Volume 25, Number 14 – 7/15/22

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Volume 25, Number 14 – 7/15/2022


  • 24,000 illegally dumped tires have been turned into 2.5 miles of trails in a Tennessee state park.
  • 100% of passenger cars sold globally will be electric by 2040.
  • A hacker claims to have procured a trove of personal information from the Shanghai police on one billion Chinese citizens.
  • The riskiest asteroid currently known will not strike Earth for at least 100 years.
Dr. David Martin
2027 … Big Financial Disruption

Saturday, July 23rd, 1:00 pm
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

One of the largest financial crises of our lifetimes occurred in 2008.  Starting with the US Congress voting in an emergency session for a $700 billion bailout of the banks which had issued thousands of subprime mortgages to individuals who were not qualified to pay them, there followed a huge freefall that, among many other things, resulted in the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank and a loss in household wealth in the US of $11 trillion. 

Almost 18 months before that event, In July 2006, Dr. David Martin gave two Arlington Institute Spring Side Chats in Berkeley Springs laying out the coming events that would begin in December of 2007 and become known as the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.  It was an extraordinary example of predictive analysis.

Similarly, in 2012, Dr. Martin laid out the events that would usher in the State Council of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and anticipated the use of bioterrorism as an agent of enabling the associated geopolitical instability. 

Now David Martin comes again to Berkeley Spring to TransitionTalks in July of 2022 – 17 years after John Petersen and David met —  to once again paint a picture of a great, inbound disruption guaranteed five years from now, at which time the United States will become bankrupt, unable to pay social security, Medicare, Medicaid and the pensions of many millions of people, This upheaval will occur along with many other converging factors that promise a near future that will be unlike anything that any of us have experienced before. 

Come and hear Dr. Martin detail what is in our future and talk about what we can do to prepare for this extraordinary event.

Click below for more information about this event and to get tickets.
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In this brief interview David Martin lays the foundation for his upcoming talk.
Join us on July 23rd (In Person or via Livestream) for the big reveal!

COVID Variants Found in Sewage Weeks Before Showing Up in Tests – (Scientific American – July 8, 2022)

For the first time, scientists have been able to detect specific variants of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage weeks before they were showing up in testing clinics. The wastewater data tracked “wave after wave of different viruses”, says Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and co-author of the study, which was published in Nature. Knight says that the technique could eventually be used to track emerging variants and speed up the public-health response. Research groups worldwide have used sewage surveillance to track SARS-CoV-2, but these approaches typically detected only the presence and amount of the virus. This was then used to estimate the amount of transmission in a community. But efforts to identify which variants were circulating and how prevalent they were have been plagued by low-quality data. To overcome this, the team in California developed a method that uses nanobeads to increase the amount of viral RNA that can be sequenced from a wastewater sample. Previous techniques allowed scientists to sequence no more than 40% of the viral RNA in a sample, whereas the nanobead method enabled the researchers to sequence nearly 95%. The California team also developed a tool, called Freyja, to identify the variants present in each sample, and their relative abundance. However, the prospect of an early-warning system for specific variants might still be a while away, says Phong Thai, an environmental scientist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, given that it takes close to two weeks to process the results after collecting a sample. “If you want to make a tool really useful for public health, it has to return the result within days,” says Thai. But Knight says that the team has managed to shorten the time it takes to sequence samples, from weeks down to days, which is a “game changer”.

Key Building Blocks for Life Discovered in Cloud Near Center of Our Galaxy – (SciTech Daily – July 8, 2022)

Nitriles, a class of organic molecules with a cyano group (a carbon atom bound with a triple unsaturated bond to a nitrogen atom) are typically toxic. But paradoxically, they are also a key precursor for molecules essential for life on Earth, such as ribonucleotides, composed of the nucleobases or ‘letters’ A, U, C, and G joined to a ribose and phosphate group, which together make up RNA. Now, a team of scientists from Spain, Japan, Chile, Italy, and the United States show that a wide range of nitriles occurs in interstellar space within the molecular cloud G+0.693-0.027, which is located near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. “Here we show that the chemistry that takes place in the interstellar medium is able to efficiently form multiple nitriles, which are key molecular precursors of the ‘RNA World’ scenario,” said Dr. Víctor M. Rivilla, a researcher at the Center for Astrobiology of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) in Madrid, Spain, and first author of the new study. According to this scenario, life on Earth was originally based on RNA only, and protein enzymes and DNA evolved later. RNA can fulfill both their functions: catalyzing reactions like enzymes, and storing and copying information like DNA. According to the ‘RNA World’ theory, nitriles and other building blocks for life didn’t necessarily all arise on Earth itself: they might also have originated in space and ‘hitchhiked’ to the young Earth inside comets and meteorites during the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment’ period, between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. In support, nitriles and other precursor molecules for nucleotides, lipids, and amino acids have been found inside contemporary meteors and comets.

Healthy Cloned Offspring Derived from Freeze-dried Somatic Cells – (Nature Communications –July 5, 2022)

From the abstract: Maintaining biodiversity is an essential task, but storing germ cells as genetic resources using liquid nitrogen is difficult, expensive, and easily disrupted during disasters. Our aim is to generate cloned mice from freeze-dried somatic cell nuclei, preserved at -30 °C for up to 9 months after freeze drying treatment. All somatic cells died after freeze drying, and nucleic DNA damage significantly increased. However, after nuclear transfer, we produced cloned blastocysts from freeze-dried somatic cells, and established nuclear transfer embryonic stem cell lines. Using these cells as nuclear donors for re-cloning, we obtained healthy cloned female and male mice with a success rate of 0.2–5.4%. Here, we show that freeze-dried somatic cells can produce healthy, fertile clones, suggesting that this technique may be important for the establishment of alternative, cheaper, and safer liquid nitrogen-free bio-banking solutions.

U.S. State Park Unveils New Trail Made of Illegally Dumped Tires – (Good News Network – July 6, 2022)

Officials from Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), and local leaders today cut the ribbon on a new hard-surface walking and biking trail in T.O. Fuller State Park that’s over 2.5 miles long—made from rubber crumbs derived from tires. The tires had been illegally dumped in the area around the park, gathered by volunteers and local contractors, then transformed into crumbs by Patriot Tire Recycling in Bristol, the only facility in the state with the ability to recycle tires in such a way. It is one of the longest rubber-bearing trails in the U.S. Once the tires were recycled into crumbs, the material was brought back to the park for construction of the trail. The project, which began with collection in 2019, was funded by a Tire Environmental Act Program grant of $250,000, and near-equal amounts from other state department programs. “TDOT spends more than $19 million annually picking up litter and educating the public about the negative impacts,” said TDOT Interim Commissioner Joseph Galbato, III. Workers cleaned up over 24,000 dumped tires, including passenger, commercial truck and heavy equipment tires. The cleanup had 450 registered volunteers and saw 10,000 tires collected in one day.

Researchers Just Gave Developing Nations a Scientific Basis for Legal Action against US, China for Climate Damages – (CNN – July 12, 2022)

Researchers in a new study have put actual dollar figures on economic harm caused by the countries most responsible for the climate crisis, and the ground-breaking data could serve as a starting point for legal action against the world’s wealthiest nations. The Dartmouth College study found that just five of the world’s top emitters of planet-warming gases — the United States, China, Russia, India, and Brazil — caused around a $6 trillion loss in gross domestic product from 1990 to 2014, adjusted for 2010 dollars, or about 11% of total global GDP. The study also shows the US and China — the two biggest contributors to the climate crisis — individually caused global economic losses of more than $1.8 trillion each during that same period. The study’s authors said this is the first time scientists have connected the dots between one country’s fossil fuel emissions and the economic harm those emissions have done to other countries. The scientists’ work could be a touch paper during negotiations leading up to and during the COP27 UN climate summit later this year in Egypt. An adequate resolution on so-called climate finance — funds for developing countries to adapt to the climate crisis and transition away from fossil fuels — has been elusive at past summits. Even more controversial has been the idea of “loss and damage,” or payments from countries that have caused the most harm to those that have suffered the consequences. The study’s authors and outside experts said it will ultimately be up to lawyers and politicians to decide what to do with these numbers. The world’s wealthiest countries have already agreed to pay into a global climate finance fund — one to be used by the developing world to adapt to the impacts and transition away from fossil fuels, though countries have shirked deadlines on payments to that fund.

Every New Passenger Car Sold in the World Will Be Electric by 2040, Says Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods – (CNBC – June 25, 2022)

In 2021, just 9% of all passenger car sales were electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, according to market research company Canalys. That number is up 109% from 2020 says Canalys. In light of its modeling, Woods said Exxon Mobil is evaluating how the decline in gasoline sales could impact its business. Exxon Mobil is one of the largest publicly traded international gas companies and a leader in the industry. Its website boasts that it is the largest “refiner and marketer of petroleum products,” as well as a chemicals company. Woods, who spent a part of his career on the chemical side of the company’s operations, says chemicals will be key to keeping the company profitable during the clean energy transition. The plastics that Exxon Mobil produces can be used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. ExxonMobil’s calculations predicted that oil demand in 2040 would be equivalent to what the world needed in 2013 or 2014. Woods seemed unfazed by the prediction, saying “that change will not make or break this business or this industry quite frankly.” Woods explained that the company would still be profitable at that time.

AI Predicts Crime a Week in Advance with 90% Accuracy – (New Scientist – June 30, 2022)

Ishanu Chattopadhyay at the University of Chicago and his colleagues created an AI model that analyzed historical crime data from Chicago, Illinois, from 2014 to the end of 2016, then predicted crime levels for the weeks that followed this training period. The model predicted the likelihood of certain crimes occurring across the city, which was divided into squares about 300 metres across, a week in advance with up to 90% accuracy. It was also trained and tested on data for seven other major US cities, with a similar level of performance. Previous efforts to use AIs to predict crime have been controversial because they can perpetuate racial bias. In recent years, Chicago Police Department has trialed an algorithm that created a list of people deemed most at risk of being involved in a shooting, either as a victim or as a perpetrator. Details of the algorithm and the list were initially kept secret, but when the list was finally released, it turned out that 56% of Black men in the city aged between 20 to 29 featured on it. Chattopadhyay concedes that the data used by his model will also be biased, but says that efforts have been taken to reduce the effect of bias and the AI doesn’t identify suspects, only potential sites of crime. “It’s not Minority Report,” he says. “Law enforcement resources are not infinite. So you do want to use that optimally. It would be great if you could know where homicides are going to happen,” he says. Chattopadhyay says the AI’s predictions could be more safely used to inform policy at a high level, rather than being used directly to allocate police resources. He has released the data and algorithm used in the study publicly so that other researchers can investigate the results. The researchers also used the data to look for areas where human bias is affecting policing.

Changes Coming to Canada’s Military Dress Code – (919TheBend – July 6, 2022)

Starting in early September, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members can color or grow out their hair, wear non-costume jewelry, such as rings and necklaces, and display facial tattoos. Male and female uniforms are also becoming available to all genders and may be intermixed, so soldiers can wear any items that best fit them. Other changes include permitting a CAF member to wear long fingernails, eyelash extensions, ear piercings, sunglasses and slinging a backpack over one shoulder. Officials say the new dress code must not interfere with a soldier’s daily tasks, so long hair, for example, must be tied back or covered with a scarf. Behavioral expectations are also more lenient, removing a clause that forbade a soldier from “chewing gum, slouching, placing hands in pockets, smoking or eating on the street and walking hand in hand.” Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canada’s chief of the defense staff, said uniformity has traditional uses as a method of discipline. “But uniformity does not equal discipline or operational effectiveness any more than the color or length of your hair defines your commitment or professional competence,” said Eyre in a video posted on social media. Eyre said the CAF will balance its traditions with societal expectations and the needs of service while “addressing the inherent tension created by accelerated generational change.”

How the Pentagon Uses a Secretive Program to Wage Proxy Wars – (Intercept – July 1, 2022)

Small teams of U.S. Special Operations forces are involved in a low-profile proxy war program on a far greater scale than previously known, according to exclusive documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials. Although various media outlets have previously reported on the Pentagon’s use of the secretive 127e authority in multiple African countries, a new document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first official confirmation that at least 14 127e programs were also active in the greater Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as recently as 2020. In total, between 2017 and 2020, U.S. commandos conducted at least 23 separate 127e programs across the world. Separately, Joseph Votel, a retired four-star Army general who headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed 127e “counterterrorism” efforts in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Another former senior defense official, who requested anonymity to discuss a classified program, confirmed that an earlier version of the 127e program had also been in place in Iraq. A 127e program in Tunisia, code-named Obsidian Tower, which has never been acknowledged by the Pentagon or previously identified as a use of the 127e authority, resulted in combat by U.S. forces alongside local surrogates in 2017, according to another set of documents obtained by The Intercept. A third document, a secret memo that was redacted and declassified for release sheds light on hallmarks of the program, including use of the authority to provide access to areas of the world otherwise inaccessible even to the most elite U.S. troops. The documents and interviews provide the most detailed picture yet of an obscure funding authority that allows American commandos to conduct counterterrorism operations “by, with, and through” foreign and irregular partner forces around the world. Basic information about these missions — where they are conducted, their frequency and targets, and the foreign forces the U.S. relies on to carry them out — are unknown even to most members of relevant congressional committees and key State Department personnel. Article includes links to supporting sources.

The War That Feeds US – (Spoils of War – July 11, 2022)

Bearing in mind the old adage that the U.S. government has two functions: to buy arms at home and sell arms abroad, it is worth examining the balance sheet for America’s proxy war in Ukraine.  On the theoretically minus side, there is the impressive total of $54 billion in aid promised or already delivered in various forms to our embattled ally.  The largest component of the total is the $40 billion aid package voted through by congress in May, of which just over $20 billion is for military aid that will be drawn upon when required.  But the money really belongs in the plus column, since the bulk of it will never leave the U.S., flowing instead to the gaping coffers of the military services as compensation for weapons and equipment turned over to the Ukrainians, and thereafter passed on to defense contractors for replacement systems, for example the $624 million contract just handed to Raytheon Technologies by the U.S. Army to replace 1,300 Stinger missiles previously shipped to Ukraine from army stocks. However, in addition to these billions flowing to the military-industrial complex at home, we should add the striking success of U.S. arms merchants in the NATO market abroad. As of June this year alone, according to the helpful website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, they have garnered at least $35 billion in contracts – a haul abetted initially by the threat and then the reality of Putin’s predictable aggression. Thus Germany, having for years resisted U.S. demands to spend more on defense (read: “spend more on U.S. weapons”) finally agreed in March to lash out $4 billion or more (the final bill is always more) on 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters.  (Editor’s note: All munitions everywhere are funded by the world’s taxpayers; the same will largely be the case with post-war redevelopment costs.)

Western Officials Admit Ukraine Is Crawling With CIA Personnel – (Caitlin Johnstone – June 26, 2022)

The New York Times has reported that Ukraine is crawling with special forces and spies from the US and its allies, which would seem to contradict earlier reports that the US intelligence cartel is having trouble getting intel about what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine. This would also, obviously, put the final nail in the coffin of the claim that this is not a US proxy war. The revelation that the CIA and US special forces are conducting military operations in Ukraine does indeed make a lie of the Biden administration’s insistence at the start of the war that there would be no American boots on the ground in Ukraine, and the admission that NATO powers are so involved in operations against a nuclear superpower means we are closer to seeing a nuclear exchange than anyone should be comfortable with. Back in April President Biden told the press the idea that this is a proxy war between the US and Russia was “not true” and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said “It’s not, this is clearly Ukraine’s fight” when asked if this is a proxy war. The mainstream media were still framing this claim as merely an “accusation” by the Russian government, and empire spinmeisters were regularly admonishing anyone who used that term on the grounds that it deprives Ukrainians of their “agency”. Then May rolled around and all of a sudden we had The New Yorker unequivocally telling us that the US is in “a full proxy war with Russia” and hawks like US congressman Seth Moulton saying things like, “We’re not just at war to support the Ukrainians. We’re fundamentally at war, although somewhat through a proxy, with Russia, and it’s important that we win.” So why are they telling us all this now? Well, it could be that we’re being paced into accepting an increasingly direct role of the US and its allies in Ukraine.

Hacker Claims to Have Stolen 1 Bln Records of Chinese Citizens from Police – (Reuters – July 4, 2022)

A hacker has claimed to have procured a trove of personal information from the Shanghai police on one billion Chinese citizens, which tech experts say, if true, would be one of the biggest data breaches in history. The anonymous internet user, identified as “ChinaDan”, posted on hacker forum Breach Forums last week offering to sell the more than 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin , equivalent to about $200,000. “In 2022, the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database was leaked. This database contains many TB of data and information on Billions of Chinese citizen,” the post said. “Databases contain information on 1 Billion Chinese national residents and several billion case records, including: name, address, birthplace, national ID number, mobile number, all crime/case details.” Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the post. Kendra Schaefer, head of tech policy research at Beijing-based consultancy Trivium China, said in a post on Twitter it was “hard to parse truth from rumor mill”. Zhao Changpeng, CEO of Binance, said the cryptocurrency exchange had stepped up user verification processes after the exchange’s threat intelligence detected the sale of records belonging to 1 billion residents of an Asian country on the dark web without saying if he was referring to the Shanghai police case. If the material the hacker claimed to have came from the Ministry of Public Security, it would be bad for “a number of reasons”, Schaefer said. More details: The hacker claimed to possess 23 TeraBytes, making this breach the largest ever in China. To gain credibility, the hacker revealed three different datasets, containing 750,000 files from the database. The first set is likely a collection of delivery locations while the second appears to be police call records. The third dataset contains information like addresses, heights, and gender.

Germany’s Largest Landlord to Reduce Heating for Tenants to Save Energy – (Reuters – July 7, 2022)

Germany’s largest residential landlord Vonovia will reduce heating for tenants in many of its apartments at night, as Europe’s biggest economy braces for a possible gas crunch with falling Russian fossil fuel imports. The company, which owns around 490,000 apartments in Germany and heats apartments through various energy suppliers, will cut the heating output between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 17 degrees Celsius (62.6F), a spokesperson for the company said. Tenants will be able to use their heating as usual during the day and in the evening hours, and the rationing will not affect hot water supply. Tenants pay a fixed monthly amount for heating based on an annual estimate. At the end of each year, landlords can subsequently ask for additional money from tenants, or they pay a refund, depending on the real consumption and cost. Sky-rocketing heating bills, in reflection of global rallies and shortages due to the Ukraine crisis, might mean tenants are handed giant bills early next year. For more details, see: What’s Unfolding in Europe in Recent Days Is a Fresh Big Negative Supply Shock. and Social Peace Is In Great Danger: Germany Is Quietly Shutting Down As Energy Crunch Paralyzes Economy. (Editor’s note: Unfortunately, the energy situation in the rest of Europe and in the UK is equally serious.)

When a Quarter of the Class Identifies as Trans – (Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans – July 7, 2022)

A quarter of the girls in my daughter’s class identify as transgender. Seven out of 28. I (author of this article) keep seeing people say, both on the hell-site Twitter and in the popular media, that the trans population is a tiny minority, less than 0.1% of the population. If that is true, what is going on at my child’s school? What has made the number of trans-identified girls in one year group grow from a constant zero pre-pandemic, to 25% now? Here’s my theory, and I know that this will be a familiar story for many parents. The first issue is with what the school is teaching children. My daughter’s trans identity started when the school taught a module on ‘identity’ during which they told a group of 11-year-olds that, if you feel uncomfortable in your body, it means you are transgender. My daughter had just had her first period two months prior to this class. Of course she was feeling uncomfortable in her body. She went home, looked up ‘transgender’ on Tiktok, and that was it. She was now trans. The second issue is a related one, and that is to do with the school’s non-stop celebration of LGBTQI+ identities. The third issue is with how the school is approaching the children ‘coming out’. Their official policy seems to be to just go with whatever the kids say without informing the parents. If a child says they have a new name and pronouns, the school just rolls with it—and they create the scenario where an already distressed child ends up cycling through four names in six months.

Tired of Swiping Left, Singles Are Turning to New Matchmaking Services for Dates – (CNBC – July 4, 2022)

With pre-pandemic activities opening up, not everyone wants to rely on hours of swiping to find a date. Instead, they’re outsourcing that work to experts. “I think people are seeking out other options and I’ve seen a lot more people talking and thinking about matchmakers,” said Ali Jackson, a dating coach who’s built up a large Instagram following through the handle @findingmrheight.Lily Montasser, co-founder of New York City speed dating startup Ambyr Club, put it another way. “Everyone’s just exhausted,” she said. Professional matchmakers have been around for decades and are engrained in our culture. Just look at the show “Millionaire Matchmaker,” which ran for eight years starting in 2008. However, traditional matchmaking services often cost thousands of dollars, making them inaccessible to wide swaths of the population. Now there’s an emerging crop of apps and companies looking to bring matchmaking to a new generation, mixing old methods with modern technology. One newcomer is Lox Club, a members-only dating app founded in 2020 by CEO Austin Kevitch. Lox Club operates on a subscription model, charging $96 for 12 months. The company offers all of its members access to matchmakers, who can set users up with one another or give feedback on the person’s profile. Kevitch said thousands of people have used the service, but he didn’t get more specific. Matchmakers are also taking on the role of part-time dating therapists with their clients. “I didn’t realize how much trauma there was in just the general world of dating in today’s world,” said Ari Axelrod, a 28-year-old from New York. Axelrod has been working with Cassie Levine, who recently launched her company called “Inquire Within”. Axelrod has gone on two dates so far while working with Levine. “Even if the actual matchmaking is unsuccessful, what it has accomplished is I feel so much more validated and confident,” he said. “So a couple hundred dollars to be reminded of something I didn’t even know I needed to be reminded of is worth it.” Levine, who launched Inquire Within in April, currently charges $150 per hour.

Riskiest Asteroid Known to Humankind in the Last Year Will Not Strike Earth for at Least 100 Years – (SciTech Daily – June 30, 2022)

A threatening space rock lingered at the top of risk lists around the globe for months, with a real chance of striking Earth on April 2, 2052. 2021 QM1 was first discovered on August 28, 2021, by the Mount Lemmon Observatory, located north of Tucson, Arizona. At the beginning, nothing stood out as unusual about the discovery – about a dozen new near-Earth asteroids are identified every dark night. Orbit calculations based on only a few nights of observations are subject to some uncertainty, which is why asteroids often get added to ESA’s risk list soon after they are discovered and are then subsequently removed once more data is gathered, uncertainties shrink, and the asteroid is proven safe. On this occasion, that was not possible. Routine follow-up observations were subsequently acquired from telescopes around the globe, but these began to tell a more worrying story. Just as the risk appeared to be increasing, an (im)perfect cosmic alignment occurred: the asteroid’s path brought it closer to the Sun as seen from Earth, and for months it became impossible to see due to our host star’s brilliant glare. Now, ESA’s asteroid team working with experts at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has officially removed ‘2021 QM1’ from their asteroid risk list, a result of skilled observations and analysis of the faintest asteroid ever observed with one of the most sensitive telescopes ever constructed. More interesting details in the article.

Unusual Fossil Galaxy Discovered on Outskirts of Andromeda – Could Reveal History of the Universe – (SciTech Daily – July 1, 2022)

An unusual ultra-faint dwarf galaxy has been discovered on the edge of the Andromeda Galaxy with the help of several facilities of NSF’s NOIRLab. Called Pegasus V, the galaxy was first detected as part of a systematic search for Andromeda dwarfs coordinated by David Martinez-Delgado from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain. Observations with Gemini North telescope in Hawai‘i showed that the galaxy appears to be extremely deficient in heavier elements compared to similar dwarf galaxies, meaning that it is very old and likely to be a fossil of the first galaxies in the Universe. The faintest galaxies are considered to be fossils of the very first galaxies that formed, and these galactic relics contain clues about the formation of the earliest stars. While astronomers expect the Universe to be teeming with faint galaxies like Pegasus V,[2] they have not yet discovered nearly as many as their theories predict. If there are truly fewer faint galaxies than predicted this would imply a serious problem with astronomers’ understanding of cosmology and dark matter. Discovering examples of these faint galaxies is therefore an important endeavor.

Astronauts Suffer Significant Bone Loss During Space Missions – Raising Concerns for Future Trips to Mars – (SkyNews – July 2, 2022)

An academic-led study of astronauts has revealed the devastating impact space travel has on the human skeleton. The research showed astronauts suffered “significant” bone loss during six-month space flights – equivalent to around two decades on Earth. Only about half the bone loss was recovered a year after returning – raising concerns about future missions to Mars and the Moon. Longer space missions led to increased bone loss and a reduced likelihood of recovery. The bone loss occurs due to a lack of gravity in space, where typically weight-bearing bones on Earth are weightless. The study was conducted on 17 astronauts – 14 men and three women with an average age of 47 – who flew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the past seven years. “What’s novel about this study is that we followed astronauts for one year after their space travel to understand if and how bone recovers,” said University of Calgary professor, Leigh Gabel, who led the research team. Nine crew members experienced permanent bone mineral density loss after spending between four and seven months on space missions. “During spaceflight, fine bone structures thin, and eventually some of the bone rods disconnect from one another,” Professor Gabel said. “Once the astronaut comes back to Earth, the remaining bone connections can thicken and strengthen, but the ones that disconnected in space can’t be rebuilt, so the astronaut’s overall bone structure permanently changes.” The research also found the cardiovascular system is also affected by space travel. “Without gravity pulling blood towards our feet, astronauts experience a fluid shift that causes more blood to pool in the upper body,” Professor Gabel said. “This can affect the cardiovascular system and vision.”

Researchers Record Successful Startup of Dark Matter Detector at Underground Research Facility – (PhysOrg – July 7, 2022)

Deep below the Black Hills of South Dakota in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), an innovative and uniquely sensitive dark matter detector—the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab)—has passed a check-out phase of startup operations and delivered first results. The take-home message from this successful startup: “We’re ready and everything’s looking good,” said Berkeley Lab senior physicist and past LZ spokesperson Kevin Lesko. Tucked away about a mile underground at SURF in Lead, S.D., LZ is designed to capture dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). The experiment is underground to protect it from cosmic radiation at the surface that could drown out dark matter signals. The heart of the LZ dark matter detector is comprised of two nested titanium tanks filled with ten tons of very pure liquid xenon and viewed by two arrays of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) able to detect faint sources of light. The titanium tanks reside in a larger detector system to catch particles that might mimic a dark matter signal. The design, manufacturing, and installation phases of the LZ detector were led by Berkeley Lab project director Gil Gilchriese in conjunction with an international team of 250 scientists and engineers from over 35 institutions from the US, UK, Portugal, and South Korea.

India Set to Overtake China as the World’s Most Populous Country in 2023, UN Says – (Washington Post – July 11, 2022)

India is on track to overtake China as the planet’s most populous country next year, according to a U.N. report. The report, from the population division of the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said China and India were each home to over 1.4 billion people in 2022. “The global human population will reach 8.0 billion in mid-November 2022 from an estimated 2.5 billion people in 1950,” according to the U.N.’s report. Looking further ahead, the U.N. said its latest projections showed the global population could reach roughly 8.5 billion in 2030 and 10.4 billion in 2100. Last year, the U.N. said that the “average fertility” of the planet’s population amounted to 2.3 births per woman across a lifetime. This compares to approximately 5 births per woman in 1950, according to Monday’s report. “Global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.1 births per woman by 2050,” it said.

Revolutionary Filter Uses Moss to Capture Pollutants and Microplastics Before You Drink Them – (Good News Network – July 9, 2022)

Design students in Colombia have harnessed the porousness of moss to design a water filter that can trap microplastics. Over the two-month product life of the filter, it can trap 80 grams of microplastics, sparing the drinker’s biology from consuming the equivalent of 16 credit cards. The design comes from the remarkable ecosystem high in the Andes Mountains called the Paramo. Hiking in this mountainous region is done either on rock, or what feels like marshmallows. The biosphere is covered in layers of moss species which absorb, filter the water, and send it down mountain streams where it’s scientifically found to be good to drink for around 40 million people across northern South America. Called MUS(T)GO, the filter, designed by students at the University of the Andes, won the annual Biodesign Challenge Summit. MUS(T)GO uses a steel spiral shaped like an Archimedes screw, inside which is a variety of sphagnum moss grown in nurseries outside the internationally-protected Paramo zone.

Physicists Discover a ‘Family’ of Robust, Superconducting Graphene Structures – (PhysOrg – July 8, 2022)

Graphene is a single-atom-thin material that can be exfoliated from the same graphite that is found in pencil lead. The ultrathin material is made entirely from carbon atoms that are arranged in a simple hexagonal pattern, similar to that of chicken wire. Since its isolation in 2004, graphene has been found to embody numerous remarkable properties in its single-layer form. In 2018, MIT researchers found that if two graphene layers are stacked at a very specific “magic” angle (offset at a precise angle of 1.1 degrees), the twisted bi-layer structure could exhibit robust superconductivity, a widely sought material state in which an electrical current can flow through with zero energy loss. Recently, the same group found a similar superconductive state exists in twisted tri-layer graphene—a structure made from three graphene layers stacked at a precise, new magic angle. Now the team reports that four and five graphene layers can be twisted and stacked at new magic angles to elicit robust superconductivity at low temperatures. This latest discovery, published in Nature Materials, establishes the various twisted and stacked configurations of graphene as the first known “family” of multilayer magic-angle superconductors. The team also identified similarities and differences between graphene family members. The findings could serve as a blueprint for designing practical, room-temperature superconductors. If the properties among family members could be replicated in other, naturally conductive materials, they could be harnessed, for instance, to deliver electricity without dissipation or build magnetically levitating trains that run without friction.

A Laughable Explanation of the G7 Oil Price Buyers’ Cartel Emerges – (MishTalk – June 28, 2022)

The details on how a buyer’s cartel allegedly works are now in. Here’s a look at the proposal. But first some background: The US and EU imposed sanctions on Russian oil and proposed to not buy any. With supply reduced and supply chains disrupted, the price of oil rose. The US and EU added further sanctions including sanctions on any countries or companies that offered insurance on Russian oil tankers. With no insurance, supply reduced further, and prices rose again. Sanctions also blocked Biden’s ability to get parts, again with the same impact, higher prices. But sanctions did not stop the flow of oil or natural gas completely. One result is that Russia made as more money on natural gas selling less of it at higher prices than it did before the sanctions. Russia avoided the oil sanctions by using small tankers, without insurance, to unload oil in the middle of the night to large Chinese oil tankers. The oil is getting through, but at more expense, and on longer routes, again driving up the price. So that is where we were right before the G7 laughable solution to the mess. The collective genius of the G7 concocted a scheme that would allow Russian tankers to get insurance. Then after Russian tankers get insurance, countries allegedly will refuse to buy the oil above a certain price. What is going to force Russia to get insurance on its tankers? (One answer: Russia would like to use larger tankers that Russians don’t own and whose owners would refuse to lease them without insurance.) But even if Russia bought insurance what is going to force China and India to comply with the price cap? (Unanswered question: What would the price cap be relative to the prices  India and China are currently paying?  More or less?) Treasury Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen signed off on this cartel idea. See also: Yellen Says Price Cap on Russian Oil Is ‘One of Our Most Powerful Tools’ to Address Inflation.”  The general concept is “The price cap mechanism involved the U.S. and other countries forming a cartel to buy Russian oil at a low enough price to keep Russian oil production profitable and supply forthcoming but at the same time starve Russia from being able to fund its war in Ukraine.” (Further unanswered questions: Will the post-cartel oil be paid for in dollars that the Russians can then use to service international debts or will they still be left in “constructive default” on some bond debt? Will this quietly but effectively lift many of the banking sanctions?) Additionally see: The West’s Self-defeating Sanctions.  (Editor’s note: We recommend these articles. Rough conclusion: The West blinked – it’s politicians know they can’t survive any more economic pain to the general public. And on a global level, social unrest would become rampant – and that may happen anyway.)

A Review Essay of Max Good’s Documentary Film – (Unz – July 5, 2022)

The Assassination and Mrs. Paine is Max Good’s second full-length documentary. He came to the subject after reading a section (pp.168-172) on Ruth and Michael Paine in James W. Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters, a book considered by many to be the best on the JFK assassination . He felt the Paines’ story shouted out for a documentary, and when he discovered that Ruth Paine was still alive, in her late eighties, and lucid, he contacted her and she agreed to be interviewed, something she has done for 59 years, always protesting her innocence, even though over the decades researchers have uncovered much evidence to the contrary. For those who may not have heard of her, Ruth Paine was the key witness against Lee Harvey Oswald at the Warren Commission (WC) hearings where she was asked more than five-thousand questions (her husband Michel was asked 1,000 or so). She is the woman who invited Marina Oswald to live with her in her home in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas, where Lee Harvey Oswald also spent weekends from late September 1963 up until the morning of the Assassination on November 22, 1963. Her testimony led to the WC’s conclusion that Oswald, and Oswald alone shot, the president.

“Reality” Is Constructed by Your Brain. Here’s What That Means, and Why It Matters. – (Vox – June 22, 2022)

Article opens with an optical illusions for the viewer to try. This particular illusion has recently reinforced scientists’ understanding of deeper, almost philosophical truths about the nature of our consciousness. “It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. “We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.” Most of the time, the story our brains generate matches the real, physical world — but not always. Our brains also unconsciously bend our perception of reality to meet our desires or expectations. And they fill in gaps using our past experiences. All of this can bias us. Visual illusions present clear and interesting challenges for how we live: How do we know what’s real? And once we know the extent of our brain’s limits, how do we live with more humility — and think with greater care about our perceptions? It helps to know that the brain is telling us stories about the smallest things we perceive, like the motion of objects. But it also tells us stories about some of the most complex things we think about, creating assumptions about people based on race, among other social prejudices. Using with neuroimaging, researchers have discovered a great deal about how the brain processes sensory input. The lesson: The stories our brains tell us about reality are extremely compelling, even when they are wrong. We’re not seeing reality. Our vision runs 100 milliseconds behind the real world. Why are we seeing a story about the world — a story — and not the real deal? It’s not because evolution made our minds flawed. It’s actually an adaptation. (Editor’s note: We recommend this fascinating – and compelling – article.)

Monthly Car Payments Have Crossed a Record $700  – (NPR – July 2, 2022)

The average monthly car payment crossed $700 a month earlier this year, the highest on record, according to Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics. And for more and more Americans owning a car is becoming unaffordable. The primary reason cars have gotten so pricey can be traced back to the computer chip shortage that started during the pandemic. When car sales dropped dramatically during the early parts of the lockdown, auto manufacturers slashed orders for the chips. Around the same time, as schools and work went online, people bought additional laptops, iPads, TVs, video games and other electronic goods for their home. So chip manufacturers shifted their production to serve those companies. This was soon followed by other big shifts in the economy. People started moving out of crowded cities into suburban locations, and suddenly demand for cars skyrocketed. But with a limited supply of chips, automakers cut back and made fewer cars. They decided to put their chips into making bigger, more expensive vehicles — SUVs loaded with features — to make more profit per vehicle. The result is that prices have climbed to astronomical levels. The average cost of a new car is hovering at the highest level on record, topping $47,000 a pop. Used car prices have shot up even more dramatically than new car prices, up 16.1% from a year ago compared to a 12.6% jump in new car prices. Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at the car buying expert Edmunds, says get used to these prices: “We’re not going to see a sudden drop-off in price anytime soon, because there doesn’t seem to be any resolution for the chip crisis.”

Slime Is Everywhere. – (Washington Post – July 1, 2022)

Just so you know, there is a lake in Manhattan filled with 350 gallons of slime. The slime lake is located at the Sloomoo Institute, a 12,000-square-foot slime paradise in SoHo, a few blocks down Broadway from the Museum of Ice Cream. The institute has a giant slime wall, a slime-making bar, and a cave full of glow-in-the-dark slime. Just around the corner from the lake, visitors stand against a blank white wall while buckets of lukewarm slime rain down upon them. The fun-gross, freely chosen slime that seeped into the lives of normal Americans and their kids nearly a half-century ago is having a moment. Sloomoo, with its slime lake and slime showers, is a significant watershed (it’s opening much larger locations in Chicago and Atlanta later this year, with plans to expand to half a dozen more cities next year), but to witness America’s obsession with slime you need only log on to YouTube, TikTok or Instagram, where the slime content seems to ooze forever and ever. Compared with naturally occurring slimes, artificial slime has no practical use. It is not, like algae, an icky yet essential element of an ecosystem. It does not, like mucus, play a key role in respiratory health. And yet the slime hobbyists who interact with it most — mainly kids, but also grown-ups — are effusive about its benefits. They say it relaxes and soothes them, eases stress, engages their senses, brings them into connection with themselves or the people they’re with. Thanks to social media influencers, do-it-yourself (goo-it-yourself?) slime was on the rise. In 2014, videos of teenagers in Thailand making and manipulating slime began popping up on social media, and by 2016, the trend had spread everywhere. Many DIY slime videos attracted tens of millions of viewers. Some of the most popular ones feature anonymous hands playing with slime, stretching and squishing it, poking holes to create a sucking sound. The standard slime recipe — which dates back to the 1940s, when an engineer dropped boric acid into silicone oil — almost always starts with glue. Today, Elmer’s features slime at the top of its website. Some people are convinced that slime offers a deeper benefit than just diversion. “Gallons of white glue are one of my largest recurring expenses for my business,” says Katie Lear, a child therapist in Davidson, N.C. When a troubled kid first shows up at her office, rather than sit them down in a chair to talk about their feelings, Lear will break out the glue and glitter and have them roll up their sleeves to start mixing some slime. “It’s like a gateway to doing deeper work,” she says.

Why Japanese Denim Is So Expensive – (YouTube – April 30, 2022)

A pair of typical blue jeans might not cost you much, but it could set you back a few hundred dollars if it’s the renowned Japanese selvage variety. Japanese denim from a brand like Momotaro in Kojima, Japan, can cost over $2,000. Today, Japanese denim is often regarded as one of the finest types of denim in the industry. So what’s so special about Japanese denim? And why is it so expensive? One part of that answer is the use of natural indigo rather than a synthetic dye. But that’s only the beginning. Check out this 11 minute video clip for a fascinating look at the production of a very high quality fabric.
The mind of man is capable of anything – because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future.
Joseph Conrad 
A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Steve Ujvarosy and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past.  If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.

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