FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT–
- Scientists have turned the structure of the coronavirus into music as a means of data search.
- A new study suggests that ultrasound technique can treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- Seismographs show that the current mean noise level of the earth’s crust is 33% lower than before stay-at-home measures were implemented on March 14.
- Some parts of the universe appear to be expanding faster than accepted theories predict that they should, while others seem to be expanding more slowly than expected.
by John L. Petersen
Upcoming TransitionTalks Postponed
Sadly, our next two TransitionTalks with Regina Meredith and Gabriel Felley in April and then KRYON in early May have been affected (infected?), by the coronavirus. We will be scheduling Regina and Gabriel for a later date, and Lee Carroll and KRYON have reconfigured the event to be a livestream with all of the same participants – so you’ll be able to get updated KRYON channelings, hear Lee’s teachings and experience Amber Wolf in real time!
More is coming, I’m sure. Stay tuned!
May 2-3: KRYON LIVESTREAMED!
Lee Carroll and his team have put together a great solution to the present constraints on public meetings: our Berkeley Springs Kryon event on May 2-3, will come to you in live on the internet this time . . . and you will have the opportunity to attend any other public KRYON event for free! It’s a great two for one opportunity to get the latest channellings and teachings from Lee Carroll, KRYON, and Amber Wolf live – TWICE!
Get the complete details here. Hope to see you there!
How Much Should the Public Know about Who Has the Coronavirus? – (New York Times – March 28, 2020)
As the coronavirus spreads across the United States the limited disclosure of data by officials would seem to be a footnote to the suffering and economic disruptions that the disease is causing. But medical experts say that how much the public should know has become a critical question that will help determine how the United States confronts this outbreak and future ones. Residents are clamoring to see whether the virus has been detected in their neighborhoods so they can take more steps to avoid any contact. American researchers are starved for data, unlike their colleagues in other countries who are harnessing rivers of information from their more centralized medical systems. And local politicians complain that they cannot provide basic information on the spread of the virus to their constituents. In the perennial tug-of-war between privacy and transparency in the United States, privacy appears to be winning in the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials say they cannot disclose how many cases are found in each city because of the nation’s strict medical privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Using the law as a justification for limiting the release of aggregate data about the coronavirus is “ridiculous,” according to Arthur L. Caplan, a professor of bioethics at the N.Y.U. School of Medicine in New York City. The U.S. approach contrasts sharply with that of Singapore and Taiwan, whose fights against the virus have been praised as among the most effective. Both governments make public the suspected linkages of cases, anonymized by numbers. In Singapore the authorities sometimes list neighborhoods where patients lived, their workplaces and the churches or mosques that they attended. I. Glenn Cohen, an expert in bioethics at Harvard Law School, says the guiding principle during this crisis should be sharing more rather than less. “Public health depends a lot on public trust,” he said. “If the public feels as though they are being misled or misinformed their willingness to make sacrifices — in this case social distancing — is reduced.” “That’s a strong argument for sharing as much information as you can,” he said. That opinion is, by no means, shared by all public health officials.
Letter to President Trump – Send It Everywhere You Can – (Armstrong Economics – April 13, 2020)
This is an open letter to President Trump drafted by Armstrong Economics Global Solutions, Inc. to express as strongly as possible what Mr. Armstrong sees as the dire consequences of delaying opening the economy. He notes that “our computer is showing that if the economy remains closed beyond May 1st, we are looking at a global economic decline that will not bottom for 13 years until we reach 2032. There are people, such as Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci, who have been advocating an economic shutdown… I believe Gates is merely using this to further his theory on vaccines without any regard for the economic destruction these policies have caused and Fauci is compromised by Gates’ donations to all health organizations. The current rate of unemployment is outpacing the loss experienced during the Great Depression when it took three years to reach a rate of 25%. This economic closure is being used to exploit the people for political gain.” Further in the letter, Armstrong writes, “The solution must also take into consideration that this is a political war. The very same people who have been advocating shutting down the economy are seeking socialism under the banner of climate change. These people are behind the demand to shut down the world economy by suing a virus where the death toll is on par or less than the seasonal flu.” Armstrong goes on to urge President Trump to take a number of specific steps to address this unparalleled situation. Below the letter, he suggests that his readers should “feel free to send this to other world governments. Previous letters have been sent and discussed even in the British Parliament as well as circulated among the opposition of Canada, and Australia just to mention a few. This is an all out battle. We must not shy away from the fight.”
The Coronavirus Conspiracy: How COVID-19 Will Seize Your Rights & Destroy Our Economy – (London Real – no date)
As one of the world’s pre-eminent professional conspiracy theorists, David Icke has been a regular guest on London Real, discussing topics as diverse as 5G, 9/11 and censorship. Often described as a maverick or a renegade, David is a unique voice in the space, propounding a number of predictions around his post-Orwellian vision of society and the future. In this interview, David joined us to talk about the coronavirus pandemic, the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown, how governments have manipulated their citizens and the wider agenda behind social control and a Surveillance Society. In this interview, he goes deeper into the global crisis, the looming economic recession and the impact of 5G technology and the violation of our rights and freedom of speech. (Editor’s note: Icke, who is one of the biggest thinkers on the planet, from a great deal of research and over 30 years cataloging major trends on this planet, paints a comprehensive picture of what coronavirus isn’t, what is happening to us all, and where this whole event is leading. Very well worth watching.)
Why Is New Orleans’ Coronavirus Death Rate Seven Times New York’s? Obesity Is a Factor – (Reuters – April 2, 2020)
Along with New York and Seattle, New Orleans has emerged as one of the early U.S. hotspots for the coronavirus, making it a national test case for how to control and treat the disease. Chief among the concerns raised by doctors working in the Louisiana city is the death rate, which is seven times that of New York and ten times that of Seattle, based on publicly reported data. New Orleans residents suffer from obesity, diabetes and hypertension at rates higher than the national average, conditions that doctors and public health officials say can make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Some 97% of those killed by COVID-19 in Louisiana had a preexisting condition, according to the state health department. Diabetes was seen in 40% of the deaths, obesity in 25%, chronic kidney disease in 23% and cardiac problems in 21%. A host of other factors could contribute to New Orleans’ high death rate for coronavirus, ranging from access to healthcare and hospital quality, to the prevalence of other conditions including lung disease, health officials say. But they also add that it is clear that obesity-related conditions are playing a role in the deaths. That could be a warning sign for the United States at large, where obesity is more common than in other developed countries, they said.
The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs – (National Review – April 3, 2020)
It is understandable that many would be skeptical of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus. However, a great deal of the information that he presents, obtained from public records posted on the Internet, checks out. The article goes on to review many source documents behind his claim that the coronavirus escaped – not that it was deliberately engineered, only that it had escaped – from a biological research lab in Wuhan. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its copious source tracing.)
What the Doctors Are Saying about COVID-19 – There Is a Connection with 5G – (Evolve to Ecology – April 5, 2020)
This is a good summary, from multiple doctors who are treating coronavirus patients, about what they are seeing and what they believe this is actually happening. It includes comments about the applicability and reliability of the testing that is being used. What doctors are reporting is that oxygen is being squeezed out of the blood cells due to changes in pressures on the blood cells and those are external pressures. This could be connected to Electromagnetic Frequencies in the 5G 60-100 GigaHz range since we have never had any risk assessments or government funding into testing of the impact of 5G on human health. However, prior tests done by the Military and scientists on the detrimental effects of MGHz have concluded that such EMF frequencies cause permanent damage to human health. A few years ago, 240 doctors and scientists signed against 5G in Europe and 123,000 doctors, nurses, scientists and medical professionals from Physicians against 5G globally, resisted the government proposals of 5G towers and systems being launched and these experts presented documented proof and evidence to the governments and already warned the public against the effects of 5G and 6G cell phone towers. Why did the governments ignore 163,000 doctors and scientists? Their warnings cannot legitimately be dismissed as a ”conspiracy theory” in the absence of serious safety studies.
Scientists Have Turned the Structure of the Coronavirus into Music – (Science – April 3, 2020)
A team at MIT, using a new technique called sonification, gave each amino acid in the virus a unique note, converting the entire protein into a musical score. The sounds you hear https://soundcloud.com/user-275864738/viral-counterpoint-of-the-coronavirus-spike-protein-2019-ncov —the chiming bells, the twanging strings, the lilting flutes—all represent different aspects of the spikelike protein that pokes from the virus’ surface and helps it latch onto unsuspecting cells. The new format can help scientists find sites on the protein where antibodies or drugs might be able to bind—simply by searching for specific musical sequences that correspond to these sites. This, the researchers say, is faster and more intuitive than conventional methods used to study proteins, such as molecular modeling. They add that by comparing the musical sequence of the spike protein to a large database of other sonified proteins, it might be possible to one day find one that can stick to the spike—preventing the virus from infecting a cell. As for the instruments, they were entirely the researchers’ choice. In this case, a Japanese koto plays the main notes—soothing sounds that might bring some comfort in a time of trouble.
New Research Examines Wastewater to Detect Community Spread of Covid-19 – (Stat News – April 7, 2020)
A series of crucial setbacks in Covid-19 testing has made it difficult to keep up with the virus’ rapid spread, and has inspired some researchers to look to wastewater to help fill in the gap of measuring how prevalent SARS-CoV-2 is in a given community. The idea to begin testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 emerged after recent research revealed that virus particles could be shed through stool and other bodily fluids. Researchers collected samples in late March from a wastewater treatment plant serving a large metropolitan area in Massachusetts and found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the sewage samples indicated a far higher number of people likely infected with Covid-19 than the reported cases in that area. Researchers from biotech startup Biobot Analytics, working with a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, estimate there were at least 2,300 people infected with Covid-19 in the area around the treatment facility. But at the time of analysis, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, there were 446 cases officially reported in that area. The company shared the findings with local health authorities including the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Their response was “extremely positive,” Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot, said. “They could believe that [our] numbers could be correct and not out of the realm of possibility.” Researchers in the Netherlands similarly described detecting the novel coronavirus in sewage samples — sometimes even before public health officials reported the first diagnosed case of Covid-19 in a given community.
Is Coronavirus Contagious? – (Nourishing Traditions – no date)
The premise that coronavirus is highly contagious and can cause disease provides the justification for putting entire nations on lockdown, destroying the global economy and throwing hundreds of thousands out of work. But is it contagious? Does it even cause disease? Today we face the installation of fifth generation wireless (5G), broadcast in the gigahertz range, often at 60 gigahertz, a frequency that is highly absorbed by oxygen, causing the O2 molecule to split apart, making it useless for respiration. Compare the pattern of 5G installation in the top map to the pattern of corona virus cases in the lower map. While correlation does not prove causation, the strong overlap between 5G rollout locations and corona virus cases should give one pause, especially given the history of pandemics following step changes in planetary electrification (detailed in the article). On September 26, 2019, 5G wireless was turned on in Wuhan, China and also launched in parts of New York, the difference being that the 5G grid in Wuhan was much denser, with about ten thousand antennas—more antennas than exist in the whole U.S.A., all concentrated in one city. Illness has followed 5G installation in South Korea, Italy and Iran. In South America, Ecuador is a hot spot for the respiratory illness, and it is in Ecuador that 5G first appeared. A number of virologists agree that viruses are exosomes; they are the same size, the same shape, both carry RNA and both attach to the same receptors. These exosomes/viruses are the result and not the cause of illness, with primary roles of coagulation, intercellular signaling and excretion of waste materials. If 5G, by overloading the body’s electrical circuitry and by high-jacking oxygen, causes injury to the lung cells, then an increased production of exosomes (wrongly called viruses) is sure to be the result—and thank goodness! It’s clear that we are making the same mistake with viruses that we have made with cholesterol and saturated fat—blaming a substance that is essential to life for causing disease. Just twenty years ago the medical profession “knew” that bacteria were killers—now we recognize that bacteria are essential to health. How long will it take us to learn that the so-called viruses are our friends?
Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome – (New York Times – April 3, 2020)
A virus is “simply a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein,” the biologists Jean and Peter Medawar wrote in 1977. In January, scientists deciphered a piece of very bad news: the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Viruses must hijack living cells to replicate and spread. When the coronavirus finds a suitable cell, it injects a strand of RNA that contains the entire coronavirus genome. The genome of the new coronavirus is less than 30,000 “letters” long. (The human genome is over 3 billion.) Scientists have identified genes for as many as 29 proteins, which carry out a range of jobs from making copies of the coronavirus to suppressing the body’s immune responses. This article looks at most of these specific proteins in turn and discusses the role each one plays in the replication process. The article includes the actual sequence of RNA letters and nice graphics for each protein.
Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How. – (Politico – March 19, 2020)
This article covers 32 areas in which change due to the coronavirus is likely – and what those changes are likely to be. Each area is covered by a different expert in that field. The predicted elements of change are grouped around the following topics: Community, Tech , Health / Science, Government, Elections, The Global Economy, and Lifestyle.
Meteorites Reveal That Martian Water Came from Different Sources – (CNN – March 30, 2020)
One of the biggest mysteries in piecing together the story of Mars’ past is a key question: Where did the water come from? Researchers may have found a large clue in tiny slices from Martian meteorites that fell to Earth, according to a new study. Mars was likely a warm, wet planet billions of years ago before its atmosphere was slowly stripped down and whisked out into space — leaving behind the thin atmosphere and frozen desert planet we know today. Fortuitously, Martian meteorites contain samples of the planet’s crust. The crust is also where the largest reservoir is estimated to be on Mars, containing 35% of the total estimated water beneath the surface. The two well-known meteorites are known as Black Beauty and Allan Hills, and researchers studied thin slices of them to look into Mars’ past, including how the planet formed and when water entered into the equation. The Black Beauty meteorite, which is estimated to be two million years old, formed and broke off of the planet when a massive impact hit Mars and laminated pieces of Martian crust together. This effectively also captured material from different points in the Martian timeline. “This allowed us to form an idea of what Mars’ crust looked like over several billions of years,” said Jessica Barnes, study author and assistant professor of planetary sciences in the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. When looking at the two meteorites, the researchers conducted a chemical analysis seeking out two types of hydrogen isotopes. They were specifically looking for “light hydrogen” and “heavy hydrogen,” because the ratio of these two isotopes can be used to understand the origin of water traces found in rocks. The Black Beauty and Allan Hills meteorites suggested two different sources of water on Mars, based on their isotopes. “These two different sources of water in Mars’ interior might be telling us something about the kinds of objects that were available to coalesce into the inner, rocky planets,” Barnes said. “This context is also important for understanding the past habitability and astrobiology of Mars.” So how does that happen? It’s all about the ingredients that made Mars in the first place. See also: Mars, already largely desert, is losing water quicker than expected.
Mysterious Human Ancestor Finds Its Place in Our Family Tree – (Science – April 1, 2020)
A new study of proteins taken from the tooth of an enigmatic human ancestor reveals their rough place in the family tree—and shows how ancient proteins can push beyond the limits of DNA. DNA, made of chains of nucleic acids, can remain embedded inside fossilized bones for up to about 500,000 years, explains Enrico Cappellini, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark. That time frame covers the rise of our species, Homo sapiens, in Africa sometime about 300,000 years ago. But before then, many other kinds of humans roamed Earth, including our close cousins the Neanderthals, and their Siberian kin, the Denisovans. Another early relative is H. antecessor, known chiefly from northern Spain’s Gran Dolina cave. The physical features of H. antecessor have left anthropologists puzzling over its relationships with other early humans. It has big teeth, as do more primitive members of our genus such as H. erectus, but its face shape is remarkably similar to that of modern humans. Some have argued it could be the last common ancestor of Neanderthals, Denisovans, and H. sapiens. Others argue it is actually a member of H. erectus. In the new study, Cappellini’s team used mass spectrometry—a technique that can sort out a sample’s chemical composition, including the peptides that make up proteins—to analyze proteins in a sliver of enamel from an 800,000-year-old H. antecessor molar from Gran Dolina. The proteins suggest H. antecessor was a close relative of the last common ancestor to humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. “We see that antecessor falls as a sister group—close, very close—to the branch that leads to us,” Cappellini says.
Remains of 90-million-year-old Rainforest Found Near South Pole – (UPI – April 1, 2020)
Some 90 million years ago, a temperate rainforest grew near the South Pole. Scientists recovered fossil traces of the ancient rainforest from seafloor sediment cores collected near West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. “The finding of this well preserved ‘forest soil’ layer was actually a lucky dip,” researcher Ulrich Salzmann, professor of palaeoecology at the University of Northumbria in Britain, told UPI. “We did not know of the existence of this layer before.” Among the sediment layers, Salzmann and his research partners found roots, pollen, spores and the remains of flowering plants. Scientists were able to use the various plant remains to piece together a fuller picture of what exactly Antarctica’s ancient forest looked like. “This was a swampy forest, dominated by needle-leaved conifer trees with many ferns. The forest was a temperate — not a tropical — rainforest, similar to the forests found today in New Zealand,” Salzmann said. “Summer temperatures averaged 19 degrees Celsius and water temperatures in rivers and swamps reached up to 20 degrees. This was despite a four-month polar night, meaning for a third of every year there was no life-giving sunlight at all.” Scientists estimate the polar rainforest persisted until the Oligocene epoch, before fragmenting some 20 million years ago. Pockets of rainforest likely remained viable until 10 million years ago.
A 50,000-year-old Piece of String Hints at Neanderthal Intelligence – (NBC – April 9, 2020)
What may be the world’s oldest piece of string, made by Neanderthal humans from bark about 50,000 years ago, has been unearthed in a rock shelter in France. It’s a tiny fragment — just over two-tenths of an inch long — but its discoverers say it shows Neanderthals had extensive knowledge of the trees it was made from, and enough practical ability to make a string that would hold fast under tension. It’s the first time that a string or a cord attributed to Neanderthals has been found – and it suggests they used other ancient technologies, the evidence of which has since rotted away, from basketry to clothing to fishing gear. It also suggests that Neanderthals – the archetypal crude cavemen – were smarter than some people give them credit for. The fibers were first twisted counterclockwise into single strands, and three strands were then twisted clockwise to form a string that wouldn’t unravel. “This is the first time we found a piece with multiple fibers and two layers of twistings that tells us we have string,” said palaeoanthropologist Bruce Hardy of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, who was part of the team that discovered the string. The fibers are thought to come from the inner bark of a conifer tree, which implies the string’s makers had a detailed knowledge of trees. “You can’t just get any old tree and get fiber from it, nor can you take the right kind of tree and get it at any time of year,” he said. The three-ply structure also suggests the Neanderthals who made it had basic numeracy skills. (Editor’s note: How smart are modern humans who keep assuming that every other life form on earth is not very smart?)
GENETICS / HEALTH TECHNOLOGY / BIOTECHNOLOGY
Unprecedented Nationwide Blood Studies Seek to Track U.S. Coronavirus Sspread – (Science – April 7, 2020)
The best way to figure out how far and wide the virus has spread in a population is to look at blood. Antibodies, blood proteins that the immune system produces to attack pathogens, are viral fingerprints that remain long after infections are cleared. Sensitive tests can detect them even in people who never felt a single symptom of COVID-19. The World Health Organization has announced an ambitious global effort, called Solidarity II, of so-called serosurveys, studies that look for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the population. The United States has launched an unprecedented effort as well. One serosurvey, which will be funded by the National Institutes of Health, is already underway in six metropolitan regions in the U.S. It was started in Seattle when that outbreak happened, then New York City, then we quickly kicked in the San Francisco Bay area, and now we’ve added Los Angeles, Boston, and Minneapolis. Colleagues at regional blood centers are each saving 1000 samples from donors each month—often it’s just a few days each month—and they’re demographically defined so we know the age, the gender, and, most important, the zip code of the donor’s residence. Those 6000 samples, collected each month starting in March and for the next 5 months, will be assessed with an antibody testing algorithm, which we’re still finalizing, that will help us monitor how many people develop SARS-CoV-2 antibodies over time. That will show us when we’re going from, say, a half a percent to 2% of the donors having antibodies. That will evolve into a national survey. With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], we’ll conduct three national, fully representative serosurveys of the U.S. population using the blood donors. That will be 50,000 donations in September and December of 2020 and November of 2021. We’re going to be estimating overall antibody prevalence to SARS-CoV-2 within each state, but also map it down within the states to regions and metropolitan urban areas, and look at the differences.
New Study Shows How Ultrasound Technique Can Treat Alzheimer’s Disease – (New Atlas – April 12, 2020)
A new study led by Australian researchers describes how focused ultrasound can weaken the blood-brain barrier in brain cells from Alzheimer’s patients, potentially improving the uptake of drugs designed to treat the disease. Researchers have been exploring the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and the blood-brain barrier for several years, with early animal studies revealing focused ultrasound may help the brain clear toxic protein clumps associated with neurodegeneration. This new study offers a highly specific investigation into how these kinds of ultrasound pulses can affect the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s brains. The new research took human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients with a rare genetic mutation that makes them highly likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Those iPSCs were then coaxed into becoming brain endothelial cells, to serve as a model of the blood-brain barrier in a brain susceptible to Alzheimer’s.
Study with Jazz Improv Musicians Sheds Light on Creativity and the Brain – (Ars Technica – April 11, 2020)
There’s a popular myth that divides people into “left brain” and “right brain” categories, whereby the former are analytical and logical, while the latter are creative and innovative. The reality, of course, is much more complicated than that, and a new brain-imaging study of improvisational jazz guitarists is a useful case in point. Researchers at Drexel University found that while the right hemisphere is associated with creativity in fairly inexperienced jazz musicians, experts with high mastery of improvisational skills actually rely primarily on the left hemisphere of the brain. They described their results in a recent paper in the journal NeuroImage. Jazz musicians often talk about moments during live performances when all the band members are “in the zone,” so to speak, reacting and responding to each other, instead of being more internally focused on their own independent creative choices. “If creativity is defined in terms of the quality of a product, such as a song, invention, poem, or painting, then the left hemisphere plays a key role,” said co-author, John Kounios, director of Drexel’s applied and cognitive brain sciences program. “However, if creativity is understood as a person’s ability to deal with novel, unfamiliar situations, as is the case for novice improvisers, then the right hemisphere plays the leading role.”
When the Ocean Gives You Plastic, Make Animals – (New York Times – March 9, 2020)
Well, not only for fun. In Bandon, Oregon, Angela Haseltine Pozzi stands shoulder to shoulder with Cosmo, a six-foot-tall tufted puffin, on a cliff overlooking the blustery Oregon coast. It is January and the deadly king tides have come to Coquille Point, making the shoreline look like a churning root-beer float. Cosmo endures the weather just fine, as he is composed of plastic that has washed ashore — flip-flops, bottle caps, toy wheels, cigarette lighters — all mounted to a stainless-steel frame and bolted to concrete. The puffin is a sculpture from Ms. Haseltine Pozzi’s art and education nonprofit, Washed Ashore, whose tagline is “Art to Save the Sea.” “We’ve cleaned up 26 tons off the beaches,” Ms. Haseltine Pozzi said, “which isn’t a dent in the actual pollution issue, but we’re doing something by raising awareness and waking people up.” “We’re not here to blame anybody or to point fingers,” she said of ocean pollution. “We basically invite the Buddhists and the Baptists, and the rednecks and the hippies, and the Republicans and the Democrats, and they all sit around the table and they all work together on something, which doesn’t happen enough in our world.” Check out the photos of the sculptures.
Humans Are Making Less Seismic Noise Due To Worldwide Lockdown Measures – (ILF Science – April 1, 2020)
The world is a quieter place now that one-third of humanity is cooped up indoors under global lockdown measures. At least, that’s what the seismographs say. Lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced the amount of anthropogenic seismic noise, or sounds – and thus vibrations – created by human movement. This drop in seismic noise, the “hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust,” means the planet is moving less. Vibration levels can be influenced by traffic, machinery, and electrical power lines – all of which can mask the sounds of natural seismicity, reports a 2017 study on urban seismology. Such differences can be seen normally between working days and holidays, or between night and daytime when people are most likely to be out and about. Even rock concerts can cause Earth to rattle. Researchers with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences of Australia recorded seismic activity during a 2011 Foo Fighters concert and an AC/DC concert four years later. Their seismographs were able to pick up the shaking caused by the “weight of the fans dancing, as well as the sound system.” Seismologist Thomas Lecocq with the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels says that the current mean noise level is 33% lower than before stay-at-home measures were implemented on March 14. Similar trends have also been observed in other major cities around the world, such as Auckland, Los Angeles, and London.
Satellites Spot the Largest Hole in the Ozone Layer over the Arctic Ever Recorded – (Inverse – April 6, 2020)
In data taken by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, scientists spotted a strong reduction in ozone concentrations over the Arctic that began in the early months of 2020. At the beginning of April 2020, the hole had reached 1 million square kilometers in size. Depletion in ozone over the Arctic is no surprise in and of itself. The atmosphere above the North and South poles loses ozone every year. The reason why is down to temperature: Extremely low temperatures cause clouds over the poles to form one mass, while chemicals such as chlorine and bromine, which stem from industrial sources, trigger reactions on the clouds that causes them to eat away at the protective ozone layer. Over the Antarctic, extremely cold temperatures cause gigantic holes to form during winter. These holes can reach a size of around 20 to 25 million sq km, and last for around three to four months. The scale of this hole is what is so shocking for scientists. To explain this year’s unusually large Arctic ozone hole, scientists turned to weather data, which suggests a ‘polar vortex’ may be to blame. These powerful wind systems trap cold air, essentially creating a whirlpool of stratospheric winds. Scientists expect the large mini-hole to close up again by mid-April, 2020, according to ESA. Despite its unusual size and appearance, the Arctic ozone hole doesn’t pose a threat to the planet at the moment, scientists say. That’s because, as the Northern hemisphere transitions from winter to spring, the Sun is just starting to rise above the horizon in the polar regions. By the time it reaches higher altitudes and starts to shine more brightly on the North pole region, the ozone hole will likely by no more, scientists predict. But it is still unclear what this new record for the ozone hole above the Arctic means in terms of the long-term effectiveness of our efforts to mitigate the depletion of the ozone layer. Only time will tell if the larger hole is a one-off weather side effect or part of a larger, and worrying, trend.
Flow Battery Could Make Renewable Energy Storage Economically Viable – (New Atlas – April 10, 2020)
Researchers at the University of Southern California looking to crack the renewable energy storage problem have developed a new version of a redox flow battery from inexpensive and readily-available materials. In the so-called redox flow battery, a positive chemical and a negative chemical are stored in separate tanks. The chemicals are pumped in and out of a chamber where they exchange ions across a membrane – flowing one way to charge and the other to discharge. Though such systems have previously used expensive, dangerous and toxic vanadium and bromine dissolved in acid for their electrolytes in the past, we have seen recent designs that replace those with organic or more environment-friendly alternatives. For its design, the USC team used a waste product of the mining industry and an organic material that can be made from carbon-based feedstocks, including carbon dioxide, and is already used in other redox flow batteries. In tests, the iron sulfate solution and Anthraquinone disulfonic acid (AQDS) battery was found able to charge and discharge hundreds of times with “virtually no loss of power.” The researchers say that the inexpensive nature of the materials used could also lead to significant electricity cost savings compared to redox flow batteries using venadium, if manufactured at scale.
Study Concludes That Electric Cars Don’t Affect Pacemakers – (New Atlas – April 7, 2020)
Although it doesn’t happen often, it is possible for electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to affect the performance of cardiac implants such as pacemakers. Fortunately for recipients, though, a new study indicates that EMFs produced by electric cars pose no such danger. The research was conducted by scientists from the Technical University of Munich, working with colleagues from the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research, and from New Zealand’s Wellington Hospital. A total of 108 test subjects were recruited who had all previously been surgically fitted with either a pacemaker or a defibrillator, made by a variety of manufacturers. Each person proceeded to both charge and drive four different commercially-available electric cars, including a Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S P85, BMW i3, and VW eUp. Those vehicles differed from one another in their motor power, torque, battery capacity and charging systems. While it was noted that the strongest fields were actually generated as the vehicles’ batteries were being charged, none of the EMFs were found to be high enough to affect the participants’ implants. According to the scientists, this was likely due to the shielding that’s built into electric cars, in order to protect their computer systems from electromagnetic interference.
At the Sourdough Library, with Some Very Old Mothers – (New York Times – April 11, 2020)
Curiously, during this apocalyptic spring, the best thing since sliced bread turns out not to be sliced bread. The most coveted isolation loaves seem to be sourdough, a knobbly, rugged variety that requires patience, handmade fermentations and something like affection. Karl De Smedt is the curator of the world’s only sourdough library. Located in the flyspeck village of St. Vith, 87 miles southeast of Brussels, the library houses the world’s most extensive collection of sourdough starters, those bubbling beige globs of bacteria and wild yeast — known as “mothers” — that bakers mix into dough to produce flavorful loaves with interestingly shaped holes. If a mother isn’t regularly divided and kneaded and fed with flour and water, she will eventually go dormant or die. Like Norway’s Svalbard seed vault, which safeguards crops against disasters, and the Ice Memory project in Antarctica, which protects glacial ice cores threatened by climate change, the sourdough library is essentially a preservation center. Besides showcasing geographically diverse varieties of yeast, it conserves a burgeoning stockpile for future generations to study. At last count, there were 125 mothers. In order to preserve the unique character of individual strains, he refreshes them every two months with back stocks of the original flours used by their providers. “The donors are required to contribute yearly supplies to the library for maintenance,” he said. “We insist on that to minimize the impact of change.” Mr. De Smedt travels the world for new specimens and adds up to two dozen new sourdoughs to the library every year. He prioritizes renown, unusual origins, the type of flour used, and the starter’s approximate age.
TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE
Florida GOP Realizes Deliberately Impoverishing the Unemployed Has Downsides – (Intelligencer – April 3, 2020)
When Republican Rick Scott became its governor in 2011, Florida already had one of the stingiest unemployment-insurance systems in the country. But Florida’s system wasn’t just tightfisted; it was also underfunded. He chose the latter. Unemployed Floridians used to receive up to 26 weeks in benefits; Scott cut that to 12 (though the cap does rise gradually after the state’s unemployment rate exceeds 5 percent). He established a new rule requiring the program’s beneficiaries to meet with at least five prospective employers a week to retain their benefits; eliminated the options of applying for benefits over the phone or in person, forcing all laid-off Floridians to sign up through (a poorly designed, underfunded) website; and he made it easier for employers to “prove” that their laid-off workers had been fired for cause and thus did not qualify for benefits. Another result of Scott’s changes: Florida is completely unequipped to process the deluge of unemployment-insurance claims that the coronavirus pandemic has set off. Under ordinary circumstances, Florida Republicans might be unbothered by all this; after all, as some of them admitted in interviews, the system is doing exactly what their party designed it to do — minimize the number of jobless Floridians who can access state aid, so as to minimize business owners’ tax obligations. But this is an election year and current Republican governor Ron DeSantis and his allies are worried that their inability to get federal aid into the hands of needy workers could cost Donald Trump reelection. One might think that, after this vivid demonstration of the Florida GOP’s malign indifference to the well-being of working people, the Sunshine State would be certain to go blue this November. But then again, this is a state whose disproportionately elderly voters elected Rick Scott as their governor, a man who oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in history; watched him transfer wealth from the middle class to the rich for eight years; and then promoted him to the Senate in 2018.
China Created a Fail-Safe System to Track Contagions. It Failed. – (New York Times – March 29, 2020)
Scarred by the SARS epidemic that erupted in 2002, China created an infectious disease reporting system that officials said was world-class: fast, thorough and, just as important, immune from meddling. Hospitals could input patients’ details into a computer and instantly notify government health authorities in Beijing, where officers are trained to spot and smother contagious outbreaks before they spread. It didn’t work. After doctors in Wuhan began treating clusters of patients stricken with a mysterious pneumonia in December, the reporting was supposed to have been automatic. Instead, hospitals deferred to local health officials who, over a political aversion to sharing bad news, withheld information about cases from the national reporting system — keeping Beijing in the dark and delaying the response. The central health authorities first learned about the outbreak not from the reporting system but after unknown whistle-blowers leaked two internal documents online. Even after Beijing got involved, local officials set narrow criteria for confirming cases, leaving out information that could have provided clues that the virus was spreading among humans. Hospitals were ordered to count only patients with a known connection to the source of the outbreak, the seafood market. Doctors also had to have their cases confirmed by bureaucrats before they were reported to higher-ups. Aggressive action just a week earlier in mid-January could have cut the number of infections by two thirds, according to a recent study whose authors include an expert from Wuhan’s municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another study found that if China had moved to control the outbreak three weeks earlier, it might have prevented 95% of the country’s cases. “I regret that back then I didn’t keep screaming out at the top of my voice,” Ai Fen, one of the doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital who spotted cases in December, said in an interview with a Chinese magazine. “I’ve often thought to myself what would have happened if I could wind back time.”
LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES
Out of the Shadows – (Out of the Shadows website – no date)
The Out Of Shadows documentary lifts the mask on how the mainstream media and Hollywood manipulate and control the masses by spreading propaganda throughout their content. The organization’s goal is to wake up the general public by shedding light on how we all have been lied to and brainwashed by a hidden enemy with a sinister agenda. This project is the result of two years of blood, sweat and tears by a team of woke professionals. It’s been independently produced and funded and is available on many different platforms for free for anyone to watch. Patriots made this documentary with the sole purpose of getting the truth out there. Article includes links to 4 short trailers and a link to the 1 hour + documentary. (Editor’s note: If you had any questions about the pedophilia problem in Hollywood and in high levels of our society, you should watch this documentary. This is a serious problem.)
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
“It’s Possible They’re All Wrong” – Galaxy Clusters and Dark Energy Challenge Current Theories of the Universe – (Daily Galaxy – April 8, 2020)
Since the big bang, the universe has swollen like a freshly formed raisin roll put in a warm place to rise. Until recently, it was thought that this increase in size was occurring evenly in all directions, as with a good yeast dough. Astrophysicists call this “isotropy”. Many calculations on the fundamental properties of the universe are based on this assumption. It is possible that they are all wrong – or at least, inaccurate – thanks to compelling observations and analyses of the scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Harvard. For they have put the isotropy hypothesis to the test for the first time using a new method that allows more reliable statements than before. With an unexpected result: According to this method, some areas in space expand faster than they should, while others expand more slowly than expected. “In any case, this conclusion is suggested by our measurements,” states Konstantinos Migkas, from the Argelander Institute for Astronomy at the University of Bonn.
NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES
The New Inventions Inspired by a Pandemic- (BBC News – March 24, 2020)
A new ventilator, a virus-killing snood and a hands-free door pull are just some of the innovations coming out of Wales to tackle coronavirus. Since the outbreak, doctors, scientists and designers have been working on ideas to stop the virus spreading. Dr. Rhys Thomas, from Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, was “desperately concerned” at the lack of intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators to deal with the expected influx of patients. Along with engineering company CR Clark & Co of Ammanford, he created a machine that not only helps patients to breath but cleans the room of viral particles. “It’s simple and robust and specifically designed to work against Covid virus in a contagious environment,” said Dr Thomas. “Although it won’t replace an ICU ventilator, the majority of patients won’t need intensive care if they are treated with this ventilator first. “The machine will [also] clean the room of viral particles and only supply purified air to the patient. The patient can self-care, releasing specialist nurses for other duties.” Article also details the other inventions mentioned above.
Amsterdam to Embrace ‘Doughnut’ Model to Mend Post-coronavirus Economy – (Guardian – April 8, 2020)
While straining to keep citizens safe in the Dutch capital, municipality officials and the British economist Kate Raworth from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute have also been plotting how the city will rebuild in a post-Covid-19 world. The conclusion? Out with the global attachment to economic growth and laws of supply and demand, and in with the so-called doughnut model devised by Raworth as a guide to what it means for countries, cities and people to thrive in balance with the planet. Raworth’s 2017 bestselling book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, has been described as a “breakthrough alternative to growth economics”. The central premise is simple: the goal of economic activity should be about meeting the core needs of all but within the means of the planet. The “doughnut” is a device to show what this means in practice. The inner ring of her donut sets out the minimum we need to lead a good life, derived from the UN’s sustainable development goals and agreed by world leaders of every political stripe. It ranges from food and clean water to a certain level of housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, gender equality, income and political voice. Anyone not attaining such minimum standards is living in the doughnut’s hole. The outer ring of the doughnut, where the sprinkles go, represents the ecological ceiling drawn up by earth-system scientists. It highlights the boundaries across which human kind should not go to avoid damaging the climate, soils, oceans, the ozone layer, freshwater and abundant biodiversity. Between the two rings is the good stuff: the dough, where everyone’s needs and that of the planet are being met. As Marieke van Doorninck, deputy mayor of Amsterdam, observed, “The doughnut does not bring us the answers but a way of looking at it, so that we don’t keep on going on in the same structures as we used to.”
Coronavirus Is Making the Public Pension Crisis Even Worse – (New York Times – April 2, 2020)
Public pensions are the time bomb of government finance. Now the coronavirus pandemic has it ticking faster. Already chronically underfunded, pension programs have taken huge hits to their investment portfolios over the past month as the markets collapsed. The outbreak has also triggered widespread job losses and business closures that threaten to wipe out state and local tax revenues. That one-two punch has staggered these funds, most of which are required by law to keep sending checks every month to about 11 million Americans. Moody’s investors service has estimated that state and local pension funds had lost $1 trillion in the market sell-off that began in February. The exact damage is hard to determine, though, because pension funds do not issue quarterly reports. And that data will not count the knock-on effects of the economic downturn, which would short-circuit pension funds’ ability to hit up taxpayers for bigger contributions. About 3.3 million people have filed for unemployment benefits— a record by a huge margin — and further layoffs are inevitable. Thousands of taxpaying businesses are also losing revenue because of stalled operations, and some might be forced to close permanently. The coronavirus outbreak could test the sacred nature of these programs in ways that even the crisis of 2008 did not, and ultimately force state and local governments to engage in complicated and perhaps unwinnable fights to reduce or slow the growth of benefits. Failure to raise more money or reduce payouts could have dire consequences. Pension funds that run out of money — something that happened in Prichard, Ala., Central Falls, R.I., and Puerto Rico — could tip cities and other local governments into bankruptcy. States would be in uncharted waters because there is no bankruptcy mechanism for them; the nearest analogy is a one-off law passed by Congress for Puerto Rico, which has resulted in years of federal oversight, austerity measures and reduced debt payments to bondholders. (Editor’s note: The article doesn’t – and couldn’t in any meaningful way – factor in the effect of a reduction in claims due to Covid-19 related deaths, particularly in view of the fact that the elderly/retired are most at risk.)
The World after Coronavirus – (Financial Times – March 31, 2020)
Humankind is now facing a global crisis. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture. Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours. Immature and even dangerous technologies are pressed into service, because the risks of doing nothing are bigger. Entire countries serve as guinea-pigs in large-scale social experiments. In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity. This article examines the tradeoffs inherent in both these issues.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – articles off the beaten track which may – or may not – have predictive value.
This Man Makes the World’s Best Face Masks. And Right Now, They’re Like Gold Dust – (Esquire – April 3, 2020)
“Since China began locking down, there’s been 20-30 times the demand for our masks,” says Christopher Dobbing, founder and CEO of the Cambridge Mask Co. “There are only a few of us in a small office and we’re currently receiving more than a thousand calls a day.” Dobbing returned from teaching in China in 2015, and commented, “I noticed how much of an issue air pollution was over there. Children would color the sky grey instead of blue. Having grown up in the countryside in England, I was really appalled and wanted to do something about it.” The masks, which range in price from £9.95 for the N95 Basic to £24.95 for the N99 Churchill Pro – a Metal Gear Solid-looking all-black affair – are sold out until June. Most masks sell direct to consumers, but the company has contracts with British Airways, Deliveroo, the Mayo Clinic, the Nepalese police department and many hospitals and embassies across Asia. “We have a global consumer exclusive on a technology developed by the British military for chemical and nuclear biological warfare protection,” says Dobbing. “Our masks filter gases, particulates, but also viruses. They’re treated with silver, which enhances the antiviral properties and remove 99.6% of viruses.” And the coronavirus? The National Laboratories in the US, which is an FDA-approved facility, tested the masks and found a 99.6% average viral filter efficiency – as long as they’re fitted properly. Airinum’s brand story mirrors that of Cambridge Mask Co. Its founder started the company after moving to India and seeing firsthand the level of air pollution. “I’ve been on their waiting list for ages!” a friend tells me when I mention the name.
JUST FOR FUN
179 History Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now for Free – (PBS SoCal – March 27, 2020)
Have you decided that it’s high time to take a step back and look at the big picture? Is your teenager sick of your attempts to remember history class in your newly-founded home school? Or are you just desperate to watch a story that doesn’t include a certain word that rhymes with Arizona? Whatever your motivation, this website has got you covered. All of these shows are available to watch right now without a membership. So many enticing titles – just click on a link and go. Documentaries are arranged by topic. Includes the recent award winning documentary, For Sama. (“In a time of conflict and darkness in her home in Aleppo, Syria, one young woman kept her camera rolling — while falling in love, getting married, having a baby and saying goodbye as her city crumbled. The award-winning documentary unfolds as a love letter from filmmaker and young mother Waad al-Kateab to her daughter — Sama.”)
A FINAL QUOTE
A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future. – Sydney J. Harris, American Journalist
A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Gary Sycalik, Steve Ujvarosy and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past. If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.
Edited by John L. Petersen