Volume 25, Number 19 – 10/1/22


Volume 25, Number 19 – 10/1/2022


  • A new type of cancer therapy uses a common virus to infect and destroy harmful cells. 
  • Electric vehicle charging could strain the electricity grid in the Western United States, increasing net demand at peak times by 25%. 
  • Since 2019, electric vehicle have more than tripled their share of the auto market, and 6.6 million were sold globally in 2021. 
  • China installed almost as many robots in its factories last year as the rest of the world.
Dr. Rainer Viehweger

The Secret Universal Key to
Designing a New World

(or new relationship, health, economy,
government or business)

Saturday, October 22nd, 1:00-5:00
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Dr. Rainer Viehweger and John Petersen discuss the amazing potential Rainer will share in his upcoming talk in Berkeley Springs.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info
Perhaps the best known metaphysical principle on this planet is “as above, so below – as below, so above.”  All of us have heard it – and probably said it – many times, but what do you think it really means?  Most people think it’s about a similarity – a commonness – which can be found throughout all levels of existence, e.g., just as planets circle a star, electrons fly around the nucleus of an atom.  It describes basic structures and processes. 
But what if the concept was far more profound – and fundamental – than just describing how things look or generally behave?  What if the idea held the secret to the design of the new world that is on our horizon, or the basis of how we might build a new economy, new health, or even a family or personal relationship? What if it was universal, the literal glue that held everything in this reality together? 
What if it was . . . the literal glue that held everything in this reality together? 
If this notion of fractal-ness is what Dr. Rainer Viehweger, our TransitionTalk presenter on the 22nd of October, believes it is, then it is one of the most profound discoveries of our lifetime – opening the key to not only understanding and explaining many things that now seem ineffable, but more importantly, providing a conceptual structure – a framework – for designing a new world . . . and everything else. 

Think about it: if there was an underlying animating principle that could be easily applied that would describe why atoms don’t fly apart but stay in a stable configuration, how planets are specifically related to each other so as to maintain the coherence of solar systems, how companies, institutions and individuals could relate to themselves and their environment in the most efficient way – it would allow any of us to plan and design our futures in the ways that would guarantee harmony and stability.  It could be the basis for a new world!
This concept is called Global Scaling and is the underpinnings for a unique world perspective called ‘interscalar cosmology.’  That’s a scientific way of saying, ‘as above, so below.’  Global Scaling not only describes how things – everything, in fact – work in harmony, but also can be predictive, providing a template for anticipating the most stable relationship between any number of dynamic parts of a complex system.   That includes familial relationships, personal healthcare, business organizations, government policies, international relations and any other organized relationship that one would like to be stable. 

The coming months and years promise more unpredictability than ever before in our lives. The trick will be to navigate around the rapidly approaching implosions by understanding the emerging new principles that will shape the emerging new world.  That’s what this TransitionTalk is all about.

Come be with us – either in person or by livestream — on the 22nd of October for an extraordinary afternoon interchange between Dr. Viehweger and John Petersen as they explore and navigate the amazing implications of this newly discovered principle and speak specifically about the practical implications of being able to design our lives and relationships so that there is coherence and stability regardless of the surrounding chaos. 

All tickets include access to the replay!
Dr. Rainer Viehweger

Saturday, October 22nd,  1:00-5:00
Coolfont Resort
Berkeley Springs, WV

Get Tickets at
Dr. Rainer Viehweger studied medicine at the Szent-Györgyi-Albert Medical University in Szeged in Hungary in the 1980s. In 1992, he qualified as an orthopedic surgeon at the famous Berlin Humboldt University. After leaving the university hospital in 1993 he started an outpatient clinic in Hagenow, a small town in the northern part of Germany.
He also trained in acupuncture, chiropractic and many other complementary methods including magnetic field therapies, Scenar, myofascial Trigger shock wave therapy, Psychosomatic Energy, plasma frequency therapy and assessing and treating the informational body field. At the end of 2002 he left his clinic to open a small private clinic in his house where he started to mainly focus on CAM methods. From 2006 onwards he also worked as a trainer of CAM methods for various companies.

In 2009 he and his family made the decision to leave Germany to be able to give their two sons the opportunity to be home-schooled. The family moved first to Austria for about 5 years, then in 2014 they moved to the UK, where Dr. Viehweger was offered to become the chief research officer of a UK based Cam company (NES Health). In 2021, the family moved back to their home in Germany.     

As part of his long quest to find new ways of dealing with chronic pain syndromes, he found out about the Global Scaling theory in 2003. He took a postgraduate course at Dr. Hartmut Müller’s Research Institute in Wolfratshausen near Munich in 2006. Beside his work of teaching practitioners and doing R&D he still runs his holistic medical practice where he applies the principles of the new physics of global scaling. He also devotes  time to spread knowledge about global scaling so that it can be used in more areas of life as the principle of communication and cooperation.

Dr. Viehweger has published numerous articles about both conventional and complementary medicine and a book, “Understanding the Universe through Global Scaling” in 2011, that discusses the physics of the organization of matter with applications to health and biology.

Dr. Viehweger is one of the co-founders of the MiCellF B.V. company in the Netherlands. MiCellF B.V. develops and distributes wearable PEMF devices for the support of the human biofield in terms of circadian rhythms and providing ultra-weak electromagnetic signals as a template for biofield regeneration based on global scaling principles. Furthermore, Dr Viehweger is involved in other R&D projects both in the US and in Europe.
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Scientists Debate How Lethal COVID Is. Some Say It’s Now Less Risky Than Flu – (NPR – September 16, 2022)

Has COVID-19 become no more dangerous than the flu for most people? Early in the pandemic, COVID was estimated to be 10 times more lethal than the flu, fueling many people’s fears. “We have all been questioning, ‘When does COVID look like influenza?”’ says Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. “And, I would say, ‘Yes, we are there.'” Gandhi and other researchers argue that most people today have enough immunity — gained from vaccination, infection or both — to protect them against getting seriously ill from COVID. And this is especially so since the omicron variant doesn’t appear to make people as sick as earlier strains, Gandhi says. So unless a more virulent variant emerges, COVID’s menace has diminished considerably for most people, which means that they can go about their daily lives, says Gandhi, “in a way that you used to live with endemic seasonal flu.” However, skeptics doubt it’s hit that point yet. The debate over COVID’s mortality rate hinges on what counts as a COVID-19 death. Gandhi and other researchers argue that the daily death toll attributed to COVID is exaggerated because many deaths blamed on the disease are actually from other causes. Some of the people who died for other reasons happened to also test positive for the coronavirus. “We are now seeing consistently that more than 70% of our COVID hospitalizations are in that category,” says Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease specialist at the Tufts Medical Center and a professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine. “If you’re counting them all as hospitalizations, and then those people die and you count them all as COVID deaths, you are pretty dramatically overcounting.” If deaths were classified more accurately, then the daily death toll would be closer to the toll the flu takes during a typical season, Doron says. If this is true, the odds of a person dying if they get a COVID infection — what’s called the case fatality rate — would be about the same as the flu now, which is estimated to be around 0.1%, or perhaps even lower. See also from The Washington Post: Women Said Covid Shots Affect Periods. A New Study Shows They’re Right.  (Editor’s note: What’s interesting here is that these very mainstream news sources are now reporting what alt-press sources have been reporting for some time.)

 A Landmark Supreme Court Fight Over Social Media Now Looks Likely – (Washington Post – September 20, 2022)

Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark Supreme Court decision on whether the First Amendment protects Big Tech’s editorial discretion or forbids its censorship of unpopular views. The stakes are high not just for government and the companies, but because of the increasingly dominant role platforms such as Twitter and Facebook play in American democracy and elections. Social media posts have the potential to amplify disinformation or hateful speech, but removal of controversial viewpoints can stifle public discourse about important political issues. Attorneys who say conservative voices are the ones most often eliminated by the decisions of tech companies scored a major victory Friday, when a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas law barring companies from removing posts based on political ideology. But a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit went the other way earlier this year, saying that a similar Florida law violated constitutional protections for tech companies that do not want to host views on their platforms that they find hateful, divisive or false. All of the appeals court judges considering the Florida and Texas laws have noted the difficulty of applying some Supreme Court precedents regarding legacy media. And all weighing in so far were nominated by Republican presidents, with Newsom and Judge Andrew Oldham, who wrote the conflicting opinion in the Texas case, both nominated by President Donald Trump, who was kicked off Twitter in the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Disagreements among lower courts about important legal issues is the most likely driver of the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a case, and Florida’s petition challenging the 11th Circuit ruling is due at the high court Wednesday. When the justices in May decided to keep Texas’s law from taking effect while legal battles continued, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the issue “will plainly merit this court’s review.”

Mars Perseverance Rover Finds Organic Matter in Rock – (CNET – September 16, 2022)

In just a year and a half on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover has absolutely rocked its science mission. A rock named Wildcat Ridge, located in an ancient river delta region of Jezero Crater, is one of two samples collected from the mudstone rock. Wildcat Ridge is particularly exciting because the organic molecules (called aromatics) found in it are considered a potential biosignature, which NASA describes as a substance or structure that could be evidence of past life but may also have been produced without the presence of life. The rover team emphasized that finding organic matter doesn’t mean it’s found evidence of ancient life. Organic molecules have been spotted on Mars before, by the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater and also by Perseverance, which found carbon-containing molecules earlier in the mission. Scientists are seeing familiar signs in the analysis of Wildcat Ridge. “In the distant past, the sand, mud and salts that now make up the Wildcat Ridge sample were deposited under conditions where life could potentially have thrived,” said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley in a statement. “The fact the organic matter was found in such a sedimentary rock — known for preserving fossils of ancient life here on Earth — is important.”

Cancer-killing Virus Shows Promise in Patients – (BBC News – September 23, 2022)

A new type of cancer therapy that uses a common virus to infect and destroy harmful cells is showing big promise in early human trials, say UK scientists. One patient’s cancer vanished, while others saw their tumors shrink. The drug is a weakened form of the cold sore virus – herpes simplex – that has been modified to kill tumors. Larger and longer studies will be needed, but experts say the injection might ultimately offer a lifeline to more people with advanced cancers. Injections (every two weeks for five weeks), given directly into the tumor, attacks cancer in two ways – by invading the cancerous cells and making them burst, and by activating the immune system. About 40 patients have tried the treatment as part of the trial. Some were given the virus injection, called RP2, on its own. Others also received another cancer drug – called nivolumab – as well. The findings show that three out of nine patients given RP2 only saw their tumors shrink. Seven out of 30 who had combined treatment also appeared to benefit. And side effects, such as tiredness, were generally mild. Lead researcher Prof Kevin Harrington said the treatment responses seen were “truly impressive” across a range of advanced cancers, including cancer of the gullet (oesophagus) and a rare type of eye cancer. “It is rare to see such good response rates in early stage clinical trials, as their primary aim is to test treatment safety, and they involve patients with very advanced cancers for whom current treatments have stopped working,” he said.

Scientists Use Designer Immune Cells to Send an Autoimmune Disease into Remission – (Live Science – September 16, 2022)

Five patients with hard-to-treat lupus entered remission after scientists tweaked their immune cells using a technique normally used to treat cancer. After the one-time therapy, all five patients with the autoimmune disease stopped their standard treatments and haven’t had a relapse. This treatment, known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, needs to be tested in larger groups of lupus patients before it can be approved for widespread use. But if the results hold up in larger trials, the therapy could someday offer relief to people with moderate to severe lupus. “For them, this is really a breakthrough,” said Dr. Georg Schett, director of rheumatology and immunology at Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. Schett is the senior author of a new report describing the small trial, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine. “It’s a single shot of CAR T cells and patients stop all treatments,” said Schett. “We were really surprised [at] how good this effect is.” During CAR T-cell therapy, doctors extract immune cells, called T cells, from a patient’s blood, genetically tweak those T cells in the lab and then inject them back into the patient’s body, according to the NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

Biotech Company Wants to Take Human DNA and Create Artificial Embryos That Could Be Used to Harvest Organs for Medical Transplants – (Insider – August 21, 2022)

Renewal Bio, a biotechnology company based in Israel, wants to replicate a recent experiment that successfully created an artificial mouse embryo from stem cells — only this time with human cells. Scientists at Weizmann’s Molecular Genetics Department grew “synthetic mouse embryos” in a jar without the use of sperm, eggs, or a womb, according to a paper published in the journal Cell on August 1. It was the first time the process had been successfully completed. The replica embryos could not develop into fully-formed mice and were therefore not “real,” said Jacob Hanna, who led the experiment.  However, scientists observed the synthetic embryos having a beating heart, blood circulation, the start of a brain, a neural tube, and an intestinal tract. After the success of the mouse experiment, Hanna is working to replicate the results with human cells, including his own. “The embryo is the best organ-making machine and the best 3D bioprinter — we tried to emulate what it does,” said Hanna.  Other experts say it will take significantly more research before synthetic human embryos are within reach. Renewal Bio, founded by Hanna, wants to use this science for organ tissue transplants that could solve infertility, genetic diseases, and issues related to old age. For example, the blood cells from the embryo could potentially be used to help boost immunocompromised systems.

Health Apps Share Your Concerns with Advertisers. HIPAA Can’t Stop It. – (Washington Post – September 22, 2022)

In a nation with millions of uninsured families and a shortage of health professionals, many of us turn to health-care apps and websites for accessible information or even potential treatment. But when you fire up a symptom-checker or digital therapy app, you might be unknowingly sharing your concerns with more than just the app maker. People consent to these apps’ privacy practices when they accept a company’s privacy policies. Facebook has been caught receiving patient information from hospital websites through its tracker tool. Google stores our health-related internet searches. Mental health apps leave room in their privacy policies to share data with unlisted third parties. Users have few protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) when it comes to digital data, and popular health apps share information with a broad collection of advertisers. To give you a sense of the data sharing that goes on behind the scenes, The Washington Post enlisted the help of several privacy experts and companies, including researchers at DuckDuckGo, which makes a variety of online privacy tools. After their findings were shared with us, we independently verified their claims using a tool called mitmproxy, which allowed us to view the contents of web traffic. In fact, several popular Android health apps including Medication Guide, WebMD: Symptom Checker and Period Calendar Period Tracker gave advertisers the information they’d need to market to people or groups of consumers based on their health concerns. The Android app, for example, sent data to more than 100 outside entities including advertising companies, DuckDuckGo said. Terms inside those data transfers included “herpes,” “HIV,” “adderall” (a drug to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), “diabetes” and “pregnancy.” These keywords came alongside device identifiers, which raise questions about privacy and targeting. Among the terms WebMD shared with advertising companies along with user identifiers were “addiction” and “depression,” according to DuckDuckGo. So what can you do? Article offers courses of action relevant to various devices.

It’s Common to Charge Electric Vehicles at Night. That Will Be a Problem. – (Washington Post – September 22, 2022)

According to a new study from researchers at Stanford University, if EV sales grow rapidly over the next decade — and most drivers continue to charge their electric cars at home — vehicle charging could strain the electricity grid in the Western United States, increasing net demand at peak times by 25%. That could be a problem as the West struggles to keep the lights on amid heat waves and rising electricity demand. The first thing to know about EV charging is that it’s nothing like filling a car with gasoline. Charging an electric car takes time — while the fastest chargers can charge an EV battery by 80% in 20 to 30 minutes, most chargers are slower, taking somewhere between two and 22 hours to get to a full charge. That means that around 80% of EV charging happens at the owner’s home, overnight — when the driver doesn’t need the car and can leave plenty of time for a charge. But that charging pattern is at odds with how electricity is increasingly being generated. The largest demand for electricity happens in the evening, between about 5 to 9 p.m. People come home from work, turn the lights on, watch TV and do other activities that suck up power. Solar panels, meanwhile, produce their energy during the middle of the day. The highest electricity demand, then, happens just when solar has begun to shut off for the day. In the Stanford study, researchers modeled charging behavior of residents of 11 Western states, and then analyzed how that behavior would impact an electricity grid that is switching increasingly to renewables and other clean energy sources. “Once 30 or 40% of cars are EVs, it’s going to start significantly impacting what we do with the grid,” said Ram Rajagopal, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and one of the study’s authors. Even if drivers wait until after peak hours and set their cars to charge at 11 p.m. or later, they will be using electricity at exactly the time when renewable energy is not readily available. That could lead to increased carbon emissions and a need for more batteries and storage in the electricity grid. According to the study, under a scenario where 50% of cars are electric, a shift from mostly home to a mix of home and work charging could almost halve the amount of storage needed on the grid. Adding workplace and public chargers has an added benefit of also helping renters or those who don’t own homes access EVs. Ultimately, when renewables are supplying a large part of the power demand, the cheapest rates should be in the middle of the day to incentivize charging when the sun is out.

Electrified Wagon with Semi-autonomous Driving Makes Carrying Stuff Outdoors Easy – (Yanko Design – September 15, 2022)

The Outisan is  an electric utility wagon designed to make carrying cargo/items easy in the outdoors. It’s a 4-wheeled variant of the wheelbarrow or garden cart, but now with an electric powertrain to make pulling cargo much easier over long distances or uneven surfaces. With a foldable design that makes the e-Wagon easy to fit into a vehicle, the Outisan opens up to become a spacious 4-wheeled barrow that can hold up to 180 lbs of cargo comfortably. With four 7-inch high-density rubber wheels, the Outisan makes it easy to move heavy items across long distances, uneven surfaces, and both uphill and downhill. The Outisan comes outfitted with two brushless motors capable of significant torque and is powered by a detachable battery that provides cruising distances of up to 7 miles. A gentle pull of the wagon’s handle gets the Outisan started; the wagon’s handles instantly activate the brakes as soon as you take your hands off. Embedded videoclip shows the cart in action.

Apps That Sell Discounted Food Headed for the Trash – (Washington Post – September 17, 2022)

Flashfood, which has 2.5 million users, is one of a spate of new apps aimed at curtailing food waste by connecting people with grocery stores and restaurants with food that is unsold or close to its best-by date. With food costs rising more than 11% in August from a year earlier, some consumers are  turning to these apps to shrink their grocery bills. Through the app, shoppers browse through images of pasta, yogurt, imitation crab meat and whatever else is closing in on its best-by date at participating grocery stores. The item’s original price is crossed out and the new price is listed along with its best-by date. Consumers add their products to their virtual cart, pay through the app and then pick them up at the store. All items are made available before their expiration date, and the average discount is over 50% off. Around D.C., more than 18,000 Flashfood shoppers search for deals at participating grocery stores, including through a pilot program at a handful of Giant Food stores. The app kicked off in the area last fall, and the company announced its availability at more stores in August. So far, all of them are located in Northern Virginia, while the Maryland locations are clustered closer to Baltimore.

Bill Gates Wants to Force Everyone to Live Off of His Patent Pending Synthetic Corn – (Dossier – September 22, 202)

Bill Gates is transitioning from a gene juice vaccine (mRNA) salesman to a monopolistic synthetic corn salesman. And once again, he is using the continent of Africa as the patient zero for his latest maniacal experiment. At his annual Goalkeepers conference in New York City this week, Gates featured his lab made corn product as a solution to hunger in Africa. Gates believes the cows, chickens, and such are contributing to “climate change.” Therefore, Bill Gates has decided that Africans must subscribe to a lifetime of You Will Eat Corn And You Will Be Happy. “Gates says rich countries should shift entirely to synthetic beef. And he has the intellectual property rights to sell them. As a food that can help fix the climate, Gates touts the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty made from genetically engineered soy and textured with engineered yeast. Its manufacturer, the Gates-funded Impossible Foods, has two dozen patents and more than 100 patents pending to artificially replicate cheese, beef and chicken and permeate these products with manufactured flavors, scents and textures. Similar to the outcome of his COVID “investments,” there is a clear financial motive to Gates’s plan to coerce people into consuming his fake food.

Mysterious Sea Drone Surfaces in Crimea – (Motherboard – September 26, 2022)

A never before seen unmanned surface vessel (USV) washed up on a beach in the Black Sea this week. According to social media reports, open source intelligence, and local news reports, the USV appeared on a beach near the city of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea, which is the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The USV looks like a small cigarette boat painted all black and loaded with cameras. A gimbal mounted camera sits at the top, what some have speculated is one of SpaceX’s Starlink antennas rests on the back, and various sensors and lights dot the front. Experts have speculated that the USV may ride the surface or be semi-submersible, able to traverse just under the surface of the water. It’s unclear who owns the USV, who manufactured it, or what exactly it was used for. The possible presence of the Starlink antenna and presence in the Black Sea point to Ukraine. In its coverage of the drone, The War Zone noted that this system could be the mysterious “unmanned coastal defense vessels” that the U.S. shipped to Ukraine as part of an aid package announced in April. “It’s an unmanned surface vessel that can be used for a variety of purposes in coastal defense,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters when asked about the line item at a briefing on April 13. “I think I’ll just leave it at that.”

Insurers Force Change on Police Departments Long Resistant to It – (Washington Post – September 14, 2022) 

Across the country, allegations over police conduct are often settled by departments at taxpayers’ expense: more than $3.2 billion has been spent over the past decade to resolve nearly 40,000 claims at 25 of the nation’s largest police and sheriff’s departments. Where community activists, use-of-force victims and city officials have failed to persuade police departments to change dangerous and sometimes deadly policing practices, insurers are successfully dictating changes to tactics and policies, mostly at small to medium-size departments throughout the nation. Larger law enforcement agencies — like the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department or the New York Police Department — handle it in different ways, often by creating a special fund to finance settlements or by paying those costs from the county’s or city’s general fund. This insulates them from external demands by insurers. The movement is driven by the increasingly large jury awards and settlements that cities and their insurers are paying in police use-of-force cases, especially since the 2020 deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Those cases led to settlements of $12 million and $27 million, respectively. Insurance companies are passing the costs — and potential future costs — on to their law enforcement clients. Departments with a long history of large civil rights settlements have seen their insurance rates shoot up by 200-400% over the past three years, according to insurance industry and police experts. Even departments with few problems are experiencing rate increases of 30-100%. Now, insurers also are telling departments that they must change the way they police. For example, in 2019, the police department in St. Ann, Missouri agreed to ban high-speed pursuits for traffic infractions and minor, nonviolent crimes. “I didn’t really have a choice,” police chief Aaron Jimenez said in an interview. “If I didn’t do it, the insurance rates were going to go way up. I was going to have to lose 10 officers to pay for it.” Since the retooling, which took effect in January 2019, the number of police pursuits annually has increased slightly, but crashes during pursuits have dropped: from 25 in 2018 with eight injuries to 10 in 2021 with three injuries, according to data provided by the department. So far this year, the department says, there have been three crashes with no injuries. The forced changes prompted Jimenez to equip his patrol cars with new technology to help nab motorists who try to outrun police. Sticky darts containing GPS trackers are shot from the front of patrol cars onto the backs of vehicles that speed away, so officers can fall back and catch up with them later.

‘Never Sleeps, Never Even Blinks’: The Hi-tech Anduril Towers Spreading Along the US Border – (Guardian – September 16, 2022)

Now, as migrants cross the US border, they are being watched full-time. Powered by solar panels, the Anduril towers operate day and night and can be set up in remote areas, including near military bases, airports and oil and gas pipelines, the company boasts on its website. The towers use an artificial intelligence system called Lattice to autonomously identify, detect and track “objects of interest”, such as humans or vehicles. The cameras pan 360 degrees and can detect a human from 2.8km away. When the system identifies an object, it sends a notification to border agents on their phone or desktop, and an image appears with bright green rectangles around the item, according to an Anduril promotional video. California Border Patrol (CBP) has described these towers as “a partner that never sleeps, never needs to take a coffee break, never even blinks”. The Anduril tower near Tecate is just one in a chain of hundreds of surveillance towers installed over the last two decades along the southern border. Not all are made by Anduril, but the company is making aggressive moves. According to a freedom of information request shared with the Guardian by Empower, CBP has a contract with Anduril to deploy a total of 189 autonomous surveillance towers on the south-west border. All this new surveillance is driven by investment from big tech – specifically the billionaire PayPal co-founder and Trump supporter Peter Thiel, whose venture capital firm Founders Fund is a large investor in Anduril. The firm itself was set up in 2017 by Palmer Luckey, a former Facebook employee who identifies as a libertarian and has donated to a pro-Trump group. Luckey’s goal, he says in his bio on the company site, is to “radically transform the defense capabilities of the United States and its allies by fusing artificial intelligence with the latest hardware advancements”. The Anduril towers fit into an expanding virtual wall, one that extends 100 miles into the US interior and includes highway checkpoints, predator drones, license plate readers, facial recognition, ground sensors, and mobile surveillance mounted on vehicles, not to mention the digital tracking of migrants in detention. CBP is even piloting robot dogs to help agents patrol the border. This expansion of border security is largely bipartisan: the legacy of the last four administrations continues under Joe Biden. Pedro Rios, director of the US-Mexico border program for the American Friends Service Committee, a US-based social justice organization, calls the expansion of the digital wall “deadly” because it pushes people to take longer routes to evade detection, contributing to thousands of deaths at the southern border.

Crazy Thin ‘Deep Insert’ ATM Skimmers – (KrebsonSecurity – September 14, 2022)

A number of financial institutions in and around New York City are dealing with a rash of super-thin “deep insert” skimming devices designed to fit inside the mouth of an ATM’s card acceptance slot. The card skimmers are paired with tiny pinhole cameras that are cleverly disguised as part of the cash machine. Here’s a look at some of the more sophisticated deep insert skimmer technology that fraud investigators have recently found in the wild. The insert skimmer pictured in the article is approximately .68 millimeters tall. This leaves more than enough space to accommodate most payment cards (~.54 mm) without interrupting the machine’s ability to grab and return the customer’s card. For comparison, this flexible skimmer is about half the height of a U.S. dime (1.35 mm). These skimmers do not attempt to siphon chip-card data or transactions, but rather are after the cardholder data still stored in plain text on the magnetic stripe on the back of most payment cards issued to Americans. Skimming devices will continue to mature in miniaturization and stealth as long as payment cards continue to hold cardholder data in plain text on a magnetic stripe. It may seem silly that we’ve spent years rolling out more tamper- and clone-proof chip-based payment cards, only to undermine this advance in the name of backwards compatibility. However, there are a great many smaller businesses in the United States that still rely on being able to swipe the customer’s card. Article includes details and photos of various inserts; the ingenuity is impressive.

China’s Youth Are Turning Their Backs on Hustle Culture – (CNBC – September 16, 2022)

Young people in China are growing disillusioned and frustrated with work and life, and some are now turning their backs on a crushing hustle culture as they face challenges ranging from rising unemployment to layoffs and economic uncertainty. The competition is so intense that some say they’ve given up on their dreams and aspirations. The concept of “tang ping” – which means “lying flat” in Chinese – was one of the top 10 internet buzzwords in China in 2021. “Tang ping is the rejection of overworking, where you let things be and do the bare minimum,” said Jia Miao, an assistant professor of sociology from New York University Shanghai. In March this year, another Chinese term emerged online. Reflecting an attitude toward life, the term “bai lan” literally means “let it rot.” “Bai lan is where young people refuse to put further efforts [in life] because they just can’t see any hope in doing so,” Miao added. The term first gained popularity among players on popular video games like “League of Legends,” according to Miao. It was initially used to describe players who retreat or give up during a difficult battle to take up “easier tasks” instead. Both buzzwords reflect the intense competition faced by young Chinese today, said Miao. “While competition is expected in society, this is on top of uncertainty caused by the pandemic and…  it’s been much harder this year for young people to find jobs.” According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16 and 24 was almost 20% in July, far above the national urban jobless rate of 5.6%. The unemployment rate for that age group was 16.2% one year ago. Lying flat and letting it rot are the antithesis to the definition of success in China — which can be captured with the expression “cheng jia li ye,” said Miao. “That means, being able to buy an apartment, have a family, a decent career and money.” However, it is not just the shaky job market that has made these aspirations increasingly out of reach for some people, no matter how hard they work. For example, purchasing a home in large cities like Shanghai and Beijing has become “nearly impossible” for the average young Chinese, said Miao. According to Zhuge, a real estate market monitoring and research institute in China, the country’s housing price-to-income ratio is “much higher” than the international average of 3 to 6 times. In 2021, average housing prices were 12 times more than average incomes, data from Zhuge showed.

India Is Quietly Laying Claim to Economic Superpower Status – (Guardian – September 12, 2022)

The rise of China has been the biggest story in the global economy in recent decades. But amid concern about its stumbling property market and global fears about inflation, the emergence of its neighbor, India, as a potential new economic superpower may be going under the radar. The nation of 1.4 billion people is on track to move into third place behind the US and China by 2030, according to economists. It still has enormous problems of poverty and poor infrastructure, but it is beginning to emerge as a rival to its large neighbour with the kind of economic growth figures that were once the pride of Beijing. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 13.8% in the second quarter of this year as pandemic controls were lifted and manufacturing and services boomed. Although double-digit growth is unlikely to be repeated in subsequent quarters, India is still on track to expand by 7% this year as it benefits from economic liberalization in the private sector, a rapidly growing working population, and the realignment of global supply chains away from China. Based on recent figures from the IMF, India has overtaken the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy. A key part of India’s continued rise will be its ability to grow its manufacturing sector and challenge China as the world’s No 1 exporter. India has already benefited from a large, well-educated, often English-speaking middle-class, helping the country to develop world-class IT and pharmaceutical sectors. It also has strong consumer demand, which accounts for about 55% of the economy compared with less than 40% in China.

‘They Are Watching’: Inside Russia’s Vast Surveillance State – (New York Times – September 22, 2022)

Nearly 160,000 records have been obtained from the Bashkortostan office of Russia’s powerful internet regulator, Roskomnadzor. Together the documents detail the inner workings of a critical facet of Mr. Putin’s surveillance and censorship system, which his government uses to find and track opponents, squash dissent and suppress independent information even in the country’s furthest reaches. The leak of the agency’s documents “is just like a small keyhole look into the actual scale of the censorship and internet surveillance in Russia,” said Leonid Volkov, who is named in the records and is the chief of staff for the jailed opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny. The internet regulator is part of a larger tech apparatus that Mr. Putin has built over the years, which also includes a domestic spying system that intercepts phone calls and internet traffic, online disinformation campaigns and the hacking of other nations’ government systems. The agency’s role in this digital dragnet is more extensive than previously known, according to the records. It has morphed over the years from a sleepy telecom regulator into a full-blown intelligence agency, closely monitoring websites, social media and news outlets, and labeling them as “pro-government,” “anti-government” or “apolitical.” Starting in 2012, the year Mr. Putin retook the presidency, Roskomnadzor built a blacklist of websites that the companies were required to block. That list, which grows constantly, now includes more than 1.2 million banned URLs, including local political news websites, social media profile pages, pornography and gambling platforms, according to Roskomsvoboda, a civil society group tracking the blocks. Over the last decade, the agency also fined and penalized Google, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram to force them to remove what authorities deemed to be illicit content. In 2016, LinkedIn was shut down in Russia after being sanctioned for not storing data on Russian users in the country’s data centers. In 2019, Roskomnadzor ordered new censorship technology, known as a “technical means for countering threats,” installed in telecom networks around the country according to the documents. The agency then blocked and slowed down websites from its headquarters in Moscow. Since the invasion of Ukraine this year, Roskomnadzor has also blocked Facebook, Instagram and other websites, as well as many virtual private networks, or VPNs, which are used to bypass internet controls. Essentially Roskomnadzor is now in the business of providing political intelligence.

China’s Factories Accelerate Robotics Push as Workforce Shrinks – (Wall St. Journal – September 18, 2022)

China installed almost as many robots in its factories last year as the rest of the world, accelerating a rush to automate and consolidate its manufacturing dominance even as its working-age population shrinks. Shipments of industrial robots to China in 2021 rose 45% compared with the previous year to more than 243,000, according to new data viewed by The Wall Street Journal from the International Federation of Robotics, a robotics industry trade group. The rapid automation also reflects a growing recognition in China that its factories need to adapt as the country’s supply of cheap labor dwindles and wages rise. The United Nations expects India to surpass China as the world’s most-populous country as soon as next year. The population of those in China age 20 to 64—the bulk of the workforce—might have already peaked, U.N. projections show, and is expected to fall steeply after 2030, as China’s population ages and birthrates stay low. By embracing more robots, China’s factories can plug a widening labor market gap and keep costs down, making it less advantageous for Western companies to shift production to other emerging markets or their own home countries. Despite trade tensions with the U.S. and increasing Western anxiety over a perceived overreliance on Chinese manufactured goods, China is still the world’s factory floor, accounting for 29% of global manufacturing, according to U.N. data. Many younger workers are shunning factory work for more-flexible jobs in China’s expanding services sector, and the country’s long boom in internal migration is ending. There were around 147 million people employed in China’s manufacturing sector in 2021, according to estimates from the International Labor Organization, down from a 2012 peak of 169 million. Over the same period, services-sector employment rose 32% to an estimated 365 million, according to the ILO. In addition to helping to resolve pressures from those shifts, automation can help Chinese factories focus more on higher-end manufacturing tasks that require more precision than most humans can manage, while the robots themselves are becoming cheaper and more adaptable.

I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller – (GQ – September 15, 2022)

According to a 2009 study of Australian men, short guys make less money than their taller peers (about $500 a year per inch); are less likely to climb the corporate ladder (according to one survey, the average height of a male Fortune 500 CEO is six feet); and, for the cis and straight among us, have fewer romantic opportunities with women (a 2013 study conducted in the Netherlands found that women were taller than their male partners in just 7.5% of cases). So a growing number of men are undergoing a radical and expensive surgery to grow anywhere from three to six inches. The cost ranges from $70,000 to $150,000. The procedure entails having both femurs broken, and adjustable metal nails inserted down their centers. Each nail is made of titanium, which is both flexible and sturdy, like bone, and about the size of a piccolo. The nails are extended one millimeter every day for about 90 days via a magnetic remote control. Once the broken bones heal, ta-da: a newer, taller you. With a procedure like this, there are some caveats. All the height gain obviously comes from your legs, so your proportions can look a little weird, especially when you’re naked. Then there’s the pain, which is relentless, ambient. The daily extension of the nails in the legs stretch the nerves and tissue around the bones—especially the thick, meaty muscles like the hamstrings.  For 90 days, you may be unable to walk. This article looks at the booming business of leg lengthening. (Editor’s note: The “new human” is already here.)

Modeling the Future of Religion in America – (Pew Research – September 13, 2022)

Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” This accelerating trend is reshaping the U.S. religious landscape, leading many people to wonder what the future of religion in America might look like. What if Christians keep leaving religion at the same rate observed in recent years? What if the pace of religious switching continues to accelerate? What if switching were to stop, but other demographic trends – such as migration, births and deaths – were to continue at current rates? To help answer such questions, Pew Research Center has modeled several hypothetical scenarios describing how the U.S. religious landscape might change over the next half century. The Center estimates that in 2020, about 64% of Americans, including children, were Christian. People who are religiously unaffiliated, sometimes called religious “nones,” accounted for 30% of the U.S. population. Adherents of all other religions – including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists – totaled about 6%. Depending on whether religious switching continues at recent rates, speeds up or stops entirely, the projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070. Over that same period, “nones” would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population. The article lays out four scenarios and is careful to state: “However, these are not the only possibilities, and they are not meant as predictions of what will happen. Rather, this study presents formal demographic projections of what could happen under a few illustrative scenarios based on trends revealed by decades of survey data from Pew Research Center and the long-running General Social Survey.”

A Long-lost Moon Explains the Origin of Saturn’s Signature Rings – (CNN – September 15, 2022)

With its striking rings and tilted axis, Saturn is the showiest planet in the solar system. Now, scientists say they have a new theory as to how the gas giant got its signature look. The planet’s rings could be from an ancient, missing moon, according to space scientists at MIT and UC, Berkeley. Currently, Saturn has 82 moons. The research team proposed that the ringed planet may once have had another one that orbited the planet for a few billion years. But around 160 million years ago, this moon became unstable and swung too close to Saturn in what the researchers described as a “grazing encounter” that smashed the moon apart. While the gas giant likely swallowed 99% of the moon, the remainder became suspended in orbit, breaking into small icy chunks that ultimately formed the planet’s rings, the scientists suggested. Previous research had estimated that Saturn’s rings were 100 million years old – much younger than the planet itself – although their age is a hotly debated topic. This latest study provides a potential explanation for their later origin. The study also sheds light on two other puzzling features of Saturn: its tilt and the curious orbit of Saturn’s moon Titan.

Can the James Webb Space Telescope Really See the Past? – (Live Science – September 19, 2022)

On July 12, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) made history by releasing its debut image: a jewel-filled photo that’s been touted as the deepest photo of the universe ever taken. Besides looking farther across space than any observatory before it, the James Webb Space Telescope has another trick up its mirrors: It can look further back in time than any other telescope, observing distant stars and galaxies as they appeared 13.5 billion years ago, not long after the beginning of the universe as we know it. “Telescopes can be time machines. Looking out in space is like looking back in time,” NASA scientists explained on “It sounds magical, but it’s actually very simple: Light needs time to travel across the vast distances of space to reach us.” One light-year is the distance that light can travel in one year: roughly 5.88 trillion miles. For example, the North Star, Polaris, sits about 323 light-years from Earth. Whenever you see this star, you’re seeing light that’s more than 300 years old. So, you don’t even need a telescope to see back in time; you can do it with your own naked eyes. But to look truly far into the past (say, back to the beginning of the universe), astronomers need telescopes like JWST. Many stars and galaxies that are too far, faint or obscured to see as visible light emit heat energy that can be detected as infrared radiation. This is one of JWST’s handiest tricks. Using its infrared-sensing instruments, the telescope can peer past dusty regions of space to study light that was emitted more than 13 billion years ago by the most ancient stars and galaxies in the universe. That’s how JWST took its famous deep field image, and that’s how it will attempt to look even further back in time, to the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. See also: “Harvard and MIT Scientists Warn That James Webb Data May Not Be What It Seems” which suggests that the models scientists currently use to interpret the JWST’s data may not be up to snuff — and that may undermine their ability to tell whether a planet is habitable. (Editor’s note: In terms of time, the past is all the JWST can see. To be uselessly precise, it’s all anyone can see – because light takes time to travel.)

The Rule-breaking Paper Microscope That Costs $1.75 to Make – (CNN – September 14, 2022)

Discoveries involving a lab accident, venomous snails and a scientific instrument made from paper are some of the obscure, quirky or convoluted advances are being honored with awards that celebrate research that ultimately had a big, if unexpected, impact on society. Three teams of scientists won 2022 Golden Goose Awards, a prize organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for their research projects that morphed from “wait, what?” moments to pioneering breakthroughs. “The Golden Goose Award reminds us that potential discoveries could be hidden in every corner and illustrates the benefits of investing in basic research to propel innovation,” said Sudip S. Parikh, chief executive officer at AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. Here are this year’s award-winning discoveries, including the $1.75 microscope, which illuminate the unpredictable path of science and the benefits of investing in research that might not immediately (or not ever) pay off.

Scientists Are Using AI to Dream Up Revolutionary New Proteins – (Nature – September 15, 2022)

In June, South Korean regulators authorized the first-ever medicine, a COVID-19 vaccine, to be made from a novel protein designed by humans. The vaccine is based on a spherical protein ‘nanoparticle’ that was created by researchers nearly a decade ago, through a labor-intensive trial-and error-process. Now, thanks to gargantuan advances in artificial intelligence, a team led by David Baker, a biochemist at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, reports that it can design such molecules in seconds instead of months. Such efforts are a part of a scientific sea change, as AI tools such as DeepMind’s protein-structure-prediction software AlphaFold are embraced by life scientists. In July, DeepMind revealed that the latest version of AlphaFold had predicted structures for every protein known to science. And recent months have seen an explosive growth in AI tools — some based on AlphaFold — that can quickly dream up completely new proteins. Previously, this had been a painstaking pursuit with high failure rates. Most efforts are focused on tools that can help to make original proteins, shaped unlike anything in nature, without much focus on what these molecules can do. But researchers — and a growing number of companies that are applying AI to protein design — would like to design proteins that can do useful things, from cleaning up toxic waste to treating diseases. But researchers — and a growing number of companies that are applying AI to protein design — would like to design proteins that can do useful things, from cleaning up toxic waste to treating diseases. Article goes on to explain in depth the AI protein design process.

Inflation Is Here to Stay Despite Rising Interest Rates – (CNBC – September 27, 2022)

While rising interest rates might eventually temper asset prices, deglobalization and decarbonization could continue to drive up costs for everyday goods, said V. Shankar, chief executive of emerging markets investment manager Gateway Partners. “Despite helicopter money and zero interest rates, the reason why the price of goods stayed down for so long is because of a vast efficient manufacturing agent called China, and the integration of global supply chains,” he added. But now, catalyzed by the pandemic, there are new threats to interwoven global supply chains as countries look to bring back manufacturing to their own countries or to countries they are friendly with. Decarbonization efforts will also contribute to higher prices, Shankar said, as there is not enough supply of components for climate-friendly goods to meet demand. For instance, the global production and consumption of graphite for electric vehicle batteries was 1 million tonnes last year but in 10 years, that could rise to 5 million tonnes. There is no indication where that extra production will come from, Shankar says. “If you look at the fossil fuel industry, they are investing at a pace as if we are transitioning to a net-zero economy by 2035 whereas the renewable industry is investing at a pace of roughly a third of what is required for net-zero by 2050,” he said. “There is an inevitable train wreck and the politics and societal pressures are colliding with economics. So, inflation is here to stay.”

What Will It Take to Recycle Millions of Worn-out EV Batteries? (Knowable – September 21, 2022)

Conceivably some of the additionally needed graphite might come from old batteries. When fully constructed, a facility 30 miles east of Reno, Nevada will be a pilot for a business that entrepreneurs envision as a major facet of America’s future green economy: lithium-ion battery recycling. The 60,000-square-foot plant owned by the American Battery Technology Company is an optimistic endeavor to address the inconvenient environmental downside of electric vehicles — their resource-demanding battery packs. It is also a test of whether business leaders can live up to their promises to help build a circular economy: one in which materials are reused indefinitely, minimizing the need to continually pry more minerals from the earth. Since 2019, electric vehicles — EVs — have more than tripled their share of the auto market, and 6.6 million were sold globally in 2021. Facing pressure and sometimes outright regulation to reduce their climate footprint, many automakers have pledged to stop sales of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2040. “In five years, we are aiming for having tens of millions of electric vehicles on the roads,” says Alexandre Milovanoff of the sustainability consulting company Anthesis Group, who has studied how an EV transition would affect America’s electrical grid. To feed the rising EV battery demand, the US government and companies are investing in domestic mining for the needed minerals — including nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium (the price of which more than quadrupled in 2021). But they are also looking for ways to reduce dependence on newly mined materials through recycling. In March 2022, President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to bolster supplies of the in-demand minerals, directing domestic investments both in mining and in other forms of recovery.

Black and White Photo Awards 2022 winners – (BW Photo Awards – 2022)

Minus the pleasant distraction of color, a well-made black and white image relies on its starker elements—contrast, texture, mood, form—to convey intensity and spark awe. And in this treasure trove of 2022 Black and White Photo Award winners and finalists, from architectural abstracts to steely-eyed portraits to night-fallen landscapes, emotions run high. The overall winner—of a cheetah sitting tall over her brood—is a study in vigilance and disguise. The landscape prize went to “Sea of Sand,” a monochrome mirage of turbulent waters. (HT- Rob Gurwitt)
Scientists will eventually stop flailing around with solar power and focus their efforts on harnessing the only truly unlimited source of energy on the planet: stupidity. I predict that in the future, scientists will learn how to convert stupidity into clean fuel.
– Scott Adams, creator of the syndicated Dilbert comic strip
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