Volume 24, Number 17 – 9/1/21

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Volume 24, Number 17 – 9/1/2021


  • A creator of deepfake marketing videos is licensing the use of real people’s faces.
  • Astronomers say that there are rogue supermassive black holes wandering in the Universe.
  • Newly developed antibacterial bandage will glow under ultraviolet light if a wound becomes infected.
  • The asteroid 16 Psyche contains enough nickel and iron, which are used in everything from reinforced concrete to mobile phones, to supply our industrial needs for several million years.


by John L. Petersen
Robert David Steele has departed the area

My friend Robert David Steele died on Sunday.  America – and the world – is significantly poorer for his departure.
I first met Robert about 28 years ago when we were both actively trying to change big pieces of the American government.  He was working on the intelligence community and my focus was defense and so we saw a good deal of each other.  I attended his initial, big conference on intelligence reform and the one on cyber security, participated in a strategic planning project that he was running and counted him as a special friend.

Robert was obviously whip-smart, but there was more to him than just intelligence.  There are plenty of smart people in Washington . . . but there was only one Robert Steele.  If you weren’t intimidated by him he was great fun.  He didn’t suffer fools very well, but if you could run with him you could always count on an invigorating conversation.  I used to run into town and have lunch with him (at a really great Mexican place), when I had a question that I knew only he could answer. A number of times we sat together on his patio trying to make sense out of it all.
But it was more than that that made Robert a very special guy.  I was always kind of in awe at his courage.  He was fearless . . . maybe to a fault.  Couple that up with an extraordinary sense of integrity and you got someone who was fully prepared to change the world for the better – no matter what the cost.  For Robert, honesty and integrity were deeply held values. You might not agree with him – or the way he said it – but you knew that he was being more honest about what he believed than almost anyone else you knew.
In those early days, I was a Democrat and he, of course, was a Republican – but nevertheless, we respected each other and got along swimmingly.  You always had to keep in mind the “Nobody ever tells me what to do!”, aspect of his bigger-than-life personality, but if you played well with him, over time it became clear that inside he was a giant teddy bear . . . who just wanted to do the right thing for the good people of this country.  He really did.

There are few people on this planet who are as adroit at big systems thinking as Robert was.  He saw and understood how the big chunks of life worked together for good or ill . . . and was unequaled in being able to generate an original idea for solving those big problems.  His Open Source Engineering comes to mind. 

For about 15 years we were not in touch.  I moved to West Virginia and he moved online.  I followed his big ideas from afar and about six years ago reached out to see if he was up for lunch.  It was as though we had been keeping up for the last decade.  A wonderful homecoming.  We then had him out as a Transition Talk speaker on three different occasions.  The trolls always tried to disparage him to me, and Robert talked “Marine” (as he would say), but the crowds were warm and responsive to his ideas.  I know he changed some lives with his presentation on the six books that fundamentally changed his life. Certainly blew a hole in my paradigm.

These past few years Robert lingered mostly in the space where patriotism and Christianity are conflated – which isn’t exactly my cup of tea.  But I must say, when he invited me to say a few words at Mt. Rushmore on the 4th of July, I felt there the deep goodness of those people of the heartland who really believe in this country – a feeling that was very hard to find in the San Francisco, Chicago and Washington neighborhoods where we had lived.

I’m really thankful to Robert for that . . . and many, many other memorable, meaningful times together, and the good things that he stood for and his commitment to changing the world. 

I’ll miss my big, grizzly of a friend.   He left before his work was done . . . and I suspect that that is frustrating to him even now.

A More Hopeful Future

Saturday, September 25
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

The emergence of a new world will be telegraphed with many breakthrough discoveries that will become the platform for the new paradigm.  Albert Einstein, for example, said that all of his quantum theories would become obsolete if someone could show that there was, in fact, an ether that filled all of the space around us.  Well, a number of researchers have now found that we exist within a structured “vacuum” . . . and foremost among them, Dr. Wilhelm Reich, showed that this energy field that we live in – he called it Orgone Energy – could be engineered to do extraordinary things, including, potentially, helping us travel to the stars.

Reich’s ideas represent an authentic Galilean-scale paradigm shift.  They completely rewrite physics as we know it – and open up extraordinary possibilities for benefiting human life. 

He has shown how to build relatively simple structures – Orgone Energy Accumulators – that have “amazing” healing properties (helping bodies to eliminate diseases like cancer), can boost immunity and have even been shown to extend life. His accumulators have also been used to enhance plant growth.  The Reich Cloudbuster, a relatively simple device, can make rain and end droughts and green deserts.  Reich’s ideas are so fundamental – yet practical – that his Orgone Field Meter can measure the strength of the human energy field.  Reich found that his refutation of “empty space” physics, opened the doors to a host of new energy-rich technologies – many of which will, almost certainly, be the foundation of the new world.

Reich’s ideas represent an authentic Galilean-scale paradigm shift.  They completely rewrite physics as we know it – and open up extraordinary possibilities for benefiting human life. 
Starting in the early 1970s, Dr. James DeMeo, our TransitionTalks speaker on September 25th, first as a young graduate student and later university professor, and more recently at his own institute and laboratory has concentrated, more than anyone else in the world, on examining Reich’s findings. He has designed and executed many in-depth experiments on all aspects of this work.  DeMeo confirmed Reich’s findings in every case, often with new findings and astonishing results as would define an authentic paradigm shift.

In this fascinating talk, Dr. DeMeo will not only explain Reich’s theories – in terms everyone can understand – and then show, one-by-one, the amazing devices that have already been built around these theories.  He will also explain the explosive, potential implications for the future of humanity and the emergent new world that naturally flow from these fascinating new perspectives.

Click below for more information about this event and to get tickets.

Click Here for Tickets and More Info
Use Coupon Code EARLYDEMEO at checkout
for a $5 discount.

Hurry, coupon expires September 11th!

The Suppression of Invermectin: ‘There’s Good Reason Pfizer Fought to Hide the Details of These Contracts’ – (Global Research – August 1, 2021)

If you were wondering why Ivermectin was suppressed, it is because the agreement that countries had with Pfizer does not allow them to escape their contract, which states that even if a drug will be found to treat COVID-19, the contract cannot be voided. Unredacted contracts for the experimental biological agent known as the “COVID-19 vaccine” between the Pfizer corporation and various governments continue to be revealed. Information security expert Ehden Biber was able to locate the digitally-signed Brazilian contract, and at least two others, one with the European Commission, and the other with the Dominican Republic. America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) Chief Science Officer Dr. Michael Yeadon responded to the revelations after perusing the Albania contract, saying it “looks genuine.” He continued: “I know the basic anatomy of these agreements and nothing is missing that I’d expect to be present, and I’ve seen no clues that suggests it’s fake.” Yeadon noted what he found “the most stunning revelation,” citing the clause that stipulates “if there are any laws or regulations in your country under which Pfizer could be prosecuted, you agree to change the law or regulation to close that off.”  Article includes scans of sections of the Pfizer contracts. See also: The Suppression of Ivermectin Is a Criminal Act.

Denmark Abolishes All Covid Measures – (Freedom First Network – August 10, 2021)

The Danish parliament has decided that all Corona measures should be ended from October 1. There will therefore no longer be a mask requirement and the test regime will be abolished. The Danes will then no longer have to provide evidence of whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated, or whether they have tested positive or negative. Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency said it no longer relied on vaccination to achieve herd immunity in the country. Tyra Grove Krause, the SSI’s acting academic director, said a new wave of infections were expected after people return to work and school at the end of this summer, but it should not be cause for alarm. “It will be more reminiscent of the flu,” Krause said. Overall, the current vaccination rate is just under 58.4% of fully vaccinated people in Denmark. (At that time, 73.6% had already received their first shot.) See also this update from August 27: Denmark to Lift All Remaining Covid Restrictions on 10 September.  As of August 27, Denmark was the EU’s third-most vaccinated country, according to Our World in Data, with 71% of the population having received two shots.

The Epsilon Variant – (Dilbert – August 23, 2021)

Every so often, a bit of levity is required – even about the virus.  Here’s Dilbert’s take on the matter.

Dr. McCullough: COVID Vaccines Have Already Killed Up to 50,000 Americans, According to Whistleblowers – (American Greatness – June 15, 2021)

Dr. Peter McCullough, an American professor of Medicine and Vice Chief of Internal Medicine at Baylor University, declared that the world has been subjected to a form of bioterrorism, and that the suppression of early treatments for COVID-19—such as hydroxychloroquine— “was tightly linked to the development of a vaccine.”  McCullough said he believes the bioterrorism has come in two stages—the first wave being the rollout of the coronavirus, and the second, the rollout of the dangerous vaccines, which he said may already be responsible for the deaths of up to 50,000 Americans. McCullough said that he started an early treatment initiative to keep COVID patients out of the hospital, which involved organizing multiple groups of medical doctors in the United States and abroad. He noted that some governments tried to block these doctors from providing the treatments, but with the help of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons, they were able to put out a home patient guide, and in the U.S., organized four different tele-medical services, and fifteen regional tele-medical services. This way, people who were stricken with COVID-19, were able to call in to these services and get the medications they needed prescribed to local pharmacies, or mail order distribution pharmacies, he explained. “Without the government really even understanding what was going on, we crushed the epidemic curve of the United States,” McCullough claimed. “Toward the end of December and January, we basically took care of the pandemic with about 500 doctors and telemedicine services, and to this day, we treat about 25% of the U.S. COVID-19 population that are actually at high risk, over age 50 with medical problems that present with severe symptoms.”

People Are Hiring Out Their Faces to Become Deepfake-style Marketing Clones – (Technology Review – August 27, 2021)

In 2020, AI-synthetic media started moving away from the darker corners of the internet. Hour One, a startup that uses people’s likenesses to create AI-voiced characters that then appear in marketing and educational videos for organizations around the world. It is part of a wave of companies overhauling the way digital content is produced. Hour One doesn’t ask for any particular skills. You just need to be willing to hand over the rights to your face. Hour One is building up a pool of what it calls “characters.” It says it has around 100 on its books so far, with more being added each week. Like a modeling agency, Hour One filters through applicants, selecting those it wants on its books. The company is aiming for a broad sample of characters that reflect the ages, genders, and racial backgrounds of people in the real world, says Natalie Monbiot, the company’s head of strategy. (Currently, around 80% of its characters are under 50 years old, 70% are female, and 25% are white.) To create a character, Hour One uses a high-resolution 4K camera to film a person talking and making different facial expressions in front of a green screen. And that’s it for the human part of the performance. Plugging the resulting data into AI software that works in a similar way to deepfake tech, Hour One can generate an endless amount of footage of that person saying whatever it wants, in any language. By removing the need for film crews, studio technicians, and—for all but a few minutes—actors, Hour One’s technology is a boon to companies wanting to scale up video production, even as it offers a bit of easy money to a handful of people who license the use of their faces. But some are troubled by the implications for the future of work.

Newly Discovered Space Rock Loops the Sun Quicker Than Any Previously Known Asteroid – (Science Alert – August 24, 2021)

A newly discovered asteroid has the second-shortest orbit that we know in the entire Solar System, surpassed only by Mercury. Its size is roughly 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) across. It’s named 2021 PH27, and it takes just 113 days to complete a circuit around the Sun, on an unstable elliptical orbit that crosses the orbital paths of both Venus and Mercury. This means that it comes extremely close to the Sun at its closest approach, or perihelion, skimming close enough to reach scorching temperatures up to 480 degrees Celsius (900 Fahrenheit). It also means that the asteroid’s time is limited: within a million years, it will either be flung off its current trajectory, or it will be annihilated in a collision with one of the two planets or the Sun. Although its lifespan – at least in its current orbit – is short, at least on cosmic timescales, 2021 PH27 and other inner Solar System objects can reveal information about the evolution of our planetary system. That is, if we can figure out where it came from. Article offers some hypotheses on that.

Geologists Dig into Grand Canyon’s Mysterious Gap in Time – (Science Daily – August 23, 2021)

A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder reveals the complex history behind one of the Grand Canyon’s most well-known geologic features: A mysterious and missing gap of time in the canyon’s rock record that covers hundreds of millions of years. The research comes closer to solving a puzzle, called the “Great Unconformity,” that has perplexed geologists since it was first described nearly 150 years ago. “The Great Unconformity is one of the first well-documented geologic features in North America,” said Barra Peak, lead author of the new study and a graduate student in geological sciences at CU Boulder. “But until recently, we didn’t have a lot of constraints on when or how it occurred.” Now, she and her colleagues think they may be narrowing in on an answer. The team reports that a series of small yet violent faulting events may have rocked the region during the breakup of an ancient supercontinent called Rodinia. The resulting havoc likely tore up the earth around the canyon, causing rocks and sediment to wash away and into the ocean. The team’s findings could help scientists fill in missing pieces of what happened during this critical period for the Grand Canyon — today one of North America’s foremost natural wonders. The feature is stark enough that you can see it from the river. “There are beautiful lines,” Peak said. “At the bottom, you can see very clearly that there are rocks that have been pushed together. Their layers are vertical. Then there there’s a cutoff, and above that you have these beautiful horizontal layers that form the buttes and peaks that you associate with the Grand Canyon.” The difference between those two types of rocks is significant. In the western part of the canyon toward Lake Mead, the basement stone is 1.4 to 1.8 billion years old. The rocks sitting on top, however, are just 520 million years old. Scientists have seen evidence of similar periods of lost time at sites around North America. “There’s more than a billion years that’s gone,” Peak said. “It’s also a billion years during an interesting part of Earth’s history where the planet is transitioning from an older setting to the modern Earth we know today.”

A Huge Number of Rogue Supermassive Black Holes Are Wandering the Universe – (Science Alert – August 23, 2021)

Supermassive black holes tend to sit, more or less stationary, at the centers of galaxies. But not all of these awesome cosmic objects stay put; some may be knocked askew, wobbling around galaxies like cosmic nomads. We call such black holes ‘wanderers’, and they’re largely theoretical, because they are difficult (but not impossible) to observe, and therefore quantify. But a new set of simulations has allowed a team of scientists to work out how many wanderers there should be, and whereabouts – which in turn could help us identify them out there in the Universe. Cosmologists think that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) reside at the nuclei of all – or at least most – galaxies in the Universe. These objects’ masses are usually roughly proportional to the mass of the central galactic bulge around them, which suggests that the evolution of the black hole and its galaxy are somehow linked. But the formation pathways of supermassive black holes are unclear. We know that stellar-mass black holes form from the core collapse of massive stars, but that mechanism doesn’t work for black holes over about 55 times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers think that SMBHs grow via the accretion of stars and gas and dust, and mergers with other black holes (very chunky ones at nuclei of other galaxies, when those galaxies collide). However, the merger process could be delayed or even prevented entirely, resulting in these black hole ‘wanderers’.

Alzheimer’s, Inc.: When a Hypothesis Becomes Too Big to Fail – (Scientific American – August 25, 2021)

The controversy surrounding the FDA’s shocking approval of the drug aducanumab provides a window into a scientific field in crisis. Aducanumab, marketed as “Aduhelm,” is an antiamyloid monoclonal antibody and the latest in a procession of such drugs to be tested against Alzheimer’s disease. This class of drugs has reduced amyloid aggregation; however, since 2000, there has been a virtual 100% fail rate in clinical trials, with some therapies actually worsening patient outcomes. In 2019, Aducanumab failed in a futility analysis of two pooled phase III randomized controlled trials, but was later claimed to have yielded a small benefit for a subset of patients in a high-dosage group. The biologic was granted accelerated approval by the FDA based not on its clinical benefit but rather on its ability to lower amyloid on PET scans. Biogen immediately priced the treatment at $56,000 annually, making it potentially one of the most expensive drugs in the country’s history.  In other words, there is no adequate proof that the drug actually clinically benefits people who take it. Aducanumab, which is delivered intravenously, was observed to cause brain swelling or bleeding in 40 percent of high-dose participants as well as higher rates of headache, falls and diarrhea. The FDA’s decision flew in the face of a near-consensus recommendation from its advisory committee not to approve. Three members of that committee have since resigned; several federal investigations have been launched to examine the close relationship between Biogen and the FDA; and the Department of Veterans Affairs and numerous private insurers and high-profile hospital systems have already signaled they want nothing to do with the drug. Meanwhile, Biogen has launched a Web site and comprehensive marketing campaign quizzing potential consumers on their memory loss and ultimately guiding them to experts, imaging and/or infusion sites. The aducanumab debacle is a microcosm of how the medical-industrial complex has taken hold within the Alzheimer’s field for decades, distorting science and policy while limiting other promising avenues of research and action on brain health and the care of persons living with dementia.

Toward Next-generation Brain-computer Interface Systems – (Science Daily – August 12, 2021)

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are emerging assistive devices that may one day help people with brain or spinal injuries to move or communicate. BCI systems depend on implantable sensors that record electrical signals in the brain and use those signals to drive external devices like computers or robotic prosthetics. Most current BCI systems use one or two sensors to sample up to a few hundred neurons, but neuroscientists are interested in systems that are able to gather data from much larger groups of brain cells. Now, a team of researchers has taken a key step toward a new concept for a future BCI system — one that employs a coordinated network of independent, wireless microscale neural sensors, each about the size of a grain of salt, to record and stimulate brain activity. The sensors, dubbed “neurograins,” independently record the electrical pulses made by firing neurons and send the signals wirelessly to a central hub, which coordinates and processes the signals. The research team demonstrated the use of nearly 50 such autonomous neurograins to record neural activity in a rodent. The results, the researchers say, are a step toward a system that could one day enable the recording of brain signals in unprecedented detail, leading to new insights into how the brain works and new therapies for people with brain or spinal injuries. Article includes details of the design of the research equipment and its procedures.

1979 – The Beginning of Time – (Real Climate Science – August 28, 2021)

Experts say Arctic sea ice is rapidly disappearing  and has been since the start of satellite records in 1979. However, the 1995 IPCC report said satellite measurements began in 1973, and showed that sea ice extent was much lower in 1974 than in 1979 and reported that neither hemisphere has exhibited significant trends in sea ice extent since 1973 when satellite measurements began. Also existing is a 1985 DOE report which showed Arctic sea ice extent back to the 1920s. Going back that far, the low extent occurred during the 1950s and was confirmed by historical records. Combining the 1985 DOE report graph and the 1995 IPCC report graph shows why all the data prior to 1979 is hidden: 1979 was the coldest year on record in Iceland. And the sea ice has been reverting to its average since then. Article includes source material and references.

How to Fight Microplastic Pollution with Magnets – (BBC News – August 25, 2021)

Microplastics are found in our clothes, cosmetics and cleaning products. One load of laundry can release an average of 700,000 microplastic fibers. Less than a millimetre in length, these fibres make their way into rivers and oceans, where they are eaten by fish and even corals. Because of their tiny size, microplastics are able to pass through filtration systems, making it very difficult to avoid them. According to recent research, we constantly inhale and ingest microplastics during our daily lives. One study in 2019 by researchers at the University of Newcastle found that globally people ingest an average of 5g of plastic every week – the equivalent of a credit card. The impact that this diet of microplastics has on our health, however, is still poorly understood. This article showcases Fionn Ferreira, a young Irish man who invented a method that was 87% effective at extracting microplastics from water. In 2019, Ferreira presented his invention to a panel of expert judges at the Google Science Fair, which led to him winning the competition and receiving an educational scholarship of $50,000. Ferreira is currently in the process of designing a device which uses the magnetic extraction method to capture microplastics as water flows past it. The device will be small enough to fit inside waterpipes to continuously extract plastic fragments as water flows through them. He has also been working on a system that could be fitted to ships so they can extract plastics on the oceans. Article explains in general terms how Ferreira’s invention works.

Light Pollution from Street Lamps Linked to Insect Loss – (BBC News – August 25, 2021)

Scientists are increasingly concerned about the decline of some populations of insects. One scientific review of insect numbers in 2019 pointed to 40% of species undergoing “dramatic rates of decline” around the world.The study said bees, ants and beetles were disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles, while other species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, were likely to boom. The loss of insects has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems. Insects provide a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, while plants rely on insects for pollination.  In a UK study, artificial street lights were found to disrupt the behavior of nocturnal moths, reducing caterpillars numbers by half. Modern LED streetlights appeared to have the biggest impact. The researchers say their study, published in Science Advances, is the strongest evidence yet that light pollution can have detrimental impacts on local insect populations, with consequences for the birds and other wildlife that rely on caterpillars for food. The researchers think street lights may deter nocturnal moths from laying their eggs or put the insects at risk of being spotted and consumed by predators such as bats. In turn, caterpillars that are born under streetlights, particularly LEDs, alter their feeding habits. But there are practical solutions that don’t compromise public safety, they say, including dimming streetlights in the early hours, fitting motion sensors or using color filters to cut out the most harmful wavelengths.

World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Shows the Disproportionate Power of Scale – (New Atlas – August 22, 2021)

China’s MingYang Smart Energy has announced an offshore wind turbine even bigger than GE’s monstrous Haliade-X. The MySE 16.0-242 is a 16-megawatt, 794-ft tall behemoth capable of powering 20,000 homes per unit over a 25-year service life. When MingYang’s new turbine first spins up in prototype form next year, its three 118-m (387-ft) blades will sweep a 46,000-sq-m (495,140-sq-ft) area bigger than six soccer fields. Every year, each one expected to generate 80 GWh of electricity. That’s 45% percent more than the company’s MySE 11.0-203, from just a 19% increase in diameter. No wonder these things keep getting bigger; the bigger they get, the better they seem to work, and the fewer expensive installation projects need to be undertaken to develop the same capacity. MingYang says the MySE 16.0-242 is just the start of its “new 15MW+ offshore product platform,” and that it’s capable of operating installed to the sea floor or on a floating base. The full prototype will be built in 2022, installed and into operation by 2023. Commercial production is slated to begin in the first half of 2024.

How Should Autonomous Cars Make Life-or-death Decisions? In the Best of Worlds, They Won’t. – (Washington Post – August 6, 2021)

The industry’s approach to autonomous-driving was to begin with so-called Level 1 driver assistance features. Then, incrementally work up to a vision that has yet to be realized: Level 5 cars or vehicles advanced enough to make better decisions than humans in all driving conditions — including life-or-death scenarios. Autonomous-driving researchers say the industry is far from deciding how AI chooses who receives the brunt of an oncoming accident. The researchers found that people favor younger lives over older ones, but some countries like China deviated from that. So now, many are approaching the issue from a different perspective: Why not stop cars from getting in life-or-death situations in the first place? That’s the thinking now about advanced AI: It’s supposed to prevent the scenarios that lead to crashes, making the choice of who’s to die one that the AI should never have to face. It’s an idealistic view of autonomous driving. Still, it’s a starting place. After all, the whole point of automated cars is to create road conditions where vehicles are more aware than humans are, and thus better at predicting and preventing accidents. Barry Lunn is the founder and CEO of Provizio, an accident-prevention technology company. Provizio’s secret sauce is a “five-dimensional” vision system made up of high-end radar, lidar and camera imaging. The company builds an Intel vision processor and Nvidia graphics processor directly onto its in-house radar sensor, enabling cars to run machine-learning algorithms directly on the radar sensor. The result is a stack of perception technology that sees farther and wider, and processes road data faster than traditional autonomy tech, Lunn says. Swift predictive analytics give vehicles and drivers more time to react to other cars. He says AI decision-making will play a pivotal role in the future of auto safety, but only after it has been shown to reduce the issues that lead to crashes. The goal is the get the tech inside passenger cars so that the system can learn from human drivers, and understand how they make decisions before allowing the AI to decide what happens in specified instances. “The real problem is going to be, at what point is it still ethical to let the human drive,” Lunn said.

ZUV Electric Cargo Trike 3D Printed from Recycled Plastic Waste – (New Atlas – August 27, 2021)

A recent design study from the social and sustainable arm of Austria’s EOOS studio puts plastic waste from supermarkets to use for an electric cargo trike called the ZUV – or Zero-emission Utility Vehicle. Commissioned by the Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien (MAK) for the Vienna Biennale for Change 2021’s Climate Care exhibition, the idea was to come up with an e-mobility concept where the chassis could be produced locally and inexpensively, and then components sourced from local bike or moto workshops bolted on to “simplify service, customization, repair, and upgrades.” EOOS NEXT collaborated with Rotterdam’s The New Raw research and design studio, which transformed 154 pounds of recycled plastic raw material into the cargo bike’s body, seating for two and storage box using industrial 3D-printing robots – printing the material at an angle so that almost no supports were need during the process. A tricycle design was chosen for stability on urban streets or off the beaten track, and the ribbed chassis secured to the trike’s frame. The rear wheel is home to an unspecified hub motor for a throttle-only top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph), since it’s a European concept, but no doubt more powerful motors could be installed where such limits don’t apply. The onboard battery offers a per-charge range of 50 km (31 miles). However, those involved in the project make no mention of taking the design into production themselves. Article includes photos.

QR Codes Have Replaced Restaurant Menus. Industry Experts Say It Isn’t a Fad – (CNBC – August 21, 2021)

The coronavirus pandemic ushered in the instantaneous, widespread use of QR codes, but restaurant industry experts think that the technology will stick around long after the health crisis ends. Bitly, a link management service, said that it’s seen a 750% increase in QR code downloads over the last 18 months. Bitly President Raleigh Harbour said that restaurants have realized how valuable the technology is, beyond facilitating touchless service. “They’re able to adjust their menu offerings on the fly to account for elements like inflation, fluctuations in food and commodities prices, and other variables,” Harbour said. A QR code also gives restaurants more information on their customers. Reservation services like OpenTable, SevenRooms and Resy pass along data on whoever made the booking to restaurants – but not everyone else at the table. “If you run a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations, you don’t know who your guest is until they pay,” said Bo Peabody, co-founder and executive chairman of Seated, a restaurant booking service that rewards diners for visiting certain eateries. “What the QR code might allow you to do is learn who that guest is right when they’re sitting down.” Restaurants also can implement QR code payments on receipts, so customers can pay without pulling out a credit card or cash, said Comparato. It’s both more convenient for customers and faster for servers, allowing restaurants to seat more customers by turning tables more quickly. However, QR codes aren’t the answer for all restaurants; fine-dining restaurants are less willing to replace their menus or ordering process with QR codes. 

The Great Game of Smashing Countries – (CounterPunch – August 25, 2021)

As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their “allies” destroyed. In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd, the cousin of King Zahir Shar. It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise. Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported the New York Times, were surprised to find that “nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup”. The Wall Street Journal reported that “150,000 persons … marched to honor the new flag …the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.” The Washington Post reported that “Afghan loyalty to the government can scarcely be questioned”. Secular, modernist and, to a considerable degree, socialist, the government declared a program of visionary reforms that included equal rights for women and minorities. Political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned. For women, the gains had no precedent; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40% of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70% of its teachers and 30% of its civil servants. For the United States, the problem with the PDPA government was that it was supported by the Soviet Union. Yet it was never the “puppet” derided in the West, neither was the coup against the monarchy “Soviet backed”, as the American and British press claimed at the time. President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, later wrote in his memoirs: “We had no evidence of any Soviet complicity in the coup.” (Editor’s note: We recommend this recounting of historical events that too often are unknown and/or unmentioned.)

How Water Shortages Are Brewing Wars – (BBC News – August 16, 2021)

Over the course of the 20th Century, global water use grew at more than twice the rate of population increase. As much as a quarter of the world’s population now faces severe water scarcity at least one month out of the year and – as in al-Sadr’s case – it is leading many to seek a more secure life in other countries. “If there is no water, people will start to move,” says Kitty van der Heijden, chief of international cooperation at the Netherlands’ foreign ministry and an expert in hydropolitics. Water scarcity affects roughly 40% of the world’s population and, according to predictions by the United Nations and the World Bank, drought could put up to 700 million people at risk of displacement by 2030. Peter Gleick, head of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, has spent the last three decades studying the link between water scarcity, conflict and migration and believes that water conflict is on the rise. “With very rare exceptions, no one dies of literal thirst,” he says. “But more and more people are dying from contaminated water or conflicts over access to water.” Gleick and his team are behind the Water Conflict Chronology: a log of 925 water conflicts, large and small, stretching back to the days of the Babylonian king Hammurabi. It is not, by any means, exhaustive and the conflicts listed vary from full blown wars to disputes between neighbors. But what they reveal is that the relationship between water and conflict is a complex one. “We categorized water conflicts in three groups,” says Gleick. “As a ‘trigger’ of conflict, where violence is associated with disputes over access and control of water; as a ‘weapon’ of conflict, where water or water systems are used as weapons in conflicts, including for the use of dams to withhold water or flood downstream communities; and as ‘casualties’ or ‘targets’ of conflicts, where water resources or treatment plants or pipelines are targeted during conflicts.”

The Cutthroat World of $10 Ice Cream – (New York Times – August 13, 2021)

It has never been a better time to eat ice cream or a more cutthroat time to try to sell it. Fueled by pandemic trends of “at-home comfort” and “anytime eating,” the $7 billion industry grew 17% in 2020, after roughly 2.4% annual growth over the previous decade, said Jennifer Mapes-Christ of the market research firm Packaged Facts. Artisan ice cream — a “squishy” term, she said, that usually refers to product with less air and more fat but “mostly just means ‘fancy’” — is growing even faster than mainstream ice cream and is considered the industry’s future. Even before Covid-19, the industry had been pinning its hopes on “adult” ice cream, a relatively new category known for subdued sugar and noble flavors such as Earl Grey tea. The freezer shelves at Whole Foods tell the story of artisan ice cream’s success, with multiplying labels and their recondite flavors jostling for space. The producers strove to promote community and craft above profit, but beneath the it’s-all-good vibes the emerging market echoed the competition of global ice cream, a trade dominated by Nestlé and Unilever. Over the previous two decades, the dueling behemoths, one Swiss and one Anglo-Dutch, had gone on acquisition tears, buying up mainstream brands like Häagen-Dazs (Nestlé), Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever), Dreyer’s (Nestle) and Klondike (Unilever). “They tried to wipe everybody else out” and divide the market between them, Leo Glynn, one of the industry’s most sought-after consultants. But it didn’t work. “This category is ruthless,” said Ms. Freeman, who said she planned to write a memoir called “I Screamed.” “You have to constantly raise money to avoid burn.” In 2018, she exited the industry quietly but on her own terms after giving up on a national retail strategy. (Editor’s note: If a little ice cream is your late night thing, this article will give you the scoop on the business end of your local artisanal offerings.)

Astronomers Find a ‘Break’ in One of the Milky Way’s Spiral Arms – (PhysOrg – August 17, 2021)

Scientists have spotted a previously unrecognized feature of our Milky Way galaxy: A contingent of young stars and star-forming gas clouds is sticking out of one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms like a splinter poking out from a plank of wood. Stretching some 3,000 light-years, this is the first major structure identified with an orientation so dramatically different than the arm’s. Astronomers have a rough idea of the size and shape of the Milky Way’s arms, but much remains unknown: They can’t see the full structure of our home galaxy because Earth is inside it. “A key property of spiral arms is how tightly they wind around a galaxy,” said Michael Kuhn, an astrophysicist at Caltech and lead author of the new paper. This characteristic is measured by the arm’s pitch angle. A circle has a pitch angle of 0 degrees, and as the spiral becomes more open, the pitch angle increases. “Most models of the Milky Way suggest that the Sagittarius Arm forms a spiral that has a pitch angle of about 12 degrees, but the structure we examined really stands out at an angle of nearly 60 degrees.” Similar structures – sometimes called spurs or feathers – are commonly found jutting off the arms of other spiral galaxies. For decades scientists have wondered whether our Milky Way’s spiral arms are also dotted with these structures or if they are relatively smooth. Article explains how combining data from two different types of telescopes enabled them to build a detailed, three-dimensional map in which they could see that there’s quite a bit of complexity in this region that just hasn’t been apparent before according to Kuhn. The newly discovered feature contains four nebulae known for their breathtaking beauty: the Eagle Nebula (which contains the Pillars of Creation), the Omega Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and the Lagoon Nebula. In the 1950s, a team of astronomers made rough distance measurements to some of the stars in these nebulae and were able to infer the existence of the Sagittarius Arm. Their work provided some of the first evidence of our galaxy’s spiral structure.

The UFO Phenomenon | Full Documentary | 7NEWS Spotlight – (YouTube – August 8, 2021)

Five-time Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist Ross Coulthart – who has been investigating the phenomena for the past two years – led the 7NEWS Spotlight team across the US, amassing never-before-seen compelling evidence and speaking to the key players behind an event that will change the course of history. Featuring interviews with the highest echelons of military defense and intelligence officials, leading researchers, scientists and witnesses in America and Australia, this mind-blowing documentary years in the making seeks to answer the most fundamental question there is: are we alone? 7NEWS Spotlight: The UFO Phenomenon unearths startling new evidence of Australian Government cover-ups and extraordinary vision of unidentified aerial phenomena in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland – all credible and important additions to the worldwide data being accumulated by the US.

What Can We Do with a Captured Asteroid? – (Live Science – August 22, 2021)

Asteroids have more than enough gold, plus other metals, to provide a few lifetimes’ worth of fortunes. Asteroids are the fragmented remains of almost-planets, but they contain all of the same mixtures of elements as their larger planetary cousins. And you don’t have to dig down into their cores to get it: The asteroid 16 Psyche, for example, contains roughly 22 billion billion pounds (10 billion billion kilograms) of nickel and iron, which are used in everything from reinforced concrete to mobile phones. If we maintained our current consumption of nickel and iron, 16 Psyche alone could supply our industrial needs for several million years. So how do we get these metals from these faraway asteroids? Perhaps the best way is to bring the space rocks to Earth. This article considers what that might entail.

Glowing Antibacterial Bandage Sheds Light on Infected Wounds – (New Atlas – August 27, 2021)

Bandaged wounds need to be checked for infection, yet removing the bandage to check the wound can delay its healing. Australian scientists may have a fix for this paradox, in the form of a dressing that glows if the wound is infected. Currently being developed at RMIT University, the material incorporates nanosheets of magnesium hydroxide that are embedded onto the nanofibers of a standard cotton bandage. Once applied to a wound – particularly a chronic wound, such as a diabetic ulcer – the biocompatible magnesium hydroxide proceeds to help in the healing process by killing harmful bacteria and reducing inflammation. If an infection still does occur, the wound site will switch from being slightly acidic – like healthy skin – to being somewhat alkaline. This change in pH will in turn cause the magnesium hydroxide to fluoresce brightly when exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, physicians could check for infections simply by shining a UV light on a patient’s bandage, without having to remove it. Likewise, if a wound was already known to be infected, the UV light could indicate that the infection had cleared up, if it no longer caused the magnesium hydroxide to fluoresce.

Alexa-enabled Sticky Note Printer Churns Out User-dictated Reminders – (New Atlas – April 16, 2021)

Despite the current onslaught of “smart” devices, the humble handwritten sticky-note reminder is still hanging in there. That said, Amazon is planning on giving it a high-tech makeover of its own, with the Smart Sticky Note Printer. The device takes the form of a compact thermal printer – meaning it doesn’t require any ink – which users load up with replaceable rolls of sticky-backed paper. It’s wirelessly linked with an existing compatible Echo device, which has to be located no farther than 30 feet away. When the user thinks of something that they wish to remember to do, they just say something like “Alexa, print a note, ‘Mow grass after work.'” They can also dictate a shopping list, or instruct the device to print out something such as a sudoku puzzle. The printer proceeds to do as it’s been told, neatly slicing the note off of the roll just like a till receipt printer.

Alphabet Wing Drones Have Now Delivered 1,200+ Roast Chickens in Australia – (Fast Company – August 27, 2021)

Residents of the Australian city of Logan, located near Brisbane, are able to have everything from coffee and dog treats to roast chickens and hardware store items delivered to their homes via drone. Thanks to Wing, Alphabet’s drone unit, people in the city of 300,000 have received more than 50,000 deliveries in the past 8 months, the company reports. That’s helping put Wing on target to achieve its 100,000th drone delivery in the next few days. In the first week of August alone, the company reports it made more than 4,500 drone deliveries in Logan, roughly one every 30 seconds that the service was operational. Wing says its automated service selects the best aircraft and route based on what the customer ordered and where they’re located. Customers can track the drones on their phones, similar to ordering an Uber, and an aircraft then lowers packages to recipients via a tether. (Article is partly pay-walled, but an embedded video clip shows how the service works.)

Why I’m Optimistic About 2022 – (Armstrong Economics – August 25, 2021)

When I (Martin Armstrong) look at the charts, all the markets are indicating that this merry band of Climate Change fanatics who have organized the biggest scam in human history over COVID to change the economy suggests that they will FAIL. Yes, there are climate concerns, but those are natural. That is the imminent collapse in the Gulf Stream which will send Europe into a much colder period. So Cheer up! They will fight hard, but they will lose this battle. Their entire idea of crushing the economy to Build Back Batter is absurd. At some point, even the sheep wearing their masks in the car will wake up when it comes to the loss of their entire future.

The Small Italian Village That Can’t Be Reached by Car – (BBC News – August 16, 2021)

Situated on top of a magnificent alpine plateau, with an elevation of 5,955 feet above sea level, Chamois is Italy’s second highest city but it’s the first and only without cars. In 1965, the seven settlements in the area voted to build a cableway rather than a road ; it is still the only means of connection with the valley floor. This relative isolation led Chamois to join an association of alpine communities stretching from France to Slovenia in exploring methods of sustainability and energy self-sufficiency. Nine minute video clip in Italian with English subtitles and gorgeous scenery.

New Picture Shows Wally the Walrus Relaxing on a Small Boat in Crookhaven – (Irish Examiner – August 23, 2021)

Wally, an 1800 pound Arctic walrus, has been wreaking havoc on pleasure boats off the coast of Ireland – though some boats do survive. The Arctic walrus, who was first spotted off Kerry last March, has spent the last two weeks cruising and feeding along the south-east and southern coast. The juvenile walrus has left a trail of destruction in his wake – after hauling himself onto several small boats to rest, causing thousands of euro worth of damage and sinking at least two. Walruses, like seals and sea lions, are pinnipeds, or semi-aquatic, which means they must come up on land or onto a floating object to rest. His penchant for lounging on boats prompted an appeal from Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) for the donation of an unused rib or a large pontoon that could be used as a designated haul-out site for him to rest. SRI has now secured a pontoon with three raised sides which looks like a floating couch. It is ready to be deployed quickly if there are more sightings of Wally in busy harbor areas over the coming days. Article has photos of Wally, including one of him on his personal couch in St Mary’s Harbor in the Isles of Scilly, where he had been cruising previously.

Meet the Man Who Walks Across Entire Countries in a Straight Line – (Atlas Obscura – February 16, 2021)

Tom Davies knows a thing or two about staying the course. The 29-year-old British adventurer is perhaps now best known for his “Mission Across” series, which chronicles his adventures trying to cross entire countries in a straight line. He chooses a route, uploads it to a handheld GPS, and sets off. The mission’s success is determined by the accuracy with which he follows that linear route; he even has a grading system. A mission in which there is no deviation of more than 25 meters (about 80 feet) is defined as a platinum run. Less than 50 meters (a little more than 160 feet) is a gold run. His two attempts to cross Wales were unsuccessful, but Davies recently scored a platinum run across Norway, no small achievement given the country’s abundance of mountains and fjords. (Some of the photos give you a sense of just what this means.) The article is an interview with Davies who starts by explaining, “Its roots hark back to my late childhood, when myself and my then step-brother, and now best friend, Greg would leave my mother’s house, perched on the edge of the huge conurbation that is the West Midlands (of England), and simply set off in an easterly direction into the countryside of Staffordshire searching for adventure and mischief. Aged 13 and with nothing but a fiver in our pockets and the clothes on our back, we would “mission” our way through fields, clamber over fences, hedges and rivers, evading farmers and inevitably making some sort of strange and intriguing discovery. Without fail we would have a string of great stories to regale Greg’s dad, who would begrudgingly pick us up from some random town 15 miles away.”
Do you realize that if you fall into a black hole, you will see the entire future of the Universe unfold in front of you in a matter of moments and you will emerge into another space-time created by the singularity of the black hole you just fell into?
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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.
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