Volume 24, Number 23 – 12/1/21

View this email in your browser

Volume 24, Number 23 – 12/1/2021


  • The first electric tractor is now being field tested.
  • 80,000 burgers can be produced from a sample of bovine cells the size of a sesame seed.
  • At some point between now and 2100, Lagos will become the world’s most populous city.
  • Venus may still be volcanically active.
Sally Fallon Morell

The Contagion Myth

Saturday, December 11th
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia


All disease is the result of three causes: malnutrition, toxins and injury.  Microbes (bacteria, fungus, “viruses”) are often present in disease, but they are not the cause.

If you thought about this statement and said, “But they’re telling us that a “virus” is causing all of this “pandemic” . . . then you’ll really want to hear Sally Fallon Morrell, our next TransitionTalk speaker in December. 

The official explanation for today’s Covid-19 pandemic is a “dangerous, infectious virus.” This is the rationale for isolating a large portion of the world’s population in their homes so as to curb its spread. From face masks to social distancing, from antivirals to vaccines, these measures are predicated on the assumption that tiny virus can cause serious illness and that such illness is transmissible person-to-person. 

What if (as it turns out to be), all of that is not true? In this time of Covid, with all of the obvious and competing attempts to shape the narrative about “what you should be doing,” wouldn’t it be critical – and welcome – to practically understand how the human system that defends and supports disease actually works?  That would be a  powerful basis for building a clear, defendable, personal response to all of the competing claims. 

Sally Fallon Morrell, along with her co-author Dr. Thomas Cowan, wrote the book on this subject and will be coming to TransitionTalks on the 11th of December to walk us through the very understandable logic of why viruses (including “Coronavirus”) are not the cause of disease.  

As it turns out, each of us, through our immune system, have the most powerful  — and primary – defense against the trillions of viruses and bacteria that are an integral part of our bodies. We all carry around the basis for almost every disease that exists. We don’t “catch” it from others. 

Our immune systems are our first line of defense and this presentation is going to describe how it works . . . and how you can take advantage of this knowledge and assure that you have a strong defense against any and all of those potential maladies that are with us wherever we go. 

This information packed afternoon will include discussion of malaria, the black death, scurvy and pellagra (once considered contagious), leprosy, rabies, childhood illnesses, anthrax, TB, smallpox, polio, Spanish flu and Covid-19. The probable cause of Covid-19 will be discussed along with protective dietary strategies. This is practical advice about dealing with the most significant event in our lives.

Join us on December 11th as Sally Fallon Morell is with us for TransitionTALKS.  A wine and cheese reception will follow Sally’s talk.

Click below for more information about this event and to get tickets.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info
Watch this tantalizing peek at what Sally will be talking about  when she joins us on December 11th, 2021. You’ll not want to miss this! 
(Although Vimeo banned this video.)

Join us in person or via livestream / replay.
Sally Fallon Morell is the founding president of The Weston A. Price Foundation (, a non-profit nutrition education foundation dedicated to returning nutrient-dense food to American tables. She is also the founder of A Campaign for Real Milk (, which has as its goal universal access to clean raw milk from pasture-fed animals.  She is the author of the best-selling cookbook Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD); The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD); Nourishing Broth (with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN); Nourishing Fats; and Nourishing Diets. Her latest book is The Contagion Myth, co-authored with Thomas S Cowan, MD.  She and her husband Geoffrey Morell are owners of P A Bowen Farmstead ( in Southern Maryland, which produces raw cheese and milk from pastured cows, woodlands whey-fed pork and grass-fed poultry and eggs. Visit her blog at  

They Just Admitted What the Passport System is For – (Principia Scientific –November 16, 2021)

You’ve probably seen a handful of people on social media say that vaccine passport systems make them “feel safe.” You know and I know that these systems have nothing to do with health or safety. Well, some authorities in Canada just admitted what you and I knew: the aim is to punish the unvaccinated. The British Columbia Parks and Recreation department says: “Remember, the purpose of the PoV card is to incentivize residents to be vaccinated, not to control the spread of the virus.” Then further: “This is an important shift to keep aware of for your decision-making; the province has shifted from actions that provide a COVID-safe environment to actions that provide discretionary services to the vaccinated.”

Covid Jab Is Far More Dangerous than Advertised. Dr. Peter McCullough- (Global Research – November 17, 2021)

October 26, 2021, Global Research published an interview with Dr. Peter McCullough, in which he reviews and explains the findings of a September 2021 study published in the journal Toxicology Reports, which states: “A novel best-case scenario cost-benefit analysis showed very conservatively that there are five times the number of deaths attributable to each inoculation vs. those attributable to COVID-19 in the most vulnerable 65+ demographic. The risk of death from COVID-19 decreases drastically as age decreases, and the longer-term effects of the inoculations on lower age groups will increase their risk-benefit ratio, perhaps substantially.” McCullough has impeccable academic credentials. He’s an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and a full professor of medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine in Dallas. He also has a master’s degree in public health and is known for being one of the top five most-published medical researchers in the United States, in addition to being the editor of two medical journals. Not surprisingly, the Toxicology Reports paper has received scathing critique from certain quarters. Still, corresponding author Ronald Kostoff told Retraction Watch that the criticism has actually been “an extremely small fraction” of the overall response, which by and large has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.  Certainly, data very clearly show the mass “vaccination” campaign has not had a discernible impact on global death rates. On the contrary, in some cases the death toll shot up after the COVID shots became widely available. You can browse through to see this for yourself. Several examples are also included at the very beginning of the video (link above). This trend has also been confirmed in a September 2021 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology. It found COVID-19 case rates are completely unrelated to vaccination rates. Using data available as of September 3, 2021, from Our World in Data for cross-country analysis, and the White House COVID-19 Team data for U.S. counties, the researchers investigated the relationship between new COVID-19 cases and the percentage of the population that had been fully vaccinated. According to the authors, there was “no discernible relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days.” If anything, higher vaccination rates were associated with a slight increase in cases. See also: German Study Proves Higher Vaccinations Link to Higher Death Rates.

Abstract 10712: Mrna COVID Vaccines Dramatically Increase Endothelial Inflammatory Markers and ACS Risk as Measured by the PULS Cardiac Test: a Warning – (Circulation – a journal of the -American Heart Assoc. – November 8, 2021)

This abstract is from a paper by Steven R Gundry, practicing at The International Heart and Lung Institute in Palm Springs, CA, presented on November 13, 2021. From the Abstract: “Our group has been using the PULS Cardiac Test (GD Biosciences, Inc, Irvine, CA) a clinically validated measurement of multiple protein biomarkers which generates a score predicting the 5 yr risk (percentage chance) of a new Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). The score is based on changes from the norm of multiple protein biomarkers including IL-16, a proinflammatory cytokine, soluble Fas, an inducer of apoptosis, and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) which serves as a marker for chemotaxis of T-cells into epithelium and cardiac tissue, among other markers.” Abstract provides specifics of research procedures and results. “We conclude that the mRNA vacs dramatically increase inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination.” The AHA notes: that there is an expression of concern regarding this article primarily because there is no data regarding myocardial T-cell infiltration and there are no statistical analyses for significance provided; they are expecting a correction. See also this video clip, “Finally! Medical Proof the Covid Jab is “Murder” which discusses the presentation.

Scientists Are Attempting to Grow Covid Vaccine-Filled Spinach, Lettuce, Edible Plant – (CSNBBS – November 12, 2021)

Researchers at the University of California were awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for developing a technology that infuses experimental mRNA Covid-19 vaccines into spinach, lettuce and other edible plants. The team of nanobiotechnology experts is currently working on successfully delivering DNA containing mRNA BioNTech technology into chloroplasts, the part of the plants that instruct its cells’ DNA to replicate the vaccine material. The project’s goals are threefold: showing that DNA containing the mRNA vaccines can be successfully delivered into the part of plant cells where it will replicate, demonstrating the plants can produce enough mRNA to rival a traditional shot, and finally, determining the right dosage.

Fauci as Darth Vader of the Covid Wars – (Unz Review, November 25, 2021)

Robert F Kennedy Jr’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Nonetheless, it is #2 on the “most sold nonfiction” Amazon chart this week. RFK Jr., chairman of the board of and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense, sets out to deconstruct a New Normal, encroaching upon all of us since early 2020. Kennedy describes it as “rising totalitarianism,” complete with “mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.” Focusing on Dr Anthony Fauci as the fulcrum of the biggest story of the 21st century allows RFK Jr to paint a complex canvas of planned militarization and, especially, monetization of medicine, a toxic process managed by Big Pharma, Big Tech and the military/intel complex – and dutifully promoted by mainstream media. Why Fauci? RFK Jr. argues that for five decades, he has been essentially a Big Pharma agent, nurturing “a complex web of financial entanglements among pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its employees that has transformed NIAID into a seamless subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. Fauci unabashedly promotes his sweetheart relationship with Pharma as a ‘public-private partnership.’”

The Vaccine Moment, Part One – (Paul Kingsnorth – November 24, 2021)

Paul Kingsnorth is the founder of the Dark Mountain Project.  A twenty-page “manifesto” written in the autumn of 2008 took Dark Mountain out into the world as the financial system shook to its foundations. Faced with this unravelling, the manifesto called into question the stories our societies like to tell about the world and our place within it: the myth of progress, the myth of human separation from nature, the myth of civilization. And it claims a particular role for storytellers and culture makers in a time when the stories we live by have become untenable. This is the project of ‘Uncivilized’ art and writing set out in the invitation which closes the manifesto. In this essay, Kingsnorth offers a lucid tour-de-force on the state of current Covid/vaccine landscape as his gaze sweeps around the globe. Again and again he notes the awkward holes in the general narrative. For example, living in Ireland, he writes, “For six months we have been living with vaccine apartheid, with the ‘unvaxxed’ excluded from much of society, but it hasn’t worked. Rates of infection are shooting up as winter arrives – as you might expect with a respiratory virus. We were all told recently to work from home, and another lockdown is on the cards. A midnight curfew has recently been imposed on pubs and nightclubs. This is odd, as only vaccinated people have been allowed into them for months, and we have repeatedly been assured that vaccinated people are safe to be around.” (Editor’s note: We recommend this very measured essay.)

Real Not Rare Adverse Events 11/2/2021 – (YouTube – November 4, 2021)

This 7 minute video clip is of Brianne Dressen, testifying before an FDA panel on November 2, 2021. Brianne took part in the Utah-based portion of the U.S. AstraZeneca trial in 2020. (The Honorable Ron Johnson, a Senator from Wisconsin, is seated beside her.)  She suffered significant neurological injury after the first dose and withdrew from the trial. Because study protocol requires two doses, she was dropped from the trial and her access the study app deleted. Her reaction is not described in the recently released clinical trial report. 266 participants are described as having an AE (adverse event) leading to discontinuation, 56 neurological reactions are tallied. Note: Although it was tested in the US, the AstraZeneca vaccine was not ultimately authorized for use in the U.S. However, Dressen’s testimony definitely bears watching because it sheds a critical light on how vaccine safety statistics have been compiled.

How Obituaries Got a Jolt of New Life in the Internet Era – (Washington Post – November 17, 2021)

Once a sleepy corner of journalism, obituaries have found new life in the Internet era. A well-crafted obit for a prominent figure — blending history and biography, triggering nostalgia or perhaps even the reader’s own feelings of mortality — can attract enormous readership online. And now there’s a need for speed: The obit that comes out first, or at least fast, can win the day. That’s why many news organizations have bolstered their stockpiles of pre-written obits, known as “pre-writes” or “advancers,” creating vast portfolios of deaths foretold. The New York Times has 1,850 such obits idling in its computer system, according to William McDonald, the newspaper’s obituaries editor; The Washington Post has about 900 on hand, said its obituaries editor, Adam Bernstein. The “morguing” of obits, in the ghoulish jargon of the trade, makes obituaries unique in journalism. No other kind of news story can be written so long before an event occurs, driven by one great certainty: At some point, the famous, the infamous and everyone else will die. Baby boomer nostalgia has stoked some of the interest in the lives and deaths of the famous, said Hillel Italie, an Associated Press reporter who has written obituaries of leading cultural figures. Older readers have “a growing awareness of their mortality and sensitivity to the passing of those who helped define their lives,” he said, citing the hunger for news about the August death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts at 80. But the untimely deaths of younger celebrities are a proven draw as well: One of the most-read obits in The Washington Post’s history was that of actress Brittany Murphy, who died suddenly in 2009 at the age of 32. Given the breadth of obituary-worthy VIPs and the randomness of death, however, it’s impossible to be ready for everyone. There were also no advancers for basketball legend Kobe Bryant, when he died at 41 in a helicopter crash early last year, nor for Michael Jackson, James Gandolfini and Chadwick Boseman, all of whom died unexpectedly. After Murphy and Jackson’s deaths in 2009, though, some obituary editors took a hard look at some younger superstars with chaotic lives.

Hackney Man First to Receive 3D-printed Prosthetic Eye – (BBC News – November 25, 2021)

A British man will become the first person in the world to have a 3D-printed prosthetic eye. It is hoped the eye will be more realistic than a traditional acrylic prosthetic eye. It will also cut the time it takes for patients to be fitted with their prosthetics in half, from six weeks to three. For a traditional prosthetic a patient has to undergo a two-hour session to mould their eye socket, before the prosthesis is fitted and then painted. The 3D printed prosthetic should reduce the manufacturing process to two to three weeks, with the initial appointment taking just half an hour, according to the hospital.

A Mozart Sonata Surprised Epilepsy Researchers at Dartmouth with Its Therapeutic Effect – (New Hampshire Pubic Radio – November 15, 2021)

Dartmouth researchers are exploring why Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major decreases abnormal epileptic activity in the brain. “There were intermittent reports as well as small studies suggesting that this Mozart sonata has a positive effect on seizures in patients.” says Dr. Barbara Jobst, director of the Epilepsy and Cognition Lab at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “I initially was very skeptical about this. And if you’re skeptical about something in medicine, the best thing is to study it.” Jobst and the other study researchers monitored the brain activity in 16 patients with epilepsy, specifically the abnormal brain activity (or “spikes”) occurring in patients with epilepsy. Those spikes are associated with seizure frequency and impaired cognition. Researchers found that the frequency of the spikes was reduced when the Mozart sonata played for at least 90 seconds. Jobst points out that the sonata’s effect is only on the spikes in brain activity, and does not indicate any conclusions about cognition or intelligence. “We have to be very careful to not make general assumptions such as ‘Mozart is generally good for you,’” says Jobst. Jobst and Dartmouth music professor Michael Casey say the next step is to study the elements of the sonata that could be reducing the spikes in abnormal brain activity. “[Music] has different effects on our hearing, on our attention, on different brain circuits,” Casey says. He says researchers are now studying whether musical features like tempo and rhythm are causing the decrease in spikes. Jobst says that ultimately they want to engineer therapeutic music which could help people with seizures. Now, researchers need to figure out what musical features would be medically helpful. If you’d like to hear it, here is Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim playing the sonata. (Editor’s note: This is a lovely piece and it’s fun to watch two master pianists interact.)

A 3D Ink Made of Living Cells for Creating Living Structures – (PhysOrg – November 27, 2021)

A team of researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, has developed a type of living ink that can be used to print living materials. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how they made their ink and possible uses for it. For several years, microbial engineers have been working to develop a means to create living materials for use in a wide variety of applications such as medical devices. But getting such materials to conform to desired 3D structures has proven to be a daunting task. In this new effort, the researchers have taken a new approach to tackling the problem—engineering Escherichia coli to produce a product that can be used as the basis for an ink for use in a 3D printer. Article describes research process. The researchers believe that their concept suggests that producing such inks could be a self-creating proposition. Engineering could be added to the microbes to push them to produce carbon copies of themselves—the ink could literally be grown in a jar. They also state that it appears possible that the technique could be used to print renewable building materials that would not only grow but could self heal—a possible approach to building self-sustaining homes here on Earth, or on the moon or on Mars.

Simple Experiment on Global Warming” Debunks Radiative Greenhouse Effect – (Principia Scientific – November 22, 2021)

In September of 2020 the Royal Society Open Science journal published a peer-reviewed article claiming to provide experimental evidence for the mechanism of global warming, i.e., the radiative greenhouse effect. In summary, the experiment was this: fill a balloon alternately with air, and with carbon dioxide, and measure how quickly a hot electrical element heated with power from outside to +500C placed inside the balloon cools down. Thus, right from the foundation of this experiment we may identify that it has nothing to do with the radiative greenhouse effect of climate alarmist political science, which is the actual basis of global warming theory. Article explains the term “radiative greenhouse effect”. The mechanism of the radiative greenhouse effect of climate science, as opposed to the mechanism of a real greenhouse, is found in “backradiation” where the radiation from the cold atmosphere causes the temperature of the warmer surface to rise to higher temperature. We note that although climate science calls this proposed mechanism of “back radiation” a “greenhouse effect”, real greenhouses function by limiting convective cooling and their internal temperatures do not rise above the temperature at which they are heated by the Sunlight. In the “greenhouse effect” of climate science, “backradiation” is said to cause the temperature of the ground surface to rise above the temperature at which it is heated by the Sunlight. When it is pointed out that the backradiation heating mechanism of climate science’s greenhouse effect violates thermodynamic law in that it posits heat flow from cold to hot (an impossibility), then the argument switches from direct heating and direct temperature increase caused by backradiation to “backradiation slows down cooling which leads to higher average temperature over time since the surface doesn’t cool down as far”.

In Praise of Anonymity: Publicizing a Beautiful Place Can Lead to Ruin – (Explorers Web – November 16, 2021)

In the mid-1970s, I (author of this article) began my adventure photojournalism career unwittingly selling out wild places by publishing climbing and skiing stories. I assumed that spreading the love about these largely unknown gems would help protect them. Since then, wildlife populations worldwide have plummeted nearly 70%, due almost entirely to the loss of habitat brought on by the double whammy of overpopulation and consumption. There are many ways that the media – digital, social, and analog — have increased pressures on the environment by promoting industrial tourism (1.1 billion travelers) and adventure travel. The fact is, the previously distinct lines between these two modes of travel have all but merged, as the standards for what constitutes true adventure have fallen. Article looks at the specifics of a number of remote destinations and the environmental degradation of massive tourism. For example, in 2015, Canadian pop music icon Justin Bieber made a video in a pristine Icelandic anyon. The video has been watched more than 440 million times on YouTube since Bieber cantered across delicate mossy vegetation and splashed about in the river flowing through the canyon. Icelandic environmental officials have had to close off Fjaðrárgljúfur to protect it from the hordes of Bieber fans determined to visit the site. But these fans are not letting a few fences, signs, or park rangers keep them away. Not only is environmental degradation a highly visible byproduct of social media, but SM has also helped erode the raisons d’être of those who depend on their livelihoods to post while in the field. Nor is traditional print media exempt from contributing to “over-tourism”, which is defined as the congestion from an excess of tourists that negatively influences both citizens’ lives and the quality of visitor experiences. While most residents and visitors see this as a mere annoyance, the impact on the environment is and should be of much greater concern. The most egregious example of social media-induced abuse is when footage of invasive recreational activities appears online, as a kind of invitation to follow suit. Jerky video shows 4x4s and quads churning through wetlands with big knobby tires or shredding delicate native grasses, paving the way for invasive weeds to take root. One of the most offensive is a clip of a high-powered snowbike planing — in summer — across the shallow headwaters of the Columbia River, adjacent to the federally protected Columbia Wetland Wildlife Management Area.

Holiday Gift Returns Are an Environmental Nightmare. Here Are 5 Ways to Avoid Them – (Fast Company – November 26, 2021)

Free returns are widespread in the retail industry, but they come at an enormous cost to the planet, accelerating climate change and clogging up landfills. Shipping returned inventory across the United States generates an estimated 15 million tons of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of three million cars’ annual emissions. After these returned products arrive at warehouses, retailers will dump five million tons of it in the trash, since this is often cheaper than trying to resell it. More than half of all consumers expect to return unwanted holiday gifts within a month of receiving them. Last year, USPS processed an estimated 1.9 million returns on January 2nd alone. Avoiding returns is one way to help care about the fragile state of the planet. Here’s a guide to making purchases that will reduce the need to return anything.

People Are Talking about Web3. Is It the Internet of the Future or Just a Buzzword? – (NRP- November 21, 2021)

You’re not serious about the future until you add this word to your Twitter bio: Web3. It’s an umbrella term for disparate ideas all pointing in the direction of eliminating the big middlemen on the internet. In this new era, navigating the web no longer means logging onto the likes of Facebook, Google or Twitter. Think of it this way: The nascent days of the Internet in the 1990s were Web 1.0. The web was seen as a way to democratize access to information, but there weren’t great ways of navigating it beyond going to your friend’s GeoCities page. It was pretty disorganized and overwhelming. Then came Web 2.0 starting in the mid-2000s. Platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter emerged to bring order to the Internet by making it easy to connect and transact online. Critics say over time those companies amassed too much power. Web3 is about grabbing some of the power back. Will it work? Or is it just hype? How well will it work? Or will it be co-opted by Big Tech? No one can answer those questions yet, but this article offers a good introductory survey of the issues. See also: Alarm Bells Ring at the Possibility of Getting Caught in Web 3.0 which looks at some additional issues in the intersection of the Web3 and the material world.

Apple Car to Run Neural Processors, AI for Full Autonomy – (FierceElectronics – November 19, 2021)

Apple is now aiming to unveil a fully autonomous vehicle in 2025 — one without a steering wheel or pedals — following the SAE Level 5 definition for full driving automation. The report, based on comments by unnamed sources, says Apple has now finished much of the core work on a processor that will go in the first generation of the car. It was designed by Apple’s silicon engineers, rather than the car engineers at Apple. That car chip design and updated self-driving sensors will be used in retrofitted cars that have already been tested in California, the report added. The chip is made of neural processors that use artificial intelligence required for autonomous driving, which means it will run hot and require a cooling system, according to Bloomberg. Industry analysts are taking the Bloomberg report seriously, but Morgan Stanley said the 2025 target is very ambitious with just 2% of vehicle sales  expected for Level 5 electric vehicles by 2030.

Is Seaweed the Future of Flying? – (BBC News – November 25, 2021)

Giant kelp has a root-like structure that anchors each strand to rocks on the seabed while gas trapped in the blades – which can reach up to 30m (100ft) long – allow them to rise vertically in the water. Near the surface, the kelp forms a dense canopy wafted by currents and waves. It is not the first place you might look to find the future of flying. But that is exactly what these tranquil underwater forests could be – a solution to the aviation industry’s significant carbon emissions problem. While small prototypes of electric aircraft – and even a few solar powered planes – have shown some promise, they are unlikely to become the workhorses of the industry that carry passengers and cargo around the world. Instead, in the short term at least, aircraft will need to be powered by jet fuel. Enter giant kelp. In its native habitat at a depth of around 15m (49ft), kelp absorbs sunlight and sucks carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. Giant kelp grows at a rate of nearly 60cm (2ft) daily, making it one of the fastest growing seaweeds in the world. And if moved to a more nutrient-rich depth of 80m (262ft), it even grows faster. As the gas-filled bladders which keep it afloat burst, the kelp sinks to the seafloor where the carbon is locked away. It’s estimated that macroalgaes like kelp and seagrass could remove 23-295 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year. But seaweed can also be harvested and turned into biofuel. Although when burned, it will still release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as the fuel is made with carbon already drawn from the air by the algae, it shouldn’t contribute additional emissions. In an added bonus, giant kelp forests can support other marine life that also help remove additional carbon from the atmosphere and some analyses estimate using macroalgaes for biofuels could even be carbon negative overall in the right conditions, although this has still to be thoroughly tested in practice. See also: Royal Air Force Lifts Off With Guinness World Record for First Flight Using 100% Synthetic Fuel.

This Colorado ‘Solar Garden’ Is Literally a Farm under Solar Panels – (NPR – November 14, 2021)

Byron Kominek’s family owns a 24-acre farm near Boulder, Colo.  It was struggling to turn a profit.  “Our farm has mainly been hay producing for fifty years,” Kominek said. The farm now has 3,200 solar panels mounted on posts eight feet high above what used to be an alfalfa field. Getting to this point, a community solar garden that sells 1.2 megawatts of power back into the local grid, wasn’t easy, even in a progressive county like his that wanted to expand renewable energy. When Kominek approached Boulder County regulators about putting up solar panels, they initially told him no, his land was designated as historic farmland. “They said, land’s for farming, so go farm it,” Kominek says. “I said, well, we weren’t making any money, you all want to be 100% renewable at some point so how about we work together and sort this out.” They eventually did, with help from researchers at nearby Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Lab, which had been studying how to turn all that otherwise unused land beneath solar panels into a place to grow food. With close to two billion dollars devoted to renewable power in the newly passed infrastructure bill, the solar industry is poised for a win. But there have long been some tensions between renewable developers and some farmers. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, upwards of two million acres of American farmland could be converted to solar in the next decade. But it doesn’t have to be an either or proposition. Solar panels and farming can co-exist, if not even help one another. The solar panels are spaced far enough apart from one another so Kominek can drive his tractor between them. He soon discovered that the intermittent shade from the towering panels above the soil actually helped the plants thrive. That shade also meant a lot less evaporation of coveted irrigation water. And in turn the evaporation actually helped keep the sun-baked solar panels cooler, making them more efficient.

This Smart Tractor Is Electrified, Self-driving, and Loaded with Sensors – (Smart Company – November 19, 2021)

The flagship product of Livermore, California-based Monarch Tractor, is in operation at one of a small group of farms now testing it. Monarch is the first electric tractor company making a serious play for the tractor market, which is currently dominated by fossil fuel-burning (and noisy) diesel tractors. The tractor is still being tested and the company hasn’t yet announced when it will be widely available. The base model will sell for a reasonable $58,000. Monarch’s founders saw a conversion to electric and autonomous farm equipment coming five years ago, driven by the labor shortages in the agriculture industry, as well as increasing pressure on farmers to reduce their environmental footprint. The Monarch Tractor, which looks something like a cross between a big John Deere tractor and a riding lawn mower, can, with some supervision, operate itself in the field. It uses GPS and a system of cameras that see in all directions. “The cameras . . .make sure it goes down the row accurately and is doing that exact [right] operation, which is either spraying or mowing or hauling,” said Monarch Tractor cofounder and CEO Praveen Penmetsa. Computer vision models running on hardware built into the tractor’s roof can recognize signs like leaf discoloration or insect damage, and report them to the farmer. The farmer can monitor up to eight tractors, perhaps from a pickup truck or a home office.

Why Cellular Agriculture Could Be the Future of Farming – (BBC News – November 23, 2021)

Perumal Gandhi and his fellow bioengineer Ryan Pandya, who are the co-founders of a start-up called Perfect Day, equip fungi with gene sequences used by cows to produce certain milk proteins, such as whey protein. Rather than taking DNA from a cow, they use already-decoded genes for the milk proteins, and insert those genes into fungi. In a fermentation process, the fungi then produce the proteins. The resulting product can be used to create a liquid with similar properties to animal milk, or to make animal-free ice creams or cream cheeses. It is one of a growing number of attempts to find alternative ways of producing food without using animals – known as cellular agriculture. The idea is to produce meat, milk or other animal products without needing to rear, slaughter and butcher livestock. Other scientists around the world are similarly hoping to produce foods that imitate meat and dairy in the laboratory. TurtleTree Labs in Singapore, for example, is the first company in the world to use stem cells from mammals to make milk, by encouraging the cells to produce milk in huge bioreactors. Similar technologies are also being used to create meat in the laboratory, by growing it from animal cells. In 2013, scientist Mark Post unveiled the world’s first lab-grown beef burger, formed from small bundles of muscle fibers made by culturing cells taken from a cow. His company, Mosa Meat, can now create 80,000 burgers just from a sample of cells the size of a sesame seed.

Global Organization Attempts to End Free Speech Worldwide – (News Concerns – November 22, 2021)

If you suspected censorship was being coordinated on a global scale, you’d be right. The International Grand Committee on Disinformation (IGCD) consists of “an international array of legislators, policy advisers, and other experts” who work together “to forge international alliances that bring shared, effective strategies into the battle against online disinformation.” The idea behind the IGCD came from four members of the British and Canadian Parliaments. The first session of the IGCD took place at the end of November 2018, so they’ve been quietly working in the background for some time already. Since then, they’ve held meetings in Canada and the U.K. and hosted seminars in the U.S., attended by spiritual leaders, journalists, technology executives, “subject matter experts”, and parliamentary leaders from 21 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore, St. Lucia, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. The IGCD helps shed light on the technocracy front group known as the Centers for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). One of the CCDH’s board members, Damian Collins MP, is also one of the founders of the IGCD. Both groups were formed in 2018 and clearly have the same goals and agenda. One of those goals is to eliminate free speech online, which is what the U.K.’s proposed “Online Safety Bill” would achieve. Not surprisingly, Collins is part of the Online Safety Bill Committee, charged with examining the Bill “line by line to make sure it is fit for purpose.” In an August 11, 2021, blog post, Collins asked for the public’s help to track down counternarratives, taking screenshots of the offending material and emailing it to him. “Unless harmful content is reported, whether it is terrible images of self-harm, violent or extremist content or anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, it can otherwise be unknowable to regulators and governments,” he said.

‘Hitting Mung’: In Stressed-out South Korea, People Are Paying to Stare at Clouds and Trees – (Washington Post – November 25, 2021)

Tucked away in a side street near an urban park named Seoul Forest is a tea shop that barely seats 10. Here, you can’t talk. Your phone must be on silent. No shoes allowed. The rules have one aim. Relax. Just space out. Nothing is the new something in South Korea as people desperately seek refuge from the pressures of living as functioning adults in a global pandemic in a high-stress and fast-paced society with soaring real estate prices and often-grueling work schedules. At a Space Out Competition this year, competitors sought to achieve the lowest heart rate possible while sitting in a “healing forest” on the southern island of Jeju. The contest has spread internationally since it began in 2014, including to Hong Kong and the Netherlands. And the concept is seeping out into a handful of public spaces in South Korea. This month, theaters throughout the country premiered a movie simulating a 40-minute plane ride above and through clouds. Tickets for “Flight,” a project backed by Megabox, a major movie theater company, are just under $6. A tagline reads: “Take a brief rest through the fluffy clouds.” Article includes a short clip of film. It’s a sequel to a movie released this spring, “Fire Mung”: 31 minutes of footage of a burning campfire. Spacing out is known in Korean as “hitting mung,” a slang usage of the word “mung” to describe a state of being totally zoned out. (In this case, “mung” describes a state of blankness.) With the weather change this fall, now popular are the terms “forest mung” and “foliage mung,” meaning spacing out while looking at trees or foliage. There’s “fire mung,” or spacing out while watching logs burn, and “water mung,” being meditative near bodies of water. Such spaces and experiences are not quite a mainstream phenomenon, but researchers say they tap into the growing feelings of being trapped and lonely in Year 2 of pandemic life. Yoon Duk-hwan, a consumer trends researcher and co-author of the annual book Trend Monitor, said he expects the relaxation escape to become a trend as the public grapples with the endemic phase of the pandemic.

For Seniors Using Tech to Age in Place, Surveillance Can Be the Price of Independence – (Washington Post – November 19, 2021)

Smart home technology has long been used by caretakers to monitor older adults. Cameras you can watch from anywhere are among the most common, but there are also sensors for detecting movement, remote monitoring for climate controls and power outlets as well as voice-activated screens and speakers. With the right setup, someone can see if a relative has fallen or let them know they left the stove on. On the surface the benefits of home and health monitoring technology seem obvious. It is a way to extend the amount of time a senior is able live in their own home before moving to a retirement or nursing home. But the devices, many of which grew out of security and surveillance systems, can take privacy and control away from a population that is less likely to know how to manage the technology themselves. Done right, it can help aging people be more independent. Done wrong or without consent, it is one-way surveillance that can lead to neglect. Florence Macauley, the founder of AgeWise Home, is a specialist who updates living spaces for people who are elderly, experience dementia or who are disabled. Though she is often hired by caretakers such as adult children, she considers the person living in the home as her client. “I make sure they [the elderly] understand that they are in charge because a lot of the tech that is brought into the homes is not at the request of who is being watched,” said Macauley. She has also seen how families can use technology as a replacement for in-person caretaking. “One client told me, my kids just watch me on the camera but they don’t come visit me,” said Macauley. “I know how much it bothered him. He made me wave to the camera.” The client’s children all lived close by.

New Jersey Becomes Eighth State to Ban Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals – (Nation of Change – November 16, 2021)

New Jersey just passed a new law, that will go into effect March 2022, banning the sale of cosmetics that are tested on animals. Current law prohibits performing animal tests on products in New Jersey when there is an appropriate validated alternative test method.  This bill would strengthen this prohibition with respect to cosmetics products, barring the sale of all cosmetics that were tested on animals, even if those tests were performed outside the State, writes the bill. According to EcoWatch, the bill follows multiple studies showing widespread, bipartisan support from Americans, who want to end the practice of animal testing. A 2019 study by Cruelty Free International showed that 79% of respondents supported cruelty-free practices. Another survey from The Humane Society of the U.S. found that over 67% of respondents want an end to animal testing and would prefer researchers to find alternatives to testing cosmetics and other personal care products. California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, and Hawaii are the first seven states to put this ban into law.

Pentagon Will Track Unexplained Airborne Objects Through New Intelligence Group – (Washington Post – November 24, 2021)

The Pentagon has created a new intelligence division exclusively dedicated to investigating unidentified objects that breach sensitive U.S. airspace, to understand both their origin and whether they could threaten national security. The new division — which the Defense Department will call its Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group — is a direct response to more than 140 reports of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAP, dating back nearly two decades and documented in a government study issued this past summer. That inquiry, intended to determine whether such sightings were signs of foreign threats, atmospheric anomalies, faulty sensors or even extraterrestrial life, yielded a report with few firm conclusions. Before the UAP report, produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, public scrutiny of such sightings was largely anecdotal, shrugged off in many circles as fantastical. But many of the observations it documented originated with U.S. military personnel, mainly Navy aviators. And there has been pressure on the Pentagon since, especially from Capitol Hill, to come up with more exacting and comprehensive answers about what these objects are and whether they pose a threat to U.S. interests. The new airborne object identification group’s mandate will include not only collecting intelligence and counterintelligence data but offering solutions for any threats that such objects may pose. Its director — who has not yet been named — will recommend what personnel and other resources are needed. A separate oversight counsel, made up of officials from the Defense Department and intelligence community, will scrutinize the group’s work.

LightSail 2 Has Been Flying for 30 Months Now, Paving the Way for Future Solar Sail Missions – (PhysOrg – November 19, 2021)

Even after 30 months in space, The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 mission continues to successfully “sail on sunbeams,” demonstrating solar sail technology in Earth orbit. The mission is providing hard data for future missions that hope to employ solar sails to explore the cosmos. LightSail 2, a small cubesat, launched in June 2019 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, as a demonstration mission to test how well a solar sail could change the orbit of a spacecraft. A month after launch, when LightSail 2 unfurled its ultra-thin 32-square-meter Mylar sail, the mission was declared a success because the sail raised the orbit of the small, loaf-of-bread-sized spacecraft. “We’re going to a higher orbital altitude without rocket fuel, just with the push of sunlight,” The Planetary Society’s (TPS) CEO Bill Nye said at a press conference following the deployment. “This idea that you could fly a spacecraft and could get propulsion in space form nothing but photons, it’s surprising, and for me, it’s very romantic that you’d be sailing on sunbeams.” TPS, whose members funded the $7 million mission, said it shares mission data with NASA to assist three upcoming solar sail missions: NEA Scout, Solar Cruiser and ACS3. NEA Scout is scheduled to hitch a ride to lunar space as early as February 2022 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket during the Artemis I test flight. The mission will use its solar sail to leave the vicinity of the Moon and visit an asteroid.

Just How Many Threatening Asteroids Are There? It’s Complicated. – (Space – November 22, 2021)

It’s complicated, because the answer depends on what you mean by threaten. Let’s start with the most important takeaway: NASA knows of zero asteroids large enough to do meaningful damage on Earth and currently on track to collide with our planet in the foreseeable future. But large asteroids hanging around Earth? We’ve spotted plenty of those, and scientists are discovering new near-Earth asteroids practically daily, with more than 27,000 identified to date. And while it may seem paradoxical, the constant rise in near-Earth asteroid tallies turns out to be the best news possible if you’re worried about a potential asteroid impact. In part, the rise of asteroid detections has been a matter of more refined technology.  That was made possible by another part: more funding. One milestone was Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s impact of Jupiter in 1994, which unexpectedly left a mark in Jupiter’s clouds the size of Earth that lingered for months. “People started to think, ‘Whoa, if that happened to Jupiter, what would happen if that hit Earth?'” Nugent said. Congress got on board with prioritizing asteroid hunting, calling on NASA to identify at least 90% of first the largest asteroids, then medium ones. Today, there’s a whole host of projects that detect near-Earth asteroids, whether it’s their top priority or an opportunity they can make use of.

Strange Signals on Venus May Be Coming from an Erupting Volcano – (The Verge – November 26, 2021)

A new study adds to a growing pile of evidence that Venus may be volcanically active — a finding that, if true, would help explain how volcanoes impact planetary evolution and habitability across the cosmos. The research, which focuses on strange signals coming from a Venusian volcano called Idunn Mons, is fueling excitement about future missions to Earth’s nearest neighbor that will settle the matter once and for all. It’s long been known that Venus is covered in some seriously surreal volcanoes. But it is impossible to tell from Earth whether they are still oozing lava today, because Venus’s thick and hazy atmosphere obscures whatever may be happening on the ground. Now, using archival observations from old orbiter missions and the results of experimental work conducted on Earth, a team of scientists is making the case that the 1.5-mile high, 125-mile wide Idunn Mons has been active within the past few thousand years, and is likely still erupting today. Within the next decade, a small squadron of missions capable of detecting volcanic activity on the surface will begin their journeys to Venus and provide a definitive answer.

Africa’s Rising Cities – (Washington Post – November 19, 2021)

In 2025, most of the world’s biggest cities will be in Asia. But by 2100, the world’s biggest cities will be concentrated in Africa. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population. Five of those cities offers insights into the forces that will shape the continent’s urban growth in this century: Abidjan, Lagos, Khartoum, Kinshasa, and Mombasa. In each of these cities, the examines the common themes — migration, inequality, foreign investment, conflict and planning — that underlie this transformation across the continent. A study published last year in the Lancet forecasts that Nigeria will become more populous than China by the end of the century, as birthrates rapidly shrink in some parts of the world — East Asia, eastern and southern Europe, the Caribbean — and level off in others, such as the United States, which is projected to have a similar population in 2100 as now. Most of Africa’s population will continue to grow rapidly this century. Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania are all forecast to join Nigeria among the 10 most populous countries by 2100. North Africa and southern Africa, while continuing to grow, will do so at much lower rates than the rest of the continent. When demographers predict a city’s size far into the future, they seek to create growth models that account for variables such as shifting levels of education, family planning, climate change and migration. In other words, values for political choices can be plugged into population-growth algorithms to change the outcome. No matter how the values are tweaked, though, Lagos emerges as the world’s most populous city at some point between now and 2100, in study after study. Changing the inputs affects only how soon and by how much.  (Editor’s note: We recommend this article.)

California Timelapse Seen Through Alert Wildfire Remote Cameras Week of 11/9/21 – (Vimeo – November 15, 2021)

This experimental video (link embedded) uses the network of 750 remote surveillance cameras in the Alert Wildfire network as a way of creating timelapses from places that would be inaccessible to most people, especially in such a short time. In just a few days I (Gary Yost, author) was able to move around the entire state (even peeking into Nevada and Utah for one shot), traveling the equivalent of thousands of miles all from my studio. The workflow requires OBS to scrape the asynchronous chunky image sequences from the site, Adobe After Effects and the “Duplicate Frame Remover” plugin to clean the file, then multiple Topaz Video Enhancement AI passes for noise reduction, resolution enhancement and temporal smoothing. What comes out the other side is pure gold. Note that you can Google the location listed in the lower left along with “alert wildfire” and it’ll take you to a map showing exactly where that shot was made.

In the West, Assisted Dying Is Rapidly Becoming Legal and Accepted – (Economist – November 6, 2021)

In much of the West public opinion has long been in favor of assisted dying. In 2002 60% of Spaniards supported voluntary euthanasia, a share which had risen to 71% in 2019. Writ large, secularization and increasingly liberal values have solidified support. But so has personal experience, particularly that of baby-boomers who, having witnessed the suffering of their parents, are fighting for the right to deaths of their own choosing. After years of struggle, activists and politicians have found ways through or around reluctant legislators. The right to die has been ticked through American ballot boxes, squeezed through Australian legislatures, and gaveled through Canadian and European courts. Proponents are using public consultations, campaigns and petitions to demonstrate public support. And growing evidence from countries with assisted-dying laws has undermined fears it will become easy to “kill granny”. The changes are snowballing as advocates in one country learn from their counterparts elsewhere. Assisted dying remains uncommon. Most cases are cancer-related, and the number of deaths is tiny. But they are nonetheless changing how people think about dying. In some countries assisted dying has been extended to those with mental disorders and dementia, and even to old people who feel tired of life. The choice to die is often murkiest for those with dementia. Article explores that issue further. But even after a legislature or court opens the door to assisted dying, those pursuing the option can face high hurdles. A clandestine network of baby-boomers who share methods to kill themselves has sprung up on the internet. (The Economist requires free registration.)

How Luxury Survived the Pandemic – (Washington Post – November 17, 2021)

A big part of luxury is theater: the couture gown that dazzles the crowd, the splendid car gliding past onlookers, the Instagrammed vacation. The pandemic scrambled these signals. It isolated us physically, reducing opportunities for “performing” our luxuries. Without social interaction, is luxury doomed? Not at all, it turns out. In fact, luxury sales overall have risen during the pandemic. With disease all around us, a fit body feels like symbolic armor, an escape route, protection from illness or even mortality. As Italian theorist Patrizia Calefato writes in her book Luxury: Fashion, Lifestyle and Excess, “luxury … challenges the idea of death itself.” Even the humblest workout accessories can metamorphose into luxuries: For about $3,000, you can tone up with 3 kgs (6.7 pounds) Louis Vuitton hand weights  — crafted of lustrous metal and engraved with the LV logo. Maybe this is how we “do” luxury in a pandemic: attending to our bodies while simultaneously escaping, even transcending, them. When the pandemic forced Balenciaga to shut down its runway shows in 2020, for example, the company wound up releasing its entire collection as a video game called “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow.” In fall 2021, it teamed with Fortnite to create a Balenciaga-designed immersive world online, complete with entirely virtual couture available for purchase and use in the game. This fashion exists only digitally, yet it is bought with real money and “worn” — albeit by the game characters. It’s a form of virtual luxury escape that both transcends the body and grants a new version of that most bodily of pleasures: fashion. Dressing avatars in high-end couture, gamers experience a meta-version of the Before Times luxury of sartorial display. Along with all these shifts has come a hopeful development: a heightened awareness of luxury’s — particularly fashion’s — most significant failings, especially the rampant racial inequities of the industry, as well as the environmental damage caused by the entire luxury sector. For many, luxury is now inextricable from social and environmental awareness: “There shouldn’t be a trade-off between what is luxurious and what is kind,” remarks luxury expert Pauline Garris Brown, former chairman of European conglomerate LVMH North America, meaning kindness to both people and the Earth.

23 Subtly Obvious Signs of Wealth – (Buzz Feed – November 13, 2021)

For people who grew up pretty well off, it can be easy to overlook the differences between those who are well off and those who live with financial – and often food – insecurity. Recently a Reddit user asked, “Redditors who grew up poor, what do you associate with being rich?” Here are some of the examples people gave. “Those fridges with the water dispenser on it.” “Being able to buy something you need without having to ask yourself how badly you need it.” “Scheduling regular doctor’s office visits or seeing a dentist for anything other than an emergency.” “Eating pizza because you want to, not because it’s $2.” And here’s a link to the complete list on Reddit.

Meet the Man Who Plays with Shadows  – (YouTube – May 27, 2020)

Vincent Bal, a Belgian filmmaker who also calls himself a “shadowologist,” thought he should have a scientific-sounding name for what he does: plop an object on a white sheet of paper, play around with its positions, shift the angle of the light…and then when inspiration strikes,use the shadow as the basis for a whimsical sketch. He explains what he’s up to in this four-minute film, and it’s a treat to watch not only a creative mind (and hand) at work, but to think about everyday objects in an entirely new light. Or, well, absence of light. If you had fun with that link, try this one.
The inevitable does not generally happen because the unpredictable prevails.
John Maynard Keynes
A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Abby Porter, Bobbie Rohn, 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.
PRIVACY POLICY: We don’t share your information with anyone.

What do you think?

Introducing TransitionNet

Quartet Preview – What is the best way to prepare for the coming disruptions and the shift?