Volume 24, Number 18 – 9/15/21

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Volume 24, Number 18 – 9/15/2021


  • Astronomers predict the Sun will reach the end of its life in about another 10 billion years.
  • George Church, best known for inventing ways of reading and editing DNA, is serious about recreating Woolly Mammoths and has so far raised $15M for the project.
  • Globally, the process of creating Bitcoin consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than is used by Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million.
  • Hoping to give their kids an advantage, Beijing parents are signing up their tots for elementary school-level math and English classes, costing between $80 and $150 an hour.

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
In this video Dr. James DeMeo explains his background of experiments and evaluations of Wilhelm Reich’s work, focusing on the energies of space, the atmosphere, and especially, in the human body.

Join us in person or via livestream / replay.

COVID Shot Enhances Delta Infectivity – (Atlanta Business Journal – September 6, 2021)

The official COVID-19 vaccine narrative changes rapidly these days. It took just one month for it to go from “if you’re vaccinated you’re not going to get COVID,” including the Delta variant, to “people who got vaccinated early are at increased risk for severe COVID disease.” From the get-go, I (author of this article) and many other medical experts have warned of the possibility of these shots causing antibody dependent enhancement (ADE), a situation in which the shot actually facilitates a cascade of disease complications rather than protects against it. As a result, you may suffer more severe illness when encountering the wild virus than had you not been “vaccinated.” While we don’t yet have definitive proof that ADE is occurring, we are seeing suspicious signs that it might be. Data showing those who got the shot early this year are now at increased risk of severe infection could be such a sign. At bare minimum, it’s an indication that the protection you get from these shots is very temporary, lasting only a few months. This makes sense when you consider they program your body to produce just one type of antibody against a specific spike protein. Once the spike protein, or other elements in the virus, starts to mutate, protection radically diminishes. Worse, the vaccine facilitates the actual production of the variants because it is “leaky” and provides only partial ineffective immune protection. Natural immunity is far superior, as when you recover from the infection, your body makes antibodies against all five proteins of the virus, plus memory T cells that remain even once antibody levels diminish. This gives you far better protection that will likely be lifelong, unless you have impaired immune function. Real-world data from Israel confirms this, showing those who have received the COVID jab are 6.72 times more likely to get infected than people with natural immunity.

Israel Now Has More COVID Infections Per Capita Than Any Other Country in the World, Even as “Booster Shots” Are Being Widely Administered There – (Global Research – September 3, 2021)

Just a few months ago, the mainstream media praised Israel for its “pandemic-ending” vaccination campaign. With over 40 percent of the population “fully vaccinated” in the first quarter of 2021, Israel was well on its way to stopping community spread and clearing out its hospitals. Israel imposed some of the strictest lockdowns during that time, violating the Nuremberg Code and segregating the unvaccinated from public life. Israel bought up the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA covid vaccine and began issuing mandatory Green Pass “vaccine passports” as a requirement for citizens to enter public spaces. By August, Israel had intimidated and coerced its population into having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 78% of people 12 years of age and older classified as “fully vaccinated.” The world was reassured that this rate of vaccination was more than enough to ensure individual and “herd immunity.” However, infection rates have skyrocketed across the country since then, and Israel is now logging the world’s highest infection rates, with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people. At times, hospitalizations for the “fully vaccinated” have reached upwards of 95%. “There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” said Uri Shalit, a bio-informatician at the Israel Institute of Technology. The vaccines do not protect older populations, either — a false promise advertised since the beginning of the vaccine rollout. In fact, of the hospitalized vaccinated patients, 87% were 60 or older.

Eric Clapton’s New Song – This Has Gotta Stop – (YouTube – August 31, 2021)

Eric Clapton is continuing to wage musical war against COVID-19 vaccinations and lockdowns. The legendary guitarist, who has publicly rebuked vaccine mandates and complained about a “disastrous” health experience after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccination, has released a new song, “This Has Gotta Stop.”  The song was written by Clapton, produced by his longtime producing partner Simon Climie and is performed by Clapton, Sonny Emery on drums, Nathan East on bass, Sharon White on background vocals along with Nick Ingman as the strings arranger and conductor and Perry Montague-Mason as strings leader.

CDC/FDA Smoking Gun of Smoking Guns – (No More Fake News – September 1, 2021)

The CDC has issued a document that bulges with devastating admissions. The release is titled, “07/21/2021: Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing.”  It begins explosively: “After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.” Many people believe this means the CDC is giving up on the PCR test as a means of “detecting the virus.” The CDC isn’t saying that at all. They’re saying the PCR technology will continue to be used, but they’re replacing what the test is looking FOR with a better “reference sample.” A better marker. A better target. A better piece of RNA supposedly derived from SARS-CoV-2. CDC/FDA are confessing there has been a PROBLEM with the PCR test which has been used to detect the virus, starting in February of 2020—right up to this minute. In other words, the millions and millions of “COVID cases” based on the PCR test in use are all suspect. Actually, that statement is too generous. Every test result of every PCR test should be thrown out.

Study Reveals Threat of Catastrophic Supervolcano Eruptions Ever-present – (PhysOrg – September 3, 2021)

An international research team that studied an ancient supervolcano in Indonesia and found such volcanoes remain active and hazardous for thousands of years after a super-eruption, prompting the need for a rethink of how these potentially catastrophic events are predicted. Associate Professor Martin Danišík, lead Australian author from the John de Laeter Centre based at Curtin University, said supervolcanoes often erupted several times with intervals of tens of thousands of years between the big eruptions but it was not known what happened during the dormant periods. Associate Professor Danišík said, “Super-eruptions are among the most catastrophic events in Earth’s history, venting tremendous amounts of magma almost instantaneously. They can impact global climate to the point of tipping the Earth into a ‘volcanic winter’, which is an abnormally cold period that may result in widespread famine and population disruption. “Learning how supervolcanoes work is important for understanding the future threat of an inevitable super-eruption, which happen about once every 17,000 years. The findings challenged existing knowledge and studying of eruptions, which normally involves looking for liquid magma under a volcano to assess future hazard. We must now consider that eruptions can occur even if no liquid magma is found underneath a volcano—the concept of what is ‘eruptible’ needs to be re-evaluated. While a super-eruption can be regionally and globally impactful and recovery may take decades or even centuries, our results show the hazard is not over with the super-eruption and the threat of further hazards exists for many thousands of years after. Learning when and how eruptible magma accumulates, and in what state the magma is in before and after such eruptions, is critical for understanding supervolcanoes.”

Scientists Figured Out How and When Our Sun Will Die, and It’s Going to Be Epic – (Science Alert – September 5, 2021)

What will our Sun look like after it dies? Previously, astronomers thought it would turn into a planetary nebula – a luminous bubble of gas and dust – until evidence suggested it would have to be a fair bit more massive. An international team of astronomers flipped it again in 2018 and found that a planetary nebula is indeed the most likely Solar corpse. The Sun is about 4.6 billion years old – gauged on the age of other objects in the Solar System that formed around the same time. Based on observations of other stars, astronomers predict it will reach the end of its life in about another 10 billion years. There are other things that will happen along the way, of course. In about 5 billion years, the Sun is due to turn into a red giant. The core of the star will shrink, but its outer layers will expand out to the orbit of Mars, engulfing our planet in the process. If it’s even still there. One thing is certain: By that time, we most certainly won’t be around. In fact, humanity only has about one billion years left unless we find a way off this rock. That’s because the Sun is increasing in brightness by about 10$ every billion years. That doesn’t sound like much, but that increase in brightness will end life on Earth. Our oceans will evaporate, and the surface will become too hot for water to form. We’ll be about as kaput as you can get. It’s what comes after the red giant that has proven difficult to pin down. The 2018 study used computer modeling to determine that, like 90% of other stars, our Sun is most likely to shrink down from a red giant to become a white dwarf and then end as a planetary nebula.

Massive New Animal Species Discovered in 500 Million-Year-Old Burgess Shale – (SciTech Daily – September 8, 2021)

Paleontologists at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have uncovered the remains of a huge new fossil species belonging to an extinct animal group in half-a-billion-year-old Cambrian rocks from Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Named Titanokorys gainesi, this new species is remarkable for its size. With an estimated total length of half a meter, Titanokorys was a giant compared to most animals that lived in the seas at that time, most of which barely reached the size of a pinky finger. “The sheer size of this animal is absolutely mind-boggling, this is one of the biggest animals from the Cambrian period ever found,” says Jean-Bernard Caron, ROM’s Richard M. Ivey Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology. Titanokorys belongs to a group of primitive arthropods called radiodonts. Like all radiodonts, Titanokorys had multifaceted eyes, a pineapple slice-shaped, tooth-lined mouth, a pair of spiny claws below its head to capture prey and a body with a series of flaps for swimming. Within this group, some species also possessed large, conspicuous head carapaces, with Titanokorys being one of the largest ever known.

Futuristic Bionic Arm Helps Amputees Feel the Sensation of Touch and Movement – (CNet – September 1, 2021)

The research group at Cleveland Clinic’s Laboratory for Bionic Integration has designed a “bionic arm” that enlists help from tiny robots to re-create the vital sensations forfeited when one loses an upper limb. The bots do that by safely vibrating muscles at the amputation site. By 2028, the global prosthetics and orthotics market is expected to reach over $8 billion, according to a 2021 report from Grand View Research, but artificial limbs have hit a mechanical roadblock. They can’t really account for many intuitive sensations that help us in our everyday lives, such as the way it feels to open and close our hands. Enter the bionic arm, a hybrid of metal and realistic skin tones. The device translates information directly to and from the brain via powerful robots about half the size of a standard matchbox. While turning thoughts into action, the arm can simultaneously contact the brain to deliver sensations corresponding to that intended action. Not only does the artificial limb appear to be the first bionic arm to simultaneously test several metrics of its benefits over typical prosthetics, those metrics indicate that it replicates the mechanics of natural arms precisely enough to restore unconscious reflexes in amputees who use it. We rely on such reflexes every day. For instance, when we pick up a cup of coffee, our hand finds the mug on the table, grips the handle with the right level of firmness and lets go at the perfect time to prevent spills.

Britain Begins World’s Largest Trial of Blood Test for 50 Types of Cancer – (Reuters – September 12, 2021)

Britain’s state-run National Health Service will on Monday begin the world’s biggest trial of Grail Inc’s flagship Galleri blood test that can be used to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. The Galleri test looks at the DNA in a patient’s blood to determine if any come from cancer cells. Earlier diagnosis of cancers leads to dramatically increased survival rates. “We need to study the Galleri test carefully to find out whether it can significantly reduce the number of cancers diagnosed at a late stage,” said Peter Sasieni, professor of cancer prevention at King’s College London. The NHS said it wanted to recruit 140,000 volunteers in England to see how well the test worked as part of a randomised control trial. Half of the participants will have their blood sample screened with the Galleri test right away.

A New Company with a Wild Mission: Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth – (New York Times – September 13, 2021)

A team of scientists and entrepreneurs have started a new company to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth. The company, named Colossal, aims to place thousands of these magnificent beasts back on the Siberian tundra, thousands of years after they went extinct. “This is a major milestone for us,” said George Church, a biologist at Harvard Medical School, who for eight years has been leading a small team of moonlighting researchers developing the tools for reviving mammoths. Dr. Church, who is best known for inventing ways of reading and editing DNA, wondered if he could effectively revive an extinct species by rewriting the genes of a living relative. Because Asian elephants and mammoths share a common ancestor that lived about six million years ago, Dr. Church thought it might be possible to modify the genome of an elephant to produce something that would look and act like a mammoth. The company, which has received $15 million in initial funding, will support research in Dr. Church’s lab and carry out experiments in labs of their own in Boston and Dallas. A former researcher in Dr. Church’s lab, Eriona Hysolli, will oversee the new company’s efforts to edit elephant DNA, adding genes for mammoth traits like dense hair and thick fat for withstanding cold. The researchers hope to produce embryos of these mammoth-like elephants in a few years, and ultimately produce entire populations of the animals. Other researchers are deeply skeptical that Colossal will pull off such a feat. And if Colossal does manage to produce baby mammoth-like elephants, the company will face serious ethical questions. Is it humane to produce an animal whose biology we know so little about? Who gets to decide whether they can be set loose, potentially to change the ecosystems of tundras in profound ways?

July Set The Record For Doctored NOAA Temperatures, Not Heat – (Principia Scientific – August 19, 2021)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has posted a press release titled, “It’s official: July was Earth’s hottest month on record.” The objective data, however, show no such record heat. The only records being set in July were NOAA’s propensity to doctor the temperature record to justify its bloated budget and the media’s uncritical hyping of the phony temperature claims. As documented in Climate at a Glance: U.S. Temperatures, NOAA deliberately uses flawed and doctored temperature data to produce its temperature reports. For example, U.S. temperatures measured by weather stations were higher in the 1930s than in any recent years or decades, yet NOAA has doctored down the 1930’s data to make present temperatures appear warmer. Also, temperature measurements taken at the most accurate U.S. weather stations (the Climate Reference Network) show no warming since at least 2005, yet NOAA claims ongoing recent warming. The most damning evidence for NOAA’s claims of record global heat in July 2021 is objective global temperature data measured by NOAA instruments aboard NASA satellites.

Plans for $400-billion New City in the American Desert Unveiled – (CNN – September 5, 2021)

The cleanliness of Tokyo, the diversity of New York and the social services of Stockholm: Billionaire Marc Lore has outlined his vision for a 5-million-person “new city in America” and appointed a world-famous architect to design it. Now, he just needs somewhere to build it — and $400 billion in funding. The former Walmart executive last week unveiled plans for Telosa, a sustainable metropolis that he hopes to create, from scratch, in the American desert. The ambitious 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. A so-called “15-minute city design” will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes. Although planners are still scouting for locations, possible targets include Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas and the Appalachian region, according to the project’s official website. The announcement was accompanied by a series of digital renderings by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the architecture firm hired to bring Lore’s utopian dream to life. The images show residential buildings covered with greenery and imagined residents enjoying abundant open space. With fossil-fuel-powered vehicles banned in the city, autonomous vehicles are pictured traveling down sun-lit streets alongside scooters and pedestrians. In addition to innovative urban design, the project also promises transparent governance and what it calls a “new model for society.” Taking its name from the ancient Greek word “telos” (a term used by the philosopher Aristotle to describe an inherent or higher purpose), the city would allow residents to “participate in the decision-making and budgeting process.” A community endowment will meanwhile offer residents shared ownership of the land. (Editor’s note: It is not stated if anything is expected to be manufactured in this city. Will the residents solely consist of “knowledge workers” and service sector workers – from doctors to autonomous vehicle repair people to Walmart employees – to provide the amenities expected in an up-and-coming urban environment?)

Wind Turbine Generates Five Times More Energy Than Its Competitors – (Fast Company – September 3, 2021)

Renewable energy could power the world within the next 30 years, and wind power is one of the cheapest, most efficient ways to get there. Except that 80% of the world’s offshore wind blows in deep waters, where it’s difficult to build wind farms. A new design for a radically different kind of wind turbine could begin to change that. Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems is developing a floating, multi-turbine technology for wind farms that could generate five times the annual energy of the world’s largest, single wind turbine. This increased efficiency is due to an innovative design that reinvents the way wind farms look and perform. Unlike traditional wind turbines, which consist of one pole and three gargantuan blades, the so-called Wind Catcher is articulated in a square grid with over 100 small blades, (see photo). At 1,000 feet high, the system is over three times as tall as an average wind turbine, and it stands on a floating platform that’s anchored to the ocean floor. The company is planning to build a prototype next year. If it succeeds, the Wind Catcher could revolutionize the way we harness wind power.

Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries. How Is That Possible? – (New York Times – September 3, 2021)

In 2009, you could mine one Bitcoin using a setup like this in your living room. Amount of household electricity required to mine one coin: a few seconds’ worth. Bitcoin’s value: basically nothing. Today, you’d need a room full of specialized machines, each costing thousands of dollars. Amount of household electricity required: 9 years’ worth. (Put in terms of a typical home electricity bill: about $12,500.) Value of one Bitcoin today: about $50,000. The process of creating Bitcoin to spend or trade consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than is used by Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million. That usage, which is close to half-a-percent of all the electricity consumed in the world, has increased about tenfold in just the past five years. So why is it so energy intensive? This article explains it – and the answer is not simply that large banks of computers use a lot of electricity. For example, producing the hardware consumes energy as well.  And everyone wants the newest, fastest machinery, which causes high turnover and a new e-waste problem. Alex de Vries, a Paris-based economist, estimates that every year and a half or so, the computational power of mining hardware doubles, making older machines obsolete. According to his calculations, at the start of 2021, Bitcoin alone was generating more e-waste than many midsize countries.

Dust-sized Supercapacitor Packs the Same Voltage as a AAA Battery – (New Atlas – August 23, 2021)

By combining miniaturized electronics with some origami-inspired fabrication, scientists in Germany have developed what they say is the smallest microsupercapacitor in existence. Smaller than a speck of a dust but with a similar voltage to a AAA battery, the groundbreaking energy storage device is not only safe for use in the human body, but actually makes use of key ingredients in the blood to supercharge its performance. The scientists behind the new device were working within the realm of nano-supercapacitors (nBSC), which are conventional capacitors but scaled down to the sub-millimeter scale. Developing these types of devices is tricky enough, but the researchers sought to make one that could work safely in the human body to power tiny sensors and implants, which requires swapping out problematic materials and corrosive electrolytes for ones that are biocompatible. Placed in saline, blood plasma and blood, these tiny devices demonstrated an ability to successfully store energy. The biosupercapacitor proved particularly effective in blood, where it retained up to 70% of its capacity after 16 hours of operation. Another reason blood may be a suitable home for the team’s biosupercapacitor is that the device works with inherent redox enzymatic reactions and living cells in the solution to supercharge its own charge storage reactions, boosting its performance by 40%.

EVOC Cycling Backpack Features an Auto-deploying Airbag – (New Atlas – September 8, 2021)

While most bicycle commuting backpacks simply allow cyclists to carry their stuff, EVOC Sports’ newest model offers a little something extra. In the event of an accident, an airbag pops out of it to protect the rider’s upper body. Known as the Commute Air Pro 18, the recycled-polyester pack looks pretty normal in its “non-deployed” state. Along with a main cargo compartment, it also features a side-accessible laptop compartment, an elastic side pocket, and compartments for odds and ends like smartphones and glasses. Its chest strap additionally incorporates an electrified magnetic buckle, which activates onboard motion sensors when it gets snapped shut. Those sensors proceed to measure the position and orientation of the backpack 1,000 times per second. If a distinctive sudden change in those parameters indicates that a fall is taking place, the pack’s top-located airbag gets fully inflated and deployed within 200 milliseconds. While it reportedly cushions the cyclist’s neck, shoulders, collarbone and chest, their spine is additionally shielded by one of EVOC’s replaceable Liteshield-Plus back protector plates, which is also built into the pack. See also: “Smart” LED bike pedals change color to serve as head- and tail lights.

ColdSnap Makes Single-serving Fresh Ice Cream from Unrefrigerated Pods – (New Atlas – January 11, 2021)

Along with single servings of coffee, we’ve also seen Keurig-like pods used to dispense cocktails, wine, fresh tortillas and even full meals. ColdSnap forges into different territory, by serving up fresh ice cream and other frosty treats. Created by entrepreneur Matt Fonte, the ColdSnap system consists of a countertop rapid-freezing machine, along with an assortment of pods. These pods contain not only different flavors of both dairy and non-dairy ice cream (in liquid form), but also the ingredients for things like smoothies, frozen yogurt, protein shakes and frozen cocktails. The pods themselves are made from recyclable aluminum, and because their contents are fully sealed inside, they do not have to be refrigerated. Users simply select a pod, insert it into the top of the machine, then wait 60 to 90 seconds for the machine to freeze and dispense its contents. The finished product is claimed to have quite a smooth consistency, as the ice crystals that form within it are very small. ColdSnap can also be used to make frozen coffee. (Editor’s note: We recommend checking out all of the links above – just for fun, even if you like to cook and wouldn’t think of serving anything instant.)

Man Robbed of 16 Bitcoin Sues Young Thieves’ Parents – (Krebs on Security – August 25, 2021)

In 2018, Andrew Schober was digitally mugged for approximately $1 million worth of bitcoin. After several years of working with investigators, Schober says he’s confident he has located two young men in the United Kingdom responsible for using a clever piece of digital clipboard-stealing malware to siphon his crypto holdings. Schober is now suing each of their parents in a civil case that seeks to extract what their children would not return voluntarily.  Schober’s lawsuit lays out how his investigators traced the stolen funds through cryptocurrency exchanges and on to the two youths in the United Kingdom. In addition, they found one of the defendants — just hours after Schober’s bitcoin was stolen — had posted a message to GitHub asking for help accessing the private key corresponding to the public key of the bitcoin address used by the clipboard-stealing malware. Investigators found the other defendant had the malware code that was bundled with the Electrum Atom application in his Github code library. But the statute of limitations may or may not have not been passed – that’s now the legal issue. Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department, said the plaintiff is claiming the parents are liable because he gave them notice of a crime committed by their kids and they failed to respond. “A lot of these crimes are being committed by juveniles, and we don’t have a good juvenile justice system that’s well designed to both civilly and criminally go after kids,” Rasch said. Rasch said he’s currently an attorney in a number of lawsuits involving young men who’ve been accused of stealing and laundering millions of dollars of cryptocurrency — specifically crimes involving SIM swapping — where the fraudsters trick or bribe an employee at a mobile phone store into transferring control of a target’s phone number to a device they control. In those cases, the plaintiffs have sought to extract compensation for their losses from the mobile phone companies — but so far those lawsuits have largely failed to yield results and are often pushed into arbitration. Rasch said it makes sense that some victims of cryptocurrency theft are spending some serious coin to track down their assailants and sue them civilly. But he said the legwork needed to make that case is tremendous and costly, and there’s no guarantee those investments will pay off down the road.

A Single Laser Fired through a Keyhole Can Expose Everything Inside a Room – (Gizmodo – September 9, 2021)

Researchers at the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab have expanded on a technique called non-line-of-sight imaging so that just a single point of laser light entering a room can be used to see what physical objects might be inside. Non-line-of-sight (NLOS, for short) imaging is by no means a new idea. It’s a clever technique that’s been refined in research labs over the years to create cameras that can remarkably see around corners and generate images of objects that otherwise aren’t in the camera’s field of view, or are blocked by a series of obstacles. Previously, the technique has leveraged flat surfaces like floors or walls that are in the line of sight of both the camera and the obstructed object. A series of light pulses originating from the camera, usually from lasers, bounce off these surfaces and then bounce off the hidden object before eventually making their way back to the camera’s sensors. Algorithms then use the information about how long it took these reflections to return to generate an image of what the camera can’t see. The results aren’t high resolution, but they’re usually detailed enough to easily determine what the object in question is. If you’re worried about privacy, it might be time to cover up your front door’s peephole.

El Salvador Becomes First Country to Adopt Bitcoin as an Official Currency – (The Verge – September 7, 2021)

Bitcoin is now an official currency of El Salvador alongside the US dollar, after the Central American country became the first to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender. At three minutes to midnight local time, the country’s populist president Nayid Bukele tweeted that the country was about to “make history” with the move, after previously confirming that it had purchased 400 Bitcoins, the equivalent of around $20.9 million at today’s prices. Supporters argue the move will make it cheaper and easier for migrants to send money home to El Salvador, which is important given such remittances account for over 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to figures from the World Bank. There are also hopes the move could improve citizens’ access to financial services. The CEO of Strike, a digital finance company that helped with the logistics of the new law, told that over 70% of the country’s “active population” do not currently have a bank account. See also: Bitcoin Investors Are Reportedly Exempt from Taxes in El Salvador and El Salvador’s Bitcoin Experiment Is a Warning to Other Countries.

Forget Tiger Moms. Now China’s ‘Chicken Blood’ Parents Are Pushing Kids to Succeed – (NPR – September 6, 2021)

China’s jiwa, or “chicken” parents, are known for their attentive — some say obsessive — parenting style. The term is used to describe aggressive helicopter parenting and comes from an unproven Chinese-medicine treatment dating back to the 1950s in which a person is injected with fresh chicken blood to stimulate energy. Jiwa parenting culture, a relatively new phenomenon, is now in the crosshairs of Chinese authorities. At a time when the government wants to see families having more children and raising more future workers, it fears that hypercompetitive parenting pressures — combined with the meteoric growth of China’s private education sector, now worth billions of dollars — are deepening inequality and discouraging couples from having larger families, a priority of the country’s new three-child policy. As more parents complain about the burnout brought on by jiwa culture, there’s concern that the financial and emotional toll is making many reluctant to have a second, much less a third, child. A desire to stay ahead and the belief in the power of education mean many Chinese families spend, on average, between one-fourth and nearly half of their incomes on supplemental education activities, helping fuel the success of private education companies worth billions. Some jiwa parents are wealthy. But many come from humble backgrounds and worked hard as China’s economy boomed. Now they want to give their children every advantage possible, especially as China’s society gives way to growing class inequality. The race to stay ahead of the curve begins as early as preschool, with Beijing parents signing up their tots for elementary school-level math and English classes, costing usually between $80 and $150 an hour. Some sports or dance teachers demand a minimum payment of $3,000 a month. And while jiwa culture may be heavily commercially developed in China, widening social inequality is linked to educational competition around the world, says Xuan Li, a parenting psychologist at NYU Shanghai. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article both for its look at helicopter parenting in China and the way it reflects the increasing intensity of competition globally.)

Research Reveals How Star-Making Pollutes the Cosmos – (SciTech Daily – August 30, 2021)

“Enormous clouds of gas are pulled into galaxies and used in the process of making stars,” said co-lead author Deanne Fisher, associate professor at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University in Australia. “On its way in it is made of hydrogen and helium. By using a new piece of equipment called the Keck Cosmic Web Imager, we were able to confirm that stars made from this fresh gas eventually drive a huge amount of material back out of the system, mainly through supernovas. “But this stuff is no longer nice and clean – it contains lots of other elements, including oxygen, carbon, and iron.” The process of atoms flooding into galaxies – known as ‘accretion’ – and their eventual expulsion – known as ‘outflows’ – is an important mechanism governing the growth, mass, and size of galaxies. Until now, however, the composition of the inward and outward flows could only be guessed at. This research is the first time the full cycle has been confirmed in a galaxy other than the Milky Way.

Another 3.9 Million People Quit Their Jobs in June—and Many Are Getting Higher-paying Roles – (CNBC – August 10, 2021)

The U.S. quitting spree is still going strong. After dipping slightly in May, the share of people leaving their employer rose again in June, when another 3.9 million people quit their jobs, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The number of people who quit their jobs in June make up 69% of total separations, which also includes layoffs, firings and retirement. Meanwhile, opportunities continue to abound for job-seekers. The number of job openings in the U.S. economy jumped to 10.1 million in June — the highest on record, according to the Labor Department — led by openings in professional and business services; retail trade; and accommodation and food services. “Labor demand keeps getting stronger. This is the third straight month of record-breaking job openings,” writes Nick Bunker, an economist with the jobs site Indeed. “The quits rate is also close to its all-time high, which was set just two months ago in April. This wave of demand will eventually recede, but job-seekers should ride it until then.”

Track-inspection Drone Rides the Rails, and Flies Away from Trains – (New Atlas –  August 24, 2021)

The inspections of railway tracks typically have to be performed when no trains are anywhere nearby. The new rail-riding Staaker BG-300 Railway Drone offers an alternative, as it just flies off the tracks when trains approach. Manufactured by Norwegian company Nordic Unmanned, the BG-300 is a fuel-cell-powered multicopter drone that also packs a set of four motorized rail wheels. Utilizing those, it can cruise along a rail line at an average speed of 20 km/h (12 mph), reportedly travelling up to 200 km (124 miles) at a time. As it does so, it inspects the tracks utilizing cameras and “other sensors,” plus it can lubricate rail switches if required. Importantly, though, if it encounters any other rail traffic, it will autonomously fly up off the tracks in order to get out of the way until that traffic passes. It can also use this functionality to move from one track to another. The drone should begin commercial service in Europe as of the first half of next year.

The World Is Still Short of Everything. Get Used to It. – (New York Times – August 30, 2021)

Delays, product shortages and rising costs continue to bedevil businesses large and small. And consumers are confronted with an experience once rare in modern times: no stock available, and no idea when it will come in. The Great Supply Chain Disruption is a central element of the extraordinary uncertainty that continues to frame economic prospects worldwide. In March, as global shipping prices spiked and as many goods became scarce, conventional wisdom had it that the trouble was largely the result of a surplus of orders reflecting extraordinary shifts in demand. Consumers in the United States and other wealthy countries had taken pandemic lockdowns as the impetus to add gaming consoles and exercise bikes to their homes, swamping the shipping industry with cargo, and exhausting the supplies of many components. After a few months, many assumed, factories would catch up with demand, and ships would work through the backlog. That is not what happened. The turmoil in international commerce has gone on longer than many expected because shortages and delays in some products have made it impossible to make others. At the same time, many companies had slashed their inventories in recent years, embracing lean production to cut costs and boost profits. That left minimal margin for error. A giant ship that became lodged in the Suez Canal this year, halting traffic on a vital waterway linking Europe to Asia for a week, added to the mayhem on the seas. So did a series of temporary coronavirus-related closures of key ports in China. The world has gained a painful lesson in how interconnected economies are across vast distances, with delay and shortages in any one place rippling out nearly everywhere. A shipping container that cannot be unloaded in Los Angeles because too many dockworkers are in quarantine is a container that cannot be loaded with soybeans in Iowa, leaving buyers in Indonesia waiting, and potentially triggering a shortage of animal feed in Southeast Asia. See also: A Record-breaking 44 Container Ships Are Stuck off the Coast of California.

CEO Ridiculed for Raising Minimum Wage to $70K Has the Last Laugh – (OpEdNews – August 17, 2021)

Six years ago, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price discovered one of his employees was working a second job to make ends meet. His response? He gave her, and ultimately everyone in the company a raise to $70,000 per year. He paid for it by dropping his own $1.1 million salary to $70,000. He tweeted “Money buys happiness when you climb out of poverty. But going from well-off to very well-off doesn’t make you happier. Doing what you believe is right, will.” When he was interviewed on FOX News, he was ridiculed. They said his business would fail, and accused him of being a socialist. However, the FOX employees who ushered him in to the shows emceed by hosts making seven figures, told him they could hardly make ends meet on their minimum wage salaries. Six years later after the decision that others said would destroy his business, Dan reports that revenue has tripled, the customer base has doubled, 70% of his employees have paid down debt, many bought homes for the first time, 401(k) contributions grew by 155% and turnover dropped in half. His business is now a Harvard Business School case study. At the start of the pandemic, Dan says they lost 55% of their revenue overnight. His employees volunteered to take temporary pay cuts in order to prevent layoffs. They all weathered the storm. He paid everyone back and is now giving out raises. In response, his employees were so grateful they bought him a Tesla.

Big Tech Wants to Build the ‘Metaverse.’ What on Earth Does That Mean? – (Washington Post – August 30, 2021)

A number of sci-fi-inspired tech CEOs say that one day soon, we will all be hanging out in an interactive virtual reality world, complete with games, adventures, shopping and otherworldly offerings. But the metaverse is different from today’s virtual reality, where clunky headsets offer siloed experiences and few chances to cross-play with people who own other gadgets. Instead, the metaverse would be a massive communal cyberspace, linking augmented reality and virtual reality together, enabling avatars to hop seamlessly from one activity to the next. It’s a huge undertaking that would require standardization and cooperation among tech giants, who are not prone to collaborating with competitors — though it hasn’t stopped many from saying the metaverse is just around the corner. Facebook should be known as a “metaverse company,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in July on an earnings call. The goal, he said, is to populate this virtual world by enticing new users with cheap headsets. Eventually, Zuckerberg hinted, this robust user base would prove an adverting boon: “hundreds of millions of people” in the metaverse “compounds the size of the digital economy inside it.” But Facebook isn’t the only company betting heavily on the metaverse. In May, Microsoft said it is “uniquely positioned” with a stack of artificial intelligence and mixed reality tools to help companies start developing “metaverse apps today.” A number of gaming companies, including Fortnite’s owner Epic Games, have released simulation software and VR services for a metaverse. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its ability to explain what the metaverse is and why you might someday want to live there – or not.)

What Slime Knows – (Orion – August 24, 2021)

This is a fascinating article about myxomycetes – a small, understudied class of single-celled creatures that are neither molds (though often called ‘slime molds’) nor fungi, but a type of amoeba. Throughout their lives, myxomycetes only ever exist as a single cell, inside which the cytoplasm always flows—out to its extremities, back to the center. It is a single cell that can grow as large as a bath mat, has no brain, no sense of sight or smell, but can solve mazes, learn patterns, keep time, and pass down the wisdom of generations. When it encounters something it likes, such as oatmeal, the cytoplasm pulsates more quickly. If it finds something it dislikes, like salt, quinine, bright light, cold, or caffeine, it pulsates more slowly and moves its cytoplasm away (though it can choose to overcome these preferences if it means survival). Recent genetic analyses have suggested that slime molds are perhaps as old as one or two billion years—which would make them hundreds of millions of years older than plants, and would mean they pulled themselves out of the ocean on their cellbows at a time when the only land species were giant mats of bacteria. Along the way, this article offers a brief history of the development and evolution of taxonomy, the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms, traditionally used as a means of creating hierarchies of life.

The Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award – (Comedy Wildlife Photo – September, 2021)

That seal’s giggling. And those brown bears are dancing. And that starling? So teed off! Well, not really, but the finalists for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have just been announced and they sure do look that way. Wander through 42 fabulous photos and, if you wish, vote for your favorite. To see humorous captions, click on each photo to enlarge it.

Curious Whale Nudges Paddle Boarder in Argentina – (Good News Network – September 10, 2021)

This one isn’t eligible for the photography contest above since it’s a video clip rather than a still photo, but it’s extraordinary. Maxi Jonas, a drone photographer in Argentina, managed to capture this video of a southern right whale heading towards a woman paddle boarding, using its fin to gently push her board, then swimming directly beneath.
Life is a series of collisions with the future;
it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.

Jose Ortega y Gasset
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Quartet – Is technology the Antichrist?

Freddy Silva – Visual Lecture 1