Volume 26, Number 2 – 1/16/23


Volume 26, Number 2 – 1/16/2023


  • New microgenes appearing in human DNA show we’re still evolving. 
  • Researchers have developed a method to remove salt and microplastic particles from seawater with 98-99% efficiency. 
  • How to tell if an essay was written by AI or a person? There’s an app for that.  
  • The USDA has approved the world’s first vaccine for honey bees.
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
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  Joey and Jill can be reached at and 1-706-733-0204.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info

Free Spike Proteins in the Blood Appear to Play a Role in Myocarditis post-COVID mRNA Vaccine – (News Medical/Live Sciences – January 5, 2023)

Following the large-scale rollout of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines developed to prevent infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), several cases (actually numerous cases) of myocarditis were reported, mostly among healthy young people. A recent study published in the journal Circulation examines the immunological picture, looking for clues to the etiology of this rare and potentially serious complication. The researchers looked at blood samples from 16 myocarditis patients, confirmed to have high levels of serum cardiac troponin T. All developed myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, typically within a week of the second dose. However, a few became sick after the first dose or booster dose. Over 80% were male. Article explains the research methodology. Research results: The findings indicated that antibody and T-cell responses could not distinguish between post-vaccine myocarditis subjects and vaccinated controls. The significant difference was the high level of circulating full-length spike protein in the plasma of myocarditis patients, at a mean of ~34 pg/mL. Furthermore, the protein was not bound to antibodies and remained detectable for up to three weeks from the vaccination date. In contrast, controls did not have free spike protein in their blood. This difference could not be attributed to poor neutralizing capacity in the myocarditis group, which showed comparable neutralization relative to the control group. In contrast to controls, the finding of high levels of unbound full-length spike protein in myocarditis patients may point to the mechanism by which this condition arises. The spike protein appears to evade immune antibodies found at normal levels in these patients, with adequate functional and neutralization capacity. The spike may damage the cardiac pericytes or endothelium, perhaps by reducing the expression of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), reducing nitric oxide production in the endothelium, or activating inflammation via integrins, causing the endothelium to become abnormally permeable. (Editor’s note: Very early on, some members of the medical community, accused of spreading medical misinformation, were already raising concerns about the spike protein. Finally, mainstream science has confirmed it: they were on to something.)

New Research Links COVID-19 Infection – and Vaccination – to a Debilitating Heart Condition – (SciTech Daily – January 10, 2023)

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a debilitating disorder that affects the autonomic nervous system and is characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate upon standing up. This can cause symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting, fatigue, and headaches. Other symptoms include fainting, dizziness, and fatigue, although some patients with severe disease may also experience migraine, increased urination, sweaty extremities, anxiety, and tremor.  POTS is a condition that most commonly affects young women of childbearing age. A team of investigators from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai has published research in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research that confirms a connection between Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and both COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination. However, their findings indicate that people diagnosed with COVID-19 are five times more likely to develop POTS after contracting the virus than after vaccination.

We Asked an AI Bot Hundreds of Questions. Here’s What We Learned. – (Washington Post – December 28, 2022)

This much is certainly true of OpenAI’s ChatGPT: What’s world-rocking about the conversational robot, in the words of philosopher Nick Bostrom, “is not what it is but what it portends.” ChatGPT, for now, is basically a useful kind of toy. You can speak to it as though you’ve run into a colleague by the coffee machine — if you ask it how the kids are doing, it will tell you it is a machine and cannot reproduce — or as though you’re querying a history professor on the causes of either Sino-Japanese War. What’s new is how convincingly human the outputs are, at least superficially. Probe a little deeper, though, and even the most fluent answers sometimes suffer from collapses of logic or contain complete fabrications. That’s because ChatGPT doesn’t “think” but instead predicts: The program was trained on a trove of internet text from which it identified patterns; later, humans “fine-tuned” it by ranking the quality of its responses to certain prompts. Relying on robots for accurate answers, even with benign intentions, can be perilous. Though they will become more advanced, they will still commit errors — something, psychologists tell us, people tend to assume they won’t. In other words, we can trust them too much. What’s more, these models can repeat whatever biases existed in the data they’ve absorbed. And worse, when we share AI-generated text, we reinforce those biases. OpenAI has done its best to rid ChatGPT of these tendencies, but the effort hasn’t been foolproof — and meddling with raw data to encode a better worldview raises questions of its own. Whose responsibility is it to instill values into AI? Whose values should those be, anyway? And how will we ever really know what’s behind a bot’s “brain” as we rely on it to inform our daily lives? That’s why it makes sense to demand rules of the road for these models, both from the companies that produce them and from Congress, covering everything from transparency to testing to use limitations (maybe there are some things robots just shouldn’t do). But there are bigger questions, too, about how AI might transform society to the same sweeping extent as other technological revolutions. Ultimately, unleashing the full potential of the technology that appears tantalizingly close to our grasp comes down to this: What do we as a species hope to gain from artificial intelligence, and — perhaps more importantly — what are we willing to give up?

To Peer into Earth’s Deep Time, Meet a Hardy Mineral Known as the Time Lord – (NPR – December 29, 2022)

The oldest known Earth stuff that remains on the surface of our planet is a mineral that’s been called the “Time Lord” because it’s so incredibly good at keeping geologic time. The mineral is zircon, and scientists have found bits of it that formed 4.37 billion years ago, not too long after the proto-Earth’s epic collision with a Mars-sized object that spawned our moon. In the face of harsh winds, crushing pressures, or high heat, these hardy crystals persist. And eventually, they can end up getting incorporated into other rocks that are still forming. That means scientists can crush up the Earth’s oldest rocks, pick through the debris, and find little grains of zircon that are even older. In the Jack Hills region of western Australia, for example, there’s rock that formed from a beach 3 billion years ago. The oldest zircons ever discovered came from this rock. Michael Ackerson, a geologist with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, once found a zircon that’s 4.32 billion years old. Zircons that old “are extremely, extremely, extremely rare, and they’re the only windows we have into the earliest Earth,” he says. Looking at the chemical makeup of zircon can do more than just reveal its age or the age of its associated rock. It can also give scientists clues about the conditions that existed when that zircon originally got created. For example, Ackerson recently looked at aluminum concentrations inside ancient zircons to infer that plate tectonics may have begun 3.6 billion years ago. And he says scientists used to think that Earth was a hot, glowing hellscape for its first 500 million years. But the oldest zircons found on Earth show that’s not so. “We know from just this one collection of zircon crystals that the Earth had continents, which we didn’t think was possible, that were interacting with liquid water oceans,” he says. “We’re starting to understand how and when the continents arose, how and when the oceans arose, and how that might have helped us set the groundwork for the propagation of life on our planet.”

Tiny New Genes Appearing in Human DNA Show How We’re Still Evolving – (Science Alert – December 23, 2022)

Researchers from Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming” (BSRC Flemming) in Greece and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, have identified 155 genes in our genome that emerged from small, non-coding sections of DNA. Many appear to play a critical role in our biology, revealing how completely novel genes can rapidly evolve to become essential. New genes typically arise through well known mechanisms like duplication events, where our genetic machinery accidently produces copies of pre-existing genes that can end up suiting new functions over time. But the 155 microgenes pinpointed in this study seem to have appeared from scratch, in stretches of DNA that didn’t previously contain the instructions that our bodies use to build molecules. The researchers then probed the sequences’ functions by deleting genes, one by one, in lab-grown cells. Forty-four of the cell cultures went on to show growth defects, confirming those now missing sections of DNA play critical roles in keeping us functioning. Some of the new ‘microgenes’ identified in this new study can be tracked all the way back to the earliest days of mammals, while others are more recent additions. Two of the genes seem to have emerged since the human-chimpanzee split, the researchers found. One gene with a role in constructing our heart tissue emerged when an ancestor common to humans and chimps branched off from the gorilla’s ancestry. If indeed this microgene emerged in the last few million years, it’s striking evidence that these evolving parts of our DNA can quickly become essential to the body.

Psychedelic Drugs May Launch a New Era in Psychiatric Treatment, Brain Scientists Say – (NPR – December 27, 2022)

One of the hottest tickets at this year’s Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego was a session on psychedelic drugs. About 1,000 brain scientists squeezed into an auditorium at the San Diego Convention Center for the symposium, called Psychedelics and Neural Plasticity. They’d come to hear talks on how drugs like psilocybin and MDMA can alter individual brain cells, can help rewire the brain, and may offer a new way to treat disorders ranging from depression to chronic pain. Brain plasticity may explain why a single dose of a psychedelic drug can have a long-lasting impact on disorders like anxiety, depression and PTSD. “It can be months or years,” says Dr. Gitte Knudsen a neurologist from University of Copenhagen in Denmark who spoke at the psychedelics session. “It’s a stunning effect.” These long-term effects have been shown with drugs including psilocybin, LSD and DMT (ayahuasca), Knudsen says. In contrast, most existing psychiatric drugs need to be taken every day. But psychedelic drugs have some drawbacks. They can cause nausea or produce hallucinations that are frightening or unpleasant. “It can be a quite overwhelming experience to people,” Knudsen says. “And for that reason, you need to prepare them for that, and you also need to be with them while they are in the experience.” Even when patients are well prepared for a session, Knudsen says, they may have mixed feelings afterward. “When people have been through a psychedelic experience in my lab, they say, ‘Wow this was amazing, this was just a fantastic experience,'” she says. “And you ask them, ‘Well, would you like to come back next week for another session?’ They say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’ ” Dr. Joshua Gordon, who directs the National Institute of Mental Health, put it succinctly, “There is a lot of hype and a lot of hope.”

Could Getting Rid of Old Cells Turn Back the Clock on Aging? – (Arts Technica – December 3, 2022)

James Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia, both at the Mayo Clinic, are leaders in a growing movement to halt chronic disease by protecting brains and bodies from the biological fallout of aging. While researchers like Kirkland don’t expect to extend lifespan, they hope to lengthen “health span,” the time that a person lives free of disease. One of their targets is decrepit cells that build up in tissues as people age. These “senescent” cells have reached a point — due to damage, stress or just time — when they stop dividing, but don’t die. While senescent cells typically make up only a small fraction of the overall cell population, they accounted for up to 36% of cells in some organs in aging mice, one study showed. And they don’t just sit there quietly. Senescent cells can release a slew of compounds that create a toxic, inflamed environment that primes tissues for chronic illness. Senescent cells have been linked to diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and several other conditions of aging. The US National Institutes of Health is investing $125 million in a new research effort, called SenNet, that aims to identify and map senescent cells in the human body as well as in mice over the natural lifespan. Drugs that kill senescent cells — called senolytics — are among the top candidates. Small-scale trials of these are already underway in people with conditions including Alzheimer’s, osteoarthritis and kidney disease. So far, evidence that destroying senescent cells helps to improve health span mostly comes from laboratory mice. Only a couple of preliminary human trials have been completed, with hints of promise but far from blockbuster results.  See also: A Drug to Treat Aging May Not Be a Pipe Dream.

New Test for Autism Hopes to Help Doctors Diagnose Before Symptoms Show – (NBC – January 5, 2023)

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind test for autism that they say can find markers of risk in a single strand of hair, an innovation that might help clinicians identify it in young children before they miss developmental milestones. The test — which is still in the early stages of development by the startup LinusBio and a ways from federal approval — is a diagnostic aid, meant to assist clinicians in identifying autism but not to be relied on alone. Because hair catalogs a history of exposures to metals and other substances, the technology uses an algorithm to analyze it for patterns of particular metals the researchers say are associated with autism. This test is the first to analyze this type of exposure history over time. The analysis predicted autism accurately about 81% of the time. The LinusBio test analyzes the history of the metabolism, telling the story of what substances or toxins the child has been exposed to over time, according to Manish Arora, the company’s co-founder and CEO, who is also a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The test runs a laser along the length of a hair, using its energy to turn it into a plasma for analysis. A centimeter — less than half an inch — of hair captures roughly a month’s worth of exposure data, Arora said. As a tree’s rings tell scientists about growing conditions each year, hair growth allows researchers to understand what was happening in someone’s body during specific moments in time. LinusBio says its test can reveal metal metabolism in 4-6 hour increments. The technique creates huge amounts of data. That’s where a machine-learning algorithm takes over — it’s trained to look for patterns of dysregulation in metals that the researchers believe are biomarkers of autism. “We can detect the clear rhythm of autism with just about one centimeter of hair,” Arora said. 

Newly Discovered Anatomy Shields and Monitors Brain – (Neuroscience – January 5, 2023)

Advances in neuro-imaging and molecular biology have only recently enabled scientists to study the living brain at level of detail not previously achievable, unlocking many of its mysteries. The latest discovery is a previously unknown component of brain anatomy that acts as both a protective barrier and platform from which immune cells monitor the brain for infection and inflammation. The new study comes from the labs of Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at University of Rochester and the University of Copenhagen and Kjeld Møllgård, M.D., a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Copenhagen. The study focuses on the membranes that encase the brain, which create a barrier from the rest of the body, and keep it bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The traditional understanding of what is collectively called the meningeal layer, a barrier comprised of individual layers known as the dura, arachnoid, and pia matter. The new layer discovered by the U.S. and Denmark-based research team further divides the space below the arachnoid layer, the subarachnoid space, into two compartments, separated by the newly described layer, which the researchers name the SLYM, an abbreviation of Subarachnoidal LYmphatic-like Membrane. While much of the research in the paper describes the function of SLYM in mice, they also report its actual presence in the adult human brain as well. The newly identified membrane is very thin and delicate, and consists of only one or a few cells in thickness. Yet the SLYM is a tight barrier, and allows only very small molecules to transit; it seems to separate “clean” and “dirty” cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Observations suggest that diseases as diverse as multiple sclerosis, central nervous system infections, and Alzheimer’s might be triggered or worsened by abnormalities in SLYM function. They also suggest that the delivery of drugs and gene therapeutics to the brain may be impacted by SLYM function, which will need to be considered as new generations of biologic therapies are being developed.

99% Efficiency: Princeton Engineers Have Developed a New Way to Remove Microplastics from Water – (SciTech Daily – January 7, 2023)

Princeton Engineering researchers have developed a cost-effective way to use breakfast foods to create a material that can remove salt and microplastics from seawater. The researchers, led by Craig Arnold, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and vice dean of innovation at Princeton, used egg whites to create an aerogel, a versatile material known for its light weight and porosity. Egg whites are a complex system of almost pure protein that — when freeze-dried and heated to 900 degrees Celsius in an environment without oxygen — create a structure of interconnected strands of carbon fibers and sheets of graphene. In a paper published in Materials Today, Arnold and his coauthors showed that the resulting material can remove salt and microplastics from seawater with 98% and 99% efficiency, respectively. “The egg whites even worked if they were fried on the stove first, or whipped,” said Sehmus Ozden, the first author of the paper. Because other proteins also worked, the material can potentially be produced in large quantities relatively cheaply and without impacting the food supply. One next step for the researchers, Ozden noted, is refining the fabrication process so it can be used in water purification on a larger scale. If this challenge can be solved, the material has significant benefits because it is inexpensive to produce, energy-efficient to use, and highly effective. “Activated carbon is one of the cheapest materials used for water purification. We compared our results with activated carbon, and it’s much better,” said Ozden. Compared with reverse osmosis, which requires significant energy input and excess water for operation, this filtration process requires only gravity to operate and wastes no water.

Shadowbanning Is Real: Here’s How You End Up Muted by Social Media – (Washington Post – December 27, 2022)

Shadowbanning is a form of online censorship where you’re still allowed to speak, but hardly anyone gets to hear you. Even more maddening, no one tells you it’s happening. You might be shadowbanned if one of the social media companies has deemed what you post problematic, but not enough to ban you. There are signs, but rarely proof — that’s what makes it shadowy. You might notice a sudden drop in likes and replies, your Facebook group appears less in members’ feeds or your name no longer shows in the search box. The practice made headlines recently when Twitter owner Elon Musk released evidence intended to show shadowbanning was being used to suppress conservative views. Two decades into the social media revolution, it’s now clear that moderating content is important to keep people safe and conversation civil. But we the users want our digital public squares to use moderation techniques that are transparent and give us a fair shot at being heard. Musk’s exposé may have cherry-picked examples to cast conservatives as victims, but he is right: Companies need to tell us exactly when and why they’re suppressing our megaphones, and give us tools to appeal the decision. The question is, how do you do that in an era in which invisible algorithms now decide which voices to amplify and which to reduce? (Paywall waived.)

A College Student Created an App That Can Tell Whether AI Wrote an Essay – (NPR – January 9, 2023)

Edward Tian, a 22-year-old senior at Princeton University, has built an app to detect whether text is written by ChatGPT, the viral chatbot that’s sparked fears over its potential for unethical uses in academia. Tian, a computer science major who is minoring in journalism, spent part of his winter break creating GPTZero, which he said can “quickly and efficiently” decipher whether a human or ChatGPT authored an essay. His motivation to create the bot was to fight what he sees as an increase in AI plagiarism. More than 30,000 people had tried out his app, GPTZero, within a week of its launch. It was so popular that the app crashed. Streamlit, the free platform that hosts GPTZero, has since stepped in to support Tian with more memory and resources to handle the web traffic. To determine whether an excerpt is written by a bot, GPTZero uses two indicators: “perplexity” and “burstiness.” Perplexity measures the complexity of text; if GPTZero is perplexed by the text, then it has a high complexity and it’s more likely to be human-written. However, if the text is more familiar to the bot — because it’s been trained on such data — then it will have low complexity and therefore is more likely to be AI-generated. Separately, burstiness compares the variations of sentences. Humans tend to write with greater burstiness, for example, with some longer or complex sentences alongside shorter ones. AI sentences tend to be more uniform. Tian acknowledged that his bot isn’t foolproof, as some users have reported when putting it to the test. He said he’s still working to improve the model’s accuracy. But by designing an app that sheds some light on what separates human from AI, the tool helps work toward a core mission for Tian: bringing transparency to AI. OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, has signaled a commitment to preventing AI plagiarism and other nefarious applications. Last month, Scott Aaronson, a researcher currently focusing on AI safety at OpenAI, revealed that the company has been working on a way to “watermark” GPT-generated text with an “unnoticeable secret signal” to identify its source. (Editor’s note: Our guess is that it will not take long for students/people to instruct ChatGPT to increase burstiness and more convincingly game the system.)

BMW’s First Color-changing Concept Car Is Here—and the Tech Could Be Used in Everything from e-readers to Smartwatches – (CNBC – January 8, 2023)

BMW’s new “i Vision Dee” is a concept car, a midsize electric sports sedan covered in futuristic panels that can change color on demand. BMW describes it as the world’s first “color-changing” car. The Dee stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” the company said, while unveiling the car at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car can cycle between 32 different solid exterior colors, with mix-and-match capabilities due to its 240 different panel segments. “This allows an almost infinite variety of patterns to be generated and varied within seconds,” the company said in its press release, which described the light show as a “magical display of color.” The Dee’s outer skin is a film made of electronic paper built by a startup called E Ink, which also makes display tech for e-readers and mobile phones. E Ink also said it’s able to manufacture its panels in any shape imaginable — potentially leading to applications like e-reader screens that mimic the look of actual paper or more energy-efficient digital signs and smartwatch displays. The coating segments contain millions of tiny microcapsules with different color pigments that change shades when electricity is applied. The electronic coating is “ultra-low power,” so changing the car’s colors won’t drain the electric vehicle’s battery, E Ink said. BMW hasn’t released specs for the Dee’s engine or battery, but says the concept car is additionally loaded with futuristic hardware and software that’ll be available in cars on the road by 2025. That includes BMW’s Head-Up display, a digital dashboard that spans the entire width of the windshield. It also features a Mixed Reality Slider, a touchscreen that allows you to control how much digital content is displayed on that dashboard, from driving speed and battery range to music controls and text messages. As with any concept vehicle, the technology behind the Dee’s color-changing capabilities is likely years away from consumer availability. Exposure to the elements in day-to-day driving — from car washes to flying insects — keeps the high-tech panels from performing in the real world. See a variety of the possible color configurations here, (but skip the embedded video clip which is beyond ridiculous.)

Why Goodyear Is All In on Making Tires from Corn and Soybean Oil – (Yahoo – January 8, 2023)

The era of making tires solely from various unfriendly Earth materials is coming to a close, at least according to Goodyear Chairman and CEO Rich Kramer. Goodyear revealed a new “demonstration tire” at CES comprised of 90% sustainable material content. It was just in January 2022 that the company unveiled a 70% sustainable material tire. “As we look at soybean oil, it makes a tire more pliable in cold conditions and that gives it more grip,” Kramer explained. “And on rice husk ash, we use it in place of petro-based silica. And what that does for us is actually improves rolling resistance on the tread. So this is a way of actually moving to those bio-based materials and not giving up any performance, and in fact, in many cases, enhancing performance.” According to Kramer, Goodyear remains on track to release a tire made from 100% sustainable materials by 2030. (Editor’s note: The rest of the article only discusses Goodyear stock performance. We infer that the reason Goodyear expects to take another 7 years to get from a 90% sustainable concept tire to commercially viable 100% sustainable tire is primarily about the cost of production. The technology is almost there now; the challenge is how to make it at a competitive price.)

US Approves World’s First Vaccine for Declining Honey Bees – (BBC News – January 5, 2023)

The world’s first vaccine for honey bees was engineered to prevent fatalities from American foulbrood disease, a bacterial condition known to weaken colonies by attacking bee larvae. American foulbrood disease is highly contagious and has no cure. The only treatment method requires burning the colony of infected bees along with the hives and equipment and treating nearby colonies with antibiotics. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a conditional license for the vaccine this week, according to the biotech firm behind its development. As pollinators, bees play a critical role in many aspects of the ecosystem. The vaccine could serve as a “breakthrough in protecting honey bees”, Dalan Animal Health CEO Annette Kleiser said in a statement. It works by introducing an inactive version of the bacteria into the royal jelly fed to the queen, whose larvae then gain immunity. The US has seen annual reductions in honey bee colonies since 2006, according to the USDA.

Drone Advances in Ukraine Could Bring Dawn of Killer Robots – (Associated Press – January 3, 2023)

Drone advances in Ukraine have accelerated a long-anticipated technology trend that could soon bring the world’s first fully autonomous fighting robots to the battlefield, inaugurating a new age of warfare. The longer the war lasts, the more likely it becomes that drones will be used to identify, select and attack targets without help from humans, according to military analysts, combatants and artificial intelligence researchers. That would mark a revolution in military technology as profound as the introduction of the machine gun. Ukraine already has semi-autonomous attack drones and counter-drone weapons endowed with AI. Russia also claims to possess AI weaponry, though the claims are unproven. But there are no confirmed instances of a nation putting into combat robots that have killed entirely on their own. Experts say it may be only a matter of time before either Russia or Ukraine, or both, deploy them. “Many states are developing this technology,” said Zachary Kallenborn, a George Mason University weapons innovation analyst. ”Clearly, it’s not all that difficult.” The sense of inevitability extends to activists, who have tried for years to ban killer drones but now believe they must settle for trying to restrict the weapons’ offensive use. Ukrainian Lt. Col. Yaroslav Honchar, co-founder of the combat drone innovation nonprofit Aerorozvidka, said in a recent interview near the front that human war fighters simply cannot process information and make decisions as quickly as machines. Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, agrees that fully autonomous killer drones are “a logical and inevitable next step” in weapons development. He said Ukraine has been doing “a lot of R&D in this direction.”

Cybercriminals Starting to Use ChatGPT – (Checkpoint Research – January 6, 2023)

ChatGPT has also added some spice to the modern cyber threat landscape as it quickly became apparent that code generation can help less-skilled threat actors effortlessly launch cyberattacks. In Check Point Research’s (CPR) previous blog, we described how ChatGPT successfully conducted a full infection flow, from creating a convincing spear-phishing email to running a reverse shell, capable of accepting commands in English. The question at hand is whether this is just a hypothetical threat or if there are already threat actors using OpenAI technologies for malicious purposes. CPR’s analysis of several major underground hacking communities shows that there are already first instances of cybercriminals using OpenAI to develop malicious tools. As we suspected, some of the cases clearly showed that many cybercriminals using OpenAI have no development skills at all. Although the tools that we present in this report are pretty basic, it’s only a matter of time until more sophisticated threat actors enhance the way they use AI-based tools for bad. And really, not much time. On December 29, 2022, a thread named “ChatGPT – Benefits of Malware” appeared on a popular underground hacking forum. The publisher of the thread disclosed that he was experimenting with ChatGPT to recreate malware strains and techniques described in research publications and write-ups about common malware. As an example, he shared the code of a Python-based stealer that searches for common file types, copies them to a random folder inside the Temp folder, ZIPs them and uploads them to a hardcoded FTP server. Our analysis of the script confirms the cybercriminal’s claims. This is indeed a basic stealer which searches for 12 common file types (such as MS Office documents, PDFs, and images) across the system. If any files of interest are found, the malware copies the files to a temporary directory, zips them, and sends them over the web. It is worth noting that the actor didn’t bother encrypting or sending the files securely, so the files might end up in the hands of 3rd parties as well.

It’s Official: The United States Is Developing a Bank-to-bank Digital Currency – (Atlantic Council – December 15, 2022)

Speaking at the Singapore FinTech Festival on November 4, a senior official from the New York Federal Reserve surprised many in the audience by announcing that for the past several months, the New York Fed has been developing a “wholesale” central bank digital currency (CBDC) designed to speed up transfers between banks around the world. In a subsequent white paper on the project—named Project Cedar—the New York Fed explained that it has already completed stage one of testing and proved that international currency transactions could be done both quickly and safely through the blockchain. But buried in the technical details was a revealing line on the ambitions of the project: The goal of the new network is “to reduce settlement risk in cross-border, cross-currency transactions.”  The message? We (the US Federal Bank) see what the world is doing on CBDCs, and the United States is not going to be left behind. In 2020, thirty-five central banks were exploring a CBDC; as of today, that number is 114. The motivations vary in each economy, but there are some common themes. The first is the pandemic, or more specifically, the lessons learned from it. At the height of COVID-19, many countries—including the United States—discovered how antiquated their financial plumbing was. The second is crypto. Central bankers are concerned about losing monetary sovereignty and becoming blind to what is happening inside their own economies. The final motivation is geopolitical. When the West froze Russian reserves, cut Russian banks off the SWIFT payment messaging system, and slapped over 6,500 individuals with sanctions, the rest of the world took notice. The possibility that any country on the G7’s bad side could be cut off from the ability to transfer funds between banks became very real. The logical move, for many countries, was to develop a back-up plan. That’s where central bank digital currencies come in.  (Editor’s note: If you have time to read only one article in this issue of FE, chose this one.)

Companies Can Hire a Virtual Person for About $14k a Year in China – (CNBC – January 2, 2023)

From customer service to the entertainment industry, businesses in China are paying big bucks for virtual employees. Tech company Baidu said the number of virtual people projects it’s worked on for clients has doubled since last year, with a wide price range of as little as $2,800 to a whopping $14,300 per year. Virtual people are a combination of animation, sound tech and machine learning that create digitized human beings who can sing and even interact on a livestream. While these digital beings have appeared on the fringes of the U.S. internet, they’ve been popping up more and more in China’s cyberspace. This fall, Chinese  government ministries released a detailed plan for incorporating more virtual reality – especially in broadcasting, manufacturing and other areas. The country’s latest five-year plan revealed last year included a call for more digitalization of the economy, including in virtual and augmented reality. From a business perspective, much of the focus is on how virtual people, as scandal-free icons, can generate content. Brands in China are looking for alternative spokespeople after many celebrities recently ran into negative press about tax evasion or personal scandals, said Sirius Wang, chief product officer and head of marketplace Greater China at Kantar. Video and game streaming app Bilibili was one of the earliest to take the concept of virtual people mainstream. The company acquired the team behind virtual singer Luo Tianyi, whose image and sound are fully created by tech. Launched in 2012, Luo Tianyi has nearly 3 million fans and even performed at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing this year. Here is a link to a 3 ½ minute clip introducing China’s virtual idol, Luo Tianyi. 

Japan’s Business Owners Can’t Find Successors. This Man Is Giving His Away. – (New York Times – January 3, 2023)

One of the most potentially devastating economic impacts of Japan’s aging society is that it is inevitable that many small- and medium-size companies will go out of business as the population shrinks, but policymakers fear that the country could be hit by a surge in closures as aging owners retire en masse. In an apocalyptic 2019 presentation, Japan’s trade ministry projected that by 2025, around 630,000 profitable businesses could close up shop, costing the economy $165 billion and as many as 6.5 million jobs. Japanese authorities have sprung into action in hopes of averting a catastrophe. Government offices have embarked on public relations campaigns to educate aging owners about options for continuing their businesses beyond their retirements and have set up service centers to help them find buyers. To sweeten the pot, the authorities have introduced large subsidies and tax breaks for new owners. While the market has found buyers for the businesses most ripe for the picking, it can seem nearly impossible for many small but economically vital companies to find someone to take over. In 2021, government help centers and the top five merger-and-acquisitions services found buyers for only 2,413 businesses, according to Japan’s trade ministry. Another 44,000 were abandoned. Over 55% of those were still profitable when they closed. Many of those businesses were in small towns and cities, where the succession problem is a potentially existential threat. The collapse of a business, whether a major local employer or a village’s only grocery store, can make it even harder for those places to survive the constant attrition of aging populations and urban flight that is hollowing out the countryside.

ABBA’s Successful Avatar Show in London Offers a Glimpse at a Daring New Direction for Live Music – (CNBC – December 29, 2022)

ABBA Voyage, which sees digital avatars of the four-piece Swedish band ‘perform’ a 90-minute concert created from motion capture, has proven a hit with critics and fans since launching in May. The ABBA members did five weeks of performance in motion capture suits. Hundreds of visual effects artists then worked on the show for two years, led by the London branch of Industrial Light & Magic, a visual effects company founded by George Lucas. “Other than the team involved, no one really knew how they would integrate an avatar-based performance,” said Sarah Cox, director of live event technical consultancy Neutral Human. “That blew me away as someone working on real-time graphics. My jaw hit the floor. You look around and people are really buying into the idea that ABBA are there.” Voyage’s venue, dubbed the ABBA Arena, was built specifically for the show on a site in Stratford in east London, with its 3,000 capacity comprising a standing pit, tiered seats along three sides with no restricted view, and higher-priced private “dance booths,” as well as space for the extensive kit positioned in the roof and what creators White Void say is the largest permanent kinetic lighting installation in the world. It was also designed for flexibility. It was constructed on a one meter raised platform without breaking ground, and could be disassembled and reconstructed elsewhere — or stay in place and host another show in future. The Voyage team is tight-lipped about exactly how their show works, but previously confirmed it is not a laser-based hologram. It involves 65-million pixel screens which give the impression of the band performing life-size on stage in 3D in real time, with traditional-style concert screens showing close-ups and different views on either side. Questions remain over whether its success could be recreated with another band and with the ethical implications of using it for performances with deceased artists, such as Elvis or the Beatles.

This Small Box Could Be the Future of Building in Outer Space – (Washington Post – January 6, 2023)

Backed by MIT’s Space Exploration Initiative, astronauts on board the International Space Station on Friday completed a roughly 45-day experiment using a small microwave-sized box that injects resin into silicone skins to build parts, such as nuts and bolts. Once the resin fills into the mold, ultraviolet light hardens the part. If the process works, the benefits are twofold. Astronauts could use the machine to quickly build parts that need replacing, instead of having to wait for another rocket to send parts up from Earth. After the experimental parts travel back to Earth, scientists will evaluate the test pieces to examine whether they were made successfully — a process that could take weeks. If so, it paves the way for astronauts to build huge parts that would be nearly impossible on Earth thanks to gravity and could upgrade space construction.  It lets you build and modify space stations “quicker, cheaper and with less complexity,” said Ariel Ekblaw, the founder of the Space Exploration Initiative. Ekblaw and her team at MIT have several projects in the works to upgrade space construction. The current project, studying a process called extrusion, is the most experimental. Another initiative aims to create individual tiles that can self-assemble in space. The third revolves around origami-shaped connected tiles that unfold on their own.

New Technology Could Tap into a Virtually Limitless Supply of Fresh Water – (Science Alert – December 25, 2022)

“Eventually, we will need to find a way to increase the supply of fresh water as conservation and recycled water from existing sources, albeit essential, will not be sufficient to meet human needs,” says civil and environmental engineer Praveen Kumar, from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “We think our newly proposed method can do that at large scales.” One currently untapped source is the water vapor above the oceans, which is almost limitless as far as supplies go. A new study outlines how harvesting structures could be used to convert this vapor into drinkable water. Measuring some 210 meters (689 feet) in width by 100 meters (328 feet) tall – roughly the height of a large cruise ship – the proposed structure mimics the natural water cycle in the way that it transports, condenses, and collects water. Moist air would be transported from just above the ocean surface to a nearby shore, where cooling systems could condense the water vapor into a liquid. All of this would run on renewable wind or solar energy, the team says. While the researchers haven’t provided specifics of their design, they did crunch the numbers on the quantity of extractable moisture across 14 study sites around the world. Just one of these installations could potentially meet the average daily drinking water needs of around 500,000 people. That could be a huge addition to desalination plants already operating in many places around the world, to remove the dissolved salts from seawater.

Scientists Just Invented an Entirely New Way to Refrigerate Things – (Science Alert – January 9, 2023)

Ionocaloric cooling is a way to lower the mercury that has the potential to replace existing methods with something that is safer and friendlier to the planet. A new method developed by researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, in the US takes advantage of the way that energy is stored or released when a material changes phase, as when solid ice turns to liquid water, for example. Raising the temperature on a block of ice will cause it to melt. What we might not see so easily is that melting absorbs heat from its surroundings, effectively cooling it. One way to force ice to melt without needing to turn up the heat is to add a few charged particles, or ions. Putting salt on roads to prevent ice forming is a common example of this in action. The ionocaloric cycle also uses salt to change a fluid’s phase and cool its surroundings. The researchers modeled the theory of the ionocaloric cycle to show how it could potentially compete with, or even improve upon, the efficiency of refrigerants in use today. A current running through the system would move the ions in it, shifting the material’s melting point to change temperature. “There are three things we’re trying to balance: the GWP of the refrigerant, energy efficiency, and the cost of the equipment itself,” says mechanical engineer Ravi Prasher, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Now, it’s time for experimentation to test different combinations of materials and techniques to meet the engineering challenges.”

Mind-Blowing Inventions at CES 2023 Offer a Glimpse of the Future – (CNet – January 6, 2023)

At CES 2023, many electronics companies are showing off the latest and greatest products you can buy this year — like ultralight laptops, giant wireless OLED TVs and dashboard cameras for your car. But the really fun stuff is the futuristic tech that’s still under development. The convention is loaded with prototypes, designs and big ideas for fascinating products to come a few years down the track. Some cost exorbitant sums, and some may never hit the market. That’s just part of the mystique. A real flying car, tablets that shrink and bend, cars that double as your friend and electric roller skates are only some of the groundbreaking creations on display: this article highlights the most futuristic tech at CES 2023. For more, check out the biggest highlights of CES 2023  and the weirdest products at this year’s convention.

Bad News for Thousands of Crypto Investors: They Don’t Own Their Accounts

More than half a million people who deposited money with collapsed crypto lender Celsius Network have been dealt a major blow to their hopes of recovering their funds, with the judge in the company’s bankruptcy case ruling that the money belongs to Celsius and not to the depositors. The judge, Martin Glenn, found that Celsius’s terms of use — the lengthy contracts that many websites publish but few consumers read — meant “the cryptocurrency assets became Celsius’s property.” The ruling underscores the Wild West nature of the unregulated crypto industry. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James moved to impose a kind of order, or at least legal repercussions, on Celsius founder Alex Mashinsky, whom she accused in a lawsuit of defrauding hundreds of thousands of consumers. Crypto’s fortunes have plummeted in recent months since Celsius became the first major crypto platform to implode last year, its bankruptcy in July freezing at least $4.2 billion for 600,000 Americans, according to court papers, and foreshadowing the collapse of FTX four months later. For years, Celsius promised extravagant interest rates in the neighborhood of 20% for people in a kind of fantasy version of a real-world bank, driving many who had no interest in crypto to enter the market. Mashinsky was known for his regular “Ask Mashinsky Anything” Q&As online and T-shirts with messages such as “Banks Are Not Your Friends.” Fans on YouTube and Twitter hailed the cult of “The Machine,” as he was nicknamed. If FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried was the public face of crypto in the halls of Washington, Mashinsky was often its most prominent symbol to ordinary investors. Attorney General James’s lawsuit alleged that Mashinsky used “false and misleading representations to induce [customers] to deposit billions of dollars in digital assets.” The suit seeks unspecified damages from Mashinsky and wants to bar him from a range of financial and other work in New York.

Professions People Think Won’t Exist Soon – (BuzzFeed – December 29, 2022)

Here’s a crowd-sourced list of 16 professions people predict will (largely) disappear soon. Most of them won’t surprised you, but one or two might. We think a couple of those predictions are wrong. See what you think.

Kim Iversen: Top 10 Mainstream Media Lies That Ended Up Being True After All – (YouTube – January 3, 2022)

In this 10 minute clip, Iverson runs through her top 10 media falsehoods – or shall we say, “fluid narratives” where news stories just kept being respun to fit a new convenience as circumstances shifted – in 2022. Examples: Hunter Biden’s laptop, social media shadowbanning doesn’t, or well, yes, it does exist, and the statement that Covid vaccines prevent the transmission of Covid-19. The #1 item on Iverson’s list has to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and a large cache of documents which has been newly released by order of the White House. If you missed that news item in December, see The Intercept‘s article, What We Found in the New JFK Files.

‘Disruptive’ Science Has Declined — and No One Knows Why – (Nature – January 4, 2023)

The number of science and technology research papers published has skyrocketed over the past few decades — but the ‘disruptiveness’ of those papers has dropped, according to an analysis of how radically papers depart from the previous literature. Data from millions of manuscripts show that, compared with the mid-twentieth century, research done in the 2000s was much more likely to incrementally push science forward than to veer off in a new direction and render previous work obsolete. Analysis of patents from 1976 to 2010 showed the same trend. “The data suggest something is changing,” says Russell Funk, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and a co-author of the analysis. “You don’t have quite the same intensity of breakthrough discoveries you once had.” The trend might stem in part from changes in the scientific enterprise. For example, there are now many more researchers than in the 1940s, which has created a more competitive environment and raised the stakes to publish research and seek patents. That, in turn, has changed the incentives for how researchers go about their work. Large research teams, for example, have become more common, and big teams are more likely to produce incremental than disruptive science.

Elon Musk’s $182 Billion Net Worth Drop Breaks Guinness World Record – (CNBC – January 10, 2023)

Guinness noted that although “the exact figure [of Musk’s loss] is almost impossible to ascertain,” with some outlets estimating that he lost more than $200 billion, the Twitter owner demolished the previous record: a $58.6 billion loss by Japanese investor Masayoshi Son in 2000. Musk’s shrinking fortune, currently estimated around $141.1 billion, was largely due to the steep slide of Tesla shares, which lost roughly 65% of their value during the company’s worst year on record. The loss was enough to knock him off his perch as the richest man in the world — a title now held by luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, the luxury goods conglomerate known for operating iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Christian Dior, with an estimated net worth of $172-192 billion. Musk isn’t the only billionaire whose fortune took a hit in 2022. American billionaires collectively lost $660 billion last year. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s $80 billion loss in 2022 would have firmly given him the “largest loss” title were it not for Musk. Fellow tech CEO Mark Zuckerberg also broke Masayoshi Son’s record with his $78 billion loss.

Odd 2022: The 10 Oddest Guinness World Records of the Year – (UPI – December 13, 2022)

When most people think of Guinness World Records, they might think of the world’s largest serving of guacamole, or the woman with the world’s largest feet. They might be surprised to learn of some of the record-keeping organization’s more obscure categories, such as the longest journey by pumpkin boat, or the farthest tightrope walk in high heels. The year 2022 was the latest in a recent string of particularly unusual years, so with that in mind UPI Odd News is proud to close out the year by presenting the 10 oddest Guinness World Records of 2022. Click the link if you are so inclined – and yes, these are pretty off-beat. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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