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Volume 26, Number 6 – 3/16/2023

Volume 26, Number 6 – 3/16/2023


  • In the future, self-driving cars may have the ability to repossess themselves. 
  • Scientists have revived a 48,500 year old virus discovered in permafrost. 
  • Chinese research leads the US in 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies. 
  • Automatic mouse jigglers are circumventing nosy bosses. 

Futurist John L. Petersen

Saturday, March 18th, 1:00-5:00
in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Any Question. Any Subject.
All Afternoon.

Click Here for Tickets and More Info
Watch this great video as John Petersen talks about his upcoming presentation.

An Afternoon With Futurist John Petersen

If ever you needed help in getting ready for the extraordinary future that is inbound – it would be now.

In the face of the biggest global change in recorded history the landscape is littered with big questions and growing uncertainty. The reason is obvious: none of us has ever experienced before what is headed this way.

The whole system is imploding. For the first time in our lives, here in the US we’re surrounded by institutions who are not telling the truth. Why would that be? What happened? There’s a bigger agenda here that is not obvious . . . and you should be aware of it.

We all need to prepare. And the best way to prepare is to become informed. TransitionTalks are a great way to get exposed to the new ideas that will be the underpinnings of the emergent new world.

Our TransitionTalk on the 18th of March will feature our own futurist, The Arlington Institute’s founder and president John Petersen. John is often called one of the most creative and insightful futurists in the world today. Almost every day, almost all day, he thinks and reads about the big change we are experiencing. He builds scenarios – coherent visions – of what might be on the horizon. He tries to understand what is driving the change – and who is behind it . . . and what the implications for all of us might be.

John may be the only futurist who tries to look at everything – both conventional and unconventional, physical and nonphysical. He considers the whole system (as best it can be understood) and is open to the subtle flashes of light that signal a breakthrough idea that could be a part of the structure of the emerging new world.

John’s talks are always provocative and interesting. In addition to presenting new and thoughtful ideas about what appears to be headed this way, the afternoon will be dedicated to answering questions from both the live and online audience, so bring along the queries that you have and we’ll have a fascinating, open and free ranging discussion about the most important issues confronting us all.

John L. Petersen is considered by many to be one of the most informed futurists in the world. He is best-known for writing and thinking about high impact surprises (wild cards) and the process of surprise anticipation. His current professional involvements include the development of sophisticated tools for anticipatory analysis and surprise anticipation, long-range strategic planning and helping leadership design new approaches for dealing with the future.
He has led national non-profit organizations, worked in sales, manufacturing, real estate development, and marketing and advertising, mostly for companies he founded. A graduate electrical engineer, he has also promoted rock concerts; produced conventions; and worked as a disc jockey, among other things.

Mr. Petersen’s government and political experience include stints at the National War College, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council staff at the White House. He was a naval flight officer in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve and is a decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. He has served in senior positions for a number of presidential political campaigns and was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1984. He was twice the runner-up to be Secretary of the Navy.

In 1989, Petersen founded The Arlington Institute (TAI), a non-profit, future-oriented research institute. TAI operates on the premise that effective thinking about the future is impossible without casting a very wide net. The “think tank” serves as a global agent for change by developing new concepts, processes and tools for anticipating the future and translating that knowledge into better present-day decisions. Using advanced information technology, a core group of bright thinkers and an international network of exceptionally curious people along with simulations, modeling, scenario building, polling and analysis, Arlington helps equip leaders and organizations from many disciplines with tools and actionable perspectives for dealing with uncertain times.

An award-winning writer, Petersen’s first book, The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future was awarded Outstanding Academic Book of 1995 by CHOICE Academic Review, and remained on The World Future Society’s best-seller list for more than a year. His Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Wild Cards and Big Future Surprises book was also a WFS best-seller. His latest book, A Vision For 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change, was published in 2007. Mr. Petersen’s coauthored article, The Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social Transformation?, was one of the most highly acclaimed writings on Y2K. His 1988 book-length report The Diffusion of Power: An Era of Realignment was used at the highest levels of American government as a basis for strategic planning. He has also written papers on the future of national security and the military, the future of energy and the future of the media.

Petersen is a past board member of the World Future Society, wrote on the future of aviation for Professional Pilot magazine and was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. He is a former network member of the Global Business Network and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. A provocative public speaker, he addresses a wide array of audiences around the world on a variety of future oriented subjects. When he is not writing or speaking, Petersen invests in and develops resources for large, international projects and advanced technology start-up companies. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info

RFK Jr :138 Companies Involved in COVID Vaccine. “They’re all military contractors.” – (Global Research – February 24, 2023)

The Pentagon and the National Security Agency ran the entire pandemic response. “Pfizer and Moderna don’t really own those vaxxines. They slap their labels on ’em but it was a Pentagon project.” The Pentagon’s Operation Warp Speed was able to completely circumvent Federal Health Regulations by using what’s called in bureaucratic-speak, an “Other Transaction Authority”, which they used to contract with the bioweapons manufacturers to literally produce the bioweapon. This was discovered in Pfizer’s motion to dismiss Brook Jackson’s case, when they attached another contract called an Other Transaction Authority – OTA contract – saying in effect, they had no obligation to conduct valid clinical trials because the only goods and services they were providing to the US government, according to this contract are a “large scale manufacturing demonstration for a prototype”.Under the terms of the OTA, Pfizer may have had no obligation to conduct a valid clinical trial or to be in compliance with any of the regulations that govern clinical trials. In other words, OTA did for the financial contracting side, what the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) did to the drug regulation side. In short, the fake “clinical trials” were a PSYOP to convince people to get the injections.

John Kiriakou: Covid & the Way of Death in US Prisons – (Consortium News – February 23, 2023)

The first comprehensive study of prisoner deaths during the Covid era shows that deaths in federal and state prisons rose nearly 50% during the first year of the pandemic, and in six states, they more than doubled.  The New York Times reports that deaths in America’s prisons during 2020 even exceeded deaths in nursing homes, which were among the hardest hit sectors across the country. The Times found that it was not just the fact that Covid swept through already overcrowded prisons. It was also that prisoners are routinely subjected to substandard medical care. That, coupled with crowded facilities and an aging inmate population combined to make the worst public health crisis in American prisons since the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic. The states with the highest death rates were the states with the worst prison conditions, the worst medical care, and the longest sentences:  Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina and West Virginia.  In all of those states deaths in 2020 were up more than 100% over the previous year. 

A companion study of American prisons is showing that the prison population nationwide is aging significantly.  Due primarily to tough sentencing laws during the 1980s and 1990s, Americans are incarcerated for longer and longer periods.  In 2009, about 10% of all prisoners were 50 or older.  By 2019, that portion had jumped to 21%.  According to the Department of Justice, prisoners are considered to be “elderly” by the time they reach 50.  Their lifespans are shortened by their years in prison, and, in many cases by drug abuse, poverty and a lack of appropriate medical care.  High rates of depression, obesity and suicide make the situation even worse.  For example, of the 46 prisoners who died in West Virginia in 2020, 42 were older than 50.  In Michigan, which has the oldest prison population in the country, 90% of the 248 prisoners who died in 2020 were older than 50.

New Ford Patent Imagines a Future in Which Self-driving Cars Repossess Themselves – (NPR – March 3, 2023) 

A new Ford patent describes a variety of futuristic ways that Ford vehicle systems could be controlled by a financial institution in order to aid in the repossession of a car. Of the innovations described in the patent, titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” perhaps the most striking is about self-driving cars. A financial institution or repossession agency could “cooperate with the vehicle computer to autonomously move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency” or “the premises of the lending institution,” the patent states. The process could be entirely automated. The car could also call the police, the patent suggests – or, if the lender determines the car is not worth the cost of repossession, the self-driving car could drive itself to a junkyard. Semi-autonomous vehicles that aren’t up to the challenge of driving long distances could instead move themselves a short ways – from private property (“a garage or a driveway, for example,” the patent suggests) to a nearby spot “that is more convenient for a tow truck.”
Among the various ideas described in the patent is a gradual disabling of a smart car’s features. Lenders could start by switching off “optional” features of the car – like cruise control or the media player – in an effort to cause “a certain level of discomfort” to the car’s driver.  If the owner remains behind on payments, the lender could progress to disabling the air conditioner, or use the audio system to play “an incessant and unpleasant sound every time the owner is present in the vehicle.” As a last resort, a lender could disable “the engine, the brake, the accelerator, the steering wheel, the doors, and the lights of the vehicle,” the patent suggests, or simply lock the doors. Ford told NPR that it has no intention of implementing the ideas in the patent, which is one among hundreds of pending Ford patents published this year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (Editor’s note: In other words, any self-driving or semi-autonomous vehicle can be commandeered or disabled by any entity with the necessary internet access to do so. And even if you technically own the vehicle outright, you won’t own its software; instead you will have a license to use it. Theoretically the software could at some point be declared “obsolete”, receive no further updates, and eventually be disabled. The software will be able to force you to buy a new car.)

Ancient Protein Study Reveals How Natural Selection Predates Life Itself – (New Atlas – February 28, 2023)

 A new study has found that natural selection may have played a role before life itself even existed on Earth. By recreating the primordial soup, scientists identified how a cocktail of specific amino acids informed the genetic code of every single lifeform on the planet. Although there are hundreds of different amino acids in nature, a core set of 20 can be found in every living organism, from E. coli to elephants. That’s because everything can be traced back through a complex tree of life to a single common ancestor that existed billions of years ago. But what’s so special about these 20 specific amino acids? Finding out was the goal of a new study co-led by scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Charles University.
The team recreated the conditions of early Earth in the lab, including a mix of amino acids that were very common before life ever appeared. Some of these are believed to have been produced when UV light from the Sun interacted with gases in the atmosphere of the time, while others arrived aboard meteorites that impacted the planet more often than they do now. In their experiments, the team observed a kind of natural selection process taking place, even in the absence of life. Ancient organic compounds tended to integrate into their biochemistry the amino acids that were best suited for folding proteins into shapes key to vital functions, which gave these compounds a better chance at surviving. Give it enough time and there were simply more organic compounds with properties favorable to life. “Protein folding was basically allowing us to do evolution before there was even life on our planet,” said Stephen Fried, co-lead author of the study. “You could have evolution before you had biology, you could have natural selection for the chemicals that are useful for life even before there was DNA.”

Scientists Have Revived a ‘Zombie’ Virus That Spent 48,500 Years Frozen in Permafrost – (CNN – March 8, 2023)

Warmer temperatures in the Arctic are thawing the region’s permafrost — a frozen layer of soil beneath the ground — and potentially stirring viruses that, after lying dormant for tens of thousands of years, could endanger animal and human health. To better understand the risks posed by frozen viruses, Jean-Michel Claverie, an Emeritus professor of medicine and genomics at the Aix-Marseille University School of Medicine in Marseille, France, has tested earth samples taken from Siberian permafrost to see whether any viral particles contained therein are still infectious. His efforts to detect viruses frozen in permafrost were partly inspired by a team of Russian scientists who in 2012 revived a wildflower from a 30,000-year-old seed tissue found in a squirrel’s burrow. Since then, scientists have also successfully brought ancient microscopic animals back to life.
In 2014, Claverie managed to revive a virus he and his team isolated from the permafrost, making it infectious for the first time in 30,000 years by inserting it into cultured cells. For safety, he’d chosen to study a virus that could only target single-celled amoebas, not animals or humans. He repeated the feat in 2015, isolating a different virus type that also targeted amoebas. In his latest research, published in the journal Viruses, Claverie and his team isolated several strains of ancient virus from multiple samples of permafrost taken from seven different places across Siberia and showed they could each infect cultured amoeba cells. Those latest strains represent five new families of viruses, on top of the two he had revived previously. The oldest was almost 48,500 years old, based on radiocarbon dating of the soil. That amoeba-infecting viruses are still infectious after so long is indicative of a potentially bigger problem, Claverie said. He fears people regard his research as a scientific curiosity and don’t perceive the prospect of ancient viruses coming back to life as a potential serious public health threat.

1500 Scientists Say ‘There Is No Climate Emergency’ – The Real Environment Movement Was Hijacked – (Global Research – February 24, 2023)

Many people worldwide are concerned about climate change and believe there is a climate emergency. For decades we have been told by the United Nations that Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity are causing disastrous climate change. In 2018, a UN IPCC report even warned that ‘we have 12 years to save the Earth’, thus sending millions of people worldwide into a frenzy. However, many scientists dispute with the UN-promoted man-made climate change theory, and many people worldwide are confused by the subject, or are unaware of the full facts. This article provides some information you may not be aware of. The reality is that the climate changes naturally and slowly in its own cycle, and solar activity is the dominant factor in climate and not Co2. We can conclude that carbon emissions or methane from livestock, such as cows, are not the dominant factors in climate change. In essence, therefore, the incessant UN, government, and corporate-media-produced climate hysteria in relation to carbon emissions and methane from cows has no scientific basis.
Please note that I (author of this article) have no commercial interest in stating that climate change is not caused by CO2. In truth I am against ‘real’ pollution, and the reality is that the CO2 component is not a pollutant. Unfortunately, many misinformed environmentalists are driving around in electric cars, the battery production for which has caused vast amounts of ‘real’ pollution via the industrial mining and processing of rare earth metals, and the consequent pollution to land, air and water systems. Note that the UN does not focus on the thousands of real pollutants that corporate industrial globalization creates.

This Map Shows Where on Earth Humans Aren’t – (National Geographic – June 5, 2020)

A newly created map reveals the “wildest” places on Earth—places where humans have the lowest impact. The findings could be used to support the push to set aside half of Earth for nature, its authors say. The map uses four different metrics to maximize accuracy. All of the maps, described in article, agreed that about half of Earth shows “low” human impact, and about half of that—a quarter of the ice-free surface of the planet—could be described as “very low” human impact. Perhaps unsurprisingly, deserts, boreal forests, montane grasslands, and tundra all have the least human impact. “More concerning,” the paper’s authors write, “less than 1% of temperate grasslands, tropical coniferous forests, and tropical dry forests have very low human influence…Tropical grasslands, mangroves, and montane grasslands also have less than 1% of land identified as very low influence.”
Lead author Jason Riggio, a spatial ecologist at the University of California, Davis, hopes the map can bolster the case for making the goal of protecting half the planet by 2050. But which half to save? While preserving largely untouched “wilderness” is an important goal for many, it isn’t always where the most plant and animal species are. Maria Dornelas, an ecologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her colleagues recently made their own global map – this one looks at threats to plant and animal species, from climate change to deforestation to pollution. Their map looks quite different, with hotspots of threats in India, Northern Europe, and the East China Sea. It highlights the fact that without protection or restoration, species and ecosystems in areas with high human impact may be more likely to disappear. In the end, no map can tell humanity what we should protect. Should we focus on low-impact areas to preserve “wild” places, or on high-impact areas where threats to species are most urgent?

Ocean Treaty: Historic Agreement Reached after Decade of Talks – (BBC News – March 4, 2023)

Nations have reached a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans following 10 years of negotiations. The High Seas Treaty aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. The agreement was reached after 38 hours of talks, at UN headquarters in New York. The negotiations had been held up for years over disagreements on funding and fishing rights. Minna Epps, director of the IUCN Ocean team, said the current main issue was over the sharing of marine genetic resources. Marine genetic resources are biological material from plants and animals in the ocean that can have benefits for society, such as pharmaceuticals, industrial processes and food. Richer nations currently have the resources and funding to explore the deep ocean but poorer nations wanted to ensure any benefits they find are shared equally.
The last international agreement on ocean protection, signed in 1982, established an area called the high seas – international waters where all countries have a right to fish, ship and do research – but only 1.2% of these waters were protected. Marine life living outside of these protected areas has been at risk from climate change, overfishing and shipping traffic. These new protected areas, established in the treaty, will put limits on how much fishing can take place, the routes of shipping lanes and exploration activities like deep sea mining – when minerals are taken from a sea bed 200m or more below the surface. Environmental groups have been concerned that mining processes could disturb animal breeding grounds, create noise pollution and be toxic for marine life. The International Seabed Authority that oversees licensing said that moving forward “any future activity in the deep seabed will be subject to strict environmental regulations and oversight to ensure that they are carried out sustainably and responsibly”.

The Creeping Threat of the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt – (Guardian – March 7, 2023)

Seaweed has been having a moment. Eco-influencers and columnists rave about its benefits, in everything from beauty products to biofuels. But one type of seaweed is not a benign force. Vast fields of sargassum, a brown seaweed, have bloomed in the Atlantic Ocean. Fed by human activity such as intensive soya farming in the Congo, the Amazon and the Mississippi, which dumps nitrogen and phosphorus into the ocean, the sargassum explosion is by far the biggest seaweed bloom on the planet. The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, as it’s known, is visible from space, stretching like a sea monster across the ocean, with its nose in the Gulf of Mexico and its tail in the mouth of the Congo. It provides a safe harbor and breeding ground for fish, turtles and other marine life. Under the surface it teems with life, like an upside-down reef. What is alarming, is the rate at which it is growing. Oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam, who has run scientific research expeditions in the South Atlantic for 25 years, first noticed it in 2018. “One moment we were in the blue sea, then bam! It was all around the ship for tens, hundreds of meters.” Vast rafts arrive onshore without warning, smothering miles of coastline in golden seaweed, which piles up, sometimes meters high, turning brown and fetid as it rots.
Sargassum assaults harm coastal wildlife and fish, and interfere with vital infrastructure, including water and power supplies. In addition, the hydrogen sulphide released when it decays has been shown to cause a range of human health problems, from mild headaches or eye irritation to unconsciousness and worse, to an increased risk of serious pregnancy complications in women living on the coast. Clear from the data, it is growing inexorably. The basic problem is how to dispose of this contaminated biomass. The heavy metals it contains – particularly arsenic – make it dangerous to feed to plants. Composting, too, could allow the arsenic to leach into groundwater, then drinking water and the food chain, leading several Caribbean nations to ban sargassum composting. As for industrial uses, removing the heavy metals requires so much processing that it is not cost-effective. Sargassum’s ability to suck up carbon is behind what it probably the wildest and most ambitious plan to date: capture it using robots, bundle it up and sink it to the bottom of the sea. Research for solutions is ongoing, but so far no idea has stood out enough to attract investment: sargassum does not, yet, seem to have the capacity to make anyone rich.  See also: A giant seaweed bloom that can be seen from space threatens beaches in Florida and Mexico.

Why Does Half of This Modern Town in Australia Live Underground—with Own Church, Casino? – (Epoch Times – March 1, 2023)

Deep in the South Australian outback, there lies a town where some 50% of its people live underground. Intense summer heat—and winter cold—is what led most of its approximately 2,000 inhabitants to carve out a subterranean home. A curious sequence of events led to the birth of this otherworldly-looking place. It all started just over a century ago when in 1915, a band of three men were unsuccessfully prospecting for gold south of Coober Pedy. With them was 14-year-old Will Hutchinson, the son of one of the men. The teenager found a opal and, in fact, sparked the beginning of what would become the largest opal mining operation in the world—but first, the first settlers had to figure out how to survive there. In 1915, the first dugout was carved out of soft hillside rock. This underground dwelling would provide a respite from the blistering heat.

Fast forward to 2023, and those first primitive first dugouts have evolved to become sophisticated modern underground homes. Wonderfully temperate, the sandstone cave dwellings maintain a perfectly comfortable temperature year-round. There’s also an array of subterranean shops, restaurants, hotels—even a casino. The town’s Desert Cave Hotel calls itself “the only international rated underground hotel in the world.” Article includes many photos.

Inside the Global Race to Turn Water Into Fuel  (New York Times – March 11, 2023)

On a remote parcel in the Australian Outback, a consortium of energy companies led by BP plans to cover an expanse of land eight times as large as New York City with as many as 1,743 wind turbines, each nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, along with 10 million or so solar panels and more than a thousand miles of access roads to connect them all. But none of the 26 gigawatts of energy the site expects to produce, equivalent to a third of what Australia’s grid currently requires, will go toward public use. Instead, it will be used to manufacture a novel kind of industrial fuel: green hydrogen. This patch of desert, more than 100 miles from the nearest town, sits next to the biggest problem that green hydrogen could help solve: vast iron ore mines that are full of machines powered by immense amounts of fossil fuels. Three of the world’s four biggest ore miners operate dozens of mines here.
Green hydrogen is made by using renewable electricity to split water’s molecules. Currently most hydrogen is made by using natural gas, a fossil fuel. Because burning hydrogen emits only water vapor, green hydrogen avoids carbon dioxide emissions from beginning to end. In dozens of spots around the globe endowed with abundant wind and sun, investors see an opportunity to generate renewable electricity so cheaply that using it to make green hydrogen becomes economical. Even if only some of the projects come to fruition, vast stretches of land would be duly transformed. The project is one example of a global gamble, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, being made by investors including some of the most polluting industries in the world. For green hydrogen to have a substantial climate impact, its most essential use will be in steel making, a sprawling industry that produces nearly a tenth of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than all the world’s cars.

BMW Launches Demonstration Fleet of Hydrogen Cars That Use Fuel Cells from Toyota (CNBC – February 27, 2023)

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen, which uses fuel cells sourced from Toyota. The car has a top speed of more than 112 miles per hour, is being put together at a facility in Munich. The car stores hydrogen in two tanks and can be filled up in three to four minutes. BMW says it has a range of 313 miles in the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP cycle. It will enter service in 2023, although the scale of the rollout is small, with a fleet of “under 100 vehicles” set to be “employed internationally for demonstration and trial purposes for various target groups.”
BMW is one of several automotive firms continuing to look into the potential of hydrogen. Others include Toyota and Hyundai, while smaller businesses such as Riversimple are also working on hydrogen-powered cars.

Global Race to Boost Electric Vehicle Range in Cold Weather – (Assoc. Press – March 4, 2023)

Cold temperatures rob electric vehicle batteries of traveling range. It’s a problem that some owners of electric passenger vehicles and transit officials are finding in cold climates worldwide. At 20 degrees F (minus 7 C), electric vehicles just don’t go as far as they do at the ideal 70 degrees. EVs can lose anywhere from 10% to 36% of their range as cold spells come at least a few times each winter in many U.S. states. Around three-quarters of this EV range loss is due to keeping occupants warm, but speed and even freeway driving are factors.
But there is hope. Scientists are racing to perfect new battery chemistries that don’t lose as much energy in cold weather as today’s lithium-ion systems. Also, cars equipped with efficient heat pumps don’t lose as much range in the cold. Heat pumps draw heat from the outside air even in cold temperatures, and have been around for decades, but only recently have been developed for automobiles, said Scott Case, CEO of Recurrent, a U.S. company that measures battery life in used EVs. “That is definitely what needs to be in all of these cars,” he said. Neil Dasgupta, associate professor of mechanical and materials science engineering at the University of Michigan they’re developing new battery designs that allow ions to flow faster or enable fast charging in the cold. There also are battery chemistries such as solid state that don’t use liquid electrolytes. He expects improvements to find their way from labs into vehicles in the next two to five years.

Moooove Over: How Single-celled Yeasts Are Doing the Work of 1,500-pound Cows – (Washington Post – March 12, 2023)

Lab-grown meat is coming. Lab-grown dairy has already arrived. Dozens of companies have sprouted up in recent months to develop milk proteins made by yeasts or fungi, including Perfect Day, the California-based dairy company that laid out this unusual spread. The companies’ products are already on store shelves in the form of yogurt, cheese and ice cream, often labeled “animal-free.” The burgeoning industry, which calls itself “precision fermentation,” has its own trade organization, and big-name food manufacturers such as Nestlé, Starbucks and General Mills have already signed on as customers. Precision dairy doesn’t have cholesterol, lactose, growth hormones or antibiotics (though those with dairy allergies should beware). Ryan Pandya, chief executive of Perfect Day, studied chemistry and bioengineering at Tufts. He developed a process called precision fermentation, similar to what has been used for decades to brew beer, make insulin for diabetic patients or produce rennet for cheese. “Rather than using 22nd-century technology to produce meat, we’re using 20th-century technology to produce milk protein,” he said. Beyond the fermentation process, making usable milk proteins is similar to that at regular cow dairies.
The world’s demand for dairy keeps going up, but not necessarily got liquid milk. As countries develop and have burgeoning middle classes, the demand for liquid milk drops and enthusiasm for cheese and other products skyrockets. Change Foods, a company with similar products, founded in 2020, is headquartered in both Australia and the United States, and is in the process of building a commercial manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi that will produce the volume of animal-free milk protein casein equivalent to the output of 10,000 dairy cows. Like Perfect Day, it aims to be an ingredient company that supplies its milk protein to other established food companies, but it will launch its own branded cheese products in 2025. Will customers buy it? It is delicious? Most of the 28 precision dairy companies gearing up globally are selling their milk proteins as ingredients to other food companies, so the finished products are only as good as the food companies making them.

How To ‘Knock Down’ Abrams! Pro-Russia Group Release Video on Destroying US Main Battle Tanks In Ukraine – (EurAsian Times – March 1, 2023)

We live in the world of open source almost everything. In a video that has surfaced online, a pro-Kremlin group has detailed how an Abrams tank that the United States has pledged to Ukraine could be obliterated in combat. The Pro-Kremlin group that goes by the name ‘Rybar’ published a video on February 26 detailing the vulnerabilities of the Abrams tank, which is otherwise considered a ‘hard to kill’ war machine. The video, incidentally, comes over a month after the US  announced it would arm Kyiv with about 31 units of M1A2 Abrams. The video gives details on the most difficult-to-penetrate and the most vulnerable spots of the tank and advises what weapons used in what ways would  be most effective to destroy the vehicle.

DHS Has a Domestic-intelligence Program – (Politico – March 6, 2023)

For years, the Department of Homeland Security has run a virtually unknown program gathering domestic intelligence. Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States. That includes people held in immigrant detention centers, local jails, and federal prison. DHS’s intelligence professionals have to say they’re conducting intelligence interviews, and they have to tell the people they seek to interview that their participation is voluntary. But the fact that they’re allowed to go directly to incarcerated people — circumventing their lawyers — raises important civil liberties concerns, according to legal experts. The inner workings of the program — called the “Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program” — are described in the large tranche of internal documents Politico reviewed from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). Those documents and additional interviews revealed widespread internal concerns about legally questionable tactics and political pressure. The documents also show that people working there fear punishment if they speak out about mismanagement and abuses.
One unnamed employee, quoted in an April 2021 document, said leadership of I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government.’” Another document said some employees worried so much about the legality of their activities that they wanted their employer to cover legal liability insurance. Carrie Bachner, formerly the career senior legislative adviser to the DHS under secretary for intelligence, said the fact that the agency is directly questioning Americans as part of a domestic-intelligence program is deeply concerning, given the history of scandals related to past domestic-intelligence programs by the FBI. Bachner, who served as a DHS liaison with Capitol Hill from 2006 to 2010, said she told members of Congress “adamantly” — over and over and over again — that I&A didn’t collect intelligence in the U.S. POLITICO has reviewed an email, sent last August, saying that the portion of the program involving interviews with prisoners who had received their Miranda rights was “temporarily halted” because of internal concerns.

FBI, Pentagon Helped Research Facial Recognition for Street Cameras, Drones – (Washington Post – March 7, 2023)

The FBI and the Defense Department were actively involved in research and development of facial recognition software that they hoped could be used to identify people from video footage captured by street cameras and flying drones, according to thousands of pages of internal documents that provide new details about the government’s ambitions to build out a powerful tool for advanced surveillance. The documents, revealed in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed against the FBI, show how closely FBI and Defense officials worked with academic researchers to refine artificial-intelligence techniques that could help in the identification or tracking of Americans without their awareness or consent.
Many of the records relate to the Janus program, a project funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or IARPA, the high-level research arm of the U.S. intelligence community modeled after the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. Program leaders worked with FBI scientists and some of the nation’s leading computer-vision experts to design and test software that would quickly and accurately process the “truly unconstrained face imagery” recorded by surveillance cameras in public places, including subway stations and street corners, according to the documents, provided by the ACLU. In a 2019 presentation, an IARPA program manager said the goal had been to “dramatically improve” the power and performance of facial recognition systems, with “scaling to support millions of subjects” and the ability to quickly identify faces from partially obstructed angles. One version of the system was trained for “Face ID … at target distances” of more than a half-mile.

A War with China Would Be Unlike Anything Americans Faced Before – (New York Times – February 27, 2023)

A major war in the Indo-Pacific is probably more likely now than at any other time since World War II. The most probable spark is a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. President Xi Jinping of China has said unifying Taiwan with mainland China “must be achieved.” His Communist Party regime has become sufficiently strong — militarily, economically and industrially — to take Taiwan and directly challenge the United States for regional supremacy. The United States has vital strategic interests at stake. A successful Chinese invasion of Taiwan would punch a hole in the U.S. and allied chain of defenses in the region, seriously undermining America’s strategic position in the Western Pacific, and would probably cut off U.S. access to world-leading semiconductors and other critical components manufactured in Taiwan. But leaders in Washington also need to avoid stumbling carelessly into a war with China because it would be unlike anything ever faced by Americans. U.S. citizens have grown accustomed to sending their military off to fight far from home. But China is a different kind of foe — a military, economic and technological power capable of making a war felt in the American homeland.
The military scenario alone is daunting: China would probably launch a lightning air, sea and cyber assault to seize control of key strategic targets on Taiwan within hours, before the United States and its allies could intervene. China also has more than 1,350 ballistic and cruise missiles poised to strike U.S. and allied forces in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and American-held territories in the Western Pacific. Over the past two decades, China has also built formidable political warfare and cyber warfare capabilities designed to penetrate, manipulate and disrupt the United States and allied governments, media organizations, businesses and civil society. If war were to break out, China can be expected to use this to disrupt communications and spread fake news and other disinformation. The aim would be to foster confusion, division and distrust and hinder decision making. China might compound this with electronic and probably some physical attacks on satellites or related infrastructure. These operations would most likely be accompanied by cyber offensives to disrupt electricity, gas, water, transport, health care and other public services. China could also weaponize its dominance of supply chains and shipping. The impact on Americans would be profound.

China Has a Stunning lead over the US in the Research of 37 out of 44 Critical and Emerging technologies, New Study Finds – (Insider – March 3, 2023)

According to the independent think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute, (ASPI), the world’s second-largest economy is leading the US in researching 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies across the defense, space, energy, and biotechnology sectors — including research of advanced aircraft engines, drones, and electric batteries. The US State Department partly funded the study. The ASPI found that for a few fields, all of the world’s top 10 research institutions are in China, and they collectively generate nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country — which is the US in many cases. In particular, China has the edge in defense and space-related technologies, the ASPI said.
In the immediate term, the lead could allow China to “gain a stranglehold on the global supply of certain critical technologies.” In the longer run, China’s leading position could propel it to excel in almost all sectors, including technologies that don’t exist yet, per the ASPI. Unchecked, this could shift not just technological development and control but global power and influence to an authoritarian state where the development, testing and application of emerging, critical and military technologies isn’t open and transparent and where it can’t be scrutinized by independent civil society and media,” the think-tank said.

This Government Aide Says It Knows What Voters Want. It’s an AI bot. – (Washington Post – March 3, 2023)

Romania’s prime minister has just unveiled a new colleague to his cabinet — a deep-voiced AI-powered “adviser” encased in a mirror which is being described as the world’s first AI-powered government aide. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca claims the bot, which calls itself “Ion,” is capable of interpreting the opinions of the country’s population and conveying them back to him and his government, helping them choose how to make decisions. “Ion will do, through artificial intelligence, what no human can: listen to all Romanians and represent them before the government of Romania,” Ciuca said. Officials say the bot will help ministers formulate policies that are more in touch with voters’ everyday concerns, and will one day even be able to propose its own original ideas. According to Romania’s minister of research, the bot uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to automatically identify the opinions of Romanians that have been shared on social media or submitted to a newly established portal. The machine synthesizes their thoughts into categories, prioritizes their importance and delivers the information back to government decision-makers.
“Ion is the first AI governmental adviser — we think — in the world,” said Sebastian Burduja, Romania’s minister of research. The bot, which was developed by his ministry, is in its “learning phase,” he said, inviting Romanians to teach it about their everyday concerns by posting about them on social media. “Ion will take all that information and will start to report results,” said Burduja, “which will be meant for the prime minister and designated members of the cabinet.” The government believes that the tool — which will automatically trawl through social media to collect opinions — will allow it to make decisions more efficiently. Others are more skeptical, raising ethical concerns that the algorithm, which identifies which concerns on social media should be prioritized for decision-making, could itself be biased — resulting in biased decision-making. Eventually, Ion’s engineers hope to teach it to proactively formulate policy proposals for government ministers to consider, a prospect that adds fuel to an emerging debate over the role of artificial intelligence in everyday life — and in democratic processes in particular. (Editor’s note: How long will it take to intentionally bias this AI by “loading” the social media that it uses?)

They’re Exporting Billions in Arms. Just Not to Ukraine. – (New York Times – March 5, 2023)

A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the war has spurred a global effort to produce more missiles, tanks, artillery shells and other munitions. And few countries have moved as quickly as South Korea to increase output. Last year, South Korea’s arms exports rose 140% to a record $17.3 billion, including deals worth $12.4 billion to sell ?tanks, ?howitzers, ?fighter jets and multiple rocket launchers to Poland, one of Ukraine’s closest allies. The contracts for Poland’s tanks and howitzers were signed in late August with South Korea’s top defense contractors. It took little more than three months for the first shipment to arrive. Warsaw appreciated the ?speed. The orders from Poland were a boon to the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has vowed to make his country the fourth-largest weapons exporter by 2027, after the United States, Russia and France.
But as South Korea expands weapons sales globally, it has refused to send lethal assistance to Ukraine itself. Instead, it has focused on filling the world’s rearmament gap while resisting any direct role in arming Ukraine, imposing strict export control rules on all its sales. South Korea’s wariness stems in part from its reluctance to openly antagonize Moscow, from which it hopes for cooperation in imposing new sanctions against an increasingly belligerent North Korea. Countries throughout Latin America, Israel and others have also declined to send weapons directly to Ukraine. Yet few nations’ defense industries have boomed as a result of the Russian invasion as much as South Korea’s has. And despite appeals from Kyiv and NATO to send weapons into Ukraine, Seoul has continued to walk a tightrope, balancing between its steadfast alliance with Washington and its own national and economic interests. When Seoul agreed to sell artillery shells to help the United States replenish its stockpiles, it insisted on ?an explicit export-control condition that ?the “end user” would be the United States, a rule that it has had in place for all its global arms deals — including its contracts with Poland — for decades. Nonetheless, some South Korean weapons technology has already made its way to Ukraine: The Polish Krab howitzers that were sent to Ukraine use the chassis from South Korean K9s.

The Commercial Surrogacy Industry Is Booming as Demand for Babies Rises – (CNBC – March 7, 2023)

Commercial surrogacy refers to an arrangement in which a woman is paid a fee for carrying a pregnancy for another person or couple. This differs from altruistic surrogacy, in which a woman volunteers to carry a pregnancy without any compensation beyond medical reimbursements. Typically, commercial surrogacy is gestational surrogacy, meaning the surrogate has no biological link to the child. The laws around surrogacy vary widely from country to country and state to state. In the U.S., for instance, the practice is permitted in some states but banned in others, while in Canada and the U.K., only altruistic surrogacy is allowed. In Georgia, meanwhile, as in Ukraine and Russia, both forms are legal. And a growing number of women turning to commercial surrogacy as a source of income amid swelling global demand for carriers. In Georgia, as in Ukraine, commercial surrogacy programs cost around $40,000-$50,000, while in Mexico they are about $60,000-$70,000. That compares with an average of $120,000 and higher in the U.S. In many cases, a surrogate may earn less than a quarter of the tens of thousands of dollars charged to intended parents.
The global commercial surrogacy industry was worth an estimated $14 billion in 2022, according to market research consultancy Global Market Insights — though exact numbers are hard to verify given the private nature of many arrangements. By 2032, that figure is forecast to rise to $129 billion, as infertility issues increase and a growing number of same-sex couples and single people look for ways to have babies. That demand is driven primarily by so-called intended parents in wealthy, Western nations. Many of these are seeking cross-border surrogacy services to avoid long waiting lists or higher fees at home, or because domestic laws forbid surrogacy or exclude particular groups — such as gay couples — from the practice. Until last year, Ukraine was the world’s second-largest surrogacy market behind the U.S., attracting foreign would-be parents with lower fees and a favorable regulatory framework. Crucially, that includes naming intended parents on the baby’s birth certificate, rather than the surrogate mother.


NASA Slammed a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid and It Didn’t Go Quite as Expected – (Science Alert – March 2, 2023)

In September of last year, after years of careful planning and development, NASA crashed a spacecraft smack into a rock drifting through the Solar System, just minding its own business. The motive behind this exercise was to test our ability to knock an asteroid off-course, in the interest of Earth’s safety. The measurements have come in, and the rock’s course changed by significantly more than expected. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was an attempt to see if this was feasible. The target was carefully chosen: Dimorphos, a moonlet orbiting a larger asteroid called Didymos. Because the orbital period of the two objects has been well characterized, any change in Dimorphos’ trajectory would be detectable as a change in its orbital period.
At around 525 feet across, Dimorphos orbits the 780 meter-wide Didymos roughly once every 11.9 hours. The DART impact was expected to alter this orbital period by around 7 minutes. As described in a paper led by planetary astronomer Cristina Thomas of Northern Arizona University, the change in orbital period was much more dramatic: Dimorphos now orbits Didymos 33 minutes faster than it did prior to the impact. Two separate measurements of the orbit using different methods found the same result. That larger-than-expected change to the orbital period of the binary asteroid system can’t be accounted for by the transfer of momentum from the DART spacecraft alone. For nearly two weeks after the impact, Dimorphos continued to spew out tails of dust, like a very dry comet. In fact, that escaping material transferred more momentum to Dimorphos than was transferred by the DART spacecraft during its moment of impact. Their findings are promising. A spacecraft can successfully deflect an asteroid from its course with limited knowledge of its composition and surface conditions, and without conducting an expensive and lengthy reconnaissance mission first.

‘We Just Discovered the Impossible’: How Giant Baby Galaxies Are Shaking Up Our Understanding of the Early Universe – (PhysOrg – February 25, 2023)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) took decades to build, because it had to be made foldable to fit on top of a rocket and be sent into the coldness of space, 1.5 million kms from Earth. Here, far from the heat glow of the Earth, JWST can detect the faintest infrared light from the distant universe. Among the pictures that it transmitted was one with a small red dot that would shake up our understanding of how the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang. The little red dot on the screen was something very different from the newly sighted galaxies. Much more important. An analysis software on the little pinprick spits out two numbers: distance 13.1 billion light years, mass 100 billion stars. We just discovered the impossible. Impossibly early, impossibly massive galaxies. At this distance, the light took 13 billion years to reach us, so we are seeing the galaxies at a time when the universe was only 700 million years old, barely 5% of its current age of 13.8 billion years. If this is true, this galaxy has formed as many stars as our present-day Milky Way. In record time.
Could we have discovered astronomy’s missing link? To produce these galaxies so quickly, you almost need all the gas in the universe to turn into stars at near 100% efficiency. And that is very hard, which is the scientific term for impossible. This discovery could transform our understanding of how the earliest galaxies in the universe formed. The implication is that there is different channel, a fast track, that produces monster galaxies very quickly, very efficiently. A fast track for the top 1%.


Idle No More: How Automatic Mouse Jigglers Are Taking on Nosy Bosses – (Guardian – March 5, 2023)

As working from home was normalized in 2020, concerns grew about bossware – software that keeps a close eye on remote workers by, for instance, tracking their mouse movements. Work-communication platforms like Microsoft’s Teams might be less Big Brother-ish, but they can still show when a worker has been “idle” – a word that implies they’re in a hammock with a cocktail when they might have perfectly legitimate reasons to have stepped away from their computer: caring for a child, going to the bathroom, rescuing the dog from a standoff with a rabid raccoon. And even if they are just taking a break, does the boss really have to know? What’s more, a lot of remote work – reading reports, listening to meetings – doesn’t require moving the mouse. “That kind of talent, you can’t really micromanage,” Rodriguez says, so measuring performance by “how long you’ve been on the computer … doesn’t really hold weight”. And research would seem to back this claim: a 2021 study on “micro-breaks” – in which tired workers eat a snack or work on a crossword puzzle – helped them recover from fatigue and work better.
Enter the mouse mover. They have existed for years, but their popularity soared as people began working from home early in the pandemic. They come in different varieties, ranging from cradles with spinning discs in the middle to DIY creations made from Legos. But they are united as a symbol of resistance against workplace surveillance – even if their very existence points to a dystopian future. And even as workers have returned to the office, sales have increased – perhaps in part due to the wide variety of uses for the product. Healthcare workers use mouse movers to keep their computers awake while they talk to patients; IT teams use them to test software; students may need them to make it easier to take notes while they watch a lecture. (Of course, computers can be set to remain awake for long periods of time, but often these settings are inaccessible if your organization controls the device.)

The Crypto Collapse Has Reached the Real Financial System – (The Verge – March 4, 2023)

Silvergate, one of the most important banks in crypto, has failed. “Some of the companies that were being formed at the time [2014] to provide services to this budding Bitcoin space, many of them were struggling to find and maintain bank accounts,” said Silvergate CEO Alan Lane. The focus at the bank was institutions — other companies, some of which work with consumers. For instance, Genesis, the now-bankrupt crypto-lending subsidiary of DCG, was among Silvergate’s early clients. Also among Lane’s clients: FTX. Federal prosecutors are now examining Silvergate’s role in banking Sam Bankman-Fried’s fallen empire. The collapse of FTX spooked other Silvergate customers, resulting in an $8.1 billion run on the bank: 60% of its deposits walked out the door in just one quarter. (“Worse than that experienced by the average bank to close in the Great Depression,” The Wall Street Journal explained.) 
The list of customers helps to explain Silvergate’s woes. Very few banks will touch crypto because it’s so risky — and most traditional banks don’t let crypto clients transact in dollars 24/7. Access to banking that moves at the pace crypto does is rare. Most banks that do it are offshore. FTX sparked a mass exodus into dollars, and Silvergate suddenly had to come up with a bunch of money. Unfortunately, that meant selling its bonds at a loss in order to pay its obligations. Ironically, the bonds were pretty safe — “if its depositors had kept their money at Silvergate, its bonds would have matured with plenty of money to pay them back,” notes Matt Levine, a savvy financial reporter. Silvergate dealt in liquidity, and a liquidity problem can become a solvency problem real fast. The entire crypto industry just got a lot more fragile. (Editor’s note: If crypto is one of your interests, this article also gives you a link to Matt Levine’s article at Bloomberg which has a more in-depth analysis of how this worked if you want to get down into the weeds in terms of details.)

Metaverse Creator Neal Stephenson on the Future of Virtual Reality – (Financial Times – February 24, 2023)

Neal Stephenson’s science-fiction writing has predicted (and inspired) innovations from cryptocurrency to Alexa. His breakthrough 1992 novel Snow Crash described a dystopian future of corporate city states, where a hacker underclass hides from reality in a virtual world known as the Metaverse. Several of the book’s concepts — including avatars, virtual-reality goggles, massive multiplayer online games and destructive computer viruses — are now part of our everyday experience. Last year, Stephenson and crypto pioneer Peter Vessenes co-founded Lamina1, a company that uses blockchain technology to build an “open and expansive” metaverse along the lines the author envisaged 30 years earlier. This article is an interview with him.
What’s your preferred current definition of the metaverse? There’s lots of people in it. You can interact with them in real time, no matter where they are. They’re represented by audiovisual bodies called avatars, and they’re having shared experiences that are fictional in nature. They’re in fictional spaces, doing fictional things. Do people know they are tiptoeing into the metaverse when they are playing a video game? I would guess most are just playing the game. I think people who spend a lot of time playing, especially multiplayer online games, are becoming accustomed to the idea of moving around in shared three-dimensional spaces. Which is clearly the most basic idea of the metaverse. How quickly do you anticipate this metaverse being something we all visit on a day-to-day basis? There won’t be a metaverse that is used by millions of people until it contains experiences that millions of people find worth having, and making those experiences is quite difficult.

The Scientist Who Lost His Dad – and Resolved to Travel to 1955 to Save Him – (Guardian – March 1, 2023)

Ronald Mallett, now emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut, thinks he has cracked time travel. The secret, he says, is in twisting the fabric of space-time with a ring of rotating lasers to make a loop of time that would allow you to travel backwards. It will take a lot more explaining and experiments, but after a half century of work, the 77-year-old astrophysicist has got that down pat. His claim is not as ridiculous as it might seem. Entire academic departments, such as the Center for Time at the University of Sydney, are dedicated to studying the possibility of time travel. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is working on a “time-reversal machine” to detect dark matter. Of course there are still lots of physicists who believe time travel, or at least travelling to the past, is impossible, but it is not quite the sci-fi pipe dream it once was. “It turns out that rotating black holes can create a gravitational field that could lead to loops of time being created that can allow you to go to the past,” says Mallett. Unlike a normal black hole, a spinning black hole has two event horizons (the surface enclosing the space from which electromagnetic radiation cannot escape), an inner one and an outer one. Between these two event horizons, something called frame dragging – the dragging of space-time – occurs,” Mallet explains.

Although black holes are in short supply in this corner of the Milky Way, Mallett thinks he may have found an artificial alternative in a device called a ring laser, which can create an intense and continuous rotating beam of light – “light can create gravity … and if gravity can affect time, then light itself can affect time,” he explains. Some of Mallett’s critics have objected that his time machine would have to be the size of the known universe, thus completely impractical. I put this to him. “You’re absolutely right; you’re talking about galactic types of energy in order to do that,” he acknowledges. So, how big would your time machine be? “I don’t know that yet. The thing is that what is necessary first is being able to show that we can twist space – not time – twist space with light.” Only then, he says, will he know what is necessary to do the rest. Mallett likens it to asking the Wright brothers, straight after their maiden flight, for their predictions for how humans will reach the moon. All Mallett can tell us at the moment is that his time machine, however big, will look like a cylinder of rotating light beams.

A Fight against Sludge – (New York Times – February 9, 2023)

Sneaky fees have become a big part of America’s consumer economy. The mushrooming number of fees has made clear that competition does not usually eliminate the practice. Why not? Academic research has suggested that there are two main reasons. First, human beings are not the efficiently rational machines that economic theory pretends they are. An entire branch of the field, behavioral economics, has sprung up in recent decades to make sense of our limited attention spans. The best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, explores these ideas. The second major reason is monopoly power. In some markets, consumers don’t have much choice. Ticketmaster’s fees outrage many people. But if you want certain tickets you have to pay the fees. There is no rival service selling them. In some industries, sludge and monopoly power feed off each other. The small number of dominant internet providers, for instance, reduces the chances that a new entrant can design a business strategy around undercutting Comcast’s and Verizon’s sneaky fees.
The administration’s primary focus for now is on disclosure — requiring companies to tell consumers up front what the full cost will be. The Transportation Department has proposed such a rule for airlines. Disclosure rules often have the advantage of being easier to enforce than outright bans on sneaky fees: If the government bans one kind of fee, companies can often repackage it in another way. “The best we could hope for is that consumers see the full costs transparently and that the government facilitates that,” Thaler, a Nobel laureate in economics, said.

Boeing Engineers Set a New Record for Paper Plane Flight Distance – (Jalopnik – February 24, 2023)

Boeing engineers Dillon Ruble and Garrett Jensen and collaborator Nathaniel Erickson now hold the Guinness world record for paper aircraft flight: almost 290 feet. Erik Schilling explains that the team’s planes “are meant to be more darts than traditional paper planes, and there is little, if any, gliding.” Lots of folding, though, following research on paper, origami methods, and aerodynamics. Ruble and Jensen studied origami and aerodynamics for months, putting in 400 to 500 hours of creating different prototypes to try to design a plane that could fly higher and longer. “For the Guinness World Records, we ended up going with A4-sized paper (dimensions of 210 x 297 mm) and went up to the maximum for weight, 100 grams per square meter,” Jensen said. “The heavier the paper, the greater the momentum when you go to throw it.” It takes over 20 minutes to accurately fold the record-breaking paper airplane design. “Our design is a little different from your traditional fold in half, fold the two corners to the middle line down the middle. It’s pretty unique in that aspect. It’s definitely an unusual design,” Ruble said. “I didn’t think we could get useful data from a simulation on a paper airplane. Turns out, we could,” Jensen added. Includes instructional folding video.
The future has a way of arriving unannounced.
– George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
A special thanks to:  Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Abby Porter, Bobbie Rohn, Hal Taylor, Steve Ujvarosy and all of you who have sent us interesting links in the past.  If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.

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