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Volume 24, Number 1 – 1/1/21


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Volume 24, Number 1 – 1/1/21

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FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS

DID YOU KNOW THAT–

  • Researchers have found that eating a diet that is high in sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates can disrupt your sleep.
  • A newly designed wind turban has a turning diameter of its rotor longer than two American football fields end to end.
  • Drones made in China and operated by Americans map U.S. infrastructure, agriculture, railroads, government buildings, power plants, disaster-relief operations, and the movements of law-enforcement officers and the data collected in those drone flights are believed to be sent back to China.
  • In 2019, returns from online shopping created 5 billion tons of landfill waste and produced as much carbon dioxide as from 3 million cars driving for one year, according to Optoro, a return logistics company.



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PUNCTUATIONS
by John L. Petersen

NEW Q&A PROGRAM COMING!

Dear Friends,

Very soon I am beginning a monthly Q&A Session and I am soliciting your questions. This is your chance to “ask me anything!”

To submit a question for consideration just click on the Q&A button below. I look forward to chatting soon.

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You may enjoy this look ahead by Joni Patry, our February TransitionTalks speaker.

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Spiritual Insights January 2021
The month of January will be a turning point for 2021 and the stage will be set for what is to come. The most significant aspect is that Mars is in Aries from December 24 – February 22 and will conjoin Uranus. Interestingly, the exact conjunction occurs on Inauguration Day for the President of the United States. The U.S. is a divided nation that will begin to explode into an entirely different nation. This is the year that there will be war, and the Mars conjunct Uranus signifies an unexpected explosive event. That they conjunct on Inauguration Day represents major surprises on this day. Mars is violence and Uranus is unexpected events, plus the sign Aries magnifies the violent energy.

Almost everyone is prepared for the transfer of the government to the Democrats with Joe Biden as President, but the Mars and Uranus conjunction that occurs on Inauguration Day indicates there will be a very unexpected turn of events. Could this indicate the inauguration will not go as planned? There are two ways it could go: one is that Biden is not the one to be inaugurated, the other is that there will be a mass protest that results in violence, or the violence and protest could be due to Trump being inaugurated.

Whether it is Biden or Trump, expect unexpected and radical violence. It just seems impossible at the time of this writing, but Trump’s chart does gather great strength at this time and especially around March and April, so regardless of what people want to believe he is not going away, as President or not. Consider that transiting Mars and Rahu will be on Trump’s Sun and transiting Jupiter will be casting a trine to his Sun in the 10th house. This inauguration will not be peaceful. This sets the stage for a very volatile year to come. Read more at Joni’s website.




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Ascension Activation: The New Human

Ancient Aliens producer and History Channel celebrity, William Henry, comes to TransitionTalks in January to lead fortunate participants through a process for ascension.

As spiritual beings, our quest is to raise ourselves and humanity to a higher power. Limitless. Transcendent.

Around the world people are awakening to the reality of astounding new possibilities for their personal evolution. We are racing to the transformative moment to which all of human history has pointed. We are experiencing a convergence of three massive ‘currents’:

• Artificially Intelligent quantum machines are becoming smarter than we are, in fact, superhumanly intelligent. Ultimately they take over.

• The merging of the human body with AI technology, in which humans will not be the product of evolution but the offspring of the designers and controllers of the evolutionary process — they function like the gods.

• The ‘Rapture’ or ‘Ascension’ highlighted in all the world’s spiritual traditions, when a new, more highly empowered human walks the earth.

This convergence is happening now.
The next five years will see more change than in all of previous human history. And we are the ones who will decide what that change is. If you think you’re here to participate in that transition here’s the chance to get together with other like minded people at the vanguard of human evolution.

Among other things, the workshop topics will include:
• Is the quantum world of AI related to the spiritual world?

• Is Artificial Intelligence an Alien Intelligence? What are we really up against?

• Can AI help the brain reach deeper ‘Ascension Intelligence’ of the spiritual realms?

• How do I protect my loved ones, children and grand children from the onslaught of technology and the ‘gods of Silicon Valley’?

• What does it mean to be more fully human?

Join other like minded pioneers who have real questions about the serious spiritual implications of what is unfolding.

This is your chance to learn from researcher and author, William Henry, who for nearly two decades, has been on the front lines raising our awareness about the rapidly evolving developments in AI, Transhumanism and Human Spiritual Transformation. His steady, and insightful, voice on this subject has been heard on the History Channel, GAIA, at lectures around the world, and in numerous articles on his website.


Livestream and In Person

Saturday and Sunday, 16 & 17 January, 10-5

Berkeley Springs, WV


You can personally join us at Coolfont Resort in Berkeley Springs for this two day event. If you can’t make it to Berkeley Springs, you can still watch the whole presentation by livestream … both on the 16th and 17th and anytime (and how many times you want), for two weeks thereafter. Space is limited for the in-person event, so register early.


History Channel and Ancient Aliens star William Henry will be coming to Berkeley Springs, WV on the 16th and 17th of January to do a two day workshop on the process of ascension. Click below to watch this short video.

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Click below to watch this brief visual bio of William Henry. Register today for this exciting January event!
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TRANSITION TALKS MAGAZINE



THINK LINKS


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German Lawyers Initiate Class-Action Coronavirus Litigation – (Mercola – December 5, 2020)
Reiner Fuellmich, who has been a consumer protection trial lawyer in California and Germany for 26 years, is a founding member of the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee launched July 10, 2020. Fuellmich is leading the committee’s corona crisis tort case — an international class-action lawsuit that will be filed against those responsible for using fraudulent testing to engineer the appearance of a dangerous pandemic in order to implement economically devastating lockdowns around the world. He estimates more than 50 other countries will be following suit. In the embedded video, Patrick Bet-David interviews Fuellmich about how and why the group was formed and the status of this work. According to Fuellmich, even the WHO has now admitted that the mortality of COVID-19 is on par with seasonal influenza. In October 2020, the WHO also reversed its stance on lockdowns, stating they no longer recommend using lockdowns as a primary control method. Several experts have also stressed that there is no excess mortality, meaning we’ve had an average number of deaths during the pandemic as would normally die anyway. And, if there’s no excess mortality, how can there be a lethal pandemic? It doesn’t add up. Article includes supporting references in footnotes.


The Scam Has Been Confirmed: PCR Does Not Detect SARS-CoV-2 – (GreenMedInfo – December 14, 2020)
The genetic sequences used in PCRs to detect suspected SARS-CoV-2 and to diagnose cases of illness and death attributed to Covid-19 are present in dozens of sequences of the human genome itself and in those of about a hundred microbes. And that includes the initiators or primers, the most extensive fragments taken at random from their supposed “genome” and even the so-called “target genes” allegedly specific to the “new coronavirus”. The test is worthless and all “positive” results obtained so far should be scientifically invalidated and communicated to those affected; and if they are deceased, to their relatives. Stephen Bustin, one of the world’s leading experts on PCR, in fact says that under certain conditions anyone can test positive! See also: The real pandemic is an outbreak of PCR testing.


Mysterious Disappearance of Flu in San Diego Prompted Call for Audit of COVID Records – (21st Century Wire – December 28, 2020)
Recorded seasonal influenza cases have literally nosedived by 98% across the globe. This improbable phenomenon has led a number of experts to ask, “Has Covid killed off the flu?” For example, we are well into flu season, but San Diego County’s data for flu infections only shows 36 reported cases so far this year. Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, tweeted out this shocking revelation, comparing it to this time in other years saying, “In a typical year we get over 17,073 on average!” DeMaio explained, “if you are going to use a set of numbers like COVID stats to shut down the economy, to take people’s livelihoods away, then we have to really look closely at what those numbers really mean, and whether those numbers are giving us the right picture.” Continuing, “my concern has been from the get go, that we are relying on numbers from government agencies, that may have a different agenda at stake. We would benefit from having a different set of eyes looking at them, such as an auditor or a citizens review committee. Because again, the decisions being made on these data sets are sweeping, the lockdowns are far reaching in terms of their impact.” As different pressure groups and journalists begin to demand answers from the various health authorities, it’s becoming clear now that there has likely been some degree of widespread, systemic administrative fraud designed to over-inflate COVID-19 numbers to the detriment of every other normal seasonal illness or disease.


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The 16 Facial Expressions Most Common to Emotional Situations Worldwide – (PhysOrg – December 16, 2020)
Whether at a birthday party in Brazil, a funeral in Kenya or protests in Hong Kong, humans all use variations of the same facial expressions in similar social contexts, such as smiles, frowns, grimaces and scowls, a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows. The findings confirm the universality of human emotional expression across geographic and cultural boundaries. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Google used machine-learning technology known as a “deep neural network” to analyze facial expressions in some 6 million video clips uploaded to YouTube from people in 144 countries spanning North, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. “This is the first worldwide analysis of how facial expressions are used in everyday life, and it shows us that universal human emotional expressions are a lot richer and more complex than many scientists previously assumed,” said study lead author Alan Cowen, a researcher at both UC Berkeley and Google who helped develop the deep neural network algorithm and led the study. They used the algorithm to track instances of 16 facial expressions one tends to associate with amusement, anger, awe, concentration, confusion, contempt, contentment, desire, disappointment, doubt, elation, interest, pain, sadness, surprise and triumph. Next, they correlated the facial expressions with the contexts and scenarios in which they were made across different world regions and discovered remarkable similarities in how people across geographic and cultural boundaries use facial expressions in different social contexts. “We found that rich nuances in facial behavior—including subtle expressions we associate with awe, pain, triumph, and 13 other feelings—are used in similar social situations around the world,” Cowen said. The results showed that people from different cultures share about 70% of the facial expressions used in response to different social and emotional situations. Study co-lead author Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychology professor, said. “The physical display of our emotions may define who we are as a species, enhancing our communication and cooperation skills and ensuring our survival.”


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Relative Incidence of Office Visits and Cumulative Rates of Billed Diagnoses Along the Axis of Vaccination – (MDPI – November 22, 2020)
This peer reviewed article (full text at link) appeared in the November issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In it, the authors report on their retrospective analysis spanning ten years of pediatric practice focused on patients with variable vaccination born into a practice, presenting a unique opportunity to study the effects of variable vaccination on outcomes. The average total incidence of billed office visits per outcome related to the outcomes were compared across groups. From the article’s abstract: “Remarkably, zero of the 561 unvaccinated patients in the study had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to 0.063% of the (partially and fully) vaccinated. The implications of these results for the net public health effects of whole-population vaccination and with respect for informed consent on human health are compelling. Our results give agency to calls for research conducted by individuals who are independent of any funding sources related to the vaccine industry. While the low rates of developmental disorders prevented sufficiently powered hypothesis testing, it is notable that the overall rate of autism spectrum disorder (0.84%) in the cohort is half that of the US national rate (1.69%). The practice-wide rate of ADHD was roughly half of the national rate. The data indicate that unvaccinated children in the practice are not unhealthier than the vaccinated and indeed the overall results may indicate that the unvaccinated pediatric patients in this practice are healthier overall than the vaccinated.”


How Foods May Affect Our Sleep – (New York Times – December 10, 2020)
A growing body of research suggests that the foods you eat can affect how well you sleep, and your sleep patterns can affect your dietary choices. Researchers have found that eating a diet that is high in sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates can disrupt your sleep, while eating more plants, fiber and foods rich in unsaturated fat — such as nuts, olive oil, fish and avocados — seems to have the opposite effect, helping to promote sound sleep. Much of what we know about sleep and diet comes from large epidemiological studies that, over the years, have found that people who suffer from consistently bad sleep tend to have poorer quality diets, with less protein, fewer fruits and vegetables, and a higher intake of added sugar from foods like sugary beverages, desserts and ultra-processed foods. But by their nature, epidemiological studies can show only correlations, not cause and effect. They cannot explain, for example, whether poor diet precedes and leads to poor sleep, or the reverse. In men, sleep deprivation stimulates increased levels of ghrelin, the so-called hunger hormone, while in women, restricting sleep leads to lower levels of GLP-1, a hormone that signals satiety, “So in men, short sleep promotes greater appetite and desire to eat, and in women there is less of a signal that makes you stop eating,” said Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the director of the Sleep Center of Excellence at Columbia.


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Gas Company Sues to Destroy Small Town’s Rights of Nature Law – (Nation of Change – December 16, 2020)
In a clear signal of how the fossil fuel industry feels about efforts to enact Rights of Nature protections that safeguard communities and the environment from the impacts of coal, gas, and oil development, an energy company has—yet again—filed a federal lawsuit challenging a local law in Grant Township, Pennsylvania. This is the second time that Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued over the 2015 law, which aims to keep fracking waste injection wells out of the community of about 700 people. In March, the state department told the company—which is appealing the decision—that “Grant Township’s Home Rule Charter bans the injection of oil and gas waste fluids… Therefore, the operation of the Yanity well as an oil and gas waste fluid injection well would violate that applicable law.” Approved by over 70% of Grant Township’s voters five years ago, the law recognizes the rights of local ecosystems. The measure was drafted with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which explains that Rights of Nature legislation “is honoring and recognizing that nature has the right to exist, flourish, and thrive.” The global movement calls for shifting away from the view of nature as property that owners and companies can legally pollute and destroy.


Listen to a Random Forest – (Tree – no date)
People around the world have recorded the sounds of their home forests, and you can just wander aimlessly, from Hungary to New Zealand to Britain to Patagonia to the Panamanian rain forest to the Sierra, then sit back and let the soundscapes wash over you. View some beautifully lush photos, too. Note: We’ve tried this with three different desktop browsers and was only able to get audio in Chrome, though Safari on a phone is fine.


Are Temperatures & Sea Levels Rising Dangerously? No! – (Principia Scientific – December 15, 2020)
There are two widely held climate-change beliefs that are simply not accurate. The first is that there has been a statistically significant warming trend in the U.S. over the last 20 years. To refute the first view, we turn to data generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the relevant years under discussion. The table in the article reports the average mean temperature in the continental U.S. for the years 1998 through 2019. It is apparent from the data that there has been no consistent warming trend in the U.S. over the last 2 decades; average mean temperature s (daytime and nighttime) have been slightly higher in some years and slightly lower in other years. On balance–and contrary to uninformed social and political commentary—annual temperatures on average in the U.S. were no higher in 2019 than they were in 1998. The second widely accepted climate view—based on wild speculations from some op/ed writers and partisan politicians–is that average sea levels are increasing dangerously and rationalize an immediate governmental response. But this perspective is simply not accurate. There is a wide scientific consensus (based on satellite laser altimeter readings since 1993) that the rate of increase in overall sea levels has been approximately 0.12 inches per year. To put that increase in perspective, the average sea level nine years from now (in 2029) is likely to be approximately one inch higher than it is now (2020). Even by the turn of the next century (in 2100), average ocean levels (at that rate of increase) should be only a foot or so higher than they are at present.


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Hybrid Clouds Will Rely on Magnetic Tape for Decades to Come – (IBM – December 15, 2020)
Currently human activity creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis, mainly due to the continuous rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the emergence of high-definition 4K/8K videos and AI-based big-data analyses. At the rate we’re going, worldwide data is expected to hit 175 zettabytes by 2025, representing 61 percent annual growth. One ZB is equivalent to a trillion gigabytes (GB) – the latest cellphones have 256 GB. So where is all this data being stored? There are now more than 500 hyperscale data centers in the world storing an estimated 547 exabytes (EB) of actual data, with more than 151 facilities underway. Not only is this a lot of data, it’s a lot of energy consumption. In fact, by 2023 hyperscale energy consumption is expected to nearly triple from 2015. The one technology can handle that the massive growth of digital data, keep it protected from cyber crime attacks and is archiving data for some of the largest hyperscale data centers in the world is a technology more than 60 years old – magnetic tape. IBM researchers have now achieved 317 GB/in2 (gigabits per square inch) data storage in areal density on a prototype strontium ferrite (SrFe) particulate magnetic tape developed by Fujifilm. This is approximately 27 times more than the areal density used in current state-of-the-art commercial tape drives. In terms of storage potential, a single tape cartridge with this new areal density has the potential to store about 580 terabytes (TB) of data. Just to put that in perspective, 580 TB is equivalent to 786,977 CDs stacked 944 meters high, which is taller than Burj Kalifa, the world’s tallest building. All fitting on a tape cartridge on the palm of your hand. Article includes technical details for this type of data storage and advances in retrieval.


China Claims Fastest Quantum Computer in the World – (Live Science – December 7, 2020)
A team of Chinese scientists has developed the most powerful quantum computer in the world, capable of performing at least one task 100 trillion times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputers. In 2019, Google said it had built the first machine to achieve “quantum supremacy,” the first to outperform the world’s best supercomputers at quantum calculation, (IBM disputed Google’s claim at the time.) The Chinese team, based primarily at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, reported their quantum computer, named Jiuzhang, is 10 billion times faster than Google’s. China has invested heavily in quantum computing, with Xi Jinping’s government spending $10 billion on the country’s National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences. The country is also a world leader in quantum networking, where data encoded using quantum mechanics is transmitted across great distances. The Chinese computer makes its calculations (limited to particular questions about the behavior of light particles) using optical circuits. Google’s device, Sycamore, uses superconducting materials on a chip and more nearly resembles the basic structure of classical computers. Neither would be particularly useful on its own as a computer, and the Chinese device was built to solve just one type of problem. To test Jiuzhang, the researchers assigned it a “Gaussian boson sampling” (GBS) task, where the computer calculates the output of a complex circuit that uses light. That output is expressed as a list of numbers.


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Could Carbon Dioxide Be Turned into Jet Fuel?– (Wired – December 22, 2020)
Airports in San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, along with a dozen in Europe, are fueling planes with greener alternative fuels to help reach carbon-reduction goals. Now a team at Oxford University in the United Kingdom has come up with an experimental process that might be able to turn carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas emitted by all gas-burning engines—into jet fuel. If successful, the process, which uses an iron-based chemical reaction, could result in “net zero” emissions from airplanes. When fossil fuels like oil or natural gas burn, their hydrocarbons are turned into carbon dioxide, and water and energy are released. This experiment reverses the process to turn carbon dioxide back into a fuel using something called the organic combustion method (OCM). By adding heat (662 degrees Fahrenheit) to citric acid, hydrogen, and a catalyst made of iron, manganese, and potassium to the carbon dioxide, the team was able to produce liquid fuel that would work in a jet engine. The experiment was done in a stainless-steel reactor and only produced a few grams of the substance. In the lab, the carbon dioxide came from a canister. But the idea for adapting the concept for the real world would be to capture large amounts of the greenhouse gas from either a factory or directly from the air in order to remove it from the environment. Tiancun Xiao, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Department of Chemistry, and colleagues say the new method would also be cheaper than existing methods that turn hydrogen and water into a fuel, a process called hydrogenization, mainly because it would use less electricity. Xiao foresees installing a jet fuel plant next to a steel or cement factory or a coal-burning power plant, and capturing its excess carbon dioxide to make the fuel. “This does look different, and it looks like it could work,” says Joshua Heyne, associate professor of mechanical and chemical engineering at the University of Dayton. “Scale-up is always an issue, and there are new surprises when you go to larger scales. But in terms of a longer-term solution, the idea of a circular carbon economy is definitely something that could be the future.”


A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry – (New York Times – January 1, 2021)
Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe. Packed with sensors gathering data on wind speeds, electricity output and stresses on its components, the giant whirling machine in the Netherlands is a test model for a new series of giant offshore wind turbines planned by General Electric. When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today. G.E. has yet to install one of these machines in ocean water. As a relative newcomer to the offshore wind business, the company faces questions about how quickly and efficiently it can scale up production to build and install hundreds of the turbines. But already the giant turbines have turned heads in the industry. A top executive at the world’s leading wind farm developer called it a “bit of a leapfrog over the latest technology.” And an analyst said the machine’s size and advance sales had “shaken the industry.” The prototype is the first of a generation of new machines that are about a third more powerful than the largest already in commercial service. As such, it is changing the business calculations of wind equipment makers, developers and investors.


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IATA Travel Pass Initiative – (International Air Transport Association – no date)
To re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status. Informing passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders. The current challenges to accurate health information include the fragmented and diverse set of COVID-19 testing requirements for entry and exit as well as the range of different types of tests (PCR, LAMP, antigen and spectroscopic) required by governments have created a challenging and complex environment for immigration authorities, passengers and airlines to navigate; the fact that passengers are confused and need accurate information, but do not know where to find it – or understand it, even if they do find it; and the fact that check-in agents need to follow extensive entry requirement guidance and try to determine the authenticity of multiple non-standard test documents passengers present to them. To address this challenge IATA is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass, a digital platform for passengers.


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Grocery Trends: Fewer New Products, But More Changes in Supermarkets and Shopping – (Washington Post – December 30, 2020)
Phil Lempert, food industry analyst and editor at SupermarketGuru.com, in Santa Monica, Calif. notes, “For food companies, the number one priority right now is not innovation, it’s production efficiency.” The pandemic has uncovered gaps in distribution, packaging and sales, which have led to an increase in product shortages and stressed consumers. Lempert is watching companies solve inefficiencies by cutting back on the number of products they sell. He notes that one soup company has dropped its varieties from 80 to 40. In fact, the average number of product offerings in grocery stores declined more than 7% during the four weeks ending June 13, according to data provided by Nielsen. “The supermarket in six to nine months from now is going to look totally different than it does now,” says Lempert, who predicts changes in both layout and operations because of the pandemic. He believes many supermarkets will be laid out in two sections: The back part will stock packaged goods that will be bundled up for you from your shopping list while you browse the front of the store, which will carry fresh vegetables, meat and bakery items. Lempert predicts that an average 22-minute grocery shop could take just 10 minutes with such a layout, mitigating some grocery store anxiety for customers.


Virtual Garden Visits – (National Garden Scheme – 2020)
The National Garden Scheme gives visitors access to over 3,700 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, and thereby raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. During the lockdown of 2020, ever resourceful garden owners created films of their gardens to could keep the garden gates open online. At the link you will find over 180 gardens to visit virtually. Virtual tours are grouped by type and include Cotswold gardens, designers’ gardens, country gardens, gardens in Wales, historic gardens… and more. (Editor’s note: We’re calling it: Gardens are part of agriculture and hopefully a part of your future. So if you’d like to take a break from coronavirus news, politics, and – depending on where you live – winter, these virtual tours are a breath of spring and summer. Enjoy.)


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Insecure Wheels: Police Turn to Car Data to Destroy Suspects’ Alibis – (NBC – December 28, 2020)
In recent years, investigators have realized that automobiles — particularly newer models — can be treasure troves of digital evidence. Their onboard computers can reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories. Law enforcement agencies have been focusing their investigative efforts on two main information sources: the telematics system — which is like the “black box” — and the infotainment system. The telematics system stores a vehicle’s turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information, as well as more granular clues, such as when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed. The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds. It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device. Together, the data allows investigators to reconstruct a vehicle’s journey and paint a picture of driver and passenger behavior. In a criminal case, the sequence of doors opening and seat belts being inserted could help show that a suspect had an accomplice. The main toolkit law enforcement officers and forensic examiners use has drastically expanded its offerings. Berla Corp., a Maryland-based technology company, launched a tool in 2013 with the ability to access 80 car models. Now, the company says, the number is more than 14,000, including vehicles from General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However privacy activists warn that the lack of information security baked into vehicles’ computers poses a risk to consumers and who call for safeguards to be put in place. “I hear a lot of analogies of cars being smartphones on wheels. But that’s vastly reductive,” said Andrea Amico, founder of Privacy4Cars, which makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its depth of information, particularly if you use rental cars.)


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The One Chart That Predicts Our Future – (Charles Hugh Smith – November 20, 2020)
There’s one chart that predicts our future, and no, it’s not related to Covid–it’s related to capital, specifically the concentration of capital and power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many. The chart is a map, courtesy of Brookings, showing the roughly 500 counties Biden won and the roughly 2,500 counties Trump won. This might seem like a chart of political polarization, and superficially that’s clear, but the real polarization is economic-financial: there are two economies in America, and there’s very little commonality in the two economies. 70% of America’s economy is generated in fewer than 500 counties; the other 2,500 counties are left with the remaining 30%. The nation’s productive capital is even more concentrated in a few hands and regions, and since income and political power flow to capital, the financial disparity / inequality far exceed the 70/30 split depicted in this political map. Ownership of capital is concentrated in the hands of the top 10%, as the chart of equity ownership reveals, but the concentration is actually much more limited: the top 0.1% control so much wealth / capital that they “own” virtually all the power. What’s missing from the political map is the staggering percentage of residents in the wealthiest 500 counties who are precariats living paycheck to paycheck, the ALICE Americans: “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed”.


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Chinese Drones Are Spying on Americans – (Yahoo News – December 20, 2020)
The U.S. government at the federal, state, and local levels is using Chinese drones that the Chinese Communist Party is exploiting for espionage. That is the public conclusion of a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Citing “security concerns,” other departments have all-but-explicitly publicly made the same claims, and some have begun to take steps to limit the purchase of Chinese drones. Drones made in China and operated by Americans map U.S. infrastructure, agriculture, railroads, government buildings, power plants, disaster-relief operations, and the movements of law-enforcement officers, and the data collected in those drone flights are believed to be sent back to China, where there is no divide between civil and military sectors. The Commerce Department’s listing of one major Chinese drone company on the U.S. entities list makes it difficult for U.S. companies to buy its products and underscores the growing sense of urgency to end their access to the United States. While there are U.S. companies waiting to meet demand if Chinese drones are excluded from the American market, there are still too few of them to meet the U.S. government’s needs, and some American drone companies still rely on cheap Chinese parts. (Editor’s note: The 21st century Trojan horse is a drone.)


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Don’t Want to Spring for a Hot Tub? Try a Stock Tank Pool – (New York Times – December 12, 2020)
According to Sabeena Hickman, the president and chief executive of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, pool sales skyrocketed as Americans faced a quarantined season at home. Based on permit numbers, 94,000 new in-ground residential pools will have been built by the close of 2020, an increase of almost 21% from 2019. The demand for hot tubs is more appreciable: Numbers are up 400% this year from last, according to Ms. Hickman, and tubs are largely backlogged six months. A dearth of conventional pools has brought a new type of soaking apparatus to the forefront, aided by social media: the stock tank pool. Crafted from a galvanized metal tank traditionally used as a feed trough for farm animals, a stock tank pool can be assembled in a day with a few D.I.Y. items that can be found at most hardware stores. With cooler weather approaching, and states headed toward probable lockdowns, some water lovers are opting for the next best thing: the make-your-own hot tub. According to Ben Uyeda, the designer and co-founder of HomeMade Modern, an online design source that publishes instructions for home furnishings and projects, the D.I.Y. hot tub moment has definitely arrived. Mr. Uyeda’s videos detailing how to make your own hot tub have received millions of views. Google “stock tank pool ideas” for images and search on Youtube for “stock tank hot tub” for various DIY solutions. And consider painting the inside a dark blue to capture more solar gain.


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Strange Exoplanet Discovery Makes a Case for the Elusive ‘Planet Nine’ – (Engadget – December 14, 2020)
Scientists have long theorized about a “Planet Nine” in the Solar System with a strange orbit, and there’s now more evidence to suggest it’s possible. Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have determined that a Jovian exoplanet 336 light-years away, HD 106906 b, has an orbit so eccentric it travels past the edge of its binary star system’s debris disk and circles every 15,000 years. It’s as if Jupiter traveled beyond the Kuiper Belt. If Planet Nine exists, this is how it might orbit the Sun. People first discovered the planet in 2013, but it took Hubble’s accurate measurements (including historical info) to calculate the orbit. It’s the first planet of this kind known to have this kind of oddball path. It’s not certain how HD 106906 b achieved this orbit, but the leading theory postulates that it formed close to its host stars, and drag within the gas disk pulled it inward. The gravitational effects of the two stars shot it outward, but a passing star stabilized the orbit and prevented the world from becoming a rogue planet. The findings might also offer a rare peek at the early days of star systems, including ours. This star system is ‘just’ 15 million years old — you apparently don’t have to wait long for a Planet Nine-like orbit to form. Young stars frequently have active cosmic neighborhoods, and this is proof.


These Are 7 of the Strangest Experiments Humans Have Ever Done in Space – (Science Alert – December 29, 2020)
The way things behave in microgravity may seem obvious to us now, after humans have been venturing into space for over 50 years. But we haven’t always been certain how space might affect certain things. Like fire. Or planarian worms. Or even plants. It’s only by conducting experiments that we can learn the answers to these burning questions. That has led to some pretty fascinating, sometimes upsetting, and sometimes downright wacky experiments conducted in space. For example, just as we once didn’t know how space would affect animals, so too were we unaware of its effects on plants. So when the Apollo 14 mission launched on 31 January 1971, its cargo contained roughly 500 seeds. Scientists from the US Forest Service wanted to know if tree seeds that had flown in microgravity and been subjected to space radiation would sprout, grow and look the same as seeds that had never left Earth. Upon their return, the seeds were planted and tended, and most of them survived to grow into saplings, alongside controls that had never left Earth. Unsurprisingly to us now, there was no discernible difference between the two. By 1975, the Moon Trees, as they had come to be known, were large enough to be transplanted, and they were shipped all over America. According to a NASA website, fewer than 100 Moon Trees can be accounted for today, and of those, only 57 were living when the page was put together. The article offers 6 more.


Does the Passage of the IAA Mean We’re about to Get a UFO Dump from the Pentagon? – (Patriot Daily Press – January 01, 2021)
A lot of news came out of that massive COVID relief bill with bazillions of dollars in other spending wrapped up in it. One item that didn’t draw much attention was the fact that the annual Intelligence Authorization Act was rolled in as part of that mess. The IAA is obviously a necessary bit of housekeeping that Congress has to take care of on a regular basis, but this year’s version was of particular interest to people in the ufology community. When the measure was drafted back in June, it specifically focused on the provisions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and that made it very interesting to the saucerheads. It dealt with internal communications challenges for the UAP Task Force (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) and directed the UAPTF to produce an unclassified report on their progress within 180 days of when the measure was enacted. Well, now it’s enacted. And that means that the clock is ticking. But what should we really expect to receive when that clock strikes midnight? I (author of this article) will also go so far as to say that there probably will be some sort of report that’s released… eventually. But any expectations of revelations of incidents our military and intelligence agencies have been investigating or specific things they have discovered or concluded are highly unlikely to be in such a report, at least as I read the tea leaves. And even if the UAPTF is considering putting out any details that we’d really like to hear, I will be completely flabbergasted if it doesn’t all wind up in a classified addendum.


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Faced with Deluge of Returns from Online Shopping, Stores Offer More Drop-off Locations – (CBS – December 24, 2020)
A huge surge in online shopping during the pandemic has been a savior for retailers, but it comes at a price. Shoppers are expected to return twice as many items as they did during last year’s holiday period, costing companies roughly $1.1 billion, according to Narvar Inc., a software and technology company that manages online returns for hundreds of brands. People have been doing so much online buying since March that carriers such as UPS and FedEx were already at full capacity before the holiday shopping season. And the online sales just keep soaring. From November 1 through December 22, online sales spiked 32% to $171.6 billion, compared with the year-ago period, according to Adobe Analytics. Last year, Kohl’s began allowing Amazon returns at all of its 1,000 stores — customers drop off items for free, with no box or label needed. That’s in addition to Amazon’s deal with UPS to allow similar drop-offs at UPS stores. Walmart will pick up items shipped and sold by Walmart.com from customers’ homes for free through a new partnership with FedEx. But the ease of e-commerce creates plenty of environmental costs as well as costing retailers dearly. Last year, returns from online shopping created 5 billion tons of landfill waste and produced as much carbon dioxide as from 3 million cars driving for one year, according to Optoro, a return logistics company. David Bassuk, global co-leader of AlixPartners’ retail practice, said, “If they’re not sure of their size, they order both sizes. If they’re not sure which color, they order both colors. And if they’re not sure which item, they order them all. But it’s costly to the retailers, and the retailers are not well positioned to handle all the cost.” The practice of buying multiple sizes or styles of one item — known in the industry as “bracketing” — has increased by 50% during the pandemic, according to a report from Narvar. On average, people return 25% of items they buy online, compared with only 8% of what they buy in stores, according to Forrester Research’s online analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. For clothing it’s even higher, about 30%.


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Desalination Breakthrough Could Lead to Cheaper Water Filtration – (Science Daily – December 23, 2020)
Producing clean water at a lower cost could be on the horizon after researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State solved a complex problem that has baffled scientists for decades. The National Science Foundation and DuPont, which makes numerous desalination products, funded the research. The seeds were planted when DuPont researchers found that thicker membranes were actually proving to be more permeable. This came as a surprise because the conventional knowledge was that thickness reduces how much water could flow through the membranes. The researchers determined desalination membranes are inconsistent in density and mass distribution, which can hold back their performance. Uniform density at the nanoscale turned out to be the key to increasing how much clean water these membranes can create. “Reverse osmosis membranes are widely used for cleaning water, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about them,” said Manish Kumar, an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT Austin, who co-led the research. Reverse osmosis membranes work by applying pressure to the salty feed solution on one side. The minerals stay there while the water passes through. Although more efficient than non-membrane desalination processes, it still takes a large amount of energy, the researchers said, and improving the efficiency of the membranes could reduce that burden. The paper documents an increase in efficiency in the membranes tested by 30%-40%, meaning they can clean more water while using significantly less energy.


Boston Dynamics Robots Take Over the Dance Floor in Latest Video – (The Verge – December 29, 2020)
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas and Spot robots can do a lot of things: sprinting, gymnastic routines, parkour, backflips, open doors to let in an army of their friends, wash dishes, and (poorly) get actual jobs. But the company’s latest video adds another impressive trick to our future robotic overlords’ repertoire: busting slick dance moves. The video sees Boston Dynamics entire lineup of robots — the humanoid Atlas, the dog-shaped Spot, and the box-juggling Handle — all come together in a bopping, coordinated dance routine set to The Contours’ “Do You Love Me.” (Editor’s note: Ok, ok, so the robots have some moves. The Contours originally recorded that song in 1962. Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmKC3X0XOxI they are in 2016, more than 50 years later, live on stage in Detroit; the robots still have a little catching up to do and, frankly, they just don’t have soul.)


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The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned about Trust over My 100 Years – (Washington Post – December 13, 2020)
This op-ed piece is by George P. Shultz , a former U.S. secretary of labor, treasury and state, and was director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Dec. 13 marked the day of his turning 100 years young. “I’ve learned much over that time, but looking back, I’m struck that there is one lesson I learned early and then relearned over and over: Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details. There are countless examples of how that lesson was brought home to me across the past century, but here are 10 of the most important.”


Digital Demise – (Ann Banks – November 14, 2020)
This poem examines Jesus through the lens of contemporary social media. It opens: “Jesus would have been banned from Facebook,/ Too many likes for the likes of those in charge;/ Shunned even by the Twitterati – too radical – / Reviled by the Mainstream News – his narrative/ Not consistent with their agenda./ All his YouTube videos taken down.” The author, Ann Banks, is a poet and student of esoteric philosophy living in the UK. Through her website, The Power of Change, she offers a number of therapeutic tools and services for improved health, wellbeing, and personal development. See also this op-ed piece from the New York Times: The Forgotten Radicalism of Jesus Christ.


Fragments of Energy – Not Waves or Particles – May Be the Fundamental Building Blocks of the Universe – (The Conversation – December 9, 2020)
Matter is what makes up the universe, but what makes up matter? Reflecting recent trends in physics, Jeffrey Eischen and Larry M. Silverberg have described an updated way to think about matter. They propose that matter is not made of particles or waves, as was long thought, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made of fragments of energy. Using newer mathematical tools, the two researchers have demonstrated a new theory that may accurately describe the universe. Instead of basing the theory on the warping of space and time, Eischen and Silverberg considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than the particle and the wave. Scientists understand that particles and waves are existential opposites: A particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point, and waves exist everywhere except at the points that create them. They thought it made logical sense for there to be an underlying connection between them. Eischen and Silverberg’s theory begins with a new fundamental idea – that energy always “flows” through regions of space and time. Think of energy as made up of lines that fill up a region of space and time, flowing into and out of that region, never beginning, never ending and never crossing one another. There are only a limited number of ways to describe a concentration of energy that flows. Of those, there was just one that works in accordance with their mathematical definition of flow. They named it a “fragment of energy”. Using the fragment of energy as a building block of matter, they then constructed the math necessary to solve physics problems. Where particles and waves break down, the fragment of energy building block held strong. The fragment could be a single potentially universal building block from which to model reality mathematically – and update the way people think about the building blocks of the universe.


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House Relief Bill Will Provide Free ‘Going Out Of Business’ Signs to Small Business Owners – (Sign of the Times – December 8, 2020)
Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell have announced a bipartisan relief bill that will include stimulus to replenish Pelosi’s ice cream freezer, more money for the Congressional Sexual Harassment Legal Defense Fund, and free “Going Out Of Business” signs for small business owners. “We are also proud to finally bring Americans the help they so desperately need with all these free, high-quality printed signs,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “In spite of heartless political posturing from the Democrats, we are proud to say that we managed to work together to get something done for the American people!” The new signs will be printed in a congressional staffer’s office over the next 3 years and will cost approximately 12 million dollars each.


25 1984 Quotes That Are Way Too Real – (Book Riot – January 15, 2020)
Like a lot of people, I read 1984 by George Orwell in school and read it again this past year as the trumpeting of alternative facts were taking center stage. The thing that struck me most this second time around wasn’t “Big Brother,” or “War is Peace,” but the exhaustive altering and erasing of facts, as shown in the following 1984 quotes. What if the people in power could change the facts to suit their narrative so completely that we didn’t even know it had happened? Let’s start with one of the coolest opening lines ever and bear witness to this fictional society that sometimes looks a little too familiar. 1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” And here is #22. “For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.”


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What Happens When Ancient Woods Grow Wild? – (NielBurnell.com – no date)
In the UK, the answer might be Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor, England. It’s protected both by law and by its terrain: large, moss-covered boulders that make it hard for man or animal to get around. And for obvious reasons, it’s generated all sorts of tales of ghosts and haunting… though you could also think of it as Mirkwood made real. Fine art photographer Neil Burnell has captured the spirit of the place.


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You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
― Abraham Lincoln

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A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Gary Sycalik, Hal Taylor, 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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Digital Demise

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