sciences – the reality beyond the 5 sense world. Guidance from these realms suggested it was time to bring her skill set to the world of video/televised media, so in late 2004, along with her husband Scott, she co-created ‘Conscious Media Network’, the first online network to feature full length original video interviews with authors and experts in the realms of the meta-physical, healing arts and alternative theories, opening up a world that many had experienced but never had access to on this scale.

Gaia: In 2012, Conscious Media Network merged with Gaiam TV in 2012, with Regina serving as anchor in their new media division on Open Minds and Healing Matrix. The demand for Regina’s unique perspective on a variety of subjects has drawn attention from conference organizers, moving her into the public as a presenter at conferences. In addition, Regina offers retreats and workshops for those who wish to ‘Dive Deep’ into a new understanding of the nature of reality and life itself. In this venue she shares her exclusive approach to meditation and regression work for a greater understanding of life’s challenges and identifying the innate joys.

Dr. Harold Puthoff

Although nominated for a Nobel Prize in physics for his breakthrough theoretical work on zero-point energy, Dr. Harold Puthoff, is most recognized for having been a co-founder of the secret US government “remote viewing” program that successfully used psychics to spy on the Soviet Union and China.

Now a principal and science advisor in a leading-edge effort by former senior military and intelligence managers to disclose the many decades of interest that the US has had in UFOs, he comes to Berkeley Springs on the 8th of February to give a TransitionTalk about his work in making sense out of the UFO phenomena.

Dr. Puthoff’s presentation will include a summary of his current activities with To The Stars Academy, which is on the forefront of bringing into the open formerly highly classified efforts by the government to track, record and understand the meaning of hundreds of encounters that the military has had with UFOs over the past years.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn from and question one of the foremost thinkers and leaders of the rapidly accelerating global effort to both make the public aware of what was previously unacknowledged about UFO and alien interaction with humans and also to address the deep questions about what is happening and what it might mean for the future of humanity.

Gregg Braden

Gregg Braden is a five-time New York Times best-selling author, and is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science, spirituality and human potential! His discoveries have led to 12 award-winning books now published in over 40 languages. The UK’s Watkins Journal lists Gregg among the top 100 of “the world’s most spiritually influential living people” for the 5th consecutive year, and he is a 2017 nominee for the prestigious Templeton Award.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Rosemary Ellen Guiley is a leading expert on the paranormal and supernatural. With more than 50 books – including 10 encyclopedias – and hundreds of articles in print on a wide range of paranormal, spiritual and mystical topics, she possesses exceptional knowledge of the field. Her present work focuses on inter-dimensional entity contact experiences and communication.

John L. Petersen

John L. Petersen is considered by many to be one of the most informed futurists in the world. He is best-known for writing and thinking about high impact surprises (wild cards) and the process of surprise anticipation. His current professional involvements include the development of sophisticated tools for anticipatory analysis and surprise anticipation, long-range strategic planning and helping leadership design new approaches for dealing with the future.


He has led national non-profit organizations, worked in sales, manufacturing, real estate development, and marketing and advertising, mostly for companies he founded. A graduate electrical engineer, he has also promoted rock concerts; produced conventions; and worked as a disc jockey, among other things.

Mr. Petersens government and political experience include stints at the National War College, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council staff at the White House. He was a naval flight officer in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve and is a decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. He has served in senior positions for a number of presidential political campaigns and was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1984. He was twice the runner-up to be Secretary of the Navy.

In 1989, Petersen founded The Arlington Institute (TAI), a non-profit, future-oriented research institute. TAI operates on the premise that effective thinking about the future is impossible without casting a very wide net. The “think tank” serves as a global agent for change by developing new concepts, processes and tools for anticipating the future and translating that knowledge into better present-day decisions. Using advanced information technology, a core group of bright thinkers and an international network of exceptionally curious people along with simulations, modeling, scenario building, polling and analysis, Arlington helps equip leaders and organizations from many disciplines with tools and actionable perspectives for dealing with uncertain times.

An award-winning writer, Petersens first book, The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future was awarded Outstanding Academic Book of 1995 by CHOICE Academic Review, and remained on The World Future Societys best-seller list for more than a year. His Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Wild Cards and Big Future Surprises book was also a WFS best-seller. His latest book is a Vision of 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change. His coauthored article, (The Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social Transformation?) was one of the most highly acclaimed writings on Y2K. His 1988 book-length report (The Diffusion of Power: An Era of Realignment) was used at the highest levels of American government as a basis for strategic planning. He has also written papers on the future of national security and the military, the future of energy and the future of the media.

Petersen is a past board member of the World Future Society, writes on the future of aviation for Professional Pilot magazine and is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. He is a former network member of the Global Business Network and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. A provocative public speaker, he addresses a wide array of audiences around the world on a variety of future subjects. When he is not writing or speaking, Petersen invests in and develops resources for large, international projects and advanced technology start-up companies. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Speaking Inquiries: Email

Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the National Security Agency where he blew the whistle on massive multi-billion dollar fraud, waste and abuse; the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11; and critical 9/11 intelligence failures. He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize, a joint recipient with Jesselyn Radack of the 2011 Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award and the 2012 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. He is now dedicated to the defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Dr. John McMichael

John McMichael, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Beach Tree Labs, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and early development of new therapeutic agents targeting unmet medical needs. These disorders range from herpes infections to chronic fatigue syndrome to urinary incontinence. His PhD is in virology and immunology from Oregon State University. He headed up the labs at one of the largest private veterinary research practices in the country, was a college professor for more than a decade, and now works out of a small lab on his form in New York state and a larger, more sophisticated lab in Providence, Rhode Island. He holds over 200 patents, has published in books and peer-reviewed journals, and is currently working with his team to begin formal FDA trials for product candidates for chronic traumatic brain injury and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.

Good health is dependent on the appropriate transfer of information within and between cells. The informational and molecular disharmonies associated with disease can be reversed using appropriate therapeutic signals that stimulate the return to the normal state without adverse effects. One such signal molecule, SLO, has demonstrated clinical utility in a broad spectrum of indications that would at first glance appear to be unrelated. The underlying common thread that links these disorders is representative of the targets to which resonant molecular signals are directed.

William Henry

William Henry is a Nashville-based author, investigative mythologist, art historian, and TV presenter. He is an internationally recognized authority on human spiritual potential, transformation and ascension. He has a unique ability to incorporate historical, religious, spiritual, scientific, archaeological and other forms of such knowledge into factually-based theories and conclusions that provide the layperson with a more in-depth understanding of the profound shift we are actually experiencing in our lifetime.

The spiritual voice and Consulting Producer of the global hit History Channel program, Ancient Aliens, and host of the Gaia TV series The Awakened Soul: The Lost Science of Ascension, and Arcanum, along with his wife, Clare, William Henry is your guide into the transformative sacred science of human ascension. By bringing to life the ancient stories of ascension through art and gnostic texts, he teaches the secrets of soul transfiguration or metamorphosis and connects people to one another across cultures, time and space. With over 30 years of research distilled into 18 books and numerous video presentations, William’s work will guide you to next level of human consciousness and our expanding reality.

William’s present work has taken him into the area of transhumanism, which he first began writing about in his 2002 bestseller, Cloak of the Illuminati. His latest book, The Singularity Is Near: The Next Human, the Perfect Rainbow Light Body and the Technology of Human Transcendence is a primer and a warning for the looming potential transformation of humanity as we speed closer to meshing computer technology with human flesh. William discusses transhumanism as the fulfillment of an ancient impulse to transcend our human bodies. His work has propelled him into the role of human rights activist and advisor on the biopolitics of human enhancement as he informs audiences of the unparalleled perils and potentials of Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism.

Freddy Silva

Freddy Silva is a best-selling author, and leading researcher of ancient civilizations, restricted history, sacred sites and their interaction with consciousness. He has published six books in six languages, and produced eleven documentaries. Described by one CEO as “perhaps the best metaphysical speaker in the world right now,” for two decades he has been an international keynote speaker, with notable appearances at the International Science and Consciousness Conference, the International Society For The Study Of Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, and the Association for Research and Enlightenment, in addition to appearances on Gaia TV, History Channel, BBC, and radio shows such as Coast To Coast. He also leads private sell-out tours to ancient temples worldwide.

Pierre Dubois

Pierre Richard Dubois is Registered Architect and holds two advanced degrees from Columbia University. He has been on a life quest to satisfy his inner and intuitive knowing about consciousness-expanding technologies and wisdom. He is an author, life coach, healer, ascension teacher, and a minister. Pierre has travelled the world and studied many religions and belief systems and found that we are all seeking the same thing: merger back with the uncreated Source of all. An insightful listener and counselor, Pierre deeply aspires to share with others his wisdom and has helped countless people on their journey of healing, expansion, and ascension over the past 20 years.

Frank DeMarco

FRANK DeMARCO has been reporting on his conversations with non-physical beings for more than two decades, in magazine articles, talks, and in a dozen non-fiction books and two novels.

FRANK DeMARCO is the author of 14 books rooted in more than 25 years of psychic exploration, including It’s All One World, Awakening from the 3D World, Rita’s World (two volumes), The Cosmic Internet, The Sphere and the Hologram, and Imagine Yourself Well. Since 2005, he has been actively engaged in an on-going series of conversations with various non-physical beings, including historical individuals, “past lives,” aspects of personal guidance, and a generalized group he calls “the guys upstairs.”

He is also the author of three novels, Messenger, That Phenomenal Background (originally published as Babe in the Woods) and Dark Fire.

William Buhlman

William Buhlman is a recognized expert on the subject of out-of-body experiences. The author’s forty years of extensive personal out-of-body explorations give him a unique and thought provoking insight into this subject. His first book, Adventures beyond the Body chronicles his personal journey of self-discovery through out-of-body travel, and provides the reader with the preparation and techniques that can be used for their own adventure. He has conducted an international out-of-body experience survey that includes over 16,000 participants from forty-two countries. The provocative results of this survey are presented in his book, The Secret of the Soul. This cutting edge book explores the unique opportunities for personal growth and profound spiritual awakenings that are reported during out-of-body experiences.

Over the past two decades William has developed an effective system to experience safe, self initiated out-of-body adventures. He conducts an in-depth six-day workshop titled, Out-of-Body Exploration Intensive at the renowned Monroe Institute in Virginia. As a certified hypnotherapist, William incorporates various methods, including hypnosis, visualization and meditation techniques in his workshops to explore the profound nature of out-of-body experiences and the benefits of accelerated personal development. Through lectures, workshops and his books the author teaches the preparation and techniques of astral projection and spiritual exploration.

The author brings a refreshing look to how we can use out-of-body experiences to explore our spiritual identity and enhance our intellectual and physical lives. William is best known for his ability to teach people how to have profound spiritual adventures through the use of out-of-body experiences. In addition, he has developed an extensive series of audio programs that are designed to expand awareness and assist in the exploration of consciousness. William has appeared on numerous television and radio shows worldwide. William’s books are currently available in twelve languages. The author lives in Delaware, USA. For more information visit his web site,

Joe McMoneagle

Joe was the longest operational psychic spy in the US government’s very highly classified Stargate program where they used psychics and intuitives to look into installations and people around the world that were of interest to government intelligence agencies. They called the process remote viewing.

As it turned out, the remote viewers discovered that they were – not limited by either time or space and produced drawings and assessments that could not have been obtained in any other way. The Soviets had an active remote viewing program at the same time and it is rumored that Russia, China and the U.S. still have initiatives of this kind that are operational.

Joe’s stories are fascinating, like the time he mentally got inside a Chinese nuclear weapon and saw how the triggering mechanism worked . . . and then went out and bought the parts at Radio Shack to show the scientists in the intelligence agency exactly how it was done. The remote viewers could find submarines at the bottom of the ocean and crashed aircraft in the middle of African jungles.

Dr. Joe Dispenza

Dr Joe Dispenza is an international lecturer, researcher, corporate consultant, author, and educator who has been invited to speak in more than 33 countries on six continents. As a lecturer and educator, he is driven by the conviction that each of us has the potential for greatness and unlimited abilities. In his easy-to-understand, encouraging, and compassionate style, he has educated thousands of people, detailing how they can rewire their brains and recondition their bodies to make lasting changes.

Dr. Joe is also a faculty member at Quantum University in Honolulu, Hawaii; the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York; and Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He’s also an invited chair of the research committee at Life University in Atlanta, Georgia.

As a researcher, Dr. Joe’s passion can be found at the intersection of the latest findings from the fields of neuroscience, epigenetics, and quantum physics to explore the science behind spontaneous remissions. He uses that knowledge to help people heal themselves of illnesses, chronic conditions, and even terminal diseases so they can enjoy a more fulfilled and happy life, as well as evolve their consciousness. At his advanced workshops around the world, he has partnered with other scientists to perform extensive research on the effects of meditation, including epigenetic testing, brain mapping with electroencephalograms (EEGs), and individual energy field testing with a gas discharge visualization (GDV) machine. His research also includes measuring both heart coherence with HeartMath monitors and the energy present in the workshop environment before, during, and after events with a GDV Sputnik sensor.

As a NY Times best-selling author, Dr. Joe has written Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon(Hay House, 2017), which draws on research conducted at his advanced workshops since 2012 to explore how common people are doing the uncommon to transform themselves and their lives; You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter (Hay House, 2014), which explores our ability to heal without drugs or surgery, but rather by thought alone; Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One (Hay House, 2012) and Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (2007), both of which detail the neuroscience of change and epigenetics. His film appearances include Transcendence: Live Life Beyond the Ordinary (2018); HEAL (2017); E-Motion (2014); Sacred Journey of the Heart (2012); People v. the State of Illusion (2011); What IF – The Movie (2010); Unleashing Creativity (2009); and What the #$*! Do We Know? & Down the Rabbit Hole, extended DVD version (2005).

Dr. Todd Ovokaitys

After two years at Northwestern, he was accepted into an accelerated combined graduate/undergraduate program at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, which conferred both B.A. and M.D. degrees. Advanced training was at Georgetown University Hospital, with a Residency and Chief Residency in Internal Medicine followed by a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Intensive Care Medicine.

During his Pulmonary Fellowship, the specialty that concerns the lungs, Dr. Todd began his research with cells of the immune system. Many procedures were done on AIDS patients to diagnose their lung problems. Observing this dire disease firsthand and the toxic results of early medical treatments, Dr. Todd developed a passion for finding better solutions. Towards the end of his Fellowship, he became aware of the benefits of Holistic Medicine for improving the function of the immune system while building rather than impairing the function of other systems.

Inspired to learn more, he moved to Southern California to study with practitioners of Complementary Medicine. In the context of these studies, he had an experience so radical that the course of his life and work were forever transformed.

During a meditation class in the summer of 1989, Dr. Todd paired with another student for an exercise. The process was profound and they took turns, one in the process while the other scribed to record any breakthroughs of awareness. Much as in the Jodie Foster movie “Contact,” the usual anchor points dissolved with the feeling of instant transport to a different dimension of being. There was a doorway or portal to traverse, with a message of the responsibility taken on through the choice to go further.

Instantly upon walking through this doorway, a living form was seen that filled a room – and had the shape of a DNA strand enlarged millions of times. This form communicated that science only partly understood how DNA worked. The linear understanding of DNA as an enormous data string was correct but incomplete. In addition, DNA was a structure of coils within coils in an environment of moving charges that permitted DNA to send electromagnetic signals much as a radio transmitter. Further, DNA could receive and be conditioned by electromagnetic signals. Most significantly, if it were possible to determine and transmit the correct resonant signals, that it was possible to switch the activity of a sick cell to that of a healthy cell, an old cell to that of a young cell.

This experience brought with it a certainty that solutions were possible. After intensive review of the previous work showing the effects of electromagnetic energy patterns on cellular health and function, Dr. Todd located a colleague with the technical expertise to build the desired invention.

Mary Rodwell

Mary Rodwell is a professional counsellor, hypnotherapist, researcher, metaphysician, and founder and principal of ACERN (Australian Close Encounter Resource Network). She is internationally known for her work with ET experiencers and star children. She offers regressions and support for contactees and has organized a buddy system to help those who have had close encounters. Mary has spoken at conferences in Australia, USA, UK, Scandinavia, Hawaii and New Zealand. She is a regular guest on international radio and online shows and writes article for international publications like the UFO Truth Magazine. Mary is co-founder of FREE, a non-profit organization aimed at researching close encounters.

She is the author of, Awakening – How extra-terrestrial contact can transform your life. Mary is working on her second book, The New Human, due for release this year.

Dr. Larry Dossey

Dr. Larry Dossey is a physician of internal medicine and former Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital. He received his M. D. degree from Southwestern Medical School (Dallas), and trained in internal medicine at Parkland and the VA hospitals in Dallas. Dossey has lectured at medical schools and hospitals throughout the United States and abroad. In 1988 he delivered the annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, India, the only physician ever invited to do so. He is the author of twelve books dealing with consciousness, spirituality, and healing, including the New York Times bestseller HEALING WORDS: THE POWER OF PRAYER AND THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE, and most recently One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters. His books have been translated into languages around the world. Dr. Dossey is the former co-chairman of the Panel on Mind/Body Interventions, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health. He is the executive editor of the peer-reviewed journal EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing. Dr. Dossey lectures around the world. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife Barbara, a nurse-consultant and the author of several award-winning books.

Kingsley L. Dennis Phd.

Kingsley L. Dennis, PhD, is a sociologist, researcher, and writer. He previously worked in the Sociology Department at Lancaster University, UK. Kingsley is the author of numerous articles on social futures; technology and new media communications; global affairs; and conscious evolution. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books including Healing the Wounded Mind, The Sacred Revival, The Phoenix Generation, New Consciousness for a New World, Struggle for Your Mind, After the Car, and the celebrated Dawn of the Akashic Age (with Ervin Laszlo). He has traveled extensively and lived in various countries. He currently lives in Andalusia, Spain.


His homepage is

Sharry Edwards

Sharry Edwards has been accused of being too scientific by some, too esoteric by others. In actuality, she is a bridge between both fields of inquiry. Sharry is the acknowledged pioneer in the emerging field of Vocal Profiling using BioAcoustic Biology. For many years she has provided the leading-edge research to show the voice as a holographic representation of the body that can be used to change the face of medicine.

Sharry asks that we imagine a future in which we can be individually identified and maintained through the use of frequency based biomarkers that keep us healthy and emotionally balanced. Her work at the Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has shown that we can each have dominion over those frequencies by individual mind management or a simple remote control that is completely programmable. Using the unique techniques of Vocal Profiling and evaluation, emotional as well as physiological issues can be revealed and addressed.

Her work with the human voice reveals that people who share similar traumas, stresses, diseases, toxicities…share similar, if not identical, vocal anomalies. She brings together ancient knowledge with modern ideas of harmonics and frequency relationship theories to show that math can be used as a form of predictive, diagnostic and curative foundation for wellness. Through entrainment of the frequency grids of the brain, the body can be programmed to support its own optimal form and function.

Dr. Carrie Hempel & Brian Sanderoff

Integrative Physician Dr. Carrie Hempel and Holistic Pharmacist Brian Sanderoffare both experts in the medicinal use of cannabis in Maryland.

Dr. Hempel is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2002. As an Osteopathic Physician, she has embraced a holistic approach to patient care, providing loving attention to the relationship between mind, body, and spirit. For the past 11 years she has received specialist training, Board Certification and expertise in several fields including Internal Medicine, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, and Hospice & Palliative Medicine, along with many Integrative modalities. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Association of Cannabis Specialists, and is registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Over the course of her career she has seen the consistent struggle of patients dealing with chronic, progressive, debilitating illness, and witnessed the challenges and limitations of the current pharmaceutical options for pain and symptom managment. Her passion for this population has grown, along with her desire to advocate for patients to have access to non-opioid, holistic options to enhance quality of life and optimize function.

Trained as a pharmacist, Brian Sanderoff has integrated 25 years of experience with his traditional medical training and herbalism, nutrition and numerous other holistic modalities to help clients devise practical, common-sense, safe solutions to most any health issue.

His clients appreciate how he embraces a complementary approach to health and how his holistic “compass” brings them new solutions to their unique health concerns – especially chronic diseases.

Mary Rodwell

Mary Rodwell is a professional counsellor, hypnotherapist, researcher, metaphysician, and founder and principal of ACERN (Australian Close Encounter Resource Network). She is internationally known for her work with ET experiencers and star children. She offers regressions and support for contactees and has organised a buddy system to help those who have had close encounters. Mary has spoken at conferences in Australia, USA, UK, Scandinavia, Hawaii and New Zealand. She is a regular guest on international radio and online shows and writes article for international publications like the UFO Truth Magazine. Mary is co-founder of FREE, a non-profit organisation aimed at researching close encounters.

Steve McDonald

Steve McDonald is an extraordinary Australian thinker and researcher who arguably knows as much about the structure of the global planetary transition that we are experiencing as anyone on the planet. He draws coherent pictures from the deep insights of Clair W. Graves and paints clear, explanatory images of not only how humanity has evolved to this point, but what is inevitably on our horizon . . . and how this epic transition will continue to play out.

He is currently writing a book about the global paradigm shift that’s taking us beyond the scientific-industrial era. Steve served with the Australian Army for 15 years, including war service as an infantry company commander in Somalia, 1993. He is also a qualified military helicopter pilot and on leaving the army he flew a rescue helicopter in the tropical Mackay-Whitsunday region of Queensland. Building upon his extensive experience in unpredictable environments, after retiring from flying Steve specialized as a change management consultant. He consequently studied the developmental psychology research of Dr Clare W Graves and became one of the first Australians qualified to teach Dr Graves’ theory under the banner of Spiral Dynamics Integral. A long-term struggle with posttraumatic stress has driven Steve’s deep interest in human nature and consciousness. He is a founder of Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine, an Australian non-profit association. He is also a founder of AADII, a non-profit company created to support worldwide transformational change.

Robert Coxon

Although Robert Coxon had been studying and composing music for many years, it was after taking the Silva Mind Control course that he realized how powerful sound could be in relaxing the body and opening the consciousness. He then decided to write his first album.

Cristal Silence quickly became a major hit throughout Canada, staying on top of the charts for many years. This was the beginning of his continuing phenomenal success as composer and solo artist. For the last 29 years he has performed only his original compositions in concert. Robert has been nominated four times for the prestigious “Felix” award (French Canada equivalent to the Grammy), and became Canada’s best-selling New Age artist. His international breakthrough came after composing The Silent Path in 1995. This album was an instant hit in Canada, the USA and France. After hearing The Silent Path, Lee Carroll, internationally renowned author of 15 bestselling Kryon and Indigo books, contacted Robert and asked him to join his team on tour. Through the years this has given Robert the opportunity to experience different cultures and inspires him to write music honoring these many countries he performs in.

Robert offers us nine albums, the latest three being The Infinite, essence of life, Goddess -The Power of Woman and Passion Compassion Alegeria.

Joe Dispenza

needs bio…

Gary Sycalik

Gary Sycalik has been described as an entrepreneur, businessman, project developer/manager, consultant/advisor, organizational troubleshooter, strategic planner, facilitator, futurist, business and social architect, complex problematic game designer (policy, strategic, tactic levels) and writer. Gary brings a robust horizontal and vertical functional capability to any project from the conceptual to operational stage.

Penny Kelly

Penny Kelly is an author, teacher, speaker, publisher, personal and spiritual consultant, and Naturopathic physician. She travels, lectures, and teaches a variety of classes and workshops, and maintains a large consulting practice. She has been involved in scientific research and investigations into consciousness at Pinelandia Laboratory near Ann Arbor, MI.