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Volume 26, Number 1 – 1/1/23

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Volume 26, Number 1 – 1/1/2023

FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS

  • In a number of countries, police are using Covid-19 technologies to expand surveillance.
  • One newly developed blood test can screen for various types of cancer; another can screen for Alzheimer’s Disease. 
  • Renewables will be world’s top energy source by 2025.  
  • Some of the world’s biggest economies and over a dozen smaller ones are exploring ways to circumvent the US currency.
Joey & Jill Korn
 

A Silent Global Pandemic
and How to Clear It

Saturday, January 28th, 1:00-5:00 pm
Coolfont Resort, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
or via LIVESTREAM!
Click Here for Tickets and More Info

Joey Korn is one of the most accomplished dousers in the world.  For decades he has explored the outer edges of what can be done with dousing — far more than finding water or underground electrical cables.  He comes to TransitionTALKS in January, with his most important discovery, what he calls Interference Energy and, ultimately, how to clear it.  After conducting many thousands of space clearings — eliminating all forms of negative energy in a specific area — Joey has identified the energy that is the primary and most common cause of problems in people’s lives, homes, and offices.  You have not learned about this unless you’ve heard it from Joey.  His approach eliminates interference energy, which greatly increases negatively in all who attract it — and everyone around that person, especially their families, and pets. 

Joey first found and learned to clear or remove Interference Energy from people and their homes about 16 years ago, and he has helped thousands of people by removing this energy from them, their families, and their homes in his Remote Personal Energy and Space Clearing Sessions. There are two ways to attract Interference Energy:

  1. We can attract it directly by entering intense negative states of mind and emotion, in our reactions to difficult and traumatic times in our lives.  Until Covid, this was the most common way to attract this energy.
  2. Once someone attracts Interference Energy, others in their family and elsewhere can “catch” it, like an energetic virus.  Since Covid, this has become the most common way to attract it.

With the world governments’ reactions to Covid, spreading fear around the world, and the political dichotomies in this country and many others, including the war in Ukraine, Interference Energy has become what Joey calls a Global Silent Pandemic.  It’s affecting more people and wreaking more havoc in the world than Covid is, but nobody knows about this energy or that it can be easily removed from people and their homes. 

In addition to leaving our energy pattern imprints around our bed, we also leave our energy pattern imprints for a period of time everywhere we sleep like hotels, vacation rentals, etc., so Interference Energy is also very common in those places, and it can spread to others who stay and leave imprints of their energy patterns there. And the same happens when we lie down on a therapy table for a massage, acupuncture, a doctor’s examination, etc.  Joey feels certain that well more than half the people on the planet are either directly or indirectly affected by Interference Energy, yet again, no one knows about it unless they learned about it from Joey.

For 14 years, Joey knew only one way to remove this energy from people, as well as their homes and offices, and it would help his clients greatly, but he had a very difficult time teaching anyone else to do it. However, Joey has recently developed what he now calls his Miracle Blessing Process, which just about anyone can use to remove Interference Energy from themselves, from all in their families, and from many others, with no dowsing experience needed.  Joey will share this blessing process with us, and you will be able to clear Interference Energy from all who may have it affecting you, your family, and it will do much more than that.  His goal now is to spread his Miracle Blessing Process to millions of people around the world in the coming year, and you will be part of that process.

Joey Korn is a mystic and a global leader in the world of dowsing, with a primary interest in personal energy clearing and space clearing. Joey had a powerful mystical experience in 1974, when he was 21 years old, that put him very soundly on his spiritual Path.  After that fateful night, Joey has had an unquenchable thirst to learn as much as he could about the powers of mind, about energy, light, healing, and about Life itself. Nothing has helped Joey accomplish this more than dowsing combined with the blessing process. 
Joey learned to dowse in 1986 and has been a passionate dowser ever since.  By 1997, he was teaching dowsing, combined with the blessing process, as well as offering on-site and remote space clearing services as his full-time profession, traveling extensively for many years.  Joey no longer travels to teach, as conducting his Remote Personal and Space Clearing Services over the phone is his full-time work.  However, he has made an exemption for our group, as we have become quite special to him after he spoke for us several years ago.  Joey teaches now through Zoom-type sessions and in retreats that he and his wife of 45 years, Jill, conduct in their home near Augusta, Georgia, USA.  Joey couldn’t do all that he does without his partnership with Jill, who will join him in his talk. Joey also shares his understandings in the revised edition of his book, “Dowsing: A Path to Enlightenment,” his videos, and through his Web site at www.dowsers.com.  Joey and Jill can be reached at Jill@dowsers.com and 1-706-733-0204.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info
THINK LINKS

Australian Senator Takes Hard Stand Against COVID Jabs – (1News.Info – December 29, 2022)

The Canadian Independent‘s video (embedded in the article)  features an early-December 2022 Parliamentary speech by Gerard Rennick, senator for Queensland, Australia, and a member of the Liberal National Party. As noted by Rennick, Australia had logged more than 10 million COVID-19 cases by September 2022, at which point the Australian Health Department stopped counting — a decision made out of embarrassment, Rennick suggests, seeing how more than half the country caught COVID despite the fact that 20 million out of Australia’s total population of 26 million2 got their COVID jabs. Rennick goes on to highlight the rising excess death rate. In 2021, Australia had 8,706 extra deaths above norm, even though New South Wales remained in lockdown for three whole months. “In theory, the deaths should have been lower, like they were in 2020,” Rennick says. Then there are the jab injuries, which according to Rennick now number around 140,000, “more than all the injuries reported from vaccines since 1971.” Yet despite this shocking discrepancy, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) — just as the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. — refuses to look at or even acknowledge the signal. Rennick reviews how he asked professor Brendan Murphy, who was the chief health officer at the time, whether he’d actually read the nonclinical trial report for the Pfizer shot. As it turns out, he had not. And because he hadn’t, what he told the public was complete make-believe. (Video clip is helpfully close-captioned because some of Rennick’s words are a little difficult for an American ear to catch.)

Police Seize on Covid-19 Technology to Expand Global Surveillance – (Associated Press – December 21, 2022)

In the pandemic’s early days, millions worldwide believed government officials who said they needed confidential data for new tech tools that could help stop coronavirus’ spread. In return, governments got a firehose of individuals’ private health details, photographs that captured their facial measurements and their home addresses. Now, from Beijing to Jerusalem to Hyderabad, India, and Perth, Australia, The Associated Press has found that authorities used these technologies and data to halt travel for activists and ordinary people, harass marginalized communities and link people’s health information to other surveillance and law enforcement tools. In some cases, data was shared with spy agencies. Just as the balance between privacy and national security shifted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, COVID-19 has given officials justification to embed tracking tools in society that have lasted long after lockdowns. “Any intervention that increases state power to monitor individuals has a long tail and is a ratcheting system,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the Toronto-based internet watchdog Citizen Lab. “Once you get it, it is very unlikely it will ever go away.” What use will ultimately be made of the data collected and tools developed during the height of the pandemic remains an open question. But recent uses may offer a glimpse. In the U.S., the federal government took the opportunity to build out its surveillance toolkit, including two contracts in 2020 worth $24.9 million to the data mining and surveillance company Palantir Technologies Inc. to support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ pandemic response. Documents obtained by the immigrant rights group Just Futures Law under the Freedom of Information Act and shared with AP showed that federal officials contemplated how to share data that went far beyond COVID-19. The possibilities included integrating “identifiable patient data,” such as mental health, substance use and behavioral health information from group homes, shelters, jails, detox facilities and schools. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control does not use any of that individual-level information in the platform CDC now manages, said Kevin Griffis, a department spokesman. Griffis said he could not comment on discussions that occurred under the previous administration. Article also includes extensive details of Covid surveillance expansion in other countries including Australia, Israel, India, and China.

How AI-generated Text Is Poisoning the Internet – (MIT Technology Review – December 20, 2022)

Sometimes it’s obvious when a picture or a piece of text has been created by an AI. But increasingly, the output these models generate can easily fool us into thinking it was made by a human. And large language models in particular are confident bullshitters: they create text that sounds correct but in fact may be full of falsehoods. While that doesn’t matter if it’s just a bit of fun, it can have serious consequences if AI models are used to offer unfiltered health advice or provide other forms of important information. AI systems could also make it stupidly easy to produce reams of misinformation, abuse, and spam, distorting the information we consume and even our sense of reality. It could be particularly worrying around elections, for example. The proliferation of these easily accessible large language models raises an important question: How will we know whether what we read online is written by a human or a machine? Given the tools we currently have to spot AI-generated text, today’s detection tool kit is woefully inadequate against ChatGPT. But there is a more serious long-term implication. We may be witnessing, in real time, the birth of a snowball of bullshit. Large language models are trained on data sets that are built by scraping the internet for text, including all the toxic, silly, false, malicious things humans have written online. The finished AI models regurgitate these falsehoods as fact, and their output is spread everywhere online. Tech companies scrape the internet again, scooping up AI-written text that they use to train bigger, more convincing models, which humans can use to generate even more nonsense before it is scraped again and again, ad nauseam. This is the problem: AI is feeding on itself and producing increasingly polluted output. In the future, it’s going to get trickier and trickier to find good-quality, guaranteed AI-free training data, says Daphne Ippolito, a senior research scientist at Google Brain, the company’s research unit for deep learning. It’s not going to be good enough to just blindly hoover text up from the internet anymore, if we want to keep future AI models from having biases and falsehoods embedded to the nth degree.

A New Kind of Blood Test Can Screen for Many Cancers — as Some Pregnant People Learn – (NPR – December 23, 2022)

A simple blood test can look at the DNA that’s floating freely in a pregnant person’s bloodstream. It searches for bits released by cells in the placenta, which should have the same genetic make-up as the fetus. Over the last decade, this kind of genetic test has become the go-to method for screening pregnancies for chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. An expectant mother’s bloodstream doesn’t just contain bits of free-floating DNA associated with the fetus. It’s also chock full of DNA released by her own cells. And if some of those cells are malignant, that can affect the test results – acting as a kind of unasked-for cancer screening. A blood test that can screen for multiple cancers at once by looking at DNA has been something that researchers have been working towards for years. One such cancer screening test is even commercially available – but no medical association recommends this kind of testing and no such tests have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That’s because although there’s some data suggesting that certain blood tests that target free DNA might be very good at detecting cancer, there’s no definitive studies showing that using them for screening will actually improve people’s health outcomes, says Lori Minasian, deputy director for the division of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute. The trouble is, “we don’t know who should be tested,” said Colin Pritchard, professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Washington. “How old should you be? Should you only be tested if you have a family history of cancer?” And if the screening test indicates the possible presence of a malignancy, what kind of follow-up testing needs to be done? Insurance companies may balk at paying for expensive tests to hunt for cancers that might not even exist, based on the results of a new-fangled screening strategy that hasn’t been proven cost-effective. A clinical trial sponsored by the NIH, called IDENTIFY, was designed to figure out the full range of what these results might mean, so that doctors in the future would have a better sense of what to tell their patients. “Of the ones who have been enrolled [who had initially ambiguous results] and have had the full workup, over half of them do have a tumor,” says Diana Bianchi, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “So this is not a trivial finding. Our take home message is, this really needs to be taken seriously.”

Scientists Develop Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease – (Guardian – December 27, 2022)

Scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease without the need for expensive brain imaging or a painful lumbar puncture, where a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is drawn from the lower back. If validated, the test could enable faster diagnosis of the disease, meaning therapies could be initiated earlier. Current guidelines recommend detection of three distinct markers: abnormal accumulations of amyloid and tau proteins, as well as neurodegeneration – the slow and progressive loss of neuronal cells in specified regions of the brain. Although current blood tests can accurately detect abnormalities in amyloid and tau proteins, detecting markers of nerve cell damage that are specific to the brain has been harder. Thomas Karikari at the University of Pittsburgh and his colleagues around the world focused on developing an antibody-based blood test that would detect a particular form of tau protein called brain-derived tau, which is specific to Alzheimer’s disease. They tested it in 600 patients at various stages of Alzheimer’s and found that levels of the protein correlated well with levels of tau in the CSF, and could reliably distinguish Alzheimer’s from other neurodegenerative diseases. The next step will be to validate the test in a broader range of patients. 

Groundwater Replenishes Much Faster Than Scientists Previously Thought – (PhysOrg – December 21, 2022)

A large part of the world’s liquid freshwater supply comes from groundwater. These underground reservoirs of water—which are stored in soil and aquifers—feed streams, sustain agricultural lands, and provide drinking water to hundreds of millions of people. For that reason, researchers are keen to understand how quickly surface water replenishes, or “recharges,” groundwater stores. A new study by Wouter Berghuijs and colleagues published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that recharge rates might be double previous estimates. The research team produced an updated model of groundwater recharge using a recent global synthesis of regional groundwater measurements. They found that a single factor, climate aridity, accurately estimated how much precipitation trickled into groundwater across the globe: Arid locations had lower recharge rates than humid ones. The aridity-based model results closely mirrored field measurements and indicated that previous models vastly underestimated recharge rates. This finding has implications for the water cycle, the authors say. For instance, groundwater likely contributes more to river flow and plant water use than previous models predicted. That could scale up to affect the entire ecosystem.

This Plastic-foam-eating ‘Superworm’ Could Help Solve the Garbage Crisis – (Washington Post – December 22, 2022)

A plump larva the length of a paper clip can survive on the material that makes rigid plastic foam (such as Syrofoam). The organism, commonly called a “superworm,” could transform the way waste managers dispose of one of the most common components in landfills, researchers said, potentially slowing a mounting garbage crisis. In a paper in the journal Microbial Genomics, scientists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, showed that the larvae of a darkling beetle, called zophobas morio, can survive solely on polystyrene, commonly called plastic foam. The findings come amid a flurry of research on ways bacteria and other organisms can consume plastic materials, like plastic foam and drinking bottles. Now, the researchers will study the enzymes that allow the superworm to digest plastic foam, as they look to find a way to transform the finding into a commercial product. Industrial adoption offers a tantalizing scenario for waste managers: A natural way to dispose and recycle the plastic foam trash that accounts for as much as 30% of landfill space worldwide. (Paywall waived.)

Understanding Climate Change and the UN’s Hidden Agenda Behind “Catastrophic Global Warming” – (Global Research – December 26, 2022)

COP27, like all of the UN’s previous annual climate summits (COP1 through COP26), addressed none of the actual existential issues facing humanity. Instead, its delegates bombarded the rest of us with endless chatter about how human-induced climate change will spell the end of humanity if trillions of dollars aren’t thrown at this alleged catastrophe. To that familiar refrain they added a new note: a proclamation of “climate justice” that focused on the need for rich countries to scale up “investment for climate and development” to the lofty tune of $2 trillion a year. But could all that blather about climate catastrophe and climate justice be nothing more than a smoke screen covering up a nefarious scheme—a scheme designed to monopolize the world’s resources for the benefit of a select few? See also: 1200 Scientists and Professionals Declare There Is No Climate Emergency

FBI COINTELPRO Is Back, And Worse Than Ever – (Libertarian Institute – December 27, 2022)

Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech. The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved of, including parody accounts. The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media companies. Thus far, most of the American corporate media has ignored or downplayed the story, known as the Twitter Files. Since many of the individuals who the FBI got squelched were pro-Trump, the violation of their rights is a non-issue (or a cause for quiet celebration). At this point, it is difficult to know whether the scant reaction to the Twitter Files is the result of political bias, collective amnesia, or simply a total ignorance of American history. The history of the FBI provides the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. (Article extensively recounts that history.) One of the biggest “misses” in the media coverage of the Twitter Files is the stunning failure of Congress to expose the abuses that Elon Musk is revealing. A few months ago, FBI director Christopher Wray, facing vigorous questioning from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others, walked out of a Senate oversight hearing claiming that he had an urgent appointment he must keep. It was later revealed that Wray’s “appointment” was hopping on an FBI jet for a family vacation. Congress punished the FBI with a $570 million budget increase, plowing $11.3 billion into its coffers in the coming year. See also: The FBI Won’t Name Other Social Media Companies It Pays.

A Roomba Recorded a Woman on the Toilet. How Did the Screenshots End Up on Facebook? (Technology Review – December 18, 2022)

In the fall of 2020, gig workers in Venezuela posted a series of images to online forums where they gathered to talk shop. The photos were mundane, if sometimes intimate, household scenes captured from low angles—including some you really wouldn’t want shared on the Internet. In one particularly revealing shot, a young woman in a lavender T-shirt sits on the toilet, her shorts pulled down to mid-thigh.The images were not taken by a person, but by development versions of iRobot’s Roomba J7 series robot vacuum. They were then sent to Scale AI, a startup that contracts workers around the world to label audio, photo, and video data used to train artificial intelligence. They were the sorts of scenes that internet-connected devices regularly capture and send back to the cloud—though usually with stricter storage and access controls. Yet earlier this year, MIT Technology Review obtained 15 screenshots of these private photos, which had been posted to closed social media groups. The story illustrates the growing practice of sharing potentially sensitive data to train algorithms, as well as the surprising, globe-spanning journey that a single image can take—in this case, from homes in North America, Europe, and Asia to the servers of Massachusetts-based iRobot, from there to San Francisco–based Scale AI, and finally to Scale’s contracted data workers around the world. Together, the images reveal a whole data supply chain—and new points where personal information could leak out—that few consumers are even aware of.

Renewables to Overtake Coal as World’s Top Energy Source by 2025, IEA Says – (Washing Post – December 12, 2022)

The world is set to add as much renewable energy in the next five years as it did in the past two decades, as a global energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine accelerates growth in renewables such as wind and solar, the International Energy Agency says. Global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts between 2022 and 2027, an amount equivalent to the entire power capacity of China today, according to the IEA report, the latest on the renewables sector. Global solar capacity is set to almost triple over the next five years, surpassing coal and becoming the largest source of power capacity in the world, the IEA said. The capacity increase forecast in the report is 30% higher than the renewables growth the IEA was predicting only a year ago. More than 90% of global electricity expansion will be from renewable sources in the next five years, the IEA said. “Renewables were already expanding quickly, but the global energy crisis has kicked them into an extraordinary new phase of even faster growth,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a news release. The IEA described the war in Ukraine as a “decisive moment” for renewables in Europe, where governments and businesses are looking to rapidly replace Russian gas with alternatives. (Paywall waived.)

Shifting Gears: Why US Cities Are Falling Out of Love with the Parking Lot – (Guardian – December 26, 2022)

The total square miles of parking lots in the US cover roughly the same area as Connecticut, or about 5,500 sq miles. But a growing band of cities and states are now refusing to force more parking lots upon people, arguing they harm communities and inflame the climate crisis. In January, California will become the first state to enact a ban on parking minimums, halting their use in areas with public transport. Several cities across the country are now rushing doing the same, with Anchorage, Alaska, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee, all recently loosening or scrapping requirements for developers to build new parking lots. Cities such as Buffalo, New York, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, scaled back parking minimums a few years ago and have reported a surge in activity to transform previously derelict buildings into shops, apartments and restaurants. Developers previously saw as such projects as unviable due to the requirement to build plots of car parking, in many cases several times larger than the building itself. Mandating the building of car parking can seem an innocuous, and even commonsense, way to accommodate the roughly 280m cars driven around by Americans. Cities typically have zoning laws demanding at least one parking space per apartment built, one per 300sq ft of commercial development and one per 100sq ft for restaurants. These stipulations have helped concrete over huge chunks of America – there are between three and six car parking spaces per car in the US, numbering up to two billion in total according to some estimates. “What’s finally sunk in with many people is that we have parking minimums and yet housing maximums, which means we have too many cars and too little housing. We have things the wrong way around,” said Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at University of California.“Do you think McDonalds would build a lot three times as large as its restaurant if it wasn’t forced to? (Speaking of parking lots and fast food places, see the article below on the increased demand for restaurant drive-up service – people don’t even want to park.)

Vertical Farming Has Found Its Fatal Flaw – (Wired – December 23, 2022)

Infarm is a European vertical farming company that grows vegetables in high-tech warehouses stacked with LED lights rather than in open fields or greenhouses. But on November 29, Infarm’s founders emailed its workforce to announce they were laying off “around 500 employees”—more than half of the workforce. The email detailed the firm’s plans to downsize its operations in the UK, France, and the Netherlands, and concentrate on countries where it had stronger links to retailers and a higher chance of eventually turning a profit. Just six months ago, the vibe from Europe’s biggest vertical farm company was unrelentingly optimistic, so what changed? According to Cindy van Rijswick, a strategist at the Dutch research firm RaboResearch, several pressures that have always existed for vertical farms have really come to a head in 2022. For starters, the industry is extremely vulnerable to increases in electricity prices. Powering all of those plant-growing LEDs uses a lot of electricity, and between December 2020 and July 2022 consumer energy prices in the EU went up by nearly 58% . Eighteen months ago, European vertical farms might have spent around 25% of their operational costs on electricity, but that might have gone up to around 40%, estimates van Rijswick. At the same time, investors are starting to tighten their belts and look for faster routes to profitability. Vertical farms are expensive to build compared with conventional outdoor farms. The poor global financial outlook is also putting pressure on consumers. For a long time the industry has touted itself as a more sustainable way to grow vegetables, but all the energy needed to light up those LED bulbs means that vegetables grown on vertical farms can end up having higher CO2 emissions than those grown in open fields and trucked hundreds of miles to their final destination. However, vertical farms use a lot less water and pesticides than open fields, which is another reason why water-stressed regions are so interested in the technology. One obvious place is the Middle East. Gulf Cooperation Council countries—a group made up of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates—import around 85% of all their food and 56% of their vegetables. One of the world’s largest vertical farms opened earlier this year in Dubai.

Facial Recognition Bars Lawyer from Girl Scout Trip to Rockettes Christmas Show – (Guardian – December 21, 2022)

A lawyer employed by a firm involved in a personal injury claim against the operator of Radio City Music Hall said she was barred from attending the Rockettes Christmas show at the famous Manhattan venue after being picked up by facial recognition technology at the entrance. Kelly Conlon said she and her daughter came to the city from New Jersey last month as part of a Girl Scout field trip to see the show. “Going through the metal detector, I heard over an intercom or loudspeaker, I heard them say, ‘Woman with long dark hair and a grey scarf.’” Conlon said she was asked her name and to produce identification. “I believe they said that ‘Our recognition picked you up,’” she said. “They knew my name before I told them. They knew the firm I was associated with before I told them. And they told me I was not allowed to be there.” Conlon is an attorney with Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, a law firm involved in a personal injury claim against MSG Entertainment, which operates Radio City Music Hall. A sign at the venue says facial recognition is used as a security measure. Conlon said she posed no threat and was not involved in the personal injury case. In a statement, MSG said it had “a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys pursuing active litigation against the company from attending events at our venues until that litigation has been resolved. Sam Davis, a partner at Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, said: “This whole scheme is a pretext for doing collective punishment on adversaries who would dare sue MSG in their multibillion-dollar network. The liquor license that MSG got requires them to admit members of the public, unless there are people who would be disruptive who constitute a security threat … Separating a mother from her daughter and Girl Scouts she was watching over – and to do it under the pretext of protecting any disclosure of litigation information – is absolutely absurd. The fact they’re using facial recognition to do this is frightening.”

Putin’s Conundrum – (Unz Review – December 15, 2022)

Formally, the Nuclear Posture Review is a legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years. However, the effective primary purpose of the Nuclear Posture Review(NPR) is to deceptively “rebrand” the offensive use of nuclear weapons as a justifiable act of defense. The new criteria for using these lethal WMD has been deliberately maligned with the clear intention of providing Washington with a green light for their use and proliferation. In a recent press conference, the Russian President Putin expressed concern that the United States might be planning a nuclear strike on Russia. Here’s part of what he said at a recent press conference: The United States has a theory of a ‘preventive strike’…Now they are developing a system for a ‘disarming strike’. What does that mean? It means striking at control centers with modern high-tech weapons to destroy the opponent’s ability to counterattack.” Putin knows that these ideas (preemption and ‘disarming strike’) hold-sway among the elite cadres of powerbrokers who decide these matters in Washington. Putin probably realizes that there is a sizable constituency in Washington that support the use of nuclear weapons and who believe they are essential to preserving the “rules-based order”. In short, Putin believes these ideas are “actionable” which is why he expressed concern. He’s saying that the US tacitly supports a preemptive “first strike” policy, that is, if the US feels sufficiently threatened, then it claims the right to launch nuclear missiles at an enemy whether that enemy has attacked the United States or not. One see why Biden’s unwillingness to jettison the “first strike” policy might make Washington’s adversaries a bit nervous and why these new watered-down standards for the use of nuclear weapons might send up red flags in Capitols around the world. Russia’s Nuclear Doctrine explicitly precludes the first use of nukes. Russia will only use Nuclear weapons in retaliation and only in the event that the nation faces an ‘existential threat’. On March 29, the White House released a short summary of Biden’s upcoming strategy on nuclear forces indicating his decision: “The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” In both cases, “the devil is in the details”. A sufficient cause for “retaliation”, an “existential threat”, “extreme circumstances”, and “vital interests” … these terms are all open to wide interpretation.

Ukraine Attempted ‘Decapitation Strike’ of Russia’s Top General, Even as US Tried to Stop It – (Zero Hedge – December 19, 2022)

A lengthy and wide-ranging New York Times assessment of “Putin’s War” detailing the last ten months of how a “walk in the park” became a catastrophe for Russia – as the story is sub headed – includes a particular bombshell buried deep within the narrative which has yet to be subject of widespread reporting. US officials cited in the report say that Ukraine’s military and intelligence attempted to assassinate General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, even though American officials urged (too late, since the action had already been initiated) against such a brazen action of unpredictable consequences, on fears it would invite uncontrollable Russian military escalation. Gerasimov is the equivalent of Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer. It reportedly happened in late April, during a time period in which unnamed American officials boasted that US intelligence was helping the Ukrainians take out Russian generals who were positioned on or just behind front-lines of fighting. In its new reporting, the Times says that last Spring, Russia’s top military brass decided it was necessary for generals to make trips to the front lines due to worsening morale: “But the generals made a deadly mistake: They positioned themselves near antennas and communications arrays, making them easy to find, the Americans said.” NYT describes further as follows in this key section of the report, thus allowing US intel to begin identifying top commanders’ whereabouts on the Ukrainian battlefield. If the Ukrainians had managed to kill Gen. Gerasimov, it’s very possible the world would have already been in the throes of nuclear Armageddon. But thankfully this scenario until now has been avoided, but very narrowly …if the fresh NYT revelations are indeed accurate.

The World’s in a ‘Polycrisis’ — and These Countries Want to Address It by Looking Beyond GDP – (CNBC – December 25, 2022)

The term “polycrisis” refers to crises that occur in multiple global systems and become entangled in such a way that they produce harms greater than those crises would in aggregate (“the whole being greater than the sum of the parts”). For a small but growing network of countries, the world’s go-to metric of economic health, gross domestic product (GDP), is no longer fit for purpose. U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy once said a country’s GDP measures everything “except that which makes life worthwhile.” Mostly led by women, Finland, Iceland, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand are all members of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership. The coalition, which is expected to expand in the coming months, aims to transform economies around the world to deliver shared well-being for people and the planet by 2040. That means abandoning the idea that the percentage change in GDP is a good indicator of progress, and instead reframing economic policy to deliver quality of life for all people in harmony with the environment. “The need for a new economic model has never been clearer,” said Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also recently joined a chorus of voices calling for GDP to be dropped as the world’s go-to indicator of economic growth, pushing instead for policymakers to shift to a circular economy. This refers to an economic system that is based on the reuse and repair of materials to extend the life cycle of products for as long as possible and moves away from the world’s current “take, make, throw away” model.

Poland to be the Next Country to be Sacrificed – (Armstrong Economics – December 14, 2022)

Poland is creating the most powerful Army in Europe at the prodding of the Biden Administration. It will now surpass even Germany as well as Turkey. They are building a major force with the potential to invade Russia on a conventional level. They call this the “Plan for the Defense of the Fatherland.” They have been instructed by the Biden Administration to increase their army from 110,000 soldiers to 250,000 professional soldiers. Jaroslaw Kaczynski,leader of Poland’s ruling PiS party, justified this “radical strengthening of the armed forces” with a worsened security situation as a result of Russia’s “imperial ambitions” and the “hybrid attacks” by Belarus. Putin has NEVER displayed any “imperial ambitions” and those days are long gone. Nobody wants to occupy Europe any more than they want to occupy the United States. This is all needed because the monetary system is collapsing and we have reached the end of the road of fiscal mismanagement of borrowing every year, running deficits under socialism to bribe voters. Politicians no longer even know how to run for office without such promises. But they are reaching the capacity to sell their debt. The only way to escape this debt crisis is to create war. That will be the excuse to default on all the debt and start all over again, hopefully with a reduced population. So the Polish are to be the next culture to be sacrificed at the altar of sovereign debt.

Adults Are Buying Toys for Themselves, and It’s the Biggest Source of Growth for the Industry – (CNBC – December 19, 2022)

Two things are keeping the toy industry afloat right now: inflation and a consumer group known as “kidults.” These kids at heart are responsible for one-fourth of all toy sales annually, around $9 billion worth, and are the biggest driver of growth throughout the industry, according to data from the NPD Group. This cohort, which NPD defines as ages 12 and older, has been steadily contributing to the industry for years, but spending has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, leading to year-over-year gains despite tough comparisons. Kidults, who tend to spend more on toys, have a great fondness for cartoons, superheroes and collectibles that remind them of their childhood. They buy merchandise such as action figures, Lego sets and dolls that might typically be considered “for kids.” However, in recent years, toy makers have created product lines just for these consumers, realizing that demand is high for this generation of adults who still want to have fun. “The definition of adulthood has definitely evolved,” said Jeremy Padawer, chief brand officer at toy company Jazwares. “What it used to mean, to be an adult, was to be a very upstanding, serious member of society. And to do that you had to demonstrate it intellectually, emotionally, in every other single way. Now we feel a lot more free to express our fandom as a part of our adulthood,” he said. “In 1977, ‘Star Wars’ launches, and you started seeing a lot more licensed product at retail, where we were celebrating our fandom with with toys and collectibles.” Toy manufacturers such as Lego embraced these consumers and created lines, often tied to nostalgic entertainment properties, just for this cohort. Toy companies have even begun creating their own television and movie content in order to support toy lines. Mattel launched its own internal movie company and is set to release Barbie in July 2023 and Hasbro bought eOne and will open Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves in theaters in March.

How the Pandemic Altered the Restaurant Industry Forever – (Washington Post – December 26, 2022)

Restaurants are still seeing 16% fewer people dining on-premises compared to before the pandemic. Off-premises dining, however, has picked up precisely that much, according to the National Restaurant Association. But how that breaks down is telling: Delivery is up more than 5% while carryout is down 3. The big winner? Drive-through, up 13%. At this moment, 39% of all restaurant traffic is bumper to bumper in a drive-through lane, said Hudson Riehle, an economist for the National Restaurant Association. David Henkes, a senior analyst at market research firm Technomic, said, “Quick-serve restaurants are betting a lot of money that those changes are permanent.” He points to Taco Bell’s Defy, a concept that debuted in a Minneapolis suburb in June, with four drive-through lanes, a kitchen on the second floor and orders — with lanes devoted solely to delivery drivers or orders placed via Taco Bell’s mobile app — delivered downward via space-age-looking tubes to customers’ cars in about two minutes from order time. There’s no dining room. McDonald’s is doing the same this month, debuting a prototype restaurant design in Fort Worth for to-go and delivery orders. Last year, the fast-food chain added its own delivery service, and while delivery is in many cases nearly twice the price of buying it at the drive-through, customers remain enthusiastic. The restaurant industry saw an 18% increase in eateries offering direct online ordering this year, according to BentoBox, a restaurant website company. A basic on-demand food delivery app costs between $30,000 and $50,000 to develop, according to software development company TekRevol. (Paywall waived.)

Alien Planet Discovered Spiraling to Ultimate Obliteration around an Aging Star – (SciTech Daily – December 19, 2022)

Astronomers have detected, for the first time, an exoplanet, Kepler-1658b, whose orbit is deteriorating around an evolved, or older, host star. The planet seems destined to spiral closer and closer toward its aging star until it ultimately collides and is obliterated. By offering the first glimpse at a system at this advanced stage of evolution, the discovery provides fresh insights into the drawn-out process of planetary orbital decay. Death-by-star is a fate thought to await many worlds. Billions of years from now, it could be the Earth’s ultimate adios as our Sun grows older.“We’ve previously detected evidence for exoplanets inspiraling toward their stars, but we have never before seen such a planet around an evolved star,” says Shreyas Vissapragada, a Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and lead author of a new study describing the results. “Theory predicts that evolved stars are very effective at sapping energy from their planets’ orbits, and now we can test those theories with observations.” Measuring the orbital decay of exoplanets has challenged researchers because the process is very slow and gradual. In the case of Kepler-1658b, according to the new study, its orbital period is decreasing at the minuscule rate of about 131 milliseconds (thousandths of a second) per year, with a shorter orbit indicating the planet has moved closer to its star. That doesn’t sound like much. But if this trend continues, the planet has only 2 million or 3 million years left to live. “For something that’s been around for 2 to 3 billion years, that’s pretty short,” Vissapragada says. If the planet’s lifetime was a more human 100 years, it would have a little more than a month left. The root cause of the orbital decay experienced by Kepler-1658b is tides — the same phenomenon responsible for the daily rise and fall in Earth’s oceans. Tides are generated by gravitational interactions between two orbiting bodies, such as between our world and the Moon or Kepler-1658b and its star. The bodies’ gravities distort each other’s shapes, and as the bodies respond to these changes, energy is released. Depending on the distances between, sizes, and rotation rates of the bodies involved, these tidal interactions can result in bodies pushing each other away — the case for the Earth and the slowly outward-spiraling Moon — or inward, as with Kepler-1658b toward its star.

Something Weird Is Happening in Jupiter’s Atmosphere, 40-year Study Shows – (Space – December 19, 2022)

Forty years’ worth of measurements of Jupiter’s atmosphere by spacecraft and ground-based telescopes have revealed strange weather patterns on the largest planet of the solar system, including hot and cold periods during its long year (equivalent to 12 Earth years). But Jupiter isn’t going through seasonal changes like Earth does. Jupiter’s axis is tilted toward the giant planet’s orbital plane by only 3 degrees, meaning that the amount of sun rays reaching different parts of Jupiter’s surface throughout its long year barely changes. Still, the new study found periodic temperature swings taking place around the planet’s cloud-covered globe. Leigh Fletcher, an astronomer at the University of Leicester in the U.K. and a co-author of the new paper, said that the team has found indications that these unseasonal seasons may have something to do with a phenomenon known as teleconnection. Teleconnection describes periodic changes in aspects of a planet’s atmospheric system that occur simultaneously in parts of the globe that are seemingly unconnected and could lie thousands of miles or kilometers apart. Teleconnection has been observed in Earth’s atmosphere since the 19th century, most notably in the famous La Nina – El Nino cycle, also known as the Southern Oscillation. During these events, changes in the trade winds of the western Pacific Ocean correspond with changes in rainfall across much of North America, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the new research, the scientists found that on Jupiter, when temperatures rise at specific latitudes in the northern hemisphere, the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere cool off, almost like a perfect mirror image. Previously, scientists knew that Jupiter’s atmosphere features colder regions that appear in lighter colors and warmer regions that appear as brownish bands. The new study, which covers a period of three Jovian years, for the first time reveals how these patterns change over longer periods of time. 

Dell’s New Sustainable Concept Luna Laptop Can Be Dismantled in Seconds – (Engadget – December 15, 2022)

Last year, Dell intrigued us with Concept Luna, its attempt at making a sustainable laptop with fewer screws, using components that are easier to upgrade and recycle. It felt like a breath of fresh air compared to ultraportables that trade repairability for thinness. This year, Dell is pushing the concept even further. Its latest Luna device can be fully disassembled in around 30 seconds using just a push-pin tool and a bit of elbow grease. There aren’t any cables or screws to worry about. Dell has managed this by developing a completely modular design, wherein every component can be snapped into place without much fuss. And it’s not just marketing hype: As you can see in the embedded video, it doesn’t take much effort for a Dell representative to deftly disassemble a Luna device. After unlocking the keyboard with a pin tool, he removed two speaker units, the battery, a CPU fan and a slim motherboard. The display was a cinch to remove as well, after unlocking the laptop’s center bezel. While it’s unlikely we’ll see a Luna-like consumer laptop anytime soon – the laptop featured in the article is “concept piece” – its mere existence could influence the way Dell designs future systems. The company is also pushing its sustainability initiatives in a variety of other ways, for example by dramatically reducing packaging waste, or exploring recycled materials for some PC cases.

Suddenly Everyone Is Hunting for Alternatives to the US Dollar – (Bloomberg – December 23, 2022)

Tired of a too-strong and newly weaponized greenback, some of the world’s biggest economies are exploring ways to circumvent the US currency. Smaller nations, including at least a dozen in Asia, are also experimenting with de-dollarization. And corporates around the world are selling an unprecedented portion of their debt in local currencies, wary of further dollar strength. No one is saying the greenback will be dethroned anytime soon from its reign as the principal medium of exchange. Calls for “peak dollar” have many times proven premature. But not too long ago it was almost unthinkable for countries to explore payment mechanisms that bypassed the US currency or the SWIFT network that underpins the global financial system. Now, the sheer strength of the dollar, its use under President Joe Biden to enforce sanctions on Russia this year and new technological innovations are together encouraging nations to start chipping away at its hegemony. Plans already underway in Russia and China to promote their currencies for international payments, including through the use of blockchain technologies, accelerated rapidly after the invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for example, began seeking remuneration for energy supplies in rubles. Soon, the likes of Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Laos were also stepping up negotiations with China to boost their use of the yuan. India began talking up more loudly the internationalization of the rupee and just this month, started securing a bilateral payment mechanism with the United Arab Emirates.

Why Restaurant Chains Are Investing in Robots and What It Means for Workers – (CNBC – December 27, 2022)

Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing whether a robot can make tortilla chips in stores. Sweetgreen plans to automate salad making in at least two locations. And Starbucks wants its coffee-making equipment to lessen the workload for baristas. This year brought a flurry of automation announcements in the restaurant industry as operators scrambled to find solutions to a shrinking workforce and climbing wages. Automation startups pitch themselves as a solution. They say that robots can flip burgers and assemble pizzas more consistently than overworked employees, and that artificial intelligence can enable computers to take drive-thru orders more accurately. Many of the industry’s buzzy automation announcements this year came from Miso Robotics. Miso’s flashiest invention is Flippy, a robot that can be programmed to flip burgers or make chicken wings and can be rented for roughly $3,000 a month. But at this point, it’s unclear if or when any widespread robotics cost savings will materialize. More than a year and a half ago, McDonald’s began testing software that could take drive-thru orders after acquiring Apprente, an artificial intelligence startup. At roughly two dozen Illinois test restaurants, the voice-ordering software had an accuracy in the low 80% range, well below the target of 95%, according to a research report from BTIG analyst Peter Saleh. In the meantime, automation may have more potential in less noticeable tasks. Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, said less flashy changes like installing Coca-Cola Freestyle machines have had a more outsized impact on sales.

Researchers Say Time Is an Illusion. – (NPR – December 16, 2022)

It’s never been easier to know what time it is. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) broadcasts the time to points across the country. It’s fed through computer networks and cell phone towers to our personal gadgets, which tick in perfect synchrony. Humanity’s ever-improving agreement on the time smooths communication, transportation, and lubricates our economy. “A lot of us grow up being fed this idea of time as absolute,” says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical physicist at the University of New Hampshire. But Prescod-Weinstein says the time we’re experiencing is a social construct. Real time is actually something quite different. In some of the odder corners of the Universe, space and time can stretch and slow – and sometimes even break down completely. For many people, this unruly version of time is “radical,” she says. But as technology to better count the time grows ever more sophisticated, our everyday understanding of time itself may need to start changing. This article explains why.  “Space-time is doomed,” says Nima Arkani-Hamed, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. (Editor’s note: We recommend this fascinating article for anyone who wants to go to Mars or beyond.)

The Big Lie: Worldwide Energy Shortage Plus Multiple Crises – All Manufactured – Meant for Destruction of Western Civilization – (Global Research – December 11, 2022)

Energy Crisis? Food crisis? Industrial collapse? Supply chains disruptions? Fractured Communications? Cyber-attacks? Black-outs? Hyper-inflation? Climate change? Wars, civil conflicts, and more plandemics, culminating in human misery… Yes. It’s all manufactured. It’s all part of the plan to destroy civilization as we know it, to replace it with the 4th Industrial Revolution, with robots and humanoids – acting on AI-generated electronic commands and surviving on programmable digital central bank currencies (DCBC). Many of the crises are not even happening in reality; most of them exist only in the media sustained by 24/7 propaganda and by Artificial Intelligence (AI)-induced appearances. Soon CBDC will be replacing our cash currencies. CBDCs will eventually be programmable. They can be turned on and off, and programmed to be used for certain purchases – goods or services, whether you want them or need them or not. Your behavior and obedience will be crucial. Article includes embedded 7-min video summarizing what governments will be able to do by manipulating CBDCs.

Why It Costs $1 Million Per Day to Run One of the World’s Biggest Cruise Ships – (Business Insider – December 23, 2022)

In this 28 minute video, the viewer goes below deck to see how it all works on one of the world’s largest cruise ships. From cruise-ship kitchens, chefs whip up 30,000 meals a day. All waste onboard is dealt with in ways that are technologically advanced and ecologically sound. And the engine room and captain’s bridge work together to power and move the floating city. It takes a staff of 2,400 people working day and night to keep Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas sailing. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour that passengers will never get – and it easily explains why it costs $1M/day to operate the ship.

This Company Is Selling a Single Giant Froot Loop for $20 – (Food & Wine – December 14, 2022)

A single serving of Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal clocks in at one and one-third cups, weighs 39 grams, and contains 150 calories, according to the nutrition facts printed on the side of the box. Though we’ve never actually counted how many loops are in that single serving, we assume it’s more than one. Oh, you only want one? OK then. Big Fruit Loop is here to deliver. The Big Fruit Loop is just as the name implies: a single massive loop. It’s also a very much unauthorized version of the longtime breakfast cereal, and it’s the latest drop from Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF.  That one big loop contains 930 calories and weighs around half a pound, or the equivalent of about half a box of regular Froot Loops mashed into one bowl-filling monstrosity. There’s absolutely no reason for it to exist, which seems to be exactly why MSCHF decided to create it. Daniel Greenberg, MSCHF’s co-founder, declined to explain what the production process for the Big Fruit Loop was like, other than to admit that “it was not easy.” MSCHF releases a new limited-edition drop twice a month, and it seems to enjoy shaking up our perceptions of the food space. Its “Illegal Chips” pushed against the arbitrary boundaries of which artificial flavors are (and aren’t) acceptable, selling snacks that tasted like horse meat, Sicily’s Casu Marzu “maggot cheese,” and potentially deadly fugu. (The actual versions of those foods cannot legally be sold in the United States.) If you’d like to get your hands on your own Big Fruit Loop, it is available on the Big Fruit Loop website. Each box goes for $19.99, and the team will choose the color of your loop at random.

The Book of Leaves – (Vimeo – November 2, 2022)

Brett Foxwell is a Bay Area filmmaker, engineer and stop-motion animator. His newest film, Leafpresser, used 12,000 leaves — but as he was collecting them, he realized that every leaf shape he’d found might fit into “a continuous animated sequence of leaves,” subtly changing shape and color. The result is a mesmerizing little side project, The Book of Leaves. Foxwell only used 2,400 leaves for it, but as they grow and dance and, somehow, keep time to the soundtrack by guitarist JM France, that’s enough. (HT: Rob Gerwitt)
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