Volume 24, Number 9 – 5/1/21


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Volume 24, Number 9 – 5/1/2021


  • An albatross flies approximately 50,000 miles every year and every Laysan albatross spend its first 3 to 5 years fledging at sea, never touching land.
  • More than 5,000 tons of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth each year.
  • Italian researchers have designed a robot that “thinks out loud” so that users can hear its “thought process” and better understand the robot’s basis for decisions.
  • The average American generates 220 pounds of plastic waste each year.

The Practical Process of Preparing for the Coming Changes

Saturday, May 15
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

You’ve noticed, of course, that everything is coming unglued. All kinds of dramatic, disruptive prospects are now freely flying around: Global Reset, civil war, changing human DNA, experimental injections, lockdown, stolen elections, the end of privacy, family conflicts, failing businesses – all of which are amping up fear and uncertainty. 

The big question is this:

If this fluid environment is going to increase in tempo and unpredictability over the coming months and years – as many serious forecasters suggest – then how do we, as participants on the leading edge of this epochal change, rise to the occasion and evolve into the place where we begin to become the “new humans” that are going to thrive in and shape this emerging new world . . . rather than relegating ourselves to being whipped around on the tail-end of compounding crises.

Futurist John Petersen returns to TransitionTalks on the 15th of May to specifically address what he has discovered from extracting the characteristics and options available to us all at this leading edge of change.  John will present an integrated approach to surfing the great shift that offers the best ideas from conventional assessors of change management coupled with big-picture understandings of this evolutionary jump, where it may be going and . . . how we can all begin to change how we live to be able to ride this wave rather than be battered on the rocks of personal chaos that will confront many around us.

This will be an unusual – and special – opportunity to begin to both understand what is headed this way and to learn of specific, practical ways in which prepare for and navigate the turbulent times ahead.  

Click below for more information about this event and to get tickets.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info
Futurist John L. Petersen returns to TransitionTalks on May 15th to specifically address what he has discovered from extracting the characteristics and options available to us all at this leading edge of change.

UK Clinical Trial Confirms SaNOtize’s Breakthrough Treatment for COVID-19 – (Business Wire – March 15, 2021)

Vancouver, BC biotech company SaNOtize Research & Development Corp. and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust in Surrey, UK, and Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services, UK, have announced results of clinical trials indicating that SaNOtize’s Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) represents a safe and effective antiviral treatment that could prevent the transmission of COVID-19, shorten its course, and reduce the severity of symptoms and damage in those already infected. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial that evaluated 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19, SaNOtize’s early treatment for COVID-19 significantly reduced the level of SARS-CoV-2, including in patients with high viral loads. The average viral log reduction in the first 24 hours was 1.362, which corresponds to a decline of about 95%. Within 72 hours, the viral load dropped by more than 99%. The majority of these patients had been infected with the UK variant, which is considered a variant of concern. There were no adverse health events recorded in the UK trial, or in over 7,000 self-administered treatments given in earlier Canadian clinical trials. Submission for Emergency Use in the UK and Canada for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is planned immediately. According to Reuters Israel and New Zealand have already given interim approval for sale of virus nasal spray.

Moving Black Strands on Face Mask – Similar Videos Appearing Daily Now – (Forbidden Knowledge – March 31, 2021)

A new genre of video is cropping up about the microscopic black strands that are being found in both the swabs used in COVID testing and in the disposable face masks. Seeing these strands, I was reminded of the strange microscopic objects that have been found in skin lesions of those suffering from Morgellons disease. What’s even creepier is that these strands exhibit the characteristics of very small-scale micro-robots, in that they move in response to heat and moisture. Are these approved swabs and masks being used to deliver synthetic biology into their human hosts? Is that why Joe Biden issued an Executive Order that disallows bandannas on public transport, in favor of Chinese PPEs? See this  for more on the subject of the moving black strands and their possible identification as parasites. Equally interesting is that these developments coincide with the warning about blue and gray disposable face masks issued by Canada’s health agency, that they contain microscopic graphene particles associated with “early pulmonary toxicity.” These Chinese-made masks were part of Canada’s public school reopening plan, in which students would be required to wear them in the classroom to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, children have been complaining that they feel as though they were inhaling cat hair while wearing them. It turns out they’ve been inhaling an asbestos-like substance. The masks did have traces of graphene and indeed have been recalled by the Canadian government. (Editor’s note: We are at a point where almost nothing is necessarily “true”.  Between deepfakes, disinformation, and run of the mill propaganda, it seems that we are all on our own as we try to figure out what is true or not true and how to decide. That being said, the general information in the Forbidden Knowledge articles is making the rounds of the internet with slight variations from country to country.  Equally it is being refuted by “experts” from various countries. Here from Agence France-Presse is an article collecting refutations.)

Coronapocalypse; Big Pharma’s Doomsday Vaccine #666 – (Paul Craig Roberts – April 4, 2021)

Skip to roughly the middle of this article to get to the substance of the safety issues concerning the mRNA vaccines. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Chris Shaw, Ph.D, Specialist in Neuroplasticity and Neuropathology, “The mRNA lipid-coated PEG-construct– by Moderna’s own study–does not stay localized but spreads throughout the body including the brain. Found in animal studies in bone marrow, brain, lymph nodes, heart, kidneys liver, lungs etc. Doctors are saying that the vaccine does NOT cross the blood-brain barrier, but that is NOT true. …If it reaches the brain there will be an auto immune response that will cause inflammation What characterizes virtually all neuro-degenerative diseases is this misfolded protein that is characteristic to Lou Gehrig’s disease, to Alzheimer’s, to Parkinson’s to Huntington’s etc. They are different proteins, but they tend to form these sheets of misfolded proteins called Beta Sheets. Now you are asking cells in various parts of the body–including the brain– to make a lot of these proteins and release them to the outside. But are we sure that’s what it’s doing? Are you getting clusters of misfolded proteins inside neurons? That would be a bad thing to do.. So you’d like to know where it is, how much of it there is, and which groups of neuronal groups its targeted. .and those are the kinds of questions you like the companies to have solved long before they got authorization and discovered some years later that they have a problem.” Here’s a blurb from a research paper published in Nature in July 2020 on the condition called Antibody-dependent Enhancement:“Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of disease is a general concern for the development of vaccines and antibody therapies because the mechanisms that underlie antibody protection against any virus have a theoretical potential to amplify the infection or trigger harmful immunopathology. This possibility requires careful consideration at this critical point in the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)…The implications of our lack of knowledge are twofold. First, comprehensive studies are urgently needed to define clinical correlates of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Second, because ADE of disease cannot be reliably predicted after either vaccination or treatment with antibodies—regardless of what virus is the causative agent—it will be essential to depend on careful analysis of safety in humans as immune interventions for COVID-19 move forward….” Conclusion: It is clear that after many years, and considerable attention, the understanding of ADE of disease after either vaccination or administration of antiviral antibodies is insufficient to confidently predict that a given immune intervention for a viral infection will have negative outcomes in humans. Additional mechanism-focused studies are needed to determine whether small-animal and NHP models of virus infection, including for SARS-CoV-2, can predict the probable benefits or risks of vaccines or passive-antibody interventions in humans.

Perspectives on the Pandemic – “The Illusion of Evidence Based Medicine” – (YouTube – March 9, 2021)

Following up on the article above, this YouTube clip raises the question: “Who’s looking out for scientific integrity?”  As much of the world rushes to receive a lightly-tested pharmaceutical product, we thought it was high time to look again at the (very) big business of medicine. Leemon McHenry, PhD, guides us to the fraudulent core of ghostwritten studies, captured legislators, revolving-door regulatory agencies, pay-to-play medical journals, and the “key opinion leaders” who lend their academic credentials to giant corporations…for a price. With every stage in the process seemingly structured for corruption, we can only wonder along with Professor McHenry: “Who’s looking out for scientific integrity?”

Wall Street Banks Brace for Digital Dollars as the Next Big Disruptive Force – (CNBC – April 19, 2021)

Led by countries as large as China and as small as the Bahamas, digital money is drawing stronger interest as the future of an increasingly cashless society. A digital dollar would resemble cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum in some limited respects, but differ in important ways. Rather than be a tradable asset with wildly fluctuating prices and limited use, the central bank digital currency would function more like dollars and have widespread acceptance. It also would be fully regulated and under a central authority. Myriad questions remain before an institution as large as the Fed will wade in. Chetan Ahya, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a report for clients, “Efforts to introduce CBDCs are gaining momentum, with as many as 86% of the world’s central banks exploring digital currencies.”  Central bank digital currency advocates cite multiple advantages. Paramount among them is giving unbanked people access to the financial system. Potential losers from the digital currencies include some financial institutions, both in traditional banking and fintech, that could lose deposits due to people putting their money into central bank accounts. There also are privacy concerns and worries over integration.

Stop Talking about AI Ethics. It’s Time to Talk about Power. – (Technology Review – April 23, 2021)

This article is a book review of Atlas of AI, by leading AI scholar Kate Crawford. Each chapter seeks to stretch our understanding of the technology by unveiling how narrowly we’ve viewed and defined it. Crawford does this by bringing us on a global journey, from the mines where the rare earth elements used in computer manufacturing are extracted to the Amazon fulfillment centers where human bodies have been mechanized in the company’s relentless pursuit of growth and profit. In chapter one, she recounts driving a van from the heart of Silicon Valley to a tiny mining community in Nevada’s Clayton Valley. There she investigates the destructive environmental practices required to obtain the lithium that powers the world’s computers. It’s a forceful illustration of how close these two places are in physical space yet how vastly far apart they are in wealth. By grounding her analysis in such physical investigations, Crawford disposes of the euphemistic framing that artificial intelligence is simply efficient software running in “the cloud.” Her close-up, vivid descriptions of the earth and labor AI is built on, and the deeply problematic histories behind it, make it impossible to continue speaking about the technology purely in the abstract.

Octopus ‘Teachers’ Demonstrate They Feel Emotional Pain – (Scientific American – April 23, 2021)

Until recently, there was no rigorous research showing that invertebrates experience the emotional component of pain. A study published in iScience provides the strongest evidence yet that octopuses feel pain like mammals do, bolstering the case for establishing welfare regulations for these animals. Pain is a two-part experience that occurs in the brain. The first part is awareness of a physical sensation, such as the throbbing of your burned hand. The second, more complicated part is the emotional experience associated with that sensation: realizing that your throbbing fingers and blistering skin are causing discomfort. It is this emotional aspect of pain that is relevant for animal welfare, ethicists say. But it is difficult to measure. “I don’t think there’s any way of proving that another organism, even another human, actually, is experiencing conscious pain the way that we ourselves do,” says Terry Walters, a pain researcher at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, who gave feedback for an early draft of the study but was not directly involved. The closest we can get for other species, he says, is determining what situations and experiences they try to avoid. That is what Robyn Crook did using a so-called conditioned place preference test at her lab at San Francisco State University. This test is a common method of determining whether mice and rats are experiencing pain, and she found that octopuses behave like their mammalian counterparts in the assay. Article describes the elegant experimental design and the results.

More Than 5,000 Tons of Extraterrestrial Dust Fall to Earth Each Year – (Science Daily – April 8, 2021)

Micrometeorites have always fallen on our planet. These interplanetary dust particles from comets or asteroids are particles of a few tenths to hundredths of a millimeter that have passed through the atmosphere and reached the Earth’s surface. To collect and analyze these micrometeorites, six expeditions led by CNRS researcher Jean Duprat have taken place over the last two decades near the Franco-Italian Concordia station (Dome C), which is located 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Adélie Land, in the heart of Antarctica. Dome C is an ideal collection spot due to the low accumulation rate of snow and the near absence of terrestrial dust. These expeditions have collected enough extraterrestrial particles (ranging from 30 to 200 micrometers in size), to measure their annual flux, which corresponds to the mass accreted on Earth per square meter per year. If these results are applied to the whole planet, the total annual flux of micrometeorites represents 5,200 tons per year. This is the main source of extraterrestrial matter on our planet, and is far ahead of larger objects such as meteorites, for which the flux is less than ten tons per year. This information sheds light on the role played by these interplanetary dust particles in supplying water and carbonaceous molecules on the young Earth.

The World’s Oldest-Known Wild Bird—Named Wisdom—Hatches Another Chick at 70 – (Good News Network – April 25, 2021)

Every year, millions of albatrosses return to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge to their same nesting site—and reunite with the same mate. In the world’s largest colony of albatrosses, Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, have been hatching and raising chicks together since at least 2012, when biologists first banded the male. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr. Beth Flint said, “Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary—if they outlive their first mate.” Albatross don’t typically lay eggs every year and when they do, they lay only a single egg. Biologists estimate that Wisdom has hatched at least 30–36 chicks in her lifetime. Almost as amazing as being a parent at 70 is the number of miles Wisdom has flown—by the time she was 60 she’d logged at least 2-3 million miles since she was first banded in 1956. That’s 4-6 trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare. One reason for all these frequent-flyer miles is that every Laysan albatross spends their first 3 to 5 years fledging at sea, never touching land. Wisdom has likely flown 50,000 miles every year as an adult, and countless generations of albatrosses have a similar long-distance family reunion at Midway Atoll each year. In fact, in 2018, biologists observed the chick that she fledged in 2011 returning to the spot just a few feet away from her current nest.

Lab-grown Embryos Mix Human and Monkey Cells for the First Time – (Science – April 15, 2021)

By slipping human stem cells into the embryos of other animals, we might someday grow new organs for people with faltering hearts or kidneys. In a step toward that goal, researchers have created the first embryos with a mixture of human and monkey cells. These chimeras could help scientists hone techniques for growing human tissue in species better suited for transplants, such as pigs. “The paper is a landmark in the stem cell and interspecies chimera fields,” says stem cell biologist Alejandro De Los Angeles of Yale University. The findings hint at mechanisms by which cells of one species can adjust to survive in the embryo of another, adds Daniel Garry, a stem cell biologist at the University of Minnesota (UM), Twin Cities. In 2017, researchers reported growing pancreases from mouse stem cells inserted into rat embryos. Transplanting the organs into mice with diabetes eliminated the disease. But cells from more distantly related species, such as pigs and humans, haven’t gotten along as well. The team reported in Cell that the human cells showed staying power: After 13 days, they were still present in about one-third of the chimeras. The human cells seemed to integrate with the monkey cells and had begun to specialize into cell types that would develop into different organs. Still, the human and monkey cells didn’t quite mesh, notes UM stem cell biologist Andrew Crane. The human cells often stuck together, making him wonder whether there’s “another barrier that we aren’t seeing” that could prevent human cells from thriving if the embryos were to develop further. In the United States, federal funding cannot be used to create certain types of chimeras, including early nonhuman primate embryos containing human stem cells. The new study was performed in China and funded by Chinese government sources, a Spanish university, and a U.S. foundation. Bioethicist Karen Maschke of the Hastings Center in New York says she is satisfied that the work, which passed layers of institutional review and drew on advice from two independent bioethicists, was performed responsibly.

Experimental Drug Shows Potential against Alzheimer’s Disease – (Science Daily – April 22, 2021)

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have designed an experimental drug that reversed key symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. The drug works by reinvigorating a cellular cleaning mechanism that gets rid of unwanted proteins by digesting and recycling them. “Discoveries in mice don’t always translate to humans, especially in Alzheimer’s disease,” said co-study leader Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of developmental and molecular biology, and co-director of the Institute for Aging Research at Einstein. “But we were encouraged to find in our study that the drop-off in cellular cleaning that contributes to Alzheimer’s in mice also occurs in people with the disease, suggesting that our drug may also work in humans.” In the 1990s, Dr. Cuervo discovered the existence of this cell-cleaning process, known as chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) and has published 200 papers on its role in health and disease. CMA becomes less efficient as people age, increasing the risk that unwanted proteins will accumulate into insoluble clumps that damage cells. In fact, Alzheimer’s and all other neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the presence of toxic protein aggregates in patients’ brains. The research reveals a dynamic interplay between CMA and Alzheimer’s disease, with loss of CMA in neurons contributing to Alzheimer’s and vice versa. The findings suggest that drugs for revving up CMA may offer hope for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

Climate ‘Emergency’? Not So Fast – (Principia Scientific – April 19, 2021)

Americans should not be stampeded into a disastrous climate crusade. By obligating the United States once more to the Paris agreement, and by signaling very clearly that “climate” will be central to its policies, the Biden administration has joined other governments in the crusade against a supposed “climate emergency.” We use the word “crusade” advisedly, since the frenzy over climate resembles the medieval crusades against foreign infidels and home-grown heretics. There is even a children’s climate crusade. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere let sunlight warm the earth’s surface. But they absorb some of the heat radiation from the surface and atmosphere that would otherwise cool more efficiently by escaping directly to space. Greenhouse gases — and clouds — keep the earth’s surface temperature several tens of degrees Celsius warmer than it would be without them. So far, climate crusaders have refrained from vilifying water vapor and clouds, which make the largest contribution to greenhouse warming of the earth. Carbon dioxide, demonized as “carbon pollution,” is an improbable villain. Green plants use the energy of sunlight to manufacture sugar and other organic molecules of life from carbon dioxide and water molecules. A byproduct of photosynthesis is the oxygen of our atmosphere. Each human exhales about two pounds of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide every day. In fact, history shows that warmings of a few degrees Celsius — which extended growing seasons — have been good for humanity. The golden age of classical Roman civilization occurred during a warm period. Cooling periods, which were accompanied by barbarian invasions, famines, and plagues, have been bad. More carbon dioxide will certainly increase the productivity of agriculture and forestry. Over the past century, the earth has already become noticeably greener as a result of the modest increase of CO2, from about 0.03 percent to 0.04 percent of atmospheric molecules. More CO2 has made a significant contribution to the increased crop yields of the past 50 years, as well. The benefits to plants of more CO2 are documented in hundreds of scientific studies.

Common Human Antibiotic Can Heal Coral Diseases – 95% Success Rate with Amoxicillin –(Good News Network – April 24, 2021)

A recent outbreak of an infectious disease called stony coral tissue loss has affected 20 different stony coral species. First discovered in 2014 in Miami-Dade County, the disease has spread throughout Florida’s Coral Reef and into parts of the Caribbean. In treating disease-affected Montastraea cavernosa coral colonies (the Great Star Coral widely found in the Atlantic), the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Florida Atlantic University found that an amoxicillin treatment had a 95% success rate at healing individual disease lesions. Although it did not necessarily prevent treated colonies from developing new lesions over time, preserving M. cavernosa colonies is important due to its role as a dominant reef builder in Florida’s Coral Reef. “There are three possible scenarios that may explain the appearance of new lesions in the amoxicillin treated lesions of the corals that had healed in our study,” said Erin N. Shilling, M.S., the study‘s author. “It’s possible that the causative agent of stony coral tissue loss disease is still present in the environment and is re-infecting quiesced colonies. It also could be that the duration and dose of this antibiotic intervention was sufficient to arrest stony coral tissue loss, but insufficient at eliminating its pathogens from other areas of the coral colony. Further efforts are needed to optimize dosing and delivery methods for antibiotic treatments…and scale up intervention treatments effectively.”

Mystery of Who Cracked the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone for the FBI Solved after 5 Years – (GizModo – April 14, 2021)

When the U.S. government wanted to crack into a dead terrorist’s iPhone several years ago, they turned to a little-known cybersecurity startup Azimuth Security, located in Sydney, Australia to help them do it. Though based in Australia, Azimuth is actually owned by L3 Technologies, a large American defense contractor that offers a variety of defense and intelligence services to large federal agencies like the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. Those services allowed the FBI to unlock the cell phone of Syed Rizwan Farook who, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people in Southern California during the so-called “San Bernardino terrorist attack” in 2015. At the time, the government naturally wanted to know if the couple had ties to foreign extremists groups, and the killer’s phone data was seen as a natural way to find out. So, the government paid Azimuth some $900,000 to help them literally crack the case. The San Bernardino iPhone case sparked what became known as the new “Crypto War”—a battle between Apple and the federal government over encrypted technology. Prior to actually cracking the phone, the federal government essentially attempted to bully Apple into decrypting its own product—with the FBI suing the phone maker for access in 2016. The tech giant refused, and the lawsuit was subsequently dropped. At the time, critics argued—and were later proven correct—that the feud wasn’t really about technical access to the phone. Instead, the feds were merely trying to set a legal precedent that would allow them to call on the private sector to decrypt products for them in the future or install backdoors in encrypted tech. Indeed, a 2018 Justice Department inspector general’s report showed that the FBI didn’t really try that hard to find other options before it toted out its lawsuit against Apple. It just wanted to compel the tech company to do its work for it. If anything, the new details about the case only verify the idea that the federal government already has more than enough tools to break into any device in the country, should it so choose. Indeed, as Azimuth’s existence proves, there’s a booming market devoted to selling that access to police.

FCC Says to Double-check Broadband Speeds – (Granite Geek – April 15, 2021)

The Federal Communications Commission is urging people to download their app onto their phones and test speeds and latency in their home’s internet connection, to gather real data about the nation’s broadband. You can see their statement here on their press release. They don’t quite come out and say “we suspect your ISP is lying about your broadband speed” but they come close. The app will also be used in the future for consumers to challenge provider-submitted maps when the Broadband Data Collection systems become available.

Fixing Fashion Initiative Hopes to Patch Up “Broken” Clothing Industry – (Dezeen – April 21, 2021)

Currently, around 92 million tonnes of textiles are discarded globally each year – a number that is expected to increase to more than 134 million tonnes by 2030 as fast fashion often sees garments worn only a handful of times before they are discarded. As most clothing items are made from a blend of different fibers and colors, only 12% of this material is ultimately recycled and reused. The remainder ends up in landfill or being incinerated. Hoping to reverse that trend, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has launched an online academy that teaches users how to fix “99% of their clothing” in a bid to combat the mounting issue of textile waste. Called Fixing Fashion, the platform features instructions and video tutorials on how to repair, remake, resize and recolor damaged or unwanted clothing items. Alongside this, Hakkens has also created a fashion collection that illustrates these different techniques but will not be for sale. “Many sustainable fashion efforts focus on the origin of garments and promote solutions to be purchased,” said Hakkens. “But fashion doesn’t need something new, we already have enough clothes in the world for the coming decade. It’s time to stop buying, stop creating more waste and proudly reuse what we already have. Fixing Fashion is a brand that doesn’t try to sell you anything,” he added. “It shows people how to keep their existing clothes by better caring for, repairing or upgrading them.” The Fixing Fashion platform provides a formalized database for community-sourced hacks to encourage widespread replication and collaboration. Article includes 3 minute video clip illustrating these ideas.

To Replace Lithium Batteries for Grid Storage ‘Gravitricity’ Uses Gravity – (Good News Network – April 23, 2021)

A company that uses gravity to create a ‘giant battery’ has just completed a successful test in Scotland, paving the way for its commercial-scale roll out. The firm is called Gravitricity, and their device, which has a 25-year lifespan, could help prevent the mining of rare earth minerals in the creation of lithium-ion batteries, while providing a cost-effective alternative for renewable storage. Costing $1,385 million to build a 15-meter (49-foot) tower with a 25-ton weight, Gravitricity say the prototype can generate 250 kilowatt hours, and deliver electricity in less than a second when demand occurs. The device has been designed to go in old mine shafts rather than up in the air, and “These tests confirm our modeling and show that gravity energy storage is a serious contender in the global energy storage market,” said company managing director Charlie Blair. The technology relies on sending excess power from renewables, such as wind power, into cable pulleys that slowly hoist a heavy weight up the tower, storing potential gravitational energy that is released back into the system as electricity when the weights are lowered. The company is already in advanced discussions with mine owners in Britain, Scandinavia, Poland, and the Czech Republic over possible locations for initial European projects. While releasing no emissions, renewable energies can’t store electricity they’ve generated, and ingenious methods for addressing this problem utilize all kinds of materials and strategies. Article goes on to discuss other innovative methods.

A Tale of Two Carmakers: GM and Toyota Take Different Electric Roads in China – (Reuters – April 18, 2021

The Hong Guang Mini EV, a tiny, no-frills car made by a General Motors joint venture that costs under $5,000 is a smash hit in the world’s biggest car market while Toyota has yet to launch its own small, low-cost electric vehicle in China. One key issue in developing an affordable, small EV is the need to use electric powertrains that have yet to achieve parity with their gasoline counterparts, the people familiar with Toyota’s plans said. Cramming bulky batteries into a tiny car is another challenge. Many EVs have high floors because the batteries are stacked underneath, leaving automakers the choice of making cars much higher to give passengers ample room, or keeping them lower and sacrificing comfort, the sources said. The Mini EV also cuts corners that would not be allowed in the United States or Europe, underlining the challenge Toyota faces in developing a viable rival that handles easily in a crowded city and is still high in quality and performance. The Mini EV only has one air bag, for example, with none for passengers or on the sides to protect occupants if it rolls. The car has an anti-lock braking system but no stability control technology even though its relatively tall, stubby profile makes it prone to tipping over when cornering sharply at speed. “The product meets all the vehicle safety requirements of China. The Hong Guang Mini EV is basically a commuting tool, helping people go from point A to B in city traffic. It’s highly unlikely for them to drive this car at high speeds,” said SGMW’s Zhou. Launched in July, cost-conscious Chinese customers and young, fashionable urbanites are snapping up about 100,000 Mini EVs a quarter, making it one of the top EV sellers in China.  Toyota doesn’t want to compromise on quality, comfort or performance with its small EV, but it is aware it needs to develop expertise in slashing engineering costs to deliver such a vehicle with a price well under $20,000.

Volvo and Aurora Team Up on Fully Autonomous Trucks for North America – (The Verge – March 30, 2021)

Volvo is partnering with self-driving startup Aurora on a new lineup of fully autonomous semi trucks, the companies announced. The trucks will be deployed in North America on highly frequented hub-to-hub routes. The deal between Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora — which was founded by former executives from Google, Tesla, and Uber — is a “long-term partnership spanning several years,” the companies said. Aurora has been testing its “Aurora Driver” hardware and software stack in its test fleet of minivans and Class 8 trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since last year. Unlike its rivals, which are largely focused on robotaxi applications, the company has said that its first commercial service will be in trucking “where the market is largest today, the unit economics are best, and the level of service requirements is most accommodating.”

Professor Bear Braumoeller on Why War Won’t Go Away – (Modern War Institute at West Point – September 26, 2019)

Braumoeller is a professor in the department of political science at Ohio State University, where he conducts research in the areas of international relations, political methodology, and complexity and human behavior. Braumoeller’s latest book, Only the Dead: The Persistence of War in the Modern Age, takes a critical look at something called the decline-of-war thesis—the idea that armed conflict, especially between developed states, is becoming less frequent than it has historically been. Braumoeller explained to West Point cadets and faculty why he chose to take a quantitative approach, describing “the utility of thinking about data in the context of history and history in the context of data, and the rich interplay that can exist between theory and numbers.” By taking this approach, he reached several important conclusions. “First,” he said, “you don’t see any long-term decline of war, regardless of how you measure it.” “Second,” he told the audience, “one of the things that was really brought home to me in the course of this research is that war has vastly more escalatory potential than most people realize, and we don’t know why.” This he described as one of the most worrying conclusions the data reveals. His third takeaway focused on international order. In short, international order can help to limit international conflict, but it’s important to understand that “the relationship between the two is not straightforward.” In fact, he described international order as “a double-edged sword” when it comes to its impact on conflict. Braumoeller’s final conclusion also leads to a recommendation. He made his point with an analogy, arguing that at this moment in history, “we are a lot like people in an earthquake-prone region that just hasn’t seen a lot of earthquakes recently. . . . Nothing fundamental about the way earthquakes happen has changed, but because we haven’t seen them recently we’ve decided to let our earthquake insurance slide.” This, he said is a mistake. “We really need to think hard, especially now, about what the next wars are going to look like and what we can do to mitigate the danger.” Article includes a link to a video clip of his entire presentation.

Special Ops Soldier With Jetpack Boards Ship in Amazing Video – (The Byte – April 19, 2021)

In a new video (3 minutes, embedded in article) released by jetpack maker Gravity Industries, a jetsuit-wearing special ops soldier from the Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Force can be seen boarding a ship — by flying there from a nearby pursuit vessel. It’s a spectacular demonstration of Gravity Industries’ flying technology. Rather than having to pursue and approach the ship in the tailing vessel, the jetpack-enhanced soldier simply takes to the skies and effortlessly lands on the deck of the ship — in a fraction of the time boarding would have taken otherwise. The company’s “Iron Man”-like jetpack suit combines an impressive 1,050 horsepower of thrust, from four mini jet engines strapped to each forearm, with the dexterity and balance of its wearer. (Editor’s note: The video clip is worth your 3 minutes.)

Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One – (Glenn Greenwald – April 16, 2021)

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. What was missing from this media orgy of indignation and militaristic demands for retaliation was an iota of questioning of whether the story was, in fact, true. All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed. That is because the vast majority of the corporate sector of the press lives under one overarching rule:     When the CIA or related security state agencies tell American journalists to believe something, no matter how bereft of evidence or shielded by accountability-free anonymity, they instantly transform, in our government-worshipping worldview, into a proven fact, never to be questioned but only affirmed and then repeated and spread as far and wide as possible. In late June, an alliance of pro-war House Democrats — funded overwhelmingly by military contractors — and the Liz-Cheney-led neocon wing of the Republican party announced amendments to the military budget authorization process that would defund Trump’s efforts to withdraw troops from either Afghanistan or Germany (where they had been stationed for decades to defend Western Europe against a country, the Soviet Union, that ceased to exist decades ago). They instantly weaponized the NYT/CIA story as their primary argument. Predictably, now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. Government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its exposure of the extent to which the American news media has been thoroughly co-opted.)

The Postal Service Is Running a Covert Operations Program That Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts – (Yahoo News – April 21, 2021)

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News. The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies. “Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. The bulletin includes screenshots of posts about the protests from Facebook, Parler, Telegram and other social media sites. (Screenshot of bulletin in the article.) University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, whom President Barack Obama appointed to review the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks said, “I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues.” The Postal Service isn’t the only part of government expanding its monitoring of social media. In a background call with reporters last month, DHS officials spoke about that department’s involvement in monitoring social media for domestic terrorism threats. And from another news source reporting on the same news item: Kentucky representative Thomas Massie expressed his concern via Twitter. “The USPS has been losing money for many years … so where do they find money to run this surveillance program?” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has faced scrutiny over the last year due to the reform effort that slowed mail service for the 2020 election. Last month, DeJoy also unveiled a 10-year plan to cut post office hours and lengthen delivery times.

Digital Warriors Look at the Data; Fools Do Not – (Martin Geddes – April 5, 2021)

It feels like we are at the cusp of profound changes in human society. We are watching the removal of a multi-generational and transnational “supermafia” who have covertly controlled much of our banking, media, religious, academic, industrial, medical, military and other institutions. This has been achieved through secret societies, extreme violence, psychopathic culture, occult practices, systematized pedophilia, and widespread blackmail. A two-tier society has placed an unseen few well above the law, and many into de facto enslavement well below it. The quintessential feature of such “dark power” is its ability to hide itself, often in plain view. The “Q hypothesis”, if we are to use scientific terms, is that the global mass media has a single point of control via a network of corrupt intelligence agencies. This enables them to get away with warmongering, drug running, profiteering, genocide, financial fraud, human trafficking and other crimes. But this is not an essay about Q. It is about my (Martin Geddes) own personal journey and experience. All I did was to look at the data — thousands of Q drops, and hundreds of thousands of messages from the public analyzing them and linking them to other hard empirical data. the Q data doesn’t stand in isolation; it links to a vast network of open source intelligence. So you can easily check for yourself that the financial filings of the Clinton Foundation cannot possibly be for a legitimate charity, and that the media is silent on the matter. The media accusation about Q and the anons (i.e. people like me – Martin Geddes) doesn’t withstand elementary scrutiny. The failure to seek out data that contradicted the hypothesis — of a trustworthy mass media — made the “mainstream” vulnerable to social engineering and collective delusion. My sin was to do actual political science: to look at source data and to follow it to its logical conclusion, and that conclusion showed the “consensus reality” to be absolute nonsense. Without the Q operation, the United States would already be in a civil war; “trusting the plan” is essential to keeping Patriots — temporarily denied their legitimate Presidential choice — from pulling out their firearms and rising up. Once the clean-up is over, the global military wakeup operation can begin… and it is going to be epic beyond imagination.

L.A. Set to Be Largest City to Offer Guaranteed Income for Poor – (Bloomberg – April 19,  2021)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a guaranteed income program for poor residents, making it the largest U.S. city to test such a policy. Garcetti will ask the City Council to set aside $24 million in next year’s budget to send $1,000 monthly payments to 2,000 low-income families in America’s second-largest city, the mayor said in an interview. Funds from council districts and other sources could bring the total to $35 million. Candidates for the one-year program would be selected from the city’s 15 districts, based on each area’s share of those living below federal poverty guidelines. Garcetti is targeting households with at least one minor, and suffering some hardship relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the movement is nationwide, the magnitude of Los Angeles’s poverty, where one in five of Los Angeles’s nearly 4 million residents are barely able to make ends meet, puts a national spotlight on the program. Los Angeles would join a handful of other cities experimenting with a guaranteed income program. They include Stockton, California, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Chelsea, Massachusetts. In many cases, the programs are funded by philanthropic organizations. Garcetti, a Democrat in his second term, is co-chair of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which has been advocating for the policy at the federal level and funding local programs. The group, which has 43 elected officials as members, was founded last year by then-Stockton-mayor Michael Tubbs. It has received $18 million in seed money from Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey as well as $200,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News’s parent company. California cities have been taking a lead with these programs. Compton, just south of Los Angeles, has fully rolled out its program, with 800 families getting between $300 and $600 a month. Oakland and San Francisco also recently outlined details of their projects. Still, a majority of Americans oppose the federal government providing a guaranteed basic income, according to a survey last year by the Pew Research Center.

Pyramid-shaped UFOs Spotted by Navy May Be the Best the World Has Ever Seen – (Fox News – April 16, 2021)

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of newly leaked video and images showing multiple UFO sightings by U.S. Navy personnel, as the government prepares to release a highly anticipated first-of-its-kind report on UFOs this summer. An 18-second video shows what is described as three pyramid-shaped UFOs hovering over the warship USS Russell at night in July of 2019 off the San Diego coast. At one point, the pyramid-shaped craft reportedly hovered 700 feet over the tail of the Russell. This is the first video the public has seen from the July 2019 incident in which mysterious UFOs described as unmanned aerial vehicles reportedly dogged at least three U.S. warships during military exercises over multiple days — at one point matching the speed and bearing of one destroyer for 90 minutes while performing “brazen” maneuvers. Months earlier, an FA-18 pilot reportedly used his cellphone to snap photos of three different unidentified aircraft off the coast of Oceana in March including two UFOs dubbed the “Metalic Blimp” and “The Sphere.” The unidentified aircraft captured by the pilot in March 2019 were able to remain stationary in high winds, with no movement, beyond the capability of known balloons or drones. “I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” Department of Defense spokesperson Susan Gough told Fox News. “The UAPTF [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force] has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.”

Mind-bending NASA Visualization Shows the Wild Warping of Binary Black Holes – (Science Alert – April 16, 2021)

Based on years of observations and analysis, there’s a decades-long tradition of black hole visualizations, going all the way back to the work of French astronomer Jean-Pierre Luminet in the 1970s. Fascinatingly, simulations came very close to what we saw when a huge international team of scientists finally captured a direct image of a supermassive black hole, the now-famous M87*. So we know that our predictions have traditionally been very accurate. Because of the intense gravitational fields involved, things get, shall we say, complex. Light bends and its intensity changes, depending on which direction it’s moving. So what happens when there’s not one, but two black holes locked in mutual orbit, each with its own gravity, and each orbited by its own glowing accretion disk of dust and gas? Well, it might look a little something like the latest black hole visualization from NASA. Three minute video clip of the simulation embedded in the article.

Meet the ‘Blobs’, French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s Unusual Space Companions — (Agence France-Presse)

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet was due to lift off for his second stay aboard the International Space Station. This time around he took four “blobs” with him, strange single-celled organisms that are neither plants nor animals nor funghi. The aim is to study how their behavior in space is affected by microgravity. During the Alpha mission, which is scheduled to last six months, Pesquet will carry out numerous scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The programme includes observing how astronauts sleep in space, growing a plant, moving an object with an “acoustic clamp” and also taking care of four blobs, the unicellular organisms that have long fascinated the scientific community. Blob, or physarum polycephalum, its scientific name, is a living species difficult to classify: it is neither animal, plant, nor fungus. Composed of a single cell and several nuclei, it is one of the few unicellular organisms visible to the naked eye and its yellow color gives it the appearance of an omelet or cheese gratin. “The blob is fascinating in many ways. It has exceptional abilities,” said Audrey Dussutour, research director at the CNRS’s Animal Cognition Research Centre, who heads the team overseeing the research into the single-celled organism. A blob has no mouth but it can eat. Out in the wild it consumes moss and in the laboratory it feeds on oatmeal. “It can move around. If it is fed, it can also double in size every day,” Dussutour told FRANCE 24. “It is intelligent even though it has no nervous system,” she added. “It is capable of learning, memorizing but also of transmitting information to its fellow creatures.” For example, it can find its way through a maze. The blob is also extremely resilient, with an extraordinary capacity to withstand all kinds of change. “In the laboratory, under the right conditions, a blob is almost immortal,” Dussutour said. In order to thrive, however, a blob needs to be in a dark, humid environment with access to food. If exposed to too much light or heat, it shrinks, dries out and becomes dormant, though it can live up to several decades in this immobile state. “How to wake it up, then? All you have to do is spray it with water,” the scientist explained. “Our oldest blob is 70 years old!”

Differences in National Food Security Best Explained by Household Income, Not Agriculture, According to Dartmouth Engineers – (Dartmouth Engineering – April 14, 2021)

One of the most comprehensive statistical analyses of drivers of food insecurity across 65 countries has concluded that household income consistently explains more discrepancy in food security than any other factor, including agricultural land resources and production. The Dartmouth Engineering study, “Cross-national analysis of food security drivers: comparing results based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale and Global Food Security Index,” was recently published by the peer-reviewed journal Food Security. At the cross-national level, the study concludes quantity and quality of a nation’s agricultural land were not predictive of national food security, and instead, the most effective strategies to improve food security will include measures to increase citizens’ capacity for consumption. The researchers are quick to point out that no single metric can capture all dimensions of food security, but the models consistently showed that household spending, measured as per-capita household final consumption expenditure, was the single best predictor of food security, meaning an increase in income usually drives an increase in food security.

Google Earth’s New 3D Time-Lapse Feature Shows How Humans Are Affecting the Planet – (Gizmodo – April 16, 2021)

Google Earth is already a powerful tool for observing our planet, but today it’s getting a major upgrade with the introduction of a new 3D time-lapse feature. Described by Google Earth director Rebecca Moore as the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, Timelapse in Google Earth combines more than 24 million satellite photos, two petabytes of data, and 2 million hours of CPU processing time to create a 4.4-terapixel interactive view showing how the Earth has changed from 1984 to 2020. While Google Earth did have a simplistic time-lapse option before, the new feature represents a major upgrade with full 3D coverage of the entire globe. Users can pick practically any place on the Earth, change camera angles, and select a specific year they want to see. You can access Timelapse in Google Earth simply by going to or hitting the Ship’s Wheel icon in Google Earth and selecting Timelapse, with Google also providing more than 200 spotlights and guided tours for specific locations like Las Vegas, Kuwait City, and the Columbia Glacier in Alaska. And if that’s not enough, Google has uploaded more than 800 additional time-lapse videos meant for public use here, which can also be downloaded for free or viewed on YouTube.

Pepper the Robot Talks to Itself to Improve Its Interactions with People – (Science Daily – April 21, 2021)

Italian researchers have designed a robot that “thinks out loud” so that users can hear its thought process and better understand the robot’s motivations and decisions. “If you were able to hear what the robots are thinking, then the robot might be more trustworthy,” says co-author Antonio Chella, describing first author Arianna Pipitone’s idea that launched the study at the University of Palermo.  To explore how inner speech might impact a robot’s actions, the researchers built a robot called Pepper that speaks to itself. They then asked people to set the dinner table with Pepper according to etiquette rules to study how Pepper’s self-dialogue skills influence human-robot interactions. The scientists found that, with the help of inner speech, Pepper is better at solving dilemmas. In one experiment, the user asked Pepper to place the napkin at the wrong spot, contradicting the etiquette rule. Pepper started asking itself a series of self-directed questions and concluded that the user might be confused. To be sure, Pepper confirmed the user’s request, which led to further inner speech. “Ehm, this situation upsets me. I would never break the rules, but I can’t upset him, so I’m doing what he wants,” Pepper said to itself, placing the napkin at the requested spot. Through Pepper’s inner voice, the user can trace its thoughts to learn that Pepper was facing a dilemma and solved it by prioritizing the human’s request. The researchers suggest that the transparency could help establish human-robot trust. “People were very surprised by the robot’s ability,” says Pipitone. “The approach makes the robot different from typical machines because it has the ability to reason, to think. Inner speech enables alternative solutions for the robots and humans to collaborate and get out of stalemate situations.” Although hearing the inner voice of robots enriches the human-robot interaction, some people might find it inefficient because the robot spends more time completing tasks when it talks to itself. The robot’s inner speech is also limited to the knowledge that researchers gave it. Still, Pipitone and Chella say their work provides a framework to further explore how self-dialogue can help robots focus, plan, and learn.

Scientists Develop a Truly Recyclable Plastic. Is the World Ready for It? – (Fast Company – April 23, 2021)

The average American generates 220 pounds of plastic waste each year. A vast majority of it is not recycled, even if you send it to a recycling facility. Most plastic ends up in a dump. Some recycling facilities don’t have the technology to sort plastic correctly. And for companies, it’s actually cheaper to make “virgin” plastic than to produce recycled plastic. Recycled plastic is far from perfect anyway. Generally produced by melting down old plastic, recycled plastic actually needs virgin plastic mixed in to keep its structure. An estimated 91% of all plastic isn’t recycled at all. But researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Department of Energy have been studying an enticing, new type of plastic. Called polydiketoenamine, or PDK, it’s an infinitely recyclable material. Literally 100% of it can be reclaimed and reshaped into a new plastic item as many times as a company could want. PDK plastics are manufactured in such a way that they can be melted down, not by heat, but by acid. This acid process is more controllable. It cleanly separates the monomers from additives. And all of those monomers can be reused in the next batch of plastic. Scown’s team actually demonstrated, using advanced simulations, that this approach could work at scale. Without heat, the process is less carbon-intensive than recycling typical plastic. And it allows more plastic, period, to be reclaimed. However, there are still some economic issues to be worked out.

They Hacked McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines—and Started a Cold War – (Wired – April 20, 2021)

One couple built a device to fix McDonald’s notoriously broken soft-serve machines—and the fast-food giant froze them out. Of all the mysteries and injustices of the McDonald’s ice cream machine, the one that Jeremy O’Sullivan insists you understand first is its secret passcode.  After a specific series of 16 button presses, a menu magically unlocks. Only then can you access the machine’s vital signs: everything from the volume of its milk and sugar ingredients to the temperature of the glycol flowing through its heating element to the meanings of its many sphinxlike error messages. This menu isn’t documented in any owner’s manual for the Taylor digital ice cream machines that are standard equipment in more than 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the US and tens of thousands more worldwide. And this opaque user-unfriendliness is far from the only problem with the machines, which have gained a reputation for being absurdly fickle and fragile. They’re so often out of order in McDonald’s restaurants around the world that they’ve become a full-blown social media meme. The secret menu reveals a business model that goes beyond a right-to-repair issue, O’Sullivan argues. It represents, as he describes it, nothing short of a milkshake shakedown: Force franchisees to buy a complicated and fragile machine. Prevent them from figuring out why it constantly breaks. Take a cut of the distributors’ profit from the repairs. “It’s a huge money maker to have a customer that’s purposefully, intentionally blind and unable to make very fundamental changes to their own equipment,” O’Sullivan says. So two years ago, after their own strange and painful travails with Taylor’s devices, 34-year-old O’Sullivan and his partner, 33-year-old Melissa Nelson, began selling a gadget about the size of a small paperback book, which they call Kytch. Install it inside your Taylor ice cream machine and connect it to your Wi-Fi, and it essentially hacks your hostile dairy extrusion appliance and offers access to its forbidden secrets. Kytch acts as a surveillance bug inside the machine, intercepting and eavesdropping on communications between its components and sending them to a far friendlier user interface than the one Taylor intended. The device not only displays all of the machine’s hidden internal data but logs it over time and even suggests troubleshooting solutions, all via the web or an app. The lawsuits are now flying in both directions. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for its insights into an early salvo into the legal landscape of the right-to-repair and consumers’ efforts to (en)force that right.)

Why Adults Lose ‘Beginner’s Mind’ – (New York Times – April 16, 2021)

Here’s a sobering thought: The older we get, the harder it is for us to learn, to question, to reimagine. This isn’t just habit hardening into dogma. It’s encoded into the way our brains change as we age. And it’s worsened by an intellectual and economic culture that prizes efficiency and dismisses play. Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where she runs the Cognitive Development and Learning Lab; she’s also the author of over 100 papers and half a dozen books, including “The Gardener and the Carpenter” and “The Philosophical Baby.” What I love about her work is she takes the minds of children seriously. The child’s mind is tuned to learn. They are, she writes, the R. & D. departments of the human race. But a mind tuned to learn works differently from a mind trying to exploit what it already knows. So instead of asking what children can learn from us, perhaps we need to reverse the question: What can we learn from them? In this conversation on “The Ezra Klein Show,” Gopnik and Klein discuss the way children think, the cognitive reasons social change so often starts with the young, and the power of play. We talk about why Gopnik thinks children should be considered an entirely different form of Homo sapiens, the crucial difference between “spotlight” consciousness and “lantern” consciousness, why “going for a walk with a 2-year-old is like going for a walk with William Blake,” what A.I. researchers are borrowing from human children, the effects of different types of meditation on the brain and more. Article includes links to both an audio version of the podcast and a full transcript.

15 French Volunteers Leave Cave After 40 Days Without Daylight or Clocks – (Guardian – April 25, 2021)

Fifteen people have emerged from a cave in south-west France after 40 days underground in an experiment to see how the absence of clocks, daylight and external communications would affect their sense of time. The group lived in and explored the cave as part of a project called Deep Time. There was no natural light, the temperature was 10C (50˚ F)and the relative humidity 100%. They had no contact with the outside world, no updates on the pandemic nor any communications with friends or family. Scientists at the Human Adaption Institute, which is leading the €1.2m (£860,000) project, say the experiment will help them understand better how people adapt to drastic changes in living conditions and environments. As expected, those in the cave lost their sense of time. “And here we are! We just left after 40 days … For us it was a real surprise,” the project director, Christian Clot, said. “In our heads, we had walked into the cave 30 days ago.” One team member estimated the time underground at 23 days. Two-thirds of the participants expressed a desire to remain underground a little longer to finish group projects started during their stay, said Benoit Mauvieux, a chronobiologist involved in the research. Johan Francois, a math teacher and sailing instructor, ran 10,000-metre circles in the cave to stay fit. He said he sometimes had “visceral urges” to leave. With no daily obligations and no children around, the challenge was “to profit from the present moment without ever thinking about what will happen in one hour, in two hours”, he said.

Penguin Leaps into a Tour Boat to Avoid Being Eaten by Killer Whales – (Good News Network – March 13, 2021)

A dinghy full of tourists saw the nature film of a lifetime, right in front of their eyes. A gentoo penguin being chased by a pod of orcas made a desperation leap for safety into their boat. The successful jump happened only after a first attempt had failed, when the small animal flung itself headfirst into the side of the boat and bounced back into the water. Travel blogger Matt Karsten and his wife Anna were taking a tour through the icebergs of the Gerlache Strait in Antarctica, when they saw the incredible chase unfold. A video clip embedded in articleshows all the action.
Run to meet the future or it’s going to run you down.
Anthony J. D’Angelo
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